by Yule Heibel on April 30, 2004

Admittedly, in my view, odd is the factory in the background being hit by what looks like lightning.

…Oh, hang on, that’s the struggle against sweatshops and globalised exploitation!

Happy pre-General Strike in BC Day, too! No school, no library, no garbage collection: nothing was on today. And that was a warning.


Shelley May 1, 2004 at 12:54 am

Nine weeks vacation? 40 hour work weeks considered a hardship?

Maybe I should migrate to Canada.

Joel May 1, 2004 at 4:17 am

Or start insisting on the same here.

Tom Shugart May 1, 2004 at 5:05 pm

Walspurgisnacht looks like something from Mike Golby on speed. Unfortunately, the graphic, at least on my browser, is covering up the text of your post, so I can’t comment on that. Too bad I missed my opportunity to make some mischief last night.

Yule Heibel May 1, 2004 at 5:58 pm

In some ways, the possible general strike is a popular referendum on this government we’ve got. See Doug’s interesting backgrounder for more insight into why things come to a head in BC the way they do. So, yeah, the vacation time and “high” wages look good, but people are sick of not having representation. That’s one thing, and the other is of course that high wages are relative. Anyway, I was here in ’83 for the general strike, my husband walked his first and thus far only time on a picket line (he had a tiny little extra job at a community college), my friends & I boycotted classes at UBC and refused to cross picket lines ourselves, I joined Women Against the Budget and vaguely plotted humilating pie attacks on public officials as well as occupying government offices (which the hardcore of WAB carried out, but they were a secretive lezzie bunch and distrusted heterowomen like myself enough to exclude us from the actual execution of plans… At least the tiny “cell” I used to meet with was quite soldierly, hierarchical, and mondo-secretive), and 20 years on, not much has changed in BC, it seems. You can bet your boots that there’s a WAB cell out there right now, plotting some potentially hilarious as well as possibly futile act against the government. It’s in the water here. That, and the annual summer drought which now starts in March.

Tom, thanks for the feedback on browser rendering. I tried adding a few more pagebreaks, but used Mozilla, which has this weird (to me) window for editing. It allows both HTML and CSS, and no matter how carefully I try to work it, if I edit in that browser, all my open pointy brackets are changed by the program into an ampersand, an l, a t, and a semi-colon instead (i.e., one character — the pointy open bracket — is changed into 4). I just spent 5 minutes in Internet Exploder fixing it, because of course all those ampersands and things completely messed the post up. Sigh. Maybe I’ll get brave and try to mess with the sizing of the image — see if that improves how you can view the text…. 😉

Yule Heibel May 1, 2004 at 6:10 pm

Well, that made it worse. Now it looks weird in Mozilla, too. Eh, computers.

Yule Heibel May 1, 2004 at 6:18 pm

Five dozen page-breaks later: does this work now? It looks ok here, on Mozilla, Safari, and IE.

Sheesh. So much for magic.

Maybe the caption shouldn’t read “Gruss vom Brocken,” but “greetings from broken,” instead….

bmo May 1, 2004 at 8:02 pm

Are you sure that’s a factory being hit by lightning and not the legislative assembly?

bmo May 1, 2004 at 8:13 pm

btw, for our american friends here, two wage earners (say a couple) earning sixteen bucks an hour each – about twelve US – is, in this country, barely a subsistence level, let alone living, wage.

Yule Heibel May 2, 2004 at 3:39 am

Haaa, bmo, the ledge hit by lightning! That’s funny!

Now explain to me why $16 doesn’t go very far. Is it the cost of housing, food, energy? The tax chunk that’s taken out? Because I agree with you, that kind of wage doesn’t add up to a hill of beans here. It seems I spend 10x that much every time I go to the grocery store — several times per week to feed the kids. And you have to wonder where and how privatisation (which is what’s fueling the current crisis) is supposed to save us [citizens] money. Hospitals say to a chef, who was cooking meals from scratch and making $22 per hour, that he will now earn $12 and that his job will consist of opening and heating pre-processed meals. This is touted as a savings, but who is making money off the contracts for the pre-processed meals? (And how nutritious are they, compared to what was cooked on the premises before? Ok, hospital food already has a bad reputation, but I can’t imagine it’s going to improve just because you add more salt, grease, and preservatives to the meals.) Meanwhile, the ex-chef (demoted to can-opener and microwaver) gets to deal with the problem of either taking that paycut and figuring out how to work around fixed expenses like rent/mortgage and car payments, etc., or taking a walk into unemployment. The government, meanwhile, continues to tout more privatisation as a panacea for what ails you.

Then, when, as presently, the BC economy is the sick man of Canada, they have the nerve to suggest that what we really need here is intensified exploitation of natural resources, also done by private companies, of course, hence the recent forestry legislation which was overwhelmingly opposed by the people. All we ever do is export our stuff raw, though: there’s not enough manufacturing, hardly any at all. We remain hewers of wood and carriers of water. The latest thing is to lift the federal moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration. What really kills me is that the provincial government wants to spend tax money for feasibility studies, despite the fact that there are huge gaps in the science of Pacific offshore drilling. These studies will cost a fortune, and the only people who will benefit from them are the oil & gas companies (private) who will then possibly go ahead and drill, based on the information provided by the studies. (At least this is how I understand the scenario.) In other words, instead of the private companies paying for these studies (from which the companies will presumably benefit), the tax payer is supposed to pay for them. That alone is enough to raise a finger — or a fist. But it gets much worse, because of course this kind of exploration is likely to do untold damage to large sea mammals (whales, dolphins, etc.) as well as to other fish, and has the potential for disrupting the whole food chain, since it uses sonar, which makes these tremendous sonic booms heard by sea creatures for miles, causes internal bleeding, explodes their ears, disrupts breeding patterns, and on and on. Furthermore, we’re in a seismic area, and who knows what kind of effect drilling could have (but we the taxpayer are supposed to pay for finding out), and the weather in the areas they’re proposing to explore is notoriously dangerous, much more so than the Atlantic’s. I can’t help but think that the same enthusiasm and fervour isn’t going into government’s stimulus of alternative energy studies because there isn’t as much profit to be made as when those private oil & gas companies distribute their dividends to stock holders.

Tom Shugart May 2, 2004 at 9:30 pm

Thanks, Yule, for attempting the fix. Fortunately, your comprehensive comments give me the gist of it. I have the tendency sometimes of thinking that all the governmnental stupidity resides in the legislatures of your southern neighbors, and that all political wisdom lies northward, but, clearly, that’s a simplistic notion.

Kate S. May 6, 2004 at 3:40 pm

Good gawd, Yule: it sounds like BC is in the same dump that the state of Alaska finds itself! …Selling out to the highest bidder, raping the natural resources, profits going to the huge corporations, studies paid for by the taxpayers to add more to their profit margins. Exactly the same scenarios! Only, a little bit of frozen arctic weather has never stopped these rabid bulldozers, these barbaric pit bulls, from taking what they want.

I would love to see a post by you on the entire last paragraph of your last comment.

I have touched upon certain of these points, little by little, but it’s so depressing I get heart sick, which manifests in “bad spells.” Either I’m too emotionally neurotic to tackle this eco-terrorism with the same hard-hitting bull whip that needs to be utilized by a Dominatrix in 4-inch spike-heeled patent-leather boots when dealing with these perverse perpetrators, … or I’m just lazy.

But, if you will, I will. We could tag-team ’em, a roundhouse clocking, a double-cross TKO delivered on their asses. Like here, and now in Great Britain, Canada boasts some of the best eco-friendly non-profit groups in the world. I’m sure they would love any attention we could supply their cause. (Something to think about, anyway.)

Yule Heibel May 9, 2004 at 2:57 pm

Eco-terrorism is the right word, Kate. When I first started blogging a year ago last April, I pointed constantly at those kinds of issues (and not much at anything too personal). It didn’t make any difference, as far as I can tell. I don’t think blogging really can, except that maybe it convinced one or two accidental readers never to touch another farmed salmon. Or maybe one or two other people learned something about Betty Krawczyk, too. But it’s the real Betty Krawczyks who are making a difference. Maybe some people read a blog and think, “hey, I’m going to blow the whistle on something bad I know about.” If blogging helps create a climate for that, good. But there’s probably already a countertendency that will co-opt even whistle-blowing into just more “noise,” or it will lead to authoritarian crack-downs on technology. (Where did I see the suggestion that soon soldiers won’t be able to take digital cameras along on tours of duty?)

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