Friday, May 10, 2019

"Revenge of the Coastal Elites"

An article in today's New York Times offers inspiration to coastal British Columbians fed up with the federal government. It's a story of how this thin band of territory along America's Pacific coast - the states of California, Oregon and Washington have dug in to thwart Donald Trump's plans.

Cut off from most of Canada by Alberta and Saskatchewan, it's not hard to feel more affinity for these coastal states than for our own country. We're all left-leaning and genuinely progressive, at least relative to the rest of our fellow states/provinces. For us there's a great divide that can be identified by names - Scheer, Kenney, Moe, Pallister and Ford. By contrast, on this coast we have similar economies - forestry, fishing, agriculture and technology. In many ways we seem indistinguishable and completely at ease with each other, aligned on a north-south axis, something I can no longer say for our west-east alignment.  When you're routinely threatened, cajoled and berated by what are supposed to be your fellow countrymen because you stand firm to defend your coast against their ruinous plans and their petro-state governments, being Canadian loses something of its lustre.

LOS ANGELES — A big crowd showed up for the festive unveiling of President Barack Obama Boulevard here last weekend, at the intersection of “hope and resistance,” as one news outlet put it. Sure, it’s just a three-and-a-half-mile stretch of road, a living ex-president’s name added to streets honoring Jefferson and Washington. 
But the ceremony also marked the latest, and one of the most joyous, of the not-so-subtle ways in which the West Coast continues to live free and prosper under a president doing everything he can to hurt the 51 million Americans in the three lower-48 states that hug the Pacific shore. 
President Trump hates the West Coast. He has called California “out of control” and boasted about “my sick idea” to dump migrants into the progressive cities in this time zone. Worst of all, his administration is actively working to take away health care from more than five million people in California alone. 
He appears to have warmer feelings for Kim Jong-un, the thug who starves his own people — “We fell in love,” Trump once said of North Korea’s dictator — than for a majority of citizens under his rule on the West Coast. He has higher praise for a traitor and slaveholder, Robert E. Lee — “a great general” — than for the states working under a hostile administration without seceding from the union.
His energy and environmental policies would hasten the collapse of some of nature’s finest handiwork, from a pristine coastline that he tried to open to oil drilling, to forests that will soon be aflame again because the president will not do anything to stall climate change.
To Trump, everything “Out West” is like occupied territory. Almost daily, he issues legal missives and executive orders intended in some way to make life worse on the West Coast.
Does any of that sound familiar? We have a prime minister who rigged his own government's evaluation of the Trans-Mountain pipeline. We have a "captured" National Energy Board.  We have governments next door and in Ottawa that cannot muster the decency to refine their bitumen on site, sparing us the potentially irreparable ruin of our coastal waters when tankers flounder - as both Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy experts have testified is inevitable. We have a federal government that blatantly lies that it has "done the science" and determined that dilbit can be safely recovered in the event of a spill, a claim contradicted by its very own Environment Canada. Those weasels and, yes, I mean the prime minister as well, externalize the risks to coastal British Columbians because their high-carbon, high-cost, low-value bitumen doesn't justify the cost of refining it on site in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

It's been long recognized that British Columbians are the most environmentally engaged people in Canada. Yet, half of the yahoos next door don't give a tinker's dam. Those are the same people and their leaders who so freely threaten us for defending our own environment. Then you have the federal government with its own pipeline Stasi surveilling us, taking names, in some cases showing up at people's doors to intimidate them when they lawfully protest. And we haven't forgotten Trudeau's minion, Jim Carr, who threatened to call in the Canadian Army on us. WTF.

This pipeline, the Justin Trudeau Memorial Pipeline, is more than just a tube flooding bitumen to world markets. It's a tacit admission that, when it comes to climate change, our government is not going to allow Canada to do its fair share to curb greenhouse gas emissions. There'll be none of that nonsense on Mr. Trudeau's watch and Scheer will be on the same page as the guy he's trying to replace.  There are just eleven years left for all of us, the community of nations, to slash our greenhouse gas emissions by half. That places a great moral obligation on the major emitters of greenhouse gases. We are one of those major emitters. We are in the top ten nations for total GHG emissions and in the top three for per capita emissions.

We've now had clear warning about another existential challenge, the collapse of biodiversity. A million species facing extinction, our own included. Two of those species in grave danger in Canada are the Caribou and British Columbia's orca. Yes, those would be the same orca that will be further imperiled by the greatly expanded bitumen tanker traffic in the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the Salish Sea.

They know what they're doing. They know that they're turning Canada's back to the world, especially the poorest and most vulnerable nations. And they're doing that in your name. Who in their right mind would want to be part of that? Not me.


Anonymous said...

Good on the big scale, out in the American west coast. On the smaller scale, the corporatists are hard at it putting in a LNG export terminal in central Oregon's coast. And other usual nasty atuff. If you want to read how the environment is being abused there, a guy keeps tabs on the goings on. (tidepools, dungeness crabs, Jordan Cove LNG)

Other articles on Georgia Pacific cutting down all the trees, and the Koch Bros own them.


Anonymous said...

Nothing new on going story.