Saturday, January 30, 2016

Vancouver Real Estate...Cause And Effect?


The effect, as mapped by Andy Yan of Bing Thom Architects:

A cause(?), as laid out by Sam Cooper and Dan Fumano of The Province (go read it all):

In late December 2014 Vancouver realtor Liang Ming Wei walked into the frenetic dining hall of Floata in Chinatown.

With hundreds of diners and waiters racing around with steaming plates of dim sum, the Keefer Street restaurant was perfect for an obscure transfer.

Wei had arranged for three million yuan to be deposited in a Chinese bank and transferred to a Richmond currency exchange. Exchange owner Tony Xu called Wei and told the realtor his client’s cash had arrived and it was converted to $521,470 Canadian.

It was 10 times the legal amount individuals are allowed to transfer from China. And it was 50 times over the $10,000 limit that must be reported under Canada’s anti-money-laundering laws...

So, what do you think our fine Premier and her wizards will come up with as a 'top priority' on this file in their upcoming budget (and don't forget that Ms. Taylor will be in the room when the sausage is made this time)?


Songs From The Key Of Life.


January has been a bit of a weird month.

I've spent a good portion of the New Year talking younger colleagues off the ledge because of the changes to the big grant thing in the sky (and/or Ottawa).

Which scares the bejeebuz out of me too, but I've been around long enough to know that this too shall pass.

I think.


Anyway, overall, I can't complain as our lab did pretty well in January.

We finally got that big behemoth of a paper that I've been moaning about in, two kids who used to be in the lab but who have since moved won some awards and, late on Thursday night, we got the news that we've received a small grant (that is not from Ottawa) that will make it possible to take a shot at doing something really interesting and potentially exciting.

And so yesterday I was pounding away at the keyboard working on the next big thing when I got an Email from Bigger E. It was her birthday and she sent me a present - imagine that.

And, just in case you were wondering... I myself am working on something musical that nobody, especially Mr. Beer 'N Hockey, knows about yet...OK?


Friday, January 29, 2016

This Week In Clarkland...That Thing I Cannot Not Find.



Friday, 6pm: See Update at bottom of post...

Pursuant to the following previously commented upon New Year's day report from the good Mr. Tom Fletcher of the Black Press:

The B.C. government's quit-smoking assistance program is now available to people who drop by a pharmacy to qualify for free nicotine replacement products...


....The program also covers 12 weeks of prescription drugs Zyban or Champix, with cost depending on coverage under the Pharmacare program. Details are available here or from your doctor.

How come I, as a citizen of British Columbia can find no 'drug decision summary' or 'evidence report' for 'Champix' on what I take to be the appropriate the BC government website?

Why do I ask?



You know.

Update: Thanks to an Anon-O-Mouse in the comments, due to 2015 FOI request now have a copy of the BC Gov's 2011 review...Will compare to US FDA's 2011 decision...More to come...


This Day In Clarkland...Educational Puff-Fluffery Revisited.


From Andrew MacLeod's latest in The Tyee:

...(Mt. Pleasant By-Election candidate) Gavin Dew's biography on the BC Liberal Party's website says that after studying English literature at the University of British Columbia, "He went on to complete an MBA at Oxford and study crisis management at Harvard."

Asked for more detail from Dew on his time at Harvard, Liberal party spokesperson Jillian Stead said that in 2012 the candidate attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education where he took "Leadership in Crises: Preparation and Performance." ...


...Stead declined to answer whether the course was only one week when Dew took it. She did not make Dew available for an interview, and instead referred further questions to Harvard.

A school official at Harvard confirmed "Leadership in Crises" is six days long...

And why not?

After all, didn't the boss  do the very same thing when she trumpeted her non-graduational 'attendance' at Edinburgh and the Sorbonne while running for the BC Liberal Party leadership?



All this might seem kind of silly and not really worth remarking upon given the fact that the good Mr. Dew apparently received an MBA degree from Oxford.


There is the small matter of how the BC Liberal Party machine relentlessly went after an NDP candidate in the last election because she attended a much less prestigious school than Harvard or Oxford but actually graduated with a medical degree that is recognized by the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons.


Given all that, those of us who have been paying attention might have a hard time not concluding that hypocrisy is the Clarklandians new ivy.

Or some such thing.


And how much does that six days of prestigious academic tourism at Harvard cost anyway...Why, only a mere $10,000 Cdn....And what academic 'credentials' does one need to take the course...Well, as you might expect when such privilege and cachet requires only money...Absolutely nothing...Say It Again!


This Day In Clarkland...Getting To 'No' Teck.


From the lede to Mark Hume's piece in today's Globe:

Teck Metals Ltd. is expected to be hit with substantial fines after the company admits in court next week to causing pollution in Trail, in southeast B.C.

The provincial court registry shows Teck, which operates the largest lead-zinc smelter in the world in the small town on the banks of the Columbia River, intends to plead guilty Monday to 15 charges...

As we already noted, in response to Ms. Clark's ridiculous bit of PR deflector spike spin about the so-called forces of 'No' that was test driven for spring 2017 earlier this week...

When we, the people, see every effort at reasonable regulatory oversight constantly subverted and, just as often, perverted, we will, eventually, put our foot down.

For all the right reasons.



Thursday, January 28, 2016

BC To Become Last In Minimum Wage Again...How Will Clarklandians Respond?


They could call a press conference/photo-op every day for two weeks and keep re-announcing the previously announced paltry twenty cent-an-hour increase (that they knew would do nothing when they implemented) over and over and over and over again, pretending each time that it's 'new' and actually fixing the problem.

What's that you say?

The Clarklandians would never do a thing like that?

Of course not.


Link to Rod Mickleburgh tweet, pictured above is...Here. 
'Not' link, above, refers to a story of the 're-announcing' of previously decided upon seismic upgrade to a school in South Vancouver (see pg 6 for 'Kingsford-Smith Elementary') as if it were new after the final strong-arming of the VSB.


This Day In Clarkland...But Can She See The Flint River From Her House?


From a piece by Turner Cowles in the January 20th NYT:

A top aide to Michigan’s governor referred to people raising questions about the quality of Flint’s water as an “anti-everything group.” ...


...That view of how the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder initially dealt with the water crisis in the poverty-stricken, black-majority city of Flint emerged from 274 pages of emails, made public by the governor on Wednesday (January 17th)...


Who knew that the Iron Snowbird was now taking her deflector spike-spin cues from Republican despots in Michigan.

Tip of the Toque to @impishchimp on the Twittmachine.
We wrote about the Keef getting to know Ms. Clark's power of 'No' previously...Here.
The definitive take on the absurdity of this codswallop is still Laila's.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...Damn The Oral Government Torpedos!


Well whadd'ya know.

They knew.

Specifically, the Wizards of Clarklandia knew that their little exercise in minimal minimum wage lifting kabuki was nothing more than a PR stunt that would NOT raise British Columbians off the bottom rung of the ladder.

How do we know that they knew?

Because one of the wizards temporarily loss their mind and actually wrote stuff down.

Travis Lupick of the GStraight has the FOI-assisted (and very well dug out) story:

...In March 2015, the government announced a 20-cent increase based on a confidential cabinet submission that states 20 cents was enough to raise B.C.’s minimum to the middle of the pack. In June, it learned that 20 cents was not enough to accomplish Clark’s stated goal. Then, in September, it went ahead with the increase as planned, knowing it would not lift B.C.’s rank from below the other provinces.

“We are tenth currently,” wrote Jake Ayers, a senior policy adviser with the B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, on June 29, 2015. “But when Alberta and NFLD increase in Oct, we will be 12th – except for the fact Sask will also very likely increase past us in Oct – so we will probably be 13th – i.e., last.”...


...Ayers’s predictions came true.

Last October, five provinces raised their minimum wages, resulting in B.C. falling to second-to-last place. Then, in December, New Brunswick announced it would increase its minimum wage to $10.65, dropping B.C.’s to dead last...

Imagine that.

Actually it was more than one wizard who spilled the pixelated beans, but I just chose one example....Go and read all of TLupick's piece - it's good.


The Keef Report...Getting to 'No' You.


First there was this, from our fine premier early yesterday:

(Premier Christy) Clark had sharp words Monday for what she calls the "forces of no" in British Columbia who mount resistance efforts to government initiatives purely out of a fear of change...

And then, later in the day there was this from the good Mr. Baldrey:


It's entirely possible that the latter was not water carrying.

After all, it is entirely possible that Mr. Baldrey and his colleagues are all set to run a series of in-depth reports wherein they definitively demonstrate how Ms. Clark and her cronies....errrr...colleagues have driven citizens to legitimate protest by continuously gaming the system by subverting of any and all attempts at reasonable regulatory oversight when it comes to, essentially, anything they do. And that includes everything from bridges to transit to mining to damming to teaching to de-farmlanding to ferrying to pipelining to drug purveying and, even, to casino industrial complexing.

I suppose only time will tell which way the Winds of the Keef will blow.

And why, exactly, did Ms. Clark choose yesterday to start the deflector spike spin assault that would distract someone like Mr. Baldrey with something so shiny?....Gosh...Is is possible that something big is coming down the pike?....Hmmmmm....Just when will the special prosecutors looking into things that flew out of the quick win and  buried gov't  Email orbits announce their decisions on whether further charges are merited anyway?
Laila has a good post up on the real forces of 'No' in British Columbia....Here.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

ProMedia In Lotusland...There Is A Club, 4,384th Edition.


Kate Webb, writing in the Vancouver Metro last week, let fly a pretty good rant about the really important still unresolved issues that emerged in the (very long) tail of Christy Clark's Health Ministry firings.

Then, near the end of her piece, Ms. Webb had this to say:

...I don’t know how to make people pay attention, even though there are so many jaw-dropping revelations and allegations, because it’s such a complicated story...


Is it really 'people', in general, who need to start paying attention?

Or is it, more specifically, people in the proMedia who need to start really doing their job so that the 'people' actually know what to pay attention to.

Case in point, why has so little attention has been paid to this 'story' from Tom Fletcher of the Black Press that is not ancient history (i.e. there is no excuse for ignoring it as 'old news'):

The B.C. government's quit-smoking assistance program is now available to people who drop by a pharmacy to qualify for free nicotine replacement products.

As of Jan. 1, 2016, participants no longer have to register by calling 8-1-1 to reach the HealthLinkBC medical advice service. The program has also expanded its offerings to include nicotine inhalers and lozenges as well as gum and patches...


....The program also covers 12 weeks of prescription drugs Zyban or Champix, with cost depending on coverage under the Pharmacare program. Details are available here or from your doctor.


Why might some proMedia digging into all those unresolved issues listed by Ms. Webb in her piece be warranted in getting the real story behind this latest bit of stenography provided to the 'people' by the good Mr. Fletcher?


It turns out that the stenography was tapped out on January 1, 2016 which was curiously timed given the following, as noted by Ms. Webb:

...Fast-forward to Dec. 29 (2015), when the government announced it had awarded a sizable cash settlement to (fired Health Ministry workers Bill) Warburton and his wife Rebecca Warburton, who also worked for the TI (Therapeutics Initiative). The amount was not disclosed, but it is likely in the millions, and the government has also given cash settlements to all the other living TI researchers. But because Bill Warburton’s case will not go to trail, none of his allegations of government corruption will be tested in court...

'Nuff said?


Sunday, January 24, 2016

This Weekend In Clarkland...Some Tweets Mean More Than Others.


You all want the list?

Well the fine folks from Integrity BC have that too:


This longterm investment strate(r)gy with massive guaranteed returns reminds me of something.

What was it again?

Oh ya...

Now I remember.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Homeless Problem...What Would Jesus Do?


Somehow, I don't think he would follow through with what the fine folks who help run the Christ Church Cathedral School in Victoria are up to.

The VTC's Jeff Bell has the story.

Here is his lede:

The prospect of having housing for homeless people next door is being opposed by the board of directors at Christ Church Cathedral School, attended by 190 students ages three to 14...


Will Ms. Notley Ever Get A ProMedia Break?


Yesterday we noted that the proMedia expecations lowering team has been out in full force for Christy Clark and her failed LNG 'policies' (if you want to call them that).

Which makes it weird and, more to the point, weirdly predictable to note that Rachel Notley has been taking it on the chin for actually doing something real with the Eastern pipeline thing.

David Climenhega explains:

You may have missed it, but something truly remarkable happened in Alberta politics yesterday.

Premier Rachel Notley, after less than nine months in office, secured the tentative approval of the premier of Ontario and the enthusiastic endorsement of the prime minister of Canada, both members of a different political party than hers, for a pipeline to carry diluted bitumen from Alberta to New Brunswick for refining...


...All this has come about in very short order. There’s only been progress on this file since Ms. Notley’s NDP Government was elected on May 5 (2015), despite economic circumstances that might seem less than propitious for energy megaprojects.

It is important to note that since the Energy East project was announced on Aug. 1, 2013, the Conservative governments of Alberta and Canada made no progress under premiers Alison Redford, Dave Hancock and Jim Prentice. As for Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, whose government was voted out of office on Oct. 19, his only plan seemed to be to shove it up the noses of reluctant Canadians, which undoubtedly contributed to his loss...


...Meanwhile, the mainstream media reports Ms. Notley’s success as if it were a complete failure, and excoriates her government for not adopting the tactics of the Harper and Redford-Hancock-Prentice governments that have been proven not to work. Calgary Herald political columnist Don Braid and Calgary Sun political columnist Rick Bell took exactly this line yesterday and the day before...


Trashing a politician who is actually putting policies in place that have a chance to simultaneously elevate the interests of business and the people's business.

Would 'a thunk it?


Friday, January 22, 2016

All Our Sunshine Breakfasts Are Theirs.


The Prime Minister of Fiji is very happy with a former BC Ferries manager's new motor vessel:

“The Lomaiviti Princess III is bigger and more comfortable”.

Those are the words of Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama while launching the Goundar Shipping’s new ship, the Lomaiviti Princess III last night.

Bainimarama says this ship will carry more people and vehicles.

He says the Lomaiviti Princess III, is more than just a ship but it is part of our national communications network...

But, wait.

That's not all.



...Bainimarama says Goundar Shipping will get more ships in the next few years and a floating dock will also be built by the company.


One who has paying attention can only wonder....How much will the renovations for those boats cost Fijiians....errrrr...British Columbians?

Need a little more background on this particular bit of cronification that the Lotuslandian proMedia has so little sustained interest in?....Well...Norm Farrell and his readers had the story nailed to the car deck floor back in September....Here...The kicker?...We are, apparently, in the process of selling off more boats.


The Anti-Ambrose.

Why Anti?

Well, this, from a 2015 Macleans piece by Ken MacQueen:

...The supervised injection site, the only one of its kind in North America but one of about 90 around the world, has been a target of the federal Conservative government since it came to power in 2006. In 2008, then federal health minister Tony Clement called Insite, “a failure of public policy, indeed of ethical judgment.” Since then a succession of ministers, including current Health Minister Rona Ambrose, have been consistent in their opposition, saying it diverts finances from treatment, legitimizes illegal drug use, encourages others to inject drugs, is a magnet for crime and threatens neighbourhoods...


...While Insite has the full backing of the city of Vancouver, its police department, public health officials and the B.C. government, the constant federal attacks resulted in the facility becoming one of the most studied health initiatives in Canadian history. More than 40 peer-reviewed studies have been published in The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the British Medical Journal among others, concluding that the facility and other harm-reduction strategies like free needle exchanges have slashed HIV infections and overdose death rates, and have increased the number of people seeking treatment without contributing to an increase in crime...

'Nuff said?

Link to Ms. Philpott's Twittmachine feed is...Here.
Link to the Globe piece referred to in Tweet is...Here.
Link to anything Ms. Ambrose says or does is...Nowhere.


Last Exit From Frackland.


The lede of Andrew Nikiforuk's latest in The Tyee:

A new industry report warns investors, governments and regulators that renewable forms of energy could outcompete high-cost and high-risk liquefied natural gas projects.

The sheer volume of shale gas in North America has blinded many of its key promoters to an important dynamic: "Namely the fast progress of renewable energy technologies capable of providing an alternative to one or more of the major sources of demand for LNG, electricity production and in the future perhaps heating," the report found...


If one were so inclined, it would be easy to dismiss the above as little more than pure opinion and conjecture.

But even the wizards and the cronies can't ignore the following:

Malaysia’s state oil firm, Petroliam Nasional Bhd., or Petronas, is planning to slash as much as 50 billion ringgit ($11.4 billion) in capital and operating expenditure over the next four years, according to an internal memo sent to staff by its chief executive officer...


What to do?

Well, as is ever (and has always been?) the case....

Send in the Lotuslandian proMedia expectations lowering team!


Which, as you might expect, is currently being led by Mr. Obvious himself in the pages of the Globe and Mail:

...I doubt Ms. Clark is overly worried that her re-election prospects might be dimming because of LNG. The fact is, she has the No. 1 economy in the country, a privileged position B.C. is expected to hang on to for at least a couple of years, according to the Conference Board of Canada. Her government has tabled three consecutive balanced budgets, driven in part by a real estate and construction boom, making it the envy of the country...

All of which makes one wonder if the puffed-up punditry is even paying attention.

What's the real key here?....Well, the way I see it....As the shift to renewables begins earnest we the people (who have been paying attention and know what has happened to Hydro and who know that the budget has been balanced on our collective backs, and who know that just about every young family in this province that doesn't have a sugar daddy and/or an astronomical slushpile of astronaut dollars cannot afford to buy a house in Southwestern BC) must ensure that the cronies do not suck up all the public money/assets/treasure/regulatory favours and, most importantly, ridiculously unsustainable longterm contracts once again....Which is why that incident in Haida Gwaii wherein our fine Premier suddenly started shoveling money to a crony-aligned local candidate off the back of a hastily constructed podium does matter....Merv Adey has more on how the Lotuslandian proMedia expecations lowering team has completely ignored that story...Here (see point #4).


Saturday, January 16, 2016

This Week In Clarkland...The Irony.


Regarding that small matter of the provincial Supremes taking the Northern Gateway decision away from the NEB and throwing it back to the Clarklandians...

Merv Adey makes an important point:

...What an irony.. The Clark government, aching for more power, has it forced upon them by the court and now may well appeal to save itself from having to respect the law expressed by SCC-Tsilqh’otin . No political games… No making the Feds be the “heavy”...


Perhaps the Clarklandians and their wizards could put it to a cat's-in-the-baggy-in-the-silver-mooned, non-binding plebiscite.

Or some such thing.

But, then again...

Who would play the part of the good Mr. Bateman this time?

Merv also explains the import of the federal Supremes giving the teachers the right to appeal...Gosh...Whatever will the Keef think?


Is There A Job Crazy Road Out Of Frackland?

You bet there is.

And, according to Paul Krugman at least, that red line only loosely represents the USian numbers.

Can you imagine how steep that climb is on, say, the German solar road?


Friday, January 15, 2016

I'll See Mr. O'Leary's Million...

...And Raise Him Norway.

"...Both Norway and Alberta have sovereign wealth funds from sales of their non-renewable energy resources. Norway’s fund — the largest in the world — holds over a trillion dollars. In Alberta, the fund was valued at $17.9 billion in 2014. Chump change..."


Of course, the actions of Mr. O'Leary and his ilk (and their political enablists) are the real reason for the chump changification of Alberta's so-called 'advantage' in the first place.

But will the proMedia's business 'press' even bother to tell anyone that story?

Tip O' The Toque to Owen Gray over at Northern Reflections.


Welcome To Frackland.


From Michael Wines, writing from flyover land for the New York Times:

Oklahoma was rocked Wednesday night (January 6th, 2015) by two of the state’s largest earthquakes in recent years, further fueling scientists’ concern that the continued burial of oil and gas wastes in seismically active areas was courting a much more powerful earthquake.

The two quakes, measured at magnitudes 4.7 and 4.8, struck at 11:27 p.m. in rural northern Oklahoma, directly beneath a major oil and gas production area. The second quake, which came about 30 seconds later, was the fourth-largest recorded in the state...

{snippety doodle dandy}

...Five years ago, Oklahoma recorded three earthquakes of magnitude 3 — roughly the level at which shocks are felt — or greater. Last year, it recorded 907 quakes, or nearly two and a half a day — and that number was 50 percent higher than in 2014.

Virtually all the quakes are the result of slippage in faults that have effectively been lubricated by watery wastes from oil and gas production that have been pumped underground...


Imagine what would happen if there was such an escalation in the rapidity and the amplitude of ramped-up frack-induced tremors in a land with fault lines so big that a little lubrication-induced slippage might really mean something.

If you get my drift.


Friday, January 01, 2016

May Your New Year Be Filled To Bursting With Serendipity.


I've always kind of liked 'The Hold Steady'.

For all the reasons you might expect.

But I've never really become obsessed with anything they've done, maybe because of the notable absence of a glockenspiel.


I was super surprised when Bigger E. gave me the new album by Holder (&nolongerLFTR-PLLR) frontman steadycraig Finn.

She sought the album out because she heard Mr. Finn on Mike Pesca's podcast and became enamoured by the tune 'Newmyer's Roof'.

So, while we were off exploring beaches both old and new (to us anyway) on the far outer reaches of western-most Lotusland this past week we played the album over and over again during all the to-and-froing in the car.

And when we got back to the kids' grandpops' house I waited for an appropriate amount of time before disappearing to plug-in in an effort to find Mr. Finn doing his thing. As is so often the case with this so-called 'indie' - type stuff, the best I could find came from a session just down the I-5...

And, mostly because I was bashing away on the keyboard for awhile at the time, I let the YouTube-thingy turn over. As a result, I listened to a couple of additional live sessions recently recorded in the studios of the fantastic KEXP in Seattle.

Which, by total fluke, led me to fall headlong into new musical obsessions with 'Bully' and 'Wolf Alice'.

Now, if only I can convince E. and e. to become enamoured with these fine musical folks too.

Then my job will be done.

At least for the weekend or, perhaps, late Saturday afternoon at least.


And, speaking of serendipity....Mr. Beer 'N Hockey used the recent earthquake to echo-locate the latest resing place of Lemmy's bass amp deep beneath the sea bed off of Sidney Island....Who knew.
Image at the top of the post...Taken by C., it's the Whackadoodle and me walking on the rich man's, close-to-Tofino beach formerly known as Chesterman's...We did, however, serendipitously find our way to a fantastic little spot, still untouched by developers' devil hands even though it is a little bit south of the National Park...You can get there by turning right at the 'T' at the end of Highway 4 towards Uclulet and then going 2 km until you come to 'Wya Resort' sign on your right...Turn right onto Willowbrae Rd, go up the hill a few hundred meters and park at the trail head...It's a fifteen minute walk on a good trail straight out to the edge of the cliffs and a one hundred-and-seventy-three stair/step walk along a boardwalk right down to the southern end of Florencia Bay, or you can head left for another 500 meters or so and head on down to the very secluded Half Moon Bay on another very well-maintained many-stepped/staired boardwalk...
May the flukes, kid-assisted or otherwise, be with you in 2016!