The Two Thousand Six - Pack

This page is ringing in the New Year in Seattle with Walnut Boat, and not one to get in the way of a good time, offers up a highlight reel from the past year:

January 24

Thanks to the Mercator Projection, the NDP is a now a force to be reckoned with. Winning Skeena-Bulkley Valley, Western Arctic, AND Timmins-James Bay looks damned impressive on the electoral map - look at all that orange...

February 27

We have heard that these are Vancouver's games, BC's games, Canada's games...but will they really be that way? Are these really are 'our' games if some of us can't afford to live here while City Hall takes away social housing? Are these 'our' games when organizers refuse to reach an agreement with local building trade unions and look to cheap foreign labour instead? If the powers that be refuse to answer those kind of questions, the elections that take place before 2010 might be needed to keep Vancouver's Olympic experience from going sour.

March 9

Falcon comes off as an Idiot Manchild if he really believes that a privatized board along the lines of an airport authourity is more accountable than a board made up of elected officials from across the Lower Mainland...Unfortunately, democracy doesn't serve Falcon's interest, which appears to be putting as many shiny cars on the road as possible, with no one having to pay the true environmental and social costs of driving them. Perhaps its time to tell little Kevin to stop throwing tantrums, take away his Hot Wheels set, and give him a serious time out.

April 27

In declaring his candidacy to lead the federal Liberals, Bob Rae claims that he left the NDP because the party had become "too ideological" for him. It appears that Mr. Rae hasn't clued into the fact that everything in politics is ideological. However, he may have also stopped going to church because he thought it was too religious, and perhaps he cancelled his gym membership because he feels exercise is too physical.

May 15

"Renaissance?" "Inspiration?" "Celebration?" BC Ferries is supposed to be the maritime extension of this province's highway system, not a f**king cruise ship line. Does anyone remember when the ferries were actually named after places in BRITISH COLUMBIA? This name-the-ferries competition is little more than a distraction from the fact that BC shipbuilders were shut out of the bidding process to build these ships. Built in Germany, named in BC - there's a postive economic impact.

June 19

Over 6,000 delegates are attending the World Urban Forum in Vancouver this week. To those of you who came to this city in the hope of finding examples from Vancouver of how to make your cities more sustainable, this page offers a sincere apology and certainly shares in your disappointment.

July 24

Despite the corresponding Air Quality warning from the GVRD, at no time was it ever suggested on TV, radio, or in the papers over the past few days by anyone that it would be a good idea to PUT DOWN THE CAR KEYS and walk, bicycle, or take transit if one needed to go anywhere. Did it ever occur to anyone that the cars' exhaust, congestion, and heat rage turning into road rage make an uncomfortable situation way more uncomfortable?

August 11

The ban of liquid items in carry-on baggage is not about making passengers safer, it's about to intimidating passengers to make governments look like they're in control. They can't stop the Iraqi insurgency, they can't shut down Al-Qaida, but they can make you take off your shoes, have people go through your belongings, and frisk you with an electronic wand. If you can think of any other place where people submit to this kind of activity, you're probably reading this while wearing a jumpsuit with a number on it...or a raincoat.

September 15

Unfortunately for yesterday's victims, their families, and all Canadians, Harper's promise of "more effective legislation" is no different than calling a token hundred dollars "universal child care". Harper has no policy vision beyond stealing the next election from an unsuspecting public who have yet to learn that catch phrases and manipulative rebranding aren't real policy...they just don't want gun control but are too gutless to admit that to Quebec voters. Given the choice between Harper's doubletalk and Gilles Duceppe's vow to keep the federal gun registry, concerned Quebec voters may have the Bloc Quebcois pull the trigger on a future Conservative majority government.

October 5

If the state is willing to protect fanatical zealots who want to abuse public institutions to deny Canadians their rights to equality, liberty, and everything else guaranteed by the Charter, what else is the state willing to condone in defence of "religion"? Given the contradictions among Canada's religions, it would be inevitable that one religious tradition would prevail to the point of calling the shots. It must be going terribly in Afghanistan when Canada's government is sounding more like the Taliban than the Afghans are sounding like a functioning democracy.

November 28

Dear God, please let Sam Sullivan walk again so we can all feel less guilty when someone eventually beats the sh*t out of him. Vancouver gets hit by a winter storm which is most acutely felt by the city's homeless population...What's the response from Mayor Sullivan and his NPA henchmen? Increase the number of emergency shelters? Appeal to Victoria or Ottawa for assistance? No, declare war on the homeless.

December 7

I think it must be somewhere between Prometheus being bound to Mount Caucasus while having his liver repeatedly pecked and Sisyphus having to roll that rock up the hill only to see it roll it down again. Sure, Mr. Harper, the true believers may think you're some kind of king, titan, or even a god, but how much longer do you let the abuse repeat itself before you realize how much it sucks to be you?

Now it's off to a magical evening of fireworks, funny hats and corner store booze with the 206 crew. This page wishes all of my readers a very happy 2007, and unlimited visits to the Bear604 Show!


Happy Holidays

The Holiday Season began last Saturday for our Jewish brothers and sisters with the first night of Hanukkah. This festival of lights concludes this Saturday night.

Friday marks the Winter Solstice. From Dong Zhi to Yule, who can't celebrate the returning of the Sun in the darkest part of the year?

Christmas takes place on Monday and commemorates the birth of Yehoshua (later to be known as Jesus), regarded by Christians as a savior and by Muslims as a prophet.

Kwaanza begins on Tuesday - African Americans celebrate unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith - Happy 40th birthday, Kwaanza!

This page encourages you to learn more about all of these important occasions, and understand that no one has the right to tell you how to celebrate at this time of year. If none of these holidays work for you, there's always Festivus.

On December 31, all of us can gather to ring in the New Year. Be sure to drop by this page for my look back at 2006, and enjoy the fireworks...Shout-outs to RevMod Don, the Vansterdam Kid, Zirin on the Edge, Matt Good, Canadian, Little Thought, Babblers, and the delicious to my vicious, Walnut Boat. Peace.


Buy something or get out

It's less than a week until Xmas, and some of us may not have selected suitable gifts from loved, liked, or tolerated ones yet. As a public service, this page offers a few suggestions to help those who are late in the holiday gift game.

-If representatives from, say, Future Shop or Home Depot or Canadian Tire or Starbucks stopped you on the street and asked for money in donations of $25, $50, or $100, would you give it to them? No? You don't believe in giving interest-free loans to corporations? Then why the hell would you even think about buying gift cards? Wow, it's like all the fun of buying stock, with none of the returns! If you insist on giving out pseudo-money to friends and family, go with someone with a track record of giving something back to the community.

-I bought my current cell phone in 2001. It has text messaging and a web browser. The only thing I've had to replace on it is the battery charger. Also, I bought my current mp3 player three years ago, and with a few downloaded upgrades, still works fine. The moral of the story is, if you believe what talking beavers and other fuzzy little animals tell you about personal electronics, you're in serious trouble. Jimmy Stewart used to hear angels and six-foot tall rabbits, but only in movies in which he was drinking heavily: what's your excuse?

-A lot of sportswear is made in Third World countries with suspicious labour practices. If you do choose to give this kind of gift, check the label carefully and remember: a portion from every purchase of Vancouver 2010 Olympic merchandise gets put against my property taxes.

-An easy gift choice for any non-Julian or Lunar practitioner is a calendar. This page recommends Pivot Legal Society's Hope in Shadows 2007 Calendar. Downtown Eastside residents borrowed cameras and took their own pictures, proving that it's a real neighbourhood populated by real people who deserve to be treated with dignity. The folks in Point Grey also produced a calendar, but it's all BMWs, golf courses, and bad combovers.

-After the recent episodes of snowstorms, record rainfall, hurricanes and power failures, an emergency kit isn't that bad of a gift idea. Government authorities have advised people to have 72 hours of supplies to fend for themselves, which means that what you should be stockpiling is hard liquor. Over three days, it will hold out longer than beer, wine, or you.

One more thing: if you have to stop at Money Mart before you go to Wal Mart, just go home and send e-cards.


Year of the Bear

In an obvious attempt to compensate for 38 consecutive years of shoddy treatment by the mainstream media, this page has been selected as Time magazine's Person of the Year. While Time attempts to credit the award to internet users everywhere, any sensible observer realizes that, in fact, it's all about me. I would like to take this opportunity to thank me, myself, and of course, the one whom none of this would have been possible without, I.

In a related development, this page was also selected as Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year, more than likely due to my perseverance and dedication in not walking out on several of the Seattle Mariners' futile late-inning rallies during the 2006 baseball season. I would like to thank the good people at Ivar's, Uwajimaya, Kidd Valley, Sodo Pizza and Red Hook Brewery, whose products weighted me to my seat in Section 316 at Safeco Field like a boat anchor, for making this honour possible.

This page, however, should caution readers to avoid the upcoming Playmate of the Year edition of Playboy. After coming up big with Time, everyone else is following suit, and there's a reason why I don't have any photos of myself here...


May is no Rory

Elizabeth May is demanding that her Green Party be included in the next election's televised leaders debate, despite the fact that the Greens have never elected anyone to the House of Commons. While this page understands that some Canadians do support the Green Party, my respect for them as a political entity is withheld until they do the work of electing enough MPs to have official party status, rather than having that status handed to them because they held their collective breath and clicked their own web site until they turned blue.

It didn't escape my notice that former British Columbia Green Party leader Adrienne Carr stood beside May at yesterday's press conference/plea for attention, basking in her usual holier-than-thou smugness. Real progressives in BC had to put with four years of Carr's shenanigans, such as trespassing in the Speaker's corridor and assuming she could participate in Question Period without a seat in the Legislature. It didn't help that Carr was aided and abetted by a pliant pro-Liberal media corps determined to humiliate the New Democrats at every turn.

Asking people to vote online for official party status is another example of the Greens' disrespect for parliamentary tradition. In fact, Carr once argued that because the Greens received 10% of the popular vote in BC's 2001 election, they had to be included in the 2005 debates. How did the Federal Greens do back in January? 3.5%, which makes the Greens 6.5% less credible than they were last year. Strategically, they would have been better off focusing on a winnable riding or two and build the party over the next few elections. Instead, these organic anti-union right wingers, who think Corporate Canada will listen to reason on climate change, and wouldn't recognize poor people if they dropped dead in front of them, want it all, and want it right now.

Elizabeth May belongs in the Leaders Debate as much as Rory Fitzpatrick belongs in the NHL All-Star Game. At least Fitzpatrick is willing to play the rules and knows how to skate.


What if they threw an election and nobody voted?

After bestowing "Nation" status upon Quebec, Stephie Wonder returns to his Reform Party roots and announces legislation to allow Canadians to vote for their Senators. Like the "Nation" resolution, this will more than likely turn out to be more cynical pre-election posturing from the Conservatives. The proposed legislation calls on the Federal Government to appoint the winner of a Senate election in a particular province, but do all provinces want to elect the Senate that exists now, the one where Nova Scotia gets 10 Senators and British Columbia gets 6? Funny how the Conservatives bitched about the Liberals threatening to unilaterally amend the Constitution back in the day, but have no qualms about going it alone on major institutional reform when it plays well to swing voters.

If the Conservatives follow through with other legislation, i.e. the amendments to the Canada Elections Act in Bill C-31, you won't be voting for any Senators....or Members of Parliament. Stephen Harper wants you to provide two pieces of state-approved photo ID when you register to vote, so if you don't drive (and most provinces don't have an equivalent to the BCID card in this province), it will be a long, sad walk home from the polls for a lot of people: especially the ones who don't have homes to go to and used to be able to vote by statutory declaration.

Alberta-style Senate elections and Ohio-style voter suppression: Is this a great country or what?


Bell Globemedia goes overboard

This page is saddened by the disappearance of Laura Gainey, a 25 year old woman who fell off a tall ship near the Cook Islands last week. What's really sad, however, is the saturation coverage this story has received in the pages of the Globe and Mail, delivered in a manipulative, demographically-driven context that brings little comfort to anyone except Bell Globemedia shareholders. In reading the articles concerning Ms. Gainey's disappearance, the only real information this page could glean about her was that she 25 years old and she liked to sail, give or take some factoids about tall ships and the challenge of sailing of them in rough waters to this day.

Most of what I read, however, centered around Laura Gainey's father, Bob Gainey. Bob Gainey was an all-star left winger for the Montreal Canadiens during the 1970's and currently serves as the club's General Manager. Of course, if you're a baby boomer and a hockey fan, you already know that. You should also know that thanks to this country's sorry lack of regulation concerning concentration of media ownership, Bell is using your sentiment about this accident to further the corporations CTV and TSN properties.

This is the really sad part: Laura Gainey's disappearance is only newsworthy because of her familial association with the National Hockey League. Bell Globemedia is in a bidding war with the CBC for national television rights to the National Hockey League, and is eager to supplant the longtime home of Hockey Night in Canada. In the next few days, the Globe's op-ed pages (and the intermission show during the NHL on TSN broadcast) will wax sophomoric about how Gainey's loss is a shared tragedy, and how much hockey and the people who play it equate to royalty in Canada. In turn, Bell Globemedia's negotiators will be able to show Gary Bettman and the NHL Board of Governors how deeply it cares about the game and the people around it.

Too bad none of the women who disappeared in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside over the past couple of years weren't related to any NHL personalities. Maybe someone would have noticed their disappearance sooner....


Why Santa flies charter

And we thought Muslims were the major threat to America's airports: last weekend atheists seized control of a major American airport and held it for three days. On Friday, officials the Seattle-Tacoma Airport removed the Christmas Trees from the terminal after receiving complaints from a local Rabbi, only to put the trees back three days later. For those of you scoring at home, Rabbi Bolgimilsky never wanted the trees taken away, he just wanted a Menorah so that the Jewish peoples of Puget Sound and visitors to the area would feel included in the airport's recognition of the holiday season. By this logic, you could go to Sea-Tac, ask for an upgrade on your flight to First Class, and instead they rip up everyone's boarding pass.

The bad news is that Rabbi Bolgimilsky and the Jewish community will be pegged by the Bill O'Reilly's of the world as enemy combatants in the "War on Christmas" (c) Fox News, which is idiotic given that Seattle-area Jews are probably among the world's most open-minded and tolerant. In fact (and this really happened), this page attended a Seattle Mariners game back in August which was billed as "Jewish Community Day". Which prominent Washington Jew got to throw out the ceremonial first pitch? None of them, it was James Cavaziel, whose only claim to fame is starring in Mel Gibson's Anti-Semitic rant, The Passion of the Christ.

That marketing faux pas never made the Seattle Times or Post-Intelligencer, so why does the Terminal Clearcut rate such a big deal? As the song says, It's the most wonderful time of the year...to be sucked in by the psychotic seasonal vortex of political correctness and fundamentalist backlash. "Happy Holidays" is not an abominination: "Happy Holidays" includes Christmas, Hanuakkah, Kwaanza, New Years, and in some years, Ramadan (oh, and Boxing Day in Canada). Come on America, how can a country with a hundred brands of beer in the liqour aisle at Fred Meyer not grasp the basic concepts of inclusiveness and diversity?


Always bet on black my....

So....Wesley Snipes can beat up hijackers, vampires, and futuristic cops, but when push comes to shove, the big action movie hero can't take a beat down from the IRS.

Wuss. Pay your taxes. Willie Nelson could kick your ass.


Geek Tragedy

According to a number of observers, Stephen Harper is not the same kind of mouth-breathing troglodyte social conservative that most of his party's supporters are. If such is the case, this page wonders how he must be feeling about bringing Same Sex marriage up for yet another vote in the House of Commons. Unless the Prime Minister is that deluded, he knows the motion to "restore the traditional definition of marriage" will fail miserably. At the same time he feels compelled to play to the Conservatives hate-mongering base, which in turn alienates an electoral centre that just wants to move on.

I think it must be somewhere between Prometheus being bound to Mount Caucasus while having his liver repeatedly pecked and Sisyphus having to roll that rock up the hill only to see it roll it down again. Sure, Mr. Harper, the true believers may think you're some kind of king, titan, or even a god, but how much longer do you let the abuse repeat itself before you realize how much it sucks to be you?


Le 6 Decembre, 1989

Geneviève Bergeron
Hélène Colgan
Nathalie Croteau
Barbara Daigneault
Anne-Marie Edward
Maud Haviernick
Maryse Laganière
Maryse Leclair
Anne-Marie Lemay
Sonia Pelletier
Michèle Richard
Annie St-Arneault
Annie Turcotte
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz

Nous nous rappelons vous, et ce qui s'est produit ce jour.


The next big thing will kill us all!

Since Lyndon Johnson's 'War on Poverty' in the 1960's, America has fought more than a few wars against intangible enemies with very intangible results. The War on Drugs didn't really work out so well for the Reagan Administration, no matter how many times Nancy told us to "Just say no". The Bush White House continues to struggle miserably with the War on Terror, trying to ship as much of it as possible to the Middle East where annoying obstacles like the Constitution don't exist. Is there an abstract enemy out there that can rally Americans and continue to generate returns for Boeing, Halliburton and Johnson Controls? Yes, there is: Killer Asteroids from Outer Space, or as you'll soon know them, KAOS!

Already, some scientists are studying the possibility of a War on KAOS. These experts may not believe that the problem of giant rocks smashing into the Earth is best handled by maximum ordinance and extreme prejudice, but it shouldn't take long before a little political and media spin gets the public to demand that America nukes these rocks back where they came from. Everyone would be watching the skies and tuned to the latest "KAOS" alerts. Flags would fly in every window as if the Stars and Stripes could protect Americans the same way they saved the country from Al-Qaida after 9/11. Karl Rove could get his groove back, and a new Republican President could warn other world leaders in his State of Union address that "You're either with us, or you're with the Asteroids".


NDP: New Dion Paradox

This page needs to think about putting his money where his mouth his more often: if I had tied Dion on the final ballot to the Seahawks over the Broncos by a field goal, I'd be doing a lot better Xmas shopping this week. Despite my distaste for the Liberal Party of Canada, I did watch the convention as it was pretty good TV, in much the same way I enjoy a good Maple Leafs-Canadiens tilt even though I root for the Vancouver Canucks. Obviously the "play of the game" was the Dion-Kennedy give-and-go before the ballots were even counted, with an honourable to mention to Bob Rae letting his delegates fall where they may.

For New Democrats, the Dion leadership means the distinct and paradoxical possibility of diminishing returns, yet better results. Unlike Paul Martin, the new Liberal leader has the capacity to squeeze NDP votes without the fear mongering. For one, Stephen Harper is already Prime Minister, and two, Dion comes off as someone above the fray, and Elizabeth May dies a little inside every time he says "Kyoto" and "Sustainability" . Jack Layton may look to cut a deal for all the right reasons, but to casual and uniformed voters after two elections, he might look too much like a politician. However, if federalist Quebec voters swing back to the Liberals, the minority pendulum could swing leftward once again, and the NDP could find someone at the table willing to talk to them, even if they've lost a few seats around it.

Of course, it always helps to start off by saying something nice....


Snow Excuse, Skytrain fascists

The bad weather this week does not let Translink off the hook for seriously bad judgment with Skytrain operations. Some of the bad judgment dates back a few years with the design of the Mark II Skytrain cars, which unlike their Mark I predecessors, concentrate the handrails at the doors of each car, making boarding and disembarking at each station look like the BC Lions' goal-line stand that won them the Grey Cup. If passengers could hang on safely, they could move further into the train, more people could ride, and fewer would have been left out in the cold.

Of greater concern to this page is Translink Police pulling Bryce Westerhof off the Skytrain and ticketing him while his wife was in labour. Westerhof may have erred in judgment in moving between Skytrain cars, but treating him like a criminal rather than a frustrated commuter in an emergency situation is a despicable act. Back in the day Westerhof would have been taken to his wife by sympathetic officers in a taxi or even a patrol car, rather than be slapped down by the heavy-handed, zero tolerance, 'broken windows' bullsh*t being imposed by right-wing municipal governments like Sam Sullivan and the NPA in Vancouver.

Note to Translink for the next winter storm: The Skytrain cars are machines. The people inside are human beings: treat them as such.


If I did it...

The title of today's post should illustrate with how much disgust this page reacts to any association with the Liberal Party of Canada, who will be picking a new leader in Montreal this weekend. Liberals like to believe they're progressive while voting against a federal anti-scab law. Liberals touted their commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and did nothing to back it up. Liberals claimed to oppose the Bush administration's misadventures in Iraq, but freed up American troops for deployment in Iraq by having Canadian soldiers take their place in Afghanistan. Liberals claim to support same-sex marriage, yet dozens of their own caucus goosestep in time with Stephen Harper to subvert the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Liberals claim they're the only party who can stand up to a Conservative government, but during the 1990's, gleefully carried on with Free Trade, the Goods and Services Tax, privatization of the CBC, Air Canada, and VIA Rail, while at the same time cutting important federal programs to make Paul Martin look heroic.

Of the four candidates with the best chance to win in Montreal, none of them appear capable or worthy of leading the Liberals to a majority in the next election, which should be early in 2007. If this page did have to choose among the four, my choice would be for the candidate who at least comes the closest to being able to reach that goal, Stephane Dion. Observers have only recently treated Dion as a potential winner, largely due to the fact that he's an abrasive policy wonk with bad English, and his staunch federalism vilifies him in his home province of Quebec. The last time the Liberals had a leader like that, the best he could do was lead the party to three straight majorities.


Alberta sinks even further to the right

Just when you thought Alberta politics may be returning to common sense after their home team (Stephen Harper and the Conservatives) won the last federal election, University of Calgary professor/right wing nutbar Ted Morton gathers the support fo enough angry white men still traumatized by the National Energy Program and Same Sex Marriages to get within striking distance of the Premier's office.

Morton's strength has caught a few observers off guard, including this page's Alberta correspondent, Don from Revolutionary Moderation. Many had predicted a much better result for Jim Dinning, whose organization and endorsements easily outstripped the other front-runners. While Don believes a Morton victory might be a long-term boost to the remnants of a left wing in Alberta, this page believes that Premier Morton will cement our eastern neighbours as the Alabama of the North and threaten national unity more than having to stay after school and write out "Quebec is a Nation" 500 hundred times. Any and all true progressives in Alberta are invited to contact this page about relocation opportunities to the more comfortable political climate of British Columbia.

This page had the opportunity to study in the Political Science department at the University of Calgary, so I know the effect that Morton had on people like Ezra Levant, Jason Kenney, and the Prime Minister. Imagine that effect on an Alberta Tory machine that permeates every aspect of public life. Morton can seal the deal this weekend if he continues to play to the contrarian ignorance of rural Albertans, blames the province's pseudo-problems on "the east", and keeps up the arrogant tough-guy posturing. If this page wasn't glad I left the Redneck Republic of Alberta years ago, I certainly am now.


A prayer for the Mayor

Dear God, please let Sam Sullivan walk again so we can all feel less guilty when someone eventually beats the sh*t out of him. Vancouver gets hit by a winter storm which is most acutely felt by the city's homeless population. A few hundred extra beds may be available, but Vancouver's homeless number in the thousands. What's the response from Mayor Sullivan and his NPA henchmen? Increase the number of emergency shelters? Appeal to Victoria or Ottawa for assistance? No, declare war on the homeless.

How sick is 'Project Civil City'? Sullivan wants Federal Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day on the "Civil City Leadership Council". For those of you scoring at home, that's the same Stockwell Day who as an Alberta Cabinet Minister, thought that "honourable" prisoners should go ahead and "take care" of sex offenders among Alberta's prison population. By this reasoning, City Hall could rake in oodles of revenue from selling Bumfights videos as the "good" homeless lay the smackdown on the "bad" homeless.

'Project Civil City' is nothing more than a shameless rewarming of Lorne Mayencourt's Safe Streets Act, right down to the definition of 'aggressive' panhandling to try and avoid The Charter of Rights and Supreme Court of Canada rulings which legalized panhandling. All of the fascist intimidation and police crackdown tactics prescribed by Sullivan are intended to 'clean up the streets' before the 2010 Olympics. It's funny, but Jim Green also had a plan to clean up the streets too, but it involved harm reduction for addicts and social housing, not a blitzkreig of the Downtown Eastside. Green leveraged his support of the Olympics to get something for the people most in need, but Sullivan, the NPA, and their good friend JAMES Green stole the 2005 election to ensure that City Hall wouldn't have to deliver.

Until an affordable home is a right that the state can and will deliver, the state has no right to attack those who can't afford a home.


Je me souviens quoi je veux souvenir

Stephen Harper recognizes Quebec as a Nation within Canada. Regular readers may the find the following words shocking and deeply disturbing, but this page agrees with the Prime Minister on this one. The social, cultural, and political evolution of Quebec differs radically from the rest of Canada, and all most Quebeckers want is for someone outside of Quebec to finally smile and nod their head to that fact.

As far as the political impact is concerned, the pundits and talking heads are tripping over themselves to declare Harper's declaration as a strategic masterpiece. In reality, the resolution does little more than shoplift the box of fireworks for the Liberals' upcoming convention. When the writ is dropped again sometime in the next few months, the Conservatives will also have to recognize that most Quebeckers support the Kyoto Protocols, consider the national childcare 'program' a joke, and villify the Charest government for their misadventures in private health care. Quebec may be a nation to the Conservatives, but it may not necessarily be a friendly one.


BCNDP should tune in to APC

This page is baffled that after the cancellation of the Fall session of the legislautre, when there are ample opportunities to connect with communities and build her party, BC New Democrat Leader Carole James would take off on a business-sponsored junket in Taiwan? The NDP has been holding community conferences around the province, but there's a huge difference between a talking shop for true believers and getting in the Liberals' face, even if it is outside the legislature and on the streets.

This activity shows how wrong James' 'congenial' approach can be, especially when it comes to addressing issues like health care and affordable housing. If we had centre-left politicians that were actually doing the job in holding our fascist overlords accountable, would we be witness to scenes like the dustup at Library Square between Vancouver budget planners and the Anti-Poverty Committee? The anger and resentment at all levels of government is getting worse, and if Opposition politicians aren't tuned into it and channelling the frustration into positive change, will Radical Islamic terrorism really be the major security issue at the 2010 Winter Olympics?

Hopefully James has a sizeable antenna, because the excitement of the streets of Taipei is a long way from the growing unrest on the streets of Vancouver.


The Hypocrisy of Respect

The House of Commons has unanimously approved an NDP motion to grant a state funeral to the last surviving First World War veteran. This page considers it an appropriate measure to commemorate a defining moment in Canadian history and hopefully, Percy Wilson (Age 105), Lloyd Clement (Age 106), and John Babcock (also 106) don't mind Ottawa telling them that their days are numbered.

Conservative MPs didn't seem to have a problem voting for the Dominion Institute's proposal to honour the Canadian sacrifice in Europe 90 years ago. However, when the government stopped the practice of lowering the Parliament Hill flag to half mast to honour the fallen in Afghanistan, it showed that the Tories have a real problem with honouring Canadian sacrifice in this day and age, for fear it may raise questions as to why the sacrifice is made. Here's hoping that when these three distinguished veterans do pass away, the Prime Minister at the state funeral is one that pays his or her respects because he or she actually means it, unlike Stephen Harper who only does so because it's politically convenient.


Army wins Grey Cup?

The British Columbia Lions won the 94th Grey Cup yesterday in Winnipeg, defeating the Montreal Alouettes 25 to 14. The game was marked by a tight defensive struggle, Paul McCallum's record-tying 6 field goals, a spirited halftime performance by Nelly Furtado, and the largest military deployment in Grey Cup history.

The Canadian Armed Forces were a noticeable presence during Grey Cup week as they wrapped up their year-long 'Operation Connection'. While the military claims the operation isn't necessarily a recruiting campaign, this page considers it a stroke of genius on their part to stake out a position between the beer tent and the cheerleader autographs tent: Now that's taking advantage of people who aren't thinking clearly. Of course it's all about recruiting, why does the military need to promote itself? Is there a competing Canadian military, some sort of WestJet military? Call me unpatriotic, but this page doesn't see any use in promoting the military beyond recruiting: some of us stroll by City Hall, see the Maple Leaf flag flying from the roof and assume that the military are doing their job.

Strangely enough, with all the jet fighter fly-bys and players posting for photo-ops on top of tanks, nobody mentioned the 'A-word'. In fact, CBC Sports declined the requisite look-in at our troops in Kandahar. Even more strangely, the MVP in yesterday's game was Lions' quarterback Dave Dickenson, who is the son of anti-war activist and Montana State Legislator Sue Dickenson (D - MT District #25). If Rick Hillier and Stephen Harper aren't noticing that Americans are sick of Bush's phony wars to the point that Democrats can take control of Montana, putting Canada on the same kind of militaristic cultural footing isn't making much of a connection.


Boiling Point

This week's heavy rains have overloaded Vancouver's water treatment plants, leading to an unprecedented Boil Water Advisory from the GVRD. The immediate reaction of this page is gratitude that CUPE BC shut down the free-market pirate nutbars who wanted to privatize water treatment in Vancouver a few years ago. The subsequent reaction is curiosity as to whether or not any of our Conservative overlords know that this situation might have just a little bit to do with global warming and climate change.

As many regular visitors are aware, this page relishes in the telling of others what to do. In the wake of this public hazard/inconvenience, here are my tips to avoid e coli, cryptosporidium, and all the other nasties which have yet to be flushed from the mains:

-Try to limit your hoarding of bottled water. There's a reason why it's a BOIL water advisory and not a bottled water advisory. Thousands of British Columbians are still without power, and can't boil their own water, so they need the bottled water more than you.

-Bottled water is treated water is a plastic bottle. Party ice is treated water frozen in a plastic bag. A visit to the nearby convenience store this morning saw the shelves emptied of bottled water, but the cooler was still full of the solid water.

-Football fans: beware of cheap draft beer specials on Grey Cup Sunday. If it's watered down, it's watered down with parasites. Hung over is one thing, infected is another.

-It's raining: the stuff falling from the sky is safer than the stuff coming out of the taps, and it's free. Instead of succumbing to the pseudo-panic in the bottled water aisle, pick up a barrel and an extra kettle.

This page realizes that this situation could go on for weeks, and that many people are too lazy to look after themselves and prefer to buy their way out of trouble. I predict that sometime before Xmas, someone in the Lower Mainland gets to see the value in fluid ounces of a Playstation 3.


Lucky Break

More commotion yesterday in this page's neighbourhood than the World Cup or the Parade of Lost Souls: a four-storey building frame came crashing down on Commercial Drive. Fortunately, none of the 15 members of the construction crew were near the collapse as they were on their coffee break. Worksafe BC is investigating.

This page posts this story as a public service to anyone being told how things like paid breaks, vacations, or occupational health and safety need to be rolled back to generate "competitiveness" and "productivity". My research illustrates that workers who are happy, and still alive, are more productive than those who are not.


Grin and Borat

This page returns from a few days off, which included seeing Sascha Baron Cohen's subversive opus, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazahkstan. Since the film opened to packed cinemas across North America last weekend, the wire has buzzed with accounts of practically everyone who appeared in the movie suing Cohen for being played for intolerant buffoons. To the cinematically wronged would-be plaintiffs, this page has a few thoughts for you to mull over before signing that affidavit:

-You signed a contract. Obviously a manipulatively worded contract, but nonetheless a contract. Cohen must know what he's doing, otherwise Da Ali G Show would never have aired in North America.

-This brand of undercover journalism has been coverd by the First Amendment for decades, from John Howard Griffin's Black Like Me to Tyra Banks' Fat Like Me. If the frat boys successfully sue Cohen because he caught their vino veritas tirades of racism and misogyny on camera, what happens to the Daily Show? Is Michael Moore reduced to Canadian Bacon 2?

-Cohen takes down opponents with judo-like precision. The government of Kazahkstan is furious about their country's portrayal in Borat, to which Cohen deftly deflected the criticism in the Borat personna and called on Kazahkstan officials to "sue the lying Jew" (i.e. Cohen himself) who would produce such propaganda.

-Why are you suing for defamation when you should be suing for royalties? Borat could be one of the highest-grossing films this year. Why not get your cut and call your humiliation a teaching moment? I did something like that six years ago, which is why I'm one of a handful of people with a blog AND real estate in Vancouver! (SPOILER ALERT) If anyone was going to sue, I thought it would have been Pamela Anderson for the staged kidnapping attempt near the end of the film. I guess any publicity is, as Borat says, very nice.


Far From the Cenotaph

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day, and while this page recognizes the service and sacrifice of Canadian veterans and current military personnel, I will not be publicly observing the occasion.

There is an air of jingoism and manipulation surrounding this November 11 that this page finds disgusting and frightening. Watch as the Harper Conservatives try to bolster faltering public support for the mission in Afghanistan. Either the government has no idea what they're doing, or they're in denial that the real mission is to help secure oil pipeline construction from the equally reviled American occupation of Iraq. Already in the past few days, the Prime Minister has taken numerous photo ops with troops and cadets, while right wing mascot Don Cherry cheered him on during his visit to Parliament Hill.

It's obvious that Remembrance "Week" marks the kick-off of a Conservative propaganda campaign that would bring cheer to Karl Rove in his current hour of need. Cherry plans a "salute to the troops" during his Hockey Night in Canada appearance on November 11, which will no doubt slander peace activists and anyone else who isn't following along blindly. After Saturday, expect shots of soldiers in Kandahar watching the Grey Cup game, and a couple of weeks later wishing they could go home for Xmas, but they can't leave until the job is done, and as Harper keeps bleating with Goebbels-like precision, "Canadians don't cut and run". At this point the right wing noise machine will chime that only the Harpercons can accomplish this mission, and the public goes to the polls early next year feeling helpless and without a real choice.

This sense of militarist hegemony is backed up by that bastion of inebriation and intolerance, the Royal Canadian Legion. The Legion has decided that only they have the right to distribute replica poppies, and that the current round of white poppies in remembrance of civilian casualties are an abomination. This page has never had anything to do with the Legion, largely because my father (a WWII veteran) quit because they didn't want his African-Canadian friends (who were also veterans) joining him at the local branch for a beer. Correct this page if I'm wrong, but didn't Canadians sign up to fight in World War II to protect democracy, human rights, AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, or am I missing something here? In trying to suppress the white poppy campaign, the Legion looks more like the enemies they were fighting than the heroes we should be saluting on Saturday.

I also won't be going to Tim Horton's, either. Is it just me, or does anyone else have a problem with sharing a remembrance Day symbol with the Taliban's #1 cash crop?


So's Your Mother

Previously on The bear604 Show:

What a load of crap this page is!!! It sounds like some wannabe from the 'Toronto Nation.'
# posted by Anonymous : 3:57 PM

This page tends not to respond to nasty comments and hate mail, but feeling less generous than usual, I'm going to make an exception in the case of "Anonymous":

First of all, congratulations on the discovery of your ability to operate a keyboard, and recognizing that you do in fact, have opposable thumbs. Your labeling of me as a "wannabe" from "Toronto Nation", is not only woefully inaccurate, it proves my point about the rabid and vicious identity politics that colour life in Canada from politics to pro football. This page is titled The 'bear604' Show, as opposed to The 'bear416' Show for a reason. For those of you scoring at home, the lifetime experience of this page with the city of Toronto is approximately a two-hour layover at Pearson International Airport. Furthermore, I don't see how I could be part of 'Toronto Nation' when I specifically cited "Leafs Nation" as one of the pro sports cults I've grown annoyed by. It's hard to believe that someone capable of using the internet can be that geographically inept.


Donkeys smack Elephants

Last night's results in U.S. Congressional elections were more or less expected, but after three straight election nights of throwing Cheetos at the TV and choruses of "what the f**k?", the results are certainly welcome for Americans tired of Karl Rove's Republican Noise Machine. As of press time, Democrats control the House and may yet take the Senate. To those of you north of the border unfamiliar with U.S. government, it doesn't mean that the Bush Presidency is over, but it does mean it's now forced to listen or run out its remaining two years in irrelevancy.

One thing that struck this page watching the Democrats' congressional pickups roll in was the number of times the CNN talking heads referred to winners as being "social conservatives". This may not necessarily be a bad thing - Evangelical Christians may have realized that they have more political clout if they stop tying themselves to Bush's phony wars on Terror, the Environment, and the Middle Class. If these Conservative Democrats can be convinced that issues like gay marriage and stem-cell research are left to the states like the Constitution says they should be, the country can move forward from the culture wars and Congress can do something meaningful, like raise the minimum wage and establish affordable health care.

Hopefully, the Democrats won't be too eager to accommodate social conservatives, as unfortunately illustrated at Senator Maria Cantwell's (D - WA) victory party.


Saskatchewan threatens national unity?

If you aren't convinced about the folly in Michael Ignatieff's call to formally recognize a Quebec "Nation", check out the mediocy in the nation's sports pages surrounding 'Rider Nation'. The runaway consensus of the Canada's sports media is that on the current road to the Grey Cup, only one team that matters, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and that somehow the aspirations of 'Rider fans must to be accommodated for the current CFL season to be regarded as successful:

"If the Saskatchewan Roughriders can find a way out of the West Division, Winnipeg won't have a problem selling those 8,000 remaining Grey Cup tickets."
-Glen Suitor, TSN

"These playoffs will only be interesting if someone else besides the BC Lions can make an impact."
-Allan Maki, The Globe & Mail

"The league needed this."
-Chris Walby, CBC Sports, after the 'Riders victory over Calgary yesterday

Media talking heads insisting that a 'Nation' be accommodated for the good of everyone else. Where have we heard that before, and where has it led us?

The national media treated the Calgary Stampeders barring of 'Rider mascot "Gainer" the Gopher from the McMahon Stadium sidelines as a major controversy, when in fact, Gainer would have permitted to root from the stands, as opposed to being run over the Stampeders touchdown horse or a TV camera while wandering the unfamiliar sideline. After Saskatchewan's 30-21 victory yesterday, 'Rider coach Danny Barrett referred to Gainer as an integral part of 'Rider Nation'.

Never let the facts get in the way of compelling mythology: where have we heard that before?

This page is sick of 'Rider Nation', 'Leafs Nation', 'Red Sox Nation', 'Italia Nation' (World Cup '06 edition, as opposed to the actual nation of Italy) ... The point is, being a 'nation' doesn't mean you get to dictate terms to the home team (even if an inordinate number of Canada's sports media cut their teeth in Saskatchewan), it doesn't make you superior, it doesn't let you rewrite the rules of the game, and it doesn't mean you're entitled to all the attention, no matter how many of you there are or how loud you're yelling. If Canadians could be as obsessed about ideas as we are about identities, maybe this would be a 'nation' worth living in.


The Bitch List

Norman Spector was roundly criticized this week for
his use of the word "bitch" to describe Belinda Stronach during a sound off with Bill Tielmann on CKNW.

This page is somewhat taken aback at the backlash against Spector. While I seldom if ever agree with anything he says, Spector sets himself apart from the other barking dogs on the Right in that he can debate competently, shows respect to his opponents, and can tell it like he thinks it is without resorting to screaming insults. Anyone who's heard with work with Tielmann or Moe Sihota knows that. People have said worse, but because Stronach is a media darling, she gets a free ride while Spector gets his ticket punched.

Maybe Stronach is a bitch, maybe she's not, but by no means should Spector be taken off the air or out of print because he thinks she is. For those of you scoring at home, in no particular order, here's who this page happens to think is a bitch: Ann Coulter, Condeleeza Rice, Rona Ambrose, Carole Taylor, Erin Airton, Anita Bryant, Margaret Wente, Christy Clark, Barbara Amiel, Barbara Yaffe, Margaret Thatcher, REAL Women....
The Bitch List, part 2

...Colin Hansen, Lorne Mayencourt, Phil Hochelstein, Bill O'Reilly, Glen Beck, Izzy Asper, Sam Sullivan, Tony Blair, Pat Robertson, Donald Rumsfeld, Jim Flaherty, Stockwell Day....


Hail to the Bus Driver

One would think that an arbitration hearing for a school bus driver in Issaquah, WA would be an unlikely venue for a pivotal First Amendment case, but like a lot of other abuses of democracy in George Bush's America, here it is: A school bus driver was fired in June because she gave the finger to the President and the Congressman riding with the President (Dave Reichert, R-WA) tattled to her employer.

Osama Bin Laden, take notes: the Leader of the Free World (tm) is now apparently so sensitive that he can be seriously injured by an outstretched middle digit. This page thought that Bush would have been used to being flipped the bird by now, given his (lack of) approval rating and historians preparing to declare him the worst President ever. According to the Issaquah School District, that isn't the case, so an American woman continues to be denied her right to drive children to school.

1776: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal... "
2006: "Go f**k yourself, even if you are the President"


APC Tricks City Hall & Treats Homeless

Yesterday afternoon, as Vancouver City Police were preparing to deploy the bulk of its forces against junior high school students tossing firecrackers, the Anti-Poverty Committee (APC) occupied a building near City Hall . The APC's announced plan to disrupt a City Hall meeting would more than likely have put down quickly with, and this page is sure that NPA cheerleaders in the media would have condemned the activists for going after a (duplicitous cipher of mayor who happens to be a) man in a wheelchair. Instead, the APC faked out the establishment and went after a high-profile location at Broadway and Cambie at the moment when everyone thought they would settle down for a while after police broke up the North Star Hotel squat last week.

This page salutes the APC's bait-and-switch tactics and their impeccable timing. The NPA is promising a five-point plan centered around emergency shelters and their BC Liberal puppet masters are grudgingly chipping in for rental subsidies, which in the end only subsidize landlords. Not good enough on both counts. When the APC first emerged in Vancouver, this page was concerned about some of their tactics (or lack thereof), such as staging a demonstration against police brutality at VPD headquarters: Why go out and round up protestors when they're willing to deliver? As the need for real Social Housing becomes more acute in Vancouver, it's encouraging to see a stronger, smarter APC staring down this fascist Monopoly board we call a city.


Traffic Retort

This page has grown annoyed enough about this emerging fact of life in Vancouver to post it here: why is it that anyone who drives an SUV has a wealth of information about construction delays, lane closures, etc., and anyone who doesn't gets to run a perpetual obstacle course? The automotivocracy makes sure that drivers are never inconvenienced, while those of us without vehicles are annoyed, confused, and occasionally stranded by poor planning and a lack of information.

If one walks, cycles, or takes transit, be assured that construction companies, municipal authourites and the media don't give a flying f**k about you. Sidewalks and stations are closed without a reason or a completion date. Notice only goes up at the site where the work is being done, confusing and inconveniencing riders and pedestrians.

Yesterday, this page saw the entrances and exits and Granville Skytrain station closed off except for the Dunsmuir Street access. I saw a man well into his 70's totter down stairs with a cane and stumble a few times to the point where I was sure he was going to fall. There was an elevator, but nowhere did it indicate the elevator went to the Skytrain platform he was trying to reach.

This page is sick and tired of being treated like pedestrian cattle, and has a few good places where Translink can stick its uninformative copies of The Buzzer.


No news is good news for our corporate overlords

Last Wednesday, Bill C-257 passed in the House of Commons by a margin of 167 to 101. This legislation prohibits the use of SCABS (or for the fascist toadies among you, replacement workers) during labour disputes in federally regulated industries. The Canadian Labour Congress estimates about 1 in 10 Canadian workers will be subject to Bill C-257, including workers in transportation and telecommunications.

One would think that potential impact, let alone the passing of a stridently pro-labour bill in Stephen Harper's Canada would generate significant media coverage. Outside of the CLC website and discussions at Rabble.ca, this page has seen no mention of C-257 anywhere since it was passed last week. This page suspects that the more deluded among the fascists consider anti-scab legislation as a minor annoyance until the Conservatives can sweep to power with a majority government, a prospect that grows more remote by the day.

It could very well be that the media's self-imposed blackout has to do with the media, particularly CanWest Global's dominance of the daily newspaper market. This is the same cabal who had no problems with buying a tarnished Calgary Herald that used "e-scabs" to e-mail their work across picket lines. It's also the same gang that tried to break strikes at the Vancouver Sun and Victoria Times Colonist with "British Columbia" editions of the National Post. They may also be waiting until the bill approaches third reading to unleash the apocalyptic editorials about how C-257 will destroy competitiveness. Of course, the Canwest papers became less competitive once the Globe & Mail realized they could do a BC edition of their own....


Return to Sender

Canada Post believes that if a religious group in Ontario is willing to pay for them for it, delivering hate literature to people in East Vancouver is "appropriate".

Last week this page saw an interview on CNN which illustrated the preferred communications strategies of the radical and religious right wing. Direct Mail was cited as an example of one of the means so-called "Christians" can bypass the "liberal" bias in the mainstream media and speak to their supporters. Distributing this material in some of Canada's most progressive neighbourhoods is more likely to harass and intimidate people than win them over.

This page salutes the CUPW members who stood up to Canada Post's toadying to the darkest, anti-human elements of the Stephen Harper regime, and refused to deliver this garbage. This page also wants the name and address of this alleged church, as I have a sizeable whack of gay porn and Dan Savage columns to unload on them.


Scary Movie

Gabriel Range's faux-documentary Death of a President opens tomorrow. The movie draws a parallel between the events that followed September 11, 2001 with those which will take place following the assassination of George W. Bush on October 19, 2007. Right wing critics are screaming that Range has concocted little more than a liberal revenge fantasy.

For those of you scoring at home, a liberal revenge fantasy would actually look something like this: the Democrats take control of the House and the Senate. The first order of business for the new Congress is Impeaching the President for disregarding FBI intelligence prior to 9/11, staging a pre-emptive war in Iraq on false pretenses, and the manipulation of elections in 2000 and 2004, just to name a few of the Articles of Impeachment.

That's actually a good tag line for next month's blockbuster that Americans will be lining up for: On November 7, don't get mad, get even...


Corky turns a little Green

BC NDP icon and Nelson-Creston MLA Corky Evans is advocating an alliance with the Green Party.

There are a lot of New Democrats, this page included, who are skeptical about the Greens. I find the belief among many of them that capitalism will save the environment misguided to the point of threatening. Their antipathy towards the Labour movement dissolved any hope of a concentrated fightback against the Campbell Lieberals after the 2001 election. Any Green who still believes unions run the NDP need to familiarize themselves with recent changes to membership policy, particularly the fact that Dave Haggard hasn't been one for years.

Now that the Jim Harrises and Adrienne Carrs have stepped aside, there may be a window of opportunity for New Democrats to reach out to the left wing of the Green Party, and remind them that B.C.'s environment was in much better hands before 2001. Some of us preferred Forest Practices Code with a few Pine Beetles to work out rather than the Forest industry promising to regulate itself, and closed containment fish farms instead of mutant salmon in open waters.

However, when Corky mentions that Greens in his riding voted Liberal to keep him from winning, it illustrates some Greens are more interested in being on the right side of Canwest Global's anti-NDP propaganda than the right side of the issues. Only Nixon could go to China, so I guess that only Corky could go to the Greens.


Firing at Random

Is Peter MacKay going to change his position on same-sex marriage? After calling Belinda Stronach a dog in the House of Commons, I don't see how he can hope for an opposite-sex one.

Single Residency Occupancy hotels (SROs) are starting to evict tenants to attract a "better" clientele in the run-up to the 2010 Olympics. Nothing says "world-class destination" like making more homeless people.

The U.S. congressional elections take place November 6. The verdict in the Saddam Hussein trial is scheduled to come down November 5. The Bush administration captured Saddam on a Sunday, and attacked Afghanistan on a Sunday to broadcast these achievements to the huge syncophantic audience watching the NFL for maximum propaganda value. Put this page down for Saddam in the gas chamber and the Cowboys by 2 over the Redskins.

Two people who pissed me off last week: Dennis Miller and Rona Ambrose. Dennis Miller hasn't been funny since becoming a Republican stooge. The Tories environmental plan is funny, but it's by no means a ha-ha funny.

I picked either the Mets or the Yankees to be in the World Series, which shows how little I know about baseball. However, this page is considerate enough not to disturb others with my flashes of ignorance, unlike Bill Bavasi and Mike Hargrove: how many power hitting first basemen who don't have power do the Mariners need?

Watch the new Battlestar Galactica before it loses its edge.


Boxes...need more boxes...

This page is in the process of moving to a new office, so regular programming won't be seen here until next week.


The Globe & Mail: BC edition...er, PG edition...er, R...

Dear Editors - I'm a 63 year old pedophile who was teaching upper class west side high school girls out in the woods, and I never believed any of these stories were true until one day...

What happened to these women who were children at the time was bad enough, but why does The Globe and Mail's coverage of the Tom Ellison trial have to read like something out of Penthouse Forum? I think the expression "2 counts of gross indecency, three counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault" says all that needs to be said.

A picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of the Globe, it takes just a few words to paint a humiliating picture for the victims and their families. I'm sure that soon enough, the above link will require a password - most internet porn does.


That's for the courts to decide

Gordon Campbell decided he was above the law when he refused to resign after his drunk driving conviction in Hawaii. In trying to add a principle of "sustainability" to the Canada Health Act, Campbell and the Liberals are trying to put themselves not only above Federal law, but the laws of mathematics. As it's already been pointed out, the CANADA Health Act is a Federal statute, and can't be rewritten in the legislature to appease private health care con artists like Brian Day. By this reasoning, British Columbians should be able to euthanize their parents to collect their inheritance early by applying the principle of "mercy" to the Criminal Code of Canada.

Day doesn't believe the CHA should be treated "like the holy scriptures", but at the same time, is happy to join Campbell in blissfully ignoring such fundamental law as "What goes up must come down." Just like they fabricated a "structural deficit" to make the NDP look fiscally dangerous even though they balanced their last two budgets, Gordo's Goodtime Bullsh*t Factory is now claiming that health care will soon take up 71% of the BC budget. How do they figure that? Well, if Campbell drinks a martini on Monday, and a couple of martinis on Tuesday, then book the idiot for a liver transplant because Liberal Math and its principle of perpetual exponentiality dictates he will have drank 465 dozen martinis over a month. Furthermore, vermouth may end up taking up 71% of Campbell's budget, but just because he spends a lower percentage on olives, it doesn't mean he's running out of olives and he has to cut back on vermouth.

Responsible health care and fiscal policy are based on the truth, not by throwing buzzwords at federal law to see if they'll stick, and not by throwing out fiscal context to let the numbers skyrocket and serve the right wing's privatization agenda.


Do as I say.

Let's review: UN weapons inspectors proved that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction in 2003. However, the Bush Administration justified the forgoing of brutally effective economic sanctions and the invasion of oil-rich Iraq on the grounds that they did have WMD. The U.S. dismisses criticism of the invasion at the United Nations and tries to establish its own "coalition of the willing".

North Korea detonates an atomic bomb in 2006, and the first response of the Administration is to press for economic sanctions against one of the poorest countries in the world. Instead of directly confronting Kim Jong Il's regime, the U.S. looks for support at the U.N.

Hypocrisy? No, that would be Mark Foley.


Alberta woman goes blind, loses sense of smell

Environment Minister Rona Ambrose claims that the most pressing issue facing the environment isn't climate change, it's air quality. In the same breath, Ambrose also claimed that her Conservative government, with its collective head so up the a*s of the oil and gas industry that you get a Tory membership with a 25 litre fill up, will do a better job on the environment than the Liberals. If smiling and nodding while Northern Alberta becomes a giant smoking crater, heat waves in Toronto and Montreal kill people, and Vancouver homeowners get beachfront property they didn't pay for is somehow better, then this page is willing to take a chance on what would be worse.

Given that everyone from to Canada's Insurance Industry to Alberta's own Department of Agriculture have at least clued into the severity of the climate change problem, it's disturbing that Ambrose and the Conservative's don't put it at the top of the agenda. Air quality would only be the most pressing issue if one happened to be near enough to the Environment Committee Room to subjected to the toxic whiff of corporate denial and bullsh*t emanating from the Environment Minister yesterday.


God help us all...except you

Canada's Reactionary Biblicofascist Conservative government is looking to erase any notion of a separation between church and state in its proposed Defence of Religions Act. According to the draft legislation, public officials will be legally able to discriminate against other Canadians based on their particular religious "orientation".

As I am sure readers of this page, there are a multitude of religious traditions in this country, many of which are odd with each other. Many Canadians are put off by these unending conflicts and subsequently don't follow any religious tradition. The public wasn't going to abide by Ontario courts judging cases by Islamic Sharia law: Why should should right-wing Christian Fundamentalist doctrine determine who someone on the public payroll will marry in a civil ceremony, or for that matter, determine which legal procedures a doctor will perform in a public health care system ?

If the state is willing to protect fanatical zealots who want to abuse public institutions to deny Canadians their rights to equality, liberty, and everything else guaranteed by the Charter, what else is the state willing to condone in defence of "religion"? Given the contradictions among Canada's religions, it would be inevitable that one religious tradition would prevail to the point of calling the shots. It must be going terribly in Afghanistan when Canada's government is sounding more like the Taliban than the Afghans are sounding like a functioning democracy.