Thursday, February 02, 2006

Who can we trust now?

Ourselves. Our new Conservative government is trying to internally combust the very first week in office with problematic cabinet appointments. As we all know, David Emerson is a major player in this mess of confusing and double dealing but I don't think we should be too hard on the fella. After all, he is just being the CEO corporate animal that he is. And beside, Stephen Harper and our premier, Gordon Campbell say this country really needs Mr. Emerson. Why? They insist it's because only David Emerson can run the Olympic Games and take care of our international trade. Well, now. Why wasn't any of this known before that David Emerson was such a talented fella, in fact the only one in Canada who can serve Canada in these capacities? Has he evidenced such remarkable talents while he served in office as a Liberal?

Some say that paranoia is a simply a heightened sense of awareness and I'll go with that definition and suggest another reason Harper and Campbell need Emerson, in fact probably the only real one. It's because of Emerson's talent in playing both sides of the fence in the softwood lumber dispute. In my opinion there really is no softwood lumber war. How could there be when companies like Weyerhaeuser and Breascan are wholly American owned with other giant corporations who operate in our woods heavily American invested? These guys collect on both sides of the border. They clear cut our public forests paying little or nothing and will eventually collect additional taxes on the US side. What a sweet deal!

The only softwood lumber war actually happening is the one international logging companies have been waging against Canadians for years; by stealing away our public forests almost for free. With the blessings of all provincial governments and BC courts, I might add, begining backin the 1950's with WC Bennett and the first provincial forest minister, Robert Sommers. In 1953-54 Robert Sommers was sentenced to five years in prison for accepting money and bribes from BC Forest Products in exchange for a huge tree farm license. And while poor Robert Sommers did two years in prison, guess what happened to the tree farm license? Right. The judge declared that BC Forests Products who had given the gifts and money judged as criminal acts, could keep the Tree Farm license. A court ordered blessing on BC Forest Products keeping stolen property.

And to this day citizens and future citizens of BC and Canada are being robbed of our national heritage...our public forests. Was it any coincidence that just recently the Americans were up here with a settlement proposal that seemed to be a go until Gordon Campbell brought Emerson on board for his input? And the proposed agreement was scuttled? There is a very simple way to settle the so called softwood lumber war. Stumpage rates are the key. Double or triple them. Or made the corporations who operate in Canadian forests bid on public forests. As long as logging companies who operate in public forests pay little or nothing for our huge, valuable trees their only interest will be in prolonging a phony softwood lumber war. Which is why Emerson is so valuable to the logging and lumber corporations and to Gordon Campbell and to Stephen Harper. They think Emerson, with his background in the forest industry, can keep the softwood lumber war going. When you have a business deal that pays coming and going you don't just ditch it. You protect it by whatever means possible and the citizens of this country be dammed.

So who can we trust? Ourselves. By being just as outraged at the loss of our public forests as we have been by Emerson crossing the floor.

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