Spring has arrived to the Island, and with it a renewed sense of purpose seems evident for those who would defend yet the glorious wild lands and ocean we are blessed to live amidst. Like the perpetual turning of the seasons though, some environmental battles inexorably come round again.
Such is the case with Clayoquot Sound, where years of resistance to forestry and mining abuses prompted international recognition and designation as a UNESCO global Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, but has still proven insufficient to stem the despoilers, who rising zombie-like from apparent mortal defeat come ever back demanding more.
Clayoquot has already the dubious distinction of possessing the highest concentration of fish feed lots in the province, but that didn't stop Mainstream Canada, a subsidiary of Norwegian fish farm behemoth, Cermaq ASA from asking for another open net-pen operation. And, as they almost invariably do, Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans said, "OK!" It's an unwelcome development for locals, who view this operation as more than a fish farm too far.
Steve Lawson is National Coordinator of the First Nations Environment Network of Canada, and is a former board member of both the Canadian Environmental Network and the Marine and Terrestrial Committees of the Clayoquot Biosphere Reserve. He has lived most of the last fifty years on an island off Tofino; working as a fisher, tour boat skipper, and boat builder and designer among other things. Steve says he's; "...dedicated much of my life here on the coast to protecting old growth forests, wild salmon and other life and have tried to bring forward the understanding of nature and the traditional connections in order to promote the common good for all our relations."
Steve Lawson in the first half.
And; April Fools Day marks the opening of British Columbia's Grizzly hunt in the Great Bear Rainforest. Kiff Archer and Jason Moody live within the Great Bear, located along the mid-coast of BC, and they're both with the newly formed, Central Coast Grizzly Patrol. They were here at the start of last Fall's hunting season to talk about the beginning of the Coastal First Nations Coalition and its unilaterally declared ban on trophy hunting within their collective territories. The provincial government however neither recognizes the authority of the First Nations to do this, nor honours their demand for a ban on the hunt.
Kiff Archer and Jason Moody still standing tall in defense of the bears and other "trophy" targets in the Great Bear Rainforest in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us newz from our city's streets and beyond. But first, Steve Lawson and new battle lines being drawn in Clayoquot.
I just signed the petition "The Government of British Columbia: Decline SIA's permit to dump contaminated soil in Shawnigan Lake" on Change.org.
It's important. Will you sign it too? Here's the link:
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
Went up to Shawnigan Lake's Save Our Water Rally. Here's the nub of it from Bruce Fraser's site, www.fraserforshawnigan.ca
Well over 200 Shawnigan residents gathered on March 25th to show their disapproval of the South Island Aggregates proposal to reclaim their rock quarry, located in the headwaters of the Shawnigan watershed, with contaminated soil. What they witnessed was one of the rarest political events ever seen in British Columbia.
The sitting NDP MLA for Cowichan, the nominated candidates of the Liberals, Conservatives and Greens, the elected Area Director for Shawnigan and the Regional District Board are now on public record as rejecting the SIA proposal. This remarkable consensus is made more stunning because it has been crafted on the eve of a provincial election in which the four provincial candidates will be squaring off over the many hot issues that separate their party platforms. All have declared that the threat to the Shawnigan Watershed is a non-partisan issue, a matter of common environmental concern.
What is truly perplexing is that the current provincial government is persisting with formalizing the offending permit, now in draft form, but soon to be allocated in final form. All who have submitted comments to the Ministry of Environment have been given three short weeks to review the conditions of the complex permit but the ministry has indicated that the permit itself is not in question. The Minister of Environment has made it clear that the ministry has a legal obligation to review the SIA application and that he will defer to the technical judgment of staff. The Shawnigan community cannot believe that this also means an obligation to actually allow a contaminated soil facility to be placed in a major drinking water source against universal opposition. They certainly cannot understand how the most senior elected leadership in the province can avoid acting to protect such a crucial resource, clearly the most central responsibility of a Ministry of Environment.
The big story of the SIA project is surely about allowing a corporation to take the lucrative risk of contaminating a community watershed with a brew of industrial chemicals. It is also about dropping such a bomb a few short weeks before a provincial election when a government dissolves and elected leadership lapses. It is most certainly about the rejection of the consensus of every elected and aspiring leader of the Shawnigan community, The Cowichan Regional District and Cowichan provincial riding. This is about to become a spectacular miscarriage of democracy that should make the blood run cold in communities throughout the province. It is a situation that desperately needs to be corrected immediately by the Premier and her Cabinet before the opportunity is lost to create a truly inspiring and creative democratic response to a vulnerable community.
Madame Premier, carpe diem, do the right thing.
This week: Of BP and the Gulf oil disaster, This Can't Be Happening's Dave Lindorff writes; "Even as BP’s blown well a mile beneath the surface in the Gulf of Mexico continues to gush forth an estimated 70,000 barrels of oil a day into the sea, and the fragile wetlands along the Gulf begin to get coated with crude, which is also headed into the Gulf Stream for a trip past the Everglades and on up the East Coast, the company is demanding that Canada lift its tight rules for drilling in the icy Beaufort Sea portion of the Arctic Ocean."
Dave Lindorff is a long-time journalist and author, who is described at his website, 'This Can't be Happening' as "a quixotic one-man effort to afflict the powerful." Dave Lindorff in the first half.
Home from a six-day ordeal that saw him in the middle of the now infamous raid against the Gaza freedom proponents, Kevin Neish on surviving Israel in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher and CFUV broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us from sunny Gabriola Island at the bottom of the hour where the annual National Campus and Community Radio Association confab began today. But first, Dave Lindorff on the audacious greed of BP screwing the planet's environment.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, www.pacificfreepress.com.
Check out the GR blog at: http://GorillaRadioBlog.blogspot.com
The Your Water, Your Future conference took place over the weekend in Nanaimo. B.C., where logging interests control the watershed for the city and its environs. Maude Barlow, Rafe Mair, Ingmar Lee and many others came out to speak to the roughly 700-1,000 participants. Ingmar Lee was recorded on Sunday during a workshop session.
The Greater Victoria Water Watch Coalition, in conjunction with the Canadian Union of Public Employees teamed up with the Council of Canadians to bring its National Chairperson, Maude Barlow to the city for a talk on the fate of Victoria's water and sewage systems. In a broad ranging address, Barlow touches on water issues here and around the world.
G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in corporate and state media. Gorilla Radio airs live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 102FM, 104.3 cable, and on t