Monday, January 05, 2015

Oh, What a Thought? Our Inalienable Right to Environmental Security from Our Government.

By hook and by crook the Harper government has been relentless in pillaging Canada's environment.  Hazmat trafficking in bitumen, oil spills, leaky tailing ponds, air pollution, pipelines and exploding trains, rigging environmental assessments, gutting environmental protections, even leaving an entire pristine coast undefended.

But it's a duly elected government.  It has the right to do these things, does it not?

Not quite.  Not according to the "public trust" doctrine that traces back to Roman times.

In the final episode Thursday of Bill Moyers’ long-running interview show, legal scholar Mary Christina Wood, author of the book “Nature’s Trust,” traced use of the public trust doctrine through American history and all the way back to Rome.

“The heart of the approach,” Wood explained, is “that government is a trustee of the resources that support our public welfare and survival. And so a trust means that one entity or person manages a certain wealth, an endowment, so to speak, for the benefit of others. And in the case of the public trust, the beneficiaries are the present and future generations of citizens. So it is a statement of, in essence, public property rights that have been known since Roman times.

“In fact, this was articulated by the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a landmark public trust decision last year. And the decision basically overturned a statute that the Pennsylvania Legislature had passed to promote fracking. And the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Chief Justice Castille, said this violates the public trust. And he began his opinion by saying that citizens hold inalienable environmental rights to assure the habitability of their communities.

“And that these are ensconced in the social contract that citizens make with government. They cannot be alienated. They are inherent and reserved. So they are of a constitutional nature. And the point of the public trust is that the citizens hold these constitutional rights in an enduring natural endowment that is supposed to support all future generations of citizens in this country. It is so basic to democracy; in fact, the late Joseph Sax said the trust distinguishes a society of citizens from serfs.”

I do have to admit that, under the darkness of the Harper regime, I have been feeling decidedly serf-like.  It's all for today, for someone else.  The future be buggered.  Our grandkids can inherit a despoiled Canada that we've bequeathed to them.  Unlike Norway, we'll have nothing but ruinous debt and ecological devastation to pass along when it's their turn to take over.

Maybe, just maybe, we'll become inspired by activists in other lands to demand accountability from our political classes.  Maybe.


Unknown said...

If the Earth the environment and nature is our nurturing mother then Harper is the devil incarnate because he is apparently intent on destroying our connection with the natural world by destroying it. And giving it away to foreign powers soon we won't be allowed to go out in nature anymore if helmet head continues in power. It seems he hates Canada and Canadians...

Unknown said...

Fracking Harper and his illicit con 'party'...

the salamander said...

.. am I off topic ? Maybe .. But have a read here, MoS
I also posted this to Lorne.. Your article hits the underlying issue or 'story' .. of a crime.. against Environment & therefore against all of us .. and we all know who the perps are.. the factual history of their action.. and where this is heading... Disaster..

(helps explain how serial podcasts tell a story)

Although there are truly stellar books written and underway
& at least one extremely effective documentary film in progress
'Election Day in Canada - When Voter Suppression Comes Calling' )
regarding Vote Suppression and Election Fraud..
it occurs to me that there are other ways and means to bring into sharp focus,
the dirty discouraging reality of the Harper Conspiracy.

Yes our current government calls itself The Harper Government.. but in reality it has become a rogue government and political party.. running a vast conspiracy, hiding in plain sociopathic sight.. gaming and grooming Canada and Canadians to achieve some twisted ideological goal.. To even contemplate describing the people in charge or involved or complicit.. as Canadians with Canadian Values, seems ludicrous.

So here we are now, in early 2015.. with an election theoretically coming.. and Canadians have ZERO idea what this government & its subservient mechanism, The 'Conservative' Party are planning.. to game another federal election.. to further strip and export resources, extirpate species & habitat, to declare their ideology has become Canada's foreign policy, reneg on Pensions, Veterans, sign secretive foreign Treaties, procure F-35's.. ad nauseum

So I wonder if something along the lines of 'Serial' at
could be mounted & begin generating the 'story' we all know is unfolding.. and the story of how it became so dark, ugly and secretive.

Crazy as it seems.. maybe such a powerful tale could be funded and achieve massive distribution via iTunes as well as other outlets. Certainly there is no shortage of credible Canadians who could contribute to the creation of this.

I will cross post this idea.. would like to get some opinion, discussion etc. My expertise & background is freelance Photo/Video & Writing.. but we have a wealth of folks excelling at investigative journalism - Indy & Mainstream & Unemployed.. fundraisers & production/post production experts

Let me know what you think.. Its the Idea & Mechanism of 'Serial' that caught my attention.. The truly original 'Story' of course is right there in front of us.. the victims, the crimes, environment assaulted, deceit & duplicity, the dirtbags, the questionable authorities, fraud, spies, the media .. all heading toward what will unfold as a grotesque 'Fair Elections' fiction
- The 2015 Federal Election of Canada

The Mound of Sound said...

Interesting concept, Sal, but is it a vehicle that will reach a significant segment of the Canadian electorate?

the salamander said...

.. the idea came from a 28 year old Canadian who is quite aware of my concerns regarding Canada's environment, species, habitat.. and how The Harper Government escalated their assault as soon as they had a majority government.

Why is 'Serial' a runaway podcast hit via iTunes? What compells a story to go 'viral'? If Canadians love a great dramatic true story that puts a glow in their hearts, well Amen.. Go big or don't go.

This story is legend.. the Great Harper Swindle. There's not a shred of defense versus the facts.. and as one Thomas Mulcair once said to Stephen Harper after deflection on who knew what & when.. on the Nigel/Duffy bribe..'they keep track of what you say, you know.. its in Hansard!' Or words to that effect.

I think this can piggyback on and feed mainstream media.. it could be 40 or so episodes nailing the Harper fallacies, failures and phonies to the wall. The project and story needs a name.. and as mentioned, lead hands in several departments. Funding, PR, Research & Writing, Voice Talent, Production & Post Production, Distribution

Anonymous said...

Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini have nothing on Harper, he is just not that extreme, yet. However, Harper has those same characteristics. As a sociopath, it is impossible to shame Harper. He has yet to be, ashamed of any of his crimes.

Harper has a list of degenerates as long as his arm, to do his dirty work for him. Some are already in prison and others are on their way.

The only way to be rid of Harper is to throw him, right off the planet.