LETTER: All politics are local politics

From reader Charles Jeanes...

I am fascinated by how well some people organize to keep their community from change, or to restore it in the event of big, destructive changes. I refer to the swift, effective organization of the residents of Balfour and Queen’s Bay to preserve their lifestyles from a new ferry terminal, and to the effective national campaign to save and restore Fort McMurray to its pre-fire state.

I have every sympathy with the Balfour-Queen’s Bay perspective, but not much for Fort McMurray’s. But the principle is the same. There may be very good reasons to improve the speed and efficiency of the lake ferry, but a reaction against speed and efficiency in favour of quality of life is going to prevail. In Alberta, the drive to return the Mac to its pre-fire, oil-industry pace and productivity is also prevailing.

What is my point? “All politics are local politics,” sums it up well. I am merely pointing out the irony that while many people of “progressive” political views want to stop the new ferry, they are also foes of the oil industry and do not care to see Fort Mac become what it was before the fire.

I myself share these two views. I abhor what the Mac stands for, and I do not want to see Balfour area altered.

I have watched and mourned as the quality of Nelson’s civic environment deteriorates; both urban and rural development and growth have pursued their relentless path, pushed on by the wishes of local businesses, and my (manifestly unpopular) attempt to oppose that path when I have been a candidate in civic elections was rejected by the voters.

Some folks win, some folks lose; that is the essence of a capitalist market system and its sadly crippled idea of democracy. Economic losers in globalization won a political victory in the Brexit vote, by rejecting elite advice and voting “Leave.” Maybe Trump supporters will gain a similar victory. I care little about that.

Charles Jeanes, Nelson

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