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
[quote]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.[/quote]
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.
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:
[quote]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.[/quote]
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.”