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Re-elected mayors Gregor Robertson & Derek Corrigan. Photos: CP (left) / Dale Cornish/Forest Ethics (right)

Re-elected mayors Gregor Robertson & Derek Corrigan. Photos: CP (left) / Dale Cornish/Forest Ethics (right)

Derek Corrigan is my kind of mayor. So is Gregor Robertson.

Both of these mayors are prepared to look beyond the immediate concerns of their city and take a broader view. I have no doubt that Robertson, who won very handily I might add, did so because he was fighting Kinder Morgan. Without any question, that position greatly enhanced the existing popularity of Corrigan.

Social change demands civil disobedience

Now that protesters are being arrested, we see a number of people expressing their undying support for “law and order” and thinking that jailing protesters is a great idea.

I have a few questions to ask them. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Kinder Morgan contractors clash with citizen protestor on Burnaby Mountain (Darryl Dyck/CP)

Kinder Morgan contractors clash with citizen protestor on Burnaby Mountain (Darryl Dyck/CP)

“If the Law says that”, said Mr. Bumble, “the Law is an ass”.

The good citizens of Burnaby have lost their case against the large international corporation, Houston-based Kinder Morgan, who wish to extend their pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby.

The company sought and received from the Court an injunction to keep protesters from interfering with their work on Burnaby Mountain Conservancy.

Kinder Morgan case harkens back to past injustices

Over the past few months I’ve found myself reading up on legal writing from the past. I’ve become interested in judges of yore and in particular have been reading the famous letters between Sir Frederick Pollock and the great American jurist, Oliver Wendell Holmes. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Election post mortem

Gregor Robertson. Photo courtesy of Vancity Buzz.

Gregor Robertson. Photo courtesy of Vancity Buzz.

The Vancouver Sun and Province have egg all over their collective faces after the election results in Vancouver and in Surrey.

Both papers obviously did not want Gregor Robertson to win in Vancouver. Just why they supported the NPA is open to conjecture but one has to assume, reading these papers for the last 10 years, that they are so far up the Liberals’ backside in this province that there is no safe return.

Both papers had the Vancouver Mayoralty race a tossup. They are now trying to explain away a 10,000 vote victory by Gregor Robertson – as close to a landslide as damn is to swearing. All sorts of amazing things apparently happened since the day before the election when the papers were calling it very close. It certainly couldn’t be their atrocious reporting, now, could it? Continue Reading »

Into our own hands? Corporations aren't equipped to act in best interests, including survival, of our society.

Into our own hands? Corporations aren’t equipped to act in best interests, including survival, of our society.

Radical as it sounds, government intervention is key to our survival.

In 1989, we’ve been told, communism died.

But did capitalism win?

Perhaps for a while. It’s still acting as if it did, but time has shown that capitalism as we knew it is outdated, and to say the least, undemocratic.

The reasons for communism in the first place haven’t gone away. There’s still massive poverty throughout the world, and perhaps even worse, that plus working poverty in the industrial world. The capitalistic system just doesn’t work for a hell of a lot of people all over the globe.

It is also clear that as an unrestrained exploiter of fossil fuels, capitalism bids fair to destroy us all.

This doesn’t mean that communism will return. Nor does it even mean that we will have socialism — whatever that might be. No doubt we will have something quite different, but just what remains to be seen. Read full article at The Tyee

Christy Clark and Marvin Odum, President Shell Oil Company at recent BC LNG conference (BC govt flickr)

Christy Clark and Marvin Odum, President Shell Oil Company at recent BC LNG conference (BC govt flickr)

I’m sure, like me, you were excited to read in the Vancouver Sun for November 4 that LNG Canada (Shell and its Asian partners) will build a plant in Kitimat which will be very, very “green” and put even less greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere than the maximum prescribed by the BC government.

Oh, there will still be GHG escaping but just a teensy, weensy bit. And, of course, we all know how strict BC government standards are. After all if you can’t trust Christy Clark and Mary Polak, the Environment Minister, who can you trust?

Shell: your friendly, trustworthy oil and gas giant

It’s been suggested that Shell is not a very nice company, that amongst other things ruined Nigeria and the rivers therein. I don’t place much credence in this sort of whining from greenies! I’m told that wherever Shell goes it buys uniforms for the local Little League. Surely a company that does that is trustworthy! Continue Reading »

What Democracy?

Peter Wright

Peter Wright

As the oldie Frank Sinatra sang about love and marriage, “you can’t have one without the other”. Without free speech, there can be no free press and without that, there can be no democracy. Even at the best of times which these surely are not, A.J. Libeling summed up the sad truth when he said, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”

We know that these days, owners of newspapers and TV/radio stations themselves self censor – I’ll deal with that later.

Free speech cannot be a theory or in the abstract. It must be a living segment of democracy. We have yet to experience democracy in modern terms and we’re steadily moving further away from it.

There must be reasonable restraints, of course. In the tiresome old saw, shouting “fire” when there is none in a theatre is an exception as are incitements to do something wrong. Moreover, there will always be questions of morality such as TV shows showing explicit sex violence or kiddie porn but in assessing limitations to free speech we cannot permit perfection to become the enemy of improvement. Continue Reading »

Justice served is less about vengeance, more about preventing further crimes.

Justice served is less about vengeance, more about preventing further crimes.

We need a stronger option for hospital imprisonment.

I write this with considerable trepidation. The chances are very good that the reader will misunderstand what I am saying and conclude that either I favour kiddie porn and things like that or that I am soft on people who commit sexual offences, or both. Neither of these things are true at all. I only urge that this column be read carefully, and thought about for a bit of time.

Anytime we read about a sex attack, we immediately say that the man (it’s usually a man) is sick. In saying that, we’re absolutely right. All of the medical evidence indicates that sexual perversion, for want of a better phrase, is not something that one possesses deliberately. Nobody wakes up one morning and decides to be a sexual predator.

That being so, why don’t we treat him as a sick person, not a criminal? If a person is certified insane and commits the most horrible, violent crimes, we put him in the hospital, not in jail. With sex offences, it’s off to the slammer. My question is why? Read full article at The Tyee

The big roar!

Byron BaileyIn today’s Sun sports page, there is a wonderful article by Mike Beamish on the 1964 BC Lions, who that year won their first Grey Cup. This was the year after they lost it in Vancouver when Angela Mosca of the Hamilton Tiger Cats, their 1964 opponents, very illegally piled on Willie Fleming after the play had ended and out of bounds to boot knocking the great Willie out of the game. The Lions and their fans had that very much in mind in 1964!

Willie Fleming – alive and looking good – was one of the most exciting running backs anywhere, ever. He had starred with Iowa before coming to BC alongside Bob Jeter who also came here. Oddly, in college it was Jeter who was the big star!

We old Vancouverites had suffered since 1954 when the Lions came to town with great fanfare but it took 10 years for them to make the national finals and 11 to win it. Those were very tough years to be a fan.

The 1964 Lions were indeed a memorable team as Mike points out. Tom Brown, the best linebacker the CFL has ever had, was probably as good as there has ever been. He now lives in New Westminster. Continue Reading »

The Simushir under tow from US tugboat Barbara Foss (via Maritime Forces Pacific Facebook)

The Simushir under tow from US tugboat Barbara Foss (via Maritime Forces Pacific Facebook)

The incapacitation of a Russian cargo vessel off Haida Gwaii caused great panic amongst all of us who watched the events unfold over the past weekend. The seas were very heavy – not an unusual state of affairs for that part of the world at this and other times of the year.

For very good reason, the Haida Nation was extremely worried and upset about the developments. It looked up for a while is if they might have to deal with this themselves and, course, although they were prepared to use and sacrifice their own vessels, none of these were built for this kind of an emergency. Eventually, the chance intervention of an American tugboat got the situation under control.

During the time of this emergency, the story was covered regularly on the BBC and CNN, in addition to our own local news. It was a national and international news event. One ship! No accident! No oil-soaked beaches! No dead and dying birds! Continue Reading »

Rotten Apple

iPadIt is with some regret that I form today Apple Haters International. I will be the interim president until the thousands of prospective members from all around the world come, as I suspect, within the next few hours, and we can democratically elect a Board of Trustees, militant variety.

There is, of course, a reason for this dramatic move.

I have an Apple iPad which I got last spring. I bought this damned thing because I wanted to have a small computer into which I could dictate articles like this.

I must say, that I am not what you would call computer friendly. I have used one since 1984 and have always fought them. I have no instinct for the things. I am no better with TV sets or any other mechanical object.

I hold the view, however, that it is people like me who need tender, loving care from computer manufacturers. The geeks need no help – my sort of which there are hundreds of thousands, nay millions, do. Continue Reading »

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