Christy Clark, aka Premier Photo-Op, has a big mess on her hands – but, fear not, she’ll let us all muck about in it.
The government is in deepening debt and Ms. Clark can’t pretend that it’s a mystery how that came about. While there are many causes the principal one is that the government didn’t see the Recession coming and, when it came, went into denial. The budget of 2009 with which they proudly went to the polls was an utter and deliberate sham. Ditto the HST.
How is Clark going to deal with this?
Easy – Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!
And where will those jobs come from?
In part from exports to China. Apparently Premier Clark hasn’t heard that China has its own Recession going, Big Time. Their banking system is essentially the government and only looks good on paper because the US owes them so much. Their mega-projects, especially the Three Gorges Dam, have become serious fiscal problems.
What is truly worrying is that Ms. Clark will try to create employment, preparatory to election time, on her own mega-projects such as the proposed Enbridge pipeline to Kitimat and the related tanker traffic down our treacherous coast. Environmental rules, such as they are, will become a chimera – a cynical gesture of contempt to citizens who put protection of our environment ahead of Ms. Clark’s election prospects. Fracking, the natural gas extraction which pollutes huge amounts of water, will be hugely encouraged.
The entire policy of the Campbell/Clark government will be to have in place a policy which she believes will mesmerize the public into believing that prosperity is just around the corner.
If the genie gave me but one wish it would be that everyone understands that pipelines and tanker traffic don’t pose risks but certainties. We must hammer this home as the corporations move into high gear with their high paid flacks to convince the public that they really do care about the environment. The fact is that they couldn’t care less about the environment or any social values. Oil spills are not seen for the ugly destruction they bring but merely the cost of doing business.
We environmentalists have to face facts – we haven’t the money to match the outputs of both government and industry. We must get down to basics – the issue is not money or jobs but the preservation of our very soul. We must care for our fish not because we fish but because when we lose them we lose a part of us. When we lose our wilderness we don’t do so just in some sort of abstract way but in the real sense that we, each and every one of us, have sustained a wound that will never go away.
There is no “safe” way you can construct and maintain pipelines or transfer oil on tankers. You can’t, in that most weasely of weasel words, “mitigate” the damage. We have to understand that from the moment you start the first pipe installation, the first step on the road to certain environmental devastation has been taken. When the first barrel of oil starts through the pipe, catastrophe has become merely a question of “when”.
The arguments we make are never met head-on. The answer will be, “aw hell, you don’t really believe those eco-freaks, do you?” “Jeez, this is the 21st century, sure we can do these things with little or no risk these days”, “Let those goddam tree huggers talk to the guys out of work”. “If you don’t move forward, you’ll end up going backwards”. There are plenty more one-liners.
There is no doubt that society must change; our ambitions must take into account a different society. For if we permit the destruction of our environment, what do we have left of the beautiful province we all love so much. The unemployed are not so because of environmentalists but because of a society that finds it easier to destroy than create.
While I do not let religion get in the way of rational debate, surely it’s utterly apropos to remember Jesus’s words, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
And, folks, it’s our soul that’s at stake here.