Night Music: The Only Living Boy in New York

October 6, 2015

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Grapes

October 6, 2015

We are a fruit-obsessed family; we eat enormous amounts of fruit throughout the year.  Soft fruits, like peaches and nectarines, were fabulous this year; but the clear winner, for me at least, have been the grapes.

grapes

 

This particular bunch, purchased yesterday, has grapes so big that Canada Post would need to give each one a separate postal code!  But they are not just large; each grape is a solid bite, and without any cloying sweetness. Simply delicious!

Now, the pear season is upon us — wow!


Van East Federal All-Candidates’ Snoozer

October 6, 2015

Last night there was an “all-Candidates” meeting for the Federal Vancouver East riding, and a couple of hundred people showed up at the former Astorino’s Hall.

The meeting began and ended in controversy. This had been advertised as an “all candidates” panel, but only the NDP (Jenny Kwan), the Liberals (Edward Wong), and the Greens (Wes Regan) were represented. While the Tory candidate (who is that, by the way) apparently declined the invitation, the Canadian Communist Party were incensed that their candidate, Peter Marcus as usual, was not allowed a seat at the table. They made their upset loudly clear before the meeting could even begin and were loudly booed for the fuss they made.

It is lucky the organizers didn’t market this as a debate, because the format didn’t allow for any discussion between the parties. Instead, the moderator Paul Grant asked eight questions (mostly rather bland) and to each question each candidate was allowed a couple of minutes to make a speech. This was in addition to both an opening and closing statement. So, instead of a lively evening of political debate, we were treated to thirty stump speeches with no interaction between the candidates and without any audience participation.  There was a small clash between Kwan and Wong over the 1993 cancelation of a federal housing strategy, but that about as exciting as it got.

In the end, questions, responses, and closing statements were all done by 8:15 which should have allowed for 45 minutes of questions from the audience. But instead the meeting was declared to be over, and that didn’t go down well among at least part of the crowd.

Having had a hand in arranging a candidates’ meeting last fall in the municipal election, I am strongly aware of how difficult it is to make these things interesting, and I do not criticize the organizers (except, perhaps, for the lack of audience questions at the end).  But this failed to inspire and we have to find a better way.

Finally, a few impressions and observations.

  • For example, who knew we had a Bitcoin candidate?  He is Alex Millar, running as an independent. He seemed a nice enough chap, and he was there handing out brochures;
  • Jenny Kwan ignored the moderator’s request that candidates focus on what they would do rather than criticize what others have bot done; no surprise, I guess, but the others managed it better;
  • Biggest disappointment was hearing Wes Regan supporting the subway to UBC. However, each of the others also supported it, so no harm no foul, I suppose;
  • Of the couple of hundred audience members, I doubt that a dozen were under forty. That is very disappointing.