On Emerson, Russell Peters and other arts items


VANCOUVER - Before taking on the David Emerson story, again, lemme itemise some arts notes: Injected, the latest from Urbanflow Productions is at the Scotia Bank Dance Theatre (677 Davie) until tomorrow night. It's described as "a dynamic urban stage show that defines the art of spoken word through music and dance." Good things have been said about it. Check out more information at www.urbanflowproductions.com.


Tonight at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island is the debut of the Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre's latest and final episode of Sex in Vancouver, Doin' it Again. Tickets and information are at their website www.vact.ca.


On Monday night, I tagged along with my publisher Vishal Dhir to be part of the audience at the Russell Peters and Friends show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The sold out crowd was entertained by the likes of Scott Harris, Debra DiGiovanni and Yoshi Obayashi. Peters was the star of the night, the man the house paid to see. He was solid, and rather entertaining.

I must have missed out on the Peters phenomenon. A disparate group of people I know know of him and have been downloading his stuff of the internet for ages now. Monday night, and the two shows he did on Sunday may have been old hat for fans, but it was new to me. What impressed me most was how well Peters did in performing to the house. The Queen E is a big house, and facial expressions are a bit hard to comprehend in some parts of the house, but he did it with ease. The utilisation of swearing throughout the show was gratuitous however. I think it's more reflective of the audience's tastes than the performers, as the f-bomb dropped seemed to elicit applause more easily than a well-honed anecdote or joke.

Another curious aspect of the Russell Peters experience was the sea of blue jeans in attendance. It ain't high theatre to be sure, but it was surprising nonetheless.


The David Emerson story hasn't died. It's been interesting to say the least. Emerson has gotten a rough ride, and has complained. His whining is a bit much; even though I don't think he should resign and contest a by-election. He should be more accessible though, and perhaps take every opportunity he can to speak to the constituents of this riding. It seems that's what they want. Sure, there are those that want his neck, but face it, they're a highly organised bunch. The meeting they had at my old high school Sir Charles Tupper, a couple of weekends ago, was organised by the local area MLA's, all of whom happen to be NDPers. The NDP stands to gain should a by-election take place, and credit ought to go to David Chudnovsky, Adrian Dix and Gregor Robertson who quickly put together that whining session that gave this story longer legs.

As for the defection being undemocratic, well, one can only wonder where all these protestors were when Paul Martin appointed him a candidate in 2004. It seems that Emerson has had this undemocratic streak and it began before he even became a Liberal.

As I've said in this space previously, this stuff about Emerson being greedy seems a bit specious. This defection doesn't reflect well on Stephen Harper and the Conservatives more than it sullies Emerson. The Harper Conservatives have done badly with the way they've handled the Emerson debacle, and they've acted terribly with the Michael Fortier appointment to the cabinet and the Senate. It runs contrary to what the Conservatives under Harper have stood for frankly, and it's a shame that they've proved that it's the same old, same old under Stephen Harper. The West is in, Prime Minister? Not so fast.

So, here's my advice for David Emerson, not that he's asked, and not that he'll probably want it: Minister, be available to talk to constituents, sure it's painful and it's not something you'd want to subject anyone too considering most are upset, some are belligerent, and a few are organised. But you've got to grow up. Sure, you're not political, but you gotta get political. And quick. You're in politics; take the rough with the smooth so long as you're serving as an MP and a minister. And you and your new leader ought to get to work and prove to the naysayers that it was the right decision to make. Prove the cynics wrong and deliver on the promise that crossing the floor was a good idea. Give them results and not anymore whining. If you don't develop a thick skin and all you can do is bellyache, then for the sake of everyone, get out. It's highly precious of someone of your stature and experience to come to voters one month and ask for their vote so that you can serve them, then the next month complain about them when they don't like what you've done. Life ain't fair, Minister, and politics is hardly fair to begin with. You ought to have known that when you entered public life.


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