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COMMENTARY · 13th August 2010
Walter McFarlane
Dark Clouds on a Bright Summer’s Day: Part 10

It was almost with great irony that the Beer Gardens at this years 5th Annual Dragonboat Regatta were located in the log sorting yard next to where the logs are gathered in the water to be shipped elsewhere… Almost as if to remind the drinkers of our jobs being shipped elsewhere encouraging them to drink more.

Taking trips to Terrace, counting the number of logging trucks on the road is almost as much fun as the old car games: Eye Spy, I Packed My Trunk for New York and Bingo. However, recently, the number of trucks seems to be escalating.

And why should we not be starting to get annoyed. After all, this is the future industry of Kitimat: Shipping our resources to “God knows where” so the people there can process it for us and maybe even sell it back to us while we wonder where all of our jobs are going. Maybe they are putting something in the beer to make us more docile…

So when Councillor Randy Halyk decided to send a message back and put pressure on the Provincial Government, of course, it would be accepted, right? Wrong. Sure people have a problem with the shipping of high grade raw resources to other countries. We lack jobs and processing of these materials would create jobs. Halyk raised a good point, why are we shipping our jobs out of BC?

So in the long run, the rich get richer because the high paying industrial jobs which keep our economy in order are being shipped overseas where the work is cheaper. Meanwhile over here, our society slowly devolves. Eventually, all that lobbying industrial interest groups are doing to reduce industrial taxation will take hold in Victoria and Ottawa and the taxes will be forced upon people who can ill afford to pay them.

Why do we let this happen? We as a society no longer care. After all, we argue in favour of the rich being able to retain their wealth. Look at the Power Sales Issue. Alcan was granted a publicly owned resource, the ability to flood Sacred First Nations Territory and what was asked in return was to create jobs for British Columbia.

When the dust settles, how many jobs will remain?

Of course the counter argument for this is: ‘Alcan’s not there to create jobs, they are there to create money.’ There are many people who have their doubts in this modernization project as: ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ It would seem our Council has been beaten or coerced into believing power sales are no longer a concern.

And the answer to all of this: ‘That’s life.’ My response: ‘That’s what all the people say.’ When we are overtaxed and underemployed, we will question the logic of today. If we think this is acceptable, we have generations ahead of us which look back at us with shame.