Derek Corrigan is my kind of mayor. So is Gregor Robertson.
Both of these mayors are prepared to look beyond the immediate concerns of their city and take a broader view. I have no doubt that Robertson, who won very handily I might add, did so because he was fighting Kinder Morgan. Without any question, that position greatly enhanced the existing popularity of Corrigan.
Social change demands civil disobedience
Now that protesters are being arrested, we see a number of people expressing their undying support for “law and order” and thinking that jailing protesters is a great idea.
I have a few questions to ask them.
Have they ever read any history?
Why was there a Magna Carta? Why was there a Peasants’ Revolt? Why was there a Glorious Revolution and a Bill of Rights?
Have you read about John Wilkes and the fight for free speech? Why did the Tolpuddle Martyrs exist?
How did the American revolution, unquestionably the major revolution in the Western world, come about? Have you ever read the arguments of Tom Paine? Or Benjamin Franklin? Or Thomas Jefferson?
Do you think that African American people got their freedom through the goodness of the “establishment” which managed to have slavery sanctioned by the US Constitution and make it centrepiece of the laws of the Confederacy?
Even the briefest span of history shows that every basic right people have came by standing up to unjust laws of “establishments” – they always exists and always pass laws which suit them. After passing these laws, they constantly spout the sacred need to obey the law.
Unions and Robber Barons
Does this mean that I have become a socialist, or God forbid a communist?
Hell no! All systems like that do is provide a new form of establishment with a new system of keeping themselves on top of society and new laws that are “sacred”.
Most people now accept labour unions, yet the briefest scan of history, taking one back just to the end of the 1800s, shows that labour unions were held by the establishment and its courts to be groups restraining trade and breaking workers contracts with employers. Labour leaders went to jail for standing up to employers and the governments that serve them.
Don’t go too far field – just to look at the history of Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller and the rest of the “robber barons”, all with the government and courts behind them as they broke strikes, killing and wounding 100s in the process. All pillars of the community these murderers were.
The people of Burnaby want to have their rights protected. Those rights are simple and ancient ones – the right to protect their streets, their parks, and their neighborhoods. Pretty fundamental stuff.
Along comes a huge foreign company, earning 100s of millions a year in our country yet paying almost no Canadian taxes, that wants to pipe 900,000 barrels a day of highly toxic bitumen through the green areas, streets and neighbourhoods of Burnaby.
That oil is not going for consumption by the people of Burnaby or indeed British Columbians, but overseas. The good people of Burnaby look at this and ask: “I thought we were supposed to be weaning our way off of fossil fuels. How come we are enabling others to pollute the atmosphere and subsidizing a large foreign corporation to take our oil and helping them do it by placing our community in jeopardy?”
They are saying, and for me, with considerable force, that the lawbreakers in this scenario are Kinder Morgan, and the governments of Canada and British Columbia.
A civil matter turned criminal
Moreover, they can say with considerable force that the establishment of Canada has permitted the situation to develop where a civil dispute between citizens and the company becomes a criminal matter once the citizens try to defend what is theirs – that they will be jailed for protecting where they live!
I don’t expect the Vancouver Province or the Vancouver Sun to change. They are wired into the establishments and so far up the backside of the Harper Conservatives and the Clark/Coleman Liberals that there is no escape.
The poor old Sun simply cannot understand Gregor Robertson’s win in Vancouver, and I almost suspect they’re going to demand a recount!
They don’t understand Vancouverites
To me, as an ancient British Columbian, the Vancouver answer is simple. Mr. Robertson was blessed with an opponent, hailing from central Canada, who fell in with the ever-diminishing influence of the so-called Non Partisan Association because he had no comprehension of how we feel about pipelines and other corporate polluters in this part of the country.
There is a new world out there and the “old” had better get used to it, and soon. The “establishment” has lost its moral ability to govern and their self-serving laws will be challenged until they’re tossed into the trash can.
Perhaps the best example I can give is in the small town of Squamish, where the establishment Mayor, full of support for an LNG plant, was tossed out on his ass by a newcomer who opposes it.
As ordinary people become more and more confident, this will happen more and more often.
So give ’em hell, Mayor Corrigan and Mayor Robertson! The fact that you have the press and establishment against you is all the proof you need that the majority of the people are for you.