I know it has been a little quiet around here lately. Could be the winter blahs. So many current events have left me so disgusted that I just don’t have the energy to engage enough to write about them. Being a social activist or even a human with a pulse has been difficult lately with so much corruption, collusion and crap going on. While I could devote an entire blog with well-reasoned arguments and some research thrown in, I will instead give you my uncensored gut reaction.
Patrick Brazeau – Until now his main claim to fame as a Canadian Senator was losing a boxing match to Justin Trudeau. Now, he has been charged with sexual assault. Brazeau didn’t even have the common sense to put himself on leave from Red Chamber. No, instead, Brazeau is such an entitled prick that his peers had to vote to put him on a forced leave. Of course he will get full pay. I think in cases like this people should not be paid and if they are found not guilty they can receive retroactive pay. It galls me that a senator who has been charged with sexual assault should still be paid! Of course, I am sure he thinks he is totes innocent and all.
Mike Duffy – Another poster boy for why the Senate needs to be abolished. It seems that Mr. Duffy lives in Ottawa. But not wanting to miss a feeding at the trough he has declared his vacation cottage in PEI to be his primary residence. This means that us Canadian taxpayers get to pick up the $30,000 or so he is collecting to support his ‘secondary’ residence in Ottawa. Harper has so few ethics that he is not even forcing Duffy to reimburse tax payers. Entitled assholes all of them.
Missing and Murdered Women March – Valentines Day marked the annual Missing and Murdered Women March in Vancouver. This march is an opportunity for us to collectively remember and grieve for the women who have died on the Downtown Eastside. The survival sex trade and extreme poverty in the DTES takes women down. Of course, the conditions in the DTES receive some assistance from serial killers and other women haters who go there to find victims. Violence against women is so ubiquitous in our society that marches like this are not even questioned. Being a feminist who works for social justice in 2013 is heartbreaking.
The Pope – So the biggest hypocrite walking the face of the earth has resigned as pontiff. Really who gives a rat’s ass? He is only going to be replaced by another white, European man who has no idea what is going on in the world. Yes, there will be talk of electing a man from Africa or Latin America but it won’t happen. Hell, they have even talked about a Canadian taking the prize. Rest assured everyone, it will be yet another white man who will continue to keep women in their place and maintain the status quo. Oh and have you ever noticed how people sometimes reflect their names? Joseph RATzinger has really lived up to his name.
Christy Clark – I don’t know about you but I am fucking sick of seeing Christy Clark’s face EVERYWHERE. It seems like you can’t go more than ½ an hour without seeing some ad telling us how great she and her merry band of liars and thieves was the best thing ever for BC. She has sponsored ads on Facebook and Twitter. My evenings are filled with Clark and her ‘jobs’ plan for BC. I don’t give a shit about business and jobs; I want to know what she is going to do for our poor and disadvantaged citizens. She is trying so hard to be sincere but honestly she looks smarmy. I wouldn’t trust her to manage our petty cash at work let alone the province’s finances. Sadly for Clark, making herself so fucking omnipresent means I am going to take so much pleasure in voting for the NDP come election day. In other news because so many Liberal rats have jumped ship, the Liberal’s once healthy majority is down to just 4 seats. There are also rumours of some Liberals breaking ranks and voting against the government’s budget. Bring it on Adrian Dix!
Today is the third anniversary of the Save the Fraser Declaration which has been signed by a coalition of Aboriginal groups in BC. Vancouver Mayor, Gregor Robertson, even declared today, December 13, 2012, Save the Fraser Declaration Day in Vancouver. An excerpt from the Declaration lays out exactly what they plan to do to stop the Northern Gateway Pipeline:
We will not allow the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, or similar Tar Sands projects, to cross our lands, territories and watersheds, or the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon.
It is so clear and succinct.
There are so many reasons to oppose this pipeline it is hard to know where to begin. The process underway is inherently racist and does not provide any meaningful consultation with First Nations. Today on BC Almanac, a caller related an anecdote about a First Nations Elder testifying at one of the hearings. Apparently he was continually interrupted to put his answers in the appropriate, legalistic language being used at the hearings. A request to have someone help him with this was denied. If the process itself is a barrier to participation how can there be any meaningful dialogue?
Another major issue with this pipeline is that we are shipping unprocessed bitumen out of the country without processing it. This means jobs that could be created here are being shipped out of the country along with the bitumen. This has been a perennial problem in our ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’ approach to research development/exploitation. We always seem to sell out our resources to the highest bidder.
Opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline will be huge in BC. Not only will the government have to manage Aboriginal opposition, the environmental lobby will also be out in full force to stop it. The pipeline is not a wedge issue though as most British Columbians are well aware of the project and many oppose it. In fact, I don’t think I have met one person who supports it. Given the dictatorial nature of our Federal Government, I can also imagine that they will try to ram the pipeline through BC regardless of our opposition. This will not go over well in this province. We have a long and storied tradition of effective opposition that has stopped other projects. Given the excerpt from the declaration above, I can imagine an Oka like standoff in Northern BC. And I will support it. I would even be prepared to go and stand shoulder to shoulder with First Nations.
There has been a lot interesting comment on Kayla Bourque’s situation. Some of the comments I have received show a great deal of anger and misunderstanding of how our legal system works and the role personality disorders play in mental health. There are no easy answers in this type of situation however we must be mindful that fear and emotion do not drive the discussion.
Personality disorders fall on Axis II of the DSM. Wikipedia defines personality disorders as: “are a class of personality types and enduring behaviors associated with significant distress or disability, which appear to deviate from social expectations particularly in relating to other humans” (emphasis mine). I find it quite interesting that personality disorders are defined as behaviors that deviate from social expectations. It makes sense though when you realize that some behaviors, which may well be maladaptive in our society, may be extremely adaptive in other cultures. Bourque has been diagnosed as having anti-social and sociopathic personality disorder. Human beings turn out as social creatures because our parents or caregivers nurture us and meet our needs. When a child fails to attach in a meaningful way they can, like dogs and cats, become feral. This may well be part of what happened to Bourque in a Romanian orphanage. When Canadians adopted children from these places many experts warned that these children may well be quite damaged and struggle in our society. I am sure there are far more successes than Kayla Bourques who came out of those places. I suspect that there is a necessary set of conditions that causes someone to become an animal killer. If Bourque had attached as an infant she may well have still struggled to some extent.
Personality disorders differ from mental illnesses, as they are innate. Mental illness is something that, in many cases, can be transient either through treatment or time. Personality disorders are with people for life. Sometimes the debilitating effects can be mitigated through intensive counselling and education however the prognosis is quite poor. Bourque really does not understand that what she has done is wrong. She is a predator. Given the opportunity she will likely kill someone as research has shown where the path she is on will lead. Will counselling help Bourque? I don’t think it is likely. She lacks compassion and empathy.
Our legal system is pretty clear on how this will play out. Canadian citizens have rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Amongst those rights is the right ‘not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.’ Our legal system is a reactionary; a crime is committed, a person arrested and charged. There are no provisions to lock someone up because they might commit a crime. So as much as our knee-jerk reaction is to want to lock her up forever we simply cannot justify it.
I commend the judge in this case who is taking the time to craft a set of parole conditions that will keep the public safe. In all likelihood Bourque will not be able to abide by these strict conditions and will end up back in jail. Once her parole is over she will no longer have restrictions on her liberty. It will then be up to the police to track her movements and hopefully keep society safe. I am sure this will come at significant cost to taxpayers. Personally, I think it will be money well spent.
 Now before anyone assumes that I think it is adaptive to kill and torture animals, I am not saying that in any way.
So, in a predictable fashion, the BC Liberals announced yesterday that our deficit is project to reach $1.4 billion dollars for this year. Yet, somehow, Christy Clark says her government will balance the budget in February while not cutting spending on health and education. I think she is full of crap if she thinks she can make up that kind of deficit by cutting civil service discretionary spending and implementing a hiring freeze.
Blaming all sorts of things like a real estate sale being delayed until June, lower property transfer tax due to a slump in real estate and low resource prices, the Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced cuts to discretionary spending and beyond that did not state how he will address the falling revenues. This information is in stark contrast to the rosy jobs picture Christy Clark likes to paint. The poor voter is left trying to figure out what is truth and what is fabrication with this government. Personally, I am deeply suspicious of everything the BC Liberals say; they are masters of duplicity and not above telling outright lies.
Here is my prediction: In February, when the provincial budget is tabled in the Legislature, it will be balanced. The BC Liberals will take credit for their ingenuity and jobs program that will have suddenly generated extra income that will magically take care of the deficit. They may float the idea of tax increases (as de Jong is not ruling them out right now) prior to the budget being released. However, we will all be saved from this horrible fate due to the strategic management skills of the BC Liberals. We will be told yet again that the private sector is our savior and our economy is just fine thank you very much.
The BC Liberals are counting on us to have short memories. They are hoping that we all forget the HST debacle, that we recognize their superior governing skills and that the NDP will kill the nascent prosperity in our economy. They will appeal to all of us to vote for them for our own good. Oh and in case we don’t get the message the BC Liberals have invested $63 million of your tax dollars in advertising to make sure we all get the message.