Venice, Louisiana is aptly nicknamed “the end of the world.” The community of 1000, which includes Venice, Orchard and Boothville, is south of New Orleans is the most southerly terminus of the Great River Road and the last community on the Mississippi River. Venice was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. East of Venice, LA is a human-induced oxygen deprived dead zone on the Gulf of Mexico seabed with too little oxygen to support fish, shrimp, crabs and other forms of marine life, that expanded to its largest on record by 2008 of c. 8,000 square miles.

One of Venice’s main industries is to provide service and transport for off-shore petroleum platforms, including BP’s  Deepwater Horizon oil rig which exploded 2010-02-20 killing eleven people and causing a huge oil spill.

Deepwater Horizon, built in 2001, was a Transocean-owned semisubmersible drilling rig but it was leased to BP (65%), with partners Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Mitsui & Co. owning the remainder.

BP plc founded in 1909 as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (See wiki for its Iranian-British-American history), which became The British Petroleum Company plc then BP Amoco plc now called BP) “is a British global energy company that is also the third largest global energy company and the 4th largest company in the world. As a multinational oil company (“oil major”) BP is the UK’s largest corporation, with its headquarters in St James’s, City of Westminster, London.[2][3][4] The company is among the largest private sector energy corporations in the world, and one of the six “supermajors” (vertically integrated private sector oil exploration, natural gas, and petroleum product marketing companies). BP’s 2009 reports a revenue of $246.1 billion, a net incomeof US $16.58 billion, a total equity of US $101.6 billion with 92,000 employees worldwide. wiki source

See dramatic photos here.

BP’s Gulf of Mexico Deepwater operations which include Atlantis Oil Field, Thunder Horse, Mad Dog, Pompano, Holstein, Horn Mountain, Marlin, Nakika and Tiber oilfield (announced 2009; production not commenced) operates from Houston, Texas.

“Transocean LTD is the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor. The company rents out floating, mobile drill rigs, along with the equipment and personnel needed for operations, to oil and gas companies. The company was spun-off from its parent, Birmingham, Alabama based Sonat, Inc. in 1993 and was originally called Sonat Offshore Drilling, Inc. Sonat Offshore acquired the Norwegian group Transocean ASA in 1996 and adopted its name. In 2000 the company merged with Sedco Forex, and was renamed Transocean Sedco Forex. In 2001 the company bought Reading & Bates Falcon. The name of the company was simplified to Transocean in 2003. Sedco Forex was originally part of Schlumberger until 2000 when it was spun off. Sedco Forex was originally formed from the merger of two drilling companies, the Southeast Drilling Company (Sedco) and French drilling company Forex. Transocean employs approximately 26,300 people worldwide and has a fleet of 136 vessels and units as of March, 2009. It was incorporated in the Cayman Islands while the principal office is in Houston, Texas. On December 8, 2008, the company’s shareholders voted to move its incorporation from the Caymans to Zug, Switzerland. The company has offices in 20 countries around the world, with major offices in Stavanger, Aberdeen, Perth, Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia. On July 23, 2007, Transocean announced a merger with GlobalSantaFe Corporation. The merger was completed on November 27, 2007.” wiki source

Steven L. Newman, CEO became CEO of Transocean in March 2010 just before the explosion. Newman joined the company in 1994 in the Corporate Planning Department. Mr. Newman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and an MBA from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business.

Macondo prospect:
“The Macondo prospect is located on Mississippi Canyon Block 252 in the Gulf of Mexico in a water depth of 4,993 feet (1,522 meters). BP serves as the operator and holds a 100% interest in the prospect, which was acquired at the MMS Lease Sale #206 in March 2008. On Feb. 23, 2009 an EP was submitted to MMS (OCS-G 32306) proposing to drill and temporarily abandon two exploratory wells on the field. Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon semisub, which caught fire on April 20, 2010, was drilling the Macondo prospect. According to Dow Jones, the well had reached a depth of at least 11,500 feet (3,502 meters), when BP filed a permit with MMS to temporarily abandon the well. The rig sunk after erupting into flames from a blowout. BP may drill a relief well, if required, and will utilize a nearby drilling rig, which is available to commence drilling immediately source.”

One of the questions that surprised veteran New York Times journalist, Thomas L. Friedman, at the 2010 World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland was, “Is the ‘Beijing Consensus’ replacing the ‘Washington Consensus?’ (Friedman 2010-01-30).

The Davos World Economic Forum usually offers accurate indicators of the global mood on its political barometer (Friedman 2010-01-30).

‘Washington Consensus’ is a term coined after the cold war for the free-market, pro-trade, globalization policies promoted by America that by 2010 has evolved into an almost hegemonic system of open markets, floating currencies and free elections that is now under scrutiny for its weak performance on political risk analysis. The United States may very well be monitored as a risk investment climate because of its political instability (Friedman 2010-01-30).

The U.S two-party political system was described by developing countries as in danger of political instability at the Davos Forum as the U.S. administration appears to be unable to deal with health care, infrastructure, education and energy issues (Friedman 2010-01-30).

In his book entitled China’s New Confucianism, (2008-05) Daniel A. Bell explained how in China, Confucianism, Communism and Capitalism are blending. Capitalists can now join the CCP. The reformed Chinese legal system is slowly aligning with the Western legal systems (Chinese businesses are insisting on Chinese laws for arbitration). Bell observes that as China increased its openness to capitalist markets, it appears to be retreating from communism. China is also embracing a new form of Confucianism, evident in efforts made to enhance and encourage civil society in China during the Beijing Olympics. This new Confucianism, Bell suggests, may be a compelling alternative to Western liberalism.

Ramo, Joshua Cooper. 2004-05-11. “Beijing Consensus: The Beijing Consensus: Notes on the New Physics of Chinese Power.” The Foreign Policy Centre: London, UK. Ramo compares China’s shifting ideology to Heisenberg among others, explaining how developing countries look to China as an alternative to the Washington Consensus which focused on molding nation-states into similar malleable entities preparing the ground for market interests to flourish and profit globally.

Who’s Who

The Foreign Policy Centre “is a prominent UK progressive foreign think-tank founded by Robin Cook under the patronage of Tony Blair in 1998 to develop a vision of a fair and rule-based world order. Through our research, publications and events, we aim to develop innovative policy ideas that promote: effective multilateral solutions to global problems; democratic and well-governed states as the foundation of order and development; partnerships with the private sector and NGOs to deliver public goods; support for progressive policy through effective public diplomacy; inclusive definitions of citizenship to underpin internationalist policies.”

Key Concepts

Beijing Consensus According to New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman the “Confucian-Communist-Capitalist” is a “hybrid under the umbrella of a one-party state, with a lot of government guidance, strictly controlled capital markets and an authoritarian decision-making process that is capable of making tough choices and long-term investments, without having to heed daily public polls (Friedman citing Bennhold 2010).” The man who coined the term, Joseph Cooper Ramo “Beijing Consensus”, described it as an alternative to the “Washington Consensus.” According to him, this newer consensus was more attractive to developing countries who wanted recipes for economic growth that did not result in political instability. The Beijing Consensus as dr”: the use of leading-edge high technologies, constant innovation and experimentation, willingness to fail, rejection of a “black hole” GDP indicator, self-determination (as opposed to World Bank/IMF conditions) (Ramo 2004).

Timeline

1984-06-30 Deng Xiaoping spoke with the Japanese delegation to the second session of the Council of Sino-Chinese Non-Governmental Persons. This excerpt is entitled “Build Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.”

2004 Joseph Cooper Ramo coined the term “Beijing Consensus” to describe an alternative to the “Washington Consensus.” According to him, this newer consensus involved: innovation and constant experimentation; rejection of GDP growth above all in favor of sustainability and equality; self-determination (as opposed to World Bank/IMF conditions) (Ramo 2004).

2008-05 In his book entitled China’s New Confucianism, (2008-05) Daniel A. Bell explained how in China, capitalists can now join the CCP; the reformed Chinese legal system more closely aligns with the West and Chinese businesses are insisting on its use Chinese laws in arbitration. Bell observes that China has increased its openness to capitalist markets, retreated from communism and is embracing a new Confucianism. This new Confucianism, evident in the efforts made to enhance and encourage civil society in China during the Beijing Olympics, may be a compelling alternative to Western liberalism.

2008 Before the Beijing Olympic Games China was still considered to be an emerging economy. China seemed to respond positively to the U.S. and E.U. to lift censorship and to cooperate with the West. Efforts were made to enhance and encourage civil society in China during the Games.

2010 The World Economic Forum was held in Davos, Switzerland.

Webliography and Bibliography

Bell, Daniel A. 2008. “From Communism to Confucianism: Changing Discourses on China’s Political Future.” China’s New Confucianism: Politics and Everyday Life in a Changing Society. Princeton University Press. pp.3-18.

Bennhold, Katrin. 2009-01-27. “Is Europe’s welfare system a model for the 21st century?New York Times.

Bennhold, Katrin. 2010-01-27. “As China Rises, Conflict With West Rises Too.” New York Times.

Deng Xiaoping. 1984-06-30. “Build Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.

Friedman, Thomas. 2010-01-30. “Never Heard That Before.” New York Times. Davos, Switzerland.

Gibney, Frank B.; Lin, Paul T. K. et al. 1979-11-26. “We can develop a market economy under socialism.”

Jessica Li, Jessica; Madsen, Jean. 2009-04. “Chinese workers’ work ethic in reformed state-owned enterprises: implications for HRD.Human Resource Development International, 12:2:171-188.

“Work ethic, as the construct of work-related values and attitudes, directly affects employees’ job performance. Work ethic subjects to the influence of business and social practices. China is in the mix of major economical and political transformation, although little is known about how work ethic has changed for Chinese workers since the economic reform first initiated in 1979. This study is designed to examine work ethic currently held by workers of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Findings revealed work ethic perceptions based on the multidimensional work ethic profile (MWEP), a Western work ethic profile, and the Confucian work ethic (CWE), an Eastern work ethic profile, resulted in similarities but often lived different life styles. Differences: perceptions of hard work, self-reliance, centrality of work, education, use of time, delay of graduation. Other MWEP concepts were very similar to Chinese workers’ work perceptions.”

Ramo, Joshua Cooper. 2004-05-11. “The Beijing Consensus: Notes on the New Physics of Chinese Power.” The Foreign Policy Centre: London, UK.

Folksonomy

Content saved to PC .txt files under

Links saved to my bookmarks under folder > subfolder

Linked to other Web 2.0 tools

Digg, delicious, google docs, Google customized maps, social media, Flickr, picasa, slideshare, my social history timelines,

Old age is monetized and pressure is placed on older adults to strategically outsmart future financial markets to ensure a personal portfolio protection against poverty in their final years. Women remain at highest risk of poverty since statistics show that women do not save for their retirement. The subtext of this Financial Post article on “Your Money” is one of individual responsibility to strategically manage money factoring in the potential economical situation from twenty to sixty years in the future. Given that the financial experts themselves were unable to foresee the financial meltdown even months in advance or to respond to it effectively even months afterwards this is just another callous empty article providing adult children of the elderly and social agencies with another excuse to blame impoverished elderly for their own demise.

As the extremes of wealth and poverty intensify, insurance companies, banks and financial institutions entangle webs of potentially lucrative and increasingly complex refinanced, repackaged and unregulated debt, credit and insurance schemes that reap huge dividends for a handful while stripping the most vulnerable of everything including their homes, their incomes, adequate health care provided in a respectful dignified environment and finally a place to die  with dignity in a truly respectful care giving environment.

Webliography and Bibliography

Allentuck, Andrew. 2020-01-20. “Living longer — will poverty stalk the very elderly?Financial Post.

long term care insurance, retirement strategies, retirement, life expectancy, boomers, health, at-risk, belonging, moral topography, humiliation, dignity, at risk populations, Social Justice, social exclusion, vulnerability to social exclusion, moral mathematics, poverty, extremes wealth poverty, policy research, @twitter,

Draft! My Google Map entitled Oil Sands, delicious, papergirls, EndNote, YouTube, Draft!

See also

Places of interest:
MacKay River: In the story on The difference is spelling of McKay in Fort McKay and MacKay River is confusing. Is McKay River (known locally as Red River) the same river as MacKay River? Where is Devon?

National Geographic suggests the potential worth of the Alberta oil sands is $80 trillion.

See also

Notes

Bitumen is basically oil-soaked sand.

Timeline

1965 Karl Clark, a patient chemist, took 45 years to perfect a hot-water process in which bitumen frothed to the top and sand settled to the bottom. He used his wife’s washing machine. In 1965 the Great Canadian Oil Sands Company (now Suncor) ran the first commercial application of Clark’s hot-water process producing 45,000 barrels a day. In order to create the mine to feed the hot-water process, thousands of trees were bulldozed (Nikiforuk 2008).

1976 The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) founded in 1976, has been Canada’s private sector leader in the promotion of international trade and investment liberalization. The members of the CCCE include the chief executive officers of 150 leading Canadian corporations. These companies collectively administer close to $3.0 trillion in assets, have annual revenues of more than $650 billion and account for a significant majority of Canada’s private sector investment, exports, training and research and development.

1997 Among other initiatives, the CCCE organized and hosted the first-ever APEC (Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation) CEO Summit in 1997, during which it received His Excellency Jiang Zemin, then-President of China.

2002 Suncor began producing oil at MacKay River in 2002, while Firebag stages 1 and 2 began producing oil in 2004 and 2006 respectively. The sequence and timing of additional stages of Firebag and a potential expansion of the MacKay River facility will be considered as part of a review of oil sands growth projects.

2006 “In 2006, more than 100 of Canada’s public companies were acquired by foreign interests. The list includes some of the oldest and most well-established companies across a broad spectrum of industries – everything from hotels to retailing, to metals and mining. And the trend continues. I sometimes worry that we may all wake up one day and find that as a nation, we have lost control of our affairs. I think we ought to have a vigorous debate about the extent to which it matters whether or not ownership of our economy resides in Canada. I believe that ownership matters a lot. It matters not only for economic reasons but, more importantly in my opinion, for our own sense of self-esteem and pride in our country. My concern is not rooted in any chauvinism or in any antipathy towards foreign investment. Far from it. I happen to believe that globalization is a very positive development and that trade and investment across borders is to be encouraged. Canada benefits mightily from being “open for business” and we mustn’t do anything to change that. My concern stems from the fact that the world is awash with capital and that the consolidation trend in many industries will inevitably continue. We are a small country with a relatively small population. Canadian companies typically are not of a size to be global players. All too often, decisions affecting the future of important firms and the communities that they sustain are made solely with a view to the short-term financial consequences. I find it particularly bothersome that so many of our natural resource companies – which I would argue represent unique and irreplaceable assets – are now owned elsewhere. So what are some actions that we might consider taking? Well, what if we were to consider the feasibility of adopting ownership restrictions for certain sensitive sectors of our economy that would be similar to those that now apply to our financial institutions? After all, I would argue that it is a demonstrable fact that public policy regarding the ownership of our banks and insurance companies has served the country well; there is no shortage of competition in the financial services sector and the services available to Canadians are as comprehensive and as affordable as exist anywhere in the world. Securities regulation is another area where some useful debate could be undertaken. Many feel that Canada now has the most bidder-friendly environment in the world and that this may not always be in our country’s best interests. Under our rules, shareholder rights plans – also known as takeover defenses or “poison pills” – fall away after a very short 60 or 90 days, leaving the target company’s board with far too little time in which to explore alternatives. I believe that it is important for us as Canadians to have companies based here that are global leaders (D’Alessandro 2007-05-03).”

2005-11-18 “CEO Mission to China Builds on Canada’s Strategic Partnership with the World’s Largest Emerging Market.” Seventeen senior business leaders representing a wide swath of the Canadian economy will arrive in Beijing on Sunday for a five-day mission to further the development of stronger trade and investment ties between Canada and the People’s Republic of China. Organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), the mission marks the first purely private sector visit to China by a broadly based group of chief executives from among Canada’s largest enterprises. “Since the Council several years ago designated China as a country of the highest strategic importance, we have continued to seek opportunities to build an ever-broader foundation of mutual trust and fruitful bilateral cooperation.” The mission is led by Mr. d’Aquino and Richard L. George, Chairman of the CCCE and President and Chief Executive Officer of Suncor Energy Inc. Other participants include the CEOs of AGF Management Limited, Bentall Capital LLP, Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Canadian Oil Sands Limited, CanWest Global Communications Corp., Enbridge Inc., Harvard Developments Inc., Palliser Furniture Ltd., Pengrowth Management Limited, Petro-Canada, Polygon Homes Ltd., Power Corporation of Canada and Yanke Group of Companies. The CEO mission to China follows the recent establishment of the Canada-China Strategic Partnership by the Right Honourable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, and His Excellency Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China. The Partnership, which was announced during President Hu’s visit to Ottawa in September, represents a watershed in relations between Canada and China, encompassing a wide range of bilateral and international areas. China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner, after the United States. The Canadian and Chinese governments have pledged to double bilateral trade within five years, to about $60 billion a year by 2010. The Canadian CEOs will spend three days in Beijing followed by two days in Shanghai. The agenda includes meetings with senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission, China International Capital Corporation, the China Securities Regulatory Commission and CITIC Group. “The emergence of China as a world economic power is opening up huge trade and investment opportunities for Canada,” Mr. d’Aquino said. “The Canadian Council of Chief Executives is committed to working closely at home and abroad to transform opportunity into success.” The CCCE, founded in 1976, has been Canada’s private sector leader in the promotion of international trade and investment liberalization. Among other initiatives, the CCCE organized and hosted the first-ever APEC (Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation) CEO Summit in 1997, during which it received His Excellency Jiang Zemin, then-President of China. The members of the CCCE include the chief executive officers of 150 leading Canadian corporations. These companies collectively administer close to $3.0 trillion in assets, have annual revenues of more than $650 billion and account for a significant majority of Canada’s private sector investment, exports, training and research and development. In addition to Mr. d’Aquino and Mr. George, the members of the CCCE’s Executive Committee are: Honorary Chairman A. Charles Baillie; and Vice-Chairmen Dominic D’Alessandro, Paul Desmarais, Jr., Jacques Lamarre, Gwyn Morgan and Gordon Nixon, the chief executives respectively of Manulife Financial, Power Corporation of Canada, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., EnCana Corporation and Royal Bank of Canada.

2009-09-01 “In a blockbuster [tentative] deal, privately owned Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. said PetroChina International Investment Co. Ltd. will buy a majority stake in its operations for $1.9 billion, marking the largest venture by China in the Canadian oilsands to date. [This is still to be reviewed by federal Industry Minister Tony Clement under the Investment Canada Act to evaluate the transaction's net benefit to Canada.] Athabasca Oil Sands said the state-owned firm, one of the world’s most valuable oil and gas companies, will acquire a 60 per cent working interest in the MacKay River and Dover oilsands projects. “This deal shows that the biggest energy company in the world has chosen Athabasca as their partner,” chief executive and president Sveinung Svarte said in a conference call Monday. ” They clearly told us that’s because they like our assets the best and, obviously, they (the oilsands) are the crude oil story.” The two in-situ projects sit on approximately five billion barrels of bitumen that have yet to be developed, and are part of Athabasca’s almost 10 billion barrels of bitumen reserves. The play is one of the largest in the Athabasca region:about 121,400 hectares. “The reason we chose PetroChina over other some of the other bids was, obviously, their financial strength,” chairman Bill Gallacher said. “But also their technological capabilities related to heavy oil and(steam assisted gravity drainage), which we believe will benefit our project both efficiency-wise and production-wise (O’Meara 2009-09-01.”

Who’s Who

Bill Gallacher is Chair of the privately-owned Calgary-based Athabasca Oil Sands Corp which made a blockbuster deal with state-owned PetroChina International Investment Co. Ltd. -one of the world’s most valuable oil and gas companies- who will acquire a 60 per cent working interest for $1.9 billion in the MacKay River and Dover oilsands projects which Athabasca Oil Sands Corp will continue to operate, marking the largest venture by China in the Canadian oilsands to date. company said the projects, which it will continue to operate, will cost between $15 billion and $20 billion to develop. It has filed for provincial approval for both projects and intends to file an application for the first 35,000-barrel-per-day phase of MacKay River at the end of the year [. . .] Athabasca Oil Sands said it had notified federal and provincial officials on the proposed Chinese investment, which would make the foreign entity a majority stakeholder in the oilsands projects. Gallacher did not anticipate any issues to arise from the Competition Bureau on the deal. (O’Meara 2009-09-01.”

Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), the mission marks the first purely private sector visit to China by a broadly based group of chief executives from among Canada’s largest enterprises. The (CCCE) founded in 1976, has been Canada’s private sector leader in the promotion of international trade and investment liberalization. The members of the CCCE include the chief executive officers of 150 leading Canadian corporations. These companies collectively administer close to $3.0 trillion in assets, have annual revenues of more than $650 billion and account for a significant majority of Canada’s private sector investment, exports, training and research and development. Among other initiatives, the CCCE organized and hosted the first-ever APEC (Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation) CEO Summit in 1997, during which it received His Excellency Jiang Zemin, then-President of China. “Many of our members have friendships and commercial relationships in China stretching back years and in some cases decades,” said CCCE Chief Executive and President Thomas d’Aquino.

Thomas d’Aquino is “President and Chief Executive of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. He has been described by Peter C. Newman as “the most powerful influence on public policy formation in Canadian history”, and listed by historian Jack Granatstein as one of the 100 most influential Canadians of the twentieth century. A prolific writer and speaker, he has worked as special assistant to the Prime Minister, special counsel on international trade law and international advisor on strategic business problems (Northern Edge).”

David Stewart-Patterson is the “CCCE’s Executive Vice President. He is also the author of Post Mortem: Why Canada’s Mail Won’t Move, described by the Financial Post as “rather like reading a less gentle version of one of Studs Terkel’s oral histories”. A former journalist, he has worked as parliamentary correspondent for The Globe and Mail‘s Report on Business and as business editor for CTV’s Canada AM (Northern Edge).”

Northern Gateway project The multi-billion dollar proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project to transport 400,000 barrels of oil sand production involving a new twin pipeline system running from the oilsands in Alberta, to a new marine terminal in Kitimat, British Columbia to export petroleum and import condensate. In 2005-04-14 Enbridge CEO Patrick D. Daniel announced that Enbridge had entered into a memorandum of understanding with PetroChina International Company Limited to cooperate on the development of the Gateway Pipeline and supply of crude oil from Canada to China. Daniel noted that the agreement with PetroChina was built on the favourable environment for trade between Canada and China which was cultivated by [former] Prime Minister Paul Martin, and the efforts of [former] Alberta Premier Ralph Klein to stimulate Chinese interest in the oil sands.” The project was shelved in 2006 when the market cooled. By 2009 as China’s thirst for energy and need to secure supply has increased perhaps the Northern Gateway Project might be reconsidered ( (O’Meara 2009-09-01).”

Enbridge Enbridge Inc. is involved in energy transportation and distribution in North America and internationally. As a transporter of energy, Enbridge operates, in Canada and the U.S., the world’s longest crude oil and liquids transportation system. The Company also has international operations and a growing involvement in the natural gas transmission and midstream businesses. As a distributor of energy, Enbridge owns and operates Canada’s largest natural gas distribution company, and provides distribution services in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and New York State. Enbridge employs approximately 4,000 people, primarily in Canada, the U.S. and South America. Enbridge’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada and on the New York Stock Exchange in the U.S. under the symbol ENB. Information about Enbridge is available on the Company’s web site at http://www.enbridge.com. Enbridge proposed the Northern Gateway Project and is involved in internal pipeline inspection and invests heavily in innovative leak detection technology. Enbridge has a computer system that can electronically monitor pipelines 24/7 from the Enbridge operations control centre. They also promise to put in safety control valves and leak detection systems to provide a strong safeguard for the environment.”

Andrew Nikiforuk published Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent with Vancouver-based David Suzuki Foundation-Greystone Books in 2008 in which he argues that, “Canadian taxpayers, who made $150 million [Canadian] in royalties from mining activities between 1966 and 2002, have spent more than $4 billion tidying up scores of contaminated sites…” (2008:100)..

Webliography and Bibliography

D’Alessandro, Dominic. 2007. “How can we preserve Canadian ownership?Perspectives: 8.

d’Aquino, Thomas and David Stewart-Patterson. Northern Edge: How Canadians Can Triumph in the Global Economy.

Gelsi, Steve. 2009-09-01. “Energy stocks fall hard as broad market weighs.” MarketWatch. Issue:

O’Meara, Dina. 2009. “China’s $1.9B Alberta oilsands deal: PetroChina partners with Athabasca Oil Sands.” Calgary Herald.

RTTNews. 2009. “PetroChina To Acquire 60% Stake In Two Athabasca Oil-Sands Projects For US$1.7 Bln – Update.”

Nikiforuk, Andrew. 2008. Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent. Vancouver: David Suzuki Foundation-Greystone Books.

“As a nation we [The United States] have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace. We work with one another, lunch together and, when the event is at the workplace during work hours or shortly thereafter, we socialize with one another fairly well, irrespective of race. And yet even this interaction operates within certain limitations. We know, by “American instinct” and by learned behavior, that certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks, at best embarrassment, and, at worst, the questioning of one’s character. And outside the workplace the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. On Saturdays and Sundays America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some fifty years ago. This is truly sad. Given all that we as a nation went through during the civil rights struggle it is hard for me to accept that the result of those efforts was to create an America that is more prosperous, more positively race conscious and yet is voluntarily socially segregated (Holder 2009-02-18).”

How do we as communities move towards voluntary socially de-segregated nations? Have a picnic?

On July 30, 2009 two Cambridge Massachussetts families will join the President of the United States for a picnic table summit. They represent the town and gown, but more significantly, two races, brought together in a gesture of reconciliation.

The press are stomping on the turf of the Professor’s yellow wood-frame home and the Sergeant’s Natick home and tomorrow they will be all over the White House lawn for the picnic.

Sgt. James M. Crowley, who grew up in Cambridge and now lives in Natick, Mass. with his wife and three children, has served with the Cambridge Police Department for 11 years. In 2004 he was selected by Ronny Watson, a former police commissioner (who is black) to be instructor at the Lowell Police Academy teaching colleagues how to avoid racial profiling. He was in the Mid-Cambridge district when at 12:45 p.m. July 16, he heard the call of a possible break-in at Ware Street in Harvard Square. A passer-by, Lucia Whalen, a fund-raiser for Harvard Magazine, saw two men struggling with the door of a yellow wood-frame home and called the Cambridge police. Sgt. Crowley answered the call although he was alone. When he encountered the individuals, whom he considered to be a threat, he called for assistance. He handcuffed one individual who was brought to the station for questioning, then released without any charges. He overreacted.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. moved to Harvard Square in 1991 when he joined the faculty of Harvard as Chair of the Department of African and African American Studies. Before coming to Harvard he taught at Yale, Cornell, and Duke. His autobiography entitled Colored People: A Memoir is taught in ethics courses among others. When he first moved to Harvard Square, “one of the most tolerant places on earth,” in 1991 he voluntarily introduced himself at the Cambridge Police Department hoping that he might avoid being pulled over constantly by police for being black while driving an expensive car. He is a very visible presence at Harvard University, his home. He is slight of build, small, (5’6″) and uses a cane. He is charismatic, distinguished and is impeccably dressed. He spent the week of July 9-16 on a documentary in China. Upon his arrival at Logan Airport, a Moroccan driver took him to his Ware Street resident. The door to his home was jammed. He was already fighting bronchial infection and was tired from a 14-hour flight so he asked the driver for help to force it open. When Sgt. Crowley arrived at his home asking him to prove his identity, he was confused and indignant. He refused to step outside as Sgt. Crowley requested (Hernandez, Rimer and Saulny 2009). He overreacted.

President Obama, who is a friend of Henry Louis Gates Jr., also overreacted.

We are human. We make mistakes. We apologize. And President Obama’s apology resonated.

In a rare White House statement to the press (2009-07-24) President Obama explained, “My sense is you’ve got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved, and the way they would have liked it to be resolved. [...T]he fact that it has garnered so much attention, I think, is a testimony to the fact that these are issues that are still very sensitive here in America, and — you know, so to the extent that my choice of words didn’t illuminate but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate. What I would like to do, then, is to make sure that everybody steps back for a moment, recognizes that these are two decent people. [... B]ecause of our history, because of the difficulties of the past, you know, African-Americans are sensitive to these issues, [a]nd even when you’ve got a police officer who has a fine track record on racial sensitivity, interactions between police officers and the African-American community can sometimes be fraught with misunderstanding. My hope is that as a consequence of this event, this ends up being what’s called a teachable moment where all of us, instead of pumping up the volume, spend a little more time listening to each other and try to focus on how we can generally improve relations between police officers and minority communities, and that instead of flinging accusations, we can all be a little more reflective in terms of what we can do to contribute to more unity. [T]here are some who say that as President I shouldn’t have stepped into this at all because it’s a local issue. I have to tell you that that part of it I disagree with. The fact that this has become such a big issue I think is indicative of the fact that race is still a troubling aspect of our society. Whether I were black or white, I think that me commenting on this and hopefully contributing to constructive — as opposed to negative — understandings about the issue, is part of my portfolio. So at the end of the conversation there was a discussion about — my conversation with Sergeant Crowley, there was discussion about he and I and Professor Gates having a beer here in the White House. We don’t know if that’s scheduled yet — (laughter) — but we may put that together. He also did say he wanted to find out if there was a way of getting the press off his lawn. (Laughter.) I informed him that I can’t get the press off my lawn. (Laughter.) He pointed out that my lawn is bigger than his lawn. (Laughter.) But if anybody has any connections to the Boston press, as well as national press, Sergeant Crowley would be happy for you to stop trampling his grass (Office of the Press Secretary of the White House. 2009-07-24. The Statement by the President).”

At the Department of Justice African American History Month Program, Attorney General Eric Holder (2009-02-18), cautioned that, “Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race. It is an issue we have never been at ease with and given our nation’s history this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us. But we must do more- and we in this room bear a special responsibility. Through its work and through its example this Department of Justice, as long as I am here, must – and will – lead the nation to the “new birth of freedom” so long ago promised by our greatest President. This is our duty and our solemn obligation. We commemorated five years ago, the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. And though the world in which we now live is fundamentally different than that which existed then, this nation has still not come to grips with its racial past nor has it been willing to contemplate, in a truly meaningful way, the diverse future it is fated to have. To our detriment, this is typical of the way in which this nation deals with issues of race. And so I would suggest that we use February of every year to not only commemorate black history but also to foster a period of dialogue among the races. This is admittedly an artificial device to generate discussion that should come more naturally, but our history is such that we must find ways to force ourselves to confront that which we have become expert at avoiding. As a nation we have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace. We work with one another, lunch together and, when the event is at the workplace during work hours or shortly thereafter, we socialize with one another fairly well, irrespective of race. And yet even this interaction operates within certain limitations. We know, by “American instinct” and by learned behavior, that certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks, at best embarrassment, and, at worst, the questioning of one’s character. And outside the workplace the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. On Saturdays and Sundays America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some fifty years ago. This is truly sad. Given all that we as a nation went through during the civil rights struggle it is hard for me to accept that the result of those efforts was to create an America that is more prosperous, more positively race conscious and yet is voluntarily socially segregated (Holder 2009-02-18).”

Professor Glen Loury, author of Race, Incarceration and American Values (2008) is hopeful that the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the resulting picnic table summit will illuminate hard-core issues such as the systemic crisis of “hyper-incarceration of poor black men” not end in more sensitivity training for police officers. He wants “something of lasting value” not mere moral posturing. Loury calls for deep reforms in our criminal justice system with a real investment “in helping the troubled people — our fellow citizens — caught in the law enforcement web to find a constructive role in society, and less in punishing them for punishment’s sake. We need to change the ways in which we deal with juvenile offenders, so that a foolish act in childhood doesn’t put them on the road to lifetimes in prison. We should seriously consider that many of our sentences are too long — “three strikes” laws may be good politics, but they are an irrational abomination as policy. We should definitely consider decriminalizing most drug use. We need to reinvent parole. And, most important, we should weigh more heavily the negative and self-defeating effects that our policy of mass incarceration is having on the communities where large numbers of young black and Hispanic men live (Loury 2009-07-26).”

Selected Bibliography and Webliography

Office of the Press Secretary of the White House. 2009-07-24. The Statement by the President. James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.

Child, Maxwell L.; Zhu, Peter F. 2009-07-24. “Obama Backs Off Gates Remarks After Police Ask for Apology.” The Harvard Crimson.

Editors. 2009. “Attorney general says U.S. a nation of ‘cowards’ when it comes to race“.” New York Times. Issue.

Harvard Faculty Biographies. “Henry Louis Gates, Jr Biography.”

Hernandez, Javier C.; Rimer, Sara; Saulny, Susan. 2009-07.

Hitchens, Christopher. 2009. “A Man’s Home Is His Constitutional Castle.” Washingtonpost. Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC.: Issue. /

Holder, Eric. 2009. Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice African American History Month Program.

Loury, Glenn C. 2008. Race, Incarceration and American Values. Cambridge, Mass. Massachussets Institute of Technology.

Loury, Glenn C. 2009. “Obama, Gates and the American Black Man.” New York Times. Issue.

Parker, Kathleen. 2009. “Redemption on Tap: Why Cambridge Could Use a Cold One.” Washington Post. Issue.

Warner, Judith. 2009. “A Lot Said, and Unsaid, About Race.” New York Times. Issue.

Governing Board of the European Baha’i Business Forum (EBBF). 2009-06. “An Ethical Perspective on Today’s Economic Crisis: A statement from the European Baha’i Business Forum.”

“The world is passing through an economic and financial crisis unprecedented in modern times. Its global scope transcends the cyclical adjustments of national economies and the corrective instruments usually used by business and national governments. The general malaise and loss of confidence point to deeper issues and more fundamental flaws in the economic system, extending to a crisis of leadership and values. This unprecedented crisis, together with its accompanying social breakdown, reflects a profound error of conception about human nature itself. We are being shown that, unless the development of society finds a purpose beyond the mere amelioration of material conditions, it will fail to attain even this goal. That purpose must be sought in spiritual dimensions of life and motivation that transcend a constantly changing economic landscape and an artificially imposed division of human societies into “developed” and “developing”. The European Baha’i Business Forum recognizes in this situation an opportunity to reshape the fundamental concepts and structures that will not only lift us from this crisis but set us on a road towards a new set of institutions and behaviours which will enable humankind to prosper. As the present crisis is fundamentally one of trust and integrity, and therefore ethical in its foundation, its solution cannot be a mere institutional reorganization or some additional regulatory measures. It needs an ethical response at all levels: the individual, the corporation and the government and regulatory entities. There is no quick fix to this situation. Several principles must be considered while reshaping our thinking on institutions and the individuals that compose them. We need to replace the concept of self-centred materialism with that of service to humanity, competition with cooperation, corruption with ethical behaviour, sexism with gender balance, more authoritarian legislation with personal ethics, national regulation with international supervision, protectionism with world unity, and injustice with justice. EBBF promotes and welcomes engagement with the widest possible community to develop together the new framework. Given the importance of the business community in the world, we should draw on its special capabilities and resources, in collaboration with governments, international organizations and NGOs, to design the institutional framework and the guiding principles of the new economic system. We call on peoples from all businesses, countries, and walks of life to work together to build a new economic system based upon equity and justice (EBBF 2009-06).”

Who’s Who

“EBBF is a network of over 400 women and men, a community of people passionate about bringing ethical values, personal virtues and moral leadership into their workplaces. Its membership is diverse and crosses generations, borders, sectors and beliefs. It began in 1990 and is now present in over 60 countries. EBBF’s vision is to enhance the well-being and prosperity of humankind. It believes that positively influencing the world of business, starting from the inspiration of action by each of its members, is an important step in this direction (EBBF 2009-06).”

Notes

“EBBF promotes seven core values that it feels are of strategic importance in enhancing business performance: Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sustainable Development, Partnership of Women and Men, A New Paradigm of Work, Consultation in Decision-Making, Values-Based Leadership (EBBF 2009-06).”

Webliography

Governing Board of the European Baha’i Business Forum (EBBF). 2009-06. “An Ethical Perspective on Today’s Economic Crisis: A statement from the European Baha’i Business Forum.” Chambery, France.

The Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act, a non-budgetary amendment to an act of Parliament, was introduced in the 550+ pages of the 2009 Budget Bill C-10 as part of a fast track process intended to boost the flailing economy. Most of the document dealt with issues not directly related to economic stimulus measures. In effect these proposed amendments involve 42 acts of Parliament that have no connection to the budget at all. The move has been called “legislation by stealth” (CFUW 2009-02-26) since there could be no parliamentary debate on the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act as a new law independent of the Budget. It was hoped the Senate could stall passage of these amendments such as the proposed the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act which would effectively dismantle decades of work towards ensuring pay equity. On March 12, 2009 Bill C-10, the Budget Implementation Act, 2009, received Royal Assent.

“The new legislated criteria for evaluating “equitable compensation” will reintroduce sex discrimination into pay practices, rather than eliminate it. Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, it is a discriminatory practice for an employer to establish or maintain differences in wages between male and female employees employed in the same establishment who are performing work of equal value. In assessing the value of work performed by employees, the criterion to be applied is the composite of the skill, effort and responsibility required in the performance of the work and the conditions under which the work is performed (section 11). The new legislation adopts these criteria, but adds new ones that completely undermine the commitment to equal pay for work of equal value for women. Section 4(2)(b) of Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act adds that the value of the work performed is also to be assessed according to “the employer’s recruitment and retention needs in respect of employees in that job group or job class, taking into account the qualifications required to perform the work and the market forces operating in respect of employees with those qualifications.” This permits any evaluation to take into account that male-dominated jobs are valued more highly in the market, requiring the employer to pay more to attract new employees or retain current ones, even if the value of the work when it is assessed based on skill, effort and responsibility is no greater than that of female-dominated jobs. [T]he new legislation defines a female dominated group as one in which 70% of the workers are women; only these groups can seek “equitable compensation.” This is too rigid a definition as it simply puts outside the boundaries of the legislation those job groups in which women are 51 – 69% of the workers, no matter what the context is. [F]urther, unionized women cannot have the assistance of their unions to make pay equity complaints. Indeed, unions will be fined $50,000 if they assist any woman to make a complaint. We point out that this legal imposition of a fine violates international human rights norms, since it contravenes Article 9(3)(c) of the Declaration on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders. Article 9(3)(c) states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, … [T]o offer and provide professionally qualified legal assistance or other relevant advice and assistance in defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.” ((CFUW 2009-02-26)

 

In the Senate in early March 2009, Senators cautioned that only 27 of the 550-plus pages of the budget bill actually relate to the budget and economic stimulus measures. The rest involves making amendments to 42 acts of Parliament, many of which have no connection to the budget (PSAC. 2009-03-09).


 

Timeline

1977 The right to equal pay for work of equal value was introduced in Canadian federal human rights legislation to expunge sex discrimination inherent in market pay practices from assessment of value of work.

2009-03-12. Bill C-10, the Budget Implementation Act, 2009 was passed in the Senate and received Royal Assent. This includes the amendment: Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act: Enactment of Act: 394. The Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act

2009-03-23. Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights: Issue 2 – Evidence. Ottawa, ON.

Senator Nancy Ruth: If the bill [Bill C-10, the Budget Implementation Act, 2009] was passed in the Senate and has received Royal Assent [March 12, 2009], why are we studying anything in it?
The Chair: Can you discuss that question with the leadership? We are not studying the bill. We were asked to study the subject matter. 

2009-03-31 the Standing Committee on the Status of Women (Members of the Committee present: Sylvie Boucher, Patricia Davidson, Nicole Demers, Johanne Deschamps, Hon. Hedy Fry, Candice Hoeppner, Irene Mathyssen, Cathy McLeod, Hon. Anita Neville, Tilly O’Neill-Gordon and Lise Zarac) planned to hold four extra meetings to examine the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act and invite Minister Vic Toews, the Public Sector Labour Relations Board, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Professional Institute of the Public Sector of Canada, Communications Energy and Paperworkers, Canadian Labour Congress and Marie-Thérèse Chicha, Pay Equity Task Force Member and any other witnesses that the Committee agrees upon.
Notes

1. PART 11: Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act: Enactment of Act: 394. The Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act is enacted as follows:

An Act respecting the provision of equitable compensation in the public sector of Canada

Whereas Parliament affirms that women in the public sector of Canada should receive equal pay for work of equal value;
Whereas Parliament affirms that it is desirable to accomplish that goal through proactive means;
And whereas employers in the public sector of Canada operate in a market-driven economy;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Webliography and Bibliography

Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW). 2009-02-26. “Pay Equity Emptied of Meaning.”

GC. 2009-03-12. Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act: Enactment of Act: 394. The Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act

PSAC. 2009-03-09. “Senators on the right track with budget bill.”

Will John Grisham’s legal drama The Appeal (2008) join other literary works like Upton Sinclair’s political fiction novel The Jungle (1906) and Rachel Carson’s literary broadside Silent Spring (1962) [1] in influencing changes in real world legislation? In his PhD dissertation Gordon (2008) argued that literary works such as those by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Karl Marx, Ralph Nader, Jonathan Swift, Upton and Carson, serve as legislative flash points and have had a demonstrable impact on the law.

Grisham’s writing is clearly popular fiction and he has enjoyed writing books with no redeeming social value like The Broker, but he now wants to tackle social issues (Grossman 2006.) He has fierce political convictions and admitted that, “Everything I’m thinking about writing now is about politics or social issues wrapped around a novel.” He admires the work of Truman Capote, John le Carré and John Steinbeck whom he would like to emulate. So is The Appeal also an appeal to reason [2]? 

John Grisham’s legal drama/legal thriller/crime novels deal with the power and influence of major US corporations in America and their potential for abusing the American legal system. Previous novels concluded with the victims being vindicated and giant corporations paying huge rewards for damages to personal health and to the environment. But in 2006 there was already a shift when he published his first book of nonfiction, a true-crime story entitled The Innocent Man.

The Appeal (2008) is the most openly political book he has written in which he probed the world of US judicial elections, a burning issue in the US (AF-P 2008). The debate over the best way for states to select judges is more than 160 years old. According to Wall Street Journal’s Levy, within days of the release of The Appeal, “critics of judicial elections began to connect it to examples of real-life corruption. Mr. Grisham himself says his story has “already happened” in West Virginia. Others have tried to link the book’s intrigue to next month’s Supreme Court election in Wisconsin, where a controversial judge is facing a strong challenge for re-election, helped in part by business groups. Mr. Grisham has plenty of allies in his crusade among liberal interest groups, who insist that judicial elections somehow represent a blight on the rule of law  (Levy 2008-03-20).”

In The Appeal fictional Wall Street financier Carl Trudeau, launched his appeal against plaintiffs from cancer county where his company had dumped toxins for years, to the Mississippi Supreme Court. Then he stacked the Court by funding an unknown to run against incumbent Court Justice Sheila McCarthy. Trudeau flooded media with ads designed to vilify Justice McCarthy as an extremely liberal judge who would protect criminals not citizens and would restrict gun ownership. Trudeau’s campaign allowed Fisk to win the election. Grisham in the telling of this fiction, practically laid out a formula for CEOs, corporate lawyers and politicians to overpower and ruin ordinary citizens while enjoying financial huge gains. The characters are highly stereotyped with lawyers and CEOs who are clearly the bad guys in this story. 

The mysterious, expensive consultant Barry Rinehart works quietly in the background using financing from from industries like energy, insurance, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, timber, all types of manufacturing as well as doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and banks, to target supreme court justices whose values differ from these special interest groups. He engineers the fixing of elections so the unfriendly judges lose to their own groomed judicial candidate. (31 states elect their appellate and supreme court judges while the remaining states appoint their courts.)  “To Grisham, that is the sad truth: No one’s justice will be served. While chilling, Grisham’s tale of modern legal machinations is also, unfortunately, timeless (Patrick 2008-01).”

 “Literature—even persuasively powerful literature—does not operate in a void: conditions must be ripe if it is to draw energy from the social milieu and thereby attain a kinetic force capable of influencing the law. This [...] requires an alignment of narratives: the literary narrative with the larger cultural narrative within which it subsists (Gordon 2008:41).”

Tagging

law and literature movement, dedicated interest groups, big-money politics, Amicus-Curia, Plaintiff’ Paradise, judicial hell holes, consumer-friendly, Cancer County, cancer cluster, pulpit for reform, real world politics, US legal system, vexatious corporate litigation, senior academic lawyers, appelate benches of the Federal Appeal Circuit and the Supreme Court, M$ anti-trust investigations, Anti-Trust suit compliance issue, proven complicity, meritless SCO litigation, Patent and Copyright systems, East Texas fiasco, legal corruption, amicus-curia briefs, Commerce and Justice, Economic Crisis, US corporate malfeasance, US corporate greed, US corporate lack of transparency, tort, Rylands rule, Fletcher v. Rylands, Johnstown Flood, 

Timeline of related events

1860 One of the wealthiest industrialists in England, John Rylands, a textile manufacturer, hired a contractor to dig a large ditch and create a reservoir to add water power for one of his mills. The reservoir collapsed into an abandoned coal-mining shaft which connected to Thomas Fletcher’s neighboring coal mines. The reservoir flood destroyed those mines. (Wiki, Shugerman 2008)

1865 Fletcher v. Rylands, 159 Eng. Rep. 737, 740. The dispute in Rylands concerned escape of water onto neighbouring land. Later cases in which the Rylands test was applied involved the escape of all manner of wastes and materials, extending outwards to a broad range of inherently dangerous activities considered essential to modern life. The Court found in favour of Fletcher and ordered Rylands to pay for all the property damage to the mine. The Court agreed that Rylands had a duty in maintaining the reservoir and of being liable for all harm caused by it with broad scope of liability. This case was a major development in modern law and has influenced many subsequent rulings. The changes in negligence law as a field of torts has in some jurisdictions incorporated the Rylands rule. (Wiki, Shugerman 2008)

1889-05-31 In the mountains east of Pittsburg, a dam holding back a 450-acre artificial recreational lake, one of the largest reservoirs in the world, collapsed unleashing 20 million tons of water into the valley below, completely destroying Johnstown and killing two thousand people. The elite members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, titans-of-industry including Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Mellon, and Henry Clay Frick (also called the Bosses Club) ignored the dam’s crumbling foundation, warnings of structural problems and leakage. It was one of the most deadly disasters in American history. The public focused its anger on the South Fork Club and its wealthy members, and the media called on the club members to compensate the Johnstown victims. Before the Flood, the court emphasized the “great public interest” of industry’s unfettered development, and dismissed the “mere personal [and] trifling inconveniences” that were caused by industrial damage, and which must “give way to the necessities of a great community.” (Shugerman 2008.)

1890s There was a rise of populists as critics of industry’s excess in the 1890s and ruling leaned towards Fletcher against Rylands (Shugerman 2008.)

1980s- US Supreme Court Judicial elections became increasingly nasty, noisy, and costly (Pozen 2008:265).

1981 John Grisham (born 1955) graduated from law school.

1988 The Willie Horton ad from the 1988 presidential race was considered to be offensive and race-bating.

1981-1991 John Grisham practiced law for nearly in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation.

1983-1990 John Grisham served in the state House of Representatives.

1984-1987 Grisham wrote his first novel A Time to Kill (1987) in his spare time exploring the theme of what would have happened if the girl’s father in a real trial had actually murdered her assailants. “After four years of practicing I got this idea for what I thought was a very compelling courtroom drama – small town, the South, a racial conflict – all seen through the eyes of an attorney who was basically me. A guy who wanted to be a big trial lawyer. That was my dream. I wanted people to call me – people who could pay me for the big case (Grisham in Slater 2009-01-27).”

1991 John Grisham’s novel, The Firm, was one of the biggest hits of 1991, spending 47 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Grisham gave up law and concentrated on writing. All his books have been bestsellers and six have been made into movies. Grisham lives with his wife and two children in Mississippi and Virginia.

1993 “Investor and philanthropist George Soros in 1993 created OSI as a private operating and grantmaking foundation to support his foundations in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Those foundations were established, starting in 1984, to help countries make the transition from communism. OSI has expanded the activities of the Soros foundations network to encompass the United States and more than 60 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Each Soros foundation relies on the expertise of boards composed of eminent citizens who determine individual agendas based on local priorities (OSI).”

1999  Tabarrok and Helland investigated “the forces that explain why trial awards differ across the United States. In 23 states judges are elected and in 10 they are elected via partisan elections. Elections have two important effects. First, defendants are often out‐of‐state nonvoters while plaintiffs are typically in‐state voters. [They] predicted, therefore, that elected judges will redistribute wealth from out‐of‐state businesses to in‐state plaintiffs. Second, the realities of campaign financing require judges to seek and accept campaign funding from trial lawyers, who uniformly are interested in larger awards. [They]  hypothesized that these two forces cause awards to be larger in states where the judiciary is elected rather than appointed. [They]  also hypothesized that the demand for redistribution will increase as poverty increases and, thus, that awards will be larger in states with greater poverty. Using a sample of over 7,000 cases across 48 of the 50 states, [they]  found significant evidence in support of these hypotheses ( Tabarrok and Helland 1999-04).”

1994-2000 “By most measures, Grisham was the most successful novelist of the 1990s, when he sold over 60 million books. For seven straight years, 1994-2000, he had the best-selling novel in the country (Grossman 2006 ).”

2004 Swift boating refers to smear tactics used during the US Presidential campaign against candidate John Kerry. Vietnam veterans who served on the US Navy’s swift boats mounted a smear campaign to oppose Kerry who was a swift boat commander in Vietnam but was later allegedly involved in antiwar activities. 

2005-02-18 President Bush signed the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. This pushed for by business and Republican leaders since President Bush took office in 2001. It targeted consumer-friendly “Plaintiff’ Paradise” courts also termed “judicial hell holes” by corporations being libeled in mutiple-state class action suits (like those in Madison and St. Clare in Illinois and Jefferson County, Texas accused of being pro-consumer). Texas. Those “judicial hell holes,” and others in Alabama and Mississippi, are the favorite venues for some in the plaintiffs’ bar because of consumer-friendly juries and elected judges who routinely certified national classes and apply their state law and/or the laws of other states. Such cases after 2005 ended up in federal court, where corporate defendants tend to do better (O’Brien 2005).

2007 US Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler was publicly reprimanded for a conflict-of-interest violation.

2007 Harvard Law School’s Shugerman’s paper entitled “The Twist of Long Terms: Disasters, Elected Judges, and American Tort Law” was selected for the Yale-Stanford Junior Faculty Forum and the Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, New York University. “The received wisdom is that American judges rejected strict liability through the nineteenth and early twentieth century. To the contrary, a majority of state courts adopted Rylands v. Fletcher and strict liability for hazardous or unnatural activities after a series of flooding tragedies in the late nineteenth century. Federal judges and appointed state judges generally ignored or rejected Rylands, while elected state judges overwhelmingly adopted Rylands or a similar strict liability rule. In moving from fault to strict liability, these judges were essentially responding to increased public fears of industrial or man-made hazards. Elected courts were more populist: They were more likely to adopt strict liability than appointed courts. But surprisingly, state courts elected to longer terms were the most populist. Many of these judges never expected to face another election, but even without direct political pressure, they were the most responsive group of judges in adopting Rylands after the floods. This historical episode illuminates the differences between types of political influence on judges. Judicial elections generally may produce judges more sympathetic to public opinion and more responsive to recent events. Longer terms, shielding judges from opposing political pressure from industry favoring the fault rule, then allowed judges to follow those sympathies or new perceptions of public interest in favor of strict liability. The historical record suggests that judicial elections plus long terms shaped a more responsive bench. A shorthand for these effects are: filtering, role fidelity, and fear and favor. First, these elections created a populist filter: Elections seemed to have filtered out some elite jurists from major urban centers and filtered in more local lawyer-politicians, who would be more connected to public opinion. Second, borrowing from the language used by nineteenth-century advocates of judicial elections and by modern historians, I suggest that the elected judges’ “fidelity” to the people led them to perceive public opinion as an important factor in their decisions. Even with filtering and role fidelity, judges elected to short terms would still face the reality of “fear and favor,” due to special interests and partisan renomination politics. Elected judges with more job security could be more faithful to their role (hence, “role fidelity”) and could follow their own perception of public interest or public opinion, rather than industrial interests. The Article concludes with some priorities for judicial reform based upon this historical episode.”

2008-01 Grisham noted that there was a lot of truth in The Appeal. “As long as private money is allowed in judicial elections we will see competing interests fight for seats on the bench.” The Appeal was published in the midst of the presidential primaries making it all the more compelling (Memmott 2008).

2008 “In John Grisham’s new novel, Mississippi judges are bought, marketed and sold.  In a crowded courtroom, a jury delivers a multi-million-dollar verdict against a chemical company accused of tainting a town’s water supply with waste. The chemical company retaliates with an appeal, but in order to win, it rig the state Supreme Court. As judicial elections loom, the company hand picks an unsuspecting judge and manipulates him for the job. In The Appeal, Grisham provides a cautionary tale about judicial elections and political campaigns in general. Like the so-called “swift-boating” of political candidates in the last presidential election, Grisham’s characters resort to harsh smear tactics to defeat their opponents. Jacki Lyden spoke with Grisham about his novel, judicial politics and his personal political engagement. In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town’s water supply, causing the worst “cancer cluster” in history. The company appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it ( All Things Considered).”

2008-03-18 Citizen Action of Wisconsin, a progressive citizen advocacy group dedicated to bringing transparency to the electoral system, filed a compliant against Michael Gableman with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission claiming the little-known county judge from Burnett County in northwestern Wisconsin used attack ads that were “highly offensive and deliberately misleading” against Incumbent Justice Louis Butler claiming he found a “loophole” to free a convicted sex offender.” The ad placed a picture of a convicted rapist and Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler on the screen at the same time. Both are black. Butler handled the man’s appeal of his rape conviction when he worked as a public defender.

2008-04 “Challenger Michael Gableman defeated incumbent Justice Louis Butler to win a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Tuesday’s election. The results mean that a sitting Supreme Court justice won’t return to the bench for the first time in 40 years. The interest in the race by special interests is troubling to some, including the unseated justice, WISC-TV reported. Third-party TV ads were a centerpiece of one of the most negative Supreme Court races in state history (Channel 3000).”

2008-10 “The Wisconsin Judicial Commission alleges Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman violated the code of judicial conduct, which prevents judicial candidates from knowingly misrepresenting facts about their opponent. Gableman’s campaign ran an ad in the Milwaukee area before the April election against Incumbent Justice Louis Butler claiming he found a “loophole” to free a convicted sex offender.” Gableman defeated incumbent Justice Louis Butler in the April election. At the time, Gableman was a little-known county judge from northwestern Wisconsin. Citizen Action of Wisconsin, a progressive citizen advocacy group dedicated to bringing transparency to the electoral system, filed the compliant with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission on March 18. One local government watchdog group said fallout from recent Supreme Court campaigns is cause for concern.Channel3000

2008 Soros’ Open Society Institute made donations to dozens of groups seeking to sway the judicial selection process in states from Illinois to North Carolina, as well as funding national groups like Justice at Stake. According to Levy of the right-wing Wall Street Journal Soros and Grisham prefer “merit selection” where in order to keep politics out of judicial appointments, an appellate judicial commission selects a slate of judges from which the governor must choose. Right-wing critics argue that judicial commissions can also become agents of politicization leaning towards to left. Levy cited a 2007 “Harvard study” supporting his own views on an elected judiciary. The 2007 Harvard study mentioned by Levy was actually a paper presented at a Junior Faculty Forum based entirely on a historical analysis of how judges in the 19th century responded to Rylands (1865-). Given the complexity of the 21st century surely there are better sources for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of merit selection versus elected judiciary. Grisham is merely drawing attention to potential areas of corruption and the lack of information available to civil society by using popular culture.

 

2008-12-08  US Federal authorities in New York arrested Marc S. Dreier in a $100 million fraud scheme, portraying his recent undertakings as a massive hedge fund fraud. The Yale graduate who 1996 founded the Dreier L.L.P. 250-lawyer firm in 2006 allegedly took advantage of the current financial crisis by selling phony debt to hungry hedge funds looking for deals. (Rashbaum and Kowan 2008-12-08)

2009-01 In a 2008 statewide survey entitled “Public Attitudes Regarding the Selection of Judges in the State of Washington” funded in part by Open Society Institute Professors Brody and Lovrich reported that,

“A little over 26% of respondents rated Washington’s current, non-partisan election method of judicial selection as good or very good, while 35% rated it bad or very bad; The largest areas of concern about the current method of selecting judges involved the lack of contested elections, the prominence of judges being appointed to the bench, and the lack of information available to voters to use in judicial elections; A little over 60% of respondents rated a commission system (merit system) of judicial selection to be good or very good, while roughly 16% rated such a selection system as bad or very bad; The aspects of the commission system viewed most positively were: (1) the use of a nominating commission as part of the appointment process; (2) the fact that retention elections provide voters with the opportunity to vote for or against all judges at regular intervals; (3) the fact that all judges may be held accountable by voters without the need for a person to run against a judge in a contested election; and (4) that judges always appear on election ballots at regular intervals; When asked to choose between the current system or a commission system of judicial selection, over 60% indicated a preference for adopting a commission system while about 23% preferred staying with the current system; Over 90% of respondents would support the development of a judicial performance evaluation program in Washington to provide information to voters about candidates in local and statewide judicial elections.”

2009-01-27 Wall Street Journal’s Dan Slater interviewed John Grisham to talk about his 22nd book. Grisham revealed that his favorite story was that of  Marc Dreier. “[I]t’s incredible. Pretending to be someone else? Taking over a conference room? I knew something was wrong when I read about his 120-foot yacht. When you’ve got a yacht that big you’re living like a billionaire. And you can’t do that as a New York lawyer. I don’t care how big your firm is.” Grisham explained that even as a writer of fiction that he could not improve on the real life stories of Dreier and Madoff. They have already been covered too much by the media. “The sushi restaurant (Dreier) owned? All the cars? The secretaries making $200,000 a year? It’s too much. When I see stuff like that my imagination just goes into overdrive (Grisham interviewed by Slater 2009-01-27).”

Notes
1. Randy Gordon’s PhD dissertation (2008) examined the impact of literary works on rehumanizing law and democracy. Gordon reiterated the argument that there “is a direct and demonstrable connection between publication of The Jungle and adoption” of the 1906 Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drugs Act (Gordon 2008:41). Historian James Harvey Young (1981) observed that two key political figures, James R. Garfield and Senator Alfred J. Beveridge presented President Theodore Roosevelt with Sinclair’s novel. Gordon also added that other landmark legislation in the meat packing industry book decades to be adopted. President, John F. Kennedy asked his Scientific Advisory Committee to investigate Carson’s claims and they largely vindicated Carson’s work (1963-05) particularly in the report’s condemnation of indiscriminate pesticide use and call for additional research into potential health (Gordon 2008:52).

2. Author and journalist Upton Sinclair’s influential novel entitled The Jungle (1906) about the corruption of the American meatpacking industry is an example of how fiction portrayed social reality and is an early example of is one of the finest examples of the “muckraking” tradition begun by journalists. In this novel Sinclair contrasted the lives of the “have-nots” and “haves” and deplored American “wage slavery”. Sinclair’s novel was first published in the left-wing newspaper The Appeal to Reason.

3. “Law is institutional normative order (MacCormick 2007).”

4. “The rhetoric of scientific objectivity, pressed too hard and taken too seriously, has led us to people like B.F. Skinner on the one hand and like Althusser on the other—two equally pointless fantasies, both produced by the attempt to be ‘scientific’ about our moral and political lives (Rorty 1996:573, 585).”

5. In his influential article on law’s autonomy by Judge Posner (1987) argued that law had been treated historically in practice and as a matter of training as if it were an autonomous discipline (Posner 1987:761 in Gordon 2008:17). 

6. The concept of “Narrative” as developed by Gordon’s in his literature review has a common thread of a “story,” a relational and temporal ordering of human events that culminates in “closure.” His sources include definitions of narrative as: “a story of events arranged in time sequence and offering some sort of meaning (Papke and McManus 1999:449)”; “the organization of material in a chronologically sequential order and the focusing of the content into a single coherent story . . . its arrangement is descriptive rather than analytical and . . . its central focus is on man not circumstances (Stone 1979:3)”; “first a ‘selective appropriation of past events and characters;’ second, a temporal ordering that presents these events with a beginning, a middle and an end; and third, an overarching structure that contextualizes these events as part of an opposition or struggle (97)”; “a recognizable discourse or operation . . . that . . . can be abstracted from [its] medium [of expression] . . . as in the plot summary (Clawson 1998)”; a story (99); “a metacode, a human universal on the basis of which transcultural messages about the nature of a shared reality can be transmitted (100).”

 

Webliography and Bibliography

2008-01-27. “Grisham’s ‘Appeal’ Tackles Down-and-Dirty Politics. ” All Things Considered. 

Agence France-Presse. 2008-01-09 “Author John Grisham has no shortage of book ideas.” Madrid. 

Asimow, Michael. “Analyse This! John Grisham’s Lawyers from a Megafirm.” Picturing Justice. University of San Francisco. 

Brody, David; Lovrich, Nicholas. 2009-01. “Public Attitudes Regarding the Selection of Judges in the State of Washington: Results of a Statewide Survey 2008.” American Judicatur Society and Washington State Judicial Selection Coalition. 

98 Brooks, supra note 91, at 1.

Clawson, Mark A. 1998. “Telling Stories: Romance and Dissonance in Progressive Legal Narratives.” 22 Legal Studies F. 353, 364 (citing and partially quoting Ewick, Patricia; Silbey, Susan S. 1995. “Subversive Stories and Hegemonic Tales: Towards a Sociology of Narrative.” 29 Literature and Sociology Review. 197, 200.

Gordon, Randy. 2008. “Rehumanizing Law: a Narrative Theory of Law and Democracy.” Ph.D., Law. The University of Edinburgh. 2008.

Grossman, Lev. 2006-10-09. “Grisham’s New Pitch.” Time.

Levy, Collin. 2008-03-20. “Grisham’s Judicial Appeal.” Wall Street Journal. 

Hamilton, Kevin J. 2008-01-29. New side to John Grisham: storytelling of substance.”  The Seattle Times. (Hamilton 2008)

MacCormick, Neil. 2007. Institutions of Law: an Essay in Legal Theory.

Memmott, Carl.  2008-01-28. “Grisham’s ‘Appeal’ rules harshly on bought election.” USA Today

O’Brien, Tim. 2005-03-21. “New Jersey No ‘Judicial Hell Hole’: State judiciary’s restraints may spare it full impact of Class Action Fairness Act.” New Jersey Law Journal. CLXXIX:12. 

Papke, David Ray; McManus, Kathleen H. 1999. “Narrative and the Appellate Opinion.” 23 Legal Studies. F. 449, 449.

Patrick, Bethanne. 2008-01. “Justice Denied.” Washington Post

Posner, Richard A. 1987. “The Decline of Law and an Autonomous Discipline: 1962-1987.” 100 Harvard Law Review. 761. 

Pozen, David. 2008. “The Irony of Judicial Elections.” 108 Columbia Law Review.

Rashbaum, William K; Cowan, Alison Leigh. 2008-12-08. “Lawyer Is Accused in Massive Hedge Fund Fraud.” New York Times

Rorty, Richard. 1996. “Solidarity or Objectivity.” in Cahoone, Lawrence. Ed. 1996. From Modernism to Postmodernism. 573, 585.

Slater, Dan. 2009-01-27 A Law Blog Q&A With John Grisham. Wall Street Journal. 

Stone, Lawrence. 1979. “The Revival of Narrative: Reflections on a New Old History.” 85 Past and Present. 3, 3.

Shugerman, Jed H. 2008. “The Twist of Long Terms: Disasters, Elected Judges, and American Tort Law.” Harvard Law School.

 

Tabarrok, Alexander; Helland, Eric. 1999-04. “Court Politics: The Political Economy of Tort Awards.” The Journal of Law and Economics. The University of Chicago. Vol. 42. 

 

99 Van Dunne, supra note 92, at 463.

100 White, supra note 90, at 6.

Young, James Harvey. 1981-06.“The Long Struggle for the 1906 Law.” FDA Consumer.

Displaced workers mysteriously drop out of civic, business, political, neighborhood groups, social and leisure activities, country clubs, sports teams and weekly gatherings with friends, Brand and Burgard (2008). UCLA-University of Michigan, Ann Arbor study researcher claims, “Everybody loses when people withdraw from society.”

However, membership in professional and political organizations did not decline in the study group. “Displacement seems to change their whole trajectory of participation (Brand 2008).”

“Even a single involuntary displacement has a lasting impact on a worker’s inclination to volunteer and participate in a whole range of social and community groups and organizations, found the study, which appears in the September issue of the international scholarly journal Social Forces.”

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“Social participation is important to participatory democracy, to healthy neighborhoods, and to effective schools (Putnam 2000). Individuals who participate may also be advantaged in the labor market: social and economic resources are embedded in social networks (Bourdieu 1983; Coleman 1988; Granovetter 1973),1 networks that may be formed through involvement in various social organizations and associations. Social participation is also associated with better physical and mental health and well-being, important outcomes in and of themselves, but also important for the labor market (Berkman 1995; Durkheim 1933; House 1981; House, Landis, and Umberson 1988). From the mid 1940s to the early 1970s, there was an unprecedented increase in social participation in the U.S. This trend coincided with unprecedented and widespread economic prosperity, marked by a low rate of unemployment and generally increasing real earnings. In recent decades, however, average rates of social participation have declined (McPherson, Smith-Lovin, and Brashears 2006; Putnam 2000). Likewise, the trend toward increasingly widespread economic prosperity in the U.S. has reversed (Brand and Burgard 2007-05:3).”

“[I]s the effect of job displacement on social participation mediated by post-displacement psychological distress and/or reduced feelings of social trust or reciprocity, above and beyond experiences of downward socioeconomic mobility? To address this question, we examine the potential mediating role of measures of depression, self-acceptance, and social reciprocity on the relationship between displacement and participation, net of downward social mobility (Brand and Burgard 2007-05:5).”

“Job displacement usually includes a sequence of stressful events from anticipation of job loss through the loss itself, to a spell of unemployment, to job search and training, to reemployment, often at reduced wages and status. Initial movement into unemployment is associated with a number of economic pressures, new patterns of interaction with family members, and personal assessment in relation to individual values and societal pressures (Pearlin et al. 1981). It is therefore not surprising that a significant association has been found between job displacement and psychological distress over the life course: Displaced workers report lower levels of self-acceptance, self-confidence, morale, and higher levels of depression and dissatisfaction with life (Burgard, Brand, and House 2007; Dooley, Fielding, and Levi 1996;Gallo et al. 2000; Kessler, Turner, and House 1989; Turner 1995; Warr and Jackson 1985) (Brand and Burgard 2007-05:5).”

“Expanding on Durkheim’s theory, Wilensky (1961) found that orderly careers, i.e. a succession of jobs related in function with elevations in status, free of unexpected periods of unemployment and disorderly shifts in jobs, occupations, and industries, were associated with strong attachment to one’s community and society (Brand and Burgard 2007-05:6).”

“[T]he “spillover” theory asserts that being employed in a job that encourages initiative, thought, and independence also indirectly encourages social participation (Kohn and Schooler 1982; Rain, Lane, and Steiner 1991; Staines 1980; Wilson and Musik 1997) (Brand and Burgard 2007-05:7).”

“[V]alues and attitudes towards oneself and one’s society may influence levels of social participation. Putnam (2000) argues that where positive social roles, social trust, and norms of reciprocity flourish, individuals participate socially. However, displacement may negatively alter individual attitudes and self-perception, and thus, reduce participation. Thus, the strain of insecure employment, actual displacement events, periods of unemployment, reemployment in jobs with lower earnings and/or lower quality, psychological distress, and the erosion of commitment to social reciprocity may all contribute to decreased levels of social participation among displaced workers (Brand and Burgard 2007-05:7).”

Webliography and Bibliography

Brand, Jennie, and Sarah Burgard. 2007-05. “Effects of Job Displacement on Social Participation: Findings over the Life Course of a Cohort of Joiners.” PSC Research Report No. 07-623. May 2007.

Abstract: “Career disorder and economic distress have been identified as potential causes of the observed decline in social participation in the U.S. We examine the causal effect of job displacement, a career disorder-producing event that is associated with subsequent socioeconomic and psychological decline, on social participation. Using more than 45 years of panel data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study and difference-in-differences regression estimation, we find significant and lasting negative effects of displacement on subsequent social participation for workers displaced during their prime earnings years, ages 35-53, while no effect for workers displaced in the years approaching retirement, ages 53-64. Results also suggest that socioeconomic and psychological decline resulting from job displacement do not explain the negative impact of job displacement on social participation (Brand and Burgard 2007-05).”

Brand, Jennie, and Sarah Burgard. 2008-09. “Effects of Job Displacement on Social Participation: Findings Over the Life Course of a Cohort of Joiners.” Social Forces, .

Burgard, Sarah, Jennie Brand, and James S. House. 2007. “Toward a Better Estimation of the Effect of Job Loss on Health.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 48: 369-384.

Price, Richard H., and Sarah Burgard. 2008. “The new employment contract and worker health in the United States.” In Making Americans healthier : social and economic policy as health policy. New York : Russell Sage.

Putnam, Robert D. 2001. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.

Public Release. 2008-09-01. “Bowling alone because the team got downsized.” Social Forces. Eureka Alert. Accessed September 2, 2008.

“Canada’s social safety net results in lower rates of poverty and income inequality along with higher rates of self-sufficiency of vulnerable populations than in the United States. But many Canadians would be surprised to find out that the U.S. has a lower burglary rate, a lower suicide rate, and greater gender equity than Canada [...] Canada’s relatively poor record on child poverty, income inequality, and assault [remain] shocking [...] Particularly troubling is its ranking on child poverty. In Canada, according to OECD statistics, one child in seven lives in poverty. Canada also still has an unacceptably high rate of poverty among its working-age population. According to statistics published by the OECD, just over 10 per cent of its working-age population is below the poverty line. This is double the rate of Denmark, the best-performing country on this indicator. Canada’s crime record is also disturbing—with 17 times the rate of assaults as the best-ranked country, 7 times the rate of burglaries, and 3 times the rate of homicides. Crime takes its toll on trust—both within the community and within public institutions. This picture of crime is not what Canadians think of when they think of their society. [...] Canada ranks high on the indicator measuring acceptance of diversity [...] Canada’s past achievements, such as reducing poverty among its elderly, show that, given the political will, Canada could successfully address other social challenges to sustain future quality of life (Conference Board of Canada Society Overview 2008 ).”

The Conference Board of Canada (2008 ) compared economic, innovation, environment, education, health and society performances of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States which are considered to be Canada’s international peers. Canada’s standard of living ranking dropped from 4th spot in 1990 to 9th in 2008. In terms of Education and Skills, over 40% of adult Canadians lack literacy skills required for everyday life and work in modern society. In terms of innovation Canada scored D since the 1980s and has failed to produce any top global brands.

The full report for 2008 will not be available until September. I am curious to see how data specifically related to Canada’s growing aboriginal community with its unique social histories and current dilemmas will be analysed in this report. When we examine the weakest points in the report, it is obvious that the vulnerabilities faced by Canada’s most at-risk group (aboriginal women and children) affect our international ranking. It is also useful to consider the location of remote aboriginal communities in terms of the most volatile environmental debates in Canada.

Data for this annual report comes from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (c.80%), the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. The report measures quality of life based on this definition:

“The Conference Board defines a high and sustainable quality of life for all Canadians as being achieved if Canada records high and sustainable performances in six categories: Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health and Society (B 10/17). The word “sustainable” [1] is a critical qualifier. It is not enough for Canada to boost economic growth if it is done at the expense of the environment or social cohesion. For example, to take advantage of high commodity prices by mining and exporting all our natural resources may make the country rich in the short term, but this wealth will not be sustainable in the long or even medium term. The Conference Board has consistently argued that economic growth and sustainability of the physical environment need to be integrated into a single concept of sustainable national prosperity—what we call here a “high and sustainable quality of life for all Canadians.”

..

“Having a high quality of life means living in communities that are free from fear of social unrest and violence, communities that accept racial and cultural diversity, and those that foster social networks. A country that provides a high quality of life also minimizes the extremes of inequality between its poorest and richest citizens, while reducing the social tensions and conflicts that result from these gaps. Performance in the Society category is assessed using 17 indicators across three dimensions: self-sufficiency, equity, and social cohesion. Self-sufficiency indicators measure the autonomy and active participation of individuals within society, including its most vulnerable citizens, such as persons with disabilities and youth. Equity indicators measure equity of access, opportunities, and outcomes. Social cohesion indicators measure the extent to which citizens participate in societal activities, the level of crime in society, and the acceptance of diversity [. . .] Canada’s social safety net results in lower rates of poverty and income inequality along with higher rates of self-sufficiency of vulnerable populations than in the United States. But many Canadians would be surprised to find out that the U.S. has a lower burglary rate, a lower suicide rate, and greater gender equity than Canada [...] Canada’s relatively poor record on child poverty, income inequality, and assault [remain] shocking [...] Particularly troubling is its ranking on child poverty. In Canada, according to OECD statistics, one child in seven lives in poverty. Canada also still has an unacceptably high rate of poverty among its working-age population. According to statistics published by the OECD, just over 10 per cent of its working-age population is below the poverty line. This is double the rate of Denmark, the best-performing country on this indicator. Canada’s crime record is also disturbing—with 17 times the rate of assaults as the best-ranked country, 7 times the rate of burglaries, and 3 times the rate of homicides. Crime takes its toll on trust—both within the community and within public institutions. This picture of crime is not what Canadians think of when they think of their society. [...] Canada ranks high on the indicator measuring acceptance of diversity [...] Canada’s past achievements, such as reducing poverty among its elderly, show that, given the political will, Canada could successfully address other social challenges to sustain future quality of life (Conference Board of Canada Society Overview 2008).”

Footnotes

1. “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland 1987:43).”

Webliography and Bibliography

Brundtland, Gro Harlem. 1987. Our Common Future: World Commission on Environment and Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Conference Board of Canada. 2008.

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