Well congratulations on finally getting to meet the Governator! Nice picture of the two of you spending an entire hour discussing the environment and public private partnerships. Truth is Gord, I hope you and Arnie really do achieve your “Pacific Coast Collaborative” vision of having the entire left Coast of Canada and the US lead the way towards intelligent and thoughtfully legislated approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and instituting a “green” and healthy plan to help repair the damage we’ve done to this part of our planet. Like others however, I am a tad concerned with the idea that the “hydrogen highway” is a really well thought out part of this plan. As far as I know, it takes electricity to make hydrogen and, even now, BC buys some electricity from Alberta’s coal-fired plants when we need extra. I’m hoping your “clean coal” idea won’t be part of this highway, because Gord, sequestering (or hiding) the resulting carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxides, nitrogen dioxides and air toxics doesn’t get rid of them, it just stores them away making it someone else’s problem later on.
Gord, I also like the idea of “green ports” – anything that looks at cleaning up the mess that we’ve made of some of our ports and harbours can only be a good thing. I’m just not sure how this fits in with your verbalized urge to open the BC Coast up to drilling for oil. I also get a bit sceptical when I recall that Victoria still dumps all their poop into the ocean.
Now this idea that BC has some wisdom to offer California in the area of public-private partnerships – well Gord, this truly mystifies me. Were you thinking of the incredible success of selling off BC Rail (been a few derailments in the past few years as I recall); or the dance around the maypole that all BC citizens did when you sold off BC Gas; or perhaps was it the joy that erupted when you gave BC Ferries to David Hahn to pretend it was an independent company supported by tax dollars, and forgot to include some form of accountability? Was it perhaps the secret TILMA deal that you made with Alberta that basically guts our disappearing democratic process? Might it have been the attempted sell-off of BC Hydro? I seem to be unclear where the expertise in the 3-P sector might be showing itself in BC. Maybe I could go check this out in the Legislative Library in Victoria. Opps, sorry. I just heard that it was being closed and a lot of it was being put into storage. Seems the space might be attractive for a bigger office or place to greet visiting dignitaries. I wonder if the Governator will be impressed when he visits.
However, all scepticism aside, it is a good thing that your government has finally made the connection between what we’re doing and what’s happening to our world. Why, I’ll bet that when Arnie comes to visit he’ll probably drive his new hybrid Hummer part of the way just to show how the same standards that we now enjoy can be maintained in a greener way. Actually Gord, this is part of what concerns me in all of this. There is some quiet, implicit belief being marketed here, that if we all go green, we can continue to plunder the planet and maintain our lifestyle and end up feeling both justified and pleased with our cleverness and our commitment to the reduction of greenhouses gasses.
I suspect that if our world is to be healed and able to continue to provide us a home, then we need to develop a whole new philosophy and ethic that acknowledges that we, as Canadians and Americans, use far too much of the planet’s resources to maintain our lifestyle. This new ethic will also require us to consider not just the west coast or the western world, but the entire world and all her peoples. If we are going to survive as a species, we will have to envision a society that acknowledges that we are indeed all connected and that everything we do affects someone or somewhere else. We need to grasp that what happens in Bopal, India will affect those of us who live in BC; what happens to citizens in Iraq is connected to the way we live our lives; the destruction of the rainforest in Brazil is a direct result of our addiction to beef; our compulsion towards war is intimately connected to our addiction to oil and our craving for power.
The Pacific Coast Collaborative is a start – very sexy, very easy to market with you and Arnie, and your minions, cheering on and promoting how great this will be for all of us. However, there is a far greater and deeper challenge here. We need to collectively find ways to reduce our footprint on this planet and to find ways to live that respect the planet’s limitations and the lives of those who live on her. So far, I’m not at all convinced that we’ve even gotten this basic tenet – a principle that older societies have woven into the very fabric of their social philosophy. The principle is that “we are all connected.”
So Gord, even though I was considering retiring from this one-sided dialogue, with all the opportunities that you and your government continue to offer up for fodder, I think I’ll just leave you with one thought: “I’ll be back.” (If the reference eludes you, think of hearing this with an Austrian/Californian/Republican accent.)Steve O’Neill
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