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

Thursday, October 28, 2004



Take that, Gordo: NDP neophyte Jagrup Brar knocked off star BC Liberal candidate Mary Polak in today’s provincial byelection.

With unofficial numbers from 80 of the 104 polls, Brar has 4,321 votes while B.C. Liberal Mary Polak is well back in second with 2,963 votes.

Canadian Press has declared Brar the winner

With a few more polls rolling in, that lead is holding. Looks like a solid win of close to ten points. The Liberals’ Gulzar Cheema won the riding with 59% of the vote in 2001.

Already, the Liberals are griping about organized labor putting their support behind the NDP campaign, with union members seconded to help out the Dippers. Oh, there they go: Godon Campbell is griping about how Big Labour™ has always been opposed to his government’s agenda, with the old cranks that form the core audience of local talk outlet CKNW radio griping about unions, or, as they would no doubt write, Unions, doing things like “not hiring anyone under 30” and “wrecking the economy” and “not living in the real world.” Typical patter from talk-radio callers; I should not better than to tune in. I particularly liked the coot from Langley who attributed Brar’s win to the Indo-Canadian voters in Surrey, claiming that Brar would have won if he’d run as a Green. Apparently he hasn’t learned that Indo-Canadians are not a bloc vote, but most fo them do take their participatory democracy seriously; it was one of those traditions they brought over from the old country.

The Liberals, however, threw half the treasury (or so it seemed) at the by-election, doing everything from cutting the provincial sales tax by half a percentage point, spending over $35-million on transportation and schools in the riding, and pledging even more: a billion-dollar project to twin the Port Mann Bridge, the main span connecting Surrey to the civilised world. Half the Cabinet visited the riding, and the Liberals spred no expense in running star candidate Mary Polak.

Of course, Polak had her own baggage: she chaired the Surrey School Board as it frittered away over $1-million in a failed attempt to keep three lousy books depicting families with same-sex parent out of Surrey schools. That case made Polak, her collegues on the board, and Surrey look rather silly to city folks, altough the case and its cost didn’t keep Polak, a self-professed fiscal tightwad, from getting re-elected twice to the Surrey school board. Odds are that it had nothing to do with her loss tonight.

You can also expect the BC Liberals to brush off the loss as no big deal; hey, no governing party has won a by-election since 1981, right? Well, yeah, indeed. A closer look shows that the NDP government lost by-elections in ridings that they didn’t hold in the first place. The last time that by-election losses were a big deal was back in the Vander Zalm days, when the NDP was taking seats they almost never won—the old Boundary-Similkameen, Cariboo, and Point Grey ridings, not to mention Oak Bay—as the voters were sending a message to the SoCreds.

I hacked together a shortish feature on the byelection in last week’s Terminal City; sadly, it’s not available online while Terminal City reorders its website after a massive shakeup at the paper. Hint: it involved taking the piss out of Surrey, the parochial attitude of my paper (which considers anything east of oh, say, Renfrew Street to be foreign territory), and writing in the style of a stereotypical British foreign corro in some far-flung corner of the Empire.

UPDATE: WIth all polls reporting, Brar has won with 53% of the vote; Polak took 33%, with Green leader Adriane Carr well back at about 9%.

Gotta Love Ralph, not

Must be election time in Alberta: Ralph Klein’s attacking disability payment recipients. Odds are, that he wasn’t thinking when he said this…

In the same speech where he stressed the need to help the vulnerable, Klein said he was at a recent sod-turning where two women were “yipping about AISH payments.”

“They didn’t look severely handicapped to me, I tell you that for sure,” the premier said to a titter of laughter. “They both had cigarettes dangling from their mouth and cowboy hats.”

...but he did get a positive reaction from the crowd.

Not to get all huffy over this stuff—I rarely do, but I can tell you that there are a lot of people out there that don’t “look disabled” that frankly are fairly severely disabled.

Trouble is that despite putting out a bunch of apologia, that sort of line plays well with the I’m-all-right-Jack crowd that forms that basis of Klein’s support. Oh, to be a conservative politician in one-party Alberta.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Pundit Peter Principle

Michael Campbell, “business pundit” whose failures at running his own business caused him to retreat to the safe world of rehashing tired old Fraser Institute cliches, in today’s Sun:

In looking at the Downtown Eastside, it’s difficult to make the case that in order to give voice to our most disenfranchised neighbourhoods they need their own city councillor. Judging by the political and media attention the area garners, a visitor to the city over the past several years would be forgiven for thinking Hastings and Cordova is the nexus of political power in the city.

No link, thanks to the CanWest’s desire to keep this embarrassing twit locked up behind the subscriber firewall

A quick trip by any visitor to the Downtown Eastside—something that I doubt that either Michael or his brother has done recently—would likely condfirm that this isn’t the part of town that pulls the strings at 12th and Cambie.

Oh, and someone remind him that Hastings and Cordova Streets don’t actually intersect one another.

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