Recently the Harper government decided to close the Kitsilano Coast Guard station which provided search and rescue services in waters bordering Vancouver. The numerous watercraft (representing 20 million human transits annually) crossing English Bay and False Creek now have to depend on a station over one-half hour from the centre of water traffic.
Though only one small instance of massive government cutbacks, it nevertheless affects the sense of well-being in the lower mainland of British Columbia.
Though the Conservatives deny it, the Kitsilano closure puts lives in danger. Providing security for citizens is what democratic governments are supposed to do.
In my co-edited book The Revolution in Venezuela: social and political change under Chávez, Margarita López-Maya and Luis E. Lander contributed an insightful article on the 2006 Venezuelan elections. The essay is worth revisiting because its analysis identifies the same crucial dynamics that underlie the current campaigns vying to win the Venezuelan presidency on October 7.
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In the early 1990s, CTV broadcaster Eric Malling told Canadians the sad tale of a baby hippo shot by authorities at a New Zealand zoo.
Sad, but apparently necessary, Malling suggested in a special broadcast from down under. After all, New Zealand had big deficits, so there was no money to expand the hippo pen. What was a country to do but blow the newborn hippo away?
Malling's cautionary tale, which helped pitch an austerity agenda to Canadians 20 years ago, wouldn't seem out of place today, as we're once again being urged to hunker down for lean, mean times.