With the 2013 Provincial Election set to take place on May 14, 2013, nasty advertisements, exaggerations misconceptions, polar opposite points of view and even dishonest portrayals and statements will be flooding television, radio, the electronic media and the good old newspapers.
There is little doubt every effort will be made to shame the NDP governments of the 1990s. Facts and many key issues will be ignored and it is unlikely that any mention will be made of the low world commodity prices that discouraged new mines from opening during that era. That phenomenon was carry over from the previous Social Credit government era of the 1980s and early 1990s when those right of center conservative style governments who were very friendly to the mining community were also unable to attract many new mines.
There will be of course that ongoing debate over protecting environmental values and preserving wild and special things and places that have led to the coining of phrases such as “Super Natural British Columbia” and “This Is The Best Place On Earth”.
The 2013 election will not be much different from those in the 1990s. It will engender rhetoric and debate prompted by the Liberal Party saying “what is more important the economy or the environment” implying that the NDP will declare moratoriums over such things as LNG development while studying the implications of fracking and other environmental damaging aspects of the huge social change proposed for northwestern B.C. Their mantra is already implying that study and delay will stop progress and take jobs from our kids.
The provincial governing history of the 2000s and not the 1990s is what must be looked at under the microscope. Lest we forget what happened under the successive Liberal governments during this past decade, our region and particularly the Terrace area which was kicked in the pants.
We all know so well about the tax regime that favoured corporations and the wealthy. The Liberal government of this era declared war on public services and subsidizes, budgets were slashed and public employees were laid off. To this day we have less court workers, trials are postponed and cancelled because they have exceeded the statute of limitations.
There are fewer conservation officers, fish and wildlife biologists and technicians to manage our important and so special fish and wildlife that the majority of us who live here treasure and enjoy and do not want squandered or destroyed.
Our corrections facility was closed in Terrace and there are fewer forest service employees in the Kalum Forest District.
The most dramatic change, with the greatest impact was the closing of the Skeena Cellulose sawmill with only a limited effort to find a solution, a permanent buyer or a way of keeping the mill in operation until a permanent solution was found.
My memory does not reflect upon a major effort by Terrace city council and one member of that council from 2002 to 2011 who is now the Liberal candidate for Skeena trying to keep that mill open.
The council of the day should have been fighting tooth and nail and disagreeing in the strongest possible terms that the closing of the mill was wrong. Instead of that happening, there was only a whimper and all kinds of crazy things followed, all of which ended up with a modern, multi-million dollar saw mill being torn down.
To this day the derelict mill property is a huge eyesore and a negative reminder of the terrible decision to close it down and rip it apart with such a long term devastating impact upon Terrace and northwestern B.C. and its residents. For most of the Liberal decade our region has had the highest unemployment rate in all of British Columbia because of wrongheaded decisions.
Now in an effort to turn the economy around, we who are living in this wonderful part of British Columbia are being asked to make difficult, mind boggling economic and social decisions at a lightning speed. Many LNG project proposals and pipelines, an oil refinery, an oil pipeline, expansion of the Rio-Tinto Alcan smelter, mining proposals, more new power lines, run of river hydro projects and the list goes on and on, it is massive in scale. The implications of this list is numbing and a game changer in its magnitude and breadth, it is truly beyond any quick comprehension by anyone who cares about the future of our area.
The retired Liberal government has virtually destroyed any possibility of a thoughtful or reasoned dialogue or debate over these development plans and the direction they may take. Who can begin to determine what is right or wrong or good for our region and for that matter our province when so much is at stake.
You the reader must decide in your heart over what is happening and which political party is going to be the most reasoned and fair by providing an extended opportunity for its citizenry to play a more meaningful role in the development of the economic and social future of our region. And yes, this will slow down development but in the end it may mean it will done right.
Jim Culp, Terrace, B.C.