As perhaps the only thing more terrifying than Stelmach with 61 seats is Stelmach with 72 seats, it's about now when everyone realizes the one thing all young progressives in this city eventually realize:
it's time to move to British Columbia.
This last reading break was the first time I visited Vancouver since I was probably eight and it was an experience similar to that of visiting a foreign country. From the very limited experience I've had visiting there, there are approximately two major downsides to living in Vancouver:
One, it's expensive
Two, it's rainy, sometimes.
Rent is generally more, as is transit and gas. It also rains a lot and it tends to be overcast. This, however, is entirely a moot point, as in exchange for that dreariness, Vancouver gets almost no snow. Their cars start year-round without having to be plugged in. They can go snowboarding at Whistler in the morning and golfing at the University of British Columbia's own golf course in the afternoon. As a Calgarian by way of Moose Jaw (that's in Saskatchewan), the only response possible to watching the Weather Network in Jan. is to shake your head and mutter, "God damn you, Vancouver. God damn you."
Frankly, even the rain complaint needs to be balanced. While it was apparently an anomaly, I had four straight days of 10 degree sunshine while I was there, in the middle of Feb. Moss was growing on trees. Flowers were blooming. Trees had leaves. It was, in short, absolutely gorgeous.
It goes a bit beyond that, though. In terms of civil engineering, Vancouver is centuries ahead of Calgary. I had always wondered why people from Vancouver living in Calgary constantly bitch about public transit, when the C-Train is considered to be one of the better systems in the west. I now know. By way of the Sky Train, one can travel from Vancouver downtown to Burnaby in about half an hour, and for about $7. Trains come every five minutes, except during the slow periods, where they're every seven. It is intelligent, progressive and doesn't interfere with traffic-an issue constantly plaguing the C-Train.
You don't even have to move to Vancouver! British Columbia contains the Okanagan, which is one of the most beautiful and fertile areas around, and also the Rockies, which contain excellent skiing and fields upon fields of illicitly-growing cannabis. Although B.C. alternates between being considered a "have" and "have-not" province, that's really just a scam by the federal government to move Albertan petrodollars to the coast, where they can actually be enjoyed by people, specifically the ones that don't vote Conservative.
Speaking of people who enjoy life and don't vote Conservative, did I mention that the aforementioned illicitly-growing cannabis isn't very illicit given that it's B.C.'s second-biggest industry, just behind logging? Damn near everyone smokes it there, and the supply is not only plentiful but also cheap and potent. This libertarian attitude alone makes B.C. a worthwhile destination for the Tory-weary traveller.
So, don't give up hope, young Calgarians! There's a shining bright light to the west, one of progressive thought, excellent weather, and powerful kush. Let the exhaust from your daily commute be replaced by smoke from a friendly bong hit, the dreary banality of Calgary replaced by the cheerful exuberance of coastal living. A wise friend told me a truth as a child, and truer words have never been spoken: "East is anything past Hope, B.C."
That, and it sure as hell beats Saskatchewan.