There is a serious problem in Squamish that many individuals and businesses are turning a blind eye to: the buying and selling of consent through donations and sponsorships. This show of wilful blindness compromises not only the transparency and integrity of our town, but also our values as individuals.
A Chief article noted that FortisBC has donated money to various local groups while later in the same paper, one of the receiving groups blatantly congratulated Fortis on its recent environmental assessment approvals. The problem is not the sponsoring of events and groups, but the manipulation of our community to support LNG and the risks these companies pose to our immediate and future environment.
By condoning sponsorships from both FortisBC and Woodfiber LNG, we are doing ourselves a disservice. These companies have been pushing their way into our community through sponsoring local politicians, groups and events, with little respect to the massive opposition and stark realities of climate change.
They manipulate their support by taking advantage of those with financial need. This is morally wrong.
As well, such handouts can take away from community efforts and responsibility to support local business and services. While community based fundraisers like bake sales may not achieve money in the thousands, they do achieve something much more valuable: community spirit, the gift of giving, honesty and camaraderie.
The buying of silence and consent has to stop! As citizens, we have to recognize our power and influence over the future. Personally, I value economic development with sustainable and ethical practices. LNG does not support these values.
As a community, Squamish has been resilient in times of economic change (for example, closure of the mining industry). Other businesses and people have and will step forth in times of need.
We have to ask ourselves, is permitting such unethical behaviour worth the risk to our children, community and environment?
No amount of money can reverse climate change or the dismantling of our community grounds.