Jati Sidhu

An Open Letter to Our Member of Parliament

The Honourable Jati Sidhu, P.C., M.P.
Confederation Building, Suite: 450
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

This tar sands pump facility is directly connected to systemic racism in Canada. Photo by Adobe Stock.

Re: The Interconnectedness of All Things

Full disclosure: I did not vote for you, nor do you represent me. However, I hope you will present these concerns to your government.

I want to express my displeasure with the Prime Minister’s change in position on the future of the fossil fuels industries.

I am not sure if you are aware of a novel by Douglas Adams called Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. It has been made into a series on Netflix.

It is good entertainment. At the heart of the story is a message:

The term `holistic’ refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.

Governments continue to fragment issues into departments, failing to observe the deeply interconnected systems that lead to the social problems that their racist policies create. Stealing land leads to lack of access to resources, family breakdown, poverty, homelessness, and imprisonment.

The high rate of incarceration for Aboriginal peoples … linked to systemic discrimination and attitudes based on racial or cultural prejudice, as well as economic and social disadvantage, substance abuse and intergenerational loss, violence and trauma.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Canada was created with a legal and parliamentary system created to institute and perpetuate the colonialist and racist policies of the British and French colonies, a legal system designed to appropriate land and assimilate cultures.

For over 150 years, residential schools operated in Canada. Over 150,000 children attended these schools. Many never returned. Often underfunded and overcrowded, these schools were used as a tool of assimilation by the Canadian state and churches.

With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Canada has begun to recognize that it has been complicit in a system designed for cultural genocide.

The collusion between resource extraction companies and the Canadian federal government and the continuing attempts to appropriate and exploit land, and enforce economic and cultural assimilation, is an affront to the process of reconciliation.

How do you deny the deeply entrenched racism that is foundational to 150 years of Canadian history while you perpetuate it?

If you cannot see the connections, I am afraid that your government is subscribing to a narrative of political reductionism that cannot be reconciled with reality.

I have already written an open letter to the Prime Minister:

Consider this Twitter thread as an open letter to the Prime Minister and to yourself:

Your Prime Minister has declared war on British Columbia. We will resist, fighting for what is right, for the protection of indigenous peoples, for the return of their land, for a future that reconnects us all to the regenerative and interconnected systems of the natural world, for the protection and stewardship of this land as an enduring legacy for the generations to come, rather than for the short-terms profit of those who would risk it all.

I look forward to hearing from you about how your government will respond to our concerns regarding the short-sighted politically and economically motivated massive, industrial hydro-electric dams and fossil fuel extraction projects. These projects fail to address a long-term view of social architecture that recognizes the interconnected nature of biological ecosystems and social systems. A multidisciplinary team is required to think through decolonization, ecology, economics, mental health, family dynamics, social physics, social cohesion, community building, transportation systems, energy generation, food production and watershed protection and management. Biomimicry should be public policy.

How can a 150-year old hierarchy begin to holistically address the problems of our society when the design of that system is at odds with the very challenges that need to be solved?

We could waste our time in a legal battle, and that may be a fitting response, using the legal system to mire governments and corporations in stagnation through a process of their own making.

However, that would be a waste of time. We would rather convince you that you are on the wrong path and that there are desirable, feasible and viable alternatives. Educate your population, and use empathy, creativity, and design thinking to empower Canadians to invent and build long-term solutions.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

— R. Buckminster Fuller

Your government is proving itself to be perpetuating an old model. If you cannot rise to the challenge of building a new social architecture, we will build a new model to make your existing model obsolete.

Sincerely,

Stephen Bau

Designer, writer, educator, social architect, founder, Builders Collective, Leading with Design. https://stephenbau.com

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