Category Archives: Democracy

Plight of the Dispensaries – January 23, 2018

nature02If cannabis legalization gets any more costly, we may need to revert back to the black market model. At least then, patients needn’t struggle to get their medication. The current victims of the legalization effort are the dispensaries, and with them the patients.

They filled a gap left when the government permitted medical marijuana in 2001, but left the patient without access to their medication. Fifteen years later, Neil Allard successfully sued the government for unduly restricting the access to medical cannabis. Continue reading Plight of the Dispensaries – January 23, 2018


Hatred is the Weakest Stance – August 13, 2017

4-768x768I suppose anyone who speaks out in public can be an activist. Many make me proud, having taken the time and energy to earnestly understand their passion, and then wanting to educate the public on the new knowledge. Many are successful.

Not all ideas, however, are created equal. With success, the idea goes viral, possibly leading us towards a new norm. If it is but a weak fad, it disappears and we step back to the status quo.

When people stand up behind bad ideas, are they still activists? I’m talking about the alt-right terrorist who plowed his vehicle through an anti-racism march in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. These neo-Nazis with tiki torches are cultural terrorists, fighting tooth and nail to maintain their race-based hatred. Continue reading Hatred is the Weakest Stance – August 13, 2017

Climate, Jobs, Justice & the Economy – April 26, 2017

slide_224827_946621_freeWhere does one begin when fighting for climate, jobs, and justice. In a search for commonalities, the most obvious is the economy.

Climate and the economy, such obvious archenemies, are a dichotomy leaving us a choice of one or the other. We can have one but must drop the other; it shouldn’t be a tough call. Continue reading Climate, Jobs, Justice & the Economy – April 26, 2017

On Racism – November 18, 2016


If life is a script, none of us want to be the bad guy. Our morals are our guidance for our behaviour.  I suppose the morals of one culture are not the same as those for another culture. Misunderstanding and misinterpretations have built walls between communities, where the lack of questions and dialogue have widened the gap. Continue reading On Racism – November 18, 2016

On the Teachers’ Strike – June 10, 2014

600041_10151501512691420_1069111680_nAnd so we reach another strike. Our teachers are unhappy and want to negotiate better pay and improved class conditions. Meanwhile, the Liberals are looking for ways to retain their tax-collection monies. After all, do you know how much a night at the oyster bar costs these days?

Taxes are the fees we pay to ensure a functioning society. We want to ensure our health, wellbeing and longevity. The dilemma is how to keep an operational level of our social services AND prepare our children to replace our workforce positions at the same time. Who requires education more?

Our students jump through the hoops and achieve straight-As, only to find that their studies were toward an occupation that’s either saturated or defunct. After many years of schooling, they enter the workforce to be trained or retrained so they can make the proper fitting cog in the machine.

Is it not the employers who demand that we hold at least a high school diploma to get a foot in the door? Is it not these same industries that demand tax breaks and government subsidies? These same industries contribute nothing while demanding everything; it sounds like a certain anti-welfare argument. Anyways, the words ‘bloodsucker’ and ‘leech’ come to mind.

Now, I’m not talking about letting these industries anywhere near our curriculum. That would be like locking the hacker in with the mainframe. We need the industries as a part of the tax base, underscoring their connection to the community. If industry refuses to contribute to the education and societal kitty, they have no right to demand minimal education requirements from their employees. After all, they’re the reason that we seek these degrees, whether they get used or not.

In the end, the strike should have nothing to do with the industries or the teacher’s salaries. It is about the children and their future. If we insist on sending them to learn for eight hours a day, is it wise to seek out bargain-basement prices? Is there not a price for quality, and why aren’t we willing to pay it? If it’s the money, I’ve already given my two cents.

A Letter to Mr. Harper – May 1, 2014

534173_481068328649549_2017651816_nDear Mr. Harper,

I haven’t written in a while, so I thought I’d drop you a line. I’ve become quite concerned about your behaviour as Prime Minister. Your country is having a breakdown, both democratically and with its Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You may want to go back to the books, take a peek at what your duties really are. And put away 1984, it’s not a playbook.

The People are not happy. They talk as if you’ve become an autocrat. Remember in your youth, when Canada represented peacekeepers and defenders of the environment? Back then, our international representations used diplomacy rather than bullying to reach agreements. We drafted peace accords and hosted environment-focused conferences. What happened? You’re party is acting like a bunch of drunken eighteen-year-olds do when the parents leave on holiday.

Some blame your Conservative party for curtsying to the petroleum execs’ needs more than to the citizens’. And, I’m sorry to say it, but you’ve got to turn this tar sands thing off. It’s embarrassing. It’s an inferior product that barely makes up for the costs of refining it, and it’s literally killing us. Did you know that a leader that purposely lets his own people die has a name that starts with a D?

I realize that your oil pals give you a nice little pocket-stuffer for giving them so much free access to the land. Who wouldn’t be grateful? But I think that you’ve given over just a bit too much? I mean, who invites the neighbours over to dig up and toxify their back yard? That doesn’t build a very strong relationship. So why not put that little project on hold and look for something else to occupy you and your economic buddies. We can survive without turning our prairies into a wasteland.

Apparently, the truth hurts. Why else take a swipe against science, muzzling them like your MPs and silencing them like a despot? Unlike you, I like science. It’s done the body good. These people do important things and try to save our asses from our own doings. And yet you’re trying to stop them? What gives? And who benefits?

You’re a deceiver, and it robo-looks like you’ve swindled your way into your seat as well. And now you’ve thrown in a Fair Elections Act to take a few more citizens out of the democratic equation. Didn’t I say put that book away?

I’m sorry to hear your whole ‘senate reform’ got shot down by the Supreme Court. It looks like your little ‘appointment’ app is on the fritz. But I imagine you’re already making loophole notes for the next omnibus budget. You show that Supreme Court who’s the boss! You know that’s a whole other load of bitumen you’ve been cramming down the democratic throat.

You need to take a break. From what, I’m not sure because it hasn’t been happening in front of the cameras like it used to. Did you learn this from the Chinese propaganda minister or from watching Rob Ford’s exploits?

Take some time off. We can find some temporary foreign worker to fill in. Just leave them some notes. The same with those ever-obedient Members of Parliament, I think we can get anyone to represent clapping monkey toys that echo whatever script you give them. I don’t know about you, Stevie, but I might have to call this whole friendship off. Sorry pal.

On Protests: The Steps to Solidarity – May 4, 2014

578287_476713402344646_1199282742_nWhat can I say that hasn’t already been said? These pipelines are a danger to the Nature that we rely on in order to feed an economic system that provides us a miniscule proportion of it benefits. So are we here solely to display our unease, projecting dissatisfaction with the government’s favoring of the oil, gas, and economic sectors rather than improving our wellbeing? Where can we go from here that will increase our influence?

We’re here to raise awareness of the issue. I also believe that everyone here has a good understanding of the pipeline dilemma. If not, ask the person next to you. We come here, also, to deepen our understanding of how these projects impact our wellbeing. We come here for the solidarity, knowing our concerns are not only our own but of the entire community’s.

In those terms, we’re also here for the future. Personally, I want to ensure that an ecology remains for our children, grandchildren, and beyond to flourish in. We are living on the legacy of thousands of years of improvements, and it looks like all of those efforts are starting to go to waste. To end this ravaging, we must expand, reorganize, and become a community that we can be proud of.

Our hope lies in our action. By now we realize that our Conservative government will not be working towards the same goal. Just as likely, the media has drawn a line to how in-depth it can cover the damage from the petroleum industry. They do have advertisers and sponsors to appease, which is more their bread-and-butter than the bare truth.

So we are the bullhorn, we must spread the word because there is nobody else. We can give each other these great speeches, but we must now give them to those who won’t listen. This requires different tactics and most likely a huge voluntary organization to reinforce our actions. This is possible, and I have no doubt that our answers lie in our nest of ideas. We consist of a variety of backgrounds and professions, all with different perspectives of how the problem affects them. If we gather and discern the most sensible direction, we have a strategy for winning.

We must speak to our school systems, our business community, and our spiritual societies to energize the cause. We must provide our support to the other causes as they must support us. After all, while we’re fighting for the environment, the anti-Monsanto movement is fighting for food security, the Cannabis movement for fairer laws, and the anti-poverty movement for a better economy. Combined, that’s a lot of support to back our causes.

A larger group bears a greater impact, so we must expand. Social media is too easy to scan and pass over. The best impression comes from eye-to-eye contact, person-to-person. In a way, we must take on the door-to-door fervor of certain religious organizations and spread the word.

Our greatest strength is having the truth as our backing. Peering through the spin, the web of deception, we must look beyond what we’re shown. Continuous study and discussion are vital to keep a step ahead of the competitor. Only then can we distinguish their motives on which to plan an effective response. Again, government assistance is unlikely so we need massive support.

Our biggest obstacle lies within the economics of the situation. How can we take on that much power and that many lawyers? This is where we test our democratic might, requiring politicians with the resolve to fight for the rights of the citizens. We haven’t yet entered that arena, but an election is coming up in 2015, and we can change all that. We must put someone in power who will work with us toward our goals. On a grander scale, our fight isn’t just against the oil industry, it’s for our democracy.

So why are we here? To rally the troops, to recharge our will, to reclaim our land, and protect our wellbeing. And what can I ask of you? Spend some time talking to a stranger, or the person next to you, about what their greatest concern is. Start a community group, a lecture circuit, a contest. We’re a bright group of people, and we must empower our most creative ideas.

From here, we build up our numbers. We gather support. We create a game plan and decide on our counter-offensive. We must also provide the alternatives. Can we create an economy that will protect and sustain our communities, environment and well-being? This question is too big to cover now, but it should direct our questions to the next step.

We are here to influence our fellow citizens, as our representatives have become accustomed to the status quo, with very little vision of a future that reflects true prosperity. If our goal is clear, our facts unblemished, and our will immoveable, we will prevail.

Performance Review: Employee # PM00022 HARPER,Stephen – January 25, 2014

10159_503171889751850_1151420537_nHarper, we have a problem. After reviewing your performance since the last election, you still have this Robocall dilemma sticking to your shoe. You know that letting Pierre Poutine slide is really a back-hand slap to democracy. I almost believed your denying having any dealings with the farce, but as it drags on the mind must take pause.

Now, I realize that you want the get rid of the Senate, but they are the only brake to your runaway rampage. Sure there have been a few events that almost make me want to side with you, if only all those troubled senators weren’t under your appointment. If we take away your regulators (and I know how you love doing that) then us poor citizens will most likely have to deal with an even more sociopathic state. I think our cup runneth over as it is thank you very much. So, no, there will be no dismantling of the Senate while you’re in power. Sorry.

map01-uniqueidupateThen we have the whole tar sands debacle. I know your big thing is ‘economy economy economy’ and it has its importance, but there’s more to life than money. You see, your little cancerous project is hurting the environment and the people you’re supposedly representing. The Athabasca River is nearing death, and the people relying on its water are getting sick with disease. It’s starting to look like your own private Love Canal.

Of course, I realize you’re doing all you can to ignore this problem. For starters, I’ve got to question your sneaky move of downgrading our environmental protection. What do you have against clean rivers and lakes? Do you realize what we use that water for? I don’t know about you, but I like to have a drink of water here and there. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like an good soak in oil as much as the next droid but my plants aren’t as understanding. And I can’t fail to notice that you’ve also muzzled all your scientists. Do you realize that last time that happened was during the Middle Ages? What era are you from?

There is also the matter of Idle No More. Remember those people dying of disease? I was speaking of the First Nations living with the result of your environmental assault. You know that those treaties aren’t going to write themselves. On top of that, the residential school tragedy is starting to bubble up again. Inequality is not going to go away if you keep kissing the posteriors of higher ups and tear-gassing those you represent.

As for you and the neighbours, I can’t say that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will do us Canadians any good. Remember NAFTA? That one still nips at our sovereignty, and you want to give away more? Nevermind the Trans-Pacific Partnership that you’ve been trying to keep as quiet as possible. You want us to hook into a trade regime that covers 40% of global economic output and one-third of world trade but not let us know the details. I don’t like it.

As for your play dough, it’s time to put you on an allowance. When you said you were taking the limo for a ride, we didn’t mean for a $1.2 million airplane ride to India. And that $620,000 stealth snowmobile must be a great toy! Smart purchase! As for the $2.5 million non-existent-job ad, when we asked for more employment, we didn’t mean to the ad agency. Then there’s the $40 million ads to promote the tar sands, don’t you think you’ve given that group enough promotion? And, of course, you’re keeping us safe with the mighty $45.8 billion F-35 fighters, and the $1.2 billion military spy agency. Feeling a little insecure? I don’t know about you, but that $47.044 billion total sounds like an awful lot when all you’re handing out to us citizens are funding cuts. Perhaps you should call up those folks you hired back in August 2011 to find savings that will help balance the budgets; I’m sure we can scrape up another $19.8 million for them. Were they the ones who tracked down your missing $3.1 billion?

I tried to keep it brief but you’ve been a busy man. How’s the panda? I’d send this to you, but I’m not sure how long that postal service will be running. Unfortunately, as I feel you’ve been doing a poor job at maintaining the wellbeing of the Canadian citizenry, I recommend that you take a break. I’m a wee bit worried about our country’s future. And I’m sure a good compensation package awaits. Maybe we’ll find a bird sanctuary to name after you, but I’m sure the scar of the tar sands will suffice as your legacy. No offence, but it’s time to throw in the towel. Game over.Tar Sands At Night #2.                                  Series:

November 3, 2013 – The Dirt Under the Rug

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh Canada, what have we become? So much dirt has been swept under that you can barely make out the rug atop the mound. Our ‘Good Canadian’ image has been scraped away, revealing a horrendous human rights record, an anti-environmental economy, record deficits, and a near-deaf, unresponsive government. With Remembrance Day approaching, we near heresy as the democratic face has been ravaged, leaving all that our veterans fought and died for in vain.

A lady in Calgary was in the news when a tenant claimed her property as his embassy, claiming to be a Freeman-on-the-Land. Fortunately the authorities removed him, but not before he trashed the place. Our history reflects the story. Unfortunately for the First Nations, no authorities were around to evict the invasive European tenant. Instead, they were doled out servings of genocide, paternalistic government, and relocation. The overall situation is condemned by the United Nations, but they waited too long to exert any apparent authority.

Even worse, this paternalism was drafted into law under the 1876 Indian Act, basically branding the entire First Nations population as wards of the State, like children. No longer given claim to their land, the Native population was shuffled around like furniture in a home. More accurately, their home was taken over and demolished and all their possessions were put into storage, what the government calls ‘reservations’.

Suddenly, the land was opened up for European settlement, of which they always needed more. This invited urban sprawl, demanding more space and resources, as the boom in technology perpetually beefed up the energy needs. Any land left unclaimed by white settlement was then ceded (or loaned) to the First Nations who sustained it as their foraging and hunting grounds. Later, these areas were flooded as hydroelectric dams joined the mining polluters, biodiversity-killing monocrops and other species-killing efficiencies in destroying their habitat. The overall results have us sending probes into outer space in search of another planet that might be able to support human life. Woe to any inhabitants of that planet, they may someday become wards of the Earthlings.

All this has been in the name of the economy, the lifeforce of coercion. If the dust settles, it will expose how the human character has been suckered into a vortex of man-made laws that disregard Nature’s rules. We have ceded our democratic power and responsibilities to governance in order to continue prospering in our debt-driven lives. It looks as if we are all under paternal government protection, namely the Harper Conservatives.

However, Papa Harper has been out partying with the neighbours more than attending to his Family strife. He’s made promises to those who don’t need help, and deprived those who do. So, we live in a house acquired by illicit means, represented by double-faced policymakers and are fed a belief that we can’t do anything about it. The detritus under the rug must be dealt with, for the longer we resist, the deeper the impact. In other words, the revolution is going to hurt.

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