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As mentioned, today is the last day of Connect2Edmonton. Whether it permanently goes away or is allowed to be online as an archive completely depends on how I can protect myself from the new world we live in – one dominated by anger and a cancel culture.

While I grew tremendously since the days of PROMOTE-Edmonton, the precursor to Connect2Edmonton, the site has not. Many of the moderators grew tired of being hammered into the ground when they even tried to keep thigs civilized. Then came the worst decision I ever made. I allowed myself to cave to public pressure, making moderators use their first name and last initial in a forum of anonymous users. The abuse that came after that was incredible.

There is a goldmine of information on here with respect to how Edmonton has grown. Whether or not you are happy with the current state of affairs, it is a far cry from the Deadmonton of old, or an old 1996 article which mocked Edmonton for being so cheap because no one wanted to be here. Or being called “Canada’s Boiler Room” in Mordecai Richler parlance. There are still several ills to chase, several things to move forward, but it is definitely not the place I came back to. The difference is nothing short of amazing.

The intent was to create a site that was open to many opinions, that could allow people to grow, that allowed for people to share. A key issue in civic change management is that meetings and forums are often scheduled when people cannot attend. Then Councilor Mandel saw the potential in this site, and agreed with the premise, and used it to great effect in his Mayoral run. I still cherish a support letter that said this site was important, and was social media in a time when social media wasn’t cool. We had people from all walks of life creating something truly unique. I can’t tell you how much it hurt when one of you tried to accuse this forum of being created by only one demographic…it was many, all passionate to create something cool on this Terry Jones’ coined “Pimple on the Prairies.”

I get Edmonton. As a disabled man, I am routinely dismissed, looked over for opportunity, ignored when I speak. I am told I can’t, that I shouldn’t, that I am a joke or less of a person. I hear that about my home too. The NHL playoffs have people saying that about us again. Yes, we are not Vegas. I hope Edmonton takes advantage of this and shows people how we can excel, manage, and deliver.

I know I am not the same person I was in 2003. I’ve grown in opinion and knowledge greatly from some of the awesome contributors. I will miss this. Greatly.

However, the end result can be summed up in two words.

I failed. Adjective…miserably.

There is no other way to describe it.

C2E is now Connect2Trump, or Connect2Anger, or Connect2Stuffwecannotcontrol. I cannot in good conscience allow people hiding behind pseudonyms attempt to hurt those trying to make things better. You may not like how people think, nor like how they feel Edmonton should be, but to come out and try to destroy careers, destroy reputations, and destroy someone’s hard work is unacceptable. I disagree with many people here politically, but I will never turn down a chance to chat, or share a beer, and try to find common ground. To see people I know threatened, or even myself, I cannot continue to host a site that would enable that.

Could a C2E return? Maybe. I do have some projects on the back burner that are open to be developed. However, anonymity will not be there. How that will work is up for debate. …for I will miss the enthusiasm and the early joy of seeing something come to life, and make change. Some of the Top Ten ideas for a Greater Edmonton – a 2005 contest – are now here. I would love to rekindle that.

It is why I will work on my other projects and make them game changers. The Edmonton Airshow is about to be rebranded into what it was meant to be. This should bring new jobs and interest to the city. It is already working. This winter, I will be hosting aviation peers for the first time west of the Rockies. The Airshow conference for the NW has never left the West Coast. It is because of the hard work of myself and others that we even have this opportunity – regardless of whether Edmonton wants to finally come on board or not. I will work hard to make this a success for those that come after me. I owe it to those who believed in the concept, and still believe today. I need to direct energy to positive change and leave a legacy and succession plan for those who come next. I have no room for negativity, hate, and people blaming me and others for things that we cannot change. I’ll work on things I can change.

May you find peace and solace in 2020 and beyond. Please, love one another, and yourself.

Richard.

To reach out for C2E information, please email [email protected]

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