As a lead critic of the province's push toward independent power production, it would be hard to accuse the Western Canada Wilderness Committee of being soft on the government. And, according to the committee's national campaign director Joe Foy, that could explain why it wasn't among the environmental groups who were offered free 2010 Winter Olympic tickets. In a prepared statement, Environment Minister Barry Penner confirmed a number of groups were contacted about attending the Games - although he wasn't specific about which ones. Not all of them could accept the invitation, having "previously arranged plans to attend to." As for those that did, the minister stated they were "well known and respected groups who contribute on a regular basis to forwarding our environmental agenda."
But it seems the Western Canada Wilderness Committee didn't fit that bill. And that suits Mr. Foy just fine because even if the government had offered the committee Olympic tickets, they would have been rejected.
In an interview with Public Eye, Mr. Foy said he and his colleagues have found it "pretty darn hard to meet the suckers...On issues such as endangered species, forestry or rivers we're basically just shut out. The point being: Why would you take gifts from a government that treated you like that?"
As for the fact other groups were offered tickets, Mr. Foy quipped it's reflective of a "debate in the environmental movement about how much do you engage industry and allow them to use you as a smokescreen for their evil ways and how much do you always bitch and whine and not be constructive - that would be us."
"But I believe the way our system is setup, we're not supposed to do all things," he continued. "And if you don't have rabble-rousers and shit disturbers somewhere, the whole thing is in trouble. So I'm kind of glad we weren't offered tickets."