Monday, March 28, 2011

Fighting Over Scraps

Fighting over scraps of public forests. That’s what we’re doing. Not even old growth, that’s all gone, but second growth. That was the scenario last Friday at Qualicum Beach. There was a rally, signs, speeches, citizen dedication and participation, all trying to muster support from the BC Liberal government against the logging of rare Coastal Douglas-fir in District Lot 33 in Nanoose Bay. The BC Liberal government sent excuses and the promise of more meetings. I was out front with my remarks. Unless citizens find the will to resort to, use, and support peaceful civil disobedience in defense of environmental integrity then we are whistling in the wind.

But Betty, some have told me, civil disobedience, even if it is peaceful, is against the law! How often I have heard that! But my reply is this…the law we are dealing with in British Columbia is grotesquely skewed in favor of the rights of corporations and opposed to the rights of citizens including First Nations. Like clean drinking water. BC Courts have refused to rule definitively that the people of BC have the right to clean drinking water. Fancy that. And the Harper government has steadfastly refused to introduce, or support, a national water program. How can we demand that we must save our watersheds from logging to protect drinking water when BC Courts have refused to rule that we have an innate right to clean drinking water? And the Harper government is meeting with corporations bent on damming our rivers for the US?

So log the watersheds, our courts have said, clear cut out the rest of the valleys, helli-log the mountainsides, drain the wetlands for development, dam up the streams for US hydro, destroy it all, slash and burn, who cares, certainly not Stephen Harper or Christy Clark. Harper is preparing for the Rapture of the Second Coming while meeting with corporate water mongers and Christy Clark is preparing for her role as provincial BC Liberal queen of 3’ps…more corporate pillaging, polluting and privatizing.

I heard this morning (CBC radio) that the US has agreed for Monsanto to plant genetically modified Alfalfa. Alfalfa is a huge crop on this continent; it feeds both people and animals. Monsanto intends to control the food supply of the entire world. And it will. Who will stop it? With no right to clean water and no control over our food supply and no right to halt the systematic destruction of our natural world what actually do citizens control? Nothing. Nothing of importance.
But there is such a thing as “ Natural law.” There is a lot of jurisprudence (legal discussions of law) around the concept of Natural Law. On page18 last paragraph under the heading: In contemporary jurisprudence: “ …a law can be unjust without it being any less a law, (but) a natural law jurisprudence would say that there is something legally deficient about an unjust law.”

This is exactly what is happening to us individually, and as a people. We are bound by both “legally deficient” statute and case law that have been put there by corporate influenced judges (most have been corporate lawyers) and law makers. If we want our children to grow up sane and sound, or grow up at all, it’s time we all started looking at peaceful civil disobedience as a legitimate way to reclaim our innate rights as citizens in cooperation with First Nations.

- Betty K

Monday, March 21, 2011

Christy, You've Shrunk the Cabinet!

Christy, what happened to your cabinet? The media has rather congratulated Christy Clark on the slenderness of her new cabinet. After all, small is more manageable, right? Not in this case. Not if one ponders the full import of Steve Thompson’s new portfolio titled Ministry of Natural Resource Operations. Steve Thompson’s slogan is “One Project, One Process.” But what does this mean?

After reading Steve Thompsons Ministry of Natural Resource Operations service plan for 2011-2013 the intent of this service plan becomes somewhat clearer. Everything to do with our natural resources are to be held under Thompsons one portfolio and this includes Forests, Water, Energy, Environment, Mines, Tourism, Agriculture, and oddly enough, First Nations. But aren’t there separate ministries for all of these headings? Yes, but they don’t mean anything now. They have been hollowed out, gobbled up by the new Ministry of Natural Resource Operations. Christy Clark, you could boot at least half a dozen more out of your cabinet and you wouldn’t even notice. But what is the purpose of this amalgamation?

The purpose, under the heading of One Land Manager for British Columbia in their Service Plan for 2011-2013 on page 6, Steve Thompson explains: “This new structure will streamline government processes in the natural resource sector to better attract global investment and turn proposed projects and investments into actual worksites…” and same page, further down:..”The one project, one process approach for major investments creates a single framework that is timely, diligent, and science based.” In other words, all of the decisions made concerning our natural resources will be made swiftly by a few people in Christy Clarks new ministry, the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations. Very few people.

These people are making decisions that favor corporations who plunder the lands, waters, and the people of British Columbia and are doing it in our name. Who created this “One Land Manager for British Columbia?” This vicious reorganization that will swiftly accelerate the damming of our streams for US power, the increasing desire to fell every last old growth tree in this province, to nudge farmland into oblivion, to increase trophy hunting on Crown land, and to continue to work to divest First Nations of their rights in disputed territories? Whose brilliant idea? Gordon Campbell’s of course. He was, and still is, the “The One Land Manager”. He created this monster just before he left office. It was his last, swift kick in the pants to the people of British Columbian. Christy Clark? Steve Thomson? They will carry out Campbell’s mandate if they aren’t stopped. They must be defeated. What’s left of our natural resources depend upon it.

* Betty K


Friday, March 25 · 8:30am - 5:00pm
Qualicum Community Hall
Corner of Memorial and First Avenue, near the rail crossing (please note the event is not at the Civic Centre)
Qualicum Beach, BC

I am excited to be speaking at this event. This is the information I have received from Berni Pearce, the organizer:

"We thank you for your continued support of APLUC and the endorsements you have granted us in the past. Now we need you again -- to throw your weight behind saving the almost extinct Coastal Douglas-fir forest ecosystem (CDFmm), including DL 33 and other Crown land fragments, as well as the last remaining parcels o...f privately-owned mature CDF such as that under threat of development at the Nanoose Lakes.

We have received notice that the Ministry of Environment and the Forest Practices Board are holding a workshop in Qualicum on Friday, March 25, 9:00 am to 12:00 Noon, at the old Qualicum Community Hall -- entitled the 'Coastal Douglas Fir Stewards Workshop'. (See attached document for information purposes only - registration deadline has passed.)

In light of the dire situation for the CDF, we have decided to demonstrate our stewardship of the CDF by inviting the well-known defender of forests, Betty Krawczyk, to participate at the workshop and speak to many of us gathered out front. Apparently attendance is limited to pre-registered persons only. Betty has registered and we hope she will be permitted to attend. She will definitely be speaking outside as well -- and that's where you come in.

If you can, please come down at 8:30 am to greet Betty and then stay around until the coffee break around 10:00, when Betty will come out and address us. There will be speeches from others as well. Take note, the Workshop is not at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre. It is taking place in the old Qualicum Community Hall, corner of Memorial Avenue and First Avenue, at the railway crossing.

It is a sad irony that the agencies which have the power and responsibility -- and have ignored the problem for so long -- now want to "encourage shared stewardship". These are the same agencies to whom we and others, including Nature BC, have been writing and pleading for years, in some cases for over a decade -- to no avail. Despite everything, the Coastal Douglas-fir forest is in more danger than ever -- at high risk for extinction -- while mature Crown land CDF forests are being logged off.

Since our last update, we have toured another piece of CDF Crown land forest which the Forest Service has apparently made available for logging. It is part of Lot 117 (also sometimes referred to as Lot 113), located east of DL 33. It is as rare and remarkable as DL 33 and equally deserves protection. However, both parcels are 'on the market' and DL 33 has already had a cutting permit authorized. The proponent may proceed at any time.

Yes, 8:30 am is pretty early, but we're hoping you will roll out a bit earlier than is perhaps your usual routine -- to celebrate environmental unity and to meet Betty. Betty often describes herself as the grandmother who stands up for the environment! This is a great opportunity for we grandmothers and grandfathers, moms and dads, brothers, sisters, and indeed everyone, to show our support for her and for CDF conservation.

Please bring your organizational banners and signs. We plan to have coffee available for you when you come. And we hope you can hang around for awhile.

In the afternoon, the WCWC and APLUC will take Betty and all comers on a quickie tour of endangered mature CDF forests in our area, starting with Lot 10 in Qualicum, where Island Timberlands is threatening to cut the trees if the City does not buy the timber rights from them.

Everyone is welcome to attend the tour! Meet at the Qualicum Community Hall, Memorial and First Ave., at 1:00 pm -- wear sturdy footwear, bring water and a snack.

Hope to see your banner and all your members on Friday, March 25th.

Thanks so much for your ongoing support.

Best regards,
Berni Pearce, on behalf of
Arrowsmith Parks and Land-Use Council (APLUC)"

Hope to see you there!

- Betty K

Monday, March 14, 2011


Child poverty in West Vancouver? In that affluent municipality? Well, yes and no, according to Tom Fletcher’s article entitled Time to Enrich Poverty Debate in BC (March 9, Comox Valley Record). Mr. Fletcher bases his concept of child poverty in BC on the ideas of Liberal MLA Ralph Sultan of West Vancouver. In a paper called Child Poverty in West Vancouver, Ralph Sultan takes issue with the Statistics Canada report on child poverty that gave BC such a shiner.

Where did Mr. Sultan go for his research? Well, West Vancouver. The same West Vancouver I became acquainted with in 2006 in a blockade at Eagleridge Bluffs. The Bluffs were destroyed by Kevin Falcon, then Liberal Transportation Minister, in order to save about six minutes getting to the Olympics in Whistler. Still, this is an odd place to go to research a paper on child poverty. West Vancouver is the wealthiest municipality in BC and one of the top contenders for that title in all of Canada. Over seventy per cent of the homes in West Vancouver are worth well over a million dollars. Nevertheless, this is where Mr. Fletcher studies child poverty in BC to prove there isn’t any. Or when there is that it is primarily single women with children, some immigrants, and First Nations people on reserves who are responsible for clogging up the child poverty statistics that make BC look bad.

Especially single women with children. It’s their fault, Mr. Sultan seems to imply, that they and their children are poor. Never mind that outside the ethnic communities marriages now break down nearly half of the time and many will leave women with a child or two to support. And while Mr. Sultan claims that “his personal cause at the moment” is to get single mothers back into the work force he sneers at Quebec’s provincially subsidized day care. The cost to parents for day care in Quebec is seven dollars a day, or one hundred and forty dollars a month, which is the lowest in Canada. In BC the average cost for day care is six hundred to seven hundred dollars a month which is the highest in the nation. So we have both the highest child poverty rates in Canada and also the highest cost for day care in Canada.

No wonder the population in BC is shrinking. If it weren’t for immigration we would be in serious trouble. When women are expected to be both producers (get and keep outside jobs) and reproducers (make the babies, feed and water them to adulthood and be ready with abject Mea Culpas if things go off the rails in the process) without adequate affordable social services, then many women decide to pass on reproducing altogether.

Quebec is smarter. That province has leaders intelligent enough to recognize that population declines when governments refuse to provide adequate help with the costs of rearing children. And they don’t want to rely on immigration for population numbers as BC has done for years now. Instead of relying indefinitely on immigration for a viable provincial population, Quebec leaders are concentrating on growing their own. And to do this, the Quebec government knows it has to provide better services for Quebec women in order for them to feel comfortable about being able to provide for their children after they have them. And not just help when a child is starving or dying (in BC one child in three in the care of the province goes to bed hungry at night). In BC we also need programs that lends support where needed in all of the steps of child rearing, for all children of BC, not just the most desperately poor.

This province needs leaders who recognize that children must be a priority. What we don’t need are more pompous, sanctimonious pronouncements by BC Liberal Party politicians and correspondents, who, in my opinion, can’t write, can’t reason, and understand nothing about the lives of women and children outside their own class which includes most of the women and children in BC. And then to add insult to injury, these same BC Liberals love to quote Bible verses, especially the one where Jesus said: “Lo, the poor will be with you always”. This it to reassure the affluent people of West Vancouver where Mr. Ralph Sultan reigns as Liberal MLA that they do not have to fret about child poverty in the rest of BC. Get it? Because child poverty is sanctified by Jesus Christ. The Bible says so!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Canadian Oil & Us

Does it strike anybody else as strange that while Harper and Obama are talking democracy and human rights about the mid-East revolutions but completely omit another very important component of the people’s anger? What component? Oil. Of course. But Harper and Obama avoid the subject. Why? Because many of the people in the mid-East countries are saying the oil in their countries belongs to them, to the people. And that it should be nationalized and every citizen given a fair share of the revenues. The revolutionaries are telling us that the foreign private corporations are sucking the oil of their countries dry, making the dictators and foreign corporations ever richer while they get the pollution and enormously high energy prices along with increasing poverty.They want to nationalize their oil. Is this kind of thinking inherently treasonous? Constitutes everything blasphemous against the holy alter of capitalism? Well, yes. Sort of. It more or less says that our kind of capitalism is injurious to humans and to the earth.

But simply nationalizing a country’s oil doesn’t necessarily bring an equal distribution of the revenues or lower energy prices for the people. Or any distribution for that matter. Consider Mexico. Their oil is nationalized. Their middle class is small and weak, fearful of change, and their poor is vast and hungry for everything that makes life worth living, food, shelter, health care, opportunity. Mexico’s rich is very rich and getting richer all the time. Especially with the Narcos pouring billions into the banks and other financial institutions for laundering. Mexico’s government is corrupt. So are the police. And increasingly the military. So nationalization of a country’s valuable natural resource does not in itself constitute a fair deal for citizens? No..

Then what does? In my opinion, certainly nationalization is a first step. Without it the oil Moloch’s demand for human sacrifices escalates (in ancient times the king Moloch was associated with child sacrifice). They think they have every right to skim the oil off the top of the sands of our country, ship it south and leave Canada with a enormous ecological nightmare and increasingly exorbitant prices for our own oil. And we pay. We will pay more in the future. But we shouldn’t have to. Our governments have allowed Canada to become a captive of international corporations and a country that doesn’t control its own natural resources will end a pauper. And that’s where we’re headed until we, as a people, start to claim the resources of this country as ours, as belonging to us. For twenty years I’ve watched the great, old growth public forests of British Columbia vanish into near nothingness along with the forest worker job description. The corporations promised they wouldn’t clear-cut and run, but they did. And we are left with trashed and chemically poisoned mountainsides and valleys. We need to nationalize all of our natural resources and that includes water, oil, and what’s left of Canada’s forests. The revolutionaries are telling us something enormously valuable about our future. And we should listen.