Column: Is the honeymoon period over?

Whatever the outcome of the burning rail ties issue, I hope those of us who are concerned can persuade the powers-that-be.

Whatever the outcome of the burning rail ties issue, I hope those of us who are concerned about our respiratory health can persuade the powers-that-be (local and otherwise) to do an in-depth study of the air quality in the Williams Lake valley, ASAP, to determine how much existing contaminators (including vehicles) contribute to our air quality.

It might be difficult because some possible culprits aren’t monitored, but I’m betting our air is pretty bad regardless of whatever Atlantic Power might add to it.

Last week, I said we probably have to trust the system to get things right. Obviously, not everyone believes it can.

If it could, the Mount Polley tailings pond wouldn’t have breached; oil pipelines wouldn’t break or leak; the Tulsequah Mine wouldn’t have been leaking toxins into Northern B.C. waterways for years, the current owners wouldn’t have declared bankruptcy leaving taxpayers stuck with the consequences.

Natural disasters are one thing, but there is no excuse for those that happen because there are no regulations, existing regulations are ignored, or oversight is faulty.

***

It really bugs me when governments (federal, provincial, municipal or non-profit) claim they don’t have enough money to do something that’s needed. It isn’t lack of money, it’s because they can, and do, spend the money on their own priorities if they want to. I have no problem with that, but be honest. Don’t claim to be broke when it’s a matter of choice.

***

Is the honeymoon over for Prime Minister Trudeau? Mind you, he couldn’t do everything his supporters want him to do in even if he has a dozen years in office, but there are rumblings that he’s so busy gadding about he hasn’t time for issues like energy and climate change.

Or Stats Canada. Not a hot issue maybe but Trudeau’s 2015 election platform promised to make the agency fully independent again. However, Wayne Smith, the Chief Statistician, who has been with Stats Can since 1981, has resigned, claiming the Liberals are compromising the agency’s independence. He is quoted as saying while the Harper government “significantly compromised” the agency’s independence, he can’t support Liberal initiatives which compromise the independence even more.

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

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