Bob Broughton's Blog about British Columbia politics

Anita Esterday figured it out

It took a waitress at a Maid-Rite Diner in central Iowa named Anita Esterday to expose all the silliness that passes for press coverage of the 2008 Presidential campaign. Commenting on the media frenzy over whether Sen. Hilary Clinton did or did not leave a tip for her after having a meal at the Maid-Rite, she said, "You people are really nuts. There’s kids dying in the war, the price of oil right now — there’s better things in this world to be thinking about than who served Hillary Clinton at Maid-Rite and who got a tip and who didn’t get a tip."

You can read the rest of the story at The Carpetbagger Report by Steve Benen: Waitress tells campaign reporters: "You people are really nuts". I especially like one of the comments: "Give that waitress a raise and royalties [for sales of the] 'You People Are Really Nuts' Tees."

An inappropriate choice by Prime Minister Harper

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Nov. 1 than former RCMP Commissioner Norman Inkster has been appointed Chair of the Advisory Council on National Security. Inkster has been a member of this Council since it was established in 2005.

The remaining tobacco industry executives living in Canada will probably be sleeping better at night knowing that Inkster is looking out for them. The same is true for the members of the tobacco-industry-funded Canadian Convenience Stores Association. After all, how would Canadian convenience stores survive if they didn't have cigarettes to sell?

Those of us who are not tobacco industry executives or convenience store owners should start figuring out how to bring our own bomb-sniffing dogs to the airport with us. Inkster has a history of providing cover for the People in Charge that goes back to the Mulroney government, when he decided not to execute search warrants against Tory backbench MP Richard Grise during the 1988 election campaign.

Thank you, George W. Bush

Today at 7:58 a.m. PDT, the Canadian dollar and US dollar were an even trade for the first time since November 25, 1976.

I've believed for several years that that the Canadian dollar would be at par before Dubya left office. So, this event took place over a year ahead of schedule. Thanks again, George. You are leaving an economic legacy that will be remembered for many years to come.

Story from the Globe and Mail: ‘Strong currency, proud currency'

Book Review: Big Trees Not Big Stumps

Big Trees Not Big Stumps: 25 years of campaigning to save wilderness with the Wilderness Committee, by Paul George.

ImageThis is a really thick book. That's why this review wasn't written until several months after its publication; it took me two months to read it. Even so, to bring it down to 463 pages, a lot of text had to be snipped from earlier drafts.

The book is officially described as a history of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, of which the author, Paul George, was a co-founder. If you have lived in British Columbia for a long time, reading this book will bring back a lot of events that you had forgotten about. Paul's documentation of the long fight over Clayoquot Sound and the industry and government-sanctioned violence in the Elaho Valley (remember Premier Glen Clark referring to environmentalists as “enemies of B.C.”?) is especially useful. In reading all this history, you can't help but notice a general change in the public attitude about wilderness preservation and other issues, such as preservation of wildlife habitat, that go with it. When Paul, Adriane Carr. Elizabeth May, the late Colleen McCrory, and Thom Henley were working to preserve South Moresby (it wasn't commonly referred to as Haida Gwaii at the time) the idea of creating a park for purposes other than providing places for parking RV's and camping trailers, and doing some hiking, was a new one. Over several years, the South Moresby proponents had to sell several relatively new ideas. For recreational values, South Moresby would become a paradise for kayakers, but there was also the preservation of unique marine, plant, and animal life, and preservation of an important part of Haida culture. The Wilderness Committee also had to sell the idea trees have values other than producing two-by-fours.

The book is about a lot more than history, however. It could serve as a training manual for community activism. Scattered throughout the book are words of useful advice, in boldface. for example, “Educational materials are most effective when they are focused on one campaign issue, not a bunch of them 'cobbled' together.” There are abundant examples of campaign efforts that worked, as well as ones that didn't, and reasons why are provided.

It's also about people. Ken Wu, Andrea Reimer, and Adriane Carr get a lot of mileage, as does Joe Foy, Ken Lay, and the late Randy Stoltmann.

There are also things in this book that will make you laugh. Some of them come at the expense of Premier Bill Vander Zalm; Adriane Carr had to explain to him what a "watershed" is. The book also has a lot of pictures, and it comes with a DVD.

Taken as a whole, this book tells about recent British Columbia history from a unique perspective. Buy a copy for the environmentalist on your Christmas list.

Big Trees Not Big Stumps is available from the Western Canada Wilderness Committee; $39.95 CAD.

Keeping America safe from Canadians, vol. IV

I went to a basketball game at Douglas College in New Westminster this morning, and had the privilege of seeing Bol Kong, a sophomore from Vancouver, in action. After the game was over, I looked at The Province. A picture of the very same Bol Kong was on the back page, and inside was this article, by Howard Tsumura: Unstoppable Vancouver basketballer mired in red tape.

The article says that when Kong was a senior at Saint George's Secondary School, after scoring 32 points in a game, players from the opposing team lined up after the game was over to get his autograph. Close to 200 US prep schools, junior colleges, and universities have expressed an interest in having Kong play for them; he's even caught the attention of the Boston Celtics. Current US "homeland security" policy, however, prevents him from going to Bellingham to buy a pair of basketball shoes.

Kong's problem is, he was born in Sudan. He's lived in Canada since he was seven years old, and has landed immigrant status in Canada. Maybe he should try convincing the US authorities that he's Mexican.