Wednesday, April 24, 2013

CETA: Dancing with the Devil?

If you read the articles hitting the Internet in the last few days, it would seem as if anyone who doesn't agree with the Canadian-European trade agreement, as presented in CETA, has a screw loose. Even our government Internet pages have been removed or changed to provide less information in some areas and what amounts to propaganda in others. This is disturbing in itself, but I'm getting used to such actions from the Harperist regime - but I digress. While the main focus has been on how Canadians can possibly cash in on this, not one article is mentioning what European companies have to gain and this puzzles me.

Let's look at Nestlé. This is a huge company that presents itself as the number one health and wellness company in the world. No, I'm not making this up. It says so on their website. However, I can't find one product in the Nestlé list that is not processed, so how can this be? Let's ask the former CEO and current Chairman of the Board of Directors, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (PB-L).

According to PB-L:
  • GMOs are healthy and organic food is not necessary.
  • Water is not a human right and should be marketed like any other foodstuff.
  • Nature is not good. It is pitiless and needs [corporate] intervention..
  • Working more for companies and for longer hours is good for you.
  • Companies should be able to claim and patent uses for common plants.
Okay, he might be a little extreme but what has this got to do with Canada? Well, how about the fact that this agreement means that European companies can bid on municipal contracts and must be awarded if they provide the lowest bid? I don't really want Nestlé operating my municipal water or governing my local farmer`s markets. Think that can't happen? Think again. The price for such 'generosity' is our freedom. 

Hitler didn't seem crazy to the people of Germany at the time of economic crisis.

What? I'm bringing Hitler into it? You bet and it is not a case of 'Godwin's Law'. Hitler had company in people like Stalin and Mussolini. All used the same techniques.This is about seducing people into being cared for by a few select companies working through government. Work will set you free. In case that's not familiar to you, it graced the gates of several Nazi concentration camps.These things creep up on us later but one thing remains true. If you give up your freedom for any kind of promise, you lose it forever. Just step back a moment and get an aerial view. New World Order is the stuff of crazy conspiracy theorists. Strong Globalization is the way of the future. Just remember they are exactly the same thing.

Some very interesting similarities in outlook:

Now I'm not saying that Brabeck is Hitler but the videos do have some strikingly common elements. Whether or not you find them disturbing is a matter of how you view them. If you find yourself agreeing with the philosophy, that's fine. Just remember that it did lead to something rather sinister last time. Will it again? There is no way to tell at this point but, for me, it's enough to know the potential is there. I'd rather not make this kind of mistake and centralize control to such an alarming degree. Do you think it's worth it? We are a nation of pioneers and hardy First Nations people, not peasants. Let's act like it and keep Canada for Canadians.

Related news:
Tragedy in Bangladesh garment factory
CUPE in Geneva asking UN to stop Canada's water privatization

Monday, April 22, 2013

Beauséjour: Beautiful Place to Live

Old cars left to nature's care near Beauséjour. Photo: ©2013 Alexandra Lucas
The town of Beauséjour, with or without the accent, is directly translated from the French as beautiful place to live. If you are not a prairie person, you may have some doubts about that statement and assume the first settlers were just desperate and grateful to find fresh water nearby. Why would anyone want to live in Manitoba without, at the very least, the perks of Winnipeg shopping as compensation? The answer is simple. It's stunningly beautiful. The town itself is very small - only 2700 people. It's part of a larger rural municipality called Brokenhead, named for the river than runs through the area. Nearby are the sparkling lakes and sandy beaches of Whiteshell Provincial Park. The scent of jackpine is in the air and there are places to explore that leave you feeling as if you've stepped into a painting by Tom Thompson.
Into the deep autumn woods along the Brokenhead River. Photo: ©2008 Alexandra Lucas
This part of Manitoba straddles the line between the rugged Canadian Shield and the open prairie. If you had been here a million or so years ago, you would have been standing on the edge of the first part of North America to permanently emerge from the sea. Under your feet even now is exposed Precambrian rock formed 500 million years ago. On one side of you is the deep boreal forest, teeming with wildlife. On the other is the flatland that stretches more than 1200 kilometres west to meet the Canadian Rockies.

Is it really that cold in the winter? Are the summers warm?

Yes, it can be cold. The record low is -52°F, without windchill, but an average winter day isn't that frigid. For anyone who has not experienced frozen nostrils, it can be a little disconcerting at first but it won't stop you enjoying the outdoors. The summers are very warm and temperatures climbed to over 100°F one year but that was usual. Nearby beaches are a favourite weekend destination for many in the area, including those from the 'Peg. It's only about an hour's drive from the city.

So what brought people here?
Credit: Library and Archives Canada/C-006605

The years from 1890 to 1910 saw many immigrants arrive from Eastern Europe, the area referred to at that time as the Austrian Empire and what we know today as Poland, Germany, and Ukraine. Jewish settlers arrived from Galicia and Bukovina. They were granted homesteads through the Dominion Lands Act (1872), usually 160 acres for a fee of $10, and they would be awarded a Land Patent after certain improvements had been made within a specified time period. Within three years they had to clear from 15 to 50 acres of land, build a residence, and plant from 10 to 30 acres of crops with what they managed to bring with them in wooden trunks from the old country. Given the climate, it meant very hard work. Home was often a sod-covered hole in the ground until the land was cleared and planted. Did I mention the hordes of mosquitoes? After all this work in very little time and with two witnesses to testify to its completion, they could then apply for the Land Patent. That's how this community was built. The photo at right shows Galician settlers in a community to the south.

Beauséjour was home to the first glassworks in Western Canada, supplying bottles and containers made from the fine silica in the area. Its location is now a heritage site.

Beauséjour Today

Agriculture and tourism are the cornerstones of the region's economy today. Its proximity to Whiteshell Park and cottage country make it an ideal getaway for a weekend. It's home to the Canadian Power Toboggan Championships, the Double B Rodeo, Shades of the Past Classic Car Show, and The Great Woods Music Festival. If you are looking for a more romantic weekend, try Getaways Romantic Retreat. Yes, they know how to have fun in the woods.

Brokenhead River. Photo ©2008 Alexandra Lucas
After a day of hiking in woods, relax at Getaways Romantic Retreat. Photo ©2008 Alexandra Lucas
Beauséjour has come a long way from its humble beginnings but has retained pride in both its heritage and in its contribution to building Canada. If you have the opportunity to visit, you won't be disappointed. It's another gem in this vast nation we call home.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Brain Doodles and Loveless Letters

Yes, I have my moments, but fighting among ourselves when there is so much at stake does not make sense to me. There is no doubt that our taxes are too high but the amount going to help families in need doesn't amount to a hill of beans when compared with subsidies going to the oil industry and other major corporations. If we want to get angry about something, maybe it should be at the lack of consideration for the people of Canada. Maybe we should be angry about our vulnerability to foreign nations like China through badly structured trade agreements and irresponsible foreign worker/indentured servant laws. That's where billions of your tax dollars have already gone, and will continue to go - settling secret lawsuits. Our middle class is rapidly disappearing so before you slap on the old bumper sticker, just remember that under the current Harperist regime, tomorrow those 'poor people' are going to be you and your kids. United we stand and divided we fall. End rant.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Trudeau on the Tragedy in Boston

Now that the Liberal leadership campaign is over, it's time to get on with the business of damage control until the present government is just a nasty part of history. Congratulations to Justin Trudeau. While I had some serious problems with his lack of policy during the campaign, he is making up for it now and I'm more than willing to keep an open mind.

While Trudeau was preparing for an interview with CBC's Peter Mansbridge, the horrific events in Boston were unfolding. His response to Mansbridge was sincere and what I, as a Canadian, needed to hear. No, we do not need a culture of fear. Harper's subsequent criticism of Trudeau's comment was just more proof to me that Harper spins everything to his own end. Moreover, the idiotic remarks from Harperists about Trudeau 'making excuses' for bombings confirms my thoughts on the state of our nation. It is the hands of some nefarious people who are either incapable of basic comprehension or they are betting that Canadians are just that stupid. Se laisser manger la laine sur le dos. Think sheep that are not only lied to and exploited but also lose the ability to help themselves in the end. 

Update April 22: While he may not have been my first choice for leader, Trudeau may have been my next choice for Prime Minister until he voted to defeat the NDP motion to stop FIPA. It was a short honeymoon.