Sunday, September 28, 2008

Crazy White Woman Hauled Away Screaming From Re-enactment of Douglas Treaty

i dunno, is that a real headline? it wasn't me ....

i was going to attend the 'ceremony,' just to see who the traitorous ones are, to capture this treasonous re-theft of land for my own historical record, but i couldn't. i was afraid that, if i showed up at government house this afternoon, and saw those people destroying any hope the peaceful, earth loving anarchists might survive into the future, i would have started screaming. i would have screamed and screamed and they would have hauled me away to the loony bin. i couldn't take that chance.

today, the queen's representative lieutenant governor stephen point, and those who claim to represent the malahat, pauquachin, tsartlip, tsawout, and tseycum first nations (was there a vote?) endorsed that offensive treaty that james douglas, representing the hudson's bay corporation, thrust upon the unsuspecting native ancestors those hundreds of years ago.

making lemons from lemonade (what else can one do), i suppose i and my white euro-trash ancestors are relieved of some of our collective guilt. today they made it clear that some of us are more honourable than others, that it's really not fair to paint with a common brush. we can move away from the 'natives good/europeans bad' dichotomy and move toward an understanding that you really really can't judge a book by its cover.

what do we call them now? they're not really 'first' nations anymore, they're more like 'apple' nations (white on the inside .... but that's not really fair either, to folks like me). i don't consider them 'native,' as they've done something that their ancestors would not endorse and their behaviour resembles colonialism. and we can't even call them 'indians,' since those folks courageously stood alongside gandhi and kicked the british out and reclaimed their land. these are in cahoots with their colonizers .... like sarah palin, they've embraced their own oppression and they're forcing it upon innocent others.

i think the aliens must have landed, and are inhabiting positions of power. they've taken themselves to be leaders. it's always a nasty day when the oppressed become the oppressors.

here's a related article my friend wrote, published in the june 08 street newz.

The Best Colony on Earth?
by C’daoim

I was truly caught off guard the other day. I don’t watch much television and this is an example of why. I saw a commercial that told me “James Douglas read a Proclamation that put a name to the best place on earth.” Before I finished the first shake of my head I shuddered to imagine what First Nations People, anthropologists, and archaeologists thought about that. I went and got myself a copy of the Proclamation [the original is available in the archives at the mcpherson library at uvic].

It’s colonialism they were talking about; we are celebrating 150 years of colonialism. The place already had names that were given by the original occupants of the lands, and also a European name on top of that. Colonialism is an inappropriate thing to celebrate partly because we still haven’t lived up to certain parts of the deals our ancestors made with the First Nations Peoples.

So if we are celebrating the reading of the Proclamation let’s have a look at what else we are celebrating according to this Proclamation of 1858 entitled “An Act to provide for the Government of British Columbia” dated “2d August 1858.”

It wasn’t read until Nov. 19th 1858 at Fort Langley.
Page one of the document states “and it is desirable to make some temporary Provision for the Civil Government of such Territories, until permanent Settlements shall be thereupon established, and the Number of Colonists increased…” (Pg 1 Victoria). Then, in Section 1 it sets the boundaries of British Columbia. Section 2 allows the Queen to appoint a Governor of British Columbia and this person, James Douglas, will “make Provision for the Administration of Justice…Laws, Institutions and Ordinances…for the Peace, Order and good Government of Her Majesty’s Subjects and others therein…” (Pg 3 Victoria).

The “others therein” becomes an interesting statement because within 12 years of this reading it would be recognized that 25,000 of the 37,000 residents of British Columbia were First Nations Peoples and they were not given a voice in what was happening.

Some of the newsworthy items not mentioned in the Proclamation, or the commercial for that matter, are that things were getting crazy in British Columbia due to the gold found in the Fraser Valley. The 1858 gold rush brought thousands of Americans north to seek their fortune. The idea of American annexation created fear for the British. James Douglas requested warships and military forces from Britain and make the decision to create a new colony. There was in “…Victoria [a] Mr. John Nugent, the newly arrived ‘Special Agent of the United States,’ charged with looking after American interests north of the 49th parallel” (Pg 135 Akrigg and Akrigg). This was a very similar scenario of what had happened when “Special Agent of the United States” Thomas Oliver Larkin “conspired with American residents to take California from Mexico” (Pg 135 Akrigg).

First Nations Peoples had big problems with the Americans because of the fact that the land was theirs and the Americans did not respect the First Nations Peoples or their land. It began when Americans started murdering and robbing them of food stocks and committing more horrid crimes. Douglas quashed the American aggression, but he also stole these same lands from the First Nations Peoples.
The First Nations People were less important to the British than the land and the resources. The Proclamation states that “…after the passing of this Act…British Columbia, and the islands adjacent, [will be used] for Mining and other purposes…” (Pg 1 Victoria).

The First Nations were not consulted in the creation of the new colony British Columbia. We still haven’t dealt with them fairly over land issues.
Of course I realize this situation was era specific and we have no real choice but to understand it in the terms and conditions that were prevalent at the time, but we do not have to continue to accept the actions of the past just because they happened.

Colonialism has become a dirty word in the 21st century, but apparently we are going to celebrate it here in British Columbia. If we are truly celebrating the European name given to the colony, it already had a European name - New Caledonia. It wasn’t an officially recognized colony at that time, yet that may be difficult to explain to the First Nations Peoples.

Become informed…society needs you.

Works Cited:

Akrigg G.P.V. and Helen B. Akrigg. British Columbia 1847-1871 Chronicle Gold and Colonists. Vancouver, British Columbia: Discovery Press 1977

Victoria. Queen 21/22 Chap.XCIX An Act to Provide for the Government of British Columbia. 1858

Thursday, September 25, 2008

i won't cross the picket line anymore

the strike is now three weeks old. maybe it’s time to take sides. crossing the line is taking a side. i've heard from both sides, and i'm with the students on this. i will no longer cross that line.

yeah, we got word that 'the union' agreed to let us cross and yeah, many of us have. a few of us have even mentioned the strike on air, and some have covered it in depth. but don't you feel a bit creepy crossing that line? i sure did. i realize the importance of alternative media, especially with elections approaching and a corporate media that won’t even mention the name ‘denise savoie.’ but i don’t consider what i’m doing an essential service - i consider it rather hypocritical in light of what’s going on outside the building.

i mean, there they are, students and former students and managers, parents and grandparents some, on strike because the student union can't decide how to live up to their own philosophy of fairness and equity.

it's not that i'm not a big fan of the steelworkers' union. many years ago, when i was fired because i refused to put toothpicks in sandwiches or napkins under plates (i still don't see the point of destroying forests for such purposes), i tried to file a grievance and the union wouldn't back me up. i wondered why i'd paid all those union dues when they wouldn't even talk to me about how the uvss has a written policy of environmental sustainability and yet here we were sticking tiny bits of ancient forest into pieces of bread and is that really reason to let me go. i got a photo and story from the martlet, but i got nothing from the union.

i'm not refusing to cross the line to show solidarity with the union, i'm refusing to cross the line to show solidarity with the people who work in the building. some of the same people i worked with almost a decade ago are still working there today. and i'm on their team. the toothpick incident is far behind us. (in retrospect it was a blessing - it was time for me to move on. i'd graduated, i only had a few weeks of eligible employment left anyways, i was clinging to the last remnant of a wonderful life of academia and, at that time, a very fair wage in a very friendly working environment.) i was proud to be part of the sub team - we were serving good, healthy food, we weren't using too many disposable products, our managers brad and phil were responsive to requests to find organic and local food, fair trade coffee, vegan friendly items.

the sub has been through a few good scandals over recent years. remember the guy who ran off with a bunch of money? the bartender who was ripping off felicitas? well the people working in the sub agreed not to take raises these past few years so that the uvss could get the resulting debts paid off. the debts are paid, and now the students want their share of the bargain.

there's good management within the student union building. up until the strike, i could still go to the international grille and buy harbans' wonderful dahl for the same price of $4.95 that i paid when i was a student eight years ago - and that was when rents were available at $325 a month and tuition was about 100% lower than it is now. somehow brad and crew have kept food prices low, and now they're unable to find and keep decent staff because there are other food service jobs on campus that pay two bucks an hour more.

suck it up, elected student representatives, and let's move into the 21st century here. raise the freakin' food prices, raise the price of beer. i'll gladly pay a dollar more for harbans' dahl if it means my brothers and sisters can earn a living wage.

and i won't set foot in the building until they do.

what's the point in blabbing about changing the world unless you're willing to take it on the chin and support those around you who are representative of the sort of corporate hype and control we all rail so loudly against?

for audio click here

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

i joined a cult

i did .... i joined a cult. and today i admitted it. out loud. in front of people. not people i want to recruit or anything like that, it's not that sort of cult. if i were to haul out my british ancestry i'd call it a 'proper' cult. not the uppity high-tea sort, rather something distinguished in its simplicity. its flexibility.

i wish i could say it's a cult that anyone could join. you actually have to have a bit of money to invest - a bit of a downside for many of us as the cost of living increases and our incomes remain the same (or diminish. we all ought to be able to invest in our health. luckily, the branch of the 'cult' (as some would describe it) is a not-for-profit society that offers bursaries and scholarships for those who are otherwise financially unable to participate in the hugely addictive practice of yoga.

several days later, she writes ......

i'm starting to get worried about it. seriously. sometimes, as i'm contemplating my day, i'll ponder a decision i made. it might be a tiny decision, something seemingly insignificant, or it might be something more life threatening - like, can i feel confident that car isn't going to suddenly turn right in front of me without signalling, or bringing to light the difficulty i have translating the iyengar (and presumably other yogic) texts into gender (and therefore spiritually) neutral language. i suppose it's not exactly life threatening to raise concerns about gender neutral language, as we proceed into the 21st century, or think too deeply about moving from darkness into light and how that affects people of colour, but it is a big decision, i think, to ponder the significance of our language and sometimes it's just difficult to persist in requesting a move forward for the gender and the races and the species.

most often, it seems lately, i'm thankful for yoga. in the evenings i wonder what influence yoga had in decisions i made earlier in the day. and it's tough to define what i mean by 'yoga' ..... it's a sneaky cult that way. the word 'yoga' incorporates so much.

and i'm thankful that it's not really a cult, just that i have a cult-like draw towards it. it's good that it's not perfect, perhaps, but then again .....

i find i could wish myself the opportunity to do nothing aside from yoga. pranayama, asanas, restorative asanas, and sleep ... what better way to pass the days. but then i remember - the yamas and niyamas. i'm not terribly sure of the spelling of those, but it's about how you live your life in relation to yourself and to the world around you. it's not enough just to live your own life, 'yoga' reminds us, it's also about considering those who are unable to find the peace or the security or the knowledge or the personal space to practice yoga. capitalists would suggest those are the 'recruitable,' as the free market dictates. but what capitalism forgets, or is too stupid to figure out, is that keeping the poor poor means they remain unrecruitable because they are unable to participate in local or global economies.

i'm glad yoga's not really a cult. and i'm glad it fits with my own personal philosophy. especially the 'ahimsa' part. now, if i can just delicately inspire sensitive and caring people (yoga-inspired or otherwise) to think and talk about 'humankind' rather than 'mankind' .... and maybe ponder what it means to dark skinned people to constantly be encouraged to move away from the darkness into the light ... perhaps we can move from the 'heaviness' into the light, or does that insult heavy people?

it's a challenging world.

Canadian Self-Loathing

this article was originally published at pacific free press. photo by janine bandcroft : it's one of many hundreds of homeless people who may die this winter because of stupid and uncaring politicians, who kiss the asses of the military and corporate rulers under the pretence of vying for power (why are boys and colonized girls so afraid that they cling to false power-over?), have such fucked up priorities. it seems they simply don't care. it doesn't get much more evil than that.

Canadian Self-Loathing

Written by Chris Cook

Monday, 22 September 2008

Now I understand those ancients who watched mutely the rise of German fascism. I understand because I'm watching the flourishing of that same evil weed again here in Canada.

And like those doomed Aryans of yore, those Germans appalled by the coming of Herr Hitler and his brown and black-shirted, skull and cross-bone adorned neo Visigoths, there seems nowhere now to run, and no way to stay and stem the tide.

I'm also coming to understand the phenomena of hatred of ones origin. Today, three generations after the fall of the Nazis, there is still within Germany a deep shame, a disgrace that manifests, I'm told by a German acquaintance, in a loathing of things German, a hatred of self and the culture that gave rise to the horrific Third Reich.

Yes, now I think I can understand that.

As I write, the good burghers of my town are bundling up the kids against the late summer breeze and carrying them down to the seaside to watch Canada's military put on a show. The Snowbirds, our answer to America's Blue Angels aerobatic fighter jet team, are in town. Any moment, the sky above little Victoria will howl with their arrival. Below, good Canadians will point with pride to their respective broods the amazing things technology, paranoia, and the will to kill strangers can accomplish when we put our collective mind to it.

Is it wrong for me to wish those jets crash into the pacific? Yes, it is wrong. I can't wish what those jets represent to Afghanis, and Iraqis, and Palestinians, and all those others underneath the bombs happen too to the pilots, or their appreciative audience; death is no answer. But what then to do?

Casting an eye about for safe harbour, much as the encircled Europeans did: Jew, homosexual, socialist, Gypsy, jazz musician, and all the others recognized as impurities, flies in the butter of the new order, I find few refuges.

Canada is surrounded by America and the deep blue sea. What havens there may be in the Hemisphere: Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, are under sustained attack by the fascists and appear today as Republican Spain once did, a doomed token of resistance. My British heritage could afford me a passport and work permit, but why go to the land emblematic now of what native son George Orwell so presciently warned sixty years ago?

So, we stay at home, even as it resembles less the home we've always known, and watch the facades crumble and fall to the ground in pieces: down comes justice; down democracy; down tolerance, civility, and neighbourliness.

The ideals we Canadians once prided ourselves in: compassion; good global citizenship; and, standing as a peace-broker in a world at war all gone. This place, not even a nation anymore, now stands as a sycophant to power; a hired thug sent across the world to kill, brutalize, and terrorize populations for their failure to comply with the diktats of their and our fascist masters.

And, I hate it.

Last month, the Snowbirds payed a visit to my town timed to coincide with the arrival of prime minister Stephen Harper. Harper was here to toss off a few pre-election lines to the pols, and to make merry in celebration of the province of British Columbia's birthday. The Canadian military is a big fan of the Harper regime, most notedly for its lavish support of an expanded Canadian presence in the forever war against the enemies of American capital, and the millions upon millions of tax dollars he is determined to pitch down that gruesome hole. So, it's a small thing for the Canadian Forces' flying ambassadors to come round and fly the flag for the pretender: It's understandable.

What is less understandable is the popular support for these spectacles glorifying death and destruction.

From the beginning of Canada's bloody entanglement in Afghanistan nearly seven years ago, the majority of Canadians asked their opinion repeatedly said they are opposed to the country's war-fighting posture in that far-off land. Yet Canadian soldiers continue to kill and die there, successive governments refusing to honour the will of the nation. This because both sides of our vaunted House of Commons are equally corrupted by the corporate sirens of profit and media popularity. They do this because they believe the Canadian people, as Howard Beale so famously intoned from his fictional television pulpit so long ago; have their toasters, and their teevees, and their steel-belted radials, and a promise to be at least left alone in their living rooms they won't care.

And they're right, and I hate that.

While millions perish in the ballooning wars against terrors around the world, while millions are made homeless by war and economic policy away and at home, while what hard-won rights and diginities human beings came to expect as a minimum standard are undermined or violated in the most egregious manner daily, the Canadian public, that great self-congratulatory slob, a blob of animal fat, corn syrup, and soda pop, just wishes to idle in front of screens and behind chemically-induced distractions and forget about it.

The Old Testament of the Bible, that brick waved threateningly by murderous, eye-poking, proto-fascist religionists at whomever questions the rights of the slaughter, says the sins of the father will be visited on three generations of his descendants. If that be true, (and, why would it be?) then it's time the German people dropped their guns, and the mantle of shame duly carried.

America hast taken up the disgraceful multi-generational "Mission." And, it seems destiny demands Canada too follow Uncle Sam, perverse Virgil through the gates of Hell, damning its children and their children's children as it goes.

And I hate to be a part of that.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Time to Green The Snowbirds


How is it possible that with so much discussion around climate change we continue to have carbon dioxide spewing celebrations endorsed by our local, provincial and federal governments?
The Victoria AirShow on September 21st, 2008 will feature the Canadian Snowbirds. Unfortunately Canada's favourite flyers have a host of dirty emission secrets.

Fuel statistics on the Snowbirds suggests that each plane burns an estimated 1000 liters of fuel per hour. If each liter produces 3.1kg of CO2 then each plane creates 3.1 tons of CO2 per hour. If there are 9 planes, each producing 3.1 tons of CO2 per hour, the result is an estimated 27.9 tons of CO2 in just one hour. These estimates do not include the Snowbirds' practice and travel time.

The Snowbirds have more than 65 scheduled appearances in 2008. If each performance is only one hour in duration (excluding practice and flying to and from the event), 65 performances at 27.9 tons of CO2 per hour = 1,813.5 tons of CO2 generated in 2008 alone. suggests the Snowbirds take the time to calculate their carbon footprint and post the information on their website. This will allow communities and individuals to make an informed decision about whether they want the Snowbirds to fly or not.

For more info visit:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

this'll tickle yer funny bone

click here - time for some campaignin'

i suppose someone would make a canadian version, except our elections come and go within a couple of months. we just don't do democracy right.

Monday, September 15, 2008

what's the connection between nuclear families and nuclear war?

this is what my website looked like, in my unposted files, stored in my safe and secure apple account, before i reconstructed the hacked pages .... again.

is it true that you can get from a page looking at photos, to the gallery to see all the photos in the account at mobile me? and from there where can you go? i think i'll apply for a job in quality assurance at apple. they do good hardware (with help from their overseas workers) they could use some help with software.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

the olympics are coming! the olympics are coming!!

With any concerns about Chinese human rights violations swept under the dusty award podiums of the public's sound-bite memories, plans for the next exclusive IOC party, the 2010 Whistler/Vancouver Winter Olympics, are decidedly underway.

As with the Chinese, neither will Canada's elite tolerate hideous young girls frightening the public with their uneven baby teeth. As BC's soon to be replaced Premier Gordon Campbell has promised, martini in one hand and keys to his mercedes in the other, he will do everything he can to eliminate any trace of poverty and homelessness and addiction (except of the athletic sort) when the world peers into the downtown streets of Vancouver's east side.

Recent polls suggest Gordo will have plenty of time to adjust his athletic gear in time for his little party in 2010, since the public is no longer interested in his intoxicated decision making and will likely elect the NDP in May 2009. It's brilliant, really - plan a fancy expensive party, and hire the underlings to inherit the mess. It's kinda like maintaining the status quo knowing that it's ultimately unsustainable (not to mention selfish) to use so much energy when global warming is upon us --- if we don't think about it today, we can just blame it on the kids tomorrow when they're all growed up. With enough money and PR spin from the corporate media, nobody'll ever be the wiser.

Then there's little Victoria, just an $11.25 boat ride away from Vancouver's dastardly Downtown EastSide (affectionately referred to as the DTES). Panhandlers and buskers, evicted from their low-income hotel rooms in the DTES as Gordo's officious and hardly innovative street cleaning strategy kicks in, are busy collecting their pennies for the journey. ($10.50, $11.25 ..... whoops, David Hahn needs another million for the extension on his third home in the Phillipines, ferry fares are up again ... $11.25, $11.50 ...).

Meanwhile, in Victoria, City Council (with the exception of Pam Madoff and Geoff Young who voted against, and Dean Fortin who wisely abstained) has established an unlikely precedent of removing park land from the city's coffers. Their attempts to cloud the issue with promises to add three parks for the one they've removed very nearly fooled the sleeping public until, at the very next meeting, they met to discuss removing a second park from park status. Yes, that's right, the precedent has been set --- under the auspices of sheltering the homeless (read: warehouse them somewhere other than downtown in an attempt to justify a stupid and cruel economic system) any and all available greenspace is on its way out.

While the citizenry, many of whom signed petitions and pleaded for a better decision than building another shelter on a piece of park, are still licking their wounds after a defiant abandonment of democratic process resulted in the loss of Ellice Park, the insincerity of the Mayor and some Council's intentions was made clear at THE VERY NEXT MEETING when it was announced that the small greenspace that is Cridge Park will make way for ...... wait for it ..... a children's museum.

It's no coincidence that Cridge Park is the exact precise location of the tent-city that some innovative survival-minded nomadic types established a couple of years ago. And there's no doubt that certain City officials have their nose out of joint that the court case went as far as it did, try as they might, these past couple of years, to deny it a hearing.

It's also no coincidence that Cridge Park is currently on the sidelines of the legal challenge that promises to establish some sort of precedent for homeless people all over Canada (a judge is right now deciding whether Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms has any teeth). And it's not unimaginable to consider that the flurry of letters published in the Times/Colonialist in favour of this absolutely retarded consideration (taking MORE greenspace from our world during these last days of human survival on an overcrowded greenhouse gassed planet) are capitalists chomping at the bit, drooling over the prospects of constructing yet another building ... the argument is that there's a lovely bit of green space at St. Ann's right across the street from Cridge Park (where homeless looking people are routinely rounded up and sometimes imprisoned simply because they exist) and what better legacy could we leave the children than a museum on stolen park land (twice removed) right next door to their beloved Crystal Gardens which was also stolen from them (and their native cousins before them). With any luck they'll grow up to be thieves themselves, at least acquiring their morals honestly.

Again I'm reminded of Cuba. Washington fuels the Miami mafia to the tune of millions of dollars each year (so I've heard) to enable a perpetual and insidious conspiracy to overthrow the Cuban revolution. Cuba's not perfect, but their revolution has resulted in a health and education system that is the envy of the world - at least, it's the envy of the revolutionary minded of the world.

(Aside: My family doctor has transformed the practice she built using Canadian tax-payer's money to capitalize on womens' insecurities - all of which can be remedied, apparently, not by accepting aging as a natural process, but by fighting it with botox injections and laser surgery. So today I went to a walk-in clinic and saw Dr. Potiuk. I asked him to please fill out the necessary form so I can get my creatinine levels tested so my naturopath can proceed with the heavy metals test, but Dr. Potiuk suggested I should just to pay the naturopath for that test. The conversation went like this: "I'm poor, I live in poverty, I can't afford to pay for the test." "You pay the naturopath, don't you?" "Yes I do, and he pays taxes which pay your salary." "Well I can't send you for a test if you're not sick." "The heavy metals in my body are impacting my dental health ..... you don't believe that heavy metals in my body are impacting my dental health? .... You young doctors ought to travel to Cuba and see what a system of health is really about." "Yeah, well we're not Cuba." Dr. Potiuk will, no doubt, be submitting the necessary paperwork to ensure he’s paid for my visit.)

I agree with Dr. Potiuk on one thing - we’re certainly not Cuba.

Cuba is no longer Las Vegas on steroids, as it was in its pre-revolutionary years. And, with any luck, Victoria's electorate is neither short-sighted nor demented. We remember. We remember what happened last year, we remember last month, and we remember last week when you took parkland away from a huge mass of intelligent voters who begged you to do something, anything, other. But you voted for the least worst option, leaving many of us shaking our heads and pondering our options in the fall election.

We understand you're under pressure to clean up the messy streets. Whatever you do, don't show the children the landfills, don’t explain the real costs of corporate capitalism, don’t show them the children with crooked teeth. They'll be much better off inside some brand new LEED certified building that used to be a park.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

it's election time !!!!!!

isn't it great how election time offers us all an opportunity to learn a bit more about each other? if we weren't allowed to put mark on a piece of paper, every now and then, we might even forget we live in a democracy!

here's my top ten list of ways to determine how your neighbours will vote in the federal election:

1. if they're uncertain conservatives they'll only have two, rather than the otherwise obligatory three (oak bay seems to require three), big blue signs on their expansive green chemical lawn properties. one sign conservatives are definitely not in stephen harper's wet dreams.

2. the folks next door to the three blue sign house, the ones with a 'for sale' sign, they probably aren't voting for the neo-cons.

3. those who like the way denise savoie represented us in city council and in her first term as mp, or those die-hard ndp supporters, they may display an orange sign. or, they may not, preferring to maintain the sanctity of privacy.

4. in north saanich/gulf islands, there's some doublespeak confusion among those wanting to vote green and finding themselves with a red briony penn sign adorning their native plant gardens.

5. in that same region devoted green party enthusiasts, who were willing to give elizabeth a chance to speak and still can't quite believe she stood them up in favour of a turncoat liberal (unlike the truly green liberal who is, for whatever reasons, actually running with that party), will have a sign that's nothing more than a twinkle in the eye of electoral process unless we get proportional representation.

6. if their main dose of electoral coverage is fed from the tax-payer funded national propaganda machine, the cbc, they'll unwittingly absorb the subtle conservative bias and find their arms mechanically reaching for blue. they'll never know about the canadian action party or the work-less party, or whatever other aspiring alternatives may exist.

7. some anarchists who might be enticed to actually vote (even though they don't want to encourage a system based on theft and murder) are perhaps wondering - who is the work-less party candidate, anyways? ultimately, they don't care. they're busy doing democracy, without waiting for permission from dad.

8. you'll never really know how people living in apartments and condominiums intend to vote.

9. likewise those who live behind one of the last remaining shrubberies, sleeping on ground that hasn't been polluted with smelly fish fertilizer. they probably won't be allowed to vote even if they bothered to try.

10. keep in mind, of course, it's none of your freakin' beezwax how anyone else votes or doesn't. if they vote more than once, though ..... that's everyone's business.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

still working on it

it's really a matter of procrastination, isn't it.  i figure as long as i'm sitting inside, looking out the window at the beautiful sparkly ocean, then i must be accomplishing something.  don't want to get sunburned.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

a vote for the earth

last night i was sitting in a pub alongside my long time friend andrew, and the folks who'd gathered for his bi-monthly 'enviro-writers' chat, when briony penn arrived looking tanned and healthy and as energetic as always, bike helmet in hand and words of apology that she couldn't stay long.

the last time i saw briony was at the hospital bedside of ingmar lee. ingmar's a renowned environmental trouble-maker - he puts platforms in trees (cunningham woods at uvic, cathedral grove, langford) to encourage peaceful direct action as a way to protect (or at least draw attention to) some of the last remaining forests on our beautiful planet. he's always successful at getting media attention, his most recent endeavour being the formation of a mining company to harvest the mineral rights he owns at bear mountain, but of the three tree-sits mentioned, only cathedral grove remains.

regardless, we environmentalists persevere. when ingmar fell ill with a rare form of tuberculosis, many of us brought him food and encouragement and were inspired to sit and listen to his stories (taking on the nanaimo council over their tainted watershed, other horrifying things he learned during his 20+ years as a tree planter in this province). ingmar's an enigma, and one day, near the end of his illness, i happened to be visiting at the same time as briony penn.

if i hadn't seen briony at ingmar's bedside, if i didn't know about how she's been working with ingmar's partner to document the ancient sand hill cranes which inhabit the northern island, i might not be so impressed with her. i mean, i remember 'enviro-mental', the too short-lived television show briony hosted at 'new vi,' which promised all sorts of community activities in order to get their license from the crtc and which dropped those as soon as it could and is now part of some congolomerate (is it ctv?), i've read several of her articles in monday magazine and focus, i've even seen, live and in person, the massive over-sized toilet she painted with scenes from the salish sea as a way to emphasize that what we put in our toilets and down our sinks has an effect on the ocean creatures, and i remember her entertaining 'raging grannies art history' presentation at their granniversary. i've collected a lot of briony experiences through the years - I know that she's an incredibly talented writer and artist, with a bubbly personality and a great sense of humour, but it was seeing her at ingmar's bedside that really clinched it for me --- briony really does care.

i hope we don't lose briony. she's a candidate in the next election, running with the dreaded federal liberal party. why? so many of us asked, why the liberals? they're the ones that initiated the spp that will see the end of canada. sure, they kept us out of iraq, but there we are in afghanistan killing children labelled 'taliban.' why would briony choose to run with the liberals?

apparently she was approached by three parties - presumably the greens and the ndp as well. one can presume she chose the liberals because her riding has been a stronghold of conservatism for all these years - grandmas and grandpas who don't really understand that these conservatives are anything but conservative in the old 'save every scrap for the war effort' variety. things are different now, gramps, they're power mongers playing havoc with your old emotions. the liberals might be able to win those voters who, for whatever media induced reason, are afraid to see the blue for the neo-nazis they are (ooohhhh, strong words ..... but they are!) and may feel safe and comfortable with the good old liberals.

last night, though she didn't stay long, briony assured me that one of the reasons she chose the liberals is because stephan dion promised her, if she chose to run with them, that he'd open the discussion on electoral reform (so our votes will actually count). i told her what i'd heard on the weekend, that our native friend mary had been in bella coola this summer and reported that at least 100 native families are packing up and leaving (going who knows where) because they can't survive there anymore - there are no fish. briony said she'd spent the summer up north, working with krista researching her beloved sand hill cranes (one of the most ancient species of bird on the planet), and she knew things were bad but she hadn't heard that.

i'm convinced that briony cares. if we had proportional representation we could comfortably vote for our candidate of choice, regardless of what party they're with. i don't live in briony's district, but i think that i might bite my tongue and vote for her anyways, if i could. i hope she gets elected, and i hope we don't lose her in that tangled mess they call a political system.