Thursday, May 28, 2009


Dear David, This was a great day. The Cambie merchant won and Stonewally was beaten. A great Day for sure. Regards, Bill.


Susan Heyes, owner of Hazel and Company, that small maternity shop once located on Cambie and 16th and now on Main Street, has won her court case against the City of Vancouver, Canada, the Attorney-General, South Coast BC Transit Authority, Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc. and Intransit BC Partnership.

She had one lawyer, Cameron Ward, and they had four.

Donna and Goliath.

Mr. Justice Ian Pitfield has awarded Susan $600,000 for loss of business during the deceitful and underhanded cut-and-cover debacle of the past two years and ordered all of the defendants to pay all of the court costs.

Our confidence and faith in the courts has been sorely tested over and over again in recent years. This decision does not entirely restore that faith and confidence, but it sure don't hurt.

Susan is our Local Hero.

Give her all awards and citations available for sheer determination and grit. For saying loudly and clearly and publicly, "FUCK YOU!" to the arrogant, thoughtless powers that be.

This is a clear piss in the face of Gordon Campbell, whose ears remained conveniently and consistently shut to cries of compensation from the many mom-and-pop shops he destroyed with indifference.

* * *

And The Opaque One is gone. We will have a new Attorney-General.

Of course, the fix was in way back when.

Kash Heed was offered the position months ago. Run for us. You'll win. Wally will run somewhere else, and win or lose, we'll give you the office.

Nothing illegal or sinister about that. It's called politics.

And Kash Heed will no doubt make a much better AG than His Opaqueness. My Aunt Tillie would make a better AG than...

And so, my friend Bill was right yesterday.

A great day for us locals.

Hip Hip Hooray!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Citizenship, is all.

Somewhere in those mysterious actuarial gardens where numbers grow unbidden like kale come post election polls.

Last week, we were first meant to believe that the voter turnout in the BC provincial election was a mythical 52%. Most of us knew, and it was later confirmed, that 48% was the much more accurate and darker truth.

Less than half the eligible population of this barely civilized outpost left their important rounds long enough to appear at their local elementary school gym to exercise their franchise.

How many millions took up arms and died merely 60 years ago for such privilege? How do we honor and remember them?

The explanation for this shame is twofold.

New Canadians

We have all done a woefully inadequate job of integrating immigrants into the real fabric of our mythically diverse society.

So many recent immigrants from many countries, especially Asian countries, have no knowledge of and no interest in local affairs. What Val Someladyorother or Wally Whatsis has to say about salad or sambas or bicycle paths on throughways carries no weight for these folks. In fact, they don’t even hear the messages.

Whose fault is this?

Yours, theirs and mine. That’s whose fault it is.

Immigration Canada demands not enough. The settlement societies are too defensive and negative, looking more for Canada to accommodate the new than for the new to develop an awareness of Canada. And the so-called ethnic communities are largely focused on creature comforts. The same obsessions that I will discuss in a moment with reference to Old Canadians – consumerism and marketing. New Canadians want an SUV or two, 4,000 square feet in the burbs, hockey equipment. That’s the Canada they have bought into. What’s voting got to do with all this?

Old Canadians

The other group that couldn’t be bothered to turn out at the voting booth last Tuesday was the thirty-somethings who are second and third and fifth generation Caucasian Canadians. Old fogies like me showed up, and thankfully some young voters appeared, but the backbone of the community was busy with their cell phones, blackberries, SUV’s, hockey leagues, bar dates, plasma TVs and all the other myriad forms of mindless amusement that passes in this neck of the woods for culture. What is, in fact, a society of brain-dead shoppers, ennobled by being made a part of the Consumer Index.

American public schools cannot hold a candle to ours, but they do have one glaring advantage. They maniacally, often jingoistically, but with good reason and result, teach something called “Civics” throughout the school years.

This is your government. These are the documents and struggles that brought it to birth and to date. This is how it is supposed to work.

Not that it is the “truth,” or even something approximating reality. But it is something.

It forces on young minds a burgeoning awareness that the democratic process and dream have a history and a prize.

* * *

It doesn’t really matter that much in the long run which of the scallywags won office last week.

What is more important – and disheartening – is that so few people found import in this moment.

The politicians are not to be blamed – except, of course, for their own low quality of character and offerings.

We are to blame for not finding enough excitement or vision in our own holy enterprise.

When we care little enough to send the very worst, this is what we get.

When we care little enough to remind ourselves and our neighbours about the rewards and demands and responsibilities of citizenship, this is what we get.

Citizenship is being lost. May it soon again be found.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I am the host and moderator for these debates. Come on along. And visit our website at www.langaradialogues. ca


Please join us for THE LANGARA DIALOGUES

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
7:30 PM
Alice Mackay Room, Lower Level
Vancouver Public Library, Downtown (Homer & Robson)


Arguing the AFFIRMATIVE:
Steve Davis, President, Independent Power Producers of BC

Arguing the NEGATIVE:
Gwen Barlee, Policy Director, Wilderness Committee

Steve Davis

Steve Davis, is the President of the Independent Power Producers associationof BC (IPPBC) and head of Steve Davis & Associates Consulting Ltd, aconsulting firm providing commercial, and strategic market advice ondeveloping green power projects in BC.Steve has been developing green IPPs in BC since 1990. He ran the projectdevelopment subsidiaries for BC Gas and Ledcor and developed biomass, co-generation and small hydro IPP projects in BC for 12 years prior tosetting up his IPP consulting business in 2002. Steve has been an IPPBC Director since 1992 and President since 2001. He hasco-authored a dozen major IPPBC reports and commentaries and provided regulatory testimonies in BC Utilities Commission hearings. Steve's consulting company has; performed due diligence on investments in IPP projects, created pro formas for small hydro projects, analyzed dozensof BC IPP projects and development companies, reviewed agreements between IPPs and First Nations and Local Governments, prepared site tenure applications for IPP developers, and assisted on preparing IPP project proposals to BC Hydro. Steve has a Civil Engineering degree from UBC and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario.

Gwen Barlee

Gwen Barlee has been involved in the environment movement since 2001 and is presently the Policy Director with the 30,000 member Western Canada Wilderness Committee - Canada's largest member-based citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization

Her campaigns in recent years have focused on environmental degradation and the erosion of the public good through privatization initiatives. Gwen's current projects with the Wilderness Committee include working to introduce provincial endangered species legislation, protect parks and public lands, and address the proliferation of private power projects in British Columbia. Gwen brings an essential environmental perspective, as well as social policy and communications expertise to her work with the Wilderness Committee. She is also a Board Member with the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA), BC Citizens for Public Power and serves on the Advisory Board of the Orion Grassroots Network.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Attenzione, si prega...

I am retiring the blog.


I have now written over 3,000 posts and been visited - if ever briefly - by over 135,000 people.

It's been fun, but it's time to move on.

I am 66 and I don't feel old, but I do feel different. Some sea change has occurred.

I read the paper and barely react to most stories. Afghanistan, Israel, Gordon Campbell, Carole James, the RCMP "managing" information, Iggy Pop...yawn.

The blog takes up one to two hours of my energy every morning.

I've decided that I need that energy for my work and for other things I am writing.

I have now written two drafts of a book about my years in the drug rehabilitation business. Good, as far as it goes, but I need a third draft.

I'm blessed.

A month after heart surgery, I'm playing tennis, swimming, riding my bike and walking. I have a lovely home, great friends and two wonderful grown children.

Baruch Hashem.

You folks who have been reading the blog and writing in have been wonderful. Your comments have been exactly what they should - funny, incisive, argumentative, spirited.

Time for some of you to entertain and inform us with your own blogs.

May we keep our eyes on the prize - good health, companionship, love, community, the spirit.

Books, movies, art, sport, gardening.

"Do unto others" will not be going out of fashion.

Sayonara, auf vederzein, shalom, ciao, baby, ciao, kum sumnida, taijian, au resevoir...

Thanks for listening, and goodnight.

Sing Along With...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Leave the Bridge Alone

Restricting two lanes on the Burrard Bridge to cyclists is madness.

How can City Council even for a second entertain such utter silliness?

After some discussion last night, Council has announced that it will make a decision on Thursday.

Any decision that further fouls traffic in this city is a bad one, plain and simple.

I have yet to see or personally experience a problem with cyclists on the sidewalks of the bridge.

Tinker, tinker, tinker...


In recent weeks, four young men have been executed in righteous, happy Abbotsford.

All were somehow involved in the drug biz. Quel surprise.

And we are learning exactly what from the police or the A-G about bringing the murderers to justice?

If it weren't for the continuing excellent journalism basics from The Sun's Kim Bolan we would be even more in the dark.

Count the Reasons

Nobody has spelled out so clearly the simple and direct reasons for you to vote Gordon Campbell out of office next Tuesday than Bill Tieleman.

Read Bill's blog posting of yesterday here, and then vote for the NDP.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Friend Asks

David, I just heard a gentleman on the radio discussing AA. He is an alcoholic but has has been clean & sober for 40 years. The host asked him whether he considered alcoholism to be a disease. He adamantly said he did not and then went on to explain why the medical profession had been trying to label it a disease. I'd be interested in your thoughts on this! Robert

(This, of course, will teach you to stop listening to the radio.)

For many years, alcoholism was seen as a shame and a dirty secret. Cancer had the same public perception. Nobody wanted to admit to either.

About 40 years ago, doctors did the world a favour and convinced us all that alcoholism was something that had to be dealt with, not hidden away. They legitimized the problem by calling it a disease.

Fair far as it goes.

The only trouble with this approach and this history is that doctors then started to believe their own press kit. They came to believe that alcoholism is really a disease and that therefore it is something for doctors to treat.


Big boo-boo, kids.

If I have a heart problem (and apparently, I do), the doctors at VGH can weave their way through my arterial systems and clear a passage and put in a stent and send me home. My job is to eat well, exercise, not yell at bozos in traffic and take my medicines.

Alcoholism is different.

Doctors can do next to nothing about it. It is not a random disease picked up by using public washrooms.

It is a sickness alright. But a sickness of the soul and spirit. Some people can drink and some people can't.

If you are one of the people who can't, you have only one choice.

Stop drinking now.

Begin to live The Examined Life.

Learn who you are and how you function and mal-function.

Focus on values and helping others while you help yourself.

I have always been baffled by why any doctor would want to invest all his/her learning working with addicts and alcoholics.

Livers, kidneys, eyes, ears, noses I understand.

Alcoholism and drug addictions are for alcoholics and drug addicts to work on.

Stethoscopes have no role in this struggle.

Your Daily Cop-Out

It's Tuesday, so there must be another RCMP screw-up.


Three guys are drinking tea. That's right. Tea.

Cops break down door. Attack dog bites through man's leg to the bone and drags him out of his apartment.

Much melee-ing and to and fro-ing. Lock up and release.

Punch line?

Oh, so solly.

Wrong door.

All of this took place - where else? - in Surrey, above a Sechuan restaurant in November of last year.

Oops, there.

Here's the challenge for the national constabulary.

Try to get through a fortnight without embarrassing yourselves and disgracing the uniform.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Our Deep Commitment to Local Affairs

Did you watch the so-called "Leaders' Debate" last night.


That makes 6 of us.

Three of the others were TV columnists.

Of course, putting this somnambulism on air at 5pm on a Sunday right after that Oscar contender "Fast Food High" is not exactly helpful.

And if this is someone's idea of "live" television, let's hear it for the dramatic improvement in cryogenics.

And didn't our local CTV station - pleading and fighting with the CRTC these very days for more money, more concessions - really out-do themselves with just about the cheesiest set design and lighting since Captain Kangaroo?

These guys blather on - the TV execs - about their commitment to local programming and then they give us...this? Brother!

Anyway...let's get to the substance.


I said, "Let's get to the substance."

I know, it's a stretch to call these gaseous fumes weighty or meaty or even souffle.

Here's what I found pleasantly surprising. Or surprisingly pleasant.

Carole James came across very well.

Calm, strong, organized, knowledgeable. NOT strident or shrill or kvetchy.

I was particularly impressed by her skewering of the Premier on his fudging the numbers with long-term care beds for seniors and how he's fighting crime by cutting services. Ha!

What I found most peculiar, if not downright frightening, was how creepy Gordon Campbell appeared.

Desperate, pugilistic, bug-eyed. Has anyone ever told this guy that not everything in life is high school basketball?

What a vision he brings to the arena. Kill or be killed. Very helpful. Very mature.

The party's over
It's time to call it a day
They've burst your pretty balloon
And taken the moon away...

Pete Seeger will be 90 on Sunday

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Best Place on Earth - uh, if you know someone

Patrick Kinsella, friend and colleague of the Premier who would like to be your Premier again, is mighty miffed that anyone is suggesting that he had any undue influence in the government's decision to sell BC Rail.

So miffed, in fact, that he has somehow managed to get access to transcripts in the Basi-Virk affair - transcripts that are supposed to be privileged and not available to anyone who does not have standing in the court case.

How is that possible?

Is "privileged" the operative word here?

Could this business smell any higher?

Is there no way the crusty old amateurs who are running the NDP campaign cannot carry this ball over the finish line? What more do they need?


Imagine the telephone book getting something right that has so far eluded every intellectual, government official and doctor in Canada.

This morning I was looking in those first few pages of phone book for a Telus service.

I came across a list of social service, and what do you think it said under "Addiction Services?"

Not Insite or Harm Seduction or any of the other blathering bad public policy mistakes of the last 20 years.


It said in plain English and bold type ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS and NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS.

These two organizations, with no money and no publicity and no fame and no kvetching, of course, help more human beings to live clean and sober than all of the other thousands of fakers who suck the Great Tit.

Congrats to the folks at The Yellow Pages.

Leiren-Young Honored

Congratulations to local writer Mark Leiren-Young who has won the 2009 Leacock Medal for Humour.


That is so great, Mark! Mazel Tov!

Well, That Explains Everything!

Mountain Equipment Update

For Immediate Release

Canada-Israel Committee expresses satisfaction with decision of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) members to reject Israel boycott

Vancouver, April 30, 2009. In a widely publicized Annual Meeting held this evening in Vancouver, MEC members voted to reject a motion that would have asked the MEC Board to boycott goods manufactured in Israel.

“We’re delighted with this decision, which should be taken as a ringing endorsement of MEC’s outstanding policy on ethical sourcing”, said CIC’s Pacific region chairman Dr. Michael Elterman. Observing that the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation group PAGE was a key supporter of the defeated pro-boycott resolution, Elterman observed that MEC’s current policy has allowed the company to use its purchasing power to encourage progressive principles like workers’ rights and environmental sustainability in such countries as China, where these are novel concepts.

“MEC members across the country were outraged by this attempt by a few hard-line ideologues to hijack the agenda of one of Canada’s most socially responsible organizations”, Elterman concluded. “We’re hopeful that this matter is now definitively closed.”

Ted Reynolds

Ted Reynolds was a great broadcaster.

Like a handful of others, Reynolds happened to be talking about sports.

And like that same handful, it was clear that he could cover any subject if he really so wished.

A rare bird, indeed, he will be missed.