Humble Dogs

That they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts. Matthew 13:15b

Archive for the tag “policies”

Hard to Stay Conservative

In principle, most Tory voters agree with bill C-38, but, it just may be to all encompassing to be comfortable with. What is creating some suspicion is that there are virtually no columnists writing in favor or defending the budget as written. Would it not be in the Tories best interest to break the budget up into appropriate segments? As it stands, few Canadians have any inkling of what the budget contains. 600+ pages is far too much to digest.
Is this the Harper thinking? A Tory voter is a Tory voter, just get it through in one big shot, we have three years to let any criticism fade and they will vote Tory again regardless. There is very good chance many can be persuaded not to vote Tory again.
Or are the Tories making one big offensive knowing that they are most likely to lose their majority come 2015? Their debate in the House is not helping them.
To make things worse, the out-right lies and innuendo coming from the likes of Levant and Adler, just add to the suspicion that maybe the critics on the left have a point. The budget is to large. Maybe there is some curious parts to this legislation that need more time and debate.

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Understanding First Nations

The Wet’suwet’en have said no! This is the final word that our people will say on this. This is final law and cannot be broken. My wish is that Government/Industry would learn about the Wet’suwet’en, and understand that they have no right to go against the Decree of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs/Clan/Members.
Chief Na’Moks, Wet’suwet’en First Nation

My first encounter with First Nations people in North Coast BC was in 1957 when I worked for a summer aboard a mission boat sailing out of Alert Bay. White people referred to the ‘natives’ collectively as Indians, all the same with no real identity. Quaint sounding names such as, Kwakwaka’wakw, were just map references with no connection with the people that lived there. Names such as Cowichan, Tzouhalem, Qualicum or Nanaimo. No one seemed to care what the meaning of the names were, they were just names.

Raven and Sisiutl, 1995 Richard Hunt

Raven and Sisiutl, 1995 Richard Hunt, Kwa-Gulth Arts Ltd.


The ‘Indians’ who lived in Alert Bay and had continuous dealings with and were forced to abide by white customs and rules seemed to have an underlying bitterness that whites just could not understand. Here they had all they needed. Houses built for them, schools, stores, a hospital; what more do they want? How ungrateful.

Visiting villages, Hopetown, Kingcome, and others, ‘Churched’ names for native villages, but the people were by far more friendly and welcoming away from the white culture. Attending ceremonies at their longhouses and listening to the stories of the elders I was too young and naive then to see the yearning in their hearts, like the longing for a lost treasure. I never understood this until my own father became ill. A man who had served all his life in the British Army in India and was forced to find a new life when India gained independence. At the age of 50, he never really fit in with Canadian culture and later when he took sick and was unable to work, that same look of longing was in his face. His stories of how it was had that familiar tone I had heard from the Elders in those native villages.

My impression of First Nations people changed dramatically, although even working in the North, my attitude was still generally based on encounters through the ‘white’ culture, how they were adapting. It wasn’t until the day our Dept. of Fisheries vessel was assigned to attend the opening of the Museum at Bella Bella, First Nations name, Heiltsuk, people of Wáglísla. When the missionaries came to convert the native population, they stole nearly all of the aboriginal tools and artifacts. Churches and museums and private collectors were now giving many of the stolen items back. Like a u’mista, a Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations term for ransom paid, the lost were returning.

An account of the Museum and Artifacts can be found here Looking for Bella Bella.

My lasting impression came from talking with the Chief at Bella Bella that day. No bitterness toward the people who had raided their village nearly 100 years ago but a very understanding, almost philosophical approach. He said, “If the church hadn’t taken these artifacts, they would have rotted away and we would not have them today.” The First Nations, just as all aboriginals, were and still are in tradition, a people of oral history, not souvenirs.

One concept that needs understanding by all Canadians; First Nations culture, passed down through the oral stories by the elders, is not just history. It is their roots, a people tied to the land they live in, the oneness of nature and peoples. Like religious doctrine it encompasses the past, present and future. To threaten the land is to threaten the peoples themselves.

Imagine if a corporation threatened to take away, destroy your belief system, be it Christian, Jewish, Islam, Tao, Hindu or any other. What would be the reaction for Canadians if in the event of a corporate mistake, our democratic governance would come to an end? An oil spill on the North Coast threatens the land of the First Nations, threatens the First Nations traditions, threatens the peoples themselves. No u’mista will bring it back. There is no ransom that can be paid. When a Chief makes a decree or an agreement, he speaks not only for his people today, he speaks for all the generations to come.

Panda Pipeline

Panda Pipeline.

Can China Be Trusted?

Can China Backed Corporations Be Trusted in Environmental Concerns?

China is the world’s second-largest crude importer, after the US, and its voracious appetite for oil has prompted Chinese companies to invest aggressively in non-traditional oil sources including the Alberta oil sands, shale oil and gas, and deep water oil reserves. While oil sands projects have come under criticism in Canada and the US because of their environmental impact and carbon emissions, Chinese companies have few qualms about investing in them. China has little or no qualms about polluting even in their own country or displacing citizens for economic gain or industrial expansion.

See: Interactive Pollution Map Remember back to the Olympic Games in Beijing when China had to curb industry in order to maintain air quality satisfactory to competition by IOC standards.

See: Three Gorges Dam May Displace Millions More. The resettlement, which local leaders want to complete by 2020, would bring the total number of people displaced by the Three Gorges project to 5.3 million.

See: Industrial pollution leading cause of urban smog a group of Beijing NGOs have listed industrial emissions as the main contributing factor to air pollution in China’s cities.

The United Nations’ latest Human Development Report (2006) “has cited China on worsening water pollution and its failure to restrict heavy polluters. More than 300 million people, almost a quarter of the population lack access to clean drinking water and more than half of the country’s water resources have been severely tainted by pollution.”

When industry is allowed to operate in China with few concerns toward the environment and public health, like spoiled children in public, they tend to operate with disregard in other countries as well. When it comes to money, corporations will protect the bottom line first.

Can we afford this in Canada? Are Canadian environment protection laws and penalties enough to keep them in check?

Greg Autry, author of ‘Death in China’ on Stephen Harper’s mission to boost trade with China during his current. trip.
Watch This News Commentary

China is after Canada’s resources, and its time to find a way to get it to them, Gordon Houlden from University of Alberta has more.
Watch This News Commentary

Oil sales, human rights on Stephen Harper’s agenda in China.
Watch This News Commentary

You hear a lot about China’s growing economy and superpower status, but Gordon Chang foresees dark days ahead
Watch This News Commentary

Some History on China and Oil

Some history which may give some insight to the why and how of China, their industrial and foreign policy.

In order to evaluate the pros and cons of the Gateway Pipeline Project, we must first have an understanding of the players involved.

I am not an historian. I am a Canadian citizen deeply concerned about the ecological, environmental and economical effects the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline will have on our country. This report is taken from what I perceive to be factual information from sources I have been able to research and trust to be authentic and factual.

Since the mid ’50s, China has been developing it’s economy out from primarily an agriculture base to what is now an industrial super power. The 1960s saw rapid change as China sought foreign investment and technology in order to compete in international affairs. Many western corporations were attracted to the economic advantages of conducting business with China, a huge low cost labor pool and a huge market for consumer goods of all types. As industrialization took place, so did the need for energy. China has fairly large oil reserves both onshore and offshore which remained virtually untapped until recently. China sought energy sources mainly from nearby Iran and Russia.

Politics of course, has played a huge roll in Chinese industrial development. China and Russia, although both communist, never saw eye to eye on politics. As long as the Cold war between the US and USSR remained, Russian trade with China continued to increase. Since the end of WW2 western interests in the South Pacific played a huge role influencing the politics of the region. China also kept an eye on the South Asian countries stemming the tides of democracy. China proved it’s military interference capabilities first in North Korea in halting democracy in the peninsula and later in Viet Nam assisting the North Vietnamese communist regime to drive out the American forces.

In the late ’70s, China turned south to the Southern countries around Malaysia to further it’s energy supplies. China required more oil resources and looked to Iran. China had border disagreements though with Afghanistan. China needed to come to terms with Afghan leaders in order to ensure a secure and shorter route to it’s largest energy trade source, Iran. This upset the USSR who was experiencing loss of control and influence over it’s southern states and with it direct control over the oil resources in the area. Russia wanted to build a pipeline through Afghanistan to India. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 which led to a 10 year war in which, with Chinese support and indirect US support, drove out the Russians but left a chaotic fragile regime of warlords to rule over the country. A perfect climate for anti-western culture which the Taliban took advantage of along with support from neighboring Pakistan and Iran.

When the US/USSR cold war ended in 1981, it left a huge area of the North Middle East with instability and further unrest threatening access to precious oil resources for western powers. Every country was seeking the control of oil resources and sales and especially the dollars that came with them. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. acted to prevent the confrontation from widening, largely in order to prevent additional disruption to world oil supplies and to honor U.S. security assurances to Saudi Arabia. As a result, the U.S. reacted to Soviet troop movements on the border of Iran by informing the Soviet Union that they would defend Iran in the event of Soviet invasion. The US supplied armaments to the then weakened Iranian Military to back up this promise.

Relying on western promises and oil revenues, the Shah pursued his goal of developing Iran as a regional power dedicated to social reform and economic development pleasing to western countries. Yet he continually refused to allow any civic and political freedom, remaining unresponsive to public opinion. The Shah’s government collapsed following widespread uprisings in 1978 -1979 and consequently an Islamic Republic was formed bound to uphold Islamic law, condemning Israel and it’s allies especially the USA.

After the Soviets were halted in any expansion of access to the Mid East oil reserves, Iran, with a strengthened military, both from US and China, took to widen control over the area by threatening a then unstable government in neighboring Iraq. In 1980, Saddam Hosien attacked Iran in an attempt to gain the upper hand in what he hoped would reunite the State of Persia under his Sunni leadership. The resulting 8 year Iran-Iraq War permanently altered the course of both Irani and Iraqi history. The USA, realizing an eastern influence and fearing loss of continuing supply from the oil reserves, aided the then befriended Saddam Hosien of Iraq, supplying weapons and technology. The Iranian Republic which formally denounced all religion but Islam, found itself cut off from western trade when a UN sanctioned embargo was introduced. With western alienation, Iran was forced to turn even further to China for trade and alliance.

Back in the late 1990s, China was desperately seeking new resources for crude oil which they could control and have dominant access to. The Canadian tar sands at that time were too costly to invest in for an industrial developing nation such as China. China was turning increasingly toward Iran especially with the US threatening a tighter embargo on Iranian exports. China was deliberating with the Taliban to build a pipeline through Afghanistan. The Bush administration disapproved of this deal outright which would give not only the Taliban a huge source of revenue, but strengthen their ability to create havoc against the USA and would also strengthen China’s ability to become the foremost industrial force in the world overtaking the US.

The Taliban out-thought themselves and fell into the trap of attacking the USA by crashing aircraft into the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon, believing that in the event of retaliation they would be aided by Chinese forces as were North Korea and Viet Nam. The US led Western Alliance struck back as planned but, the Chinese, still needing the western nations as trading partners for their growing industrial products, remained ‘supposedly’ neutral and allowed the Taliban, Pakistan and Iran to face the consequences basically on their own.

China is greatly suspected of introducing and aiding both North Korea and Iran in their efforts to gain nuclear energy and weaponry along with the delivery systems and other advanced technology. US State Dept.: “China is estimated by the Federation of American Scientists to have an arsenal of about 180 active nuclear weapon warheads and 240 total warheads as of 2009, which would make it the second smallest nuclear arsenal amongst the five major nuclear weapon states. According to some estimates, the country could “more than double” the “number of warheads on missiles that could threaten the United States by the mid-2020s”. “China has yet to define what it means by a “minimum deterrent posture”. This, together with the fact that “it is deploying four new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, invites concern as to the scale and intention of China’s nuclear upgrade” “(US) –has concerns over possible Chinese biological weapon transfers to Iran and other nations…and have received reports regarding transfers of dual-use items from Chinese entities to the Iranian government…”

Over the next 10 years, while western nations did their ‘best’ to sort out the Afghan / Pakistan debacle and also keep Iranian interests in check, China went about their goal of securing oil resources with the huge profits they were receiving selling products to western consumers. They have recently secured a deal to build a pipeline through Afghanistan which will tap into the oil fields of Iran and south Afghanistan. They purchased several large shares of energy companies, many operating in Canada. Not only were the tar sands becoming a viable resource, Liquid Natural Gas is in abundance in Western Canada also and China is bent on securing these resources.

Worth the Price?

Tarsands Oil Exports vs BC North Coast
Which is worth more? Tarsands oil exports to China, or securing the ecology of the BC North Coast. Is it an either or situation? Can we have both?
Enbridge’s economists have calculated that building the pipeline and shipping out Alberta crude will increase the gross domestic product of Canada by $270 billion over the three decades. What is the BC North Coast worth? Can it’s value be quantified in dollars?
Enbridge admits there will be incidents, but can be limited to less than what was spilled at Valdes. Their own analysis predicts 250 kilometers of coast line contamination in the first week after a spill. “Protection of environmental, socio-economic, and cultural sensitivities will be prioritized, and response strategies will be developed to limit potential adverse effects.” NGP-FS-03-003_Emergency Preparedness and Response
The Coast Guard reports 8 incidents in the years 1999-2010 involving bulk carriers and general cargo vessels with experienced captains and certified pilots aboard along the same routes the tankers will travel. The largest of these vessels being less than half the size of mega tankers.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has identified 15 Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the newly designated Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area “… areas worthy of enhanced protection”. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/329206.pdf
Another important question is; Can Canada trust China?
Are we allowing too much Chinese state controlled investment in our resources? Will there come a time when China is calling the shots? They refuse to ratify an agreement on investments to date. Their foreign policy and actions are abysmal at best.
Is the Pipeline Joint Review Panel just a political facade? Will it’s findings carry any weight in the final decision? PM Harper seems to have already endorsed the project and is about to ratify an agreement in principal while in Beijing this week.
Maybe we can nickname the project, the Panda Pipeline.
Where does the interested Canadian turn for a rational view on the Gateway Pipeline Project?

Prediction

As my first post I will make a prediction.
By 2015 the world economics will be in total disaster.

I say this from looking at the economic and foreign policies of the USA which are a disaster now and who’s politicians are refusing to change. China is the world’s most powerful country, they hold the US purse strings and the US has no choice but to dance to the tune the piper is playing. The only thing holding China back in expanding an empire is oil and they are the only power nation left able to purchase oil without going further into debt. To US disgrace they are doing so mainly on US monies.

I liken US politics to two negotiators. One insists that 2+2=7, the other convinced that 2+2=5. Even if they compromise, they will be wrong. Not to say that the USA is worse than most other G20 nations, just that they have the most influence economically. Seeing the results from the primaries last night, it is obvious that nothing is going to change. The truth hurts and is about to hurt more.

To the American peoples all I can say is – A little humility and down sizing will go a long way.

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