Viewpoint: Time of Apocalypse and Opportunity

By Jan Slakov, published in Driftwood, 13 June 2013

Time of Apocalypse and Opportunity

“Love and apocalypse”; that’s the theme of the latest issue of Yes!  Magazine. It’s not about heading to the hills with  dried food and a gun; it’s an appeal to “lift the veil” and face our situation honestly. “Once we’ve honestly faced the crises, then we can deal with what is ending—not all the world, but the systems that currently structure our lives. Life as we know it is, indeed, coming to an end.”

Each of us must answer an unspoken question: What are we going to do, faced with the apocalyptic future that lies ahead of us?

Elizabeth May believes that we must have fully functioning democracies if we are to avoid the worst outcomes of global warming and is doing her utmost to bolster democracy in Canada. She brings joy and humour to this formidable task; check out the short video of her question last Friday calling for accountability from the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) on the national Green party website, to see what I mean. (link here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/05/31/john-baird-elizabeth-may-sexist-remark_n_3367774.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-politics )

Of course, the assault on our democracy is not really a laughing matter. Perhaps others will be shocked, as I was, to learn that Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, has been spied on by civil servants in the departments of Justice and Aboriginal Affairs.

Cindy Blackstock is an honourable, respectful person. The world is upside-down when our government is illegally spying on her and choosing, for the Senate, people like Mike Duffy. ( http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/05/29/feds-told-to-stop-spying-on-cindy-blackstock/ )

One could go on, listing a multitude of reasons to despair for our democracy, our future. But this time is not just a time of danger, it also offers us vital opportunities.

Although Prime Minister Harper signed the FIPA  (Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement) with China in September, his cabinet has not yet ratified it. The Liberals and the NDP blew their chances to push hard on opposing the deal, but the struggle continues. Starting June 5, the Hupacasath First Nation, with support from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and other groups such as Leadnow and the Council of Canadians, is taking the federal government to court to prevent this sell-out deal from ever being ratified.

Most of us won’t be able to get over to Vancouver to physically stand in solidarity with Brenda Sayers and the others who are leading the way. But we can certainly help! Go to the “westandtogether” website to make a donation to help pay for the legal expenses. http://www.westandtogether.ca/  Exercise your democracy muscles and help inform others through letters-to-the-editor, comments on radio, websites and other media. Urge friends and family, especially in Conservative ridings, to meet with their MP about this threat to Canadian sovereignty. Well-informed arguments are essential for this democracy “fitness” effort so you may want to take advantage of  Elizabeth May’s offer to provide extra copies of the very useful Spring 2013 newsletter, which explains what’s at stake. http://elizabethmaymp.ca/investor-state-treaties

No matter what the future holds in store, it makes sense to decrease our footprint on the earth and to support each other in the struggle for a fairer, less destructive world. Non-natives must also be “idle no more”. As the founders of that movement state, in their manifesto, “we believe in healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities and have a vision and plan of how to build them. Please join us in creating this vision.” http://idlenomore.ca/manifesto

To read the article on the Driftwood website, please click on the link below.

Photo from Parliament of Canada.

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