Meng Wanzhou Protest Debacle


On December 1, 2018  Huawei CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Meng Wanzhou was taken into custody at Vancouver International Airport. Meng (her Chinese family name, commonly known as Cathy or Sabrina Meng, is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei). RCMP detained Meng on request of the U.S. government, arrested under terms of a reciprocal Canada/U.S. extradition treaty. The U.S. Department of Justice formally charged Meng with financial fraud on January 28, 2019. She’s accused of defrauding multiple financial institutions in violation of U.S. imposed bans on Iran. On January 20, 2020 extradition hearings commenced in Vancouver. This Wiki link provides a great overview – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meng_Wanzhou

It came as no surprise following Meng’s 2018 arrest when members of Vancouver’s Chinese national community protested outside the courthouse –

Fast forward to an image taken yesterday. See any Chinese national protesters? Confused by a cluster of young Caucasian awkwardly holding signs obviously penned by the same person? Ponder this – at least two protesters have spoken publicly on how they were lured to courthouse steps under false pretences and paid to be there. Actor Julia Hackstaff (far right in the image) was contacted on Facebook by someone she didn’t know, $100 for 2 hours work as an extra in a movie shoot. From CBC –

Hackstaff says she and a friend were told by her contact to go to the Holiday Inn a few blocks away and then brought to the courthouse. When they arrived, they approached a group of young people who looked “lost” she assumed were background actors.

“I went and asked, ‘Are you guys the extras?’ And one guy said yes. He then asked me my name and my friend’s name. So we gave him our first names and he checked on his phone like [as] if he had a list.”

Hackstaff said she was handed a red sign that said “Free Ms. Meng, Equal Justice!” Soon after, she began questioning what was actually going on.

“A CBS reporter approached me and my friend and she started interviewing us. And it was in those moments and questions where I started realizing, OK, if this was background work, they wouldn’t need detail on background people.”

“And then I started realizing, wait, no one called ‘action,'” she said. 

Hackstaff says she “freaked out” when a second reporter approached, coming to the realization that the movie she thought she was appearing in was, in fact, something very real. She says that’s when she left without being paid.

Demonstrators outside B.C. Supreme Court on Day 1 of Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing Monday. Actor Julia Hackstaff, far right, says she was told she was appearing as an extra in a movie shoot. (Georgie Smyth/CBC)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/paid-protesters-meng-wanzhou-1.5434613

The hubris of foreign meddlers to target actors on Facebook, use social media to message friends of friends is jaw dropping. Vancouver might be a globally inconsequential backwater, but we’re not stupid. Did China and/or immigrant Chinese loyalists actually believe an ill-conceived debacle to fraudulently lure paid protesters would spark public sympathy? News flash – Astroturfing (the practice of masking sponsors in support of political, religious or social issues to make it appear support/protest originated from grassroot sentiment) never, and I mean absolutely never end well – the truth always comes to light, bullshit always calls instigators out. Astroturf recipes try to bake pinnacles of arrogance into scrumptious morsels of delusion. In plain English – shame on those responsible for Meng’s Astroturf gong show, we’re not buying your biscuits.

The outcome of Meng’s extradition will be determined by Canadian law. Canadians have little sympathy for foreign interlopers who think otherwise. To them I say – instead of wasting your time and our patience, consider brushing up on how things work in Canada.

When It Snows


A laughably inaccurate perception exists that all Canadians embrace snowstorms with rugged practicality indicative of life above the 49th parallel. Misconception oblivious to geography or temperate zones, woefully misinformed generalizations held by those who haven’t witnessed mayhem unleashed by a Vancouver snowstorm.

Want to freak out British Columbia Lower Mainland residents? Mention snow. Want to watch a preposterous comedic symphony of incompetence? Let it snow, let it snow. Trust me, it’s hysterical.

Snow paralyzes our transit system, schools close, public safety warnings urge residents to stay home, highways & major arteries aren’t plowed, ice bombs falling from suspension bridge cables assault commuters – Canada’s third largest city grinds to a halt! Abandoned vehicles dot city streets, slightest inclines defeat motorists while sidewalks turn into ice fields. Snow-wise Canadians beyond our delicate rainforest bubble must be shaking their heads. I’m shaking my head, wanting to scream – take a run at the hill, don’t slam on the brakes gear down, take your foot off the gas and steer into the slide. It’s insane! A spectacle so un-Canadian all I can do is laugh.

Best laugh of the week came after a mid-week dump of 10 Cm or so – organizers of a snowball fight at the University of British Columbia called it off due to snow!

A video from 2017 cracks me up. Granted, there isn’t a salt shortage this year but worth a watch to put Lower Mainland winter circus act in perspective –

As I write snow flurries fall without regard for Vancouver’s inability to cope. Giddy local meteorologists embrace one last round of fear mongering before warm Pacific air overtakes Arctic outflow. By morning I could wake to mounds of fresh snow, freezing rain or a steady downpour.

2020-01-15 17.59.52

A day from now icicles under my back deck will surrender to the great thaw. We’ll spend a few days complaining about gargantuan slush puddles, exhale relief over return to familiar patterns of dreary West Coast rain, pat ourselves on the back for surviving the storm of January 2020. The city won’t acquire more snowplows, residents won’t consider buying winter tires, public transit won’t implement snow event improvements, people won’t buy salt or snow shovels until panic stricken. Life goes on. Nobody learns a thing, let alone feels sheepish for exhibiting such a poor display of winterization. Sigh.

Place Your Bet….


This Canadian considers herself informed, dare I say dialed in to global political affairs. Who knew dialed in included knowledge of novelty bets sanctioned by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. Novelty bets? In Canada they appear on the Lottery Corporation website PlayNow under “Sports Other”. Politics a novelty sport? Fine, I’ll play along. Canada’s lottery corporation lists eleven Trump “specials” open for wagers, everything from impeachment to Trump Mexico, Russia and North Korea. (See link below). If Trump were impeached (current odds are 6-4 for not impeached), a $4 bet is a $10 win. WTF?

https://www.playnow.com/sports/other-sports/novelty-politics/donald-trump

Right now, this very moment I could bet on Trump being banned from Twitter, Melania running against Donald in 2020, Trump building a wall along Canada/US border or any Mexican airport being named after Donald Trump. I’m not making this up!

Why Canada, why? Oh Canada, please explain when, how and why it became acceptable for government sanctioned political gambling to flourish under the category of novelty sport bets. Is there no end or limit to the lottery corporation’s absurdity? Politics aren’t a game. This Canadian resonates with disdain for your flagrant shenanigans.

Vancouver Street Names


This afternoon a friend sent a link to origins of Vancouver street names. Researcher Justin McElroy used City of Vancouver open data sets to eliminate numbered avenues/streets and duplicate names to arrive at 651 unique street names.

https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/longform/streets

McElroy determined 90% of named streets had documented stories linked to specific events, persons or things. 62 street names had no discernable origin, names like Adanac (Canada spelled backward) or Little, a one block East Vancouver pipsqueak.  I live on the corner of a numbered avenue and Willow, one of 38 named tree/plant streets. To the east I cross 11 streets named for Canadian provinces, to the west a wave of 20 streets named for military battles. Explorers (31), royalty (20), dead Europeans (28), B.C. places (19), places in the United Kingdom (25), geography (56), industry (22),  B.C. landowners (46), prominent railway persons (27), B.C. politicians (27), golf courses (26), connection to George Vancouver (12), universities (6), indigenous names (11), North American places (8), ships (6), hotels or houses (7), characters in novels by Walter Scott (12), Canadian historical figures (11), civic politicians (28), city/government officials (13), B.C. pioneers (6), forestry (11), business owners (9) miscellaneous persons unrelated to other categories (11) and a police dog named Valiant round out the list.

Valiant Street was named for Valiant, the first of eight Vancouver Police Service Dogs that have died from injuries suffered while on the job. (VPD)

Valiant was Vancouver’s first police dog to perish in the line of duty, shot in 1967 by an escaped prisoner on the run from authorities.

McElroy determined over half of Vancouver’s unique streets fell into 5 categories –

I’ve always taken street names for granted, history didn’t unfold until pausing to ponder nomenclature of the place I call home.

15th Detached Foot


15 running shoes containing detached human feet washed up on British Columbia shores since 2007. News of the 15th broke on February 11, 2019 when West Vancouver police and the British Columbia Coroner Service issued a plea for public assistance in identifying the missing person who wore this Nike men’s size 9.5 sneaker with an OrthoLite insert. Trouble is number 15 landed on a West Vancouver beach in September, 2018, so why did authorities wait 5 months before going public?

Officially 10 of 15 detached feet are identified as belonging to 7 people who died by accident or suicide, 5 remain a mystery. Be that as it may, where are the rest of their bodies? Feet only detach from water logged bodies when they’re encased in a running shoe? Why a cluster of detached feet in Southwestern B.C.? Why 5 months between finding #15 and going public? Surely there’s a reasonable explanation, unfortunately what that might be remains ponderously elusive.

Another foot, the 15th since 2007, washes up on a B.C. beach

 

Road Trip Gallery


It wouldn’t be summer without a road trip to the Okanagan Valley, forty one years gone but forever home. Wildfire smoke smothered the road home. Falling ash sang red sun blues, an eerily apocalyptic symphony oblivious to suffocating cinder rain. Ponder a road trip gallery –

Enlarge, explore, see more of my husband’s road trip photos at the link below.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/15574096@N00/

Night And Day


“Night and day” is an expression of vast differences, a term used to punctuate opposites and vocalize obvious chasms of separation. Every so often I use the term to illustrate radical improvement or to qualify observations of change. It never occurred to me night and day inhabited a realm between robotic utterance and practical reference to light in the sky.

After work this afternoon, night and day revealed another dimension. Not so much another dimension as a shared reality emanating from a handful of my husband’s photographs .Opposite as night and day may be, both are exquisite, textured and revealing. Ponder night and day with fresh eyes –

https://www.flickr.com/photos/15574096@N00/with/42259365585/