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Evan Saugstad: Orcas one; Cruise ships zero

Our metro cousins are now upset that they lost an industry and lost their jobs due to political ineptitude. They now want Premier John to intervene and do something about it
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Adrian Raeside cartoon: cruise ships, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. (Victoria Times Colonist)

saugstadWho needs a few cruise ships anyway? Aren’t they just a big city thing? And full of Americans to boot, aye?

Only a few low-paying city-centred jobs anyway. And just think, you still got all J&J’s pandemic dollars to prop you up and keep you going.

In reality, sometimes things work out just the way they were meant to, even when the results weren’t part of script.

In February past, PM Justin said Canada can do without cruise ships until February 2022. Predictably, Alaskan politicians threw a shoe and responded with dismay and concern as this was the end of their cruise-based tourism industry hopes for 2021.

And how dare we not first talk to them about this?

Too bad, said Justin, gotta keep us Canadians safe from those COVID-infected American hordes.

And what did we hear from Premier John?

Full agreement, of course, as he knew better; he knew that there could never be a cruise ship industry unless they stopped in Victoria or Vancouver. No fear, they just had to stop, they had to listen to us as we held all four aces.

After all, it was their law, one that prohibited foreign based ships from sailing between two American ports without first stopping at a foreign port. And for the joker in the hole, what Democratic President would listen to and support a few Alaskan Republicans and change their laws for the benefit of the mostly fat cat Republicans who love their cruise ships and love to spend their dollars wherever they stop?

Especially now with the tyrant Don gone and replaced with a much friendlier and fellow socialist President in charge. He would never dare change things that would go against his comrade-in-arms in Ottawa. Hell would freeze over first.

Well, the unthinkable happened.

Hell froze over.

Republicans and Democrats agreed, voted to change their law and on B.C.’s west coast, the score quickly became Orcas one, J&J zero. And to think, it didn’t take a single sit-in on a Vancouver bridge by the pandemic funded activists to get some government action on the orca file.

By default, the Strait of Georgia's orca population just won a major victory and now have some quiet times to chase the few salmon that may return.

So why aren’t the save the orca crowd jumping up and down celebrating? Why are they so quiet?

Two reasons.

First, this just made it easier to sell Justin’s pipeline as the fossil fuel crowd can now claim that with no cruise ships, it won’t be so noisy, so let them tankers sail.

Second, hard to cheer for something when you realize you have no longer have a job to pay your bills and fund the resistance.

Although this is serious and not in the least bit humorous, I do love the irony in this.

Our metro cousins are now upset that they lost an industry and lost their jobs due to political ineptitude.

They now want Premier John to intervene and do something about it.

Problem is, Premier John has been so busy shutting things down that he is now struggling to find a way to get rid of the stop-the-work momentum and turn it into the reality that, holy crap we really do need to get back to work.

And all this while us rural people chuckle and wonder where our metro cousin’s interest was in preserving a few rural jobs that involve cutting trees, digging holes, catching fish, drilling wells, or grazing cattle?

Who needs logging? Shouldn’t a place called Fairy Creek be left to its fairy tale ending? Just send those loggers home and let them collect a few more pandemic cheques.

Another coal mine, you gotta be kidding. Coal is passe. A few more pandemic dollars and they could be gone too.

Gas wells and pipelines, no way, but do clear another few hectares for a windmill or solar panel.

Now, in my flat earth and self-centred point of view, great — I didn’t want to do an Alaskan cruise anyway.

And to all those self-centred city folks that think you are now hard done by — join a crowded field.

This is what happens when your misguided beliefs are transferred to our elected folks, and they run with the notion that we don’t need good-paying jobs, like those that logging, mining, ranching, fishing, farming, gas/oil, guide outfitting, and any other rural lifestyle job that you care so little about.

Think about it. You just got what you so wished for when you so willing supported a government that doesn’t give two hoots about job creation, unless, of course, it is more government-based jobs in your beautiful and not always so quiet urban centre.

Come to think of it, between no cruise ships and the odd shootout at the O.K. Corral, bet it is easy to score a cheap hotel room in Vancouver.

That is, if we really want to take the chance and come visit your quiet city with a real live gangster show on a patio near you, no cover charge required.


Evan Saugstad is a former mayor of Chetwynd, and lives in Fort St. John.