Braveheart Parody Asks British Columbians to Take a Chance on Proportional Representation

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Viral video has been viewed more than 38,000 times, reaching nearly 80,000 in just over two weeks.  

RICHMOND, BRITISH COLUMBIA (Nov. 28, 2018) – A bad lip reading parody of the movie Braveheart, has struck a silly and democratic chord with British Columbians, tallying more than 38,000 views and thousands of comments, reactions and shares on Facebook in just over two weeks.

BraveVote, a spoof movie trailer, was voiced and produced by Kwantlen Polytechnic University Public Relations & Environmental Protection Technology instructor, Andrew Frank, and was inspired by the American “Bad Lip Reading” series on YouTube.

“At the beginning of BC’s referendum on electoral reform, I remembered that Scotland uses a system of proportional representation, and the idea of doing a take-off on Braveheart flowed from there,” said Frank. “I wasn’t sure if other people would find it funny, but my phone has been lighting up with shares and comments ever since I posted the video on Facebook, and I've since boosted it a couple of times to reach a wider audience with the help of donations from others.”

Humour aside, the video has sparked hundreds of educational discussions about proportional representation, and hundreds of viewers have re-posted the video, encouraging their friends and family to vote.  

A copy of the video is available for media and public use (high resolution):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4ecuRU8s_8
 

BraveVote Facebook Stats

For more information:

Andrew Frank
Public Relations & Environmental Protection Technology Instructor
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
604-367-2118

Let's Bring BraveVote to the Masses!

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With tens of thousands of video views in just a few days, BraveVote has struck a democractic chord with British Columbians, but there are millions of citizens who haven’t seen it yet.

Each $1 donated buys an ad boost on Facebook, reaching up to 350 citizens who can share the video too. Let’s fight together for proportional representation and our FREEEEEEDDOOOOMM!!!

I consent to my donation being used for referendum advertising.
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Pipelines In British Columbia: What's Behind the Controversy?

PIpelines in BC: What's behind the controversy?

I had the real pleasure and honour of giving a public talk at Science World this evening on the topic of pipelines as part of the Science World Speaker Series (the next talk is on November 27th, and is titled, "The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living: Science, Skepticism and Evidence in the Age of 'Alternative Facts'"). We had over eighty in attendance and the audience contributions and efforts to explore the values and interests that underpin opposing pipeline positions was valuable and inspiring. Thank you to everyone who came out, including my fellow EPTers and KPU colleagues! Special thanks to those who provided feedback on the presentation so that I can refine it for future talks. Despite the seriousness of the topic, I had a lot of fun, and I hope you did too.

As promised, here are the PowerPoint slides I used, free for public consumption (please note, I don't have copyright for all images/graphics used, and I rely on the Fair Dealing provisions of copyright for educational purposes).

Also, if you're interested, I did an interview this morning with CKNW radio as a preview to tonight's talk, and we touched on some related pipeline issues. The interview starts at Chapter 4 of the audio file titled, "Feds Join the Fight, Union Work & Defusing Pipeline Politics." Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Finally, if you've read this far, I'll leave you with the conclusion I intended for tonight's presentation but didn't quite get to (we had a lot to talk about): 

A mediated solution between the opposing pipeline positions may not be possible, but those involved in the pipeline debate have not yet deeply listened to the other side, or explored their respective interests and values.

By focusing on interests and shared values we open the door to a clearer picture of future possibilities and the prospect of a collaborative future.

Indigenization Time Release - Researcher's Statement

I recently applied for and was selected for a time release position to support Indigenization efforts in the School of Business at KPU. I applied for the position as a non-indigenous ally with a precondition: If there was an applicant with an Indigenous background, or someone with more experience, I would respectfully withdraw my application. Unfortunately there was not an Indigenous applicant for the position (a sign of the work ahead).

In taking on this work, I'm offering myself as a settler helper - an intermediary who can collect and coordinate information and planning that is led, inspired and informed by the Kwantlen, Musqueam, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen, Qayqayt and Kwikwetlem peoples whose unceded territories we work, study and live in ("Territorial Acknowledgement," n.d.). My work is guided by the maxim "Nothing about us, without us." This means building relationships with Indigenous nations, taking guidance, and working from scratch on means of Indigenizing not only our curriculum and teaching, but our institutional culture and operations as well.

I am mindful that Indigenization is a process of institutional decolonization, and that decolonization is a distinct and sovereign project, different from other human rights and civil rights-based social justice projects (Tuck & Yang, 2012). Tuck and Yang offer a clear and critical reminder to maintain the integrity of decolonization (and by extension Indigenization efforts):

Decolonization brings about the repatriation of Indigenous land and life; it is not a metaphor for other things we want to do to improve our societies and schools. The easy adoption of decolonizing discourse by educational advocacy and scholarship, evidenced by the increasing number of calls to "decolonize our schools," or use "decolonizing methods," or "decolonize student thinking," turns decolonization into a metaphor." (2012, p. 1).

Guided by this reminder, as well as scholarship on restitution and reconciliation by Indigenous scholars like Dr. Taiaiake Alfred, I hope to contribute to meaningful Indigenization efforts in the School of Business that advance true decolonization, restitution and perhaps following those prerequisites, reconciliation.

This is work I am privileged to be doing. I know I will learn a great deal, and I am humbled by the generosity of the Indigenous elders I have already begun speaking with.

References

Kwantlen Polytechnic University. (n.d.). Territorial Acknowledgement. Retrieved from: http://www.kpu.ca/about/territorial-acknowledgement

Tuck, E. & Yang, K. (2012). Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1 (1), 1-40.

Climate Crisis and Journalism: A Roundtable on Rethinking Media for Planetary Emergency

I'll be joining colleagues from SFU and members of the media in a roundtable discussion of the climate crisis and journalism this Monday. If you're interested in joining the discussion, come on down!

SFU Vancouver @ Harbour Centre, Room HC 7000; Monday 15 May, 5 - 7 pm

Questions for the panel

From organizer, Prof. Robert Hackett: What kind(s) of journalism (practices, institutions, policies) do we need to enable people, communities and governments to address the climate crisis effectively?  What can we learn from professional experience, and academic research concerning climate change? 

These are the questions for this panel, which takes as a starting point a new book, Journalism and Climate Crisis: Public Engagement, Media Alternatives, by R. Hackett, S. Forde, S. Gunster, and K. Foxwell-Norton (Routledge, 2017).  In part a product of the CCPA’s Climate Justice project, this book takes as a starting point the complicity of corporate news media in diverting humanity from the existential challenge posed by climate chaos.  The book’s main themes are these: 

While climate change is heavily under-reported relative to the scale of the problem, the key shortcoming of conventional news media is lack of, not information, but of agency, hope and efficacy.  Journalism needs to rethink its mission: it’s less about the informed citizen, and more about engaged publics – and mobilized social movements. 

In that light, journalism needs to complement its monitorial function (reporting on events and issues) with more emphasis on the facilitative role of promoting public discussion, and the radical role of identifying injustice, accessing marginalized voices, and advocating social change.  The latter two roles are particularly well-suited to the ‘alternative’ media, given their oppositional content, participatory production, engagement with communities and movements, and ownership and control independent of corporations and the petro-state. 

Still, no single type of journalism could meet all the demands of planetary crisis – or of democratic communication.  Previous experiments within ‘mainstream’ media, including Public Journalism and Peace Journalism, may also offer some valuable lessons for climate crisis communication.

Moreover, even within ‘western’ traditions, there are competing models of democracy, each emphasizing different roles for media. 

Democracy?  In an alarmingly short time, the global political environment appears to have shifted towards pulling up drawbridges, building walls, demonizing Others, and (to mix metaphors) scrambling for the lifeboats rather than collectively stopping the ship from sinking. 

Thus, climate crisis is arguably not just a matter of environmental degradation and economic systems, but also of political and communicative capacity.  For climate action, we need better democracy.  For better democracy, we need better media.  For better media, we need better media structures, including stronger independent media.  And for all these things, we need an active and engaged civil society.

With their combination of journalism experience and media scholarship, the panelists bring to bear their distinct perspectives on these themes.

Enbridge Pipeline Decision: Art Sterritt Available to Comment on Federal Cabinet's Northern Gateway Decision for Gitga'at First Nation

Gitga'at First Nation spokesperson in Vancouver for media interviews and commentary

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 29, 2016) - Gitga'at First Nation spokesperson, Art Sterritt, will be in Vancouver on Tuesday, November 29th and Wednesday, November 30th, and is available for media interviews and commentary on the Federal Cabinet's decision on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

Prime Minister Trudeau and Justice Minister Jodi Wilson-Raybould visited the Gitga'at community of Hartley Bay and the Great Bear Rainforest just before the last federal election to announce their opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

Who: Art Sterritt, Gitga'at First Nation Spokesperson
What: Media availability and commentary on Federal Cabinet decision
When: Tuesday, November 29 & Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tuesday's decision was put in motion by a Federal Court of Appeal victory won by the Gitga'at and their allies this past summer that quashed the federal cabinet approval of the pipeline and required the government to consult with First Nations, or end the project.

Gitga'at territory encompasses approximately 7,500 square kilometres of land and water, including a major portion of Douglas Channel, which is the proposed route oil tankers would have to travel to get to and from Kitimat.

Contact Information

Art Sterritt
Gitga'at First Nation
604-868-9110

Trudeau's LNG Approval Raises Troubling Questions For Progressive Voters in B.C.

As a progressive voter, it was disappointing to watch the sunset press conference, hastily organized on the banks of the Fraser River earlier this week, to announce the federal approval of Petronas's Pacific Northwest LNG project. Hosted by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (cue the irony), the event welcomed an industrial project that would trample First Nations' rights and title, and make it virtually impossible for B.C. to meet its legislated greenhouse gas emission targets.

As the news sunk in, I couldn't help but feel my own faith in the Trudeau government fading like the sun that was setting behind his Ministers.

Just under a year ago, I wrote an opinion piece, identifying where progressive British Columbians in the Lower Mainland should strategically vote Liberal to defeat Stephen Harper. The Liberals ended up winning in all but two of the 11 ridings I recommended (the other two going to Conservatives Alice Wong and Dianne Watts in Richmond Centre and South Surrey-White Rock, respectively).

In making my case, I listed 10 reasons why a progressive voter in the Lower Mainland could feel positive about voting Liberal based on their election platform and party policy, including a new relationship with First Nations, evidence-based scientific decision-making, and action on climate change.

Unfortunately, the Trudeau cabinet approval of Pacific Northwest LNG sharply calls into question the government's commitment to these policies, and progressive voters in B.C. must now seek and deserve answers to two simple questions:

1.    How is this approval consistent with establishing a new relationship with First Nations based on respect and meaningful consultation?

2.    How is this approval consistent with evidence-based scientific decision-making and action on climate change?

With regard to the first question, Lelu Island, the site of the proposed LNG plant, is subject to complicated and unresolved First Nations titleholder claims. This makes approval inconsistent with the government's legal responsibilities to First Nations, let alone its moral obligations. In Question Period, the Prime Minister glossed over opposition questions about the government's respect for First Nations, and he spoke of "folding in" consultation with indigenous leaders. Was this a slip of the tongue or a true glimpse into Trudeau's actual views on meaningful consultation?

On the issue of climate change and scientific decision-making, this approval gives Petronas, wholly owned by the Malaysian government, nearly a third to as high as 75 - 87% (depending on whose numbers you use) of the total allowable emissions for B.C. in 2050, assuming we are going to meet our legislated climate target of 13 megatonnes that year. This leaves little to no room for the emissions of other sectors of the economy, or for British Columbians personally, making it virtually impossible to achieve our targets. How will Canada meet its international climate commitments if our provinces don't meet theirs?  

In response to the public outrage this approval has generated, Trudeau and his Ministers have repeated a non-sequitur about growing the economy and protecting the environment (not possible when we're talking about expanding fossil fuel infrastructure in the context of climate change), and platitudes about conducting resource development in the "most sustainable manner possible" (it's either sustainable or it isn't).

This approval violates some very closely held progressive values, and in the absence of answers and real action on these troubling questions, the hope of thousands of progressive voters in B.C. who helped elect this government, may go the same way as his Ministers' press conference: off into the sunset.

How a New Generation Is Fighting to Survive Climate Change

Earlier this year I had a chance to be interviewed by Geoff Dembicki for a new book he’s writing called “Are We Screwed?” for Bloomsbury US. It focuses on how millennials are fighting climate change with new political and economic strategies. Some of my own efforts as a citizen will be discussed in the book, and were mentioned in Geoff’s recent talk at TEDxEastVan. The Tyee also has an article/transcript of Geoff’s talk here.