Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oct. 29:well , this time I DO disagree with Alec Bruce

Mr. Bruce's column today is on shale gas. He argues that we should develop shale gas because the world is shifting to the use of coal - and that has even a worse effect on climate and environment than shale gas does.

He also accuses shale protestors of being victims of mass hysteria, and of wanting to drive the fossil fuel industry underground.

Mass hysteria? We have very strong evidence that climate change is real, that it's happening, and that it's due to greenhouse gas emissions. We have very strong evidence that it will have catastrophic effect on our lives. Well-qualified scientists warn that the tipping point is very close - and so is a point of no return.

Here in NB, we had a report from our chief medical officer that the mining of shale gas posed severe health risks for us. The government trashed the report, and hired a fraud artist to sell its version of events. It is almost certain that our children will suffer for this.

Gee. Sorry if I seem concerned about it.

As for the mass hysteria, how about the behaviour of the oil and gas industry that's so reckless to make money while it can that it lies, cheats, corrupts to make as much money as it can while it can. And the Irving press has helped it every step of the way. The Irving press helped to destroy the Cleary report, and withheld information for years, and it has routinely attacked only those opposed to shale gas. It is the Irving press, the one you work for, that has divided New Brunswick far, far more than protestors have.

That's not mass hysteria, of course. No. That's pure greed and indifference to suffering. And that's much nicer than mass hysteria.

Meanwhile, Harper kills almost all scieintific research on the subject, and destroys almost all environmental protection. So we're well looked after on that end.

Then Mr. Bruce  says that shale gas would not be so damaging to the environment as coal. Probably not. But the damage is already so heavy and advanced that coal is not likely to make any significant difference.

There are some things we cannot have. Get used to it. Or let your children pay the price for your calm and unhysterical thinking.

The press and the oppoisition parties in Ottawa continue to cover the Senate/Harper scandal - as they should. But it may be time to add a different approach.

To prove that Harper lied to parliament would certainly be to prove a very serious charge. But - it is not illegal to lie to parliament. When an MP (or a prime minister) is caught in a lie, he or she cannot be forced to resign. The assumption is that the sinner will voluntarily resign as a matter of personal honour. And I bet you can see the weakness in of that in this case already.

Nor, by the way, would it help to force Duffy, Wallin, et al out of the Senate. That's is probably beyond Senate powers and, in any case, would set a very bad precedent. If senators could vote other senators out, then a Senate dominated by one party (as ours is) could vote to expel all the opposition senators. And that practice could well extend to the House of Commons. It's very dangerous to play these games. And there might be a better way.

There can be no doubt that Harper broke the law. He broke it when he appointed Duffy. The constition is very clear on this. A senator must be a resident of the province he is appointed to represent.  That means he must have his principle home (not a cottage on the shore) in that province. Duffy didn't. He hadn't for decades. No court could seriously entertain the idea that Harper was ignorant of that.

It's really Harper, not the unattractive Mr. Duffy, who caused this crisis. He should never have appointed Duffy in the first place - and he surely knew it. Harper, as usual, showed contempt for the constitution just as he daily shows it for the very idea of democratic government.

Or we can go on waiting for Harper's sense of personal honour to kick in. Happy waiting.

That story, by the way, is pretty well the only news in NewsToday. There is no mention of signs of a serious decline in US power in Africa and the Middle East, of how bandits have pretty much ended oil producation in "liberated" Libya, the country we Canadians bombed to bring democracy. There's no mention of the American growing reliance on assassination squads. And, certainly, no mention of very serious Saudi and Israeli threats to bomb Iran and, maybe, Syria.

Section A is a dead loss.
You know, I'm all in favour of law and order. That's why I'd love to see some in New Brunswick.

If some wretch murders somebody in a remote village of Iowa, the story has a good chance of making the pages of the Irving press. Forty-seven people were killed in the explosion of a oil train bound for New Brunswick. So how is the investigation going? Are those oil trains stilll running? Are they still the old ones that are prone to explosion? Will they now be running more of them through New Brunswick to get to St. John?  Have any changes been made in the rules? Why were the rules loosened in the first place? Why changed them? At who's request?

There was an early story that Irving Oil filed a false report of the type of oil it was carrying - and that false report may have been a factor in the response to the accident that killed forty-seven people.

So why haven't we heard anything about all of these?

Imagine how different it would have been if the Irvings were a native family.. Boy, we'd have riot police and snipers all over Rothesay, and one burly cop would snap handcuffs on Mr. Irving, kneeling there in the middle of the road with his dress on and holding up a feather of peace.

I'm all in favour of law and order - but not so big on favouritism and selective harassment.

What is happening to prof. Lapierre? What he did looks to me like a criminal offence. He may also have put lives into danger over the years in accepting jobs he knew he was unqualified for. How come his good friend Mr. Irving didn't know he was a fake? Where's the investigation of who brought him into government circles? Is there any connection with the business world? Is there any investigation going on at all?

I noticed Brent Mazerolle had a big front page story that on Hallowe'en kids get dressed up and ask for treats.- and another on how good wine tastes in Moncton. Couln't the paper spare him to ask questions and then to write stories on Lac Megantic and Prof. Lapierre?

Who were those paramilitaries at Rexton? Were they RCMP? If so, when did the RCMP develop such a unit? And it there weren't RCMP, what were they? These are surely easy things to check.

The United States, fearinig serious violence and even revolt in its cities, has been "militarizing" its police forces with heavier weaponry. Their new purpose - to fight the American people. Has Harper been copying them?

It's certainly very odd for a paper to call these people paramilitaries - and not say exactly what that means.

Then there was that hate pamphlet about native people circulated by the federal Conservatives. There was no comment on that at all. If it had been a hate pamphlet directed at the corrupting effect of big business, you can bet there would have been a big investigation and a "We say" editorial.

I'm in favour of law and order. I'd like to see some of it.

It's hard to understand all this foofaraw about the Senate and Mike Duffy. Some senators want to vote to kick him out of Senate. They can't. There is no mechanism for kicking out a senator. We can't pass a law now to do so, a nd make it retroactive.

Besides, if senate could do such a thing, I can see a future day under a future Harper when the maority party in Senate  would begin the session by kicking all the opposition out. And, especially under a Harper, I can see the same thing happening in the House of Commons.

Then we have the opposition wasting their time over whether Harper lied to the House about how much he knew of the Duffy affair. Of course, Harper was lying. But it doesn't matter. Lying to the House in a no-no, but not a legal one. It rests on the sense of honour of the liar. Some years ago, a British mp lied to the House about his relationship with a woman, and he lied.

When he was found out, he resigned because that was expected of a man of honour. Harper's big lie was appointing Duffy to the Senate as representative of PEI ini the first place. That is clearly illegal under our constitutional law. He lied when he certified that Duffy met the qualifications.

That's where the whole mess comes from - and illegal appointment by Harper.

Of course, it usually only works on a man of honour. But in this case, in could go to the courts as a legal charge against Harper that the appointment of Duffy was an illegal act.


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