It’s all because of the orcas…
In 2016, I set out to interview all the orca experts I knew about the impact Canada’s proposed Transmountain pipeline expansion project could have on the endangered southern residents.
The experts I spoke with all told me two things.
1. It would likely mean the end of the southern residents.
2. They would not be able to share this opinion at the public hearings because of who they worked for, where they were located and/or because they had been consulted in preparing the government report on the pipeline’s potential impact.
Almost all of them ended our conversations by saying, “so you’ll be speaking out, right?”
And I’d explain: “journalists don’t do that.”
A few days before the public hearing in Victoria I reached out to Kai Nagata from the Dogwood Institute to ask how many times the orcas had been mentioned in the public hearings. He told me there was one passing reference. No one had made them the focus of their presentation. He probably asked if I would be speaking… I would have said again: “journalists don’t do that.”
But… as everyone I spoke with said… somebody had to.
So I did. Here’s the speech I delivered. 

I was right.
Journalists don’t do that.
From the moment I delivered the speech I found myself referred to in the media as “an orca advocate” and publications that I wrote for decided my work – which was as thoroughly researched and reported as ever – now qualified as “opinion” because I had publicly spoken out on behalf of the southern residents.
And I thought… I can live with that.
I was now, officially, political.
And now I’m officially political on another level.
During the pandemic, I realized how grateful I was to be living where I was living. I was volunteering on the municipality’s arts and culture advisory board and thought… I want to do more for my home.
And I know I’m in the perfect place – not just because it’s beautiful and the community is terrific – but because this is BC’s only municipality with its own sea monster!
Yep, Saanich – home to the Cadborosaurus.
If you’re in Saanich, I hope I can earn your support.
If you’re anywhere in BC, I hope I can earn a donation. Because I want my students to be able to support me – and because Bernie – I’ve even set up a $5 donations tab on my site.
Thank you, as always, for your support!
Mark