The activist opposition NDP has long called for B.C. Ferries to be made “part of the highway system” rather than a Crown corporation. That’s been ruled out, and there are more changes coming. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. VIEWS: In 2018, ideology meets reality

Site C only the start of hard choices for Premier John Horgan

In Premier John Horgan’s long series of year-end media interviews, one comment stood out for me. Horgan said his minority NDP government is going to have to “set aside our activism and start being better administrators.”

He got that right. The activist wing of the NDP has already had to absorb the defeat of its all-out effort to stop the Site C dam on the Peace River. In that case, green-left ideology, outside-funded activism and bad science ran head-on into reality, and collapsed.

There are more collisions ahead. In what was widely viewed as a consolation prize for Environment Minister George Heyman and his urban activist base, the province refused a permit for the Ajax mine outside Kamloops. This is a long-time mining town with two working copper mines nearby, and lots of jobs to show for it. But this one was too close to town, or too dusty, so goodbye to a $1 billion investment and 500 permanent jobs.

“The anti-Ajax people, they’re highly organized, with a lot of money,” said Kamloops Coun. Patricia Wallace, who cast the lone vote in favour of the mine, on a motion forced by opponents.

Do city councils have jurisdiction over mines, or dams, or pipelines? Only in NDP-Green fantasy-land, where municipal politicians continuously posture against coal, nuclear power, cell towers, minimum wage rates and many other issues far above their pay grade.

Heyman and Energy and Mines Minister Michelle Mungall have now put the weight of the provincial Crown behind Kamloops city council, and taxpayer-funded lawyers are standing by to defend this and other potentially indefensible decisions.

Speaking of lawyers, the City of Burnaby and its activist network have been harassing Kinder Morgan Canada for its federally-approved Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. NDP activists, including at least one Victoria city councillor, have trained in Greenpeace boats for direct-action protest against this project to upgrade a line that has delivered Canadian oil to the B.C. coast since the 1950s.

Among those lining up to sue B.C. over this is the Province of Alberta, where NDP Premier Rachel Notley made it clear in her year-end interviews that she is prepared to go to court if necessary. The horrifying prospect of two western NDP governments suing each other over killing yet another job-creating project cannot be lost on Horgan, or his former chief of staff John Heaney, who worked for Notley until last fall.

And then there’s Agriculture Minister Lana Popham, who is promising to impose a 100-mile diet on the province’s hospitals, with local produce being peeled and prepared to deliver to the bedsides of long-suffering patients. The gears are grinding at the Ministry of Health to cost out that exercise, and the results will not be appetizing.

Speaking of farming, 2017 ended with a crushing court judgment ordering protesters to stop harassing and squatting on salmon farms off the north end of Vancouver Island or face arrest. The judgment exposed in detail the threats, intimidation and belligerent “eviction orders” issued by people with no standing to do so.

Horgan now faces a decision to step up that fight, with 18 provincial tenures coming up for renewal to sustain an industry that has provided hundreds of jobs in remote coastal villages for decades. He has to decide what to do with an agriculture minister who has been a cheerleader for these protests for years, and has lost credibility with the industry and Ottawa, which actually regulates offshore aquaculture.

Whether it’s ICBC, B.C. Ferries or other activist targets, the NDP government is now forced to look reality straight in the eye.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Telephone poles placed in centre of sidewalk angers West Kelowna watchdog

Audience Group calls placement of poles in new Boucherie Road upgrade project ‘idiocy’

Kelowna asking public to help update its Cultural Plan

Second survey this year to posted to gather public input about cultural programs and services

Three candidates drop out of Central Okanagan municipal election

Two running for Peachland/OK West trustee and OK East rural director candidate step aside

West Kelowna water warning downgraded

City lowers boil water notice for Lakeview water system to a water quality advisory

Ancestral remains uncovered at Fintry to be reburied

Remains found along Shorts Creek in Fintry Provincial Park during flood remediation measures

Your weekend weather update

Rain continues to move right across the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

Low risk associated with case of pneumococcal disease in the South Okanagan

No identified risk to the public from recent case of pneumococcal disease with associated meningitis

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Most Read