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From the Canadian House of Parliament:
Props to Kalev for bringing this important piece of Canadian politics to my attention!
For those who are interested, here’s a link to the CDC’s zombie preparedness plan, as referred to by the Honourable Pat Martin in the video.
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?
I woke up to the news that Jack Layton passed away this morning at the age of 61. This is heart breaking. My heart goes out, first and foremost, to his wife, Olivia Chow, and their children. And it also goes out to our country because we’ve lost a great man today. A man who always fought for what he believed in, who brought so much to politics in Canada. The NDP gained Official Opposition status on the strength of his leadership and vision. He gave so much to this country and, at 61, he had so much left to give. I am deeply, deeply saddened that we will never get to see a Prime Minister Jack Layton.
It seems only appropriate that after a week of sunshine, and before another week of sunshine, today it rains.
I’m so fucking sick of cancer taking all the good people.
Goodbye, Jack. You will be missed.
As you would entirely not be able to tell from my blogging of late, today is a federal election in Canada. But despite my lack of blogging about the subject, I (like a surprising number of Canadians this time) have actually been quite engaged in this election: reading the actual platforms of the parties (as well as news articles/opinion pieces), watching the leaders’ debate, trying to figure out how best to vote to get rid of the Conservative in my riding, and talking to people IRL1.
And this morning before work, I went to the polls and did the most important thing of all: I voted!
I love to vote first thing in the morning on election day, because there are never any lineups2. I didn’t vote in the advance polls because, like my friend Cath, I wanted to keep an eye on what the polls said right up until today, as my strategy was to vote tactically.
I have to say, I look mighty pleased with myself in that video.
And now I’m settling in for a night of election result watching!
Update (2 May 2011 – 10:49 p.m.) – This is entirely depressing. Contrary to the perception I had that everyone was *so engaged* in this election3, voter turnover was abysmal, with only ~55% of eligible voters showing up to vote. Thanks for nothing, 45% of Canadians who could have voted and didn’t.
- In real life. [↩]
- I hear that there are usually big lineups later in the day, as most people tend to go after work instead. [↩]
- A perception that came in part because that’s what the media was portraying and in part, I’m thinking, because I happen to hang around with (and follow on Twitter), the type of people who actually engage – clearly not a representative sample of Canadians [↩]
So I decided to stay in tonight because (a) I’ve been doing entirely too many things lately and I’m freaking exhausted, (b) I still haven’t recovered sleep from last weekend’s hockey playoffs1 and (c) I have a bunch of end-of-term marking to do. And here it is 11:30 p.m. and I haven’t done a stitch of marking2 and I just realized that I hadn’t even blogged today! D’oh! Too bad I phoned in a blog posting so recently – so I can’t do that again! Instead, I give you a few random thoughts:
- My sister was quoted in this news article about going to an organic spa as a preggo. They make a point of noting that she does not own a car. Hippy.
- Looks like the riding I’m now in federally is a bit of a Conservative stronghold. Boo-urns.
- Speaking of the Conservatives, this site is hilarious: http://www.stephenharperisatotallynormalguy.com/
- Have you donated to the Longest Game for CF yet? The very first donation that was received in my name was from someone that I don’t know, but who I am pretty sure is one of my blog readers3. So thank you, blog reader of mine! Your donation is very much appreciated!
So BC has a new premier! The BC So-Called Liberals chose Christy Clark, former Deputy Premier and former radio show host on WGYY1, to replace lame duck Gordo as the leader of their party and, thus, our new premier. And it reminded me that I never did finish my series on BC Premiers that I started eleventy thousand years ago. Hence today’s posting on the 32nd premier of BC, Ujjal Dosanjh.
|Name||Ujjal Dev Singh Dosanjh|
|Born:||September 9, 1947 in Jalandhar, India|
|Held Office:||February 24, 2000 – June 5, 2001|
- 1964: left India to get his education in the UK
- 1968: immigrated to Canada, living in BC with his aunt
- 1976: earned his law degree at UBC
- 1979: opened his own law practice (family & personal injury law)
- other stuff he did: “taught English as a Second Language at Vancouver Community College; worked as an assistant editor of a local Punjabi newspaper.” Involved with ”community organizations included founding the Farm Workers’ Legal Information Service (later Canadian Farm Workers’ Union), serving on the board of directors for BC Civil Liberties Associationand the Vancouver Multicultural Society, and the Labour Advocacy Research Association, as well as volunteer work with MOSAIC Immigrant Services Centre, and the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House”2.
- 1979: ran in the provincial election for the NDP party, but lost to the So-Cred candidate
- 1983: ibid
- 1985: attacked outside his office by an assailant opposed to his speaking out against ”against violence by Sikh extremists who advocated Khalistan independence from India”3; Dosanjh is a “prominent moderate Sikh.”
- 1991: won the Vancouver-Kensington riding as an NDP MLA
- 1993: “chaired the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills”
- 1995: become Minister of Government Services and Minister Responsible for Sports in April, then also the Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism and Human Rights in July and then in August his portfolio was changed to Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, Human Rights and Immigration and he was appointed as the Attorney General. I’m guessing he was pretty tired in 1995.
- 1996: won the Vancouver-Kensington riding as an NDP MLA again
- 1999: his “constituency office was broken into and a Molotov cocktail left burning on a table.“
- Feb 24, 2000: Won the party leadership and thus became the Premier. This made him Canada’s first Indo-Canadian Premier. He was also the first Canadian Premier to march in a gay pride parade.
- other stuff he did: “gave priority to issues of health care, education, and balanced budgets.” and “increased spending was mostly directed to renovations of hospital, public schools and higher education institutions, as well as building cancer treatment centers, lowering post-secondary tuition fees, and creating significantly more new spaces in the province’s apprenticeship program and post-secondary institutions… “the provincial government adopted the Definition of Spouse Amendment Act which extended equal rights to same-sex couples.… the Legislative Assemblyadopted the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Recovery Act which permitted lawsuits against tobacco organizations to re-coup associated health care expenses, the Sex Offender Registry Act, and the Protection of Public Participation Act which prevented lawsuits against citizens who participated in public processes.”
- 2001: Despite the fact that Dosanjh polled as much more popular than his competitor, Gordon Campbell of the So-Called BC Liberals, in the run up to the election, the NDP was very unpopular after Glen Clark and the NDP were trounced in the 2001 election. Dosanjh lost his own seat in Vancouver-Kensington and the So-Called Liberals won all but two of the 79 seats in the provincial legislature
- 2003: ”awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman (Expatriate Indian Honour) from Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi. The award recognizes individual excellence in various fields for persons of Indian origin across the world.
- 2004: recruited to the federal Liberal party by then-Prime Minister Paul Martin as part of a campaign to bring “All-Star” BC candidates to the party. Dosanjh won his seat as the MP for Vancouver South in the June 2004 election. He’s done a bunch of stuff in federal politics, but I’m not going to summarize them here since this blog posting is meant to be about him as BC Premier4.
In summary, he was the first Ind0-Canadian Premier, which is pretty cool. He also did a lot of stuff. Writing about him makes me tired, that’s how much he did.
Image credits: Accessed from Wikipedia. Creative Commons License. w00t!
Wikipedia, the reference of champions
The last time I was in Ottawa, Sarah and Dave’s attempt to bring me to the Diefenbunker was thwarted by holiday closure of said bunker. On this trip, to make it up to me, Ottawa gave Sarah & me free admission! More specifically, the Ottawa Public Library offered free admission and Sarah, a regular at said Library, picked up said free passes so that she and I could enjoy all the awesomeness of Canada’s Cold War Museum for free, free, free! Poor Dave couldn’t join us as he had to work, like a sucker!
The Diefenbunker, which operated from 1959 to 1994 as previously alluded to, is Canada’s Cold War Museum. More specifically, it is a bunker that was built, under the government of Prime Minister Diefenbaker – who you may remember from my Prime Ministerial series as the blog posting guest written by the aforementioned Sarah – as a place that prominent Canada politicians – along with all the gold in the Bank of Canada – could go in the event that Ottawa got nuked with an atomic bomb. Back in those days, everyone was sure that it was pretty much inevitable that such a thing would happen, so a series of bunkers were built across the country, with the biggest and most elaborate one being the Diefenbunker, locate 30 km west of Ottawa and intended for the Prime Minister, the Governor General, various federal Ministers and military big wigs. The idea was that they wanted to ensure that Canada could be re-built and governed after a nuclear attack and so they needed the people with the power to do that to be kept safe in this bunker. Plus they needed the money to do it – hence the giant vault built to house all the gold from the Bank of Canada1.
Of course, such a bunker system was only useful in the event that there was enough forewarning of a nuke on its way that all these important people could be brought to the bunker before the bomb hit. Which was true when they started building the bunker – the delivery of bombs via plane from Russia at that time would have been slow and there would have been several hours warning of such a bomb on its way. By the time it was finished, that wasn’t really true anymore, but that didn’t stop the bunker from being staffed for many years after it was built! In fact, it was operated until 1994.
After decommissioning, the bunker was turned into a museum and much to the surprise of even the people running it as a museum, people were clamouring to see it! I mean, how often do you get to see the inside of a previously secret government facility like that? If you ever find yourself in Ottawa, I highly recommend you check it out. It feels like walking onto the set of a movie about the Cold War2 and I had to keep reminding myself, “no, this is the real deal!”
Also, in a move that I can only imagine coming from a guy like him, Dief never once set foot in the Diefenbunker. At some point, he was told that should he need to go to the bunker, he would not be allowed to bring his wife with him. The bunker was built to accommodate the government officials and bureaucrats deemed necessary, along with the support staff needed to run the bunker3, plus two CBC radio personalities who could broadcast messages in familiar and comforting voices to those left up on the ground – around 500 people in total – and stocked with enough food to sustain those people for 30 days (at which point it was felt that it would be safe to go back outside). If all those people were allowed to bring spouses (and not even their kids), it would need to be twice as big and stocked with twice as many supplies – and that just wasn’t feasible. And it was decided that if everyone else in the bunker was leaving their spouse behind, how could the Prime Minister not do the same? Dief decided that he wouldn’t leave his wife behind to get nuked and so he boycotted the facility, refusing to ever step foot into it.
Another interesting story that the tour guide told us was what happened to all the other bunkers around the country. When the bunkers were decommissioned, the government had to figure out what to do with them. After all, they couldn’t all be museums – and truly it’s just the Ottawa one that was really big and decked out – so what do you do with a series of underground bunkers designed to withstand a nuclear bomb? At first, they figured they could sell them to recoup some of the costs of building them all, and they sold one of the bunkers to a farmer. A farmer who proceeded to sell the bunker to some Hell’s Angels, who used it as a clubhouse! Realizing that they didn’t want the bunkers to fall into the hands of just anybody and that they could control what happened to them once they sold them off, they bought the bunker back from the HA and proceeded to fill them all up with concrete!
The next time you find yourself in Ottawa, I highly recommend a trip to the Diefenbunker! They have guided tours as well as self-guide audio tours – we did the guided tour, which was cool because you can ask their tour guide questions and find out things that might not be on the audio version, and then after your guided tour you are free to roam around and check out the different exhibits!
- When we were talking about our trip to the Diefenbunker later at Sarah’s parents house, Sarah’s dad said his favourite part of this is that if the bunker ever needed to be used, it would take hundreds of people to get all the gold from the Bank of Canada in Ottawa onto a train, ship it to the bunker, and then load it all into the vault in the bunker. And then those men would be sent back on that train to Ottawa to wait to get nuked! [↩]
- and, in fact, it as used as a set for The Sum of All Fears, because where else are you going to find a nuclear bunker that you can film your movie in? [↩]
- think cooks, doctors, nurses, mechanics, etc. [↩]
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|
|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.
- Wikipedia, the reference of champions
- for his mug shot when he got arrested for driving drunk in Hawaii, click here [↩]
- Nanaimo a.k.a., “Surrey by the Sea,” and the home of the deliciousness that is the Nanaimo Bar [↩]
- 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 [↩]
Sign from the Restoring Sanity rally:
On this site you easily find information about what your Member of Parliament (MP) is saying – in Parliament, on Twitter and in the news – and what laws they are proposing and voting for and against.
One of the interesting features on the site is that they scour Hansard to find out what word2 your MP speaks most often in the House. My MP is currently Nina Grewal and the word she speaks most often: “years.” That’s kind of boring, actually. Let’s look at someone else: take Justin Trudeau ((on whose site Dr. Dan first saw this site) – his favourite words is “young”. Libby Davies favourite word is “housing,” while Hedy Fry and Ujjal Dosanjh both like to say, “health.” The words each of the party leaders speaks most often:
- Stephen Harper – “liberal” (shocking, isn’t it, that Harper, who is in control of the government, spends most of his time trash talking his opposition?)
- Michael Ignatieff – “public” (power to the people!)
- Jack Layton – “going” (not totally sure what this is about. Perhaps it’s forward thinking, like “we are going to…’?)
- Gilles Duceppe – “Quebec” (file under: least surprising thing ever)
I think my favourite, though, is Stockwell Day. His favourite word: “fact.” Given this government’s respect for facts (spoiler: they have no respect for facts of any kind), I find that hilarious. Perhaps all his statements are to the effect of “stop trying to use that fact! Ahhhh, the facts are coming for me!”