It’s easy to criticize, protest and block resource development. In fact, there are organizations that have made an industry out of protest.
Stop logging; stop mining; stop oil and gas; stop trapping and fishing; stop everything… are the intentions behind big professional activist campaigns like Great Bear Rainforest, Sacred Headwaters, Crown Jewel of the Continent, Save the Old Growth, Water Protectors, Boreal Forests, and every other warm and fuzzy label applied to target an industrial sector.
Over the years, industrial sectors have been singled out one at a time and forced to bend to activist’s demands.
It’s had an immense impact on our province, and Canada as a whole.
Successive governments react with increasingly stringent, or even onerous, rules and regulations. Land use policies with the effect of blocking resource development are applied and have become a favourite tool of activists.
Left out of the conversation, and decisions that follow, are resource workers and their families. Yet they are often the first casualties of activist’s pressure, and government and industry reaction.
Who is leading the way for working people?
The North Matters, a grassroots citizen group, started in Kitimat last year, recognized this gap when the prospect for a Liquefied Natural Gas facility was proposed for their community.
This original group of citizens were concerned by what seemed like an overwhelming amount of negative information, and obstructionist activity, aimed at the proposal by special interests.
This activity seemed out of proportion to the overwhelming local support.
So they took it upon themselves to research and learn the pros and cons of the proposed development. They worked to understand real risks and real benefits in context to local, national and global realities.
What they discovered were a number of the negative assertions attributed to the industry were simply not true.
They also discovered that it was resource workers themselves that have consistently been the real innovators on environmental, operational, economic and community issues.
In a self-determined manner The North Matters rallied. The call to action meant that working folks not only had a say in the pending investment decision, they had an influence in realizing real benefits while protecting important values. They’ve done so in a positive, productive and inclusive way.
It’s a refreshing change to all the negativity, division and fear brought by professional activists.
Northern communities are taking notice of the Kitimat citizen approach and want to know more. The North Matters is giving resource citizens a say.
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