So, there is an injured hawk on your sun deck- who ya gonna call? Read More
Today we salute the intrepid Emile Ratelband, joining him to commiserate as he cries in his beer over his unsuccessful court case.
His was not your run of the mill court battle, but was, as we legal types say, a “case of first impression”. No one had ever before petitioned a court to amend a birth certificate to shave 20 years off their age, but that didn’t stop Emile, a spry 69 year old Dutchman, from asking the court to re-set his age at 49.
His argument was simple, but ultimately unpersuasive: one is able to change other information contained in one’s birth record, such as name, or now even gender, so why shouldn’t one’s date of birth be equally malleable?
The court, while giving a tip of the hat to those old adages ” You are only as old as you feel” and “age is just a number ” told Emile that while he was free to imagine himself as any age he wished, they weren’t going to mess with government records.
As a Boomer myself, long in denial about all things related to age, I can certainly understand where Emile was coming from, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why he brought the suit. I can think of absolutely no advantage to having a re-jigged birth certificate, as it would deny me the joy of a half price fare on BC Ferries some days, and the Gov’t cheque that pays my monthly wine bill every month would suddenly stop.
Emile, the first rule in any law suit is “what do I get out of this if I win?” So I find myself in agreement with the court – feel as young as you want, but don’t try to disguise your real age – and bear in mind the sage comments of And Rooney:
“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”
― Andy Rooney
There is an area of the BC coast roughly centred around Johnstone Straits that has been described as the “Serengeti of the Coast” for its abundant wildlife values.
To visit during monsoon season is a special treat, as the real coast, now devoid of summer people, Read More
Nowhere is the adage ‘knowledge is power” more applicable than in the marketing of real estate.
Simply knowing what is available on the market, and for what price, has always been a chore for buyers. In pre-internet days, the only efficient way to research the market was to use a printed MLS listing catalogue, access to which was tightly controlled by realtors. If you wanted access, you became a realtor’s client!
The advent of the internet made much more information available to the consumer, but even internet listings often withhold vital information (like price) which is available only by contacting the listing realtor.The real estate industry as a whole has always sought to keep for itself the treasure trove of data found in both MLS listing documents and previous sale histories. This resulted in a seven year court battle with the Federal Competition Bureau, which has only just now concluded, with the Supreme Court of Canada refusing to hear the appeal of the Toronto Real Estate Board, the proxy for the industry.
In the result, the Toronto Board has been ordered to abandon all restrictions on the display and use of data from its Multiple Listing Service, and the rest of the county’s real estate boards are expected to fall quickly in line.
This court decision paves the way for internet entrepreneurs to unleash their creativity and begin designing new and disruptive models for the delivery and analysis of real estate market information, and could lead to some exciting experiments in new ways of marrying up the buyers and sellers of real estate.
Whether exciting experiments on the bleeding edge of technology will prove beneficial to the consumer in the long run remains to be seen, since an experienced traditional realtor brings more to the table than just insider market data; they bring an entire skill set, as investigators, negotiators and even as life counsellors.
Like it or not however, the Supreme Court has opened the barn door wide, and disruptive change is on the way, so buckle up for the ride.
Was the successful campaign slogan adopted by Joseph Chamberlain back in the 1880’s to describe his radical ideas concerning land reform, which came to fruition in the Small Holdings Act of 1892 and the Small Holdings and Allotments Acts of 1908 to 1925. These Acts created the County Council Farms which have been a mainstay of British agriculture ever since.
The institution of the County Council farm is something that we in BC might want to turn our minds to, given the pressure being exerted on our agricultural land and resources. The concept is that tracts of farmland are returned to public ownership (in the UK they are owned by the local council) and then rented out to aspiring farmers, typically young families with the desired energy to work the land but not the capital to buy a farm.
Across Great Britain over 3100 tenants lease farmland from local authorities, generating significant revenues for the municipalities, and providing an important first rung on the ladder for would-be farmers. The leases also act as a form of control. ensuring that best practices are followed in farm activities, and mandating things such as wildlife protection and public access to rural pathways.
Consider the challenges we face presently in British Columbia. The average age of our farmers is creeping up, and now hovers around 58 years, with precious few young farmers entering the ranks, for the simple fact that they can’t afford to purchase farmland. Some of the most valuable and productive farmland in the province lies fallow, or worse converted to luxury estates for the very rich, yet the need for food sufficiency has never been greater, and will likely get worse as global warming disrupts traditional patterns of agriculture.
The British system is far less than perfect, and has seen many upheavals in recent years, but it represents an innovative way of approaching the problem. it’s long since time for us to start thinking outside the box when considering our land use policies.
spending your money never used to be so hard
Who would have thought that it would be the CBC in court defending the likes of the now disgraced General Cornwallis, Father of Confederation Sir John A McDonald or even our first judge, Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, while the rest of politically correct society is demanding that they be removed from public view because of their racist views. Given the mother corporation’s penchant for political correctness, I’m sure this defence was quite inadvertent, but the precedent the CBC has set may well help these historical figures now branded as pariahs to retain at least some of their legacy.
The case was one of criminal contempt against the Corporation, brought against the CBC by prosecutors in Alberta for the broadcaster’s refusal to remove a previously published story from its website. The story, and accompanying photograph, concerned a 14-year-old girl who had been killed. At the time of publication the story was completely legal and proper; the sort of story aired every day by the CBC, and simultaneously posted to its online edition.
The trouble began a few days later when a man was charged with her murder and the Crown, as it was required to do by the Youth Criminal Justice Act, sought, and was granted, a publication ban on the girl’s identity. That Act protects the identity of under-aged victims as well as youthful accused persons.
The Crown then demanded that the CBC essentially ‘un-publish’ its earlier story, by removing it from its online archive. The CBC refused, resulting in the Crown requesting a citation for criminal contempt against the Corporation.
The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada was a unanimous 9-0 ruling in favor of freedom of expression. After all, the Crown wasn’t asking print newspapers to destroy their archives, or to attempt to retrieve their printed stories from their subscribers, or from libraries.
On one level the CBC case can be confined to its particular facts, but on another perhaps stands for the proposition that you cannot order the rewriting of history by demanding the “un publishing” of historical material. So where does that leave Cornwallis, McDonald and Begbie? Well, it appears they may be safe for the time being from being excised from the history books, – but their statues ? Ah, that is something else entirely- they shouldn’t sit too comfortably upon their pedestals!