The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

August 11, 2007



The main character was this particular ant, you see, who was unpopular with all the other ants BECAUSE ALL HE DID WAS YELL!!! He could not talk softly.
As a result, the other ants figured, he was excruciatingly annoying.

None of the other insects he tried to befriend liked him either. Because his voice was SO LOUD!!!, he scared off the grasshopper, the caterpillar and others. He alienated everybody he tried to befriend.

As usual, there was a good ending and a good message for my kids: if you speak up, even if you have to yell, you can be heard, because being heard is the most important thing and you have a place in the world.
You can be unpopular, but that can change. And even if it doesn't, being heard is the biggest thing. Everybody is important, in his or her own way.

It turned out the ant with the LOUD VOICE!!! saved the entire ant colony from death when he yelled loudly enough for a herd of oncoming, stampeding elephants to become aware of their presence when nothing else could stop them.

What does this have to do with anything?

In the past couple of weeks, Canada, which is an ant on the world stage, has made A LOT OF NOISE!!! about protecting what it claims is its sovereignty over the Northwest Passage in the vast, virtually uninhabited Arctic.

Our absolutely awful prime minister, Stephen Harper, who doesn't even come close to having a handle on issues in the parts of Canada where people actually live, has made it his mission to protect our so-called sovereignty.

The most recent announcement, only days ago, saw him go up to Resolute Bay, Nunavut, to announce the construction of a pair of multi-million-dollar military facilities within the contested waters of Canada's Arctic territory.
This came on the heels of another laughable announcement that Canada will buy some military boats to patrol "its territory" in the Arctic Archipalego.

This brief info from one news service:

"Canada's new government understands that the first principle of Arctic sovereignty is: Use it or lose it," Harper said about 600 kilometres from the magnetic North Pole. "...Canada has a real, growing, long-term presence in the Arctic."

The facilities consist of a new army training centre and a deep-sea port inside of the Northwest Passage, which is expected to provide a summer shipping route to Asia over the next few decades because of the effects of global warming and melting ice flows.

The training facility would be manned by up to 100 Canadian Forces personnel (OOOH, 100!) in Resolute Bay, while the port for navy and civilians would be located on the site of an abandoned mine in the village of Nanisivik on the north end of Baffin Island.

The context here is this:

The territory we're talking about is an ice-filled wasteland, its surface hardly navigable by anyone or anything except icebreakers (unless we're talking about subs, we can go beneath the ice...and do all the time, from Russia, the U.S. and others).
It includes 36,500 islands over 1.4 million kilometres. But it's believed to be super rich in minerals, natural gas and oil. And do you think that might just have a little bit to do with why anyone actually cares?

Canada has always claimed this land as its own, even as it has ignored the smattering of Inuit and others who inhabit the area. And other countries like the U.S., Russia, Denmark, Japan and the like have disputed Canada's claim.

Russia recently planted its flag on the seabed at the North Pole, essentially laughing in Canada's face. It knows Canada couldn't defend the entire country from an invasion by the Pope's Swiss guard at the Vatican, let alone any other real military threat.

One scholar, Stephen Clarkson, wrote not too long ago about Canada and its so-called sovereignty:

"[I]n the absence of political testosterone, the state could legitimately be considered castrated, a harem keeper for its global and continental masters, but without any vital fluids to call its own."

Even little Denmark is defying Canada's claim on the Arctic. The Danes claim Greenland, which isn't far away, and they want to claim a big part of the Arctic north of Canada, too. In any event, they want free passage to Asia.

And if global warming does continue to melt the Arctic ice, that would open it up more to exploration for oil, gas and minerals...who cares if New Orleans and all other coastal cities on the planet are destroyed?

There are many more issues here and history. I'm simplifying all of it, I know.

But at the core of it is that Canada is that ant, trying to scream out loud, but in this case it's barely audible. It doesn't have the vocal chords, the lung power or the balls, to hold off all the elephants.

I love our vastness, our resources, our untamed lands. But we don't have the power or the numbers or the resources or anything else to make such claims.

We don't have the strength to climb to the top of the hill and dare another kid to knock us off. We can pump our chest up and say what we want. We can try to assert what we can't protect. But the elephants know.

One step and...squish.