Page 56 - On the Trail of Elizabeth May
ISSUE : Issue 53
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/1/1
in April of this year because of the court de? cision. . . . (In a recent conversation. .Ms. May said that, based on a limited environmental review--one without hearings or a published assessment--the federal permit has since been granted and construction is underway. A second court case has been launched by the Canadian Wildlife Federation.) Anyway, so it doesn't look very likely that I'll work for this government again. I think that they are fairly annoyed with me. But-- (Elizabeth claps her hands)--I never thought I'd work for it in the first place! (So you came back to Cape Breton for the sum? mer. Still think of Cape Breton as your home?) Yes. It'd be too depressing to think of any? where else as home. I'd like to come back and live here sometime, all the time. But right now I have a lot of friends pressuring me to stay in Ottawa. And the arguments go like this: I'm the only person now from the envi? ronmental movement who's ever worked inside government, so I know a lot about what makes it tick. And even though some people in gov? ernment are fairly annoyed with me, there are a lot of others who aren't, who can see how Keddy's Sydney Hotel 600 King's Rd., Sydney, N.S. KEDDY'S 218 ROOMS Air Conditioned Colour Cable TV Licensed Dining Daily Features Restaurant Hours: 7 A.M. - 2 P.M. / 5 P.M. -10 P.M. Coffee Shop Hours: 7 A.M.-10 P.M. Featuring Our Indoor Recreation Facility • ""Pool ? Sauna ? Whirlpool Bath ENTERTAINMENT & DRNCING NIGHTLV HT lUORV'S LOUNGE For Reservations Phone 539-1140 Toll Free Reservations Phone 1-800-561-7666 the whole thing happened. So I do have enough contacts in Ottawa to make it worthwhile stay? ing there, to do environmental work there. And to keep trying to help groups to know how to get through the government red tape and the system, and the best way to influence minis? ters, and so on. And I'11 work with Cultural Survival and get it started, and do rain forest work. But also work with issues that affect indigenous people and the environment in Canada. There's a lot of issues where native people are fighting for the environment. And as long as they're perceived as native land claims is? sues, a lot of the general public doesn't see how much it affects them. But I think resolv? ing native land claims are a first priority for an environmental agenda. Because a lot of wilderness areas are subject to land claims. A lot of wilderness areas are traditionally the subsistence base for native people. Now, one of the things is that environmentalists tend to feel, "Well, we're not going to endorse land claims unless the native people tell us 100% that they're not going to make the same mistakes that non-natives make." And I'm just taking a leap of faith and say? ing, look, there's fundamental justice here first. It doesn't mean we're going to turn over all the land back to native people--no one would ever consider that. But adequate compensaton, and more control over the re? source management in that area, is reasonable. And in terms of an historical record, native people have done a better job living in harmo? ny with their environment over millenia than non-native people have done. And so, there's a lot to be learned from that. Regardless of whether it's Haida land or Canadian land--if the area of the Queen Charlottes that's South Moresby were ever turned back to the Haida na? tion, it'll be called a tribal park instead of being called a national park. They've made that statement, that that land is to be main? tained in its current integrity. So I think that land claims are a very impor? tant part of sort of an environmental, sus? tainable-development agenda. And it's certain? ly true right around the world. In the Third World, the people who are in the front lines to preserve their forests are indigenous peo? ple. So I've just come to the point that I think it's important for both social justice and environmental issues to say, "We support the resolution of land claims." Period. And we'll see. If it turns out that some band, once getting control of its resources, decides they want to build a nuclear power plant, well, we'll lobby them and see what happens. But I don't think it's very likely. Need a Radiator? Muffler? Shocks? Brakes? Specializing in Radiator Repair & Recores Heaters Water Pumps, Etc. TWO LOCATIONS: Sydney ' 349 George St. - Downtown ' AND Port Hawkesbury Maclnnes Road at Specializing in Mufflers Brakes Shocks MASTER MUFFLER Springs t'mm Sydney: 562-2300 • Port Hawkesbury: 625-3781 Port Hawkesbury Centre Sydney: 539-6691 • Port Hawkesbury: 625-3781 56
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