Monday, August 20, 2007

Betty's Interview with herself: Happy Birthday !

Clockwise from left:
Trish, Betty, Krissy, Cori, Tiffany.
Organizers of the Celebration on the occasion of Betty's 79th Birthday.

Betty K's Birthday Interview
Maybe we should attribute it to old age, spending too much time alone, or simply an overactive imagination, but in honour of her 79th birthday Betty has provided us with another interview: with herself.

Question: So Betty, here's a photo of you celebrating your 79th birthday in prison, with your friends. Is this the first time you've celebrated a birthday in prison?

Answer: No. My third. I celebrated my 56th and 76th birthdays in prison.

Question: So what are you going to do? Make a career our of going to prison? It's almost as if you like prison.

Answer: No, I don't like prison. But I've learned a trick that makes prison tolerable for me. I'm a writer, so I start writing about the other prisoners, and their lives. I've learned to live in the moment as they say. And then something quite unexpected happened. I realized that these women are like women everywhere. And while most are battling with severe addictions, they have the same hopes and dreams as women everywhere. And more than that, drugs are spoiling our society and that we have to start treating the drug addicted as the problem, not the sensible part.

Q: So how did you celebrate your 79th birthday?

A: Well, as you can see from the picture, there was a kind of party where I was given this huge, very funny card, and enough cake with lots of icing to feed the 100 women in the camp. The next thing is that it was all a total surprise.

Q: How could 150 women keep the same secret?

A: Amazing.

Q: So tell us Betty, what secrets have your 79 years brought you?

A: That the only thing one can absolutely control is oneself. One's reaction to one's environment. Forget trying to dictate the final outcome of any endeavour. Faith, or serendipity, or unseen forces of the Universe, all have their own agendas. And will intervene and work, sometimes with your own aim, and sometimes against it. At the end you are left primarily only with your only reaction. But when we choose those, when we choose how one will react to life's forces, it's a process. I'm in a process.

Q: But also in prison. You'll be out when? Sept 25th? What will you do then?

A: The very first thing I'm going to do is eat as much shrimp as I can hold. My daughter Marion will be cooking them at her place, and as soon as Monika picks me up and takes me to Marion's place, we're going to promptly dive into a pile of shrimp. I can't wait. I've been dreaming of shrimp.

Q: Aren't you afraid that talking about shrimp will alienate your vegetarian fans?

A: Yes. I'm reminded frequently. But shrimp are in a special category. I believe that shrimp have been created especially for me to eat.

Q: I see. You're joking aren't you?
A: No.
Q: Let's wrap this up. So you're now 79 years young.

A: No, I'm 79 years old. I am old. I recognize that I am old. Being old is good. Good things come with being old. I want to encourage more old people to not only accept being old, but to make being old trendy... after all there are increasing numbers of us.

Q: I'm not sure, you might be dreaming about that one.

But anyway, Happy Birthday.

A: Thank You!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Going, Going Gone... With Gordon Scissorhands

Gordon Scissorhands?
Could I be referring to our Olympic crazed Premier?
Oh yes.
Gordon Campbell has clipped, chopped, cut and shredded not only union contracts in his mad push to privatization, but most of our social contracts as well. Including a citizens' ability to freely access our BC justice system.

Scissorhands Chop Chop has largely removed justice seeking for the middle class by severely curtailing legal aid and closing many courthouses and displacing legal workers in the field. And we have a BC attorney general who thinks this is just fine. Wally Oppal has publicly stated that if citizens actually want to be allowed in the Supreme Court seeking justice, or to bring forth an appeal, he or she better have deep pockets. Right on Mr.Oppal.

It’s an exclusive club that can get before the Supreme Court or appeal court these days. Especially if an appeal has to do with a citizen's right to protect the environment. In order to even bring an appeal before the court, one must have all the transcripts of the original trial. In order to get the transcripts, without which there will be no appeal, one must buy them. In my case, cost of the transcripts is almost $12,000.

I find these kinds of charges, to even get into appeals court ironic and outrageous. After all, taxpayers pay for the courthouse building, and the salaries of everyone who works in the courthouse. Including the drastically shrinking body of legal aid lawyers. And the crown lawyers? And the government lawyers? These high priced legal denizens who whip out case after case to demonstrate to a judge’s, usually happy satisfaction, that the citizen before the court is not of their own elitist mindset, and is of no concern to their own iron grip on the law. And who pays for these lawyers and justices? Why the tax-paying citizens of course. And so our own money, which was earmarked for citizens seeking legal justice, is confiscated by government, the attorney general who is a government appointee, and the crown who also works for the government. And then this money is used to deny justice to anyone even questioning this process. And the environment be damned.

Well, maybe. My own appeal is going forward. It was the 17th century poet Goethe who said "Boldness has genius, power and magic in it”.
We’ll see, Goethe. We'll see.

Betty Krawczyk


For more information contact
Monika Sheardown
direct: 604.733.4884 cel: 778.865.0664

Note to the media: Telephone interviews with Betty from Jail:
Please send your telephone number to,
and she will do her best to accomodate you.