After studying Chemical Engineering at Queen’s University, Paul spent three years teaching high school for CUSO in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. He then spent a year wandering in India. Paul experienced a short engineering career with J.D. Lee Consultants, managed Kingston’s Energy Conservation Centre for EMR, and later purchased a 200-acre hobby farm. He later returned to South East Asia to establish “The Asia Company” which imports a wide range of goods. This has been done concurrent with woodlot management and environmental activism including Stop Darlington, Bowmanville, Red Squirrel Road Blockade, Temagami, Algonquin Uranium Moratorium and Sharbot Lake. In the past, Paul was a chair for the Blue Skies Music Festival. He is also the former artistic director for Live Wire Music Services, and he is a past board member for the Rideau Waterway Land Trust. Paul is currently retired, but he is active in forest management, and he enjoys tennis and snowboarding. He takes refuge in nature.
Q: My Question: Given that Canadians profess a near unanimous and passionate love of our natural world and our precious children and given that both of these treasures are right now under unprecedented threat from the climate crisis, can the battle to save nature and our children's future not bring all Canadians together?
A: Yes it can. It can, it should, and it must. We need to unite in common cause as if on a war footing against carbon.
Since indigenous Canadians are currently the most outspoken and active warriors on the front lines of the battle against our rapacious resource exploitation, it strategically behooves the rest of us to support them in any and all ways. This, in itself, would be a giant step towards reconciliation.
Connected by Canoe offered an opportunity for a number of very diverse individuals to unite in common purpose, sixteen strokes at a time, but also to explore our vastly different perspectives, although united in our love of the natural world we traversed. The journey embodied James Raffin's concept of "nation of rivers and river of nations". The image of the canoe itself is perfect. It embodies unity. It beautifully knits together our past and present, river to river, nation to nation.
Connected by Canoe was able to amplify it's impact at each of our community gatherings along the way, culminating, for me, with the "Kairos Blanket Exercise" in Merrickville.
On a personal level, Connected by Canoe leaves a very deep and, I hope, long lasting appreciation our indigenous heritage and a determination to join forces with them in the battle for planetary survival.
As Kristen Ungungai-Kownak puts it "Oh Canada, Our home on native land."