Favourite Books

  • The Green Mile
  • Animal Farm
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Lord of the Rings
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Just to Clarify

 So, as I am sitting here, feeling a little deflated after my last trip off the deep end...I got to thinking...
   I worry that my spewing is affecting those , through no fault of their own, related to me. I know what small town is like. No matter that what my relatives think or say has no bearing on me, unless of course it is about me, I understand there are always some small minded folks who will lump them together with what I say or do. For the record, they , like myself, cannot control what I write. This is simply a way for all that pressure inside my brain to be released. Would I stop on a rant if I was hurting them? Admittedly, yes. But, if what I say, is somehow attached to their thoughts and beliefs, just because we are genetically connected, it would be insane. The need to make this clear suddenly possessed me, because, for a moment I forgot what it is like to actually care what others think.
  I state that I don't give a damn what the rest of the world thinks about my take on things, and I'm not about to change that, but....just in case some total nimrod out there has the slightest idea that I run all my thoughts by everyone related to me, and they are privy to what I spew on here...the truth is, no one has a clue what is coming.
 Now...don't go imagining I was contacted by someone to say they were affected...never happened, this is just a random thought process, and I am well aware those poor people who are related through birth or marriage often wish they were not...but there is little they can do about this. I hope I have clarified things, for those who were dense enough not to already know. Be sure to use this for further reference, because trust me, I am no where near finished.

Changing Times

Well, I suppose many of you that read this, also read the "Hometown" web page, and have been privy to all this kerfuffle going on. As usual, it appears I have backed the slow horse. The thoughts and opinions of myself and others backing this plodding animal, have incised one to even suggest we walk off a short pier.
  I am the first to admit, I am pig headed. However, I also like to get all my facts before stepping onto a pier, short or not. I will read, I will Google, I will listen..today there is so much more out there to search than back in High school. I realize that almost everything that happens in my life, has, indeed happened to someone else. If I am lucky I will be able to see how that other person dealt with the issue, what errors they made, and I can ensure I don't make the same errors. However, often the rules that were in place for the previous person, are suddenly different. Then I have to be extra careful, and step very slowly.
  Now I listen to a group of people who heard  a condensed shiny version of the future, and they jump up in glee. They refuse to read, Google, or listen. They feel no one has the right to question their actions, and..even worse, they refuse to question the actions of those who have given the condensed version. They feel they can wade through red,green, and invisible tape, without assistance...in fact they are totally pi$$ed that others who have no business, are in their business.
 Hold up there Mr. Progress...Rules have changed. Hold up those who state our economy is based on foreign exports, rules have indeed changed there. Once again, the People's Republic of China  is holding out a cookie to you. That cookie might look really good, but so did that Pet food, that was sent to you, processed in a country with a totally different set of standards. That toy you bought for Junior, hey, it was pretty nice, except when he chewed the flipping lead paint off that has been banned in our country, but...yep, you got, it, not in China!
  The problem would not be as immense if we could look at something, check out where it is from, and simply refuse to purchase anything that does not meet the same rules and regulations companies in our country must follow. But, when you open the door to industry, and your progress is tied to dealings with China, you had best study up. The rules in trade with this particular country are far different than anything you imagine.
  Our government has created so many back room deals to plead with them to come on over and suck out what they need, you best beware. You will get to a point where perhaps they have done something disastrous, something environmentally horrible...you will insist they cease, and...guess what folks, any profit lost from  putting up a road block, will be paid out of your pocket!! Yep...did you know that? I have not read the whole agreement, however I have Googled FIPA and it is a very scary agreement. They can come in, and take what they want, in a manner they wish. They can bring their own over to mine in a process that until now, was against our mining regulations because of the safety issue, which is why only Chinese can do this type of work. So, apparently our government turns a blind eye to rules set for North Americans, allows China to mine "straight Wall" and agrees Canadians need not apply..Perhaps that is out of concern for the safety of our own?
  The difference in our exporting to foreign countries is this...Up until now, Canadians did the work to provide the resources to export. Our country made money through taxes paid by working Canadian, mining, logging, and yes, in oil and gas. What is happening slowly but surely, and no, I am NOT fearmongering, is that these companies lower their wages, they require employees to work in unsafe conditions, and then when the greedy Canadians start to whine, they get exactly what they planned in the beginning, they hire their own!
  I am unsure how much our government is making on these deals, hopefully enough to make up for the loss of income tax from their own. To those who request the plodding horse be put to sleep, this is the future! To imagine you will suddenly be handed over good paying jobs, with the advent of Chinese LNG projects, grow up!!!
 You will simply end up in the same place as I am with Site C. This will end up in your backyard. Unlike me, you won't get diddly squat from it, and anything it destroys will not even be mitigated. You will simply have to shut your mouths and swallow.
  Those who have been sticking their noses in your business, are different from those who you are opening up your welcoming arms to. They are people who actually care about your community. Do the Chinese? Does the company looking to make a massive fortune as the middleman to the Chinese? No, he is simply a person who is getting paid, very well, to set in motion what they want,and, yes, need. They need it!!! For goodness sakes, they are NOT doing you a favour, they are attempting to find the cheapest easiest way to get what they need!!!
  A person simply needs to click on their computer to find out how the Chinese have abused their own country, and they live there!!! Do you want a job with Chinese wages, and Chinese safety standards so badly, you don't care what happens? Do you think once an application is accepted that you can sit down and make up your rules?  Nope, it is clear, most folks will just sit back and let this play out the way those in the drivers seat want. Will these same people be squawking when no one listens to them? Could happen, but, that's O.K. they opened the door to industry, without any questions, and now they can gallop into another pile of sh*t!
 The Canada-China Investment Treaty allows Chinese companies (including state-owned enterprises) to sue the Government of Canada over decisions that can limit or reduce their expectation of profits. In treaty language, this is called “tantamount to expropriation.”  China can claim damages against Canada for decisions at the municipal, provincial, territorial or federal level.  Even decisions of our courts can give rise to damages. The damage claims start with six months of diplomatic negotiation. If that fails, damage claims move to arbitration – behind closed doors.
 Just in case you don't believe what I said.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Heads up to My Hometown

Well, I am sure there will be some questioning my spew, but, I figured I would offer my tid bits of wisdom or..maybe simply experience. I see they are all excited, in my old hometown, about the possibility of joining in the big LNG giveaway. Bet they have heard all kinds of fabulous stories on how the town will profit, and how so many will be employed..it will certainly appear that another boom is on the horizon.
  I remember the boom and bust days clearly. I remember how the mines would come in, and bring double the amount of families into the community. I remember Christmas parties, and swimming pools, and massive employment for all the students graduating high school, or the boys who headed off in Grade 10 to Trade school, and then into apprenticeships. They were definitely boom days, and good times.
  When I arrived here, we came with the very beginning of oil and gas. I attended umpteen Town council meetings, where I listened to,  what seemed the whole town speaking against the industry our family was part of. I heard how they feared their town would change and everything they held dear would disappear, with...progress...I went to these meetings to show my support for  a small Coal bed Methane company. This company was small, and did everything they possibly could to ease the step into CBM. I supported that company, because they were small, and they truly wanted to keep the community comfortable, and they did.
  However...time has painted some pretty vivid pictures, as the small company was bought out, and huge companies have taken it's place. These companies are from elsewhere. They bring their own employees, and these employees work away from home. They don't drag their families along, making the school population rise, they don't shop at the local store, they don't bring up the count at the hospital, they simply drive into whatever camp set up in the boonies, conducive to the company they work for, put in their days, and head home. Our school population has dropped so much, teachers are being cut, classes are lumped together...yes, just like in my old hometown. We have a doctor, finally....bought by a lovely stipend of $100,000 for signing to agree to stay, but...lo and behold, he arrived in September, and now must take 3 weeks holidays, so....yep, you guessed it, no doctor. Our Lab has been cut at the hospital, to so many days here and there.
  Are the kids finishing school and heading off to awesome apprenticeships with these companies? Nope. Some do work for them, but they work for two local companies who contract to these mega companies, and that is at a slow down right now, because......everything has been bought up by another foreign company.
  We have the Chinese. Now, don't get me wrong, I have met some of the big wigs for the Coal Mines, and they are very pleasant, but...they are also very secretive. Perhaps your council is better than ours, maybe they know the secret of getting a straight answer from another nationality.....maybe...I have to wonder if anyone in my old hometown has heard of TFWs? That is temporary foreign workers....Hey, they are not just folks who pop in for a year or so to work at Timmy's, they work in mines as well.
  I am certain there are some very experienced folks putting together things like floating LNG plants (I hope) and anyone wanting a job there is likely going to have to get some schooling in, better get a move on, because there is someone someplace else possibly (likely) far more qualified. These folks are not going to hire Joe Blow off the street, simply because he is local.
  Have they purchased homes? Nope...does the school have any notice of families arriving? Nope.
Our small town is simply a name that can be used. There is little positive that the community has received from all of this industry in our backyard. We have some benches donated , I heard tell that the hockey arena got some stuff, as well, the big companies all chipped in to hand over the nice little bonus to the Doctor, but..cripes that took years to put that in motion.
 I watched our town council, as they tried very hard to find the best way to work with industry, and, yes, they made some errors. But, I understand, this was all new, and uncharted water. What they do not see is a big increase in tax dollars, they do not see homes and properties being purchased by these industry folks, because they are not part of the community. They are simply people leaving their homes and their families to do a job, so they can pay for their homes and lives elsewhere.All the tax dollars for lease sales, do not end up in our pockets, all that money goes to the province, and it appears they don't like to share with small town B.C.because, they are getting a ton of money from this area of the province.
 So, I hope I am wrong. I hope what my old hometown experiences if this does move forwards, is not the norm. I hope that the town does not see camps set up in various places, with men who spend 2 weeks and then head home. I hope this industry actually becomes a part of the town, like the mines in the past did. But..I am willing to lay money on the chance that I am spot on, you will simply find your space filled with Temporary workers, be they Canadian or foreign, and you will find that you have more license plates from another province, and your locals will not be suitable for the jobs required.
 I just read how our government is considering dropping some taxes for those huge conglomerates coming in from Asia, good for them, they certainly deserve all the breaks North Americans never got...I am still pro-industry. I am still comfortable with LNG, I actually think it is a good thing, in many respects. I simply wish that our government had offered all these perks to the business when it belonged to this continent, instead of kissing butt because of some backroom political promises Mr. Harper and his cronies made to China.
  To those who say, one must take risks to move ahead, perhaps, but remember, this is not something you have the slightest clue about, and most folks who take risks understand full well what the price will be if they lose. I doubt you realize what you are risking, because like Pandora, once that box is opened, you can't slam it shut.That said, with Crusty Clark, and Mr. Harper at the helm, whatever is coming to your door step is not going to wait for your invitation. Times have changed, the Chinese feel right at home in a dictatorship. Fingers crossed, that this is what you have been waiting for.