There has for years been the illusion that the Greens, BC flavour or federal, are somehow left sorta like the NDP with a green tinge.
The common ground is that neither party are Christy Clark Liberal backers, although BC Green leader Andrew Weaver benefitted from their financial advertising support in the last election.
The BC Liberals love the Greens according to Vancouver Province columnist Mike Smyth.
He is onto the Clark-Coleman duo who repeatedly provide setups to advance Green fortunes past the NDP.
This is something the BC Liberals desperately need in hopes of re-electing the worst provincial government in our province’s history.
Actually the many conservative leaning BC Greens have combined with disgruntled former NDP’ers producing a lo-brid offering that just does not seem to gain the traction needed to climb the political ladder to power and effectiveness.
Once past the immensely supportable concern for our environment, the ‘Greens’ political value system becomes murky and inconsistent lacking a belief system that ties it all together in a recognizable force.
That may in the short term may seem attractive making it easier to bring people in on green value issues.
However transferring that to electoral impacts has rarely accomplished more than splitting the vote to the benefit of the BC Liberals who have delivered the worst environmental record ever.
This is of course is recognized and exploited by the BC Liberals. In purely political terms, who can blame them?
This is especially the case with games and posturing that continue over the contaminated soil controversy that has plagued Shawnigan residents since spring 2012. The Green forces arrived late but are still hanging on in hopes of elevating their political fortunes.
Cowichan NDP MLA Bill Routley has fought for the Shawnigan residents from day one and he has done it in an effective workman like fashion, not fancy, but consistent and dependable.
Understand this, the Greens cannot claim any credit for the recent court victory. They simply have tried to run to the front of the parade.
Some ambitious Shawnigan Green Party types brought up their Oak Bay based leader Andrew Weaver who took soil sample samples and then very publicly reported that his samples were found not to be polluted and did not pose a threat to Shawnigan residents.
This was a comfort to SIA who ridiculed Weaver for his unprofessional approach that was hardly of assistance to those fighting to protect Shawinigan’s water.
In Shawnigan the issue is and has always been a question of land use authority and jurisdiction. The BC Supreme court ruled that this is in fact the domain of the Cowichan Valley Regional Distict.
The bitter irony is that they did not just win that jurisdiction, they always had it, but under the past Director Bruce Fraser and the past ‘BC Liberal Friendlies’ that dominated the CVRD Board chaired by Rob Hutchins they refused to act to protect their residents, the watershed, the lake, the creek and the souce of drinking water for over 12000 residents.
Truth is that then Director Bruce Fraser and past BC Liberal candidate Rob Hutchins met early on with SIA’s Mike Kelly and Marty Block at a private meeting in a Mill Bay restaurant. There Hutchins advanced a plan, backed by Fraser, to stall for a year so that the ‘BC Liberal Friendlies’ could soften up the alarmed residents.
Here is a report from a private meeting that was secretly taped by Mr. Kelly and given to Times Colonist reporter Sandra McCulloch.
Millions of dollars later the BC Supreme court decision upheld the CVRD authority over zoning and permitted land use policies has brought this issue back to where it belongs.
It is now back in the lap of our local government that abandoned it for years before they begrudgingly took legal action to confirm what they had turned their back on since spring 2012.
None of this had to happen if the CVRD had simply enforced their now, court confirmed, bylaw authority.
Sonia Furstenau’s clarification is most illuminating and welcomed.
It contrasts significantly with the comments from BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.
Director Sonia Furstenau–I feel the need to correct the record.
A year ago, on Easter Monday, I, along with Georgia Collins and Blaise Salmon, met with John Horgan and John Heaney in John Horgan’s office to discuss the situation we were facing in Shawnigan. John had kindly agreed to a meeting with us on a holiday.
We spent close to an hour in the meeting, discussing a variety of aspects. Mr Heaney, who has a background in law, provided some insight into both the CVRD zoning case and the judicial review process. Much of our conversation was focused on ways in which the overall process had not served the Shawnigan community, and around our frustration with the Ministry of Environment.
At no time did Mr Horgan say that he could not or would not help, nor did he say that he was concerned about appearing anti-business. And I have not said this about Mr Horgan.
A few weeks later, Elizabeth May and Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi came to Shawnigan Lake. Elizabeth was at that time traveling around the country discussing the dire ramifications of Bill C-51. Fran was launching her federal campaign. Andrew Weaver came for Fran’s launch, and the discussion turned to the situation in Shawnigan – he showed a clear interest, and agreed to come back later in the week for a tour of the perimeter of the SIA site, and to collect water samples.
Soon after Andrew took a tour, John, along with Bill Routley and Gary Holman, came for a tour with about a dozen local residents.
Over the course of the entire year, Andrew Weaver and John Horgan shown solidarity and support for the people of Shawnigan. I am grateful to both John Horgan and Andrew Weaver for all that they have done for Shawnigan over the course of this last year. I know that both of them were motivated by a desire to see the best possible outcome for our community.
Many others in the political realm have shown support and solidarity. Here is an excerpt from a piece I recently posted on my website:
“During the 2013 provincial election campaign, the four Cowichan candidates – Steve Housser, Kerry Davis, Bill Routley, and Damir Wallener all agreed on one thing: that Shawnigan’s watershed is no place for a contaminated soil landfill. Over the past year, NDP MLA Bill Routley has stood shoulder to shoulder with Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver, and been joined by MLAs Doug Routley, Gary Holman and NDP leader John Horgan on Stebbings Rd, all standing in solidarity with the people of Shawnigan Lake. Bill Routley has given 25 (!) speeches in the Legislature on Shawnigan’s fight to protect our water; and both John Horgan and Andrew Weaver have asked several questions during Question Period over the last year, and repeatedly raised the issue in the media.
Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and both past and current MPs, Jean Crowder and Alistair MacGregor, have stood as allies with the people of Shawnigan Lake. During the federal election campaign, Green candidates Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi and Paul Manley, Liberal candidate Maria Manna, and NDP candidate Alistair all showed support and stood in solidarity with the Shawnigan community. Alistair has recently taken his support right to the House of Commons, where he has introduced a private member’s bill that would protect Shawnigan Lake.
These political allies all agreed on one thing – that the protection of a community’s water source is essential, and far more important than politics. The Shawnigan effort to protect our water has not only transcended political lines and political boundaries, it has also been an example for how we can move beyond political divisions and recognize that we can indeed all work together for the greater good.
I am deeply grateful to all who have stood with us, and I hope that we will soon be coming back together for a momentous celebration.”
For the people who have committed their lives over the past year, or the past four years, to this effort, this should be a time of celebration and relief. I have incredible admiration for the Shawnigan community, which has shown extraordinary determination and tenacity. And we have navigated this year with kindness, compassion, respect, and love for our community and for each other.
We have much work to do in Shawnigan, and – as ever – we invite and welcome anyone who would like to help.