When Justin Trudeau first got elected, I wrote to him. I don’t know him but I had connections. He got the letter.
The letter was polite. I did not call him names or criticize him because that would be counter-productive and, anyway, he had just gotten in and I was just ecstatic that Harper had been turfed. I got a response.
I wrote something along the lines of the following only more formal and polite: “Justin, I have no idea what your party platform is (the Liberals always have a spongy platform on a gelatinous base and they are flexible and opportunistic at all times. The official platform means nothing) but I am gonna advise you on one critical issue. Pipelines. Especially Trans Mountain. Parliamentarians think the world revolves around Toronto and Ottawa. Your perspective is wrong. The truth is that the world revolves around the natural environment and, in BC, that environment is extra loved. British Columbians on the coast, in particular, will not accept seven massive oil tankers full of sludge every day plying the Gulf of Georgia.
“I know that you claim to be an environmentalist but you are also a politician with a nasty oil-province bastard in the family. So, it will be hard. But nothing will tax your leadership like pipeline issues. Tread carefully and get creative. Diluted bitumen will not be well received here. Consider building a refinery in Alberta. Consider going east with a different pipeline. Consider going anywhere but do NOT use the Gulf of Georgia. That will be your undoing.”
Of course, we know where that warning went eventually. It went the way of almost all letters to government these days. Round file. But I had to write. I had to do what I can. And that one was so obvious. I have written several letters over the past few years and it has only been lately that I am now convinced they are no longer read. I used to get nice form letters back from some flunky but now I get nothing.
Which is too bad. It seems hearing from the citizenry is not appreciated by government now – if it ever was. But, even if ignored in the minds of the decision makers, the writer usually received some acknowledgement of their efforts. Not anymore, it seems. These guys are more unaccountable and unresponsive than ever.
They seem to think: “To hell with ’em. Let ’em eat cake or watch hockey or something…”
The irony, of course, is that a failing environment sinks all boats. To pollute, poison, savage and ravage and harvest all the trees, to rape the oceans and leave them unproductive, to continue to add carcinogens to our lives is really quite bad for even the oil business. Who they gonna sell to if everyone is on chemo? Why that doesn’t register with them is beyond me.
But that is the way it is in 2020.
For the record, I write to the Provincial Legislature, too. Horgan. Weaver. I even write to Socred/Liberals, as well. But no one writes back. No one acknowledges anything. Occasionally some hack Assistant Deputy Minister will grudgingly cut and paste a few form-letter paragraphs that miss the entire point I was raising. But, generally speaking, they don’t care. I confess that, when faced with a glacier of indifference, I eventually feel like giving up but well, it is not easy to stop writing. So, I keep it up.
Futility, they name is Dave.
I wrote all that above so I could tell you about a recent exception. Provincial Ministry of Transportation wrote back to explain to me what I already knew and had told them in my letter to them. It’s about roads. But this one is a classic in stupid responses: In the letter from Ms Cousens, she states, “If you are faced with downed trees on the old logging road, call the Mainroad Contracting helpline. I know that road and have traveled it. I also know there is no cell service on that road or even half that island. So call them as soon as you get out.”
“Uh, Ms Cousens, if you know there is no cell service and you also know that people can NOT get out on the logging road due to fallen trees, how are they to ‘get out and make a call’? Unless, like me, they actually take a chainsaw with them and take the trees away?
“And then, Ms Cousens, this may be hard to grasp from your office in Victoria, but why would I call Mainroad to remove trees I have already removed?”
I dunno…is it better to get no letters in response? Is that worse than stupid letters in response? Has the world gone entirely mad? In every respect?
And, really, how much do we pay Ms Cousens for sitting in an office and coming up with that crap?
Yes, you are right, convalescing in Campbell River makes for disgruntlement. Disgruntlement, for me, means taking it out on stupid bureaucrats. At least they are not an endangered species. Too bad. They should be.