This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: BC Hydro hasn’t made a convincing case for pushing costly dam onto taxpayers

Columnists Laila Yuile and Brent Stafford battle over the issues of the day. The winner of last week’s duel on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program was Laila with 71%.

This week’s topic:

Considering the results of the Joint Review Panel report on BC Hydro’s Site C dam, should government approve the project?

A police officer I know once told me that if two people saw the same crime in progress from beginning to end, he would still likely get two different stories from the witness statements.

Likewise, instead of the “clear path to a green light” for the Site C dam that Brent believes the Joint Review Panel report provides, after reading it in full, I see nothing but a giant red light.

There are several great concerns noted in the 471-page report, but one of several key points that should throw up red flags for all British Columbians is this: “The panel concludes that the proponent has not fully demonstrated the need for the project on the timetable set forth.”

The proponent is BC Hydro, a Crown corporation that seems to be used to further the BC Liberals’ political agenda more than it is used to provide affordable energy for British Columbians. The Site C proposal is a perfect example of this.

Read Brent Stafford’s column

Over the years, the public has been presented with a changing list of justifications for the Site C proposal. From powering homes in British Columbia, to being essential to power LNG development in the province — a Premier Christy Clark favourite — to exporting power to drought-stricken California, the reasons seem to keep changing.

The questions keep mounting as to why the BC Liberals and BC Hydro are pushing this proposal so hard on a public already burdened by rising hydro costs….

READ the rest of this weeks column, comment and vote at :

*** You can read the entire study I have referenced in this column here, in PDF format : dam cost overruns

This week’s column for 24Hrs Vancouver: BC Hydro hasn’t proved its case Site C is even needed

A very late posting of my Monday column this week,as unexpected events last weekend required my attention elsewhere, and delayed other posts here on my site as well.

This week, Brent and I debated this question:  Do the benefits of BC Hydro’s Site C dam outweigh the impacts?

Brent wrote first, and here is my response:

What isn’t said about a hot topic is often more telling than what is.

The debate topic this week assumes there are benefits to the Site C dam project in the first place — something currently under scrutiny by critics and rightly so. The bigger question about the Site C proposal is whether we even need it or not, and what is the real motivation behind the project. The public has been told it’s to power liquefied natural gas plants, to keep BC Hydro rates low, and the province’s future power needs. So which one of these is it?

In an interview with the Globe and Mail recently, even Energy Minister Bill Bennett expressed his lack of confidence in the project, referring to the financial and regulatory hurdles the project faces, both of which are significant.

See Brent Stafford’s column

The costs of the project are astronomical, estimated in 2011 as $7.9 billion. The environmental impacts are far greater than just what Brent focuses on with the impact on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve in the Peace River.

Not only will wildlife habitat be lost forever, there will be an irreparable impact on First Nations in the area. They will lose traditional hunting and fishing grounds, as well as identified archeological sites along the riverbanks.

As a taxpayer in British Columbia, it’s important to me that the justification for the project is verified independently of BC Hydro’s claims to ensure the best interests of citizens are being served. Sadly, that isn’t going to happen since the Liberal government has exempted the proposal from the independent oversight of the B.C. Utilities Commission. The commission would have reviewed the cost estimates for accuracy, as well as the justifications for the project itself.

This failure to allow an independent review of the project leaves British Columbians relying on information that hasn’t been confirmed. The results of a report released by the joint federal-provincial environmental review panel for the proposal gives reason to doubt BC Hydro’s information.

The panel reported a number of discrepancies and inconsistencies in the reports provided by BC Hydro, including a failure to provide information about the impact on First Nations activities, among other vital information. That’s alarming on many levels — what would a review of their financial information show us?

Read the rest of this weeks column and vote, here:

My update on the NDP post will be up later this morning, barring further unforeseen events.

A must read. Right now.

The reactions to my last post on the NDP internal politics are astounding. I’ll be updating that story soon, but our good friend North Van Grumps has a great post up that is a must read. If you don’t make his blog a regular stop, you should, because the BC Liberals sure do.

Here is a primer:

“The worst is yet to come.   BC Energy Minister, Core Reviewer, Bill Bennett has not given British Columbians the true goods on our future debt because he and his lying cohorts continue to use creative bookkeeping to stage Balance Budgets, which they aren’t.

The 2013 silent ballot box majority are IDIOTS!  Have been IDIOTS for the past twelve years.  Idiots because they failed to seek out this graph on our Blog on September 12, 2012

The graphs?  They only tell half of the problem.   It’s the numbers, bottom line, bottom of this page, that shows the data behind the graphs.  A Ten Billion Debt over ONE YEAR…”

Now, go read the rest at:

And, if you want to check out something else quite stunning in the opposite direction, check out this story from my colleague at 24Hrs Vancouver, Jeremy Nuttall :

“Donations for a campaign billed as a fight against hydro hikes will instead be going straight into the BC NDP’s war chest, according to the party’s new president.

After a 28% BC Hydro rate increase over five years was announced Tuesday, the BC NDP sent out an email asking for donations to help fight the increases.

“We need your help to fight back against these increases,” the release read. “A hard-hitting campaign to fight to stop these increases can only happen with your financial support. Let’s raise $25,000 over the next five days to ramp up the fight.”

The email then asks whether the reader can donate $3 to the cause.

Freshly minted NDP president Craig Keating told 24 hours the drive has resulted in people who’d never previously donated to the party giving money, but he said the funds would not be going strictly to fight the increases.”

Check out the rest of this story, including comment from Integrity BC at

If this is indicative of how the BCNDP plan to move forward, it’s not sending a very good message. What do you think about this fundraising pitch?

And so the games begin… ” Site C Clean Energy Project – Joint Agreement for environmental assessment issued “

Site C Clean Energy Project – Joint Agreement Issued

 OTTAWA – The Honourable Peter Kent, federal Minister of the Environment and the Honourable Terry Lake, British Columbia Minister of the Environment, announced today that a Joint Agreement has been signed for the co-operative environmental assessment, including a review by a joint panel, of the Site C Clean Energy Project in British Columbia.

 The final agreement specifies the process for conducting the review, outlines the joint review panel terms of reference and identifies the timelines associated with key steps of the co-operative process.

 Following a 30-day public consultation period held in October 2011, comments received by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office were considered, and the agreement was finalized.

 To view the final agreement or to obtain more information on this project, consult the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry at , reference number 11-05-63919 or the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office web site at:

 Next Steps:

The next steps in the review process include public consultation on the draft guidelines for the environmental impact statement (EIS) to be held in the spring of 2012. The guidelines provide direction to the proponent and identify the information that will be required in the EIS.


BC Hydro and Power Authority proposes to construct and operate a dam and 1,100-megawatt hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in northeastern B.C.  The proposed project would be the third in a series of dams on the B.C. portion of the Peace River. The project components are an earthfill dam 1,050 metres long and 60 metres high, an 1,100-megawatt generating station and associated structures, an 83-km long reservoir, realignment of four sections of Highway 29 and two 77-km transmission lines along an existing transmission line right-of-way connecting Site C to the existing provincial power grid.

 The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency administers the federal environmental assessment process, which identifies the environmental effects of proposed projects and measures to address those effects in support of sustainable development.

 The British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office manages the provincial environmental assessment process, which examines major projects for potential environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects that may occur during the lifecycle of a project and identifies strategies to prevent or reduce potential adverse effects.

( And of course… this background that they left out:

Working on the Port Mann post, which is taking longer because of the sheer volume of material to cover- hope to have it up tonight or tomorrow. – LY.

All I want for Christmas is a municipal auditor just like John Doyle…

I’ve been a very big fan of  provincial Auditor General John Doyle, ever since I first started looking into the various P3 projects in the province. Even then, he appeared to me to be one man with unbroken integrity, and not at all afraid to wade deeply where none had gone before to get at the heart of the often questionable Liberal method of accounting. He replied to every email of mine with thoughtful,informative answers,and I felt secure that Mr. Doyle would eventually uncover every detail needing to be uncovered.

He continues to impress by leaps and bounds and every British Columbian should be sending the man a Christmas card of thanks this year for looking out for all of us. Vaughn Palmers column in the Sun today tells us why…and the news is startling.

 Not often do accountants engage in the bookkeeping equivalent of hand-to-hand combat.

But there was some of that at a meeting of the public accounts committee of the legislature one day last week, as BC Hydro’s chief financial officer and acting CEO Charles Reid squared off against Auditor-General John Doyle.

The occasion was supplied by the committee review of Doyle’s recent report on Hydro’s growing practice of defer-ring current expenses to future years.

The flashpoint was provided by Doyle’s bald assertion that although every penny of the soon-to-be-$5-billion balance in the 27-and-count-ing deferral accounts will have to be repaid, neither Hydro nor the government has any detectable plan to do so.

Read more:

” We built your fort. We will not have it used against us.” ~ John Wayne Alleghany Uprising.

There is a storm brewing among the people,my friends…

“I bought the Sunday Province yesterday. For a change it was worth the smash I paid for it. I read something in there. Read something I was going to write about yesterday but I did not. I decided maybe I better let myself cool down a little first. Did not want to write anything that I might be sorry I wrote later.

40% of the trees logged on my province’s coast in the first half of this year were exported as raw logs.


The ( edited)  who are responsible for this have pushed me over the edge. What kind of a bunch of assholes would sell out their countrymen like that? God damn traitors. Mother$%^$%^$’s  would cause less damage to the B.C. economy if they flew a couple jets into Dope City’s two tallest buildings.


The Greatest Place on Earth? F*** you! “

~ Mr. Beer and Hockey, Dope City Free Press

Sometimes, I can’t even come close to telling it like it is. But this time. Mr. Beer and Hockey did, and how! Raw words, indeed, full of pain and anger and so brought to you as close to original as I can -why should I take away from how he really feels?

Coming from a family in the north in which every male relative works in either a sawmill or pulpmill, working at great risk to themselves to provide a good life for their families,I am pretty opinionated about raw log exports.

I’ve written about it many times, wondering why the idiots running this province don’t retro-fit all the mills to cut the dimensions desired overseas, therefore keeping those valuable jobs at home where they belong,and still profiting from exports. I can see it, why can’t they?

 photo courtesy of Dan Schubart, who has shared this exceptional, must read link

From that link:

“These are a couple of shots of what greeted us on our way to an afternoon boat ride on the Alberni Inlet. (Those are raw logs stacked on the deck of these two ships.)

Given that the Forest and Range Minister has highlighted that value added is the key to the economy of BC, does it not make sense that we ought to be processing our own resources within a millimetre of their lives before we ship so much as a stick to those markets in the Far East. As it is, we’re more of a rent-a-womb than an economy, with the added joy of soil depletion and an eventual end to fertility. Last one out, please turn out the lights.”

I can’t thank Dan enough for sharing this link and these shots, and sorry Mr. Beer, I hope you don’t lose it again, but you might want to share these shots with your coworkers….

After all, in case you didn’t know it, forestry kept this province running well for many years. Until the pine beetle decided to munch through half the standing wood in the upper portions of this great land, and the Liberals decided selling to China as is was a better deal than making sure BC sawmill workers could put food on the table for their familes, and keep the house out of foreclosure.

And then comes Christy’s great job plan. All talk, all glory,all photo ops to rival Sarah Palin’s…. and what else? Not a lot.

Clark, the still un-elected premier in charge of our province, is simply continuing the plan Gordon Campbell and crew cooked up during his tenure.

Christy Clark, advised by Gwyn Morgan, of the same SNC- Lavelin now being investigated for corruption on a project overseas… is going to sell off this province bit by bit if they are allowed to remain in power.

She is supporting every single move that threatens our province with the exception of Independent Power Projects, that still remains on the table with her. But just wait. Once she really absorbs… if she can… how much power is needed for most of the initiatives she is supporting… she will likely flip flop on that too. Can’t frack without a hell of a lot of power and water, and neither can you support your corporate advisors…

And she is not alone, you would do well to recall. Kevin Falcon, although purported to not be supportive of her behind the scenes, is biding his time while she progresses to her inevitable end. And Falcon was key to all the P3 deals Gabriel Yiu mentions in this recent commentary, in which he deems, incorrectly in my opinion,  that the debt from these contractual agreements I have investigated many time, is Campbells legacy.

It is not Campbells legacy alone, indeed, far from it. Falcon panted madly over many of those deals involving the transportation ministry: The Golden Ears, the Port Mann, the Sea to Sky and the South Fraser Perimeter Road.  And now, this same man who sincerely signed us off on mortgaging our childrens futures via the provinces  ” contractual obligations”… is our finance minister.

No, it would be a faulty conclusion to lay all the blame on Campbell for those deals, when Falcon was part and parcel to all of it. Including what happened with the BC rail/Gateway connection then, ( scroll down  to Falcons Follies series)  and what Christy is doing with it now.

But that is not all that got my panties in a bunch on the rare occasion I had to pursue the news in the last couple weeks. It was also the news that Clark is aiming to increase foreign students admissions in BC to generate revenue.


This is all fine and dandy for Christy, who “attended” but never actually graduated from anywhere, least of all SFU, to basically deem Asian students as cash cows, because they are- to the faculties that actively recruit them… and yet leave our homegrown students out in the cold for classes and degrees and housing because they can’t compete. On specifically the financial level. And I ask the premier, why do you hate kids in BC so much? Seriously?

It’s not even that if a teen from BC that wants to go to SFU is accepted- they usually are, if grades are good enough- it is if they have the money to pay upfront or if they are on scholarship or student loans. Because ” foreign students” show up to pay in cash, no kidding, carrying around thousands of dollars. Or that many people renting to college kids state ” foreign students only ” in their ads because they know they can charge more and they pay cash….

Hard truths. Real truths, and Christy Clarks announcement tasted very bad in the mouths of many, many parents I know who have kids who can’t get classes or housing or whatever… because foreign students and rich, pay in full students are given first priority.

Is that fair? Not in my world, where our kids come first, where we foster home grown talent rather than foreign talent, and where we make it possible for all kids who were born here to succeed before we place the wants of another countries parents before ours, and the financial needs of our financially irresponsible leaders before the needs of our residents.

Yes… there is a storm brewing , my friends…

Before I go for the evening, let’s talk about what a couple more things that caught my eye.

Let’s talk about nuclear power and the Peace River, and why the two are related.

If you read a couple things besides me before you go to bed, you need to read this.

Yes, the tar sands in Alberta are lobbying madly again for nuclear power. More on that to come.  And when you are wondering why the Site C project is so fully endorsed by the province of BC, and everything seems to be a sham, remember these two electricity sucking industries: Fracking, and tar sands extractions. And could it be any coincidence that Christys advisor is Gwyn Morgan of SNC-Lavelin, the company that just closed on the purchase of Alta Link, the corporation that: ” is responsible for the maintenance and operation of approximately 12,000 kilometres of transmission lines and 270 substations in Alberta. It owns more than half of Alberta’s transmission grid and serves 85 per cent of its population. ”

Things that make you go… ” Hmmmmm.”

I bet if someone asked her, Christy would fully support Site C, because of the ” energy needs of the province”.. sure… and that has nothing to do with the energy needs of Alberta, huh?

And the second thing you need to read, and really remember when you think of Christy Clarks infantile job plan -seriously, you have to wonder about any Liberal who voted for her as leader-  is this bit that came to me through BC Mary’s blog, a link to Merv Griffins post on all the Americans taking jobs up north where Christy and her dear buddy Blair Lekstrom claim all the jobs to be.

Really? No kidding… gee, how many other companies do I know that use American workers in Canada…


Can you identify what corporate hard hat I am wearing?

Last, before I leave you for the evening, I would like to mention the story that all the American and Canadian media seem to have either missed while reporting on some teen star that was allegedly roughed up by VPD, or the wind that we know always happens in the fall and winter, or perhaps they were even occupied by other events not associated with revolution and mass protest…

The Wall Street Protests.

Yes, let’s not talk about large, ongoing protests happening in the financial district of Manhattan,because clearly that is not important.Lady Gaga and her appearance at Obama’s fundraiser in Silicon Valley is far more newsworthy than that!

For nearly two weeks, protestors have been peacefully protesting capitalistic goals, anger over having degrees, high student tuitions and no jobs, lobbyists that are getting rich on the backs of everyone in America… and a government that seems to have no ability to stop any of it… Women protesting peacefully have gotten maced.

People giving in to arrest are thrown to the ground.

And all sorts of other unreported events by the mainstream media for whatever reason…..whether you believe these protestors are hired, or real people,or simply a disenchanted generation…. the right to a peaceful protest was still a right the last time I looked.

I wonder, as I sit here at my desk, listening to the wind still howling  outside… will we reach this point here in BC? Will we, the regular people who shop at Superstore, buy clothes at Zellers, and can’t afford luxuries like custom made shoes  but buy them BOGO half off at Payless, reach out and join others to say enough is enough?

Christy Clark, Gordon Campbell…. they are both the same. Both accept donations from companies and people whose priorities become theirs after visits from lobbyists result in successful and lucrative contracts. Both failed and continue to fail, to heed the needs and requirements of the people who they are deemed to serve.

Let me say this. I don’t have a lobbyist, nor do you. So who serves our needs when it comes to government?  When they put the needs of their corporate donors before the needs of the people who elected them, it’s a dereliction of duty, plain and simple. And frankly, I have had enough. I just watched Casino Jack and really can’t tell the difference between lobbying in BC, and the crime of influence peddling… which by the way, is a crime in Canada as well… in case some lobbyists who cross the line don’t know. All it takes is a phone call to get the ball rolling…

“A little rebellion now and then is a good thing and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”

THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to James Madison, Jan. 30, 1787

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution

Why did the BC government repeal the Weather Modification Act ?

Everyone knows at least one person who is a chemtrail enthusiast, and usually that person is the butt of jokes. But after coming across a few items of interest, I’m not so sure it’s very funny anymore.

In a recent conversation about how bad the weather has been this summer- wet, dreary and downright tragic at times- the direction turned towards whether or not this could be prompted by some sort of weather modification. HAARP, chemtrails, cloud seeding… the different options were bantered around and then time took precedence and the conversation ended.

But my thoughts on weather modification did not, and so off to do some research to satisfy my curiosity.

What I found, left me with more questions than answers.

For example, it might surprise most British Columbians to know that in 2001, BC Hydro hired an international company, Weather Modification Inc.,  to conduct a feasibility study on weather modification to enhance the snowpack, thereby increasing run-off and filling reservoirs to capacity, which of course would generate more electricity when it goes through the turbines downstream.

Interesting, no? Imagine the possibilities of Hydro generation if they could increase the snowpack every year! While I could not location that study online, I did locate reference to it in another study done by the same company for the state of Wyoming ( search British Columbia on that PDF link). The reference is in regards to the amount of silver found in run-off and if the levels of concentration are harmful or not -Silver Iodide is what the clouds are seeded with to enhance precipitation.

This company appears to be no stranger to the BC government, showing up on the public accounts going back as far as 1998/99.

But what was even more interesting to discover, is that no more than 2 years after that BC Hydro feasibility study, the Weather Modification Act was repealed by none other than Kevin Falcon, who was then the very ambitious minister of Deregulation. How convenient. It was thought the act added just added an unnessecary layer of regulation on top of the federal requirements.

Under that old act, anyone wishing to initiate weather modification activities had to apply for a permit to the Minister of Water Land and Air Protection 30 days prior to the start of such activities.  Now, not so much. In fact, thanks to Kevin Falcon, it is entirely left at a federal level with Environment Canada and that appears to be an iffy thing as well, according to this report from an Alberta publication, where farmers and residents are concerned about private insurance companies seeding clouds to reduce property damage :

No gov’t monitoring of weather modification

Last week Alberta Environment officials washed their hands of any responsibility, saying that if any monitoring of the activity is done it would be at the federal level and that people who call with concerns are told to contact Environment Canada.

Environment Canada hasn’t done active research in cloud seeding and “is not aware of any evidence that suggests that this process is a threat to safety,” wrote Henry Lau, spokesperson for Environment Canada in an e-mail. He said any citizens who have concerns should contact the company that conducts cloud seeding.

But when contacted by the Gazette last week, Terry Krauss of Alberta Severe Weather Management Society said there’s nothing to be concerned about and that only a small amount of chemicals are used.

~ snip~

MP Blake Richards said he hasn’t received many complaints about cloud seeding but is encouraging people with concerns to contact his office.

“From the amount of research I have been able to do there doesn’t appear to be any safety concerns,” Richards said, adding that he’s still trying to figure out who is responsible for regulating weather modification.

“My understanding would have been it would be the province but I am looking into that.”

The Weather Modification Information Act requires any person engaged in weather modification activities in Canada to inform an administrator – but who that is hasn’t been pinpointed by Alberta Agriculture, Alberta Environment, Environment Canada, the premier’s office or Richards.

Wow. And this was my experience today calling first the Environment Canada offices back east, and then our local communications office. No one really seems to know what, or who is in charge of monitoring, regulating or enforcing. And that alarms me when I go back to look at that 2001 snowpack augmentation feasibility study commissioned by BC Hydro.

It an age where companies exist- and Weather Modification Inc, is but just one – that have become expert at manipulating mother nature, why would our government repeal an act that would at minimum, keep track of  such activity? Clearly, the BC hydro study establishes a benefit to weather modification, at least for them, but think about other applications. The Ministry of forests was a client of the same company. 2010 was the worst forest fire season from the last 12 years, that left the budget decimated. Another hot dry year could leave the vast dry areas of beetlekilled timber still standing a virtual firestorm with damage and firefighting costs in the billions. Would the ministry look to seeding clouds to increase rainfall to prevent such an occurance from happening again? If BC Hydro wanted to increase the snowpack, why wouldnt they?

I’ve got some calls out to determine just who is in charge at the federal level and how/if they monitor and track weather modification activities, and will update when I hear back. Until then, think about where you stand on this issue, and what else we don’t know about our governments activities.

” …become familar with the corruption within your system…research and educate.. ”

“The” post you have been waiting for is slated for the end of the week. Until then I will be posting bits and bites that catch my eye, like this one, a video banned by Facebook. It gets really good about the 7 minute mark.

Another video that bears scrutiny is this one, forwarded via BC’s personal guardian. It was sent to him and I agree, it certainly brings forth some serious questions about those smart meters. Certainly the information in the video is startling, and if correct in even one small portion, raises a compelling new dimension to the meters so many are objecting to. Please note, this is an American video,but I welcome comment from BC Hydro on the issues raised in this video.  Share with your friends. ( this is a link to BC Hydros PR on radio frequencies and smart meters, no where does it talk about signal interception, at this link, BC Hydro states your information is encrypted like online banking, however I think that would be after the point where the information is radio transmitted to the collector)

Bits and Bites, March 24th 2011

March has been an exceedingly busy month for me and that has been reflected in the lack of blog posts. I am happy to tell you that April is the light at the end of the tunnel and you can look forward to a variety of compelling, exclusive stories.  For now, I want to take a look at a few issues that have caught my eye, starting with Christy Clarks  “launch” of a project here in Surrey that actually began construction in January, long before she was narrowly selected by BC Liberals to lead the party.

This item received a bit of press around the province, and is one of the biggest examples of crafty PR engineering I have seen in some time. Christy Clark, flanked by her team of re-re-run Liberals,all eagerly lined up to accept credit for something she herself has had nothing to do with –  the opening of the Surrey Memorial Hospital Expansion – a deal that well underway in October of last year when Kevin Falcon made the announcement that final negotiations were about to begin with preferred bidder, Integrated Team Solutions. Construction was well underway in late January of this year with site preparation, and anyone can see in this video, this project launch is nothing but an attention grab for the new premier, who clearly would love to have people believe this is something she was responsible for.

This may not seem like a big deal to those of you who are well aware the single biggest trick the BC Liberals like to fall back on for press is  to re-announce a previously announced announcement. Campbell  himself was famous for it! But what really bothers me in this instance is that in none of the media coverage I saw or read of this opportunistic press opp, was it even mentioned that this project was well underway before Ms. Clark became premier. The impression is clearly given that she is somehow responsible for this project and is very proud to launch it. Example :

Which leads me to her strategy, which apparently consists of making as many feel good announcements that she can to gain as much positive attention and possibly more votes when she finally does call for an election. First we had the minimum wage boost, a big winner in many areas. Then we had hospital launch, clearly she wanted to win over the increasingly cynical Surrey voters, followed by a toss of a millions dollars to the daycare providers who might(and this is a big might) lose out on some revenue because of the full time kindergarten initiative enacted by the Liberals. And today, more money is heading out in the form of increased community grants. Yes, all lovely and needed to be sure, but let that not take away from the hard reality of what Clark’s real motives and true leadership style are, as already indicated by the people she selected to lead up her transition team,some of whom are clearly in a conflict of interest.  Yes indeed, Ms.Manswers Clark, who has tried overly hard to appear completely benign as a threat to this province, has betrayed her own agenda by her own doing. Good luck with that, Clark. It still won’t help you answer questions about what your involvement was in the sale of BC rail…questions the public will surely not forget come election time.

Lobbyist activity to note…. Patrick Kinsella, who worked on Premier Clarks leadership campaign, and partner Mark Jiles, just registered to lobby the government for MWH Global.   Look for stunning contracts ahead for this company, who hired the lobbyist with the most pull with the premier…

Something to think about : a contribution from B.C. economist Erik Andersen, who sent these thoughts out this morning.

” Why we need elections; if anyone cares.”

From the book titled “Public Service; Private Profits” by John Loxley; published in 2010.Pages 7 & 8.

 “The P3 concept [in Canada] has benefited from the lobbying efforts of organizations like the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships (CCPPP), an increasingly strong lobby group, which was established in 1993 and draws its membership from both the private and public sectors. In 2009, it had fifty-eight sponsors, fifty-seven of which were companies with commercial interests in P3s, such as construction companies, banks and their financial offshoots, bond houses and bond rating agencies, lawyers and consulting companies such as SNC-LAVALIN, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, JOHN LAING, CARILLION, DELOITTE and TOUCHE, BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION and UNITED WATER. The only non-corporate sponsor was the Government of Ontario (CCPPP, 2009).

—the CCPPP has a solid membership and financial base on which to promote P3s and has been able to attract prominent politicians and ex-politicians into its fold, such as PREMIER GORDON CAMPBELL of BC, who is currently the honorary chair. The CCPPP can be considered the main ideological proponent of P3s in Canada.

In the financing area alone,of twelve projects identified by the CCPPP in 2009 as being in the works or under consideration, no fewer than twenty-six companies were potential sources of finance; some well known companies such as SNC-LAVALIN, BILFINGER BERGER and RBC CAPITAL MARKETS are active in the CCPPP, —-“

For those among us who do not know why we desperately need elections please read the above very carefully. It takes barely a second to appreciate that here in BC we have had a Premier and Cabinet pretending to look after the PUBLIC’S INTEREST while concurrently, AGGRESSIVELY LOOKING AFTER THE INTERESTS OF PRIVATE P3 PARTNERS. It is difficult not to imagine a more blatant demonstration of conflict of interest.

All you taxpayers should feel royally annoyed that our politicians collected salaries and pensions while working on behalf of private interests.

Keep this in mind when you pay HST; when you get your property tax invoice; when you get your next BC Hydro bill and when you get your chances to vote. 

In BC we have had two recalls fail so brace yourselves for even more aggressive spending now that Minister Falcon has the cheque book. He will be emboldened by the evidence of voter apathy.

Canadians are alleged to be upset by what folks  say are unnecessary elections. That must have been what the Greeks thought as well. 

Well done, Erik! Erik as you likely know, has been a great resource for me in researching P3’s in the province, and is bang on in this regard. I would also like to point you to a video Erik taped last year in which he discusses how he personally looked into and researched BC Hydro’s financials to come to this disturbing questions: IS BC Hydro being deliberately put into financial jeopardy to privatize it? Considering the press release from COPE last week, this video is more relevant than ever.

An ironic news item in the Surrey Leader caught my attention..  “20,000 secondary suites in Surrey… 1 permit application.”    This as several builders up the hill from my home are working on putting on the finishing touches on several houses containing multiple illegal suites that are one of the causes behind school overcrowding in Surrey. The new legislation brought into effect in December that requires homeowners to legalize and register their now illegal suites is a stunning example of too little, too late, since the damage from a decade or more of unrestrained and uninhibited construction is far too massive to tackle without a concentrated effort by city staff, which are currently focussing on homes with multiple suites.

 For a first hand look at many of this kind of home, take a drive along highway 1o eastbound, and look to the hills along the leftside of the drive between 152nd and 176 for how ridiculous the problem has become, since the vast majority of these homes on the hill each have two or more rental suites within. It brings to mind the million dollar question the city has deflected about the crisis Surrey school district is facing with regards to massive budget shortfalls in the millions : What responsibility does the city play in contributing to this educational mess, when it would take 8 new schools, right now, to catch up to where we need to be?  Should the city be completely absolved of any blame or does the sole reposponsibility begin and end with the province and ministry of education?

Considering the mayors hearty endorsement of the past and current development of new neighbourhoods with these multiple suites, should the city be assisting in paying for some of these new schools, instead of say… planning a new athletic stadium?  

That’s right, the mayor finds it outrageous that a city of this size does not have a stadium, is spending millions of dollars moving a perfectly good city hall to a new location because the old one”is in the middle of nowhere” ( not at all true, not far from my home and very close to another rapidly growing industrial/residential/commercial centre) and boasts about having over $805 million in approved residential building permits alone in 2010. Only problem with all of this is that while she talks about how important sustainability and livability is and how such thoughts are given great consideration in city planning, the truth is out there for all to see : we have become a city that has vastly outgrown all of it’s infrastructure and services in terms of education and community sustainability, and a city in which poverty and crime is still a massive reality check to new residents. One would think that the key to creating a vibrant city would be to ensure the vital services  like schools and health care are kept in line with the growth and demand, however somewhere along the way the reality verged off course from the vision. In this case, the kids are the ones who suffer the brunt of poor planning.

Onto a quick look at the NDP leadership race with this story , also from the Leader, that shows Farnworth far ahead of Dix and Horgan in the leadership race.

As with all polls, the news should be taken with a grain of salt, but this is in line with what I have been hearing from around the province, and I’ve been saying for some time that I think Farnworth is the only candidate who can truly unite the party members who are currently on opposing sides. Both Horgan and Dix came out strongly against the dissidents who wanted to see Carole go, and that still speaks volumes to party members who realise that many of those dissidents are hard-working and well respected in their communities.  Farnworth vs. Clark? You be the judge.

Last but certainly not least, fellow blogger Norman Farrell has been belting out the hard lines on his blog, Northern Insights. May I suggest if you do not  do so already, please make a point to check his site regularly for a good dose of reality in BC !