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The Green Rift

Has the Environmental Movement Been Torn Apart?

The Istken Hall is buzzing.

Whistlerites, Pembertonians and students from Quest University have packed the small hall at Whistler's Squamish-Lil'wat Cultural Centre. The mayors of both towns are in attendance, as are numerous councillors.

In Lil'wat tradition, an Istken Hall is a traditional earthen pit house and place of respect where anyone in attendance gets their chance to speak without interruption.

On this night, the eve of Good Friday, not everyone's here to show respect. People are sharpening their verbal knives as they wait to form an audience with Tzeporah Berman.

In another time and place such a gathering would be taking place at a peace camp on the side of a highway near Clayoquot Sound. Berman would be musing to an enraptured audience about the importance of coastal rainforests as police arrived to arrest her.

Today it isn't police who are after her - it's former supporters who once considered her their Messiah and now see her as a green Judas.

In the midst of her talk, Berman shows a graph charting out B.C.'s energy needs leading up to the year 2030. Her voice quivers as she tries to convince her audience that B.C. won't have all the power it needs by then.

"Even if we doubled, tripled, quadrupled our conservation and efficiency plans that we have today, we couldn't meet that gap. We couldn't get off fossil fuels," she says.

In the second row an activist with the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE) snickers, wholly unconvinced of what Berman has presented.

It's clear there's a split in the audience - some are on board with Berman's support for initiatives such as a carbon tax and run-of-river hydro, while others see her as a traitor for supporting policies championed by the B.C. Liberals.

The split is a symptom of a greater rift in B.C.'s environmental movement - one exacerbated by a recent B.C. election that has fractured it along ideological lines.

Election 2009

How did it come to this? How did a movement to save the planet devolve into a Monty Pythonesque battle reminiscent of the Judean People's Front vs. the People's Front of Judea - too engaged in internal fighting to take on a common enemy?

Gone are the days that environmentalists hiked together across the Stein Valley to protest a logging road. No longer do British Columbians witness the unity that drove tree-lovers to take up residence in the woods of Clayoquot Sound and the Elaho.

Such displays have been replaced by struggles between different environmental groups to co-opt the issues from each other as the proper stewards of the environment in British Columbia. There is common ground on many areas, but a yawning chasm on the issues is making headlines today.

Reasons for the split cited by some of B.C.'s most prominent environmentalists point to people and events revolving around the recent election - one that differed vastly from those that came before. In the 2005 election the environment barely figured as an issue.

A search of the news archive for CBC's "B.C. Votes 2005" website doesn't turn up a reference to the environment in a single headline. The only time the word "Green" appears is to announce the failure of the party to gain a seat.

A search of the Vancouver Sun 's 2005 archives yields a similar result. The environment figures as an issue in some ridings but doesn't hit the news stream with the same fervour as it does today. No mention of a carbon tax, cap and trade or green energy.

Back then, and in years previous, the environment simply didn't play as an issue the way it does now. Where once the operative words in B.C. politics were "jobs," "health care" and "Fast Ferries," today "carbon tax" and "run of river" have been added to the fray.

Gordon Campbell, it should be said, didn't exactly jump on the environmental file as soon as he took office in 2001. Back then he changed the Ministry of Environment to the Ministry of Air, Land and Water Resources - the ministry of "Earth, Wind and Fire" as some activists derisively called it.

He appointed New Westminster MLA Joyce Murray in charge of the file, and interviews suggest her ideas didn't always gel with cabinet. In a 2008 interview with the Ubyssey she said the government "wasn't convinced" that the environment was a top priority at the time - at least not big enough for Campbell's Liberals to support Kyoto.

Today, things have changed. Al Gore's documentary " An Inconvenient Truth" unleashed a Pandora's Box of fear about climate change in 2006 and even the Premier signed on. The 2007 Speech from the Throne announced Campbell's intention to bring B.C.'s emissions to 10 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. That commitment was followed months later by a "magical mystery tour" that brought Arnold Schwarzenegger to B.C. The two signed a memorandum of understanding to significantly reduce emissions and build a "hydrogen highway" from B.C. to Baja California.

Green hit the mainstream and British Columbians were stunned. Barbara Yaffe at the Vancouver Sun called them an "environmental odd couple." Alan Ferguson at the Province said Schwarzenegger had won his respect - and that he'd take him any day over a "sackcloth-and-ashes brigade of breast-beating enviro-fanatics."

The Patrick Moore factor

Gordon Campbell's about-face on the environment ultimately helped him take the issue away from such fanatics, according to Patrick Moore, a former president of Greenpeace Canada and now an environmental consultant.

Moore, it should be said, has endured a split of his own with the environmental movement. While a student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where he once studied under then-genetics researcher David Suzuki, he took part in massive protests that accompanied a campus visit by Jerry Rubin, one of the "Chicago Seven" and an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.

It was a turbulent time at UBC, where he went on to earn a PhD in ecology.

Students occupied the University's Faculty Club in numbers that wouldn't be matched until the APEC protests in 1997 - and Moore was among them. Radicalized academics jam-packed Suzuki's lectures to hear him go beyond genetics and into issues such as the war and racism in America. He was a key influence on students at the time - including Moore.

"A lot of the professors rejected the revolutionary sort of element within the University," he says. "David made a point of reaching out and speaking to us, those of us who were becoming radicalized because of the war in Vietnam. He was always very personable."

Caught up in a radicalized atmosphere, Moore found his way into the environmental movement through the Don't Make a Wave Committee (DMWC), which went on to become Greenpeace.

Moore joined the group in the spring of 1971 as part of a campaign to protest bomb tests in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. He was one of 12 people to sail the first boat north to Amchitka Island, a national wildlife refuge that was slated for an underground nuclear test by the U.S. Department of Defence.

The group worried that the tests could create a tidal wave similar to the 17-foot monster just five years earlier that rocked Seward, Alaska and much of the Gulf Coast.

Moore, a member of the first group to directly confront the tests, later helped organize a campaign against atmospheric testing in French Polynesia in 1973, and claims he played a role in all the Save the Whales campaigns in the Pacific.

"If you'd ever seen one killed you would never want to see one killed again," he says. "It's impossible to do it humanely. They drive a grenade into the backbone and blow it up. And then they spend half an hour to an hour suffering and dying."

In 1975 he and some fellow activists made history when they sailed into San Francisco harbour after confronting a Soviet whaling fleet off the coast of California. They returned intact with pictures of harpoons flying over their heads.

By then the DMWC had morphed into Greenpeace and began spreading its environmental fervour throughout the world - inspiring protests against Newfoundland's sealing trade and drawing celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot to their cause.

The sealing protests proved a turning point for Moore and his involvement in the environmental movement. It was the first place that the found his scientific background running headlong into Greenpeace's public message.

"One of our members was quoted in the media saying that the seals were in danger of extinction if the hunt continued," he says. "I knew that this was not true. I never thought that the seal campaign was about endangered species. It was about cruelty to animals, in particular about bludgeoning baby seals in front of their mothers while they're still nursing."

Greenpeace members eventually took Moore's advice about contextualizing the hunt within the issue of endangered species, but he had another fight coming - this time over chlorine.

Fellow directors on the Greenpeace board, of which Moore eventually became a member, wanted to start a global campaign against chlorine. They wanted a global ban on the substance for a variety of reasons, among them that it had been seen to cause sterility in mammals.

For Moore, it was foolish to try and ban a chemical that could help give people clean water.

"Where I finally lost the argument was over the subject of chlorine," he says. "My fellow directors, none of whom had any formal science education... they would not take my advice that chlorine was very important in medicine and very important in public health and they said ban chlorine worldwide.

"I know that if we were to ban chlorine in drinking water you would have cholera epidemics breaking out."

Moore officially left the organization in 1986 and says it has since adopted more campaigns he doesn't agree with. Since departing the organization he's gone on to work as a keynote speaker on environmental issues and as a sustainability consultant with Greenspirit Strategies - a firm he started in 1994.

In his new guise he's done work with various industries such as energy, plastics and forestry - drawing his own comparisons to Judas Iscariot in the process. He's also become a kind of pundit on the worldwide environmental movement.

In that role he's contradicted the advice of Greenpeace not to use soft toilet paper. He's advocated for nuclear power. But more than anything, he's lambasted activists for mounting "fear-based" campaigns about global warming.

"Many environmental campaigns are based on fear," he says. "Climate change, again, words like catastrophe and apocalypse, the collapse of human civilization, this is sensationalism.

"There's no evidence to show that that's going to happen. As a matter of fact right now the climate doesn't seem to be changing. Since 1996, there hasn't been any evidence the climate is changing."

When asked about the state of B.C.'s environmental movement, Moore says that Gordon Campbell has successfully co-opted the issue from the left, particularly with regard to the carbon tax and run-of-river.

"Gordon Campbell has done an amazing job of end-running the political left and the environmental movement on these two issues," he says. "A big part of the split is that environmentalists that are staunchly NDP just can't stand the fact that (David) Suzuki and (Tzeporah) Berman and others are supporting what is essentially the Liberal side.

"I believe there are people who would traditionally be called NDP who are not necessarily leaders of the environmental movement but who agree with Berman on the carbon tax."

Today Moore feels that there's a strong desire for scientific analysis of environmental issues but his split with the movement remains in place - disgusted as he is with the "fear tactics" of certain activists raising awareness of global warming.

"I'm all in favour of clean air, water and good food," he says. "I so strongly disagree with using irrational fear as a basis for these campaigns."

The disillusionment of Tzeporah Berman

Moore's split from the environmental movement has a loose parallel with that of Tzeporah Berman, the fiery co-founder of ForestEthics and leading voice of the 10,000-strong Clayoquot Sound protests.

In the past election and prior to that she took up a different kind of prominence. Where once she pressured the government to protect coastal rainforests, today she's defending its politics. She says that people mounting blanket opposition to run-of-river hydro are effectively doing the lobbying work of the fossil fuel industry.

As executive director of PowerUP Canada, a citizen's initiative that's drawn the support of four Canadian Prime Ministers, she's pushing for better policies at the government level but some activists won't even attend her conferences. At her talk in Whistler she related a furor that erupted over comments she made on CKNW's Bill Good Show.

"Bill Good said, 'What do you mean by green stimulus and what do you mean by green jobs?'" she told her audience. "I said two sentences about how we need to rethink our opposition to run-of-river and that we have to figure out how we can support the expansion of renewable energy in this province."

That set them off - anonymous callers who rang her phone off its hook. Calls that brought death threats against her and imploring her to "watch your family."

"I had people saying to me, as an environmentalist you cannot speak out opposite to other environmentalists in this province," she said. "I was like, I'm sorry, I thought I was part of a movement, not a cult!"

Berman's journey towards environmentalism came on a trip to Europe in 1989. At the time studying fashion design at Toronto's Ryerson University, she caught jet set fever after her first year and wanted to take in some ancient ruins.

While backpacking in Greece she visited Athens at a time when air pollution as at an "all-time high."

"I was so excited about seeing the Acropolis," she says. "People were dropping like flies in the street. I remember going back to my hostel that night and coughing up black."

Hoping to do some hiking, she and her travel-companion sister picked a random place on a map and landed on Germany's Harz Mountains as their next designation. It provided no respite from Greece's black air.

"I wake up in the morning to go hiking and find out that we're surrounded by forests that are dead," she says. "They had all died as a result of acid rain and they'd been left standing by the government as a testimony to the impacts of industrial civilization."

Berman yearned to come back to Canada where she could be surrounded by intact wilderness again. Once back in school she started taking courses in environmental studies at the University of Toronto. It was there that she first learned about temperate rainforests and began gravitating towards environmentalism.

The following summer she started backpacking throughout British Columbia and signed up as a volunteer with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee (WCWC). While with the WCWC she lived in the Carmanah Valley on Vancouver Island, helping the organization research clearcut logging in B.C.'s forests.

"I fell in love with B.C.'s rainforests," she says. "(I) really admired (the WCWC's) work in supporting the scientific research that was going on there and raising public awareness about the impacts of clearcut logging on old-growth forests."

Berman's stint with the WCWC left a heavy impression on the budding environmentalist - she would bloom just two years later as a "blockade coordinator" for the "Sons of Clayoquot Sound."

She first arrived in Clayoquot Sound, on Vancouver Island's west coast, in 1992. There she later took up residence in a "peace camp" on the side of a highway as part of a massive protest against the logging practices of MacMillan Bloedel.

Mike Harcourt, B.C.'s NDP premier at the time, permitted logging in 33 per cent of the 262,000-hectare rainforest near Tofino - a rare entity in the world. Harcourt thought he could appease environmentalists by allowing logging in only a cross-section of the forest.

Environmentalists responded in kind in the summer of 1993. They launched road blockades. They started "tree-spiking" - literally hammering nails into trees to damage sawblades and chainsaws.

856 people were arrested - and Berman, a chief spokesperson for the protesters, was among them. She was taken off the side of a highway while giving a speech, but today she can't remember the charge.

From there Berman gained more influence in the movement. She helped draw the boundary for the "Great Bear Rainforest" to help keep it off limits to logging. She led boycotts against corporations like Victoria's Secret to stop them using non-recycled paper for their catalogues.

With ForestEthics, a firm she co-founded, she made clients out of environmental enemies such as Dell, Estee Lauder and Hewlett-Packard, helping them adopt more sustainable practices. She realized early on that protests alone wouldn't make a difference.

Her collective experience as an environmentalist won her an appearance in Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary " The 11 th Hour" and brought her to Hollywood premiere parties where she'd stand beside the likes of Paris Hilton.

Today, however, Berman finds herself standing with a chorus of environmentalists who've broken with those who remain dogmatically opposed to government policies.

Upon launching their platform in which they promised to axe the carbon tax, the NDP faced a major attack at a single press conference from three prominent environmental groups: the David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics and the Pembina Institute - three of 16 groups that lauded the carbon tax when it was first released.

Pembina called the promise to axe the tax a "step backward" for climate action. David Suzuki warned that if the NDP got rid of the tax, future politicians would consider it poison at the polls.

Berman's reprisal came four days later. In a front page story in the Vancouver Sun , she renounced her membership in the NDP.

"You have put politicking before the planet in the most hypocritical fashion," she wrote in a strongly worded e-mail to NDP leader Carole James. "I have had to watch the embarrassing display as you pulled a 180 on your earlier strong positions to the reactionary ones you advocate now."

James largely laughed off the reprisals, telling reporters that "We certainly agree to disagree with the environmental movement."

Berman certainly agrees there's a split in the environmental movement, but challenges the notion that it's somehow broken with the NDP.

"I would say it's not true that the environmental movement has always rallied behind the NDP," she says. "I think it's fair to say that traditionally, the environmental vote has always gone to the left.

"I would say that it's the first time that so much environmental criticism has been targeted at the NDP."

As for the split in the movement, Berman thinks there's more a split in the NDP. People within the party, she says, have been calling her to say that they didn't support the move to "axe the gas tax," as James put it.

That assertion finds agreement with Andrew Weaver, a professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria.

"I actually do not think there is a split in the environmental community, I think there is a split in the NDP," he says. "There are those within the NDP who are opposed to private electricity production and there are those who are concerned about the potential loss of union jobs. Rather than dealing with those issues up front, they're greenwashing them and claiming there's an ecological problem."

Joe Foy finds common ground

Not everyone in the environmental movement has turned against the NDP. The WCWC, for example, supports the carbon tax but feels the B.C. Liberals have their policies backwards on other issues.

Joe Foy, the WCWC's national campaign director, says his group didn't join the chorus condemning the NDP platform for a number of reasons: first off, they weren't asked to attend the press conference. Secondly, they wouldn't have gone if they were asked because there's a host of other issues they're focused on.

"We wouldn't have focused strictly on that issue," he says. "We're kind of pissed off about a whole variety of issues."

Chief among them is run-of-river hydro. Together with Rafe Mair and the Save Our Rivers Society, the WCWC ran a kind of province-wide counter-campaign against the B.C. Liberals and run-of-river projects.

The WCWC feels that having private corporations run the projects amounts to "privatizing" B.C. rivers, leading to a "gold rush mentality" in which corporations are snapping up claims to the province's streams.

It's a message that came to Whistler's Spruce Grove Field House just a week before Berman's talk. Foy stood before a sparse audience with Mair, a former MLA and long time radio host who's found a second calling as an environmentalist. Foy stood with him as he charged that IPP's are "bribing" First Nations into supporting the projects.

He later stood with Carole James on the campaign trail as she defended her party's environmental policies, telling the Province that he was disappointed with her stance on the tax, but nevertheless cheered her on because the Liberals were "sucking up" to industrial polluters.

Foy, a participant in the Stein Valley protests in the 1980s, agrees there's a split in the environmental movement today but unlike Moore, Berman and Weaver he doesn't think it's solely the NDP's doing.

"Every decade that I've been involved, the number, variety and capability of environmental groups in B.C. has been growing," he says. "When that happens, I think this is just a natural outflow of that."

But what of the public divisions? What of Berman saying that groups like the WCWC are working in tandem with the fossil fuel industry? And what of other environmental groups coming forward and denouncing the NDP as weak stewards of the environment?

Foy seems to take it in stride.

"Frankly, I still think they're more banded together than not," he says. "The nature of the work we choose for ourselves is stressful... You choose to put yourself into environmental battles and it's therefore good practice to maintain good relations with your partners."

What about PowerUP Canada? Are they still partners?

"PowerUP Canada? No," he says. "PowerUP Canada is in a very different place... We perceive PowerUP Canada as very small, very fast. It has bumbled into a very wrong place right now."

With the election over, what's left for the WCWC? Run-of-river is still being developed across the province and members are still likely to flood the meetings for each project.

Foy says the WCWC supports a "revamped" energy plan that would ensure each project is planned, publicly-owned and "environmentally-appropriate" - in short, they want the repeal of Bill 30, which stated that regional governments cannot veto a public utility.

The WCWC would also like to see more conservation measures such as ground-source heat pumps - and doing it from the ground up, before new development happens.

And what of the environmental movement? Can the split be healed?

"That depends on your perception of how badly it's been split," he says. "I'm a great believer that the reason there is an environmental movement here is we have this western democratic society which says that just because you have a contrary idea that you voice, you're not insulting anyone.

"I debate and argue as strong as the rest of them, but I sure as hell don't say that people don't' have the right to say what they think."

The Sea to Sky split

Closer to home, the environmental rift is as evident as anywhere. Events such as the controversy around the Ashlu Creek project have brought the IPP issue to the fore in the Sea to Sky corridor. They have also highlighted a split between two very different kinds of environmentalist.

Pemberton-based scientist Nigel Protter considers environmentalism to be the cornerstone issue that has dominated his life - though not, perhaps, in the mainstream sense.

Protter first moved to Whistler in 1978 - he and a friend built a cabin in the woods off Westside Road. They lived "off the grid" and developed their own power, according to him. Until 1981 he operated the "Espresso Express," a cappuccino bus that was the first business in Whistler Village.

Three years after that he was working as a ski patroller on Whistler Mountain with current Mayor Ken Melamed. Protter recalls them having a discussion about how each would change the world.

"We both felt at the time that we were going to do something about making the world a better place," he says. "(Ken's) whole position was one of activism and kind of shaking it up from the outside. I said, you know Ken, my position is I'm going to shake it up from the inside. I'm going to educate myself and improve the system from within."

Protter got his first exposure to "Green power" when he paid a visit to Oscar Berube, a Sea to Sky pioneer who homesteaded a piece of land between Squamish and Whistler. He had his own hand-built powerhouse at his house at Culliton Creek.

There was an intake and electrical system that harnessed the power of a river to generate electricity for his home. He had a sheet of clear glass in the floor that allowed people to see what was lighting his house.

Protter was transfixed.

"He powered himself and you had to leave your lights running all the time," he says.

Berube's home power station was something that stuck with him - 14 years later, after moving to Pemberton, he joined a community advisory committee analyzing development of a geothermal plant on Meager Creek. Later a hydro project broke ground on the Soo River and Protter wanted a piece of the action.

"I realized the green power revolution was verging upon us in B.C. but there didn't exist a single person with a local's perspective that actually had a voice within the industry," he wrote in a submission to Pique this year. "I decided to become one."

From there he began renting out his family's home in order to pursue an MBA at Simon Fraser University focusing on sustainable development. Living between a camper van and a converted barn outside his family home, he spent two years studying energy policy in jurisdictions throughout the world.

Much of his research culminated in a 203-page industry analysis that observed the private sector was primed to stimulate a sustainable energy industry in B.C. It predicted that the move to "independent power production" (IPP) would allow "universal access" to the province's transmission and distribution infrastructure.

From 2001 to 2003 he served as "green power champion" for the Independent Power Producers Association of BC (IPPBC), helping to advance "green power policy" within the province. He also served as the representative for the energy sector during community consultations towards the Sea to Sky Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP).

It was around this time that a public outcry began to erupt over the Ashlu Creek project in Squamish. Area residents and environmentalists worried that putting a project on the pristine river could knock over trees and deny recreational passage for kayakers.

Ashlu consultations were a catalyst for a jump in popular sentiment against IPP's, at least within the Sea to Sky region. People came to see the projects as intrusions on public resources - especially after the province used Bill 30 to override a local government's ability to veto them, regardless of public sentiment.

It sparked a furor that later carried over to a project slated for the Ryan River north of Pemberton. Protter is a consultant to developer Regional Power, and he says he's helping them design a project that will be "the world's best example yet of sustainable hydropower" - in effect, his magnum opus until he does something bigger.

Like the Ashlu, the project has met with considerable opposition from environmentalists within the corridor. Some worry it will impact a grizzly habitat - others oppose it for the same reasons they would any other project.

Sara Jennings, president of the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE), told the province's Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) that all IPP's should be stopped until a "comprehensive study" could be done to see which rivers are best-suited for the projects.

Other AWARE members have noted their ideological opposition to privately-run projects and the possibility that electricity could be sold to the United States.

It's a position that has put Protter and AWARE into a headlong conflict over whether IPP's are the right way to give B.C. its electricity. Protter thinks they're an essential part of feeding power-hungry customers on the Western Interconnect. AWARE thinks they're an environmentally careless way to get electricity.

"There's an environmental movement of people who know nothing about much," Protter says. "Then there are environmental engineers and people who are doing things for the environment. That's not a movement, that's a calling and a career."

Nowhere was the split between Protter and AWARE more evident than in early April, when he sent association members a news release announcing funding for a wave energy project he was working on.

Pina Belperio, a Whistler activist and former AWARE director, sent him a simple response - "FU," ostensibly meaning "f*** you."

Speaking in an interview in mid-May, Belperio doesn't deny that's what she meant but said she did it because she didn't want to receive Protter's e-mails.

"Normally you ask to be on people's e-mail (lists), I don't appreciate receiving unsolicited e-mails," she says. "Maybe that's his way of trying to get me to see the light. Religious people tend to do the same thing."

Protter and AWARE both want to create a more sustainable world. Why, then are they fighting?

"I think we actually agree on a lot of things that might not always have been seen on the outside," Jennings says in an interview. "We have had Nigel present to our group before and I've had conversations with him. We have different points of view on some things and similar points of view on others.

"He's doing what he's doing because he believes it's the right thing to do, and the same with us."

And Pina?

"Nigel believes passionately that his ideas are right and we believe that our ideas are right," Belperio says. "I think we have to work together is what it comes down to, not that we're going to agree on everything."

As for Protter, he thinks that many within the environmental movement ought to take science more seriously. He rejects a dogmatic approach to IPPs as he's observed within Sea to Sky and elsewhere.

"Most developers I know are responsible," he says. "They're socially-responsible and they want to do the right things. They may not know exactly how to do the right things and there's people like me who know a few things about how to do it right."

The aftermath

The electoral dust has settled over British Columbia. Election signs have been cleaned off sidewalks and streets, save for a few stragglers that remain. The B.C. Liberals and their environmental policies have been re-elected with the same level of confidence as they were in 2005.

The NDP remains a sizable opposition but its environmental positions undoubtedly lost them a few "green" voters aside from the ones who went public.

What happens next for the environmental movement? Andrew Weaver thinks efforts towards transforming the energy sector and implementing the carbon tax ought to be supported - both things the NDP opposed.

"The NDP are just, 'let's start all over again,'" he says. "The climate system doesn't have time to do that, thank you very much."

Others associated with the environmental movement have had their ideas internalized by the government. Tzeporah Berman and Patrick Moore now champion the government's efforts, as does David Suzuki - but none of them blindly.

Where the split remains, it seems, is in how to approach climate change. There remain unresolved questions as to whether the carbon tax is punitive enough and to what degree the private sector should have a role in developing green energy.

Come what may, there can be no doubt that British Columbians have walked out of the dust into a brand new green world in their province. Who is right remains to be seen.