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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

ADAM OLSEN -- Whether it was phone calls, coffee or board meetings, he sat through them all, soaking in the information and the attention

He has been with me all along the way. I remember, only a few short weeks after my first election in November 2008, pushing his stroller through the snow to the District of Central Saanich office to meet the police chief and administrator.

He was born a year previous, in early December, one day after his late great-grandma Laura’s birthday. The family was eager to have him show up on her special day because it had only been about nine short months since she had passed. We named him Silas Wolf. As my Auntie Marilyn pointed out, his name is very close to SILE (grand parents) STḴȺYE (wolf), or grandmas wolf.

That was twelve years ago now. 

For the first year, Emily was home with him on maternity leave from Canada Post. After that, the plan was for me to resign my position at the University of Victoria where I was the sponsorship manager for Vikes Athletics at the time.

I ran for municipal council and managed a handful of communications contracts. However, my big job was looking after Silas.

We spent many days together. Splitting time between meetings and the swing set at the local park, Silas has always had some kind of political dialogue swirling around him. Whether it was phone calls, coffee or board meetings, he sat through them all, soaking in the information and the attention. Everyone agreed he was and still is a cute kid!

I remember that first board meeting he attended with my colleagues' questioning eyes scrutinizing my decision to bring a child into the important business meeting. Maybe it was only my sensitivity but I got the idea that, for some, a child’s presence in the room diminished the importance of the work.

As it turns out, he sat under the table with his snacks, books and toys. He was quiet, rarely causing any disruption at all. 

I watched his impact on the decisions. 

Those same questioning eyes eventually dropped down to the carpet, settling to my little boy sitting on his blanket, offering my colleagues a perspective about the impact of their decisions over a much longer term than we were accustomed.

In the end, the meetings when I didn’t bring him would not start with a “Hi Adam,” rather more like “where is Silas?”

He has always been that kid that has brought a smile to people's faces and one who is willing to go out of his way to help someone out with a hand up or kind words of encouragement.

Next year, he will be a teenager and I can concur that the advice I got when we were in that stroller was correct ... indeed, he is growing up quickly.

Happy birthday chum, you are a great kid!

Adam Olsen ... is a Green Party Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for Saanich North and the Islands. Born in Victoria, BC in 1976, Adam has lived, worked and played his entire life on the Saanich Peninsula. He is a member of Tsartlip First Nation (W̱JOȽEȽP), where he and his wife, Emily, are raising their two children, Silas and Ella.


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