Obviously, the face of B.C., quite literally, is changing. Immigrants account for 45 per cent of the population in Vancouver, 52 per cent in Surrey, 59 per cent in Burnaby and 70 per cent in Richmond. Immigrant populations are rising everywhere, even in the whitest regions of the province. And they aren't buying what the NDP is selling. Big government. Vast social programs. Union allegiance.
China does have a tradition of compassion for nonhumans. So the daunting question is: what went so awry that in the name of economic development, both farm and wild animals are now being treated ruthlessly, even as they're being driven to the brink of extinction? What is the root cause of the animal welfare crisis, especially in mainland China?
Asiatic Bears are farmed for their bile juice -- a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) -- alleged to fight fever, cleanse the liver, and improve vision. There is no scientific evidence to substantiate these claims. But the bears are not the only victims of such inhumane practice, more than 1800 animals are used in TCM drugs.
The Conservative government could have taken a much bolder stance on wildlife poaching, especially given the recent Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). Canada has even more power to coerce China into bringing forth sweeping changes to it's treatment of animals and the environment.
With Xi Jinping assuming the Presidency of China, some have expressed hope that his tenure will bring reform and change, particularly in the promotion and protection of human rights. At the same time, China's most recent Nobel Peace Prize winter -- Liu Xiaobo -- languishes in prison, and has yet to receive the prize awarded to him two years ago. If Canada's relationship with China focuses primarily on ensuring an economic upside -- indeed, if we ignore the Chinese government's gross violations of human rights for economic "net benefit" -- we thereby acquiesce to the imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xia, and others who have sacrificed not just their livelihood, but their freedom, for the sake of human rights.
When his father, Kim Jong-Il, died in December 2011, there were speculations that his young successor would have an interest in modernizing and bringing capitalism to the impoverished nation. North Korea announced they would continue with plans for a third nuclear test and test rockets capable of reaching the United States. It may be argued that Kim Jong-un is more dangerous to the world than his father had ever been.
As 2012 ends, what do we in Canada understood as enduring truths that can we take into living forward in 2013? On the home front, we should have understood that democracy in Canada can be taken too much for granted. We take for granted that Parliamentary democracy is only as effective as the power concentrated in the Prime Minister's Office allows it to be. In the wrong hands, it can make MPs mostly irrelevant, as demonstrated by the Harper PMO.
After the Nexen deal was approved, Prime Minister Stephen Harper framed this as the "end of a trend" not the "beginning" of a buyout frenzy by more sovereign-owned enterprises (SOEs). But this is not the end. This is the beginning of the beginning. Phone calls are already being made to launch new buyouts by foreigners here.