Opposing the Enbridge Pipeline: Saying No to Corptocracy

According to the Earth Policy Institute direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry world-wide amount to half a trillion dollars ($500,000,000,000) annually.  That’s a lot of zeroes for an industry that is killing people, plants, animals and whole ecosystems. That’s more than $1.4 billion per day impacting the climate.  Fortunately, Canada is not in the top 10, not even the top 25 of the countries most generous to the fossil fuel industry.  But given the Davos outing of the real HarperCon corptocratic agenda to “remake Canadathe regina mom shall be ever-vigilant.

If Americans are asking what has happened to their northern neighbour, it’s a sign.  Chris Hedges, in an Op-Ed published at Truthdig, asks outright, “What has happened to Canada?”  He goes on to answer:

I was in Montreal on Friday and Saturday and saw the familiar and disturbing tentacles of the security and surveillance state. Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accords so it can dig up the Alberta tar sands in an orgy of environmental degradation. It carried out the largest mass arrests of demonstrators in Canadian history at 2010’s G-8 and G-20 meetings, rounding up more than 1,000 people. It sends undercover police into indigenous communities and activist groups and is handing out stiff prison terms to dissenters. And Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a diminished version of George W. Bush. He champions the rabid right wing in Israel, bows to the whims of global financiers and is a Christian fundamentalist.

The voices of dissent sound like our own. And the forms of persecution are familiar. This is not an accident. We are fighting the same corporate leviathan.

And the new Canada Inc. will stop at nothing to get what it wants.  The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal is a case in point.  Citing the economy as the reason for the vast devastation which will occur if the pipeline is allowed to proceed, Enbridge has charged ahead.  Geoff Dembicki offers up a detailed explanation of just what Enbridge has done in B.C. as it tried to gain the support of First Nations and small communities.  The Haisla Peoples do not believe they have been consulted, as is required.  Enbridge has walked all over them and not heard their views, despite promising — twice — to listen.

With the government of Canada’s charge forward on the Joint Review Panel (JRP) for the Enbridge pipeline proposal despite the concerns and reservations of the Haisla People came a sense of distrust.  There is now real concern that the HarperCon government will inappropriately use the Aboriginal Consultation Framework piece of the JRP as its “duty to consult” regarding development on unceded lands. First Nations leaders are not, however, standing idly by.

Blogger 350 or bust has reprinted, with permission, an open letter to Harper and Oliver by a former Chief Councillor of the Haisla People, Gerald Amos.  He says,

Now we face Enbridge and their proposal to bring dirty oil from the tarsands through our territory via a pipeline, and ship it through our waters via super tankers.

This is the largest and most insidious threat to our culture that has ever existed, with the possible exception of the Canadian governments violent imposition of the residential school system.

trm doesn’t see these folks backing down.

 

The same goes for the Dene people.  Saik’uz First Nation Chief Jackie Thomas said, “We will be the wall that Enbridge cannot break through.” This came after signing the Save the Fraser Declaration, “a formal legal declaration that protects the world’s most critical salmon rivers, and the Pacific North Coast, from the threat of oil spills posed by the proposed Enbridge oil pipeline and supertankers.”

 

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo said that First Nations have a right to say no to pipeline development on their territories, based on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Canada is not a signatory.  It would ensure Canada’s First Nations “right to free, prior and informed consent” in all matters, be they political, social or economic.

 

Given that Canada has not signed onto that Declaration, the regina mom will not hold forth much hope that the HarperCons will keep to their word.  And, like Chief Thomas, she is prepared to lay her body down in front of the bulldozers to stop this insanity, should need be.

 

Canada’s #enemygate open for questionable business

the regina mom‘s amassed a number of links about the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline and, though other bloggers have moved on to the HarperCon’s potential attack on Old Age Security (OAS) [See Alison@Creekside], trm‘s staying on this issue a bit longer.  Now, let’s see where those links take us.

First, let’s note that this fiasco has been dubbed “EnemyGate” by none other than one of Canada’s finest wordsmiths, Margaret Atwood, according to the stream #enemygate on Twitter.  trm thinks it a very apt term.

A case in point.  Marc Jaccard is one of those environmental people the HarperCons would likely paint as an enemy.  He’s a sustainable energy researcher and over at the Vancouver Sun he points out the HarperCons promise, in 2007 and recently re-confirmed. that Canada will reduce her greenhouse gas emissions 65 per cent by 2050.  He says that in order for that statement

 

… not to be a lie, Harper cannot allow expansion of tarsands and associated pipelines, and he must require a growing market share of near-zero-emission vehicles. He knows this because his analysts are privy to the work of the world’s leading researchers. Canadians on all sides of the issue should read a 20-page report from MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change entitled Canada’s Bitumen Industry Under CO2 Constraints … The report shows how and why the Canadian tarsands must contract as part of a global effort to prevent a 4 degree increase in temperatures and catastrophic climate change.

Is our PM banking on us not figuring this out?  On not knowing this?  On us not putting two and two together?  Jaccard concludes,

 

The facts are simple. Our political leaders are lying to us if they aid and abet the expansion of tarsands while promising to take action to prevent the imminent climate catastrophe. If you love this planet and your children, and are humble and objective in considering the findings of science, you have no choice but to battle hard to stop Gateway and other tarsands pipelines. It is time to face up to this challenge with honesty and courage.

We already know the HarperCons are dishonest and that our PM is a bully and that bullies lack courage, so is it even realistic to expect the PM to act with honesty and courage?  trm notes that the PM was not courageous enough to announce his major policy shift for Canada on Canadian soil.  Instead, he used his time at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to announce, among the previously mentioned OAS attack, that

energy policy will be dictated by the need of the economy, not environmentalists, First Nations and other “adversaries” to development. New mines and energy projects would be expedited and regulatory red tape cut in Harper’s brave new world order.

A member of the First Nations community in Canada, Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee, says that’s a bunch of bullshit, that First Nations are not adversaries to development. He said it more politely, though.

Madahbee said Canada is missing out on an opportunity to be seen as a leader on the world stage. “The National Chief has told Prime Minister Harper that a comprehensive action plan would add $400 billion to the Canadian economy, and eliminate $150 billion in social costs. There are 400 million Indigenous peoples around the globe – over a million in Canada. We are the fastest growing population. We are the students and workers of the future. Why do governments constantly overlook us?

“If financial self-sufficiency of First Nations” is truly the “end-goal” of the Canadian government, they need to be talking to us about the treaty promises and resource revenue-sharing. This is the only way to create certainty for corporate projects. They can no longer expect to barge into our territories without dealing with First Nations peoples.”

Marc Lee, at the Progressive Economics Forum, has something to say about the economic side of things, too, and in some detail.  Go ahead and read the full piece; it’s very informative.  But, trm will cut to the chase:
Bottom line: the Enbridge pipeline makes odious profits and they must be weighed against the costs of GHG emissions and oil spills. Privatize gains, socialize losses. Which is why the industry and their government make no reference to either the profits to be gained or climate change. While there will be some jobs created along the way, they are very small in number. Governments get a cut, too, through royalties and taxes (though the latter are being phased out for people fortunate enough to be corporations), but these are like the royalties on export of blood diamonds.
And why are we singing to China’s tune, anyway? Terry Glavin’s been doing some damned fine research and writing on that issue.  He says we’ve been hoodwinked:

Over the past decade, Canadians have sunk more than $20-billion of mostly public money into port, rail and highway infrastructure on the West Coast, all to expand Canadian trade into Asian economies. The whole point was to diversify our markets and reduce our reliance on the United States. But none of it has worked out like we were told. We’ve been hooped.

Ten years and $20-billion later, it’s all China, all the time. China plays by its own trade rules and everybody’s let them get away with it. The result is that in 10 years the annual value of Canadian exports to Japan hasn’t budged, and last year, as a destination for Canadian exports, India (the largest country on Earth) was overtaken by Norway. As a Canadian trading partner, Taiwan is now down there with Algeria.

Canada’s collective $20-billion Pacific “gateway” investments have ended up transforming Canada’s West Coast transportation infrastructure into the portal that has enabled Beijing to flood North American markets with goods manufactured in sweatshops where they’ll chuck you in prison if you even wonder aloud what it might be like to belong to an independent labour union. As for free elections or political parties, don’t you dare even think about it.

 

The HarperCons are going against everything Canada has stood for in the global community.  As the headline writer at the Times Colonist points out, “Oil policy [is] turning good guy Canada into global bad boy.”

And we, who dare challenge their edicts are enemies of the state.  Can you say fascism?

PMO Hates Gays & Greens, Judges & Nurses, AKA “Foreign Radicals” (UPDATED)

(Scroll to bottom for UPDATE)

Wow! This media AlerteInfoAlert from the Prime Minister’s Office is a sight to behold, dear Reader.  Do take a moment to thank Kady O’Malley for postponing her book-reading and sleep in order to share it with us.  the regina mom is also foregoing some book-reading and sleep to write this.  As with her poetry, she’s going to take it line-by-line or at least stanza-by-stanza so it may take awhile to find appropriate links and all.  She hopes you’ll follow along, that you’re a brave enough soul to make it to the computer-eye-glazed end.

From: Alerte-Info-Alert
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 08:45 PM

At 8:45 PM on a Friday night, this goes out to the media.  That, in and of itself, is hilarious, is it not?  Can you spell, “desperate”?

To: Alerte-Info-Alert
Subject: Foreign radicals threaten further delays / Des groupes radicaux étrangers brandissent la menace de retards additionnels

Foreign radicals threaten further delays

“Foreign radicals”?  Hmm, those foreigners, maybe they have.  trm has threatened to delay the northern pipeline project.  She has publicly stated that the Northern Gateway Pipeline project will go ahead over her dead body.  And if the HarperCons want her dead body that badly, so be it.  But trm is filled with gratitude for these “foreign radicals” who are threatening to delay her death.  Not yet 50, trm is far too young to die.

So, what else does the PMO have to say about these foreign radicals?

Today, Ecojustice attacked the independence of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel.  ForestEthics, Living Oceans Society and Raincoast Conservation Foundation joined them in their attack on the Joint Review Panel.

*GASP* — a foreign attack on a Canadian Panel!  By four tree-hugging groups!  Call in the military!  Those plant-loving, ocean living, ethical conservationists, how dare they challenge our panel, eh?  Let’s have a look-see who they are, those radicals!

Ecojustice is a registered charitable organization in Canada.  And all such organizations are subject to laws which regulate all charitiestrm is certain we can trust that with the HarperCon law and order government, any organization undertaking illegal activity would meet the swift hand of justice.  One would expect Ecojustice to know that.  After all, they’ are  “lawyers and scientists.” Just because they “believe in leading the way to a sustainable future” by taking the “lead in four key areas:  clean water, natural spaces, healthy communities and climate protection” shouldn’t mean they don’t know how to follow the laws of the land.

OMG!  An American serves on the Board of Directors:  Judge William Alfred Newsom is a retired state appeals court judge, living in San Francisco, a city also on the western coast of the continent.  And, oh my, he administrates the Gordon P. Getty Family Trust.  But oh-oh!  His son, Gavin, is the former Mayor of San Francisco who granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples!  And now he’s the Lieutenant Governor of California, on record for his support of universal healthcare.  A radical almost as bad as Tommy Douglas!  No wonder the HarperCons a red alert about the organization his father is involved in!

Well, there.  One radical down.  Now to ForestEthics who just fired a whistleblower.  trm discussed that here, but oh dear, lookie here!  They have offices in San Francisco, CA, Vancouver, BC and Bellingham, WA, another Pacific Coast town.  These “foreign radicals” include Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner, Stuart Sender, as well as Kevin Johnson, the author of the successful book, The Power of Legacy and Planned Gifts: How Nonprofits and Donors Work Together to Change the World which sounds like it could be radical.  And there are a couple of entrepreneurs (one with an MBA from the Harvard School of Business), a nurse-entrepreneur and a Spiritual Director for a Buddhist meditation centre. Aha! trm has attended Buddhist meditations.  It is pretty radical to sit still for 45 minutes, that’s for sure! Two down.

Onward, then, to the Living Oceans Society, which claims it is “a leader in the effort to protect Canada’s Pacific coast” and focuses “exclusively on marine conservation.”  Sure enough, there are a couple of Americans on the Board and they employ a bunch of educated people.  A sure sign of trouble, isn’t it?  And OMFG, they have proposed an oil tanker prohibition area that extends from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert because “[h]istory has shown that oil spills come with oil tankers. It’s not a question of if a spill will happen, but when.”  [emphasis mine]  They also provide a detailed oil spill model (map) of what’s at stake in the area.  What a radical concept!  Radical, I tell you! Three radical groups down.

All right then, on to the last one, the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, “a team of conservationists and scientists” who use “rigorous, peer-reviewed science and grassroots activism to further [their] conservation objectives.”  Oh, well, then we can be assured these folks are radicals!  Peer-reviewed science?  Real science?  And it’s mixed with activism?  Oy!  How radical can you get?!?  Four radical groups.  Wow!  It’s almost like they’re colluding or something.  All that science and smarts and creativity.  And a bunch of foreigners, to boot!  Oh, the PMO had to take action!

Let’s see what else is in this red alert.

Here are the facts:

The Northern Gateway is currently going through a careful and comprehensive review process to ensure the proposal is safe and environmentally sound.

A lot of people hope so, anyway.

Radical groups are trying to clog and hijack the process, rather than letting the panel do its job independently, expeditiously, and efficiently.

Hijacking?  Yup, that word again.  And, apparently, this hijacking is a fact.  A fact, unsubstantiated at present, but that doesn’t matter in the HarperCon world, so let’s just carry on.  The PMO has more to say, after all.  And I know you want to know, dear Reader.

Our government has asked that the review process be conducted efficiently and without excessive delays.  We believe reviews for major projects can be accomplished in a quicker and more streamlined fashion.

Yes, the HarperCon government has asked for efficiency and speed in the environmental review process, that’s a fact.  And it’s quite likely that they do believe the process could be streamlined, so that is also quite possibly a fact.  Again, unsubstantiated, but let’s give the poor PMO peeps a break and go forward.

We do not want projects that are safe, generate thousands of new jobs and open up new export markets to die in the approval phase due to unnecessary delays.

Our Government’s top priority remains the economy and creating jobs.

Canada is on the edge of a historic choice – to diversify our energy markets away from our traditional trading partner in the United States or to continue with the status quo.

It may well again be a fact that the PMO wants that.  And who really cares about human rights in China when there’s money to be had a new market waiting.  We need dirty jobs just as much as the next guy.  Our oil’s ethical and clean, right?  And it’s safe, too.  That Obama down south there in the USA is just another eco-radical, anyway.  Didn’t you hear him bragging about his billions of dollars for green initiatives during his State of the Union address the other night?  So we’d best cut and run from that sure market, eh? And get back to red alertville.

We know that increasing trade will help ensure the financial security of Canadians and their families.

We want to take advantage of the booming Asia-Pacific economies that have shown great interest in our oil, gas, metals and minerals.

Well, sure they are.  We’re resource-rich.  For now.  And the folks in the PMO probably think that their buddies we had better get as much profit as possible out of Canada’s resources before we have to change things. But never fear, our HarperCon government is already looking at ways to do stop the changes they don’t want.  Some are even talking out loud about it.

All this talk about a little pipeline project has really tuckered out trm.  It’s possible that some dear Readers have also tuckered out and drifted off trying to plough through all this boring material.  That’s sure to make the PMO people happy.

————

UPDATE:  Those four foreign radical organizations have issued a legal notice of motion calling on the Joint Review Panel to “affirm its impartiality in the face of government interference.” Go read.  Now!  With gratitude to Kady @ Inside Politics for keeping us informed.

UPDATE2:  Should have also included a link to the cover letter and and supporting documents these foreign radical groups based in Canada included with their Notice of Motion.

Catching Up on Pipeline News and Actions

the regina mom has many links open in her browser window right now so this post could get long.  Each relates to the Northern Gateway pipeline.  The story, obviously, has legs and is running hard.  There’s this bit about the HarperCons determining that there are two types in Canada, those who are allies and those who are threats.  CBC covers the story, as well, going more in depth about the HarperCon strategy to make the tarsands look good to Europeans:

The strategy plan contains a chart where it lists its targets, influencers, allies and adversaries. First Nations are characterized as influencers, along with energy companies, academics and think tanks, and media and government.

Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs and the Privy Council Office, CAPP, and energy industry associations are all listed as allies while European NGOs, media and competing industries are listed as “adversaries.”

Environmental NGOs and aboriginal groups are identified as Canadian adversaries.

The documents released by Greenpeace are reproduced here.

It appears the HarperCons have decided that some organizations are threats.  In an Affadavit, former ForestEthics employee Andrew Frank describes what he learned about the Prime Minister’s Office threat to cut funding for their funder, Tides Canada, because of ForestEthic’s work around the proposed pipeline project. The co-founder of ForestEthics has corroborated Frank’s story and a campaign to get to the truth of the matter, Canadians Want the Truth, and We’re Going To Get It,  has begun on the popular “Causes” site. Please join it.

The revelation by Frank is simply confirmation that Harper’s bullying tactics continue.  As this Globe & Mail headline says, the “Environmentalist’s departure sheds light on tension felt by green groups.”

The departure of Mr. Frank reflects the fear that has been created among environmental groups nervous about federal scrutiny of their practices.

One of the groups that has received the most attention is Tides Canada, a wide-reaching foundation that supports nearly 40 organizations, including ForestEthics, an environmental organization with roots in the mid-1990s fight against clear-cut logging.

John Bennet, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada, says it’s “a scary time for Canadian democracy

Bennett says it calls Canada’s whole history of public debate into question—before now, he says citizens could expect the government to listen to the opposing views on a subject before making a decision.

“Instead, what we have is a government that makes ideological decisions and then goes out and attempts to stifle public debate. So this is a scary time for Canadian democracy,” said Bennett.

His fear is that the HarperCons are trying to create a justification for shutting down the National Energy Board hearings and ram through the pipeline.  It’s a realistic concern.

Carol Linnit at deSmog blog concurs:

But the hearings are built to fail. The National Energy Board (NEB), the federal body tasked with overseeing the Enbridge hearing, issued a general directive one year ago designed to exclude input from prominent environmental groups critical of the astonishingly rapid expansion of the tar sands – an expansion that only stands to increase with the proposed pipeline.

According to the NEB, information regarding the cumulative environmental impacts of the tar sands – including climate change impacts – is irrelevant to the hearing, which is intended to consider information regarding the pipeline alone.

And that’s just plain stupid!  The tarsands are directly tied to the pipeline project.  The Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal wouldn’t exist otherwise.  Even Enbridge says so!  Oh, go read the deSmog blog post in its entirety!

The economics of the project is also under question because it not only jeopardizes the environment with continued tarsands expansion but also the future of Canada’s energy security.  (trm previously made mention of the report, The Northern Gateway Pipeline: An Affront to the Public Interest and Long Term Energy Security of Canadians by David Hughes.) It is worth looking at this piece, too.

Hughes argues that such unprecedented growth is impossible given the enormous social and environmental impacts already evident from a decade of oilsands expansion.

In the event that such a high rate of expansion is achieved, it will mean that Canada will export billions of barrels of it highest quality bitumen to Asia at a time when we are running out of conventional oil, he says in his report on the pipeline.

Huge tankers filled with bitumen, an extremely corrosive substance will navigate a dangerous body of water, the Hecate Strait.  Hecate was the goddess of the underworld, of death, and the strait is named for her.  Do you think it might be named that for a reason?  So, the tankers issue is a big one for those along the BC coastline, and it should be for us all.  One spill and pfft!  We will a mess that will never be entirely cleaned up.  Take a look at this.  Then go here and sign the petition.  As many have already stated, a spill is a mathematical certainty.   Read this.

1. A rupture of the Enbridge is inevitable. We must stop calling these ruptures “risks” — they are mathematical certainties. The consequences will be calamitous.

2. A tanker catastrophe is also a certainty and the consequences unthinkable.

3. There is no way these “accidents” can be effectively managed.

And the economics of expanding the tarsands just don’t make sense when the real costs of carbon expansion are added in.  How can we ignore the environmental costs when we know a spill will happen, when mathematics tells us one will happen?  And then there’s the carbon costs, to boot!

The proposed Enbridge pipeline across B.C. would open the door for more than a billion additional tonnes of carbon to be pulled out of the tar sands and vaporized into our climate system. Whether this carbon is vaporized from a pipeline accident […] or when burned later in China, the resulting climate pollution would be the same.

Estimates of the economic damages caused by this climate pollution range from tens of billions to hundreds of billions of dollars.

Every tonne of CO2 that humans spill into the atmosphere further destabilizes our climate and acidifies our oceans. These changes cost human society, both now and into the future. Economists call the economic damages from these changes the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC).

A recent survey published by the Canadian think tank Sustainable Prosperity looked at over two hundred estimates of the Social Cost of Carbon by economists worldwide. The middle third of estimates ranged from $6 to $27 in economic damages per tonne of CO2. The mathematical mean was $42 per tonne. Ten percent of these estimates topped $95 per tonne. Environment Canada estimated $27 a few years ago. The UK government’s famous Stern Review on climate change used $25. This is similar to the current BC Carbon Tax rate of $25 that Gordon Campbell’s government legislated for BC residents and businesses. (Note: all monetary values in this article are in 2011 dollars).

Applying these values to the 8.5 billion barrels of tar sands that the proposed Enbridge “Northern Gateway Pipeline to our Atmosphere” could pump out, yields economic damages ranging from $28 billion to over $400 billion.

All this is to say that we need the world to stand up to Stephen Harper.  We need the world to Boycott Canada.

On Ending Colonialism OR One Reason Why the Northern Gateway Pipeline Must Never Proceed

In light of the upcoming Crown-First Nations Gathering scheduled for this week — the one from which our Prime Minister will be “ducking out early” — trm thought it prudent to review some basics on Canada’s relationship with her First Peoples.  Harper’s planned early exit, the crisis at Attawapiskat and other First Nations communities, as well as the threat to Coastal First Nations in BC as posed by the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline add to the urgency of trm‘s review, despite the fact that those items are not on the ever-changing Agenda for the gathering.

An Unhealthy Relationship Between the Canadian State and Her Indigenous Peoples

The Indigenous Peoples Solidary Movement Ottawa (IPSMO) provide an excellent case study of Canada’s continued colonial and genocidal policies, the overt and covert racism, and the ongoing dishonouring of the Crown Treaties and Agreements in the case of Attawapiskat.

Since a state of emergency was declared…, instead of receiving immediate supports from both the federal and provincial governments, the community has received:

  • Jurisdictional wrangling between the federal government and Ontario on who should be responsible for the emergency, who should pay for the needs of the people
  • Blaming from the feds on their financial mismanagement, which isn’t true
  • Punishment with third-party management
  • Red tape & bureaucracy in order to have their state of emergency recognized and needed funds allocated

Of course, this isn’t anything new to our First Peoples.

Completely Unnecessary Surveillance of First Peoples

The case by IPSMO and the film, Canada:  Apartheid Nation (which trm will examine in an upcoming post), both reference Dr. Cindy Blackstock, the Executive Director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.  Dr. Blackstock, a tireless advocate for First Nations children who speaking frequently at meetings and conferences across the nation and beyond is someone who sees the inequities and peacefully responds.  Yet, she has been subject to routine surveillance by the federal Aboriginal Affairs department.

Again, this is nothing new to First Peoples.  Dr. Pamela D. Palmater is a Mi’kmaw lawyer, member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick, professor of Indigenous law, politics and governance and head of the Centre for Indigenous Studies at Ryerson University and another peaceful advocate for equality.  In her Indigenous Nationhood blog at rabble.ca she reveals that the surveillance of Dr. Blackstock led her to file Freedom of Information request on her own activities.  Not surprisingly, there is at least one file on her.  It leads her to wonder, then, given the heartful nature of Cindy Blackstock’s work and her own peaceful activities, “[W]hat First Nation activities are NOT considered a potential threat to Canada?”  It’s a valid question, I would think.  Perhaps it is something you could ask your Member of Parliament.

The Road to Change:  Ending Colonial Practices and State Dependency

In “Colonialism and State Dependency“, as published by the Journal of Aboriginal Health V5, I2, Dr. Gerald Taiaiake Alfred of the University of Victoria’s School of Indigeous Governance explains “the fundamental roots of the psychophysical crises and dependency of First Nations upon the state.”  He examines “the effect of colonially-generated cultural disruptions that compound the effects of dispossession to create near total psychological, physical and financial dependency on the state” and “identifies a direct relationship between government laws and policies applied to Indigenous peoples and the myriad mental and physical health problems and economic deprivations.” He shows that,

Political and social institutions, such as band councils and government-funded service agencies that govern and influence life in First Nations today, have been for the most part shaped and organized to serve the interests of the Canadian state. Their structures, responsibilities, and authorities conform to the interests of Canadian governments, just as their sources of legitimacy are found in Canadian laws, not in First Nations interests or laws. These institutions are inappropriate foci for either planning or leading the cause of indigenous survival and regeneration. Reconfiguring First Nations politics and replacing current strategies, institutions and leadership structures with those rooted in and drawing legitimacy from indigenous cultures is necessary for creating renewed environments capable of supporting indigenous ways of being. Transformations begin inside each person, but decolonization starts becoming a reality when people collectively and consciously reject colonial identities and institutions that are the context of violence, dependency and discord in indigenous communities. (Emphasis mine)

His work provides detailed recommendations for change, references the work of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.  Ultimately, he says,

It is the use and occupation of lands within traditional territories, economic uses, re-establishing residences, seasonal/cyclical ceremonial use, and occupancy by families Colonialism and State Dependency and larger clan groups that will allow First Nations to rebuild their communities and reorient their cultures.

The Role of Settler Society

If we of “settler society” do not make significant changes in our personal and public lives, if we do not stand with our Indigenous Peoples to challenge our racist and colonialist governments and institutions, then we are an enormous part of the problem.  Saying and doing nothing is akin to condoning the actions of our governments, of saying yes to ongoing racism and colonialism, of perpetuating the cycles of abuse towards our First Nations peoples by our governments at all levels.  As such, each of us can challenge our internalized racism, speak out against racism in our families and communities and, on a larger scale, do our utmost to ensure that the HarperCon’s pet project, the Northern Gateway Pipeline, is a #fail.  Doing otherwise is a disservice to not only our First Peoples but also to ourselves for we are all Treaty People.

Hyperbole, Haste and the Nail in the Coffin: The Death of Oil Pipedreams

It’s been more than a week now since Minister Joe (McCarthy) Oilver’s divisive screed appeared in the Globe and Mail. His attempt to create an us’n’them scenario has been thoroughly denounced and discredited in the blogosphere, as the links provided in my previous posts indicate.

Commentators, even some in the mainstream corporate media, continue to provide more information worthy of yet another blogpost by trm.

Tabitha Southey takes a swipe at the HarperCon hyperbolic campaign with her own hyperbolic prose and imagines a love affair between Big Oil and the Environmental Movement.  trm giggled.

Paul Wells, possibly using the research produced by Deep Climate and DeSmog Blog (Who knows? He credits no one.), also wades into the online discussion.  He quotes an unnamed HarperCon supporter who assures him there’s no connection.

“I’m 100 per cent sure that there’s no coordination between Alykhan and Joe Oliver’s office,” one Conservative said. The connection is loose and cultural, not conspiratorial: “This government has narratives, and this”—the virtue of the oil sands, suspicion at the motives of its opponents—“is one of them.”

Max Paris at CBC notes that the no-go on the Keystone XL pipeline in the USA “added new urgency to the Northern Gateway Pipeline process.”  He addresses Tom Flanagan’s suggestion that PMSH could use Section 92(10)(c) of the Constitution  to ensure the pipeline goes ahead.

Here’s what Bruce Ryder — a constitutional law expert and prof at Osgoode Hall — thinks of Flanagan’s clause:

“It’s a valid legal power that Parliament possesses. To use it would raise an outcry and be intensely controversial from the point of view of constitutional convention or practices that have evolved to reflect contemporary understandings of federalism that treat the provinces and the federal government as equal.”

Bloggers and alt media haven’t stopped talking about the pipelines, either.  DeSmog Blog has a detailed expose of the interconnections among Sun Media, the HarperCon government and the folks at Ethical (sic) Oil, including an analysis of the digital fingerprints, the creation of the echo chamber and the relationships of those in that chamber. A bonus in the post is the Rick Mercer spoof of “foreign influence” spin.

And last, but certainly not the least, is Andrew Nikiforuk’s piece in the Tyee.  In What the Keystone Rejection Really Reveals, he educates trm on the jobs! jobs! jobs! blather we regularly hear from the proponents of both KXL and NGP:

(For the record, the oil industry is not a jobs machine. It is the world’s most capital-intensive industry and earns more than 10 per cent of the world’s GDP. But it only employs less than one tenth of one per cent of the world’s workers. In Canada it accounts for but 1.8 per cent of the workforce.)

And, he leaves trm with a smile on her face.

TransCanada says it will apply again in 2013 with a different pipeline route. For oil-sand developers, Keystone XL still remains Plan A to get bitumen to foreign markets. It’s not as cheap as moving bitumen to the Canada’s West Coast but it comes with fewer risks.

Most senior executives in the oil patch quietly admit that Enbridge Gateway project (Plan B) will never be built. The local opposition against this desperate pro-China folly is much stronger and just as committed as that against Keystone XL.

In fact, the path closed long ago due to ineptness and hubris as well as a ruthless disregard for the power of salmon, whales and First Nations.

It’s deader than Keystone.

And trm‘s still smiling about that!

Northern Gateway Pipeline: The Video Version

I’m not much of a video lover, myself, but I know most of our culture is and so I’ve been amassing a few links that may be of interest to those who’d rather learn about the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline via video rather than text. Here are just a few. (Note, this page could take a while to load.)


Risking it All – Oil on our Coast

Risking it All – Oil on our Coast from Twyla Roscovich on Vimeo.



Tar sands to tankers – The fight against Enbridge


Cetaceans of the Great Bear Rainforest

Tipping Barrels: A journey into the Great Bear Rainforest

Tipping Barrels from Sitka on Vimeo.

A long story and an action item

First Nations leaders are justifiably angered by the HarperCon government’s blatant support for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

“The First Nations Leadership Council is greatly troubled by recent comments by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver advocating for the proposed Enbridge Gateway pipeline to proceed even before the Joint Review Panel’s environmental review has begun,” the First Nations Leadership Council said in a commentary published in the Rossland Telegraph.

“We are not going to allow an oil culture to overtake the culture of the coast of British Columbia,” Sterritt said. “That’s what they [pipelines] do. That’s what they did in Alaska and that’s what they did in the Gulf of Mexico. They are just not welcome to do that here. There’s just no reason for it.”

But that doesn’t stop the HarperCons and their greedy oilbuds.  It makes some folks worry that the HarperCons are using psychological warfare to raise the ire of First Nations and their allies and thus provoke violent confrontation.

About the only thing they can do now is escalate the psychological war that is already well underway.

Enter Ethical Oil. A friend and colleague of mine at the Public Good Project, Jay Taber, hinted at the effects of the psychological war in his recent analysis of the Ethical Oil ad, which first appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network in August 2011.

“My main concern is … that the Harper administration and the extraction companies he works for might be able to mobilize resentment against indigenous peoples and thus foment violence. Secondarily, I am concerned that neutralized liberals might let it happen.”

The relationship between Enbridge and First Nations communities has not, historically, been a good one.  A few years ago, Enbridge’s sub-contractors cut down 14 culturally-relevant trees.

Worse yet was that Haisla leaders didn’t know their territory was being surveyed at all until Enbridge got in contact to make amends.

“We compared it to a thief breaking into your house and destroying one of your prized possessions, and then calling you later to apologize for it,” Haisla councillor Russell Ross Jr. told The Tyee.

What followed over the next five years was a blueprint for how not to engage with native communities, an incident that to this day remains unresolved.

That, according to financial observers indicates that the Enbridge pipedream will likely not materialize:

At least three major stumbling blocks surfaced repeatedly in the review’s important first days that are likely to dog the $5.5-billion pipeline, which would carry product from the Alberta oil sands to this community on the northern West Coast, throughout the two-year review process: aboriginal opposition, little community buy-in and lack of trust that it can be built safely.

A former oil man who tried to gain support for the Mackenzie Valley pipeline wonders why the tarsands are being developed so quickly and without real dialogue.  He talks about his experience and how his support for it changed because of conversations with First Nations concerned about the risks and with co-workers — experts in the field — who could not guarantee that the technology was there to clean up a spill in Hecate Strait.

Perhaps the hard-sell then comes as a result of 194 nations agreeing to significantly reducing carbon emissions.  In an open letter to the Governor of the Bank of England, prominent political personalities in the UK raise concerns about a possible “carbon bubble,” noting that fossil fuels are sub-prime assets:

The letter is also signed by the government’s former chief scientific adviser Sir David King, Zac Goldsmith MP, former environment minister John Gummer and 17 others. It urges action to investigate the risk of the “carbon bubble”.

Mervyn King chairs the Financial Policy Committee (FPC) set up in 2011 to “identify and take action to remove or reduce systemic risks to protect and enhance the resilience of the UK financial system.” The letter’s authors point out that “five of the top 10 FTSE 100 companies are almost exclusively high-carbon and alone account for 25% of the index’s entire market capitalisation” and that this risk will exist in other indices and in bank loan books.

The HarperCons must know this; the PM is an economist.  He must want to help those who helped him get to power get more profits before the bubble bursts.

We won’t let that happen!

Round-up Ready Radicals*

I was rather charged up by the Joe (McCarthy) Oliver letter last week.  Though I don’t define myself as radical, I know some do simply because I think about and act on issues.  To me that’s engaged citizenship; to them it’s radicalism.  Says a lot about our society, doesn’t it?  Citizens become engaged and they are dismissed, written off, red-baited by their families, communities and elected officials.  Isn’t that what fascism is about, creating an Other to despise?  Would they rather I park my brain and my butt and remain silent until there is no one left to speak?

I don’t do that kind of silence.  I do love the silence of nature, which is never really silent, and the silence of meditation, which is also never really silent.  But instead of being silent on this issue of national importance, I’m going to own the radicalism with which I’ve been pegged and pass along a list of links which deepen and further the dialogue the Minister of Natural Resources has begun.

First, an article by Andrew Nikiforuk, the man who has been on the trail of the Big Oil and Gas boys for a long time.  In this piece, he offers important bits and pieces from a 30-page report on the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal by J. David Hughes.  One observation Nikiforuk makes:

Hughes’ damning report also posits a simple question that Canada’s media routinely neglects: why does the Canadian government support a proposal to export oil to China when nearly half the country (Quebec and Atlantic Canada) is nearly 100 per cent dependent on declining or volatile reserves from the North Sea and the Middle East? (The study was funded by the author and by Forest Ethics with intervenor money for the Gateway hearing provided by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.)

Both the article and the report are well worth the read.

If you haven’t already read the connect-the-dots piece at desmogblog, you really must.  It exposes the interconnections among the ethical oil (sic) folks, the oil moneymen and the Prime Minister’s Office in one fell swoop.  Follow that up with a look at the work of the good folks at Pacific Free Press and with a very detailed look at ISPs and web developers and media managers connected to the aforementioned groups by the folks at deep climate.  It’s excellent research which, I think, warrants further investigation, perhaps by the authorities.

Finally, take a boo at what the Common Sense Canadian has to say about the recent appointment of a former HarperCon insider to the Christy Clarke inner circle in BC.  In Clark, Harper, Enbridge Taking Suicidal Risks With BC’s Future CSC says:

I don’t want to deal with economics here but simply the wilderness of the province of British Columbia.

We must understand that Enbridge has an unbelievably bad track record. Since 2002 their American subsidiaries alone racked up 170 leaks, and the company itself had a staggering 610 leaks from 1999-2008, including a 2007 explosion in Minnesota that killed two men and brought it $2.4 million in fines – this in addition to a 2003 gas pipeline explosion that killed 7 in Ontario. More recently there is the Kalamazoo River spill in July 2010 which will never be cleaned up.

I leave it thusly:

Is there any set of circumstances, other than an assurance of God Himself, under which you would approve any pipeline going through our precious wilderness?

As I’ve said elsewhere, this pipeline will go ahead over my dead body.

 

—–

* With thanks to Dave at The Galloping Beaver for inspiring the title of this post.  Are we all round-up ready now?

 

Ethical Oil? Puhleeze!

I just finished watching Inside Politics with Evan Solomon.  In this episode, he’s speaking with John Bennett of the Sierra Club and Kathryn Marshall of Ethical (sic) Oil.  I turned off the player about 8 minutes in.  Ms. Marshall was too much for me.  And I mean it. Too.  Much.  Arrogant.  Rude.  Repetitive.  As one Facebook commenter said, Clearly, she’s built so that when you pull the string that comes out of her back she says either “We’re a grassroots organization” or “This is a about foreign money.”  Talk about puppets, eh?

Interestingly, the Ottawa Citizen today revealed that Ethical Oil dial-a-quote Kathryn Marshall is married to Hamish Marshall, Harper’s former strategic planning manager.  Those rightwingers are very interconnected.  For a better rundown on that, check out this post at deepclimate.org.

Another interconnection came to my attention as I prepared this blogpost.  Former Conservative MP and Cabinet Minister, David Emerson, is currently employed by the Chinese government.  He’s working for the China Investment Corporation which, according to Reuters, purchased a 45 percent stake in oil sands properties near Peace River, Alberta … for $801 million about a year ago.  The Ottawa Citizen has more on all that.

A post over at Creekside the other day inspired me to do a bit of research on those corporations which have invested in the tarsands project.  It’s not pretty.  Their ethics are questionable, to say the least.  Their involvement in human rights abuses, the illegal arms trade and ecological destruction around the globe have been documented.  Check them out from the links below and then send a message to your MP, asking why Canada is open to doing business with these corporations:

Daewoo International
BP Canada
Total SA
Exxon Mobil Oil
Koch Industries
Sinopec

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