Land ownership, homelessness, and tarsand

A homeless man sleeping on a Canadian street.

Who owns the land? Government? Who is government? People? OK, then what if one of the “people” wants to go and take a piece of land, to build a house for himself on it. Is that possible? No its not. He can’t do that because its illegal. He will have to buy this land from the government. And if he can’t buy the land to build a house for himself on it, then it is absolutely fine with the government if he will be homeless, sleep on the side walk, and beg for money to survive. The most important thing is that this piece of abandoned land, on which this human being would’ve lived and owned a farm to feed himself, stays as it is, unused, or “safe”.

In the meanwhile, the government is never hesitant to give even the most precious pieces of Canadian land to oil projects that will scar it with cancer causing tarsand leftovers, spills, and other environmental disasters that disrupt natural life for plants, animals, and humans. All of this is done by the name of profit.

Canada’s natural richness is being systematically transformed into a fictional value.

Tarsand is the worst legal environmental disaster in the history of this planet.

The argument against tarsand should not be economic. People should not be saying things like “It might cause an environmental disaster which in turn will render many fishermen jobless” for example. It is not a matter of economy here, nor is it about how we can accommodate the livelihood of few hundred fishermen, farmers or hunters. If any, a fund can be made afterwards to compensate those affected by the spill, similar to what happened in the US after British Petroleum (BP) made the biggest oil spill in human history in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil companies are not foriegn to this relatively new PR strategy. In fact, in many industries, settlement funds are becoming a usual expense that is calculated annually with all the other expenses.

From the point of view of a profit-driven corporation, it will still make sense to go through a deal where they know 100% there will be a spill if they know that the fines they will have to pay will be a portion of their profit. As long as the profit covers the settlement, then it still makes sense to go for it.

The argument against the tarsands and the Enbridge pipeline should be that the people of Canada, both natives and immigrants, who own this land and live on it, do not want oil corporations to sabotage it. Plain and simple.

If a land this precious, and this rich, and this rare is sabotaged for oil, then what on earth is left? If the people of the first world can’t stop something this monstrous then who in the world can stop what?

Furthermore, if people own the land, then they should be allowed to pass a law that allows people who do not have home to take a preset amount of land, in preset locations, to build homes for themselves, and have a farm from which they can feed themselves and make a minimum living with dignity.

It doesn’t make sense for government to deny humans the right to live on this earth the way they can live, if it can’t provide for them the way it imposes. If government, and the whole financial system is not good enough to accommodate everyone’s absolute basic needs, then there should be a way for people who are not willing to live by this system to live without it in dignity. If the government can’t help everyone find a job and make a living, then it shouldn’t stand in their ways if they want to find a way to live without money and outside this whole system.

It doesn’t make sense to have a government that denies people the right to home, or the right to work, or the right for home grown organic food, while not being able to provide these things for them. It doesn’t make sense to deny people the ability to help themselves if the government can’t help them. All of this while arguing that extending a pipeline through the most fertile and fragile land on earth is good because “it creates jobs”!

Canada is the second biggest country in the world, with one of the most fertile lands on the planet.

It doesn’t make sense for government to deny people the ability to sustain themselves, and feed, and shelter themselves, and argue that the only alternative to homelessness is welfare – a money that is paid by the rest of working people.

It doesn’t make sense to say “this is the only way” if this only way is not good enough for everyone.

Either money should be fairly distributed so that everyone can live with dignity, or people should be allowed to live with dignity without money.

If this idea sounds like a one that could easily be abused, then the same law can forbids selling off this land and force the owner to return the land to the government when he is done with it, or when he is rich enough to buy his own house in the city.

This is one way we can begin to solve the problems of homelessness, joblessness, and genetically modified food, with all of its economic and health costs.

If the government is serious about creating jobs, confronting homelessness, creating affordable housing, investing in sustainable and environmentally friendly projects, as well as supporting migration to rural areas, and reducing pressure on big cities, then it should be open for a dialogue that will allow us to reconsider the way we think about land.

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