Canadian politics. Apologies. No choice.
We have laws. They are painstakingly considered, drafted and passed – or so the story goes. Then, we enforce them.
Well, we enforce them AGAINST the people, anyway. AGAINST the people. But NOT SO MUCH the corporations. NOT SO MUCH the institutions. And, lo and behold, NOT SO MUCH AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF!
Consider the National Energy Board (NEB) (itself a flawed institution embarked on a biased mission for a corrupt industry). It goes about undertaking a permitting process for Kinder Morgan (KM) to build a pipeline. And, despite obvious bias, conflict of interests and blatant violations, this corrupted body rubber stamps the permit and KM starts to build.
Surprised by that? No one was. We saw that evil acted out on Northern Gateway.
But the naughty ‘people’ also stood in the way this time, too. They protested. They sued. They defied. They resisted. Some of them even went to jail (Jean Swanson), others were charged and were fined (Elizabeth May) and countless hundreds of others were harassed, charged, convicted, have records and are ‘known to police’ (not to mention having lost time at school, work and at home).
But, lo and behold: the courts eventually agreed with some of the protesters arguments, declare the NEB process flawed (and, by association, government actions and maybe even corporate actions also NOT 100% law abiding) and order everyone to ‘do it all again’.
“Do the process over, guys. You did NOT even follow your own rules.”
To be fair, that is NOT the biggest part of the problem. Checks and balances. Mistakes will be made. Life’s not perfect. The courts stepped in. What’s not to like?
The problem is that the government did so many more things wrong, not the worst of which was the NEB process. And the worst was done AFTER the ruling! Probably the worst, by far, is that Trudeau promised the pipeline again and Alberta wants the promise kept. Kinder Morgan saw a sucker and sold the useless, worthless mess they were stuck with to a hapless idiot (Trudeau) who probably bid and lost on the Brooklyn Bridge, too. He overpaid by a gazillion of the ‘people’s money’ for a 65 year-old pipe.
But, even that is not the WHOLE of the worst part. Governments pay too much for just about everything. He is just carrying on a long tradition of lining corporate pockets at taxpayers expense. His is just another abysmal moral failure in a long line of ugly acts from reneging on electoral reform to unkept promises on climate action and environmental protection. Justin simply oozed MORE slime.
The part that prompted this blog is even more cynical….Trudeau and Notley are promising to ‘rectify’ this awkward situation. Quickly. Notley wants it done NOW! Trudeau tells anyone who will listen that “The pipeline will be built!”
Unh…….what about the law, Justin? What about the law? What about the court ordering you to ‘do it all again and do it right’…?
“Never mind that! We’ll pass new legislation if we have to. We’ll find a way. We’ll ignore the law that is used against the people all day, every day. We’ll continue the pipeline work and we’ll just re-write a new law on this pipeline-thingy to suit us. Whatever. Never mind due process. Fuggedabout about obeying the law. We are going to ignore the ruling. We will build this pipeline and there is nothing you or the law can do to stop us!”
Do you want any more of a reason to see the government of Canada as corrupt? Or Trudeau’s and Notley’s, anyway? I think you YOU MUST include Harper and the Cons in this. It was him and his corrupt NEB board and process that was the rotten apple in the barrel that rotted everything from the get go.
Boring? Not worth a blog? You may be right…..but……..
……try this, dear reader: go break the law. Do it in public. Get charged. Get convicted. Then ignore the courts and go do what you wanted to do anyway. Do it publicly. Make promises. How long do you think you’d last? How long before you are arrested or even shot? How long are you gonna be in jail – NOT for the crime – but for contempt of court?
Go ahead…I dare you. You wanna see the deep corruption? Go protest the pipeline, the NEB, the permits issued……. and, even tho it is NOW recognized as a corrupt process…..go see if you do not still get arrested. You will. Trespassing. But that’s not the real test. The real test is to ignore the subsequent court order after that. Defy the court order. GO ON. Be like Justin. Be like Rachel. Just do it!
You will be in jail.
Justin will not.
I agree with every thing you write. Canada has a bleak future given the very shallow pool of politicians currently eyeing the PM chair. As a business owner with many customers throughout North America I have been intently watching the trade negotiations. It is very worrying. Obviously we will get whatever th US deems appropriate. The Minister representing Canada reminds me of a high school student council member although that may be a stretch.
With reference to one of your previous blogs. I am a senior who retired after almost 50 years of working, but my pensions were not enough to pay the he bills. The interesting thing is that we spend more time dealing with various levels of government ie. Income tax, GST PST, Canada Customs, various registration issues, and on and on. It’s only getting worse.
Incidents, we live a very simple life, no travelling, no fancy cars, limited social life.
We have great daughters and grandchildren – we are rich.
Thanks for reading and commenting Aaron. Appreciated. I try to limit the politics but spleens need venting now and then. And it is raining so the chores aren’t getting done. That’s all it takes some days…..kablooie!!
Tiny suggestion: if you can, get out of the city. Drive past any town with more than 12000 people. …..keep going. ……when the road turns to gravel or you are at the waters edge, keep going, you are only halfway there. Look around when you get all the way there. If you see anyone, keep going.
Glad you wrote.
Finally got access to my WP account so I can comment, Dave. Don’t get me started on that one. The internet is a fool’s paradise.
Hmm. Crony capitalism. Great minds think alike? Or maybe the bloody-minded? When is the next election? Can the voters mobilise a protest vote? is the alternative any better? Sometimes the sheer audacity of some is just breathtaking. Hope the protests continue.
Meanwhile in Doze, we can’t even chain ourselves to bulldozers any more. Prison sentences, massive compensatory payments guaranteed. Environmental safeguards….maniacal laughing.
The same duplicitous system the deplorables in the US claim prompted their so called anti establishment vote for Trump is alive and well in Canada. Simple folk see little choice in a two-party contest where the issues are discussed in poli-babble saying nothing and meaning less. Our prime minister campaigned on electoral reform, won on that basis, and then changed his mind. That intentional lie and broken promise is typical of most mainstream, party-adherents not committed to their constituents or country but tied by their blind loyalty to the party. We are disgusted by it or are brand-loyal to the name of the party. Those people don’t think, they just vote their brand.
Short answer – No. We have no real choice.
And you never even brought up BC Rail. I doubt we’ll ever see the true story on that but I do hope to see some evidence of justice re Site C and Kinder Morgan.
It’s interesting to read that back in ’16 Vaughn Palmer figured Site C was too far advanced to shut down.
It wasn’t and still isn’t. It’s not totally inconceivable that it will be shut down even after completion, due to geotechnical and economic considerations.
Yeah….can’t you see it now? The Liberals campaigning on ‘the disaster that was site C! Those NDP’ers can’t run a DAM thing!”
And the public – with the attention span of a gnat – will say, “Yeah…damn socialists wasting our money!”
……and Trudeau will get elected for a record fifth term based primarily on his successful role in a Broadway musical playing Leonard Cohen singing ‘Oranges from China’…….
Please do not associate Leonard Cohen with that pretty boy, shame. But we do now own a pipeline that should be making about 1.5 billion a year before twinning. Lots of raises for our government members, not so sure about us, but that’s only normal!
Did you not take your meds before this entry? 😊
There are NOT enough ‘meds’ for me to take to stomach Trudeau and his gibberish. What a dickhead!
But you are right, of course. Pipelines. Gotta get me one! Wow! $1.5B. Ooooh……that might pay for what….? How many hockey stars? How many ‘mansions’? I am sure a few years of ‘revenue’ will allow the government to offer a discount on gas masks. Maybe fund a clean-up? You know, for when the air can no longer be breathed.
Yum. Money! Gotta get me some.
BTW…The TMP makes approx 100 million a year, NOT $1.5B. It would take 30 years to pay the piper on that purchase and the ‘life’ of the pipe is now very, very short. Twin it and the amortization years get longer.
Elizabeth May swore an oath to uphold the laws of Canada. May as an MP and a lawyer was fully cognizant of violating a court order thus she had no option but to plead guilty.
True but so did the soldiers under Lt. CALLEY. Some of them knew that disobedience, in that case, was lawful. May might have known from the beginning that the EBB process was a sham and that the lawsuits would eventually prevail. But she was had up on CONTEMPT which basically states , “do as the judge says, right or wrong.”
We are not arguing – several different topics here. My point was that the law treats institutions, corporations and politicians /government unequally with the hammer reserved for the commoner and the blinders reserved for the politicians. The corps and institutions get slapped wrists and their leaders-perps get away Scott free.
Yes, you are right about the reservation of “the hammer”.
Probably everyone who has taken a Philosophy of Law course has, early in the course, been asked to come to grips with the thorny – albeit basic – question: What is law?
The best answer to that question I have come across is this: The law is the command of the uncommanded commanders of society.
I first heard those words in an undergraduate Philosophy of Law class in 1971. Those words are as true today as then. The passage of time has served only to enhance their meaning
The Nuremberg Trials tried Nazis for blindly following orders. The Geneva Convention was applied to convicted officials of the Third Reich of war crimes. Civil disobedience allows peaceful protest but not law breaking. The Russian Constitution does not allow extradition of its citizens to face criminal charges abroad. The USA is currently opposing charges against Americans for alleged crimes in Afghanistan. Canadian troops experienced American friendly fire in Iraq. The members of the Canadian First Airborne took trophy pictures of Somalian teenager they had killed. Charges were laid. In the last election Canada’s election law was broken and an MP went to jail. Setting out to ignore the rule of law is a perilous course and one must expect the consequences.
I agree with the last sentence…..there ARE consequences when you disobey the POWER and the biggest ‘gang’ of power-brokers is the law/courts/lawyers/judges and legislators. But power corrupts and sometimes you have to stand up against power gone mad. US draftdodgers in the 70’s broke the law and paid a price. Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd do and pay. Union’s used to. People of conscience -when pushed too far – have no choice. Disobey and pay the price. Don’t forget, the law is an ass. And, on the face of it, not getting smarter as it gets older……
Scofflaws abound but offering their personal justifications that their crime is a crime of necessity does not mitigate the consequences. Canada experiences peaceful protest everyday. Do protesters by their protest get a veto? Have you heard the case of a judge dividing communal property fifty/fifty in a marriage breakup? One party disagreed with the “corrupt judge’s ruling” and blew-up the house. This arsonist was deeply convinced that he had experienced an injustice and felt justified in imposing his view upon the law. In the USA we have a president working hard to discredit the media, to shape the composition of American Courts by appointing deeply conservative judges. What is the evidence that Canadian courts are partisan in composition? Doesn’t the recent Transmountain decision suggest the contrary?
Presumably the unhappy spouse paid the consequences and I saud, “I agree with your last sentence”. There are consequences. But just because you pay the conseqyences doesn’t mean you were wrong. The law has a bias in favour of money and property….that alone puts them in moral jeopardy.
My point: don’t make the law your moral compass.
True courts are not a moral compass because it takes legislation to alter the course of a society through writing laws such as:votes for women, pensions, health care, property rights in marriage, human rights, Charter of Rights, same sex marriage, control of one’s body, emerging equality for all and many more gains. All these gains attributed to what they call, “activist judges.” Not by activist judges but through the work of Parliament, Provincial Legislatures, International agencies. In Canada the legislative arm and the judicial arm are separate. Putin might order ex-judicial killings but not in a democracy. When a judge rules it not at the urging of governments.
I dont know what you are arguing or the point you are making but I can argue anything so I will continue….you point is wrong. Theoretically, it is right but in reality it is very, very wrong. Laws are dreamt up by party committee and massaged and debated until passed by government.. But the laws are mostly hollow. The bureaucracy is charged with the nuts and bolts of policy, regulation, procedure, enforcement and all the mechanics associated with the passed bill. And, as you know, the devil is in the details. I.e. a bill passed limiting rents rarely does. Because costs go up that are legitimate so the rent limiting law adds a formula to determine what’s ok and what is not. The formula is drafted by well-paid bureaucrats who are lobbied. The rent limiting law often surprisingly gives a better formula than does the market place (in some areas like Terrace or Spuzum). Thus the landlord goes to the court to get increases. And so it goes……the law of unintended laws is so prevalent, we have battalions of lawyers utilizing billions of tax dollars to re-argue interpretations and they create precedents and thus another force is created altering the law.
And that is just one part of an argument as to why the law is an ass.
Doesn’t ‘Spuzum’ have two zees, as in ‘Spuzzum’?
I can never remember. Its a name l’ll never forget but I cant seem to retain the correct spelling.
Without the actions of the courts, claims of lack of consultation, Charter of Rights violations, property violations, treaty rights violations and the like sit without a legal remedy. True one need not resort to the courts but often it is a preferred remedy. An attack upon the fidelity of the courts will lead in some cases to invoking the notwithstanding clause or escalation of civil disobedience ending possibly in violence. Discrediting our institions is a disservice to us all. Watch and see what has happened in countries where a politician claims his election places him above the Charter of Rights. This politician claims to be morally superior hence the invoking of the notwithstanding clause.
OK…your point is the courts are the best we have. I accept that, ass and all. Fallible? Absolutely! Corrupt? Yes! By way of privilege, remove, process and monetary, non human values. Hoary? By design. Accessible? Responsive? Timely? Appropriate? No. No. No….and mostly. And it is the mostly appropriate judgments rendered that makes me accept that they are the best we got.
But let’s not get all in awe of a greatly flawed process that with few changes could be much, much better.
As you know all humans are flawed as evidenced by our frailties. Any claim to moral superiority or being more highly evolved are merely aspirational. ‘’A man’s reach must exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for? Sadly many are just grasping at the ‘if only.’ If I could ban taxes, if I could end regulation, if I could compell others to do what I demand, all self interest and mostly not including most of or society.
SM, you make a valid point, reminiscent of what was said in R. v. Bridges (1989), 48 C.C.C. (3d) 545 (B.C.S.C.); appeal dismissed (1990), (sub nom.
Everywoman’s Health Centre Society (1988) v. Bridges)
54 B.C.L.R. (2d) 273 (C.C.). That was a case where
individuals refused to obey an injunction restraining
them from blocking access to an abortion clinic. They
were convicted of criminal contempt of court. At pp.
547-548, the court said:
Most of you have indicated that you
prefer to follow the law of God. No doubt
encouraged by submissions of your counsel,
who ought to have known better, some of you
have invited me to apply the law of God.
This court does not apply the law of God,
irrespective of whose interpretation of that
law is offered for consideration. This court
applies the law as it is determined to be by
the legislators of this country and by the
decisions of this court, which have
accumulated now for over 700 years.
What is very much at issue and before
this court is the future survival of the
rule of law. It is the rule of law which
distinguishes civilized society from
anarchy. Everything which we have today, and
which we cherish in this free and democratic
state, we have because of the rule of law.
Freedom of religion and freedom of
expression exist today because of the rule
of law. Your right to hold the beliefs you
do, to espouse those beliefs with the
fervour which you do, and to attempt to
persuade others to your point of view,
exists only because of the rule of law.
Without the rule of law there is only the
rule of might. Without the rule of law the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,
which some of you sought to invoke, would be
nothing but another piece of parchment
adrift in the timeless evolution of man’s
The rule of law exists in this society
only because the overwhelming majority of
citizens, irrespective of their different
views on religion, morality or science,
agree to be bound by the law. That
agreement, which cannot be found recorded in
any conventional sense, has survived the
deepest and most profound conflicts of
religion, morality and science. In that
sense it might be thought that its strength
is overwhelming and its future secure. But
that is not the case at all, for the
continued existence of that agreement is
threatened by its own inherent fragility.
That fragility was described by former Chief
Justice Farris of this court in the
celebrated case of Canadian Transport Co.
Ltd. v. Alsbury (1952), 6 W.W.R. (N.S.) 473
(B.C.S.C.), to which counsel have referred.
I quote from p. 478:
“Once our laws are flouted and orders of our
courts treated with contempt the whole
fabric of our freedom is destroyed. We can
then only revert to conditions of the dark
ages when the only law recognized was that
of might. One law broken and the breach
thereof ignored, is but an invitation to
ignore further laws and this, if continued,
can only result in the breakdown of the
freedom under the law which we so greatly
Many of you, while assuring me of your
respect for the law, have characterized your
contemptuous conduct as an act of last
resort stemming from frustration brought on
by the failure of government to act upon
your views and to change the law
accordingly. The fragility of the rule of
law is such that none of us who seek to
enjoy its benefits can be permitted the
occasional anarchical holiday from its
mandate, no matter how compelling or how
persuasive may be the cause that such
anarchy seeks to advance. Furthermore it is
only through the rule of law that any
meaningful, lasting or effective change can
be wrought in the law. Thus it is that by
seeking to change the law by deliberately
disobeying it you threaten the continued
existence of the very instrument, indeed the
only instrument, through which you may
eventually achieve the end you seek. Such
conduct is not only illegal, it is
The court put it very well. I accept the courts position and, for the most part, I obey the law. But, still, I might jaywalk, exceed the speed limit while driving and have been known to think about taking a free floating log from the channel.
Hah! Only kidding! Not even the jaywalking part. Honest.
But the law, for all its eloquence, is still a blunt instrument wielded by brutes to intimidate and crush the weak and disenfranchised largely for the protection and benefit of the wealthy.
I obey it for several reasons: 1. I am one of the weak and disenfranchised. 2. I don’t like being crushed. 3. The elite can wallow in their so called wealth and I envy none of it. 4. Despite the unjust application of it, the words of the laws are often moral and good.
I’m on the East coast of Canada this week.
Was at the local gas station yesterday and saw an Amish elder pull into the gas pumps with his horse drawn wagon with a 50 gallon drum on the back. He unhitched the horse and walked it over to a telephone pole and tied it up. He then walked back and had a young kid from the gas station fill the drum with about 2o gallons. Apparently the gas station had an “issue” with a nervous horse a year or so ago.
I started talking to him . He moved here 2 months ago with 8 of his family. Joined a bunch of Ontario Amish that have moved here. Ontario farm land is too expensive. They have had an excellent summer for crops but he’s nervous about the winter as it can snow way more in the Maritimes than south Ont.
When he left he pulled out of the gas station with his horse and wagon in front of a Huge dumptruck with a double tandem trailer. His horse couldnt have cared less. Just trotted up the road.
Dont see that every day…….
I drove out past his farm today and saw about 20 Amish kids of all ages walking to school……., happy, laughing, playing.
No tv, no internet, no electricity.
The original OTG living.
Try that on todays kids……they’d need anti depressants and 2 years with a psychologist.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Great story. But I disagree with the perception of youth. You are right from maybe puberty on but we still have a lot of under-12’s up here and they are classic Norman Rockwell. Two boys with a leaky boat and a small outboard with fishing rods are out there all day and into the deep dusk. The girls make aquariums with 12 volt and battery pumps and then ‘rescue little crabs’ and stuff…..all day long. Kids are still great. It’s early and even late onset adulthood that sucks.
It seems like more and more “kid-dults” are cocooning in their parents basements and wasting their most productive years playing video games.
Apparently gaming is even becoming an issue in ultra studious China.
The leadership there has been cracking down on on line games as “too violent”. Several Chinese internet giants (tencent) have had to do an about face and either shelve new games or render them palatable to the Party censors.
Costing them billions in share valuation..
The best on line gamers in the world seem to be from South Korea.
South Korea the country that is one of the most high speed connected countries on the planet …they also have the dubious distinction of having some of the highest teen suicide rates.
Time to unplug the internet and make people stop texting and actually talk to each other?
Or will we have to wait for the next 11 year Solar Max event similar to the one that hit the planet pre mass electricity in 1859 to take down the entire planets’ electrical system…..?
Adults playing Solitare with a deck of cards by candle light…….. the horror.