Beryl Dickinson-Dash


In 1949 Beryl Dickinson-Dash was a third year arts major attending McGill University in Montreal. At the time, only 150 of 8,500 McGill students were black. Most blacks were international students, Beryl Dickinson-Dash belonged to a handful of Canadian born black students, notedly a black Canadian woman who knew of no other black female Canadian students.

Beryl with her mother Maisy

Winter Carnival was a big deal at McGill, a mid-winter festival presided over by Carnival queen and four princesses. Keen beauties required 25 signatures from male students to secure nomination. Without her knowledge, the roommate of Beryl’s boyfriend (whom she later married) submitted a photo she’d given her boyfriend on his birthday along with 25 signatures from black male students. Beryl was shocked to find herself one of 26 official candidates.

Next came the ceremonial tea, an afternoon of polite white glove decorum and radio interviews. 26 were cut to 15, 15 became 5 finalists after a second round of interviews and struts. Beryl made the final cut. Each candidate was assigned a campaign manager.

Campaigns reached fever pitch, Beryl’s boyfriend, his brother, roommate and black students rallied behind her. Telegrams were sent to McGill posing as endorsement from prominent companies and organizations. Posters of Beryl appeared in every classroom. Voting booths with scrutineers proved seriousness of a fair vote. Results were leaked several days before official crowning. Beryl won by a landside, so much so final numbers wouldn’t be released as doing so might “injure the other girls”. Just past midnight, March 5, 1949 on her 21st birthday, Beryl Dickinson-Dash was crowned McGill Carnival Queen at the Montreal Forum in front of 8,000 spectators.

A newspaper clipping from March 5, 1949, announcing the pageant victory. (Submitted by Bradley Rapier)

Beryl doesn’t know why a predominantly white student body elected her Carnival queen. “Perhaps they were tired of how things were” she said. Regardless, she became a media sensation, front page news in papers and magazines. South of the border, Color magazine sponsored Dickinson-Dash (now Beryl Rapier) for a two week trip to West Virginia – her first negro college. A painting of Beryl standing in front of West Virginia state capital building by artist William Edouard Scott titled Spirit of Democracy was presented to McGill as a token of appreciation from people of America. I remind you – it was 1949!

Color magazine sponsored a two-week trip to West Virginia for Rapier. A press clipping from that trip features photographs of her at West Virginia State College. (Submitted by Bradley Rapier)

Sadly, few people in Canada know the story of Beryl Dickinson-Dash. But for stumbling upon her story last week courtesy CBC Radio Doc Project, I’d remain oblivious to a remarkable moment in Canadian history. More photos and history at the link below –

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/docproject/how-montrealer-beryl-dickinson-dash-made-history-as-mcgill-s-first-black-queen-of-carnival-1.5605944

Ping


This week Justin Trudeau announced implementation of a Canadian COVID-19 tracking app. Deemed ‘voluntary”, currently testing in Ontario, apparently available nation-wide on July 2nd, COVID Alert is hailed as an anonymous tracking app which pings subscribers with alerts when coming in close contact with consensual participants testing positive for COVID-19.

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/coronavirus-contact-tracing-app-ontario_ca_5eebbfdec5b6d9234ce7b795

Sorry Canada. If you think I’m going to voluntarily download a COVID tracing app affording supposed “anonymous” Bluetooth access to daily activities with promise of a ping when coming in close contact to someone testing positive for COVID-19 – you have another thing coming!

See the source image

Sweet mercy, surely contact tracing apps raise more red flags than my own?

I Think Not!


Home province British Columbia, Canada has a population of 5.1 million. Population of U.S. state Maryland is 6.06 million. As of today the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in B.C. is 2,659. Of that, 183 cases are considered active. 2,309 persons recovered, 167 died. Of the 183 active cases, only 16 are hospitalized, 4 of those in ICU. Compare home stats to those of Maryland – 58.404 confirmed cases, 2,776 deaths, 4,240 recovered. Even when taking 900,000 or so more Maryland residents into consideration, the difference is staggering.

Closer to home, ponder Washington State, population 7.1 million – 1,300 new cases over the weekend, compared to 29 in B.C. To date Washington state accounts for 24,401 confirmed infections, 1,161 deaths. And there’s impatience to open the border, why?

Total number of COVID-19 deaths in Canada is 7,835. New York state alone accounts for 30,374 of America’s 112,579 COVID-19 deaths. As more than 20 U.S. states report increased cases in the past 14 days, Canada maintains a sharp decrease. Still think the Canada/U.S. border should open? I think not!

See the source image

 

Incel Terrorism


Incel stands for involuntarily celibate, hash-tag/moniker of a profoundly misogynistic online community united by feelings of sexual rejection. Long simmering Incel hatred of women took root years ago in shadowy forums and alt-right chatter hubs. Amid a plethora of mass shootings and violent crime the Incel movement went largely unnoticed until now. Today, Canada elevated Incel aggression to criminal act of terrorism.

In February 2020 a 17 year old machete wielding male entered a Toronto massage parlour, killing Ashley Noelle Arzaga, seriously wounding two more women. Ontario police arrested the suspect on site, initially charging him with first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. Further investigation brought in the RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team when evidence indicated the attack was motivated by Incel ideology. On May 19, 2020 RCMP updated charges to, “murder – terrorist activity.”

Incels favour “Chad” and “Stacey” as namesakes for hate and envy.  Chad men are attractive but intellectually flawed, Stacy are women who reject incels for Chads. Don’t scoff, this is deeply messed up psychology.  Serious enough for Canada to lay terrorism charges against a young man attacking women at a Toronto massage parlour.

Incel motivated violence against women isn’t new. The link below illustrates numerous atrocities directed at women by awkward inductees of this murky online movement. What’s new, dare I say historical is Canada’s interpretation of the offence.

Ours is not a Chad and Stacy world. Ours is a online world where Chad and Stacy loathing involuntary celibates bloom in basement solidarity. Right, wrong or knee jerk Canadian perspective, as of May 19, 2020 intel motivated violence is an act of terrorism in Canada.

What is the ‘incel’ movement that police allege inspired a terrorist attack at Toronto massage parlour?

Apology Not Accepted


A search of Alberta based X-Site Energy Services promotes the company as “innovative and dynamic service provider ” operating in the oil & gas sector. A energy sector dependant company specializing in water management and heating for fracking, transportation of water for drilling and energy production. Sadly for X-Site and countless oil sand dependant persons, abrupt cessation of tar sand oil extraction caught Albertans off guard. I get it, they’re angry. Salad days are over and it sucks.

Here’s the thing – adversity doesn’t give anyone the right to maliciously target others for economic circumstance beyond control. Case in point –  X-Site Energy Services spent today publicly apologizing for distribution of a sticker depicting climate activist Greta Thunberg being sexually assaulted. The decal with black and white drawing of a bare female back, hands tugging on braided pigtails, read “Greta” and proudly displayed X-Site Energy name. Details of X-Site apology linked below are flabbergasting.

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/we-will-do-better-alberta-company-says-it-regrets-greta-thunberg-decal/ar-BB10DP52?ocid=spartanntp

Sorry X-Site, apology not accepted.

 

 

Anti-Virus Bottle Head


Escalating coronavirus hysteria captured yesterday at Vancouver International Airport.

Photo Lynne Carter / Facebook

Salad bars are fitted with plexi sneeze guards, seems obvious wary travellers might borrow food safety logic in times of viral uncertainty. Anti-viral bottle head determination didn’t end at YVR baggage carousel, this mother and daughter were spotted on Canada Line train leaving the airport –

Photo Lynne Carter / Facebook

https://www.vancourier.com/news/people-are-wearing-water-jugs-over-their-heads-against-coronavirus-photos-1.24063602

Vancouver Coastal Health confirmed one case of coronavirus in British Columbia, a businessman recently in China recovering under quarantine in the Lower Mainland.

The CDC recommends common sense precautions – frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds, not touching hands to face, mouth, nose or eyes and avoiding contact with persons who appear sick. No different from annual flu season precautions. Drug store paper face masks won’t block inhalation of coronavirus, no harm in wearing one if it makes you feel better. As for anti-virus bottle heads – if the bottle fits wear it, but be advised the sight is disconcerting. We’re not sick, are you?

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.