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Fascinating to observe similar patterns play out in this current BC provincial election, beginning with the party in power for the past 16 years just behind the NDP in the first poll, despite all their horrible policies, right across the board.
 
Second, the 2 parties hoping to defeat Christy Clark already engaging in mud-slinging and falling victim, easy prey, to the master plan of the “corporate elite” or the corporate right”….even attacking the public in some circles, for supporting the Greens Party….
 
but hey, voters are voluntarily, intentionally choosing candidates they prefer, for whatever the reason might be. The NDP would do well to quit criticizing voters for picking candidates from other parties, and instead ask themselves why people don’t vote NDP.
 
It is really sad to see the BC Liberals & Christy Clark in good position to win a fifth consective mandate….notwithstanding all the nasty things they’ve done & keep doing. They won in 2001, almost totally obliterating the NDP in the Legislature….then in 2005…then in 2009….
 
and then again in 2013…..even though the election opened with the NDP enjoying what seemed an insurmountable 20 point lead. That’s like a racehorse turning for home with a healthy 10 length lead…fans on their feet, hooves thundering…only to cave in and fold like a cheap Wal-Mart tent and wind up beaten once again.
 
Wasn’t it bad enough, seeing Christy Clark in the winner’s circle again?!
 
Did the “Left” learn anything? Anything at all? I think they’re doing a pretty good job in many ways and John Horgan really is a likeable man-of-the-people leader who’d make an excellent Premier, but we’re seeing some familiar patterns…..
 
I like how the Greens and the NDP are not sitting back and refraining from attacking Clark. And some unions are jumping in the ring too. Look, this is a war. Either fight it, or be blown away. It’s one thing to “take the high road” and not engage in the disgusting, barbaric behaviour of trump or harper….but you have to ensure voters remember the worst things the BC Liberals have done ( including letting our debt skyrocket, including the injustices and lack of care for families, children, education, seniors, health, & of course the environment, meanwhile we get stuck with precarious, shittier jobs…)
 
And of course, tell us what you stand for. Why should I vote for you? Do you care about climate change, do you care about clean green well-paying jobs, would you uphold the public interest rather than just line the pockets of your corporate friends and funders?
 
It’s a shame that the Greens and NDP can’t figure it out that the best thing for everybody, if we’re genuinely concerned about beating the BC Liberals and the environment, would be to form a coalition so that voters had 1 simple choice to make at the ballot box…either sign up for more of the same **** we’ve had for the last 16 years…or vote for changes…..
 
this would’ve had to happen a while ago, so that it would be reflected on the ballots, but instead, it seems too many people have a different agenda in mind. What’s that last phrase mean? Just think about it. It could well be the left’s achilles’ heel …
#bcpoli #bcndp #elxn #BCGreens #bcvote2017
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As BC’s provincial election day on May 9 grinds closer ( don’t know why it isn’t receiving much more news coverage given all the terrible things that have happened in Bc over the last 16 years, through 4 straight Bc Liberal wins )….people need to cease with the attacks, whether they’re pro NDP or pro Green, because it’s classic “left eating their own” syndrome…..keep calling each other names like “shill” and stir up conspiracy theories and criticize each other ( true or not )…..Christy Clark wins.
Just tell us who you are, what you would do if elected, and why I the average working person should vote for you…tell me how your ideas benefit me, or what I value, …either directly or indirectly
look, the average person on the street needs to be reminded …..( hate to say it, but it’s true, they need to be reminded ) ….what’s going on, & needs to hear hope and a plan….we need leaders. We need people who think big, and bring us together, and bring out the best in us, ….we need to return to our Canadian values of compassion, tolerance, interest, understanding and the drive to survive and thrive in a frontier that is often harsh and unforgiving…..
anything less, and you guarantee yet another BC Liberal win….we’re fighting a party with all the money ( some of it is OUR money )…a phoney- baloney budget surplus….they have the power of PR and short voter memories and apathy on their side….
and now, lots of history…..4 election wins, guys….look, if you keep betting against a horse that’s won 4 races in a row….you’d better have a good reason…..so please, don’t contribute towards a fifth victory for these Bc Liberals, please!
I would provide a list of some of the low-lights…but what for, if environmental, social, and economic collapse isn’t enough for you then hey, we’ve got bigger problems…
but just think of the dozens of children who died while in the care of this government, the many people trapped in poverty, in sickness, trapped being unemployed or under-employed, trapped with addiction issues….a province once pristine and known for championing the environment, now a laughing stock…which promotes LFG ( liquified fracked gas )…coal ( yes, coal ! ), oil pipelines, supertankers…..( as most of the world moves ahead with solar, electric, geothermal….
a province which does nothing about worsening income inequality….which welcomes money laundering and speculation from foreigners and foreign-based investors and corporations…a province which hands over all our natural resources to corporations and lets them be exported with no value added to us, no jobs…..
a province which deliberately spent many millions fighting to dumb down our public education system… a whole generation of kids grew up in crowded moldy portable classrooms….
no one should need be reminded of any of these issues or all the other horrible things that the government has been doing….we need to get active, everybody, and work together to fix some of the damage and get the environment and the people of this province back on track, and vote either NDP or Green, whichever candidate is most qualified.
#bcpoli #NDP #GreenParty #Weaver #Horgan #BC #election # elxn17 #elexn17

Poem….”make your own title”…

You live the reality you make.
By the paths you take
And those you forsake.
By the words you speak
And the directions of your feet.

Live your experiences fully
Be your own maestro
free of toxins and  bullies
Don’t take the judgement
Of an armchair jury

Be supportive and unconditional
For like a  good family
surely ourselves
must be acceptable
Flaunt what you have to give
Your life is yours to live
It’s your stage
and your own production
It’s not a random collection
of wind-blown sands
for it’s in  your own hands

Be the person you want to be
really see
when you look at another person
admire their beauty
for we are all complete
We are all unique
equally deserving
of respect & dignity
When no one’s looking
do exactly as you said
And if like me
you like to eat
nurture every precious seed.
This is the way
to a good night’s sleep

It’s fascinating to watch media personnel who are untrained in matters of geography, political science, or what-have-you, make half-hearted efforts to pump out “stories” ( to meet deadlines of their superiors ) on such critical topics like transportation or health care or education or governmental priorities ( example let’s blow $8.4 Billion on a dam that’s not going to ever be needed by British Columbian people…only by prospective foreign investors wanting our natural resources…and destroy massive amounts of land in the process…rather than deal with the pressing issues facing us as people ).

So back to…yes, the media. Example, they toss out rhetorical questions like “will a few bucks “upgrading” this bridge or that road solve congestion?…Yeah right. Even university students taking urban geography know expanding capacity only results in more traffic. With the population increasing in nearby (Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, surrey, New West, Burnaby …not to mention everywhere else in the Metro region) residential buildings by the thousands every week, be serious.

This is purely the stuff of band-aids, when what’s really required is a full-blown physical examination with a dietary and exercise regimen. The Metropolitan area of Vancouver is growing so quickly, partly directly because of the policies of our municipal, provincial and federal governments, that it is absolute folly to think any re-jigging of arterial routes or even snap decisions to build $4 Billlion bridges ( mostly to appease clark’s corporate backers from the fossil fuel industries) will alleviate congestion.

Even a lab rat learns very rapidly which ways to go, in order to get food for example. You’d think more people would realize by now that it’s utter nonsense when they hear politicians say the latest batch of high-rises and condos will help deal with the rental crisis or the housing affordability crisis….simply because we’ve all witnessed them saying the same darned thing constantly for the last 40 years, when of course, the problems only get worse.

Why do they get worse? Partly because these same governments make it public policy to increase population and population density. And they’re all doing it. Delta finally caved in to the developer’s pressure and sacrificed the agricultural lands of the Spetifore Lands. Richmond which once was synonymous with farming, is now almost as covered with construction cranes as Vancouver.

Every city has their snout in the trough…..at some point you have to ignore the blatant falsehoods they keep propagating, and ask why are they so hell-bent on driving these policies forward, it can’t be their ideology, because as stated above, 40 years of crazy-arse development has only exacerbated all of the resulting problems ( social, economic, environmental, etc )…so what’s left?

Could it be corruption? What either answer is there? Why else would our politicians publicly float the notions we should close down schools just because enrolment is down and sell off the schools and land they are on?

The trends are clear.  As long as voters continue to be apathetic, uninformed, distracted, oppressed, repressed, and as easily tricked and divided as they are today, as they have been for the last while, what we’re witnessing today will undoubtedly continue.   And if you get out of Metro Vancouver and visit it every other week as I do, you are struck by the changes and the growth even more.

Figuring out if this will continue and even worsen is a lot like betting on the horses.   When you look at the past performances and study any given race, you will see horses who have repeatedly shown a lack of finish, or a lack of the will to win.  Yet fans often bet on them anyway, perhaps thinking a drop in class or an equipment change like “blinkers on” will be enough to put that horse over the top and across the finish line first.  Um, no.   Just no.  If that horse has just 2 wins from 30 something races, you gotta ask yourself why you are looking for it to win today.   It’ll just find another excuse to lose.

You need to listen to the chatter, and dissect the arguments and your observations.  A little bit of critical thinking goes a long way.   If Gregor Robertson wants to go down in history as a “green Mayor” or someone truly interested in modern, green initiatives he should quit the public calls to other levels of government to reject pipelines and take action at home by putting a moratorium on new condo construction.

We should be holding an inquiry into why the city and province sacrificed the Cambie corridor from False Creek to the Fraser River, just a few short years after taxpayers agreed to spend $1 Billion burying the Skytrain line under the corridor, in order to preserve the area’s character.   The redevelopment of the neighbourhoods and destruction of heritage buildings and erasure of Vancouver’s green spaces is absolutely shameful.

For those of us able, the quickest resolution to the issues is to leave the area.  Move on to better pastures because what’s happened is the people’s will has been usurped by corporate power.   They have taken over, and placed people in political office eager to do their bidding, either consciously or unconsciously.   My grandmother’s Lower Mainland is dead.   And it’s just growing more  and more crowded and rude and polluted, and full of crime and social problems by the day.

Thankfully, there are plenty of places beyond Vancouver’s borders which are a lot like the Vancouver of the 70’s and 80’s, where people still have power, are educated and engaged, and where community thrives.

 

 

 

A routine doctor visit

5:19 PM Thursday
I looked around like a hunter protecting his kill, in case whoever lost it came back. But there was no one around. I stuffed the bag into my jacket trying to hide it, and carried on to the doctor’s office for my appointment.

The late autumn sun hung low in the purple orange sky at a blinding angle. If it was wasn’t for a puddle, I might’ve missed seeing the bag at all.

“Hi, Tim. Late again. Boy, you’re in for it this time”, greeted Jennifer, the senior assistant.

“You know how it is. Traffic was especially heavy today.”

“We know how how it is, alright”, her co-worker flashed a knowing grin before returning to her stack of files.

“Take a seat, Tim. He’s double booked, but should be able to see you before he goes home.”

I sat in my favourite spot by the coat rack, but after a couple of minutes realized how strange I must look, sitting there with a bulging jacket. It would have to come off.

After a moment, I got up and took a chair on the same side of the room as the other two people. Usually people don’t watch those sitting next to them. As carefully as I could, I slipped off my jacket & hid the bag in it.

The silence was broken by the voice of my doctor, who sounded very agitated, not like himself at all.

“Not this one, the file for Mrs. Johnson, I said. She’s got to get a blood test soon. Where’s that fax. number, I’ll send it.”

“Yes, Doctor, I’ll get on it right away. The number’s right there”, the younger assistant replied.
“Just going to the bathroom, be right back”, I told Barb, noticing she seemed more intent on her work than usual. “Say, what’s up with the Doctor today? Normally we can hear him kidding around and telling jokes while we wait. . .”

“Oh, don’t ask. He’s been like this all afternoon.” She glanced towards one of the rooms, then lowered her voice even further. “Apparently he lost something. He’s quite upset”, she confided.

“Oh, that’s too bad. Nice pictures”, I said, motioning to the wall behind her. “Where were those taken?”
“”Yes, aren’t they? He just got back from Africa two weeks ago. Took the whole family. Said he had to get away from all the repairs on his house. He could’ve torn it down and been better off.” She laughed.

“Yeah, construction costs have climbed steadily the last few years.”

“Well, he’s very meticulous, as you know. So it’ll all be sorted out soon enough. He’s very determined.”

By the time I got out of the doctor’s office and had the prescription filled, it was dark and raining. All I wanted to do was get home and count the money I’d found. I made my way back to the car as quickly as I could and tossed the paper bag onto the floor. About 20 minutes later it became obvious I was being followed. A large black SUV was still behind me ever since I could remember, despite a number of turns. Sometimes he would drop back a car length or two, but the more I drove, the more apparent it became that I would have to do something, and fast.

I buckled my seat belt and dialled 911 on my cell phone and kept driving east, past my last turn-off home. The line was busy. Just as well, I thought. What would I tell the police? That I’d found a few hundred grand, and now someone was following me? How long would it take them to intercept, and what would happen to the money? I tossed the phone onto the seat, and realized I had to lose the SUV.
7:42 PM Thursday
The heat from the hot chocolate and fireplace behind me had finally begun to warm me up. And enough time had elapsed that I could think. I stared at the phone and finally dialled my friend. She answered just as the image flashed through my mind. The terror of slamming the pedal to the floor at the red light, and closing my eyes. It seemed like a stupid thing to do now, but at the time, it came out of pure instinct. Either do this, and do it now, or this could be it.

“Hey Tim, what’s up?”

“Everything. I’m kind of in trouble, big trouble. I found this paper bag today, with a whole lot of money in it.”

“What?! How much? Where?”

“I. . . I don’t know, exactly, it’s in the hundreds of thousands. It was just sitting there in the grass, on the way to my doctor’s office.”

“Oh Lord. Are you okay? Why are you in trouble?”

“As okay as I can be, I guess. But some guy in a truck chased me, on the way home, so I lost him.”

“Why? Are you sure they were chasing you?”

“Yes they were after me. All I know is, I got the fuck out of there.”

“Yeah, right. Well Tim, I hate to say this, but I’m getting a little afraid here. It sounds like somebody knows you have the money. Do you get where I’m going with this?”

For a moment I didn’t know what to say, and there was a long silence over the phone. I turned to watch the flames, but found myself listening for any unusual sounds around the house.

“Tim?” Her voice was calm and neutral.

“Yeah?”

“Look, why don’t we take this one step at a time. Count the money first, find out how much you’ve got there.”

“Okay, but maybe this isn’t the right time for this.”

“Well, see if there’s anything else, something which might help shed some light on this.”

“Oh shit. That’s a good idea. Hadn’t even occurred to me.”

“Well, that’s not too surprising; sounds like you haven’t had any time.”

“Yeah, okay, hang on. I’m gonna check the bag right now.”

I put the phone down, and dragged the bag across the floor. For a moment, it was fascinating to hold the bundles of cash in my hands, then I turned the bag upside down. At least a dozen bundles of thousand dollar bills tumbled out, then a scrap of paper with some writing on it.

I picked it up and could tell in the dimly lit room that it was a note. I huddled as close to the fire as I could get, and read the note into the phone.

“Mr. Wong, here is the 400 thousand dollars as agreed. Please accept this as partial payment on my loan. The remainder will follow shortly..”

“Wow, does it say anything else.?”

“No, that’s it.”

“Are you sure, Tim? Nothing else? Turn it over.”

“Yeah, there is. Hang on. It says. . it’s an address. Holy shit. Guess what?”

“What, Tim? What is it?”

“Its my doctor’s address. Apparently this is his medical stationery. Holy shit, this is his money.”

“Or else this Wong guy.”

“Yeah, that’s true. Could be. What am I gonna do?”

“Breathe, just calm down. Okay?”

I knew she’d say that, but it didn’t make me feel any better.

“Tim? Hello? Are you breathing?”

“No, I’m. .. listening. Thought I heard something. What am I gonna do?”

“Tim, does your doctor make house calls?”

“What?”

“Nothing, just kidding. But I think you might need a doctor soon.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“A new one, that’s all.”

“Right, let’s figure this out, what am I gonna do?”

“I think. . I think you’ve got to get out of there. Just hang up, get your shit, and go.”

“Yeah I guess so, but I don’t feel so good. I feel sick.”

I listened for her answer, but there was only silence. The line was dead.

Cheerful light

The house stares back
from across the street
Looking at me through panes
Staring at my feet
With windows of ninety year old glass
it squats on earth
made to last

Its gardens once grew food
For families of young and old
Though long since passed
They must be rued

Their long held traditions
and passed on memories
leaves us more
than a little teary
lost in the jive and shuffle
of the urban bustle
always, always there is that hurry
sorry, but forever
you can’t hold your breath
Because  the new year’s frost
is still a worry

Outside I shuffle down a path
cleaned just barely
revealing  bricks and sand
Will the  grip of winter
loosen its grasp?
then the sight of those out strolling
Picks up my pace
They aren’t morose or lonely
Can we just be surrounded
in a merry space?

Let loose these scarves and mittens
For now I am  nearly skipping
I’d like to join in
and silently listen
perchance take a walk in newborn grass
Hop over the branches
of the dead and snapped
Even have a laugh
Worry no longer!
Over remains of  half eaten
maybe a decaying leaf
or cores of apple and plum
Don’t wallow!
Don’t stay so glum
it’s just a setting sun

Just when I feel a curse
Could this day be any worse?
Along comes a need
I do have a garden
I really must  weed!
But first I must linger
at the nearest lane
Not to ponder the usual litter
of unwanted belongings
and  assorted blame
but to hear a pitter patter
just hang out and consider
A never before seen beauty
that really matters

The road is covered by an icy glaze
reflecting a simple and cheerful light
I think I hear music
bouncy and bright
behold the ice cream tones
I think I’ve got to roam
over those mountain peaks
strangely pink and orange
listen to the birds
twitter and tweet
These colours of sunset
are oh so earthy
the perfect companion
that such a long time ago
I should  have met

Time to hurry on home
Please, the quickest way
I can and must go
Something’s started a long lost fire
Enough to warm any darkened heart
An irresistible desire
The bottles and Christmas wrap
I ‘m about to toss
Aren’t really a loss
For someone will show up soon
By light of sun
or yellow crescent moon
somebody grateful
to have this chance
Blessed with one more day
to have  more season available
to frolic?  to play?
behold the sight, rows of trays
here they be
our precious seeds
the tasty breakfast lunch and dinners
They will someday bring
They’re in the window
enough of being thinner!
They’ve waited for their cue
It’s time to sing
Time for  a fork and knife
In the cheerful light of spring

Metro Vancouver is rife with chaos. My dad was right when he said last night that “land assemblies’ are accelerating , not slowing down. The Railway Club is closing forever and going to be bulldozed. Another place for live music and people to get together…gone. A big blow to the local music industry, specifically, and for entertainment generally.

Combine this with so many other things going on around Metro Vancouver, it is hard to maintain one’s cool…because it’s a sweeping transformation on several fronts.

Income inequality is worsening. And our attitudes towards the vulnerable & disadvantaged have collapsed. We are okay with walking by people sleeping on the cold hard concrete sidewalk… without even a piece of cardboard. We are okay with seniors getting little or no discounts anymore. We need to rush to the beach by 11 am in the summer, because after that, there’s no parking, and no more spots on the beach. Going out to a favoured restaurant, nightspot, or movie theatre? If you’re not stuck in a long queue, you are very lucky. It does happen, sure, but it’s not the norm.

When I’m in “town” every couple weeks, I see the changes. THAT’S HOW FAST THE CITY IS CHANGING.

The via-ducts will be torn out and filled up with towers. Crazy redevelopment all along the major streets.  Oakridge Mall awaits a total makeover with towers rivalling those of Metrotown in Burnaby.  The entire block within 57th to 59th, Cambie to Heather, will be bulldozed. BC Place is going to be surrounded by more towers, finishing off what was started after Expo 86 ended. Towers going up right beside my old  dentist in South Van.

Close to home the madness continues.  Two blocks away from home, 2 heritage houses will be replaced by 7 shoeboxes. A house 2 blocks the other way, once owned by nuns, is coming down, who knows what’s going in there. Across the street from that, another newer house is coming down. One block south of us, a 49.5 foot wide lot is going to be bulldozed and almost certainly see 3 dwellings go up, unless an adjacent lot is acquired, which might see another massive thing going in there.

One of our neighbours is selling next year, moving to other BC locations. She’s had it. Their lot is super wide, and developers continue to pester her. They can’t wait to use that lot in a land assembly for more condos etc.

Traffic? I am continualy dumbfounded at the volumes. Since I’m here every 2 weeks, I see the increase in traffic, how heavy it is virtually all day long, in places you once could count on to be light traffic.

Say anything critical of what the City is doing, and of course, since you’re dealing with a well-oiled, well-established well-funded bureaucracy beholden to the real estate industry and developers…what do you think happens? Why, they trot out any number of standard, predictable slick responses designed to brush you off, shut you up, discredit you, distract you, minimize you, and ensure they look good, and are right on top of it, and hey, only their ideas are the right ones.

But the proof is in the pudding. Just take the last 15 years. Probably double the number of housing units ( condos, townhouses, suites, etc ), and yet, enormous, exponential growth in prices. So are they honestly interested in affordability? Availability? No, obviously not. Why would they?
This is the same group of people who cajoled us to spend billions to bury the Canada Line Sky Train Line beneath Cambie St, ostensibly “to preserve the character of the area”…and scant years later approve of the wholesale slaughter of said area, replacing everything visible to the naked eye with a mixture of towers and 4 to 8 storey condo buildings.

The City has even just coined a new term, “view corridors”, …saying they’re working hard to safeguard what they call “view corridors”, you know, those thin slices of city and mountain views, those brief seconds you see the sky, in between the towers going up today, and the ones about to break ground around you.

In conclusion, well, my own conclusions are not fit for publication. For the city I once loved, is quickly being supplanted by monsters, something just as creepy and slimy and offensive as what emerged out of those pods in the film ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

Inserting the conclusion of another piece I wrote, fits well here and deserves mentioning.

“….made more frustrating by the fact it seems like the city has been robbed from the people and the environment it is a part of…leaving its inhabitants disenfranchised, stressed, impoverished, hopeless, anxious, fearful, disconnected…and so even more, people seek to find any redeeming quality, any morsel to devour, any little piece they can grab onto and maybe, if they tell themselves enough times, how great it is there, how nowhere else could possibly be better…that maybe then it’ll magically somehow erase everything and it ‘ll be alright.

Pretty simple and pretty weak defence mechanism, eh? If I convince myself everywhere else is worse than the frying pan I’m in, then I will somehow deal with the heat. The thing is, you’re stuck in a frying pan, getting hotter and smaller all the time, and you have no control over it, because you aren’t the cook. You’re the olive oil.

….made more frustrating by the fact it seems like the city has been robbed from the people and the environment it is a part of…leaving its inhabitants disenfranchised, stressed, impoverished, hopeless, anxious, fearful, disconnected…and so even more, people seek to find any redeeming quality, any morsel to devour, any little piece they can grab onto and maybe, if they tell themselves enough times, how great it is there, how nowhere else could possibly be better…that maybe then it’ll magically somehow erase everything and it ‘ll be alright.

Pretty simple and pretty weak defence mechanism, eh? If I convince myself everywhere else is worse than the frying pan I’m in, then I will somehow deal with the heat. The thing is, you’re stuck in a frying pan, getting hotter and smaller all the time, and you have no control over it, because you aren’t the cook. You’re the olive oil.”