Evolution of a B.C. trilogy

“Brett Grubisic’s (left) River Bend Trilogy novels are set in a fictional town on the Fraser River, based on Mission, B.C. where he grew up. Here, we learn other ways the titles are linked.” FULL STORY

#9 Child welfare versus salmon welfare

May 12th, 2014

Anne Cameron

anne Cameron

Anyone who doesn’t dwell under a rock has heard, by now, that it has been established that the human brain develops most in the first three years and by age five you’ve learned three-quarters of everything you’ll ever know.

Of course, this rapid development can only happen if the developing brain is properly nourished.

So while reassuring us all that LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) is going to lead us all to financial security and surplus budgets and rah rah rah, our provincial government has been clawing back the welfare money given to single moms if the dad sends child support.

If dad acts like a decent person and sends three hundred dollars, the welfare cheque is cut by three hundred dollars. With welfare rates disgustingly low, and with this province having had the worst child poverty rate in the entire nation for the past number of years, this clawback seems particularly chintzy. Especially with the recent revelations about MLAs, and even the speaker of the house, having a good time on their expense accounts and taking spouses to Yurrup on the taxpayer’s dime.

Cheap or what? This chintzy clawback is as good as forcing the vulnerable to bend the rules, to slither between the regulations, and even to tell porkies. If caught, of course, there will be one helluva noise in what passes for media in this province, and the rightwing asshats will bloviate at great rate about welfare fraud.

We have no money for children but we found countless millions—possibly as much as ninety-four million—to give to the Norwegian companies who are fouling our ocean. Lord knows how many zeros you’d need if you tried to figure out how much has gone to the oil companies, the major banks, or that company which makes ski-doos, train engines, and probably airplanes.

Times like this I’m almost glad I have dyscalculia.

If I understood the numbers I might wind up more than a bit fraught.

Meanwhile, I just went to the Public Meeting… The IPP (Independent Power Producer) company wanted the Village Council to change two by-laws and reclassify two pieces of property to “Industrial” zoning. We were shown a power point presentation lauding the glories and wonders of “run of river” electricity, we were promised substantial tax income, “and three bags full”. And all we have to do is think of our little village as a hooker and us pimping her out so we can live off the avails…

The company has no agreement with the province, no contract with BC Hydro and the state of California will not buy IPP generated electricity…so why does the company want to proceed? What’s in it for them? Well, there is the water, after all, and water is going to be the new gold. Maybe they intend to sell pretty little plastic bottles of our water in the supermarkets in Seattle and Portland…but maybe not. What would I know, I’m no entrepreneur. Not even sure I know how to spell it!

Our noble leader, Harpy, wants to lift the moratorium on salmon feedlots off our coast.  That would probably mean more open net pens in the ocean…smack dab, in most cases, on the migratory routes the young salmon take on their way to the open sea…

Most of those feedlots are owned by Norwegian companies. Thanks to those feedlots we have two new viruses in our waters. So far, it would appear the wild Pacific salmon have a strong natural resistance to these viruses but the penned Atlantic salmon are vulnerable.

At a time when the federal government is telling us we don’t have the money for a national daycare programme, or for dental and eye care for all children, or for…much of anything at all that resembles a social programme, they have still found millions and millions of dollars to reimburse the Norwegian-owned companies for the fish in the pens which died because of viruses brought here by themselves.

To my mind that means if they lift the moratorium and we wind up with more of these septic feedlots, we’ll get the chance to give the Norwegian companies even more money because more of their fish will die or have to be destroyed because of the viruses they brought here.

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Anne Cameron received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. A true Vancouver Islander, born in Nanaimo in 1938, she has banished herself to a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans now called British Columbia all got started.

One Response to “#9 Child welfare versus salmon welfare”

  1. sharonjackson says:

    Anne, you totally rock.

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