Appeared in the North Shore News – January 6, 2012
STEPHEN Harper’s re-election the media’s choice of biggest Canadian story of 2011? Wow, that stirs the blood. My list:
No. 1 Horror Story: The Whistler sled dog massacre.
CKNW stumbled on this indescribably reprehensible slaughter of at least 52 healthy dogs only by a fluke. The executioner essentially claimed he was just following orders.
How any human being could give such a command and another oblige is a terrible indictment of our race.
A Vancouver Sun oped piece quickly appeared, ostensibly written by the head of Whistler Outdoor Adventures, owner of the dogs, but in my nostrils reeking of a damage-control opus stroked by a PR professional. Nothing has been proven in court; and typical of our foot-dragging system, no charges yet laid. No B.C. story in 2011 caused such massive revulsion.
No. 2 Horror Story: Last year in B.C. 538 bears were killed, mostly plain hungry and seeking food in human territory. The rare bears that attack humans are sought out and destroyed like criminals (of course human criminals aren’t).
I advocate winter food refuges – mountains of wasted human food are available – in remote North Shore and other areas. Better than bullets and horrified children seeing “teddy” killed. Maybe the crass B.C. government would sit up at the idea of turning the food refuges into tourist sites like Ontario’s African Safari, where cars with rolled-up windows can safely drive close to lions, tigers and such.
No. 3 Horror Story: Sharks – up to 73 million a year, lobby groups claim – are caught, fins cut off for the Chinese traditional delicacy shark fin soup, and tossed back into the water where, helpless, they sink to the bottom and die or are eaten. You’d hardly know it from Vancouver media, which downpage the issue – terrified of anything that might be construed as racist or “noninclusive” – but this cruelty is under rising world-wide attack, as in California, where Democrat assemblyman Paul Fong co-sponsored a bill to ban the expensive soup, and in Canadian cities Brantford, Mississauga and Oakville, which have done so already.
Not to suggest this is the only vile act committed in the name of fine cuisine. A Chinese-American described in a U.S. magazine that she and her young daughter, visiting China, were appalled seeing legs being cut off live frogs to satisfy the mania for freshness.
All praise then to the courage of the ethnic, mostly young Chinese revolted by shark fin harvesting, among them Claudia Li of Shark Truth and Anthony Marr of Vancouver, and Toronto Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam.
Among my many shames, by the way, my vegetarianism is wilting like old lettuce in our fridge.
If the above three items suggest I’m more sympathetic to animal life than to people, I’ll wear it.
Everything’s Fine in West Vancouver Award: George Pajari produced a fact-andfigures-filled 32-page dossier, as dense as a government report appendix, to support his claim of West Vancouver Library Board and Library Foundation extravagance. This column praised West Van chief administrative officer Grant McRadu for promising to investigate Pajari’s criticisms.
Here, verbatim, as recorded by invaluable councilwatcher Carolanne Reynolds – declaration of interest, Pajari’s spouse – is McRadu’s subsequent assurance to council:
“As director, Ms. (Nina) Leemhuis, Director of Pla – uh, Finance, and I met with the chairs of both the foundation and library board last week and I am completely satisfied that they have, ah, um, have the proper oversight and all the, um, other purchases in place, um, I’ve also done, ah, considerable additional work in reviewing the, um, the, um, work, and I’d also like to thank the outstanding citizens who have served to, ah, and continue to serve in the past 10 years, from the, um, on the library foundation, who have taken the endowment from $250,000 to $3.2 million in 2010.”
In fairness, one town hall personage shrugged and said in effect: Sometimes staff are pushed from behind to take the political heat for superiors. What, in West Van?
The Three Caballeros of Occupy Vancouver: The oafs indelibly connected to the Stanley Cup seventh game who occupied downtown Vancouver, the formal Occupy Vancouver squatters whose idealists were swamped by crazed ideologues and pseuds, and the Occupy the Mayor’s Office featherbrain were loosely connected in the magic web of political burlesque. Gregor Robertson was the occupiers’ accessory, a floater as limp as the police in protecting the public and business. Dumb Vancouver voters bought it.
The Play’s the Thing: Most underrated, the Playhouse’s Tosca Café. Most overrated, The Penelopiad by feminist bigot Margaret Atwood, creating a Ulysses who, returning home to find his wife’s maids had been raped and sodomized by her suitors, hangs the victims. Would go over big-time with some extreme elements in the Middle East.
Perennial Good News Award: The New Year’s Day polar bear swim. Its joyful goofiness is one of the redeeming features of the human race. To coin a phrase: Happy New Year!
© Trevor Lautens, 2012