CNSC hearings


** Watch the NFB film 'Uranium'!!!! After three days spent down a nuclear rabbit hole (GE-Hitachi public meeting in Toronto, a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission gig, or, as I prefer to call them, the Canadian Nuclear Danger Commission) – & yes this “meeting” was only 2 daze long, but the day before was spent mostly (in my case) preparing my remarks to the members of the tribunal.

As I pointed out when I spoke to them, it was the 8th time I’ve “intervened” at a CNSC hearing (& yes, 2 of them have been to “Joint Review Panels” or JRPs, & this one was a “meeting,” not a hearing, but it’s all the same all the same all the same darn thing – & taking part in these things, I said to them, is draining).

It is psychologically & emotionally & mentally exhausting debilitating draining – find whatever word helps you understand that sensation of feeling like a limp dishrag, & you’ll be getting my drift.

& it takes a certain amount of intelligence & determination & courage to get up & sit in front of these self-important guardians of all things nuclear

& speak your truth to them.

We activists know we are there to “Speak truth to power,” knowing full well all the while that power is almost never really listening.

& this occasion was very very different in many ways from all previous ones I’ve attended & taken an active part in (been going to CNSC gigs for 7 years now, on & off), & I am still too exhausted to attempt to describe those differences – still digesting & reflecting.

So I’m just going to do a brief list of things I feel exhausted by today (today I am allowing myself, permitting myself, a day off, a day to “recover,” chill out, reflect, sit & stare at a blank wall if need be, because I feel so utterly drained).

I am exhausted by

The arrogance & intransigence & sheer disgusting ugly power of the nuclear industry & its many minions, & its horrible embeddedness in the military-industrial complex 

& by

The insights I have about the human race, & about us as individuals, at this oh-so-critical, even apocalyptic, time in the history of our species, & how few of us are even paying attention. Porch light’s on, but nobody’s home, mostly, you know?? Hardly anyone is listening, or watching, or seeing, or understanding. It’s draining, witnessing all this in what feels like a vacuum, a moral vacuum, an awareness vacuum.

I am exhausted by

  • Human neurosis/neuroses
  • & male ego (well, ego period, I suppose. In males, it seems it can be quite utterly debilitating. Not just that, also dangerous...)
  • & power games, power trips (by people of either sex & in whatever role they may occupy)
  • & witless humans who think making a big salary is the only game in town
  • & most people’s apparent ignorance of, or willful ignoring of, the incredible privilege in which so many of us live, while so very very many around us are hungry, in danger, poor, miserable, dealing with violence in a myriad of forms


I’m exhausted by materialism & consumerism, & the great annual thoughtless, mindless buying & spending extravaganza we call Christmas

& by, well, I guess I’ve already said it, people’s lack of consciousness about this dénouement our species is living out

How unconscious most of us seem to be to the real forces at play here, in ourselves, & in the world.

I am just really really really tired today.


p.s. later I will probably go for a lovely long walk by the lake, but for now I’m going to read a novel (its writer, Alexander McCall Smith is probably just as exhausted by the world as I am, some days, but Bertie Plays the Blues is wonderful, smart, witty, wise, funny & insightful, & it's making me laugh out loud repeatedly, & I need some of that good medicine today) – for now, it is definitely chillout time.

p.p.s. maybe also gratitude time. I am soooo grateful for the wonderful wonderful fierce, feisty intelligent activists I know, & even though I cannot agree 100% all the time all the time all the time with all that they say & do (we each of us live in our own world, after all), I love their intelligence passion courage & feistiness. Especially especially their courage

World-changing is messy, isn’t it?? Messy, messy, messy. & noisy. Not sure that too much of it happens in quiet, comfy living rooms… Or sterile office places. 

p.p.p.s. & courage IS contagious.

But then too, so is anger, unfortunately… 

p.p.p.p.s. & this hearing or meeting (this gathering) has left me feeling very very ambivalent.

  • Confused
  • Buoyed up in some (unexpected) ways
  • Moved
  • Frustrated
  • Inspired
  • Disgusted
  • Saddened/disappointed – also in unexpected ways, by unexpected things, & circumstances, & people


Very very very ambivalent.      

Can you see now why I am feeling so exhausted??

** there is a line in McCall Smith's Bertie Plays the Blues about some bouncers with “faces untroubled by metaphysical doubt.” Just love that phrase!! Some days I sure envy folks who are “untroubled by metaphysical doubt.” I guess I might feel less exhausted today if I were one of them…   

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair


“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees.” – Gandhi

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

“Only when the last tree has died...and the last river has been poisoned...and the last fish has been caught...will we realize that we cannot eat money.” ~ 19th century Cree saying


** Many nuke-related postings on this blog, under the headings 'No More Nukes' & 'Darlington Daze.'

** Tons of great nuke-related quotes gathered up here 


** Article about the hearing: Activists Are Lashing Out at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Experts, eh??

Experts. They sure don't always get it right, do they?




The list is long.

I rest my case.


p.s. Good short (8 minutes) YouTube on the harmful effects of radiation here

p.p.s. Personally, I have come to very much dislike the word "expert." & lotsa folks I know who are wickedly smart & wickedly knowledgeable about, say, nuclear matters, would never call themselves experts. They have too much humility for that. Anyway, you always gotta ask yourself how deeply the person's self-interest is tied up in her/his so-called "expertise." Getting a salary (especially an extremely high one, or a ludicrously high "fee") can kinda turn a person's head around, hmmm? As I've been known to say in the past, some of us are bought. And some of us are not.

p.p.p.s. I recall something I once said to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in a letter. I recommended that all future CNSC hearings be conducted with everyone present sitting in a circle (instead of having the CNSC tribunal members elevated above all the participants the way they always are). And no fancy, expensive suits; everyone wearing her/his blue jeans & maybe a T-shirt. No pretensions, hmmm? Then it would quickly become clear who the real "experts" in the room were...

'Quote of the day' with this post: “Always be prepared to believe that experts are stupid. They very often are.” – Jane Jacobs in CBC interview with Eleanor Wachtel.