Monday, January 30, 2006

No Blogging until Page 200

I am way behind where I want to be at this point (note when I posted 100 Pages!).

And so, no blogging until page 200.

Despite the Conservative win, the American Ambassador informing Canada that the USA does not recognize our sovereignty over our Arctic waters, the opening of private for-profit health care clinics in Ontario, and my daughter's first birthday, I need to stop blogging right now and focus in on writing.

But I am on page 182, so I should be blogging again soon.

Back to work.

No, really.

Back to work.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Instant Kung Fu! for Actors

In case some might be visiting with an interest in these sorts of things, here's a class I'm offering:

Instant Kung Fu!
for Actors

Always wanted to study Martial Arts?
Always wanted to learn Stage Combat?

Do both!

Instant Kung Fu is a introduction to martial arts for stage and screen. Learn to combine martial arts moves and stage combat techniques to create a Kung Fu-style fight that is action-packed, safe, and fun!

Time & Date: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., February 26, 2006
Location: 575 Wellington Street West, Toronto
Cost: $125 ($100 for Equity, ACTRA, FDC and Rapier Wit members)
To Register: email

Register before Feb. 19, 2006 and save $25!

Erik Buchanan is a Martial Artist, Fight Director, Actor and Writer. He holds Black Belts in Shaolin Kenpo, and Moh Kempo, and has also studied Arnis de Mano, Aikido, Kung Fu, and Wu Gar Mo Sut. His fight director credits include: Don Juan, The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew and Man of La Mancha. Among his acting credits are: Charlie’s Aunt, Corpse, Zastrozzi, Henry V, Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth on stage, and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Hero, Magnus Opus, Shadow Warriors and Pools, Patios & Decks on TV and Film. His novel Small Magics, is hitting shelves in 2007.

Visit for more info.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Guess What?

My website is up!
My website is up!
My website is up!
My website is up!
My website is up!

(And you thought shouting was just done with ALL CAPS!)

Took all day and two calls to support at (thanks, Geoff!) but it is done!

So I'm happy. Very happy. Extremely happy. Did I mention happy?

Come and visit: Let me know what you think.

Back to work (finally!)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Canadian Politics: Greed, Cowardice, and Proportional Representation

In Canada more than 50% of the people will not have their views reflected by their local Member of Parliament. This is because we are only one of three nations in the world (Britian and the USA are the other two) that uses a "first past the post" system to decide who will represent the people. This means that, in any given riding, no candidate actually needs 50% of the vote to win. In fact, the more parties running in a given area, the less votes the winning candidate has to have in order to take control. All he or she needs is enough votes to beat out whoever got second place.

This is not a good system, especially for Canada.

We are a very large nation. We have a very diverse opinions and that diversity goes across the nation. That diversity, however, is not at all reflected in the political landscape. If one looks at the results of the last election, one would think a large majority of the west is Conservative, a large majority of Ontario is Liberal, and almost all of Quebec wants to seperate. This is not true. At all.

What we need is a system of proportional representation, where the Members of Parliament are picked not by who got the most votes, but by who voted for whom. Instead of having one candidate per small area, each party would run a slate of candidates over a larger area, and voters would get a chance to vote both for the party and for the candidate. That means that if, in a given area, 20 seats are available, 20 candidates would be run by each party. If the Liberals get 35% of the vote, the conservatives 30%, the NDP 25%, and the Green Party 10%, the result would be 7 Liberals, 6 Conservatives, 5 NDP and 2 Green Party MPs, which would actually reflect the political landscape of the area. True democracy instead of false democracy.

Think specifically about Quebec. Think about what sort of a difference it would make in Parliament if the Bloc Quebecois's stranglehold on Canadian politics was gone. The most recent poll I could find shows that the Bloc Quebecois has 52% of the popular vote. A commanding lead, and one that, according to some, will give them 67 of the 75 seats in Quebec. If our government was elected by proportional representation, they would only be getting 39 of the seats. Quite the change, eh?

Under a system of proportional representation, the government would represent the entire Canadian political spectrum. Think about how the myth of Canadian regionalization would change if people could see that, yes, there are NDP in Alberta and Conservatives in downtown Toronto. It is a change that is long overdue, and would be a change for the better.

So why isn't it happening? Greed and cowardice.

Look at the Liberals and the Conservatives. Both of them have held power with majority governments that have run rough-shod over any dissenting opinions, attempts at compromise, or suggestions of change (actually, in the case of the CPC, it was their predecessor, the PCs). Both know that, in a system of proportional representation, they would probably never hold majority power again. Neither likes the idea, neither accepts it. What they want is power; complete, total control over Canadian policy and the Canadian people.

As for the Bloc Quebecois, I found the records of a House of Commons debate from 2001 in which a Bloc MP goes on record as saying that, while the Bloc supports proportional representation for an independent Quebec, they do not support it as a system for Canada. Not a surprise. As long as they have the "first past the post" system in Quebec, they can wield a great deal of power in the House of Commons, whether or not they should.

And so we see it: greed and cowardice. The Bloc would rather deny the people of Quebec true representation in Parliament than lose some of their power. The Conservatives and the Liberals would rather risk the destruction of our country than weaken their grasp on power. The lot of them refuse to see beyond their own political agendas to do what is best for the country.

A shame, really, because I think proportional representation would do more to unite the country than most of the other things we've tried. And certainly more than the current state of things.

Back to work.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Civility, Grace, Dignity and Integrity

Can you think of four better things to strive for this year than these?

I can't.

Thanks to the Progressive Traditionalist.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Guns, Hope and Societal Failure

It is January 2nd and Toronto has had its first homicide of 2006. A young man died of gun shot wounds.

At this point, a fair number of us are asking, "what is wrong with these people?"

The answer to that is that they are criminals. They are members of gangs shooting one another and others to defend turf, control drug trade, show how tough they are, and get respect. They are causing the unnecessary deaths of many young men and many innocent by-standers, including several children. They need to be hunted down and put in jail.

So now we know what's wrong with them. Here's a better question: How did they get that way?

No one is born a criminal. Even those with sociopathic or psychotic tendencies will not necessarily become criminals. Criminals are made by the society which surrounds them, and once someone is on a criminal path, it is very difficult to lead them off of it. So how did these young men become criminals?

The reasons vary: poverty, a sense of marginalization from society, a need to belong, a chance to do something exciting, a lack of understanding of the pain they cause, inadequate parenting, lack of community support, lack of social programs. The reasons young men become criminals (and I say young men because that's what the majority of them are) are as varied as the young men themselves. There are several common elements, though, and one of the most important is a lack of hope.

If you look at the society in which you live, the circumstances in which you grew up, and the people around you, and see no hope for improvement in your life, why would you continue to support that society? Why would you follow that society's rules when it offers nothing to you?

To put it another way, young men playing on sports teams don't tend to run around shooting people. Young men with jobs don't tend to run around shooting people. Young men going to university don't tend to run around shooting people. This is because all of them have something to work towards. They have hope.

Young men with nothing to work towards - with no hope - will search for something. And if that something is status and a sense of belonging in a local gang, guess what they're going to be doing?

The majority of these young men are lost. We can offer programs to get some of them back; gun amnesty, job creation, social counselling can all help. Unfortunately, the majority of them won't escape, and will end up as burdens on our social systems through welfare, jail time, and medical expenses. We as a society have failed them, and we as a society have to pay the price.

The question is, how long are we going to keep paying it? We have lost these young men. Do we want to lose the next generation as well?

There is much talk in this election from various parties about tougher gun laws, more police on the street and tougher sentences for offenders, and these may all help with the current problem. What they will not do is prevent the next generation of lost young men from taking the same path. We must offer hope to the next generation of at-risk youth; we must show them that there is a better way than the gangs, and better opportunities than being a drug-dealer.

We need to work within our communities; to identify those that are at-risk of falling into criminal activity and offer them a different path. Some steps have already been taken, but much more needs to be done, if we are going to save the next generation.

Back to work.

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