I wasn’t much of a snitch as a kid, even though my older brother tormented me. It was a pact, a point of honour not to tattle. So perhaps my enjoyment of telling on the bad guys now is a release from the strictures of childhood. Or perhaps they are just so much worse than my tormenting older brother that not tattling is simply not an option.
What do we know about Stephen Harper? Well, we know that he likes secrets. He does not like to share information. What do we hear from Ottawa? Nuthin except a river of official propaganda. His latest move is to make the job of journalists harder by closing down access to an information registry that users say helped hold the government accountable.
According to the CBC, “The Coordination of Access to Information Requests System, or CAIRS, is an electronic list of nearly every access to information request filed to federal departments and agencies.
“Originally created in 1989, it was used as an internal tool to keep track of requests and co-ordinate the government’s response between agencies to potentially sensitive information released.
“Now, users mine the database to do statistical studies, fine tune phrasing on new requests and discover obscure documents — often using the information against the government.”
But not any more. Apparently Harper believes that the role of journalists is merely to forward his propaganda to you and me. What he might not realize is that those Canadian journalists who remain will be all that more dedicated to bringing him down.
After all, tattling on bad guys is good sport. I like it, and I do it as often as I can. For instance, the latest national fuss is over a handful of ducks that did not survive landing in a tailings pond in the tar sands. But I told you, not to mention a canvasser from the NDP, all about what’s being done to northern Alberta a few blog posts ago. Here, courtesy the Sierra Club, is what it looks like these days:
And this is what that area used to look like:
Tattling on the people who are responsible for this, including Mr. Harper, is a pleasure.
Unfathomable amounts of water are used in tar sands processes. This previously clean water is made unfathomably dirty, and is pumped back into a gigantic natural pipeline (Athabasca River to the Slave River via Lake Athabasca to the Mackenzie to the Arctic Ocean, which is connected, by the way to the world’s oceans).
Is transforming the world into a toxic waste dump okay with us? Apparently the PM thinks so. In fact, the only reason Harper wants to assert Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic is to grab the oil, and make things even worse. I used to think Canadian sovereignty of the Arctic was important. Now I think the Europeans are better equipped to protect it, as Canada has become a environmental hooligan.
It is difficult to focus on the tedious housekeeping of running a democracy when corporate criminals bulldoze the northern forest and obliterate perhaps our best chance at surviving global warming. Does nobody comprehend that we need vast expanses of trees to absorb carbon dioxide? Does anybody wonder if we even have the right to use all the carbon fuel, or perhaps that our children and grandchildren might need a bit for their essential functions? This is supposedly the function of democracy: to make wise, coordinated decisions and administer them fairly even if it means that a few rich people don’t get richer or, god forbid, take the bus.
But Canadians are doing nothing — not even those things we are capable of doing. Can we save the rainforest? Realistically, no. Can we inhibit the exponential use of carbon-based fuels in China and India? Again, not a chance. However, the power to insist on environmental responsibility in the tar sands lies entirely with us. Holding gigantic energy companies’ feet to the fire is something we can do, ought to do, and are simply not doing.
Even those provinces with the gonads to take a stand are taking a step backward. PEI, once a leader in refusing to create refuse, now allows non-refillable containers. Shame. But not nearly as shameful as the arseholes who dumped oil off the Newfoundland coast. A bit of social action might be in order: I suggest that we write to the Mediterranean Shipping Company to let them know what we think.
Here’s what I wrote:
“Dumping oil off our coast is easy. So is finding a list of your customers and staging a direct action campaign to stop companies from doing business with you. I think your clients may find it easier to hire another shipping company than lose customers all over the world.
“You might want to apologize quickly and publicly, and you might want to spend a lot of money cleaning up the mess you made. You might want to do this quickly, as we all have Facebook and can easily suggest to our friends all over the world that we must not buy from your customers. Up to you.”
Actually, I think I’ll tell my friends all over the world regardless. Sometimes being a tattletale is just plain fun.