Beyond The Book Lecture: John Gormley – #UofR 2014

Gormley at UofR

I’ve been to a lot of University of Regina lectures over the years. None by a right wing radio commentator, until tonight, and it didn’t turn out how I expected. I know there are people who reeeally don’t like John Gormley and his radio show. I used to listen to it frequently while I worked in a job that had me in a car most of the day, traveling the province’s east side. I’ve not really tuned in too much the past 6 years, while I work meters from where his talk was given Tuesday night. It’s not easy to get wrapped up in a talk radio show while at a front-desk job. I wouldn’t want to start talking to myself, at the radio, for the whole Library to hear.

John Gormley

Idle No More showed up and disrupted his lecture. After Campus Security showed up, the three noisy protesters relented and were escorted off campus (I was told later by an employee at the University). Others who supported the protest stayed behind to ask difficult questions of Gormley. He dodged the last one completely, refusing to opine why we need and should accept polluted rivers in our prosperous province.

I got a few interviews from opposing perspectives, after his talk. They’re at the end of the video (visible after YouTube processes it).
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In Grade 10 I read The Chrysalids, a John Wyndham science fiction that starts out describing an agrarian culture where they talk of God-like old people who could move the Earth into walls and hills. There were enough clues in the first chapter that I soon figured out that the book was describing the future, but many kids in my class didn’t comprehend the fiction. It was too far fetched for them to even consider in fiction that humans could regress in our technological abilities and knowledge. What could cause that sort of disaster, they hopefully wondered.

In my day, we read books, they couldn’t be bought on the Internet for a tablet, and young people knew that things only got better and more possibilities were going to present themselves. Cars would fly, computers would make holodecks, cameras would take holographic pictures, and holograms would carry messages to Jedi. Now we’re lucky if cars will move after peak oil (or ever drive themselves), if computers will have electricity with doubling power bills, if cameras aren’t telling the government exactly what we are doing at all times (assuming we switch off our tracking device by Apple or Samsung or RIM), and if 3D TVs don’t give us a headache and brain damage, let alone save our planet from the Death Star.

MOS’s blog post made me think of The Chrysalids. It’s a good book, and completely relevant to today, even with the threat of MAD war somewhat off the table. I happened to see this graphic on FAILblog too, which fits with this post. It’s the age old question, “Is the current batch of kids stupider than average, or is this the old crumudgeon effect taking shape?” The paradox in perception is dangerous, as it can lead to acceptance of sub-par child rearing and behaviour, or on the other end of the spectrum, an over-controlling adult class that is unwilling to listen to the untainted perceptions of the less-indoctrinated.

Andrew (Andy) Suknaski of Wood Mountain and Moose Jaw

Andy Suknaski, award winning poet and visual artist, has passed away at age 69.
Wood Mountain Ambassador School
Photo sent to me by Dale Caragata. Andy is front-center.

Andy was from my home town of Wood Mountain, and I have some memories of him as I grew up. He lived only a block away (not big odds on that, when the village is only five blocks in any direction), and the two not very notable memories I have of him are him working in his backyard on some yard work, maybe chopping caragana branches back to prevent overgrowth, and of him visiting with my parents and Bob Shields in Bob’s backyard. I was later vaguely aware of Andy’s relative fame, and am realizing he may not yet be included on the village website or Wikipedia entry, which is something I’ll have to correct. I recall a documentary about him appearing on CBC, and my Mom being somewhat unimpressed by their depiction of him. During his last years he was not particularly well, and it prevented him from writing more.

Wood Mountain

From the UCC website:

One of the most acclaimed Canadian poets of the second half of the 20th century, and a visual artist Andrew Suknaski was born in 1942 on a homestead near Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan in July 1942 to Julia (Karasinski) and Andrew Suknaski, Sr. He was educated at the Kootenay School of Art, the University of Victoria, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts School of Art and Design and Simon Fraser University. He has worked at a variety of jobs from farmhand to night watchman to managing a portable one-man publishing venture that specialized in limited edition mail-outs.

Suknaski’s narrative style was the dominant influence on the Canadian Prairie poetry in the 1970s and 1980s. His published works include The Ghosts Call you Poor (1978), East of Myloona (1979), In the Name of Narid (1981), The Land They Gave Away (1982) Silk Trail (1985). His works are included in the anthologies Canadian Literature in the 70s and The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse in English.

In 1979, Suknaski won the Canadian Authors Association Poetry Award for The Ghosts You Call Poor. He has been the subject of a great amount of critical attention, including articles by Jars Balan, “Voices from the Canadian Steppes: Ukrainian Elements in Andrew Suknaski’s Poetry.” Studia Ucrainica (1988), Dawn Morgan’s, “Andrew Suknaski’s ‘Wood mountain time’ and the chronotope of multiculturalism.” Mosaic (1996) and Tatiana Nazarenko’s “Ukrainian-Canadian visual poetry: traditions and innovations.” Canadian Ethnic Studies (1996).

In 1978, the National Film Board of Canada made a documentary film on Andrew Suknaski entitled Wood Mountain Poems. In it, Suknaski talks about his part of the world, about its multicultural background, its Indian heritage, and the customs and stories of its different ethnic groups. In June of 2000, the BRAVO! channel aired a 30-minute interview with Suknaski.
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Haste Makes Waste

“Opposition parties accuse the Harper government of stooping to a petty, new low in the muzzling of dissent.”

Note that says a “new low”, an acknowledgement that accountability is already at a low point.

Rae cited the incident as one of many examples that Canadians are “now living in a democracy with dictatorial tendencies.”

Garneau wouldn’t discuss what Van Loan said to him, citing the confidentiality of House leaders’ meetings. But he did say he believes the choice of May 18 for the party’s next opposition day was deliberate.

“I think there’s a message being sent,” Garneau said.

And the message is: “Behave yourself. (If not,) they have some ways of making things difficult.”

As the NDP discovered this week when it was apparently penalized for tying the Commons in procedural knots in a bid to compel the government to split up its massive, omnibus budget implementation bill into manageable chunks.

The NDP had been scheduled to have an opposition day on Thursday but that was abruptly cancelled and shifted to next Wednesday. Wednesdays, like Fridays, are short parliamentary days that allow for only two hours of debate.

“Did they give us a short day as a punishment? Whatever. You now, they’re in the bubble,” shrugged NDP House leader Nathan Cullen.

Elizabeth May spoke about the bill the NDP have tried to split apart from the budget, to improve debate over the irresponsible environmental law changes in it. The Environmental Destruction Act is a more descriptive wording of the Budget Implementation Act.

As the Westray disaster was a built “bomb” where 26 men were put into it, and died as a result of effective government safety assessments, so too is the present bill a giant carbon bomb where we’re all inside.

Meanwhile, there are shocking claims of police state actions, from LaRue today. I look forward to reading his tell-all expose’ book he’s promising now.

The government is isolating itself from valid criticism. Very worrying, but not surprising.

Here’s another’s perspective on development at any cost.

Miscellaneous Thursday

Bizarre “Fairness Advisor” position pertaining to the politically charged Roughriders sports stadium replacement process.

Calgary’s Mayor Nenshi meanwhile has this project underway for Albertan cities.

Bev Oda, fraudster, needs a Fairness Advisor to follow her around, except that would increase the ridiculous amount of money she expenses to taxpayers. Maybe put her pen into 3rd party management?

Save Bees now.

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Home, Home on the Strange

Isn’t it strange how oil companies can act as if they have the rights of people, but if they commit crimes or need police protection, they are suddenly special entities?

If you built a pipe through your neighbours yard, and it leaked toxins thousands of times, do you think your neighbour wouldn’t sue you into the oily ground?

The little-known [American] federal agency charged with monitoring the system and enforcing safety measures — the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration — is chronically short of inspectors and lacks the resources needed to hire more, leaving too much of the regulatory control in the hands of pipeline operators themselves, according to federal reports, an examination of agency data and interviews with safety experts… They portray an agency that rarely levies fines and is not active enough in policing the aging labyrinth of pipelines, which has suffered thousands of significant hazardous liquid spills over the past two decades.


I found this other incident particularly alarming, especially after recently reading Michael Moore’s description of how he had to hire personal bodyguards to thwart numerous attempts at injuring and killing him by the most deranged of the right wing. It seems the RCMP are offering bodyguard service to Big Oil executives whom they feel are in danger. I wonder how the thousands of Canadians who have faced stalking and other credible threats feel about paying for Big Oil to have hired muscle as if they are the Prime Minister? Will the executives be paying for their free bodyguard service, and if so, how does it not look like a bribe to police when they pay?

Kitimat people telling me Enbridge president had squad of RCMP guarding him at public forum last night. Christy Clark didn’t merit even one.
Moral of story: BC Liberal politicians are an expendable resource & Big Oil Poobahs are worth protecting with our tax dollars.

Beastly Films

The Rainbow Cinema in Regina has lost some of its luster for me. No longer are the prices closer to a toonie than a $5 bill, and the show April and I saw tonight had sound issues. In some of the scenes, the soundtrack music was louder than the dialog, an apparent digital audio issue the staff informed me afterward. The analog audio wasn’t adjusted right in my opinion, but the staff said they’d take a look at it for the future. A theatre should offer a superior experience to watching a downloaded film at home on a 58″ TV.

The movie, “Beastly” [5/10] I think it was called, was a teen flick, trying to improve upon the Beauty and the Beast classic by Disney. They had an opportunity to leave the audience with a fantastic message, but went for the schlock instead. SPOILER ALERT: I wanted to see them leave the beast with at least some disfigurement, to send a real message that you don’t need to be beautiful on the outside if you are on the inside, but they simply reconfirmed the message that your reward for being loved is that you get everything you desire, or maybe that love based on internal beauty can only last so long so the toad had better become a prince again soon or the love will go away.

I also ran into The Jurist, and his wife an friend who went to see another movie that was apparently better than the one April and I watched.

And I recalled just tonight that I watched “The Green Hornet” [6/10] and was mostly unimpressed with its storyline too.