Liberal scorn for sustainability

Before joining the Vancouver Sun, Fazil Mihlar was Senior Policy Analyst at The Fraser Institute. In his years with the newspaper’s editorial board, Mihlar has continued to serve goals of the reactionary foundations that finance his former employer. Additionally, he ensures uncritical echoes are published in the Vancouver Sun whenever the Fraser Institute or similar think tanks promote unfettered corporate power or champion friendly politicians as they did with “Campbell judged best premier for financial management.”

After examining Mihlar’s collection of writings, one may conclude that he holds a senior newspaper position, not for cogent analysis or deft word construction, but for reliable parroting of talking points from obscurantist ‘research’ facilities. Mihlar is not one to provide graceful penetration of complicated economic questions. Instead, we get repetition of chatter from the right-wing information machine.

One of Mihlar’s roles at the Fraser Institute was to promote industrial and commercial deregulation so his response to the roll out of Christy Clark’s Jobs Plan was predictable. Mihlar applauds BC Liberals’ willingness to get out of the way  so the private sector can produce jobs, after having taxpayers finance needed infrastructure. He is very happy with Clark for being:

re-focused on what is called the dirty industries because that’s where our bread and butter lies.

His message reminded me of statements by June Kunka, a booster of Taseko Mine’s ‘New Prosperity Project.’ Her central argument was:

Without growth, there is nothing.

The principle is one that most would dispute. For the high profile Prosperity mine proposal, a more sophisticated view was expressed by Tsilhqot’in tribal chair Joe Alphonse and Xeni Gwet’in chief Marilyn Baptiste. They argue that:

…proceeding further with this [New Prosperity] rebid will detract from efforts to pursue more sustainable developments in the region, the sustainable developments that B.C. Mines Minister Rich Coleman earlier this year said was his new priority.

Fazil Mihlar would classify Alphonse and Baptiste as part of the “banana crowd”:

The naysayers who want to say no to anything which creates jobs and income.

Mihlar adds,

This is not an issue of saying you are going to relax environmental standards and so on. No, British Columbians care about the environment; we all do…. Its a question of proportion and balance. You have to look at the risks. Life is not risk free, ok? …We have to take calculated risks in order to build the Enbridge pipeline, build the Kitimat LNG, build the Prosperity Mine. You need to take certain risks.

He makes a perfunctory wave to ecological standards but dismisses the need for them because we need “to take certain risks.” Risk taking is exactly what Christy Clark’s government proposes as part of the promise to wipe away delays in granting water permits and approvals for whatever the province’s extractive industries aim to do.

I recommend reading the presentation of Communications professor Donald Gutstein and The Tyee, in which Fazil Milhlar’s sources and inspirations are examined. Fazil Mihlar’s Monday Morning Sermons.

By the way, Elections BC records show that Prosperity promoter Taseko Mines Ltd. donated $33,650 to BC Liberals. Taseko CEO Russell Hallbauer contributed $50,000 to the BC Liberals In November 2010, mere weeks before Christy Clark took office as party leader. In the same month, RCMP began an investigation into allegations of illegal insider trading involving a sudden drop in Taseko Mines shares about 2½ weeks before the federal government delayed construction of its main mining project.

RCMP to probe complaint of insider trading of Taseko Mines, LUANN LASALLE, Canadian Press, November 26, 2010.

6 replies »

  1. The calculated risk of, the Enbridge pipeline and the dirty oil tankers from China, falls on our province and the people. And, that's all BC people gain, is the risk. In the Port of Kitimat's channel, are our beautiful Orca and Humpback Whales. Thousand of marine creatures live in that channel.

    Our BC assets Campbell thieved and sold, did absolutely nothing for the people. Remember, Campbell's election lie, the BCR wasn't for sale? Where did the money go from, the very valuable real estate that went with the BCR?

    Campbell's theft and sale of our rivers, benefited who?

    Who benefits by the LNG plant in the Port of Kitimat?

    Who will benefit by, logging our Rain Forests? The home of the Spirit Bears and the unique small wolves, as well as salmon runs.

    What about the filthy diseased fish farms? Must be worth a lot of money to someone, to kill off our wild salmon.

    Who benefits by dumping toxic mine waste, into Fish Lake? That mine is to be expanded as well.

    Who will benefit from the site C dam? This destroys very valuable farmland. Fracking for gas, pollutes the clean underground water for miles. Who gains by that?

    On top of all our losses of, our natural resources and assets thieved from us, we get the HST forced on us too. Remember, the HST wasn't on Campbell and Hansen's radar, election lie?

    The HST was a foul scam by, Campbell, Hansen and Harper, to thieve from the people to give to big business.

    The BC citizens do not benefit, from our vast natural resources, what-so-ever. The people and our province, have been sold out.


  2. From the District of North Vancouver Library (or any library using your “My Account”), Digital section, Canadian Newspapers….. and

    keeping in mind that premier Christy lark's challenge of cutting red tape to promote 30 mines opening by 2015, it turns out, according to Fazil Mihlar that even if the Province were to cut the red tape, the Federal government would still be the ones stopping the whole process from happening. Here's why:

    Abstract (Summary)

    In a report aptly titled “regulatory overkill,'' the Fraser Institute estimates the cost to business of complying with federal, provincial and municipal regulations at an astonishing $86 billion for fiscal 1993-94. About $50 billion of this is related to federal regulations.

    Authored by Fazil Mihlar, senior policy analyst at the Vancouver-based think tank, the study underlines a growing concern among the business community about the escalating burden of regulatory costs. Over the past two decades, the federal government has, on average, been passing about 1,100 regulations a year, the provinces another 3,500 (excluding Quebec, for which data was not available). This means around 100,000 government regulations imposed between 1975 and 1994, dealing with everything from environmental protection, building codes, the workplace, packaging, labelling, energy efficiency, land use, and even how to hold a ladder.

    Didn't Falcon cut enough of the red tape when he had the opportunity to in 2003, or has the BC Liberals been re-writing and implementing their own red tape?


  3. Hi Norm.

    I'm now hearing everyone say “growth is the only way – we've gotta have growth.”
    I disagree – we can't keep growing, we have to fit our pants!

    Isn't unlimited growth the modus operandi of the “cancer” virus?
    If so, I think it's an apt analogy – unlimited economic growth leads to cells destroying each other.


  4. Yes, you offer a very apt analogy. Consider it together with the Wendell Berry statement repeated in Mirth, Merriment & Meditations section on the left of the page. Berry also said,
    “Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”


  5. Thanks for pointing out and highlighting Berry's quotes.
    I agree with that thinking – we don't seem to value what we have and learn to take care of it – we have to always be looking at making more, or sucking it dry to get something else. Stupid if you ask me:)
    I imagine our lovely earth eventually retracting physically upon itself because we've sucked out it's innards – water, coal, oil, fracking – it's like a crack addict can't stop themselves from attacking their own skin!


  6. What with the definition of success in our society, there will be nothing else but destruction in our future. When have we reached success? When you have a million dollars? That used to be enough, but now it must be multi-millions to be successful. One house is not enough. We must have two or three, along with all the latest toys of course. Let us not forget the investment portfolio. Everyone needs one of them to retire with. Without that you will have a miserable painful old age.

    Until this mainstream attitude changes, nothing else will.


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