A Commentary by Doug Draper
Oh my dear God – not that I am all that religious – do I ever miss Margherita! I’d be one of those she might call a “stupid bastard” if I didn’t.
I miss being able to call her up today – this time around Earth Day, 2012 – and asking her how she feels about Canada’s federal government walking away from environmental protection reviews on major public works projects that may impact on what’s left of our natural resources. I miss asking her how she would feel about the so-called natural resources minister for Stephen Harper – Joe Oliver or whatever the frig his stupid name is – calling people who advocate for environmental protection in this country a bunch of villains or enemies of Canada, or whatever other Fox New/Rush Limbaugh-induced rhetoric Harper and Oliver clamp on to for describing anyone who has the democratic balls to disagree with them.
If I were able to make a call to Margherita Howe right now, I am almost certain her first response would be; “Why, the stupid bastards,” as it was almost every time when the worst of government would do or say something awful when it came to just plain doing something to protect a little bit of our natural resources for future generations, as if that is too bloody much to ask.
If you don’t know Margherita Howe, she was first and foremost a great lady who might give you one of the warmest hugs in the world if you weren’t a ‘stupid bastard’. She was also a Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario resident and a veteran of the Second World War, as a matter of fact, who emerged as the head of an environmental group in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake called Operation Clean that fought for a cleanup of toxic chemicals bleeding their way into the Niagara River and Great Lakes during the Love Canal environmental crisis of the late 1970s and 1980s.
For her efforts, Margherita was both vilified by her detractors and honoured by others with an Order of Canada medal at a time when Canada’s federal government would still grant such awards to citizens who often did not agree with it. (Can you believe that in Harper’s Canada? There was actually a time when the federal government still awarded some recognition of good citizenship to people in this country who did not agree with it.)
Of course, we know that In Stephen Harper’s Canada, those days of granting Order of Canada awards to individuals who might have the audacity to disagree with his dictatorship are gone. And on this Earth Day, we not only have Harper’s Oliver spewing venom that anyone, including this environment writer, I would suspect, is an enemy of the Canada I was born in for giving a crap about environmental protection.
On this Earth Day, we also have the federal government of Canada moving to gut environmental reviews, cut even more funding for Environment Canada and turn over more jurisdiction for environmental protection to the provinces, which can only mean the province’s racing to have the weakest environmental regulations to attract more business, because attracting more business (at whatever cost to the life-sustaining waters, air and other resources of this planet) is all that seems to matter now.
We also have David Suzuki, the host of CBC’s Nature of Things and long-time advocate for environmental protection, being treated like a piece of human garbage by Canada’s government and b many Canadians. If you don’t believe me, click on the following link and read the comments by Canadians below it. But don’t do that before reading the rest of this post by yours truly, Doug Draper. Please don’t do that, but the link, when you come back to it is tp://news.nationalpost.com/2012/04/14/david-suzuki-resigns-to-save- and I hope there are still a few out there who join me in finding the comments against this person, who many of my American friends have said to me should be regarded as a “treasure” in our country, is shameful.I have no illusions any longer. I know that many Canadians these days could care less about protecting the environment unless it involves their own personal space or backyard, or whatever they want to call it. Thus, we have Oliver and Harper, and they can do whatever they want with what’s left of Environment Canada and whatever other environmental programs have been put in place in Canada since the first Earth Day 42 years ago.
If I could call up Margherita about this, her first line would be; “Why, the stupid bastards.”
That line would be enough to keep me going on and writing more. I am beginning to wonder the point of writing on now. On the Earth Day front, how many people out there still give much of a damn?
(Niagara At Large invites you to share your views on this post in the comment area below. Remember that we only post views by those who are also willing to share their first and last names.)