Tuesday, December 11, 2012

 

Perspectives

Jail and Justice: Canadian Style

Is it time for public civil disobedience on global warming?

Submitted by Betty Krawczyk, Cumberland BC

 

kay, nobody likes jail. Itís a terrible place. However, when one is imprisoned because of oneís protest of rotten laws and leaders that are enabling the resource corporations to destroy our planet (Harperís approval of Nexen take over by China is the latest), a kind of power transfer takes place.

 

The powers that be (hereafter referred to as PTB), become just ever so slightly afraid of you. However, when one is first arrested on a protest line, taken to the police station, booked, and then given an undertaking to sign, this undertaking becomes a matter of great importance to the PTB.

The undertaking is a promise you will not go back to the protest spot where you were arrested. When this piece of paper is presented to you, if you sign, you will be classified as posing no danger to the PTB and you will be released. You will not be considered a threat to the PTB in terms of causing possible national and international embarrassment. Signing means you have more or less agreed that you were somewhere you shouldnít have been. Signing means you will have to apologize to the judge when you stand before him or her and be given community service work like any common criminal as punishment. The alternative? The way to keep within your mind and heart the power of the outraged citizen and human being that drove you to the protest in the first place?

Donít sign that undertaking. Just donít sign. And when you are brought before a judge plead not guilty. You will of course be kept in custody until your trial. However, you status has now been changed. You are no longer a pesky insect buzzing around the ears of the real people (PTB). You have now been elevated to the title of POLITICAL PRISONER.

A POLITICAL PRISONER is one who is in prison primarily because they do not agree with the usually inhumane route their PTB is taking. Canada is a country that is not supposed to have POLITICAL PRISONERS and you will terrify the logging and mining interests, the oil and gas corporations, fish farm owners, developers and financial lending banks concerned with the takeovers of public spaces, public parks, streams, rivers, and the confiscators of farm lands along with the GMO food criminals.


Of course I understand that many people, okay most people, are in no position to take the high road in the matter. Most canít. People have jobs, there are children to be taken care of, rent and mortgages to be met and a lot of older people have health issues. However, we are living in desperate times. Anybody watching or listening to the international meetings on climate in Doha, Qatar the last three days must have wept in frustration. Like me.

The main Philippine delegate to the conference also wept. On camera. Part of his country is under water that isnít supposed to be. Unusual weather patterns. He begged for the promise of some concrete action from the developed countries to fight Global Warming.

 

He didnít get it.

 

The US not only refused to pledge more support to fight Global Warming, some of the other delegates complained that the US encouraged other countries to follow their lead. As another third world delegate put it, the US seemed more intent on clarifying how to buy and sell carbon credits instead of how to actually curtail emissions.

 

And Canada? Canada was as usual an environmental disgrace. But this time it was particularly sickening because Environment Minister Peter Kent not only followed the lead of the US but made this statement at Doha when noting that Canada had previously pledged 1.2 billion over three years: ďTo maximize the impact of our contribution, Canada has structured its fast-start financing investments in a way that encourages private investment and innovation. This will be a critical component of longer-term climate-change financing. The successes we are seeing with our Canadian investments will yield key lessons for the global communityĒ.

What key lessons? In hypocrisy? Delusions of Grandeur? That if saving the world from climate melt down doesnít make money Canada isnít interested? That Stephen Harper could hold China up as an excuse for refusing the Kyoto Protocols at the same time join China in the monstrous pollution of the Canadian oil sands? While the majority of the worldís most respected scientists are pleading for all nations to heed their warnings? Is it time to think about peaceful civil disobedience?

 

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