Monday, December 31, 2012

going home to Edmonton

We`re up early to buy cheese at the cheese place. We have to buy it on the last day as the cheese we are buying stays fresh for a few days only and we want my parents to have a taste of the yummy product.
It is a sleepy morning. I have taken ten thousand pictures of Molly.  It is not like having a dog but nearly as good.
I will not be able to write as we are off to Montreal to eat yet again.
The main side effect of this holiday has been an increased girth.
But does this stop me buying cheese?
Nope.
It`s off to buy cheese and then it`s off to eat more and then it is home again in Edmonton.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

when you arrive here

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronaldhanko/6132619209/in/set-72157613266247787


The Misty Mountains Cold

Our day in the Olympics was misty and cool for the most part, though we had some sunshine at intervals. This picture was taken near the Hurricane Ridge vistor's center and looks west across the valley to some of the higher peaks which are barely visible in the photo.
The title is, of course, taken from a song in J.R.R. Tolkien's, The Hobbit.
"Far over the misty mountains cold,
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We will away, ere break of day,
To seek our pale, enchanted gold."




when you arrive here
the mists will cover you
with the wet white waters
that are the first sign
you are at the end of the 
tunnel   the flowers will
rise up gold to greet you
as you escape the body
you will float on the stream
of air and go to the victory
of emptiness that sits
where you will be called forth
at the very end
and when you leave
the beautiful world
it will be in tears
for you will only then
understand
the land and its gold
that was nothing to you


when you arrive here
it will be different
time will slow down
as if you had forever now
to make a change
as if you were doing existence
in slow motion but it 
really is death
the mist will cover you
your breath will vanish
and the soul will rise out
of the cooling body
to do what souls do best
which is travel
endlessly
until the line
is reeled in completely

when you arrive here
the gold of your soul
will be weighed
and counted in small
change
and when you convert 
your currency in the
last bank of life
to the one that is
eternal   what will you 
have to say 
about your business
that was your life?

when you arrive here
understand that what
you had was gold
and what you have now
is copper
the hours spent wildly
in nonsense to signify
importance
the life brittle like
dry branches and 
the soul a curtain
of leaves
that falls to powder
(that is it will be this way
if you have not been certain)


when you arrive here
do not wail and ask
for another chance
you have been given all
the time you were alloted
by the master that was necessary 
to do what it was
that he requested of you 
that you failed to do
because somehow
you felt it was all about
you and nothing about the others
who are outside the fence and gate
of time  when you arrive here
at least for this one instance
say the truth finally to him 

then turn and turn away




http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronaldhanko/7316529254/in/set-72157623380299294


Abandoned

Taken in eastern Washington just off State Highway 2 on the Columbia Plateau between Coulee City and Waterville. The area is still intensively farmed, but the older, smaller farms are long ago abandoned.


are you abandoned
and decrepit?
are you about to fall down
and the trees about you in the same state?
do they echo the  travesty of what
has happened to your house?
is there no shape to your hours?

then turn and turn away

from what comes as hail
and wind to tear you to pieces
and put your faith in the land
and the language that keeps
it intact  for the words you say
as you watch the land can keep
you whole while the world about you disappears

then turn and turn away

from what everyone else does
do not copy what they say
we are to be and do not shape
your mind to their sorrow
instead make a lively mind even if
all that others see is a falling frame
and broken window panes


then turn and turn away

from the dust that is everywhere about us
become who you are 
and say what sits in you with your own
words and refuse the lie  even when it 
is given as the last crust of bread
to keep you alive  and help all others who are abandoned
in the same way  for our numbers are legion and we can cling to each other

then turn and turn away 



this matter of relationship

the luggage is lined up to fly tomorrow
and the boots wait for feet to walk to the airport
all the clothes are laid out for us
and the sandwiches will be made
for we are always starving in the middle
of nowhere  we will carry a bottle to fill
with water in Toronto
and our sons will be curious
until they lose interest

we will say good bye to those
we have met nearly every day
and it will be sad for we are now
comfortable with each other
(even though we still don`t know
the language we are still able
to see that the heart within
each of us is comprehending
everything)  these are ways
we learn and learn again what is
important  this matter of relationship

I put the chains back on my soul
and lay out the road that I will travel
and set off for the destination that is
decided upon before we arrive
in the nursery of the stars
I go to the place that has been
warned that I am coming
these are all stories that deliver
me to the chaos and keep me safe
for when I get up tomorrow
there will be linkages and breakages

when we arrive in Edmonton
perhaps I will forget the family
we leave in Quebec
perhaps the story of our lives
is all about fracture and mending
but I see the future coming at me
and I know when the people
believe in the family 
somehow we are able to endure cleanly
somehow the cleavages lead to thriving
and not to the drop into the abyss and
the ending of the story prematurely

tomorrow we leave
the far country and go back
to the familiar place
where the laundry is piled up
in the mud room
where the books hug the walls
and the dust falls like the sound
of twigs in the rain and wind
there will be a snow igloo
about the house and when
we see our own beds
there will be a smile
as if we have survived
some catastrophe
(which was the matter
of love and leaving)


but now it is all extinguished

over the world
the snow falls
and silence begins

the house settles down on its
haunches to stare out with
blank eyes at the night that has come

on black feet to stamp down
the light that was everywhere
a shine and a gloss on the white plate of land

but now it is all extinguished
 only I am  awake and writing in the cold basement
a few words to continue the practice

that is poetry   that final faith
when all others fail   that requires
daily devotions as a progression of steps

to an end that I am not certain of
but that I do as if this was the only 
thing that is important    as if all other matters

are less than the soul
that I am constructing out of 
paper and glue in the dim light

of the night
as the sons sleep and the moon
cuts through the black soup of the night

to bob as a marshmallow there
   here is an hour or two of peace 
where I sit and write while everyone sleeps

and perhaps in symmetry 
somewhere else in the world
another poet is saying the same matters

of the heart and the spoon
that dips into the blood of her life
to say something about death

that business that we all go through
every day   in our cells so that at the end
the entire organism will be able to do 

perfectly what has been 
practiced     as I do in my poems
as I practice the language that fails  

where you are the crocus shine

where you are 
I don`t know
but perhaps you are
by the river
where the heron
sews the seam
of the water fabric
or by the poplars
as they lay down their
shingles of green
on the roof of the world

perhaps you count
the ants as they lay down the
shears and the blades of their mandibles
on the wood to pour out the sawdust
in trails on the forest floor
perhaps you shape the stars
as they splinter the eye of the night
and tear the moon
to cry out of that flesh
perhaps you lay down with the
birds as they rest in their nests of bricks and bandages

where you are the crocus shine
 their yellow feathers and point out the purple beaks
the scilla scintillate in blue points
and the tulips hat their stems with satins
in reds as bright as the blood
in our veins    the staples of the crows
tie up the twigs and branches of the firs
and the mapies swag the brittle trunks of
the birch that fall all to pieces as the wind
lifts up their skirts and pulls on their stockings of gray

far in the distance the chickadees
sing about loss and parting
the sorts of matters that happen constantly
death happens a few steps away from the home
the accident scene a burnt mangle of cars
and what are you to do when you see
the end result of terror?
you are to lift yourself out of the wreckage
and keep going   the heart is a soft ball of yarn
that can be rewound over and over  as if
you have forever to do this  work of repair and evolution 


and when you arrive with the words
to tell me why     we have to go through 
these matters of accidents and deaths
perhaps I will finally stop writing here
these odd broken bits  of language
that say history in some form that
is recursive as if the hand was a 
machine that speaks the mind`s breakage
as if the poem is solitude expressed in
some manner   that is not entirely bereft
of presence and order  

lay yourself down in faith

lay yourself down in faith
and believe in love
and self discipline
(for these two words

are important)
they go together
as do the hands
and feet

as do our lives
(if we are a couple
who try every day) and
who endure in the company of each other

lay yourself down in faith
with each word that arrives
to say its name and meaning to you
that wants to be claimed as a poem 

and if you try
to make each word
a singular space that is 
occupied by the meaning it shapes 

that the word wishes to give to itself
somehow the poem forms out of this discipline 
and when the entire is made as it wishes to be made
there might be something pure that is resident in that place 

I can`t say how this happens
it has something to do with suffering
and refusing to give in 
and something to do with self discipline

that  will in you  that  yanks on the leash
attached to  the wild dog of love
and that makes her    obey the master
(who is the one you must follow)

it is this simple
and this difficult
you cannot arrive to this place of making
by any other way that is described because there is no other way 

you must work by yourself  on the words
 and when the poet has mastered herself
  somehow the words are willing
to be tamed by the poet (who has given herself to the master

who is everywhere
who breeds the grasses that ties down the land
and who calls forth the holy dust that carries the past
of everyone of us   who is the one who sends the words

to the poet
who must be ready for the one who calls
who must be able to be obedient
and is able to listen to him when he sends the music 


I let the poem grow

when night comes on bat wings to stare through the windows
when it flaps its snow against the roof and slips down to the floor
to roost in the drifts of silence
when it sleeps packed in logs by the door
when it slaps its dragon tail
and sharpens its ice claws

the words disappear
and the lines brittle
to break

the door to the other world
vanishes and the stars crack their knuckles of light
to vanish     even the moon (who is disapproving of the work
of poets) shows her finger     and hides behind the endless mists
over the marsh door    (that vanishes with the snow storms)

it is all magic
and futility
combined 

when the night breeds ghosts
and clammy hands and toes
when the stones in the head slip out in a slide
when the mountain breaks in half to make the world
a grave stone   when all this happens
I might snip the bud of a stem
that pushes out of the silence
that wants to be more
than a slip that is rooting
but then I see the leaves beginning

and I shore the soil against the root ball
and cover the beginning of the world
I let the poem grow

as it would
as if I knew anything
as if the words had some order
as if the mind was a shopping mall
where the purchases only had to be made
where I had a list
that I could follow
as if I knew anything 








when you are present

when you are present
the day is golden
and the night is silver
with your radiance

when you are present
the dark turns to light
and even the shadows
are edged with music

when you are present
I am able to keep going
day after day as if I am climbing
a stair that is endless but doable because you are near

when you are present
the arid desert becomes a boreal forest
the marsh stares with cattails and grasses at me 
and blackbirds display their red bands when they sing

when you are present
all the sorrow is expressed  in singing
the stones fall into heap and still do not
bury me in that grave of silence

when you are present
I am able to see beneath the surface
at the movement beneath the shine
to where there might be a shape that is invisible

when you are present
that which I seek   that is running off into the distance always 
is closer to me   that mystery that  is fertile for investigation
might  then  become solvable 

when you are present
I look within the soul and not where
the world is clotted and chained
I find you in the grasses singing their verses to me

when you are present
I lack for nothing   what dies inside
is reborn again  when you are present
when you are present 

and we will be erased


http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronaldhanko/3535415570/in/set-72157623380299294/


Eastern Washington

This is fairly typical scenery in central eastern Washington - open country, rolling hills, scattered farm buildings and houses and big skies.



above the red barn
the world changes in the storm clouds
and the spinning wheel is shaving time into rain that falls

a red barn is a symbol of the land
for me   wherever I go it exists as proof of survival
 and this is true  both in Alberta and in Quebec where the slope

of the land is dotted with these simple structures of persistence 
that are the bones of pioneers that have failed to be completely eradicated
   the red barn speaks defiantly to me of what will not be taken (unless we give in)

it stands against those that come with their tools
to remake the land   as the pioneers did before these new invaders
here is a red barn with the courtesy of a screen of clouds above it as a harbinger  of what comes 

the red barn waits for the fence to fall that has kept it safe against
the new settlers that come seek     as the pioneers did before
the shiny ball and chain that is the bonanza    the land withers under their boots

fracking fluids that we do not know the constituents of
go into the veins of the body of the land   and who knows
how the rivers, lakes and aquifers bear the injections of their invisible potions?

we were innocent and now we no longer believe
what we are told    we will have to know before we trust again
we see the new settlers as invaders as no doubt the First Nations people 

believed the people of the wheat were when they built their red barns as signals
until those who frack the land  prove  they are doing what is safe and good
the red barn with its mushrooming clouds stands as defiant warning against them

that their invasion  is one of danger and foreboding
if we do not each of us demand answers and put up a resistance
to the invaders who are already among us    we will be overcome by the state

that will stand for the corporations rather than the peoples
the land will go to them who are strongest  and we will be erased
as surely as the red barn  and its falling fence

















the land is waiting for you to understand

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronaldhanko/3548164286/in/set-72157623380299294/


Eastern Washington Farm

In Explore May 19, 2009, #125.



the land is waiting for you to understand
that it is living

we are to watch the land and learn
how to live as good stewards   of what can never be remade 

once it is lost and climate change comes as it already has
to alter forever the estate left for our children

who will then be responsible for these damages?
will we all have to die to prove that the corporations

that take the oil and frack the land all to hell
are culpable destroyers of our children`s estate?


if we grow a garden
we are to make it diverse

and give up the dream of same
we are to plant a variety of trees down every boulevard

so that birds might yet sing
in the concrete bunkers of our cities

when we see the land
with its falling barns and rivers of wheat

do we understand 
that the land feeds our children?

how much will the land take
of our fracking and tailings ponds before it gives up?

when will big oil understand the citizen?
do they comprehend that we will stand before the oil tanks that come?

we will leave a land for our children
that is not poisoned by their fabulous dreams

of power and corruption
these two gods that   go hand and hand like lovers down the hallways of power 

of our governments at all levels
we are to see the land as a gift that is being given away

by our government    in trade agreements that will ensure that 
citizens are tame and controlled as the slaves of the masters that are outside of Canada 

we are to protect the land
and free the minds so that our children will not have

an environmental disaster for their country that is being sold into slavery
I ask each of you to speak out against the state

that has for forty years in Alberta not been able to
return a tailings pond back to the land that it was before

that will leave a bill for each of us and our children
to pay for (because our government cares more for the corporations

that it is married to than the fates of our children)
I ask each of you to vote these people out who would

leave a tailings pond for our grandchildren
with its poisons   as mutagens as the currency that they will deal with

for we are awake as we were not before
and we have seen the beast   and it is our own government

we are to keep working so that our children might be free
and uncontaminated    as we never were in our innocence


to the new place where we touch

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronaldhanko/8323229540/in/photostream/


Sarracenia flava

A last picture, I think, from our excursion to Summer Lake. This is the Yellow Pitcher Plant, now established by the thousands on the floating bog and shores of the lake. If you look closely you can see a fly perched on the rim of the pitcher and one can only guess what happened to it, but that close to the opening it probably became a meal.



play the golden instrument
of your soul
and even if others
consider the song minor

do not stop
play the instrument
continually
and prefect yourself

for we are all
oddments of a bolt of
fabric that is cut into scraps by somebody else
and what one of us considers

to be excess might be   in truth
the minor expression of our lives sewed into existence 
we are to say clearly  in what fashion we can 
of what we are   so that others unchain themselves as we do

what we have as the instrument
is to be played every day    so that everyone who wishes
may begin the same work  of playing
for what purpose  I am not sure of   but we are to say

and in this way
learn the reason   for the grope in the dark
and  what we attempt    when we reach for art
that solid mass of tumor   that breaks the body open

we are to metastasize our souls
and in this way make a cancer that is creative
that will grow   for we are to be the ones
who carry the message out to the world that is dead 

that message that asks    each of us to break free
of the body of the state     that we are locked into
we are each of us     to work like a malignant cell 
to make the world over and set each of us free 

by doing this work  you perfect yourself
that ravaged entity that you consider made
in the fashion stores and big box malls of the day
but is only created when you sit

by yourself   in the empty room of your daily life
and consider the scope and the plan of what is present there
when you think about  what you are doing every day  you gain the insight
to change   and transform the state   which is the cage where we all sing

our divorced lines of untrue    when we slip out of the cage
and roam freely   to the new place where we touch
we are to forget the old world that we left   and by erupting continually
out of such creative work   we become the tumorous growths

that will (paradoxically) make over  what is dead and labile 
that will ensure that we live rather than decline in company
we are to work on the melody that we can create (each of us)
if we attempt the playing of the instrument


but if you would be true

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronaldhanko/8321189805/in/photostream


Sarracenia purpurea

These are the Purple Pitcher Plants in situ on the muskeg at Summer Lake. Both old and new pitchers and old and new flower spikes are visible in the picture as well as some of the other plants that grow on the muskeg, sedge and rhododendron.


though some of us   be slender
and though some of us   be broad
together we make
a gifted crowd of warriors

that signals progression
and advancement    we are more
likely to express a statement of
integral arrays and order in such disorder

than in the machinery of
trimmed hedge and police state
we are more likely to be fresh
and desirable   when we frolic green


and when the light falls upon us
each of us glow in such
an irreducible way that we are peerless
we shine with our souls then

that no matter how thin we are
we make such a show as to be wild
and if we were homogenous
and not diverse as this 

think how pallid
would be the verses
of the poem
of the entire congregation of man

think how barren would be 
 the offering on view
 if we were
all the similar strain and more restrained

instead we make these couplings 
of interest   when we surrender ourselves
to what lives within  and  when we express
our true forms in natural growth of such mixes

if you would be pure 
get yourself to a room where you can hide
but if you would be true   train yourself
to go to the land    and see what is already perfect 


to keep the path true

no matter where you are
I will travel there
I will wait in the shadows
by the poplars`green chests
and in the slim aspens as they
shake their thin leaves

I will walk by the river
on the bridge made of stars
and in the willing baskets
of the columbine and clematis
these are the stories 
I say to myself


to keep the path true
for there are only a few like this
who believe in the power of words
and the heart that says
what is constant
there are only a few of us

willing to risk
what is within us
for the new life  
that could be for all of us
if we had insight
if we were brave to lose our lives

that do not exist as real
but are the dreams we project
on the wall of our minds
as if they meant anything
here is the door that I open
through which I go

and I make a world that is more
that has everyone present
the weak and the strong
the willing and the defeated
the lost and the found  (for we are
all of the same family and none of us

will be more than those who
have gone before us) and we are all
to be part of the same family
then our children will be the proof and legacy of who we are
and if we have been wise  we will have given them
the lessons we have learned or at least left behind 

these poems for them to read
when we are gone
so that when the dark times come
(as they must)  they will have our words
as the shield and the sword that they can use
to cut through the lies and get to the truth



the perils of the Christmas holiday

Older boy has gone with hubby to make last minute purchases. Older boy wants to buy a hockey jersey. I don`t know what hockey team he supports and I had no interest in finding out and so the hockey jersey he is seeking in the mall at Drummondville is mysterious.  We are buying another gift card at the book store for my mother-in-law to make up for the fact that I did nothing over two weeks to help her with housework or cooking but sat like a slug in various poses about the house soaking up liberation from labor (even the minor labor I do as a serf for the boys and my parents is still labor).

It was very nice to sleep in every day and then simply read and write. I tried out the French but since everyone looked at me in a baffled manner as if I were speaking English I stopped pronto. In addition, I find my feelings get easily hurt when folks stare at me as if I were a pigeon in a flock of blackbirds (there aren`t that many Asians in Drummondville) and so I remained holed in the basement freezing to death when the wood stove was not on.

My mother-in-law has been cooking day and night and frankly the woman`s competence and endless ability to cook and clean and be a top notch house keeper makes me feel rather downcast (until I write a poem or two).  How is it possible that this woman can know so much about the noble art of keeping a family fed and warm while all I want to do is ignore the boys and write poems?

It was a luxury hotel stay for me as I got to ignore the boys while grandmere fed them and clucked over their starvation status and I got to write in my journals.

Most of it was not very good but I figure I have got through six years of writing and I might have another six years to go through before I get a single poem to run.

Yesterday at my sister-in-law`s house in the country we were told stories about her dogs that were remarkably tender (my sister-in-law is really fond of her dogs) and I felt slightly inclined to get a dog myself until Molly arrives each day to slobber over me and I cannot imagine that this type of doggy greeting would be endurable. I mean I am willing to put up with Molly in terms of her relentless search and greet tendency and her ability to be wildly friendly even when I am grumpy but to have her slobber over my hands and face and chest and legs and feet..... well it is a no-no.

I think she is very sweet. But I am not a dog person.

What was I yapping about in this post?
I can`t remember.

The suitcases are packed.  I told my parents we were coming home today but I found out from hubby that we are actually going home tomorrow and so I will phone my family to tell them of the mistake.

I hope we are actually going home tomorrow and hubby hasn`t muddled up the flights.
There was one flight when we lived in Calgary where we got to the airport to discover that we had left our papers at home and hubby had to go home to pick up the papers and it was a good thing we left early because we just made our flight.

I am very sleepy.
My brother-in-law from Montreal is coming to supper tonight and so we will eat another meal the size of Kansas (yes, I know I could just restrain myself but this is the only good food I will eat until the next time we come back to Quebec in two years and so....)

I have gained ten pounds over the two weeks (at least this is what I think the weighing machine indicates).
I will go back to exercising daily and this will prevent the creep of ten more pounds.

I don`t like to get over a certain weight because I find that the clothes in the wardrobe don`t fit and it is a problem and I do not want to shop for bigger size clothes. It is simply easier to exercise and lose the weight so I do not have to shop for clothes that I already have that would fit me if I hadn`t been a glutton.

I have packed the textbooks we did not use so I cannot write on the social studies.
We have so much homework to do next week.
And we have to clean the house in Edmonton.
And we have to dig ourselves out as my sister only worked on the driveway for us.
And .... well, the holidays are over. 

The perils of the Christmas holiday is that I eat too much, lose all my self-discipline
and become a jellyfish in terms of writing and school work. But there you go.


and so begin the work

here is the world that is blowing time away 
in the snow   that is everywhere
about the land in Drummondville

and here is the world that is 
also (apparently) snowed under
in Edmonton    and in between the two ends 

a space exists that is all about
what we do and what we say to each other 
for relationship seems to be easily deceived

and how are we  will decide the state 
we are to tie the two ends together
as if we are all   one point on the same line  


of Canada   I take my words
and I spill them on the page to say
the rehearsals of devotion

here is the land in Drummondville
and here is the land in Edmonton
and I bring them close together inside me

with the decision to unite them as close as they can be
I will not tear them asunder (as some of us would)
 those among us who would create independent

countries of Quebec and Alberta
are mistaken   I say to them
look to each other as ends of the long ribbon

that is Canada and tie these ends together
with what you have within to make an intact country
say the country is made of  what we have inside

each citizen who is willing
to defend the entire and not each
province is doing the work of love 

here is the land in Quebec
and here is the land in Alberta
and it is one family     that I make 

because I understand clearly  for it is all about love
and endless effort   and so begin the work
that is ours   (if we are willing and if we are brave)








Trojan horses of trade agreements everywhere I look

The CETA deal that our Republicans in Ottawa are now ramming down the throats of Canadians will require a concerted push back from ordinary Canadians to prevent the sorts of stupid lawsuits and restrictions that have been the consequences of NAFTA.
While I do not have a high level of understanding of these sorts of trade deals they are of concern to me as a private citizen because of the taxpayer funded lawsuits and payments made to companies that (in my opinion) are utterly the result of Conservative Party stupidity in the past and present.
I don`t care if the trade agreements make it easier for companies to do business if they come attached with taxpayer funded insurance policies that require taxpayers to pay for misunderstandings, or actual problems between private companies and government. When foreign corporations  restrict Canada`s ability to function in terms of economic policies, environmental protections or simple drug costs---this means we are no longer a democracy but a corporation run state with the true political leaders offshore.


We need to be able to make policy and laws in our country that are not limited by foreign corporate entities that increase the cost of doing life for ordinary citizens.
No matter what the benefit is to the top 1% of the population that maintain the businesses that Harper and crew are aligned with over the interests of ordinary citizens I do not believe that we --the majority --of the populace are to be screwed over and over again so that the Conservative Party and the Wildrosies become  the second coming of the Republican party in Canada. What the Republicans failed to do in the US --they are now attempting to do in Canada by economic means.

Personally, I think the entire Consevative Party has mutated into an alien entity that I can no longer recognize or support. The anti-democratic practices of this party, the secrecy and the ongoing pretense that they are not secretive reminds me very much of China.

What are we to think of a party that denies everything it does and yet is shown over and over to do the very things that it denies doing?  Let us look at the CETA in terms of transparencey and accountability of the federal government and see if indeed (laugh, laugh) Harper and crew are being open, transparent and on the side of the ordinary citizen.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/01/26/pol-cp-ceta-leak-exemptions.html



Leak offers hints on Canada-Europe trade negotiations

Negotiating position from October suggests exemptions for agriculture, telecommunications

Posted: Jan 26, 2012 10:57 AM ET 

Last Updated: Jan 26, 2012 10:55 AM ET 

Leaked documents suggest Canada is seeking to carve out telecommunications and agriculture from any new trade agreement with the European Union.
But there is no exemption for water services, a sore point with critics of the negotiations with the world's richest market.
Trade Minister Ed Fast has called a European trade, services and investment pact one of the Conservative government's top priorities, arguing it will spur about $12 billion in additional economic activity.
British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday. Cameron emphasized the need for free trade deals between the European Union and countries like Canada and the U.S. British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday. Cameron emphasized the need for free trade deals between the European Union and countries like Canada and the U.S. (Michel Euler/Associated Press)
The government has said it wants to reach a deal this year with the 27 nations of the EU, and negotiations are set to resume again later this month.
But little is known about what has gone on behind closed doors since talks began in 2009.
The documents released Wednesday by RQIC, a network of Quebec civil society groups and unions, are the first public glimpse of the list of exemptions Ottawa and the provinces have proposed for protection under any new deal.
They represent the starting position submitted to the EU in October, however, and some may be dropped in future sessions. It is not known what is on the EU exclusion list.
A spokesman for RQIC said the group is still analysing more than 200 pages of exempted items, but the lack of a set-aside for municipal water systems sticks out like a sore thumb.
"This opens open up any public procurement on water, any public contract will need to be opened up to multinationals," said Pierre-Yves Serinet of RQIC.
"Water is under municipal (control) but we know infrastructure is very old and needs big investments in the near future, so the control of drinking water and also waste water is a big concern."
The Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, in a release to be issued Thursday, argue the deal would mark the first time Canada has allowed drinking water to become part of a trade agreement. And it could open up municipalities to lawsuits from European water operators.
"If CETA were signed today ... municipalities who choose a public-private partnership for a water or wastewater facility become vulnerable to corporate lawsuits demanding compensation for lost profits under the investor-state dispute mechanism," the release states.
Overall, the leaked documents show Canada and the provinces are putting most things on the table, Council trade expert Stuart Trew said in an interview.
"It looks like a long list (of exemptions), but it's not that long. It's the most ambitious offer that Canada has ever made in a trade agreement," he explained. "On its own, it would go beyond what we've offered other countries."
He added that exemptions proposed by the provinces, with the exception of Ontario and Quebec, are a short list.
A spokesman for Fast said the minister would not comment on the leaked documents, but added he would "strongly caution" against taking the list at face value. "Negotiations are ongoing and we will only sign an agreement in the best interests of all Canadians," Adam Taylor said in an email response.
On the protected list of sectors is agriculture, which suggests a Harper government that recently legislated an end to the single-desk Canadian Wheat Board wants to maintain Canada's controversial supply management system in eggs, dairy and poultry.
As well, although the Conservatives have signalled intentions to loosen foreign investment rules in the Canadian telecommunications sector, Canada's initial position seeks to keep the current restrictions in place.
"Canada reserves the right to adopt or maintain any measure ... limiting foreign investment in facilities-based telecommunications service suppliers," the document states. It also restricts Canada from making the current rules more stringent, however.
The province of Ontario is seeking to exclude procurement for renewable energy projects, and Quebec wants a set-aside for cultural industries.
The leaked lists cover only services and investment. Canadian negotiators presented their exemption lists for the sensitive area of government procurement in July, but they remain secret.


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So point # 1.  The federal government yaps always to the ordinary citizen about how open it is and heck I would love to believe this except I haven`t heard peep about CETA until I went to the Council of Canadians website to find out about the robocalls fraud mess and found the CETA mess. I already knew about the FIPA mess thanks to Leadnow.ca and so the chatter on the Council of Canadians site was a repeat with reference to FIPA. 

So if I don`t know about CETA ---could it be because most papers such as the Edmonton Journal aren`t yapping about CETA either?
This article from CBC indicates that these negotiations have been going on since 2009 and so I think the media would be publishing information about this trade agreement but nope--nothing. I do know I live in a nun`s room under the rock of ten million books but I do read the Edmonton Journal since my parents still believe in the nonsense published by newspapers and yet somehow I heard nothing about CETA in the last four years and yet I heard zillions of bits of information on how well the Tories are doing with the province of Alberta (not).

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/01/26/pol-cp-ceta-leak-exemptions.html
But little is known about what has gone on behind closed doors since talks began in 2009.
************************************************************************

I go to another source to see what the federal government is not telling the citizens of Canada:

http://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.quebec.attac.org/spip.php%3Farticle796&prev=/search%3Fq%3DRQIC%26hl%3Den%26tbo%3Dd&sa=X&ei=42_gUKnzFsjO0QHjuoDYDg&ved=0CEkQ7gEwAw


In this document,Claude Vaillancourt of RQIC (which is some sort of group of folks in Quebec in the public sector and that seems to be partnered with social groups) indicates that this trade agreement is full of problems.

He says that it reduces the powers of municipal and provincial governments and gives these powers to corporations outside our borders. In other words this is the expansion of the role of the powerful corporate entities that Harper and crew consider to be their electorate base rather than the citizens that vote them into power.

Citizens are not given information about the contents of these pacts that will alter our lives and mortgage our children`s future but we are expected to pay for any lawsuits and damages that result from the inept creation of these pacts.

Point # 2 relates to point # 1. We are given no information unless ordinary citizens go search for it and reveal it to the rest of us and one of the most important issues of them all is the water issue.  How the heck can the Harper crew think that we would have water management as part of the deal with Europe is beyond me. These folks are utterly willing to sell their own children to get our country in business with the world for cash.

Water will not be protected under this CETA agreement and yet it is the most important resource that Canada owns and really will be the dominant resource since I don`t believe any of us will be able to live without water.

Environmental protections are also under threat by these sorts of agreements and having experienced the NAFTA type lawsuits that result when a province tries to alter the course of its policy at the expense of a private investor base offshore --well it just means that we---the ordinary taxpayer are doing the work of insuring the corporations can do business without risk.

Heck I thought business understood the risks of doing business with government in Canada as citizens are fully cognizant of these risks and yet the government makes a safety parachute and a landing pad for business that is made entirely out of the public sector services and our taxpayer dollars.

These sorts of trade agreements are indeed a threat to our ability to function as an independent nation --especially since we have the spineless and corporate leaning crew we have in government at all levels selling all our assets so that we will have nothing left in the bank for a rainy day.  Haven`t these nitwits any brains at all? I think that investing all we have in the bank only means one thing--that our children and grandchildren will be broke (if they are not already).

I have no confidence in the Republicans we have hired to do the right thing by citizens because it is only the citizen family that is on the mat being held down and overcome by the bully boys in power.

Trojan horses everywhere folks and in places we never thought to look for them.

They are now in the very laws we live under, in the very trade agreements that determine how every level of government functions, and in the ordinary drugs we take to make ourselves functional enough to live under the yoke and whip.

What can we do about this anti-democratic government and its odd behaviors? I`d say we have no choice but to lobby as the corporatations are lobbying and pay our lobby groups (the Council of Canadians for eg.) to remind our government---over and over again--that they are on a short time frame of operation here --and they will be out of power soon enough.