Tag Archives: An Open Letter To…

A Letter to Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister,

First, let me congratulate you and welcome you home. Millions of Canadians, myself included, knew you were ready and we are all excited to add this new chapter to the chronicles of our nation.

Since I was old enough to vote, I have always been interested in politics. Almost exactly 22 years ago the political science major I would go on to marry drove me from the University of Waterloo to the polling booth in Thornhill so I could cast my first ballot.

I voted Liberal that fateful day, but that wasn’t the beginning of a trend. Certainly the Liberals have seen more votes from me than the other parties, but I’ve always put a great amount of thought into each one regardless of whose name received the “X”. In every election at every level, I have learned a great deal about Canadian politics and my role as a voting Canadian in the process.

It wasn’t until last year that I made a political donation. It was to the Liberal Party of Canada and I felt quite good about making it. I knew Canada needed change, tangible change, and knew that my small contribution would make a difference. A short time later I made my second donation. I liked what I saw in you as a leader and I liked the changes I was seeing in the Liberal Party.

In spite of your repeated requests for a third donation, I was hesitant to make one. You see, uncertainty set in. Your stance on the controversial Bill C-51 had me quite flummoxed. I could not reconcile your approach with public opinion, with what I had researched, or with my own common sense. I am happy to hear that you’ve altered your stance on this issue enough that we now have a clearer picture of your intentions.

Then, came Bill C-24. A stance which had me questioning your commitment given that you’re only promising to repeal certain measures. I thought about it, though, and if I were to critique that bill in detail, I mean really scrutinize it, I wonder how much of it would I want to keep and how much would I do away with? With this in mind, I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Then came the TPP. Again, vague promises were made. I, along with hundreds of thousands of others, have concerns about what this will do. Not just for trade, but for our digital communications and privacy. Those voices must be heard.  In this regard, the promise of thorough parliamentary evaluation and debate, along with transparent communication to all Canadians is an encouraging sign.

Amidst all of this was the need for change. Real change. It was more than a campaign slogan for millions of Canadians. It was a visceral desire for something better; for a system that worked for us instead of us having to work the system to make the system work. What would our country look like if our electoral system was structured so that every vote mattered? Canadians need a government that represents their demanding needs and diverse interests. We need a government that is elected for reasons other than deep pockets, loud voices, or nice hair.

You made a promise to us, loud and clear, that if the Liberals formed a majority government that this would be the last first-past-the-post election. That was huge. In my mind, the rest of the platform amounted to nitpicking, because without electoral reform there would be no change. Everyone would just keep doing what they are doing and we would just keep getting what we get.

Well, now you’ve got four years to make that happen. I look forward to donating for a third time when it does.

Make us proud.

Yours Sincerely,

Andrew F. Butters
Kitchener South – Hespeler

Trudeau’s Promises:

Electoral Reform:




P.S. Thanks to all the folks who pointed out some minor grammatical errors or typos. It’s nice to have another set of eyes looking out for those inevitable flaws.

~ Andrew

Why Is Everyone Clapping?

If you want to skip all this and go straight to the awesome update at the end of the post you can click here.

Some people will say,  “You’re overreacting.”

Some people will say, “It’s part of the game.”

Some people will say, “It’s all in good fun.” 

I will tell every one of them that they’re wrong.

As some long-time readers of this blog will know I suffered a severe concussion
back in 2011 (to add on to the pile of other “less severe” head injuries, you know, the ones where I didn’t get knocked completely unconscious). I was off work for several months and it took me more than six months to get back to a level of function comparable to what I had before the accident. 

As my friends know I am against the idea of fighting in hockey at any level and whenever I take one of my kids to a Kitchener Rangers hockey game and a fight breaks out on the ice it makes by blood boil. There is absolutely no place for fighting in hockey, let alone junior hockey, where a good number of the players are under the age of 18. 

So, I guess what you are about to read is the inevitable reaction of a father and hockey fan who has finally had enough with the glorification of two athletes assaulting each other in front of thousands of adoring fans.

You could say the moment I snapped was one Saturday morning when I heard a promotion on 105.3 Kool FM for a contest they were running in association with the Kitchener Rangers and sponsored by Forbes Automotive. It’s a good promotion and I considered entering the contest… right up until I heard the line, “the hits… the fights…”

I wasn’t actually sure I had heard it correctly so I just filed it away until the next time it was aired. Sure enough, the next time I was listening and they played the promo I heard the line again, “the hits… the fights…” Suffice it to say I was nothing short of shocked. Were they actually promoting hockey fights? Were they actually promoting fights that involve kids under the age of 18?

First order of business: Posting to social media in hopes I would get areply. To date I have received none, and having heard the promotional spot countless times since it has come to this. I have resorted to the most extreme measure that an irate Canadian can possibly use.

I wrote a letter.

Jay Nijhuis, Promotions and Marketing Manager, 105.3 Kool FM
Murrary Hiebert, General Manager, Kitchener Rangers 


Jason Stainton, General Manager, Forbes Waterloo Mazda (sponsor)
David E. Branch, Commissioner, Ontario Hockey League  
Letters to the Editor, The Kitchener Record
Brain Injury Association of Canada


Fight Club

Mr. Nijhuis and Mr. Hiebert,

I am writing to request the recent Kitchener Rangers “KooLest Seats in the House” radio promotion be taken out of advertising rotation immediately, or at a minimum, the voice over changed to something more appropriate. 

The rationale for this request is quite simple. I believe the wording promotes violence, specifically violence by, and toward, teenagers.  
I am an avid listener of 105.3 Kool FM and I attend anywhere between 8 and 10 Kitchener Rangers hockey games each season and I take my 11 year old daughter or my 7 year old son to most of the games. Now, it is possible that my previous experiences with concussions have made me more sensitive to the issues of head trauma in hockey (I’ve had at least 4 concussions) but I don’t think I’m out of line in admonishing Kool FM and the Kitchener Rangers for airing a promotion that highlights the fights that we can look forward to the next time we attend a hockey game.
The last two games I attended with my children there were fights in first five minutes of the game. On the one occasion my son, who is just starting to understand some of the rules, asked me why everyone was clapping after the fight. On the other occasion my daughter had to look away because the sight of two teenage boys punching each other in the face upset her (as it should, would you not agree?) 
Let’s not forget that these hockey players are also kids! In case you haven’t counted there are currently 12 players on the Kitchener Rangers roster that are under the age of 18. I’m left to wonder how it is you can justify promoting fights between underage hockey players? 
An even better question: 
How do you think the parents of the younger players feel about you encouraging the public to come out and pay to see their 16 year old’s get into a fight and risk their future as hockey players as well as possible brain injuries?
Suffice it to say that, at best, the promotion as it currently stands highlights a terrible error in judgement by the marketing and promotions staff involved. At its worst it is a call for people to not just witness, but enjoy, teenage violence that doesn’t belong – on or off the ice.

The promotion could have easily been worded, “The hits… the goals…” instead of “The hits… the fights…” and as such I ask that you re-think the words chosen for this promotion or pull it from the radio outright. 

I further encourage everyone involved to issue an on-air apology to the players and fans and make a donation to the Brain Injury Association of Canada or other applicable not-for-profit organization. 

Andrew F. Butters


Within a couple hours of sending my email and posting this I have received several emails from Kool FM and the Kitchener Rangers!

First, Kool FM informs me the script would be revisited tomorrow:

Click image to read

Then, I received an email from the COO of the Kitchener Rangers indicating he would be following up tomorrow as well, and reiterating his commitment, and the commitment of the OHL and CHL to reducing fighting in their games:

Click image to read

Finally, I received an email from the Program Director at Kool FM (after I replied to their original reply) informing me that neither Forbes Automotive nor the Kitchener Rangers were involved in the wording and approval of the script (good on Kool for owning up!) and that it has been re-written and will be re-voiced and produced on Monday:

Click image to read

If all this isn’t a whole pile of win I don’t know what is. Naturally, there are a few douchecanoes over at Reddit /r/hockey that are downvoting the link to this post but what’s a guy to do? One step at a time.

~ Andrew

An Open Letter to Writers

Dear Writers,

At this early stage in my writing career I thought it would be a good idea offer some of my insights into this fabulous craft that we are all so passionate about. You’ll find that throughout this letter I have a fondness for certain phrases, have a certain style, and am wonderfully all over the place in the area of grammar and punctuation (my blog posts do not have the benefit of an amazing editor, or an editor of any kind, so you get what you get).

At this point I am convinced there are at least four things that every writer possesses:

  1. A desire to be a writer; 
  2. at least one idea; 
  3. a great support network; and
  4. something with which to write.

Naturally, to actually become a writer there are dozens upon dozens of other qualities, qualifications, and quirks you must possess, but in my opinion if you don’t have those four you’re not setting yourself up for success. Far be it for me, an unpaid, unpublished, part-time scribe to impart any advice; but I think those items are absolutely key – especially the third one. Contrary to the idea that writing is a solitary pursuit, I am finding that it actually requires quite a bit of input, feedback, and support from the many sources around me.

I am also in the extremely fortunate situation of having had a job working for someone else (and have since graduating from university), but for a lot of people writing is their job. It’s a very real one, and at the rate my daughter is reading books it’s a darned good thing they do it.

I have all the items from the list above and actually have something to show for it (writing wise) but I would only consider myself to be a part time writer. Due to my full time employment, my wife and kids, and all the activities that go along with them and the rest of the family and my friends, and all the costs and bills that come along as a result, I’m at the point that I need steady income in order to maintain the lifestyle I have chosen. I could cut back in a lot of areas and have some more time and money on hand but I suspect I’d be less fulfilled in many ways (hint: success and fulfillment have nothing to do with money).

There are times though, when I just feel compelled to create and this is where my support network really shines. I meet my commitments to my job and my family and in return they shower me with everything I need to bring my ideas to life. My job offers a work-life balance like none other. My wife will let me spitball ideas, or she will give me tips, or just sit and listen to me ramble, or she’ll just leave me the hell alone. Heck, she said she’d go to the gym on her own after the kids go to bed so I can have an hour a night to just sit and write. Speaking of kids, mine are the greatest source of inspiration a person could ask for. They breathe life into my words even on topics they can’t comprehend. My family is extremely supportive as well – especially my in-laws – and so are all my friends. I look forward to the day when some of them are beta readers for my novel (plus, I owe Neil Hedley a signature on his copy of my book at some point).

Unfortunately, I know some of you are actively discouraged from writing. Some of you are either published authors or aspiring to be, who have people in your life that would rather have you do something else. Anything else, in some cases. Your comments on this vary, but there seems to be an underlying theme: “When are you going to get a real job?”

Another common theme seems to be that many of these not-so-supportive comments come from the mouths of your family members: mothers, fathers, spouses, siblings, and the people closest to you. Now, I don’t know about any of your personal situations or have any of the history behind your interactions so I’ve only been exposed to one side of the story. If I have learned anything from my thirty[mumble] years on Earth, it’s that one side of a story is not enough to know the whole story. What I do know is that you are passionate about what you are doing, you are good at it, and you are remarkably supportive of others who choose to go down this path.

So I will close with this:

If you have the desire, the idea, and the something with which to write; and support is the only thing missing, then you have to do whatever you can do to find it. I’m not saying sell all your things, leave your spouse and kids, stop calling your mother, and move into a writer’s commune, but I do think you owe it to yourself to find that support and try to work it into your life.

I can promise you that I’ll do what I can to support you in a similar way that the people close to me are doing. I value the work that you do, and am grateful to have developed friendships with so many of you who do it.