Republicans debate about how none of them are going to get elected

Anyone watch the Ames Debate tonight?

*crickets*

There’s so much talk about how the United States is imploding in its own debt, that funny word which implies owing money in a system where all money is owed.

Let’s cut programs, let’s purposefully not pay back our obligations, let’s obliterate central banking (a western tradition since 1694) – these are the tactics of an American right-wing coming face-to-face with the super-president Obama.

Granted this is a bit of a spiel, but seriously, nobody will defeat Obama in 2012. He’s a wall. The American ship is sinking, this is true, but the holy grail of solutions is as realistic as…well, the holy grail. There are no candidates that can lead a strong challenge against his rule because there are no candidates that have a workable solution to the problem.

Not saying he, or any political figure or group, has one…

Either America continues spending to maintain its power at an unsustainable level, or it bows out and accepts the eclipse of its status as the modern Rome.

But what about us?

Our country’s political figures are scrambling to find new trade relationships, such as Harper’s current venture in Latin America. It’s an effort to distance themselves from the growing reality that our bulwark of economic security to the South is fading. So many times have nations who’ve enjoyed the warm and fuzzy blanket of safety, afforded by a strong ally, had to deal with that friend’s decline.

So many times have the superpowers of the world had to provide such security for their friends at a heavy cost domestically.

Well here we are, with politicians crying ‘witch!’ and lamenting the loss of a time when writing your local representative actually meant something, when politicians could provide something more real than banter, talking points, and shiny hair.

For us here in Canada, the only thing left to do is cling to a hopeful outlook amid these shifts of tectonic political plates. Sure, we’ve always been somewhat polite, standing up against the occasional crime against humanity and maintaining a reasonable international policy during those few opportunities we’ve had the bravery to stand up for something paramount, but our voice has been a quiet one through the years, asking for sanity and truthfully asking, ‘why can’t we equally enjoy the fruits that this world and life have provided us?’

Many accuse us of being in bed with the Americans. Well, this is true. But let me tell you, this nation of ours didn’t marry for love, we married for wealth.

With all these squabbles about how to dig upward from the hole burrowed by the maintenance of a clandestine empire stretching pole-to-pole, our little responsible Canada should invest in its reputation as a quiet voice of reason.

I may be patriotic, but I think we deserve more international recognition for our thoughts of a humanity holding hands with itself and the world.

There seems to be a window emerging, one where one power will vacate and another will move in. It’s a hole that has historically been occupied by those with large bank accounts and militaries begetting a fear to be trifled with. But what if a simple voice of reason, one that echoes the concerns of an evolved human populace, were to fill that void?

At such a remarkable stage in human history and evolution, what is left to do but try?

But more importantly, what do you think?

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Vancouver surgeon, Dr. Robert Taylor, receives the Order of Canada

Of the 54 people awarded the Order of Canada for 2010, 13 were B.C. residents. Dr. Robert Taylor, a professor at the University of British Columbia, received his for donating time and expertise to developing nations in need.

“I’m really busy,” Dr. Robert Taylor said over the phone when contacted for an interview. “I was just out the door, I didn’t even think I should answer the phone.”

Even when running late, the doctor comes across as apologetic, kind, and sincere. He speaks with a tone that is both calm and articulate, lending a sense that he truly aims to be helpful.

But Taylor is a busy man indeed.

When the Vancouver-based surgeon isn’t overseas helping war torn and struggling nations establish some semblance of proper medical care, he’s at home finding other ways to share his expertise.

Dr. Robert Taylor teaching a hernia repair course in Zambia, 2009. Photo courtesy of CNIS.

Taylor works in the surgery departments of both Vancouver General Hospital and Providence Health Care.

In addition to being a professor at University of British Columbia’s faculty of medicine, Taylor lends his services to the Red Cross and the Canadian Network for International Surgery, or CNIS.

A quick glance at the 66-year-old Taylor’s resume is enough to make even the most accomplished of us pause.

His initiatives in Vancouver include the establishment of UBC’s international surgery branch, as well as a colorectal cancer clinic at St. Paul’s hospital.

“At the request of the BC Cancer Agency…I initiated and developed the Anal Dysplasia Clinic at St. Paul’s,” Taylor wrote in his resume.

Since the early 1970s, the doctor has been on a wide array of humanitarian missions. The long list of countries he’s worked in includes Bolivia, Malawi, Uganda, and most recently, Sri Lanka and the Ivory Coast.

Working with the Red Cross in Sri Lanka, Taylor established “a sustainable surgical service in the north to serve the several hundred thousand internally displaced people from the long armed conflict in that region.”

In the Ivory Coast, Taylor also worked with the Red Cross to establish hospitals in war zones, following the announcement of a ceasefire.

Taylor practices stitch work with his students on a rather obedient patient, Zambia 2009. Photo courtesy of CNIS

His work as an ambassador of the Canadian medical profession earned him the Order of Canada in 2010, an award a co-worker said he accepted with humility.

“He was quite shocked when they told him,” Karethe Linaae of CNIS said. Linaae said Taylor was not expecting the award at all, and figured the phone call was to request a reference for someone else.

“He’s an amazing, giving, kind person. Very humble,” she said.

Linaae said Taylor is currently awaiting approval to visit Haiti with a group of Quebec surgeons, where he will work to establish medical facilities and train staff.

She added that he also teaches online surgery courses, allowing doctors in the developing world to continue learning once he’s left.