Saturday morning coffee round up: Election 2019, LNG in Delta & money laundering inquiry stunner
It’s been a rather exhausting but productive week and I am sitting in bed with my laptop propped on a pillow, with the most divine, steaming hot Italian coffee concoction beside me, on my bedside table. I just recently discovered the incredibly sensual gustatory pleasure that happens when one whips an egg yolk with sugar in a coffee cup until frothy, then slowly adds expresso( or just hot dark coffee). My gawd! Next level perfection,as the addition of one simple egg yolk not only gives a rich mouth feel and creaminess cream cant match, it kinda also makes coffee a legit breakfast!
But enough of my love affair with coffee, there’s so much to talk about, starting with….
Election 2019 aftermath
Wow hey?! Once again a minority government situation and once again, not surprised. While a majority of Canadians voted against Conservative ideals, they do not agree on one single way forward. The feeling nationally has been very much like the feeling here in BC before the last election, with voters really not happy overall with the federal Liberals. CPC or the NDP. Hence the rise of the Bloc and while the Greens only gained one seat, their vote did rise. Instead of being humbled at this result, Trudeau has still somehow managed to convey the vacuous, somewhat childlike arrogance he displayed throughout Lavscam, post election! With any luck we shouldn’t have to see Scheer for much longer as I hear a strong movement to install Peter Mackay is in the works.
And that, my friends, should have everyone concerned, for a couple of reasons. One, Mackay is well liked and respected, across partisan lines. He’s very intelligent, experienced and savvy… and to be blunt, he’s a marketable candidate: good looking, mature but young enough to have longevity, brilliant and accomplished spouse with a gorgeous family. Two, progressives in Canada and the left as defined usually by the NDP, haven’t learned much about the consequences of toxic, blind partisanship…or how their own behaviour continues to help the rise of the Right.
I just don’t get it. There is nothing wrong with being loyal to your party, but there is fine line between being loyal, and acting like a cult member defending things that are not defensible. This election was no different. Partisans on the left forget that most people in this country, DO NOT BELONG TO A POLITICAL PARTY. Most people just want a leader who will do the right thing, tell the truth, not talk around issues and waffle, and not make ridiculous promises we know they won’t ever keep. Partisans on the left are just as bad, if not worse in some cases, than partisans on the right. What many left/ progressives still fail to understand is that marginalising anyone who doesn’t agree their way is the only way, isn’t helping them get votes. Marginalising critics of their party, isn’t getting them votes. I saw many calling Bob Mackin a right wing toadie. Same for Dermod Travis of Integrity BC. Nothing could be further than the truth for either of these men, but nonetheless that is the level of desperation being shown online. People can disagree with your preferred party and still be an ally. Blind loyalty is what breeds the kind of arrogant desperation we saw in Clark prior to her defeat, and I saw that happening with Trudeau before this election. When your leader does something wrong, or comes up with really bad policy, don’t defend it. Own it, and acknowledge it instead of saying “Oh but your leader did something worse ” . This isn’t kindergarten and the public isn’t stupid, but they are feeling disrespected and frustrated with fake promises and even worse policy when it comes to climate and the economy.
The sanctimonious, self-righteous attitudes of some partisans needs to be checked at the door if there is any chance of appealing to the people in the middle who might vote right when someone like Peter Mackay comes along. Now, onto….
The Fraser River LNG export terminal the BC govt forgot to mention in the refuelling station press release
It was yet another one of Clarks now infamous hard hat press ops, when she joined workers at the LNG plant expansion on Tilbury Island back in 2015.
That was when the proposal for the WestPac LNG terminal jetty at Tilbury first made the news, except it wasn’t announced as a refueling station, it was announced as an export terminal back then.
Which is why I raised an eyebrow when I saw the press release quietly issued by the BC government at 4:30 on the eve of the UNDRIP event at the legislature. That press release still mentions only an LNG refuelling facility at Tilbury.
Except the refueling station at Tilbury, when complete, isnt just for refueling.
We won’t talk about the significant hypocrisy of watching ‘clean’ LNG tankers sail up the Fraser, past the mountains of dirty US thermal coal at Roberts Bank still being exported to Asia via our ports because the US ports wont handle it.
Nor will we talk about the only reason Clark planned such a big bridge over the Massey Tunnel is because the projects planned around 2015, would have required a removal of the tunnels so the river could be dredged deeper to allow for panamax size tankers to navigate the river safely. Those of us familiar with the Asia Pacific Gateway strategy, remember this well because there was massive opposition to both coal ships and LNG tankers being filled in the Fraser.
So, I went to do a little looking to see where this Tilbury project was at and what a surprise, the westpac project website openly mentions the export of LNG from the Fraser River site.
I wish I could say I was surprised. I haven’t followed local politics on the mainland very much since moving to the island, so totally missed the Delta papers coverage of this.
I will say I am sorely disappointed and dismayed that the export aspect of the Tilbury Westpac project was completely left out of the government press release, except in reference to where smaller ships will fuel at. In September, Fortis BC announced it had already secured its first export contract with China out of the already expanded plant on Tilbury https://www.delta-optimist.com/news/fortisbc-secures-first-export-contract-for-tilbury-lng-facility-1.23886948
Horgan is literally following exactly in Clarks footsteps here, and it makes me wonder how long it is before a bridge over the Fraser to replace the Massey once again suddenly becomes the better option. Thats usually how these kinds of things happen. This also means a significant increase in tanker traffic into the river and as anyone who takes the ferry from Tsawassen can attest, whales are seen in increasing numbers all along Robert’s Bank.
All the environmental assessment documents can be found here for the westpac terminal in the Fraser, for those interested. It was suspended in August to allow for a further expanded look at marine traffic. https://www.projects.eao.gov.bc.ca/p/58851208aaecd9001b829b58/project-details;currentPage=1;pageSize=10;sortBy=-dateAdded;ms=1572112160419
Here is where it brings forth more questions.This link from Hellenic Shipping News, paints a very different activity than the greenwash of ship refueling for the ship to ship terminal in the govts press release above
“Once in operation, it would have one berth for one LNG carrier, and a berth for smaller LNG bunkering barges. In addition to a domestic bunkering market, WesPac expects there will also be LNG export opportunities, with Asia being the main market.
The terminal is expected to see up to *69 bunkering barges and 68 LNG carriers coming to and from the terminal annually.*
So…lets see if I have this right….?
Christy Clark LNG dreams were bad, but now that Horgans doing it ( and increased subsidies) , it’s ok? Tell me how that works, my friends. If we are exporting from Delta, and Kitimat and Squamish, that means an even bigger expansion of fracking up in northwestern BC. How is it remotely possible for BC to meet its emissions targets?
Last but not least..
The Money Laundering Inquiry story that made my stomach drop
WTF? You know that moment when your stomach drops because you know something very wrong has happened? Yeah, that happened when I read the story below. Read and digest.
Two significant whistleblowers against money laundering in B.C. casinos will not having special standing status during the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, Commissioner Austin Cullen ruled Friday.They may, nevertheless, still play key roles in providing information and context of the issue as witnesses.
Fred Pinnock, the RCMP Unit Commander of the Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team (IIGET) for British Columbia from September 2005 until his retirement in 2008, was denied standing status.
A week prior to Friday’s ruling, whistleblower Ross Alderson, former director of anti-money laundering and investigations at BC Lottery Corp. (BCLC), said he would no longer pursue his standing status application, but rather provide testimony whenever called upon.
Alderson claims, in media reports, that officials ignored his warnings and reports. Pinnock has stated the public has been misled as to the nature and degree of money laundering and other criminal activity taking place in casinos.
Former BC Liberal cabinet minister (and current MLA) Rich Coleman shut down Pinnock’s IIGET unit in 2009.
Standing status grants special or highly knowledgeable individuals or groups procedural rights during the two-year inquiry. Cullen has yet to determine those rights but they may include representation by counsel, proposing witnesses, applying to participate in evidentiary hearings, reviewing documents and making submissions.
Who did make the list of those with standing status?
BCLC president and CEO on leave, Jim Lightbody and Robert Kroeker, the former VP of corporate compliance who was alleged to have told staff to ease up on anti money laundering measures to allow dirty money to flow through casinos.
I think its a big failure to have not granted these two whistleblowers standing status. Huge failure.
Above all, the public must have assurance that this inquiry is conducted on a level playing field. There can be no hint of impropriety, imbalance or unfair advantage. It is in great part because of Pinnock and Aldersen that we are even seeing an inquiry and I take umbrage with Cullens assertion that Pinnocks reputation and rights are not at risk. Certain parties and supporters of the former government ( and of Rich Coleman ) have tried to sully this mans name and reputation in an attempt to discredit the information he brought forward.
Both Pinnock and Aldersen are likely to be party to information and specific knowledge that would allow them to call forth other witnesses, and compell testimony, that may not be heard if they are merely responding as witnesses. Witnesses cannot cross examine, a compelling and critical feature in this inquiry.
This is where I will again refer you to two prior posts in which Sean Holman interviewed Rich Coleman in a series of videos about why and what lead to the disbanding of the IIGET, in which there are still many unanswered questions. In fact, I dissected one portion of Colemans answers in this post: https://lailayuile.com/2018/06/27/money-and-corruption-are-ruining-the-land-2/
And in this post, we discussed further the irregularities of Colemans statements,via those very important videos of Seans. https://lailayuile.com/2019/02/05/the-coleman-files/
I’ve made no bones about how disappointed I am that the province didn’t decide to go with a sweeping Charbonneau style commission. Corruption doesn’t begin or end with a political party because the network that allowed it to occur exists far beyond elected officials or one government or even law enforcement. It exists beyond money laundering in casinos and real estate. So limiting the roles of the whistleblowers who brought so much to light, is in effect, limiting the role of the inquiry to get to the places it needs to be. And I believe the public is smart enough to see this, based on the stunned reactions of readers and friends to this news.
I’m not sure if there is a process for Pinnock to appeal Cullens ruling on this, but I would hope a public outrage would spur it. I’m curious too, why Aldersen pulled his application. One hopes he wasn’t pressured.
There can be no compromise when it comes to fighting corruption. Anything less is to become complicit.
That’s it, its sunny and I have mountains of leaves to rake and cover my gardens with. Let me know what you think of all this in the comments below and I’ll be back to see you later.