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“The environment IS the economy” says Tory MP Weston…Really?

Posted December 19, 2014 by Rafe Mair in Politics
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The environment IS the economy says Tory MP Weston

Tory MP John Weston (from his annual Christmas video message/Youtube)

There is surely nothing quite as ridiculous as a Tory pretending that he cares. Money and rich friends they understand but when it comes to the values that ordinary people revere they’re at sea. In fact they’re bewildered by those who think that the poor ought to be considered by society or that such things as lakes and mountains and animals and parks and neighbourhoods have any serious meaning to people.

This doesn’t mean that they don’t understand that they must make believe and always speak in loving terms about the things that I’ve mentioned.

There’s another sure thing to be added to Benjamin Franklin’s “death and taxes”. It’s that by reading the bullshit in a Tory MP’s annual newspaper to his constituents you can determine, with only the minimum of thinking, what the Tories are really planning and what their electoral word games are going to be all about.

LNG in Howe Sound

I hate to be seen as picking on my MP, John Weston, but because I know him, I’m bewildered that he would prostitute his brains and compromise his honesty to the extent he has over the last three years.

Now, John is a very earnest sort of a chap and I’m sure honestly feels that he is front and centre in Canadian public life and of considerable importance to the governance of the nation. I fact, he is inconsequential and in three years has contributed nothing and couldn’t if he wanted to. Nor can any of his backbench colleagues. I would respect that and leave him alone if it weren’t for the fact that he pretends importance where there is none, as do his colleagues. It must be an awful thing to have to fake self-importance in order to keep up one’s self respect.

Let’s get down to cases. I live on the Sea-to-Sky in wonderful Lions Bay. I have not always lived here, of course, but I’ve always felt much attached to Howe Sound, having spent so many of my boyhood hours happily fishing and swimming and cruising in this area. It’s sacred.

Squamish, at the top of Howe Sound, is a growing town and it’s proposed that it be “blessed” with an LNG plant. I think I can say safely that the vast majority of citizens along Howe Sound oppose this vigorously. Squamish, in a stirring upset, recently elected a mayor who is also much opposed.

Weston attacks West Van Council over LNG ban

Last summer the West Vancouver City Council – among others in Howe Sound and on the Sunshine Coast – passed a resolution condemning this project. Mr. Weston took umbrage at this and went to Council with a spokesman for the Malaysian LNG outfit and demanded time for him to be heard. He was determined to have this decision overturned but the council, which understood the public mood much better than he did, remained firm.

If you read Mr. Weston’s annual rag, you might think that he had won a stunning victory. The bold headline sings praise for Council’s commitment to “Good Process”, even though it politely told him to get stuffed. In the body of the article, Mr. Weston plays down the disappointment the entire constituency knew he had and made believe that he was thrilled that he managed to get a hearing for his client.

Not satisfied with leaving after one paragraph, Mr. Weston prattles on for seven more dealing with the wonders of development. One paragraph probably tells the story

As MP, I am increasingly required to consider the impact of industrial projects on our economy and our environment. Throughout the summer, conversations [at] backyard barbecues and coffee gatherings [are] often related to responsible resource development. “The Environment IS the Economy” [emphasis his] is the message I am increasingly taking to cabinet and other leaders.

That is, of course, rubbish. Mr. Weston is not taking any messages to cabinet nor to any leaders, nor does any other Tory backbencher. Who in hell is he kidding? They’re overpaid ciphers who do what they are told and speak when they’re spoken to.

IS the environment the economy?

But let me deal with this slogan “The Environment IS the Economy ” – to which Weston recently dedicated a column on his website directed at yours truly. That’s a very helpful slogan indeed and reminds me of “Conscription if necessary but not necessarily Conscription”, “The Land is Strong” and “Please adjust your clothing before leaving the Lavatory”.

This all leads up to Mr. Weston’s favourite word – and I assume it is the favourite of his colleagues, – “process”. As long as you have “process” you can do anything.

When the Tory government took away protection for fish under an omnibus bill, Mr. Weston, in my presence, enthusiastically supported this move on the grounds that now there was “process”. In other words where it was once forbidden to bugger up fish habitat, now you could do it if you went through the proper “process”.

Mr. Weston goes on to say, “If a project respects the factors just mentioned, I am likely to support it. Otherwise, I will not support it.”

Again we see the ridiculousness of a Tory backbencher trying to act important. The plain fact is that Prime Minister Harper doesn’t give a fiddler’s fart what John Weston thinks about a project. The truth of the matter is that backbencher Weston was instructed to try to get the West Vancouver Council to reverse itself – after all, Harper and his poodle, Christy Clark uncritically support LNG. He failed and now must save face.

“Process”

I have spoken of this before but I think it’s worth revisiting. The “process” involved in environmental matters is a fraud. Now that’s admittedly a nasty word to use, I agree, but let’s examine the position taken by Mark Eliesen who was, until he resigned, an intervenor in the Kinder Morgan hearings before the National Energy Board.

Mr Eliesen is former Chair of BC Hydro, CEO of the Manitoba Energy Commission, CEO of Ontario Hydro, CEO of Manitoba Hydro and a director of Suncor.

In his lengthy resignation letter, Mr. Eliesen concluded:

In effect, this so-called public hearing process has become a farce, and this Board a truly industry captured regulator…The National Energy Board is not fulfilling its obligation to review the Trans Mountain Expansion Project objectively. Accordingly it is not only British Columbians, but all Canadians that cannot look to the Board’s conclusions as relevant as to whether or not this project deserves a social license. Continued involvement in the process endorses this sham and is not in the public interest.

John Weston no doubt believes his own bullshit, but that’s what it is. Without hesitation, I would take the word of Mark Eliesen over Weston’s and most certainly over that of Prime Minister Harper or any of his cabinet toadies.

“The Environment IS the Economy” (or is it the other way around?) simply means, in Tory Talk, “Always speak in hushed, respectful terms about the environment – but, for God’s sake, don’t ever let environmental considerations get in the way of our friends making money.”

Gerry Hummel's cartoon on John Weston support of private river power projects

Gerry Hummel’s cartoon on John Weston’s support of private river power projects (IPPs)

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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 is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

12 Comments


  1.  
    Michael Maser

    For what it’s worth, below is my letter to Weston, re-his BS newsletter stuffed in our mailboxes. I cc’d it to both our local papers and it is currently running in both, and has generated more positive response to me than any other letter I’ve ever written (and I write quite a few). People are extremely annoyed with this grinning ninny, and see through his antics as the trifling, obsequious gyrations they are. Let’s hope that translates into … a flushing sound next October.

    Mr. Weston,

    Stop – STOP! – sending me you and your government’s propagandistic piffle.

    Your latest ‘Riding News’, arriving a few days ago in my mailbox, is clearly not news but hyperbolic tripe, no doubt inked by a paid party writer to twist and misinform Canadians about your ‘news’.

    That you have the gall to photoshop yourself next to the phrase ‘The Environment is the Economy’ is a shamefaced insult to the Canadian scientists your government has muzzled, the important scientific facilities the CPC has closed and the environments the CPC have helped despoil with the support of your policies.

    That you present yourself as a benefactor to a tidal energy start up company developing technology not in our riding but another, is disingenuous; that you present yourself as a superhero fighting ISIS “evil” through jingoistic boilerplate is likewise nauseating.

    Enough Mr. Weston. Save Canadian taxpayers the expense of fronting your postcards from another planet.

    Michael Maser
    Gibsons BC




  2.  
    nonconfidencevote

    The only thing more repulsive than a politician wrapping themselves in the environmental flag whilst promoting jobs,jobs,jobs is their constant pandering to industry and the money it brings.
    I would have more respect for a politician that came right out and said, “This LNG plant will pollute but it will provide jobs.” Than the constant, endless, politically correct pablum serving Orwellian doublespeak that gullible voters want to hear.
    Unfortunately politicians that speak the truth are soon ex politicians.
    This spineless gastropod was elected by a majority of voters.
    I think the only way he can be reshaped into a “voice of the people” is to confront him in a calm, rational, adult manner at every meeting he has, at every public presentation he has, even when you meet him in the parking lot at Safeway……. and tell him.
    “If you continue to publically back this LNG project you will NOT be reelected”.
    Its amazing what losing ones cushy job will do to focus ones attention.
    But , voters being the lazy whiners that they are…….I wont hold my breath.




  3.  
    KWD

    The opening line, “There is surely nothing quite as ridiculous as a Tory pretending that he cares”, is quite correct. However, singling out “a Tory” hides an underlying truism that applies to a great many people in society, not just Tories.

    When MP John Weston claims he cares, he reveals several behavioural traits found on a checklist used to identify psychopaths: Pathological lying and an ability to pretend they are empathetic. The unfortunate aspect is that these traits are not only highly prevalent in political and corporate spheres, they are part of the “hiring” suitability checklist.




    •  
      dgrb

      Surely the desire to hold political office should disqualify one from running for it.




      •  
        KWD

        Bob Altemeyer, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba and author of “The Authoritarians”, believes there are ways of dealing with the undesirable aspects of politics/politicians. (The Authoritarians is available as an e-book. It’s worth reading.)

        According to Altemeyer, we can take the lead from those highly authoritarian politicians and corporate leaders, that claim to have our best interests in mind. “[Y]ou can exercise your rights too, while you still have them, and get just as concerned, active, and giving to protect yourself and your country. If you, and other liberals, other moderates, other conservatives with conscience do, then everything can turn out all right. But we have to get going. If you are the only person you know who grasps what’s happening, then you’ve got to take leadership, help inform, and organize others. One person can do so much; you’ve no idea! And two can do so much more.”




  4.  

    BK …. This is what really pisses me off. Process is critically important. If we get charged with an offence or want to enforce a contract we have, subject to human frailties, a process we trust. But you only need attend a few Federal Provincial environmental hearings as Damien and I have to feel every nuance of what Marc Eliasen says. To pretend that there is any process in environmental matters is sheer dishonesty. Like all dishonest people (in this regard anyway) Weston has political allies who are required to believe, naive people who believe because they badly want to believe, and people who just don’t think. This is why I attack.




  5.  
    Dorothy

    Bang on. The truth has been spoken…thank you.




  6.  
    Sandra H

    Exactly, Raif! You nailed it.




  7.  
    bk

    As humiliating a mockery of John Weston as this is, it is acurate and as such it is a good summation. As far as I can tell the only thing the guy does is promote fitness….. in a riding that has the least problem with fitness in north america.

    John Weston, along with the rest of the Harper conservatives is a subverter of process. Process is exactly what we need, but it is exactly what we don’t have. For him to claim champion of process is stunningly ironic.




  8.  
    Hal

    Just a clapping seal, no more and no less





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