Justice Gone Wild – October 18, 2013

elsipogtog-largeIt’s getting ugly out there. As a society living in a developed country, we should be past the corporate colonialism mentality consistently contaminating the idea of human rights. Yet, as the events in Rexton, New Brunswick show, our police force is enforcing a corporation’s rights over those of the citizens.

Clearly, our government has no interest in protecting our land and, thereby, our well-being. Instead, we became a clearinghouse for our raw resources. Our real estate is being sold to foreign companies who tear up the environment and take away our oil, lumber and water while spitting pollutants into our air, land, and what water remains with impunity. They snake into our country behind the shield of free trade which, in most cases, opens the taps releasing our resources while providing these foreign invaders with rights that supersede our own.

It used to be that the multinational companies went to developing countries to set up factories because of the lax environmental standards. Canada has become one of those countries. This inevitably pisses off citizens, giving rise to protest. The government steps in, calling these people radicals and proclaims that the invaders need protection.

So, looking back towards Rexton, we see the Elsipogtog First Nation trying to do something that the government ignores: Save their land and water from the carcinogenic damage from the chemical agents discharged from ‘fracking’. Of course, the true damage is uncertain as scientists are silenced and environmental protection is given the pink slip. The only gauge is by looking at the illness and disease that come, after the fact.

I look to Rexton and see a corporation under protection of the authorities, and those who oppose ‘business as usual’ are the targets of police brutality. This is not why I pay my taxes. This is not why we provide these corporations with tax cuts. These are signs of a sick society. Is this the representation that taxation is supposed to represent? I think not.

In protecting the corporation over the citizen, we are approaching a worrisome state of oligarchy. That’s ‘ruling by a small group of people distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control.’ We have a less-responsive government than most countries have under a dictatorship; our upholders of the law are dedicated to protecting foreign investors; and we have an economy catering to those who already have most of the money. I sense a flaw.

The status quo must retire. How? With nonviolent rebellion, which has been an unfortunate failure at Rexton; weapons are not needed to reach a strong agreement. If I choose not to support something, I stop investing my time and money in it. As I see our taxes, via policing, go into protecting the tax-protected, and I want to stop putting my money into it. I would much rather place those tax dollars in my community, to charities and non-profits working for our well-being. As well, our Members of Parliament are supposed to be our voice to oppose these matters. Speak up, MPs, or there will be more pink slips on the horizon.

Published October 25, 2013, Kelowna Capital News

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You Can’t Grow Petroleum – October 1, 2013

552333_10150608774590614_601675613_9303140_1422643087_nSo Premier Clark is on the oil-baron bandwagon, touting liquefied natural gas (LNG) as Western Canada’s great hope to fuel our economy. Let’s run it by China and see if they’re interested. If we’re lucky, they might even sell some back to us. The idea of selling and shipping our natural resources just reeks of ‘intelligence’.

What are we missing here? That we could be creating more jobs on this side of the ocean by retaining ownership of our natural resources? If we piped this processed product into our own gross domestic product, we’d see a booming profit margin compared to what we sell overseas. Under the defence of conservation, if we held on to these resources then, as demand increases and supplies dwindle, the value of what remains will have a much higher value if we keep it in the ground for just a wee bit longer.

In terms of utility, how we use these resources can no longer continue with business-as-usual. Our siphoning of nature’s hydrocarbons has peaked and what remains requires some pretty intensive (and polluting) extraction methods. Perhaps we should step away until some cleaner methods are developed. Anyway, we’ll need to retain some fuel to maintain our sense of Canadian well-being. We can sell it all now, but it’s foolish to think that we won’t need it later on. (This seems to be beyond the scope, and lifetime, of those currently in power.)

What happens when our petroleum runs out? No fuel, transportation, or trade. We can’t make the plastics necessary for our day-to-day products. Our paints, lubricants and coatings will no longer be a water-tight guarantee. For obvious reasons we must start to seriously conserve what is left. If Canada doesn’t kick-start its manufacturing capabilities, all we’ll have left for trade will be the virgin resources. These will drain away to other countries that have more factories than we do.

So, for Clark to peddle LNG as our great opportunity, her tunnel vision may simply be another nail in the coffin of our long-term well-being. Beyond the pipeline and gas possibilities, what other cards are there to put on the table? Where do agriculture and forestry fit in? I see a whole lot of eggs in one basket and very few barriers to prevent a province-wide (and country-wide, but that’s another story) crash.

Perhaps we should looking into petroleum’s greatest threat: Hemp. In the 1930s, Du Pont lobbied heavily to outlaw hemp and cannabis. At the time, the Ford Motor Company was devising ways to create every product made from petroleum, but from hemp instead. As it turns out, everything petroleum could do, hemp plant carbohydrates could do cheaper. This game-changer had to be kept off the playing field.

This plant is a miraculous gift, and it is currently villainized by lobbyist propaganda and disproven gateway theories. Cannabis’s medical abilities are beyond incredible, the plant’s fiber can be used for textiles, rope, paper, concrete and bio-hydrocarbons. The economic possibilities are immense. As well, two harvests of hemp will replenish a field overrun by thistles and weeds. We can recover more farming land. The information is out there, look it up. It’s the 21st Century, folks. It’s time grow up, do away with bad habits, and work towards a prosperous and greener future.

Published October 10, 2013, Kelowna Daily Courier

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