Former MP Deborah Grey kicked of the Unique Lives lecture series at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary Feb. 4 with an appeal to women to keep moving their cause forward.
The Jack Singer Concert Hall will be hosting a series of speakers over the next few months, but all of them should all be looking over their material after the stellar performance by former Reform Party member.
“Women have come a long way but we’re not quite there yet,” opened Grey.
In a crowd of 800, only 20 males could be seen in the crowd.
“To any men in the crowd, I am sorry,” Grey said.
“I will try not to direct any of our anger your way.”
Grey’s lecture was entitled Never Retreat, Never Explain, Never Apologize, after her newest book and was centered around three quotes that shaped Grey’s life and career.
The first quote was from John Augustus Shedd: “A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
Grey used the Shedd quote to explain her past, growing up in Vancouver as a child and watching ships dock in the harbor.
She recalled feeling a sense of wonder as she watched each ship bringing cargo to and from the Vancouver harbor, and her sense that to succeed in life, she had to be prepared to make herself heard.
“I got the strap in grade two for talking. Now I get paid for it,” she told her audience.
The second quote used was from the comic strip Garfield: “I want to leave my paw prints in the sands of time.”
Grey felt this quote explained a reason why most politicians do what they do.
They want to “leave their paw prints in the sands of time.”
Grey felt her actions while in Parliament were her attempt to leave her mark on history.
During her time in the House of Commons, current Prime Minister Stephen Harper, worked as Grey’s secretary.
I thought a lecture would have moments of dread but I could not stop laughing and I learned a lot- Rachelle Atkings
“He always made sure I had my coffee,” said Grey, remembering her days with Harper on Parliament Hill.
“I admire Stephen but I like to think it’s because I taught him a thing or two.”
Grey was the first ever Reform Party member of Parliament and was a teacher before that. Her first school job was teaching Grade 4, even though she was trained to teach high school students.
“If you’re going to teach,” said Grey, “You’d better be ready to learn, before and after.”
Grey’s last quote was from American journalist and author Hodding Carter: “There are two things we can give our children. One is roots, the other is wings.”
Grey summed up her lecture on this quote, explaining why she left politics and what happens in her current life.
“Our mates, our partners, are the true heroes of Parliament,” said Grey pointing out her husband in the crowd. She commended her husband throughout the lecture for his patience during her career.
Travelling between the West and the East took a toll on Grey. She had to leave her job in Parliament so she could spend more time with her family.
Grey currently sits on the Security Intelligence Committee in Ottawa.
She no longer has any political affiliations because of her job requirements and will not discuss most politics openly, as part of her position.
“That was entertaining from start to finish,” said Calgary resident Rachelle Atkings, 20.
“I thought a lecture would have moments of dread but I could not stop laughing and I learned a lot.
“I am looking forward to attending a lecture again soon.”