I respect you for your strongly held opinions, and appreciate hearing all
sides of many issues. Thank you for caring enough to take a stand.
However - I am profoundly disappointed with this endorsement for Peter
Ladner, and the implied consent for Ladner's council decisions -
particularly to leave the Canada Line merchants to bleed a slow financial
death, voting against every initiative to assist our community with
Again - if just one NPA City Councillor had voted with the several motions
to assist the families along Cambie, we would not have suffered such
preventable, fatal harm.
Peter Ladner had further opportunities to rectify this as a member of the
TransLink Board, and did not.
Ladner slammed the door on any kind of financial relief for the small
businesses along the Canada Line repeatedly for the last 3 years, dismissing
our claims for compensation out of hand. The City regularly compensates
citizens and businesses for a variety of 'disruptions'. The level of harm
caused by Canada Line is unprecedented and wrong.
Peter Ladner was on Council when the City voted it's conditional approval
for the RAV project as a bored tunnel under the Cambie Village. We were all
These imposed conditions have never been met, and the consequences of this
have needlessly devastated our community for the past three years.
A person with integrity and an understanding for fairness would have called
for a further review of the project when it became clear that what they had
voted on was not the project being built. Our government failed us
Sullivan, Ladner and Campbell had the opportunity to do the right thing and
instead, they turned a blind eye.
No meaningful consultaion. Behind closed doors meetings. Blatant conflicts
I am aghast at this kind of thinking.
It is unconscionable for elected representatives to ride rough-shod over our
rights and our livelihoods in this manner, for known harm they and their
Provincial counterparts have forced upon citizens and communities, that they
could have prevented.
This is not confidence - this is arrogance and self-interest.
And a bent moral compass. Shame on them for allowing this to happen.
Campbell and Ladner to lead by example? Now that's really scary.
The precedent this sets - that our life's work can be expropriated without
compensation, that our livelihoods may be destroyed with impunity, is
This is not a partisan position. It's called justice and fairness, and
should form the foudation for policy making and conduct from those we elect
to serve the people.
Not how good an actor or politicians are.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Posted by David Berner at 4:39 PM
Ladner's self-assurance convinces me he's best choice as Vancouver's mayor
Published: Friday, October 31, 2008
My vote for mayor of Vancouver goes to Peter Ladner.
I have nothing against Gregor Robertson. He is a fine fellow.
Both Ladner and Robertson have been described repeatedly as near-twins. Decent men, with silver-spoon backgrounds, young families, brushes with bohemia and small business, they are equally bright, pleasant and somewhat bland.
Either might make a perfectly good mayor, as I said in this space months ago, in the stamp of Philip Owen. They are well spoken and sufficiently versed in the vagaries of public office to do just enough to let people warm to you without making too many enemies.
No question that Gregor Robertson is right out of central casting. Jack Kennedy, Clinton, Barack Obama. He has "the look," but he doesn't have "the gift."
Of course, it is terribly unfair to compare mere mortals to great, natural orators like Kennedy, Clinton and Obama. Nor is it fair to compare what is at stake in these contests. The American leaders play cards at the Big Table -- world economics, war, the struggle for hearts and minds.
The mayor of Vancouver deals with homelessness, addictions, crime, transit, and small business. These matters are not nothing, for sure. But they don't have the same heft.
As the campaign began here, Robertson was accused, with some justification, of lacking substance and specifics. He spoke often of change and hope (like a mini-Obama), but was decidedly short on the rich details that make a story compelling. Now, as we inch closer to Nov. 15th, the Vision team has given Robertson some real grist for his mill -- affordable housing, the arts, and 56 other promises.
Ladner, as well, began with a few microwaved platitudes and declarations of his record. Thankfully, he and the NPA team have also moved on and given us some talking points -- a cap on property taxes, more police and only 54 other undertakings.
Both men are highlighting their commitments to cleaning the streets of crime and homelessness, although in slightly different ways. Ladner, for example, recognizes the contribution of Insite, but wants to find new treatment beds for addicts. Robertson thinks the safe injection sites are marvellous and wants to see more of them throughout the city.
I'm aghast at that kind of thinking, but that's not my reason for endorsing Ladner. My reason isn't a reason at all; it's a gut feeling, a pure instinct, and I've been running on instinct my whole life.
There's a certain hesitancy about Robertson that worries me. He seems to not be quite sure that he wants to be mayor or will know what to do with the role if he wins it. I may be wrong. He may grow into it. That happens to some leaders.
Ladner, on the other hand, has never seemed more relaxed or self-assured in all the years I've known him. He looks ready to be mayor. In fact, he is acting as if he is already mayor. That's how you win pennants and Super Bowls.
© The Vancouver Province 2008
Posted by David Berner at 12:40 PM
A year after the B.C. government promised a crackdown on transit cheats, about 11,500 passengers are still taking a free ride on transit every day, costing taxpayers as much as $10 million or more each year.
Yet, when I pointed this out at a debate on Wednesday evening to Gregor Robertson and Peter Ladner, Robertson actually claimed that it has not been proven that turnstiles pay for themselves. He wanted another study.
This is one of several reasons why he does not qualify for the job of Mayor at this time.
My son told me yesterday over breakfast that his step-son, David ( a father and step-son both named David Michael - nice serendipity!), doesn't want to take money for the SkyTrain because none of "my friends pay. Why should I?"
Transclunk wants to raise more tax revenue to pay for its relentlessly bad management, but they don't want to collect fares like every other system in the world.
We are the only public conveyance known to humankind that operates on the so-called honor system, and it's only costing us millions a year.
Add to that how Tranlink has aided and abetted the spread of addictions and crime.
"How is that?" you ask.
Because all the scofflaws and low lifes love the FOR FREE SkyTrain. They have now spread their contagion to Broadway and Commercial, Metrotown, Surrey and points in between.
When will Translink pay its fair share of cleaning up crime and addictions?
Posted by David Berner at 8:43 AM
OK. I admit it. I'm not very bright.
Sometimes I have to be smacked upside the head a few dozen or eighteen times before I get it.
But now I got it.
The Vancouver Sun doesn't want to print newspapers any more.
The other day the venerable Pulitzer-Prize-winning Christian Science Monitor announced that it would cease paper versions at once, head to the Internet and print only once a week.
Clearly that is where the local paper is going.
Every day, as they print less and less news and more and more columns about nothing, they direct my flagging attention to their blogs and website.
Read this, that and the other thing today on our website.
Interact live at noon with Marty, the Catfish about smelt and all its relatives.
Posted by David Berner at 8:36 AM
BC Fed President Jim Sinclair has hit a few nails on the head in his op-ed column in the Sun today.
In particular, he says, "Institute a massive public works program to build supportive housing for the homeless and affordable housing for thousands of others."
This is finally the only way that we will address homelessness and affordable housing.
All the posturing in the world by civic and municipal leaders will come to naught.
It will take the senior governments to step up and actually start the real work and building housing.
Plain and simple.
But do Campbell and Harper look like the men possessed of that kind of vision and courage?
Posted by David Berner at 8:29 AM
Talk about unholy October Deal with The Devil...
Gary Lunn, MP for Saanich-The Gulf Islands, is now Minister of State for Sport.
Lunn falls quickly behind Hedy Fry as the Second Worst Parliamentarian in living memory.
Almost as adept as the Great Dr. F herself at talking a lot and doing nothing.
All the people I know in his riding detest the poor fellow. See him for the hollow man he is.
Who the hell voted for him? Who voted for Hedy?
Forget cancer and outer galaxies -these are the true mysteries of life.
Now, as the empty vessel "responsible" for Sport, Lunn's entire gig will consist of getting fat at the many banquets leading to, during and from a certain 2 week party in these parts about 14 months from now.
What was Harper thinking?
Posted by David Berner at 8:21 AM
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I finally got it. I've been trying to nail Joe Biden. He's the
reincarnation of Max Headroom. If you missed the 80's, you can always
Max was a square headed white guy trying to be cool.
Joe and his hair plugs reprise this by trying to shine within the
Obama halo. (as in media saint)
As long as we're having fun (we still are, aren't we) Michelle Obama
and a young Mike Tyson in drag could be doubles. Here are the steps.
First, Google photos of each. Second, photoshop a Supremes wig on
Tyson ( assuming you can do that which any 10 year old does daily)
Presto, Michelle- Diana Ross- Tyson.
Politics like sex should be fun. The religious right didn't understand
that when they tried to teach abstinence-or-else in AIDS infected
countries. The Obamites don't understand that ridicule and a brutal
media challenge are part of the democracy tableau.
Ohhhhh. Sorry. We're not supposed to have fun anymore now that the
Messiah has returned. Or challenge. Alex Baldwin wouldn't approve.
Nor Streisand. Nor any of the Hollywood glitterati who co-produced his
mega-show last night.
We are now living in Iran, circa 1978. The loving Ayatollah has
arrived. World peace, benign tolerance, an economic boom, universal
reverence for the USA are mere weeks away.
The American Christian right has been consigned to the trashbag of
American political derision. The custodians of that religious
trashbag are, ironically, the "liberal"media.
In my memory, the last time a Christian minority was laughed out of
consequence was in the 1970's , in Northern Ireland. Catholics in
Bogside (that's the poor Catholic part of Belfast to the truly
stupid) became a joke to the Protestant establishment. They were
scorned and marginalized in the places of power. No laughter or scorn
was allowed to be directed to the ruling Protestant elites.
A terrible thing happened during the course of suppressing this
Christian minority. School buses were bombed in England. Harrods
Department Store was bombed with the loss of 80 Christmas shoppers.
Hundreds of young British soldiers got bullets in the back.
Finally, thankfully, the British government tried a better way. As
did the British media. They realized that religious ridicule only
results in bringing your dead sons to your door. Some of those doors
belonged to journalists.
So. Where are we.
There are 60 million American "so-called" right wing Christians. You
can fool yourself thinking they are all cross-eyed banjo players, ripe
for ridicule. You would be really fucking stupid to believe that.
My hope is that humour will come back. And informed criticism. And a
truly feral media ripping pretension to bloody shreds. That is my only
reason to invest and believe in democracy.
In the meantime, the greatest, industrial-strength media blowjob in
history will continue. Media, actually spend most of their time on
Ever notice the hand-held bobbing mike between interviewer and
interviewee. It says " You blow me and I'll blow you". Translation:
"Give me a good clip and you will be prominent on the news. "
Wake me when it's over.
Posted by David Berner at 8:56 PM
You gotta love Steven Hill, the great actor who played D.A. Adam Schiff in the original 200+ episodes pf NBC's "Law and Order."
And his writers.
It is a terrific example of writers writing in an actor's "voice."
In a repeat episode on Bravo this evening, the focus is on a neo-Nazi group.
When the news is given to Schiff that they killed "one of their own," he mutters dryly as only Hill could - "What's the matter? They run out of people to hate?"
Hill was a founding member of the Actor's Studio and, as such, knew and worked with Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Gene Hackman before they became famous.
Only a wonderful actor with his wealth of personal and professional experience could turn that dire situation into an almost comedic moment.
Posted by David Berner at 8:38 PM
Another man has died after being tasered by the police.
This "incident" (murder?) took place in Edmonton yesterday.
I have an idea.
Why not have police carry swords.
Then they could just behead people who are causing a disturbance.
How have we slipped into this new mode of accepted savagery on the part of our police forces?
Aren't these people supposed to be experts at subduing the out-of-control folk?
Posted by David Berner at 9:14 AM
I think you know I am no bleeding-heart excuser of either this kind of behaviour, or of our pitiful excuse for a justice system. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, I do believe in the concept of innocence until guilt is proven.
With respect to the Delta tragedy, there are a couple of items I'd like to know about possible contributing factors to the crash itself, before I render my citizen's sentence of "life" imprisonment on the officer for vehicular homicide:
1. What speed was each vehicle traveling at?
2. Did the jeep drift over into the oncoming lane because the officer was drunk, or was he trying to make a legitimate left-hand turn, misjudging the speed at which the motorcycle was traveling?
3. Where were the traffic lights in their sequence? or was it an uncontrolled intersection?
4. Were there, as the media has - inappropriately - leaked, children in the officer's jeep?
5. Despite the fact that the officer was returned to active duty, what has been his REAL state of mind since the airport tasering one year ago? Which leads me to the second subject...
Thanks to a quick-thinking bystander, we all know what we saw on that airport video - pretty cut and dried. In my opinion, the officers moved in too quickly; no-one held back while insisting that an interpreter be found; and a man who was unarmed but for a piece of furniture was tasered to death.
The single most disturbing sight for me, was that one officer stood looking down on a dying Robert Dziekanski, and matter-of-factly coiled up his equipment - not one of those officers attempted CPR.
That seen and said, one of the most important questions I have wanted answered by the much-delayed hearings is this:
Did ALL the officers make that ill-considered, split-second decision together to taser Mr. Dziekanski? Or did one or more demur but have their cautions over-ridden by a trigger-happy superior? It's happened before with both guns and tasers and, no doubt, it will happen again.
If we just suppose for a moment that one RCMP member cautioned his fellow-officers to hold back from the tasering, but was over-ridden, and suppose, also, that he turned to drink to shut out the memories of that failure...while in no way would that excuse his impaired driving, it might just cause us to lay most of the blame on a system that we, ourselves, have tolerated for far too long...a system that, itself, has tolerated not only impaired driving by police officers, but which has also re-elected a premier who did likewise.
No more than any other right-thinking person do I want to see EITHER investigation white-washed - but nor do I want to see a rush to judgment - on these or any other cases.
As citizens, we have an important responsibility to carry out here. Every single one of us who is angry with the intolerable delays in our so-called justice system, needs to write or email Premier Campbell, copied to the Prime Minister and to Attorney-General Wally Oppal.
We need to draw our line in the sand, with something like this:
"Enough is enough! Mr. Premier. We don't care what you have to do to kick-into high gear on three investigations:
2. Robert Dziekanski
3. The Delta drunk-driving crash.
Too bad if it spoils the lead up to Christmas for some politicians, judges and investigators. Too bad if it ruins your re-election plans. Just get on with it - NOW! Because we aren't going to stand for it any more."
And we also need to pay attention to the fact that a renewal of the 2012 contract between the province and the RCMP, looks set to slide through Victoria's own non-stick system, with nary a peep from British Columbians.
WE NEED TO WAKE UP, FOLKS.
Last but not least - I could not end this piece without offering my condolences to Orion's family and friends...and also to RCMP officer Tim Shields whose genuine distress as he answered questions from the media must have been evident to all.
Posted by David Berner at 9:07 AM
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Day in and day out, Vaughn Palmer continues to be one of the very best newspaper columnists in the business. We're lucky to have him here.
In today's piece, Palmer skewers the administration for what apparently are blind costs when it comes to security for the Olympics.
It may be $200Million, it may be a Billion. Who can say?
Not the Finance Minister, apparently.
The cash may come from the province or the feds or Vancouver or Whistler or Richmond.
No matter how you cut it, it comes from your pocket, boys and girls.
It's called tax money.
So enjoy your 32 seconds of someone from Norway schushing down your hill.
Posted by David Berner at 8:40 AM
The following was sent to me by a friend who happens to be a police officer. At the bottom you will see his outraged comments. Below that, my own...
However, Delta police - who are investigating the crash - have refused to identify the officer until he makes his first court appearance on Jan. 15 and is formally charged.
Orion Hutchinson, 21, was riding westbound on his motorcycle along
Hutchinson, who was thrown from his bike, suffered traumatic injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the Jeep, an RCMP member, was transported to Delta police headquarters where, according to Delta police, he failed a breathalyser test.
The officer was released on a promise to appear in
Why do British Columbians have to suffer a police force that tolerates if not advocates this kind of behaviour?
This drunken shithead is sent home to chill after killing a second innocent victim while the horsemen are blockading the inquiry into why he killed Robert Dziekanski.
It's despicable. Fire the RCMP now.
Let me add...
It is always dreadful when some fool drives drunk. It is always worse when that selfish fool kills or injures another person.
How hideous that in this case the drunk driver is a police officer.
We appreciate that cops have a difficult stressful life, and we've seen enough bad movies to know that the line between cop and crook can be awfully thin at times...BUT...
Can we not expect some basics to hold?
You're a police officer. If anyone should know better, sir, it is you.
And, as for the squad around this sorry fellow who will release no information ....
and you wonder why the public has increasingly lost faith in you.
Posted by David Berner at 8:28 AM
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The video below is a sad commentary on the blindness of mankind.
A gay couple, no doubt offended by the opinions and declarations and politics of Sarah Palin, hang an effigy by the throat from their house.
They excuse their inexcusable behaviour by calling this atrocity "a joke."
Do they not know the history of their own country?
I don't like Sarah Palin either and I shudder when I see people enthralled by her.
But it would never occur to me for a second to do something this reckless.
What these two deluded fools are calling "a joke" is in fact a deeply angry act of hatred and hostility. And it is an incitement to violence.
Can they imagine if someone had done the same thing and called the hanging dummy "Mr. Fag?"
Posted by David Berner at 8:27 PM
Nick Caumanns is an Independent candidate for school trustee in Surrey.
He says he's trying to spark new ideas.
Too bad his are all wet.
Nick wants to pass a law limiting homework for all those overburdened kids and their terribly stressed parents.
Nick also wants to pay teachers $500 to coach football teams.
Back to the lab, Nick.
But keep sending in all those cards and letters, Babe.
We hear ya...
Posted by David Berner at 8:34 AM
The day after an eight-year old kills himself by firing an Uzi into his head at a gun show, we learn that in the land of the free and the home of the brave there is a principle -"Hard economic times always result in firearm sales. People buy firearms during periods of uncertainty."
And also, I suppose, take their children to gun shows and let them play with automatic rifles.
Americans are so enamored with their guns that many are still angry at the lefty, John McCain, because he actually had the temerity to support onerous gun-control measures such as requiring purchasers to undergo background checks. The commie bastard!
Did you see the report on The Daily Show last night with real Americans worrying themselves sick about the Muslim terrorist, Barack Obama?
This was just after the story broke last night about the wing-nuts who were organizing - if you can call their frat boy ineptitude "organizing" - an Obama assassination.
The greatest country in the world...excuse me...
Wherever you may travel today, stop, get down on your knees and thank whomever or whatever you may believe in that you are on Canadian soil at this time in history.
Posted by David Berner at 8:02 AM
Monday, October 27, 2008
For the second time this week, I have found next to nothing in the news that has caught my attention.
Perhaps the world is laying low.
Perhaps we need that.
To quote the wisdom of your supermarket checkout clerk,
(everyone together now)
"Have a nice day!"
Posted by David Berner at 8:59 AM
There is not much good news in the financial or business sectors these days.
All the more welcome then the small piece in this morning's Province about YVR.
YVR Airport Services Ltd., a subsidiary of the Vancouver Airport Authority owned jointly by the airport authority and the infrastructure division of U.S. banking giant Citibank, is putting in the bid for Gatwick, London's second-largest airport.
YVR operates a number of large and small airports around the world and, in spite of the dreadful taser incident last year, remains a true local success story. I have been told by friends who know such things that YVR's management team is first rate.
Posted by David Berner at 8:52 AM
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The B.C. government plans to spend $4.6 million to repair Robson Square's reflecting ponds in time for the 2010 Olympics.
Have you been anywhere near Robson Square in the last 10 years?
Planning to be there soon?
Is Robson Square at all on your radar?
The King Of Priorities strikes again.
Posted by David Berner at 11:17 AM
General Motors, Driven to the Brink
Now, there's a headline.
Not too long ago, the SUV was the biggest single profit centre a car company ever had.
It is now, thank god, toast.
"What is clear is that Detroit, among its other miscues in recent years, particularly overindulged its romance with S.U.V.’s, leaving it tethered to a product line that may prove to be the industry’s undoing."
Read the whole story here and then bless your Smart Car, scooter or 2-door hatchback and keep lobbying for real transit in Vancouver.
Maybe someday it will arrive.
Posted by David Berner at 10:51 AM
Frank Rich of the NY Times has written a fascinating editorial this morning on the self-destruction of the McCain campaign.
He says, among other things, that "Republican leaders have no idea what “real America” is."
The piece is called "In Defense of White Americans," and it's definitely a good read.
Posted by David Berner at 10:46 AM
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I've read my customary quota of newspapers.
Nothing. Zilch. Gornicht. Nyet. Cropotkin. Zero, bubula.
So, as a change-up...
Of late, I've been playing a lot of Six Degrees of Separation.
This is the mindless, time-wasting and way fun game of thinking how close you've come to serious celebrity.
Now, because of my years in broadcasting, I have already met some very interesting folk:
Law & Order's
The Best of the Rest
Paul Mercer Ellington
And 1001 MP's, MLA's, social workers, mothers, doctors, lawyers and Indian Chiefs; Drug addicts, murderers, scoundrels and saints.
On public policy, education, health, justice, sports, food, sex, and rock 'n roll...
Lately, I've been obsessing (What? You don't obsess? Come on, get real!) with near brushes with even more illustrious stars of the movie firmament.
Last night I was watching George Stephens' magnificent 1956 move of Edna Ferber's tale of Texas, "Giant."
Or as the Italian posters had it, "Il Gigante."
Starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean, the 3-hour epic was nominated for 10 Oscars, winning only for Stevens himself for best director.
An absolute piece of shit called "Around the World in 80 Days" won for Best Picture.
And look at who was in the running for Best Actor:
- This was James Dean's second consecutive posthumous nomination.
How's that for a list of actors and movies in one year?
Here's my ONE Degree of Separation.
Starring as Luz Benedict II was Carroll Baker. Her scene with James Dean in the empty restaurant is still considered an actor's workshop and there are many famous stories about what went on behind the cameras.
So...I had a long and delightful lunch in, of all places, Edmonton, with Carroll Baker some years ago when she was finishing a run of a play at the Stage West Dinner Theatre and I had just arrived for rehearsals for our 4-month run of "Tribute."
She was warm and charming and funny and we talked about that famous scene, among many other things.
So there's my One Degree of Separation from Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean.
In the same cafe in the same setting under the same circumstances I had a similar lunch with Anne Francis, who, when she left Edmonton to return to California insisted that I take all her kitchen supplies to my apartment.
Anne Francis was a co-star in "Funny Girl," "Blackboard Jungle" and "Forbidden Planet."
Hence, my One Degree Of Separation from Barbra Streisand, Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier and Walter Pidgeon, who appeared in both "Funny Girl" and Forbidden Planet."
Next time, I'll tell you about my One Degree of Separation from Marlon Brando - twice!
Posted by David Berner at 10:09 AM
Friday, October 24, 2008
The Vancouver Sun has been polling candidates for municipal office.
Several findings were encouraging.
Under the heading "Religion," 28.3% refused to answer.
As they all should. I don't want to know about your religion. IN fact, I really, really don't want to know.
I want to know about your stand on matters of public policy.
Under the heading of "Ethnicity," 12.2% refused to answer.
As everyone should.
I don't want to know about your "ethnicity."
I want to know about your stand on matters of public policy.
And under the heading "Immigrant," with a choice of No or Yes (in that peculiar order), 5.6% refused to answer.
As everyone should.
I don't want to know if you are someone called "an immigrant."
I want to know your stand on matters of public policy.
The photograph, by the way, is of Jeff Kuah, one of the 13 other candidates for Mayor of the City of Vancouver.
Posted by David Berner at 9:16 AM
Campbell turns his attention to the economy with a worthwhile package
Vancouver SunPublished: Friday, October 24, 2008
Could this editorial be any more out of touch with its readers?
Most people have seen through the Premier's 10 point rescue plan as the usual window dressing and falafel.
Nothing new, nothing extraordinary, nothing substantial.
When our major daily sidles up to the sitting power with such comfort, it is time to
a)Head for the hills and buy the 12-gauge?
b)Stop reading the morning paper?
c)Consider Auckland or Christchurch?
Posted by David Berner at 9:05 AM
Posted by David Berner at 8:49 AM
Thursday, October 23, 2008
To the Gulf Island Driftwood,
Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
Victoria Times Colonist
David Berner’s Blog
I have just finished watching the CBC documentary of the upcoming trial of Omar Khadr, a child soldier and Canadian citizen, who is to be prosecuted by the U.S. Army Justice Department at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in November for an incident that occurred when he was 15 years old.
It is obvious from the details presented that the US Army has a vested interest in the outcome of this trial. These details include evidence of torture during interrogation, as well as re-writing the reports of US officers who were present at the incident in Afghanistan. In View of this, it is blatantly obvious that in this case, US Army justice is no justice at all. But what is astounding to me is the fact that in six years the Canadian government has not intervened on behalf of this underage Canadian citizen. In fact, our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has allowed this travesty of justice to proceed contrary to the actions of all other foreign governments in similar circumstances. The only Canadian contact I can confirm was a taped interview with Khadr by two unnamed Canadians, the outcome of which obviously did nothing but increase the accused’s feelings of hopelessness.
In conclusion, I believe this is a shameful precedent that could put all Canadians abroad in jeopardy. I hope it is not too late to take remedial action!
A.G. Geoff Cue
480 Vesuvius Bay Road
Salt Spring Island, B.C. V8K 1K7
Posted by David Berner at 9:27 AM
Proof positive that Barbara Yappy has lost any marble that she have had on loan is her argument today that McCain is good for Canada because he favors NAFTA.
Somehow, she has missed the main issue.
Is McCain good for the world?
And the simple answer is "No."
Obama may not be the second coming of the messiah or anything remotely close, but he is superior candidate at this time in this place.
Barbara, read a book. Read more papers. Walk the dog. Go deeper.
Posted by David Berner at 9:19 AM
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
To the Editor - Re: 'Accelerate financial relief with those billions.'
Small Businesses will lead Canada's recovery, according a recent CIBC
I guess we, the small businesses, can only lead our province and country's
if our government doesn't succeed in ploughing us under when they build
public infrastructure projects.
October is Small Business Month in BC.
Campbell has his legacy on his mind. So do we.
Ours has been de-railed, and all our efforts to build a sturdy financial
future have been expropriated so that our Gordfather can pad his resume.
The Small Business Minister Kevin Krueger spent half an hour at the Board of
Trade this week praising our sector as essential to the economic well-being
of our Province. Unless of course, you get in the way of profits for
government projects. They are setting a precedent with this secretive Canada
Line project, that Governments can destroy your life's work at will. This is
There's all kinds of Campbell cash available to top up Canada Line's tank -
even when they gamble and lose our tax dollars in such careless investments
as the sub-prime mortgage market - there's Campbell with another $56 million
to bail out and prop up Canada Line.
Where is the support - where is the propping up of the very group who have
filled the Provincial coffers with billions in tax revenue for years and
On the Train to Nowhere.
Enough is enough.
The baskets and banners and pretty sidewalks through the Cambie Village will
do nothing to restore the livelihoods of all who have been forced into
bankruptcy by this project.
Compensation is deserved, and long overdue. There is nothing to celebrate
until this is rectified.
3190 Cambie St
Posted by David Berner at 8:48 PM
Pardon me while I gloat.
Yesterday I posted Margaret Kopala's editorial from the Ottawa Citizen in defense of the RCMP's stance against Insite.
Today, the Sun published the same piece.
Then, pardon me, while I cry.
Opiate trial results are encouraging
We have to overcome our squeamishness and start using what works for addictionThis was the editorial headline in the Sun this morning.
Giving heroin and other substitutes to addicts is the oldest strategy in the books. There is nothing new and nothing holy or encouraging or effective about it.
It is a defeatist, cynical approach that says, "You cannot be helped, so we will keep you doped up in the hope that you will steal less from us."
This latest Dr. Frankenstein obscenity cost $8 Million, which monies could have provided treatments spaces for 160 real men and women.
It is bad enough that the nutty psudo-scientists and social engineers promote these hollow ideas.
That the press trumpets them is horrifying.
Posted by David Berner at 8:05 AM
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Ross Howard is an award-winning journalist, a marvelous intructor at Langara College, and a good friend. He spends considerable time in Africa and other remote regions teaching journalism. The following is an email he sent earlier today. (Tuesday, October 21/08)
David: while I agree with your excoriations of The Sun's latest putative improvements, I think in your criticisms and polling you have to sharpen the audience's understanding of what appears to be going on.
The Sun is not sacrificing local news and god forbid, enterprise reporting because the newsroom is populated with wholly incompetent reporters and idiot editors. Left to their own and professional instincts they would generally prefer to be doing more, better work.
However, the latest redesign yet again appears to reflect a corporate imperative to maximize profit by spending the least possible on content improvements as opposed to cosmetic rearrangements of limp content.
In some ways its not fair to beat up on journalists. They don't run newspaper anymore, in many cases (especially most big dailies.) .
Bean-counters, accountants, media corporation managers are the ones dictating the underlying impetus for such changes, which is to treat news production as a profit centre, not as a public service.
Within a generation, perhaps within five years, even in Canada where the newspaper crisis is different, weak papers like The Sun risk a real collapse in their readership numbers (old habits eventually die, young ones go online) because of the irrelevancy of the paper edition as useful (aside from reassuring status quo ideas) to readers young and old. Belatedly then the corporate directives may encourage the remaining Sun journalists to rediscover relevance and perhaps modestly invest in the pursuit, but it may be too late.
To belabour my point: it isn't journalists who are killing the print media in Canada. It is the owners.
Posted by David Berner at 8:53 PM
I get it.
It took a while, cause I'm not too swift, eh?
But now I got it.
The Sun's new page design means that we will be blessed with a columnist taking up the bottom half of the front page.
I'm guessing that this means they think they are competing with or getting in synch with blogs.
They think we rush to read other people's opinions.
Some of us like to read this odd thing called THE NEWS.
Posted by David Berner at 8:53 AM
There are only a few oddities about the case of David Shearing that need be noted.
Shearing killed six people, but he was convicted in each count of second degree murder.
Which should open a twelve hour discussion about what constitutes pre-meditation.
In this case, I suppose someone argued, or the judge istructed, that the accused seized an opportunity, rather than planned anything, as he apparently came across these two families camping and then destroyed them all.
A fine point no doubt.
So what are the time limits for pre-meditation? You have to devise your murders months - or minutes - in advance to qualify for first degree murder?
Then, there is this small oddity.
Shearing has been in prison for many years now, but in 1995 he married a lady from Prince Albert. Her name is Heather. You cannot write material like this.
And finally, the parole board must now go through the charade of considering this nut job for various of their forms of freedoms.
Let us all pray together. We know about the efficacies of the parole board.
Posted by David Berner at 8:42 AM
RCMP's E Division should stand up for itself
Margret Kopala, Citizen Special
Published: Monday, October 20, 2008
The RCMP has its problems but nothing justifies cowering before special interest groups. This time, it's E Division that's under fire from the Pivot Legal Society in a Vancouver battleground where electoral politics has nothing on the politics of supervised drug injection.
The Downtown Eastside's Insite is on the brink of becoming Canada's worst public policy disaster, yet last week the Pivot Legal Society called for Canada's auditor general to investigate the RCMP's authority to commission research into the facility's effects on crime and associated issues.
The problem? First -- and despite the information being available on one website over a year ago -- Pivot alleges the research was "secretly" commissioned; secondly, though two reports were favourable to Insite, two were critical: one by Garth Davies, a professor at Simon Fraser University and the other, the now seminal analysis titled A Critique of Canada's INSITE Injection Site and its Parent Philosophy.
Written by Dr. Colin Mangham, a veteran of nearly 30 years in substance abuse prevention and a former professor of health education at Dalhousie University, the critique painstakingly questions studies suggesting Insite either saves lives, reduces crime and disease transmission, or encourages treatment. It also exposes the facility's parent philosophy that drugs are a lifestyle choice, a premise whose ethical contradictions can only be resolved by legalizing drugs or, as the city of Oslo recently determined, by closing its injection facility.
Dr. Mangham confirmed to me this week that nothing in his paper has been disproved or even specifically challenged. Instead, and given its status as the new four-letter word, it is being dismissed as "ideologically" biased though as someone once observed, name-calling is the last refuge of the intellectually bankrupt.
It's not the first time. Like Davies and Mangham, Health Canada's panel of experts summarized first the studies' positive findings then their methodological and design flaws. Among many qualifications to the studies' assertions, the panel noted how only five per cent of drug addicts in the area were using the facility and of those, only 20 per cent on a regular basis.
Its report was promptly dismissed as "political."
And when addiction treatment specialist Dr. Donald Hedges attempted to appear before a parliamentary committee to argue Insite is encouraging risky behaviour (the heroin addict needs progressively higher highs), he was harrassed and intimidated by demonstrators.
Thug democracy rules and now it's the RCMP. Never mind the quality of the work, just question the right of a beleaguered institution to undertake it. To make matters really interesting, point to derogatory remarks coined by a retired constable about the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/Aids which nonetheless powerfully symbolize the deep chasm between the epidemiologists who dominate Insite scholarship and officers who must work in an area which after five years of Insite remains an open-air lavatory. Literally.
Let's be clear. All experts, however narrow their disciplines, have important contributions to make. Those with experience in the field are no less important than those in academe. But there is good reason why neither should dictate public policy which must save lives, reconcile competing interests and address complex issues. Only the citizenry through its elected representatives can do this.
Still, if the Pivot Legal Society wishes to involve the auditor general, so be it. Transparency is always a good thing. And while she's at it, why not open the books of all the service organizations in the Downtown Eastside. Why not reveal the names of board members, peer reviewers, their fees and salaries, spousal relationships, political connections and who, in what government department, motivated by what rationale, is authorizing payment for all this.
Better still, why not just concentrate on ending drug use and addiction.
As the RCMP begins its internal review into this matter, let E Division stand tall for its own area of expertise. Since access to drugs is the biggest challenge to recovery from addiction, no treatment or prevention agenda is possible without a law and order agenda. Sweden's zero-tolerance model and mandatory treatment for addicted repeat offenders should also be considered.
Margret Kopala's column on western perspectives appears every other week.
Posted by David Berner at 8:38 AM
Monday, October 20, 2008
Mysteriously, inexplicably, the local transit system, hated and feared by all who use it regularly, keeps winning international awards.
Clearly the juries who give out these prizes have not been talking to the drivers.
"The overcrowding, the delays, the pass-ups, the inadequate service. It's gone on for years."
This a quote from the local union president, Don MacLeod, calling for many, many more buses.
Will Transclunk or Coast Mountain Bus or whoever is claiming to run the show these days hear this plea?
Or will people trying to get home from a day's work still wait for 30 minutes in the cold and dark and rain?
Posted by David Berner at 9:25 AM
It is likely - and to be hoped - that Stephane Dion steps down today.
Not that there are so many shining lights waiting in the wings. But surely, Dion was one of the weakest leaders the Liberal party have ever put forward.
Dan Gardner, writing in today's Sun, has an interesting analysis that is worth the read.
I don't know that I will ever be persuaded that carbon taxes make any sense, but Gardner makes a good argument for the idea and how Dion missed his main chance.
Posted by David Berner at 9:16 AM
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Sunday » October 19 »
2008 Federal and provincial governments must step up to help our homeless
David Berner The Province
Sunday, October 19, 2008
While the rest of us went through the somewhat hollow exercise of re-electing the same minority government that had just dissolved, a truly significant change occurred on Tuesday.
A B.C. Supreme Court decision made camping in Victoria's public parks a legal activity.
Lawyer Catherine Boies Parker, who acted on behalf of the homeless campers in their court challenge of the city's anti-camping bylaw, confirmed the 108-page judgment upheld their argument that a City of Victoria bylaw that prohibits using "temporary abodes" like tents and large tarpaulins for shelter in parks and public spaces violates the rights of the homeless.
Now, Victoria Mayor Allan Lowe is not one of my all- time favourite politicians. He is, after all the man who wants not only four safe injection sites in his city, but one of them to be "mobile." (Are you familiar with the mobile cancer clinic or arthritis centre in your neighbourhood? Of course not. They don't exist.) But Lowe did get it right when he predicted this decision will reverberate across the country.
"This judgment demonstrates what years of cuts to social programming and housing programs have done. Municipal governments were never in the business of providing housing and social support services to individuals in need," Lowe said, calling on higher levels of government to respond to the court decision.
Peter Ladner and Gregor Roberston, both campaigning to be the next Mayor of Vancouver, have homelessness at the top of their platforms. Yet both know that housing and shelter are provincial and federal responsibilities.
For many years, Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation invested wisely and creatively in low cost "public" housing under a broad range of guises and the results were simple -- people had places to hang their hats.
But these initiatives were abandoned at least 20 years ago and the federal government has had almost no impact on housing matters since then.
The Campbell government has shown little taste for aiding the poor in any arena, whether treatment for addicts or housing for anyone other than Olympic athletes.
Are we elitist if we decry the sight of homeless encampments on English Bay beach when we take a Sunday stroll?
Enabling tent cities in public parks may be manna for civil libertarians, but it's very bad public policy.
Parker, the lawyer who acted on behalf of the homeless in this case, and others who wish to help, might better serve the homeless by suing a few governments for not providing care to our most vulnerable.
Or maybe I am being naïve. Maybe this is just a clever ploy to bring this problem a larger spotlight and force the comfy sleepyheads in Victoria and Ottawa to do something real - like build buildings with kitchens and bathrooms and bedrooms in them.
You know . . . homes.
© The Vancouver Province 2008
Posted by David Berner at 1:31 PM
New treatment works
Painkiller better than methadone therapyWhat a sad and naive story this is.
Of course, anything works better than methadone. A conversation with your Aunt Tilly, a cup of green tea or a ride on the bumper cars all work better than methadone.
That alleged scientists publish "results" like this is to laugh or cry.
That newspapers pubish these stories is to laugh or cry all over again.
This is not, by any standard imaginable, treatment.
This is substituing one drug for another.
This is saying to the addict, "You are a hopeless idiot and you can never move on. So we, the DOCTORS WHO KNOW EVERYTHING, will keep you enslaved.
The addict, of course, is too stoned and too wired on his habit to resist.
But, if only one other human being reaches across the aisle and says instead, "You are not sick, Brother. You are stupid. You've been making some lousy choices, and you can learn to make new choices that are more productive..." if one person says that, at least 25% of the addicts will, with some work, become clean and sober and stay that way.
Stop the enabling and let's move on.
Posted by David Berner at 10:33 AM
Now, it is called "Government Sachs."
So many of the well-compensated executives at the heart of one of the worst offenders in the meltdown, Golman Sachs, have now to been recruited to be a part of the "solution," that the bankrupt company has taken on a new moniker.
Read this truly disgusting course here.
Posted by David Berner at 10:27 AM
Saturday, October 18, 2008
You will see to the right a new survey.
Is is just me, or is the newly revised, revamped and reconfigured Vancouver Sun basically devoid of news?
Or is this just a slow news period?
I appreciate that the paper did a big themed exercise on the economy and that they covered the nightmare from every imaginable angle (except, of course, how the sex trade is flourishing or languishing as a result of the...wait for it...downturn.)
I didn't find one story, not one, worthy of blogggismentis.
One friend says that the Sun now considers its biggest rival - and model - 24 Hours.
That would 'splain a lot.
I suppose like many of you I could cancel the daily delivery and save all that paper recycling.
Take the survey.
Help me understand what the Captains of Communication think they are doing.
Posted by David Berner at 9:43 AM
At last...some good news and some legitimate news.
Mike Mccarthy's front page piece in Friday's Courier tells the most encouraging story about the Aboriginal Mother Centre and Builders without Borders.
Neil Griggs, the architect and planner, who is the passion behind Builders without Borders, deserves all our thanks and praise for doing exactly what should be done and what can never be done by governments.
The Pivot Legal Society is completely wrong in kvetching that this kind of project relieves the government of its responsibility to build social housing.
A) Pivot might start by simply being thankful for this great initiative.
B) They might recognize that government has contributed many dollars to this project, and
C) Governments never have Vision or Passion and they can never do this kind of good work. They never have and they never will. Always look to non-profits and the private sector to do good in the world.
Posted by David Berner at 9:24 AM
Southeast Seniors to Confront Vision Vancouver Candidates About Seniors Centre;
Staggering New Statistics to be Released
October 17, 2008
Vancouver, BC - The Southeast Vancouver Seniors' Arts and Cultural Centre Society will be unveiling staggering new statistics regarding Vancouver's seniors population at a public forum on Monday, October 20th at the Killarney Community Centre. The group is devoted to developing, promoting and providing programs, activities and services for seniors of all cultural backgrounds within Southeast Vancouver.
Since the mid-1990's, the idea of a seniors centre in Southeast Vancouver emerged in response to an embarrassing lack of resources for seniors in the area, encompassing such neighbourhoods as Victoria-Fraserview, Killarney, and Champlain. This quadrant of the city continues to lag behind other areas as currently there are nine stand-alone seniors centres within Vancouver, none of which reside in Southeast VancouverIn April of 2001, Vancouver City Council and Vancouver Park Board approved in principle the construction of a seniors centre at Killarney Community Centre subject to the availability of funding from other sources such as the provincial and federal governments.
Subsequent changes in both levels of government have killed these initial pledges of support. The Southeast Vancouver Seniors' Arts and Cultural Centre Society have invited Vision Vancouver council candidate Raymond Louie and Vision Vancouver Park Board candidate Raj Hundal to attend the forum to make them aware of powerful new census data that shows that 1/3 of all Vancouver seniors live in the city's southeast quadrant as well as the severe lack of services and resources devoted to this population.EVENT DETAILS: Southeast Seniors ForumWho: The Southeast Vancouver Seniors' Arts and Cultural Centre Society; Vision Vancouver candidates Raymond Louie & Raj Hundal
Date: Monday, October 20, 2008 Time: 11:00a.m. - Noon (Doors open at 10:30) Place: Killarney Community Centre 6260 Killarney Street
Room 203 , 2nd Floor
For further information: Keith Jacobson (604)816-7472
Posted by David Berner at 9:14 AM
Looking for a place to cast a good vote in November?
Vote for Eileen Le Gallais, an old friend, who is running for School Trustee. The following is her recent message.
Friends & Colleagues,
I am very excited to share with you my decision to run for School Board Trustee on the Non Partisan Association, (NPA), slate in the November 15, 2008, Civic Election.
I have over 30 years experience teaching Elementary and Secondary in Vancouver schools, with special training in ESL. Our three children attended Vancouver schools, and now our four grandchildren continue the tradition. I believe my experience as a parent and as an educator, gives me a valuable perspective to bring to the Vancouver School Board.
My goal as a Trustee will be to bring my expertise, energy and enthusiasm to actively support students and ensure that all available resources are accessible to them.
Please contact me at email@example.com if you would like to support my campaign through donations, lawn signs (large 4X4, small 24X18), delivering flyers, etc. For now, one of the easiest ways to assist, is to forward this email announcement to people you feel would be interested in supporting my drive to make positive changes in the Vancouver school system.
Find out more about me, and my credentials at www.npavancouver.ca/candidates.
Eileen Le Gallais
Posted by David Berner at 9:08 AM
Friday, October 17, 2008
What refreshing, new thoughts has Cerntig brought to the marketplace in his chanting of accepted wisdoms on Ladner and Robertson this morning?
This drivel isn't worthy of the back pages, let alone the cover of a major daily.
He buys and re-sells the fantasy that property crime is down.
Check it out.
The reporting of property crime is down.
If you call your local police office in Metro and tell them that someone has broken into your home, violated your sense of security, rifled through your socks and underwear and made off with the plasma tube while you were at Costco, they will YAWN IN YOUR FACE.
The average tax-paying home-owner has forsaken the reporting of these kinds of crimes because all they get for it is A FILE NUMBER.
Crime is up, way up, and if you don't know that, what do you know?
Ladner is absolutely right to talk about more cops.
I don't agree with him on more "Ambassadors," but that's another argument for another day.
And then there is this ancient mantra, repeated by the Lazy and the Bored:
"His brutal, backroom ousting of Mayor Sam Sullivan, whom he deposed as NPA leader, still sticks."
Get serious, Miro.
You want brutal? Try looking at the real record of the worst and most vicious mayor this city has ever tolerated.
Everybody in City Hall wanted to see the end of Sullivan and Peter Ladner was simply playing out all our wish fulfilment dreams.
The NPA had a contest; they had a vote. One guy won, the other didn't.
And try writing something original and not a regurge of beer parlor barf.
Posted by David Berner at 9:27 AM