27 October 2012

because prayer worked so well in Texas

from: Winnipeg Free Press, October 24, 2012

Devon Clunis used an interview with a Winnipeg-based Christian newsmagazine to tell Winnipeggers he isn't going to be your typical chief of police.
It was no secret Clunis had been a chaplain with the Winnipeg Police Service for 14 years, but he made national headlines with his comments about harnessing the power of prayer to fight violent crime in the city.
"What would happen if we all just truly -- I'm talking about all religious stripes here -- started praying for the peace of this city and then actually started putting some action behind that?" Clunis is quoted in an Oct. 11 story in ChristianWeek. "I believe something phenomenal is going to happen in our city."
Clunis opened up even further, saying he believes God had a role in his climb up the ranks of the police service over the past 25 years. Clunis told the magazine while he didn't ask God to make him police chief, he did pray to become a successful leader who treats people with dignity and respect.
"God still cares, He's still involved in our lives," Clunis is quoted as saying. "And I believe without a shadow of a doubt, the only reason that I am in this position is because God is involved in it. Without a shadow of a doubt."...
read the full article"Winnipeg Free Press


prayer in action last year, in Texas...

April 2011:
“Now, therefore, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas.”

August 2011:
"... In the four months since Perry’s request for divine intervention, his state has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Nearly all of Texas is now in “extreme or exceptional” drought, as classified by federal meteorologists, the worst in Texas history... Lakes have disappeared. Creeks are phantoms, the caked bottoms littered with rotting, dead fish.... "
source: New York Times

and in Oklahoma...

July 2011: 
"... In response to Oklahoma’s record drought and heat wave, Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK) called for a statewide day of prayer on Sunday to pray for rain. For 47 straight days, temperatures in Oklahoma City have been above 90 degrees. Most of the state is in extreme to exceptional drought. There have been over 140 wildfires in the state.... She also told her constituents that if enough pray, God will come to their rescue...  “I think if we have a lot of people praying, it moves the heart of God,” Fallin told CBS News... "
source: Think Progress

August 2012:
"... Oklahoma continues to get scorched by extreme heat and drought. The entire state is now in extreme drought, and more than 70% of the state is in severe drought (or worse), up from 50% just a week ago... According to Gary McManus of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, July was the 23rd month out of the last 28 to come in warmer than statewide averages... "
source: Think Progress

21 October 2012

Salmo Stories: a new book by Larry Jacobsen

Join Larry Jacobsen at the launch party for his new book Salmo Stories
11.30 Saturday November 3rd at the Wilson Centre, Port Coquitlam map
(Available at many BC libraries or for under $40 from the author)

review by: Greg Nesteroff - Nelson Star, September 12, 2012 
Did you ever hear about the housewife who tried to kidnap a Golden Gloves contender at gunpoint just to liven up her party?
Or about Canada Bill Feeney, who lived outdoors while cruising timber at 30°F below?
They’re just a couple of the characters in Salmo Stories: Memories of a Place in the Kootenays, a new history book being launched this week by author and former resident Larry Jacobsen.
It’s really several books in one, for it reprints Rollie Mifflin’s long out-of-print memoir The Early Salmo Story in its entirety, and includes a previously unpublished manuscript by Cliff McIntosh, who arrived around 1904 and kept a journal.
Stumbling across the latter was sheer luck, according to Jacobsen.
“I went into a coffee house in Salmo and a guy had this photocopy of a photocopy he picked up at a garage sale,” he says. “A lot of the print was very difficult to read. But with a lot of hard work I managed to turn it into a readable manuscript.”
McIntosh, whom Jacobsen calls a “precocious youngster,” played piano at local dances as a teen. He left Salmo in 1920 and died in 1986, but not before completing an autobiography, which few have seen. Jacobsen tracked down McIntosh’s sisters in Williams Lake, who gave him permission to use the material...
Jacobson further drew on family stories collected by the Salmo museum and supplemented them with over 100 interviews to paint a picture of the community from the 1890s to 1960s. (It took him almost three years and close to 3,000 hours.)
The accounts vary in style, but while Jacobsen edited them for space and readability, he tried to preserve each person’s voice. “I introduce each storyteller and my connection to them,” he says. “Apart from that I get out of the way.”
They’re presented roughly in chronological order of each family’s arrival, beginning with the above-mentioned Feeney, who showed up in 1892, even before construction of the Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway put Salmo on the map.
What struck Jacobsen most was how tough people had to be to survive in the wilderness.
“Self-sufficient would be the best term,” he says. “It came through over and over again. I think some of it is genetic.”...
read the entire review at the Nelson Star

^^Larry Jacobsen, October 2012, Port Coquitlam

also by Larry Jacobsen:

14 October 2012

but the bullies keep winning: Amanda Todd Nov. 27, 1996 - Oct. 10, 2012

Amanda Todd, a Port Coquitlam area teenager who posted a video on YouTube last month about being cyber-bullied, was found dead Wednesday night... Authorities believe she committed suicide.

" ...People are on her Youtube video right now asking for the pictures, saying things like “dumb bitch deserved it”, “rot in hell slut”, and “this world is not for the weak”, and generally exposing themselves as the sorts of bullying shitheels this internet is so desperate to protect under the rubric of “free speech”... " Jason Thibeault on Lousy Canuck, October 13, 2012 

sources/further reading:
Lousy Canuck
Huffington Post
Vancouver Sun

11 October 2012

Canada-China Investment Treaty

 (from: Green Party of Canada, October 11, 2012)

What Has Harper Done? 

On September 9th, Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed an agreement with China, the Canada-China Investment Treaty. The agreement was kept from the Canadian public and Parliament until September 26th, 2012, when it was quietly made public, tabled in the House of Commons. No press release. No technical briefing. The deal is set for automatic approval. No vote or debate will take place in the House. Once tabled in the House, the clock started ticking. 21 sitting days from September 26 (October 31), this treaty will bind Canada.

Red Carpet for China
So what is the Canada-China Investment Treaty? Simply put, it is the most significant trade agreement signed by Canada since NAFTA. Only this time our “partner” is the communist government in Beijing, an authoritarian regime with an appalling record on human rights –and it isn’t getting better. This deal requires that Chinese government-owned companies be treated exactly the same as Canadian companies operating in Canada. Once in force, it lasts a minimum of 15 years. If a future government wants to get out of it, a one year notice is required – and even once the treaty is cancelled, any existing Chinese operations in Canada are guaranteed another 15 years of the treaty’s benefits.

We at the Green Party of Canada believe there are many flaws in that agreement. And we think Canadians should know about them:


1. Open bar for Chinese state-owned enterprises

The Canada-China Investment Treaty means easier takeovers of Canadian assets, especially in the resource sector. In the context of the possible takeover of Nexen by the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), it is crucial that we collectively pause to consider the wisdom of granting Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) such an easy access to our natural resources.


2. The right for China to claim damages over Canadian laws

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.


4. Secret hearings

The Canada-China Investment Treaty would allow Chinese investors to sue Canada outside of Canadian courts. Special arbitrators would take the decisions. These arbitrators, unlike judges, do not have secure tenures or set salaries. Their decision cannot be subject to judicial review. And the arbitrations are to be secret. Even the fact they are happening is to be secret.


5. Right to be heard

Only the federal government is allowed to take part in the arbitration process. Provincial governments or Canadian companies, even if their interests are affected, do not have the right to voice their concerns during the arbitration process.


6. China’s obsession for secrecy

The Canada-China Investment Agreement makes Chinese lawsuits secret . At any time, we will not know if we are being sued and who will decide the case. We will not know what our government is saying on our behalf. We will not know if Canada has been ordered to change government decisions. This is a complete U-turn for Canada who has always insisted on complete openness in investor-state arbitration, for example when signing the Canada-US-Mexico free trade deal.


7. Restrictions on our use of our own resources

The Canada-China Investment Treaty requires that if, in the future, Canada wants to conserve natural resources (fisheries, water, oil, uranium, forests --  everything is covered), and reduce Chinese access to these resources, we are only allowed to do so to the extent we limit our own use of those natural resources.