Skip to content

LETTER: If we're going to make positive change for people we need to communicate better

The Freedom Convoy is a loaded topic that makes me cringe every time I see a Facebook post
writing AdobeStock_130194346
Stock image

SooToday received the following letter from Jessica Fizzell regarding the Freedom Convoy and public discourse:

At the suggestion of a beloved professor, and fellow writer, I'm submitting this in hopes that it will help people spend a little time in reflection. The Freedom Convoy is a loaded topic that makes me cringe every time I see a Facebook post or someone starts a conversation about the state of our nation. If we're going to make positive change for the people of the nation we need to better.

Here's a few things I need to say:

1. Talk with me, not at me. Please don't start a conversation about the Convoy, COVID or any other subject if you are not willing to have a conversation. A conversation has two involved parties, not one party who just wants to be heard. That's not a conversation, it's a lecture. Your alternatives: start a social media platform, find a soap box or seek out higher education so you are qualified and capable of giving lectures.

2. No matter your stance, check your emotional well-being before you enter a conversation, and be sure to exit a conversation before your emotions take over. Bridges burn quickly, they take longer to build.

3. Learn to identify and respect boundaries. When someone says they don't want to talk about it, respect that. You'd expect someone to respect you. Also, social cues. Read a few of those too.

4. Grade 10 Civics was years ago, and a joke at that. It wasn't even a full credit. Take some time to refresh yourself (from credible sources) the power and responsibilities of each level of government, read over the laws and acts that are of concern to you, and remember that you likely don't have a PoliSci degree. While you're at it, take some time to look at each party's stance on major issues to see where your own values lie. Keep in mind, even if you do align with a party, you likely won't support them 100 per cent.

5. Be respectful. That means no yelling, no pot shots, no racism, no name calling, no baiting, and nothing you wouldn't be comfortable with being on the receiving end of. Basically, all the things they teach you in kindergarten.

6. Understand the fact that people exist in a world where no matter their stance, they believe with conviction that they are in the right. That's half the problem with talking to people. You're telling them their reality is wrong. Nobody likes that. Keep that in mind as you choose your words.

7. Hate speech is an automatic disqualification in my books. Have a nice life.

8. In order to have a well established opinion you need to spend the time looking at things from every angle. For a start? Learn your bias, look at only the facts and try to remember those lessons from school on how to research. Look up what constitutes the different types of sources, what makes a credible source, what is fact vs opinion; and, consider whether or not your argument would land you an F if graded by your high school Civics teacher. If you want to have an intellectual conversation, then have it as if it were...
Also, "*Insert name here* said" is not a credible source.

9. There are severe issues as far as human rights, and the care of our people across the country and have been since Canada's inception. Where were you for those? Please reflect on whether or not you're only present for self interest, or if you're just as loud for all the mistreatment that happens regularly at a systemic level. Canada is more than just you and your needs. We have adults and children that have brown water in their taps, unmarked graves of children, people who go hungry, police brutality, homelessness, long wait lists for care, systemic injustice and so much more. If you care about Canada, then show me you care about everything that is Canada.

10. If you start any sentence with "I'm not racist, but..." you likely have a fair bit of work to do in that area.

11. Check your privilege. If you feel personally wronged by the government, welcome to the club. This isn't new. Most of you weren't considered a person under the law for a good chunk of Canada's history. Not that long ago you needed your husbands approval to access your own money, the last residential school closed in the 90s, a few years after spousal rape became illegal ... but I digress. Stop telling me this is about freedom. You have more freedom than you have ever had in this country, and have more freedom than most of the world's population. Some of you get mad at self interest parties, but are doing the exact same. Freedom of assembly still comes with regulations. Freedom does not mean you can do whatever you want.

12. Saying that a few bad apples doesn't' take away from the main message is ... Where do I even start with this. First off, have you ever had spoiled fruit in your fruit basket? You do the thinking. How far are you willing to let extreme right wing, white Nationalist, Nazi, or Confederate agendas go in the name of Freedom. You can be pro "medical autonomy" and still not support the protest.

13. If you are triggered by something, your next course of action is self reflection and self reflection only. Ask yourself questions. Why does this bother me? How strongly do I feel about this issue versus this conversation? How did I adopt this stance? Is it possible I am missing information? Do I have other personal issues interfering with my thoughts? What is my bias? What are my values? What are my boundaries? Is it possible I misunderstood? How do I handle this better next time? Those are just a few to get you started. Save your voice for when you're calm and have thought things through. Please keep this in mind as you finish reading this.

- Jessica Fizzell


What's next?

If you would like to apply to become a Verified reader Verified Commenter, please fill out this form.