Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

World reaction to the news of Benazir Bhutto’s murder

Bhutto assassinated….

Originally uploaded by Mig_R.

Metroblogging Islamabad [mbi] & [mbi]:

We never thought 2007 will say its final goodbyes on this note. On and off, I & many other bloggers shared our thoughts on the suicide bombings and massive killings. The prominent figures were never hurt and commoners lost their precious lives to such attacks. Today was an altogether different case though. We liked her or not, that’s an altogether different rant, Benazir Bhutto was a prominent and influential lady. The two times PM of pakistan is no more. Seems like legacy of Kennedy family has shown its face in Pakistan. May Allah bless her and the many others who have lost their precious lives.

Metroblogging Karachi [mbk]:

It is without doubt that an entire nation actually sheds a tear on the death of Benazir Bhutto, she was a hero to many, and rival to others, but the bottom line is that she was a brave leader of our nation and her struggles for democracy will not go unremembered. May Her Soul Rest in Peace.

Metroblogging Lahore [mbl]:

On the evening of 27th December 2007, Ms Benazir Bhutto died due to injuries sustained in a suicide bomb attack on her life. I feel like repeating this to actually believe it. I feel that almost everything within the Pakistani political makeup will change. There is already incident reports of people ransacking offices of political officials, of protestors burning vehicles and the subsequent sense of fear that things will turn for the worse. I, unfortunately, also feel that the same unjust rule, the same all-consuming lust for power, the same indifference that seems to be root cause of everything evil and the same ‘wheeling and dealing’ associated with the politicians of today will continue unabated.

Sam Sullivan’s kinda a tool isn’t he?

I always enjoy it when politicians take a page from Stephen Colbert, and so a recent survey on Mayor Sam Sullivan’s webpage tickled my fancy [ms] because it nicely follows Colbert’s often asked question “George W. Bush great President or greatest President?”.

Sample question on the survey:

Why do you support the Millennium Line completion? Check any that apply

To protect the environment by increasing transit ridership

Improve access to UBC

Increase access to health services at in and around Vancouver Hospital

Increase access to central Broadway business district

Increase access to connecting transit routes


In the spirit of the Mayor’s survey we’ve got one of our own:

Mayor Sam Sullivan is: (Check all that apply)

Vancouver’s worst mayor

Canada’s worst mayor

The strike rolls on and on

And on.

What seemed like a break in at least part of the strike ended up more a hollow victory than anything. The city’s inside workers returned to their jobs yesterday as their union decided to accept the city’s offer [cbc]. Except not at all locations, because anywhere that inside workers worked alongside outside workers is still a picket zone, and the inside workers will not cross the picket line. Which means that we continue to be screwed, and will continue to be screwed for the foreseeable future.

If this doesn’t end soon the city’s bloggers are going to run out of material.

Actually that’s already happening, the strike has gone on so long that the Vancouver blogging scene’s starting to recycle comedic material from other blogs. Maybe it was natural that using an animal related to the piles of garbage would be comedic fodder for personification, but now that Beyond Robson is using that shtick it’s hard not to conclude it’s jumped the shark.

From Metroblogging Vancouver September 17th:

“I hate to say it, but I think the Mayor has fallen under the influence of the powerful Fruit Fly Lobby.”

Later we revisited the joke at the start of October, in time for Beyond Robson to pick it up and run with it, substituting rats for fruit flies.

From Beyond Robson October 9th:

“Meanwhile the rats have set up blogs to try to influence the vote.”

They’ve gone back to that well a few times since then. At least recycling cuts down on the waste.

Strike one out, two strikes remain

Dog and dog
So with one CUPE local ratifying, one CUPE local rejecting, and one CUPE local not ratifying enough, the strike is beginning to be less like a natural disaster (garbage everywhere) and more like a weather report (partly strike-y).

Being a dumb meatbag who would rather play Nintendo and teach my dog to not bark so much, maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention (I mean, what the heck, I live in the suburbs; I can’t smell the problem from here), but I have a few questions about the current state of the strike…

What if Mulroney came to town, would we care?

Apparently not, at least not if the Mulroney is Brian and not Ben. Walking past the Chapters on Robson street while on my way to the They Might Be Giants show (more on that in future post), I spotted this sign in the window. Glancing at my watch I noticed that it was in fact the exact time the former Prime Minister of Canada was supposed to be speaking about his autobiography in that very store.

Let me tell you, the release of Harry Potter books gets more of a crowd than Mulroney because the store was dead. In fact if it’s possible he was actually repelling people because I’ve never actually seen the store that slow.

Is it just that Mulroney is the least sexy of the Prime Ministers? I’d like to think Jean Chr√©tien would have gotten a turn out. Maybe not Paul Martin, but like Kim Campbell we can’t really count him because he was just the chump left in charge until someone better came along. Al Gore comes to town and the former American Vice President and current coy Presidential non-Candidate is treated like a king. Meanwhile Mulroney draws less of a crowd than Sarah Vowell.

Maybe they should have made it clear that he was not going to sing.


This is in your home right now, isn’t it?

Fruit Fly Bubble Blower

Originally uploaded by mplonsky.

With garbage collection stalled and private garbage collection companies starting to refuse to collect garbage themselves because of long wait times at the dump, we’re quickly becoming a city that stores its garbage inside, or possibly out back in the shed for those of us who have sheds.

Though we haven’t gotten around to bringing back the Black Death, we have really given a career boost to the hard working fruit fly. It used to be you didn’t really see too many of these guys unless you went over to that one friend’s apartment and looked in his kitchen. Now though they’re increasingly in even your clean friends’ places. At least my clean friends.

I hate to say it, but I think the Mayor has fallen under the influence of the powerful Fruit Fly Lobby. It’s the only explanation.

Strike deal on the table


Originally uploaded by VancouverGo.

Metroblogging Vancouver can exclusively reveal that there is a contract on the table between the city and the union that should end the strike. The CBC reported earlier today that the union had gone back to bargain with the city [cbc] and this is the fruits of their labour. Most of the hold up has centred around when the contract will end, with the union wanting it to end just before the Olympics (giving them the upper hand in the next round of bargaining) and the city wanting it to end after, and as such any compromise is going to centre around the period of the Olympics.

The Details of the New Contract

– the contract will extend beyond the Olympics, ending one month after the close of the 2010 Games

– all city employees will be given two extra paid days off during the Games in which they’ll have free admission to any of the events. Their shifts will be staffed by members of the Finnish Nordic Combined team [wp]

– the city of Vancouver promises to not allow live performances by Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk during a period running from one month before to one month after the Olympic Games

РThe mayor promises to put the full weight of the city behind getting Skijöring [wp] another chance as an Olympic Demonstration Sport

– The Union agrees to trade their dental plan for a free keg of beer at all of their future meetings

– City Employees will no longer have to go through the yearly Blood Trials (or cha’Dich) in order to maintain their seniority

– The idea to house Olympic athletes in the homes of City Employees to save on the costs of building the Olympic Village has been nixed. Housing British Red Coats however is still mandatory

– City Employees will no longer have to refer to the city as “Vancouver the home of the Coca-Cola 2010 Winter Olympics” while on duty, they however still do have to refer to Mayor Sam Sullivan as “Smokey” [wp]

These are of course simply the highlights. In any negotiation such as this there is a lot of give and take, and by the time the ink is dry and the press are alerted some small details here may have been changed. Keeping checking back here for more updates as we have news.

This better end damn quick

Robson Street

Originally uploaded by MrSniggs.

So it’s time for the strike. I won’t bother going into the reasons for this nonesense though nobody gets extra points for realizing that both the union and the city have managed to work the Olympics into the whole debacle. The union wants the contract to end before the 2010 Games while the city wants it to end just after the games so that we don’t have the festival of trash during the Olympics. The CBC has a good run down of the issues, and as we all suspected it’s Port Moody’s fault [cbc].

Having spent a week in Toronto during one of their city workers’ strikes I can tell you this is going to get annoying. In Toronto most businesses seemed to simply depositing bags on trash on the sidewalk curb which had a wonderful affect on the city’s aroma. I’m not sure if this was a) a protest b) because they’d already filled up the back alleys or c) because they’re poor business men, but it was really not good. I mean I’m used to Toronto smelling like urine, but that went too far.

The City of Vancouver has a plan though, they’ve released the following list of hints to enlist the citizens of Vancouver to help crush the union.

– don’t buy anything: shopping only shows the terrorists they haven’t won, to show the unions they haven’t won not getting anything you need to throw away will show them.

– eat the banana peels: also orange rinds and anything else that is technically possible to digest, because cutting down on garbage is important when we’re at war with the unions.

– build a basement or a garage: I’m so glad I didn’t have to make this one up but they city is advising “Dry garbage should be double-bagged and stored in a cool, dry place such as a basement or garage.” Fuck you if you live in an apartment or don’t have a garage or basement.

– prepare for the rats: they’re coming, probably into your house since you’re now going to be storing garbage in it. Get your shots, and adopt cats.

Again take a look at the CBC article linked at the top of the post. Some of the city’s suggestions are even richer than my fake ones. And hey even though apparently garbage collection is not an essential service, though it is a major health issue, parking tickets are.

Here’s a protest you don’t see every day Vancouver Art Gallery has been a staging ground for countless demonstrations against the evils of Western imperialism, US and Israeli militarism and Canadian participation in the the United Nations’ mission in Afghanistan.

But in all of these protests that I’ve wandered by on Robson Street, the demonstrators and their signs have always been (at best) silent on the issue of political Islam, anti-Western terrorism and the role of certain Middle Eastern states outside of Israel in promoting hatred and conflict. Meanwhile, much of the peace movement seem pretty well set in in its unspoken (well, unholy, anyway) alliance with militant Islamists. To protest our world’s most urgent conflicts in this way is akin to communicating the sound of one hand clapping – at best, nobody really knows what you’re trying to say.

Today’s protest was different.

Darfur crisis brought home

Vancouverites rallied for humanitarian intervention against the genocidal catastrophe of Sudan’s Darfur region today.

I was pleased to see such a high turnout behind the Vancouver Art Gallery – at least 150, possibly as high as 250, since some passersby came, stayed to hear a few of the speeches and left. Not exactly standing room only, but it was something. Rallies in support of Darfurians were held around the world.

Green Party Leader Adrianne Carr spoke there today, reminding Canadians that Canada has a responsbility to protect people in Darfur. “The humanitarian disaster in Darfur has its roots in the ecological disaster of climate change… The international community has an obligation to provide leadership and aid and to help find solutions.”

I also talked to some Darfurian refugees who had settled in Canada only recently. Most of their family members were not so lucky to escape the disaster. “We need aid,” one said. “People are dying. Soldiers would help. We need any help we can get.”

Act now.

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