Monday, December 25, 2006


Editor(Maple Ridge NEWS and the Pittmeadows TIMES):

This one will be short.

Often – too often really – we hear the sirens of the Paramedics as they rush through our streets to or from one emergency or accident or another.

I’m not sure about others, but when I hear the sirens or as I pull over onto the shoulder with flashing lights either coming fast towards me in my rearview mirror or dashing straight towards me, I habitually reflect on who the patient may be in the ambulance. An elderly person, a young person, a man, a woman, a child, a mum or dad?

This afternoon I was the person in the ambulance. I suffered a seizure of sorts in the Haney Place Mall. As a long time critic of the Mall I suspect the Mall was trying to tell me something. That was at around 2:300PM. It is now 6:52PM.

Thankfully my daughter Olivia was with me and thankfully she was kindly assisted by a caring passerby who will forgive me for me mentioning his name; Jeff Dumont. When perfect strangers pounce on the opportunity to help a stranger in distress, we are reminded that none of us are strangers really.

I said this was going to be short. Sorry. Nearly done.

I want to thank so much those folks in Haney Place Mall who helped my daughter, and I want to thank the paramedics for the unbelievable job they did for me and for what they continue to do in this community.

The transition from the ambulance to emerge was lighting fast and flawless. The professionalism displayed by Dr. Willems and Dr. Auersberg was good humoured and relaxed.

And finally. The pages of the NEWS and TIMES have seen too much Andrupian pontificating over the years and one subject I never touch on has been healthcare in this province. I have never understood why the Fraser Valley Health Authority gets such a spanking from the critics; people who attack our healthcare system need to spend some time in other jurisdictions in other countries (almost any country you can think of) if they want to get a taste of failing healthcare systems. A short drive across the border south should be illuminating enough.

In the background the discussion of the two-tier system builds momentum rather than fades. If people feel the urge to pay big bucks for the incredible medical attention I received three hours ago let them have at it. It is after all, their money.

As I said, this letter was going to be short. I guess I’m on the naughty list now for lying.

Claus Andrup
Port Haney

Friday, December 22, 2006

2006 "Most Deserving Of Each Other" awards

Here are the three nominee couples for 2006:
  • George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein
  • Paris Hilton and Britney Spears
  • Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump
And the winners are: Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump.
The only person to have had more girlfriends than Donald is Rosie according to CNN's Wolf Blitzkrieg.
The couple have now married and set up home in Michael Jackson's zoo Never Clever Land outside LA as Mr. and Mrs. Rosie Oh'Donald!
Merry Christmas and a delightful New Year from all of us (me) at Radio Haney.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Perfidious Albion part deux

Adj.1.perfidious - tending to betray; especially having a treacherous character as attributed to the Carthaginians by the Romans; "Punic faith"; "the perfidious Judas"; "the fiercest and most treacherous of foes"; "treacherous intrigues"

In the context of discovering Vancouver:

"Steering to the north, Captain Thorn arrived in a few days at Vancouver's Island, and anchored in the harbor of Neweetee, very much against the advice of his Indian interpreter, who warned him against the perfidious character of the natives of this part of the coast."

In the context of Maple Ridge (2007):

As Maple Ridge turns its attentions once again to the future of the Albion flood plain situated in its western quadrant the word 'perfidious' - a wonderful world with nasty connotations - rolls around in my mind.

We are reminded of the word once again in today's news reports coming from the celebrated and original Perfidious Albion, England.

Very British solution to Saudi problem
By Paul Reynolds World affairs correspondent, BBC News website

Eurofighter at heart of UK/Saudi relationsThere will be a few wry smiles in foreign ministries around the world, particularly perhaps at the Quai D'Orsay in Paris and the state department in Washington, at news that the corruption investigation into a huge British defence contract with Saudi Arabia has been suddenly ended.

Foreign competitors will see another performance by 'perfidious Albion', as the British government holds its hand on its heart and promises that commercial interests have played no part.

British lectures on the "rule of law" will lose some of their force.
Other governments - and frankly, many of the British workers engaged on the project - will not believe that the size of the contract in question was not the determining factor. It is for 72 Typhoon Eurofighters from BAE.

BAE had reported that negotiations were at a standstill until the Saudis knew what was going to happen.

There was talk that Saudi Arabia might turn to the US and buy some F-15s instead, or to the French and its Eurofighter rival, the Rafale.

The fact is that the sale of fighters to Saudi Arabia has largely determined British relations with the kingdom for more than 20 years

The connection:

When the Maple Ridge Albion Area plan is complete and presented to the public one wonderw to what extent the public and certain groups in the District will be forced to reflect on react in similarly to the way the world has reacted to Perfidious Albion in the case of F-15s scandal. In other words will be too be asking this question:

"..........competitors (read opposing proponents - SmartCentres v. the sports/cultural/environment lobby) will see another performance by 'perfidious Albion', as the British (read District of Maple Ridge) government holds its hand on its heart and promises that commercial interests have played no part."

An intriguing prospect indeed.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A postcard from hell.

Are the West and Israel becoming a sideshow in the East?

Observers and historians of the middle-east accept that the religious divide between Sunni and Shiite goes back some 1300 years. In modern history when the Europeans first show up on the doorstep of the Arab world they do so with the promise of democracy in one hand and the threat of the gun in the other. Looking back, the scene of chaos is evident. And worse, instead of history fading away it seems now to be catching up with the present.

CNN this week displayed a map which graphically portrayed the Sunni factions of Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and a portion to the east of Iraq where Sunnis dominate lined up against the Shiite strongholds represented by Iran and the majority of Iraqis who are themselves Shiite. For simplicity’s sake we in the West have to discard the hundreds of sub-factions which exist within the Sunni and Shiite parent groups. And for the sake of sanity we are forced to ignore the near futile struggle of the men, women and children who are maimed or killed by the dozen each day in the region as though helpless on the conveyor belt of human conflict and mayhem as it continues its unstoppable journey through their lives.

We look for justification and see only religious disagreement, the hunger for wealth via control of the region’s oil and gas resources and third the raw fear that drives all war, the fear of being dominated by another, the fear of losing self-reliance, the fear of not being in control of one’s life. Ask a slave or someone living under a dictator about that particular fear, they will explain it.

Looking back on the history of the West we have not been without conflict and looking back we can consider ourselves fortunate that things, well, worked out the way they did. It has been painful, true. Yet in a melancholy way, we are doing as best we can. And it is no wonder we feel that our own experience at stitching together the various nations and factions of the West could point to solutions in the East. It is, from a distance, an odd way in which we pretend to want to help. First we try to impose our religious beliefs on the Arab world (and not the Arab world alone) and just as the prospect of conversion fades the prospect of oil wealth raised its head and in no time the West arrived yet again in the middle-east.

For some reason the West has never been able to shake or rid itself of the notion that it had some tenure or the other in lands and cultures far away. Not alone, the Moors and others down history have proven also to covet the resources of lands far afield. In today’s world we understand that pitfalls of foreign invasion. Saddam Hussein learned in his ill-planned invasion of Kuwait that the world is not accepting of military bullying. And in fairness to the US it did well to respond as it did through Desert Storm in coming to the aid of Kuwait. And for the cynical, yes one can argue that the US acted as much in self-interest as it did in human interest.

All along throughout the passage of these events and conflicts, the 1300 year battle for supremacy in the middle-east between Sunni and Shiite has smoldered, bubbled and lingered in the hearts and minds of sullen and mistrustful leaders who saw no other end to the battle but victory over one another. In 2006 we see in graphic horror the burned and bloody victims of this conflict each day. And in the West we are forced – or we force it upon ourselves out of a sense of duty or perhaps somewhat less honourable reasons – to embed ourselves in this conflict in the hope that as a world coalition we may somehow influence the outcome of the Sunni-Shiite wars of this century, the 14th straight century of non-stop war. Are we in the West being realistic?

Where, for instance, Israel and the US, North Korea and Iran dominated our airwaves and the internet for decades, the talk now is reduced, thanks in part to sentiments coming this week from Saudi Arabia’s rulers, simply to the fact that the middle-east will never be at peace until either the Sunni or Shiite dominate or divide.

Dominate or divide. It is hard for the US and coalition forces to accept themselves as no more than a meddling irritant in the affairs of the Muslim universe, specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the other hand the upheaval we see in the middle-east becomes less of a conundrum when one views it as being a result of the fact that the peoples of the middle-east are today straddling the past and the future. Nowhere is this more evident than where democracy as we understand comes in contact or attempts to blend with religious beliefs in the middle-east.

Many, many men and women aspire to the perceived order that we believe we have built for ourselves in the West. Just as many feel as certainly, that the West has evolved as a result of hundreds of years of corruption and avarice and sin into a hell from which there can be no salvation. Head and shoulders above all of this the Sunni-Shiite conflict will dominate the world scene for many years to come.

Some of us may recall the days prior to the US forces entering Baghdad and remember the words that made us scoff? Saddam Hussein and his seemingly demented information minister threatened that the US would, to paraphrase their threats: “enter the gates of hell if they entered Iraq…….” Now that George W. Bush has ‘decided’ to stay the course, years after having declared his mission complete, one is tempted to first to put more authority into Saddam Hussein’s threats and perhaps reflect on the sequence of George Bush’s statements. He may well have chosen to first stay the course and once that had been achieved then declare that the mission was complete.

It is hard to believe that the US and coalition forces and the good people of Iraq do not feel that they are now well past the gates of hell and deep inside hell itself. And neither Shiite nor Sunni can guide them out. What to do, what to do?

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Albion south of the railway track as envisioned by Big River Projects Inc. in 2003.

The battle for the Albion in Maple Ridge will commence with an Area Plan.

Now that the District of Maple Ridge has finally put to bed its 5-year Official Community Plan a public consulation process can begin that will lead eventually to the development of the area. Various prononents with diverse objectives are lined up to join the fray. SmartCentres (formerly FirstPro) has already either purchased or optioned significant parcels of land in the area and firmly believes that the public supports its concept for turning the Albion into a big box mecca in east Maple Ridge.
Then there is strong support by other groups who wish to see the Albion expanded as a recereational and sports complex with a continuing support for light-agricultural industry and show ground events; their is an idea that the Albion makes the perfect location for a 2000 capacity sports arena with a track that may suit a future BC Games event.
The big picture view in essence presents the community with two vastly differing philosophies. One is that the Albion is better used for commercial and business purposes. The other is that the Albion be treated as a cultural and natural space, developed as a legacy project. A not-for-profit versus for profit war is close to breaking out. The District will act as peacemaker and spend up to $1million dollars on a consultative program that will, if it works, result in a plan that satisfies some, but not all of the proponents.
Let the games - or perhaps the shopping - begin.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

True dat!

A recent report published by the Whitehouse seems to suggest that 3 out of 4 people represent 75% of the world's population.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Revitalization of Old Haney in Maple Ridge gathers momentum thanks to local property owner, Seiko Huang.

The November 29 2006 edition of the Maple Ridge NEWS published a front-page story which strongly indicates that the revitalization of the long-neglected (it is often referred to as a ghetto) area of Maple Ridge, known as Old haney or Port Haney, is well on the way towards restoration as a key component to life in Maple Ridge.

The plight of Old Haney was the subject of much discussion during the 2004/5 SmartGrowth on the Ground sessions - a series of stakeholder driven workshops and charettes - where 224th street in its entirety was seen as a focal point for bringing life back to the down centre. Since then a number of developers have begun taking advantage of the densification program intitiated by the SmartGrowth on the Ground principles. 18 townhouses were recently completed (and sold out) on Fraser Street in the heart of Haney. A large 100 unit condominium project is udnerway on the east side of Haney on the haney Bypass. The Maple Ridge Historical Society has successfully completed the intitial design of an $8million dollar museum expansion adjacent to Haney House, the key historic building in the area.

The proposed Holiday Inn on 224th Street in the vicinity of Haney House and the new museum will accelerate the much needed revitalization of this key economic and residential area of Maple Ridge. Visitors and residents alike in the very near future will find themselves within walking distance of all the town's amenities and retail stores. In addistion the District has made great strides with its local transport and infrastructure programs which will all combine to help Maple Ridge reach its full potential and prepare itself for the completion of the Golden Ears Bridge in 2009. The phrase 'unprecedented growth' will have to be redefined once Maple Ridge shows its face to the outside world.

Winter in Maple Ridge.

Derby Reach, on the south bank of the Fraser.

Port Haney, Fraser River, November 2006

Say cheesy.

I ate a piece of cheese.
For no rind or reason.