It was not, over all, a great night for environmentalists in BC with the very notable exception of the election of Elizabeth May as the first Green Party MP in our history. She will find that she has taken on the responsibility of being one of BC’s main spokespeople on environmental matters and The Common Sense Canadian looks forward to working with May and, of course, those other MPs who feel as we do about the environment and related issues. I make no apologies for not calling the election correctly – if I did that I would spend half my lifetime apologizing!
As the old saying has it, if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. So it is with us who have taken environmental issues on as a lifetime issue. It’s not that we don’t see, understand and have passion for other issues – rather that we see the environment as being urgent. If we get it wrong over the next few years – and the BC government and the Harper government have got it wrong – then the damage is forever. You simply cannot restore wild salmon runs or erase the damage of a catastrophic oil spill. On the economic side of the environment issue, if you lose your public power to private interests as we seem determined to do, it’s gone forever.
It must be stressed that we are not opposed to change where it is demonstrated to be in the public interest. We’re not Luddites out to destroy the “cotton ‘gin’” although any study of that time makes one very understanding of those who saw their livelihoods vanish to an unmanned factory that used to employ them. But – and this must be stressed – the environmental destroyers with their fish farms and private river monstrosities are not destroying jobs that exist – they are pleading the employment they bring as justification for their schemes. After short term construction jobs are over, the only jobs are as caretakers.
It’s not as if these huge companies bring us something we can’t do for ourselves – quite the opposite. Our wild salmon have sustained communities for generations and, in the case of First Nations, for eons. These fish farm companies use our resources to make fortunes for foreign shareholders.
Consider this: Fish farmers tell us that they can’t go to self contained methods because it’s too expensive.
Why is it too expensive?
Because they don’t have to pay for their farm now because we the people and the environment bear all the expense.
This is the same with private power companies – not only do they not make a sou for our province, not only do they not make power we can make ourselves for much cheaper, not only do they destroy our rivers, they do it at our expense. We pay their overhead!
This it is with bringing Tar Sands in pipelines across our province then down our coastline in tankers – we pay their overhead by taking all the risk!
The point I’m forcing is that it isn’t just a “green” issue but an economic one. We British Columbians pay all the overhead of fish farms, private power projects, pipelines and tanker traffic! And there’s nothing in it for us!
But don’t let me deceive you. If we were making bundles out of these deals I would oppose them with every effort I could summon. I would do so because it’s plain wrong. These fish, rivers, ecologies are like trust funds. They don’t belong to us.
Speaking for Damien and myself, The Common Sense Canadian, far from being set back by a Tory government, are challenged – and we love challenges. We see a number of MPs in a position to fight and well motivated for the battle ahead.
People vote in elections for many things. It is our challenge to see that when we have the next provincial election, saving our fish, our rivers, our public power, our wilderness and our coastline are front and centre issues.