To the editor,
Some time ago, a politician proudly proclaimed “Because it’s 2015!”
Well, with only a month left in this year, one could be forgiven for wondering if it’s still 2015. After all that has happened over the last several years, nothing with respect to Northern Pulp has really changed.
While there are many who have no sympathy for the mill, it’s hard not to think at this time of year of all the people who are concerned for their futures, for the well-being of their families, or for the safety of their pension plans. Fishermen are more than justified in being worried about their livelihood. Residents of Pictou Landing would be justified in wondering if they are about to be used as pawns once more.
A federal environmental assessment should be undertaken on any proposal – if it passes, it gives all stakeholders comfort in the safety of the industrial process. If it fails, then it prevents potential environmental catastrophe.
Locally, however, our member of parliament has stated the federal government will make a decision on whether there will be an assessment very soon after a proposal is made by the company. This approach only clouds the issue further by keeping everyone guessing as to what circumstances would trigger such an assessment and what would allow the mill to avoid it.
Meanwhile, in Halifax, the premier seems to be doing his best to avoid getting involved in this mess. It may have seemed like a quick fix to pass legislation closing the Boat Harbour treatment facility. But the lack of a viable roadmap to develop an alternative treatment plan has only deepened the problem.
The mantle of leadership seems to fall lightly on the shoulders of those who have been elected on our behalf. It is time for governments at all levels to stop the finger pointing or “paying attention.”
It is time for some sleeves to be rolled up and leaders to step up to figure out a plan forward.