CBC’s “Live Chemical Reaction” in Vancouver

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CBC Studios (Vancouver)

My wife and I had the pleasure of sitting in on a live taping of Go!  (CBC’s “live chemical reaction”) in Vancouver last Friday.  It was the western finals of the Canada Writes competition, and there were a few surprises in store.

The Go! cast warmed up the audience (and presumably themselves) with banter and a skit.  After that, the show started, and Brent Bambery soon introduced the guest judges.  The panelists included film maker Mina Shum, Spirit of the West frontman John Mann, and commedian Sugar Sammy.

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The Judges

The contestants were introduced, and they each performed a piece written earlier on the worst advice they had ever received (memorable among these were “dude, let’s take your Dad’s van”, and simply “jump!”).

In the second round, a vocalist delivered new lyrics that the aspiring authors penned for popular songs.   One hapless contestant had to rewrite the lyrics to a Spirit of the West classic!  After that, it was time for the first contestant to be ejected from the contest by way of the show’s metaphorical trapdoor.

The remaining contestants had to write a movie pitch in five minutes with assigned titles including “the Fourth Cauldron” (shades of 2010, anyone?), and then produced their shortest works of fiction ever (with a 60 second time limit, no less).

In the midst of all of this, John Mann performed two numbers, and Ian Hanomansing popped in to promo a new NHL themed game that he created.  By the end of the show, one more contestant had been ejected and the two Western finalists were proclaimed.

If you live in the Winnipeg or Toronto areas, additional Canada Writes shows are coming up, and tickets are free!

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Most urban aboriginal people opt to stay in city

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/03/31/urban-aboriginal-peoples-hope-city.html

My initial reaction/rant regarding this story:

While the national Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study bore noteworthy results, this CBC story demonstrates an appalling lack of sophistication. The piece states that “almost half of Canadian Aboriginal people are city dwellers” (this part is true), and goes on to say that “many have no plans to return to their home reserves” (this is terribly off the mark).

What’s wrong with the latter statement? It is a gross generalization. It seems that the terms “Aboriginal” and “First Nations” are being used interchangeably in much of the print and radio coverage today, but these words are not synonymous. The Constitution Act of 1982 recognizes three Aboriginal peoples: Indian (First Nations), Inuit and Métis.

As anyone with a passing knowledge of Canadian history should know, Métis and Inuit people do not have reserves to return to. Moreover, many Aboriginal Canadians – including First Nations people whether or not they hold status under the Indian Act – have been in urban settings for multiple generations. Of course the cities have become home!

As a person of Métis descent, I can attest to the fact that many Aboriginal people feel strong connections to their ancestral homes; however, these bonds are far more varied and complex than this story would lead us to believe.