Opinion: Bylsma ouster done under smokescreen

By Mike Williscraft

There are some very serious matters at hand this week, so let’s start with the most serious, by far.

A Big Mac with bacon on it is not a Big Mac any longer, so let’s just get that out there.

On to lesser topics…so West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma got nudged from his position as chair of Niagara Peninsula Conservation
Authority last week.

The chair position comes up annually at the group’s AGM. The fact the board opted to make a change is not an earth-shattering one, but some of the
circumstances around the ouster is unfortunate.

In this world of all things social media, Bylsma has been pegged a climate change denier, which is quickly approaching something along the line of being mass murderer these days.

Yes, the environment is in serious need of attention on many fronts. Most agree. Some do not.

If anyone asked Bylsma, as I did last week, he will tell you he does agree and he has never stated otherwise. He welcomes anyone to find a sample of an anti-climate change statement.

What he noted he has done, though, is asked questions. As someone who asks questions for a living, I have no problem with people who challenge things and ask a ton of questions. Nobody’s opinion is worth more than the next person’s. We all get one vote on this planet.

Granted, so additional weight can and should be given to the opinion of those who are informed. Chances are they became informed by doing what Bylsma has done, asked questions. For the record, here his Bylsma’s stance:

“I have never denied climate change anywhere ever.

I have not even absolved Mankind in having effects on climate through deforestation and paving of our landscape. I do raise three questions pertinent to any discussion on policies addressing climate change.

1) If the science is so settled on causation, why are they unable to accurately predict trends? Every peer reviewed study has greatly overstated the predictions for the 50 years of my life. Science is about predictably. Policy will be matched when they see this on climate change.

2) Studies and scientists that are proven by the passing of time to have been wrong in the past decades, how are they being held accountable for directing policies and public funding for their wrong predictions?

3) If carbon dioxide is now to be referred to as a pollutant. Why are the former toxins like ozone and sulphur dioxide now referred to as criteria pollutants to
distinguish them from CO2?”

Now, from what I see there and from speaking to the man, he has no issue with government stepping up to push climate change policies, he just wants those policies directed in appropriate targets to ensure effectiveness and to target spending. While we all know governments are prone to waste money, giving an open-ended credit card on something as expansive as climate change could bankrupt us in a heartbeat.

The point of all this is people are allowed to have opinions. In the case of the NPCA, even if any board member was a straight up climate denier, it is of no consequence as climate control has nothing to do with the mandate of the NPCA. Sure, it could be a problem if something overlapped, but there has been nothing in the last year, certainly, which brought this to the forefront.

So, Bylsma is out with the bathwater. I would say he is disappointed, but not shocked, especially since he has emails showing a concerted plan going back about eight months to get him pushed out.

Now, Winona’s Brenda Johnson is in. She is a cracker jack of a representative and will do a great job, so the NPCA is in good hands. It’s important for them to keep pushing ahead and get the last terms of previous board members as far in the rear view mirror as possible.
Grimsby lost one of its behind-the-scenes championswith the passing of Joan Hastings-Dove on Jan. 1.

I spent a ton of time working with Joan on many projects, including the formative years of Niagara West Tourism Association and a host of events. Many may know her from her 28 years teaching at Niagara College where she also served as faculty president and sat on the board of directors. Joan was super creative and always looked at things from a unique angle, great for someone like me who is generally very analytical. Our condolences to her husband, John, and family.

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