FACE TO FACE: Columnists arm in arm, just this once

With Christmas spirit oozing from every pore, your Face-to-Face columnists are this week, arm in arm, for our annual Christmas truce column.

This week, we focus not on why the other guy is so politically misguided but on what it is we share at this time of goodwill, because, after all, it is Christmas, there’s figgy pudding and this is Canada, where our political palaver is civilized and we can disagree without being disagreeable.

And so, after having met recently for some warm winter wassailing, we partisan colleagues humbly, in the spirit of this season, offer the following things about which we agree at this festive time of peace.



Like all Canadians, my colleague and I were both shocked and shaken last week after the shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. We both join the chorus of voices asking our neighbours to the south to finally strengthen gun control laws.

It has been a horrible year for senseless killings in United States: the Colorado movie theatre shooting, the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin and the Oregon mall shooting a few days before the Newtown tragedy. Enough is enough is enough.

By all means, we’re not immune to gun violence in this country. This year we’ve had our fair share of shootings both in Toronto and in Vancouver. Heck, we even had two gang killings in Port Moody.



Right on, Andy. It’s time Americans took on the gun lobby and found ways to actively combat and control gun ownership. This would be good for Canada, too, as it might encourage us to stop relaxing gun control legislation and dumping the long gun registry.

And we agree that the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama is positive for Canada — at least as far as social policy is concerned. We’ll seldom agree on Obama’s or anyone else’s fiscal policies but at least we agree that Obama’s social agenda is more compassionate and Canadian in outlook than was the Republican’s startlingly cruel social agenda, the theme of which seemed to be cease on mirth, goodwill toward none — a bit antithetical to the season.




That’s right Jim, and empathy for others has never been more important than now as our community struggles through the Amanda Todd story.

This year, a 15-year-old girl reminded us that the internet, text messaging and social media have essentially upped the ante when it comes to bullying. Jim, when you and I were at school, we could easily escape the world of bullies at the end of the school day. But now, with all these technologies, bullied kids can never really get away from it.

I think we agree that, as a society, we need to do more to support school and community initiatives to raise awareness about bullying.

Having said that, we’re both tired of the politicians trying to make political hay out of this issue. Please, just help the kids and keep the politics out of it.



Well said, Andy, and speaking of political posturing, we also see eye to eye about the ongoing fight B.C. Premier Christy Clark is having with Alberta Premier Alison Redford over the Gateway Pipeline.  We agree that Ms. Clark’s “B.C. wants more money from the pipeline” stance has as much chance of success as Frosty the Snowman in a Bikram yoga class.

In addition, her “give us some figgy pudding, I won’t go until I get some” pipeline shtick has to win Ms. Clark the 2012 year-end award for best political posturing.

We also agree that it’s time to toss the bums out in B.C. We’ve both written to Santa to ask him to give us an election purge of the BC Liberals next May, in lieu of our annual request for world peace.



With a provincial election coming, Jim, I think 2013 is going to be another year of heady topics for you and I to debate. I know I haven’t been too kind to your left-leaning ego this year but I hope Santa is kind to you and yours over Christmas.

I also want to wish a Merry Christmas to the staff and management at The Tri-City News and to its readers.



And to you Andy, though you’re seldom correct and hopelessly right, may you, colleague and friend, have the very Bradiest of Christmases.

And greetings and thanks to the editor and staff of The Tri-City News, as well as to Face to Face’s committed readers (both of you), for another year of reading our weekly bickering.

Merry Christmas and a rum pum pum pum and fa la la la la to all.

Face to Face columnist Jim Nelson is a retired Tri-City teacher and principal who lives in Port Moody. He has contributed a number of columns on education-related issues to The Tri-City News.

Andy Radia is a Coquitlam resident and political columnist who writes for Yahoo! Canada News and Vancouver View Magazine. He has been politically active in the Tri-Cities, having been involved with election campaigns at all three levels of government, including running for Coquitlam city council in 2005.


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