Monday, February 27, 2017

What Raif Said - Times Two


There's a surging discontent with Canada among many British Columbians. One of us, the iconic Rafe Mair, lays it out very well.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve resented that my province has been unfairly treated, a resentment that has increased steadily over the years. We have been badly cheated politically and economically, accompanied by an attitude of arrogance from central Canada, which runs everything, an attitude that I find irritating beyond toleration.

Start with the humiliating fact that BC has but 6 senators while New Brunswick has 10 and PEI 6. This, along with the federal government appointing our senators, who are supposed to hold that very government’s feet to the fire, is outrageous. This and the “First Past The Post” system ensures that all political power rests, unchallengeable, in Central Canada. To see how this is resented in BC, you need only look at the 1992 Charlottetown Accord, designed to make one province juridically superior, opposed, thank God, by your father, and rejected by 67.9% of British Columbians!

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Under the constitution, provinces control their natural resources – except when it comes to fish. The Pacific salmon has been so mismanaged by Ottawa that one is tempted to suggest it’s deliberate. Going too far? How else can one explain the foreign fish farms, not just permitted in BC, but actively promoted by a DFO prepared to destroy the Pacific salmon by disease, sea lice, and, when they escape, crowding them off their spawning redds?

As a BC minister, I examined the history of federal involvement back to 1871 and the record is appalling. Ask First Nations, who are the past, present, and future victims of this gross mismanagement, how they see your stewardship!
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With respect, prime minister, British Columbia and Canada no longer have the same set of values. A nation can survive and prosper with great diversity. It can have many languages, a plethora of different originating cultures, all races, colours, and creeds – yet so long as there is a common set of basic values, it can form a strong nation. That is the critical point. Once that is gone the nation no longer exists in fact, no matter what the Constitution says.

The basic values of British Columbians and Canada diverge on this central question: Which is more important – our way of life, surroundings, and the environment or the growth of industry, resource extraction, and moneymaking?

We in British Columbia have learned some hard lessons, most important of which is there isn’t always another valley full of trees to chop down. The forestry industry in British Columbia, thanks to the courage of many mostly young men and women over the last 60 years, now is in sight of self perpetuation. That has morphed into an overall attitude which takes into consideration those values in British Columbia we have always coveted but are under serious attack by the industry-at-all-costs movement in Canada, of which, by the Kinder Morgan approval, you are now leader. You, the Prime Minister, are our enemy!

It has perhaps come as a surprise to you as it has come as a very unpleasant surprise to much industry, especially the fossil fuel industry, that we so highly regard our environment, especially, though not exclusively, our mountains, lakes, rivers, trees, farmland, coastline and ocean. You don’t seem to realize that Burrard inlet, Howe Sound, the Salish Sea, the Gulf Islands, the Straits of Juan de Fuca, the west coast are sacred to Btitish Columbians. Other regions have their own sacred values and we support them in their fight to protect them, with particular regard at this moment for the Site C Dam proposal in the Peace River.

I don’t believe I draw too long a bow when I say that we understand that the French language and culture means means so much to Quebec yet you scoff at us in British Columbia because our natural blessings mean just as much to us. I cannot understand why you and other Canadians are unable to understand just how vehemently we are opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline and how far we are prepared to go to defend against it. We wouldn’t for a milli-second tolerate this desecration of what we hold dear by a BC Tar Sands, BC financiers and BC tanker companies – why the devil do you think we feel less resolved because it’s the Alberta Tar Sands, Bay Street and other foreign bankers or offshore tanker companies?

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We say that our right to our environment outweighs any so-called right to move dangerous goods over and through our province. That, sir, is the essential difference in values that we possess and that you possess.

Mr. Trudeau, we love this province with all our hearts and souls and we’re not about to let you take it away from us.

7 comments:

the salamander said...

.. well said Raif, well said.. x 2

AniO said...

But Alberta is not in "central Canada" and those of us in Ontario also oppose both Kinder Morgan and Energy East and for the same reasons.

Anonymous said...

Anyong....."For as long as I can remember, I’ve resented that my province has been unfairly treated, a resentment that has increased steadily over the years. We have been badly cheated politically and economically, accompanied by an attitude of arrogance from central Canada, which runs everything, an attitude that I find irritating beyond toleration." Thanks for posting this Mound and your blog applies to the beautiful Province of Newfoundland & Labrador to a tee. By the way.....Newfoundland & Labrador finally have 1 Senator after all these years of taking, taking and taking from Newfoundland since confederation. So B.C., your are not the only Province. I would like to add this government needs to go after all the wealthy people and companies in this country who neglect paying their fair share of taxes through hiding their money. You Mr. Prime Minister know all about it and yet, do nothing to retrieve the 7.3 billion dollars owned to this country in back taxes. That is half this countries deficit.

Anonymous said...

Anyong....Question! What do you think will happen to Canada if our darling Kevin O'Leary happens to be voted our next PM?

The Mound of Sound said...


Actually, Anyong, Newfoundland & Labrador has six senators, one for every 85,000 citizens. British Columbia likewise has six senators, one for every 775,000 citizens. Apples and oranges.

As for O'Leary, I don't know. Fortunately Canada doesn't have the American system of a separate executive branch.

John's Aghast said...

...7.3 billion dollars... Aren't you missing a few digits?

Anonymous said...

Anyong...Newfoundland & Labrador have had six senators in the past..my mistake. However, at the moment Newfoundland & Labrador has one Senator not six. His name is George Baker. My point point being.....Newfoundland & Labrador is well behind the rest of the country in representation as well no representation for a long time. B.C. is not the only Province under represented with Senators.
Because Canadian parliamentary democracy increasingly trends towards power concentration in the executive branch – a tendency that has disturbed many observers – it may be time to reconsider the corrective role that could be played by the separation of powers theory in Canadian constitutional doctrine.That is why I asked about O'Leary.