Helena Guttridge, Mayor Gregor and Auntie Irene
People: Irene Howard, History Is Her Story
Mayor's tribute to Vancouver's first female councillor strikes a personal note for Rod Mickleburgh, who in turn honours a chronicler he calls 'Auntie Irene'
By Rod Mickleburgh
(May 17, 2017) - At the age of 70, my beloved Auntie Irene, under her scholastic name of Irene Howard, published her definitive biography of Helena Gutteridge, Vancouver’s first woman “alderman”. Ten years later, when she was 80, she completed her remarkable book Gold Dust On His Shirt, a moving saga of her family’s working class life in the gold mines of British Columbia, feathered with impeccable research of the times. At 90 she published a very fine poem, which is reproduced below. And one morning last month, at the age of 94 and a half, Auntie Irene sat in the front row of chairs arrayed in a room off the main lobby at city hall, looking as elegant and vivacious as anyone who pre-dated Vancouver’s Art Deco municipal masterpiece by 14 years ...
Election Prediction 2016: Ted Baxter trumps Sue Ann
Politics: Mary Tyler Moore show predicts U.S. election winner
In a contest that would pit Ted Baxter against Sue Ann Nivens, it's a case of the narcissistic clown versus the scheming cougar who knows how to use a knife
By The Ex-Press.com
(Updated 4:44 pm. Nov. 8, 2016) We all know that ever since Richard Nixon and Jack Kennedy went tete-a-tete on the tube before 100 million viewers back in 1960, politics has been a television sport. Candidates have been forced to find a telegenic face to show the public, a personality that we'd welcome on our sofa, and a few good lines that define their character in a memorable way. In essence, they become TV characters. Every campaign becomes a sit-com or a serial drama, a mini-series or a soap. The 2016 Presidential campaign was definitely an ensemble piece. At times, it felt more cable than network, but if you overlook the gratuitous vulgarity and a potentially tragic ending, the Clinton vs. Trump contest was all sit-com: Each character ...
The Day the Unions died – almost
Labour History: Social Credit's lasting debit
What happens when an economically strapped general public elect a right-wing proponent of 'restraint'? Human rights, employment standards and social services get steamrolled by arrogance masquerading as fiscal austerity
By Rod Mickleburgh
Thirty-three years ago, the newly-relected Social Credit government of Bill Bennett brought down the most dramatic, yay outlandish, budget and “restraint” package in B.C. history. What happened next is detailed here in an essay I wrote a year or so ago. On July 7, 1983, Bill Bennett and his Social Credit government, freshly elected to a third successive term in office, unleashed a revolution in British Columbia. This was a revolution from the right. Fueled by the radical conservatism of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and Milton Friedman’s economic neo-liberalism, the Socreds took aim at all those elements in society they had never liked. With no advance notice, a total of 26 repressive ...
Is it too late to say sorry for Komagata Maru?
News: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologizes for racism
Though many know the outline of an ugly chapter in Canadian history, the truth of the Komagata Maru is both an indictment of institutional prejudice, and a testament to the strength and pride of the passengers aboard the infamous vessel
By Rod Mickleburgh
At long last, a formal apology is being delivered in the House of Commons for Canada’s racist behaviour in its shameful treatment of Sikh passengers aboard the Komagata Maru who had the effrontery to seek immigration to the West Coast more than a hundred years ago. Not only were they denied entry, they were subjected to two months of exceptionally inhumane treatment by unflinching immigration officers. While many now know the basics of the ill-fated voyage, the story has many elements that are less well known. To fill in the gaps, we can look to Hugh Johnston and his definitive book, The Voyage of the Komagata Maru. Just days before the outbreak of World War ...
Trump Stumbles Right On
Politics: Feeling Blue in a Red State
As Republican rallies descend into racist violence and rhetorical chaos, right-wing talk-radio's angry baby of anti-government sentiment comes of age carrying a verbal assault weapon and a whole lot of attitude
By Carla McClain
OK, boys and girls, time to cut to the chase. Time to figure out why a once-functional nation like the United States of America is about to nominate for its President -- arguably the most powerful political office in the world -- a bloviating birther braggadocio blowhard, aka Donald J. Trump. How did we get here? What in the name of God has happened to us? That’s not hard to figure out.... Welcome to the fruits of twenty-five years of the highly effective brainwashing of a good chunk of the American people -- OK, let’s say it, the weak-minded sheeple among us, and there are lots of those throughout the human species -- by right-wing talk-radio. I happen to know how this got done because I -- unlike ...
What Color Is Donald Trump?
Listicle: What Color is Donald Trump?
He won't be painted by any brush, unless it's covered in bronzer. It's enough to make you think Donald Trump has not only destroyed the traditional boundaries between party lines, he's destroyed your television's onboard color processor. The Ex-Press heads up a special investigative team headed by designers, painters, political pundits and Pantone experts to solve the compelling mystery: What color is Donald Trump?
By The Ex-Press Staff
Red? Trump's tie is red, suggesting he's Right when it comes to financial policy. And so are his lips, because he knows he needs to talk like a Republican. Hey. Talk is cheap. Blue? His suit is navy, his eyes are sky blue and so is pie-in-the-sky line about making "America Great Again." What? It's not great already? Orange? A day without Donald is a day without his sun shining on the rest of ...
What makes a political campaign ugly?
Politics: The art of the campaign
You know the gloves are off when someone makes a comparison to Hitler. It's already happened in the race for the Republican nominee, but Rod Mickleburgh reports it can happen anywhere when tempers flare and common sense is thrown under a campaign bus driven by fear.
By Rod Mickleburgh
Forty years ago this month, all these things really happened. The premier of British Columbia waited for the provincial election results with his wife and kids in a nondescript Coquitlam motel room behind closed drapes, the windows covered over by aluminum foil to discourage possible snipers. Plainclothes members of the RCMP prowled the corridors, making sure no one approached the premier’s room to try and make good on several anonymous death threats Dave Barrett had received. It was a fitting end to the nastiest, most laced-with-hysteria election campaign in B.C.’s long polarized history. The man under police guard was Dave Barrett. For the past ...
When reporters and politicians rub elbows
Tribute: Bill Bennett
A labour reporter looks back on an oddball friendship with a right-wing leader, and the good old days when labour reporters still existed
By Rod Mickleburgh
VANCOUVER -- For some reason, Bill Bennett seemed to like me. In the few times we encountered each other, we got along. Goodness knows why, since, as a labour reporter, I had little time for the wealth of anti-labour legislation that came down the legislative pipe during Bennett’s 11 years as premier of British Columbia, topped by his outlandish, 26-bill “restraint” package in 1983. It went far beyond “austerity”. One of the bills gave his government the right to fire public sector workers without cause and lay them off without regard to seniority. Among the first to be shown the door was BC Government Employees Union vice-president Diane Woods. Nor was that all. On that single unforgettable day, the government also wiped out the Human Rights Commission (employees fired on the spot), gave ...
Three movies that helped me understand terrorism
Brazil, The Green Prince and Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam
If movies are empathy machines, can they help us understand the incomprehensible reality of intentional violence against the innocent masses? Veteran film critic Katherine Monk says maybe, and offers a list of titles that helped her gain a better understanding of the big picture.
By Katherine Monk
A drunk man reels backward in a burka as the random thump of a bass drum ricochets through the basement walls, sweating from the heat of writhing humanity. “This one is called Sharia Law in the USA!,” screams the shirtless, bearded man on the mike. “I am an Islamist! I am the Anti-Christ!!” It’s a scene from the 2009 Omar Majeed documentary Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, a film that didn’t make much of an impression the first time I watched it, but something pulled me back to the movie about young, thoroughly westernized Muslim men who found a sense of tribal belonging in a form of vocal and violent ...
Syrian refugees face a new life and old ghosts
Fear of the 'foreigner' all too familiar
Recent Remembrance Day tributes included a special acknowledgement of 120 Japanese-Canadians who fought for the Allies while branded "enemy aliens"
By Rod Mickleburgh
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Last week, two days before the numbing atrocities of Paris, I went to the annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the Japanese-Canadian War Memorial in Stanley Park. It was a simple, almost homespun occasion, far removed from the military-like precision of the packed event at the main cenotaph downtown. A black-robed priest gave a purification prayer, clapped three times and performed a spiritual cleansing by waving about a long baton festooned with white paper streamers. He then talked six minutes past the proscribed 11 a.m. time for the two minutes of silence. No one seemed to mind. Beside me, a teen-aged girl wiped away tears, while an elderly Japanese-Canadian woman in an ordinary gray kimono stood with head bowed, eyes tightly closed. There was also a ...