“He did not care in which direction the car was travelling, so long as he remained in the driver’s seat.” – Lord Beaverbrook

A new friend who is rapidly becoming educated in the ways of government after having jumped into the deep end of the convoluted pool of BC politics, asked me a question I couldn’t answer recently:

“Laila, I have to believe that when people enter politics, it is with a good heart and good intention to make things better for everyone. But what I’ve seen now… some of these decisions are clearly not in the public’s best interests! Tell me, how do some of these politicians sleep at night?”

I honestly don’t know the answer to that.

It’s been said many times that power corrupts. That for some, power blinds reason, blinds any altruistic intention and that money is the soothing balm that heals regrets or bad feelings. And when I look at Energy Minister Bill Bennett I wonder if there was a time he was in this to serve the public, or if he just walked in with a zest for power,privilege and the self-centered righteous attitude he has displayed for years.

Case in point-again-his recent comments in response to the highly educated and well researched call by the Royal Society of Canada, to suspend the Site C dam. 

You can read their letter, in full, here: https://rsc-src.ca/sites/default/files/pdf/PM_Trudeau_19.05.2016.pdf  but they too, call out the BC government for circumventing process in this approval.

The three-person Joint Review Panel, established by the two levels of government, appears to have been streamlined in order to expedite review of the Site C project; it had to work under a short time frame with limited resources and powers, and was consequently challenged in providing a thorough and comprehensive review of the project. Even then, the Joint Review Panel identified a number of environmental issues that beg further consideration under the federal Environmental Assessment Act and Clean Energy Act. It is also curious why a project of this scope and nature  was not assessed by the British Columbia Utilities Commission. That should have been a priority. Why did th
e BC legislature pass an act to prevent this essential review? This failure to subject the project to rigorous scrutiny raises serious questions about whether the project should proceed until such time as a more thorough review is undertaken.
Equally troubling is the fact that the Site C Project is proceeding even though there are outstanding First Nations treaty and Aboriginal rights to be resolved. Past projects often neglected or ignored Aboriginal peoples and their concerns–with adverse and lingering consequences. Those days are supposed to be over. Both the federal and British Columbian governments have made a public and solemn commitment not only to consult Aboriginal peoples in a meaningful and substantive way, but also recognize and address their fundamental rights and interests.Why, then, were these rights and interests apparently not considered during the Joint Panel Review, and if they were, where is that part of the report? And why is construction underway when these matters are still to be addressed by the courts in two First Nations cases?

Excellent,educated and researched questions with no answers. Ones that are in the publics best interests and ones that every single British Columbian should be asking.

And Energy Minister Bill Bennett’s response?

To the Alaska Highway News:

…”Energy Minister Bill Bennett said the Royal Society’s claims that BC Hydro did not do its homework on the project are “wrong.”

“There are 30,000 pages of documents involved with the environmental assessment done by the joint (review) panel. 30,000 pages. Did they read all of them?” he asked. “To suggest things like agriculture and First Nations and environmental impacts were not understood, with all due respect, it sounds more political than it does academic.”

“I’m not saying I’m proud of everything that relates to First Nations issues, but in terms of the environmental impact, in terms of whether B.C. needs the energy, in terms of whether this is going to provide the cheapest cleanest energy for the next 100 years after it’s built, I have no doubts about those things.”

To the Globe and Mail:

B.C. Energy Minister Bill Bennett said the critics are wrong to suggest the review was less than robust, noting that the joint review panel considered 29,000 pages of evidence. “I don’t agree that there was anything defective about the Site C joint panel process,” he said.

The hydroelectric project will deliver the lowest-cost, cleanest power available, the minister said, although he conceded it would have adverse environmental impacts downstream.

In the first article Bennett is confidant everything was done right. In the second, no doubt there are adverse environmental impacts downstream.

And in both interviews he deliberately fails to address the egregious manner in which the BC government exempted Site C from the BC Utilities Commission oversight, or the failure to address First Nations concerns currently before the courts. It is a breach of public trust if not by oath in which he vows to be loyal only to the Crown, but by public perception of being an elected official.

This is a multi billion dollar contract being paid for on the public dime. Much like the dam disaster known as Muskrat Falls in Newfoundland/Labrador that is now in the midst of a lawsuit involving contractors, that is putting the entire province in financial risk.

There is no defense for the BC government exempting such a massive financial venture to the regulatory process created by government itself. None. And let me show you why…again.

I’ve been closely reporting on the application for long overdue and critical repairs to the WAC Bennett Dam that were identified many years ago and monitored… instead of being fixed for years as erosion continued.

It is my contention that  BC Hydro needs to be brought back into government instead of being a crown corporation largely unaccountable thanks to the Liberal government.  

BC Hydro recently presented their final argument to the BC Utilities Commission for those repairs. And their argument is a must read. For me, it gives great insight into how superficial First Nations consultations really are and provides a glaring reason why the BC government exempted Site C from such intense scrutiny.

It never would have survived. Ever. Because as you will see if you have read my past posts on the WAC Bennett Dam repair application, the Commission asks hard questions. And if it is not satisfied, it asks for more information because that is the duty it has been deemed with. This is the final argument.

Highlights? The portion begging for repairs to be done now…in 2016.. that were identified more than 4 years ago to be of urgent need….

siteCprojectjustification1

SiteCprojectjustification2

” …the need for this project at this time.” At this time? It was identified many years ago that these repairs were urgent.The consequences of a dam failure are extreme and include loss of life, and there have already been fracking caused earthquakes in the immediate area and one high wind event this year.

If I were a resident downstream from this dam, I would be asking  the Fort St. John mayor, council and Peace River MLA’s, why these critical dam repairs were not prioritized before building a new ‘legacy’ dam we don’t even need…

Amazing what happens when an election is coming.Why -considering what happened with Mt.Polley and what the public knows now, which was a surprise to Minister in Charge Bill Bennett – this was suddenly a priority last fall, should be under full review.

But breaking news, this is the BC Utilities Commission ruling that came in late Friday.

They have approved the repairs and rightly so…why BC Hydro played a years long risk game with those downstream is beyond me… with requirements for financial reporting.

Herein lies a big barrel of worms for BC Hydro, the BC government and the new Federal government lead by the federal Liberals. The justifications BC Hydro uses for moving ahead without regard for  legal cases on Site C before the courts is in direct opposition to the federal governments often announced and repeated intent for reconciliation with First Nations in Canada. In fact it succinctly puts the needs ( and wants IMHO) of the Crown, above those of First Nations in British Columbia.

Not only that, the justifications of BC Hydro, Energy Minister Bill Bennett and Premier Clark- who vowed to get past the point of no return on Site C-have repeatedly been left unchallenged in the mainstream media.The only Force of No in this province is the BC Liberal party, who refuses to submit the biggest project in our history, to the BC utilities Commission as required previously by law… until they exempted it. No due process, No review, No problem.

Much like they recently issued an order in council to get around the court ruling on environmental assessments for Northern Gateway and other pipeline projects,some of which have former staff of the premier currently working for them...http://www.straight.com/news/703321/christy-clark-cabinet-issues-order-council-get-around-court-ruling-environmental

You see why political newbies ask how people sleep at night?

When the rules the government created no longer work for them, they change them.

You and I do not share the same privilege.We have no recourse to arbitrarily change the rules or laws of this land and would end up incarcerated if we tried.

BC Hydro is still suing those who stood up to this governments steamroller tactics in a SLAPP like suit that includes an un-named John Doe and Jane Doe  which allows them to add anyone they like at any point, to try and silence them. http://www.desmog.ca/2016/05/24/bc-hydro-suing-opponents-site-c-dam-SLAPP-suit-legal-experts-say

Why? Is it not enough they hold the power to take land and heritage away? Is is not enough that very few news articles question or  call out elected government officials statements?

Must they crush any semblance of opposition entirely? With the aid of a new federal government that campaigned on the promise of true reconciliation and rights, yet still defends armed vehicle sales to Saudi Arabia and complete ignorance of the wrongness of Site C on every single level that matters….

Apparently, yes.

And so I appeal to you all again, for the umpteenth time, to oppose this. To email or write your MLA, your mayor, your federal MP.  Contractors have cleared and cut so many acres of land, years ahead of what is needed, in order to press this point. Those trees can be replanted and regrown. A multi-billion dollar mistake? Not so easily corrected as Newfoundland is finding out.

The only power that is left does not just reside with government, it resides with you.  Your letters, your emails, your calls. To Premier Clark,to Bill Bennett, to Justin Trudeau and Catherine McKenna.  Every legal method within your means to halt this project  is required. Looking at the BCUC review of the WAC Bennett Dam, its clear there is no way they would have approved Site C because it is not in the best interests of British Columbians.

It never was. This was never about good policy, and Clark made it clear this is about her legacy.

Frankly, that legacy is one to be questioned. Because some people really don’t care what direction they are going, as long as they are in the drivers seat.

bennettSiteC

13 thoughts on ““He did not care in which direction the car was travelling, so long as he remained in the driver’s seat.” – Lord Beaverbrook

  1. Sadly, you can write your MP of MLA until the cows come home and it will do no good. We must understand that there is no democracy. That’s not a slogan but a straight statement of unvarnished truth. I will be starting a series on this starting next week in the Common Sense Canadian (www.commonsenecanadian.ca) but I’ll leave you with this – in a parliamentary democracy the voter transfers his rights for the term involved to a representative entrusted to speak and act for him. If it stopped there, fine. It doesn’t, for the MP/MLA has, by agreeing to run for a political party, already formally transferred those rights to the leader. He retains the formal right to vote but is expelled from the Caucus and the party if that’s not cast as the leader directs.
    On the other matter, I went into politics because I thought I could do a better job than the other guy, and it was exciting. Nothing noble.
    Finally, there is only one weapon of any use with Site C – immediate, permanent mass civil disobedience (non violent) across the entire project. Yes, a few will go to jail, but without this being done fully and now, everything else is farting against thunder.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Rafe once again. Many who run for office want to do well but they ‘sell out’ to the party that sponsors them so as to get elected. By doing so, they become puppets instead of representatives. Why? ‘ Cause no one votes for the independent. Of course they get frustrated and that is why there are percs and salaries and titles and a party Whip. It is not unlike joining the army to protect your country and then finding out that you are ordered to kill the foreign villagers – women and children. Most do it. And the more percs and salary (or gold braid and stars) the more willing they become.
    Rafe wants mass civil disobedience but even that is made MORE difficult by keeping the masses at subsistence levels of existence. Who the hell is going to walk off the job, leave their kids unattended, their bills unpaid and their refrigerator empty to travel to the Peace and sit in the rain? They can’t even do that if the protest is in Vancouver or Victoria. The vast majority do not think they can afford to exercise their conscience! Maybe the better way is to organize recall in every constituency? Every year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Laila, your posts are are full of facts and evidence that corroborates your themes. My remark to Rolly Montipeller (Boomer Warrior) on Twitter and Facebook today: We have to laugh as the other response is a place we do not want to go!

    Currently #BCpoli is a circus, with various spotlights outshining others, its where one can watch or observe and enjoy entertainment. Is the BC political landscape a fictional story based on true events and characters or is it a non-fictional story based on fantasy. Sadly it is difficult to discern and interpret. The public has suspended support and for many and most worthy campaigns such as Site C. Why? We are all too busy trying to survive in the most expensive place on earth to live. The whole situation is a farce and comedy of errors. One can appreciate the gong heard in the distance.

    Oh I beg your pardon, it is in my own imagination. Evidently, I am struggling to discern what topics are fiction and non-fiction and who is real or unreal within the cast of characters that are on presently on stage practicing their diatribes.

    This play is almost over. It will be May 2017 before any of us blink an eye and we will be asked to vote. What will be your choice? Who will take the stage? Only the stage manager knows as the cast will be assembled behind closed doors while waiting in the Green Room rehearsing their lines.

    I hope the dramaturge, a literary editor on the staff of a theater who consults with authors and edits texts will be present to coach the new candidates and all those entering the race for the Provincial Election May 2017. The next four years 2017 to 2021, will see unprecedented public involvement and civil disobedience, despite the notion that we are too busy just surviving to bother giving a damn.

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  4. Lew

    Wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial ) says “Denial, in ordinary English usage, is asserting that a statement or allegation is not true. The same word is used for a psychological defense mechanism postulated by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. An individual that exhibits such behaviour is described as a denialist or true believer. Denial also could mean denying the happening of an event or the reliability of information, which can lead to a feeling of aloofness and to the ignoring of possibly beneficial information.
    The subject may use:
    • simple denial: deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether
    • minimisation: admit the fact but deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalization)
    • projection: admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility by blaming somebody or something else.”

    Bill Bennett says the Auditor General is wrong, the Official Opposition is wrong, the First Nations are wrong, the Alaskan government is wrong, The Royal Society of Canada is wrong, the British Columbia Utilities Commission would be so wrong it must be avoided, and any critic at all is automatically wrong.

    He seems to exhibit all of the traits of a denialist. I’m guessing that’s what allows him to sleep at night.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. From Afar

    Bill Bennett also did some ramrodding over the democratic process here in the east kootenay, when a petition of all residents and all levels of local governments said no to a project, he used the ILMB to approve it anyways, regardless of the taxpayer cost being exceedingly higher than any possible incoming tax benefits, the choice was made to approve it…. Why? Because the proponents representation was his campaign manager, as mentioned in his throne speech. Who do you report this corruption to? And now, the ministry seems to be unfairly skewed against me in my personal affairs, with a blatent disregard of the law, which no one can explain and for what? For exercising my democratic rights? My opinion about how government works has been altered forever, all I have now is prayer and hope that there is someone who can expose this nonsense.

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  6. e.a.f.

    some of the problems start years before they enter Provincial politics. Its starts when they enter civic politics. They establish themselves, start to believe their own press, start to enjoy a better lifestyle, begin to believe they are entitled to it, that they know best. With this attitude they make the jump to “bigger” political forums. i.e. Diane Watts.

    Many of these politicians believe they are “right”. I do mean they are the Cabinet Minister, of course they’re right. There is also the problem that their staff do not tell them the truth, there are a lot of “yes people”. They go out and about they aren’t confronted with people saying NO. They meet people who agree with them, who have similar view points and their financial supporters certainly are telling them they are doing the right thing for the province.

    By the time these people are longer term politicians they have started to improve their life styles and they aren’t willing to go back to how life once was so they tow the party line.

    Really how in good consciousness can the B.C. Lieberal party let so many disabled and children live in such poverty. 4 kids died in care. I’m sure the majority of the B.C. Lieberal party and their supporters sleep just fine.

    How can Christy Clark go on a trade mission to Asia with 2 real estate firms going along. We already have a huge problem with housing in B.C. Now she wants to bring even more foreign buyers into the mix. Families on welfare receive approx. $750 per month to house themselves. Does it not bother Christy and her cabal? In my opinion absolutely not.

    Just have a read of Dr. Hare’s books regarding psychopaths. Then go down the list of characteristics and compare them to the qualities many of our politicians display. The research for the first book was done in the prison system, but there are just as many psychopaths in politics, the military, the police, government.

    Christy Clark and her cabal sleep just fine, so does Stephanie Cadieux with 4 dead kids in her care. School budgets are so tight schools are closing, programs being cut, school land being sold never to be afforded again. Does anyone thing Mike Bernier looses any sleep over it? doubt if. None of these people even have to worry where they sleep. They all get an extra $12K a year as a housing allowance, with no receipts required.

    It is our own fault we find ourselves in this position today. The B.C. LIeberaLS HAVE BEEN voted into office for 15 years. You’d think people might have given things a thought when el gordo “leased” B.C. Rail to the corporation his former “bag man'” was CEO OF, for 999 years.

    We have one way to let governments know we the citizens are unhappy. Vote them out of office. We haven’t done it and I don’t see it being done yet. We have only to look at Surrey, B.C.

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  7. Mosko

    How do they sleep at night?

    Very well, I think.

    They simply don’t care about what those who don’t think as they do think. They know those people won’t vote for them anyway, and the ones who do vote for them either also don’t care, or aren’t bothered to get educated beyond Crusty’s smiling face and her nonsense slogans.

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  8. Ernest RB Titcomb

    With reference to e.a.f.’s mention of Bob Hare above : I would urge all and sundry to read
    ‘Without Conscience’ and ‘Snakes in Suits’ as the machinations of the BC Libs will become
    very clear – phsycopathy, plain and simple.

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  9. Jack Roe

    How do they sleep at night? Whiskey! Alcoholism is more or less endemic in most of the population (called “moderate drinking” by the University folks because most of them do it too), that 1-2 drinks in the evening which in some cases turns into 3-4.

    Relying on treaty rights is what the Crown wants you to do, because Crown judges adjudicate Crown treaties.

    Stand your ground. If you are arrested, you say to the gaoler “I demand copy of the warrant of my commitment and detainer per the Habeas Corpus Act of Charles II, 31 Cha. 2 c. 2.” They then have six hours to deliver to you a copy, and if they do not, there is a monetary policy. Ask again after 6 hours, and then in another six hours if no copy, the gaoler cannot hold office in right of the Crown. A gaoler is anyone holding your body in prison.

    If you get before a judge, people often make themselves guilty because they do not know the form and order of exception. And it has nothing to do with being an aboriginal, aboriginal rights are everyone’s rights, nobody is special.

    “I demand sight and hearing of the commission by which you claim jurisdiction over me.” is the first exception to tender, and if the putative Judge has no commission (none of them carry them into court) then he is no Judge at all, just a private person, and a perjerur if he acts in the judicial office, see Georgicum, a supplement to the Mirror, available on archive.org

    And further, if there is a commission, you may further except “I have no need to obey this commission, for it makes no mention of me, nor for the cause for which I am brought before this court.” And one may further except that the seal is counterfeit, as only the royal seal of the King may create a Judge, and the King may not by letters patent or otherwise alienate his power of making judges (Jenk. 79), the power of justice and mercy belongs only to the King, and while the King may appoint judges, he cannot appoint a body to appoint judges, just as a procurator cannot apppoint a procurator.

    Rafe is right, except standing your ground against an industrial army hellbent on destroying our people’s lands (the lands belong not only to status Indians, but to all non-status Indians who have a use in them, for transitory hunting, fishing and camping) is not “civil disobedience.” Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to our creator.

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