Sunday, November 1, 2015

Editorial piece in "The Province" January 7, 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made light of a potentially fatal security breach Monday at a Vancouver Board of Trade meeting when a couple of eco-zealots got within stabbing distance of the prime minister.
“It wouldn’t be B.C. without it,” Harper quipped to laughter from the crowd largely made up of business people.
But there is nothing funny about the anti-oil protest of Sean Devlin and Shireen Soofi — just the latest in a long line of self-important, self-aggrandizing protesters B.C. is notorious for. They make us the laughing stock in the rest of the country and increasingly British Columbians have grown sick of them too.
A few facts: B.C. voters re-elected Premier Christy Clark and her pro-business, pro-oil-and-gas agenda despite her and her party’s many other foibles. After months of hearings, including listening to the concerns of environmentalists, a federal joint review panel recommended last month that Ottawa approve the Northern Gateway project, subject to conditions, noting that building the pipeline “would be in the public interest.”
People have a right to protest in Canada, of course, but too often B.C.’s particular brand of professional protesters take it too far with frightening acts like barging on stage with the prime minister. In other nations, they wouldn’t be arrested, briefly questioned and released; they’d be in jail for weeks.
Most Canadians, who rely on fossil fuels to survive, understand the need for pipelines, they get how selling it abroad is in the national interest, and they are growing tired of the theatrics of protesters making silly claims of global doom. We live in a democracy where, thankfully, elected leaders, not twits with signs, make the decisions. Protesters like Devlin and Soofi need to grow up.

Response to the editorial not printed by "The Province". The election results appear to prove "The Province" wrong when the editors claim that "Most Canadians...are growing tired of the theatrics of...silly claims of global doom."

Your opinion piece “protesters’ theatrics are becoming tiresome” states clearly that ‘most Canadians’ are included in the group that feel the way you do. I would suggest you are wrong. And again your statement “making silly claims of global doom” is –at best- irrational given the wealth of information to the contrary available to you and your paper. It is telling that you name the protesters “twits” when you put them in the same photo as prime minister Harper. Mr. Harper whose government has gutted almost all reasonable environmental laws and policies dealing with rising greenhouse emissions, pollution problems and climate change. It is precisely because of this government that we need protests such as this. When you speak of a province re-electing “Christy Clark and her pro-business agenda”, you need to go back to the election results and admit that the ‘Liberals’ only beat the NDP party by a 5% margin. Had the NDP actually been a party that showed some semblance of strength the results would have been vastly different. And yes, jobs are important. But let’s not base everything in life on an economic model. In case you have forgotten people move here in droves for the quality of life. Let’s make sure we maintain that quality of life.

Oh, and to suggest that an environmental protest is the equivalent of a “life threatening security breach” is theatrics of your own making. Let’s not mistake free speech for danger. Instead, thank the protesters for showing the Prime Minister’s security people their weakness. I realize that you are a tabloid, but if you really need to opine in a strongly stated negative way, give the security detail a slap on the wrist. They were being paid to do something which they obviously failed to do.

Peter van der Velden


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