Common Sense Canadian
 

BC Conservative MPs Who Abandoned Our Wild Salmon May Find Voters Abandoning Them

Posted June 22, 2012 by Rafe Mair in Politics
Conservative MP James Moore poses in front of an artist's depiction of a wild BC salmon; last week, Moore abandoned the real thing.

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Note well the names that follow, for they are British Columbia MPs who voted for the final destruction of the Pacific Salmon, the sea going Rainbow trout (Steelhead), river resident Cutthroat, resident Rainbow trout, river dwelling Dolly Varden and Bull trout:
 
Don Albas, Ron Cannan, John Duncan, Ed Fast, Kerrry-Lynne Findlay, Nina Grewal, Richard Harris, Russ Heibert, Randy Kamp, James Lunney, Colin Mayes, Cathy McLeod, James Moore, Andrew Saxton, Mark Strahl, Mark Warawa, John Weston, David Wilks, Alice Wong, Wai Young, and Bob Zimmer.
 
These toadies are our Conservative Members of Parliament, the blind followers of ultra-conservative Stephen Harper. They voted for Bill C-38, which in itself was a gross abdication of democracy in that it was an act to amend the Budget Act, yet included in it critical amendments to the Fisheries Act and many other environmental protections, making it all but a slam dunk for developers to ravage salmon habitat.
 
These lickspittles uttered not a word of objection (except Wilks, when caught on candid camera, before promptly recanting) that Harper abused an omnibus bill in order to restrict debate on amendments to the Fisheries Act, then proceeded to vote for it.
 
The Conservative Party under Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper started their war on our salmon back in the 1980s when they muzzled Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) scientists over the Alcan plan to lower the Nechako River, near Prince George, to dangerous levels, thus threatening runs of sockeye salmon en route to their spawning grounds. The danger came in summertime, when excessive heat would meet low waters – a certainty which then-Fisheries Minister Tom Siddon called “an acceptable risk”. DFO scientists had studied Alcan’s plans and vigorously opposed them and one by one they were moved sidewise, given early retirement or forced by their own code of honour to remove themselves.
 
The government passed an order-in-council forbidding the usual environmental assessment process, clearly knowing that it would have to call these scientists to give evidence, thus exposing the Kemano Completion program for what it was – naked aggression against the salmon.
 
Along the way, the DFO, mandated to protect the fish, was instructed to support Atlantic salmon fish farms on the west coast, driving another nail into the coffin of our sacred signature salmon. DFO, unable to enforce the act while supporting the presence of fish farms chose, under stern political guidance, to avoid enforcement of their mandate to protect west coast salmon. Now they have virtually no power to restrain any development. They are eunuchs.
 
Here’s how the Sudbury Star put it:

Bill C-38 does a lot more than simply implement the federal budget. It eviscerates many of Canada’s historic environmental laws, and establishes a new regime that promotes unrestrained economic development at the expense of environmental protection. For starters, Bill C-38 will repeal the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, one of the foundational pieces of legislation, which for decades has required an assessment of impacts when development is proposed. In place of the Act, the Conservatives are offering new legislation that will severely restrict the required assessment of environmental impacts, and limit opportunities for input from the public and First Nations.

The Fisheries Act will also be gutted by the omnibus bill, as fish habitat protections will be removed. Tom Siddon, the former Tory minister of Fisheries and Oceans in Brian Mulroney’s government, expressed his outrage over this regressive step to managing the economically important fisheries resource.

Why would the government want to gut the Fisheries Act?

Anyone in mind who might like these changes?

Here’s what Postmedia reports:

Federal fisheries officials were having “troubling” disagreements with Enbridge Inc. over the company’s interpretation of its responsibility to protect fish habitat along the Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline route before the company submitted its project proposal in 2010, according to internal documents.

Enbridge was concluding some of the crossings, over an estimated 1,000 waterways, were low risk when fisheries biologists felt the same were medium or high risk to fish and fish habitat, according to emails obtained through the Access to Information Act.

Here’s what The Northern View wrote, reporting on Prince Rupert Council’s opposition to C-38:

Bill C-38 also includes the changes to the Environmental Assessment system for big industrial projects, and the provision that gives the federal cabinet final say over decisions made by the National Energy Board. This change has lead to a considerable loss of confidence in the Enbridge Joint Review Panel hearings by local Northern Gateway opponents, who, at the last hearing in Prince Rupert, repeatedly accused the panel of being stripped of credibility and authority.

Many, including me, have been making the point for years that under our system, Members of Parliament do not represent their constituencies but, instead, return to their ridings to tell us what Ottawa is doing to us and that we can like it or lump it.

I understand, from personal experience, how hard it is for an individual to disagree with the leader and do so publicly. But surely a time comes when the leader is so egregiously in contempt of an MP’s interests that he/she must lay it on the line, knowing it will be politically fatal. If this is not the case, what the hell do we need the MP for anyway? Is their only role to do what they’re told and check it out when a constituent’s pension cheque is late?

One of the consequences of this tight discipline is that the MP no longer informs him/herself of contentious issues. I spoke with my Tory MP, John Weston, a couple of weeks ago and it was obvious that he knew dick-all about the pipelines issue, to add to his utter ignorance of the private power (IPPs) issue. Why learn the other side when you’re going to vote as you are told? What’s the point of cluttering one’s mind with facts when they don’t count for a damn thing when you come to vote?

The system stinks but it will survive as long as the government has absolute control over government members. Here we have the proof – every single BC Conservative MP voted in favour of further decimating our Pacific salmon and their cousins.

For shame! On our Tory MPs for not standing up for their province and on all of us for not understanding how our dishonest system fails us, thus not doing anything to force a change.

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About the Author

Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe continues to make regular appearances on radio and television, writes regularly for thetyee.ca, and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

14 Comments


  1.  
    Angela Squires

    We go through the Governor General (GG) who is David Johnson, a Harper appointed toady. However he has to pay attention to the will of the people of Canada.
    There is precedent to my knowledge federally in Australia and provincially in BC, not commonly known btw. The procedure can be established by phoning Government House in your respective provinces.
    There is no doubt in my mind that the Harper Govt actions are unconstitutional, illegitimate and the people of Canada have rightful and democratic grounds for calling upon the Queen’s representative (GG) and ultimately Her Majesty, to dissolve Parliament.




  2.  
    Angela Squires

    We go through the Governor General (GG) who is David Johnson, a Harper appointed toady. However he has to pay attention to the will of the people of Canada.
    There is precedent to my knowledge federally in Australia and provincially in BC, not commonly known btw. The procedure can be established by phoning Government House in your respective provinces.
    There is no doubt in my mind that the Harper Govt actions are unconstitutional, illegitimate and the people of Canada have rightful and democratic grounds for calling upon the Queen’s representative (GG) and ultimately Her Majesty, to dissolve Parliament.




  3.  
    Ted Carroll

    John Weston is my MP as well and I would add to Rafe Mair’s comments about the MP’s “utter ignorance ” about IPPs that the illustrious MP has a total ignorance about all matters environmental. Moreover he does not seem to want to encumber his mind with ideas, facts or science that might refute his government’s present anti-environmental stance. He merely parrots in his money-wasting brochures (the most of any MP in this government) the cant of this government. So don’t expect this particular MP to take up the cudgels on behalf of the environment, salmon, bears, democracy, or even his constituents, expecially those that didn’t vote neo-con in the last election. One question – if this government is increasingly going down what many of us perceive as an anti-democratic path, is the Governor-General in a position to intervene in any way? How can his powers on behalf of Canada and its citizens be invoked, so that the Canada that we believe in is not totally dismantled in the next 3-4 years? Or is he really just a titular figurehead now?




  4.  
    mogs

    Markerbuoy, “Something sinister is afoot.”

    and Rafe,

    This is whats afoot:

    New World Order Blueprint Leaked: corporate global governance

    We have been sold out:

    http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article35265.html?all=true

    Harper and Clark not only know about but are advocates for it, how’s that for treason?




  5.  
    Dennis McKeown

    Raif i don’t like many politicians but i like you keep up the good work your a credit to your ex profession.




  6.  
    Damien Gillis

    Thanks sloughguy – your MP has been added to the hall of shame.




  7.  
    Grant G

    Thanks Rafe..

    You might want to write about China`s oil spill..

    Details within the below link

    http://powellriverpersuader.blogspot.ca/2012/06/christy-clark-when-will-you-denounce.html




  8.  
    Julie

    The problem is. Harper has installed, two new Conservative judges. There are nine taking this to court on Monday. Harper is trying to prevent the disputes on the ridings in question. Canada is a dictatorship regime, which Harper controls all.

    Harper is desperately tried to quash the robo-call cheat election fraud investigations. William Corbett resigned. Harper has installed, one of his good old boys in Corbetts place. We absolutely must watch out for this one too.

    The omnibus bill, appears to be written up by lunatics, it’s totally senseless. Canadians are not obliged to obey, Harper in treason. The Nuremberg defense won’t hold up either.




  9.  
    Markerbuoy

    Firstly, many thanks to Rafe and all other contributors for continuing to hammer away at this and other important issues.
    Having educated myself somewhat, I think I am better able to see right through Harper’s every move. What these Federal and BC governments get away with is increasingly,very scary. Something sinister is afoot.
    We are naive to think we still have a true democracy and can vote for effective change. Non elected, unaccountable , powerful interests have increasingly managed to corrupt governments everywhere.
    Compounding the problem is general ignorance of current affairs due to the majority fixation on TV and newspapers, from which we rarely learn anything of significance; most people are too preoccupied with jobs, mortgages and kids, which leads to precious little time for grappling with government.
    So what to do? How can an individual be more effective? These are questions that I continue to grapple with…in the meantime, thanks again to Rafe and thinking bloggers everywhere!




  10.  
    sloughguy

    Does this mean that Kerry Lynn Findley, member for Delta-Richmond East, did NOT vote for it? She is the successor to John Cummins, former fisherman whose political grist was everything to do with fisheries. Are you saying that she voted against the bill?




  11.  
    Kathy Parton

    One of these toadies(John Duncan) happens to be the MP for my riding. It is also one of the ridings that was too close to call. The Council of Canadians is supporting legal action to overturn the results of the May 2011 federal elections in seven ridings because of voter suppression techniques and fraudulent phone calls that impacted voter results. I have not felt represented by governments in Canada for a long time and Harper his ministers just show us that our so call democratic system doesn’t work. If the Council of Canadians legal actions are successful, the court would set aside the election results in those ridings and by-elections would be held.




  12.  
    islandgirl

    Not only will any of these “toadies and lickspittles” discover they have been abandoned by voters, (love you Rafe for calling a toad a toad!), I think they will be surprised how strongly and adamantly people will be campaigning against them – even people who have never gotten politically involved before.
    They have gone WAY to far.




  13.  
    Eric W

    so how do we kick this government out?? isn’t there someone out there making sure the government is being constitutional? don’t you need opinions of the public to be democratic? If the public hardly knows anything about this bill (let alone the MPs that voted it in!) then there is no democracy, just force-fed legislation. The Queen better get over here and dismantle Harpers bullshit majority government.





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