The social effects of extreme weather for the homeless, the poor, the elderly and the colonized, in the cities and on the roads; the abnegation of social responsibility and the public interest by the media and governments shows the need for empowerment. “When tragedies do occur, the monopoly media focuses on the technical mechanics of the disaster, excluding who should be held accountable, how the concerns and campaigns of the community were dealt with or ignored, and the response of the public bodies” | TONY SEED
(December 30, updated January 5) – According to the CBC, the main “news” and social consequences of the record extreme cold weather seems to be the status of outdoor civic New Year’s parties, the condition of the ice on a short-term, multi-million dollar outdoor rink erected on Parliament Hill, polar bear dips, and an outdoor World Junior hockey game between Canada and the U.S. in Buffalo on Friday December 28th.
A fiery crash of a tractor trailer truck on the QEW (pictured above) that shut down the Niagara bound lanes near Bartlett Ave. in Grimsby was reported merely as a freak obstacle or an inconvenient “long delay” to the many Canadians heading to the game. While no one was hurt this time, the damage to the highway was extensive and will take time to repair.
One CBC anchor, Hanna Thibodeau, joked with meteorologist David Phillips as to whether Russia was to blame for the Arctic front.
In seeming contrast, CBC published on December 29 a long photo feature titled “Toronto has officially frozen over. See it here in all its icy glory” highlighting the beauty of a nature that is benign. The kicker called on readers to “Take in the stunning sights of the city during the deep freeze.” (The photos were submitted.)
As 2017 ends, the working people face a media onslaught about what is going on in Canada and around the world, of which the weather occupies one sphere. We think that a sober approach going into 2018 is of importance.
An awesome lake effect snow squall (snowsquall) drops heavy snow over Sudbury on February 27, 2014. Lake effect squalls from Georgian Bay are noted for their persistence and linear banding, producing blinding visibility on Highway 400.
The following reflection was written on February 28, 2014 but for some reasons was not published at the time. I am posting it now in the midst of the extreme cold weather front that is gripping Canada and the United States.
The view from Blantyre
By TONY SEED
WHEN extreme weather event strikes, the reporting of the media proceeds from the premise of the insurance companies: it is a supernatural “act of God,” a natural disaster divorced from the social conditions made by man. It has become a genre and given a name – disaster journalism. It was all so “unexpected.” Hurricane Katrina? Just blew in suddenly from the Gulf. That ice storm in Atlanta? The weather suddenly shifted upstate in the morning. That tsunami in the Indian Ocean? No-one at the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii had the phone number of the Sri Lanka president and hence the island received no warning. Thousands of people, mainly poor fishers, along the eastern and southern coastline were engulfed by the deep blue sea, as if an act of Buddha. Due to the large number of victims, that far-off disaster did make the evening news. These were not “accidents”; natural disasters became crimes. Continue reading
Finding a practical way forward for the workers’ movement to make the struggle for rights effective at this time | ROLF GERSTENBERGER*
Nation-building in the 21st century has to overcome the obstacles that developed during the 20th century. These obstacles derive primarily from the empire-building of the global monopolies and the big powers with which they are connected. Empire-building of the global monopolies during the twentieth century overwhelmed and defeated the nation-builders of the nineteenth century, the nascent period of capitalism, and the heroic nation-building attempt of the working class in the Soviet Union. Continue reading
While in Paris during the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change, Prime Minister Trudeau joined with multi-billionaire Bill Gates and the war presidents François Hollande of France and Barack Obama of the U.S. to launch “Mission Innovation” and its private sector partner the “Breakthrough Energy Coalition.” The initiative is not a movie spinoff but rather a public-private partnership (P3) for privileged private interests to become even richer using public funds in the booming climate change sector. Continue reading
At 10:30 am on November 4, surrounded by a lot of hoopla, Justin Trudeau was sworn in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister. Prior to that, Stephen Harper tendered his formal resignation to the Governor General in a private meeting.
The cabinet is comprised of 31 members including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who is also Minister for Youth and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. It is comprised of 15 women and 16 men. The average age is 52, with ages ranging from 30 to 69. Continue reading