Support the Dominion
Support the Dominion
The lyrics to the song contained in this track are available here:
They Tore Down The Kremlin-- and I wasn't there.
September 20, 2009.
Macdonald John Enoch Stainsby.
I guess I should first explain why I am writing this article. It would not be at all inaccurate to say I'm trying to channel incredibly powerful emotions that have surfaced as a result of a recent short visit to Maerdy, south Wales in the Rhondda Valley. My family roots trace back to the town known as “Little Moscow” from the 1920's on. I have long known of our ties to this community but not the depth of those connections or what impact on me these ties would have.
I began my own personal journey in life that took me to revolutionary conclusions by necessity beginning when I was in high school but not becoming the path that I would take with my life until my early 20's, roughly 13 years ago. My reasons for moving towards the revolutionary transformation of society had almost nothing to do with our family history but were based on my own rational conclusions based on the state of the world. To this day when someone asks me why I'm a self-described revolutionary I still want to reply: “Look around you. Why aren't you?”
Positive stories on the oil sands and the environment are rarely
defensive of the oil sands’ impact. Refusal to bow to pressure from environmental groups is a common topic, but more so is advances in technology that could reduce the impact of the oil sands: research into microorganisms that could aid in the reclamation of tailings pond water or carbon sequestration techniques. Negative stories attack the oil sands as they are, while positive stories tend towards describing what they could be.
(Emphasis mine). Considering CWF is a darling of Stephen Harper, there's something rather sweet about that admission.
Irving Refinery Blues
Please forgive me-- this may end up seeming like a rant in places, for I simply must get some things off my chest. I hope my prediction that it will make sense by the end is true.
I am a strong proponent of the idea that hitchhiking is simply one of the greatest forms of grassroots journalism. When you enter a new place, the odds are quite high that you are traveling with a local. If this is the case, then you will become immediately armed with “insider” information to which there is little match. The sorts of things I am often lucky to learn, in any case, would certainly not be told in any tourist information booth.
I woke up today in Riviere Du Loup, in Eastern Québec. I made a cold instant coffee and ate some granola bars before wandering across the highway to seek rides further East. I managed three rides fairly easily, each of them pleasant and warm, no hassles and even interesting tangents of separate activity here and there. But what I need to rant about was the ranting of my last ride of the day, a man named Doug who picked me up when I was but one ride from here-- Saint John, New Brunswick.
I write from the inner (ie you need an event or staff pass to get here) cafe & main networking area. And I'm smoking. Inside. Because it's international territory. Actually, there are prominent no smoking signs all over the place. A large sign reads "The United Nations General Assembly has decided to implement a complete ban on smoking at United Nations Headquarters indoor premises." And yet, dozens of people - including UN staff - are smoking away, all day. Could there be an incredibly amusing parallel between the lack of implementation of the indoor smoking ban and the role of the UN in the world?
Along with a growing multitude of people, many of the 2000+ indigenous delegates are increasingly critical of the corporatization of the United Nations and its affiliate bodies. Although we all enjoyed the free wine and music.
It has been amazing to run into people from last year's Longest Walk 2, the Protecting Mother Earth conference, and to meet new people(s) attending the forum. The conversations range from Canadian Assembly of First Nations representatives traveling to Latin America to promote mining in indigenous communities to the ongoing State of Emergency in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, to the Mapuche flag, to journalism in Africa, and everything in between... There are dozens of parallel and alternative events occurring both on and offsite.
Youth from Fort Chipewyan marched through the streets to protest against the tar sands in -32 degree temperatures this afternoon.
The march was organized by 10 year old Robyn Courtoreille, who got other youth involved in the protest.
"Syncrude and Suncor have been poisioning our water, air, so we protested to let them know we want a future not cancer," said Dailen Powder, 12, after the protest.
"I was protesting because I dont want anymore deformed two jawed fish in our lake," said Cherish Kaskamin, 11.
There is another protest in Fort Chipewyan planned for January 12th.
Yesterday, they pointed out in a front page article that Harper's ministers are getting a lot of face time with oil companies.
Today, La Presse upped the ante again with five-pages of coverage of Alberta's tar sands. Fronting with the headline "Saudi Alberta," the coverage puts the accent on environmental devastation and crimes against Indigenous communities to--I would say--a greater extent than the Dominion's own tar sands issue did.
It's the first in a series on the tar sands.
If you read French, it's worth a look.
Call for submissions
In Western Canada-- Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan-- mega projects, massive developments and international events are bringing vast changes across the entire region. From nuclear power plants to Ski Hills and the world's largest ever industrial project, there are many components of similarity throughout Western Canada that can be and must be connected.
From the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) through to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) the provinces are streamlining the vast changes and degradations in human rights, living conditions and environmental health.
In the Fall 2008, OilSandsTruth.org (OST) will be releasing a one time magazine on many of the issues being faced by the populations living within both provinces.
OST is looking for articles on the following:
How the SPP facilitates the tar sands;
How the SPP facilitates the 2010 Games;
Tar sands and the impact of the boom on indigenous self-determination;
2010 and the impact of the Games on indigenous self-determination;
Tar sands and the impact of the boom on housing;
2010 and the impact of the Games on housing;
Tar sands and how the impacts of the boom are gendered;
2010 and how the impacts of the Games are gendered;
Tar sands and the effects on migrant rights and temporary foreign workers;
2010 and the effects of the Games on migrant rights and temporary foreign workers;
Tar sands and trade union rights;
2010 and the effects on labour rights;
Tar sands development and what it means for land and the forests;
2010 and the impacts on lands and the forests;
Tar sands development and the impact on water quality;
Olympic development and the impact on water quality;
The second part of the Globe and Mail's tar sands touches on the paradox at the heart of talk of Canada becoming an "energy superpower".
American thirst for Canadian oil is fuelled in part by Canada's lack of geopolitical ambition. Despite its growing importance as a supplier to the world's biggest oil consumer, Canada is the anti-superpower: a gentle giant that doesn't wield its oil clout as a geopolitical club (think Russia or Venezuela), or set a benchmark for world prices (like Saudi Arabia). It isn't lawless or war-ravaged (Nigeria or Iraq).
So if I understand this correctly, Canada wields massive geopolitical leverage, but chooses not to use it. Is that because Canadians are so nice?
But seriously, if a superpower chooses not to do anything with its influence, is it still a superpower? If you don't spend money, can you be rich? Is Canada's elite really that boring, that even when they are handed unimaginable piles of riches and significant geopolitical influence, the best thing they can think to spend it on is a) enriching a small fraction of Americans and b) taking a cut of what's left over... in that order?
That would appear to be the case.
The problem, of course, is that the riches and influence that Canada's elite are choosing to give away are also the source of what's shaping up to be the most significant environmental disaster in North America's living memory.
If that wasn't the case, I'd wonder if anyone has made a list of what could be done with those resources and influence other than, say, nothing.
The first of the Globe and Mail's week-long series on the tar, I mean, oil sands has at least one interesting insight, though it'll be interesting to keep track of all the things that they don't mention.
And money is getting tight in Thunder Bay. Anyone who looks closely may see some irony in the fact that the closing of local paper mills is at least partly because the loonie has been driven to record heights thanks to Alberta's staggering wealth.
But one person's downturn is another's upswing. While places like Thunder Bay suffer, many Canadians enjoy the proceeds of rising oil stocks. The spotlight on Alberta ended the long-lamented discount attached to Canadian oil company shares, which have outperformed their U.S. counterparts of late. (Suncor, for instance, has become the world's best performer among big oil companies that are traded publicly.)
It's something that the Globe can toss out there casually and then forget about, but it's actually a huge economic issue in Canada. The oil boom in Alberta allows investors to continue to pretend that the economy is ok, while sectors like timber and manufacturing approach a full-blown crisis.
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.