Public sees through corporate speak

Recent decisions by various groups and populations indicate change is coming

Events in Canada over the past month or so have shown not only that change is possible, but that people won’t stand for having corporate interests put before their own.

When plummeting oil prices late last year threw Alberta into financial crisis, people rightly asked, “Where’s the money?” They could see that an oil producer like Norway was able to weather the price drop thanks to forward planning, higher costs to industry to exploit resources and an oil fund worth close to $1 trillion.

Leading up to the election, the government that ran Alberta for 44 years refused to consider raising industry taxes or reviewing royalty rates, instead offering a budget with new taxes, fees and levies for citizens, along with service cuts.

The people of Alberta then did what was once thought impossible: they gave the NDP a strong majority. Almost half the NDP members elected were women, giving Alberta the highest percentage of women ever in a Canadian provincial or federal government.

On the other side of the country, voters in Prince Edward Island followed B.C. provincially and Canada federally and elected their first Green Party member, as well as Canada’s second openly gay premier. Remember, homosexuality was illegal in Canada until 1969.

In my home province of B.C., after a long struggle by elders and families of the Tahltan Klabona Keepers, the B.C. government bought 61 coal licences from Fortune Minerals and Posco Canada in the Klappan and Sacred Headwaters, putting a halt to controversial development in an ecologically and culturally significant area that is home to the Tahltan people and forms the headwaters of the Skeena, Stikine and Nass rivers.

The Tahltan people and the province have agreed to work on a long-term management plan for the area.

On the same night as Alberta’s election, people of the Lax Kw’alaams band of the Tsimshian First Nation met to consider an offer by Malaysian state-owned energy company Petronas of $1 billion over 40 years to build a liquefied natural gas export terminal on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert, at the other end of the Skeena River, an estuary that provides crucial habitat for salmon and other life. The 181 people attending unanimously opposed the offer.

Two nights later in Prince Rupert, band members also stood unanimously against the proposal.

On a broader scale, change is occurring around the serious threat of climate change.

Even well-known deniers, including U.S. oil billionaire Charles Koch, now admit climate change is real and caused in part by CO2 emissions. But they argue it isn’t and won’t be dangerous, so we shouldn’t worry.

Most people are smart enough to see through their constantly changing, anti-science, pro-fossil-fuel propaganda, though, and are demanding government and industry action.

We’re also seeing significant changes in the corporate sector.

The movement to divest from fossil fuels is growing quickly, and businesses are increasingly integrating positive environmental performance into their operations.

Funds that have divested from fossil fuels have outperformed those that haven’t, a trend expected to continue.

We can’t expect miracles from Alberta’s new government, which has its work cut out. After all, it would be difficult to govern Alberta from an anti-oil position, and the fossil fuel industry is known for working to get its way.

Although NDP leader Rachel Notley has spoken against the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, she isn’t opposed to all pipeline and oilsands development, and she’s called for refinery construction in Alberta. But she’s promised to phase out coal-fired power, increase transit investment, implement energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies, and bring in stronger environmental standards, monitoring and enforcement.

I’ve often said things are impossible only until they aren’t anymore. The past few weeks show how people have the power to bring about change.

Just Posted

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Good things come in small, strong, fast packages

Sierra Gillis hopes to represent Canada one day in fastball or rugby

New UVic study to track decline of insects in Metchosin

Traps will be set to catch and weigh flying insects

Edibles sidelined in proposed amendments to Cannabis Act

Health Canada says edible regulation is still more than a year away

Paralympic dream for rider with cerebral palsy

Kim Scott’s goal is to represent Canada and won’t let anything, including cerebral palsy, get in her way

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Lower water pressure, discolouration expected Friday in Gorge-Tillicum area

McKenzie interchange work could affect water for up to a week

Mainroad crews cleaning up after winter

Motorists warned to be on the lookout for roadside workers

The most “Victoria” way to watch baseball?

HarbourCats fans can now watch games from double-decker buses

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

BREAKING: Cassie Sharpe adds world championship to Olympic gold

Mount Washington skier defends her crown in France, wins overall halfpipe title

Most Read