Friday, March 11, 2011

Prosperity Lake, Fish Lake Controversy in Cycle Canada

Although I have writing this blog from the point of view of a motorcyclist, you can easily see that I have not restricted myself to writing only about motorcycling. Because I do not believe that motorcyclists should stick to talking only about motorcycling, and should sit down and shut up about everything else, such as the environment, hypocrisy, lies, and deliberate distortions in the news media. I could have separated the the blog into two, one for only motorcycling and one for everything else, but I did not, and of course that somewhat restricts my readership. Not that it makes much difference to me as it is a non commercial blog anyway.

Today I was quite impressed that Cycle Canada seems to agree with that attitude. In my new April 2011 issue, it came to my attention that Cycle Canada had written an opinion about the environment in March 2011, because one of their readers, John Northey of Port Moody, B.C., wrote in to complain about it. Forgive me, I did not notice it when I read the March issue last month, or if I read it I sure don't remember. John Northey wrote a letter to the editor, complaining that Neil Johnston (the author of the Cycle Canada piece about Prosperity Lake) "broke away from a ride experience to create a political polemic, which has no place in your publication. I am certainly not averse to controversy in Cycle Canada, as long as it relates to items about motorcycles and motorcycling. Johnston may have some experience with mining, but that does not give him latitude to make judgments when others with vastly more technical capability remain hard at work to resolve environmental issues in the Prosperity and Fish Lake situation."

This was the answer by the editor (Neil Graham)

"It stuns me that, as a man who expresses great affection for B.C. wilderness, you would so easily leave the region's future for others to decide. To have written a piece about Fish lake and not to have delved into the controversy would be a sacrilege - as well as shoddy journalism. And these "others" that you speak about, with "vastly more technical capability", wouldn't happen to be members of the Liberal Party of B.C. or employees of Taseko mining, would they? Before we are motorcyclists, we are citizens of this land, and sometimes it means standing up and exposing hypocrisy and double-speak. --Ed."

I say thumbs up to Cycle Canada on two counts. One, the courage to stand up and speak on a controversial issue, that is not normally covered in motorcycle magazines. Second, for the judgment to speak out on something that is worth speaking out for. I would actually not be very pleased if they spoke out against the environmentalists on this. I feel that we are already getting an overdose of right wing corporate propaganda in the media.

But that does bring us to another issue. If Motorcycle Magazines (or blogs) are going to start giving opinions on politics, religion, and the environment, which opinions should they give? Wouldn't it be better if they left it up to right wing or left wing bloggers, or the National Post or MacLean's magazine? In a perfect world, where we were not bombarded with propaganda from corporations and hatemongers, I would think that motorcycle magazines should avoid anything but motorcycling topics. But in a world that is gradually slipping into the corporate mindset (example, believing the mining company's promises that there would be no pollution), we need more and more people willing to take this kind of action, before it's too late. Already, large numbers of people have their heads in the sand about out economy slowing down, about oil resources depleting, about overpopulation and pollution, and global warming. I don't want Cycle Canada to become like my Greenpeace magazine, but say enough for us to know that they don't have their head stuck in the sand too.

1 comment:

  1. As soon as a writer strays from the purely factual to a matter of opinion, the writer, of course, risks offending some readers.

    One may argue that, in a 'motorcycle' magazine, opinions specifically about motorcycles are 'legitimate' whereas opinions about any other subject are not.

    If germane opinion cannot expressed in the context of legitimate articles we'd be in for pretty thin gruel indeed.

    In practice, for a magazine, it is the role of the editor to determine whether the opinion will be published or edited out. In this instance, the editor's decision was to publish.

    The reader has the opportunity to complain (as John Northey did) in the the Letters to the Editor section of the publication.

    And, as a final resort, the reader always has the option of voting with his or her dollars - refusing to purchase further issues.