Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Ottawa ‘fails to protect’ fish habitat in Fraser River

with 5 comments

I looked at this issue back in October. Today’s story in the Vancouver Sun shows that not only were salmon destroyed but the risk of flooding – used by the the proponents to justify their activities – was not reduced at all.

The report by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development on behalf of the auditor-general finds that Fisheries and Oceans Canada “cannot demonstrate” that fish habitat is being adequately protected. 

This is no surprise. Of course, the Auditor General’s writ only runs to the federal government so the government of BC does not get a mention. But it is is intimately involved in this affair – as it has been with the equally disgraceful fish farm policy.  

This is the same BC government that slashed the budget for the environment ministry, reduced the numbers of staff dedicated to environmental protection but managed to get some environmentalists on its side because of its dedication to run of the river hydro. They also like to point to the “extensive environmental studies” whenever anyone has the temerity to question the impact of their favourite mega-projects. Yes there were studies done, but the outcome was never in doubt. The studies can either be skewed – or simply ignored. And again this blog has documented both.

The sad truth is that under right wing governments in both Victoria and Ottawa our environment has taken second place to the wish to promote business profit. The ideology is that somehow which is never really explained (and cannot be demonstrated in practice) if businesses can make lots of money this is good for all of us. The loss of irreplaceable habitats and the destruction of ecological systems is ignored or discounted: since GDP is increasing we must all be better off. This of course ignores the impacts we can see all around us on our declining health, increasing poverty and other social problems. The growing disparity between the undertaxed rich and the overcharged poor is also ignored. Bizarrely, those who bothered to vote justify their choice by saying that the BC Liberals are a “safe pair of hands” for the economy when even that is easy to show is not true. They were simply fortunate to be in power during the years of economic growth – which collapsed due to the very policies which had encouraged it. A house of cards – or a ponzi scheme – both accurate analogies of what was happening. But the voters want more of this apparently.

Ian Matheson, director-general of habitat management for federal fisheries, said in an interview last week from Ottawa that his department accepts the report’s findings and is committed to a three-year action plan to rectify the department’s shortcomings, with regular updates to the office of Commissioner Scott Vaughan.

Well I wish him luck with that. I cannot see that he will be getting any support from his political masters. Especially if, in order to do the job properly, he needs to spend more or recruit more people: especially if those people need to be well qualified and prepared to stick to their guns when undermined by their bosses.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 19, 2009 at 7:51 am

Posted in Environment

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The BC Liberal party won because they exploited people’s greed and fear.

    The political right has brainwashed people into believing that a vote for anyone else is going to cost people their jobs and homes, even though it’s clear to me that the policies of the right caused the financial crisis and that their continued application will cause an environmental catastrophe within the next 30 years.

    The Liberals must be overjoyed to see their anti-STV rhetoric worked so well. They are now guaranteed at least 12 years of the status quo, which probably means 3 more victories.

    I believe the anti-STV commercial I saw repeated on television should have been rejected by advertising standards rules on honesty. They claimed “STV chops votes into fractions”, which is absolutely false.

    They scared people with the loss of local representation even though most MLAs are not, in any real sense, accountable to the electorate under first-past-the-post. Most ridings in BC are “safe” for either the Liberals or NDP. In those ridings the leading party could run a convicted criminal and still win. The only accountability is to the party.

    David

    May 19, 2009 at 10:23 am

  2. No seat is safe. Ask the 1991 Socreds, the 1993 Progressive Conservatives, or the 2001 New Democrats. Some, like the 1933 BC Conservatives or the 19have been reduced to 0 in one fell swoop.

    As for who was responsible for the “chop your vote” Anti-STV ads, the name “Bill Tieleman” comes to mind long before any BC Liberal. AFAIK, this time the Provincial Government financed both sides of the referendum equally who were free to advertise as they wish.

    (Apologies Stephen for arguing in your parlour… If we had the 1952-53 styoe of a BC transferable vote, and I lived in Richmond East, I’d likely have considered casting a “1” beside your name.)

    The Blue Icon David

    David

    May 19, 2009 at 6:51 pm

  3. (that should read 1987 New Brunswick PC’s… sigh)

    David

    May 19, 2009 at 6:52 pm

  4. I should have said the NDP is also happy that STV failed. That way fewer people will “split the vote” and support the Green party.

    By my completely unscientific estimates, most BC elections held under STV rules would produce slim majorities or minority governments with the Green Party holding the balance of power. The “establishment” couldn’t let that happen.

    Stephen convinced me to vote Green and it’s unlikely I’ll ever go back to the “other guys”.

    David

    May 21, 2009 at 10:54 am

  5. Stephen said…”The sad truth is that under right wing governments in both Victoria and Ottawa our environment has taken second place to the wish to promote business profit. The ideology is that somehow which is never really explained (and cannot be demonstrated in practice) if businesses can make lots of money this is good for all of us. The loss of irreplaceable habitats and the destruction of ecological systems is ignored or discounted:”…

    I can agree with that,but as far as DFO goes.The incompetency of DFO goes way back.
    No matter who happened to be in power,i.e Lib’s or Con’s.
    Fishermen & First Nations communities on both coast have had and have a more realistic understanding of fish & fishery management than all the so called “experts” at DFO.
    One need but examine the history of the cod fishery and the salmon fishery.Fishermen were warning DFO about over fishing and habitat destruction for years,to little avail.
    The state of the various fisheries and fish habitat destruction etc lends weight to the old saying,…”God save us from the experts”

    dirk

    May 21, 2009 at 11:29 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,020 other followers

%d bloggers like this: