Saturday, January 5, 2013


The  Moncton Times and Transcript hasn't said much; but it has noticed there's an Idle No More movement.
They haven't noticed what lies behind it - the wretched housing, the poverty, the ill-health, the federal neglect.No. that would be boring. But blocking a railway line? Now, that's important. That's page one. Headline story.

Since the TandT still hasn't explained what it's all about, many readers will look on this as a silly and even dangerous act, But that's okay with the TandT. Their boss isn't one to sympathize with common people who think they should have rights, too.

There's another big protest on p. A3, one of changes to EI benefits which affect seasonal workers. But this time there is very full discussion of the reasons for it. (The contrast with the Idle No More story in this respect is quite striking.)

We return again to Idle No More in NewsToday, p.1, with the PM agreeing to meet aboriginal leaders. Is this a victory for Chief Theresa Spence? Not at all. In fact, the delay of a week in meeting a women living in a tent and on a starvation diet is one indicator of his casual attitude. Indeed, the meeting he agreed to is not with her at all but with leaders of the Assembly of First Nations,, a group which has traditionally been happy to play word games with Harper while getting nothing done.

In any case, Harper could well get the governor-general to sign Bill C-45 before any meeting. So the meeting really won't matter. But the TandT doesn't mention any of this. Once again, we get news that has no meaning.

The story also makes Bill Beliveau's column - in which he explains nothing, but neatly trivializes the whole thing in his final sentence.

On oped, Brent Mazzerolle writes, for the first time in my experience, a real, opinion column. Gwynne Dyer is, as usual, good. He may, however, by a little facile in saying that any US interest in the middle east has nothing to do with oil. It is quite true that one US, the US of the American people, does not depend on Middle East oil. But another US, the one of oil billionaires, depends very much on control of Middle East and African oil and other resources to control world supply, and profits.

And, with Canada's First Nations suffering dreadful living conditions imposed by us through our governments, with millions dying every year of hunger and preventable illness and war and other violence brought on by our greed and interference in Syria, Congo, all over Africa. the clergyman who wrote the sermonette for today's Faith page  must have thought long and hard.

"What would Jesus talk about on this January 5?"

"I know. He'd talk about New Year's resolutions."

The rest of this blog is not about today's Times and Transcript. It's about doing what the Times and Transcript has failed to so - explaining what the Idle No More movement is all about...

....and why it's about you, too. Let's start with a basic principle of how Canadian democracy is supposed to work.

The governing party has a proposal to, say, introduce a tax on walking. So it proposes the new law in the form of a bill which it then presents to the house of Commons. MPs get copies of it, have time to read it, and then to debate it. In that way, they get a thorough grasp of  the proposal and of any dangers in it. That public debate reaches us through the news media (or at least any news media not owned by the Irvings) - so we understand what's going on and why.

If the House of Commons votes in favour of it, the bill goes to Senate for the same process.
Finally, it is signed by the Governor-General - then it ceases to be a bill, and becomes a law.

In a democracy, the importance of focussing on one bill at a time, and taking adequate time for discussion, is what informs us, and makes us part of the democratic system. But Harper is not a big admirer of democracy.

Let's forget the conservative - liberal crap. Harper is not a Conservative. Anyone who says so doesn't know what the word means. He's not a liberal, either. He's a dictatorial, secretive believer in the goodness of greed. He's a narrow idealogue who has none of the ethics and principles that one might properly associate with conservatism and liberalism over the years. All that counts is making money - for whoever - all that matters is now.  But he has lots of legislation ready that won't stand up to public inspection or to public debate. So how does one deal with the messy stuff of public debate, discussion and informing the public?

Easy. He's done it twice. Just take all the bills you want to get passed without discussion, put them all into one, enormous bill (called an omnibus bill) that's so big that nobody will have time to give each bill the attention it needs. And you make sure it gets short time by wrapping it up with the budget bill which has to be passed within a time limit. Then you use your majority to ram it through before the public has the faintest idea of what it's all about.

A Governor-General with courage would defy almost a century of tradition, and refuse to sign.

A Governor-General with any sense of ethics would resign his post before signing such a document.

Alas. We have a Governor-General chosen by Mr. Harper. Mr. Harper chooses flunkies, not people of courage or integrity. Look at his cabinet.

Native peoples are the first to react because this is a prime minister who has repeatedly treated them with contempt, who gutted aboriginal health funding, who withheld documents from a commission studying the shameful treatment of native children in residential schools, who has, without consultation, thrown out environmental regulations essential to native health and survival in order to please mining companies and the like.

There's more of the same in Bill C -45. There are changes that all but abandon any effort to protect what is left of our streams and forests and farmlands. There is a possibility that a provision in the bill could be used to weaken and even to destroy the basic piece of legislation that native peoples must have - the Indian Act. In fact, Harper has given himself the power to destroy the very idea of native peoples. Oh, and another provision to make it easier for him to take over native lands.

In short, native peoples are facing the threat of final destruction at the hands of a man who has always behaved toward them (as toward most people) as a thoroughly smug bastard.

That's why Chief Theresa Spence is on a hunger strike - because that bill could be signed by the governor-general at any time. Once that happens, it's too late for discussion. Oh, Harper will discuss matters with native peoples, of course, in a few months (or one of his flunky cabinet ministers will) - when he can again safely ignore anything they say.

No. The discussion has to be now or never.

This has become not just an item of national news. It's a major international story, whether the Moncton Times  and Transcript notices or not.

The march in support of Idle No More in Moncton will be on Jan. 9, gathering at 12 noon at Champlain Mall
on the east side parking lot. From there, we March to City Hall.

Yes. We. We will be there in support of the First Nations, of course - but also because bill C-45 is a threat to us. Ramming through legislation in this way is a threat to all of us. It's a direct attack on democracy; and it also has provision profoundly dangerous to our health and safety.

Harper's great plan to to make quick bucks by wildly irresponsible exploitation of our resources that will make the bucks for billionaires, and leave us impoverished in a poisoned land. You can see t hose policies now in a Congo that has been pillaged and brutalized for over a century, and by some of the very same people (many of them Canadians) who now wish to do it to us.

We might go down.But, dammit, we won't lie down.


  1. How could I do it? I overlooked a very silly story on p. A4, "Financial literacy curriculum praised". Jody Carr, our minister of education has announced such a curriculum for our high schools.

    The story is couched in the usual breathless terms which suggest nobody before has ever done this, and the whole world is watching Moncton.

    In fact, it's a very old idea. Personal finance was integrated into the math curriculum of Quebec, English schools (beginning at grade seven)as far back as the 1950s. I would expect there are many examples all over the world.

    More troubling is the lack of information about what the course covers. I note the pressure for it came from private business circles. Gee! Is it possible it includes propaganda for big business? You know, things like letting it off from taxes?

    A report that doesn't give us any real idea of what the programme is can't be much use.

    An editor should also have picked up a clue from the words used by the man who organized a committee of "private-sector" advocates to push for such a programme. He said the public sector and the private sector have a duty to work together on matters like this. I doubt whether he was clear himself on what he meant by public sector - but his was a dangerous statement.
    We live in a democracy. Every person has rights and duties. Every person has the same rights and duties.

    But once you start assigning rights and responsibilities to groups rather than individuals, you move away from democracy. it's no longer the individual that matters. It's the group.

    Once that happens, it's not called democracy any more. In fact, it is commonly called fascism.

    The western world is already well down that road. Two years ago, Mr. Irving publicly announced he was in coalition with (that is, a member of) the government.)

    really? who elected him? If you or I announced we were now, by our own choice, members of the government we would be laughed at. And rightly so.

    Who the hell gave Mr. Irving the right to join the government without getting elected? But nobody laughed. And he did plant his own people as official advisors to finance.

    I hope that fascist thinking like that didn't slip into the new course.

  2. People really are stupid..... you know? Amongst my "Wasp" acquaintances there is not one of them that "get's" (or remotely) understands what is going on with the "idle no more movement". The media has, for the most part, worked hard to keep wasp Canadians completely in the dark over the reasons, and the goals, of idle no more. This is deliberate. If anyone had half a wit they would be joining their native brothers (and sisters) in their protest of the contempt Stephen Harper holds the people of this country in.


    There are a few who get it...