Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Olympocalypse! The Simpsons!

– I have no official head count, but a crowd, easily numbering a couple thousand (plus the couple of thousands watching) descended upon Robson Street and on cue, proceeded to demonstrate a non-Olympic sport; flashmob dancing. Imagine1Day, a group dedicated to educating the children of Ethiopia, organized the flashmob to raise awareness to their cause. They not only succeeded, but I’m sure they also caused an iTunes sales spike for Martha and the Vandellas (the crowd danced to – what else – the original Dancing In The Streets), and showed not all large gatherings in Vancouver result in police actions. Even surprise ones, which are normally a bad thing. Never pop a balloon around Grandpa while he’s sleeping and never surprise police on high alert. Am I right? Right? Right.

– Last night The Simpsons took to the Olympics, which depending on your personality as a Canadian, was hilariously awesome or pathetically offensive. For me, the most interesting part was when a preview commercial slammed Vancouver for “non-union filming”, which was changed in the actual show to a light ribbing over tax credits for filming. This, after governor Schwarzenegger, who has taken advantage of Vancouver’s film industry, both directly (Sixth Day) and indirectly (running for Governor on a platform against Canadian filming) was the last torchbearer prior to the opening ceremonies.

Photos by thedarkerside and nickfruhling.
To any American’s reading, 80% of all BC and Yukon film productions have union agreements – all of them local chapters as the same unions in the States.

Looking back on Sam Sullivan

Though Sam Sullivan has been out of office for a week now, he’s been in our hearts and minds.  Well maybe he’s not been in either of those, but I presume his wife still loves him so that’s one person.  He was one of Vancouver’s most controversial mayors of recent years, from the manner of his election victory to his controversial decision to invade Iraq…

Wait that was the other guy.

Though there is no one defining photo-op of Sam Sullivan’s time as Mayor, no pile of rubble for him to pose atop or banner to pose under, there have been moments that have come close.  Accepting the Olympic flag on behalf of Vancouver in Torino, a clear symbol of the diverse and accepting makeup of our city was probably the high point.  It can’t be easy to be sandwiched in between a Mayor who had a television franchise based off his life, and a fruit juice magnet.

But yet there’s on indelible image I think that all Vancouverites are going to have of Sam Sullivan’s time in office.  One thing we’re all going to remember him for.

Roll clip.


Best election ad ever?


This is by no means an endorsement, but this could very well be my favorite campaign advert ever.

Viva la revolucion!

Your revolution

If you aren’t doing anything tonight, there’s a “Celebration” of the Cuban Revolution at Trout Lake, meeting up at the beach concession stand.

The dark priests of the Fraser Institute

There is no doubt that if you’ve read enough of the news you’ve seen a story quoting the Fraser Institute, especially if you’ve loitered in the financial section for a few minutes.  Each time the government makes a move, there’s the Fraser Institute vying for attention and their piece of the media spotlight.  They know how to craft a press release, and they do it so well that the press print them with glee.

Who needs to do work when someone at an Institute is doing it for you?

So who makes up the Fraser Institute?  It sounds official, comforting, soothing.  The Fraser Institute.  Repeat it, you imagine a sterile lab with technicians in lab coats guiding the economy with a steady hand.  Professionals.

If you’ve ever met one of them, say at a key party or a cockfight, you’d lose that trust you might have in them because of the prestigious stationary.

Look into their eyes, they’re deep black and at the right angel they twinkle.  Deep and dark that shinning light is a dying star being sucked into a black hole, the last light that escaped the gravity well; the Cyngus did not escape, there’s little hope that the Palomino will manage.

They are true believers, and come at you with a ferocity that only the really faithful can muster.  In a social situation while others just want to hang out near the shrimp cocktail, they’re out there like sharks ready to spread the gospel.  Their god is the invisible hand, and Adam Smith is their Petrus.

You might find yourself agreeing with their liberal outlook on marijuana, they want to legalize it, and then next thing you know you’re staring into their eyes lost agreeing that yes we sure as hell don’t need such a high minimum wage.  Regulating tobacco?  Jesus, what sort of monsters wouldn’t want to be giving cigarettes to six year olds?

Health care?  Who needs it?  Once we’ve gotten the kids hooked on cigarettes they certainly won’t need it for long.

It’s survival of the fittest my friends.

Don’t worry though, they’re professionals.  Comforting.  And they know how to craft a damn fine press release.

How the Hippies shaped Vancouver

Via David Drucker [lm]:


I knew Vancouver had it’s own fling with ’60s hippiness, and clearly we’re one of the most left-coast of the lefty cities on the continent even today, but I was completely ignorant of how much the ’60s and in fact a great influx of hippies had on the development of the city. From the fact that we don’t have a big freeway slashing its way through the heart of the city, to the formation of Greenpeace and even Vancouver’s current political believes all can be traced back to the Summer(s) of Love.

David Drucker found the video above on YouTube from Evening Magazine, a Seattle magazine style show, that demonstrates just how much the hippies shaped Vancouver.

It does seem quite jolly in the clip, but my uncle moved to Vancouver from Edmonton during this period of time and after getting further into a developing drug habit vanished forever. So while it turned out alright in for the city, it wasn’t without a few casualties. I also wonder how much of Vancouver current issue with IV drug abuse began to first develop during this period. Having grown up in the interior I know that the solution to most problems with the homeless, or drug users, is to just ship them to Vancouver.

Also I love how the narrator in the video says Kitsilano.

Piccadilly Pub and Hotel

The Sun has extensive coverage this morning of the Piccadilly Pub and Hotel on Pender Street. This is one of a number of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels which seemed likely to be lost for their current purpose as the greater rewards of the Olympics loom.

The owner blames a company he leased the hotel to, and the occupants.

Buying the hotel wasn’t done to “satisfy his penchant for charitable work or for helping the most unfortunate,” but as a business decision

And therein lies the cause. Our various levels of government have almost given up on social housing, and those wth a combination of mental health and addiction problems. In fact the mental illnesses are as much cause and effect of “self medication” for people who should probably be in resident care. But the resources for the mentally ill were lost when the psychiatric institutions were closed and not replaced with adequate care in the community.

The City through its bylaws tries to ensure safe and affordable housing – but clearly this policy has failed dismally as the province has been buying up SROs in an attempt to provide basic accommodation. But as the recent count of the homeless showed, there is not nearly enough. And just providing a room at a rate barely covered by social assistance is hardly an adequate response to the problems that are region wide but tend to be concentrated in downtown.

It has been a strange week in Vancouver


and I don’t just mean the weather. Quite unexpectedly, after an overcrowded protest meeting in Pitt Meadows, BC Environment Minister Barry Penner announced that there would be no transmission lines in Pinecone Burke Provincial Park. This put paid to a series of proposed run of the river hydro projects on the Upper Pitt river, and was widely applauded, except, of course, by its proponent. But if you thought that might indicate a change of direction in Victoria, you would be wrong. Equally controversial, and almost as unpopular was the province’s decision to use park land to settle an aboriginal land claim. Though this was a regional park and not a provincial park, the Metro Vancouver directors were not pleased to learn that they could do nothing. And not because the use of park land seemed to violate an earlier promise by the premier (we have all given up expecting him to keep his word) but the absence of any compensation.

We also learned this week that the Ministry of Transportation has responded to all those comments on the Environmental Assessment of the Port Mann twinning Highway #1 expansion. They did that in December, but kept quiet about it. No doubt because they had actually not responded at all, simply repeated stuff from the original submission. But the whole premise of the Gateway now seems to be in doubt as the US economy has tipped into recession, and railways, truckers and ports are all reporting a decline trade. Not in BC of course. In the US – whose trade we were supposed to be taking a bigger share of in the future. I don’t think so, Kevin

Vancouver streets not just for hotdogs

Japa Dog!, originally uploaded by ajkinik.

From the Ceeb [cbc]:

Vancouver City Councilor Heather Deal says that we need more than hotdog carts on our city streets. So while we have one of North America’s best hotdog carts in Japa Dog, what other sorts of food would you like to see? Deal seems to think we’re all lusting for fresh fruit and veggies.

I’d like to see preogies myself.

Curious doings in the far, far, far left of local politics

From the fringes of activism, way over there on the barricades manned (however sparsely) by MAWO while they publish this paper comes a treat of a story.

In his resignation from these organizations, one Ivan Drury gives an entertaining account of life in the leftmost lane. Credit card fraud! 3-hour meetings to confront petty bourgeois tendencies! Stolen email! Assault!

It’s a sad tale, especially when Ivan explains that the active core of this revolutionary group numbers about fifteen members. My favorite part was the accompanying diagram (bottom of the post) which shows the rather complex structure (13 organizations?) this revolutionary cadre has constructed.

But as a peek into the inner workings of one of the more, ah, colorful subcultures of Vancouver life? It’s priceless.

Update: Terry Glavin is all over this, and includes some bemusing links between MAWO-set and the NDP.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.