I was really excited for HBO’s new comedy Veep, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Like any good satire, I hoped it would shine a slightly harsh but terribly amusing light on its subject matter — in this case the fraught American political system, and specifically the neutered, ineffectual office of the Vice President. Watching it, though, I was left wanting: for a solid story line, for somewhat believable characters, for a reason to tune in again.
Last week Canada’s Federal Government, in its first majority budget, announced that it would cease funding Katimavik. I’m sad for all the future young people who will not be able to participate in this great, 35-year-old program—an invaluable volunteer-leadership initiative that enables Canadians between the ages of 18 and 21 to get hands-on work experience while traveling the country.
I did Katimavik between the winter and summer of 2004. Over seven months, I lived in Tweed, Ontario, St. Stephens, New Brunsick and Lorette, Manitoba. I volunteered at an elderly care facility, a charity second hand store, in a primary school and for a municipality. I learned, among other things, how to bake bread, tend a lawn, grow vegetables and organize a charity fashion show. I even published my first piece of paid writing. It was a short article for a Winnipeg magazine called Swerve (now OutWords), and was about coming out of the closet and marching in my first Pride parade, two of my biggest Katimavik firsts (next to my first piercing—my tongue!). My Katima-group, which consisted of 11 young people from across Canada, had three gay guys and two bisexuals. I couldn’t have come out in any better, more supportive circumstances. I (almost) had my first real sexual encounter too (if drunkenly molesting a housemate counts—sorry Cody).
Dear Justin Trudeau,
I normally don’t find politicians hot. John Baird? Yikes. So scowly. And, let me be clear, I don’t think you’re hot because of your hunky, boy band good looks (seriously, were you ever in 98 Degrees?). And it’s definitely not because you’re father was Pierre Elliot Trudeau (although he was hot too), or because you can box (not that it hurts), or because you’re over 40 but still look good with your shirt off (although, again, that definitely doesn’t hurt).