Sunday, January 19, 2014

I hear a song in the wind....

2014 is officially launched and in political terms; it’s game on. For those of you that are familiar with Nick Nanos (polls) the recent Nanos poll should not be surprising.
According to the numbers 55 per cent of those who took the time to participate, were of the view that government policies and direction were leading Canadians in on the wrong path.
As far as polling numbers are concerned; the Nanos poll for the past three years has registered rapid increases into the negative for the Harper government.
    Harper himself is retreating on familiar ground and pushing the development of the Alberta oil sands at an unprecedented pace.
News from the Senate scandal is ebbing, although news of its residual consequences is still yet to be presented before a federal judge.
Employment Insurance (EI) is still reaping more money than it needs, and Flaherty announcement that premiums are to be frozen for the next three years.
Whether or not you believe the Finance Minister, the probability of the EI fund being used to create budget surpluses will continue.
     In addition, do not expect this government to ease its draconian directives to government bureaucrats and “push off” Canadians off the EI ledgers.
In terms of environmental issues the Harper government record speaks for itself. The Lac Mégentic tragedy has passed but is not forgotten. Oil shipments are still not allowed to pass through, but it is just a matter of time.
   On this issue in particular, it is not the product itself which alarm most Canadians; but rather the method and safety track record of Transport Canada. Further oil derailments across the country are raising serious questions as to what exactly Transport Canada is doing.
Scientific research is the basis of any meaningful data in regards to environmental policy; or at least it should be. Under the Harper administration, science is being denigrated unless to suit the government agenda.
   Picking and choosing what fits and what does not is not exactly in anyone’s best interest. 
The scientific data provided by provincial and federal governments may not coincide with government policy, but it should be the single most important barometer in favor of us all when policies are introduced.
To that affect, we have those that are in the public eye and use their influence to speak on behalf of those who do not. In Canadian politics, having celebrities voice their displeasure is not as popular as their American counterparts.
   However the tide is rising. Singer and songwriter Neil Young is the latest to enter into the fray. It is true that indigenous issues have long coincided with environmental concern. 
These are the two most irksome portfolios that constantly press the Harper energy intensive directive across Canada. Say what you will, but at least the Harper government exemplifies “bit bull” traits worthy of any dog breeder. It simply will not give way and release that bone, and in their opinion why should they?
   Energy needs, export wealth, pitted against the environment is what I call the “chicken and egg syndrome” one begets the other. The only difference between the past and present is the frequency, and duration of such natural resource driven exploitation.
Alberta is central to Harper mounting electoral gains across Canada, and his base is beginning to show weakness. More Conservatives are willing to voice their discontent. 
Backbenchers in Ottawa are being more vocal, even suggesting that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) purview be curtailed.
    Conservative anti-abortionists are pushing for legislating laws which would favor their political views. The “push-back” is being felt in the PMO and they do not like it at all.
Neil Young’s voracity to take the government to task on behalf of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is worrisome. 
    Not only does it set a precedent for other prominent Canadians in the music and art industries to mimic Young; it weakens their ability to mount smear campaigns designed to nullify their voices and create doubt in the minds of Canadians towards their claims.
Harperists would not have concerned themselves so much with Young’s indigenous crusades had it not been concentrated in Alberta. 
     Shell’s Jackpine mine expansion project speaks to Harper’s pursued endeavours to push natural resource exploitation at the risk of environmental and health issues of indigenous people.
Even the federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq admitted to the risks posed by the Jackpine mine expansion project as being, “significant adverse environmental effects.”
What is ironic is that you have a person of Inuit ancestry doing your dirty work. Pitting indigenous against mainstream Canadians is par for the course for the Harper Conservative government.
   In the Senate, this stratagem has caused much frustration for Harper who personally handpicked Patrick Brazeau. 
The likes of Aglukkaq and Brazeau are effective propaganda tools to illustrate that a good First Nations person is one that is successfully assimilated within Canadian values.
In conjunction with that message, those First Nations bands that are willing to prosper and take advantage of the economic wealth within their territories are greatly encouraged to do so.
Damn the consequences, if Harper cannot assimilate First Nations, the environmental destruction of their treaty territories is just as effective; more so even because those First Nations people accustomed to wealth will not soon part with it.
   In the end, being labelled a Conservative these days is akin to being labelled as a....
The choice is ours; and what is occurring under the Conservative umbrella should give anyone who calls themselves Canadians; deserves a serious second look.

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