October 2012 edition

BC battles Northern Gateway

Thank you for your editorial on Enbridge and its Northern Gateway project. Vocal opposition is growing. It is grassroots and widespread, despite Mr Harper’s claims that opponents are just foreign extremists. 

Enbridge is just one head of the hydra. If Northern Gateway doesn’t fly, there are several other pipelines—Kinder Morgan, Pembina, etc.—waiting in the wings. They will, if approved, carry bitumen from Alberta and fracked un-natural gas from BC and Alberta to service the ravening maw of the Chinese market, which Harper seems determined to feed. China is being given increasing and unexamined control of the Canadian economy with no real benefit for Canadians. We are fast becoming a petrostate with all the lack of democracy and environmental degradation that involves, as we are swept backwards into a role we should have outgrown—hewers of wood and drawers of water. 

On top of all that, Mr. Harper, the same man who made his public apology to First Nations a few years back, disregards crucial issues of their health and well-being as the tar sands poison their land and pipelines devastate it.

At base, this is about climate change and corporatization. Our glaciers and our permafrost are melting; the Arctic Ocean barely freezes. We must connect the dots so that we understand every pipeline as part of the mega-issue that puts our future at risk. Times are hard now. They will be a whole lot harder for our children and grandchildren unless we get serious right now and do everything we can to get Canada onto the course of listening to our scientists and caring for our fragile and miraculous planet.

Dorothy Field


Exporting opportunity

Congratulations to Focus and writer Katherine Gordon for describing BC log exports as an opportunity. This helps increase understanding for solving this complex and controversial issue. 

BC exports logs to other countries because they produce more value from our timber than we can. Offshore markets will pay $90/ per cubic metre for certain logs that in BC sell for $50. Countries with strong forest products economies import more logs than they export. Sweden’s strong forest economy in 2008 imported 5.8 million cubic metres, and exported 2.5 million.

In contrast, BC, in 2011, exported 6.9 million cubic metres, and imported less than 100,000. Many BC sawmills and pulp mills have permanently closed, while 2011 log exports increased to 10 percent of the total logged. Increasing log exports are a symptom, not the cause, of a weak forest products economy. 

BC’s coordinated actions for building a strong forest economy (and removing the incentive to export) will include: growing high quality wood to produce an increasing supply of valuable timber to attract investment; selling domestic logs at competitive prices so local mills have access to the logs they really want in the desired species, grades, and sizes—and predictable quantities; and manufacturing high-quality forest products the world wants, so BC can compete successfully in global markets. 

When this occurs, the evidence is that log exports are a non-issue. If we do not control our own destiny, someone else will.

Ray Travers, RPF 


Great issue, especially the two stories by Katherine Palmer Gordon. The log export one really hit a chord as we see our beloved Vancouver Island being raped and pillaged by the likes of Rick Jefferies and Bill Dumont, whom I have fought for years over forest protection and management issues.

And Leslie Campbell’s editorial was great too. We will beat Enbridge but then there are the other proposed pipelines; no easy wins there. An ongoing battle and absolutely no thought of climate change.

Vicky Husband



Sorry, I beg to disagree about the impression made by a 21-story “bump” coming to the horizon of Vic West. What distinctive feature justifies the height of this building being so far above that of others in the local environment? Such a blimp on the horizon only makes me wonder, sadly, about the community price paid for the politics and backroom manoeuvring of land rezoning.

Prudent buyers/renters in some countries, with due regard to the increasingly severe climate and political disturbances we all seem headed for, consider five storeys the optimum level for human habitation. Consider also Arthur Erickson’s suggestion that mental health is optimized if one can look out of their apartment into Nature—not down on Nature.

Marilyn Leslie Kan


Is the Gorge actually safe for swimming?

Rob Wipond’s September article on storm-water contamination in the Gorge is excellent! The startling 2007 map of CRD stormwater problem discharges [shows] how many storm-water drains in the Gorge require action to reduce public health and environmental risks.

Those who believe that the incredibly expensive CRD sewage treatment plant will reduce stormwater contamination risks will be very disappointed to learn that the unnecessary sewage plant doesn’t treat stormwater. That’s another expensive infrastructure project, albeit one that is more worthwhile than the expensive, environmentally-insignificant sewage treatment plant.

John Newcomb


Notes from subscribers

Thank you to all your wonderful investigative reporters for keeping me informed about the issues which matter so much to me. We live in a very special part of the world and to properly care for it, we need facts in order to be advocates.

Carolyn Herbert


Congratulations on producing a most interesting and thought-provoking magazine in the capital city. We have been the beneficiaries of free copies for many years. Please find a subscription enclosed.

Christopher Causton


I meant to do this a long-time ago. Your magazine is absolutely fantastic! Rob Wipond’s article about Tom Swanky’s revelation of the appalling genocide finally pushed me over the edge to move my hand to the chequebook.

Rob, Katherine Palmer Gordon, Briony Penn, Gene Miller, David Broadland and many others—wow! What a great stable you have of wonderful investigators, discoverers, troublemakers and real shit disturbers!

Thank you so much. We desperately need these intelligent, well-written articles to counteract all the lies the “normal” media spews out at us. Many of us are asleep and will never even try to learn the truth of what’s happening to us and how much and how deeply we are all being brainwashed and hoodwinked.

With many wishes for more success and information like this.

Gillian M. Sanderson


Please find my year’s subscription for your magazine which I find the most cogent and well-written monthly in Western Canada.

David Price