Cutting through the spin of Energy Minister Bill Bennett’s misleading statement on Global BC News.

Sitting down with a cup of tea before bed last night, I watched a bit of TV, flipping through the channels before settling on the 10 pm news on Global BC 1. Early on, a segment came up on the arrests at the Site C demonstration outside the BC Hydro gates, and a brief mention of the Treaty 8 campers at the heritage Rocky Mountain Fort Site.

Next thing you know, a gruff Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy & Mines is onscreen talking about Site C.
This was his statement:

” We’re a duly elected government that took seven years to do our due diligence, to determine that this was the best way to acquire new electricity at the lowest price, clean electricity , uh, that is with Site C. We made that decision,uh, we’re going to have to get this project built on time,otherwise it will go over budget.”

It starts at the 1:06 mark  at this video segment, but do watch the entire clip – the energy lawyer at the end say this could still all go sideways :

After so many years of writing this blog, or during the years I wrote the debate column in 24Hours Vancouver, the stuff that comes out of politicians mouths really shouldn’t surprise me anymore, but yet, it still does. I guess it’s just the optimist in me that still believes people who are elected should stand with a bit more integrity than this.

My outrage simmering again despite the vanilla chai tea,  I took to social media to quickly share why his statement- unquestioned- was just so outrageous:

And off to bed I went, firmly resolved to blog again in the morning.

Honestly Bill, just because you said it, doesn’t make it true. But of course for many politicians truth is highly subjective.

The truth is that in 2010, under former premier Gordon Campbell, the BC government made sure Site C and many other energy projects,would never face the scrutiny of the public or the BC Utilities Commission. Andrew Nikiforuk sums it up so well, right here:

Bypassing the public’s watchdog

Given the huge cost to taxpayers and so powerful arguments against it, such a project deserves to be adjudicated by an impartial body with the public interest as its mission. That would be the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC).

The specific public mandate of the BCUC is “to ensure that ratepayers receive safe, reliable, and non-discriminatory energy services at fair rates from the utilities it regulates.” The only time the BCUC vetted the Site C project was back in 1983, and it rejected it.

This time around, the B.C. government excluded the project for any such due diligence, explaining “only duly elected officials have a right to make” such monumental decisions and not regulatory bodies specifically designed to provide checks and balances on political decision-making.

Economist Marvin Shaffer told The Tyee that “In my view, the government didn’t want the BCUC to review the merits and in particular the timing of Site C because it could well have been rejected by the Commission.”

“Virtually every ratepayer group including large power users and the wide range of general (commercial) users as well as the Public Interest Advocacy Centre would argue against building Site C at this time,” added Shaffer, a professor at Simon Fraser’s School of Public Policy.

Long story short, if this government doesn’t like the rules of the game, they change them. And we will all pay the price if the federal government does not see fit to intervene and pull approval :

Panel warns of ratepayer hit

But even a 2014 joint federal and provincial environmental assessment panel couldn’t find any real need for the project. Their 473-page study dramatically concluded that the BC Hydro had “not fully demonstrated the need for the project on the timetable set forth… For a number of reasons set out in the text, the Panel cannot conclude that the power of Site C is needed on the schedule presented.”

The panel pointed out that in most places around the world, energy intensive liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals usually provide their own energy needs by burning natural gas. In addition the dam wouldn’t be generating power till 2024 or several years after most proposed terminals were to be built.

As a result the panel recommended that the BC Utilities Commission conduct a thorough review of the project as well as future provincial electrical needs and societal costs if the government decided to proceed with Site C.

The panel also made many other key points. For example, it concluded that a number of energy alternatives such as geothermal were “competitive with Site C on a standard financial analysis” but found the province hadn’t carefully explored the option.

The panel also noted that “a failure to pursue research over the last 30 years into B.C.’s geothermal resources has left BC Hydro without information about a resource that BC Hydro thinks may offer up to 700 megawatts of firm, economic power with low environmental costs.”

The panel added that the province’s Clean Energy Act gave the province and BC Hydro the mandate to investigate these matters.

The federal assessment also questioned the high cost of the project and the risks for ratepayers: “BC Hydro projects losing $800 million [from the dam] in the first four years of operation. These losses would come home to B.C. ratepayers in one way or another.”

There are outstanding court cases involving Treaty 8 members, who are currently exercising their rights at Rocky Mountain Fort camp, one of the oldest and most historic sites in the province, trying to prevent it from being logged. Rich in history for First Nations and non-indigenous people, history is again being made right now at that site.  ( a must read, even I had no idea of the history of this site. )

But still, Bill says, we must move ahead and build this dam ( we don’t need) or it will be over budget. ( which history shows is likely to double by the end of construction


It is a legacy project, pure and simple. They knew it would not be approved by the independent review of the BCUC. They did nothing to pursue the alternatives suggested the first time it was rejected. And then they changed the rules, when the rules didn’t work in their favour.

This is not about good policy. It’s not even about clean energy anymore.  It’s about being able to say ” We built the largest infrastructure project BC has ever seen.”




1) BC Hydro issues eviction notice under cover of  New Years Eve

2) A litmus test for ‘Real Change’ : where is Justin Trudeau on Site C? Why isn’t new federal government investigating why Harper invoked cabinet secrecy on Site C decison?

3) ( photos of demonstration here)  Separate demonstration at Site C BC Hydro gates results in three arrests, including Arthur Hadland- long time former Peace River politician

4)  UBCIC issues press release one day after Treaty 8 does, asking BC Hydro to stand down.

**The most telling comments from Bennett came in this Globe and Mail article from a while back. The last two paragraphs, are alarming.



39 Comments on “Cutting through the spin of Energy Minister Bill Bennett’s misleading statement on Global BC News.

  1. The wishes of the people need not be consulted because, unlike Bennett (Polley Dam) Christy and the Gumshoe, (LNG and crooks as partners) they just don’t understand stuff like this.

    Environmentalists are all yellow comsymps who whine about silly things like LNG Brass lying through their teeth about the safety of their tankers in waters even their own industry says are too narrow; the people worry about (I read this morning) dumping chemicals into salmon rivers.

    The way to deal with these nutcases is to bring back the paddle and beat some respect for their betters into them.

    In my day there was respect for people like Sukanto Tanoto and public spirited organizations like Resource Works who understand that bald- faced lies will save our “system” from the ignorant rabble.

    And, of course, PostMedia (Sun, Province and National Post) realizing their obligations to keep those profitable – and harmless, of course – fossil fuels going flat out and are formally allied with The Canadian Association Of Petroleum Producers and Woodfibre LNG.


  2. Very best of hands lol, I know it is tongue in cheek but cannot see the BC Liberals having anyones best interests at the forefront.

  3. Thank you, Laila Yuile, for staying on top of the government’s ridiculous idea of flooding some prime agricultural land and driving out farmers to build dam, which is old technology costing billions of dollars that could be better used elsewhere.

    Sincere gratitude must be given the the Treaty 8 members who show courage and bravery by standing on the road to stop vehicles from entering the work area.

    Remember when people from all over the world were amazed by the lone protester who stopped the tanks on Tiananmen Square in a fight to stop the corruption by government?

    British Columbians who care about this province should make noise and support the people who show courage and bravery not only for themselves and their way of life, but for all of us who refuse to accept the misrepresentations and arrogance that Laila Yuile has exposed more than once.

    NO SITE-C!

    BC Refed

  4. If we were to invest that $10 billion into solar we could fully power 666,666 houses with a $15,000 system.

    As site C is more likely to run to costs of $15 billion then we could fully power 1 million houses with solar systems.

    If a tax credit is given so half of the cost is reimbursed from the govt. then 2 million houses could be converted to solar for their electrical needs.

    ( These are based on figures from my BC Hydro bill usage and a quick google of costs of solar systems that would produce my usage – might be in US dollars so add an extra 40% but still an alternative to think about)

    Might want to add the cost of a battery storage unit as well.

    • nice idea putting the money into solar, but I’d suggest we put 1/3 into solar, 1/3 into health care, 1/3 into poverty reduction.

  5. would somebody please explain ‘due diligence’ please? cuz what I think it is – is not what the govt thinks it is…

  6. Remember when politicians lied with sophistication? Like they were trying hard to deceive? For the last decade or so they lie like six year olds caught with the cookies. Blatant. What next? The dog ate it? Trump lies. Christy lies. Bennet lies. Harper AND Duffy lie…? Alison Redford lied so much even the liars called foul. Even VW lied! How does this happen? Audience fatigue? “They all lie. All the time. I am tired of listening.”. Is that it? They lie because no one is listening, anyway?
    I find lying without taking the time to make it even sound plausible somehow worse. Literally adding insult to injury.

    • What amazes (or frightens me….I’m not sure which) is how blatant these fabrications, half truths and lies seem to spew forth from every level of govt on just about every controversial issue.
      The spin doctors( where ex-media hacks go to “retire” …..Jas Johal comes to mind for LNG) spew forth their “version” of the truth …..all paid for with YOUR tax dollars.
      The arrogance of these people to use taxpayer money to spin their lies would be criminal if it was a financial company using your money to tell you a lousy investment was a great deal.

      “Fracking is ok for the environment…….”
      “LNG is necessary and will create thousands of jobs….”
      “Site C will cost 6 billion and is desperately needed……”
      “Triple deleted govt emails were’nt policy they were accidents, IF they even happened…..”

      Then I realized that these self serving political prostitutes know that the media WONT question their fabrications, lies whatever.
      The media have been silenced, bought off, muzzled., intimidated or promised a job with the govt… What ever you want to call it…..its revolting and a complete repudiation of their journalistic integrity
      Perhaps a refresher course for every BC journalist should be in order.
      Starting with the Journalists Oath.

      The tough questions we expect from the media arent being asked…..ever.

  7. I’d like to see some journalistic due diligence exercised by the media when interviewing Wild Bill.

    Maybe ask him what sort of due diligence on the energy file was going on while he and the rest of cabinet were suffering from the battered wife syndrome he complained of in 2010 at the hands of Gordon Campbell. Any chance energy policy was due direction, rather than diligence?

    Or what due diligence would load BC Hydro with massive debt to be paid by our grandkids?

    How about asking whether due diligence includes BC Hydro borrowing hundreds of millions to pay dividends to the province so that Christy and Mike can crow about their fiscal prowess? Again, our grandkids will pay so these two can pretend.

    Does due diligence include installing people with no experience whatever in running a huge public utility (but very strong credentials as BC Liberal insiders) as CEO and Chair? Maybe ask Wild Bill to explain what selection process was used and how many candidates from across North America were considered before these critical positions were filled.

    Would due diligence include passing up an opportunity to have assumptions by the same people who have pretty much bankrupted BC Hydro publicly examined by experts? For example is borrowing $9 or $10 billion to build a facility to sell power (IF there are customers) at a loss a good business plan, especially when the corporation is already swimming in debt no private corporation could sustain?

    What due diligence is exercised by ignoring the many unresolved opposing court cases that could jeopardize the project? What private firm would plunge ahead in the face of such financial uncertainty?

    Has due diligence thoroughly examined the environmental and societal damage that will result? Where is the proof of such an examination?

    Instead we get articles like this, demonstrating that the usual suspects in the media are already trying to falsely frame our 2017 electoral choices as between the “fiscal tightwad” Clark and the deficit-seizing Horgan. They’ve started early.

    We must demand better.

    • Excellent post Lew. These are the questions the Liberal captured media will not ever ask and the Christy Pirates will ‘diligently’ continue to avoid anyway – at any cost.

      Thanks for all your dogged posting on this dam government bulldozing Laila and the eclectic comments of all here. Oh and Rafe is right on!

      It can all still be delayed/stopped if Trudeau sides with real facts and Treaty Nations right now.

  8. hwy hwy hwy
    delete delete delete

    treaty treaty treaty
    deny deny deny

    passby passby passby

    BC liberals
    goodbye goodbye goodbye

  9. ” we’re going to have to get this project built on time,otherwise it will go over budget.” Wow…Bill Bennett you are showing us again just how stupid you are. Such projects always go over budget and since announcing Site C the cost has been revised….. upwards.

    Guy in Victoria

    • Yes, the link I included is very accurate- a study of major dam projects around the world over a number of years showed budgets on average, were 96% over….. so this could realistically be near $20 billion project. And if he doesn’t know than he’s not fit for his position- oh wait, he is retiring…

      He can’t say the province did due diligence, not when they changed the rules to avoid another denial.

  10. KootenayBill and his co-conpirators removed bcuc from the oversight of smart meters’ implementation using the CEA and Orders-in-Council.
    The bcuc assumed that the CEA and other directives also excluded any responsibility for SM safety, so refused to be drawn on any safety issues raised by the Public. When contacted, Kootenaybill’s office stated NO, SAFETY IS WITHIN BCUC MANDATE. Ooooops. A real snafu.No way to go back and fix anything.

  11. Old Spittle Face is doing what he always does—it matters not the absurdity of his assertions (eg. Bennet’s “what-me-worry” stance in front of BC’s biggest mining disaster).

    The BC Liberal Site-C strategy is effectively a stage-prop on a gigantic, hugely expensive, and totally self-serving “movie set” intended to wow BC voters with the BC Liberals’ pean-mantra that only they can stop the NDP from destroying jobs in BC.

    One would have to either be asleep, or be getting favour from the BC Liberals to overlook evidence that the BC Liberals cannot be trusted—except for being reliably self-interested—and will misspend any amount of public money to win the next election and continue to reward its friends from public coffers.

    Because Christy’s been such a disappointment, and since it’s unlikely the NDP will be seized with the notion that pusillanimity is a winning formula, the BC Liberals are in bigger trouble now than they were in the last election. Yet it looks like whopperism (not merely the telling of whoppers, nor the simple repetition of whoppers, but the serial telling of whoppers bigger than the preceding one) will be deployed again. It sure looks like they’ll have to tell a lot more of them to rationalize building a hugely expensive damn we don’t need—ever since LNG prices tanked and have been forecast to stay below break-even for many years to come.

    I dunno—maybe they just can’t concede they won by default, maybe they truly believe Christy’s preposterous LNG whoppers will win again.

    But will it sufficiently distract voters’ attention away from ballooning debt, crumbling infrastructure, child poverty, deceitful governance and crony favouritism parasitizing public enterprises? It’ll have to be a very BIG distraction—which Site-C is in every way, after all. The trick will be getting enough of it paid-for before the next election to argue the cost of cancelling it would be too much—and, of course, that the NDP is author of “costing too much.”

    It’s certainly ballsy, but one gets the feeling it’s a desperate move hiding behind
    shear size. If you believe their estimate of $9 billion (and we have absolutely NO reason to believe anything BC Liberals say), then it’s fair to ask voters if they approve of any party using public money for partisan purpose—and then let it sink in: this boondoggle is likely to run to eight figures—to re-elect the worse government we’ve ever had?!

  12. Justin Trudeau has stated that first nations relations and respect of their treaties is his number one priority. This decision will form his relationship in many ways with the canadian public. If he weakens on this he will pay with the loss of public trust. I would hope he would not jeopardize that over the likes of Christy Clark and Bill Bennet and the madness they propose.
    A blind dog can see this for what it is, how insane. The whole relationship with first nations is at risk so I hope our Mr. Trudeau does his due diligence.

  13. You know what really ticks me off? The media (especially Global) always gives the BC Liberals free rein to spew their lies while not providing their viewers an appropriate rebuttal. Not once was the petitions by Treaty 8 First Nations and others mentioned. First Nations’ plea to PM Trudeau to intervene was never brought up, either.

    No wonder the general public has no clue as to what’s really going on in B.C. How I would love to see your face and hear your voice on the MSM, Laila!

  14. Some one in the B.C. Lieberal party had to say something, so they got bill to do it. Some of us know Bill doesn’t always make sense, so it made sense to send him out.

    Bill decided he would use a big word like “due diligence”. He may not know exactly what that means, in the real world, but I’m sure in his world, it has a definition and I’m sure in his mind the B.C. Lieberals met the standard, sort of like this: will our friends who own the logging company make money”: Yes
    Do we have an export market for these logs: Yes
    Do our friends who sell chain saws have them: Yes

    Do our friends in construction have the plans”: Yes
    Do our friends in construction know how much money we can all make off of this” Yes
    Will we all have made enough money to bail when the public catches on they’ve been “had”? Yes

    That’s all the B.C. Lieberals need to know and that must have been their due diligence.

    I would suggest, even Bill doesn’t believe what he is saving or perhaps he does and that’s why the B.C. Lieberals have him saying it.

    The B.C. LIeberals don’t care about Treaty Rights, environmental issues, whether there is or ever will be a demand for the electricity, or how many people this will hurt. All the photo op queen is concerned about is her photo op. she needed one and this gives her photo ops. She might even believe what she is saying. Can’t say she impresses me as the brightest premier in the country.

    This like other projects will make the B.C. Lieberals and their friends money and the taxpayers will pick up the tab. The taxpayers of the province deserve what they get, they re-elected the B.C. Lieberals to office again, even though they knew what their act was.

    What goes on in B.C. is the best “crime drama” and “comedy” outside of the political games played in Alabama. Only Alabama tops B.C. when it comes to this sort of stuff. They have affairs and taudry divorcees to top it off. (yes Laila there is one place which matches B.C. its Alabama and a blog there is a hoot, if it were funny–Legal Schnauzzer.

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  18. #SiteC is #BCHydro’s 1957 dam power plan.

    Today this 1957power plan us obsolete power and outdated thinking.

    Site C = WAC Bennett’s 1957 dam power plan; a plan that has been on their books since 1957.

    Christy Clark and Kootenay Bill Bennett have been systematically ensuring British Columbia tax payers will pay their $10B homage to preserving and protecting only hydro-electric-heritage by implementing site c project via Orders in Council, without an authentic democratic public process, or allowing the lower mainland to be included in the review process. Only communities and cities north of Prince George were locations where the review process was public, yet the majority of the population of British Columbia resides in the lower mainland.

    Since the current legislation at the time was not convenient for site c, new legislation was quickly created and pushed through cabinet that allowed the largest most productive agricultural land in the history of the Agricultural Land Reserve to be removed from the ALR for site c.

    Following that, new legislation was also quickly created to bypass British Columbia Utilities Commission from participating in the review of site c.

    The lower mainland of British Columbia, where the largest population resides, was not sufficiently nor adequately included in this process, and therefore, most are uniformed and uneducated regarding what is at stake. Due Diligence was absent from site c project.

    Christy Clark and Kootenay Bill Bennett have made British Columbia’s Epic Error = by authorizing Site C dam.

    British Columbia requires a new government and a new leader, that will be competent, demonstrating intelligent, effective leadership, with the ability to take us into a sustainable future for infinite generations.

    This begins with a full and complete stop of site c mega dam project effective immediately.

    Unrestrained devastation of our Peace River for BC Hydro’s unneeded Site C mega dam must be stopped now via @YouTube

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