Most who know me have heard my reference to the BANANA phenomenon before – Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.
Vaughn Palmer, a longtime columnist for the Vancouver Sun, wrote the linked editorial yesterday with respect to the BC election campaign. I’m intermittent on his stuff but in my opinion it is the best column he has ever written.
But he’s limited to BC and this problem is so much bigger than that. For Canadians watching the oil pipeline drama play out, BC is certainly the epicentre for this but sometimes Alberta is no better. How long have we been talking about power lines between Calgary and Edmonton?
Now, to be fair, every project should have to justify itself on economic and environmental grounds and that’s what the very rigourous review processes are for and the courts are for.
But are we getting to the point where nothing gets built?
I’m certain that a good chunk of this opposition comes from the Tides and Tides Canada funding controversy where US foundations are funding a lot of the opposition to projects in Canada. The foundations are funnelling their dollars into Canada via Tides. They are not being transparent in their approach and so we are right to be mistrustful of their reasons.
We also tend to get preoccupied by media coverage of dissenters. And we can’t blame media, controversy motivates readers/viewers. And they need sales.
So, what do we do about these developments? Some of it is being done, smart companies are working very hard in their community relations approaches. Gov’ts are certainly talking about the funding issues. Some companies and associations are running major ad campaigns.
Is it enough? Probably not. For my part, I have been working towards a plan that will hopefully give a voice to a ‘silent majority’ or a whole lot of people who don’t currently participate in the process. A return to old-fashioned campaigning may be in the cards.