Monday, December 31, 2012

A somewhat raggedy year end

So, what kind of year was 2012 for you? Google’s doodle for today provides a starting point for clicking on all kinds of events from the year. Without Google, who would have known that June 6th was the 79th anniversary of the first drive-in movie? They’ve even given us a review of theyear, complete with a spot for adding your resolution for 2013.

For us here at the home of the big limb, it was the Year of the Houseguest. We had people staying with us nearly every month this year. From Alberta, Ontario, even Australia. Luckily, our little house is good at expanding to meet whatever needs we might have.

Work-wise, almost enough progress was made. Guest spots at the Inaugural Cascadia Poetry Festival and at City Council in Surrey were some of the highlights.

Travel was focused on our part of the world, with ventures into Washington State and our own Gulf Islands. A personal highlight (and the most hopeful story of the year) was getting to see the progress made at the Elwha Dam site in Washington State. Imagine, un-building a dam to reinstate habitat for salmon!

So, why the photo of the raggedy Canadian flag?

On too many fronts it seems our country is in trouble – mainly as a result of actions taken by the increasingly frightening Harper regime, er, government.

What used to be known as the Navigable Waters Protection Act serves as just one example. Where waterways used to be protected, as of this fall, most no longer are. Even as the need grows more urgent, standards for safeguarding the environmental keep getting weaker. 

And while we get less protection for environment, we get more prisons, more prisoners, more offenses requiring minimum sentences.

And though there is apparently money for prisons, cultural and heritage institutions get cutbacks. The National Library and Archives, the CBC.

No more Gun Registry, despite recent events in the US which suggest that having such safeguards in place might be a very good idea. After all, the registry came about after our own mass shooting, the one at L’EcolePolytechnique on December 6, 1989. 

And the scariest part in all these scenarios is the fact that so much of it is being done without a shred of public debate. 

Luckily we have grassroots organizations such as Lead Now and Change.Org Avaaz and Idle No More. Maybe through using tools such as these (and perhaps even donating to them), we can continue having some positive effects.  

So, not exactly a resolution, more of a wish. What I’d like most for 2013 would be finding some way to convince this government to remember who they are supposed to be here for – us. Because I can't imagine what shreds of sane governance might be left if we really have to wait for the next election in 2015. 

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