thanks for help guys.. after I posted the message I went and did some more searching.. turns out the solution is very simple.. here's the instructions for future, not impressed with lack of XP support for this printer, people in the same situation:
Installing the Canon BJC-5000 and BJC-5100 driver under Windows XP
1: Download the Windows 2000 driver from a Canon website
2: Unplug the printer from the computer - this seems to be the key
3: Uninstall any BJC-5000/5100 driver you may have installed
4: Install the Canon BJC-5000/5100 driver
5: Shutdown and reconnect the printer
7: Go to the printer icon and open up printer preferences > align print heads
Now you should be able to print just fine. You may want to print a test page to be sure.
This tip / suggestion was found on comp.periphs.printers newsgroup.
Thanks to Win XP Pro remote assistance I was able to help my dad in Edmonton, AB from my nice warm seat in Calgary.