Mr. Prime Minister, as you contemplate approving pipelines in our province, I respectfully suggest you ask yourself a couple of questions.
How come Donald Trump, a Republican, could say the most outrageous things about Hillary Clinton a Democrat, supported by a very popular presidential couple, yet voters elect him anyway? The polls had Clinton from wire to wire – yet she lost.
Neither party saw what was coming. I did and wrote this in the Common Sense Canadian 3 weeks before the US election, predicting that as the “non-elite” candidate, Trump would win:
“The media and pollsters have been caught out making outdated assumptions and asking irrelevant questions. They‘re looking at this contest through the prism of elections past and are still declaring their choice of issues and missing the main one.”
“It’s an entirely new ballgame and I refer back to articles I‘ve done here and elsewhere saying that society as we have come to know it is mortally wounded … “
There has been, however disorganized, a political revolution ongoing such that three weeks prior to the vote I wrote that UK anger at their elite would settle the Brexit issue.
The accepted wisdom is that mostly kooks voted for Trump but as interview after interview discloses, the underlying reason was deep anger with what the Anglican Book of Prayer neatly calls “those set in authority over us”.
Mr. Trudeau, the phenomenon is not Donald Trump but a worldwide movement of ordinary people who are angry. Whoever looked less elite was going to win.
Who are these angry people?
Not the poor and disadvantaged although they are part of it; not the traditional left many of whom are unwelcome; these are people pissed off at the entrenched wealthy, the elite, who have the power to do as they wish. Your ilk, sir!
What was the cause? The catalyst?
Clearly it was Climate Change, a phenomenon which showed the elite to be incompetent, serial liars who, since the start of the industrial revolution, had assured the public that no harm came from gunk emitted from smokestacks even though cities like London were blackened by these emissions.
The denouement began with Rachel Carson’s 1962 Silent Spring. It was just a matter of time before people realized they had been, and were being lied to. For the first time, the need to regulate industry in order to protect the environment became widely accepted, and modern environmentalism was born.
Industry and politicians went into denial. Tobacco smoke, hitherto claimed harmless, was proved to kill both smokers and innocent bystanders yet the companies fought every inch of the way like cornered rats. The chemical companies went into full denial even though companies like Union Carbide became massive killers.
The list was all but endless and the evidence piled up but the elite kept on lying and hiring pliable scientists and clever PR specialisrs. Governments were willing accomplices and every day, the elite lost credibility yet clung to their denial.
Then there was that kook Ralph Nader denying the wonders of the car and its ever increasing safety features in his 1965 book Unsafe At Any Speed. Suddenly, the Courts demonstrated that Nader had been right all along. Jesus! Was there nothing sacred?
Mr. Prime Minister, we’ve come to the crux of the matter.
It dawned on people that the elite had only one standard of judging value – money and that they would risk destroying the earth to make it.
More and more, people saw that there’s a real, tangible value that ought to count for, say water, more than making electricity and slaking our thirst. What, they asked, if it does no more than be beautiful in its untouched state?
Can it be said that water is valuable only when destroyed for a dam?
Trees have a dollar value when they become lumber and paper. What about the life they harbour and perpetuate? Is an uncut forest not valuable in itself? Do we have to destroy it before it’s an asset?
Environmentalists saw the public change within the last decade when environmentalism went from being semi-admirable Kookism practiced by, you know, those sorts of people, to the respectable, then became mainstream. moving into the realm of the sacred.
No one believed developers or governments any more, not even Prime Ministers so accustomed to having their word accepted and orders obeyed. All at once, it seemed, projects that once would scarcely cause a ripple of adverse reaction, became hugely controversial and it was no longer just the “usual suspects” picketing and demonstrating against those in authority.
Brexit, which shook the western world’s elite, showed that promised prosperity was secondary to other values like way of life and love of neighbourhood.
Suddenly “Jack was as good as his master”, perhaps better. The elite, the “higher purpose persons”, have their knickers in a knot still unable to comprehend what’s going on or why. Lying and bribery constitute the only catechism they understand.
Let’s move into contemporary British Columbia.
You tell us, Mr. Trudeau, that our environment and way of life is subject to what you say is in “the national interest” – whether we like it or not. Money counts, especially Toronto money. Your political commitments, not to say bribes, are paramount.
We must accept that pipelines carrying deadly bitumen go through virgin forest where spills can’t be reached or more likely, there’s nothing to be done anyway.
We must in the interests of the “nation” put our rivers. Inlets, shorelines, fjords, public safety and unbeatable environment at risk. Why, Prime Minister? Please spell out this national interest. And aren’t Property and Civil Rights a provincial right under our Constitution?
Everyone in B.C. knows how Enbridge (same bunch) ruined the Kalamazoo River by a bitumen leak in 2010 from their easily accessed pipeline.The bitumen isn’t yet cleaned up and never will be.
It takes no imagination to visualize what would happen to a leak in the Kinder Morgan pipeline no matter where it is. British Columbians see no reason why they must bear the brunt of a disaster just for money and someone else’s at that. We’re not talking about a possible disaster but one that statistically is certain to come.
British Columbians regard their coast, inlets, rivers, fjords as sacred territory and we will stand our ground to protect them and why shouldn’t we?
We’re peddled industry/government crap about the alleged safety of tanker traffic but we know better. A free online subscription to gCaptain puts paid to the BS you feed us!
The only difference between a risk and an accident is the passage of a little time. Moreover, when developers and their government colleagues give us their soothing words about risks, somehow the inevitable consequences of a spill are never spelled out.
In short, British Columbians regard all of our forests, rivers, coastlines, as having enormous value to us simply as they are – not in their exploitation but their existence. This is where we live. our home, our legacy.
Why can’t you understand that Prime Minister?
You, the hero of the Paris Conference, ask us to sacrifice our home so that the Tar Sands, the world’s biggest polluter, can spew its poisons full time again? Why are you telling us, Mr. Trudeau, that we must pledge what God gave us to the tender mercies of the fossil fuel industry? .
Sir, we aren’t fools. We’ve seen how your lot cares about BC. When we hear soothing words from industry and the Federal government about how they will treat our assets with care and respect, we think of our sacred salmon which has been at the mercy of industry and the federal government, a government flooding our waters with foreign diseased fish to this day, ever since Confederation.
You are dead wrong, sir, letting hubris overcome common sense and you’re clearly spoiling for a fight.
If that’s what you truly want, you shall have it.
Rafe Mair LL.B, LL.D (honoris causa), Citizen. Lions Bay, BC