When an out-of-control wildfire threatens everything you hold dear and public officials order you to flee because, they claim, there’s nothing anyone can do − what’s your response? Do you meekly submit? Or do you call you neighbours and try to protect what’s yours? And when politicians publicly denounce you, officials callously demand your dental records so they can identify your charred remains afterwards, police threaten to take away your children and then try to starve your whole community into submission – what then?
These were the terrible choices faced last summer by the “Southsiders” of François Lake, B.C. Their decisions may surprise, or even shock you. But their determination should awe you, their courage inspire you, and the final outcome make you think twice the next time government officials demand you place your fate in their hands. In this meticulously reported exclusive, Jason Unrau brings you the epic tale of how the François Lake Southsiders had to face down not only 100-foot-high wildfire flames, but also the equally towering arrogance and indifference of the public agencies that should have been protecting and supporting them.
For those who seek to divide and conquer Western culture, the ends always justify the means. Hence the rise of “hate crime hoaxes,” exaggerated or invented incidents of racism. Recent fake villains include the Covington high school kids in the U.S., and, here in Canada, a Fort McMurray minor hockey team. There are fake victims too, notably actor Jussie Smollett in his worst performance yet. Making up stories to ignite race war takes a special kind of evil. Believing those stories, as so many in the media and positions of authority are wont to do, abets it.
Border security, terrorism, rising crime, Donald Trump, guns, trade wars; these are just a few of the anxieties afflicting Canadians. Well, pass the Zoloft, writes Jason Unrau. We’re going to need it to get through the coming year as politicians of all stripes and their media enablers ratchet up their fearmongering on these and other real and invented terrors in the runup to next October’s federal election.
Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak says she knows what really happened in Indian residential schools because she once double-dated with “an aboriginal fellow”. That’s the story most Canadians read or heard when Beyak clumsily questioned the orthodoxy of “cultural genocide”. A few years earlier, most Canadians read or heard that Chief Theresa Spence went on a hunger strike to protest the Harper government’s cruel neglect of her First Nation. It turns out there is quite a bit more to both stories, but that’s how news often gets made in Indian country, a place where emotion rules and truth goes to die. Jason Unrau explains.
The 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix between the British and the Iroquois included an unprecedented cash payment that was supposed to resolve conflict over land ownership in a wide swath of eastern North America forever. It didn’t, partly because the American Revolution voided it in a lot of the territory it covered, and partly because both the British and the Iroquois failed to live by its terms. That’s been the story for 250 years, writes Jason Unrau: Treaties are made, get broken, are re-made, then broken again. During the last few decades, this process has become a self-perpetuating industry within the court system. And as this summer’s ruling against the $8 billion Northern Gateway pipeline shows, it is now paralyzing Canada’s economy.
If American political satirist Hunter S. Thompson were still around to offer his “gonzo” journalistic treatment of the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, he might play it straight because the thing is almost too weird to satirize. But Jason Unrau is up to the challenge, and unlike all the worry warts who liken the Trump-Clinton match-up to democratic Armageddon, he sees it as the greatest political show on earth, featuring The Donald as the saviour of American exceptionalism.
Japan has had bullet trains for decades. Soon they’ll have 600-kilometre-an-hour maglev rail rockets. Fast train networks are exploding in Europe and China. Meanwhile in Canada, money-losing and late-arriving Via Rail is proposing a new slow speed passenger train from Toronto to Montreal, using subsidized rolling stock from corporate welfare bum Bombardier. Enough already, write Jason Unrau and Paul Bunner, it’s time for Canada to get on board high-speed trains to a faster, greener, richer future.
“You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through with it,” former prime minister Stephen Harper supposedly said somewhere, sometime. Despite its questionable authenticity, the left used the quote to great effect during their decade-long assassination of Harper’s character. Reading Jason Unrau’s first-hand account of what Elizabeth May did to the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline project, and is now doing to any and all Canadian oil sands pipeline projects, makes one wonder if anyone will recognize Canada when May and her fellow eco-warriors are through with our energy industry.