Age has brought me a calmer perspective and approach to living than that of my younger self. I can disassociate myself from some injustices of the world or cruel happenstance than I could as a young woman. The black and white certainty of my belief structure has become decidedly more muted as the years fly by. Still, on occasion, I find myself positively purpuric ( i.e. red and blotchy and slightly resembling a boiled lobster) over the things people say and do.
I moved to BC almost two years ago because of its beauty, its promise of more green living, of my belief that people here care more about the environment than anywhere else in Canada. I came from southern Ontario, its frenzied pace of life, its highway 401 congestion and commuter chaos, its gas plant mega scandals and horrific hydro debacle and lack of green space in the places where the bulk of our population lived. I came in February, when my home was buried in three feet of snow and double-digit sub-zero temperatures and news of big corporations essentially stealing our groundwater with the governments permission. I found this beautiful jewel called Shawnigan Lake, a house hidden in the trees, all of this glorious green space and I thought, wow, here it all really still matters.
Imagine my dismay when I discovered my jewel, and the jewel that 10,000 people in our community draw their water from, is in peril. Terrible, awful peril. We have a contaminated soil site at the mouth of our watershed, already leaching its toxic goo and set to continue on for decades if our community cannot stop it. The BC Government, who, silly Ontario’ite I, had presumed to be so environmentally conscious, has in fact proven itself to be the most toxic, abusive power this Province could ever dream of. It is not just the story of Shawnigan that sickens me, it is the Site C Dam, the LNG proposals, the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the fracking, the raping of our resources, the bipartisanship, the deceit, the hand holding of private interests that fuel their reign of domestic eco-terrorism. Some days I feel defeated, others I feel encouraged by the community I now call home and the people here who have organized and fought and continue to fight this injustice for so long.
I have never been particularly political and would probably have been described in my previous incarnation as a Liberal, at least an Ontario Liberal. Make no mistake, the Liberals of Eastern Canada and those of the West are two entirely different creatures. Both, at the moment, seem to have lost all concern for their social responsibility and the application of ethical practice . The BC Liberals want to make us the richest Province until we are the poorest, the most bereft of any integrity in resource management and sustainability and care that when our earth is so carelessly ravished there will be nothing left to fight for.
The only Party I can throw my support behind is the Green Party because they are the only party who can be described as ethical, environmentally and socially responsible, realistic about the future world of our children and grandchildren. They are fueled by the passion and drive of real people facing real challenges and grassroots volunteers. There is no corporate greed pulling their strings, no decades of ” has always been done this way”, there are no egos and no pretense. In my community is one clear and proven leader, Sonia Furstenau, who has tirelessly led the challenge to save the water for years. I have watched her at many community events, always having been an observer of people and been astonished at her ability to “rally the troops” with barely a whisper. She can reignite confidence when many flag in their belief that truth and goodness will prevail. There are people in this community who also have strong convictions and want to do good and are wonderful people in their own right and I applaud them as well but they are not Green and that must become everyones favourite colour.
Social media is a double-edged sword. It seems sometimes a platform for good and sometimes a means of attack by people who would probably never say publically such things were they not hiding behind a screen in their own homes. As the election heats up I sincerely hope our community keeps their heads up and their words free from ugly conjecture and gossip and that all our candidates are treated with respect. It is not a pretty thing I’m sure to endure the barbs of politics, of ‘course sometimes it is hard to walk the higher road.
I encourage everyone to educate themselves about local issues and the issues facing our Province on a broader scale. Go meet the candidates, look them in the eye and ask them hard questions about things that matter to you. Vote, it is your right and responsibility