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No Flyer Campaign

 Street Sheet (Canada) 27 May 2019

(Originally published: 11/2009) “I have been on a sabbatical from social activism and writing for a few months. I have been doing an environmental campaign for many years on and off. The campaign is designed to reduce the waste of trees in Canada. I am going across Canada door to door with a petition for the next year asking for a national law that would force people delivering flyers to obey no flyer signs at personal residences. Only Montreal Quebec has a by-law of that sort. Millions of trees are wasted as a result of the over production of flyers in Canada. I am also hunting for young train hoppers I have interviewed over the years as I travel for my book, The Wanderers. I have met a few already and hope to meet more as I continue east this fall. I have done all of western Canada - starting out on June 6th of this year.” Rodney Graham brings you some extracts from his No Flyer Campaign.  - By Rodney Graham

So far in the media I have been covered by CBC radio..in Regina, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary.  Front page main feature in the Prince Rupert Daily. Check my photos for latest pictures as I travel across Canada - Our magnificent country! 

My cross Canada campaign is 'officially' starting in Prince Rupert although I did Sask and Manitoba last fall and travelled to the west coast. Vancouver was too 'sophisticated' .  I am then traveling to St John's NF. city by city Then to Ottawa to dump a truckload of flyers on the steps of Parliament again by winter.  But I already have hundereds of signatures from the prairies last fall!  I have canvassed so far this year Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Banff, Revelstoke, Vernon, Vancouver, Naniamo. I do not canvass and travel continually but go back to Winnipeg for a week or two each month.


Adventure/misadventure/travel:

Capsulated...In Regina I met hoppers in the Museum grounds but only one I knew , the rest were too weird to talk to.  Went drinking with a guy from Iraq - he remembered me from Edmonton 5 years ago - who loves fast women and alcohol, a nerd from Saskatoon in Regina for the leadership convention for the leadership of Saskatchewan's NDP, and an off duty female RCMP who seemed quite manic and jokingly threatened to tazer us all and then drove up the wrong way of the underpass while going to a nightclub.  I met Premier Gary Doer and ex Premier Romanow in the lounge of the Radisson Hotel and he almost signed the petition, even though, as he said, '..it has some very small print in it..' (Seems like a likeable guy)  But Romanow stopped him from signing it.  Damn!

In Calgary:  Saw lots of rich fellers and gals.  I told a citizen there, '...yor just a rich hillbilly!'  But I like some of those rich hill billies too.  I got a $287 fine for trian hopping and pulled off right dtn!  Police state!!!

In Field BC I tried hoppin again and almost got ate by a very large black bear - I thought they were supposed to be small!! Walked into town Sunday morning blowing my whistle(s) wearing my big backpack.. and some townsfolk (On their way to church probably ) laughed at me..and to add pain to my humiliation a train blew it's whistle - a west bound at that very time..I had been waiting for it all night!!!

In Revelstoke: I was pulled off the train for the second time in a week.  A bull spotted me from the tower - stupid me!!!  Then I walked up to the highway to hitch to Salmon Arm BC and after walking 200 yds only went into a campground and met the fellow I wrote the first article about train hoppping.  It is so unbelieveable I took about 200 pictures - which you can see on this site.. Dustin and Mackie have 2 kids - which I had heard about.  What beautiful kids  - and so smart!   And they are together still after 6 years not seeing them.  I was going to look for them.


In Oliver BC I stayed for 2 nights with hitch hikers I met on the road and saw them look for work in Oliver.  A couple who had been traveling for one full year together.  I met another couple, one of who's dad had driven to look for work all the way from Vancouver...Hmph!

In Osoyoos I was picked up by 3 Fr Canadians who had pitched in to buy an old car - they had been traveling for years (Fr Canadians and Ausies LOL!) I had been flying my Union Jack (An old trick from hippie days in the 70s (People think picking up Europeans is cooler)...They Fr kids were wanting to pick someone up. They had hitch hiked a lot themselves before.  Even though they were only in their 20s..

In Keromeos with the sun looking beautiful on the mountainsides..contemplating sleeping in an abondoned fruit stand the Fr kids had 'recommended'..I was picked up by a mother and daughter .  Mom had driven from Chilliwack to pick up daughter who had bronchitus - Good mother!!! Wish they were all so nice.


In Hope: Late at night..  Camped for free in the shittiest campground in Canada.

In Vancouver:  After shamefully catching the Greyhound..I found out again why I swore I would never to return to the city of my childhood... to Naniamo by ferry. 

In Naniamo:  Soaking rain.  finally found bus stop and into town.  Went to see movie 'The Taking Of Palem 123' (John Travolta)with my back pack soaking wet and all ...Good movie!  Especially with Southern Comfort and ginger ale.  Then for some strange reason decided to sleep in a cement culvert.  Many abandoned culverts were nearby.  I guess I wanted to experience the whole thing for my book The Wanderers.


Nice busride to Pt Hardy (7 hrs?)  and visited my 81 year old ex-landlady (When I lived in Vancouver) She is a religious fanatic.  Gave me 200 Bible tracts to give out titiled 'King Heroin'..as if I don't know it's bad.

Ferry to Prince Rupert with snotty serious unhappy looking Europeans (Boring) 14 hrs.  Met a few fishermen talked too (Interesting)

 

Prince Rupert.

 

A mysterious place in another world.  But with all the sins of civilization..but it's beautiful.  Even in the rain...bound for Alaska, I hope.

The local daily wrote a wonderful article about the campaign emphasising the hemp aspect.  I also met two guys in the Breakers pub on the waterfront who are going to circulate the petition around town.  When I first started to talk to them I didn't notice their t shirts embelished with cannibis.  They were in their forties or fifties.  We talked about the insanity of spending billions to rid the plant in BC - when it will never be banished and should be legalized.  I am neutral on the subject - except that I think they should legalize the use of industrial hemp immediatly!
For the ten days I was there I was invited to many parties..and offered tokes while canvassing dr to dr, ironically , I cannot smoke weed because of my lung ailments, 'Mycobacterium Gastri'.  but I did enjoy a few beers..Now I'm off to get Hyderized in my favorite haunt up north - Hyder Alaska.

I hopped a grain train to Prince George.  Not too enjoyable.  I've had more fun on grainers.  It is very very dirty!  Not much sleep in a 4' by 3' space.  Didn't spend much time in PG.  Didn't bother washing either - hey, it's Prince George, who would notice?  Funny thing happend on the sidewalk outside the Roadhouse Pub - a guy actually asked me for change...I was so black from dust...  But the cool thing about the Prince george region is that no one judges you by your dirty appearance.  I gave him a toownie.   I took the Greyhound to Edmonton - shame! I know.  A real hobo would have soldiered on witht the trains .  But they have switched things since they (CN) merged with BC Rail.


Check the pictures some are funny and some are not.  I hope they will take my petition seriously though, because as much as I like to have fun, this petition is a good idea and should be considered.
I am nice and clean now here in Edmonton so I hope the media I contacted will interview me about the campaign.  It is an important issue as the signatures on the petition attest to.
In Saskatoon - is the 'magic city'.  It is kind of in a 'bust', the boom bust city sort of.  the King George Hotel has been refurbished and is empty with rent signs as does (Still) the old Bay kitty corner to it.  On the Sunday morning I walked dtn I laughed at the sight of it.  It reminded me of a big shiny marbel tombstone - well groomed and kept but no one in it alive.  Sadly there are signs that this once small , quaint city is trying to become 'sophisticated'.  Fancy cofee spots, expensive 'outdoor'  clothing stores, upgrading...I liked it better when they had many dairy cow motifs on buildings and even cars.  I really hope it doesn't turn into another 'mean city' full of snobs and wanna be sophisticates.

After spending a long two weeks on beautiful Saskatoon paying $25 a night at a private home (Basement) I am now in Winnipeg (Home).  As dirty a city as it is - it's good to be back home.  Cable TV , my own pc to use...  But Winnipeg is only 1500 miles from the west coast.  I've done 9 cities and the east coast is over 2000 miles away and two thirds of the population of Canada lives within a few hundred miles of Toronto Ontario.  It's a big  chunk of our country for sure!  I'm going to rest/campaign in Saskatoon where I've found some 'real' people to hang with , then I'm off to the east on my campaign again.  My 'sabbatacle' is half over and it's been fun.  My book, The Wanderers is comming along in notes - the young rascals I've iterviewed over the years and then hunted down are in my journal now - at least a few are.


Some info about the campaign:

My new petition was read in the House of Commons on May 25th.  The new petition is different because it is asking to consider bringing into legislation that all flyers be produced using hemp paper. This would save millions of trees and create thousands of jobs for unemployed forest workers! Read the new petition on left column # 3.  I believe that if this was to be done gradually we would not need to decrease the amount of flyers delivered so businesses would not be effected and it would ensure that trees would not be wasted as they now are.  Hemp paper can be recycled up to 12 times compared to up to 3 times for tree paper.  there are many more environmental advantages to using hemp as well - including thousands of new jobs.


The Tree pulp industry has been adversely effected and has suffered greatly in recent years.  There would be no need to change pulp mills at all as they would easily handle hemp in its machinery.  No jobs would be lost   Jobs would be increased greatly in fact if large scale hemp production occurred.   
My first petition was read in the House of Comons about ten years ago by Bill Blaikie, now retired.'
My campaign website also may interest folks:  Just 'google 'no flyer camapign' and you'll get to it.  Photos are there I've taken during the adventure. For pictures of Canada and people I've met over the years - go to rodney-graham.magix,net.  I'm upgrading it soon so look for some interesting pictures of street life, train hoppers, and scenery in Canada.

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