Voters Choice - Canada's Environmental Conundrum

There’s one question for Canadians as the Amazon burns; will we wake up? And I mean a giant zeitgeist collective consciousness wake up. There’s a federal election in October, so what better time. Our planet is at the 11th hour. Here’s where our political parties stand on the climate and environmental crisis:

Conservatives – the party most likely to form an alternative government:

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Liberal Party – A plan that’s 21 years out of date. They followed the previous Conservative government’s lame CO2 emissions target, are doing more to ram another pipeline to the west coast than Conservatives ever did, and now, with some irony,  I recall Justin Trudeau’s Canada is a country of the rule of law finger wagging at British Columbia blocking the afore mentioned pipeline. The PM’s social license went missing in the post.

NDP – The “Socialists” are fracking their way to extinction in British Columbia, continuing the previous provincial government’s boondoggle of a Site C dam construction by ignoring and spinning a commissioned independent report, that well, anyone with half a brain cell would reach a conclusion we should pull the plug and eat the costs, not triple them!  Then there was the former NDP government in Alberta and their vitriol towards their NDP counterparts in British Columbia for blocking that oilsands pipeline.

It’s important to see what political parties do when they hold the reins of power, because you can’t make this shit up.

So what about the one federal party that hasn’t help power (at least provincially)? 

Green Party – Fighting cell phone bills. 

Yup. A recent email from GPHQ let me know how Canadians pay amongst the highest cell phone bills in the world — and they’ll fight for us.  It’s true but it doesn’t take much searching/asking to find alternatives to the big carriers. I did this three months ago and now pay $25 for:

  • 500 unlimited minutes during peak weekdays across Canada (all other times are free), 

  • Unlimited text & dick pic messaging.

  • 1GB of data, albeit at 3G but makes no difference from what I can tell.  As long as you don’t use data heavy apps (like Facebook) or endless streaming on the fly, 1GB is fine. There’s something called wifi. 

 There are options. The problem is any savings will be swallowed up by rent increases. Affordable housing should be election issue #2 as landlords gobble up every bit of freed up income.

Apologies if you thought this blog was going to delve into environmental policies but, this in truth, is where we’re at in Canada. 

The Smoke and Mirrors of Brexit

There’s little to add to Brexit beyond this engaging interview with Fintan O’Toole in October, who expertly draws on the ignored rise of English nationalism post-2008 to his knowledge of Irish issues – how many of us know that all Northern Irish citizens have the right to EU citizenship regardless of Brexit?

Of course that won’t stop me with a few additional points from the general Brexit narrative that have bugged me for month; two acts of cowardice and an ugly boil of a truth no one wants unmasked.

Cowardice Part One

  • The Tory extreme Brexiters lead by the right honourable member of the 18th Century

Their No Deal is a sham. They will back down. They have neither clout or clue how to manage this outcome and they know it, but it makes for great political grandstanding. These are people who need something to run against, otherwise they will fade into oblivion. Without the EU to rail against they have nothing and don’t have the wherewithal to lead Britain through a No Deal scenario.

Faced between Theresa May’s Deal and the chance of another referendum they will back down and likely abstain. It’s manna from heaven to them. As Britain struggles with the reset of May’s deal they’ll be able to continue their narrative of the deal not being good enough, no deal would have been better, we told you so blah. You can see this coming from a mile away – I saw it an aged cheddar ago. The strongest recent hint is Nigel Farage creating a new anti-EU party, because, surprise, his original UKIP have become a bunch of racists.

Cowardice Part Two

The unchallenged narrative of another referendum being anti-democratic that even Remainers buy the argument you can’t keep having referendums until you get the result you want. 

Wrong. Let me break this into bite-size pieces:

  • The referendum was held in an absence of truth rendering it the most undemocratic act in modern political British history.

  • Referendums on the same issue are often held again.  

  • If the Brexit vote had been reversed in 2016…

Do you think Brexit leaders for one minute would have said the country had decided once and for all, that’s it, bye, I’m off to my holiday home in the Cayman Islands! Think about it, because I could gush on forever. We know they would be spluttering on about how the vote was non-binding, and how it showed a clear appetite to leave the EU.

One of the most dangerous acts toward British democracy was the narrative of Britain has decided.

Nearly half of those who participated were silenced and ridiculed as remoaners and even worse, traitors.

  • The absence of the Official Opposition

Yep gone with the wind. The lack of political leadership to argue the case for another referendum on May’s deal is astonishing. The silencing and lack of opposition leadership has led to a situation where 42% of Brits are okay with a No Deal Brexit.  

The Ugly Boil of a Truth

It’s actually quite easy to debunk, okay, argue effectively against almost all the reasons to leave the EU.

  • Sovereignty - the UK parliament has sovereignty over Britain. Can I stop there? 

  •  The EU has never stopped a law being passed in Britain. Can I stop there?

  •  As a member of the EU, Britain has exchanged control of standards for products made in the UK for influence in setting standards across the EU which allows manufacturers to sell across the single market. It’s also known as common sense.

  • When the UK leaves the EU and the single market, it still has to obey these rules if it wants to sell to the EU, but without having any say. That’s a dramatic loss of power.

Brexit leaders tend to operate in a vacuum of reality and a swamp of hubris. They’ll give us (Canada) a better trade deal than we have with EU. 

Too fucking right (and not just because I can wave a blue passport in your face).

We’re going to get a better deal from the UK outside of the EU, because they’re in a weaker position, but will Britain?

  •  If Britain was unhappy with any of the 60 trade deals negotiated by the EU, it could have vetoed them

  •  Why would you want to renegotiate with sixty countries from a weaker position?

And on it goes, you can take down one key argument after another with simple logic, until you’re left with one emotive issue, the most tangible visual change, one that triggers fear, loss of a culture.


Leaving aside Britain could have had more control over immigration, but decided against it, there’s an uncomfortable ugly boil of a truth. A nation of well meaning, reasonable people cannot see themselves as intolerant, xenophobic, and racist.

The rest is smoke and mirrors

Waiting for the dust to settle

Palestine Map.jpg

During the first intifada I had an epiphany. Having grown up in a moderate pro-Israel culture where Palestinians were reduced to the role of terrorists, news was supplied through traditional media of television, radio and newspapers. If the Internet was around, I doubt there would’ve been any realization. Social media, too often a poison on our humanity, doesn’t allow for reflection.

We were taught one of the clues indicating Palestinians still wanted to destroy Israel; the map of Palestine used in demonstrations. It was a map that included all of Israel. We equated it as wanting Israel to be wiped off the map, and it was usually prefaced with an, “Aha, you see!” because hey, it wasn’t there anymore.

The map of Israel I grew up with was identical.

There was no recognition of occupied Palestinian territories. If we thought they wanted to destroy us, they must think we want to destroy them. 

Of course this could stem from the innocuous — it’s easier to draw a map of the whole than a map of the divided, which once done, frankly is an unappealing jagged mess.

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is drowned in propaganda designed to get you caught in the weeds, but there are moments of clarity. Even as the events of Monday are analyzed and you decide which truth to believe (wait for it, the weeds are coming), an action took place that was undeniable.

A decision was made to shoot live rounds at demonstrators who were separated from soldiers by a fence (and not your common garden variety). It is a decision that was approved by Cabinet. A hardline, right wing Israeli Cabinet with a take no prisoners approach. An approach that doesn’t give a shit about lives lost because they can dismiss and objectify protestors as terrorists. It was simple for them. They had a prebuilt narrative.

And what of the live narratives? If you glance at headlines, a few sentences, let your ears pop at newscasts of traditional media or the web of mainstream and indie news, you’d draw a picture of unarmed civilians peacefully protesting being shot by IDF snipers in cold blood — and at one big protest. 

A cursory glance at photos shows burning tyres, Molotov cocktails, and slingshots. They (Israelis) shot first are the claims, then the violence occurred. Who do you believe? What is appropriate force and where does peaceful cross the line? What level of violent protest is acceptable for a population trapped in an enclave such as Gaza, must they all be Gandhi before we make peace? The blockade of Gaza has driven Palestinians into the arms of Hamas, expecting them to vote for anyone "moderate" is fantasy (not that Gazan's can vote). Are you going to put Netenyahu on the ballot, do you want them to vote for him, because, essentially that’s what you’re saying if you do want them to change leadership.

Then it’s children. How can you shoot children, kill a baby, although it wasn’t shot. And what the hell was a baby doing there in the first place? It turns out the baby passed away because of a pre-existing condition. Was it dead before? Hamas admits to fifty of their members being killed, proof enough of terrorist activity claim Israel, but surely there’s a difference between a member protesting and a member engaged in terrorist activity (planting bombs, suicide bombs, launching rockets and opening fire on civilians)? There are reasons beyond the destruction of Israel to join Hamas. And how did the IDF know who were Hamas members when their snipers picked them off? 

And on and on it goes. The questions. The theoretical. What is reasonable self-defence for Israel? Was this the best way, the only way?

Why not let them march to the fence? What’s the worst that could happen? Take them down then? Are the optics worse to have Palestinians lining up against the fence for miles rather than the melee which unfolded? Can we see them with the wire cutters and explosives as claimed — and not old or photoshopped pictures.

Has Hamas, with their we’re peaceful, no we’re not peaceful couched in anti-semitism bollocks just won a massive propaganda battle because of a blinkered Israeli government? Are Hamas on the precipice of losing this battle, a massive reverse, because most of the dead are their members? And Palestinians wonder why the world doesn’t give a shit. 

And Israelis think the world cares more than it does. 

All this now because the idiot president, a clueless goofball, decided to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with all the sensitivity he’s shown to women, migrants, and minorities. He did it slap bang between Israeli Independence Day and the Naqba. And hey, I’m someone who believes it’s ludicrous to think anywhere but Jerusalem could be the spiritual home and capital of the one Jewish state on this planet. But equally, I recognize that official recognition and subsequent move of all embassies must be tied to a peace solution with East Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian state. If you think anything different you are part of the problem (Jared Kushner). But hey, carry on if you do, because there are only two alternatives, a bi-national state or ethnically cleanse Palestinians from towns, villages and fields. Make life so difficult for them they’ll leave. Oh wait, that’s happening now. 

And through all this hogwash, the sense that this was premeditated, another we all knew moment, I remind myself, on Monday people were unnecessarily shot, killed, or maimed because two nations are intent on destroying each other while being aided and abetted by a man who almost daily disgraces the Office of the President of the United States.


P.S. Consider yourself fortunate this a 900 word blog and not 9,000.