Friday, December 07, 2007



Recent storms have once again proven that nature sets the rules of life. No matter how hard we try to divert water with roads, ditches, dams, causeways, dikes, and culverts a little bit of snow and a few drops of rain wreak havoc over our designs. Human beings are the weakest link in the natural scheme of things. The environment is in control yet we constantly claim supremacy over the world.

As development continues to put pressure on the natural world the attitude that we can manipulate nature to meet our needs seems to prevail over the reality that the natural environment provides for us. The dilemma humanity faces is that we have to learn to protect ourselves from the brutality of nature without destroying the environments that allow us to exist.

An idea such as building a concrete wall with buttresses along Parksville Beach to meet up with the rock dike built by Surfside RV will further change the natural shore line. This ‘solution’ to the problem of erosion flies in the face of the fact that the Englishman River estuary and adjacent floodplains have flooded, receded, and changed for centuries. That is how nature works. There will be serious consequences to altering the coastline to meet economic needs for commercial developments.

Humanity’s attempts to control nature sometimes appear to work, but in the long run devastation is the end result. The planet earth always prevails.

Surfing the web for information about how we, as a society, are addressing the many environmental issues we face, I was not surprised to find that it all comes down to money. Under the heading ‘Environmental Protection’ Statistics Canada lists everything according to revenues and expenditures. Perhaps this is because the information gathered is primarily from tax reports or perhaps it is because money is all that really matters to government.

It’s interesting to note that while the last statscan report was released to the public in September 2007 and all of the information dates back to 2004. Therefore there is no information about any changes that have occurred while the Conservatives, under Stephen Harper, have led a minority government.

To make absolutely sure that the public has no one to hold accountable the statscan website includes the following disclaimer: “In no event will Statistics Canada be liable for any direct, special, indirect, consequential or other damages, however caused.”

It would appear that ‘environmental protection’ has become a major industry in Canada. That may appear to be a good thing but what are the results? That information is much harder to uncover, access, or define. In search of some answers I checked out the websites for both the federal and provincial ministries of environment.

I was amazed at how biased the information has become. The tone is heavily slanted by partisan politics and reinforces the parties in power. Information comes across more like public relations propaganda than statistical information based on scientific evidence.

Both the BC Ministry of Environment and the Environment Canada’s websites read like a series of accomplishments painting a glowing review of the government’s actions on behalf of the Environment. Its almost as if the environment is being used as a public relations ploy that will bring voters to support the political party with the most advertising savvy.

Barry Penner was appointed BC Minister of Environment and Minister Responsible for Water Stewardship and Sustainable Communities on June 16, 2005. His title reads like PR spin and his time seems to be spent on a lot of photo-opportunities which appear to be carefully constructed to provide the biggest bang for the public’s bucks. John Baird was appointed President of the Treasury Board in 2006 before becoming Minister of the Environment for Canada. The website contains lots of sound bites and rave reviews about this politician with no acknowledgement that anything is wrong with how we, and our governments are treating the environment.

Don’t simply rely upon my interpretation of this research check out: If you’d like to find out about the BC Environment through the eyes of the BC Liberal government check out: For the Federal view of the Environment check out: