Another type of first place is playing out on a different international field. We all talk about the agony and the ecstasy of sports. The people of Haiti are going through a whole world of hurt in a human saga of unthinkable agonies.
Here's where Canadians are definitely in first place, in the act of giving. As individual citizens from coast to coast we have contributed close to $150 million from our own wallets and purses. We were also one of the first nations on the scene as the dust of tragedy was still thick in the air over that beleaguered island.
Now, our Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the first world leader to personally walk among the fallen buildings and broken hearts of Haiti. Canada is not looking for awards with our outreach. We are just doing what we've done throughout our history - helping hurting people.
It's also Canada that has hosted the first two important international donor conferences for Haiti. Two hundred and seventy-five thousand people perished in the rubble of those earthquakes. More than 30 Canadians also died. But 8.1 million Haitians know that Canada (and other nations) will be there to help them in the journey of recovery that lies ahead.
Back to the Olympics…I won't even try to describe what millions of us have been feeling all along. From the longest torch run in history, to the stunning opening ceremonies, to the sight of our own men and women winning medals (including gold!), it just doesn't get much better.
By the way, did you notice something just oh-so-Canadian when the numbers went up on the moguls board proclaiming that Alex Bilodeau had nailed first place? One of Alex's arms shot up in the air in victory and in the next instant he reached out with his other arm to encourage his fierce adversary from France who at that very moment was turning away, despondent at his loss.
It was the same unique Canadian touch when our Women’s' Hockey team topped Slovakia 18-0. When it was over our fans wildly cheered the Slovaks for their gumption. And so it continues.
I didn't attend the Opening Ceremonies. Val and I decided to attend some of the live sites on the street watching the giant screens. We also spent part of the time watching with the families of the Olympic athletes in a television room set up for them at The Bay.
It was thrilling (and tear jerking at times) to see moms and dads and brothers and sisters cheering as they pointed out their loved ones on the screen as they entered the stadium.
On the agony side, our hearts, along with yours, went out to Kristi Richards, our hometown girl as she gave it all on the mogul course. We will always be proud of this Summerland Sweetheart!
To get a hold of me this week, my schedule has me flying to Ottawa on Monday night, meetings there Tuesday and Wednesday, medals ceremonies in Vancouver on Wed night. Thursday I meet with constituency business folks at a round table in Vancouver. Then, back to the riding for meetings Friday and Saturday.
And if you don't have Olympic seats…I hear there may still be local tickets for the Multicultural Festival in Penticton on Saturday, the Vees hockey banquet Saturday night and the Annual Summerland Sportsman’s Dinner.
I'll be at all of those, so hope to see you there!
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.