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On leadership: “The biggest challenge will be how you treat your own people.” Chief Clarence Louie.

On leadership: “The biggest challenge will be how you treat your own people.” Chief Clarence Louie.

Straight Talk…

I found out, on the weekend, why Canadians in the East are often uncomfortable out West.

Westerners, especially the older ones, have stepped in BS as kids and they never forget it. They recognize it as soon as it is spoken.

Eastern talk, strikes me as being like French cooking: there’s a sauce for everything.

 “For me,” to quote the legacy-man, the most annoying talk-sauce is the “We in the East know what’s best for the West.” Attitude-sauce. That one pops up regularly like a seal coming up for air.

 “Some minds are like concrete — all mixed up and permanently set,” is the straight talk western description.

Westerners have an annoying habit of cutting to the chase too quick, hence halting conversation and killing chances for another free cocktail, eh?

“My first rule of success is ‘Show up on time.’ My second rule for success is follow rule number 1.” Chief Clarence Louie.

Straight Talk 2 …

There isn’t an epidemic of straight talk — yet; though we can live in hope.

Here’s a door opener to the subject. A sheriff in Arizona runs a jail. “This isn’t the Ritz/Carlton, if you don’t like it don’t come back,” he told the prisoners who moaned and groaned when he cut coffee, smoking and dressed them all in pink — pink everything from shorts to shirts.

Their complaint about living in tents in the desert heat while working was met with, “It’s 120 degrees in Iraq — our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have full battle gear. They didn’t commit any crimes, so shut your mouths!”

 “Our ancestors worked for a living, so should you.” Chief Clarence Louie.

Straight Talk 3 . . .

My favourite, and my nomination for straight talking man of the year, comes from Osoyoos, BC. He not only talks the talk, he walks the walk.

He’s a celebrity in Canada, my kind of celebrity. Not wrapped in TV clips and money mouthing inanities, a man wrapped in his word, and his actions. “Our ancestors worked hard for a living,” he’s quoted in many pieces about him, “today life is as complicated or messed up as you make it.

“To improve your quality of life, you either go to school or get a job. Words without action, excuses and blame leads to more welfare, dependence and poverty. It’s hard work making money that improves one’s standard of living and provides for community social needs.”

He describes himself as “a stay-at-home chief who looks after potholes in his own backyard, and wastes no time fighting 100-year-old battles.” 

He’s a man who lives his own straight talk: Osoyoos Band chief Clarence Louie. He’s more than a breath of fresh air; he’s like the Chinook wind after a long, hard cold spell in mid-winter.

One of our measures of success in Canada is numbers. Try these on for size: the Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation was declared bankrupt in 1986.

Today the community of 434 people is completely self-sufficient with zero unemployment, and workers coming from 13 other nearby bands helping to run its nine companies, which employ 1,000 people running a golf course, ski-resort, a vineyard, a world-class winery, together contributing $40 million to the local economy.

It seems its corporate motto is lived to the letter: “In business to preserve our past by strengthening our future.”

All that, and the icing on the cake is its reputation. “Their word is their deed,” says the CEO of its corporate partner in a new four-star spa with this the ultimate compliment.

 “Any time we can kick D.I.A. out of our business we do it.”  Chief Clarence Louie.

A smack of Omphaloskepsis …

I couldn’t find my luggage at the airport baggage machine so I went to the lost-luggage office and told the woman my bag never showed up.

She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands.

 “Now,” she asked me, “has your plane arrived yet?”

Remember she’s a voter too, which might solve another mystery for us.

A tip of the hat to straight talkers — men, women and children, although children need not be included, they already are straight talkers. I wonder where, why and how we lose it along the trail?

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