Thursday, June 30, 2011

O Canada.. & CBC, it's time to stand up for thee

On air  

Tomorrow is Canada's 144th birthday. We are much more festive and jolly about July 1st than, say, 40 years ago when friends and I were threatened with eviction from a pub because we sang Happy Birthday to Canada at midnight on June 30th. The cranky bartender at the Fort Hotel in Fort St. John hated hippies, I suspect, even home-grown long-haired ones of both genders who all had jobs for the summer and certainly gave them enough business on the weekends! The Fort has since burned to the ground and I'm still standing here singing away whenever I please, so there!
Anyway, I am forwarding a letter from the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting about the upcoming CRTC licence renewal for the CBC, Radio & TV. I like radio better because it is commercial-free and we all have opinions on what has befallen CBC Two. In between making picnics and packing up for camping expeditions, please fire off the boilerplate below and add your personal flourishes.
Otherwise, contemplate Stephen Harper musing out loud as he did several weeks ago, about how Canada will become more conservative as a culture the longer the Conservatives are in power. 
Do not give Majority Control Central any excuses or opportunities to remove even more funding from a public broadcaster which is painfully fair-minded, bordering on bland, to many of us, as it is. We do not need our tax dollars funnelled to a Conservative propaganda machine, which is approximately Stephen Harper's idea of what CBC should look and sound like. The letter below is from Ian Morrison, whom many will remember as a reporter and who now volunteers for Friends of CBC. 
Photos by Jeff George of bear at Estevan Point and Orcas huffing and puffing through the Lennard Island channel.

As I mentioned in my note to you last week, the CBC's radio and TV licences are up for renewal and our voices as citizens that value public broadcasting need to be heard.
For the first time this century, the public has been invited by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to comment on CBC's plans for the next five years – including Radio One, Radio 2, the CBC Television Network and CBC News Network.
After considering all the evidence, the CRTC will issue licence renewals with a new set of conditions of licence and expectations that CBC will be required to fulfill.
This invitation provides a unique opportunity for you to speak up about why our national public broadcaster is so important for Canada's cultural sovereignty and a vibrant democracy, and to influence CBC's future policies and programs.
I am writing to urge you to take advantage of this opportunity by writing a personal submission to the CRTC now.
FRIENDS has designed an online system to make it easy for you to share your opinions and advice with the CRTC about CBC's future.
If you have time, I encourage you to review some background information before writing your comments to the CRTC.
While I am confident you will have your own ideas about how the CBC is performing and what it ought to be doing in the coming five years, I urge you to take into account the following issues which FRIENDS considers to be very important for CBC's future performance:
  • The Broadcasting Act states that the programming provided by the CBC should "reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions". We believe the Commission needs to hear from you why this is so important – in your own words.

  • What do you think of CBC's decision to cut back classical music programming on Radio 2?

  • CBC Television has proposed a condition of licence that it devote 75% of its broadcast day and 80% of prime time (7 to 11 pm) to Canadian programming averaged over a full year. Is this a sufficient minimum commitment to Canadian shows?

  • Half the audience CBC Television attracts each year watches professional sports programs, mostly Hockey Night in Canada. Is this an appropriate balance for the national public broadcaster?

  • How is CBC doing in airing children's programming?
Submit your comments now
If you feel you will need more that 45 min to compose your comments, I recommend you first write them in a word processor, then paste your submission into our system.
Ian Morrison
Ian Morrison
FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting


Friday, June 3, 2011

Spring Has Sprung & the World is New, etc.

"I'm not afraid to use words like 'wonderful.' Sometimes it's the only word you can find when you're high on the world.  Robert Genn (from my Polestar Planner, a daybook without which I am lost, even on Lennard Island's 19 hectares)

I've been back a full week since leaving the island on May 3rd, bound for Book Tour #3, beginning at the Village Bookstore in Bellingham, Washington. I read Jim Lynch's novel, Border Songs, a sweet romp about cross-border shenanigans and the vagaries of the human heart, all set in the region I was travelling through once I drove off the Anacortes ferry.The rain poured, really poured, and my Google map had, along with my shaky sense of directions and big trucks obscuring road signs at critical moments, gotten me lost in the tulip fields of La Conner. I found a 1935 gem, the Rexville Grocery on the Mount Vernon Road, and inbetween buying some of their excellent cheeses and crackers for my supper, I was given accurate, local directions to Bellingham.
Then on through the rain to surprise my 86 year old Mum for Mother's Day, when the sun shone in the Okanagan, and onward to give presentations for children and adults at Kootenay libraries. The lilacs graced every humble home and downtown alley and the sun kept shining and the wild syringa gleamed whitely on the mountainsides. I was smitten all over again with the beauty and friendliness of the Koots. I use my 'I (insert heart) Nakusp Library' bag proudly!
So I zoomed around Nakusp, Cranbrook, Fernie, Fruitvale, Rossland, Kaslo and Grand Forks libraries and schools, a happy whirlwind of readings and questions and seeing old friends and experiencing the joy of having children spontaneously join in singing 'You Are My Sunshine' and 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'. While the excellent Kootenay librarians had a conference, I drove on to Canmore and the Cafe Bookstore, Pages On Kensington in Calgary and Monkeyshines Children's Books in Calgary, and the sun shone and shone while my Dear Heart and other coastal friends emailed to advise me to soak it up as the wet stuff still lingered on the coast.
I was very happy to do an interview with Brenda Finley from CKUA's Bookmark program (to air Sunday, June 5th, 11:30-12:30 PST) and to see Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny climb onto the Calgary Herald bestseller list at #9 as well. But now I am home, sweet home, and the garden has claimed my attention. As I potted and planted and weeded and composted, hoping for a better year than 2010 when the fog rolled in for two months straight and stunted the gardens permanently, I remembered the bounty of 2009 and then an ecstatic ode to one day on Lennard. So, ever-hopeful, like farmers and artists tend to be, here is my spring poem for you. Copyright, of course, as is everything in Woodward On Words, in case Google or Cancopy need reminding! Harrumph, ahem, here goes:

Lighthouse Keeping
I slept for seven solid hours straight waltzed into the perfect
early dawn admired the stars a meteorite examined
the lights of a ship at sea delivered my first weather report 4:34 a.m.
read a wonderful novel for two whole hours in bed
with a large and excellent mug of coffee and my VHF radio beside me
started a batch of sourdough bread gave my second weather report 7:41 a.m.
checked the rain gauge the tanks the lines the engine room
washed two days worth of dishes (water rationing continues)
punched down the bread wrote a new poem a waka
revised five mondo poems watered the garden and greenhouse
delivered my final weather report 10:38 a.m. punched down the bread
sawed scrap wood and old plastic eaves troughs filled two giant bags
washed bird guano off the guard rails sanded blistered patches
painted 400 metal metres with Coast Guard red enamel in 32 degree heat
watched two humpbacks spouting off counted ten boats fishing coho and chinook
punched down the bread made two ciabattas one pagnotta
answered five emails in my sarong sipped an icy g&t
nuked homemade spinach manicotti wolfed hot bread and butter too
pulled on jeans picked two rows of peas composted all the vines
washed my feet brushed my teeth revised my waka nailed the last line
wrote the first draft of this poem smiled to myself took two Advil fell into bed