Last week we learned how to make change in government.
The three main ways to make change in government are lobbying, making a petition and civil disobedience.
Lobbying is seeking to influence a politician or public official on an issue and can be done by joining a lobbying or interest group. In these groups a lobbyist is elected then the group uses that lobbyist to put direct pressure on the official or mobilizes voters and provides information for the official.
Next, a petition is a formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority with respect to a particular cause. These petitions can be made by following the guidelines on the parliament of Canada website. For the government to read it, it has to have at least 25 signatures. Governments are only obligated to read these petitions and not act on them. But they are responsible to respond within 120 days of receiving the letter.
The last way to make change in government is Civil Disobedience this is the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest. Gandhi wrote 3 principals to doing civil disobedience properly. 1. it must not include violence, 2. it must be directed against laws that are significantly unjust and 3. it requires taking responsibility for one’s actions. Willingness to face punishment shows the strength for one’s beliefs. I think Gandhi is right for saying this because civil disobedience seems like a last resort if you can’t get through to your government.
One example of lobbying I found was from CBC news at their site: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/enbridge-lobbying-of-harper-government-a-success-story-1.1152513
In a nut shell major energy companies lobbied the Harper government to build the Enbridge pipeline so they can move more bitumen from Alberta oil sands to BC. This change is negative to society because it is bad for the environment and shows how much control over government big money companies actually have. I disagree with this change and how it was done because it was probably done by these companies paying off the Harper government. Benefits of lobbing include: you can try to get change directly from a politician and drawbacks include: only big organizations can successfully lobby on the provincial and federal level.
One Example of a petition I found was on plastic bags being banned in Victoria because of their affect on the environment. They achieved this by getting 29,279 people to sign their petition. I agree with this change because plastic bags are bad for the environment and we should ban more throw-away plastic items. I think this was a perfect way to get this done because it shows the government that many people wanted the change. Benefits of petitions include: they seek the attention you need in a peaceful way and drawbacks include they need a lot of people to actually do successfully and the politician can choose whether to say yes or no.
One example of civil disobedience I found was on bill 78 in Quebec that stopped people from protesting and put fines on it because of increasing protests on tuition cost raising. Thousands of people wearing red went out on the streets in civil disobedience of this bill and the bill was removed. I agree with this change because in any democracy people should be allowed to protest so that the government works for the people like it is supposed to. I like the way they went about changing the bill because it was not violent at all and got the point across strongly. Benefits of civil disobedience are: It can end in fast change if done properly and drawbacks include: it could end in violence if done wrong.
In conclusion, I found that the order in which you should try to influence government is lobbying first so they know all the info they need to make a decision. Then if they don’t do anything, making a petition to show them lots of people want the change. And lastly if all else fails and you need to stop an unjust law you should use civil disobedience.
This shows that some companies can get around the rules against donating to a political party by using the lobbyist as a sort of ‘middle man’ to secretly fund/influence politicians. I find this very deceptive and probably also illegal. What do you think of it Mr. Chan?
Sorry I got carried away with one topic and wasn’t able to do anything on elections. I think this is how it will be with all my reflections because one topic is just too broad to cover in one reflection.
Last week we learned about climate change and population density.
When learned about climate change, we learned that our planet’s climate is getting warmer because of an increase in carbon dioxide and other green house gasses as shown on the graphs below.
The ‘greenhouse effect’ is caused by short wave radiation (UV rays) from the sun going through our atmosphere and heating up the ground. The ground in turn emits long wave radiation that gets trapped by greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Thereby, heating up the globe like a green house.
Because of this ‘greenhouse affect’ the whole world’s temperature has raised 2 degrees higher then it has ever been. Now, two degrees may not seem like much but, this has caused the glaciers to start to melt, fertile land start to turn into desert and more hurricanes starting to form.
Most of the greenhouse gasses on this graph are from solid and liquid fuel. For example, coal is a solid fuel and gasoline is a liquid fuel. But we also have to think about our embodied emissions. These are emissions from our every day product from the stores. These products sometimes line up an big line of carbon emissions just to get to our shelf. Here is one example, the factory creates the product (CO2 from electricity and product production) then it goes to transportation (CO2 from combustion engines) then the retailer store (CO2 from electricity used to run and heat the store) and lastly driving to the store (CO2 from your combustion engine).
To stop global warming, things we could do as individuals include: voting for politicians with an eco-friendly platform, walking/biking to work/school or driving an electric car, buying local and buying things with fewer packaging (don’t buy those individually wrapped potatoes!!!) and generally only getting what you need.
Stopping climate change is hard and some things we just can’t change. For example, big coal/oil companies will not shut down because their wealthy owner is just too greedy to lose out on all the money in their industry. This is one of the ways climate change becomes an issue of class. Some things only the wealthy can change and I think it is their responsibility to change it.
Now I was going to write about what we learned about population density but this blog post has already gotten too long. If you want to come talk to me later Mr.Chan, I would know what I am talking about regarding population density.
Last week we learned about developing countries and how they can get stuck in the poverty cycle.
When a poor country is stuck in the poverty cycle one of the only ways to get out is to get a loan to be able to build infrastructure and improve the economy. Developing countries use to take out loans from privately owned banks in other countries. The only problem with this is that the banks could charge high interest on their loans and eventually the country would be in constant debt, not being able to pay back in full and in the long run paying way over or not being able to pay back at all. After the market crash in the U.S.A people were worried that these countries currency could become 0 so, the UN created the World Bank (WB) which took on all these countries debt with no interest. The only catch was that in order for the country to take out a loan they would have to follow some Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) given to them by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that helped the countries gain money.
Some of these SAPs would tell the countries to use a certain piece of land for growing a cash crop and exporting it or let in Multi National Corporations (MNCs) to set up shop in their country and produce and export their goods. Another example of a SAP is devaluing their own currency. This would in theory make other countries want to purchase their currency raising their currency value.
Now at first I thought this was a good system until Mr.Chan showed us a documentary about Jamaica. When Jamaica took out money from the WB the SAPs told them to make a ‘free zone’ where the Jamaican laws don’t apply. This is so companies can produce products that are legally not made in Jamaica and operate without the restrictions of laws. With this they are not liable to any taxes and they can pay their workers as low as $30 US dollars a week. In theory this would raise the economy because the Jamaican people can go to work and then buy things back in Jamaica. But this was not the case. The company got away with taking lots of deductions off their pay check that actually weren’t given to the government (even though they were suppose to) and because the end product was exported out of Jamaica it didn’t help the economy much.
In the end all of the Jamaican workers were fired after going on strike and they were replaced with Chinese workers making it not beneficial at all for Jamaica. Later the companies shut down and Jamaica was left with debt and an empty factory.
What actually works to help developing countries in the poverty cycle is micro-finance loans. These are loans to individuals so they can start up their own business in their country that doesn’t rely on MNCs exporting the goods out of the country. This way their business can help the country’s economy and have their product staying in the country. One way we can help with micro-finance loans is donating to https://www.kiva.org/ and loaning as low as $25 with no interest rate to someone in need.
Last week we learned about poverty and different methods of measuring it.
In our poverty lesson we learned about different ways of measuring poverty and we watched a documentary about people living on the street trying to get out of poverty. One way of measuring poverty that we learned is seeing if someone earns more than $2.48 Canadian a day. This is bad because in places with lots of resources things are really expensive making $2.48 Canadian not nearly enough to afford a living. Another way is to compare standards of living which is self-explanatory. This also doesn’t work if you compare to richer areas because one city must look really poor compared to another but for the poor city, that’s how everyone lives so they’re not in poverty, while the richer area must think this other area is in poverty.
In conclusion, I think the best way to measure poverty for Canada is to use the relative poverty method of comparing a person’s total income and spending to the average most people spend. I think this is the best way because this would find people living on the street or barely affording housing and that can’t afford the basic necessities. To measure poverty for the world I think it would be wise to look at the food, shelter and water needs of the area and see if they are being met. If not, then they are in poverty. In the documentary about helping the homeless, it brought up various other problems those who live on the street have such as drug addiction, not being able to find a place to spend the night and being too tired to do anything about it. Eventually after many months most of the people were able to get housed but one of them died of his crippling drug addiction. This documentary showed me how tough it really is to get off the streets and how it’s sometimes impossible for some people because of mental health issues or drug addictions.
(The following are my views on articles about finding the truth in the intranet).
This article is about how people are making fake social media profiles, particularly facebook profiles and using them to make friends with politicians and comment on different thinks in politics. I think this might affect me if a politician in Canada makes a decision bases on comments from these fake accounts. At least we know that they use stock photos in their account and we may be able to recognize the threat and neutralize it.
This article is about fake posts on lost relatives. Some people do this right after a big attack or disaster and the article says that most of these posts are fake. Why people would do this is unknown to me and it probably won’t affect me seeing as how I don’t use social media.
This article talked about how some news can be completely made up. This news is called fake news and if you check on who was the first black president of America, surprisingly you will find some fake news pointing at people other than Barack Obama. There was also a story about how after someone died people said something he did in his life was being in the Teletubbies but this was completely made up and the info was found on wikipedia. This can affect me by making me believe something that isn’t true. And maybe even making me write about something false because of some bad info.