Letter from John Cashore to John Horgan - very powerful

Thomas Oatis Sandborn, John Cashore
From: Thomas Oatis Sandborn 
Date: Sun, Jul 18, 2021 at 4:05 PM
Subject: Fwd: Letter from John Cashore to John Horgan - very powerful

Hi, all. This strong statement went from NDP veteran MLA John Cashore to John Horgan this month. It makes a strong argument for the BC NDP to be more principled in its approach to the climate crisis. I urge you all to read it and circulate it widely, especially to folks who have, like Cashore, been NDP activists. And while you are at it, send a note to Horgan at john.horgan.mla@leg.bc.ca

Let him know that these are vital issues for you, and that you vote! T
John Cashore: history:
 John spent 15 years as the elected Member of the Legislative Assembly for Coquitlam-Maillardville, serving as Minister of Environment (1991-1993), Aboriginal Affairs (1993-1998), Labour (1997-1998), and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier (2000-2001). He introduced the “Zero AOX” pulp pollution regulation requiring pulp mills to completely eliminate their organochlorine discharges by the end of 2002, and has been a tireless advocate for the environment. Prior to entering politics, he worked as a United Church Minister, primarily in rural and Indigenous communities. John lives in Coquitlam and has a summer home on Cortes Island, where he enjoys hiking, fishing and canoeing. John served four years on Georgia Strait Alliance’s Board of Directors.
Letter to John Horgan:
July 6th, 2021

From: John Cashore, 312 - 1465 Parkway Blvd. Coquitlam, BC, V3E 3E6

To: John Horgan, Premier of BC.


Hello John,


Since 2016 I have sent you letters concerning issues pertinent to BC’s future. They have all gone unanswered.  


Recently you informed me that I am now a member of the “Premiers Circle”. Does this mean my letters will in future be read by you and answered? As a former cabinet minister who is now a member of the “circle”, I am disappointed that your office chooses to protect you from a former colleague.


From our days in government, a number of former MLAs and I keep in touch with discussions centred around the well-being of our province and the world. We are aware we are not among your closest advisors and we have not been consulted on issues such as Site C, LNG, fracking, subsidies to oil and gas interests etc.  (Apparently one of your closest advisers is a lobbyist for the latter).


Despite that, we have remained loyal to you and to what we consider to be a principled political movement.  


However, patience in times of crisis is limited.


As a former minister of an NDP government, I do realize how difficult it is to do the right thing and stay in power. I also realize that we are in a potentially catastrophic global climate crisis.

The sad reality of this crisis is that governments globally continue to be more focused on “spin” than realistic action. 


As Minister of Environment in the early 1990s, I attended  environment ministers’ conferences and later the Earth summit in Rio. Targets set by politicians at these and other related events have never been achieved.  Current targets such as solving the problem by 2050 are as reliable as previous targets that were never achieved.


We will fail the future if we continue to support decisions that benefit fossil fuel corporations.  Recently I read a Sierra Club leaflet making the point that BC taxpayers are subsidizing oil and gas interests.  Thus far I have seen nothing in print or elsewhere countering that information.  Is it true?


The dilemma you and other leaders face is a combination of political reality vs the moral imperative to do the right thing.


Political reality is primarily about being re-elected.  Policies that are supported by the base are the major focus.  When an urgent global crisis shows up, political expediency sets in motion sophisticated measures to spin the message with the goal of staying in power. That goal trumps the goal of doing the right thing.


However, in times of crisis there comes a tipping point when the majority of the public discern the need for measures that are on the side of human survival.


It is essential that you and other leaders mobilize to assure the body politic that very tough measures are necessary for the well-being of all people.


The line in a folksong of descendants of slavery, later referenced by James Baldwin, “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water, the fire next time”, no doubt resonates with you personally in what is now a long hot summer. It will be difficult to watch the effects of Global Climate Change as you attempt to comfort the citizens of our beautiful province who see fearful evidence that this next time it’s both fire and water. 


We may have not yet hit the tipping point. But you and I both know that the time is coming.


Seth Klein’s new book “A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency” addresses this dilemma by outlining the timely actions taken by Canadian leaders during World War Two that had the effect of achieving public support for the measures required to save democracy.


As you are aware, democracies are in trouble globally. Future generations are in even more trouble when governments of “have” jurisdictions such as BC fail to recognize their responsibility to sustain the world unborn generations will inherit. 


The fact that we are not a large economy on the world stage does not absolve us of our responsibility as government to do the right thing right now.


The crisis we are facing requires the determination and resourcefulness that saved the world from fascism.  Klein has provided the template towards safety and healing and it includes a healthy economy.

Klein “explores how we can align our politics and economy with what the science says we must do”.  

Now is the time for you to use your valued gift of insight to lead in the right direction.  I know there are numerous supporters of the NDP who believe you will trust the science and lead us through this crisis. We maintain that loyalty to you because we know you have it in you.

We are aware of the short-term interests that will be used by your inner circle to counter the interests of future generations. To that, I implore you and your inner circle to read Klein’s book.


I appeal to you to not look upon environmental organizations as a problem.  Many of them have been warning us about the ominous findings of science during at least the past 40 years. 

At 86, my eleven grandchildren help me to stay focused on what lies ahead. I will do all I can to save democracy.  


I am painfully aware that among its problems looms the fact that unborn generations don’t get to vote or have a voice in their future. 


I wonder: When they reach voting age, how will we be judged? Will they curse us and mourn the loss of ancient forests, and in keeping with other global forests, the lungs of the earth.


From your recent statements reflecting on the holocaust impacting our forests, you are right in referring to the urgency of addressing Global Climate Change.


The time has come for you to state publicly that Global Climate Change is by far the greatest priority of our government.  The well-being of all other departments of cabinet depends on accepting the priority of doing this. It is the right thing.


John, your strong ability to lead our province is what we need to mobilize ambitiously during this time of global climate crisis. You can lead the way in demonstrating to other jurisdictions that strong and hopeful action must focus on supporting the science that speaks truth to power. 


Most sincerely,





John Cashore