Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This message won't be lost on you

I want to buy a new year
one in which things are better than they are here
A fire of love is on fire in my heart
I knew right from the start
the thought of this would make me cry
not tears of sadness or tears of joy
I feel like a toy soldier's gun
they bring me out for fighting or just for fun
Whenever I sit down in a corner
I make sure to keep my back against the wall
That's when the best decisions are made
especially the ones that are life and death
Crossing the line is what I do best
I want to tell you all that I love you
But I don't want you to think I am crazy
Because sometimes that is what it feels like
When I am standing alone
screaming into the night
Write, write, write is what I tell myself
Fight, fight, fight is what is left in me
I cannot help it, I see a chance to win
and I take it
That is what we all do
when we are not busy trying
to make ourselves look good
on our profile page
or up on the stage
It is strange
that we always get lost
even with a map

What happens next?

I see the world and it sees me
the same 
much too much to think about
sadness and time passing are the same
in this neverending glory story
the one in which I burn
instead of running away
I yearn for the comfort
of the old days
when men were men
and the fires were bright
now the bosses 
keep track of the losses
and the nights are long with regret
I admit, I am always under slept
It is what I get
for lying
and trying to forget
I am part of the community
Some kind of absurdity
got me here
and keeps me here
I stay because I like the shade of light
I can see through the dust
I can see through the clouds
The time is now
for us to get behind the plough
Our existence is dictated
by frustrating occupation
and the desertion of resolutions
that we made late into the night
There is nothing wrong with me
I just want to talk
I want to be heard
and understood
that's why all the words
all the time
Who knew this would be my passion
or distraction, or even my fashion
what looks good on the paper 
is good on the screen
I cannot, for the life of me
remember where I have been
to hell and back, it seems
I still have my dreams


Monday, May 28, 2012

Letter to Joe Oliver:

Hi Sir,
I see that I just tried to take the online survey twice. The one on your site that asks if I think your government is taking the right approach to 'responsible' resource development. I had to say 'no' for now because I am afraid of all these omnibus bills that are being rammed through the House with very little debate. I mean, I know you guys have the Majority and everything but you don't always have to invoke closure, just to be spiteful. I mean, come on, the Bloc has been reduced to nothing. The NDP is the opposition and we both know how long that's going to last. As long as the left is split on the vote, you guys can just sail to victory once again. (with or without phone calls)

The thing is, even Alberta just swung a bit to the left. And that's no joke. The Conservatives have held power there for 41 years, soon to be the longest held government in Canadian history. But don't forget, these are Conservatives that still have the Progressive in their name. The Wild Rose party was predicted to win the election in some media outlets. Instead, they garnered 17 seats as the province strategically voted in a lot of cases, just to keep the Tea Party North out of the Legislature. 
If Alberta is lost, your party is nowhere. They are your bread and butter. So too, go the many areas of support that your party enjoys in B.C. Both provinces enjoy a healthy standard of living directly due to their resource exploitation. So, we should really have nothing to complain about. 

We want responsible resource extraction, not to be dictated to by foreign corporations, who have a shady human rights record.
If we want to talk about business and leave the environmental debate out of it, it makes no economic sense to send raw bitumen to the coast, to be sent to China and refined there. 
For your government to label people that care, as extremists and foreign operatives, is very upsetting to me, as a proud Canadian. It reeks of some kind of McCarthyism scare tactics of the 1950s against legitimate groups and citizens. Does your government know what it means to be a citizen? One of the responsibilities of a citizen is to defend his country. I grew up on this coast, I love it and I would defend it. There are some of the largest tracts of temperate rainforest on the planet here, ocean wildlife that would absolutely knock your socks off. I was a commercial fisherman, so I feel like I have a real connection to it. It was one of my first jobs, as a teenager, on a fishing boat out of Prince Rupert. 

I wonder if you believe your own words, or are you instructed to say what you do? It's probably a bit of both, I would guess. That's part of being in a party. You ever think of going independent? You could, you know. You wouldn't have to cross the floor. Peter McKay wouldn't have to cry.
I just wanted to write because I think you should know that not every person that voices their opposition to something is a granola munching eco-terrorist. There are many of us. Our tax dollars are what makes this place work. As someone who has an MBA, you must know this.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Free Paul Watson.

Paul Watson's chances are looking better these days. He spoke with the Costa Rican foreign minister today regarding a deal that they had almost brokered back in 2001, before all this business of Sea Shepherd interfering with commercial operations of shark finning. This is the practice where they cut the fins off of sharks and then throw them back in the water. Live.
It doesn't take a genius to know that this is a cruel and stupid practice, all to satisfy consumers, who falsely believe the fins contain special powers of virility and fertility. The fins contain almost nothing in the way of nutrients. It is stupid that we are wiping out sharks for this.
We must stop it. Now.
Do not support any establishment that serves it, although you would be hard pressed to find it nowadays, it has gone underground since it has become so unpopular.
Sharks are absolutely vital to oceanic survival and in turn, our survival.
Spread the word. Make it viral in your community.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Letter to

To whom it way concern at your organisation:
I am disgusted and saddened by your response regarding the coming out of 2 comic characters.
In this day and age, when gay people are finally seeing some respite from homophobic groups, including the Hollywood entertainment industry, which you disparage so much.
Can you not put down your strict moral code and see that there are millions of gay teens and young people who can not help their sexuality? The suicide rate among gay teens is more than four times that of straight teens. Your organisation perpetuates ignorance and defamation, which leads to more hate and fear.
Marvel and DC should be proud to allow their characters to finally be free and not be living a secret, double life, in fear of people and groups such as yours.
At a time when some churches are ordaining gay ministers, when the US military has scrapped it's harmful 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy, at a time when the President and the Vice President have come out in support of same sex marriage, your organisation is promoting old world, archaic values, which are exclusionary and harmful to young people.
Every time someone wants to teach a young person about the adversities of life, there is a group like yours trying to shield them from the harsh realities of life. The reality is that you are in a minority. If you want to be ignorant, keep it in your own house or church group. The rest of us are just trying to get by without being persecuted by your puritanical ilk.
Good day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Hush now, baby, don't you cry...

the next shot came from a gun

The Kmer Rouge killed 2 million people. Give or take. Every person they executed was given the opportunity to have their photo taken. In the moments before they were shot by firing squad. This little girl was one of them.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

More Pictures

 Oak tree in field
Kanaka Creek, Fraser River

letter to German Minister of Justice;

Dear Minister,
I am writing to implore you to thoroughly examine your position of the extradition of Paul Watson to Costa Rica. I am happy that bail was granted, however, Mr. Watson is seen as a hero to thousands of activists worldwide and his extradition to a country whose justice system may be influenced by organized crime, will be viewed as a regressive slap in the face.
Your country is seen as a global leader when it comes to progressive environmental policy. I live in Canada, where we have been slipping backward for some time. I often look to Germany for hope when it comes to our future.
So, I must admit, I am puzzled by your decision to extradite a global hero for the crime of standing up for marine wildlife. This man should be seen as nothing less than a global crusader and receive nothing less than a hero's welcome when he arrives on foreign soil.
Please consider your decision, as it will not be taken lightly. 
Thank you.
Tony Durke.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Word to the CPC Minister of Fisheries and Oceans;

Hello, Right Honourable Minister of Fisheries and Oceans,
I am writing you today to voice my continuing displeasure at this country's determination to continue the barbaric and economically pointless annual seal hunt in Newfoundland and Labrador. The majority of Canadians oppose this practice, as well as the rest of the world. The EU has banned it, the US banned imports years ago, even Russia, the champion of human and animal rights, has now declared their opposition.
Oh well, I guess there is still China. Canada is happy to facilitate the needs of China in any way, even at the expense of Canadians, the environment and animals. That's the CPC way, though, isn't it? One of the ministers, just the other day, claimed that , "this country has been run by progressives for long enough". What a statement! Like being progressive has hurt Canada in some way and now that the (regressive) CPC has a majority, Canada will slide backward into the ways of the past. 
The quota was set this year at just under 400,000 seals. Where will all these seal pelts be going? Surely, it will be difficult to move these pelts, now that nobody wants them.
I find it ridiculous that your government touts free market economics and then heavily subsidises failing industries, using tax dollars. Should the laws of supply and demand not dictate this market? If they did, this archaic industry would be long gone. But, would also be long gone, your government fears, is those few seats you garnered by propping up a few communities of fishermen and their families.
It would be a lot cheaper, in the long run, to just buy out those licenses. Just think, there were probably once people in Newfoundland and Labrador that were employed by a telegraph service but times changed and those same people eventually got jobs with the telecom companies, or maybe they became broadcasters. 
There was a time when the end of the slave trade in the US was being protested vehemently by the landowners because they said America would be bankrupt without all the subsidies of free labour to prop it up. You see where I am going with this. If you absorb the loss of 'revenue' from the end of the seal hunt, you will be hailed as heroes.
I know, the Federal Government has never been too popular in Newfoundland and Labrador. They never have, Liberal or otherwise. The Feds can never seem to do right by Newfoundlanders. So why do you care? The Liberals were blamed for the collapse of the cod fishery, even though if they had placed limitations on quotas, they would have been hated for that too.
The fact is, people who rely on resources tend to blame governments for all that goes wrong. I once was a commercial fisherman for many years and I can tell you, they are an ignorant bunch, willing to take up arms against anything new that they may not fully understand. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. But that is what they are: exceptions. This group will find something else to cut down or kill if the seal hunt is discontinued. In the meantime, your government will look like heroes, the seals will be seals and the small group of fishermen can re-train under a government sponsored program. It is the same program I trained under many years ago, when I made my shift from a resource based industry, where I was a repetitive EI user and a constant liability in the workforce. 
Think about it.
Tony Durke.

1995, the year i left town

The bejewelled, bedevilled defector
got out while the going was good
Ran away with the baby
Out into the day
eventually the night
It was the right
thing to do
It's me
not you
should explain
the way things got away
when you expected me to stay
at least for a while
a day
or two
I packed up my books again
I am looking for friends
To agree with me
but not too much
It's the out of touch
that makes me wince
I set a truce from all the abuse
I'm amused at my use of excuses
Caught out on the border
by the protectors
and preachers
The teachers all went for coffee
and left us with a bad taste
It was a waste of a good youth
And to tell you the truth
I made haste
just to leave and be free
or at least
to find longer chains
It was the music that saved me
again and again
let's refrain from repetition
but it's true
It's those years left behind
and the time to unwind
or unravel
I travelled and tried
and sometimes I cried
in the lateness of day
or at something I'd seen
that left me without breath
like fear of death
or public speaking

 1970s home furnishings, front street
tug and barge on fraser river
 High Line windows
 department store escalators
boxcar and building
 house and sky, friday, after work
 crumbling building, new west
three train tracks

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs

Enbridge and the Feds are right about one thing, the Northern Gateway Pipeline will bring jobs, that's for sure.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Free Paul Watson.

Please sign the petition below to free Paul Watson. It is obscene that a man who has given his entire life to the defence of the animals of the sea, would be the one in jail and not the people who perpetrate criminal acts of poaching and finning of sharks. 
A single man has pushed conservation ahead by a measurable percent and we all owe him at least the time it takes to sign your name. Paul Watson shall fall on the good side of history, whatever his fate. When will now become history? I don't want to wait.
As he says, "For the Oceans"...

Monday, May 7, 2012


The news is out again
The story is preferable to the action
left alone, we start to think
and we all know where that leads
next thing, you'll want change
and not just for yourself
but for others
walking the tightrope of us and them
enemies and friends
Deck chairs and all that
It's the clouds that release the rain
not the death of a spider
When will we learn to read between the lines?
In faces and pages we rage
and lose ourselves
if even just for a second
And then stand with our caps in hand
demanding to be vanquished
in the face of our masters
the disaster is our cash

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dear Government...

Dear Government: It's me, Tony. Again. I must be sounding like a broken record over this whole seal thing. It is something that I really feel strongly about and I am not going to go away. Neither are all the other people that know the commercial seal hunt is a mistake for this country.
It is not just me that is saying this, though, is it? The voices are becoming louder and bigger every day. The EU has banned it, Russia has banned it, the US banned it years ago.
But, good old Canada just keeps trucking along, don't we? Our heads up our asses.
What are we possibly gaining with this? Please, let me in on the secret, because I cannot figure it out. We cannot possibly be making any money on it anymore, what with all the markets no longer buying. Are you buying votes with seal pelts? I mean, a few votes from fishers and trappers in Labrador can't be holding this government up.
Why don't you buy out these licenses? It makes good economic sense. And good political sense. The world won't hate us anymore. Well, there is still the Kyoto thing but we won't get into that right now.
I know you guys are concerned about those fishers out there in the Gulf, but why don't you send them out here to BC, where they can be re-trained as software developers?
EA is huge here and Microsoft is opening a thing here.
Maybe they can develop a game called "seal clubber", where you get to go out on the ice and club fictitious baby seals. Everyone wins. The seals don't suffer, the fishers get new jobs, the government pats itself on the back and says, "Look what we did!"
And that, my friends, is politics.
Think about it.
Stop the hunt. Seriously. Do the right thing.
Tony Durke

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Welcome to the Conservative Party of Canada's re-education weekend seminar. You may not fully agree with our policies, but by the end of this training session, we will have you canvassing for the party. In an NDP stronghold riding. You will be so stoked about all the new stuff you learned, you will do anything for the party.
Now, how about that Saanich/Gulf Islands riding?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Another letter to the moronic feds:

I'm writing to urge you to support Sen. Mac Harb's bill to end Canada's commercial seal slaughter and transition Canadians in sealing regions into sustainable economic programs.
Now that Russia--which had been importing 95 percent of Canadian seal pelts--has joined the U.S., the European Union, Mexico, and others in banning seal fur, there are no markets. Sen. Harb's bill benefits all parties: seals, sealers, and Canadian taxpayers, who pay millions to prop up a dead industry when many are struggling just to pay their bills.

What an absolutely ridiculous thing to pour funds into such a cruel, antiquated and embarrassing practice. As a Canadian, I am horrified that this country is still partaking in this theatre of pain.
And please do not insult our intelligence by repeating the erroneous information that the sealers are adhering to laws regarding cruelty-free slaughter methods. We have all seen countless videos and photos and have even heard testimony from the sealers themselves, that many seals suffer a horrible and painful death, getting skinned alive and left on the ice to bleed to death. Or the pups are just drowned.

Most of these pups are under 8 weeks old!
Keep in mind that these are warm blooded animals, who have live births and most definitely feel pain.

Stop making this country an imbecile on the world stage. Stop continuing this cruel and inhumane practice. Stop the world's largest mass killing of sea mammals every year. Canada is better than that. We are better than that.

Tony Durke.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Granville Bridge
Red Planet
Kopman shoots Durko

Top 10 Deathbed Films

If I only had 10 more movies to watch before I kicked it, the following would be my list:

The Darjeeling Limited, Wes Anderson
The Big Lebowski, The Coen Brothers
The New World, Terrence Malick
Blade Runner, Ridley Scott
Magnolia, PT Anderson
Inception, Christopher Nolan
The Princess Bride, Rob Reiner
Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels, Guy Ritchie
Good Will Hunting, Gus Van Sant
12 Monkeys, Terry Gilliam

There is nothing scientific about this list. It is pretty accurate though. For what I think about movies.