Occupy Vancouver – My One Demand

Occupy Vancouver has completed it’s first week and seems to be growing. There are many more tents on the Vancouver Art Gallery grounds. Local politicians have shown up to talk, as have celebrities Tom Morello and David Suzuki. VPD continue to do an admirable job of walking the fine, grey line between the rights of the city and the rights of the protesters.

I have been able to attend on the two Saturdays, primarily taking part in a very small way by being one more body on the site and leaving a sign encouraging people to vote in 2013. I have also spent some time in the meditation circle because to me “peaceful” is critical to “peaceful protest”. On it’s second Saturday the site was less family friendly with no place to escape the pot and tobacco smoke.

It is a good sized crowd so far. Some march. Some make speeches. Some meditate. Some make signs. Some make music. Some hand out cakes. The crowd is diverse as are their ways of taking part and their reasons for being there.

Occupy Vancouver - Let Them Eat Cake

For me, here in Canada and in British Columbia the Occupy movement is about the failure of government in it’s responsibility to represent the people. Our government has come to represent industry and too many of our MLAs and MPs represent the government to us rather than us to the government.

For one example, look at the upcoming copyright laws that give consumers rights with one hand and take them away with the other. Or look at the on-line spying provisions that will bring warrant-less surveillance to our on-line communications in ways we would never stand for with our off-line communications.

Look at Fort Chipewyan where for many years, perhaps decades, the people have been dying, their fish, game and water not fit to consume. The government, finally faced with undeniable independent scientific proof of the connection to the tar sands, responded recently by improving monitoring. They call that action!

Here in BC we’re losing our wild salmon. The European Infectious Salmon Anaemia virus has been confirmed in wild pacific sockeye by the ISA reference laboratory at the Atlantic Veterinary College in P.E.I. And the government works to protect the source of the virus, the open net fish farms, rather than to protect the wild salmon that are vital to the coastal ecosystem.

We’re losing farm land all over the province. In the Peace region natural gas fracking is contaminating water, increasing carbon emissions and making local people ill. The BC government is getting set to spend 8 or 10 billion tax dollars to build the dam Site C. A dam that will flood 100 km along the Peace River, inundating some of the best farm land North of Quesnel to provide power for more fracking. This at a time when the Macdonald-Laurier Institute has published “More food will be eaten over the next half century than has been eaten by human beings since the dawn of history” This due to world population which is expected to hit 7 billion this month. That’s more than doubled just in my lifetime.

Both the BC Liberals and NDP want more extraction industry, more pipelines and more tankers. The terrible thing is we don’t NEED any of it! We CAN save our farm land and have jobs and economic growth. Instead of Site C which will take 10 years to build, we could start building a distributed grid of renewable, solar, wind and geothermal energy today! Create jobs today and be using new, clean energy all over the province a few days later using technology that is only going to get less expensive and more efficient as we go forward.

We could be creating the BC of the 21st century, but we don’t because something is rotten at the core. Instead of democracy, money and corruption and the entrenched interests of the carbon economy run this province and this country.

If I had to narrow Occupy Vancouver down to one demand, my one demand, it would be to stop mortgaging future generations to feed greed today.

The way we should be able to bring about change is through our votes. But that hasn’t been working. Federally about 24.2% of eligible votes (39.9% of the 61.1% who voted) is called a majority. Here in BC we do the Liberal/NDP flip-flop and nothing really changes. People see that and drop out of that game. Voter turn out is dismal because people don’t see their vote as powerful, and that plays right into the hands of the status quo.

We can’t keep playing that game! What we need to do is knock the pieces right off the table, turn the board over and begin an entirely new game! The pieces that will make up that new game are the people of the Green Party. The core principles of the Green Party include grass roots democracy, sustainability, non-violence, community based economy, decentralization. Principles shared by the Occupy movement and by free thinking people everywhere.

Take a look at the YouTube clips of Elizabeth May, the first Green MP in Canada, standing up alone in parliament to speak truth to power.

Go to the Green Party of BC website and read their core principles and the “Green Book 2011”

We need to take the momentum of this movement into the provincial election in 2013 and vote for a party that is not part of the status quo. As I see it, the Green Party is the path to real change in this province and this country. I ask you to have a look and see if you think so too and if you do, get involved, spread the word and make your vote count for change in 2013!

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