By Rafe Mair. We have seen their sort before. I certainly have.
The story is that James Moore, the leading Tory MP, so we’re led to believe, is critical of Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair, Canada’s opposition leaders, coming to British Columbia to talk about the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal. He is quoted as saying “if Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair wish to take the Adrian Dix approach to say no to any development in Western Canada and particularly in British Columbia in the next election, they’re going to have the same outcome in the next election as Adrian Dix did… The public, according to polls, is split on the matter. But the what the public is not split on is the idea of politicians being reflexive against any development in British Columbia. They always reject that.”
James Moore is a typical BC Conservative. Their most obvious trait is that they haven’t the faintest idea of what ordinary British Columbians think. They get all of their research from party cocktail parties and Chamber of Commerce meetings. Moreover, their arrogance is unlimited.
They listen only to the business community and always have done so. We have just such a Tory MP in my riding which includes Howe Sound where I live. John Weston represents West Vancouver-Howe Sound and The Sunshine Coast and were it not for West Vancouver he would not have a prayer. In West Vancouver, he seen as a man who has lovely, polite children which apparently is all that matters.
In my part of the constituency he seen as a man who doesn’t care a damn about environmental matters and will not in any way assist us in our fight against an LNG plant in Squamish, a gravel pit on McNab Creek, a huge garbage dump for Vancouver at Port Mellon, heavy logging on Gambier island and other assorted environmental concerns we have. He comes to Lions Bay, where I live, to boast about a national fitness day which evidently he has promoted and achieved. We all think that that’s very fine and noble but it doesn’t help us get rid of the environmental predators that threaten the most southern fjord in Canada, beautiful Howe Sound. This is because Weston hasn’t the faintest concern about what other than the business community wants. Things like environmental predation simply do not trouble him.
I don’t want to pick on Weston – he is simply typical of the breed.
Back in 1987, the premiers of the country met in Edmonton and decided that Quebec should be styled as a “distinct society” and that all its constitutional concerns should take precedence over those of the other provinces. This morphed into the Meech Lake Accord which failed to become law because it was not passed by the Manitoba legislature. Not to be outdone, Prime Minister Mulroney launched the Charlottetown Accord, Meech Lake tarted up, which was to be dealt with by a referendum throughout Canada.
During the big Charlottetown Accord debate, I was in the media as a open line political broadcaster. All of the polls, we were assured, said that British Columbia would support the Charlottetown Accord. The business community made it clear that everybody was telling them what a wonderful idea it was. Indeed the entire “establishment” was on side with Prime Minister Mulroney.
Alone in the media I kept saying that it will never pass in British Columbia.
Now let me leap ahead. When it did not pass, many said that that was my doing. That is utter nonsense and something that I have never maintained because it simply is not true.
What I did is accurately predict what British Columbians, whom I had known for a lifetime, would do about this constitutional catastrophe.
Alongside people like the late Mel Smith, and Gordon Gibson, who also knew and understood how British Columbians felt about their province, we simply maintained that this referendum would fail and that it would fail badly.
We were trashed by the press and I was called “Dr. No”. The eastern media laughed at us as if we were some kinds of freaks. I can remember being interviewed by many of our more famous eastern journalists who, during the interview, always had a smug smile on their face as if to say “I’m only doing this because I was told to – we all know that you’re full of shit.”
When on the day of the vote, Diane Francis from the Financial Post phoned me and asked whether British Columbia was really going to vote no? “Of course,” I replied,
She then asked by how wide a margin?
I replied about two thirds, one third.
She was aghast. “That’s like an old Soviet Union election”, she said.
It turned out to be over 67% opposed.
I tell you all this because history has a way of repeating itself.
James Moore, John Weston and their colleagues simply don’t know what they’re talking about. They will have consulted with the usual suspects and have told the prime minister not to worry.
This is different in the sense that we don’t have a referendum and British Colombians will have to make their opposition known in other ways. They will, I assure you, do that.
I am not at all satisfied with the federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair. He, like Adrian Dix, ( and perhaps the BC NDP) favour the Kinder Morgan line. This line, while an expansion rather than a new one, nevertheless increases the capacity of bitumen flowing from the tar sands but, even more importantly, increases the tanker traffic of this noxious substance from a 60 tankers to 400 tankers a year.
What the politicians love to ignore is the statistical certainty that there will be a tanker accident. They respond with such things like, it is 95 percent safe. It never occurs to them that this means that there will be 5 percent certainty of a spill. Moreover,what they constantly overlook is that a tanker spill will be catastrophic. The odds against one happening may be short but the consequences when it happens are such that no intelligent people would take that risk.
I welcome Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair to British Columbia. I fully accept the fact that they haven’t the faintest idea of how we think and feel in this province and that they don’t much care except if their appearance might be translated into votes if they can fake it. Nevertheless they are the opposition in Parliament and they should have the opportunity of listening to what we have to say.
My concern is that they will do the usual thing when they get here, namely go to party functions and listen to the faithful. In the case of the NDP they are likely to get a fair evaluation of the situation from the rank and file but in the case of the Liberals, they will meet and sip Scotches with the usual suspects and no more.
It is interesting to note that Mr. Moore, in his self-imposed political blindness, has not yet brought himself to discuss the question of Aboriginal Rights. I suppose, like Mr. Mulroney 30 years ago, when it comes to unpleasant realities, it’s “out of sight, out of mind”.
Out of all of this comes one a clear truism – Tories never change which means some changes must be made.
First published, July 26, 2014 Rafeonline.com