Is perpetual direct democracy good for your health?

A friend of mine, Ion Delsol, operates a website – pasifik.ca – to support a vision of perpetual direct democracy. One of the experimental features is a section called “Now Polling” that is used to assess the will of the people on an ongoing basis. It is Ion’s firm belief that democracy should happen more often than on election day every four years. To read about Ion’s vision, visit this link: Perpetual Direct Democracy (available in Spanish as well).

I was recently asked by Ion to share my views and experiences of the health care system in British Columbia and Canada. The discussion started with a critique of the current health care system. It continued to consider more fundamental factors than bigger and better machines and shorter wait times: Social determinants of health. Income equality, social justice, and political empowerment will make people healthier.

Ion taped and edited the conversation and it will be broadcast on the community cable channel in British Columbia. The interview is also available online on pasifik.ca and YouTube:

Determinants of Health – Part 1

Determinants of Health – Part 2

Determinants of Health – Part 3

Determinants of Health – Part 4

Ausgrenzung, Unterdrückung, und Widerstand (+en)

(English translation below)

Bei der Ankunft im ehemaligen Kapuziner Kloster, dem heutigen Haus der Gastfreundschaft, ist eine grosse, steinerne Gedenktafel sichtbar. Obwohl die Tafel in erster Line auf die Baugeschichte des historischen Gebäudes verweist, lässt sich aus dem ersten Satz viel Vorgeschichte heraus lesen:

Sunnehuegel7

„Zur Beruhigung der bitteren Untertanen schickte nach dem Bauernkrieg von 1653 der Rat von Luzern die Kapuziner nach Schüpfheim und erbaute ihnen auf eigene Kosten hier, wo bisher ein Galgen mit Überresten hingerichteter Bauernführer stand, Kirche und Kloster. 

Der Bauernkrieg war ein Aufstand der rechtlosen Landbevölkerung. Die Bauern hatten genug von der politischen Bevormundung und der wirtschaftlichen Ausbeutung und Benachteiligung durch die mächtigen Stadtherren. Continue reading “Ausgrenzung, Unterdrückung, und Widerstand (+en)”

Valuing democracy – playing by the rules

I was asked to contribute to the ongoing consultation process for the Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan. Here are my thoughts:

Image
Monolith Mountain in the Tombstone Territorial Park. A protected natural space in the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in traditional territory adjacent to the Peel River watershed.

Feedback Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan Consultation

My personal opinion is that the Peel River region has sufficient natural value to be designated as a whole (=100%) a protected area similar to a National Park. However, I see that various stakeholders have an interest in accessing some resources in the Peel River watershed:

For First Nations it is an area for subsistence, primarily fishing, but also hunting, berry picking and the collection of other plant materials for medicinal uses. As the representatives of a colonial power, the Yukon Government also has to realize that the Peel River watershed has spiritual values to the indigenous people of that area, the people that have lived on the land for centuries, that live on the land today, and the ones yet-to-come. This land is part of the people – a concept that is hard to grasp for us Westerners who have developed property rights, buy and sell real estate like a commodity, with no emotional or spiritual attachment, and see us as enlightened beings separate from the natural world.

Continue reading “Valuing democracy – playing by the rules”

A sorry state – the loss of democracy (+de)

A Sorry State (für eine deutsche Teilübersetzung klicke hier: Ein leider Zustand)

Last week, the Available Light Cinema film series in Whitehorse screened the new documentary by local director Mitch Miyagawa with the catchy title “A Sorry State”. Indeed, much of what we read in the news about politics, be it at the level of the territorial government, the federal government, or many national governments around the world, supports the impression that this world is in a sorry state.

But do not fear: I am not going to write a lament about our current political situation. I’ll leave that for other writers in local newspapers that dared to describe our cage-fighting MP a sock puppet of the Prime Minister… (Yukon News)

The sorry state in Miyagawa’s film refers to the various apologies his extended family has received over the last decade from the government of Canada for political wrongs of its colonial history: Continue reading “A sorry state – the loss of democracy (+de)”