To the editor:
As a society living in a developed country, we should be past the corporate colonialism mentality consistently contaminating the idea of human rights. Yet, as the events in Rexton, New Brunswick [Protest against development of a shale gas] show, our police force is enforcing a corporation’s rights over those of the citizens.
Clearly, our government has no interest in protecting our land and, thereby, our well-being. Instead, we became a clearinghouse for our raw resources. Our real estate is being sold to foreign companies who tear up the environment and take away our oil, lumber and water while spitting pollutants into our air, land and what water remains with impunity. They snake into our country behind the shield of free trade which, in most cases, opens the taps releasing our resources while providing these foreign invaders with rights that supersede our own.
It used to be that the multinational companies went to developing countries to set up factories because of the lax environmental standards. Canada has become one of those countries. This inevitably pisses off citizens, giving rise to protest. The government steps in, calling these people radicals and proclaims that the invaders need protection.
So, looking back towards Rexton, we see the Elsipogtog First Nation trying to do something that the government ignores: Save their land and water from the carcinogenic damage from the chemical agents discharged from ‘fracking.’ Of course, the true damage is uncertain as scientists are silenced and environmental protection is given the pink slip. The only gauge is by looking at the illness and disease that come, after the fact.
I look to Rexton and see a corporation under protection of the authorities, and those who oppose ‘business as usual’ are the targets of police brutality. This is not why I pay my taxes. This is not why we provide these corporations with tax cuts. These are signs of a sick society. Is this the representation that taxation is supposed to represent? I think not.
In protecting the corporation over the citizen, we are approaching a worrisome state of oligarchy. That’s “ruling by a small group of people distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control.” We have a less-responsive government than most countries have under a dictatorship; our upholders of the law are dedicated to protecting foreign investors; and we have an economy catering to those who already have most of the money. I sense a flaw.
The status quo must retire. How? With nonviolent rebellion, which has been an unfortunate failure at Rexton; weapons are not needed to reach a strong agreement. If I choose not to support something, I stop investing my time and money in it. As I see our taxes, via policing, go into protecting the tax-protected, and I want to stop putting my money into it. I would much rather place those tax dollars in my community, to charities and non-profits working for our well-being.
As well, our Members of Parliament are supposed to be our voice to oppose these matters. Speak up, MPs, or there will be more pink slips on the horizon.
Darrin LR Fiddler,