Better late then never

In June of 2011 ( just shy of five months ago ) I saw a clip of Krista Erickson interviewing Margie Gillis – this is a clip of what aired on the newly launched Canadian Sun TV Network ( Fox News North as it’s sometimes called ). You can see the clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrUfKrQpQbg

I don’t watch Sun TV – in fact I no longer watch anything on cable, I only watch shows I like via Netflix and the like. I abandoned cable TV because I hated commercials, I hated the amount of time in my life it sucked up, and more or less was bored to tears with the programming. I get my news online, so I don’t miss cable TV at all and I’m probably more informed now than I have ever been trying to get news and information off of the television. I abandoned cable because of stations like Sun TV.

So I did not watch the original on ‘TV’, I watched the digital version on YouTube – and after watching it I sent a complaint to the CBSC ( Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council ) about the whole thing.

Here is what I sent, way back at the start of June:

I just finished watching the Krista Erickson interview of Margie
Gillis as an online version of the original interview on June 01, 2010.
It was my understanding that Canadian Broadcasters were to act with a
minimum level of decorum and decency towards their guests.

This was disgusting. This was not an interview, this was a steady and
constant attack on a guest under the thin guise of being a tax spending
watchdog. It was sick. It was wrong. It should never happen again on
Canadian television.

Facts were twisted and distorted to the point where they were pushing
lies. They were not full-out-right-lies but they certainly bent the
spirit of honesty in journalism that is part of Canadian media
legislation.

Very sad. Very pathetic show.

Here is the response that the CBSC sent me today, which I think is fully reasonable. Hopefully they levy an appropriate punishment as they see fit, whether I find that punishment suitable or not remains to be seen, but it is interesting that they are so swamped with complaints about this issue that they have had to change policy on the complaints process. That makes me happy, that Canadians are standing up and saying there are limits to what we will tolerate – a rarity in a nation that passively tolerates just about everything.



Thank you very much for sending your email to the CBSC regarding the Krista Erickson interview with Margie Gillis on an episode of Canada Live.  The CBSC appreciates your use of its public process for dealing with concerns about that television broadcast.
 
It is the customary practice of the CBSC to send an individually oriented response to every single person who takes the trouble to send us such a complaint.  In this case, though, the volume of complaints has made such personalized responses impossible.  Hence this more impersonal response to all those who filed complaints re the Margie Gillis interview.
 
In any event, the CBSC will deal with the substance of the broadcast via the Councils normal process and a decision will be released publicly in due course.
_________________
 
Let us add a few clarifying and useful bits of information re the CBSC and its process.
 
1.  The CBSC’s complaint resolution process normally begins with a dialogue between the complainant and the broadcaster. The Council initially forwards all complaints it receives to its broadcaster member who then responds directly to the complainant, copying the CBSC on their response.  Over time, the results of this process have been extremely positive; moreover, they are quantifiable.  Consider that over 75% of complaints are customarily resolved through this dialogue which requires that broadcasters consider their programming choices in light of the standards which they, as CBSC members, have agreed to respect.
 
In the present case, because of the overwhelming number of complaints, not only is the CBSC not replying individually (as mentioned above), it is not asking the broadcaster to do so either.
 
2.  Once again, in general but not in the present case, it is only where differences cannot be resolved through this dialogue that the CBSC’s “dispute resolution mechanism”, i.e. a Panel adjudication, is triggered. At this point, the Panel decides whether or not the broadcast itself has breached one of the Codes administered by the CBSC.  In the case of the Margie Gillis interview, the CBSC will render a decision, even in the absence of the broadcaster-complainant dialogue.
 
3.  Regardless of how many different complaints we receive about an individual broadcast, a single decision is taken based on the actual content of that broadcast. Nor is that decision influenced by the number of complaints received.  In fact, the CBSC requires only a single complaint to trigger its complaint resolution process.
 
4.  We should also tell you that the CBSC cannot deal with online content.  The Codes that the CBSC administers apply only to content broadcast on traditional radio and television, so we cannot deal with complaints about clips found on YouTube, Facebook or similar media-sharing sites.
 
5.  It is also the case that the CBSC limits the complaints with which it deals to those that are made by persons who have actually seen the broadcast.  In this case, though, it appears that some complainants did not see the Krista Erickson interview with Margie Gillis on an episode of Canada Live themselves; they may have, understandably, based their complaints on the circulating social media reports concerning the interview in question.  While that would normally have affected those complaints, in this case the CBSC will be bringing this broadcast to a Panel adjudication in any case.
 
6.  Finally, some complainants have requested that the station that broadcast the Krista Erickson interview be removed from their basic cable package. Cable bundling does not come within the purview of the CBSC’s mandate, nor do we deal with cable or satellite TV companies. We deal exclusively with the content broadcast by our member stations.
 
Please note that all of the CBSC Panel Decisions are public and are posted on the CBSCs website for your information. You are welcome to visit our website at <www.cbsc.ca> at any time to view our most recent decisions.
 
Sincerely,
 
Mrs. Solange Courteau
Communications Coordinator
Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

The CBSC is a national voluntary self-regulatory organization created by Canada’s private broadcasters to deal with complaints made by viewers or listeners about programs which they have seen or heard broadcast on a member station.  The CBSC administers seven industry codes covering various issues relating to ethics, violence on television, equitable portrayal, journalistic ethics and cross-media ownership, which set out the guidelines for television and radio programming. For more information on the mandate of the CBSC and the codes it administers, visit our website at www.cbsc.ca.

Water commodification

Good Morning to the Honourable Rob Renner and Honourable Alana Delong,
This is an open letter to the Environmental Minister of Alberta, the Honourable Rob Renner, and my current elected representative the Honourable Alana DeLong.
A while back I wrote to you about commodification of water, and my concerns about ongoing rumours about Alberta becoming one of the first provinces to move towards a water market or commodification system. Replies I have received from that message indicated that there was no intention to commodify Alberta’s water, and that our water was going to remain as part of the government protected commons. On the Alberta Government website it says the following about water:
“Water is not only a resource, it is a life source. We all share the responsibility to ensure a healthy, secure and sustainable water supply for our communities, environment and economy – our quality of life depends on it.” ( http://environment.alberta.ca/01157.html )
Bold words from our government, that have been reiterated to me by various political figures. So I am a little surprised to have an article in Reuters, half press release, from Geneva talking about the Government of Alberta and corporate figures in discussion about a water exchange in Alberta that would, more or less, commodify our water, thus removing it from the commons. Here’s a quote from the article:
“We are actively dealing with the government of Alberta to think about a water exchange…” – Peter Brabeck, Nestle Group ( http://af.reuters.com/article/idAFLDE74917X20110510?sp=true )
That seems like a pretty clear indication that there is at least some discussion about commodification of our water. Given that water is fundamental to the survival of any living being, plant, and system I am deeply concerned about talks in Alberta about changing our water  into a commodity. This has proved disastrous in countries like India where corporations have taken away traditional water sources leaving the poor without any drinking and agricultural water, and in countries like Bolivia where water commodification  ( even -RAIN- was commodified! ) allowed Bechtel to force people to choose between water and food ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechtel#Bolivia ). Under the UN Charter of Human RIghts water is a protected right of all human beings, I know it is not part of the Canadian Bill of Rights as of yet, but honestly, you’re dead in 3 days without it.
If commodification did not work to help the citizenry in Bolivia or India, why would it suddenly work here in Canada? My guess is it won’t, even though we can make a hefty profit exporting our water to the rest of the world much like we do with our oil. We sell our crude oil resources to the US and other nations, who then sell us back refined petroleum at an inflated price. I suppose it helps balance our ‘trade deficits’ but in the end it’s bad for the Canadian consumer, I pay for this at the pump where glib stickers tell me that a whopping $0.15 of the $1.20+ I pay is going to taxes, and that the oil industry and their record profit levels are operation on such a tight margin. Just imagine how this is going to work when I start paying 50-100% more for my water, I’m sure that glib sticker will be telling me that it’s taxes all the way down. That idea doesn’t fill me with excitement.
Just doing a quick search on ‘Water market alberta’ on Google has given me tens of thousands of articles in the news about Alberta slowly and steadily moving towards full water markets and commodification. ( http://tinyurl.com/3zue5kw )
Why? Why is this happening, and why have I been told in the past that our regulations are ‘stringent’ and ‘some of the best in the world’ and that water is a resource of great importance to Albertans? With all due respect, I don’t like being told half truths and in some cases outright lies by people who are accountable to the electorate. What I’d like to know is what is honestly going on up there in Edmonton, because it sure doesn’t seem to be in my best interests. I don’t want our water commodified. I don’t want a water market in Alberta. I don’t want our water being parcelled off and sold to corporations. Period.
Regards,
Marcus Riedner

My predictions after the 2011 election

After the Canadian Election 2011, with a Conservative Majority, here are my predictions for the next four to five years until the next election is called.
  1. Two Tier Healthcare as a platform by 2015
  2. National debt of $1 Trillion dollars
  3. 25% less government and government services
  4. No new Healthcare Accord, instead a year-by-year funding stranglehold on the provinces
  5. Vote based funding for political parties will be gone, corporations will be allowed to fund parties again.
  6. 65 fighter jets that will saddle the Canadian Forces with a budget nightmare, final cost for the planes will be $50 billion over lifetime of use.
  7. Corruption will increase.
  8. Attack adds on the NDP, election or not. Particularly in Sun Media stations.
  9. Justin Trudeau will run for leadership of the Liberal Party.
  10. Long Gun registry is going going gone. Whether the police use and like it or not.

Day 5…

So today concludes Day 5 of my water, tea, coffee fast. I’ve not been having coffee, the smell makes me unhappy in the tummy. I have decided to end my fast tonight. I was hoping to do 7 days, but I am mentally done.

Physically I’m getting regular heart palpitations, and my balance is a bit wonky. I get tired pretty quick too. And I’m cold. Always cold. I think physically that’s the most disturbing part, I’m never cold. I can tromp around for half an hour in -30C and be warm again when I get inside within 15 minutes, but right now I am icy all day long.
Mentally I’m a bit sideways. I work all day at code type tasks, mostly CSS and HTML, and I find myself doing a lot of ‘stare blankly at zend and css trying to figure it out’. Talking is a bit weird too, getting my thoughts in the proper order is often an issue for me, and right now I’m pretty sure half of what comes out of my mouth makes no sense.
Spiritually I am on the fence. My meditative prayer is totally shot, I can manage 2-5 minutes before it all falls apart. My spontaneous prayer has improved though. I haven’t had any amazing revelations for sure… other then a deeper understanding of what my Father went through as a kid in WW2, and what billions of people go through every day. I guess empathy is a form of spiritual growth.

Day 3…

On Friday, after my meditative prayer, I joined the fast with the 35,000+ people at hungerfast.org If you don’t know what this is about, here’s the skinny: the latest US budget rapes and pillages the money going to feed the poor, feed children, care for vetrans, and care for the least of our society. At the same time it maintains benefits for the military and the rich ( such as a $2billion a year tax break for vacation and second homes ). In response some fairly influential figures started fasting, and it’s grown to 35,000+ people fasting in prayer and protest from across every major religion and secular group.
The politicians say there is not enough money, yet have cut nothing from military spending. The people are saying a budget is a Moral Document, and that these cuts are not about scarcity, but about horrifically skewed morality ( or a total lack of it ).
I’m fasting from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It may seem a bit odd that a Canadian is fasting in prayer and solidarity with Americans over an issue largely in America. But our government is planning on spending insane amounts of money on fighter jets ( 2% of our national budget for 20 years ), and ignoring our growing issues with working poor, working homeless, and the growing number of Canadians without proper food. ( 3.5 million and growing every year! )
Our government sort of just follows along with what America does, so I’m hoping that by praying and fasting with them to help their poor, it also helps ours. Besides, love thy neighbour right? Canadians spend a lot of time mocking our American neighbours, or slighting them. But what’s going on down there affects us, and what they are doing to the poor in the US is sick and wrong. It is heart breaking.
I’m at day 3 of no food. I’m on water, tea, or coffee ( black ). This seriously sucks, it is a level of discomfort I’ve never felt in my life. It brings a whole new meaning and understanding to hunger. Proper empathy. I can only imagine how this feels when you do not have a choice to go hungry. I can end this any time, millions of people in the US and Canada don’t have that luxury. Billions don’t world wide.

The English Debate

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter I’ve been randomly firing off things about the 41st Canadian Election, including various bits of propaganda. I’m not blogging about it much, because I’m more interested in the immediacy of things on Twitter. But I will say that compared to the mayoral election in Calgary the MPs really don’t get social media. Nenshi built a win by responding and debating with the electorate. The MPs and candidates in the federal election sort of just use Twitter and Facebook as a sounding board or giant megaphone. Very little engagement, even from fringe candidates in the Green Party or REALLY fringe candidates in things like the Marxist-Lenninist Party.

Most of the main twitter feeds for local ridings are dead here in Calgary, though the #elxn41 twitter hash tag has a solid flow to it.
All this being said, I took a movement to listen/watch the English Language debate during spare moments here at the office. If you missed it on TV you can watch it on the CBC website. It’s two hours of your life, but it’s worth listening too. If you’re lazy like a lot of voters, or just really busy, or just hate the sound of the politician’s voices here’s my personal synopsis on their over-all performace.
Stephen Harper
Harper was his typical blank-ness and monotone with non-answers or answers built on the backs of previous governments. Some dodge the question. Kept calling the debate and democratic process ‘bickering’.
Michael Ignatieff
Ignatieff was solid, but occasionally stuttered, and had one moment of glaring dodge the question ( about his poor attendance record in the commons ). Really hammered on the lack of trust with the conservative government, and the nature of democracy and debate.

Jack Layton
Layton rambled various socialist policy off, and basically played a game of ‘play the Conservatives and Liberals against each other’ ( NDP policy for 40 years ) and attempt to look superior as a non-bickerer.

Gilles Duceppe
Duceppe rambled and interjected non-sequitors and random sovereignty statements, often very off topic. On occasion he lobbed some zingers into the debate that were worth while.
Elizabeth May
May wasn’t invited, but commented from the sidelines in an online chat, and sounded like a combo of Layton and Duceppe, sort of a whiney younger sibling forced to eat at the kids table. Normally I’m a Green supporter, and she’s usually decent and has things worth hearing, but this time felt scripted and meh.
Over all impression of the debate: same old, same old, nothing new to see here. I was hoping to see Ignatieff come out like a berserker and rip appart the competition. What I got felt toned down, though he was excellent about tearing into Harper on his horrible record in Parliament when it comes to thwarting the democratic process.
I also had to do about 30 drop shots because Harper kept saying ‘coalition’.

The Internet loves a straw man

Straw Man Argument : A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

For most of the life of my blog I have opened with the definition of a word. I left this practice behind about a year ago, but I am reviving it today not for a word, but a debate tactic. The Straw Man Argument has a long and illustrious history online. Your typical online discussion ( argument ) flows like this:

  1. Someone makes statement in a blog and provides some form of information or justification for a position.
  2. People disagree with that statement, and find a component element in the blog post to refute the entire blog post. They then attempt to invalidate the whole with the part.
  3. Debate shifts from the topic of the post to the minutiae contained within the post.
The Straw Man Argument is a standard in the political world as well. The media and politicians love to sidetrack people into these largely pointless debates around components of a statement in order to invalidate ( or distract ) from the original matter at hand. Friday [September 03, 2010] on #yycvote ( myself included ) fell under the sway of the Straw Man.
Mediamindjen posted a challenge to mayoral hopeful Naheed Nenshi on her municipal politics blog. It was a challenge based on unclear statements made by Nenshi and his public relations/marketing team across multiple media outlets. Nenshi, in an interview with Fast Forward, is quoted as saying he would be disclosing donors as he got them. A week later Fast Forward posted another article indicating that in May, when Nenshi announced his candidacy intentions, that he would “immediately” ( yes in scare quotes ) announce donor lists. On Mr. Nenshi’s website it states he will disclose his donors when “campaigning begins”. In the Calgary Herald he is quoted as saying “weekly” as far back as late May. Nenshi started asking for money on April 13th, 2010 via his pre-campaign announcement video on YouTube. On Twitter a member in Nenshi’s camp ( and Nenshi himself ) stated they would disclose donors on September 20th.
Now this is the heart of Mediamindjen’s blog post: We have a mayoral candidate, who is running on a political platform heavy on transparency issues being anything but transparent. If anything Nenshi and his team, either through obfuscation or incompetence, have managed to make themselves very opaque in the media when it comes to their campaign finances.
What did people from Nenshi’s camp pick up from Mediamindjen’s post? Her admittedly napkin calculations on price-point for direct mail campaigns. This then became the debate for a good part of the day while this issue was trending on Twitter. Price point. Clever use of a Straw Man Carter_bbold, I must commend you.
But the point still stands, we have Naheed Nenshi campaigning on a platform of transparency, being anything but clear in the media. Nenshi started campaigning in April as far as I am concerned. The moment he started up a Facebook group and twitter stream geared towards his political intentions his campaign was on in my opinion. The moment he announced his candidacy in May, it was official in the eyes of the public. When he submits his paperwork on September 20th, it will be official in the eyes of the law.
Now here is the question I have around all this campaign funding transparency issue and Nenshi: Has the 2010 campaign for mayor of Calgary started, and if so where is the disclosure that has been promised during the campaign?
For me, at a youthful 31 years of age, an arbitrary date for paperwork is not the indicator that a political campaign has started. Signage is a pretty good indication that the campaign is on. Facebook groups tend to say “yup, I’m politicking”. Regular participation on twitter and commentary on political opponents in the media sounds a lot like campaigning.
Am I taking crazy pills here or has Naheed Nenshi’s campaign for mayor started? If so, where is the transparency and why is there such resistance to transparency for the entire campaign, including the buildup to the day we all know Nenshi’s paperwork will be filed?  These two questions lead back to Mediamindjen’s original post, and it’s point.
How do you trust a candidate running on transparency policies when they themselves are not acting with transparency?

Animal Farm

So I finally read Animal Farm, unlike a lot of other school programs my public schooling did not include this Orwell classic. I bought it at a used book store on Wednesday after going out for sushi with people at Chaordix/Cambrian House. It is smaller then I expected, I’ve gotten used to the monolithic sized books that are common place these days, and a 115 page book seems so small. There are chapters in a Robert Jordan book that long. There is much to be said for a shorter book, about being succinct and to-the-point.

Unlike 1984 I did not come a way with such a bleak feeling, just a sort of ironic sense of the inevitable. Clearly I am most like Benjamin, so let it be written, I am an ass. Animal Farm was neat, I can see why it is such an important book for grade school classrooms. It points people to think about the world around them, though it does seem to have a certain defeatism to it. A notion that people will always end up in the same sort of bondage that they have always existed in, just under a different guise.

It certainly was a fitting book to read in these economic and political times, where we are bombarded with the ceaseless failures of the multinational corporations, and the steady shortfalls of open-ended capitalism and globalization. An age where our leadership hands out money like water to people who have shown they are not worthy of our trust. An age, in Canada at least, where our political leaders are incredibly weak and petty. One can see why Orwell’s vision of dictatorships and despotism as an inevitability rings true.

I do know that Orwell intended this as a commentary on Communism, particularly the brands of Leninism and Stalinism that ruled in his day. But one can certainly begin to see the parallels with certain events in contemporary Democracy…

Anyhow, neat book, I’ll have to read it again…

Music right now: Sinnerman – Felix da Housecat’s Heavenly House Remix. Oh sinnerman, where you gonna run too?

An open letter of condemnation on climate change policies in Canada

Good Morning Leaders of Canada!

I am writing to you this open letter today on climate change, and most importantly some of the bad that has crossed my RSS feeds and inboxes. The very intelligent people at MIT have revised their best guess of temperature rise by the end of the century if we continue with business-as-usual… they are now projecting a 5.2ºC increase ( average across the globe ), with a 9% chance of a 7ºC increase in global temperatures. These numbers are being independently supported by the International Energy Agency ( IEA ) which warns of a 6ºC increase, and the Hadley Centre which are projecting 5-7ºC increases. You can find the reports and more information at: MET office’s Hadley Centre & International Energy Agency (IEA) & MIT’s centre for Global Climate Change Science

For the last twenty years the scientific community has been sending increasingly dire warnings to the human species about the risks and dangers of a 3ºC temperature shift. Changes that included the melting of the polar ice sheets, large scale melting of antarctic ice sheets, the possible failure of the Atlantic currents that keep Europe warm, increases in ocean depth of up to 6 meters in some areas of the world, North America being hit hardest. Temperature changes like these do not cause a linear level of damage to our world, one degree increase does not equal 2 meters in ocean depth. Rather it is an exponential growth in change. Think of it like the Richter scale, but for our weather. Doubling the temperature gets you four times the change, or 24 meters of ocean depth increase and the full melting of both polar ice caps. All by the end of THIS century.

Lets put some costs to this sort of climate change, keep in mind that these are napkin calculations based on information that is not 100% complete, so I am erring on the side of conservative. I will base my projections on what is increasingly looking like the ‘best case scenario’ of a 6 meter ocean depth increase by 2100.

A 6 meter increase in ocean depth will displace roughly 4 million Canadians. Their homes will be under water. The majority of these Canadians will be in British Columbia and the Maritimes particularly hard hit will be the Vancouver area and the communities in the Frasier Valley delta. All ready parts of the Metro Vancouver Area are below sea level, notably Delta and Richmond, where some 300,000 Canadians live. At the current average price of a home in Canada ( $274,000 as of January 2009 ) the estimated cost, in loss of buildings, would be around $1,096,000,000,000. Yes, that is just over one TRILLION dollars. This is just the cost of replacing the lost homes, not relocation of this massive amount of people, nor does it cover the costs of replacing the commercial and industrial components of the coastal areas of Canada. I will not hazard a guess on to the costs associated with replacing 30-40% of Canada’s commercial and industrial complex, which is what we would lose along coastal areas.

At a 6 meter increase in ocean levels we would lose every major ocean port in Canada. The Vancouver port would be under water, as would ports in Victoria, Prince Rupert, the Montreal port, Halifax. All ports besides those in the Great Lakes would be under water. I have no way of knowing the full extent that sort of change would cause to the Canadian economy, or the cost of replacing such key elements of our infrastructure. What I do know is the Vancouver port has a Gross Domestic Product of $4 billion per year ( making the Vancouver Port the 149th largest economy in the world, just slightly larger then the nation of Malawi ), and handles $43 billion dollars in cargo each year, and represents $8.9 billion in direct economic inputs. This would ALL be under water. Gone.

In places further inland the changes are just as devastating. For example the lumber industry across Canada, particularly in BC and Alberta, are getting hit with devastating attacks of the Pine Beetle. This damage is so extensive you can now see it from space. Millions of hectares of forest have been destroyed all ready. What controls Pine Beetle populations are fire and cold. You need to have the temperature highs stay below -30ºC for a minimum of a week for the Pine Beetle larva to be killed during the winter. ( Or 24 hours of temperatures at -40ºC ). These sorts of low temperatures are becoming increasingly rare TODAY, if you add an average 5.2ºC to temperatures… Well, I suppose we can just burn the entire province of British Columbia to remove the infestation. Pine Beetle currently costs the forestry industry $2.4 billion dollars in timber, and it looks to be getting worse each season.

In Alberta, where I live, the problem is water. We are a dry province, and getting drier. As the temperatures increase we will see southern Alberta turning from ‘dry land’ farming to ‘desert’ farming. All ready the main water sources in Southern Alberta, the Milk River and the Bow River, are shrinking. It is projected that by the end of the century the Bow will be 25% of its current size, and the Milk will be 20% of its current size. These are glacier and run-off fed rivers. Without the winter snows these rivers are running lower and lower each year as the runoff shrinks and the glaciers disappear. This is going to cripple southern Alberta’s agriculture sector. The bread basket of Canada will collapse, putting thousands of farms and ranches out of business and doing untold damage to our economy and food supply. Northern Alberta and the Tar Sands, the most important part of our country for politicians these days, will also be in jeopardy. Tar Sand extraction requires a lot of water. The Athabasca River is projected to shrink by up to 50% as the glaciers and snow-falls that feed it vanish, putting the multi-billion dollar tar sands projects at risk.

In a nut shell climate change is going to cause economic and social upheaval that makes the current ‘economic downturn’ look like a cake walk. Right now we are talking about problems that are costing billions to solve, climate change is going to cause problems that cost TRILLIONS to solve. Many many TRILLIONS of dollars that will also be linked to massive systemic failures in our core infrastructure. What I have outlined above is the tip of the iceberg,  we are looking at disasters of unprecedented proportions in Canadian history.

What is our government doing about these problems? Nothing. The current ‘plan’ is to ‘wait and see’ what the ‘Obama administration’ is going to do. I am uncertain as to when Canadians started voting for the President of the United States of America. At my last check I was voting for Canadian politicians, and we had a Prime Minister who is supposed to lead a government and the House of Commons on issues surrounding Canada and Canadians… did I miss a referendum?

This inaction is the total epic failure of not just the current Conservative government, but the entire political spectrum in Canada. Instead of sitting down in the House of Commons and working together to find a solution, or even a very sketchy plan, our House of Commons is filled with childish bickering, partisan rhetoric, and a whole lot of wheel spinning. Instead of reaching across the floor to his opposition our Prime Minister is running smear campaigns and hate ads. Instead of rational discourse the NDP leaders are ranting and filibustering. Instead of effectively calling the government to task, the Liberal opposition is waffling and struggling with their personal branding and image. My email inboxes are filled with requests for donations from all the major political parties, from the NDP to the Conservatives to the Liberals and the Greens. Donations to pay off DEBTS from the last election. Now tell me why the heck I would donate to, or vote for, people who are so fiscally incompetent that they run their entire party into debt?

We are staring down the barrel of a gun here. We are facing the biggest environmental, political, and social problem of the century. My children are the
ones who are going to suffer through the challenges of climate change. They are going to face the brunt of our poor decisions, and my grandchildren will live in a Canada so radically different from mine that it is impossible to comprehend. A Canada without Vancouver, Victoria, and Halifax. A Canada where our coast lines are completely different, where places like the Bay of Fundy no longer exist because they are under water. A Canada of deserts in Alberta, and bald treeless mountains in British Columbia. A Canada where there is no ice caps, where Polar bears are extinct, and the permafrost is gone.

I am a staunch Canadian patriot, and to see the leadership of our country, be they political, social, or economic, fail so badly, so consistently is heart breaking. You should all feel a great deal of shame for leaving a world worse off for your children, I know I do.

Regards,

Marcus Riedner

Suckit down landowners in Alberta

Bill 19, a contentious piece of legislation here in Alberta that gives carte blanche rights to ministers to appropriate land in ways that go even further then the current Expropriation Act has passed third reading. Basically, for those who don’t want to sift through government legalese, Bill 19 allows any minister to expropriate a land owners land for any purpose. This purpose does not nessesarily require full public disclosure. This purpose does not need to be for the ‘common good of the people’ ( those specific words were voted against ). It can be used for an oil and gas pipeline, a well, a tar-sands bitumen dig, a strip mine, an irrigation canal, a highway, or for crown holdings. Compensation to land owners is defined at ‘fair market value’ but no proceedures or methods for determining that are outlined.

In a nutshell, the man can come take your home, farm, ranch, or acerage and do what ever they want, and all you get is 30 days notice to try and stop them.

Here is my response to the Premier of Alberta and my MLA:

Honourable Premier Stelmach,
MLA Alana Delong,

I am absolutely stunned that this bill has passed third reading, in any form, considering the negative media coverage and the solid unrest of the constituents of rural and urban Albertans. Even with the current amendments and alterations the bill is yet another example of how this government absolutely does not care for Alberta land owners or residents of Alberta. I am absolutely furious at the utter lack of respect being shown to landowners, as if the Expropriation Act wasn’t bad enough, Bill 19 makes it even easier for a farmer or rancher to be stripped of their land, livelihood, and family legacy. Between this bill and the rights and powers given to oil companies and landsmen the oil industry have near carte blanche to lay more pipelines, sour gas wells, and dig up more dirty tar sands. This is another fantastic example of ‘not using the brakes’, a phrase and way of thinking that has come to epitomize this government. Don’t think. Don’t plan. Don’t care. Definitely don’t slow down.

Regards,

Marcus Riedner

I have been adamantly against this bill since I heard about it in January. The current land expropriation legislation is loose enough to be a pain to land and home owners, this just makes it worse.