I find myself challenged on occasion to try to attend all the things I want to attend. I often have two or three or even four things vying for my attention on any given night, and tough choices have to be made. For some reason one of the things I have always wanted to attend but failed to do because of other obligations or commitments has been the Enbridge Famous Five Speaker Series in Fort McMurray. They've brought in some incredible speakers, all designed to celebrate leadership in women, and every single time I am disappointed to discover it has fallen on a day when I have parent-teacher interviews or a different story I have agreed to cover or some other commitment. But not this week. When I heard about the next Famous Five speaker I cleared my schedule because she is someone I have not only heard speak before but have had the opportunity to interview. She is, of course, Premier Alison Redford.
Yes, Premier Redford is in Fort McMurray for the day tomorrow, and in a major coup the organizers of Famous Five have secured her as a speaker. And whatever your views on politics I can tell you one very profound truth - our Premier is a powerful speaker. She reminds me of our own mayor Melissa Blake, someone who I do not believe has ever delivered a bad speech, and someone who always manages to both capture the audience and perfectly encapsulate the message she is trying to deliver. I could listen to either of these women deliver a speech on any topic, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to hear our Premier speak about our province, and our future. Our future, both locally and provincially, is one of my favourite topics, too.
We are incredibly fortunate in this place, people. Just since January we have had the opportunity to hear from Seamus O'Regan and Alan Doyle at the Keyano Global Address, Malcolm Gladwell at Northern Insights, and now the Premier at Famous Five. I don't know if anyone realizes how rare and precious that is, although I had a reminder when I told someone from another city about those events. When I told them I had not only heard those individuals speak but had the opportunity to meet them and chat with them I was met with pure green envy over the chances we have here. They stopped me and said "Hold on, in less than two months you met O'Regan, Doyle, and Gladwell? What are you planning next exactly?". I thought it would be cruel to tell them about Bill Cosby coming to visit too so I just stopped there.
And now, tomorrow, we have the Premier visiting. This is a pretty wonderful opportunity to hear her speak, and for a reasonable price, too. The evening includes a buffet dinner from the MacDonald Island kitchen, and a speech from one of the most powerful women in this country, and given her role as the head of a province of great resource wealth perhaps one of the most powerful women in the world. As for me? Well, I will be there, because this is one I wouldn't miss. There are opportunities just too good to pass up - and this happens to be one of them. We get some amazing opportunities in this little community under the vast northern sky - and I hope you, like me, grab every single one of them.