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1st demonstrated by Georges Lakhovsky and Nikola Tesla. Adapted by Dr Dino Tomic.

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in this issue ENVIRONMENT

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Myth, culture and paradise regained

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Alan Watts

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Think while it’s still legal

HEALTH

Tsiporah Grignon

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Iatrogarchy: the rule of medicine Basil Smallwood

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Covid 19 vaccine concerns

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Canadian corruption by exemptive relief

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Ted Kuntz

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Ancient forest blockade Bobby Arbess

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Publisher & Senior Editor - Joseph Roberts Accounting - Maggie Si Layout & Production - Two by Four Media

Turning back your biological clock NUTRISPEAK Vesanto Melina

Contributors: Bobby Arbess, Dave Coverly, Larry Elford, Tsiporah Grignon, Ted Kuntz, Vesanto Melina, Gwen Randall-Young, Angele Roberts, Basil Smallwood, David Suzuki, Eckhart Tolle, Alan Watts

PSYCHOLOGY

Resource Directory Suzan Law | Tel. 778-846-2175

Parenting the inner child UNIVERSE WITHIN Gwen Randall-Young SPIRIT

Larry Elford

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Rediscovering the fundamentals of life SCIENCE MATTERS David Suzuki

There is no problem THE POWER OF NOW Eckhart Tolle RESOURCE DIRECTORY

Editorial & Distribution Inquiries Tel. 604-733-2215 Toll Free 1-800-365-8897 Fax 604-733-4415 joseph@commonground.ca Advertising & Management Joseph Roberts | Tel. 604-733-2215 joseph@commonground.ca Suzan Law | Tel. 778-846-2175 Publications Mail Agreement No. 40011171 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to Circulation Dept., Head office ISSN No. 0824-0698 Head Office Common Ground Publishing Corp. 3152 West 8th Ave. Vancouver, BC V6K 2C3 Reach Common Ground’s great audience Over 200,000 readers per issue. Survey shows 3 - 4 readers/copy, plus online at www.commonground.ca and our Facebook link. 100% owned and operated by Canadians. Published 10 times a year in Canada. Annual subscription is $75 (US$75) for one year (12 issues). Single issues are $6 (specify issue #). Payable by cheque, Visa, MasterCard, Interac or money order.

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Alan Watts

on myth, culture and paradise regained Originally published in 1963, The Two Hands of God: The Myths of Polarity is Alan Watts’s forgotten book on world mythology – myths of light and darkness, good and evil, and the mystical unity that sees the transcendent whole behind apparent opposites. Alan Watts is one of the world’s most popular interpreters of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. Fans of the mythologist Joseph Campbell will immediately notice his influence throughout this book. Campbell and Watts were in fact friends during its writing, and Campbell shared notes and feedback on several chapters. One might even say that The Two Hands of God is Alan Watts’s own introduction to the mythology of the world’s religions, using the non-dual lens he was so well-known for in his Zen teachings and study.

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hen the critical intellect looks at anything carefully, it vanishes. This is as true of the solid substance of bodies as of historical generalizations, of entities such as nations, of epochs such as the Middle Ages, and of subject matters such as myth. The reason is, of course, that “things” exist only relatively – for a point of view or for convenience of description. Thus when we inspect any unit more closely we find that its structure is more complex and more differentiated than we had supposed. Its variety comes to impress us more than its unity. This is why there is something of the spirit of debunking in all scholarship and scientific inquiry. As a historian of science once put it, “Isn’t it amazing how many things there are that aren’t so?”

ɶ Isn’t it amazing how many things there are that aren’t so? It is for this reason that no serious scholar will now propose any general definition or comprehensive theory of myth – at least, not without making numerous reservations. Nevertheless, the word “myth” remains useful. It designates a class of things which we all recognize clearly enough, provided we do not try to be too exact about it. Under the microscope, even the clean edge of a knife becomes ragged. But the stories of Hercules and Odin, the cosmologies of India and China, and the symbols of the lotus and the cross have something in common that

we can call mythological – meaning by this word something very much more than the merely fanciful. Some years ago I ventured to define myth as “a complex of stories – some no doubt fact, and some fantasy – which, for various reasons, human beings regard as demonstrations of the inner meaning of the universe and of human life.” Vague as this was, I should have made it yet vaguer by adding that myth includes not only stories but also symbols and images, for the yangyin symbol of the Chinese and the neurological doctrines of Yoga are plainly mythological in the sense of my definition without being associated with any special narrative. The point is, I think, that myth is to be distinguished from religion, science, and philosophy because it consists always of concrete images, appealing to imagination, and serving in one way or another to reveal or explain the mysteries of life. Yet there is a sense in which both the poetic and the mythic image at once reveal and conceal. The meaning is divined rather than defined, implicit rather than explicit, suggested rather than stated. It is in this sense that an apocalypse is simultaneously a revelation of hidden things and a way of speaking in symbols so as to conceal them.

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ne of the more widely distributed themes of mythology is that the universe arises from the sacrificial dismemberment of a divine being. In Hindu mythology the cosmic drama of the One, Brahman, pretending to be the many is called atma yajna or “selfsacrifice,” meaning simultaneously that the plurality and differentiation of the world is the cutting up of a primal unity, and that the dismemberment is voluntary, for in the Godhead what happens and what is willed are one and the same. The obscure and unexplained reference in the Apocalypse to “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” has been worked up by theologians of the Eastern Orthodox Church into a whole doctrine of the creation of the world by kenosis, that is, the self-emptying or selfabandonment of God. The creation is seen as the same kind of divine action as the Incarnation, in which God the Son voluntarily lays aside his omnipotence and glory to “humble himself and become obedient unto death.” In Babylonian mythology heaven and earth are created from the sliced body of the dragon Tiamat, slain in battle by Marduk, the hero of heaven. In Norse mythology, too, Othin, Vili, and Ve create the world from the sundered body of Ymir, the hermaphroditic giant:

Of Ymir’s flesh the earth was fashioned, And of his sweat the sea; Crags of his bones, trees of his hair, And of his skull the sky. Then of his bones the blithe gods made Midgard for sons of men; And of his brain the bitter-mooded Clouds were all created. In Hesiod’s Theogeny Ouranos and Gaia, Heaven and Earth, are separated by the titan Kronos, who castrates his father, Ouranos, with a sickle and pushes him up out of the way. So also in the Maori creation myth Tane mahuta, the son of the sky father, Rangi, and the earth mother, Papa, has to rend his parents apart in order to emerge from the womb.

ɶ Apocalypse is simultaneously a revelation of hidden things and a way of speaking in symbols so as to conceal them. It follows quite logically, then, that where there is dismemberment in the beginning there is remembrance at the end – that the fulfillment or consummation of the cosmic game is the discovery of what was covered and the recollection of what was scattered. It is, perhaps, in the sense that we must understand the crucial moment of the Christian Mass when bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ in obedience to the commandment, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Is not this, also, why all the disciplines of spiritual integration are based on concentration or recollection for the purpose of overcoming scattered and distracted thoughts? “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” Get with it. Pull yourself together. A house which is divided against itself cannot stand. Make up your mind. The choice is between paranoia, being beside yourself, and metanoia, being with yourself – ordinarily translated as repentance. Joseph Campbell has pointed out a curious contrast between the creation myths of the East and the West, namely, that in the East there is a primordial splitting apart of the Creator, whereas in the West, the Creator remains entire and the split transpires within the creature. Actually, this split and nonsplit situation of the Creator corresponds with what, in Vedanta philosophy, is called the nirguna Brahman and the saguna Brahman – the Godhead without differentiated qualities and the Godhead with such qualities, or the unmanifest and manifest


aspects of the supreme Self. The Godhead is simultaneously involved and not involved in the production of the world, responsible and not responsible for the mystery of iniquity, omnipotently controlling everything and yet open to surprise, granting the creature freedom of will.

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ɶ The practical politics of survival amounts all too often to the solution of today’s problem at the cost of seven new problems to be solved tomorrow. It is in contrast with such “practicality” that the sage often appears to be an idiot or “wild man.” A Hindu verse says: Sometimes naked, sometimes mad, Now as a scholar, now as a fool, Thus they appear on earth – The free men! The Taoist, Chuang-tzu, says: When a drunken man falls out of a cart, though he may suffer, he does not die. His spirit is in a state of security, and therefore he does not suffer from contact with objective existences. If such security may be gotten from wine, how much more from the spontaneity of Heaven? Jesus says: The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head…Be not anxious for the morrow – what you shall eat, what you shall drink, or how you shall be clothed…Sufficient to the day is the trouble thereof. j Alan Watts (January 6, 1915 November 16, 1973) was a Britishborn American philosopher, writer, speaker, and counterculture hero, best known as an interpreter of Asian philosophies for a Western audience. He wrote more than 25 books and numerous articles applying the teachings of Eastern and Western religion and philosophy to our everyday lives. Excerpted from the book The Two Hands of God. Copyright © 2020 by Joan Watts and Anne Watts, © 1963 by Alan Watts. First New World Library printing September 2020 www.newworldlibrary.com

Universe Within Gwen Randall-Young

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PSYCHOLOGY

Parenting the inner child

he concept of the “inner child” can be very useful in understanding our feelings and behaviors Essentially, the concept refers to that aspect of our personality that still operates from the perspective of the child we once were. There are many other aspects of our personalities, such as the inner critic, judge, competitor, nurturer, controller, fixer and so on. Different aspects come out at different times and in different situations. The inner child can be problematic when we do not recognize his or her presence in our feelings or behaviors. Young children are egocentric, seeing the events in their lives only from their own perspective. If they don’t get what they want, for example, they may conclude that we do not love them or that we are being unfair. They are unable to see much beyond their own needs. The same thing happens for us when something triggers our inner child. The adult part of us may understand that our partner cannot spend time with us because something came up at work, but the inner child only sees that work was put ahead of him or her. The reaction may be one of anger or withdrawal, and attempts to make the partner feel guilty.

The inner child can be problematic when we do not recognize his or her presence in our feelings or behaviors. The adult part of us may understand that someone else received the promotion due to superior skills or experience, but the inner child feels that the boss likes the other person more, and feels personally rejected. If we can think through these situations and realize that the inner child is operating, we can often put things back into perspective. However, sometimes the inner child has remained such an integral part of our personality that we do not see how it is operating and creating difficulty in our relationships. If you felt constantly criticized as a child, you may interpret any suggestions or feedback as criticism, and instantly become angry. If you felt rejected or abandoned as a child, you may become intensely anxious if a partner goes out for a while to cool off during an argument. If you felt a lot of rivalry with a sibling, you may find yourself feeling competitive with friends or neighbors. If we are coming from the perspective of our inner child, it is difficult to solve problems because upset children rarely hear what adults are trying to say. If two people are dealing with an issue and both of their inner children are activated, things become heated and irrational very quickly. If we can recognize the voice of our inner child, we can take the time to calm that one down, and try to reconnect with our mature, adult self. Trying to solve a problem from the perspective of the inner child generally creates more problems than it solves.j Gwen Randall-Young is an author and psychotherapist in private practice. To read more articles, or to order books, “Deep Powerful Change” Hypnosis MP3s, or MP3s for Creating Effective Relationships, visit www.gwen.ca or check out her Facebook inspirational page.

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n the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad it is the Lord himself who becomes male and female, but in the West this ultimate identity of the many with the one is concealed. Duality and multiplicity pertain to the creature, never to the Creator, which is only to say that the Western situation is more “far out,” more adventurous, a more extreme dismemberment of the original unity, culminating as we have seen in the shrieking madness of everlasting damnation. In the Western mythologies man is more lost, more out on his own, and thus unaware of his fundamental identity with the eternal and indestructible Self of all selves. And for this very reason the culture of the West is more frantic, more exciting, and more active than any other culture in the world, whether Oriental or “primitive.” Nevertheless, “the desire and pursuit of the whole” remains and is, as a matter of fact, all the stronger in mythological traditions which veil the ultimate identity of the many and the One. Almost invariably, our mythologies preserve the hint of a way back to the lost unity, though the price that has to be paid for it is a form of death. It may be death in its most literal sense, as in the orthodox Christian belief that the Beatific Vision is available in its fullness only to those who have died. But in other traditions this death is metaphorical: it is a denial or simply an abandonment of oneself, a refusal to believe in anxiety, a disenchantment with the will-tolive as a compulsion. For if I feel that I must go on living at all costs, survival becomes then and there an insupportable drudgery. Death – the treatment of oneself as already dead – makes all time borrowed time, makes life unnecessary and purely gratuitous. Such are the only terms upon which life is worth living at all. And that is the state of “paradise regained.” For life is problematic and “fallen” so long as it seems that there is a real choice between the opposites. True integrity is therefore the recognition that it is simply impossible to take sides, except in play or illusion. To take the side of one’s own advantage in the struggle to survive is not so much a wickedness as an impossibility, for no being lives (i.e., survives) except in relation to the

whole community of being. Human history seems to be showing that a chronic anxiety to survive is a major threat to survival, for the individual whom it afflicts is tormented inwardly and provokes aggression outwardly. The practical politics of survival amounts all too often to the solution of today’s problem at the cost of seven new problems to be solved tomorrow.

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Think, while it’s still legal

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he Edd Uluschack cartoon featured in our PSA this issue expresses the uneasiness felt by those who have taken the time and effort to look beyond the mainstream narrative about Covid-19. As Covid-19 became the biggest story of 2020, and as the whole world was suddenly gripped by fear of this virus, most people were naturally willing to listen to and obey everything our leaders and especially our public health officers told us. The world’s people watched images that went viral ... bodies in the streets of Wuhan, China and the huge number of deaths in Italy. It was frightening, and information was

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changing daily. But, after months of doing our own research, my husband and I wrote to our (one) local paper to question the official narrative they were advancing. Mere mention of the word “vaccine” had us labelled “antivaxxers” by the Editor, who ignored everything else we wrote. The newspaper dutifully reported every word from Dr. Bonnie Henry . The key to the whole false narrative was revealed in an August 29 article in the New York Times, entitled, “Your Coronavirus Test is Positive. Maybe it shouldn’t be”. The article explained that the PCR test cannot distinguish live virus from dead nucleic acid, and was never designed to do so. There-

fore, to tell us that each positive PCR test equals an infectious person, is wrong. Furthermore, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, if someone tests positive for Covid-19 at death, Covid-19 is reported as the cause of death regardless of whether the person would have died from their previous medical issues. Statistics Canada reports that in the first wave, about one-third of all Covid deaths involved pneumonia, and one-third dementia/alzheimers. Another concerned Gabriolan asked the Editor if he would publish a letter with a different viewpoint to the One Single Voice we had been inundated with daily. That became a group letter published on October 21 in the Gabriola Sounder, signed by 11 Gabriolans, that began with: “We are a group of concerned Gabriolans who, over the past months, are experiencing a growing discomfort with what we are hearing from mainstream media, and our leaders, regarding Covid-19. Since March we have gone from “flattening the curve” to fearing each “case” with no context for how many of those people are actually sick; the vast majority are mild or asymptomatic. Now, eight months into the pandemic, the public seems more frightened than ever, with no end in sight.” The letter referred to the Great Barrington Declaration, written by three renowned epidemiologists, who asserted that the current widespread lockdown measures were causing more societal harm than any direct impact of the virus itself. Our letter ended with: “We believe Focused Protection is more humane and scientific than Canada’s current case-driven lockdown approach, and it is an important step toward a response that considers the broader impacts on us all”. In the next Letters to the Editor, we were answered with long, heartfelt opinions telling us how mistaken we were. My husband corrected apparent misconceptions with official government statistics – only to be accused of spreading disinformation. That is when my husband decided to put up a website, gabriolagbd.ca , using our group’s many months of research into suppressed issues related to Covid. Our website reports on: doctors and scientists who knew that the PCR test should never be used for diagnosis,

by Tsiporah Grignon that “cases” is a fraudulent designation being used to promote fear; that lockdowns, based on a misused test, are a social experiment resulting in irreparable psychological and economic harm, and are an abuse of our constitutional rights; that the rushed synthetic-biology vaccine is the very first of its kind; that it is medical tyranny to mandate a vaccine on the whole population; that long-proven, inexpensive dietary supplements are never recommended by our public health officers. Headlines are updated daily, with editorial comment. Live interactive graphs are provided by Our World in Data. Links are provided to medical and scientific references that don’t fit the one note narrative that only a vaccine will rescue us.

ɶɶ Lockdowns, based on a misused test, are a social experiment resulting in irreparable psychological and economic harm. One important piece of suppressed information is that Covid-19 victims are observed through blood tests to be seriously deficient in both Vitamin D and zinc, inexpensive immune-boosting supplements that could be made available to everyone in the world for free. One of our group asked his doctor about Vitamin D and was told that the doctor “didn’t believe in it”. When asked how much training in nutrition the doctor had received the answer was “none”. This website is divided into 3 parts, Facts, Opinions, and Investigations. Empower yourself to make your own informed decisions. It’s your body. j Tsiporah Grignon is an   independent researcher  and published writer on the politics of the global food supply. As a vocal advocate of socially and environmentally healthy small-scale agriculture, Tsiporah focusses on nutritional diet, as organic and local as possible, as the top priority for maintaining a positive state of health. tsiporah.ca


Iatrogarchy: the rule of medicine i·at·ro: [adjective] a combining form meaning healer, medicine, healing. arch-y: [noun] a combining form meaning rule, government. i·at·ro·garchy: [noun] rule by medicine or by medical means.

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miracles ready to swoop in and return our lives to normal. It’s time once again to listen to the Iatrogarchs who tell us not to be “vaccine hesitant” (a vile and dehumanizing expression), and to get out there and get the shot. Vaccines, saviours…We hope. As I write, there two shots have recently been approved. One by Pfizer-BioNTech, and one by Moderna. The first out of the gate, the Pfizer vaccine, is said to be “95 percent effectiveness” – a number as dangerously misleading as it could possibly be. Many people will say: Why wouldn’t you get the vaccine? Ninety five people out of 100 benefit? That’s awesome. Then you’d be misled. Here’s what 95 percent means in real terms: In a trial of about 40,000 people, the two-month study reported that there were 92 people per 10,000 who developed Covid-19 symptoms. For every 10,000 people vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, four people developed mild Covid-19 symptoms. For every 10,000 given a placebo shot, 88 developed mild Covid-19 symptoms. Get it? Since 88 is “95 percent less than” 92, the vaccine is then said to be “95 percent effective”. So, to put those numbers in perspective, the Covid19 vaccine reduced 84 cases of mild Covid-19 per 10,000 vaccinated, or about eight per thousand. But what it also means is that most people – in this case, 9,916 vaccinated people (out of 10,000) – saw no benefit. Will they be harmed? We don’t know. Here’s what else we don’t know about the vaccine: • We don’t know if it’s safe beyond the 2 months it has been tested. • We don’t know if it can be used in children, teens or pregnant or breastfeeding women because it wasn’t studied in these populations. • We don’t know how long the protection might last. There is no data on how long the immunity extends. • We don’t know if the virus will mutate, thus rendering all the vaccines in development worthless. • We don’t know how it works for people from the vulnerable groups we really want to protect, ie: the aged, those with asthma, emphysema-COPD, diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, etc. • We don’t know if the vaccine prevents people from getting very sick, dying, or being hospitalized from Covid-19. In other words, we can’t yet say if the vaccine is “lifesaving”. In other words, we are hanging the future of our society on whether the vaccine works or not. We all hope so, and certainly the Iatrogarchs will tell us it’s the only way out. But no one is seriously challenging this. And maybe we should. If the vaccines they develop don’t work out, then what is Plan B? Is there even a Plan B? Stay tuned. j

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aybe we should ask the Iatrogarchs for our lives back. Nearly 50 years ago, Ivan Illich, author of the Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health wrote these words: “The most profound iatrogenic effects of the medical technostructure result from its non-technical social functions. The sickening technical and nontechnical consequences of the institutionalization of medicine coalesce to generate a new kind of suffering – anaesthetized and solitary survival in a world-wide hospital ward.” Illich was writing about how the biggest threat to human health was the system we set up to provide medical care. That seemed both preposterous and unlikely, but the closer you get to knowing the inside of medicine, the tenuousness upon which many medical therapies – such as prescription drugs – rest, and the frequent guesswork that constitutes medical care, the more you realize that Illich was onto something. No doubt in the search for health, the process can be dehumanizing. Our lives have been expropriated and the normal means that humans have relied on to face

sickness, aging and ultimately death since the dawn of humanity have been slowly stripped from us. Our care is handed off the “experts” who are there to do what they assure is in our best interest – as if they knew what that was. The problem is that the medical experts formerly delegated to look after human healthcare have now been, de facto, given the reins of government. A Pandemic? Indeed, say the people we actually elected to run our societies – as they hand the keys to government over to the medical experts because they are so much more knowledgeable than anyone else. The daily bombardment of scary statistics is so daunting we willingly surrender our freedoms. All for a better cause, of course. And so, scared by all the apparent death, we all jump into it to do our part. We follow the orders, even the irrational ones, because hey, better safe than sorry, right? We chomp down and consume public health pronouncements as if they were words straight from God himself, asking us to obey his commandments. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic with the Iatrogarchs running the show, we should not be surprised that if feels like we are living in the ultimate medicalized world, where the most dominant modality is the singular avoidance of a virus. Cut off from our family and friends and the normal swirl of face-to-face human social contact that makes life worth living, no one seems to be seriously challenging the Iatrogarchs to ask: Is it really worth it? Yet we are being assured hundreds of times a day, isolate ourselves, keep our distance, wash our hands, and dutifully wear our masks so we don’t get infected or spread infection. Soon, added to the list of demands will be demands for everyone to get the vaccine because, we’re told, that’s the only route back to normality. It’s what we need to do to protect humanity. But what is dominating the news these days is nothing but the saviour, the new vaccines, dressed up as

by Basil Smallwood

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Gallery

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“If each person attains inner peace through meditation and develops love for all, it will not be long before peace prevails on our planet. We will live in unity and harmony with each other. In this way, our personal attainment of peace and happiness will contribute to a golden age of peace and happiness on earth.” -Sant Rajinder Singh

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We need more than understanding and forgiveness to find peace. True Peace is imparted into us through Our Connection with the Spirit of Life which give life. God hath put himself in His Saints and Gurus. – Kabir, Tales of the Mystic East Sitting with a Saint even for a moment is better than praying sincerely for a hundred years. – Maulana Rumi, Tales of the Mystic East That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I (the Christ) said unto thee, “Ye must be born again.” – Bible, John 3:6,7 When we experience ourselves as souls, we see that all other beings are also souls. We see that the Light that is within us is within everyone else. – Sant Rajinder Singh, Inner and Outer Peace through Meditation


Science Matters David Suzuki

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ENVIRONMENT

Rediscovering the fundamentals of life

hroughout Canada and around the world, the second wave of COVID-19 is hitting hard. Over the next few months, governments will remain focused on addressing the largest public health emergency in recent memory. But to avoid past mistakes and seize this unique opportunity to build a more resilient, sustainable world, it’s also time to lay the groundwork for a green and just postpandemic recovery. I’m almost 85 years old. I co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation 30 years ago after a CBC Radio series I hosted, It’s a Matter of Survival, generated 17,000 letters – in pre-email times! The letters were from people concerned about the state of the planet and the future their children would inherit. Decades later, as we grapple with many of the same environmental crises – the climate emergency, mass species extinction and an economic model that fuels it all, and now a global pandemic – we have many reasons to despair. But after spending most of lockdown with three of my grandkids and seeing the world through their curious, caring eyes, I’m reinvigorated and newly committed to doing all I can to help humankind find a better path. I spent the first seven months of lockdown at a family cabin in B.C. There I rediscovered some fundamental truths. Without the basic elements – fire, air, water and earth – there is no life. We also need to renew our understanding of the interconnections between all life and existence, something I refer to as “spirit.” When our relationship with these elements is out of whack, and when we

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lose our “spiritual” connection, we risk our very being. The privilege of spending lockdown safe and healthy with family wasn’t lost on me. I wanted to make the most of the time. One way I did this was by producing my first podcast. I reached out to old friends like Jane Fonda and Neil Young. I got to speak with celebrated thinkers like Kwame McKenzie and Jennifer Keesmaat, Indigenous leaders like Winona LaDuke and Jeannette Armstrong, youth activists and more. We recorded five episodes that explore how the pandemic can help us refocus on what’s most important, and how a green and just recovery from COVID-19 could look.

This next decade will be critical if we’re to rediscover balance with the natural world, our home. It will be a challenge. The fossil fuel industry is working harder than ever to convince people to let it continue its destructive ways. Important climate lawsuits are getting thrown out of court. More than a million species worldwide are at risk of extinction. The list goes on. But I believe the reasons to be hopeful are many. Recently, the federal government revealed details of a climate accountability plan to help us achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It’s a real strategy, with real legislative power. For an environmentalist of nearly 40 years, this is good news.

On November 30, government also gave its first full economic statement since the pandemic hit. It was an opportunity to take stock of the massive, necessary recent public spending to address the pandemic. Perhaps more importantly, it was also an opportunity to begin charting our path to recovery, including commitment to a “green recovery.” It all needs to be paired with a strong climate plan and accountability law, but overall, it’s good news. This next decade will be critical if we are to rediscover balance with the natural world, our home. By 2030, we’ll have a good sense of whether we’re on track. In my podcast, I ask if this really is the transformation decade as we emerge from COVID-19, how will it look? We’re already seeing unprecedented public spending to re-energize economies and rebuild communities. We must make sure these efforts aren’t designed to take us back to “normal,” because that wasn’t working. From nature-based climate solutions like tree planting and wetland restoration to more localized and resilient city design to community-led renewable energy generation, we can resolve our problems. All that’s needed is the political will. For the courageous young people whose Friday strikes have brought unparalleled attention to the climate crisis, for the Indigenous leaders who generously share wisdom on how to live in harmony with Earth, for nature, upon which so many of us have relied to get through lockdown, let’s shift gears and change direction. Let’s rediscover our place on this beautiful living planet. j To hear how, visit DavidSuzuki.org/Podcast.

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Canadian corruption by exemptive relief by Larry Elford

December 2 0 2 0 / January 2 0 21

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hat if those we most trust were doing the most harm? I worked inside the financial industry for two decades and found that investment firms worked at a special “altitude”– one that police and prosecutors were not allowed to enter. Financial firms operated above ordinary laws that involved police cars, lights and sirens, but I didn’t know why until long after I left the industry. It made sense when I learned that trusted financial firms paid hundreds of millions of dollars to regulators, and that because they funded and chose those hired to “police” them, they could obtain permission to violate rules or laws, without telling the public. “Decisions for Exemptive Relief” is the label for the permissions used by thirteen securities commissions in Canada. Today it is involved in using “public-entrusted power for private gain”…and public harm. For example, if a bank needed to unload a pig, (a bad-selling new share offering), what faster way than dump it into the bank’s own mutual funds. This removes the junk from being a problem for the bank, by putting it into bank clients’ mutual fund holdings. Who will ever know? Simply apply for “Exemptive Relief” from rules intended to protect the public from exactly this kind of self-dealing, and what was a multi-million dollar problem for the bank, is quietly shifted inside the investment funds owned by bank clients. No public notice, no public hearing and not a word of warning to thousands of customers. Repeat as often as you need – just pay a few thousands of dollars to the regulators each time. Or consider the example of the 2008-era collapse of Mortgage Backed Commercial paper, when Wall Street got bailed out while homeowners were getting kicked out. Some Canadian financial firms found they needed to “get rid of” billions worth of non-rated (junk) mortgage backed securities. All the industry needed to do was apply for a back-door regulatory exemption, and the illegality of selling un-rated products to the public becomes “exempt” from the law. Thousands of people, including the pension plan for Canadian Judges and the RCMP (PPSP) lost money. One woman took her own life, and countless other lives were put into distress, some destroyed. Thirty two billion dollars was the financial damage for one inexpensive regulator exemption, and although some of that money was recovered due to public outcry, what about the other several hundred exemptions done that

year? How would other victims even know that their investments were “exempted” from laws? Compared to “street crime”, $32 billion is roughly equivalent to six million “average”, “street” or “property” crimes. It is a secret process, where our most trusted financial firms have private access to a side-door into our

ɶɶ It is a secret process, where our most trusted financial firms have private access to a side-door into our trusted government regulators trusted government regulators, and purchase something 100 times more effective than a deferred prosecution agreement “in advance” of the violation they wish to commit. Paying a few thousands of dollars to regulators saves the all the trouble of breaking the law, getting caught, hiring lawyers to negotiate deferred prosecution agreements, lobbying the Prime Minister, and maybe

appearing on the news. Simply get an exemption in advance and there is no crime, right? Wrong. It is two crimes on both society and our economy. The financial crime on society gets hidden beneath a well-hidden social crime of corruption, the use of public-entrusted power for private gain. But no police or prosecutors are allowed to enter the picture, because the financial industry has their “own” police, right? Yes, that part is right. Exempting laws is done hundreds of times each year, and ignoring laws is done as well. Cheating tens of billions of dollars from society then becomes as easy as taking candy from children. Pain trickles down. Over the years I have testified in four legislative financial inquiries, and each time I witnessed a “pantomime” of government activity – a stage performance. After my fourth experience I cried when I suddenly realized how well that performance of deception was being played upon the public. Financial crimes – which are not measured, reported, or prosecuted – dwarf the cost of all measured crimes in the land combined. Example number three is an exemption to the law issued to Kinder Morgan (Trans Mountain pipeline), in the year prior to it being sold to Canadian taxpayers for billions of dollars. The March 20, 2018, “decision” by Provincial Securities Commissions said that this company was Exempt from requirements to disclose financial and related information. Later in 2018, the Trans Mountain pipeline was sold to the federal government for $4.5 billion, when it was presumably sold based on concealment of crucial information. Or, to be clearer yet: an exemption from requirements to include documents in any prospectus. In broker-lingo “We’re dressing this pig for market, and we need some lipstick.” Further to Trans Mountain Pipeline, The Kinder Morgan Canada Limited Exemption decision NI 51 102 NI 44 101 AB decision PDF can be found online at www.osc.gov.on.ca/en/SecuritiesLaw_ ord_20180329_215_kinder.htm Western Investor Feb, 2020, about Trans Mountain cost increases: “Twinning the Trans Mountain pipeline, which Canadians now own, will cost $5 billion more than the last capital cost estimate, Trans Mountain president Ian Anderson confirmed Friday February 7.” (https://bit.ly/38iFVhv)


The number of decisions to grant “exemptive relief” to financial industry players varies between 300 to 500 each year – give or take – without any public notice. Most exemptions contain the same boilerplate statement which in the past has looked like this: “Each of the Decision Makers is satisfied that the decision meets the test set out in the Legislation for the Decision Maker to make the decision”. This allows private parties to pilfer tens or hundreds of billions from investors, in endless examples of the corporate farming of humans.

ɶ The deceptions deceive millions of Canadians, leading them into a trust relationship with persons who hold neither the job requirements, nor the license/registration for the level of trust promised or implied.

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ly/3awuR35). Beyond the story of gaining quiet exemption from laws in Canada, industry-paid regulators also routinely ignore laws set into place to protect the public. A recent investigation by CBC news found that over 95 percent of investmentproduct sales agents are allowed by regulators to misrepresent their titles, their job roles and their registration and/or license categories, to mislead the public of their true role, registration and license. The deceptions deceive millions of Canadians, leading them into a trust relationship with persons who hold neither the job requirements, nor the license/ registration for the level of trust promised or implied. A fiduciary duty to protect investors, and a professional Adviser registration is implied, but a 90-day licenserequirement salesperson is then delivered to most investors in what appears to be a classic “bait and switch”. A copy of the CBC news story into this failure to protect the public, is found in a three minute video found here: https://bit.ly/3avzwSS My most recent search at the Alberta Provincial Commission website showed just over 5000 exemptions. Oh Canada…finance affects everyone.j Larry Elford, former CFP, CIM, FCSI, Associate Portfolio Manager, retired after two decades inside Canada’s financial industry, and has spent many more years to understand how its hidden workings truly impact society. His second book released in 2020, is Farming Humans, Easy Money in paperback and Kindle version at https://amzn.to/3nAyFE1. Contact the author if you wish to be part of investor protection solutions at visualinvestigations@shaw.ca.

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Last but not least: When VRX (formerly Valeant Pharmaceutical, now called Bausch Health) was growing exponentially, who knew it was benefiting from Government exemption from financial disclosure to the public (hiding key financials)? The company at one time was worth more money on markets than the Royal Bank of Canada, and the loss in market capitalization when this company collapsed was about $90 Billion. One executive was charged by US authorities, but nowhere were regulators held to account for aiding the company’s financial deceptions on investors. Imagine being able to do as much financial harm as all other crimes in the land, in one single trick, and never once fear a visit from police or prosecutors? These examples and thousands more, form part of an invisible financial pandemic in our society. I believe the investing public deserves to be made aware of this. Stan Buell, founder of the Small

Investor Protection Association of Canada said this about Securities exemptions: It is like letting some people secretly buy exemptions to traffic laws, so that they can drive at 100 miles per hour. All other traffic is at risk, and no one is warned about those with special permission to exceed speed limits. A few headlines and sources regarding the Valeant story are below: May 28, 2018: Valeant, Distancing Itself From Its Past, Will Change Its Name to Bausch Health (https://nyti. ms/37yOCVI) Jul 23, 2015: Valeant passes RBC as Canada’s largest company by market value (https://tgam.ca/2Kd8zJb). March, 2016: A surefire made-in-Canada way to lose $650 billion (https://bit.

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Turning back your biological clock 2. Get moderate daily exercise such as meeting a friend for a walk through the park instead of sitting at a doughnut shop. 3. Limit stress and sleep well. 4. Eat a mainly or entirely plant-based diet. For the study, angiograms were done at the beginning and end of a year, and the lifestyle changes showed powerful effects. In the control group that followed standard advice, arteries became more clogged. In the experimental group, coronary arteries that had been blocked opened up within a year. I had the privilege of being a staff dietitian in some of Ornish’s retreats with patients who were regaining their health in Berkeley, California. More recently, Ornish has used these same healing lifestyle interventions for men with mild to moderate prostate cancer and found that, in addition to cardiovascular improvements, their telemeres lengthened. Telemeres are the ends of the chromosomes that control cellular aging and keep our DNA from unravelling. They have been likened to the protective plastic ends of shoelaces that prevent frayng.

As our telemeres shorten, our lives tend to get shorter, and the incidence of chronic diseases increases. The more that people adopt these four lifestyle changes, the more their telemeres lengthen. This helps reverse aging at a cellular level. These potent lifestyle interventions for reducing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, various types of cancer, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease have attracted the interest of researchers worldwide. Various types of fasting are another effective way to maintain and regain health – and a time honoured tradtion. j Vesanto Melina is a Vancouver Registered Dietitian, and coauthor of award-winning books that are classics on plantbased nutrition. She is an internationally known speaker, and a personal and government consultant. nutrispeak.com becomingvegan.ca kickdiabetescookbook.com

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anadians are now living longer. In recent years, the average life expectancy of women has reached 84 years while that of men now averages 80. Yet our last decade or two of old age can be spent suffering from serious illness, mobility issues, and be limited by dependence on pills and feeding tubes. On the other hand, we may feel productive, experience vibrant health, and enjoy the company of children, grandchildren and friends. We have the power to choose. In the 1990’s, Dr. Dean Ornish spearheaded groundbreaking research that showed how comprehensive lifestyle changes can reverse chronic illnesses without drugs or surgery. The research involved 48 patients with moderate to severe cardiovascular disease who were randomized into two groups. The control group was given standard medical advice such as cutting back on fat, bacon and eggs. The experimental group made four lifestyle changes: 1. Don’t smoke. (pretty obvious now).

17


Ancient forest

by Bobby Arbess

blockade

December 2 0 2 0 / January 2 0 21

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oshua Wright is a seventeen year old film-maker from Olympia, Washington, with an irrepressible passion for protecting the last remaining old-growth temperate rainforests. He has access to a state-of-the-art digital mapping program that allows him to track and monitor industrial logging activities in near-real time. In early August this year, he gave a heads up to Vancouver island grassroots forest activists regarding a road-building crew subcontracted to Teal Jones, a Surrey-based tenure-holder of TFL 46. The road crew was cresting a ridge into the old-growth Yellow Cedar headwaters of the Ada’itsx/ Fairy Creek watershed, the last unlogged tributary of the San Juan River system, unceded Pacheedaht territory, near Port Renfrew, Vancouver island. Forest firefighter Will O’Connell surveyed the roadbuilding operation with spell-binding drone footage. It captured earth-moving machinery operating on dangerously steep terrain. The road was pushing into a watershed never before logged and with no current cutblocks approved. Nonetheless there was the risk of logging plan approvals once the road infrastructure had been put in place. This bold exposé of a logging road incursion into one of the last roadless places on southern Vancouver Island rapidly spread on social media – in the midst of a pandemic – and galvanized forest defenders into non-violent direct action. On Sunday, August 9, twenty ancient forest activists from all over the island, including the nearby communities of Port Renfrew and Cowichan Valley, gathered at Lizard Lake and decided to set up a road blockade above the clouds 3000 feet up a treacherous logging road. They were on a steep ridge overlooking the Gordon River valley, on the western flank of Fairy Creek, where roadbuilding into the Fairy was slated for the next day. Tents were set up under the giant bucket of a gargantuan excavator, and a 10-foot diameter cedar log round from an ancient tree felled in the Klanawa Valley. It was propped vertically on a plywood frame and installed as a barricade centrepiece across the road. When the Stone Pacific road crew arrived in darkness at 5 am the next morning, they were politely confronted by a dozen people putting on the morning coffee around a small fire at the road end – and intent on protecting Fairy Creek from road incursion. Two weeks later, another blockade was set up to protect the watershed on its eastern flank and to stop clearcut logging in an area of contiguous ancient forest that is part of the 5100 acre Fairy Creek rainforest. Much of the area is already under Old-Growth Management and Wildlife Habitat designation that still allow clearcuts and roads. Pop-up and satellite blockades, carried out by small groups of people to meet the Covid-19 health and safety guidelines, have shut down other road-building operations into nearby ancient forests, including a 2.5 kilometre road into an Old-Growth Management area containing massive old western Red and Yellow Cedars in the very the last tract of ancient forest in the Bugaboo

Creek watershed. Machines have been pulled off the mountainside, and efforts to move them elsewhere to access the forest via an adjacent watershed at Camper Creek have been successully blockaded. Further disruption of the movement of log trucks transporting ancient trees along the Trans-Canada Highway from south island clearcut and road-building operations to ports shipping raw logs overseas have reinforced a message to government and industry: namely, that in a down-spiralling climate and biodiversity crisis, an escalation of spontaneous acts of resistance against destruction of this endangered ecosystem is to be expected. They will continue until government takes decisive action to


protect what is left of these globally significant and irreplaceable forests. The purpose of all blockade actions is to protect the last few percantages of lowelevation old-growth rainforests left standing on Vancouver Island. The Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek ancient forest blockades are now entering their fifth month with no injunctions or arrests. The main base of operations, River camp, has been in lockdown, with no visitors. This blockade, now the longest land-based direct action campaign on Vancouver Island in over two decades, has evolved quickly into a decentralized grassroots direct action movement, aimed to stem the tide of colossal destruction, the shocking equivalent of 32 soccer fields of old-growth forests per day on the island alone. Winterized infrastructure has been built at the main Fairy Creek base camp, seven kilometres off Pacific Marine Road. This includes wood-heated tents, a bear-proof kitchen arbour, a tool shed, a hot water shower, and a change room. Dozens of volunteers communicating via several online platforms have provided coordination and mobilized material support to the frontlines which have been steadily maintained by a gritty, dedicated crew of core forest defenders and visitors from across the province. They provide daily logistical coordination, elder care, leadership, hosting and reconnaissance on the ground.

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This settler-Indigenous blockade has been blessed with the support and wise leadership of Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones, who has asked that the entire valley – part of his childhood stomping ground – be dedicated as an Indigenous Protected Area in honour of the victims of the smallpox epidemic. The Pacheedaht Chief and Council have not responded for or against the blockade. The area is in the electoral riding of Premier John Horgan who has yet to respond to the demands of the blockade to protect Fairy Creek rainforest and all remaining old-growth temperate rainforests on the island. On September 29, the blockade received a strong statement of support from the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) who issued a breakthrough resolution calling on the Province to implement all 14 recommendations of their Old-Growth Strategy Review report and for the immediate protection of key old-growth forest hotspots including Fairy Creek, Walbran Valley and Edinburgh mountain (see https:// bit.ly/38dS9b6). Most significantly, their announcement called for government to help First Nations once and for all break free from economic dependency on destruction of old-growth forest on their land base. This would be a major step in the transition away from the destructive legacy of old-growth logging. j

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Profile for Common Ground Magazine Canada

Common Ground December 2020 - January 2021  

Myth and culture, Think, The rule of medicine, Vaccine concerns, Canadian corruption, forest blockade, Rediscovering the fundamentals, biolo...

Common Ground December 2020 - January 2021  

Myth and culture, Think, The rule of medicine, Vaccine concerns, Canadian corruption, forest blockade, Rediscovering the fundamentals, biolo...

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