views from canada’s left coast

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if life were a movie I would be at about the 20 minute mark

Today I wrote what should be the final school exam of my life.  I would say that today I finished law school but I will not actually be finished until I receive my grades later in May.  For now I will just hope that I am finished (odds are very good that I will in fact graduate).  I stand at about the 20 minute mark in the movie that is my life.  At about this time in a movie there is a major change in the direction that the story is going.  The first 20 minutes help to establish the characters, the setting, and some of the plot, and then at about 20 minutes (earlier for really short films, later for really long films) the story really starts to take off.  Where will my story go?  I have no clue really.  All I can really hope is that my life, like any good movie, has an interesting and unique plot twist.

April 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

No surprise that new owners fire Nonis

I guess it came of somewhat of a surprise when Dave Nonis, GM of the Vancouver Canucks, was fired today.  I expected that something would be done to try to right the ship, but I thought that Nonis was saying all the right things and that would be enough to placate ownership.  On the other hand, it should never be that surprising when a new owner fires the GM hired by previous ownership.  The Acquilini’s will surely want their stamp on the team and the surest way to do that is to hire a GM who wholly believes in your philosophy and vision for the team.

On TSN, Bob McKenzie was surprised that Nonis was fired, and thought that it was the wrong move largely because Nonis has only had 4 years to build the team and that was not seen as enough time to judge whether or not he has done a good job.  Nonis is given a lot of credit for acquiring Luongo for Bertuzzi.  Granted that was a good trade, but beyond that one move Nonis has not made any moves to improve this hockey team.  The Canucks went from a high powered offensive team that always brought a lot of excitement to the rink, to one of the more drab teams to watch.  Not only did the Canucks not score much, they were also not a dominant physical presence.  There was nothing to get excited about when watching the Canucks play.

I hope that whoever the new GM is they take the next step and replace Alain Vigneault behind the bench.  Vigneault focuses far too much on defence.  Granted defence is probably the strongest part of the Canucks lineup, but with a strong defence and a strong goalie you would think that you would let your forwards play an open, offensive style game.  Vigneault was too cautious on offence.  The Canucks should allow their forwards and defence to play a more open style of hockey and hope that Luongo can stop the good scoring chances that will inevitably result.

If firing Nonis leads to a more exciting brand of hockey in Vancouver than Canucks fans should all be quite happy.  I became a fan of hockey, and in particular the Canucks watching guys like Pavel Bure, Alexander Mogilny, and Markus Naslund.  Canucks hockey used to be fast paced and exciting.  The Canucks used to lose a lot, but we are losing now in far less exciting fashion.

April 15, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , | Leave a comment

How important is to be “out”?

Jason Cherniak had an interesting post today.  I guess someone in the blogosphere had said that Cherniak was gay and then later had a post saying that he is in fact not gay.  Jason Cherniak uses the opportunity to discuss the far too common phenomenon of gay politicians who are not publicly out.  He mentions, not by name, a member of the Conservative cabinet is widely known to be gay in political circles but is not publicly out.  Jason Cherniak does not say whether he thinks all gay politicians should come out, this is probably a wise stance for Jason to take as he is not himself gay and cannot possibly understand what coming out means for a person.  I on the other hand am gay, and I am out, and I do have something to say about this.

The gay, but not out, but widely known to be gay cabinet minister being talked about is to my knowledge John Baird.  I have no direct proof of this, I have only heard a few rumours, some that seemed fairly credible to me.  I have a major problem with John Baird for his political views and his overly aggressive speaking style in the House of Commons.  I have an even bigger problem with a public figure, who garners large amounts of national media attention, not speaking up about his sexuality in a time where queer youth still have suicide rates much higher than heterosexual youth.  Coming out still has positive social and political effects.  It is still an important act when every single person comes out as gay (or lesbian, or bi, or queer, or whatever non-hetero label you apply to yourself).  If more politicians would be open and honest about their sexuality a powerful message would be sent to the public and queer youth that it is okay to be gay.

I would think that gay people of conservative leanings would think it even more important to come out of the closet.  There is a general feeling amongst the public, and I would say amongst the gay community as well, that gay people are largely progressive types with liberal views on most issues.  There are gay conservatives (small c and big C) but they rarely are heard inside and outside of the community.  I would not describe myself as a Conservative, or conservative, but I would say that I am often outside the general opinion when it comes to many views expressed by the gay community.  Far too often community leaders and community publications are taken as speaking for the whole gay community.  If there are gay or lesbian MPs sitting in the Conservative benches they should stand up, speak out and let the public, and in particular gay youth, know that there is nothing wrong with being gay

If queer people are uncomfortable coming out because of their political views and the reaction that they would receive from people with similar political views than maybe those queer people should rethink the politics that they support.  I do not see how any self-respecting person can hide such a key part of their person, such as their sexuality, to preserve their political ambitions.  I say shame on all closeted politicians.  Coming out still has the power to literally save lives.  There is nothing whatsoever wrong with being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or two-spirited.  It is time that we stop giving closeted politicians a free pass.

April 9, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , | 1 Comment

grassy knoll protesters are in the wrong

19 students were arrested on Friday night as part of a protest against development of a bus loop at UBC which would require the removal of a large mound of dirt covered with grass which is described as a “popular student hangout.”  I have been a student at UBC for close to six years now.  I do recognize that students use the grassy knoll regularly when the weather permits.  During the fall and winter semesters the weather very rarely permits people to sit outside on the grass.  It rains a lot in Vancouver, and it is too cold in the winter to sit outside comfortably.  Some students are protesting the removal of a large mound of dirt that rarely gets used because the outdoor spaces at UBC are rarely comfortable places to socialize or relax during most of the year.  The grassy knoll is located in a central spot for the university as a whole.  It is a great location for the bus loop as more students will be closer to their destinations when first arriving at UBC.

There should not be an inquiry into the actions that police took against the protesters on Friday, April 4, 2008.  Fire crews rightly attempted to put out a bonfire started by the protesters.  Despite the general wet weather lately, there are buildings close to the grassy knoll and I can easily see how it would be a safety hazard to have a fire going close by.  The student that tried to block the fire hose was rightly arrested.  When students then surrounded the police car holding the arrested student they were committing a crime.  They were taking steps to prevent the police officers from properly arresting someone who was helping to further a safety concern for the University and for the people in the area at the time.

I hope that the police do not issue any sort of an apology, nor should they launch any sort of inquiry over and above what their usual procedure is when making a large number of arrests at a public protest.  The student who attempted to block the fire hose should be charged and convicted.  Any other students that were aggressive during the protest and subsequent arrests should also be charged and prosecuted.  I hope that the police and the Crown attorneys realize that there are large numbers of UBC students like myself who find the grassy knoll protest to be misguided and a waste of time for everyone involved.  I have nothing against protests as long as they are peaceful and respectful.  The time for protesting development of the grassy knoll at UBC has long passed.  You have to time your opposition and protests properly to have any sort of real impact.  Some students, with apparently not enough to do academically or socially have created a great disturbance on campus by protesting the development of a bus loop in a great location for students and for the University as a whole.

Students should do what they are supposed to do: study, be politically and socially active, be peaceful and respectful and grateful for the opportunity that they have to study at a great institution.  Being politically and socially active does not mean causing undue disturbances and threats to public safety that result in the need for scarce police resources to be used to calm unruly students.

April 6, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | Leave a comment

Why does baseball open in so many cold cities?

I wonder every year why there are so many baseball games played in northern cities during the month of April.  I understand that scheduling 162 games for 30 different teams is a monumental task, but the many delays or cancellations, or poorly played games due to weather in April is a huge annoyance for a baseball fan who is excited for the beginning of the baseball season.

So far this year there has not been a series of cancellations, but it is only the first week, let’s see how many games have to be cancelled and rescheduled for later in the year by the time April is over with.  There are plenty of northern baseball teams that play in domed parks, or as in the case of Seattle a retractable roof.  Why not schedule the earliest games of the season either in domed stadiums or in southern cities where the weather is far more likely to be conducive to good baseball games than it is in the northern cities.

April 2, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , | Leave a comment

Conservatives should have learned the first time

I just finished reading  this article about Conservative plans to potentially re-open the constitutional debate in an attempt to garner more voter support in Quebec.  It seems that the Conservatives failed to learn from their constitutional mishaps of the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Brian Mulroney’s PC government tried, and miserably failed twice to get Quebec to sign on to the constitution.  In the process the political right fractured and Quebec nearly voted to separate from Canada.  I see that the Conservatives think that getting Quebec to sign the constitution would be a way to win a lot of Quebec seats, but that is never going to happen.  There is no way to get the other provinces to agree to special Quebec demands without giving something to them in return.

The Charlottetown Accord tried to please everybody, and when it went to the people it was resoundingly defeated.  There is no way to give major concessions to Quebec in the constitution without angering large segments of the rest of Canada, particularly out west.  Opening up the constitutional debate might yield some short term electoral gains for the Conservatives, but recent history has shown us that the short term gain for the Conservatives is a long term pain for the country as a whole.

I hope that if there is some scatter brained attempt by the Conservatives to woe nationalist Quebecers with promises of constitutional changes, that the Conservative heartland of Alberta responds appropriately by turfing a number of Conservative MPs.  I truly hope that any Conservative message getting played in Quebec gets heard in the rest of the country.  What might be gained in Quebec, should, and I think will, be lost in other parts of the country when people realize that constitutional favouritism for Quebec does not make the Canadian union stronger, but rather opens up an even bigger opportunity for Quebec sovereignty.

April 2, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , | Leave a comment