Many governments in office during life of mill

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To the editor,
I am writing to respond to the article published on The News website on July 25, "Pictou MLAs say waiting until June 2015 is not good enough."

First, The News must appreciate the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Caucus writing their news articles for them. The practice of reprinting political press releases word for word, I feel, is a detriment to the journalistic integrity of the knowledgeable, capable reporters and contributors of a newspaper that has a long history in our community. 

As a resident of Abercrombie, I am well aware of the poor air quality that we as a county experience. On a personal note, I support the efforts of the Clean the Mill group, as well as the Clean Pictou Air group of local businesses. Access to clean air, water and a healthy environment I feel are basic human rights, or at least should be. 

The Liberal government has had 277 days (as of July 25) to address the array of issues that face our province. The Dec. 24, 1964, edition of this newspaper donned a front page headline that read "Merry Christmas Pictou County." An announcement of a $40M pulp mill being built by Scott Paper was celebrated as a victory. From the day that article was published, 18,111 days have passed, as have many governments of all political stripes. 

Therefore, why is it that our Pictou County MLAs expect this government to move mountains in such a short period of time? When will the company that owns the mill assume some responsibility in addition to the government? Last month a historic agreement was signed by Environment Minister Randy Delorey and the Pictou Landing First Nations. A meeting took place last week with three provincial ministers who visited Pictou to listen to business owners' concerns regarding the pulp mill and poor air quality affecting their businesses, which will be key in determining the government's next steps on the issue. The Pictou County MLAs did not offer any public approval or satisfaction that steps they have asked to be taken, were taken. They will say nothing if not negative.

MLA Pat Dunn says "a competent government would come forward with a plan today and not wait until 2015." With all due respect to former premier and Pictou Centre MLA Dr. John Hamm, was his government incompetent for not addressing Boat Harbour and the pulp mill during his tenure? What about the MacDonald government, which Mr. Dunn served in as a minister?

We all live here. We all breathe the same air. For those two reasons alone, I can't help but to wonder why is it so hard for our elected officials to see this as an opportunity to lead, instead of using the issue solely as ammunition towards the government.

I urge those who continue to engage in mature, thoughtful and engaging discussions and debate around the issue of Northern Pulp to keep fighting for what you believe in and ignore the unnecessary, unhelpful noise. We will live in a better, healthier community because of your efforts. 

Ben MacLean, Abercrombie

President, Pictou West Liberal Association

Organizations: Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Caucus, Pictou County MLAs, Scott Paper Pictou Landing First Nations

Geographic location: Pictou West, Merry Christmas Pictou, Boat Harbour Northern Pulp

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Recent comments

  • johnny smoke
    July 28, 2014 - 08:36

    Leaping over tall buildings while at the same time saving the wretched citizens from the odor and the ills of a pulp mill. Just more lazy talk by a bunch of incompetent politicians trying to address as subject that none of them have a clue as to how to remedy the situation. MY guess is that a fast forward to 2525 and beyond will still see a gang of elected officals pointing fingers at one another while the mill continues to belch forward all manner of smells and chemicals. By then many of todays mill workers will be comfortably retired and enjoying the fruits of their labor . Same can be said of the politicians with their golden pension plan never based on what they accomplished during their days in the sun, but based on just being there and of course pointing out the ills of a modern society with no clue what so ever how to over come even the simplest of society's problems.

  • Brian Mahoney
    July 27, 2014 - 00:29

    Great statement Ben but too bad you tarnished it by making it a political party issue when you added your title. You had more credibility as an Abercrombie resident and it is time that party politics took a back seat to the best intrests of our health and welfare.

    • Ben MacLean
      July 27, 2014 - 19:14

      Brian, I appreciate your comment. I did feel that it was appropriate to be upfront and honest about my role and where I was coming from. I may be a member of the Liberal Party but I am more importantly a resident of Pictou County, and politics is one of the ways I choose to be involved. You have my full agreement that party politics does not belong in any issue that affects our health and well being as a community, which was why I felt strongly about writing this letter. Political affiliation does not matter when we're all breathing the same air. All the best.