‘Our posterity will wonder about our ignorance of things so plain.’ ~ Seneca

credit to Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp , posted publicly to Facebook at this link: https://www.facebook.com/yuctnesenxiymetkwecamp/posts/362499900580420
credit to Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp , posted publicly to Facebook at this link: https://www.facebook.com/yuctnesenxiymetkwecamp/posts/362499900580420

“We are being made aware that the organization of society on the principle of private profit, as well as public destruction, is leading both to the deformation of humanity by unregulated industrialism, and to the exhaustion of natural resources, and that a good deal of our material progress is a progress for which succeeding generations may have to pay dearly.”
T.S. Eliot

25 days ago the good people of Likely and surrounding communities were awoke to a roar that many still say ” sounded just like Niagara Falls.”Except there aren’t any waterfalls near that size in the area and the roar was the sound of billion of litres of wastewater, and solid tailings obliterating local creeks before flooding into lakes and rivers.

And there, it stills sits with chemical scents so overwhelming they make one feel nauseous, and swirls and worries locals who still refuse to drink the water and I don’t blame them.

With weeks having passed, so much still bothers me about all of it. That this was no accident and should never have happened.  ( fantastic blog with many Mt.Polley posts worthy of reading)

That some with positions of public influence are mocking others who call this a disaster. It may not be a disaster to someone who doesn’t live in the community or rely on its natural bounty for sustenance and commercial economic activity, but it’s a disaster on many levels nonetheless.  And why nothing is really being done yet, 25 days later other than discuss whether or not perhaps it would be the cheaper, easier, more convenient, “best” course of action to leave the toxic sludge alone, is incredibly worrisome and why this story must be followed continuously.

The news that the water is fine to drink was enough to slow the panic down, until it was discovered there very well may an interflow between waterways that is allowing a layer of polluted to exist within cooler and warmer layers.. meaning that the sediment did not all disperse as previously thought. And that fact that ongoing water test results are based on samples taken in some cases, weeks earlier, is hardly reassuring.

As initially linked to in an earlier paragraph, there remains a sediment cloud in the lake that moves, and changes water quality,taste and appearance. It may very well be that what is safe in one testing area on one day, changes a week later as the sediment cloud moves – which is why they are testing that now as well.

Toss in the blue sheen witnessed and sampled by Alexandra Mortonthought by ministry officials to be organic in nature as per ‘the poke test’. Tested for two forms of organic compounds, but apparently for nothing else as far as I can see on the initial tests, the sheen was not only found near debris, but also out in the lake and in the Quesnel river.

And of course, you’ll be totally fine to eat the fish as long as you don’t eat the gonads….worrisome because this is still so early in terms of monitoring accumulated levels in fish and other species, which can build up over years. Will salmon and trout spawn successfully in this water? Will the hatchlings survive? What will be the impact as bear, eagles, coyotes and others eat the fish, and it is passed down the food chain?Will humans be able to eat this fish long term? The moose or dear that graze on the foliage and willows that grow along the banks? What about berries or wild foods collected by many First Nations?

The fact is, an incident of this great magnitude hasn’t happened before in Canada, so no one really knows what’s going to happen and in my opinion that is why every effort must be made to mitigate ongoing contamination. In reading through the various memo’s to sample results posted on the governments Mount Polley update site, there are too many “at this time” ” however more monitoring is needed” etc etc.

Despite concerns over drying sediment being carried in the air by wind, there is no air quality assessment done. There is still no talk about the impact on anything other than water and aquatic life.

It’s all quite up in the air and still very much a fluid situation for all purposes. With fall and rain on it’s way and later on the snow of winter, the sediment that shows evidence in photos taken of what appear to be chemical reactions and leaves a heavy chemical smell in the air, is unlikely to moved in time. That raises even more questions as to the impact of heavy rains and melting snow on toxic, heavy metal, chemical laden sediment that surely will be washed into the water system all over again.

And that’s a huge concern. The response to this failure of policy and industry has been a complete and utter failure, slow and lethargic. The only thing that happened quickly was  the efforts to get payments reached with some locals at a time when the full impact of the failure was clearly not known – it still isn’t nearly a month later – an unconscionable action worthy of scorn in my world.

This mess needs to be cleaned up, and it needs to be made right.

It’s not enough to makes some conciliatory actions, toss out some cash and pretend it’s ok just because it didn’t happen right along the highway where everyone could have seen it. Because if this had happened in a highly visible area easy to access for the general public you and I both know a full clean-up would have already been well underway for the world to see. That’s sadly, kind of how it works.

The Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp has released their own initial assessment today and it’s worth the read. They will not let this one rest.


Today marks the start of the long weekend we celebrate Labour Day and instead of thinking about relaxing I’m thinking about the good people of Likely, and the surrounding areas who chose to make this area their home.

They have everything on the line and there is still so much to be seen in this area. Please think about driving up or flying to Williams Lake and renting a vehicle to get to Likely. Stay at the Inn, talk to the people, explore the area and most of all learn. Take your own water. There is so much to see and do and learn in the area.

Learn how a community deals with something so large and so public that it threatens their jobs, their homes and their way of life.

Learn why it’s important for each of us, no matter where we live or what the industry around us, to know how and if our government regulates them.

Take a bit of Likely home with you, because we all are in this together and the community needs help.  We can’t leave these people behind, and we must not let this happen again.


 “Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clear air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence . . .”
Wallace Stegner, The Sound of Mountain Water



” Been to Hell” ~Alexandra Morton on Mount Polley visit

Taking family time this weekend and I will have a post on Mount Polley and the sediment results late Monday, but for now, please go read Alexandra Mortons excellent post from her visit to take samples.


” I entered a place that felt like hell.  You did not want to touch anything, breath, or sit down. This place had once been so inviting it had been chosen as home to First Nations long ago. It was so sweet and lovely that there were picnic tables nearby, berries were ripe and a few flowers still blooming, but everything about the place had changed.

The land was grey and cracking, and the leaves on the trees were grey. It hurt to know I was a member of the species that had done this, created a wasteland, that I believe to be toxic, where life was once diverse and generous…”

Did the BC government fail in its duty to release important information-without an FOI-that contained any evidence of : “…a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public or a group of people”.

Some think so: https://fipa.bc.ca/release-bc-government-had-obligation-to-release-tailings-pond-info/

And I agree. The duty to protect all and any life and environment comes before everything.

It all comes down to who knew what… when? http://pacificgazette.blogspot.ca/2014/08/mount-polley-disasterthey-all-knew-ch-3.html

Will we see any resignations now?

VANCOUVER, B.C.—The BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association has filed a complaint with the BC Information and Privacy Commissioner over the BC government’s failure to release information in its possession about the now-collapsed Mt. Polley tailings pond.


Section 25 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) requires a public body to release information “without delay” without a FOI request where there is “…a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public or a group of people”.

“The situation in Mount Polley certainly seems meet the law’s requirements,” said FIPA Executive Director Vincent Gogolek. “If the government had information about past problems with the dam around the tailings pond, they should have informed local residents as required by law.”

Following an earlier complaint by BC FIPA and the UVic Environmental Law Clinic about public bodies failing to release information under this section, Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham investigated the situation. In a report released in December 2013, Commissioner Denham found the BC government failed to carry out its legal duty to release information prior to the collapse of the Testalinden Dam in Oliver.


She also made a number of recommendations for improvements.

“When the Commissioner recommends action on release of information affecting health and safety or the environment we should expect that the government would take action,” said FIPA Executive Director Vincent Gogolek. “It is important for the Commissioner to investigate not just to see if the BC government has again broken the law, but also to see if they have done anything to implement her recommendations.”

This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Little leadership in mining disaster

This week’s Duel topic: Can B.C.’s mining industry rebuild public trust?

An age-old bit of wisdom says, “You can tell a lot about a society by the way it treats its most vulnerable.” Likewise, after closely watching the response and actions following the disastrous breach of the Mount Polley tailings pond, it might also be said, “You can tell a lot about a government or corporation by the way it responds to a crisis.”

In the days since the dam breached, it’s been one public relations blunder after another for both the government and Imperial Metals. While Premier Christy Clark was scolded for not immediately taking a leadership role in flying to the disaster area to survey the damage, company president Brian Kynoch faced harsh criticism as well. In an effort to minimize concern for residents worried about toxic tailings material released when the dam broke, he made the now-infamous statement that the tailings water in the pond was “almost drinkable.” When asked if he would drink the water, he said he would — once the solids had settled.

There have been criticisms by First Nations in the area claiming they were not immediately notified by the company when the spill happened and other residents reported concerns over a lack of information in the first few days. As the story has progressed, documents have come to light alleging Imperial Metals knew there was a problem with the tailings pond dam, and the government did as well.

Public trust of the mining industry as a whole appears to have fallen to an all-time low. And that’s unfortunate.

Read Brent Stafford’s column here.

I’m not anti-mining. In fact, my dearly departed grandfather worked many years in the Bullmoose mine in Tumbler Ridge while I was growing up. Mining, strategically planned and managed with strict environmental oversight, is an economic engine that has sustained entire cities and contributes to our provincial revenues past and present.

Can public trust be rebuilt? …

READ the rest of this weeks column, comment and vote at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/08/10/little-leadership-in-mining-disaster

One tough question for the BC Government

In the days since the horrific failure of the tailings pond dam at the Mount Polley Mine, and the silence that initially followed from our government and the company, one thing is clear to me.

Sadly, as a province we cannot in good faith, trust industry or our own government to ensure the safety of the public, or the environment.

The government states it warned the mine for years: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mount-polley-mine-tailings-pond-breach-followed-years-of-government-warnings-1.2728591

The company has stated he didn’t think this could happen: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mount-polley-mine-tailings-water-very-close-to-drinking-quality-company-says-1.2727776

And while the Liberals fully wear this one from beginning to end, according to the Vancouver Observer, this issue goes back to the late 90’s : http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/understaffing-deregulation-blame-mount-polley-tailings-pond-disaster-critics

Enough is enough. I put this question to Minister of Energy and Mines,Bill Bennett on twitter, and I now ask the environment minister Mary Polak, and the premier, Christy Clark the very same question:


This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: New rules are alarmingly open to interpretation and political interference

The winner of last week’s duel on the port strike was Laila with 79%.

This week’s topic:

Are changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve good for British Columbia?

Despite the vast size of this amazing country, many would be surprised to learn that approximately 94% of all land across Canada is not suitable for any kind of farming. In fact, the small percentage that is suitable for agricultural use has been steadily shrinking for decades.

Even with the protection of the Agricultural Land Reserve here in B.C. that land is under threat from developers eagerly waiting for a chance to snap it up.

Last week, in a move that was condemned by the opposition along with some farmers and agricultural advocates across the province, the BC Liberal government introduced changes to the mandate of the Agricultural Land Commission that could lead to a permanent loss of farmland. Not only do the changes open the door for potential urban development on ALR land, but with it the potential for industrial or resource use as well.

Brent Stafford’s column

The changes split the ALR into two zones — Zone 1 is comprised of the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan, while Zone 2 covers the rest of the province, and nearly 90% of the land in the ALR. While the government claims little will change in Zone 1, the amendment act greatly relaxes the rules in Zone 2, in a manner alarmingly open to interpretation.

Another concern in the legislation was pointed out by independent MLA Vicki Huntington last week, which is a change to the makeup of the ALC board. The amendments would allow the government to appoint six new members without any consultation of the chair of the board, which is a current requirement to ensure the hiring is based on merit, not political patronage…


Read the rest of this weeks columns, comment and vote at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/03/30/new-rules-are-alarmingly-open-to-interpretation-and-political-interference

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 http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/11/27/ndp-power-hike-campaign-questioned

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?

This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: “Protecting farmland ensures locals can produce their own food”

In this week’s Duel, Brent and I decided to take a look at this question: Is food security a valid goal for the Agricultural Land Reserve?

Brent’s wrote first this week and his column is a must read before you read mine below. http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/11/17/advocates-of-food-security-arent-doing-it-for-farmers
There is just so much to be said about why food security should be an important goal for the ALR, and clearly 400 words isn’t enough to get into the heart of the matter. But check out my response to Brent below:

After reading Brent’s column this week, it appears that he has become a victim of his own complaints.

While Brent makes a valid point that people tend to hear only what they want to hear — or read, as the case may be — a visit to the website for the B.C. Food Systems Network showed me that Brent is more than capable of doing exactly the same thing.

It’s pretty apparent to anyone who takes a few minutes to check out this site that the only thing that has been hijacked in this debate are a few select words and phrases Brent has snagged from their pages to weave an argument that holds no merit.

In fact, while Brent tries to paint a picture of food security being some kind of left-wing social movement, where the taxpayers are on the hook for free food for everyone, it’s anything but. And it is that twisted right-wing, pro-development presentation that makes the food security issue so important to the debate surrounding the protection of the Agricultural Land Reserve and the Agricultural Land Commission.

Food security is a global issue that includes not only each person’s ability to access food, but encompasses the ability of communities, regions and countries to produce their own food. The need to preserve and protect agricultural land is a vital component for any region’s food security. In B.C., agricultural land is being threatened on many different fronts…

READ the rest of this weeks column, vote and comment at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/11/17/protecting-farmland-ensures-locals-can-produce-their-own-food

There will be a few stories coming this week, and I’ll be introducing you to a new cartoonist who will be sharing some political cartoons with us here on the site!

Who’s been naughtiest in B.C. Politics?




“The holiday season is here and children everywhere are writing to Santa, hoping that they haven’t made the naughty list. It turns out that it’s not only children who should be worried this year! I received a tip recently from a source in the North Pole and Santa is more than a little upset with the B.C. Liberals…

In fact, he said and I quote : “Why can’t they seem to get it right when it comes to all the most vulnerable children?”

Shameful truth be told, my source indicates that Santa has received more letters from children living in poverty in B.C. over the last 9 years,than anywhere else in Canada – and he’s not too happy about that.

In fact,my source indicated Santa’s been taking a good hard look at who’s been particularly naughty this year and has already ordered a rail car full of B.C. coal ! He still needed some help to decide who’s been naughtiest of all when it comes to politics in B.C. and I was more than happy to assist!

The Top 5 Naughty List in B.C. Politics

5)  Richard Butler, the lawyer representing the province in the Basi- Virk indemnity case who just filed a new affidavit that details how the earlier affidavit he filed was false.

Despite being a lawyer for many years, and knowing full well the penalty for perjury in the court, he now admits he “mis-stated” his original affidavit, claiming a faulty memory when it came to declaring if our government actually had detailed billing when it came to Basi and Virks lawyers…all very crucial information about the plea deal given to the two men which many believe, was in exchange for their silence.

When a lawyer ‘forgets’ and files false statements on behalf of the government ,whose been stonewalling their own auditor general who just wants the truth , that’s huge. Naughty naughty naughty. Not just coal for his stocking, but some Ginkgo Biloba in 1000mg tablets to help with his memory.

4) Bill Bennett.

To be brutally honest, I seriously thought Wild Bill must have fallen off of his quad, and was suffering a head injury after I heard him accusing NDP MLA Jagrup Brar of being infatuated with Communist Cuba!  Seriously, one of the craziest statements ever made by any politician, but even more so for a ‘top lieutenant’ in Christy Clarks election readiness team. Bill later had a sock stuffed in his mouth and was sent back out to the mountains, where his mouth couldn’t do any more harm.

3) Colin Hanson.

The man instrumental in the mess of lies and deceit behind the HST debacle – for that alone he’ll be getting a truck load of coal – has jumped from the frying pan, into the fire.

After announcing he wouldn’t be running for MLA again, he announced he would however, take on the role of deputy campaign manager for the BC Liberals in the 2013 election. Seriously? Seriously? You want to actually help this bunch of bungling,unethical politicians get re-elected? Oh, Colin, Santa isn’t going to like that, but maybe he’ll bring you a pair of hip-waders for all the crap you’re going to wading through next year…

2) Rich Coleman.

It’s really getting predictable that when the shit hits the fan,you can usually find Rich Coleman getting his raincoat on. Where do I begin? How about with one of his biggest backers, Patrick Kinsella, whose name seems to go hand in hand with backroom deals for the BC Liberals?

Coleman been very naughty this year, recently in the news for some downright unethical deals and donations between a BC brewer and his office, that resulted in some tax policy changes that.. surprise surprise.. would benefit the brewer to the tune of millions.

Story breaks, words get tossed around like special prosecutor and of course.. ” it was all just a misunderstanding” Sure. Just like bullying a potential candidate for his party into signing a letter he didn’t want to sign was too…

1) Christy Clark.

Without a doubt, Clark takes the number one spot on my naughty list, and it sure doesn’t have anything to do with her dubious appearance on the National Posts Vixens in Vancouver list… thanks to Ian Reid for that one. Stay tuned for a new pilot on Fox next year : “Premier on the Prowl “- grrrowwl !

Unfortunately, the still unelected premier has made a mockery of democracy by refusing to call an election early and get a mandate from the voters – something she promised while campaigning for the Liberal leadership.

Follow that with an endless stream of artificial photo ops, bad press and poor decisions, and you have one big reason female voters don’t like her. Whether its claiming  false job creation numbers,or claiming tough times and tightened belts, then spending $15 million on ads ,everything she says is contrived gibberish.

She has government workers on an attack site on the public dime, gone on a spending spree on the public dime, and goes through staff like some people go through tissues.

I think the people of B.C. would agree: Santa, instead of that good old B.C. coal, how about sending her one nicely wrapped reality check?

Happy Holidays, and I’d love to see your  political choices for Santa’s naughty list!

Of course, B.C. is for sale ! Just take a look at these foreign investor ads…produced by the BC Liberals

There has been quite a bit of talk about the sell-off of British Columbia’s natural resource’s,whether it be water and energy( run of the river projects),coal,natural gas, copper or other minerals, or even our trees which are being exported as raw logs to China at a rate that is leaving mills here out in the cold.

These two documents say it better than I ever could,because after all ,seeing is believing, right? But honestly, some of the things that are claimed in this first document, are not at all what the government has actually demonstrated they value…

This one, the english version of an invest in BC ad, that is available in many languages,so no country is left out of investing in our province:


And this one,practically begs investors to come and take our coal…