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Stand up for BC!

Taken at Hell's Gate, British Columbia. Photo by waferboard from Your BC: The Tyee Photo Pool

Taken at Hell’s Gate, British Columbia. Photo by waferboard from Your BC: The Tyee Photo Pool

Why I am a British Columbian first, a Canadian second. How about you?

When you reach a certain age, the rules change. No longer do you hear much nor indeed have to care much about political correctness. When you have been fired one more time than you have been hired, and when people expect you to be rather snarly and grumpy anyway, you’re home free to write what I’m about to say.

Many years ago, when I hosted the midnight show at CKNW, a caller asked if I was a Canadian first or a British Columbian first. Without hesitation, I answered “a British Columbian.”

That is much more so now than ever.

I have always been a British Columbian first, and in many ways.

For example, I loathe the Toronto Maple Leafs. Surely, that’s a good start! Read full article at The Tyee

Computer Klutz

iPadAll my life I have had a “thing” about machines. I have never been able to make them work much less fix them when they don’t. Going back to an outboard motor when I was a youngster I have always felt that I was at a horrible disadvantage with the machine and sooner or later it would get me.

For example, I advise you not to fly on an airplane with me. As soon as I touch the entertainment system it goes on the fritz. Sometimes just for me, more often for the entire row, sometimes for the whole cabin.

I first started using a computer in 1984. It was a Xerox and it had enormous floppy disks that you had to initialize in order to get started. It constantly locked, usually just when I’d finished and editorial and there was nothing left I could do but start all over again!

I moved into Microsoft in the early 90s and used one for about 25 years. It and I had our moments but by and large I was able to turn it into a typewriter that recorded what I wrote. This was all I wanted, so by and large we survived. Continue Reading »

Canada’s shame

Israsel missile strike in Gaza City. Photo by Hatem Moussa, AP

Israsel missile strike in Gaza City. Photo by Hatem Moussa, AP

The Conservative government of Stephen Harper and his lackey John Baird ought to be ashamed of themselves as indeed the country should be ashamed of them. Their position with respect to Israel and Gaza is so short sighted as to be a national disgrace and should be condemned by all Canadians.

It would be idle in the extreme to try to trace the history of Israel and Palestine. It goes back into the mists of time. What one can deal with, however, is the use of the word “terrorist “ which seems to be governing the position of the Government of Canada. In short, Hamas is a terrorist organization that is shooting missiles into Israel and thereby is bringing Gaza’s problems on itself and thus is responsible for the hundreds of innocent deaths caused by Israel in that territory. That Hamas is doing minimal damage while Israel is slaughtering hundreds of innocent Gaza citizens is, apparently, beside the point. I, frankly, find it hard to believe that even a Canadian government could take such a shortsighted view of what is a part of an enormous ongoing problem that’s lasted nearly 70 years. Continue Reading »

CKNW update

Old CKNW logoMy old radio station, CKNW is in a lot of trouble. Its ratings have fallen to the point where they are ridiculous. They are losing their online  people, which is natural as time goes by, without any obvious replacements. There was a time when NW always had a farm team, as often as not employed by other radio stations. This no longer is the case.

I am occasionally asked why I care since they fired me under such humiliating circumstances 11 years ago.

The answer to that is simple. I still feel a strong loyalty to the CKNW I knew and the worked for before Corus Entertainment took over. In the NW that I knew, pride was the operative word. All that any of us wanted to do was to make the station better and to increase the listenership because we merited it. There were outstanding performers, all of whom were different, and all of whom marched to their own drummer. We were a band of eccentrics. Continue Reading »

I am in the process of ridding myself of about 700 to 800 books because of lack of shelf space. I was astonished then, to get a call from Wendy, from 32 Books, asking if I would like her to buy me a book. She brought it home and I sat down and read it right through.

I want to emphasize that I do not know the authors, was not given the book, and was not asked to do a review of it.

Having said that, I was so astonished at what I read I felt that I ought to inform you.

First of all, I was surprised to find such an excellent critique of the House of Commons and our system coming out of Toronto. I have learned over the years that Ontario, favoured so much by the system, seldom produces critics of it. This book is very much the exception.

The authors, Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan, formed an independent political think tank called Samara. I don’t know too much about this organization yet, but intend to find out more. Their book, Tragedy in the Commons, subtitled former “members of Parliament speak out about Canada’s failing democracy” is a must read for all Canadians. Continue Reading »

Vin Scully

Vin Scully

I am not a soccer fan. I did not watch any of the World Cup except the final which I mildly enjoyed.

It’s not that I have anything against soccer. It is obviously the most popular game in the world – did you know that if attendance is the criterion that Cricket is the second most popular?

I just find it very dull to watch.

Soccer is great game for kids. I loved it. The equipment is cheap and the rules are simple. Injuries are usually of a minor variety. The game is fun to play because everybody gets a chance to kick at the ball somewhere along the line.

But I am a baseball fan. Continue Reading »

LNG TerminalI am very alarmed and not a little annoyed at the Christy Clark government’s lackadaisical and casual attitude towards the dangers of liquified natural gas ( LNG) right from the source through to the last tanker leaving the Strait of Juan De Fuca. We are told that this production and sale of LNG will be the financial saviour of the province.  Such was the enthusiasm for this project at the beginning we were told that by 2017 we want to have $1 trillion in the bank from this brilliant government initiative. That number is preposterous of course and it’s now been scaled down to $1 billion, further scaled down from that, and now no longer mentioned.

It is assumed by the government and indeed by the NDP that LNG and and it’s transportation both on land and on sea are relatively free from risk. Leaving aside “Fracking” for the moment, nothing could be further from the truth.

Nothing is free from risk. It is true that there is far greater attention paid to LNG tankers than to other fossil fuel carriers. It is also true that the leak of a LNG pipeline would not likely be so serious as a leak of bitumen or dilbut. That is a hell of a long way from saying that there is no risk. The risks of explosions at either a plant or from a tanker accident are sufficiently real that on at least two occasions the Congress of United States has done extensive investigations into their concerns and have concluded that there are very serious risks involved. Continue Reading »

Different strokes…

Photo by Will Borden, Future of Howe Sound

Photo by Will Borden, Future of Howe Sound

They are pretty thick in central Canada – especially in the media. They simply do not understand what makes BC tick. There seems to be this misapprehension that large international predators can pounce upon British Columbia at will and hack and slash away to their hearts content.

The central Canadian media has chided us for opposing pipe lines. Little do they understand the extent of our opposition to anything that desecrates our beautiful province.

Back in 1992 you may remember the Charlottetown Accord referendum. I received many calls from Toronto writers asking if it was really true that BC would vote no. When I replied that it was certain, they were surprised and asked how wide the margin would be? I told them about two thirds against and they gasped in disbelief! I had the great privilege of being called Canada’s most dangerous man by a cabinet minister and by Prime Minister Mulroney, a traitor. But I was not wrong – I think I know British Columbians. Continue Reading »

Farewell, old friends

32 Books in West Vancouver

32 Books in West Vancouver

This is a sad, two hanky, story.

Over the years I have collected over 1000 books. Because I became ill, it was necessary to convert the room at the very bottom of our townhouse into my bedroom and workshop. This required pulling down most of the bookshelves. Our townhouse is very small so now we have a problem – what the hell to do with all these books?

Wendy boxed the books – something like 30  or more boxes in all. We still have a few book shelves
left in my new room but nowhere near enough to look after what I have. This has meant that we have got to give away all these books, probably 600-700 in all.

The drill is that Wendy brings the boxes down and we look through them and I must announce whether or not I will keep it, bearing in mind my very limited space left, or give it away.

In giving a book away, for me, it’s like giving away a Labrador puppy. Each of these books I remember getting and each one sort of tells me a bit of a story. I remember why I bought the book and how pleased I was when it arrived. I remember, of course, that sometimes I was disappointed and didn’t read the book or only read partway. On the other hand far more of them brought supreme joy. Continue Reading »

Schoolbook depiction of Iroquois society: growing up in Kamloops, a white child learned about some eastern First Nations but virtually nothing about those in BC

Schoolbook depiction of Iroquois society: growing up in Kamloops, a white child learned about some eastern First Nations but virtually nothing about those in BC

Gone are childish notions dismissive of native land claims.

The Tsilhqot’in (Roger William) case is a game changer.

There is aboriginal title and it does not depend, as our title to our houses does, upon the Crown but is totally independent of Crown interests. Moreover — and this is perhaps of more immediate concern — no longer are developers just required to consult with First Nations in proposing development, they must get consent.

There will be, of course, more cases but they’ll be by way of explanatory rather than breaking the new ground. No doubt other First Nations will want to define their rights and there may be actions by developers with respect to their proposals. At the same time, because of William, one can expect governments to be much more in the mood to settle, especially since First Nations seem incapable of losing in the Supreme Court of Canada! Read full story at The Tyee

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