Contributed by Fred F. Blois and Clifton & JimHarpell
The Chronicle Herald
March 13, 2021
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Iain Rankin says he’ll make respect for the environment a pillar of his policy-making as premier. Did a heavenly vision trigger this remarkable change of heart?
As a cabinet minister in Stephen McNeil’s government, Rankin’s record in environment and lands and forestry was troubling. He rubber-stamped Lafarge’s plan to burn used tires at its plant in Shortts Lake. He quietly delisted protected lands like Owls Head and opened them to private development. He failed to follow his department’s own laws to protect endangered species. He dragged his feet implementing the Lahey report’s recommendations on forestry.
But now that he’s premier, Rankin’s going to be a champion of the environment. We’d like to be believers. Such transformations, after all, are not impossible — but they are rare as miracles. Perhaps Rankin’s road to victory in the Liberal leadership race was like Saul’s journey on the road to Damascus. If so, we say “Amen.” But some specifics about the Lahey report and Owls Head and Shortts Lake need to follow fast.
Fred F. Blois, Clifton & Jim Harpell, Shortts Lake, are members of CABOT (Citizens Against Burning of Tires).