Being Canadian


Today  July 1, 2017 marks Canada’s 150th year since confederation.  Canada is a young country by all standards.  Some of the cities in this country of ours are much older.  For example, Montreal turned 375 years old this year.   Canada had settlements and industry established across this land long before we joined together in confederation.

Sir John A. MacDonald became the first Prime Minister of Canada on July 1, 1867.

Growing up I can recall this day being referred to as Dominion Day.

We are a diverse country and there has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears that have fallen to arrive at where we are today.  We still have a lot of work to do in terms of peace and reconciliation with our indigenous brothers and sisters as well.

What we must remember, however, is that we are merely custodians in this land of ours.  The following article discusses the problems we are currently facing.

In Richmond, BC, which has some of the richest farm land in the province, urbanization has been eating up these lands.  Homes being built on these properties are alarming in size.  There was home on No. 5 Road that was 41,000 square feet in size and slated to have 21 bedrooms!

The owner, who has 13 other luxury properties in the area wanted it zoned as a hotel.  He was denied.

Below are a couple of articles that may be of interest.

by Tanya Brouwers

Canada is a nation of vast spaces and varied terrain. Nationwide, however, this seemingly endless land base has limited agricultural potential. In fact, 94% of Canada’s lands are unsuitable for farming. Of that small percentage of land that will support agricultural endeavours only 0.5% is designated as class 1, where there are no significant limitations to farming activity. Unfortunately, due to urbanization, poor farming practices and other non-agricultural activities, this small percentage of viable farmland is shrinking at an alarming rate. Statistics Canada, for example, reported that between 1971 and 2001, over 14,000 square kilometres of our best agricultural land had been permanently lost to urban uses.

The link below is for an article that was written in the Globe and Mail newspaper regarding the issue with Richmond’s current crisis.  You can see many of the homes that are now sitting on prime agricultural land that is not being farmed at all.  Blueberry bushes have been cleared and trashed.  And I can tell you the strawberries and blueberries produced in this area are so good!

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/investigations/farmland-and-real-estate-in-british-columbia/article32923810/

When I speak about being custodian of this land of ours we must be diligent in our use of natural resources and how we develop this land.

There are more lakes in Canada than in the rest of the world combined!  And in British Columbia, the province that I live in, contains over 20,000 lakes and an abundance of streams and rivers.

Make no mistake.. Every area of Canada is populated, however, the majority of the population resides in the southern portion of the country along the coast lines and U.S. border.

One of the reasons I pointed out the issue in Richmond regarding the agricultural land is that approximately 6% of Canada is arable land.  What this means is that of the vast size of this country, this is the percentage that can be farmed.

We must come together as a community and as a country and take care of this land.  In the spirit of the French President Marcon,

“Let’s make this planet great again!”

And it starts at home.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA!

 

 

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Democracy…Tell Me What It Means To You!


I have provided the links to an article that was written by Gwynne Dyer back in July 2016 and also of a recent lecture he gave at the University of Regina.

After one week in office President Trump has moved in a frightening direction.

In Trump’s head its okay to tear up trade agreements and insist that all the jobs that have been lost in the U.S. due to out-sourcing and immigration.

Now President Trump thinks himself quite the business man as well.  If this were true then he would surely know that how we do business worldwide has changed as dramatically as it has due to technology in the last 25 years or so and not the out-sourcing that has gone on and certainly not by people immigrating to North America.

In fact having people move to North America has in fact assisted in the growth of our economy here in Canada and in the U.S. as well.  This is a proven fact and Canada has displayed this time and again.

Canada does indeed have her issues, still there is an awareness to do better and to grow as a collective.

I would encourage anyone who is reading this post to please take the time to watch the lecture which is close to two hours in length and read some of Mr. Dyer’s articles.  It is well worth it.

I have also provided standard definitions for democracy and dictatorship.

One of the things that is truly frightening is Trump’s desire to ‘control’ the internet.

Freedom to information is difficult enough and in these times our best defense is to stay informed of the facts and not the hype that Trump is spewing.

Let’s go about our daily lives informed and united.

Peace!

What does democracy mean?

1.government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

2.a state having such a form of government

3.a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges; common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.

Dictatorship

1.  a country, government, or the form of government in which absolute power is exercised by a dictator.
2.  absolute, imperious, or overbearing power or control.
The above are the dictionary definitions of what democracy and dictatorship mean.

Grievances…A History Of Sorts


 

20160929_072536After a year and half the American election finally came to bitter end.   The outcome was not what anyone expected.

We watched closely up here in Canada as the ugliest campaign in history unfolded. I could not believe that a man such as Trump could even be considered.  He has legal cases pending in court, he is loud, obnoxious and has virtually no experience in the political realm.

He’d somehow become something of a celebrity with his show ‘The Apprentice’.  The Donald, as he sold himself some 20 years back,  has an insatiable appetite to be in the spotlight.

What you have to understand is that it’s not just the U.S.A. that is experiencing radical change.  There is global unrest and a lot of it.

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We should be coming together as a global collective to remedy the issues that exist, and I fear with the choice Americans made on November 8, 2016 that the shock waves will be felt for years to come.

What I have seen my neighbors to the south try and hold onto is the old adage that they are the greatest country in the world and they have this ‘American Dream’ thing that, like their love guns…they cannot dismiss or let go.

And what is the American Dream?

Here is Wikipedia’s description:

The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity, and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.[1]

The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” with the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”[2]

There you have it.  Yet it seems that for many, the factory workers, those who were not has fortunate somehow felt cheated to some degree.

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The ALMIGHTY ECONOMY (a.k.a. Oil) became the ruler of the day after the Second World War.  With technology advancing at a rabid pace from the 1970’s forward tens of thousands of factory workers found themselves out of a job.  Small towns became ghost towns as their citizens lamented over the good ol’ days.

Several economic recessions and the crash back in 2008 left many with absolutely nothing.   No educational options, no retraining options, no jobs, no home, no nothing.

Meanwhile in other countries such as Bosnia, Ruwanda, Lybia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Mexico, etc. corruption and war had made it impossible for their citizens to eek out a living.

The exodus began as refugees sought out new lives for themselves and their families here in North America. The American dream has been sold globally and many made their way to Canada and the United States to begin a new life.

For many of the citizens down in the U.S. with no job and having lost so much, they found the idea of immigrants coming to their country as offensive.  These people were stealing their jobs, their livelihood.  Even worse were the ones who gained entrance illegally.

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The setting was ripe for a man of Donald Trump’s nature to come in and tell these U.S. citizens that he was going to build a wall to keep out the illegals and toss out all the aliens who had come to America.  Yet he could walk across the street to a different rally and feed a line of bullshit to that group, even if it contradicted what he had just spoken about, and quite often it did.  In fact, the contradictions were absolutely astounding.

Riots were breaking out at his rally’s.  He was having people tossed out and continually made derogatory remarks about women.

Women became the devil and he was running against a woman.

And yet the Republican party, even though many didn’t like him, didn’t want him to lead party allowed it anyway.

Trump may think he can build a wall, tear up trade agreements, trash the U.S. healthcare system, send immigrants packing  and repeal women’s rights in order to make ‘America great again’ but those are not things that can be done with the snap of the fingers.

Trump had best be careful as all those people who voted him in may turn on him when he doesn’t deliver their brand of justice.

Let’s hope that President-Elect Trump doesn’t do anything rash out of the gate.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

The Taxman Cometh…


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T-T-T-T-Taxes!

It is that time of year.  The taxman cometh and taketh away this year.  He still wants close to $2,500 from me for my personal taxes!!!

Ouch!!!

Last year was a tough one and it is still biting at my heels.  I am supposed to pay by the 1st of June 2016.  I’m going to see if I can get a ‘deferral’ for a month or two.

Seems to be the thing to do these days.

There is a loop hole in our system with regard to property tax.  Not too sure if it is just for Vancouver residents or not.

If you own a place in Vancouver for example and you are over the age of 55 years of age and your taxes are up to date, you can defer paying your property taxes…indefinitely?

The Province will apparently pay on your behalf and then when your property is sold they will take their cut.  You must have at least 25% equity in your home as well.

I was made aware of this by a fellow I’ve worked with for years.  He and his wife have clear title on their home on West 23rd Ave. in Vancouver.  The assessment on their home was just under $3 million this year.  The taxes were in the $6,500.00 range.

That is a lot.  They’ve lived in their home for around twenty years.  They both have professional designations and work full-time.

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They’ve been deferring their taxes for a couple of years now since they lost the home owners grant as the property has been assessed as too high to claim it.

Were they to pay on a monthly basis to pay off their taxes it would be $542.00 approximately per month.

The City would no doubt charge interest.  Still for two people still working this is affordable considering they have clear title it is not a hardship at all.

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Vancouver approves plan for 12 new bike lanes

(Burrard Street Bridge will no longer appear as above)

I then decided to research this.

(The following is an excerpt for Vancity Buzz)

‘A property tax deferral program is the latest way Vancouver homeowners are taking advantage of their high-value homes to make a small fortune.

The B.C. program allows residents aged 55 and older, widows, and people with disabilities to defer paying their property taxes until the sale of their home, while only paying a 0.85% interest rate. When implemented in the 1970s, it suited both the common retiring age and the stagnant real estate market at the time, but is now being taken advantage of by wealthy homeowners.

The purpose of the program is a sound one, says NDP MLA David Eby, a critic of the B.C. Liberal’s affordable housing legislation. It is supposed to ensure that seniors and others on fixed incomes aren’t forced out of their homes due to property tax increases when their home value grows. But, the program was designed in the 1970s for the realities of the 1970s real estate market, which is very different than it is now in 2016, adds Eby.

There are over $130 million in deferred property taxes each year, income for the various districts and municipalities that could be used to build roads, fund school boards, maintain parks, and pay local police and fire authorities. While many use the program responsibly – half of B.C. seniors live on $24,000 per year or less and more than 50,000 seniors are living on $20,000 or less, according to Seniors Advocate B.C. – changes in the common age of retirement means many over 55 are still making generous incomes.

According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Commission, adults aged 55 to 64 made the highest average personal income of all age categories in 2011. More than half of this group own their homes mortgage-free, and there’s no shortage of them in Canada: what are called “pre-seniors” make up 13.1% of the country’s total population.

With the aging population – the number of people over age 55 by 2038 are projected to equal the populations of Ontario, Alberta, and Saskatchewan combined – the amount of money lost each year due to the property tax deferral program will only continue to grow.

While Eby says there are flaws with the program itself, most notably that it is not at all based on proven financial need, he blames the province’s inaction toward affordable housing as the reason why the program is being taken advantage of.

New Hotel Georgia 2015

I now live in New Westminster which is approximately a 10 to 15 minute drive away and I’m fine with this.  I’ve come to love New Westminster.

Currently, however, there are nineteen schools on the chopping block in the Vancouver area, mainly on the East side.  Yes.  They want to shut down schools!

Education issues have been a problem for a long time in Vancouver.  Part of the problem arose back in 1996-1997.  There used to be boundaries set up.  You live within an area and these are the schools you could attend.

The first wave of Chinese immigrants came through and were not happy with the choices they were offered. The west side of Vancouver, which has always been more affluent, had better schools.

So the boundaries were lifted.

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It did not take long for the waiting lists to fill up at the schools located on the west side.

The demographics were changing rapidly.  Housing was being built at breakneck speeds and still is.  Back then, however, they were ripping down the quaint and beautiful homes from the 1950’s to the 1970’s and replacing them with boxes.  They all looked the same after a time.  Very little in the way of a yard with a pinkish hue painted over a flyash concrete base.  The homes were slapped together fast.  Concrete base, wood framing, insulation, plywood then a layer of flyash concrete.

Then the condo towers began to go up.  The downtown core of Vancouver was dotted with cranes at any given time.  And the buildings were becoming higher.  Where we once had a height restriction because of the mountain view the rule was relaxed and once that happened the views soon began to disappear.

The wave of immigrants soon became a tsunami.  Foreign investment continued pushing house prices up.  And those investing found every loop hole when it came to not having to pay taxes necessary to keep our infrastructure intact for things such as health care (hospitals, etc.), education, parks & recreation, and ongoing maintenance and updates on roads, bridges, sewers, etc.

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Let’s not forget the funding for all the sweet pensions handed out way back in the day as well.

Without a steady tax base coming in we began to feel the effects on the lack of available services.

Yet no one in government would admit or consider the road they had pushed us toward.  They denied that the rise in housing costs was due to foreign investment.

Just recently they are finally admitting that something needs to be done.

This shouldn’t be an issue.  Running a government body should be based on two things.  Accountability and acting in the best interests of the electorate.

This is what we take in.  This is how it is spent.

These are the short terms goals and these are the long term necessities.  And this is how we will set up the budget to:

  1. Maintain our current infrastructure
  2. To upgrade or replace our current infrastructure
  3. To provide decent and affordable housing to city residents/citizens.
  4. To maintain all levels of education and ensuring it accessible.
  5. To ensure health care is available.
  6. To ensure that transit and utilities are available at a reasonable cost.

Everything has increased.  Its nuts.  Crazy!

So many things have been privatized over the years.  Government has sold us out on so many things and continues to do so.

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Public transit, BC Hydro, BC Ferries, just to name a few.  And now they want to demolish and sell off the property for several schools.  They want to demolish the Georgia Viaduct and put in more bike lanes and sell off the property to Concord.

This saddens me to no end.

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Meanwhile I’ll call Canada Revenue Services and see if they will give me an extension on paying my tax bill.

We wait in anticipation for the proverbial bubble to burst.  Somehow when that happens, it will be those of us who live here that will pay the price.

And for those who have deferred their taxes, will they still have a home to cover the cost of what they owe the government?

I hope so.

In A Nutshell….


 

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May the 9th as evolved as rather significant date in my life reaping various challenges upon me.

I’d been successful in selling my condo and was now on the hunt for new digs.

The last few years have been tough in many ways physically, emotionally and its been hard financially as well.

Seven years ago on May 9, 2010 I ran the Sun Run which is a 10 km race in Vancouver. Crossing the finish line had a profound effect on me.  I had also just purchased my first home!

Sun Run 2014

My focus became my health and well being.  I decided it was time to tackle all the issues that had plagued me for a lifetime.  I got back into running in a big way and decided it was time to dive into my passions and bring them to the forefront.  I pursued writing and photography with a rabid hunger.

For the first time in my life I was really letting myself search my potential and even more so I was building upon it.

A book was in the works, I had joined writing groups, I’d taken a photography class and had found some shutterbugs to roam the streets with.  And I was working on some emotionally deep issues as well.

Emotionally I was sideways for a time.  Dealing with repressed issues was a strange balance between how I was and how I am now and putting them together to become the person I wanted to be.

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People came into my life offering direction and guidance.  And I was actually asking for help, in a round about way.

The introvert was becoming an extrovert.  Still I was pretty rough around the edges.  The emotional aspects were hard to express as I was living through it and not certain about any of it.

As the emotional storm began to settle health issues began to arise.  The first was the heart issue.  I had a stent put in and carried on. I was encouraged to keep running, to keep hitting the gym which I did.  After being on blood thinners for a year and getting the all clear on my health  I decided to treat myself to the BMO 1/2 Marathon.

Halfway through training I began to falter, however, I ran the 1/2 Marathon on May 5, 2013.

Four days later on May 9, 2013 I discovered I had uterine cancer.  So came surgery and treatment.  I worked through all of it, however, my performance at work was impacted as chemo can do a number on you.  Six months after treatment was complete I was terminated and given 5 weeks notice after 5 1/2 years on the job.

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A personality conflict with one of the partners was sited.  The partner in question was a rude, cold individual who commented continually on my shortcomings during cancer treatment. In layman’s terms .  An asshole.

I found another job within 3 weeks.  Better pay and full benefits!

Some things, however, are not as they seem.  While I initially thought this was the job I’d been looking for, it became anything but that.

Working with an antiquated computer system, and this was new industry for me, I walked into the worst mess I’ve seen.  There had been no accountant in the position for 4 months prior.  This had not been disclosed.

The promise of a new computer system that would be implemented within three months of my start date never happened and has still not occurred.

I’m either a fool or a trooper, perhaps a bit of both, but I dove into it, despite the fact that chemo still had me a little foggy.  Perhaps that’s why I jumped in the way I did.

I worked hard.  Really hard.  Too hard.  Rebuilding a company that was in serious relapse with its clients and vendors, restoring the relations necessary to do business in a manner that is balanced and productive.  I worked along side two women who were exceptional and assisted in my efforts in every way.

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In the New Year I headed to Vegas to visit a friend.  A vehicle accident occurred.  My car was totaled.

I thought I’d be fine.  I wasn’t.  As the months passed my neck and back were like a vise.

If my ability to remain focused had been a little challenged before now it was painfully so.  Still I toughed it out.  Didn’t take any time off as felt I could not.  With dogged determination I muscled through.  Working with a DOS based program requires you to think about applications differently as well.

Yet I did.

Dress-Rehearsal

I was so close to having the whole thing brought up to date, so close to having all the checks and balances back in place, so close to completing what had at first seemed impossible when I was unceremoniously released from my employment contract.

This I didn’t see coming.

The other major issue for 2015 was the re-piping of my condo building.  Twelve of the forty-seven units lost their hot water for three months.  Mine was one of the units.  The cost escalated to a ridiculous rate.  I cleaned out my RSP and savings to pay for it.

2015 was a year where I felt that I was running up hill the entire year but not really moving.

In 2014 I’d started my own publishing company in early 2015 I’d released my book, however, with the chaos occurring in my life from the accident and the building repairs I thought it might be best to focus on marketing it later.

I’m nothing if not resourceful.  Unable to run or hit the gym…and spending far too much time at physio I thought it may be prudent to build on my public speaking skills.

In effect I had none.  So I joined my local Toastmasters to work on that aspect of self.  2015 was a tough year.  Depression reared its ugly head and as the year closed out I found myself unemployed and feeling desperate.

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I had worked so hard and now it felt like everything was starting to slip away.  I had made some poor decisions.  Shopping sprees that were ongoing for a time.  Purchases of $300 in perfume that kind of thing.  This is simply a reaction, an echo.  It is not who I am.

Still, I found a job.  And I like this one.  I really like it.  The fit is good.

I assessed my situation.  The building was completed, I had my place painted and put it on the market.

And as stated I was successful with the sale and on May 9th, 2016 I found a new place!

A little rough around the edges, like me.  I would make the space a beautiful one.  I would make it a home.

In January I had renewed my mortgage and discussed the plan to sell with my mortgage specialist, who is fabulous.  He set the mortgage up to be  portable.  All was good.

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So when the call came that Canadian Housing Mortgage Corp. had pulled out, that I could not get financing…I spent last Wednesday evening in a very dark place.

What had I done wrong here?   Was I going to lose everything again?

I had never missed a payment.  Never defaulted on anything.  Still I no longer had the safety net of my RSP and my savings had been depleted.

The point of all of this was to regain control of a situation that could well get out of control.

The following day I was resigned to the fact that it would be back to renting. My boss asked how I was doing with everything and I told him it looked liked I would be renting once more.  His response would goad me back into action.  “So…you’re just going to give up?”

Calls were made, bank managers were contacted.  My mortgage guy went back to it and put it on the table.  My realtor got an extension on the subjects being removed.  Again it came as ‘No’ on Friday morning.

Well, that’s it then.  I felt defeated, deflated, abandoned.

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I wanted an explanation.  Not the debt ratio where I was three percent out of what CMHC considered acceptable.  I was not going to go out quietly.

Someone was deciding my fate without knowing how hard I’d worked to get here.  Someone was looking at numbers, nothing more.  Someone who didn’t know the hardships I’ve overcome to get to this point.

I picked up the phone.  Then they at least had to know who they were saying ‘No’ to I decided.

The first fellow tried in vain to curtail my attempts to take this further.

Not once did I swear or raise my voice, though at times the emotions caused me to have a higher pitch. I insisted that I need to speak to a manager and was put on hold, a few times.

Ideas

Finally he put me through to Joanne who had been dealing with my file from the get go.  She did not want to talk to me.

I was not about to drag it out, I just wanted her to know what a tough year I’d had and that I was doing the right thing by taking the actions I had.  She spouted privacy laws, she could only speak with the lender, not the person whose life her decision was affecting.

The debt ratio came up.  She had laws to abide by.  Had I broken a law here?  No.  Why was her organization pulling the plug when they had renewed my mortgage for 5 years just a few short months ago?  The debt had been there then as well.  It had been made portable for the very reason we were here today.

And damn!  I’m so proud of how I relayed my message on Friday.  With calm determination I wanted her to know that I was not a number.  I’d made mistakes, yes.  I’d had a tough year, but I’d paid for everything.  I was taking care of everything in a responsible way.  Why was I being cut short here?  You are telling me that a three percentage point is going to alter my life?

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Joanne would tell me nothing due to ‘privacy’ laws.  I requested then that she contact my lender and provide an answer to my inquiries.  I didn’t want to hear about debt ratio.

With the money laundering that is currently going in the real estate market…well, I won’t go there.

I think Kenny cringed a bit when he received the message from Joanne.  She wasn’t happy.  Still this had been an action I’d taken on my own.  Kenny called me.  He was going to try one more thing.

Collectively we held our breathes.

I was so very grateful to my boss and his father for encouraging me not to give up.  I was so thankful that I had the  mortgage and realtor guys that I do in my corner.

At 7:30 pm I got the call.

I was approved.

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I’ve learned a great deal through this experience.  I made many assumptions prior to beginning this exercise of buying and selling.  This time I got my happy ending.

Now begins a new chapter. This time out I am whole, complete.  This time I will reach for the stars and I’ll get there.

Just watch me.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happiness Is A Warm Gun? Trump That!


Obama

Several weeks ago I watched as President Obama tearfully laid out a plan to curb the gun violence that occurs in the United States on a daily basis.  I noted his frustration as he once again spoke of the need to regulate and implement tougher standards for buying or selling guns in America.

Within a nanosecond after this had aired, Republican representatives and gun enthusiasts were quite literally up in arms holding the Constitution over the President’s head like a guillotine.

This Canadian gal just doesn’t understand her American counterparts desire to obtain and have guns.

Americans have this enshrined in their Bill of Rights.  It is the 2nd Amendment in their Constitution.

Curious I pulled up this document and read it through.  I wonder if the forefathers knew what they were putting in place back in 1789?

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Classic Six Shooter

The thing is there have been amendments made and added to change, adjust or update previous Amendments and articles of the laws that govern.  From the information available one of the last adjustments made was in 1992.

That’s fine.  You want the right to bare arms.  But why the fuck do you need an assault rifle that can discharge 800 rounds per minute or even a semi-automatic rifle that can discharge 180 rounds per minute?

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Semi-Automatic Rifle

This just makes no sense to me at all.

There are now more guns in America than there are people.  I find this fact a little scary.

Back in 2011 I went to New York for the first time.  I loved it, however, I remember coming through the Lincoln Tunnel at 6:30 AM and seeing armed soldiers with some very intimidating weapons on their person.  The 10th anniversary of 911 had just passed and the UN was hosting a major event.  The Occupy movement was in full force as well.  I understood the need to step up security.

Still everywhere we went our purses were checked and often we’d have to pass through metal detectors and the like.  It never occurred to me that perhaps many Americans could well have firearms on their person.

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Occupy New York Sept 2011

What is even more confounding is when tragedies such as the thirteen killed at Columbine back in 1999 to the 26 killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 and immediately thereafter the sale of guns increased exponentially.   Particularly after the Sandy Hook tragedy.  More guns were sold over a six week cycle than had been sold over the last 20 years!  Utter the words ‘gun control’ and suddenly its like Black Friday down in the U.S.  as citizens line up to stock up on their fire arms.

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Times Square at 1:00 AM Sept 2011

I’ve been watching the election campaigns for the run up to the Presidential election later this year and truth be told it is beginning to get a little scary on the Republican side of things.  The fact that Trump leading is so appalling on so many levels.  Out of every republican candidate’s mouth has come the statement “WE WILL KILL ALL TERRORISTS!”

For the record, terrorism is a global issue.  In order to stop terrorism, we need to first understand how and why it exists.  Will going in and blowing up a country solve the issue?

I believe it will only make matters worse.

Trump is going to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out. That is quite frankly, so fucked up!  There is already  a wall there.  This to me is tragic.

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Sadly some of these ‘walls’ already exist

I am a member of Toastmasters International.  When new members join we mentor them.  I met with Luis after our club meeting last Tuesday as I will be mentoring him.  The role of mentor is to let the new member know how the system is set up and to discuss the first two manuals so they understand their responsibilities.  We are also available should they have any questions during the first three speeches that they prepare or deliver.

I love the opportunity to assist any one wanting to improve who they are.

Luis is 30 years old.  He was born in Mexico City.  At 15 years of age he went to Los Angeles to begin a new life.  He had nothing and was on his own. At 17 years of age he came to Vancouver, BC up here in Canada.  He has worked two, sometimes three jobs to bring his mother and brother up from Mexico as well.  He has started his own company and is now married and expecting his first child.

Luis is now a citizen of Canada and what a stellar young man!

Yet according to Mr. Trump, all Mexicans are ‘thugs and rapists.’

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Current snapshot of the U.S. – Mexican border

I am very proud of Canada’s ability to build on its multiculturalism.  We are proof it can work.  I’m not saying we’re perfect.  Far from it.  Sadly we’ve been very slow at dealing with our issues regarding  First Nations people.

And I’m more than a little pissed off that our governments continue to sell off our resources and residential property to offshore buyers.  That, however, is another rant for another day.

I am confused by my neighbors to the south.  Confused and concerned.  The intolerance that I see at some of these political rallies is genuinely frightening.  Trump apparently didn’t know who David Duke was.   Hell, I’m a little Canadian gal and I know who once was the head of the KKK.

When ‘black lives matter’ protesters showed up at the next rally, Trump quite handily demanded, ‘Get them outta here!’ And it was as if he was inciting the crowd to a level of intolerance that was becoming aggressive.

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Eagle photographed in Harrison Mills, BC  Canada

And security moved in fast to do his bidding.  The fact that Trump is as hateful and ego driven as he, well I don’t even want to think about the possibility of him running the show down there.

Finding a really good head of state is an arduous task but some the qualities that are inherent are as follows.

Patience, tolerance, exceptional listening and negotiation skills, emotionally and intellectually sound and balanced.  The person needs to be objective and be able to reason.

Trump has none of this.  He is a bully.  If you don’t agree with him, he’ll sue you.  In many ways he is childlike, pouting and having tantrums whenever he doesn’t get his way.

Between the gun issues and this Trump fellow, America the beautiful is losing her luster.  Trump says he wants to make America great again.

Not too certain of what his definition of ‘great’ is and I hope we never discover this.

To my neighbors in the south be well.  We are all on this planet together and we need to learn to live together and share in the responsibility of keeping this world of ours in good working order.

Peace.

 

 

 

F*!*k the Economy!


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What is it about this God we call the economy that drives us to worship and follow it blindly.

Big business is tearing across this planet sucking every viable resource it can take to process and sell it to us in any number of ways.

The economy dictates that this be doen.

I can’t help but wonder what happened.  In my lifetime I’ve watched the economy take hold and alter how we live completely.  The industrial, then the technological revolution have had us running on the hamster wheel at breakneck speeds far too long.

Somethings gotta give.

What happened to our values?

I was born and raised in Vancouver.  I now live in New Westminster which is about a 15 minute drive from the city.  I can’t afford to live there any longer and  I certainly couldn’t purchase a home in Vancouver proper.  90% of the houses in Vancouver are currently well over a million dollars.

Condos are crazy expensive as well.

I have lived and worked in pretty much every corner of the lower mainland (aka Greater Vancouver Regional District) at some point in my life.  This beast called development has devoured Vancouver proper and is now beginning to spread its tentacles on the march  to the suburbs.

Towers, towers, and more condo towers are going on up!  Ten are slated in downtown New Westminster currently.  Five have begun construction.

And in truth much of the white hot market is being driven from off-shore buyers, namely Asian consumers.  Governments on every level state insist they have no way of determining how much of the market is being driven by off-shore purchasing here in British Columbia.

That, quite frankly, is bullshit. In a world with technology such as it is can surely determine  who is buying the properties here in Vancouver and where they live.

The trickle down effect has been devastating.  Seniors cannot afford to live in their homes.  Energy costs have skyrocketed.  People are making the choice between paying their utility bills or feeding themselves.

Rents are extreme and the rental market has deteriorated.

Daycare costs are insane.

The Employment Standards Act has been decimated.  A part-time worker here in BC has virtually no rights on the job.

Everything that generations before worked for, fought for is being dismissed rather handily by government officials of the day.  Gotta feed the economy.  Gotta create jobs.  Gotta inspire people to spend, spend, spend!

We need to change how we do business.  We need to change the concept of profit.

We need to consider what our individual footprint is on this world of ours.

I go to work in the morning and pass house that are 4,000 sq. ft and bigger.   I wonder who lives in these homes?  I never ever see lights on.  On occasion I’ve seen vehicles and a person or two. Do they work there or live there?

What happened to us?