A variation on the theme

The Canadaeast papers are running a story on a new book Hot Air: Meeting Canada’s Climate Change Challenge. The story says the message for New Brunswick is that the province must temper its thrust for economic growth – and its drive to become an energy hub – with sound environmental policy (says co-author and Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson).

As a motherhood statement, who can argue with that? It’s just that my crap-o-meter starts going off when guys like Simpson tell us to ‘temper’ our ‘thrust for economic growth’.

Our economic growth has been ‘tempered’ for 140 years. Ontario has outgrown and out-polluted New Brunswick for 140 years and now we get lectures from bowtie wearing rarified air breathing Globe and Mail columnists.

Sure, we need to be environmentally responsible. I have been calling on these pages to embed green energy as part of the Energy Hub concept for Saint John.

But if ‘temper’ is code for do nothing, then I am opposed.

If ‘temper’ is code for allowing Alberta to massively crank up its carbon emissions to develop the oil sands while demanding that poor old New Brunswick reject all development that could possibly puff out a little more carbon, than I am opposed.

Besides, in a macabre way, the closure of all these mills in New Brunswick must be reducing our emissions – and our people. I went by the UPM mill in the Miramichi this weekend and it was seriously creepy not to get a whiff of sulphwe when going by. There wasn’t a blade of grass moving at that site. That sulpher smell was the smell that anchored the economy of that won.

And a little local church my brother used to attend lost 20 attendees – folks who have finally given up and moved away.

So to Simpson, I say this. The next time you are putting on your bowtie, take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you want to be another voice in the chorus bringing New Brunswick down or one of a few small voices trying to bring it up.