November 1, 2011

These heroes deserved our public thanks.

* Vancouver Sun, “Video: Plane-crash heroes tell their stories

* CBC News, “Premier to honour Richmond crash heroes (with crash aftermath video)

* Vancouver Sun, “Jeremy Kerr writes letter to Vancouver Sun reporter Jeff  Lee about his role in the rescue of passengers on Northern Thunderbird Air Flight 204 and its aftermath

* National Post, “Vancouver plane crash: Heroes who fought their way into the flaming wreckage tell their story

“Jeremy Kerr, John Redmond, Haim Peri and Shawn Nagurny share a common bond even if they don’t know one another.

They were among the small group of men who, against all odds, pushed their way into the flaming fuselage of Northern Thunderbird Air Flight 204 to drag injured passengers to safety after the small aircraft crashed Thursday in Richmond, near Vancouver.

None of the men sought public attention in the days after the incident, but they have now come forward, largely out of the cathartic need to talk about what they experienced. The trauma of being thrown into the situation of becoming unexpected heroes has weighed heavily.

As the men carried or dragged the victims out, as many as two dozen other Good Samaritans offered help, carrying the injured to a grassy area not far from the wreckage. Redmond says all who responded — from those who offered first aid to those who sprayed car fire extinguishers on the flaming wreckage in the vain hope of beating back the flames — deserve credit.

But it was Kerr, Redmond, Peri, Nagurny and several as-yet unidentified men who entered the aircraft, suspending common sense to risk their lives for the people on board.

Here are their stories.

Jeremy Kerr

[…] At first, he said, he didn’t know why he helped out. It was an autonomic reaction for him to race over, he said. In hindsight, he now knows he did so out of extreme compassion.

“Waiting for help to arrive wasn’t an option,” he said. “If they were my loved ones on board, I would hope that someone would do the same for me.” […]

Some of the events around what happened are blurry to Kerr. He says he doesn’t remember the faces and names of the other heroes who worked with him. “It’s like looking down the barrel of a straw,” he said. “All I can remember is the victims.” […]

John Redmond

[…] He drove straight through an intersection, stopped the car “a little bit too close to the airplane,” grabbed his steering-wheel club in case he needed something to smash through windows to free people, and ran as fast as he could toward the airplane. Read the rest of this entry »


July 31, 2011

中文 (In Chinese)


In English (英文)

The Alliance‘s Lee Cheuk-yan and Mak-hoi-wah are visiting Calgary today (July 31, 2011), I hope I’ll have a chance to interview Mr. Lee Cheuk-yan. The following are some news and other video clips during their Vancouver stop.

Their bios in Chinese.






”麥海華從事社會運動三十多年,早年活躍於學生運動, 1975年擔任香港大學學生會會長。畢業後投身社區發展工作,成立香港社會工作者總工會並擔任會長八年。



Once a globe-trotting diplomat, now a locally focused Dipper

May 11, 2011

For the record.

Once a globe-trotting diplomat, now a locally focused Dipper, Globe and Mail, May 10, 2011

Transition weeks are all about hello, goodbye, what’s the right form for that, and where do I go next?

As the Liberal caucus meets Wednesday, rookie MPs from all three parties are getting ready to take their seats in the House of Commons, even as defeated veterans pack their boxes and hug their departing staff. Becoming a new Member of Parliament is like starting up a small business: There are constituency offices to rent, parliamentary offices to staff, an Ottawa apartment to locate for those from away, many, many forms to fill out, and the sometimes-arcane rules of Westminster parliamentary procedure to master.

Here are three of the new faces you’ll find on the Hill when the 41st Parliament convenes in the coming weeks.

The MP Hélène Laverdière always favoured the NDP in private, but she was officially neutral as a Canadian diplomat posted in Chile, Senegal and the United States.

Now her political views are on public display as the 55-year-old is one of the most famous rookies in the NDP caucus that is taking Ottawa by storm. As she grabs her new ID card and gets briefed on parliamentary procedure in Ottawa this week, Ms. Laverdière is already known on the Hill as the vanquisher of former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe. Read the rest of this entry »

TorStar Editorial: Harper’s five question policy a disservice to public

April 3, 2011

A “what-not-to-do” lesson.

“TorStar Editorial: Harper’s five question policy a disservice to public” Apr 3, 2011

“Perhaps he’s channelling former prime minister Kim Campbell, who said an election campaign is not the time to debate important issues. Perhaps, despite leading in the polls, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is running scared. Or perhaps he just can’t be bothered.

Either way, Harper’s strategy of refusing to take more than five questions a day from reporters amounts to a gross disservice to the public. Four of the permitted questions (generally two in French and two in English) go to reporters following Harper’s campaign, while the fifth is allotted to a local scribe, wherever the Conservative news conference that day happens to be staged. It’s a fragmented format that renders it almost impossible for reporters’ questions to build momentum and bear down on an issue.

Harpers rivals, in contrast, are far more open with the media — willing to subject themselves, and their policies, to some barbed questions in an effort to get their message out to voters.

That’s as it should be. Few Canadians are able to follow the ins and outs of an election first-hand. Reporters serve as the public’s eyes and ears on the campaign trail. Ultimately, voters are the ones denied access and explanations through Harper’s five question format.

It’s ironic. The Conservatives came to power promising more accountability, more openness and more access to information. Those principles matter the most in an election, when people need as many answers as possible to make an informed choice.

Harper should bear in mind Campbell’s defeat in the election where she didn’t want to discuss serious issues. The Tory party was pulverized — reduced to just two seats. It’s an appropriate fate for those who would keep the public in the dark.”

The case for democratic debate

March 30, 2011

For the record. I agree with Tony Burman, former head of CBC news, that it is time for Canadians to “pull the plug” on the Consortium.

The case for democratic debate – by ELIZABETH MAY
Globe and Mail Update
Published Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2011 6:00AM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2011 11:14AM EDT

It is hard to believe that there is even a question about participation of the Green Party of Canada in the televised leaders’ debate.

We have precedent on our side. We have reason on our side. Against our participation stands an unregulated, ad hoc process that makes decisions without benefit of rules or criteria.

Canadians have come to expect the national leaders debates as part of the democratic process. In 2008, the Canadian public responded with outrage when it became known that the leader of the Green Party was not to be allowed to participate due to threats from two leaders that they would not show up if I was included. In an inspiring demonstration of non-partisan fury, Canadians forced those leaders to back down, and then the television network executives also relented.

In the midst of the controversy, the former head of the so-called Broadcast Consortium, as the news directors from CBC, CTV, Global, TVA and Radio Canada style themselves when making all the decisions about the leaders’ debate, wrote a scathing attack on the process. Tony Burman was former head of CBC news and he urged that Canadians “pull the plug” on the Consortium. He wrote that the process was entirely arbitrary and should be replaced with a commission, as in the U.S., to run debates independent of the journalists who cover the debates. He also disclosed that the threat from Stephen Harper to refuse to participate in the debates had been made in January 2007 and had become the “elephant in the room.” Moving an elephant is not easy. But the Canadian public did so. Read the rest of this entry »

GLOBE EDITORIAL: Stephen Harper’s curious attack on majority rule

March 28, 2011

For the record.

GLOBE EDITORIAL – Stephen Harper’s curious attack on majority rule

From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Mar. 28, 2011 7:30PM EDT
Last updated Monday, Mar. 28, 2011 9:28PM EDT

The worst part about Stephen Harper’s attack on the Liberal Party for being undemocratic in its alleged plans for a coalition government is not that it is irrelevant, hypocritical or probably false (though it is all that). The worst part is that it comes from a leader whose own legitimacy rests on holding less than half of the seats in the House of Commons.

Yet Mr. Harper cannot seem to speak without mentioning the dreaded word. He uttered it 21 times in a speech on Sunday. He continued using it on Monday. He may not be able to stop himself on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Speaking to a suburban audience in Brampton, Ont., that included immigrants from unstable or undemocratic regimes, he implied that a coalition is something like a coup, a danger to Canada’s stability. The Liberals, he said, would move with “lightning speed” to form a “reckless coalition” with the New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois, if the Conservatives win the largest number of seats in the coming election, but not a majority.

A coalition is not a coup. The party that wins the most seats has first call on forming a government. If that party loses the confidence of the House, the other parties are entitled, in the parliamentary system, to ask the Governor-General for permission to govern. Britain has a coalition government. Read the rest of this entry »

卡加利 – 獻給我們敬愛的華叔﹕友誼之光

January 27, 2011