Tango Charlie

(an account of non violent direct action as seen from an old peaceful warriors eyes)

 An outline of the defense to start with will serve as this short stories set up.

        As a grandfather, and having grown up in intimate relationship with the land, water and the First Nations people, I feel a profound responsibility to my grandchildren and all living things. My heart breaks when I see the changes that have come about, not only by human destruction of habitat in my lifetime (of which I am a part), but by human caused global warming in just the last two decades. It’s frightening!

     This TMX pipeline expansion, firstly, increases the risk to marine and coastal ecosystems (including an already compromised salmon run) due to the demonstrated probability of diluted bitumen spillage from tankers and pipeline ruptures. And, secondly, it’s been well established that, over and above the damage from spillage, the increased tanker traffic and noise this expansion entails is enough to deliver a fatal blow to an already at risk orca population, and possibly to other marine life of the Salish Sea. As to the risk to human life, Burnaby is ground zero. Ask any firefighter and they will tell you that fire loves to go uphill. I think most would agree that gravity will insist that all liquid goes downhill. The tank farm, a lot of which I know in some detail, sits approximately half way up Burnaby Mountain pretty much surrounded by Simon Fraser University and its village on top, protected wilderness on the sides, a school and a large residential community below, which back in the day when the first tanks were built was a few kilo meters away. Now it sits up close. Meters away. And apparently the government of the people, for the people wants to squeeze in twice as many tanks. Mayor Mike Hurley, ex firefighter and fire chief, is horrified and truly worried for his constituents.

    What honestly inspired these citizens actions is the simple fact that almost half the length of the expansion is on traditional territory without permission, arrogantly presuming rights of encroachment that have not be ceded by the First Nations, whose island and coastal territories THESE ARE BY TRADITION. Even the duty to consult has not been properly understood. And the process laid out by former Supreme Court judge Frank Iacobucci to ensure there is meaningful, “two way” dialogue between the Crown and affected Indigenous communities, has not been seriously implemented or concluded. Although I am a peaceful man, I must admit it stirs murder in my heart when I see these huge corporations, legal individuals with enough money to lobby our government and get their way, using violence against the land and water while some cowards in their man camps use violence against Indigenous women. Simple fact. Women, land and water, give life. Most of us forget the fact that for the most part Indigenous people saved a lot of our early ancestors from the harsh winters in the New World. This is how we repay them?

    GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS: The expansion of this pipeline CANNOT BE SEPARATED from the expansion of fossil carbon release on a global scale. For instance, I am working with the Georgian Bay Biosphere to restore the Walleye spawn from the damage to rapids on these small rivers by the logging industry years ago. They tell me that the science predicts a one degree celsius rise in water temperature per decade. I take this personal. When my 12 year old grandson is 42 this very unique and beautiful part of The Great Lakes will have 3 degrees warmer water. The fisheries and thus tourism, the cottage industry, will no doubt collapse. Algae blooms and species loss will be our future. This Non Violent Direct Action I continue to take will test the ‘necessity’ argument here by showing that a proper, and now necessary, understanding of Global Warming must acknowledge that every act, and certainly every “expansion”, of fossil carbon release into the atmosphere ANYWHERE has immediate implications EVERYWHERE. One can argue that this was never as seamlessly true of any threat in the past. Yes, the potential for frivolous interference would still be a counterargument, but legal qualification, or judge’s discretion, might be an acceptable solution in a “climate emergency”, where legal measures may all too soon become as Draconian as in any past war or Bubonic Plague.

    Currently - Amazon rainforest is burning
                - Iceland just lost it’s first glacier
                - Wildfires in the arctic circle
                - 12.5 billion tons of ice melted off the Greenland ice sheet
                - July this year was the hottest month on record
                - Canada is on track for 4-degree Celsius increase in temperature over preindustrial
Before I go any farther I would like to acknowledge my brother Ken Christenson (extremophilechoice.com) and thank him for many years of inspiring conversations as well as guiding me in writing this story.

      It’s now September 26th, 2019 and the Crown is asking that I spend 123 days in jail for four counts of criminal contempt (breaking the injunction three times plus one count of not paying the $2000 fine). As of now I have spent three nights in Deer Lake RCMP Detachment and twelve days in segregation at North Fraser Pretrial on a hunger strike. At time and a half this counts as 23 days. I owe 100 days.  The Crown also wants an immediate decision from Justice Affleck so I fully expect to walk out of court that day in handcuffs.

    Here’s the deal. On the evening of October 25th look for the next page of this story to appear on befreeyourself.com. Note: There is currently a play being written based entirely on the continuing transcripts of these trials. A friend of mine who is acting in this play (she also has spent 8 days in jail for breaking the injunction, let’s call her Em) planted the seed that my story might make a good two person play.  My character of course, thinking I was totally in control of my activist alter ego. Em is awesome and has apparently become labelled a ‘sinister senior’ for her work as an activist. Wow! Define sinister. Climate collapse????

    Look for new songs in the next few weeks from Chris Hess, Shawn Maguire and Rick Capreol, but for now I’m excited to introduce you to newest member, my old friend Charlie Hase. We hooked up in 1984 and toured together through my Juno nomination in 1987. Charlie plays slide on everything from dobro to petal steel. He writes songs like ‘Do To The Others’ featuring Ed Goodine on drums and percussion and Rocko Vaugeois on vocals. Also, again with Ed on drums and percussion, my first collaboration with Charlie entitled ‘Dark Calm’ which amounts to a plea to Justice Affleck to save his grandchildren.

    It’s one thing to be powerful person within an institution, it’s quite another to be a powerful person within a nation by acquitting us all and thereby setting an example of how a 21st century justice system could lead us into the future. ‘Dark Calm’ goes out to everyone who has done time in jail. To everyone who continues to go to jail in this peaceful war effort. I continue to urge you to support organizations like Stand. Earth, Greenpeace Canada and the Suzuki Foundation. These people are working hard for our grandchildren’s future.

      This story actually starts in March, 2018 when Tango at this point in time, hasn’t taken action since the Arctic 30 in August 2013. He’s now frustrated, and worse, he’s a bored asset. That day in late March he was bouldering at one of his favorite crags when the phone beeps. The question was simple. ‘Do you want to climb a tree?’ And, it was from one of his closest activist friends. The immediate answer was ‘Absolutely’.

     Because of security concerns some of the following names have been altered. A few days after that message there was a meeting in Toronto. Jrod (J), who asked the question, flew in from Vancouver and Vbomb (V), another close, in fact adopted daughter activist, flew in from the States. Over the past several years these three had engaged in several conversations about doing a citizens action without the red tape of most NGOs or the legal representation of their lawyers. The best defense is no defense. In other words, tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So here goes.

    Later that month V and I flew into Vancouver to meet up with J. The next day was the first time Tango saw the eagle tree at West Ridge Marine Terminal. Viewed from the walking path 90 feet to the east and possible 40 feet uphill, one couldn’t see the bottom 20 feet of the huge cottonwood which stood a short distance inside the security fence. It was a proud tree. That’s why eagles for years nested there, high above the rest of the forest. Despite the fact that Kinder Morgan (KM) had legally acquired a permit to tear down the nest and replace it with an elevated platform down on the harbour below, the bulbous eagle deterrent, tied and screwed into the nesting area, saddened our hearts. It also stirred the rainbow warrior spirit. It absolutely is spiritual. If you would consider that the eagle is the messenger to Coast Salish people, that the land the tree grows from has not been ceded, then you begin to understand why Tango, even though it was hard for him, mustered up all the arrogant white privilege he could, and as a Canadian senior citizen, attacked KM. The whole truth is that he made what we refer to in the R&D (research and development) business as a Victor Echo (variable error). As he tried to imagine the diameter of that tree trunk at the base, his intuition was screaming at him that the store bought rope lanyard that he had bought with the timberjack style spur climb gear, was way too soft to flip effectively on the eagle tree. So, the first attempt was made aid/modern gear style and resulted in a flat on my back in the mud 18 foot fall. The bark on that trunk was too thick and cottonwood is soft, wet wood. Oak and maple would have been solid. Live and learn. Tango owned it. That following week was a long one at the Patricia on W Hastings in a room where there was literally no room to do yoga, let alone hang out feeling  sore and miserable. I soon realized while walking several blocks passed homeless camps each morning for a decent coffee, to sort out my perspective. Times like these really test the size of a warriors heart.

    Later that week I saw the Watch House on Burnaby Mountain for the first time. There it was sitting pretty and proud right on top the KM pipeline, less than a 100 yards from the tank farm. The Indigenous people had started carving a totem pole. There was drumming and singing and everyone was warm and welcoming. That afternoon J and Tango got away for a walk and managed to find the one cottonwood that was smaller than the eagle tree, yet bigger than any tree at the north end of the tank farm. It stood in a creek bed right below the entrance to Simon Fraser University (SFU). Perfect.

    Exactly a week after the fall three citizens took action. V took care of the press release and communications. J drove the rented car and got out of Dodge after Tango disappeared that morning down the mountain into the darkness emerging as…..Protesting Grandpa??? Tango was offended. He had soloed 80 feet to the canopy, rigged an anchor, rapped down to the fifty foot level and performed a batman swing to a smaller tree to rig the hammock. All this in the dark. That’s all I get? He bit his tongue. When asked in an interview sometime later how I felt about that name I recall saying at least it was accurate. I’m protesting, and I’m a grandpa. After the swim action recently, apparently now I’m self proclaimed. Again Tango was furious. Man, you’ve got to have thick skin.

    Long story short the tank farm cottonwood climb was a successful citizens action. We were truly honoured to have people like Elizabeth May, Rex Weyler and David Suzuki join hundreds of us in this peaceful resistance against the TMX. It certainly reconnected me to Emergency Response Team members. I have past experience helping to train TRU (Tactics & Rescue Unit) officers in Ontario. I’m actually a rope designer/technical climber/rope access professional but don’t tell Tango. He’ll want a free rope.

     After all these years I continue to say, as someone who has experienced both sides of law enforcement, that per capita, there are better people in the special forces here in Canada than in the civilian population. Also, I think it would be safe to say that we all have a tendency to develop an ‘us against them’ attitude when it comes to authority. Most of these people truly want to serve and protect in what is not only a hard job, it’s a dangerous one.

    That Monday night of April 2018 in Deer Lake RCMP Detachment I drifted off to sounds of frustrated people not used to being in jail. Some were indigenous. Some were not. Some were university professors and students. Although Tango was sore and hungry, he managed to get some sleep and standing before Justice Affleck next morning he said ‘My Lord, I want you to know that it was hard for me, but I managed to summon up all the arrogant white privilege I could, and I broke your injunction in hopes we could acknowledge that this traditional land has not been ceded. We need to start sharing the wealth and the political power with First Nations.’ Then, to my horror, he lies about intending to pay a $2000 fine, fully intent on healing up, designing a new lanyard and trying the eagle tree again.

     The highlight that day was getting a hug from Cat, an indigenous woman facing multiple charges, and her introducing me to the healer, and Watch House elder Jim Leyden. Jim was also arrested earlier that spring. Born to Six Nations people in Ontario, he has lived in Coast Salish territory since he was a young man. Over the last year and a half he has taught me much about their culture and spirituality. Jim also does extensive surveillance on KMC in the Burnaby area and actually stayed in the Watch House all one year. Because the air moves through the board siding with no insulation, and the skylighted roof lets in the sun, winter is cold with humidity and summer is stifling. Eventually I would meet Jim’s elder, the Squamish chief Robert Nahini.

    That evening Tango and J celebrated but both agreed that it felt hollow without V, who had to fly back to the USA the night before for work that day. On the flight back to Toronto I remember feeling anxious. Never rest in the past. I then spent a few weeks training and I found an old 11mm high line rope that had stiffened up good as it had been left out in the weather for years. It became my lanyard and was really effective on the largest trees I could find.

    Then came the breaking news that we Canadians had bought the existing pipeline for 4.5 billion.  It was built in the fifties. This changed everything. Now we were no longer fighting a Texas oil company. We were fighting our own government.

    After a frustrating year of trying to be patient, two more trips west from Ontario all the while sleeping in my truck, J introduced me to a woman who, after reading her book, immediately became a new found hero of mine. We refer to her as M.

    April 15, 2019 was the deadline I had to pay the $2000 fine. Tango had hoped to take the eagle tree that day but because the Alberta election was on the 16th, the media was preoccupied. I’m better at ‘hurry up and wait’ than Tango is. He hates it. Eventually we made a deal to knuckle down and start the training cycle all over again. Here’s a plug. If you’re only in town for a few weeks, Sparticus Gym, located just off the Drive has an awesome yoga room. For $20 a week you can hang out there and get it done.

   During that timespan I had been invited to a pipe ceremony as well as a sweat lodge. There I  heard victims testify about the residential school system and how it had the ripple down effect of leading to generations of substance abuse. The Watch House itself was a place of healing. One morning Jim set up a breakfast meeting with Robert Nahini, who was ex military and in his retirement was touring the prison system working as a councilor/mentor to indigenous inmates. It didn’t take long for Robert to convinced me to make it a spiritual climb, which meant leaving a gift to the eagle of salmon, sage and tobacco. ‘Visualize the eagle as you climb.’ he told me. Eventually we got permission from Will George and the Tsleil-Waututh people and I remain eternally grateful.

    There wasn’t much sleep that night. Tango was itching to get at it and I quite frankly, was nervous. Had I trained hard enough? As always, I fast the day before an action so I don’t have to deal with a bowel movement while I work. It’s now 2:30 a.m. on the 28th of April, 2019.

The alarm’s set for 3:30 a.m. I’m laying in a motel room bed listening to my stomach growl, mixed in with the sound of a soft snoring old musician friend I had recently reunited with. Known as Purple Hase, he had offered to drive me to the scene of the crime. At 4 a.m. he wished me luck as I grabbed my 45 pound pack out of the trunk and disappear over the guard rails and down the mountainside toward the target.

    Once my eyes had adjusted to the darkness I turned on my headlamp. A dull red light does not reflect light, yet allows enough light to help you work your way out of the brambles with at least some grace. When I got to the walking trail I turned it off and carefully found my way downhill to the fence that I had climbed the year before. It was quiet on site as I cut my way through it and found myself standing, looking up once again in awe of this cottonwood. I opened my pack, placed the gift of salmon, sage and tobacco for the eagle, and using a wooden stick, I managed to lift the loop in my lanyard high enough to hook a small sucker limb on the west side so I could climb mostly hidden by the massive trunk.

     With enough water for a few days my pack now weighed 35 pounds and the first 30 feet of climbing that stump was brutal. Every time I rested and looked up, the canopy, almost a 100 feet away did not look any closer for at least an hour. M and her people launched the press release after I was out of reach of security and gave Purple the go ahead. I called Jim Leyden (Black Bear Warrior) first though, so he could organize the Indigenous response. I have to say in hindsight that Tango never wavered in his focus on the eagle deterrent. After climbing onto the lower limbs of the canopy, rigging the hammock and having a good long rest, sore of body and happy of heart, we climbed the last 15 feet and released the device into the void. I’ve never had a more satisfying summit. As the drumming and singing from the foot path overwhelmed me, I lost it and screamed at the beast that industry can be.

    I wasn’t really surprised that I got to spend the night in the big cottonwood. On the tank farm tree I had made a deal with ERT that if they could climb safely to the hammock at the 50 foot level, and since the canopy was showing signs of rot, I would jug up to the high anchor, clean gear and meet them back at the hammock so we could bail together. When I expose these fine professionals to possibly dangerous situations, I feel as responsible for their safety as they do for mine. We had fun together that night and everyone got home safe. The eagle tree however, was much larger and again, I wasn’t surprised that they struggled to even get off the ladder that they had brought. I started to worry for the young man leading the climb. I immediately called M and she agreed that having an ERT member get hurt was unacceptable. Even Tango didn’t hesitate to break down camp and lower the pack. Unknown to us of course, ERTs captain was on his way and he was a pro (the year before when I occupied the tank farm tree he had been away on a body recovery mission). As soon as he swung one of two lanyards attached to his harness rig, I knew he was eventually going to arrest me.

    As an older pro I was very impressed with his technique and thoroughly enjoyed watching him climb in good style. Eventually, when he reached the canopy, he looked up and with a big smile said “Hi”. I gave him the thumbs up and while preparing a repel for us, he and Tango launched into a conversation about various climbing crags they had in common. But being the consummate pro he was, he soon reminded me that we were under arrest. Once again I must acknowledge how good it made me feel when the Indigenous people sang and drummed as I came down.

    Finally upon arriving at the EMS (emergency medical service) truck, they immediately assured me that they were on my side, and I could tell that they were worried about my health. They knew I hadn’t eaten or slept in 3 days and at 71 years old I must have looked rough. Later that night, my second in Deer Lake RCMP Detachment, I smiled when they realized my home town was Parry Sound, Ontario and wanted to know if I knew Bobby Orr.

    Next morning I stood before Justice Affleck for the second time. I truly felt for sure I was going to jail for awhile. After all, I was facing 3 counts (tank farm tree, eagle tree and not paying the $2000 fine). My lawyer at the time managed to talk the crown into releasing me on $1000 bail and then informed me that she couldn’t continue to defend me if I kept taking action. She was busy and couldn’t put the necessary time in to study ‘defence of necessity’. I understood.

     I remember feeling relieved in fact. My job was to rack up counts of contempt and it must be hard for a lawyer to get their heads around that tactic. I’ve never been comfortable listening to someone speaking for me. Over the three days of eagle tree media, dozens of interviews, still non of it managed to escape the province except the North Star in my home town. I thank them for that. Also, there was a feeling of survivor guilt after developing the mindset to face time in jail and then, a few hours later there I was in Ms hot tub drinking beer. Tango was cool with it but I was thinking of the spiritual swim ahead. (In 2014, when the second Arctic 30 team ended up not even getting on rope, and then spent about three months in jail, I first experienced survivor guilt). I flew home.

    In June I was training on the Georgian Bay in a 3mm wet suit, mask, goggles and flippers. Seven Km off shore on the outside of the Mink Islands, turned out to be about the same temperature as July 10 in Burnaby harbor. At about 11p.m. on the 9th it started to rain steady after a long period of beautiful weather. Tango didn’t sleep a wink and before the alarm went off we were geared up on a mountain bike headed to the target. It was a perfect night to do research. Even moderately hard rainfall is loud and not even security guards want to stand out in it for very long. I can’t say much about my approach to West Ridge Marine Terminal. Once inside I left Chinook Salmond, sage and tobacco for the black fish (Orca).

    I will say that I’m a reasonably good free diver and ended up being in the water for about two hours. It was time enough to do a thorough research of a large area inside the floating barrier. I determined that the primary target was not doable. Being alone and missing an important piece of gear, I retreated to the secondary target which I had swam up to twice that night to see if there was security in the patrol boat docked there. I had to dive under the floating scrubbers and be careful when I surfaced not to blow air out the snorkel, just in case.

   Throughout the entire time the rain came in sheets of hard to really hard. The one patrol boat that had previously done its drive around had retired to hot coffee inside a guard post to the south end of the site. As I slid out onto my belly on what turned out to be a solid platform, I noticed three large crabs upside down, freshly deceased. I carefully slid up on my butt, took off a flipper, placed it on the floating dock along side my small waterproof pack, and thinking I was alone, sat up on the dock to take off the second flipper. That movement nudged the patrol boat and instantly a large security officer sat up to attention, absolutely horrified at seeing me that close to him. “Holy fuck! What are you doing?” as he grabs for his radio. I was heartbroken because it was now approximately 3:15a.m. and it wasn’t going to be light for a couple more hours. I knew that there was nowhere on this target a couple floors above me that I could hang the banner that read ‘NO TANKERS’. But I went for a walk anyway. Tango answers ‘Having fun.’ and almost laughed out loud when, we’ll call him Big Guy, blurts out that he used to be a cop as his body language betrayed him by backing him up a little. I heard Tango say as he picked up the gear and walked by him ‘ You can join me if you like’. The radio then instructed him to film me with his phone, which he did.

    I made my way to the top. Standing there maybe forty feet above the water, I looked over to the right where the steel infrastructure was slick from the constant rain. There was nowhere to hang a banner that security couldn’t walk to. Nowhere to climb. Once again, I was thinking how even the couple short possibilities on that structure would only put law enforcement and myself at risk in these conditions. Not even Tango could see himself hanging on with one arm while trying to deploy the banner so it could be read. At this point I turned and noticed two security guards with dogs on leashes on the main deck below as three RCMP patrol cars entered the site at the main guard house, their lights flashing. I heard myself say ‘Well bud, it looks like you get to be the hero tonight’, motioning for him to lead me toward the police.

    We had won. I spent a third period of time in Deer Lake RCMP Detachment and eventually managed to get my core temperature back to normal. On our way there the young officer asked if I was cold and turned the heat up in the back of the cruiser. He then asked ‘Aren’t you afraid of sharks?’ I smiled through a shiver and told him that I was afraid of climate disaster.

    There was just the Crown, the stenographer, the officer guarding me in a tiny courtroom somewhere in Superior Court when I faced Justice Affleck for the third time. They were going to let me go again for the same $1000 bail, and in two hours I’d be back out on the street. I refused to sign my release. July 22 was 12 days away. This was my court date for the eagle tree. Affleck eventually asked ‘Why?’ and I replied  ‘My Lord I’ve been very unreliable and I feel I owe you that.’ Well, as Crown turned to face me, jaw on the floor, Affleck said ‘Very well, you realize if you change your mind you can be out the next day’. We all stood as his Lordship left the room.

    By the time we arrived at North Fraser PreTrial, we had picked up several prisoners along the way and it was late afternoon. I’m now into my third day with no solid food. Sitting before the head mental health professional I tried to explain my decision to hunger strike. You should know that both The Mental Health Unit and The Health Care Unit have to monitor anyone on a hunger strike and that means segregation, or what they refer to as the hole (solitary confinement). I made a deal with the doctor that if my urine turned dark, I would give it up. Every morning I offered it fresh off the press. I bit the end out of the oranges and sucked the juice. I strained the broth of soup through my teeth and of course drank their tasty juices along with lots of water. My normal weight is 160 pounds. In the first five days of what turned out to be 14 days, I was down to 148 pounds. I had to stabilize so I started licking out a small tub of a butter substitute every day. It worked and nine days later at 140 pounds, I stepped into the paddy wagon bound for Superior Court. One of the things I enjoyed while in the hole was listening to these professionals as they went about their duties. They treated everyone with the same care, and there are some bad people in there. In my opinion these pros are world class people in a very difficult job. Of course, I knew better than to mention my buddy Tango.

   I had hoped to walk into court a little weak, but totally in control that day. It was not to be. The Sheriffs really can not control the temperature in the stainless steel cages of the paddy wagon. When they turn the ignition key on the air conditioning is set, and this lock up was designed to hose down after a full moon weekend. For almost an hour I deep breathed, first through my nose, then through my mouth, all in an effort to load up with oxygen and not eventually get sick. The trick is to not hyperventilate and pass out. I was almost hypothermic and could barely walk when they helped me get out in the underground garage beside the holding cells. With ankle bracelets on and hands cuffed in front, it’s meant to be hard. When a young officer put his hands on my ribs to frisk me he freaked. “He’s nothing but skin and bone!” Another officer, there’s always one, asked “What’s your secret?” Now on his knees on a bench, feet up to accommodate the jewelry being taken off, Tango looked up with a sarcastic smile and replied ‘Just don’t eat’.

    A few minutes later I’m pacing in a three foot circle in a familiar holding cell in the basement of Superior Court, trying desperately to get my core temperature up so I could stop with the muscle spasms. I’m weak from the fasting. Emotionally, I felt very unstable. An officer whom I’ve come to know since the tank farm tree arrest, brought me a veggie sub and an apple juice. He implores me to eat and then locked the cell door behind him. I drank some apple juice and sat for awhile, still chilled and experiencing waves of shaking uncontrollably.

    I was still pretty much out of control as I was escorted for the fourth time to stand before Justice Affleck. Crown was now calling for a $3000 bail, for me to return to North Fraser Pretrial, appear there on video in early August to confirm a trial date of August 29th. We had finally pissed them off. As I turned to leave the courtroom, I noticed that the gallery of people behind the bulletproof glass were standing. Although I couldn’t hear what they were saying, I could tell that some were voicing their support, others looked worried. Tango flashed a peace sign as we departed.

    Once again I find myself pacing in a three foot circle in a holding cell, only now I’m really scared. There was only one faint little light at the end of this tunnel and that was simply Afflecks reaction when he found out about the hunger strike. He abruptly leaned forward and I heard him say “No one told me about a hunger strike.”

     As my core temperature started to rise I suddenly shuttered at the thought of riding back to North Fraser in that ice box. Exhausted, I stopped pacing and sat down on the hard cool bench beside the veggie sub. I stared at it for what seemed like an hour as I tried to imagine how far I could safely continue on my hunger strike. When I stood to go to the toilet I noticed the seat of my bright red prison pants was wet. I immediately dropped them expecting to see blood, but it was only water. My kidneys couldn’t keep up and now I was shitting water. Great! Suddenly my friend was at the door again. “Mr. Christenson, there’s a lawyer wanting to meet with you.”

    Sarah J. Rauch saved my butt that day. She was there defending other protesters and was horrified at how my rights were being abused. Long story short the Crown backed way down and agreed that the $1000 bail previously paid was still good enough. And if I promised to be a good boy I could return to Ontario and then fly back for my trial on August 29th and 30th. Sarah also allowed this story to continue by helping to free me at that time. My family and I have no words to thank her enough.

    Upon getting out, the first thing I learned was that my friend Rita Wong, a poet and professor at SFU, was serving a 28 day sentence for peacefully sitting in front of a gate within the 5 meter injunction line. Although I knew how strong she was it still saddened me. We all have to manage our emotional investment at these times.

    It did feel good to be home with family and friends again. I’ve definitely smelt the roses ever since. Not having my freedom was the final challenge for me as a rainbow warrior. I’m confident now that I can deliver this story, with a little help from my friends.

    My plan was to let the Crown present it’s evidence on the 29th and somehow, after their final witness testified on the 30th, convince them that I needed more time to prepare to defend myself. To the horror of my supporters in the gallery that day, I insisted on being put under oath. Once sworn in, I answered questions from Justice Affleck like, would I pay the outstanding $2000 fine and I assured him I wouldn’t, because I considered the injunction an unjust law. I explained that I had permission to be on that traditional territory. Also, I took a chance by introducing Tango to the mix. In the end I stated ‘I know it sounds crazy My Lord.’ ‘No Mr. Christenson,’ he assured me, ‘I understand what you’re trying to tell me.’ Apparently crazy people would never admit to sounding crazy. I did manage to get a slight smile from an otherwise very serious individual.

    October 25th I get to defend myself. Here’s where it gets tricky. It’s now October 10th. I’m training hard and studying law. I will be flying out to Vancouver on the 19th to prepare over several meetings with various people. This time there will be a complete connection to the outside.

    Late on the 25th look for the story to continue here on befreeyourself.com. And to all those who have downloaded the tunes for free over the years and then, in turn supported this effort on GoFundMe, I thank you with all my heart. I would also ask everyone to understand that freedom, from my perspective, someone who has sailed the North Atlantic in a 30 foot sailboat and lived for weeks on a big wall, slept in caves, snow caves and portaledges, define comfortable. Like Tango said to the professionals in Seg, ‘comparatively speaking, this is the Holiday Inn’. cheers t


                   postscript:   special thanks to Ainslie Cruickshank at StarMetroVancouver for
                                             her genuine interest and for introducing Tango.  


      Tango Charlie Continued (Nov 2020)

    My Lady, ever since laws were put in place to protect society, peaceful people have fought unjust laws which were usually put forward by the elites of the time to protect their investments. It seems that human beings have always had a tendency to resist change, even when they know that it is inevitable.

    On October 25 I implored Justice Affleck to set a precedent in regards to the TMX injunction for Kinder Morgan Canada and acquit all who fight for our grand children's future. He assured me that he couldn’t, claiming that it would render all law impotent and ineffective. History has proven that to be nonsense. It seems to me that it wasn’t that long ago that it was illegal for lawyers to defend First Nations. It wasn’t that long ago that people of colour couldn’t use facilities designated for white people. Also, it wasn’t long ago that sun dances were unlawful.

    Now, since those laws were struck down by people of conscience, I see that murder is still against the law. Assault is still very much illegal and, theft is still a felony, except of course for large corporations. The rule of law has for the most part survived and chaos has not taken over the streets. Likewise, Prime Minister Mr. Trudeau has tried to convince us that by increasing carbon based fossil fuel production, we can somehow successfully meet our international obligations by 2030. Again, this is total nonsense.

    Instead of taking effective action on reconciliation, he delivers hollow promises and apologies. He hands out metals to rock stars for writing about the abuses of residential schools. In short, they are nothing but distractions.

    My Lady, Canada is known around the globe as a peacekeeping nation. Yet here at home indigenous people have no peace. It has truly been a slow moving coup, a genocide. Even the liberals in the 1990s, put a cap on First Nations education under Jean Chretien. If there ever was a distinct society, it is indigenous people around the planet. Yet we forbade them to speak their languages and tried to strip them of their spirituality. We literally tore the children from their arms and we wonder why now, they are struggling with substance abuse. Currently, this abuse is being compounded by coerced sterilizations.

    Recently, the child welfare professionals in Winnipeg were accused of giving indigenous children to a pedophile, not that they knew that this man was a pedophile, but when these beautiful little ones complained, no one listened. If they were white, I can’t help think that it would be different.

    We’ve all heard of the missing and murdered indigenous girls and women. I’ll guarantee you, if they were white, the administration in law enforcement would somehow find the budget necessary to solve this issue. This past March when I was training in a climbing gym in Thunder Bay, a young climbing instructor there, who was working as a wilderness first responder with EMS (emergency medical service) told me of a 911 call that they responded to, where a young indigenous man with long hair was passed out on the sidewalk, his head on the street. My new friend immediately took off his jacket and carefully placed it under the victims head to make him more stable. A senior colleague came over, kicked the jacket out from under the victims head, grabbed him by his long hair and dragged him to the ambulance. When my friend protested he said “We don’t have time for them!” DO NO HARM is fundamental to EMS.

    My Lady, I never thought I’d ever say this, but I’m ashamed to be a Canadian. I have not eaten solid food now for 26 days. I want you to know that you can’t stop my protest and you are indeed looking at a free man. Free as a bird. I am morally right.

October 25, 2019    THE HOLE

    The professionals in segregation at North Fraser PreTrial refer to this place as the hole. There are three floors with ten cells per floor, a shower room with a phone, and what they call the yard, a small room to exercise in for half an hour a day. The slightest sound will echo through this place as if it were a large cave. The reason I’m here is because I’m continuing my hunger strike and that means that I have to be monitored. Each day I am weighed. My temperature and blood pressure are recorded. Upon arrival I submit to a body scan. I then strip down. I lift my testicles, turn around, fold back my ears, bend over and spread my buttocks for visual inspection. If you can feel beautiful throughout that ordeal, then you truly are. At this point you are given bright red clothing to wear, a towel and some bedding. This place is not designed to make you comfortable. They don’t wish to see you back here again, but still, here I am. The stainless steel toilet connected to the sink in each cell is quite small. When I sit on it my testicles touch the water. For me, this isn’t an issue as I don’t have bowel movements.

    My goal is to take no solid food. However, I take sustenance in powdered milk, juice, one small tub of peanut butter a day on a slice of bread with margarin. I also strain the broth from soup through my teeth. The lights are always on although they are dimmed at night. The nights are long, especially when someone loses it and the other prisoners react with profanity laced threats. Every half hour the guard on duty does their walk about, looking through small windows in each cell door to check on inmates safety. This time my cell is right across from the cell block door and when the guard electronically unlocks from his station it’s as loud as a gun shot. Everything but sleep is procedure.

    If you want something in your effects you have to understand that it will take awhile. They expect you to be patient and not get angry. Fill out a form and wait. This time of year there are a lot of homeless people in here looking to spend the winter with a warm bed and half decent food. Most are in rough shape and health care looks out for them.

    When I was here is July the place was insane. One night when the door locked behind him, a man lost it and started crying for his mommy. The other inmates started cursing him and it became a cacophony of profanity describing in gory detail what they wanted to do to him. The whole thing rose to a fevered pitch and lasted for hours. I found out a few days later that he had raped a child.

    There were also the funny guys, like the guy who crowed like a rooster at 3 a.m. every night and then would say “You guys up yet?”. Then he’d laugh whole heartedly. My favourite was an old man who I suspect was a regular because the guards would call him by his first name. “Walter, are you in there?”. “No man. I’m home watching TV”. Every time it was a different answer. Also, what endeared him to me was that Walter was dad’s name.

    The lights get dimmed slightly at 10 p.m. in the hole and get turned up at 7:30 a.m. At breakfast I have a small styrofoam cup of powdered milk with a little tub of peanut butter. I save a cup of orange juice for 10 a.m. It’s all about managing the hunger pains which are always worse after the long night. Eventually the peanut butter tastes as good as bacon and eggs. At lunch it’s a small tub of margarin on a slice of brown bread with an apple juice. Supper at 5 p.m. consists of sipping broth through my teeth, more juice and either mustard or ketchup on another slice of bread. In July I had got down to 144 pounds and now I was determined to not drop below 150, so I would be better prepared to defend myself on November 19/20.

    Finally on October 30th I got to take out three books from the library. I am currently reading Wab Kinews book The Reason You Walk. It’s an awesome read. After about a week of starving oneself, one gets teary eyed for no apparent reason. Emotions become fragile. Of course it really didn’t help that I was reading Wabs book about reconciliation. At times I had to put it down for awhile. On the other hand, David Ferhertys book The Power of Positive Idiocy was hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud as I read it. There’s not much laughter in this place of lost souls.

    Upon finally finishing The Reason You Walk my mind raced back to the one room school house that I went to as a child in Carling. There was an old box stove at the back of the room that us boys had to feed in the winter. Grade one through eight with one teacher for about two dozen of us. When spring came we’d play kick the can and softball. I remember getting the strap for fighting. I had only been defending myself from a bully and thought it very unfair.

    In grade eight we put together a good softball team and won the championship. I was the pitcher and a pretty good hitter. The last couple months of school meant competing with other schools in the area and one was a Catholic Residential school on Shawanaga reservation. Unlike the rest, the indigenous children

    there seemed sad and very shy. I distinctly remember feeling a strange, dark presence there and always wondered why. Now I understand.

July 17, 2019 THE DREAM (the 7th night, my first time in segregation)

    I slowly became aware that I was sitting cross legged at a small camp fire with my two indigenous friends Jim Leyden and Robert Nahini. Expressionless, they both stare into my waking eyes. I could hear a powerful wind above us but the flames between us licked calmly upward leaving no smoke to water our eyes. As a large shadow moved in over us I suddenly became aware that we were actually sitting on rushing water completely filled with spawning Salmond. Shocked, I felt no wetness. Somehow even the fire didn’t seem to be affected. I turned my gaze upward to where a large eagle constantly adjusted to hover above us, its feathers whipped and fluttering violently. As it intensely looked down upon us, Robert suddenly grabs at something in the air with his right hand. Closed now, and cupped upside-down, he raises it up to the flames then slowly moves it toward Jim, who holds his open hand steady to receive. A perfect, miniature black bear drops from Roberts fist. It’s exquisite in its detail as it turns to look around. Carefully Jim closes his fingers around it, turns his hand over and raises it to the flames. I’m stunned, jaw on my lap. Then I notice Robert motioning for me to accept the gift from Jim. I move my open hand under Jims as he drops a beautiful little black fish (Orca) into my palm. It squirms, gasping for air. Again I’m transfixed, astonished that I can feel its weight. Jim nods for me to follow suit and as I now hold my closed hand over the fire I feel a sudden change inside my fist. It’s now much lighter and soft in texture. I swing it over to Roberts waiting palm and deposit a tiny flicker. Both men are now smiling, their eyes dancing and bright as if to say SEE! The second Robert releases the bird to flight, I find myself walking along a rock studded beach. Huge boulders are everywhere. My eyes turn to the amazingly clear water where a thin sheet of ice is drifting slowly toward a large boulder that is protruding from the surface only a few meters from shore. I remember thinking that I was in the Arctic, then as the ice collides with the rock it explodes into thousands of turquoise and silver crystals, slowly dissolving into the depths. It was beautiful. Then something white caught my eye up ahead on the beach extending beyond a boulder the size of a small house. At first I thought it was a dead seagull but as I approached I could see that it was an emaciated polar bear, its ribs painfully sticking out beyond the receding flesh. I woke sobbing uncontrollably, face down in a folded sheet that I was using as a pillow. Suddenly I heard a key enter the steel door of my small cell and as two large cops moved in ahead of the mental healthcare workers I decided to blame the tears on a dream about my nine year old grand daughter Mia. There was absolutely no way they would understand this dream.

    Even so, they insisted that I see the head psychiatrist and talk about the tears. I told her that I thought it was ironic that society now expects males to be sensitive, but when we do they look upon it with suspicions.

    For days afterwards, every time I closed my eyes I saw a sky blue drum. Within the circle there appeared a constant flow of animals, reptiles, birds and insects. I’m agnostic leaning toward atheism and this experience shook my lack of faith to the core. Over time the visions disappeared and left me with the feeling that I had gone mad during those few days.

    I thought it was interesting that there were no human beings appearing in the drum.

    Continued from October 2, 1919.

    My apologies for being slow in writing this story, but Charlie and I worked hard this past summer to record the sixteen songs that I wrote while incarcerated in November House.

    My 43 minute Facebook live film with my phone in a cowboy shirt pocket, pretty much tells the story of my action climbing the two fences at the tank farm on the 24th of October. That was a Thursday and Judge Affleck was retiring the first of the week and I wanted him to know that he couldn’t be finished with me and this issue.

    Overall, in hindsight, I underestimated the time it takes for someone my age to heal up. It is now July 2020 and the soreness in my muscles from the hunger strike is finally becoming more manageable. I had gotten very cold during the swim that night at West Ridge Marine Terminal. A doctor would probably be horrified to know that 24 hours before every action I fast. I stay hydrated but when I take action at 4:00 am their is no sustenance in my body, no fuel so to speak. I am literally running on fumes. All I can tell you is the energy is massive, the focus is razor sharp and there is no negative anxiety. Execute the mission. Being alone is awesome. No worries that someone on the team will screw up.

    The swim action was carried out to show judge Affleck that I was heart attack serious and by climbing those brand new fences at the tank farm on the day before my appearance in court on the 25th, I was showing my commitment to the cause. This was the only action that I didn’t have to starve myself. In fact, my friend Al bought me my last meal around 1 pm before I climbed the fences at 4 that afternoon. I knew that I’d only have an hour or so before my arrest.

    As it turned out, everyone associated with my last action on the 24th became sick that week and I relied on my two friends Em and Purple Haze to get me to my target by shift change that day. Although it was fun to see my friends at Deer Lake RCMP Detachment again that evening, I knew that I was probably fighting a losing battle. Well over 120 indigenous bands from Fort Saskatchewan to Burnaby were divided in their decisions on TMX. I was in agreement with the few bands on the coast and the numbers were small.

    The next morning in court before Affleck entered the room, the crown mentioned that he knew nothing of his yesterdays action and later when he heard of the new charges he seemed more dejected than surprised. November 20th and 21st were set aside for my trial.

    I actually didn’t know that it was illegal to hold anyone in segregation for more than 12 days and November 4th, being the 11th day, the supervisor (warden) came to see me in cell 21. This large African Canadian man was very concerned for my well being. I was well into the hunger strike and he was curious as to why. I told him that it was my job. “Who do you work for?” He asked. “My grandchildren.” I answered. “They don’t pay much but my heart’s in it.” He laughed whole heartedly and after hearing that I strained the broth of soup through my teeth he asked if I would accept a second bowl each day. I told him that I didn’t expect any special treatment. To this he replied “This is just an offer from me personally.” I told him that he was an officer and a gentleman and accepted. Sure enough, at lunch two bowls of soup showed up through the small rectangular slot in the steel door where I received my sustenance.

    This afternoon I finished Wab Kenews book TheThe last part was particularly hard for me as Wab and his family took care of his dying father. I thought of my mother and how hard it was for her to let go. My dad however, had always claimed that he wanted to go with his boots on. And he did at age seventy three. I will never forget the overwhelming anxiety that took over my being on June 9th, 1992. I was loading a braider, helping a friend about a two hour drive away from our homestead, when it came upon me. I’m just not an anxious person. This feeling was completely new to me. But there I was trying to explain why I had to immediately leave. I sped most of the way and when I arrived there were some unfamiliar cars parked in the driveway. When I entered my parents place there was no one inside. It seemed strange.

    Maybe Dad had taken everyone out on the Georgian Bay in his boat for the afternoon.

    Suddenly I felt fatigued as the anxiety faded. I was home. It had been awhile and I felt good. I remember laying back on the couch and the next thing being startled as my brother Ken woke me. As soon as I looked into his eyes I knew. The man I adored was gone. He had drowned that afternoon in Herring Chute on the Bad River, a tributary of the French. My family had driven those two hours only to be turned around. We had crossed paths. They had wanted to tell me in person.

November 5

    Over the last three days the glands in my throat began to swell. I fought hard by deep breathing, gargling with salt water and repeating the cycle until I was exhausted. Even though a blinding headache had made it impossible to sleep the night before, this morning I started to feel better. Then without

    warning I was transferred to Fraser Regional Corrections Facility and got to ride for forty minutes in a cold paddy wagon, deep breathing all the way. Upon arrival I was placed in a room temperature holding cell where I did sets of 20 push ups until my core temp returned. After about 30 minutes I was escorted to the wardens office. It was at this meeting that I first heard of November (north) House. Although the hunger strike concerned him very much he didn’t want me doing any more time in segregation. They could monitor me once a week in this open security tent facility for non violent inmates. He asked me to try it. I was astonished. I basically went from maximum security in segregation to open security in about three hours. Apparently my nickname ‘pipeline’ at North Fraser PreTrial followed me here.

November 6

    Wow! What a difference a day makes. Yesterday at this time I was huddled in a small concrete cell, totally wrapped in my bedding to keep warm. Now after my first good sleep in two weeks I wake up to fresh coffee in what amounts to be a cheap motel room. Yesterday I had warned the supervisor that I was too old to bite my tongue if some idiot starts to slander the uniform. Sure enough, half way through my first cup, the dickhead in the cell next to me starts with the rant. I looked him square in the eyes “You obviously seem to be under the impression that I give a shit what you think!” Well, that ended that. From then on the dirty looks from a distance slowly turned to no looks at all. I didn’t exist. Perfect.

    That afternoon turned out to be a sunny one. I raked leaves for a couple hours in the parking lot. I didn’t realize that the large gentleman guarding me was the super of November House until later in his office when we had that same old conversation about why I was on a hunger strike. Once again I promised that I wasn’t going to fall on my sword. As it turned out he was a union man. He understood the good fight. I assured him that if having me here was a problem for him, that I would gladly go back to segregation. “Mr. Christenson, you’re a very interesting man. Let’s take it a day at a time.” I made two dollars today.

November 7

    It’s now day 14 of the hunger strike. The headaches and hunger pains are much easier to manage now that my stomach has shrunk. My weight seems to have stabilized at 154 pounds. I asked for and received long underwear.

    Today we took a 40 minute ride in the crummy (vehicle designed to transport prisoners) to a beautiful resort for underprivileged children. No one knew how to use a chainsaw let alone sharpen it and that became my job when the guard found out that I grew up on a sawmill. I did my best to restore a seriously compromised chain. Then I watched some pot bellied mouth breather use it like a hand saw.

    I got to use the weed whacker. So much for my headaches. I’ve heard that running a leaf blower/weed whacker for an hour pollutes the air more than a Ford150 does in a week. “Hey pipeline, I thought that you were a tree hugger. No chainsaw for you dawg. That’s way too much irony for us!”

November 8

    The person who said that the world as we know it won’t end with a scream, but with a whimper, really knew human nature. As someone who has pretty consistently challenged my fears in an attempt to manage them, I now see fear in others around me. Every day. It shows up as a lack of focus, which allows doctors to leave operating devices in their patients; drivers to lose control of their vehicles; employees to screw up at work, etc. I think males in particular tend to make pathetic attempts to lose the fear that they carry in the body.

    Today we went to a sports park and worked at various sections of prefab stage hardware and sections for winter storage in the out buildings. Even the guards were cool on this crew and we had lots of laughs.

    When we got back to November House around 2 that afternoon I had good news. The interview with The Georgia Straight went well but not known to me at the time, got sold before the article got published.

    I now figured how to get money into my phone account so I could let family and friends know that I was fine. On the up side I get to teach a yoga class to some young men this evening. On the down side I started shitting water after a hard little turd of a bowel movement. Day 15.

November 9

    A young woman was guarding us on the late shift last night. It does my old heart good to see more females wearing the uniform. This past July when ‘the dream’ rocked my world, I remember feeling desperate to control my emotions. I had lost too much weight that first 12 days in seg (segregation). When I heard the key enter the steel door I sat up quickly, maybe too quickly. Two male officers walked in  ahead of two female health care workers who stood in the doorway. Part of what tests your patience in here is constantly answering the same questions and I dreaded the one about the hunger strike unnecessarily worrying my family. When it came I lowered my head and began to softly cry. Instantly the two officers body language moved slightly back while the two women instinctively moved slightly toward me. This profoundly defines the difference between the sexes.

    An hour or so later I found myself sitting before the head psychiatrist to explain my tears. I did so with a question. “Don’t you think that it is interesting that society asks males to be more sensitive, and yet when we do, we are regarded with suspicion? With a slight smile she sat back in her chair and nodded “I was educated in Berkley and I remember the Chicago Ten. In fact, I hit the streets with thousands of other young people in the sixties and I want you to know that I’m on your side.”

    These professionals acknowledged that the hunger strike was my right, but they didn’t have to agree with that decision and were truly worried for my health.

November 10

    In segregation all my food got thrown in the garbage at the end of the day. I hated that. Here in NH (November House) I get to trade it for an orange or coffee that some of the guys had bought at the canteen that was better than the jail coffee. It gets tricky after awhile not to show favouritism so I rotated the barter, different meals to different guys each day to be fair. These young folks have huge appetites and politics rears its ugly head in the strangest of places.

    In this world today food, has gone from a necessary sustenance to a creature comfort. When I was a youngster it was unusual to see an obese person now, it’s just as unusual to see someone who is not carrying a lot of extra weight. We all know that obesity shortens our lifespan, yet we can’t seem to resist. Likewise, most of us understand that we are having a drastic effect on our environment, yet investors who adapt every day to the market, aren’t willing to adapt to alternative infrastructure options that should be obvious by now.

    If General Motors back in the day, had continued to develop the electric car, rather than letting oil companies talk them into building Hummers, they’d be the world leaders today in electric vehicles. Instead, we Canadians bailed them out, only to watch them pull out and run to Mexico.

November 11

    I’m watching Memorial Day ceremonies on my 12” RCA. It’s a day set aside to remember war….yet history continues to teach very little. We still go to war for less and less justification. Now and perhaps always, it’s for minerals, territory, religious dominance, all in the guise of righteousness. We’re naturals at generating an ‘us against them attitude.’ Someone once said ‘Hate often masquerades as love but takes care to carry a flag.’ It takes much less energy to be negative and much more energy to be positive.

    Consider that today most of us are out of shape and complacent, I think it’s a safe bet that war now would overtax our physical and spiritual resources more than we’d care to admit.

    I’ve gained two pounds since being in NH. I’ve turned down milk since I left the farm but now I drink some along with juice and an extra bowl of broth. Despite the hollow feeling in my gut I remain committed to my goal of continuing the strike until my release.

    Today my mind wanders to far off places where war has torn the fabric of community into desperate little enclaves of survivors, who have no choice in their hungry existence, while affluent war mongers whine pathetic grievances like how the food is not up to par for their sophisticated pallet. Right about now a slice of bread with margarin and a glass of milk tastes as good as any steak with cold beer that I’ve ever had.

November 12

    Today we washed, dried, folded and rolled up large tents for various fire departments in the area at the north compound, a huge garage slash shop. This day I noticed a lack of energy and a soreness in my body that I’ve never experienced before.

    On the news tonight the premier of Manitoba, Brian Pallister, was complaining that the Assiniboine River had crested higher than ever before, yet in the very next minute was siding with Albertas premier Kenney on carbon tax and the TMX. It’s like our Prime Minister trying to convince us that by expanding our production of oil sands will help us meet our obligations by 2030. What the hell? These are smart people speaking this nonsense. The Canadian plan to reduce emissions is among the worst in the G20 and still we give huge subsidies to coal and oil corporations. It serves to show the massive political leverage these companies have. When government gives poor people money, it’s called welfare. When the government gives money to corporations it’s called subsidies.

    A doctor who invented a new surgical procedure that is now widely accepted, was initially made fun of and rebuked. When later interviewed he said “What you ain’t up on, you tend to be down on.”

November 13

    I got a break today and only had to rake leaves for a couple hours. It seems that one of the guards did some research on my past and found out about the Juno nomination. News tends to travel fast and always gets exaggerated. By the end of the day I had won a couple.

    This evening I heard on the television that being kind to others is not only contagious, but will lead to a longer life. I immediately thought of the nasty partisanship I witness in the House of Commons on CPAC. If students in grade school acted like that, they would be held accountable. Heckling is total lack of respect. It’s astounding. And these idiots represent us?

November 14

    Today we were back out in the compound dealing with the fire service tents. This requires some teamwork and some of these young men struggle to keep focused. When the loud rap music on the radio shorted out for a moment, I thought I heard my tune ‘Consumer Child’ faintly emanating from the little corner guardhouse. A couple of the guys had said that they were going to check out the website.

    More often than not these days people come to me one on one and say how they’re on my side and thank me for my commitment to the good fight on behalf of their children. That always makes my day.

    I had a good long interview with Jesse Winter at the Vancouver Star Weekly this afternoon, and he asked if I could negotiate a deal whereby he could come into NH and follow me around for a couple hours, plus interview the staff with the idea of introducing this awesome facility to the public. The guards do actually try to mentor these young inmates every chance they get. When I asked the super here what he thought, he replied it might be worthwhile and promised to ask his colleagues.

November 15

    It rained very hard today so it was good to be working in the compound. I can’t believe how many of these young men are here because of the drugs fentanyl and meth. One kid thought he was buying good cocaine but it was laced with fentanyl and when he gave it out to six friends at a party, they all overdosed. No one died because he immediately called 911. They all turned on him in court and now he’s doing nine months. Self preservation kicks in sooner or later.

November 16

    It’s now been 22 days without solid food. I feel a lack of energy but forced myself to do some 2 pound free weight training to keep muscle tone.

    I had an interview with APTN in Ottawa this afternoon and the interviewer suggested that it wasn’t really a hunger strike, as I was taking some sustenance. I suggested he try it sometime and get back to me. In this time of virtual reality it seems to me that people in general are becoming more jaded than ever before. In the art codes of today, novelty can be made to look like daring.

    Now that I’m in my seventies, I’ve noticed that I constantly swing back and forth from being novel to young folks, to being invisible. For the most part we are no longer mentors but rather, one gets the feeling that we are perceived as finished with life, so step aside.

    I once read that there are more sociopaths in big government/corporations than in the general public. I’ve noticed that they like to keep us anxious (the useless emotion), but just comfortable enough to never protest too loud for fear of rocking the proverbial boat. It gives the impression that it’s impossible to make the changes most of us want. By the way, now they serve comfort food in the comfort zone, and it ain’t good food.

November 17

    I knew this would happen. The ugly side of politics eventually works its way into everything if you let it. It’s called greed. I had to lay down the law. A just law. Those three meals a day were my meals and only I would decide to whom they go. I was pretty fair about it and at first there was talk of a list on a calendar, but it’s just like talk, to fizzle out and turn to nothing.

    Eventually, a well liked individual who happened to also give the best barter in return, appeared along with a few others who traded specific items. Fairness and democracy incarcerated.

    Because I haven’t smoked pot for awhile the dreams are returning. Frustrating dreams. One step forward, two back. All this chaos emerging in my subconscious from a lifetime of brief, although mostly intense relationships with total strangers. Names didn’t matter much. Characters always did it for me.

    Personalities merged together like coffee and cream.

    These days just about everyone seems familiar. On the road, back in the day, I remember getting up at noon walking to the hotel room window to help me remember what town I was in. It really didn’t matter as long as I was having fun writing and playing my music. A wise person once said ‘Music won’t save your life, but it just might make your life worth saving’.

November 18

    When I walked out of the shower room today I couldn’t believe what was taking place in the common area. There had to be a dozen or so of these gangsta wannabes, dressed in bright red, carefully putting up Christmas decorations. O joy! I had been hoping to completely miss the festive season altogether this year. It’s so commercialized now. It seems to be more about overconsumption and greed, than about generosity. Although I’ve never had one, this was like what I imagined a bad acid trip to be like. Perhaps I should look at it as a good Monty Python film. That helps.

    Eventually the pastor arrived, and when I didn’t show at his sermon, one of the guys showed up at cell ten where I was watching CPAC and offered a second invite. I declined once again and by the third strike I said ‘Let’s get this straight. Man created God. Not the other way around.’

    A freelance writer by the name of Anne Watson left a message for me to call her. The National Observer had commissioned her to write my story. She told me that she would see me in court tomorrow and asked if I would fill out a visitation form so we could meet and do the interview face to face. I did.

November 19

    I had hoped that the trial today would finish up with my two page defence, after all I was not calling any witnesses. The Crown called several and that took all day. However, the newly appointed My Lady Justice, seemed to enjoy the 43 minute Facebook video that I had live streamed from my phone on the 24th of October. When the Crown stopped it at 22 minutes, she insisted on seeing the whole 43 minutes.

    As for me, it was my first viewing. I felt calm and knew that I had made a serious attempt to state my case without making anyone feel like my enemy. One tends to forget the little details in the flow of spontaneous conversation as it unfolds, so I was entertained as well.

    I arrived back at NH around 8 p.m. after rising at 5 a.m. It had been a long day of cold shackled rides in the Sheriffs paddy wagons, holding cell boredom, transferring male and female prisoners to various locations. I found the downtown Vancouver jails the most dark and indifferent.

    This work is way hard. Getting corrected that is. Especially, when one feels so deeply correct in the first place.

November 20

    Another long day continued with the Crown calling more witnesses, to the point where I told them that they had a profound grasp of the obvious. Everyone laughed. I wasn’t disputing the fact that I had infiltrated KMC property. These corporate giants can’t have it both ways. Either they are individuals under the law, or not. If so, then they as an individual get the court to impose an injunction on the public. I as an individual can’t legally do that. I consider this an unjust law.

    It seemed to me that Lady Justice understood my position. She thanked me for my politeness and respectful conduct. After the Crown suggested that I serve 6 months concurrent, she admitted inheriting this case from Lord Affleck and that she knew nothing about me. I declined to say anything but ‘Give me what I deserve My Lady.’ Crown had taken most of the day to finish their case. She mentioned that she had to leave the courtroom by 4:15 p.m. No later. It hadn’t taken me long to take the stand, read my defence and be cross examined by the Crown. And yet, here we were at 4:26 p.m. and she still seemed uncertain as to judgement. I finally stood and was sentenced to 5 months. As for last word, I reminded her that she was late. She smiled and gathered her papers and lap top. We all stood as she left the room.

November 21

    Today has been a fairly uneventful one. I found myself reflecting on what seems to continuously place me squarely in harms way. What angst convinces me to always test my honour, my integrity. Why do I hate the safe space we call convention? This restlessness drives me away from the homestead and ultimately, away from the family I love. I seem to live for what I perceive as special moments. If you were to add them all up at the end of my life, they probably wouldn’t fill out a day or two. Yet here I am. Yesterdays moment was when My Lady went against the crown and subtracted a month from my sentence. A small signal perhaps that she understood my fight for the truth.

    Moments like my last weigh in and blood pressure check in seg this past July, when the health care pro said ‘So rare’. In saying goodbye I had told her that I was honoured to be with her and her colleagues; then there was that moment when the head of ERT (Emergency Response Team) came to see me in my cell at Deer Lake Detachment after I had climbed that first cottonwood at the tank farm. He offered his hand and said ‘I just had to come down and meet you. First, you gave us some much needed practice. We both laughed. ‘Secondly, you took care of my guys. You’re a class act Mr. Christenson. I’m also a grandfather. Good luck Terry.’ These were the special forces who arrested me. Americans call these forces SWAT {Special Weapons and Tactics).

    There was a moment in my holding cell in the bowels of Superior Court when the officer who came to take me up to court echoed my sentiment ‘Thanks for your service.’ And upon seeing that my Subway sandwich hadn’t been touched he said ‘I can see that you are a man of principal. I’ll give you that.’

    At a gathering this past summer at the Watch house an indigenous elder, upon hearing that I was the one who had climbed the Eagle Tree, told me that there was no word in her language to thank me enough. We teared up and gave each other a hug.

    I admit it whole heartedly. I live for these moments and always have. I am getting better at not feeling so hollow between moments. I confess that I’m actually a very selfish individual. For me, boredom equals death. I’ve never been able to comfortably share time with others in any meaningful way, at least not for very long. I try to picture myself on my death bed. What will I remember? Will it be these special moments finding common ground between opposing forces, or will it be the lack of companionship I could have had with family and friends?

    Before being sentenced yesterday My Lady Justice asked if I had anything to say. I said ‘I think we have taken the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to a new standard.’ I bit my tongue though and suppressed the urge to add that I thought the system seemed designed to entice us to lie. Tango was pissed.

November 22

    Last week I filled out a request form for the super and offered to donate my acoustic guitar I had left at Ems place, to NH. He wrote back saying that was a nice offer but they decided to buy one for the guys.

    Today two showed up and I was asked to tune them up. One young man was keen to learn new chords and techniques and another played rock classic. I was asked to play a couple of my songs and word eventually got back to me that I was ‘wicked’. That made me feel good, a distraction from this hunger game I play.

    Over all there was a good vibe about the guitars. Anyone could sign them in and out. One lad had played in a well known Alberta band and had written some songs during that time. Not bad at all.

    It got me thinking about what a wonderful gift my mother had given me at the age of twelve. Ma played piano, mandolin and later guitar, wrote songs and sang the hits of her youth. She was also an activist and was never afraid to fight for what she believed. It broke my heart that we never reconciled why I was never allowed to feel like her equal.

    Dad, on the other hand, always made me feel that I was his equal. I understand now that insecurity was the beast that runs that apparatus. Ma was way more catholic than she would ever care to admit. I suppose, if seen through the eyes of convention, I must seem wild and unpredictable. In the wilderness of passion, I’ve always managed to make my bed and sleep so sound that the constant noise from this human rat race, falls away like so much conditioning. One suddenly sees the light. Why is it always that the most ignorant among us, always figure that they are the smart ones? Those who insist on giving advice are always the ones who can’t take it.

    Good news this evening upon hearing that Basil, my brother in arms in the 2013 Arctic Thirty Greenpeace action has reconnected with us at home. Hopefully he has forgiven me for introducing him to Vbomb. She broke his heart and he never saw it coming. Like I told the Crown the other day, ‘You’ve got me right where I want you.’

    On a lighter note: Today it took five of us two hours to change a tire on a trailer. At first I thought that it was like working for the government, and then it dawned on me. I was. And for three dollars a day.

November 23

    My friend Black Bear Warrior showed up both days to support me in court. That last paragraph of my defence was very difficult for me to read. Tanya Talagas book ‘Seven Fallen Feathers’ and recently while in the hole, Wab Kenews ‘The Reason You Walk’, had ripped my heart out and I was operating under the assumption that I didn’t have one. At one point I had to briefly let it go and the head Crown (thanks Monty) came over to the stand with a tissue and I finished bravely.

    Just before the officer came for us to leave, I turned to face Jim (BBW) who was watching me from the gallery. I pointed to him but the words wouldn’t come. I just knew that I would lose control, so I turned and left.

    The next day I called my friend and sister in arms Elan. She delivered a short note to him. It read: Black Bear Warrior, it’s an honour for me to call you my brother in arms. I love you and need for you to take care of yourself, so when I get out I can get a big hug, and we can continue to fight the good fight together.

    People generally tend to think that climbers, and especially soloists, are courageous. Don’t get me wrong. These people are very brave, but true courage is very quiet. Very personal. Imagine growing up in an indigenous family that has been rendered dysfunctional from decades of colonial abuse. You then end up in foster homes where eventually you are abused. From there you’re out on the street where you become addicted to substance abuse which turns you to petty crime to sustain your addiction. This goes on for years until one day, something gives, and somehow you realize who you’ve become. It literally scares you out of your darkness into your light.

    I have no idea how Jim managed to turn it all around, but he did! Not only did he heal himself, but he eventually became a medicine man, a healer, one who sees if you will. And if you were to ever walk with

    him for just a half hour, down East Hastings in Vancouver, where the street people make cardboard shelters and hang out under awnings, you will be very surprised at how many hugs the man receives along the way. This folks is true courage. I on the other hand, have had a very lucky and blessed upbringing. I also have way too much fun messing with the elites. These large corporations we fight, by the very nature of the boardroom bottom line, would destroy us all with their cowardly greed and short term thinking.

    These days I am constantly cold. You wouldn’t think a few pounds off my optimum winter weight of 165 pounds would matter much. Today I weighed in at 156 pounds which is just two pounds off my summer weight. I guess you can tell that climbers are constantly obsessed with their fat content. Right now I’m at my optimum sport climbing/bouldering weight and I feel like a piece of shit. The ghost of hunger haunts my time in here, reminding me just how weak I really am. I have no endurance. The only time my core temp gets up is when I work and it doesn’t take long to run out of energy. For someone who enjoys working, it sucks hard.

November 24

    I hope you’ll forgive me for taking Tango so literally but in order to deal with the unpredictable nature of intuition as it relates to ones ambition, I’ve had to consider that there exists a weakness in the chain of command, a weak link that threatens to betray ones own image of self. At times like this I’m really not sure which of us is the unstable part of the total character. It’s been a month now since he and I last took action. It’s 3 a.m. and we can’t sleep. The ambient sound of this massive tent has fused itself on my lack of freedom, that is, freedom at least in the conventional sense. Although he hasn’t learned how to admit it yet, Tango struggled in segregation. After he reluctantly checked it out, he immediately left and did not even say goodbye. Tonight he showed up and we’re catching up, I guess.

    Recently I wrote a piece on three dreams I had in my younger years that rocked my world at the time. Just writing about it served to remind me what a truly blessed life I’ve had. I am indeed the product of the support and loyalty of a strong family. We have a beautiful, five generation homestead and a profound sense of self that comes from a solid confidence, humble yet self reliant, and now with almost 72 years behind me, I am unable to do anything else but walk in beauty. That is to know who you are and what you stand for. This is not a closed stance but an open one that recognizes individualism without hierarchy.

    I have become aware of a quiet trust that refuses to let true anger distort into hatred, into resentment or envy. There are some broken souls in here, desperately trying to heal, struggling to reach potential in this awkward dance we call life. I’ve learned to see myself in others and more importantly perhaps, carefully allow others to recognize themselves in me. The only two people who were ever allowed to ask me where I was going, are no longer with me. I’d give it all right now for a simple hug from my parents.

November 25

    Seems that they are at it again. The Federal Governments lawyers are fighting the decision by the Human Rights Tribunal that ruled that they should pay $40,000 for every indigenous child forced into foster care by a system set up by colonialist attitudes since 2006. Meanwhile, we pay hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to fat cat oil companies. Is this our prime ministers idea of reconciliation?

    Indigenous children are committing suicide at numbers much higher than the national average. Still, our minister of finance comes up with millions to renovate the parliament buildings for their soft, fat, white asses. It smacks of compensation for a pathetic lack of conscience.

November 26

    Got stuck today with mostly guys in for theft over. A few claim to make six figures specializing in big box store robbery. Males are so predictable. Soon the conversation turned to sex and conquest. ‘Bros over Hos’ they’d say.

    Let me make one thing clear. In this game, the most insecure male wins. At one point they had obviously bragged themselves into an uncomfortable moment of silence. It might have been the old man biting his tongue. One turned to me and said ‘How ‘bout you Christenson? ‘Gentlemen don’t tell.’ I said, which really made them squirm.

November 27

    I was glad to hear today that some young people are suing the Doug Ford provincial government for their lack of action on climate change. The United Nations environmental program states that climate procrastination is no longer appropriate.

    After several calls to APTN in Ottawa I finally connected with Laurie Hamelin in Vancouver. We talked for ten minutes or so and had to re connect next day as I was called for work.

    British Columbia becomes the first province to pass a bill (Bill 41) on indigenous rights declaration by the United Nations which is supposed to reduce litigation. Perry Bellegarde, the national chief, says that it should spread to other provinces. Premier Horgan is to be congratulated and deserves the honour bestowed upon him by First Nations.

    I found it very hard to stay warm at work today. It was cold and windy and there was little work to do. Once again my core temperature dropped. I tried running on the spot but soon ran out of energy. When the guys put hamburgers on the grill it was all I could do to give mine away and watch it being devoured. But I managed.

    The hot shower felt so good tonight that I stayed in longer than usual just to thaw out.

November 28

    The EU voted today. Over 400 politicians claimed a climate emergency. The current carbon price per tonne will reach $50 by 2022. It should be $210 per tonne by 2030. We’re behind. Do the math. Mr.

    Wilkenson, our environment minister, keeps hedging and of course the conservatives have no plan at all.

    I found out today that I won’t be getting out of here until February 20th, 2020. I’ve recently noticed that I miss things like not wearing my own cloths, good coffee, or for that matter, intelligent conversation.

    One of the white inmates today kept using the N word in front of this Pakistani truck driver whose crime was really an accident that could happen to any driver. They took his license and now he may lose his family. After the third N word I told the loser to shut his pie hole. Once again, awkward silence.

November 29

    The furnace broke down last night and NH got cold. We’re not allowed to wear our hats in here but this morning I see everyone wearing them, so here goes.

    This whole week has been like purgatory for me. We’ve been helping with a Xmas drive for under privileged kids and that’s fine, but just being in this large building jammed full of donated second hand cloths and toys, with all these fat consumers looking for treasures, I’m feeling more claustrophobic than I did crawling through Bingo, the tightest little cave in Pigeon Mountain, Georgia.

    Most of these inmates are addicted to tobacco and while I put coffee on to percolate, some of them walk the grounds looking for cigarette butts so they can gather what’s left and dry it in a small pot over the camp stove. A page from the crummies bible will do for rolling it up. Finally a good use for that ridiculous book. By the way a crummy is prisoner slang for vehicle designed to transport working inmates.

    I guess if you are reading this, you can tell that negativity tends to wear off on even someone as positive as yours truly. I usually catch myself before opening my mouth and contributing to the cluttered audio around here.

November 30

    Spent some time today with one of the guitars and eventually came up with a riff that may turn into a song sometime. It’s strange for me to try and write music without being stoned on pot.

    I heard some tragic news today that disgusted me once again. What’s with these sub human cowards that gang rape a woman in India and set her on fire. I struggle to understand this depravity in the human beast. Is this why our fear creates a forgiving god?

    I think back to one night while I was touring alone as a singer/songwriter. It was a Friday night and after I had finished performing, I walked to a greasy spoon down town for an early breakfast. I hadn’t met anyone interesting that week and was feeling a little lonely. I remember looking forward to appearing at the London Homecounty Festival in London, Ontario that coming Sunday.

    I ate, paid my bill and was not looking forward to an empty hotel room. I made my way back up the main street. When passing a partially framed in new building on a construction site, I heard what sounded like a scuffle, then a female voice in distress at the back of the alley. It was dark. As my eyes adjusted I saw a guy on his knees with his back to me. He was trying to hold on to the victims flailing legs and pull her jeans off while his friend was bent over facing me, but looking down as he held her arms. What happened next has continued to scare the hell out of me to this day. I picked up an end cut, a two by four about three feet long, and brought it down on the first guys back so hard that I heard his ribs break as the air left his chest cavity. He collapsed on the victim and the second guy received the butt end in his stomach as he stood up with utter shock on his face. When he went down vomiting I actually caught myself loading up to strike him again when the victim started screaming while struggling to get out from under the first guy and get her jeans up. I tried to calm her down to no avail. It was obvious that she thought that I was part of the crew so we both ran in opposite directions.

    Back at my hotel room I finished a bottle of rye and sat up all night unable to believe how violently I had reacted.

December 1

    I’ve been hearing from some scholars that privatization of government institutions creates greed. A good example of this conclusion is in senior citizen care homes. Currently some owners are instructing their managers to limit family visits. Ah, the nuclear family has indeed gotten very ugly.

    Most of us have eventually come to realize that privatizing prisons promotes the taking of minorities like the poor, who can’t afford lawyers and of course, coloured people. Look what happened almost immediately when we privatized education. Students now finish university with a debt the size of a mortgage, no guarantee of suitable work, and we wonder why youth suicide is at an all time high.

    Per capita, I think that there must be more sociopaths in big corporations and governments than in the work force. To me, privatization of these social conditions seems like just another form of violence. November House is a great example of provincial government focused on correction opportunities for non violet people. I doubt private enterprise would have a tendency to do that.

December 2

    No sleep last night. A head cold moved in and out relatively fast and left me with a serious headache.

    I stayed in my cell today in hopes of not spreading it to others.

    The premiers all met in Toronto this day and there’s talk of small nuclear reactors as a possible solution to our emissions. I find this quite scary considering the waste that this technology creates.

    Solar has made huge advances recently, along with battery storage and yes, every option has a foot print. In the big picture, which of these options has the smallest overall, when you consider initial mining for materials through to finished product? And once it is up and running, when something screws up, and it will in time, what damage does it do to the environment and how easy is it to clean up? When we answer these questions honestly, then whatever emerges, we must implement immediately.

    I was supposed to call the independent journalist Anne Watson today but because of this cold affecting the sound of my voice, the phone doesn’t recognize me. I’m thankful that The National Observer is interested in featuring my story. I sincerely thank them for that, and I had enjoyed my first conversation with Anne the other day. Maybe tomorrow.

December 3

    I slept better last night. It finally looks like the great game of hockey is being taken to task for its violent culture. Why is it that ignorant people are always so proud of their ignorance? I always figured that it ran much deeper than some overpaid brats participating in ugly fisticuffs. In the end this beautiful game suffers when idiot bullies take out the best players.

    Here’s a question. Why do managers and coaches think that they can get better performances out of their players by demeaning them? I still say overall, the finest sports people on the planet are pro golfers. They actually call penalties on themselves. That’s called integrity.

    CBC just announced that this past decade is the warmest on record. In the next report they mention that the CEO of Kinder Morgan Canada (TMX) says that construction is going ahead by the end of this year. Our politics is truly insane.

December 4

    The TV media are such sluts for all the petty/fluff news items. Today it’s Trudeau saying that Trumps 40 minute press conference made him late. Trump claims he’s ‘two faced’. Really! I’m sick to death of hearing this shit like it’s important. They just breezed over the fact that TMX has started up again west of Edmonton when communities like Grassy Narrows are once again pleading for the government to do the right thing, like they promised they would, and finally build a water treatment facility. In the sixties the pulp industry dumped thousands of gallons of mercury into the waterway creating the second case of Minamata disease in the world, in those indigenous people. The first case was in Minamata, Japan and to date no one has been taken to task for that crime against humanity, but apparently after six decades of useless talking heads, we’re still not willing to do the right thing.

    Climate change is going to cost the average family about $500 annually because of flooding, droughts, and events like early snows on the prairies where potatoes lay stranded in the soil. So why can’t economists see the warning signs? Countries like China are buying up meat stocks at an alarming rate.

    Huge corporate lobbies and law makers have now and continue to decimate the middle class. Yet they tell us that 75% of the GNP is made up of small business. No human individual should be a billionaire. What the fuck are you compensating for? We desperately need to set new priority now. I sense revolution.

    At this point I must admit to myself that I am on the cusp of depression. I’m sitting here in jail, hungry, chilled, surrounded by people I have little in common with. But I knew this day would come. I had visualized it to the point of becoming fearful. Time to bear down and suck it up.

    Then the TV announces that a cop in Toronto received my sentence of five months for assaulting women in his custody.

December 5

    Premier Fords policy on climate change is not supported by scientific evidence, according to Ontarios auditor general. His policy can not possibly meet the 2030 target. By the way, why is the word ‘conserve’ in the word ‘conservative’? Even some people with jobs are now using the food banks. Why don’t we work on conserving the middle class so we can defeat poverty?

    I’m not a betting man, but I’d bet in a heartbeat that Mr Ford does not conserve groceries.

    It seems to me that one can effectively be in jail within a relationship, at work, in gridlock on the way to work, or just in ones mind. After all, freedom, and time itself, are just human concepts.

    Once again, I have to thank the professionals here at Fraser Regional Correctional Facility for November House. Having access to a guitar has been wonderful. Music set me free last night by presenting an unusual riff that distracted me completely from myself.

    I thank my mother for the best gift of all, music. Mom would give up things that she loved, little things like chocolate, in hopes that my brothers rheumatic fever would improve. I guess I’m like my mom in that I’m giving up the freedom I love, in hopes that by adding my sacrifice to many others, we can eventually win this desperate fight. Desperate people do desperate things.

    If it’s not just some more talk, there appears to be good news tonight. The federal government is to adopt the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights and OPEC nations agree to institute a further world cut of emissions as a warming ocean would devastate the fisheries by 2050. It’s relatively easy to introduce legislation. It’s quite another getting legislation passed.

December 6

    I have to say that I am very proud of Peter Mansbridge in his retirement from CBC. I just watched a documentary called ‘In Search Of A Perfect World’. It started with a Canadian mining company in Guatemala that has decimated the indigenous people and polluted their traditional land. This corporation actually had protesters murdered.

    The doc travels the globe and ends up in a northern Ontario reservation where 12 and 13 year old kids have to fly 450 kilo meters to Thunder Bay to go to high school. This film did my old heart good and served to remind me that I have many allies and that this work we do, regardless of how we do it, is worth it.

    I received a birthday card today from my brother Ken and his wife Judy. It read ‘No one travels through life quite like you.’ This made me feel good. I’m always surprised by how powerful the little things in life truly are.

    It has now been thirty years since a pathetic coward shot and killed 14 young women in Montreal.

    You could argue the person was mentally ill. You could also argue that the people who make and distribute violent entertainment suggesting that violence is the only solution to our problems, are mentally ill.

    In some ways technology, when it comes to taking life, has stirred the coward in our souls. No longer do we have to get close and personal with our perceived enemy and it’s hard to believe that the assault weapon that did the damage that day 30 years ago, is still available to idiots who have no idea what personal power is.

    You could also argue that politicians who stand idly by and sell us out for campaign money, are themselves mentally ill.

December 7

    Bragging rights in jail are how much time you’ve done, and where. The hardest time is considered to be in segregation. They always ask ‘What’s it like?’And I always reply ‘Depends on who you are and why you’re in there.’ When I answer that last question with ‘NVDA’ (non violent direct action) they always think that it’s some kind of drug.

    The initial interest in yoga has predictably worn off. ’Girls thing’. The 2 pound free weights I work with in the weight room is considered frivolous at best, until we all have to strip down in the boot room after work and one of the guards says ‘Christenson, you’re jacked dude.’ That means cut. Still though, they all go back to the heavy weights and low reps. So predictable once again.

    Just before I turned the TV off tonight I see a piece claiming ‘Worlds Oceans In Deep Trouble’. In the 1960s there were 40 dead zones. Now there are over 700. Great. Sweet dreams.

December 8

    Today I woke up seventy two years on this planet. I was happy to see that the Bear Clan Patrol opened a chapter in Calgary today. This idea started in Winnipeg in 1992, to look out for indigenous people on the street and potentially in harms way.

    No one in here knows it’s my birthday so it’s kinda cool just to hang out with the guitar and try to write something. I look forward to talking with my family, although, it does seem to make me more lonesome. My grandsons voice is starting to drop. Nik will be thirteen this coming August.

    The Passionate Eye on CBC does excellent work. I was happy to see that progress on the electric car over the past two years has increased substantially. Big improvements like fast charging, a single charge taking us farther in a bigger variety of models. All this enhances the appeal. Awesome! It has been a happy birthday.

December 9

    It was good to hear today that Greta Thunberg included First Nations rights in the fight against climate change. After all, what other spirituality (religion) counts water on mother earth as the very foundation.

    Even though the horses I cleaned up after and fed this morning were old and tired, I enjoyed their company. I had grown up riding bare back. Eventually we acquired a western saddle and I remember it was a lot easier to stay on at full gallop. Stirrups. What a concept.

    I know I’m kind of sounding like a newscast but I’m trying to create a time capsule of what the media is focused on during this one hundred and twenty three day stint. The songs I have started to write are a direct response to the things I am learning about. And besides, the days in here are mundane at best. The odd conversation leads to interesting stories. One young man from Vietnam was actually a boat person. He and his family eventually landed in Canada and he was currently working on an oil rig before getting busted for drugs. This kid knew about hunger as a child. There’s a big difference between starving oneself and starving. We got hotdogs for lunch on Tuesdays and hamburgers on Thursdays. He would never ask for my lunch but I made sure he got some. He’d inhale that shit.

December 10

    When I get a little down these days I think about the two Michaels in China who are being used as leverage against Canada to release a Huawei executive in Vancouver from extradition to the USA. These guys have no access to lawyers, or for that matter, no contact with the outside. Meanwhile, impotent bureaucrats claim that they are working tirelessly on their behalf. Define tirelessly!

    Apparently the executive is whining about being confined to one of her mansions in ankle bracelets and feels that her rights are being abused. Wow!

    Tonight I saw another good news item about a Vancouver company who will be launching the first fully electric float plane to service the coastal islands. It will be able to deliver up to an hour and a half flight. Cool.

December 11

    Greta Thunberg is Time person of the year. How cool is that! And what does Alberta do? They launch their 30 million dollar Energy War Room. Fuck! I’m trembling in my jail boots. Energy! Why not call it what it is? OIL…..that would be far too honest for any corporate party, let alone the conservatives.

    Don Martin announced today on CTV that Doug Ford stopped a $200 million wind farm that was due to come on line in the Ottawa area. Apparently Ford bragged that if he could, he’d shut them all down. This man can’t even take care of his own body, how the hell is he going to take care of us?

    For half an hour, three times a day, I get a break from the hunger. The chill and the gnawing empty feeling inside my gut just hangs around. I drink lots of water. It tastes good here. I’d say that every ninety minutes or so I have to wake up to urinate in my bottle. Usually about 5 a.m. I stagger out to the washroom to empty it and relieve myself again.

    I dreamt of a solid meal like the ones I grew up on last night. Mom was a great baker and a good cook. As I gorged myself it slowly became peanut butter on a slice of bread. I woke and couldn’t get back.

    More and more I feel like an alien just visiting humanity. Yeah, I have a human body, but my mind is alien. I feel constantly surrounded by vicious cycles where no one ever reaches their potential. I have different priorities, where challenges seem like new lovers getting old, and I get bored. Satisfaction is very temporary. When it’s gone, I’m lonely, searching, always restless.

December 12

    Conservative leader Andrew Scheer resigned today. There is absolutely nothing progressive about this party and it’s going to be interesting to see who eventually replaces him. In these crazy times, all politicians should be trying to convince investors that they need to invest in new energy infrastructure.

    I don’t know why but I’m always more disappointed in someone when it’s a woman who is conservative considering how the patriarchy has manipulated women’s rights.

December 13

    I’m thinking about my Ma today. It was her birthday. It has now been fifty days without solid food and I wonder what she would think about this adventure. She would always say ‘Don’t follow the crowd.’ She would actually sing when she worked, always humming along. I guess that’s the reason I don’t recall ever being shy to sing. What a great gift music is. Thanks Ma.

December 14

    Sadly, it is no longer a surprise to hear of elder abuse in private senior care institutions. Also, elder abuse is on the rise in peoples homes.

    It was hard for us to keep our mother at home during her last couple of years, but I’m so happy we managed to do it. Every generation has its differences, but there were moments when I could tell that she appreciated us trying to return the care that she had shown us.

    Mom always claimed that she was not afraid to die. In the end it became obvious that she was struggling. She had always tried to set an example for her children. That was her way of dealing with it.

    Everyone has heard that depression is the lack of hope. I think more importantly, that it is also anger without action. As one gets older and loses the ability to function efficiently, it must become very difficult to be constructively motivated by anger.

December 15

    Ex SNC Lavalin executive convicted on five counts. Just one of many reasons that Jodi W. Raybould was pressured by the PMO to protect this criminal.

    ‘COP25 ends with no deal on carbon markets’ says Catherine Stewart, Canadas chief negotiator.

    There is a total disconnect between science and politics. Some are calling this the Trump effect. Despite record numbers of people taking to the streets in Madrid during the conference, it serves to show the corrupt power of corporate lobbies. I feel for my friend Tzeporah Berman who gives it all and has been over there negotiating for change.

    On a positive note, I thank Premier Horgan and the BC government for investing $50 million in indigenous language education within the province.

December 16

    I talked to Charlie Smith at the Georgia Straight this afternoon and he seemed surprised that I was still on my modified hunger strike. I assured him that I was fine.

    Obama was quoted on CNN today “If women gained executive power around the world, in just two years, things would be much better. What we have now, is a lot of old men that won’t get out of the way.” Brilliant! If males could give birth, they’d also see the world in a different light.

    The ads on cable television are mostly condescending. Food ads are wearing me out. My dad used to say ‘Don’t believe anything you read or hear, and only about half of what you see, and you’ll be alright son.’ I already miss HBO, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and the best political satirist on the planet Real Time With Bill Maher.

December 17

    A couple weeks ago came up with a riff on the guitar that has now turned into a song called ‘Fourteen Beams Of Light’. While watching the ceremony in Montreal for these promising young women who were executed by an incel (involuntary celibate), I felt I had to release the sadness I held inside. In doing so, I became aware that I really didn’t need good bud to be creative. Although it really helps with the pain associated with morning yoga.

    Two eagles showed up today where we were working. At lunch one of the crew related a story of a young couple who placed their newborn on top their car. They were busy taking scenic photos when an eagle swooped down and flew off with the child. Then he ranted how eagles were evil and if he had a gun

    he would shoot them. Well, that got the ball rolling and a muslim guy confessed that he hated Gandhi because he was a Hindu. Tango damn near bit his tongue off at that point.

    The height of ignorance, and accepting your conditioning, is to expect a bird of prey to recognize us humans as special. Another useful idiot looks on a great human being with hatred. When it became my turn to contribute, I said ‘Really! Please, would someone confirm that this is actually the 21st century.’

December 18

    Whoopi Goldberg wears beadwork by First Nations woman Wish Daniels on American TV to highlight the missing girls and women on the highway of tears in BC.

    CBC National featured Jane Fonda, who was inspired by Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion to do civil disobedience in DC. Jane is still a warrior at the age of 82.

    Liverpool, Nova Scotia is regularly inundated by sea water brought on by melting glaciers in the Arctic. Soon, most coastal towns in the maritimes will be affected.

    I am watching the impeachment hearings today and am truly worried about democracy. One can see the degree to which huge corporations have manipulated the process. Money talks and bullshit walks. It seems to be true about money, but bullshit seems to be the mode of communication these days. Some obviously more sophisticated than the norm.

    CPAC live featured the Alberta Court of Appeal in proceedings about the Federal Carbon Tax.

    Alberta contends that it prevents provinces from adapting solutions unique to its own territory, and that federal over reach is unfair. What’s unfair is that we as tax paying citizens, allow greedy capitalists to corrupt our representatives. Just one example would be that this province of Alberta sold its parks to private interest.

December 19

    Three fat guys moved into NH today and not surprisingly the communal food like soup and juice started disappearing fast. So much for an extra bowl of soup broth or an extra cup of milk. One of them apparently ate a whole loaf of bread in one sitting. Greed is incredibly ugly and some people have no shame. I know that I’m stating the obvious, but every time it repulses more. I’m getting tired of picking my jaw off the floor.

    I wrote my second song tonight called ‘First You See The Lightning’. Now, I’m in the uncertain phase, so I go to an open tuning and struggle to come up with a new idea. It’s always the same, that feeling that I will never write again, but that’s just the creative spirit wanting to clean out and get fresh.

December 20

    Two months to go and I’m out. This morning I woke to Premier Stephen McNeil of Nova Scotia saying that it was okay in the sixties, but not now, for a pulp mill to dump its waste into a waterway adjacent or in a First Nations Community. No it wasn’t! It never was okay!

    Five years ago he gave an ultimatum to a local company that they had five years to clean up Boat Harbour and today he shut them down. This is exactly what an uncorrupt government should do. The CEO of the company claimed that he cared about the 300 employees and of course, the environment. His hands were tied. Lack of imagination and lots of greed will do that to you. Mr. McNeil you are true to your word, and like Mr. Horgan, I salute you.

    Meanwhile, the First Nation of Grassy Narrows is still waiting for a water treatment facility. It has been over five decades and still no safe water. Minamata disease has ravaged the fish, therefore the community.

    I find it interesting that the news is once again all over the two teenagers that killed three white people last summer, and we are becoming aware of the depth and duration of the RCMP investigation into solving these crimes. The leadership obviously came up with a huge budget in this case. Meanwhile, hundreds of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples cases remain unsolved, no funds, no will. I guess the mounties don’t always get the criminal.

    It was 1958 before Indigenous peoples were legally acknowledged as Canadian citizens and colonial biases still linger in our so called civilized society.

December 21

    A far right, ultra nationalist group in Quebec known as the force alliance, are promoting hatred against muslims and Justin Trudeau. Racism is the height of arrogance. It seems to me that some people just need enemies. Some human being once said that you are defined by your enemies. Was Martin Luther King defined by racism? It was indeed his enemy. Injustice was a symptom. Someone should tell the members of this nationalist group that there is a reason we say First Nations. We’re all immigrants here on Turtle Island.

    Today CPAC covered a special chiefs assembly discussing Indigenous language in schools and universities, to encourage the youth to use it in their homes and communities.

    It seems that a lot of First Nations cases regarding land and commercial fishing have been won in Supreme Court, but in most cases, decades have gone by without them being implemented into law. I keep hearing that it’s complicated. Well, if you don’t understand something, or you don’t want it to be understood, just complicate it. It’s a tactic that the crown has perfected.

December 22

    I’m listening to the finance minister from North West Territories speak about climate change as it relates to health care. People living in the north are really the canary in the coal mine. Warming and acidification of the oceans play havoc with livelihoods, and that in turn creates mental health issues within families. The community is slowly compromised.

    None of the finance ministers at the conference mentioned that Canada does not have a bill/law to deal with tax shelters for the wealthy. Everyone talks a good story about their concern for working class people. It’s total hypocrisy.

    One of the coolest guys in here, is in here for teaching people about taxation. He’s a historian of sorts, a brilliant guy who actually studied law to be able to defend himself. He must have really pissed off the revenuers. He got 18 months. His boss received a four and a half year sentence and one of their associates committed suicide rather than do jail time. Meanwhile, most of these talking heads are probably guilty in some way of keeping these shelters available to them and their friends.

    Here’s an example of how governments and corporations really work, or should I say become impotent as it relates to regulation.

    When I was a young man our family operated a small saw mill. We would use our lumber to build boat docks for cottagers. These crib docks actually create fish habitat, providing they are built on blank rock and sand where fish do no spawn. No vegetation. No rubble. (various sizes and shapes of smooth rocks, imbedded in a surface of sand). The rocks that fill these cribs become perfect protection from predators for a variety of bait fish and crayfish.

    The MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) which was called the Department of Lands and Forests back in the day, would give us grief over even the slightest potential infringement. And, as we were trying to scrape out a living, needing the permit of course, large tankers were arriving, bellies full of Detroit/ Chicago ballast water, which then was pumped out into the Parry Sound harbour to accommodate petroleum from our two tank farms. Esso and Shell both had a dozen or so huge storage tanks for petroleum from the Lakehead. In those days, apparently the Ohio River caught fire because it was so polluted.

    This evening it was good to hear that Extinction Rebellion in Ontario dumped a load of manure on the premiers door step. A sign read ‘Fords Plan Is Bull’. Awesome!

December 23

    Banksy, the clandestine street artist is a hero of mine. Recently is Bethlehem, his painting depicted the north star of Christmas, the birth of Jesus, with a bullet hole through the nativity scene. It’s quite

    obvious that Benjamin, the Prime Minister of Israel, is a racist. Violence begets violence. Why haven’t we figured that out yet? Oh yeah, there’s money in misery.

    Today I worked at cleaning up after the various animals at the ranch. I fed them and put down clean shavings to use as bedding. They seemed sad. Even the horses looked miserable. They’d probably been penned up and separated there for most of their lives giving under privileged and physically challenged children the ride of their lives. Bored and lonely.

    Perhaps it’s just me today. I had received letters from my grand kids yesterday, and now I miss them real bad. I found myself being affectionate with the horses, stroking and petting their manes, and whispering my understanding. If nothing else, it helped me deal with my own incarceration.

    Australia has an inadequate climate policy. Heat and wild fires are predicted to continue. Venice is constantly being inundated with higher than usual tides. I wonder how long it’s going to take leaders to actually lead. I see our premier in Ontario has just made it illegal for us to sue his fat ass.

    CPAC: There are approximately 900,000 First Nations people living in 634 First Nations communities in Canada. It looks like the hereditary chiefs north of here are against the LNG pipeline crossing their territory. It does not touch elected/reservation land. This is a good example of why there is no will for the crown to make this territory sovereign. Digging rights. How else are First Nations supposed to prosper? Apparently, someone in the RCMP administration used bad language about how they should deal with indigenous people. Really! What a surprise. Colonialism is so engrained in our dark nature.

December 24

    I watched an inspiring Fifth Estate program tonight on gang violence. A retired police officer and a minister from Boston started an idea called ‘Project Ceasefire’, which incorporated a pro active approach by law enforcement to deal with racism against indigenous people in Regina, Saskatchewan. The hood.

    Often I hear the words ‘We won the war.’ What war? Oh! You must mean the cowardly war that goes like for the most part you were welcomed and in some cases even saved from the harsh northern winters. How about the cowardly warrior who uses lies and deception to take advantage of relatively peaceful human beings. The war of forked tongue and elitism.

    I received pictures of my grand daughter Mia and my grand son Nik this evening. It brought a tear to my eyes to see their beautiful faces looking older, growing fast. It reminded me why I do this work. Life’s good and we will eventually win. We have to.

December 25

    Activists in Hong Kong, China are setting a whole new standard for commitment and sacrifice. They are very brave young people standing up against that particular status quo. Extinction Rebellion has that potential. By getting thousands onto the streets and obstructing the normal functioning of peoples daily lives they illegally saturating the system by clogging the jails and court rooms. Violence is unacceptable. Peaceful, passive but direct, illegal resistance, especially on a day like today, would defiantly wake up the complacent among us. After all, the best we can hope to do, is to leave a healthy planet for all life, before it’s too late to celebrate whatever your chosen faith demands.

    CBC featured a Passionate Eye documentary Part 1 & 2 covering the background details of ‘Woodstock’. It definitely defined my generation in that firstly, it was almost a half a million young people being relatively peaceful. Secondly, we were disorganized, didn’t mind free loading and then most of us just left our garbage in the mud on Yasgurs farm. Hugely naive, we eventually became yuppies and all threats of changing the establishment went out the window. I’m not saying that it wasn’t fun being self indulgent, and the music still holds up today. In many ways it was a cultural revolution that at least poked the old guard of divide and conquer.

December 26

    Forty degrees Celsius and raging wildfires are still brutalizing Australia. Scientists are once again imploring politicians to do something about climate change. Be part of the solution. It usually ends in

    more debate. It’s more about entertainment and taking sides. Unfortunately. Useful idiots are everywhere. I’m struck at how dense we can be and why the ignorant always brag about it?

    We are actually brilliant enough to explore beyond our planet, yet most of us refuse to leave the perceived safety of our comfort zones. After all, a questioning attitude in our mix is very upsetting. These people always gravitate toward others who share their exact opinions. The problem is, our survival as a species depends upon a collective understanding of the fragility of life, and how it is all connected.

    Closed and locked human ignorance might be natures way of cleansing the earth of humans so that the rest of life can heal and find balance once again. But hey, the media is overwhelmed by boxing day sales as breaking news, and once again I feel like an alien visiting this beautiful blue globe.

    CPACs Aphrodite Salas interviewed Jodi Wilson Raybould and her friend and colleague Jane Philpott on a program called The Future of Independents in Politics. Jane recently had lunch with Stephen Lewis. When he was official opposition to Bill Davis (Conservative) in Ontario, they would have lunch together to give one another a heads up on some of the issues that they had before them in an upcoming debate. Those days are gone. Extreme partisanship won’t allow that today. Independents work for the people, not the party. Jodi said that it’s always the right time to do the right thing. Jane said that one should always take truth and integrity over power and prestige. It gives me hope that people like this are still among us. I started the song ‘I See’ in open tuning this evening.

    Government is a sick/toxic system of people trying to achieve power rather than accomplish goals for a better society.

December 27

    It was cold and wet today so I was allowed to stay in. I finished my third song this afternoon and before I had to shut down at 9:45pm I had the makings of a fourth inspired by Jodi and Jane yesterday. It’s called ‘The Right Thing’.

    The Honourable Murray Sinclair, an indigenous judge and senator, speaking on confederation, said ‘There were some good people back in 1862, but John A. MacDonald wasn’t one for them, and he did not have good intentions. As a child Murray was taught that he was inferior to whites and even as a judge, when sentencing white offenders, he could tell that they still looked down on him. Wow, what arrogance.

December 28

    There was an interesting discussion on CPAC today about managing Chinas human rights. It seems obvious to me that we need to get better at managing our differences. Apparently, Hong Kong previously gave its citizens a taste of freedom, and now China wants to dominate in terms of limiting freedom. Once tasted, freedom will haunt your heart.

    I watched ‘Rumble, Indians Who Rocked the World’ today for the third time. For those of you who haven’t seen it, especially music fans, I recommend that you do. The first power chord on electric guitar was invented by Link Wray, an indigenous man who wrote the only instrumental ever banned on radio, because it embodied rebellion. Rumble.

December 29

    Bill C-92 affirms the inherent right of First Nations. Pre existing rights and self determination, jurisdiction and law making, will pave the way for children to maintain their culture with no removals at birth or forced sterilization. First Nation leaders and communities should deal with the federal government and not provinces.

    Doctor Mary Wilson suggests a monument for residential schools, a sacred space, possibly the four directions of the medicine wheel. 1 - children who were never found. 2 - children who died in schools. 3 - remembrance 4 - those who survived are truly heroes. In residential school indigenous children stayed at the school. Day scholars are the children who went home at night.

    At the risk of being accused of being anti semitic I just have to ask, why is it when Jewish people get attacked, it ends up all over the news outlets? Indigenous people around the planet are under constant attack, yet we seldom hear about it. If I arrived from a distant planet I would be led to think that there was

    just one genocide, when in truth, there have been many against various races. Even today, genocide continues under our watch.

December 30

    A think tank at McGill University concludes that you can’t solve a problem you don’t know you have, and a good idea is nothing if it isn’t implemented. It’s not what you know, it’s what you know how to do. I guess if you adopt the attitude that competitive ideas are good, then you shouldn’t be surprised that academics find it difficult to come to a point of view.

    A problem you don’t know you have. Here’s an example from my point of view. Today while working at a sports park I went to get a shovel at one of the storage sheds, on the way, as I approached the parked crummy the young guard rolled down the drivers window and motioned me over.

    ‘Is this you?’ he asked pointing at the video on his phone. I recognized the footage of me soloing The Crow, an 86 meter grade 5 waterfall ice climb on the shore of the St Lawrence in Quebec.

    ‘Yes sir. Why?’

    ‘What happens if you fall?’

    Most people ask as if they really don’t know the answer to this question. These people have a problem they don’t know they have and would perish hanging it out there.

December 31

    Well, it’s been a crazy year. I promised myself that I wasn’t going to get into counting the days left, It’s hard today.

    Just when I was about to get desperate, feeling empty creatively, out of the blue, my fingers started playing a cool riff that immediately resulted in me scatting a melody that refused to be forgotten. It’s true. We do this to save ourselves.

    Canadian Ali Velshi (MSNBC anchor) spoke today about culture and identity politics on CPAC. This very intelligent man spoke at length about how we promote our own perceptions to the degree that it becomes weaponized. Pre Hitler Germany was progressive and multi cultural. Shame starts to die when lying starts to become acceptable. In these turbulent times we need to turn off our alarms and actually listen.

January 1, 2020

    CPAC - On December 8th, 1882, Big Bear signed a treaty because his Cree people were starving in what is now called Manitoba. An effective part of genocide is to deplete the food source. The buffalo were gone. He had actually tried to ride his horse to Ottawa to speak to the great white chief, during which time his warriors killed the whites guarding food stores at Frog Lake fort. Big Bear got blamed, sentenced and sent to prison. He got sick. Eventually he was released and soon after dies with one son at his side.

    In 1876 Canada had bought hundreds of thousands of square miles of indigenous territory for a million and a half dollars from the Hudsons Bay Company. My question is how did HBC acquire this land?

    It was very emotional for me to write the song Big Bear this day. I kept tearing up as the words began to flow and I was exhausted by the time I signed out the guitar.

January 2

    The Hon. Carolyn Bennett, Crown Indigenous Relations Minister, made some points today that are long overdue.

  1. implementing a declaration on indigenous rights B-41
  2. national investigation into missing and murdered (action plan)
  3. decolonize (moving from paternalism to partnership)


  1. federal lawyers are obstacles to implementation
  2. set aside land in large urban centres for First Nations
  3. get out of courts and into negotiations ASAP

    Of course, the elephant in the room is obviously not compensating First Nations children yet because government lawyers are still tying it up. I keep hearing of instances where First Nations go to Supreme Court to get decisions on things like hunting/fishing rights and the ownership of traditional land. The court decides in their favour and yet, many years go by without implementation. This is not walking together. This is not reconciliation.

    I was happy to see the NDP leader Jagmeet Singh take his campaign to Grassy Narrows, Ontario.

    This indigenous community symbolizes federal government neglect in favour of large corporations. Water is a basic right. Schools infested with mold wouldn’t be ignored in white communities. Why do First Nations have to fight for safe education?

    An indigenous elder once said ‘The government always takes quick action to do things like spray defoliant on our territory without our permission. No black flies. No blueberries.’ Conservatives like Doug Ford take swift action to levy fines on First Nations people hunting on farm land.

    The Hon. Marc Miller (Indigenous Services Minister) was the first politician to speak Mohawk in the House of Commons. He talked about finishing water and waste facilities by 2021 - set aside 110 million dollars for indigenous entrepreneurs and announced C92 (self determination over child welfare).

    At the risk of sounding sceptical I remember the story of the code breakers, Mohawk soldiers helped keep Canada and the United States safe during World War II, and in return we tried to strip their language from them, the very language they used to save our sorry asses. Now that’s indeed a bitter irony.

January 3

    Scientists are worried that the smoke from massive fires in Australia have darkened the snow covered peaks of New Zealand 2000 kilometres away and will lead to melting faster than normal. This is just one example of how connected everything is on this planet.

    Today the Americans took out an Iranian general. I guess the military industrial complex folks aren’t making enough money these days.

    CPAC - Minorities in Canada - a conversation with the Metis Nation. There are 35,000 people in Canada today who have no place to stay, no roof over their heads, let alone food for their stomachs. Some are in here for the winter, just commit a non violent crime in October and you’re covered until spring.

    When you consider the moral implications of intentionally eroding the middle class which in turn adds many to the working poor, no system should feel comfortable allowing a single human being to become a billionaire.

    This same system decides to justify a situation where a six pack of beer costs the same everywhere in Manitoba, but a jug of milk costs much more in the north.

    Metis children are less prepared for school. Girls are more prepared than boys, probably due to emotional maturity. Poverty and geological location are a factor. There are more liquor stores than grocery stores. 87% of crime is committed by boys age 16 to 30 and apparently white boys more than white girls are drawn to racism.

    Tuberculosis is 300 times more prevalent in northern Inuit people than in southern white society. Post World War II, human rights were making Canada proud of their effort, yet this abuse went on for decades.

    The current government is trying to stamp out TB by 2030. They’re finally trying to create an Inuit section within the federal budget.

    57% of Inuit speak Inuktitut. Inuk is an Inuit person and 48% speak the language in the home.

    Food insecurity affects 70% of the population in the north as apposed to 8% in the south. There is also a lack of infrastructure in the north. Add to this a general lack of interest by the public in how confederation affects minorities in Canada, and I’d say we are not only a violent species, but we are greedy. It seems the more we have, the more we want. The soul faces starvation in this insanity.

January 4

    CPAC - The Arctic: China wants a polar snow road over the Arctic for shipping.

    1. Russia has 13 icebreakers and Canada has one. Both Russia and China want icebreaker service to keep the north passage open all year.
    2. Fish stocks are moving north due to temperature change and everyone wants access.
    3. 40% of Canadian land mass houses just 200,000 people. Specific gear and training is needed for such a hostile environment.
    4. The Canadian Rangers are Inuit people with 10,000 years of experience not only surviving, but flourishing in the Arctic.

    Where in this scenario is the incentive to fight climate change? Some Canadians would want to build more icebreakers and others would say why make that investment when there will be no ice in the near future. We think like predators. We’re willing to take advantage at the drop of a hat.

    The Passionate Eye featured The Prince and Pedophile tonight. Their names don’t deserve mention in my story. I will only say that people without personal power will stoop to anything to feel a false sense, when they have no idea of what true power really is. They are pathetic cowards.

    On the other hand ‘The Sound of My Voice’, Linda Ronstads bio was on CNN and it was awesome.

    A musical voice with such a huge positive spirit.

    During commercials I managed to finish ‘Give of Yourself’ for Nik and Mia. I’m sure they will. I also managed to finish the second verse for ‘Watchouse’, a song I started while crashing there this past summer. I can’t resist playing with what I perceive as the true power. The arts communicate at an instinctive level that somehow unites us as human beings.

January 5

    I’ve adjusted well to the routine of how things are done around here. I know the officers now as unique characters, consistently generous and straight from the shoulder stern when you step out of line. Fair would be a good description.

    However, watching cable tv is getting me down. Then I get American pissed, Canadian pissed off, because the ads are just plain, bone deep ignorant.

  1. look younger by adding some untested chemical in the form of a spray to your scalp. It’s supposed to make your hair look thicker. Yuk.
  2. eat my crap, fast food (so much for looking younger), and while you’re at it, one profiteer claims his product grows hair.
  3. exercise equipment for lazy couch potatoes who claim that sitting and pedalling has transformed their lives, yet they remain obese. Put on this patch or take this energy chemical to nourish muscles that you never use. Never use! Get a life.
  4. young guys in pink one pieces singing/selling pink fluid that helps your stomach if you pig out and your already huge gut gives you grief.
  5. still dumb post Xmas ads encouraging greed.
  6. even wrinkles on our clothing is way bad, possibly shameful.
  7. for the number two in you. Are you fucking kidding! Now we need drugs so we can have a bowel movement.

    2.8 million tuna were taken last year. Just like the cod fishermen years ago, the fishermen today are still prepared to take every last one of them and be the first to whine when there’s none left.

    Sorry. I’m getting a little grumpy. I know.

January 6

    First day back to work after the so called holiday inside, and even though their spirits seemed worn down, it was good to be in the presence of horses again. There’s a cold rain threatening to turn to snow and I’m getting better at feathering the balance between core temperature and energy. Most days the

    work we do is finished around 11:30a.m. We make our way to the crummy where the cook has hot coffee on and is preparing lunch.

    Standing or sitting around a fire without getting smoke in your eyes or down your throat is an art. A gust of wind only lasts a few seconds so closing ones eyes and stopping your breath is timed with the movement of the flames. I’m usually good at it except, by leaving time at 1:15pm I had almost cooked the souls of my boots trying to stay warm.

    NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreements) are legal in Canada and the United States. If someone has enough money they can cover up their criminal activity by paying the victim off. In this corrupted system, someone like Harvey Weinstein, or for that matter any large corporation, can either physically or physiologically rape the victim and get away with it. This absolutely confirms that rape is more about power than sex. Or should we say that it’s more about the very lack of power. Rich pigs without personal power.

    Perhaps this is the patriarchy within courts, looking the other way as predators and their lawyers have their way with individuals. It’s disgusting that this is legal in a democracy.

    CBC - The Future of War: ones and zeros - digital weapons for cyber assault and defence. This is scary shit. If you want peace, prepare for war.

    When will human beings figure out that we all have a need to be creative and pursue happiness?

    But then again, what makes a sociopath happy? Violence comes in many forms. Humans have a huge capacity for violence. This is the profound fear that creates religious faith and yes, it is as blind as ever.

    We also have a huge capacity for fooling ourselves. When you look at the average film made for entertaining us, violence is always the obvious solution. Revenge rules and when we see it fulfilled, it makes us feel good. Righteous. No guilt. The real problem though is, that we feel no shame.

January 7

    An old Inuit hunter speaking to a young inexperienced hunter said ‘You can’t hunt everything you see. Be selective, like the wolf.’

    My activist sister Elan asked me to call the Long House Church this evening during a meeting the Mountain Protecters were having. When she put me on the speaker phone everyone cheered and that made my day.

    The National Observer article arrived at the front desk complete with a warning to Doug Ford that he will eventually be hosting my next action. Special thanks to Anne Watson in Vancouver.

January 8

    I think we need to give Harry and Megan much needed privacy from celeb seeking idiots in this age of being famous for being famous. These gossip consumers are people with little character who worship wealth and notoriety, who live out their safe, boring, pathetic lives, star gazing and watching ridiculous game shows, sitcoms and comedies with over played superficial laugh tracks. Literally, units in living rooms watching others in living rooms where absolutely no living ever happens.

    News used to be a public service. Now it’s mostly opinion and speculation. Suddenly everyone is an expert, when in reality, everyone is an entertainer for the beast.

January 9

    One of my good friends in here was totally betrayed by his business partner in a small construction corporation while he was away in his homeland Iran. He had been visiting relatives and on his return found himself being charged with fraud.

    Currently his wife and daughter are visiting family in Iran and are scheduled to fly back to Canada on the 16th. Needless to say that he’s worried today and we’re hoping it wasn’t a missile that brought down the jetliner there. Sam is a soft spoken man with a big heart. I haven’t known him long but the way he speaks about his homeland reminds me that politics is the same everywhere on this planet.

    Without respect it turns ugly fast.

January 10

    CPAC - Joanne Lui, president of Doctors Without Borders. In regards to refugees, even people in first world countries are demonstrating against this group of professionals for taking care of desperate people. Joanne herself is continuously receiving hate mail. Folks, this is how fear and greed has infiltrated the average consumer who has probably never suffered like a refugee, comparatively speaking of course.

    She also mentioned that Justin Trudeau had promised to eradicate TB in northern First Nations and in five plus years has not even started. She stated ‘One of the reasons we don’t sit at the table in the United Nations, is we obviously have obligations to do good, like pay up on the indigenous file.’

    APTN - It continues - the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are against the LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) pipeline being built on their territory and people are protesting. This pipeline doesn’t touch elected/ reservation land, but invades what should be by now, sovereign traditional territory. This territory is not under the Indian Act. I know of similar territory in my home province of Ontario.

    It seems that patriarchy has raised its ugly head in Sawridge First Nations in Alberta. Bill C31 discriminates against women who can’t become band members with equal rights. This is Indian Act colonialism and chauvinism hand in hand.

January 11

    Iran admits mistake in shooting down airliner. I heard just one GOP senator blaming Trump for starting this mess. Once again, innocent people get to pay a hefty price.

    Headline: Ousted Boing executive leaves with $62,000,000 severance. It seems to me, that only large corporations are stupid enough to reward failure, and then hope that things will improve in the future.

    CPAC - Paul Martin claims that mining and oil companies are actually more supportive of indigenous people than other corporations. If that’s true, then our government in Canada is less supportive of First Nations people than oil companies. Wow! Did you know that indigenous children get less benefits than all other children in this first world country? Our prime minister was supposed to deal with this two years ago, yet we accept 300 000 immigrants and their children ever year. This is just one nasty little example of institutional racism, colonialism and just plain old persecution.

    If you do not speak truth to power, then you don’t deserve to call yourself a journalist.

January 12

    Power equals population density. Canada is a middle power in this respect. Yet our quality of life is why immigrants want to live here. Once again, First Nations to some degree, still live in third world conditions and for the most part, this goes un noticed by most of us.

    Wouldn’t it be awesome if Harry and Megan were to take the lead in helping to tear down the Indian Act while maybe installing a minimum annual income for those who depend on a monthly cheque.

    Wishful thinking on my part I know, but wouldn’t Princess Diana be proud of her boy. Harry has taken the first step to freedom from royal control.

    CPAC - Better Policy For a Better World - Rachael Notley speaks about how income disparity drives populism. Canada is not immune to what’s happening in the states.

    A single photo of a drowned boy, face down on a beach, drives policy more than reams of academic research. If we could only see our environment like that little boy.

January 13

    Jewish leaders want Canada to register the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist entity. I wonder why the Jews in Hollywood keep producing movies about how weapons of war always solve problems for the heroes in their stories. Thousands of rounds being fired and shit blowing up must be what most of us want to see. Horror movies showing all forms of depravity as mere entertainment is the norm. What do we get out of watching life being destroyed? What attracts us? As long as it makes money, who cares?


    Wrong. We don’t even want to hear about indigenous youth committing suicide let alone watch a movie about the causes. Why doesn’t Hollywood show interest in this story? Not enough action?

    CBC - Indian day school children, students who return home at night, can now seek compensation. I can’t help but wonder how much red tape has been put in place by government lawyers.

    This evening I began writing ‘Shawna Brown’, a story about a young indigenous girl from a northern reserve, leaving for Thunder Bay and high school. I’ll try writing it from a parents point of view.

January 14

    If you want to do something about some issue, just call for a study. It is something, but don’t confuse this with action. Talking heads politicians will try and convince you that it is but it’s bullshit, a tactic to delay the inevitable.

    The courts will always defend the law as if it were carved in stone. They seem to forget that it was they who carved it into that stone in a different time, and there are plenty of untouched stones to put a more just, a more up to date 21st century chisel to.

    It’s twelve degrees Celsius outside for the second day now, so we continue to hang out inside, waiting for warmer weather. It seems strange to me that it’s too cold to work but I’m grateful.

January 15

    My stomach has been bothering me for the last few days. My one bowel movement a week is either hard as rock or mostly water. Lately I’ve been putting milk in my coffee and tea and that seems to help reducing cramps.

    I’ve been listening to Jason Kenny speak about meeting the Indian president in 2007. The president asked him when he could expect to buy Alberta LNG to help him decommission coal plants in India.

    India now buys LNG from Qatar, a country that finances extremism which often leads to terrorism. I might agree that once LNG is in the pipeline and there is a rupture, the damage to the environment is considerably less than diluted bitumen. However, fracking for LNG is a hugely polluting process that destroys ancient fresh water below the surface.

    Question: Does the BC Court have the right to impose environmental laws that are in conflict with Federal laws? Inter-provincial pipelines and railways are Federal jurisdiction. The TMX was originally approved in 2006 when heavy oil didn’t exist at that time. A hundred years ago, CN construction created a rock slide that wiped out a Sockeye salmon run. A ruptured pipeline could do the same today on other runs. Haida Nation laws govern the health of the waterways, the land and the animals. I’d say jurisdiction shouldn’t preclude them.

January 16

    Most of us know that Barrack Obama was the first black president of the US. Hardly any of us know that MathewDaCosta was the first black man to enter Canada in the year 1608. He was an explorer who learned indigenous languages. Panis is an indigenous word for black slaves. Mathew was here before Europeans. DaCosta was with the Champlain expedition from France.

    More than two centuries later in 1816, the Metis first battle for free trade took place. There were mostly women in the Metis cabinet. Metis were known as the flower beaded people, half breeds or mixed blood. Metis is an indigenous word meaning ‘people who own themselves’.

    It’s one thing for an indigenous person to make it to a position within government, it’s quite another to want to stay there, considering all the structures in the way to prohibit any forward movement or change. Add to that, hope for black and brown kids is looking up, and seeing a black or brown judge, doctor, lawyer, or police person. There are too many white males dominating these professions.

    Question: Upon entering the country, we ask immigrants about their values in terms of human rights, why don’t we ask people in Quebec and Ontario about their values considering indigenous poverty, boiled water advisories and unsanitary conditions within their northern reservations? I’d like to ask Doug Ford this question. We have the legislation for clean water as a human right. We don’t have the political will.

    HEADLINE: Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the BC Appeal to limit the materials that flow through the TMX pipeline. BC wanted Alberta to apply for permits. Great! I feel for the people of Burnaby. Even Vancouver isn’t prepared for a heavy oil spill. We’re talking major HazMat issues.

January 17

    The characters in here come and go like ants in a hive. Most in for a week or so. I really sense the disfunction in how society is structured. This is why the guards in here have become heroes of mine. I try to imagine it day in and day out for an entire career. My mind goes tilt.

    It’s been a rough day today working outside with bad cramps, probably from drinking too much hot coffee in an attempt to keep my core warmer. The guys on the cleaning and serving crew put my name in as there was an opening. I start on Monday. Can’t wait.

    Arctic policy has become extensive recently. As usual, indigenous voices were excluded in certain areas, mostly because their political structures were limited. Politicians are aware that there are not as many votes in those expansive areas, so it is predictable that they show limited interest.

    With the US next door, for Canadas market, it’s like sleeping with an elephant. China and India share a border. I guess that must feel like sleeping with two or three elephants. If population is power, then Africa in just a few years, will have a bigger population than the US, China and India. Migration is going to matter to Canada. We will see a realignment of foreign policy in the coming years.

January 18

    CPAC - The Munk Debate on Capitalism. Democracy is defined as a system where the poor govern. They are the majority. In reality, when a bill comes to parliament, if you follow the money, you will find where some oligarchy is trying to leverage an advantage.

    I worry about the future of journalism. Will it continue to be the info echo chamber it seems to be now? Will information inequality continue with an ever shortened news cycle? Fake news will thrive as long as we want to see what we want to see. More opinion. Less facts. Or for that matter, ‘alternative facts.’ Today, there are more personnel in news rooms working less on research, and more on stories.

    Partisanship will always cherry pick content, put things out of context or incomplete. INTERESTING IF TRUE. This headline should never be published.

January 19

    When people refer to ‘the good fight’, they mean to say the just fight, as in justice. It’s truly a fight for the humanity in human beings, a personal sacrifice in order to testify, to speak truth to a power that has been corrupted by special interest and yes, when it is finally time to pay the cost of freedom, we must stand tall, firm like truth itself. Not proud, for pride is after all, one of the deadly sins. Time to rest and live to fight another day. Honour and integrity will always trump status and prestige.

    My Iranian friend was released today and left me his special pillow. I have to say I’ve met some good guys in here. There but for fortune.

January 20

    An extradition lawyer in Vancouver just said that Trudeau is within the law in sending Ms Meng home, rather than to the states to face charges. Now that I have three months under my belt, I really feel for the Michaels who have been held now for over a year in China. To state the obvious, this is the game of political leverage.

    Imagine if you will, that constructing a government is akin to designing a 737 airliner. A pilot spokesman for Boeing recently said ‘They took the pilots out of the system with a software that screwed up. It was designed by clowns and supervised by monkeys.’

    It’s Martin Luther King day in the US and today pipeline protests cancelled ferries to Swartz Bay and other island locations. Adam Olson, the Green Party leader, visits Wet’suwet’en LNG blockade north of here where hereditary chiefs rule a very large traditional territory.

    Charlie Angus - NDP - (indigenous youth critic) confronts the government on their decision to not compensate rape victim because she had been on a school bus when the official raped her, and he wasn’t employed by the day school. This amounts to suppressed evidence under Carolyn Bennetts file. What the fuck? What does reconciliation actually mean with this government?

January 21

    Toxic Pattern: Canadas Ombudsman says that thirty percent of people in prison are indigenous due to institutional racism in law enforcement and court rooms. The highest percentage of judges are white males.

    In 2013, when a polish man was tasered and killed in Vancouver Airport, the two cops out of four who were scapegoated, were black and indigenous. Two white cops were acquitted. Once again I maintain, racism is at the very top. It has to be. Black men are second only to indigenous men incarcerated in Canada. General population? Do the math.

    I ended up with a nasty headache this evening. Today was my last day working outside in the cold. For the last few years I’ve had a loose tooth, bottom back right, that has never given me any grief, until tonight. Taking a pain killer on an empty stomach just led to bad cramps. I gargled with salt water and tried to sleep. No deal. Later that evening I started ‘True Courage’, a song inspired by my brother in arms Jim Leyden.

January 22

    As expected, I didn’t sleep good last night. This morning when I woke, I was happy to find that the loose tooth no longer felt like it was going to get infected.

    What is it with conservatives? In particular, Quebec conservatives? Catholic I guess. Once again, there’s another dinosaur throwing his hat into the leadership race. This talking head is saying that homosexuality is a choice. After all we have gained for human rights? Really? I can’t understand what these idiots are afraid of. Will men eventually evolve to have babies? Shit! That is a scary thought. Sorry. Not sorry! Conservatives are afraid of all the wrong things.

January 23

    There are approximately 94,000 abandoned oil/gas wells in Alberta and 3406 orphaned wells where companies have gone bankrupt. The auditor general literally does not know what to do. Once again tax payers are going to have to pay the bill for clean up. The government gives billions to rich corporations in the form of subsidies, when every cent should be creating jobs cleaning up that huge mess.

    If I have a bad day and start feeling sorry for myself, even for a few minutes, I think of the inmates in the north of my province Ontario. Almost 100% of Kenoras inmates are indigenous people. In Thunder Bay, the very old jail was designed to accommodate 120 inmates. Today it houses 200 inmates and 75% are indigenous. Four inmates in a 6x12 foot cell, two in the bunk bed, one under it with a six inch clearance, and one in a corner with legs wrapped around the front of the toilet.

    Please, this old man is begging Canadians to become more aware of what is happening in your province, your municipality. I understand it’s hard to find the time and quite frankly, I must admit that I wouldn’t be spending this much time cruising media outlets if I wasn’t in jail. Individually we must take responsibility to at least be interested. Your off spring are counting on you.

January 24

    Local news today featured an interesting story of Thomas, a young indigenous man who lost his wife and started drinking. While at a healing ceremony on a remote island off Vancouver Island, he disappeared. He’s been hiding out now for over 500 days. His family knows that he’s still alive because

    he leaves messages for them. Sometimes his uncle has seen him at a distance and says he now has long hair and a beard. They’ve found a couple make shift camps recently.

    Very cool Thomas. You’ve picked a great way to get clean and heal your heart. When you are ready, come back to your people. Share what you have learned.

January 25

    Nature of Things - CBC - A people known as the Salutrians from what’s known as France today, crossed the ice on the North Atlantic 20,000 years ago. Their tools were found on an island off Maryland on Chesapeake Bay.

    Now that I’m navigating my final years as a human being, I can actually imagine what a century of time must feel like, that is, from a perspective of wisdom gained. I seems to me that we are not very good at passing along our wisdom gained from a lifetime. When exactly does self preservation kick in? And why when it does, do so many of us lose control? We seem to be naturals at objectifying others.

    This evening I received a letter of encouragement from my sister in arms, Rita Wong, professor at SFU. It was only a few months ago that she had served her sentence of 28 days.

January 26

    One of the pillars of democracy is integrity. It has now been two years since the United Nations told our Liberal government to come good and pay up indigenous children for the abuse they suffered in residential schools. I don’t think the general public realizes that these kids were getting less for education than the children of the rest of us. Like the 2% cap on indigenous education that the Liberals installed under Chretien in 1996. I hope this has changed under Justin Trudeaus authority. I wonder.

    Elan came to visit today. She’s another sister warrior who has become a good friend. It was good to see someone from the outside. Even though hugs were out of the question, it was awesome to hear about others involved in the good fight and feel the kinship.

January 27

    CBC - Liberation of Auschwitz - Survivor Marian Turski spoke of how the death camps didn’t just fall out of the sky, but developed slowly, starting with intolerance of minorities, and then escalated over a few years. He eventually said that people would ask if it could happen here in North America, and he replied ‘Yes, in fact it already has. In fact it’s happening now.’

    There is a huge indifference toward indigenous people that we still tolerate. And no one wants to acknowledge this. These white folks speak of god, but whose god would allow this destruction? I guess most of us really are that stupid and fearful of something as natural and fundamental to life, as death.

    The death camps of Nazi Germany were horrific and Jewish people, like ever race, have their unique beauty, but if you were to add up the many genocides of indigenous peoples around the planet, the holocaust would pale in comparison. It takes financial clout to bring such human depravity to the attention of the world.

    The audience at this event was mostly white, if not all white.

January 28

    I awoke this morning with a dream stuck in my head. My friends and I were bouldering in the sun. I could still feel the joy of challenging one another to harder and harder problems. We were getting the best out of ourselves, and we were happy.

    Shit! Parliament’s back. CPACs programming is seriously going downhill. How does anything ever get done in this mess? For the most part they act like overweight, complacent, completely spoiled children. The heckling on each side of the house is shameful, all the while referring to one another as honourable. There is very little honour in worshipping the almighty buck. There’s no respect, and definitely no working together for all Canadians.

    I watched Melina Laboucan-Massimos new show on APTN this evening called ‘Power To The People’. I had first met her back in 2007 on a research mission in Fort Mac. I’ve always felt she is big medicine for her people.

    A Doctor John O’Connor says that there is lots of lymphoma in men working in Fort Mac. I don’t doubt that for a second. In the past I’ve been up to my chest in tailing ponds, and a few times sneaking through the centre of relocation operations I could feel the effects in my lungs for many days later.

    The last part of the show focused on a solar operation on a Cree reservation. What a striking contrast to the over all footprint of generating energy for your community. Always end on a positive note. Cool show.

January 29

    Tech Frontier, a huge open pit tar sands monster, 100 kilometres north of Fort Mac is being considered for approval at the end of February. The Premier of Alberta, Jason Kenny, says that it’s a litmus test for unity. This project would produce 260,000 barrels of heavy oil per day. This is a 20 billion dollar mine.

    Jason Nixon, Albertas Minister of Environment, claims that it is good for Canada and amounts to 10,000 jobs, which in turn creates two million tons of emissions per year. Alberta apparently wants tax on big emitters and not citizen transportation.

    This is depressing stuff. I hope the investors are aware beyond the price of oil, that even though Chief Allen Adams of the Chipeweyan Nation, whose territory this mine consumes, is for it for his people, I think it’s safe to say that there will be great resistance.

    At the risk of too much information, I had a little cup of raisin bran cereal this morning and this evening it worked out good. No more cramps. It’s been almost three weeks since I evacuated. It’s been painful. Tonight I sleep.

January 30

    Wow! What a difference good sleep makes. It’s been difficult doing light training two or three times a week just to keep some muscle tone. Maybe today I have fun.

    Good news. Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Environment, announced a 2021 ban in Canada on micro and single use plastics, under the Environmental Protection Act.

    Also, Cenovus, an oil company, has pledged 50 million dollars over five years to build homes for indigenous people in northern Alberta. I hope that means that they include clean water and modern sewer. I wonder how much this has to do with the upcoming Tech Frontier decision. I know. I have a profound grasp of the obvious.

    I’d like to dedicate a song that I started to write this evening to Wab Kinew. In his book The Reason You Walk, he articulated the Iron John syndrome perfectly, in the relationship that he and his father had. Perhaps it is to varying degrees inherent in all males. It’s called ‘Don’t Look Back”.

January 31

    APTN - In Focus - hosted by Denis Ward - Indigenous women account for 42% of all women in prison. Since 2001 indigenous incarceration has doubled. A high percentage of girls in Saskatchewan are indigenous girls dealing with poor housing and a lack of jobs due to racism and inadequate education.

    They end up on the street and from there eventually jail.

    Also, they have no proper legal representation and stand before white judges who will usually release white inmates with violent pasts, before releasing indigenous inmates for drugs and non violent charges. This is institutional racism from the very top down.

    Today the liberal government has spent five million dollars of our tax money, on lawyers to fight indigenous children, which amounts to going against the United Nations human rights tribunal. Willfully discriminating against these children is in no way reconciliation.

    Apparently in Manitoba, there are no more birth alerts for indigenous mothers. This is when Child Welfare would just take their newborns. Finally some good news.

    One MP in my home province that I believe works hard for indigenous people, is Charlie Angus for Timmins Hudson Bay. It’s a hard file and by now most of us can see the pattern he and others are actually up against. It’s simply numbers. Not enough votes in the north. I consider this a big flaw in the system.

    Meanwhile, David Chartrand, who has taken the lead role as president of the Metis National Council is worried about conflict within. It seems that Ontario is fighting with Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

    Someone said that having indigenous blood in your veins does not necessarily make you Metis.

    There is some sense in this. In many ways, we are the ‘community’ we belong to. With the exception of stolen Native kids who might not be *allowed* to feel a sense of belonging in their white community.

    I sense the old guard sneaking in. In the end, it’s just more division.

February 1

    The chaplain came by again today. Probably a nice guy, but what is it with that condescending attitude that christians display toward us agnostics? Like we’re sub human in the enlightenment department.

    I’ve always wondered what determines a religion. Emile Durkheim defined religion as ‘a unified system of beliefs and practices, relative to sacred things. That is to say, things set apart and forbidden, beliefs and practices, which unite into one single moral community called a church.’

    Is sanctuary in a church legal? While the practice of churches offering sanctuary is still observed in the modern era, it no longer has any legal effect and is respected solely for the sake of tradition, immunity from arrest, afforded by a sovereign authority.

    What legally makes a religion? Answered September 6, 2016. Bill 18 USCS 1093 defines a religious group as a set of individuals whose identity as such, is distinctive in terms of common religious creed, beliefs, doctrines, practices or rituals. The details of which could suggest that you may want to try to abuse them, or render religious entities not legally non profits. Strange!

    In short, I think religion is a service to those who need it for comfort in this wilderness of so called civilization.

    This evenings news reported that an indigenous community on Lake Huron rejected a project to store nuclear waste on their traditional territory. The Canadian shield must seem like an attractive opportunity to store this waste, but even this massive shield is not static, and therefore vulnerable to vibration and water migration. 

February 2

    I see that someone left black crosses with threats against Mohawk leaders and elders on a Quebec reservation. The distinct society strikes again I guess. I hate hearing this shit while I’m having my morning coffee.

    Although it is good not to have to work outside anymore, and the cleaning/serving chores are easy, today I feel very weak after some light training. I woke up very sore. I think the lack of protein is starting to show. I hate the odd day I feel lazy. Is this how lazy people feel?

February 3

    The Tech Frontier oil sand mine project aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. By then, at the current rate of consumption, I believe that it will be too late to reverse or for that matter, even slow down the warming of the planet.

    I really don’t understand why investors can’t see the writing on the wall so to speak, when it comes to investing in the future. After all, it’s the nature of their job to want to be ahead on the curve. Besides,

    this company is experienced in mining for coal, not oil, so how can they have the expertise to make this claim?

February 4

    Today the TMX decision went against us. Coast Salish leaders now have 60 days to file an appeal.

    Chief Leah George Wilson of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation says that indigenous law will not let this pipeline go through.

    Coldwater band Chief Lee Spahan feels that reconciliation doesn’t seem genuine. Reports on the effects of TMX on waterways and aquifers isn’t even complete yet. Quebec has last say on pipelines. Why doesn’t British Columbia?

    Rueben George says that reconciliation stops today, and Bob Chamberlin, former vice president of BC Indian Chiefs said ‘Consultation was totally controlled by the Crown. What they continue to do is control, delay and distract.’

    Apparently, of the 129 Native bands along the route, 43 have direct deals with TMX and almost another 80 either support or don’t oppose. There is so much division among everyone. The resident Orca pod can’t survive this project. It seems the Coast Salish people are the only bands truly worried for the coastline.

    Even though I was half expecting this decision, it’s still heart wrenching. No sleep tonight. 

February 5

    I couldn’t shut down last night. Not a wink of sleep. This is unusual for me. I’ve slept in places you’d think impossible for shut eye. My view is this. The more you care, the less you sleep. Most of the time I don’t give a shit about what most would fear. I fear boredom. I would take a sleepless night any night, in this case, thinking about the last two years fighting TMX, over an one hour of boredom.

    I’ve had lots of cards and letters from people I don’t know thanking me for my commitment and tenacity. One gentleman called me intrepid. Two or three of these a week really help when you are isolated from normal life. A hero seldom feels like a hero, and working mostly alone gets lonely. Today, I feel like a crazy old man whose been beaten down, proven wrong, who got caught caring too much for the future and not enough for the present.

    I’m going to get so high on the 20th, drink real coffee, and have a beer in my own clothes, maybe a salmon steak for supper. Recently, I’ve been hearing about a virus. I’m flying home on the 28th and hope it’s not a problem. That’s all I need now.

February 6

    CPAC - The Walrus Talks - Meteorologist Bob MacNamara speaks about the new science being done on the polymer. This of course comes from the petroleum industry. I’ve always said as a synthetic fibre rope designer, that the molecules we build our products with, come from the petroleum industry.

    Another thing I’ve always stated, from an activist point of view, we shouldn’t be burning this beautiful technology, if you will, in our engines of transport. We as Canadians, should be leading the way in designing things like plastics that don’t gas off fast and get brittle. In other words, once again, it’s a bean counter thing. Cheaper means better profit margins. It also means one time use. If you build a container of plastic, like glass, it should be designed for multi use. Or better still, designed from organic molecules that degrade naturally. If you have imagination, there’s always money to be made.

    Today the RCMP arrested LNG pipeline activists in Wet’suwet’en traditional territory. The Hereditary Chiefs are furious. Common law, civil law, and indigenous law should be equally acknowledged and respected. Back in Ontario, similar traditional indigenous people/territories represented in the Robinson Huron Treaty 1850, and Williams Treaty 1930, have always been vulnerable to arrest on what should be sovereign land.

    A young black man by the name of Desmond Cole just published a book after one year of black activism called ‘The Skin We’re In’, about racism in Canada. I’m going to buy it when I get out and you should to. I listened to him speak on CPAC and I was very impressed with this young mans character and intelligence.

February 7

    The Mohawks in Ontario/Quebec blocked major traffic routes as well as rail, in support of hereditary chiefs protesting the LNG pipeline out here in British Columbia. Even a large demonstration in Ottawa shows total support for First Nations in this fight for sovereignty.

    CBC announced today that the cost of the TMX has soared to 12.6 billion dollars. That is 70% up from initial estimates. I was glad to hear that part of that added cost was because they designed the pipe wall thicker and engineered a safer system end to end. It will be finished by December 2022. 80% of its construction is contracted out and apparently now, they’re saying 43 indigenous communities have been compensated financially.

    On the other hand, Alberta NDP minister is saying that the feds have done absolutely nothing to support cleaner energy in Alberta, when a lot of workers are keen to learn and work in the solar, wind and geothermal industries. None of these projects, including TMX can exist without subsidies. Trudeau’s currently in Africa in an effort to get Canada back on a UN security seat at the big table.

    Meanwhile, APTN National News - There is a massive law suit against the federal government for lack of funding for First Nations children. Is this not counter productive for the liberal government in terms of reconciliation, and gaining that seat?

    Most of the time I avoid the subject of romantic love in my songs. It’s obviously easier to connect with a wider audience and become more successful if you’re selling the fantasy. As apposed to the truth. Tonight I ended up writing ‘Message To Romantics’ during commercial breaks while learning about nuclear waste.

    For example, what is a DGR? It’s a Deep Geological Repository. A gentleman by the name of Bob Watts, from Six Nations, said that he would live on top one.

    Imagine a large concrete building 500 metres deep in the Precambrian shield with five safety barriers. NWMO stands for Nuclear Waste Management Organization. Google it.

    Mr. Edwards of the Canadian Organization For Nuclear Responsibility talked about how geological pressure and atmospheric pressure are not compatible. Humans to date, haven’t designed anything that will last as long as the half life of the spent rods.

    I was not surprised to hear that Sawtooth dene people mined uranium for nuclear power. Hell, it’s a job right? Most of the plutonium mined for the Manhattan Project in the states was mined by Inuit, indigenous people in the Northwest Territories. We sure don’t mind giving them the jobs, when they are dangerous jobs.

February 8

    Today has turned into a day of action out there. For me in here, I see a huge relationship between indigenous sovereignty and the health of the environment. It’s disappointing of course, when smaller, more remote reservations (elected) along the TMX sell out, but I understand. These are the poorest of the poor in these communities and money always seems to win in the end. However, the hereditary chiefs and the territory they are responsible for, is massive and the Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline goes straight through the heart of it and does not touch elected/reservation land. Sovereignty is about digging rights.

    Mineral rights.

  1. Mohawks block road and rail in Ontario & Quebec
  2. Activists block Port of Vancouver
  3. CN rail has received an injunction from the court to clear the rail in Belleville

    CPAC - I watched Allison Cook, a post doctoral researcher at the University of Ottawa, speak eloquently about a warming Arctic and how that affects us all. I next hear Jason Kenney say the XLR

    pipeline going south is of vital economic interest. No Jason, what’s of vital economic interest, is that climate change is going be a massive cost economically, in the near future.

February 9

    Tanya Talaga is on CBC ‘The Sunday Scrum’ with John Northcott this morning and I enjoyed listening to her speak about First Nations sovereignty.

    In an attempt to make it easier to understand, I’ll say this, Supreme Court of Canada has done its part in 1997, by legally clearly the way for the Crown, politicians and their lawyers, to implement FN sovereignty into law. There is no will to do the right thing. When politicians are only interested in power and prestige, when numbers are the focus, minorities don’t matter. Just ask senators like Charlie Angus.

    If the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs were not consulted, they should have been. They could have wanted a different route in places, to avoid more vulnerable, or sensitive territory.

    There were blockades today in Kingston and Belleville, Ontario, as well as big demos in Vancouver. Mohawks rock! I wish I could find a young Mohawk to mentor as a climber/activist. We could go places.

February 10

    Five ports blockaded - five arrests, probably the leaders - twenty one arrested on pipeline route near Houston and Kitimat, some were elders - more demos in Montreal, commuter transit disrupted - CN rails blockaded in Belleville, Ontario - thirty three more arrested in Vancouver ports. What a day. I wish I was out of here so I could contribute.

    The hereditary chiefs are traditional protectors of the land. They will say that the land is our language. It is our spirituality. It is our culture, our identity. We are not elected, but have inherited this responsibility down through the generations.

    CTV - Mi’Kmaq lawyer Pam Palmater (Ryerson University) - the Impact Benefit Agreement is really saying that you have no choice when hereditary chiefs have not accepted, or for that matter, even been asked. The United Nations has said that governments and corporations can’t dictate injunctions over First Nations when it comes to un ceded traditional territory.

    I have to ask, ‘Why am I in here?’It seems to me that the Supreme Court of Canada should over rule the Superior Court of British Columbia. Right! It’s probably naive of me, after all, it’s a lawyers job to complicate things, especially if you don’t understand them.

    Wow! A common sense idea, western mayors are asking the feds to fund the cleaning up of orphaned and abandoned oil wells. Oil eventually seeps back into wells over time. These would be great jobs. Yeah right! There doesn’t appear to be much common sense in this mess called big government.

    Chief Allen Adams of the Athabasca Chipiweyan First Nation in Alberta, claims that his people are ready to do business regarding Tech Frontier, but Kenney isn’t sitting down with them, and he’s had two years to do it.

    There are now demonstrations in Winnipeg in favour of the hereditary chiefs and 92 trains have been cancelled in Ontario. After listening to Molly Wickham, spokesperson for the protesters on Wet’suwet’en territory speak about the RCMP, I have a feeling that the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police), will have an entirely different approach in dealing with the blockades in Belleville. I hope I’m right.

February 11

    This morning that loose tooth is threatening to get infected again. I gargle with salt water and take a pain killer. There’s been very little chewing, just three slices of bread a day. The only sweet we have in here is strawberry or grape jam. That could be it. Recently I’ve added a little to the peanut butter in the morning. Hoping for more energy.

    The blockades continue with 157 trains cancelled. Protesters occupy Carolyn Bennetts office in Toronto and in Halifax the port terminal has been blockaded by Mi’kmaq people and their supporters.

    Wow! Union Station and the intersection of Yonge and Eglinton are blocked in Toronto. People are definitely responding and I’m excited. Power to the people.

    Some of the guys in here are starting to plant the seed of counting the days left. It’s kind of a friendly grief thing that tickles the will power. The word is that there will be no sleep the night before my release. Bets on.

February 12

    The OPP haven’t moved in yet on the blockade in Belleville. No doubt there are thoughts of Dudley Georges death in southern Ontario and the loss of a police officer in Oka.

    Elizabeth May of the Green Party, who is a lawyer, said ‘ When you create an injunction, you turn a provincial police force into a private police force for a corporation. Horgan and the Federal Government aren’t respecting the rule of law, section 35 of the constitution. There are 22,000 square kilometres of Wet’suwet’en territory where reservations are small and Coastal GasLink ignored alternative route proposed by the hereditary chiefs.’

    Jeremy Hensen, an astronaut, was quoted saying ‘Climate change is our biggest challenge. There is twice as much emissions in permafrost than in all the biomass on earth.’

    We should address regional concerns from a global perspective and realize that fresh water is supremely important to our survival. I wonder if people like Ron Quintal, president of Fort McKay Metis Nation, who support Tech Frontier because of the 7000 jobs that it is suppose to produce, is aware of this fact. We trust the science to control potentially lethal machines like vehicles, but when it comes to something as important to our survival as climate change, we’re not sure.

    Simogat Spoowk, a hereditary chief says that First Nations are afraid to speak up because of division among the people. Arguably, there seems to be more energy spent on dividing people, rather than bring people together. Now, more than any time in history, it is critical that human beings learn to come together. That is the only way a new paradigm can eventually be created.

    Premier Horgan was reluctant to have protesters arrested, although blockade legislators say that RCMP officers went too far, too fast. I agree.

    Perry Bellegarde, National Chief, says ‘Rule of Law, whose law? The Crown has the obligation to set up a meeting table for consultation between elected chiefs, hereditary chiefs, corporation representatives, federal and provincial leaders. There has to be a balance between the economy and the environment.’

February 13

  1. Canadian Pacific Railroad blocked in Montreal
  2. street traffic blocked downtown Vancouver
  3. Marc Millar meeting with Mohawks in Belleville
  4. highway blockade in Saskatchewan
  5. protesters link arms at entrance to Halifax legislature making it difficult for Chrystia Freeland to enter
  6. Sit-in today at Northern Affairs Ministry office in Winnipeg


    Pam Palmater, one of my heroes, said something I’ll never forget, ‘The rule of law is different from the laws of rulers.’ Thanks Pam! I’m having fun today. My brothers and sisters in arms, albeit, not violent arms, arms holding messages for the powers that be, are kicking ass. In my case, arms for climbing onto targets and always, making it fun.

February 14

    I’m so proud of the OPP for offering maple syrup and not arresting indigenous protesters in Ontario. Law enforcement around the world should pay attention. This is class. This is serving and protecting. Yes, laws are being broken by conservative standards, but whose laws. Clifford Atleo, a professor at SFU said ‘Hereditary Chiefs aren’t protesters, they are a sovereign nation.’ As are the Mohawks supporting them.

    Even though the Supreme Court of Canada back in 1997 ruled in favour of Indigenous sovereignty, logging companies are still allowed to illegally go and rape the forest wherever they want on traditional land. Reconciliation is at risk as long as this is allowed.

    Niigaan Sinclair, professor of indigenous affairs at the University Manitoba in Winnipeg, supports the hereditary chiefs. ‘We need to treat indigenous law fairly. For the last 150 years we haven’t. They are an equally sovereign nation.’

    AFTN - Nathan Cullen, retired NDP senator now living in Smithers, says that corporations and government tend to pit Indian Act/elected officials against the hereditary chiefs, and then miscommunicate the so called facts to the public.’ Too bad Nathan is out of politics. We need more truth tellers in that toxic game.

    Hereditary Chief Erickson of the Beaver clan, claims that it is short term thinking that jobs are worth the consequence of pollution for three years, and this is unacceptable. When asked about Scheers comment about privilege and rule of law, he just laughed. He then said that Coastal GasLink executives demanded a vote and lost. Then another, and still lost. Regardless, it seems the pipeline is still going ahead.

    Here’s an example of the division that Mr. Cullen referred to. Both elected Chief Dan George of the Burns Lake band and Chief Archie Patrick, of the Stellat’en, claim 80 to 90% of their people are for the pipeline and the 36 months of employment it would bring. Meanwhile, Molly Wickham of the Gidimt’en clan and spokesperson for the hereditary chiefs is dead set against it.

    The largest crowd ever gathered in support of the missing and murdered girls and women, came out today in Vancouver at Hastings and Main. Happy Valentines.

February 15

    For the last three months I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a song that would sum up my experience in segregation, without making it too personal. After all, I’d like to think that I handled it well, despite the almost uncontrollable emotions I felt ten days into the hunger strike. As a soloist, one learns to control the emotions and focus on the job at hand, or one doesn’t make it home. Then I thought ‘Why am I in here? What drives me to test myself, to suffer? Then it dawned on me, that I was here to get more education. Here’s a little sample. On one of the hour plus long trips with the Sheriffs from Pre Trial to Supreme Court, I suddenly needed to urinate bad. I thought at one point I would have to go in my pants. There I was, hands shackled in front, ankle bracelets on, sitting in a little stainless steel cage. It was painful, but I held it. I didn’t think I could.

    The song ‘Seg’ is set in a gypsy groove and it pretty much touches the essence of how I felt in total isolation. I missed my family, my friends and the sunshine.

    Today Mi’kmaq people showed up in Halifax in support of the hereditary chiefs. Pam Palmater suggests that the government start discussions about indigenous territorial sovereignty. For five years they’ve done nothing but talk reconciliation. Thirteen hereditary chiefs told Coastal GasLink to re route the pipeline to less sensitive areas and they were ignored.

    Allan Hanna, assistant law professor at the University of Victoria, stated that

    First Nations have been waiting a hundred and fifty years for the Crown to recognize their sovereignty.

    Marc Millar is meeting with the Mohawks today at the Belleville blockade. I understand that it must be hard, but one of these ministers need to suck it up and finally do the right thing. It’s not as complex as politicians and their lawyers portray.

February 16

    Duncan McCue - Cross Country Checkup - There’s a stark contrast between the OPP offering maple syrup in Mohawk territory and the RCMPs conduct in Wet’suwet’en territory. Perry Bellegarde made a good point when he said that police discretion should not be interpreted as the lack of enforcement.

    There were two new blockades today, the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls and Confederation Bridge in Port Borden (PEI).

    Justice delayed is justice denied. Today I’ve become aware of an interesting man, former Ontario Superior Court judge Stephen O’Neill. When I heard him say that indigenous people are patient to a fault,

    he won my heart. I’m so thankful that people like him are working with First Nations to help solve this sovereignty issue with the Crown.

February 17

    Rule of law? Here’s an idea. How about the Conservatives start enforcing the law that mandates corporations must clean up orphaned and abandoned wells throughout the provinces.

    The hereditary chiefs have told the Mohawks to dig in. They have also told the red coats that they must leave Wet’suwet’en territory before talks can start. Trudeau cancelled his trip to Barbados and is in Ottawa meeting with cabinet ministers. Oh to be a fly on the wall.

    The Thousand Islands Bridge is blockaded by a group connected to the Mohawks. Kim Beaudoin Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, says that we must share resources.

    Alicia Kewin, who is a conflict analysis professional/mediator, mentioned an Anishinabe friend and family member John Beaucage, who was provincial chief not long ago, and it brought back memories of conversations we had. Relatively speaking, I suppose that doing time in open security is as good as it gets, but it is still jail, and it’s good to hear a familiar name from the outside.

    CTV - Marc Millar mentions Louis Riel, Big Bear and Pound Maker, people fighting for their rights, in an interview with Evan Solomon but avoids answering the question ‘Liberals have been in power now for five years so why aren’t they ahead of this?’ No one mentions the Crown and its power to change the sovereignty issue.

February 18

    Jodi Wilson Reybould says that Justin Trudeau needs to get on a plane, pick up Premier Horgan and meet with the hereditary chiefs. When asked she said that she would be happy to meet with the prime minister, the BC premier and the hereditary chiefs to help resolve this.

    This is a huge opportunity to finally deal with the Crowns lack of will and bring Canada into the 21st century. It would set a whole new standard for how a democracy should treat its indigenous people.

    And to all those who claim that we won the war against indigenous people, I say to you, that if you feel like a proud victor after cowardly taking advantage of a generous and honourable culture of the land and water, that we basically stole, then you represent a colonialist attitude that has no place in the future. You are a racist, a thief, a useful idiot to others like you, and I’m ashamed of you.

    On an interview this evening the conservative Peter McKay said that we are professional activists and thugs. Define professional! I thought the word meant that you make money with your expertise.

    Nobody’s paying me. In fact, this is costing me plenty. This is the language of a demagog. February 19

    Joseph Norton, Grand Chief, Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, Quebec - ‘This relatively short period of suffering inconvenience, is nothing compared to 200 years of oppression. Governments and corporations have exploited our rights and territories.’

    There’s a blockade in Edmonton. Brave people. There’s bound to be trouble sooner or later. The city police haven’t moved in yet to arrest cousins of the Wet’suwet’en blockade.

    CN has asked for an injunction and there has been heated exchanges between passing citizens and the protesters. So far no violence. Some activists have showed up at Premier Horgans residence in Vancouver claiming to make a citizens arrest….things are getting crazy.

    Four hereditary chiefs are flying to Montreal tonight to thank the Mohawks. Indigenous Affairs ministers Carolyn Bennett and Scott Frazer are meeting tomorrow with hereditary chiefs in northern BC.

    I’m starting to hear more about this corona virus on various news media. I have a flight home on the 28th and I’m hoping not to have problems at the airport. That’s all I need.

    Well, it’s 9:45pm, lights out. It’s been a day of the guys giving me grief about no sleep for me tonight. I’m exhausted from light daily work outs in an attempt to get some muscle tone back. My body is sore. I’m hungry. You know that feeling in your stomach that screams for something heavier, more substantial. I forget what it’s like to feel full, satisfied.

    Two of the Suzuki elders that came for a visit a couple weeks ago, offered to meet me tomorrow morning when I’m released. Rob and Lillian were a fun two hour visit at the time. They also offered to drive me to Vancouver. Awesome. Breakfast at Bons Off Broadway.

February 20

    I slept good last night, considering that the last thing I heard on the news was that a scientific report claims Canada to be one of the worst countries for emissions, and we are really letting down our future children.

    There is a new blockade between Montreal and Quebec City this morning. Sheila North, Grand Chief in Manitoba says that the court and the RCMP are responsible for this mess. What you are seeing is First Nations expressing their sovereign rights.

    Once again, retired Ontario Supreme Court judge Stephen O’Neill is stating that indigenous rights had not been extinguished by BC Courts. The Crown is under legal duty to negotiate legal title and haven’t done so since 1997. (In 2004 it was touched on involving the Heida people). These rights have to be affirmed, in which case, the government loses resource rights and extraction opportunities. Un ceded land has not been surrendered to the Crown. Nor has it been affirmed or implemented.

    Okay! I’m out of here. One more walk to the big building, through all the procedures and I’m finally stripping off my prison clothes. As I pull out my blood stained jeans that I wore on the 24th of October, despite the staleness from that sealed plastic bag of my effects, it felt so good to slide on my clothes and walk out of there.

    Rob and Lillian were sweethearts. It was about 9:30 am when we had good strong coffee, and my second wish was to find Budzila and buy some pot. Elan had giving Lillian my blue hoody that I wore some two years ago on the first tank farm tree. It had everything I needed in the pockets.

    At Bon Off Broadway I couldn’t get half way through my breakfast and took a doggy bag, and that afternoon I got a tour of the Suzuki Foundation.

    I eventually ended up at Sparticus Gym for a hot shower and started my decompression in their beautiful yoga room. Elan, my actor friend, who was away on a shoot, had left me a key to her place so I ended up partying with my friends at Charletons, a friendly bar across from the gym on Commercial Drive. Tango was in for that.

    The highlights that week before I flew home, were of course the many hugs, the blanket ceremony at the Watchouse where everyone was very generous of spirit. It was awesome to get a big bear hug from Jim, and the night before I flew home, having my friend Tzeporah treat me to a salmon steak and beer. I was happy when her husband Chris and son Forest showed up to join us. The fight’s not over. Never rest in the past.

It is now October 1

    Although I did have two interviews that last week, I doubt that they were ever published. What makes the front cover these days, is some idiot being saved by his young children, from drowning in a swimming pool. Novelty seems to always win.

    I’m hoping that in writing this short story in the format of one day at a time over four months, it will serve as a reminder of how everyone fighting the good fight, was indeed kicking butt. We were coming together. Our numbers were growing. All I ask is, when this corona virus is defeated, or at least managed better, that our fight against corruption, and for indigenous sovereignty and a healthy environment, must continue whole heartedly.

    My good friend Charlie Hase produced the sixteen songs that I wrote while in November House, right here in my studio. He worked very hard and I thank him for growing me new ears.

    I hope that you enjoy this music. It truly represents the duo of Tango Charlie and Purple Haze, as we call ourselves for this unique album and as soon as we are allowed to have house parties again, we will be more accessible for bookings anywhere in Canada. Looking forward to meeting you and finding common ground.

    I like to think that the music I write is basically protest music. Remember when you first heard songs like ‘Blowing In The Wind’? We have the answers now. We need to implement them. Cheers. t