Must Reads from Last Week
Have Your Say About Did You Know…
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BC Electoral Reform Referendum
Within the context of BC’s referendum, here’s a review of a book called Democracy’s Shadow, which posits there are two kinds of politics: the politics of faith (populism) and the politics of skepticism.
Excerpt: “From Ancient Athens to Rome and from Great Britain to the United States, democracy has taken many forms. It has advanced the social enterprise of people and pluralized decision making to the masses and away from the elite cadres of the ruling class. Nevertheless, democracy has its darker features. Matthew Goodwin looks at democracy’s long shadow and the populists and demagogues that have cajoled the system for their own selfish gains. This read will entice any monitor of current events and political theorists alike.”
Excerpt: “The crucial point about these competing models, however, is that they are inseparable. They need each other. Without politics as scepticism, the salvation-seekers risk dismantling the checks and balances and morphing into authoritarians. But without the salvation-seekers, the sceptics risk being taken over by political quietism; becoming far too readily accepting of the status quo and too slow to pursue change or reform.”
Big Oil – Kevin Taft
DATE/TIME: September 13, 2018; 7 pm (Doors 6:30).
LOCATION: Native Sons Hall, Upper Level
Early bird price $15 (until August 25).
Student price $15.
Price after August 25 is $20.
Green Party volunteers from 10 Electoral District Associations announce the Kevin Taft Tour! Kevin will be speaking in West Vancouver, SFU Downtown Vancouver, Salt Spring Island, Victoria and Courtenay, about the deep tentacles that Big Oil has woven into the tapestry of government decision making.
5 cities, one question: “Who is really in charge?” To find out more and get your tickets, please visit our website at www.kevintafttour.ca. (But hurry, seats are limited) Then spread the word. Because it matters, to all of us.
Mack Laing Heritage Society vs Town of Comox
This blog has previously covered issues around the Town of Comox misusing the funds of the Mack Laing Trust and now seeking a legal variance of the Trust in order to destroy the house, known as Shakesides. This summer the Mack Laing Heritage Society (MLHS) was granted intervenor status in the court case.
This past week, the Town of Comox issued a press release announcing an ‘information hub’ for the Mack Laing Nature Park (located in the MacDonald Woods). The MLHS has a rebuttal to misleading information, or at the very least not telling the whole truth, presented by the Town of Comox in that press release, and in the information hub itself. One of the misleading statements in the information hub is, “…Mr. Laing’s wish to see Shakesides turned into a natural history museum is not feasible with the funds also left to the Town in his will (1982).” The statement completely ignores the reality that the Town profited from the property by renting it out for around 30 years, with revenues going into the Town’s coffers rather than into the Trust. This is just one of the egregious misrepresentations made by the Town with regard to this issue.
The MLHS has been fighting long and hard to preserve the property and have Mack Laing’s wishes carried out. They are incurring huge legal costs in the courts and could use financial help. There is a GoFundMe page where you can contribute.
Attention all policy wonks: The BC Greens book club
The BC Greens are excited to announce the BC Greens Book Club - dedicated to a candid discussion of literature concerning the elements shaping, politics, economics, and public policy in BC, and their implications for the BC Green Party. Online meetings will be held quarterly, and members will be able to participate either in person or online through GoTo Meeting. The format will consist of a panel of 3 people who have read the book and a panel chair. Read more.
Hunger strike for the Peace River Valley – Stop Site C: “First Nations did not enter into treaties with the Crown so they could have compensation once their way of life was destroyed, but to ensure protection of that way of life.”
Each day’s recordings of the #SiteCInjunction hearing are now online - you can access them at https://witnessforthepeace.ca/updates-from-the-site-c…/
Big Oil – Kinder Morgan
Part 1: Take the pledge to stop Kinder Morgan: “With our voice, in the courts or the streets, on the water or the land. Whatever it takes, we will stop the Canada/Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project.” (Grand Chief Stewart Phillip).
Part 2: BC’s natural gas industry helps to fuel the Alberta oil sands. The article also lists the “hidden subsidy” of environmental devastation and damage and the resulting climate changes that is stark in its itemization. Read more.
Excerpt: “In the 10 years ending in 2017, Alberta-bound shipments of natural gas from northeast B.C. increased by more than 230 per cent. In fact, virtually all the sizeable increase in B.C.’s overall gas production went to its neighbour to the east … Contrary to B.C. Energy Minister Michelle Mungall’s embarrassing assertions that continued natural gas drilling and fracking is necessary so that British Columbians can bask in the warmth of their gas fireplaces, and those lucky enough to afford it can cook salmon on their gas barbecues, the overwhelming amount of natural gas drilled and fracked from the ground in northeast B.C. goes to others. It is not used in this province … Without B.C., Alberta’s oilsands producers would have had to ramp up condensate shipments from the U.S. to make up the difference … Paradoxically, B.C.’s eastern-bound gas liquids could one day facilitate the westward movement of diluted bitumen through that new pipeline that Ottawa and Alberta are so intent on building.”
Part 3: In case you haven’t seen the photo essay in the Tyee on what it’s like being arrested at the KM protest, it’s well worth reading.
Part 4: For a lighter moment of tea and music, watch this.
Part 5: A letter by Elizabeth May to the Times Colonist on Alberta’s misleading billboard touting the benefits of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Part 6: In case you haven’t yet signed this Parliamentary petition sponsored by Elizabeth May, please do so here. There are already over 14,000 signatures, almost 8,000 of which are from BC. This petition closes for signatures September 28, 2018. Remember that after you sign, you will see a message saying you will receive an email to validate your identity. You must click on the link provided to complete the signature process.
Dredging is to begin in Kitimat harbour to prepare for a potential LNG plan. “This process will clean out the bed of Douglas Channel by scooping out over 1.72- million metres cubed, worth of mud, weeds, and other debris.” No mention of all the marine life that will be scooped out. Read more.
Drought in British Columbia
“As a summer heat wave descends on areas of British Columbia, freshwater stewards, advocates and organizations have an opportunity to rev up the public conversation around drought, water scarcity and how we can do a better job of protecting the water we have in an era of climate change.” The Freshwater Alliance has created “10 Essential Messages for Communicating about Drought.”
The colonial history behind B.C. Day that can make us all proud
This article is a very interesting take on BC’s history: “A colonial governor who was part black welcomed racial minorities and stood up for Indigenous people against marauding Americans: How was he airbrushed from the modern narrative?” It would be wonderful if someone would fact check this and do a follow-up article. Read more.
This piece is an interview with a First Nations Matriarch-In-Training. If you haven’t yet discovered The Sealives Initiative, check out the stories on it. “The Sealives Initiative Full Story blog contains our content gathered from personal interviews with the people we have met and photographed along our journey.” More of these stories will be featured here.
Food security and agriculture
Many people are looking at alternative forms of agriculture that will allow young farmers to thrive. Here in the Comox Valley we have the Mid-Island Farmer’s Institute and Merville Organics. This article is about a co-housing group near Chilliwack. Read more.
Gorgeous photos, great article. Read more.
The Green Party of Canada Biennial Convention is getting close
September 28-30, 2018. Read more. Convention 2018 is Sept 28-30 in Vancouver! Join us and help us build for success in 2019. Check out the list of speakers so far. An outline of the Convention schedule is now available on the GPC website. On that note, if you haven’t already taken advantage of our Convention travel discounts, check them out now to see how you can save on your trip. The special discount room rate at the Westin Bayshore Hotel is still available as well, but don’t forget that the deadline to reserve your room is August 28th! Info and registration here.
2019 GPC candidate nomination process webinar
DATE/TIME: August 22, 3:30 p.m. Pacific
LOCATION: Zoom online meeting.
Register here. You must be a GPC member or volunteer to attend this webinar.
Other upcoming GPC webinars
Check them out here. They are open to GPC members or volunteers.
Oil drilling in the St. Lawrence
Sierra Club Canada/Ecojustice has been recognized as public interest applicants in the fight to stop yet another company from drilling in the St. Lawrence and endangering right and blue whales. “The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, backed up by the oil company wanting to drill, Corridor Resources, was questioning our right to make the case at all - our ability to have “standing” recognized by the court.” Read more.
BC Council for International Cooperation: How does Canada compare on sustainable development
The United Nations recently held a high-level political forum on sustainable development. If you read Canada’s voluntary report on how close we are to achieving sustainable development goals, it sounds laudable. However, the BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) report on Canada’s submission is a little more critical.
Excerpt: “If we look a little closer at the very statistics presented in the VNR, however, we see that Canada is regressing on multiple SDG indicators. Food insecurity is increasing, the percentage of Canadians in core housing need is growing, and access to water in Indigenous communities is decreasing. These findings are echoed in the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation’s shadow report to the VNR, where the case is made clear that Canada’s already marginalized communities are being left even further behind. The VNR strongly emphasizes public spending to solve these issues but the data show that it has not been enough, and that intergovernmental cooperation, regulation, education, partnerships, and other policy tools are also crucial.”
For more information and reports, see the BCCIC newsletter.
How to register your objection to paying for war, through your taxes
Conscience Canada is an organization for conscientious objectors. “Since 1978, the focus has shifted to war tax resistance, as we are in an era in which citizens’ taxes, rather than their bodies, are conscripted. In 1981, a letter from constitutional expert Senator Eugene Forsey, MP Stanley Knowles, and 5 other MPs was widely published. The letter said, in part: “In times of military conscription, exemption from service in the military can be claimed on grounds of conscience, and alternate service is approved. It should be equally possible to claim exemption from paying for war preparation, and an alternative provided.”
Conscience Canada provides a Peace Tax Return that you can use to register your objection to using taxes for war. They have newsletters, nonviolence resources, sample letters and petitions, and a 15-page guide to conscientious objection to military taxation.
Their four co-sponsors include two Mennonite organizations – the Mennonite Central Committee Canada and the Mennonite Church Canada.
Were you aware that the Mennonites have always been conscientious objectors? The CBC did a documentary on conscientious objectors in Manitoba during World War II.
Read this letter in the Gulf Islands Driftwood from March 11, 1981, page 5, talking about the Peace Tax Fund that people tried to get started. It’s signed by Senator Eugene Forsey, Vic Althouse, Pauline Jewitt, Stanley Knowles, Jim Manley, Bob Ogle, Svend Robinson.
The “right to roam” and reconciliation
British citizens have the “right to roam” the countryside. This is a fascinating article about a group of people who have hiked ancient Indigenous and Metis trails in Canada. There is no “rambling movement” in Canada, “but there are historic trails. They deserve access; keeping their memory alive will require public interest. And Canada has an important issue that British land-owners and ramblers never faced — the question of Indigenous treaty rights and First Nations access…Recent tensions between farmers and First Nations in the Canadian West have focused on narratives of trespass. Indigenous scholars and commentators challenge others to “invert the intrusion narrative.” Bringing the “right of responsible access” to Canada could be one small step toward doing this.” Read more.
Other perspectives on ‘reconciliation’
This is a powerful article! Many Whites have good intentions when it comes to relationships with Indigenous people. Many Whites are lacking an understanding that our childhood play of “cowboys and Indians” where the Indians always died is constantly played out on our city and rural streets and at the hands of our governments. Read more.
Excerpt: “[A female juror in the Colten Boushie trial] ran for the same reason that she and her fellow members of the all-white jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty for killing 22-year-old Colten Boushie. They were afraid of Indians, especially angry Indians … And let’s dispense, for a moment, with those words “First Nations” and “Indigenous,” because those imply respect, and progress. Today it is clear that we’re still “Indians.” If you don’t know how it is that so many reserves live in poverty, or why the prisons are full of our people, or why there are so many suicides, boil-water advisories, why there are so many Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, why any of the dysfunction and failure and tragedy that is the “Indian Problem” in this country exists, look for your answer in the Gerald Stanley verdict.”
Federal government awards marine emergency towing contract to Eastern company
This blog has previously referenced the Heiltsuk Nation’s bid, together with Horizon Maritime Services Limited, to provide emergency towing in Pacific waters. Read more.
Excerpt: “Canada has decided to maintain the status quo and spend over $65 million on aging vessels from an east coast company with minimal experience in Pacific waters … We were shocked to learn that the aboriginal participation component of the bid accounted for less than 1% of the decision,” said hereditary chief Harvey Humchitt. “In an age of supposed reconciliation, the federal government should be embarrassed that they would give such little weight to the involvement of Indigenous peoples.”
Everything is connected
Our ancestors have been here for thousands of years. It’s that long-term perspective that’s missing in the Western ways of resource planning. By combining Western scientific methods with the traditional #Indigenous knowledge we have of this land, we’re getting a fuller picture of our ecosystem, enabling us to make an informed marine use plan. We have to take care of it, as it takes care of us. #OceanGuardian
Posted by Coastal First Nations on Saturday, November 11, 2017
Winnie the Pooh film, ‘Christopher Robin,’ denied release in China
What?! “Chinese authorities have been blocking images of Pooh on social media since last year, after the AA Milne bear became a symbol of political dissent.” It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry over the fact (if it’s true) that the leader of one of the world’s most powerful countries feels threatened by a stuffed bear. Read more.
Ingenuity and craftsmanship that will astound you
Watch this short video. You’ll be fascinated, and it will make you realize how privileged you are. It’s not designed to shame, however; the resilience of the human spirit and the human mind is inspiring and uplifting.
Donald Trump’s war on journalists
This blog tries not to mention Trump, but we’re making an exception in this edition to stand in solidarity with journalists around the world (August 16, 2018). And to acknowledge that Canada is not immune, as Doug Ford is demonstrating. Read more and watch this video.
Excerpt: “No matter how tired you get of reading about Trump and hearing about Trump, this is not the moment to look away or keep your head down. You and I must speak out strongly and persistently against Trump’s propaganda. We must stand up for journalists who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of truth and justice.”
The world has lost a powerful voice, in every sense of the word: Aretha Franklin dies on August 16, 2018
While this blog is not prone to profiling famous people, Aretha Franklin’s death will touch many around the globe. Even The Japan Times carried a special report. Many wonderful commentaries will be coming out about Franklin, but this blog wants to acknowledge the tremendous importance R-E-S-P-E-C-T had for the Civil Rights Movement, and then for women when the Women’s Movement was a burgeoning force to be reckoned with. Franklin was a woman of tremendous courage, grace, and talent.
Thought of the day:
“i want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re beautiful
but because i need you to know
you are more than that”
― Rupi Kaur