LETTER: Hypocrisy or Accountability?

The Chief decided to combine their efforts in a recent editorial entitled, “Squamish lucky to escape the ire — this time.” [Jan. 2] The editors’ concern? The Squamish and Whistler missives, spearheaded by My Sea to Sky and West Coast Environmental Law, and supported by the former councils, asked the oil and gas industry to pay its ‘fair share’ by ponying up funds for budget costs related to climate change.”

And yet, according to the collective wisdom at The Chief, it’s not about demanding moral and legal accountability from the oil and gas industries. It’s really unfettered “screaming” by the “hypocritical,” all set towards “killing tourism” (their words).

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After all, the editors muse: Don’t people drive gas vehicles to get here to spend their tourist dollars in our grateful community? Better watch out, they warn. Maybe they’ll be offended and not visit anymore.

Putting aside the bizarre hyperbole, it’s too bad the collective abilities at The Chief are lacking basic reasoning skills. 

Here are the facts. It’s no secret the oil and gas industries have wreaked global havoc, now threatening the very survival of humanity. According to the scientists, we have 12 years to seriously address the needed transition to renewable, sustainable choices. 

The Chief won’t disagree there’s a needed transition. Apparently, they agree climate change is real. With that said, they then exhibit logical-schizophrenia by charging that because we all use fossil fuel, and live in a community with little leadership for reducing our carbon footprint (thank you, Woodfibre LNG), we should just sit back and keep quiet.

But that simply doesn’t follow. If the problem is our large carbon footprint, then demanding compensatory justice from the fossil fuel industries is perfectly reasonable. To imply we shouldn’t do something until we do everything, is a non sequitur of epic proportions.

Moreover, demanding moral and legal accountability from big industry, for their destructive and pathological behaviour, isn’t something new. Advocates did the same with the tobacco industry as well as the pharmaceutical industry. As The Globe and Mail recently reported, ironically enough, B.C. was first there too: “B.C., in 1998, was the first province to sue tobacco companies for damages, adopting its first Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act.”

These demands are about accountability and justice. Only to say that if those with “the ire” don’t feel like visiting us any longer, I hear there’s lots of non-smoking, camping ground space this summer in Kitimat and Ft. McMurray. 

Elijah Dann

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