If this TV series had existed in the Fifties it might have had a jazz-inspired musical theme. But the sound of modernity in the Sixties and Seventies was Moog-synthesized. Surprisingly, University of the Air was a program aired on CTV, the private-sector network. The idea of free access to university education seems more CBC in retrospect, though the closest the CBC get to educational broadcasting these days is Jeopardy. D
The January Afternoon is supposed to have hit the stands five days ago, and I've been waiting for an English-language scanlation of the newest Genshiken chapter to post since then, but so far all I've been able to turn up is a raw scan straight from the magazine. But it's making me appreciate that a pirate's lot is not an happy one. For starters there's the texture of the rough magazine newsprint peering through every area of black ink, which would not be apparent in a tankobon volume and ought to be cleaned up. Then there's that text in front of the video screen, which will probably need to be Photoshopped out, and the grey background restored, before the English goes on. And then there's Yoshitake's speech balloon, which by the look of it presents more problems than the usual block of text, especially if it's bleeding off the edge of the frame. This might be bigger than a five-day job. I'll post the translated panel for contrast when I have it. D
"As if Scottish football doesn't have enough problems right now" (to quote every article written on the subject in the past week), the referees are on strike. See here for a backgrounder. The SFA, whose job it is to supply referees to the SPL and SFL, have run into some difficulties rounding up European replacement refs, because the European refs, being refs, support the refs. But enough have been found to allow the SPL, the Alba Challenge Cup Final, [and three Scottish Cup replays] and one SFL match to be played. And by the luck of the draw that one match is Morton versus Falkirk. Now, if the snow will only hold off.
Whoops, no, the Portguese officials went home. The refs intended for the Morton match have been reassigned. Morton v Falkirk is postponed.
And it did snow. The three Scottish Cup round three replays are postponed. [The Challenge Cup final is off too.]
Leaving aside the question of why we would want the join the EU, or whether they would have us, or how you would pull it off if one or more provinces were against the move -- it's instructive to think about how our political parties would fit into the parliament in Strasbourg and interact with the European parties around them. I know I tend to think of our parties only in terms of how they relate to each other, or maybe to US or UK parties. But there are literally hundreds of parties in the European Parliament, and they can put ours in a different light.
The European Parliament currently has 736 members. The plan according to the Lisbon Treaty is to raise the number to 751 and lock it in, but I'm going to pretend that in their excitement to get the Canadians the Europeans decide to tack on x number of seats. What would x equal? Representation is roughly by population, with some tweeking for teeny-tiny countries. (For Malta think PEI.) Canada would be the seventh most populous member, between Poland and Romania. Poland, with about 38 million people, has 51 seats. Romania with about 22 million, has 33. If you apply Poland's ratio to Canada's 34 million, you get 45 seats. If you apply Romania's, you get 51. I'll split the difference and award us 48 seats.
Elections to the European Parliament occur every five years and are by proportional representation. As we Canadians have no agreed method for doing this, I'll make one up. Any party that polls 2.1% ( or 1/48th) of the national popular vote gets a seat. Using the popular vote results of the last federal election (and rounding off pretty arbitrarily) you get: Conservative 18, Liberal 13, NDP 9, Bloc Québécois 5, Greens 3. The parties fill in the names of the MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) from lists they have drawn up in their back rooms.
So off to Strasbourg! But when they get there the Canadians discover that they're not allowed to sit together. Each party sits with its ideological fellows instead, in one of (currently) seven political groups. It's not absolutely necessary to join a political group, but there are certain disadvantages to being a non-inscrit, among them being a lack of access to funding.
In most cases it's not hard to figure out how the Canadian contingents would align, because many of the parties already belong to international organizations. The NDP, for instance, belong to the Socialist International, an organization that also includes the Socialist Party of France, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, and the British Labour Party. All three of these parties belong to the same group in the European Parliament, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialist and Democrats, S&D for short. S&D are currently the second-largest group in Strasbourg. The NDP go sit with them. It should be noted that the Socialist Party of France, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, and the British Labour Party have all formed governments in their own countries. If Canada really were in Europe, the NDP would be in power about half the time.
Another difference between Europe and Canada is highlighted by the group to the left of the S&P. The European United Left-Nordic Green Left (EUL-NGL) is an aggregation of socialists and communists who might be marginal in comparison to the S&D, but who can at least get themselves elected. Canada's various communist factions would be extremely lucky to scrape together 20,000 votes nationwide in a general election if they all pulled together, which they don't. (Curiously, Sinn Féin are in the EUL-NGL group. You tend to think of them as sectarians first, and Lefties not at all, an indication of the filtering process that occurs as news makes its way across the Atlantic.)
As the Nordic Green Left name implies, there's more than one way to be Green. For instance, you can be Red-Green (eco-Marxist) or Blue-Green (eco-capitalist). Most Greens in Strasbourg are clustered together in a group called The Greens-EFA. The Canadian Greens draw voters from the NDP, Liberals and Conservatives alike, so I'd expect them to affiliate with this more middle-of-the-road group rather than the EUL-NGL. Like the Canadian Greens, most of the Greens in The Greens-EFA are members of the international Global Greens. The most successful party in The Greens-EFA are the Germans, who have been junior partners in their federal government.
But what's that EFA? European Free Alliance, a collection of parties representing peoples without their own state: Corsicans, Basques, Scots, Welsh, Russian-speaking Latvians. This is where the Bloc would fit. The Greens-EFA is a marriage of convenience between two smallish groups, who together still only make up the fourth-largest group in the European Parliament. Yet it would be home to two of our five parties. For the purposes of this exercise I've assumed that Québéc is still part of Canada. If Québéc were independent, then the Bloc would go sit somewhere else, possibly the S&D, though it wouldn't take long after independence for the Bloc to start spinning off opposition parties and drifting who knows where in the political spectrum.
By European standards, if the NDP are unaccountably small, the Liberals are unaccountably large. You can tell that by looking at the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), a group not a lot bigger than The Greens-EFA. In Europe, Liberals are usually junior partners in ruling coalitions. Examples: the Free Democrats in Germany, and the Liberal Democrats in Britain. And liberals are not considered leftists in Europe. They are centre or centre-right, and often shore up conservative regimes. Oh, wait, that sounds familiar. The Free Democrats, the Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Party of Canada are all members of Liberal International. The Canadian Liberals would be the largest contingent in the ALDE.
The biggest political group in the European Parliament, taking up a third of the chamber, is the EPP, the European People's Party. This group is made up largely of Christian Democrats and includes Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, and Sarkozy's Union pour un Mouvement Populaire. It's conservative. The Conservative Party of Canada ought to fit in there.
However. The Conservative Party of the UK is in a different group called the European Conservatives and Reformists. The Tories were in the EPP until last year when they split off to form the ECR, in which they hold nearly half the seats. The ECR are in the European Parliament to actively reduce its powers. The word Reform, which in a European context can mean a number of things (including Calvanism), here means just the same as it did in the Reform Party of Canada. Put the Conservative Party of Canada with the ECR.
Earlier this year I was surprised to discover that two heritage houses demolished by Mount Allison University in 2009 were still alive and kicking on Google Street View. Today, while googling a place on Argyle Street, I stumbled across a fully functioning Halifax Herald Building, whose demolition was going on this time last year and whose site has been clear of rubble for at least six months. The lesson: if you see a building being torn down, and you're kicking yourself for not having photographed it in time, go to Google Street View. Also: we now know what Halifax looked like in 2009 better than any other year, including 2010. We should archive it before the camera car shows up again.
Corner of Prince and Argyle.
Corner of Argyle and Sackville, obviously.
Corner of Sackville and Grafton.
Corner of Grafton and Prince. And just off the right side of this view is another lost building:
The Midtown Tavern has since moved nearby to its third location of the new millenium.
The Halifax Herald Building site from the second floor of the Wooden Monkey, June 2010.
The space is slated for a shiny new convention centre. The project has the backing of both civic and provincial government and, according to The Coast, can never not lose money. D
While scouring the internet today for the next chapter of Genshiken Nidaime I learned that Kio Shimoku has a new manga called Spotted Flower that treads the ground between his otaku manga Genshiken and his parenting manga Digopuri. In Spotted Flower an otaku and non-otaku are having a baby. D