Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nuclear Is Never Good

I just attended the non-nuclear potluck and Jim Harding's book launch for his book, "Canada's Deadly Secret: Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System." I have been insanely busy. This upcoming week is even worse. Just as I'm getting tired, Jim Harding gave me the extra drive I need to be even more passionate, more focused, and more driven in my Green Party campaign for Moose Jaw-Wakamow. I wish I could be writing about something that will put a smile on your face, but this is all too serious and all too real.

It is uranium, and we are the world's supplier. That's right! Friendly Saskatchewan, land of living skies, founder of Medicare, or supplier of ammunition being used to kill civilians in the Middle East and founder of undisposable radioactive waste that remains toxic for 800 genearations. 800 generations! Is Saskatchewan responsible for the future end of the world? This radioactive waste causes cancer, undoubtedly. We have no way to dispose of it. Saskatchewan people have a moral obligation to leave uranium in the ground. The only good that will come out of extracting it is money. Money is not worth it.

Please, get this book. Jim Harding said that the average person knows 2% about uranium and its nuclear use. He said that even he only knew 50% of what there was to know about it before writing this book, and he is an expert on the issue! There is no more important area that we as the generation of the future needs to educate ourselves on. I did get a copy. I can't wait to read it. However, I am afraid of what I will find out. I sense corruption beyond what I can imagine.

If you would like to learn more, visit the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility website. If you would like to get involved with the formation of a solid non-nuclear group in Regina, the first meeting will be this Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at the Cathedral Community Centre. I will be there.

I have more to add, but I am falling asleep. I will add to this post tomorrow.



Monday, Oct. 29th, 2007

A few days ago, I did a google search on building a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan. I am sure Jim Harding's book will provide much more in depth info, but I did find a relevant and interesting leader-post article from October 26th, 2005. According to this article, former NDP deputy Premier, Dwain Lingenfelter, now currently a vice-president at Nexen Industries in Calgary (an Oil and Gas company) embarked on a campaign exactly two years ago to convince Saskatchewan residents that a nuclear reactor was an excellent economic venture for our province. He wants Saskatchewan to build a nuclear reactor across the border from the tar sands in Fort McMurray, Alberta. He says nuclear energy can be transmitted through super transmission lines to Alberta from Saskatchewan. His reason for the campaign? Alberta's oil and gas industry uses 30% of the oil reaped to create energy for the pumping of the heavy tar. They want Saskatchewan residents to foot the bill by building a multi billion dollar nuclear reactor. Nuclear Reactors are extremely dangerous to those living around them.

The Green Party also opposes uranium mining, which makes sense because if we continue to supply countries that have nuclear weapons and Depleted Uranium weapons with uranium mined in Saskatchewan, we are contributing to our own potential demise if that uranium gets into the wrong hands in another country. I can't believe we allow this to happen.

Anyway, back to Lingenfelter. According to the Leader-Post article from the day his campaign to build a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan embarked, he has the support of Brad Wall (Sask Party Leader) and David Karwacki (Liberal Party Leader). His former NDP colleagues are uncomfortable with nuclear energy past building a refinery in Saskatchewan, but that too is wrong.

The Green Party Policy 2007 states the following on uranium:

GPS is opposed to nuclear power for the following reasons:

-Nuclear power is fiscally unsound. The last nuclear power plant in Canada came in seven times over budget, costing $14 billion dollars. This does not include the high cost involved in decommissioning old power plants.

-Nuclear Waste cannot be stored, treated, or disposed of safely.

-A large amount of radioactive tailings accumulate as a result of uranium mining. These tailings can leak into groundwater and affect the surrounding area, leading to increased cancer rates.

-Depleted uranium ends up in weapons such as missiles, and anti-tank bullets.

-Nuclear power is NOT emissions free. Large quantities of green house gases are produced in the mining and refining of uranium as well as during the long construction period of the power plant.

*We will phase out uranium mining in Saskatchewan, compensating those affected during transition.


The above is why I had to run in this election for the Greens. I am doing all I can on my campaign. I did the first hour in a new online election concept, Electronic Grill for the Moose Jaw Times Herald website. I was actually the very first candidate to have participated in this new concept. People could post a question to a candidate and the candidate responds through a moderator (Jim Small, City Editor). Only two people asked questions, but the moderator provided me with plenty of great questions instead. It was intense, but fun.

This evening I did a debate held by the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. In today's paper, the SaskParty said they'd be there. Tonight, they were a no-show. They left a letter in between two doors at the SFL office (which is not staffed or open full-time). And this was one or two days ago (I will confirm that detail). As a result, they got their ass kicked. It was offensive, undemocratic, and unwise. The PC candidate was there. It was a civil and good debate. It was wrong of the SaskParty to do a purposeful no-show. Are they getting overconfident from public opinion polls? Mayble the Sask Party should take Political Science 230-Canadian Politics!

Political Song of the Week:

Instant Karma by John Lennon

For lyrics, click here.


Larissa Shasko

Green Party Candidate Moose Jaw-Wakamow

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Green is the Colour

Above is a photo taken by my mother on a recent trip to Vietnam. She said the pollution was so horrible that you could not see anything more than a block and a half away. This is why we need the Greens. Is this how Canada could end up?

The Green Party of Saskatchewan has had a busy start to their campaign. We have nearly a full slate of candidates, and a there is a last minute flurry to achieve the goal of a full slate. I am running for Moose Jaw-Wakamow, where I live, but I am working as part of the team of Regina area candidates. Already, we have had four meetings, a press conference, and a fundraiser. I have been a slave to my computer otherwise: answering e-mails, doing interest group surveys, coordinating with the local media, etc. I will start my door knocking on Tuesday, and I am organizing a schedule for meet the candidate opportunities tomorrow. Green Party candidates do so much more work than the others. That is because we lack resources but have excess passion for our aims. We are not doing this for power, we are doing this for our future, for everybody's future!

For some odd reason a lot of people were wearing green shirts today. ( I'm just kidding; go Riders!) This link to a Leader-Post story on the Green Party of Saskatchewan press conference on Friday morning relates the growing interest in and support for the Green Party to the growing support and interest in the Riders. More people are realizing that it is now or never. In relation to Stephen Harper's Throne Speech date of 2050 for a 50% reduction in emissions, I have only one thing to say, "WAKE UP MR. HARPER!"

This is the Riders time to shine. It is also time to start supporting environmentally friendly methods of transportation and renewable energy sources. I am amazed that the other parties are fighting about what the other has done recently while ignoring what the Greens are saying about the risks of nuclear energy and why we should stop uranium mining in Saskatchewan. My next blog will be related to the subject of nuclear energy. I am frustrated how little is being said about the nuclear issue in the media. The Green Party is talking about it a lot, and it is not being passed on to all of you. Noam Chomsky, I feel for you. This is bulls**t. We have to stop the powers enshrined to the gatekeepers of society through mass media consolidation, and now!

I want to know what you think about building a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan, a nuclear refinery, and uranium mining. I want to know how much you know about nuclear energy and its problems. I need to educate people on this subject, but I need to find out what common knowledge exists. Thanks to all who answer this question!

Political Song of Last Week:

The Monkey Who Became President by Tom T. Hall.

This song was written in the 1970's. In the last line, the lyrics say, "Would you rather have a monkey up in Washington, D.C. Or have those people making monkeys out of you and me?"

Take a look at the song's lyrics to see the full message!

Political Song of This Week:

Right Wing Pigeon by The Dead Milkmen.

This song's lyrics answer my question of how anyone can be right wing. The chorus goes:

"They're just right wing pigeons from outer space
Sent here to destroy the human race
They don't give a damn about you or me
They just buy guns and watch TV
Let's go!"

Check out the rest of the lyrics of this humorous political punk song!


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Going Green!

The Green Party- Not the Same Old Hippo Shit!
Above drawing by Larissa Shasko

Hi everyone! I have decided that the best way to have a voice in the upcoming provincial election is to renew my commitment to the Green Party, and to run as a Green Party of Saskatchewan candidate for the riding of Moose Jaw-Wakamow. Otherwise, I'll have no one to vote for!

My ultimate goal of revolution through solution can be best achieved within the Green Party as part of a team.
Stay tuned for a different kind of political campaign!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Political Song of the Week

The average age of a Canadian voter is 59. The low voter turnout of our youth is a threat to Canadian democracy. Considering less than 3 percent of the members of Canadian political parties are under the age of 25, other methods of sparking political interest among youth are needed. Music has been used as a political tool by many musicians and bands. It is an effective method of rebelling against the dominant norm of society. Music is also more appealing to most youth than joining a political party is.

Many political messages about real change have been recorded in songs over the years. Sometimes, their original meaning is even more relevant today. Every week I will recommend a song with an important political message. If you have songs to suggest, please share them!

My first recommended Political Song of the Week is "War" by Bob Marley.

On the Oct. 3, 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live, Sinead O'Connor sings a unique version of Bob Marley's "War" ending with her ripping up a picture of the Pope.

Click here for the link to the youtube video of that performance.

Saskatchewan Needs Change, Not "A" Change

When the Premier has lunch at the U of R to chat with students, an election call must be near. I hope there were many who took the opportunity to speak with him. I did not attend the lunch, but I did make a point of stopping in at the tail's end of the event to see what was going on. I was slightly surprised to see Premier Calvert talking with a few students in a very casual manner. He showed a great sense of humour and sincerely engaged in conversation with the students. His experience as Premier does show. He managed to stay on message, to be personable, and to be open to critique.

I plan on doing some public speaking during the upcoming provincial election. I am hoping to encourage people, especially youth, to use their right to vote. I was able to ask the Premier for an important message that I could speak about that he would like to share with the public. He was more than willing to answer, and he encouraged my public speaking as an effective method of increasing young voter turnout. In addition to increasing the youth vote, I am also hoping to encourage voters to be informed voters. I would like to lessen the media's control of the election agenda by raising real issues. I want to create change.

One important point Premier Calvert raised in discussion is that he recognizes change is very necessary for society. However, he said that change just for the sake of change is not always good. "A" change doesn't necessarily mean a change for the better. I commend the Premier for recognizing the need for change. The type of real change needed in this province is not one that will be fixed by a Sask Party government. Will the Saskatchewan Party address poverty? Their leader's background does not convince me that poverty will be high on the agenda.

After earning his degree at the University of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall moved to Ottawa and worked for a backbench M.P. in Brian Mulroney's PC government. Upon returning to Saskatchewan, Wall worked as a ministerial assistant during the final years of the Grant Devine Tory government. He ran and lost as the conservative candidate for Swift Current MLA in the 1991 provincial election. When the Saskatchewan Party formed in 1997, Wall was Director of Business Development for the city of Swift Current. He ran for the Sask Party in the 1999 provincial election, and he won the Swift Current riding. As MLA, he served as the Sask Party's Justice Critic and was later appointed as Critic of the Crown Corporations. Brad Wall was re-elected in 2003, and he became leader of the Saskatchewan Party in 2004.

I do not feel confident in electing a Premier who once worked for both Brian Mulroney and Grant Devine. I don't think ending poverty is a priority of a former Director of Business Development. I do not think the Sask Party will do a better job than the NDP has. I am not agreeing with what the NDP government has done and would do if elected again, but they are closer than the Sask Party is to being able to achieve government change that benefits society as a whole.

The Green Party of Saskatchewan has the best action plan for reducing poverty. Their platform statement on poverty actually calls for REAL action, much more than the NDP's minimum wage increase will do. It is unfortunate that our "first past the post" electoral system does not allow the Greens to win a voice in the legislature. Our current system allows many Canadian elections to be won by parties who received less than 50% of the votes cast. It only matters that they have the most votes over the other parties. There may be more votes cast against them than for them. Those who didn't vote for the winner do not matter at all; they are not represented in the government. Proportional Representation could change this. The Sask Green Party has an excellent position on the Saskatchewan Elections Act. They favour proportional representation and other changes to the act to make elections more democratic and fair.

But until a system of proportional representation can be achieved (if ever), the reality is one of two outcomes in the provincial election: NDP or Sask Party. The recent announcement of the NDP's planned increase in the minimum wage will enable a full time minimum wage worker to meet the poverty line. This is a step, albeit a small step.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Immigration Marriage Fraud

Canada's Department of Immigration is not doing its job. Immigration marriage fraud is not just a movie plot, is happens in reality to many Canadians.

When a Canadian citizen marries a foreign resident, they must sponsor their new spouse (and children) for three to ten years and pay their plane ticket(s) over here. Unfortunately, some are abandoned by their new spouse and family once a permanent resident card is received, which unlike the U.S. with a mandatory three year waiting period including visits to ensure legitimacy, is issued almost immediately upon arrival with no visits or investigations. The Canadian sponsors are oblivious to the scam being pulled over on them because they truly believe they are in love. To make matters worse, once the immigrant has their permanent residency card and leaves their sponsor, this sponsor is still responsible for supporting them for three to ten years. If the immigrant and their children access the welfare system, the heart-broken sponsor has to pay Canada back for all welfare received. Immigration fraud is illegal in this country, but unfortunately it is not enforced. Why is that? I encourage you to learn more about immigration marriage fraud in Canada here.

Is inadequate staffing within the immigration department to blame? Changes must be made to ensure that immigration laws are enforced, especially when Canadian citizens are so obviously victimized. In many ways, our system allows immigration marriage fraud to happen. I find it hard to believe that Canada's immigration department is on the right track.