Category: Capitalism

Mount Polley, BC Environment Min goes all DEFCON-1

Mount Polley, BC Environment Min goes all DEFCON-1

Apparently, the BC Environment Minister has noticed that her complete lack of action on the Mount Polley tailings disaster is not sitting well with British Columbians.

The Mothercorp reports today a stern sounding rebuke from the Ministry to Imperial Metals to “stop, I say STOP” releasing effluent down what used to be Hazeltine Creek into the Quesnel Lake system. The report says that the Ministry observed this infraction on September 4th. Wow. Good job Minister. A full month following the catastrophic breach. Where have you been? Mary Polak, you should resign.

Yesterday, a group of residents of Likely and area held a Press Conference in Vancouver to outline their concerns.

“The specific long-term outcomes of this disaster are not known as it is the largest tailings storage facility dam break this world has seen,” it said. “We do know though, that a spike in cancer rates is guaranteed.”

Since this catastrophe, there as been an acidic leak in Strathacona Park on Vancouver Island and now one in Kamloops as well.

So, I wonder why Christy is missing in action? The Legislature schedule calls for a fall sitting on October 6 and yet Christy has announced a “Trade Mission” to India on the 9th. This Premier is hiding.

On a lighter note, hunting season is once again upon us. Please use your firearms responsibly.

Mt Polley. Where is the Government?

Mt Polley. Where is the Government?

Oh, that fickle news cycle! Bestie of Christy Clark, Bill Bennett, Mary Polak.

Where the fuck is the Federal Government, namely, Gail Shea, Minister Responsible for Fisheries and Oceans? Yes, Ms Shea, wild salmon spend a considerable portion of their time in our lakes and rivers. Why are you not out here, getting to the bottom of the science of massive tailings “ponds” and their effect on fish spawning and feeding grounds? Where are your scientists and enforcement officers? We are talking about one of the major salmon runs in the world. You should be fired. With cause.

Leona Aglukkaq, you suck. You should be fired as well. Where the fuck have you been? Minister of the Environment my a$$! You are missing in action, deserting your post in a time of need. What the hell do you think we pay you for? The largest tailings “pond” breach in history has occurred on you watch, in Canada (hint, that is your jurisdiction).

Stephen Harper. No photo-ops of you flying in to the disaster in your airforce gear? No commander in Chief moment? Even Christy Clark flew in for a photo op, after she recovered from her Hawaiian vacation. I guess we ain’t in Calgary anymore Toto! You are fired!

Imperial Metals, your social license is hereby revoked. If this were a democracy your CEO would be criminally investigated and your assets frozen pending trial. Up to and including the major shareholder.

Christy, Bill and Mary, you thought this was over? A bit of foreplay on twitter and a teachers lockout was going to get you off the hook?

We aren’t done with you either. Not by a long shot.

An Open Letter to our Political Leaders

An Open Letter to our Political Leaders

I am appalled by the lack of debate in the House on the situation in the Ukraine and any role Canada should take on. PM has unilaterally started committing Canadians to go to the volatile region to take part in NATO posturing against Russia.

I know that Canada has many citizens of Ukrainian descent and that they form a considerable voting block in the prairie provinces. Harper’s base, if you will.
That does not constitute a reason to be using our military to goad Putin into WW3. I understand that people in power like to think of the military as “assets”, unless, apparently, they return home injured or survive to collect their pension. Mr. Harper made that perfectly clear in his egregious and disrespectful lawsuit of Equitas wounded veterans, his closing of veterans services, downloading costs on his honouring Afghan vets onto charities.

Mr Harper is sending my son into harms way, again. Along with his crewmates and other peoples kids, husbands, wives, parents. Perhaps it would be helpful for you, our elected representatives to think of these “assets” as citizens, and electors. Perhaps you should all consider that you have allowed our proud military to sink into a level of disrepair that is embarrassing to the entire nation. Some HMC ships are banned from certain Ports as hazardous. Much of the navy is barely afloat. Training budgets have disappeared as NDHQ siphons off money to private contractors. The Rangers have WW2 rifles are expected to defend the Arctic? Never mind the state of procurement in the Air and on the ground.

You people should all be ashamed of even thinking of sending our people once more into the breach without working equipment and at a time of crisis in morale. Suicide and rampant sexual abuse do not make a fighting force. They make for casualties.

Where is the Opposition? Where is the debate? Sober second thought? The Ukraine has a long and complex history and most Canadians realize that this is not a situation that can be explained by painting white hats and black hats on a deeply troubled country. That you think a military solution is acceptable or even doable puts serious doubt to your capabilities to lead this nation. Today, supporters of Obama’s puppet in Kiev have massacred dozens of civilians in the most brutal way. Many extremist organisations have fallen in with this puppet. You may have just sponsored Nazi’s.

Instead of committing our people to war with Russia, you should be having emergency debate on what diplomatic efforts could be utilized to diffuse this danger faced by millions of people. We are not okay with waging wars for Corporations. If you want Canada to go to war, sign up, or send your children.

In complete disgust,

Is Anyone Capable of Critical Thinking? Does anyone even care?

Is Anyone Capable of Critical Thinking? Does anyone even care?

Well, it looks like a Quebec Liberal majority and the PQ are collapsing to 2007 numbers. Quebec Solidaire has shown some improvement in vote count but not in seats. It seems that the biggest hope for Ste-Marie-St-Jacques, Manon Masse of Quebec Solidaire will not win her seat, although it is still early and I hope for a surprise there.

I see folks on Facebook and Twitter cheering. Many talking about “rebuilding” and “inclusiveness” under the new Liberal government of Couillard. They speak of how great Canada is and how democratic! Really? How democratic is Harper’s unfair election act- Bill C-23?  I urge you all to read it carefully, you might well be affected by the Unfair Elections Act. I know I will likely be because I do not have a drivers’ license and have health conditions that preclude me from having one.

Canada, inclusive? Think again. Go to comment boards of sites like National Post or Sun Media or others like CBC or Grope & Fail or even Toronto Star. The rest of Canada is as racist as PQ Quebecers are.  Let’s not be hypocritical here.  Politicians across Canada from all levels of government were simply using that PQ political dog whistle of the Charter to their advantage. But they were all hypocritical of it.  Those migrant Tamils landing on that rickety freighter the Sun Sea in BC was treated with a  “lock and load” approach by Stun Media.  No one said anything about that.

Canada, particularly under Harper, is far from inclusive. Harpercons had succeeded in dividing Canada; “good” immigrants vs “bad” immigrants.  Rural & urban Canadians, and especially poor vs rich Canadians. Bad working class (non unionized yes men who have been brainwashed to stick to it to their unionized counterparts) v “good” workers.  I could go on…  For gawd sake, the Harper called women a “left winged fringe group” in that leaked video in 2009.

Quebec, under the Liberals or the PQ would never be inclusive unless by some miracle, somebody takes smart pills.  Everybody speaks of referendum talk and the Charter of Values is divisive and the Liberals will be “unifying”.  I would like to speak of a bigger issue I already touched upon in the previous paragraph.  Inclusiveness would be a government working for the people like the way Quebec Solidaire would.   How is a government that only works for lobbyists, corporations, the richest like the Desmarais family  (Peladeau in the case of the PQ) and big oil and damned the working class majority “inclusive”?  Like it or not, we already have a class war happening and pretending it doesn’t exist will not make it go away.  A truly inclusive society would not have such socio-economic inequality.

Charter or no charter,  what does it matter whether or not your health care provider can sport kippahs and hi jabs  if most of us won’t be able to access affordable health care?  Couillard will privatize further. He said he would expand private for profit when boxed in  in the debate on RadCan.  Couillard will now have a built in excuse– Harper does plan to cut 36 Billion$ in health care and will scrap the equalization formula.  One of the fathers of medicare had even said that without equalization,  our single payer health care system would not be possible.  Not that Couillard would need an excuse, but this makes it all just that much easier.

Speaking of the Charter. It may well die, but racism across Canada sure hasn’t.

We must not forget that rewarding corruption is a scary thought.  Rewarding corruption simply because a party is “federalist” is shocking indeed. It seems that either was all forgotten or  forgiven.  Sure the PQ is not without corruption baggage and for that matter, neither is Franky Legault of CAQ who held key ministries under the PQ. However, if one looks under the corruption and ethics heading in this article, only the Liberals and Couillard had absolutely no plans or even an attempt to do anything about these systemic issues that cause corruption.  I doubt he will even follow recommendations from the Charbonneau Inquiry.

Oh, and does anyone not see a problem with a a criminal like Arty Porter endorsing Couillard ? Perhaps we should just release Porter from prison at this rate.

The PQ at least extended the mandate of Charbonneau Inquiry while in Government and Marois at least, had to have known that whatever imbroglio her husband or her party were involved with would come out.  Charest, on the other hand, while in government, for the longest time, stubbornly refused to hold an inquiry on corruption until pressure from the public and the opposition at the time dictated he do so.

The Charbonneau Inquiry  will resume tomorrow. My only solace is that likely more worms will come out against both the Liberals and the PQ as well as Legault. Only Quebec-Solidaire has no corruption baggage.

Quebec Solidaire did fair much better and thus far it looks like Manon Masse may take Ste-Marie-St-Jacques, but it is still a tough 3-way race between the PQ incumbent, Daniel Breton, the Liberal, Anna Klisko and of course Manon Masse.  Sadly, Andres Fontecilla of Laurier-Dorion did not knock over incumbent Gerry Sklavounos who refused to show up for debates, but it is possible if Fontecilla remains a presence for the next 4 or 5 years. I am proud of how my party did although, I had hoped they would’ve done better.

It was an impossible situation; 3 right winged parties with varying degrees of corruption leading.  My best case scenario would’ve been a minority government either way. Neither Couillard nor Marois or even Legault for that matter should be without a very tight leash.  I would’ve liked to have seen Quebec Solidaire holding the balance of power in a minority government.

Francoise David is already challenging Couillard on questions of the environment. “Will he stop the privatization of health care?” “Will he help children in difficulty in schools”? “Will he address fiscal inequality”?   She asked other questions too, but those are top questions that need to be answered by the new Couillard Liberal government.  Sadly, he will ignore all of that.   Only when those questions are addressed, will we achieve true inclusiveness.

Again I ask is anyone capable of critical thinking? Does anyone even care?

UPDATE:  It took me long enough. The only light in this fiasco of an election that makes sense. Manon Masse did win her seat in Ste. Marie – St-Jacques. A third seat for Quebec Solidaire. Felicitations Manon Masse!!

The Middle Class, an open letter to Tom Mulcair (and whomever else may be listening)

The Middle Class, an open letter to Tom Mulcair (and whomever else may be listening)

Dear Tom Mulcair.

Please stop worrying about the middle class.  Let Trudeau and Harper get mired in that bullshit argument.

Want a Big Idea?  Announce a plan to eliminate poverty.  Create a middle class.  It’s easy.  I’m not even an economist and I can tell you how its done.     Remember the Mincome experiment in Dauphin, Manitoba in the 1970’s?  You would plan to do that, on a national scale and you would raise the money by taxing Banks, Corporations and the very rich.

The research has finally been released and you will find that improvements to public health caused lower emergency care costs and higher rates of education as children opted to stay in school.  Policing costs would also drop as fewer people resort to crime when they can afford basic necessities.     The overall economy would improve as more people could afford to support the small businesses that employ the most people.  Local economies would begin to thrive again as the intense pressure to stretch every dollar relaxed into an environment of achieving quality in our way of life.  The need for charity and food banks would gradually disappear, freeing up yet more financial capital to invest in our creative capital.

It’s not rocket science Tom.  If you want to come to the table, bring a bigger idea than the lightweights who spout talking points about a mythical “class” they both are responsible for the demise of.

Ironically, the mincome project was started the same year that Trudeau Sr. gutted the Bank of Canada in his revision to the Banking Act.  Pretty much killed the progession of the middle class right there.  It’s flatlined ever since, as the National Debt has accrued to the Charter Banks.

Watch a very good explanation of that here.  Bill Abrams, rest his soul.

So, yeah, you’d also want to change the Bank Act, to restore the ability of the Bank of Canada to create currency to fund infrastructure at all three levels of Government, for a small, nominal rate of interest.

You’re welcome.

“Water, water everywhere…

“Water, water everywhere…

…and not a drop to drink.”

Update at bottom of post

I live in a rural area of the Capital Region.  Residents are not serviced with water here, you have to figure it out for yourself.  I am also a renter, or lessee, thus, not in a position to finance a proper deep well into the aquifer and the filteration system to ensure potable water.  My abode is a fairly rustic cabin with a couple of cisterns amounting to 2200 gallons.  About once every 5 weeks, I pay a guy $140 * to come with his tanker truck to fill our needs.  We (my partner and I) have to help run the three fire hoses to reach our tanks.  Rain or shine.  Grey water is utilised where appropriate.  Conservation is fairly strict.

T his kind of lifestyle gives a person a keen appreciation for potable water and how necessary it is to sustaining life.  Not just human life, but flora and fauna as well.  This winter in BC started out with two bad indicators for our future.  Drought and cold at the same time.  Personally, this battered us as our pipes froze up for a week early on, and again for 10 days in January.  That was hard.  Outside my window though, the Western Red Cedars died back quite a lot, the needles turning that copper colour that denotes stress.  I don’t want to imagine my island without the iconic Red Cedar or the higher elevation Yellow Cedar, so prized for it’s ease of carving.  They are dying slowly though and one day will live only in stories and artifacts.  Battered by pine beetle mortality, the interior Taiga forest is a tinderbox.  El Ninio is forecast for this coming spring/summer.

M eanwhile, my Government, the BC Liberals under Christy Clark, have been allowing Nestle, a foreign Corporation, free access to water from the Hope water supply to steal millions of dollars worth of our precious and finite resource.  After this information came out, the government amended that agreement to charge a pissant, nominal fee.

F racking for LNG is the only idea this government has for BC, other than Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan, run of river Hydro-electric and flooding the Peace River Valley to power the above projects.  Fracking is devastating to fresh water supplies.  So is running pipelines through headwaters, over rivers and then onto tidewater.

T he American Military has properly pinpointed fresh water as the probable source of war in the future.  A litre of tapwater costs about $1.99 at the store, more expensive than gasoline or coca cola.  Water is more valuable than LNG.  bitumen, or dubious P3 Hydro electric projects yet we are literally pissing it away.  The American west and Australia are currently experiencing severe drought, both heavily into fracking.  Tug of War battles are erupting between stakeholders, large cities like Vegas, with all of the ostentious use of water as mirage in the desert, agriculture running the full range of corporate agribiz growing alfalfa to ship to China, to breadbasket of America, to boutique wineries and cutting edge organics.  Everyone needs water.

I f I were planning long term policy, I would be safeguarding this resource for the sovereign good of the people.  Water needs to be more than a human right, but an planetary right, in that the planet needs to have rights, instead of corporate personhood.

I expect my government will punish the ratepayers directly, so that we can continue to subsidize industrial use.  Rural areas will continue to bear the burden of conservation, while urban and industrial use flourishes in a completely unrestrained orgy of cognitive dissonance.

I f you are tempted to powerwash your driveway, or run cold, clean, precious water down the drain while you brush your teeth, remember how precious this resource is. * When we moved in two years ago, the price was $100.  40 % rise in two years.  They also used to give the 10th load free.  Gone.

Haters Gonna Hate…

Haters Gonna Hate…

Seems to be the new buzzword these days.  It sounds like an excuse to me…

This morning I was talking to a friend who is an immigrant from the UK and has spent 2/3′s of her life in Canada.  This person is fully engaged in Canadian life, issues, politics.  She is a part of the fabric of this country.  Today, for the second time recently, she was told on a comment thread that she should “go home”.

Part of the reason for my recent silence on this blog has been my complete disgust with public opinion, as it is represented in the newsmedia and on public forums like comment threads on the internet.

While I can attribute some of the vitriol to the kinds of astroturf oranizations that pass themselves off as “Citizen” groups, often associated with highly ideological “grassroots” organisations that are so often linked to The Manning Centre, National Citizens Coalition, Real Women and many other groups and an unknown amount that are contractors to the CPC Party, the PMO or any other conservative propaganda arm, there is an element of that hatred spilling out into the general population, sometimes uncomfortably close to home.

When I see Canadians engaging in division and blame for eachother, resorting to stupid strawman arguements and blame for blameless segments of society, well, I just get a bit tongue tied.  I freeze, like a deer in the pitlamp, my face turns red with indignition, but I am tongue tied.  How do you address such stupidity in a constructive way, in a way that diffuses the hate and reflects it back in a useful way, like a mirror?

It doesn’t seem to matter whether we are discussing immigration, unions, pipelines and tankers, poverty, minimum wage, these haters gonna hate.

Phrases that I keep hearing include, “Get over it, it’s in the past” to the genocide committed by our government in the name of the Crown.  These same people seem to think that their “taxpayer dollars” are subsidizing lazy indians.  This is a sin of ommission on the part of our government in that they cover up the facts about the Treaties that allowed Canada to become a State, with the provision of royalties paid for the extraction of resources from Treaty and unceded lands.  By Royal Proclamation.

“You don’t have the right to protest the pipelines/tankers/oilsands because you drive a car/use electricity or own a computer.” This is a classic.  You are a hippy/hypocrite.  You are a white hat or a black hat.  You are against Jobs and Growth!  It’s right out of Mein Kampf.  Next, they’ll come for the solar panels!  Seriously, as a civilised society could we not explore alternative options?  Most Canadians are by necessity trying to curtail our energy footprint.  We are being squeezed by energy companies for every dime we have, even as we contract our energy usage as quickly as we can.  Petroplastics could be replaced with hemp fibre in one growing season, if we had the political will.

The other thing that bothers me about this arguement is the simple fact that Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipelines to the coast are not destined for Canadian consumption, so how does that affect my oil consumption anyways?  We will bear tanker traffic in the Graveyard of the Pacific (plied by offshore tankers flying flags of convenience) for China to pollute the entire northern hemispere supplying North Americans with useless plastic shit that we can no longer afford because we no longer have jobs…and who will clean up the spills that will happen?  Who will bear the cost?

It reminds me of the War in the Woods, when the “hippies” were trying to save one of the great old growth forests on Vancouver Island, Clayoquot Sound.  First, the media and the government ignored them.  Then, they laughed at them.  Then, they brought in the police.  But finally, the protesters won.

Please, let us be civil, until it becomes necessary for us to become radical…

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Cape Town, South Africa