A Canadian made automobile that cant be sold in Canada and no one seems to know about…and other amusing items

Rick Mercer had an interesting feature on the show this week, the ZENN car. That’s right, a Zero-Emission, No Noise car ( hence the name ZENN) that is fully battery operated and can be plugged into any electric outlet to recharge. It runs at a cost of pennies per mile, and  is fully made in Canada, and yes, it gets better, it costs around $12,000.00!!

It sounds too good to be true! A Canadian made car, with zero emissions, no-noise? Why, if everyone in large metro areas started driving these, we could make the Kyoto accord in no time……. but wait, I’m up on current events, I like to think I’m environmentally savvy – so why haven’t haven’t I heard or seen anything in the news about these cars?

Oh, that great old Canadian government again. Up until just recently, the car wasn’t considered to be street-legal in Canada, and the market has been in the US and over seas.  It seems the Canadian government needed to take its time allowing such a clearly needed and amazing vehicle on the roads. Now the Federal stumbling block has been removed, it is still going to be quite a while before you see these cars zooming along with NO NOISE in metro areas, because BC is the only province in which they will be allowed to be sold. Each province makes it’s own regulations regarding the use and sale of non- standard vehicles, and so far, the rest of the country hasn’t addressed it…..sad , but true.

I love this car, and I’d love to see more of them around – it’s perfect for those in the city, zipping around taking the kids to school, running errands, and for those who drive a lot in the city for work related duties.  See for yourself at http://zenncars.com/

Another item to shake your head at : The Surrey Leader front pager this week is about a Surrey man whose plan to get some deals and  go shopping for the day across the border was thwarted by US Border guards. Martin Rooney heads to the US all the time to visit friends and shop without hassle, but this past week a border agent asked him what he did for a living. He replied he was on a disability. “What’s the disability?” he was asked, and Martin replied it was because he had HIV. He was then told he needed  a waiver to enter the US, as the US does not allow those with “a communicable disease of public health significance ”  into the country without a waiver stating they are allowed to do so, authorized by US immigration officials.

It gets better. He was then given an” orange card”, told to park his car, and was subjected to three hours of questioning, fingerprinting, and having his name run through the FBI database. What the FFFFF?????

He will not be allowed to return to the United States without the waiver – even for a day.

What do the Americans think this guy is going to do – try and stay in the US for their oh-so superior medical care? Hes visiting friends and shopping, not immigrating for pete’s sake. GET A GRIP. Maybe we should make Americans get waivers to enter Canada just based on the stupidity of their government.

And finally, let’s talk about the laughable responses coming out of the BC government regarding the tasering death of Robert Dziekanski.

We’ve had a John Les Flip-flop, and some are taking bets as to when the next waffle will occur, good old Gordo apologising more than a month after the fellow died,in a sudden fit of sorrow and  remorse (Ha!) and a host of other insincere, “oh shit, we better make this look better or we’ll all  lose at the popularity polls and get voted out” crap. The RCMP are even trying to recoup a little by saying that IF they find there is not enough research to clearly show the safety of the device, they would welcome a moratorium. Hmmmm, that would explain why even more Tasers were purchased right around the time of the death. 

The RCMP  as an organizational whole ,cant even agree country wide among themselves on what to do – in Newfoundland the use of the taser has been suspended pending further research. So why are the RCMP saying out West here, that they are safe and an indispensible  device for officers? Are cops getting lazy?

The general public is smart enough to see that the government and the RCMP are out to protect their own interests, and their spot in the popularity polls – its never about making things “right” unless its going to threaten their place in office. I will respect a politician much more when they  stick to their guns, right OR wrong, rather than one who says one thing one day, then flips as soon as he/she gets criticised.

Does anyone in politics really have a firm opinion on anything currently? Can they truly speak their mind?

No explanation has come from Canada Border Services/Immigration, or the Airport. A polish speaking man has been fired following questions as to why he wasn’t called to translate, since he was working at the time of the incident. Firefighters are questioning why they weren’t called – and after all this, we find out today there was a defibrillator a mere 20 seconds away,at the top of the escalator, and that someone on staff had been trained how to use it. Nice.

This man was killed, and the officers on duty at the scene bungled up big. BIG. Sounds to me like they wanted him to die, or why wouldn’t they have performed CPR, or  called SOMEONE for help – immediately?

It’s hard to have faith in the government, in our RCMP, and in authority in general when the response to an obvious mistake is to deny deny deny , cover it up, and don’t ask- don’t tell.  It’s time  we all learned a lesson about responsibility and owning up to our mistakes – the government and its agencies in particular.

I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.

Taser use worldwide controversial at best

I’m embarressed.
I’m embarressed by the RCMP’s handling of this entire Robert Dziekanski fiasco, and although I wish one could offer reassurances to visitors from around the world that this isnt indicative of what to expect, I can’t.
My faith is in the RCMP is tenuous, at best. Not because the 4 officers failed to handle the situation correctly, but because of the political spin now being spit out by RCMP media reps. They should have immediately come out and admitted the officers jumped the gun, and that a different course of action should have been taken – as if THAT would ever happen. They should have handed it over to another force to investigate, to at least attempt to make it look fair and impartial. They instead, make it seem like we, the public, dont understand what was shown on that video, as if there was something else going on there that we could not see.

Whats next from the old RCMP spin machine – he had weapons of mass destruction in his pocket? He was sending them telepathic threats?

The media reps for the RCMP, and those within the RCMP handling the investigation, have done -and are continuing to do – a great disservice to their own members. The ones who do their job well, and with pride ; the officers who go out daily to keep us safe, and sometimes lose their lives in the process of doing so. They are the ones who will suffer the lack of respect and trust from the general public based on their superiors response and handling of the questions surrounding Roberts Dziekanski’s death.

And this does not exclude the airports part in this series of errors. Why wasnt airport medical staff called? Why did he remain in that area un-noticed for so long? Where was a translator, or signage in different languages ? How many other visitors with no english skills have had difficulty, but perhaps luckily found their way around?

Up until this, my knowledge of tasers was really very small, so I’ve done a little fact finding.

Taser use seems to have originated- surprise, surprise- in the United States. In fact, Taser International , the biggest producer of tasers, is an American company.
Because tasers aren’t considered firearms, there are no government regulations to control and govern their use in most countries.
Although extensively used in the US by police forces, some forces have recented halted use due to concerns of deaths following Taser use, until further studies are done.

According to Arizona-based Taser International’s website :

“A Taser temporarily immobilizes a person by using pulsing electricity to over-stimulate the nervous system, which locks up muscles while the current is flowing.

The guns shoot two fishhook-like electric darts about 25 feet. Each time the trigger is pulled, the darts deliver a 50,000-volt jolt for 5 full seconds. The triggers can be activated as many times as needed for the life of the gun’s battery.

Following each 5-second jolt, people who are shocked generally regain all muscle control.

Tasers can also be used like cattle prods, but the effect is more isolated and less painful.”

Well, it all sounds so….. barbaric. There can be a time and a place for this weapon, and it has been used effectively thousands of times.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police says Tasers are effective if used properly but that more studies are needed.

The group’s Taser policy urges officers to use it only to subdue suspects who are violent or about to injure someone; not to use it on a handcuffed person unless he is “overtly assaultive”; to use it the least number of times; and to seek medical attention for anyone who has been shocked. So, in the right situation, it can be an approriate tool.

The problem is, there have been no real concrete studies on how the device affects people with heart conditions, and most deaths due to tasering have been in those individuals that had some medical conditions. Taser International does not seem to have done studies on those with medical conditions, or those who are taking medications or recreational drugs – only healthy individuals were tested.

People who take stimulant drugs, have heart conditions or are highly agitated because of psychological problems are already more likely to die from heart problems – so a Taser’s effect on these people is more likely to have a fatal result.

And what about pregnant women, or minors? Can tasering cause a miscarriage or fetal death? Can minors or smaller individuals handle the electrical shock? What about elderly people?

There seem to be more questions than answers, and with no concrete information, taser use by the police should be suspended,and reviewed, until federal authorities can determine the safety and usage of the device. An immediate halt to usage, pending further studies and regulations.

We, as Canadian’s, need to speak up, and speak loudly, and demand accountibility.

Enough is enough.

 Stockwell Day refuses to call for a national review? Well, Stockwell Day, you represent the people, or did you forget?  Do not forget that we, the people, elected the politicians in, that you are in public positions of trust, and as such, must respond to public consideration when it is demanded of you..  And we, the people,  can speak loudly at the polls – and our memories are long when it comes to bad politics….

I am asking everyone who read this to let the world know that we  Canadians find this situation with tasers and the RCMP deplorable. Canada is still a democracy, last time I checked. Contact your local MLA, your MP, your mayor. Put it in writing. 

Take a stand for someone who can no longer do so- Robert Dzienkanski .

 Someone needs to set a standard here, to prevent deaths like Robert Dziekankski’s from happening again.

I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.

Michael Moore’s ” Sicko” a must see for all British Columbians – including the Campbell gov’t.

If you havent seen Sicko yet, this cold weekend is a great excuse to stay indoors and warm up to the the sad truth of the medical system in the most arrogant country in the world, the United States of America. This film clearly shows the disparity of care in what is often claimed to be the biggest “Superpower” .

As Canadians, we often take our medical system for granted, safe in the security that our “Care Cards” provide us with no- holds barred access to health care at any time – and we really are lucky to not have to deal with everything that goes along with the privately billed health care sytem in the States. Pre-approvals, no choice in physicians, and constant denials for those with insurance, and the choice between bankruptcy, debt, or a doctors visit for those without insurance. The movie opens with an American man sewing up a gaping wound in his leg at home, because he has no insurance and cant afford the visit to the clinic.

Although for the most part, I do agree we have very good health care access in BC, the movie highlighted the gaps we do have in our medical system, and where improvements could be made. While we have universal medical care, we are on a private insurance dental system, and many British Columbians do not have the luxury of employer supplied dental insurance. Although the government has a plan for children of low income homes to see a dentist, many dentists refuse these patients because the government only pays a small portion of the dentists fees. Many families do still face the choice of getting teeth repaired and cleaned, or eating  – and in a country as successful and developed as Canada, thats an embaressing shame.

In France, preventative medicine is the norm, and doctors get a bonus for the number of patients they counsel successfuly to lose weight, stop smoking and reduce cholesteral, thereby saving the system money down the road on extensive treatment of preventable disease. In BC, go to any clinic, and you will see a whole list of these items that are NOT covered by BC medical, including smoking cessation programs, weight loss counselling, stress management….
It seems sensible to me that both the health care system, and patients win when an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

There is a whole political angle to the movie, that clearly shows the relationship between health care, big business and money grabbing, that is quick to turn the stomach of the compassionate viewer. If you weren’t a fan of the American government before, you’re going to really be shaking your head after this film, and I hope it makes you take a closer look at the hazards of allowing pay for service clinics into our Canadian System. While some people see no harm in those who can afford to pay for faster treatment and tests, it is frightenly close to a path down the American way, where some get care – and others die.

Go and rent this movie and see for yourself, if you arent left with more questions than answers afterwards.
I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.

Is it News, a”Hot- Topic”, or an infomercial ? Profit motives coming to a station near you…

There has been much talk about conflict of interest in political news lately, and it’s laughingly sad to see what has become of past and present politicians when presented with “golden” opportunities. Connections are everything, and the general public rarely is privy to the relationships – corporate and personal- that reveal and significantly alter that “trusted “ representation.

Profit motive has corrupted many a politician, and I’m afraid that in today’s society, it corrupts far too many self-proclaimed “journalists” who crave ratings, access and perhaps monetary gain from the guests they book. Unlike government, however, there is little disclosure required or pursued when it comes to modern journalism, and what has often been compared to the “brotherhood mob-like comraderie ” exibited between journalists often prevents other’s from reporting what they know about their colleagues.

So what exactly makes a “conflict of interest”?

“A conflict of interest is a situation in which someone in a position of trust, such as a lawyer, a politician, or an executive/director of a corporation, has competing professional and/or personal interests. Such competing interests can make it difficult to fulfill his or her duties fairly. ”

More generally , conflict of interest can be defined as any situation in which an individual or corporation (either private or governmental) is in a position to exploit a professional or official capacity in some way for their personal or corporate benefit. Usually without disclosure to the public and colleagues.

While in the past, this term has been used almost exclusively to describe situations found with politicians and executives, it is increasingly popping up with regards to journalists and talk show hosts.

It was recently revealed by an ardent, but suspicious, listener that a well-known talk show host in the US, who continually revisted the same”hot” topic with a newly published author, was only doing so because they shared the same publisher and he was being awarded significant bonuses in plugging the new authors book. His listeners truly trusted his recommendations, and he lost all credibility when his profit motive was revealed.

In Canadian radio , there have been several incidents where financial radio programs have aired supposed “hot” stock recommendations, without revealing to the listeners that the companies being recommended had paid for that plug. There was no real due diligence on the part of the talk show host, and what listeners thought was an unbiased opinion, was really a financial infomercial for companies that were unproven and dubious at best.

As talk radio draws in a substantial portion of their audience from political shows and these show’s audiences drive their advertising, they are far more likely to keep their proven format as intact as possible.

         However, if a talk show host has a personal or corporate relationship that is not revealed to their listeners, and they stand to potentially profit handsomely from booking certain guests and pushing certain opinions, using that platform – said host is engaged in a clear case of self-dealing.

Much debate occurred recently in certain circles when ex-Liberal minister-cum-CKNW Talk Show host , Christy Clark, discussed public transportation and commuting issues regarding Translink and potential new skytrain routes, with several local political guests.

Little did many of her audience know that she is a partner with her (Liberal with a Big-L ) husband, Mark Marissen, in their strategic communications company , Burrard Communications, AND their company has been contracted to supply lobbying services for Translink. Was she talking about the subject because its important to local citizens in need of transit, or because her company is being paid to do so?  In effect, she is still a government employee of sorts, as long as her company continues to provide lobbying services for crown corporations. Much credibility to anything political coming out of her mouth is lost when this relationship comes into play – one is not likely to bite the hand(s) that feed you, or risk any buttering up going on with provincial and municipal politicians.

The best way to remove a conflict of interest is to simply avoid them entirely; if a host or journalist can easily be proven to have financial stakes in the success, change or growth of an given project or business, he or she should never should have taken to speak on the topic.

Further, they could  have and should have excused themselves from taking part in the first place , as they would have recognized the conflict of interest, even if others didn’t.

Integrity of electronic journalism is almost an oxymoron these days. In the end, journalist and hosts will HURT their own ratings because they lose credibility with their audience, the smarter of whom just tune them out.

The next time you are listening to your talk radio program of choice, or reading an editorial piece, you might want to question the motive behind it.

I’m Laila Yuile, and this is, how I see it.

Cancer diagnosis hits home

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Blake appeared with visibly swollen and teary eyes on the sports news last night, as he talked about his recent diagnosis with a  rare form of leukemia. The look in his eyes , and what he must be feeling right now really hit home for me, and brought me back to a time when I sat in my doctors office, many years ago….

My doctors receptionist had requested I come in, as the doctor wanted to speak with me. I recently had sustained a head injury, and feeling fine, had not gone for the ordered follow up xrays. Crap, I thought, now I’m in trouble.

If only I knew how right that was.

Sitting on the little examining table in the patients room, I knew something wasn’t right the second she walked in. She was usually a very happy and friendly woman – that day,  she came in with a stern look, and did not say Hi, or even look at me.

Sitting down ,and looking at her chart, she asked me immediately if I had finished having children. Confused, I answered ” I think so, Yes, well, now I don’t know.”

” You need to go home and decide for sure, you have some hard choices to make.”

She went on , ” Your PAP test  was being worked on, and the lab called me last night and told me to get you in ASAP. They found malignant cells on the sample. ”

Malignant cells. Malignant.

CANCEROUS cells. Malignant cancerous cells were in my body.

I couldn’t breathe.

Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe, and I knew she was still talking, but I couldn’t hear her. I had two kids. I started to cry and she came over  and put her hand  gently on my shoulder. I came back into myself then, and heard her say that she had called the hospital and gotten me in for further tests the next day. She explained to me how PAP tests are classified and what the possible treatments would be, but hesitated to go any further until more tests were done. She had booked me with a specialist  as well.

I walked the 6 blocks home, tears streaming down my face the entire time. I am amazed I even got home, considering my state of mind. Arriving at my townhome, I came in, walked upstairs, told my then-partner I had cancer and that I was going grocery shopping now. Of course, I wasn’t thinking with any sense right then; I was in shock. I had been told I had the C word – the one no-one ever wants to hear.

The years that followed were hard sometimes, dealing with treatments and worry, and life. At the time I was with my ex, who just made things harder. He refused to take me to treatments at the hospital, told me if I was going to die, I should have just jumped  in front of a bus to make it faster. It was hard, waiting and hoping to see a treatment had worked, only to be told, it was back, and larger than before. I was urged to have a hysterectomy, which I fought because I thought I was too young, and ended up changing specialists the day before a surgery, because he was an arrogant ass. I chose  to undergo surgical removal of  most of my cervix, which finally eradicated the stubborn disease.

I’ve been ok for years now, but eveytime I go for a PAP test, I cringe waitiing for the results. Everytime I feel a strange lump or bump, I think maybe its cancer. It’s hard thinking that your own body can be killing you slowly and you don’t even know it, and it’s hard for me to hear young girls  and women ,saying that they won;t get a pap test because its “icky”.

The hardest thing about having any kind of cancer, for me, was being told. That shock is so absolute, so intensely overwhelming because we  all associate cancer with death. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasnt had the experience.

My heart is with Jason Blake, and anyone else just finding out they have cancer. All I can say is be strong, and for those of you who havent been there, take care of yourself.

I hope there comes a day when our childrens children are learning in school about the  horrible disease that took so many lives in the past – because by then we have found a cure.

 I’m Laila Yuile and this is how I see it.

Give your head a shake, Premier

The recent announcement by Premier Gordon Campbell that buses would  once again be returning to alleviate the Port Mann bridge congestion, actually had me thinking there was hope for Metro Vancouver – until he finished by saying it would take 6 years to do it.

Give your head a shake Premier! 6 years just isn’t going to cut it out here, not when the congestion on the thoroughfares leading up to the bridge are backed up for miles in the mid afternoon  and morning rush hours . God help the people trying to get somewhere for turkey today – leave now, or go without! Weekend rush hours and congestion -all day long -are a reality for Highway 1 travellers , on both Saturday and Sunday.  Why it takes 6 years to stick a few signs out, drop some benches and plan a  route, is beyond me.

I often wonder why the people in charge of making transit decisions and funding allocations are the very same people who NEVER actually use it. When was the last time the premier tried to get to the downtown core from the suburbs? Never.  Malcom Brodie use a bus  to get anywhere ? I don’t think so.

There are massive gaps in the transit infrastructure that prevent many more thousands of people using the system everyday, and inadequacies in the suburbs  that make it impossible to do anything but drive – and its getting worse, not better.

I think that extending skytrain right out over the Port Mann bridge, with stops in Guildford, Langley and out to Abbotsford, will take thousands of cars off the road upon completion. The land is there, right down the centre of the highway, for an above ground track – but no, that would make TOO MUCH sense for those in the seats of power. In addition , extending a  branch right down King George highway all the way to White Rock would effectively take the burden off  the tunnel resulting from the rapidly growing communities  in South Surrey/Morgan Creek  and Cloverdale. There are already over-burdened express buses from those areas to the downtown core that are packed every rush hour.

Its time that Translink, and the Provincial government commisioned a board of educated, professional citizens from these suburban areas to be involved in the consultation process,  to ensure the right choices are being made. Short of that, I would suggest that the Translink planning board be made to actually take transit to their meetings from whatever area they live in, for a period of several months, so that they have a first hand experience with the inadequacies of the system. Might change their perspectives, more than a little. Somehow, I don’t see that happening either.

As land values increase, and more people move into our wonderful metro Vancouver area, communities are rapidly expanding  further into the Fraser Valley to accomodate the demand. Going green means making some drastic and educated choices by the government and Translink. Putting the money into extensive and effective transit enhancements – rather than building more highways, is the logical choice.

“If you build it, they will come. ”

I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.

Appearing at a Corus Station Near You- Talk Show/Talk Radio – Idol!!!

A funny thing happened on the way to the blog this morning – a slew of emails from individuals back east (Toronto and Montreal), asking about my experience winning CKNW’s Talk Show Idol contest, and how/why I won. Apparently the two Corus stations are hosting their own versions of the contest which ran recently in Vancouver, although the prize there, is an actual on-air shift !

What can I tell those who are looking for tips and advice ?? Be yourself. Be true to what you believe in and have integrity. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your opinions, likewise, be accurate and prepared. You must be well-read, and well-informed – no one wants to hear some loudmouth blather on for an hour about the merits of home-made wine, and no one wants to know how you would handle your ass rash.

Real topics, real issues. Although it’s great to play devil’s advocate to bring both sides of an issue to the discussion, don’t say that parents who mow the lawns on city sports field are aggravating and prolonging the civic strike one day,  and then a couple of days later say that you think its  a good idea and it has nothing to do with striking workers.

Its inconsistant, and insincere, and your audience will pick up on it eventually. I think my appeal was that I am who I am, and I never tried to be anyone else. I’ve seen the rough side of life and the good, and I’ve had to work for everything I have – or don’t have. I was raised in a  small forestry town by blue-collar, union parents  who worked hard to raise our family and expected me to do the same.

I’ve never had anything handed to me on a  plate, and I am not , nor ever will be biased by corporate or political affiliations of any kind. I know what the local and provincial governments actions really do for the average family, because I am part of that average family. That’s my take on it, anyways. I am passionate about most things in my life, and I don’t care if you like me or not. I will always tell it like it is, and that’s how I see it .

Good luck to all of you, and I hope you enjoy your stint as much as I did!

I’m Laila yuile, and this is how I see it.