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Musqueam councillor Wade Grant's intercultural outlook

Beth Hong
Nov 19th, 2012

Musqueam councillor Wade Grant of the Musqueam Nation stands in front of the spindle whirl at the Musqueam Cultural Pavilion. Photo by Beth Hong.

On an overcast day, Musqueam councillor Wade Grant greeted The Vancouver Observer at the Musqueam Community Centre with an easy smile. In jeans and a windbreaker, the 34 year old father of two said he wasn't prepared for the letter from MP Wai Young notifying him that he had been awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubillee Medal for "contributions to citizens, community, and country." He was awarded the medal on November 14.

"I feel honored, it's something that was unexpected but I've done a lot to try to enhance the image, not only my community, but of First Nations outside of our regular interactions with different groups. I think that in order for us to move forward positively we need to start different relationships," he said. "To be recognized for that effort, it was quite humbling."

Mixed-race heritage informs Grant's approach to community partnerships

A Liberal spin doctor on how to fight the right

Beth Hong
Nov 5th, 2012

Self-declared Liberal 'spin doctor' Warren Kinsella. Photo credit:

"Stephen Harper is going to win the next federal election, period."

That was the bold prediction from Warren Kinsella, the self-declared Liberal spin doctor, who dropped by The Vancouver Observer office last week to discuss his latest book, Fight the Right. The cover declares the book as 'a manual for surviving the coming Conservative apocalypse.'

"He's going to win principally because Liberals and New Democrats can't get their acts together," he said. Kinsella is talking about two things in particular: 1) having the NDP and Liberals unite like the Progressive and Reform Conservatives did under Harper, and 2) reclaiming "values" as part of the Canadian left's pitch to voters.

"They connect with people or they seek to connect people-- and I would argue cynically-- at the level of their hearts before their minds. So why did they do that?" Kinsella said, raising his eyebrows.

Irshad Manji’s moral courage

Joanna Chiu
Nov 5th, 2012

Irshad Manji speaking at the Clinton School of Public Service. Photo source:

At four, Irshad Manji arrived in Montreal with her family, wearing clothes so unsuitable for Canadian weather that the immigration agent sent the family to Vancouver.

“The closest thing we have to a mild climate,” the agent explained.

David T. Fung's tips for aspiring Canadian entrepreneurs in China

Beth Hong
Oct 24th, 2012

Hong-Kong born Canadian citizen David T. Fung studied engineering and business in Quebec and Ontario before entering business. He is the current vice-chair of the Canada-China Business Council and CEO of a company with holdings in North America, China and Europe.

Ready or not, China will be Canada's next major trading partner and the primary destination for many brave new entrepreneurs.

The Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPPA), Canada's biggest foreign trade treaty since NAFTA, will get domestic approval status in Canada at the end of October. It's a mutually-binding agreement that Canada and China protect and respect the rights of investors from the partnering country. It's a treaty China-Canada watchers say has immediate symbolic, if not economic, significance.

The Vancouver Observer spoke with David T. Fung, vice-chair of the Canada-China Business Council and CEO who has business partnerships in North America, Europe and Asia about what his top five pieces of advice would be for Canadian entrepreneurs aspiring to start a business or invest in China.

1. Send yourself or your executives to study in China

Canadian stereotypes are true

Beth Hong
Sep 26th, 2012

Rick Mercer outside Science World during his visit to Vancouver for The Rick Mercer Report. Photo source: Rick Mercer Report Facebook page.

Rick Mercer, known as the Canadian Jon Stewart, says Canadians aren't just polite--they're dangerously complacent.

"It’s not Stephen Harper’s fault that he loads his budget full of things nobody has heard of or debated," Mercer said about the last 400-plus page omnibus bill C-38, noting that the bill made hundreds of changes to environmental regulations that most Canadians know little about. "If we don’t react, then we can expect more of the same. Our complacency will be used against us."

Top five K-pop songs on Eat Your Kimchi's playlist

Beth Hong
Sep 16th, 2012

Eat Your Kimchi's Martina and Simon Stawski. Photo source: Instagram.

Eat Your Kimchi is a wildly popular blog and YouTube channel by Canadian couple Simon and Martina Stawski about their life in Korea and Korean pop (K-pop) music. The couple began blogging when they moved to Bucheon, South Korea to teach English in May 2008. They now have over eight million visitors a month from 187 countriesThe Vancouver Observer asked Simon and Martina to list their top-played K-pop songs of the moment. You can also check out the full interview with them here.

Simon's Top 5 Most Played K-pop songs: 

1. Love Song -- Rain (Bi)

2. What is Love -- EXO

Heartland's Alisha Newton

Anja Konjicanin
Sep 13th, 2012

Something about Alisha Newton makes me giggle. She's so poised -- so present. Heartland's new cast member is a four-foot-eight Vancouver kid with 11 candles on her birthday cake, an iPhone 4S and a résumé as long as her hair, which just barely falls over her glittered shoulders.

Wary of the questions about to be thrown at her face, she politely sits down by the tall brick walls of the HiVE and waits.

Will Ty propose? Blank. Will Amy say yes? Blank. Will Alisha take us to spoiler town? No chance.

New kid on the block: "Our script supervisor Wayne puts clothes pegs in my hair"

CBC Television’s most popular family drama does to families every Sunday what Justin Bieber's face does to thirteen-year-old girls every day. The tight-knit cast is a family. Not the kind shared by blood, but, sweat. And heart. Lots of heart.

Arianna Huffington on Western Canada expansion and Asian ambitions

Beth Hong
Aug 20th, 2012

Arianna Huffington. Photo by JD Lasica.

Ahead of the Huffington Post Canada's launch of British Columbia and Alberta editions last Thursday, Huffington Post Media Group president and Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington spoke with The Vancouver Observer about her ambitions for her expansion into Western Canada and beyond.

Huffington is a writer, syndicated columnist and former conservative commentator who became liberal in the late 1990s. Her ex-husband is Republican congressman Michael Huffington.

In 2011, America Online (AOL) Inc. acquired The Huffington Post for US $315 million and made Huffington president and editor in chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, which includes the The Huffington Post and then-existing AOL properties such as Engadget, AOL Music, Patch Media, and StyleList.

Huffington was named as ninth in The Guardian's Top 10 women in media for 2011.

Noriki Tamura talks Japa Dog

Anja Konjicanin
Oct 7th, 2011

Japa Dog fans, from Japa Dog's Facebook page

For Japa Dog owner Noriki Tamura, food vendor wasn't always on the career menu. He moved to Vancouver in 2005. That year, mini Japanese style hot dog carts started popping up around the city. As the lineups grew, so did the demand for more. The Terimayo became the most popular dog on the street. Hot Dog that is...

Vancouver to New York to...

Tamura loves it here. "It's a beautiful city. People are nice," his translator, Noriko Smith, said.

The 36-year-old worked as a sales associate at an advertising company in his native Japan, but his hobby's a little different. "I like trying different hot dogs," Tamura said. 

Now, Tamura's local food stand will have a location outside of Vancouver. Japa Dog is going to New York City and is set to open sometime this year. 

Tzeporah Berman: coming home to Vancouver

Tzeporah Berman
Sep 4th, 2011

For the past year I've been dreaming of Vancouver. Specifically I have been aching for the beaches, wishing I could wake up and see the fresh snow on the mountains and imagining walking through the endowment lands. Yesterday as I stood in a friends apartment with a gorgeous view of the city and the sun setting over the mountains I felt a place in my heart open up that had been dormant for too long and for a minute I couldn’t catch my breath. I knew this would happen. I love this place. I have since I arrived for visit almost twenty years ago and realized that for the first time since I was a child I felt like I was really home.

What I didn’t expect after living a year in Amsterdam was how big the streets would look in Vancouver, how new everything would seem or how strange and kind of sad it would be to see so many cars whizzing by me on the street and so few bikes. A wise friend said to me yesterday that when you travel, no matter how happy you are you will always mourn a little for what you have left behind. Too true. It is so fun to be able to pick up a newspaper and be able to read it!

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