Plundering public resources hurts future generations

Private and foreign-state-owned corporations’ plans to extract energy resources from British Columbia threaten to change our soil, aquifers, ocean, air, and climate as never before imagined [“Activists chained to Chevron’s Burnaby refinery in Pacific Trail Pipeline protest”, web-only]. Corporations are applying for the rights to extract at stunning speed. Recklessly, the cumulative impacts are not being assessed.

Legislation protecting our environment, Crown lands, parks, Agricultural Land Reserve, aquifers, oceans, and climate has all been “streamlined” to green-light what can only be seen as government-sanctioned plundering of public resources. Discrediting scientists, silencing bureaucrats, slandering environmental groups, ad nauseam misleading advertising, and undermining First Nations’ rights are tactics of choice.

We are told by oil lobbyists and their lackeys that fast and furious plundering is necessary to pay for our sick grandmas and to provide jobs. But let’s be real, the oligarchs don’t give a damn about our social welfare. Fracking and bitumen-extraction jobs are, for the most part, in very remote locations that offer poor livability. Economic refugees are perhaps willing to sacrifice their souls for these jobs, but our workforce deserves better.

Each year, taxpayers pay extractive industries in the form of provincial and federal incentives, roads, hidden royalties, and tax breaks. All this to destroy the natural treasures that we value and that life depends on.

After our assets have been stripped and our ecosystems trashed, what chance will we then have to create sustainable alternatives? There is no economic benefit in sponsoring mostly foreign companies to extract, ship, and process our resources—only to have them sell it back to us at exorbitant prices.

We need leaders who will drive public policy and tax dollars toward assisting Canada’s transition to a climate-friendly economy. Our tax dollars could better result in the creation of stable, innovative green-energy and infrastructural-transportation jobs. Our grannies and grandchildren would be better off, too.

> Linda George / Gabriola Island