An open letter to BC Premier Christy Clark – April 7, 2014
May I call you Christy? It seems appropriate, given your warm, woman-of-the-people style of governing. I’m a soccer parent too, so that puts us on the same sidelines, wouldn’t you say?
Anyhow, it’s about this Bill 4 thing. You know, the amendment to the BC Parks act brought in by your government on March 24th, 2014. The one that now allows industrial activities within BC’s Provincial Parks.
I would understand if you missed it. After all, the legislation was rapidly passed without any meaningful consultation or dialogue. Maybe you were at a game with young Hamish at the time.
On behalf of my young family, I am very concerned about the provisions within this new bill, especially as it now appears to “allow the Minister to grant an industrial activity ‘research’ permit if it is determined that “… the research relates to “an environmental assessment or a feasibility study,” or is “necessary to inform decision making around changing the boundaries.” Which wouldn’t be so bad, if Bill 4 didn’t also specifically mention transmission lines, telecommunications projects and pipelines.
Pipelines?? Really? In our BC Parks?
Maybe you don’t have the time to follow Hamish’s private school lessons on earth science, so I’ll sum it up for you: They aren’t making any more intact natural ecosystems. To use terms perhaps more familiar to you, that factory has been shuttered – replaced with an offshore production line making Doritos and flat screen TV’s. And as most qualified biologists will tell you, an ecosystem cut in half, by say, a road, does NOT create two smaller ecosystems.
So that means the 14% of our province that is ‘protected’ is one of the world’s last chances to set aside wilderness for our future. If you think I exaggerate, just look at what is happening to the once vast tracts of undisturbed wilderness in the Amazon and Africa.
Of course, the Minister for Environment, Mary Polak, assures us all that we have naught to fear. Any of those fine upstanding global corporations who might dare to stretch the definition of ‘research’ will have to have her personal approval first. So we have at least one unimpeachable line of defense for BC’s pristine ecosystems.
But the Vancouver Sun reported last December that the Ministry of Environment is anticipating applications for boundary adjustments to at least 35 parks and other protected areas to accommodate industrial pipelines, transmission lines and resource roads. So Mary’s desk might get a little swamped.
Of course, Christy, with your past associations with firms and individuals closely linked with Enbridge, perhaps you have a better view of the inner machinations of global petro corporations and can reassure me, and my family, that our fears are groundless.
Personally I would rest much easier if you scrapped Bill 4 and left BC’s world-class park system as protected as possible within our legal framework. The corporations will work around it. They always do.
And if my impassioned plea is not enough to sway you, perhaps the 100,000+ other British Columbians who are sending letters and signing petitions will have some effect.
If not, may I propose a new marketing slogan for our Province?
‘Super, Fracktural BC’ has a certain ring of truth to it.
For if we cut it up into smaller and smaller pieces, the legacy we leave our children will be anything but ‘Natural’.
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