Rafe: In absence of political leadership, public and First Nations stepping up

Citizens line the Sea to Sky Highway to protest Woodfibre LNG (My Sea to Sky)
Citizens line the Sea to Sky Highway to protest Woodfibre LNG (My Sea to Sky)

Dr. David Suzuki, in a recent column well worth reading, talks about a change in attitude across the country – changes with First Nations, increasing environmentalism, a new government in Alberta. Big changes are happening everywhere.

I wonder how many British Columbians have thought about the disgraceful attitude of industry and government towards our environment and the contempt they show for those who disagree with them?

Dr. Suzuki covers a number of these areas and I’ll just deal with one or two of my own.

Private power play

Let’s go back to the Independent Power Projects (IPPs) of the Campbell government which have destroyed our rivers and continue to cost BC Hydro huge amounts of money that we cannot afford. They are nothing more than Liberal slush. They are economic disasters for Hydro and any doubts on that score are dispelled by economist Erik Andersen, who no stranger to these pages.

Herring fishery fiasco

Another revealing moment came with the Heitsuk First Nation in Bella Bella when the federal government finally had to shut down the gillnet fisherey, as Damien Gillis documented in these pages, proving that the Heiltsuk knew more about the health of the fishery than did DFO.

Premier welcomes crook to BC LNG industry

Woodfibre LNG- Shady PR firms, lobby violations, fraudulent owner - Is this the kind of business BC wants to welcome
Sukanto Tanoto (right), owner of proposed Woodfibre LNG

Let’s move ahead and talk about LNG and I want to bring up a point, which I have spoken of before, but is absolutely critical when the British Columbians make their judgment about the LNG companies and Premier Christy Clark and her group. We only need to look at the proposed plant at Woodfibre LNG to make my point. Yes I have written about this but I think the point must be hammered again and again.

Apart from the whole issue of LNG, we have a Premier who has brought to us a company wholly owned by crook, Sukanto Tanoto, who has defrauded governments and who has been an environmental catastrophe in Indonesia where he plies his trade. Premier Clark asks British Columbians, her fellow citizens, to accept within our community a man whose entire operation is geared to steal taxes and royalties and who shows no intention of caring about environmental standards such as those covering the minimum acceptable width of Howe Sound for LNG tankers.

Moreover, Premier Clark and Sukanto Tanoto know what those standards are. We have brought them to their attention as forcibly as possible. We didn’t make them up – they are accepted by the US government. We have printed, here, the industry standards set by SIGTTO, Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators Ltd.

We have shown them charts with the appropriate lines drawn showing the clear limitations. This paper has carried them. Clearly, Howe Sound is utterly inappropriate for LNG freighters.

Why hasn’t premier Christy Clark squarely and honestly faced up to these issues?

Why hasn’t the NDP and leader John Horgan forced the premier to face these issues and come clean with us?

Green groups demonized for defending public

This in no way lessens our need to raise all of the environmental concerns which have been brought forward not by a government caring our interests but by environmental groups. Not only are these groups bearing the brunt of the work, they are being pilloried and insulted by people like Prime Minister Harper and Finance Minister Joe Oliver not to mention our own premier and her pet poodle, Rich Coleman.

Now we come to the part where the government is supposed to provide environmental assessment and protection but the overwhelming evidence is that this process is so badly flawed as to be beyond a joke.

So what do we do now?

MPs, MLAs useless

Why, of course, in a democracy we go to our MP or MLA MLA.

We might just as well ask the neighbourhood cat for all the help we are going to get. In my own constituency where the Woodfibre LNG plant is proposed, the MP, John Weston, and MLA Jordan Sturdy are as useless as tits on a bull and indeed worse – because they are so much part of the problem, they only aggravate matters when asked to get involved.

These are some of the factors that enter into the utter disgust people have for those in charge of corporations and governments, the main one of which is that nobody tells the truth. In fact, at the risk of sounding like a cynic, when I hear a captain of Industry or his PR creep on the one hand or a politician on the other, I don’t believe a word they’re saying, not a single word. Ever.

What does this mean for federal election?

It’s interesting to contemplate what effect this public disgust will have on the voters. As I write this, the three major parties are almost to level according to the polls with the Greens far back.

But we have seen that polls are not terribly accurate these days. One only has to look at the United Kingdom and Alberta.

My bet is that Dr. Suzuki is right and that there will be a great many surprises. I believe that applies to my constituency of West Vancouver-Howe Sound-Sea-To-Sky Country.

But there’s one more thing, quickly.

If Dr. Suzuki senses it correctly, and he is an excellent position to do so, no matter what happens in the election, the public is no longer prepared to put up with the same crap from Ottawa, Victoria, and the Corporate Head Office. How that plays out will be fascinating to watch and be a part of.


About 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.

2 thoughts on “Rafe: In absence of political leadership, public and First Nations stepping up

  1. Mp, mla , government, industry are going to do business it’s their economic action plan despite public outcry from cdns or First Nations! We are talking about bailout $$$$ let’s not kid ourselves. Even our elected officials on this LNG project are bypassing process for their kick at the can to get their greedy hands on their piece of the pie ! Desperate enough to take away our right to vote or get proper information! Only council will vote ! 14 people from our “nation” of 4800 people matter because they will sign and have the ability to say “yes” like the rest of the useless tits ! Selling out our people for trinkets/ drop in bucket , converting collective assets ! These people are not nationals they do not have the authority nor were they given that authority to convert assets without the knowledge consent or approval from all members ! We are not self governing! We are an Indian band under the Indian act! There are no short cuts but these tits find them but public needs to know we were not consulted n there will be no vote from all members and the council is bypassing our custom – genocide by our own “family/ community members”.

  2. Oh yeah Suzuki, wasn’t he along with Tempura Bergman (spelling?) the guy that swung the environmental vote for the Liberals on the basis that the NDP wouldn’t go along with Campbell’s clean air plan? The plan that ultimately gave us run of the rivers. Or am I thinking of another scandal?

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