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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

JOHN TWIGG -- BC needs more self-sufficiency as world descends into chaos

The continuing rise of tensions in the world continues to be amazing, let alone having those compounded now by the COVID-19 pandemic.


A new case in point is the news that China's (communist totalitarian) government has announced through its highest prosecutor's office that charges of espionage or spying have now been laid against two Canadian men, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been in detention in China for 18 months.


As a Chinese foreign ministry official put it, they each allegedly were “secretly gathering state secrets for overseas forces with particularly serious consequences.”


Maybe so or probably not, but why now? Because it's another tit-for-tat by China against Canada after the Canadian government acceded to an American request about two years ago to detain Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver; she is the chief financial officer of Huawei, the giant telecommunications company owned by the Chinese government that is rapidly installing its 5G networks around the world which the Americans believe (and I think rightly so) poses a serious security risk to Western security and businesses. But Meng in her own right also is one of the highest-ranking women in the top echelons of China's party-run government.


Meng is in Vancouver still living in her mansion there while her lawyers are fighting against her being extradited to the United States to face charges of complicity in Huawei's alleged hegemony, specifically in Huawei having helped the rogue government of Iranian in defiance of U.S. sanctions against Iran, but probably more generally too - including Huawei's own espionage inside the United States! (Its software may contain backdoor entries into confidential data of American governments and businesses.)


New COVID outbreaks in China


Meanwhile China has a large plateful of its own problems arising, notably new outbreaks of the COVID virus in Beijing and other major cities which has caused massive new lock-downs of citizens in China, so perhaps the new charges against these Canadian "spies" were also intended to be a smokescreen or distraction for China's domestic purposes.


This is part of a titanic global power struggle that probably will be at least alluded to -- if not highlighted -- by U.S. President Donald Trump when he speaks to a huge rally Saturday evening in Tulsa, Oklahoma where about 100,000 or more people are eager to see that Trump gets re-elected on November 3rd. Not to mention the likely demonstrations against Trump by radical leftists who in recent weeks have turned the downtowns of several American cities into de facto war zones - even in laid-back Seattle!


Ostensibly such mass gatherings shouldn't even take place in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19, which also lately has been spreading again inside the U.S. too, but Trump and the Republicans are determined to do whatever it takes to retain power and perhaps rightly so when you consider what the alternatives might be: a weak left-liberal cabal headed by a near-senile goof.


Meanwhile here in Canada we just watched the Conservative Party's last leadership debate before mail-in voting next month, which was a bit lacklustre. It seems former leader Peter MacKay has improved his French and is adopting a more populist stance and so will probably win but contenders Erin O'Toole and Leslyn Lewis did stir some populist waves while contender Derek Sloan suffered from not being fluent in French.


Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh suffered a similar setback after being ejected from Parliament for a day after accusing a Bloc Quebecois member of being a racist, which gave him some unhelpful publicity (being seen to be too quick with such a nasty charge).


So, there's really not much of a threat to the Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which though a minority has been able to govern like a majority with occasional help from the New Democratic Party or the Bloc Quebecois- so things could be worse.


Here in B.C. the race issue arose anew this morning (June 19) when Health Minister Adrian Dix abruptly announced he has hired Mary-Ellen Turpel Lafond (a former judge and the former child and youth advocate) to investigate new allegations that some doctors and nurses in unspecified hospitals' emergency rooms have been playing a game guessing the blood alcohol level of mainly Indigenous patients, based on unspecified allegations.


Dix and Premier John Horgan went ballistic at the news, promising changes will be made, with Horgan releasing this statement:

"I am outraged by reports of ugly, anti-Indigenous, racist behaviour at multiple health-care facilities in B.C.


"This behaviour degrades the standards and provisions of health care in our province. It cannot stand. There is no excuse. There is no explaining this away.


"No one should fear discrimination when they need help the most. No one should worry that when they visit a hospital that they will be prejudged and given a lower standard of care. If confirmed, this is a heartbreaking example of systemic racism in our province.


"These serious allegations of unacceptable, dehumanizing behaviour will be thoroughly investigated by former justice Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. Health Minister Adrian Dix will work with Indigenous leaders and leaders in Indigenous health. He has my full support to ensure that the details of this case will be revealed and that the voices of anyone who has experienced this racist practice will be heard.


"This will not be swept aside. We will not look the other way when racism is exposed. We will get a full account and changes will be made."


While one can sympathize with their outrage, which controversy comes at a somewhat inconvenient time politically (e.g. during negotiations on resource projects), it illustrates anew that B.C. does have a problem with chronic alcoholism amongst several groups of people including urban and rural Indians which many police and social workers are already all too aware of, and emergency rooms all across Canada have disproportionate shares of users who are First Nations, many of whom suffer from depression caused by poverty and yes, racism.


B.C. needs more self-sufficiency


So, what is to be done?

Well obviously B.C. and Canada need a spurt of economic development and job creation, and coincidentally the Horgan government has just announced a new policy development process seeking suggestions from the public on what could be done in that regard, which I discussed in the previous issue of this newsletter.


Is it time for a provincial police force?
Clearly in such a troubled world it would be wise for British Columbians to develop a more self-sufficient economy and society, which could include such items as reviving the Provincial Treasury Branches, adding a made-in-B.C. currency, reviving the B.C. Police force, developing better transit on under-used corridors, developing a full-employment strategy, adopting the list of brilliant recommendations from futurist Guy Dauncey (a green advocate who lives in Yellow Point) - maybe except the climate alarmism stuff, and I'll dare to add more commandment-keeping too.


There will be more from me on all of this in future newsletters.


John Twigg ... is a veteran independent journalist now based in Campbell River.


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