It strikes me as being exceptionally inefficient, and perhaps the greatest obstacle preventing our much deserved international recognition and further economic and political potential. We are held back by ourselves, each hoping to succeed independently when cooperation is what’s best for all concerned. I look at a map like this and can only ask why? Some of those borders were determined by the extent of investment in various residential projects. The people who live there have almost nothing in common (by design) with the people who built the community in the first place. Almost all bedroom suburbs are like this, so to what do they owe their independence? Market forces? The housing market? The whims of the CMHC?
On a final note, consider as well that a metro city such as the one I’m proposing would be well-positioned to take on additional responsibilities, such as education, healthcare and welfare services. Devolving some of these concerns to a new metro city would allow greater day-to-day operational efficiency, not to mention guarantee a new higher standard of public education and full bilingualism of the population. A single metropolitan school board would have the resources to secure higher rates of pay, better facilities and provide additional after-school and specialist services than any of the current independent boards. Do our children not all deserve the same education, or are we willing to allow inequities to persist based on mother tongue and where one lives? How does that benefit society? This is but one example of how a larger city could have the economic and political force necessary to tackle some very complicated socio-economic problems. We need the same kind of thinking applied to health and social services as well – we need to run our own systems, adapted to our needs, united for our own strength, and no longer subjected to long-distance governing. We need operational sovereignty on a localized, metropolitan level – this is the only way to properly move forward and establish ourselves as a global alpha city.
I don’t know much about Kim Campbell. I know Brian Mulroney threw her under a bus (metaphorically speaking) prior to the 1993 federal election, which culminated in the near-total destruction of the Progressive Conservatives, but what I didn’t know is that an apparent Conservative could defend evolution so eloquently while simultaneously providing excellent arguments in favour of respecting facts, science and expert opinion with regards to climate change. The American representative she ‘debates’ with can’t do much more than repeat and re-phrase the same lame-ass soundbites. She is calm, masterfully precise and an effective communicator. She is also a former poll-sci professor at UBC and an admirer of Ralph Nader.
Canada needs leaders like this. What the fuck happened to conservatism in this country? I can’t imagine there would have been much room for any current Tories in the administration of Kim Campbell. Indeed, I think she’d be loathe to associate herself with them.
This country needs to find its elder statesmen (and stateswomen) and get them to help us set our country back on track. Ms. Campbell no longer resides in Canada. I don’t damn her for this, like other fools might, she’s a global citizen and the climate of Southern California is very palatable. She also had the deck stacked against her in a big way, and from what I know was never really given a chance as Prime Minister. I wouldn’t want to stick around either, especially not with people like Stephen Harper running this country. We used to choose between visionaries, academics, intellectuals. Today our choice is between autocracy and people labelled socialists.
So these two guys are walking from Denver to Washington DC to protest Christian support of American wars. All along the route they were harassed by so-called law enforcement, who demanded they identify themselves and that they stop filming. The two are defiant and refuse to comply, given that law-enforcement’s request is inherently illegal and unconstitutional, an affront to civil liberties. The fact is walking down a road holding a sign and a video-camera will likely bring out the worst kinds of police officers. This video shows the harassment they encountered along their voyage. Of all the police in this video, only one did the right thing.
It’s worth watching until the end, as a lone officer from Illinois acted appropriately. Every other cop acted like a fascist. I’m glad there are good cops still out there, people who deserve to be called sir for their authority is due to respect from the community. But as we can see, they are the minority.
So this article has been getting a neat little bit of buzz. If you’d like to see part 1, just click here.
Please leave me any suggestions, comments, questions or critiques. Let me know if you think these are ridiculous or just what we need. If I have any luck I might just one day get myself on city council, and I would like to speak on behalf of the people somewhat authoritatively. Let me know what you think.
So now, the second part of our two-part series on what we’re lacking. Remember, these aren’t in any order of priority.
8. A monument to humanity – I was initially thinking of a monument to world peace, but I can imagine we’d do better to try and bring many concepts together at once. I’ve always thought a monumental, towering version of the Expo Logo, with the two intertwined runic symbols for man, would be a nice touch. Consider that we once had (and in name only still do have) a Place des Nations, at the Western edge of Ile-Ste-Helene (as you can see in the photo), yet it has largely been abandoned, suffering from lack of easy access (though back then it was a key transit point, connected to the Expo Express LRT). I would love to see Place des Nations brought back to its former glory, but I still feel we need a grand monument to the human endeavour, ideally located in an area close to major tourist sites, with the aim of stimulating urban-renewal through a large city beautification project.
The PQAA plan envisioned an outer ring running down from Mount Royal along Atwater to a riverside park planned to line the St. Lawrence near the Victoria Bridge. Another branch would extend East to Parc Lafontaine from Fletcher’s Field, then back along Sherbrooke or Ontario until descending towards the Champ de Mars, Place d’Armes and Square-Victoria. Consider this: what if the outer edge of the urban core (effectively, the line that separates the CBD from the first-ring suburbs) was a parkway which would eventually lead you right back to the same spot, and from every point along the edge of this ring road, you were essentially always the same distance from the centre of the city? Moreover, this same parkway could bring you to just about every major park and urban square or plaza in the city. Quite an accomplishment if you ask me, and its a pity this plan was at best only partially implemented (indeed, it really never got much farther than the city planting a lot of Elm trees closely spaced on some of our major thoroughfares, like Parc Avenue and Sherbrooke Street).
10. A hockey museum & research centre – also a no-brainer. The fact that the Hockey Hall of Fame is located in an old Bank of Montreal building in Toronto is absurd if not a cruel joke. We are the city that built hockey into a modern, internationally recognized and commercially profitable sporting and entertainment industry.
We don’t just have the team with the most Stanley Cups, it’s that the first Stanley Cup was awarded here. It’s that the first modern game with modern rules, officials etc was played here. It’s that the NHL was founded here, that the dimensions of a standard hockey rink are defined by a parking garage on Stanley. We deserve a museum to showcase our hockey history, and given the allure of the sport and it’s international implications, we should probably start studying it too. Thus, we need more than just a museum, we need a place where hockey can be dissected by academics and studied by experts, to develop a fuller understanding of the game and promote its position in our society, as a defining and unifying element of our diverse culture. And if we can put such a facility in a heritage building, close to the downtown action, and potentially secure new investment in an uneven part oft he city, then certainly we’d be fools not to go through with it, right? Well it just so happens the Old Victoria Rink is still standing and conveniently located next to both an empty lot and a massive hotel, but a stone’s throw from the Bell Centre. If there is any concern as to whether the funding can be secured for such a project, I can only counter with a question – has hockey grown in popularity amongst Montrealers over the course of the last thirty years? I’ll save you the time of googling the answer – it’s yes, assuredly. Despite the fact that we haven’t won a cup in eighteen years and only two in the last thirty, hockey is as popular as ever, in Montreal, Quebec and in Canada. So let’s get serious about the game we turned into a phenomenon, let’s celebrate our history, and for god’s sake, let’s find a better use for an old landmark than merely parking cars.
One of my all-time favourite early-90s hip-hop tracks, from one of the brilliant minds in comedy, Mr. Barrel Roll himself Tom Green. This 2011 remix music video was shot right in my backyard, Downtown Montreal.
I’ll add this to a list of great Montreal music videos later. Enjoy!