Sunday, 27 October 2019

Canada 2019 version.

Canada 2019 version.


I have an internet friend in Norway and he is always curious about Canada and specifically Alberta. We have a lot of similarities. Now he is puzzled by our election results. “We drove a hard bargain with our oil companies,” he says, and we have a Heritage fund of $1.3 trillion while you guys don’t even have one representative in your country’s government. Your provincial government is going to increase your taxes, cut services and make you all upset, he predicts. Fewer people will afford education, Health care and infrastructure will be reduced and people will run away to other provinces. I had no idea the Bloc Quebecois has so many members in Parliament. It’s bigger than the NDP! That’s very interesting!

I try to defend my country by describing our political history.


Canadians often vote by region. The feeling is that Ontario is taking advantage of other areas as colonial powers used to do. Quebec is always afraid that the English will force them to assimilate and disappear as a distinctive society. After all, we did it to First Nations. Very often people will vote a party to Ottawa that is opposite to the Provincial Party, to balance each other. Regions are worried that the “others” will take more than they give. They are suspicious that the others will share what “we have” but will keep what they have. Overall, most Canadians are the same on the lower levels. The more affluent, often from outside are competing with each other for domination and the poor are lead by envy and protectionism. That is why it is rare for most Canadians to vote for any single aspect that should be important to all of them.


This time it’s a little different. The greatest number of Canadians voted to prevent Global Warming, leaving the centre-west who has oil alienated. That oil is produced now with less pollution than it used to be, but oil from other countries is giving it a bad reputation. The West is alienated and by voting ourselves out of the halls of power has no-one to argue our case where it counts. I would much prefer if the Federal Government would cut oil imports to Canada and leave Canadians to use our own oil for as long as we still use oil. It will provide the means to build clean energy infrastructure.


It will be easy to keep Quebecers in since most of them want the same as the rest of us plus guarantees that we will not anglicize them. Their other major concern is to remain secular. At one time they were oppressed by the rich and powerful including the church and they fear religion. We must show them that we can have religious people living happily with secular people and not pressuring anyone to join them. It’s difficult when most religions have a mission to evangelize. Perhaps instead of going after religious symbols, we should legislate a stop to evangelization efforts. Live your life within the law but believe in the God of your own choice.

In the seventies, I purchased a book about Federalism by a little-known professor named Pier Trudeau. It is on the shelf, there… If you break the country up into ever small components you are doomed, he said. You must work from the inside and he did. The West hated Pierre Trudeau first for bilingualism and later for forcing us to share our oil revenues with the rest of Canada. That hate was transferred to his son, our present Prime Minister.


What the world is short of are good leaders. Canada is no exception. The good leaders are tempted to work for themselves. Those who enter politics often do so expecting power to benefit them and their friends in high places.

I don’t care about oil going through Quebec only about Quebec and Ontario using our oil for as long as we need oil. We should use what we need while aggressively tapering it down. Alberta will still be a very good place even without oil.

Also, l don’t buy secularism being a good excuse to discriminate against minorities.

The arguments for separatism by Quebec and the West are lame. We would gain nothing from separation. Our best bet for the future is to develop all of Canada and make it as self-sufficient as we can. The world needs to see that working together is possible and beneficial.

Our predecessors built a good base. We have a much better system than our neighbours and our people are miles ahead in terms of living together peacefully. We may not be the best place to invest or make fortunes, but we have all that we need to keep our population healthy, well-fed and warm.

Our problem is that we are convinced that we need smart and rich people from business to organize since governments will not do the smartest or most efficient job. I don’t even know if we have any money left in our Heritage Fund. I would venture that where we should expand efforts is to investigate corruption and legislate ways to control it.

We could learn from countries like India what not to do and from countries like Norway what we should do. If I was a leader, I would set up a task force to study that problem. India is not all corrupt, Norway is not perfect but Canada can learn from both.

The first step is to convince enough people that the market is not always right, that extreme socialism doesn’t work, that dictatorships and absolute monarchies fail people, and that there should be a Canadian way that can and would. As separated as we look outwards now, we have never been more united.

It doesn’t matter how we slice the pie, the last elections clearly show that we have a united goal with large support from every region of this huge country. Canadians at large are less concerned about immediate comfort and more about the future of our children.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

We need a new Economics Theory.

We need a new Economics Theory.

A few times a year I have the opportunity to talk with a friend who makes his living on finance. This is my chance to talk with a Calgary businessman who perhaps is the most typical Albertan. He really believes that there are people out there who make it their lifelong mission to destroy the Alberta economy. To him, anyone who is concerned with the ecology, the environment or even the wellbeing of low pay workers is a leftist job-killing terrorist who will plunge us into debt which will destroy the future of our kids. Sam, that his name, means well and fights to maintain our so-called economy the way it is. I disagree with his theory.

To me, our goal is the long-term survival of the human species first, and the wellbeing of people second. Sam doesn’t believe in God, never opened the bible and thinks “reality” is geared towards the survival of the fittest. I think we humans have a world to sustain us and that our mission is to fit into creation harmoniously while sustaining it. We shouldn’t go into war against nature which brought us to where we are. The only way that it can work is if we all strive together to make it happen.

I think that we fulfilled the commandment to fill up the Earth and we have enough sons of Abraham if we consider all the Jews, Christians and Muslims put together. We are done and now we must work the final touches. The world can and will sustain us if we use its resources with the right goal in mind. The evolutionist’s idea of “survival of the fittest” should be replaced with the “love your neighbour as yourself” or the end is near and, “see you all in heaven.”

To me, the economy is our way of doing what it takes to keep on living. We can experiment with who does what or how much, but we don’t have the resources to supply the wants of the most greedy amongst us. They believe in eternally expanding economic growth which is simply not available on a finite globe. If we let them, they will destroy the Earth and have us dig our own graves and lay down to die. I am sure that it was not part of God’s plan when he created the world and fashioned humans out of mud.

Personally, I don’t view myself as “political” left or right up or down. I don’t care what religious symbols you wear, or which Bible you follow. My marching orders are the same in all cases and translations. One commandment above all, love one another and feed my sheep. End of story.

To me, an economy is not created to enhance the chances of one rich human over top of another or fight for some corporations to make more profits than others. I want an economy that is concerned with making this world better than what it is for its inhabitants. Notice that I didn’t even say, humans.

In my story, all of us should be working towards improving living conditions. We can use money as a means of exchange, or we can invent another way. Our way should eliminate the ability of a few of us to buy and sell our resources including labour for huge profits. No, we will not work for starving wages to make someone else travel in private jets and live in showy mansions. It is not the goal we wish to pursue.

My great grandparents toiled the soil of Austria Hungary and my grandfather died fighting for some Habsburg Emperor. They worked hard and got to keep very little. I know enough about economics to say, we should not overtax work and under tax capital or we will be back in the same place.

I listened to a speech by a billionaire Tom Steyer who is financing a campaign against the Keystone pipeline. He is fighting all methods of energy production which pollutes the earth. I can’t deny that I too strongly support clean water and air. I likewise don’t wish to destroy any economy. I wish for people to do all of what we must so all will benefit now, in a hundred years and a thousand years. It will create all the jobs we need and no need to ask who will pay for it. Our work will pay and be paid by other people’s work.

We work for money. It is printed by the Bank of Canada and backed by the US money that is created by the privately owned Federal Reserve. Most existing money is never even printed. It is a promise of work or resources. A huge amount of it is in offshore tax havens where it doesn’t produce anything but more money, not for those who work or own resources but for those who own the money. They are the “investors” who we are trying to attract by reducing taxes that benefit us, and regulations that protect us and the planet.

Personally, I have worked for many years at a job that took years to learn. I paid my taxes, paid for my education, saved for my pension and now I am comfortable in a simple way. I appreciate what I have and above all the fact that the country and the world are here for me. I wish the same for my children, grandchildren and all future generations. I don’t want them to have to fight nature for their lives to fight others for survival or live under siege by multitudes of starving people. The truth is, I wish for a world that provides all the needs for all its creatures. That is what it was made for.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

A Dreamer in Democratic pain.


A Dreamer in Democratic pain.

Another Thanksgiving is here and the turkeys and pigs have been sacrificed. The world reflects nothing close to thanksgiving. In this age when news travels very fast, I see the opposite from what used to be happy faces rejoicing thankfully for God’s gifts. I drive out of town and view fields of crops under a blanket of snow. Looking at the news for something good depresses me.

A summer that began with stories of floods continued with devastating storms is finished with pictures of fires. It is happening all the time, and no longer looks like news. Politically motivated embargoes on food exports devastate the economy and great industries close down or are heading towards troubled times. Our main local staple, oil, is selling at below-cost prices and it will never make a comeback.

I feel like a goat that was placed in a lion’s den to provide “live feed.” The lions are fighting about who is going to kill and eat me. There is a gnawing feeling at the pit of my stomach that political leaders, big businesses and even religious leaders have failed me. I am not uncomfortable, thanks to many years of work and saving, but the more powerful are fighting to take away my hard-earned security.

I am told that we live in a democratic country and that we the people call the shots. Looking hard at my situation I am unable to see evidence of it. I live in the best province in the best country and what I need for survival is being threatened. A quick scan of a major newspaper reveals three articles trying to convince us that we would benefit from privatizing some aspects of health care. I know where that will lead. Next to us is a much bigger economy where the majority of personal bankruptcies are generated by healthcare issues.

The news is the only TV program that I watch and it is never good. I don’t want to shut it off and pretend that it’s not happening. That may be dangerous. Last week protests around the world dominated it. Most noticeable and close to home were millions of people, including vast numbers of youths trying to draw attention to the predicted extinction of our civilization. It was taught at University long ago when I was a youth and now people are finally taking action. Extinction Rebellion they are calling the movement. I feel shame that we didn’t do enough, but it’s too late. Possibly I can help them by arguing against others of my generation who invested in keeping things as they are and refuse to accept change.

This week any news not related to the upcoming elections is dominated by the greatest betrayal in recent history. When the West was facing ISIS in the middle east, the landless Kurds provided the much needed “boots on the ground.” Often they were teenage girls with guns. Now the “greatest President of the USA” faced with impeachment is trying to focus the Media away from his trouble by letting Turkey exterminate the Kurds on the border.

I try hard to keep up with the pre-election politics. I see one leader singing praise for what he did in the last four years, but he could have done a lot more. He points out the lack of performance of the opposing party that was in power for ten years and did less. Things were so messed up that they delayed retirement age by two years as if that would have helped. The leader of the opposition gets on and wastes all his public exposure on calling the present Prime Minister names. I would much prefer a plan and a declaration that if they fail to implement, they would penalize themselves. No go.

The local candidates come to my area for public debate and I faithfully attend. I watch the sitting MP follow his leader and spend most of his time knocking the Prime Minister. He will leave more money in my pocket. Ha Ha. I wish he would send me the Carbon Tax refund but I was supposed to save money at the gas pump which never showed a decrease in prices. A $1.07 per litter just like before provincial elections. The other available candidate is wasting time trying to tell me that we should burn our way into extinction since he and a few others don’t “believe” the world’s scientists. The next candidate (Green) is offering to retrain people who will lose jobs when we change our major energy production methods. She is speaking to folks who want to fight the unavoidable change. She is on the stage ahead of her time. What should I do?

Let’s face it. I am OK right now. If they try to privatize health care, I will fight and probably die. My life has been good, but I am concerned about my grandkids who will still be fighting when I am gone. Overall, my generation improved the well being around the world, won some equality for the oppressed and created miracles like the internet. Now we are voting and may force some good changes to happen.

I will probably choose to vote for a “Mother” since I trust mother’s instincts to prevail against male egotism. Mothers always fight for the kids. That is just me. You make your own choice.

See the source image

The Kurdish youth sacrificed for power and greed. Are our youth next?

Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Economics, politics and morality change.

Economics, politics and morality change.

If there is one thing that I can guarantee in this life it is that things will change. There is nothing wrong with change as long as we realize that it's good and bad.  Very often the same change is viewed in opposite ways by different people.

I was a child right after a great war and most of the people I knew were survivors of the war. They were a different crowd from what we are today. People who survived the hardships and the fighting, who lost their families and all that they had were not the type to demand protection from governments. They were self-reliant risk-takers who accepted whatever came and regularly prepared for whatever may come. Another mark of hard times was the ability to help each other even by risking themselves. My mother told stories of Nazis coming through the front door and Jewish children hiding in the basement. My ancestors risked themselves and their families for people they didn’t know.

As I got older, the future changed into the past. Taking risks became a bad thing where it used to be admired. In our attempt to spread the risk around and make everyone share in it, we became very conscious of safety. First, it was good as we gained socialized medicine, police, fire protection, and even unemployment insurance and crop insurance. We are fighting for more and it is a good idea. However, we lose some freedom in the process and we should consider if it is important. Often the elimination of risk makes us less concerned with the price of doing so, in which we give up freedom to do “our thing.”.

Two examples come to mind immediately. Take the Canadian tobacco industry. In the 1950s and sixties, tobacco was a major industry in Ontario. In the Niagara Region, we had the thriving Ontario Tobacco belt famous around the world. In came the fight against smoking and devastated the region.

Another example is the thriving Asbestos mining in Quebec. Again in the sixties, Canada was supplying 40% of the world’s need for that “miracle Fibre.” I remember asbestos everywhere including at the bus stop where I was waiting for the bus to take me to school. We all had asbestos sheets behind the wood stoves to prevent fires and all the heating plumbing was insulated with the substance. It provided jobs for many thousands of Quebecers and was a very good investment opportunity.

In came safety concerns, about smoking and about asbestos both being cancer-causing. Politicians and governments fought fiercely to keep it on the markets but lost. The need for safety convinced the public to ignore economics and champion safety and safety won. The mines and tobacco farms went bankrupt, and the world carried on as if nothing happened. In many cases, the fight went overboard but when change gains momentum, there is no way to break it.

Now, we the people of Alberta find ourselves in the same fight in a big way. We have around a third of the world’s oil reserves buried in our backyard and we developed ways to mine it. In our minds, we were all rich, but the change was faster. First, our greatest competitor and market, the USA, found cheaper oil that costs less than what we produce. They flooded the market leaving us with having to sell to China. While we were working on that, we were handed the biggest Trump Card. Studies that began a long time ago brought safety against us. We are not risk-takers.

This time we are not talking about the workers and consumers getting cancer, but about the earth itself sustaining irreparable damage. We tried all we could to minimize the concerns, but the risk is too consuming. If the mother earth is hurt none of us will be left untouched. Critics try their best to deny the facts but the younger people are not willing to take the risk. These youngsters will soon be voting and they are saying “we will not forget.”

It hurts to give in or lose an important game, especially for proud men. I know the feeling. We will scream and go down kicking, but we will not win against “safety” in this reality. We will have to cut down our carbon emissions, give up on exporting solid liquefied oil and find new ways to make a living. Oil and gas are needed for plastics, for heating until new ways are found, and for lubrication. This is a time of big changes and the more we resist the harder we will hurt ourselves. My advice is, let’s innovate and roll with the punches. We can be a leading force in the new world if we focus on innovation instead of fighting what we can’t beat. The young people we are chastising are our ticket for a bright future, so let’s invest in them.

I prefer to spend whatever is left in oil revenues on building a future than on trying to fight to make us great again in impossible ways, if anyone cares about my opinion. There is always change and we choose how we deal with it.

Looking at this poster that was published in the fifties shows how far we have changed as a society.

Here is a link to my blog:  Feel free to check other articles and comment.

Big and little bullies.

Big and little bullies. The year was 1958, and the world was changing as it always does. My parents moved from the farm to a new town a...