BASS: Preaching to the choir with a song of fearmongering, rhetoric
I haven’t made up my mind on the proposed Ajax mine.
Maybe it’s a good thing — 400-plus jobs is nothing to ignore.
Then again, maybe it’s a bad thing because, so far, I haven’t heard anything from the proponent that convinces me the environment is a priority for it.
And, so, I’ve been trying to get information, but that’s been a bit difficult.
Multiple emails to the Kamloops Area Preservation Association (KAPA) were ignored until, finally, someone replied and told me I can’t go to its meetings because I’m a reporter.
I pointed out I also happen to be a person, a mom, a grandmother and a taxpaying member of the Kamloops community but, in this anonymous person’s mind, I’m only a reporter.
I asked for the name of the person replying and that just led to no more replies.
I’ve read a lot of the documentation available online, researched the company and even looked into that ominous assertion that KGHM has one of the worst records on environmentalism in Europe.
I didn’t go to any of the earlier Ajax-sponsored forums because you had to register and that just really didn’t seem right to me.
Other gatherings have been held at times that weren’t convenient for me.
But, last Sunday, with the only other option for the day being laundry, I went to a forum hosted by Derek Cook, a professor of political science at Thompson Rivers University.
Here are some of the things I heard that made me sort of go, “What?”:
First, Coun. Donovan Cavers said that, if the city was to hold a referendum on the mine, it will still likely pass because KGHM has lots of money and can win it.
Unless KGHM is going to buy those votes, I really don’t see the linkage here.
He then said the province’s mining regulations would supersede the city’s bylaws and that those same regulations come from the 1800s.
And his point, if that is even true, is what?
Cavers even threw out the idea that, if B.C. NDP election candidates Kathy Kendall and Tom Friedman don’t speak out against the mine, he and fellow councillor Tina Lange might run against them as independents or for the Green party.
Coun. Arjun Singh, who was also in the audience, told me he was pretty sure Cavers was kidding.
People asked where the proof is that Kamloops needs a mine.
That, frankly, isn’t the point. This isn’t about community need. It’s about company need and profits.
Don Barz, the head of KAPA, walked people through the steps to find information online about the mine and the proponent and then told the audience KGHM is involved in building a nuclear-power plant in Europe — and that those profits from Ajax will go to that plant.
Companies can do what they want with their profits.
One member of the audience asked, assuming they can’t stop the mine, how Kamloopsians can be assured the jobs won’t go to immigrants.
By then, I was shaking my head and wondering when the mob was going to break out.
Let me be clear — the intent of many of the people who are hosting these forums is to make sure information is shared. However, fearmongering and hypotheticals don’t accomplish that.
I spoke with a member of KAPA earlier this year who explained to me the reason they don’t want reporters at their meetings is that people like me can’t be trusted to write what they want us to write.
That’s one of the reasons I’m writing this column.
Because, ignoring the fact I’m a reporter, as someone who went there looking for concrete information on why the group thinks the mine is bad, I was dismayed to see there was lots of rhetoric, simple exaggerations and a whole lot of preaching to the choir.