Ok, I’m talking about politics again. This is important. This is urgent. There are two bills right now that will further drag us down the road to a totalitarian nightmare state. Bill C-51, being voted on by the Senate on Tuesday, will basically establish a secret police and make it dangerous for any Canadian to voice dissenting opinions online or anywhere else.
These two bills are ostensibly “anti-terror” bills, but the truth is they’re only going to cause more terror for Canadian citizens.
Both of these bills affect me directly. I’m political online and I often dissent from the Harperium. If C-51 goes into effect and they start cracking down, I’m in danger of being arrested for “terrorism”. (Because talking about the issues in my country instead of repeating platitudes about how the Cons have our best interests at heart “incites terror”.) C-24 affects me even more directly — I’m one of those millions of Canadians who no longer can be assured of their citizenship. I was born in Vancouver, but I’m a dual citizen — and even if I weren’t, I’d still be eligible to apply for US citizenship. I can be stripped of my citizenship and exiled from my homeland.
My mom is in danger, too. She immigrated here when she was 3. She’s a Canadian citizen, but under C-24 she’s a second class citizen.
So far the list of things that can get you exiled isn’t large, but it will be expanded — and with bill C-51, what do you think the odds are that “protesting the gov’t” will be included in the list of punishable offences? Mom and I protest the Harperium and our provincial gov’t on a regular basis.
We need to fight for our liberty, Canada. We need to shed the shroud of apathy and stand up and demand our rights and freedoms back. Too long we’ve stood idly by while Harper and his cronies run this country into the ground.
Canada might not be perfect, but in my lifetime it hasn’t been this terrible. I am watching my country go up in flames — instead of things getting better, they’re getting worse. We went from colonialist assholes to progressive, if slow-moving, thinkers, and now we’re going straight into an Orwell novel. How did we end up moving backwards instead of forwards? What happened?
I was gone for 10 years in the States. I came back, and found my country unrecognizable.
Please, take steps to make sure this doesn’t happen. If you’re Canadian, sign the petition and email your Senators. If you’re not Canadian but you know some, share this post. Urge them to take action.
Do it for Canada. Do it for the True North, strong and free.
Yesterday I woke up at 6pm. The takeaway from this is that my sleep schedule has been borked. Again.
So, natch, I’m pulling an all-nighter to right it. I have my first volunteer day for VIWF on Thursday. 10 am, Granville Island. I’ll need an hour to drive out there and an hour to get ready in the morning, and I like being early. No time to slowly fix the sleep schedule over 2 weeks, unfortunately. Need to do an urgent patch.
Waking up at 6pm meant I was almost too late for the VanSlam. Luckily, I got in just under the wire and even got to perform. (!!!) I read “Blood Candle”, a poem I wrote a yearish ago and have been sitting on ever since. Video was taken; it will be up at some point in the next week or so, I gather. I don’t think it’ll be a full body shot, so you won’t be able to see the horrendous shaking of my legs. It felt like I was trying to tap-dance.
After Slam I got to hang out with my fabulous friend D., who stepped into the boots of Bellica Yarrow for the cover of Bellica. Yes, that’s a photograph on the cover; everyone is always so surprised with that info. We chatted and she showed me My Drunk Kitchen. I was reminded that I needed to get back to vlogging, so expect to see a video sometime soon. Then I went home at like 2:30 a.m., which is obviously the best time to make the drive from East Van to Coquitlam.
Side note, I just got up in the middle of writing this to go find my video camera. I knew exactly where it was. What I did not realize was that the purple bra I have been looking for was hiding with it. So, hooray. I found my video camera AND my bra. Perhaps in celebration of this fact I shall wear my bra as a hat during my vlog. Also I will stop typing bray instead of bra, forcing myself to constantly delete and fix.
Unrelated to any of this, I am trying to cut sugar out of my diet. This has nothing to do with “eating healthy” or whatever the fuck and everything to do with my wisdom teeth are coming in everything is inflamed sugar makes this worse ow ow ow ow ow please kill me now. Actually, eating anything hurts right now, but sugar is definitely the biggest culprit in worsening my pain levels to the point of “I cannot function, please send copious amounts of alcohol and then leave me to curl up in the snow and die”. Working on seeing a dentist soon. At this point, I’m hoping the teeth are impacted — because in Canada if you need actual surgery to get out wisdom teeth (ie, if they’re impacted), it will be partially or maybe totally covered by healthcare. Or if your teeth have gotten to emergency levels, ie you’ll die without treatment — then you’re covered too. So, you know, that’s completely not at all fucked up in any way. Right? Right.
Anyway, the cutting sugar totally out is not easy and I have been failing miserably. I don’t even eat that much sugar these days, at least not during the week when I’m at my place (there’s a lot of junk food at Ogre’s place, and I have no will power) and still I’m finding it really difficult. I need coffee in the morning, and I really do prefer it sweet. I use honey or agave syrup because white sugar, blech, but that doesn’t matter to my inflamed gums and nerves. Sugar is sugar I guess.
Long story short I’m not sure how to end this blog post so I just keep rambling about things.
If you’re anything like me you know exactly what this is like. Half your brain goes “You could totally model for Addition Elle/write for xoJane/dance burlesque and dominate the scene because you are a queen/maybe do something adult with your life like trying to fix your massive piles of debt!” and the other half goes “But what about your complete lack of talent/complete lack of talent/crippled back/complete inability to function in the real world?” and you spend the rest of the night curled up in bed, crying and eating ice cream, because that apparently fucking helps, until you run out of ice cream and can’t afford any more.
Then the next day you feel better after some sleep and coffee and terrifying nightmares that make you never want to sleep again, truthfully, and take a step towards realizing one of your dreams and the step is HARD and it reaffirms your crippling self-doubt, and you go and hide in the closet and play Plants vs. Zombies 2 on your tablet but you keep failing that one level which is also, like, stupid hard, and you feel worse about yourself so you wrap yourself in your Reading Rainbow shirt and cry and scream SET PHASERS TO LOVE ME.
Eventually you crawl out of your closet, feeling a bit calmer and less shaky, and try to take a step again on one of your dreams. Maybe this step isn’t so hard, so you get it done, and then you start to believe you can do anything! Do ALL the things! You’re on a roll, you’re amazing, you are the fucking queen, you can function in the real world, you’ll be a star soon, everything is coming up roses….
And then one tiny thing goes wrong and you start to doubt again. The crippling self-doubt makes a comeback, knocks your delusions of grandeur on their ass. You try to soldier on, convince yourself you can still do this, you can, because you’re amazing.
But they always snowball, these things, and because — if you’re like me at all — you can’t function when problems arise in your life, you cannot deal with these problems. The big HARD things come up again and you can’t. fix. them. You curl up into a little ball and hope the problem will go away if you just shut your eyes tight enough.
This is what happens every time I get a new idea about something I want to do. Addition Elle is currently running a contest for new models. They’re a 14+ store, so there’s an actual chance I could get it. I do have modelling experience, and apparently I’m pretty damn hot and confident (haha, what). The first step is to submit headshot and full body pic.
And that first step is basically the biggest fucking hurdle I have ever encountered. First I think well maybe I’ll submit my headshot, professionally done, from 2 years ago, but no, says the other part of my brain, no it needs to be CURRENT or you’re fucking your chances, which is TRUE, so where the hell am I going to get a current headshot? Where the hell am I going to get a current full body shot?
With, remember, like zero funds, because that’s what I have right now. I do have friends who are pro photographers, which is why I’d never ask them to shoot me for free; fuck, I’m an artist too, we need to be paid.
So that’s one battle. Another is the fact that I would just really love to write for xoJane but, well, I have no idea how to go about even applying for that sort of job and I’m pretty much solidly convinced they wouldn’t want me anyway because whatever I say could probably be said a million times better by Marianne Kirby or Emily McCombs. I don’t have a real journalism background, besides writing for the paper at Maui Community College, and times like these I actually regret not getting my degree in Journalism or something.
And, because we can’t stop at just two battlefields on which the two parts of my brain can duke it out, there are the burlesque and “being an adult” things. Becoming Burlesque is coming up again, and I really really really want to take the class, but, well. Two big hurdles there: 1. my spine and 2. money, which basically are both money, because my spine is still fucked because I can’t afford physical therapy. (No, Canada doesn’t cover it, and I’m “not disabled enough” to have it (or anything else!) covered by disability. Because not being able to work or even clean my house IF I can even get out of bed is apparently, you know, perfectly fucking healthy, go get a job you lazy bitch. Thanks Canada!)
But, you know, even if I could get over those hurdles in time to sign up for this class the chances of my doing it are slim, because again: CRIPPLING SELF-DOUBT, my favourite bedfellow, jerk hogs the fuckin’ covers.
And I mean, at this point do I even really need to go into being an adult and why that’s such a problem for me? No. No I do not. I believe I have covered all my bases here.
So if you’re anything like me and you face similar problems in chasing your dreams, come hang out here. This blog is a safe space for us all to be completely fucked up together. Solidarity and all that. (But you’ll have to bring your own ice cream; I am all out.)
Note: this post was originally written at the beginning of May. I forgot to push “publish”. Tense has been edited to make more sense to it being published now.
I honestly would probably be perfectly fine with a bridge from Vancouver to Vancouver Island.
It’s not that I don’t like boat rides. The ferry itself has done nothing to annoy me.
It’s the company that runs the boats that go between the islands.
They’ve raised the prices again. Now instead of $14.85 for a walk-on ticket, it’s $15.56. Every week from the beginning of May until June 17th, I spent over 30 dollars just to ride a boat back and forth.
Well, maybe they need to raise their prices so they can give you better services! you say, if you’ve never had to deal with BC Ferries in your life.
What services? The hard seats that squeak when you sit down? The overpriced gift store? The cafeteria of food poisoning roulette, now only 16 bucks for a portion size that wouldn’t fill up a mouse’s stomach? The decided lack of wi-fi (“coming soon, no, really, we promise”)?
Nope, raised ticket prices go one place, and one place only: to pad the salaries of the head honchos.
This is what privatizing essential services does. This is capitalism in action.
When I went to Spring Mysteries Fest this year on Easter weekend, we had to take a Washington State Ferry to get to the festival. (Theoretically we could have skipped the ferry and driven south all the way to Olympia before heading north again, but who would want to do that?)
I nearly had a heart attack when they asked me for the fare. I had 3 people in my car. It cost us under 20 dollars for all of us and the vehicle. I was sure I was dreaming; I’d dozed off while in the lineup and my brain was making up crazy scenarios to try and wake me up.
Nope. Really only cost about 16 bucks.
4 people plus a car on BC Ferries costs well over a hundred dollars.
Something’s wrong with this picture. Hint: it’s north of the border.
So BC Ferries rolled out the Experience Card, to try and give us hardworking British Columbians a bit of a discount. Except that the card is available for anyone, resident or not, and it’s not applicable for all routes. When I asked why I didn’t get a discount for using my card travelling between Nanaimo and Vancouver, the employee working the ticket booth told me it was because there wasn’t anything in Vancouver that I couldn’t get on the Island.
Ikea, sex shops, and hospitals that don’t misdiagnose you, give you a concussion, and discharge you don’t apparently count.
So a bridge across the Salish Sea would be okay by me. Especially a Skytrain bridge. I could have taken transit to my last class at VIU this summer, or easily visit my friends in Nanaimo anytime I want.
And I wouldn’t have to deal with quite so many screaming hellspawn.
It was the provincial election. I registered weeks ago, changing my address online, in preparation for this day. I was even going to advance vote last week, but I didn’t get a chance to make it to the polling station before I headed away from my town for the weekend. So I decided to do it on the day itself. I mean, the polling stations are open for 12 hours, and voting takes ten minutes.
Voting is the easiest thing to do in Canada. When I took Nate on Saturday to advance vote, he was in and out in under 2 minutes. I was done in 8, and only because I stood and deliberated over candidates. You can register right there at the polling station if you need to. They accept a wide range of things as ID. You can even have someone vouch for you.
You get a sticker for voting. A little round thing that says “I voted!”
They must have a lot of leftover stickers after each election.
Voter turnout was 48%. BC elected a Liberal majority.
For those of you who don’t know much about Canadian parties, the BC Liberals are actually way more conservative than the federal liberal party. Voting Liberal in BC is basically the same as voting Conservative.
When I turned 18, I was excited about voting. I ran voter registration drives, I worked hard to get people to the polls, I constantly reminded friends to vote. To get out and participate in democracy.
Often, after election day friends would say they “forgot” to vote if I asked them if they’d made it to the polling station. They’d spent the day on the beach instead. Or whatever.
Voting wasn’t easy in the States during the 2004 election. I spent over 2 hours at the polling station, waiting for them to say yes, I could actually vote, yes, this was the right station for me. They spent a long time on hold with the authorities, whoever they are. This wasn’t uncommon. There were a lot of problems for those of us who registered Democrat.
When I moved back to Canada I was pleasantly surprised with how easy voting was. “Wow,” I thought. “This is great. I bet Canadians are far more invested in democracy. Voting here is so easy.”
I was always a person who took joy in the political process. Things suck and many politicians are liars and often it’s hard to feel like you’re making any real difference. Regardless, I took joy in participating in democracy. In voting, in being an activist, in speaking out, in dissent. In making my voice heard.
I felt like this since 1993, when mom and dad took me to Ottawa to cheer Kim Campbell, their friend from law school and my god-mother, on as she ran for Prime Minister. I still have my pink “Kim” baseball cap somewhere. I felt like this when I accepted my award from the ACLU for being an activist in high school. I felt like this when I marched in peace demonstrations, when I spoke out, spoke up about what mattered to me. I felt like this every time I did anything that was participation in a democratic society.
Key word: felt.
Yesterday as I walked out of the polling booth I didn’t feel suffused by the same lighthearted joy that usually took me over after I voted, or after the results of an election went the way I hoped. I felt despondency and despair; I felt hollow. The joy was gone. All I felt was that I’d done my democratic duty, and I could go home and sleep now — because who cared? What did it matter anyway?
I was a rarity to feel joy in democracy. I knew that. And I think knowing that killed my joy.
I didn’t even need to check the results as they came in, or voter turnout, to feel this way. When I did finally check them, they didn’t help, save a small fist-pump at seeing that the Powell River riding finally went NDP. The results only cemented the despair, the despondency. So did the inevitable arguments about “vote splitting”. Not only did I already feel shitty about something that used to bring me joy, but now I got to listen to people who are supposedly on the same ideological, political page as me, call me a waste of space and everything that’s wrong with the world because I dared to vote with my conscience, with my heart, with my principles. Because I stood there in the polling station, not wanting to select either of the two options I’d settled on: one would be me voting against my heart, and the other would subject me to arguments with my fiancé and other people I care about as they tell me I made the wrong choice.
Because I voted Green.
When in my riding it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway. If all the people who voted Green in the Coquitlam-Burke Mountain riding had voted NDP instead, the Liberals would still have taken the riding. With over 1400 votes!
I understand where the argument comes from. NDP and Green parties are really similar. I have voted NDP before — generally in ridings where the race is more neck in neck between NDP and the more conservative party. I will vote NDP again if I live in a riding where, again, the race is neck in neck. In Nate’s riding the difference was a few hundred votes; if I’d been living there I would have voted NDP.
And I am of the opinion that in those few ridings where the race is so tight, maybe for a few years the Green Party shouldn’t run candidates there. Solidify the party via other ridings; gain strength that way. Work with the NDP for now. There are not many ridings where things are so tight. It wouldn’t be a massive sacrifice, and in the long run it may strengthen the party more. Hell, it might even lead to an NDP majority and a Green minority, which would be fucking awesome.
But I am tired of hearing from people who voted NDP that it is all my fault that the Liberals won a majority. Because I voted Green in a riding where it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference. I am tired of hearing about the “problem of vote splitting” and I’m tired of seeing it being laid at the feet of the voters.
I voted with my conscience. That is my right as a citizen of a democratic society.
If you want to get angry about this election, if you want to get angry about the majority that was elected, go ahead. But don’t focus your anger at the people who feel the same, who didn’t want a Liberal majority any more than you did. Why not get angry about the low voter turnout? Over half the province didn’t vote yesterday or during advance voting. Over HALF the eligible voter population. Don’t you think some of the responsibility rests at their feet?
Or how about the people who voted but didn’t bother to educate themselves before casting their ballots? Don’t think that’s a straw man. They exist. I’ve met them. (And tried to educate them, obviously — but if I’ve met a few, there are surely more out there.) People who think the BC Liberals are the same as the Federal Liberals (they’re not). People who think the Liberals are still the Official Opposition to the Conservative majority (they’re not; the NDP is now).
It’s ridiculously common that people either refuse to educate themselves about different platforms before they go and cast their ballots (“I’ll select Liberal, because I’m assuming the Liberals up here are the same as US Liberals!”) or that educating themselves is so daunting they refuse to vote in the first place.
Don’t even get me started on “But none of the candidates are aligned with my values!” If that’s the case, you still have an option that’s participatory: you show up at the polling station and you refuse your ballot. When they hand it to you, you hand it right back. You say you’re refusing your ballot because none of the candidates are worth voting for, or whatever. All you have to say is you’re refusing your ballot.
That is what you do if you feel that you can’t vote for anyone in your riding. Do you know why you do this? Because they have to record refused ballots separately from all other ballots. If you spoil your ballot as an act of protest, it just gets lumped in with all the other spoiled ballots, intentional or otherwise. Refused ballots are counted separately.
And if more people actually took the time to register to vote and then go refuse their ballot instead of avoiding the polling stations or spoiling their ballots in protest, then the PTB might actually, I don’t know, sit up and take notice that the populace isn’t happy.
You know what doesn’t tell them that? Low voter turnout. Low voter turnout tells them that people are happy with the current power structures, with the current policies. And things continue the way they’re going.
Instead, people refuse to participate in democracy. I don’t mean just getting out and voting, though that is the very least you can do. I mean educating yourself before you vote. If you’re reading this I assume you have the internet. It’s a good starting place to learn about the different parties, the platforms, the issues. It’s also a good place to learn about effective protest of voting, as I outlined in the paragraphs above.
If you already are politically minded and you know about the issues and the platforms…you can participate by educating other people. By dissenting, speaking out against the government when they do things you disagree with. These are things you can do as a citizen of a democratic country.
Our forebears fought hard to be allowed to have a voice in government. They fought against dictatorships, they fought against sexism, they fought against racism.
Now, just a few short decades after aboriginal people in Canada are allowed to vote (yeah, try and figure that one out — their country in the first place, but they weren’t allowed to have any say in it for the longest time. Hooray for colonialism!), we have some of the lowest voter turnouts in history. We have an apathetic populace that would rather spit on the memory of people who fought and died for our right to cast our ballots, to make our voices heard, than get out of the house or work and get to the polling station to spend three minutes checking a box on a piece of paper and putting it in a box full of other votes.
No wonder I no longer feel any joy in the political process. The apathy of my fellow countryfolk is an anchor chained to my neck, dragging me down and drowning me.
So, my fellow British Columbians, how about a toast? I raise my glass, full of a bitter Socratic draught.
Dear fellow Canadians, I would like to share two pieces of information with you. Bear with me; they may be revelatory and shocking.
1. Our PM doesn’t deserve any respect, because he’s a fucking asshole, so who the hell cares what the fuck Bieber wore? Shit, if I had to meet the PM I’d probably…ok, I’d probably refuse, because I hate him that much and am not actually sure that I’d be able to contain my hate and not beat him with a rotten salmon, or something, but if I were to meet the PM and couldn’t avoid it, I would not give two shits about my appearance. You’d see me in a bathrobe and curlers. I don’t even own curlers. I’d go and buy them just to show Harper how little respect I have for him.
“Unlike the justice minister, Vellacott was unable to award these medals to the victims of crime, because these baby victims are dead, so instead the award to those ‘heroines of humanity’ Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons who are trying to protect defenceless, voiceless human beings in the womb from butchery and death, and trying to let vulnerable women know that there are other options and support and adoption possibilities,” Vellacott said in his statement. “It’s what you would expect in a caring compassionate society.”
Vellacott continued, “It’s a pretty upside down world when we honour abortionists like Henry Morgentaler for killing over 5,000 babies and imprison precious women, like Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons, who try to save babies from such savagery. They are the real heroes of humanity!”
Excuse me while I vomit. Caring and compassion are, apparently, not for the uterus-bearing people who have to deal with the business of getting pregnant. Caring and compassion are reserved for collections of cells living parasitically in our bodies. Or for people who believe we shouldn’t be given a choice.
Of course, the QDJM is largely a jokeanyway. The people who get it don’t deserve it, and the people who deserve it are turned down. All in the name of honoring the Queen — well, tell me, Your Majesty, how do you feel about your medal being given to people who don’t believe you should have control over your own body? I think, were I in your position, I’d be pretty mad.
At this point I think the Conservative Party should win Canada’s Worst Driver. Forever. They are driving drunk and running this country into the ground and various trees.
It’s Mother’s Day. And while I’d love to just post a happy one to all the mothers out there, whether to children of their own womb, adopted, fur-babies, or creative projects, and be done with it, I cannot.
For there is a war on parents.
We are all parents. Whether child-free or child-abundant, we all nurture something, we all help something grow. I’m as much a parent to my books as I am to my dog, Tyee, and as much as I will be when my partner and I finally decide to get down to some egg-fertilizing. My mother is not only parent to me, but to her own creative projects, to her garden, to Tyee, to my partner though we’ve not gotten hitched. We are also parents to ourselves, once we leave the nest: setting bedtimes, setting chores, comforting ourselves when we’re down, rewarding good behaviour. We have to be, because such a relationship with friends or partners can be dangerous.
This is a lesson I learned from Demeter when I went to Spring Mysteries. I saw Her in Her shrine, and She told me this. I wanted to know how I could be a better daughter to my mom, and She told me that we are all parents — and to speak to Her daughter.
Something I’ve learned on my own time is that while we are all parents to something, what we are parents to is a choice. And it should be. We should be able to choose who or what we will nurture.
If you choose not to have children so you can instead direct your energy to nurturing your own life, your garden, your cooking skills, your hiking time, your skee ball skills…whatever you choose to nurture, that’s what you’re parenting. And it’s all good. No one should ever have the power to control this choice for you.
If you choose to have children, you get to choose when. This is a human right given to us by the gods Themselves — or the Universe, or Chance, or whatever you ascribe to (let’s not forget the Abrahamic God isn’t even pro-life) — for even before we had doctors giving us birth control, there were herbal options to reduce fertility or produce a miscarriage.
That right has only ever been taken away by people who are convinced the gods (or “God”) is talking to them. Controlling a person’s right to choose to have children or not is a human ill.
I say only 61 because 61 is young. To me, at least — both my parents are older than 61 and I’m only 25. One of them has had cancer and beat it already. I live terrified that it’ll come back and take her from me.
So, Jack Layton is dead. What does that mean for Canada? Canadians, on the whole, don’t get as worked up politically as Americans do. For a long time I’ve thought this a good thing, as there are fewer chances for us to look like idiots on the world stage. (No offense intended to my Yankee brethren, but it’s true.)
However, now I find my thoughts turning. I wonder if we look like bigger idiots for not getting worked up — especially when there are so many things wrong with our country. (Harper being the main one.)
Today there’s been a massive outpouring of love from Canadians across the political spectrum towards Layton’s family — most people agree that, regardless where their own votes went, Layton was a force for good in Canadian politics.
What if we could put that same energy towards our politics? Towards getting involved? Towards being activists?