Posted by: Jonathon Narvey | December 16, 2007

Currents has moved to

Currents has moved back to

For all the lurid details about Currents’ geeky troubles with, read here. Sadly, there is no widget for an automatic redirect, so this warning post is the best that can be done. Thanks for dropping by. With any luck, this writer hasn’t alienated ALL of his web traffic already.

Posted by: Jonathon Narvey | December 11, 2007

Ecoterrorism from Ecuador

Pay us or we’ll shoot you in the lungs.

That’s pretty much the message to the planet from Ecuador this week.

Perhaps Canada ought to take a page from that playbook. We’ve got over a third of the world’s boreal forest, one fifth of the world’s temperate rainforest, and a tenth of the total global forest hostage, er, cover. Maybe we ought to take an ax to Stanley Park unless the province hands over a suitcase full of cash to Vancouver City Hall.

Paying nations to not cut down their own forests is bad policy, bad economics, and bad ethics.

Posted by: Jonathon Narvey | December 11, 2007

Human Rights Day is here! Take action now

“The trial of a criminal is against human rights. Human rights demand that we should have killed them in the first place when it became known they were criminals.”

Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since the leader of a country could get away with saying something like that. Then again, maybe we haven’t.

I got a reminder from Amnesty International today about Human Rights Day. Very timely. Take action now.

Posted by: Jonathon Narvey | December 10, 2007

Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee makes a statement

This writer is proud to be a founding member of the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee. What follows is an excerpt from our statement to the Manley Panel on Canada’s future role in Afghanistan.

“… We are New Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, and people of no particular political affiliation. We are Muslims, Jews, Christians, and atheists. We are authors, journalists, academics, gay rights activists, student activists, Afghan-Canadians, and feminists.

Our Committee’s position on Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan, in sum, is this: We must stay. Human rights are universal. The United Nations calls for and expects Canada to remain dedicated to Afghanistan’s reconstruction and to the battle against terrorism there. We recognize that a robust military engagement, with the UN’s sanction and the consent of the Government of Afghanistan, is vital and necessary…

We recognize the conflict in Afghanistan as a liberation struggle, waged by the Afghan people and their allies, against oppression, against obscurantism, illiteracy, and the most brutal forms of misogyny. It is a fight for democracy, and for peace, order, and good government. It is also a struggle waged by the sovereign Government of Afghanistan, a member state of the United Nations, against illegal armed groups that seek to overturn the democratic will of the Afghan people.

In Afghanistan, the great global struggle for the recognition and protection of basic human rights – universal rights – is being waged with a particular and necessary ferocity. We cannot and must not retreat…”


Zachary Miles Baddorf, Journalist in Vancouver; Colette Belanger, CW4WA Board of Directors, Simon Bessette, LL.B candidate, University of New Brunswick; Melaney Black, CW4WAfghan – Victoria; Natalie K Bjorklund, MD, University of Manitoba; Marc-Andre Boivin, researcher, UQAM Peacekeeping research group member; John Boon, Liberal Party activist; Ken Bryant, Associate Professor, Asian Studies, University of British Columbia; Jennifer Button, CW4WA – Victoria; Iona Campagnolo, PC, CM, OBC, Former Lt. Gov., British Columbia; Natasha Cowan, McGill University, business graduate; Stewart John Cunningham, Sess. Instructor, Historical Studies, U of T Mississauga; Steven Davis, Centre on Values and Ethics, Carleton University; Judith Desautels, Supporter, CW4WA, Amnesty International; Janice Eisenhauer, Executive Director, CW4WA; Lois Edwards, CW4WA, Manitoba; Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims, peace and gender researcher on Afghanistan; L. Chris Fox, Doctoral Candidate, University of Victoria; Paul Franks, Professor, Philosophy, University of Toronto; John Fraser, P.C., O.C., O.B.C., C.D., Q.C., LL.D. (Hon.); Terry Glavin, Author, journalist, adjunct professor, UBC; Stephen Glanzberg, law student; Sanja Golic, MA researcher (Afghanistan education); Robert Gillies, Citizen, Toronto, Ontario; Prof. Richard Gordon, MD, University of Winnipeg (Books with Wings); Robert Harlow, Novelist, British Columbia; Najia Haneefi, Former Executive director, Afghan Women’s Education Centre, Kabul; Daniel King, President, Conservative McGill; Ian King, Journalist, Columnist, Vancouver; Robert D. Lane, Res. Associate, Phil. & Religion, Malaspina U College; OJ Lavoie, Environment activist, McGill University; Jill Leslie, CW4WAfghan – Victoria Chapter; Bruce Lyth, British Columbia Young Liberals, vice-president; Flora MacDonald, PC, CC, O. Ont.Chair of CARE Canada; Dave Mann, Brantford, Ontario New Democrat, Euston Canada; Mark Masongong, Liberal Party Staff; Jim Monk, Ontario gay rights, trade union activist; Gareth Morley, Lawyer, Victoria; Lyle Neff, Poet, journalist, critic, Vancouver; Jonathon Narvey, Journalist, editor, copywriter, Vancouver; Lauryn Oates, Vice-president, CW4WA; Tom O’Neill, Associate Professor, Social Sciences, Brock University; David A. Pariser, Professor, Art Education, Concordia University; Professor Karim Qayumi, Afghan-Canadian community leader, Director of Excellence for Surgical Education and Innovation, Vancouver; John Richards, Professor, Public Policy Program, Simon Fraser University; Ferooz Sekandarpoor, Production Manager, Ariana (Afghan) TV, Vancouver; Madeliene Tarasick, CW4WAfghan – Kingston; Beryl Wasjman, Institute for Public Affairs – Montreal; Morton Weinfeld, Sociology professor, McGill University; Axel Van Den Berg, Professor, Sociology, McGill University; Ariana Yaftali, Afghan-Canadian, Manitoba.

Posted by: Jonathon Narvey | December 9, 2007

Six Metres and Rising: a play in one act

Six Metres and Rising
A play in one act
(Generously submitted to Currents by friend and creative genius Mr. Earnest Canuck)

DAVID SUZUKI, an environmentalist.
STEPHEN HARPER, a politician.
WEN JIABAO, another politician.
KING CANUTE, another.
GLOBAL CLIMATE, an entity, played by a hot woman.
KYOTO, a dog.

CURTAIN. A Vancouver beach in winter. DAVID SUZUKI, wearing only a thong, performs labourious Tai Chi exercises, puffing out his cheeks. Enter STEPHEN HARPER, carrying a laptop.

HARPER: What kind of activity are you carrying out there, David Suzuki?

SUZUKI: Capping, pant, my emissions of greenhouse, pant, gasses, Prime, pant, Minister.

HARPER: Really? And this capping, is it the manner of thing done by cool people, statistically?

SUZUKI (angrily): Yes…!

HARPER (thoughtfully): I should have capped my emissions when I was a schoolboy. Statistically, I might have reduced the percentile of days spent with my underwear around my neck. Statistically. (Sits, opens laptop.) Hey, Suzuki…? What’s 450 million years old and two miles thick?

SUZUKI: Your government’s heartless indifference, maybe, to future generations? Ha, ha!

HARPER: Ha, ha! Ha. Um, no, though. Let me refer to the punchline here. It was the ice sheet in Ordovician times, when atmospheric carbon dioxide was ten times higher than –

(Enter GLOBAL CLIMATE, pursued by KING CANUTE. WEN JIABAO reluctantly trails in after them.)

GLOBAL CLIMATE: Micronations! Crop failure! SUVs! Sustainable! Carbon trading! Sustainability! Fossil fuels! Flossing!

KING CANUTE (imploringly): Why were you so hot for me, Global Climate, and now you’re so cold? Please! Baby! Can’t we go through the highs and lows together? Don’t go changing, just to please me –

WEN JIABAO: All right, King Canute, that’s enough. You’ll never lower her tube top’s see level. It’s futile! Now get the hell out of here.

CANUTE: I’ll turn her back someday. You’ll see. (Slinks offstage.)

CLIMATE (sadly): King Canute consensus oilsands inconvenient truthiness? (Suddenly enraged) Mean temperature! Ice calves! Sequester! Monbiot! Monbiot!

SUZUKI: So, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. How are you?

JIABAO: Harper, Suzuki, hello. Frankly, I’m a little tired of dealing with this Global Climate bi —

HARPER: Bit of a policy challenge, with a range of costs and opportunities, you’re saying, Wen? I feel you. That is, I empathize with you. I’m feeling you.

JIABAO: I was saying, she’s not my problem. Also, she’s a skank.



CLIMATE: Protocol! Sweet light crude! Protocol!

JIABAO: Whatever. She’s quite aware what she’s going through. You all stay away from my house, all right? (Exit. He shouts from offstage.) Climate changes! It’s what she does!

HARPER: So. Um. Ms. Climate. Would you care for a light massage? Several studies have shown it might be medicinally beneficial. Within a margin of error. Statistically.

CLIMATE: Recycling incentive biosphere solar panel?

SUZUKI: Damn you, Harper! Just because this country has one per cent of the world’s weather, doesn’t mean you can fiddle with Global Climate, you, you… pollutant…

HARPER: David, I would ask you to reduce your face-punching anger by a few degrees, now. Over the next predictive time period, I mean… voluntarily…

SUZUKI: Despoiler! Climate flirter!

(HARPER and SUZUKI begin to wrestle and stagger offstage, pursued by the agitated CLIMATE.)

CLIMATE: Community gardens organic bicycle. Healing spiritual dialogue circle! Dialogue! Deniers! Exxon! Monbiot!

(Exit. Enter KYOTO.)

KYOTO: As we have seen tonight, friends, climate is a thing that affects us all. In these troubled times, we can no longer deny that each of us has some emissions. Globular warmening is no longer just a recipe, but a scientishly-acknowledged truism. Our duty to the planet and to future generations is clear: we must fossilize our remaining fuel resources. And wherever sea-level communities are threatened by changing climaxes, kibble must be provided, friends, as much kibble as the developed world can spare, lest overheated dogs lead us straight into environmental catastrophe. I may be just a small dog in a big atmosphere, my fellow citizens, but believe me: I was named for a treaty, and I know.

Posted by: Jonathon Narvey | December 8, 2007

We’re all sinners

Canada ranks fourth-worst in a study of countries’ climate change performance.

Having recently researched the topic of climate change impact in the Vancouver area for a magazine piece, the numbers aren’t all that surprising. Canada does have a lot of work to do (though some municalities like Vancouver and Toronto are in fact leading the way in terms of climate change planning).

It is odd, though, that China would not be ranking right up there, considering it is overall the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. And how does Indonesia get off scot-free? Meanwhile, India gets ranked in the top five on the survey, despite the country’s rapid deforestation and coal-fired energy plants?

Of course it’s not fair that newly developing countries should have to share the burden of cutting carbon output to fight global warming. But fair or not, it’s necessary, or we’re all in trouble.

Posted by: Jonathon Narvey | December 5, 2007

Vancouver: welcome home, world

Here’s an interesting juxtaposition of headlines about Vancouver’s immigration trends released virtually simultaneously (and making use of the exact same Statscan 2006 data):

Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver hometowns of choice for immigrants

Vancouver no longer the same immigrant magnet

Spin it up, yo.

Posted by: Jonathon Narvey | December 2, 2007

Venezuela: a case study in a democracy’s suicide?

Will an entire nation voluntarily hand over the reigns of their country to a demagogic ex-military thug today?

Presuming that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez doesn’t just rig today’s referendum on abolishing term limits and rewriting the constitution, the result is still up in the air.

Acclaimed BC author and journalist Terry Glavin has already blogged extensively about Chavez’ oil-fuelled jackboot craziness and conspiracy-mongering. Most people probably share Glavin’s sentiments. Sad to see there are actually Canadians right here on the west coast who have bought into Chavez’ cheap propaganda.

Giving Chavez the finger does not put one into the camp of George Bush Jr. As our own sitting Prime Minister recently put it, “Too often some in the hemisphere are led to believe that their only choices … are to return to the syndrome of economic nationalism, political authoritarianism and class warfare, or to become ‘just like the United States. This is, of course, utter nonsense. Canada’s very existence demonstrates that the choice is a false one.

Quite right.

UPDATE: The Chavistas took one on the chin tonight. The Mucho Macho Thug-In-Chief lost by 2 per cent (51/49). Presumably he can still try to implement 21st century socialism in his remaining mandate. Hopefully, enough people will be emboldened by the result this evening to prevent him.

Posted by: Jonathon Narvey | December 1, 2007

Two faces of Michael Byers

Intent for a Nation author and erudite Vancouverite Michael Byers got a nice gift the other day from journalist Am Johal.

Speaking about the concept of the “Responsibility to Protect” in the 2005 UN World Summit Declaration, Byers condemns the Canadian government for taking the “substance out of the concept and agreed that it would act merely as a guideline for U.N. Security Council action. That’s not leadership; it was a move designed to impress domestic audiences and nothing else.”

But almost in the very same breath, Byers has the audacity to smack Canada again for not signing the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples that he helped draft, reasoning that the document had no binding force. Byers: “Canada should have supported the declaration because the vast majority of countries were comfortable ratifying it and did not view it as a threat.”

Isn’t Byers suggesting that signing the declaration would have been a move “designed to impress domestic audiences and nothing else”?

For some inexplicable reason, Johal refrains from pouncing on the helpless mark.

But presumably, at some point a Canadian journalist will have to take this highly regarded academic, who simultaneously affirms the Responsibility to Protect and condemns Canada’s actual efforts to protect, to task.

Posted by: Jonathon Narvey | December 1, 2007

Teddy bears, tempests and teapots

Cultural relativism, good. Moral relativism, bad.

Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and swords and beating drums, burned pictures of a British teacher Friday and demanded her execution for insulting Islam by letting her students name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Many in the protesting crowd shouted “Kill her! Kill her by firing squad!” (Associated Press)

Of course, Sudan is the same country where the Darfur genocide has been going on for years.

Land mines, shmand shmines. When is Canada going to take the lead on a global issue like this?

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