Viewpoint: A daughter’s Green party primer

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By JAN SLAKOV

This is an open letter to my dad about the B.C. election.

Dear Dad,

Thanks for sharing that you’re so ticked off with the snap election that you’re voting Green this time.

Since you don’t know much about other reasons to vote Green, here’s a primer: The NDP and Liberals voted to double down on fossil fuel subsidies. And they green-lighted the Site C dam, despite multiple warnings.

Better late than never: Former BC Hydro president and CEO Mark Eliesen, former chair of the Site C review Harry Swain, and many others say it’s “folly to allow [the river] diversion to occur . . . The prudent course of action — one that respects Indigenous and treaty rights as well as the interests of all taxpayers and hydro ratepayers — is to immediately suspend all construction activities at the project.” According to Dave Mills Site C electricity would cost “more than double what wind power is going for next door in Alberta”.

The foreign-owned LNG Canada plant would require massive amounts of electricity to convert fracked gas into LNG. And the NDP’s Bill 17 would undermine our renewable energy sector, in favour of buying Californian solar electricity. Question: “How’s that going to work when California’s transmission lines are hanging limply from burnt poles?”

Pushing LNG means pushing the Coastal GasLink pipeline through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. The company is violating environmental laws and Indigenous rights, but that’s business in B.C., eh?

Just since 1988, humanity has pumped more than half its GHG emissions into the atmosphere. Now the reserves left to exploit are more costly, ecologically and economically; there are better options. But entrenched interests are hard to buck. It’s like when slavery was outlawed in Britain, British investment in U.S. slavery persisted and even increased.

And the forests we love! Successive B.C. governments continue to “log and talk,” holding consultations even as hundreds of soccer fields of old growth are clearcut each day. Thank goodness for efforts like the “oldgrowthblockade” to protect what few remnants of these ancient forests are left.

Your grand-daughter, our beloved Sophie, described how she went to a climate protest years ago and was in tears to think of what’s at stake. She finds it healthier not to think about it much.

As for me, I’ve been lucky. Some land defenders lose their life’s savings, sometimes even their lives.

I think you sense an underlying meaning in our efforts. For many Indigenous people, the land is part of who they are, maybe even for some of us settlers too. What we’re asking for may seem impossible, but that’s only because all these good people go along with plunder. It’s not sarcasm when I speak of “good people”; to some degree, all of us go along with things we know are wrong. But we won’t give up on the struggle to bring our lives in line with what we know is right.

So yeah, glad you’re voting Green and let’s keep on with our other efforts, as much as we can with the time we have left.

Love and best wishes, Jan

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