Politics 32 results

Guide to the 2015 Canadian election

The Ex-Press takes its democratic duties seriously, and is happy to bring you this definitive Guide to the 2015 Canadian election. As a responsible media outlet, we feel obliged to offer readers our considered opinion as to the party and leaders best suited to govern our country. Such choices are always difficult. However, we have been inspired by the Globe and Mail of Toronto, which has endorsed the Conservative Party but not its leader, Stephen Harper. “His party deserves to be re-elected. But after Oct. 19, he should quickly resign,” the Globe wrote. Up until now, members of the Ex-Press editorial board did not realize such distinctions were possible. Now that we know, we are pleased to offer you our choice for Oct. 19. Ex-Press believes that the best choice for Canadians is an NDP government, however, with a different leader: José Bautista. Both deserve consideration but surely Bautista’s beard is less flawed than that of the present NDP incumbent, Thomas ...

We’re Doomed! A Star Wars Guide to Canada’s Election

The force of apathy awakens, but if you see it as Darth Harper versus Justin Trudeauwalker, things almost look dramatic From the Sith Lord Mike Duffy's allegiance with Darth Harper to rebel insurgents sporting plaid shirts and carrying a cup of Timmy's in their holsters, the election has turned into a stellar war of ideologies featuring a leader who lives behind a mask By Chris Lackner Now, in a galaxy far, far too close. There. Got your attention? My Star Wars ploy worked? Now stay focused, Canada. When it comes to our election, I know most of you are either bored, indifferent, disgusted – or blissfully unaware it even started. Much like the Death Star, I’m going to blow your mind in one shot. With only months to go before the franchise reboot, we can all agree the space opera is waaaaay more interesting than politics. But what if our election was a Star Wars movie?! (Given the cookie-cutter dialogue of recent debates, it already feels like the election was written ...

Feeling Blue in a Red State

Blow a kiss? Fire a gun? Bonding with your neighbor can be a blast, but not always in the best way writes one veteran scribe who went for a walk and stared down the barrel of an ugly reality in her own backyard By Carla McClain A beautiful part of the world this is - rural southern Arizona only a couple dozen miles from the border with Mexico. Big sky, big mountains embracing a valley of rolling grasslands and evergreen oak trees. A land of quiet, peace and tranquility. Usually. Walking home from an evening trek with my dogs, high on the solitude of nature only, our reverie was shattered by gunshots - one, two, three, four - a terrifying sound that triggers fight-or-flight in the primitive brainstem, much like the rattle of our venomous snakes when you get too close. I whirled around, to see the distant figure of a man up on a hill, his arm raised, his weapon aimed….at us. Having no time to flee and no way to fight, I screamed, a demented howl of sheer terror. The dogs, as ...

Escape the Labour Day pains with a movie

The trials and tribulations of organized labour powered more than one Hollywood epic before the idolatry of corporatism took hold in the wake of Wall Street, but even in the age of a Donald Trump presidential bid and Wal-Mart wages, the union cause still looks heroic though a high-end lens By Rod Mickleburgh My mother hated Labour Day. For her, a high school English teacher, it was not only a day to pay tribute to workers and unions, but a signal that the lazy, hazy days of summer were over, and it was time to go back to work. Every year, the prospect of facing classroom after classroom of demanding new students caused a thick knot of apprehension in her stomach. And my mother was an excellent teacher. Long after she retired, she continued to feel those same old familiar twinges of Labour Day dread.   Last year. B.C. teachers were on the picket line. Classrooms sat empty. This year, one hopes some of them reflect back on the original purpose of Labour Day, a ...

It’s never too late to remember the fallen

REMEMBRANCE DAY SPECIAL Seventy years ago, fighting men and women returned home from the battlefields and POW camps in the Pacific to a less-than-warm welcome, a sad testament to the forgotten sacrifices of veterans that continues to this day   By Rod Mickleburgh Amid all the wonderful crazy sports stuff going on, there was a very sombre anniversary. Seventy years ago this past weekend, the last, bloody gasp of World War Two came to end, with the surrender of Japan, after years of unimaginable killing. Canada was involved in the war at the very outset, when this country dispatched about 2,000 raw recruits in a hopeless move to buttress British forces in Hong Kong shortly before Pearl Harbour. A month later, the Japanese invaded. After a relatively-brief, murderous skirmish that lasted perhaps a week, Hong Kong fell to the Japanese. More than 550 Canadians were killed in the fighting or died later as starved, over-worked prisoners of war, their bodies reduced to little ...

Extra! Extra! There are still a few stories in the naked city

Newspapers may be fading to black, but there's still gold in those grey pages, you just have to pan with patience By Rod Mickleburgh As regular readers know by now, I remain a big fan of newspapers, despite their ever-diminishing state. Why, just this week, I found all sorts of goodies distributed among their varied pages. The treasures are still there. You just have to look a bit harder and be a bit more patient these days. So I thought I would share a few.     1. I hadn’t quite realized before that the state most affected by climate change is not media-saturated, rain-starved California, but, of course, Alaska. So far, this summer, wildfires have burned through more than 20,000 square kilometres of Alaskan forestry, a swath larger than all of Connecticut. Other bad stuff, too. An excellent story from Saturday’s Vancouver Sun, written by the Washington Post’s environment reporter, Chris Mooney. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2...

The Look of Silence: Joshua Oppenheimer reflects on deflection

In The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer offered the dramatic testimony of mass murderers as they re-enacted their crimes. In the forthcoming sequel, The Look of Silence, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker brings the perpetrators face to face with the brother of the man they killed. By Katherine Monk Joshua Oppenheimer is a precise filmmaker, which is difficult to accomplish at the best of times, but something practically unheard of in documentary. It’s the reason why the Texas-born filmmaker was nominated for an Oscar for his first feature, The Act of Killing, a blend of research and febrile nightmare that related the story of Indonesia’s communist purge in which one million people were murdered. The movie caused a stir in Indonesia as it showed men who are still in power boasting about their acts of killing, and Oppenheimer suspected it would probably make any repeat visits to Indonesia impossible. Yet, this month will see the release of a sequel to The Act of Killing ...

Remembrance Day Special: Paying homage to the ‘Moon’

Rod Mickleburgh traces personal roots to exhume the history of more than 1,500 Canadians who defied their own government to fight for freedom, and the losing side of the Spanish Civil War By Rod Mickleburgh I have more than a few books about the tragic Spanish Civil War. Yet I can barely bring myself to read them. Well, except for Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell’s bittersweet, affecting memoir detailing both the heroic commitment of those who fought for a republican Spain and the bloody witch hunt by hard-line Stalinists against those fighting with the anarchists. I just find it all so depressing. In addition to the millions of Spaniards caught up in the ferocious struggle, thousands of young idealists from all over the world headed off to Spain, fired by a zeal to fight fascism and support a democratically-elected government that sought to make progressive change. The issues could not have been more black and white. The conflict has been rightly labelled ‘the last ...

Lest we forget the labour that birthed a province

Official school curriculum ignores the blood-stained history of organized labour, so Rod Mickleburgh offers a refresher on two violent events that unfolded on the waterfront By Rod Mickleburgh VANCOUVER - There were some grim remembrances last week for those dwindling few of us who consider the past travails of unions and workers worth preserving as part of our collective heritage. Their struggles and tragedies are as dramatic as history gets. Yet they claim very little place in what students are taught about the province’s history. We are getting better at changing history from just what dead white guys did long ago, even if I sometimes fear we de-emphasize these events a little too much in our schools. They did shape this country, and we should know about them. While John A. Macdonald, for instance, did some bad things (Louis Riel, treatment of First Nations, etc.), without his vision, strength of character and political acumen, parts of Canada might long ago have been ...

Judge’s dissenting remarks draw chalk outline around corpse of collective bargaining

Justice Ian Donald emerges as a lone voice in the labour wilderness with recent 38-page dissent concluding the BC government did not bargain in good faith with teachers By Rod Mickleburgh “[If] the government could declare all further compromise in any context to be untenable, pass whatever it wants, and spend all ‘consultation periods’ repeatedly saying ‘sorry, this is as far as we can go,’ [that] would make a mockery of the concept of collective bargaining.” - Justice Ian Donald, dissenting from the B.C. Court of Appeal decision overturning a lower court ruling that found the government’s imposed 2012 contract on B.C. teachers unconstitutional. I’ve known Appeal Court Justice Ian Donald for a long time, not recently or as a friend, but during his time as a lawyer representing non-mainstream unions who made a lot of news in those long lost days when I was a labour reporter. His clients included independent Canadian unions such as the Pulp, Paper and ...