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Rallying Message to Canada's 1986 World Cup Team

September 23, 2018

 

Hello Tony Waiters, Les Wilson, Bobby Lenarduzzi,

 

I appreciate very much the messages of encouragement and support from the former Canadian World Cup team players, coaches and staff.  Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!!

 

I am in an internet cafe working on this message to you all.  I will be sleeping in a Toronto park again tonight and for the foreseeable future.  I need no sympathy - it is the only rational choice I have under the circumstances.  I am not on a suicide mission; this is not about getting healthy or well in the way it has been communicated to me; this is not about living in the past et al.  This is about accessing fair social justice on a social phenomenon in desperate need of seismic change in approach and attitude and in correcting such appalling preventable injustice in my own circumstance.  


I cannot and will not end the hunger strike protest as the matter extends way beyond myself including my former beautiful partner Ashley Kelly and the 11 overdose deaths a day we currently endure in Canada as if it is not happening.  I am 100 per cent prepared to die for the cause.  I do not fear death just perhaps the pain getting there.  I am, like Tony Waiters the coach, "preparing for the worst but hoping for the best".

Bobby Lenarduzzi, I am asking you to have faith and to back the cause - Ending the War on People - one hundred per cent without being influenced by the bad politic element even though bad politics is synonymous with the Canadian fabric and culture.  It is to our detriment.  If ever there is a segment of society where politics should not play a negative role it is with substance disability.  In December 2017 you wrote a message to our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau which protected York University.  If you can get beyond that and recognize that you, Tony Waiters, Leslie Wilson, Randy Samuel, Sharon Bearpark, Mike Bourassa, Peyvand Mossavat, Paul Peschchisolido, Colin Miller, Chris Williams, Justin Thompson, Pat Cubellis, Lucio Ianeiro, John McGrane, Robert Iarusci, Cossi Commisso, Trevor McCallum, Kevin Muldoon, Bruce Twamley, Christine Sinclair  along with other former and present World Cup players, coaches, and administrators can be the real force and heroes in changing the appalling stigmatization of substance disability and its false reality -  through supporting the Paul James access to social justice matter with the genuineness, force, integrity and passion it requires and deserves then you can 100% achieve that.  I have brought the matter as far as I can with the support of a small group of amazing Paul James supporters.  We need the cavalry now which you, Les and others can mobilize and encourage.   

 

Remind me.  Has the soccer community ever taken on a social advocacy/responsibility cause?  Ever.  The answer is no - we have been to small and insular.  The time is right.  The cause is the right one.

 

Leslie Wilson, I appreciate your wonderful message and courage in light of my past frustrations and hope with all my heart that you can assist with your unparalleled ability to write over the next 14 days...to encourage all others in spite of past differences and awkwardness to get behind the cause - Ending the War on People -  I on behalf of millions others will be eternally grateful to you.  There is no one in the world I would want to write to the Prime Minister of Canada and to the Canadian Parliament than Leslie J Wilson.  

 

And Tony, I send you a nod of appreciation for your skill and understanding.

 

For your information, I am eating a few calories to gain the strength for the final phase of this protest.

 

To those who may need reminding or a prod, this is not a suicide mission I am on; I do not need to get healthy in the way it has been communicated to me nor am I quitting on life.   I am merely prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice with as much dignity as I can.  None of you have lived in my moccasins and so I cannot and do not expect you to understand completely what this is all about.  But from your messages you know me well enough to know that you are witnessing courage, determination and conviction at a level that perhaps you could not see yourself reaching.  

 

That said, would you sacrifice for your son or daughter?  Or your wife/husband/partner, if you had to?  Of course you would.  Nothing different here.  I am doing it for Ashley Kelly and millions of others suffering behind closed doors in terrorized fear of being open.

 

Finally, people have asked me recently what are some of your most memorable moments through your soccer career.  While it is difficult to narrow them down I will give you this one with consideration of some of the persons I address in this email.  When we beat Cameroon at Harvard Stadium 3-1 it meant we qualified for the quarter final game versus Brazil at Stanford in California in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.  In the small changing room after the game Leslie Wilson gathers us all around and demands we sing the Canadian national anthem.  I still get goose bumps thinking about that very first moment as we brought  the house down with our rendition.  When we left the changing room people looked at us with a new kind of respect - as if they wanted what we had!

 

On reflection it was a beautiful period of my life because  of the people who were in it and who influenced it including the late Bob Bearpark - the beautiful man he was in heart, soul, intellect and spirit.

 

Thank you all again.

 

Paul James

 

 

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