Tag Archives: public policy

Vancouver Olympics to feature US-style “free speech zones” – Boing Boing

Vancouver Olympics to feature US-style “free speech zones” – Boing Boing

Vancouver police plan Downtown Eastside crackdown ahead of Olympics | Vancouver, Canada | Straight.com

Vancouver police plan Downtown Eastside crackdown ahead of Olympics | Vancouver, Canada | Straight.com

Vancouver Observer: “Free Speech Areas” During Olympics? Hmm

Vancouver Observer: “Free Speech Areas” During Olympics? Hmm

Choogle On Fest – Episodes Ahoy from Belize, Taos, Dalai Lama and Wreck Beach

Ahoy Chooglers!

The other night while waiting on a 4 hour late train from Seattle, I strapped on the headphones and fired up the vappy for an editing fest. I worked on the next three and just published one.

The freshie is called “Drug Test Resistance in Belize

Grab the Choogle on feed or Subscribe via iTunes

Drug test resistance

On the back porch, Uncle Weed shares a personal message to the chooglers international followed by a spiel about tactics to resist a golf course incident induced corporate drug test using vigilance, friendly lawyers, a trip to Belize w/ broken wrist, and Tolstoy’s War + Peace.

I included a fat link pack about including my Drug Test research essay (.pdf), info on travelling to Caye Caulker Belize and photos from my trip to Belize back in 2001to Flickr with the Drug Test Resistance in Belize post.

Episodes up next are … (working titles – still need to do the album art and write up the blurbs and all that):

– the Taos hostage incident from Mayne Island (a long story with a contest announced at the end)
– the Dalai Lama Canadian Citizenship ceremony (this was really hard to edit because of the applause but i think i trimmed out an nice story and cut out the speech by Vancouver’s then-mayor and other cheeseheads and left in the gentle words of HHDL14)

I also got a start on “Festive musings from Wreck Beach” underway so expect a bonanza over the next little while.


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Fresh batch of happyfrog “Pond casts” from the Health Show

You know i dig making my wee little audio documentary interviews and … at the recent Vancouver Health Show at Canada Place, i interviewed four entrepreneurial women for podcasts posted at happyfrog.ca’s Frog blog. Thought i’d share ’em here for posterity:

Know your Local Water
Vancouver has exceptional drinking water but there is many reasons for concern – chlorination, excessive water laws, groundwater protection and finding a filter made for local water. Mary of yourwatermatters.com also invites you to speak your mind by contacting the Ground Water Advisory Board.

Grab a Stylish and Durable Bag
Bringing your own bag is easier, more stylish with Moukisac.com. Marie tells about her durable 6 in 1 bag system which starts as a fanny pack and turns into a shopping bag with a variety of small sacks for bulks, produce and even sprouting.

Dried Fruit for Washing Clothes

Soap Nuts are a fruit for washing clothes – the waste water is non-polluting, the soap packets are compostable and the smell is like lemongrass. The fruits are grown, dried and prepared in India and fairly traded to green consumers in Vancouver. Learn more about Sapindus (aka soap nuts) at Wikipedia

Healthy Food and Packaging to Change the World
At the Vancouver Health Show, Dave talks to Alex a mother and entrepreneur who, with her partner Colin, produce dried whole foods packaged in cellulose, glass and with no glues. They discuss carbon footprint, local sourcing and creative distribution. Visit madewithlove.ca.

We Need More Buses! A Campaign by Drivers for Riders (ps thanks)

Uploaded - 28108Excerpted from Meeting Friends at Health Show at Canada Place

… I can’t help but mentioning “More Buses Now!

This campaign, organized by the transit drivers union, is holding the government to their promises of more buses – not just new buses to replace the aging fleet, but a significant increase in the total buses to encourage ridership, and stop the overcrowding which leads to pass-bys, crowded conditions, and compromised service and safety.

Not fun for anyone – riders or drivers – watching the bus roll by on a rainy day with places to go – yuch.

Participate by sending your opinion to Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon.

More Buses Now! Ask Kevin Falcon very nicely
More Buses Now! Ask Kevin Falcon very nicely

I’m a daily transit rider (rocking the bus, seabus and skytrain – sometimes all in the same day) and certainly advocate for making transit more convenient and more comfortable rather than looking at public conveyance as a perk or service only for the dis-enfranchised.

I love riding and relaxing while someone else drives which is why I helped ringlead Vancouver Transit
Camp so continued big-ups to Translink for participating in the Skytrain Security Un-conference and huge ups to the organizers for putting this important dialogue in front of the public.

Finally, to really support transit and sensible transportation policies in general – anyone living in Surrey, be sure to vote for Paul Hillsdon for Surrey City Council and/or School Trustee – otherwise, be sure to read his plans for sustainable transportation in the entire region.


Karen Quinn Fung – transit activist and scholar, added some of my acerbic dose of punditry to the conversation in Public Perceptions of Transit Security:

Rolling Transit Museum

As I mentioned yesterday, if you haven’t heard Dave Olson aka Uncle Weed’s rant on transit police on his Choogle On podcast, I highly recommend it with some good humour – his delivery is spot-on, and he entirely captures my own feelings on the topic. (For those of you with delicate ears, he does use some abrasive and explicit language. Nothing worse than you’ll hear on the SkyTrain.) It also brings home an awful lot of issues for me – this is a bit of a long post as a result.


Perhaps you’re ready to write Dave off, because you think he’s of a different political stripe or has an entirely different set of values. That’s a legitimate reason to disagree with his delivery, perhaps, but not, I think, with his observations or the broader argument: that as citizens we have the right and perhaps even a duty to question how the presence of surveillance and constant visible law enforcement in our every day lives affects how we act and live in our communities.

Thanks to Karen for so gracefully sharing my spiel with transcription (which matches my stream of consciousness exactly – like stepping my own head). I do indeed ride transit everywhere i go (as in, in other countries and cities besides Vancouver) and like the other Dave OlsEn, i wish transit were free for the people!

Hard Tokes with Herby in the Hoosgow – Choogle on #69

Herby is a Canadian doing 30 weekends in jail for a 2 light grow operation. He tells Uncle Weed about the conditions of “Guantanamo North” and answers questions about the trial process, political situation in Canada, and keeping his health up. Edited by Bread the Producer. Music from Under the Volcano fest.

Protect your rights with Hard Tokes with Herby in the Hoosgow – Choogle on #69 (.mp3, 17:45, 16MB)

herby in the hoosgow

More Herby:

Field Trip to Herby’s Garden with Dopefiend – Choogle #57

Tokes on the Porch Returns to Herby’s Garden – Choogle on #56

and/or Tokes on the Dopecast: Field Trip to Herby’s Secret Garden

Dopecast95: LIVE from Vancouver and Seattle!


Grab the Choogle on feed or Chillaxin feed or via iTunes


Uncleweed.net for more writings, podcasts, paintings and photos

More Podcast Goodness

Postcards from Gravelly Beach – Literature podcast – FeediTunesBlog

Out n’ About with Uncle Weed– Travelin’ man vidcast – ShowFeediTunes

Ephemeral Feasthouse – Miscellanea & notes – BlogFeedPodcast

Clubside Breakfast Time – OlyWa Rock and Punditry – BlogFeediTunes

Fact Checking Dossier for Political Animals

This list is borrowed from Democrats Abroad newsletter and was compiled by Beverly Bandler of DA-Mexico for easily fact-check and de-bunk rumours and innuendo which spread during this time of political intrigue.

PS American ex-pats … are you registered to Vote from Abroad? Be sure to fill in the forms and ensure you rballot arrives to your international address in time to count.

Factcheck is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, “consumer advocate” for voters to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.

Snopes validates or debunks urban legends, Internet rumors, and email hoaxes.

Fact-Checker “truth squads” the national political debate, focusing on the issues that are most important to voters.

Urban Legends covers Internet hoaxes, email rumors and urban legends, including petitions, politics, and protest.

Truth-o-meter is “a scorecard separating fact from fiction. A project of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly, it helps find the truth in the presidential campaign.”

RealClearPolitics claims to be an independent political site offering the best commentary, news, polling data, and links to important resources.

Campaign Desk Columbia Journalism Review Campaign Desk fact checks the media.

OpenSecrets, the site of the Center for Responsive Politics, is your “guide to money’s influence on U.S. elections and public policy.”

On the Issues seeks to “provide non-partisan information for voters in the Presidential election, so that votes can be based on issues rather than on personalities and popularity.”

Ways to Immigate to Canada including a Self-Assessment Test

When folks come to visit here in glorious North Vancouver, they often opine, “gosh i wish we could live in Canada” to which i say, if you have something to bring to the table, then you can. While many/most applicants retain a lawyer for this task, if you are diligent, patient and a good form filler outer, then you can do it yourself. There are many details to tend to, so stay alert!

Bear in mind, i am not a barrister but i do have some first-hand practical experience with these immigration matters – regardless, i’m pleased to run my mouth on this but admonish you to seek elsewhere for further opinions since i am just riffing here and might miss something.

The whole deal is all very nicely up on the Canadian gov’s site – appropriately called Immigrating to Canada – but since you are here … here are the status categories which allow you to move to (and work in) Canada legally, divvied up into a few buckets:

Refugee (Humanitarian) class – If you are, or will be, persecuted unjustly in your home country if not provided with sanctuary, you may apply for refugee status, some US military service evaders are currently grinding through the refugee system with minimal success – more luck if you are from Burma today or Darfur or other such debacle-laden land.

Family class – If you marry a Canadian (note: this includes common-law relationships and same-sex relationships), the Canadian partner can sponsor the other into Canada – this involves a stack of paperwork and may include a year or two before the non-Canuck can work legally in Canada and the sponsoring partner must commit to supporting their spouse for 3 years and not go on welfare. The CIC (Citizen Immigration Canada) will do extensive background checks, including addresses, family, criminal and health history checks. The Canadian must show ability to support the spouse and prove the validity of the relationship (save those holiday photos).

Note: As of Feb. 2004 (IIRC), you can apply from within Canada under a weird loophole known as a “sweetheart” clause in which they “pretend” your spouse entered legally and then applies within Canada rather than arriving as a landed immigrant and then applying from within Canada and being unable to leave Canada during this time. Minors (kids) get an application too and medical tests etc.

Lions Gate Bridge from Stanley Park, Vancouver - British Columbia Investor/Entrepreneur/Self-employed – break em down:

1) entreprenuer – if you have $300K to invest in a business, you can come on in – buy yourself a Quizno’s franchise or start a business but you do hafta have money, experience and a plan with a reasonable chance of success so … your big crazy idea to build dinosaurs in Stanley Park is out cause that’s just insane and even suggesting should land you in the crowbar hotel (pardon my digression),

2) investor – if you have $800K, you can let the Canadian gov plays with half of it ($400K) for 5 years (interest not-paid) to boost Canada’s job market and allow some mid-level to bureaucrats to party on with your bread (just kidding) while you spend your other half eating fine meals and lolling about ;-)

3) self-employed – this is the “special” category for sports, arts, culture, entertainment – i.e. elite athletes, entertainers, performers, sculptors, announcers, writers plus and farm managers whom Canada needs/wants (dying family farms and all that) also some librarians – you gotta be noteworthy though but this is a great way if you can swing it

NAFTA Professional – this actually is the status i know least about but the one i come across the most since Computer Programmers are on the list of skills needed in Canada and, through the maligned North American Free Trade Agreement (Reagan and Mulroney), various professionals are afforded a fast track to come on up once they’ve been offered a job by a Canadian firm who will sponsor you to come to Canada (and thus you may sorta be stuck with them for a period of time). Lots of you more on this status than i, so fill me in.

Totems - Comox Valley, British Columbia - Canada Provincial Nominee – this is the wild card since each Canadian province can nominate and fast track anyone they want really based on strategic occupations needed – in BC, this un-met demand includes new media and IT along with construction and health, education and other professionals – really its about the economy, if you help build it, they want you but you gotta have your stuff together beyond “i can make webpages, can i come in now?”

Skilled Worker – and now to the best part, if you are a non-Canadian with professional skills and relevant experience, particularly in an in-demand job, you can likely immigrate – really, it’s that easy (note the US has no such program, only a lottery to get in, really, a lottery) and Canada is quite pragmatic and seeks out workers with skills in-demand in Canada (famously exotic dancers fall into this category from time to time)

The test inquires if you speak a second language (French really), finished college, worked in your chosen field for a period of time, have some skills etc. If you score 67 or better, you qualify to sponsor yourself to Canada (no spouse or employer needed) which means you have responsibilities to not fck up.

So get started eh, here’s the test: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/skilled/assess/index.html

Did ya score get 67 or higher? If so, haul bum over to http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/apply-how.asp and chose the simplified process (unless you are in one of the categories which requires the un-simple “regular” process like you are provincial nominee (this is another class which i know little about), you’ve been selected by Quebec (this francophone-heavy province seeks out French speakers specifically, again i know little more), or a few other odds and ends.

You're *so* tough.Tax and other crap

Once you’ve leapt across the border and are flipping the bird at Bush and his cronies back in the US, you’ll still need to be very aware of international tax laws (all US citizens abroad need to file US tax returns and myriad other details). Thus, i’ll direct you to David Ingram who is a bearded tax and immigration consultant – his rates aren’t trivial so subscribe to his old-school e-mailing list (in dire need of formatting) which discusses the mundanity and minutiae of international tax law. In brief, you gotta declare your worldwide income but it’s not all taxable.

What’s next

Once you are in and off your double secret probation period, you can consider applying for permanent residence status (equivilent to a US green card) allowing you to do most anything but vote and hold top secret government jobs. Three years after that, you can start thinking about the Citizenship test too. Goodtimes eh!Sad Dave after Sweden loss

Now show you are Canadian and turn the hockey game on, sing Oh Canada! and eat some perogies,

Thanks to Will Pate, Kris Krug for photos

Interrogating a Russian over Drinks – Choogle on #50

Over martinis at a fancy Covent Garden bar in London, a charming Russian student indulges a somewhat flustered Uncle Weed’s questions about Siberian winters, police corruption, fixers and bribes, communist nostalgia, gulags, late-night disapperences, hockey teams plus his comrade quearies into the effectiveness of her tactical KGB skills.

Pay your bribe for Interrogating a Russian over Drinks – Choogle on #50 (.mp3, 13:24, 14MB)

original photo by UW, art’ed up by Bread the producer

Subscribe to the Choogle on feed, via Chillaxin’ feed, or in iTunes


Lawyers, Guns and MoneyWarren Zevon via Archive.org
February 11, 1988, Montmartre, Copenhagen, Denmark