Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The new world order

It's good to start out the day with a pot of tea at Murchies, but after a long walk through Beacon Hill Park on a warm day, nothing caps things off like a foaming mug of beer. If somebody had told me in 1975 that in 2010 a pint of beer would cost seven bucks, I would have laughed in his face. At that time I believe a glass of beer cost about two bits. On the other hand, the beer was insipid, tasteless stuff with a strong chemical aftertaste. Now, just to prove that I'm not entirely anti NDP, I hereby thank them for passing legislation to make neighbourhood pubs possible. I'm not sure who to thank for allowing us to have brew pubs, but that was when we started to see some real variety in beers. The Irish Times is not a brew pub, but it has a lovely selection of ales from the British Isles, including several Irish brews. The Irish seem to be the only people who are able to mass produce beer of such excellent quality. How do they get that fine grained, foamy head percolating up from the depths, anyway?

Still, seven bucks for a pint puts it in the luxury item class. Maybe that's a good thing, too, as it usually means I have to stop after one round.

In those old days of 15 cent beer we used to load the tables to the point of collapse (both ours and the table's) just before closing time. That was a long time ago, but at least by the time I was of age women were allowed to enter a bar without an escort. Canada has a long tradition of protecting us from ourselves. Canadians, especially in the small prairie towns also have a long tradition of getting as drunk as possible and then getting into fights at closing time. Both traditions are alive and well in Victoria, but instead of protecting us from the evils of drink, now 'they' want to save us from the ravages of nicotine. The termites, I mean. When that campaign finally found its way into the traditional barn sized beverage rooms that only hotels could have, the barn sized beverage rooms mostly died. Their clientele of heavy smoking fishermen, farmers, truck drivers and construction workers, who are also heavy drinkers as a rule, pretty much vanished. Many of the hotels vanished, too, putting quite a few people out of work. That didn't matter to the termites, of course.

While they don't like to see us smoke and drink, they don't seem to mind if we do drugs. Oh, the police still enforce the drug laws in a half hearted way, but they know anyone they arrest will be back on the street in jig time. It's all just a show so lawyers and judges can live in grand houses. That's why there are so many drugees on the streets, not to mention living in government supported public housing, buying drugs with their welfare checks, and going through the revolving doors of our judicial system. But that isn't enough. What 'they' say we urgently need is a safe injection site. We have had needle exchanges already, which were not very popular in the neighbourhoods where they were set up. That may explain why they can't find a new location where the neighbours will accept them. I wonder why.

I am not at all sure who 'they' are, but I do know that they always have access to the media and city council, unlike us skeptics who can't seem to get the logic of 'safe injection sites' through our skulls. How does it help solve the drug problem if we make it easier to get drugs? What kind of a mixed message does it send to a kid when he's told by his parents how harmful drugs are, only to find that a government approved and sponsored place to get drugs is just around the corner?

I don't know who 'they' are, but I'm sure they are a species of termite. It failed to spoil my walk through Beacon Hill Park on Sunday to know that 'they' managed to convince a judge to let the homeless to sleep there at night. What a strange world this has become. Nevertheless, the chestnuts have burst into full leaf, the turtles were basking on a mudbank in Goodacre Lake, and only the ducks and squirrels were begging for handouts.

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