The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Saturday, February 07, 2004


Welcome Back

Former MP, MLA, and provincial cabinet minister Ian Waddell has made it official: he's seeking the NDP nomination in Vancouver-Kingsway.

So here's the question: between Waddell and former "Human Rights" commissar Mary-Woo Sims, who can make the Dippers competitive in that riding?

You know the answer.


If you’re wondering why this blog is in plain-jane mode, the server where the template CSS and images reside is down for maintenance or something-like-that.

UPDATE: Looks like the server's back up.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004


Regarding Justin and Janet

Yeah, I saw it; this was way more over-the-top. Never mind these yahoos.

At least you know what I'll be writing about in this week's Terminal City. How could I resist the mix of football, wardrobe failure, broadcast regulation, and family-values freakers whose greatest concern is a naked breast on TV for all of two seconds tops?

UPDATE: Column is now up on


Former Indian Affairs minister Bob Nault (dumped from Cabinet in December) calls up Maclean's typist Paul Wells. The men chat about Paul Martin's cabinet shuffle the new PM's treatment of Liberal stalwarts; Wells blogs it.

Ugly. Martinites will probably say that Nault's words are those of a man who's been spurned, but hey: shouldn't Martin try to keep guys like Nault and former justice minister Martin Cauchon on side rather than off? Cauchon has said he's leaving politics; instead, he'll practice law. What are the odds that he'll be organizing to take over from Martin while he racks up billings in Montreal?

Meanwhile, Cauchon's temporary retirement frees up the Outremont riding for one Jean Lapierre to jump back into the political game. Who? Once a junior minister in the Pierre Trudeau, Lapierre then became a Quebec separatist MP, then a radio talker. Now, he's decided to go back to the Liberals. Between firing Intergovernmental Affairs hardliner Stephane Dion, Jean Lapierre's return to the fold and the defection of Bloc Quebecois MP Robert Lanctot to the Grits, Paul Martin looks to be playing footsy with the separatists. You can bet that that the Conservative party can't wait to paint Martin as soft on the seppies. They might just bring up Martin's late 1980's support for the failed Meech Lake constitutional accord -- and that could kill his prospects in the western provinces.

For those unfamiliar with Western ennui, "Meech" has come to symbolize what's seen out in these parts as Central Canadian pandering to the desires of Quebec nationalists. Meech would have declared Quebec a "distinct society" within Canada and guaranteed the province a swath of powers not guaranteed to the other nine Canadian provinces. The idea was less than popular out this way. Okay, more like hated. You could sum up the feeling as: Great. Ottawa shafts us for how long; and now, they want to give all this power to Quebec while we're still serfs? Screw that!

Unlike other "western" complaints, which more often read as well as "rural" or "Albertan", Meech was disliked evenly across western Canada: Manitoba, B.C. , Saskatchewan, Alberta -- didn't matter. Urban, rural, churchy conservative of passionate social democrat, it rankled them all. Meech was one of the Mulroney government's moves that helped spawn and fuel the old Reform Party. Whenever the Reformers were in danger of losing voters to the Liberals or what-have-you, Reform could remind Westerners of Meech, and back they'd come. A subsequent constitutional package in 1992 (the Charlottetown Accord) was also rejected, although for different reasons -- as in: everyone who opposed Charlottetown had some reason to oppose it...

Now, Jean Chretien (like his mentor Trudeau) opposed Meech from the start, although that did him little good out west. Then again, Chretien was able to form government without much support this side of the Lakehead. While it never brought him down, it was no good for the country. Paul Martin says he wants to bring disaffected Westerners [okay, maybe not rural Albertans --ed.] back into the Canadian fold. Fine and well, and he'd doubtless like a few more seats out this way to hedge against eventual losses in Ontario. But he'd better watch out for that crowd he's been running with.

Forget what you heard from the Canada West Foundation about western wants for Senate reform, looser bilingualism laws and all that jazz. Most will let it slide, if they see that Ottawa treats [fill-in-the province] as equal to [take yer pick: Ontario or Quebec] -- and shoots us a fair share of the public loot. If Ottawa starts playing favourites, well, then, Martin can expect more of the same Western bluster his predecessor faced.

Monday, February 02, 2004



... a lot of things, actually. First, I’d let the blogroll get mildewy, and so there were a lot of out-of-date links. They should all be working; you know where to report ‘em. Added a few more blogs, including Jim Elve’s Officially Unofficial, Don Macfarlane’s Revolutionary Moderation, and finally, (give ‘im a big Vancouver Scrum Cheering Section Cheer, folks) Andrew Coyne’s untitled veeblefetzer. All regular reads. On the other side of the border, check out Whiskey Bar (spelled as an American or Irishman would…) by the mysterious Billmon.

Eliminated a bit of ugly-looking code that served no purpose except to tie up bandwidth, stuck the main BlogsCanada site under the “directories” heading, and got rid of odd looking duplicates. Finally, the Atom feed is up. What the hell is that? Some sort of syndication/summarizing apparatus a la RSS. I think. It looks like something that you can plug into AmphetaDesk or NewzCrawler (or whatever the hell it is that Mac users use) and pull down a summary of this site. This site apparently tells you all about Atom, and if you don’t pay attention to the guts of web publishing, it may make you declare that you’d rather study advanced macroeconomics instead. Dean Allen’s description of Atom is more entertaining, but I see no evidence of his claims about Atom’s capabilities. Yet.

This much I do know: The stuff found by clicking the “ATOM XML” button in the sidebar looks like a site summary. It’s more detailed than what I was getting off of the BlogMatrix RSS scraping service, and more timely. There’s no button for it in Taylor McKnight’s giant blog button package, so I rolled my own over here. Also, it seems to work. What else do I need to know?

I now pronounce myself geeked out for the day. Good night.

Throne Speech 2004

(Damn Google queries leading you here!)

A story or two. No doubt more on the way.

Haven't seen it yet; do I have to?

(Actually, I'll say something after I get home to see the darned thing...)

REAX: Andrew Spicer weighs in on the "new deal" for cities side of things; seems pleased with the promise to exempt municipalities from the GST rebate the GST that they currently pay. Well, if a transfer of fuel tax revenues is too sticky, I guess that the cities will take what they can get. If this move saves the City of Toronto $50-million annually, then it should (based on the size of the city's budget; could be more, maybe a bit less) save Vancouver about $6-million. At least it'll help the city with the recent pay hike for police constables.

ADDENDUM: Savings to the City of Vancouver: $7.5-million.

More when I get the chance to post, plus some fixes and updates to the long-neglected blogroll, and a link to that fancy new Atom feed thingy that Blogger now spits out -- no more scrape-to-RSS syndication here. Real soon! I promise! (Okay, more like after 20:30 or so)

REAX, PART DEUX: James Bow is also pleased, at least at first glance. He points out that the tax rebates will save the Toronto Transit Commission about $12-million annually, which will help the funding crunch. (Besides his own fine blog, James also maintains the Transit Toronto website, which would tell you almost anything you'd want to know about public transit in Metro Toronto. Bus and railfans rejoice.) Good analysis of how and why Martin is manoeuvring the way that he is.

Speaking of which... Vancouver's local transit authority, TransLink, is also pleased with the move. Rebating the GST will save the authority $7-million annually on operating costs -- sounds good so far. But wait (thanks, Ron Popeil!), there's more! TransLink is about to start shelling out a load of cash on a new rapid transit line to YVR and a desperately-needed fleet of electric trolley buses. Total tax saved on the rapid transit project and trolleys: over $50-million. Sweet. Message to TransLink honcho Doug "Jabba" McCallum: How about bringing back all-night bus service every night of the week?

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