Where to begin??? With the photo, I guess. The above “slightly macro” photo was taken in “Our Woods” (see categories) with my Tamron 90 mm macro lens on Oct. 15. 1/400 sec, f 6.3, ISO 100.
‘Nuff said there.
But… the bee made me think about endangered species and then about “just about everything else that ticks me off” resulting, from time to time, in petitioning, ranting, raving, using cuss words, reading, blogging, occasionally marching and chanting, even singing à la Bob Dillon or Pete Seeger.
I have recently learned through sumofus.org (and follow-up digging) how the chemical companies Bayer and Syngenta have recently launched a lawsuit against Europe for placing a moratorium on the use of their neonicotinoid pesticides because there is evidence that they are responsible for the decline in the bee population. The site, sumofus.org, has a petition we can sign against this lawsuit.
Stephen Harper, our Prime Dictator (er, Prime Minister), who rules with temporary absolute power in our backwater, soon to be blackwater, corporate colony named Canada, recently shut down our parliament for the third time. This time to avoid criticism for his Conservative Party’s corruption, mismanagement and election fraud (sound like Guatemala or El Salvador?). Shortly after reopening our lacklustre legislative body, he buggered off last week to Europe to be the co-star in a big splash photo-op: the signing of a memorandum of understanding on a new, huge, secret “Free” Trade deal with the European Community. It’s called CETA.
Now it seems to me, after watching Canada get it’s ass gratuitously sued by foreign corporations over and over again since 1997 under the NAFTA with the US and Mexico, that we do NOT want another secret trade deal that is officially with countries but unofficially with the corporations that control the political leaders. You know it. I know it. Why do we voters let it happen? (Insert cuss word of your choice) While your petitioning appetite is whetted, why not sign this one on the secret Trans Pacific Partnership Harper is anxious to sign up for.
Before we can say “Mike Duffy” Harper will have us tied up in so many politically-paralyzing trade deals that we will become a true colony of the worldwide super-wealthy
with no control over our water, our fish, our resources, our climate, our land… Serfs subject to a plenitude of corporate lawsuits if we even try to live sustainably. To be fair, we don’t yet really try to reduce our bloody footprints, so this may not be relevant.
Sunday morning I went on the treadmill in our basement for the fourth time in as many mornings. (Medical check-up time rolls around annually…) I hate the treadmill. For me – BORING. To preserve a tiny spark of life somewhere in the primitive part of my brain I listen to (not a joke, folks) – CBC podcasts. Music won’t do it for me on the treadmill. The mind needs to be stimulated. I like listening to many CBC podcasts: Ideas, The Sunday Edition, Tapestry, Writers and Company…
The CBC has this special place called podcasts where they hide the really scary news – or other stuff that might make a voter smarter
Not sensational stuff like bus crashes or train derailments or “terrorist” attacks. Our public broadcaster, once brilliantly stodgy (is that an oxymoron), courageous and non-CNN in style, has, for years now, been dumbed down for prime time. Spilled blood sells. Soooo, perhaps to soothe her endangered self-esteem, “Mother Corp” sneaks the news that might actually change how we vote into these here podcasts. That way She can say to Herself that She covered it… for the paltry few of us in this country that get bored on treadmills, at least. If this kind of unsensational, behind the scenes, dry, but damning news were to become known to commoners, you see, Harper would be nudged into doing what he always wanted to do: sell our beloved public broadcaster off to the Aspers, Ted Rogers, or Rupert Murdoch. The CBC lives in constant fear.
This morning I listened to Karin Wells (temporarily replacing Michael Enright on Sunday Edition on September 1, 2013) do a piece on the exploding Canadian mining industry, She began by interviewing the Premier of Nunavut, Eva Aariak. After about 9 minutes of listening to the naive Eva Aariak keep repeating that Nunavut needs mining and needs to run its own show without an apparent understanding of the deeper issues that Karin Wells was trying to prod her into discussing I was about to switch to another podcast when Karin moved on to interview Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada, Harry Kits of World Vision Canada and Robert Fox of Oxfam Canada. Coumans outlined these key points:
1. How the powerful mining corporations avoid paying taxes (owed to Canadians) through a scheme called transfer pricing.
2. How expensive and hard the regulation of mining really is (beyond the power of poor countries to achieve)
3. How Canada doesn’t even do a proper regulation job itself (Check out the $1 billion price-tag Canadians will have to shell out just to stabilize this NWT site of the defunct, absconded Giant Mine. Coumans estimates a further cost of 2 million per year in perpetuity to keep this arsenic shit contained). What were our politicians smoking when they let this one happen?
4. How Vancouver-based Pacific Rim mining company is suing poor El Salvador the same way foreign NAFTA corporations sue lazy, un-poor Canada
5. More and more governments are realizing that they are even poorer after allowing foreign mining companies operate there. Example: Chile vs Barrick Gold.
World Vision Canada’s Kits explained why and how they are partnering with Barrick Gold in Peru. He spoke very piously with a soothing voice. Oxfam’s Robert Fox explained superbly (can you tell Im taking sides here?) why they and their world organization have refused to partner with corporations. Fox also told how mining companies placed expensive, widespread ads in the Central American press accusing them of being anti-development.
Kits explained how there is division among the local community – some pro-mining, some against – that complicates the issues and makes it difficult to help.
Ahh, yes… division…
That comment reminded me of a shallow Friday CBC TV news program on the Fracking Protests in Rexton, New Brunswick last week in which “division” among the stakeholders was put out there. “Mother Corp” dutifully showed burning police cars and a few rifles with feathers attached to highlight the violence of the protesters. In their lame, shallow attempt to show “both sides” of the issue (read: appease Harper) they left most typical Canuck couch potato viewers with the impression that, once again, the protesters were crazy. Nowhere in that analysis were the deeper issues as I see them:
1. Why is the onus on the public to prove that a process, such as fracking, is harmful. After the harm is done! Should it not be the responsibility of the proposer of some new process, mine or chemical to prove that it is not harmful before starting to do it or, in the case of a new drug, sell it? Remember Thalidomide?
2. Division in the indigenous communities is the product of centuries of abuse (one example: residential schools) amounting to (and I’m being gentle here, folks) cultural genocide and a loss among some indigenous of what is best in the way they see our world: sharing everything communally and being one with nature.
At this point, rather than slash your wrists, I suggest you reflect on Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, as I did in this post.
3. The Harper government is further eroding these traditional values by an unprecedented legislative onslaught on native rights that will, among many other things, some very evil, permit a growing number of First Nations people to own First Nations land as individuals. This will foster division faster than anything else. Some will sell and make small money, causing the community’s strength, and oneness, to crumble. This deliberate division (or elimination) of the communal native is designed to put the final nail in the coffin of native opposition to mines that pollute. Harper hopes to effect the vaporization of the indigenous worldview and, with it, destroy this last hope for all, native and non-native, in fighting Harper and his envionment-killer friends from turning us all into “whores of wood and drawers of water.” Deteriorating water, that is.
Oh, and the use of “temporary” Chinese workers in mines is still happening in BC and is coming soon to the Yukon. Remember all the fuss that caused. I guess the bastardi figure we’ll get tired fighting it.
What has to happen?
1. All Canadians must very quickly realize the long-term dangers of path Harper is goose-stepping us along. We must oppose Harper’s trade deals – NOW.
2. The entire country must realize the path we are on quickly and oppose Harper’s anti-First Nations provisions hidden in the slew of omnibus bills. The spirit of Idle No More must be born in all of us. An attack on one community by the polluters must be opposed across this land, which, after all is s’posed to be yours and mine – and not China’s or Brazil’s… or, more appropriately Monsanto’s or Shell’s.
3. ***The opposition parties must serve notice to the international community that any trade deals made by Harper will not be honoured once his regime is defeated. This, in my opinion, would be fair enough warning and stop him in his tracks. We can’t wait two more years for him to lock us into trade deal servitude with (the corporate bosses of) Europe and the Pacific Rim.*** Speed is absolutely necessary.
Now that I’ve got that bee out of my bonnet and hopefully into yours, I must edit all this crap. For nostalgia’s sake here’s a delightfully innocent song that used to mean something to Canadians back around the sixties. When I listen to This Land Is Your Land, I can almos, if I close my eyes and my mind, feel it’s true. This was sung by the Travellers at a tribute to Pete Seeger in honour of his 90th birthday. It was performed in Toronto on May 3, 2009.