Tuesday, December 30, 2003 Link To Herald The Halifax Herald Limited

Voice of the People

Unbearably cruel

The blasting of coastal Cape Breton through the yuletide season has been unbearably cruel.

Cruel to the fishing families who will worry over the next few years whether the juvenile herring, now larvae in the waters, or the snow crab, or other species have been damaged; and whether future catch will decrease.

Cruel to the marine life, especially the whales.

Cruel to those of us who believed Premier John Hamm when he said that if there were serious scientific questions about the threat of seismic, he would not let it proceed. Premier Hamm then refused to meet with scientists or fishermen. Despite written advice from scientists in the Department of Fisheries that this area was too sensitive and productive to take the risk, the pressure from oil and gas companies was all that mattered to the Hamm government or the unelected, unaccountable Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB).

They ignored the voices of every fishermen's organization in the Maritimes, the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, NDP Leader Darrell Dexter, Liberal Leader Danny Graham, P.E.I. Premier Patt Binns, N.B. Premier Bernard Lord, Quebec Premier Jean Charest, the House of Commons standing committee on the fisheries, the Atlantic Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, the independent scientists who pleaded to be heard.

The coalition that fought seismic testing will work tirelessly to reform legislation that allows the CNSOPB to act as a law unto itself.

Elizabeth May, executive director,

Sierra Club of Canada