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Blind Man with a Pistol
Michael Stewart is the blogs coordinator for rabble.ca. BMWAP is a blog about culture and capitalism. Damn right, it's confusing; it's a gas, baby, you dig. Follow him on twitter: @m_r_stewart.
If you met a young man who couldn't afford rent in Vancouver so he purchased an old Chevy campervan, parked in a different part of the city every week to avoid parking tickets and tow charges, and had to beg for water so he could occasionally shower, I would expect you to react in horror that young people have been forced to respond to the housing crisis in such degrading and burdensome ways.
In October 2014, independent journalist Jesse Brown with the assistance of the Toronto Star published anonymous allegations that CBC star radio host Jian Ghomeshi had physically and sexually assaulted three women. Within a week, the number of anonymous women accusing Ghomeshi had grown to eight; by December, 15.
Ghomeshi, of course, was disgraced, fired and now faces five criminal charges from the Toronto Police.
What is left to say about Vancouver's real estate market? I suppose we could begin with the ritualistic monotony of citing the latest in a long line of studies that names Vancouver as the second-most unaffordable city in the world. For the seventh year in a row. Ho hum, no one can afford to live here, ever. And politicians at every level across party lines stuff their hands in their pockets trying to hide now their embarrassment, now their incompetence.
The shocking murder of nine journalists and three others in a brazen, coordinated attack in the offices of French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo demands sympathy for the victims' families and has provided a chilling reminder to many writers, editors and satirists who challenge orthodoxy of the potential costs of their willingness to provoke. That shouldn't, and won't, be forgotten.
We have already heard political leaders from across the globe represent these attacks as attacks on democratic values. Stephen Harper called the attacks "barbaric" and vowed that "Canada and its allies will not be intimidated." We would "stand firmly together against terrorists who would threaten the peace, freedom and democracy our countries so dearly value."
A few weeks ago a number of mainstream journalists were calling the Vancouver municipal elections "Ho hum." "This was the most boring, uneventful city election campaign in recent memory," wrote Gary Mason. It's a line we've seen repeated by the CBC's Rick Cluff, among others.
Earlier this week on Twitter, NPA city councillor George Affleck ripped into Gregor Robertson for being good looking. Sadly, the level of political debate in Vancouver doesn't have much more to offer than jibes about good, strong, clean teeth. It's no wonder this city is unlikely to improve upon the disgraceful 35 per cent turnout the last time voters went to the polls.
While much of the Western press has been rallying around the sensational and gruesome videos depicting the murder of two journalists and one international aid worker to justify yet another imperial adventure into the Middle East, very few journalists, politicians or critics seem to be questioning why this might not be such a hot idea. I certainly don't like the idea of beheading journalists (nor do I like the massacre of 150 Syrian soldiers that preceded them) but "It's never turned us wrong before!" is not quite the foreign policy thesis that stands up to the scrutiny of history.