Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Paris of the North

Saw this on the CBC News website story on the big plywood plant fire and subsequent fires in the BCR industrial site in Prince George. The interesting part comes in the comments, where PG's industrial zone is elegantly slandered and someone rebuts... a good case study in heartland/hinterland dynamics!

Punchinello's comment #1 "Yes, Prince George is the Paris of northern BC. This cultural icon, the industrial district is the Champs d'Elysée of the Cariboo with it's famous neo-baroque second empire poured concrete cinder block truck stop. I think it was about to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site too. What a loss."

kristahuot's response: "To Punchinello: I see a Vancouverite has seen fit to grace us all with their perspective on Prince George. Congratulations on knowing the main street in Paris, how extremely worldly and cultured of you. It is industrial cities like Prince George who provide BC's economy with most of its revenue, so this fire is actually more devastating than your comment implies. Many of those hardworking people will be out of jobs, and they are already suffering enough due to the pine beetle infestation and the softwood lumber crisis. I grew up in Prince George, and I lived in Vancouver for 5 years. I've also lived in Toronto and Montreal which are both 5 times the city Vancouver will ever be. Call Prince George whatever you like, but Vancouver as a city is nothing but a cultural black hole, with the artistic merit of a condo developer's sales model made out of used syringes. The beauty in that city is its natural surroundings, not the city itself. The poverty and addiction in Vancouver are an absolute disgrace, something that most Vancouverites turn a blind eye to, while they hang out in Yaletown sipping lattes and toting around tiny dogs. Maybe Main and Hastings can be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site too?"


I had a chance to hear Romeo Dallaire speak to delegates at a Colleges Conference in PG. Wow... he had a few interesting loose ends that left me with some questions (military simplicity vs political ambiguity), but I came away with a renewed sense of the difference between management and leadership. He suggests we have too much of the former and a vacuum of the latter in Canada ("there is no one selecting and maintaining a vision for Canada"). He also suggested that Canada has stumbled onto world power status and thus needs to be more responsible on the world stage in preventing and addressing humanitarian issues (perhaps starting with keeping the Americans accountable for their human rights abuses in Gitmo). He figures the way forward is better cooperation between gov't, military, and NGOs.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

All grown up

My Nephew Matt has moved to Squamish! He's the first of my siblings' kids to leave the nest and has set a unique standard for doing so. After years of biathlon and related training, he is off to work with a world-class team near the 2010 Olympic venue. I think he might be a year too young to compete at Whistler, but he has kicked some butt this year, winning the PG Iceman and grabbing a gold for his age category at biathlon nationals. We're proud of Matt and a bt anxxious, too... will he starve? Will he understand the saltwater and the cedar? Will he fall victim to a shameless timeshare scheme?