In the article “Pro-pipeline group eyes expansion to Burns Lake” from March 13, The North Matters founder Dave Johnston alleges that many lies about resources and the environment are being spread with funding from the United States. He did not however specify what those alleged lies are or point to a money trail. This strikes me as baseless fear-mongering. I’ve been following environmental issues for decades but I have yet to run across these foreign propagandists. I have seen the work of many British Columbian scientists, environmentalists and investigative journalists expressing concern about our unsustainable rate of non-renewable resource extraction.
If you’re concerned about foreign money seeking to influence our local politics you need not look far. Unless you live under a rock you’ve seen the steady flow of expensive ads on TV, online and in print promoting resource extraction. Follow the money trail through fronts such as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and it turns out that the pro-extraction campaign is largely funded by foreigners heavily invested in Canada. There’s also their well heeled pro-extraction lobbying money bending the ear of our politicians. Resource industry lobbyists and political donors in Victoria and Ottawa have far outnumbered and outspent environmentalists, using in large part foreign money. They don’t put their money in B.C. because they care about our communities or our environment, they do it because they want to make big bucks and move on. (The same can be said of some locals). Dave Johnston is right about foreign money distorting the conversation. Ironically he just got it backwards.
We have great sustainable industries in our region: forestry, agriculture, tourism. Lets invest in and enhance those. As for those ‘do it once and it’s gone forever’ resource projects that pose threats to our environment, I believe we should slow down and leave something for the grandkids.
Walter van der Kamp