My Nova Scotia pen pal, the voice of common sense in this country, Silver Donald Cameron, is fond of saying “laws are made by those who have the power to enforce them.” My own variation is that the people who make the laws are the ones that use them and you can judge that from how fair they are.
In the 1960s and 70s, the buzz words were “pourquoi pas?” or “why not?”. It signalled the end of the State in the bedroom and a whole new morality developed, ironically under the current Prime Minister’s father.
As of today, I put Justin Trudeau and Christy Clark on notice that the buzzwords are “how long?”
My remarks today will be basically from a British Columbian, for the simple reason that’s what I happen to be. I expect that my colleague Damien Gillis and I will have much more to say about this as time goes on.
How long, Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Clark, do you expect the people of British Columbia to put up with your bullshit?
Granted, this is only a recommendation by the NEB to approve the project, but you, Justin, have given every indication thus far of your support and done nothing meaningful to intervene in this Harper-appointed panel’s process. Christy says she’s “a long way” from signing off, but she already gave away the province’s power to the federal government and has made it clear where she stands on pipelines and fossil fuels, so we can’t expect her to hold this project up.
Your dictatorial decision on Kinder Morgan was not unexpected and simply typifies what we know the governments are going to do to us. And those are the operative words “do to us”. Let’s get it right on the table – there isn’t a soupçon of democracy any of the decisions that you have taken since assuming power, from the smallest through to Kinder Morgan.
Surely you don’t pretend the BC public in the last election debated and approved of any pipeline, let alone Kinder Morgan? What would have been the point?
Do you seriously suggest that any member of Parliament from British Columbia effectively represents a single person, let alone a constituency in our province?
Woodfibre LNG OK came from sham process too
Let’s examine that just a moment from the point of view of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country. Even an Easterner would have heard something about the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant. Given the fact that the Tory MP was unceremoniously dumped because he supported this project, I have to assume you knew that the mood of the people was anything but supportive.
The so-called environmental assessment scheme the feds and the province concocted was, and there is no other word for it, fraudulent in the extreme. There had been no examination of flows of contaminated water into Howe Sound and the hugely important issue of protecting ocean values. The entire question of the width of Howe Sound, which is dramatically too narrow, has not even yet been canvassed. We were assured that your candidate, now the MP, if she did not oppose this project at least, had a completely open mind. (I must confess I told all who would listen that it didn’t matter and they now know I was dead right!)
Well, Mr. Prime Minister, how long did it take your minister of environment to approve this project based upon one absolutely phoney environmental process? Your MP, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, wasn’t even advised by the minister prior to the decision being taken. Not that it mattered, but it would have looked a lot better.
Let’s stop there – that’s democracy? That’s the way you see consultation with the people of British Columbia about British Columbia matters? That’s how important we are to you?
I am not wasting time talking about the Clark government, which has paid no attention whatsoever to our concerns. I ask you again, prime minister, when will it end?
Do you seriously suggest that the shenanigans that go on inside your office, caucus meetings and so on provide even the slightest opportunity for a British Columbian to present his or her feelings effectively? At least be honest!
Not an ounce of democracy
Now comes Kinder Morgan. Your party screamed like a stuck pig at the Harper government’s loading of the National Energy Board in favour of business – business that financially supported his government and now yours. There were going to be reforms. Structural changes, independence, fair play and the appearance of it. I say it again – compared to the NEB and all environmental assessment boards I have attended, the old Soviet show trials look like paragons of British justice. My response to the press when asked what was proposed for WFLNG was that after attending several meetings myself, I would rather have a root canal without an anaesthetic than go through another.
Prime Minister, you must understand that these are not little niggles were talking about here – it goes to the root of the matter, for I’m telling you that there’s not an ounce of democracy in our system and that to say we must obey the law is making legitimate a law is set up by the brigands to assist the pillagers in their piracy.
The pretence of consultation and representation
As you know, I was a member of the British Columbia government back in your father’s time in Ottawa. I know how the game is played and where the bodies are buried. I played the game of making believe that my colleagues on the back bench did effectively represent their constituents and their constituencies.
It was rubbish! They did no such thing except in ill-disguised appearance. The best the backbenchers would hope for was a bit of consultation, which is to say having the bill presented to them as a fait accompli. The pretence of consultation was there – often lengthy caucus meetings occurred and sometimes even the premier and the minister appeared for show. And members spoke out, but cautiously, for the same reason that Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, very much on the make, is not going to offend you and all your pretence to the contrary are unbecoming. Her next stop is cabinet and no cruddy LNG plant is going to interfere with that!
Electoral reform plans are for show
There are many more examples but let’s just close with your proposed amendments to the electoral system. I was asked by a large organization to help in this matter, given my experience with Premier Bennett, your father and others during the Patriation of the Constitution. It didn’t take me long to realize it was the same old crap. The Liberal Party of Canada, professing to represent the country, has already concocted a scheme that I would be expected to rubber stamp. Worse than that, I would be asked to tell the world what a fair system it is to BC.
That’s not how it works Mr. Trudeau – any British Columbia will tell you what it’s like to be unrepresented, patronized, and instructed to be a good Canadian, Ontario definition thereof. You will take that as snivelling, but a couple of years at UBC doesn’t make you a British Columbian any more than graduating from Laval would make me a Quebecker.
The basic issue – please don’t lose sight of it – is democracy, namely the right of the people to participate in the decisions by which they are governed and have the right to remove laws that are odiferous.
What right do you have?
On the three issues I mentioned, British Columbia has been absolutely correct insisting on its right to be heard and listened to. Our atmosphere and ocean are to be polluted, while dangerous LNG tankers expose our citizens to high risks without even consultation, much less consent.
What right does parliament have to expose our lands, parks and waters to the certain destruction that will come from toxic tankers from the Kinder Morgan pipeline? What right have you to do that without a word of consent from a single, solitary citizen?
You assume that right because it’s always been done – well, a great many of us are determined that it not be done that way much longer. If freedom and democracy are mere words, we’re left with a consultation process reminiscent of the Soviet presidium! As our leader, you ought to be ashamed not only of standing aside and doing nothing but actually exploiting this abomination for your own gain.
Be warned! Seminars on civil disobedience have taken place with many more scheduled. It’s no evil to disobey an evil law.
This is not going to go away, and while I don’t believe for a moment that Kinder Morgan is finished, even if it is, the fight will continue on and on and on until we get back our birthright, the privilege of participating in decisions made about us.