If the people of McBride are going to find the solution to their failing economy and dwindling population it won’t be by means deployed at the Caribou Recovery Consultation evening.
Everyone wanted to take a shot at the gathered scientists and bureaucrats.
All night we listened to the same idea restated: “We weren’t consulted,” said one. “We should have been consulted,” said another. “Consulted we weren’t,” they went on.
On and on. Everyone had to say it.
It’s too bad nobody bothered to listen to what their neighbor said, because they would have left plenty time to consider some new material, for example, what a herd plan is, or how locals could be involved in it.
The consultation meeting was by no means a boring evening, because almost every speaker had a theory about the demise of the caribou.
Grizzly bear predation was the reason, said one man, having once seen caribou fur in a pile of grizzly crap.
A wolf cull would solve the whole thing, said another.
One person ventured that a lack of rabies was another (though no one cheered for the return of rabies).
Caribou are too dumb to survive, was another.
Even climate change was ventured as the reason.
My favourite part of the evening was the conspiracy part, where BC’s decision not to drive the caribou to extinction was solely a plot of American businessmen to tie up BC’s resources.
Everyone who spoke seemed to agree that government scientists were incompetent, and that the people should be considered the scientists, their long history in the area being the only qualification. A solid idea for sure, excepting that no one citizen scientist appeared to agree with any other citizen scientist.
My own conspiracy
I have another conspiracy theory to offer: McBride is being robbed. I believe that logging companies are cutting down the trees surrounding McBride and hauling them to Prince George without creating jobs needed to sustain the community. It’s stupid and inefficient, and only works because the government subsidizes it.
McBride, look around the community. You are rich. You have unlimited potential. After suffering 16 years of neglect and abuse you now have a provincial government that believes resources should enrich local communities (despite the fact that you voted overwhelmingly for the people that want to take those riches away).
Have you forgotten what it was like to have work? A mill? To have a whole forestry office to look after those resources? To have children in your schools?
You can worry yourself sick that saving the caribou will hurt the bottom line of the people that rob resources from your region daily. If I were a citizen of McBride, I’d call for an immediate stop to all wood leaving the valley until someone figures out how we’re going to create some jobs.