This Victoria, B.C. Big House is illustrative of a proud Aboriginal past where wealthy, prominent hosts would use it as longhouse for potlatching and housing guests. Potlatching was an innovative way of re-distributing wealth between families and clans, but the practice was brought to an abrupt end in 1884 in Canada through an amendment to the Indian Act. The same was done in the United States a decade later.
This was done at the urging of missionaries and government agents who considered the cultural practice to be “worse than a useless custom that was seen as wasteful, unproductive, and contrary to ‘civilized values’ of accumulation of wealth.” (Wiki Source). For those who didn’t know or may have forgotten, and that likely includes at least a third of the Canadian population, the Aboriginal people of Canada and the United States were the first to claim the Northern part of this continent as home.
This post may offend some (e.g. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Middle Class, Whites, English, French, Immigrants, non-immigrants, Americans, British, French, Mexicans, Greeks, Aboriginals, Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Greens, etc.) Ah, never mind, if you are easily offended, don’t bother reading the post.
Introduction: A Warning to Immigrants
I felt compelled to write this post after receiving another of those wide circulation emails that spoke harshly of Muslims and others whose religious and cultural practices differed from that of white, english-speaking, middle class, Christians. Also, the fear mongering about the target groups and the harsh legislative agenda of various conservative leaning governments around the world over the past ten to fifteen years, has reached hysterical proportions.
In that vein, many Canadians may think Donald Trump an outlier, but it remains clear a significant number of people support him. “This is our country not yours” is a refrain repeated over and over and fear mongering on a wide scale is a tactic used to cement the concept (e.g. “Mexicans are rapists” and “Muslims are terrorists”). Make no mistake, when it comes to racism, Canadians can play that card with the best of them. (139)
Photo (Web Source): A fire burns out of control in Northern Saskatchewan, north of Prince Albert. Across western Canada wild fires have consumed millions of acres of timber and killed an untold number of wildlife caught in the path. While only one death has been reported, that being a firefighter, Johnny Phare of Roberts Creek, on the Sunshine Coast, thousands of homes are threatened and many have already been destroyed and the danger level is extreme. Over 7000 people have been evacuated from several native communities in Northern Saskatchewan with an undisclosed number being relocated to my home town in Cold Lake, Alberta. (More photos in footer)
On watching the local and national news tonight I listened as the Premiers of British Columbia and Saskatchewan commented on the challenge being faced by firefighters across their Province. Resources were being stretched to the limit and in some areas of Saskatchewan the military have been called in to assist. The Premier of Saskatchewan stated on Global National that he has placed a call to the Prime Minister, but did not elaborate on what he intended to ask the P.M. My goodness, the Province is burning, the military have been called in, 7000 people evacuated and the P.M. has not yet checked in with the Premier to see what national resources might be needed?
On the local news, a citizen from Port Alberni on Vancouver Island reported that earlier today a fire had started across Sprout Lake across from his home. The fire was not threatening his property, but the man felt it needed immediate attention or would soon be out of control.
Photo (Nichele Studios, Port Alberni) This photo was taken by Paulette a day after the fire started. A giant Martian Mars water bomber sits idle under a smoke shrouded noonday sun on Sproat Lake just outside Port Alberni.
All but for the want of contract approval by the BC Government, that bomber would have been available it to tackle the Dog Mountain fire minutes from where it was moored shortly after the fire was called in. A contract was eventually signed and when the smoke cleared for a brief period under light winds, the bomber hit the fire with everything it had. However, by that time the fire had spread and done an incredible amount of damage to the pristine forests of Dog Moutain (more photos in footer). Update: Five days later that fire is still not fully extinguished. (118)
Richard Buckminster Fuller, an amazing man who published 30 books and during his lifetime he worked tirelessly at finding conditions that would lead to a balance in society. Check the section on ‘Depression and epiphany’ in the link.
All I need do is start reading a comment such as that above or the cartoon and linked articles in the footer and I’m off on a new venture of trying to put my own thoughts in some kind of logical order. Because these posts often ‘evolve’ over time, this article will likely change as I do more reading and correct some of the logical errors. However, most of you who choose to read this will get a pretty good idea of where I stand ideologically. Why do I do it? Well, it’s fun and I like trying to make sense of the world around me. Perhaps Greece is melting down, but, then again, perhaps the challenges the Greeks face is just a symptom of the greater socioeconomic challenges that face mankind. Some friends on FB make reference to the bloody ‘socialists’ in Greece as being the problem, others blame the banks. I rather suspect they all contribute an equal share.
Finding a Balance in Society
The above meme was originally posted by the Occupy Wall Street group. It was then re-posted by a FB friend Ted Godwin, a generally quiet and non-controversial guy. His comment: “Now, somebody needs to point out to the 1% how land “ownership” is simply a paradigm for organization of physical space agreed to by society rather than an inviolable right.”
While the above comments do not wholly match the content below, they did prompt me to think more about the manner in which people are governed and how we seek to find a balance between competing societal social interests. As we approach an election (for that matter any election) people seem to sink to the lowest common denominator with their meme’s and comments. It seems that once we have set our minds on an ideological course, that ideology sticks like crazy glue. As for attack ads and posters, every political party does it, but some are much better at it than others. I suppose that is why we end up taking extreme positions on just about every issue. Distill it down to one sentence or one photo and that is our position. This demonstrates why we so often fracture on overarching issues. (95)
This photo provides a stark reminder of the challenges faced by Tibetans and how a few young Monks have sought to bring attention to the plight their people. The letter that follows encourages His Holiness the Dalai Lamas to return to Tibet to stand with his people as others have done when their people were being oppressed and brutalized.
“Tibetan culture, religion and identity face “extinction” and (the) residents of Tibet (are) living in ‘hell on earth’.” A quote by the Dalai Lama made at the Dharmsala Conference, India, on March 11, 2009. (Reported by Emily Wax, Washington Post)
His Holiness, The Dalai Lama
May 11, 2012
Re: Has the time come to go home and stand shoulder to shoulder with your people?
During your recent visit to Canada, I noted Prime Minister Harper warmly greeted you (photo left), but did so in a rather low key fashion. I suspect that was because he did not want to offend the Chinese Government as China has become extremely important trading partner for all manner of Canadian resources, goods and services. Your reception by other world leaders seems to follow the same general trend – respectful, but low key and not likely to influence China one way or the other regarding their harsh treatment of the people in Tibet.
I also note your status as a media darling has grown substantially in recent years and while you grant many interviews, those interviews must be closely scripted as I cannot remember hearing one hard question ever being asked of your Holiness. In a recent clip broadcast on a Canadian News Network station and in other interviews, the hosts were extremely deferential and never came close to asking a probing question. In this open letter, I will take a few lines to pose a few questions and make a few observations, some which beg for answers from your Holiness. I choose this medium because it is the only one available as I am unlikely to ever have the chance to speak with you personally. (868)
Harold holding his new Canadian Passport that was issued a few days back and is now valid until 2025. About 53% of Canadians hold a passport, whereas the US stands at 20%. Given that most new Canadians apply for a Canadian passport (reference comments in footer), there must be a high percentage of natural born Canadians that have never bothered.
As many Canadians only use their passports for travel to the United States, Mexico, Cuba and other the Caribbean states, a large percentage of our population have never visited other parts of the world.
Visions of the World, was first written and posted on Facebook in early 2014. It is now updated and includes the following introduction. What prompted this re-post was a horrendous act of domestic terrorism in South Carolina carried out by a White Supremacist. The case might make the front page of media outlets for a couple of days and will then drift off into history. (137)
Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal (Web Source) c1980′s. On the May Day long week-end, 1983, a dozen police waited patiently with weapons at ready. The gang that commanded their attention had amassed a small arsenal of handguns, shotguns, rifles and even considered mounting a machine gun in the back of a stolen van. They also collected a box of dynamite and purchased blasting caps, radio transmitters, scanners, balaclavas and sundry other equipment to pull off a major heist. The leader of the gang was a convicted bank robber from the Lower Mainland who made no bones about killing if that should become necessary.
The gang had their planning down to the minute with their goal being a small fortune in cash that flowed through the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal on every long week-end. The only thing that stood between the gang and their goal was a small group of police officers and civilians who quietly, deliberately and surreptitiously inserted themselves into the gangs planning process.
Link here to Part I of this Series: Oversight of Police and Security
Link here to Part II of the series: Conspiracy to Bomb the BC Legislature
Part III Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay
An earlier post about BC Ferries posted on McNeill Life Stories: Thank you BC Ferries
In Part II, Conspiracy to Bomb the B.C. Legislature, the crime was developed over a five month period by 250 RCMP Security Service officers, a few of which had close personal ties with two two criminal suspects as they (the police) coached, cajoled, encouraged, threatened and supported the couple along the path towards committing a serious crime at the Canada Day celebrations in July 2013. It was a crime the police defined, not the suspects.
In this post, an Armed Robbery and a Conspiracy to Commit an Armed Robbery, a half dozen suspects take the lead while an equal number of police officers (Note 3) take turns following the group, listening to their conversations and collecting evidence as it was produced along the way. During the five week investigation, the suspects had no idea police were dogging their heels. It was a classic conspiracy investigation. (551)
June 2, 2015 UPDATE. Nuttall and Korody found guilty on two of four counts by the jury, but defence counsel has asked for a “stay” in sentencing until a Judge can determine whether ‘entrapment’ played a role in the investigation. This case is not over by a long shot. Also, for reasons yet to be explained the Judge in the case peremptorily entered a stay on one of the charges. The Judge also soundly criticized defence counsel on a number of points and at one point considered calling a mistrial.
Photo (Web Source): As you read this post consider whether you think John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were latent terrorists just biding their time or whether they were drug induced dreamers targeted to play a lead role in the Government’s War on Terror. After nearly five months of work by a squad of 250 RCMP security personal and with just three days to go before Canada Day 2013, this couple still had no idea they would be planting fake bombs in the bush around the B.C. Legislature.
Also, consider (and compare) as you read this post and the next, link below, how much could be accomplished if you assigned 250 RCMP members with a multi-million dollar budget and the latest in crime technology to take down some serious criminals who have already committed a crime or a long series of crimes, rather than chasing a couple of potentially dangerous airheads for five months.
(Link here to Part 1: Oversight of Police and Security Services)
Note: June, 2014: While Nuttall and Korody have been convicted of some charges by the jury in their case, the conviction has not been entered by the Judge pending a “Judge Only” follow-up trial to consider whether ‘entrapment’ played a role in the alleged crime. Several Mr. Big Operations have been tossed by various Provincial Superior and Appeal Courts in recent years, and in one case that made it to the Supreme Court, the court upheld a lower court decision to toss the conviction. (Link to Game Changer)
Conspiracy to Bomb the B.C. Legislature: Introduction
This post continues the discussion about whether oversight of police and security services is as important today as it was in the 1970’s. After reading and watching over four-dozen media, video and web reports covering the ongoing trial of Nuttall and his partner Korody, it was astounding to learn of the extremes to which the RCMP Security Service went in order to envelop the couple in a terrorist plot. It was as if we were back in the 1970’s when security agencies could act with impunity (Oversight). (474)
Web Source Photo: A barn burning in May 1972, was just one event in a series of criminal acts committed by Canada’s Security Service in the decade following enactment of the “War Measures Act“ after the “October Crisis” of 1970.
Concerns about Bill C51 and other terror Bills introduced since the “September Crisis” of 2001, follow a pattern similar to that of 1970 when domestic ‘terrorists’ challenged the Governments of Canada and Quebec. During that ‘crisis’ the Federal Government also turned loose Canada’s elite Security Service to act in a manner they saw fit.
So began a campaign of harassment, dirty tricks, illegal arrests, criminal acts and dozens of nefarious deeds that went far beyond the original intent of the law. Many at the highest levels of the RCMP and Government were aware of what was happening, but did nothing to reign in the Security Service. It was a decade of illegal police action that led to a break-up of the RCMP Security Service.
If anyone thinks our National Security Agencies – CSIS, CBSA and the Federal arm of the RCMP is above such tactics today, they would be wrong. There are plenty of examples since September 2001 and it has taken place because there is a wilful lack of oversight and because laws passed since 2001 including proposed laws such as Bill C51, support what might otherwise be illegal in Criminal Law or, at the very least, violations of personal privacy. In the United States, because of ongoing controversy, the Patriot Act (passed a week after September 1, 2001) was allowed to lapse on June 1, 2015. Whether it will be renewed or not remains an open question.
Note: If you wish to skip the background discussion surrounding police, security services and terror, go straight to section #4 for the summary of events that followed invocation of the War Measures Act in 1970.
Note: Part 11 is now complete. Link here to: Conspiracy to Bomb the B.C. Legislature: The Grand Illusion as just one example of what happens when the security service is given free reign to act in a manner they see fit. That manner usually acts in favour of the Government and Security Service rather than in favour of the general public.
Link here to Part III: Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay: Part III provides the details of a traditional conspiracy investigated by traditional police agencies without having to resort to the manufacture of evidence in order to build the case.