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  • NDP MLAs missing in action

    Anne Hansen

    ON AUGUST 23, there were big province-wide rallies against the RCMP’s brutal and illegal treatment of people sitting in a forest at Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island.

    One of the placards read:  Murray Rankin, BC NDP minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation:  Pepper-spraying his way to “Reconciliation”.

    Fairy Creek has been in the news for over a year.  The whole world now knows that the BC government wants to cut down the trees that Emily Carr made famous in her paintings.

    As far as I can see, no premier, cabinet minister or MLA has risen to the occasion to work for a peaceful resolution to the civil rights emergency at Fairy Creek.

    Instead, handcuffs and 700 arrests (at some $1500 apiece) have become forestry policy to substitute for Premier John Horgan’s broken election promises to protect the old-growth.

    For a political party that was founded on the principles of social justice, the silence and inaction of this government is breathtaking.  So I asked myself, who exactly, are these people who comprise the BC NDP government?

    According to the Legislative Assembly website, they include a former head of the BC Sierra Club, a past executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association, a volunteer at a Romanian orphanage, a two-time marathon swimmer of the entire 1375 kilometre length of the Fraser River, an election observer who had travelled to El Salvador, a fisheries biologist, an activist against lawn pesticides, a leading advocate for solutions to vessel abandonment, a teacher of human rights courses, a certified organic vineyard operator, an anti-violence organizer, and a dedicated advocate for climate action.

    One of them even went into politics to “disrupt the status quo”.

    Wow, that’s quite a pool of public service, talent, and moving and shaking.  Surely somebody could come up with a civilized solution to the Fairy Creek stalemate.

    But no. 

    What we have is a bunch of impotent barbarians, unrecognizable from their parliamentary bio’s, a fence-sitting cabal of neutered, silent invertebrates, gagged and whipped and absent from public view while half the province is on fire and it’s so hot that towns practically spontaneously combust.

    Rumours suggest that there’s internal trouble afoot with the NDP.  No surprise there.  One can only hope that the present caucus will collapse under the weight of its own greed and indifference to voters.

    Anne Hansen, aka Oystercatcher Girl, is a Victoria artist.

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    Thank you Anne for your wonderful art and excellent letter!  So many are rising to the urgency of this trauma, and yet . . . the behaviour of those who should know better is almost more disheartening than just expecting corporate greed and legalized corruption!   Is the system so broken that regardless of intent, seemingly good people can't do the right thing?  Or is this what centralized power does to seemingly good people?  Either way, the entire social contract seems to be hanging on by a thread, regardless of the 'business-as-usual' fairy tails the corporate-captured media keep spinning!

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    Great letter Anne. I sent it to my MLA, an ecologist who became a politician because he believes it is best (and presumably possible) to change the system from within. But it seems the system changes the politicians, or at least shuts them up. I remember being told before the last election that if the NDP won a majority, then the more progressive NDP MLAs would be able to voice their dissent with the leadership, something they felt they couldn't do in the existing minority gov't. And yet, here with are with an environmental and civil rights crisis at Fairy Creek and not one NDP MLA has the courage or integrity to speak out. It is deeply disturbing and disheartening.


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