Column: Chief awarded

Congratulations to Xeni Gwet’in Councillor and former Chief Marilyn Baptiste.

Congratulations to Xeni Gwet’in Councillor and former Chief Marilyn Baptiste on receiving the prestigious Goldman Environmental Foundation award.

It is given annually to grassroots environmental activists from six continents and it’s a “Wow” in terms of prestigious awards. The Foundation says Baptiste is one of the world’s outstanding “environmental heroes.”

She was chosen for her work in leading her community in the defeat of the Prosperity Mine. The six prize recipients are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide group of environmental organizations and individuals.

The winners are announced in April to coincide with Earth Day, April 22. Along with receiving a $175,000 award, prize recipients participate in a 10-day tour of San Francisco and Washington, D.C., with award ceremonies in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

***

Foreign ownership of Canadian resources is nothing new, but it seems odd that while our senior governments seem determined to privatize everything they/we own, they don’t mind giving control of our land and resources to foreign state-owned companies.

By July the majority owners of our Canadian Wheat Board will be the G3 Global Grain Group. The Group is owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bunge Canada, the latter a subsidiary of a global agri-business. The province seems determined to get rid of farmland for the development or whatever, but what did the feds have against the Canadian controlled wheat board?

***

B.C. Supreme Court Judge Elliott Myers recently dismissed a bid to have Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and councillor Geoff Meggs removed from office for conflict of interest because they accepted campaign funds from a union. The judge found nothing wrong with a politician stating policy in hopes of getting campaign funds, or with contributions being made by supporters of that position. Question: If the Judge had found otherwise, would that have set a precedent for applying the rule to corporations who donate money to politicians and political parties in return for expected favours?

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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