Wild Life

You may or may not know that Canada’s National Film Board is providing free access to an abundance of excellent stories, including the Oscar-nominated Wild Life. The ironic title hints at a tale that is well worth the 13:35 of your time, especially if you like Westerns, Prairie mythology, or British colonial revision.

Funny Bone Friday, episode #13

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More Evolution of the CBC Required

January 2016 Op-ed for the Bridge River Lillooet News

I’m a CBC fan since forever. I started listening to Radio One programs when Peter Gzowski hosted Morningside and you could hear him chain-smoking in the studio. When I started watching CBC TV we had rabbit ears for tuning in black and white hockey games. At that point programming hours would finish then the screen would revert to a test pattern of the head of an Aboriginal Chief.
As my life has progressed and society has changed, so has the CBC—to some degree. I’m the first person to sing the praises of all the journalists and foreign correspondents, and in general I’m proud of its high-quality programming and documentaries. Our national broadcaster is critically acclaimed worldwide.
But.
The mothership, as it’s affectionately called, is showing its age. If I hear Peter Mansbridge or Wendy Mesley use the phrase “visible minority” on the nightly National news one more time when referring to non-white people I may have a stroke. Those two words reveal much about white privilege and blind spots. There has never been a homogenous majority in this country and when I hear visible minority I want to yell at the TV: As compared to what, the invisible majority?!
CBC discussion panels showcase this problem further. When Mansbridge or Mesley gather their pundits, you can bet they’re all white. Another news program that really needs an overhaul is Power and Politics. Day after day, month after month, predictable white pundits give their predictable opinions on the important matters of the day. In the weeks after the Paris terror attacks Power and Politics ran daily segments about terrorism and the Middle East which did little more than stoke fear. Why didn’t the program include any Muslim Canadian pundits in those discussions? Why were the experts in Middle Eastern culture all white? Watching that program makes me think the CBC has forgotten about balanced reporting, not to mention irony.
And if this diversity-avoidance is allowed to continue, how soon before the CBC loses its ability to become relevant to younger generations? If the CBC wants to keep the interest and attention of Canadian viewers—and by extension the political will to fund its continued existence—then it needs to look and sound like the real Canada.
Younger generations are more informed because they’ve grown up with that thing called the Internet. They know way more about the world than my generation ever did. They’re media savvy, privilege savvy, race savvy, everything savvy, and they’re not going to accept phrases like visible minority or panels of all-white sparkle ponies trotting out their all-white expertise. If the CBC isn’t evolving as fast as it should because it’s afraid of alienating its base of long-term Boomer generation supporters like me, they can breathe easy. We’re along for the ride until the very end. And we’re eager to see the end of embarrassing old media and its sanitized, whitewashed perspectives. Time to get with it, CBC, because it’s 2016.

Trudeau’s Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was sworn in yesterday and this country has never been more jazzed. 

trudeau_taking oath

Swearing the oath.

Something amazing is happening in Canada. For the first time in my life, people are excited about politics. Yesterday for the swearing-in ceremony 3500 people crowded the grounds at Rideau Hall to participate. Four cool young dudes from Montreal got up and 4 am to drive 192 kilometers to Ottawa and be the first in line to get in to what they believe was an historic occasion—and trust me, prior to this, “cool dudes and Ottawa” was an oxymoron, though I suppose that depends on who you’re talking to.

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We lucked out in the federal election

October Op-ed for the Bridge River Lillooet News

The election fairy waved her magic wand and now this riding has a strong Liberal MP from a majority government led by a Prime Minister with significant ties to the west. I’d say it’s time for celebration and it’s time for making the most of our good fortune.

We all know about broken promises and the blood sport that is the political arena, but let’s be hopeful and optimistic, as Trudeau talked about in his victory speech on election night when he referenced PM Wilfred Laurier’s Sunny Ways.

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Legalization of Marijuana

weed be better_1

The election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government means that common sense has arrived in Canada and among other anticipations, marijuana will soon be legal. Of course there are serious issues which will need to be discussed, but not here and not now, because it’s Funny Bone Friday. We are wondering what will become of the soon-to-be-retired cadre of dealers like these three characters interviewed by Vice. And how will law enforcement test for pot intoxication? Ask if they want a brownie? Rattle a bag of Doritos in front of their face?

FBF Episode #3. Because we all need our funny bone tickled and nothing makes people laugh quite like gentle, old-fashioned Lady Pot grown in the great outdoors.

So..my dream came true

Last night I spent a marathon 6 hours watching the federal election results as the Liberal Party were swept to power with a majority of seats. Thank the gods, change has come! Many months ago I had a vivid dream about Justin Trudeau, so vivid that I convinced myself that soon we’d see the back of Stephen Harper and his retrograde policies. So I started a blog called I Dream of Justin…Trudeau, that is which would compile the dreams that other people might be having of Justin Trudeau — or any Canadian politician for that matter.

There was a fascinating American blog called I Dream of Barack that compiled people’s dreams in those early days of Obama’s rise to the Presidency; I hoped for confirmation that political change was percolating in the Canadian collective unconscious. I Dream of Justin…Trudeau, that is got exactly one hit — from a kind relative offering encouragement. But no matter, it turns out that the people were dreaming, too, because our country now has a leader with vision and courage, my heart is bursting, and we can start to feel proud again.

It’s Funny Bone Friday!

When he was Canada’s Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau once made this comment about the USA:

Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.

We love our neighbours to the south and we also like to take the piss out of them because so many of them know so little about us. Here’s a link to a YouTube video of one of Canada’s funniest political satirists, Rick Mercer, on a cultural safari to find Americans who know anything about Canada. While you may not get some of the inside humour, you can certainly see how delightfully, terribly gullible Americans can be — another reason we love them and believe, foolishly perhaps, that we are superior. 🙂

FBF #2 Because we all need our funny bones tickled.