Another perfect day of August sunshine in Vancouver. As the sun set, the kids watched an old Superman movie. I caught up on reading the many magazines that find their way to my desk. Here is a summary of their stories on mining.
The Economist points out that Columbia is trying to get mining moving after been inundated with applications, ninety percent of which it rejected. Sounds like a debacle and not a place to invest unless you are speculating in the extreme.
And I finished reading John Grisham’s Street Lawyer about homeless people at the mercy of the system. Written in 1998, this novel is topical: things are only going to get worse as budget are cut further and the economy continues to drift.
Macleans speculates that the Chinese will take over Alberta’s oil sands with disastrous environmental and labor relations impacts.
The New Yorker has a 1936 story by F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Virgin Mary lighting a cigarette in the church. Could such a story be written today?
Rolling Stone points out that the only folk to benefit from PAC spending are the TV giants who are charging more and more to have propaganda about political opponents broadcast in prime time. Does anybody actually belive those ads? I saw some in a remote pub in Iowa and they were funny, although that was not their intent. Says a great deal negative about common intelligence, I am afraid.
I also spent a few hours on consulting. And so to opinions about me and other Canadians in mining in Guatemala. Here is but one opinion that I found:
Given the reality of historic repression, impunity and corruption in Guatemala, it is extremely difficult and dangerous for Guatemalans to demand accountability from their own government and powerful economic sectors. And yet, they keep on struggling, peacefully, in defense of their community well-being, water sources, forests and lands, for real democracy and for a functioning and fair legal system. Repression –including shootings, killings, illegal forced evictions, jailings on trumped up charges — continue unabated. Ultimately, it is Canadians — the direct and indirect beneficiaries of these mining operations — who have as much, if not more responsibility to challenge and change these relationships of mining operations, harms and violations, and unjust enrichment.
Dramatic and emotional prose and a clear call to conscience. But in the final analysis, just another of those hollow attacks unfounded on insight or understanding. The mines of Guatemala that I know and have visited are run by people of morals and honest intentions. They are following the laws of the land and the norms of international mining. If only the writers of such comment could meet them, talk with them, and understand their motivations and honesty. But it is too easy to trot out the stories told by others with the usual baise against mining. Why seek truth and balance when an article is demanded and a picture of the poor will suffice to stir emotions.
I struggle with these analyses as I struggle with John Grisham’s homeless and the homeless I see every day in East Vancouver. I know there are places like Riverview Hospital where they could live in dignity—but we refuse to countenance the procedures that may inadvertently put a free person in custody or help a mentally afflicted person against their will.
I saw this at first hand as the granddaughter defied me all day. She is but six and already an expert at testing the will and resolve of others to find ways to promote her advantage. I grew tired of Californian and Canadian child rearing philosophies based on “bad choices.” “time-out,” etc. I decided it was my will against hers. I am the grandfather and the owner of the house. And so I turned less kind and more determined. The end result was a screaming kid carried to the bedroom and told to go to sleep. She screamed in anger and fell asleep. So I conclude we all need a bit of discipline to prosper. For it is impossible to keep everybody happy all the time.