Beautiful or best place

To Gordon Campbell.

I have been a BC resident on and off since 1967. I have seen many changes since then, most of which were designed to be of benefit to the people of BC. I have seen BC grow from being a place of real beauty, with friendly people and generous help being the normal.

But now in the last few years I have watched in horror and disgust as you have dismantled our social services, have reduced business taxes to the point where there is not enough money coming in to provide what few services we have left. Soon there will not be enough profit for the companies that now run our health and that soon will have control of BC

You have openly permitted the land itself to be destroyed by mining, drilling for oil and gas, pipe lines and hydro transmission lines to service these ventures, and the destruction of lakes and rivers being a part of your plan, not as you claim preservation of the same.

Lakes are to be converted to tailing ponds, rivers are being destroyed under the guise of clean energy production and how you can claim that as being green is beyond me.

Our forestry section is destroyed thank you, along with the satellite processing mills. Raw logs leave our shores at no profit to BC and we have to buy them back after they have been used in a manufacturing process which could so easily have been here not overseas. For instance presto logs come from Washington State or Saskatchewan.

Our wild fish are being destroyed by your Norwegian friends, and you are planning to drill for oil and gas off our most beautiful and dangerous coast line with no thought to the first nations people or the wild life which will be contaminated when the inevitable super tanker or drilling rig oil spill takes place…oh yes, what will you say to your Norwegian buddies then as their farms and fish turn black?

BC is now the place to be for the corporate friends you have, not for the people who are the brunt of your contempt and dismissive arrogance.

Even this latest undemocratic HST nonsense has been defended by your ministers in the legislature as being of benefit to endless lists of corporate or business organisations but none of them mention how the people will benefit and that is because they will not. This is further proof to me that you do not care about the people of BC. Your claim that trickle down employment will take place is as ridiculous as the theory was when Regan tried it – it simply does not work.

I have heard that you talk about your grandchildren and what you will be leaving for them. If you really had them in mind to live here you would be more careful of this incredible piece of the world.
I have this constant nightmare in which all the people of BC will be servants of General Electric, Monsanto and Merk, lining up at the end of the work shift to collect their meal slips for their families for the day. No work -no food. This is what you appear to want to happen, and I feel sure that you have already made arrangements not to have your family living here when it does.

Perhaps Hawaii with a constant supply of Mai Tais to be sipped as you reel in the money from your directorships eh?

I actually feel sorry for you because your legacy is one of total destruction, not building one damn thing for the people of BC who employ you.

Some sort of luck to you

Jeremy Arney

Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr is now on trial for war crimes.

Killing is the main purpose of war. One side tries to kill the other. It has been this way for ever. The purpose of the war is not important to soldiers, but killing the enemy is as a means of surviving.
So what is so surprising about Omar Khadr ?
Well, he was a boy of 15 – maybe the case could be made for him being almost a man- but classified by the conventions of war as a child soldier. Even though he was shot in the back (twice we are told by a brave opponent no doubt), and blinded in one eye, and buried in rubble he, just like so many Canadian soldiers before him, managed to take out an opponent. That is war is it not and therefore fair.
No it is not because first it was not really war but an occupation by foreign armies, and the soldier he took out was an American and that is not allowed.
I know nothing about the American who died, how many civilians he might have killed or even if one or both of the bullets fired into Omar’s back were his.
He was a soldier and therefore immune to prosecution from killing innocents, but Omar is charged with a war crime because he had the ability to kill an American soldier who was attacking him.
Something about this picture stinks so highly I have trouble in staying calm when I think about it.
Well over a million civilians are reported to have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to the best of my knowledge not one single soldier, airman, or navy man from the invading armies has been charged with murder, never mind war crimes.
I do agree that some contractors got their wrists slapped in Iraq once but they are hired assassins anyway and not real soldiers.
So please tell me why when those responsible for this whole mess can come and go as they please here in Canada, or just sit in Texas drinking and counting their oil money, our Reform / Alliance coalition government allows one Canadian child to be made into a war criminal.
What are you frightened of Harper et al?
Omar Khadr was frightened too but he fought and now the USA military system is going to crucify him and you sit there in Ottawa not even wringing your hands.
When I came here 43 years ago to make a new life and raise a family of proud Canadians I had no idea I would be so ashamed of a Canadian government who do not and will not answer to the Canadian people. Those same people who are served by a complacently pathetic media and therefore are themselves indifferent through lack of knowledge.
But that is how I feel now.
As a foot note I see that Judge Patrick Parrish is of the opinion that Omar was not tortured. Well Patrick how would you feel if you were told in your country club locker room that there were some big black men in the showers who were going to rape you because you had made a bad decision and lied on the bench even if you had not?
Maybe you are gay and would think that would be very exciting. Who knows? Most people would consider that mental torture.
By the way I object to the concept that only big black men rape other men. In my view it is more likely to be some ignorant homophobic hillbilly from the religious south eastern states of America.
Jeremy Arney

Canadian Sovereinghty? really?

Dear Barbara Yaffe,
Vancouver Sun.
I read your piece called “Harper must not dilute sovereignty message” with some curiosity, and then searched for and found a 39 page (not 13) paper called Statement on Canada’s Arctic Foreign Policy which must be fairly recent as it mentioned the Gulf of Mexico and most of the other things you mentioned in your article too.
Actually it mentioned sovereignty 27 times in 39 pages which includes 3 opening cover pages.
This I found this VERY interesting as Harper has announced his intent to trade Canada’s sovereignty off for some trade deals in order to become part of the global economy.
He actually said it was vital for our survival to do so.
Interesting oxymoron even for him.
Re America being “premier partner in the arctic and our goal is a more strategic engagement of Arctic issues”, might I suggest a look at the softwood lumber agreements, FTA, NAFTA, and the recent deal which gave our Canadian companies 5 days to bid on USA stimulus contracts and gave US companies 2 years to rape our provinces, municipalities and even our school boards. Done of course during the proroguing of parliament so there was no oversight.
By the way it may not have mentioned in the piece you read that there will be no drilling in the Beaufort Sea until 2104, then I assume BP will get the green light on their leases.
Sovereignty? I think that is right up there with democracy, freedom of speech and the right to protest, a thing of the past with this Reform / Alliance coalition government masquerading under the Conservative name.
Jeremy Arney

The Old and the New

When I was a little boy, many more years ago now than I care to remember, I was taught that there were certain people of the community who could always be relied upon to help in a time of need. Who were there to protect the innocent and lost or hurt  and to stop the wrongdoers.

They wore funny hats back in those days with rounded high tops and peaks back and front, they carried only a whistle, and a truncheon and maybe some hand cuffs.

Some walked their beat, some rode bicycles if they were country based, and some drove around in black Wolsley cars. All were known and respected.

They were the bobbies in the 40s and 50s of the last century in England, and their purpose was to serve and protect the citizens of the country.

I did respect them and listened to them when they asked me questions or answered mine to them. They were people just like I was and I always felt protected when they were around. I believe being a bobby back then was a calling, and a very respected profession.

It has changed.

Now I have grandchildren of my own and the very last people to whom I would recommend they turn to for help are the present day police.  Yes there are probably some with the old concept of being a policeman, but I would not like to trust my luck in finding one when I needed him (or her).

 All it takes is to see what todays policeman has become to see what has happened. I mean today, even if you surrender to their yells and screams to “get out of the car now”, “get down on your face”, “shut t.. …. up”, “put your hands behind your back”, “don’t talk unless I ask you a question” ,  you are still likely to be roughed up.

 We have all seen videos of police beating up on unarmed protestors peacefully demonstrating or singing the national anthem, of young men who have had too much to drink surrendering to the cops and being repeatedly kneed in the back and kicked even though they were obeying the commands and not resisting at all. We have seen tear gas and mace and tasering without real provocation, just because it can be done. We have read stories of young girls under the influence and scared being hand and foot cuffed and left in a cold cell all night.  We have heard of young and old, beaten in jails and left to die. Or a new arrival to the country being tasered to death by four of our bravest and best.

 The stories go on.

 So what’s it all about you might ask?

 I can only guess but I am pretty sure I have it right.  The police of today are semi military units with noise and water cannons, tear gas, plastic hand ties to be pulled too tight, dogs and horses. Their major concern is crowd control. It doesn’t matter if that crowd is one person or hundreds, they must be controlled and not allowed to speak their mind.  Personal freedom means nothing to this new policeman, unless it is their freedom to do the maximum damage they can and get away with it.

 What is the purpose of this? 

 I think we are being prepared for martial law, not just here in Canada and the USA but worldwide. 

Oh yeah now we get to the conspiracy theory stupidity I hear you say. 

Well maybe. 

But perhaps you have a different explanation.

Perhaps you can explain the anger and hate all over the faces of some of the so called “plain clothes” police at the G20 fiasco.

Perhaps you can even explain why plain clothes police were mixed in with the riot police.  Seems as if that would be a perfect mix for provocation to me. In the videos I saw they appeared from the crowd of protestors or on lookers, not from the police ranks and they had a free pass through the bicycle barricades and permission to use their batons on whomever they chose.

In my little town of Victoria BC, the police are as violent as I have mentioned above, in fact several of the examples are from here. This is a small city of old people, government workers, students, tourists and young families. We have enough problems with unemployment, under employment, sick and homeless people and we do not need a hostile police force that when they act as above, are held blameless and allowed back out again to repeat.

What is the answer?  

Well I think that lies with the rag tag collection of puppet politicians we keep electing time and again who encourage this lack of respect for the people because they share that lack of respect.  As long as we do not hold them accountable, as long as we do not hold our courts, and particularly our judges, accountable to the law,  then we are totally responsible for what we get.

 So I will not tell my grandchildren to rely on and trust the police until such time as the courts, politicians and police show they have earned that trust again.

 Too bad as the old system worked well for all of us who called ourselves human beings.