Green Greetings !
The Green Economy on Canada’s West Coast
“Canada’s green energy sector has grown so quickly and has become such an important part of the economy that it now employs more people than the oil sands.” says Richard Blackwell in a report in the Globe and Mail, Dec 02, 2014. “That means the 23,700 people who work in green energy organizations (in Canada) outnumber the 22,340 whose work relates to the oil sands.” the report says…. “Worldwide, 6.5 million people are employed in the clean-energy sector.” he continues on. “About $25-billion has been invested in Canada’s clean-energy sector in the past five years, and employment is up 37 per cent…”
So why are we still having to do battle with Big Oil? What is it about the promise of a growing green energy industry that promises long-term benefits that the Conservatives and their supporters (and to a degree the NDP and the Liberals) are not getting? The fossil fuel industry is on its last hiccup with Saudi Arabia emptying its in-ground reserves and selling them off cheap to capture that last bit of the oil market before it all goes bust. Ergo the recent low gas prices at the pump. It won’t last. It can’t.
Ironically, the Arabian emirates, with their vast desert spaces close to the equator, are poised to take full advantage of solar, wind, and wave technology with a substantial local Middle East market. Most countries in Europe are already using wind & wave technology to supply local energy needs. Even China is now starting to take a hard look at green energy production because of serious air pollution problems in their larger cities.
And Calgary, ironically, runs its light rail transit system on wind energy. Wind turbines are everywhere around the outskirts of the city. On North Vancouver Island, Sea Breeze Power Corp. continues to develop wind generated power on wind farms in the Port Hardy area. So the process has begun but we need more federal research & development financial support to move this new energy era along in our local economies. With the new eco-friendly technology comes new technology jobs.
There is little risk in developing this next generation technology, and much potential gain. In a small way the financial and ecological returns on green investments are already being realized.
So why is the Harper government trying desperately to ride the dregs of the dirty energy race to the bitter end for every scrap of coin possible, and in the process endangering the West Coast waters where the risks are very present and very real? This dinosaur industry could have a potentially disastrous impact that could cause serious damage to our vital shell and fin-fisheries as well as our tourism industry with a potential loss of billions of dollars annually to the economy of Vancouver Island and the whole West Coast.
And that is not even considering the impact of lost federal, provincial, and municipal revenues gained from income, business, and land taxes, and permits, used to build our schools and hospitals, help take care of our seniors, maintain our social safety net, and maintain our community physical infrastructures (community centres, etc.). All these things we have come to rely on to support a good life style in our communities. There are not enough local BC jobs and businesses in the gas and oil energy industry to make up that difference.
We are already reaping the direct negative results of the use of fossil fuels in our Coastal waters. The Vancouver Sun reported on February 2014 that “Ten million scallops that have died in the waters near Qualicum Beach due to rising ocean acidity are the latest victims in a series of marine die-offs that have plagued the West Coast for a decade… Human-caused carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere are being absorbed by the ocean and may have pushed local waters through a ‘tipping point’ of acidity beyond which shellfish cannot survive, according to Chris Harley, a marine ecologist at the University of B.C.” in an article called Acidic water blamed for West Coast scallop die-off. The shell fish industry on our Coast is an international industry that brings our Coast millions of dollars annually and its all but shut down because of fossil fuel acid in the water.
It’s all connected. You may have noticed recently the excitement on the news about the new births in our local Orca populations. Orca births have been a rarity in the last decade or so in our waters, possibly because of water quality. How about the otters that rely on shellfish for a large part of their diet? Our whole West Coast ecosystem is so intricately designed, and under this level of pressure it’s starting to unravel.
These are just a few examples of the impact of Harper’s refusal to face the ecologically obvious that we have already experienced in our Coastal economy. Pretty soon those breath-taking ‘Beautiful BC’ pictures we use to entice tourists to come and spend their money will be devoid of the real life and energy we have come to love on our precious West Coast. And the tourists will stop coming.
It’s time to turn the page and start a new chapter in the development of our Country. The Green Party is ready to tackle this critical issue locally and federally. Unfortunately, the NDP and the Liberals are showing very little real interest in the economics of a healthy ecology. In those parties, the political and financial decisions are made in Ottawa and local issues don’t, in the end, really matter. And of course, the Conservatives are not even reading the same book. But that is a story for another day.
Sue Moen and Linda Swanton would like to thank all those who showed up for our Information Gathering in February. It was a pleasure to meet you all, and your feedback and input is invaluable. We look forward to meeting with you again soon.
We have plans for similar trips to other communities in our riding soon. We look forward to meeting you.
Don’t forget our up-coming event in Campbell River:
“Rock the Boat” with Elizabeth May
28th March 2015 from 4:30 to 6:30.
Tickets are $30 ($20 for seniors and students) and the price includes a cocktail, appetizers, and an opportunity to talk to Elizabeth May.
Tickets can be purchased from Eventbrite. GET TICKETS HERE
North Island – Powell River Greens
3401 Lodge Drive, Black Creek, BC V9J 1E3
Mailing address: PO Box 997, STN B, Ottawa ON, K1P 5R1. Call us toll-free: 1-866-868-3447
Authorized by the Green Party of Canada Fund, Chief Agent for the Green Party of Canada.