Dr. Warren Bell on the Northern Gateway Pipeline

On Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 in Blogs
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The Joint Review Panel on Enbridge’s proposed risky pipeline and tanker scheme has had countless hours of forceful, brilliant and important testimony setting out the reasons why the project must be rejected.  However, what Dr. Warren Bell did in the Kelowna hearing is extraordinary. Please read this analysis of the social pathologies that lead to choices so destructive, they threaten democracy and survival.

- Elizabeth

Yesterday, Doctor Warren Bell at Kelowna JRP

Dr. Bell spoke yesterday before the Kelowna Joint Review Panel hearings on Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, outlining “four diseased elements” that put the pipeline proposal in a social and political context and he condemned as dangerous Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s concentration of power and the apparent depth of his associations with corporate interests.  When Bell finished speaking, he was surrounded by reporters.  Here’s what he said:

I am a family physician, in clinical practice for just over 36 years in rural BC. As a professional reflex, I have a sensitivity towards the behaviour of others, and towards the impact of my own conduct.

While still in medical school, I learned that many of the most important influences on a person’s health derive not just from what doctors do, or even from the choices made by patients themselves, but from broad trends in the community – from the immediate neighbourhood right up to the planetary environment.

When I began my practice, however, the term “ecosystem” was unknown, and the term “environment” referred almost exclusively to a person’s immediate social or physical situation.

Today, thanks to global telecommunications and transportation, and especially the Internet and social media, our worldview has expanded greatly. As we humans have multiplied exponentially, we have learned that we can degrade the functional capacity of our planetary home, which in turn affects our survival.

In 1995, I helped to found the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment or CAPE. Our purpose was to scientifically examine the intimate inter-relationship between human and ecosystem health, and improve the former by addressing the latter. With 5,500 members, CAPE has become the environmental voice of the medical profession.

Today, however, I am here not as representative of CAPE or any other organization. I am speaking as just one person, and as a physician.

I want to address what one might call “structural pathology” in the governance system in Canada, which has led to the contention surrounding the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project – which I have followed closely since its inception.

Your work as members of the Joint Review Panel is taking place in a social context. As a medical professional – with, I might add, extra training in psychotherapy – I would like to examine four diseased elements in this social context, and suggest remedies for them.

The first pathological element is historical.

Up until about 400 years ago, the land base subsumed within Canada was home to various peoples, originally from Asian roots, broadly connected by culture and race. They lived, like all our forebearers once did, seeking survival in an unforgiving but also bountiful natural world. Through a combination of force of arms, disease, mass immigration and various legalistic arrangements – including a genocidal strategy called the residential school system – the land base occupied by the original inhabitants of this country was progressively reduced, and their role in society was relentlessly marginalized. The small land base and the few prerogatives left to them thus have become critically important to their well being.

In Salmon Arm, I have patients, neighbours and friends who are aboriginal, who embody the experiences I’ve just referred to, both in their physiology and in their psyches. Many First Nations communities, with similar individual and collective experiences, are in the path of the proposed pipeline.

The second element in this structural pathology is the electoral system.

Elections to the House of Commons are based on the “first past the post” system. The elected candidate just has to get one vote more than any other candidate – even if only a minority of citizens actually vote in the first place.

This kind of selection procedure, in a community with many disparate parts, is psychologically grossly inefficient. Especially in complex or conflictual situations, it generates a mixture of cynicism, despair and anger.

The third element in this structural pathology is the nature of the Prime Minister’s Office, or PMO.

In Britain, the PMO is surrounded by powerful committees and advisory bodies whose comments and decisions have a major influence on government decision-making and cannot be readily ignored.

In Canada, the PMO has vastly more political power. It has, in fact, absolute veto power over several hundred different government bodies.

Political power in the Canadian system is profoundly more centralized than it is in Britain, and far more than it is in the United States, with its system of “checks and balances”.

Frankly, if Stephen Harper doesn’t like your report, he can, and by every indication he will, shelve it.

This concentration of power in one element of Canada’s political structure, for whatever murky historical reason, is an invitation to social disaster. The illusion of “efficiency” in political decision-making is subverted by the opportunity for hard-line autocracy.

In the 21st century, when my patients are being encouraged to take increasing responsibility for their lives, such a concentration of power is anachronistic and backward.

The final element in Canada’s structural pathology is the expansion of the influence of the “corporation”, a business model that uncouples personal responsibility from profit, and places dollar gains above all others.

It is significant that as I sit talking to you here the Enbridge consortium is applying to expand its Kitimat terminal from 11 to 16 oil tanks. What clearer demonstration of absolute confidence in an eventual approval could there possibly be?

Taken together:

  1. the relentless marginalization of First Nations, with their intimate connection to the ecosystem;
  2. the electoral system, which readily generates non-representative governments;
  3. the huge concentration of political power in the Prime Minister’s office; and
  4. the rise of corporate influence.

These elements create the pathological state that leads directly to us being here today.

The planet is overcrowded, heating up, and steadily depleted of its natural capital. But now we have a Prime Minister who is forcefully using the overwhelming dominance afforded his office, to try and reshape this country to his dated views.

Stephen Harper, according to recorded evidence, has longed to be able to exercise such intense power, and identifies with doing so now (several years ago he formally changed the phrase “federal government” to “the government of Stephen Harper”).

His own religious background suggests reasons for his overall orientation, but his willingness to mask his own renowned intensity behind a rigidly bland “persona” is a truer indication of his deep commitment to power.

This approach to governance, exercised by a Prime Minister and government elected by a minority of Canadians, has deepened the already strong alliance between the corporate sector and the government. The former, fixated on immediate- and short-term financial profitability, is drawn to the latter, intent on maintaining its ascendancy, and vice versa.

The result, in a situation like the one we are addressing today, is growing social pathology. Frustration, anger, cynicism, depression and distrust of leadership are on the ascendancy, as noted in the Edelman Trust Barometer, released just before the World Economic Forum in Davos.

A patient of mine in his mid-twenties came to my office recently to say that he was deeply depressed and anxious, not about his love life, or his financial situation, but about the overheated, depleted future he was heading towards. He felt that the government in this country was acting now to make it worse for him and his young children later.

So what is the cure for this disease?

It is four-fold, in my opinion.

  1. First, we must, as a nation, work out a respectful, mutually satisfactory relationship with Canada’s First Peoples – not destroy their culture by stealth.
  2. Second, we must reform the electoral system to make it radically more representative.
  3. Third, we must alter the power balance in the federal governance system so that one person cannot pre-empt democratic processes as Stephen Harper is now doing.
  4. And fourth, we must rein in the overwhelming power and influence of the corporate sector.

Until we do these four things, our country is vulnerable to political, social and ecological upheaval that will retard our development as a nation, and likely offer ruin to the lives of future generations.

And it’s going to make my personal and professional life more difficult, as I minister to the anxiety and physical suffering of particularly the young people in my community.

I therefore personally pledge my energies and experience – here, today – to bringing about these changes, by whatever means possible.

I hope you will too.

And I also hope you will reject this flawed and destructive project, the inevitable result of such a flawed and destructive – and pathological – process.

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  • Yerhiness

    Amen! I’m in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mhooper54 Michael Hooper

    Wow! this must be heard, please read

  • http://www.facebook.com/devin.fenwick Devin RavenWave MoonFire Fenwi

    There it all is, I particularly enjoyed the flat line comments regarding Stephen Tarper!

  • Carol Anne Collins

    BRAVO. You have so put this into perspective that ANYONE can read it. I look forward to MORE assistance and guidance for a better CDA. Thank you for your voice it speaks MOUNTAINS.

  • Patrick

    I hope many people read this. Well done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erikakoenig.w Erika Koenig-Workman

    Applause and kudos to Dr Bell for this. This sums the whole thing up so well. Thank you for standing up for healing.

  • Sue

    Well said! You have eloquently put into words what I have been feeling and observing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1130900152 Mike Strickland

    I would love to shake this gentleman’s hand. He exemplifies what I have always taken the term Canadian to mean.

  • j

    harper is a spineless ‘yes man’ to money. ego driven, visionless and a coward.

  • Laurie

    Bravo, Dr. Bell.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shawn.wilson.94064 Shawn Wilson

    i suggest we give Dr.bell the order of Canada and exile Stephen Harper

    • bill

      Dr. Bell is funded by the CAW.

      • gragor11a

        And your point being?
        Who is Harper funded by?

        • bill

          Harper is the first PM in a long time who, to my knowledge, solely works for a salary, funded by the taxpayer. I challenge you to prove otherwise. Whether you agree with him or not, he goes to work for Canada every day. Paul Martin and his sons, made hundreds of millions while in government and avoided paying taxes. God only knows how much Chretien and his relatives made. There was Shawinigate for one. Mulroney walked away with a nice cash bonus. One of Harper’s best qualities is also one of his worst. He’s really not concerned about his popularity. He lacks charisma and political tact and a poor communicator. A lot of people seem to love P.E.T. even though he was directly responsible for a great many Albertans going bankrupt and losing their homes. Chretien and Martin gutted health care and passed the buck onto the provinces. Yet Harper is the evil one. Now he’s being credited with trying to exterminate our aboriginal population. Why? Because 140 years of mistrust is falling upon his shoulders all because he took action on a file that had been completely ignored by his predecessors (except for Martin’s election strategy). Go to idlenomore.ca and read the manifesto. The ladies who began the movement don’t have a clue what Bill C-45 is about. They believe since Harper is passing a lot of laws, he’s trying to make it so big oil can buy up their land. If they actually read the Bill before going on Twitter, they would know that aboriginals still have 100% control of their land. The only change is that the Indian Act required a majority of a majority for aboriginals to lease their land, which added 6 months to the process because they’d get a majority, but the majority of the population didn’t show up, so they had to go back to the drawing board and costing thousands of dollars. The NWPA (NPA) was changed because it took 4 environmental studies to put in a foot-bridge or dock. The waters that are off the list are still protected, just not by this Act. The Act was to changes to the Fisheries Act focused on protecting the fishing industry and our native fish. Both Acts were changed to better reflect their original purpose and replace red tape with practicality.

          • http://www.facebook.com/susan.fleming.752 Susan Fleming

            You are out in left field. Where did you pick up the bogus info about the PM’s salary … check your sources.

          • Cooper

            Hats off to Bill. We need to be responsible in our discussions We have to remember that all citizens of Canada must be represented, but people need to understand what we are talking about. Responsibility as a leader needs to cover many bases, whether its economy or ecology and within that are again, so many other bases. We are living in times where economy is in the forefront, with the world tipping towards economic breakdown, Canada is striving to stay afloat, thanks to great leadership. We need to create jobs and product,s for the world to want, so Canada will be successful. That is where we will all benefit, But our environment is what Canadians are so proud of! So we need to produce a system that shares in economic development as well as environment protection. We need safe ingenuity that will give us economic prosperity. To do this we need to encourage IDEAS !

          • gragor11a

            Ya, with stolen native resources. Lets share them around, after all we have used the force of lawyers to seperate them from their wealth. And we can strive to stay afloat on a system that shares stolen resources for economic development as well as environmental protection. You guys are up for a tremendous shake up in your beliefs that all that you wish to exploit will continue to be at your beck and call.

          • Gord B.

            One thing should be made clear here, just because Harper goes to work BECAUSE of Canada, does not by any means translate to him going to work FOR Canada. In the last year he’s been going to work for Beijing more than anything else.

      • Jim

        Can you prove this? When I googled Warren Bell and CAW all I got was stuff about a bus driver from Kitchener who as a member of the CAW and retired in 2010. Is this what you are basing this on? Did he move to Salmon Arm and become a doctor in his retirement?

      • Jim

        Can you prove this?

        • bill

          Just click the link in the article for CAPE and scroll to the bottom.

      • http://www.facebook.com/andres.dean.5 Andrés Dean

        Dr Bell is funded by his practice. Any associations that the CAW have with CAPE are unrelated, as he was not giving a statement on behalf of CAPE.

        More unfounded tripe from a Harper supporter. Comment on fact not fiction please.

        • bill

          LOL. Are you really that naive? He might not be officially speaking for his organization “today,” but they’re funding his organization yesterday, today and tomorrow. His criticism of corporations could and should be said about unions too. If they weren’t so greedy our healthcare and education would be in better shape. But they’re all about money.

          The fact is Dr. Bell’s organization is funded by the CAW. He doesn’t have to be speaking officially on their behalf, to be peddling their anti-corporation tripe.

          I don’t support anyone blindly. I’m just impartial enough to know that Harper gets a lot of flack he doesn’t deserve. Dr. Bell would like to blame him for everything that’s happened in the last 400 years.

          • Mike Tetrault

            Good for you. Most of these people just want to stick their fingers in their ears and go BLAH BLAH BLAH. Don’t want to hear truth.

          • gragor11a

            Does that apply to the Fraser Institue as well? Or the oil producers associations? This is a 2 way street and you are only watching one lane of traffic bill.

          • Concerned Citizen

            Unions are about making it better for workers, including a decent wage. Have you ever tried to live on minimum wage? Have you ever spent 4+ years and $40 000+ on a university education only to find out there are no jobs in the field and you’re lucky to even get a minimum wage job? Unions are a good thing. They make sure greedy corporations share *some* of the wealth. Your boss is making way too much money. He should share. Everyone should join a union. Unions are the historical reason why there is such a thing as “workers rights”. Don’t believe bill here, he’s probably a CEO. Nobody needs to make over $250 000 a year. Everyone should be above the poverty line. Most of us aren’t. It’s shameful. Everyone should join a union. Harper and all his buddies at the top are the reason Canada’s social support systems are in the state they’re in: their policies and their exorbitant salaries.

      • Pat

        If you go to the website for the Canadian Association of Physicians at the bottom of their site it gives names of some of their funders and CAW is there but so is Earth Charter, Asthma.ca, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Laidlaw Foundation, Alberta Eco Trust, Sander-Matthey Cancer Prevention Coalition, Bullfrog Power and TD Friend of the Environment Foundation. And there are many individuals I’m sure who donate to that cause. So to say it is funded by CAW is just wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/judy.minor Judy Minor

    Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.

  • Bill Vinton

    You have put into words EXACTLY my how I feel about this whole debacle…thank you.

  • Catherine Hall

    Thanks for this excellent expose of our problems in Canada. May you have success in doing your bit to make things better. i will post this message widely, not only on Facebook but will send it to many folks on my email list.

    Catherine

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004951685059 Richard Meaden

    I have never read a dissertation more filled with vitriolic hate than this pile of garbage all posted to encourage an distinct hatred for any thing conservative. It neglects to mention the Native reserves along the pipeline route that have signed on to Gateway so as to share in the revenues; When I say share, this means share. This Dr Bell, I assume that he does not charge his patient for services rendered; because according to what he is expounding he is against any kind of Corporation making money; of which I am sure that his practice is probably a Professional Corporation.
    Secondly; the PM was elected by the majority of Canadians that actually took the opportunity to exercise their democratic right to vote. (60% of Candians) that means the PM received better than 50% votes cast.
    Third by expanding business and encouraging trade of Canada goods, builds a good backing to finance all of Canada’s social programs that Canadians have become accustomed to receiving.
    I see nothing good about this letter what so ever;

    • Mothomas

      Do your homework and get your head out of the sand. The conservatives only got 40percent of the vote. And you have conveniently ignored any of the environmental impacts of the pipeline.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004951685059 Richard Meaden

        I have done my Homework, the Conservative Party of Canada recieved 39.6% of the popular votes cast the total voter turn out was 60% if you go back to school and take remedial math, you will find that 39.6% of 60 % is better than 55% of total votes cast.
        With regards to the pipelines there
        are already miles of pipelines crisscrossing BC and there has been no pipeline leaks; Kinder Morgan has an application to expand their current
        lines to accommodate the flow of oil. There already are oil tankers coming into the Port of Vancouver carrying oil from Venezuela which by the way leaves a greater carbon footprint that Canadian oil
        The economic interest of fishing and tourism are not things that can support the Canadian social programs common sense should tell you that.

        • J-Mar

          Wow, so 39.6% of votes cast is actually 55% of votes cast. Simply astounding. Actually, what it means is that less than 24% of eligible votes voted Conservative. You sir, are the one needing remedial math.

        • Jim

          Speaking of remedial math, that 39.6% is the fraction of votes cast by 60% of the eligible voters, not 39.6% of the number of voters including the 40% who didn’t vote. You have to multiply them together which gives you 23.8% of the number of voters. Less than a quarter.

        • Mothomas

          Common sense would tell you that if we continue down this road of Carbon Emissions the world will be so unrecognizable that conventional wisdom does not matter.

          Your arguement would suggest that since we have already destroyed the earth why not keep going. If you have children you need to really consider what you are leaving for them as an inheritance. Less people with more money (which they cannot possibly spent but seem to derive personal value by simply withholding it from others and making more) and more people who are going to need those social programs you are talking about because there is no clean water, the weather patterns have destroyed some of the largest areas of fertile land upon which we grown our food. In fact we haven’t begun to imagine what those social programs will look like – but if we watch the African countriles or Australia we will have a good idea.

          We are too complacent here because we have not suffered the consequences of our own actions – other continents have.

        • Vasper85

          Funny thing, those social programs. Back in the day we had something called the civil commons which allowed people to make use of land for common purpose of food, shelter, clothing. Enclosures put an end to that, stating some silly idea that land had to be owned, so some people had land (the monied class) and others had naught to sell but their labour to rent access to that land.
          Those social programs are a compromise between the landowners and the rest of us. If those social programs go away then riots would shortly be forthcoming, think Greece.

      • bill

        40% of the popular vote gave them the majority of seats. That’s how Canadian democracy works. In comparison, the Green Party received less than 4% support.

        • Mothomas

          Yes I am aware of that. My point was that 60% of the country does not support this government.

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.bloom.1291 David Bloom

      “Vitriolic hate”? Seriously? Did you actually read the article, or did you decide what you thought beforehand?

      You’re absolutely incorrect, by the way, about the figures from the last election. The Conservative Party received 39.62% of votes cast, a minority of the electorate by any description. Many of the other points made, especially about the power of the PMO are criticisms of the Canadian system in general, not only of this administration. (You also seem to be labouring under some basic misunderstandings about how Parliamentary elections work. For example, the PM is elected by his own party and only receives votes in his own riding. But that’s a more complicated discussion for another time.)

      Also, the idea that an objection to Corporate bodies having an inordinate amount of power in our democracy equates to dismissal of a sound economy is a straw man argument. Nothing in this letter suggests the elimination of a market economy, or that a business should not be allowed to make a profit, or that people should work without compensation. It simply points out that large corporations, especially in the energy sector, enjoy an unbalanced ability to influence government decisions to the detriment of the country as a whole.

      By the way, can you cite which reserves along the pipeline route have actually signed on? The vast majority of them clearly have not, especially in BC where the pipeline and shipping route are seen as a clear danger to OUR main economic interests which include fisheries and tourism. The economic argument in favour of this pipeline is far from convincing.

      • bill

        The objection to corporate bodies is due to Dr. Bell’s organization being funded by CAW.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004951685059 Richard Meaden

          Thank you bill for this piece of information; I had no idea that Bell’s organization is being funded by CAW ..that explains alot.
          BTW, who is paying for it: the CAW big bosses or the union dues from the ordinary workers?

          • gragor11a

            Well I am scandalized that organized workers in this country have an opinion. Say no more. Obviously this man is a charlatan. Next…

            Oh, and again I say, who are you funded by?

            As for me, I’m self employed and fund myself.

            And seeing as how this man’s been discredited by being funded by the CAW I’m sure you will be posting a link or 2 to back that remark up.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004951685059 Richard Meaden

            I am not funded by anyone, any monies that I earned are by the sweat of my brown without benefit of a union or union bosses telling me how to vote and when to strike.

          • gragor11a

            @Richard – Me as well. But I will tell you this. If it wasn’t for the unions, the shenanigans going on with the local hirings vs the foreign worker program by the new coal mines in BC, there wouldn’t be an enquiry going on now as to how the books were cooked. As it is now all 16 workers that were to be the trainers wouldn’t have been sent back to China if there was no truth to the allegations.

            So you and I get to earn our own bucks but if the government continues to allow wages and conditions to be driven down while wholesaling our resources out the door then soon you and I will have very little opportunity to support ourselves. First of all, the wages that could be extracted from the raw resources will be at a level that is not capable of supporting us and secondly, there will be no resources left to extract wages from in the first place. And lastly any wages that we have left over will be going to help mitigate the colossal damage these mega projects are creating because the beneficiaries of these raw resources will have split the country leaving us holding the bag.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004951685059 Richard Meaden

        You asked for proof : these are just a few high lights, how this government is protecting the environment: if you wish for your info the website is also shown. When the Conservatives formed government in 2006 They inherited a GHG that had gone up by 35% during the Liberal reign. Although the Libs signed the Kyoto accord, there was nothing done by them were GHG emissions increased by 35% over 1990 levels, it is this government that has started to reduce these emissions.
        $1.1 billion for the ecoEnergy for Homes Retrofit program to support
        Canadians in making their homes more energy efficient
        $1 billion for priorities such as green energy generation and transmission infrastructure, carbon transmission and storage infrastructure
        $1 billion to support pulp and paper mills to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and become leaders in the production of renewable energy from biomass
        $1 billion in support of clean energy research, development and demonstration projects, including carbon capture and storage
        http://www.conservative.ca/?page_id=1394

        • gragor11a

          Who are you funded by Richard?

        • Vasper85

          I really like how you sidestepped the issue of the conservatives abandoning Kyoto Accord. It was back in 2006 when Rona Ambrose first declared that it was unachievable, it looks like it was a self-fulling prophecy.

          I also liked how the conservatives switched their measure to a more business friendly method: carbon intensity. This sly sleight of the hand doesn’t look at absolute emissions but rather emissions per unit of GDP. Thereby when the economy grows, the intensity of carbon emissions can go down but absolute carbon can still rise. Brilliant!

          I really enjoyed the part where the conservatives wanted to spend $4 million dollars to advertise its interpretation of the gutting of the environmental laws.

          As to all that money that was supposedly spent on the environment as per your conservative talking points, as a financial analyst obsessed with managing what I can measure I would say that the conservatives didn’t get much bang for their bucks considering in the 2011 Climate Change Performance Index Canada performed 57th out of 60 countries. In 2012? We rose to 54. Good Job Harper!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004951685059 Richard Meaden

        Here is the proof that you requested:

        Majority of aboriginal communities sign on to Northern Gateway
        Deal will give communities 10 per cent stake in $5.5 billion pipeline project

        Nearly 60 per cent of the aboriginal groups along the proposed route of the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project through B.C. and Alberta have signed on to share in the ownership and profits of the project, Enbridge officials say.
        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/06/05/bc-gateway-pipeline-first-nations.html

    • Gord B.

      Seriously, DID you read the article? He doesn’t expressly relate a hatred of corporations at all, let alone “vitriolic”. But what he does indicate is that corporate power and influence over our government and it’s policies has become too strong. I’m not sure how you could possibly project that view from what was said in his statement, unless you’re completely demented.

  • dan

    Its time ,we the people of Canada stant up and fight this Government, and tell them NO you are not going to destroy our land. we must start with removing Stephen Harper,and changing the way this government works..the comitties must work together,and not let Harper run the show. If we remover Harper, thats half of our problems solved. KEEP UP THE FIGHT FOR OUR PLANET, for the next generations sake.

  • MOThomas

    Brilliant

  • Becky

    Thank you for making this presentation. It is is eloquant and thoughtful. We need to make these changes for the betterment of Canada and the planet.

  • Monty

    How do we make the first step towards a cure for this disease? What can the people do for a start?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Jones/100001065540250 Paul Jones

    This is the truth,and I wont be surprised if Harper finds a way to belittle or jail this doctor who is the bravest Canadien I have ever had the priveledge to read.Harper is a criminsl,plain and simple.

  • bill

    We could drastically reduce our dependence on oil it we tackled the greed within the healthcare system and educational systems. Cap the amount private practitioners such as Dr. Bell can bill at $100K per 11 months. Stop paying teachers an average of $85K (Alberta) for working 200 days per year. Replace their pensions and the pensions of all civil servants with RRSP matching. Unions used to fight for equality, but now they fight for inequality. That’s reality. I doubt Dr. Bell will say a negative word about unions though, because he gets funded by the CAW.

    • mario

      Gee, Bill, why stop there. Why not force everyone to work for minimum wage? That would solve ALL the problems by your reckoning. Everyone. From babysitters to CEOs. You’re being very selective in whom you despise or envy. Again, by your reckoning, MPs get paid how much for how many days of work? With a prorogue happy leader, how much do they actually work? And don’t tell me they’re working when not in Parliament, because teachers also ‘work’ when no in the schools. You should know that, if you went to school. You just sound bitter and envious. Rather myopic too, but that’s another discussion. And oh, by your directions, Dr. Bell is funded by TD. That’s a bank. And I’m really glad Harper signed an education deal with China. Maybe now you and our cohort, Richard above might learn to do math.

      • bill

        In Alberta teachers top out over 90K. That’s a far cry from minimum wage. I actually think they’re paid a good, fair wage in other provinces. I don’t have a problem with that. Alberta is ridiculous, not only for teachers, but for politicians and healthcare executives. You wouldn’t believe the golden parachutes they get. I’m for getting value our of healthcare and education, not seeing the institutions erode. Mario, if you think teachers work hard for $90K, you’re a teacher. You can reply with more name-calling if you choose. Maybe through an “I know you are, but what am I?” for effect.

        • Vasper85

          I think that people in charge of doing really important work, oh say like healing our sick and educating our children, should make more than a stock trader or a hedge fund manager. The first two contribute something of worth to society, the last two…not so much.

  • Robin Greenstone

    Wow, very clear and insightful statement. Goes to the roots of what is going on here. Thanks, Dr. Bell.

  • eddydeedee

    brilliant, now where are the rest of the credible professionals, from clergy to engineers, who can help this man not be so alone stepping up to the plate … we plead with you, and not for insignificant or ‘light’ reasons

  • Carol Terry

    VERY WELL WRITTEN…Thank you…

  • http://www.facebook.com/DarrenBaker62 Darren Baker

    Very well said Dr.Bell, I agree completely!

  • Barbara Hubert

    This is an incredibly eloquent expression of our reality in Canada today!

  • Charlotte Greenwood

    Dr Bell — I thank you for such a clear and insightful evaluation of the problem that has left the door open for Enbridge and the other eco-disasters on the horizon. And I thank you for your devotion to your patients and your profession, how inspiring.

  • Howie Richardson

    Eloquent and so true.

  • Gary

    Fantastic. So refreshing to hear truth and wisdom, in the midst of lies and deceit from Government, Big Oil, and – unfortunately – Big Media as well ….

  • Derek Skinner

    The CAW is one of nine (9) groups supporting Dr. Bell.

    So much for that argument.

    djs. Victoria

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharon.daly.180 Sharon Daly

    Thank You for this incredibly written account of what is happening in Canada. Thank You for being a spokes person for caring Canadians!

  • Murry Setzer

    Very well done

  • Katherine Maas

    This is one of the most concise, articulate analyses I have seen about the dilemma we Canadians find ourselves in. Bravo!

  • http://twitter.com/akmediascope Carolyn Roesbery

    So Inspiring

  • http://www.facebook.com/tyhson.banighen Tyhson Banighen

    Thanks Dr. Bell.for telling it the way it is. I am proud to have you as my family physician.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.trask.587 Mike Trask

    Thank You for your work and love. I shall pass this on.

  • Lee-ann

    Thank you Dr. Bell! Truly this sounds like Proactive Governing and God knows this is what is greatly needed. It is time to leave what is not working and find a better way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthea.wynne Anthea Wynne

    Thank you.

  • Jesse Reypens

    Thank you Dr. Bell for your clear and concise picture of the frustration and desperation we currently are experiencing re. our government and thanks for the courage to speak up as an individual. How can we channel our energies to make a change while their is still some time to prevent more dammage done?

  • http://www.facebook.com/SHEILAkeepingitREAl Sheila Rea

    Standing Ovation, BIC Lighter Aglow, Huge Smile and a deep appreciation for another human beings commitment to critical and humane Thinking, and Action!

  • http://www.facebook.com/higgs.murphy Higgs Murphy

    Ye, Yes, Yes and Yes!!!!

  • comedyflyer

    Harper gets all the flack he deserves…his greater good ethics do not exist! Alberta is in danger of becoming the black hole of Canada & one giant feedlot with parasites, viruses, bacteria all in one spot with the animals being fed huge amounts of antibiotics. Harper’s hidden agendas against the environment put all who live here at risk…we will all be glowing in the dark if the Conservatives are allowed to continue. on this path of money & big business first. .

  • gragor11a

    Here, reflect on this for a while.
    Jurisdiction and Education Presentation by Sharon Venne
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8xAMw6ZyEc

  • gragor11a
  • Seeking the truth

    Thankyou Dr. Bell for courageously sharing the wisdom gathered throughout your career. I would amend your statement that the clean environment has supported the First Nations’ life & culture – it IS THE SURVIVOR OF MILLENNIA & HAS SUPPORTED ALL LIFE ON THE PLANET (even ours), & continues to do so, if only we’d let it! And human mistakes have damaged it too often.

    There are 2 overarching issues that precede PM Harper, & deserve close scrutiny.

    1. Gov. DEBT – how the Bank of Can. was formed in the 1930′s to get Can. out of WW1 debt – & how Mulroney changed that, resulting in the Stats.Can.- supported info. (1965-’94) that the debt rose from a fairly stable $16b to $547b! 92% represented INTEREST CHARGES to the private banks. And since 1985 the subsequent governments have never reversed that to what our Bank Act gave permission to do (up to 20% gov. debt). (I am so offended to always hear the obvious scam, “where will the money come from – raise taxes or cut spending?”) Read Walter Stewart’s “Bank Heist – How Our Financial Giants Are Costing You Money”, Harper Collins, 1997, Note p.250.

    2. Mulroney’s (so called) Free Trade Agreement: Pay attention to the sad tale of Shelley Ann Clark/NAFTA – 30+ yr veteran of Foreign Affairs – Exec. Ass’t to 3rd negotiator (Germaine Denis, detail man, official shredder) – the red flags she observed, tried desperately & unsuccessfully to be transferred out of the job – the forced “cleansing of the numbers & paragraphs (water, etc)” in the premiers’ reports – when required to weed out the files at the end, saw an IMPLEMENTATION AGENDA, where year by year until 2005 ‘things had to happen’ – the break-up of Canada by Lucien Bouchard in Quebec, progressive trsf. of water to the US (if the Inuit of PQ refused, the military of Fort Drum (US) would don blue berets of NATO & put down the insurrection!), etc. etc. & by 2005 there would be such a FINANCIAL CRISIS (gov’ts in such debt for large projects, unsupported by dwindling revenues due to jobs going elsewhere) that begging the IMF for bail-outs would be successful ONLY BY BECOMING THE 51-54TH STATES OF THE USA!!! Shelley Ann Clark feels that the negotiations were a sham & that it was a done deal before they started. & that the true & COMPLETE agreement is sealed & buried about 16 miles outside Ottawa for 30 YEARS AFTER WHICH NOTHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT! Since then her life has been threatened, harassed, home broken into, BUT KEPT ON THE PAYROLL FOR MANY YEARS! without a decent job.

    I believe that PM Harper is Mulroney’s protege, & vowed to “Change Canada Forever”. And that given his style of autocratic control & benign appearance (soft blue cardigan), he is quickly & systematically carrying out the Implementation Agenda – scouring out Canadian institutions & hard-won advantages, the envy of the world. To me, that spells TREASON. Join up the dots.

  • frank_2190

    Well said Dr. Bell. Thank you.

  • solarisgeothermal

    Well said, Dr. Bell. 110% correct.

    The top reason to not expand oil pipelines is RISK. It is well accepted by Climate Scientists that the highest limit is 2 degrees of change, which we are rapidly approaching. We have a limitation or budget on the amount of additional carbon we can add to the atmosphere, and it is only about 20% of the known reserves. This means 80% of coal, gas, and oil will need to stay in the ground. That means an economic meltdown for companies counting on 100% extraction, when 80% simply cannot be burned. Going “All In” for AB or BC is blind risk, with the likely outcome that foreign markets will have moved on to clean energy and conservation, and the public covers the Carbon Bubble losses – like the 2007 US banking bubble. The compelling and detailed sources are here: http://www.carbontracker.org/

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robbie-Rosenstand/598817872 Robbie Rosenstand

    Argue all you want, This is big corp, its all about money and the big oil will stop at nothing to get what they want. These are a few that will profit all and what they leave behind will be wasteland for the rest of us. As far as unions go….If we treated the working people fairly we wouldnt need them.

  • paula Dickie

    Wonderful report. very thoughtful

  • Elaine

    Well said. I would like to shake this gentleman’s hand as well. Thank you.

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