Democracy at its Worst

“Camp, did you follow the elections in Venezuela last Sunday? What a sham and disaster for the people of that country. ‘Maduro would beat Jesus’is how Venezuelans lament the rigged system.”

“I’ve come across a few articles but Venezuela is not exactly hot news here in the Great White North. We have floods in BC, the ongoing NAFTA theatre and Lord Stanley’s cup to keep us distracted. The Gaza-Israeli border war, the Venezuelan election or the ongoing refugee crises in Europe are too far away and too depressing to affect our day-to-day lives.”

Not to be deterred I said: “According to the UN, last year alone Venezuelan’s economy shrank by 13% and the hyperinflation is at 13’000%. Imagine that. Maduro’s brilliant solution: strike three zeros. Still, today a dozen eggs cost an equivalent of $ 150 and some 5’000 citizens leave their country every day.”

“Vote for Maduro if you want food, starve if you vote for somebody else, he proclaimed without shame,” Camp pointed out.

“You could be Major of this town Camp if you handed out free beer,” I suggested.

“That’s been done before. It was called the Beer Hall putsch.”

“What about our own pipeline wars between Alberta, British Columbia and the federal government.  Who is right there?” I asked. “Premier Notley claims that thousands of jobs in her province depend on it.  Horgen shouts that the B.C. coastline is in danger from increased tanker traffic and Trudeau yammers on about national interest and energy security,” I said.

“All three seem to have a point,” Camp said.

“Let me ask you this Camp, how many tanker accidents have occurred on the B.C, waterways? I tell you: none. A quick overview on the B.C. government site lists all the oil and gas accidents  have occurred on land involving trucks, trains, and processing plants and one pipeline. No tanker accidents, no spills at sea, not from any double hulled tankers, not even in Strait of Hormuz. So what is Horgan talking about?”

“He has to pander to the Green’s, his coalition partners who secured him a tenuous hold on government. It’s first and foremost a political position.”

“An April Angus Reidpoll has 58% of British Columbians in favour of twinning the Kinder Morgan pipe line and 34% against. What happened to democracy?” I asked, playing the devil’s advocate, “are interest groups and stalling tactics through the courts the new way to determine our policies and actions?”

“Imagine, two NDP governments fighting each other like the Hatfields and McCoys, Camp said. “Makes for a mighty thirst, all this shouting and finger pointing,” he mused, holding up two fingers of his own for Vicky to see who was already on her way with two new pints.

“And did you know that on two days this past February it was actually warmer at the North Pole than it was in Zurich, Switzerland,” I said, trying to change the subject.”

“Yes, and the Gulf Stream is slowing down, the Greenland ice is receding, the oceans are rising and Kilauewa, like Trump, keeps belching lava and toxic gases. I’m not worried about the planet,” Camp said, “It will survive. I’m concerned about the 8 billion people trying to live on it.”

“On a lighter side, did you see the Royal Wedding?” I said, desperately trying to steer our stormy conversation into some calmer waters.

“No, but Muriel told me all about the hats or head sculptors which are called fascinators. Some looked like birds nests while others could have come off the Vatican’s Christmas tree.”

“Fascinating,” I said, while Vicky set down the refills. “Did you watch the Royal wedding?” I asked her.

“No but I wish them well. I wouldn’t want their lives of endless protocol and permanent smiles. Gives me a face cramp just thinking about it.”

“You know Maghan Markle was a waitress once,” I pointed out.

“You telling me I could be a princess?” Vicky laughed, “and maybe Camp here could be  Pope while you could be an astronaut, shooting for the stars with your flights of fancy.”

“Leave the running of the world to us,” Camp said, “and we would make a mighty scrambled mess of it.”

“Depends how many of these you had,” Vicky said, pointing at the two foamy golden pints in front of us.


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