The Plan B protest in Bonshaw is no longer about stopping the inevitable highway, rather, highlighting poor government, says Peter Bevan-Baker.
About to be sworn in as provincial leader of the Green Party, he was at the Plan B protest site off the Peters Road in Bonshaw Friday, hosting Elizabeth May, leader of the federal Green Party for a brief visit of the protest camp.
May had just arrived on the Island, here for the provincial Green Party's convention now underway in Charlottetown.
As drizzle turned to rain, she spoke to about 40 people gathered around a ceremonial fire near the edge of the now clear-cut path of the highway.
She praised Bevan-Baker and others for standing up for Acadian forest and against bad planning and government intransigence.
"This is one of those cases where you wish you could get someone to see sense, in terms of a plan that didn't make sense, a lot of money being spent in a way that didn't make sense and a government that wasn't listening to the voices of the people of Prince Edward Island that didn't want this to happen," said May.
"The fact that you are still here, despite the fact that precious old-growth Acadian forest has been felled, despite the fact that it's increasingly inclement weather and people are still camping out here, gathering here and making a stand is very inspiring," said May. "I'm very inspired by the fact that so many people who have opposed Plan B aren't giving up.
"You never really know what is going to cause the tide to turn," she said. "You can see protests and popular movements actually affect culture and affect politicians, even if it doesn't seem, at the moment, that they are listening."
Bevan-Baker said May inspires Islanders with her integrity, intellect and commitment.
"(She) reminds us that politics can be more than just about petty squabbling and power struggles and who is going to win the next election," said Bevan-Baker. "Politics is about the art of the possible. It's about being able to do wonderful things and bring forward good ideas to solve complicated problems."
As for the highway, he said the police action and arrest of protestors shows that the highway will proceed no matter what, but so will the protest.
"This is now a protest against incompetent governance, of unprincipled incompetent governance," said Bevan-Baker. "That has not gone away. We haven't been able to stop this road but we also are not going to be able to stop this uprising of public option that has grown up around this project which is not only going to haunt the Liberals but I think we have a new era in Island politics now. A lot of people have woken up the poor governance we have had in the last little while. I think we deserve better and Islanders are going to say that in the next election, I'm quite sure."