Canada, Inc. Part 9 – Health, Business, and the Environment

Greener cities; more exercise, healthier food.

We all need need these things. If the energy grid ever went down and we relied on fossil fuels in a post-apocalyptic world (something like Aleppo or The Walking Dead); without any sort of government structure in place; we’d soon run out and go mad.

The time to be proactive is now. Solar panels on every roof. Windmills in every yard. ‘A self-sustaining micro-grid’ must be the descriptor of every community. Many communities that have poisonous industrial dangers (like Northern Pulp in Pictou County, NS) often have higher incidence of cancers (also like Pictou County, NS).

The individual writing this is in the beginning stages of his third tumor in ten years. When surgery comes, it will be number 5 was pretty darn scared a few months ago about this growth in his face that resembled a previous facial growth. Got way worse since it started this time around. Then I ate a pound of weed and it got better (or so it seems?). Weed works.

The last two tumors were not cancerous, so I was told. The surgery for each included nerve damage and has crippled me; to a minimal degree, ensuring constant pain and unbalance. The first tumor was in my right foot (a benign spindle cell tumor). Since the three surgeries for it; I limp; have constant leg and back pain; I trip over and fall a lot; and it takes me a lot longer to do certain things than it does other people. Sometimes I’m incredibly spry. I bounce and run and jump steps or shoot hoops for hours or do a half hour of cardio at the gym.

Those are times I have smoked cannabis. Period.

My second tumor was in my neck; in my parotid gland. The doctor sliced my neck and moved my facial nerves aside to slice out part of my face that was underneath… and part of my neck… and some lymph nodes. Turns out it wasn’t cancer, so they said.

Now, when I get sick, the left side of my throat doesn’t swell. There is nothing to swell. My right side though; aches. It debilitates me. My head feels like it was cracked with a hammer every time I get sick. I bite my lip. I get neck/muscle twitches; and the uneven nature of my neck muscles is the only thing about which I am self-conscious.

I grew up within aeration distance of Northern Pulp in Abercrombie, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. I also spent 7 months living downwind of the burn pits on Kandahar Airfield during some of the highest troop concentrations of that war. Every scrap of waste was burned. Mattresses; bottles, and body fragments included.

In addition to living near that pestilence; I was also a cleaner. Some of the sand in Kandahar is as talcum powder. Shortly before I came home; I found a document outlining the two types of pesticides they sprayed on the roads twice per week to kill the malaria mosquitoes. Both cancer causing. I had spent almost every day of work for 6 days a week for my first four months in theater in enclosed spaces sweeping up talcum powder dust that had been twice weekly dusted with carcinogenic pesticides without any sort of breathing protection.

So. Here is me. Finally with everything I have ever wanted in my life currently in my hands.

Poof.

Tumor number three. On the opposite side of my face as it was last time. Exactly the same place. It’s more painful this time. Different. This scare me. One of my eyes hurt.

Where do I turn?

Everybody in Pictou County is in the same risk over Northern Pulp as one another; so that brings me no help.

My time spent in Afghanistan was as a civilian contractor working for a large Canadian contracting company well entrenched in scandal. I was not a member of the military. I do not have a service number that entitles me to call Veterans Affairs for any sort of help. Given how the government has treated actual veterans, even if I did have a service number I can’t imagine they’d jump on board to help little old me with what is our generations “Agent Orange”. To be clear; I was not given protective equipment or informed of the risk. I found the MSDS for the pesticides on a whim and by chance.

There was a lawsuit in Florida that I tried to take part of a few years ago against KBR (Kellog Brown and Root). KBR was responsible for burning the garbage in Kandahar; along with a lot of other bases during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. That lawsuit failed. The plaintiffs were a group of veterans who developed rare cancers and neurological issues after service. Their sicknesses are similar to the kinds of illnesses that 9/11 first respondents developed.

See… KBR is a subsidiary of Halliburton. Halliburton is the multinational oil company that former Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO of immediately before becoming Vice President in 2000. Immediately before the September 11th attacks. Shortly before the incredibly profitable (for KBR) invasion of Afghanistan. Somewhat before the even more profitable invasion if Iraq. See… these wars were wars of profit. Unfathomable amounts of government money being paid to corruptly connected companies for very fathomable amounts of work/products.

In the case of all of the garbage being burned; Kellogg Brown and Root bid on the contract to dispose of the waste at the cheapest rate for a specific period of time. They burned it; and poisoned us all. The government let them.

This is but an even grander macrocosm shining-example of what happens in the oil patches of Alberta; or the gold mines in Central and South America; or the chocolate slaves in Africa; or the indentured servants in Saudi Arabia, or the environmental racism directed at the Pictou Landing First Nations; or almost all of the rapes and pillaging of humanity over the course of human history. Well… at least since we came up with the concept of currency.

Almost everybody has a price and the ‘big winner’ is usually the guy with the most disposable cash.

Money talks. It ends every discussion. It makes people blind. It eliminates their empathy.

Most importantly, it buys influence.

The world we live in today is one in which a significant portion of the population stares into a small rectangle for most of their waking hours while they tap the front of it for dopamine shots.

All anyone has to do is pay a few dollars and target a message at generally where people are and they can’t help but see it. Imagine having unlimited money to dump subtle messages into the magic-hypno-cube of any and everyone you ever want to. Half the population is divided on an effluent pipe? Use marketing money to pump propaganda to confuse and divide people at a time when political advertising laws are not up to date with the ever-changing technology.

To create a healthier population; we need to prioritize health over profit in every situation.

Things like subsidized healthcenter memberships and mandatory access to healthy food. Subsidized self-sustaining gardens for every household. Solar panels and windmills for everyone.

It also includes things like choosing technologies and situations that will be good for us in 50 to 100 years not acutely profitable now (for example Northern Pulp). By also changing other things at the same time, like ensuring we are all eating fresh healthy food that doesn’t cause cancer. Things like guaranteeing we all have opportunity for exercise and education on being healthy.

We also must reduce the impact of harmful industries collapsing. The big fear of families that rely on horrible environmental disasters for income have is that they will not be able to pay their bills and feed their kids. Why can’t the government eliminate that fear for everyone through legislation?

  • High-speed internet should be a human right (but it’s not because somebody profits from it)
  • All transportation should be emission free (but it’s not because somebody profits from it)
  • Every community should be able to completely produce it’s own food inside a government subsidized food greenhouse. Every family should be given the tools to grow food on their own property or in their own home (but it will never happen because food companies like profit and drug companies want us sick)

These are a few simple examples. The illustration I wish you to see from all this is that all of these issues we face in our time affect each other; they are not stand alone. The common denominator is some dickhead in a corner office reaping the profits of our un-wellness.

All that dickhead and their arsehole comrades need to do is maintain the status quo. That’s’ it. Do nothing.

Having just one of these issues fixed appropriately would make an almost unimaginable world of difference for people in our country. People like me would hail it as an incredibly just victory. Much like we all thought we were doing with marijuana legalization. That itself is a shining example of a century of nonsense propaganda being proven wrong and conveniently never ever addressed afterward. Nor was the credibility of all those fighting against it’s legalization ever question about how deeply and horribly wrong they were.

Their willful destruction and theft of the lives of people incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis offenses since it was prohibited has never been publicly addressed with anyone in the Conservative party. We just keep on rolling as we stare at our rectangles.

The difference is this; our side would consider the government guaranteeing that every roof in Canada has solar panels on it would be a monumental victory for the continuance of our species. As a contrast; our deserved victory would be nothing but a larger-than-usual-yet-still-brief-dip in the value of those dickhead’s and arsehole’s investment portfolios.

__

Canada, Inc. Part 6 – What is “Deferred Prosecution” and Why Does SNC-Lavalin Seek It?

wikinok-deferredprosecution

Deferred prosecution is a way for things to disappear. In a flash. By the stroke of a magistrates pen everything disappears. A fine is paid, Libya is still looted, but poof. It’s gone.

JWR was correct to refuse interfering. She just was. The Reds trump it up to her inexperience; belittling her and lessening her contribution to our democracy by upholding it. The Government needed fresh faces; new blood who are not part of the ‘old guard’ that I so fondly spoke of during the last election.

Calling things out is necessary. Ignoring war crimes is wrong. Paying a fine while those making the decisions at the time enjoy lofty retirement is immoral.

On the flip side; this is a worldwide company that has done lots of good projects on every continent; employed skilled tradespeople, managers, and administrators of all stripes and from all places. They just got a little greedy in the war department. Does that mean they should be destroyed? Probably not. Should they be banned from government contracts for a bit? Most definitely.

They can still work internationally. All of the government contracts and contractors that currently operate will still operate. Another company will bid the job and probably hire the same people to do the work. It could be perhaps legislated as such. These are government contracts and the government / judiciary are making the decisions. The work will still need to be done. A maintenance worker or a property manager that works for SNC Lavalin under contract to maintain an office building would still be required, regardless of which company bids for the job. The local employee who was the maintenance guy is still the local employee who knows that building inside and out. Assuming we’re not getting into a temporary foreign worker situation; all things should remain equal with a different company logo on the workers shirt.

A thief or a crook is never caught the first time.

They’re probably not caught the second time neither.

Why would we assume that this is the only company that operates this way? This begs the question of whether or not other companies that operate internationally on this scale should be automatically examined. Perhaps just companies that operate in certain hot-spots. Certain… places of armed dispute.

Let’s not forget that SNC-Lavalin was also involved in the smuggling of Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saadi, out of Libya (source).

 

_____

PART 7
_____

Fear and Loathing at Stephen’s House – Part 6: The TPP & The CBC

Our National Public Broadcaster – The CBC – is threatened by the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation may cost more than a billion dollars a year in taxpayer money; but so what?

Documents revealed by WikiLeaks detail a proposed plan to require state-owned enterprises (or SOEs) to operate for profit. Canadian SOEs include the CBC and Canada Post. You may ask,

“What’s the problem with profit?”

That’s a valid question.

Why would we invest in an organization that can’t draw a profit?

The answer is that it is necessary for a country to have at least one unbiased voice that represents them over the airwaves that will guarantee objectivity and quality in reporting – free of commercial and political influence.

As a public enterprise – CBC should not be bought and sold and used as a medium to smear logo feces all over everything they broadcast (See CTV purchased by BELL Media).

Many of our writers are in Atlantic Canada. The writer writing this piece watches CTV’s “Breakfast Television” every morning while he crunches his bacon. He watches CTV2 because it’s one of only 3 channels he gets through the coax cable plugged into his television set. Why does he only get 3 channels? He studied marketing. After that first year of business school; he cut the cord halfway through his program.

No more cable TV.

Now it’s Netflix, YouTube, Crackle, and CBC Radio.

Ninety a month to the cable company for a solid internet connection. Get it upgraded to a faster package.

No need for TV. Media’s changed.

He couldn’t watch any media on any platform without having his eyes and ears overwhelmed with product placement and advertising.

Now when he watches CTV’s “Breakfast Television” – all he can see are the McCafe cups not-so-subtly facing the camera.

Our CBC should not be for sale!

If one wants to increase viewership at the CBC – provide every Canadian access to all things CBC and fund the shit out of it.

Who remembers Street Cents? Maybe this Wikipedia article will jog your memory.

Viewership will go up. I promise.

What else does the leaked document reveal?

It implies that any private corporation that can prove that the CBC or Canada Post (through subsidization by the Canadian Government) caused them any loss of revenue – can sue the Canadian Government!

By existing; they are guilty.

\—–\

As a young man, long before I was a cord-cutter, I would sit in our cabin on the Atlantic shoreline and listen to CBC radio while I had beers with my friends. No cable. No inter-web. Just Randy’s Vinyl Tap and Saturday Night Blues.

Do you really think it’s appropriate to take this iconic Canadian institution for granted and inundate it with commercial poppycock?

They may take some pauses between segments; but they take breaks to promote other CBC shows. They most certainly do not showcase the latest sale at whichever fast food restaurant is sponsoring this segment.

Nor should they. That’s the point.

What about Spark or The Next Chapter? What about The Current? What about As It Happens?

What about The National and the Fifth Estate?

For God’s sake; what about The Debaters!?

What about my weekly, unbiased listen to what’s up in Canadian Francophone music on A Prospos every Saturday from 6-7PM on CBC Radio One in Halifax.

French-Canadian rock music kicks ass. Rock music written in the French language kicks ass. One of our contributors, The Reverend, is a French-Canadian musician.

These shows are part of our country.

Would the following Fifth Estate documentary ever get produced if corporations were dictating programming? What about worrying about being sued by a company that produces candy? Assuming the secret documents released by WikiLeaks are accurate; could the CBC survive in court with Nestlé or HERSHEY’S if either entity felt they lost revenue as a result of the following documentary?

We don’t live in the United States. Let’s stop making up reasons to sue one another.

Long live the CBC and Canada Post.

Vive la révolution.

VOTE!

Click here make sure you are allowed to VOTE!

______________________________

______________________________________

PART 7
__________
______

Fear and Loathing at Stephen’s House – Part 5: Why not Justin?

Justin Trudeau brings the same disconnected leadership that Stephen Harper embodied.

He may look like us. He may appear to be one of us. He is not one of us.

Justin Trudeau was born a millionaire.

How can someone who has always known luxury and convenience speak for the average Canadian?

Sure – he says he’ll legalize pot. Pot legalization is really a non-issue this election. Every party except the Conservative party support some form of ending prohibition.

In Part 4, I talked about what we need in a leader. We need not a leader that manufactures sound-bites on the issues we care about; but a leader that understands the positions on which he stands.

We need a leader who believes what they say and says what they believe. We need a leader that can defend their positions with vigor and truth.

We certainly do not need a leader that only knows how to say that which was scripted for them by their public relations specialists.

Trudeau has not proven that he has a plan to address issues that affect the majority of Canadians; he’s proven that he’s been able to spit out the Liberal Party’s key phrases when discussing an issue.

The same bastards that ran the country twenty years ago fill the ranks of the Conservative and Liberal parties; entitled bureaucrats with sexy pensions. It’s not only time to break the cycle. It’s time to obliterate the cycle and completely re-write the rules to the game.

There are only two candidates that can speak eloquently and honestly about the issues that affect Canadians. Those candidates are Elizabeth May and Thomas Mulcair.

That’s it.

A vote for Trudeau is a vote for Harper.

May and Mulcair can both defend their party platforms with facts and experience. They both represent things not seen in Canadian politics for a very long time.

They both represent change.

They both represent opposition to the way the Liberals and Conservatives have done things for decades.

They both represent an opportunity to inject new ideas into the Canadian political landscape.

The only way those opportunities can be realized is if you vote.

Equally important is to vote strategically.

The only way to appropriately vote strategically and achieve a measurable shift in the status-quo is to elect a strong stable majority NDP government.

What we’ve been doing for the past few decades is not working.

Period.

____________

PART 6

____________

Fear and Loathing at Stephen’s House – Part 4: Selling Out Our Natural Resources

Who owns our natural resources?

Does our country own them?

Do the individual provinces own them?

Do our citizens own them?

Do the corporations who buy or lease the land on which they are found own them?

If you’re not sure of the answer – which scenario seems to be most appropriate?

____

Lets use oil as our first example.

Canada produces 3.6 Million barrels of oil per day (or 1.314 billion barrels per year). This equates to about 37 barrels of oil per year per Canadian citizen.

By contrast, the United States produces around 9.4 Million barrels of oil per day (or 3.431 billion barrels per year). We did the math, and in the United States, this comes to around 11 barrels of oil per year per American citizen.

____

Why do these numbers matter? They matter, because I believe that our country (and all that it contains) belong to all of us.

Why does American gasoline cost less than gasoline purchased in Canada?

Sure… ‘world markets’.

In what world is selling out our country in the form of pissing away our natural resources a good idea? By allowing multinational oil companies to enjoy the profits while Canadian citizens endure the high-cost of heating oil, gasoline, and diesel – we’re allowing our economy and Harper’s oligarchy to prolong our dependence on fossil fuels and curb any advancement toward the greener technologies that we all need.

When new technologies reach the consuming public – the cost of those goods goes down as they are more widely adopted. Personal computers are a prime example – as they became more widely available, the tech improved and the cost went down. The same thing will happen with green technology. We could operate on micro-grids. We could all run self-sustaining households. But large corporations (with the aid of oligarchies around the world) prevent that from happening.

Stephen Harper sold out our country. Supported by the omnipresent public-service oligarchy operating in the shadows; the good things that the Harper administration has done for this country will never outweigh the bad things that his arrogant system of governance has done to destroy our nation.

Our nation; and in essence our world; needs leaders that tell the truth. We need leaders that answer questions; instead of dodging them. We need leaders that are more concerned with engineering a blueprint for the next century than continuing to play partisan politics in the arena of public opinion to cement a legacy of manufactured sound-bites for future generations to suckle on.

RESOURCES

___________

PART 5

___________

Fear and Loathing at Stephen’s House – Part 3: Bill C-51

This law is unnecessary.

Statistically, it’s unlikely one’s physical safety would ever be directly affected by terrorism within this beautiful country.  We are a good, ethical nation that has grown to be one of the most peaceful and respectable nations in the world.  We gained our independence rather peacefully; aside for a few transgressions; and we carried that aura of correct behavior into today.

We are an honorable nation that only responds with military force when it is our moral obligation to do so.

We’re not the United States, post 9-11.  We’re a great nation that has preserved Canadian values throughout a rather valueless and dark time experienced by much of the rest of the world.

That peaceful ride was truly thanks to the Conservative Party of Canada’s excellent governing during a time when everyone was scared. This is most especially true in regard to the appropriate development and deployments of our military; involved in operations we had a moral responsibility to be a part of.

We’re not a scared nation anymore, though. We have a significant percentage of our generation trained to defend our country; and a hell of a lot more of us ready and willing should the situation ever present itself.

Canada has built one of the greatest modern military in the world.

Our team is among the best.

We don’t need this bill to protect our country.  We’re orders of magnitude safer than we were before.

_______

Sure.. a few bad guys may occasionally slip into our bubble; influenced by one of the terrorism countries.

It may seem scary.

But it’s statistically unlikely.

The one irrefutable fact that this administration cannot fathom acknowledging is the following thing:

——————-

The bill is too vague.  

Period.

Full Stop.

_____________

_____________________

Our generation grew up with Jon Stewart.

We’re not accepting any of this nouveau-homage to the Patriot Act nonsense.

____________________

___________

NOTE:  Blues and Reds (both) supported Bill C-51

_____________

PART 4
_____________

Fear and Loathing at Stephen’s House – Part 2: Operation Un-Elect Stephen Harper

“This is the election where we will get our country back.”

– Elizabeth May (MACLEAN’S National Leaders Debate 2015)

___

This is the most important election of your life.

Some people think voting doesn’t matter. Those people are wrong. Young Canadians need to show up this time. It’s up to each of you to take twenty minutes out of your day and choose to vote for any party.

Just show up.

Matter. As a person. As a citizen lucky enough to have been born in this wonderful country.

It’s okay if you don’t follow politics. It’s okay. Most of us don’t. But we all have ideas about how we’d do things; things that future generations need. We need to leave our country a better place than it was when we got here.

We’ve had the same Prime Minister for a decade. A lot has changed in that decade.

How old are you now? 25? 40?

Does it matter?

Go get educated on the issues that affect you; even if it’s only one issue you feel strongly about.

Choose that; and vote for it.

Do it because it’s your right to do so as a Canadian Citizen. Do it because the laws that get passed; and the economic decisions that get made over the next four years – will affect you. They will affect your life; and the lives of your grandchildren.

So go vote. Millions of people have died to defend your right to choose your own government; to choose the present and future situation of the country you are fortunate enough to live in.

It’s time for a new approach and I think most of us side with any party that doesn’t include Stephen Harper. Most of us want Harper to fade into history (as a villain with a large pension) and be presented with a new guy.

Anybody but Harper.

The unfortunate reality is that more of you may show up; but some of you will vote for Trudeau and some of you will vote for Mulcair. Which isn’t inherently wrong… it’s simply non-strategic if we all want a non-Harper government.

Harper doesn’t need half of the votes; he just needs more of them than the party you want to win.

Despite the fact that most of us disagree with his policies; we can’t let the minor differences in the other three parties divide us. We need to ensure we all vote for the same leader together. A leader that isn’t Stephen Harper.

We need to vote in a majority government that leaves a broken and bruised Conservative party as neither the government, nor the official opposition, of this beautiful country.

That being said – it is my opinion that the most qualified person to lead Canada for the next four years is Thomas Mulcair.

Sorry J.T.

Maybe next time.

Mr. Jack Layton was the right guy last time; but our generation didn’t show up.

They didn’t think it mattered.

Look what you’ve done! Eligible voters of the last election that didn’t vote!

Damn you!

Shame on you.

Go vote.

Vote for anybody.

Just show up.

Please vote.

_______________________________________

If any of you have feelings about the coming election that you’d like to share on our page; please send submissions of <500 words to info@nukesofknowledge.com.

Toodles.

J.G. Oblivious

____________________________

PART 3
____________________________