Capital Pointeless

I don’t know how any Regina journalist who is on the city hall beat doesn’t include, in every story about our generation’s answer to the Chateau Qu’Appelle, some line such as … ‘A Capital Pointe representative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity but who is so full of horseshite that the eyeballs are turning brown …’

Face it. If the people responsible for this project couldn’t scratch together the financing when Saskatchewan’s economy was as hot as the exhaust pipe of a Sabrejet on afterburners, there’s no way this project will be built when oil has fallen from $100 per barrel to $45 a barrel (and falling), the Canadian dollar has gone from par with the U.S. dollar to about 75 cents U.S. (and falling) and Saskatchewan’s economy is free-falling into recession.

Weekly Reckoning: It’s Built On Bluff It’s Built On Trust Edition

weekly-reckoningThe Internet runs on faith. Millions of pages sent from servers to computers every day, each full of clickable links that may or may not be what they promise to be. With every click you run the risk of seeing GIFs of wagging genitals or, even worse, Rick Astley. Lucky for you, Prairie Dog holds to higher standards. Here are some links that – I guarantee – will consist of precisely what I promise.

1. HERE IS A LINK TO PHOTOGRAPHS OF HEAVY METAL FANS IN MID-HEADBANG Although to me they look like they’re sneezing, mostly. Who can say what’s going on in these photos? We think they’re headbanging because we’re told so, but maybe they’re being exposed to pollen. While being punched in the stomach. Whatever, they’re fun photographs.

2. HERE IS A LINK TO AN ILLUSTRATED EXPLANATION OF GENRES OF MUSIC (via @cenobyte). The additional comments detract from the illustrations, but this is my favourite bit of Internet today. I always suspected that folk music songs contained an appreciable proportion of man bun.

3. HERE IS A LINK ABOUT A WOMAN WHOSE AIRBNB ACCOUNT WAS TERMINATED THAT WILL REMIND YOU WHAT THE SHARING ECONOMY REALLY IS Hint: it’s not a decentralized and empowering networked approach to generating revenue. It’s a mysterious world where your livelihood can be taken away at whim and you will be left adrift in misery and confusion because – surprise! – the individual has no power. See also: Uber.

4. HERE IS A LINK TO A VIDEO OF A GRIZZLY BEAR ROLLING DOWN A HILL The rolling starts at about 20 seconds in. So much delighted laughter and shutter clicking as the bear rolls down and down and down towards the onlookers. Not shown: the screaming, the blood, the unanswered cries to a distant god. Take a look!

5. HERE IS A LINK THAT MAKES ME NERVOUS for all kinds of reasons, including our economic future in a resource economy and the state of our climate in a fossil-fuel hungry world, but mostly because I don’t trust any news about engergy prices and global oil reserves. Mind you, I assume that most of the news we see is a smokescreen to keep us from panicking and eating each other in an apocalyptic frenzy, so make of this what you will.

*Prairie Dog Magazine, prairiedogmag.com and all associated corporate and individual entities can not be held responsible for link rot, advertising content on other sites or Rick Astley.

Market Under The Stars

To grab the freshest produce and tastiest baking at the regular Regina Farmers’ Market you have to be a bit of an early riser as the markets on Wednesday and Saturday open at 9 a.m.

If you’re not an early riser, or work or other commitments preclude you from being in the downtown at that time on those days, you’re SOFM.

Tonight, though, you have a chance to scoop some goodies at this evening Regina Farmers’ Market. It’s held in the same place on City Square Plaza from 4 to 9 p.m. In addition to the regular stuff, there will be other activities such as yoga and salsa dancing going on, plus an eating contest of some description.

The Regina band Coldest Night of the Year will also do a set from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. If you’re downtown earlier, Dagan Harding will be on the same stage from noon to 1 p.m.

After tonight, there’s one final Market Under the Stars on Aug. 27. The musical act that night will be Danny Olliver, and Colter Wall will be doing a set at noon. All four shows are presented as part of the Regina Downtown Summer Concert Series.

SaskMusic In Tune 2015

Sask MusicAbove is a photo of the bands that are showcased on SaskMusic’s latest compilation CD In Tune 2015. It’s a juried selection process, and showcase CDs have been produced for a few years now. As you can see, this is a two-CD set, which reflects the growing amount of musical talent in the province.

For information on the participating artists, and how you can purchase/download a copy of In Tune 2015, visit the SaskMusic website. And if you’re up for some live music tonight, two of the showcase artists are playing gigs in Regina. Def 3 is at O’Hanlon’s Pub, while Pimpton is at the Artful Dodger.

Getting Bribed Is Sweet, I’m SO Voting Harper This Fall*

pierep01Our family received our Universal Child Care Benefit notice yesterday. We’ve two kids — one under six — so our payout is ENORMOUS. Man, being bribed is AWESOME. I had no idea. No wonder FIFA runs on this stuff. And runs like a stallion. Do you know how much beer I can buy with the kind of scratch that’s coming my way all because I reproduced?

Friggin’ loads. Thank you, sperm.

The only disappointing thing about this UCCP mailer is that it doesn’t come with nearly enough Harper Government™ branded advertising material. Considering this payout to Canada’s breeders is costing $3 billion, I was hoping to get a foldout poster of Pierre Poilievre that I could hang on my wall.

Wotta man, that Pierre Poilievre! He’s the minister in charge of this pre-election payday and proof that there’s nothing sexier than naked, naked hypocrisy. Have you checked out his website lately? That’s a screen cap from today at the top of this blog post. But the details can be a little hard to pick out. Here, let me blow it up for you…

Continue reading “Getting Bribed Is Sweet, I’m SO Voting Harper This Fall*”

Latest Regina Survival Guide Available

Click on the map to download a pdf of the Regina Survival Guide.
Click on the map to download a pdf of the Regina Survival Guide.

Got word from Marc Spooner (who was a guest on the Queen City Catch Up podcast recently) that the new edition of the Regina Survival Guide is ready to download. And he asked us if we’d host a copy of the pdf here. So we are. Click on the image at left to download yours.

The Regina Survival Guide is an invaluable resource for low income people and people-at-risk. It lists places where you can get a free meal, find shelter and clothing, and access healthcare and needle exchanges. And it’s all laid out on a map for easy reference.

Now, maybe this is information you don’t need. But if that’s the case, there’s nothing stopping you from printing out a bunch of copies and distributing them where there might be people who’d find the Survival Guide helpful.

Rubbish & Reason

Rubbish & ReasonHere’s a link to a review of this exhibition that’s on at Neutral Ground Contemporary Art Forum until July 11. It’s curated by former Regina resident John Hampton, and features new work by Quebec artists Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens.

The focus of the show, as you’ll discover if you click on the link, is economics. Specifically, the artists are interested in looking at how modern economic theory has been used as driver to dictate all sorts of policy debates in government and the broader discussions we typically have about who we are as individuals and how we see ourselves as a society.

No shortage of statistics exist for economists to gather, nor tools, such as graphs and models, for them to analyze the data and make policy recommendations. But because we’re talking about human beings who may not always behave in a rational manner when making consumer, investment, and other decisions, there’s still a huge amount of guesswork involved. Yet often we take all these recommendations and other observations about the state of our economy and society as gospel.

Neutral Ground is located at 201-1856 Scarth, and is open Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can find out more information through NG’s website.

Bazaart

I wouldn’t bother checking the long-range forecast for another day or two, but hopefully Saturday June 20 dawns sunny and warm without much wind. Not that the people organizing and participating in this juried craft sale can’t handle a little adverse weather conditions. But for the 6000 or so people who attend Bazaart each year, the event is always a little more pleasant when the weather cooperates.

The 42nd annual Bazaart runs at the MacKenzie Gallery grounds on Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Around 120 artisans will have booths set up, and there will also be all sorts of arts and entertainment options both outdoors and inside the gallery. In the latter category is the David Thauberger retrospective which is on display until Sept. 6.

Admission is $5, while children 12 and under are admitted free.

Queen City Catch Up: Greg Fingas On The Elections And, Believe It Or Not, We Even Talk Football (Podcast)

For episode six of Queen City Catch Up, I met lawyer, blogger and Leader Post columist, Greg Fingas, at Fresh Café on Hamilton Street. We talked about the state of the NDP in Canada, we made guesses about how the federal and provincial elections are going to turn out and we even spoke briefly about the Riders.

What? No, I haven’t acquired an interest in football. (Euugh.) But footballing things happened while I was away. Right? I figured I should at least ask about them so that this podcast will achieve some degree of comprehensiveness.

Anyway, you can follow Greg Fingas’ political writing on his blog, Accidental Deliberations.

Music for the podcast comes from Malta’s Lost Voices, a compilation of recordings from the early 1930s. You can get your own copy at filflarecords.com.

In the next episode of Queen City Catch Up, I’ll be speaking with ward one city councillor, Barbara Young. It will go up on Wednesday.

Queen City Catch Up: Marc Spooner On The New Deputy Education Minister, Regina’s Homelessness Count And Model Trains (Podcast)

Episode five of Queen City Catch Up is my interview with University of Regina professor, Marc Spooner. And it’s the one that’s the most packed with news items that I had to put in the “Holy crap, you’re kidding me” folder. You’ll have to listen to the episode to find out what those items are.

Music for this podcast is from Malta’s Lost Voices, a collection of Maltese recordings from the early 1930s. You can get your own copy at filflarecords.com.

In the next episode of Queen City Catch Up, I’ll be speaking with lawyer, regular Leader Post contributor and Accidental Deliberations blogger, Greg Fingas. That will go up on Monday.

Imagine Downtown

Regina Downtown Business Improvement District is going to be holding some focus groups and town hall meetings to generate some dialogue around the downtown. Here’s some background on the idea as laid out by RDBID:

What is Imagine Downtown?
Over the next few months, RDBID will be leading the Imagine Downtown initiative, a very visible and inclusive public dialogue that will explore the experiences and perspectives of our stakeholders to better understand their view of the downtown today, and their hopes for the future.

What’s This All For?
The insights, information and perspectives gained through Imagine Downtown will be used to craft a compelling vision that truly reflects the public’s perceptions, opinions, ideas and priorities pertaining to Regina’s Downtown, and inform the development of RDBID’s strategic plan, which will help guide RDBID programs, activities, capital investments and advocacy work in the downtown.

Image Downtown is About You!
Downtown is everyone’s neighborhood. And Imagine Downtown is everyone’s opportunity to voice their perspectives. We want you stories, your experiences, your memories, your concerns, and your ideas regarding Regina’s downtown. What do you love about Regina’s downtown? What needs to change?

Let’s Talk
Attend one of our upcoming focus groups or town hall sessions to share your stories and ideas and voice your perspectives on a wide range of topics about Regina’s downtown. Or, drop by the Imagine Downtown pop-up location to learn more about Regina’s downtown and add your ideas to the conversation.

I guess the launch was on May 14 at the DoubleTree Hilton, and there’s a town hall scheduled for the MacKenzie Art Gallery June 11 at 4 p.m. You can find out more on the Imagine Downtown website.

Queen City Catch Up: Florence Stratton On Military Education And Pipelines In Harbour Landing (Podcast)

So I get back from Malta and I’m thinking, I was gone the better part of a year, how the hell am I going to get back up to speed on Regina? And it hits me that the easiest thing would be to just ask people what I missed.

And then I thought, hey, I could record the conversations and get a podcast series out of them. It’d be like multi-tasking.

Here’s the first of those conversations: I talk with peace and justice activist, Florence Stratton, about housing, military education in high schools and an oil pipeline for Harbour Landing.

Incidentally, I got the music for this podcast from Malta’s Lost Voices, a compilation of Maltese music from the 1930s. Thanks to Filfla Records for giving me permission to use the tracks. (You can check them out at filflarecords.com.)

The next episode of Queen City Catch Up will be available on Thursday. In it, I chat with cycling and alternative-transportation aficionado, John Klein.

In total, I’ll be posting eight interviews over the next several days — one for each month I was away.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that you don’t have to stream the podcast. There’s a download link in the Soundcloud window in the top right corner. It’s the little down arrow.

Coyne On Harper

If one were to draw up an indictment of this government’s approach to politics and the public purpose, one might mention its wholesale contempt for Parliament, its disdain for the Charter of Rights and the courts’ role in upholding it, its penchant for secrecy, its chronic deceitfulness, its deepening ethical problems, its insistence on taking, at all times, the lowest, crudest path to its ends, its relentless politicization of everything. But you’d think you would need to look back over its record over several years to find examples. You wouldn’t think to see them all spread before you in the course of a single day.

Above is the last paragraph of an Andrew Coyne column that ran in the Post Media chain on Saturday. The column was titled “A Telling Day In Harper’s World of Contempt”, and in it the columnist, in eight bullet points, discusses recent actions by, and revelations about, the Harper government that highlight the abysmal level the Conservatives have sunk to in their desperate effort to cling to power.

You can read the whole column here, but points raised by Coyne include the release of email correspondence at the Duffy trial that indicates the PMO conspired with Conservative senators to tamper with an audit of Duffy’s expenses, the passage of Bill C-51 and the government’s disdain for critics who raised legitimate concerns about abuse of civil liberties, the introduction of yet another omnibus budget bill that stitches together 27 different legislative provisions, and the issuing of a fundraising email by Pierre Poilievre that contained blatant falsehoods about the Liberals’ fiscal plan released the other day — including the accusation they planned to eliminate Tax Free Savings Accounts, when what the party said was that it would roll-back the TFSA limit to $5500 after it was raised to $10,000 in the April budget.

Saskatchewan Fashion Week

Saskatchewan Fashion Week happens only once a year for a single weekend. But in 2015, organizers have you covered for the whole year. That’s because during SFW 2015 local retailers will be showcasing spring/summer style trends, while 23 Canadian designers will be debuting their fall/winter collections.

Saskatchewan Fashion Week is being held May 7-9 in expanded facilities at the Canada Saskatchewan Sound Stage on the corner of Broad St. and College Ave. For ticket information on the runway shows, and details on who the participating designers and retailers are, visit the SFW website.

As you can see if check out the website, if you can’t make it to the actual event, the runway shows will be live-streamed. The host this year is former Regina resident Ryan Massel who has carved out a reputation for himself in the fashion world as a Calgary-based blogger under the tag Mr. Fabulous.

Here’s a short promo video where Massel introduces himself as SFW 2015 host

CineCoup II Underway

patient-62-saskatchewanIn 2013, you’ll perhaps recall, a group of Regina filmmakers got a proposal together and entered a national competition in the hope of winning some serious six-figure financing to bring their project to the big-screen.

Through several months of crowd voting and jury deliberations, the filmmakers succeeded in advancing round to round until finally they were the only ones left standing.

The name of the film they were pitching, of course, was Wolf Cop.

Now, CineCoup is back for another session of cinematic excitement. And Regina has another entry in the race. Like Wolf Cop, Patient 62 is in the SF/Horror genre. Written and produced by Rick Anthony, with partners Bryce Schlamp (director) and Glenn LaPointe (marketing), the story-line for the movie involves a man named Lucas Chase who is trying to track down his estranged sister.

Possibly conceived before Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall did a 180 on the issue of licensed strip clubs, the film’s premise involves the sister working as a stripper. Haunted by nightmares that she may have been abducted, Lucas sets out to find her.

You can find out more about Patient 62 and the other 74 entries in CineCoup 2015 by visiting the CineCoup website.  The first round of voting begins Monday April 6 and runs to Friday April 10. That will see the number of entrants reduced from 75 to 60.

Additional rounds of voting will be held Monday April 20 to Friday April 24 to eliminate 30 more hopefuls, with that number dropping to 15 during a third round of voting from Monday May 4 to Friday May 8.

So good luck to Rick, Bryce and Glenn in their quest to follow in the pawprints of Wolf Cop.

Breaking News: Alberta Premier Unveils New Pipeline Plan

DRILLING FOR DOLLARS Giant middle finger extended to Earth during press conference
DRILLING FOR DOLLARS Giant middle finger extended to Earth during press conference

Frustrated with roadblocks erected by other provinces, environmental groups, First Nations, and the Obama administration in the U.S., to three existing pipeline proposals to deliver Alberta bitumen to market, Premier Jim Prantice announced today that his government had had enough.

Flanked by industry officials at an outdoor press conference at a science park, Prantice said that Alberta would begin construction soon on a pipeline that would drill straight through the Earth to deliver bitumen from the province direct to China.

“The idea came to me when I was watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon the other day,” Prantice recalled. “Elmer Fudd was hunting Bugs  with his shotgun, and to escape Bugs dug a deep hole. Like he said after, ‘I knew I shoulda taken that left toin at Albuquerque.’ But he didn’t, and he ended up in China instead.

“After I’d finished wiping away the tears from laughing so hard, I thought, ‘Wait a minute, maybe that Wascally Wabbit is on to something.’”

The next morning, Prantice revealed his idea to cabinet. “They all thought it was a no-brainer. So I had Frank [Oberlay, Alberta’s Energy Minister] contact our partners in the oil patch to arrange a meeting.

“Oil’s in the crapper now price-wise,” Prantice admitted. “But boom times will return. And we intend to be ready.”

Alberta has long argued that to maximize its oil wealth it needs access to global markets — especially energy-hungry southeast Asia. But proposed pipelines heading west to the Pacific (Northern Gateway), south to the Gulf of Mexico (Keystone) and east to refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick (Energy East), are all stuck in regulatory limbo. As a result, analysts say, the Alberta government and oil industry are missing out on billions in revenue.

Responding to reporters’ questions about the project, which would require drilling through 12,000 km of solid rock comprising Earth’s crust and mantle, Prantice admitted they were still figuring out the exact angle they’ll need to drill at to reach China. But he insisted the project, which he declined to give a cost estimate on, was doable.

“Remember, we’ll be able to use Earth’s gravity to move bitumen to the core. We’re also examining the feasibility of using the intense heat and pressure there to refine the bitumen into light crude that would be easier to pump the rest of the way to China.”

It would be a huge undertaking, the premier admitted. “But once the oil’s flowing there’s sweet F.A. all the tree-huggers and anti-Alberta types will be able to do about it. As Porky Pig would say, ‘Th-Th-That’s all folks!’”

Saskatchewan Budget 2015-16

Geese(WascanaLake)I snapped the above pic while walking to the Legislature on Tuesday to pick up an embargoed copy of the 2015-16 Saskatchewan budget. After giving the backgrounder documents a read, it occurred to me that it was an appropriate image to describe the province’s current economic situation.

Due to a precipitous drop in oil (from $115 a barrel in June to well south of $55 a barrel since November, resulting in a $660 million hit to government revenues), and sluggish prices in the resource and commodity sector in general, Saskatchewan’s economy is on “thinner ice” than it’s been for a number of years.

Would Finance Minister Ken Krawetz and his government manage to navigate the course safely? Or would the rot be too great, causing the province to break through the ice and plunge into the frigid waters of economic oblivion?

Okay, maybe that’s a little melodramatic. But with the Harper Conservatives having postponed the federal budget until at least April, Alberta facing a projected $6 billion shortfall in a $45 billion budget, and the Saskatchewan government having talked tough in the pre-budget period about freezing non-essential spending and hiring and zero percent increases for its funding partners, plenty of people were nervous heading into budget day.

Keeping Saskatchewan Strong is the tag the government opted for as a budget theme. And if its numbers are to be believed, it has managed, like the Canada geese above, to stave off disaster. Of course, with the amount of volatility in the economy these days, that’s a big “if”.

Continue reading “Saskatchewan Budget 2015-16”

Academics Discuss Bullshit Numbers Used In P3 Referendum (But May Not Actually Use Word “Bullshit”)

Me, happy, waiting for the ferry between Valletta and Sliema, not thinking about P3s even a little bit.
Me, happy, waiting for the ferry between Valletta and Sliema, not thinking about P3s even a little bit.

It’s been months — many, many GLORIOUS MONTHS — since I’ve even thought about P3s. You can’t imagine how rich a life you can have without thinking about Public Private Partnerships. It’s like all of a sudden you have all this extra space in your brain for things like joy.

Sadly, like loving the Riders, thinking about P3s and their implications on your municipality is something you simply HAVE to do if you’re going to survive in Regina.

It’s tragic but true.

So if you want to get your P3 freak on this week, the U of R is putting on a little talk on the subject by Bill Bonner and Morina Rennie from the Faculty of Business Administration. It’s called: “Regina’s P3 referendum: A vote hijacked by a war of numbers from nowhere.”

Quite the mouthful. I’d love to go but can’t because Malta. But otherwise I would because it’s right up my alley. Check these bits from the description…

Using Actor-Network Theory we focus on the enlistment by P3 proponents of numbers from the Value for Money chart… Despite the lack of verifiable substance these numbers were enlisted by P3 proponents and came to speak volumes during the referendum… This was aided by the public option proponents who challenged those numbers and added similarly unverifiable numbers of their own… We problematize the Value for Money calculations used so persuasively in this local referendum with the hope of providing others facing similar situations the ability to shine a spotlight in the lack of substance of such numbers…

Holy shit! Problematizing numbers with Actor-Network Theory!?! It’s going to be a THRILL-FEST! That’s the kind of academics kids can mosh to!

Somebody has to go to this thing and make a video and put in on Youtube so I can watch it. Please.

I’m serious.

The event is Friday March 6 at 10:30 am in the Education Building, Room 558.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention how Morina Rennie, one of the two profs speaking on Friday, was a guest blogger here on Dog Blog back during Regina’s Water War. Her post was titled, “The Uncertain Costs Of A P3” and is probably still a good background read.

Cinema Politica

Cinema Politica is a national film series that features topical documentaries on different challenges we face as Canadians and global citizens in the early 21st century. It has the tagline “screening truth to power”.

On Wednesday, Feb. 18 the Regina chapter will be screening the 2012 documentary The End of Immigration? It’s by Montreal filmmakers Marie Boti and Malcolm Guy, and it takes a critical view of abuses that have cropped up with the temporary foreign worker program where people are brought to the country to work marginal jobs with virtually none of the legal protections that Canadian citizens have. The free screening will be held at the Artful Dodger at 7 p.m.

On Wednesday, March 18 another Cinema Politica screening will be held at the same venue at 7 p.m. It will feature Swiss filmmaker Urs Schnell’s 2012 documentary Bottled Life: The Truth About Nestle’s Business With Water.

Here’s the trailer for The End of Immigration:

Tricia Middleton

TriciaMiddletonOn Saturday, Feb. 14 a companion exhibition to Material Girls opens at the Dunlop Gallery’s Sherwood Village location. It’s by Montreal artist Tricia Middleton, and the title is Joy Is Really Just Melancholy With a Really Strong Sense of Purpose.

That’s a mouthful, admittedly, and the show itself offers an equally jam-packed experience from both a visual and intellectual perspective.

Consistent with the overall theme of Material Girls, Middleton uses a ton of found and fabricated objects and materials to construct large-scale immersive installations (that’s a studio shot at left).

Because many of the materials she’s working with are remnants and cast-offs from our consumer-driven society, there’s plenty to think about related to ideas of growth, prosperity, wealth and sustainability.

The exhibition opens with a talk and reception at the Sherwood Village Gallery on Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. The show will run until April 2.

Oh, and if you’re looking for something to do tonight, the Dunlop and its partners are hosting the second installment of its Independent Visions film series. The program is tied to Material Girls as well, and is titled Bad Feminism: Short Films and Videos by Feminists. It screens at the RPL Theatre tonight at 7 p.m. Admission is free.