We imbue our governments with an extraordinary level of power over our lives. We do it in the belief, or at least the hope, that those in power will never forget their responsibility to protect those who granted them the power in the first place.
And certainly, while our leaders have to promote the common good, they must also remember to act with compassion for those who feel the impact of their decisions.
This week we saw the Department of Fisheries and Oceans launch a missive to Sooke’s charter operators containing options that could put those operators out of work and have a devastating effect on the local economy.
And while the stated purpose of protecting chinook salmon and, by extension the region’s resident orcas, is laudable, the method appears to target the low hanging fruit of the situation with little regard to the human consequences of the proposals.
And while the small scale charter operators may suffer the no-go areas, the tankers will continue to traverse those waters,
On a very different subject, last week’s press conference with Sooke’s MLA and B.C. premier saw him display his own failure of empathy.
He responded to questions about the concerns of area residents who seem destined to lose their property to a Highway 14 project by saying that “you have to break an egg to make an omelette.”
Although it can be argued that, in both these cases, the greater good may be a motivating factor, there is a danger that we lose sight of that fundamental responsibility of our leaders to navigate issues with a sense of compassion and concern.
While the plight of the southern resident killer whales is horrible, the situation has some of its roots in governmental inaction.
DFO’s plan to shut down sport fishers may be good for whales but ignores the human effect on real people.
And while Highway 14 needs work, our premier’s flippant references to breaking eggs to make omelets, shows a contempt for members of his electorate that is deeply disturbing.
Fishers and property owners are real people, impacted by leaders who seem to have forgotten their duty to care about the human factor.
That attitude needs to change.