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Claire Martin

Claire Martin

Google You – by Claire

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Image: Tamara Volodina

The other night I found myself watching CNN, and caught the latest Jeanne Moos piece. She’s a great reporter, working the “off-beat” stories with a casual, irreverent usually humorous style. Her last story started with the question – “Have you ever “Googled” yourself?”

Most of us have. Of course I have, but it’s been a while. So of course, I had to have another go..

Here’s the results when I put “Claire Martin” into the search bar:

first

second

THIRD

The first 2 results I know about, the 3rd – WHOA!

It’s a spoof.. but holy cow.. at 10 pm it jolted me out of my bed (safely sans Mr Mansbridge, I might add!). I had no idea.. and of course I had to click and enter the rabbit hole that can often be the internet.

Wide awake now I decided to check out my Twitter name – and did a search of accounts with the name “Claire Martin”.

Of the top 6 results, I personally know 3!

The great jazz singer – Claire Martin – and I have actually chatted about occasionally being mistaken for one another. My father is a huge fan of hers; I have most of her CD’s and quite frankly, she’s much better looking than I, so the mistake is often to my advantage. In fact in the early 2000’s I was put on a BBC List of “top 100 entertainers to watch” – I’m convinced to this day that the radio executive that constructed the list actually had me mistaken for her!

The 4th Claire MARTIN is also a lovely woman! She lives and works in Paris, France – and we were introduced at a function about 10 years ago at car show and have often had to direct misguided requests for each other back to the other!

So – is it really a small world? Is my name really that common? Or is there maybe more going on here?

What really floors me is that the other 3 “Claire Martins” in the top 6 twitter accounts – are all journalists. I’m going to reach out to all three and see if they’ll write a piece for us on #mybackyard.

See, Jeanne Moos – that’s what happens when you Google yourself!

Claire Martin – aka The meteorologist/former broadcaster Claire Martin

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Claire Martin

Paris Agreement – by Claire

img_4871For those of you wondering, here’s the Coleman’s notes version on the about-to-be-ratified Paris Agreement:

The Paris Agreement (French: Accord de Paris) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaption and finance starting in the year 2020.

The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries (including Canada – see photo) at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris (aka COP21) and was adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015.

In the Paris Agreement, countries agree to try to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and do their best to keep it below 1.5 degrees C, compared with pre-industrial times.

It was decided at COP21 that the agreement would only come into legal force after 55 countries representing 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions sanctioned it, and signed on the dotted line.

So in October, after the European Union ratified the agreement, there were enough countries that had formally recognized it, for the agreement to enter into force.

The agreement will take effect on 4 November 2016.

Believe it or not, agreeing to the rules laid out in the agreement, was the easy part. Achieving the goals will be much harder.

The Paris deal calls for countries to review their individual emissions targets every five years, to see if they can find ways to achieve deeper cuts as renewable energy technologies become better and cheaper.

The first review is set for 2018 – just a scant two years from now.

Claire

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Claire Martin

Cockney Claire

Getty Images

Getty Images


I’m a Cockney. I’m actually a “true” Cockney.. in fact I’m the only true Cockney in the family. And I’m very proud of it.

When you live in Canada, a country of immigrants, where you come from is a big deal.

So here’s my story.

I was born in Lambeth, at home, in a “two up two down” terrace row house within shouting distance of Guys Hospital, about 10 blocks from the River Thames.
Having been born in London is one thing.. but having been born within a highly specific limit of the core of London.. is something else entirely.

Not every Londoner is a Cockney (which drives my hackney-cab holding licensed brother NUTS!).

You can technically only be a Cockney if you were born in the East End of the city. within earshot of Bow Bells, the bells of St Mary-le-Bow in the Cheapside district of the City of London.

This actually gives more scope to being a Cockney than you might think, as the bells have been proven to have been heard six miles to the east, four miles to the west, five miles to the north and three miles to the south. Dick Whittington, according to legend, heard the bells in Highgate in North London before he turned back and came home.
The reason that hearing the bells was/is such a big thing in the nomenclature is because during the early London days (in the 16th century) fires would often run rampant through London. Church bells then tolled to draw in residents to help fight these fires. If you could hear the bells, you were considered a Cockney and were therefore expected to come help fight fire.

I love that the legacy of being a Cockney is not actually about the accent but about the community. Can you imagine if we installed that sense of “ownership” or “responsibility” to our own neighbourhoods? Say if you lived in Kits and a child wandered off and went missing around Cornwall and Vine, you’d be expected to help search for the lost child.

There’s something wonderfully “family’esque” to being a Cockney. Think Michael Caine. Think Mary Poppins. Think Adele.

I love that I’m a Cockney. I love being Canadian. There’s something ultimately uniting about being a Cockney’d Canadian.

What’s your story? What do you bring to Canada?

Claire

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Claire Martin

Little white lies – are they ok? – by Claire

lying

Photo credit Christina Reichi Photography

The woman that cuts my hair calls me Julie!

I’m not sure where or when the mistake began. I KNOW I introduced myself as Claire, but somewhere between my first and third haircut, she started calling me Julie.
I clearly remember sitting in the waiting area at the salon (around my fourth appointment) when she called “ok Julie – you’re up” – as I leapt to me feet, my bemused girlfriend said “you’re not Julie” and I simply said “well, here I am”!
The best part of being a fictitious Julie is that I have now made up an entirely fictitious life to chat about with my hairdresser.
Julie has been married for close to 25 years to her high school sweetheart (I am not).
Julie has three strapping, grown up kids (I do not)
And Julie is looking forward to retiring from her career (“desk job”) in a couple of years (I wish)!
Now all of this is an out and out lie – but for some reason, I don’t feel bad.
It’s not hurting anyone and I have – I feel rather deftly – avoided that awkward point in our relationship where I would have had to point out to my lovely hairdresser that my name is actually Claire.
So when is lying ok??
The BCC has a lying ethics guide – which I have read (no lie) –  but it feels onerous.
I know I know.. honesty is the best policy. Seriously people I know.
But this feels so harmless..
What do you think?!
Claire
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Claire Martin

Gerbils. – by Claire

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Photo: Getty Images

Ok – so I’ve bitten the bullet.

I have joined a gym.
Now before you give me that look, I’m joining a gym so that I don’t hurt my foot. I’m getting desperate to do something with this now-rampantly-flabby body, but I know that I can’t run. So here I am, doing something I swore I would never do – become a human gerbil and working out in a room filled with other well-intentioned human gerbils.

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Claire Martin

Canada IS Great – Keep it that way. – by Claire Martin

 claire-elizabeth claire-campaign

Just one short year ago, my hopes and dreams of becoming North Vancouver’s first Green MP were dashed!

Running for parliament is a wonderful, thrilling, exhausting, and soul destroying experience. It is the single hardest thing I have ever attempted to do. It involves a hugely steep learning curve with literally days and nights of cramming – learning everything from parliamentary procedures, to understanding the ramifications of contentious soon-to-be-passed Bills and then grasping the bigger picture arguments as to why one party over another is better or less equipped to deal with various growing issues.

In the longest campaign period in Canadian history I slogged through books and books of legalize, knocked on literally thousands of doors on the North Shore, and really tried to engage my constituents in thoughtful doorstep dialogue about their/our future.

It was incredibly rewarding and very frustrating at the same time.

I heard over and over again, that people desperately wanted to “just get rid of (Mr.) Harper”.

And no matter how I honed my argument, I could not make people understand that WE DO NOT VOTE FOR A PRIME MINISTER IN CANADA. We vote for MP’s – who then represent their constituency (job #1) and then make up parliament (job #2).

It was – and still is – so important that people understand this.

So today, to my surprise (I’m flabbergasted actually) I read that our exactly-1-year-in Prime Minister has said that the popularity of the new Liberal government has made electoral reform “undesirable”..

I’m shocked because one of the main Green (and Liberal) campaign promises, and one I heard echoed as needed on many a doorstep, was that changing the way we vote to truly reflect the proportion of people who vote for a given party is ESSENTIAL as we move forward.

So, on this, the anniversary of a very tough “morning after the election” for me –  after this 2016 night watching the last gong show US presidential debate – I implore you: reach out to your MP if you feel that the government is not living up to it’s promises.

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Claire Martin

P’s & Q’s – by Claire Martin

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I am the daughter of police officers! Yep.. both mother and father were cops (‘splains a lot, eh?!) and both were sticklers for good manners.

Essentially good manners, when my parents started “the job”, was part of the “the job” – ergo it was fastidiously taught to children of coppers.

I was taught my P’s and Q’s (a very British saying that means you should “mind your manners – for the history, see note below) from a very early age. And it stuck. I hold doors open for whomever is behind me. I always say “excuse me” when I have to squeeze past someone, and I always yell out “thank you” to my bus driver at the end of my journey.

Now, I have just been through a rather hellish travel weekend. Wind storms in BC, snow in Alberta, together this created the quintessential “perfect storm” for those of us hoping to effortlessly travel between the two provinces.

Before I go any further it must be said that I LOVE airports, I LOVE travelling and I LOVE people watching. But when, like tumbling dominoes, the variables start collapsing on you, travelling – namely flying – becomes a lesson in patience and civility.

Now I know where you think this story is going! Not so fast my fair reader, not so fast.

At YVR – as one after the other – flights were delayed, then cancelled – there were no raised voices, no shouts of annoyance. No heated debates as to the collective worth of an airline.

Admittedly there was a sea of dismayed faces, but no swearing, no yelling and most importantly no anger directed at the airline employees.

Lines calmly appeared at service counters, flights were re-booked, accommodation was supplied.

I sat in a corner seat admiring my countrymen – dealing with Canadian weather messing with Canadian travel.

And it brought to mind what the Hip’s Gord Downie had said to CBC’s Peter Mansbridge in a one-on-one interview that aired last week (and please, if you missed it.. watch it.) Gord said that our collective Canadian legacy had to be more than just fickle reference to “doughnuts and hockey”, that as a country we needed to think bigger than that.

We are known as a country of people that say “sorry” and “eh” too much.

But a 2015 study, commissioned by TD bank, says Canadians actually say “thank you” a lot more than they say “I’m sorry.”

So, in a true (and I hope lasting) Canadian way – thank you to everyone at YVR on Friday who calmly accepted the weather delays. I am proud to be part of a country that is known as being overly polite.. and it’s not just cos I’m a police officers daughter.. it’s our bigger-than-us Canadian legacy.

Thank you for reading this!

Have you noticed that the world “police” and “polite” are just one small constant apart?!

Note: One of the more enduring theories surrounding the origin of the phrase, is that “minding your p’s and q’s” refers to the difficulty that a young child might initially have in distinguishing the tailed letters p and q, and is therefore something that he or she should attend to with care. 

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Claire Martin

Thanksgiving Thanks

Ok, I’ll start.

Its Thanksgiving.. and as per tradition.. it’s time to list all that I am grateful for.

This year, however, I find myself in a strange position.

2016 has not been a good year. In fact it’s been the shits.

For the first time in forever, I’m struggling to find anything positive to reflect on..

Syria

Trump

Prince

Bowie

John Mann, Gord Downie

Nice, France

Syria (again and again)

I could go on to list so many more atrocities — sad passings or diagnosis’ — it has me shaking my head. And this year isn’t even over yet.

Is it because we’re so connected that awful world events feel so personal? Or are we truly living in a terrible time?

Does every generation look back at one point, and say “man, that was the worst”?

This sense of despondency however, goes against my nature – I’m not usually one to find the bleakness more memorable than all else.

So here goes.. here’s me turning this around.. here’s my 2016 thankful list. Continue Reading

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Claire Martin, Claire's Unexpected Adventure

Wind beneath…..my foot?

Image: Claire Martin

Image: Claire Martin

My best friend’s name is Susan.

Susan lives in Alberta and we have been really close for more than two decades.

Susan came to Vancouver this weekend….just to see, for herself, that I am ok.  She needed to SEE me, the phone or email just wouldn’t do. (I’m a good stoic faker when life tries to knock me for a loop)

The visit was a short fly-in – 24 hours – yet in that all-too-short time it was reaffirmed that when all else fails, your best friend will, literally and philosophically, lift you up.

The ties that bind us to our best friends is, indeed, thicker than blood.

My best friend and I met in a mutually tumultuous time in our lives, both of us were divorcing, both of us were raw, both of us were losing confidence in our ability to survive.
We propped each other up. We survived….creating this unbreakable bond.

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Claire Martin

This Stinks.

Image: Erika Straesser / EyeEm

Image: Erika Straesser / EyeEm

Over the last few months I’ve been forced to master the art of public transit from the perspective of one with a disability. (look back at past Claire posts for details)

When I first returned to my “day job” it was with a scooter and crutches.

It was a huge adjustment for me, I’m used to running everywhere — literally, I’m a marathoner — and here I am hobbling; I’m definitely not in my happy place. Likely returning to work “too soon”, I altered my commute times to avoid the rush hour, buses are busy!

Before I rant about one incident, it must be said that I’ve encountered wonderful bus drivers — who don’t leave bus stops until I’m safely seated — and have frequently met gracious souls offering random acts of kindness helping me get safely on, and off, the bus with all my gear.

I have felt aided; genuinely, honestly, unselfishly, aided through my complicated commute.

This week I ditched that damn “knee scooter” (what the hell IS a knee scooter, anyway?!) Now I slowly, slowly, s-l-o-w-l-y limp my way on and off transit.

Ok, so this happened two days ago.

On the bus I go – a little earlier than normal – as I try to get back to normalcy. As expected my bus was a bit more crowded, uh oh nowhere to sit …. until this wonderful gentleman jumped to his feet and offered me his seat. I sat. Gratefully.

“Made it” was running through my mind as the woman next to me, shifted. Then shifted again. Then fanned her face with her Metro Vancouver. I was honestly baffled.

She eventually started fussing, and sighing, then announced loudly that “people really shouldn’t wear perfume on public transit”.

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