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A Pot Pourri

Art Sterritt. Photo by David P. Ball.

Art Sterritt. Photo by David P. Ball.

Learning that a substantial donation has been made to UBC for Alzheimers research brought to the attention of the public that former premier Bill Bennett is in an advanced stage of the disease. This is something that friends have known for some time. Wendy and I had dinner with Bill and Audrey just before Bill was diagnosed and after he had driven us to our hotel we each remarked that something was very different. He simply did not seem to be the same Bill Bennett.

Bill was, in my view, a first class premier. He will, as time passes, be rated in the top two or three. He also is a friend of mine. We are about four months apart in age and of course it shakes me a lot to realize where he is now and how lucky I am.

What a bitter irony it is that his old antagonist, Dave Barrett, is in exactly the same position at about the same age. These two men, who for 10 years battled it out in the legislature, now find themselves stricken by the same deadly disease.

Dave does not rate as highly as a premier as does Bennett. You can’t expect to do that if you only were in office for 44 months. He did,however, leave a lasting legacy with the Agricultural Land Reserve and with ICBC.

I was privileged to attend Dave’s 80th birthday when Alzheimers had just started to take its grip. As with Bill, it was sad and more than a bit scary to behold.

I well remember being asked to say a few words. I looked around me at this massive NDP audience and said “it’s awfully kind of everyone here to make me so welcome but I must say everyone has asked the same question –’what the fuck are you doing here?'” This brought, I’m glad to say, some laughs.

In any event, the people of British Columbia are watching two political giants – who, incidentally despised one another – stricken by a disease that has all of us of a certain age terrified.

On another note, my congratulations to Art Sterritt, Executive Director of The Coastal First Nations, who has just received an award from the Stanford university with a prize of $100,000.

Art is one of the new breed of aboriginal leaders who has become a very important player indeed. I’ve had the privilege of watching Art at work for some years and he’s tough, well briefed, and fair.

He is a very deserving winner.

Finally I commend to your reading the latest few issues of Common Sense Canadian (http://commonsensecanadian.ca/)and the articles about LNG. I think you will find them very illuminating and they point out that the provincial government and especially the premier are completely at sea when dealing with the smart operators that run the huge energy companies involved.

In the news today we see that the government is still fiddling around with what percentage tax they will levy on the companies. Notwithstanding that, the premier and her minister have been negotiating with companies without any idea of what the legislature will grant them by way of a tax figure. It almost appears – hell, it does appear that the companies are driving the agenda and that what they demand, this government will give them.

This entire subject of LNG has been subject to huge political hype and the results of government efforts are, thus far, nil. Not one deal has been signed. There is no way in the world the so-called “Prosperity Fund” will have any money of significance in it by 2017 and you can forget the promise of an LNG plant in place next year.

What remains of considerable interest, of course, is how the premier is going to deal with this as she gets closer and closer to the next election.

2 Responses to “A Pot Pourri”

  1. Gavin Bamber says:

    LNG = Life’s Not Good (for Clark)

  2. Ingo Oevermann says:

    Dear Rafe:
    Thank you for your kind comments about Premiers Bennett and
    Barrett. There is a fine man on the Island, Dr. Thierry Vrain,
    who is publicly opposing the proliferation of GMOs and glyphosate;
    you can find his comments on TED talks. Also, Guy Dauncey (The
    Practical Utopian) wrote a recent article ‘Toxic Teachers, Toxic
    Government, or Toxic Chemicals’, which may speak to the issues.
    I don’t believe we yet know whether Alzheimers is a new fact of life
    or if it’s been with us for many years and included with dementia,
    but it is conceivable that there may be a causative environmental
    link between the significant increases in autism, and Alzheimers.
    I’ve had local friends and acquaintances involved with each, and
    I empathize with the challenges for them and their families.
    Thanks for all that you do. Ingo Oevermann, Smithers, B.C.

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