I forgot to tell the Premier about my new computer game…

After school today, Oliver and I went to get hair cuts at Ray’s Place (we hadn’t been since the day before he graduated from kindergarten in the spring), then went to Tai Chi Gardens for a late, late lunch, and then finally, on the way home, we stopped by the Confederation Centre of the Arts for the Speaker’s Reception following the opening of the fall session of the Legislative Assembly.

Oliver may be afraid to go down a slide at the playground, and have an aversion to playing “What Time Is It Mr. Wolf,” but he is a natural in social settings, and managed to wrangle himself a tour through the receiving line not once but twice. He also made cold introductions to several people in line, shaking hands and telling them his name, and generally catching them unawares.

The Speaker’s Reception was, unfortunately I think, almost entirely the preserve of adults. Other than Oliver, age 7, and the members of the Colonel Gray Jazz Band, there was almost nobody under 30. If kids are going to grok democracy, I think it would be good to have them deeply integrated into things like this.

In any case, the child-free nature of the event meant that Oliver had all the adults to himself. And so when Premier Robert Ghiz and his wife Kate walked in, Oliver knew it was time to make his move. After making introductions and shaking hands, we left the the Premier to greet others; Oliver, however, felt it important to make another swing around on the way out, and managed to convey that he is 7 years old, attends Prince Street School and, I believe, something about how he has plans to rearrange our living room tonight.

On the way home he suddenly realized that he’d forgotten to tell the Premier about his new computer game and also to seek the Premier’s counsel on what adult computer games he enjoys. It was all I could do to steer him home with the promise that he would be free to query the Premier on these weighty matters on his next encounter.

Some days there is just no doubting that you live in Prince Edward Island.


Ryan's picture
Ryan on October 16, 2007 - 23:39 Permalink

Colonel Gray, not like the colour grey!

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on October 17, 2007 - 03:42 Permalink


Derek Martin's picture
Derek Martin on October 17, 2007 - 13:59 Permalink

Grey became the established British spelling in the 20th century, pace Dr. Johnson and others,[76] and is but a minor variant in American English, according to dictionaries. Canadians tend to prefer grey. Some American writers[citation needed] tend to assign wistful, positive connotations to grey, as in “a grey fog hung over the skyline”, whereas gray often carries connotations of drabness, “a gray, gloomy day.” — Wikipedia

Ann's picture
Ann on October 17, 2007 - 16:16 Permalink

If I wanted young people to grok democracy, I would not send them to a reception where (mostly male) privileged people drink tea and eat at the taxpayer’s expense and hope to curry some morsel of favour. I would send them instead to a place wher people walk many miles and stand in long lines to vote. Then maybe they would see that some people actually value the democratic system and see it as a vehicle of hope.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on October 17, 2007 - 16:25 Permalink

We all have our own democracies; best use the one we have to understand it rather than trying to simulate others’ experience of it.

Besides, surely to understand democracy one must at least attempt to understand privilege; seeing so many suits gathered in one place, looking so unlike everyday Island life, is in itself a lesson about one way democracy manifests.

Dan James's picture
Dan James on October 18, 2007 - 05:07 Permalink

If kids are going to grok democracy, I think it would be good to have them deeply integrated into things like this.” I haven’t met many kids or teens who want to stand around with older folk and chin wag about deficits while eating hilariously small sandwiches. You’ll find the kids across the street eating footlongs and talking about rock and roll.

The majority of youth, and the public for that matter, are not going to care about democracy until they really need it.

Philip M Howard's picture
Philip M Howard on October 23, 2007 - 18:46 Permalink

Although I only lived on the Island one year, I twice ran into the Premier of the day, Catherine Callbeck.

The first time she called out “Hello!” in a hearty voice, but I didn’t realize she was greeting me as I walked the two blocks from PEI-Net to home (so close, and yet so far!).

The second time I was leaving home for work when she was crossing the street to my side. As I stopped to check for traffic (you never know, there might actually be some) she thought I was stopping to speak with her and we had another brief encounter.

Never have I felt so close to my government as I did in Charlottetown.