Some things just need to be said...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Queer Right to Marry

The marriage debate is back and chances are we will be addressing this issue often over the next five years before we can rest easy for awhile. The current vote will be on whether the Federal government should draft a new law that takes marriage away from same sex couples and replaces it with all the stuff of marriage but not the name.

A wake up for Queer Canadians. We in queer communities need to put some effort into protecting rights hard won. Most Canadians support us and in an ideal place we wouldn't have to deal with this stuff. It not an ideal world and we can roll the dice and let all those nice liberal Canadians defend our rights or we can launch our own strong offensives alone and or in concert with others when we can.

Howard Dean the Democratic party Chairman, in Montreal to address the Federal Liberal Leadership convention stressed the case for continual campaigning. Colorado software millionaire Tim Gill provides a good example of the kind of effort required. Gill who is gay spent a lot of money and built some strong organizations to take on anti gay, anti progressive candidates and ballot measures.

One target of Gill's effort was Federal Marriage Amendment sponsor, Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. She won by 3 points despite running in a strong republican seat. Kenneth Sherrill, professor and director of Hunter College's Center for Sexuality and Public Policy, said little enough action is taken in local and state elections. Sherrill told, "Progressives have been so focused on national politics, that we've lost track of the pipeline. I've heard Tim Gill say, 'If we'd had the wisdom to head Musgrave off in the state Legislature, then we would not be in the position of having to deal with her in Congress.'"

Gill and Sherrill are right of course. Support for people at the municipal level builds a farm team for provincial and federal politics. Yet rarely do more than 35 to 40% of voters take part in municipal elections. People build public profiles usually at this level of government and then have enough exposure to run for higher office.

All the break throughs in queer rights have come at these junior levels of governments. Some examples include the city of Ottawa being the first jurisdiction in Canada to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Provincial governments refusing to appeal supportive equal marriage decisions. Gay pride proclamations started at municipal councils. All of these efforts lead to educating the public of the injustices visited upon queers everyday due to a lack of legal protection.

Today we are dealing with cards that are already dealt federally. Fortunately it appears there are just enough MP's in place to defeat the Conservative governments motion to reverse the law allowing queers to marry. The vote will be close but if 12 to 15 MP's were to change their mind the vote could be lost.

What happens if Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are elected to a majority government in the next election? Who will be the candidates in that election for the Conservative party? We know that social conservative groups are working hard to sign up members to the Conservative and Liberal political parties. Their effort is based on getting people in place for a chance to win election to Parliament.

The people chosen to run in elections will hold ambitions to overturn the rights of queers to marry. They will also work to change other laws affecting a woman's right to choose and use the federal budget to eliminate funding to resources our communities benefit from.

Our rights are as good as the next election. Who will be in the Parliament of Canada to protect our rights? Will there be enough of them to defeat any attempt to strip away our achievments to date?

Do you want to start? Take a few minutes and write you local Member of Parliament. Tell them to defend your rights. It does not matter if the Member is supportive or opposed. They all are receiving letters, phone calls and emails from the social conservatives demanding the Member vote to take away our right to marry.

You can find good information here on equal marriage and the contact information for your Member of Parliament.

This article has been posted at Canadian Queers and on Peace Earth and Justice (

Friday, October 27, 2006

Rush to Judgement

I am pretty sure most people that come here find Rush Limbaugh to be an infuriating big old fashioned shock radio jabber that appeals to people like Alls Star Wrestling appeals to some "sports" fans. Its all hype, its all done in the name of entertainment. Rush Limbaugh physically mocks people with Parkinson's in this video ... He crosses the line again.

His recent attack on Michael J. Fox is incredible in its mean-spiritedness. It not only unfairly accuses Fox of faking his symptoms but goes after his character.

This is one of the rudest efforts ever of "win at all costs" political partisanship. It reminds me of a school yard bully sitting on some kid and smacking him until the kid under him says Uncle. What is shocking is the lack of a chorus of boos ringing from Republicans. That may explain the desperate situation they find themselves in the upcoming election.

Back to Rush, I am not sure who sponsors his program on the air, it would be well worth finding out as it would appear the only way to stop this is to make enouigh nooise that sponsors cannot afford to do so.

The Gazetteer has more here ... on how the other media fail to call him out on his antics. And still more on Towleroad.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Your policies in Iraq are reprehensible

An incredible story coming out of the Rocky Mountain News October 21, 2006 of an upstanding thoughtful American being arrested because he told the Vice President what he thought of his policy in Iraq.

Increasingly Americans are being seen as criminals by the US Government for speaking out against the administrations polices and in particular, the war in Iraq. Today Americans are subject to arrest for suspected terrorist activities without the right to have a lawyer. They can be taken and held indefinately with little or no access to the rights as an American citizen. My good friend at Canuck Attitude has a good piece on this issue here.

Steven Howards has a long history of standing up for what is right and against what is wrong and on the day he accidently came upon the Vice President, he felt he had to say something. Cheney was in town and meeting with a throng of people outside a mall when Howards approached him and told him, "Your policies in Iraq are reprehensible," reported the Rocky Mountain News.

Howards recalls having touched Cheney's suit, then walked away with his eight year old son in tow. As he headed off to meet his wife a secret service agent approached him an asked if he had assaulted the Vice President. Howard replied that if free speech was assault then arrest me. He was arrested and while being pushed into a Secret Service vehicle, his wife had arrived and asked where he was being taken, she was not given an answer. Howards was charged with federal assault. That was reduced to state harassment three hours later when his wife paid the $500 bail.

Howards is suing the Secret Service for harassment. You can read more about Howards story in the Rocky Mountain News.

photo credit: Joe Mahoney Rocky Mountain News

Bush, Iraq Republicans Terrorism USA

Monday, October 23, 2006

"...we've never been "stay the course,..."

President Bush astonishes us here in the Heartlands with this incredible lie on ABC's This Week in his talk with George Stephanopoulos. The passage in question went as follows:

Stephanopoulos: "James Baker says that he s looking for something between "cut and run" and "stay the course."

Bush: "Well, hey, listen, we've never been "stay the course," George. We have been " we will complete the mission, we will do our job, and help achieve the goal, but we re constantly adjusting to tactics. Constantly."

He has used this term for a long time as we all know,

The United States Department of Defense website has this quote from Bush on July 10, 2003 "... We're making steady progress," he said. "A free Iraq will mean a peaceful world. And it's very important for us to stay the course, and we will stay the course."

want more then Think progress

The perfect storm

Bush's worst nightmare

U.S. soldier missing in Baghdad - military

An American soldier is missing today in Iraq. What comes to mind is kidnapping and I hope this is not the case. If he has been kidnapped, Republicans will fall like the Ottawa Senators come play off time. The perfect storm is already blowing across America. The many scandals and Bob Woodwards new book spell disaster.

The pictures of an American soldier held hostage will sharpen attacks against the war in Iraq. The political Hurricane Watch will move the perfect storm to near Katrina proportions.

Virginia Senator George Allen, an apologist of Bush's war in Iraq earned himself an oppopnent in former Reagan administration's Navy Secretary Jim Webb. Webb a much decorated Vietnam vet, a Republican turned Democrat candidate after meeting with Allen and hearing his excuse for supporting Bush and the war. Allen was cruising to victory until he uttered a racisit remark. That remark and the growing discontent with the war have the Dems with a serious shot in a race they couldn't possibly have hoped to win.

The number of U.S. military personnel killed since the Iraq war began in 2003 stands at 2,800. That alone should be enough for a clean sweep in Washington.

Exile to Canada - why didn't we think of it before ...

It amazing as I come out of my self imposed exile from the internet I discover the USA is taking to exiling convicted felons to Canada. This of course is a case where the person has been convicted, unlike Mr. Arar whom the Americans aided and abetted by the RCMP, sent off to Syria.

A Buffalo New York teacher has been given a choice according to CBC, between a year in a US jail or 3 years exile in Canada. He may enter the USA for the purposes of seeing his probation officer and then must return to Canada. The teacher Malcolm Watson lives with his wife in Ontario and worked in Buffalo. He was convicted of sexual misconduct with a 15 year old student.

If this catches on perhaps American crime rates will fall as American citizens cringe in fear over the prospects of cold winters, ungodly clean and safe streets, strong beer, socialized healthcare and sick people openly toking away on their weed.

No the Harper government can't sit back and take this. Imagine the loads of Americans that will be sent here to suffer a fate worse than a year in a US jail. We will be the dumping ground for all that’s wrong in America.

Its bad enough that Harper has to worry about how our troops in Afghanistan are going to harvest fields of Marijuana to ensure the fields are not hiding Taliban taking pot shots at them, he now has a new front to battle. The weight of power must weigh heavy upon his midriff (in the hundreds of grams, depending on how good you are at harvesting). He can't take much more can he? It pains me to watch.

Back to exiles to this land. Imagine, do you think many Americans might actually commit a crime just to get into Canada. No it wouldn't happen, most Americans are pretty cool with their government, and such Foley would never be tried by a sane American. Its better to have a Bush in hand. Did I just screw up, should it be be a bird?

Bill O'Reilly of Fox Entertainment ought to be squarely behind this bold new development in dealing with convicted felons, he has spent years blaming Canada for its social liberalism having played a part in what he termed the "secular humanist War on Christmas" and gay marriage is just more proof of our distain for American values.

It would appear that the Americans will be able to add a legitimate concern about our border, instead of repeating 9/11 myths about terrorists coming from Canada, they can point to their own citizens as a threat to American security.

Senator Burns has breathed new life with this exile, watch now as Montana and other border states start building the wall!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Does Stephen Harper have any inSite?

Harper is wasting much time. People running inSite in Vancouver are waiting, they are having to spend valuable time planning advocacy for their site to force a government to do the right thing. How much evidence does Stephen Harper need to make the right decision?

"I'm worried, from a public health perspective, about what will happen if the site closes," said Dr. Wood, an epidemiologist at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and an assistant professor in the department of medicine at the University of British Columbia. "I think there will be such a backlash in Vancouver when we go back to the same patterns of needles in storefronts and people injecting in public in the tourist areas of Gastown, that British Columbia will probably not tolerate it for long." - Globe and Mail, August 26, 2006

The safe injection site is the picture of good science and healthcare. The users, the police, the business community, and the British Medical Journal and The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine have strongly supportive articles/reports on the success of inSite. For crying out loud even the Fraser Institute says safe injection sites are the right thing to do, at least they did before it was established. I suspect they still like it. Now the international scientific journal Addiction Behaviors has a report that strongly supports the need for inSite.

Governments often campaign from one point of view only to be elected and learn that they were wrong and reverse their decision. Steffanie A. Strathdee, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently told attendees to AIDS Conference in Toronto, “If the Canadian government closes this site, they will have blood on their hands.” (Georgia Straight, August 17, 2006) Strathdee was listed as one of the top 100 Canadians to watch in the 1997 edition of MacLean's Magazine.

A report by criminologist Irwin M. Cohen, commissioned by the RCMP to examine the site found no increased crime, did not attract dealers and injection users from other jurisdictions did not flock to Vancouver as was feared by police and local businesses befiore the site was established. - Seattle PI, August 16, 2006

Tony Lam, the president of the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Association told Associated Press "...merchants in the historic neighborhood noticed drug activity is much quieter since the site opened. They don't get together in the back lanes or under the stairways to get injections, so the outside look of Chinatown is much (more) peaceful than before." - Seattle PI, August 16, 2006

All the groups that held reservations with inSite, the police, the BC Liberal Government and the Chinatown merchants, now support its continuation of opperations.

September 18, 2006 is the day inSite will close if Stephen Harper is too proud to do the right thing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

inSite ACT UP comes to Bloor and Yonge - AIDS 2006

The campaign to save insite in Vancouver took to the streets in Tornto today as many delegates from AIDS 2006 conference blocked traffic at Bloor and Yonge for approximately 15 minutes in an effort to get Prime Minister Stephen Harper's attention.

Vancouver is home to the only legal Safe Injection Site in North America and it will have to close should the Federal Conservative Government not extend its current exemption allowing health care workers and police to stand by while drug users inject drugs.

Recent reports in Medical Journal's support the success of insite in Vancouver. The Vancouver City Police and the RCMP have also indicated their continued support and validated it's success. BC Premier Gordon Campbell was quoted yesterday saying the Government of BC is supporting insite and have communicated it to Stephen Harper.

The Federal Conservative Health Minister, Tony Clement told a source his government was consulting with partners on the matter. What partners, who are they talking too? Focus on the Family? Real Women? It is not a surprise to the Harper government that an extention was going to be needed, the question remains, why have they not done so already?

Perhaps it has something to do with the two cancelled press conferences at the AIDS 2006 Conference todate. The Conservatives seem totally inept on HIV/AIDS issues and only days before the conference did they meet with AIDS groups.

Losing the Vancouver safe injection site will see many more people die and set harm reduction efforts back significantly.

A problem for Vancouver Coastal Health, the government organization operating the injection site, will be one of legal responsibilty. What if someone that had used the site regularily dies? Will their family or others take them to court for failure to provide access to a a safe facility given all the recent studies that prove the service is needed and a vital part of the health care system?

So many questions and the one guy who could answer them is hiding out in Canada's north. Could Stephen Harper get any farther away?

BLOC Health Critic, Christiane Gagnon told the media that if President Clinton can change his mind and support injection sites, then Stephen Harper can do it as well.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Debris Beachs in Kelowna

Flooding in BC's interior continues and more expected.

Here you can see the result on Okanagan Lake beaches, this one off Lakeshore Road at Kelowna's Rotary Beach.

The debris is being swept into the lake from among the many overflowing creeks entering the lake.

Just a couple of days ago the beach was the usual for the Okanagan, pristine and clean.

This morning debris covered the beach including an array of footwear, plastics and of this example of the Okanagan lifestyle...

uh ummm a condom pkg.

Dixie Chicks take it back

The Dixie Chicks have done it again.

The popular American country group, The Dixie Chicks have taken back their apology to George W Bush. In 2003 the group was appearing in London England when Natalie Maines, a member of the group said she was ashamed the President came from Texas.

The group saw album sales fall and radio stations refused to play their records. Mainses was pressured into apologising, "As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect." In an article published today in Time magazine Mainse takes it back and says, "I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever."

Taking the Long Way, the Dixie Chicks album to be released Tuesday has a tune titled, "Not Ready to Make Nice." The lyrics include "I'm still mad as hell," and "wouldn't kiss all the ass that they told me to." You can here the song when you go to their website.

Many in the music industry have been quiet about their views of the President though it appears more are speaking out in their music. The most recent other artist to do so was Neil Young, a Canadian living in Los Angelas for the last 20 years.

Young's newest album, Living with War has created quite a stir. Young's boldest track on the album, "Let's Impeach the President," opens with a trumpet sounding "Taps". Young is then heard leading a chorus of voices,
"Let's impeach the president for lying
Misleading our country into war."

With President Bush's popularity continuing to fall I expect we will hear more big name artists joining the anti war, anti Bush parade. Let's hope so.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Campbell Government dropped ball

Hughes report was released to the public. Will future reports be released? Here is a reason the Gordon Campbell Liberal government maybe reluctant in future to release reports in a timely manner if at all...

Today BC's Chief Coroner, Terry Smith told CanWest the (BC Liberal) government should be blamed for child death review mistakes not his service. Smith said Hughes' critical words ''got it right,'' but that the ball was dropped in the government's court not his.
''I think there were some real issues around the transition plans that didn't get communicated properly, and I think the disparity between the resources assigned to the Children's Commission and those given to the coroners service speak very loudly to that,'' he told the Vancouver Sun.

The Premier should have apoligised as it was clearly his government's budget cuts that led to Child death reviews not being conducted by the BC Coroner's Office. Today, the Chief Coroner says it loud and clear. I hope he is appointed by the legislature or his job could disappear.

Key recommendations in Ted Hughes's report.

BC Children and Youth Review report

Friday, May 12, 2006

Public Eye Radio

What are you doing Saturday at 6:30pm?

Your trusty blogger here will be on CFAX radio this Saturday, addressing a few issues affecting this province including the code purple crisis at Kelowna General Hospital. Tune in and find out whats going on in BC's most troubled hospital.

Public Eye Radio is hosted by Sean Holman. Most of you know Sean via his scuttlebut blog, Public Eye Online that manages to break the news before the big guys get it or the stuff CannedWest (Canwest) folks ignore. I may not always agree with Sean, I have to say however he does make news and pulls back the blinds for all to see!

CFAX Radio is 1070 on the am dial or the internet here

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Alzeimer's drugs - Not in BC

Is the BC Liberal Government going to announce inclusion of Alzeimer's drugs within Pharmacare in the face of more pressure being brought to bear upon it by the Alzeimer's Society of BC and the public? A rally will be held at the BC Legislative grounds on Monday May 15, 2006 at 11:00 am.

Kelowna psychiatrist Dr. Lee Rasmusen is speaking out and he plans to be among those at the rally. Patients unable to afford the medications now available in every other province in Canada simply go without Rasmusen says. He warns refusing to pay potentially causes a greater burden on the health care system. This is not a new issue. Anne Harker of Kelowna, a person living with Alzeimer's, wrote in a letter to the Vancouver Sun on August 1, 2003 of the incredible burden the drug costs are for her family...
"I am in the early stages of Alzheimer's and my husband, aged 68, has had to go to work as a Wal-Mart greeter in order to afford my medication, Aricept. My husband is a retired minister and I was a single parent for many
years, so we struggle financially. He is a diabetic.I was diagnosed at age 49 and was forced to leave my employment as a social worker. I am now 52 years old, unable to drive and unable to read or write. (A volunteer scribe with the Alzheimer Society of B.C. helped me with this letter.)

I require help to dress myself and am very limited in the ways I can contribute to looking after our home. There must be many people in this same position, but perhaps not as young as myself. We have evidence that Aricept is
crucial to the quality of life for persons diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

When I visited family in England two years ago, they noticed how much better I was doing than I had been when they'd seen me the year before because I had been taking Aricept for the intervening year. Aricept reduces the confusion and has made a huge difference in my quality of life. However, the cost is forcing my husband and I to readdress our total lifestyle because this category of medication is not included under PharmaCare's formulary.

It is unconscionable that the provincial government does not have any medication on the formulary for Alzheimer's and related dementias. Surely, officials are aware of the increase in numbers of people being diagnosed with dementia. It is so very important for our quality of life that PharmaCare fund this
medication." -
Anne Harker, Vancouver Sun, Friday, August 01, 2003

Today, three years after Anne Harker's letter, the BC Government still refuses to pay for Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl. Nicole Bertand, the daughter of a woman who suffered with Alzheimer's and current first vice-president of the BC Alzheimer's Society wrote on April 13, 2006, "On the research front, B.C. is a global pacesetter. On the policy front, however, B.C.’s record is less stellar." She goes on to say that she remains hopeful the province will pay for these important drugs, but warned "...but for thousands of people, time is running out."

Time is running out and strangely enough, I expect that some of those people occupying much needed acute-care beds in Kelowna General Hospital and elsewhere around BC could have been helped if they had affordable access these important Alzheimer'sdrug treatments.

Beer, sweet water and dogs!

I am back for a bit!

I am back in BC for four to six weeks as I pack and clean up a few things then wing back to the east! I have a few photos to show you what I have been up too below.

I am the one in the middle, with the Kokanee beer. See the Easterner's have not yet discovered the "Beer Out Here!"

Making Maple Syrup was awesome!

It takes forty litres to make one litre of syrup to use! That's a lot of boiling, lots of hauling sap from the maple bush but well worth it.

And a few late night hot dogs can make life seem a little too good eh!

I will be posting more about the experiance and just what some of those easterner's think of us westerners and of the Harper Government.

Government painting contract for Kelowna?

Wow, what a difference a couple of months make.

No same old stuff, same colour too!

Code purple at Kelowna General Hospital again. Not long before I winged east KGH had issued at least three Code Purple's in a 24 hour span. Minister George Abbott was quick to point out that relief was on the way, some long term care beds would be opened for seniors currently in acute care hospital beds thus releiving some of the pressure.

Guess what, still no beds, still no action on reducing the pressure at KGH and contrary to Minister Abbot's statement in the BC legislature yesterday, the problem is getting worse. The Minister stated that the code purple was the result of two automobile accidents. I have news for Minister Abbot, the emergency room should be able to handle two automobile accidents. It couldn't this time because the emergency room was over capacity again (as usual), with patients needing access to acute care or long term care beds.

The Minister needs to look at the mess in Kelowna, maybe he could just paint the Emergency Room purple. Now that would cost much less than building acute care or long-term care beds. It would save staff time in declaring code purple's and remind staff in the hospital that job one was evicting dead beat patients!

CBC Story: Overloaded Kelowna hospital declares 'code purple'

* Code purple is a term used when admin staff are directed to empty hospital beds of any non urgent patients to make room for more critical cases. Who are the patients "evicted" during code purple? They are those that have just had surgery, people in hospital for observation, those awaiting surgery.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Off the Grid

Sitting here in Ottawa, the week after Stephen Harper laid out his priorities in a throne Speech, I am somewhat surprised, at how little it really means to me and it would seem to many others here in the national capital.

I know all the stuff; the throne speech has no surprises. Yet as I have winged east from the warm Okanagan Valley to be here at the pulse of the nation, its very heart, I find the pulse is weak. It’s stronger where I come from, for me anyway.

What is Ottawa other than a place decision makers make decisions based on what the decision makers have already decided on Bay Street, the centre of the known universe. For Canadians anyway.

The people are nice, I have yet to meet a politician here, and you would expect I might, knowing me as some of you readers do. I have made it difficult actually to meet too many of the political folks. You see I actually am about an hour out of Ottawa near the prettiest town in Ontario, Perth. A small place famous for some things but a horse and his Olympic Canadian jumper/rider seem to be the latest pride and joy of the place. Look it up!

So here I am, situated between two places in Canada that Canadians love to gripe about, Toronto and Ottawa. That might seem like hell to some. Its not.

I have no cable TV; in fact I have no TV at all. The last TV I saw was on the seat back of the plane I arrived here on. I actually haul water from a well in 20 litre buckets and pack it to the house. Heat is provided via a wood stove which I have helped collect from the forest, yes the forest. Electricity comes via batteries, sometimes a generator, and lights are propane or solar.

The most interesting and fun bit is the bath. Like when I was a kid they are in a galvanized tub, though somehow the tub seems to have shrunk from what I remember it being. Water heated on the wood heater. Sitting down, knees above the tub, scrubbing away, beside the wood stove, you remain warm this way and close to more hot water. It has become a pleasure, reward if you like, after a hard day on the land, working,

I am off the grid! Now what is amazing is that I am finding I can live like that! Now don’t go getting worried, I won’t be starting any cult, don’t think I will be shooting at any one (I don’t have a gun).

What with Ontario announcing higher Hydro rates next week, being off the grid is looking better everyday!

Will see if I can get the squirrels to work harder, get the ground hogs spinning that wheel faster and I might be posting more soon.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Ujjal's Ted-E Bear to be auctioned

Ok here it is. Pictured below with yours truly is the official mascot from the Ujjal NDP leadership contest. Yes if you were there, you saw all the Ujjal supporters in their green t-shirts with the green U.

The mascot had a special t-shirt made as well, a campaign that spared no expense for sure.

I have had Ted E Bear since then. He was mine before the leadership, then he wanted to go to convention too. No before you ask, he did not have a voting credential. He was staff.

Now it seems this bear comes up in conversations from time to time in NDP circles, usually those that were part of Ujjal's campaign team. Some of you may have forgotten about him. He was in on all the inside stuff, he knows things that he may share if you give him a nice home. Only Remi was closer to Ujjal than Ted E Bear during the leadership and we know she won't talk.

Ted E Bear will now go to the highest bidder. The money of course will go to the Kelowna Federal NDP. I have resigned as local president and in cleaning out some stuff have offered TED E Bear for auction. Anyone out there that wants him can have him now if they send me a big enough cheque.

Now any good Liberal out there that would like to have Ujjal's good luck Bear can, just send a bigger cheque. Imagine Ujjal's face when you get to liberate the bear that brought him to power. You will be in Ujjal's good books forever. Even Ujjal can send a cheque. Bob Rae maybe interested too.

Now not leave the Conservatives out, think up a bigger number than the Liberals, and you too could have him. So should any of you be talking to Ujjal or Liberal's wanting to climb the political ladder or Conservatives wishing to have another join their party, let them know.

Interested? Send me an email with your bid.

He will be handed over to the Kelowna Federal NDP on May 1, 2006 for auction at their convienance unless you want him bad enough, remember he was closer to Ujjal than any other bear, mascot or person (except Remi). Tell me how much before then and if it is the best looking cheque at the end of May you get him. I will put weekly updates here on the latest bid so you know how much is enough.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Glen Clark - moonlighting as a Ferry Captain?

News of the BC Ferries Queen of the North sinking struck like a lightning bolt. I have taken this ship many times, down BC's coast to Port Hardy. Some sailings are rough but always it safely made port. It is an old vessal for sure yet it has served so well and likely could have continued to do so if it were not for striking a rock.

Now half jockingly I asked some friends over coffee at Tim Horton's this morning how long they thought it would be before Gordon Campbell, our Premier took to blaming the NDP and Glen Clark for this. It did not take long as the Gazetteer points out on his blog today.

At some point it starts to get a little dull. Campbell could have stuck to the facts as we know so far. The ship ran aground and then sunk. It is terrible but luckily the crew managed to get everyone off safely and the people of Hartley's Bay proved again our faith in people is not unwarranted.

Campbell did not stick to this. Somehow the NDP brought about this event. Almost six years from taking over from the NDP and seven plus years since Glen Clark last sat at the cabinet table, Campbell is spinning his story. Imagine if it rains in Prince Rupert during the Premier's photo opportunity, that would be Glen Clark's fault and by his extentiona sign of God's wrath on BC for supporting the NDP. I mean its only a bunch of Ferries that support them right. Just ask Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

al-Qaeda, Diapers and Beer and the Canadian connection

al-Qaeda, Diapers and Beer and the Canadian connection.

It seems that a Canadian with a dodgey past is in some hot water because of an invention that can be used for all kinds of activities including some illegal applications.

Rencode is an invention by a Canadian man who had a tough time in school and even spent some time in jail for having some part in the design and placement of pipe bomb in a drug dealers car.

Rob Cattral as reported in the Globe and Mail is in trouble as his device has been used for shady purposes, ie to create illegal credit cards. His invention has been or is used by all sorts of folks, people that run gym clubs to the State of California's Department of Agriculture.

The invention reads and stores data that then can be used to keep track of information such as sales, receipts, product movement etc. The retail industry uses it a lot. They track what you buy, who bought it and what else you bought. So every time you come into one of their stores they can track what you bought, what time you bought it and can then see if there is any habits you have.

The al-Qaeda connection has to do with the making of credit cards that are fraudulent. Some guy came into Rob's business, Canadian Bar Code and Plastic Card Supply Inc. and bought one of these devices. This of course means to the authorities that bad boy Rob, he has a record after all must have known this was happening and as a result, is guilty of knowingly supplies the tools of the illegal trade.

Now that's not the scariest bit of information to be uncovered here. Not by a long shot, people buy guns for bad purposes, and we know gun manufacturers and retailors know this . That hasn't made them criminals yet.

The real scarey information is the ability to steal your privacy. Companies are doing it all the time. The best example to date is this.

When men purchase diapers for the kids, they are likely to pick up a case of beer too. Now thats cool information and I don't know if they start out to buy beer and then say oh yeah, should get some diapers too. Or they set out to buy diapers and then decide to get some beer.

I am curious though, it makes me wonder

Do Dad's that buy Huggies prefer lager and Pamper Dad's get pilsner? And do people that choose Genuine Draft pick up a store brand nappy or Luvs? I guess it Depends on the Dad.

Seriously though this is just the thin edge of a wedge that has many, including the Canadian and American government's wanting to know more about us and to do that they want to give us all little plastic cards to carry. The private sector already does this and its likely the bad boy the police are after, Rob, may have given them the tools to track all of us. Now if that doesn't make you wet your pants ...

Stephen says "I'm the boss of you"

We have to stay in Afghanistan according to Stephen. He says it doesn’t matter if we never talked about it before. He says he's the boss of us and that’s what we have too do.

We have to be good kids and stay till Uncle George says we can go home. I haven’t met this Uncle George but the whole family keeps bringing him up. I did find this picture of him over at Rick Mercer’s blog that Mark took. It must be playtime cause Uncle George is dressed up as the Lone Ranger and Stephen is Tonto. There's lots of Stephen pictures like this one.

Do any of you remember how happy Uncle George was when we joined his excellent adventure to Haliburton Afghanistan? He wasn’t too thrilled when we asked for a ride as he figured by now we would have a reliable car with enough room for all of us. He did give our folks a ride then got mad when we said we can’t make it to Haliburton's second adventure, the one in Iraq. Uncle George can be a little snarky.

So to help quiet down Uncle George we sent more people to Afghanistan, this time we used a bunch of littler cars and we got everyone over there. In the mean time Uncle George wants to build a shooting range in the sky over top of us and he gets mad again when we say we don't think that's safe. Mom says he has a short temper from the days when he was a kid and had a teacher named Dick.

Anyway Uncle George was still pretty ticked so Stephen told him he would think about the shooting range again and maybe we could let him do some practice shooting as long as it was over Saskatchewan. Stephen thinks Saskatchewan is just ugly, not pretty like Alberta.

Ujjal says we should talk about Afghanistan and stuff but we shouldn't leave even after we talk and Jack says we should talk and then maybe come home. Uncle George doesn’t like Jack that’s for sure.

So now we don’t know what’s up. Stephen went to Afghanistan and checked it out, though he wouldn't tell us he was going ahead of time cause he was worried we would ask him to bring our brother or sister back home and he didn't have enough room. We do need a bigger car, maybe a minivan would be better right? That way we could all go where we want and leave when we want.

Me, I just think Uncle George gets away with a lot and Stephen should just tell him to grow up. Dad says Stephen won’t do that cause he wants some of the toys Uncle George has, at least better ones than we got from Uncle Tony cause they sink in the bathtub when he plays with them.

Stephen decided to put Gordon in charge of going to the toy store to get better toys cause he said Gordon knows all the toy sellers better than anyone. David wants some of those toys too so he told Stephen he was only pretending not to like him. He’s kinda like Belinda who got mad at Stephen and went to sit beside Paul. Only David doesn't care who he sits with. Mom says your friends tell other people what kind of person you are. I don’t think David should be hanging out with those guys. I sure hope Jack doesn’t spend too much time with them. I like Jack cause he tells Uncle George, "Your not the boss of me!"

Friday, March 17, 2006

Raskin quote provides hope

"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn't place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." Jamie Raskin, testifying Wednesday, March 1, 2006 before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in response to a question from Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs about whether marriage discrimination against gay people is required by "God's Law."

There in lies the problem in the United States today and the fear among many Canadians in the face of a Conservative government that remains steadfast in its opposition to gay marriage.James Raskin is an unusual Democrat today. He is speaking out as a politician should. He has in a few words managed to move the debate from that of the morality as framed by some Christian leaders and onto what we elect politicians to do. In the USA people expect them to uphold the constitution.

The USA was formed in part by people that wanted to escape religious persecution. So after a tea party in Boston some people wrote a consititution for a new country. Two of the premisis of the new country's constitution were to be free to practice your own religion and all people were equal. Of course this did not apply to blacks, aboriginals or women and may I suggest wicca's were not considered religious enough.

Raskin has reminded us of the rules. If elected he will take the constitution seriously. Overnight he has become a hero in the gay community. Raskin is not gay, he is married and has three children and by speaking out against amendments to ban same-sex marriages, he is challenging other Democrats to speak out too, even when it could mean you become public enemy number one among certain well-funded christian groups.

In America a politicians first responsibility is to uphold American law as Raskin's statement points out. It is not to implement "god's law" and certainly not to implement it according to Jerry Falwell or James Dobson and Pat Robertson.

James Raskin is running in the Democrat Primary for State Senate District 20 in Maryland.

This Sunday here in the heartlands read more on the assault led by the Christian Right on the American Constitution.

Thanks to Rob Cottingham, speech writer and blogger for the quote tip.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Support workers taking McDonalds to court

New Zealand: Support workers taking McDonalds to court

Minimum wage fast food workers in Aotearoa/New Zealand have been taking on some of the world's largest fast food brands as a part of their SupersizeMyPay.Com campaign. Workers held the worlds first ever Starbucks strike and have taken industrial action at KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King, McDonald's and a fast food call centre.

McDonald's, represented by Teesdale Associates who successfully busted the fast food unions in the 90's, have undermined bargaining from day one in an attempt to break the small community union. The company threatened to give a pay raise to non-union members only before backing down after legal charges were filed against them. Unite union is taking McDonald's to court for unlawfully undermining bargaining and discrimination against union members.

Want to help these workers? Go here then.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Top 40 if the South won

Hit Songs of the 1970s and '80s If the South Had Won the Civil War

Ivory and Ivory

You Really Want to Hurt Me

The Devil Went Up to New Hampshire

Hotel Arkansas

We Started the Fire

I found this list via a link at The Tyee.

The site has many similar lists including this one...

Activities That Might Prove More Practical Than Cleaning My Gas Mask Once a
Month as the Army Suggests

Welding additional armor plating to the underside of my Humvee

Registering to absentee vote in the event that my tour gets extended

Writing my increasingly distraught mother a letter

Do it yourself says South Dakota

Now I really don't know how I feel about this but I am going to post the link to you anyway. The Government oif South Dakota has decided to ban the right to abortions in that State despite federal laws to the contrary. This will of course mean many court challenges along the way. Still in the interim as the lawyers, mostly men battle it out in court, women will be left with no access to abortion in South Dakota.

Even if we can say the State cannot do this, doctors will be refusing to provide abortions to anyone. They will be worried about the possible ramifications to their practice and even jail and large fines if the State were to win in court.

Many of us have heard and seen the evidence, women denied access to abortion went to back alleys, used coat hangers and similar devices, took poisons, saw men that took little care as they used filthy equipment in their gross attempts to abort a pregnancy. So many died or were injured as the bleed internally or suffered with infections, infections and bleeding that often led to death. I can't say it any more direct than that.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal reported Abortion-related deaths accounted for more than one in every four maternal deaths during the 1950s. Women in Canada with the means - 400 to $500 cost made trips to Havana, Cuba. Throughout the 1950s, illegal abortions in Canada were common and dangerous. - see No Choice

In most of the world access to an abortion is covered by state health care. In some cases that is true in parts of the USA. In South Dakota common sense has succumbed to bastions of male dominance, government and religion, to force their will on women. I know this is a hot topic and one that has ardent and sometimes just ugly folks on both sides of the discussion. I don't see what the new law in South Dakota will do to prevent aborted pregnancies. Women with means will travel to jurisdictions where they are legal or pay the huge financial price asked by Doctors willing to risk their practice for a high enough fee. Others will have to stay and revert to the 1950's to achieve what is legal in most of the world.

"The hot burning began to descend from its peak. He sat back on his heels and discussed the odds on today’s races with Clacking Heels. And I lay there, stripped from the waist down, the most private and sacred parts of my body exposed to two absolute strangers in the glare of movie-set lighting, waiting for them to assault me further. My fists clenched and unclenched as I strove for calm and balance. Her hand rested lightly on my shoulder as she knelt by my side, talking about the fourth race. I felt helplessly trapped." - see No Choice

Are we willing to reverse things? How many women are going to die? It could be your daughter, your mother, your sister, your friend, your girl friend. Now I have to add that I would not be one to counsel someone to have an abortion, then again I am not the one that is pregnant. Most women know the consequences of such an event and I leave it to them to take the route they feel required.

"I heard the rattle of glass and metal against the sides of the tray, reminiscent
of a gynaecologist’s or dentist’s office. I lifted my head to see that was going on. An enormous hypodermic needle flashed between the dazzling lights. I braced myself. It came ... sharp, searing, pointed pain somewhere down there, once and then again. I gasped with startled surprise and pain. An unbidden cry flew from my lips."
- Marie, Vancouver 1951

The link below will provide women with information they can use should they be denied access to a doctor assisted abortion. Again I do not do this lightly. If women are going to be at risk, then it is incumbant on the rest of us to help reduce that risk.

The site has a disclaimer and I repeat that disclaimer here. Be careful with what you find on the internet. Do your research. I am not a Doctor nor do I know how anything about the procedure. If you have or can have access to a doctor, then use that access, its safer and smarter.

DISCLAIMER: I am posting this as information only. Whether anyone chooses to act upon this information is their own concern. I believe in the free exchange of information and ideas. I believe this information has been kept from women for too long, and there is no reason they should not know about a procedure being performed on their own body, and no reason women should be kept in the dark about how to perform it -- especially if someone they know is having their health jeopardized by this law.

Molly Saves the Day

, Politics, Supreme Court, Reproductive Rights, ,

Monday, March 13, 2006

Things you have to believe to be a Republican today

Things you have to believe to be a Republican today:

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing UN resolutions against Iraq.

A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our longtime allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense.

A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness, and you need our prayers for your recovery.

You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft could tell states what local voter initiatives they have the right to adopt.

What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

Feel free to pass this on.

Friends don't let friends vote Republican.

I was sent this via a yahoo group I belong too, I did not write this though have permission to post!

Friday, March 10, 2006

CNN misleading headline, way misleading!

Dems Indicted; Clinton, Kerry Targeted

Oh my have the Dems done something really stupid? How could this happen?

Nothing has happened other than CNN playing fast and loose with its editorial efforts in the newsroom...

You just know that something is wrong with this headline. One would expect from reading the headline that Clinton (which one) and Kerry were indicted for some wrong doing, maybe even criminal wrong doing.

CNN made up the headline rejecting the AP header that was "GOP Chairman to Single Out Kerry, Clinton."

One has to wonder what the CNN was trying to say here. The story is really about the Republicans efforts to frame the next election and has nothing to do with indictments of Clinton and Kerry because there are none!

I see that CNN has changed the headline now!

From Talking Points Memo

, Politics, News,

Houseboat charges in Kelowna

June 9, 2005 a houseboat capsized on Okanagan Lake. It occurred in calm water after just leaving the dock in Kelowna. The boat had over sixty people on board, likely twice as many as it was licensed for. Camille Fry, 20 years old died in the mishap.

Link: Video of Houseboat sinking (Castanet link)

Today we learn that a male, 27 years old is facing several charges in the fatal capsizing of a houseboat on Okanagan Lake last year. The young man is facing charges of criminal negligence causing death, dangerous operation of a vessel causing death, criminal negligence causing bodily harm to three victims, and dangerous operation of a vessel causing bodily harm.

Water safety has never really been a high priority for authorities or the general community much along the same lines as use of ATV's and snow mobiles have also been seen as a low priority. Let's hope that we go beyond just placing of blame on this young man and look at the bigger issues in order to bring about some good with the loss of a young woman.

See: June 9, 2005 Young life lost after Kelowna boat accident

and Castanet's report: Houseboat Capsizes On Okanagan Lake

Thursday, March 09, 2006

KGH in Kelowna not up to the task

Today in the Kelowna Courier the Kelowna General Hospital Administrator is quoted as saying the hospital was over capacity and they have issued *3 Code Purples since January. Hospital issued three Code Purples Monday and Tuesday this week according to sources in the Hospital.

My sources inside KGH state the hospital was 82 patients over capacity this Tuesday while the administrator told the Courier they were 45 beds over capacity. I suspect he is so use to the 30 people being in hallways that he now considers hallway beds part of the capacity of KGH.

The administrator does go on to confirm the facts I pointed to yesterday on Politics in BC.
"It's a major challenge because our population in the Central Okanagan has grown by 6,000 in the last two years. It’s not just a community hospital – it’s a major referral centre (for the Southern Interior)," hospital administrator Rick Riley said Wednesday. “It’s busier, and the hospital hasn’t enlarged in that time, so it’s a challenge."- Kelowna Courier, March 9, 2006

It seems the only people not aware the Okanagan was growing were the people involved in Health Planning. If they were aware of this wouldn't a reasonable person be demanding more beds for the hospital? No the Interior Health Authority (IHA), having already closed beds in most every other hospital in the Interior has been pretty silent on this issue in public.

Has the IHA been telling the Minister of Health of this problem. If so why has nothing been done? Why were beds closed in other areas of the Southern interior when the IHA knew that the Okanagan was growing, that these patients would have to get treatment in Kelowna because there were no beds in their community?

Its no wonder the Liberals ditched the underperforming Ministry of Health Planning and local MLA Sindi Hawkins from Cabinet. Now we know, planning was just a buzz word.

* Code purple is a term used when admin staff are directed to empty hospital beds of any non urgent patients to make room for more critical cases. Who makes up the patients "evicted" during code purple? They are those that have just had surgery, people in hospital for observation, those awaiting surgery.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

CODE Purple

Health care is getting worse here in the Okanagan. The Kelowna General Hospital is possibly the last place you want to be if you are in need of emergency care.

Code purple, a term used when admin staff are directed to empty hospital beds of any non urgent patients to make room for more critical cases. Who makes up the patients "evicted" during code purple? They are those that have just had surgery, people in hospital for observation, those awaiting surgery.

This past few days are among the worst in what KGH Acting Chief of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Mike Ertel has seen in the last 8 months. CBC reported today that the hospital today had 400 patients with only 330 beds. I have it from a source inside KGH tonight that the hospital has 412 patients and that is a record number.

82 patients over capacity. During the provincial election it came to light the hallways in KGH were numbered so emergency staff could find patients once they were deposited in the hallways. Surprising to me was the total disinterest local media took in this situation.

A rally held to draw attention to the situation May 1, 2005 with over 400 people in attendance outside KGH failed to attract a single media report.

One editorial during the election in the town's paper actually addressed the issue. That was pretty much it despite this riding having been home to the Cabinet Minister responsible for ensuring BC's Health Care system was prepared for this.

Nicki Hokazono NDP candidate made several attempts to make the conditions at KGH public including this discussion and meeting with Health Care economist Richard Neal (Photo: Hokazono discusses KGH with Neal). Neal pointed to the added costs of keeping seniors in expensive acute care beds vs proper long term care beds and attributed the loss of those beds to the crisis at KGH.

Sindi Hawkins was the Minister of Health Planning and it seems she not only failed to deliver a provincial planning system, she couldn't even deliver to her home riding.

What has caused this problem in Kelowna? Much of it can be attributed to hospital closures and bed cuts throughout the Interior. KGH became a Regional Hospital without the corresponding increase in beds and staffing. That coupled with a loss of some 800 long term care beds in the region has increased the pressures on KGH.

It has become so bad that some people waiting for loved ones to get into a long term care bed have actually called emergency when their loved one is ill and they are left at emergency. The hospital then has to cope with a frail senior without a bed to put them into. At anyone time KGH has 30 to 50 seniors waiting for long term care.

There can be no better example of the Campbell government's complete failure to deliver on improving health care. Much of the problem can be traced in large part to the closure of long term care beds with no relief in sight.

On Monday and Tuesday this week people requiring emergency care arrived by ambulance only to find themselves left in the ambulance to wait for room to be made available in the emergency hallways. Yes the hallways and not the emergency room.

KGH has faced situations in the last year where people requiring care within 15 minutes, usually heart involved cases have not been seen for as long as 30 or more minutes. As most of us know in the case of heart or stroke related emergencies the need for emergency treatment is vital. The sooner they are seen the less severe the consequences of a heart attack or stroke will be.

Our hospital, our community, our seniors are being let down by the Gordon Campbell government big time and it appears someone will die as the the Liberals practice their version of inventory control. That is what happens when your priority is cost cutting and you ignore the fact you are dealing with people, many of them seniors.

The problem here in Kelowna has been getting worse, I expect the Interior Health Authority (IHA) has made the situation known to the Premier and the Minister of Health. I say I expect they have as that would be the minimum level of action one would take. That being the case, the Liberal government's failure to act is even worse and perhaps the IHA CEO learned from the Fraser Valley experience when its CEO was fired for confirming publicly there was a serious problem at Surrey Memorial Hospital. Speak up and you will lose you job.

I am happy a Doctor has finally decided to speak up. Just where the heck have they been for the last year. They have known and seen the problem worsen day by day. I guess it is better late thasn never. It is only through pure luck that no one has died to date. Who will be the person that is sacrificed on the alter of cost savings in order that the rest of us will benefit from the resulting media storm forcing the government to act.

Canada defeats USA in Baseball Classic

I don't usually do sports here, but this is big and it was exciting to watch.

The '06 Baseball Classic is underway in Phoenix.

Canada's pitchers saved the day along withj some good offence early in the game that gave them a 8 - 0 lead before the USA team put together a 6 run inning late in the game. The North remains Strong!

Hot dang!

PHOENIX -- Less than 24 hours after nearly falling to an unheralded South Africa team, Canada made some serious waves in the World Baseball Classic's Pool B by beating Team USA, 8-6, on Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field. More here ...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I won't play with you!

I hate to harp on this as so many bloggers are already at it. But Stephen Harper was the guy that was screaming at the ethics commissioner to do his job when Harper was the opposition leader. Now the Harper Government is saying they won't cooperate with the ethics commissioner. Imagine, just for a second what we would hear from Harper if former Prime Minister Martin said that.

Name one politically astute Canadian that really, honestly believes that Emerson deceided to leave the Liberal party without the enticement of a cabinet post. Oh they may not have come right out and said leave the Liberals and join us and we will put you in cabinet. No they surely would not be that dumb. They did however do what the Liberals have done for ages, a flick of the wrist, a nudge, and a come hither look, that says all it has too.

Emerson is a Cabinet Minister, he is a Conservative MP, reading the transition documents prepared by the government he left. You have to wonder why he needed a briefing.

The ethics Harper campaigned on to bring an end to, to stop the abuse of power, have to wait until Harper has abused as much power as he can before he must operate on an ethical playing field he so ardently demanded the Liberals play on.

Monkey see, Monkey do.

America, racing back to the inquisition.

Never mind that this isn't going to hold up, and it's really just a blatant attack on Roe v. Wade by anti-choice, pro-forced-pregnancy forces; when has something as simple as legal precedent or a logical reason for things ever stopped anyone? - Moron'

The South Dakota Governor has done something few have tried recently. He has decided that women have no right to abortion in South Dakota. It should not matter here if you are for or against abortion. The law is the law and South Dakota Governor has decided he and his select lawmakers, mostly male, are above such laws.

What's next, spying on citizens? Oh my god, maybe he can get away with this...

America, where round is now flat.

Money Money

Is there anything of ours that this bunch wouldn't sell for money?

That's the question The Gazetteer asks on his blog after news the BC Liberal Government sold off used computer data tapes for $300.00. Now that might be okay to do... if the content has been erased prior to sale. It wasn't. Just maybe the government should consider safely disposing such data rather than trying to grab a few extra bucks at our expense.

Personal data of BC citizens the government collects has to stay in Government hands. It appears the only data this Liberal government won't sell off or make public is that of public private partnerships it enters into on our behalf in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Think I am making it up, try to get the details on the William R Bennett Bridge in Kelowna where we are forking over close to 200 million tax dollars or the Abbotsford Hospital project expected to be over 100 milion. It doesn't stop with these partnerships, look at the BC rail sale to CN Rail based out of Chicago. We are still waiting for the Government to tell us what the deal is and what about BC Ferries, once a crown corporation now a private company? We know very little about their operations, yet we are on the hook for this company.

It gets worse when you hear what has been going on with the contracted MSP services with Accenture. The company has repeatedly failed to deliver and we know nothing of the contract details. That is just plain wrong.

This may sound like a broken record to some of you, certainly the main stream media thinks so, Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals promised the most open and accountable government in Canada. They have not only failed, they have reversed the trend to open and accountable government begun under the NDP in 1990's.

Say what you will about the NDP, it was them that brought in Hansard in BC in 1972, question period, and Freedom of Information to name a few initiatives protecting our privacy and opened government up to scrutiny.

Now clearly the Cabinet Minister's did not say hey here is some data we can a few bucks for. What they are guilty of however is placing a low priority on privacy, your privacy, note that they have been protecting their own, its just yours and mine they have no trouble sharing.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Off until March 7

I will be gone from today February 24 to March 7. In the mean time if you are looking for news from the progressive side check outmany of the Progressive bloggers, my favourite blog The Gazetteer, and other good people, Strategic Thoughts, Had Enough, The Tyee , PayingAttention, PublicEye, Rob Cottingham, CathieFromCanada and of course my other Favourite blog is My Blahg. I have a few favourite blogs but cannot forget Canuck Attitude where Bruce brings some attitude to Friday's with interesting web vids he has found.

Peace, Earth and Justice is a place with lots of left progressive news.

There are many good links in the side bar so please check out the good work many of these people are doing everyday.

For something different you have to go to Trevor, who has built a cult like following with his writings, Aunty Bertha makes me laugh and cry and think, kinda like my Mom, Alison over on Bowen Island has some unisland like thoughts and of course the one place you won't find cable, Chimera's Cavern is the good buddy we would all appreciate and witty!

I can't forget my favourite all time biker and friend, who now has a blog, check out Jim if you like gay bikers or just want to see some Biker guys! I can let you in on a secret there, his nick name is Petals! or is that pedals, I could never get it right.

See you March 7!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ted Hughes Budget?

David Schreck as a good take on the BC Liberal Budget today. Of course what the media seem to be missing and reporting on is the Ministry of Children and Families. The Black Night of BC Evening News, BCTV in its promo asked, will their be a tax cut for you? Did they ask if there would be money for kids, did it point out in promos of the budget the to a need to address the problems caused by BC Liberal cuts to childrens services?

Not a chance. That would be negative and everything is set to pave the road to 2010 with gold right?

Enough about that and over to Schreck...
The Campbell government's news release promoted the February 2006 budget
with the headline "
Budget 2006 Concentrates on B.C.'s Children". Some say it could be called Sherry's budget, in honour of Sherry Charlie, but she isn't the only child whose name is associated with the Campbell cuts. An alternative is to call it "Ted's Budget" in anticipation of the report that will be released by Ted Hughes on April 7th.

The budget tried to support the claim that it concentrates on children by saying that an additional $421 million would be available to help vulnerable children and their caregivers; the fine print noted that the $421 million is over four years. If that makes budget 2006 the "Children's Budget" then consider what
the September 2005 mini-budget should have been labeled; that's when Finance Minister Carole Taylor announced $143 million per year, $569 million over four years, in corporate tax cuts even though not a single word was said about that tax gift during the May 2005 election campaign. When the Campbell government had a choice it put corporate tax cuts a year ahead of restoring cuts to child protection, and it gave 35% more to corporations than to child protection.

Wingnutter makes it up with a grin

Now some people just seem to have talent. Check out The Wingnutter for some pretty good articles that will make you laugh. As the header on the blog from news fairy land says ...

Wingnutter is full of it and you just want him to keep shovelling...

Here is a sample of his EVIL Grinning photo shop at work, go and look for yourself.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Western Standard(s) - Not for long

Could this be why Ezra is turning the Western Standard into a cartoon book for Right wing nut cases?

Western Standard Cash Crunch? Simon Pole goes into the cash crunch facing Ezra's Western Standard(less) rag. Shouldn't his Calgary School buddies step up to help.
"... When we started the Western Standard nearly two years ago, I never imagined that we would have been at the center of a fight for our culture's basic freedoms -- or that the rest of Canada's media would be so silent, leaving us to fight this fight by ourselves..." - Ezra Levant in an appeal to mailing list for money

The WS is fighting for our basic freedoms? How incredible is that statement. Whose freedoms is he talking about? The right to take money out of public education? Maybe the right to ignore treaties with Aboriginals? Maybe we will see Ezra marching in a gay pride parade or declaring he has a good friend who is gay. Freedom of the press?

Now some readers of Politics in BC have taken to suggesting the Western Standard speaks for as many Canadians as does the Georgia Straight. The Straight of course can not be compared to the WS in any way other than perhaps they both are printed on paper of some kind.

A better comparison might be the now dead Alberta Report and its junior sibling, the BC Report magazine run by Evangelical conservative activists, Ted and Link Byfield. These too rags commonly took up the efforts of those who were anti-aboriginal, anti-choice, anti public education and pro-private health care and of course they screamed long and hard in an effort to prevent gay citizens like myself and my partner from having a right to be parents let alone the right to rent an apartment or keep a job free of discrimination.

The WS is two steps behind the Reform party, now defunct and trying to assert its voice in what is looking alot like Brian Mulroney's government. The populist voice that drew many to the Reform has left, in come the suits from Bay Street. Its kind of ironic actually, the people that helped toss the Progressive Conservatives out of government are now being run by many of those government pensioned PC political hacks. Michael Wilson is the new boy in Washington, thats gotta hurt Preston's feelings.

Is Ezra desperate to save his rag? Perhaps he can move to the mainstream Alberta style. Wait a minute, he is already moonlighting at the Calgary Sun. It just so happens Ted and Link are there too. Don't cry too much for Ezra, he has some buddies in town that will look after him when the WS does die. Heck if Jimmy Pattison won't distribute your magazine you have to know the gig is up.

BC Budget links

BC Budget available here .

You can watch the Minister of Finance, Carole Taylor deliver the budget in the Legislature here. Expect the budget speech to start about 3:05 pst today.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Disgraced Vernon Mayor facing Criminal Charges

The former Mayor of Vernon, who resigned in controversy now faces criminal charges of fraud over $5,000 and Breach of Trust.

The Mayor, Sean Harvey was a brazen right wing Mayor when first elected. Today the CBC reports he now will have to defend himself in court against charges he used his expense account for meeting that did not occur, for his own use.

the original stuff is here ...
Disgrace falls on Vernon Golden Boy
220 days ago
"It would be easy justify or make excuses but at the end of the day, I have misused my expense account," Sean Harvey, former Mayor said at the Vernon Council Monday. See Castanet story and video ...

and here ...

Vernon BC ~ Mayor Harvey under investigation
225 days ago
Vernon BC ~ Mayor Harvey under investigation UPDATE: Mayor Harvey has resigned ... of fear, I lied." Sean Harvey, former Mayor of Vernon Harvey says he took power for granted ... claims. Sean Harvey has admitted to claiming expenses for dinners with dignitaries that did not take place ...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Western Standard(s) never so low

You just knew it had to happen. Ezra Levant has managed to tick off two of Canada's most powerful Conservative leaders. Aside from his rantings taken as loony by most Canadians he has held court for the social conservative set with his radical right wing Western Standard. Now he leaps forward as a defender of freedom of the press by reprinting the cartoons from Denmark.

Now I have heard all the stuff about freedom of the press. Yes he has a right to print them. What I have to ask is why would he? Is it his rapid position on Isreal, right or wrong, they have to be supported? Is it an attempt to save the mag formatted tabloid? Is he just an obnoxious right wing idiot?

For a man so in support of our military he has a strange way of showing his love. If there was a good reason to reprint them fine, but I can't think of one half-baked reason, let alone a good one.

His actions will likely move us up a notch or two on the international terrorist's hit list. The Canadian Armed Forces he purportedly supports are likely going to be faced with additional risks as a result.

Ezra Levant doesn't stop with cartoons, he decides to take a swipe at aboriginal Canadians as well with an article that jabs the Premier of Alberta's wife. Again why would he attack her heritage. Call her an interfering spouse if its an issue but why print derogratory comments about her race?

He has Stephen Harper pissed and Premier Klein. Normally I would pay good money to see them pissed at the media. Its quite an achievemnt of some sortfor a social conservative news outlet to get these two men upset. Levant should print an apology to Premier Klein and his wife and children, to Metis people and then for good measure, crawl back into whatever hole he slithered out of.

* image from

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Campbell tag team takes on BC voters

Ok this goes into the "don't you all feel better now" category

Former VanderZalm cabinet minister and Canadian Prime Minister, Kim Campbell says Emerson should not resign. "Because I think Dave Emerson is a great British Columbian and even over here in Europe I'm getting all this news about him being hammered for his decision and I just wanted to call and say I think it's a great thing for B.C.,” Campbell told the Bill Good show today on CKNW.

Another Campbell, political cousin to Kim, Gordon has also rallied to Emerson's calls for help. Campbell is reported on CKNW to have stated in Emerson's defense, “He clearly understands the Pacific Gateway, very important for British Columbia. He clearly understands the importance of the Olympics and Paralympics Games to Canada, and again, important to British Columbia. So he brings a real, I think, reservoir of talent to government."

Campbell appears to be out of step with the BC voters on this issue. Ipsos-Ried poll shows 48% of British Columbians strongly disapprove of Emerson's switch. 77% say that people that switch party's after an election should have to run again.

Now having these two Campbell's in your corner just has to be a moral booster!

What a week to miss!

This column will focus on the last couple of weeks beginning with the stunning revelation that occurred at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. Prime Minister Harper announced to us all that Champion Conservative basher David Emerson had decided to join the Harper government without even a hint he would get a cabinet post. Now that takes guts, throw all your convictions out the window and then hope the guy that you are joining in this surprisingly same-ethics marriage will bring you to the alter of power.

Luckily for David Emerson, he did get a cabinet post. Imagine the chances of that. The odds must be somewhere between winning the Lotto 649 and the chances Dick Cheney would shoot someone without using Halerburton as a screen. I have confirmed that even Janet Jones (Gretzky) did not place a bet on this, preferring instead to save one of her husband’s lucky loons for the Olympics.

To top it off an unelected Senator appointed, (by Harper who has referred to the Senate as being illegitimate) to Cabinet says his new cabinet colleague should resign and run again though he himself won’t seek a seat until the next election and legitimate Tory backbencher and self proclaimed financial guru, Garth Turner says Emerson is ethical and so is the Prime Minister, they just goofed here and Emerson should resign and say I’m Tory. Sour grapes maybe?

The week kept going with more Canadian customs agents running from their posts facing another rumour that armed gunmen were headed for Canada. Ever wonder why we can’t keep the guns out of this country. The strangest thing here is that the Conservatives and the Layton NDP agree. They both say arm the borders!

It appears the move by the Conservatives to move ahead and arm them has been stalled over the choice of weapons to provide. The NDP preferring paint ball guns that look real and the Conservatives looking for something similar to Vice President Cheney’s weapon of choice. If anything is to happen here it would seem both sides may have to accept a sawed off version. I don’t suppose the they will agree as to who should supply the shells as Colt Canada, the primary supplier of bullets and shells to police forces is listed as unethical by lefty investors and too Liberal friendly by Conservatives. Halerburton anyone?

Ujjal Dosnajh is sounding indignant these days singing a somewhat different tune than he sung when Saint Belinda crossed the floor to sit beside him. Dosnajh says the people in Vancouver Kingsway have been hoodwinked, something any Liberal would know about.

With all this shooting, gambling and arming border guards one has to wonder if these men are making up for some self felt inadequacy somewhere. The bad news for them out of London England today is that the average extension is only a half-inch. Seems all that spam about getting bigger is all hype, a little like canned Spam, these men are asking “where’s the beef?”

Here in BC the new Conservative cabinet minister responsible for the 2010 Olympics came to town and played street hockey. He stated the government would decide later if they will provide additional money the Olympic committee is requesting. Everyone close to Harper is hoping the games won’t have a deficit since a Montreal Mayor had a baby in 1976. Thankfully perhaps for the BC Olympic committee Harper does not plan on limiting abortion access. Expect Harper to pony up seeing as he doesn’t want to be seen as supporting a pro-choice agenda.

And in the effort to go where no sane North American has gone so far, Ezra Levant, publisher of the wing nut Western Standard has decided to print the infamous cartoons depicting the of the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist, saying others are hiding behind political correctness and religious sensitivity. Of course that is the same reason I think Harper might be smarter than I thought, choosing not to put Stockwell (Doris) Day in charge of Foreign Affairs.

Add to this is the news that Buzz Hargrove, the man stumping for Liberal Paul Martin in the last federal election is shocked he has had his membership in the NDP suspended. Seems he just wanted to elect some Liberals, a message that ran counter to the efforts of the party whose card he held in his wallet.

Finally there is no truth to the rumour the Conservative party is planning a private viewing of Brokeback Mountain anytime soon. Rumours broke out that this might happen after Alberta MP Myron Thompson stated he was fed up with all this queer talk then found out the movie was made in Alberta using tax incentives provided by the Alberta government. The Alberta Advantage is what you say?

Despite handing over tax incentives to come to Alberta, there is no crowing on the part of the Ralph Klein government about this Oscar destined feature film about two queer cowboys. I wonder how much they ponied up to get this film produced. Ironic eh! What a week!