The role of elected leaders in collective bargaining is to let the parties negotiate without interference.

Generally speaking, voters outside the anti-union right wing tend to support pro-labour parties.

That said, we don’t expect or demand that a government ‘from our side’ to deal out the best terms and big cash settlements (in public sector bargaining) or unduly pressure corporations in the private sector, but that the bargaining teams finally sit across from each other as equals to hammer out terms of a new contract.

In fact, I offer praise and respect when political leaders and elected officials get FAR away from the stage in these contract talks – despite the lure of getting involved.

Its too easy to meddle and put ones finger on the scale when you’re in a position of power. When the BC Liberals were in office, they ran advertising (as taxpayer supported gov’t ads) demonizing the BCTF as demanding items outside of the “affordability zone” as then Education Minister Peter Fassbender often said.

What incentive do employer-negotiators have to move off an entrenched position when their political master underwrites their argument in public like that.

Bad faith.

That is why I appreciate this current government and its effective radio silence in the various public sector negotiations now underway. This respectful tone has allowed the potential of an HEU tentative agreement (with 60k healthcare sector employees).

It doesn’t mean that either side won’t trot out some talking points to pressure the other side by means of public opinion, but there’s well documented risks of negotiating in public – especially if both sides pledge not to do that.

I will say that activists on one side or another can complicate matters for their respective bargaining teams. They don’t act as official spokespersons for the union or employer group, and most often are not even members of said organizations. Free expression is a funny thing, ain’t it?

Having political leaders butt out of negotiations and leaving the parties to settle their own terms isn’t a guarantee of a perfect deal. There’s a 100% guarantee that even if the HEU deal goes through, some folks in the union will argue that they could have got more. Likewise, anti-unionists and rightwingers alike will argue that the deal goes to far.

Pay no attention to those voices.

What matters most is that both sides were free to settle matters free from government interference or coercion and that the members get to decide how this plays out.

my2bits

Go Left. To save us. All of us.

In uncertain times, folks can reach for more bold solutions when the same-old no longer works.

These are some of those times. The Neoliberal economic philosophy hasn’t worked for large swathes of society, and those for whom it works are already the wealthiest and most powerful among us.

Through no fault of our own, the economic pillars have been knocked out from the ‘if you work hard and save your money, you can get ahead’. Unless you are part of a 1% elite out there, you’re not going to get ahead. Staying afloat is hard enough.

The powerful and elite know this and will do their best to retain the system that keeps them powerful and rich. There is a war by the 1% against everyone else. Both left and right however, present potential solutions to get us out from under that control paradigm.

But they are not the same.

The left demands wealth taxes, programs to supplement the poorest among us, assistance to those living with disabilities, tax fairness among working peoples and housing for the masses seemingly out-priced for even the very basics of shelter needs.

The right points to groups that require blame and that if only they were outlawed or restricted, the great prosperity would return. The right campaigns for harsher controls over immigration, crackdowns on unions, and engage in social culture wars to divide people among religious and ethnic lines as a source to gain power.

The problem is, the powerful elite tolerate one of these idealisms more than the other. Neoliberal elite do not necessarily care about religious conflicts or divisions, nor do they participate in culture war debates, their interest is in maintaining social status, wealth and power. The rules for you and I do not apply to those at the very top.

The elite however, will bitterly oppose wealth taxes; they’ll oppose low cost housing for folks barely hanging on, and they most certainly oppose any measures to share decision making power. You know this to be true.

While the far right pretend to have a populist message that is to get us out of the rut, in the end, they share philosophical common ground with the neoliberals who sit at the helm of power and wealth.

They are natural allies.


The answers, as they always have been, are on the left.

My2bits

The epic failure of the #TruckersForFreedom will be a sight to behold

Oh, they’re loud, and they’ll muster a gathering of supporters at the nations’ capitol as promised, but not likely in the numbers they’ve been promoting. Numbers – like half a million people, 50,000 trucks from across the country. Now I could be wrong with the numbers too, but it doesn’t invalidate the next point I’m about to make.

They’re about to step into the stupid-trap…and we’ve been warning them all this time that its going to suck.

They’re protesting a federal Transport Canada vaccine mandate rule for truck drivers entering Canada from the USA that they must prove their vaccine status or face up to 14 days quarantine.

Read it again.

The federal mandate speaks to drivers entering Canada. It does not regulate the vaccine status of a truck driver heading to the United States. They have their own mandate.

If the Transport Canada (“Justin Trudeau”) mandate disappears tomorrow, unvaccinated truckers from Canada will still be denied entry to the USA because of their right to set border rules.

So every truck with banners saying all sorts of profanity towards the federal liberals and Trudeau are again missing the mark.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the political people in high places too. There is a reason why the federal liberals are slow walking any sort of pushback – the clowns who have organized and fundraised off this effort are making themselves look like total idiots at a scale unseen in Canada before.

It will be worse than antivaxxers spitting at nurses, throwing rocks at the Prime Minister. Imagine driving your rig 3000km to Ottawa to protest the actions of the wrong government.

Of course, this all links back to the garbage arguments made by a tiny handful of folks that the vaccine(s) aren’t safe, or that covid is fake. Well shut the fuck up about that. Unless you’re sporting the qualifications of a medical doctor or virologist, this ain’t your ballpark to render ‘professional’ opinions on the matter.

The fact that its brought out the kooks on the far right is political gravy for Justin. As a result of this convoy-of-stupid, Justin will score a majority government if we had an election any time soon.

Well done. Idiots.

my2bits

BC Liberals threaten skilled trades. Again.

Today at the campaign event where the BC Liberals pledged to resurrect the Massey Bridge project, they also mentioned they would abolish ‘community benefit agreements’. Those are by definition a ‘project labour agreement’ that typically involved a group unions and has terms that outline apprenticeships and training for those working on major infrastructure projects.

CBA’s or PLA’s are hated by anti-union campaigners, such as the benefactors of the BC Liberal Party, and various other big business groups; and they’ve been challenged in court before…and upheld at the highest level.

PLA’s built the WAC Bennett Dam in the north and a host of other major things. They’re good as they assure labour stability throughout the life of a project, pay good wages for front line workers, and provide skilled trades training for up-and-coming trades folks looking for a career building things.

Not for the BC Liberals.

The BC version of PLA’s are the CBA’s that have unique terms that require community benefits – such as hiring more women and first nations people (and other under-represented communities) into their ranks. Learning a skilled trade that pays $45+ per hour is financial liberation for many folks who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to reach that far. These are high skilled, upper middle class, lots-of-tax paying, family supporting careers. Why wouldn’t we want this?

Ask the BC Liberals.

The CBA’s are the NDP’s effort to re-establish the skilled trades apprenticeship programs that were gutted by the BC Liberals in their 16 year regime of failure. To be sure, things needed to get built as well – and the BC Liberals did – but they had another angle on this. Their plan was for ‘open-shop’ anti-union operations and an unusual reliance on temporary foreign workers to do work that BC folks could have been trained for.

Because it was cheaper.

In doing so, the BC Liberals created a skills shortage in the 16 years they were in power. It wasn’t pronounced at first, but as the skilled industrial trades aged and retired out of the workforce, this cost issue flipped on them – now it became more expensive to hire these foreign workers to work, then expensive repair work after the fact…when they could have done it right the first time.

Here we are in 2020 with the BC Liberals promising a return to the old ways that cost BC so much and ruined a generation of proud skilled trades workers. Catching up is going to be expensive, but it will cost even more if these clowns get a chance to set us back again.

My2bits

Green leadership campaign brings out the odd

It was inevitable that the BC Greens, mid leadership contest, would turn against themselves and what they signed up for by agreeing to the CASA deal that ousted the 16 year BC Liberal government in 2017.

Where we’re at is watching the Greens pick apart SiteC, the northern dam being constructed along the Peace River; on costs.

No consideration have been made for the Green Party’s support for ‘run-of-the-river’ projects and their equivalently problematic risks to the environment.

Run of the river and the IPP contracts foisted upon rate-payers are a scandal that will cost BC dearly for decades to come.

The hill to die on for the Greens was apparently the notion of ‘card check’ unionization, meaning that if a majority of workers in a bargaining unit signed union membership cards, the certification would be granted. An idea supported by former Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders.

In the terms of the CASA arrangement, SiteC was to be examined by the BC Utilities Commission and they would submit a report on its viability.

Remember that on the left, it was highly unpopular among the activist class to build such a monolith on the Peace River as it threatened viable agricultural land, ran afoul of area First Nations, was very expensive (and likely to run well over its budget), and questions raised on the need for such a project.

But, opinion wasn’t unanimous. In fact, yours truly wrote an opinion piece shortly after the approval ‘to continue’ with the dam. I wasn’t on board either, and its still makes me grumpy.

But things have changed.

  • Its not getting any cheaper, and such a project is mired in construction complications; moving a river is no small feat of engineering.
  • Its still compromising to some productive agricultural land.
  • A deal has been struck with one of the area First Nations, that while it doesn’t imply an endorsement, takes an important step to reconciliation missing from the initial planning of the dam.
  • Major investment initiatives and subsidies to encourage more electric vehicle purchases, requiring more hydro usage.
  • Vaunted massive alternative energy generation do not yet exist in numbers needed to offset a cancellation of SiteC, and will likely have serious cost implications akin to IPP’s and the run-of-the-river projects they link to.

While its true that there a relatively slow demand increase of hydro, it still does increase. Wouldn’t a dramatic increase in supply guarantee lower prices and safeguard supply? Of course it would. Especially not being bound as much to seasonally useless supply spikes created by RotR projects.

The problems with BC Hydro aren’t exclusive to SiteC. Last decade’s tinkering of the operations of BC Hydro by the BC Liberals did serious damage to the viability of the Crown Corporation. By forcing the utility to borrow money to give to the government in the form of ‘dividends’ while deferring this racked up debt along side the red ink drawn up in building SiteC.

SiteC still makes me grumpy, but given the time to think this over, the project might win me over too.

And I’m not alone either. When it was announced that SiteC was to continue, a major polling firm conducted a survey to gauge opinion in BC. What it found was stunning. That BC Liberal supporters were overwhelmingly in favour of completing SiteC was not surprising, learning that a plurality of NDP *and* Green voters did too – well that took my breath away.

The project was hotly debated in the 2017 BC Election with the Greens vowing to halt the dam, the NDP promising to have it examined by the BCUC and the Liberals would finish the dam without delay. When the ballots were counted and the BC Liberals were only two seats ahead of the NDP and in a minority government, the Greens had every opportunity to make a deal with whomever they wanted.

They sided with the NDP and the ensuing CASA deal that ensured the parliamentary survival of the newly formed NDP minority government on confidence matters (such as a budget or certain legislative initiatives. Scrapping the dam was not part of the deal.

So its strikes me as odd that now, in the middle of a BC Green Party leadership contest that SiteC has come up and they’re targeting the NDP will all their rage at the continuation of the dam construction…and they’re citing costs.

Ok. Costs are going to suck, I’ll grant you that. So lets talk about the costs of halting the project and tearing it down. If you drop $15 billion on the project, then add another $5 billion to remove it, you have a $20 billion monument to stupidity.

No asset.

What about contract cancellation fees? There’s got to be billions extra in unknown costs that would be charged up – or sued out of the provincial government for such an idiotic choice. A choice still being pushed by the Greens I might add.

Look, we’re into an era of extraordinary costs brought on by covid19 based delays and business shut downs; tens of thousands of people are still without work as the economy slowly restarts. These unforeseen events will add billions of dollars in debt to the provincial books; everyone knows this.

But in the era of ‘lets get through this’ (together), cancelling a major energy infrastructure project will unnecessarily throw 3-4 thousand workers out of their jobs and add billions of dollars of new debt to the books without any assets or new revenue to pay for it.

You don’t have to like SiteC to support it. I don’t. But, lets get it done and add it to our supply matrix for energy and be done with it. Finishing the dam doesn’t mean you can’t explore other ways to produce more renewable energy, but it means that we have to do this better.

We still have time. Do we have the will?

My2bits

Mild for Joe

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You know its true. Joe Biden isn’t Barack Obama and doesn’t illicit the same passion and groundswell of support that then Senator Obama did in the lead up to his 2008 election…and you know what? That’s perfectly ok.

There are few political candidates that drum up that sort of gut bending passion that you want to bend over backwards for them. Certainly it was Barack Obama, perhaps Bernie Sanders, once it was Ronald Reagan, or Justin Trudeau here in Canada. That luster wears off in time and its a contest of ideas (as it should be).

Joe Biden doesn’t do it at all. While he was an enthusiastic campaigner and very capable Vice President to Barack Obama, on his own terms, he’s not ‘that guy’.

He doesn’t have to be.

American politics are going through the other side of what began in 2008. Where there was hope and potential of great progress under Obama, the arrival of Donald Trump as President in 2016 is the exact opposite of hope and progress. He is literally the antidote of the excitement and promise the 2008 election.

Donald Trump is the worst excesses of the Tea Party movement filtered down through the most offensive and militant versions of racism and bigotry imaginable.

If there is anything that progressives, liberals and the left are guilty of, it was to pretend that this hateful force doesn’t hold any sway. They apparently vote…and in large enough numbers that they can win elections.

There are some D’s still fretting about 2016 like it was a stolen election. It wasn’t. Popular vote doesn’t determine elections, despite runaway tallies the Democrats had in their core, big states. What they cannot defend is how they lost swing states of Ohio, Michigan, Florida and dropped (in percentage) support in areas they did win. There was a pronounced swing against the Democratic party thanks to the angry racially populist messaging of Donald Trump. Given the tightness of the polls right now, Joe Biden has to offer more than “I’m not Trump” as a narrative.

To the left wingers and progressive populists that were aligned with Bernie Sanders, I know your disappointment. This is the second, and probably last time that Sanders will make a play for the Democratic Party Presidential Nomination. Progressives will have to think up something different if they wish to change America.

And this leads me to a point I think is necessary to discuss. There are those genuinely on the left so disappointed at Bernie Sanders’ withdrawal from the race that they’re actively trying to undermine Joe Biden. Either you’re a closet Trump supporter clawing your way into the open, or you’re probably stupid.

Yes I said that.

Here’s the problem.

America is not Canada.

In Canada, we have a robust multi-party democratic system. Its not just Liberal vs Conservative; those voters further to the left or right have different options.

The American system isn’t designed this way. Oh, yes it should be different, and that’s nice debate to have, but that’s not the reality on the ground.

Either Donald Trump gets another four years in power, or he’s stopped.

The frustration of the left is understandable. We’re proving that major government intervention is helpful; Canada is proving this. With the power of the state to levy taxes, print its own currency, and enforce laws, left wing ideas can get us out of the muck we’re in as a result of the global pandemic. So why hasn’t this caught on?

Because America isn’t a left wing country. Its a centre-right nation. Come to think of it, so is Canada.

Far left ideas haven’t caught on in America for the same reason that far right ideas haven’t caught on in Canada. Our people aren’t typically extreme.

This isn’t to suggest that far left ideas are equivalent to the far right. Folks on the far left aren’t screaming outrage at ‘Mexican rapists and drug dealers’ in left-wing rhetoric.  You’re more likely to hear ‘medicare for all’, and ‘basic income (for all)’ coming from the left.

It didn’t matter that Trump’s rhetoric was racist or that it was substantially wrong, he said it regardless…and thus began the effort to create a permission structure for blue collar voters who were generally underwhelmed at a slow economic recovery, blame immigrants and other people of colour (even if factually incorrect). That’s how Trump was able to peel off enough votes to flip swing states.

We’re at a place where the hard core activists are angry their chosen person didn’t make the cut and some are threatening either a boycott or obstruction as a result. That doesn’t make you much of a team player now doesn’t it?

Did Bernie Sanders throw a tantrum at Hillary Clinton in 2016 and run as a third party candidate? No: he was a powerful surrogate who headlined over a dozen events in her name – because he knew that Donald Trump had to be stopped. If the US Presidential Election was decided on popular vote, she would have won. In fact, one could argue that because of Sander’s efforts, Hillary was able to score the second highest popular vote tally in US history. But that’s not America’s system.

Did the losing GOP candidates throw a tantrum in 2016 and undercut Trump? No, they climbed aboard. Unfortunately.

Some of the most cantankerous progressives would seemingly be happier of Trump got a second term than if Biden won instead. I’m having a lot of trouble with this.

Nobody is saying Biden is perfect. He’s no less flawed in 2020 than Hillary was in 2016; neither would have been my first choice in any primary/caucus contest had I been an American registered Democrat. But they’d get my vote for President in November regardless.

As Trump cheers on anti-lockdown protests (by folks looking to shop, get haircuts), nobody is talking anymore about the thousands of children of undocumented immigrants locked in cages separated from their parents at the direction of the Trump administration. Not just separated, seized. Not just seized, being adopted out to American families.

Progressives will point to some allegations made by Tara Reade of very inappropriate behavior of Joe Biden. Allegations that we’re to believe; as per #metoo activists. Now, I’m not going to be the one to challenge if a woman has or hasn’t been a victim of a sexual crime; they face enough hurdles on coming forward with allegations. But, questions have been raised, and doubt is being raised towards the allegations.

Rather than delving into either the allegations, or denials, I’ll just say this..

That ship has sailed.

Maybe Tara Reade is right and Joe Biden is a creep. But I’m just going to say that nobody cares anymore about that. Donald Trump bragged up shitty behavior, and he won an election. There are more powerful people in office who do shady things than we know. Some are known quantities, some aren’t. The time before Trump, it was Bill Clinton being a creep – and he won re-election.

People vote on bread and butter, economic issues now. They could care less about personal lives. Republicans learned this too; after showcasing their moralistic holier than thou attitude during the Bill Clinton impeachment efforts, it was revealed later that many GOP folks were creeps too.

Again, I don’t want to minimize Tara Reade’s allegations, but the outrage is muted. The sitting President is out in the open with his depravity and could win another term. The person that the far left really do want, Bernie Sanders isn’t without his own interesting issues. His political legacy is that once he called for an end to mandatory public education…along with other distractions.

Oh yes, that’s literally a dose of ‘whataboutism’, but seriously, to the American voter, the choice ahead may just be a life or death option. Donald Trump and his covid10-trutherism has been picked up by the anti-vaxxer crowd; and should he get a new term of office, the anti-medicine people will have sway in public policy.

This will get people killed.

I’m truly sorry, Bernie folks, that your guy isn’t the Democratic nominee. Sure, Biden is a flawed candidate, just as Hillary was; just as Obama turned out to be. But you will be hard pressed to convince me that at any time that America would have been better off under the influence of any of the Republican options. We’re now finding out how bad it is under Trump; now imagine four more years of it.

You’d argue that the system is broken and that its hardly democratic: and that’s not a bad point to make. Except that its wrong.

The Republican party got as stupid and right wing not because Trump convinced them to be; it was a concerted effort over decades at the grassroots level that the worst lot of conservative ideologues slowly took over low level party positions as volunteers and rank/file gate keepers. It was only a matter of time before its leadership followed suit.

The left assumed that Bernie could just be dropped into place and win the nomination race. What were they thinking?

This isn’t to say that there are some genuine left enclaves within the Democratic Party; there clearly are. But they don’t dominate the party, nor are they the front line foot soldiers in the same way that far right activists have taken over the GOP. If the left wants the Democratic Party to move left, then get involved and drag it to where it needs to be. Or start your own party.

Look. Vote Biden to halt Trump. Vote Democrat to sweep Republicans from house and senate seats; shift the legislative direction. Put facts and science back in their rightful place.

Odds are, that even if it Biden wins, he’s only there for one term. Bernie isn’t likely to run for this again either. Progressives and liberals within the Democrats can look for new alternatives to campaign for in the ’24 campaign.

But if the left is genuine about changing America, as many of their loudest cheerleaders suggest, you can act first by saving America by throwing Trump out. If you cannot do that then I question your motives.

Either you actively choose someone that doesn’t stir excitement in you, or you’ll get Trump.

I’m aware that this opinion might trigger a blow-back in some of my political circles, but I’m unmoved by that possibility.

What I’m calling for is an ounce of pragmatism here, and if folks can’t read the “unite to stop the fascist from destroying a country” message here, then you’re just as much a hard-liner as you pretend not to be. There are times when a nations’ citizenry unite to overcome a common threat; this is that time, Trump is that threat.

Time to choose.

My2bits

 

New movie Planet of the Humans is a wake up call

Some environmentalists have taken the movie as a knife in the back, or a slap in the face by Michael Moore. Some have gone so far as to call for its removal.

I don’t see it that way, and I don’t think removing it will help; that amounts to green-censorship which will immediately backfire.

What this movie has done has put a spotlight on the Green Energy industry and highlighted some of its contradictions. Green Energy isn’t entirely green. We should at least agree on this.

The movie laments the corporate control over the movement too.

While I’m no expert on Green Energy, it’s fair to ask questions and not right that some folks feel that it’s beyond scrutiny.

Much of the technology involved in green energy comes from rare earth metals and minerals that are..well..rare.

They’re sourced by industrial giants in far off places in countries where they tend to have lax environmental protections and even lower labour standards.

Doing the right thing can, at times, come at an ethical cost.

And I say this as a supporter of the Green Energy industry. Do better, research more. There’s progress to be had, but we’re going to have to do this different.

Instead of demonizing Michael Moore as a sell out, listen to the message. If what we’re doing isn’t working, then we need to change.

My2bits

Updated: climate change deniers have latched onto this movie. They should not. It’s a reality check that the Green Energy industry needed, and a call to action. Not surrender.

The price of lies

At 1:23:45am local time April 26, 1986, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine SSR, a series of errors and bad judgment led to an explosion in reactor #4 that spread radioactive material through much of western Europe.

Design flaws of the reactor type that were suppressed by the state meant that the safety countermeasures would fail during a safety test leading the a catastrophic accident. It cost lives immediately in the explosion, it cost lives in the attempt to put out the radioactive fire, it cost lives in the months long mitigation efforts to cap the spread of radiation. It cost lives by the thousands.

Good, honest heroic people of the Soviet Union paid with their lives to make safe the region around Ukraine and stop the threat of a nuclear holocaust through much of western Europe.

Chernobyl, however, is the perfect metaphor for the Soviet Union. Built up on dangerous mythology that would fail if tested. And it did.

Former General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in 2006 that the Chernobyl incident was likely the true cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Perhaps he is right. Generations of corruption and cynicism finally let loose and nobody trusted the regime anymore.

We are in danger of repeating a mistake. While this isn’t a nuclear plant melting down, we’re in a global crisis of another brand. A pandemic.

Several of our leaders are bent on returning life back to normal – the “normal” we had prior to the outbreak. It’s the same yearning to maintain status quo that the former Soviet authorities were fixated on. Because to let any other narrative slip in there it meant that change would have to be embraced.

The Soviet Union paid a price. It wasn’t until well after the Chernobyl incident that they were forced to admit that their reactor type had a critical design flaws, but in having their science community point out this flaw in years previous; it was an admission that by suppressing the information of the flaw the Soviet Union became responsible for the disaster. They alone could have prevented it, but they weren’t prepared to change.

In striving to return to normal as this pandemic burns through its process, by refusing to change, we are collectively setting ourselves up for the next disaster.

It’s true that nobody can take “blame” for the onset of Coronavirus, but how we deal with it should be revealing as to the various leadership styles out there.

For the Soviet Union, it was prestige and power. Today it’s money. Money isn’t everything. Just like prestige and power can quickly evaporate.

The notion that “we’re all in this together” cannot just be a political tag line, it has to be a new philosophy. Both in these times of crisis but as we emerge.

On the other side of this pandemic, we have to rethink how we care for our most vulnerable so that they may lead a dignified and relative independent existence. Homelessness needs to stop completely. The tax code needs to stop coddling the one percent. We need to invest in a universal safety net. Nobody should starve or be homeless.

We are granted by our creator this place among the stars as our home, and no place else like it exists. It’s our moral obligation to care for it and care for each other. We have no place else to go.

Either we change or die. Change isn’t going to be easy or fast, but doing nothing and pretending that we can just carry on as “normal” is the lie. And that lie will be our doom.

My2bits

Coronavirus and its silver lining

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Look, there has to be a silver lining to the outbreak of a major pandemic in this modern age.

I don’t mean to make light or joke around at anyone’s expense; there are real people who have died in this pandemic – made worse by the actions (or lack thereof) of powerful leaders.

In watching the worlds’ nations reaction to #coronavirus, some nations are reacting swiftly, bringing all resources to bear, others – have different considerations.

We have seen some countries at first deny a problem exists, then ignore science, then ignore emergency protocols because their primary concern goes to the economic impact of the disease.

We have also seen places act proactively when given proper information, grant full disclosure and transparency, act with a life-preservation motivation at every step.

The first model is a politically driven response which attempts to mitigate financial and/or political fallout from any panic coming from the pandemic, while the other model puts aside the politics/money and mobilizes government resources and tools to whatever extent necessary.

The first model is being used by America and some European nations, the second is being deployed by Canada, most Asian jurisdictions and elsewhere. The first being a generically right-wing model, the second is a generally left-ish response.

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Guess where you’re finding the problems? Not on the left.

In fact, in a crazy sense of irony, the left wing approach may save the right. By using the full weight of government action, public healthcare and generally being proactive, the significantly larger cost up front may be the most efficient way to navigate this disaster.

Inversely, the right-wing model, loaded with its layers of political and fiscal policy tests, is proving no match for a virus that doesn’t give a shit about policy. So we lurch from willful ignorance to overreaction causing various financial markets to crash – in a world where markets are particularly sensitive to instability.

So what do the capitalists do? Unload $1.5 trillion into the markets to give it a jolt and make it better. It lasted 15 minutes and evaporated faster than rubbing alcohol.

Here’s the bottom line.

We’ll get through this, some places will fare better than others. I for one, am grateful for our public healthcare system that places patient-care above profits. For all of its flaws, this is a far superior model to one that is profit motivated and subject to the politics of the day.

Let doctors and healthcare pro’s do their jobs. Listen to first responders and civil authorities. Don’t over-react but don’t take chances either. These are uncharted waters for many. Whatever economic slowdown may happen as a result will be followed up with a recovery, and hopefully, positive change.

Hang in there everyone, we’ll be ok.

my2bits

CGL Pipeline debacle is a progressive values test.

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The trouble with the CGL pipeline is that you can make a compelling progressive argument either side of the proposal. Something that nobody anticipated.

To be sure, there are many complex layers in this debate, but the fact that its happening in live-time has brought out unprecedented protests across the country; blockading railways, harbours, marine transport, and several government offices.

To be clear, I’m not a lawyer nor am I of First Nation’s lineage, so my view on this is just that: an unprofessional opinion.

Make no mistake, the right wing is united on this. They’re rallying behind the law-and-order flag calling the protests illegal and demanding that politicians interfere with police and the enforcement side of things.

They have it wrong too.

Protesting, demonstrating, whatever you want to call it, is a protected right under our constitution. The line crossed between a lawful, peaceful assembly of folks highlighting causes and an illegal act is a determination made by a judge when asked to order an injunction: this is not a right granted to armchair pundits. So stop it.

As it turns out, nothing is clear and obvious about the pipeline proposal and the Wet’suwet’en (re)action.

The quick glance tells us that 20 elected first nations along the proposed route have given their blessing to the project while a handful of hereditary chiefs reject the idea. The 20 elected band councils cover 100% of the region, if we’re keeping score.

It was this simple look that CGL got its permission slip and required permits to begin this pipeline.

Not so fast says the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en.

Sure enough, digging deeper into this, there are layers of complex court rulings that have given rise to the protests we see today.

The compelling narrative seems to be the lack of consent regarding the proposed route as it drives through sensitive Wet’suwet’en lands and heritage sites. It opens up wounds around the colonial treatment that our First Nations have been treated with.

Competing with this narrative is an environmental one that takes a stand against the 30k job industry in BC. While natural gas as an industry isn’t without challenges or concerns, there’s a problem with the narrative that the Wet’suwet’en are against the CGL pipeline because they’re opposed to the NG industry: its misleading.

You see, consent was implied for a different routing of the pipeline that was eventually ruled out by CGL. It immediately begs a question: if the Wet’suwet’en were so anti-natural gas, why would they suggest an alternative routing of a pipeline that they would have approved of?

Why would the Wet’suwet’en suggest an alternative route for CGL? Because they’re fully aware of the Supreme Court decisions that give them a major role to play here; and to grant them this alternative routing would have been the very kind of reconciliation event that everyone wants to showcase long before it was coined as a popular phrase by politicians.

It also proves that the Wet’suwet’en leadership (elected and hereditary) aren’t unreasonable people, they were more than ready to do a deal; that they were plugged into the needs of their peoples.

The CGL Pipeline wasn’t proposed yesterday or last week, this is a multi-year project in its application phase. The decision to approve the CGL Pipeline as is was done in 2014 while Christy Clark was Premier in BC and Stephen Harper was your Prime Minister.

We get to this to this current crisis because of activists of the Wet’suwet’en in setting up road blocks and checkpoints along the access points within their territory that made it impossible for CGL to perform any work on the pipeline sites. As a result, CGL sought out and won court injunctions that required these activists to step aside and allow access by CGL to its work sites. Essentially to let the pipeline project proceed without the consent of the Wet’suwet’en. So this was done, by police, acting with an enforcement order.

That’s when the progressive world exploded.

It is a valid left wing argument to support unionized, family supporting high wage careers in resource development. Jobs that pay very substantial levels of taxes that support public healthcare, education, highways and the social safety net. Jobs that will also directly benefit the various first nations who have been on the suffering end of the economy for generations.

It is also a valid left wing argument to support a continued evolving reconciliation process that empowers first nations to come to full treaty status, gain full equality and shared decision making capacity with the various levels of government that surround us.

It is also valid left wing argument to support the fight against climate change; by requiring the industrial players to do more to mitigate legitimate concerns raised by the climate science community.

The false choice as presented by the big media and the right wing is that the left has to pick one of these avenues; so that they may define “leftists” as one of the above. The truth is that we’re all of the above and this is our test.

We’ll overcome this. If we work together.

My2bits