Void Where Prohibited

On January 1, 2009 this page will be prohibiting the use of a number of words, phrases, and expressions which I find either to be inappropriate, annoying, or banal in their overuse during 2008. As a public service, the list appears below.

Maverick - Unless you're referring to the old TV Western starring James Garner, please refrain from using this term, as John McCain's subservience to the Rethuglican Party has drained it from any real meaning.

Crackberry - Living next to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, this page has never felt it was that appropriate to liken RIM's signature personal communications device with a destructive cocaine derivative, often laced with heroin, and has destroyed the lives of many of my neighbours.

Undemocratic - The House of Commons is composed of 308 Members of Parliament, each of whom were elected by their respective constituents. Each of them swears an oath to act in the best interests of the country as they see fit. Sometimes that means forming a coalition to remove an obtuse bully from 24 Sussex. It also means no one has the right to claim 'this isn't what we voted for.'

Reality TV - If you squint through the credits of Survivor, The Bachelor or Big Brother, you'll notice that these shows have more writers than any sitcom or television drama. Who's being manipulated more, the participants on these shows or the viewers accepting them as legitimate entertainment?

Support our Troops - This page regards the men and women of our Armed Forces in high esteem and wishes that they will be safe in the performance of their duties and swiftly returned home. 'Support our Troops' is code for 'My country right or wrong' and its time to come up with another catchphrase to express my aforementioned sentiment.

The Best Place on Earth - The Province of British Columbia has the highest rate of Child Poverty in Canada, and Gordon Campbell has the gall to have ICBC to print that on our license plates. One would think the Best Place on Earth would have no Child Poverty, a livable minimum wage, and Social Housing so people have a base from which to lift themselves out of poverty.

Nation - As a sports fan, this page is tired of bandwagoning fans who root for whatever team generates the most national media attention. Root for the home team or shut up. This also goes for supporters of any national soccer team who have never set foot in (or have no family members from) that particular country.

Under the Bus - This page has nothing but sympathy for what the good people at Greyhound, Trailways, and local transit authorities have gone though over the past year, as it appeared that no politician or celebrity was spared the cruel and inhuman practice of having his or her carcass metaphorically tossed below a very large motorcoach. Enough is enough.

OMG - Anyone else tired of text messaging jargon working its way into the pop lexicon? FFS, get an actual keyboard.


Didn't get any of these either.

The Best of 604 Online Awards were handed out last week to local bloggers. This page gets mentioned peripherally around these kind of events, probably due to the fact that I'm on The Tyee's blogroll and I've made a habit of getting in the face of editorial boards. As far as I know, I didn't win anything, I wasn't nominated for anything, and that's fine.

The term 'nominated' is analogous to the term 'named', meaning that if I was ever considered for an award, I'd have to give my other name (the one I write cheques with) to the organizers, show up at the awards show, etc. Won't happen - I'm not a Miss604 or Vancouver Manifesto who wants to be a celebrity or the hub of a social network. Why do some bloggers think there's a 'community' of bloggers? There are some bloggers who I met personally I would probably punch in the face, and I'm sure they wouldn't mind taking a shot at this page either if we we were in the same room. I don't care how many hits I get as long as readers get some kind of reaction. I post because I'm reacting to something, and it's better than kicking over newspaper boxes or getting pizzas delivered to the offices of MPs, MLAs, or City Councillors who just pissed me off.

Congratulations to the winners, and excuse this page if I keep doing what I've been doing, because that's what I feel like doing. At this point I will be signing off for a seasonal hiatus and will return December 31 for some kind of year in review thing. Happy Holidays.


The Five Ring Circus Goes On Without Me

This page, despite having put in an order for 2010 Olympic tickets in early October, and is an actual, real live resident of the Olympic Host City, was denied tickets for the Games in yesterday's Priority Ticket Allocation. On a few occasions this page has asserted that VANOC is nothing more than a criminal cabal bent on soaking local taxpayers, criminalizing homelessness, trespassing on traditional aboriginal territory and serving as a propaganda vehicle for Gordon Campbell's Public Private Partnershit-addicted B.C. Lieberal administration. It appears that we now have some insult to go with our injury.

Many of you are asking 'WTF would he order tickets for the Olympics?' Short answer: I like sports, I don't blame the athletes for the strum und drang surrounding these Games, and anything I spend now means other people won't be spending it on their tax bills later.

For those of you scoring at home, I used my other name (the one Charlie Smith at the Georgia Straight is still waiting on) to order tickets, so VANOC would have no idea what I really think of them. VANOC thinks that residents of the City of Vancouver, the ones who saw their property taxes creep up and have had to endure a multitude of disruptions as the city has become a perpetual construction site thanks to deluded condomaniacal speculation, didn't deserve any priority for getting tickets, so, I guess to entrench their sucking position on the federal teat, they just opened up ticket sales to "all Canadians".

After a quick glance of a number of American-based discussion boards related to the Olympics, and the bare-faced gloating about obtaining tickets this page can update VANOC's definition of 'Canadian' to anyone who has access to a Canadian credit card number, be it an aunt, uncle, second cousin, or Facebook frenemy. Did VANOC even think of blocking IP addresses from outside Canada so that foreigners couldn't get ticket information? How about insisting on Driver's License or ID card numbers for each person that would be using tickets to guarantee citizenship, a move which could have also served the purpose of shaving a little off security costs? On top of that, how can VANOC riff about reducing their 'carbon footprint' when no real effort was made to get tickets into the hands of people with the shortest distance to travel to the Games?

VANOC pissed off the people at the margins regarding these Olympics a long time ago. Now they've pissed off the people in the middle, something which organizers of the Olympics in Calgary in 1988 were careful not to do, if only because the Internet as we know it didn't exist yet (they went to the Calgary Stampede for volunteers, not workopolis.com, and locals had first priority for tickets). These are turning out to be a soulless, globalized games in which accommodating the needs and aspirations of those who actually live in the Host City simply doesn't matter. If anyone reading this post is visiting for the 2010 Olympics, you now understand why the welcome you receive 14 months from now won't be so warm.


Holiday Bargains

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been charged with, among other things, trying to sell off the United States Senate seat formerly held by President-Elect Barack Obama. For those of you scoring at home, Senate positions which are vacated in cases like Obama's or Joe Biden's seat in Delaware are filled through appointment by the Governor of the State in which that Senate seat resides. No word has been given yet as to Blagojevich's asking price to represent Illinois in the Senate.

On another note, one Michael Ignatieff of Toronto has eschewed his Tsarist pedigree and Ivory Tower to settle for something cheaper.


The Choice of a Light Bridgade

As a result of Stephane Dion's sudden resignation and the impending non-confidence vote on the January 26 budget, the next Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada will be chosen by about 800 of its members. On the one hand, this page wishes that Grits could get their act together so that their Coalition with New Democrat MPs would actually work, on the other, the confusion and blowback is pretty much what they deserve for clinging to the archaic process of using a delegated convention to choose their leaders. Why is anybody alarmed about Dion's second-class performance as Leader of the Opposition when he was far from the Liberals' first choice in 2006? Mr. Green Shift only ended up on top thanks to the backing of Gerard Kennedy, which allowed him to split through the Rae - Ignatieff animus which still fractures the Natural Governing Party (tm).

Choosing a Leader from among the Liberals' Parliamentary Caucus would not make for the best optics. The problem for the Liberals, is that none of the other processes under consideration pass the smell test either. A riding-by-riding fistfight between Rae and Ignatieff supporters at nomination meetings while busloads of Instant Liberals are dropped off isn't going to impress the voting public. A caucus decision is also more democratic than the hybrid 'consultation' process being driven by the Party Executive to pick their interim leader. The Liberal Members of Parliament have a mandate that extends outside of the Party and into the voting public, i.e. the people you're trying to sell a Coalition government to.

The smart thing to do would be to have the Caucus pick the Leader, and drop the Convention in favour of the One Member One Vote process that the Conservatives and New Democrats use. The Liberals need a Leader now and transparency soon. Having the Executive straw poll a handful of members then designate Rae or Ignatieff as their heir apparent gives them neither.


Dog bites Man. Calgary hates Liberals.

On Saturday afternoon, approximately 2,000 people who didn't pay attention during their Grade 9 Social Studies class to understand how Parliamentary Democracy actually works rallied at Calgary's Olympic Plaza to denounce the proposed Liberal-New Democrat Coalition. Judging from the photos of the event, it appears that there were almost as many Alberta flags as there were Canadian flags. If there's one thing this page gets tired of pretty quickly, it's Calgarians who scream about the country heading for disaster whenever they're confronted with the reality that a disproportionate sentiment of petrocarbons does not, in fact, give them the right to rule the country. At least Quebec Sovereigntists want a positive relationship with the rest of Canada, Stephen Harper is on record that he thinks this country is "a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. "

This page is underwhelmed - in the spiritual home of reactionary capitalism, contempt for human rights and outright ignorance of the environmental damage inflicted by Alberta's Neofascist Petrocapitalism, the biggest show of support that the Tory puppet regime could attract, on a Saturday, is 2,000 people. Hmph. What's the matter, Brownshirt Cowtown Hotheads, are your friends and neighbours not so into Right Wing Mob Rule as you thought they were?

Unfortunately, as Harper and the Tories continue to polarize the electorate rather than actually work with the Opposition Parties on finding our way out of the current economic crisis, this page is certain we'll be hearing more from these reactionary bellicose idiots, and there is nothing more dangerous than a reactionary bellicose idiot with time on his hands. And here I thought Calgarians worked all the time whenever they weren't demonizing people in other parts of Canada who don't embrace their troglodyte Toby Keith mentality. Maybe the Prime Minister's idea of putting a Firewall around Alberta isn't such a bad one after all, if it means that Canadians will be protected from the toxic Palinesque vitriol radiating from just east of the Rockies.


Everything I Need to Know About the Parliamentry Crisis I Learned from George Lucas

This week my TV has been tuned to the 'crisis' in Parliament: the building of a coalition to defeat Stephen Harper, the Weapons of Mass Distraction unleashed by the Conservatives to discredit the Liberal/New Democrat alliance, and the subsequent prorogation so that the battle carries on in a new episode next year.

Last week, this page treated himself to the Thanksgiving Star Wars movie marathon on Spike TV, and to be honest, I don't see that big of a difference....

'Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.'
-Jedi Master Yoda

'Remember back to your early teachings. All who gain power are afraid to lose it.'
'There is no interest in the common good. There is no civility, only politics.'
'Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.'
- Chancellor/Galactic Emporer Palpatine

'You can't stop the change any more than you can stop the suns from setting.'
-Shmi Skywalker (mother of Anakin Skywalker)

'The ability to speak doesn't make you intelligent, now get out of here.'
-Jedi Master Qui-Gon Gin

'What's all this noise? A-a battle! Oh no, there's been some terrible mistake; i'm programmed for ettique, not destruction! '
-Protocol Droid C-3PO

'So this is how Liberty dies. With Thunderous applause'
- Senator Padme Amidala

'Crush them! Make them suffer'
- General Grievous

'He has control of the senate and the courts! He's too dangerous to be left alive! '
- Jedi Master Mace Windu

'I do not fear the dark side as you do! I have brought peace, freedom, security , freedom to my new Empire! '
-Sith Lord Darth Vader (formerly Anakin Skywalker)

'Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him? '
-Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi

'Your friend is quite a mercenary. I wonder if he really cares about anything…or anybody. '
-Princess Leia Organa

'You slimy, double-crossing, no-good swindler. You've got a lot of guts coming here, after what you pulled. '
-Former Cloud City Administrator Lando Calrissian

'I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further. '
-Sith Lord Darth Vader

'I'm out of it for a little while, and everybody gets delusions of grandeur. '
-Millenium Falcon Captain Han Solo

'Your overconfidence is your weakness.'
-Jedi and former Moisture Farmer Luke Skywalker

Whatever happens on January 26, you know it will be so much better with the John Williams Orchestra in the background....


What Not To Wear

Stephen Harper will meet Governor General Michaelle Jean in less than half an hour. Jean represents what's good about Canada, a woman who overcame the turmoil of growing up in Haiti and became a Vice-Regent of great intelligence and impeccable taste. Harper represents anything but.

Hopefully, the Governor General, who is always impeccably dressed for every occasion, could give a little fashion advice to the Prime Minister. What happened to the sweater vest? The bully posturing and hyper-polarization Harper currently clings to is soooo Bush Administration. Screaming about 'backroom deals with separatists' is just a little too Reform Party if someone is trying to make a positive impression with voters in Quebec.

Now Harper wants to give Prorogation a try, thinking he'll look good in a deferred Parliament. Jean should nix that idea because all it does is make the Prime Minister look desparate.


It's the most...WTF...time...of the year...

Even though America is looking forward to the all-new, all-different, all-inclusive Obama administration, the culture wars continue to drag on, particularly around the rhetorical minefield that is the Holiday Season. And for those of you scoring at home, I didn't say 'Holiday Season' when I meant 'Xmas' in some attempt to be politically correct. For this page, the season starts at Thanksgiving (the original one still practised in the U.S., not the one the Canadian government moved to October in the 50's) and ends at New Year's Day. Everything in between: Hanukkah, Xmas, Kwanzaa, Ramadan (in years when it's December), is part of that season. This page welcomes all faiths and traditions.

Including the growing tradition of faithlessness. The Freedom from Religion Foundation erected a billboard near Washington's state capitol in Olympia yesterday as a response to seasonal decorations on the legislature grounds, and to remind people that "Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

"Reason's Greetings," indeed.


Not in Our House

Today this page conducts a Social Studies class for all the Conservative sock puppets screaming bloody murder about the prospect of a Liberal - New Democrat coalition government. The topic is Representative Democracy and the Parliamentary System.

Many of you are claiming that the Dion Septuplets (x 10) have no right to strike a deal with the Jack Pack because they're not the government Canadians elected for six weeks ago. Your claim is wrong: at no time do Canadians ever elect a government, we elect a Parliament, and in a minority situation, whatever working majority can be patched together from the rival parties will rule the day. The Canwest papers can claim, as they did in front page editorials last weekend, that voters rejected Stephane Dion, but the reality is that those voters went to the polls to elect a single MP. Canwest and other media outlets can blame themselves for their political coverage which focuses almost exclusively on the Party Leaders, which gives the public the false impression of direct election for Canada's Head of Government.

Members of Parliament are bound by the Constitution to act in the best interests of their constituents. It is in the best interests of constituents that MPs stand up to a government that since obtaining its fractional October mandate, has shown nothing but contempt for electoral reform, collective bargaining, and the needs of working Canadians who have been sideswiped by the seismic global economic shift. If that means sitting side by side with the Liberals for a couple of years, so be it. If that means taking a softer line with Quebec Sovereigntists for a while, so be it. A Party whose supporters who fundamentally hate Government should not be running our government, and it's time that this band of thugs be given a time out.


Dude, where's my second term?

Outgoing Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan says that if he had been the Mayoral candidate for the so-called 'Non-Partisan' Association, the NPA could have won last Saturday's civic election.

For those of you scoring at home, when Sam Sullivan was a City Councillor, he studied the City's drug addiction problem by giving money to addicts to buy drugs and watching those addicts do drugs. Unless Sullivan had lined up a few running mates named Greg Robertson or Gregor Robinson, what happened with the leftovers from Sullivan's experiments is pretty much obvious.


No Reverand Phelps, God Hates YOU

America's leading pack of psychotic fascist troglodyte mouth-breathing hatemongering fuckwads, The Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, Kansas, is coming to Commerical Drive next week. The Havana Theatre is staging a play entitled 'The Laramie Project', based on the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, who was killed just because he was gay. Westboro Baptist picketed Shepard's funeral, and the funeral of other members of the GLBT community to remind us that they are of the opinion that 'God Hates Fags'.

If everyone was killed because they were gay, this page would be looking for a new boss, a new resident manager for my apartment, and new friends to play poker with. It's not just gays and lesbians that Westboro has a problem with, they also hate Asians "vile oriental ingrates", Roman Catholics "Deal with it, you idolatrous morons! The pope is in Hell", and Jews "the only true Jews are Christians". If these monsters had their way, Vancouver would look like something out of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, there would be no one around, and you wouldn't want to meet up with whoever's left either, kind of like a lot of cities in Europe in the early 1940's.

By no means should Fred Phelps and his band of evil, sick and twisted idiots masquerading as Christians be allowed into Canada, and Vancouver East MP Libby Davies has called Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan on it. Stockwell Day did try to stop them from picketing Tim McLean's funeral last August. Day was smart enough to put his own Conservative views aside and separate his opinions on homosexuality from the tragedy of a Greyhound Bus beheading. Unfortunately, some the Westboro members did make into Canada that time, and if Van Loan throws up his hands this time and says there's nothing that Ottawa can do, it will clearly illustrate just how beholden the Harper Conservatives are to the emerging right-wing religious fanatics on this side of the border.


Schaudenfreude ins Meer

Gordon Campbell and his B.C. Liberals fall further behind the BCNDP in an Angus Reid poll released last week. They also watched in dismay last Saturday as their municipal right-wing spear carriers were crushed in civic elections throughout the Province. Meanwhile, the Liberals' corporate cash cow may be drying up as financial markets drive down donations from the usual gang of neanderthal free enterprisers. Wow - can things get any worse for everyone's favourite trickle-down drunk driving privateer psychopath?

To paraphrase the immortal Palin, you betcha! Reports are emerging that the new Super-C Class Ferries contracted by the Liberals from a German shipbuilding firm (and which now B.C. shipbuilders were prohibited from bidding on) may have considerable technical difficulties, particularly that the allegedly 30% more efficient engines actually take 20% more fuel to cross the Georgia Strait. How much of that do they think than can recoup of that with carbon tax? Personally, this page doesn't find much fuel efficiency in running them from Duke Point to Tsawwassen with the passenger compliment of a Translink Seabus either, as I noticed on a trip a few weeks ago.

This page encourages its readers not too let David Hahn, Kevin Falcon and Gordon Campbell off the hook and put the blame on the Germans. It was the Liberals who screamed up and down about the Fast Ferries project under Glen Clark's administration, and turned them into the propaganda centrepiece of the 2001 election. The Liberals then turned around and sold those ships for a pittance of what the ships were actually worth to the Washington Marine Group. By no means are the FastCats perfect, but at least they were made in British Columbia, and would have gone a long way to provide limited vehicle or passenger-only service in the run-up to the 2010 Olympics. For those of you still deluded and myopic enough to believe the lies of the Public-Private Partnership-Wrecked, whatever happened to Harbourlynx?

Now the 'New Era', 'Best Place on Earth', 'Free Markets fix Everything' crowd has their own nautical disaster, one they went all the way to Europe to set in motion. Hopefully, this turn of events will mean that the Liberals' overblown horror stories about the Fast Ferries will be shoved back down their throats, just like the Basi-Virk trial shut them up about Glen Clark's patio. Is getting them to stop lying about the 'deficit' they inherited in 2001 too much to ask? This page can't help but remember an election day conversation from three years ago with NDP MLA Jenny Kwan, who told me that for whatever abuse she put up with the Liberals, it was worth it because she remained confident that "what goes around, comes around". Here's hoping in the case of Gordon Campbell and the Liberals, it just sinks to the bottom and stays there.


The Good Enough Guys Win

This page congratulates the People of Vancouver for reducing the so-called 'Non-Partisan' Association to a bloodied electoral stump in Saturday's municipal elections. Peter Ladner's arrogance has been punished, but by his own admission, he had nothing pressing to do if he had been elected Mayor anyway. With the exception of Suzanne Anton, Sam Sullivan's henchmen have been kicked to the curb and hopefully won't be getting up anytime soon. Already the chatrooms and discussion boards are lighting up as inconsolable right-wingers fling their invective at Union workers (particularly members of the CUPE Vancouver Civic Locals) as the cause of the overwhelming NPA defeat. To these disgusting little animals this page says: Who was it that refused to bargain two years ago after every other Lower Mainland municipality had an agreement with their Civic Locals? Who opened the Orpheum for some high-profile picket line crossing by the Vancouver Symphony? Suck it right-wing bitches, you got what you deserved.

A caveat to the victorious Mayor-Elect Gregor Robertson and the newly elected Vision Councillors: Play nice, and check your egos at the door. The last thing Vancouver needs is another Larry Campbell who thinks he's bigger than the game and starts looking around for another job when things don't go his way. Robertson didn't finish a full terms as Vancouver-Fairview's MLA, and people will be looking for some serious commitment to the new job at 12th and Cambie. I know there's a provincial election in six months, but this page won't look too kindly at any Councillors who bolt up from their seats for the bright lights of Victoria - Tim Stevenson, I'm looking at you.

Our new Mayor is absolutely right in that ending homelessness in the leading city of "The Best Place on Earth" is priority one for the new Council, but this page will take this opportunity to suggest some other priorities that will help make this city actually livable, as opposed to fulfilling the phony rankings of corporate travel magazines:

-No unconditional bailout for the failed Olympic Village project. If Millennium Properties wants to go forward with taxpayers' money, they go forward with all remaining suites in the project, above and beyond those already set aside,to be allocated for affordable housing. Social housing on False Creek was the spoonful of sugar in the Olympic medicine that Jim Green and Larry Campbell shoved down our throats in 2003. Their Vision successors can finally adjust the palpability of that dose five years later.

-Refuse to meet with any so-called 'Business Improvement Associations'. BIA's are little more than a Mafia for absentee landlords and NIMBY capitalists to systematically override the interests of the people who actually live in those communities. Security guards should not be harassing homeless people in Grandview Park on Commercial Drive. Street banners on Davie Street should not have the Pride rainbow airbrushed out. Rent-a-Cops dressed as hotel doormen should not be doing work normally conducted by police officers. Enough is enough - now that Sam Sullivan is safely back in his cage it's time to start again with advocating for a Ward system that allows for real community representation and shuts up self-righteous and self-serving BIAs.

-Mayor Robertson needs to sit down with his re-elected colleagues in Surrey and Burnaby, Diane Watts and Derrick Corrigan, and have a serious talk about Gordon Campbell. B.C.'s major cities need a united front against the systematic stupidity that comes out of Victoria, particularly the string of failed Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) and the Premier's inability to remember that he hasn't been Mayor of Vancouver for well over a decade now. Start talking about taking Vancouver, Surrey, and Burnaby out of Translink. Vancouver needs more buses, Surrey wants a light rail link with the rest of the Fraser Valley, and Kevin Falcon offers up The Gateway Project - what's wrong with this picture?

A couple of other points to wrap up the Civic election - this page was heartened to see a progressive sweep of the Parks Board and School Board. Vancouverites have been saved from animatronic dinosaurs in Stanley Park, and overpriced A-list bistros won't be supplanting beachside snack bars. It's also good to see a school board that's more interested in lobbying Victoria to fund improvements public education rather than lobbying parents for more user fees. As for Ellen Woodsworth and David Cadman, the two Councillors elected from the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE): Don't play too nice. There are still far too many Liberals lurking around Vision, and the closer you guys push the beds together, the more people like me start thinking warmer thoughts about the Work Less Party.


Stamp of Conditional Approval

As the masthead on this page indicates, Saturday is election day in Vancouver. I have been mulling over endorsements, and to be honest, haven't been all that motivated. This will be the third civic election for this page in Vancouver, having previously lived in Calgary. Many readers view the City of Calgary as a little more than a right-wing backwater laced with fossil fuels, testosterone and bullsh*t, and the spiritual home of the Conservative Party of Canada. However, having lived for almost a decade in both Calgary and Vancouver, this page can declare with certainty when it comes to having actual democracy in civic politics, Cowtown crushes Terminal City.

Calgary figured out a long time ago how to use a Ward system, whereas Vancouver uses the retrograde At-Large approach to civic elections. In a Ward system, the power resides in neighbourhood and community organizations to put an Alderman into City Hall, not a secretive cabal like the so-called 'Non-Partisan Association'. When I lived in Calgary's Ward 7 and I had an issue, I knew the person to talk to would be Alderman Bev Longstaff. She may have been a moderate Tory, but because she was elected as an independent her first priority was her constituents, not like how NPA City Councillors have to the line of their party, the B.C. Liberals and the Federal Tories.

People have approached this page in the last week asking me who to vote for, and unlike Provincial or Federal elections, that's a tough question given the mismatches and mishmashes of a manipulative and overfinanced party system in Vancouver. I don't like being told to vote for slates where Socialists in the Coalition of Progressive Electors are listed with Federal Liberals - one voter's progressive is another voter's patronizing. Unfortunately, this is not about what I like or don't like, because the alternative is the NPA, which does not mean 'Non-Partisan Association'. It mean 'Nasty, Petulant, and Arrogant' or 'No Poor Allowed'. It's time to flush these bastards once and for all: Peter Ladner claims that Vancouverites don't have the right to know the details of the Olympic Village bailout, and has told debate audiences that there's nothing really that important to do after he claims the big chair at 12th and Cambie. We don't need that kind of Mayor, and we don't need myopic cheerleaders like Kim Capri on Council backing him up either.

I'm not completely happy with the list of candidates that's been distributed by the Vancouver & District Labour Council and Vancouver's New Democrat MLA's. Some were key players in the rift among the COPE-dominated City Council during Larry Campbell's term as Mayor which led to the creation of Vision Vancouver. Some seemed to be biding their time on Council until Lorne Mayencourt could steal another Provincial election from them. Some have an unsettling gun fetish. However, votes for independent candidates or the Work Less Party will make it that much easier for the NPA, who are encouraging their affluent and arrogant legions in Shaughnessy and Point Grey to vote the straight party ticket. When you go to the polls on Saturday, please cast your votes for:

Gregor Robertson (Vision Vancouver)
David Cadman (COPE)
George Chow (Vision Vancouver)
Heather Deal (Vision Vancouver)
Kashmir Dhaliwal (Vision Vancouver)
Kerry Jang (Vision Vancouver)
Raymond Louie (Vision Vancouver)
Geoff Meggs (Vision Vancouver)
Andrea Reimer (Vision Vancouver)
Tim Stevenson (Vision Vancouver)
Ellen Woodsworth (COPE)
Patti Bacchus (Vision Vancouver)
Bill Bargeman (COPE)
Al Blakey (COPE)
Jane Bouey (COPE)
Ken Clement (Vision Vancouver)
Sharon Gregson (Vision Vancouver)
Mike Lombardi (Vision Vancouver)
Alvin Singh (COPE)
Allan Wong (COPE)
Constance Barnes (Vision Vancouver)
Sarah Blyth (Vision Vancouver)
Raj Hundal (Vision Vancouver)
Aaron Jasper (Vision Vancouver)
Stuart McKinnon (Vancouver Green Party)
Anita Romaniuk (COPE)
Loretta Woodcock (COPE)

Information about how and where to vote can be found at www.municipalelections.com After Saturday, let's start working on meaningful electoral reform to make Vancouver a real democracy.


Sign Here

This page is annoyed by the campaign signs of one Michael Geller, an NPA candidate for City Council. It's not what on the signs (it's his name photo, and party), nor the size of them (if it snowed, you could use one as a toboggan for an entire Grade 3 class). What ticks off this page is that Mr. Geller has been putting his signs in front of rental apartment buildings to give the impression that everyone living in those buildings supports him and the NPA.

I don't have a problem with campaign signs on commercial property. If a business owner is dumb enough to put up an NPA, Liberal, or Tory sign in their window, then they will probably won't notice that I'm not patronizing their business anymore. However, people don't have that much of a choice as to where they live (not at these vacancy rates anyway), which is why the common areas of an apartment building are supposed to be neutral territory. Nothing says 'contempt for any notion of contemporary democracy' by assuming that the opinions of property owners are more important than those who rent from property owners - WTF is this: 2008 or 1808?


The Dark Knight Prevails

Thoughts from America's election night:

-Walnut Boat visited Grant Park in Chicago a couple of years ago, and described it as 'super huge', making the turnout for Barack Obama's victory celebration that much more impressive.

-The repeated use of the term 'historic' to describe Obama's win: For this page, it ranks with the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Like the Wall coming down, Obama's victory opens a lot of possibilities for a lot of people who didn't have any up until now.

-This page swears that John McCain looked about 10 years younger in his concession speech. Senator McCain sold his soul to the most sinister elements of the Republican Party to win their nomination, but was smart enough to keep the receipt.

-Still holding out for Al Franken to beat Norm Coleman in Minnesota. As much as it was good to hear discussions of ending polarization and healing divisions, the Democrats still need a few attack dogs to keep barking about how 'Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot'. Unfortunately, Franken did not get that big a boost from the Democratic Party: Nancy Pelosi decided after the 2006 elections that impeaching George W. Bush was not on the table, even if it was in the final chapter of Franken's most recent book, 'The Truth: With Jokes'.

-This page can trace his family roots to Nebraska, Arizona, and Minnesota. I prefer the World Series to the Stanley Cup Finals. I find Tim Horton's coffee overly sweet and never dark or strong enough for my taste. An Obama victory is not that big an adjustment for me, but it will be for many on the left in Canada who've been indulging in reflexive anti-Americanism for the better part of two decades.

-Christine Gregoire remains the Governor of Washington State. Living in British Columbia, this page has to endure the neo-con creepiness of Gordon Campbell, so it's good to know that voters in the state next to us didn't embrace the neo-con creepiness of Dino Rossi. Also good to see that Seattle voters opted to resolve their gridlock by passing Proposition 1 to expand public transit and dump Initiative 985 which would have opened HOV lanes and discouraged Puget Sounders from getting out of their cars.

-This page finds it surprising that no one on CNN mentioned Democratic National Committee President Howard Dean in relation to the Democrats' big night. Dean was the first Democratic Presidential candidate to harness the organizing power of the Internet in 2004 (before the manipulated and overblown "Dean Scream" incident), setting the stage for the Obama campaign's master of it in 2008. Dean was also a strong advocate for the '50-State strategy' which saw Republicans struggling to fend off Democratic incursions in the Red States while Obama snapped up Florida and Ohio.

-It's not all bad for Sarah Palin: she was cleared in the Troopergate affair, and she did do a lot to raise the profile of the sport of picking off defenceless animals from a helicopter.

-Note to White House staff: keep Bush away the pretzels, and Cheney away from the ammunition for the next 10 weeks. Disconnect the big red button.


If it IS broke...

Tomorrow is election today in the United States, as voters line up at the polls in the hopes that their votes will actually count. In many parts of the country, many voters will be asking if their votes will actually even be counted, thanks to defective, if not rigged voting machines, and the legalized franchise suppression of the so-called Help America Vote Act. Given that these tactics clinched the White House for Republican candidates in 2000 and 2004, one would think that a Democratic candidate would have a lot to say about the issue of electoral reform, but to date the response of Barack Obama's campaign has been to send out a rapid deployment force of lawyers in the event election 2008 devolves into another judicial fistfight.

If any Americans are reading this page, could you explain to this page (and my readers) why America can't administer Federal (i.e. Presidential) elections through an independent, non-partisan agency similar to what your northern neighbours have in Elections Canada? Is it because of the principle of States' rights? Is it the institutional entrenchment of the Democratic and Republican parties to the exclusion of all others? Are political leaders afraid to advocate for standardized election procedures lest they be accused of being paranoid and less than confident of their electoral prospects?

The lack of fair and effective electoral oversight changed the course of American history for the worse over the past eight years, and may do so yet again tomorrow. This page finds it disturbing that voter supression and electoral fraud are regarded as so instrinsic to American elecations that jokes can be made about it on The Simpsons:


Can't fix stupid in Northeast False Creek

With an election less than two weeks away, The NPA-controlled City Council has passed a 'revitalization' plan for Northeast False Creek, including a retractable roof for B.C. Place, a new home for the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the obligatory condo towers. Particularly galling to this page is that the plan lets the developer (ie. the Province of British Columbia) off the hook for affordable housing commitments or any public space within the project. This is an example of why the City of Vancouver simply doesn't work. A magnificent waterfront stadium in Gastown, paid for with Vancouver Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot's money is tied up in red tape while Victoria opts to change the lids on the B.C. Place white elephant with Taxpayers' money. A destination art gallery in its historic courthouse setting that also serves as a social hub and civic rallying point gets bulldozed and relocated to the shadows of yuppie indifference in Yaletown.

This page agrees that something should be done to revitalize the Northeast False Creek, but having spent enough time at Seattle Center, the legacy site of the 1962 World's Fair, it becomes very much apparent as to how Vancouver blew it with the site of our 1986 Expo. Seattle Center has established a variety of community and cultural spaces with sporting venues under the iconic Space Needle. By contrast, Vancouver neglected to do anything around False Creek because the powers that be thought it would be better to leave it paved over for the high-octane alcohol-fuelled stupidity that was the Molson Indy. Converting the B.C. Pavilion to a second-rate casino was another less than brilliant idea. If the folks at 12th and Cambie and in Victoria have blown it this many times in getting it right on Northeast False Creek, why should anyone trust them now?


I Get the Byelections Wrong. Yes!!!

This page congratulates BCNDP candidates Spencer Herbert and Jenn McGinn for their victories in yesterday's byelections in Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview.

Although byelections traditionally break against the party of government, this page was not convinced it would be the case in these two ridings, as a result of voter burnout from the federal election (both B.C. ridings are in the hotly-contested federal riding of Vancouver Centre), and the presence of two 'star' candidates for the Liberals, Arthur Griffiths in Burrard and Margaret McDiarmid in Fairview. This page should have known better than to give that much credence to two candidates who have never held public office (the B.C. Medical Association is a private organization, try joining without getting your M.D.) and whose combined residency in both ridings amounted to little over two years (that would be McDiarmid, Griffiths still lives in Point Grey).

For those of you scoring at home, this page met Spencer Herbert on the #9 bus in 2005 when he was preparing to run as a COPE candidate for the Vancouver Parks Board. He was taking part in a 'fare strike' organized by the Bus Riders Union against Translink's perpetual fare increases and creeping privatization. He struck me as bright, personable, and caring about what happens to the least of us in our community. For the voters in Vancouver-Burrard, Herbert is a major trade up from the vicious grandstanding tomfoolery of outgoing Liberal MLA (and failed federal Tory candidate) Lorne Mayencourt.

As for the Liberals...blame the Unions...blah, blah, blah...Fast Ferries...blah, blah, blah...Glen Clark's deck...blah, blah, blah...could it actually be that right-wing revisionist history and vote-buying won't cut it with voters on May 12, 2009?


Endgame 2008

America's Presidential Election is less than a week away, and while a number of sources are predicting a commanding victory for Senator Barack Obama, this page is not going to make any kind of projection until all the votes are stolen. We've seen this movie before - CNN projected Al Gore winning Florida in 2000, and exit polls showed John Kerry winning most of the swing states four years ago. If there's anybody capable of swiping victory from the jaws of defeat, it's a GOP aided and abetted by partisan election administrators.

The clock has run out for muckraking - Jeremiah Wright didn't stick to Barack Obama, and neither has Bill Ayers. The goofy populism of Sarah Palin and John McCain's invocations of 'Joe the Plumber' have held the Republican base, which now faces an avalanche of new Democratic voters. If there's going to be an October surprise that turns things around for McCain, it has to be of Osama Bin Laden proportions, but its highly unlikely given that Al-Qaida 'endorsed' McCain and won't do anything to promote four more years of the Bush Doctrine.

At this point in time, this page sees two scenarios, so feel free to choose your own adventure:

1. Obama wins walking away: The current polls show Obama leading in just about every state still in play, and given that he skews towards younger, urban voters who may be less likely to respond to telephone opinion polls, the lead may be bigger than we think, and absorbs any GOP jiggery-pokery at the polls or the so-called 'Bradley Effect'. Jubilation in the streets of Chicago and New York (ABC has already booked Times Square for the occasion). Wednesday's USA Today runs the headline 'YES HE DID'. Global financial markets give off a sigh of relief. Bill O'Reilly has a stroke. Sarah Palin gets offered a reality TV series. Militia groups start recruiting disaffected Republicans.

2. Too close to call: Obama voters mysteriously don't get their text message alerts. GOP attorneys blockade the polls in Florida and Ohio. Voter ID database crashes in other battleground states, disenfranchising more new voters because of 'perfect match' ID requirements in the so-called Help America Vote Act. Diebold voting machines work "perfectly". Obama appeals for calm after Poll Riots in Philadelphia. ABC shuts down its Time Square election night broadcast after shots are fired. Polls shut down in California as Governor Schwarzenegger declares a State of Emergency. Fox News projects a McCain victory, but the President-Elect won't address the nation until 'things settle'. It's Watts, 1968, Kent State, Stonewall, Rodney King, and the Seattle WTO riots all happening at once. Global financial markets collapse as China freezes credit to the U.S....


America's New Normal gets Old

This page was alone with his thoughts last night, the biggest one of which I'm discussing today is: Wow. where does the time go? Remember when 'crisis' meant that if Americans didn't support the troops and kept on shopping, the terrorists would win? Remember the Homeland Security 'Terror Alerts' with all those nifty colours? For some reason, Hawaii was always blue. Rudy Giuliani? Freedom fries? It all seems so long ago, especially since the movie biography of George W. Bush arrived at cinemas last week.

These days, it's all Barack Obama this, and Sarah Palin that. People go to the airport and worry more about what extra items the airline will make them pay for, not which extra items won't make it past the security gate. There are more worries about Homeowner security than Homeland Security. Baseball telecasts cut to commercials at the 7th inning stretch instead of showing American-Idol dropouts warbling God Bless America. Everyone remembers Heath Ledger for his role as a criminal psychopath in The Dark Knight rather than as a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain.

This would be why this page would be having trouble getting worked up about the current economic 'crisis'. The boy's been crying wolf for the better part of decade, and the bark's been worse than the bite: What's wrong with letting sleeping dogs lie?


10 Points Down....Time Out!

After last night's 3-2 win by the Philadelphia Phillies against the Tampa Bay Devil* Rays in Game 1 of the World Series, this page went to the video tape and reviewed last night's televised address by B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell. Campbell's 10-point plan is drawing rave reviews from the Vancouver Board of Trade, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and the horde of hate-mongering B.C. Lieberal trolls still screaming about the Fast Ferries. Leaving the right-wing 10 pounds of sh*t in a five pound bag aside, there's nothing for the reality-based community to get excited about in the Premier's response to the current economic situation:

1. Fast-tracking a 5% personal income tax cut retroactive to January 1 - That's a lot of vote-buying for what's supposed to be a 'deficit-free zone'. Why wasn't this tax cut increased and targeted at low and middle-income earners, who will only see their paltry reduction swallowed by Campbell's pet Carbon tax?

2. A 2.5% tax cut for small businesses - Aside from the chi-chi boutiques and restaurants that Campbell and his Point Grey neighbours frequent, most small businesses in B.C. do their business with low and middle income earners. A tax cut doesn't help if their customers don't have any money to bring through the door with them.

3. Reducing Corporate income taxes to 10% - As this page's masthead recently read: Socialism - It's not just for poor people anymore. Does anyone else see a problem with small businesses getting 2.5% and The Royal Bank, Imperial Oil, CanWest Global and Wal-Mart getting 10%? I mean, besides the fact these large corporations bankroll the Campbell Liberals? Mmmmmm...that's gooooood corporate welfare!

4. A new private pension plan for British Columbians without a group pension plan - This seems suspiciously like Preston Manning's idea to replace the CPP with government-mandated RRSPs. The Province could be getting pummelled by the hijinx on Wall Street, but Campbell wants some poor suckers to bankroll more misadventures in the Stock Market.

5. 33% reduction of B.C. Ferry fares during December and January - What? B.C. Ferries couldn't figure out a low season promotion by themselves? That 2.5% tax cut isn't going to warm the hearts of small business people on Vancouver Island watching their customers line up at Swartz Bay and Duke Point to sail for bargains in the Lower Mainland.

6. Unlimited deposit insurance for deposits to B.C. credit unions - News to this page, I thought my deposits were protected through the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation. Of course, I also thought they locked the money in a vault and no one could figure out the PIN number for my ATM card.

7. Rebate of 50 % on all school property taxes to light and heavy industry - One would think maintaining a stable funding base for education would be important, as better education leads to skilled and better paying employment. Maybe these light and heavy industries will spend it on hiring a fresh batch of high school dropouts.

8. Doubling the commission paid to businesses for collecting the provincial sales tax and hotel room tax - Also news to this page. Why should any commission be paid? Seriously, How much can it actually cost to program a cash register to calculate the PST?

9. Speeding up public investments in capital infrastructure projects - Wow, cutting taxes AND increasing spending when a recession is on the way. Now, that's leadership....of a sort. I guess Kevin Falcon can step out of his panic room, since his beloved little corrupt environmental disaster, The Gateway Project, will be going ahead after all.

10. Re-evaluating spending priorities and scaling back unbudgeted increases - See items 1 through 9. Gordon Campbell may have 10 points, but these 10 points don't make up a plan. A plan incorporates vision, compromise, and tough choices. Anyone can resort to Stephen Harper style divide-and-conquer cherry picking masquerading as a plan, and the Premier forgets that on October 14, 55% of B.C. voters saw through the disguise and didn't vote that way.

*The Central Florida Fundies who demanded the name change (dropping the 'Devil') to just 'Rays' can suck it.


What else is on?

In British Columbia, Legislature proceedings are broadcast live on a cable channel throughout the province. When the Legislature is not in session, the channel is handed back to the cable company, who usually run another service on it until the next session - where this page lives in Vancouver it's a scrolling news ticker. When the BC Liberals cancelled the fall session of the Legislature, that didn't happen this time. Instead, viewers looking for headlines and a quick forecast have been treated to idyllic shots of the Legislature in Victoria and the caption 'THE BRITISH COLUMBIA LEGISLATURE IS ADJOURNED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE'.

Notice comes tonight at 6:15 PM when Premier Gordon Campbell uses the Legislature Channel to broadcast his government's response to the current economic situation. The Liberals didn't buy time on the private networks because the Opposition and their allies are still frothing over Bill 42, and the CBC (apparently not being leaned on by former boss Carole Taylor) is refusing to carry Campbell's address live.

If Campbell refers to the state of B.C.'s economy as a crisis, this page calls bullsh*t - a crisis is something you deal with by recalling the Legislature, not posturing about how the 'fundamentals are strong' and how the province is 'on track' after the so-called 'decade of decline'. What can Campbell say in the vacuum chamber of a TV address that's going to make any kind of a difference? More tax cuts for the rich? More intellectual fraud like the Carbon tax? More shipping of shipbuilding jobs to Germany? Another unconstitutional scheme to bust a public-sector union? More fiddling while the forestry industry burns, gets eaten by Pine Beetles and is stripped of its value one raw log export at a time?

Speaking of being on track - it looks like the Basi-Virk trial will going ahead in January, so maybe the Premier may have something meaningful to say after all tonight: maybe something about resigning before having to testify, and packing his martini shaker for that permanent Hawaiian vacation he's always wanted. For those of you scoring at home, this page will actually be watching the opening game of the World Series and not holding his breath.


The Tail wags the Mermaid

Daniel Gross has proposed the Starbucks Theory of International Economics. In his online Newsweek column, Gross postulates that "the higher the concentration of expensive, nautical-themed faux-Italian branded frappuccino joints in a country's financial capital, the more likely the country is to have suffered catastrophic financial losses. "

This page is intrigued, and wonders if Gross' theory might not be expanded to cities which aren't financial capitals. Vancouver is Canada's hub for Asia-Pacific trade and had its own stock exchange not so long ago. Every industry in British Columbia is reeling, from forestry and mining to tourism and film & television production, as commodity demand falls and the dollar rises. The credit crunch is biting down on chunks of local real estate from condominiums to ski chalets. For those of you scoring at home, Metro Vancouver has 135 Starbucks locations and counting...


Harder than it looks.

Vancouver's Pollapalooza rolls on. Sandwiched between last week's Federal election and the November 15 Civic election are two Provincial byelections in Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview. While this page was pleased with the 37 seats won by Jack Layton and the Federal NDP on Tuesday, and expects the Vision-COPE alliance to take back 12th and Cambie from the NPA next month, I am less than optimistic about Carole James and the BCNDP sending a message to Gordon Campbell with the next provincial election six months away.

Vancouver-Burrard is made up of two distinct groups: the transient renters of the West End and the owner-occupiers of overpriced condos in Yaletown. Thanks to the Liberals writing a blank cheque to landlords and developers through their amendments to the Landlord & Tenant Act, the former group has been vanishing while the latter group has seized the balance of power, allowing back-to-back terms for BC Liberal Lorne Mayencourt, the only MLA this page is aware of who is so beloved by his constituents that they punched him in the face. This riding is going to be split in two for the 2009 election, but the contest will be staged under the current boundaries. The other problem with transient voters is that they tend to be less informed about the issues, and leads them to vote for 'name' candidates. The BCNDP, candidate, Spencer Herbert, may be doing an outstanding job on the Vancouver Parks Board, but has never owned the Vancouver Canucks like BC Liberal candidate Arthur Griffiths did.

The BC Liberals have another 'name' candidate with Margaret McDiarmid, the former President of the British Columbia Medical Association. Is Health Care going to be the major issue in the next Provincial election, given the state of the economy? Highly unlikely, but Health Care is always an issue in the riding which has Vancouver General Hospital, The B.C. Cancer Agency, a sizable number of seniors' homes and the highest concentration of medical professionals in B.C. I don't expect McDiarmid to have any good ideas about Health Care given that she'll be parroting the privatization line of her party, but her candidacy gives the appearance of the Liberals being concerned. Meanwhile, the BCNDP is going with Community Activist' Jenn McGinn. This page has met McGinn on a couple of occasions and believes she would be a great MLA, but Fairview has too high a concentration of voters who believe that success can be read off someone's financial receipts, and can't be bothered with someone who works for a living unless her name is followed by the initials "M.D." It's an NDP riding, but remember that Gregor Robertson won in 2005 because of his reputation as a 'green entrepreneur' not because anyone thought he was a champion for social justice. Robertson also received a lot of support from Greens, who will more than likely be returning their votes to Party Leader Jean Sterk, who's also running in Fairview.

The 2004 byelection win by Jagrup Brar in Surrey-Panorama Ridge kick-started the BCNDP's comeback from political oblivion, but this time Carole James faces the prospect of the NDP's recent momentum coming to an abrupt halt in less than two weeks. Besides the mismatch of candidates, the Carbon Tax, which is being reviled in other parts of British Columbia, is not an issue in two ridings where voters are centrally located and don't commute. The CanWest-dominated Pro-Liberal media in B.C. will browbeat the public into thinking that Liberal wins in two of the most elitist, well-to-do ridings in the Province reflect a 'stay the course' mood across the Province, even if no one knows what that mood really is, given that the Province's elected representatives didn't sit in the Legislature this fall.


'U' can shut up now.

Backstabbing egomaniac and apparent Vancouver South MP Ujjal Dosanjh thinks he could be the next Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. This page says when 'U' threw the 2001 Provincial Election for B.C. New Democrats a week before the polls closed, he should have also given up on being taken seriously by anyone who actually has progressive values. Spiteful bastard this page is, here's hoping the recount underway in Vancouver South goes to Tory candidate Wai Young - better to have an MP representing the Government side of the House in Vancouver than a pompous little self-righteous hypocrite who's going to vote with the Tories almost all of the time anyway.

If 'U' really believed that token Liberal backbencher was a trade up from Premier of British Columbia, picking out new drapes at 24 Sussex Drive isn't that far of a stretch. He actually believes that he could take down Michael Ignatieff and that other Premier turned corporate stooge, Bob Rae, and lead the Liberals back into government. The Grits just had their asses handed to them with a well-meaning nerd at the helm, and picking a narcissistic vicious little nerd in Dosanjh isn't going to make for a better result. If 'U' miraculously did find himself in the big chair, the Liberals would more than likely find themselves with a minority of their own, depending on support from the Bloc Quebecois and/or the New Democrats. 'U' thinks that Quebeckers would make an exception for a Prime Minister who doesn't speak French, which leads me to believe he has different memories of Prime Minister Preston Manning than the rest of us.

'U' also is on record attacking Jack Layton, calling the leader of one of the parties who GAINED seats on Tuesday as 'delusional' and accused the NDP of driving voters to the Tories over Stephane Dion's carbon tax. Guess what, 'U', a New Democrat is a New Democrat, whether their sitting in Victoria or Ottawa, and New Democrats realize that carbon taxes amount to intellectual fraud. 'U' don't get that because you were a right-wing Liberal pretending to be a New Democrat.

Here's hoping Young knocks 'U' off the stage, because it's not Jack Layton who's delusional.


Stick around, I have notes.

This page chimes in with my thoughts on last night's election of a Conservative Minority Government:

Note to Stephen Harper & the Conservatives: Remember the 1995 Quebec referendum, when Confederation as we know it was on its deathbed? Remember the slogan that Canadians were sticking to their bumpers as a show of misguided solidarity with the 'No' side: MY CANADA INCLUDES QUEBEC? I know, Mr. Prime Minister, that you're still making your way through French for Curmudgeonly Bullies, but not every translation is a literal one. The actual slogan in Quebec was: MON CANADA COMPREND QUEBEC, which means 'includes', but also means 'understands'. When you started bellowing about elitist cultural industries and locking up young offenders for life, it proved que vous ne comprenez pas absolument de Quebec. To put in terms a hockey fan from Calgary can appreciate, you had a shot at a majority, and you and your team choked. A la prochaine.

Note to Stephane Dion & the Liberals: Monsieuer Dion, it's been fun with the green scarves and the Green Shift and your dog Kyoto, but it's time to move on. Your party needs a new leader, who needs to be selected the way other parties do it: one member, one vote. Also, your the campaign finance reform laws that were recently passed now place an emphasis on individual donations rather than corporate ones. This is not the 1970's and to be blunt, Pierre Trudeau's been dead for eight years. If it's any consolation, neither Bob Rae or Michael Ignatieff are the answer, their attempt to outmanly-man each other in the 2006 leadership race is how you could win on the final ballot. Frank McKenna? Nope. Fils Trudeau - not if you're serious about winning seats in Western Canada again. Actually, if your party is looking for someone from Western Canada, has a national profile, can get the pundits drooling like Belinda Stronach did, and has some experience with trying to sell a carbon tax, allow this page to recommend former B.C. Finance Minister Carole Taylor. I don't like her, but your party will.

Note to Jack Layton & the New Democrats: You said you were running for the Prime Minister's job, and the NDP won 37 seats. Maybe next time, tell people you're running to be the Undisputed Ruler of the World, and the Law of Diminishing Returns might relegate you back to, say, Prime Minister of Canada. Either that or wait out how Buzz Hargrove reacts to Prime Minister Bob Rae. It's great that the party won seats in Alberta and Quebec, but does it not gall you that New Democrats were once again shut out in the birthplace of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, the New Jerusalem Tommy Douglas built, the Great Province of Saskatchewan? You also dropped a seat in B.C. when there pickups to be made, largely by winning over people who drive pickups and would have appreciated a harsher tone on the Liberals' carbon tax.

Note pour Gilles Duceppe & Le Bloc Quebecois: Ne changez rien, mes chers. Le Quebec n'est pas de 'province' comme les autres, et quelqu'un doit seriat la conscience sociale-democratique dans la Parlement avant le NPD gagnerait plus deputies en Quebec que Thomas Mulcair. This page has run out of embarassingly broken French and will stop now.

Note to Elizabeth May & the Green Party: You need to seek out Deborah Grey and ask her about the value of putting one's foot in the door, because the genealogy of last night's Tory victory can be traced all the way back to her byelection win in Beaver River, Alberta for the Reform Party 20 years ago. Also, as someone who judges others by the company they keep, this page has no clue about what your party stands for other than it has something to do with the environment. I've met Green Party members with a background as union activists, and I've met Green Party members who think the Labour Movement should be crushed into a finely ground paste. Until you decide that you can't be all things to all people, accept the reality of the left-right dichotomy in Canadian Politics, and keep butting heads with the McKay family, you're not going anywhere.


Here. We. Go.

Today is Election Day. Polls in British Columbia open in 56 minutes, and close at 7:00 PM tonight. After a campaign which the Prime Minister claimed was absolutely necessary because his Minority Government was making Parliament 'dysfunctional', Stephen Harper has resigned himself to another Minority. Wow. That's all almost two years of attack ads buys the Tories?

With respect to a projection, this page will concur with what's coming out of the final polls: Stephen Harper returns to power with a slightly enlarged caucus, but will continue suffer from long-term electile dysfunction. Bloc blunts the Tories in Quebec. Liberals dig in by their fingernails, more than likely in the backs of each other. New Democrats become almost ready for prime time, and seething Greens, held seatless as their traditional bump in the polls evaporates, gripe to no one in particular about proportional representation and how Jack Layton 'used to be cool'.

As for my own predictions, this page says there will be a legal challenge coming out of the new ID requirements, which will inevitably disenfranchise aboriginals on reserves and the inner-city homeless. The broadcast networks will call a Conservative Minority at 8:12 PM. Calling ridings in this page's field of vision: Bill Siskay in Burnaby-Douglas, Don Davies in Vancouver-Kingsway, Libby Davies in Vancouver East, Hedy Fry in Vancouver Centre, Ujjal Dosanjh in Vancouver South, and Joyce Murry in Vancouver-Qudra. Your mileage may vary as a result of Strategic Voting, which over time, could develop the same reality-warping effect on results as Diebold voting machines wield over returns in Ohio and other parts of the U.S.

I'm assuming that RevMod will have some kind of blow-by-blow take on the proceedings tomorrow night (I'll be flipping channels to and from the baseball playoffs, priorities dammit.), and be sure to see this page for a post-game wrap-up on Wednesday.


In search of the first green president

This page tuned in to the Second Presidential Debate last night, which, like everything else these days, focused on the economy to the relegation of other issues, including environmental issues. However, while John McCain and Barack Obama did make a few points about America's energy security, it became quite apparent how far back the environment has been relegated in this campaign.

Senator Obama can be credited for stating the value of creating 'green' jobs. Senator McCain can be credited for being a Republican who doesn't regard global warming as an urban legend. However, hearing both candidates touting clean coal technology and nuclear energy as environmentally-friendly sources of energy is disturbing. So-called 'clean coal' technology produces a product with 12% more CO2 emissions that gasoline and requires tremendous amounts of water to process, If a second Great Depression is in fact imminent, why does America need another Dust Bowl to go along with it? As for nuclear power, it's extremely expensive, creates tremendous amounts of lethal waste, and no nuclear power plant is ever going to be 100% safe - just ask the people who are still dealing with aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Obama did make a vague remark about reducing America's dependence on foreign oil as a means to bolster national security, but for a candidate who believes in a 'national call to service', he seems very reluctant to suggest how Americans can reduce that dependence, i.e. abandoning the archaic equation of automobile ownership with personal freedom. How about putting down the car keys and walking, cycling, or using public transit? How about some sensible urban planning which encourages those low-impact transportation methods? How about viewing high gas prices as an opportunity to drive an economic and cultural shift in the population, rather than a crisis? How about treating driving like the it's the new smoking - has Obama quit either?


Bailout this.

Thanks to cost overruns and the U.S. credit crunch, the Vancouver City Council is giving serious consideration to bailing out the Olympic Village.

This page says that City Hall, Millennium Development, and VANOC are getting what they deserve. The original bid for the 2010 Olympics called for one third of the residences in the Village to be converted to below-market affordable housing once the Games were over. That allocation, and other socially conscious initiatives from the previous COPE-controlled City Council made some of us a little more comfortable in casting our ballots in the 2003 referendum on hosting the Olympics. After the NPA stole the 2005 Civic election, that figure was slashed to 20%, which, along with other developers' stampede to bulldoze Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels in the Downtown Eastside, aggravated Vancouver's ongoing Social Housing problem to the crisis point it's at now.

Should the City of Vancouver bail out the real estate robber barons? This page says yes, and don't go looking back to the top of the masthead, because here's the deal: At present, only 60% of the Athlete's Village/Millennium Water developments are sold. Any bailout would be conditional on Millennium forgoing sales of the other 40% and allocating those units for affordable housing. If they don't like it, they can cut their losses and sell their whole project back to the City, who for those of you scoring at home, don't have the same financing problems given the large tax base. Gawd forbid that tax money go towards providing shelter for people in most need of it, as opposed to say, more Olympic junkets for 'Wheels' Sullivan or the NPA picking more fights with CUPE. As for the people who've already bought a property and don't like the prospect of renting neighbours drawn from ranks outside the apparent social 'elites', they can suck it up or move.

Of course, this won't happen, given that both major parties at City Hall are bankrolled by Developers who want to see Vancouver become another San Fransisco where anybody who actually has to work for a living is shoved to the suburban fringe thanks to gentrification, perpetually flipping properties, and a total disregard for any real notion of community. It's the same kind of fake economics which have terrorized Wall Street and threatened the Olympic Village's financing in the first place.