Last month, we had the privilege of touring and engaging with several farmers who shared their experiences of government intervention and the challenges posed by provincial and local policies. While exploring these expansive and productive farms, we took to the skies to capture the natural beauty of the valley we proudly call home.
From the majestic mountains to the vast oceans, our eyes beheld a lush, life-sustaining tapestry of evergreen and deciduous trees intertwined with estuaries and waterways. It’s truly a blessing to reside in this land that provides us with clean air and sustenance while others may not be as fortunate. And what’s the secret to our good fortune? It’s the freedom to innovate, create sources of heat and sustenance, and cultivate this fertile land. So, why does it sometimes appear that our municipalities and regional boards are determined to regress us to a bygone era? They’re removing affordable heat sources like Natural Gas and putting pressure on local food producers through water restrictions and more.
We’re witnessing a barrage of policies that seem to impede our path toward greater self-sustainability and prosperity. These policies are emerging rapidly and seem to be adopted uniformly across municipalities in lock-step, with initiatives such as the BC step code acceleration and calls to rename Natural Gas to Fossil Gas. Many of these policies originate from various sources, including staff proposals and mass letters sent out by NGOs like The Climate Caucus. A deeper dive into these organizations reveals a well-resourced and highly coordinated network that guides their followers on strategies to approach local councils, including booklets with names such as “How to infiltrate councils.”
The Historical Context: The recent surge in policies that hinder our journey toward self-sustainability and prosperity appears to be part of a larger agenda. This agenda, which can be traced back to Prime Minister Mulroney’s signing of Agenda 21 in the ‘90s, (currently Agenda 2030) seems to cast a shadow over modern domestic lifestyles and livelihoods.: The influence, if not unknowingly, has woven itself into the fabric of our local governance since at least 1994. The Municipal Primer, a guide on implementing UN agendas without public knowledge or consent, laid the groundwork for a quiet yet impactful transformation in our local policies.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities recognizes its role in advocating for green disaster mitigation, adaptation investments, and resilient infrastructure to support local climate action. However, the fact that these directions come from entities like the Union of BC Municipalities Municipalities (UBCM), rather than from the citizens of the constituency, raises questions about the democratic process. For instance, at a recent Council Meeting on October 4th, despite overwhelming public opposition to the BC step code acceleration, four councillors deferred to the Climate Action and Energy Policy, seemingly prioritizing it over public input, with one council member stating that they take direction from the UBCM. One reason behind this acceleration of policy started with a letter sent in 2019 by a local NGO, calling for the declaration of a climate emergency in all local governments. Despite limited signatures and a lack of scientific evidence supporting the declaration, this letter led to a permanent change in policies across all municipalities, including the updating of initiatives like the Climate Action Plan.
The Significance: Local policies no longer seem to be in sync with local needs or the capacity for innovation in our local environment. Every local policy now undergoes a climate assessment, eclipsing considerations of housing, food security, or economic development.
For instance, consider the challenges faced by farmers this year, waiting for water licenses or proving their water supply isn’t connected to a specific source based on climate considerations. These hurdles can create food security issues on the island, particularly in times of crisis. Additionally, the accelerated BC step code implementation, which ignored builder input and disregarded public opposition, raises questions about the measurability of local climate efforts. If these efforts could be quantified, perhaps more individuals would be motivated to contribute. However, according to local climate specialists, even after implementing all the measures outlined in the plans, including phasing out vehicles and natural gas, our emissions will not be measurable as contributing any significance to global emission goals. Moreover, when water restrictions are imposed to protect fish populations, we seldom see reports showing the positive environmental impact of such sacrifices. Transparent data and evidence of how carbon taxes are being used to combat climate change are notably absent.
In conclusion, as global 2030 sustainability goals gain traction, it’s essential to ensure that local policies align with local needs, promote innovation, and are backed by transparent data and evidence. The complex web of influence on local policies requires careful scrutiny, and citizens must have a say in shaping the future of their communities.