Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why am I made to suffer?

As my friends you are aware I, through no fault of my own, have muscular dystrophy.  This is a degenerative genetic disorder that I have no control over, so it begs the question, why must I, and other disabled people, also suffer the indignity of a substandard life?  What I'm referring to is the inadequate amount of money I receive on disability.  With my situation, and that of many others, I need an accessible home, these are few and far between and the cost is more than I can afford, so I'm on a waiting list for a subsidized accessible unit.  And until I get an accessible unity I can't get any funding for a power chair.  Waiting for an accessible unit could take a long time, some people wait up to 7 years, because our government has no national housing program, and many governments are discontinuing or reducing funding for subsidized housing.  Hopefully my Dr can move me up the list due to the danger posed to me by living in a regular home without a power chair.  For now I'm forced to rely on my parents to help support me, thank goodness they have the ability to do so, I couldn't imagine the situation for people with poor parents or no parents at all.
     The reason life is so unaffordable for people like me is, one the cost of living has increased, and two governments, provincial and federal, have cut funding for the disabled.  So when a government talks about reducing corporate taxes for already rich corporations, reducing taxes for the ultra rich, increase spending on war machines to record levels, introduces crime bills that are unnecessary and will cost us more, and cutting funding for so called "frivolous" social programs, it's people like me and the poor who get hurt and have to pay the price for unsound political decisions.  I come back to a point I often make, the public sector and social services didn't cause the recession, so why do we suffer the consequences, and the ones who caused it get bailed out?  Canada is supposed to be a social democracy, where wealth is redistributed equitably through our tax system, it seems we are turning into a republic where the rich elite make decisions in their interests at the cost to the rest of us.  This is evidenced by the widening gap between the rich and the poor.  But I digress, what I'm pointing out is that I am made to suffer and am pushed to the margins of society where people like me are neglected and attacked by governments, I'm not looking for pity, I'm looking for understanding of my situation, and a situation others have to face.  And through this understanding I hope that people will ensure those less fortunate than them are not neglected and made to suffer due to ignorant government policies.
     Below is an excerpt from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty's campaign "Raise the Rates", they and similar organizations in other provinces are advocating for the disable and the poor.

1) Reverse the Cuts, Raise the Rates!
In 1995 the Tory government cut welfare rates by 21.6 % and froze disability. Since the Liberals came to power in 2003, they have not only failed to reverse the Harris cuts, but have actually perpetuated a further decline in rates. As a result of that initial 21.6% cut coupled with inflation for the last 16 years, welfare rates are approximately 55% below where they should be. If benefit levels were restored to the same level of spending power as we had in 1994, a single person on Ontario Works would receive an immediate $904/month instead of the miserable $593 now being issued. No one can survive on these poverty rates; $593 cannot afford someone a place to live let alone food and basic needs.
The Liberal government has now announced that they are freezing the minimum wage in 2011. Workers trying to survive on minimum wage are already making poverty wages and will now see their incomes fall as a result of inflation and a freeze on wages. Currently there are approximately 1 in 6 workers or working at or close to minimum wage in Ontario, and the gap between minimum wage and welfare is greater now than it ever has been.
WE DEMAND an immediate increase in OW and ODSP rates to bring them back to pre-Harris levels. 55% NOW– raise the rates to where people can live with health and dignity!
WE DEMAND the minimum wage freeze be lifted immediately and that minimum wage be increased to a living wage for everyone in Ontario.
2) Restore the Special Diet!
In the 2010 provincial budget last March, the Liberal government announced that the special diet would be slashed completely. The special diet has been a vital benefit that has put money in the pockets of communities forced to live in poverty on social assistance rates that are entirely inadequate. Due to community outrage and mobilization, the Liberal government have now backtracked and said that they will keep part of the Special Diet, however the program is being completely gutted. The new system excludes numerous health conditions and reduces the benefits
received for many other conditions. In addition applicants will have to release medical information and face other intrusive measures designed to prevent access to the benefit. Within the Liberals’ own statement about this measure, they refer to the fact that ‘many will not be eligible’. The new Special Diet comes in to affect on April 1st and all those who are not eligible under the new program will be cut off by July 31st.
The loss of the full Special Diet alongside declining social assistance rates will drive communities deeper into poverty and poor health. It is one of many social cuts to come as part of the government austerity measures and we must mobilize and demand that it be restored.
WE DEMAND the full restoration of the Special Diet to a benefit of up to $250 for food and complete reversal of all intrusive measures.
Dear Allies,
We are contacting you about the ‘Raise the Rates’ Campaign and a call for community organizations, union locals, community health centres, social agencies, drop-ins and beyond to join the campaign and be a part of building a provincial movement to raise social assistance rates to where people can live with health and dignity.
What you can do to join this campaign:
1) Endorse the Raise the Rates Campaign: Take this to your organization and officially sign-on to the Raise the Rates Campaign! Contact us to add your name as an endorsing / 416-925-6939.
2) Join the Movement:
• Invite OCAP and the Raise the Rates Committee to come speak to your organization, union local or centre
• Throughout the month of March, organizations will be hosting ‘Raise the Rates Assemblies’ in different cities across Ontario to talk about building this movement provincially. If you would like to be part of these Assemblies – let us know and we will connect you with existing groups or help you get something started in your area. In Toronto, this Assembly will be taking place: Sat. March 19th
• Raise the Rates Days of Action, Friday, April 1st, 12noon @ Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto: COME OUT as a contingent on April 1st in Toronto or build an action in your community.
• Start a ‘Raise the Rates’ committee in your area: let’s build this work beyond the next demonstration and in to a movement that is unstoppable.
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bill C-300 Corporate Responsibilty

Dirty WaterImage by SixFourG via Flickr
This is correspondence that I had sent to some elected officials who had yet to indicate how they would vote for Bill C-300.  It was tabled in light of confirmed reports of humanitarian and environmental abuses by Canadian mining corporations in Central and South America.

The response I received from my local Conservative MP is a good indication of the ideology they are willing to uphold.  It illustrates how they avoid answering or dealing with legitimate issues.  They use tactics that confuse the issue by using inflated figures, mis-information and irelevant facts, smear opponents by insinuating that they want to take jobs away from Canadians, and find ways to smear NGO's and blame them for bringing forth any legitimate issue.  And then they blame opposition memebers for trying to score political points, when in fact their own rebuttles are about trying to score political points, it's just completely hypocritical!


From: Blaine Cameron []
Sent: October 26, 2010 10:49 PM
To: Ignatieff, Michael - M.P.; Coady, Siobhan - M.P.; Bagnell, Larry - M.P.; Bennett, Carolyn - M.P.; Dryden, Ken - M.P.; Goodale, Ralph E. - M.P.; Hall Findlay, Martha - M.P.; Rae, Bob - M.P.; Regan, Geoff - M.P.; Poilievre, Pierre - M.P.

To Whom it May Concern,

As of recent Canada has been sent a message on the world stage, I refer to our recent failure at the UN. Canada's image has been tarnished, we are no longer seen as the humanitarian diplomat with the moderate voice. We are now seen as an opponent to these values, an abuser and opportunists. It seems corporate interests have taken precedence over ethics, human rights and environmental stewardship, this is apparent here in Canada and abroad.

One of the perpetrators are Canadian mining corporations in countries such as El Salvador and Mexico. Haven't the poor people of countries like this already suffered enough environmental and humanitarian abuses from their own governments? And what does this say about us as Canadians when it is corporations from Canada that now take part in such despicable and cruel acts that destroy people, their lives, their lively hood and their environment? I am ashamed to call myself a Canadian with such blood on our hands and a Government that does nothing. These corporations can, and should be forced to, act ethically and in an environmentally sound manner. Doing so does not take away their ability to have a viable enterprise.

Are we monsters or human beings, will you take the high road or the low road when it comes time to vote on bill C-300. Will you vote to protect the weak and the environment or for the corporate minning lobby whom engage in profiteering at any cost? I hope you take the high road of ethics, imagination for the plight of others and your ability to reason that destruction of the environment does a disservice to all humanity.


Blaine Cameron


date Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 11:17 AM
subject RE: Your correspondence - Bill C-300


Canadian companies are world leaders in corporate social responsibility (CSR), because they know that a commitment to CSR is a commitment to their own success.

Ignatieff MP John McKay has introduced legislation that unfairly targets successful Canadian mining, oil and gas companies – a key pillar of our economy.

The legislation aims to bring so-called “accountability” to Canadian mining companies in developing countries. In fact, it would, among other things, subject Canadian companies to grievances lodged by foreign interests.

If the Coalition has its way, many Canadian jobs will be lost in an industry that contributed $40 billion to Canada’s economy in 2008 and which employs 351,000 workers. During the thick of the global recession, overseas contracts kept the mining industry afloat.

At a time when the economic recovery is still fragile, why does the Coalition want to make it harder for Canadian companies?

Canadians want a Government focussed on the economy, helping to preserve and create jobs. Our Government will continue to fight for working families and communities. Canadians don’t want a Coalition willing to score political points—siding with international special interest groups—at the expense of Canadian jobs.


Pierre Poilievre, M.P. Nepean-Carleton
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
LPRelated articles


from Blaine Cameron
date Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 3:08 PM
subject Re: Your correspondence - Bill C-300

Honorable Pierre Poilievre,

You could not have sent a more disappointing letter that is completely ideologically based and does not address the issues of unethical behaviour perpetrated by Canadian mining corporations. Profits would be effected very little if environmental, humanitarian and ethical concerns were incorporated and imposed upon these companies. Using numbers to justify the destruction of people and communities gives one real insight into your lack of humanity, you and your party have been blinded by your ideology. When one adheres fanatically to an ideology they soon become willing to do anything to uphold it.

To say that this legislation unfairly targets these corporations is laughable. Unfair is what happens to people and communities that are negatively effected by the actions of "some" of these companies. The figures you've thrown at me are for the combined industry, I'm sure not all mining, oil and gas companies act unethically. If you would argue fairly and present relevant facts, by breaking down the figures for the companies in question, then I'm sure your figures would be much smaller.

You then confuse the issue by indicating this bill is the work of international special interest groups, this is false and misleading. But you take it further with fear mongering and the unfounded statement of what a threat this bill is to jobs, that is a blatant attempt to score political points. Ensuring Canadian corporations act ethically is not a special interest, it's a humanitarian and environmental issue. Backing corporations even in light of unethical conduct, well that is called siding with special interests, and it is completely transparent.

And then you frame your entire argument with the fragile economic recovery, I didn't realize ethical behaviour was dependent on an economic situation. So basically if times are hard economically than humanitarian and environmental abuses are acceptable and even encouraged, especially those taking place out the sight of Canadians, let alone in our own backyard. I seem to recall tough economic times in world history, and if memory serves me right on many occasions humanitarian abuses took place under the guise of economic measures, nationalism and self interest.

We all want economic prosperity and jobs, but not at the expense of the environment and human rights!

Blaine Cameron

dateWed, Nov 10, 2010 at 12:14 PM

subjectRE: Your correspondence - Bill C-300


Thank you for taking the time to write back.
I have noted your comments.


Pierre Poilievre, M.P. Nepean-Carleton
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
LPRelated articles


Just note how Pierre Poilievre does not even dispute the fact that Canadian mining companies are in violation of environmental and human rights!  Is this really how us Canadians want to be represented?  I can only see that we have lost our way, we are caught up in the new world order.  That being of corporate controlled governments with no ethics, and an insatiable appetite of profits for the few.  And to legitimize it the World Trade Organization with it's disembodied rulings that favour corporations over real people's lives, communities and the environment.  And it's not just effecting poor people in foreign lands, it effects us here in North America.  Corporations are permitted to override environmental regulations, labour laws and municipal decisions.  And if these considerations interfere with their profits then they can sue nations for those projected profits!  Our government is not working in our best interest!
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

War, what is it good for!

Close-jen-grievesImage via Wikipedia
If you don't support war, then you must be a terrorist! This attitude has prevailed for a long time in the US and logically that same mantra has bled into the Canadian psyche.  These day's it seems, with the authorities that be, any protests against war is seen as an act of aggression towards the state and these individuals are labelled as a terrorist threat.  Any dissent or questioning should be squashed!

But why would people be against war?, to me the answers can be simple and complex. The simple and obvious answer is the human suffering that occurs, the more complex answer has many aspects to it. One, of many aspects, of why I'm against war is that most wars are about control of resources or strategic occupation, such as Iraq. In this particular instance one can't overlook the fact that the US put Saddam in power and supported him even with knowledge of his crimes against humanity. The invasion of Iraq was clearly not for the citizens, and 911 was used as an excuse to attack, with the added incentive of fraudulent claims of weapons of mass destruction. The west had the legal prerogative during the Gulf War to get rid of Saddam but did not do so, and instead an illegal attack was perpetrated in 2002

Now Afghanistan is somewhat more justified, but when you look at it's history you see how previous wars led to the Taliban taking power and terrorist operations occurring there. It began with the Soviet Unions long history of supporitng Afghans governments and sales of arms to them. Then in 1978 a pro communist coup takes over the government. A conservative Muslim and anti-communist insurgency group, the Mujaheddin started to become prominent in rural areas and prompted the Afghan government request of Soviet support and troops. The Soviet Afghan war ensues and soon afterwards the US, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia provide funds and weapons to the Mujaheddin. Eventually the US trains them and supplies them with ground to air anti-aircraft missiles. The conflict soon ends with the Soviet's withdrawing and the signing of a peace accord between the Soviet's, US and Pakistan.

But afterwards the US, after supplying arms and training to defeat the Soviet's, does not stick around and help rebuild this war torn country. So basically they used them to fight the Soviet's, and once that was completed they just left. I don't know about you but I'd be left with a bitter taste in my mouth. This leaves a weakened government in Afghanistan and eventually the Taliban, seeing an opportunity, take over. Also seeing an opportunity is Osama Bin Laden, the war torn poor and disenfranchised are ripe for stirring up anti-west sentiment and is prime grounds for terrorist recruitment. Eventually this and other similar actions by the west leads up to 911!

So if the right thing had of been done from the start, and the US stuck around in Afghanistan and helped rebuild the country they helped destroy, I'm 100% sure 911 wouldn't have happened. But the US's intent was not to intervene in the Soviet-Afghan war on humanitarian grounds, it was about taking away perceived Soviet advantage and expansion, It was strategic. The Afghan people were just collateral damage in the cold war games of the major powers.

Another thing to keep in mind is that all the major powers have an economy based in arms manufacturing and sales, this includes the US, UK, France, China and Russia, and continues to this day. And they love to sell to just about anybody, and more often than not both sides in 100's of conflicts occurring around the world get arms from these major powers. And what a coincidence all these major powers hold veto seats in the UN. One draws the obvious conclusion that vetoing UN resolutions to intervene in wars is good for business. Maybe these are the real terrorist's?

I believe we need to help bring a stable political situation to Afghanistan and are now forced to do so, but if we never look at how situations come to be, then how will we ever learn not to repeat history. War should be an absolute last resort by all mean humanly possible if at all. Rarely is it ever justified!

Take time to consider the other (person), then you can walk towards the path of peace.


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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rude and crude, eschewed |

Minister of the Economic Development Agency of...Image via Wikipedia
Our current representation is not working in Canada and our Parliament system should work more like that of Britain, Australia and Europe where coalition governments are the norm and are a better reflection of the citizenry's will. This idea in Canada that a 38% representation of the current government is a mandate to govern is absurd, especially when the majority of Canadians, 62%, that voted did so for the opposition parties. These absurd circumstances are due to our current first-past-the-post voting system, we need to change it to proportional representation. Proportional representation would better reflect the votes of Canadians in the House of Parliament. This would help limit or eliminate the current adversarial and attack type campaigns and parliamentary sessions that are currently occurring. In my opinion one big obstacle to this is our proximity to the US, the only democratic nation to have a two party system. We don't have their system, so why are we trying to emulate it! We are constantly inundated, through media & entertainment, with American ideas. It's not hard to see our current PM's affinity for that system, the divide and conquer model. In the end the US system polarizes people and leads to a very poisoned political atmosphere, much like we are starting to see ever since the right is only represented by one party. Instead of the current state of affairs we could have a political system that is based on co-operation and civility, more like it used to be. I want to be Canadian, not American, am I the only one?
Rude and crude, eschewed
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

G8/G20 Communique: The re-arrest of Alex Hundert – Why the police should be charged with obstruction of justice |

SecurityImage via Wikipedia
Alex Hundert was participating as a panelist at a University speaking engagement and is arrested for violating his bail, which states he can't participate in public demonstrations. Last time I checked a public demonstration involves a public exhibition of the attitude of a group of persons toward an issue, or other matter, made by picketing, parading, etc..,. I do not believe the police are really that stupid that they cannot distinguish a speaking engagement in a university lecture hall with that of a public demonstration? I think you have to pass certain criteria to become a police officer, and I believe a relative level of brain activity is one of them. So that being said why else would they arrest him? I would have to agree with the author of this article that the police, agents of the government, are obstructing justice, silencing any dissenting voices and are slandering these outspoken individuals as criminals/terrorists. Once you can malign them as such in the public eye, then dismissing anything they have to say is seen as justified. What better way to silence any criticism.

G8/G20 Communique: The re-arrest of Alex Hundert – Why the police should be charged with obstruction of justice
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Where are we going?

Enjoy CapitalismImage by @boetter via Flickr
I've just started reading Margret Atwood's book "Oryx & Crake". Basically it's a fictional story that takes place in the near future and deals with a post apocalyptic world with glimpses into the past showing how things came to be. Through global warming, super bugs and genetic manipulation mankind has brought about the collapse of modern civilization and entered into a dark age.

It reminds me of a creative writing assignment I had in grade school in the early 80's, at the time there was talk of the hole developing in the ozone and continued talk of global warming. So I decided to write about a possible future where the ozone is almost completely depleted on earth and the temperature has greatly increased. In it one can only go outside if they take extraordinary precautions to protect themselves from the sun. Now this was a fictional story about one possible future if we didn't take action to resolve this issue. Thankfully action was taken on one front, that of banning CFC's which were the leading cause of ozone depletion. Now it won't be till approximately 2065 before the ozone returns to the same size as 1980 levels, even though progress is slow the actions were necessary and will pay off.

But I digress, what I'm really trying to get across is that we need to entertain these possible futures, and amazing writers such as Atwood are doing that. The intent is not to scare but to acknowledge that this is a possible future if we continue doing some of the things that we are doing.

Part of what these stories deal with is the old idea that man shall have dominance over all the creatures of earth. This idea comes from Genesis 1 where god proclaims to man "fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth". Sadly this thought remains with us today and we most see it being exercised by corporations, governments and society when natural resources are harvested and the genetic code is manipulated. Now these acts are not necessarily a bad thing, if done properly and with a certain level of respect, humbleness and caution. But more often than not this is not the case, it's done with blatant disregard of known negative consequences or just blindly pushing forward in the name of capitalism and progress. The proclamation outlined in Genesis 1 has brought out an arrogance within our societies, this idea that we must subdue nature and twist it to our will instead of living in harmony. It's as if we are at war with nature. It’s as if we have a psychotic relationship with it, we are of nature, it is what sustains us, destroy it and we are sealing our own fate! Until this shift in thinking occurs within society around the world we will only see further degradation of our earth and thus our own degradation. The examples are glaring and all around us if you choose to see it, from the worst environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, to collapsed fisheries, record levels of extinction, more severe weather more often, drought, flooding and human suffering. Any government and/or economic system should serve us and our environment, instead of what is and has been occurring, we and nature are serving capitalism!

Don't get me wrong about religion, it can and does have positive messages about how to treat one another fairly and good advice on how to live, but as well with in it some very dangerous ideas dwell. This can also be applied to science, some great discoveries are contained with in it, but also some very dangerous things. This is especially true in this day in age where corporations are using science for their own purposes, it is being perverted by their inherently selfish wants and needs, more and more Universities are funded by them and research is being compromised. Genetic manipulation of our food crops and the human genome is occurring with out full knowledge of the consequences. Most is occurring with corporate profits in mind and governments are happy to oblige. Genes are the very essence of all life on earth and should be handled with the up most respect and caution, not by trying to fit it into voodoo capitalist economic models. True science is about discovery for the sake of knowledge and better understanding, it's true intent is not for profit.

All this to say, we need to explore all the possibilities and consequences of these new discoveries. We need to use all our human qualities, common sense, ethics, imagination, intuition, memory and reason to proceed forward in the right way. We cannot regress to old ideologies that have resulted in the destruction of the environment, war and human suffering! We need to expand our consciousness to include the other, and from this perspective I believe we can do the right thing to make this a better world.



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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Canadian Government knowingly threatens Canadian Sovereignty

Money_200-Euro_152738-480x360Image by Public Domain Photos via Flickr
As many would like to believe our government is looking out for the best interest of all Canadians and protecting our soveriegnty.  And to prove this a government offical would likely point to the recent purchase of F-35 fighter jets, which to my knowledge, no official can actually explain exactly how they protect our soverignty!  Not to mention they can't fly as far an an F-18, nor as fast, and we got less units, 65 F-35's vs 138 F-18's, and we  paid more!  What exactly is the threat that we face and how does this purchase meet our requirements, these questons have never been fully answered.  This inability to inform/communicate is worriesome in itself, but what Canadians should really be worried about is the 'comprehensive' free trade agreement being discussed with the European Union.  In this agreement European corporations would get the ability to acess and privatize public services right down to the municipal level.  And the EU is asking that bans be placed on local preferences for public spending by cities, hospitals, school boards and other public services.  How is that protecting Canadian sovereignty?  One can only be left with the answere that it is not protecting Canadian sovereignty!
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