Friday, May 13, 2005

DON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN! Let politicians know you don't believe their lies about the Environment

Independant polls indicate that BC voters wants to protect the environment and save our province from ruin. Government pre-election advertising, paid for by the tax payers of this province, painted a very pretty picture of the environment. The BC Liberal re-election campaign collected $8.2 million in donations, primarily from large corporations like TimberWest, Interfor, Weyerhaeuser, BC Packers, and Alcan. This financial link may explain why the BC Liberals have pushed open the doors of our province to corporations at great expense to the environment and therefore the public of this province.

Land and Water BC has doubled the sale of publicly owned land to private developers. This is currently effecting crown land in Qualicum Bay and Bowser where two large golf courses are on hold as well as public land being sold in Dashwood’s "Lost Trails Wetlands." LWBC has refused to renew the leases held by the Regional District of Nanaimo on regional parks at Little Mountain & Morrison Creek which may soon been up for sale.

Bill 75, Significant Projects Streamlining Act, was introduced and given Royal Assent within one month but did not incorporate the amendments recommended by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Executive on behalf of local governments. This act can be used to override Official Community Plans and land use regulations that reflect local goals for environmental and community sustainability. In this way the BC Liberals plan to push through massive projects, like new golf course communities and fossil fuel burning generators, with no regard for the many years of hard work by locally elected representatives and community members to create an OCP which suites each specific area within the province of BC.

Jobs are being sent south of the border as Raw Log Exports have more than doubled, resulting in the shut down of mills and dry-land sorts. The Forest Practices Code was replaced by the Results Based code which leaves the onus upon industrial corporations to self monitor their environmental impact on public forest land.

Provincial parks and protected areas have been opened to commercial logging, protected area boundaries have been rolled back to accommodate mining, and park privatization has increased. The BC Liberals have drafted legislation, the so-called "Working Forest Initiative", which would give logging corporations private property like rights over most of BC's public lands. This proposed legislation would ensure that no more land would be taken out of industry’s hands and given back to the public in the way of parks.

The Campbell government took full credit for opening or expanding a series of parks which had actually been established by legislation created by the former NDP government. BC Liberals plan to put privately financed lodges, complete with long-term leases, into provincial parks. Over 20 million people visit BC parks on an annual basis, contributing half a billion dollars to the provincial economy. Over the past four years the budget to BC parks was cut by 30%.

The Ministry of Water, Land, Air, Protection (formerly known as the Ministry of Environment) introduced pay-for-parking at most Provincial Parks around British Columbia. The result has been a dramatic 25% decline in the number of people visiting our parks. Locally that includes parks at Rathtrevor, Englishman River Falls, Little Qualicum Falls, and, immediately after the elections, at Cathedral Grove, if the BC Liberals form a majority government.

As a direct result of the actions of the BC Liberals seismic testing will soon be starting off the coast of BC despite a federal moratorium and public opposition. A proliferation of Atlantic Salmon farms has brought disease and sea lice to the local wild salmon, a fishery which is serious danger of collapse.

Campbell has lifted the moratorium on the trophy hunting of grizzly bears, imposed a cull (Spring hunt) on cougars and black bears, and opposed the ratification of the Kyoto Accord while promoting the use of coal and gas fired generations plants.

If you would like to experience a natural old growth forest in its pristine state please join me for the premier screening of my film “The Art of Rainforest.“ 8 pm Friday May 20 and Sunday May 22 at the ‘Little’ Errington Hall.