Further Reflections – 2

I am presently reading a book which truly nourishes me: The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, by Charles Eisenstein. This book brings together the threads I have begun to speak of (as well as a few I haven’t yet explored) in posts on this blog in the last few days.

Here are a few quotes from this amazing piece of work which will help me link to what is coming up for me:

“Each experience of love nudges us toward the Story of Interbeing, because it only fits into that story and defies the logic of Separation.”
“We are all here to contribute our gifts toward something greater than ourselves, and will never be content unless we are.”
“I am saying that there is a time to do, and a time not to do, and that when we are slave to the habit of doing we are unable to distinguish between them.”

“I once read a news story about a train wreck in Peru. The travelers and tourists were stranded in the mountainous area in winter, without food or heat. Many might have died that night, if it weren’t for the local villagers who came with food and blankets to keep them warm. These were poor villagers, and they were giving their only blankets.

I remember when I read that story how petty my own insecurity seemed, how tight my heart, and how tiny my generosity. I felt a kind of opening. If those indigent villagers can give their last blankets, then surely I needn’t be so concerned about my financial future. I can give. It will be okay.

One way to interpret this story is to conclude that obviously, those seemingly indigent villagers are much wealthier than I am. Let’s try a new definition of wealth: “the ease and freedom to be generous”. Perhaps these villagers have what we, in pursuit of money and its illusory security, are seeking to attain. For one thing, they are in community, and know that they will be taken care of by those around them. That is not so true in a money economy like ours. Second, they have a deep connection to the land and a sense of belonging. Through their relationships, they know who they are. That is a kind of wealth that no amount of money can replace. We moderns, the disconnected, have a lot of rebuilding to do. People like those villagers, and anyone living from interbeing, remind us of our potential wealth and the ground truth of interbeing. Their generosity enriches us merely through witnessing it.”

― Charles EisensteinThe More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible

I truly believe that becoming part of the Vancouver Island dollar (vi$) can help those involved realize and further some of the excellent initiatives participants of The Living the New Economy conference heard about just recently. See my previous couple of posts about that. Michael Linton, Ernie Yacub and Jason Guille will be hosting more introductory sessions on the vi$ soon. Watch this space for further details on that.

 

One final thing: As I said previously, we really need Victoria businesses to join in and support this local currency launch. So, if you have a local business, or know one whose values seem to gel with what you are reading here, please get in touch with me so that our team can invite them to a meeting and/or  one of us can meet with a representative personally to answer questions.

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Further Reflections – 1

I am presently on day two of a six-day retreat with teachers and fellow students of The Diamond Approach and its founder, A.H. Almaas. I have been studying and working with this path for over ten years now, and it has really enriched my life.

The retreat this time has us beginning a new phase of the teachings – about what Hameed Ali (the real name of our teacher, his pen name is Almaas) calls the Boundless Dimensions. As always seems to be the case, the topic of this particular retreat matches the context and content of what has been arising in my day-to-day life leading up to our time here at UBC’s School of Theology (where our retreats occur).

My time at the Living the New Economy conference is a major case in point in the appropriate context for the present retreat. That conference not only demonstrated clearly the depth and breadth of commitment in Victoria to putting new ideas forward in an integrated community of inter-relationship – but it also shows promise for walking that talk. One of the ways the latter can be realized is for the Vancouver Island dollar (vi$) to come into viable circulation. For that to happen, businesses need to step forward and take a no-risk role in kick starting this local currency. For a good introduction for how this works and how businesses and individuals can get this off the ground, you can watch this series of short videos by Michael Linton

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Exciting, inspiring and heartening…

Karen and I just attended the opening session of LNE.

It was better than I dared to anticipate. Ian MacKenzie (film-maker extraordinaire) first showed us a brief video message from Sacred Economics guy, Charles Eisenstein. He then hosted a panel discussion with Donna Morton, Carol Anne Hilton and Ethan Roland.

All three panelists spoke from a place of integrity and real-life experience – as Ian also did.

What a privilege it is to be able to participate in a collaborative initiative to change our whole relationship with money to one more aligned with Heart, values, ethics and integrity.

And check this out:  for every dollar you spend to participate in this truly transformative week-long conference (or any portion of it) you will receive Vancouver Island dollars in return (dollar for dollar).

As more local businesses join in on the many benefits of this local currency you will be able to purchase more products or services with the vi$  Or, you may choose to use that money as a gift to support another local charity, non-profit or other initiative which is embracing the transformative opportunities we are hearing about here at the LNE.

Please join us if you can.

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Living Consciously, Collaboratively in Collective Wisdom – Living the New Economy

There is so much to share, so much that has been percolating for me behind the scenes for the last few months…

Firstly, Today begins a hugely exciting event here in Victoria – a week-long conference, collaboration event: Living the New Economy (LNE). I encourage everyone reading this right now to check out the provided link. But if you live in Victoria, or nearby, I strongly urge you to consider participating in some way in this transformative event, put on by the Healing Cities Institute.

If you are a member of the Victoria Community Health Co-operative (with which I have been closely associated from its inception) you should know that both the health co-op and its associated charity, the Creating Community Wellness Society, are beneficiaries of the new local currency – the Vancouver Island dollar (vi$) which is being launched at the LNE event. See this page if you want to know more about that.

I will be writing more here over coming days about many inter-related phenomena and experiences – about which I feel very excited.

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Newly Orphaned

Mom at Victoria Conference Centre cropped from a pic with Olivia and Alvina

Mom at Victoria Conference Centre cropped from a pic with Olivia and Alvina

Dad with Olivia - 2013

Dad with Olivia – 2013

Most of this was written in early April. I just realised that it was never posted, so after adding the last paragraph or so, here it is:

On February 28th my father chose to end his life rather than go through another ’round of  health deterioration and increasingly ineffectual treatment and associated side-effects, with his colo-rectal cancer. He had already lived for 7 years with a colostomy – which was giving him increasing problems and complications, and he simply refused to endure the kind of slow agonizing end he had previously witnessed his sister Lydia suffer through.

My youngest sister Alvina and I rushed out to Edmonton (where our father lived and died) to join our other sister, Leslie, at Dad’s bedside. We had a couple of hours to be with him before the medical staff removed the breathing tube they had put in when my father had arrived that morning after shooting himself in the back of his head. The physician in charge was willing to keep Dad alive until Alvina and I could arrive and say our goodbyes – along with  Dad’s sister, Edna, and other extended family members.

We all got the chance to be with him for some time before the breathing apparatus was removed, and in the 35 minutes in which he continued breathing after that. I was surprised at how big and robust a man he still was, right until his last breath. The only other time I can remember being at my Dad’s side when he was in bed (in my adult years, and maybe all of my life) was seven years ago, following his surgery for the colon cancer. We, and he, did not not know whether he would survive then. He had shared with my sisters when they asked him to undergo treatment 7 years ago, that he would not go through another bout with cancer if it ever returned.

Although we tried all the numbers we had for contacting my niece, Mona (my Dad’s eldest grand-daughter) she unfortunately did not get the messages I had left her until we had left the hospital following Dad’s death. Mona got there later and talked to the staff. They were very kind and thoughtful with her.

Anyway, my sisters and I were then launched into grief and and action mode both at once – having to arrange for Dad’s cremation and his Celebration ceremony. Despite some really trying negotiations with staff at his Senior’s home in the first days following his death, we decided to go ahead with our initial plan to hold his celebration at that home -where he lived the last few years of his life. It turned out to be a good decision, and was a healing opportunity for the family and close friends, and for the care staff and other residents at Ottewell Lodge.

I was very struck by the meticulous planning that went into my father’s departure from this life. He wanted  the impact of his suicide to be minimal for those he left behind – and in my view he was pretty successful in that.

Just about three weeks before my Dad took his life, my mother had had a serious fall, back here in Victoria. She  fell often and had sustained some worrying injuries in the past – but nothing on the scale of this last time. While preparing for bed one night in Early February she slipped and fell. As she went down she hit her head on the wooden dresser or on the floor of her room. No one witnessed it, so we had to piece it together from the staff’s comments and what my mother recalled afterward. Both my partner, Karen, and I had bad cold/flu at the time of this fall so we were not able to visit her in hospital until a few days later. That added to her distress. I talked to her daily, and my friend Garry went to see her, as did Karen’s sister, Candy. My brother Ray and his wife, Bunny also went to see her once during that hospital sojourn. Unlike our father, Mom was in and out of hospitals on a routine basis. But she was also like a bouncing ball – or had been that way. Mom surprised all of her family and friends many, many times with her ability to regain consciousness and her faculties to live on another day, week, month and year. All of that was different after the fracture of her upper neck, however. She made it clear to family, friends and care staff that she simply didn’t really want to carry on living with a very restrictive neck collar, and feeling the judgments from herself and others for “stupidly” having had a serious fall. There was nothing stupid about it – though it was supremely unfortunate. On the other hand, maybe even her fall was some unconscious move toward readiness to depart this life.

In any event, she was hugely affected by the news from my sisters and I that Dad had taken his end of life process into his own hands, and had completed that journey. She told Garry, Karen and Candy that none of the care staff at Oak Bay lodge “got it” that this was not her ex-husband (as he was legally, for over 30 years), but simply her husband  (as he had been for longer than was not the case, and as he still obviously was in her heart) who was no longer of this world. I think she felt intensely alone in her struggle with remaining alive. After all, she had bounced back from a very close shave with death while Alvina was pregnant two years ago, and was absolutely delighted to be able to see Olivia enter the world and get off to such a great start to life. Mom saw that Olivia was in glowing good health, with fine loving parents and that she was (and is) a bright, beautiful being in her own right. I think Mom saw her children and family, including Olivia, and thought something like:  “I no longer need to be here, …. I would rather be free of this mortal coil, as my husband is”.

I received a call from Mom’s doctor the day before Dad’s celebration ceremony saying that she turned some sort of corner in the view of her care staff, and she had been put on a palliative care list. My partner, Karen Ledger, is a nurse and knew Mom very well. Karen was a fierce and loving advocate for my Mom’s welfare, at all times. But that advocacy was crucial in my absence, in the last few days of her life. When I told Karen about the call from Mom’s doctor she went back to see her. Karen had been with Mom on the occasion of the Skype call when we informed her of Dad’s death, and on the next day when we touched in again to see how she was faring. Mom said she looked forward to Easter when both my sisters had committed to returning to Victoria to see, and be with her.

When my father’s celebration was over, but before packing up everything, I went upstairs (where I had cell coverage) and discovered that my mother’s physician had called me twice, and Karen had called once. I spoke with Dr. Vaughn and reiterated that I had left Karen with the instructions to keep me informed of changes in Mom’s health, and to act as her advocate in my absence. My conversations with both Karen and Dr. Vaughn had me very concerned about Mom’s lack of response to usual stimuli.  I shared my concerns with both my sisters and the rest of the close family that remained at the time. But it was still a huge shock to learn via a text from my brother, Ray, that Mom had died at 6:50pm that day, on March 6th.  I was about to get on my plane connection back to Victoria by the time I heard, but Mom had actually died before the last family members and I actually departed Dad’s seniors residence.

On reflection now, I realise there is so much that I have to be thankful for from both of my parents. I will be writing more in the next while about the gifts I am left with.

May you both rest in peace…. love, Howard

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Two very important TedTalks

While contemplating yet another conflict with my partner, tonight, I eventually ended up being led to two talks which put into perspective exactly what I needed to hear right now:

The first is that my job in my practice as an integrative practitioner of Osteopathy – and as a person living Life, like any other person – is to help myself, and others with whom I work, to see that as important as everything we do for our bodies, is (diet, exercise, adequate sleep, good integrative care when that is needed, and NOT when its not) … all of that pales in comparison with the central importance of the other factors beneath “physical health” in “The Whole Health Cairn” drawing from Dr, Lissa Rankin’s TedTalk, below. This talk is a good stepping off point for me to write what has been percolating for me in the last year and a half or so. More on that in a following post …..

Screen Shot 2012-12-22 at 10.05.09 PM

And, Secondly, the crucial need for Vulnerability – as so eloquently spoken of by Brené Brown, PhD. Dr. Brown’s TedTalk is referred to in Lissa Rankin’s video, and though I had seen it before, it had even more impact tonight.

In précis form, in order to live a whole-hearted life (one much less wrought with struggle) Dr. Brown points out that we MUST acknowledge the fundamental importance of courageously stepping into vulnerability. Her research showed that the willingness to do this was the key ingredient that distinguished people living mostly happy lives, from peers leading lives of mostly suffering. This last phrase is my language and not hers. Anyway, both of these videos come with a high recommendation….

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Please watch and consider – The true cost of oil: Garth Lenz – Tedx Victoria

This is very frightening – but absolutely MUST be faced and not turned away from. Let’s make our Christmas gifts to each other the simple but steadfast commitment to join this man and so many others in absolutely opposing the insanity of our present lifestyle. And, I have to say that even more than the politicians and their policies, more even than the corporate and big money interests on this little threatened planet, it is our own life habits, actions/inactions and feelings of overwhelm, apathy and fear that we must change if we are to have any chance of turning this around. If and when we think that “it must already be too late” – think of that phrase on our tombstones with our children and grandchildren looking on, minus the ‘luxury’ of that apathy.

Please watch this and then consider what you can do to support, and “be the change you want to see in the world”

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Teachings Coming Up – and how that relates to my day to day practice

In past years I have often taught private workshops to other health care providers, to animal-owning clients whose animal(s) I have treated, and to the general public.

Regular requests come in asking me when and what I’ll next be teaching.

In January, 2013, I will again be offering a course to people with animals.
– mostly for dog handlers – but I could do a separate one for cats (or the people they own) if there is sufficient interest. Here is a pdf of a brochure I recently updated.    Private Sessions and Courses – Animals 2012  I have not taught this particular course in almost ten years.

Those of you familiar with my work will know that while I do work with animals, the vast majority of my work is with people – from pregnant Moms and new-born infants, to older children, adolescents and then adults, right up  to seniors in their upper 90s. The demographics of my practice swell in two places: the first year of life (I see lots of young babies) and then also in the 45-70 years age range.

There are three areas of particular emphasis in my practice:

1. Pediatric osteopathy – After my training at the British College of Naturopathy and Osteopathy (now called the British College of Osteopathic Medicine) in London, UK, I worked on a rotational basis at the Osteopathic Centre for Children (also in London). There we worked with pregnant Moms and new-borns (sometimes assessing and treating whilst the babes were still in incubators, within hours of being born). And then we saw children presenting with a huge range of birth-trauma/complication-related disorders, neurological sequelae and syndromes, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and on and on. But every child was an individual existing within a context of his or her family and/or care-givers attending the child. Always it was necessary to remember the crucial importance of that contextual milieu, for if that was not also seen and addressed appropriately the child’s progress would be impeded. All of that was learned and incorporated into how I work with all the people and animals I treat.

2. Post-traumatic scenarios – These scenarios might occur after physical injuries resulting from (for example) such things as motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), sports/industrial injuries; or the soft-tissue or joint-related complications left after surgery or illness. By working with subtle self-regulating mechanisms – which work behind the scenes in every living being – it is possible, osteopathically, to support a move toward more balanced, harmonious and integrated function, on every level of humanity – not just the physical.

3. The interplay between psycho-emotional and/or spiritual-energetic issues, or crises, that arise around major transitions in one’s life, and, the bio-dynamic dysfunctions/manifestations that emerge while that is going on. To make this more concrete, let’s imagine a man who has injured both his low back and right shoulder at work. Since the injuries were serious enough to have him off work for many weeks, the situation has also led to a long battle with his employer, and his insurance company, about differing opinions of his “readiness for work” five months later. At the same time as those stressors are operating in his life, his whole financial viability feels in jeopardy, his relationships are “changing for the worse”, he is struggling with tolerance and maybe even addiction to medications for pain, and eventually, depression. This is a composite of many different people I have seen over almost 25 years of practice, but it is highly representative of a certain group of patients I see.

Now in such a complex scenario, I would likely be just one of a team of practitioners seeing and working with this man (I will call him Mr. R.). My job would be to help Mr. R.’s body release some of the more counter-productive tension and strain patterns that have been set up to compensate for altered function – and in an effort to limit his pain on movement. His posture will have changed, his breathing pattern will be different, his stamina for tasks that he enjoys – and maybe more so, those he doesn’t – will all be different than before. He might be grieving, angry and frustrated, by turns, about having to forego the former pleasures of playing hockey, or guitar, or sculpting, or antique car restoration. And, how he approaches working with the challenges I have illustrated (and there are more that I have not mentioned in this fictitious, but realistic scenario) will usually be crucial to what progress he can make.

In this scenario I would perhaps be even more likely than with most patients to use a multi-displinary approach – in two ways:

Firstly, if he was not already (or had not previously been) seeing a counselor, I would strongly encourage that. Having asked what other practitioners he was consulting, I would endeavor to bring some co-operation and integration of his treatment/care plan amongst the team of practitioners, including his GP.

In what I was offering Mr.R. directly, I would also be utilizing a multi-faceted approach . This would include communicating an understanding (in terms he could relate to) of my clinical conclusions about the functional dynamics of his back and shoulder injury. That is, his specific muscular and fascial injuries, and their state of healing, the compensatory dymanics forced by those injuries and his present resources for maintaining those patterns, the scarring and altered proprioception pathways that were operating, the bio-chemistry, bio-dynamics and bio-energetics of his present state, and how our work together could ideally help him identify and then begin to meet his own, realistic treatment objectives. Subtle osteopathic articulations, mobilizations and manipulations would be utilized to help his body’s inherent self-healing and self-regulating capabilities reawaken, and do their healing work.

Then there would be suggestions about dietary and lifestyle measures that would support and encourage the healing process for him. For instance, there are dietary guideline resources I have personally found of huge value, and which have worked very well for specific scenarios more similar to those of Mr R. which I would share with him. And, since I have found meditation and present-moment-awareness to be of fundamental importance in my own life, I would introduce some of those kind of practices into the sessions and/or the home care ‘assignments’. As always, I would need to be sensitive to how open, or not, Mr. R. was to such things. People still regularly surprise me in their openness or closedness to such phenomena – not always following my preconceived notions in this regard. So, I have learned to acknowledge and simply set aside such notions, to make whatever recommendations seem most appropriate, and to let the patient make the call as to whether, and to what extent, to apply those measures in their own lives.

So, all of the foregoing is a long-wided introduction to what the content of my upcoming courses will be.

I plan to give some free public talks on general measures that almost everyone can benefit from incorporating into their daily life.

Talks on dietary/lifestyle orientations.

In my view, one should always look at what measures are sustainable in the long term. Crash diets not only don’t work, they usually tend to make one’s health even worse.

We’ll look at exercise approaches and what I have learned in the last while. Some of the things I consider of fundamental importance fall outside my area of greatest expertise, and exercise is one of those things. Having said that, I have certainly seen good results in my own life from use of some new methods and approaches. So, I will get one or more local experts in those approaches to come along and give you more of the straight story on those things.

All of this is just coming together, but you will hear more about it if you watch this blog space, and/or you follow the Victoria Community Health Co-operative’s calendar of events. I will probably do some of those public talks through my long term association with them.

Finally, there are the courses I am proposing to offer other osteopaths, chiropractors, physiotherapists and physicians and massage therapists. These will again be different than what I have offered in previous years. They will be more focused on Presence. That is, there is a space from which any healing practice (and any experience under the sun, for that matter) can operate. If that space is filled with Presence – the awareness that I Am Here, conscious of my own breath, my connection with the Earth, and every other being or object; and all of that is not at all in the way of (but is in fact is in support of) my availability to be exquisitely WITH the client, then I can “do” osteopathy. Or, more accurately, osteopathy, healing practice in whatever way you conduct it, is not actually “done” by me, or anyone, – it simply and absolutely flows unhindered, with Grace and unerring efficiency. This is what I am called to share. Please watch this space for the particulars of what will be offered and when.

I am asking any and all readers who have bravely come this far in this lengthy treatise to please make any comments you will, below. I want to know whether what I am proposing here interests you. If so, at the very least let me know it. But if you leave a comment here you may help to spark interest in a colleague or friend of yours. Thank you for your time.

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With what actions will you vote, in this moment, for a New Reality?

As important as the content of my previous post on the voting in Victoria’s federal by-election was; and, as important as the voting for a new Premier in this province, a new Prime Minister in Canada, or a President, Congressman or woman, or Senator is in the US – or any other elected official at local, regional or federal levels – all of this pales in significance compared with how we vote in every moment, with our thoughts, feelings and especially our actions. That is to say that what each of us does, individually and from within, in simply showing up (or not); being present to the moment as it is, and as consciously as possible, choosing how to respond to what is seen to be True in the moment (or not), IS what collectively determines our reality – in each and every moment.

So in contemplating that last post and what I am called – literally called – to share,  I realise that the calling in this moment IS to consciously share this writing. There is also the hope that it resonates with others, but truly whether it does or not is none of my concern. In fact, that is a perfect example of the way in which egoic agendas arise trying to co-opt an answer to the call to Presence. I simply need to share this with you, and let you take from it what is useful and reject what does not ring true. I would ask that you feel into your response to what I am writing here though. See if it feels like it has value to you, or not.

As you will see in the provided links, below, to the two (brief) Ian MacKenzie videos, there are important and encouraging developments that point the way in terms of present moment actions, in service to the whole of humanity, which are already an expression of the possibility I am pointing to here with this post. People are voting with their hearts, their feet, their full conscious minds, their intelligence, their commitment – and their vulnerabilities. As Michael Stone, a Buddhist teacher, and subject of the short film “The Gift of Our Wounds” demonstrates, even our wounds (and perhaps especially them!) can be a great opportunity to connect us with  the Presence We Are. Much more eloquently than I, Michael Stone tells us how in the many, many hands of Bodhisattva (an Indian Goddess) she carries a tool. Many of those tools are often actually the wounds sustained in our lives. And instead of seeing those wounds as a scar, something we need to heal, or get beyond, or remove, we can (and need to in these times) realise that those wounds can be the very thing that allow us to see what is needed. The wounds can show us how to make conscious choices from a place of commonality with others who have also suffered similar wounds. This is to see the gift of those wounds – the opportunity to simply Be Present, to Be Here Now, making conscious choices, and having actions spring from that.

I couched the title of this post in the form I did to demonstrate that consciously or unconsciously the reality we experience in any moment is always  already the result – the direct, cumulative result – of the choices we’re making. Being in stasis, moving from fear, feeling paralyzed about making any choice, feeling overwhelmed, acting in anger or defense, these are actions that sum up to create a certain reality. It also follows then that all that is improving, going deeper, becoming more co-operative and respectfully celebratory is likewise unfolding from collective action in alignment with that.

Now let me be clear, this is not about blaming the victims – of any sort of suffering. It IS to point to where I believe we can free ourselves.  And, I am NOT saying (just as one possible example) that the people in the World Trade Center on 9-11 simply manifested their own demise by collectively willing it. What I am saying is that the planetary (not just human) consciousness as a whole has given rise to everything that has unfolded in the history of Earth. But to bring it back to an everyday scale, everyone alive and affected by the events of that fateful day of 9-11 has chosen (whether consciously or not) their response to the events. Through those choices moment-to-moment we create the colours and textures of our own experience. For me, then, freedom lies in the opportunity to make conscious all of my decisions – and many, if not most of them, are not yet conscious. But by waking up to the realization that I can grow quiet enough, and support myself in the quest to become present enough to simply BE, then I can see what action(s) arise(s) from that Being – if indeed any, in a particular moment.

Finally, the second video below is an interview with Charles Eisenstein on his book Sacred Economics. It briefly sketches a whole new paradigm for our relationship with money, and the economy. My friend, Nicole Moen, is one of the organizers of a conference still going on in Vancouver (it finishes tomorrow, November 25th), at which Charles Eisenstein is the keynote speaker.

Okay, if you have read this far, I encourage you to check out these short videos:

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Why I’ll be voting for Murray Rankin (NDP) in Monday’s Victoria by-election

I have heard a number of people in my social circle and amongst my patients/clients say they will be voting for the Green candidate, Donald Galloway, and I initially thought that might be something I could get onboard with. If one supports, as I do, the outspoken and importantly visible way in which Elizabeth May has publicised and generated public support to speak against the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) it would seem reasonable to show that Victoria supports that line of thinking. Like so many of the people I have talked to, I am very happy that Elizabeth May was elected, and that we have her voice in Ottawa – to speak alongside others who have brought this, and other important issues to public consciousness. Having said that, Elizabeth May is not on the slate in Victoria’s coming by-election, Donald Galloway is.

A recent video that Elisabeth May put out in support of Galloway as a candidate was, I think, rather skewed. May contends in the video that this by-election really doesn’t matter in the numbers of NDP or Conservative candidates elected across the country. I couldn’t disagree more. If we are to unseat Harper and his Conservative destruction machine in 2015 we will need all the NDP seats it is possible to generate. Whether there are one, two  – or, by 2015, three or four(?) – Green candidates, will only serve to split the numbers that could produce an historic change in Canadian government – the first NDP federal government, ever. While that prospect have some people concerned I personally believe that more of the same from the Harper Conservatives is a much scarier eventuality. If you are considering voting Green I am assuming that you already see that we will have to change the course of this ‘ship of state’ or we will flounder on the rocks. So what May is saying about voting Green ‘can only be a win’, and ‘how it is important to send her reinforcements’, as it were, are both inaccurate in my view.

Now if we had electoral system of proportional representation (something a Federal NDP government is committed to putting before the Canadian electorate) then the contributions of a small number of Green party MPs could really count for something powerful and important. But as it presently is, Donald Galloway is simply a very smart and likeable man; who, though a friend of many years to Elizabeth May, has no real depth of experience nor knowledge of the politics or environmental issues facing BC at this time. Murray Rankin, on the other hand, has been a passionate, out-spoken and highly effective voice for the environment throughout his adult life. Both Galloway and Rankin are professors who have taught at UVic’s law school. But Murray Rankin has also been the environmental advisor to the BC NDP party leaders, Carol James and Adrian Dix. He is a really seasoned expert on the dangers of the Enbridge pipeline, for example.

I also heard yesterday from a friend of mine that what Elizabeth May did in response to the FIPA was to call for an Emergency Debate. That sounds great – until you realise that Harper could then concede to that, and appear all conciliatory. But after hearing an afternoon or full day’s comments about why Canada should not proceed with this agreement, give his usual filibuster about why his government has deemed it a good idea, and pass it into law. In the end, Harper didn’t even have to do that much, since when the Opposition asked for an emergency debate (as a last resort, you will see below) the Speaker simply denied the motion.

Thus when 21 sitting days have passed in Canada’s parliament, and this agreement is ratified, we are due to be locked into a huge liability toward Chinese investors who could sue Canadian and provincial governments for billions, over the next 31 years. All this has apparently been in the draft stage for 8 years, and yet the Canadian public have only known about it for 5 weeks before it passed on November 1st.  [ Information from here: http://www.cbc.ca/daybreaksouth/2012/10/26/china-trade-agreement-what-you-need-to-know/ ]

How did Thomas Mulcair and the NDP respond to the FIPA? Here are a couple of excerpts from  a Montreal Gazette newspaper article, which can be seen in its entirety by clicking on the “Read more” link, below.

Mulcair said the NDP has “tried every technique at our disposal” to convince the Conservatives that Parliament ought to examine the deal before it’s approved. The NDP has sought to delay its ratification so that it can be studied by a Commons committee, and on Tuesday the Opposition requested a “take note” debate in the House of Commons, both of which were denied.

Now at the “11th hour,” the NDP asked for an emergency debate but that too was denied by House Speaker Andrew Scheer.

Read more: http://www.canada.com/government+back+FIPA+after+three+years+says+Leader+Mulcair/7478524/story.html#ixzz2D0KhiwzJ

Incidentally, Mulcair is quoted in the same newspaper article as saying that if elected in 2015, the NDP government would pull out of FIPA if its effects were deleterious to the Canadian tax-payers.

“The same way the Conservatives were able to withdraw Canada from the Kyoto accord, we will keep that option open if on close analysis on what will then be three years’ experience, it confirms our feeling that there are lots of things in there that will be problematic, not just for Canada as a nation-state, but indeed for our system of government because there’s a lot in there that interferes with the provinces and the provinces have never been consulted on this either,” Mulcair said.

Read more: http://www.canada.com/government+back+FIPA+after+three+years+says+Leader+Mulcair/7478524/story.html#ixzz2D0Pm2tAL

So anyway, I hope that any and all of you who are eligible to vote on Monday, November 26th will do so – for whomever you decide is the best candidate. I just wanted you to know a few things I only found out myself in the last couple of days.

Here’s to Democracy!

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