Martlet: Donors undermine progress

28 Oct

Original Link

Donors undermine progress

In Copenhagen, Canada earned a reputation as the “fossil of the day” in climate change. Our inability to meet the conditions of the Kyoto Accords has earned us global scorn.

One only needs to look at B.C.’s political landscape to get an idea of how Canada got to this point. Just examine the B.C. Liberals’ contributors list and you begin to see the problem.

In last year’s election, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, an Albertan oil and gas exploration and development company, donated $7,000 to the Liberals. Terasen Gas doubled that with a $15,000 donation. Another large contributor was Teck Cominco. This mining company donated $75,000 to the Liberals. In the past two years, Teck has been involved in two major court cases for illegally dumping waste into rivers.

In one case, they had to construct a $120 million wastewater pipeline to settle a lawsuit filed by the Inupiat Eskimos, whose drinking water had been fouled by dumping. In another, they were forced to pay a Native band in Washington $1 million for dumping into the Columbia River. That dumping occurred in B.C. under the Liberal government in March 2009.

On Sept. 22, 2009 the NDP reported that the Liberals made a renewed push to lift the ban on coastal drilling, despite Campbell’s government saying in April that they would be addressing climate change and creating jobs in the “green” economy. This story received limited attention from the public, who were distracted by the potential Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Granted, these serious issues are not directly related to those discussed in Copenhagen, which focused on reducing carbon emissions. Thankfully, the Liberals don’t have any well-funded special interest groups to protect in that area. Oh wait. The largest contributor the Liberals in 2009 was The New Car Dealership Association of B.C. This association represents hundreds of new car dealerships across the province and gave an astounding $229,700 to the Liberals. The association made sure to cover their bases though, as they were also the NDP’s largest non-union contributor.

What does this mean for the future of green initiatives in B.C.? Considering the strength of the Liberal Party, and the financing of the party, it will be difficult for them to lose power.

Maybe we should take a closer look at the message in Copenhagen. It’s time to stop protesting HST and start protesting against offshore drilling and waste dumping. It’s time to demand better public transit to offset driving. It’s time to care more about the health of our country and planet.

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