Look What Crawled Out Of The Woodwork!

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash, with thanks.

 

So, as Huffpost opines, Justin Trudeau and a new star candidate for the fall election: Terry Lake, former minister of Health in the BC government of Christy Clark.

Lots of folks used to insist that Clark’s idea of a Liberal was different from the Federal Party, but the lat three-and-a-bit years of Trudeau’s reign will have solidly put paid to that notion. In fact, there are pictures of CC and PMSH seated side-by-side where it seems it would be easy to substitute the the-PM for our current cardboard cutout. While Lake seemed to be less aggressive in his pursuit of the bent dealings that characterize most of what happened during the Campbell/Clark years, he was still a willing participant in the shenanigans and is unlikely to be terribly constructive in the context of a Federal government. This reminds me a little of the revolving door between Federal appointees and Industry, both here and south of the border. Anyone exercising a modicum of neural networks will know that it doesn’t much matter who the Libs and Cons throw up in front of us as a candidate because policy isn’t formulated in cabinet: it comes from the board rooms of Bay Street and Oil Alley in Calgary (also SNC, Irving, Davie, various Pharma and Ag giants…). So Sad.

Another dead giveaway that we’re seeing an opportunist supporting other opportunists? In the above link, it states that it was Trudeau’s Climate Plan that brought him to filing for candidacy, and we’ve had ample opportunity to discern that said Climate Plan is full of lovely rhetoric, and no action, or actions that no sane person would include in a plan to scale back the destruction of the planet’s life systems. Interesting how groups of the like-minded mendacious find each other and connect.

 

Like A Well-Run Corporation?

 

BC Ferries is quoted this morning, in the Times-Colonist, as having said that he’d love to build the billion-dollar-plus fleet expansion locally, but that it would force a 25%  rise in fares. In his chat with the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Collins used the appropriate corporate language to detail how it is much more expensive to build in BC without ever mentioning what it is that forces the extra expenditure. Take a guess: might it be labour costs? Do Polish shipyard workers have the same benefits as those in Canada?

This puts Collins and BC Ferries squarely in the camp of those willing to shop away and live on benefits locally, altogether typical of our current globalized business system, and with Collins’ way of doing business, anyone who uses the ferries, anyone who pays taxes in BC, becomes complicit in this scheme where costs are reduced on the backs of others and benefits accrue to the few, including Mr. Collins himself, who feasts at the public trough. There is a cost to run a just and equitable society, and the globalist routine glosses over that cost, inciting citizens to consume ever larger quantities of shoddy imported goods whose primary purpose is to generate profit margins on externalized costs rather than providing goods and services of proven and durable utility.

 

BC Ferries is a utility, despite whatever the “corporation” might do to mold itself into a cruise line and vacation package provider. Its core business is transport of people and vehicles across stretches of local waters as an extension of the highway system, a definition that seems to apply to ferries in the Interior of the province, but that seems to have been forgotten when it gets to the Coast.

It’s interesting to note that there is a company working partly out of Richmond, BC, that is helping to produce battery-operated vessels for cruise outfits in Norway (they also have an office in Oslo, it seems): Corvus. In addition, we also have considerable shipbuilding and maintenance facilities and the skills to run them in both Vancouver and Victoria areas, although the principals in question declined to comment on Collins’ remarks, per the Times-Colonist piece. It would be interesting to see a triple-bottom-line audit on BC Ferries’ projects with both the costs and benefits of building locally in a chart side-by-side with the globalist procurement chain, and please, let’s include the federal taxes that the previous government forgot to include in some of their overseas purchases.

How Many AAAs does it take? (Corvus Website)

Is It Illegal? Just Hang On A Sec!

The Centre of The Liberal Universe

 

(http://deadder.net/   https://www.thechronicleherald.ca)

While it is deemed that economic impacts may not be considered in the implementation of a DPA, it seems we can always find a way around any roadblocks inhibiting special treatment of our special friends in business.

The above is from the paper of record (for a lot of folks) and hints neatly at how the PMO can do it’s due obeisance to SNC so as to preserve votes in Québec. The law doesn’t do what we want it to do? The law, slack as it is, might cut SNC off the public trough? Wait, we can change the law, and deem it retroactive to the time of Methuselah, just, y’know, to be sure.

(with the gracious permission of the author: (http://deadder.net/)

Who publishes at:

https://www.thechronicleherald.ca

Is This The Best We Can Do?

To no one’s great surprise, the NEB put its stamp of approval on the “revised” application for the construction of the TransMountain Pipeline, even the ‘new-and-improved’ model looks an awful lot like the original shabby sham of an oil-lobby grease job. This represents an utter failure of governance in Canada (not to mention the effect this will have on our atmosphere, oceans, storms, wildfires, sea-level rise and the rest of the disruption catalogue). None of these parties seems to get that, for our society to continue to exist, we have to leave this gunk safely buried in the ground, and, while the time to begin the process of weaning ourselves off our present addiction was several decades ago, we didn’t do that, so that makes now the next best option.

Justin Trudeau, campaigning in the last general election, deployed the full-spectrum Liberal strategy of saying most anything to get elected, particularly at the expense of Tom Mulcair, knowing that many were just so tired of the Conservative wet blanket of the previous decade that they would go to great lengths to unseat the Harper crowd. All those glowing campaign promises and the soaring rhetoric that filled the earliest of the sunny days disappeared into a morass of same-old, same-old once the rubber hit the road. Meanwhile, the Conservative Party settled on a brand new face for the same blood-sport capital sell-out that characterized the Harper years, but with dimples and a complete lack of either gravitas of intellect. The New Democrats turfed Mulcair and replaced him with Singh, a seemingly decent guy who seems to need to check the weathervane before making a policy pronouncement, and even then, doesn’t necessarily stick to it.

These three stooges have taken centre stage in Canadian governance against the backdrop of an economy that serves only a relative few, a frayed social fabric, simmering internal divisions, and an environment that threatens to become entirely inhospitable to life in general, and specifically a teetering technological human society. All three major national leaders continue to play in the sandbox of Canadian politics as though it’s 1950 and a new era of prosperity and progress awaits us, rather than recognizing the crises into which we’ve already entered and educating  us as citizens as to the necessary steps in mitigation, adaptation and revamping that will be necessary to ensure that the numerous offspring of the Trudeau and Scheer households have a shot at a decent life. Instead of mining more goop from the tar sands, why not put those yellow vests to work doing something constructive, building renewable energy infrastructure, reforestation and agricultural rejigging to ensure that we all get fed and that more people can work the land in a regenerative fashion?

This isn’t happening because none of our leaders has the courage to say what many of us know and then to take the steps necessary to throw off the ties that bind them to their handlers and the people whose interests the handlers represent: banking, pharma, Big Ag, the arms dealers, tech companies and, above all, fossil fuel concerns. Those whose good gigs are suffering because so much wealth has already left the country and even the slightest steps toward sanity feel like persecution. No one has been able to decouple a good living from the insanity of the oilfields, and it’s unlikely at this point that people are going to lend much credence to anything that comes from the mouths of our most august leaders.

Elizabeth May stands out as the only leader to do the right thing: she went and got herself arrested protesting TMX, and so need say little else. It would be too much to hope for a minority government next October with May and several colleagues holding the balance of power. Ephemeral though it might be, it would at least have a chance at airing some serious concerns in the kabuki theatre that is the Commons.

 

A Hopeful Sign From the Press? Though Far Away

It seems a matter of routine that Frederich Hayek and his crowd get cited when some economist of another wants to echo the championing of what we wishfully call the Free Market. Hayek built some of the foundation for the Friedman/Buchanan/Thatcher/Reagan/Etc/Etc philosophy of the golden shower trickle down theory of economics used so frequently to stock the Kochs’ larders and kiss DJT’s posterior.

Hayek had an evil twin, Karl Polanyi, who, along with Hayek, was graced with a “Nobel” in economics, but whose book, The Great Transformation, has been mouldering away in corners of libraries, collecting dust, when not being used as fire starter, bird cage liner and more ignominious uses by the victims of Hayek’s triumphant selfishness. Simply, Polyani posited that collective action was more likely to produce general prosperity than rugged individualism. I read this twenty years ago following up on some things I had read in Linda McQuaig’s works, and I had to read it in French because that was the only copy available on inter-library loan.

This all comes up because Manny Mac over in the Elysée Palace is having to come to grips with some economic/social, hence political. conundrum, and imagine my surprise when I saw this as a head on the front page of Libération:

 

My concern, of course, is that the whole planet could spiral down the crapper even in the infinitesimal amount of time that the sharpest of French minds would consume in reading the Polanyi treatise. Too bad, so sad, but we could perish knowing that help might have been headed our way.

 

(Intentionally?) Missing The Point

Methinks Dame Cathy and her Court have missed the lectures on climate disruption, but are still willing to attempt to score political points trying to wrap themselves in a cloak of the greenest of fig-leafery. In this race, the Crudeau crowd wants to win by taking six giant steps backward before the opening gun goes off. Sadly for them, and well and good for the rest of the planet, there are others who have been tortising along for a couple of decades and have splendid results to show for it. But, hey, we’ve got a crud oil pipeline and fossil fuel subsidies and Alberta has found the magic spell that’s keeping Canada working, or at least those in the advertising industry who are best at half-truths and outright fabrications. It’s a good thing that Scheer’s goose steppers are going to start talking about abortions again so that Justin can get re-elected on a raft of recycled and new promises that he can then break. So sad.

End note: It’s good that we now know (via the Lancet) that we can commit slow and blissful suicide by single malt.

 

 

 

Another ‘New” “Free Market” Party

 

Huffpost pic

 

Many sources have indicated that Maxime Bernier is quitting the caucus of the Conservative Party of Canada, likely because it isn’t a true libertarian paradise. The trigger irritant seems to have been the idea that our own JT is practicing extreme multiculturalism, and that too much diversity will destroy Canada. He says, or one of his spokespeople said, that he wants to create a party based on free market principles, along the lines of the Wild Rose Party in Alberta, and yada yada. He doesn’t like supply management, unions, public anything and definitely not the idea of The Commons in any form. Let the market decide.

 

The problem with the market is that it already exists and is a creation of capital controlled by a small and very entitled group of people. So when we start this free market, there’s never a reset where everyone starts out with the same resources and the same opportunities, but we carry on the fiction of a free market, even though our executive, legislative and judicial apparatus uses a set of scales with a heavy thumb on the side of those already most well-off. It would be laughable that Bernier finds the current CPC to be morally corrupt, given that his major objection is that they don’t stand for a vision based on a pure enough version of greed. As John Kenneth Galbraith quipped:

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

Bernier’s Free Market Party would strive to take us to greater depths of economic and social disparity. My sense is that we’re already teetering on the edge of the abyss as it is without having someone like Mad Max pouring further combustible on the flames.

Do grow-ops Belong on ALR Land?

Pic From Victoria Times Colonist

 

It seems that our outgoing head of the ALC believes this to be the case, that concrete slab based bunkers ought properly to be situated on ALR land, because, well, it’s a form of agriculture. I disagree vehemently. In a conversation with a relative in Ontario last winter, it came out that his brother had sold a hundred or so acres of farmland, the kind of black dirt land that requires almost no amendment to produce food crops, and that the highest bidder was a grow-op. Now all that soil is under cement, and I gather that there is never any chance that there will ever be a recovery. The grow-op could have been situated on marginal land, or on utterly unproductive land, without altering the nature of cultivation. In our area, the land under ALR is protected because it is deemed to be potentially productive soil, and the paving over for whatever reason flies in the face of the spirit of ALR.

The time where the justification of the Agricultural Land Reserve is apparent is upon us as our supply lines to California and Florida become more tenuous due to energy concerns, and where those areas are threatened by drought and sea level rise. If we are to be able to have a chance to feed ourselves, we must protect not only the geographic locations under ALR, but also the soil they host, including areas such as, say, the Peace River Valley.

The current scheme for the legalization of marijuana is in large part to blame for this blunder as it continues a régime of restricted supply and subsequent over-valuation of a crop due to induced scarcity and control.

“Economics is a form of brain damage.” 
–Hazel Henderson
This is what is driving our civilization to decay, the idea that this abstraction called the economy takes precedence over the physical conditions that allow the economy to exist. Our margins for existence are pretty thin, and we’ve used up most of the room for error. We continue to err.

Rachel’s Path to Success

Rachel Notley announced yesterday that Alberta will be seeking intervenor status in the BC reference question, that she’s ready to turn off the oil taps to BC, and that she’s rolling out an ad campaign to win hearts and minds to the Kinder Morgan cause. So here we have a promise to participate in the process whose legitimacy she has denied, a threat, and paid persuasion. Cute.

The ads are the most curious part of the package. That a province that doesn’t balance the books should spend money on ads is pretty retrograde, that the ads in question should be for the benefit of a profitable Texas-based pipeline company touches on absurd, and the idea that she can capture hearts and minds is frightening.

After all, advertising is really about getting the target population to spend more money than it ought to on things it doesn’t need, often doesn’t want, and which may, in both long- and short- terms, be hazardous to the health of the target population. Just sit in front of a television for an hour and you’ll see all these phenomena in play. Perhaps if the ads can make you believe you need to eat Chocolate-Covered Sugar Bombs, they can also convince you that you like dilbit and paying to build a pipeline so that you can ship the stuff through several hundred kilometres of varying terrain and urban landscape to tidewater, thence to undetermined markets leaving no economic benefit for most of BC and a large sword of Damocles in terms of spills. Rachel wants to convince you that this is a good deal. It is not. Rachel, Justin, Jim Carr, Ian Anderson and the whole tar baby industry are lying to you. They want you to lie to yourself. I won’t, not in this instance. Please join me.

 

I sure am glad…

… that neither Justin Trudeau nor Rachel Notley is my personal investment advisor.

Apparently, Kinder Morgan’s free range investors have figured out that this may not be a good bet in either the short, and particularly, in the long run. I frequently see references by serious business types to the coming collapse of the fossil fuel market, coupled with multiple references to how inexpensive renewable energy is becoming. I have purged my piddly portfolio of the oily stuff, but I collect pensions that are drenched in the stuff, despite the fact that pensioners are increasingly aware of the damage being done in their names and the risks being incurred in the name of propping up a dying industry and the fortunes of some very greedy and corrupt corporate and political figures. It’s very frustrating to see that people who have told so many lies continue to be empowered to work toward the destruction of life on the planet with the money that they collect “legally” from all of us. I left the following comment on Norm Farrell’s blog this morning in the context of his discussion of how the current régime in victoria can remain tone deaf to the financial, social, and ecological  reasoning presented on that organ, In-Sights:

The cudgel of reason seems to lose mass in the face of blind ideology.

So let’s celebrate, while we can, the fact that no amount of common sense seems to get us to the point of doing the right thing in the context of our shared living space, in terms of our economic well-being and in terms of working toward a more reasonable and just society. Let the sparklers light up the throwing of good money after bad, and worse, and worst. We’re there.