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Christopher Cheung (left) discusses his provocative new book about race and representation in Canadian media in this exclusive BCBookLook interview.” FULL STORY


#12 Passports & pugs

“They say having a passport is the best and easiest way to cross the 49th parallel,” says Anne Cameron. “What happened to the world’s longest undefended border?”

June 11th, 2014

There’s this production company in LaLaLand which is moving forward with their plan to make a feature film based on my book The Journey which was published, eek, was it THAT long ago?! And they’re talking of having me go down to…whatever…and to do that I’ll need a passport.

Anne Cameron

Anne Cameron

They say having a passport is the best and easiest way to cross the 49th parallel. What happened to the world’s longest undefended border?  Huh? You know – the children of a common mother thing, hands across the Peace Arch? I can remember when we didn’t need a passport. Double eek.

It seems like more and more people are getting passports. Even my young friend Chris, the gem carver, managed to get one and will be leaving for Idar-Oberstein, Germany, where renowned gem carvers (some are fourth generation) want to work with him.  From there, he’s going to St. Petersburg to meet up with his love, Katerina, and in July they are getting married.

Chris and Katerina wanted to get married here but she couldn’t get a visa from the Ruskies. Nobody really explained why, something about her previous travel pattern. Anyway, the authorities there seem to feel if she comes to Canada and gets married, she won’t go back. Now why would they think that?

Pets don’t require passports—but maybe they should.

My pug, Smiley D. Guy was always on the leash or else in his fenced yard. Last month the dim-witted darling managed ‘the great escape’ and took off. Made it as far as the road and was promptly flattened by a pickup truck.

Here, in Tahsis, we’re three hours minimum from a vet. I knew he couldn’t survive the trip. He was pretty much paralyzed from the front shoulders on back. I got the gun. I performed what might be the most difficult and nasty chore of my life. Smiley wasn’t a dog to run into a burning building and bring out an infant. He wasn’t a dog to fight off a ravening cougar. He was just a silly little Pug who yapped too much and thought his place in life was glommed onto my ankle.

Loyal, friendly, and funny, Smiley only met one person in his six years of life whom he didn’t consider his best friend. He was silly and he was about the dumbest dog I’ve ever had. It took him about two years to figure out what “sit” meant but he was fun and I miss him terribly.

So I understand and can empathise with the people who owned the six dogs that died of heat stroke in the back of a pickup truck in Richmond, in May, and their bodies were dumped in Abbotsford. They take a piece of your life’s history with them when they die. I know. I shed hot tears when I had to send Smiley off behind the veil.

But I have to tell you I’m made angry as hell by the on-going TV coverage of those dogs. It’s like the Cult of the Dead. There’s so much attention being paid because of six dead dogs when almost a thousand aboriginal girls and women are missing and murdered. Where’s the TV coverage of that? Where’s the public uproar?

I’m not at all satisfied with what we’ve been allowed to know about the whole Pickton pig farm mass murder horror. We’ve been told only a fraction and questions which ought to have been answered haven’t even been asked. We have been told the bodies were disposed of in Port Coquitlam—rather than Abbotsford—but the public is being ostensibly protected from knowing the details.

I want to know.

Even after all that, lots of missing women are still missing and if there’s any kind of real investigation being done, we haven’t been told about it.

I’m sure to their families, friends, and communities, each of those women was at least as important as those six dead dogs.

Anne Cameron received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. A true Vancouver Islander, born in Nanaimo in 1938, she has banished herself to a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans now called British Columbia all got started.

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