LETTER: Facts missing on impact of Columbia River Treaty

From reader David Thompson

Re: “Conference opens up dialogue on Columbia River’s future,” West Kootenay Advertiser, May 16

The Columbia River and the treaty that re-configured it locally and in the wider neighbourhood are of massive importance to this region.

Negotiations concerning those matters are significant.

It is distressing to read deliberately misleading statements about the impacts of that treaty on a regular basis. It is particularly upsetting that those statements are recently emanating from the organizers of an “ethics-based” conference concerning the future of the treaty and the river Basin.

The above named story provides the most recent example of, politely, such deliberate misinformation. “Prior to construction the Columbia River was considered the world’s richest salmon river,” is not true, and the people who made that statement must know it is not true.

I was born in this region 20 years before the treaty was created. During those 20 years, not a single salmon ever swam in the river upstream of the 1930s-era Grand Coulee dam, which was not at all connected to that treaty. Strongly implying that it was is, well, unethical.

There are important issues to be decided during the treaty re-negotiation, and those decisions need to be based on facts, not agendas.

Certainly Grand Coulee and other, more recent river blockages should be considered within the framework of the re-negotiation discussions. Attaching Grand Coulee’s construction to the discussion as an adjunct to the facts concerning the 1964 agreement is reasonable — blaming its existence and impacts on that treaty is not.

It is, I think, part of a deliberately misleading preview based on an agenda apparently itself based on some fact-free, politically incorrect conflation of long-term realities and short-term wishes.

We will not come up with solutions to perceived problems by beginning with incorrect analyses of those problems and their causes.

To the “ethics” people — do not be afraid of the facts, they can set you, and perhaps the salmon, free.

David Thompson

Oasis

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