Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

It seems every other election year, there are murmurs of Quebec’s egomaniacal need to separate from the rest of Canada. And this new election is bringing this idea whole heartedly to the table.

Under the ‘new leadership’ of Karl Peladeau, the Parti Quebecois’ platform has taken a hard turn from its recent stance on implementing a Divisive Secular Charter to pushing for reform of Quebec’s independence. Obviously this has led to outcry and debate, some going insofar as claiming that Quebec sovereignty would “destroy Canada”, which I find laughable at best.

Canada prides itself on its multiculturalism, and has embraced the bilingualism of English and French. The french language is the registered second language and you’d be hard pressed to find a sign or label without both languages present, unless of course you go to the French province.

The Quebecois have been stubborn in accepting its role in the rest of the country. Sure, in Montreal or Quebec City you’ll find the comfort of bilingualism, but go outside its borders and you’ll find hostility towards us English speaking rubes.

The festering cancer of Quebec’s push for sovereignty has diseased elections for far too long. If Quebec wants to behave like a petulant child stomping its feet – if it continues to resist its place in our great nation – let them separate. An exhausted debate with an ungrateful brat is not worth the energy it requires. Take your independence, enjoy your sovereignty and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

-Parry

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Mad As Hell

I got up this morning to a fog rolling into the city. It’s not from rain, or from temperature change or any other natural reason for a hazy day. It’s because I live in Beijing, and the pollution levels are on the rise today. Jumping a few dozen points between 8:00 and 9:00am. The AQI is 249 at the time of writing this.

I made tea, and watched the latest episode of VICE, which only further disgruntled me with its expose on the scrapers working legally and illegally in America’s industrial towns, taking apart once booming factories to sell the metal to China – not only have our jobs gone there, our buildings are being sold to China piece by piece.

I have been awake for just over an hour.

We are killing each other with video game warfare, poisoning our selves to buy poorly made products, dehumanizing the disenfranchised by way of forced labour, and bankrupting our once great nations so the 1% can buy another yacht.

Any words I could muster through the rage that is burning in my belly, would not do justice in articulating the total shit show going on outside my door, your door, and the doors of anyone, everywhere. So instead I’ll leave you with the words of Network’s (1976) Howard, as I think it is more poignant now than ever before.

– Parry

“I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s no one anywhere that seems to know what to do with us. Now into it. We know the air is unfit to breathe, our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad. Worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in a house as slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller and all we say is, “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster, and TV, and my steel belted radials and I won’t say anything.” Well I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad. I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crying in the streets. All I know is first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, “I’m a human being. God Dammit, my life has value.” So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” I want you to get up right now. Get up. Go to your windows, open your windows, and stick your head out, and yell, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Things have got to change my friends. You’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open your window, stick your head out and yell, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

– Network 1976

Guilty Indifference

This world is going up in flames, and nobody wanna take the blame.

– Charles Bradley

This years Oscars have come and gone, and each year becomes more forgettable in nearly the time it takes to broadcast, at least for me. But this year, one notable moment held my attention. Steve McQueen accepted the best picture award for his bio-pic 12 Years a Slave – a story that is all too familiar if you’ve lived outside a box for the last century – which he accepted on behalf of the 21 million people enslaved worldwide. In case you didn’t pick that up, let’s look at that number again, 21 MILLION! And if you haven’t seen the film, watch it! If it were up to me, it would be required viewing (and reading) for every first world high school student. But since its not currently up to me, lets talk about modern slavery.

The days of people shackled and sold at legal auction are gone, but human beings are currently being sold the world over. Human trafficking has become big business, close to exceeding revenues from the illegal drug trade. Now I’m sure the average person is not participating in this horrendous business – you are not selling or buying human beings for your own use. But do you buy produce, electronics, clothing, footwear, jewellery or anything else from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, or the Philippines? How about China? Well these are just a few of the countries that currently use Child and Forced Labor. Whether you want to call it modern or contemporary, the fact remains that this is slavery.

Wealth has been made on the backs of the impoverished for centuries. The pyramids were built by the hands of slaves. Kings taxed their subjects into starvation and depravity. And ‘Old Money’ was often made through dehumanizing values. But we neglect to see that we have continued this tradition of greed through the exploitation of the helpless. We are detached from the enslaved in distant lands, and ignorant to those in our own nation.

I am part of the 99%. My personal income is just above the Canadian poverty line. The cost of living rises and the income levels dip. I cant afford most Canadian Made products, though there are few left to purchase. It has become a vicious cycle. Poverty breeds more poverty and too few have all the money. The more I buy MADE-IN-EVERY-OTHER-COUNTRY-BUT-MY-OWN, the fewer high paying jobs are available, the less money I make, the greater the economy suffers and the need for cheaper labor rises. But who do we hold accountable? The government? The outsourcing corporations? Or we, the consuming public? Answer: all of the above.

Now I’m not implying that everything you buy is made by way of forced or child labour, but how would you know? There’s no label to indicate that the items we buy were made by age of majority free persons. But I can guarantee that something in your home, your car, your purse, or the purse itself, was made by someone who is starving, overworked and abused. It is our neglect to question our purchases, our failure to demand fair trade goods, and our apathetic response to governments that protect big money makers. We are responsible for every person, child or adult, forced to work against their will in deplorable and inhumane conditions. Why? Because it is our indifference that makes us guilty.

–    Parry

For more information on the products made by illegal labor practices, and offending countries, check out this PDF from the U.S. Department of Labour:  http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/pdf/2010TVPRA.pdf