This is a guest column; ‘Mihael Willman’ is the pseudonym for a concerned Canadian – Jeff Goodall
The recent attacks by the Harper government against environmentalists and opponents of major resource projects makes one wonder what influenced this course of action at this time. Coming within months of his last visit to China, where frustration was voiced at the delays in getting oil pipelines approved, the following scenario came to mind.
Dear Premier Wen Jiabao
As per the concerns raised by your oil executives during our February 2012 visit to China, I have taken their concerns about the delays in approving the Northern Gateway pipeline, as well as other major oil, gas and mining projects, to heart. As a result, I am introducing changes into the way the approval process works. I am modifying the length of time required to obtain necessary approval for future projects. While the process is cumbersome and in need of reform, it is the objections and opposition of environmental groups which cause the greatest delay in getting projects approved and underway.
Our primary concern will be to find ways to push through any and all projects proposed by the oil, gas and mining sector. Time is money, as you well know. Delays only add to the eventual cost of each and every project. No matter how risky or untried the technology might be, we promise to get them approved as soon as possible. We refuse to allow environmental activists to sabotage or delay projects in the name of protecting the environment, namely water and air, from possible spills or other industrial accidents and chemical leaks. The majority of these agitators, I mean environmentalists, are just radical, leftist, anti-capitalist, kooks.
Fortunately, the people who run our oil and mining industry are champing at the bit to sell you all the oil and minerals they can. After some careful reflection, I have come to the conclusion that your country’s interests and those of my government are complimentary. You want to buy all the resources we have to offer, we are eager to sell all we can.
We cannot compete with your low wages, for this reason we have given up on any hope of resurrecting our manufacturing sector. But we have natural resources which are in high demand. Unlike you, we can’t imprison environmental activists or opponents of possible resource projects, much as we might like to do so. But we can make it more and more difficult for them to mount any kind of viable opposition. We have started this process by restricting which groups can oppose given projects.
Furthermore, in our last budget we have announced that we will take action against all environmental groups who seek to oppose these projects, especially those in receipt of donations from foreign sources, by going after their financial backers. We will not allow foreign interests to dictate our domestic policies. Nothing, or no-one, will stand in the way of the exploitation of our natural resources. Our natural resources are there to be exploited to the last drop of oil and last ounce of minerals. And EXPLOIT THEM we will, no matter what environmental disasters may occur. Should any damage occur as a result of these oil, gas or mining projects, we implicitly trust that the companies responsible will clean up the mess.
Your government has managed to turn your country into a world economic powerhouse, with total disregard for possible damage to the environment. So the air in your major cities is polluted beyond what is healthy, and most of your rivers have been poisoned. That’s a small price to pay to become the manufacturer to the world. And if approving questionable oil pipelines or mining projects will result in polluted rivers and lakes, as well as the air, in Canada, so be it. That is a small price to pay. It is more important that we provide a climate for the resource sector companies, both foreign and domestic, to make as great a profit as possible. Of course we will sugar-coat this with the promise of creating thousands of jobs, whether this number actually materializes or not doesn’t matter. It is a good issue to use in our campaign to get support from the Canadian public for these projects.
I can’t understand why some Canadians are so concerned about preserving a pristine environment. Do they aim to turn Canada into a natural Disneyland, where no industry of any kind is allowed, so as not to damage the environment in any way? Canadians, on the whole, are more interested in creating jobs then worrying about the effects of possible oil leaks or chemical emissions. And it will be to these Canadians that we will appeal for support in carrying out this new resource policy. A policy that is in the best interests of the resource companies (who are our generous political contributors), our political agenda and your economic interests.
Sincerely, Stephen Harper
Stephen Harper does not want Canada to become a national park for the United States. It seems he would prefer we become a wasteland for communist China!