Archive for the ‘Worth Repeating’ Category

Happy Canada Day from Royal City Rag!

On July 1 2009, Royal City Rag headed out to Riverside Park to celebrate Canada Day on location with storytellers Sya Van Geest and Brad Woods, and singer-songwriter Sam Turton. Despite the poor weather, all turned out sunny on a fun show.

Our storytellers were on fine form;  Sya explaining the origin of storytelling and Brad regaling us with his experiences in the cockpit during his first flying lesson.

Sam sang several songs on the show, including another new one, “You’re my home, Canada”, written especially for Royal City Rag. He also threw in a soulful version of O Canada to finish the show.

Unfortunately we had to beat a hasty retreat at the end of the show after Brad got a bit carried away helping out with the firework display.

Catch the show if you missed it. It was a great one!

We’ll be back with another live show, this Saturday from 8-10 a.m. on CFRU93.3fm.

Sam Turton, What’s So funny About Peace, Love And Understanding? (Live)
Sam Turton, Annapolis Farm (Live)
Sam Turton, Right Here (Live)
Sam Turton, You Are My Home, Canada (Live)
Sam Turton, O Canada (Live)

Sya Van Geest, The Birth Of Stories
Brad Woods, Flying Lessons

Listen to the show:

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Left to Right: Sya Van Geest, Brad Woods and Sam Turton

On April 1, 2009, Royal City Rag was broadcast live from an unlikely Guelph location. The show featured storytellers Sya Van Guest and Brad Woods, and singer-songwriter Sam Turton.

Special thanks are due to the management of the establishment for allowing us to broadcast the show and all the people who came by to listen and join in the fun. Thanks also to Bubble the Clown for joining us to keep the children entertained.

I strongly recommend you check out the show if you get the chance. Sya and Brad’s stories were wonderful, a joy to listen to.

Sam is well-known for preparing many different versions of our musical theme, Nick Lowe’s “What’s So Funny About Peace and Understanding?”; this time he used a lounge-style. He also composed a new song, “April Fool”, especially for the show!

I hope you enjoy listening to the show as much as we enjoyed putting it together. A perfect show for a very special day.

Jan Andrea Hall

Sam Turton, What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding? (Nick Lowe, Live)
Sam Turton, Fool On The Hill (Paul McCartney, Live)
Sam Turton, Everybody (John Prine, Live)
Sam Turton, April Fool (Sam Turton, Live)

Listen to the show:

Catch Royal City Rag, Saturdays 7-9 a.m. on CFRU93.3fm, Guelph’s Campus-Community Radio Station.

Remember if you don’t catch Royal City Rag live on CFRU93.3fm, you can pick it up later that day via the CFRU archive or here, on the blog, the next day.

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On January 25, CBC Radio 1’s Ontario Today’s Gardening Phone-in with Ed Lawrence focused on the management of urban trees and the need for stronger by-laws to protect them.

Guelph activist Diane Hurst was not only able to call in to talk to Ed, she also managed to get us a copy of the audio to put up on the website.

Well done, Diane! 

Listen to the segment:

Large Elm Tree

Guelph citizens have now been waiting for a new stronger protective tree by-law for over 19 years. In the meantime we continue to lose canopy. Guelph’s urban forest canopy sits at 25%, while the desired level  is 40%.

Guelph Urban Forest Friends have been advocating for our urban trees, including a stronger protective tree bylaw and a separate urban forestry department with a certified forester to more effectively manage tree maintenance and coordinate public education on the value of our mature trees.

If you feel strongly about this issue, please contact Mayor and Council.

Tell them to get the Strategic Urban Forestry Management Plan completed and a strong protective bylaw passed. Let them know that the protection and management of our urban forest will be an election issue this October.

Contacting Guelph City Council

Mayor Farbridge: mayor@guelph.ca

Ward 1: Bob Bell bob.bell@guelph.ca, Kathleen Farrelly kathleen.farrelly@guelph.ca
Ward 2: Vicki Beard vicki.beard@guelph.ca, Ian Findlay ian.findlay@guelph.ca
Ward 3: Maggie Laidlaw maggie.laidlaw@guelph.ca, June Hofland june.hofland@guelph.ca
Ward 4: Gloria Kovach gloria.kovach@guelph.ca, Mike Salisbury mike.salisbury@guelph.ca
Ward 5: Lise Burcher lise.burcher@guelph.ca, Leanne Piper leanne.piper@guelph.ca
Ward 6: Christine Billings christine.billings@guelph.ca, Karl Wettstein karl.wettstein@guelph.ca

Don’t know your ward? Click here to see the map

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Dancehall Free For All have a show at the E-Bar with The Monster Show on February 25 at 10.00 p.m. They are a fabulous live band.

Dancehall Free For All came together in 2006, while they were all at high school. Their music features an infectious mix of ska, rock, pop dance and soul that practically forces you out on to the dancefloor.

They released their first full length album, 9 to 5 lives in the fall of 2008.

Dancehall Free For All are Michael Boyd, Zack Leighton, Sebastian Bevlander, Xandre Valli, Sean Hayes and Scott Fitzpatrick.

I had a chance to interview the 2007 incarnation of the band at the old Salsateria on McDonnell Street in October that year at a Guelph Civic League fundraiser.  

Listen to the interview:

You can catch both Zack Leighton from Dancehall Free For All and Kerry Mullen from The Monster Show on CFRU 93.3fm‘s Royal City Rag  on February 20 at 8.00 a.m.

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panic_peak_oilFollowing on from the great show with Sally Ludwig from Transition Guelph, no discussion of transition or sustainability can be complete without mention of formidable social commentator James Howard Kunstler.

James is a renowned author and speaker who has written a great deal about the peak oil crisis and the serious impact it will have on our society and way of life. 

His best known works are The Geography of Nowhere and The Long Emergency. Both are an essential read for anyone concerned about our current predicament.

You should also try and catch James in Gregory Greene’s documentaries, The End Of Suburbia and Escape From Suburbia. Again, they are essential viewing  to understand how we got in this mess and what we need to do to get out of it.

James Howard Kunstler said that he wrote The Geography of Nowhere, “Because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work.”

long-emergencyHis most recent non-fiction work, The Long Emergency, published by the Atlantic Monthly Press in 2005, focused on the challenges posed by the coming permanent global oil crisis, climate change, and other “converging catastrophes of the 21st Century.”

James was in Guelph for the Guelph Civic League Amazing Possibilities conference in May 2006. His presentation has to be one of the best I have ever heard.

If ever there was the time when  we need to heed the words of James Howard Kunstler it is now.

We are already very late in starting to deal with these issues… we will not do future generations any favours to wait any longer.

Listen to the presentation:

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Mike Nickerson’s name came up during last week’s great show with Sally Ludwig from Transition Guelph.

life-money-and-illusion1Mike coordinates the Sustainability Project as well as an initiative to establish a Genuine Progress Index for Canada. He has written several books including “Life, Money and Illusion: Living on Earth as If We Want to Stay” focusing on how climate change, gas prices and the current economic crisis all relate to Earth’s limits and how this awareness offers opportunities to plan for a fulfilling, just and sustainable future. Its definitely worth a read.

I had the opportunity to interview Mike around the time of the launch of Life, Money and Illusion.  It’s well worth repeating. Enjoy!

Listen to the interview:

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Author and University of Guelph professor a-grave-in-the-air2Stephen Henighan will be on Royal City Rag on Wednesday February 4.

Stephen will be joining Jane Hastings from the Eden Mills Writers Festival, Dan Evans from The Bookshelf to talk about the Eden Mills Writers Festival fundraiser at the E-Bar on February 13 from 7.00 – 9.00 p.m. entitled “Unlucky in Love”. Tickets are $13.00 at the door.

I had the opportunity to interview Stephen at the 2007 Eden Mills Writers Festival where he read from his short story anthology, A Grave In The Air (Thistledown Press, 2007)

Listen to the interview:

Promises to be lots of fun.

Listen live, Wednesday 6-7 p.m., or after the fact via the website or CFRU archive.

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es-symposium-poster1The 15th Annual Environmental Sciences Symposium takes place in Rozanski Hall at the University of Guelph on January 10, 2009.

This year’s symposium explores the theme of “Towards Climate Positive,” expanding on the concept of carbon neutrality and helping to develop an optimistic approach to dealing with climate change.

Key speakers include Sarah Harmer, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, David Noble and representatives from the University of Guelph and the Guelph community.

At last year’s event I managed to catch some interesting interviews with organizer Kyle Lynch, Katie Gadd from the CELP project/John F Ross CVI, and University of Guelph Economics Professor Ross McKitrick.

If your interest still hasn’t already been sparked, hopefully these will help!

Interview with Kyle Lynch, co-director of the 2008 Environmental Science Symposium:

Interview with Katie Gadd, CELP Project/John F Ross CVI:

Interview with Ross McKitrick:

15th Annual Environmental Sciences Symposium
Date: January 10 2009
Time: 8:30 a.m.- 4:45 p.m.
Location: Rozanski Hall, University of Guelph

Advance tickets are $10 for students and $15 general and are available at the Information Desk in the UC or online. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $12 for students and $17 general admission.

For more information, please visit www.uoguelph.ca/~envsymp.

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We’ve been doing some federal election programming on Thursday afternoons from on CFRU from 4-6 p.m. I’ll be posting the audio here for anyone who missed it plus audio from some of the debates.

Shuting Elizabeth May about of the Leaders Debates is unconscionable. Messrs. Harper and Layton should be ashamed of themselves for indulging in such clearly self-serving behaviour. I have a hard job believing that that either Gloria Kovach or Tom King, having interviewed both on CFRU, could support such a stance. I’m pleased to see that liberal candidate, Frank Valeriote, has joined local Green candidate Mike Nagy in calling for Elizabeth’s inclusion.

Thankfully there are still some former party leaders out there who would prefer to keep their integrity intact. I’m glad to see Joe Clark weighing in. Hopefully Jack Layton will start to see sense. It would seem in character for Harper to behave like that, but Layton? Where have the NDP’s principles gone?

You can visit Demanddemocraticdebates.ca to sign a petition to pressure the Broadcast consortium to make sure that Green Party leader Elizabeth May is included in the leaders’ debates. This decision is just plain wrong and definitely anti-democratic.


From The Globe and Mail, Wednesday September 10

The immediate question about Canada’s election is not who will win, but how open and inclusive the campaign will be.

Elections can confirm bad practices, or change them. Ours need changing.

The tone of federal politics today is the worst I can remember in my 50 years in public life. Of course, there were angry partisan differences before, but they were tumultuous exceptions to a general rule of common public purpose, even civility. By contrast, the standard today has become consistently bitter and negative – personal invective routinely displaces any serious discussion of issues or differences.

This low standard helps corrode respect for the democratic institutions in which this mean drama plays out. It comes at a bad time, because there has been a general decline in the reputation of politicians, parties, legislatures and other institutions. Cynicism grows. Candidates are hard to attract. Citizens turn away from politics – especially young people, who see nothing to attract or inspire them. That constitutes a long-term threat to the authority of the pan-Canadian political institutions that have always been essential for citizens of this diverse democracy to act positively together.

Obviously, Canada is not the only democracy whose parties and leaders are losing their constituency. But what is striking – now that a Canadian election has been crammed into the shadow of a U.S. presidential campaign – is that we (who preach so much) are continuing our decline, while the American system (which we routinely deride) has broken away emphatically from “business as usual.” In choosing their candidates for president, both American parties reached deliberately beyond their status quo – the Republicans to independent voters who admire John McCain, the Democrats to the young and the idealists who are inspired by Barack Obama.

What might Canada do to break out of our mean political cycle, between now and Oct. 14? One option appears to have been shut down on Monday, with the refusal to allow the Green Party’s Elizabeth May to participate in the leaders debates.

That should be reconsidered. Her participation would demonstrate that Canadian politics is inclusive, not exclusive. Ms. May shares essential democratic attributes with both Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain – the outsider, the person the party establishments sought to exclude, the person with a message that resonates with citizens who’ve grown cynical about, or disaffected from, their political system.

I’ve participated in televised debates, both leading the party that went on to win the election, and leading a “fifth” party. Those debates do not, in themselves, determine election results. But they do allow voters – the citizens who decide our country’s future – to hear the arguments, assess the candidates and make informed decisions.

This would not be a free ride for the Green Party. Ms. May would have to prove herself and make her case, just like other party leaders. But now, unlike those other leaders, she alone is denied that right.

We’re not talking about the Rhinoceros Party. In the 2006 general election, the Greens won 665,940 votes, nearly 5 per cent of the total. Polls published this month by Segma, Ekos and Environics indicate that support for the Greens runs between 7 per cent and 10 per cent, even though the party has never been allowed to make its case in a national leaders debate. In nine provinces and three territories, the Greens have much more support than the Bloc Québécois, which is not only invited to the debates but has the power to veto other participants.

No law forbids Ms. May from joining the other leaders in a televised debate, just as no law forbade Mr. Obama or Mr. McCain from launching their improbable campaigns for a presidential nomination. Instead, the rules that keep her out are determined, in effect, by the political parties that are already in. Technically, the decision is taken by a consortium of the broadcasters who would carry the program; but, in announcing the decision to shut out Ms. May, that consortium has made it clear that the real veto is exercised by the other political parties.

So, it’s a club, whose members set their own rules.

Jason MacDonald, a spokesman for the network consortium, is quoted as saying that three parties – those led by Stephen Harper, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe – all opposed the participation of Ms. May in the so-called leaders debate, “and it became clear that if the Green Party were included, there would be no leaders debates.”

That’s blackmail. If these three men want to boycott a genuine debate, let them have the courage to do so openly. Let them also explain why, in a year when U.S. party establishments could not shut out an Obama or a McCain, it is appropriate for the Canadian party establishments to muzzle a significant voice for change.

I am not a supporter of any of the existing federal parties, including the Greens. But I am alarmed, and surprised, by how tightly the government now controls Parliament, how easily parties put their own interest ahead of the public interest, and how mean our public debate has become. We have to break that pattern, and one way to begin would be with a more inclusive leaders debate. I urge more Canadians to press these three leaders, and the broadcasting consortium they hide behind, to reconsider their exclusionary decision.

For Canadians concerned about democracy, the question is not why the Green Party should be let in. The question is: Why should the Greens be kept out?

Joe Clark was the 16th prime minister of Canada.

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And the Winner is… Guelph Reads 2008

In late April, more than 100 people came out to Guelph Reads, a unique city-wide reading project based on CBC’s popular Canada Reads. Guelph Reads engaged four local celebrities in a debate to figure out what book all of Guelph should read.

The panelists for 2008 were:

  • Politician and writer Tom King promoting Urban Meltdown: Cities, Climate Change and Politics as Usual, by Clive Doucet
  • Doctor and AIDS activist Anne-Marie Zajdlik promoting 28 Stories about AIDS in Africa, by Stephanie Nole
  • Writer Rozena Maart promoting I Write What I Like, by Steve Biko.
  • Guelph Public Libray Chief Librarian Norm McLeod promoting Walden, by Henry David Thoreau

Guelph has now spoken about which book everyone in the city should read this summer to bring social change.

In a tight competion, the winner is… Urban Meltdown: Cities, Climate Change and Politics as Usual, by Clive Doucet; the book championed by Tom King. A tough competiton but what an appropriate choice.

The producers of Guelph Reads would like to thank to everyone who participated this year. They look forward to even greater community involvement next year.

For more information, or details on how to get involved next year, check out guelphreads.org.

You can listen to the Guelph Reads 2008 CFRU 93.3fm Radio Show here. The radio show was produced by Magda Konieczna from Guelph Reads with help from Kim Logue at CFRU 93.3fm.

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Even though I say it myself we’ve had some great interviews on the show over the past three years.  Now that we have the website I thought I should take the opportunity from time to time to post some of my favorites.

This is an interview with Barb McDowell of Authentic Lives from 2006 about authenticity. Barb will be on Royal City Rag again this week to talk about the upcoming Guelph Pride celebration. Enjoy!

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The field trip to Shepherd’s Watch Dairy Sheep Farm in Arthur that took place in April 2007 was great fun. It certainly bears repeating. I really think the audio brings the visit to life.  I was also pleased to be able to weave Pink Floyd’s “Sheep” into the piece too.

Unfortunately this recording drew the only piece of really negative correspondence I’ve had since I started the show. For the record, the sheep at Shepherd’s Watch are very well looked after by two wonderful and very caring individuals, Karen and Linda.  If there wasn’t a dairy sheep farm there wouldn’t be any sheep. I’m also a veterinarian, and eat meat.

I hope you enjoy it. If you have very strong feelings about eating animals you may want to skip this one. (:

You can visit the Shepherd’s Watch booth at the Guelph Farmers Market every Saturday morning.

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