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The dilemma with Games Workshop. The Telegraphed Gazette: Column

Hello folks;

Going through the various forums and Facebook, it is quite easy to see that a lot of people are frustrated with Games Workshop and their continuous price increases over the past few years. Indeed there is even talk of petitioning a national government to put a cap on the price of miniatures coming from the company, while others simply either throw in the towel and quit war gaming altogether, or find an alternative game to play instead of Warhammer, or Warhammer 40,000. While all this talk and noise is going on, those of us who are in a grey zone – neither happy or unhappy with the current state of affairs – are left wondering: “where do we go from here?”

ToiletReading 40k space marine

Games Workshop continues to dominate this niche market, and the evidence is literally right in front of your eyes. The quality of their products has never diminished, and indeed the new releases coming out are far better detailed than any of the items released back in 2003. Some would argue that other miniature companies can easily replicate the same level of detail, to which I will ask: “which ones?” Privateer Press mainly manufactures Warjacks, or combat robots, and the level of detail required for heavily armoured soldiers and war droids is not as demanding as a Tau HQ unit. Even with detail out of the equation, Games Workshop is able to manufacture their models at a reasonable rate, making re-stocking store shelves less painful – contrast that to Privateer Press who are constantly behind in their orders for new models and re-stocking existing ones. When it comes down to business, Games Workshop knows how to run the ship.

Now the less savoury aspect of the hobby is that the price of materials is steadily rising, as we see from time to time the increase in prices for miniatures from the said company. Games Workshop is no stranger to market forces, and indeed when the company cannot post profits, they are forced to reduce operations – in the case of the Specialist Games Range – and to increase their prices to match the inflation and cost of operation. The situation is not easily painted as black or white though, as those of us aware of Games Workshop and their situation understand that as a company, their first and foremost goal is to make money. Now jacking up the prices of their products to the point where they are unaffordable is ridiculous, but at the same time these miniatures are a luxury item, and are not needed in order for a person to stay alive in this world.

When people protest the rising cost of rice and wheat, there is good reason to ask a national government to intervene. Food and supplies related to food production are paramount to not only the survival of the people, but also the survival of the nation as a whole. Miniatures on the other hand are just like cars, jewelry, and toys: they are completely unnecessary, and if they were to stop being produced, no one will die because of it – though in the case of cars, that is debatable (think Taxis, and food delivery services). Games Workshop has no real responsibility to ensure the market does not top over, nor do they have to worry about international conflicts erupting because the cost of a box of Space Marines is no longer affordable for the average man. Now when the scenario of the 13 year old with his mother comes into play, remember that there are armies out there in the 40k and fantasy lineup that require less models to start up. Indeed Games Workshop tends to do a “blast radius” when it comes to business; that being they tend to target people willing to travel the distance to get to their store, or they aim to introduce the hobby to locals and get them involved. Distance or their “loyal customer fan base” is not an issue for them when it comes to marketing.

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Now where does this leave us as the “grey area occupiers?” Well some of us have left the hobby, opting for other less expensive pastimes, while others have cut their losses and purchase what they can either from Ebay, or from the store whenever they have something that is within their budget – I know I have built an army on a budget before, and I can do so again if I wanted. The fact of the matter is war gaming is – by its very nature – inherently expensive. Some games can go for as low as 40 dollars a box set, and even then the 13 year old with his mother will gawk at the situation wide-eyed and in shock. The hobby requires glue, paint, primers, and of course rulebooks and models in order to become a full-fledged hobby – all of this can easily add up as specialist paints, brushes, modeling tools, and so forth are not as cheap or easily found as – say – a shovel at a local hardware store. Some people are courageous enough to improvise, but in the end the truth remains: these models are expensive, and not everyone is willing to cut corners just to save a few dollars while their investment is at risk.

Those of us in the grey area continue to watch as the company makes its next move, but for us the years that came after 2008 have not been so kind to us as the prices of their products continue to rise due to the cost of operating their business on the global market, and our income has not gone up in recent years. While there are alternatives to the company, the quality, and productive capacity is not easily replicated, and in some cases like the old Mechwarrior miniatures game by Wizkids have gone under and no longer exist today. War gaming as a hobby is by its very nature costly – not as costly as a BMW, but costly nonetheless. Therefore those of us wishing to continue in this enjoyable pastime will need to look at two factors: can you build an army with less, and can you keep yourself from impulse buys. There are tons of good paints, primers, and brushes on the market for modeling, and those can be an alternative to the Games Workshop-produced line of glues, paints, and brushes. Otherwise how would Japanese modeling companies sell their products if no one can paint them?

Impulse buys are dangerous, and if a player wants to build an army, they really need to have the self-discipline now more than ever to focus on their army, and keep to a list. Indeed they will need to select the army that suites their playstyle best, and learn how to make the individual model “heavy” points-wise in order to build up the army to a particular point with limited models. Everyone is indeed different, but discipline can be acquired if the army they have chosen is exactly what they want, rather than what their friends tell them to get. Ultimately though the hobby has its faults, but even with Games Workshop doing what it is doing I still like Warhammer 40,000 and the other two games they produce. The miniatures are of good quality, and no other modeling/war gaming hobby lets me go in-depth into the story arc as the Games Workshop titles. The miniatures themselves serve three roles: as display pieces, as gaming pieces, and as modeling pieces; making them worth their price, and worth the time it takes to put them together.

Ultimately it is entirely up to the individual whether or not they wish to start, or continue with this hobby. The prices show no sign of dropping any time soon, and with the economy still doing poorly, companies like Games Workshop will have to adapt to the change in order to survive. Many other companies like Wizkids have gone under, and with video games dominating the market for entertainment alongside the film industry miniature companies will have to make their next moves with caution lest they go under and all that they worked so hard to build collapses into the sea. Thank you for reading, and I shall catch you next time.

The Telegraphed Gazette: Column. RCMP makes changes to their dismissal policies.

Hello folks;

 

One thing that is quite dear to my heart is the police force known as the RCMP. Born and raised in Canada there has always been a certain degree of respect for the force from my end – after all they brought order to the frontier whereas down south in the US the law could barely keep up with the settlers. Recently the RCMP has made some changes to their release policy whereby when a grievance is filed, the dismissal case would still proceed rather than be put on hold. Now of course the official opposition would be opposed to this; such is the nature of their job. The article talks about how some officers on years (yes you read that right, “years”) of sick leave are suddenly facing new dismissal practices that the force plans on putting to work in order to modernize the bureaucracy.

While these officers deserve some form of compensation, to be on sick leave for years on end when you work for an organization that is already having manpower difficulties is absurd. Not only are these officers putting pressure on their respective detachments, they demand that they remain on the payroll of the force – funded by the taxpayer by the way – while they recover: with no information given regarding treatment and so forth.

This will sound cold and calculating so if you are not interested in what is to follow feel free to turn away. Now here is the issue I have with these officers here: they claim to be irreversibly damaged from certain events that took place during their careers, and now they ask to remain on the force in a different position, or receive promotion for work they did not do, because “they feel it is the right thing to do?” This is a no-brainer here folks, these officers might as well be free-loading off of the welfare policies that various provincial governments have set in place. Sorry to burst your bubble here but there are detachments right now across Canada that are understaffed, and you want to pull this political nonsense just so you can continue to wear the uniform and get the pay? Some officer in the article cited that he was stressed out from work because he was not promoted? Utter tripe people, totally unacceptable.

Look at your own behaviour outside of the military environment: when you find a electronic device no longer working, you retire it to the recycling facility yes? When you upgrade your ten year old car, you sell the old one right? Why then should these officers be kept on the payroll of a police force for an indefinite amount of time when they clearly have no desire to return to duty?

Men and women in uniform who are injured and have a very good chance at recovery should be given every opportunity to do so; they are heroes and must be treated as such. Veterans who continue to serve despite injuries should be looked after, because there is no one else on the civilian streets that will take their place – no greater courage or selfless sacrifice. Yet for those who want to be on the payroll forever and not do anything work-related, or complain of the lack of promotion should be kicked to the curb. Set up a discharge program like the military, help them transition back into civilian life, and be done with it. Ultimately organizations like the RCMP and the Canadian Forces have a job to do, and if their members are poorly motivated, performing poorly, or are malingering, then they should start recruiting and start releasing the “bad apples” as they like to say.

There is no doubt in my mind that these officers require some form of medical support, but if they cannot do the job, then I am sorry but the RCMP has other things to do and she as an organization is not your nanny, your free handout, or your mother. Cold as it may sound – and do not mistake this entire piece as a justification for brutal training tactics that are set up to harass recruits, that is utterly unacceptable – there are men and women out there who are willing to work for the force, getting help when they need it, and continue serving. They deserve the promotions, they deserve the support, and they deserve the pay; they want to be there and to do their jobs. Like the card from Hearthstone that I keep forgetting its name says when you deploy it – handle it!

 

 

Thank you for reading this edition of the Telegraphed Gazette: Column. The full article is located below this paragraph: thanks again, and I will see you next time.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mounties-on-medical-stress-leave-fear-new-dismissal-process-1.2616143

Angry Joe’s GTA V review: thoughts, comments, and discussions. Telegraphed Gazette Column. 28 September 2013

Greetings folks;

angry_joe

Angry Joe – the Youtube commentator – is quite the creative man when it comes to his videos. The guy loves to go off the charts when it comes to his videos, and it shows. According to Totalbiscuit, Angry Joe tends to spend more money than he earns on his videos simply out of passion, and love of craft. What I found particularly interesting was his use of the power wheels toy cars; though what really sprang to mind was how did the public react when they saw two grown men playing dress up – for their video of course – and driving around the neighborhood in power wheels. The reaction would certainly be a surprise, especially from myself, when I see two grown men in costumes – well, at least Angry Joe in his police outfit – driving around in power wheels. The man really does the gaming community a service with his creative review videos, and he is quite thorough when it comes to analyzing the games that he reviews. The link to his video is directly below this paragraph: go check it out, it will give you a good 41 minutes or so of entertainment related to Grand Theft Auto V.

 

However I would like to discuss some interesting points related to his video: namely the mainstream media and their attack on the game itself. Now I have experience with how the old media behaves with a medium that – in a certain way – competes directly with their conventional forms of media. Newspapers and television are slowly dying out as the new generation embraces online articles, interactive entertainment, and various other forms of media, thus it is natural to see the media – at times working with political entities, such as party members, or just independent citizens with certain views that match those of the news outlet – attack the new media in an effort to save their main source of income: the “old guard” variants of media if you will. Angry Joe in his video made reference to a Fox News broadcast in which a woman and two men were actively discussing how to label people who play these sorts of games, and how they could go about “containing” such media sources as to prevent violent crime from occurring.

 

That moment right there made me think of just how – in certain cases – backwards some people are, and it makes me question just how do they stay afloat, and how far does this backwardness extend, and how deep it is within society as a whole. The idea that a form of entertainment can cause people to become violent, when movies like the Expendables, Terminator, Fast and Furious, Transporter, and Death Race can be equally graphic and violent, and is ignored entirely by the mainstream media just boggles the mind. The hosts of that segment did not even consider looking towards how America – sorry my American viewers but you know Fox News is an American phenomenon – treats people with mental illnesses. That country makes it easier for one to access pornography, guns, and cigars, and yet it fails to make affordable healthcare, and mental health treatment accessible as well. Now this is NOT me trumpeting any form of universal healthcare and such: all I am trying to say is maybe set up more clinics in areas with a higher concentration of people so that the services will be accessible to a larger portion of society. Hmm, well I guess this does mean a certain reallocation of funds towards health centers in local states and municipalities. Yet I have absolute confidence that the US will find a solution that fits their needs to this issue, but ultimately what I was trying to get at is that rather than look towards providing better mental health services, they target an entertainment format and begin to label their clients as “deviant,” with the lady in the clip calling for some sort of list of people who buy the game and play it for X amount of hours. Bollocks guys, complete bollocks.

fox_news_logo

 

Now regarding the other aspect in Joe’s video where he talks about how academics on the other side describe GTA V as: “not proper social commentary” because it does not call for immediate action; in what universe does social commentary have to result in revolutionary behaviour? What, so I cannot criticize my government without the need to call for some sort of action against them? When someone dislikes a Subway sandwich, and criticizes it, are they supposed to then firebomb the fast food branch and demand for a new company to take its’ place? People and their opinions ladies and gentlemen, I know on this earth there is always going to be different viewpoints; it just frustrates me to see a lack of rational thinking on subjects such as this. Then again, people develop at varying degrees, and despite all our differences, we can still work together to make a compromise and achieve harmony: for that I still have faith.

smug

 

The game itself looks quite appetizing – all forms of reactionary thinking aside – and it certainly is a bit of a satire to our modern day lifestyles, patterns of thought, and general behaviour at a time when the economy is not doing so well. Ultimately this sort of “attack the soft points”  tactic will continue to be used by the old guard media until the day comes when they adjust to the changing world, and find a new way to earn money in the ever changing world of entertainment and Journalism. There will always be some kind of resistance to something new, this is not a new phenomenon; but rest assured that cooler heads will prevail. Otherwise, we would not be having this discussion now will we, and I would just be another factory worker somewhere in the western part of Canada, and this blog would not exist. Technology and progress ladies and gentlemen: thank you very much for reading this piece, and I will see you next time.

The proposed Charter of Quebec Values. Telegraphed Gazette Column. 18 September 2013

The push by the Parti Quebecois to institute a charter which would force neutrality upon all government, and public sector employees has received mixed reviews from inside the province, while outside of Quebec in the rest of Canada, things have tended to lean towards a protest of this proposed charter. Now this does not mean that there is no support for this legislation outside of Quebec; indeed when I spoke of this to some of my outfit members in Planetside 2 (keep in mind that I do not know their actual nationality) expressed support for it, and subsequently stated that they wished the United States of America would also sign into affect this sort of legislation.

National Assembly of Quebec

Officially titled: Charte des valeurs quebecoises, this proposed bill would bring into effect the following: amend the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, establish a duty of neutrality and reserve for all state personnel, limit the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols, make mandatory to have one’s face uncovered when providing or receiving a state service, and finally establish an implementation policy for state organizations. While most obvious religion items are prohibited – such as a turban, hijab, etc – finger rings, small pendants, and earrings will be permitted. Alongside these exemptions is the crucifix in the Quebec National Assembly, and the observation of Christmas; both of which have been cited as a key piece to Quebec cultural heritage, and both have led to allegations of ethnocentric hypocrisy.

christmas_tree_2009

Right now in the present time, all 3 of the major federal parties have come out to publicly denounce the bill, citing it as a sort of tool towards separation: for when the supreme court challenges this and strikes it down, the Quebec government can in turn say that Ottawa is interfering with Quebec’s domestic affairs, and that in order to avoid this from happening again, it is time to separate – according to Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Now let us brush aside all the mud and grime that has splattered on top of this piece of paper and really look at what the ink says – yes there is a sort of “encripted code” metaphor being used here, so let us begin. On one hand an individual can argue that Quebec wants their population to be culturally homogenous; as evident by their bill 101 – which protects the French language and gives it priority over all other languages, mainly English – and now the Charter of Quebec Values. Now no where in there does it say that a particular ethnicity shall be barred from holding public office, for a white woman can also be ordered to adhere to this practice and remove her hijab if she is a Muslim. Now let us look at the definition of racism for a moment here: Racism; noun; 1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others. 2. a policy, system of government, etc, based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination. 3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Racism can also be best described in this format (disclaimer: the following is an example, and should be interpreted as such): I am Asian, I have a head size of 3.457, and I have black hair and brown eyes; therefore I am superior to you, filthy, unwashed peasants. Your small heads and skeletal structures make you weak and inferior, and due to the smallness of your skull, your blood vessels are more restricted, giving you less intelligence, and academic capabilities. There, scientific racism at its finest.

racist-democratic-poster-form-1800s

With that example on the table, let us look at this charter of values: who says a Muslim HAS to be a middle-eastern woman? Where in the literature does Sikhism HAVE to be the soul property of Indian men? Where does it say that ONLY a white male is allowed to be a Christian? The points I am trying to make, are they getting through? This is about cultural beliefs, not about race. People always pulling the race card hoping it would make all other arguments invalid is another story for another day: my point is if they wanted to discriminate against races, they could make ancestral background checks mandatory for all public service employees. Example of this could be: “Was your family here between 1627 and 1775? Do you have any ancestors from that time period?” Pure-blood Quebecers – as they like to put it – will be able to trace their ancestry all the way to that time period, and so they can get priority in the wait list for a public sector job: magic is it not?

The Parti Quebecois is just trying to make their government services less religious, and more neutral when it comes to such affairs. After all enforcing neutrality can – in some cases – give benefits to the greater society for they do not see the government as taking a bi-partisan stance on things; kind of like our Monarch! The charter is meant to put everyone on the same playing field, so that they can gel into one cohesive unit. A polyethnic society, where the population is made up of different ethnicities, and where they all speak the same language, believe in the same political system, and carry common hobbies, social practices, and so forth. The lines of race, or religion, or anything else that divides us, disappears beneath the snow and ice, and we are left with one, cohesive peoples: the Quebecers.

Quebecers

Yet, here is the opposite side of the coin: how does a head scarf, or a head piece, prevent someone from carrying out their duties? The example I will use is the United States Marine Corps and their policy on tattoos. The USMC has a limit of 4 tattoos, and the limitations also extend to what kind of tattoos one has on their body; no racist, hateful, sexist, or disloyal markings are acceptable. Now the latter half I agree with entirely, but a limit of 4? People, just because a kid’s got tattoos does not mean they cannot fight; more often than not they do the fighting, and the hard, dirty, dangerous work that is needed to win wars. They are the ones who have that bit of extra fire in them, and they have what it takes to carry on even when they are cold, wet, thrashed, hungry, and sleep deprived. Tattoos does not make them any less of a marine than a clean-body marine: and neither does a hijab, or turban.

tattooed_marine

Sikhs have a proud tradition of soldiering, and I remember from when I was in grade 7, this Indo-Canadian man came on TV to explain why Sikhs were enlisting at a fairly high rate according to the statistics drawn up for that research. The Sikhs have a tradition of being the warriors, and they transferred that culture into the British Indian Army, and later on the various commonwealth forces that they were allowed to join. Okay cool, so their turban somehow makes them more a soldier than a shaved head farm boy from Saskatchewan? No it does not my friend, nor does it make them any less of a soldier than the Saskatchewan farm boy.

Sikhs-in-world-armies-4

The clothing must be business casual, the uniform must be CADPAT; they understand that, and they have not done a thing to change that. All they ask, is that they be allowed to carry on some traditions of which their ancestors have done so for generations – the Sikhs in particular – but apart from that they WILL speak the same language as you, they WILL adhere to your laws, and they WILL respect your national institutions. When the attacks occurred in Norway, people would have never expected the attacker to be a upper-middle class, Norwegian male who attended university in Oslo. These sorts of hateful, disgusting, attacks are carried out by the lovely little bunch of insane, “mental patients” who misinterpreted the text, and then proceeded to take that interpretation and use it for their crimes.

The day care worker is not going to say: “listen kids, you are now going to become Jewish!” nor will a public service worker lean into a conversation with a citizen and say: “I only serve Catholics, you heathen scum.” The cloth, the fabric, or the piece of metal, is not going to turn them into preachers, cultists, or what have you. The cloth, the fabric, or the piece of metal, just says they are religious: much like the tattoo says that this marine is part of this regiment, or that he or she is loyal unto death, or they have the guts to win, or they like guns. Come on guys, it is not going to change these people, and turn them into cannibalistic, slaving mutants hell bent on world domination. When you walk towards a counter, they will not convert you, only ask you for your ID, and care card. When you put your kid in that day care, all that little child is going to learn is A, B, C, D, E, F, G. H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P. No “special agenda” here people, however the idea of everyone wearing a suit, or the bearskin and red tunic, or jeans and T-shirt has a certain appeal towards it. After all the Chinese-Canadian community does not go about wearing Ming Dynasty clothing, nor do Cossacks in Canada wear their traditional clothes when out in downtown Toronto.

Cossack

Tough topic ladies and gentlemen, there is no easy answer because when you look at places like Saudi Arabia, they do enforce a dress codes and religious practices. Likewise in Japan, they also enforce cultural practices: we here in the west are free to openly discuss these topics as it is not a matter of race, but a matter of how we want our nations to look like in the near future. Already some cases in Europe have declared Multiculturalism a failure, so it is only a matter of time before we engage in a serious discussion over what to expect from our citizens, and how do we communicate this is a manner that will convince them that we want them to be part of our society, and that we are not interested in differences, only similarities. Heck another example is the French Foreign Legion: the unit is part of the French army, but only foreigners can join it. How do they get people from so many different backgrounds to gel as a cohesive fighting unit? Legion traditions: marching songs, hats, Legion cultural lingo, and the French language as the common language of all the recruits in the Legion. When someone wants to be “smart”, or “funny” and say: “hey are there any Chinamen in the Legion?” the Legionnaires will answer: “You will only find Legionnaires here.” That sentence – aside from the rather distasteful remark from a hypothetical idiot prior to (it is an example by the way) – signals that Legionnaires are Legionnaires; there is no difference between a Legionnaire who is of the Chinese ethnicity and the Legionnaire from Romania. This cohesive family-like structure is appealing to me in some ways. When someone asks me what am I, I reply Canadian. When they probe further, I get pissed: I do not like to think of myself as anything else. When I am identifying my ethnicity for a statistical survey or something along those lines, fine, I will cooperate. However when it comes to the general public, I dislike those who seem to always be astonished at the fact that I am a Canadian, and not what they think I was. Look genius, last time I checked, you do not look “American.” The hair is too blonde, and the eyes – oh the eyes – they seem more, Russian. Get my point?

On one hand, cohesive people from various backgrounds, all gelling together as one: sounds great, but it might need more work. Yet on the flip side, even without this “united as one peoples” sort of chant, the turban, or the hijab, is not going to stop him or her from giving me my medical attention, helping me carry the ammo across the 600 meter zone, or helping me up when I fell on my rear end because I did not see the sign when I ran into the hallway.

french-foreign-legion-pd

Telegraphed Gazette Column. 22 August 2013.

Hello folks and welcome to another edition of the column for the 22nd of August, 2013. Today I will be discussing a recent issue with a MacDonalds in Richmond, British Columbia, and how it reflects negatively on a certain group of people. Earlier today while I was at the gym, a friend pointed out an article to me in 24 hours – a local paper – about a woman in Richmond who cited discrimination when she could not get her order right at a MacDonalds. While the fast food chain tried to sit down with this individual, she instead decided to go to the media and broadcast her side of the story; something the news media was all to eager to jump on board.

BC_2001954

Now this friend of mine, his girlfriend works at this branch, and she was there when the event took place. The truth was that the lady spoke poor English, and could not communicate properly with the staff at the branch. They did try to decode her order, but in the end she stormed out in protest. Now the lady is calling for the branch in Richmond to hire Mandarin-speaking staff only for that branch: which is located in Canada. Lady just because you “think” you are a big shot, does not mean that a fast food chain will cater to you alone. This country – Canada – speaks English, or if you are in Quebec or New Brunswick, French. The employees never asked you to leave, you did so on your own will. There was no sign of hostility from the employees; you however decided to go forth with this allegation when you went to the media, so do not try and act like you were in the right here.

Now normally I would simply brush this off as a case of a foreigner trying to get some camera time, however my concern is that this will reflect badly on the Chinese-Canadian – or Canadian-Chinese, if you prefer – community living in the lower mainland, in and around Richmond. Now I know that people will not jump to conclusions on this, but there is that risk of a few – at times aggressive, at times passive – individuals who would decide to seek a sort of “revenge” if you will for what just happened. Granted nothing violent came out of it, but there is that risk.

Ultimately if you are visiting, or living in a foreign country, you must understand that they may not – and/or do not – speak your language. That is something that you need to understand if you are to avoid making a fool of yourself in front of the cameras. The majority trumps the minority, and rightfully so; for the majority is the main source of tax dollars, personnel, support, and culture. The choice for this lady will be to either like it, or leave it; for her loud shouting and protest will only succeed in upsetting the majority, and put the minority community at risk for hostile language and/or verbal violence.

Anyways folks that is all I wanted to say for this edition of the column. Thank you for reading, have a safe weekend, and I will see you next time.

Telegraphed Gazette: Column. 14 August 2013

Hello folks, and welcome to another edition of the column. Today we will be looking at the issue of the Translink in the lower mainland of British Columbia, and their push to make the compass card more widely used. The issue that arises from this push is that their machines cannot validate paper bus transfers which are received after a cash payment has been given upon boarding any Translink bus in the lower mainland.

The spokesperson from Translink stated that it was too expensive for the company to upgrade all their fare boxes; thus the result will be that if a passenger is to board a bus, and then a Skytrain, they will need to pay twice. These transfers cannot be traded in, nor will there be any form of discounts available to the transfer holder. The spokesperson however noted that there will be a transitional period in which both payment options – cash, and compass card – will be accepted as they proceed to teach the general public on how to use the compass card in their daily commute.

Now this is all fine and dandy if the passenger is from the lower mainland, but what about guests and tourists from abroad? Normally when I travel to a country, the only form of payment I have available to me is usually cash or credit, since I am not a local and may not have known about these little bits and pieces of information. Now the compass card – or at least the concept of it – is not new to the developed world as cities such as Hong Kong have been using it for the past decade now, way before Translink even considered this new form of payment.

What I find interesting about Translink’s strategy is that they wish to go all in with the compass card, and state that their machines will be too expensive to make compatible with the tickets. Last time I took the Skytrain, there was this small blue box which validated tickets for the Skytrain, as well as bus services. Perhaps a combination of the two, with one or two lanes set aside for transfer users so that they can still pass through the gate with their transfers? All those upgrades, and still no one thought about this potential issue creeping up?

However, it is said in the article that the transitional period will also be a time when retailers will begin to stock compass cards – monthly, and pre-loadable. Thus I suppose the issue can be solved by positioning retail stalls in airports, and bus terminals, where visitors can gain access to these items before departing the transfer point and entering the transit system. Then the next step will be figuring out how to effectively host a public awareness campaign in order to promote the compass card, and finally phase out paper-based transfers. While there is a degree of frustration related to this topic, let us hope that translink – during the transitional period, or before – can reach a solution where the loss of cash payment transfers will not affect the local populace who commute to work daily using their services. The link to the full article is located in the URL below.

http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/08/13/skytrain-wont-take-bus-transfers-with-new-compass-card-system?fb_action_ids=10153124337945541&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B171055329747353%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.recommends%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

 

Thank you folks for reading, and I will see you next time.

Telegraphed Gazette:Column. 22 July 2013

The globe and mail article released via the Monarchist League of Canada’s Facebook page has brought to light an interesting scenario. Apparently some Irishman wants to fight the oath to the Queen citing republican values and different political views. Right so in what universe is it right for an immigrant to say: “I do not wish to swear allegiance to the head of state because I feel they do not represent me!” Should this Irishman wish to become an American citizen – for example – and they refuse to swear allegiance to the flag of the United States; good luck getting through to the actual “you are now a citizen of the United States of America” portion of the ceremony.

Look, I understand people have a sore spot for what happened in the past, but if that were the case, why not as well make it so our oath includes a catholic praise? There has to be an understanding that Canada is a unique country, and it will never be exactly like the Republic of Ireland. Our head of state is her majesty, and yes I do in fact support this continuing as time and time again we see politicians – nasty ones too – take up the mantle of responsibility with no real control over their actions, and not to mention the huge bill that the tax payers have to front in order to keep the presidential office in operation.

When the word “Monarchy” comes to mind, the stereotypes of aristocratic, greedy, and squabbling delegates comes to mind: a vile mixture of society’s most black-hearted people. Yet did anyone think about actually looking up this information? How about actually looking up the constitutional role of the monarchy in Canadian society? Now more than ever we are connected to the internet which provides us a wealth of information, and what do we do? We still place a pot over our heads and bang it with a wooden spoon until our ears ring. Looks folks, we all like Canada as Canada, and one of the aspects that makes us unique is we have a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy.

Nothing is perfect in this world, but I can safely say that the monarchy is a heck of a lot cheaper than a president, and the political fire extinguisher it acts as makes me sleep soundly at night. Though I am aware of what our current Prime Minister is up to, he is well within his power to conduct his affairs in such a manner. You know who first tried to instigate equal citizenship within the British Empire? Queen Victoria; not her prime minister, nor her parliament, the Queen herself. How did the British Parliament – as well as the other parliaments – react? Fire on the ships from India carrying Indians looking for a better life outside of India, bar them via legislation, and the list goes on. Do I really want rats like those to be my head of state? Does this sort of behaviour resonate as a head-of-state kind of practice which is acceptable? No, plain and simple.

Sure we have changed in this day and age, yet the political fire extinguisher is useful in this day and age: especially this day and age when politicians are accused of rubbing up to bankers. After all, politicians are the ones in power – effectively. There is no sign that our democracy is weakened with a monarchy; rather it is strengthened by having the Queen as head of state; for she is neutral in politics, and represents all Canadians. Now if a politician was head of state, say George Bush for example, he represents Americans……but whom? Does he represent the conservative Americans, the liberal Americans, or both? Her majesty is not clear cut, and is therefore able to represent all Canadians; plus the political stability I quite enjoy, not to mention we can use “royal” as a prefix. After all, Royal Canadian Mounted Police sounds a lot more respectable than Canadian Mounted Police: you might as well name them “The Police Service” and be done with it.

Ultimately what I am trying to say in this rush of words is this: if you wish to become a citizen of any country you immigrate to, you must be prepared to swear allegiance to their head of state, and subsequently perform any civic duties expected of you, including military service. Afterwards, you will be able to reap the benefits of citizenship, and enjoy a more prosperous life in your new home. Life is a give and take scenario, and there is always a price to be paid. Hypothetically speaking, should I choose to immigrate to a country in which their head of state is a president, yes I would swear allegiance to that head of state because I want to be there, and it is therefore part of the social contract that binds me as a new citizen to that country. Makes sense right? Besides, at least the British tradition is one of responsible government, rather than a wild mess like Cambodia, Laos, or South Vietnam; I would take our system over those any day, in any lifetime: those mass executions and re-education camps are not a laughing matter. The link to the article is located below:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/would-be-canadian-citizens-set-to-fight-oath-to-queen-as-discriminatory/article13160104/

The link to the Monarchist League of Canada’s Website with information on the cost of the Monarchy.

http://www.monarchist.ca/

Thanks for reading folks, and I will see you next time.