The North Shore News is the local newspaper delivered free once a week to the front door. It contains a roundup of local news, adverts, and an occasional opinion of profundity. Here is a link to one. This opinion piece nicely summarizes the dichotomy and dilemma of British Columbia and those old people who protest on Sundays to fill an otherwise idle day. The editorial says:
British Columbia has long been known as a polarized province, where public debate and discourse is characterized by everyone seemingly having opposite views on many things.
But a new study by two major business groups suggests continuing that approach will spell disaster for the provincial economy, and that the two solitudes had better start listening to each other if we want the province to prosper. The report, entitled The B.C. Agenda for Shared Prosperity, was completed after a year of study by the Business Council of B.C. and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. It contains 60 recommendations on how to improve the economy, but its central theme is that groups who are normally locked in combat have to start working together for things to get better. Another key point the report’s authors make is that the disconnect that exists between many people who live in the Lower Mainland and their counterparts in the Interior and the North when it comes to economic issues has to be addressed.
Greg D’Avignon, the CEO of the Business Council of B.C., says too many people who live in heavily urbanized areas like the Lower Mainland fail to realize just how much the size of their pay cheque depends on economic activity elsewhere in the province. Much of that economic activity is in the natural resource sector.
Yet, as is typical of the polarized debate in B.C., that sector has become increasingly vilified by those who are dead set against many of the projects that are (or are planned to be) part of that activity. Projects such as the Northern Gateway pipeline, the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Prosperity Mine, the Jumbo Glacier proposal, LNG plants and any number of other projects are potentially lucrative for the province’s economy yet are vehemently opposed by many who are more concerned about any potential impact on the environment.
I am one of those living in comfort in the Lower Mainland. I seldom if ever go to the “elsewhere” parts of the Province. Although I earn my living from mining, it is mainly to do with mines in places other than BC.
Yet, I work with a fellow who has a cabin near the proposed Prosperity Mine. He works and earns a very good living consulting to mines and mining companies, primarily in Chile and Australia. And he is vehemently opposed to the Prosperity Mine as, in his opinion, it will destroy the pristine environment of his cabin on the lake.
“Let them mine elsewhere,” is his opinion.
I have not kept up with the seeming endless debate over the Prosperity Mine. I have not read all the reports, or the news that the impact assessment was done incorrectly using incorrect assumptions of the efficacy of liners. I have not tried to keep up with public hearings and letters between CEOs and government ministers. I have avoided becoming an expert on provincial premier Christy’s opinion that the mine is needed to bring prosperity to a deprived place.
I have avoided listening to First Nations who claim the area is sacred. I am an atheist who believes in no God or gods (the holy trinity or one god, etc.) Although my lover is a fervent religious who seeks to understand the connection between science and religion. We generally avoid the topic. And when we do not, I say:
“There is none. For science is all there is, and religion is but a personal perspective that is often used to support subjective prejudice.”
So I must reject the claim by First Nations that the lake or any area is sacred. If they cannot espouse development but choose to live in abject poverty, then they must not claim support from taxpayers like me who see their opinions as subjective. Let them live in poverty if that is what they believe. But they cannot live in taxpayer-funded luxury while pushing their crazy beliefs on me and mining in general.
Or for that matter can my rich consulting colleague who loves his cabin and pristine environment. He has not inoculated his kids as he thinks it is a conspiracy thing. Lucky for him the rest of us do and his kids have not died from plagues kept at bay by inoculation. Let him deny his kids elementary protection from sicknesses that killed many before modern medicine; but why should I give credence to his views on the beauty of a cabin in the woods where he can retreat from reality as he opposes a mine?
I have an old friend who assures me the mine epitomizes how to do the wrong thing for years on end. “They have mismanaged it all along,” he says.
The sad thing is that the Prosperity Mine has become the epitome of all the issues that now bedevilled mining, including:
- Development for Provincial benefits espoused by ambitious politicians.
- The ignorance and greed of socialists who live in denial of reality in Vancouver.
- First Nations who want it all without any effort or sacrifice.
- Consultants who cannot get elementary calculations correct.
- Cabin dwellers who revel in isolation and non-inoculation.
- Bloggers and journalists with an infinite topic to write about.
- Crass miners who see no harm in the destruction of a lake.
- Lawyers who grow rich regardless of what is or should be–an antifragile profession if ever there was one.
The fact is that if we want to live in the crowded pollution of a city, we have to rape the landscape elsewhere.
If locals want income, they must develop the land around them even if it means landscapes inimical to their religious fallacies and cabin-bound ideals.
This is all very controversial, I know. Please post your comments. But keep in mind that I am mostly ignorant of the issues. I have not been paid, as have some professors, to study and opine. I am at heart a blogger: a purveyor of unresearched, scurrilous opinions—the more controversial the better. I could, and probably will, change my opinion tomorrow as the tide & time flow through my mind and the drink through my veins.
So be calm: enjoy the act of writing, of reading, of debate, and the wonder of human society, and selfish instincts. And recall the tragedy of this posting: that is that I have to say sorry and will still be attacked. Where is debate as the foundation of freedom?