We all have responsabilities as citizens. Some, those with power and influence, those who are supposed to keep us informed, and those we choose to govern us have more responsibility than most. And every one of them has consistently betrayed us on the question of shale gas. That is the real issue in the whole debate about shale gas..
The exploration for shale gas deposits in New Brunswick has been going on for over ten years.
1. Did the news media tell us what was going on?
2. Did the government inform us, or even discuss retulations? Did it carry out environmental studies? Did it consult the available research?
3. Did business leaders inform us? (It wouldn't be hard. After all, they own a good deal of othe news media, not to mention the political parties.)
4. And where were all the experts in the universities?
For ten years the search went on with seismic testing. Is it possible that for ten years all these "leaders" did not know the search was gong on? That fracking was in use? That they didn't know that it is banned in some areas - including Quebec next door to us?
No. It is not possible they didn't know. Indeed, the conservative opposition raised the issue late in the Shawn Graham government. So why wasn't it an election issue? And if the Conservatives were aware of the problem, whyd didn't they enact regulations immediately on coming to power? Why did they waste time with those farcicial visits of Mr. Alward listening to people. What could they tell him? Most of us had never heard of fracking. Why did Alward wait until the public demonstrations to draw up a very hurried list of regulations?
And why should we believe that the very people who lied to us and kept us in the dark have now come up with regulations that are adequate? And how can we believe they will enforce them?
That is the real issue. The people who have power and influence in this province don't give a damn about our health and safety now, or about the health and safety of our families for generations to come.
The other issues are that New Brunswickers are so accustomed to being lied to, cheated, and generally ignored - and they're so fearful of the power structure in this province - that the big public protest is against bicycle lanes. Of course. That's a safe one to protest. Business leaders don't ride bicycles to work. The only people who use bicycle lanes are cyclists. And they have no power. So all the righteous of Moncton take out their anger on cyclists.
In the same way, it's safer and easier for some Christians to hunt down gays and point righteous fingers at them, than it is to discuss whether endangering, bullying and lying to us are Christian activities.
In practice, New Brunswick has no democracy. To have a democracy, you need the truth; and we have over the years been betrayed and even bullied by those who should be to tell us the truth. To have democracy, you need a population whose thinking does not revolve simply around the price of beer and the horror of bicycle lanes. To have democracy, you need a population that will not allow itself to be bullied and cheated.
Bethany Thorme-Dykstra gets big play in the T&T, which gives the impression that her organization is satisfied our politicians have acted properly. (We will pass lightly over the obvious fact that this must mean they acted impoperly for ten years. So, why, then, should we trust her judgement when she says they can now be trusted.)
And, she says, us cruel citizens are vicitmizing those nice multi-billionaires who want to develop shale gas. Isn't it terrible we won't let them put poison chemicals in our drinking water? Why are people always picking on helpless billionaires? So what is ms. Thorne-Dykstra, and what is she all about?
Have you ever heard the story of the Trojan horse?
The editorial, on the same subject, is the usual preachy and craven kissup for the boss.
Shale gas is an important issue. There is substantial evidence that extracting it is damaging to both health and the environment.
The bigger issue behind it is the collapse of any, real democracy in New Brunswick. It's happening because some people want it to happen. And it's happening because we let it happen.