Giving and receiving artfully

by Joseph Roberts

• Gift giving on your mind? Mulling over your options for the season? There are many unique ways to give. Gifts that heal or bring the recipient into a deeper relationship with themselves, such as seminars, workshops, personal coaching, and healing sessions, are thoroughly appreciated.

Consider a gift that supports our local community rather than sending your dollars across international borders. Give a treasured experience, rather than just more stuff soon sent to a landfill or a storage locker after the next decluttering frenzy. There are a number of services, events or products right here in this edition of Common Ground that will make a memorable impact on the lives of those closest to you.

Also you can give the gift of yourself by volunteering.

What about a gift to our Home and Native Land? The Canadian Government could be receiving billions in lost revenues now escaping into offshore tax havens. Some of Canada’s “elite” do not pay taxes that would support our economy. A conservative estimate indicates that 80 billion dollars of tax are not being collected from the super rich of our country. That would be a great gift to our economy.

Remember much of this wealth creation was only possible because the infrastructure used was originally financed by public purses, so it’s only fair the rich pay their honest share.

Even with the recent P3s (Private-Public Partnerships) the public taxpayer is left holding the debt.

A blog by Keith Reynolds states: “For the main part, in British Columbia we have not even begun to ask questions about these P3 projects. Since 2002 the BC government has crafted P3s for roads, bridges, hospitals and water treatment plants.  Under the deals the private sector puts up all or part of the capital costs in return for a 35 year contract with guaranteed inflation protection to manage a public sector facility.”

These are complicated deals, not just simple sales transactions with a buyer on one side and a seller on the other. Reynolds concludes, “… it is only a matter of time before we begin to see here the same cracks that are appearing in the UK’s P3 projects. Our roads, bridges and hospitals are becoming chips in the international financial casino and BC taxpayers will not win at that table.” They privatized BC Rail and BC Gas. Privateers are now gunning for BC Hydro.

BC’s disgraced premier ends up as Canadian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom. Maybe a plum for selling BC’s public assets cheap to foreign venture capitalists. Upping the game globally is FIPA, Harper’s new Foreign Investment Protection Agreement negotiated secretly offshore in Russia.

Mark Carney, head of the Bank of Canada, a Goldman Sachs alumni, just got the nod to become head of the Bank of England. Jolly good, eh?

Back home Bill Reid’s sculptures Raven and the First Man, and, The Spirit of Haida Gwaii got dumped from our $20 dollar bill and replaced with a war memorial. The quote on the beautiful old bill read “Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?” – Gabrielle Roy. Go read it while you can. “There’s some kind of peculiar irony in the fact that a statement of the indispensability of the arts is inscribed right on our money, when money is the very thing that the arts in Canada are so short of … in BC it seems that the arts and money coincide mainly on paper – on the twenty dollar bill and nowhere else. BC doesn’t just receive the least provincial funding per capita of any Canadian province – it’s dead last, and by a very, very large margin. … $6.50 per capita compared to the $26 per capita national provincial average.” local artists stated.

Well folks, its not even on the money any more. The new plastic $20 features the Vimy Ridge war memorial with poppies sprouting form the zero. No mention of the arts. Not even a line of poetry “Lest we forget”.

So remember how precious you and others are.

Many blessings and wonderful gifts of the season.

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