Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you.
What about facial expressions? Kinder Morgan, the giant U.S.-based energy corporation is in court seeking an injunction against protesters who have been blockading KM’s pipeline work in Burnaby. Along with other complaints the company says the activists’ “malicious” facial expressions could constitute assault. That’s a new slant on freedom of expression.
The economy has been an issue in the current city elections. Our local economy is based on natural resources, no argument there. Forestry, mining and tourism lead the parade, although the first two don’t necessarily enhance the latter, as recent events have shown. But what about agriculture? The cattle industry has been sustaining the Cariboo for more than a century but it was barely mentioned during the campaigning. Do we take it for granted? Or is it that no one realizes just how big the industry is? Not to mention the spinoffs, like rodeo.
Something else that has kept the city on an even keel over the years is the large number of agencies and services funded directly or indirectly by the different levels of government. They include decent education and health facilities. Some worry that our youth are leaving but seniors are staying. Of course we need industries and businesses to create jobs, but let’s count our blessings along with the whines, and be careful what we wish for.
Speaking of the local economy, one question that flummoxed all four mayoralty candidates last week was about the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA.) Among other things, CETA would limit the ability of local governments to “shop locally.” Both the Union of BC Municipalities and the Federation on Canadian Municipalities, along with numerous individual municipalities, have asked for an exemption from this clause. I hope our new council will see the implications of this and join the protest.
Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.