Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon

So I ran a half marathon last Sunday. And despite it being my second worst finish time of the 14 half marathons that I have run, it turned out to be the one that required the most perseverance and I am actually proud to have finished, yet a bit mad at myself for even having run it. As I mentioned previously, I was suffering from a gluteus medius issue that was so bad it was causing me to limp and it hurt to run. And nothing I was doing was working – it was like it was too tight to even get it to stretch at all, no matter how much I tried. Then I went out for dinner with my friend Linda and she told me about a physiotherapy treatment called intramuscular stimulation (or dry needling1.). This technique uses acupuncture needles, but instead of poking the needles into things that have never been scientifically demonstrated to exist, they insert them into tight bits of muscle. It seems like the idea is that your muscle is confused and thinks it should be shortened into this tight piece of agony and isn’t getting your message to just chill the fuck out already, so you poke it to sort of reboot the system.

Have you tried turning my muscle off and then turning it back on again?2

I did a (very) quick look at the research literature and, unlike acupuncture which has definitely been shown not be any better than a placebo, there really isn’t much research on IMS to know if it’s effective or not (at least as far as I can tell from my quick look). So I figured that it at least has some biological plausibility and I was desperate, because I knew I couldn’t run the race if something didn’t give. So I decided to try it as a Hail Mary pass.

It’s a very interesting sensation to have someone poke a needle in your muscle. It doesn’t hurt, but it feels… unusual. Also, when I told the physio that I wanted to be able to run a half marathon in 3 days, he decided to do electrical stimulation with the needling. So in addition to stabbing the muscles, he also electrocuted them. That felt in some cases like he was just flicking my leg and at other times it just made the muscles twitch repeatedly. Oh yeah, and a lot more muscles were messed up than just the glut med. The TFL ((a.k.a., Tensor Fascia Latae.)) was solid like a rock (which my massage therapist had also noted) and the quads and hamstrings were too. So he stabbed and electrocuted a whole bunch of parts of all of those muscles.

After the treatment, I could immediately stretch my hip more than before the treatment3 and it continued to loosen up a bit more each day. Could it have been a placebo effect? Entirely possible. Would it have loosened up in those days even if I hadn’t had the IMS. Maybe they would have, been there’s no way to know!

The physiotherapist’s advice was to try a little 1-2 km jog on the Saturday and see if it was loose enough to run. So we made our way to Kelowna on Saturday and then I went for a 2km jog, which I was able to do, but with a shooting pain with every step. It would get a teensy bit better, but if I stopped, say, to catch a Pokémon, when I restarted, it would hurt as much as the start of the run. What to do? What to do? I was of two minds: the one that said “Maybe it just needs a bit more jogging to loosen it up4. If it loosens up as much over tonight as it has the last few days, I’ll be fine. What if that happens and I don’t do the race – I’ll be walking around all fine and then I’ll want to kick myself! I can’t miss another race this year!” And then the other one that said, “What if you injure yourself more by running on this injury? That’s how you got this injury – running on the not fully healed sprained ankle! Do you really want to jeopardize your upcoming trip to Australia? The race fee is a sunk cost!” So Andrew made me an offer – I’d  start the race and if after 5km, I’m still in pain, I could call him and he’d come and pick me up. So that’s what I did.

Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon route 2016

Long story short: my hip was considerably looser the next day and combined with the race day adrenaline, the first 15 km were slower than I’d usually run a race, but faster than I’d expected given the circumstances. My hip didn’t hurt, it was more just uncomfortable. As I passed the 15 km marker, I thought “I’m glad I did this, I’m going to finish much sooner than I thought, maybe I should text Andrew to let him know as he might not go to the finish line in time to see me” and no sooner did I think that than a pain shoot through my hip – pain that would continue to shoot on every step of the remaining 6 km. Every volunteer I passed gave me a look of genuine sympathy and a kind encouraging word that I could do this. As I crossed the finish line, I was glad I was wearing sunglasses because maybe that would make the tears of pain streaming down my face less noticeable.

Kelowna half marathon 2016 - finish line 2

Me at the finish line. You can see the pain on my face.

Some thoughts on the race itself:

  • The route itself was gorgeous – it officially replaces Victoria as the most beautiful race route I’ve run. It started in the Vibrant Vine vineyard, ran through some wine country and farm lands, down a giant hill, through some neighbourhoods, and finished up in a park by the lake, where a wine festival awaited. I’d really like to run this race again when I’m not injured so I can more fully appreciate it.
Kelowna half marathon 2016 - actually smiling

This is me at some point before the 15 km mark, where I was only in mild discomfort. Or as I call it now “the good ole days”.

  • While the race as beautiful, the logistics weren’t the best thought out. For example, the website mentioned nothing about a shuttle bus taking runners to the start line, so we expected Andrew to be able to drop me off there, but then out of the blue the road was closed and they said I had to go wait for a shuttle bus. Since people weren’t expecting this, they didn’t allot time for it and they had to delay the race start to allow for more people to arrive on the shuttles. Even with that, I heard that some people didn’t get to the start line until after the race started because they had to wait for the bus they didn’t know they’d have to take.
  • Another example of poor planning was that the place to pick up your gear that you’d checked and your wine glass that was required for the wine festival tastings was at the very end of the festival compound, which meant you had to walk all the way to far end to pick up your stuff and then all the way back to the entrance to the festival to go to wine tastings. This was particularly bad for me since I was in a lot of pain and walking was not something I was wanting to do at that particular time.
  • It was different to run a race at the back of the pack. I mean, I’m not a top finisher by any stretch, but I’m used to being in the top half to the top quarter. Being at a slower pace meant I did have more time to look around and enjoy the scenery – though I guess that part of that was also the I chose to do that to try to distract myself from the pain.
  • I also had more time and attention to think about things. Who were my fellow runners? For how many of them was this their first half? Their 50th? Who else was running hurt, pushing through despite the pain? I thought about the saying that you should “Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” What battles were my fellow runners fighting, physically or psychologically, that you just can’t see from the outside? What motivated them to run today? And conversely, who was having the best race of their life? And who else was in this for the wine?
  • I also thought about my dad. I find I do that often when I’m running, because I know he was a runner before I was born. Also, my dad was very stubborn and I was being stubborn too, by running this race.
  • The race medal was awesome. When I first saw it, I didn’t clue into what it was and just thought “It’s huge!” But it turns about that it’s a coaster for your wine! It’s easily detachable from the ribbon so you can actually use it! Though I’m sure I’ll just hang it on the wall with my collection5

    Untitled

    I do love a good race medal.

I’ve spent the past week since the race limping around – I saw the physio on Wednesday and he said I have acute bursitis and maybe acute tendinitis – and I saw the massage therapist today. I had to skip my hockey game today because I can barely walk, let alone skate. Here’s hoping the 16 hours of flying I have coming up on Wednesday doesn’t kill me!

The one silver lining – well, in addition to the awesome race medal and all the wine – was that I finally caught the damn Mankey that had been eluding me in Pokémon Go. Mankey isn’t that rare of a Pokémon – I just could never seem to catch one, until now ((Of course, once I caught one, I ended up catching a few. Now I just need to keep catching them so that I can evolve one into a Primeape!)!

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  1. As opposed to “wet needling”, i.e., injecting you with stuff []
  2. Props to Kalev for coming up with this line in a convo we were having yesterday []
  3. By which I mean to say – I could then stretch it more than 1 mm. []
  4. I had some bad shin splints earlier this year that took about 5 km of jogging before they disappeared, so this wouldn’t have been unprecedented. []
  5. Speaking of which, my medal rack is too full – I need a new one. But I don’t have time to deal with that right now, so that is after-Australia Beth’s problem. []

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Long weekend report

The long weekend festivities started on Thursday with the world’s easiest Easter egg hunt at my office:

World's Easiest Easter Egg Hunt At My Office

World's easiest Easter egg hunt

The office Easter bunnies left lots of treats for everyone and they certainly didn’t make them hard to find!

Then on Friday I headed over to Salt Spring Island. It was my first time going to any of the Gulf Islands and it did not disappoint. Here are just a few of the lovely views I saw:

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

There was also time for a tasting at the Salt Spring Island Brewery:

Salt Spring Island Brewery

And then on the ferry ride home there was a double rainbow!

Double rainbow as seen from the Victoria to Vancouver ferry

I wasn’t the only one taking photos of it:
People taking photos of the double rainbox

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Whistler!

“Ski at Whistler” was on my very first list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, which I wrote in the old timey days of 2009. Somehow, I went through those 1001 days without managing to ski at Whistler. Then I totally thought I put “Ski at Whistler” on my second list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, but now that I look at it, I totally didn’t. At any rate, I managed to go through those 1001 days without skiing at Whistler either. Thinking that “third time’s the charm” (because, as you may recall from earlier in this paragraph, I thought I’d put it on my second list), I put it on my third list. Happily, Daniel perused my third list and got me a pair of Whistler lift tickets for Christmas! And then, capitalizing on the momentum, we decided to book a couple of days there to make a nice little trip out of it1. Which brings us to Tuesday, January 21st, the day that I finally skied at Whistler2.

We spent the morning skiing on Blackcomb Mountain. For the uninitiated, Blackcomb Mountain is right next to Whistler Mountain (you’ll often here the whole place referred to as Whistler-Blackcomb) and both can be accessed from Whistler Village, which is where we were staying. Pretty awesome to just walk out of your hotel with your skis and right onto a couple of gondolas that take you up two spectacular mountains. The conditions were fantastic – apparently they had just got a big dump of snow on the weekend, but by the time we were there on Tuesday, it was nothing but sunny skies on the hills.

On Blackcomb Mountain

On Blackcomb Mountain

We skied all morning, had an overpriced lunch (they really have you captive up there when it comes time for eating) and a chance to warm up (it was -7 degrees up there!), then skied a bit more on Blackcomb, and then headed over to the Peak-to-Peak. For the uninitiated, the Peak-to-Peak is a gondola that connects the top of Blackcomb Mountain with the top of Whistler Mountain so that you can easily ski on both mountains on the same day3. Given that taking the Peak-to-Peak is also on my 101 list and given that it was “ski at Whistler” on my list rather than “ski at Whistler-Blackcomb” and I didn’t want to be called out on a technicality, doing this ensured that those two items could be definitively crossed off my list.

On the Peak-to-Peak Gondola

Daniel and I on the Peak to Peak

The conditions on Whistler were equally spectacular and we enjoyed the rest of our afternoon of skiing there. I was surprised to learn that the lifts stop running at 3 pm as there are no lights on the mountains and since it takes half an hour to ski down from the top of the mountain back to the village, they stop the lifts that early so everyone gets off the hills before nightfall. As someone who took skiing lessons at night in my youth, it didn’t even occur to me that there would be no night skiing! We took our last ride up the lift around 3 pm and it took nearly a half an hour to ski all the way back down to the Village. After a day of skiing, a dip in the hotel hot tub, watching the Canucks game, and having a nice dinner a pub in the Village rounded out a perfect day.

Something not so nice happened at our hotel, but we didn’t hear about it until we got back to Vancouver. Apparently on Tuesday morning, someone died in after an altercation in the east wing (we were staying in the west wing). There was a cop car out in front of our hotel on Tuesday morning when we went out to go skiing4 and Daniel commented on it still being there when we came back at the end of the day, but we really didn’t think too much about it. But it wasn’t until we got home on Wednesday that we found out why. Apparently this is only the third homicide in the history of Whistler!

Anyway, despite that unusual circumstance, we had a great trip and I definitely want to go back again!

  1. And then he got us a nice hotel room to stay in for my birthday. I’m so spoiled! []
  2. For the record, from the time I moved to Vancouver until the day I finally actually went skiing at Whistler was a mind-boggling 5,254 days! The first many years of that I blame the fact that I was a starving PhD student, and then there were several years of being a starving student-loan-paying-off-er, and then I was just lazy for a bit, and then there were two years of being a (non-starving) full time worker + MBA student who had no time to do anything. And then I was lazy again for a year and then Daniel came to the rescue. []
  3. You may have heard of the Peak to Peak when some guy forced open the gondola door and base jumped out. Which, of course, is totally illegal. And then he posted the video on Youtube, showing both his own face and that of his accomplice. []
  4. If you click on the link to the news story, you’ll see that cop car in the photo. []

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Did You Vote Today?

So it’s municipal election day in British Columbia, the day we get to vote for mayors, city councillors, and school board trustees. And given that I know jack squat about Surrey politics, I decided I should read the candidate statements before I headed off to the polls.  First of all, there about about eleventy billion people running for council, so it took me ages to get through the statements. Secondly, it’s pretty challenging to figure out what everyone is really about from these short statements, especially when so many people, just spew off platitudes. Of course everyone wants to make the city a safer place with good schools, nice parks, better roads, better transit, businesses that succeed, and unicorns covered in pixie dust. But how, exactly, they are going to do that is never mentioned. Is it so much to ask to see some concrete ideas?

What’s particularly galling are the candidates who are making claims they will provide all sorts of things – new stadiums, new schools, new hospitals, more Skytrain, better pay for municipal employees, more teachers in schools, etc., etc. AND no increases in taxes. I mean, seriously, do these individuals have no idea how a government works? Governments get money from taxes. Buying things costs money. It’s not rocket science, people.

And finally, what’s the deal with political parties calling themselves “non-partisan”? Our good friend Wikipedia tells us:

In politics, partisan literally means organized into political parties. The expression “partisan politics” usually refers to fervent, sometimes militant, support of a party, cause, faction, person, or idea.

Presumably these so-called non-partisan parties are trying to distance themselves from the of “fervent, sometimes militant,” connotation of the word, but technically they are saying that they are a political party that is not a political party. Am I the one one who finds this ridiculous?

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BC Premier #30: Glen Clark

Hey, remember a million zillion years ago when I was working on a series of postings about BC Premiers, posting about one premier each Sunday? Yeah, apparently neither did I. But with the convergence of needing to come up with a new blog posting topic every day this month AND the big news of Gordon Campbell quitting this week1, I thought it was high time to resurrect, yet again, this series that I seem to keep letting fall off my plate.  I only have four premiers left (until the BC So-Called Liberals pick a replacement for Gordo), so surely I can keep this up for the next four Sundays, right?

OK, so when we last left off in our series, Premier Mike Harcourt had resigned the position. Enter Glen Clark, the 30th Premier of the Province of British Columbia.

Name Glen David Clark
Born: November 22, 1957 in Nanaimo, BC2
Died: hasn’t
Party: NDP
Held Office: February 22, 1996 – August 25, 1999
  • Glen Clark is a controversial guy, as evidenced by the fact that his Wikipedia page is a mess of “this page’s neutrality is disputed” and “you need actual sources to back up this shit, yo.” And since I’m far too lazy to do any real research, take anything I write here with a giant grain of sodium chloride.
  • 1986: elected to the BC Legislature
  • served as Finance Minister under Premier Mike Harcourt and when Harcourt resigned in 1996, Clark was elected by the NDP to succeed him
  • 1996: Clark won an NDP majority government, did stuff like keeping tuitions fees frozen and something about Vancouver Island and Skytrain
  • And since BC politics loves scandals, there were two “scandals” during Clark’s reign:
    • The “Fast Ferries” – some new, faster ferries were built for BC ferries, but they cost way more than expected, took longer than they were supposed to and never quite went as fast as they were supposed to3.
    • “Casinogate” – Glen Clark’s house and officer were searched by the RCMP in 1999 in relation to accusations that Clark had accepted $10,000 worth of renos in exchange for granting a casino license. He was charged with “breach of trust,” a criminal offence, but in the end was not found guilty. Essentially, the judge said that he’d done something stupid, but not done anything criminal.
  • Clark resigned as premier in 1999 in light of the “Casinogate” scandal.
  • currently works as an “Executive Vice President” for the Jim Pattison Group and president of The News Group North America.”

In summary, Glen Clark did some stuff and then people got mad at him and then he quit.

References:

Footnotes:

  1. for his mug shot when he got arrested for driving drunk in Hawaii, click here []
  2. Nanaimo a.k.a., “Surrey by the Sea,” and the home of the deliciousness that is the Nanaimo Bar []
  3. if memory serves, they went fast, but then it took a long time to dock them because they didn’t quite match up with the docks correctly, so after all the time and money spent on the new ferries, your ferry trip wasn’t any shorter than it was with the old ferries []

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BC Premier #29: Mike Harcourt

Premier of the Province of British Columbia.

Mike Harcourt at City Making in Paradise Name Michael Franklin Harcourt
Born: January 6, 1943 in Edmonton, AB
Died: hasn’t
Party: NDP
Held Office: Nov 5, 1991 to Feb 22, 1996
  • earned B.A. and Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • 1973-1980: served as Vancouver alderman
  • 1980-1986: served as mayor Vancouver
    • major focus of his term as mayor was prep for Expo ’86
  • 1986: elected to BC provincial legislature
  • 1987: became the leader of NDP, and thus, the Leader of the Official Opposition
  • 1991: became premier by defeating then-Premier Rita Johnson in the provincial election
  • Feb 1996: resigned due to the “Bingogate” scandal (where an NDP party member used money raised for charity to fund the NDP. Though Harcourt wasn’t himself involved, he did the captain going done with the ship thing)
  • Nov 2002: suffered a spinal cord injury in a near-fatal accident at his cottage. Made a remarkable recovery.
  • Dec 2003: appointed special adviser on cities to then-Prime Minister Paul Martin
  • Nov 2007: awarded an Honourary Doctorate from UBC
  • has published three books:
    • A Measure of Defiance (1996)
    • Plan B: One Man’s Journey from Tragedy to Triumph (2003)
    • City Making in Paradise (2007)
  • Feb 2009: Appointed Associate Director of the UBC Continuing Studies Centre for Sustainability,

In summary, in my extensive research1, I was not able to any reference to anything that he actually did as Premier.  I’m gathering, based on the stuff he’s doing now, that he did something good for cities and sustainability, but I’ll be damned if I can find any information on what he actually did2


Image credits: Photo of Mike Harcourt at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre on June 14, 2007 posted by Richard Eriksson on Flickr.

References:

Footnotes:

  1. i.e., two minutes of Googling []
  2. I mean beyond his National Speaker’s Bureau bio, which says, “focus on conservation and sustainable development – and his resolve to contribute to the transformation of cities and communities around the world” – i.e., doesn’t actually say anything. []

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BC Premier #28: Rita Johnston

The 28th Premier of the Province of British Columbia and the first female one ever!

insert pic Name Rita Margaret Johnston
Born: April 22, 1935 in Melville, Saskatchewan
Died: hasn’t
Party: Social Credit
Held Office: April 2, 1991 – November 5, 1991
  • the first – and so far, only – female premier of BC
  • before getting into politics – and I’m not making this up – she ran a Surrey trailer park.  Actually, according to Wikipedia she ran a “successful trailer park.”  I’m curious as to what criteria are used to judge whether or not a trailer park is “successful”
  • 1969: elected to Surrey city council where she served under then-mayor (and future premier) Bill Vander Zalm
  • 1975: lost election for Surrey mayorship by fewer than 100 votes
  • 1983: elected as the MLA for Surrey
  • 1986: served in cabinet, yet again under the Zalm, in the following positions:
    • 1986: Minister of Municipal Affairs
    • 1986-88: Minister of Municipal Affairs and Transit
    • 1987-88: Minister of State for the Kootenay Region
    • 1988-89: Minister of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Culture
    • 1989-91: Minister of Transportation and Highways
  • 1990: appointed deputy premier by the Vander Slam
  • April 2, 1991: upon Billy VZ‘s resignation, she was named acting leader of the SoCreds – and thus acting premier of BC, making her not only the first female premier in BC history, but the first *Canadian* premier.  In 1991.  Seriously.
  • July 1991: elected leader of SoCred at the party convention, beating Grace McCarthy, who was expected to win
  • Oct 1991: the SoCreds lost the election to the NDP and Johnston lost her own seat; this loss was attributed to Vander Zalm‘s scandals and the split within the party due to the leadership race (with insufficient time to repair this between the party convention in July and the provincial election in October)
  • Jan 1992: she resigned as party leader on my birthday in 1992, retired from politics, keeps a low profile

In summary, I can’t believe there had never been a female premier in Canada before 1991!

References:
Wikipedia, the reference of champions
Library and Archives Canada.

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BC Premier #27: The Zalm

Name Wilhelmus Nicholaas Theodore Marie “Bill” Vander Zalm
Born: May 29, 1934 in Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands
Died: hasn’t
Party: Social Credit
Held Office: August 6, 1986 – April 2, 1991
  • born in the Netherlands, immigrated to Canada after WWII
  • dropped out of high school and sold tulip bulbs (what else is a guy from the Netherlands going to do, really?)
  • started a garden business, invested in real estate
  • 1965: elected alderman in Surrey
  • 1968: lost a bid for a seat as a federal MP, in which he ran as a Liberal
  • 1969-1975: mayor of Surrey. Claim to fame: cracking down on “welfare deadbeats” (apparently welfare was handled municipally at the time – who knew?)
  • 1972: lost a leadership bid for provincial Liberal Party
  • 1974: joined the SoCreds
  • 1975: elected as a provincial MLA
  • 1975-1978: served as the Minister of Human Resources under Bill Bennett, “continued his crusade against welfare fraud” – became famous for his comment: “If people are truly in need, they can expect and will be treated fairly and compassionately. If people are elderly we will treat them with respect and when in need reward them for their lifelong contributions. If people are handicapped they will be treated generously, hopefully even more so than in the past. But if someone is able to work and refuses to do so, they had best pick up a shovel or I’ll give them a shovel.” [emphasis mine]
  • sued the Victoria Daily Times for libel after they published a political cartoon of him as a “grinning sadist deliberately snapping the wings off five helpless flies;” he initially won, but that decision was overturned by the BC Court of Appeal
  • 1978-1981: Minister of Municipal Affairs
  • 1981-1983: Minister of Education
  • 1984: bought Fantasy Garden World (a theme park)FANTASY GARDEN WORLD
  • 1984: lost his bid to be the mayor of Vancouver, in which he ran as a Non-Partisan Association1 candidate
  • 1986: after Bennett announced his retirement, Vander Zalm won his bid for the leadership of the SoCreds, beating out 11 other candidates; was sworn in as premier and then handily won a majority in the election the next month
  • Vander Zalm made his cabinet up of people who “languished” as back benchers in the government under Bennett. Under Bennett, the “urban fiscal conservatives” had held the reins of the party, but Vander Zalm was from the other half of the party – the social conservatives (see: obsession with welfare “fraud” above).  Case in point – Vander Zalm tried to pull provincial funding for abortions that were “not medically necessary,” but he was forced to retract this due to public uproar.
  • he was involved in his fair share of scandals, including:
    • the appointment of his buddy David Poole as his “Principal Secretary,” which pissed people off as Poole became “allegedly become the second most powerful person in the province despite never having been elected”
    • possible” influence peddling” in the sale of the Expo 86 site
    • the sale of Fantasy Garden World – Vander Zalm bought FGW for $1.7 million in 1984 and sold it for $16 million in 1991. The buyer was given the VIP treatment by the Lieutenant-Governor before the sale and the woman who brokered the deal, Faye Leung, “thought that Vander Zalm was a “bad man” since the day she first met him and secretly recorded conversations she had with him, and was happily willing to speak to the media and provide copies of her audio tapes.” He was found to have been in conflict of interest for mixing personal business with his public office in this sale (though the BC Supreme Court found him not guilty of criminal breach of trust), and he resigned in 1991.
  • 1999 – lost his bid in a by-election for the South Delta seat, in which he ran as a member of the Reform Party of BC2
  • 2009 – after a 10 year hiatus from the limelight, Vander Zalm burst back on the scene in opposition to the BC So-Called Liberals introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax (H.S.T.), which, I might add, they had explicitly said they *wouldn’t* do during the election3. Vander Zalm ultimately led a campaign for a referendum on the HST and on June 10, 2010 delivered a petition to the government in the form of “85 boxes containing containing 705,643 signatures from voters in every riding across the province.”  I believe that the government is now in the process of verifying those signatures.

In summary, Fantasy Garden World. The End.

Image Credits:

References:

Footnotes:


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  1. for the record, I would like to point out that having a party called the “Non-Partisan Association” makes absolutely no sense. Partisan means “an adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, esp. a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance” (dictionary.com), so NPA means the party in which no one supports the party. Wha?? []
  2. I didn’t even *know* there was a Reform Party of BC! []
  3. I know, the BC So-Called Liberals breaking an election promise is *so* shocking. []

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BC Premier #26: Bill Bennett

Name William (a.k.a. Bill) Richards Bennett
Born: August 18, 1932 – or possible 14th, depending on if you believe Wikipedia or the CBC Digital Archives –  in Kelowna, BC
Died: hasn’t
Party: Social Credit Party
Held Office: December 22, 1975 – August 6, 1986
  • Bill is the son of Wacky.  So it’s sort of the like the George Bush Sr. and Jr. thing except, as far as I know, the Bennett’s never invaded any other countries. As far as I know.
  • was a businessman and real estate investor
  • Sept 1973: elected as the MLA for the South Okanagan riding
  • Nov 1973: elected as leader of the SoCreds
  • 1975: became premier when the SoCreds knocked the NDP out of power (Bennett had refused to engage in a TV debate with Barrett during this election); re-elected in 1979 and 1983.
  • he “slashed social services  and gutted labour laws”, and ran TV ads that called people who disagreed with him “Bad British Columbians.” (Wikipedia)
  • he spent a shit-ton of money, however, building the Coquihalla highway and bringing Expo ’86 to Vancouver
  • 1996: convicted of insider trader.
  • 2007: received the Order of BC.

In summary, being convicted of insider trading does not preclude one from being awarded the Order of BC.  You know, in case you were planning on doing both of those things.

Image credits: There don’t appear to be any freely available photos of BB anywhere on the world wide interwebs! b00-urns!

References:

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BC Premier #25 – Dave Barrett

Look at me, actually posting about a BC premier on a Sunday.  Someone better check the temperature in Hades!

Name David Barrett
Born: October 2, 19301 in Vancouver, BC
Died: he hasn’t
Party: New Democratic Party (NDP)
Held Office: September 15, 1972  to December 22, 1975
  • Firsts:
    • first NDP premier of BC
    • first and only Jewish premier in BC history
    • Oct 6, 1983: Barrett holds the distinction of causing the “first incident in the legislature history where security staff had to intervene and remove a member from chamber” when he was “forcibly removed from Chamber by Legislature Serjeant-at-Arms for failing to abide by the Speaker’s ruling” (Wikipedia).
  • educated in philosophy at Seattle University and social work at St Louis University, then returned to Canada in 1957
  • Barrett was a social worker who worked in federal prison, but was fired for “launching a union drive and complaining publicly about prison conditions” (CBC Archives)
  • 1960: first elected to BC legislation (MLA for Dewdney) as a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF; predecessor to the NDP). At the time, civil servants were banned from running for the legislature and so he had to fight to be allowed to run, since he was a civil servant
  • re-elected in 1963, 1966 and 1969
  • he became the leader of the NDP in 1969, after first losing the leadership race to Tom Berger, who went on to lose an election that the NDP were expected to win, so he (Berger) resigned,  and Barret was quickly recruited as the new leader
  • 1972: won the first NDP government – a majority, no less – replacing the long-governing SoCreds.  And here’s a clip from the CBC archives on this historic election win.  And here’s a clip of the public’s reaction to that election (also from the CBC Archives)
  • Barrett’s NDP government starting using modern accounting practices and uncovered huge liabilities that Wacky Bennett’s government had kept off the books with the accounting practices it was using; Barrett’s government was criticized for taking the the government from a surplus to a deficit (which, of course, Barrett’s government argued was at least in part because Bennett’s government wasn’t revealing all its liabilities)
  • major changes introduced by Barrett’s government:
    • establishment of the Labour Relations Board
    • expansion of the public sector
    • introduction of a mineral royalties tax
    • introduction of question period and availability of transcripts of what happened in the legislature (hooray for transparency!)
    • creation of the Agricultural Land Reserve (to protect BC farm land; still in effect today)
    • formation of the Insurance Corporation of BC (the car insurance we still use in BC to this day)
    • banned spanking in schools
  • “The NDP passed a new law on average every three days while in power.” (Wikipedia). This scared the righties, so a bunch of right-leaning Liberals and Conservatives joined the SoCreds
  • 1975: Barrett loses a snap election to the SoCreds, who are now lead by Wacky’s son Bill, who campaigned by saying the NDP mishandled finances. Barrett lost his own seat (Coquitlam) in this election, but returned to the legislature in a by-election for a different seat (Vancouver East) the next year.  He continued to lead the NDP.
  • 1983: resigned from provincial politics in May
  • 1984: became a radio talk show host in Vancouver
  • 1988: elected to the federal government as the Member of Parliament in the riding of Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca
  • 1989: narrowly missed his bid for leader of the federal NDP, with Audrey McLaughlin winning the race on the fourth ballot. He had focused his campaign on the issue of western alienation, which didn’t sit well with Quebec.
  • “Barret opposed the 1987 Meech Lake Accord, but reluctantly endorsed the 1992 Charlottetown Accord to comply with party policy” (Wikipedia).
  • 1993: lost his federal seat to Reform Party candidate, Keith Martin
  • he founded the Tommy Douglas Research Institute in response to the growing number of right wing think tanks
  • 2005: made an Officer of the Order of Canada
  • though he is retired from politics, he lectures on current affairs and pops up in the news once in awhile (e.g., opposing the BC government’s restructuring of BC Hydro in 2003, opposing the new harmonized sales tax (HST) in 2010)

In summary, Premier Barrett was the first NDP premier of BC and he did a lot of stuff during his time in office.  Also, he was the meat sandwiched between the Bennett father-son duo of premiers.  And the names Barrett and Bennett are way to similar for my liking.

Image credits: Accessed from Wikipedia. In the public domain. w00t!

References:

Footnotes:

  1. same birthday as my resident historian! w00t! []