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Some can dream - most just survive

Comparing the Oscars to the grocery cart

How much was a bunch of bananas at the IGA Garden Market this week? What about at Independent? 

How much was the dress worn by the Oscar-winning actress on Sunday, reaching her inclusive dream and representing her challenging cultural journey?

This weekend's Oscar presentation was a sight and sound explosion of excess, and capped-off a week of headline-grabbing mixed-messages and confusion that continue to frustrate average people caught in a world where we're told to be inclusive — but constantly slapped in the face with the blatant un-balance of society.

How can Hollywood elite — even if they were former refugees who have become rare winners of the "American Dream" — be role models for inclusion and representation in their designer gowns and sparkling jewels?  How can the people responsible for pricing-out a growing number of Canadians from grocery stores, tell law-makers they "understand" Canadians who are hurting? Fuel retailers raise pump prices, at the same time, by the same amount, at 'competing' stations — and don't know why customers are suspicious.

And on top of all that, the Bank of Canada continues to hint that interest rates will once again rise to stem our inflationary condition.  What condition? Prices 'are' inflated. There was just that Parliamentary review held because of that very suspicion. Is anyone paying attention?

During last week's Parliamentary panel on the rising prices of groceries across the country, Loblaw CEO Galen Weston's comment that he "understood" the challenges of Canadians, comes across as a little insulting. While not shaming a person for their successes, it is getting increasingly more difficult these days to embrace the inclusive and representative mindset that society is steering us to follow in the face of such obvious unfairness.

Weston might 'understand' in the purest, legal or literary sense of the definition — but he doesn't really.  He doesn't have to choose between a utility payment, or a tank of gas, between a four dollar loaf of bread that was two-fifty a week ago, and a six dollar bag of grapes. Many in our communities face those struggles — and worse, each week — with every decision to spend every dollar they bring in.

During Sunday's Oscar broadcast, we were shown in glittery-detail what inclusion and representation can accomplish, all packaged in a half million dollar watch and five-figure designer suit. "Dream big, follow your heart — it's so great to see better representation of society in our films and on our stages..."  Really? Does anyone know somebody with a one-of a kind Richard Mille clear sapphire watch who gets paid to wear designer wardrobes?

Sure, some of them might have been like us. But now they're not. And to think otherwise would be — to relate back to the over-priced fruits and vegetables section in your local grocery store — bananas.


Rob McKinley

About the Author: Rob McKinley

Rob has been in the media, marketing and promotion business for 30 years, working in the public sector, as well as media outlets in major metropolitan markets, smaller rural communities and Indigenous-focused settings.
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