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Jody Vance

Jody Vance

Petitions to get BC in line. – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Chris Cheadle

I love my family, and anytime I can spend with them — I will take.

With that out of the way, I think it’s STUPID that BC’s family day is on a different Monday than the rest of the country.  Ya, ya, businesses here offer “deals” to BC Families (on the ski hill) because they want to sell out TWO weekends rather than just one — yadda yadda…that’s corporate Bullsh*t.

What about families who are split between provinces? They don’t even get to have family day together for an extended long weekend!  What about those who “have to work” because their companies are based in, or affected by, other provinces?  The “down-sides” go on and on. Our Premier, Christy Clarke, says that public consultation showed that we didn’t want to stand in line with other vacationers from Canada (and the US, as they celebrate George Washington’s Birthday), well guess what: The mountains were packed, we all stand in line.

There is a petition to have family day changed to line up with the REST OF CANADA...find it here.

This is just one more of the ever increasing head-scratchers that come with living in my home province.

After living in Ontario, for 9 years, I had a major view of how very different the rules are there vs. here.  Now, I’m not saying that it’s necessarily “better” in the east — but there are a few things that, perhaps, BC could align with.  IE: FREE MEDICAL for ALL RESIDENTS.  It’s called OHIP.  You live there for 3 months and you get your card.  No “monthly fee” — none of that.  I cannot wrap my head around how the BC Government (whomever is in power, whenever) can argue that our Province needs families to pay monthly fees when the rest of the country doesn’t!  This is an issue we should all be marching for.  Being lucky enough to be able to afford MSP this isn’t something that hits my family — but I do imagine just how many are stretching their grocery money “that much farther” to cover the family’s MSP payments.

You can join 65,000 others on the petition to fix THIS in BC, here. 

End rant (for this Hallmark non-holiday).

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Jody Vance

Poor Ivanka? – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Mark Wilson

Let me begin here: I’ve never considered purchasing Ivanka brand – anything – ever.

As we all hang on for our “dear-mental-health-lives” in this constant tornado of Trump — I ask you: is it weird that I actually find myself feeling sorry for Ivanka?

What I mean by that is I feel sorry for her like I would feel sorry for a Sea Org kid who has no clue what he/she signed up for.  How putting pen to paper on that “Billion Year contract” with The CoS means cult for life.  Does Ivanka need a Leah Remini moment?

Sure, like you, I see Ivanka’s smug “pseudo first-ladylike” smiles, and cringe a bit.  It makes me kinda…..nauseous….to be honest, but somewhere deep down I feel as though Ivanka needs rescuing.

Does Ivanka realize what she’s hooked her wagon to? Does she actually want all of this?  Maybe she’s trying to save a shred of dignity for her family name?  (I want to think that is her motivation) Or, she’s been caught in this storm, since birth, and doesn’t know any different?

At the root, I find myself trying to imagine what her life has been like – even with millions of dollars – I can’t imagine it’s all that pretty “Being Trump”.

Think about this: Donald Trump is her Father.  E v e r y  d a y.

You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose….but…, would she really pick Donald Trump to be her father? Is she treading water with this man, is she “keeping her enemies closer”? Consider how we’ve all had a clear glimpse of how Trump operates when faced with even the slightest bit of push-back.  Never to be challenged, never to be told no — never EVER to be told he’s wrong.

He’s like an evil, and orange, version of The Fonz.  (with all due respect to Fonzie, who I love)

Let’s consider just a couple of highlites of Ivanka’s upbringing….

This woman was a mere 9 year old when her parents had their uber public split, she witnessed one of the ugliest divorces in history of socialites.  Can you imagine, watching the photos of “Dad” romping with Marla Maples fly across the NY Post front page – while Mom holds it together on the home-front??  Add to that to have her mother actually accused her father of forcing himself on her, sexually.  It’s all been sweep, sweep, sweep, under the rug.  It’s a horror story of the Rich and Famous.

No amount of money can erase these awful truths.  No amount of celebrity. No amount of global power.

Is it just me, or does Ivanka seem to be a bit — what’s the word — assimilated?  Like The Borg in Star Trek The Next Generation.  Ya, I said it, LIKE THE BORG.

Certainly she has benefited from the money, and status, over the course of her highly entitled upbringing.  She’s the “favourite daughter” – the one to walk in his footsteps.  The one with the successful Husband (real estate developer and now senior advisor to the President) Jared Kushner. They look quite step ford, very Ken and Barbie, plastic, trained.  Dead behind the eyes.  It’s creepy.

Are we missing their signals? Do they need rescuing?

Ya, maybe not….but I do ponder these things.

Finding the silver lining in this Trump Tornado, does make one appreciate the simple life.  The vacuuming that needs doing — the dishwasher that needs emptying, the dogs that need to be run in the pouring rain….

The White Spot for dinner – ya, that is tonight’s dinner plan.  My kid’s gonna love the surprise before swimming and the lack of paparazzi.



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Jody Vance

Broken Promises – by Jody Vance

Vanity Fair: Jonathan Becker

Justin Trudeau’s back-track on the promise to end “First past the post” elections in Canada, is weak. 

He promised.

He campaigned on being “deeply committed” to it.

The Video says it all.  He promised to make “every vote count”… “restore democracy” — to “fix what is broken”.  Wednesday he said, via newly appointed Democratic Institutions minister Karina Gould, that he’s changed course because Canadians don’t want to change the system. 

No one asked me, did they ask you?  Which Canadians? I think the landslide of Liberal votes that promise garnered spoke on behalf of Canadians, didn’t it? 

If you search “Electoral reform – Liberal Party of Canada”, this short cut comes up in the search:

Electoral reform – Liberal Party of Canada

We will make every vote count. We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal electionconducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.

(Open the webpage and all references to this promise have vanished.)

Am I surprised? No.  Am I miffed? Yes.  Do I think he’s a liar? No, not really….I think he’s a politician who — like so many before him — say whatever needs to be promised to get elected. 

Back to the announcement on Wednesday.  I watched it all Live on CBCNN.  The reaction to the back-track was swift. 

I sat, rather stunned, as NDP Minister Nathan Cullen stepped out of Chambers and outright called the Prime Minister of Canada “a liar”, in so many words, it struck me as remarkably Un-Canadian.  Do we do that now? Is that the government we want to show the world?? That within our country we call our PM a liar? 

Where are politics going? Are we becoming the lowest common denominator? Are we destined to continue to follow the US to new levels of low?

Federal Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May, handled it with aplomb.  She’s clearly, and rightfully, pissed off, but she kept it cool-Canadian.  Ms. May spoke her mind about the issue of “first past the post” back-peddle as well as the “feminist Prime Minister who threw two, young female cabinet ministers under the bus.”.  I’ve always had such great respect for Elizabeth May and her mission to give her party a voice in this country…..hers is the party that would certainly benefit most from changing the electoral system in Canada to an “every vote counts” scenario.  

I’d like to be able to vote in an election where I did not need to do so “strategically”, I’d like my vote to be just that….. ONE VOTE for the leader I support.  Imagine that….oh wait, we did imagine it, in 2015.


In the current global political climate, I’m finding it difficult to slight the Canadian Government for much.  I remain so grateful that we aren’t facing what our neighbours to the south are.  

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Jody Vance

Learning from History – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Peter Langer

My Mom was born in Dubrovnik, her sister in Copenhagen. Their parents, my maternal grandparents shared in that heritage, my Grandmother the Dane — Grandfather the Yugoslav.

We have deep European roots and have reflected that here in Canada.

This is not an immigration blog — believe it or not, this is about having grown up watching a “change of Government” change a country remarkably quickly.

My Mom first took us to Europe in 1975. It was a magical trip.  Family, friends, THE FOOD, all of it was remarkable — and such a learning experience for my brother and I.

I had my 8th birthday in Copenhagen.  A beautifully spotless, not to mention safe, metropolitan city – Mom let us free-range.  We had been taught just enough Danish to get by.

On top of learning that Copenhagen had the best Playland (Tivoli Gardens) and the best hot-dogs EVER (Pölsa), we learned Denmark was so organized, so clean/safe/beautiful because of “very high taxes.” and great government.

We soaked up seeing that “1/2” of our heritage and were excited to explore the other 1/2.

Off to the warm and beautiful, but Communist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, where we would “likely need to line up for gasoline.”, the adults forewarned.

After an epically beautiful, 2-night, train ride to Zagreb …. and ridiculously long/hot/scary-cliff-hugging bus ride to our destination, we arrived in Herceg Novi, Yugoslavia — near Dubrovnik.

Our massive extended family rolled out the slavic red carpet — my Grandfather’s arrival, the eldest son, garnered a hero’s welcome.  We were whisked away to the family compound.

Not fancy, it was rustic and hearty.  “Over there” is where 95 year old Nana was born (a stone structure).  “Over there” is the main house, with the open kitchen, that never stops baking/cooking/frying/doing. “Over there” was “our house”, on the far side of the massive vegetable garden.  (think: classic yard veggie garden x 20 .. home to the best tomato I’ve ever eaten….and onion you could eat like and apple.)

Yes, we quickly confirmed that indeed gas was lined up for.  Add to that: the handful of grocery stores were lean on stock, at best.  The people of Yugoslavia lived at the whim of the government.

While there were “big fancy hotels” near by, we would forage for our food – literally.  Diving for octopus, pulling mussels from rock faces or fishing – coupled with plucking veggies from the family garden for the side dishes.  Our aunt Maria made delicious bread each morning.

We were immersed, there for the better part of a month.  No tv’s, clearly long before cell-phones and wifi, we spent the evenings sitting around a fire pit, under grapevines, listening to/telling stories.  I alway had the prime spot: my Grandfather’s lap.

It was there that I overheard countless stories of the Yugoslav communist government ruled, with an iron fist, by Pesident Josip Broz Tito. Tito was appointed President “for life” in 1963.  He was far from perfect, but somehow he kept peace in a place where Serbs and Croats  insisted on continuing their religious war. “Most don’t even know what they are fighting about anymore, they are just taught to hate.” (For the record, if you asked my Grandfather if he was “Serb or Croat” he would push out his chest and answer “I. Am. Yugoslav”.)

Tito was both loved and hated by his people.

That stayed with me.

From Wikipedia:

“According to official statistics, from the 1950s to the early 1980s, Yugoslavia was among the fastest growing countries, approaching the ranges reported in South Korea and other miracle countries. The unique socialist system in Yugoslavia, where factories were owned by workers and decision-making was less centralized than in other socialist countries may have led to the stronger growth. However, even if the absolute value of the growth rates was not as high as indicated by the official statistics, both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were characterized by surprisingly high growth rates of both income and education during the 1950s.”

When Tito died in 1980, the unrest came quickly. Ethnic tensions were at the centre of the storm.

My Grandfather passed away in 1985, he didn’t see the brutal war fought between Serbs and Croats, destroying his stunning jewel – the walled ancient city of Dubrovnik, and for that our family was thankful.  As a Yugoslav, he would have been crushed by the spectacle that was this “Post-Tito Era”.

That era was smudged with shame thanks, in no small part, to Slobodan Milošević who eventually took the reigns of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia.  What unfolded under his rule is nothing short of shocking.  Ultimately, the world would see him charged with war crimes including genocide, and crimes against humanity, in 1999.  After Milošević resigned from the Yugoslav presidency – amid demonstrations – he was arrested by Yugoslav Federal authorities on suspicion of corruption, abuse of power, and embezzlement.  That was March 31, 2001. (not all that long ago!)

The Yugoslavs, who were crushed by the political changes there between 1980 and 1999, were not ignorant to the dangerous dynamic growing in their midst over that time — but they were powerless to stop it.

Yes that leader was ultimately punished, but the damage was beyond comprehension. Unfixable for millions.

So, as we look on with grave concern over the massive changes taking place in the USA we must be diligent in our actions and reactions to the power-plays.  We must use all available resources, and our collective global voices, to hold accountable those seemingly drunk with power.  The Coup that more and more appears to be unfolding before our eyes is frightening.  The US government inner circle is shrinking, the infrastructure created to add checks and balances to constitutional laws are being eroded.  This is a loud call to all of us – as a global society – to not loose site of the true impact history shows us this will have, long term.

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Jody Vance

Rebuilding Real Journalism – by Jody

Getty Images: Tim Grist Photography

“We are just sending a camera.”

Those words resonated then, today we feel the real fall out.

It seemed innocent enough, just sending a camera, I mean — costs needed to be cut, we need the clip.  If the shooter gathered visuals for a VO (voice over) and a SOT’s (sound on tape/clips) we could show that “we” were there. Continue Reading

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Adopt A Pet, Jody Vance

Adopt A Pet(s) of the week – by Jody


For many, Cat love is the best love.  If that is your mantra….you will want to have a look at the dynamic duo featured here in our Adopt A Pet Friday feature.

Meet Sammy and Mickey!  The pair was surrendered to the Dawson Creek SPCA when their family could not longer care for them, as happens sometimes.

It was a rough go for both in the early days and months, but — Sammy, since finding our group of cat lovers — is now a “strutter”.  He loves a pat and a chin scratch.  He also loves his best buddy Mickey.  Mickey is a bit on the shy side, but luckily has his BFF.  These two guys spend their days playing and snuggling.

Both kids are approaching 2 years old, they are house trained and play well with others.  The SPCA gives them a ranking of “Hidden Gem”. It’s our hope that these two will be adopted together.

go to for more info on Mickey and Sammy!



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Jody Vance

Animal Abuse in Movie Making – by Jody

If you are a regular reader here on #mybackyard,  you know I’m a dog lover.  I rescued Scout, back in early November via Thank Dog I Am Out — a local rescue group in Vancouver.  This group was scheduled to host a screening of “A Dog’s Purpose” — the film currently being called out for abusing at least one German Sheppard.  outlined here by PETA.  (the original story was broken by TMZ)

Like you, I was horrified by the images captured on this movie set in Manitoba.  Change starts with our voices: let’s be heard.

New TODAY from TMZ:

“The American Humane Association was on set and is responsible for enforcing safety guidelines for animal actors. The org is the body that validates that no animals are harmed in the making of a film.The AHA tells TMZ, “We are placing the safety representative who was on the set on administrative leave immediately and are bringing in an independent third party to conduct an investigation into this matter.”

Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures told TMZ, they have always been determined to foster the ethical treatment of actor animals and are investigating the matter.”

The founder of TDIAO sent me this letter, which I am certain she would want me to share in it’s entirety:


Just thought I would touch base with you (just because your voice is respected) to let you know that we, as a Not for Profit, dog rescue organization decided to pull the plug on our highly anticipated pre screening doggie movie “A Dog’s Purpose”. Universal studios hand selected a group of rescue organizations to have the right to pre screen this feature film 2 days prior to it being released in North America as a fundraiser. Thank DOG was their first choice, with about 135 other NOT for Profits…Months of negotiating with Cineplex and at a cost of over $2,000.00 to secure the theatre upfront, had us promoting our event hard and wow, as of today we had pre sold 225 out of the 300 seats… then the TMZ leak … 

A link to a moment during the filming of this movie, when a German Shepard , clearly frightened, was forced , in fact pushed, into a very wild pool of rough rapids. It was disturbing, very difficult to watch. The dog clung to the side of the pool and at one point  went under the water. The film crew were in the water and I am told the dog, although shaken was ok… but not ok to us. So, we pulled the plug, walked away from our contact commitment and will accept the consequences. 

It was a no brainer to call it but the whole incident has upset us. Is this really happening ? I must say I am blindsided just trying to comprehend that in the making of a dog rescue movie that this is even a conversation we are having. 

On the good side we have the full support of our community and have raised awareness with regards to still needing stronger animal right laws.. it’s a hot topic today, trending on FB and all over the Internet.

Why am I reaching out to you? Because  I want people to understand we at TDIAO had absolutely nothing to do with regards to the filming of this movie.

TDIAO was invited by Universal to celebrate our work by sharing what should have been a beautiful 1:48mins, but instead we have to raise money to pay for our decision to walk away from our contract commitment to Cineplex because of our strong beliefs.

Lastly, this book “A Dog’s Purpose”, by Bruce Cameron is an amazing book and it had nothing to do with this event. I want people to still embrace the book. I have personally handed out about 50 as gifts over the last few years… it’s a big mess.

Just thought you might want to weigh in on it.

Have a wonderful evening. Thank you for listening and BIG hugs to your TDIAO baby … 




Susan Patterson

Founder TDIAO

It’s important to not blame the author of “A Dog’s Purpose”, worth reiterating that.  It’s equally important to hold Universal Pictures, and all production houses, responsible for the ethical and humane treatment of animals in the making of movies. Please take a moment to share this….

TMZ updated with comments from the film-makers.

TMZ just updated AGAIN.  “Huge Fines and Possible Jailtime”


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