A variation on the theme

The Canadaeast papers are running a story on a new book Hot Air: Meeting Canada’s Climate Change Challenge. The story says the message for New Brunswick is that the province must temper its thrust for economic growth – and its drive to become an energy hub – with sound environmental policy (says co-author and Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson).

As a motherhood statement, who can argue with that? It’s just that my crap-o-meter starts going off when guys like Simpson tell us to ‘temper’ our ‘thrust for economic growth’.

Our economic growth has been ‘tempered’ for 140 years. Ontario has outgrown and out-polluted New Brunswick for 140 years and now we get lectures from bowtie wearing rarified air breathing Globe and Mail columnists.

Sure, we need to be environmentally responsible. I have been calling on these pages to embed green energy as part of the Energy Hub concept for Saint John.

But if ‘temper’ is code for do nothing, then I am opposed.

If ‘temper’ is code for allowing Alberta to massively crank up its carbon emissions to develop the oil sands while demanding that poor old New Brunswick reject all development that could possibly puff out a little more carbon, than I am opposed.

Besides, in a macabre way, the closure of all these mills in New Brunswick must be reducing our emissions – and our people. I went by the UPM mill in the Miramichi this weekend and it was seriously creepy not to get a whiff of sulphwe when going by. There wasn’t a blade of grass moving at that site. That sulpher smell was the smell that anchored the economy of that won.

And a little local church my brother used to attend lost 20 attendees – folks who have finally given up and moved away.

So to Simpson, I say this. The next time you are putting on your bowtie, take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you want to be another voice in the chorus bringing New Brunswick down or one of a few small voices trying to bring it up.

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0 Responses to A variation on the theme

  1. mikel says:

    To be fair, you don’t exactly ‘push’ the green agenda. I can probably count the number of times you’ve talked about green initiatives on my right hand.

    And to be fair, that is completely false that growth has been tempered for 140 years. New Brunswick is BY FAR the heaviest polluting province per capita in North America. Yes, you can say thats because there are fewer people, but so what?

    With another refinery that per capita figure will go through the roof. Canadians are already the heaviest polluters in the world on a per capita basis, and NB at the top of that, well, you do the math.

    So they are actually being very kind. They COULD have said “what the f*** are those crazy New Brunswickers doing allowing another refinery in one of the heaviest polluted cities on the coast?”

    But they didn’t. And remember that the wind power announcement is not for ‘the hub’. The ‘hub’ almost specifically means oil and gas. If NB were joining PEI and talking about massive wind and solar power and tidal power initiatives, i doubt they would say ‘temper’, they’d say ‘go full steam ahead’. But when the government of the day advances bonehead heavily polluting economic initiatives, you can’t be surprised when somebody says to ‘temper growth’. You should be happy they are so politically correct. Posters don’t have to be.

  2. David Campbell says:

    Your right hand must have six fingers (I searched for green and energy in my posts).

    And as for your central thesis, as our mills close, the pollution production will decline – so New Brunswick is definitely on the track towards reducing carbon – and the people that are making it.

  3. NB taxpayer says:

    How can you “temper” something that doesn’t exist?

    I guess I should remember that Simpson is the same guy who coined the term “friendly dictatorship”.

    Maybe I can add a term here. How about “environmentally friendly wasteland”. Sounds oxymoronish enough to me.

  4. mikel says:

    Ok, SIX then. Out of how many? I’ll just say that you shouldn’t expect a call from the Green Party.

    However, to assume that one form of pollution can’t take over another is not a certainty. Mills don’t stay closed forever, lumber is always cyclical and I know pretty knowledgable sources saying that pulp is already on an upswing.

    Plus, a refinery pollutes as much as several mills, and from what I’ve heard, by getting the feds out of the environmental process the province is guaranteed that the new refinery will be ‘built to the top environmental standards of the seventies’.

    Plus, take a look at hog factory farms, soil incinerators, increased potash mining, increased peat moss harvesting, zinc and of course it all depends what all the various mine surveys come up with.

    Not to mention potential sources like gas pipelines, oil pipelines, potential spills, nuclear waste- there is certainly no evidence to lead one to suspect that ‘things are on track’. In fact, I’d suggest the opposite.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Its a fact of life in the world o’ punditry that pundits like Simpson can be consistently wrong and, yet, not only keep their jobs, but be regarded as wise men.

  6. Erick L says:

    My girlfriend was in Halifax last weekend at Aquatic Toxicity workshop conference and Saint John was a hot topic. No offense but in overall I could say Sain John was charaterized by some as a horror or by others a dump

    Two refeneries, two pulp mills, Colson Cove, Courtney Bay, pipeline through the city… its really awfull..

    No thanks for me, I don`t want to get cancer before 35 years old….

  7. richard says:

    “My girlfriend was in Halifax last weekend ..”

    Image is everything, I guess.

    Until recently (and perhaps still does) Halifax dumped its untreated sewage into the sea.

    The horror, the horror…

  8. mikel says:

    Saint John also frequently dumps raw sewage into the harbour. It’s true that one doesn’t have much to do with the other, however, as for ‘image’, we can look at the growth of investment banking, financial services, the port, and other things being the focus of Halifax. Not to mention the film tax credits and other intensive tourism and cultural industries.

    In comparison, St. John is now going out of its way to not only be a toxic dump, but to PROUDLY ADVERTISE itself as a toxic dump. St. John is a very beautiful city, and people don’t get that when critics talk about NOT wanting mills and refineries its for GOOD reason