First Nations

Ottawa’s habitual condescension

A study conducted by UBC Fisheries Centre, funded by World Wildlife Fund Canada, notes in the summary abstract,

“If [the economic value of social, cultural and environmental damages] are accounted for, all of the projected economic gains from the Enbridge Northern Gateway project could quickly turn into losses in the event of a tanker spill.”

Shippers of bitumen respond,

“…these impacts would not be of such a scale as represented in this report.”

The questions would be easier to resolve if we had only to compare financial debits to credits. However, west coast residents believe that mega-projects should consider ecological and socio-cultural impacts as well. Alas, when the decision makers do their cogitating at Ottawa’s opulent Rideau Club, 4,800 km from Kitimat, economics seem more important than matters of culture, and survival.

Government of Canada actions demonstrate little regard for the lands, forests and oceans where First Nations have been custodians for centuries. Ottawa’s habitual condescension is akin to attitudes that prompted Jonathan Swift to write A Modest Proposal in 1729. Swift diligently laid out financial justifications behind his proposal for Irish children.

Canada’s energy minister Joe Oliver would have been convinced.

“a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.

“…A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.”

Categories: First Nations

5 replies »

  1. A timely and accurate broadside .. querulous old Joe really needs to get his arse out of Harper's conflicted cabinet.. and start recanting his sins. Right now he's the Canadian poster boy for ecocide alongside 'rip n strip n sellout Stevie' .. with Kent and Ashfield gibbering and moving the toxic legislation and denials.

    I've downloaded the study.. and a quick read of the abstract was startling. I've been looking into Polly Higgins work with 'Ecocide' and your post ties right in. This government was not elected on a platform of ecocide. Nor did it campaign as advocates for secrecy, obstruction and deceit.

    For some reason.. reason has been removed from the process, action and behavior of The Harper Government. Honesty was dismissed and situation ethics substituted. Ugly rhetoric and evasion is the spoken trend in the House of Commons. Endemic partisan posturing, bluster from the Van Loan's, Poilievre's, Kenny's, Baird's, DeLorey's et al .. and odd crusading allegiances to Israel and China.

    A manipulative prime minister that slides minor minion underlings like Ken Boessenkool or cronies like Bruce Carson around and airlifts former provincial premier Campbell off to London. What is Harper up to with Elections Canada? Its a busy time our Prime Minister with the F-35 file needing to be 'reset', those pesky First Nations treaties still in his way, damnable Council of Canadians hurting his polling numbers..

    And now this proposition arising that he is in fact the prime mover and alpha jackal of ecocide in Canada. What a legacy … With his right hand he struck against democracy. With his left hand he struck against the environment… Amen


  2. Perhaps, in Harper's belief system, the Superhero of Heaven sets the limits. Meanwhile, people can do whatever they wish to the earth. Grab what you can, when you can. God will look after the future generations. Have faith.


  3. So just what are we doing to do about it, Norm? I've never had a criminal record and, until just this past year, never believed I ever would. But Harper's approval of Nexen had to come with a side deal on the Northern Gateway. Anything else is implausible. That means the environmental evaluation mechanism, already dubious, has been rigged before it even concluded its hearings. Can anyone believe China would have paid 60% above market for Nexen without some assurance it would be able to get that bitumen to the coast and into supertankers? Barring some astonishing intervention I think it's going to fall to old farts like you and me, Norm, to stand in its way and take the consequences. Once the tankers begin plying the Douglas Channel and Dixon Entrance we've probably lost for good. What are your thoughts?


  4. “But Harper's approval of Nexen had to come with a side deal on the Northern Gateway. Anything else is implausible.”

    Honestly, I had not connected the dots and drawn that very plausible conclusion.

    What can we do?

    This is my effort. Is anyone listening?


  5. I think old farts can be very useful.. Harper = Ecocide sums it all up quite clearly. The Harper Party = Ecocide This what Polly Higgins is pushing for. Obviously, the extractive industries operating in Canada and abroad found their perfect soulmate in Stephen Harper. Harper found a source of almost endless power and money for his right wing ideological wet dream. The theocratic political party took over a useful Brand (PC) and individual MP's and Ministers are marching in lockstep as The Harper Party to inflict their shallow and odious economics and ideologies on the entire country.

    I believe completely legal private independent actions can stimulate mass reaction to Harper in particular.. and to his party. Those actions would be Investigation, Journalism, Propaganda, Dirty Tricks, Performance, Media Placement. Many of these actions are already visible but simply need to turn the volume and exposure way way up. The actions can and should mingle or crossover, but the messages must be clear. Runaway Irresponsible Government = The Harper Party = Ecocide .. Secrecy – Obstruction – Deceit = The Harper Government .. The Harper Government = Dishonesty .. Dirty Oil = Harper = Ecocide

    Investigation and Journalism for example- already underway via indy bloggers, but we need to ask and re-ask harsh confrontational questions and demand factual answers. Here's an example. Mr Harper (or Mr Mackay or Mr Toews) will you order Canadian Forces into action on Canadian soil against First Nations defending their treaties and their lands? Mr Harper, can you explain why you utilize secrecy and obstruction as standard government procedure?

    Propaganda and Dirty Tricks .. Franke James work is an excellent example, especially the bus shelter art she did. Those free newspapers we see on public transit. We could ensure similar papers are released in every major city, but those papers would inform readers of specific Harper Party activities or MP's or Ministers or lobbyists or unelected bureaucrats. This could be done via bold headline, cartoon, comic, comment etc. The campaign would focus on shaming and ridicule based on fact.

    Performance, Media Placement .. we need to get the messages out in popular culture and reinforce via social media. A tv style show or mini feature film that goes viral. I'm looking at breaking my 1st novel that's set in British Columbia into two separate books and then I can roll the tar sand – pipeline – tanker matrix into the stories. Perhaps I'll write a few sample chapters that portray how the facts are actually stranger than fiction is this government's case.

    Bottom line though.. This is all about Stephen Harper right now. I don't believe there is a single Harper Government figure that could replace him right now, and maintain the destructive status quo. Harper is the head of the snake. Hound, ridicule, disgrace, embarrass Harper into sudden retirement or into a public courtroom and the Progressive Conservatives will tear themselves apart. Canada can then get on with saving democracy, reforming parliament and electoral laws.. and looking after our environment.

    A last note.. I wonder what Clayton Ruby is up to .. surely he noticed that the PMO was involved in the obstruction and attacks on Alexandra Morton and Dr. Kristi Miller. This is in the public record via The Cohen Commission.


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