A Holiday Message from the President
Dear Santa and Mrs. Claus:
I have been a good boy this year as I participated at many branch and district meetings and spent a lot of time speaking with our members. When you travel across Canada this year, please give a gift of thanks to all our volunteers who make us the great association we are. You will also be dropping in at most of our members homes and I am certain they will leave warm milk (or maybe something a little bit stronger) and cookies for you. By belonging to our association, they have demonstrated their engagement in protecting the benefits for which they worked so hard. So, please bring to them, as a gift, the assurance that their association is working hard for them all the time.
And, Mrs. Claus, you may not be travelling with Santa, but we know how important you are. You are an equal partner with Santa, which is what the spouses of our volunteers are. You support and assist Santa. I am certain that you and Santa will give special attention to the spouses (both women and men) of our volunteers. So, please give them what is on their wish list.
And, Santa, you will be visiting many retirees from the Public Service, the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP who are not members of our association. It would be a great gift if you were to place in their Christmas stockings an invitation and, if you could, a strong recommendation that they become members.
Speaking of becoming a member, you, Santa and Mrs. Claus are public servants, and, on behalf of our board of directors and all our members, I will be sending you an application form to join us. That would be a great gift to us!
You will also be visiting our national office staff who work very hard to make our association the professional organization it is and provide services to our members. I can attest that they are all on the nice list as they are very loyal and dependable individuals who believe in our mission.
I think that all our members believe in you, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and what you represent: peace, joy, happiness, love, friendship, generosity and hope. This is my wish also to all our members.
Thank you, Santa and Mrs. Claus.
A Holiday Message from the CEO
This morning, on CBC Radio, there was an interview with the Austrian Ambassador to Canada.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why on earth would Simon be telling us about an interview with an Ambassador, and the Austrian one at that?”
Well, of course, I’m telling you this because it relates to this time of year. As I’ve told you in previous holiday messages my family and I celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday and one of the things I most enjoy about the Christmas season is playing traditional Christmas carols—not the holly, jolly Hollywood ones, but the real ones, the old ones, the ones sung by individuals and choirs over the years, the ones that encourage the spirit to soar or to engage in quiet and calm reflection.
I have many favourites. Some of them are favourites because I’ve heard them since I was a young boy. When my father was decorating our Christmas tree, he would play a record (I know, ancient technology!) recorded in Canterbury Cathedral and so the pure voice of a single boy chorister singing “Once in Royal David’s City” always causes a bit of a shiver to go up my spine and makes me think of my father. It is somewhat ironic that in a Catholic family we’d listen to a choir from the most Anglican of churches, but that in some ways is what Christmas is about to me: peace and goodwill to all—regardless, or maybe because, of our differences.
But if I had to choose my most favourite piece of Christmas music, it would have to be “Silent Night”, and that was what the interview was about. This year marks the 200th anniversary of “Silent Night” being written and played for the first time in Austria. It is my favourite both for the simplicity of its music (I can almost play it myself on a piano) and for the profoundness of its lyrics, speaking to the peace that is so important to me at this time of year.
And, like Jean-Guy, whether you celebrate Christmas or simply wish you didn’t have to listen to all that annoying Christmas music on the radio and in the shopping centres, to each and every one of you I wish peace, joy, happiness, love, friendship, generosity and hope.