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BC Ferries Cuts Protest (video)

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BC Ferries Cuts Protest (video)

The impending BC Ferries cuts issue is huge to me.

I live on an island, and yes, it costs $$ to travel to and from my family on the mainland. But I expected that when I moved here.

What I didn't expect is how this entire community would be rocked when their access to educational and recreational activities, culture, jobs, homes and futures were drastically impacted. 

So I made a video documenting our coast-wide Day of Action, Jan 18, that expresses the pain, anguish and determination of a people who won't let their community be decimated, and their determination to fight with everything they've got! This is why I love Gabriolans... 

Prepare for battle, Gabriolans. 

April 1 is coming sooner than you think. 

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Environment should be top priority no matter who wins BC Elections Tuesday

An excellent article by Globe and Mail's Mark Hume lists 10 things he believes need to be addressed by whichever party takes the helm of BC's government on Tuesday.

I particularly like No. 1 (rein back the nearly unlimited powers of the NEB) and No. 5 (modernizing the Mineral Tenure Act). I know I would sleep better at night if I had confidence the provincial government took it's job of stewarding public resources much more seriously, which is essentially what we elect them to do.  

I've pasted Hume's list below. What do you think? Write your comments below, I'm interested to see what's on your list.

- Tobi

Here are 10 things the premier has to act on if he, or she, wants credibility on the green file.

No. 1: Withdraw from the Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement that the province signed with the federal government. There is an exit clause in the deal, which essentially gives the National Energy Board the power to do environmental assessments for B.C. By opting out, the province will have a lot more say over pipeline proposals, natural gas processing plants and off-shore oil or gas facilities. The NDP has said it will get out within 30 days. A Liberal government should do the same.

No. 2: Scrap Site C. The province shouldn’t drown valuable farm land that can produce food for thousands of years to provide power to LNG plants that will be relatively short-lived.

No. 3: Bring the rapidly expanding number of independent power projects under tighter environmental scrutiny. Under the Liberals, 55 private hydro projects have been built and another 35 are proposed. But the government has done a poor job of monitoring them, allowing fish kills and other damaging impacts.

No. 4: Bring in legislation to make it illegal to cut any more giant, old-growth trees. The Ancient Forest Alliance alerted the public to plans to log the Avatar Grove, near Port Renfrew, saving it just in time. But the group is now warning the last of B.C.’s ancient trees will soon be lost unless something is done.

Vicky Husband, one of B.C.’s leading conservationists, says the group’s new maps “clearly show the ecological crisis in B.C.’s forests due to a century of overcutting.”

No. 5: Modernize the 150-year-old Mineral Tenure Act, which was drafted during the gold-rush and has given mining companies “free entry” for far too long. The law allows miners to stake claims virtually anywhere they want to in B.C., without consulting the government or First Nations. Should mining companies really be allowed to stake claims over places such as the Gulf Islands? They are now, under an antiquated law that should have been revised when miners stopped using mules.

No. 6: Don’t allow coal mining to expand in the Elk Valley until the companies working there have demonstrated they can stop polluting streams with selenium. The water in some areas is already so toxic it can deform fish eggs and kill aquatic insects. Do we really need to see a two-headed trout before bringing this issue under control?

No. 7: Strike an all-party committee to come up with a plan to take over the duties of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. DFO has been so badly managed that our salmon stocks are in peril. It’s time to stop managing B.C.’s fish from Ottawa.

No. 8: Take meaningful steps to protect endangered species. B.C.’s spotted owl population has fallen from 1,000 breeding pairs to less than a dozen birds. Marbled murrelets are in decline and so are mountain caribou. Extinction should not be acceptable to any government, anywhere.

No. 9: Form an elders council to provide the government with advice on how to best manage the environment. This approach has worked for First Nations for about 10,000 years.

N0. 10:

 Listen to the Greens. Whether or not the party gets any seats, it has a lot of smart things to say about the environment.

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BCWF Convention snippets

I'm back on the ferry headed to Richmond for the last day of the BC Wildlife Federation convention. Ferry travel is what you do when living on a small island. I was able to be there for the opening on Weds night and Thursday but had to leave return to work (my favourite pub in the world, Surf Lodge Pub on Gabriola island!!) Even filmmakers - or especially filmmakers - have to pull in the cash for their daily living...

So, playing catchup with emails, one photo I didn't get to post Thursday was of Keith Beasley, keynote speaker who opened the convention. He's one of three hosts of Canada's most-watched hunting show Canada in the Rough.

Keith Beasley addresses the BCWF members at the opening of 2013 Convention. 

Keith Beasley addresses the BCWF members at the opening of 2013 Convention. 

Keith is a super nice, approachable guy. Father of 4 trying to make a living from his passion, which I completely respect. We had a great conversation about the state of television and funding and how difficult it is to get good shows on the air. He shared openly about how hard it was for them when Global pulled their show from their network last year, leaving them with a massive problem of having inventory with nowhere to air it. I think I can relate. Having spent $1,000s in production for my film Trapper of Peace River (and two other features) with no broadcaster attached because of the miserable state of documentary funding, it's a very tough position to be in. You either plow ahead and hope for a break, or throw in the towel at some point. At least I don't have 4 children to support. 

The Beasley Brothers pulled out of it though, and this year managed to expand their show to Quebec's RDI network and abroad to Russia and Finland. Sometimes a roadblock provides opportunity, if you don't let it stop you. Keith encouraged all at the convention to keep following their passions and to be proud of their traditions, to refuse to hide the fact that they are hunters, conservationists, anglers and outdoor lovers, and that their voices are needed in promoting and practicing what makes Canada great: our wild spaces and beautiful, rugged landscapes. Many of those present seem perfectly adept at making their voices heard, since at least 5 people I talked to after his speech told me they cancelled their subscription to Global after Canada in the Rough was pulled, out of total disgust!

I have no fears that the future of wildlife, conservation, the habitat and the species who depend on our participation for survival, are in good hands with a determined group of advocates such as the BC Wildlife Federation. 

Keep up the good work people, Canada is depending on you to be a voice for the voiceless. 

- Tobi

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