In the debate over Woodfibre LNG, the point is made that the two sides need to now engage in respectful discussion, as if it were a debate over whether we should paint our Squamish schools red or some more neutral colour, and the argument is now getting a little heated. Yet this isn’t the scope of the debate.
It’s not really a debate between individual citizens. Rather, it’s between those citizens who oppose Woodfibre LNG and those who want Woodfibre LNG and who are backed by more than their convictions. And that backing makes the proportion of this “debate” greatly disproportionate. How is that?
Ask yourself these questions:
Which side has a billionaire industrialist on their side?
Which side has the provincial government on their side, if not even the federal government – including the resources and tools to promote their agenda?
Which side has a VP who once worked for Imperial Metals and has an extensive political background working for the federal Conservative government?
Which side – in effect - actually has paid representatives to promote its cause?
Which side has spent thousands of dollars on advertising for its cause in our newspapers, radio and television? And mailings?
Which side has spent thousands of dollars on advertising for community events, giving money to community organizations?
Which side says they talk to our community, but has yet to have a single open house where people, all together in one room, can ask Woodfibre LNG the tough questions? (Let’s face it: if you don’t allow people to ask your group questions in public, what do you have to hide?)
No, we don’t have billionaires on our side to promote our side. No, we don’t have full time – even part-time jobs – to offer people to promote all the reasons Woodfibre LNG is a fail.
Most of us are scraping by financially. After working all day, then coming home to take care of our children, few of us have the time or energy to try to organize and fight this effort.
And that’s something that Woodfibre LNG, and all its employees, understand. It’s their job. This is what they have an extensive background understanding and doing. This is why corporations, especially those backed by politicians, usually win.
For those who oppose the corporations and their supporters, we only have our convictions.
In short, this isn’t unique to Squamish. Corporations targeting local communities, trying to make inroads where they shouldn’t, and then pitting people against people, that is their modus operandi.
In the meantime, we will still present the science, the economics, and the facts. We will continue to have open house discussions, where people can ask questions at the microphones because we like the science, economics and facts. Yes, people will still get angry from time to time. That’s understandable. As Neil Young sings, “It’s an angry world.” Listen to the lyrics, and you’ll truly understand why.