Curiosity is terminal

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The BC NDP and the Conservative Machine

On my way home from work on Thursday, I heard a report that the Conservatives in Alberta are getting antsy about the possibility (the inevitability) of the NDP forming the next BC provincial government, and they are holding fundraising dinners for the BC Liberals. They are also repeating their schtick about having to better inform BC about the benefits of pipelines and the importance of the oil industry to us.
I was mad but not surprised. By the next morning, it was in the Times Colonist, the National Post and the Globe and Mail.
The Disaffected Lib, and Big City Lib both blogged about it and I see today that Montreal Simon and Creekside have it covered too.

I was mad,  and then I thought it was funny because I don't want Alberta telling me how I should vote and I suspect a lot of other BC'ers don't either, and then I read a comment  on an article in the Tyee. The commenter said it was part of the plan. The Liberals want the NDP to inherit the mess they have made.  BC has very few money making assets left. In my opinion it is not going to be easy to run this province in the next few years (and candidly: I really like the two NDP candidates in my area, and I trust them both but I don't trust Adrian Dix even as far as I could throw him.) It is entirely likely that things will be bad and people will be unhappy and then they can blame the NDP. And so once again just as the NDP start to sort shit out, the Socred horde will come along and fuck things up for the general population.

I work for the training division for a good sized scaffold company. We have the only extensive scaffold training available in the province and we have trained nearly 400 scaffolders since I started the job in 2009. I  instruct and do the curriculum development, and I wrote the only scaffold manual being used in BC today. We have been trying to get the training recognized all this time. The current government has had us chasing in circles for most of it. Last spring we started to work on the NDP, and my partner got a meeting with an industry critic, who connected us with the education and training critic. I went in to let our boss know and he laughed at me and wanted to know what good that was? I told him I thought that having an ally in opposition was sometimes as useful as one in government, but also that I believe that the NDP will form the next government. Again he laughed at me. "If the NDP gets elected, industry will just leave the province," he said.

Frankly, its a stupid thing for him to say. We are a scaffold company. We build scaffold in mills and mines and refineries and gas plants, as well as for bricklayers and stucco-ers and siders in commercial and residential work, and we build scaffolds on city streets to keep the public safe from construction mess. Its not like all those buildings can just pick up and move to Wisconsin. Trees and minerals are already being sent unmilled and unrefined to other countries, but they have to be extracted here.

But it was chilling nonetheless, because my boss, who is not in fact a bad guy, really thinks that it is okay to close up businesses if they don't like the government we have. I think it is a sad illustration of the greed and fear of the Conservative machine.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

New Year

That is Mispec Beach on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick.  I took that picture on December 26, 2012.  My partner is a BC transplant from New  Brunswick and my Offspring is a student in Nova Scotia. We decided to spend Christmas on the east coast this year. I spent a few days in Nova Scotia with the Offspring and then she and I  drove to Saint John to spend Christmas with his family. It was lovely. We walked all over and I took hundreds of pictures and my partner and his uncle told me all about the history of the place.

But this post is not about my trip. This post is about the credibility of the words of certain people and bodies.

In the right of the photo above are three large tanks.  They are part of an LNG terminal. When Irving was looking for community support to put them there, they asked for support for one tank and possibly a second in the future.  My partner is a carpenter.  He knew carpenters who built the concrete forms for the pads on which those tanks sit.  Two pads were built, and the rock was blasted out with crushed rock  in place and levelled for a third, before the public meetings were complete, before the community agreed to even one tank.  Someone from the LNG proposal stood in front of that community and promised that there would only ever be two tanks. My partner stood up and asked why there were two pads and preparations for a third. Just in case, he was told. My partner called the man a liar and the liar took heated exception. My partner said, you are going to put three tanks there and I do not support this project. But a whole bunch of good people did, and there they sit. Three tanks, where they promised there would be one.

I live in Canada where a reformer is a Conservative. Pardon? I watched as SH put a creepy smile on over his spots and asked a whole country to disregard the terrible disparaging things  he had said about the people in this country. I watched sadly as a whole bunch of good people did.

I live in BC where a socred is a Liberal. Pardon? I watched GC put a plaid shirt on over his spots and ask the province to believe his spots were gone. I watched sadly as a whole heap of good people did believe him.

I live in the north, where Enbridge is trying to tell us that 60% of the First Nations support the pipeline and that it is a straight shot from Kitimat to the Ocean (Perhaps Enbridge magic has transformed those missing islands into First Nation's supporters). Happily, I see people questioning this. People. Not institutions, not media, but people.

It looks to me as though there is a concerted program of Orwellian doublespeak in this country and it makes me sad to think that there is a portion of the population that believes every advertisement they see for our jobs and prosperity programs. And it makes me sad to think that there is a portion of the population that thinks it cannot believe anything a politician or government says and then disconnects. But I am also scared that a portion of the population will look at all the lying and manoeuvring and say, well if its okay for them, it must be okay for me.

So there I am, sad and fearful and deeply skeptical. But hopeful too. Because I am involved with the Enbridge opposition, and I support the Idle No More movement, and these are people who are questioning the status quo, and demanding better.  And they are starting to make a lot of noise.

Here's to 2013 and noisy questions.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Talking to Strangers

Opit,  in my comments, said something about a stranger being a friend you haven't met yet, which reminded me of a story.  So, apropo of Opit's comment:

I talk to strangers. Everywhere. All the time.  Oh, I try not to be tiresome, I pay attention and I let people off the hook if they don't want to talk, but I will talk to anyone. The secret is to ask them questions. Lots of people want to talk. (Somewhere kicking around in my life is a bookmark that says, "What most people need is a good listening to." Believe it.) and you learn cool stuff listening to strangers. It can be pretty amazing how much people want off their chests.  (Come to think of it, this is probably why I read blogs, too.) When my Offspring was little, I schlepped her around everywhere, of course, and she watched me talking with servers and cashiers all over town. Finally, when she was 14 or so, she said to me on the way out of the grocery store, "Mom, do you have to make friends with everyone you meet? Cashiers don't want to be asked a thousand times a day how they are!" Well! Didn't they? Really? Had I merely been an annoying intrusion all these years? So I began conducting surveys.  I asked cashiers and servers: "How is your day going?" And then, "do you get asked that a million times a day? Do you hate being asked?"  No one said they don't like it, but most of them said it surprises them when someone asks, because it SELDOM HAPPENS. Ha. Take that, Offspring. And almost all of them said they like talking with the customers. And so I continue talking to strangers.  Because I figure there is no one stranger than me. (ba-dum-ba!)