Is it still 2015?

The News (New Glasgow) - - OPINION LETTERS -

To the edi­tor,

Some time ago, a politi­cian proudly pro­claimed “Be­cause it’s 2015!”

Well, with only a month left in this year, one could be for­given for won­der­ing if it’s still 2015. Af­ter all that has hap­pened over the last sev­eral years, noth­ing with re­spect to North­ern Pulp has re­ally changed.

While there are many who have no sym­pa­thy for the mill, it’s hard not to think at this time of year of all the peo­ple who are con­cerned for their fu­tures, for the well-be­ing of their fam­i­lies, or for the safety of their pen­sion plans. Fish­er­men are more than jus­ti­fied in be­ing wor­ried about their liveli­hood. Res­i­dents of Pic­tou Land­ing would be jus­ti­fied in won­der­ing if they are about to be used as pawns once more.

A fed­eral en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment should be un­der­taken on any pro­posal — if it passes, it gives all stake­hold­ers com­fort in the safety of the in­dus­trial process. If it fails, then it pre­vents po­ten­tial en­vi­ron­men­tal catas­tro­phe.

Lo­cally, how­ever, our mem­ber of Par­lia­ment has stated the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will make a de­ci­sion on whether there will be an as­sess­ment very soon af­ter a pro­posal is made by the com­pany.

This ap­proach only clouds the is­sue fur­ther by keep­ing ev­ery­one guess­ing as to what cir­cum­stances would trig­ger such an as­sess­ment and what would al­low the mill to avoid it.

Mean­while, in Hal­i­fax, the pre­mier seems to be do­ing his best to avoid get­ting in­volved in this mess.

It may have seemed like a quick fix to pass leg­is­la­tion clos­ing the Boat Har­bour treat­ment fa­cil­ity. But the lack of a vi­able road map to de­velop an al­ter­na­tive treat­ment plan has only deep­ened the prob­lem.

The man­tle of lead­er­ship seems to fall lightly on the shoul­ders of those who have been elected on our be­half. It is time for gov­ern­ments at all lev­els to stop the finger point­ing or “pay­ing at­ten­tion.”

It is time for some sleeves to be rolled up and lead­ers to step up to fig­ure out a plan for­ward.

Luke Young


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