Saturday, January 31, 2009

Submissions Sought from Emerging Filmmakers

Two thousand dollars in cash and three thousand dollars worth of film stock will be awarded on the opening night of Hot Docs (May 10) to a single emerging filmmaker.

The 3rd Annual Lindalee Tracey Award, named for the award winning filmmaker and author, have sent out the call for submissions. Guidelines are below, and additional information can be found at or at

From Emerging Canadian Filmmakers
Working in the Spirit of
Lindalee Tracey

* a passionate point of view
* a strong sense of social justice
* a sense of humour

Lindalee Tracey was an award-winning filmmaker, author, entertainer and mother. Through her extensive body of work and indefatigable personality, Lindalee brought great joy to the world. She was passionate about bringing issues of social justice into her work, and championed people who are often ignored, underestimated or forgotten. Equally, she celebrated those who rise above disadvantage.,

Lindalee passed away on October 19, 2006, at age 49, after a five-year battle with breast cancer. At the time of her passing, Lindalee's family, friends and admirers created this award in her honour.

The Lindalee Tracey Award is presented yearly at the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival held in Toronto each spring. In 2007, the first Lindalee Tracey Award was presented to Trevor Anderson for his film Rock Pockets. Last year’s winner was Elizabeth Lazebnick, who won for her docu-drama Abeer

This year’s award winner will be announced at the Hot Docs awards night on May 10, 2009. At that time, the winner will be awarded $2,000 in cash, film stock donated by Kodak Canada worth $3000, and a beautiful hand-blown glass sculpture commissioned to honour Lindalee.

We are now welcoming submissions for this year's award.
The deadline is March 9th, 2009.

To be eligible for the Lindalee Tracey Award, you must be an emerging artist. We define emerging artist as an individual who has less than three years of training or experience in media arts, which can be formal (university or college studies) or informal (production courses, workshops, hands-on experience in production, etc.). The emerging artist must also have completed at least one independent film or video, excluding school film projects.

Your submissions for the award should include:

- 4 copies of a DVD of up to two films or TV productions, any length, any genre, completed or as a work-in-progress, which may or may not have been publicly screened or broadcast, but was not a school film project. The filmmaker must have had final creative control.

- A write-up of your relevant background as a filmmaker

- A brief explanation of why you made the film(s)

Please ensure you have back-up copies of your work. We regret that DVDs will not be returned.

We look forward to receiving your submissions. A jury of experienced filmmakers and writers who worked with Lindalee, including last year's recipient of the Lindalee Tracey Award, will select this year’s winner.

Please forward your submissions to:

Heather Phenix
White Pine Pictures
822 Richmond St. W., Ste 301
Toronto, ON M6J 1C9

Further Information:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Life, the Universe and Everything

So for awhile now I've been writing out 'My Platform' (still a ways to go on that). Part of the reason for writing this was to get ideas out there but it was also, in part, because I get invited to join alot of people's political causes, so I thought I should lay out exactly what I think (so as maybe to narrow the range of such invitations a bit.)

I also get invited to join alot of religious causes and let me say, in summary, that I don't like any of them. I am not an atheist but I do not think that organized religion has anything to do with spirituality (none of them.) What made me decide to finally open up on this is the wonderful ad campaign that has been running around the world. For those people who have been whining about being 'attacked' - shut up, seriously. The world has been subjected to religious propaganda for thousands of years, and, especially given your abysmal track record, there is nothing wrong with the non-religious expressing their point of view as well. It is not an 'attack' - a few hundred years ago you could have tried for heresy. Fortunately though we are past that.

Anyway, just to make it perfectly clear. This is what I think on the the whole issue of Life, the Universe and Everything.

Religion is certainly the source of much good in the world. Countless charitable organizations are funded and operated by religious orders. As the first decade of the 21st century has illustrated for us, yet again, religion is also the source of much of the world's evil. I have frequently said that faith is a wonderful thing but religion is dangerous and I believe this goes to the root of the problem.

Faith is what fills people with inspiration and hope without proof or the necessity for reward. Faith is a belief that comes from the heart. Religion is something else. Religion is the unquestioning faith in the wisdom of other humans. Religion is the belief that another humans fairth, or knowledge of the divine is greater than your own.

Religion is, in short, at odds with reality. While all modern religions claim to be based on the testimony of eye witness' any good trial lawyer will tell you that eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Eyewitness testimony handed down, over hundreds of thousands of years is scarcely more reliable than high school rumors. Virtually all religious texts claim to be the absolute word of god, but none of them have anything to backup such a claim other than the texts themselves and the aforementioned eyewitness testimony.

The reality is that no one currently living knows anything for certain about the divine. Others may have spend years or even decades reading religious texts, the meditations of monks and theologians and religious theory but all of this was written by people who were writing out of theory, or faith and none of it has any more authority than what you or I might write.

This does not mean that you should not believe. Many people in this world need religion, in one form or another. Some people need to believe in a higher purpose or power because it is the only thing that gives meaning an purpose to otherwise unhappy lives, others belong to churches because of the need for a sense of belonging. Humans are, after all, social animals and the open door policy at most churches - the ability to walk in the door and become a part of a community is important to them. What must be avoided is the following of religious leaders without question especially when those leaders attempt to use faith to turn one group of people against another, to spread hate, and mistrust and fear.

I personally do believe in a higher power. I do not feel any need whatsoever to belong to any organized religion and I believe that there is much wisdom to be gained in books but I do not believe that god ever has or ever written or ever will write a book. What I believe is, in parts, supported by various theologies but is also largely based in science.
“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life.”

- Federico Fellini

"You can't create or destroy energy"

- First Law of Termodynamics

"The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together."
-Obi-Wan Kenobi

The entire universe is made up of matter and energy and matter is, at the deepest level, only extremely dense energy. It is also true that in one way or another that all of that energy is connected. If you look at the stars at night they are very pretty, but what you are seeing is energy that left that star and is now arriving at earth. Sure it's only a little bit, but in the same way that energy from our own sun arrives on a daily basis, fueling plant growth and sun tans the energy from other stars forms spider web like connections with thousands of other stars. So the universe, at a very basic level, can be seen as a giant web of energy floating in space.

What's more all of the energy that makes up the universe (including that energy masquerading as matter) is constant. It changes form but there is never more or less of it in total. It has all been here since the big bang and will be here when the universe 'ends' though even that isn't really an end, just another beginning.

Without getting into too much detail that pool or web of energy is what I call god. However that is only a physical description. While this description clearly makes god neither male nor female, of no skin colour, race, or ethnicity it doesn't answer most of the common questions about "Life, the Universe and Everything." So onward ...
"All things are implicated with one another, and the bond is holy; and there is hardly anything unconnected with any other things. For things have been coordinated, and they combine to make up the same universe. For there is one universe made up of all things, and one god who pervades all things, and one substance, and one law, and one reason."
Marcus Aurelius - The Meditations (7.9)
James Lovelock's Gaia Hypothesis urged us to think of the Earth and it's systems as an organic being that lives and breathes. What if it is? I don't mean like a frog or a bird but what if, on some level, the Earth and the universe is organic and what if it, on some level is conscious. By this I don't mean that it says "I am" or that it speaks or thinks about writing a book, but what if it is on some level aware.

If the that web of energy I described is organic and aware and we are all a part of that web (the energy that composes your body and causes it to function is also a part of that web) then it has profound implications for our concepts of mortality.

"The deeper 'layers' of the psyche lose their individual uniqueness as they retreat further and further into darkness. . . . they become increasingly collective until they are universalized and extinguished in the body's materiality. . . . Hence 'at bottom' the psyche is simply 'world.'"

- C.G. Jung ("The Special Phenomenology of the Child Archetype" [pt. 2] [_Psyche_&_Symbol_])

What I believe, and it is the biggest leap of faith you will find here, is that when a person dies they rejoin this consciousness. They are aware of all lives lived, everywhere in the universe, as if they themselves lived those lives. So you would be reunited, in the most intimate way, with everyone you've ever known, and everyone you haven't as well. You would know the story of everyone and everything that ever was and would have experienced it first hand. You would also, I believe, to cease to be you. Your memories of your own life would be indistinguishable from all of those other lives. You will know the truth of every story and every situation, you will know the innermost thoughts of everyone - even those still living.
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."

Douglas Adams

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
-Willliam Shakespeare

So, if there is no heaven or hell, if we are all part of an unending organic universe then what is the point of being good? What is the point in any morality what-so-ever?

As I see it each life lived is the equivalent of an idea. It is 'God having a daydream' and the entire universe will know the entire story backward and forward. So what do you want your story to be? Will you be a hero or a villain? Will it be a story of bravery and overcoming adversity or a story of giving up and sitting on the couch? Everyone reading this has read enough books, watched enough movies and television programs to know how people react to a character. If you were watching a movie about you how would it go? How would you feel about your character and your story?

In the 1960s (and beyond) the baby boomers kept talking about 'finding yourself.' It is a ridiculous, silly, non-sensical concept. The idea is to discover deep down, at your core who you 'really are.' If you take this path you will never answer the question. You will just be a person reacting to external stimuli in whatever way seems best at the moment.

The trick is not to 'find yourself' it is to decide who you want to be, how you want your story to go and then work to be that person and tell that story. It won't always go smoothly but all you can do is wake up every day and try to take a few small steps forward. Some days things will go very well, some days they won't, some days you'll fail to be who you meant to be and some days you'll take a step back. The key is to get up every morning and try again to be the best person you can be, work toward your goals and don't let setbacks cause you to quit.

“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We must become the change we want to see.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

“We have to do the best we can. This is our sacred human responsibility.”
-Albert Einstein

Life and Times of Laura Barrett in the Globe

The Globe and Mail's Robert Everett-Green did a lovely article yesterday on the Life and Times of Canada's Sexiest Musician Laura Barrett. Give it a read and find things you never knew before.
" I grew up surrounded by singers and dancers," one of whom was her mother, Barrett says. "My father ran a dinner theatre, His Majesty's Feast, on Lake Shore Boulevard. It doesn't exist any more, but it was around for 18 years. They would pipe in medieval music as you were coming in and being seated, but all the songs were pilfered from stage musicals of the time."

Steeped in the family business of putting over a song, she studied piano and clarinet, and throughout high school wrote her own songs, including one (she won't say which) that eventually found a place on Victory Garden. She still has masses of audio tape from the song-storming sessions of her teenage years.

"My songs generally were very melodramatic, like forties Broadway," she said of those early efforts. "I would just sit there and improvise and write lyrics. I would never perform them in front of anybody but my mother. She has always encouraged me to express myself. All my musical tastes, from zero to age 17, were basically hers."

New Immaculate Machine Video & Comic

Via the bands myspace blog a new video and comic from Immaculate Machine - one of Canada's most under-appreciated bands. You Can show them some love by being their fan on Facebook.

Immaculate Machine - C'mon Sea Legs

Click to Enlarge

When Did Harper Know About Economy?

November's GDP Numbers are out now:
"Canada's economy continued its slide in November as the country's economic output shrank by 0.7 per cent, according to figures released Friday.

Statistics Canada said slumping construction activity and an ailing manufacturing sector led an industrial race to the bottom in the month, the third one in four in which Canadian GDP contracted.

Canada's national output shrank by 0.1 per cent in October, offsetting a similar gain in September.

In August, the Canadian economy slipped 0.3 per cent, an indication that a financial slowdown had already hit Canada prior to the credit meltdown that really began in September."
Given the number of official and unofficial financial advisors to the PMO it is now clear that Harper knew the economy was going south and cynically (illegally) tried to trick Canadians into giving him a majority before the effects started to be felt.

First of all, Harper himself is an economist. Given that and the official economic advisors on his team and regular meetings by Harper and other members of his government with business and economic leaders Harper must have known what was going on even while he denied it on the campaign trail.

So once more for anyone who doesn't get it yet. Stephen Harper is not a conservative, Stephen Harper believes in nothing at all except his own power, and keeping it.

Harper's budget is a bad one. There is no vision behind it, no plan for the economy, it is about handing out favors to people he might need when the next election comes and that's all.

Still when it comes to the vote Ignatieff was right and Layton was wrong. It is not that the budget is good, or that Harper deserves confidence, or that Harper deserves to stay in power - on the contrary Harper's actions since last fall have been close to criminal. But, people are scared and some aren't too bright. Harper has been lying to them long and hard. Harper has people convinced that a coalition is illegal and the polls unanimously show that people have no appetite for either the coalition or the election. Had the Governor General called an election instead of turning to Ignatieff the result could have been a Conservative majority for the next several years at least.

So, the only real play that didn't risk a long term majority for the little dictator was to allow this budget to go through - allow what stimulus there is start to flow so it can at least help some Canadians. Ignatieff, Layton, and any Canadian who is paying attention now has the task of making sure that people understand that Harper is not on anyone's side but his own, letting people know that coalitions are in fact legal and constitutional and laying the groundwork for the next election which may come as soon as March.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Canada's Top 10 Kicks Off Friday

The Toronto International Film Festival Groups screenings of their top ten Canadian features and shorts this friday in Toronto with Kari Skogland's - 'Fifty Dead Men Walking' at 7 pm and Lea Pool's 'Manan est chez le colffeur' at 9:30 at Cinematheque Ontario, located at the Art Gallery of Ontario's Jackman Hall, 317 Dundas Street West (McCaul Street entrance). The mini-fest runs until Saturday, February 7. For a full schedule visit

The features screening will include
Adoration - Atom Egoyan
Before Tomorrow - Marie-Hélène Cousineau & Madeline Piujuq Ivalu
Ce qu’il faut pour vivre - Benoît Pilon
C’est pas moi, je le jure! - Philippe Falardeau
Fifty Dead Men Walking - Kari Skogland
Heaven on Earth - Deepa Mehta
Lost Song - Rodrigue Jean
Maman est chez le coiffeur - Lea Pool
La Mémoire des anges - Luc Bourdon
Pontypool - Bruce McDonald

And the Shorts, playing on Saturday and Sunday:
La Battue - Guy Édoin
Block B - Chris Chong Chan Fui
Drux Flux -Theodore Ushev
Ghosts and Gravel Roads - Mike Rollo
Green Door - Semi Chellas
Next Floor - Denis Villeneuve
Nikamowin (Song) - Kevin Lee Burton
Passages - Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre
Princess Margaret Blvd. - Kazik Radwanski
Mon nom est Victor Gazon - Patrick Gaze

There will also be two workshops: The Female Gaze on Saturday, January 31 and Telling Aboriginal Stories on Saturday, February 7.

Fifty Dead Men Walking

Peter Project Podcast

An entire podcast devoted to to Toronto's Peter Project - not sure who's podcast this is, it's on the network and it loads kind of slowly but it is entirely all about Toronto's Peter Project and features an exclusive interview recorded in the nearly famous Rivoli Bathroom!

You can grab it at!

Peter Project - Fair and Square

Coming Up in Toronto

Thursday, January 29
IndieCredit No. 1
Lovely Killbots, The Wilderness of Manitoba, Wendy Leung
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Drop Your Shorts VI
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Outnumber the Lobbyists! Final Billboard Bylaw Consultation
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the Nature of Things
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Friday, January 30
TV Screenplay Festival Event - Friday January 30th at National Film Board
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Steam Whistle Unsigned #9
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TWM Presents: Michou, Make Your Exit & Voila
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VAMPIRO: Angel, Devil, Hero Toronto Screening
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KNOW YOUR MUSHROOMS - end fungi-phobia now!
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The Parkdale Revolutionay Orchestra @ Chris Warren's CD Release
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Saturday, January 31
Two Nights of Music & Whiskey in Toronto
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Permeate: Music Gallery Exhibition Opening
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Soul Saturdays at the Savannah Room
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TWM 33: The Unsettlers, Hot Kid, Bellevue
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Sunday, February 1
Wavelength 448 - mein, electroluminescent, Fire Hydrant, the Unsettlers
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Wavelength 448 - mein, electroluminescent, Fire Hydrant, the Unsettlers
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Monday, February 2
Die Roten Punkte- Robot/Lion Tour 2009
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Meg @ The Drake - opening for Lenka
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Tuesday, February 3
Hi-Hat Comp #3 -- Art Party @ Rancho!
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Wednesday, February 4
Bruce Peninsula In-Store Performance.
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IndieCan Wednesday at Annex WreckRoom
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PWYC Weds w/ Skullians, ,The Kettle Black, Sleep for the Nightlife
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Thursday, February 5
TWM Presents: The Robot Ate Me, Braxton Clover, Emperor X & Your Volunteer
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Friday, February 6
Misunderstandings Magazine launch party
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TWM 34: Ryan Masters Band, Five Blank Pages, Tin Star Orphans
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Saturday, February 7
Themis - Wicca Love Songs
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TWM Presents: Whale Tooth (EP Release) w/ Green Go & The Balconies !
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Sunday, February 8
Wavelength 449 - Machetes, Sadie May Crash, Key Witness
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TWM: Roy Lieberman, Hi Red Center, The Paint Movement, The Ostrich Tuning
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Monday, February 9
The Last Comedy Show
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Tuesday, February 10
New Music Night @ The Shoe (w/ "Follow The Accident")
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Hylozoists In-Store Performance
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Wednesday, February 11
PWYC Weds: Sacred Balance, Planet Creature, Heart of a Shark,the Good Times
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Thursday, February 12, 2009
WAVELENGTH 450 / Ninth Anniversary Festival / Feb. 12-15, 2009
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Friday, February 13
St. Valentine Villainy with Corpusse
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Back to the Rivoli!
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Hi-Hat Comp 3 Launch w/These Electric Lives, Parlovr, The Rest, Pants & Tie
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Sunnyside Tattoos Opening Celebration
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Saturday, February 14
Ninja Cowboy Bear Book Signing Part III
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Matthew Barber Live Valentines Day In Toronto
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Valentine's Retro Bash 09!!!
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Sunday, February 15
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Friday, February 20
Seconde Nature: Marilyn Lerner & Diane Labrosse in Concert
Free Improvisation for Piano & Electronics — Cross-Provincial Border Collaboration
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Saturday, February 21
Jill Barber Live In Toronto
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Imponderables 101
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Subway Dance Party
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Sunday, February 22
Wavelength 451 - The Rural Alberta Advantage, Poppyseed and the Love Explos
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Saturday, March 8
Rock for Sick Kids by Facebook Pals
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Wednesday, March 11
Indie Night In Canada
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The Happiness Project by Charles Spearin: Live at the Music Gallery
Do Make Say Think & Broken Social Scene member makes music out of his neighbourhood .... with guests Laura Barrett (Night One) & Muskox (Night Two)
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Saturday, March 21
Pillow Fight Toronto 2009
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Junkhead Blows The Roof Off Of The Smiling Buddha
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Saturday, April 18
Better Day Gala Fundraiser 2009
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Boost This Week

If you don't know what Boost is already check the bottom of this page for details. So, this week:

Boost Music:
the Pack A.D. - Making Gestures

Boost: TV and Film:
Bruce McDonald's Pontypool

Boost: Literature and Boost: Art are still growing fast but given that each has only a few hundred members right now I just sent out links to good resources: View on Canadian Art and the Quill and Quire blog.

Boost: New Media - is just barely getting started - nothing there yet.

Boost is a collection of Facebook Groups designed to promote Canadian arts and media. Once a week a message goes out to each group promoting a particular artist, group or resource. The groups include Boost: Canadian Art, Boost: Canadian Film and Television, Boost: Canadian Literature, Boost: Canadian Music, Boost: Canadian New Media.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Platform: Labour and Workplace Reform

I think over the course of this post I'll manage to make alot of people mad, but so be it. I'm going to say what I think anyway. It's been a long time since there was a serious examination of labour and the workplace. The Labour movement of the early 20th century accomplished much of what we now hold as 'normal': the five day / forty hour work week, health and safety codes, pensions, overtime pay etc. The world has changed significantly since those days though and I would propose a few changes.

First: We need to start working toward a four day work week. Machines have taken over much of the work but that has translated into higher profits for employers and fewer jobs, all that labour saving has actually hurt labour in too many cases. This transition cannot be done all at once and we may not be able to do it for all workers such as in cases where there is a shortage of workers in a certain profession or in cases where there is executive decision making required from a certain person, but we need to move in that direction - to create more jobs and free up time for people to spend with their families and in activities they enjoy outside of work.

Second: The Federal Government does not set minimum wage, that's the job of the provinces, but that doesn't mean the Federal Government has no influence. There should be a Federal minimum wage which would apply to Federal employees but which would also be a pre-requisite for government contracts. If you don't pay the minimum wage you cannot do business with Ottawa. Hopefully this signal would help to increases minimum wages across Canada.

Third: Skills and education are obviously a good criteria for immigration, but only if we can put those skills to use. It is altogether harmful for Canada to allow the immigration of doctors and engineers from the third world only to have them drive taxis or push brooms. In most cases their skills are rare and much in demand in the places they are from and if we are not going to allow them to work as doctors and engineers in Canada then deny their immigration. Skills and education should only be used as an immigration criteria in cases where those skills are recognized.

Fourth: And this is going to be the one that makes people mad. I'm fully in favor of the right to unionize and collective bargaining, but we have to keep labour disputes from holding entire cities or entire student populations hostage.

I am not laying blame on either side. I'm not in on the negotiations and don't know who is being unreasonable, only that this kind of thing can't continue. Contract talks frequently start a year or more before the contract expires. That's alot of time to come to a settlement. To put more pressure on to reach a deal I would propose a system where any labour contract where agreement wasn't reached within 48 hours of it's expiration would automatically go to binding arbitration. If either side doesn't want binding arbitration (and it seems to me that neither side likes it) then all the more reason to negotiate in good faith and reach an agreement.

Before the question is asked, you insure fairness by giving each side a list of potential arbitrators. Each side can eliminate a certain number, based on the length of the list. The final arbitrator is chosen from the remaining list. Arbitration would still take a while, the right to strike is preserved, but work stoppages would be much shorter when they happened as a process to end the dispute would automatically kick in.

My Platform: Introduction
My Platform: Arts and Culture
My Platform: Poverty
My Platform: Business and Industry
My Platform: Crime
My Platform: Carbon Tax

Cracks Start to Show in Tory Base

Remember the other day when I pondered whether there would be a conservative backlash against Harper's big spending budget? Well apparently the answer is yes. According to the CBC the rumblings have begun.
With a federal budget projecting that Canada will be $85 billion further in debt by 2013, some Conservative party faithful are questioning what it means for the party's ideology.
Conservatives will no doubt scoff at this. It does, after all, come from the CBC a bastion of rational thinking with an exreme bias (that favors reality). So how about the ultra right Canadian Free Press?
"The Reform Party, for instance, stood for fiscal responsibility, but since taking hold of power the Conservative Party has spent government money at a rate that would put the Liberals to shame.

Nor does the Conservative Party embrace the old Reform idea of direct democracy; Conservatives never talk about referendums, plebiscites or recall. "
Or the Tory 'Searching for Liberty' blog?
Harper tried to pull a power-play, seeking to use the financial crisis to withdraw political funding - gambling that the Liberals were so decimated, that they would never force an election over the issue, and never in a million years, imagining the formation of a left-coalition.

Well.. we know how that turned out - so, in a move that I would have thought could be accomplished by no one but the Liberals, our government did whatever it took to hold on to power. End of story. If anything thinks Harper would have produced this budget if he held a majority, they are dreaming. This budget is a lifeline to hold power. And that is not only disappointing, it's sad.

The Reform Party, for all its warts, held promise at one point. It was a party formed to try and change the "business as usual" culture in Ottawa, and when Harper succeeded in becoming the PM, well, there was a small glimmer of hope. That glimmer today has faded to black.
There is also some argument about starting a new party over here and this is just a brief, cursory search from someone who knows little about the Conservative blogosphere. The fault lines underlying the CPC are starting to show. Harper may have said that Canada didn't need 'another Liberal Party' but when push came to shove, rather than give up power, he wrote a Liberal (or at least Liberalish) budget. This should show, once and for all, that conservatives cannot take and hold power in Canada. We can only hope that the rift on the right continues.

On Edit: There is way more over here.

Eric's Trip Documentary and Tribute Album

According to Will McGuirk there is an Eric's Trip tribute album coming - for evidence he points to Baby Eagle's Myspace Page and an MP3 posted on his his blog
Stereo Moon and The Stables handed on this cover as a... lets say a Groundhog Day present... as you will be playing it over and over. Its to appear on an upcoming tribute record due out on Gooseberry Records.
(seriously go grab the free MP3.)

So I went searching for more info and didn't find much but I did stumble across this Eric's Trip 1990 - 1996 Documentary Trailer.
"All the digging, dubbing and editing is done. Eric's Trip documentary out soon. Put together entirely by the band, no grants or companys involved. 2 hours of 1990-1996 super8 films, live songs, interview bits, music and photos from the personal vault.
Thanks friends."


Added to Feeds

Band Blogs
  • Gianna Lauren

  • Josh Reichmann / Oracle Band

  • Valerie Gore

    Music Blogs
  • Vallery Gore

  • Can Blogs
  • Quoteflections

  • News and Politics
  • If necessary blogging but not necessarily blogging

  • In the House and Senate
  • CBC Radio 3 Poll: Best Live Venue in Canada

    First round voting is underway in CBC Radio 3's Searchlight competition to find the best live music venue in Canada. The criteria for nomination were that the venue "indoors, operational at the time of the this contest, under 1000 capacity, and catering primarily to live music" You can vote once per day here.

    The full list of venues up for the award in round 1 goes:

    Club One, St. John's, NL
    The Ship Inn, St. John's. NL
    Baba's Lounge, Charlottetown, PE
    Hunter's Ale House, Charlottetown, PE
    The Capital Bar, Fredericton, NB
    George's Fabulous Roadhouse, Sackville, NB
    Paul's Wharf, St. George, NB
    The Vogue Theatre, Sackville, NB
    The Marquee Club, Halifax, NS
    The Seahorse Tavern, Halifax, NS
    The Blacksheep Inn, Wakefield, QC
    The Cagibi, Montreal, QC
    Casa del Popolo, Montreal, QC
    La Sala Rossa, Montreal, QC
    Le National, Montreal, QC
    Le Telephone Rouge, Sherbrooke, QC
    Les Foufounes Électriques, Montreal, QC
    Aeolian Hall, London, ON
    The Albion Hotel, Guelph, ON
    The Almonte Old Town Hall, Almonte, ON
    The Artel, Kingston, ON
    Babylon, Ottawa, ON
    Barrymore's Music Hall, Ottawa, ON
    The Bronson Centre, Ottawa, ON
    Call The Office, London, ON
    The Cameron House, Toronto, ON
    The Casbah, Hamilton, ON
    The Corktown Pub and Fare, Hamilton, ON
    The Dakota Tavern, Toronto, ON
    Café Dekcuf, Ottawa, ON
    Club Absinthe, Hamilton, ON
    The Dominion Tavern, Ottawa, ON
    The eBar, Guelph, ON
    El Mocambo, Toronto, ON
    The Ford Plant, Brantford, ON
    The Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, Toronto, ON
    The Grad Club, Kingston, ON
    The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, O
    Hugh's Room, Toronto, ON
    The Kildare House, Windsor, ON
    Lee's Palace, Toronto, ON
    The Lucky Dragon, Toronto, ON
    Maverick's, Ottawa, ON
    The Mod Club, Toronto, ON
    The Montreal House, Peterborough, ON
    The Music Gallery, Toronto, ON
    Paddy Flaherty's Irish Pub, Sarnia, ON
    The Pepper Jack Café, Hamilton, ON
    The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, OB
    The Phog Lounge, Windsor, ON
    Rancho Relaxo, Toronto, ON
    The Rex Jazz Bar, Toronto, ON
    The Rivoli, Toronto, ON
    The Smiling Buddha, Toronto, ON
    Sneaky Dee's, Toronto, ON
    The Starlight Social Club, Waterloo, ON
    The Towne House Tavern, Sudbury, ON
    The Tranzac, Toronto, ON
    The Wrong Bar, Toronto, ON
    Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa, ON
    Zooma Zomma Café, Jordan, ON
    Le Garage Cafe, Winnipeg, MB
    Lo Pub, Winnipeg, MB
    The Pyramid Cabaret, Winnipeg, MB
    The Royal Albert Arms, Winnipeg, MB
    The Royal George Hotel, Winnipeg, MB
    Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club, Winnipeg, MB
    The Zoo, Winnipeg , MB
    Amigo's Cantina, Saskatoon, SK
    The Distrikt, Regina, SK
    The Exchange, Regina, SK
    Lydia's, Saskatoon, SK
    O'Hanlons Irish Pub, Regina, SK
    Blues On Whyte Pub, Edmonton, AB
    The Brickyard, Calgary, AB
    The Brixx Bar & Grill, Edmonton, AB
    Broken City Social Club, Calgary, AB
    The Broken Jug, Calgary, AB
    The Canmore Hotel, Canmore, AB
    The Chrome Room, Calgary, AB
    The Distillery Public House, Calgary, AB
    The Ironwood Stage and Grill, Calgary, AB
    New City Suburbs, Edmonton, AB
    The Palomino Smokehouse Inn, Calgary, AB
    The Pawn Shop, Edmonton, AB
    The Rusty Cage @ Studio 82, Calgary, AB
    SAIT'S The Gateway Restaurant and Bar, Calgary, AB
    The Shamrock Hotel, Calgary, AB
    The Slice Bar and Grill, Lethbridge, AB
    The Starlite, Edmonton, AB
    The Vat, Red Deer, AB
    The Alix Goolden Hall, Victoria, BC
    The Art Space, Prince George, BC
    The Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, BC
    The Cellar, Vancouver, BC
    The Cobalt, Vancouver, BC
    The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC
    Darcy's Wharf Street Pub, Victoria, BC
    The Dream Café, Penticton, BC
    The Duncan Garage Showroom, BC
    Glenwood Hall, Smithers, BC
    Habitat, Kelowna, BC
    Logan's Pub, Victoria, BC
    Lucky Bar, Victoria, BC
    Pat's Pub, Vancouver, BC
    The Queen's Hotel, Nanaimo, BC
    The Railway Club, Vancouver, BC
    Richard's on Richards, Vancouver, BC
    The Golden Lodge Hotel & Roadhouse Tavern, Golden, BC
    The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 65, Tofino, BC
    The Waverley Hotel, Cumberland, BC
    The Wired Bean Coffee Lounge, North Vancouver, BC
    The Wired Monk, Vancouver, BC
    The Palace Grand Theatre, Dawson City, YT

    Ignatieff Played it Right

    I said yesterday that I thought the budget should be defeated in total, and I still don't like it, it's a bad budget. I also know though that I am in the minority in this. Most of Canada does not want an election and does not like the coalition idea. Ignatieff was right in that what people really want is for Ottawa to do something - for the money to flow out of Ottawa, even if it is not the budget they wanted to see.

    I thought that Ignatieff's approach was shrewd: Force the government to report back and face a confidence vote every three months. So the money starts to flow but the government can still be brought down as early as March. It allows the opposition parties time to exploit the weakness' in the budget and get the public ready for a new government. I hope that he gets his amendment.

    Mr. Layton's reaction was predictable and sad. It did not acknowledge political realities. By political realities I mean that had the government been defeated and a budget (any budget) been delayed for another few months the Liberals and the NDP would have been punished for it at the polls. The likely outcome would have been a Harper majority (especially now that Harper isn't really a conservative anymore).

    Layton's bitterness is understandable, the coalition is likely as close as he'll ever get to governing. His rhetoric though is tired. His new buzzwords are "virtual coalition" and "get out of jail free card" - they have apparently replaced "kitchen table". Staying on message is one thing but using the same buzz words to answer just about every single question asked makes him sound like a robot.

    There is much that I agree with the NDP on, but I fear that they will go no further until they find someone to replace Jack Layton. Jack has brought the NDP back from the brink of extinction, but I think he's done all he can. He has become too predictable, everyone knows what he's going to say before he says anything and fewer and fewer people are impressed. The NDP has had their bulldog, he got them back in the headlines and gained them seats - now the party needs a strategist who can figure out how to increase their power and leverage what power they do have to greater effect. The my way or the highway approach only works if you have a majority government, it's not as effective when you have 37 seats.

    Horseshoe Tonight, Laura Barrett, Valerie Gore, Josh Reichmann

    I got a reminder from Fuzzy Logic that Laura Barrett is playing at the Horseshoe tonight. I can't make it myself, but I felt it was my duty to pass this on for those of you lucky enough to be looking for something to do.

    Laura will be going on first, followed by Valery Gore and Josh Reichmann Oracle Band. According to Fuzzy Logic, Laura's band tonight will include Ajay Mehra on Banjo, Randy Lee on violin and Dana Snell playing flute and singing back up!!

    Cost is $8

    Laura Barrett - Robot Ponies

    Shad in Session

    Kenyan Born , London Ontario raised Shadrach Kabango (a.k.a. Shad) had quite a year with both a Juno and a Polaris nomination. Today he's on the CBC Radio 3 Sessions "to offer fresh takes on his songs and personal stories on making music."

    Download the podcast at and if you like what you hear check out his Facebook Page ... if you don't know it sounds a bit like this:

    Shad - Brother (Watching)

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    Zygiella You Should Be Listing

    The Zygiella podcast which takes it's name from a music website which takes it's name from a pretty nasty looking spider has a weeklyish podcast where Jennifer Polk and Tyler Wade bring you the latest in musical awesomeness from Toronto and beyond. This particular week has people like Laura Barrett, Wendy Leung, Shad, Cuff the Duke, The Tom Fun Orchestra, and The Unsettlers.

    You can grab a sample (this week's) at

    But you should really just subscribe RSS or iTunes

    The Budget Should Be Defeated

    I haven't read the fine print but this budget seems to be about politics, not the economy. To me it would appear that Harper has used the budget to throw money at people who's support he needs but it doesn't seem to have any vision behind it on the future of Canada or for the economy. In Canada budgets seem to be like that but not when you are running huge deficits. The budget leaves in political attacks on women's equality and while it does include arts and culture funding it manages to do so without actually helping any artists. As much as I hate to see stimulus delayed, we need a stimulus plan that actually works, that protects the most vulnerable, that greens the economy and that doesn't result in long term structural deficits.

    Harper and his government have blown it yet again and whether that means coalition or election this budget needs to be defeated and Harper needs to be sent packing.

    The Liberals are deciding, as I type this, what to do about the budget. Whether you agree with me or not, I'd urge you to contact your MP and and let them know what you think.

    You Will Land With A Thud

    The title of this post is only vaguely related to the subject matter but bear with me. I have been one of CBC Radio 3's most vocal advocates when they've - done - things - right and I haven't shied away when they've done things - wrong, sadly this is about one of the latter.

    Today Radio 3 launched a new program in cooperation with Exclaim and called X3:
    "As you probably know, emerging Canadian artists face an uphill battle trying to get exposure in a media saturated world. Along with a multitude of other media in this county, we here at the R3 try our best to promote our home-grown talent, but even still, it’s hard to punch through all the noise.

    That’s why CBC Radio 3 is partnering with Exclaim! and to create the X3 Artist of the Month, a joint initiative to give emerging artists the exposure they need to propel them to the next level in their careers."
    Which sounds like a fine idea but to kick things off, they've chosen K'naan. Ok I get that he's an interesting story, coming as he does out of Somalia but I don't know how much of a boost he needs. He is already signed to a major US label, has won a Juno Award and been nominated for a Polaris Music Prize, worked with artists such as Nelly Furtado, Mos Def, the Roots and Damian Marley, has been written about in Spin, the Guardian, Daily Telegraph and the independent as well as just about every free weekly.

    So it's a bit like saying to an "indie" audience that your first featured performer would be Nickelback (I know K'naan is hip-hop but I'm making a point, not talking about genre.) In the comments section of the blog John Paolozzi (of Radio 3) points out that it's not solely Radio 3's decision that there has to be agreement between R3, Exclaim and That could very well be the root of the problem, there may be too many cooks to make the idea work. Also in the comments section Grant Lawrence pipes in with
    "The point of this feature is really to celebrate an artist that we really like that has an exciting album coming out... and K'Naan fits all of those descriptions... next month it might be an artist no one has ever heard of, or it might be Feist!

    It's really just an artist that we're amped about and we can all agree on, and that is definitely K'Naan! He'll be live on CBC Radio 3 on Monday!"
    Somehow that makes me feel no better about the present or future of X-3. The rest of the comments on the post are pretty universally negative - which is where the title comes from. On Grant Lawrence's show today the topic was 'What Canadian album would make a good musical?' and the thought popped into my head that if they did a musical about the X-3 launch they could use the Tom Fun Orchestra's 'You Will Land With a Thud'.

    Daniel Lanois on the Canada Live Podcast

    CBC Radio 2's Canada Live Podcast this week features one of Canada's best known (internationally) musical talents. Daniel Lanois has worked, over the years, with such talents as Bob Dylan, U2, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Emmylou Harris, Robbie Robertson and Ron Sexsmith.

    This week's podcast features Lanois on his own, showing off his talents as a singer-songwriter at Toronto's Massey Hall.

    The podcast can be downloaded at

    Nuclear Spill at Chalk River

    Does anyone remember back in December 2007 when Stephen Harper overrode Atomic Energy of Canada (causing it's director Michael Burns to resign) and restarted the Chalk River Nuclear Plant? I said at the time that:
    "By overriding the concerns of those in charge of nuclear safety Harper has scored a few points, possibly, with those concerned about cancer. By dismissing the concerns of the regulator though Harper takes full responsibility for the outcome - should anything go wrong at chalk river, cancer rates in Ontario and Quebec will surely go through the roof - and that would be the least of our concerns.

    Harper has rolled the dice with a nuclear plant that Canada's nuclear regulator found to be unsafe. As much as I would like to see Harper out of office and his party in ruins - if you have anyone that you regularly pray to, pray that he is right on this one."
    Well Harper was wrong. There has been a spill at chalk river. It appears to be relatively contained but there was certainly no rush to inform the public (this started on Dec. 5).
    "An internal report to federal nuclear regulators shows radioactive tritium was released into the air during the incident at the Chalk River reactor on Dec. 5.

    Atomic Energy of Canada officials running the 51-year-old reactor reported they managed to contain another 800 litres of contaminated water now being stored in special drums.

    The report states there was no threat to the health of workers at the reactor, and officials say the tritium released into the air posed no significant danger to the surrounding environment.

    Nonetheless, after a brief shutdown, the reactor has continued to operate at full power, even though Chalk River officials admit they don't know what caused the leak, and say it could happen again."
    Regardless this serves as yet one more warning about the safety of the plant and, as I said over a year ago Stephen Harper and his government must take direct responsibility for this spill. They ignored their regulators and restarted the plant over strong objections. This is their fault.

    Bruce McDonald Hosts 'A Love Supreme' Fundraiser

    Director Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo, the Tracy Fragments, Pontypool) is hosting a fundraiser tomorrow night (Wednesday, January 28) to raise funds for his new film "A Love Supreme".

    The film is based on the novel by Kent Nussey:
    "Toronto writer Kent Nussey has given his first novel the same name and structure as Coltrane's album. In the book, we find middle-aged musicologist Omar Snow living in a grubby flat near the trendy stretch of bars and bistros on Toronto's College Street. Omar's work-in-progress is an examination of three jazz composers -- Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, and Coltrane. The parts on Monk and Mingus proceed in conventional fashion, but when Omar reaches the section on Coltrane, he realizes his book is turning into something completely unconventional, an attempt, in Omar's words, "to find God in jazz music."
    The film will be co-directed by Peter Lynch and produced by Alison Duke.

    The fundraiser will be held at the Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst Street, in Toronto and will feature performances by the Rich Brown Trio, Imaan Faith, Infinite, Shaun Booth and jazz vocalist Saida-Baba-Talibah. There will also be previews of already shot footage from 'A Love Supreme.' Attendance costs $50, doors open at 8 p.m. For additional information call the Trane Studio 416.913.8197

    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Truth!!! Maybe, sorta, kinda

    Many of you have no doubt seen the new ads being run by Advertising Standards Canada trying to get you to trust your local advertiser. The video ads look something like this (sorry it's not embeddable). A full list of the ads they are running on television, radio and in print can be found at The basic gist is:
    "Fact is, truth is an essential part of any successful ad campaign. Smart advertisers have known this
    for years. That's why the advertising industry created the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards.
    For more than 40 years, the Code has set the standards for acceptable advertising in Canada. It helps
    ensure that the ads you see and hear are truthful, fair and accurate. Check it out for yourself. Because
    the more you know about advertising, the more you get out of it."
    The problem is that there are alot of misleading ads out there. "Truthful, fair and accurate" hardly describes most advertising. If nothing else there is alot of falsehood by omission. For example, this ad by the "Advertising Standards Council" doesn't tell you that you don't have to belong to their organization, or adhere to it's standards. For example Bell Canada was reprimanded for misleading advertising by Advertising Standards Council. Bell decided to ignore it completely:
    However, Bell Mobility justified its absence from the panel's proceedings because the company is not a member of the ASC and therefore not obligated to comply with its procedures.

    That said, Bell spokesman Mark Langton explained the company's view that the ASC and Rogers were taking the claim out of context.

    "The actual phrase is `fastest and largest network across North America,'" said Langton, explaining that the claim is based on the size of the CDMA network of which Bell is a part.
    I can also safely say that very few people know how to file a complaint with Advertising Standards Canada (maybe they could have publicized that?) but they do still get regular complaints. Yet in 2008 almost 1,500 complaints were filed - and they do find someone in violation it is rarely (and barely) publicized. So, basically Canada's advertisers 'tell the truth' except for when they don't and if they don't it doesn't matter if they aren't a part of Advertising Standards Canada and if they are a part of Advertising Standards Canada it matters! It just doesn't matter very much.

    So I'm launching a new label, in honor of this campaign, called Truth - under this label I'll put ads I find that are not telling 'the truth, the whole truth and only the truth'. In other words when a post starts with "Truth" it will generally mean I'm calling bullshit.

    For more calling of Bullshit try or, of course, the American site Adbusters.

    Boost: New Media

    Earlier today I mentioned the other Boost Groups. This one kindof completes the set. It will be the last for awhile, perhaps the last altogether but I've just created Boost: New Media: This one deals with new media in the broad sense: That is to say it is for content that is only available online podcasts, video podcasts, video games, internet radio, web tools and more. In other words it is about Canada's rapidly exploding digital world. Once a week I will send out a new email pointing you to a new online treasure that is either wholly Canadian or has heavy Canadian involvement. (This is the internet after all, it crosses borders frequently.)

    I'll also include a blog of the week, it may not be an "art" but it is media and has become an important one. As with the other Boost groups I'll let it grow for awhile before sending anything out, feel free to sign up and spread the word if you're interested.

    Wavelength Turning 9!

    From February 12 - 15 Wavelength will be celebrating it's 9th Anniversary with 19 bands at 5 different venues over 4 days!

    February 12 at The Music Gallery at St. George the Martyr Church, 197 John St. Timbre Timbre, the Ghost Bees and Dorit Chrysler.

    Also February 12 @ Cameron House, 408 Queen W. the Diableros and Loitering Heroes

    February 13 @ Wrongbar 1279 Queen St. West Slim Twig, Bonjay, Child Bite and the Magic + DJ Benjamin Boles

    Saturday February 14 at Polish Combatants Hall, 206 Beverley St. $100, Brides,
    Hooded Fang, The Luyas (featuring Jessie Stein with members of Bell Orchestre & Torngat), Element Choir + DJs Greg Ipp & Ian Worang

    Sunday Feb 15 — Doors 9pm Foxfire, I Am Robot and Proud, Thank You, and Mi Ami + DJ Babylon Telecom, With your host, Doc Pickles and Projections by General Chaos Visuals

    So come out and wish Wavelength a happy birthday! Admissions are $10 or PWYC, at the door only.

    My Platform: Carbon Tax

    Ok I said that I wasn't going to directly discuss the environment - because it touches on so many things that it will be involved in several of the things I'm going to talk about anyway, but I will say that I strongly favor the carbon tax over cap and trade. Proponents of cap and trade say that it's polluters and not consumers who should be taxed but everyone who pays any attention to industry knows that the costs will be passed along anyway - if we tax the polluters the cost of that tax will be passed onto us anyway but it will be invisible. It will simply be included in the cost of finished products without the consumer having any idea how much of the cost is due to environmental taxes.

    With a carbon tax (done properly) the tax will be printed on the sticker. When you look at a product you will know how green it is based on the carbon tax. So consumers can make up their own mind about what it important. If they see a product that is cheeper than a competitive product because of the carbon tax then it's win-win, they can save money and the environment. This is good for local business and agriculture.

    On the other hand they may see a product that, even with the carbon tax, is less expensive than a greener product. The consumer can then make a decision about whether it is worth the extra money to reduce the environmental impact. People are beginning to see that the financial cost of a product isn't the only cost. The long term environmental impact is also part what something costs. Most people though do not have time to spend hours researching everything they might want to buy. With a carbon tax the information they need will be printed on the price tag and then they can make whatever they feel is the best decision.

    If they buy greener products it is better for the environment, if they don't choose green products they pay more in taxes and the government has more money with which it can pursue other ways of taking care of the environment.

    My Platform: Introduction
    My Platform: Arts and Culture
    My Platform: Poverty
    My Platform: Business and Industry
    My Platform: Crime

    the Decline of Canadian Conservatism: It Ain't Easy Being Blue

    I'm not a conservative, I agree with them on very little but sometimes you just have to feel sorry for conservatives in Canada. After the collapse of the Progressive Conservatives in 93 the divided party could not seem to gain any traction or get anywhere near power. Ten years later the party reunited - keeping half of the Progressive Conservative name and all of the Alliance platform.

    Finally in 2006 conservatives got another government, albeit a minority one - a government that won a second minority just last year but now, having recognized I think that Conservative ideas do not enjoy the support of the majority of Canadians the Conservative Government has decided to fight emissions and climate change, he has abandoned his position on fixed election dates, an elected Senate, he seems to have dropped any social conservative issues, and now he appears prepared to have abandoned any sense of fiscal conservatism - it won't be official until tomorrow but so far Harper seems from what we've seen so far, to have drafted an NDP budget.

    How do Conservatives feel about all of this? Harper doesn't care:
    "``Here you have a couple of thousand people vigorously debating substantial issues and setting the direction of the party,'' said Heisey. ``It's exciting, and involving.''
    Three weeks later, however, none of the ideas endorsed by the party's members - except for a national securities regulator, already a pet project of the government - were included in the Conservative throne speech or economic statement, when Parliament reconvened.
    Instead, Prime Minister Stephen Harper prompted a political crisis with two measures - an end to party subsidies and a ban on public service strikes, that hadn't even surfaced in Winnipeg."
    Harper certainly cannot be trusted. He changes his mind far too often about far too many things but the question is, now that Harper has decided to move the party to the left and abandon the principles that brought him to power, how will Canada's conservatives react? Will they step back ten years and divide the party again? Or is conservatism in Canada truly and finally over?

    First Boost Group Crosses 1000 Member Mark

    The Boost groups that I've introduced over the last few months were designed to offer publicity to arts and culture in Canada (to date - music, film and television, art and literature). The idea is as simple as I could make it. People opt in to the groups and are, once a week, sent things they should take a look at (trailers, music video etc). What I hope to do is provide publicity where there is little or no budget for publicity, sadly this is usually the case in Canada.

    Today I'm happy to announce that the first of these groups Boost: Canadian Music has crossed the 1,000 member mark at 1,032 members as of this moment. That means that when the mailing goes out this week it will be seen by people in virtually every part of Canada and several other countries.

    Beyond the music group Boost: Film and Television has 832 members and is still growing steadily, and Boost: Canadian Literature and Boost: Canadian Art which launched on January 8 are approaching 250 members and are growing by the day. It will take some time to get each of these to the 5,000 member target but as free publicity goes I think it's all off to an excellent start.

    Sunday, January 25, 2009

    Drive a Lincoln and Die Alone in Space?

    Ford is the one car company that apparently doesn't need a bailout, which is odd considering their advertising approach. Lincoln, which is owned by Ford paid, what I'm sure is a substantial amount of money to get Cat Power to cover David Bowie's song Space Oddity they used the song in a new ad for Lincoln automobiles.

    The problem is that the song Space Oddity is not a happy song. Although the ad version only uses the beginning of the song - it is still a song about an astronaut who dies alone in space:
    "Ground control to major tom
    Your circuits dead, theres something wrong
    Can you hear me, major tom?
    Can you hear me, major tom?
    Can you hear me, major tom?
    Can you....

    Here am I floating round my tin can
    Far above the moon
    Planet earth is blue
    And theres nothing I can do."
    This, at the very least, qualifies as one of the strangest advertising choices ever made, especially in an economy where you are trying to instill consumer confidence.

    My Platform: Crime

    Crime is an incredibly complex issue. It is one of the easiest ways for politicians to scare people or gain their approval. The right wing "tough on crime" approach and the left wing fondness for "forgiveness and reform" are both overly simplistic and naive, neither approach actually has much impact one way or another.

    In order to fully address crime there is a need to address the question - what do we have a criminal justice system for. In my opinion the answer is simple: public safety. Public safety is what caused humans to band together and form civilizations in the first place. Society only functions to the extent that people feel they are safe and protected in their homes and in their streets.

    In order to have any real impact on crime we have to examine what crimes we are talking about, why those crimes are committed and what can be done to prevent them. No single approach handles everything. In some cases the 'get tough' approach actually creates more crime and there are some people who simply cannot be rehabilitated.

    Here is what I think needs to be done.

    First: Greatly reducing poverty will, all by itself, have a profound impact on crime. Many property crimes and petty thefts are committed by people who are desperate for money. While there is much debate about the correlation between poverty and crime there seems to be strong evidence of a correlation between income disparity and crime - poor people living amid great wealth tend to commit more crimes.

    Second: Canada needs to get serious about mental health care. The brain is an organ like any other, it is prone to illness and damage. The difference is that when a person suffers an illness dealing with the brain (as opposed to say the liver, or the heart) they can be unpredictable, erratic, and even dangerous to themselves and others. To date though the resources put into mental health care in Canada are woefully inadequate at best.

    Third: As we learned from alcohol prohibition in the United States prohibition does not reduce crime, it increases it. The more you crack down on drugs the higher the prices go and the higher the prices go the more people are willing to engage in the trade. The higher prices, frequently in to the millions and billions of dollars, make people desperate and greedy and willing to do terrible things to get at that money. The 'War on Drugs' approach actually amounts to a subsidy of organized crime.

    Marijuana should be legalized and regulated, possession and small (personal use) cultivation should be completely legal for adults. Commercial cultivation should be allowed and regulated - if farmers were allowed to devote a small part of their land to cultivation the new cash crop would solve most of their economic problems. Commercial sales should be regulated by the provincial liquor control boards. For drugs other than marijuana Canada should look to European harm reduction methods. Only use police resources on large scale dealers and producers of drugs, let social workers and medical professionals do the brunt of the work with low level users of drugs.

    Fourth: In addition to greater investment in mental health care, mental health professionals need to be more deeply involved in the sentencing of and appeals for parole of convicted criminals. People who are deemed to be a danger to society should not be returned to society. Mental health care should be a core part of rehabilitation and it should be within the prevue of the courts to commit people to indefinite psychiatric care or to order psychiatric follow up as a condition of parole.

    Fifth: All criminal organizations should be added to the list of banned terror organizations - in this I include known Mafia families, street gangs, the hells angels and any organization which advocates, promotes or engages in criminal activity. Mere membership in such an organization should, at the very least, result in probation.

    In short my approach to crime would be to remove dangerous individuals from the streets until such time as they are no longer dangerous as well as removing as many as possible of the motives for crime.

    My Platform: Introduction
    My Platform: Arts and Culture
    My Platform: Poverty
    My Platform: Business and Industry