Friday, October 30, 2015

The big push is on.

Today's headline is about the premier of Alberta meeting NB premier Gallant to discuss the delicate issue of a pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick. It's “in the best interest of all Canadians”. Then there's the editorial - a scare editorial about our need for oil and for fracking. “Will we be able to heat our homes this winter?” O-o-o-h. The front page of Canada&World has the story “Study finds bans on shale fracking are needless.” Three prominent and major and favourable stories about fossil fuels. And that's not a coincidence. It's even possible that the orders for this came from the concerned 'environmentalist' who owns Brunswick.

The editorial and the fracking story both cite a report from a 'think-tank'. That too, is not a coincidence. They refer to it as a conservative think tank and also as a right-leaning think tank. It's actually neither. It's a greed think-tank, nothing more. Like the Conservative party, it has nothing to do with conservatism. And the term right-leaning can mean anything depending on which way you lean.

It's the Fraser Institute. And what it does is pump out propaganda to please greedy and irresponsible billionaires. That's what most think-tanks are, because only the rich can afford unlimited spending to create this propaganda and to order their newspapers to print it. They're just like our very own Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. They are propagandist, and they lie. They also have people with distinguished-sounding names from the academic world, and even more distinguished titles the think-tank gives them.

Well, it's always possible to find a professor for sale. That's part of the untold story of how our universities have fallen under the control of big money, usually with leadership roles in university boards of governors, perhaps with honorary Ph.D.s, and with a crashing ignorance of what universities should be about.

The thrust of these three 'news stories' is clear. The big push is on for the Energy East pipeline, and for fracking in New Brunswick. Mixed in are soothing words about the environment. Well, we can trust those. After all, our political and business leaders have done a wonderful job over the last few decades to clean up and protect the environment. Right?

And it wasn't just the Conservatives who screwed up. Justin Trudeau works for the same gang. And he knows he knows they own him. Even the NDP premier of Alberta is on board – as founders of the CCF/NDP turn in their graves.

There have been kind words for the environment in the Irving press. But damn few and far between. And there's been lots about how it's okay to burn more oil and do more fracking. It's obvious who owns the Irving press and everybody who works for it. The modern, mass newspaper dates back to the 1890s, and it was lying and manipulating from day one. The Irving press is not the only one. It's just one of the worst – the paper equivalent of Fox News.

There is a reality we are not hearing about. The climate IS changing. And it is almost certainly too late to stop it from changing. The best we can hope for is to keep it from getting much worse. That's a reality.

We also have to make drastic changes in the way we live. We cannot go on using the earth's resources as we do. Every resource, including oil, has limits. There is no point in babbling about how developing resources creates jobs. This earth is limited in what it can give us. We have to face what most of us were told to face when we were children. You can't have just anything you want.

That's the kind of world we have to plan for. We aren't doing it because big money doesn't see any way to make money out of that.

As a tiny example, Dieppe raised a considerable length of road across the marshes this summer. That was to avoid flooding. Okay. What's going to happen as ocean levels rise – and they are rising? That does not seem to have been taken into account in the planning. Nor did the Brunswick news story on the building of a bridge across the river mention that.

We've had forty years of warning – with little action, and with Canada and the U.S. as leaders in doing nothing. And with most of the news media either playing down to the need to plan or even saying there is no need to plan. Our business leaders are among those who are carrying out massive environmental destruction in places like Latin America and Africa. I have never seen this reported in most of the news media. And I have never seen anything about how that destruction affects us, all of us.

We have to plan for a different kind of world. And we probably don't have much time to do it. And we should have figured out by now that big business doesn't intend to do any such planning.
A4 has a big story, with photo, of a woman who's retiring after 40 years working for Tim Horton's. It's a gripping tale.

The only story of interest in Section A is that Notre-Dame-de-L'Assomption cathedral will be holding a free concert on Nov. 21. ( I have a weakness for the sound of a good, Casavant organ. I even played one once, but nobody applauded.)

Sorry, I skipped an important story on A3. It's a press conference held by the wife of an RCMP officer who was killed a year ago when he was only recently returned to work after treatment for PTSD. This is more common than I had realized among first responders like policemen and firemen. Apparently, the existing workmen's compensation act imposes severe financial hardship on them and their families. She's looking for public support for a provincial Bill 51 to improve on that situation.

This is news. This is the sort of thing we need to know about.

I have already discussed (disgust?) the editorial. I should add it has a display of ignorance in the last paragraph. It says too many people speak of the need for “social licence” to carry out fracking. But nobody knows what that term means. Well, the editorial writer is the only person I have read who doesn't know the meaning of that term – or of much else. The term refers to a community's willingness to accept a certain corporate activity within its boundaries.

(I wonder if the editorial writer knows what a community is? Or a boundary? Or any of them other big words?)

Norbert has a good column on health care. The only weakness is he can't help blaming the civil servants for what is wrong about health care. Norbert, politicians make the decisions.

Cole Hobson doesn't really have a commentary. But at least it's funny. It's about how Whoopi Goldberg thought Moncton was in Ontario when she thanked our firemen. What's funnier is that a commentary just yesterday, was raving about how this would put Moncton on the map, just like the events centre.

Justin Ryan has a column to provoke some thinking. Japan is a very insular society. The appearance of a foreigner in many parts of Japan is cause for amazement and curiosity among the locals. He sees Canada, I think, as a more tolerant place because it has such a mixed population. I don't think so.

Canada has a long, long history of intolerance. We certainly have never been tolerant of our own native peoples. New France would not accept settlers who were not Roman Catholic. The British accepted Jews after they conquered New France – but only because they were British Jews, because they were very few, and because they brought investment. But when European Jews, mostly poor, began coming in the 1890's, they were heavily discriminated against. For long periods of time, Canada has also discriminated against Blacks, Ukrainians, Chinese, Japanese, Italians, you name it. Nor was this discrimination simply unconscious. It was enforced by limiting jobs they were allowed to do – ever notice all the Blacks who were missing for most of the history of the NHL? Many Canadians of foreign origins were needlessly put into concentration camps, refused entry to restaurants and hotels, forced to live in slum areas.

For an illustration of Canadian attitudes just after World War One, read J.S.Woodsworth, “Strangers Within Our Gates”. One doesn't expect bigotry of Woodsworth. He was a political activist, anti-war clergyman of immense kindness, concern for the poor, self-sacrifice. And this is a book about how he and the kindest, most intelligent Canadians of 1920 or so thought of people who were different from “us”. Nor have things changed. Harper ran his campaign heavily on hatred of Muslims. And hatred of Muslims was almost certainly a big factor that cost the NDP in Quebec for Mulcair's support of Muslims.

Alec Bruce has an interesting column that begins as hero-worship of Trudeau and Gallant. Then he points out that we know little about what they stand for – and that there are some basic issues to be faced – by them and by us.
For Canada and world, there is no world – except for one story about more stabbings and more shootings in Israel.

But despair not. There's a big story from the bigger world of Prince Edward Island. It's a speech by that province's premier – in which he says nothing whatever. Apparently, he will be host of the next meeting of Atlantic premiers. Bring a pillow, Mr. Gallant.

B4 has a story that the Quebec government has given one billion dollars to aero giant Bombardier. That's a lot of taxpayer money. But Bombardier has a history of getting taxpayer money. Founded as a humble maker of snow scooters, Bombardier exploded into an industrial giant in the last 50 years or so.
And this has something to do with Quebec separatism.

The great myth of Quebec is that the English are all rich, and the French are all poor. That is not true, and never was. Check the old census figures for that. Most anglos were at the lowest level of the working class. In fact, at that level, the French were a little better off.

Both French and English had wealthy upper classes. But, since big business in Montreal was trans-Canada and even world-wide, the language of big business was English. More important, it was the English wealthy who had muscle in federal and provincial politics. And that meant they had lots of nice connections to get taxpayers' money. And that often left the province's wealthy French out in the cold.

This was important in the rise of separatism. And it is not a coincidence that the man who rose to a dominant position among separatists was the very wealthy Jacques Parizeau. Making Quebec entirely French would drive out the wealthy English whose companies had to operate in English. Making it a separate country would deliver political muscle to the wealthy French. The rise of Bombardier, with helps from the provincial government fits right into that period. But….

Bombardier operated around the world. As well, Quebec was far from able to produce enough French-speaking engineers and other specialists. They had to come from all over the world, too. And most spoke English. And they wanted their children to go to English schools.

The bulk of the separatists were not wealthy people. They insisted that all such technicians speak only French, and send their children to French schools. So the government told Bombardier to Francizate its whole business. Bombardier told the Quebec government to stuff it. Then it bought a disused airfield just over the border in Vermont, and threatened to move there. The Quebec government backed off.

That's what I like about New Brunswick. It doesn't use language hatreds to manipulate people.

I'm sorry to take so much time on that, but I don't know what to say about a Canada&World section that has nothing to say about anything. In fairness, though, it has a big story about nothing in the Oland case, and a big column on how bicycling is fun.

Meanwhile, there's some kind of important news from Britain. The Chilcot Enquiry has been investigating the reason given by Tony Blair and George Bush for going to war in Iraq. Meanwhile, here's a report from a very credible reporter. The sources are good. It's from BBC which I often caution against. However, it sometimes tells the truth – and this is a story it would not dare lie about.

Tony Blair (and George Bush) lied to create a war that killed over a million people and destroyed a nation. That's called a war crime; and it's a hanging offence. Funny how the sharp-eyed news editor at Irving news missed this. (Of course, he also needed the space for the article on bicycling is fun.)

The U.S. has introduced ground troops into the fighting in Syria. It also demands that Assad resign BEFORE peace talks are held. I can't imagine a better way to turn that war into a world war. Here's the take of The Guardian on it.

Then there's a book about evil incarnate. I have not read the book. It's new. What's below is a review of it. But much of the material in it seems to be about things I have known about but have never appeared in the press.

The story below is about the Chinese-American confrontation in the South China Sea over some islands China is building. I suspect a court would find China in the wrong. Certainly, an international court is where this should be handled, and with the UN handling it. The U.S. does not have a badge to roam the world taking wrong doers to task. All over the world, it has acted as if it had a moral right to be a vigilante. The U.S., pushed by arrogance and pure greed with a strong dose of Protestant fundamentalism, has killed millions and frequently risked world war, and always to benefit its wealthy.

Finally, the Irving press also missed the story about China's abandonment of its one child per family policy. (Actually, that was the policy only in cities. Rural Chinese were permitted two children.) I have a certain gratitude to the system because it gave me a delightful granddaughter. But it was certainly a terrible choice to deal with a terrible problem.

The original choice was done not out of cruelty, but out of fear of a population growth that the country simply could not feed. Nor was the whole world craving to adopt Chinese children any more than it is now seeking Syrian ones.

I'm happy that they changed the system. I'm also scared because they have not solved the problem. You've never seen a crowd until you've walked the streets and the beaches of China. More people is a recipe for terrible suffering, for violence and, probably, war.

I can't even pretend to have any idea of what should be done. Abortion, of course, will continue on a massive scale even with two children permitted. And it will probably do little diminish the abortion of girls. (Boys are important to Chinese families – which is why China now has a large number of men without women.) It's easy, either way, to criticize China. But that's rather like attacking environmentalists. The question is – what is the alternative?

1 comment:

  1. One last time, with feeling.