Thursday, July 01, 2010

Canada Day Indeed

Here on the island it seems nature has dished up perfect weather for this Canada Day - grey, damp and oh so somber. That seems appropriate to where our country has gone this past year.

Perhaps Canada Day should be for more than a day off work, a barbecue, beer and fireworks. Maybe it should also be a day for taking stock of our land and where we've taken it or allowed it to be taken since earlier Canada Days.

What do we have in the "plus" column?

Well, we had a pretty good Winter Olympics games. Canada did astonishingly well and even those of us who are waiting for the bill felt good about the performances of our athletes, especially the men's and women's hockey teams. Sidney Crosby sure came through with the goods, didn't he?

There were signs of life in the Canadian economy. Our country appears to have taken far less of a hit from the mega-recession than other Western nations.

How does that stack up against the "minus" column? Where to begin?

In Parliament we discovered that Stephen Harper hasn't been running a minority government after all. It turns out Steve has had a coalition government thanks to a Liberal opposition whose only demonstrated skill this past year has been rolling over. When Mr. Ignatieff wasn't busy steering the LPC to the right in pursuit of the far-right Harper, he was either quite shamelessly backing Harper or simply skipping critical votes. You hand the guy the keys to the party of Laurier, Pearson and Trudeau and this is what you get? Un-believable.

We learned throughout the year that Harper and Ignatieff weren't just similar but absolutely identical when it came to one thing - the Athabasca Tar Sands. It must've made Harper's icy heart melt, just a little bit, to hear the Liberal leader pledge his party's troth to the bitumen fields of Alberta. Together, hand in hand, true Tar Sanders, avowed Fossil Fuelers, diehard Oilheads, happily willing to accept Big Oil's NSF cheques for carbon sequestration and site remediation, no questions asked. It must bring tears of joy to every oil executive around the world. Even Dick Cheney would be proud of "The Twins."

The Twins brought us Canada's recession/stimulus budget or, as I like to call it, the "Pinata Budget." Those closest to the paper-mache mule when it broke, those fastest on the draw, could scramble in to get the candy. The Harper-Ignatieff budget put a lot of decks on cottages, literally pissed billions of dollars down the drain to be repaid, with interest, by future taxpayers. Instead of spending that borrowed fortune on investments that would return dividends to the country (as in "everybody") for years, decades to come, they shoved it inside a paper mache donkey, hit it with a stick and watched the scramble to make it disappear.
We could have financed a new electric grid or a proper trans-Canada rail line or so many other bold, visionary projects that would have left the country better off long into the future. We didn't. Steve didn't have the courage to spend that money himself and Iggy was too busy writing a book about his maternal lineage to come up with any ideas of his own, so he had to help Harper foist that travesty on the Canadian people. Well done your Igness!

Canada 2009-2010 was a year that saw our Furious Leader, with the quiet assistance of his sidekick, move to shelve any meaningful government action on global warming. Not only did Harper duck any significant action to cut Canada's carbon emissions but he also simply turned his back on our country and our people on measures to help Canadians understand and adapt to the warming that's coming thanks to the CO2 already emitted. And where was the spineless sop of a Liberal leader, the guy who collects his paycheque to oppose Harper's chicanery? Nowhere to be seen, that's where. Because the moment anyone talks tough about slashing carbon emissions and adaptation measures the Tar Sands pop into the limelight, something neither of these scoundrels wants to invite.

Canada at 132 should have been the year when we all figured out that the West has done about all it can for - and to - Afghanistan; that we've already stayed too long for any good we've done and getting out in 2011 isn't just the smart thing to do, it's the right thing. But then the Liberal brain trust figured we should stay, just not in a "combat" role as though in Afghanistan every role isn't a combat role. Once again the IgLibs demonstrate that their capacity for stupidity is unbridled. Train what? These Afghan soldiers desert at almost exactly the same rate as we train them. Those that stay often turn out to be dullards and hash heads. Worse yet, a US government audit of the Afghan National Army just reported that, after nine years of Western presence, there's not one (zip, nada, zilch) unit of the Afghan National Army today capable of operating independently! Not one unit. And yet the IgLibs want Canadian soldiers left to the mercies of suicide bombers and IEDs to "train" Afghan forces. Seriously, this is a party that needs to be euthanized.

2009-10 was also the year Canada gained and lost in the wildlife department. We still haven't figured out just what happened to millions upon millions of BC wild salmon that didn't return to spawn but we did get to greet the startling arrival of the red devils of Baja, the giant and voracious Humboldt squid in their hundreds, likely thousands, to the waters of Vancouver Island.

I'd better close the "minus" column before this gets any worse.

As Canada begins her 133rd year, I look out at a country that has lost its way. We're being run into the ground by a hard right theocratic movement that conceals itself in the false flag of moderation. At a moment when my country has never been in such need of a forceful opposition to stand up for the country, our people and our values, we get Ignatieff.

There was a time when it was easy to be proud of being a Canadian. When living abroad, in the states or Europe, my country was universally respected for its modesty, for its promise and because it could be generally counted on to do the right thing. Harper and Ignatieff have stripped us of a lot of that hard-earned legacy and they're not nearly done yet either.

Around the world the ravages of global warming are setting in and spreading with an increasing intensity. People, too many people, are already dying and suffering and being displaced from ancestral homelands turned uninhabitable and their numbers will only increase for the rest of your and my lifetimes. Get ready for it, this is just the start. Our Western world seems to be sharply divided into the "steady as she goes," growth at any cost freaks on one side and, on the other, people of conscience who fiercely reject the idea that we have any right to inflict the brutal consequences of our greed on the least advantaged, most vulnerable. You don't get to sit this one out. You have to choose sides and if you don't choose "B", you're definitely an "A".

Afghanistan has shown us that there are are things that we truly don't understand, that we simply cannot fix. Yet on the infinitely more dangerous question of global warming, we're content to turn our backs on our own species, mankind itself. As we draw ever nearer, perilously close in fact, to several tipping points any of which could initiate runaway global warming; catastrophic feedback climate change beyond our control, those who have seized control of my country eagerly look to expand, multifold, the most environmentally devastating fossil fuel source on my planet. Theirs is a crime against humanity.

These foul creatures of power have disgraced my Canada. Now the world views us as a pariah. Canada, a pariah state! We may avoid looking into the mirror but the world sees us as we are - a greedy, selfish people whose leaders covertly do everything in their power to scuttle meaningful, international action to slash carbon emissions for the sake of a few decades of Tar Sands windfall wealth.

I might as well get it out. I am not proud of my Canada any longer. I am deeply, profoundly ashamed of this Canada. I reject this Canada and I despise those Oilhead reprobates who willingly transform our country into a pariah state.

Canada Day? I'll pass.


Anonymous said...

Canada Day isn't celebrated in Newfoundland either as it is Rembrance Day for the July 1. 1916 massacre of Newfoundland's brightest and most educated at Beaumont Hamel. For example, three Goodyear brothers lost their lives. I cannot ever remember that family being mentioned at Memorial Day out of Ottawa either. Newfoundland really didn't recover from that until long after WWII. Anyong

CJ said...

2010 - 1867 = 143, not 133. Too bad the rest of your misguided thinking isn't so easily corrected. I will give you one thing, however -- you're basically right about Afghanistan.

Cheers from the theocratic hard right.