The Wrong Message



News comes this evening that the Liberal Government in Ottawa has signed an approval for a natural gas pipeline with its terminus at Lelu Island. This project, the Pacific Northwest LNG pipeline, was ushered through with Petronas, the Malaysian state-owned oil company that has seen its share of controversy of late through a web of what look like rather dubious payments to the highest echelons of governance in that country.

Current prices for LNG would indicate that there is little chance of this project going ahead any time soon. There is a glut on the market and, as many others in pertinent blogs have pointed out, BC is really quite late to the game. However, even if this is a clever ploy, approving a project that has little chance of coming to fruition so that the government can more easily reject others, it still sends a message far removed from the visionary pronouncements by Catherine McKenna and Justin Trudeau at COP 21 in Paris and leads us to believe that Trudeau will be to the Paris Agreement what Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin were to Kyoto: all talk and no action.

The message is that Trudeau will play politics with energy and environmental concerns, frittering away valuable time when he could be investing in infrastructure for renewable energy and conservation initiatives that might be contributing factors to setting us on a path to long-term survival. As it is, the window of opportunity is closing and, were we to believe a consensus of serious heavyweight scientists, the calculations give us less time than we might have thought, meaning that the current attitude of our “leaders” in Ottawa aligns with the destructive lot that currently inhabit the Rockpile on Belleville Street and who find community of interest with troglodytes like Brad Wall and Rona Ambrose, who now quips that she thinks that Justin now needs to be a champion for this project that will be a primary economic driver for the country.

In addition, there is the lurking approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership which, if pushed through by Trudeau and his international trade minister Freeland, obviates the need to approve individual projects as it will bring us to a state where national and provincial governments will be largely rubber-stamp simulacrums of government and enablers for corporate profiteering at the expense of both labour and the environmen

Pretty sad stuff, all in all.

I couldn’t find a YouTube video of Stephen Bruton’s “The Clock”. Too bad, it’s a great ditty on fiddling while the planet burns.

A Rose By Any Other Name












This morning’s Globe and Mail talked some about the possibility that the merger between Bayer and Monsanto might result in the disappearance of the Monsanto name, and quite possibly the baggage that accompanies that name.


Said baggage consists of a history of developing technologies aimed at controlling the seed supply through patents and ownership of gene modifications that have been spread through the food production and distribution systems through heavy doses of lobbying, distraction, bullying and stealth, a litany of sins that doesn’t seem to have developed the least shame on the part of the perpetrators. Among those working for a more equitable and sustainable future, the name Monsanto is emblematic with pretty much all the sins of our current legislative, judicial and regulatory régimes.


The name might disappear, but I doubt, and hope, that the awareness of the deeds will simply be transferred to the new parent company, Bayer, short of a radical turnabout in company policy. This turnabout seems like an unlikely happenstance, given Bayer’s already clouded name over both pharmaceutical marketing and development, and their long record of standing by neonicotinoid pesticides that seem clearly implicated in bee die-offs.

A shift to people-driven small-holding organic and permaculture processes in food production is advocated in a growing number of quarters as a tool in reintroducing a healthy diet and in controlling runaway climate disruption. This is antithetical to Big Ag, but represents the nature of the shifts that need to take place if we are to continue to inhabit this planet.

May we all stay aware and not be distracted by a corporate machination and a change of name while the underlying misdeeds continue.



Wherefore The CBC


Lots of reaction to the news that Peter Mansbridge is stepping down as the figurehead on the bowsprit of the MothershipNews, most of it entreating said Mansbridge to spare himself from bodily harm from the swinging door as he leaves. My sense was that Peter had some credibility in his earlier days, but it became painfully clear once the CBC decided to refresh its programming and seek a younger demographic that he would have to tread carefully or risk being displaced by the news equivalent of Strombo and put out to the senior lecture circuit with a mandate to sell more dietary fiber.

I once thought it would be a good deal to replace Peter with Ian Hannomansing. I really liked his style of reporting when he was with CBC Vancouver, but, of late, he seems to have morphed into a creature of the Harper CBC and is harder to distinguish from the run of CBC faces and names. I’ve thought well of some of Mark Kelly’s investigative material, but what happens when you plunk him in the Big Chair? Rosie Barton looked fresh and stinging when she took over from Evan Solomon, but the gig seems to have rounded off the edges, and the discourse clearly misses the point of serious analysis and reportage.

So here’s a thought: CBC needs to pioneer a new and faceless news stream for serious journalism where the reader never gets seen on screen and where the news can reach into those areas where currently it isn’t considered worthy of television, or too scary because reporting on the item might get the whole crew fired. The names can appear in the cast and credits at the end of the show, or in a byline under the title of the presentation, but no faces.

In addition, with their unlimited resources, the CBC can have a People group on a different broadcast channel where people like Heather Hiscox, Wendy Mesley, Michael Serapio and the like could hold forth on the people and places, the car accidents, marital upsets and petty crimes that seem to be so much a part of what gets passed off as news. There would be a lot of human interest here, but with a real fluff factor.

A third stream would be where we could really connect with the fringe element of the news community, where Jian Ghomeshi could meet up with Ezra Levant, where Evan Solomon could resurrect himself and where Peter could reminisce by interviewing himself one-on-one, complete with Rodin Thinker-like pose. This stream could be sponsored by people who make medication for elevated levels of hypertension.

Given that the whole outfit is still run by Harper Holdovers (is it not? it sure looks as though that’s the case), i don’t see too much in the cards in terms of a constructive rebuild, and I’ll continue to spend more time complaining about the state of news than actually watching it or listening to it. I’m sure glad my parrot had found a worthy recycling use for the moribund newspapers I used to read.