“We’re taught to avoid failing and its siblings: falling, faltering, flailing, foundering, fumbling. (I call these life’s beautiful F-words). But we’d all have an easier time if we accepted that these seemingly disastrous experiences are not only a normal part of life but are actually our greatest teachers in disguise. The right mentors encourage it even. Take this from Game of Thrones:
JON SNOW: “I failed”.
SER DAVOS: “Good. Now go fail again.””
Think back to your early childhood. We’ve all heard the encouragement from parents and primary school teachers telling us; “if at first you don’t succeed try and try again”. And you did. That’s how you learned to accomplish the critical fundamentals such as the reading, writing and arithmetic that are the infrastructure for so much of our learning as adults. That’s also how you learned to skate. You kept falling down on the ice but you kept getting up and trying again until you learned how to do it and perhaps went on to play hockey where you learned what teamwork was all about. These were your F.A.I.L.s (first attempts in learning). You wouldn’t be where you are today without having embraced them.
Unfortunately, the value and merits of F.A.I.L. and its demonstrable evidence in bringing out the best in of what is in the best interest of an emergent generation of aspiring professionals have been pushed aside and replaced by perfectionism by parents and educational institutions of higher learning. According to Wharton School psychologist Adam Grant, host of the hit podcast Rethinking, “There’s strong evidence that perfectionism has been rising in for years across the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. --- In an increasingly competitive world, kids face growing pressure from parents to be perfect and harsh criticism when they fall short.”
My book Meaningful Memories takes you “back to the future” with demonstrable evidence of the true value of F.A.I.L. with personal accounts of its value and how it works. Read the chapter “A Good Read”. It recounts my F.A.I.L. (first attempt in learning) in primary and secondary education whereby I started with learning to read and climbed the literate ladder to critical reading and writing which was rekindled in my adult life to succeed as a legal author and law professor after failing to succeed in the perfect career as a lawyer. Another chapter; The Fight for What’s Right” recounts how my siding with a person of colour who was being victimized and bullied in grade school was a successful F.A.I.L. that I rekindled in my professional life to take the lead in combatting systemic discrimination in the accreditation of credentials for internationally trained professionals. This opened the door for me to engage in mentoring and counselling more than a thousand aspiring professionals on international graduate education in top tier UK universities through Canada Law from Abroad (www.canadalawfromabroad.com)
Yes, I’ve been there and done it. Shutting out all of that external noise from friends and supposed experts who know all about those perfect careers and how you should go about perfecting yourself to get into them enabled me think for myself about myself enabled me to recollect and reflect on my F.A.I.L.s. My rekindling of what I had learned to like and what my positive attributes were enabled me to ignite my passion and develop a personalized pathway to a successful professional career and live life to the fullest.
Julie Lythcott-Hams, who was quoted in the introduction, is an internationally acclaimed mentor for aspirant gen zs. Take a read about how what she has to say corroborates what I’ve just told you.
“ Take some deep breaths. Tell yourself you don’t need to hear the word perfect and to always feel “comfortable” to know you’re okay. Do this over and over again until the thought begins to come naturally to you. (It will.) Remember that this life you’re leading is a process of learning. Look for the teachers who can help you grow. They are everywhere. 
Now, go to my web site at (www.johngkelly.ca) and scroll into the UNI & College Pathways to Personalized Health Careers page. Give it a read. Give it some thought. Yes, I’m the mentor you need who can work with you to rekindle your F.A.I.L.s and ignite your passion to guide you to your personalized health career pathway. Connect with me by e-mailing email@example.com
 Julie Lythcott-Hams, Your Turn How to Be an Adult. New York. Henry Holt and Company. (2021). At p.36
 Adam Grant. Hidden Potential – The Science of Achieving Greater Things. New York. Viking. (2023) at P.66.
 John G. Kelly, Meaningful Memories. Friesen Press. Altona Manitoba. (2022).
 Supra 1 at P.64.
Perfection TrapPut out the Perfection Fire Ignite your Passion & Pursue your Personalized Pathway to a Professional Health Career
Perfectionism is not just one thought, feeling, or behavior, like high goals or standards. It’s much more than that. It’s a problematic relationship with ourselves, in which we demand too much or are overly self -critical, and it’s also a problematic relationship with other people, in which we believe that those around us demand perfection and that we demand perfection from other people too.
The perfectionist trap that ensnares students with good grades in high school and in an interest in health care frequently starts with visit to their guidance counsellor. There’s invariably no introductory discussion about how the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) has identified 12 factors integrated into holistic health and how they align with the student’s overall general attributes and areas of interest. Nor is the student informed that there are 30 self-regulated health professions in Canada. Everyone is familiar with family physicians and knows that nurses are front line providers of health care in hospitals. But now that they’re at the stage of linking interest with a career they need to get serious. They’ve been told by parents and teachers that the guidance counselor will steer them in the right direction.
Doctors are touted as being at the societal pinnacle of the health profession. That’s the perfect position the best and brightest should strive to become in contemporary society. Consequently, what’s touted as guidance is invariably a “prep” talk that’s all about how to become a doctor and the “med” school university route to get there. The student is forewarned that only the best and brightest, the “perfectionists” with dazzling GPAs and high - profile resumes are selected. The student is advised to enroll in a health science baccalaureate preferably in a top ranked university (the perfect university) that has an honours program and give serious thought to applying to a university that also has a medical school.
The student dutifully enrols in a science baccalaureate degree program supposedly linked to a graduate M.D. in medical school. They put on academic blinders and do whatever it takes to become “best in class”. They studiously avoid paying any attention to what are considered distractions that could risk them pursuing any other area in the post-secondary education stream that could impede or, heaven forbid, dissuade them from striving to be a perfect candidate for “med” school. And their parents may well be prodding them to get with it and keep at it. Having a doctor in the family frequently is seen as proof that they’ve been perfect parents who did their part to support a child who has a prestigious “M.D.” attached to their name.
The student focuses on taking all the right health care focused science courses in their undergraduate program that medical schools will supposedly look for to assess their eligibility for entrance. Whether or not they like any of those courses is irrelevant. What’s important is to keep one’s nose to the grindstone and get top grades. They attain a grade point average (GPA) that places them in the top ten percent of their graduating class. They obtain one of the “How to Apply to Medical School “ work-books and master the writing of an essay that will create a personalized profile that will please the medical school registrar. If they can afford it, they can retain a med school application coach and get prepped for a perfect interview. They’re then well positioned to submit a perfect application.
WHEW! I made it and am on the road to a perfect professional career if accepted to “med’ school. OH NO! I’m a failure they say prior to even getting started on a medical career if they’re among the 90% of applicants who aren’t accepted. What do I do with my life now because becoming a doctor was all I ever contemplated doing? I either ignored preparing for all other career opportunities during the course of my undergraduate studies or, if my interest in some other area of study or potential career was piqued from a course that was taken, it was quickly shut down.
After four years of university and $50,000 in debt they’re in shock by having to come to terms with the fact that they’re not a perfectionist. They’re a failure. But hold on. F.A.I.L. (first attempt in learning) is the route success in both a professional and personal life. Don’t believe it? Give a read to the best seller biographer Walter Isaacson’s “the Genius Biographies: Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs and Leonardo Da Vinci” for true to life accounts of how career failures were the keys to igniting their passions and succeeding in life. I also recommend you read my book Meaningful Memories for a personalized account of how my failure in the perfect profession of law with a prestigious LLB/JD enabled me to take a look at who I really was, ignite my passion and go on to excel in my professional and personal life.
Go to my web site at www.johngkelly.ca and click into the “About John” page for an overview of how that recollecting and then rekindling of my F.A.I.L.s into igniting my passion enabled me to develop my expertise and success as a professional career mentor. Connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and get mentored on how to get out of or recover from the perfection trap and ignite your passion and create a pathway to a personalized professional health career.
 Thomas Curran, The Perfection Trap. Toronto. Scribner. ( 2023) at P.29
 John G. Kelly, Meaningful Memories. Altona Mn Friesen Press (2022).
A John G. Kelly Report
John G. Kelly
B.Com., D.PIR., LL.B.,M.S.Sc., M.A. (Jud.Admin.), F.CIS.
The “Coming of Age” generation who are nearing completion of their high school education is being pushed by parents to pursue a dream they had when in high school often with the help of guidance counsellors whose advice is grade point average (GPA) focused. Go to university and get a degree. A baccalaureate of Arts (B.A.) will open the door to good paying jobs and wonderful careers. That was then. But this is now a digital age that’s dominated by science, technology engineering and math (S.T.E.M.) in a “gig” economy and an emergent world of remote work.
It’s true that if you want to access some of the highly regulated prestigious professions, notably law and medicine, you do have to attend university and get not just a baccalaureate degree but a graduate specialty degree such as a JD for law, MD for medicine, DDS for dentistry and B.Eng/Professional engineers. But take heed. A new genre of paralegals, alternative legal services providers in law, the emergence of 28 self-regulated health professions and computer techs in Canada is making inroads into the traditional professions.
Once you gravitate to the traditional university degrees such as BAs in arts and humanities and the variation in undergraduate business degree programs a university education can be an expensive proposition when linked to entry level positions in the private and public sector. The big entry level career positions are becoming fewer and far between. You now need to add on two or more years of graduate study and get an market related M.A. (Political Science or Economics) or MBA (Finance or Marketing) to be considered as a preferred candidate for prestigious entry level career positions. A “coming of age” candidate for university is now looking at a post education accrued bill in the $50,000- $75,000 range and will leave them in post-secondary education debt for 5-10 years. Is this a dream or a nightmare?
University can be a dream if you have a passion for a professional career that you want to ignite and are prepared to chart a university pathway that will open that all important career door. But that dream needs to be yours, not your parents. Nor can it be based on the advice from a guidance counsellor who’s grade point average (GPA) focused. And don’t just think of the prestigious professions. If it’s in the arts and humanities; think social work, teaching, political action, environmental advocacy, then enroll in arts and humanities and go for it. That and not university should be your dream of living life to the fullest.
The London Underground (“the tube”) has a notice painted at the edge of the platform that’s accompanied by a heads up announcement. Every time a train approaches a station you’re reminded to “mind the gap”. In other words, don’t slip on the edge of the platform and tumble into the subway car.
How’s that applicable to the “coming of age” generation of high school graduates looking into post-secondary college and university education?
In the U.K. students graduate from what is equivalent to a high school diploma with an Ordinary Level (O-level) certificate. It’s equivalent to a grade 11 education in Canada. Students intending to apply to university are then required to enroll in what are labelled as Advanced Level Qualification (A-Level) programs. They select a package of post-secondary programs that are focused on their preferred areas of study. The nature and type of program package and the grade point average (GPA) is utilized to qualify for entry into a university program. A normal A-Level program of study usually takes two year.
It's an intensive program of study. If a prospective A Level applicant is unsure of what courses or program of study they want to pursue during their A Level program or they want time think through whether they’re in an area that is aligned with their primary area of interest and doesn’t ignite their passion they can take a year off. During that year off they’re encouraged to explore an activity of some sort that’s of interest to them, career oriented international travel, or work with a non-governmental organization (NGO) and became involved with advocacy for a cause, etc. y
The gap year is integrated as an option in the A-Level program of studies in the U.K. Universities are supportive of the “gap” year and encourage prospective students to pursue it. It is oftentimes a value add to a university application, particularly if it’s to one of the elite Russel Group of Universities.
The Canadian university system doesn’t have a formal gap year option integrated into their application process. However, if a student makes an inquiry to a university about taking a gap year in conjunction with an application most universities will support it. As is the case in the U.K., it’s a value add to an application and can be a factor in adding value to the conventional grade point average (GPA).
A university education is a time consuming and expensive proposition. It’s estimated that approximately 30% of students in universities in the Maritime provinces drop out by the end of second year of study. In many instances its because they just don’t see how the university program of study they’re enrolled is associated with a career that’s of interest to them. University dropouts were prominent in every program I taught in at Seneca College. They weren’t failures. They were now on a pathway to success. They had enrolled in pre-college program registration counselling and had finally aligned their personal preference with a career. This was smart thinking.
Give a gap year some thought if you’re wondering what will ignite your passion for a career. My extensive mentoring in the U.K. university education system has made me conversant with gap year mentoring. Contact me at email@example.com if you want more information.
A John G. Kelly Report
John G. Kelly
B.Com., D.PIR., LL.B.,M.S.Sc., M.A. (Jud.Admin.), F.CIS
That’s the ominous title of a recent article by Nathan Heller in the New Yorker magazine. The article reports that 80% of countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) have found that enrollment in arts and humanities programs in universities has been in decline over the past decade. In this same period enrollment in the health, medical, natural sciences and engineering has dramatically increased.
There are several reasons for the decline. The most obvious is that this “coming of age” generation in the 16- 21 year -old category isn’t well read. The recent movie highlighting the career of Judy Blume, who was a godmother of sorts to young girls and whose books were avidly read by virtually an entire generation of girls entering puberty, is no longer the must go to source. This is a generation that has been conditioned to scroll social media and I phone for information. The era of curling up in a couch for a long read has ended.
Aspiring college and university students don’t see a link between the humanities and a career other than teaching. All of the talk in the education arena is about science, technology, engineering and math, the S.T.E.M programs, as being the occupational fields with rewarding careers. Interestingly, even though the arts and humanities are in decline as introductory courses there’s an upsurge in students enrolling in statistics as an optional course in their program of study. Sitting in their bedroom playing on their computer has introduced them to the power of “stats” in social media. They know their profile on social media is defined by statistical analysis and they want to find out how it works.
The arts and humanities model of university education was initially defined and shaped by the elite British universities (Oxbridge) which were havens for learning by the elite. We’ve all seen brit box movies of young gentlemen in gowns learning to master the classics and recite poetry while awaiting to take their place in upper class society. North American universities attempted to adopt this model in their formative era but it just didn’t work in a society where everyone was expected to get to it and get to work. Instead of looking at a model that reflected the reality of North American society universities developed learning silos. Think of the english department, history department, political science department and the professional schools such as law and medicine. North American universities have evolved into a series of competitive learning silos that devote too much time arguing with one another.
If, and when they step outside those silos and look at how they can become part of an inclusive learning enclave the arts and humanities are often surprised to discover that students want to incorporate them into their university learning experience. One of the law programs I taught in at Seneca College had a required English course module. The English professor put together a compilation of crime novels. The students learned how to critically read and write by reading books they thoroughly enjoyed because they were linked to their career aspirations.
Canada is a multicultural country. Many children of first- generation immigrants are coached, in some instances to the point of coercion, to get into occupations where they can do financially well. Everyone knows that doctors, lawyers and MBA;s are in the upper strata of the career income bracket. The arts and humanities aren’t associated with high paying prestigious careers.
I founded a very successful professional educational consulting company, Canada Law from Abroad (www.canadalawfromabroad.com) that mentored and counselled students into prestigious top tier law schools in the UK. A significant number of prospective students were children of first -generation immigrants whose parents were determined to get them into law school and that was all there was to it.
I developed an innovative graduate post-diploma program at Seneca College in anti-money laundering compliance to enable recent immigrants with university degrees to become accredited as para -professionals in the financial services field in the banking sector. I wasn’t surprised to find immigrants with undergraduate baccalaureate degrees in the arts and humanities, in many instances from prestigious international universities, enrol in the program rather than an academic M.A. They wanted to access a career with assured above average pay rather than risk get caught up in an arts and humanities silo that wasn’t career linked.
So, should students be mentored and counselled not to enrol in arts and humanities programs. No, but they need to be mentored on how they can link arts and humanities studies to defined professional careers. What universities need to do is to develop a counselling and mentoring course labelled as “Making a Career with a Humanities Major”. In the interim post -secondary counsellors need to take the lead and put a personalized version in place. Want to know how to do it from someone who’s successfully done it? Contact John Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Think back to 2014. That’s when Loblaw Companies (Loblaws, President’s Choice) stunned the food industry with the purchase of Shoppers Drug Mart. Why the heck would a super market chain want to get into the pharmacy business? Well as we all know now when we stroll the isles of Shoppers food is a natural fit as with pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. In fact, when we look back we now realize that supermarkets had been on the edges of health convenience products in stocking products like toothpaste and aspirins in their stores.
Loblaws has now decided to take a big step up the health services ladder. It’s made a multi-million-dollar purchase of Lifemark, a health services company. It operates holistic stand-alone health care clinics that provide physiotherapy, massage therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic and mental health therapy along with a range of ancillary services. The plan is to create a national network of healthcare professionals who are connected to patients through Loblaw’s mobile app, PC Health — named after the retailer’s in-store brand, President’s Choice.
This just announced step shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, there may well be plans to take yet another step or two up the health services ladder. Health professionals are provincially regulated. Ontario, the elephant in the room has 26 self-regulated health professions while a smaller province like New Brunswick has 22.
Yes, we do need doctors and nurses. However, the Canadian public health care system is doctor driven rather than being holistically health care focused. There is a long and convoluted history of how doctors and hospitals became the primary players in publicly funded Canadian health care. It evolved in an era when the health paradigm was all about caring for physically ill people with a delivery system dominated by doctors, nurses and hospitals supported by a profitable private sector pharmaceutical industry.
Contemporary society is now embracing a new paradigm that views health as holistic with a focus on physical, mental and emotional wellness. The politics of public health care funding with its ongoing tug of war between the federal and provincial governments has created a stalemate. Public health care is stuck with physician and hospital costs ballooning in a futile effort to restrict health care and cut costs. The horrendous COVID 19 fallout with so many deaths attributed to aging patients in hospitals and nursing homes has laid bare the deficiencies of the outdated public health care system.
The Loblaw purchase is an example of how the private sector is stepping into the public health care void coming to the rescue. However, there is an important caveat to all of this. Employees and retirees with private sector group benefit plans are able to access holistic health care services. New economy professionals and para-professionals with good jobs in the “gig” service economy are also are also buying into holistic health care in a big way. Chiropractors, masseurs and physiotherapists are busy that’s attested by clients being put on waiting lists. The new generation in the new economy are embracing the holistic health is wealth mantra.
This is creating a two -tier health services market. Those who can are accessing a comprehensive range of holistic services that will keep them physically and mentally healthy for many years. Those who can’t are left waiting in the wings for federal and provincial governments to put an end to the feud over funding for an antiquated 20th century public health care system that’s costing more and delivering less in the way and get the 21st century and embrace the mantra of holistic health care.
"We find that between 1990 and 2020 around three quarters of occupations have seen their age-friendliness increase and employment in above- average age-friendly occupations has risen by 49 million. These findings point to the need to frame the rise of age-friendly jobs in the context of other labour market trends and imperfections."
-National Bureau of Economic Research NBEC (September 2022)
The above excerpt from the WHO global age-friendly cities guide depicts a workplace environment in 2007 that was far from age friendly for seniors. They were depicted as old and being in state of physical and mental decline. They were being shuttled off farms and into crowded urban centres in an era of declining employment in the agricultural sector. Moreover, they were deemed unsuitable for industrial jobs because of their limited physical capabilities. They lacked the combination of post- secondary education and computer skills to gravitate to what was in that era a limited number of management positions in a nascent information/knowledge management sector. The thrust of the background studies and recommendations in the civic participation/employment domain were to make society age friendly by finding ways to accommodate and support seniors.
The NBEC research excerpt above documents the status quo in the contemporary labour market. The COVID pandemic has revealed the stark reality of how the job market functions in an information/knowledge management dominated environment. Life-long careers are in decline and the gig economy with an array of contract employment opportunities are in the mainstream. Entire industries have transitioned into an age friendly mode where an increasing amount of work can be done remotely and is home based. This is an ideal workplace environment for seniors focused age friendly work- places. Your home is no longer just your castle. It’s now your place of business.
Affordable hi-tech enables many of the current generation of seniors in relatively good states of physical and mental health, to purchase high end personal computers. These computers are user friendly and can support sophisticated business applications. Social media usage that that may well have started with family Facebook exchanges became a learning curve that now enables seniors to be computer literate, confident and comfortable with using I phones as their primary means of communication, participating in zoom conferences and so on.
All that’s needed is a reliable high-speed internet connection accessible from a home base to provide seniors with an age friendly workplace environment. Although 80% of Canadians live in urban communities its estimated that 25% - 35% of seniors reside in small towns and villages. Moreover, boomers, are a dominant cohort among the Canadian population that is interested in gravitating from congested high-cost urban communities to affordable small towns with an age friendly quality of life will increase that percentage over the next five to ten years.
The media is replete with stories of the two internet worlds that exist in Canada. There is an enviable high-tech world with affordable access to the high-speed internet power and infrastructure you need to support all your business needs in urban centres. Then there’s small town and rural Canada with its otherwise enviable lifestyle, albeit with the notorious absence of capable and reliable high - speed internet. This is the epitome of an age unfriendly characteristic in the contemporary civic participation/employment domain.
A prime objective of every community age friendly certification team in small towns and rural communities must be to become a vibrant voice in the chorus advocating for reliable high - speed internet in their community. In fact, certified age friendly committees should give serious consideration to forming a national age friendly internet society (NAFIS). NAFIS would provide the level of vocal advocacy that would attract the attention necessary to force the internet industry to go beyond just talking the talk of grand high speed internet plans and get on with actually getting the job done.
But there’s another critical step that must be taken to open the gates for seniors to access these age friendly jobs when their communities obtain age friendly certification that meets age friendly workplace criteria. Ageism is emerging as a deterrent to seniors in this new era of the age friendly workplace environment. Young working age adults and couples with families with post -secondary education are attracted to age friendly jobs in the gig economy, particularly those associated with remote work. Despite all the rhetoric in the corporate world about combatting any and all kinds of discrimination, employers are demonstrating an ageism bias in a preference to recruit young adults for gig economy/remote work age friendly jobs. Ironically, even though seniors have demonstrable experience and expertise in the soft skills such as empathetic listening and communication that are so critical to customer relationship management (CRM) they are being relegated to the “too old to be seriously considered for these jobs” status.
Confronting ageism in the contemporary age friendly work place environment must become a priority with every age friendly committee.
Let Canada's "Loyalist City", Saint John, Take you Back to the Future for the Affordable Housing Solution
We’ve all seen federal, provincial and municipal politicians’ brows become furrowed as they spout empathetic statements about their shared frustration with the public when confronted in media interviews about what can be done to solve the affordable housing crisis. They all know the answer. It’s mixed use residential housing; a combination of single- family homes and townhouses along with low rise condominium and rental apartments in a walkable greenspace neighbourhood. However, affordable housing is one of those third rails in politics that politicians are afraid to tell the truth about because of the fear that they’ll be associated with and stigmatized by the NIMBY (not in my backyard) factor that will spell the end of their career.
NIMBYism is a fear of the unknown. A combination of post- World War II public policy, politics and private sector real estate development promotion in North America created a successful marketing mystique that convinced boomers and millennials that the ideal home life was encapsulated in single family residences ensconced in exclusive residential neighbourhoods. Zoning was utilized to promote and correspondingly restrict middle and upper- class residential neighbourhood development to single family homes. These became the preferred addresses that assured owners of an increase in value and a guaranteed tax-free investment when sold. Any attempt to alter or interfere with the status quo single family home owner mindset, which has been deeply ingrained in the middle and upper classes predominant among voters, is met with a resounding NIMBY.
Now let me take you back to the future on the street where I grew up. Saint John New Brunswick, incorporated in 1783 as Canada’s oldest city, was a boomtown of considerable wealth in the heyday of wooden shipbuilding and the lumber trade of the 19th century. One of its premiere residential streets of that golden era of commerce was Douglas Avenue. It was sprinkled with grand mansions replete with beautifully landscaped lawns maintained by gardeners along with maids an chauffeurs. But it was more than the grand mansions that made it a very desirable place to live. Intermingled with the majestic manses was a mixture of middle- class single family residences, two story townhouse configurations (“flats”) and two and three story working class tenement apartment buildings.
Yes, the mansions were there to stare at and wonder what it would be like to live like the 1%. However, all of the other homes didn’t stand out as aberrations but fitted in because of their quality design and construction. The single- family homes although similar in design were not all the same.
The contractors who built them were small enterprises who added their own signature to the residence such as customized windows and door frames. It was all very subtle and not expensive. It was craftmanship that made them compatible fits with nearby mansions. The two- story townhouse apartments adhered to the same principles. In fact, because the mansions tended to be multi story residences the two - story town house apartments were of a comparable size with comfortable living quarters. The three- story working class tenement apartment buildings consisted of two bedrooms, a kitchen and living room.
But there was more to Douglas Avenue than residences. The New Brunswick Museum, Canada’s oldest continuing museum, an impressive grey stone building with an adjacent green space park gave the street a majestic edge. There was a stately mansion at the edge of the park. However, next door to the mansion was the local RCMP detachment and the residence for the local sergeant. The detachment didn’t have a police station look. It was designed to complement the residential look of the street.
Although our single family residence middle- class home certainly didn’t stand out it fitted in because it had a neat and tidy front lawn and an artistic stained glass window above the door with lilac bushes separating our home from an apartment building next door. In other words, an affordable home fitted in with mansions just several doors away because of quality design and construction. One of the pleasures of walking along Douglas Avenue was and still is just looking at so many of the ordinarily homes and seeing something special adorning the sidings, window and brick work.
And us kids all fitted in. I remember how several us who lived in close proximity to one of the mansions used to enjoy sitting on the manicured lawn watching their fully uniformed chauffeur who looked just like what you would see on Upstairs/Downstairs or Downton Abbey hand washing the limousine once a week. He would play a I’m going to catch you with the hose game as we dodged the spray. One of those boys lived just three doors away in a neat and tidy working- class home whose dad drove a bicycle back and forth to work at MRA every day because there was no way they could ever afford a car. It was just as much fun to keep an eye out for him on a sunny summer afternoon and see if he could keep up with the cars who were driving along Douglas Avenue on their way home from work.
Eastern Bakeries, yes you guessed it, an industrial business was located on Douglas Avenue just across from what was then Saint John Vocational School (VOC). In those days you could sneak in and from a distance watch bread being baked in large scale commercial ovens. The building was tastefully designed with a spacious green space front lawn. It was directly across the street from a grand home that had it’s own greenhouse and a beautiful floral garden maintained by, you guessed it, a full time gardener.
I could go on and do go on about Douglas Avenue in one of the chapters of my book Meaningful Memories (www.johngkelly.ca) but you get the picture. The Loyalist City with an incredible heritage has the solution to the affordable housing crisis. We showed how it could be done 150 years ago but like so much of our heritage it has become lost in the petty politics of today with its appalling lack of leadership
It’s common knowledge that the post COVID 19 Pandemic era will require a new social contract. The social contract in society determines the balance between what is to be provided collectively in society and by whom. The governmental and regulatory structure of society along with the rules and norms that dictate how our society functions will undergo a major overhaul.
For example, the Canadian public of all political persuasions is demanding that the architecture and operational framework for Long Term Care be dramatically restructured with an orientation that places the primary focus on the quality of care of residents as an essential component of the social contract and not a burden on society.
COVID 19 has made us acknowledge what we all were intrinsically aware of but chose to conveniently ignore; the extent to which the “COVID 19 Heroes”, PSWs, RPNs, retail food clerks and front-line workers in factories have been grossly underpaid and overworked. In short, they’ve been exploited. One of the guiding principles of this new social contract that is gaining traction is that the “minimum wage” approach that is based on the premise that the unbridled competitive forces in the employment market should be the fundamental determinant of a wage is losing traction. The exploitation of minimum wage workers absent benefits who were forced to work in unsafe conditions, even if they tested COVID positive in order to make enough money to pay the rent and put food on the table, needs to be restructured in the context of a “basic fair wage” with government regulated health and workplace safety standards.
We need to rethink the nature and extent of the social safety net. Food banks and tent cities are two high profile illustrations of flaws in the status quo. This does not necessarily mean just pouring more money into welfare. It requires a resolve to undertake a fundamental rethinking of the myriad of welfare programs that COVID has demonstrated are part of the problem rather than the solution.
COVID has provided us with a stark insight into the health care dilemma we were already facing as an aging society that has ballooned into a crisis. Health is wealth in contemporary western society. But it’s an expensive proposition. The new generation of medical technology, drugs, devices and the expansion of health providers into 28 self-regulated health professions are going to require a fundamental rethinking of the nature and extent of health as a critical component of the social contract. This is a rethinking of the social contract that will cost money. Cost effectiveness and not cost containment will be the new healthcare mantra.
The combination of aging and advances in health care are already increasing longevity in Canadian society with reasonable expectations that Boomers will live into their 80’s. The boomer generation has benefited from being born into a society with a social contract that nurtured them as youths until 21, followed by a work life of stable employment for 40+ years with a guaranteed public pension at age 65 that they may well keep on collecting for 20 years until 85 years of age. That translates into an equal balance of 40 years of work and 40 years of non-work
This all worked well when the country had a growing population of healthy young workers to contribute to public pension plan in which a majority of workers were supporting a minority of retirees. An aging population means that within the short- term foreseeable future there will be a growing financial burden on a minority of workers to support a majority of retirees. A number of comparable western countries have already begun to raise the public retirement eligibility age from 65 to 67 with projections that it may be set at a peak of 70. Canada’s initial attempt was rolled back in response to a public outcry. Don’t be surprised to see its inevitable re-introduction into the public policy debate.
Then there’s the shift from an industrial to an information high-tech economy, with “gig” employment that will require the emergent “x”, y”, ”z” generations, yes our grandchildren, to re-educate and re-employ themselves several times over the course of their adulthood. They will also be required to pay down that massive multi-billion dollar public debt that was needed to fund the fundamental social contract obligation to combat COVID 19 while confronting a climate crisis.
Social contracts enable us to solve the problems that confront societies. Crises create opportunities for society to develop architectures and operational frameworks for innovative social contracts. Post COVID 19 can and must open the door for creation of a new social contract
The Bay of Fundy- Anchor for Innovation A High- Tech Opportunity for Saint Andrews by the SeaByJohn G. Kelly
The Huntsman Marine Science Centre
Global Centre for Ocean Tidal Management
Environmentally Sustainable Ocean aquaculture
An “Anchor” Opportunity
The Bay of Fundy
The formation of the Bay of Fundy is attributed to a geological formation approximately two million years ago. It has a unique geological footprint and is one of only three designated UNESGO Global Geoparks in North America. The formation has created an oceanic gorge that separates the Province of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
The Bay of Fundy is an Atlantic Ocean phenomenon. It’s surges from low to high tide of 52 feet (16 metres) are the highest in the world. Moreover, because of the narrow funnel shape of Fundy, the surges create powerful rushes of 100 billion tons of sea water from the Atlantic on a daily basis. This is twice as much as the combined flow of all rivers of the world over the same period.
Ecological & Environmental Infrastructure Attributes
The Bay of Fundy is a renowned oceanic estuary. The combination of location as a mid-point between the south and north Atlantic Ocean and the tidal draw of the surges have made it a desirable seasonal location for an eclectic array fish, sea mammals and birds as well as fertile sea plants; a number of which, notably dulse, have nutrients with health benefits for humans. Sustainable aqua culture management and sea food harvesting is a core component of eco-friendly food management.
The tidal surges of the Bay of Fundy extend into the mouths of a number of fresh water rivers and impact fresh water flows.
Global warming is having a major impact on ocean frontage around the world as sea levels rise. COP 26 has prioritized the need to understand how ocean tides function and what can be done to manage tidal flows of both salt water ocean fronts and fresh water river bank floods in a manner that contributes to a sustainable environment. This is a major concern and priority for global coastal communities.
“Anchor” & Innovation Linkage
“As we shall see, the greatest opportunities for growth lie in communities recognizing their own advantages, then fostering forms of specialized innovation that rely on those advantages.
At the same time, communities must encourage the development of public institutions (NGO’s, think tanks, research centres, post-secondary institutions, etc.) to provide critical support. 
Hiding in plain sight within the world’s rapidly changing production terrain are numerous innovation-based growth opportunities that have nothing to do with – and are much better than trying to create Internet, biotech – or lure science- based manufacturing industries
Dan Breznitz, from whose New York Times best-selling text, Innovation in Real Places, the above quotes are excerpted is lauded as the global guru on explaining to a public and private sector obsessed with promoting technology as the source of innovation to generate wealth how in our “new age” economy actual innovation is invariably linked to “anchors”, notably locations that have an infrastructure and natural attributes that facilitate innovation.
There are permanent locations that are “anchors” and provide the natural infrastructure for specific innovations that have natural linkage or affinity with them. For example, Palo Alto California (Silicon Valley) is a WHO ranked age friendly community with an aging population in close proximity to the major urban centre of San Francisco. Silicon Valley is also is the locus of a leading -edge technology university (Stanford), with an internationally acclaimed science technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching faculty and research facilities. In the lexicon of innovation this is labelled as an “Anchor”. Innovations, in this instance a “high tech” cluster are linked to that anchor and thrive.
The Bay of Fundy, Historic St. Andrews by the Sea and the Huntsman Marine Science Centre and historic St. Andrews by the Sea are a composite “Anchor” for innovation in environmentally sustainable coastal tidal management.
Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy
To date, the various public and private sector stakeholders in the Bay of Fundy have focused their efforts on developing technology to harness the power of the tides to generate electricity. The Bay of Fundy has a long history as a source of tidal power that can be traced back to 1607. Over the past 20 years there have been a number of attempts to use modern day technology to develop turbines that can harness the power of the tides to generate “clean/green” energy as a source of electrical power. FORCE is a non- profit non-governmental organization (NGO).
Ironically, the emphasis on utilizing technology to harness the energy from the tidal flows to generate “clean/green” energy has demonstrated the negative impact on the ecosystem of narrowly focusing the scope of tidal management on technology applications. The extensive damage to the aquaculture from the churning of the turbines in the massive tide waters has resulted in putting the project on hold for the foreseeable future.
There is a need for a dedicated “holistic” centre for comprehensive ocean tidal research and management that adheres to a sustainable environmental mandate that fits with the Government of Canada’s commitment to support development of the Bay of Fundy as an “Anchor” for a global centre for research expertise on ocean tidal management
The Ocean Tidal Research and Management Challenge
An “Anchor” Strategy
Turning the tide:
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
COP 26: Tide could still be turned on ‘disproportionate’ climate hazards faced by coastal communities, IFRC report finds
The people living on the world’s coastlines are already facing growing risks due to climate change. The warming climate both creates new threats and exacerbates pre-existing dangers. Sea levels are rising, coastal floods are becoming more severe, storms and cyclones are intensifying, and storm surge is reaching higher levels, further inland. Lives are being lost, homes and property damaged, and essential farmland ruined by saltwater. Vulnerable coastal communities face hard limits to adaptation that cannot be overcome, but also soft limits that can be shifted – with financing, governance and innovation.
A North American Perspective
“With sea-level rise punishing the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards, America’s four most populous states – California, Texas, Florida and New York- all face climate reckoning. Among all global coastal cities ranked by asset value at risk, New York and Miami rank first and second.”
Parag Khanna’s recently published book, Move, the source for the above quote was frequently cited at the COP 26 summit as articulating the architecture for the threat that coastal community landscapes and communities will encounter for the foreseeable future. In the absence of a comprehensive ocean tidal management architecture and operational framework to “stem the tide” the world will be faced with a global climate refugee crisis.
Ocean Tidal Management Opportunity
Town of St. Andrews
The Huntsman Marine Science Centre
Historic St. Andrews by the Sea is strategically located in the ocean tidal management anchor at the head waters of the Bay of Fundy. It’s a WHO rated age friendly community. It’s an idyllic historic heritage community with a vibrant summer tourist economy. The Algonquin Inn, an anchor within the tourist infrastructure, can host international conferences, a considerable value add for a global centre. It has a small town walkable main street with local merchant owned businesses, a core component of age friendly communities that are attracting influxes of new residents. Its proximity to two regional urban centres, Saint John and Fredericton, provides residents with access to a wide selection of goods and services.
As is the case with many historic small towns, it has an aging population as post war boomers and subsequently millennials gravitated to urban centres to pursue professional/paraprofessional careers in a service economy. St. Andrews has the potential to leverage underutilized lands into senior active retirement environments (S.A.F.E), the foundation for multi-generational senior active communities attracting seniors open to transition from family homes. Residential homes at affordable prices will come on the market. A multi-talent mix of millennials and generations x, y, z is looking for affordable age friendly communities to live in. “The ideals of small -town America hold growing appeal as they become alienated from big-city life”. The “new age” service economy is enabling them to work remotely and there is a growing influx of Canadian professionals and para-professionals exiting urban centres for “age friendly” active communities in the east coast.
Health is wealth in an emergent post pandemic society. The town is lacking in comprehensive health care. This can be remedied through adaptation of a contemporary holistic health care system that isn’t traditional medical doctor dominated.
It does have an up to date public education system and a post-secondary college. The college is a prime candidate for development as a centre for skills level coastal tidal administration and sustainable acquaculture management to an international student body along with pro-active partnering with universities and research facilities. These are very attractive age friendly community attributes for families wanting affordable access to quality education for their children.
The Huntsman Marine Science Centre (Huntsman) is a non- profit organization that functions as the research and education centre for a consortium of universities, the critical knowledge prong in the anchor. It’s located on 70 acres of land that includes research and teaching centres along with a residence. It is an acknowledged centre of excellence for marine biology and oceanography. The Huntsman has two primary divisions, education & outreach and aquatic biosciences. Tidal research and management are integrated into both divisions. The Huntsman has an opportunity to leverage its expertise into the leading global Centre for Ocean Tidal Management.
To leverage the of the Bay of Fundy “Anchor”, with age friendly community infrastructure of the town of and the internationally acknowledge expertise of the Huntsman Marine Science Centre into the global centre for ocean tidal research and management
The Huntsman Marine Science Centre for Global Ocean Tidal management
 Dan Breznitz. Innovation in Real Places. New York. Oxford University Press. (2021) at P.5
 Ibid at P 55.
 International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
 Parag Khanna, Move. New York. Scribner (2021) at P. 97
 Supra 3 at P106
John G. Kelly
Mentoring & Counselling