First published at Axis of Logic, 2016-06-13.
Miles Report No. 70 - First term thoughts
This is a collection of different ideas that have drawn my attention during the first six months of the new Liberal Government. It would seem the longer time passes, the more like the previous government they become.
There has been little if any change in Canada’s foreign policy. Canada still remains subordinated to whatever the U.S. would like us to say and do. At least now we are not trying to front run the U.S. by using our own tough talking ways, but ”sunnier ways” have certainly not enlightened anyone for our international relationships.
This is obvious in several areas. The passing of the act “condemning” the BDS movement is one such policy. There is nothing anti-Semitic about working against Israel’s apartheid/occupation/annexation/military rule in their relationships with the Palestinians.
Iran is another issue - as the recent news item concerning a Canadian researcher jailed in Iran only demonstrates that ”sunny ways” does not extend to re-establishing communication with Iran - something I would consider a prerequisite for open communication. But again, U.S. policy dictates that we must remain hostile with Iran in order to keep our militaries on guard for thee, and to help contain Russia “aggression”.
As for the latter, we are totally subordinate to the mainstream media/U.S. government message that Russia is the bad guy (Putin especially) when it is NATO that has moved towards Russia’s borders with hostile intent. In the meantime the U.S. continued an illegal war in Iraq (see Andrew Bacevich - America’s War for the Greater Middle East, Random House, 2016), destroyed Libya, used its wonderful sunny allies in Turkey and Saudi Arabia to try and evict Assad in order to avoid Russian oil and keep the US$ afloat with Saudi oil, and continues its general global belligerence with its arrogant and conceited - as per Hillary Clinton - self proclaimed indispensable nation crap.
Thankfully, Canada has not followed up on the U.S. Magnitsky Act. Bill Browder is campaigning against anything Russian as he was one of the westerners who took advantage of the weakened Russia after the collapse of the USSR and became another Russian oligarch, until he was charged with fraud and other financial mischief. He is just pissed that he could not get away with all his new found ill-gotten gains. In short,
...it seems that the Magnitsky Act itself, and Browder’s crusade to make it holy writ around the world, is less a product of concern for human rights, and more the result of a personal vendetta against the Russian Government by a very rich and influential vulture capitalist nested comfortably in the City of London, hatching his various anti-Russian pressure campaigns. (“U.S. Bullying Canada to Pursue Anti-Russian Foreign Policy.” Eric Draitser. Counterpunch, June 10, 2016.)
Lots of sunshine here, but no fertilizer - or maybe too much…? If you really want to solve the problems of the indigenous people, a good start would be to give them title to large tracts of their historical lands - mostly unused in Canada anyway except for resource companies extracting the wealth for their own personal gains. The latter could renegotiate their leases/licences for extraction with the new proprietors of the land. If at that point the First Nations wish to negotiate away their inheritance it becomes their concern.
Another significant action would be to get rid of the Indian Act and replace it with a new act negotiated between the Government of Canada and the First Nations. After recognizing the UN Indigenous Rights accord, the use and abuse via the Indian Act is certainly not a sunny way to go.
The land is the culture - until the First Nations have access and ownership to at least some of their historical lands, the culture of suicide and depression will remain. It may not be a cure all, but it would go a long way to strengthening indigenous culture and their pride in it - in particular in our era of acknowledging conservation and climate change and the impact that indigenous cultures could have with understanding our ties to the land and to nature.
More talk, more fertilizer. Perhaps it is too early to see much action here, but when financing is all deficit anyway - well, come on - print up some money and let’s get going. Oh sorry, your are borrowing it from the banks? Not so easy then, when a country has given up its sovereignty to the major financeers of the world.
Senate - Vote reform
Interesting events are foreseen on the promotion of democracy with the new government.
The Senate, now relieved of its being an extension of the PMO, is pretending to be doing their allocated duty and being a place for sober second thought. But it still consists of mostly politically appointed rich white guys (with a few gals) who deem themselves more intelligent than the average elected person, and certainly more intelligent than the average voter. I almost liked it more attached with an umbilical to the PMO - at least then everyone knew it was simply a facade of democracy and not the real thing that is trying hard to pretend it is democratic.
Voting reform has only seen the first skirmishes around the appointment of a committee to study how it should be done. I hope they do not come up with a complicated system and stick to something simple such as, yes, you need 50% of the vote to become the representative. If not, last person(s) on the ballot drops off and a second round of voting occurs. A proportional system would also work if kept simple - number of seats allotted according to percentage of votes received, with a certain number of riding seats topped up as necessary by proportional representation. I do not think the average Canadian is well enough informed to actually participate intelligently in a preferential balloting system - that might actually require some critical thinking skills about political issues.
Unfortunately as much as Canadians say the like democracy, they only like it if they don’t have to work at it (like vote twice) because that involves too much work. It also involves some critical thinking skills, another effort that most Canadians are not willing to make or are too uninformed (because that also takes work) to make. On the other hand, we do not need the media circus that the decidedly non-democratic processes in the U.S. offer the world.
Have fun with this one - I expect nought will come of it.
Did I mention the F-35? Here are sunny ways at its foggiest. It would appear that the government is more concerned about losing technical jobs than about getting a war plane that might actually be able to fly properly. Canada, as indicated above, is pretty much a U.S. puppet when it comes to war and business. As in the U.S. where almost every state has some form of “defence” establishment that provides relatively high paying positions and thus has great influence on the voting process, so too does Lockheed promise to pull out of Canada and take its $800 millions of contracts elsewhere.
As I have indicated before, Canada does not need fighter planes, no one is going to attack us. We only create more terrorists by bombing others overseas as witnessed in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. But yes, I guess we must maintain our sycophantic posture to U.S. hegemony for global ‘full spectrum dominance’.
On the other hand, I found an alternative to the F-35 that is less expensive, has passed its flight tests successfully, and will be in production shortly. It is also a ‘35’ - the Mig 35 - that comes equipped with all the latest Russian communications jamming devices that have been demonstrated to be effective and much superior to anything the U.S.has.
Just kidding, we don’t need this either, no one will attack us, the U.S. already owns us - we just aren’t willing to admit it.
So have a good summer break, and keep working. It appears frequently at times that Parliament is just for show and public posturing while the real interaction is behind the scenes with other governments’ officials and financial officials. In that sense a truly proportional government with indigenous participation might weaken those external restraints/benefits (depending on which side you are on).