My respected and valued friend Judi Tyabji unwittingly became the girl who kicked the hornet’s nest the other day when a simple Facebook posting by her unleashed an absolute torrent of vituperative commentary directed primarily at the premier of this province.
At issue was Ms. Christy Clark’s directive to close Vancouver’s Burrard St. Bridge on Sunday, June 21st. That date, by the way, is also Fathers’ Day and National Aboriginal Day, not to mention International Yoga Day – that is a ‘thing’? Who knew? — so I guess Ms. Clark thought the idea was a splendid one. What could be nicer than yoga? Nothing to inflame folks.
Or maybe there was something to inflame folks.
Such as taking money from provincial coffers to pay for the gig, and siting it where she did in order to please a couple of bigtime party fundraisers, and finally showing a complete disregard for those who must use a main artery into downtown Vancouver – yes, even on a Sunday. This is no longer 1950. There are those who work on a Sunday. And finally choosing a day that happens to also be National Aboriginal Day. You know, just a niggling little Canadian thing that just might be a bit more relevant than yoga.
Well, Ms. Clark flailed and fumed and was pilloried in the media by something that was seen as a boneheaded idea designed to kiss up to party friends. She even went so far as to accuse the people who were against the idea of “hating yoga,” rather than looking deeper for the real reasons.
Now, Ms. Tyabji is assuredly not a naif, and is herself a veteran of BC politics, so she knows how it works. Yet she professed to be amazed at the level of antagonism posted on a Facebook Offering of hers which said, in essence, why are people so pissed off about what should be a lovely and serene idea. And in essence it is.
But, therein lies the hornet’s nest. People are not in a forgiving mood, and Ms. Tyabji was distressed at some of the offensive statements posted on her offering. Some of which went as far as directing messages of basic hatred in the direction of Ms. Clark’s government, and with mutterings of such dire consequences going as far as assassination. About such comments I can only say, get a grip folks. It’s fucking yoga and it’s the closure of a fucking bridge so let’s not go overboard.
But people are pissed and the bridge yoga thing seemed to be a bit of a final straw for the pundits and punters. They are tired of politics that pick their pockets and cater to the affluent. They are tired of being hosed by a ferry corporation that is heedless and has free rein, tired of environmental threats, tired of the fact few dwellings in the great city of Vancouver cost less than a million, tired of their pockets being picked by further tax and rate gouges. Folks are just plain steamed. They are tired of not being able to find a family doctor. They are tired of waiting months, even years, for a medical procedure. They are tired of a government whose Minister of Transportation sees not being able to drive fast enough and burn a lot more fuel as being a true want and need. So, all of that stuff is pissing people off.
And while the bridge yoga thing seems trifling, cataclysmic human events have ensued after such trivial matters once people are fed up.
But in so saying, I was as astounded as Judi was by the level of spleen. People are a lot angrier than she thought, and a lot angrier than cynical I thought.
And perhaps Victoria should pay serious heed.