5 Senses of Summer

By | Community, Events, Ian Power, News

For me it begins with the tactile feeling of picking organic berries and leads me to the distinct smoky aromas of the BBQ filling the air. Here’s to pink and purple sunrises and burning orange sunsets dropping into the Salish Sea, summer excites the senses.

Filling your ears with the sounds of summer? Is there anything better than hearing an outdoor concert, festival, night market of baseball tournament? Listening to the drone at a crowded beach on the hottest day of the year, there’s nothing quite like it. The simple melody of birds chirping, bees buzzing and the dramatic sound of a train pulling away or a plane landing. It all speaks of summer. 

Who doesn’t remember the taste of their first s’more, lemonade at their own stand, Chilliwack corn and lake fresh rainbow trout on an open campfire – pretty tasty! Iced beverages, farm fruit and ice-cream must be added to the list, there are many more. Apparently even rosé is making a comeback. But let’s not forget about watermelon that taste like candy, a healthy summer treat!

A good book, that first summer job and drive-in movies help round out the simple pleasures of the warmest season of the year. Longer days and shorter nights allow summer to make sure we are always young, if only at heart. Take an early morning or evening walk, enjoy sleeping in the minimum, and the romance of kissing under the moon and stars. 

Summer is full of sweet sensational firsts, some of love, some of hurt and loss and some others in between. See you in September. Regardless, summer is for people who seek to fulfill such a rich bounty of acute seasonal senses, including touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. All five told and the best of the season to you!

Ian Power


Trial runs for Fascism

By | Community, Events, Ian Power, News

For the most part I try to stay away from jumping onto the bash Trump bandwagon. However, when I read this piece written by Finton O’Toole for the Irish Times. It is well written, concise and definitely eye-opening. – Ian

Fintan O’Toole: Trial runs for fascism are in full flow

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 05:00

To grasp what is going on in the world right now, we need to reflect on two things. One is that we are in a phase of trial runs. The other is that what is being trialled is fascism – a word that should be used carefully but not shirked when it is so clearly on the horizon. Forget “post-fascist” – what we are living with is pre-fascism.

It is easy to dismiss Donald Trump as an ignoramus, not least because he is. But he has an acute understanding of one thing: test marketing. He created himself in the gossip pages of the New York tabloids, where celebrity is manufactured by planting outrageous stories that you can later confirm or deny depending on how they go down. And he recreated himself in reality TV where the storylines can be adjusted according to the ratings. Put something out there, pull it back, adjust, go again.

Fascism doesn’t arise suddenly in an existing democracy. It is not easy to get people to give up their ideas of freedom and civility. You have to do trial runs that, if they are done well, serve two purposes. They get people used to something they may initially recoil from; and they allow you to refine and calibrate. This is what is happening now and we would be fools not to see it.

One of the basic tools of fascism is the rigging of elections – we’ve seen that trialled in the election of Trump, in the Brexit referendum and (less successfully) in the French presidential elections. Another is the generation of tribal identities, the division of society into mutually exclusive polarities. Fascism does not need a majority – it typically comes to power with about 40 per cent support and then uses control and intimidation to consolidate that power. So it doesn’t matter if most people hate you, as long as your 40 per cent is fanatically committed. That’s been tested out too. And fascism of course needs a propaganda machine so effective that it creates for its followers a universe of “alternative facts” impervious to unwanted realities. Again, the testing for this is very far advanced.

Moral boundaries

But when you’ve done all this, there is a crucial next step, usually the trickiest of all. You have to undermine moral boundaries, inure people to the acceptance of acts of extreme cruelty. Like hounds, people have to be blooded. They have to be given the taste for savagery. Fascism does this by building up the sense of threat from a despised out-group. This allows the members of that group to be dehumanised. Once that has been achieved, you can gradually up the ante, working through the stages from breaking windows to extermination.

People have to be given the taste for savagery. Fascism does this by building up the sense of threat from a despised out-group

It is this next step that is being test-marketed now. It is being done in Italy by the far-right leader and minister for the interior Matteo Salvini. How would it go down if we turn away boatloads of refugees? Let’s do a screening of the rough-cut of registering all the Roma and see what buttons the audience will press. And it has been trialled by Trump: let’s see how my fans feel about crying babies in cages. I wonder how it will go down with Rupert Murdoch.

Children and workers at a tent encampment recently built in Tornillo, Texas: the blooding process has begun within the democratic world. Photograph: Joe Raedle

To see, as most commentary has done, the deliberate traumatisation of migrant children as a “mistake” by Trump is culpable naivety. It is a trial run – and the trial has been a huge success. Trump’s claim last week that immigrants “infest” the US is a test-marketing of whether his fans are ready for the next step-up in language, which is of course “vermin”. And the generation of images of toddlers being dragged from their parents is a test of whether those words can be turned into sounds and pictures. It was always an experiment – it ended (but only in part) because the results were in.

‘Devious’ infants

And the results are quite satisfactory. There is good news on two fronts. First, Rupert Murdoch is happy with it – his Fox News mouthpieces outdid themselves in barbaric crassness: making animal noises at the mention of a Down syndrome child, describing crying children as actors. They went the whole swinish hog: even the brown babies are liars. Those sobs of anguish are typical of the manipulative behaviour of the strangers coming to infest us – should we not fear a race whose very infants can be so devious? Second, the hardcore fans loved it: 58 per cent of Republicans are in favour of this brutality. Trump’s overall approval ratings are up to 42.5 per cent.

Fox News mouthpieces outdid themselves in barbaric crassness: making animal noises at the mention of a Down syndrome child, describing crying children as actors

This is greatly encouraging for the pre-fascist agenda. The blooding process has begun within the democratic world. The muscles that the propaganda machines need for defending the indefensible are being toned up. Millions and millions of Europeans and Americans are learning to think the unthinkable. So what if those black people drown in the sea? So what if those brown toddlers are scarred for life? They have already, in their minds, crossed the boundaries of morality. They are, like Macbeth, “yet but young in deed”. But the tests will be refined, the results analysed, the methods perfected, the messages sharpened. And then the deeds can follow.

Summer Days That’ll Make You Say WOOF

By | Community, Events, Ian Power, News

Ah, the Dog Days Of Summer have finally arrived. It’s that time when you start panting like a dog under the sun’s intense heat. Wait a minute let’s ask the dog, I’m still not sure!

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Dog Days of Summer are traditionally the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, which coincide with the dawn rising of Sirius, the Dog Star. After the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans are apparently among the first to notice just how bright Sirius is. They used the star’s heliacal (nearness to the sun, in astronomy) rising to help predict the weather. Predicting the weather meant better outcomes for food sources, but also helped to prepare for flooding. There is even a reference to Sirius in Homer’s Iliad, written in the 8th century BC.

Today, the Dog Days simply refer to those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

Many would have you believe it’s just folklore or superstition. But those of us who would rather lie in a hammock with a cold beverage don’t need any convincing.

Ian Power



Gangs Be Gone

By | Community, Events, Ian Power, News

Is Surrey a safe place to live? It depends on who you ask. What I can tell you the Mayor’s Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention is one of the most comprehenssive packages I have seen to date.

Give Mayor Linda Hepner full props for bringing together some of the brightest minds on the topic from the provincial government, business community, school district, social services agencies, former gang members, citizens and local media. This alone would be no easy task, but the Mayor’s resolve was too powerful for may to ignore.

Read the Report:

The Action Steps highlighted by the Task Force include:

  1. Implement a Middle Years Table to refer at-risk children and families for appropriate inter- agency interventions and services.
  2. Strengthen prevention program coordination, access and evaluation.
  3. Partner with the Federal and Provincial Governments to develop a comprehensiveneighbourhood specific prevention program.
  4. Support CFSEU-BC and the Surrey RCMP in informing citizens of the risks related to ganglife.
  5. Expand and integrate the CFSEU-BC Gang Intervention, Exiting and Outreach services andwiden the target population to support youth and adults to exit the gang lifestyle.
  6. Support the Surrey RCMP in developing and implementing an Inadmissible Patron Program.

Gang violence is nothing new in our communities, but I believe this Mayor’s Task Force has a solid plan moving forward to catching would be gang bangers before they even get that stage. There are no easy fixes, but this plan provides real and genuine strategies for dealing with this daily scurge and well into the future.

The trouble runs deep, but there is still time to save a life, or many lives! After all, I think we can all agree that we want to be surrounded by productive, law abiding citizens for today and well into the future. Today we are one step closer where our focus is not on crime, rather on safe and trusted neighbourhoods.

Is Surrey a safe place to live? Be part of the answer.

Ian Power


Top 10 Reasons I Love You Canada 🇨🇦

By | Community, Events, Ian Power, News

Dear Canada,

Top 10 (or so) reasons I love you!

  1. The Canadian Flag — The Maple Leaf Forever (but not the Maple Leafs)
  2. Awe Inspiring Raw Natural Landscape ―Burns Bog, Haida Gwaii, Northern Lights, Niagara Falls (to name a few)
  3. Diversity ― From Our Aboriginal Roots to Our Open Doors, We Are a Country of Immigrants
  4. Friendliness — A Nod Is As Good As A Wink, But A Canadian Smile Lasts Forever
  5. Clean Drinking Water — Let’s Never Take You For Granted
  6. Maple Syrup ― Ça va avec tout!
  7. Salmon — Wild only
  8. We Take A Stand ― Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  9. UBC Endowment Lands, Hockey, Rocky Mountains, Stanley Park, West Coast Trail, Newfoundland, Humour (add your own)
  10. SORRY, I may have missed one or two or 20

I hope you still love me too! Happy Birthday!  🇨🇦

Ian Power



Multiculturalism, Diversity, Inclusion On the Rise in Canada

By | Community, Events, Ian Power, News

With Canada Day this Sunday, here’s a timely reminder of just one of the many reasons each and everyone of us should stand in celebration.

Multiculturalism is increasingly valued by Canadians:

– According to the “Canada’s World Survey 2018,” multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion are increasingly seen by Canadians as the country’s most notable contribution to the world.

– The Centre for International Governance Innovation “Diversity Dividend: Canada’s Global Advantage” special report found that, viewed across all Canadian sectors, a one percent increase in ethnocultural diversity was associated with an average 2.4 percent increase in revenue and a 0.5 percent increase in workplace productivity.

However, despite this, hate crimes against people of colour are rising:
– From Statistics Canada: Between 2015 and 2016, the number of police-reported crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity increased 4 percent. In all, 48 percent of all police-reported hate crimes in 2016 were motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity. Much of this increase was a result of more hate crimes targeting South Asians (+24 incidents) and Arabs and West Asians (+20 incidents). Despite posting a decrease in 2016, crimes targeting Black populations remained one of the most common types of hate crimes (15 percent of all hate crimes).

Best-selling author and journalism professor Kamal Al-Solaylee will give the 2018 Milton K. Wong lecture— Today—at the BMO Theatre Centre on Wednesday, June 27.

The Milton K. Wong Lecture is Canada’s premier lecture on multiculturalism. It is named after Milton K. Wong, one of the founders of The Laurier Institution, in recognition of the remarkable contribution he made to the understanding of the value and complexity of Canadian diversity and to the advancement of pluralism in Canada.


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Why Can’t We Be Friends?

By | Community, Events, Ian Power, News

Late last week I was drawn to a friends Facebook post that espoused how extraordinary Barack Obama was as the 44th President of the United States. She expressed heartbreak at what she saw as a growing divide among the American people under the presidency of Donald Trump. She worries for her American friends and family, including next to kin, that the US is losing its way.

It was a moment put to words on Facebook, accompanied by a video, when something dark, perhaps sinister began bubbling up through what became a long thread of anxious discourse. In response to my friends post one of her Facebook “friends” took great umbrage and spat back in defence of her beloved Trump. It may have been ok, under free speech, to allow for her to express an opposing view. But when the vitriol became personal all bets were off.

Suddenly the longest, most open and undefended border in the world felt like it was rapidly unwinding. We are awkward and periled in these uncertain times. Our next door neighbour has seen and found the need to show its mighty strength through the oval office or Mar a Lago for that matter. And, as true friends and neighbours we have stayed out of it. But enough is enough and locking babies in cages may have been the last straw where it would simply be wrong to remain quiet.

It seems everyday my newsfeed is full of “friends” snapping at each other and emotions are running high with worry.  So, why can’t we all just get along?

I suspect the frenzy of (mis)information we consume and the divide and conquer style of the POTUS is exactly the plan. We watch in horror while diversion after diversion clouds and derides our thinking. The result is not really unexpected, neighbour turning on neighbour, just as friends are turning on friends. We must continue to take the high road. This is what we have always done as Canadians and what most of the world has come to expect. One can only hope in the longer scheme of things this will be but a blip on the political map. Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you fall let’s be sure to treat one another with respect and dignity. After all, like it or not we’re all in this together!

Ian Power


Staying Cool In A Heat Wave

By | Community, Events, Ian Power, News
BC Hydro predicts province wide electricity demand could exceed the historical record for the month of June as the first summer heat wave hits the province.

On Monday, BC Hydro recorded the highest peak hourly demand – the hour customers use the most electricity – of the season. At nearly 7,300 megawatts, this represents more than a 10 per cent increase over the previous Monday.

BC Hydro is forecasting its peak load to be between 7,000 and 7,500 megawatts over the next few days. The increase in electricity use is attributed to customers turning on fans and air conditioners, and refrigeration units working harder to stay cool.
Last August, BC Hydro set a new record for summer power consumption when the province’s peak hourly demand reached approximately 7,500 megawatts.

There are a number of energy-efficient ways British Columbians can keep cool during the heat wave:

  • Close the drapes and blinds: shading windows can block out up to 65 per cent of the heat.
  • Out with the warm, in with the cool: position a fan by a window or door in the evening when temperatures are cooler to direct the cool air in.
  • Spin that fan: ceiling fans are the most efficient option for cooling. Ensure the fan is rotating counter-clockwise to help direct the cool air down.
  • Hang laundry to dry: avoiding the dryer will keep unnecessary heat out the house.
  • Opt for smaller appliances or take the cooking outside: use a microwave, crockpot, toaster oven or barbeque to avoid the extra heat produced by the stove or oven.


Some Like It Hot

By | Community, Events, Ian Power, News

These last few days of spring may be a sign of what to expect for the coming summer. In some areas temperatures may be as much as 10 degrees above the normal for this time of year. How do you keep cool when we’re having a heatwave?

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning, when the humidex value is expected to reach levels ranging from 29 degrees celsius to 40 degrees or greater depending on your location.

Environment Canada and the Lower Mainland Medical Health Officers expect an increase in health and safety risks from heat and are advising the public to take precautions.

Drink plenty of water even before you feel thirsty and stay in a cool place.

Check on older family members, friends and neighbours. Make sure they are cool and drinking water.

Never leave pets or people inside a parked car.

Some of the symptoms of heat illness include: dizziness/fainting; rapid breathing and heartbeat and extreme thirst.

When in doubt do not hesitate to call HealthLink BC at 811.

Stay cool.

Ian Power




Parade of Festivals

By | Events, Ian Power, News

Happy Festivus, for the rest of us! Who could forget that great line from Seinfeld? Although they claimed the sitcom was about nothing I think that there was much to the sentiment above, namely that everyone’s welcome. And, so as we prepare for Vaisakhi this weekend in Surrey, a South Asian religious celebration to mark the birth of Khalsa and the harvest, we also ready for the rest of festival season. That’s right we now have a festival for almost everything and every season, but none more so than during spring and summer. There are a plethora of festivals like the Tulip Festival, Cinco de Mayo, Heritage Festival, Cloverdale Rodeo, Mariachi, Salmon Fest, Folk Music Festival, Jazz, Blues, Surrey Reggae Festival, enRoute Film Fest, World Music Festival at Locarno — you get the idea, on and on the list goes. There’s a festival for one and a festival for all. Like anything else, it is recommended that you have a plan, especially for the big outdoor venues. We get some great advice from Surrey RCMP; Our local Vaisakhi Day Parade is one of the largest Vaisakhi celebrations in the world outside of India. The parade is a major attraction for the city, drawing visitors from across the Lower Mainland. Last year, more than 500,000 people participated. Surrey RCMP will be on site not only for public safety and traffic control but also to take part in all the festivities the event has to offer. With the large crowds, it can be easy for people to become separated from their group. During previous Vaisakhi celebrations, the Surrey RCMP has responded to dozens of incidents of missing children or elderly persons. Having a plan in place with your family prior to the event can greatly reduce your risk of separation. Review with your family what to do if, in fact, this does occur. A plan may include these simple tips: Familiarize your family members with their surroundings and have a pre-planned meeting place:

  • Equip your family members with some form of identification and your contact information
  • Make sure everyone in your party is aware of the location of the Surrey RCMP missing person’s tent and the location of emergency personnel
  • Keep a current photo of your child on you in case you need to describe them to police
  • Keep your children within eyesight at all times

Wherever you find yourself taking in the sights and sounds this festival season, plan ahead and enjoy the rich diversity of our community and beyond.

Ian Power