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.

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