Dear John…

~ an open letter to Premier John Horgan ~

 

Dear John,

It’s been a while since we chatted. If you recall, you called me quite a few years ago when I was riding you over fracking. ( I think I even referred to you as the frackmaster because  you were such an eager advocate)

You were reaching out to bloggers trying to make connections with the only friendly coverage the NDP had while the BC Liberals were in power, and we ended up in a long discussion over fracking in BC. It ended with you promising that if the NDP were elected, you would do a complete review of fracking and if the science didn’t support it…you would call a moratorium.

Well John, we know how that turned out….https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-science-panel-finds-b-c-doesnt-know-enough-about-fracking  . 

What you didn’t say back then, was that you would go onto order a BC review that expressly left out the impact on human health, a failure that doesn’t serve the public interest. http://thenarwhal.ca/b-c-s-narrow-fracking-review-doesn-t-serve-public-interest/ Worse yet, it fails everyone who lives near fracking operations, including the workers who run them. http://thenarwhal.ca/words-sacrifice-zone-caleb-behn-how-b-c-failing-first-nations-fracking/

But I digress because although it’s a travesty that seems to be forgotten and it shouldn’t be ( pretty sure Michelle Mungall wouldn’t ever choose to live near the fracking she now supports)  It’s not why I’m writing you today.

I went to the forest yesterday, as I often do, because I find my soul in forests….in the beauty, the peace and the lush green of forest floors and canopy….and while I did again find my peace yesterday…I also felt a deep concern.

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While it looks lush at first glance in this area, the forest is not well. Those here who know their woods like the lines on the palm of your hand, and have a strong connection to the land, will know  when things aren’t quite right, wherever they are. Things are not in balance here. The forest floor is tinder dry. The salal is dying here too, like it across the island https://www.cheknews.ca/salal-plant-dying-across-vancouver-island-557660/ .  Some are musing it’s the cold snap we had. Others say drought. I’m wondering if might be some kind of pathogen that causes a plant virus not unlike the one killing the Kauri trees of New Zealand.

The creek is dry. The marsh is dry. There are hardly any slugs in areas where slugs usually are found among the mossy limbs. And the moss itself, usually lush and dense and soft….is feeling parched like you might find it in late July or early August.

I’m worried John. Worried that unless we get whats known here on the island as June-uary ( a wet and chilly June) we’ll lose even more of the western Red Cedars that are dying along the drier east coast of the island due to drought conditions several years in a row. https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/summer-drought-deals-devastating-loss-to-western-red-cedar-b-c-s-official-tree-1.23428047  I’m worried we’ll see another fire year like last years, and the year before when skies remained a dusty orange grey red like one might expect on Mars, not Earth.

This province really is an amazing place John and I think you know that. I’ve seen most of it except the north coast and the Kootenays and every area is unique and remarkable in its own way. The commonality between all of us living in rural BC, outside of the Metro Van and Fraser Valley area, is that sometimes policy makers like yourself, don’t do what’s right, they do what’s easy or what keeps corporate donors/unions/supporters happy.  We saw a lot of that kind of policy and decision making under the BC Liberals. They are part of why so much of Vancouver Islands  crown lands ended up in private hands and access to lakes and even mountain trails, are locked up by gate access.

When it comes to social issues, your party has excelled in many areas, with a lot of work still to be done. Yet when it comes to environmental issues, including fracking and logging, truly it’s been status quo from the BC Liberals or worse… and it’s not going unnoticed. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-a-change-in-government-has-done-little-to-alter-bcs-environmental/ 

Does it surprise me? No. I know you have always been part of the brown wing of the party, but you are getting into dangerous ground now on several issues and I think you likely know that. Dangerous because once gone, it will not regain its magnificence in  many lifetimes. Case in point is the crazy amount of old growth logging going on all over this island, including the cuts planned here  https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/port-renfrew-chamber-decries-logging-plan-1.23811698

This, is insanity John, and you can’t allow this to happen to a community that has struggled and is facing new challenges. People come to see these trees, hike the trails and simply just sit in awe for the same reason I and thousands of other go to the forest… to find their soul. Their peace. To reconnect to a place so wild and untouched and old that it gives one a feeling of reverence. These old forests on the island are increasingly becoming economic boons to small resource communities smart enough to see the writing on the wall….and see that these beautiful forests are more valuable standing than cut, as people come from all over to find solace and peace like I do.

This story is far from over though John, because despite your governments efforts to keep timber cut in BC, in BC, its still going overseas right now. And mills have been closing in various areas, some for short periods now, but lets be realistic, they are delaying the inevitable: Forestry is a dying industry in some areas of BC and it’s time to act to help the most vulnerable communities plan for a future that isn’t dependent on mills. This was back in  November : https://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/news/local-news/all-major-forest-companies-in-b-c-cut-production-1.23497721

This is now: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/canfor-temporary-shutdown-bc-lumer-mills-1.5110097

The mountain pine beetle took almost half of BC’s harvestable timber. People who havent seen northern and central BC would be stunned to see the massive swaths of land left largely barren in areas. Several extremely bad fire seasons has taken even more marketable and young timber. It takes time for second and third growth trees to mature to size and frankly, even massive reforestation isn’t going to save many of these smaller communities futures. Compounding it all? Spraying glysophate on fire resistant aspen in regenerating forest stands so growing timber doesnt have to compete! This actually makes the second growth less fire resistant. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/it-blows-my-mind-how-b-c-destroys-a-key-natural-wildfire-defence-every-year-1.4907358?fbclid=IwAR1nZF9ASpeL9BProAoho_JwIZJPV0vdncdXGoBn9t6AVRx0NsL2bpGhDg8

This is an opportunity for government to act and create a forest industry transition task force and fund, to immediately assist communities like Clearwater and others, strategically plan away from traditional forestry industry and retrain workers. Temporary shutdowns will inevitably lead to permanent ones in some communities based on these conditions, and instead of delaying the inevitable it’s time to show leadership.
This task force should be given a time sensitive mandate to:
1. Identify impacted and at risk communities in BC, and meet with mayors/councils.

2. Partner with key community persons to evaluate community strengths, marketable assets to identify potential market investments in other industries. Likewise, challenges and hurdles must be identified with potential solutions.This is time to think out of the box, not give false hope.

3. Reach out to unique and complementary sectors that are growing with community specific marketing campaigns.

Etc. Etc.

Growing up in a town and family dependent on forestry makes me particularly sensitive to the needs of these communities and how quickly entire communities can bust if immediate action isn’t taken. Finding new markets for wood fibre isn’t enough. It’s time to talk transition, to make sure small town BC doesn’t die. There is unique opportunity here to get on top of this, whether its stopping the cuts in Port Renfrew, or looking at what unique qualities these other communities have to offer.

Sometimes the tough decisions and talks no one wants to hear because they strike – fear, fear of change and fear of failure – are the ones that need to be done, John. The climate is changing faster than we have been adapting  John.

Please stop the old growth logging on Van Isle. We don’t have much left.

Don’t log the planned cuts near Port Renfrew. Listen to that community and see they have found a new way to evolve economically, using those trees as an attraction.

Help interior forest communities transition to new economies where second growth industry industry isn’t currently sustainable.

I’ve had my say John, so I’ll leave you with this.

“It’s not by accident that people talk of a state of confusion as not being able to see the wood for the trees, or of being out of the woods when some crisis is surmounted. It is a place of loss, confusion, terror and anger, a place where you can, like Dante, find yourself going down into Hell. But if it’s any comfort, the dark wood isn’t just that. It’s also a place of opportunity and adventure. It is the place in which fortunes can be reversed, hearts mended, hopes reborn.” 
― Amanda Craig

 

 

Best regards,

Laila Yuile

 

 

These following photos were taken by Mark Worthing, Sierra Club, in the Tsitika watershed, showing old growth clear cuts.

 

 

 

P.S. :  How is it that after a just few weeks of high gas prices you call for an independent investigation by the BCUC into the situation ( hello price gouging) ….

Yet after nearly a year of  news investigations, whistleblower reports, FOI revelations, police investigations and the German reports into money laundering & corruption…..you still haven’t called a public inquiry  AND aren’t sure if that’s the best route??! #facepalm

46 Comments on “Dear John…

  1. Thank-you very much for taking the time to put this together Laila. We feel let down and forgotten by those that said they would defend the environment, from the water to the old growth forests. Maybe they have forgotten the connection of being in nature, maybe too much time in offices and in cold stone and brick building of steel skeletons. Maybe a walk on the land, under the forest canopy or water rushing over their feet may bring back the thoughts of the natural world, to bring back a protection of what can not defend itself.

  2. A very heartfelt and honest letter that covers the issues well. I think right now a lot of people are wondering if Mr Horgan has the courage to change his stance on those very important issues. I look forward to his answers. Will he set the important trend the province needs and preserve old growth timber, or will he continue to fold and ignore what is happening to our forests?

    • Donaldson said today they are trying to balance the environment with jobs basically. But the fact is there can be no balance here. Loggers will be disappointed which is why they need this transition task force. It’s my view that in some areas of BC,including in places here on island, forestry as is managed, is not sustainable and directly at odds with eco tourism and environmental concerns. We cannot cut these old growth areas when the second growth blocks arent close to market size. In some areas entire hills are clear cut.

      I hope they listen. It’s called *actually* planning for the future.

    • After last night’s election results in Nanaimo, I’ve got a feeling Horgan may finally understand how people feel about the environment. what was really scary though was the Cons coming in second.

  3. Like the letter. Thank you. I’ve only read 3/4 of it, but kept going back to your description of the forest.

    You’re correct about the condition of the forest, because its the condition of our half acre plus a bit. The cedar and fir trees are stressed. The ground is dry here in Cedar and the ever greens know it. If we were to have a fire because some one threw a cig. out the car window and that happens a lot, we will have a lovely forest fire. Cedar if not an urban forest, is a semi rural forest. It and all the homes will go up in a few hours. Doesn’t matter how hard the fire fighters work our homes will be gone. Some of the people who live in Cedar don’t move as well as they did 30 years ago and some will die. They won’t be able to get out in time. The Fort McMurray forest fire news reports still play in my brain.

    Some may not be aware, but 10K years ago we had a drought on Vancouver Island which caused the trees to stop growing. We might want to stop all that logging going on right now. When driving up and down the highway of life, here in Nanaimo, I see huge trucks with logs on them. Some times I wonder, if we’ll have any trees left at this rate. I want the trees to stay on the Island, for use by those living on the Island and B.C.. Thus we will preserve our forests and have some jobs in the industry. This continued export of raw logs has to stop.

    Carbon taxes are a good thing. So are lots of trees to absorb the carbon. The trees also provide homes for birds, all sorts of other animals, and bugs. Without bugs, we will have a major problem on our earth. Yes, Laila is correct, the slugs are missing. Have only had to swear at one so far. They aren’t eating my prized hostas. There is something wrong.

    The NDP deserves full marks for their efforts to house people and provide more medical care/facilities. Environmental issues, neither John nor Andrew are doing a very good job. John, you’re in the driver’s seat. Have a look at the environment. Get in your electric car and go visit Laila and take a walk through the forest with her. I know those forests. Some were purchased with community raised funds.

    Don’t know if the current Cabinet Minister is up to the task. If not, get another one. If nothing else perhaps you can get Sonia to give the NDP cabinet minister a hand.

  4. Well spoken Laila. Your letter outlines puts out there so many of the problems faced by the environment, which in BC is mostly forest. In my area of the Peace there is more dead fall than I remember in my life. Erratic weather may be amajor factor.

    I would recommend a communities based working committee including experts in all fields from First Nations and settler communities in the area, I like the idea of watershed planners. Thanks again

    • Thanks Randy, great ideas 🙂 I would hope John Horgan takes this to heart.

      Also, Paul Manly won the Nanaimo byelection tonight. BC take note.

  5. I can sympathize with your love of the forest and your concern for its health. Having worked in the bush all over Van Isle and the southern half of Mainland BC for most of my life, I’ve seen quite a bit and sometimes fallen between sides in forest-use conflicts. The biggest improvement I’ve seen has been the Harcourt-NDP’s Forest Practice’s Code which ameliorated one of the worst aspects of mismanagement: over-cutting; the FPC saw a reduction of Allowable Annual Cut of at least 25%, on average (in some of the 30-odd Timber Supply Areas the reduction was much more, in some cases over 50%). For those whom any old-growth cutting is unacceptable, the compromise was to double the amount of parks and ecological reserves to about 12% of the province. Governing is always a “balance” between competing interests—which now, post-William (“Tsilhqot’in) SCoC decision includes First Nations.

    Unfortunately the BC Liberals embarked on a kind of ‘dysmanagement’ of the forest for ideologically neo-right reasons, so how we do it now—a huge increase of raw log export and substantial “streamlining” of the FPC (which, remind, was the intent from the NDP’s first implementation)—means a lot less integrated milling and fewer unionized mill jobs, and a lot more independent log-hauling and loading onto rail cars and ships. Whichever way we do it, however, we do it because the province needs the money and the jobs.

    I’ve always felt we could do it responsibly in a way that most citizens would accept, including significantly more retention of old-growth—for longer, or forever, depending on so very many things. What I liked most about my years out there was the very complexity of it all. In fact, it is the most complicated sector the government has to deal with, for so very many, many reasons.

    I’m retired, my veranda faces the Beaufort Range on “the Big Island,” and I’m situated just about smack-dab in the middle of where I used to plant or cut or level whole stands, both old and second —even third~—growth stands with the sweep of a pencil. One thing I’ve noticed is that, unless they’ve flown over or boated to or worked the entire West Coast, most people don’t know the half of what’s happening out there, and they tend to overblow that fraction by several fold, often missing—if you’ll forgive the cliche—the forest for the trees.

    A natural prejudice overstates the level of old-growth overcutting if judged from Van Isle only, for example, where old-growth has indeed been substantially depleted. If one never left the central interior where the pine beetle has wreaked so much damage, one might imagine a kind of forestry Armageddon has happened. Political partisanship even gets into to illusion: the BC Liberals used to blame the NDP for the beetle outbreak and vice versa.

    It happens like this because these situations are gallingly big. Yet they’re still not big enough to see the whole picture.I’m not sure if anything ever is. Yet we can feel a much, much bigger thing approaching in a single brown leaf of salal.

    It might seem ulteriorly motivated hucksterism, sometimes, or maybe just me tripping over my own tongue to remind that, as pollen sampling of lake-bottom sediment cores in the Salish Sea Basin have shown, five thousand years ago this region featured abundant Ponderosa pine, which is today the dominant tree species of the Interior grasslands. It sounds suspiciously trite, I know—only too well. The point is, things are moving so fast now—our lifestyles, our consumption, our climate, our ecosystems—that such an illustration is as likely to foment alarm as cooperation.

    I confess, I am alarmed, but I don’t want to incite panic. Seems futile, though: after warning of a deepening, year-over-year drought developing in the Salish Sea Basin for the past three or four years, my neighbours have only just begun to notice the more overt signs—dead red cedars, for example, or swordferns with their fronds lying flat on the ground, or dying salal. I’m not sure if John Horgan, Mike Harcourt, Dave Barrett or WAC Bennett could have done anything about in macro climate terms. I’m not sure it has a strong connection to old-growth logging (except, naturally, that the heavy slash presents a fire hazard). Maybe it’s not so much about old growth, at least not so much in the way most people think it is.

    The widest angle I can set my mind to from my rocker, looking across to the thick, century-old Douglas fir stands on The Big Island, can only conclude—for whatever reason the climate’s changing so fast—that there’s now too much fuel over there to exist for much longer without burning down—and this kind of stand really gets going when it does. Although this is all private land (E&N Land Grant) and the various property owners have been roaring logs outta there fast as they can, being in Managed Forest Units—a property-tax shelter designed to encourage owners to keep it as productive forest by discounting about 95% of the tax otherwise due—these owners must satisfactorily restock to more Doug fir (in order to comply) when, I’m sure, by the time they’re half grown will be wishing—if they could—they were Ponderosa pine spaced way far apart from each other so’s to survive rapid-moving grass fires, not thick, immature Doug fir ready to burn intensely. It’s a perverse fact of climate change that whole forest biomes become “off-site” before our very eyes. Yet we can barely see it, even when we’re watching it intensely.

    I’m afraid, my friend, there’s nothing government can do about this in the short term except prepare to deal with certain risk of wildfire—that is, protect in the usual, prioritized way: life-and-limb first, real property structures next, livestock next and, finally, high value forests. Prevention, however, is easily as costly as timber consumed—which is why government depends on private interests, like us with our homes, to take care of themselves as much as possible: clear resinous conifer hedges and wooden fences away from the house, store fuels, paints and solvents at a safe distance, mow tall grass, et cetera.

    This is the perversity of reality: no matter how much old-growth we don’t cut, or how much fracking we don’t do, or how many electric cars we drive, the transition will still see significant increases in wildfire risk in spite of it all.

    Remind the mountain pine beetle kill was only made worse because we didn’t log the low-value lodgepole pine, but suppressed fires for almost a century so these single-age stands grew into one great, big, huge smorgasbord of optimally susceptible trees for beetles to reproduce in. The dirty little secret was, nobody wanted lodgepole pine (which, BTW, did not represent a substantial part of BC’s total timber volume). Now, that’s really perverse!

    I’m not saying “we’re fucked” (although I hear this exact expletive applied to rote forecast often), but we definitely have to stop giving ourselves “twelve years” or until “2035” to make everything better—that’s just not on, never mind the illusions. It is wise to plan for a petroleum-reduced future and to retain old-growth, but the real, expensive plan should be to get ready for increasing drought (or floods or tornadoes or locusts or bloody wine), to mitigate costs and protect the things most important to us.

    I’m sorry, but that’s how I see it from here, where I am now, and from where I’ve been before. I just wish I knew how to stop my neighbours from panicking: we’re still capable of a lot: get rain barrels set up, clean up the grounds around the house, put a sprinkler on the roof, write your representative—whatever we can do. And we still have each other, our greatest resource aside from the wild, cool forests. We can do this.

    Be well.

    • ” And we still have each other, our greatest resource aside from the wild, cool forests.

      We can do this ”

    • We only have until May 10 to save 109 hectares of ancient forest 🌲

      Clearcutting of the last old-growth forests continues across vast parts of the province with permits from the BC government. We have a real chance to stop BC Timber Sales cutting proposal for 109 hectares close to the Juan de Fuca Trail and Port Renfrew. The province has extended the auction date to May 10.

      Help us to save these ancient stands from the chopping block and increase protection of endangered forests across BC by writing a personal letter to Minister Donaldson ASAP (before May 10, the earlier the better) FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca. In your letter you should:

      • Raise that the BC government has the power to direct their own agency BC Timber Sales to implement best practices, phase out old-growth logging and quickly transition to improved management of second-growth forests.

      • Call for full cancellation of the proposed cutblocks close to Juan de Fuca Trail and Port Renfrew. There is overwhelming support for increased protection to ensure diverse long-term economic activity including tourism, not short-term old-growth depletion.

      • Call on the province to support First Nations pursuing Indigenous Protected Areas, remind the province that we have a climate emergency and must protect intact forests if we want to stabilize the climate and protect communities from droughts, flooding and fires.

      For more key messages see http://www.rainforestisland.ca

      For more details see our April 29 release: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/b-c-government-agencys-new-propos…/

  6. On Tuesday, I drove north to the Dinghy Dock Pub in Nanaimo to collect on my Paul Manly bet.

    On the way back south, I was shocked at the number of loaded logging trucks, headed north between Nanaimo and Cowichan; there were so many, so close together, it looked like a CP freight train.

    I know there are sort and export facilities in How Sound, Alberni, Port McNeill and Nanaimo.

    I know all those booms on the north arm of the Fraser are being held for fire season, so there is no interruption in shipped raw logs.

    I know the general population, including those in S Van overlooking the Fraser, have no clue what is going on under their noses and behind the curtain of trees along Highway 14 to Port Renfrew.

    I did not know, there is a company, selectively harvesting old growth, mostly cedar, in Knight and Bute Inlets, which is saying they have enough old growth to last beyond the next decade.

    As for Paul Manly, yeah, Mr. Chamberlin had baggage and a bum leader and the mood of the people is something for the big shots to fear, but Mr. Manly did it on merit.

    • Agreed on all points. Theres a lot going on under peoples noses on Island and all over BC. They usually dont notice until they are driving to Cape Scott and notice all the massive cut blocks and logging trucks barreling down the highway, some with only 3 trees they are so big and wide.

      Bc Timber sales isn’t deemed with ensuring blocks auctioned off dont harm local economies dependent on tourism. They also seem to think these buffers that you can see through are enough to give that nature experience which is bullshit. I know one trail locally that is cut right up the side with a wee line of trees beside it.

      Forest Watch Vancouver Island has a plethora of info and photos of it, and Sierra Club has also info posted showing how truly small our amount of old growth on island is.

      • And….good news!!!

        This specific lot has been taken off the auction block for now😁👌🏻

        Keep the pressure on my friends. We’ve a long way to go. Thanks to Ken Wu for sharing this via Facebook.

        https://www.ancientforestalliance.org/old-growth-logging-next-to-jdf-provincial-park-postponed/

        ” Conservationists with the Ancient Forest Alliance and members of the Port Renfrew business community are welcoming the postponement of BC Timber Sales’ plans to auction off 109 hectares of old-growth forest for logging next to Juan de Fuca Provincial Park in Pacheedaht territory on Vancouver Island.

        The timber sale auction, which was scheduled to end this Friday, would have seen seven cutblocks, totalling 55,346 cubic metres of old-growth forest, logged next to one of the most spectacular sections of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail with two cutblocks coming to within 50 metres of the park boundary.

        BC Timber Sales, the BC government’s logging agency, advised members of the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce yesterday that the timber sale auction had been removed. While there is currently no indication that the BC government are adding any additional protections for the area, the news was welcomed by conservationists and local business representatives alike.

        “We appreciate this positive shift and thank Premier John Horgan, the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, and Forests Minister Doug Donaldson for listening to the Port Renfrew business community and the thousands of British Columbians who have spoken up for the protection of this important area,” stated Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness. “But there is still a lot of uncertainty around the fate of this ancient forest. We hope to see the BC government cancel the timber sale outright and protect the forest in an Old Growth Management Area or, ideally, as an addition to the provincial park.”

        “The Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce is very encouraged by the news that the province has postponed the auction of the 109 hectares which border our community and the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail,” stated Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce President “

  7. Sorry, I know this is way off topic but I just gotta say, watching Mark Norman and Marie Henein today, sure reminded me of BC Rail.

    It also helps understand the reluctance to call for judicial enquiries on anything.
    The rot runs deep and I sure hope voters are waking up.

    • Hi Tim. If anything i think Horgan and company may be waking up to having our very own made in BC Inquiry. The heat is on and going up, and they know it. If they F..k up on this, their done. This is the Big One for them, and really big for us. That’s as short and sweet, or sour, as i can put it.

  8. I think it’s a wonderful thing to see a Federal Green seat in Nanaimo Ladysmith. Now that’s a head turner. Maybe an added benefit for climate issues. And Trudeau had the gall to say with insulting overtone, that voters are pre-occupied with climate change. What a complete ass. I hope Jody Wilson Raybould jumps on board with Elizabeth May, or even runs for PM. But she would be up against too many rotten people like all the team playing cowards of Trudeau’s caucus who applauded her’s and Phillpot’s departure. She would have to get rid of the whole dirty lot if that would even be possible. I’m a dreamer. Nothing but a dreamer.

  9. Excellent piece as always.

    Sadly, Horgan will go down in history as premier do nothing.

    Oh, he has rewarded his base with all sorts of goodies and kow-towed to his political friends and mentors from Vision Vancouver to build that $3.5 billion Broadway subway that goes nowhere.

    The NDP, were supposed to be different from Photo-op and her crowd, but no, you just have followed the op’s footsteps, doing nothing, yet rewarding friends and insiders.

    The NDP are tired, very tired and they reject any sort of reform or even reinventing themselves for the 21st century.

    Sorry John, you have wasted what little time you had to make your mark and by doing so, you will have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

    • I’m hoping the NDP snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by announcing a public inquiry this coming Wednesday into money laundering that at least keeps the Liberals in the jaws of total defeat for a long time. I think the NDP did lose a lot of their shine too, but stay tuned this coming Wednesday. Public Inquiry announcement. Fingers crossed of course. But i think it’s coming. It would be political suicide of the worst kind if they didn’t. Oblivion would be their guaranteed place come next election. They will be torn to pieces by the the BC MAJORITY because that’s where the call and scream for an inquiry is coming from.

    • perhaps not so much. inquiry called. its always nice to be an arm chair quarter back but never having to deal with running a province.

      • It is good news about the Inquiry. I pray it’s a strong one and all goes well in the people’s favour. It was a smart call. On the environment side of things, i think it’s more the Green Party whom are helping too push on the environmental issues more so for hopefully getting thing to better places. To bad about Site C going through. It seems a lost cause now. Lousy lousy thing. Oh well, let’s hope that the future will get better than worse. I just don’t want too see another dirty BC Liberal government for sure. Arrogant assholes they are. They still have some of those dirty rats in there that let everything go to hell for so many when they were in charge. I pray the inquiry is hard on them, and they don’t get their grubby hands on the province again. At least not for a very long time. The arrogance is overpowering and almost suffocating when i hear Wilkinson talk. They just don’t get it.

  10. Thank you Jonathan Swift.

    A different modest proposal.

    After years of waiting to see governments challenge Organized Crime head on the status quo remains undisturbed..

    And while BC’s politicians continue to “extract moonbeams from cucumbers” – debating how little to accomplish in public to appear vaguely conscious, there’s an interesting alternative to ponder.

    https://www.straight.com/news/1239671/could-public-inquiry-money-laundering-lead-bc-government-takeover-casinos

    “Could a public inquiry into money laundering lead to a B.C. government takeover of casinos?”

    Well? Why not? But why do this only AFTER a Public Inquiry? Why wait?

    Perhaps halting money laundering through BC casinos is just that simple. Government takes charge directly. Go-between agencies who might find it in their interest to paper-over direct access to what’s really going on and why. Abandon them.

    Instead? BC owns and operates a fully accountable, publicly audited Crown Corporation, cash cow,.

    How might far larger portions of gambling revenues be channeled to public interest projects – like education, housing and hospitals – would be a matter of open public debate, not backroom deals.

    But instead BC mindlessly accepted a trivial percentage deal with a revenue colossus run by unaccountable parties. Do we need better supervision for the thing to work? Not just more bureaucratic layers of middle men?

    There’s more. Ideological, partisan, and bureaucratic fiefdoms have opinions that vary. In derfernce to their interests why not just let the stakeholders argue for a few more years about how to make Canada’s classically dysfunctional oversight system far more perfect-looking?

    Rather than more functional.. Otherwise?

    Is it time to plan for a hostile takeover of a windfall revenue business far more useful to criminals than to the public?

    Please advise.

    • In a perfect world I would be likely to believe government could handle this.

      However.

      A perfect world isn’t what we live in. If one could be assured that an ethical government existed capable of ensuring everything is up and up, great. But that’s not where we are. The BC ndp have abandoned climate change reality in favour of fracking expansion and Horgan has made noises on refineries and pipelines to soothe the masses paying large gas prices at the pumps. Even right wing residents can see the changes. So their tenure in govt is anything but a sure thing imo.

      Not to mention, a simple takeover does not in any manner address the deep levels of systematic corruption that HAS TO exist for all of this to have occurred. This didnt happen without a lot of inside help. I know that no one wants to say it, but it is true.

      The first and biggest task is a full judicial inquiry. One with the power of subpoena.

      The reasons why this is the only option, were laid out in this post and my opinion has only strengthened on this by what we have seen since.
      https://www.google.ca/amp/s/lailayuile.com/2019/02/07/why-eby-shouldnt-wait-for-the-second-german-report-to-call-a-public-inquiry-in-bc/amp/

      Enough said?

      • If I understand you correctly, then we disagree

        Why did Willy Sutton rob banks? “That’s where the money is.”

        Why does Organized Crime launder money in casinos, purchase and export expensive cars, and engorge on luxurious real estate? “That’s how criminal revenue gets sanitized.”:

        Considering the importance to multiple criminal groups, on shore and off, of such laundering, sorry, I can’t really agree with your Faith in a public inquiry.

        If you emphasize no harsher options than an investigation, that seems too narrow a focus. A one shot one time response to a moving target, is not enough to hit Organized Crime where it matters most – control of revenue.

        Who agrees? In part, Marc Cohodes, a friendly adviser who tried to convince David Eby to act. On 1 July last year he was quoted at length.

        https://globalnews.ca/news/4306119/marc-cohodes-money-laundering-vancouver/

        ”Cohodes admits he’s friends with B.C. Attorney General David Eby, who last September hired former deputy commissioner of the RCMP Peter German to conduct an investigation into the province’s money laundering problem.”

        “In an interview with Global National’s Robin Gill, Cohodes says Eby has all kinds of tools at his disposal do to something now, and he shouldn’t be afraid to use them.

        ““I think [Eby] should prosecute and investigative people who fueled this, people who profited from it on the backs of hardworking B.C.-ers,” he said.”

        “But Cohodes goes even further with a proposed fix:”

        ““I think the B.C. government needs to seize assets, sell the assets at an auction, split half the money with the Chinese government, split half the money with B.C. and give the whistleblower or finder, say, 10 per cent.””

        “It’s a dramatic proposal for a dramatic problem in British Columbia: the blend of organized crime, drug trafficking and a housing affordability crisis.”

        You put it nicely yourself: “a simple takeover does not in any manner address the deep levels of systematic corruption.”

        Nor does a Public Inquiry halt the flow of laundered money. And if the billions of loot laundered yearly in BC casinos doesn’t represent a most significant of “deep levels”, what are they?

        What a gambling industry buy out could accomplish is

        1/ help eliminate a major option for criminals to launder more billions during a Public Inquiry
        2/ stabilize the industry, maintain employment
        3/ reduce fear and increase worker safety.
        4/ increase public confidence.

        Do millions in Canada mistrust BC’s politicians because they’ve allowed this rot to go unchallenged for decades? But nothing more vigorous than a public inquiry (run by BC politicians) will work? That makes sense? How?

        How does any government anywhere “address” deep levels of systematic corruption by failing to stop criminals from laundering money in casinos?

        Here in BC until actual prosecutions succeed, how will any change in the money pipeline ever happen? Without intervention?

        Please advise
        .

        • Charges,prosecutions, seizures etc will come as a result of an inquiry as it did with Charbonneau. But two things to note here. Look at all the failed attempts with charges so far due to ‘mistakes’ by officers or lapsed time so perps walk.

          Again, I note how corruption to this extent does not and cannot exist and flourish as it has without an extensive network of assistance…inside and outside of government, casinos and perhaps in law enforcement as well.

          An inquiry with powers of subpoena will flush all this out and address the systematic failures that occurred, the decisions that were made that were defended ( shutting down the iiget) and anything else that needs to change to prevent this from occurring again.

          The focus has very much been directed to the money launders, the triads and gangs. But the y did what they did because they could, because policy and policy makers failed and in some cases turned a blind eye because the revenue to govt coffers and casino coffers was so damn huge.

          That, is why a public inquiry must be had….or it will happen again.

        • taking things to trial isn’t going to work that well. hung juries, police who screw up or screw the witnesses, taking too long to get to trial so the ‘alleged” criminal walks. you do know murderers and rapists have walked don’t you because their trials took to long to get to trial. Some of those who might be charged might not be charged because of time limits. some of this has been going on for over a decade and a lot of crimes, well they need to be charged in a timely manner.

          part of the problem in B.C. is the RCMP.
          THEY aren’t doing their job and their nose were too far up the B.C. Lieberals’ asses. We as the taxpayers will need to know how far. That can’t be done in a trial. That requires an inquiry

          RCMP units were disbanded during the reign of error of the B.C. Lieberals. Crime flourished as a result, in my opinion. :So what did the RCMP in B.C. do about it. DID THEY report it to Ottawa? did they voice objections? if so with what result. If not, why not. We need to know if the rot extends into the RCMP BECAUSE if it does we need to get rid of them also.

          An Inquiry will have a look at who knew what and when. if its just trials, it is my opinion 95% of the charged will “walk”. Inquiries may not result in jail sentences, but they do frequently result in lessons learned and secrets exposed. We the taxpayers deserve as much.

        • Charlie Smith has some random thoughts on this…..ick.

          https://www.straight.com/news/1241366/random-thoughts-about-bcs-public-inquiry-money-laundering-and-man-whos-heading-it

          ” Premier John Horgan was flanked by Attorney General David Eby and Finance Minister Carole James as he announced a public inquiry into money laundering.

          It’s not surprising that B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen was chosen to conduct a public inquiry into money laundering.

          As a long-time insider in the Ministry of Attorney General before becoming a judge in 2001, Cullen can be trusted by the NDP government.

          He was a regional Crown counsel and assistant deputy attorney general for the criminal justice branch when the NDP last ruled the province from 1991 to 2001. As a result, Cullen is a known entity to NDP political veterans like Premier John Horgan and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.

          Moreover, during a prosecutorial career that spanned nearly 20 years, Cullen worked closely with the police. 

          We can expect that senior Mounties and chiefs of municipal police forces are going to be happy with his appointment.

          As an aside, Cullen was one of two prosecutors who recommended that no criminal charges be laid against Vancouver police officers in connection with the death of an Indigenous man, Frank Paul.

          Paul’s corpse was found in an East Vancouver alley in 1998 after he was taken out of the police station and left out in the cold by officers. Televised video of an immobile Paul being dragged across the floor of the cop shop left a searing impression on many viewers.

          By the time Paul’s death became the subject of a judicial inquiry, Cullen was already a judge.

          Therefore, the Ministry of Attorney General maintained that this gave Cullen immunity from testifying.

          I’ll make a prediction today: when Cullen’s report is eventually released, he won’t end up seriously questioning efforts by the RCMP, municipal police forces, Attorney General David Eby, and Farnworth to secure more public resources for law enforcement to fight money laundering.

          I also predict that Cullen won’t suggest that these politicians and police agencies reallocate existing resources to better address white-collar crime.

          I doubt that the commissioner will seriously explore the phenomenal difference between former deputy RCMP commissioner Peter German’s estimates about the magnitude of casino money laundering in B.C. and the amount of residential real estate that actually changes hands in this province.

          Nor do I expect Cullen to probe why the attorney general is so obsessed about money laundering in casinos, which have a large Chinese Canadian clientele, while issuing far less public commentary about potential money laundering in other cash businesses, like cannabis or short-term lending.

          Keep in mind that cannabis and short-term lending are not heavily unionized industries. Casino workers, on the other hand, are represented by unions friendly to the NDP government.

          And Cullen is certainly not going to explore factors other than money laundering that might be influencing housing prices. That’s not in his mandate.

          Of course, Cullen also won’t investigate why a high-profile money-laundering prosecution fell apart.

          That’s because he’s been prevented from doing so in the terms of reference for the inquiry.

          This guarantees that federal and provincial prosecutors will get a soft ride. This is the case even if they may have violated disclosure requirements outlined in the Supreme Court of Canada’s Stinchecombe decision. We’ll never know because this cannot be examined…”

          Posted for posterity. Because I havent seen this anywhere else and it matters.

  11. Hi Laila, thank you for sharing such a well composed letter! I would like to copy and send to Horgan & Donaldson, giving you credit, but also adding our names. Maybe if enough of us resend it to him he will read it. Like you we have sent many letters over the years and wonder if they are ever seen. We live on the Sunshine Coast and have been battling forest destruction for over 30 years, and so far all we’ve seen is an increase every year of logging trucks going down the highway. We have protested, held meetings,stood on the hwy, sent letters, and its only gotten worse. Very disheartening, tho we continue to fight against this. Let me know if I can resend your letter. And thank you! Pat

    • Of course you may Pat, with gratitude. 🙂 The Greens have taken this up and called for a moratorium on old growth logging on the island, but I urge then to extend this call to the coastal and inland tracts of ancient trees that hold dynamic ecosystems and again, offer more value standing than cut.

      Good luck with this and let me know if you hear a response.

      And, for those sharing on social media, hashtag #DearJohn with the link. And maybe add that to the Greens tags with the call for old growth stories.

  12. Laila, you say it so well, and persuasively! Far be it for me to add my ‘old, white, mindless male’ perspective to the narrative, but speaking of inquiries, whatever happened to the Plecas Probe?
    Please don’t give up your challenge – it is one thing that wakes me with new hope every morning!

    • You are not going to let me forget that are you John? 😉

      I will do a round up for you. Waiting to see what the NDP announce tomorrow with respect to an inquiry.

  13. Another sidetrack, for which I apologize.

    I’m sure Laila will be all over the announced PE on the laundry but, in the meantime, I’m trying to get the lowdown on Justice Austin Cullen.

    There’s not much readily available, so I hope our go to sharp legal mind, Lew Edwardson (@valtamtech) can give us some insight.

    Lew?

  14. Speaking of corruption, what does SNC Lavalin have in commons with Alabama and corruption? Legal Schnauzer, an American blog, (Roger Schuler) which I started reading when el gordo was premier, has a post up, 28 May 2019 titled, U.S. PROBE OF TN DEVELOPER FRANKLIN HANEY ADN HIS NUCLEAR MONEY PIT COULD UNMASK TRUMP SWINDLERS AND THE ALABAMA SWAMP CREATURES WHO HELP THEM FLORISH.

    The post states:
    Haney has reached an agreement with SNC Lvalin, a Canadian engineering firm, to finish at least one of two reactors at Bellefonte with the assistance of federal loan guarantees.

    SNC-Lavalin has a history of working on various projects with Russian interest, via the VEB Bank, which has close ties to Vladimir Putin, reputed mobster Oleg Deripaska, and former Trump caimpaign chair Paul Manafort who has been found guilty of financial crimes.

    See what we mean by the ‘Russification of Alabama’?

    I found it during Campbell’s reign by typing in coal, crime, casinos, corruption, politicians and up popped a number of Alabama blogs. Legal Schnauzer, seemed both the most hated and most informed. He was arrested and tossed in prison for 5 months a couple of years ago, thus gaining the title of the only journalist in prison in the western hemisphere. Alabama politicians really don’t like him.

    he has reported extensively on bob Riley, Jeff Sessions, Robert Bentley–“Lov Gov” of Alabama and of course the current Gov. Ivey who just signed into law the restrictive anti abortion laws. He also wasn’t too pleased about some of the nominees for the Supreme Court of the U.S.A. Approx. a year or so ago, Schuler, started writing about individuals interested in re activating a nuclear plant in Alabama which had laid un finished for 30 years. At the time there were concerns what the real intent was.

    Now we at least know just what SNC Lavalin is up to elsewhere.

    One Canadian blog, Montreal Simon, in particular continues to vilify Jody Wilson Rayboult and Jane Philpott, for the position they took. Montreal Simon has a couple of relatively new posters, who accuse any one of writing negatively about Trudeau and the situation of SNC Lavalin as haters, etc. If you’re not pro Trudeau, you’re treated as if you were the scum of the earth.. The use of racist terms and suggesting JWR be “burned” is considered appropriate and if you suggest that is racist or mysoginistic, it gets you tossed off the blog (I was because they concluded I was male, Indigenous and was doing a dis service to “my people” by taking what they considered an anti Trudeau position.) Simply suggested they stop vilifying JWR and J.P. because it doesn’t do progessives any good. Yes, the blog is listed on the Progressive Blog list.

    One of the posters, Jackie Blue, proports to be an American. At one time I suggested they could be troll/disrupters. Now perhaps its not all about Canada, but also SNC lavalin’s interests in the U.S.A., Alabama and what that revivial of the power plant is really all about.

    After reading Legal Schnauzzer’s latest post, which includes comments regarding SNC Lavalin, I am more convenced than ever that JWR did the right thing. (yes Its off topic but I thought people might want to know a tad more about SNC Lavalin)

    • Thank you for this eaf. I have been busy on other matters and this is of great interest so thank you. 🙂 Team effort here always, people before politics. (Although related)

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