Friday, December 20, 2013

Joint Review Panel makes a decision. Big oil-1, the People-0.

I want to believe that the JRP has the best interests of Canadians in mind, when they table their decision. I want to remain positive regarding the pipelines and the tankers. But why should I? I have seen a lifetime of destruction in this province. We have always sold all of our resources at rock bottom prices and destroyed this beautiful province in the process. 
I am an ex-fisherman, who witnessed all the fish stocks get plundered in just a short generation, I worked as a forestry worker and saw our forests razed and rivers and streams wrecked for a few cents a stump. And now that the government legislated all the value added stipulations out of those industries, they are skeletons of their former selves. There are few fishermen left, save for the corporate takeover of the fleet and the buyers, not to mention the government supported, foreign, corporate fish farm industry that are threatening the wild stocks.
All the sawmills are long gone and we send our forests in the form of raw logs overseas, only to be sold back to us as toothpicks and Canadian Tire flyers.
So, with no fish left and no forests left, now the government wants us to yet again trust them to manage a resource that will be shipped in raw form straight out of Canada to foreign markets, only to be shipped back to us as a value added product.
With no jobs, very little economic benefit, dangerous environmental impacts and no value added, we must be absolutely f@#&ing insane to get on board with this.

And I haven't even touched on the 'discredited' science of climate change.

  • Man!---we've taken it, haven't we? Last few years--- Harper, Campbell,      Christy, Northern Gateway---BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!...feels like we're lookin' at the world outta the corner of one swollen eye sometimes.
    You managed to avoid the word "sustainable", maybe out of fashion by now but still worthy of consideration. Best thing to happen in the woods for a long while was Harcourt's Forest Practices Code, policy made not by industry but by a variety of interests, with the public weal at the top. The Code meant sustainability of "socio-economic" prosperity with accessible public discretion over the disbursement of wealth derived from Crown forests---a process that sustains year after year forever, paying for schools, roads, wages, profit, etc. In contrast, BC Liberal policy sustains only the harvest of trees but, since most of them are exported raw, not the schools, roads, etc. that payroll and consumer taxes used to sustain from the same volume of cut. Willful neglect of inventory has become a key ingredient in the BC Liberals' accounting cookbook, allowing for hidden re-allocations and reclassifications of timber and forest tenure---like a shell game that always favours the house--- friends of the BC Liberal party, that is. TFL holders have been allowed to withdraw the private portions of their licence ---supposedly the ingredient that qualifies cutting rights over the Crown portion---to avoid managing it to public standards. Cabinet has allowed, by fiat, favoured forest companies to take their private land out of the tax shelter that was supposed to incentivize keeping it in continuous forest production--- without repaying the discounted tax, the critical aspect of the incentive. Fortunately bad governments are temporary, the forest is vast and it grows back.
    Sometimes I wonder if tar sand development might be more acceptable to me if it presented with maximum socio-economic sustainability, you know, local value-adding, generous support of social infrastructure, sustainable---but is that really sustainable when the manifold liabilities of environmental degradation are accounted for? I imagine adding up all the scrubbers and skimmers and hazmat suits, incinerators, vitrifyers, land fills, reman factories and everything required to keep from going into the red environmentally; I imagine a very big number to pay for all this but but, hey, maybe the resource is valuable enough to sustain even that; I'll leave it to the environmental law guys. A bit academic at this point because what's being proposed is far, far from sustainable and that's were the focus has to be for now.
    The neo-right ethos behind Northern Gate Way and tar sand development in general has absolutely no intention of sustaining the project nor does it even pretend to. The entire rationale is unabashedly about profiteering, about minimizing obstacles and costs, about squeezing subsidy from taxpayers. Risk is vitally necessary, we're told. Even if socio-economic sustainability is admitted, it is either dismissed out of hand or immunities are demanded. Neo-rightists think you can sustain growth. Now that's insane. And dangerous because they also expect someone else to pay for clean-up.

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        I agree with you on the Forest Practices Code, it was a good start for BC's forests. Much of that has been lost now, with all the environmental legislation handed down from our corporatist overlords. The code stated that 12% of BC's forest would be set aside for future generations and the entire industry was up in arms. I remember huge protests at the legislature, with thousands of forest industry workers in attendance.
        I lived in a town that thrived on logging and you dared not ever speak up or question the 'sustainability' of things, it was like Redneck McCarthyism.
        I suspect many voices in small towns all across this country will never be heard for the same reason. It is no more culturally acceptable to live in Squamish and critique logging than it is to live in Grande Prairie and admonish big oil.
        Media, public and private is framing the questions in a simple and concise format and the issue at hand is much larger.
        Without even mentioning the impact of a single oil spill, whatever the size, the real question is when are we going to take climate change seriously?
        The climate deniers are fewer but louder and more well funded, as the battle between real science and bogus science rages on.
        The question will eventually evolve into whether or not we can sustain this level of industrial resource extraction without completely destroying the environment on which we depend for survival. The simplistic nature of the conversation that is being had right now, between citizens, the government and industry, must move on from 'should we or shouldn't we' build a pipeline, to 'how can we build an entirely new economic system', without costing ourselves the economy itself?
        We can easily begin to wind down our addiction to fossil fuels, while simultaneously growing jobs in the renewable energy sector.
        I am really tired of it being fed to us as a choice between one and the other. We can have both and will have both some day.
        It's going to be a fight, that's all. The dragons of industry will battle us on every front.
        This is why we are seeing a massive PR campaign in every medium, everywhere we turn these days.
        Our own government uses our tax dollars to spread disinformation about the tar sands, pipelines and tankers, while we, the citizens, stand in opposition. What is wrong with that picture?
        That is a corporate takeover of our democratic system and the propaganda is paid for by us.
        Whether you are on the left or the right, that should alarm you.

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