Humble Dogs

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

Archive for the tag “politicians”

Rants of a Christian Enviromentalist

I am an environmentalist. I believe all people have a role to play in protecting the environment and the eco-systems we live in. Even more so for us who claim a dedication to Christian principles. We were created by God to be stewards of all He created.

Earth

View from Space

Genesis 1: 28; And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”.

It is that word, “DOMINION”, which means REGENCY. God granted us regency in His creation. We, mankind, are to, use the land, the seas and all God has abundantly supplied but, we are to watch over it, take care of it, and return it to Him unsullied. God has asked us to be conservationists, environmentalists, ecologists and take care of this earth. Perhaps, at least in part, it is our failure to look after this earth that the final act of the creation story is to create a new earth, one fit for His Holy Kingdom.

I will admit, I get very judgmental over environment issues, especially towards those whose authority is to look after the affairs of our Country, Province/State, or community. Yes, I am referring to politicians  I live in Alberta, Canada and I realize that even though I am retired, much of the benefits I enjoy come from the resource revenues created by the Oil Sands industry. Some call it the Tar Sands, probably a more fit name but, that is another debate.

The last thing I want in this matter is to have the Oil Sands shut down. That would serve no one. What I would like to see is proper management applied to this resource. Both the Federal and Provincial Governments know the problems with pollution, they have conducted numerous studies, they know the solutions and yet due to heavy lobbying pressure by the oil companies involved, they choose to do nothing environmentally constructive. They boast about the monies the project brings in, they spread economic fear that unnecessary meddling will create economic disaster.

What I don’t understand is why the laws to protect the environment and ecology which are already in place are not enforced over the industries involved with the oil sands.

Several months ago a government authorized study conducted by the Univ. of Alberta confirmed that pollution, directly attributed to oil sands operations, is having a detrimental effect on the environment and the ecology in a wide path, mainly east,(prevailing winds) surrounding the Fort McMurray, Wood Buffalo region. These reports were not released to the public and scientists who worked on the report were put under gag order. The report was eventually leaked by a subordinate several weeks later.

I wrote to my Member of Parliament, Blaine Calkins, on this matter and received this reply:

Dear Mr. Tilley,

Thank you for your letter concerning the recent study done by Environment Canada that confirmed the studies done by Dr. Schindler.

As Environment Canada noted in their report, the levels of containments found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development. Consequently, Environment Canada has decided to do further tests in an effort to better understand the levels of contaminants in the Oil Sands area.

“…the levels of contaminants found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development.” Of course they are consistent – they are the same contaminants blown there by winds coming off the oil sands.
In other words; “We will continue to do nothing.”

I also asked him about the ‘Gag Order’ muzzling the UofA scientists, he replied:

With regards to your comments about monitoring reports being kept secret, and scientists being ‘gagged’, it simply isn’t happening. The process of making reports public is not new, and has not been changed by our Government.

OK, Let’s hear from the scientists themselves after the report was leaked. Watch the following news video.

Government Hides Proof of Oil Sands Contamination
http://www.albertaprimetime.com/Stories.aspx?pd=4450

Original Air Date: Monday, November 05, 2012
The public is learning Environment Canada knew of oil sands contamination and muzzled its scientists. What fallout will those revelations cause?

We speak with David Schindler, international acclaimed and outspoken environmental biologist from the University of Alberta.

Tar Pit #3

Tar Pit #3

This week a new report was released by Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario This time the report was published directly to major news sources. This report confirms the findings of the previous UofA reports of last November.

Oil sands development polluting Alberta lakes: study 
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/oil-sands-development-polluting-alberta-lakes-study/article7014184/

Oil Sands Polluting Area Lakes 
http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/393673-report-oilsands-polluting-area-lakes

Oil sands pollution ‘clearly evident’, government-funded study says 
http://business.financialpost.com/2013/01/07/government-funded-study-concludes-toxic-hydrocarbons-from-oil-sands-pollute-lakes/

Margaret Munro, Postmedia News | Jan 7, 2013

Leading federal and academic scientists have uncovered “compelling” evidence that Alberta’s oil sands operations have been sending toxins into the atmosphere for decades.

Industry’s role as a decades-long contributor of PAHs to oil sands lake ecosystems is now clearly evident
The team has found “striking” increases in contaminants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at the bottom of six lakes up to 90 kilometres from the massive oil sands operations in northeastern Alberta.

PAHs began to climb in the lake sediments in the 1970s and are now up to 23 times higher than 1960 levels. It says the increased PAHs coincided with oil sands development and the compounds have a distinct “petrogenic” fingerprint different from PAHs generated by natural phenomenon like fire.

Levels of the toxins have almost tripled since the 1960s in Namur Lake, the most remote lake tested. It is about 90 kilometres northwest of oil sands operations in a provincial park known for its fishing. The PAHs are up to 23 times higher in the other lakes, which are within 35 kilometres of the oil sands operations.

“Given the planned expansion of the oil sands, the trend will likely accelerate in future,” says co-author John Smol, a Canada research chair in Environmental Change at Queen’s University.

Government and industry response is; “that many pollutants found in the lakes and rivers of northeastern Alberta are naturally occurring and leached from the bitumen deposits themselves.”

In other words; “We choose to do nothing.”

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Of Lies and Democracy

Two very telling articles on http://www.ipolitics.ca

 Lying lies and the politicians who tell them 

By Paul Adams | Dec 16, 2012

In between the diplomatic deception and the outrageous, pointless lie, there is a vast array of intermediate-level cases that are more ambiguous, morally and politically.

Politicians may have a theoretical duty to be truthful to the public, but they also are engaged in a bitter contest with ruthless political opponents, vying for the attention of an often disengaged public.

In this atmosphere, politicians may present a partial or misleading version of the facts, which they regard as truthful (perhaps only technically) but others see as lies: “an economy of truth”, as Edmund Burke famously called it.

I really like the following line:

“… a storyline designed to give an intellectual pedigree to a policy adopted for tactical reasons…”

 

How Harper exploits Canadians’ ignorance of parliamentary democracy
By Frances Russell | Dec 7, 2012

Canada has the most dysfunctional and undemocratic parliament in the British Commonwealth. Canadians have been reduced to electoral democracy, not parliamentary democracy.

Democratizing the Constitution — Reforming Responsible Government, a new book by political scientists Peter Aucoin, Mark D. Jarvis and Lori Turnbull, defines electoral democracy as “a system in which the electorate decides who forms the government and the prime minister then governs as a virtual autocrat until the next election … The concentration of powers … cannot be permitted to remain in the hands of a single individual who is able to undermine democratic governance at his or her will.”

Canada should follow the lead of its sister Commonwealth countries Britain, Australia and New Zealand and codify the principles of parliamentary democracy to ensure the players — voters and politicians — understand the playbook and stay within the rules.

 

Culture of Violence

My sincere condolences go out to the parents of the children who were killed and the families of the teachers and the families of the surviving children who were subjected to this traumatizing development at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is impossible to make any sense of this tragedy or or any of the other school shootings that have taken place not only in the US but here in Canada as well.

In response to the Connecticut elementary school shootings, many people in both the USA and Canada will call on the politicians to enact legislation that will hopefully curb this kind of meaningless homicide  The debate will center on gun control and politicians will recite over and over the time worn rhetoric and talking points on both sides of the conversation. The news media will regurgitate all the past mass shootings as though that will in some fashion help in the debate and interview scores of experts giving their own mostly biased opinions. There-in lies the main problem, talk, bias and politics and the underlying motives of greed and self-importance.

The conversation must include the root causes of the culture of violence that permeates within our society.

Violence is the intentional use of force or power, threatened or actual, against a person, or against a group or community and can be physical, verbal or neglect and discrimination, or acts of omission, and includes obvious acts of commission by the over-use and misuse of the power of office. Violence does not necessarily need to result in injury or death, but by actions and in-actions that nonetheless pose substantial burdens on individuals, families, communities and public institutions.

We can no longer ignore the fact that violence is ever increasing especially violence against women and children, the underprivileged and impoveraged. We live in a culture of violence. Violence has become by example how problems are solved and it starts at the top with our leaders, those we elected to public office. Demeaning the opposition is violence. Closed door politics is violence. Lying is a form of violence. Deceit is a form of violence. Failure to provide is a form of violence. When our elected officials resort to violence to further their own political agendas it only follows that the public perpetuate the example.

Unless our politicians of every stripe can place their personal politics aside and join together to solve the the problems facing our country, nothing meaningful will be decided. Both, in the United States of America and in Canada, our governing bodies must divorce themselves of party politics and work in unison to solve, not only these acts of violence, but, the fiscal, economic, environmental, industrial, discrimination and a host of pressing matters facing our nations. It is this political attitude, attitude of violence, of bullying, of combativeness that permeates the legislatures and hence, by their example, the cultures of the people of our nations and that, consequently, helps promote the feelings that lead to unrest, hopelessness, and uncaring behaviors. Behaviors that can lead some to the more heinous forms violence.

I am not saying that these acts of violence are the direct fault of politicians, but they are not helping, they are not acting as leaders. Our leaders need to lead. Our elected members need to show that they actually care about the country and bring an end to the politics of greed and self-importance, self-interest. As long as there is unemployment, they are not doing the job they were elected to do. As long as there are working poor, they are not doing the job they were elected to do. As long as there are children who are disadvantaged by education, they are not doing the job they were elected to do. As long as people are not receiving the medical assistance they require, politicians are not doing the job they were elected to do. As long as there is homelessness, they are not doing the job they were elected to do. As long as politicians give more ear to lobby groups over their constituents, they are not doing the job they were elected to do.

And it all stems from greed and self importance. There is only so much resource in this country from which to do what is required. The resource belongs to the Nation as a whole and as a whole the nation must benefit fairly. If corporations must take less profit, so be it. If unions must pull back their wage and benefits  so be it. If the rich need to pay more tax, then pay more tax. If the unemployed need take a less paying job – do so. The only way to security as a nation is to set aside the political bias of greed and egos and work together to reach the truth of being beneficial for all not just cater to a particular voting group. It is not a matter of reaching compromise, it is a matter of arriving at and enacting to the truth.

Accountable Democratic Government

The Canadian electorate has become increasingly disillusioned with respective governments across Canada, both Federal and Provincial, and are becoming more and more complacent towards their elected representatives. For democracy to function as it should, something needs be done. That ‘done’ is Accountable Representation. Before defining Accountable Representation there needs to be a job description for MPs and MLAs.

There are many references to and definitions of what an MP or MLA is and does but, there is no official description defining his/her job or responsibility and accountability or to what he/she is responsible for nor to whom he/she is accountable.

Parliament passed the Federal Accountability Act on December 12, 2006. This act though, introduced by the Harper government and passed by near unanimous accent in the House has really nothing to do with accountability. It was described as, “to help strengthen accountability and increase transparency and oversight in government operations”. This act turned out to be anything but; it had no effect in making Parliament and Government accountable and in truth produced the exact opposite results. One overlying factor is that there is no penalty for not being accountable and no recourse for swift and effective action either by the electorate nor any legal authority that would hold the Government or MPs to account.

What then is accountability? Here is the definition given by the Center for Public Accountability.

“Accountability is the obligation of authorities to explain publicly, fully and fairly, before and after the fact, how they are carrying out responsibilities that affect the public in important ways. It is the obligation to report — to publicly explain intentions and the reasons, intended performance standards and whether they were met, and the learning gained and how it was applied.”

“To hold to account we need to distinguish responsibility from accountability. Responsibility means the obligation to act. Accountability means the obligation to answer for one’s actions. The accountability obligation implies overall disclosure standards that include stating the fairness rationale for proposed action, the intended achievement and how it is to be brought about, the results, and the learning gained and applied. Holding to account means getting the answers from those accountable; it does not mean by-passing the answering process and going direct to an investigation of people’s performance.”

The old adage, ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’ must surely apply to all MPs / MLAs even to Prime Ministers and Members of Cabinet. They are all payed by the public purse and are therefore Civil Servants. The opporative word is servant, in the employ of another who holds the authority. In the case of an MP / MLA, his/her constituents.

Each and every Member of Parliament / Legislature needs then to:

  1. Meet with his/her constituency several times each year and
  2. Publicly report to his/her on a weekly basis:
  • His/her attendance in the House.
  • His/her attendance and contributions to committees,
  • Outcomes of Parliamentary committees,
  • His/her intentions on any given legislation explaining;
  • What the legislation is,
  • Why the legislation is required,
  • Who and/or what is effected by the legislation,
  • How will this legislation be effective,
  • Who will profit mostly by this legislation,
  • Who will pay the costs related to this legislation,
  • What are the main objections to this legislation,
  • When will this legislation become effective,
  • When the vote on this legislation will take place.

It is then the public’s responsibility to avail themselves of  their MP/MLA reports.

30 Ways to Ruin

I came across this article this morning while researching Parliamentary Reform. For anyone concerned about the direction their nation is headed, this is required reading. Written by Kathleen O’Hara, Journalist http://www.kathleenohara.ca/index.html for Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

30 WAYS TO DISMANTLE A COUNTRY

“Over the past decade or more, federal governments, working in co-operation with business, academic and media interests, have been transforming our relatively collectivist, sharing and democratic society into one that is individualistic, profit-driven and corporate-dominated — an unprecedented revolution.

Canadians have heard a lot about Canada being “the best country in the world.” We have been promised that the worst of the anti-deficit “healing” process is over and we will soon begin to benefit from painful deficit-reduction and restructuring. But, in reality, this country is being privatized, decentralized, deregulated and continentalized to such an extent that the tools once used to ensure fairness and equity are being destroyed.

Our country is being redesigned to serve a small, powerful elite and to fit into a financially-fluid global society, a virtually borderless world dominated by transnational corporations (about 200 giant companies already control 80 % of the world economy!) where nations are nothing more than “economies,” government leaders behave like “chief executive officers” and citizens are reduced to “clients” or “consumers.”

How have the Liberals, the Tories and the large corporations which fund them and firmly control their agendas managed to get away with this wholesale dismantling? For one thing, although Canada is an extreme case in terms of the speed of its transformation, we are not out of sync with the world. Other nations, too, are being restructured. The International Monetary Fund has a “structural adjustment” program that consists of paring down government, privatizing national assets, weakening social programs, opening up investment, and liberalizing trade. Sound familiar?

But Canada is unique. We border the most powerful nation in the world. We are vulnerable. Tearing down what makes us different politically, socially and culturally will prove fatal. The list below has been prepared to help Canadians more clearly understand what is being done in the name of cost-cutting, competition and globalization. It is not easy reading. But remember: “Knowledge is power!”
Read full article

What I find most alarming is that this paper was written in May, 1998, and political conditions are only worsening since.

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.

Dominion of Canada

When Canada became an independent nation, the founding fathers adopted the title “Dominion of Canada”. The term was taken from Genesis when God said to Adam, “You shall have dominion over all of creation” God was saying to Adam, “I have appointed you to be the caretaker over the land which I have given you”. It was a vice-regency title given to Adam from God and the connotation for Canada as being part of the Realm of the British Empire.

The term “Dominion” can be traced to a suggestion by Samuel Leonard Tilley at the London Conference of 1866 discussing the confederation of five of the British North American possessions, the Provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island into “One Dominion under the Name of Canada”, the first internal federation in the British Empire. Tilley’s suggestion was actually taken from the 72nd Psalm, verse eight, “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth,” This verse is echoed in our national motto, “A Mari Usque Ad Mare. latin for “from sea to sea”

By adopting the term Dominion, the founding fathers took on to themselves and passed on to us and all generations that follow the responsibility to be caretakers of the lands, the resources and ecology, the flora and fauna, the waterways, the land and the environment. To be a member of government is to shoulder that responsibility. It was written into the name of Canada – Caretaker. We are the caretakers of this land first before all other responsibilities, the onus is on us to make sure that Canada is passed on intact and viable for all generations that follow. Not only our children, but our children’s’ children forward to all generations.

The shame for Canada is that we have slowly but deliberately dissolved our responsibilities as vice-regents, as caretakers, and now only give lip service to care taking of our lands that make up this nation of Canada. So determined to not be labeled as “Caretakers”, our governments dropped the name Dominion Day and called July 1st Canada Day instead.

Stop the Northern Gateway Pipeline

I will admit that I am not against pipelines. Canada has thousands of kilometers of pipelines criss-crossing this great country of ours. I am against this Northern Gateway Pipeline. Not the pipeline as a means to deliver crude oil, but to the tanker traffic it would bring to the BC North Coast and the ecological, environmental and economical tragedy that will inevitably happen.

British Columbia would absorb all the risks involved with virtually no benefits. 40 permanent jobs, that’s it. Billions in ecological damage, millions in environmental clean-up. Enbridge states that when an oil spill does occur, it is not the oil companies liability. Canada would have to sue the shipping company for causing it. That is copping out.

Help put a Stop to the Northern Gateway Pipeline!

First:
The proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline requires overturning the current federal-provincial moratorium on oil tanker traffic along the coast of British Columbia, and will threaten fragile ecosystems, wilderness and landscapes, including the Great Bear Rainforest.

The Green Party of Canada has a petition to help stop the pipeline from going ahead. Download this petition, have as many people as possible to sign it, and mail it – postage free – to either her Ottawa or Sidney offices. With as few as 25 signatures, Elizabeth can present your petition to the government in the House of Commons.

Please return all signed petitions, postage free, to:

Hill Office
Confederation Building, Room 518
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Tel: 613.996.1119
Fax: 613.996.0850
Riding Office
1 – 9711 Fourth Street
Sidney, British Columbia
V8L 2Y8
Tel: 250.657.2000
Fax: 250.657.2004

Please email elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca or call 613-996-1119 if you have any questions.

Axis of Oil

“Axis of Oil” Poses Significant Problems and Questions for Canada

Prime Minister’s Focus on Money and Markets Ignores Issues of Energy and National Security, Human Rights, Syria, and More

“Canadians simply cannot and should not make the dramatic economic and social shifts Harper is aggressively orchestrating without more information.”

Hilites:

  • Canada becoming a colony of China.
  • Shipping jobs off-shore.
  • Compromises Canada’s foreign Policy.
  • During the 2008 federal election campaign, Stephen Harper promised he wouldn’t export raw crude to countries with weaker environmental standards than Canada, protecting Canadian jobs.
  • The oil and gas sector already has nearly two times the amount of foreign investment compared to the average in other areas of our economy with twice the percentage of profits leaving Canada.
  • Concerning Chinese oil sands investments, estimates vary because of the lack of transparency, but it’s at least $12 billion and as much as $20 billion.
  • Not only jobs will be lost, but energy security and even national sovereignty are at stake. As Anthony Campbell, former head of the Intelligence Assessment Secretariat of the Privy Council Office, has pointed out: “We are sitting ducks.” We are losing our ability to control the oil sands and our energy future.
  • Even Enbridge has admitted that its pipeline will be of no benefit to Canada if it doesn’t secure the so-called “Asian Premium” – a higher crude price.
  • Canada will slowly become a petro state with all the negatives we’ve witnessed around the world.
  • The absurdity of so-called “Ethical Oil” is made transparent when you consider our increased, unquestioning partnership with China. After all, China is also working closely with Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. This fact also makes a mockery of any government concerns about “foreign” influence among opponents of the Enbridge/China pipeline.

Axis of oil?
February 9, 2012 15:38
John Robson looks at Elizabeth May’s alarmist language when it comes to the oilsands.

Wildrose reaction to May’s comments
February 9, 2012 15:49
Krista Erickson speaks with Alberta Wildrose leader Danielle Smith about the Alberta budget and Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s latest oil comments.
Says May’s agenda is to shut down the oil sands and tankers must be allowed to travel in BC waters.

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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