It’s a beautiful spring day in Ottawa—even emphasized with italics, “beautiful” doesn’t quote cut it, which, I suppose, is why we have poetry. Life, in other words, could be much worse.
On the other hand, spring heralds the return of heat, with all its pleasures and stresses. Voyaging out on the bike has been a highlight of the season so far; I’m hoping for as gradual a start to summer as we had for the spring, to keep those rides as cool and comfortable as possible.
Evenings are stretching on, filling each day with possibility—let’s make the most of the days, shall we?
To share today, quite a few links:
- I long subscribed to Maclean’s largely because Paul Wells wrote there. A few weeks ago, he announced his sudden departure, a trend that continued in the weeks since. Recently, Wells launched a standalone newsletter, to which I eagerly subscribed—with no regrets, a few issues in. Reading it is to journey from current politics, to slow-news profiles covering how government works (or doesn’t), to reviews of artistic endeavours (usually jazz and orchestral music). All of them are a pleasure to read.
- Sage advice from Austin Kleon (quoting / building on others, as is his wont) for responding to invitations. He suggests asking, “Would I do it tomorrow?” Event invitations or other future obligations are hard to reckon with—siting them in your tomorrow clarifies your feelings toward them.
- I particularly enjoyed Mita William’s newsletter this weekend, as it touches on utopia, community, and digital tooling for local governments—some of my favourite topics! She links to a 2019 piece on canteens by Rebecca May Johnson, and it’s stuck in my head since reading it yesterday. Seeking care—for what is food but the most essential form of care—in a public space that affords you privacy while doing so—“if privacy is defined as the ability to be present without being suspected of anything”—seems an essential need well worth fulfilling.
- Contracting is a key piece of the “changing how government works” puzzle—I’m hugely impressed with the level of detail in the public close-out documentation for ESDC’s micro-acquisition pilot, providing valuable insights into contracting and related systems.
- On a more sombre note, today’s final link is a profile of how Lac Mégantic residents continue to struggle with the tragic derailment nearly nine years ago, as debate over where to site a rail bypass continues. Of note to me was the emotional toll and wariness associated with interacting with governments of all jurisdictions—disaster strains ourselves and our systems, often leaving no clear path forward.
Lots of links this week, with hopefully one or two of interest to each of you—all the best for the week ahead!