This past Sunday was a year to the day before Stephen Harper faces the electorate on October 19, 2015. For the next year, people’s attention will be focused on key issues facing Canada’s present and future. At the top of the list for many, especially here on the Pacific coast, are issues of energy and pipelines. Harper is running on a platform based on so-called “responsible resource development”. This creates a big opportunity to take a closer look at what this really means and to shift focus to opportunities for positive changes as energy and resource issues are top of mind.
There is already a strong desire for alternatives right now, regardless of the election. People living in the crosshairs of these dangerous pipeline and tanker proposals are coming together wanting to make better projects a reality, and that creates an opportunity for change. The fact that Harper has mismanaged climate and energy policy and undermined democracy only adds fuel to the fire. It’s time for a power shift in our country in more ways than one. Let’s use this moment to move beyond that political dinosaur Stephen Harper and beyond our dependence on fossil fuels in Canada.
British Columbians will play a big role in determining the outcome of this election. We have a chance to decide whether Harper stays or goes. Given his government’s very unpopular decision to green-light the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, I don’t like Harper’s chances here in B.C. I think he’s going to learn you can’t just bulldoze over our province.
It’s critical to be talking about not only getting rid of Harper but the specific projects and policies we want the next prime minister to implement. We can’t count on the opposition parties to do this for us. We must define what being responsible with our resources means for ourselves. The environmental movement is often accused of being against everything; here is a chance to make it clear what we are in favour of. This means highlighting specific projects and policies that we want. The next year is critical but to really make change for the better we must continue to build on the momentum beyond election day as well.
Canada is at a crossroads. It’s why I’ve decided to write a book about how we can use this moment to make real change for the better. I’m crowdfunding to help complete and publish a manuscript I’m already working on. In fact it feels like I’ve been working on this writing for most of my adult life.
Every Time the Wind Blows will be a book that explores above all the practical alternatives to the destructive tar sands and fossil fuel projects like Enbridge and Kinder Morgan. Every time the wind blows, we miss an opportunity to harvest the renewable sources of energy that are all around us. This is not pie in the sky stuff; the alternatives are already there for us, waiting to be developed. The only question is will we act in time.
With a prime minister like Stephen Harper, who has proven he’s willing to do just about anything to get these tar sands pipelines built, we’ve spent most of the past decade immersed in efforts to collectively say “No” to these destructive policies. My book will reflect on the lessons I’ve learned from these campaigns, and look at how we can use this moment strategically.
Along with writing the book, I’ll be traveling to front-line communities along the routes of proposed new tar sands pipelines, in order to bring you the stories of people coming together to help organize around alternatives.
I want to get the word out that the future is now. We don’t need new pipelines anymore, there are viable alternative energy and transportation projects that we must focus on instead.
Just saying no to bad projects simply isn’t good enough. We need to replace the status quo as soon as possible. We can do truly responsible renewable resource development in this country and with partners around the world. In the era of climate change we all now live in, creating the kind of jobs we can be proud of couldn’t be more important.