1st Period of Oh Canada, where art thou going?

There was so much relative information researched for this article it nearly overwhelmed me. Reading it may very well overwhelm you. Verbose it would have been. So because it is about Canada and I am a Canadian I will treat it like a hockey game and I will release it one period at a time.

We are on one bench while on the other is Harper and his yes-men, at least the ones that can skate. He seems to be their best player, while many of his teammates appear to be playing through multiple concussions, do not speak, and just nod a lot. Many of their friends have flown in from overseas to watch and be pampered in the luxury boxes. Most all of the filled arena is rooting for us, but not all seem happy, as it’s very noticeable that our team has too many self entitled players on it. They either stay out too long on their shift, hogging up ice time, are always trying the same fancy pants pretty move trying to score the perfect goal or are cocky to their teammates, thinking their skates or stick is the best, because it costs more and therefore they are a better player. Some of our players are even going out and just looking to throw the big check or immediately wanting to drop the gloves. We lose three players to this in the first period alone. As a whole we know we will probably lose, but a few of us are still giving our best. Going into the corners, outracing an opponent to the puck, getting to the ugly spots in front of their net, playing for the love of the game, while a few on the team feel that if they are going to lose they hope they at least look good doing it.

We are a team of typical humans, overwhelmed by peer pressure, too much information and share a primitive instinct, which is the same impulse for birds to flock, cows to herd and insects to swarm. An inbred impulse that takes in information and then responds to such information without being aware of why we act in such a way. While most all of us tend to be oblivious to the impact of decisions made by those around us, yet we are powerfully affected by what is influencing us, which many times we do not even recognize. We just do it. As we will, because we are a team.

The Harper team owns the referees, timekeepers and the arena, as it is, they dropped the puck when we were still getting prepared in the dressing room. So the game starts and we are already behind six goals, all scored by Harper. But we are Canadian and we’ve got game, playing our game. The period will end 12 to 2, our two goals given to us because the Harper team thought it’d prevent us from throwing our sticks away in disgust, leaving the ice surface and getting undressed and going for a beer because, well we have to work tomorrow. Wise move on their part, hell most of us still think we are in the game, even though for most of the first period we have had a minimum of one player in the penalty box for one mandatory infraction after another.  Though both the crowd and our team do not believe their eyes and ears, we go through the motions, only focusing on getting the game over with and hopefully with no one getting hurt. The game continued.

The Harper Government is under the misguided notion that all Canadians worry about are jobs and the economy. Forgetting that we also care about the democratic process, protecting the environment, social justice and accountability, international co-operation and taking care of the poor and most disadvantaged.  While corporate sponsored media tries to keep us distracted with stories in which nightmares are made of and we find are hard to contemplate, we often times lose our perspective. Most of the programming from the media, especially TV, is not normal; in fact most of us go about our lives in civilized, peaceful ways. What we are often seeing on the news is not the norm in our lives and is actually very rare in society.

No matter what PM Harper thinks, the fundamental facts are; the economy will do what the economy will do regardless of whether the government is Conservative or Liberal and yes, what happens beyond our borders does dictate our economic fate and with a voting system that allows 40 per cent of the 60 per cent who voted, or 24 per cent of eligible voters to decide on a government, who get the majority of seats, including a Senate which panders to their wishes, with the country run mostly by one man in the Prime Minister’s office, is not a democratic country at all.

There has been, and will be, much change in how things will be done in Canada. But it is being fed piecemeal to us in a gradual repression. Sort of like baby steps. For many of us, each new bit of information appears, and after first wondering if it be true or false, builds up upon the last one. And after time it can and does wear us down, as we are busy enough handling our own day to day worlds and making them count hopefully. Any person who stands and walks can certainly stride faster than little baby steps, unfortunately the banking and financial world’s baby steps are quickening, but with the global web so are we. We are on their tail knowing where they are headed and yet they are frantically tossing out chafe and shiny things to keep us distracted. Much of the population is buying in to the ruse but then at the same time I feel, many are not.

Distraction comes from many directions; the childlike awe we have for celebrity, the fear of being overwhelmed by either communism, Mexican drug lords, numerous crazed Arabs, the war on drugs or our neighbours, the multiple murderer or molester of the week, and to be someone one, one must purchase stuff.  Many are stressing out about how they are constantly reminded that they must be consumers yet reality makes this not possible anymore. Distraction keeps us from thinking too much about what we are really stressing about, what we’ve always stressed about; clean water, food and sex and where can we get it. For instance, in 2006 pornography revenues topped $97 billion, annual sales in the United States was $10 billion alone.  The $97 billion was more than the revenues of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, e-bay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink combined.

And finally, on many levels, faith and reason seem to be shaking the living daylights out of the celebration of life, with too many disconnects going off for us to handle. As far as reason goes, it is dangerously lacking and so very desperately needed, because reason is mindfulness, reflection, introspection, contemplation, and musing, pondering, rhetorical and literary ways of thinking. But we do not have the time for such things as thinking.

But hark the herald angels sing; let’s get back to the game and what’s happening in Canada, my home and native land.

Actions listed below are baby steps of the Canadian government, decisions that are being made “for all Canadians” and starting just after Mr. Harper was first elected in 2006. The folly seems a continuous stream, because it is, it’s all connected.

The top polluters in North America and the World, in 2006, were fossil fuel power plants, oil and gas extraction operations, primary metal manufacturing, metal mining and chemicals manufacturing. These industries were responsible for 72% of the 5.7 billion kilograms in toxic pollution that was released into the North American environment at that time. Of this total amount Canada was the source of about 37 % of it. Alberta and Toronto accounted for 8 of the top 10 emitters of pollution in Canada, including the Vale Inco Copper Cliff smelter complex in Sudbury Ontario, the Nanticoke coal-fired power generating station in Ontario and two oil-sands facilities in Alberta, Syncrude and Suncor. Five waste-water facilities in Ontario were among the top ten sources of surface water pollution, along with two municipal facilities in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Edmonton.

2008. The Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was passed by the UN General Assembly, 143 to 4. Against were the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The province of British Columbia’s 2008 budget included the rising of subsides paid to oil and gas companies, $50 million to $327 million, with oil, gas, aluminum and cement producers exempt from any Carbon tax. The $220 million of Capitol Tax paid by financial institutions was also eliminated. Meanwhile BC’s child poverty rate is the worst in Canada, the forests and wild salmon stocks are in crisis and the manufacturing sector is disappearing.  BC does not export so much lumber, chairs and tables anymore; they simply export the whole tree itself, raw.

April 2009. Federal government spends $14 million on trying to find out what ex-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney did with $225,000.

From 2009 to the present day; the continuing deregulation of food inspection, especially for meat, with cuts to number of inspectors of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, an ongoing operation.

Before the financial meltdown in Sept. 2008, 22,674 federal public servants received more than $100,000 per year; by Sept 2010 it had nearly doubled to 42,050 public servants making more than $100,000 per year.

As to the war on terror and because it is supposed to be one of our perceived fears, how’s it going anyways?  Since 2002, 158 Canadian Forces personnel have died in Afghanistan, all just doing their jobs. The majority were caused by road side explosives, then direct fire and suicide attacks. There have also been 1859 wounded, 1244 of which were non-battle injuries.

In 2011, Canada’s post-9/11 bill reached $92 billion, of which $11 billion has been spent on Afghanistan. Since 9/11 Canadian Military expenditures have doubled. The current Defense budget is $21 billion, with expected military spending of $60 billion on jets and a further $32 billion on warships over the next few years. Since by that time Canada will be out of Afghanistan and will have to find somewhere else to spend their money and expend Canadian lives. $71.3 million was spent in 2010 to “mitigate the potential threat of terrorism” during the two weeks of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games alone. Other than that not much has happened on the war on terror, whoever and whatever that is.

The horn goes. Well, off to the dressing room.



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