Monday, October 27, 2008

Cross Country

Cross Country provincials were today. It was extremely muddy.... but that's not important. I came 100th out of like 106... but that's not important either..

I met a man who was the cross country provincial winner three times in a row back in his day.
He was standing with a cane and a cup outside the Tim Hortons.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How to be Special by Being Alone

I was at a dance last night, with a bunch of youth my age, most of whom I had only known for a day (I was at the D250 conference). At the dance, most people were just doing the youth thing and bobbing their heads and so on, but me and one other fellow did all sorts of fun things, including a dance-off with chairs as props. It was really fun, but what was more interesting was what happened during the first slow dance.

The song came on (I think it was Every Little Thing You Do by Westlife) and I began my now-standard procedure of interpretive dance. As I'm in a long-distance relationship, I no longer have any real desire to bumble around trying to find a girl to dance with, and this is much more fun. People tend to laugh at me, not really in a mean way but simply because they think I look funny (often I agree with them).

I'm moving in my interesting little way and everybody else is either standing around looking lonely or bored or they're coupled up dancing. Then, as sometimes happens, a few people made a kind of ring by putting their arms over each others' shoulders. This ring got larger until it had maybe 15-20 people in it (there were about 80 there). Somebody beckoned me to join the ring, and I did - on the inside! Quickly, it seemed, everybody joined the circle, and there I was, on the inside, while the crowd cheered and swayed. I was special, and I was popular.

...but this isn't about my ego. It's about how difference goes both ways. The friend I was dancing with had gone off to find a girl, and did. Lucky him? I ended up in the spotlight, while he was with everybody else rather shortly. I simply think it's very neat how I started off by myself and ended up (special) supported by everybody, while others went to be (special) with another person yet ended up as an entire mass.

Certainly not what one might expect, and I probably would have been ridiculed if I wasn't at least somewhat a good dancer. To be honest, I believe the hardest part of dancing (maybe not for me anymore, but in general) is doing it. (Most) people aren't as bad as they think they are once they let go and move.... and who knows? You just might end up in the middle.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty and Disproportionate Representation

Harper is back, with even more MPs than before. Gah. People are worried about our economic crisis but forget to step back and notice the poverty crisis:

30 000 children die every day from poverty-related causes [www.freethechildren.com]

That's one child every 3 seconds! That means in the time it takes you to read this post, 20-50 children will die, depending on how long it ends up being and how fast you read.

However, this poverty could be prevented! All it would take is 0.7% of the national income of 22 developed nations. This would raise the $195 billion needed to combat poverty effectively.[1] They pledged to do this in 2000, and many nations have already reached this goal. Canada has no plan whatsoever, and is currently only giving 0.28%.

Stephen Harper is doing nothing about this, and yet he gets re-elected - despite the conservative government having only 37% of votes. These extremely disproportionate results highlight the growing problem in Canada of the outdated plurality voting system. The Green Party (which, not incidentally, does have a plan to meet the 0.7% aid) had 900 000 votes nationwide (out of 13 million) and yet got not a single seat, where fewer than that number of voters in the west produced 27 conservative seats. Add to that an all-time low of 59.1% voter turnout,[2] and there is clearly something wrong.

...so we need a change. Forget potential change in governing party – we need a change in government policy at the electoral level. Canada's voting system dates back to the 12th century! It is outdated and does not work in a country that is no longer composed of just two parties. I still don't know exactly what we need, but the solution is out there. Here are some links for your readage: