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.