To expect something for nothing is naive

Jerry Mencl says functioning economy, employment, tax base and infrastructure don’t come from nothing

In response to Glenda Ferris’s letter ‘Telkwa coal project has high hazard risk with no trade-off compensation’ (Oct. 18), permit me to quote Rex Murphy writing in National Post:

“Politicians, even at the municipal level, pledge themselves religiously to every green idea and aspiration. Has there ever been a single energy project — just one — in B.C. that has not faced protest and demonstration? Every company that has ever tried to bring a large project to B.C. has had to quickly learn the first truth: how great a favour it will be if they are, ultimately, after much genuflection and self-reproach allowed to bring jobs and work to some proposed area.”

Telkwa’s mayor Repen said he is “deferring judgment” on the project. He also publicly declared, and I paraphrase, that he’ll be guided above all else by the input of the Wet’suwet’en. (How many of them live and pay taxes in Telkwa?) He knows how that’ll go, and so do we. And so much for deferred judgment.

A politician is forever lifting a wet finger into the political wind: What is it blowing in today? Lets see: The NDP/Green government by adopting the UN Declaration on the right of indigenous peoples, which even the Liberals in Ottawa see as unworkable, will take the final step in granting the chiefs a veto over development. The federal government declared that a new system of project evaluation will be produced in a “co-development process” with the Assembly of First Nations. The Chamber of Commerce responded by suggesting the feds are set to introduce an “unworkable” system that could end investment in Canada’s natural resources. But who’d listen to these folks. They sound like a bunch of bigots.

Still, an argument can be made that the Telkwa mayor should represent Telkwa. But here, too, he can’t loose. Years ago, when Manalta tried to get something done here the good citizens rose in horror and loathing: Coalbed methane! Oh, gross! Is the sentiment different today?

Pristine environment. Unceeded territory. Dinosaur coal. The children. The planet. So many emotional, fervour-inducing arguments can be brought in opposition to the old boring irrelevancy: the economy. (“Budgets balance themselves” –Justin Trudeau) But to expect something — functioning economy, employment, tax base, municipal infrastructure — for nothing, no matter how “progressive” and politically correct, is, to be polite about it, naive.

Jerry Mencl



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