“If we want to do what the big polluters and their indentured servants in Ottawa or Washington DC want us to do, which is treat the planet as if it was a business in liquidation, convert our natural resources to cash as quickly as possible, have a few years of pollution based prosperity and make a few people billionaires by impoverishing the rest of us, we generate an instantaneous cash flow and the illusion of a prosperous economy but our children are going to pay for our joy ride and they are going to pay for it with denuded landscapes and poor health and huge clean up costs that are going to amplify over time and they will never be able to pay.”
- Robert Kennedy Jr, GLOBE 2014 Conference, March 26, 2014
In this session of the British Columbia Legislature, the BC Liberals have introduced environmental deregulation that previous governments would never have considered.
They launched a full attack on the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) and changed the BC Parks Act to allow feasibility studies for transmission lines, roads, pipelines, telecommunications or “a prescribed project or a project in prescribed class of projects.”
Provincial revenues fall as the government slashes corporate tax rates and provide subsidies so their donors can (as Kennedy said) “externalize the cost of production” on the backs of tax/ratepayers.
While BC Hydro increases the cost of electricity again, the government is spending billions to build the Site C Dam and complete a transmission line to nowhere, so a few companies can mine the Sacred Headwaters of the Nass, Skeena and Stikine Rivers.
It’s a power game; a fierce political battle to gain and maintain it. Want an idea of who will flourish? Check out the government’s donor list. Want an idea of who will be punished? Check out who donates to the opposition.
The BC Liberals treat their donors to tax cuts and subsidies to keep donations rolling and protect their elite status as the incumbent party.
Deregulating environmental policy does not create a healthy provincial economy. Rather, a healthy provincial economy is the result of strong people and a balanced relationship with the natural world. Well-fed, well-housed, well-educated people build resilient economies. Healthy, happy people are more productive.
It is time to fight short-term pollution based prosperity for a few, by removing subsidies and allowing the free market to determine which industrial activities succeed or fail on their own merits.
As natural resource production increases so should government revenues, money that should be invested in growing the capacity of British Columbians.
We will benefit from people-powered-politics and it starts with banning corporate contributions, but goes further than that.
We must once again see ourselves as part of the cycles of life rather than masters of them. Otherwise we get the future where,
“Our children are going to pay for our joy ride and they are going to pay for it with denuded landscapes and poor health and huge clean up costs that are going to amplify over time and they will never be able to pay.”