BC Hydro says halting Site C would cost taxpayers $500 million? Not building it at all will save us over $8 billion dollars.

Sometimes, one woman can only take so much. And when I saw yet another headline last night blaring: 

“BC Hydro says halting Site C would cost $500 million”

I really and truly, had enough.

“A stop-work order for the Site C dam will cause “extreme prejudice” to BC Hydro at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars and a one-year delay in the construction schedule, the utility’s lawyer says.

Mark Andrews told a B.C. Supreme Court judge that critical milestones will not be met if an injunction is granted to a pair of First Nations.

“This injunction is going to drive a truck into the schedule of the project at this stage in particular,” Andrews said Wednesday.

The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations are challenging the nearly $9-billion project by arguing they were not properly consulted before permits were granted for Site C, the third dam on the Peace River.

The Treaty 8 Tribal Alliance members say they will suffer “irreparable harm” if BC Hydro is allowed to start clearing thousands of hectares of old-growth forest.

They’ve asked a judge to block work authorized by specific permits.”


“The project is in the public interest because the dam’s power will flow to British Columbians, he said.

BC Hydro has said the dam is expected increase its energy supply by eight per cent, enough to generate electricity for about 450,000 homes annually.”

This kind of stuff makes my blood boil. Let me tell you why.

Site C is a project that has been on the books for longer than many British Columbians will remember. Over the years ,the reasons for it have changed a few times in order to try and justify the project. Then Premier Clark picked it up and said  LNG plants will need the energy, so we must build Site C.

However when it was revealed that LNG plants could burn their own gas to generate power – Clark admitted to Bloomberg Site C was not needed to power up those LNG plants we still don’t have – the reason for building it changed again. Now, Clark said, British Columbians will need that clean energy! We must build Site C!

It’s also been said we could sell the energy elsewhere… but read on.

What it comes down to, is that we still don’t need the electricity from that project,and there are still very serious questions  about the rationale and the costs associated with it.

Site C was already turned down once by the BC Utilities Commission in the eighties because it simply wasn’t needed.

Not surprisingly, last year the  federal-provincial joint review panel recommended  that the B.C.  government send the project to the B.C. Utilities Commission for review on the economics and cost of the project. That is what the BC Utilities Commission exists for. It reviews all the evidence provided and determines if it is accurate and if the benefits outweigh the negatives.

But no, the province  did not, and will not send the project to the BC Utilities Commission and actually exempted it when they passed the Clean Energy Act in 2010. The province knows full well that there stands a very strong likelihood the BC Utilities Commission would say the project still isn’t needed at this point in time, or that the costs associated with it outweigh any rationale for building it.

The BC Utilities Commission might also ask the province why  it still hasn’t investigated alternatives to the dam as was recommended the last time this project went before them.

We don’t need Site C, when BC Hydro has a capacity to install another unit at the Revelstoke dam right now. https://www.bchydro.com/energy-in-bc/projects/revelstoke-unit-6.html

The provincial government has ignored not only the federal-provincial review panel, but politicians,industry experts and the people whose homes and land will be flooded if the project proceeds.

Each of you should be asking yourselves why this project is being pushed through without this review being done.

This is why the BC Utilities Commission exists!!  There is so much concern over this project that now the BC Auditor General will be conducting a review “to investigate “whether BC Hydro’s recommendation and government’s decision to build Site C was supported by sufficient information and analysis to demonstrate that it would meet government’s economic, social and environmental goals.”

In an exclusive interview earlier this year, the chair of the review panel had this to say:

“In his first interview on the Site C dam, the chair of the federal-provincial panel appointed to review Canada’s largest current infrastructure project said the B.C.government was unwise to green-light the project without a review by the B.C.Utilities Commission and would have been better off to delay the decision by a few years.

There’s a whole bunch of unanswered questions, some of which would be markedly advanced by waiting three or four years,” Harry Swain told DeSmog Canada. “And you’d still be within the period of time, even by Hydro’s bullish forecasts, when you’re going to need the juice.”


You shouldn’t take decisions before you need to,” Swain said. “That means you’ll have much more information when you finally have to take a decision. Building electricity facilities in advance of need only costs money.”

The panel’s report predicted that in the first four years of production, the Site C dam would lose at least $800 million because BC Hydro would generate more power than the province needs at a cost of $100 per megawatt hour — when the market price for that power is currently $30 per megawatt hour.

Wisdom would have been waiting for two, three, four years to see whether the projections they were making had any basis in fact,” Swain said. “And they would have been able to make a better-informed decision and not necessarily a more expensive one.”

In its report, the panel wrote that it couldn’t conclude that the power from Site C was needed on the schedule presented, adding: “Justification must rest on an unambiguous need for the power and analyses showing its financial costs being sufficiently attractive as to make tolerable the bearing of substantial environmental, social and other costs.”

Some of the questions that still need to be answered, according to Swain, include the real cost and availability of alternatives, how B.C. should use its Columbia River rights, how British Columbians will react to increased electricity prices (which could decrease demand) and how the province’s liquefied natural gas industry will develop.”

That interview is a must read and you can read part 1 here: http://www.desmog.ca/2015/03/10/exclusive-b-c-government-should-have-deferred-site-c-dam-decision-chair-joint-review-panel

And part 2 here: http://www.desmog.ca/2015/03/11/dereliction-duty-chair-site-c-panel-b-c-s-failure-investigate-alternatives-mega-dam

This matters.

Homes are going to be flooded,some that have been farmed and owned by three generations of the same family.They are harvesting  musk melons right now – this is fertile land, ready for crops and in this day and age the government should be promoting it, not trying to flood it.

The valley and river is also used by many including Treaty 8 First Nations, for hunting and fishing – it is their land, through history and through treaty rights.  It has archaeological significance. Even the BC government Parks has designated the Peace River as one of its Heritage Rivers,extensively sharing how unique and diverse the river below the other two dams really is: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/heritage_rivers_program/bc_rivers/peace_river.html

site C heritage river

It really matters that when the province or a crown corporation undertakes any big project, they ensure every check and balance is done and that has not been the case with Site C. And while this time it is Site C being rammed through, next time it might be a project that impacts your life more directly.

So, when I see news reports with BC Hydro warning that costs will increase by $500 million if work is halted, I see a scare tactic designed to sway the public into pressing for this project to move ahead.

What should be said is that not building it will save taxpayers far more than $8.5 billion dollar cost of construction… but also the  potential yearly loss of $800 million because the cost to produce the energy is more than current rates. Our hydro bills would likely go up.

It’s just wrong on so many levels. I urge everyone to write the premier and every Liberal MLA and demand this project be put before the BC Utilities Commission for the full review it should have had in the first place.

This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: BC NDP wrong to back bad LNG bill.

This week`s topic: Is the NDP’s support of the BC Liberal’s LNG Tax Legislation good for B.C.?

If our readers could listen into the weekly calls Brent and I schedule to decide on a Duel topic, they’d get an earful. Brent is as strongly committed to his opinions and perspective as I am and if there is compromise, it’s based on supported facts, not concerns over how the public will perceive us.

That’s why when he suggested this week’s question, I jumped at the chance immediately. I’d just started reading the Hansard transcripts from last week, specifically the speech given by BC NDP Leader John Horgan on LNG prospects in this province and this bill. Horgan spoke passionately and eloquently to the many flaws in this legislation and how it failed to address the concerns of both opposition members who earlier spoke against it, and the public. It’s clear he understands the issues.

However, this portion of his speech left me stunned: “These are fundamental questions that are skirted by this government’s desire to say that the NDP is against everything. Well, you won’t be able to say that with Bill 6, because we’re going to stand side by side with you and vote in favour of it. As deficient as it may be, it does provide us with an opportunity to reduce some of the uncertainty that has been rampant on this file.”

Ultimately, every NDP member in the house voted in favour. The NDP decried the Liberals for not putting politics aside and putting British Columbians first, yet they are guilty of playing the same kind of politics by refusing to support Green MLA Andrew Weaver`s amendment to send this bill to a select standing committee. This would have allowed an opportunity to get some answers to the many unanswered questions.

Read Brent Stafford’s column here.

This government promised a tax rate of up to 7%, then pandered it down to 3.5% under corporate pressure…

READ the rest of this week’s column, comment and vote at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/11/30/bc-ndp-wrong-to-back-bad-lng-bill

“Christy Clark would do well to remember that Canada is a free nation…”

Late last week I was contacted by a new member of a local community association here in Surrey, who expressed great concern over this Tyee blog post: http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/2014/09/29/Non-Profit-Attack-Petition/

Her concern of course,is that the potential for these proposed changes to be used to silence any group expressing concerns or opposition to, well, anything,  is very real.

In the nick of time, Sandy Garossino has posted excellent commentary that really gets to the ominous heart of the matter:

“B.C.’s Christy Clark government is proposing to overhaul the Societies Act, and they’ve distributed a snoozer of a White Paper to let you know all about it.

If you’ve dozed off already, WAKE UP, because there’s a massive zinger quietly planted deep inside. You can do something about it — more on that at the end of this post. But unmentioned in any preamble or executive summary, Section 99 allows any person (including corporations) to take any registered society to court that they believe is acting contrary to the public interest — whatever that is.

Here it is:

Complaints by public

99 (1) A person whom the court considers to be an appropriate person to make an
application under this section may apply to the court for an order under this
section on the grounds that a society

(b) is carrying on activities that are detrimental to the public interest.

In other words, environmental non-profit groups better watch their step because they’re in the cross-hairs. Premier Clark is handing the legal hammer to Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, ExxonMobil, Koch, Encana, Chevron, Sinopec, Suncor and the entire B.C. LNG sector to tie non-profits up in court for years.

Section 99 looks like Clark’s close advisor Gwyn Morgan drafted it up during half-time at last year’s Grey Cup. Not a single competent lawyer within the Ministry of Justice could say with a straight face that it’s constitutional. The clear intent is to silence and intimidate Canadian conservation and environmental non-profits with the threat of litigation. And if mere threat doesn’t work, this legislation enables the corporate sector to bludgeon them into lawsuit bankruptcy.

This proposal is one of the most ill-conceived and draconian initiatives to see the light of day in a modern democracy, and reveals the extent of Clark’s captivity by the oil and gas lobby. (And one more reason B.C. political leaders should be prevented from funding their election campaigns at the Petroleum Club in Calgary).

But as policy, it’s also breathtakingly stupid. As if B.C. doesn’t already have the mother of all court backlogs to cope with, the Clark government now proposes to fill up the system with disgruntled parents taking out their beefs in court against a minor hockey association or local elementary school PAC (parent advisory council). It will be open season on abortion clinics, LGBTQ organizations, and mosques. Don’t think for a minute that won’t happen.

The real backdrop, of course, is that the Harper government has been on a tear against environmentalists for years, muzzling our scientists and attempting to discredit Canadian environmental NGOs…”

Read the rest of this post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/sandy-garossino/bc-societies-act-christy-clark_b_5973568.html

Then fire off your email comments on what you think of this draconian proposal right away, because the public consultation period on this ends Wednesday October 15th. Yes, that’s right,it’s been open for comment since August.

Here is the link:  http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/pld/fcsp/society_act_discussion.htm

Wake up and smell the coffee my friends.

** and if you still have the stomach for it after that, Sean Holman has an excellent read to follow up with this morning. http://seanholman.com/2014/10/13/scientists-arent-the-only-ones-silenced/

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 : http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/05/11/bc-hydro-hasnt-made-a-convincing-case-for-pushing-costly-dam-onto-taxpayers

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

CAJ conference hosts first event open to public: “J-Fest” features journalist Lindsay Kines, editorial cartoonist Dan Murphy and documentary film-maker/editor Damien Gillis

CAJ Damien Gillis (2)Every year the Canadian Association for Journalists hosts a conference, and this years program includes an incredible evening of discussion open to the general public: J-Fest, a celebration of journalism that matters!

The Times Colonist’s Lindsay Kines led investigations into Vancouver’s missing women, the death of toddler Sherry Charlie and the treatment of the developmentally disabled.

Former Province cartoonist Dan Murphy’s pen has skewered politicians on both the left and right, telling truths the printed word can’t.

And filmmaker Damien Gillis’s new film Fractured Land is set to expose the dangers of natural gas development.

On Friday (May 9) at 7:00, these three journalists will talk about their work at J-Fest, a special event for the public organized by the Canadian Association of Journalists.

Hear about the story behind three of the biggest news stories in British Columbia, why editorial cartooning matters more than ever and the reason you should care about the fracking that’s happening in northern British Columbia.

They’ll be talking about the importance of their work – and why Canadians should care about it.

Because we aren’t talking about that, who else will?

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased online (www.caj.ca) or at the door.

What: J-Fest, featuring documentary filmmaker Damien Gillis, Times Colonist reporter Lindsay Kines and former Province editorial cartoonist Dan Murphy,

Where: Canadian Association of Journalists annual convention

Holiday Inn and Suites Downtown Vancouver (1110 Howe Street)

When: Friday, May 9 (7:00 p.m.)

Register at: http://www.caj.ca/?page_id=3728

 CAJ Dan Murphy (2)


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: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/12/01/bc-hydro-hasnt-proved-its-case-project-is-even-needed

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

This weeks column for 24Hrs: Put the brakes on LNG until impact of fracking investigated.

This week’s topic:

Should we put a stop to LNG implementation for more study and to set standards?

It appears that for Premier Christy Clark, fracking is the new F-word.

The incredibly well-crafted sales job Clark and the BC Liberals have presented in support of LNG expansion has strategically avoided any reference to fracking.

In fact, in looking through the one-year update of the B.C. government’s LNG strategy, the word fracking is nowhere to be found — the government refers only to the “extraction process.”

Read Brent Stafford’s column

Hydraulic fracturing is the process used by many gas companies to extract natural gas that is trapped in rock below the surface. Water is mixed with a combination of sand and chemicals, and forced into the ground under high pressure to fracture the rock, which allows the trapped gas to be extracted. In recent years, the word fracking has become synonymous with pictures of tap water being ignited, and dried-up streams and rivers, thanks to documentaries like Gasland and Fractured Land.

It’s no surprise that the BC Liberals don’t want the public to associate fracking with their highly dubious trillion-dollar LNG expansion plans — public outrage has quashed fracking operations in other jurisdictions. A new survey released last week by Insights West shows that while 50% of British Columbians support LNG expansion, only 26% supported fracking while 39% of people surveyed think fracking is already being done in B.C.

The rush to develop LNG resources is appalling, considering several countries, states and provinces have already banned or put a moratorium on fracking until the considerable environmental concerns can be addressed…

Read the rest of this weeks column, and vote, at this link: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/09/22/put-the-brakes-on-lng-until-impact-of-fracking-investigated

It’s important to note that while this weeks Duel takes a look at whether or not the brakes should be put on LNG until studies and standards can be set, the financial argument against such rapid expansion plans is well supported. BC is very late in the game for LNG development, and the report by the International Gas Union touches on this, as well as other challenges faced by projects in BC.


Insights West survey on LNG and fracking: http://www.insightswest.com/news/residents-in-alberta-and-british-columbia-diametrically-opposed-on-fracking/

Fracking bans/moratoriums around the world: http://keeptapwatersafe.org/global-bans-on-fracking/

BC Gov’t has no problem with fracking :http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=dcbe13ef-14a8-406c-aa53-98fa7b7e7ae0&sponsor

BC Oil and Gas Commission lacks transparency on fracking violations: ( nothing to look  at here, move along…) http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Commission+lacks+transparency+fracking+violations/7982077/story.html

Petition for water license reform from Fort Nelson Band: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/fort-nelson-bands-anti-fracking-petition-draws-overwhelming-response/article5828976/


2013 World LNG report from the International Gas Unionhttp://www.igu.org/gas-knowhow/publications/igu-publications/IGU_world_LNG_report_2013.pdf

BC’s LNG plan boosts immigrant workers http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/b-c-s-liquefied-natural-gas-plan-boosts-immigrant-workers-1.632957


“Canada, we stand on guard for thee.” ~ Round two, 2013. Nothing changed for the better in the last year, so what exactly will it take to get you off your ass, folks? Eh?

“As opposition leader, [Stephen Harper] wrote in the Montreal Gazette in the year before he came to power: ‘Information is the lifeblood of a democracy. Without adequate access to key information about government policies and programs, citizens and parliamentarians cannot make informed decisions and incompetent or corrupt governments can be hidden under a cloak of secrecy.’

When he became prime minister, his attitude appeared to undergo a shift of considerable proportions. It often took the Conservatives twice as long as previous governments to handle access requests. Sometimes it took six months to a year.”
―     Lawrence Martin,     Harperland: The Politics of Control    

No kidding, EH?

That Stephen Harper government, oh my gosh, what the PEI potatoes happened there, EH? Where did all that access to information and honesty and transparency go?  ( actually, did they ever give us that? )

Canada the land of the free, we’re different up here and all that schtick – and yet we seem to be uncovering more and more corruption, collusion and unethical behavior than ever lately.

Well we have le jambon, Mike Duffy. http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/search-warrants-issued-in-rcmp-s-probe-of-mike-duffy-s-expenses-1.1345232

We have le gros jambon, former ‘journalist’ Pamela Wallin – disclosure, I used to love her work on  The Fifth Estate and W5- what the hell happened there, I do not know, but I think she needs to go back to her roots and do a full investigation into the this senate scandal herself… :) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/pamela-wallin-denied-health-coverage-in-ontario-and-saskatchewan-she-told-senate/article12818916/

Yesterday however, was not such a funny day in BC.

In case you didn’t notice, Christy Clark is still holding the role of premier hostage, since she lost her own seat as an MLA  in Vancouver, and is now trying to steal find a seat in wine country in  Kelowna.

Let’s not comment on the irony of that, ok?

Today, I watched the BC legislature live. Barring Dix – because in all honesty,he just has to go, I cant listen to him,or watch him, with any credibility because of the NDP’s performance in the last election – the rest of the NDP speakers were right on task.  ( Is this the real NDP, or was the election NDP  the real NDP? Who knows? What I do know is, you can’t fix Dix. Step aside now, and mitigate the membership loss. )

But I digress.

The BC legislative session today was revealing in many ways. Horgan called out “an unelected visitor” on the back bench who was passing notes to the MLA’s on the Liberal side. Discussion ensued after Horgan refused to back down. Reid didn’t want to deal with it and Horgan called her on it again. Clearly, Clark still does what she wants even when the rules say otherwise. She thinks she is above reproach. I am not convinced democracy will prevail even if she remains unelected and can’t enter the house as anything other than a visitor.

The BC Liberals, via Mike De Jong, revealed their budget is essentially crap, and that you can all expect cuts to come… yet kept to the Liberals claim the budget is balanced.  There was no talk about the pay raises Clark tried to give all her appointee’s, nor the PHSA scandal, but hey, it is the last day of school for many in BC, and a long weekend, summer vacation is here already for many…so Christy and crew know very well that not a lot of people are going to be watching.

Well, sorry Christy, I was watching. And it was incredibly not funny to watch the powerpoint presentation  of Mike de Jong of how the economic outlook of BC that you campaigned on, is not happening, hasn’t happened, and doesn’t look to be happening anytime soon.

For what it is worth, this is what I think.

I think, that in 4 years, people are going to be so upset in BC that Christy Clark will have to move to Ontario to save her behind. I think that while you can fool some of the people, some of the time, you cannot fool all of the people, all of the time. Eventually,something is going to give.

You can’t fool all the moms, Ms. Clark. You can’t fool all the workers. You can only fool yourself when you look in the mirror everyday and tell yourself you are doing this for the future of the province. We know what you are really doing this for. It’s power. Let me remind you of those raises approved right after you were elected…. and the stark reality of your budget update today, Ms. Clark.

Either you admit you knew that drastic cuts were needed and approved those raises regardless… or you admit you are a clueless leader without a seat in the house because your own riding didn’t support you enough to elect you as their representative.. and that you didn’t really care about the budget but wanted to have your cake and eat it too…

On that note, I leave you with a re-post of last years Canada Day post that garnered national attention….because quite honestly, not much has changed since then. I still love this country more than anything, and I still love this new anthem written and composed by Priscilla Judd.

If anything, it hits harder home now, than ever.

Happy Canada Day, everyone. United we stand. We must not fall.

Canada, we stand on guard for thee…

Tonight, I have two special items for you, at least special to me because of where they came from, and why.

They both concern Canada. Our country – for some like myself, a birthright, for others a choice to find a better life. There was a time, not that long ago, that I outright admit I took our liberties and freedoms here in this great, amazing land for granted. And why not? This is Canada, after all, where as Pierre Burton once said, you know you are one when you can make love in a canoe…without tipping. Beavers chomping, moose munching and kids playing hockey on frozen ponds… the clichés abound when it comes to Canadians and our country.

I love them all, I really do. But to me, what really makes us Canadian is our endless strength and our convictions. Right now, both are being tested, and sadly, by our own government – a government who many say, and I agree, is selling our country out, putting it at grave risk and forgetting the wonderful people who made this country what it is.

Our arts are being killed, our scientists muzzled and silenced, our environment mismanaged or sold to foreign interests, our personal rights and freedoms are being eroded every day. Our government seems to have forgotten what country this is, and I think I have become a nationalist(eek) – someone who advocates political independence for our country. I love, and will defend my country, and will do so using my pen and paper… or computer as modern times dictate.

We aren’t politically independent in Canada, nor are we in B.C. When you have corporate friends who have great influence over political leaders, when you have foreign governments who are paying for educational supplements here, actively lobbying and shaping policy and impacting government affairs,when you have a prime minister who openly tells his country he will overrule due process to make something wrong, right…. I am telling you we do not have political independence.

The wonderful thing is, there are thousands of others just like me, and we are finding each other, and talking and informing everyone we can.

One person at a time if need be,and you know something special is happening when a reader,( whom I also consider a new friend), stops on her road trip across Canada to send you a photo, from the Gordie Howe campground in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan because she knows exactly what I will think of it. ( doesn’t get more Canadian than driving across the country in a camper..)

Here is her email from today:

 ”Hi Laila,

I just thought I would send these not so great photos to you… the one with Harper quoted re: Dief! What a total joke for Harper to even be quoted for one thing and to call himself a Tory! I grew up thinking the Conservatives knew what they were about due to Diefenbaker but those days are long past and only a few good old boys are trying to call Harper into line…

Anyway…how one man can change a nation so quickly…for the worse!

Keep writing…my husband and I are doing our first trip in a small camper across Canada …and reminiscing about Canada along the way…and hope to be in Ottawa for July 1st and I will be wearing my anti Enbridge T-shirt with my save our salmon hoodie! “

Best, Barb

Well, the photos were all great, and here is one photo that I think speaks volumes!!The irony is clear and I am sure old Dief would be turning in his grave if he saw this.

Clearly Harper didn’t learn a hell of a lot from Diefenbaker, now did he? That’s all I am going to say about that. ( I will be featuring more photos from Barb and her hubby’s trip across Canada, since I asked her to continue to send photos to me of things that really stood out for her along the way,things she felt were really Canadian)

The second special item for you comes from Priscilla Judd, whom I met while covering the No Prison for Lumby story. Her heart is good and spirit strong and talent…immense.

Priscilla writes:

 ”Life is very much better in Lumby without the fight over a prison but this Federal Government (supported by BC Liberals)  is tearing apart our country – fast. I’ve been busy working lately and writing songs. Anyway, my husband made a video to help me share one of them.I’m sending you my song URL in hopes that first: you like it and second, I’m hoping you will share it.

It’s easy to sing… I have performed it at two protests and it seems to unite people. I hope it goes around in your head and you can remember it if you feel like giving up – I know I do – times are bleak… So let me know how the song works for you – many thanks

in peace


I opened the link, listened to the song and cried. Yes, it really struck me, the beauty, the truth of that song, and if I had my way this would be our new anthem because it speak to all we hold strong , true and free in Canada.  Yes Priscilla, this works for me just fine!!

Listen. Reflect. Enjoy. Will you stand beside me, and stand up for British Columbia, for Canada when they need us most? To remain, the true north, strong and FREE.

“O Canada we’ve all agreed to stand for the true north strong and free with glowing hearts from sea to sea we stand on guard for thee

O Canada on Native land we wash the oil from tar and sand from pipe to power this darkest hour from sea to shining sea

But who stands watch for the earth below? stands for the ice and the melting snow? who for the land to call our home? Oh Canada I don’t know

O Canada with fossil soil we frack the gas and mine the coal for carbon power this darkest hour from sea to shining sea

but Who looks out for the prairie sky? stands for the air so none of us die? who for wind and the birds that fly? where the planet goes there go I

O Canada from forest green we ship the logs and cut the trees and there for the river that meets the sea with mud and logging debris

O Canada O Canada who stands watch from sea to sea? who for a lost democracy? who for the true north strong and free?

if not you then let it be me”

A detailed analysis of the BC Throne Speech – fantasy vs. reality.

How Christy Clark thought British Columbians would react :


What actually happened after the announcement of the BC Prosperity Fund :


Followed by this, a day later….