UDP: Saskatchewan’s biggest scam

Saskatchewan Premier, Brad Wall, is attempting to pull off the biggest scam in the province’s history.  He called together a cabal of his cronies, an all-male group posing as a panel of experts, and named them the Uranium Development Partnership. Their report, “Capturing the full potential of the uranium value chain in Saskatchewan” is, quite simply, a propaganda piece on behalf of the nuclear industry.  It tries to sell the idea that “nuclear industry is enjoying a global renaissance” when, in fact, it is dying.  According to The Nation,

The fact is, nuclear power has not recovered from the crisis that hit it three decades ago with the reactor fire at Browns Ferry, Alabama, in 1975 and the meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. Then came what seemed to be the coup de grâce: Chernobyl in 1986. The last nuclear power plant ordered by a US utility, the TVA’s Watts Bar 1, began construction in 1973 and took twenty-three years to complete. Nuclear power has been in steady decline worldwide since 1984, with almost as many plants canceled as completed since then.

Wall Street will not invest in the nuke industry.  Forbes magazine says it’s a “managerial disaster.”  Still, Wall’s 12 Disciples of the UDP say we need a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan.

We can Go Green, they say, even though nukes are definitely far from green.

We can Make Money, sell the power to the USA, they say, even though nukes always cost more than expected.and the USA may not buy “dirty energy.”

We can make medical isotopes and Save Lives, they say, even though there are alternatives to the nukey isotopes.

So why the hard-sell for a nuclear reactor? What are little Bradley Wall and his buddy Billy Boyd really up to?

Most agree that it’s all about fueling the Tar Sands, the most destructive project on Earth.  The tar sands have prompted Alberta writer, Andrew Nikiforuk, to write the award-winning, Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, in which he declares a political emergency:

A business-as-usual case for the tar sands will change Canada forever. It will enrich a few powerful companies, hollow out the economy, destroy the world’s third-largest watershed, industrialize nearly one-quarter of Alberta’s landscape, consume the last of the nation’s natural gas supplies, and erode Canadian sovereignty.

A coalition of Saskatchewan residents and organizations has taken up the call.  The Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan (CGS) has worked hard to bring the real issues to the public eye and, if participation in Wall’s so-calledconsultation process” is any indication, CGS has been very successful!  In all, almost 2,000 concerned citizens turned out to the consultation meetings across the province.

I was not one of them.  I could not bring myself to legitimate this scam by participating in it, though I did participate in the Elm Dance outside the Regina meeting location.  Call me what you will; I can take it.  But I have to live with myself when this is all said and done.  Thank goodness for those who were able to move beyond the illegitimacy of the UDP and make their views known.  I suppose this post is my meagre contribution to that.


Retreating and Updating

The Regina Mom is participating in the Saskatchewan Writers Artists Colony at St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, SK where the temperature has rarely climbed to the minus single digits in the more than two weeks I’ve been here. Nevertheless, it’s been a beautiful and creative, albeit grueling, time for me. Just yesterday, I finished the first draft of a children’s novel that’s been living in me for almost two years. It feels so good to have it outside of me, even though I know that it needs more work before it makes its way to a publisher’s desk.

As I write this, one of Saskatchewan’s finest writers, David Carpenter, sits on the blue sofa next to the one on which I am seated, checking his email. Across the hall in the St. Pete’s boardroom, the award-winning Saskatchewan poet, Brenda Schmidt, works away on her laptop.  And, if I’m not mistaken, the Victoria, B.C. poet, Rhona McAdam, sits across the table from her.  (Check out her link for some great images and tales of our adventures here.)  Ontario poet and essayist, Maureen Scott Harris, just walked by.

It’s such a wonderful community we’ve created here, a colony of writers and artists who gather for a brief time to focus in on their work, to renew friendships and create now, and then to scatter back to their regular lives. It is a community in which I look forward to participating each year.  This year marks the tenth February I’ve spent time at Colony and I know the children’s novel never would have made it out of me without this time.  To all who have been part of it, including the St. Peter’s community, I extend my gratitude.
Still, while I am here the world carries on. Real Renewal, a citizens’ coalition in Regina has organized a petition drive to ask the Regina Public School Board for a moratorium on school closures. They have also provided some interesting statistics about the aboriginal populations in the areas where schools are targeted for closures.

The provincial government in Saskatchewan continues to attack organized Labour in the province by removing all Labour representatives from Crown Boards. Let’s watch what happens to our Crowns without the voice of Labour to speak for them.

The most destructive project on Earth, the tar sands development in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, carries on with support from the federal government.

The nuclear industry carries on with its “renaissance” which, if it succeeds, will kill more life on planet Earth.

Carpenter has taken his leave from the blue sofa and now the emerging poet and fiction writer, Shelley Banks, a Sage Hill Writing Experience alumnus and a Masters student in the Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia has replaced him. It signals that I’ve been here a while and had best get back to my creative work.