Don’t be in a rush to extract our resources

Jim Ryan takes issue with previous letters to the editor encouraging resource development.

Dear Editor,

Regarding the recent letters from Darrell Rawcliffe and Andrew Cumblidge that cast derisory aspersions on anti-resource-industry protest groups, I simply have to respond.

For as long as I have been around, and long before it, protest groups have shone a light on many of society’s commonly held misbeliefs, and have usually been proven to be correct. I believe that in the case of resource extraction, they will also be proved correct and will guide us, as un-thinking and un-critical consumers of industry and government   propaganda, to a better future.

Anti-slavery, anti-whaling, ozone protection and myriad other protest groups over the centuries have led us to a better world today and, if we listen to them, a continuing civilization tomorrow.

Gentlemen, if you are happy with the current stampede to extract as much as possible of our resources and sell them off to the lowest bidder as quickly as possible, then I suggest that you don’t care tuppence for the welfare of this country or where our taxes come from. Socialist Norwegians, every man, woman and child of them, are millionaires because of sensible resource extraction.

Alberta, on the other hand, which had a premier ousted a few years ago for having the temerity to increase oil royalties (which were already the lowest in the world), hasn’t balanced a budget since Peter Lougheed’s day. Our current federal and provincial governments, champions of giving resource companies everything they ask for and more, have increased federal and provincial debt by tens of billions of dollars; a debt that our children and their children will someday have to pay.

The current rules around resource extraction provide precious little benefit to our society compared to what we could be getting. Our latest infatuation with LNG will not ever lead to a debt-free B.C. and free healthcare for all. We are going to subsidize it so heavily that we’ll still be paying long after the gas is all gone. Read up on it, gentlemen. Uncritical acceptance of campaign promises does not constitute fulfilling your duty as democratic citizens. Add climate change to the equation, and you have to wonder why we in Canada seem so hell-bent on accelerating the process.

“But it provides tax revenues and pays for our health-care” is the common refrain. No it does not. It just leads us further and further down a dead-end road, while other jurisdictions more forward-looking than ours reap the jobs rewards of investment in alternative energies for the future. Investment in alternative energies provides 10 times the jobs that come from resource extraction.

I thank the protest groups, and join them when I can to highlight the fact that we could and should do a much better job of managing the multiple blessings bestowed on this great country.

Jim Ryan

Spences Bridge