Window Boxes

November 9, 2014


“Window Boxes” (2009), TIFF, 36″ x 24″

The NPA Faithful

November 9, 2014

KirkI went to the NPA Rally at Victoria Drive Hall this afternoon to hear Kirk LaPointe speak.

This wasn’t a debate or a Town Hall Meeting; this was a gospel meeting for the faithful (mostly).  This is a major slice of the base; and it is always useful to listen to leaders speak to their base. The subtle changes in tone and vocabulary from the normal campaign stump can be grist for the analytical mill.

The opening, during which all the NPA candidates (for Council, Park and School Board) were introduced by name until they eventually filled the stage, seemed well scripted but perhaps not well rehearsed.  The enthusiastic entry of Kirk through the milling crowd, the candidate shaking hands as he moved toward the front, was well staged.  There were just enough people in the hall to make it work, with lots of banners and noise.

LaPointe’s speech contained a few excellent lines.  For example, he described the Vision Council as a “mullet government: neat in the front but with a whole lot of weird stuff going on behind.”  He likened Vision’s rule to House of Cards, and said that Gregor’s idea of economic growth is to hire more lawyers.

The speech was interupted at all the right times, with cheers and chants of “Kirk! Kirk!Kirk!”, and lots of applause.  But Kirk is not a natural speaker and he lost opportunities to wind the crowd up to fever pitch.  On several of his climax sentences, his voice descended and got quieter instead of rising to a loud finish.  He is a lot better than when he started, but public speaking for LaPointe is still a work in progress.

As for substance, he touched on the main points of the NPA campaign: openness, transparency, collaboration, and said most of the right things.  But this wasn’t a policy announcement, the audience knew well the platform.  What they wanted to hear, and they did, was Kirk saying that he was going to stand strong against Vision’s bullying tactics, not take down the ads Vision complain about, and keep on to victory next Saturday.

Cheers and banners waving and congratulatory handshakes all round.

I’ll be interested to see how media like Frances Bula, and bloggers such as Ray Tomlin, report this meeting. I guess this here is my own contribution.

The Third Way In Vancouver

November 9, 2014

I wrote this in September 2013. I thought it was worth the repeat:



Tony Blair became Prime Minister of Great Britain by being a Thatcherite hiding behind a socialist mask.  As time went on, he needed more and more spin doctors just to keep the facade in place.

I recalled this as I read George Affleck’s worthy complaints about the ever-increasing numbers of “communications” staff being paid for by Vancouver taxpayers in order to protect the Mayor and his Vision majority from the wrath of Vancouverites.


In a truly transparent administration, communications staff open windows for people to see in.  In this case, they are door-keepers slamming wood in the face of anyone courageous enough to ask a question.

Is this really what we expected from a Vision Council?