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Trudeau, Horgan fiddle while BC drowns

Bradley Hughes

December 1, 2021
Justin Trudeau stood at the podium at the COP26 summit in Glasgow and talked tough about the need to limit emissions and slow the warming of the planet. He referred to the town of Lytton BC, which was largely destroyed this summer amid a record breaking heat wave and accompanying wildfires. He used the fires to argue for an urgent response to the climate crisis and positioned himself as a climate leader.
Since the COP meetings things have only gotten worse. We have learned new phrases like “bomb cyclone” and “atmospheric river” which both describe astonishingly destructive weather systems that have caused havoc. Meanwhile the Prime Minister has made it clear that his version of a climate emergency response involves building more oil and gas pipelines and extracting every last drop of fossil fuel from the ground.
And reconstruction has not started in Lytton, 6 months after the fire.
An atmospheric river dumped one month of rain, around 200 mm over large ares of BC in two days starting on November 13. This came after an already usually rainy fall. These torrential rains fell in areas where where wildfires wiped out forests this summer. The combination of rain on now de-forested lands has caused devastating flooding. As a consequence land slides, flooding, washed out roads and bridges shut down all major highways in the province. The lower mainland and its ports were cut off by road and rail from the rest of the province and the rest of the country. Flooding lead to the evacuation of the city of Merritt and large sections of the city of Abbotsford. 18,000 people were stranded due to the highway closures. Hundreds were trapped on highways between slides until they could be rescued by helicopter. Further record breaking rainfalls have continued since then, leading to more flooding and evacuations.
A week later some sections of highways have been temporarily opened for people stranded by the closures to return to their homes. Closures effect range from a few kilometers of road up to over a 100 km. Large sections of Highway 8 have been washed away entirely by the Nicola river, the government has no estimate for how long it will be before the highway between Spences Bridge to Merritt can be repaired. Another deluge is coming to parts of BC this week and further disasters are expected.
The Trans mountain pipeline that provides much of the gasoline for the lower mainland was stopped for two weeks due to the disaster and the inability of the company to determine if the pipeline is still safe to operate. The state of emergency declared by the Premier includes rationing of gasoline. People may only purchase 30 litres at a time. There is no plan to add bus and train service to encourage people to use transit in stead of cars to conserve gasoline.
Had the NDP immediately moved to provide alternatives to travel by car as soon as they formed government four years ago there would be less demand on gasoline now. This is similar to how their refusal to undo Liberal cuts to emergency services lead to 600 deaths during the heat dome climate emergency this summer.
The destruction is not limited to BC. On the east coast, unusual weather patterns have hit and severed highways and washed out towns. The trans-Canada highway has now been washed out on both coasts.
And what has been the response of the Trudeau government and the BC NDP government of John Horgan? More logging - which exacerbates the flooding, more pipelines being pushed through Indigenous land and a continuation of muti-billion dollar subsidies for fossil fuel corporations.
Not only are they not trying to fix the problems caused by climate change but they are actively working to make things worse.
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