Appeared in North Shore News – March 4, 2011
Let us get our priorities right. The biggest story since we last met in this space is, by far, eagles.
What were you expecting?
Surely not B.C. politics. Bald eagles have inhabited this coast for countless centuries. No current political leader will be around in 20 years.
We will have had two premiers named Clark, two named Bennett, three contenders at the same B.C. Liberal leadership with the first name Gordon, and by 2031 it will all be a fuzzy matter in most minds and pleasantly absent in the rest.
Only I will be here to instruct your grandchildren. And I pray the magnificent bald eagles will still measure our ragged coastline with their magnificent wingspread, and mock the brevity of a man’s life and the humility of mankind’s place in the universe.
David Hancock is an eagle guy. He said a world-record 7,200 were counted in mid-December in the Chehalis River area and 10 days later, having dined on insufficient chum salmon corpses, only 345.
The healthy ones flew elsewhere. Those left are starving. Some are too weak to fly. Some are poisoned eating landfill garbage. One prays — again — that Hancock’s a bit of an alarmist. But Bev Day of OWL, the Orphan Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, in Ladner, cites supportive figures in a report by the Vancouver Sun’s Kim Pemberton. Some rescued by OWL were injured in the eagle equivalent of food riots.
Wringing hands and then passing on to the next disaster story won’t help. Governments — provincial, federal: Take action. Fast. Create eagle food banks. That rings of catchy mediaspeak. But by any name, feed areas should be selected in several eagle habitats by our environment or fish and game ministries. Fish offal isn’t lacking. Yes, fish processors utilize every bit of fish for pet food, so offer a premium price. Taxpayers fund far more dubious initiatives.
The other day the two eagles that have long nested in a nearby tree, though they disappointingly missed last year, returned and settled in, to much rejoicing in this house. Can you put a price on the enhanced real estate value of living in such a neighbourhood — yes, on West Vancouver’s Marine Drive, Vancouver’s skyline within view?
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The ordinary (meaning, these days, cynical) citizen wonders how half a dozen people clawing for the brass-plated ring of party leader can smile and join hands while the blood is still fresh and sticky on the floor.
Easy. ABC (Anybody But Christy) Clark, and the OBC (Old Boys Club), headed by Kevin Falcon, George Abbott and Mike de Jong, need each other. As Ben Franklin nicely put it, they better hang together or they’ll hang separately. They can make a hobby of privately hating each other but their day job requires a show of mutual civility. Furthermore, The Interests will hugely encourage all concerned to be agreeable.
Not to forget that politics is half-way to show biz. Hamlet tonight, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Victoria tomorrow.
If Clark puts a foot wrong — into a really squishy cow pie — her gift for smiling and talking at the same time will be of little avail, and a sauve qui peut race to the exits is at least remotely possible.
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The North Shore’s Liberal MLAs all bet on the wrong horse — Joan McIntyre backing Falcon, Naomi Yamamoto, Jane Thornthwaite and Ralph Sultan plumping for Abbott. No cashable IOUs there.
Upbeat former pollster McIntyre noted: “The backing of MLAs can/does have significant influence. For example, Kevin Falcon did very well in the ridings where he had MLA support — e.g. Prince George and Richmond. Similar patterns exist for George Abbott in pockets of support, primarily outside the Lower Mainland.
“On the North Shore there is an interesting pattern. I am very proud of our Kevin Falcon ‘ground’ campaign. We carried both West Van ridings, particularly (McIntyre’s own) Sea to Sky with 44 per cent on the first ballot, and all but Lonsdale on the final ballot.”
Thornthwaite enthused: “Christy Clark struck a chord with people for change and I wholeheartedly agree. Personally, I look forward to meeting with her soon to discuss the priorities that have been raised by people in North Vancouver-Seymour, including transportation, health and education issues.”
Sultan noted that in fine democratic tradition “the people have spoken and the caucus is rallying around Christy Clark in the best interests of British Columbians.” Sultan praised all six in the competition but “Clark had a team with the best organizational and communications skills.”
Right, masterminded by slick wire-puller Patrick Kinsella. I didn’t like the cut of Kinsella’s jib when we met when I was a tiny cog in the Bill Bennett government’s wheel 30 years ago, and time hasn’t improved my affections.
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Was that really socialism’s foremost capitalist, Bob Williams, on the CTV panel on convention day? The feared lean-and-hungry-look New Democrat with a shrewd eye for real estate investments who terrified the forest industry with his Swedish-derived ideas? He’s, um, visibly prospered.
© Trevor Lautens, 2011