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January 1, 2014

Happy New Year to All VanRamblings Readers. Welcome to 2014!

Happy New Year 2014

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 12:02 AM | Permalink | VanRamblings

December 22, 2013

Best of 2013: Music, Spanning Genre and Critical Recognition

Best of 2013

VanRamblings' two favourite times of year occur from mid-July through the end of August, a six-week celebration revolving around the anniversary of our coming to this Earth (at least in this incarnation, in this time and place and history of life on our planet), and the period beginning in mid-
November through until December 31st. We have long been a romantic about most aspects of life, and love the idea of simply taking a bit of time off from the hurly burly of our everyday, and often too busy, life to reflect on the conditions of our existence, a deep and abiding reflection, a process in which we seek to provide meaning, context and, perhaps, resolution.

Within that contextual framework is contained our love for the arts — dance (we love the ballet), music (mostly of the pop culture variety, although we love progressive country), film, anything tech-related, literature, television, and the art of politics, which is to say, the political maelstrom that is public engagement early in this new millennium.

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In this first of five columns on the Best of 2013, we'll survey a cross-section of critical opinion on the best music of the year, much of which art you may have been utterly unaware of prior to the writing that'll appear below. As a means by which to introduce new music into your life, there is no more salutary event than that which occurs at year's end, as you (and I) become aware of the music of our age, through a survey of informed critical opinion — always a life-enhancing event offering steadfast insight, in the most propitious, enlightening and expedient manner possible. Yippee!

Best Music of 2013

There was a time, in recent years, when we turned to Salon (in its heyday, in the late 90s through 2005), Rolling Stone, the now defunct and the much-missed Blender magazine, but since 2009, Popmatters has been the go-to place for insight into the Best Music of the Year. Yes, we know there's NME and Paste (now available online only), Q, Pitchfork, Mojo and more, but we'll stick with Popmatters, at year's end, for our annual hit of unexpected and oh-so salutary musical insight.

Here's Popmatters 'best of music' home page, detailing the 75 Best Albums of the Year, Best Canadian, Country, Metal, Indie-Pop, and more ...

Popmatters' 75 Best Albums of 2013

Making Popmatters' 75 Best Albums of 2013 list, at 72. The Boards of Canada; at 63. the ever-present Lorde; at 47. David Bowie's The Next Day; 42. Julia Holter (a favourite of our friend, J.B. Shayne); 38. Rhye, to whom we introduced you earlier in the year; 27. Queens of the Stone Age; 24. Our very own Tegan and Sara; at 9 and 8, the breakout bands of the year, Haim and CHVRCHES, and at number one ... well, who else would you expect? But you'll have to read through to be sure you guessed right.

One of our favourite discoveries is a duo out of England, with whom our son Nathan has long been familiar, but is new to us this year: 4. Disclosure, who represent the very best danceable British garage house music of 2013.

Now, make no mistake, there's more, a great deal more ...

And, of course, much, much more.

In the The Best Country Music of 2013 category, we discovered a couple of artists with whom we were not previously familiar, Brandy Clark, and our favourite roots, working class, progressive country find of the year, Kacey Musgraves, who's making a whole tonne of Best Of lists in 2013.

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We leave you, dear and constant reader, with a survey list of the Best Music of 2013, critical reception from some of our favourite publications ...

Lots to listen to, lots to grok. Good luck. Enjoy. Merry Christmas!

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 12:32 AM | Permalink | Best of 2013

November 15, 2013

Decision 2014: Identifying and Dehumanizing 'The Other'

One year from today, Vancouver will hold its triennial municipal election, Vancouver's 101st election since the City was incorporated in 1886.

In Vancouver — where, unlike any other municipality in British Columbia, our election is held under the auspices of the Vancouver Charter — the citizens of our fair city will elect 10 City Councillors, 7 Park Board Commissioners, and 9 Board of Education Trustees who, from the weeks after the election, will conduct the governance of civic affairs in Canada's third largest city.

And what an election it will be. Unless VanRamblings is off the mark — and we don't believe we are — the 2014 civic election will prove to be the most disputatious election of a generation, as the nine parties seeking office attempt to slam their opponents with the knockout blow that will leave the challenger victorious, holding the reigns of government, or at the very least, the crucial swing votes that will determine Vancouver's future.

Moreso than in any previous election, the nine parties that will compete for your vote, and elected office, will personalize their attacks on the members of the competing parties, identifying their opponents as "the other" ...

The 'Other', VanRamblings would posit, is a member of another political party, who is designated by the 'In' group as not belonging, as being different in some fundamental way. Any political opponent becomes the 'Other'. The municipal political party identifying "the Other(s)" sees itself as the norm and judges those who do not meet that norm as "the Other". Perceived as lacking essential characteristics possessed by the 'In' group, the 'Other' is almost always seen as a lesser or inferior being and is treated accordingly in all pronouncements, and in the conduct of personal and political affairs in the common weal. The 'Other' will often be characterized as lacking, as less intelligent, or as unstable - which is to say, of reduced or challenged mental capacity - as amoral or immoral, and may even be regarded as tantamount to being sub-human.

And thus the tone will be set for the 2014 Vancouver municipal election.

Perhaps VanRamblings could expand on our definition of the 'Other', as we understand it as philosophical concept, and offer brief remedial prescription.

1. The concept of the 'Other' comes from the perspective that makes 'difference' the key focus in analyzing how we understand the world around us - thus the spelling is often capitalized.

2. The 'Other' is nearly always used as a negative term.

3. The myth of the 'Other' in literature, conceived of as 'perilous' and 'strange' or 'abnormal' plays with the concept of the monstrous 'Other'. The concept of the monster helps to prevent those who identify with the main characters — or, in this instance, the proponents on the main political parties — from assuming that they know everything about them, that they are good; that there is, as Nietzsche has written, "dark chaos that sits in man's hearts", as it does in the hearts of the 'Other'.

4. When the 'In' group designates the 'Other', they point out the perceived weaknesses of the 'Other', to make themselves look stronger, better, more able and more capable. Such designation implies a hierarchy, and it often serves to keep power where it already lies.

5. The 'In' group seeks to demonize, marginalize and punish the 'Other', often through heinous discriminatory measures, to eliminate the 'Other'.

VanRamblings would argue we must strive in contemporary society for empathy and understanding, and the melding and blending of groups, in order that the 'Other' will no longer be a phenomena of our current era.

Each party running for office in 2014 will most assuredly identify their opponents as "the other". It is a "if yer not fer us, yr agin us" philosophy of politics, reliant on a dehumanization of individual members of the opposing party, or parties, the political opponent as demon, who means to do ill — and in the case of Vision Vancouver, it will be claimed, has done ill — and should this unacceptable circumstance, and the aberrant individual(s) who currently hold office retain that office, competing party stalwarts will argue the apocalypse will most certainly be upon each and every one of us.

For many, with nine competing parties vying fiftfully for the attention of a disengaged electorate — let us not forget that in 2011 there was only a 34% turnout of eligible voters at the polls, and that only because of the $658,000 Vision Vancouver ad buy in the final five days of the campaign, a "happy face" strategy that brought out 10,000 "new" voters, in an election which resulted in a 4% greater turnout than in 2008, the election which brought Vision Vancouver to power — the 2014 Vancouver civic election will beggar belief in the malevolent tone of candidate political discourse.

Make no mistake, it will be Vision Vancouver and the NPA who, while attempting to knock each other off message, will bear the brunt of vituperative attack, as the only two parties with any conceivable chance of forming government, the "two developer parties" you will be told repeatedly, as if that is necessarily a bad thing — neither of which party, voters will be instructed, deserving of your vote, the panjundrum repeated ad nauseum, until a disgusted electorate tunes out the cacophony of ill will — none of which circumstance serves the public good or the common weal.

The question begs: does it have to be that way, must Vancouver politicians get down into the muck in order to prevail on election day?

Decorum, decency and civility in public life

Stepan Vdovine, Vision Vancouver's Executive Director, would argue not.

In a Letter to the Editor published in this week's Georgia Straight, Stepan writes about the paranoia about Vision Vancouver's "secret agenda" ...

The type of negative attacks we're seeing from failed council candidates, or the Tea Party-like anger of the NPA, is not surprising as we approach the one-year mark to the next election. Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Vision Vancouver-led council have overseen a boom in new rental housing, more social housing being built in Vancouver than ever before, a drop in people sleeping on the streets, and strong action on climate change.

Let's hope the various opposition parties start offering their own policy solutions, rather than more anger and negative attacks on Vision.

Further down the page, VanRamblings weighs in ...

Stepan is, of course, right: decorum, decency and civility in covering - and in - public life would be a net good thing. Since the election of Sam Sullivan in 2005, politics has devolved to a disheartening degree, not helped by Mayor Gregor, in his first term, when he referred to folks like urban geographer Ned Jacobs as a "fucking NPA" hack. Not a lot of civility there.

Stepan is a good guy (c'mon now, he really is).

But the bare fact is that there are a great many Vancouver citizens who have become infuriated with Vision Vancouver, however ably and well Stepan has come to the defense of the party that employs him as its Executive Director.

My fear is that in the coming 12 months, those of us who live in Vancouver will experience the ugliest municipal political campaign of a generation, a campaign where both Vision Vancouver and the NPA (neither of which party is "the devil") will be demonized by their opponents - be they from COPE, NSV, TEAM 2.0, Vancouver First, or the Cedar Party - and that, contrary to what Stepan would wish, we will hear precious little about, "policy solutions, rather than more anger and negative attacks on ..." well, on Vision Vancouver and the NPA.

We live in perilous times. People are frustrated and angry, and don't feel as if they're being listened to; the natural consequence of that is, as Stepan writes, "Tea Party-like anger" ... but directed not just at Vision Vancouver, but at any politico who just doesn't get it.

Vision Vancouver, who've become one of the most tone-deaf civic administrations of a generation, will bear the brunt of that anger, in 2014.

This next year? It ain't gonna be pretty.

Again, the question begs: does it have to be that way?

In a Toronto Star story published earlier in the week, former Ontario Tory leader Bill Davis argued, as VanRamblings does above, that we need more decorum, decency and civility in public life. In the 1970s, Davis built up a formidable campaign team — dubbed the Big Blue Machine — which resulted in a Progressive Conservative government in Ontario that prevailed from 1971 through 1985, with Davis as Premier. How did Davis achieve such a lengthy stay in government? As Martin Regg Cohn's story suggests ...

He governed from the progressive flank of the Progressive Conservative party, positioning it in the middle of Ontario politics and securing its place as the province's natural governing dynasty. And by surrounding himself with savvy, compassionate political aides — cerebral Tories with heart — who helped him keep his ear to the ground while perched in the premier's office from 1971-85.

The consequence? Good government. Progressive government. Government that listened to the people, and acted on their concerns. These days that almost seems like a foreign concept, doesn't it?

In the coming days, weeks and months, VanRamblings will have a great deal to say about each of the political parties that will enter the municipal political electoral fray, next year, in the fight for your vote. As may be determined by our commentary above, we will not support Vision Vancouver's re-election — outside of support for a handful of their Board of Education candidates — and will seek to move our support to the only Vancouver civic party that we believe has any chance whatsoever in dislodging Vision Vancouver — the most arrogant, untoward municipal government since the days of Tom "Terrific" Campbell, in the late 1960s / early 1970s.

In the past month and more, while working with members of the Kitsilano community, in the west side neighbourhood where VanRamblings has resided for more than thirty years, the Save Kits Beach movement has emerged as the civic story of legacy, for our children and their children. That the Non-Partisan Association, the NPA, emerged as the only municipal political party that acknowledged the importance of legacy is, for us, a profound sadness, in the political venture in which we are all going to be involved in the next year, as we head towards the polls on Nov. 15, 2014.

The NPA: a "right wing" party? Maybe in the past, but no more. No, in 2014, the NPA has learned its lesson, recovered from the nastiness that defined the Sam Sullivan administration (not that everything Sam, and his Council, did was "bad" — let's leave aside "Sam's strike" for the moment) — and has once again emerged as a humanist party, a party of parents and children, grandkids and uncles and aunts, sisters and brothers and neighbours, the only municipal political party in Vancouver — apart from Art Phillips' TEAM (The Electors' Action Movement) of the 1970s — that has ever come close to truly representing the middle class, which is where most of us find ourselves. Although COPE continues to fight the good fight for the poor, destitute and vulnerable, fights for truly affordable housing (not that they have the first clue what that means, in practice), and fights for better transit, while Vision Vancouver fights for raw, cynical power, and tell themselves lies each and every day to get through the day, it is the NPA, VanRamblings believes, which best represents the aspirations of the majority of Vancouverites, about which we will provide explanation and expansion in future VanRamblings posts, in the months to come.

Over the course of the coming 12 months, VanRamblings will keep an open mind. We know that TEAM 2.0's Bill McCreery, Mike Andruff and Dave Pasin are decent men, men of character and intelligence. And despite all, we believe as much as we have always believed that COPE's Stuart Parker — one of the brightest, most charismatic politicians of a generation — deserves a place on Vancouver City Council, as we pretty much believe of COPE stalwart Tim Louis, although we are probably among a minority of those who will support him at the polls in 2014, and perhaps more's the pity on that count, because we need a firebrand on Vancouver City Council. Although it is not de rigeur to say so, we like Vancouver First candidate (and he will be) Jesse Johl. And, if Stuart Mackinnon runs for Vancouver City Council, as a Green candidate, he will most decidedly find our favour.

Make no mistake, though, it is the Non-Partisan Association, and the Non-Partisan Association alone that can unseat Vision Vancouver, and remove them from City Hall and Park Board: given that the NPA is the best-funded and most united municipal party entering next year's Vancouver municipal election. And you know what else? The NPA is one of the only municipal political parties comprised of sincere folks of character with — wait for this — actual beating hearts — which is to say, there are great women and men in the NPA who are principled, centrist, have your best interests at heart, and should they run afoul of what it is that you want for your community — after assuming office in 2014 — you will be surprised and pleased to discover that the NPA will prove to be, as has always proved to be the case (save the interregnum of the Sam Sullivan administration, and portions of various eras prior to 1972), the one Vancouver municipal political party that — after six years of unbelievably arrogant government under Vision Vancouver — will actually listen to you, and what is even more important, act on your concerns for your benefit.

What if they don't? (and they will, because as was the case with Bill Davis, the NPA wishes to be the once and forever Vancouver civic party of government), Vancouver voters can depend on our "liberal media" to hold the NPA's feet to the fire, in a manner that has been woefully, disconcertingly, and unacceptably absent this past five years — with the notable exception of Charlie Smith, Carlito Pablo, and the dedicated Georgia Straight journalists who do their very best to keep us informed — which "comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable" journalistic philosophy will thankfully, and gratefully, once again come to the fore to serve us all.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 12:31 AM | Permalink | Decision 2014

November 10, 2013

Save Kits Beach: Hadden Park Trio Triumph As Bike Path Halted

The Hadden Park Trio: historian Megan Carvell Davis, lawyer Robert Kasting, and Kitsilano activist, Tina Oliver
Hadden Park trio: Megan Carvell Davis, lawyer Robert Kasting, Kitsilano activist, Tina Oliver

On Monday, November 4, 2013 — the same day as the Special Park Board Meeting, about which we've written previously — lawyer, and former Olympian and renowned and respected administrative barrister Robert Kasting filed a petition, in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, asking that the Courts grant his client, historian Megan Carvell Davis, an injunction pending a hearing into the issue of the tenets of the Hadden Park Trust, which Mr. Kasting and his client argue the City / Park Board to be in breach of in imposing a 12-foot-wide bike path through Hadden Park. Here's the precise Bob Kasting to better explain the legal events of the past week ...

Administrative law lawyer Bob Kasting explains legal events of the week, re: Hadden Park

As Kitsilano resident and Save Kits Beach activist Tina Oliver wrote in the Press Release that was issued on Friday ...

The land on which Hadden Park sits was bequeathed to the City by Mr. Harvey Hadden in 1928, with the stipulation that Vancouver City and Park Board "shall keep the property as near as possible in its present state of nature, it being the desire of the grantor that those using the park shall, as far as reasonably be, enjoy the same in its natural state and condition."

In recent weeks, neighbourhood residents and other concerned citizens from across the Lower Mainland have held rallies protesting the section of the bike lane that would run through Hadden Park. Ms. Carvell Davis argues that this City-approved bike path is in direct contravention of Mr. Hadden's wishes when he deeded the park to be used as natural parkland.

The City is Court-ordered to halt any construction of the bike lane through Hadden Park until the Court addresses Ms. Carvell Davis' Petition. The date of the trial is yet to be determined.

As Ms. Carvell Davis states, "Harvey Hadden smiles upon us today: he would be pleased to know the park he bequeathed, for all citizens, for all time, has been protected."

Now for some more good news. As the Vancouver Sun's Jeff Lee writes in a story published on Saturday and headlined, Vancouver park board shelves Kits Beach bike path in wake of lawsuit, "The Vancouver park board has shelved a $2.2 million plan to separate bike lanes through Kitsilano parks."

Park Board Commissioner Constance Barnes confirmed Friday afternoon that the entire project, from the Vancouver Maritime Museum through to the other side of Kitsilano Pool has been temporarily halted as a result of a citizen-backed lawsuit over one portion of the route.

"We're putting the whole thing on hold because we're being sued and we need to be respectful of the process," she said.

The Hadden Park Trust hearing likely won't occur til sometime in June 2014.

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VanRamblings believes that the section of the Seaside Greenway bike path through Hadden and Kitsilano Beach parks will never be built.

At present, we are almost exactly one full year away from the next Vancouver municipal election. By June 2014, all of Vancouver's municipal parties will have selected their candidates for office in Vancouver's 2014 election. Vision Vancouver will hold their nominating meeting in June 2014, the same month the Hadden Park Trust issue goes to Court. The Justice who hears the matter will likely take time to reserve judgement on the issues respecting Hadden Park that have been placed before her or him.

Whatever decision is rendered by the courts respecting Hadden Park, Vision Vancouver will not order construction to commence immediately upon judgement, should the City prevail in the Courts — Hadden Park is simply too much of a hot-button issue. While construction of the remaining sections of the Seaside Greenway (completion set for 2017) continues, Vision will likely order construction of the parks portion of the Greenway halted until 2015, "pending extensive consultation with the public."

Despite the information being fed to the sitting Vision Vancouver Park Board Commissioners that Strategic Communications (Stratcom) polling continues to show a convincing majority win for the party at all levels, VanRamblings believes that Vision Park Board Commissioners will be thrown out of office en masse on election night, Saturday, November 15, 2014.

As little as a 5000 vote loss by Vision Vancouver in 2014, at Council and Park Board, and a consequent gain by the Non-Partisan Association, would reverse the party standings, and result in a near-majority NPA government following the November 15th, 2014 Vancouver municipal election.

From the furore over the Langara Golf Course, to the potential foreshore destroying 30-foot-wide pedestrian and bike path Vision attempted to impose in the area between Kitsilano and Jericho beaches, from Vision Park Board Commissioners' refusal to support the construction of a Killarney Seniors Centre, to the continue hubbub over the dispute, and attempted hostile takeover, involving Vancouver's community centres, in the past two and one-half years, in all the years VanRamblings has covered Park Board matters, never have we witnessed a Park Board regarded in lower repute than the current Vision Vancouver-dominated Vancouver Park Board.

Make no mistake, the current Vision Park Board is far and away, and by any reasonable measure, the worst elected Park Board in the 125-year storied history of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. In 2014, the electorate will gleefully throw the bums out — an entirely deserving fate for the most tone deaf, anti-park Park Board to ever hold office in Vancouver.

And make no mistake, either, the Non-Partisan Association (NPA), or the New Progressive Association, the party of the purple revolution, are well-prepared to take a majority position on, if not sweep, Park Board in 2014. At present, there are 19 candidates vying for an NPA Park Board nomination, led by incumbents Melissa DeGenova and John Coupar — two of the most community-minded park advocates it has been VanRamblings' pleasure to witness in our 40+ year coverage of Park Board.

VanRamblings is aware of an active "Draft Christopher Richardson movement" — former NPA Park Board Commissioner, current Mount Pleasant Community Centre Chairperson, and one of the finest people you could ever want to meet — as a Park Board candidate, and a "Draft Sandy Sharma" movement, as well — she ran with the NPA for a Vancouver Board of Education Trustee position in 2011 — both of these individuals incredibly bright, compassionate, non-partisan and democrats of the first order.

In addition to Coupar, DeGenova, Richardson and Sharma, there's another prominent, and well-loved Indo-Canadian candidate, a woman, as well as an organizer with the Save Kits Beach movement, who are being hotly pursued by the NPA. Should the NPA take power at Park Board in 2014, citizens will not witness the sort of arrogant, bullying and entirely anti-democratic style of decision-making that has defined the Vision Vancouver Park Board approach to governance at the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

With a majority NPA Park Board in place, the Hadden + Kitsilano Beach bike freeway parks portion of the Seaside Greenway will not proceed.

And what of COPE, you ask — you mean the party of "There are no parks issues, there are only development issues"? You have to ask yourself, why would the Vancouver electorate vote for another group of "we know what's good for you, and we're going to shove it down your throat" Stalinist miscreants to take the place of the current crop of former COPE members, now Vision Vancouver Park Commissioners? Without the voices of former, celebrated COPE Park Board Commissioner Loretta Woodcock running for elected office, or former Park Board Chair Anita Romaniuk, or even former Park Board Commissioner Tim Louis, in the mix to run for COPE Parks in 2014, COPE does not stand a chance in hell of electing a single soul to Park Board in 2014 — which is, we would suggest to you, as it should be.

In 2014, the Green Party will likely run one candidate for Park Board — whoever that candidate might be (and it won't be former Green Party Park Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon, who will be running for a Council seat, along with incumbent Adriane Carr — who has been perversely silent on the Save Kits Beach issue, lo these many weeks — in 2014). As for the "other parties": TEAM 2.0 will not run candidates for Park Board — the same is true for the upstart Cedar Party, Vancouver First, Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver, De-Growth, and the Work Less Party.

GlobalBC Noon News: Hadden Park bike lane put on hold. November 8, 2013

Park Board General Manager Malcolm Bromley — one of the voices of reason in the whole Save Kits Beach schmozzle, and a candidate to replace Dr. Penny Ballem as City Manager, when she is seconded to Translink to become its new CEO, in 2015 — informed Save Kits Beach organizer Howard Kelsey Friday morning that the Special Advisory Committee on the Hadden and Kits Beach parks bike route "would be placed on hold pending the outcome of the Court action brought by Ms. Carvell Davis."

Save Kits Beach organizer Howard Kelsey has issued this statement ...

Lawsuits tend to pop up when our civic leaders do not do proper due diligence, or try to ram ill-advised initiatives through without proper planning or proper public consultation. In the case of Hadden and Kits Beach parks, a tremendous resentment has been built up, as the City's "accepted bike route" was 'intrusively' rammed through an already delicate balance of recreational / user groups at Kitsilano Beach. Forcing cycling via a 12-foot-wide asphalt roadway 'inside' an already busy park, a bike highway that could be nothing other than the riskiest of park use activities — in a park well-used by Frisbee players, for family picnics, volleyball, tennis, basketball and other activities, into the relatively harmonious state that we enjoy now — is wrong, plain wrong.

Cyclists are welcome to cycle along the nearby roadway, where they can enjoy a great seaside view and experience. Everyone can 'win-win'.

Until the Courts determine the outcome of Megan Carvell Davis' lawsuit, as the Chair of the Canada One Athletic Foundation, I will remain active on issues that impact on park user enjoyment of Kitsilano Beach. While the Park Board Special Advisory Committee is 'on hold', along with the exceptional group of people I have worked as part of Save Kits Beach, collectively and working together we will remain vigilant in our work to preserve green space at Kitsilano Beach and Hadden parks.

As Howard, and others, pointed out to VanRamblings over the past 24 hours, "the fight is not over."

GlobalBC NewsHour, 6pm: Hadden Park bike lane put on hold. November 8, 2013

The past month organizing with Save Kits Beach has proved to be one of the finest examples of grassroots movement politics we've witnessed, or been a part of, in the past 40+ years of community organizing activities.

Filmmaker / activist, Laurence Keane posted the following on Facebook ...

A BIG high-five to our friends at Vision Vancouver, this was way more fun than last summer's block party!

Vision dumped a surprise community project in our laps and challenged us to work together. And we did, we made a great team full of amazing, passionate individuals with so many disparate talents. It's been a pleasure working with all of you remarkable guys and gals!

VanRamblings would like to pay tribute to Save Kits Beach folks ...

  • Howard Kelsey. The key media spokesperson for, and de facto leader of, Save Kits Beach, a tough, organized, hard-working guy, a former Olympian (his work ethic and dedication to task shone through each hour of every day), not a political animal — but an affable man who, through character and determination, pulled a group of concerned citizens together over the past month to rescue Hadden and Kitsilano Beach parks from the back hoes and assorted construction activities that would have imposed a 12-foot-wide asphalt bike freeway right through the middle of these two beautiful waterfront parks.

  • Elvira Lount. Absolutely tireless, and like Howard, full of energy, whenever and wherever there was an event to be organized, Elvira could be counted on. Her Keep Kits Beach Wild Facebook page, as well as her own Facebook account, was day in, day out, the 'go to' to place for information on Save Kits Beach. Elvira's photography is simply exquisite (there's yet another example at the top, and end, of today's post), her computer design skills exemplary, hers a fine mind of unparalleled creative talent and ability, her demeanour calm always. Elvira is at all times warmly engaging and inspiringly enthusiastic — and her addresses to our exhausted Park Board Commissioners, researched and reasoned in their line of unassailable argument.

  • David Fine and Laurence Keane. David won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short for Bob's Birthday. When days were looking darkest, David's brilliant short, Kits Bike Path - The Movie, injected needed humour, perspective, wit, and a warm attention to the issues that we were doing our best to articulate to the public.

    Laurence was the unofficial cinematographer of the Save Kits Beach movement, that's his Utopia Pictures videos of all Save Kits Beach events over the past month, online, on social media, and on VanRamblings. We're grateful to you for all your fine work, Laurence.

  • The anonymous individual who drew the accurate bike path lanes through Hadden and Kitsilano Beach parks — you are owed a debt of gratitude from all of us in the Save Kits Beach movement, and all those who value of our parks and green space.

  • Megan Carvell Davis, Tina Oliver and Bob Kasting. It was Hadden Park historian Megan Carvell Davis whose idea it was to bring suit against Park Board and the City of Vancouver to halt construction of the paved bike path through Hadden Park. Thanks to Megan's unparalleled knowledge and insight into Hadden Park history, with the help of Bob and Tina, the imposition of a 12-foot-wide asphalt bike path through Hadden Park was stopped in its tracks.

    Bob Kasting. Bronze medal winner in swimming, in the 4x100m Medley Relay, at the 1972 Summer Olympics, in Munich, and multiple medal winner at the Empire, and the British, games, Bob came on board, not as the legal counsel for Save Kits Beach, but rather for Megan Carvell Davis. The respect Bob has garnered in the legal community, and a style of presentation of argument (as can be seen in the video near the top of this post) that is both devastating in its peerless internal logic and presentation, and a wonderment to behold, has carried the day for all of us who care passionately about our parks, our green spaces as oases of tranquility amidst the hurly burly of our daily lives.

  • John Coupar and Melissa DeGenova. Prior to the October 7th Park Board meeting, it was John Coupar who first raised the issue of concern with Howard Kelsey, and with the media, respecting the paved bike path through Hadden and Kits Beach parks — in respect of the dark decision-making at Park Board (par for the course for Vision Vancouver) that imposed a 12-foot-wide asphalt bike path through the parks, sans consultation and public outreach.

    The Save Kits Beach movement was born October 9th. John has been present at each activity conducted by Save Kits Beach, and has spoken out publically to anyone who would listen, about the travesty that would occur should a paved bike route through the parks be imposed. John's father was a horticulturalist, and as a consequence he emerged in his adult life as an advocate for parks and horticulture.

    Working to save the Bloedel Conservatory situated in Queen Elizabeth Park, between the 2008 and 2011 election, when it appeared that Park Board was going to sacrifice the Bloedel Conservatory to the altar of "fiscal responsibility" (and in the process destroy / desecrate an iconic feature of the Vancouver landscape) was what ended up bringing John into politics, although he's far from what most of us would consider a politician to be. In fact, where many of those in the political realm are driven by expediency that is not the case with John — if you look up the word integrity in the dictionary, John's picture accompanies the definition. Over the past two years, John Coupar has gained the respect of everyone whose path he crosses — including the Vision Park Board Commissioners; it is quite simply an impossibility to not like and admire John Coupar. We in Vancouver are fortunate to have John as an elected representative, as an ardent, articulate advocate for parks.

    John conducts the best research of the two NPA Commissioners, and finds his way to putting on the Park Board table a reasoned, coherent, and unassailable argument (doesn't mean his Vision colleagues don't ignore him — they do, and call him names in the process, all the while impeaching his integrity, character, reputation and good name, to the extent that John has to, consistently, take his Vision Vancouver Park Board Commissioner colleagues to task, and even then they ignore him, as if being a person of integrity is something to be scorned).

    Melissa DeGenova, on the other hand, is one tough cookie — it is Melissa who consistently holds Vision's feet to the fire, and is present to support and encourage every initiative that her NPA Park Board Commissioner colleague John Coupar undertakes. Melissa is the 'politician' of the two NPA Park Board Commissioners — she knows procedure, she's quick on her feet, and despite the worst, most abusive treatment directed toward her by her Vision Vancouver Park Board Commissioner colleagues [we're talking 'bout you, Aaron Jasper, Niki Sharma, Constance Barnes, Trevor Loke, and — less often, but often enough — Park Board Chair, Sarah Blyth] — that VanRamblings has ever had the misfortune to witness in the political arena, at any level of government - when most of us would be running home to cry to our moms - Melissa consistently gives as good as she gets, and time and again she bests her woefully inept, mean-spirited, and terribly bullying Visionless Park Board Commissioner colleagues.

    This past Monday, November 4th, Melissa outdid herself. Melissa's address to her Park Board colleagues — and to the approximately 100 members of the public who were present just as the vote was to be taken on John Coupar's motion calling for "transparency of process" in the determination of a final route for parks portion of the Seaside Greenway — was, quite simply, the single most moving evocation of community spirit and commitment to democratic engagement at the Park Board table that we have ever heard voiced and been witness to; we were, all of us who were in attendance, in awe.

  • Sandra Thomas, Jeff Lee, Jennifer Palma, and all the media. Without the inveterate coverage of the Save Kits Beach movement by Sandra Thomas in The Vancouver Courier — whose writing on parks issues, as has long been the case, is incisive every time, and without peer — and Vancouver Sun municipal affairs reporter, Jeff Lee — the finest writer on municipal affairs of a generation (the citizens of Vancouver must remain grateful every day that Jeff did not take 'early retirement' — particularly now that a Vancouver municipal election is looming in the next year) — not to mention, the indefatigable Jennifer Palma, at Global BC, whose command of the core Save Kits Beach issues, Park Board and City governance amazed, and whose humanity and intelligence shines through in all of her reports on Save Kits Beach.

    And let us not forget, Steve Bohus and Randy Helten at CityHallWatch, who were the first in the media to jump on the Save Kits Beach issues and report out, and Sam Cooper at The Province who wrote to deadline with a keen intelligence and precise understanding of the Save Kits Beach issues, and Charlie Smith and Yolanda Cole, at The Straight — the 'go to' place to read about what's going on in our City. And to award-winning producer and host of The Rush on Shaw TV, Fiona Forbes, who has stood with Save Kits Beach since day one.

    And lest we forget, freelance writer Bob Mackin, the hardest-working 'holding the pols feet to the fire' / 'no fear, no favour' muckraking journalist to emerge on Vancouver's 'often too polite' Vancouver media scene in years and years, whose 'down and dirty' — and always relevant — local coverage of parks and civic issues is without peer.

    As well as, the news department of our public broadcaster, the CBC; the production team at CBC Radio One's The Early Edition, and host Rick Cluff, and to all those in the media who assisted those of us involved in the Save Kits Beach movement to inform Metro Vancouver residents in order that they might better understand what was at risk contingent to the issues Save Kits Beach sought to bring to the fore — the loss of Hadden and Kitsilano Beach parks as places for families to gather, for folks to play tennis, basketball and volleyball, sit in peace under the maple trees on the north end of Kits Beach, or picnic with their families, or to sit on one of the memorial benches placed along Hadden Park, in order that we might gaze in wonderment across Burrard Inlet, to the mountains, English Bay and the ever-burgeoning towers of the West End — to recognize what we were at risk of losing should a 12-foot-wide asphalt bike freeway be constructed within the midst of two waterfront parks of unsurpassed beauty.

    Those of us involved in the Save Kits Beach movement will remain grateful always for the coverage by Vancouver media that informed and enlightened, and allowed Save Kits Beach to get our message out to all among us who love Kitsilano Beach and Hadden parks.

  • To Randey Brophey, who has won accolades in the community and online, for taking the fight for the preservation of Kits Beach and Hadden parks to the Park Board Commissioners, a man of clear conscience and integrity, with the support of everyone who knows him, and everyone who comes to know him.

    To Maria Coehlo, who emerged as one of the keynote speakers at the Sunday, October 20th Save Kits Beach rally, and the first person to bring to light the safety issues that would impact on park users - and, most particularly, small children - should the paved bike freeway be imposed by the City.

    To Lynne Kent, who played a pivotal role in the Kits Point Residents Association, who when she's not working with the Save Kits Beach folks, fulfills her role as President of the Executive Committee of the Board of YWCA Canada. Somehow in her busy schedule, no matter the time day or night, Lynne was on her computer sending out and responding to e-mails, her reasoning on every issue impeccable, her voice at the October 20th rally, clarion. In addition, Lynne introduced Megan Carvell Jones to Tina Oliver, who in turn introduced Megan to Robert Kasting — the rest is, of course, history.

    Adam Smith played a pivotal role, as well, not only as a member of the Kits Point Residents Association, but in large measure as the 'communications' / social media / rally the troops guy, the person who worked most closely with Lynne Kent, and in some measure, one of the individuals who was the glue that held us all together.

    And to Jason Johns, parent and Kits resident, who spoke out November 7th at Park Board, and has worked with Save Kits Beach every step of the way, as has Don Shaw, Bill Hooker, Mike Lount, Julian Phipps, Gloria Sully, Grant Vanderhoek, we hope-the-soon-to-be NPA candidate for Mayor, Ian Robertson, Colleen Hardwick (migawd, Colleen, those early videos of Hadden and Kits Beach parks), Garry Chalk, Ken Leung, and far too many more names than we have space to mention in this blog post — each of whom has made a contribution of tremendous import to the Save Kits Beach movement that has, now, stopped the parks portion of the Seaside Greenway dead in its tracks.

  • And to all those who commented frequently on Facebook, wrote letters, attended the rallies and media events, encouraged all of us whose lives were overtaken by work on the Save Kits Beach movement, to Anita Sigur, Catherine Welsh, Pauline Maden, Ricardo Zborovszky, Chris Cross, Roni Jones, Jane Burkart, Jamie Lee Hamilton, Stuart Mackinnon, Connie McGinley, and oh so many more, thank you, thank you for your support — we couldn't have done it without you.

If you've not signed Margaret Partridge's petition, we would ask that you do so now, and tell your friends about what's been going on between the Vision Vancouver-dominated Park Board, and our beautiful Hadden and Kitsilano Beach parks, and ask them please to sign the petition.

Hadden Park Injunction Press Conference. Courtesy of Elvira Lount. November. 9, 2013

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 1:34 AM | Permalink | Save Kits Beach

November 7, 2013

Save Kits Beach: The Battle to Preserve Park Space Continues

At the outset of Monday evening's Vancouver Park Board meeting, scheduled for 6pm, with Park Board Vice-Chair Aaron Jasper at the head of the table, there were not enough Vision Vancouver Park Board Commissioners present for the necessary quorum. Over the course of the hour until quorum was present, at 7pm, Mr. Jasper adjourned the meeting.

Vancouver Park Board Commissioner John Coupar on CBC's Early Edition. Nov. 4 2013.

During the course of that hour, Aaron "done deal" Jasper approached Save Kits Beach organizer Howard Kelsey to inform him that his mind, and that of his fellow Vision Vancouver Park Board Commissioners were already made up. Further, Jasper told Kelsey that the Special Meeting that had been ordered convened by Commissioners John Coupar and Melissa DeGenova — in order that the community might provide input into the membership of, and terms of reference for, an already sanctioned Park Board Special Advisory Committee on the Hadden and Kits Beach portion of the Seaside Greenway bike route — would prove to be a frustrating "exercise in futility," would accomplish nothing, that the Visionless Park Board Commissioners would proceed as they had always intended, and under no circumstance would Park Board relinquish, or cede, control to a Special Advisory Committee respecting the determination of the final parks bike route.

Save Kits Beach rally. Vancouver Park Board Commissioners, John Coupar and Melissa DeGenova, addressing the crowd. Video, courtesy of Elvira Lount. October 20, 2013

Four hours after the Special Park Board meeting was convened that is exactly what happened. One Vision Vancouver Park Board Commissioner after another, led by Mr. Jasper, and followed by Constance Barnes and Trevor Loke, and finally Niki Sharma (the beleaguered Commissioner chosen to Chair the Special Meeting) - who was all but mute on the subject of the defeat of Commissioner Coupar's motion - voted lock step against a motion calling for a fair, open and transparent process for the determination of a bike route through, or around, Hadden and Kits Beach parks.

Raymond Tomlin, on behalf of COPE, speaks out against Hadden + Kits Beach portion of the Seaside Greenway. Video courtesy of Elvira Lount. October 20 2013

Update: On Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, Megan Carvell Davis launched a B.C. Supreme Court action, applying for an injunction to stop construction of the Hadden Park portion of the Seaside Greenway. On Friday, November 8, 2013, the Supreme Court of British Columbia granted injunctive relief to Ms. Carvell Davis. For now, the City of Vancouver may not proceed with the Hadden Park portion of the Seaside Greenway. Work will be halted.

Please find the Press Release on the matter below.

Hadden Park Press Release, Nov 8 2013

As stated in The Province newspaper story the day after the meeting ...

The Vancouver Park Board voted against a motion to give "claws or teeth" to a promised advisory group on the controversial Kitsilano Beach and Hadden parks bike lane.

Speaker Elvira Lount questioned why Park Board was going ahead with its request for proposals deadline of Tuesday when the advisory group, which is expected to be up and running by mid-November, has not yet been formed. "How can (potential bidders on the bike route) budget for something that has not been determined?" she asked the board.

The manner of approach Vision Vancouver chooses to the business of the people? In the dark, with no transparency, spun to make themselves look good, anti-democratic, arrogant and bullying — and, let's face it, just downright infuriating for the hundreds of irate citizens who have turned up meeting after Park Board meeting this past couple of years, only to be dismissed and ignored by the Vision Vancouver members of Park Board.

Gregor Robertson announces it's his intention to hive off 1/3 of the Langara Golf Course for "affordable condominums", Langara residents turn out to protect their green space, and Vision Park Board Commissioners order a "metrics report." With much fanfare, in the summer of 2012, Gregor Robertson announces Vision will build a 30-foot-wide bike path / pedestrian seawall from Kitsilano thru Jericho beaches, along the last piece of pristine foreshore. The response of our nature-loving Vision Park Board Commissioners, "Hey, what a great idea. Birds, wildlife? Nope, it's bikes that matter to us." Fortunately, B.C. Common Law, and the legal concept of riparian rights prevented Vision from acting on their 'off the cuff' plans — there'll be no foreshore-destroying seawall bike path anytime soon, or ever.

Click on the photos above for added pithy commentary, or comment yourself on Facebook. Please click here for additional photos of Monday night's meeting, courtesy of David Fine.

Of course, Aaron Jasper's and Vision's rationale for defeating John Coupar's reasonable motion was, as Randey Brophy writes in a Letter to the Editor to The Province newspaper Thursday, "a complete misrepresentation" ...

Contrary to Vision Vancouver Park Board Vice-Chairman Aaron Jasper's comments after the meeting, there was no overriding power proposed for the advisory group over the city's decisions or policies. What was proposed was that "the advisory group formed will fully review the Seaside Greenway route (Kits Beach / Hadden Park portion) and report back to the Park Board with their recommendation for any changes."

The 'proposed overriding power' of the advisory group, as stated by Mr. Jasper, was not proposed — it was completely made up by Jasper at the end of the meeting, to a chorus of disbelieving questions and boos from the vast majority of the audience ...

Consulting with and listening to recommendations from the affected taxpaying electorate, as opposed to those made by unelected but taxpayer-funded bike lobby groups, is something Vision Vancouver is, once again, demonstrably incapable of doing.

C'mon back mid-Saturday for additional content and insight into the continuing struggle — a struggle that beggars belief, given that our Park Board Commissioners have as their mandate, and are supposed to protect and enhance our parks — towards the preservation of green space, and a Seaside Greenway bike route that will prove safe for cyclists, and all recreational users of our beloved Hadden and Kitsilano Beach parks.

Photos of Monday, Nov. 4th's Park Board meeting. Courtesy of Elvira Lount. Nov. 4 2013

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 12:14 AM | Permalink | Save Kits Beach

November 4, 2013

Save Kits Beach: The Fight to Preserve Park Space Heats Up

Kits Bike Path - The Movie. A movie by, and courtesy of, Oscar-winning director David Fine

The past two weeks in the life of the Save Kits Beach Coalition have proved eventful. Given all that is going on, and all that is planned, today promises to be a watershed day in the fight to bring a modicum of common sense to the issue of a waterfront cycling path through, or around, Hadden and Kitsilano Beach parks, amidst an assurance that the the public might still avail themselves of what the parks have to offer — all within the context of preserving what is left of Vancouver's ever-diminishing green space.

This past week, Park Board Commissioners John Coupar and Melissa DeGenova called on Park Board Chair Sarah Blyth to hold a "Special Meeting on Kits Beach Park", at 6pm tonight in the hour prior to the commencement of the regularly-scheduled Park Board meeting, in order that "key community stakeholders" might be provided an opportunity to address the Board, to articulate to all the Commissioners their concerns respecting the Kitsilano Seaside Greenway Upgrade proposal, approved at Park Board's October 7th meeting. As of Friday, Nov. 1, Ms. Blyth rejected the proposal.

Late Sunday, in an interview with Park Board Commissioner John Coupar, VanRamblings was advised that a legal opinion had been received by Coupar and Commissioner Melissa DeGenova, that legal opinion stating that ...

"Under the Vancouver charter, any two Park Board Commissioners may call a Special Meeting of the Board," said Coupar. "When proper application was made to the Chair that a Special Meeting be held, the Board was compelled to hold that meeting. Park Board Chair Sarah Blyth advised us (Commissioners DeGenova and Coupar) that a quorum for a 6pm meeting would not be possible, thus the application was refused. The legal opinion we received, advised that the Board Chair could not pre-suppose a lack of quorum, and therefore the Special Meeting must be held. A Special Meeting of the Board we will held, Nov. 4th, at 6pm."

Tonight, at 6 p.m., then, at the Park Board offices located at 2099 Beach Avenue, near the Stanley Park tennis courts, and opposite the north shore of English Bay, the requested Special Meeting of the Board has been ordered, and will be held. Park Board meeting co-ordinator Pat Boomhower will accept requests to speak til noon. Ms. Boomhower may be contacted by phone, at 604.257.8453, or by e-mail at Pat Boomhower (click on the link).

Park Board Commissioners John Coupar and an intransigent Constance Barnes, in an interview with host Rick Cluff, on CBC's Early Edition, this morning. November 4, 2013

VanRamblings will provide live coverage of the meeting on our @raytomlin Twitter feed, also available top right of VanRamblings' home page.

This past Thursday, Park Board Chair Blyth issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) on the parks portion (Kits Beach north end "bikeway freeway" here) of the Seaside Greenway approved on July 29th. On the Save Kits Beach Facebook page, Kitsilano resident Elvira Lount raised a conflict concern that the consultant hired by Park Board to draft the final parks portion of the Seaside Greenway bike route proposal was also a bidder on the construction of the bike path. Ms. Lount went on to express consternation that, given the context of the RFP, the City-approved Seaside Greenway bike route seemed all but a "done deal", negating any alternative proposals the Special Advisory Committee — struck to provide input into the final determination of a bike route — might forward to Park Board for approval.

Please find below the full text of Ms. Lount's Facebook post on the matter.

"(Park Board General Manager) Malcolm Bromley has said that the Park Board is in the process of hiring a design consultant as per the RFP that was posted (on the Save Kits Beach Facebook page). This consultant will be hired by the 2nd week of November. Details for creating the Advisory Panel will be finalized by mid-November. A final, detailed design is to be completed in January, 2014, with construction of the new parks portion of the bike route to begin in February. The problem? The Consultant hired represents / is part of the same company that will do the actual work, and therefore has an inherent conflict of interest. How likely is it that s/he will go for the cheapest and best solution — putting the bike lane on the road? Also, how can these consultants bid on the job outlined in the Request for Proposal, if this route is only 'preliminary'? They will obviously bidding on the job as outlined in the RFP."

VanRamblings has in our possession a letter from a British Columbia cycling advocacy organization that argues against the City-approved parks portion of the Seaside Greenway, laying out the reasons why, and offering suggestion as to a green space saving Hadden and Kitsilano Beach park alternative bike route, approved and preferred by its members. At present, there's an embargo on release of the letter. Following a press conference later today, VanRamblings will make the letter available to our readers.

Update: Please find below, the letter from Richard Wooles, Executive Director of Cycling BC, to Howard Kelsey — an organizer of the Save Kits Beach Coalition — respecting Cycling BC's opposition to a paved bike route through Hadden and Kits Beach parks.

Richard Wooles, Cycling BC, letter re: Kits Beach Cycle Lanes, Nov 2nd 2013

Update: On Monday evening, Megan Carvell-Davis, a longtime Kits Point resident, informed Park Board Commissioners that she had, earlier in the day, filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court against the Park Board and the City of Vancouver to stop construction plans for the 12-foot-wide paved lane, alleging the bike pathway is in breach of a trust established when Hadden Park was bequeathed to the city of Vancouver in 1928.

"The trust stipulates the Park Board maintain the property as near as possible in its present state of nature," Ms. Carvell-Davis states in the petition, and that "the Park Board has no authority to breach the terms of the Hadden Trust by permitting the creation of public transportation corridor through Haddon Park."

Here''s are most of the pages of the civil Court Action.

Megan Carvell-Davis vs City of Vancouver

Oasis of serenity, Kitsilano Beach. Photo by Duke Lang
Oasis of serenity. Kitsilano Beach park. Photo, courtesy of Duke Lang. October 30, 2013

While we attempt to secure the entire Court document, to post, we would ask that if you haven't signed the Save Kits Beach Coalition petition, that you consider doing so now, that you tell your extended family, your friends, your neighbours and your colleagues about the petition, that you post share the petition on your Facebook page, and a link to the petition on your Twitter account, if you've got one (and you oughta, believe me!).

On Friday, November 1st, The Province newspaper published a column by Vancouver teacher and former Green Party Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon, titled "Is asphalt the new green in Vision's Vancouver?", in which he writes ...

For a party that promotes itself as green, it appears to have a great affection for concrete and asphalt. Vision Vancouver seems to view our parks as some sort of "land bank" that they can make withdrawals from whenever they feel like it. In fact, our parks and beaches are a legacy left to us by our parents and grandparents and held in trust by us for our children and their children in perpetuity."

Mr. Mackinnon's clarion voice rings as true today as it did during his three-year term on Park Board, when he was subject to constant attack of the most unsavoury kind by Vision Vancouver Park Board Commissioners.

As Elvira Lount wrote online recently, "We will not be bullied into silence."

Save Kits Beach Coalition's Howard Kelsey conducts a Media Walking Tour of the "accepted bike route", the 12-foot-wide, raised blacktop bike lane approved by the Vancouver Park Board on October 7, 2013. Video, courtesy of Elvira Lount. October 27, 2013

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 2:31 AM | Permalink | Save Kits Beach

November 2, 2013

Salmon Confidential: Dying Salmon, Destruction of an Ecosystem

About two-thirds of the way through Twyla Roscovich's maddeningly compelling documentary, activist marine biologist Alexandra Morton and a few cohorts with whom she works on the study of the impact of salmon farming on Canadian wild salmon, enter the Real Canadian Superstore at Rupert Street and Grandview Highway, in Vancouver.

The scientific foray into the community involves purchasing all the salmon available at the store, in order that their purchase might be shipped to a laboratory in Europe, and another on the east coast, to test for the infectious salmon anemia (ISA) virus, and other pathogens.

The result? Suffice to say that anyone who watches that particular sequence in Roscovich's provocative documentary film — available above in today's VanRamblings post — will never eat farmed salmon ever again.

Here's Ian Bailey's Globe and Mail review of Salmon Confidential ...

This feisty and provocative film is spoiling-for-a-fight cinema. Someday there will be a new feature-length documentary reconciling both sides of the debate over the environmental costs of farming salmon in B.C. For now, there's this compelling work which tilts sharply towards the wild-salmon side. Director Twyla Roscovich's visually alluring film spotlights activist biologist Alexandra Morton as she finds B.C. salmon in the wild showing European viruses that Ms. Morton links to fish farms on the coast. Federal and industry representatives declined to sit for interviews, Ms. Roscovich has said. Still, the film serves as a forceful primer on an ongoing debate that some viewers, especially those in urban areas, may now just be catching up on. Let the debate begin after the end credits.

Hey, it's The Globe and Mail — you expected an evisceration of the role of both the provincial and federal governments for their failure to act to protect wild salmon, or the health of Canadians? Not the world we live in.

Alexander Morton, in a scene from Twyla Roscovich's Salmon Confidential

Greg Ursic, in The Ubyssey, says about the film "Salmon Confidential is thoroughly researched, informative and so infuriating that you'll want to throw something at the screen." Jason Coleman, at Star Pulse, agrees with VanRamblings, when he writes ...

You will never eat farmed fish for the rest of your life after viewing this. A must-see, especially for British Columbians known for world-renowned Sockeye, Salmon Confidential is a corker of a doc. It's staggering and eye-opening to see how the business of B.C.'s natural resources and food has been tainted by government and how puppet scientists have given up their objectivity simply to kowtow to (corrupt) governments. This is the GMO monster in a different form and here the monster kills by passing on poisons and infection that are a recipe for extinction of a foundational salmon species. An important film right on par with The Cove impact-wise, Salmon Confidential is an important don't miss it experience for all who care to listen. — 5/5 stars

Meanwhile, while our intransigent senior governments take a do nothing approach to the destruction of B.C.'s wild salmon industry, Norwegian authorities have recently ordered that some two million sea-lice infested farmed salmon in the Vikna district of Nord Trondelag be slaughtered with immediate effect after becoming resistant to chemical treatments against the sea-lice parasite. Actor Ted Danson and Andrew Sharpless, CEO at Oceana, the largest international conservation organization fully dedicated to protecting the oceans, have published a paper stating, and backing up, their contention that "farmed salmon are not a sustainable alternative."

Enough? Whether you're concerned for your health, wish to gain more insight into the "controversy" involving farmed salmon, or are simply interested in watching a provocative, compelling, and incredibly well-made and watchable documentary film, we would encourage you to screen Salmon Confidential — take our word for it, you won't be sorry you did.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 12:06 AM | Permalink | Environment

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