Line of credit

On April 21, 24 hours columnist Bill Tieleman publicized an email in which marine biologist and prominent conservationist Alexandra Morton blasted environmentalists Tzeporah Berman, Karen Campbell and David Suzuki for panning the provincial New Democrats' platform while praising the Liberals' policies. "Your love in with Campbell is a betrayal to all that are alive in BC. Campbell is selling BC's most vital resources....fresh running water...And that is OK with you? Because you sure did not get that into the headlines. Yeah, you got big headlines....now what. If Campbell gets re-elected you can take the credit for all that follows." So now that election is over, how much credit does Ms. Morton think those environmentalists deserve for Gordon Campbell's victory?

"First of all, let me say that letter is probably one of my least brilliant pieces of writing. That was an early morning before coffee when you should not have perhaps hit the send button. But that is how I felt. And I think they should take enormous credit for the Liberal government being in power right now because the election was so close," responded Ms. Morton on Public Eye Radio.

"What angered me is that a lot of us were working in one direction. And these three very big and powerful groups" - the David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics and The Pembina Institute - "came out without any consultation with us or even a heads up. So they divided the environmental community - I think irrevocably."

"Now this might be good," she continued. "Because I see a dangerous trend in environmental work where large - generally American - companies or organizations are starting to fund various projects here. And that's a good thing because, obviously, environmentalists need to eat and send their children to school. The problem is, once you get corporate money, of course they want to direct where it goes and how it's used. And they're going to see that through."

"They're business people and they're going to see that through. But if the living system you're trying save shows evidence it needs different treatment than what you're trying to do or what you're funded to do, I feel the people on the ground should have the ability to turn and adapt and fully protect the fish."

"So now there's this schism where you've got environmental groups who have decided to go big-time. And you have the others like myself who have disengaged from that process and we remain owners of our own voices," she concluded.

But that might not be a bad thing. "You need diversity. And I, at some level, do trust these large organizations. I know these are very smart and concerned individuals and I know why they got involved in this issue. And if they think they can get in there and negotiate with the Liberals and with the big corporations, well maybe they can. But it's essential not all of us get into that tent."

"Because, otherwise, there's no other side of the issue. There's no cheques and balances. And I refuse to be paid by anybody at this point. I don't want to be part of any group. I just want to be able to listen to the fish and do what they're telling me to do. And they tell you with how they survive."

3 Comments

Thanks for bringing this topic up again, Sean.

There's hurting and grieving going on, with what happened in the May 12 2009 election. That wasn't just a simple election loss for those of us deeply concerned in the rivers issues, oil tankers and the fish, the sale of public assets, the virtual stripping of the landscape we call home.

As Alexandra hinted, there's a lot of stuff that needs to be voiced. Not just about Suzuki and Borman but also the Green Party which refused to co-operate and knowingly facilitated the re-election of the Great Destroyer.

The awful danger is that we begin to quarrel amongst ourselves, blame ourselves. Which could happen, if we aren't careful.

Problem is, most of us couldn't figure what to do next ... not until the topic of a federal election came up, and the possibility of convincing Michael Ignatieff that there's good work to be done in B.C., for B.C. That is, if he can figure out what a federal Liberal is in B.C.
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BC Mary, keep on keeping on driving the wedges. In fact, in pure Polakite tradition, I double-dog dare ya!

You keep howling at trees, we'll keep the BCLibs keeping BC free from more government, higher taxes and job killers like Carole James. Thanks!

Thanks for the continuing great columns/info Sean. Too bad a blight with the handle Josef K has decided to come and bleat the same bs over and over in the comments section.

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