February 5, 2009

Residences at Mount Allison

So as some of you may be making your residence requests soon (I would recommend putting your deposit in the minute you decide to come to Mount Allison as not everybody gets their top choices), I thought it may be timely to include a little blurb about moving:

In the case above a friend of mine decided he preferred a North Side residence over one over in South Side and just last week they found a room for him. I'm really not going to get into which is better or anything...or give the stereotypes of each house because I like not getting into fights.

Anyways...here is a couple videos from the school about Residence Life.

February 3, 2009

U.S. Ambassadors to Canada New and Old

When then U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins' visited Mount Allison in October I figured going to class would be a better use of time than hearing the outgoing Ambassador toe the line. From all accounts his speech and answers in defense of Bush's policies were nothing new, and his remarks on his online journal about Mount Allison do not lend itself to the idea that he had much new to say.
Mount Allison University in Sackville was founded in 1839, and along with maintaining its deep historic roots, its focus firmly is in the future - it was one of the first Universities in the country to have a completely wireless campus. I was welcomed warmly by the President of Mount Allison, Dr. Robert Campbell and his wife Christl, and had lunch with them and students, faculty and administrators of the University. I then addressed a large gathering of the Mount Allison community and spoke of my time in Canada as Ambassador and the wonderful relationship that exists between our two countries. I think the deep historic ties that unite our two wonderful countries are nowhere more evident than in the Atlantic Provinces.

And then his photos his entire visit to New Brunswick visits were a couple pictures at the Moosehead Brewery and one with Premier
Shawn Graham.

If you didn't know...the last few U.S. Ambassadors haven't been very well liked in Canada:

Rumored US Ambassador Bad News For Canada

April 7 2005
Robert Furs

Paul Cellucci’s departure from his position as U.S. ambassador to Canada was a joyful day for most self-respecting Canadians. Now that Cellucci, loved by the U.S. administration for his line-toeing and hated by Canadians for his bullying attitude, has moved from telling Canadians what to do, to writing a tell-all book that only self-loathing Canadians (and Canada-hating Americans) will read.

The decision has not yet been made, but reports are surfacing that a replacement for Cellucci is ready to be named. By the time you read this, George W. Bush’s administration may have already appointed Bush buddy David Wilkins as U.S. ambassador to Canada.

Wilkins, a Republican and Speaker of the South Carolina legislature, is even less suited for the job than anyone’s lowest expectations could hope. While Cellucci, being a former governor of liberal Massachusetts, was at least close in proximity to Canada, Wilkins hails from South Carolina, a hell of a distance from the 49th parallel.

The Globe and Mail notes that Wilkins knows “relatively little about his neighbour to the north”, and “has little international or trade experience”. Superb qualifications for the job, no?

Adding even more negativity to the mix: Wilkins will no doubt be a perfect fit for Canada’s progressive socialist paradise. I can’t wait for the first time this religious conservative tells our country that gay marriage is bad, mmkay, marijuana is bad, mmkay, and all us atheists are going to hell.

The National Post reported that Wilkins is also a protectionist, who denounced Canadian softwood producers as having “unfair trade practices” – he was Speaker when South Carolina “passed a bipartisan motion in 2001 calling on the President and the U.S. Congress to uphold trade sanctions” on Canada. This bodes well for what is to come, surely, if Mr. Wilkins is indeed appointed.

Nonetheless, ambassadorships are a plum role more often than not given to loyal allies of the person in charge of doing the hiring – in this case, George W. Bush. Of course, Wilkins has been nothing but a great friend to the president.

He’s raised thousands of dollars for George W.’s two presidential runs, and played a big role in Bush’s wins in South Carolina (the 2000 primary, the 2000 presidential election, as well as the 2004 election as Bush-Cheney ‘04 state campaign chairman). In 2003, Wilkins was a "Ranger" – which meant he raised over $200,000 for Bush.

And as such things go in politics, he must get compensated for his help. These things don’t come free. So, is it safe to say that Bush will be naming Wilkins as ambassador simply because of his steady loyalty and hard work for the Bush family? If only it were so – if only it were so.

The disturbing thing about Wilkins, a tax-cutting, corporate, religious, protectionist conservative being America’s face to Canada, is the fact that, well, he’s got about the worst resume Bush could’ve chosen for someone to be America’s face to Canada.

As a tax-cutting, religious, protectionist conservative, you can bet that Canada will be facing more bullying, more talking down to, and more righteous indignation from Wilkins than we ever received from Paul Cellucci.

It all fits in with Bush’s new face of, rather than working with the world community, choosing to propel the fist of America-first power into foreigner’s faces. It began with choosing Condoleeza Rice as Secretary of State, then anti-U.N’er John R. Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, neo-conservative ideologue Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank – and now, apparently, David Wilkins as U.S. ambassador to Canada. There’s definitely a pattern here.

If Mr. Wilkins is indeed appointed, as is expected, the upcoming feuds, controversies and outrages should at least prove entertaining, and make everything coming from Massachusetts moderate Paul Cellucci’s mouth pale in comparison.
But the next may be a step forward. From the Detriot Free Press:

January 20, 2009

Granholm good choice for ambassador to Canada, eh?


It’s Inauguration Day here, but in Ottawa, they’re speculating who might be the next U.S. ambassador to Canada.

One name getting mentioned — at least by the Ottawa Sun’s Greg Weston — is none other than Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. (Although, as Weston also puts it: “Truth is … no one seems to have any idea who will be president-elect Barack Obama's new rep in Canuckistan.”

The columnist opines that most insiders and observers seem to think that “if Canada gets lucky” the choice will be Granholm, herself a native Canadian. As Michigan governor, of course, she is well versed in the issues facing the auto industry — an important one for Canada too — and the Great Lakes.

Granholm, meanwhile, has maintained she is interested in remaining governor, though she is term limited and must leave office in 2011.

If Granholm were to get the Canada posting, she wouldn’t be the first Michigander in the office. Former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard served as U.S. Ambassador to Canada from 1993-96.

February 2, 2009

The Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detriot

As I discussed earlier in my Squamish, BC post, I finished an assignment about Place in Human Geography. One of those questions asked about a favourite place and explaining what made it special, and so I discussed the Ambassador Bridge spanning the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor:

The leftmost Canada-bound lane in the middle of the Ambassador Bridge on the border between Detroit, Michigan, United States and Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Latitude 42.311908 Longitude -83.073970. From that spot on the Ambassador Bridge one can see the American and Canadian sides of the Detroit River separating the cities of Detroit and Windsor. The openness of the area, the visually pleasing nature of the waterfronts, and the fact that boats and swimmers are at least physically free to cross the border is symbolic of the fluidity in which I left and returned to Canada many times a year.

I’ve been across the US/Canadian border many times throughout my life but that specific place is important to me because it is where I really thought about the concept of home. Having lived most of my life in the US, but traveling to go “home” to visit family was special for me and formed my view of where my ‘place’ is. The from repetition and being told I was going home, the physical act of being there and seeing the surroundings and crossing the border make me feel at home every time I was there, although until now, except for one year, I had not lived there since I was four years old.
I had just been looking up information about Obama visiting Canada on his first state visit and came across a few recent news articles relating to the border crossing. It turns out there are plans to build another bridge about a mile down the river from the Ambassador. Chances are I won't be living South of Detroit in the foreseeable future, so it doesn't affect me directly, but especially if the original Ambassador Bridge will no longer be used (as in
Moroun's alternative plan below) it in a way makes it a more important memory...in that retiring a jersey makes it seem more important...but either way it would be interesting to see the bridge from another perspective if I am ever back that way.

Detroit Free Press

January 15, 2009

Downriver Detroit-Canada bridge plan wins OK

But span faces hurdles, possible legal challenges


The U.S. Department of Transportation has given final environmental clearance to build a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor -- though the project faces considerable hurdles before it becomes a reality.

Technically, the "record of decision" signed by U.S. officials Wednesday allows Michigan to begin acquiring land and planning construction for the new bridge, to be built about a mile downriver from the Ambassador Bridge.

However, the Detroit River International Crossing project must get further approvals from governments on both sides of the border, and it must overcome stiff resistance, including threatened lawsuits, from Manuel (Matty) Moroun, the Warren-based businessman who owns the Ambassador Bridge.

Michigan also would need to acquire land in southwest Detroit's Delray neighborhood, setting up possible battles with residents.

Despite those hurdles, Gregg Ward, the operator of a hazardous-materials ferry between Detroit and Windsor, called the U.S. action "one more positive step toward a new bridge."

The Department of Transportation said that, if approved, the new bridge could open as soon as 2013. But that seems unlikely given the extent of issues yet to be dealt with.

Some state legislators have objected to spending more state money on even planning a new bridge, let alone finding the estimated $1 billion for construction.

Moroun, meanwhile, has pledged for years that he will go to court to block construction of the DRIC bridge project because it would compete with his own plans to build a privately owned bridge next to his Ambassador Bridge.

Dan Stamper, president of Moroun's Detroit International Bridge Co., said Wednesday evening that the U.S. environmental study was flawed and open to challenge.

"I'd say it was a step forward, but they have a long way to go, and they've now opened up their study for people to pick it apart," he said.

Asked whether Moroun's company would go to court to stop the DRIC project, Stamper said, "We haven't waived any of our rights to protect our business."

Meanwhile, former state Rep. Steve Tobocman, who represented the southwest Detroit area for the past six years, said planning for the bridge must include ways to mitigate the impact on the Delray community.

"Obviously, there's going to be some pollution," he said. "There's going to be more truck traffic and noise and vibrations and air-quality concerns. We're going to be sure we can work to create community benefits."

Residents and business owners in the area generally support the project, said state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who succeeded Tobocman.

"The southwest Detroit community has been in support of the Detroit River International Crossing from the beginning because they've been included in the discussions," Tlaib said.

Tlaib and others also see the project as a way to help revitalize southwest Detroit and the region by creating businesses and jobs.

Debra Williams, 61, a resident of the Delray area, said she supports the project, but hopes officials provide help for any homeowners who might be displaced, address environmental concerns and create greenways along with jobs.

The U.S. government's environmental review for the Detroit side of the project began in March 2003. The project is a joint effort by four units of government: Michigan, Ontario and the U.S. and Canadian federal governments.

A similar review of environmental impacts on the river's Canadian side conducted earlier this year by Ontario and Transport Canada is nearing completion.

The politics of bridge building are complicated on both sides of the border. On the U.S. side, conservatives contend that Moroun, as a private businessman offering to pay his own way, should be allowed to build his second bridge at no cost to taxpayers.

But Canadians oppose Moroun's plans. They say any new international border crossing should be publicly owned, as would the DRIC project. And, they said, Moroun's plans to twin the Ambassador Bridge would disrupt neighborhood life in Windsor.

For years, Windsor politics has been roiled by protests to the stream of trucks coming from Canada's 401 expressway down Huron Church Road through Windsor to the Ambassador Bridge. A new Moroun bridge, critics have said, would only worsen that problem.

The Canadian government passed a law in 2007, the International Bridges and Tunnels Act, which asserts control over any new international border-crossing projects.

Even if Canadian federal authorities approve Moroun's plans, Windsor city officials have pledged to block him from building a new bridge.

The Ambassador Bridge, opened in 1929, has been privately owned for many years by Moroun, head of a trucking and real estate network. Moroun's company wants to build a six-lane span next to the four-lane Ambassador, close the old bridge, conduct maintenance and reopen it for only emergencies and special events.

With hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. and Canadian trade crossing the Ambassador each year, mainly in the form of auto parts, the Detroit-Windsor crossing ranks as one of the most important trade links on an international border in the world. The bridge had nearly 3 million crossings in 2008.

Planners for the DRIC project rejected almost all of the possible routes, including a twinning of the Ambassador Bridge, because of impacts on Detroit and Windsor residents. They narrowed their list to the single crossing spot approved Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Contact JOHN GALLAGHER at 313-222-5173 or gallagher@freepress.com.

Additional Facts

Windsor Star

U.S. pushes ahead with new bridge

Dave Battagello
Windsor Star

A new bridge that will link Windsor and Detroit crossed a key hurdle late Wednesday when the U.S. government gave final environmental approval for the multi-billion-dollar project.

The decision allows the State of Michigan to begin property acquisitions and design work.

"It's a key milestone to ensure this project moves towards construction," Doug Hecox, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation, said Thursday. "This signifies, as far as the U.S. government is concerned, all environmental reviews have been completed," Hecox said. "This has been a pretty rigorous process. What this decision does is indicate everything looked at is fine."

The bridge will link the downriver industrial communities of Brighton Beach, in Windsor's west end, and Delray.

Construction of the bridge, plazas and roads to Highway 401 on the Canadian side and I-75 in Detroit is expected to cost about $5 billion. It will create an estimated 12,000 jobs on the Canadian side.

The Detroit River International Crossing project still needs state, provincial, local and Canadian government approval before construction can begin.

The Ambassador Bridge -- which has a competing proposal to build a twin span -- has said it may take court action to block the new crossing.

Bridge president Dan Stamper could not be reached Thursday for comment, but told the Star last week he believes the DRIC process has "fatal flaws."

"We have no information on that and generally don't comment on litigation," Hecox said.

He said the bridge should not be looked at as a replacement for the Ambassador Bridge since there will be plenty of traffic for both crossings.

"This has been a long time coming and will help improve traffic flow in the Detroit-Windsor area. It can't come soon enough," Hecox said.

"It will augment the area so people won't have to wait as long to cross. Waiting is something economically on both sides we can't afford anymore."

Construction of the bridge is expected to begin in 2010 and be completed by 2013.

The approval by Washington turns over the lead on the DRIC bridge project to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

MDOT spokesman Bill Shreck said property purchases on the Detroit side are unlikely to begin until summer.

Preliminary indications are that 257 residential dwelling units, 43 active businesses, and nine non-profit entities will need to be bought out.

"This is extremely positive," said MP Brian Masse (NDP -- Windsor West) whose riding includes the site for the new bridge. "I didn't know it was this advanced. It's a signal Washington is very serious about getting a span built through this process. It's reassuring that on their side there are no hiccups.

"Over 75 years ago, they created a rail tunnel, vehicle tunnel and Ambassador Bridge at a time when there were no transport trucks or as many commuters. But they had the foresight to lay the groundwork that helped make this a manufacturing base for decades.

"We need this to happen for the sake of the next 50 to 100 years. If we fail there will be negative consequences for decades. This is our opportunity to seize and make it a reality."

A Transport Canada official called the environmental approval "another significant milestone" for the DRIC partnership.

"It's critical because this is an end-to-end solution that will need approvals from all levels of government," said spokesman Mark Butler.

The DRIC process is in the midst of a 32-week review by Ontario's environment ministry and a parallel review by federal environmental authorities, he said.

The two sides are hoping to issue a joint approval sometime this summer. A key hurdle will be whether the city can iron out differences with the Ontario government over how much of a new $1.6-billion feeder highway in Windsor should be tunnelled.

"The final decision will either say 'go ahead,' or 'no it can't go ahead because of significant adverse effects' or it will be referred to a tribunal or mediator," Butler said.

Mayor Eddie Francis said the city has been working closely with Ottawa because the feds must acquire city property in Brighton Beach for the bridge and plaza.

"We are very comfortable with those discussions taking place," he said. "We hope soon the federal government can make a similar announcement."


The fate of Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun's twin span proposal remains uncertain. The U.S. Coast Guard station in Cleveland was assigned as lead authority on whether a federal permit will be issued to the billionaire transportation mogul in the U.S.

But a top Coast Guard official in Cleveland said Thursday the application was recently taken over by Coast Guard authorities in Washington and would not comment on its status. Moroun has been lobbying the Bush administration heavily to also give him final approval before he departs on Tuesday. One source suggested the administration may do that.

Lindsay Boyd, chairman of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber has worked closely with counterparts in Detroit to push DRIC forward.

The local chamber supports DRIC and Moroun's proposal, he said.

"If we have two, what's to stop this region from being the next Chicago or Boston?" Boyd said. "But (the DRIC bridge) would be the biggest single shot in the arm we need to start in terms of the jobs it would bring, getting us past this downturn and giving Windsor time to reinvent itself economically.

"This is excellent news and brings it that much closer to the reality of getting shovels in the ground. There is one less thing to worry about now with the federal approval given in the U.S."

State transportation director Kirk Steudle said construction on the Michigan side is expected to create 10,000 jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs.

"This is a significant milestone," he said. "Once built, the new crossing system will boost U.S. and Canadian trade by expanding the busiest trade corridor in the western hemisphere.

"We will be building the most modern border crossing system in the world."

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson -- who joined with Francis last summer on Detroit's waterfront to lend his powerful political support in favour of the DRIC bridge over Moroun's proposal -- also applauded the decision in Washington.

"This great news could not come at a better time," he said in a statement. "Construction of this new crossing will be a huge stimulus to our sagging economy. The green light has been turned on. Let's get going."

- - -


"The new border crossing system empowers Michigan's economic recovery and revitalization .... An expanded Detroit-Windsor border crossing system will benefit every traveller who relies on safe, efficient border crossings." - Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm

"It makes me feel wonderful. I know there are a lot of obstacles to come, but I think governments will do the job on this in these economic times. I thought the waiting period would be longer ... but it looks like it went through with flying colours" - Activist Mary Ann Cuderman

February 1, 2009

Mt. Allison President's Speech: “Do You Like Rock Music?: The Enduring Attractions, Complexities and Frustrations of Contemporary Popular Music.”

On Wednesday Mount Allison University President Dr. Campbell held a public lecture on Rock Music. The opening of the speech set the tone for a pretty informative and enjoyable time:

Do you like rock music? My view is simple and it is this: good rock music expresses one or the other of two primary human impulses: sex and violence. Especially good rock music touches on both sex and violence. Now of course pretty much all cultural and artistic practices and content address the transcendental human problem of uncertainty. Hence the great themes of culture: love and hate, birth and death, survival and nothingness. And good rock music provides a ceaseless energetic, assertive and contemporary flow of strategies for addressing the basic uncertainties of life and for accessing and constructing life.

Here's a few pictures...it's a lecture...so they aren't the most thrilling pictures...but this is Mount Allison University President Dr. Robert Campbell at Brunton Auditorium:

And here are a few short videos I took of the event:

Mount Allison University Lecture: "Do You Like Rock Music?"

The Influence and Commercialization of Music

Mount Allison University Lecture: "Do You Like Rock Music?" Top Ten List

Mount Allison creates a lot of press releases about events it hosts...this description is one of the most interesting I've read:

President Campbell rocks Brunton — Jan. 28
2009-01-12 15:48:47

SACKVILLE, NB — Brunton Auditorium will hold a capacity crowd at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, January 28 as Robert Campbell, President and Vice-Chancellor of Mount Allison, gives a public lecture entitled “Do You Like Rock Music?: The Enduring Attractions, Complexities and Frustrations of Contemporary Popular Music.” Everyone is welcome to attend and there is no admission charge.

Perhaps this seems a surprising lecture topic from a man known, especially quite recently, for his research on postal systems. However, Dr. Campbell is also an aficionado, and indeed an expert, on contemporary popular music, something which many students, faculty, and community members might not know about him. With an encyclopedic knowledge and an extensive collection of pop music recordings, Dr. Campbell holds his own next to the best popular music scholars.

When reflecting on his own love affair with music, Dr. Campbell identifies two “lives” — one in the mid to late 1960s and the other from the late 1970s onwards. He is not just a collector of recordings, but during these periods has witnessed landmark concert performances, from the Beach Boys and Cream in Montreal to the first London concert by UB40 and the Clash. This love of music has become a family affair; Dr. Campbell has attended over a dozen live concerts with his children in Toronto, a year of club shows in Amsterdam, and plans next summer to see the likes of Blur in Hyde Park. He says his favourite individual pop artists of recent times are Paul Weller (The Jam, The Style Council), Damon Alburn (Blur), Thom Yorke (Radiohead), and reports that the most space on his iPod is currently populated by New Order, Radiohead, and Manic Street Preachers. His talk on January 28 takes its title from the third album of Brighton-based band British Sea Power, and reflects on the nature of the contemporary popular music scene.

Elizabeth Wells, head of the music department, comments, “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Campbell to our speaking series to expand our offerings on music from a wide variety of cultural contexts. Although some people associate the ‘conserv’ strictly with classical music, we also offer courses in jazz, musical theatre, and most recently, the Beatles. Dr. Campbell’s talk enhances our dialogue with the community on what matters and intrigues us about music of all kinds.”

Dr. Campbell’s talk will take place on Wednesday, January 28 at 4 p.m. in Brunton Auditorium. Like all Colloquium Musicum events, it is free and open to all.


Photo caption: Mount Allison University President Dr. Robert Campbell will present a public lecture on pop music on January 28 at 4 p.m. in Brunton Auditorium.

A local paper, the
Telegraph-Journal also took an interest in the story:

University president by day, Radiohead fan by night

Published Monday January 26th, 2009

Music Robert Campbell added to school's music department speaking series as a punk power pop aficionado


SACKVILLE - He's a typical suit and tie wearing university president known for his public policy insights a career in academia and a fondness for researching postal systems.

Click to Enlarge
Adam Huras/Telegraph-Journal
Mount Allison University president Robert Campbell will reveal his wilder side this week during a lecture about music on the Sackville campus.

But that isn't the Mount Allison University president students will see this week.

Robert Campbell, a Radiohead fanatic with a history of club hopping around the world, will talk about what he does after the university day ends.

In a lecture on the Sackville campus, the man who conducted a review of Canada Post will tell all about his concert-going days when he was in Montreal clubs with the Beach Boys and Cream and a decade later in London to witness the Clash during the emergence of punk.

He and his family also recently took a sabbatical in Amsterdam to spend nights hanging out in the power pop scene.

"It's a private life thing, but in this particular case it might be fun," Campbell said. "But I'm a public policy guy, not a musicologist."

His name has been added to the school's music department speaking series as a punk power pop aficionado.

A Montrealer growing up in the 1960s, Campbell took to live concerts to see the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and James Brown when they first began their touring rounds.

But with his teenage days then behind him, he launched into an academic career.

"And that might have been the end of the story for me," he said. "As adults you get up, you get serious, you have a career, you have kids and then, dare I say it, you go to the Eagles concert 40 years later."

But Campbell decided to get his Ph.D. at the University of London in the late 1970s.

The British punk scene took form and pulled him in.

"That to me was like I won the jackpot," Campbell said.

"I was a graduate student with lots of time on my hands. I could go to clubs, I could travel around, I was anonymous enough as a student to do these sorts of things."

He saw the Clash, the Skids and UB40 live in small British clubs.

"I was smack dab in the middle of the British invasion and pop explosion and that was an epidemic," he said.

"From the late 70s on it's been a part of my life ever since."

Campbell has a regular flow of British power pop delivered to him in the mail, music he gets to listen to during his morning jog or on airplanes to conferences.

His iPod is currently filled with New Order, Radiohead, and the Manic Street Preachers, part of what he says is 95 per cent British post punk and power pop, with some electronic work mixed in.

His favourite bands of last year include Vampire Weekend, an American indie rock band, and Ting Tings, an English pop duo.

"I like relatively aggressive, lively music," Campbell said of his tastes.

"It has to fit with my morning run through the Sackville marsh."

He doesn't crowd surf, isn't the owner of a litany of black T-shirts, and you won't find him in the pit of bodies mashed together in front of the stage, but certain concerts will move Campbell to buy plane tickets and assemble his family.

With four university-aged children, two studying in Holland, and a wife equally passionate about music, a concert is the perfect means to meet up.

The 2008 summer break found the family in Amsterdam to see Radiohead. A few years earlier, on sabbatical he saw more than 30 shows in small Amsterdam clubs.

Campbell already has tickets for the family to see Blur in Hyde Park after school's out this summer.

"It's definitely a family thing for us," Campbell said.

Campbell's lecture, scheduled for Wednesday, will focus on his world tour of concerts, talk about why we listen to the music we do, as well as taking a look into the nature of the contemporary music scene.

"One of the attractions of rock 'n' roll is its energy and I think each generation of kids has to come up with a strategy on how to survive and how to access the world," he said.

"There are different strategies on how to do that. University is one, politics is another, getting socially engaged, and then music is another."