I don’t live in Canada’s most westerly province, but I know that British Columbians pride themselves on their slogan, “Beautiful British Columbia”. It is a province of vast wilderness, ancient mountains, and pristine waters, although its beauty has been marred in recent years by the pine-beetle-destroyed pine trees covering vast regions of the Rocky Mountains. But the sparkling lakes and the beautiful Pacific coast remain jewels in B.C.’s crown – so far, at least. But the incumbent Liberals, lead by the unpopular Christy Clark, won a majority government in yesterday’s provincial election. Why the NDP, which went into the race with a 20-point lead, didn’t win is a surprise to many, and no doubt their loss will be dissected by the party and the media over the next while. What BCers are left with is a government committed to building dirty energy pipelines through pristine natural wilderness, and fracking the heck out of the province to make it a natural gas super-power. Oil tankers will be traveling up and down the now-pristine BC coast to transport the Alberta crud that’s been piped in. Uggh!
Longtime B.C. resident Dr Warren Bell, who helped found Canadian Physicians For The Environment, had this to say in response to yesterday’s election results:
“I think this outcome will radicalize everyone who is looking to the future of BC, the country and this planet, and knows and understands now that this is a joined struggle between those who see near-term dollars as the only standard for prosperity, and those who see sufficiency for all, and the interests of future generations, as paramount.”
The only lights on a dark day for the planet were the election of climate scientist Andrew Weaver, who became the first provincially elected Green in Canada, and Christy Clark’s loss in her own riding. Clark ran a fear-based campaign that pitted jobs against the environment, and painted the NDP as a scary alternative to the Liberal’s record of “economic stability”. Apparently voters need to be reminded to hold their breath while counting their money, as a reminder that the economy isn’t more important than the environment.