Good for business, but not the planet

I've had a good look at the southern Yukon and Whitehorse and realize the problems and issues here are quite similar to my home in Alberta.

I’ve had a good look at the southern Yukon and Whitehorse and realize the problems and issues here are quite similar to my home in Alberta.

In Alberta, big business has a big voice and it has its share of spin doctors, idealists, and propagandists speaking for it. And, to be honest, if you want some zinc, or gold, or hydrocarbon, or trees etc. extracted, manufactured or processed and brought to market in a timely fashion, there is no better way in this current economic system than the capitalist-industrial regime. Were government to do the aforementioned, it could be a long time before any of these commodities or products were brought to market, and most of us have accepted this for now.

However, after listening to the pro-corporate spokespeople and idealists for some time now, we are led to believe anything that stands in the way of big-business is socialist, communist, anti-democratic and other such labels.

These developments are, vis-a-vis their financing and production, interested in the bottom line and efficiency.

Although this works to bring products and commodities to market, in the wake of these developments a lot of environmental and human damage occurs despite the current lip service paid to these issues (mostly by Liberals Ð for a better read on this I recommend Chris Hedge’s recent book, Death of the Liberal Class).

These problems are always “socialized.” In my hometown in Alberta, there is an old Domtar creosote site that is, after a couple of decades, finally being cleaned up.

It’s messy, costly, and we pay the bill.

What about all those old well sites with their toxic sludge pits? Old mines? Air and water quality? The possibility of climate change? Where will all that toxic material from nuclear power plants go?

Maybe to the Yukon, because there are fewer people here.

And if you don’t know what “peak oil” is and what it could mean for the Yukon, you may want to find out.

There is damage to the lives of people.

Those who profit long-term from these developments are too few and can include those of the liberal class who enjoy the big crumbs from the table.

The rhetoric I have listened to, again and again, is that our universal health care is an expensive and over-managed system and should be privatized Ð the same goes with the education of our children or of mail delivery to everyone in Canada, even at the extreme locations of the country.

Of course, there are those who have been damaged most, our First Nation people.

A human being is not a piece of gold or silver to be exploited. Our democracies are cumbersome, bureaucratic and costly with the incessant and on-going issues and elections.

This is our governance, democratically elected and we need strong characters in our government representing neither businesses nor industries. I also know the other half of the rhetoric: we are in debt and must pay it off and put our fiscal house in order and yada-yada-yada.

Strangely though, many of those who bark this the loudest are of “baby-boomer” age and status: a generation that received health and dental care, inexpensive educations and more.

I know because I’m one of them.

I’ve never really been a “left-wing” voter, but I have had enough of what isn’t conservative and is just simply right-wing ideology.

I have always liked that Jack Layton was in there, mixing it up and speaking for people who don’t speak loud enough. With his passing, there is more responsibility for us all.

While in the Yukon, I have stayed with Frank Turner at the Muktuk Adventures B&B. He is running for the NDP.

I think that he would offer what we need now in politics; he is the type of guy who will get in there, mix it up and demand proper governance.

Our politics is changing. We need to look down the road Ð we know where we’ve come from and are getting a glimpse at where we have to go: renewable energies, sustainable agriculture, net-zero homes and developments.

Just have a look at the off-the-grid example at the Muktuk B&B.


Ken Ronak

Cochrane, Alberta