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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

LAILA YUILE -- This has never been as much about oil, as it is jobs that pay very well for skills required

The article “Oil workers have key role to play in building clean energy future”, by Lliam Hildebrand, is a good read.  It was published a little over a month ago, and advised that, “Upskilling programs in conjunction with career development support will help ensure successful career transitions from fossil fuels to sustainable energy”.

It's been my personal experience talking with oil workers in the valley (there are a lot here, direct flight from Comox airport), that even the most hardcore toxic persona can be quickly broken down to admitting that:

  1. yes, the climate is changing and... 
  2. they are worried about supporting their families. 

Political leaders, media and oil barons have created a toxic narrative of Us vs. Them. Sadly, both pro oil and pro keep it in the ground keyboard warriors perpetuate it in discussions. 

I know some of you think we need to slam these people hard. But just imagine if someone was campaigning to shut your line of work down and you had few options for a similar paying one. 

I try to cut right to the chase in discussion, asking, “Are you just worried about providing for your family?" 

The answer is always ‘yes’. 

And then the follow-up, "Do you at least agree the climate is changing?" 

The answer is always ‘yes’. 

Now, you have a place of common agreement to work forward from.

This has never been as much about oil, as it is jobs that pay very well for skills required. This is why there is a kinship with forestry workers in the interior and northern, and miners, and other resources workers.

Some are highly educated and chose the industry to get rich quick, some quit high school and have little to fall back on. And there are a lot in between. 

When you advocate to change or terminate an industry, it becomes a responsibility to find, create and offer alternatives for those whose livelihoods will be lost. 

At least I think so.

About Laila Yuile ...
I am a f
irst-generation British Columbian by birth, who grew up in a lovely and wild area in north central BC. A former political commentator and occasional blogger
, I now make my home on Vancouver Island. I deeply value not only the unique perspective gained from my rural upbringing, but the connection to the land and its resources that it fostered.


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