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6.27.2002 by Forrest, every Wednesday.

City of Ottawa

I’ll apologise if I put too much local content in this
column, I’ll try harder in the future.  But I thought this could prove interesting to outsiders too.  With the release of the new Official Plan this week, the City of Ottawa has set an excellent example for other large North American cities.  The plan actually contains some pretty radical ideas: freezing the urban growth boundary for 20 years; increasing population density by 15%;
making small-scale retail a part of any new residential developments to make communities livelier; discouraging Big Box Malls.  It has a few missing pieces, notably a lack of emphasis on transit, but in general, it’s a pretty sound plan for making a denser, less car-dependent, greener and more European-style city.  Contrast this with the previous regional plan, which was a suburbanite’s wet dream of endless vinyl siding cul-de-sacs, 100,000 square foot shops, and minivans by the highwayful.  Of course a plan is just a plan, and doesn’t carry a huge amount of legal weight, but if future administations stick to it, this could turn Ottawa into a model city.


The Common Cold

So last Saturday I wake up with a sore throat, and the usual “oh crap” sensation of looming illness.  Five days later, I still have a headache, am dizzy and sweating like an overweight prostitute, and I’ve lost six pounds.  What purpose
the common cold serves in the great scheme of things is completely beyond me.  I guess like any other form of life, viruses (well, if you call them ‘life’) have the main goal of multiplying themselves.  But of course they’re too lazy to do it themselves, no, they have to hijack my goddamned cells to do the work for them.  How can something so lazy manage to be so productive and disruptive?  I could retype my Nietzsche paper about how Christianity used manufactured guilt to turn the noble and strong against themselves and to enslave them to the weak… but I won’t

South Korea

Even if they got booted out of the medal rounds at the World Cup this week, South Koreans have a lot to be happy about.  A country that had never even won one match at the World Cup qualified for the quarter-finals on home turf.  Always nice to see the underdog win; it was enough to warm even the cold dark cavity where my heart is supposed to be.  Not only that, but the last quarter-century has seen South Korea transform itself from a third-world quasi-dictatorship to a major democratic hi-tech and industrial power.  And all without crippling themselves with debt or absorbing massive amounts of aid.  Word to the mutha.


The Anti-Globalisation Movement

Admittedly, the protests held in Calgary and Ottawa this week were not too bad; no one got hurt, only a couple of people got arrested, and only one window was smashed.  The people were able to get their message across, eat vegan food, play with hackey-sacks
and do interpretive dances, and everyone was happy.  More or less.  But still, it’s always striking how incoherent and incomplete their message is.  Does no one else notice the irony in Anarchists who want increased trade restrictions?  Or protectionist union members who claim to want to help developing countries?  To be sure, some things are worth protesting about.  Western protectionism is worth protesting about.  Lack of rent controls is not.  Western support of Israel is worth protesting about.  NAFTA is definitely not.  The thing is these people claim to be against all these things, but don’t offer any alternative, any consistent vision.  If they really think that their ideas are superior, they can draw up a consistent and complete vision, maybe form a political party and put it to a vote.  But tying up traffic is just so much more fun!

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