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Health Care Town Hall March 6 _ 2012

7 Mar

As Alberta steers toward a provincial election, the Calgary Herald, Alberta Medical Association and Canadian Medical Association are hosting a town hall forum today on the future of health care featuring Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne and representatives from four op-position parties.

The event will be held at the Metropolitan Conference Centre from 6: 45-8: 45 p.m.

Panellists include Horne, Liberal health critic David Swann, Wildrose Alliance health critic Heather Forsyth, Alberta Party Leader Glenn Taylor and former federal NDP candidate Shannon Phillips.

Calgary Herald editorial page editor Licia Corbella is moderating the forum.

Questions will be posed by members of the public, Herald readers, a Calgary physician and health-care organizations and non-profits.

“Health care is a priority for Albertans and with the election coming in the next days or weeks, we think it’s a good opportunity to learn more about the positions of the various parties,” said AMA assistant executive director Ron Kustra.

“There’s no doubt health care is one of the most important concerns for Albertans in the upcoming election, and polls continuously show it’s the top issue in the province,” added Calgary Herald managing editor Monica Zurowski.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the public to discuss and learn more about the future of health care in the province.”

The public is invited to attend the meeting. A second town hall is planned for Edmonton on March 12.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Health+care+debate+tonight+Calgary/6255997/story.html#ixzz1oRaeZqpI
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Questions – Mandi Schrader

2 Dec

I’d like to take a moment to clarify some misconceptions once and for all. If you are an Occupy hater I’m going to respectfully ask you to read this all the way through before commenting. If you don’t, and I can tell, your comments will be zapped.

In the past few weeks I have been accused of hating the following: work, money, capitalism, people who have more money than me, technology, (odd since I am not using smoke signals to communicate this message) industry and Canada.

I have been accused of laziness, working too hard for a pointless cause, wrecking a public park, being a hypocrite for refusing to sleep in said park, stupidity and hyperintellectualism.

Screw all of that.

Due to the diversity of people participating in this cause and their various concerns, it is very difficult to speak for the entire collective. To me it is fairly clear what we are aiming for and why.

No matter who you are I’m betting that at least once you’ve complained about the government. It is clear to many of us that our leaders by and large do not care about the average citizen. They cater to corporations whose interests are in profits at the cost of humans.

That is definitely a sweeping statement. There are many members of various levels of government who do care and there are corporations who deal ethically.

However, we are largely unprotected from the ones who don’t care. They prey upon our psychology to encourage us to wastefully consume products which are low in quality and very possibly made by people who are being exploited and severely underpaid. Who here is not aware that “made in China” usually means “made in a sweatshop?”

How much credit card debt are you going to rack up this holiday season on items you will discard by the end? Tinsel, cards, paper, bows, stupid stocking stuffers, presents that no one wanted but were purchased out of a sense of “I’ve got to get them something.”

How many perfectly good items wind up in landfills because you need the latest version?

Ask yourself why.

We are constantly inundated with conflicting messages, some designed to raise fear, some to put it to rest. Our media rarely educates and informs. It entertains and sensationalizes. Are you really aware of what is going on out there? Do you really think that because it wasn’t fed to you in sound bite-sized pieces that it isn’t true or didn’t happen?

Wake up. Canada DID bail out our banks. YOUR pension could be getting skimmed by unscrupulous investment bankers and your government will do nothing to prove or prosecute this. We pay high costs for food because it has to travel a LONG way to get to us, despite the fertility of our land. The food industry runs on oil. It doesn’t have to. We could grow our own. We in Alberta pay some of the highest prices for energy despite being the top producing province of those same resources.

Why is this so and why don’t you care? Why, furthermore, are you getting angry at people like me for caring?

Could we possibly engage in a citywide, province wide, nationwide, worldwide conversation on ways to make it better? Seriously, what is your problem with that? Are you afraid it will disrupt the status quo, rock the boat, force YOU to look at the way you have been living, the way you directly support environmental destruction and all the horrors of unchecked greed mentioned above?

Are you afraid you could lose all you have worked hard to gain, the respect of your friends and neighbors, your own self esteem?

Well guess what. We all have a lot to lose. Some of us have already gone out on that limb and we are doing it for you as much as us. No one is looking for a handout. We are looking for an echo, an awakening, hope.

And it’s true that this movement may seem pointless in Canada because here we are still comfortable. But at what cost does that comfort continue? Is it really worth remaining comfortable driving a hummer when first nations’ water sources are being poisoned by toxins dumped by the oil trade? Did you know that cancer rates are escalating in the rurals of northern Alberta? Did you know we breathe poison, eat poison and then think and speak poison?

Is television, empty plastic pop culture and processed food so rotting our minds and bodies that we can sit in our easy chairs and ignore all of this?

The short answer is: yes.

The longer answer is: I hope not.

The complete answer is: It’s up to all of us. Look at the world you are helping create. Own your part in its creation. Do what you can to limit your participation in the crime that is causing the destruction of our planet, our people, our minds.

Can you love your neighbor, all 7 billion of them? Can you treat others as you want to be treated, all 7 billion of them? Can you treat yourself better by demanding quality over convenience, kindness over cruelty, life over sleepwalking through life?

I think we’d all better try. Don’t you? That is how real change happens. Everyone trying in their own small way.

That is what I am in this for. Not a handout. Not a moment in the spotlight. Awareness. Conscious living. Love and compassion for all beings.

We can change the world. I believe this utterly. If you don’t believe it, keep reading this blog. Keep coming back with hate and shortsightedness. Keep criticizing the people who, despite being the least qualified to do it, are already trying. Even that helps if it keeps the conversation going.

Haters, we need you as much as anybody. Keep doing your part. We will keep doing ours. Maybe one day we will do it all together.

How to create Social Change: A long boring lecture – Trysch Anderson

1 Dec

I have been following the Occupy Calgary movement for awhile now and I do believe in this. Fundamental change is important on a political, environmental and social level.

While watching the movement develop I have come across another group called Common Ground Calgary. I love this group, they are very funny people with some well thought out ideas. With the approaching holiday season the group has collectively decided to help out around the community in any way they can. I support this, the holidays being stressful at best. Any support people can muster up at this time is a great show of community spirit. I decided to jump on board.

I was reading the forum today and someone posted an interesting article, I couldn’t help but write this after reading it. The question was asked if we were just band aiding the situation due to the holidays and ignoring the deeper rooted problems of the world. I am going to have to say no, this is not what we are doing at all. It may seem that way, however small change helps bring about larger change if we remember that instant gratification is a cookie or a glass of good wine and nothing more.

Helping people is part of the social change we need to make. A sense of community and a culture of reaching out a helping hand is a paradigm that is needed. Can you name four of your neighbors? If someone goes to break into your house tomorrow, will your neighbors know or care that it’s happening?

When I lived in a small town, if I sneezed at least four of my neighbors would say bless you. Living downtown I found the most remarkable building to live in. It was a small building however it was a community of people helping people. I could (and still can even though I have moved) name every single person who lived around me. I knew about their families, we ate together, it was a very healthy happy environment. No one went hungry, we had indoor and outdoor gardens. Someone always cooked and people brought what they could afford.

Part of making things better for everyone is helping. Protecting each other, being kind and considerate are the first steps to real change. This one small space still thrives, with everyone doing their part and contributing no matter how that manifested itself. By both small and large changes we will create a helping and kind society that strives for everyone to be equal and cared for and loved. That seems ok to me. Together we are strong. If a mob mentality can create destruction like it did during Vancouver’s playoffs last year, then a positive group mentality will bring about the change we are looking for.

We need is to find common ground to bind the community as well as the world together. This will bring about the sort of environment we want to leave for our children. As a mother of two, I don’t want my kids living in a world where pepper spraying and arresting innocent people is acceptable, nor where marijuana smokers are getting more jail time than child rapists. So bring about small change in your community and encourage other to as well.

I will be offering children a musical workshops in my home by donation once a week starting December 6th. These will be for people who need a couple of hours to just go shopping or wash their hair or whatever. Also come spring I will be helping to get people seeds so they can grow their own food no matter where they live. I grow a mean indoor apartment garden (it has to be able to defend itself against the squirrels. Sorry they scare me.)

I am unsure what else I will think of in the future but currently these are my contributions. This is what I can offer them to help change the world, one person at a time. Every journey begins with a single small step towards the destination. I hope you all find your niche as well. Good luck and may we all find some Common Ground in Calgary.

Occupy Xmas – Mandi Schrader

28 Nov

We are entering the season of tinsel, ad nauseum canned carols and maxed out credit cards.

I’m not a Christmas lover. From the tacky red-and-green motifs, the bags and bags of paper purchased only to be torn up and wasted, the packed shopping centers and ugly sweaters it is not my favorite holiday for many reasons. Years of playing angels in my old church pageants didn’t help either. Angel I am not.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the spirit of warmth and light, peace on earth and family love. I love the spirit of generosity and hope. I love the cookies my mom sends every year. I love candy canes.

I hate the mall mobs, the stress, the pressure to spend spend spend and the measurement of love by the cost of a gift. And seriously can someone please write some new songs?

I challenge everyone out there, Occupiers and Occupy haters alike to rethink Christmas this year. I challenge you to make it about helping others; giving of yourself, not your wallet.

If you must spend money on gifts, go to locally owned small businesses. Support the people in your community, not the big box stores. Teach the kids that Christmas is about love, not video games. Go caroling door to door. Meet your neighbors or get to know them better. Leave your credit cards at home.

I have always been inspired by Dolly Parton’s stories of growing up in the back woods with 11 brothers and sisters. The family only ever had money for one gift. They hid it somewhere in the house and on Christmas morning all the kids searched for it. The one who found it, kept it. She spoke of those days with warmth and joy. No one ever demanded the latest trendy item, they had what they had.

I’m not suggesting we make everyone compete for one present. I AM suggesting that we reconsider the values that send us all into debt over the holidays. In whatever way we can, let’s stand up for peace, joy, good will towards ALL.

We of Occupy have joined together with people who once called us squatters, people who understand that whatever our methods we are doing this to make a better world. You can be part of it. Join us at Common Ground Calgary.

This isn’t just about Christmas, Yule, Hannuka or Kwanza. It is a fire we hope to light in the hearts of everyone and keep it glowing throughout the year. Together we can change the world. With kindness, courage and love we will succeed.

Solution #2- Integrate Rather than Segregate! – Kym Chi

27 Nov

Integrate rather than segregate is actually one of the most valuable permaculture principles.  It speaks to looking at how things can work together as a whole instead of separating everything that is different and grouping everything together that is the same.

We see this a lot in our society whether it be in schools with cliques, in agriculture with monoculture, in our communities with cultural differences and in our current class system with upper, middle and lower class.  When we have too many of the same things grouped together in a system it eventually causes for that system to become stagnant as it ends up with too much of one thing and not enough of another.

How can we go about fixing this?

I know that when I was younger I was taught that being different was bad, that thinking outside of the box was silly.  How many other children are being taught this?  Most of us are taught to think within the current system instead of being encouraged to think of ways things could be different.  We perpetuate the cycle of segregation and we constantly fight integration.  The reality is that integration is the natural way.  If you look at a thriving natural system you see that there is a lot of diversity to make that system function.  It operates successfully and abundantly only because of the diversity it offers.  If we took this model into our current system we could also operate more efficiently.  I propose that we spend more time encouraging students in schools to think outside of the box.  This can be done by offering various teaching styles to students, surveying students and asking them for ideas on how we can do things differently and rewarding them for having different ideas instead of making them feel outcast or silly.  Encourage children to learn from each others differences and understand the value in diversity instead of being fearful of it.  The reason why I focus so much on schooling as our youth are our future and I know much of the thought patterns I have struggled to turn around come from my childhood and youth, we should start there.

Breeding openness to ideas amongst our youth will also open up our next generation to diversity and acceptance.  It will allow for others to really see the value in differences and alternative ideas.  In turn we will have a diverse system with enough of everything to make it function as a whole.

Love and Light,
Kym Chi

Regarding “Occupy Harper” and the Omnibus crime bill – James Jesso

25 Nov

Dear Prime Minister Harper,
I have followed Bill c-10 for sometime now and it has become obvious that the majority of informed Canadians, many of their representatives and organizations including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, are against it. Today marks a Nation wide protest and outcry against this bill and I felt it appropriate to take some time to write to you and let you know that I am also personally against this bill.

In fact, I am appalled that it has even come to the point that it has in the house. Canada is supposed to be a land of opportunity and peaceful community and to implement this type of law, one that exists in contradiction to the facts surrounding crime rate in Canada and what policies are most effective for reducing crime, seems grossly ignorant.

Tracy Velázquez, executive director of the Washington-based Justice Policy Institute, has publicly stated “If passed, C-10 will take Canadian justice policies 180 degrees in the wrong direction, and Canadian citizens will bear the costs.”

In addition to the obliviously ignorant justification towards the mandatory sentences proposed by this law and further perpetuation of a fascist state that was once a democratic Canada, it is a far too expensive decision. We are already cutting spending on important aspects of our country such as civil service jobs, education, healthcare, Environment Canada (which I am completely opposed to your destructive decision to cut its federal spending) and many other areas as well. According to the John Howard Society of Manitoba, who calculated the costs of this perturbation of Canadian values, the cost surrounding this bill will be $2 billion a year in total. This number includes both federal and provincial costs and averages out to $1400 per tax-payer.

It is absolutely ridiculous that we would spend such money on a policy change that has been shown through the example of other areas in the world to be ineffective. Judge John Creuzot of the Dallas County Court out of Texas, known for their tough on crime policies has said “You will spend billions and billions and billions on locking people up, and there will come a time where the public says, ‘Enough!’ And you’ll wind up letting them out.” This man speaks of personal experience; do we really need to pay to learn from the same mistakes?

Furthermore, if it is crime that we are worried about maybe we should begin to make laws that address the main reasons for crime, such as social-economic instability and encumbrance. We could start by creating laws that prevent the further hindering of Canadians through a debt load earned by the federal government borrowing money from Charted Banks. Where the responsibility of paying the gross compounded interest charged by these private corporations is placed onto the backs of Canadian tax-payers. Maybe we could start to use the Bank of Canada for these loans and the generation of money instead of the private banking corporations?  Using the bank of Canada as it was intended to be used when it was created. Maybe we could even increase funding of social programs instead of increasing corporate tax cuts like we have been over the last 10 years?

Crime rates have been steady dropping over the last 30 years. What is it that we have to fix so badly that we would further steal from the pockets of Canadians and the social programs that are supposed to create a sense of well-being and quality of life? In the mist of a world-wide economic calamity, why increase spending on overcrowding our prison system? What is Canada trying to accomplish here? To what extent will the federal government go with creating unnecessary regulations and laws, poorly allocating their spending and making clearly selfish considerations towards political policy, before we start making intelligent decisions?

The Omnibus Crime Bill C-10 is a fast track to not only a North American breed of fascism but also a completely irresponsible allocation of our budget. As a concerned, informed and intelligent citizen I request a complete stop on Bill C-10 or a referendum to decide whether it is to be implemented. Clearly a bill that would not only disrupt the lives of lives of all Canadians but also destroy the once was diplomatic value of Canada, would be decided up by the people not by a party elected into power on 24% of the eligible vote. It would be pretty clear to Canadians and to the world the state of democracy in Canada if this bill passes, as I highly doubt it would pass in a true democracy.

May God bless love, wisdom and compassion onto you are your family today.

Sincerely,

3 Goals – Anonymous

21 Nov

I’ve been asked a lot about what I think we need to do to change things. I’ve come up with what I believe are 3 Reasonable and Realistic goals.

1) Get Corporations out of Government. Our “Elected Officials” are bought and paid for by Companies. Its hard for a politician to be fair and just, when he got his job through Corporate Donations. Create laws to balance the board for all potential candidates, and let this win their jobs on merit, not TV ads and soundbites, paid for by GlobalCorp. This will help make Government responsible to people again. Make no mistake, this is going to HURT politicians, who will have to work harder to get their jobs, and will have to work hard to keep them. Its time to change this system.

2) End Fractional banking, and Reserve Banking. Tell the Banks that we no longer owe them the money they invented for themselves. Remove fractional banking, so if a Bank wants to lend money, they HAVE TO HAVE IT TO LEND. Worldwide Government debt was invented by Reserve Banks. It has no basis in fact, and needs to be treated like every other imaginary thing. Make no mistake, this is going to HURT Banks, who have made billions inventing debt. Its time to change this system.

3) Create Corporate liability. A Corporation is not a person, and cannot be treated as such. If a person does something wrong, he takes responsibility, and is punished. If a Corporation does something wrong, they have to pay a fine, and layoff the people at the bottom of the pile. Make the people at the top of the pile PERSONALLY responsible for the actions of their Company. If GlobalCorp dumps pollution into a lake, and is fined 100 Million dollars, then the Shareholders can eat 1/3 of that, the CEO and Directors can eat 1/3 of that, THEN the Corporation can eat the other 1/3. If we have PEOPLE responsible and accountable when bad things happen, then those people have a vested interest in making sure those things don’t happen. Make no mistake, this is going to HURT Companies, who haven’t been held accountable for a long time. Its time to change this system.

I don’t see how any of these are not feasible. They are difficult, and its going to take a momentous push to even start the wheel turning, but maybe…. just maybe, we can turn the world into something worth handing to our children.

Food and Water Security Part 1 – Allan Parker

13 Nov

This is part 1 of a three part series. In the next post we will look at problems with our water management. Part 3 will be all about solutions.

The two main concerns with food sovereignty are availability and quality. Many people have noticed that in the grocery stores the quantities are getting smaller and the prices elevate or stay the same. People aren’t really sure what they’re buying anymore.

When you get right down to it, food and water security are essential to freedom. They are what allows us to take care of ourselves. What’s happening over the last few years with globalization is the food producers, especially in the northern climates, are getting further and further apart. And we saw last year a clear danger of what can happen as a result, where a weather event froze the tomatoes in California and Mexico and suddenly there was a shortage of just one crop. This could easily happen on a much larger scale.

Statitsics show the average food product on the shelf is traveling 1500 miles to get here. If you follow it down the chain it’s the oil companies that are in control. This has the potential for many dangers.

If the supply lines were to stop the food would stop flowing. There are many reasons why they could stop, for example if there was an influenza outbreak and people stopped going to work because they were afraid of contracting the disease.  At this point in North America cities like Calgary have on average roughly a three day supply of food.

We found ourself in this situation through over a hundred years of industrial monocrop farming using fertilizers which have leeched the soil an depleted the topsoil to the point where most large farms are almost incapable of producing any kind of vegetable crop without using fertilizer.

This is something that is highly overlooked and it’s only recently that people are starting to catch on to how important this is. We need to start educating people in university about how to maintain our soil.

There are examples of people getting e coli poisoning from lettuce. In Mexico there is human sewage flowing into the fields where they grow lettuce and spinach. This is an incredibly dangerous practice and it travels all the way across the continent.

Companies like Monsanto experiment with genetically altering food crops. They’ve gotten into some really weird sci-fi stuff where they’re putting flounder genes, fish genes into tomatoes to make them frost resistant. We have products on the shelf that taste and look like a tomato but there is very little nutritional value. We really don’t know what these modified crops are doing to our health.

Monsanto has managed to control nearly the entire soybean and corn crop in North America. They are trying to move into Mexico. There continue to be court decisions that favor them to the point where now if they find their genetic property in anybody’s crop, which is spread by pollen, they own that person’s crop by legal entitlement.

I’ve spoken with many local farmers who have gone onto the Monsanto program. Monsanto produces crops that are resistant to Monsanto’s pesticides. In other words you plant Monsanto crops and then you can use Round Up to kill all the weeds. A farmer I spoke to last winter says that after 2 years he’s seeing the same weeds that he killed with Round Up coming back with their own naturally evolved resistance to the pesticide.

There has been no long term scientific study done on the effects of eating these products. There is some scientific evidence coming to light recently showing that it’s detrimental to cattle and other livestock that are eating them. That stuff is going into their system, then we eat the livestock and it is going into our systems.

Monsanto has been around for over 100 years. They’ve done a lot of work for the military. They invented agent orange and nerve gas. They also invented saccharine which was supposed to be A-OK but we later found out that it was harmful to us physically.

The requirement that all foodstuffs to be labeled with a complete list of ingredients and nutritional values is a Health Canada mandate. Yet they do not require anything with a GMO product in it to be labeled with that information. At this point 90% of the products in our supermarkets have GMO products in them.

Canadians need to demand to know what’s in their food. If you have children you’re probably concerned about what you’re actually feeding them. We need to know if there are GMO products in what we’re eating. We need to know where they come from. What countries do they come from, are they using equitable and sustainable growing practices?

This is really about our earth. We don’t have anywhere else to go. It’s not like we can go grow corn on Mars. This is all we’ve got. The question I want to ask everyone out there is: are you willing to allow the same people that have created the monetary system and the unnecessary addiction to oil to control our food and water supplies?

Canada has slipped from third to seventh place as a world food producer. The government is encouraging people more and more to get on board with companies like Monsanto and pushing the monocrop ideal. There are forces at work buying huge pieces of land in India and Africa and creating giant monoculture systems that do not work. They leech the soil and become less and less productive over time. We really need to rethink this and start thinking about the field to table idea.

Since 1900, 90percent of the vegetable crops that we used to see on our tables are now extinct because the new industrialized farming ideal has pushed them aside to the point where they are gone. There may be some feral species left out there somewhere. I hope there are and that they can be found and restored. But how many more will we lose in the name of profits and control to some major corporation?

Why did the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Government step aside 10 years ango and let Wall Street and their “investors” run the home mortgage show? – Alessandro Machi

13 Nov

Why did the government and the federal reserve step aside and allow wall street to move in and become the direct beneficiary of mortgage securitizations while also allowing wall street’s “investors” to be the direct underwriters of home mortgages as well?

If the federal reserve (a non governmental agency), or the U.S. government had offered mortgage securitization bonds to wall street, homeowners would have still been protected and insulated from the past 10 years of wall street investment shenanigans because they would have been PROTECTED by our own government from such dangerous nonsense.

Instead, a little over ten years ago it appears the government and the federal reserve simply stepped aside and allowed wall street’s influence and their investor’s money direct access to the homeowner. Wall street and wall street investor’s “profit at all costs”agenda was diametrically different to the federal reserve and our own government’s home mortgage track record.

Our own government might see the value in restructuring a mortgage so that the homeowner can keep making regular payments on time. Wall Street didn’t care, and our entire economy caved in even as Wall Street rewarded itself with obscene amounts of bonuses.

Wall Street seemed to have created quite the mortgage ponzie scheme. If homeowners make their mortgage payments on time, wall street would profit handsomely from wall street mortgage securitization investment deals that were already in place. If the homeowner failed to make their mortgage payments on time, Wall Street had other investment schemes in place in which they would also profit handsomely based on homeowners’ failing to make their mortgage payments!

Mortgage servicers also started profiting from the excessive fees and penalties they tacked onto struggling homeowners for the most minor of infractions. One homeowner lost his home over a 13 cent mistake! This would never have happened when the government and the federal reserve were directly involved in all mortgage agreements.

So why did the federal reserve and the government not keep doing what they had been doing for well more than half of a century?  Was the rescinding of Glass Stegall the reason that the government and the federal reserve seemed to become disinterested parties regarding what went on with home mortgages?                                               

Just because Glass Steagall was rescinded does not excuse the U.S. government or the Federal Reserve from becoming disinterested in the home mortgage industry, yet that is exactly what the federal reserve and our own government did to the american people.

Maybe allowing the federal reserve and our own government to print money without parallel responsibilities makes having a working relationship with homeowners…kind of boring???

Why have a working relationship with the 99% if you can just print money at will and hand it out to your billionaire and trillionaire friends and let them do the work for you! And we all know that every billionaire and trillionaire out there earned their all of their wealth in a completely righteous and honest manner. (sarcasm alert).

Did our own government and the federal reserve simply get out of the home mortgage business so they could get into the “print money for wars” scenario instead? Did the government stopped being directly involved in home mortgages so they could print money for other purposes such as war? Did our own government and the federal reserve aid and abet specific companies that profited handsomely from war and who may have then contributed to the politicians who made them rich? If this is the case, people need to be tried, convicted, and jailed. 

Welcome to the Occupy Movement.


Who approved absolving the federal reserve and the U.S. government from directly backing U.S. mortgages?  Did the U.S. government and federal reserve’s lack of responsibility when it came to backing home mortgages rise to the level of conspiracy against U.S. citizens?

Presently, debt restructuring first requires a default by the debtor, no doubt because that is what wall street and their greedy  investors wanted. Yes, you are a greedy investor if you happily forced homeowners to pay huge penalties and fees on poorly constructed home loans, or lose their home if they didn’t pay the huge penalties and fees.

Our own government’s direct involvement in home mortgages would have afforded more flexibility in offering justifiable debt restructuring without first requiring a default by the debtor, especially when it became clear that the economy was not doing well.

So again it must be asked, why did the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve step aside and expose homeowners DIRECTLY to the seedy hands of wall street and their investor’s “profit no matter what happens” scenario almost 11 years ago?

The 99% needs to fight to get a debt restructuring without a default declaration passed into law plan or millions more americans will unfairly lose their homes to the same unseemly wall street characters that caused their need for debt restructure in the first place.

If our government and the Federal Reserve continues to drag their feet over this fact, they too need to be put on trial.

What Are We Afraid Of? Mandi Schrader

9 Nov

UPDATED TO REFLECT CURRENT INFORMATION

We live in a society which all too often rewards greed over honest work. This has led to a culture of fear and intimidation, where many people feel intensely pressured to toe the line or lose what they have.

We are very often told that as Canadians we are lucky. Our country has been least affected by the global economic crisis… so far. We still live in the best country in the world. And it’s true, we are lucky compared to some. At least, some of us are.

We allow ourselves to be lulled by this even as a sense of uneasiness grows. Some part of us knows all is not well. Even as the newspapers tell us we have nothing to complain about they report how a major energy corporation intentionally drove Alberta’s energy prices to highest in the country and cost Alberta residents millions. And how the punishment was extremely light.

You’d think this would be front page news, wouldn’t you? What did you see on the front page of the Calgary Herald on Tuesday November 8?

Occupy Calgary Showdown. A photo of a scruffy looking guy with full suitcases and a sheepish expression leaving St Patrick’s Island.

Alberta residents just got ripped off for millions by a corporation which controls 16 per cent of Alberta’s commercial power and are facing an extremely light penalty for it. But Matt McKellar and his fellow protesters get the front page. Oh those silly protesters.

The media rants and raves about the so far unverifiable $40,000 figure for damages supposedly caused by the demonstrators in Olympic Plaza, (go look, there is no damage, and if there is, we have several landscapers who have offered to replace the sod free of charge) yet it doesn’t even tell you that Stephen Harper did in fact bail out Canadian banks to the tune of $69 billion between 2008 and 2010. 

That’s a pretty big, faraway figure isn’t it? If you divide that between 34 million Canadians that means the average person paid $2000. What could you do with 2 grand of your own hard earned money?

This same prime minister has cut veteran pension funding. The people who fought and risked their lives for the peace and freedom of the Canadian people have been told by that same country that it will not support them. Harper recently announced approval a $22 million budget for a war of 1812 reenactment. Does that look to anyone else like taking money from the living to give to the dead?

Sure, everything’s fine.

What does it mean to working Canadians who struggle to do good things for our society to see such evidence of callous disregard for our efforts by our own government?

Those of us who work the hardest, who care passionately enough about the work we do to pursue it despite low wages and unfavorable conditions, are often the most vulnerable to bullying by our employers. Especially at times of economic recession when jobs are scarce, many feel afraid to speak up against injustices within the workplace. Or even outside of it.

We have heard of several corporations which instructed their employees that any involvement with Occupy Calgary would result in immediate termination. We have at least one alleged example of a person being fired simply for having participated.

This would put the lie to the portrayed image of the protesters being a bunch of jobless bums. At least one of us used to have a job. This writer also has one and so do several others, unless things like this are allowed to go on.

Though the company in question states the termination letter was a fake and many have pointed out that the company is a reputable one, abuses of this sort do occur often between invividual human beings when one is in authority over the other. 

The sad thing is that such abuses occur out of fear.  Such is the sickness in our society. Perhaps even members of our local media are too intimidated to show us what is really going on without using misdirection tactics to distract from the dangers around us. 

It is just this injustice that we seek to cast light on in the hope that people will find the courage to speak out against it. Not only the individual injustice of one lost job, but the all pervasive and deeply rooted injustice we all participate in when we shut our eyes and mouths to the truth. 

Marcus Arsenault wasn’t afraid, but too many are. 

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