I enjoy pretty much everything there is that has to do with the outdoors. Some of my most peaceful moments have been while walking through the forest, sitting on a beach, or boating (minus the loud engine). Accordingly I have a great respect for nature and enjoy learning about the plants and wildlife therein. My plan is to continue that learning process and hopefully enhance it by sharing what I learn. I intend for this blog to serve many purposes, but in the immediate future it will be a place for me, and hopefully others, to share ideas about reducing our individual impact on this planet, protecting wild spaces, and in general just to comment on the things we enjoy most in the great outdoors. I welcome all opinions as otherwise you cannot consider every aspect of a subject. However, I would ask that every opinion be expressed in a respectful way and considered with an open mind. Often there is no single right answer. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Leader's Checklist for Expediting Controversial Projects

I am not 100% certain about where I sit on the proposed pipeline projects but, given the overall tone of my blog, you can easily guess that I am nowhere near a strong supporter.  I was feeling a bit cheeky a couple of weeks ago after hearing limited details about the China/Canada investment agreement; so I came up with a checklist that may be useful to leaders in other democratic countries grappling with controversial projects.  I will not claim to be an expert on all of the facts, but the exercise amused me.

A Leader's Checklist for Expediting Controversial Projects

1.  As early as possible discredit opponents of the project by labelling them radicals.  Here is one example for your reference: CBC News: Radicals working against oilsands.

2.  Immediately after completion of point one, or simultaneously as in the previously mentioned article, attack funding sources for the aforementioned radicals.  Bring attention to the use of foreign funding, criticize supporters, explore options for revoking charitable status.  Remember to downplay the amount of foreign investment utilized by the industry promoting the project.

3.  Convene environmental hearings to persuade the electorate that due process is being followed.  Ensure that they feel included in the hearings by offering them chances to speak, however painful this may be. Criticize the length of the process so that, in the end, citizens will feel that the project review was more thorough than deserved.

4.  While citizens are distracted by ongoing hearings begin dismantling barriers to the project.  This may include reducing environmental standards, if necessary.  The industry partner can do their part by offering funding to dissident groups in exchange for their support.  Since bribes are not socially acceptable be sure to use terms such as employment opportunities and long term economic benefit.

5.  As a fail safe, negotiate and ratify an investment protection agreement.  In this way, when the project is approved, levels of government that choose to continue their opposition face the prospect of legal action for hampering the profitability of the foreign investor.

If you have not read about the Canada-China Investment Treaty please do.  I was surprised at some of the terms of the agreement mentioned in the media.  I am well aware that I have not heard all angles but, even if it is a wonderful agreement, why lock us into it for 30 years?  Here are a couple of articles that scratch the surface, one in favour, two opposed.  If you like it that is great, if not, take the time to send a letter to your MP, or the Prime Minister's Office.