Posted by: Andrew Pask | February 16, 2010

Can you give me an example of the words in your head and how they might be used while in Canada?

The following poem was read by Brad Cran (City of Vancouver Poet Laureate) at the city’s new tent village — which was set up yesterday afternoon on a vacant lot at Hastings and Abbott Street, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The work, produced by a civic official who represents the local municipal government, is emblematic of an important type of public space: a dialogic ‘zone’ created by a public spokesperson whose very role, age-old, is to challenge assumptions, ask critical questions and to prod and poke at dominant discourses. 

Vancouver is a city where the intersection between art and politics is all-to-often reflective of a shyness and a desire not to rock the boat.  However, in this case Mr. Cran has lifted the oars, pulled the rudder, and steered us into delightfully turbulent waters.  Good work!

Naturally the City government has been trying to put a bit of distance between itself and Mr. Cran who, late last week, announced he wouldn’t be participating in the Olympics cultural celebrations because of what he claimed was an “attack on free speech” by VANOC.  That being said, the City’s Poet Laureate is doing exactly what he ought to be doing.  That is: speaking his mind. 

Regardless of whether or not you are for or against the Olympics, this is something of which we can all be proud.

2010 Handbook for Entering Canada


Brad Cran

Are you bringing any fruits or vegetables into Canada?

Have you visited a farm in the last 30 days?

Are you now or have you ever been a member of a group that disagreed with government?

Do you intend to ride the zip line?

Do you approve of product placement in movies?

Do you like my uniform?

:: Read the rest of the poem here.


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