Your article of yesterday is very disturbing in a number of ways. Quite by coincidence, the following story appears on the CBC
A leading seismic scientist says B.C.’s energy infrastructure and gasfield workers may be vulnerable to earthquakes caused by fracking.
Earthquakes triggered by fracking have been felt in Fort Nelson and Fort St. John, but University of Calgary geophysicist David Eaton says the shaking is strongest in remote areas near fracking sites.
“Certainly in the immediate area where there’s infrastructure established by the oil and gas industry, including pipelines and well bore casings, then it’s something that really requires some careful analysis,” said Eaton.
Because we have been brainwashed, mainly through a lack of a proper opposition, we somehow don’t connect these two stories. It’s almost as if trouble with the foundation of a building was no concern of those on the 15th floor.
The governments of this province, going back a decade or more, but most especially this government, has done nothing to investigate the entire process of producing LNG as well as the shipping of the natural gas, it’s conversion into LNG, and it’s shipping to market.
The Christy Clark excuse for a government gives us no option but to accept the word of industry which somehow, is never terribly self-critical.
It’s awful thing to say but industry doesn’t even concern itself with the safety of workers and others and never has. Every safety measure has been achieved by strong opposition to laissez-faire in industry and nothing has changed.
This is not an anti-business screed – one cannot expect industry to be any different than anyone else having its own self interest and obligations foremost in it’s decision-making.
They are expected to provide dividends for their shareholders – the government is expected to see that they do so properly, honestly, and with due regard for their workers.
What is the crime, if I may use that word, is the lack of opposition holding industry’s and government’s feet to the fire.
I write this because those who live on Vancouver Island generally and specifically those who live in your region are standing alone against the evil of a rapacious industry and a greedy, and I might add, grossly negligent government.
We are in the Howe Sound area know what that’s like. We have them fighting the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant for years without any help whatsoever from our MLA, MP or the NDP.
There was a time, for example, if I may say so, when I was in government, that the leader of the opposition, Dave Barrett, would have assigned one of his MLAs to support us and help us in our fight.
This is not my first attack in these pages against the current NDP and its leader John Horgan. When I do make these criticisms invariably somebody accuses me of being anti-NDP from experiences in days of yore.
All I can say is that those were very different days indeed.
Let me use this example. There is one law for the East Coast and one for the West Coast with respect to LNG tankers. Harper’s government has banned them with damning rhetoric in the House of Commons on the East Coast yet he can’t get enough of them on the West Coast.
This issue seems to be taboo and no politician wants to touch it! Why? Is it somehow unCanadian to point out that we’re getting royally screwed by Ottawa’s bias on the West Coast of this country?
My question is this – can you imagine this situation in past years without a massive response from Premier WAC Bennett, Premier Dave Barrett, or Premier Bill Bennett?
On the same theme can you imagine the Bill Bennett government, of which I was a part, getting away with what Christy Clark does?
Can you imagine Dave Barrett and his very able front benchers sitting on their hands and watching us destroy the Province without a murmur?
I am afraid that the public often misinterprets vigorous opposition as personal hatred. Certainly in my case that never existed on either side and I might tell say that despite being one of his most vociferous political foes, I was honoured to be invited Dave Barrett’s 80th birthday party, being so far as I could tell, the only Socred to be there. I was treated cordially by all,
Now to the meat of the matter. You are going through a considerable struggle with the “Establishment”. Unhappily, that “Establishment” also includes the official Opposition, and its leader, if that’s the right word, John Horgan.
You are entitled to the ear if not succour and support of the Official Opposition and you’re not going to get it.
The Official Opposition in our system is an extremely important and honourable position. Its ancient duty is to hold the government strictly to account on everything they do, however meritorious it may seem.
I have used this phrase before but it is one of the most apt political maxims I know – “it is the duty of the opposition to a oppose“. So said Lord Randolph Churchill in the 1880s and it is as appropriate today as It was then.
Let me close by giving you the benefit of our experience in Howe Sound this matter. We have no one in the provincial legislature save Dr. Andrew Weaver of the Green Party to speak for us, advise us and help us.
We are bereft of all political assistance in a system where that is supposed to be provided and traditionally always has been provided by the opposition. We have been left with a member of Parliament and a member of the Legislature who have been less useful than tits on a bull.
Neither John Weston MP nor Jordan Sturdy MLA will consult with us or even answer our mail much less take our concerns to their governments. Nearby NDP members are nowhere to be seen.
I find this astonishing. As a former member of the BC cabinet I did not expect us to get away with anything at all without an outpouring of anger from across the aisle. This was expected and as it should be.
What the hell does John Horgan think that his duty is in our parliamentary system? To cozy up to the premier and make polite little noises of concern once in a while but at the end of the day signing where he is told to sign?
There is a great misapprehension abroad that the opposition ought to support things the government are doing which are good. Leaving aside motherhood issues, this is nonsense.
No matter how good the government policy is, the public will never know all of the details, where the bodies are buried, where the problems might be, where the unattended consequences might show up, unless it is fully cross-examined word by word before the government gets to pass it.
What the public – and John Horgan – must understand is that there is absolutely nothing inconsistent with that – under those circumstances the opposition has done exactly what Lord Randolph said they should do and they have performed their duty to the public by making sure the government policy is meritorious.
Until you can’t get the opposition to behave as they ought to in a parliamentary democracy, you’ll be on your own and I can only suggest that you do as we are doing in Howe Sound, fight like hell, never give up and don’t expect anybody else to help you.
I am reminded of David Low’s famous cartoon in 1940, when France fell. He showed a British Tommy, standing on the cliffs of Dover, shaking his fist at incoming aircraft, and saying “very well, alone”.