Find Your Sacred During Times of Tension and Conflict Communication

Find Your Sacred During Times of Tension and Conflict Communication

Conflict Communication

Find your sacred during times of conflict and tension: As I sit across the bargaining table from a Union counterpart, he slams his fists against the table, calls me names not worth repeating and has choice words for the employer I represent. It is worth mentioning; the employer I represent is reasonable and fair. Fortunately, this is not an everyday experience. Most of us negotiators can have these difficult conversations while respecting the party opposite and the process. Whether out of shock or good judgment, our team does not react.  I suggest a caucus “to gather our thoughts,” but it is to create space to calm things down.

During our caucus, the first order of business would be convincing our team that the outburst required no direct response.

Sure, there are times to respond with passion and vigour, but that wasn’t one of them.

I would remind our team that perceived process wins and “I sure showed them moments” in front of committees did not amount to a win on the actual negotiation scorecard.

While strolling down the hallway to our caucus room, I inhaled deeply, muttered, “It’s not about me,” under my breath and reflected on what holds us together in these moments.

What keeps us from responding in kind, escalating the situation and causing conlfict communication breakdown and impasse?

For me, and it works regardless of whether others reciprocate the sentiment, I hold dear and sacred the negotiating table, the negotiation process, the parties involved, and the agreement reached. Holding on to this meaningfulness keeps me grounded and helps me not lose perspective during tension and hostility, independent of what happens during the exchange.

This is hardly a unique approach, but how did this approach become ingrained within me?

I was often troubled and confused about my place and direction in life throughout my teens and early twenties, exacerbated by several family calamities. Fortunately, at the time, I found a healthy distraction in the sport of wrestling. It meant a lot to me to become competent at the sport. I prepared obsessively and competed often.

What could Wrestling, or other Competitive Sports have to do with Conflict Communication?

Wrestling was somewhat nerve-racking for many in the sport, even the well-adjusted. A match is a one-on-one competition. Defeats were punctuated and often taken as personal failures unless they were in matches close on points. Due to my maladjustments, I was driven more by fear of losing than the joy of participation and chance of success, seemingly to a greater extent than most.

I worried too much and made the mistake of placing too much of my identity and self-worth on the line.

At tournaments, our team members would wear our wrestling singlets underneath our sweats and t-shirts during warm-ups. We would drop our shoulder straps and let them hang down outside our sweats during warm-ups before the match. In so doing, we showcased our slightly rebellious nature and style (if there was such a thing among us) while it identified us as wrestlers when walking the gym floor.

There was a rule; however, you never stepped onto the mat with your straps down when arriving for your match. Doing so would be a sign of disrespect for the sport, to your opponent, and the match itself.

I enjoyed the rule. It was one of those things we came to know and made us feel like we were in on a secret code of sorts. My self-centred fear would block access to the more fulsome meaning behind the rule at the time. After accumulating much greyer hair and distance from the sport, a deeper appreciation would surface years later.

A wrestling match is an intense situation that reveals our humanness, whether virtues or vices, courage or fear, or a mix of all above. It is a test or moment of truth, if you will, on whether you trained hard enough, had the physical and mental fitness, ate properly, and had the talent to succeed. It was a test of character, courage and integrity.

In the middle of all this intensity and human frailties and strengths, the mat was sacred.

We worked out on the mat, warmed up, stretched, cooled down, meditated, and even disinfected and cleaned the mat. We cared for and honoured the mat. The mat was the truthteller during the competition amidst a collision of human fortitude, weakness, and tension. Having the reverence to adopt rules that made the mat sacred was enough to remove us, ever so slightly from our self-centred fear,  to engage in the match on an honourable footing grounded in virtue with our fears muted.

For those transformations to happen, the rule/ritual needs to be in place, and we need to be present to the moment enough to honour the ritual and find meaning in it.

During our caucus, I see energy return to the faces of our team. They understand that the over-the-top outburst we witnessed did nothing to change our bargaining position. They understand that a non-reaction can, in fact, be more potent than a reaction in conflict communication. We walk back down the hall to the negotiation room. I take a few deep breaths during our stroll.

We enter the room and move to our seats. My eyes scan the surface of the table, with binders and papers strewn about, people leaning in, leaning back, arms open, arms crossed, elbows on the table elbows off the table, some eye contact, some eyes down, some eyes averting direct view, some nods and some shrugs. I exhale as my hands touch the surface before me and feel its texture. I gauge the table’s strength while seated. I notice the soles of my feet against the floor and feel my connection to the ground supporting me. I press my shoes to the floor, twist ever so slightly and feel the resulting stored energy. This is a precious moment. The negotiation table, process, and the agreement that we will eventually achieve; bind us to the truth and integrity that connect us. I remind myself that it is not about me. It is not about one person’s behaviour. With self-centred fear set aside, we get down to honouring the business at hand again. In this state, we are prepared to engage in conflict communication skillfully. 

Whatever we do, find the meaning, find the sacred, and learn to trust it.

That is one example of how some of us hold it together during conflict communication, tension, escalation, hostility and challenge.

Please visit our homepage for more information about our labour relations and human resources firm with offices in Edmonton, Alberta and Prince George and Victoria, British Columbia.

Respectfully submitted,

Sam Kemble

Chief Operating Officer

With People Inc.


Lateral Violence: When the Oppressed become the Oppressors

Lateral Violence: When the Oppressed become the Oppressors

When the oppressed become the oppressors.

Lateral violence is a form of bullying engaged in by those oppressed and lacking power. 

In a state of anger, fear and at times panic, feeling unable to confront the system that dominates them, they lash out and attack peers and those closest to them, often those also oppressed. 

It is a function of power or lack thereof, and individuals (often targets themselves), without recourse, lash out at whom they can. Unfortunately, the systemic lack of recourse contributes to the release of energy in an unproductive, at times harmful form. It involves a release of energy built up from toxic or traumatic experiences.

Lateral violence is a sad and retraumatizing phenomenon.

Root causes of this tendency include:

  1. colonization,
  2. oppression,
  3. intergenerational trauma,
  4. powerlessness and
  5. the ongoing experience of racism and discrimination.

Resolving this requires confronting it by outing it, naming the damage it causes and acknowledging whom it damages.

Create space for discussions on the topic in general. Engage peers to gain understanding and commit to eradicating the behaviour from the workplace.

Bullying & lateral violence – Creative Spirits


  1. Out it.
  2. Confront It.
  3. Discuss its Causes.

Gain Freedom from It.


Take the #20percentchallenge

To learn more about our labour relations, human resources and recruitment firm, visit our homepage.

2020 Initiative and Industrial Relations List for With People Inc.

Inventory of service activities delivered to clients in 2020, a report by Sam Kemble

A Word from the Executive Operations Officer 

We diversified our client base and service offerings during the year, added capacity, strengthened our balance sheet, and improved our processes. We supported organizations to meet extraordinary and complex challenges through various service offerings.

We are inspired by our client’s character, understanding and compassion towards their employees, union partners, and stakeholders, all during a year that could strain any relationship. We are grateful to continue serving industries and enterprises in Canada.

We wish all well as we approach the New Year.

Respectfully submitted,

Sam Kemble

Executive Operating Officer

Industrial Relations – Negotiations

This year in industrial relations, we bargained collectively with various Building Trade unions in Saskatchewan, CUPE in Edmonton, Unifor in Windsor, and UFCW in Edmonton. Also, we engaged in First Nation Mutual Benefits Agreement Negotiations West of Edmonton.

Industrial Relations

We continue to deepen our service and experience in general industrial relations through grievance administration, progressive discipline support, collective agreement interpretation, group lay-off and bumping-process support, coal-to-gas transition supports, recall list administration, temporary layoff supports, arbitration case management, contracting out, severance liability included in a temporary layoff context, right to refuse unsafe work in a COVID-19 context, pension plan and health benefits and insurance administration, and common employer and successor employer analysis.

Policy Development

We engaged in robust alcohol and drug policy development and costing models, participated in public policy creation and review through the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, and developed several policies and practice documents in employment administration.


Ongoing training and workshops were developed and delivered, covering performance management, labour and employee relations, industrial relations, anti-harassment, bullying and violence. Work continues to migrate these modules to an online delivery format for broad and safe accessibility.



Significant time has been invested in enhancing our craft recruitment process, including modules for equity hiring and onboarding. We supported clients to develop a 48-hour rule hiring process to coincide with hiring hall scenarios. Cost models have been developed and simulated for craft sourcing, recruitment and onboarding for numerous multi-year projects. Our firm provided direct recruitment support for a plant south of Edmonton, a shutdown near Regina, road construction in Calgary, a pipeline in BC, a plant west of Edmonton, an institutional project in Terrace, recruitment for project administration in Northwest BC, a manufacturing facility south of Edmonton, several residential projects in the Greater Vancouver area, an infrastructure project in Lloydminster, and a roadbuilding project in the Greater Vancouver area.

We have adopted a positive bias into our recruitment process that prefers Indigenous, BIPOC and women candidates.


2020 brought the need to support clients with Covid-19 response measures, including service for essential service employees, implementing masking, hygiene, and physical distancing policies while restructuring work arrangements through staggering shifts and rotating site presence protocols. Various sick and other leave provisions required interpretation within a pandemic context. We also ensured rights and obligations to refuse unsafe work were adequately adhered to within a COVID-19 context. The pandemic also brought unique factors requiring a considered review of human rights and employment statute-protected accommodations, including leave and work accommodations. Many employers also found it necessary to navigate both the in and the out-of-work-from-home transitions.

We are grateful for the opportunity to be of service during such challenging and dynamic times. 

Industrial Relations – Operations / Execution

We engaged in front-end engineering and design (FEED) support for significant capital projects’ workforce delivery and the management component. We increased our forecasting and costing analysis capacity and conducted field execution productivity studies, developed project costing studies, and conducted labour posture comparison studies for construction and maintenance. We developed and supported wall-to-wall craft recruitment models. 

Justice and Social

We provided Jordan’s principal policy, advice, and advocacy within our social justice portfolio. We developed Treaty-based education agreements and policies.

Together with expert volunteers, we are about to release an employer mental health and wellness practice document.

We commenced service to the Board of the Colbourne Institute for Inclusive Leadership.

As a firm, we are taking an aggressive approach to positive bias recruiting to ameliorate disadvantaged and historically disadvantaged groups’ inequities.


With People Inc. Internal Capacity

In 2020, the firm increased recruitment, project controls, human resources and data science capacity.

We made investments in achieving a CPHR Certification, investigative report writing training, first aid training, and Principles of Health and Safety Management.

We afforded access to professional coaching to staff to increase career development and the strength of our team.

We created an operational contingency reserve for our operations to de-risk the potential for Covid-19 to impact our staffing levels. We also adopted an accounting policy to carry a fully funded severance liability on our balance sheet.

Throughout 2020 we continue to develop apps for release in 2021, including a force ranking app – 90% complete, a witness credibility app – 70% complete, a quantum of discipline review app – 70% complete. Also, we rebuilt our workforce applicant tracking and onboarding system – 70% complete.

In the ongoing interest of advancing awareness and education in human resources and employee and industrial relations, we maintained our educational Blog, Podcast, and Video Channel (hosted on YouTube).

Visit our homepage for more information about our human resources and industrial relations firm with offices in Edmonton, Alberta, Prince George and Victoria, British Columbia.

Systemic Racism and the Cave Analogy

Today we discuss Plato’s cave analogy and systemic racism in Canada. Like many, we in our firm accept that systemic racism exists throughout Canada and is interwoven into our institutions.

This statement comes neither from a place of judgement nor is it presented to suggest castigation of those subject to the system’s influence within which we all reside.

 Accepting that many forms of racism are prevalent throughout our society is simply an appreciation of the state of things, without judgment – and from there comes, a choice and perhaps, hopefully – a commitment.

 We write this within weeks of May 25, 2020. During this time, much has been in the news which illuminates the pervasiveness of racism in many forms in our institutions, including within our police forces. The police are no worse or better than most of Canada’s institutions.

Recent events reinforce that responsibility to get it right increases exponentially for those who exercise authority, and at times, force over others.

 And as Ibram X Kendi emphasizes in his 2019 book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” getting it right must be viewed, relatively, from where we are at. So, given where we are today, getting it right starts with acknowledging there is a problem. Sadly, for some (but not all) senior leadership positions within police force administration and police member associations, acknowledging that there is a  problem is more than they are willing to offer at the moment. Rather, some choose to deny it with vigour.

 We intend to explore this denial and anchor our discussion; we will reference Plato’s Cave Analogy in his classic, “Republic.”

In the Cave Analogy, Plato considers three people bound in a seated position in a cave with their heads affixed staring at a wall, for their entire life. Light enters from behind them from the mouth of the cave. From time to time, animals cross the mouth of the cave and cast shadows onto the wall they are facing. The three never knew differently, so what they were witnessing on the cave wall, was to them, an accurate reflection of life and reality.

Eventually, the bindings of one of the three came loose. With muscles that had yet been used, the escapee slowly struggled and eventually made their way to the cave entrance.

Upon reaching the mouth of the cave, the escapee experienced a great deal of pain. Eyes that knew only darkness and shadow were exposed to the sun’s bright light for the first time. Soon, the eyes adjusted, and the escapee witnessed the wondrous beauty, fullness and truth of the world.

After exploring, the escapee returned to the cave, wishing to share the freedom and revelation with the escapee’s former cave mates.

The escapee removed the bindings of the cave mates, and they struggled but moved towards the mouth of the cave. As they approached the mouth of the cave, sunlight struck their eyes, causing immense pain. Immediately, they asked why the escapee would cause them such pain and resented the escapee for it.

Ultimately, the pain of exposure to the light and the pain of accepting the truth was too great for the cave mates. Angrily, they hone in on the escapee, whom they stoned to death for causing them such pain, following which, they returned to their seats in the cave to carry on staring at the shadows on the wall.

Racism, including systemic racism, exists in Canada. Despite this, people continue to choose to deny that fact. We should not be surprised. As the cave analogy shows, holding contempt for information that challenges previously held beliefs is human nature. Such denial is neither right nor necessarily permanent.


And what of the visceral, conditioned emotional responses and attacks that come with such denials? Many in pain seek to destroy. They wish to focus their anger towards someone or something, to stop the exchange of information, and then, they wish to carry on living in their cave- in their distorted reality. They choose to deny the existence of systemic racism.

To be racist, that being, “One who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea.” Or, to be antiracist, that being, “One who is supporting an antiracist policy through their action or expressing an antiracist idea.” Objectively, it is impossible to reduce racism without acknowledging that systemic racism exists.

[Ibram X Kendi, 2019]

You’ll note that neither choice represents a static position, both choices describe one engaged in action…being static is not an option.

When looked at this way, this is a journey to embark upon and has nothing to do with permanent condemnations. So given recent events, we choose to, in a non-judgemental way in terms of where we are at today, actively seek new information to permit our eyes to adjust, for the alternative is to stay blind and hurt.

Thank you for your time. Subscribe for future updates.

Are We Setting Indigenous Relations Resources Up for Success?

Are We Setting Indigenous Relations Resources Up for Success?

October 27, 2019, |Bullying, Colonialism, Compliance, Harassment, Human Resources, Indigenous, TRC 92 (ii), Workplace Respect


When it Comes to Indigenous Relations Portfolios, Company Leaders are Oft’ Dropped into the Ocean Without Compass.

 Many managers are not fully aware of the root causes of their organization’s decision to create an Indigenous Relations position or portfolio. They first see requirements within a client’s request for a proposal to engage with and hire Indigenous members of a community; key performance indicators are weaved into contract administration to report on the number of people hired and on the number and value of subcontracts left.

Indigenous Relations[/caption]

Some may be vaguely aware of the regulatory project requirements from which socioeconomic project conditions may be directly inherited. The terms are usually negotiated by and between the project proponent and those directly affected communities, under varying federal government levels or regulatory supervision (or lack thereof).

Suppose that remains to be the full extent of the managers’ understanding. A corporate direction lacking vision ensues, typically resulting in awkward attempts at rudimentary “beads and feathers” exercises to procure a check-the-box understanding of a culture, usually accompanied by underlying resentments towards the perceived-to-be misplaced preferential treatment given to First Nation, Metis, and Inuit communities.

After a while, the manager notices that fostering and maintaining these relationships takes time and resources and often travels to remote locations. The task is too big for anyone to run from the “corner of their desk.” This is how one feels, while there is a lack of understanding of the “why” and a lack of appreciation of the larger picture and importance of the relationship.

Eventually, that part of the senior leaders’ portfolio becomes an irritant. Sadly, it is often under these circumstances that the process of delegation ensues.

Selection and Placement on the Org Chart

Once an organization decides to recruit an Indigenous Relations resource, the selection criteria are often initially driven based on several potential attributes such as:

  • capacity for relationship building,
  • reflecting the representation of a particular group or community, and
  •  level of position and compensation level (how much does the organization want to invest in this).

Often the exercise fails to source someone:

  • a representative of and/or with intimate knowledge of the sources, history and communal experience of colonialism,
  • with an understanding of the ongoing inequity, barriers, and intergenerational harm both generally in Canada and with the communities directly involved, together with
  • the skill and experience required to operate and effectively navigate corporate organization structures.

This is a tall order, indeed. We must note that often those who have the skills above have likely overcome tremendous barriers themselves and may have their own trauma stories (we will touch on this again later).

The good news is that choosing to walk this path will introduce leaders to some of the most unique, strong people they will ever meet. Once onboarded, Indigenous staff/leaders will need significant direct leadership support and the whole organization’s support. We must note that unlike safety, which over years and years has become embedded and ingrained into the fabric of organizational culture, with safety representatives providing primarily educational and technical support; Indigenous relations resources are at first, in a sense, behind enemy lines and face hostility when attempting to introduce the required changes.

Where an Indigenous resource is installed into an organization as a dedicated but isolated resource, that resource must have a direct or at least a dotted-line reporting relationship to executive leadership levels. They must have open and ongoing access to this support. We can point to examples where Indigenous relations resources have been successful without this direct support. Still, those individuals and circumstances are remarkable – as most will agree, repeatable success cannot bank on the remarkable. Therefore, we recommend installing the executive-level supports upfront. The following describes what happens to resources installed absent such supports to emphasize this point.

Who in Their Right Mind Would Want Their Organisation to Run Like This?

Because of the unintended consequences and further potential harm caused by getting it wrong, it’s worth investing in understanding where most organizations are and how they start this journey. Particular challenges are unavoidable parts of the process, and certain of the missteps we’ve noticed, have been self-imposed.

Most organizations are not capable of going directly into an embedded/integrated reconciliation result; most organizations are large enough that it is going to take a cultural shift. Similar to how the safety culture eventually became woven into the fabric of most modern management systems, heavy lifting is required by the subject matter expert(s), Indigenous peoples themselves, with executive support. Before it becomes decentralized, it must start with a dedicated resource, which typically means it is a resource that moves alongside and among departmental areas cross-functionally.

While this makes the individual agile, it also can make the Indigenous staff/leader isolated and exposed to organizational friction and interpersonal hostility.

Literature supports the notion that where individuals have experienced trauma in their life, potential health impacts associated with prolonged interpersonal hostility at work may be exacerbated more so – absent support. Recall that there is likely a correlation due to existing present-day colonial forces and intergenerational trauma, the trauma that many subject matter experts secured as the organization’s Indigenous relations resource has faced and may continue to face. So if the Indigenous relations resource is without support, while in prolonged hostile and socially isolated environments, that individual’s sympathetic nervous system takes over, creating real psychological and physiological effects that inhibit their digestive system and increases their heart rate, leading to an over-activated nervous system which is associated with:

  1. emotions of fear and rage
  2. enhanced negative psychological bias
  3. increased attention to harmful stimuli, and
  4.  perception of ambiguous situations as negative

Essentially Indigenous peoples may exist in a fight or flight state of being while at work when that workplace is hostile. If much of a person’s time is spent over-activated in this sympathetic state, it taxes the nervous system. Eventually, the person will crash. While in a “crashed” state, emotions of blame and depression may dominate. Without intervention, this leads to health concerns, behaviour concerns and ultimately, turnover of its Indigenous relations resource. This likely leads to a one-step forward, two-steps back level of progress in developing a supportive reconciliation culture.

What leader in their right mind would intentionally roll out a plan that would lend itself to this result? In our experience, none. And further, good leaders have a genuine interest in protecting and supporting their people.

Some Less Than Obvious Supports

Senior leadership can support by shouldering some of the burdens of overcoming change inertia by visibly sponsoring broad-based and meaningful culture awareness training (like the blanket exercise), followed by setting the precise tone of where the leadership wants to take the organization while ensuring Indigenous staff/leaders are the resources to help achieve that objective. Formally adopt the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action.  This will help reduce unnecessary friction at the outset.

Frequent meetings with the Indigenous staff/leader are recommended. Don’t rely solely on the individual initiating meetings with senior leaders. Use the early meetings to establish a supportive rapport before significant issues arise.

Make space to attend to holistic needs and encourage the person to book focus/decompression time. The Indigenous staff/leaders’ office and surrounding area (to and from the office) must be a safe place to offer meaningful exchanges with others at work.

Encourage attendance at conferences and workshops. The organization’s Indigenous relations resource may feel isolated and alone. Offering opportunities to attend conferences and workshops will allow resetting of perspective, refocus and recharge as the person gets to spend time with colleagues who understand precisely what they are going through.

13 Years Married: Still pained to see my wife profiled

13 Years Married: Still pained to see my wife profiled

Sam Kemble: Commentary

When my wife and I were courting, I stole her away from her family for the first time one Christmas to share that part of the Holiday Season with my family. It was a big deal. We were sending the signal to everyone; this is serious. You better get to know this woman because she is amazing and will be in our lives for a long time. Beth wanted to get just the right gift for my mom. She was slightly anxious and went to a prominent store in downtown Edmonton to find something special. She chose a beautiful scarf. Being quite excited, she showed me her selection when we got together that evening. It was wonderful. My mom would love it. She did love it, both the scarf and the gesture.

But then something else was shared. Beth told me of her experience in the store. She was followed around by the staff as though they felt she was going to steal something. I was furious. I had frequented the same establishment and had never been treated that way. I did not even know Beth’s ethnicity when we started dating. On numerous occasions, people have told us that she clearly has “First Nation traits.” Being discriminated against is something I have never experienced. And before that, I have never experienced discrimination vicariously through a loved one. I was filled with indignation. To Beth, my naivety was showing. At the time, I believed that racial profiling was more of an outlier phenomenon in today’s society. It was reserved for fringe groups, in any event, not mainstream. I asked Beth, “Why are you not angry?”

“If I choose to be angry about that, I would be angry all the time.” she said.

The statement hit me on several levels. All the time? Does it happen all the time? She is desensitized because of a lifetime of similar experiences? How far off base am I to have believed this type of thing does not happen?

Then I started to notice interactions. How sometimes I would be treated differently when going places with my brother-in-law, how he would be treated, or how Beth might be treated when we were out. It struck me because it was unusual and foreign to me. Eventually, concerning these (off-duty personal life) interactions, I started to become desensitized; the interactions did not inspire the same emotion in me. I still do not know if that is a good or bad thing.

In my own mind, I started assessing the order of magnitude. In some cases, it seemed to be a case of awkwardness, not hateful and not even overtly judgemental, just awkwardness. In other situations, there was a sense the individual carried with them an initial pre-judgement, often softening as the interaction with Beth continued. In other cases, there was an unmoving pre-judgment, seemingly based on Beth’s ethnicity. And in other cases, there was what appeared to be hate. For the time we went for our sunny Sunday walk for a coffee, pushing Natanis in the baby carriage. While walking down a side street, a stranger in a pick-up squealed around the corner, coming into proximity of us. He yelled, “Go back to the Reserve!”. We looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. To us, those are just unexplainable.

Being in the human resource field and the labour relations field, I wonder what kind of impact this has on opportunities for promotion, being put in ad hoc leadership positions, or being given opportunities for meaningful work on committees. How does this impact the voices that get heard generally, across industries and sectors in Canada? Many first-opportunity decisions are often based on first or surface impressions. Final decisions are often ultimately made in-camera, where often the only person in the room with the decision-maker is the decision-maker himself or herself. Unless a person does not have a personal bias or has personal feelings but compartmentalizes them away from the decision at hand (and I believe some professionals are capable of doing that), interviewers’ and decision-makers beliefs impact those decisions.

I have also considered whether it is different for Inuit, First Nation and Metis; versus people associated with another visible minority group in Canadian society. I can’t help but feel that discrimination continues to happen to people of all ethnicities. For those who do have a prejudice against aboriginal people (I have zero science to support this but believe it anyway); generally, there seems to be more emotion and conviction attached.

During my career, I have come to a few answers from a global perspective. I do what I can to ensure it does not happen in “my house.” Professionally, “think globally and act locally” is all I have accomplished to date.

“Why am I writing this today? “

Today my wife was denied service at a coffee shop. A coffee shop that is attached to a downtown library in our hometown, Edmonton. Beth had just finished having lunch with some former work colleagues. She was settling in to have a coffee and work on her doctoral research while she waited for the time to pick Natanis up from school. What kicked off the interaction initially? Beth wanted to buy a coffee and a sandwich for a homeless person. The store insisted the homeless person leave the premises. Then, they also denied service to Beth, even to buy her own coffee. And finally, they insisted Beth leave the store and called the police, giving the description, of a 5″6 aboriginal woman.

“It has been ten years since Beth bought that scarf for my mom. I am usually not angry about this sort of thing…but today I am. “

As human resource professionals and labour relations professionals, and as Canadians, we need to do our part not to minimize and to guard against profiling in our organizations and across the stakeholder groups with whom we interface.