Friday, September 12, 2008

A Place in the Sun

The provincial NDP's affirmative action plan for the upcoming election is either a bold stroke of courageous leadership or the dumbest thing anyone's ever done...depending, I guess, on whether or not you've had your cappuccino yet.

Fifteen ridings are now reserved for persons of the female persuasion. No doubt a few transgendered folks will take this to court.

Five ridings are reserved for "minorities" such as visible minorities (Is that white people in Richmond?), homosexuals and the disabled.

Westside Kelowna, for example has been reserved for chicks. (I'm trying to be as offensive as possible here.)

Why not all those other minorities for Kelowna.

Well, that's simple, Boys and Girls and Anyone In betweeners.

In Kelowna there are no people of color, gays or the nasty inconveniencing wheelchair folk. Kelowna, as we all know, is an enclave held entirely by blond golf players.

So, OK.

Here's my question for the Truly, Really Democratic Party.

What about reserved ridings for Greek Pastry Chefs?

Sex-starved accountants?

Atom-smashing physicists?

I want to see equality here, understand?

Canadian Law is Soooooo Sick

A serial killer is caught and charged with first degree murder.

She killed in 1998 and she killed again in 2002.

The penalty for first degree murder in this nation is an automatic sentence of life with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

So far so good.

But wait.

She first killed her seven-week old son and then in a moment of deep motherhood she allowed her next child to live nine weeks before killing him.

So, in one of those classics of Canadian jurisprudence, this dangerous nut bar will now get five years for the mysteriously lesser charge of "infanticide."

Lesson learned, class?

A baby's life is worth much less than the life of any adult, including some fool killed in a bar fight.

How, I wonder, did we come to this set of values?

Shocking News

Let me see if I've got this.


The Hell's Angels are, uh, like...they're apparently a criminal organization?

Is that right?


Good thing there are news people out there keeping me really informed.

You say, "Criminal?"


Cambie Disgrace Writ Large

It was good to see Susan Heyes' editorial in the Sun this morning. It speaks as clearly as possibl about the shameful history of the Cambie Line fiasco.

The entire text follows:

To the Editor
Re: A Seed Fund for Cambie Business
I am pleased to see at least one member of the Liberal Party acknowledging the devastation to businesses along the Canada Line.
That said, although I appreciate and welcome Mr. Peterson's helpful initiative as described, his Seed Fund suggestions will not come close to satisfying the losses experienced by any but the most recent businesses along Cambie Street. This community has suffered for three years now since the fall of 2005. Many have lost their life's work.
As a merchant who has re-mortgaged my home - twice - to sustain my livelihood of 25 years, and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, this proposal would have no effect on the huge debt I and many others carry forward. Had a fund been set up before the project started, such as the one in Seattle for communities along their Light Rail project, this disaster may have been avoided.
The core of this situation is that the Canada Line is a government funded and driven, Olympics related project that was misrepresented to the public. The City of Vancouver gave its conditional approval to the project based on the proposal for a bored tunnel.
We were blindsided by the project and all it's partners when the original proposed bored underground tunnel secretly became a deep canyon the length of Cambie Street.
There was no meaningful public consultation even though this project is unprecedented in cost, scope and duration.
Had the actual method of construction been revealed - as this open trench, with all the impacts to traffic, businesses, residents and the environment - the project would most likely have not gone forward.
That was an abuse of power.
Given the known impacts for using this cut-and-cover method of construction, Canada Line did not factor any financial relief into their business plan.
Instead, they spent millions promoting themselves with facile ad campaigns and promises of future windfalls.
They also lured new businesses to come in where others had failed or fled, with assurances that the construction would be "two to three MONTHS in front of any given business.
We deserve full compensation for the consequences of this negligence.
My legal case for compensation was filed three years ago. I have three weeks of court time booked for this November for the case to be heard. The Cambie Village Business Association, of which I am a member, has retained lawyers to prepare a Statement of Claim for a potential $20 million Class Action. The membership will be voting shortly on filing this action.
I have consistently made it clear that I and others would welcome a fair settlement out of court. It is beyond belief that families have had to take this unthinkable step of taking our own government to court in order for this to be resolved.
Instead of spending millions to fight small businesses, our government should be doing all it can to support our survival.
Canada Line has built this project on the backs of all the small businesses whose livelihoods have benn expropriated. The project builders and developers who are snapping up land deals all along the route stand to gain millions in profits, while the merchants are left to struggle with no reimbursement for the sacrifices forced upon us. It will take years for this neighbourhood to recover.
At least one member of the Liberal party has publicly acknowledged the harm done and the need to offer financial relief.
The precedent that our government and Canada Line is setting with this negligence and lack of respect for the small businesses, residents and the commuting public, is an ugly one.
Who else has the integrity to make this right?
Susan Heyes
3190 Cambie Street
604 687-0721

E.G. Marshall, late American actor, introduces Judy Collins & Harlem Boys Choir. Mr. Marshall introduced me as Host on a PBS TV series on alcoholism