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Posted: April 23, 2019

NDP hypocrisy a Jumbo thing

Kootenay Crust

By Ian Cobb

Op-Ed Commentary

Sometime last week I was mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed, sneering at the haters and scoffing at the simps who quiver behind pseudonyms, when I saw a story about old growth logging on Vancouver Island.

Now, we eastern British Columbians watch wide-eyed as our eminently wiser and better-practiced coastal kin flush crap into the ocean and force legislations on us that are designed solely to keep urban nitwits in check or happy. We watch our hard-earned wages disappear in clouds of farty gas as the shit weasels in Victoria concoct new ways to screw us all over with the goal of re-election towering stratospherically over serving the people.

Whenever our government veers left, we eastern British Columbians tend to be shoved aside as the urban-centric NDP sucks up to its base.

NDP supporters in our neck of the woods dig said party, oftentimes, because it purports to be the party of the environment. Vote NDP and all the big mean nasty industrial terror in the woods will go away.

The right loves to plunder nature and the left values it over revenue, so the story goes. While that tends to be more of a truism than not, I cannot help but call “BS” on the BC NDP.

Who remembers Clayoquot Sound? In extreme short, the Socreds stood by as MacMillan Bloedel went after old growth riches. Some local residents and later folks from all over North America arrived to protest and blockade.

When the NDP took power in 1991 logging continued, as did protests. Did the NDP rush to Clayoquot Sound’s defence? Nope. Massive public protest, arrests and really crappy optics in terms of world-view of B.C. eventually pressured the NDP into forcing a massive scale-back of logging in old growth forests – by 1995/96. It took about five years for the NDP to do the right thing and yes, it did result in some wiser logging practices around the province (have to give them that) at a time when automation was halving mill workforces.

Another example of NDP hypocrisy when it comes to the environment was the Fast Ferry debacle, sticking with the theme that the NDP only looks after the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

Fast ferries were going to be the bee’s knees. Stop thinking about building a bloody bridge and let’s boost our shipbuilding industry! Half a billion dollars later, with cash coming from pockets all over the province (from places that do not get the same turnaround support from the Lower Mainland), we had three ferries that were fast.

Badly built and terrors on the shoreline and other shipping due to massive wakes (science, what a concept), the fuel-sucking beasts became one of the banes of Premier Glen Clark’s disastrous deck-stained reign.

The pieces of junk fouled the Strait of Georgia for only three years, with Premier Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government selling the lot for $19.4 million ($6.5 million a vessel) in 2003.

NDP hypocrisy showed its true colours again when Premier John Horgan flip-flopped on Site C to curry favour from dad (Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver).

No shock there as so-called big league politics is all about being a lying skunk; always has been.

What is shocking is an apparent NDP government fail in the Port Renfrew area of Vancouver Island.

“Plans to log old-growth forests near Port Renfrew have conservationists accusing the B.C. Ministry of Forests of endangering tourism in the area,” The Victoria Times Colonist reported April 18.

“The Victoria-based Ancient Forest Alliance says government-run B.C. Timber Sales is preparing to auction 109 hectares of forest in seven cutblocks. Two of those planned cutblocks will see trees falling within 37 metres and 50 metres of the boundary of Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, known as a gentler, more accessible version of the West Coast Trail.”

A spokeswoman with the Ministry of Forests said “when cutblocks are surveyed and positioned, considerations are always made for the ecology of the site and the aesthetics of nearby views. And logging is not occurring in the park. Meanwhile, significant areas, 55% of coastal old-growth forests on Vancouver Island and the B.C. coast, have already been protected.”

Doesn’t that sound like a BC Liberal Party spin?

If we had a Liberal government at this time, you can bet your last dollar that isn’t being obliterated by surging gas prices that the NDP would be howling in the legislature about this.

And this all leads me to the grand finale and the greatest symbol of environmental hypocrisy in the BC NDP’s history.

It is a local tale. It is Jumbo.

The Jumbo Glacier Resort proposal, busy tearing the fabric of Columbia Valley and Kootenay society for about 27 years, began under a NDP government (Mike Harcourt’s).

Despite numerous supportive BC Liberal governments after the turn of the century, proponents completely crapped the bed in terms of getting anywhere, as folks with massive pockets full of money are not wont to throw good money away on fading prospects.

All that has come of Jumbo, besides divides in communities in terms of opinions, is an already-falling-apart concrete slab with re-bar and some local government mechanisms thanks to a previous provincial government GIVING huge sums of our (taxpayer) money to the proponent to create ‘the town with no residents.’

Now, as Jumbo became a crap cookie the Liberals had to chew on, with a couple of NDP MLAS from the area (Jim Doyle and Norm Macdonald) vociferously opposing the project over the years, one would think that Jumbo would have been ceremoniously flushed by Horgan and company – especially considering they have Andrew Weaver sitting on their shoulders. And even as a salute of respect to Doyle and Macdonald.

Aiding them in such an endeavour is the fact the BC Liberals weathered the lawsuit storm established by the 1990s NDP rule concerning Jumbo and while giving the proponent support, the Liberals also cleverly slammed the ball squarely and directly in the proponents’ court, thereby separating the province from easy retribution.

And here we sit almost two years into this minority government’s rule and it’s crickets when it comes to Jumbo.

Why? It isn’t sexy and won’t garner attention from the heavily urbanized southwestern base of the NDP.

So it festers. Local First Nations are burned by it, too, so yeah, reconciliation and all eh?

While global economic realities and local opposition have been the great barriers to Jumbo, it seems its staunchest ally remains Victoria.

The late Roger Madson (pictured above) would draw elaborate pie charts showcasing NDP and bureaucratic hypocrisy as he struggled to save his business, RK Heli-Ski, from the increasingly crushing weight of Jumbo and oppressive legislation related to it.

I can only imagine that pie chart now.

Ian Cobb is e-KNOW editor and owner and someone who has typed the word ‘Jumbo’ more than anyone else alive.

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