Friday, October 18, 2013

Oct. 18: A society in decay....

It's too early to decide who was to blame for yesterday's violence at the anti-shale gas group. The available reporting on it, though quite good, is still vague on some points. (The TandT reporters seem to have done a good job on this story so far.) The problem is that the violence was not caused by something that happened just yesterday. This goes way back; and we have to get rid of some of our fixed thinking to make sense of it.

We have to go all the way back to New France. That's when our ancestors killed native peoples who got in the way. They also took native peoples as slaves - something rarely mentioned in the history books - though that didn't work out very well; native peoples died young in slavery.

Then there was the final taking of their land by the British- which was simply old-fashioned theft - accompanied by the signing of a treaty (which no Canadian government has ever honoured.)

As an afterthought, native peoples in the way of European settlement in Canada's west were quite deliberately starved to death in the late 1880s. Following that, the decision of Canadian governments was to take the children away from their homes, and put them into residential schools which would, it was thought, convert them in "regular" Canadians. In short, the idea was to destroy the native societies. Problem solved.

But it didn't work. Quite apart from the brutality of the schools, the children did, indeed, lose much of their sense of what being a native person meant. But, coming out of those awful schools, they could not become "regular Canadian" children.

No Canadian government has ever come to grips with the meaning of the treaties. Native peoples have been allowed to sink into poverty and isolation, with social problems that are almost beyond understanding. So , for years, governments have simply ignored the problem and ignored their obligations. Most have hoped native peoples would simply disappear. Harper has been more active. He wants them destroyed.

Harper is determined to move oil. That's why he was destroyed almost all environmental protection in Canada. That's why he has cut off funding for research on climate change. (Of course, we all know from propaganda circulated by the oil industry that there is no climate change, and polar ice is not melting and and sea levels are not rising. But it's amazing how deluded people can be, and how they refuse to listen to the wise minds in our oil industry.  The people in the tiny nation of Kiribati - a chain of islands in mid-Pacific have been so deluded that their low-lying islands are threatened, they actually believe two of them have already disappeared, and their president has advised all of them to leave over the next few decades because the whole nation is only a couple of meters above sea level, and will be gone by the end of the century.) We should send those people copies of the Times and Transcript to straighten them out.)

Harper is determined to move that oil. Native peoples and their treaties are in the way. So Harper has declared war on them. It began a year ago with his attack on native chiefs for their very high salaries. That's why we got notices from the wicked witch's flying monkeys like Robert Goguen that were quite openly racist.

(In fact, most chiefs did not get high salaries and, in any case, what the chiefs get is none of Mr. Harper's business. Native peoples have treaty rights to manage their own affairs.)

His next move doesn't look dangerous. But it is. He intends this year to take a direct hand in the education of native children. He particularly mentioned the teaching of history to native children. Why is Mr. Harper, who knows little about the subject, so interested in history? Because he wants them to learn the white man's version of history. In short, this is a step back to what the residential schools were intended to do -to destory any sense of native identity.

That's the background to the violence at Rexton - centuries of abuse, lies, and betrayal. You cannot understand what happened yesterday unles you understand that background.


But fear not. It was only native peoples who were abused, lied to, and betrayed. New Brunswick governments have been handing out shale gas permits for over ten years. They just never bothered to tell us. And in all those years, there have been no regulations - and certainly no enforcement. They still haven't designed the regulations. And they asked us to trust them.

Forced, at last, to give information, - they just didn't. And the Irving press cooperated fully.There were all those promises, We would get up do date information on shale gas. We would get both sides of the story.

And we got nothing whatever, except for the occasional lie.

When Dr. Cleary, so far the only qualified person ever appointed to speak on this issue, gave a speech the government didn't like, one that said it was too dangerous to go ahead. The government and the Irving Press buried it.

Then they hired a fraudulent professor to write a counter-report (on a subject he knew nothing about).
The Irving Press hailed him as a brilliant scholar of international fame. But he soon confessed he was a fraud. The news story of his confession of fraud was written by a pair of spin doctors to make him sound like a man who'd been mistreated by unnamed villains.

In fact, I believe that accepting money under false pretences is a crime. And I should think it a very serious one when it means playing games with people's lives.

So when does our RCMP arrest Professor Lapierre? No. Never. Whether you get arrested in this province depends on who you are, and who your friends are.

It's rather like the Lac Megantic disastter which seems to have been caused -or, at least, exacerbated -
by the behaviour and possibly the criminal lying of an oil company. The result was dozens of dead. So where's the investigation? Where is Robert "Smirky" Goguen with his fliers for your mail box?

Then came the final touch.

Alward announced there would be discussion to reach a peaceful deal. What a nice man!

What a lying ass!

Reach a deal? How? The protesters at Rexton were not asking for a better deal. They were stuck with a huge, international company moving onto their land to do things they were never consulted on or even informed about. They weren't looking for a deal. They were saying no. How the hell do you reach a compromise with no?

And how are native peoples to accept a deal with governments that have betrayed them, impoverished them, brutalized them, and lied to them for centuries? And as a final touch, what the hell was any New Brunswick government thinking of when it gave away treaty lands without consulting the native peoples from the start?

As for SWN, the only acceptable compromise would be letting it go ahead with exploration - which is precisely what native peoples have said no to. And all the shale gas companies have made it clear they mean to go ahead no matter what anybody thinks.

The choice was yes or no. That was it. How could Alward be dumb enough to think it was possible to find a middle ground between yes and no?

It's possible that Alward was not being dumb - or smart. It's possible he was being sly. Setting up the discussion makes him look as though he's being moderate and reasonable. And if there is no moderate solution? Well, that might well provoke a reaction. But then the Irving press will be able to blame the native peoples for it.

Tell you what, Alward, I have a compromise suggestion. Tell SWN it cannot explore for shale gas on any native territory. Instead, it will be given a free hand in Rothesay.

Who is responsible for what caused Rexton? Lots of people - going all the way back for centuries. It's been made worse lately by the greed of big business, the bought politicians who work for their masters - and who are the ones to pass the laws, set up courts to enforce them, and control the police.

By definition, then, anything they do is right. After all, it's the law (that they made) that's being enforced. Follow it closely. Because you're next.

Take in the picture. This is a society in advanced rot. The economic and political leaders of this province don't lead. Instead, they lie; they manipulate; and they are stunningly ignorant. They are corrupt and corrupting.

The result is frustration and, sometimes, violence. Eventually, the whole society simply breaks down. That's where we're going.

Norbert is off on another rant about civil servants and how stupid they are. Right. They ain't smart like that there Alward or Mr. Hemming who can't seem to find a collar in the right size. This time Norbert rants at the civil servants in education - a subject of which Norbert knows nothing at all.

In fact anyone with any experience on the field knows that civil servants are normally the most intelligent and skilled people in government. Indeed, and though big business likes to forget it, there was a period in the 1940s and 50s when big business normally sent its most promising executives to study the methods of the civil service.

Grow up, Norbert.



  1. Even Cardy (NDP) has caved in to pressure against the peaceful demonstration in Rexton.

    Leaving only the Greens to represent the citizens of this province.

    Time to "re-think" who is worthy of a vote around here?

  2. Outstanding essay .. !! Must read again .. Must share with other concerned caring Canadians

  3. I love it..truthful and to the point!!!

  4. I cannot tell you how it does my heart good to read this article. Through your knowledge of history you understand the forces operating and you care enough to take the time to explain it to the rest of us. Thank you. I am deeply grateful.

  5. Great job sir, I raise my hands to you in the Coast Salish way of saying Thank you, Thank you.

  6. Great article. Miigwech for sharing. Now l am going to share this!

  7. nice to have fellow Canadians standing up and saying no! oelalin!