Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tourist typist goes shopping

With the revolving door of tourist typists moving in and out of the ranks of the Frostbite Falls Fishwrap, it’s hard to keep tabs on who’s who.

Each time we get a new reporter here, we have to endure the training period of this newbie, who gets scared out of bed when a fighter jet flies overhead or when he plays mix and match on the names and faces of the people in Streetbeat.

You’d think by now the Fishwrap would have a policy on topics these tourists should avoid writing about. Obviously they don’t, so I’ll help them out here.

This week’s Inuvik Dumb has an editorial titled “Getting the shaft,” where he whimpers about the high price of food here. The typist drones on about his trip to Whitehorse, where he found lower-priced food than Inuvik. What a revelation! Your Pulitzer is in the mail, Mr. Editor.

Here’s the first paragraph:

“Living in Inuvik, I go through phases where I lose track of the outside world and just accept certain things, good and bad, about living in a remote location.”

For starters, maybe your world exists outside Inuvik, but your readers’ world is right here. Maybe you feel Inuvik is remote, but this is the home of your readers. We all know you’re a tourist. You don’t need to remind us each week. 

As bad as this rag is, this is our newspaper -- not your fucking travelogue. Maybe your parents or buddies back home might appreciate hearing about your adventures on your little trip to our "remote" town, but you're paid to record the history of this place. 

Secondly, people who live here don’t need to be reminded of the cost of food. They’ve been paying it long before you stepped off the plane for your arctic adventure.

It gets worse. He moans on about paying $10 year-round for two litres of milk. I don’t know where he’s been buying his milk, but even when the road was out, I've never paid more than $9. 

The tourist calls for an “arm’s length government body” that would monitor the price of food on store shelves. Hate to break news to the news guy, but we already have that in place – it’s called the “free market.”

We have three grocery stores here that are all competing for our food dollar. The intrepid reporter might get off his lazy ass and go price check himself.

Another tip for the news guy: if you spend less time driving to Whitehorse and more time covering your beat, you might actually gain some credibility with your readers.

On a brighter note, I see the Fishwrap has snagged a shining star with the addition of Katie May. While the tourist was away shopping in Whitehorse, Katie picked up the slack in this week’s Dumb, with some fine news writing.

I’ll be sad to see her go, but that’s the reality. The good ones come for the experience and move on to the dailies in the south. The rest (like the mouth-breathing meat blob, Piggy Puglia) will go uncalled for and resort to spell checking in the integrity-free zone of the Fishwrap’s newsroom.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The pipe dream lives on

Although bingo caller Green Julie squawked that this year’s Inuvik Petroleum Show was a dismal failure, the numbers were only slightly down from last year.

At the closing dinner and Ron James’ comedy show you couldn’t even find a place to stand.

Green Julie loves to downplay the success of these events as it gives her and her ilk the impression that they are winning the war against humans.

The mood was subdued, the smiles were strained and the SWAG not so plentiful, but there is hope. The faithful know that this project will go ahead and that momentum can build incredibly fast.

By this time next year, things are most likely to be much different here. The NEB will snatch the report from the incapable hands of the Joint Review Panel, deposit it in the nearest trash can and rubber stamp this pipeline from here to Zama City. Next year’s petroleum show will be the biggest we’ve ever had.

An interesting part of the conference agenda was on media coverage of the Mackenzie Gas Project. Conference Chair Anne Crossman hosted Claudia Cattaneo of the National Post, Bob Weber of the Canadian Press and, because there was an extra seat, Green Julie.

While introducing herself, Green boasted she was the mother of an “Inuvialuit beneficiary.” She somehow thought this was relevant to the topic or that the act of spawning this progeny made her a more credible journalist. As if to say, “I’m so Northern, I even took a 'country lover' and bore his fruit.”

To her credit, Green never uttered the words “tar sands” once, but did make excuses for her persistent coverage from the green perspective.

“Environmental groups are well-organized and easy to reach for reporters on deadlines,” Green admitted.

Nice. So we have to hear from Kevin O'Reilly on every story, because you’re too lazy to seek out a credible source?

Ms. Crossman asked for opinions on “blogs.” Green Julie couldn’t resist firing off a shot that she can’t give any credibility to someone “writing rants from their home office.”

Hate to burst Green’s bubble, but many of those “rants” are read by more people in one day, than listen to her snarky voice all year.

I did have a good chat with Bob Weber later that day and we laughed about the first time we wrote about this pipeline – over ten years ago. I wrote my first news story on the Aboriginal Pipeline Group forming while in Fort Simpson and have, largely by accident, followed it from there to Hay River and here to Inuvik.

What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This little Piggy gets outted

As a journalist and elected public official, I’ve had to develop a pretty thick skin. There isn’t much that offends me and I welcome criticism and debate (your stupid comments) on this page.

That said, when you start calling my town “buttfuck nowhere,” the gloves come off.

So I’m outing the Frostbite Falls Fishwrap’s spellchecker Chris “Piggy” Puglia, who’s been posting as Anonymous on my site almost since I started.

There’s no such thing as posting anonymous on this page, as I have Sitemeter installed, which identifies every post and visit by IP address. I confronted the coward with a message on Facebook:


Terry Halifax

Today at 8:12am

the next time you post another chickenshit comment on my page, you might as well sign your name.

I can track your IP.

You can also look forward to a sampling of just how "macho" I can be face-to-face someday too.


Chris Puglia

Add as Friend

Today at 8:19am

Report Message

OMG you know who I am...hahaha, like I don't know you can track my IP address. Oh, and is that a threat? Don't threaten me Halifax.


I’ve never met this tourist typist, but judging from his command over the English language, he’s destined to be a Fishwrapper for many years to come – no legitimate paper would hire him.

Puglia has been terrorizing bloggers with his chicken-shit anon posts for some time now. I suspect it’s small manhood syndrome that provokes these cowardly attacks, but now that he’s been exposed, you can rest assured that the teeny weeny will shrink away to nothing.

I invite Mr. Puglia to Inuvik to see how residents appreciate his editorial stance on our fair little town and I look forward to confronting the sniveling little coward face-to-face.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Opportunities North -- to Alaska

I hope you had a good week of fishing, because there was plenty of fishwrap with the publication of the now-fictional three section supplement Opportunities North inserted in the Frostbite Falls Fishwrap.

This enormous waste of trees is an annual offering at the Fishwrap, but has really outlived it’s usefulness -- if it ever had any -- outside of using advertising dollars to wrap fish.

The only “opportunities” left in the North are for the parasites; lawyers and consultants feeding off the aboriginal groups or for the eco-thugs who brought this economy to its knees. 

If you can sleep at a boardroom table without slobbering too much or snoring too loud, you can take an appointment at one of the 100s of redundant boards.

These are the crumbs left after the cake was put back in the oven.

While we sat silent, the eco-freaks and redundant regulators legislated a living and a legacy away from the people of the NWT.

On Friday, Exxon announced that they’d be backing TransCanada’s bid on the Alaska pipeline, driving yet another nail in the coffin of the Mackenzie Gas Project.

The US has already offered up $18 billion in loan guarantees, with another $30 billion forthcoming, while our government is playing their cards close to their chest. Exxon knows a good thing when they see it. 

It doesn’t help having a Member of Parliament who refuses to support the $16 billion job in his riding. “The federal government should not be a cheerleader to this pipeline project,” Dennis Bevington said in monthly manifesto. Further, the Groucho Marxist urged the Joint Review Panel: “Take your time to do a thorough job.”

They’ve done as you told them, Dennis. As for all the working families you and Taliban Jack say your fighting for, well, they’re left out in the cold -- literally.

Sleep well, you mealy-mouthed little worm and pray there isn’t an election soon. This time you won’t get the protest vote – those votes will go to the Anyone But Dennis Party.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Piss, puke and pedagogy

The Frostbite Falls Fishwrap reported Monday that the Government of the Northwest Territories will NOT ask the Alberta government to stop new oil sands development.

It comes as a relief to know that at least our territorial government realizes that we have some bigger problems right here in our own back yard. It does beg the question, however, what are our municipal leaders thinking?

Along with the oil sands epiphany, a few of the other recommendations spawned by the municipal brain trust were:

-the NWT Waste and Water Association complete a review of climate change impacts on waste, water and wastewater facilities.

-urges all communities to phase out bottled water sales at their own facilities where potable water is available and start awareness campaigns about the benefits and quality of municipal water.

I’m pretty sure these two gems came from the Birkenstocks and socks-wearing councillors from Yellowknife.

It’s been a long time since I lived in Yellowknife, but I used to count the puddles of piss and puke and pools of blood I had to step over on my morning walk to work. I remember the city looking like a war zone when the snow melted; with mounds of dog shit, diapers and garbage strewn all about. It occurred to me then that Yellowknife had some real problems and I don’t think much has changed.

Are these politicians completely blind to the real world that exists around them or has the all-legume diet altered their vision? Why would we plan awareness campaigns on the evils of bottled water when we have people using main street as their toilet and garbage dump?

I made the same argument in Inuvik over our new single use bag bylaw; we’re pretending to be cutting-edge ecologists here, when we can’t even aim to pee.

There are some serious, serious problems in the NWT and they have nothing to do with plastic bags, bottles or climate change effects.

Our suicide rate is second only to Nunavut in North America, we have a type II diabetes epidemic, substance abuse is at an all-time high. We don’t have enough teachers, doctors, nurses, RCMP, jails, courthouses…

On top of all the social ills, this jurisdiction is a regulatory basket case. Our rat's nest of regulators has scared off multinational corporations who do business all over the world in all types of regulatory and political climates. Countries with the most rigid and stringent development regulations, but also with the most ruthless and corrupt banana republics, dictators and despots. If we can scare these guys from here to go do business with Putin or Hugo Chavez, what does that say to you?

I suppose with Chavez at least you know what you get. He sticks out his hand and you fill it with cash. Up here there are just too many hands.

Yes folks, we do have some serious problems here and apparently, they are being pushed aside by the very people who should be bringing them to the fore – your municipal leaders.