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Anne Hansen

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  1. 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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