You ready, Canada?
Legal weed can go on sale at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 17, 2018. Cue the screaming and yelling from those who have never seen a Reefer Madness poster that didn’t give them a semi-erotic frisson of fear.
I’ve talked about this over and over .. I’ve researched what’s gonna happen until I’m blue in the face. Nothing I say is gonna move a real pot hater to change their opinion by Wednesday. And I know that. I’m not even gonna try.
But, this is my prediction; those people who fear pot and of the possibility of losing control after ingestion, will one night be talked into trying an edible. Or someone they like will dare them to take a toke, and they’ll feel kind of cool and cutting edge. Then they’ll find that an edible, or maybe some CBD or THC oil, will help with a health issue, or send them off to a lovely sleep, and within a few years, we will be wondering what all the freaking out was about.
Because, whether you knew it or not, whether you liked it or not, a very large percentage of Canadians have been quietly enjoying pot in one form or another for decades. World didn’t end. Won’t from this either. That’s not how we’ll go.
It’s not that big a deal.
Just wait until we inevitably decriminalize personal possession of all drugs.. like they did in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay, and the Netherlands.
Then you’ll realize that freaking out over this tiny loosening of our cannabis laws just shows that a small group of Canadians have never really gotten over their fear of the unknown, or of any kind of intoxicant, be it alcohol or cannabis.
Bill Hicks talking about pot
There’s just so many more, far more, important things to worry about. Like, Why are the United States and Canada suddenly turning back the clock on the civil rights of Native Americans?
On October 10, the American Supreme Court ruled to uphold a decision by the state’s courts that requires a residential street address in order to vote in North Dakota’s elections. Since much of the state’s Native American population, which lives largely on tribal land and whose IDs typically feature P.O. boxes, cannot comply, the decision is expected to steal away the right to vote of thousands of Indigenous North Dakotans, along with those who share their residences.
“While North Dakota claims that tribal IDs qualify under its law, most tribal IDs do not have a residential address printed on them. This is due, in part, to the fact that the U.S. postal service does not provide residential delivery in these rural Indian communities. Thus, most tribal members use a PO Box. If a tribal ID has an address, it is typically the PO Box address, which does not satisfy North Dakota’s restrictive voter ID law.” (Rewire.news)
“We have ways of legally stopping a fair vote.“
This is an utterly unacceptable ruling. It should be noted that new Justice, Kavanaugh, did not participate in the decision, and that Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan dissented.
As America turns back the clock on progress for it’s most vulnerable citizens, the larger concern to America’s Native Americans becomes – how long will it take until other states follow suit?
If that’s not enough to make you howl in frustration, Canada actually one-upped that stance, when our own Canadian Supreme Court ruled that politicians do not need to consult First Nations when drafting new legislation that may affect Indigenous rights.
“One judge wrote such a duty would be “highly disruptive” to the lawmaking process.
The decision came just over a month after a federal court reversed Canada’s approval of Kinder Morgan‘s Trans Mountain pipeline over a lack of meaningful First Nations consultation. In response, the feds have appointed a former Supreme Court judge to redo the project’s consultations.
… Canada’s commitments to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples supersedes today’s ruling. Canada signed onto the UN declaration in 2016, and in doing so committed to obtaining free, prior and informed consent on all matters impacting Indigenous rights. “That’s the principle piece,” Clogg told VICE. “We would be expecting Canada to live up to its obligations, particularly around obtaining consent.”” (Vice.com)
Now .. is it just me, or does that not sound an awful lot like the democracy and the civil rights are being drained out of Canada’s interaction with First Nations people?
It started with Harper; in two omnibus bills, he jiggered water and fishery protection laws so that he could ram through whatever measures energy companies needed to start digging and drilling.
But with this new, egregious disrespect for the rights of the people to determine what happens ON THEIR OWN LAND, we’re starting a descent very like that of America’s, where wealthy corporations can push forward whatever process benefits the corporation, at the expense of the people living on the land being exploited.
And the government is complicit.
I think most Canadians thought that rejecting a decade of Harper’s hard right, capitalist/corporation friendly government would lead to a kinder, gentler form of governance. After all, that is what we were promised on the campaign trail.
But that’s the thing about campaign promises – they often disappear when the cold reality of day to day management of a country is involved.
Remember this, from 2015? ” As part of his 32-point plan to “restore democracy,” Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that if elected, he would create a special, all-party parliamentary committee to study alternatives to the current first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system, including ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting and online voting.” (CBC.ca)
And in Febuary, 2017: ” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau abandoned his promise to reform Canada’s electoral system on Wednesday, claiming no consensus has been found on an alternative system.
… Trudeau’s decision shelves months of work by a special House of Commons committee, two separate public engagement and consultation exercises, numerous MP town hall meetings and one cross-country ministerial tour.
The move was called a “betrayal” by the opposition New Democrats, who accused Trudeau of lying to progressive voters when he made electoral reform a central promise in the 2015 election.” (TheStar.com)
And then there’s the recent reveal, via The Guardian, that exposed a disgusting bit of information; “The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), which manages $366.6bn in pension funds on behalf of some 20 million Canadian retirees, holds US$5.9m of stock in Geo Group and CoreCivic, immigration detention firms profiting from Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ Mexico border policy.
The move to increase holdings comes despite criticisms from Canadian politicians about US detention policies and following international outcry over the US “zero-tolerance” crackdown this summer on the US-Mexico border that led to children being separated from families.”
Most Canadians would not agree to an investment into the incarceration of children in Kiddie Koncentration Kamps, and the separation of families. But most Canadians also have a real problem with how the government is dealing with our energy resources. Sure feels like we’re not being listened to much, between elections.
Prior to the purchase of the pipeline, the majority of Canadians were onside. After the purchase, and the follow-up reports that proved we’d just invested $4.5 billion into a proverbial white elephant, the majority shrank quickly to a minority.
And that’s without taking into account the protests of environmentalists, scientists, and the people of BC who just couldn’t reconcile profit over losing their clean air and water.
I just find it sad, now. When the UN released it’s report this week, saying that we have 12 years to limit a climate change catastrophe, that would include extreme heat, drought, floods, forest fires and poverty, I wondered which country would blink first.
We knew it wouldn’t be the United States; Trump has always contended that global warming is a Chinese hoax, put into place to trip up any possible manufacturing competition. Trump’s cancellation of climate policies that might have cut U.S. carbon emissions by about half of what was necessary, mean that they have NO plans in place.
But we in Canada seemed to be talking a better game; our image involves mountains, lakes, lumber jacks and mounties, for pete’s sake!
In reality, we are little better than America. Canadian Petroleum Producers say oil production will surge 33 per cent by 2035.
” New exploratory drilling permits for fossil fuels, publicly owned pipelines for oilsands bitumen, and the endorsement of highly questionable mega-projects like British Columbia’s Site C dam. And now LNG Canada.
Just this week, Canada’s environment minister appeared on Vancouver CBC. As bright, articulate and telegenic as she is, Catherine McKenna came off more like the minister of finance or fossil fuels than the person leading the war against global warming.”
…. The reason that politicians like McKenna, and her counterparts around the world, don’t get it, is that getting it means taking serious hits to the gross domestic product and employment.
The PM talked about 10,000 jobs, even though, when the construction phase is done, the real number will be tiny.
In making the announcement, Trudeau sounded more like former B.C. premier Christy Clark than the man who told the world in Paris that Canada was back on the environmental file.
Government decisions marketed by big jobs numbers can sometimes be a path to policy hell.
In the 1990s, the Mulroney government wouldn’t reduce quotas or close the cod fishery off Newfoundland because 100,000 regional jobs depended on it. The overfishing continued until the northern cod collapsed and disappeared as a commercial fishery.
The jobs carrot can also leave a government stranded on the moral low ground. After the disappearance and suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a group of bipartisan U.S. senators lobbied to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia. President Trump opposes that idea, saying it would hurt American jobs. “(Michael Harris, ipolitics.ca)
So here we are, then. A stalemate where our self-interests outweigh what would seem to be our possible demise.
It’s like that old joke, where the robber says to the victim, “Your money or your life!” and the victim says, “Take my life. I’m saving my money for my old age!”
It really is that insane. We can do nothing without the politicians being far braver than they have shown themselves to be. On the campaign trail, politicians come on strong, promising to save the world, but once in power, the focus moves from changing the world to keeping power via re-election.
Doing the right thing is hard. And it’s rarely rewarded come election time. So those in power, the ones we need to make the power moves, fear strong moves will get them booted out of their cushy jobs.
Better, they think, to keep the focus on bringing money in to the country’s coffers, by hook or by crook. We can think about the future .. .in the future.
And, c’mon … be honest … no matter how virtuous and outwardly concerned we are about the planet, or about the morality of investing in Kiddie Koncentration Kamps, or about the ethos of denying Indigenous people a voice on the discussions on how best to destroy their land …
at the end of the day, we tend to turn a blind eye to what goes on around us. We don’t want to see the blood on the diamond. We don’t want to know how the hamburgers are made. We’re saving our money for our old age.
Not a one of us is individually capable of doing the sacrificing necessary to save the planet, and no one person or country can do it alone.
Which means – it’s over. You can give up now. Once a full blown climate catastrophe hits, there will be nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. According to the UN’s scientists, that could be as soon as twelve years from now. We will also see more and more extreme climate events, like the recent disaster in Florida, as we build up to the real weather horrors that await.
Make your peace with whatever deity you subscribe to, and be glad you’re not gonna have to worry about outliving your money…
And be grateful for small mercies, like the legal cannabis you can enjoy starting Wednesday, ‘anywhere cigarettes can be smoked‘, in Ontario.
Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em. You’re gonna need it.