Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Vicki Husband got it right



Vicky Husband is a long time conservationist in BC, well known for her opposition to industrial logging in the forests of BC. When asked her opinion about new soft wood negotiations coming up between Canada and the US in an  interview with the Tyee (Oct. 2016) Husband  said that the US has a right to complain that BC softwood (which includes cedar, hemlock, pine and fir) is subsidized.   She cited facts such as that of a logging company on Vancouver Island that pays as little as 27 cents in stumpage fees to the government for a cubic meter of timber from public forests, an amount about the size of a telephone pole.   Adding that the industry was poorly managed, she said “They are getting away with murder.  I know that.” 

 

I know it, too.  So do many other people, both inside and outside the logging industry.  And they have been getting away with murder from the very first tree farm license that was given out.  But that is another story.  In this story I want to emphasize something else…the fact that “public forests” in our province is a euphemism for aboriginal land.  Public forests are almost all on unceded native land.  There have been no treaties settled between First Nations and any reigning government officials for the majority of these lands. And the way things are going, and have gone, when and if the claims are eventually settled and rights to the land given back to First Nations the lands will be ruined.  They will be stripped of valuable old growth forests and the land itself will be degraded by tree farming. 

 

Harriet Nahanee arrested at Eagleridge Bluffs in May, 2006.

In my opinion this is a time for First Nations people to step forward and interject their own land claims into these softwood negotiations. They have a right to demand a hearing in the negotiations.  It is their claims to the land and their protests that need to be heard.  We all have a human investment as well as an environmental one in stressing that it is the uncaring industrial logging methods of clear cutting, monoculture planting and the increasing use of machinery that tears up the forest for us all. Vicky husband is right…the logging companies are getting away with murder, murder of the land while cheating us all by making us pay for the privilege.  And I will add another murder…the murder of First Nations’ land rights.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

THE SWAMP THAT SWALLOWED TRUMP




It wasn’t a cake walk.  Exactly. The Swamp is inhabited by dangers: neocon war hawks, military industries, International bankers, Saudi Arabia with their Wahhabism religion that hates women with an unrelenting passion, Israeli Zionists, the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, the Bushes, Clintons, and the multi-billionaires who buy the people’s government. The Swamp had to work a bit to suck Trump down into the bog of war on Russia and China via Syria.  But the Swamp knew from practice how to do this.  If US presidents struggle too hard and too long against the Swamp, they simply assassinate them as they did both President Kennedy, his brother Robert and probably John Kennedy Jr.  Trump does not have the character of the Kennedys, or the intelligence.  The Swamp knew that it would be easier and look better to convince Trump that the Swamp is good and Russia evil than to parade another presidential assassination before the rest of the world. The EU has largely agreed.


The banks are quite aware that the US, with its massive debt, off-shoring and increasing robotization of industry, is mostly financially bankrupt except for their war industries.  War is the only game in town as the American neocons recognize and celebrate.  During the election Trump won over his backers by promises of jobs, affordable health care, and peace with Russia and the rest of the world.  His backers will get none of the above.  Neither will the backers of Hillary Clinton.  Clinton has lived in the Swamp a long time. Trump is a new comer.  But he does seem to fit there amongst the swirling, decaying, foul smelling swamp mud of the US government.   And increasingly, maybe our Canada does, too. Our young Prime Minister who doesn’t hesitate to send Canadian troops to Latvia on Russia’s border, and join in the Swamp line-up in suppling weapons to Saudi Arabia and supporting the US in whatever they do internationally.  Just name it, America, and Trudeau will salute! He loves Hollywood. You want to bomb Syria?  Great, count us Canadians in. And the CBC.  No problem.  Our CBC has become so Swampish it is already being called NBC North by some.


This is very depressing.  The US has fired off missiles into Syria with seemingly little concern that deliberately striking a foreign air base is an act of war, and that Russia, invited into Syria by its president, has nuclear weapons. So does China. The Swamp that has swallowed Trump has no mind but to swallow the entire world even if it kills the majority of people in it.  The Swamp doesn’t care.  In fact they are eager for World War Three. In their fevered minds the US is still in the same position it was after World War Two…the only possessors of nuclear weapons and the favored darlings of God to rule the world. But just to be on the safe side, they have their lavish underground shelters and they think there are too many people in the world anyway.  And it isn’t just Russia, Syria, Iran and China that the Swamp is after.  It’s North Korea, too.  Just read a notice on RT that a US Navy Strike group is heading toward N. Korea over Pyongyang’s “nuclear threat”.  So bizarre.  It’s as if the US really does want to see the world in flames and are acting out the religious right’s longing for the “end times”.


Depressing as this is, I  also know that the universe doesn’t give a tinker’s dam about my depression over fears of global conflict that may wipe out much of the world’s civilizations, or anybody’s else’s depression for that matter.  But as long as there is life, there is hope.  “Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more”. (Shakespeare)

Photo by Johannes Bojesen

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Is M-103 good for Canada?



The Motion 103 (M-103) introduced by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid asking the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for “a-whole-of-government” approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including “Islamophobia” troubles me a great deal. First, Canada already has laws protecting religious rights and freedoms under the Charter, and laws against hate crimes.  Secondly, by singling out Islam for special political and legal protection as this motion does (no other religions are mentioned in the M-103) we are standing on the precipice of giving an elevated political preference and protection to one religious group above all others.

 

I am aghast that the Liberal government is seriously considering M-103 as though this motion is about preventing racism and not about seeking special protections for the religion of Islam.  In my opinion, Islamophobia is not caused by “systemic” racism in the Canadian population as M-103 describes.  I think Canadians in general, aware that we are all immigrants, or born of immigrants, if we are not First Nations, try hard to rid ourselves of racism. Waves of immigrants of different ethnicities have come to our country, and settled; Chinese, Irish, Italian, Africans, Mexicans, Americans; people of all races, colours and religions. Some have had more difficulty than others in settling.  Some give up and return to their native countries but most remain and become part of Canadian life and the Canadian work force regardless of the colour of their skins. 

 

Muslims who have come to Canada as refugees and more who will be coming, are composed of ethnic groups from all parts of the world.  Some Muslims are very fair skinned, some are dark. In my opinion, Islamophobia cannot be about race per se, that is, the color of one’s skin or country of origin.  For these very reasons Islamophobia is not called Arabophobia, Armenianophobia or Somaliophobia, terms which would identify ethnic groups from the Middle East and Africa. These terms would be signifiers of certain races.  If discrimination occurs because of race, then that is racism.  But M-103 is not about race.  It is about Muslims petitioning the Canadian government for political support and special protection for a particular religion in Canada.


This is a political act and not a right of religious freedom as they claim. Some Muslims bring the desire to live under Sharia law with them when they come to Canada, which they describe as religious laws, and therefore must be protected under Canadian laws.  With the Canadian Charter in mind, some Muslims object to the way their children are taught in Canadian public schools concerning sex education and even in music programs, and want concessions concerning the right for their children to be given special spaces and times to pray in public schools, which are secular schools. In a recent posting by the Toronto Sun, Anthony Furey writes that Turkish President Erdogan’s frequent use of the word “Islamophobia” is “weaponized language”, a language used for political purposes.  Calling any entity that objects to Erdogan’s own political aims as Islamophobia helps to ward off any criticism from the EU and any others who dare criticize his methods of governing. Let’s not go down that road.

 

Canadians have a right in my opinion, particularly women, to be fearful of our government’s readiness to elevate a misogynistic religion, or any major religion for that matter, as they are all misogynistic to one degree or another, to a special protection status by which “a-whole-of government” approach that would make any political criticism of Islamic policies  a criminal act. Canadian women have fought long and hard to come out from under the yoke of governmental misogyny from the time (1929) when women were not even considered “legal persons” in Canada in (which happened in my lifetime). Why is this motion (M-103) even under consideration? Is our desire to help people from war torn countries weakening our own country to the point where our own laws are being adversely affected?  Surely we can help and welcome the Muslim refugees without becoming victims of our own generosity.