Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Demographic Panic

Image Source: Photo from Braydon Maz twitter account.
WinnipegJules quote here. 
Former Manitoba "Progressive" Conservative Youth President Braydon Maz's racist outburst over the Kapyong Barracks court ruling (which says that the government has to consult First Nations about what to do with the old, decrepit former military base) is infamous by now. What the outburst reveals, however, is a thinly veiled undercurrent of racism that is all too common in our city as well as a hidden, demographic panic.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Shout Out:19th century Prairie Aboriginal Farmers

Image Source: Tsuu T'ina Nation
Obtained from âpihtawikosisân

 I've been wading in and out of an infuriating debate with some wingnuts on Winnipeg Zoom (a particularly fact-adverse wingnut being LRT/Purple Helmet Rod). Feel free to join the debate (after joining Winnipeg Zoom), though confronting common Braydon Maz style racism might be depressing.

Montreal-based blogger âpihtawikosisân has a great article on the history of prairie aboriginal farms, noting that they were given crappy land, less resources, and micromanaged. The farms still succeeded, until the Government of the day decided to implement more destructive polices which undermined them.

In the process of pointing out the history of aboriginal prairie farms (using the article as a resource), I found out that math is apparently wrong in wingnut minds. The article focused on farms set up in the 1870s, which we'd conventionally say covers a range of 142 years ago to 133 years ago - though the article also talked about discriminatory policies up to the interwar period (which started 94 years ago).

Apparently, however, that's stuff from "200 years ago". At least that's the case in LRT's mind.

I guess Residential Schools are also ancient history! 

Honestly, the blindingly obvious reality bigots have to deny to ignore the real, recent harm and disadvantages conferred upon Canada's first peoples is amazing. You can douse a wingnut in facts but you cannot make them think.  

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Monday, 14 January 2013

TVO Panel on Idle No More Part I: The Logic of Movements

Well, the TVO show "The Agenda with Steve Paikin" had an interesting Idle No More panel. They discussed many points and clarified some of the misinformation about First Nations communities and governments.

Still, one panelist's claims miss the mark. Yet, in doing so, they provide a springboard for deeper discussion.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Winnipeg Blogosphere in 2012

Image Source: Hubspot
Well, as a (casual) observer of the Winnipeg blogosphere, there's been some interesting developments this year. To give credit where credit is due, reading John Dobbin's "This blog in 2012" (and some of his older posts) as well as Cherenkov's "2012 at the Peanut" has inspired this undertaking. Where to begin?

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Stupid motorist suggestions to cyclists

City sign on Wellington Crescent reminding cyclists 
that motorists have a right to use the road.

Signs like these lined most of Wellington

Image Source: Photo taken by The Analyst
Note: This post is criticizing the attitudes of self-entitled motorists. Many of Winnipeg's motorists are not self-entitled, but rather respectful, polite, and courteous drivers well versed in Manitoba's traffic laws. This post should not be taken as a critique of the Winnipeg motorist community as a whole. 

A while ago I bicycled a good 20-25 km through our city to visit relatives. Along Wellington Crescent I stumbled across this lovely reminder of who really matters to City Hall (photo to the left). With this as some context, there's two pieces of (stupid) advice self-entitled motorists give to bicyclists that need to be whacked down.

Get off the road (and onto the sidewalk)!

Sometimes the continent of self-entitled and ignorant motorists will shout out the first part from their automobiles. Spewing this verbal harassment reveals a major gap in their driver's education - they don't know that bicyclists have a right to the road. It's in The Highway Traffic Act. Also in the act is the fact that it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk if you have a bike whose wheel's diameter exceeds 410 mm.

This is serious ignorance of the law governing the road. Self-entitled motorists need to be educated and informed of the laws they have to obey on the road. This puts to shame the one-sided "reminders" to bicyclists all over residential streets in Winnipeg: where are similar reminders to the many motorists ignorant of bike-riders right to use the road?

There's a second type of motorist (and even some cyclists) who, out of faux or genuine concern, recommends bicycling on the sidewalk. Little do they know that dangerous accidents actually happen coming off sidewalks, as motorists don't expect fast-moving bikes coming from there. Indeed, 20% of bicyclist injury claims in Manitoba involve sidewalk cyclists crossing intersections. Sidewalk biking is dangerous.

Ride off the main roads! 

Some motorists claim that bicyclists would be safer and wouldn't "hold up traffic" if they rode exclusively on side streets, back lanes, and smaller streets. This suggestion is wrongheaded all year round for the fact that side streets can't get you everywhere in Winnipeg and trying to stick exclusively to them would add an obscene amount of time to most bicycle commutes. Though maybe these same people who whine time and time again about being "held up" by bikes for a few seconds think that bicyclists sacrifice all the time in the world. These motorists might even save a good minute on commutes across the city if they never had to pass bicyclists!

In winter, this advice is pretty dangerous. A lot of low traffic residential/side streets aren't well cleared, leading to lumps of snow and uneven terrain. It took considerable effort to remained balanced and not fall over biking down Inglewood Street, quicker cyclists would fall off often on the side streets. Again, cyclists' needs are relegated to peripheral status to people giving out this "advice".

What does this all mean?

These propositions really reveal a nasty attitude: that of bicycle commuters as second-class citizens whose needs matter little. This attitude has even seeped it's way into city services, stifling our ability to become a less car-overdependent city. Something's gotta give.

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