Insert Your New Ideas Here

June Op-ed for the Bridge River Lillooet News

In less than 6 weeks the online passenger train petition has 1,150 signatures, and counting. (https://www.change.org/p/premier-gov-bc-ca-bring-back-the-north-vancouver-to-prince-george-passenger-train) The Facebook page—Bring Back the BC Passenger Train—has hundreds of Likes and shares so far. People are keen to have the service.

But as I connect with people and do research, one negative keeps cooling the excitement: even though population, highway traffic, and tourism have significantly increased since the train was cancelled in 2002, would ridership be enough to make a new service profitable?

To that negative train of thought (sorry, the puns abound) I would say this: it’s time to think beyond old-school revenue models. Why force ridership to be the sole profit generator? Let’s re-imagine the passenger train concept and find ways to maximize the infrastructure in terms of the incoming green economy.

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Time for an Online Petition

March Op-ed for the Bridge River Lillooet News

Recently this paper reported the latest developments in the ongoing passenger train campaign (DoL asks communities to get on board, March 16th) and I’d like to suggest that if it’s not already being planned, it’s the perfect time to take the campaign to social media.

An online petition would transcend the distance between the communities along the passenger rail service line. It would be a great tool for revealing unknown pockets of support, gathering more energy and awareness of the issue, and magnifying the voice of the people.

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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.

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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Notes from the all candidates meeting

October Op-ed for the Bridge River Lillooet News

Some impressions from the all candidates meeting for this new Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding:
A welcoming drum song performed by Damian George from the Mission Friendship Society opened the meeting in Mission on September 29th. Only one candidate, Liberal Jati Sidhu, looked comfortable and stood with his hands out, palms up to receive. When the song was over, the MC made a disrespectful joke, suggesting that if anybody needed music for their next party they could hire Mr. George. Of the 300-plus in attendance, nobody laughed.

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CN, it’s time to think outside your boxcars

August Op-Ed for Bridge River Lillooet News

It was with much disappointment to read in this newspaper that after a lengthy process resulting in CN’s verbal approval for the tourist train, CN has now pulled out their support. (July 22nd, CN derails plans for tourist train) Paul Deegan, CN vice-president of public and governmental affairs, wrote to Mayor Lampman that “Due to current traffic volumes and safety concerns, a tourist train is not suitable in that area”.

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Canadian Lemonade

July Op-Ed for Bridge River Lillooet News

Recently, I emailed a criticism to a CBC radio show. While conducting an interview the host learned that slaves had been sold to buy molasses for the making of rum. Instead of the host commenting, she ignored it and kept the interview flowing along in the nice, polite manner for which she’s well known. I was shocked.

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Truth and Reconciliation

June Op-Ed for the Bridge River Lillooet News

The Truth and Reconciliation commission just ended and now the government must follow through with its recommendations. Top of the list should be making it mandatory that the history of residential schools is taught in grade school curriculum.
Two weeks ago I was in a Fraser Valley classroom and the teacher asked the students (all non-Native), whose ages ranged from 19 to 25, if the history of residential schools should be taught in schools. Of the ten students, two said yes, eight said variations of no. “They get enough handouts already,” one student said and the rest agreed, parroting what they’ve heard many times before from people just as ignorant. Further discussion revealed the students had little or no actual knowledge of residential schools, let alone the horrors that occurred inside them or the terrible repercussions that ensued.

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The Benefits of Flying Solo

May 2015 Op-ed Vocal Local column for the Bridge River Lillooet News

It’s time to say this: people who are in a couple can have some pretty glaring deficits—only the deficits aren’t talked about because our society pushes the couple as the ideal social unit. I wouldn’t even bother with this topic except I’m tired of how single people are treated. Case in point, try being the only single woman at a party full of couples—you can feel like a rogue missile.

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Redressing Grave Mistakes

April 2015 Op-ed Vocal Local column for the Bridge River Lillooet News

When Chinese labourers were brought to the west coast in the 1880s by the Canadian Pacific Railroad to work on construction, they were paid one third the wages of other workers and sent into the most dangerous situations. Thousands lost their lives. Then for ensuing decades, they were treated terribly; federal and provincial governments subjected them to decades of legislated discrimination. Racism is a chronic, shameful truth in our collective history.

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