A River Runs Through It…the hypocrisy, that is.

So there I was today, between meetings, sitting in the Espresso Cafe in Newton – which incidentally has the best coffee I’ve found in Surrey. Deep rich flavour, none of that burnt bitterness I often find at the red cup chain that shall not be named.

But I digress. There I was, sitting and drinking my coffee, when I saw a Province paper.Not having read one in I don’t know how long, I picked it up to leaf through when something jumped right out at me within the first few pages.
2015-11-30 002

That’s the good-looking version on the nice tablecloth… this is the real document at the BC Utilities Commission website : http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Proceedings/2015/DOC_45125_A-2_G-182-15_RegTimetable.pdf

Excerpt:

bcuchypocrisy

The full meal deal on this project is here:  http://www.bcuc.com/ApplicationView.aspx?ApplicationId=518

Basically, there are issues with a failed rock armour layer at the WAC Bennett dam –  also on the Peace River – that impacts long term erosion control;the same kind of erosion issues that have concerned Site C critics and have been overlooked by many.

And because the BC Utilities Commission is  the oversight agency that was created to assess these kinds of projects to ensure they are needed and how they will impact BC Hydro rates, this project has gone before the commission and it was deemed a public hearing was needed.

Rightfully so – this is the only check and balance British Columbians have to ensure their best interest with regards to energy projects and BC Hydro rates. 

But the glaring hypocrisy of this project going through the proper process created by the province itself… when the BC  Liberal government and energy minister Bill Bennett exempted a much larger,far more expensive and un-needed project like Site C, is stark!

Now, any person with a stick of commonsense would ask why any government would remove a multi billion dollar project from the regular process. And then follow that same process for a much smaller maintenance issue on a dam, on the same river. Because to me, it just does not make sense.

I was tremendously disappointed to hear the announcement awarding initial contracts for Site C last week, in part because it has not gone through the same process dictated above. No review, no public hearing by the BC Utilities Commission. And the composition of the partnership will be subject for another post ,but right now this is just outrageous.

If the province really believes this project is the right one, for the right reasons,then let due process occur. But I will again point out the very telling statement Bill Bennett made in an interview with the Globe and Mail: 

bennettSiteC

And I call now on the new federal government and environment minister to reveal the reasons why the former government claimed cabinet privilege  when it came to their decision on Site C: http://www.alaskahighwaynews.ca/regional-news/site-c/despite-cabinet-secrecy-federal-decision-on-site-c-ok-judge-rules-1.2045577

In the written decision against the PVLA, Judge Michael Manson said the decision by the federal government was justified—even though the government chose not to reveal its reasoning behind the decision to the courts.

In the decision, lawyers for the PVLA argued the federal cabinet only addressed the consultation process with Aboriginal groups and their social interests in their government in council (GIC) order, without also addressing the economic value or including a cumulative effects analysis of the project.

Lawyers argued the government would need to consider whether or not the project was needed for power, and whether or not the project was financially justified—which the group believed the government did not consider.

BC Hydro disagreed, arguing the federal cabinet indeed reflected and considered the overall question of costs, need for, and benefits of Site C.

Manson agreed.

“The concerns and interests of Aboriginal groups have been reasonably balanced with other societal interests including social, economic, policy and the broader public interest,” he wrote in his decision.

However, the full reasoning behind the decision was not made available to the courts.

Manson wrote that cabinet “claimed privilege” to keep the matter private. This complicated his review of the reasons for the decisions, he noted.

“(The federal cabinet) could have chosen to submit redacted versions before them, but decided not to,” he wrote.

Nevertheless, Manson found there was “no basis” that the decision was made without regarding environmental legislation, economic considerations, or that the decision itself was unreasonable.

“While the reasons provided by the GIC could have been better articulated and more transparent, they are within the reasonable boundaries and requirements for GIC reasons,” Manson wrote.

“The GIC must consider a wide range of considerations and information put before it. As a body comprised of elected officials, it is accountable to the electorate: the public itself.”

It’s unclear why government made the decision to claim privilege. Questions sent to Leona Aglukkaq—the federal environment minister at the time the decision was made, and a member of the cabinet in charge of making the decision— were not returned as of press time.

 

In the best interests of British Columbians concerned about rising Hydro bills, anything less is inexplicable. There is simply too much risk involved: economically,socially and environmentally.

 

Backposts:

https://lailayuile.com/2015/08/20/bc-hydro-says-halting-site-c-would-cost-taxpayers-500-million-not-building-it-at-all-will-save-us-over-8-billion-dollars/

https://lailayuile.com/2015/09/29/site-c-to-be-debated-in-bc-legislature-tomorrowrally-against-the-project-to-be-held-outside/

https://lailayuile.com/tag/site-c/

16 thoughts on “A River Runs Through It…the hypocrisy, that is.

  1. The BCUC must have oversight on these decisions. It is crazy that we have no oversight when we have such an organization designed to over see. Clearly, Site C is exempted, as was the Smart Metre fiasco and IPPs because the business case could not stand scrutiny and the environmental and legal implications would not stand up in daylight.

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  2. Laila

    Agreed,, and it is a travesty because although taxpayers aren’t largely aware of it, this is the one and only checkpoint for energy projects like this.

    Clean energy is a great goal. But we must still ensure the economics of those projects work, and we must ensure the environmental and social implications are minimal. This is a designated Heritage river as per the BC government…and they intend to destroy much of what remains of it for what?

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  3. e.a.f.

    building the site c dam will make a lot of people a lot of money. a lot of them will be close to Christy and her .b.c. liberals. Site C has nothing to do with electrical needs of this province it has to do with spreading our tax dollars around to those on the inside. Chrsity and her cabal do not care about the destruction of farm land, who cares, her friends will make money. all that extra water will be used for fracking. of course even with her in Paris she hasn’t realized those days are over, but she can still build the dams, have the tax payers pay for them while her friends reap the profit. Of course the children of b.C. will go hungry, but they have been for fifteen years already, so it really doesn’t matter.

    The only thing which will prevent Christy from building the dam and flooding farm land is if the banks refuse to loan her $8 billion and that could happen. the msm may not have mentioned it but there is not a lot of money coming jn to the provincial coffers and B.c. Hydro owes approx. $60 billion. build the dam and watch the province go /Detroit north. ought to be quite funny. the party of the business community with huge deficits and going bankrupt.

    first Christy and her cabal promised us jobs, jobs,jobs, that she was going to grow the economy, that we would take in trillions of dollars and have a 100K jobs and what do we get. a premier with bad hair, bad ward robe, children in poverty, dirty hospitals, insufficient health care. gee must be so great to be the photo op queen of b.c. Almost makes you want el gordo back.

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    1. It was actually under Gordon Campbell’s watch and direction that Site C (among other projects) was exempted from review by the BCUC under section 7 of the Clean Energy Act. So although you say “almost”, any notion of wanting him back should be immediately smothered in its cradle.

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  4. Jack Hackett

    All of these little demonstrations, presentations and representations held against the construction of ‘Site C’ have been and are ineffective. What is required is affirmative action. To begin, the ‘Recall process’ of both local MLA’s representing and supporting this project should take place. This initiating local involvement that will effectively raise eyebrows and draw attention. On the Provincial level, we need a charismatic leader to emerge and open the Referendum Act relating to this project. Billy Vander Zalm arose per the anti HST, and guess what, success. It can be done and now we need an equivalent. This current government will not pay attention unless directly threatened, don’t rely on any political parties to support. They also, do not like the Recall and/or Referendum threat.

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  5. John's Aghast

    I’m not only Aghast, I’m Gobsmacked! Who do these people think they are? God?
    Spittle Bennett says: “..frankly a group of unelected bureaucrats and lawyers would have decided the future of energy policy in British Columbia.” Frankly Billy, I’d much rather have bureaucrats and lawyers making decisions than the no-mind passel of government toadies that currently are doing it.
    And e.a.f., I take exception to your comment that “building the site C dam will make a lot of people a lot of money…” It will make a FEW people A WHOLE LOT of money and impoverish the rest of the population.
    Lets hope the Natives have more stroke than the PVLA!
    Oh, and hold the reclamation of the quarry. It’ll be needed for the Site C works.

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  6. I know I am quite naive about the ins and outs here. It seems that BC’s Money is being thrown about on Energy Projects w/o any checks and balances. Whatever the queen wishes is done. The Commissions/Safeguards etc are stacked.Suspect w Mr.H’s help and the big rush is the hope of a go ahead before things are revealed?? Is it possible for the Feds to order an audit? Or Cease and desist?Can someone to do that.. a non-confidence? I’ve read somewhere that there does not seem to be any financial responsibility w this Gov’t. The Priorities are Certainly out of whack. Anyway – I am certainly grateful to all of you for staying on top of this. SOMETHING has to be done. WHERE is that alternate party? No time to build or finance I assume. Thank you Laila and all ❤

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  7. Pingback: Dear Santa… | No Strings Attached : Laila Yuile on politics and life in B.C.

  8. Pingback: BC Hydro issues Rocky Mountain Fort Campers at Site C, a 24 Hour Eviction notice – on New Years Eve. | No Strings Attached : Laila Yuile on politics and life in B.C.

  9. Pingback: BC Hydro responses to BC Utilities Commission raises new questions over WAC Bennett Dam repairs – No Strings Attached : Laila Yuile on politics and life in B.C.

  10. Bennet: “I’m just the guy….who is going to make sure that it gets built for what they tell me it is going to get built for.”
    That kinda says it all. NOT a leader. NOT a representative of the people. NOT a thinker. NOT a decision maker. Just a glorified ‘go-fer’ who is going to try to re-do the job of the project manager. TOTALLY NOT accountable in any way except for the budget they ‘TELL ME’.
    Dear Bill: We can hire a foreign temporary worker for that. Take a hike!

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  11. Pingback: About those WAC Bennett Dam repairs… – Laila Yuile on people, politics and life in B.C.

  12. Pingback: More glaring hypocrisy as BC Hydro critical upgrades must undergo BCUC review while province refuses to submit Site C – Laila Yuile on people, politics and life in B.C.

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