Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I'm worried about Canada

Can we chat for a minute?

I love being Canadian. I love our country, the history, the social programs, the people, the geography, everything, but I'm starting to worry.

Throughout much of my youth Canada was consistently ranked as one of the best countries to live in, now according to the UN, we're not even in the top 10: UN Report. Points have been made that it's not so much that the quality of life in Canada is declining, rather it's that other countries are improving faster, but doesn't that amount to the same thing? Should we be aiming to improve as fast as everyone?

But there's much more to worry about and I don't even know where to start. The environment? The inability of scientists to speak out? The Government's control over Crown corporations? The Government's tactics on handling crime? The true cost of fighter jets and fighting terror? Where do I stop?

The Government says it has an action plan against climate change (Canadian Government Climate Change Website), then why is Canada continually awarded with titles like Fossil of the Year award (Climate Network Website), attempt to close research facilities like the Experimental Lakes Area (Experimental Lakes Area Website), pull out of the Kyoto Accord (David Suzuki Organization Website), and leave individual provinces to seek their own methods of combating carbon emissions, never mind the continuation of the tar sands (there are too many links focusing on the harmful affects of the tar sands to list here, however I will link to a Nature of Things documentary on the topic: The Nature of Things).

Those are just a few of the things I'm aware off, and I'm not a news/environment buff.

And what about the Government's control (a.k.a. bullying) tactics? Government scientists aren't allow to speak about their research without permission from the Government, and even when they are granted permission, they're kept to specific talking points outlined by the Government (Muzzled Scientists (CBC)Scientists Writers of Canada Website) and even other countries have noticed: (Muzzled Scientists (BBC)). It's not just scientists that are feeling the pressure, it's librarians too Librarians Silenced (National Post). I wish it stopped there (no, I wish I didn't even have to write this post), but now there are wide-spread concerns over a section of the budget that gives the government control over, among other things, collective bargaining rights over Crown corporations. I've heard a lot of predictions that the CBC will soon become State radio, akin to what is run in Russia (Crown Corporations (The Star)Crown Corporations (CBC)).

Ugh. I'm starting to feel oppressed just writing this...and I've still got at least two more points to cover from what I mentioned above.

I'm a big fan of prevention. Preventative health care, preventative social programs, etc., just preventing negative outcomes in general. Unfortunately, that's not the tactics taken in combating crime in Canada right now. Instead it's more prisons, more penalties, and longer sentences, the Government has in it's words, gotten 'tough on crime' (Summary of Crime Measures (Huffington Post), National Union of Public and General Employees Comment CCPA concerns on cuts to prevention programs). And finally there's the true cost, of many things. How much do those new fighter jets cost? Is that with or without the maintenance and are we even going to see those fighter jets? (Cost of F-35 Fighter Jets (CBC)Cost of F-35 Fighter Jets (CTV)Cost of F-35 Fighter Jets (Globe and Mail)) What about fighting terror? (Missing anti-terrorism funds (Natl Post)Missing anti-terrorism funds (CBC).

Of course I've added new concerns to my list since I began this post, specifically regarding the Senate and in general the Government's lack of transparency and accountability. However, if I delved into those issues this post would never get finished.

You can accuse me of selection bias if you like, posting only links to sites that support my fears, and you very well might be right. However, I'm not a journalist striving for a balanced view, and I'm not acting as a researcher or even a librarian. I'm writing as a worried Canadian. And, as Canadian I apologize if I've offended you, dear reader, or if I've gotten any of the facts wrong.

I think the end point of this discussion, regardless of your opinion is that we should demand better from our country and our Government...I just wish I knew how to more effectively voice my concerns.


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