This item was first published here July, 2009:
Radio talk shows are often wastelands of puffery, babble and prejudice. Well conducted programs, with knowledgeable listeners, occasionally break through with moments of simple passion.
One of those occurred recently on Bill Good’s CKNW show. A Vancouver Island caller named Mike thought too much had been made of the Burrard Street Bridge bicycle lane changes. He said:
In Vancouver there, you’re are all high and mighty about getting off your cars and getting on bikes and walking around. You live in the biggest clear cut in Canada, in Vancouver. You don’t care about the fish, you don’t care about the damming of the rivers, you don’t care about the heart and the soul of British Columbia. You get what you deserve. So, if you want condos from coast to coast, you’re going to get it. Congratulations.
You should care. You should care about the fact we can’t take our kids fishing and catch salmon the way we used to right off the dock. You can’t get spring salmon 40 or 50 pounds anymore. That people are dragging the bottom and ruining the deep sea coral and sponges. We’ll have nothing to pass on to our children.
You should care. That’s what British Columbia used to be about. It’s what makes it special. It’s what makes it different and unique and vibrant. And you don’t care. All you care about is a fight over a stupid bridge in the middle of downtown Vancouver.
Mike struck a chord. I grew up on the coast near Powell River. At 10, I skippered an almost 8 foot punt with a powerful 2 HP Elgin outboard. We fished almost every day in summer and seldom came back empty, pulling in salmon, cod, dogfish and things with names we could only could guess. We shared the ocean with seals, seabirds and sometimes a pod of orca. We sunned and swam for hours most days from May until October. Every year, we could sit by the clear river that emptied into the ocean by our house and watch spawning salmon so thick they formed a barely moving raft, covering the river from side to side. Today that same river depends on a fish hatchery for its life.