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Haha! [19 Aug 2006|02:54pm]
[ mood | amused ]

My friend Andy has put together a new blog, Interlogue (http://interlogue.wordpress.com) which is well worth a read. Although a lot of it relates specifically to Australia, the latest post on it is a hoot. To summarise, he completely demolishes his city's Sunday paper. With News International bidding for Canadian newspapers I dread to think what our media landscape will look like in 10 years if this is what we have to go on.

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Totally disgusted with Harper. [19 Aug 2006|11:43am]
[ mood | pissed off ]

This article in the Toronto Star demonstrates in every possible way why our completely unstatesmanlike Prime Minister should consider early retirement.

Two quotes:

"Not only did Prime Minister Stephen Harper go out of his way to avoid the 16th International AIDS Conference, the largest gathering of its kind in history, his government cancelled a funding announcement it had scheduled there. Finally, as if to underline his scorn for the meeting, Harper indicated the long-expected announcement on Canadian AIDS funding would be delayed until delegates to the conference were gone."

"Harper had a chance to stand in solidarity with them against a horrific pandemic. Instead, lacking their courage, he surrendered to political expedience, to fear of being booed and to sulking over criticism. For shame."

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News coverage (or Daniel's Guide to the DW News Bulletin) [10 Aug 2006|10:41am]
Story 1: The plot. News from the UK.
Story 2: The plot. News from the US.
Story 3: People blowing each other into tiny bits in the Middle East, in complete defiance of common sense. Reports from both sides.
Story 4: People with common sense criticising the protagonists of Story 3 (HRW; aid organisations).
Story 5: People blowing each other into tiny bits in a different bit of the Middle East. (Iraq)
Story 6: People blowing each other into tiny bits in Sri Lanka.

There is a disturbing pattern. The theme music comes almost as a relief. Is this a true reflection of what's going on in the world, or is this a failure of emphasis and perspective on the part of the world's news agencies?

Disclaimer: Other news agencies are just as guilty, this happened to be the one I sat down and notated.
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Betrayal. [07 Feb 2006|01:45am]
An afterthought on the Canadian election. The member who I worked against, Liberal David Emerson in Vancouver-Kingsway, won on a slightly increased margin reflecting the overall swing to left-leaning parties in the 2006 election in BC. In Emerson's case, this was somewhat at the expense of the NDP.

For him to defect to the Conservatives just 2 weeks after the election merely to continue his involvement in Cabinet is actually very unprincipled. I agree with Jack Layton's call for Emerson to go to a byelection now that he has switched camps.
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To my non-Canadian readers [24 Jan 2006|04:42pm]
Just a quickie... I hear pretty much all your media is triumphing the "rise to power" of Stephen Harper. I'd like to present a counterpoint.

Nothing has changed since my last entry - he is 30 seats short of government. To get anything through, he needs the support of one of:

  • an English Canadian left-wing party with a federalist Quebec independent.
  • a French Canadian left-wing separatist party.
  • the centrist former Liberal government.


The Liberals and Bloc Québécois, if they agree on something, can block *any* legislation - they have 154 seats, exactly half. Party discipline, while reasonably strong, is no barrier to people crossing the floor on votes - it often happens. All of the opposition parties have strong-to-dominant support in urban areas outside Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The Conservatives are divided between former Progressive Conservatives, who are fiscally but not socially conservative, and the former Reform/Alliance, who are strongly socially conservative. Now that they're in government, unless they feel united against a common enemy, they could blow themselves apart spectacularly.

"Globe and Mail" highlighted this morning that the Conservatives have no natural allies - the Bloc, for instance, have liberal views on gay rights, favour decriminalisation of minor possession of marijuana, and they're fans of universal health care. One of my Australian colleagues described the Australian electorate as "basically personally reserved (although expressive), politically neutral, socially centre-bordering-left and economically centre-bordering-right - but not extreme in either direction." Canada, however, is plain out socially centre-left. This will push the Conservatives in a centrist direction and dampen their enthusiasm (lust?) for US-style right-wing policies.

One final comment is regarding attrition - the tendency of sitting MPs and lay party members to switch between parties at a rate which simply doesn't happen elsewhere. Typically, about 10-12 per electoral cycle. It's an institutional feature of Canadian politics. As the Liberal Party are seen as the natural party of government, they benefit from this more than anyone else - several key Liberal MPs today were Conservatives elected in 2000 and/or 2004. By the first confidence vote, two Liberals had gone independent and two Conservatives had switched to the Liberals. Only one of our great PMs was not a Lib. People who leave the Liberals tend to go independent, vote with the Liberals on most things anyway, then eventually rejoin. They have been in power for more years since 1900 than the Communists in Russia - and all of them democratically elected, many in quite tough contests.
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Sometimes I'm reminded why BC is so cool. [24 Jan 2006|09:37am]
[ mood | cheerful ]

From today's Globe and Mail:

"VANCOUVER — British Columbia was its usual contrary, electoral self last night, turfing Conservatives, increasing the number of Liberals and doubling NDP representation in the province.

In results that few predicted, given the healthy Conservative lead in opinion surveys in B.C., the Tories were in danger of losing five seats in the province, reducing them to 17 from the 22 seats they held in the last Parliament."


Nina Grewal only JUST got Fleetwood-Port Kells. An NDP candidate, Penny Priddy, easily got Chuck Cadman's old seat in Surrey North with the support of Chuck's wife. Liberals are likely to take West Vancouver and HAVE taken Newton-North Delta of all places. These places are Conservative heartland, either "bible belt" or old money. And the NDP finally got Victoria AND Nanaimo in the same election. The Conservatives got absolutely trashed here! East of Surrey, things were more predictable. They were Conservative; they are Conservative. Even Chilliwack, which grows 90% of all marijuana in BC AND votes Conservative. But Nathan Cullen (NDP) increased his majority up north. One day, I will have to visit Terrace and meet that guy.

This is so much better than I expected, even though the national result ended up with Harper ahead. I don't say he "won" as he didn't; to win implies one's agenda has been accepted and one can govern. It hasn't and he can't - he has less of a mandate than Martin did last time. One only needs to browse the table I posted in the last entry to see some VERY decisive results in 1984 and 1993.

(I should explain the 1993 result. By 1993, a new conservative party, the Reform Party, had started. The actual governing party went from 169 to ... 2. Yes, 2. Not 102. Just 2 lonely seats. Reform won 52. It was easier to combine the results on my table.)

Today, the first day of the new era, could have been so much worse. I'm very much a believer in free and fair elections giving the leaders a message from the people. I thought I'd use this to close my journal on a note of levity.

1993: "OUT! Scram! **** off and never come back!" (I think that's really the only message one can read from a 98.8% reduction in the seat count.)

2004: "We're not happy with your mob, Martin, but you're the best mob in town right now. Prove to us you deserve to lead us."

2006: "Sorry, Martin, it ain't working. Harper, you freak us out, but you're the only other game in town. But we'll make damn sure you can't ruin our country like you said you would!"
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[23 Jan 2006|06:43pm]
[ mood | nervous ]

http://enr.elections.ca/

*nervously waits*

Polls in BC close in 17 minutes. At least I can feel that I did my bit. I met some wonderful people today and on Saturday, and my faith that Canadians will choose the right alternatives, while shaky, is not gone.

Current state of affairs:

Party19801984198819931997200020042006
Liberal1474083177155172135103
Con*10321116954807899124
NDP323043921131929
BQ   5444385451
Other01011011



EDIT: Paul Martin has conceded. Stephen Harper is now our prime minister. My only real consolation is that the NDP have significantly increased their seat count, meaning that Harper has to govern with a minority even less than Martin's.

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Placeholder: Are the working class deserting the NDP? [18 Jan 2006|05:50am]
[ mood | contemplative ]

I tried to place this as a reply to a blog entry but they are having technical problems so I've whacked it in here. With a view that most of my readers are in fact not Canadian and this article is about a much broader issue, I've taken many of the specific references out.

---
It cannot be denied that no matter where you look in the developed world, with the exception of southern and eastern Europe, the working class as it existed in past decades is becoming an extinct species.

This is not to say that there is not an underprivileged class - indeed, I believe that this is probably a greater number of people than people are willing to admit exist. These people exist in borderline poverty in our affluent societies. However, they are not the working class. They are instead a largely welfare class created by "the poverty trap". Lack of education from our "one-size-fits-all" system feeds into distinct disadvantage in an increasingly managerialised workplace where managers are placing more and more requirements on both the employees and on the employment process. Ironically, part of this is due to inclusion programs and anti-discrimination legislation.

These people drift between exploitative work environments and welfare, or sometimes are stuck purely on the latter. This then perpetuates the vicious cycle as their children are then denied opportunities in education, and so it goes. The welfare class is growing because governments of all political colours have completely failed to devise any strategy to allow them to be productive, and some, especially on the right, simply punish them for being poor while rewarding their upper-middle- and merchant-class constituency.

The younger working class, however, are far more flexible in their views than their counterparts of yesteryear, in part because they actually have money. Just as many of them vote for the right (usually in the form of politicians such as Jean Le Pen, Joerg Haider, Pim Fortuyn and Pauline Hanson) as for the left or centre, and for the most spurious of reasons.

I don't think it is a shock to anyone that the left has gone middle-class, but with its concerns for those who are disadvantaged in society, they are of less interest or relevance to the working-class, but of considerably more interest to the welfare class. In countries where the left-right divide is held by the major parties, the left vote has become divided between major and minor left parties, and Canada is no exception. In an age when wealthy people with a social conscience and a philanthropist bent could well vote left while the working class could vote populist right, to try and project that "the left is in decline" or "the working class is abandoning the left" is a furphy based on an attempted interpretation of reality as it was, not as it is.

Reality has changed. The public has moved on, and proven this by voting accordingly. The left should recognise this, and should stick to clear and reasoned social principles backed up by responsible economics and wide consultation, not necessarily based on historical stances or support bases but based on pragmatic idealism and a genuine desire to make the world and our country a better place, rather than trying to "change our image" or take any other ideologically bankrupt actions to get more votes and money. If we can't sell our principles to those who share them, or we cannot convince them that our principles are sincerely held, then we really do have a problem.

A footnote: I believe that the evidence so far in many countries points to the ascendancy of the left in reaction to the extremism of the right - I heard a speech last week where the speaker controversially put forward that "George W. Bush is the best friend the left could ever ask for", and he may have a point. I think, however, that there is a great body of people who genuinely believe that the left have better answers on social policy, although they may have some doubts about the economics of the social policy (and sadly, some past left-wing governments have given them good cause to do so).

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:) [16 Jan 2006|01:57pm]
[ mood | amused ]

I thought I'd try and lighten up my journal with a funny story.

Shortly before Christmas, my friend Cass decided to write her friend in Leduc, Alberta. Except it seems she had a slip of the brain and wrote Leduc, ALBANIA on the envelope, and didn't include a postal code either.

Never to be outdone, Canada Post managed to get it to the town of Lezhe, Albania. Her messages of good tidings were sadly not understood in that particular corner of the world, and the address was scribbled all over in badly handwritten Albanian, attempts were made to readdress it, and it was sent to "Leduc, FRANCE", via La Italia. The French stamped "Retour à l'expéditeur" and sent it back.

It arrived back yesterday scribbled over, with several postmarks, stamps, notations in various languages and scribbles in at least three colours of ink. I doubt her housemates will let it rest any time soon. :) Poor Cass!

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More Canadian politics. [14 Jan 2006|05:14pm]
[ mood | depressed ]

I've made a decision to ignore all polls between now and the election. The ones available right now just depress me. I don't want to see the Conservative Party of Canada and Bloc Québecois sacrifice or sell off everything that makes my country the great country it is. The thought of Bloc Québecois - yes, you heard right, a SEPARATIST party - running FEDERAL ministries that affect me here in Vancouver, where more people speak Mandarin than French, just boggles the mind.

The last week has convinced me beyond all shadow of a doubt that the Liberals cannot win. The best I can hope for is that that collapse lends itself to NDP votes, and that the BQ vote falls so Conservative minority with NDP balance of power is the next government. I am glad that I have taken my decision to actively support the NDP as I think this election is absolutely critical to Canada's future and that the NDP is the only party who are not simply about oiling the machine (apart from possibly the Greens, but they're basically irrelevant anyway).

Some interesting links:
* Strategic Voting Guide
* BC-based election blog.
* Andrew Spicer's blog.

A side-note to two friends.

A defenceCollapse )

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O Canada... [09 Jan 2006|01:17pm]
[ mood | thoughtful ]

For those of you who read my journal but don't know, Canada is going to an election. This will be my third voting election and I'm not even 22 yet.

38th Federal Election - June 28, 2004 - Liberal (Langley) - Conservative 48%
38th Provincial Election - May 17, 2005 - NDP (Langley) - Liberal 52%
39th Federal Election - January 23, 2006 - NDP (Vancouver-Quadra) - ?? (Almost certain Liberal)

For some reason that is really pissing me off, my particular circumstances in each case always seem to see my preferred party not even being in contention in my given seat. In the provincial election where the Tories didn't even run, and the NDP and Liberal parties got very similar votes, the NDP got a vastly lesser amount of seats.

2004 - Why did I vote Liberal?

As a strong NDP voter, I decided pragmatically to vote Liberal in 2004. Although on reflection it would have mattered none as Langley is a very safe Conservative seat, the merger of the Alliance and Progressive-Conservative parties was not entirely popular with voters - the Conservative vote dropped 29% in Langley from 2000 to 2004. Had this drop been larger, the NDP still had no chance of winning Langley. Whatever my arguments with Paul Martin, Stephen Harper is NOT prime ministerial material. Therefore, in a non-proportional, first-past-the-post system, I was left with no choice but to vote Liberal to make my vote count.

Election 2006

This situation in which we find ourselves is completely insane. Basically, a sponsorship scandal in Québec involving the highest levels of power wiped out the Liberal majority, but the Conservatives actually managed to lose votes on 2000 as well. Some were upset about the 2003 "unite the right" campaign, while others were terrified of Harper's pro-US, pro-gun, moral conservative bluster - including threats to use the notwithstanding clause (effectively, constitutional sabotage) to wind back gay rights. Canadians, it should be noted, are somewhat proud of their centrist, liberal traditions (especially in contrast to the US) regardless of their voting choices over time. The end result - a finely balanced, 50/50 effort between Liberals and the NDP on one side and the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois on the other. This teetering brinkmanship managed to last for 17 months because of independents (mostly ex-Liberal MPs) and the defection of Aurora-Newmarket MP Belinda Stronach from the Conservatives.

My prediction - another Liberal minority government, with the electorate delivering a strong message that it has to move a bit left and pay more attention to the west to survive. I think it is very important for the NDP to increase their share of seats this time around. Here in BC, I would say Vancouver-Centre, Vancouver-Kingsway, Victoria and perhaps even West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast are reasonably likely to switch if the NDP can run a decent campaign. I doubt BQ will be as big this time around in Québec. I think people talking about the Liberals losing serious numbers of Toronto seats are deluded. One of my friends who actually studies electoral trends around the world did a map of the results in Toronto and, well, it was just one colour. The one nearby seat the Conservatives won - well, that was Belinda Stronach. As of yesterday, I've made a resolution to put my money where my mouth is, and will be assisting with the NDP campaign in Vancouver-Kingsway. I'm surprised that they accepted so readily such a late declaration to assist, but anyway, here goes! :) My foray into political optimism, probably not the last.

---

Sometimes I really wish this party were still around. We really need some humour in politics. If you need a reason why, just look at our three parties' official web sites. (Particularly that last one.) Almost makes you want to start an Angry People Party whose only campaign platform is issuing strongly-worded, angry press releases and TV soundbites about all the other parties. The only problem is noone would be able to distinguish my proposed party from any of the others.

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Update, and blog-ish [12 Dec 2005|08:04am]
[ mood | awake ]

Hi all!

Firstly, it would be judicious of me to update this page, like, once in a blue moon, or two.

Highlights of the months in between include:

1. I finished the Structured Learning program with all but two of my students passing. I learned a lot about myself and my capabilities not just through my interactions with the students but my experience of living alone on campus for the two months.
2. I had a holiday in Victoria, after which I'm on talking terms with my cousin again.
3. I applied to, and was turned down for, a job at the UN.
4. I still don't have a boyfriend. Okay, so not a highlight. But it's true.
5. I graduate in May. Yay! What a pity I don't have a clue what I want to do with my Economics degree.
6. I now live in (article 1, wiki) Kerrisdale/South Granville district in a house almost as old as Vancouver itself. In a way, it's sad to leave Langley behind - I will miss my forest walks and blackberries come summer. But what this place offers is just incredible, even if it is rich and full of would-be Republicans who fear change (appropriate kudos to Peter of 'Family Guy' :) Plus I'm so much closer to uni and downtown.

I started this entry for a reason, though. Even though I've never been there, Australia rates high on my radar - hell, over half of my readers are based there, including my best friend. So I've been following the Cronulla Beach riots in Sydney with some interest, but also the smugness that seems to have entered the Canadian dialogue on this event. I even read a guy on Globe and Mail Online saying that Australia's the only place that has riots! So I have put my virtual pen to paper - just my thoughts, but let me know what you think.


---
I am concerned at the reaction of some of my fellow Canadians to the race riots in Sydney. I think we have a tendency to brush our own problems under the carpet while focusing on those of others, and our own problems do exist. An Australian landing in Vancouver, for example, would find the extent of homelessness in this city beyond belief and actually confronting, yet we take it for granted. Could it be that no Australian city has the same problems? Could it be that an Australian worker at the lower levels earns 50% more than a Canadian worker doing the same job? Canada has problems, and saying nothing and ignoring them only perpetuates those problems rather than creating a constructive dialogue to solve them.

Also, for people of a country so easily misunderstood and stereotyped ourselves, I think we are too willing to stereotype Australia based on either the actions of the few or of fictitious characters like 'Crocodile Dundee' and, well, 'Crocodile Hunter', while cringing at overseas questions about Mounties and 'Northern Exposure'. Most Australians in fact live in large cities and live much like us. Like Canada, people hold different opinions about race, some of them quite reactionary, many of them more liberal, but regardless, tend to be peaceful in action.

I'd like to put two powerful words on the table - economics and fear. They appear in every major drama on the world stage from the late 19th century onward. From lynching colonial outsiders in West Africa, to labelling and gassing them in Auschwitz, to shutting the disadvantaged majority out of modern life in South Africa to protect the wealthy (but scared) minority, and then the Cold War - which was all about First World fears and threats, but affected the rest of the world to such an extent that the need for the term "developing countries" was impossible to ignore - followed by the Balkan wars, where just like Northern Ireland, the other side was evil from birth, you would think we as a world would have learned that economic disparities that affect groups and policies that directly or indirectly target those groups at the same time combine to unleash anger, fear and chaos. I find it ironic that while Cronulla burns, the world's leaders are in Hong Kong discussing the West's complete intransigence on, of all things, agricultural subsidies. Why should we pay our farmers to be unproductive while half the world starves to death because they can't sell their produce on our supposedly open market?

Australia has not been spared. They have disadvantaged groups, and groups who fear change to their society or lifestyle. This sentiment has been egged on by cynical electioneering politics by both of the major political parties, in part to take votes from populist right-wing parties advocating simplistic racial solutions. Echoes of election campaigns past can be found in the very words of some of those at Cronulla as published in recent newspapers around the world. "We decide who come into our country/beaches". Who's us? Who's we? Australia has only aggressively pursued multiculturalism for about 20-30 years. In that time there have been many other changes in society - social, economic, religious - that in many cases are quite unrelated to immigration. But those changes shift people's comfort zones and some who have trouble coping with that need someone to target.

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The update we had to have! [20 Apr 2005|11:18pm]
[ mood | happy ]

Hi all!

21st birthday last week. Fairly non-eventful as I was preparing to pack at the time - I did however get a wonderful little soft toy cow from Andy in Australia. I am currently teaching Chinese students about my age how to speak English in a Structured Learning programme subsidised by both governments. It's amazing how much you learn about your own country when you see it through the eyes of someone who sees it as fundamentally alien - the group is about 50/50 split between those who see this programme as a first step to emigration, and the others who worship China and see any differences as "problem".

The Aussies who read my journal will get the subject line... I've been reading up on the policies and philosophies of Paul Keating, and I was initially confused as to why you guys voted him out, only to subsequently find there was an entire side to his character which I was hitherto unaware of, and has apparently led to the banana-shaped book "Paul Keating's Book Of Insults" being sold out everywhere. What most Australians I talk to don't understand is that on economic issues that dude was dead on. He was like one of the most brilliant economic minds in leadership of any of the medium powers at any time in history, and it's sad that he had to alienate so many people and get voted out. The "recession we had to have" comment, in particular, has often been misunderstood as a bad political defence when it was clear that the recession Australia endured at that time, part of a global recession, was indeed mostly caused by a mixture of external factors and correction/ending of previous bad policy. There is stuff there we in Canada can, and should, learn from.

Anyway, out from me! :D Got to get to bed - 8am class. I hate these morning starts, I am so not a morning person!

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Toronto [19 Aug 2004|10:05pm]
I hate Toronto. It sucks.

OK, lameness out of the way, I expected too much I think. Everyone in Vancouver hates Toronto, but just because it's there - almost no-one has ever been. So I thought I'd give it a chance. Here is my list of 10 Things I Hate About Toronto:

Firstly - the public transport system is about 100 years old and a day pass doesn't even cover Greater Toronto.

Secondly - the gay scene is full of self-important pricks who think Toronto is the centre of the universe, and yet they are trying SO hard to be American.

Thirdly - the air quality is terrible, as is the water. I mean, if I wanted to drink industrial waste, I'd go to the industrial park, not the tap.

Fourthly - they go to the trouble of building an underground city, but provide no signs from one building to the next so you need a whopping big street atlas to get from one bit to the next (and it's usually wrong).

Fifthly - the suburbs here suck. They all look identical to each other, no character whatsoever, and each with its identical looking mall. If you're going to have a goddamn mall, at least make it interesting like Metrotown Burnaby or West Edmonton. Eaton Centre here counts, but it's not suburban. Walmart + The Bay + Sears + a crappy food court does not a good mall make.

Sixthly - what's wrong with the odd bit of forest?

Seventhly - what's with the lack of cheap fresh food places? Does everything need to be drenched in a layer of fat and cost twice what it does in Vancouver? You'd think with all the stuff they grow in Ontario that they'd actually utilise it.

Eighthly - if you're going to call somewhere upmarket (i.e. Yorkville), at least let a cleaner or street sweeper go through it once every ... 5 or 10 years maybe.

Ninthly - Get over the CN tower and Skydome already. Yes, they're cool, but if all you needed was a couple of tacky addons to make a city cool, anyone could do it.

Tenthly - The region is boring. If you want to leave Toronto, your choices are ... farmland, industrial area, more farmland, more industrial area, and a few huge freeways. My partner has this bizarre fascination with the 16-lane McDonald-Cartier Freeway, but to me, it's a big road that they named after former Prime Ministers to get funding to make it even bigger. The 3-lane Lions Gate Bridge is so much cooler.

And thusly I end my childish rant about all the stuff that's wrong with this city I'm basically forced to endure until Sunday. What is up with hostels and airlines that can't allow for people making decisions with 48 hours notice?
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[10 Aug 2004|01:33pm]
[ mood | annoyed ]

Well, we made it to Lake Louise, up in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta (just a few km from the BC border).

It's weird that although this place is one province away I've never been anywhere near here. The bus journey took all day yesterday and I admit to being asleep for most of it while Andy played on his camera (which he has developed a love for).

When we got to Lake Louise at 8pm, noone knew where the hostel was! Here was Andy with 27kg of luggage, hauling it from place to place trying to find out. Both of us worried that we might not actually find it, and then disaster struck. Andy's camera fell out of its little bag onto the ground, and the shutter button stopped working and things generally sounded very not good when the camera was in use.

After 200-300m walking and still no signs anywhere, we went to the Lake Louise Inn, where the staff knew exactly where it was. On getting there, there wqas no signs to the entrance. You are probably starting to see a pattern here.


We both ended up with upper bunks as two Belgian guys (another pattern - we had an inconsiderate noisy Belgian guy for two days in Vancouver)were in the lower ones. They were friendly enough but I thought they were a bit rude as they kept making comments to each other in Dutch. In the morning though their tour guide brought us all food (including a lovely strawberry tart for Andy and an apple slice for me) and set off the smoke alarms with sparklers they'd brought for their party. I only realised later that food and drink are not allowed in the room.

They've gone now, so Andy, who hates upper bunks, took the one under me. The bed's wide enough to be a double, and as we're the only ones in the room we're going to use it as one :P

The camera shop knows nothing about digitals, the internet terminals here are slower than my typing speed and broken at the hostel, most info the hostel has given us so far is out of date or wrong, and any food (even normal shopping items) are very expensive. Andy is showing me how to eat cheaply, we've been living on apricots, tap water and lumps of bread from the bakery. (Andy's not a big fan of low-carb diets, he thinks they are dangerous and I'm not going to disagree because I like my carb foods) Apart from the water, we've imposed strict rations in order to keep costs down. Even the Diet Coke's being rationed.

So yeah, welcome to the wonderful village of Lake Louise and the best hostel in Canada. At least it is clean and secure.

I'm going to stop whinging now as it's getting very expensive.

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Wake up, rise and shine... [15 Jul 2004|07:30am]
[ mood | bouncy ]

I have been in a great mood all this week. School's out. Friends are fun. Even the weather is being nice. The birds are chirping way up in the trees, and somewhere on the other side of the world, my best friend and compatriot Andy is getting ready to fly to be with me.

11 days and about 3 hours to go.

God I am so excited :D hehe... I think I have needed something like this to be excited about for a long time.

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More silliness [16 Jun 2004|11:53am]
Have a read of how some engineering student in Toronto got mistaken for a terrorist. It's quite a funny story.
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Hey! [11 Jun 2004|06:42am]
[ mood | happy ]

I'm in a good mood today. Andy is coming here in just 45 days! I can hardly wait.

Anyway, my dad's dragging me off to Victoria for the weekend. It's been 7 years since I was last there, so it'd better be good. I've had a long week.

Oh, and political stuff - Those of you in Canada who know me would know I'm not your typical Liberal voter. I am a proud NDP supporter, and am happy to vote for them in municipal and provincial elections here in BC. However, this year, I am voting Liberal and Paul Martin federally, and encourage you all to do the same if you're able to. We cannot let this country's policies be set by Washington. The Australians have that problem right now with John Howard and the paradoxically-named Liberal Party (like our Conservatives), who is presently trying to sell that country to his political masters. The only way to ensure that does not happen is to ensure that the present party here in Canada with an established pragmatic approach to US relations survives this election. Sure, there's party scandals. Every party has them, though. Vote Martin in '04!!

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[13 May 2004|08:05am]
[ mood | sad ]

I don't normally delve into political issues in here, but being in the bizarre situation of being able to receive both Canadian and US television from here, it's incredible how different the coverage is of what you'd think are fairly straightforward, although shocking, events.

I have one question. Why should one American life be worth more than however many Iraqi lives? Why can so many Americans just label Iraqis "terrorists" and then justify any amount of brutality against them? And why is there no talk of the death penalty for American soldiers, when they're talking about the death penalty for Iraqis (eg Baath Party types) who commit the same crimes?

Maybe I'll just be written off as a silly Canadian who wouldn't understand and shouldn't be asking questions when I should just be repeating "support our troops" like a mantra. Maybe I'm just idealist and think people shouldn't be tortured, raped, killed or humiliated, no matter what nationality the inflictor and inflictee are. But is there anything wrong with that?

*big sigh*

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Will update soon. [28 Feb 2004|04:27am]
[ mood | tired ]

Hi all,

I'm sorry I haven't had an opportunity to update much. Been up to my neck in work from university subjects, and have had a few personal dramas. But all is well in Daniel's world :D So do not fear...

If I haven't chatted to you recently, I hope to do so soon.

Bye for now! :D *hugs to the appropriate people*

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