Thursday, December 27, 2012

Navigable waters nightmare

Robin Rowland, a B.C. based journalist writes about an overlooked aspect of the omnibus Bill C-45, its drastic reduction of rivers, lakes and streams protected by the Navigable Waters Protection Act from 2.5 million to 159. This is one of the driving concerns underlying the Idle No More movement as these changes will affect aboriginal people who depend on water for hunting and fishing rights and basic access to clean water. As Rowland points out, this may also have further political ramifications for the Harper government:
When the Harper government killed the controversial long gun registry, it claimed it was championing rural and wilderness Canadians, supporting hunters and farmers. Then why are so many of the people I know who were either opposed to or wary of the long gun registry now seething with anger against the Harper government?
The main reason is this: the rural and wilderness way of life doesn't just mean taking a rifle and going hunting. It also includes fishing, hiking, camping and sailing. To hunt or fish, you must protect the habitat of those animals and the ecosystem that allows salmon or deer to thrive. Those ecosystems are now in danger from the omnibus bills. So one has to question whether Harper's campaign against the long gun registry was really a support for wilderness and rural Canadians, or nothing more than imported conservative ideology, driven by Canada's NRA branch plants.
Many non-urban, small c conservatives across Canada are beginning to say, at least on the issue of rivers, lakes and streams, forests and mountains, they have more in common with the green and aboriginal activists on the left, than the blind ideologues in the urban right-wing think tanks, eastern editorial boards and the Prime Minister's Office.
Hope to hear much more from those non-urban small c conservatives across Canada in 2013.