Recent comments

  • Visits to Violin Lake are actually trespassing   3 days 11 hours ago

    Witherton, I stand corrected -- but not by the materials you provided, which were Alberta law, not BC law.  I checked ... and whether or not the City of  Trail owns the bottom of Violin Lake depends on the terms of the original Crown grant of land.   If the lake was outlined in red in the original grant, then the City can own the lake-bottom.  If not, then it is owned by the Province.  It appears from the BC Land Act that the Provincial government is now keeping title to lake and stream beds for itself ... easier to give permits to mining companies to use them as tailings dumps that way  :-(   ...  Of course, the Province does keep title to all the water in lakes and streams, and makes various regulations that apply to the use of that water. The Federal government also has a say over some uses of lake and river water.

    As for the US, different states have different laws.  Some of them allow people to claim ocean beaches as "private".  Some American buyers of ocean-front land in BC have been very disappointed to learn that they do not own the beach in front of their property below the high-tide line.

  • BCTF president sends teachers back to picket lines beginning this week   6 days 9 hours ago

    Time to send a message to the BC libs that they will listen to. A message from big business, in other words from the people that have Christie Clark's personal phone number on speed dial, wherever she tries to hide.

    How do we do that? Well, it would be nice to see other unions join the teachers in a general strike, but contract language  generally prevents that. But parents (and often grandparents) can take family time off to take care of children who find themselves not in school as expected. Or, if it is safe to so, bring your kid(s) to work. Your employer doesn't like that idea? Tell them to phone Clark up to let her know how disruptive her fight against public education is to business. I bet you the Liberals would be back at the negotiation table and a deal made within a week.

  • Visits to Violin Lake are actually trespassing   6 days 9 hours ago

    Thanks for the clarification. From the letter it seemed they were saying it was all private property. City owned property is not private, by definition. Of course the city can still choose to close it to the public.

  • BCTF president sends teachers back to picket lines beginning this week   6 days 9 hours ago

    i wish the teachers success in their labour action, but it's hard to see it happening any time soon, simply because Fassbender and the Clarkista government are not interested in really negotiating seriously....they have an agenda....union busting....and they do that by making the teachers look bad in the eyes of the public, insofar as they are able to do so...

     

     

  • COMMENT: Lessons from Mount Polley   6 days 9 hours ago

    thanks for this article, Dermod...you and i can see the mess the Clarkistas are in, with their eternal brown nosing of big Corporations....and their eternal cutting of jobs and effectivity, resulting in no real oversight of Big Business in B.C....

    unfortunately, although the Clarkistas are not so good at actually governing, and representing the PEOPLE of B.C...they are VERY good at lying propaganda which represents them as the saviours of B.C....which people in B.C. appear to believe in sufficient numbers to keep re-electing these Harpocrites in "Liberal garb"....

    these Neo Cons can not be trusted to run a home business, much less the government of our Province....and yet the voters are so stupid, or self serving that they vote them back in every time....to me they are crooks, liars, and cheats...but to B.C voters, they appear to be "gold plated"....it's totally beyond me....

     

  • Robin Williams made you uncomfortable? You have no idea.   6 days 10 hours ago

    thanks Kyra for posting this article about Robin Williams, yourself, and mental illness....it must have been challenging to decide whether to go public with your own struggles with ADHD, PTSD, OCD, and so on...i was moved by your honesty, and i hope it helps your readers to realise that mental illness is very common in today's world (just as it always has been)....and that in general mentally ill people do not get the same kind of care, respect, and trust, that people suffering from any other "physical" disease would get....

    if you have cancer, no one holds it against you....if you have diabetes...the same....but if you are mentally ill (and so many actually ARE)....you don't dare to tell anyone, except perhaps close family members) because you KNOW it will negatively impact your life in society....

    what is needed is more people like you, Kyra, stepping up to the plate, and revealing that they too suffer from mental illnesses of various kinds....

    many great artists were/are mentally ill....depression, bi-polar, and so on...and in fact, without that illness, they may never have produced those exquisite masterpieces which are so valued today....Vincent Van Gogh springs IMMEDIATELY to mind in this case....

    it's long past high time that we discard the stigma which has always been attached to mental illness, and the people who suffer from it....

    thanks again Kyra for this excellent article about a widespread problem that is not going away anytime soon....

     

     

  • Visits to Violin Lake are actually trespassing   1 week 8 hours ago

    Hi Phil!

    The City of Trail is one of the property owners in the area. I believe this is the only property they have the right to police, unless they have some sort of arrangement with the other owners.

    Regards,

    Kyra Hoggan

    Editor

  • Visits to Violin Lake are actually trespassing   1 week 1 day ago

    Just wondering why the city of Trail is monitoring the Violin Lake area and cleaning up after trespassers? If it's private property shouldn't that be the owner's responsibility? Hell, I even clean up garbage and mow the lawn on city property that borders my property. I didn't know as a land owner I was able to call on the municipality to take care of problems on my property.

  • Visits to Violin Lake are actually trespassing   1 week 2 days ago

    Actually, Sara you're wrong on those accounts. 

    http://www.healthyshorelines.com/media/The_Law_and_the_Lake.pdf

    aaand wrong about the US too, but not important

  • Visits to Violin Lake are actually trespassing   1 week 3 days ago

    "Zazzoo", you are  mistaken about the title to lakeshore property "below the high-water mark".  If someone owns ALL the property around a lake, they also own the lake-shore and the lake-bottom.  

    If three are two or  more private properties surrounding a lake, the property line generally divides the lake  (and its shores, and its bottom) equally among them.

    It's only on the ocean that the land below the high-water mark is public property ... and only in Canada, by the way.  It's different in the U.S. 

  • Visits to Violin Lake are actually trespassing   1 week 5 days ago

    Well Zazzoo - unless you are planning to parachute in and then levitate out, when you "walk" into the Violin Lake area, you will still be trespassing. The entire lake area is private land no matter what mode of land transport you use. It sounds like a few slobby persons have been making a mess in that area and therefore ruining it for all.

  • Visits to Violin Lake are actually trespassing   1 week 6 days ago

    Below the high water mark, the land is actually crown land so if a person walks into the area and is below the high water mark you can't actually kick them out.

  • Visits to Violin Lake are actually trespassing   2 weeks 1 hour ago

    Well if the city of Trail is actually going to log and not use this an another reason why a person should not use Violin lake. Please dont clear cut like you did 6 - 8 years ago. Hire a contractor thats not from the clear cut cutting days. Log for the future, not for greed.

  • Are you a racist? A simple test you can do at home. Part 1/2   2 weeks 10 hours ago

    There's racism and there's the devastating effects of past racism, abuse, and disenfranchisement all at work here. All this needs addressing but it's not being addressed in anything even slightl approaching a satisfactory manner in this country. Money gets thrown at the problem, but the money is flung while the thrower's eyes are turned away. Why?

    I hope you're not seriously suggesting that the 'racism' an immigrant from Japan might occasionally encounter from some inbred idiot on the street is even in the same ballpark as what native people face daily when applying for jobs, looking to rent an apartment, or hoping to be served in a restaurant. I have friends from various racial backgrounds and have asked them about their experience of racism and they've always replied that 'occasionally' someone might say something insensitive. Some can't come up with anything. Compare this with the daily experience of native people.

    You agree with me that native people 'do worse' than immigrants from different racial backgrounds and yet the best you can come up with is to try to argue that the reasons are somehow merely demographic in nature. I suppose my question to you is, 'why struggle so hard to come up with an explanation of this sorry state of affairs that doesn't incorporate the elephant in the room?'

    This goes back to my original piece and the idea that, for us not to think of ourselves as racists, we, as non-natives, are forced to come up with whatever 'non-raced-based' reasons we can to explain the Third World condtions this part of our population live in. Why not just accept that native people continue to suffer in this country beause...we're willing to let them suffer?

    As to my last paragraph, I'm sorry I wasn't clear enough for you. I'll try to do better when I write the second part!--ed.

  • Are you a racist? A simple test you can do at home. Part 1/2   2 weeks 1 day ago

    It isn't as easy as looking up stats for rural white people and rural natives. Many rural white towns exist only because they provided economic opportunities and people migrated there. So it's a no brainer those communities will be better off than communities where people historically lived off the land with limited trade,  but which now don't provide jobs that can afford a modern lifestyle. I was talking about non-native towns that lost their main economic drivers several generations ago and are situated remotely. I doubt people growing up in those towns fare too well. But at least they are not dealing with the psychic aftermath of residential school or colonization.

    As for urban natives, there are still several factors working against them. The ones who migrated there probably did so to escape poor conditions where they grew up. Those conditions they grew up with often give them lasting disadvantages that they have to overcome which other urbanites don't. They also have to deal with cultural displacement, and yes they still have to deal with racial prejudices.

    Natives that grew up in urban Native communities might still have to deal with historical repercussions of residential schools and disenfranchisement. But on the whole, members of urban situated bands are better off than the average Native.

    As I've said before I do think Natives face racism, but I don't think that can explain their current situation. After all, many other immigrant groups face racism yet manage to do better than the indigenous population.

     

    I don't get your last paragraph at all. I hope your next article is a bit clearer on the many points you bring up in it.

  • Are you a racist? A simple test you can do at home. Part 1/2   2 weeks 1 day ago

    This is a question that could be answered by Statscan, I imagine. If one looked at remote, rural Canada, would native and non-natives be doing roughly equally well? I'm pretty sure not. And native people in urban centres chock full of opportunities are doing terribly as well.

    To claim that I'm making 'vague' accusations of racism isn't really fair since the sort of attitudes I'm talking about are necessarily 'vague' in that those who hold them will tend to deny them, given the cultural mandate for egalitarianism that the great majority of us pay lip service to in this society. Some of my best friends are...we all know the story.

    Another imagination excercise. Think of the last charity appeal you saw from sub-Saharan Africa with all those black kids and their bulging bellies and pleading eyes. Then try to imagine the same appeal populated by blonde-haired, blue-eyed tykes. It's an impossibility. This ties into the idea that the absurd concept of 'race' (of no more instrinsic signifcance than hair colour) is actually a function of capitalism in that the 'races' that get oppressed are the economic underperformers, historically. Racism is the outgrowth of the capitalistic world view--that there are 'winners' and 'losers' in life and that this is somehow natural and acceptable. But it's not.

    So there I go...starting on part 2 here in the comments section! Next week....--ed.

     

  • Are you a racist? A simple test you can do at home. Part 1/2   2 weeks 2 days ago

    I don't quite buy that Natives' current problems are due to racism or active oppression. If you've ever wandered into some of Canada's or the U.S.'s more remote communities that suffer chronic high unemployment due to lack of major industry, I'm sure you'll see that those citizens also have to cope with all sorts of disadvantages, regardless of race. High alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual abuse, poor health (physical and mental)...

    My point is that those disadvantages don't stem from race, just poor location, and for most of its citizens, the bad luck of growing up in such a disadvantaged community makes them in turn disadvantaged. Of course remote rural areas are overrepresented by Native people compared to other racial groups. Hence the fact statistics might make this look as a racial problem.

     

    And that's a big problem I see, but rarely see addressed:  that Native communities are spread pretty much all over Canada and as such are not always close to areas that offer much economic activity to support a community as we want and expect in a modern industrial age. And that's where I see a difference between racial groups: white people are more likely to uproot themselves and seek a better place to live. This is due in part to the fact they haven't lived there for as long (although there are certainly many small "white towns" that have existed for many generations), but also because non-indigenous populations see themselves as belonging to a greater cultural community than their local population. Whereas for a Native to leave their community, they risk loosing touch with their local tribe/nation and that culture, even if there are lots of Natives accross the continent because they are not all one cultural group despite their shared racial heritage. This is a problem, but it is NOT one of oppression or racism. It's also not an easily tackled problem. 

    As an aside, calling people passively racist is not a solution to anything and only serves to raise shackles, potentially even engendering racism. Let's look at actual disadvantages, let's try to remedy them, and if it is warranted let's look if race plays into it, but also HOW race plays into it, rather than merely doing some finger pointing calls of vague racism and oppression. 

  • Smoky sky advisory issued for region as fires blaze on   2 weeks 5 days ago

    This warning was lifted Wednesday. 

  • Are you a racist? A simple test you can do at home. Part 1/2   3 weeks 23 hours ago

    Looking forward to the next bit.

  • Are you a racist? A simple test you can do at home. Part 1/2   3 weeks 1 day ago

    Hi Phil F. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. You did indeed catch me using a term loosely. 'Oppression' is slightly vague and I appreciate your categorizations. What I meant by the term in this piece was a reflection of the fact that when a specific racial group consistently suffers more than all the others, external, systemic forces are, I think, necessarily in play.

    I don't quite buy the 'most indiginous people aren't necessarily being actively oppressed today' argument. If a million or so white people in this country were suffering equally, perhaps because they belonged to a specific cultural or linguistic group, I don't think our response would be quite so...phlegmatic in terms of support and outrage. This passivity may not be 'active' racism in the sense of avowed beliefs in the superiority of one race over another, but it's certainly 'passive' racism in terms of being content with inaction. This is more than the remainder of past oppression or past racism. Simply read the comments on the Oppenheimer Park occupation in any online newspaper to get a sense of what lies not too far beneath the surface of Canadian egalitarianism.

    So there you go--you questioned 'oppression' and I replied with a definition of 'racism'! Aristotle would be proud of both of us.

    In part 2--which I really need to sit down and write--I'm going to argue that 'racism' itself is just a function of capitalism. So when I say the average Canadian is 'racist', I simply mean that they are embodying 'capitalist' values over human ones.--ed.

  • Are you a racist? A simple test you can do at home. Part 1/2   3 weeks 1 day ago

    I might be jumping the gun a bit, considering this is only part one, but I'll jump right into this and say that there are varying forms of oppression, so using that word can span quite a lot, especially these days.

    I think the term originally referred to something that was being done actively to hold back a person or a group from progressing fruitfully in their lives.  But these days it is bandied about to refer to any disadvantage that prevents a person or a group of people from progressing fruitfully in their lives.  An example of the former might be legal discrimination, such as being prevented from voting, or prevented from owning land, or inheriting the family fortune, or it might be even worse such as slavery.  Mostly this comes down to legally sanctioned oppression, but it can exist in a purely social form such as racism or sexism where a person might be treated less well than another based on race or sex.

    But oppression now means much more than that and can include what I would call situational oppression.  That would be where a person or group grows up disadvantaged merely because of the disadvantaged start they had in life.  If you grow up in a poor remote location, or in a disfunctional family, or both, it is extremely hard to bring yourself up.  Someone who grows up poor and in a poor and/or remote town won't get the same educational opportunities.  Someone who grows up in a disfunctional family will have a tough time socially because they are more likely to have learned poor social behaviour from their environment.   So a person growing up in that environment isn't being actively "oppressed" in the true sense of the word, but they are certainly disadvantaged and likely to remain so, as well as their children no matter if they are never the target of racism or sexism or any other groupism, and if they are legally the equal of everyone else.

    So while it's important to be aware that Native Canadians are disproportionally disadvataged, and while the source of that disadvantage might be past oppression, they aren't necessarily being oppressed now by other Canadians.

    I'd also like to touch on the wide variability of disadvantage within various Native groups.  Some tribes are very well off, and suffer little if any disadvantage compared to the general population.  So it's not a problem of "Native oppression".  That's a racist stance on its own.  If you're disadvantaged, you're disadvantaged regardless of race.  If Natives are disproportionally disavantaged today it's because of past oppression. Of course, I'm not saying there also isn't some true oppression still ongoing, and racism too.  Because I think there is.  But for most, their current poor situation is due more to a disadvantaged environment than to current oppression.

  • LETTER: 'Are teachers obviously wrong?'   3 weeks 6 days ago

    thanks for that letter clarifying the issues again...and reminding us of the true stakes in this stupid battle, which the Province insists on carrying out....

    as a Public Sector Worker, who worked with people with disabilities (mental and physical) for some 20 years, and who was a member of CUPE....i absolutely sympathise with the plight of teachers, whose contract was ripped up by the Campbell Lieberals back in 2002...along with the contracts of all other public sector workers, like ours....on the false claim that our unions were all in bed with the NDP.... i guess Campbell wasn't paying attention when we had to strike during the NDP tight fisted reign in BC....a strike of several weeks...yeah...sure we were in bed with them...what a bloody lie that was.

    we know from personal experience just how miserly, and cheap the B.C. Lieberals are when it comes to paying their public sector workers a fair wage....the MO appears to be attempting to keep wages ridiculously low, whilst cutting the workforce, and increasing the work load until workers are so stressed and exhausted by the new regimen that often they get sick...both mentally ill, and physically so....i blame my diabetes and associated issues on my job stress from those years....and a lot of the stress was the direct responsibility of the B.C. Lieberals and their niggardly policies when it comes to the most vulnerable citizens of the province. our clients were the real sufferers from all this "cost cutting", though....as their lives grew increasing constrained by lack of staff, and funds....such that they were not as able to do the activities they were used to, and were forced to share workers far more than they had before....

    the B.C. Lieberals have lost several court cases, now over the Teachers' issues, that they inflicted on teaching staff back in 2002, the most recent, only this spring....and what do the Clarkistas do? they IGNORE the rulings...and waste our precious tax dollars in frivolous law suits.

    the Campbell version of these Fascists was cited by the UN for their arbitrary and draconian laws that they enacted on the backs of the Public Service sector....they were breaking International Labour Standards, right and left. what was their response? they simply ignored the findings....

    it was also the Campbell Lieberals who instigated new labour laws allowing kids above the age of 12 to work....and who changed the minimum call out hours from FOUR (if you are called out to work)....to two, or three....how cheap are they you ask? so cheap that there is no comparison with any other province in Canada...

    in reality the Clarkistas, are actually Neo Cons...and more similar to the Harpocrite ReformaCons than any other political party...Liberals they are NOT...what they really are is the "Chamber of Commerce" party....

  • Solar Showdown   3 weeks 6 days ago

    klr's comment betrays the small mindedness characteristic of the right wing folks in this province....and in our area.....they are SO worried about taxes going to subsidise Solar power, when such subsidies could really help to bring Solar Power along to a more viable position in the ordinary marketplace.....after all as Ken Holmes says...if you don't want to subsidise Solar Power, then we should also remove all subsidies from the Oil and other resource extraction industries...after all it's our "tax dollars" to the tune of 4% of Government revenues, being "wasted" on these corporations....

    i find it indeed heartening to read Michael Jessen's article above, not only for the lovely, and thoughtful Buddhist quotes...i love Thich Nhat Hanh myself, as well as His Holiness, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche....and Pema Chodron....

    i especially liked that quote that said: "...

    “Life is fragile, like the dew hanging delicately on the grass, crystal drops that will be carried away on the first morning breeze.” – Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

    Beautiful....thanks for the update on Solar power, Michael...this article makes me want to rush out and get set up with a solar power system on my house....if only i could afford it right now....

  • Solar Showdown   4 weeks 2 days ago

    There's a strange effect in investing in solar these days.  Because of the pace of innovation in different solar cell technologies, the increasing mass production, and the increasing competition, the price of solar panels, specially on a price/watt generated is dropping rapidly.  In most things we purchase this is of little importance, but because solar energy investement takes a fairly long time to provide savings even a small drop in price can significantly reduce the time to pay off.  So the question becomes when to buy into it?  Ideally, you'd have a crystal ball that says price/watt will not drop significantly in the next 5 years and that would be the time to buy into  it.

  • Solar Showdown   4 weeks 2 days ago

    This rant against subsidies for solar energy projects is misplaced.

    These subsidies are a "drop in the ocean" when compared with the subsidies paid to the oil, gas and coal industries.

    According to a 2013 report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Canda pays almost 4% of its total government revenues as subsidies to the fossil fuel industries which means many, many billions of dollars a year.

    Just think about it!  Government revenues are taxes of one kind or another, so according to the IMF, 4% of all the taxes you pay goes towards subsidising the fossil fuel industries.

    If these subsidies were eliminated to create a level playing field, perhaps solar and other renewable energy sources would be more competitve and economically attractive ... without subsidies.

    How about starting a rant against subsidies to the oil, gas and coal industries ..... now that would be more worthwhile!