We support Vision Vancouver proposals to police media, federal agencies

Post by CityCaucus.com Staff in

35 comments

cov-watchdog
Vision Vancouver says the City should keep a watchful eye on national affairs

Irony alert: pay close attention to what we're really saying here. Our sense of the absurd is on full display in what follows...

CityCaucus.com are often criticized for not giving Vision Vancouver credit for their great ideas. Yes, we've not pumped our fist in the air about the idea of homeless shelters for chickens, beehives to pollinate the Mayor's symbolic garden at City Hall, or ramming through controversial policies after midnight in council chambers. But two motions put forward for this week's council meeting are not only worth a second look, the editorial board of CityCaucus.com give them our unqualified support!

First up is the motion by Councillors Kerry Jang and Raymond Louie, which urges the City to weigh in on the affairs of Canada's most read newsmagazine, Maclean's. Jang and Louie think that Vancouver city council should demand that Maclean's issue an "unqualified apology and constructively address the stereotypes and perceptions perpetuating racism in their recent article "Too Asian?".

Now, the reaction to the Maclean's article did generate this response from the editor which seems to have soothed most observers of this controversy. But as with Toronto city councillor Mike Layton, it's important that local politicians get their pound of flesh too. The Globe and Mail derided Layton's sister motion to demand a Maclean's apology as being self-serving political posturing, but we say tut-tut to G&M, and booya! to our boys from Vision.

Second up is Coun. Andrea Reimer's motion on the matter of internet usage fees charged by Bell Canada to its national customers. To Reimer's suggestion that the City of Vancouver lobby to overturn the decision of the Canadian Radio & Television Commission (CRTC), we say hear, hear! Her motion asks council to: "call on the CRTC to reverse Telecom Decision CRTC 2010-255, and prevent incumbent ISPs from imposing usage- based billing on the independent ISPs that purchase wholesale broadband."

Reimer is exactly correct that Bell's move is exactly the thin edge of the wedge that will displace market competition and result in all Canadians struggling to stay online. Now, it might strike some as ironic that the City would like us to have water meters installed to restrict all-you-can-eat lawn sprinkling in summer, but when it comes to unlimited internet usage packages it's tickety-boo. No matter, we support Reimer notwithstanding.

It's time the City of Vancouver stuck up for its citizens in matters such as these by setting up a new role of Cultural Sensitivity Commissioner. The mandate of the Commissioner's office will be to relieve our hard-working elected officials of having to police media and federal agencies at all. This would all be a part of the CSC's bailiwick, and the Commissioner will regularly report back to city council on the progress of that office.

We can't think of a more important act of this term of government than to put in place this new Cultural Sensitivity Czar. It is a role so critical to the well-being of the affairs of Vancouver citizens that the position should be generous both in its compensation, and the breadth of its mandate. When it comes to who runs the City, the CSC's office must be understood to be the equivalent of at least the office of the chief of staff of the Mayor, which is to say, right on top.

As an expression of the value citizens would put on the almighty Commissioner of Cultural Sensitivity, the salary expectations of this role should be on par with that of the City Manager, who this year is in line to receive a $14,000 pay increase in line with 4% of her current $313,000 annual pay grade. So the base for which we would begin to consider paying this role would be in line with Penny Ballem's $327,000 salary, not including benefits of course.

In his Globe and Mail op/ed, Marcus Gee states:

[Toronto city councillors] Mr. Layton and Ms. Wong-Tam come from a milieu where taking offence comes as naturally as breathing. In their circles, no doubt, everyone thinks the Maclean’s article was an outrage. Being a city councillor requires a different sensibility. They are not activists any more; they are democratic representatives. The people they represent have bigger things on their minds than a provocative magazine headline.

Mr. Gee, are you actually suggesting that our city councils should only concern themselves with only that for which they are elected for? Surely our city councils must try to punch above their weight class.

By sparing no expense, and giving the necessary powers to this new role of Commissioner of Cultural Sensitivity, Vision Vancouver and their COPE allies will give new importance to the role of City Halls across the country. This is an idea which we support unreservedly.

- post by CityCaucus Staff

35 Comments

Perhaps the first action for such a role would be to demand that Kerry Jang apologize to the Japanese citizens of Vancouver for his racist remarks where he said, "I'm not like those Japanese guys, fuck those guys."

That is truly offensive, and he needs to apologize right away for his poor judgment.

Why has the mayor been silent on Jang's offensive comments? He should be demanding an apology from Jang. But don't count on it.

Jang and Louie read the title of the article but didn't read the article itself. Had they read it, they wouldn't be filing this foolish motion. It's actually a good case study. I could go on and on about the irony of a group calling itself the Council of Chinese-Canadians demanding to be treated like any other Canadians. Maybe Miss Chinese-Vancouver would like to voice an opinion as well?

Sarcasm aside, I agree that all city council's should focus more narrowly on civic issues. Probably goes for blogs like this too as your analysis of CRTC 2010-255 was confused and misleading. Do you have a position on net neutrality?

There is a useful debate to be had on what civic issues are, maybe you could start there.

OK, so I spoke with 7 people on Kery Jang's comment and got e-mails from another 15. All people I know directly Hardly a scientific survey but here are the results.

Japanese Nationals Living in BC
7 - None found the remark offensive

Issei Living in BC
5 - 1 found it offensive, 1 found it in poor taste

Nisei and Sansei Living in BC
6 - 3 found it offensive

Half Living in BC and Japan
4 - None found it offensive

Personally, I am tired of people who try to lump all "Asians" into one bucket. My family is bicultural Japanese and Canadian, we all speak, read and write Japanese (the adult kids, not included in the above survey, have trouble writing) and spend a lot of time in Japan. I did not find the comments remotely offensive, but based on the above poll it seems enough people are offended that an apology is warranted.

Thank you for starting to gather information on Japanese views of Jang's comment.

I find the most interesting result that 50% of Nisei and Sansei found it offensive. Considering that those are the people most likely to fully understand the cultural context and the rather quickly spoken language in the video, I agree with your conclusion that Jang must apologize.


More time and effort on sewers and sinkholes; less time on chickens, bees, Olympic photos, China visits, free range eggs, internet - Vision, you have forgotten what you were elected to do - MANAGE THE CITY OF VANCOUVER - why not focus on that and you might just get re-elected...better late than never?

Is no one catching that 'Tricia Takanawa' is the stereotypically asian reporter from Family Guy? For someone who is apparently so offended by this remark it's a curious choice...

Using this logic, nine out of ten Canadians might think that the Maclean's article was neither racist nor inflammatory. Should we therefore ignore Jang/Louie's motion?

Boohoo,

I tried to give you a call to discuss this in more detail. But apparently there is nobody who lives in Vancouver named, "Boohoo."

Jang needs to apologize. The video speaks for itself.

A Cultural Sensitivity Czar on a third of a million a year?It's not April 1st so this must be an unusually dry joke, unfortunately the kind that is all too likely to come true. It does remind me, though, that for the price of Penny Ballem and her impending severance package we could keep all our public toilets open and have enough left over to save the Children's Farmyard.

As for the title Czar in this position, well what next, a Community Friendship Fuhrer?

Oh come on, lighten up. Not funny at all that you use a stereotypically racist 'asian' reporter's nickname as yours and then complain about racism? That's funny.

As for the comments..yeah, he's a douche for saying it.

Also, interesting that a positive post on CC instantly (the very first post!)turns into a bash Vision fest. You guys never fail to reach for the bottom.

The 'czar' is a good idea, although I fear it would become just another politicized post being controlled from above.

Boohoo,

I'm glad you realize the negativity of Jang's comments. He should apologize for them immediately.

In regards to your side comment about a cartoon character from Family Guy, in that show the character represents a comment about the tokenism of the white dominated media.

But that is irrelevant, and far from the main point about Jang making an incredibly offensive comment about Japanese people in the larger cultural context of the anti-Japanese sentiment currently ongoing in China to a group containing a large number of Chinese students, in a forum which was supposedly created to address perceived racism in an article. His comments breed racist attitudes in line with the current anti-Japanese sentiment being expressed very dangerously in China.

anyone who actually watched the video and misinterpreted the context and tone needs to give their head a shake.

There was nothing offensive about it.

There's a reason that Russell Peters and Sugar Sammy are to of the most popular Canadian comedians in the world right now. Jang's comments were completely in the same tone and it was bang on.God forbid someone just say it how it is and laugh about it.

The comment was obviously sarcastic and did a pretty good job of getting a point across.

Find a real issue to pick on Jang for. There's lots of 'em.

I'm surprised someone who is so clearly offended by this would even watch a show like Family Guy, complete with weekly racist jokes. You must be choking on your faux shock that he dared say this!

Anything positive to add re: CC's suggestion? I'm not sure another level of bureaucracy would accomplish much, but I'm not knowledgeable about the inner workings of civic vs provincial and federal politics. Maybe it's worthwhile to have your say on a greater stage--maybe Vancouver is growing up.

Apologize doesn`t exist in the Vision dictionary since when you are perfect there is no need to apologize.

Can`t wait for the Nov 2011 civic election.

The Establishment of a Cultural Sensitivity Commissioner must be accompanied not only by adequate compensation, as suggested by our city caucus comrades, but must also have an adequate physical presence, to give the proper optics for the post. I suggest converting the sixth floor of City Hall (currently empty) and allowing an adequate sum for renovations ($240 000 ought to do it). Let us establish a truly proper, state-of the art "Commissioner's Office for Cultural Kinetics - Understanding and Progress for Society"

To ensure a new and refreshing wind blows from the Commissioner's office, let us hire not from within, but go outside the Hall. I suggest we review the fine graduates of the U of Toronto sociology department, currently actively redefining the cultural roles of Canadians based not only on each individual's race, but their gender, sexuality, disability and exposure to colonialization (a link to 18 potential candidates is provided here:

www.fringegroups.com/2010/12/eighteen-oise-theses.html) .

One of these people is surely qualified to head the new department of COCK-UPS.

Let me first get my bias out of the way...

I can't stand this Vision government and think they have done a lousy job of governing and should be thrown out...

HOWEVER, I for one am in favor of balance of views on this site. While I realize that this board does a lot of editorializing, which I appreciate, I also appreciate trying to provide a level of "balance" in the discussion. I realize that's sometimes hard, especially when the government in question hasn't provided a lot to compliment...but at the same time, I think that it gives this site more credibility and will only increase usage.

The comments area is going to be a free for all, and I'm as guilty as others of contributing to this, but in the articles themselves I would like to see giving credit when (and if) it's due...

Just my 2 cents...

The Cultural Sensitiviy Commissioner will also need to have some power to sanction transgressors. Not to punish, mind you, that is just not the Progressive way. Perhaps the quilty parties could be sent to a re-education camp - say on Cortes Island - to be reprogrammed to be a more informed citizen and able to make good (Progressive) choices on their own.

What annoys me the most is the completely missed point in this bizarre affair. Forgive me for repeating my comment from an earlier article, but Jang and Vision are about to compound one wrong with an even bigger wrong. Government has no business censuring the media in a democratic society.

Macleans has, I believe, rightfully faced public criticism for what it wrote and sparked debate. The public will determine the price it pays (if any) for their perceived gaffe.

But when a government decides to use its power to hold media or reporters to contempt, they enter the territory of tyrants and human rights abusers. That's where Vision is headed right now. Vision would be wise to drop the matter entirely.

This is what media outlets and bloggers really need to be concerned about.

Macleans couldn't have bought itself better advertising.

Good or bad, controvercy sells and I would venture to bet copies of this issue were snapped up or traffic was driven to their website.

Either way, a win, win for them.

Bill
basically I agree with you that an overarching issue with this council (and many academics, so called progressives and politically-correctoids) is the sense it is entitled to use the group-think control mechanisms to stifle free speech and criticism. I support those who battle this form of what I personally like to refer to as 'creeping fascism.'

That said, the Vision council is so obviously bad at it, that an article like this that takes the piss out of them is just fine with me. Its a fun way to remind people how absurd this council can be.

I'd love to talk more, but I gotta go. A city van just pulled up - council is taking me to Cortes for a 'retreat'....

This article was written to see if you "get it". You don't.

City Caucus actually AGREES with on Louie/ Jang's motion? Are you being sarcastic?

Franky, since I started to follow city politics this fall - I find Vancouver civic affairs frustrating and, at times, laden with incompetence. Really, so many problems with this the city and they are devoting time to this one.

Now I'm not supporting Maclean's article, cause frankly, it's flawed. But if Louie, Jang, and any members of the council felt this strongly - why not co-signs a letter to the editor of the magazine on their own time OR write an editorial on the Sun or another medium - I agree with that rather than spending actual time (and taxpayer's money) on symbolic gesture at council meetings.

And it's also rather hypocritical that they are making this motion - cause I wouldn't rank them as champions of inclusiveness and social equity. (If you haven't noticed, sometimes their behaviors resmeble more as a children on the playground, than respected public officials - and the things they've said...? Really - pot calling the kettle black?)

AND really, Commissioner of Cultural Sensitivity? Ok, Not only does it sounds like an Orwellian equivalent of a censor - have we not just had another headache inducing time of trying to balance city's budget. Really, let's cut more basic services, re-introduce cut services as user fees, and increase property taxes. All so we can pay for an office of Cultural Sensitivity - which I'm sure is going to have a vague mandate, little direction, and no real power - you think it's going to go well?? Need I remind you the whole bouhaha with the city's office of Freedom of information? Really, not even a funny joke. Really.

(I sound like an occasional segment on SNL's Weekend update just now. LOL.)

Anyway, my point is - maybe they should start to consider making actual civic decisions that serves and benefits their constituents - i.e. their job. (And by constituents, I don't mean developers and party backers). And maybe if they actually deal with all the fundamentals problems of the city - then they can consider political/ social gesturing... but pig's will probably fly before that happens.

The Thought of The Day

“I think Kerry Jang and Raymond Louie missed the chapter ‘EVERY CIRCUS BRINGS ITS OWN CLOWNS’ from the VISION’s Party Manual.”

KERRYCONJUNCTIVITIS ; RAYMONDULOSIS; VISIOENCEPHALITIS.
I’m pretty sure a year from now we are going to name a few newly discovered diseases after Kerry and Raymond and friends of theirs from inside Vision. Not to say they might be the new Simon and Garfunkel duo in town. Vision Vancouver, eh!

So, Kerry and Raymond were offended by Macleans magazine article ‘Too Asian?’ presently renamed “The enrolment controversy”. First I have to make a statement:” I would have never, not in a million years, read this article. Because, I am not particularly familiar with this magazine, the odds of me picking up a copy were 1000 to 1. Not anymore. So, thanks guys, I’ll be reading Macleans from now on!

Kerry, you being the ‘psychiatrist’ that you are...BTW do you have to go to medical school for this or it’s not a requirement? And if YES, is it true the leather couch is included in the tuition fees? Anyhoo...
What a lot of crap these VISION gurus are shovelling in here. What I’m getting from the article are the following facts:

The Asian kids are smart. Some, very smart. They have great determination, are academically inclined, are down to earth and career focused. They have a great family tradition, and values, respect for their parents and their elders. Some go for higher education even when the odds are against them.
I LIKE THEM! They reminded me of...me.

Now, the western values are crap, mixed together with more crap, mixed with MTV, TV sitcoms, TWILIGHT movies, celebrity signing, Credit Card shopping sprees, weed smoking, expensive ‘immersion’ trips overseas, booze and raves. I’m not saying the Asian don’t do it. No. But if I’m talking in percentages here, their percentile is rather small compared to the rest of the population.

And one more thing... they tend to save more. As in...money, to the chagrin of the corrupt to the bone retailers. Also, why is it that nobody touched on the fact that most universities try hard to attract foreign students from Asian countries not for their brains but for their triple or quadruple tuition fees they are shamelessly charging? Candidly, being a visible minority it’s not easy. However, look at Vancouver, in a few years I’ll be the visible minority! Wait till Gregor and Geoff gets a sniff on this one!

Bozovisionism.

The moment they’ll run out of chicken coops, beehives, bike lanes, global warming, oil tankers, and Panda bears issues, they’ll pick on again on the papers. Here’s my rant though, sometimes I browse the British Tabloids, and Page Three of ‘The Sun’ is a fair stop, here it is, Kerry and Raymond, pay attention. In my humble, but firm opinion, I think that large breasted Asian women are visibly, utterly discriminated upon in the pages of this magazine. I for one am appalled. You should investigate this claim and charge, like bulls during a Corrida De Toros. Make it a global issue!

Final word.
For Clowncilors Kerry and Raymond, bringing up this issue during Council time is a flagrant misuse of taxpayers’ money. This is not part of their mandate. What am I talking? They probably don’t even know why they are showing up at the City sometimes. I would suggest that maybe...for the tuna sandwiches.

Their allegation and request from this magazine is stupid on so many levels that I’m really starting to suspect Kerry’s hiring at UBC was the result of nepotism. They are an embarrassment to themselves and an embarrassment to the kids out there, frequenting these universities. I know that being a councillor is boring and they need to spice up their pathetic meetings, but not on public dime, and definitely not on mine!

Seeing them ’work’ it’s like watching a male Shih-Tzu trying to bolt a female German Shepard. After a while, his jumping up and down will eventually put some doggy strain on his knees.

So, Kerry, Raymond my question for you is: “Too small or too big? And, how would that, make you feel?”

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Gerry,

What? What article and what don't I get? Please elaborate.

There is a story, I think in Alan Clark's memoirs, of of a joke being cracked at a Cabinet meeting which reduced all the ministers to tears of laughter, except Margaret Thatcher, who sat there plaintively asking, "Why ..., why is it funny?"

Irony is difficult, having been on the receiving end of a sense of humour failure by GR's fan base I speak as one who knows. A good clue, however, is when someone is saying something entirely at odds with their normal stance.

To reduce literal mindedness I recommend reading at least one Jane Austen novel a year.

Oh dear.

I see. How foolish of me to think this blog could have anything positive to say about vision.

Irony, sarcasm and many others come across very poorly on the internet. I guess I need to make sure I look at all posts on here as some kind of joke first rather than actual reporting or valid information.

Lesson learned!

Upon reading all the responses, I have to say...
to the Cortes retreat for re-education, all of you!!!!
(lol)

Off topic but of interest; the article written by Bob Mackin on the Mayor's trip to China and what it cost us.

Glad to know we (taxpyers) are footing the bill for a lunch with undisclosed persons to the tune of $2,184.00.

Mayor's Mysterious Middle Kingdom trip

http://2010goldrush.blogspot.com/2010/12/mayors-mysterious-middle-kingdom-trip.html

@david hadaway, this counts for me as one of better quotes I've read lately:

"To reduce literal mindedness I recommend reading at least one Jane Austen novel a year."

My favorite:

'Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.'

...Abraham Lincoln

@ Ken:

Just wondering what makes you think that the NPA is going to get rid of bike lanes in our city? Have any councilors or potential council candidates told you that they would be getting rid of the bike lanes if elected/ reelected?

I ask because this quote suggests just the opposite:

"Vision were hoping to turn the 2011 election into a vote about bike lanes as if the NPA, who championed the City's transportation planning including hundreds of kilometres of city cycling routes in their terms of office, were suddenly anti-bike."

http://www.citycaucus.com/2010/10/will-vancouvers-npa-rally-for-campaign-2011

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