Bixi rocks!

Originally uploaded by Kenn Chaplin



Bixi is the name of the private,not-for-profit outfit which rents bicycles at highly visible stands throughout Montréal.  By buying any of a variety of memberships, residents and tourists alike can pick up a bike within a short distance of almost anywhere and drop it off at another such Bixi stand.  For $5 per 24 hours or via passes of various lengths it sure beats having to replace stolen bicycles every six months or so!  (The billboard pictured in Vieux-Montréal is advertising $10 off a pass for a limited time.) 

The bicycles are stylized, if not stylish, and made of very light aluminum by Alcan, one of the program sponsors. 

I saw quite a few of the bicycles around town this week. They’re like two-wheeled Zip cars (even handier) – but helmets, while recommended of course, are not provided for practical reasons. 

Would any bombastic, and other, mayoralty candidate(s) in Toronto care to import this great idea from down the 401?

For now it’s expanding to Washington!


Canada’s government, rightfully shamed in Copenhagen, too arrogant to see it

I say, “Bien oui!” to The Yes Men!

Copenhagen Spoof Shames Canada; Climate Debt No Joke

The Yes Men Punk Canada

Who Are The Yes Men and Why Did They Punk Canada at Copenhagen

Like Rick Mercer and This Hour has 22 Minutes, there’s a lot more truth than spoof in the treatment of Canada’s environmental policy by American satirists/activists The Yes Men. While I used to take great, smug pleasure in Rick Mercer “Talking to Americans” I feel shame for our country with the band of environmental pirates who purport to govern for all of Canada.

Stephen Harper, Jim Prentice and their cadre of environmental hooligans, in encouraging the tar sands development to just keep on going, treat the boreal forests of Alberta like a giant ash-tray, clear-cutting ancient forests and then further degrading the area by strip-mining down and down and down scraping up tar and then extracting the oil – the dirtiest oil business on the planet.

It’s like Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble are in charge except that in their quarry the tar sands and their exploiters were just a glimmer in the eye of Bedrock. Dinosaurs, at least in terms of brain size, can still be found in the halls of Parliament.

So Yes Men, keep it coming. The government of my country will not see the humour – they are rarely capable of finding it in anything other than bullying, knee-slapping jabs at anyone who disagrees with them.

Canadian International Air Show sold out all weekend – many downtown residents unimpressed

As Toronto continues to welcome more and more residents to downtown high-rises and neighbourhoods the hazards and inconveniences of the Canadian International Air Show mount exponentially – to which the show responds, trumpeting the economic benefits. Note the sponsors.

It is one thing to honour grandfathers and great-grandfathers with fly-pasts of World War II planes, be it on Labour Day weekend or Remembrance Day; it is quite another for modern-day supersonic-jet-fighters to scream over the city at break-neck speeds – first in practice, earlier in the week, and then during the CNE air shows themselves (so that’s Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Sunday and Monday).

This is not a downtown, street-level festival. This is a lakeside exhibition with necks craned skyward and over the water. However to set up the manoeuvres, and then to double-back to base, these pilots are roaring across the downtown – a multi-use, high-density residential part of the city.

It is one thing to try and console small children and pets, who can’t possibly understand what these terrifying sounds are, but imagine what it must be like for survivors of present-day conflicts where these war machines have traumatized so many.

Please – be done with this testosterone-fuelled militarism or move it somewhere with a smaller population and an even more welcoming audience.

I hope that this is an early agenda item for all levels of government in the fall. It will certainly be a multi-level election issue!

P.S. I think NOW’s headline summed it up well:

Air Show porn

Gathering of Mother Earth Protectors and Aboriginal Day of Action: For the grandchildren

As today’s Day of Action march, from Queen’s Park to Toronto’s waterfront, brings to a close the Gathering of Mother Earth Protectors I am struck by the images and words of grandparents enjoying their rich First Nations culture with grandkids, something residential schools stripped away from them, of course, in their youth. Time and time again, speaker after speaker this week invoked their grandchildren as being uppermost in their mind as they fight to uphold treaty and basic human rights to carry on their way of life on sacred ancestral lands.  

A procession of First Nations representatives and settler supporters marched from Queen’s Park to Little Norway Park at Queen’s Quay and Bathurst.  Bob Lovelace spoke at the post-march rally just hours after he, along with the “KI-6”, was released from prison.


Join First Nations in demanding respect for indigenous rights

I hope to see some like-minded friends at Queen’s Park Monday. I’ll be as close as I can get to the northwest corner of the gathering. The week’s tentative schedule is available here.


Ducks drown in symbol of human excess

Warning: According to my blog stats this is my 666th post. Please proceed with caution. 🙂

The next time you are idling in a drive-thru, wasting gas the price of which has you so hopping mad, think of the unsuspecting ducks, migrating as they do this time of year, who unwittingly drowned after being bound and gagged in a pond by waste products from Syncrude in Alberta’s dinosaur swamp tar sands.