Councillor Black apologizes for ‘dire views’ but stands by his pessimism about climate change

Councillor Andrew Black

Sackville Town Councillor Andrew Black apologized for his “dire views” about the future of the planet during last Monday’s council meeting.

At the same time however, Black said he stands by comments he made during an earlier council meeting on April 1 when he said, “we’re doomed when it comes to climate change…I base my pessimism on my lack of faith in humanity.”

Black was responding to a letter from Hanna Longard, a Mount Allison student who helped organize last month’s march on town hall calling for more action on climate change.

In her letter to council, Longard wrote that when she heard Black say that we’re doomed, she felt that he was expressing the belief that young people don’t have a future.

“I do not want a pessimist in power because I do not want a town councillor that has given up,” she wrote. “I want a town councillor that will do everything they can to protect our futures – no matter how scary or big the fight. This is what the youth of Sackville are calling for.”

Black’s response

During last week’s council meeting on April 8, Black read part of a letter he has sent to Longard apologizing for his dire views while also repeating them.

“I meant what I said that we as people don’t have much of a chance in the future and sadly my children will have a tough life living in a world that will be very different than what we have right now,” Black said, adding that he lacked faith in people’s willingness to do the right thing.

“I have lived for 43 years and in that time I have been jaded by people and their lack of understanding of what is right and just in the world, that most people can’t see past themselves and what is at stake and not just with climate change, but with many aspects of life,” Black continued.

However, he said his pessimism does not mean that he wouldn’t fight to change the future.

“That fight would be with the strongest conviction that we can make a change and save the only home that we have,” Black said in his letter.

“It will take strong, firm, drastic and disruptive action from all levels of government to make the changes that the world needs right now,” he continued.

“We as municipal councillors need to pressure other levels of government to make a change, but also make sweeping changes within the community we live in,” Black said.

He added that he and his wife have tried to raise their children to be socially, economically and environmentally aware so they can make the right choices.

The children are, Phaedra (age 10), Roman (age 7) and Margot (10 months).

“My three kids are the greatest and best thing that has ever happened to me and I will fight not just for their future, but the future of everyone,” Black’s letter concluded.

To listen to Black reading from his letter, click on the media player below:

To read the complete text of Councillor Black’s letter to Hanna Longard, click here.

To read Hanna Longard’s letter to council, click here.

To read earlier coverage, click here.

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15 Responses to Councillor Black apologizes for ‘dire views’ but stands by his pessimism about climate change

  1. Rima Azar says:

    Mmm…What is this Mea Culpa about :)? A sort of self-flagellation or self-crucifiction?

    Of course, guilt feeling can be healthy, especially when we have deliberately done harm to someone. However, it does not seem to be the case here, unless I am missing something.

    Well, is it an expression of a toxic guilt then (like those we see in cults or in toxic relationships)? Or it is simply a cold political move mixed with a charm operation toward the population?

    Mind you, Councillor Black may be genuine. Who knows? If so, why would he be preaching to the converted then?

    No clue. As someone who has voted for Councillor Black and who respects him, I am asking all these questions.

    • Black and wife now has a very young baby.. so perhaps it could be the sleep deprivation talking.. who knows .. he used to be a pretty cool dude to yack with when he had the video store and I certainly regret voting for him now as he was zero help with the Tantramar Skate Park project.. like Matt Pryde and the rest of them .. all just find it easier to ignore me .. I had to go to the trouble setting up a blog just to get my ideas out there after being censored by the facebook mafia in town hall. Sheesh. This town is friggin amazing and beautiful and an exceptional place to live … but the town hall has a really doom and gloom vibe to it… sad.

      • Rima Azar says:

        Congratulations to them :)!

        I feel that this skating park is very important to you Sally, as you keep mentioning it. I hope you will see your kids or other Sackville kids enjoying themselves with this activity.

        I am usually neither fond nor impressed by any form of censorship or boycott to anyone with regard to any matter (whether I agree with it or not). Of course, pushed to the extreme, the ultimate silencing would be assassination. I have sadly seen the latter elsewhere. To come back to our Sweet Little Sackville, I personally began opening *my mouth* on this platform after Louis’ story (ultimate silencing attempt). I never stopped since :). I find self censorship more worrisome, mind you. It can kill creativity…Without creativity, life would be too boring.

        For instance, I laughed to myself when I read Wrayton’s comment to you about the Earth being flat :). Similarly, I laughed when I searched your blog lately and I found the pictures of young folks with *I love fossil fuels* T-shirts :). Watch out, I am not sure others around here would have the same sense of humour to laugh at the contradictions in our country and in the world.

        With the same openness (and I hope humility), I follow other important matters to me (whether happening here in NB or in Québec with the new secular law in the public sphere OR very far away Lebanon). I sometimes change my mind about matters as they unfold. I also allow myself to be wrong and to be silly too (luckily for me for the latter :).

      • Louis says:

        The thing is, a Skate Part, while it would certainly be a hit with local youth (who knows, it might even cut into drug consumption, by providing something else to do!) won’t get anyone “credibility” on the worldwide Green Circuit. Hence, in my opinion, the lack of interest for what would be a fairly low-budget-high-use item, compared to high-budget-low-use “innovations” that get global visibility. When you consider that they don’t rule for us, but for how they appear on the Green CIrcuit, it’s all logical. If you were able to present it as a “Green Skate Park” and had some “climate change” gimmick to go with, they’d probably be all over it.

        I’m not saying this about anyone in particular – it’s just the general way in which they operate, from what I see.

      • Wrayton says:

        The town actually has a skate park and a new halfpipe was added last year. Unfortunately very few people ever use the Sackville skate park.

        As a long time skater I have been involved with the development of several skate parks over the years. Successful parks are always organized by skaters themselves and not their moms or municipalities. There is an informative article in the Guardian about skateboarders resurrecting a whole industrial town in Finland ( The initiative comes from the skaters themselves not outsiders or the government. There is little initiative aside from TLA (a non-skater) for a new skate park in Sackville so it’s probably not a good investment at this time.

        If the skaters in Sackville really want a new park they can and will make it happen, it just doesn’t seem like there is currently any real interest.

  2. Azi says:

    There was a time that I used to sit close or in front of Sackville town councillor’s chairs. During that period I felt the same as Mr. Black. I too felt that “I have been jaded by people and their lack of understanding of what is right and just in the world, that most people can’t see past themselves and what is at stake and not just with climate change, but with many aspects of life.” Of course Sackville councillors are among most people I am referring to.
    I recommend Sackville councillors to travel past New Brunswick borders as much, as far and as often they can. They will feel and see the difference and will see the positive side of the world (especially considering that we live in Canada). This certainly worked for me.

  3. Louis says:

    While I don’t agree with Black’s (former?) opinions on the matter, I really don’t see what there is for him to apologise about.

    The letter reads like slightly more fun version of what one would have been expected to write to be absolved from excommunication in a religious order, or a self-criticism session in a Maoist regime. All of this virtue-signalling is beginning to be very cultish (as is the apolicalyptic nature in general of the whole “climate” thing).

    I don’t understand what this whole recent business of apologies (and expected ritualised denunciations) is all about. Why?

    How come I never get any apologies from politicians? How come the normal people of this town don’t get apologies for the potholes?

    Maybe because government isn’t really about us…

  4. Percy Best says:

    Well being a basically forever Sackvillian, what I saw 50 years ago is that the NEEDS of our Town were met via a very low tax rate and a commonsense approach to spending. The majority of Town Councillors were local business people and they did their best to see that the roads were paved, the ditches cleaned out, the culverts up to date, and the water and sewage kept up to the then current standards. All the service clubs did more than their part to look after recreation. Now those service clubs have basically disappeared and the Town has gone overboard to take over recreation while our population shrinks.

    Almost no attention is currently paid to our Industrial Park and there is seemingly no will by Town Management to entice employers here. That is being done by the businesses themselves. Thank you Terra Beata and Camtran.

    Today the main concentration by the Town seems to be on the special recreation projects even if it means spending fortunes creating elaborate walking trails and little ponds when all that is needed to drain the ‘swamp’ when it floods (according to the NB Department of Transportation engineers that we talked to) is simply an upgraded ditch and a new large aboiteau to the river.

    We have one of the highest tax rates in NB — the forth highest, to be exact, of all the towns and villages. Maybe the current Town Management has to start thinking more like the way they did back when the business owners were running it. Maybe if that were the case we would finally have a sewage treatment plant up and running by now like MOST environmentally conscientious municipalities.

    • Louis says:

      +1 like

      Underneath it all, what we’re watching is civilisational decline. It’s just more advanced in Sackville than in some other places, but it’s around us.

      You illustrate the solutions. What is missing is the will to implement them.
      I’m afraid that there aren’t any fixes for that.

    • Wrayton says:

      One big problem is land speculators buying property at low prices and then asking unreasonable sums from businesses or the municipality when they want to purchase it for development. Sackville should implement a tax to dissuade speculators from holding property for ransom.

      • Percy Best says:

        Oh Wrayton, do you really know of a business that would purchase land here to start a business? I personally have only encountered one (Parsons Investments) in the last four years and they now have great expectations for their ‘new’ property out by Exit 506. There were other inquiries but sadly Sackville’s restriction against any additional drive-thrus made them shy away to avoid the hassle and just build elsewhere.

        Maybe the price of land is so low here because there is almost no one banging at the door to set up a business.

        Sackville, seemingly, is not ruled by a business friendly management system. The current ‘powers that be’ seems quite content on concentrating on walkways and ponds and letting us eventually just evolve into a Seniors Community along with mighty Mount Allison. We don’t even have a go-to full time Economic Development Officer that a small place like Oxford NS (pop 1190) has.

        BTW the annual tax rate on vacant land in Sackville is a staggering 4.56%.

      • Louis says:

        … following in the same logic, we should also have exit controls to prevent productive people from leaving town. (The ability to leave is one of the few freedoms that we still have, and I’d like to keep it that way, thanks.)

        The reality is, buying land in a place like Sackville for investment purposes is a HIGHLY speculative venture. For one thing, there’s LOTS of it. It’s not downtown Manhattan, and never will be. It’s not even downtown Moncton – where land is still surprisingly cheap for that size of city (and might be a better speculative play). Consider that the opportunity cost is quite high, in the form of municipal tax, which essentially makes it a wasting asset. Unless one sees some amazing potential which will make the land worth at least 4x within 10 years, I’d say it’s a dud investment and I’d stay away. Frankly, I’d want 10x, personally, to account for the risk.

        (Besides, I thought that we were going to be flooded, and/or that the world was going to end in 11 years! Who wants to speculate on land *here* in those circumstances?)

      • Wrayton says:

        Percy, you have lost me. Dozens of properties have changed hands over the past four years in Sackville not just one and many have been purchased by businesses. I know that people have looked at properties for sale in Sackville and decided the asking price was too much considering the properties actual value and the expected return on investment.

        Some of your business development ideas seem based on “common sense” and not research. If you ask the current wave of young people who have moved to Sackville and started businesses why they chose Sackville I bet you they are more inclined to say they were attracted by our recreation facilities and parks than “clean ditches” and “up to date culverts”. There is quite a bit of literature out there about making small towns attractive to investment and parks and rec. is one of the main drivers. Check it out.

      • Wrayton says:

        Louis, You missed the point. Land speculation is BAD for business development. Manhattan is a perfect example. Google it.

  5. Rima Azar says:

    I agree with Azi, Percy Best, and with Louis.

    Actually, the last comment by Louis makes me think of the title of a new book that I am planning to purchase ASAP. If I may, I would like to share it here: It is by Amine Maalouf, a Lebanese born French Author. His latest book is called “Le naufrage des civilisations” [Shipwreck of civilizations, if I may translate like this]. I am sure his recent publication will be translated into over 40 languages, including English, like his Masterpiece books: “The Crusades through Arab eyes”, “Deadly identities” or “The rock of Tanios”, etc Incredible talent (not surprising that he is now a Member of the French Academy)!

    Here is a (French) interview with Mr. Maalouf about his book, if anyone is interested:

    Louis, I will be happy to lend you the book, if you wish :).

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