"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Much-needed playground upgrades coming soon

The news, made public at last Monday's Council-in-Committee meeting, that Tanglewood and Hampton Park playgrounds would have their equipment replaced this year, at a cost of $50,000 and $25,000 respectively, was certainly long-awaited and much-appreciated.

These photos, which I took last weekend, show the sorry state of repair into which Tanglewood, for one, had fallen. I am sure the neighbourhood will be very pleased to learn of the coming upgrade.
You can view the full report on Parks Infrastructure by clicking here.  That report also has some exciting graphics showing the design concepts for the new playground at Como Lake.

As well, you can find additional photos of from Tanglewood and Hampton.

Looks like our parks crew will have a busy spring and summer (as usual)!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A rare award to honour a remarkable man

Consul-General Fluery and Mr. Cumbers with colour guard.
It was with the greatest appreciation that I attended a remarkable ceremony this morning, during which Coquitlam's John (Doc) Cumbers received France's highest honour, the Knight of French National Order of the Legion of Honour. Presenting the medal was France's Consul General in Vancouver, Jean-Christophe Fleury (the text of whose stirring speech is reproduced in full, below).
The ceremony took place at the RCMP's Coquitlam Detachment headquarters next to Coquitlam City Hall in recognition of the fact that Mr. Cumbers is still active in the community as a volunteer at the RCMP's Ridgeway Avenue community office.
According to those in the know, the Legion of honour is the highest national order of Frances and illustrates the country's profound gratitude towards its recipients. "It is awarded in recognition of personal involvement in the liberation of France" during the Second World War.
Sergeant "Doc" Cumbers was a tail gunner with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and is described in historical archives as "a most resolute and gallant air gunner." (After the war, he served in the Canadian Navy, as well.)
The archives continue: "He has taken part in very many sorties and has played a worthy part in the successes obtained. On a recent occasion, when returning from an operaton against Villeneuve-St. Georges, his aircraft was attacked by a fighter. As the attacker closed in, Flight Sergeant Cumbers delivered a burst of fire which struck the enemy aircraft, setting it on fire. His coolness and determination were charactertice of tht which he has shown throughout his tour of operational duty."
Here is the text of Consul-General Fleury's speech:

The medal moment.
Dear President of the Legion,
Soon to be Honored Veteran, their family and friends, Distinguished guests:
It is a real pleasure for me to be given the opportunity to present an award to John CUMBERS today. 2014 marked the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, and for this occasion, the French government has organized a series of events that have taken place in France.
Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and three provincial Premiers have travelled to Normandy and were officially received by our President, Fran├žois Hollande.
To celebrate this anniversary, the French government has decided to bestow awards upon some of the living Canadian veterans who participated in D-Day operations.
The Legion d’Honneur is the highest decoration that France can bestow and, as such, it is equivalent to the Order of Canada.
The law that brought the Legion of Honour and its governing organization into effect was passed in the Legislative Assembly on May 19th, 1802, during the reign of Napoleon. It rewards the outstanding merits of individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their respective social, economic, hereditary or even national backgrounds.
A number of prominent Canadians have been awarded the Legion of Honour, such as: Former Governor General Michaelle Jean, Prime Minister William McKenzie King, Rear Admiral Leonard Murray (Commander in Chief of Canadian Northwest Atlantic), former Premier Jean Charest.
There used to be 20 of them, and by the end of the year, there will be over 1,000.
To the best of our knowledge, there are more Canadian D-Day veterans still living in Canada, but what is happening now is part of a truly unprecedented two-year process. This process required a lot of human resources.
And it would not have been possible without the support of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs in Ottawa.
The French President signed all the decrees to have the Legion of Honour awarded to 1,000 D-Day veterans, some of whom are living in BC. The campaign is now closed as our human resources do not allow us to continue this very lengthy process.

Now that I have explained the procedure, let me say a few words about the meaning behind all of this.
The destiny of all of us is to leave this world. But there is no rule in this universe that says that a human being should be deprived of his or her freedom.
It’s good sometimes to come back to the basics so let me quote the very beginning of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
“Whereas disregard for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief, and freedom from fear has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, the United Nations proclaimed that (…)
Art1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”.
Many people in this world made the ultimate sacrifice to allow their friends and relatives to remain unchained.
This is the sacrifice that more than 45,000 Canadians made during the Second World War.
The D-Day was this very first step that enabled liberty, justice and human dignity to break through. Canadian soldiers were on the front line, and it is with extraordinary bravery and sacrifice that they landed on Normandy beaches that brought peace to the continent.

As a young man John, you left your family and home to cross the Atlantic and participate to the some of the fiercest battles in modern history, on a foreign soil, far away from your country, to help the people of Europe to free themselves from the terror and tyranny. Your accomplishments during the Second World War are a vibrant reminder of the profound and historic friendship that binds France and Canada. Our two countries owe each other their very existence as free nations and this indeed creates a special relationship.
The French people will never forget the act of bravery that accomplished Canadian soldiers during Normandy Landing to help restore our freedom.

Sadly, if I may say so, this fight for freedom is not over: I think you are aware that more than 200 innocent people were killed in France last November after 17 journalists, cartoonist and Jews have been killed in Paris before because of their belief and because they exercised their freedom of expression. Similar events then happened in Danemark and elsewhere in the world.

Your Premier Christy Clark wrote this to us:

“For centuries, France has been a beacon of light and example for the world, and remains one of our closest friends and allies. Tonight, all Canadians stand with them, both in grief for those who were killed, but also in resolve. Those who commit such acts of violence want to change us, and our shared values. They will fail. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and with security personnel who put their lives at risk to keep others safe. Vive la France.”

Once again, Canada is on the side of France, and once again, I owe you all my gratitude. Therefore, thank you Canada for being on the side of France against the Islamic State in Iraq. And if I may add: Thank you Canada for being on the side of the freedom in Ukraine.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Michael Moriarty at the Coquitlam Grill

A very familiar man walked into the Coquitlam Grill just before noon today. It took me but a second to recognize him as Tony-Award-winning actor Michael Moriarty, former star of stage, screen and television, the latter medium providing him his most enduring success in the role of District Attorney Ben Stone in the original cast of Law and Order.
Here is the text of a story I wrote about him for the Western Standard several years ago: 

Actor Moriarty

Michael Moriarty’s reputation precedes him as he shuffles through a standing-room-only audience at a Vancouver nightclub. Moriarty, who appeared in such films as Bang the Drum Slowly and The Last Detail before rocketing to fame in the early 1990s as assistant district attorney Ben Stone in the Law and Order television series, is today more famous for his turbulent personal life than for his once-considerable dramatic skills. Indeed, it has not been his acting, but his boozing and multiple court appearances—both as accused and victim—that have kept the lanky American actor in the public eye for most of the decade or so he has lived in Canada, the last five in the Vancouver suburb of Maple Ridge.

On this balmy mid-summer’s evening, however, Moriarty is playing neither drunk nor brawler. Instead, having sworn off booze, specifically red wine, a year and a half ago, a thoroughly sober Moriarty takes a seat behind a piano and starts to play some jazz. He’s very good. He blends his music—standards and original compositions—beautifully with that of his two sidemen; his face brightens as the audience erupts in applause after a particularly deft solo. It’s no wonder the trio is working on a new CD.

It’s not the big screen or the Broadway stage, but it’s just about all Moriarty has these days—that, a Screen Actors Guild pension, some residuals, and a knot of close friends, including his manager-cum-common-law wife, Margie Brychka, whom he met in a bar in Surrey, B.C., and Hollywood icon Burt Reynolds, both of whom are in the audience this night. In fact, Reynolds eventually joins Moriarty in singing a duet of “Ain’t Misbehavin’”

In an earlier interview, the 64-year-old Moriarty recognizes that his Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning days are behind him. The permanent, booze-induced slur that muddies his once-crisp voice has seen to that. He also uses a cane to walk. And the boyish good looks that helped win him so many top roles have now abandoned him. But he insists his mind is sharper than ever and that he still has one more big role to play. “I’ve got to complete my run for the presidency,” he declares. You heard that right. Michael Moriarty wants to act out his final, great, real-life role at centre stage in the Oval Office. He wants to be President of the United State of America. Really.

Moriarty also thought about running for the presidency back in 1994. That was the year he left Law and Order following a meeting with then attorney-general Janet Reno. He alleged he was dismissed after he threatened to sue Reno, whom he accused of trying to censor the show. But he has said the departure had at least one positive effect: it transformed him from a liberal into a conservative. He soon resettled in New Brunswick (a woman, who became his third wife, drew him to Canada) and publicly mused about running for the leadership of the old Reform Party of Canada. Nothing ever came of it. This time, however, he says he means business. His strategy will be to get on the ballot in the state of Florida, where he aims to garner five percent of the vote—enough to give him some leverage to make a difference in what has, for the last two elections at least, been a tightly-contested state.

But while he says he has opened an office in the state, Moriarty suggests his campaign, which will be run under the banner of “Realists 2008,” is as much poetic pie-in-the-sky as political reality. In fact, asked about his campaign’s infrastructure, he says he will organize his bid with the help of “divine intervention and a very proven skill at capitalizing on the authentic arrival of angels.” He also admits he hasn’t raised any money yet, and has just a handful of supporters, only one of whom is actually qualified to vote.

Nevertheless, he likens his candidacy to something in between the quixotic campaigns of the late comedian Pat Paulsen, who ran for the presidency five times, and the more serious efforts of consumer activist Ralph Nader, who ran twice for the Green Party. Unlike Paulsen, however, Moriarty has some serious policies, a fact that becomes apparent as he spells out his unique political beliefs in a long, oft-times disjointed but nevertheless compelling soliloquy at a Vancouver restaurant.

Moriarty announced his candidacy in May on the conservative Web site Enter Stage Right (www.enterstageright.com). He has stated that his primary goals in running for the presidency are to reduce the power of the U.S. Supreme Court; to overturn that court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion; and to take the U.S. out of the United Nations. In his interview with the Western Standard, it became clear that Moriarty’s beliefs spring from a deep conviction that collectivism in all its forms is evil. In fact, he suggests that the modern world is a vast battleground between communist and individualist philosophies.

In between alternating sips on a coffee and Diet Coke, and drags on his Export A cigarette, Moriarty’s ideas arc out like sparks: sometimes brilliant, sometimes distracting, sometimes irritating. Here’s one of his typical insights: Pierre Trudeau was the diabolic mastermind who first fused communism and capitalism though “dialectic materialism.” This fusion, he once wrote, is related to “the slow and barely discernible transformation of [the] American Republic into a socialist federation.”

There’s more: Bill Clinton is a Marxist and Hillary Clinton is a Leninist, under whose direction “the feminist arm” of her husband’s “third way” presidency “literally expropriated the Supreme Court.” On terrorism: “Big picture on terrorism, all of it—Jerry Adams is not an Irish Catholic. Yasser Arafat was not a Palestinian. Osama bin Laden was not Islamic. They are communist, agent Leninist provocateurs. This idea [communism] will not work without terrorism.”

On why anti-abortion activists should not despair: “Sir, sir, the anti-slavery movement was just as lost….But, in the end, God, reality, put Lincoln into the Oval Office, the way God put Ronald Reagan into the Oval Office.” On why the UN headquarters should not be in New York: “No, it should be in Paris. And I’ll order it. If Reagan can order Moscow to tear down that wall, I can order the United Nations to move it back to Paris, tear down [Napoleon’s] vainglorious tribute to himself, the Arc de Triomphe, and put Napoleon’s real achievement [there], which is the United Nations.”

On whether he is still a practising Catholic. “No, no. I pray all the time in my own inimitable way. My Christ is not your Christ or anybody else’s Christ. And in the end, we come into an intimate association with Our Lord. Our Lord shapes himself to you, not the other way around. Now, there are certain basic Christian fundamentals. Golden Rule. Honoring our father.” His mouthing the word “father” immediately throws his thoughts into a new direction. Without so much as a one-word segue, he declares, “The situation where the Church of the United Nations, they’ve told us, with the help of the environmentalists, that there is no male divine principle in the universe. Mother Earth impregnated herself.”

His speech impediment doesn’t make it any easier to follow any of this, and neither does his southern-gentleman’s accent, which catches the interviewer by surprise, given the fact Moriarty grew up in Detroit and was educated in the northeast U.S.  What’s with the drawl, then? “Since I came to Canada, and its increasing anti-Americanism,” he explains, “I get more and more southern American, because that’s the most identifiable American accent, it’s southern.” So he does it on purpose, then? “I am not going to be made ashamed of being an American,” he continues. “And for me to try to hide it, and don politically correct Canadianese, I ain’t going to do it.”

The interview ends with Moriarty taking a drag from his cigarette and once again denouncing Janet Reno. Maybe he’ll finally get his revenge when he becomes president.

(Photo from www.pbs.twing.com)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Kwikwetlem formally claim Riverview, Colony Farm

You might have heard or read that the Kwikwetlem First Nation has, this week, formally claimed a portion of southeast Coquitlam. The KFN announced last summer that it intended to claim the Riverview lands, and now it has followed that up with a formal claim, filed with the Supreme Court, for Riverview, Colony Farm and other associated areas.
I don't plan on commenting on the claim, but I thought it would be useful to share the exact text of what the KFN is saying about its claim. So, here is its press release:

Kwikwetlem First Nation title case aims for fair relationship

VANCOUVER, Feb. 9, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, Kwikwetlem First Nation (KFN) filed an Aboriginal title and rights and Charter claim with the Supreme Court.
KFN has filed this claim as a part of KFN's continuing efforts to ensure its title and rights over key areas in its traditional territory are properly recognized and protected.
KFN is a small community, with a traditional territory based around the watershed of the Coquitlam River. KFN's traditional territory has seen significant development over many years, which is expected to continue.
"Our community has worked hard to be consulted and meaningfully involved in decisions about the planning and management of our land for years," said KFN Chief Ron Giesbrecht. "Although governments have taken some steps to involve us in making decisions about how our lands will be used, we do not feel our title and rights interests are being taken seriously. Given there are limited processes for resolving Aboriginal land claims for a small Nation like ours, this claim is the next logical step."
The claimed title areas in the case filed today amounts to less than 1% of Kwikwetlem's core territory, and includes the following lands, and their surrounding areas:
  • Colony Farm Forensic Psychiatric Institute Lands. The Province of BC is the fee simple owner of this area, and it is managed by Shared Services (previously administered by the British Columbia Buildings Corporation).
  • Colony Farm Regional Park. The Greater Vancouver Regional District operating as Metro Vancouver - is the registered owner of this area.
  • Riverview Hospital Lands. The Provincial Rental Housing Corporation is the fee simple of this areas. It is managed by the British Columbia Housing Management Commission.
KFN believes that the case will help to ensure it is meaningfully involved in decisions made about its lands, a process highlighted by the Supreme Court of Canada, which called for a consent-based decision model in its 2014 Tsilhqot'in decision.  Chief Giesbrecht stated: "We hope that the government will follow the advice of the Supreme Court of Canada and negotiate a fair and respectful resolution to our claim, which will allow us to build a strong future for our community."
Support from other organizations
BCAFN Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson
"Our First Nations have always hoped by supporting a meaningful consultations, that it will build a bridge of understanding towards reconciliation and partnership. Our Aboriginal title and rights should be respected and the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations supports Kwikwetlem First Nation and urge BC Government to build a relationship that benefits true reconciliation." 
President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
"I applaud Kwikwetlem First Nation's declaration of their inherent Title and for protecting their Rights. It is vitally important for KFN to be truly involved in the management of their territory not as an interested stakeholder but as respected Title holders. The BC Government can no longer pretend KFN Title does not exist nor treat our inherent constitutionally-protected and judicially-recognized Aboriginal Title and Rights as an inconvenient checkbox of doing business in our respective territories."
SOURCE Kwikwetlem First Nation

For further information: Media contacts, CopperMoon Communications, Laura Taylor, laura@coppermoon.ca, 604 336 8771; Richard Truman, richard@coppermoon.ca, 778 929 1662