A matter of Conscience: Why we need to act on long term care right now, and why transparency with Covid data is more critical than ever

It came as a surprise to no one, that the recent report from Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie revealed that many if not most residents in long term care, worried less about Covid than going without seeing their loved ones. They are wasting away from lonelieness and being drugged at unprecedented rates. The full report can and should be read here. https://www.seniorsadvocatebc.ca/osa-reports/staying-apart-to-stay-safe-survey/

It has been horrendous to see the stories shared online from family members of those in long term care.

Residents who stopped eating, residents who families report they died of loneliness and isolation, refusing to eat, rather than covid. I remarked in my last post, that it was ironic that this was the year we released inmates early, while locking up seniors, both in the name of safety. And it’s not working. Not for residents and not for families.

The stark truth really is that keeping families and residents separated to keep covid out of long term care homes, is cruel and hasn’t worked. Outbreaks continue to occur, staff and residents continue to get sick and some sadly, continue to die. So its time we acknowledge this and act immediately to fix this. 9 months is a ridiculous amount of time and care homes are not complying with visitation consistently. I just spoke with an old friend who shared her story of being separated from her mum all this time. It brought me to tears.

This does not need to wait until a new minister is sworn in. This can be implemented by ministry staff immediately. And it is long past time for the public health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, to mandate frequent testing of staff, to ensure asymptomatic, or pre-symptomatic staff do not continue to inadvertently bring in the virus. This is something many have been calling for, for months to no avail. Concerned citizens have been calling for this for months online, and families continue to, particularly loudly now that we are in a second wave.

Most recently,care workers and their union joined the call for mandated and frequent testing, because it is a terrible burden on the staff to bear, and unconscionable when the movie industry in BC mandates more frequent testing of everyone on set, than we do of those in care of our most vulnerable members of society.

So why aren’t we doing this?

Why was it deemed exceptionally critical for NHL players to have routine, frequent testing so fans can watch hockey…and yet care home staff are not?

This is, after all, the segment of the population most at risk from serious complication and death. The ones we are told we need to protect the most. Mandatory frequent testing *will* reduce outbreaks and make it easier and safer to reunite families.

Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked about this on August 24th of this year. The video is below. She speaks to false positives and false negatives, and that in her mind, it is not the best use of resources, something repeated even in news stories linked to above.

I’m not a scientist, or a doctor and won’t pretend to be, so I’m not even going to bother speaking to false positives or false negatives. But I will speak to the fact that in every industry – NHL, NFL, and movie – mandated and frequent testing has and does catch people who are positive before or without symptoms, and it keeps those people isolated until tested negative. If it saves lives of staff and residents of long term care, how can anyone say it isnt a good use of resources?

Blanket testing is what ultimately was used – only when the outbreak continued into a third week – in the first Holy Cross outbreak, as told by Vancouver Coastal Healths Patricia Daly, in this video presentation.

When we have community spread as significant as there is in Metro Vancouver, with as many as 20% of cases not having an identified source of transmission, it is my view that we have an obligation to both these long term care residents, and to the staff caring for them, that is not being met.

These staff have lives, children, spouses and elders of their own. When we fail to use the tools we have at hand to ensure asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic staff are caught, we are being negligent because the vast majority of deaths have incurred in or related to long term care. And even if up to 30% of tests give false positives or negatives, that means 70% are accurate. Tell me how this isn’t the best use of resources if minimizing deaths is a key goal of all we are doing? We know it isn’t family bringing it in. This was confirmed.

At the very least, it seems we have failed to learn to apply the precautionary principle on so many aspects a lesson many failed to learn from SARS. https://www.google.ca/amp/s/lailayuile.com/2020/03/31/lessons-not-learned-from-the-sars-inquiry-the-precautionary-principle-be-expressly-adopted-as-a-guiding-principle/amp/

And then yesterday… this:

At a time when public trust is lagging in many areas, giving less info isn’t the right thing to do. Particularly when it is is followed on the heels by this story: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-data-sharing-health-workers-phac-holes-1.5788386

B.C. has stopped sharing data on the occupational status of people who test positive for COVID-19, deeming that data too sensitive to share, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

That data includes how many positive COVID-19 cases involve doctors, nurses or health-care workers.

Data analysts say that’s a problem because tracking such positive cases is a crucial marker that can reveal if the health-care system is coming under too much stress — but there’s not much the federal agency can do about it except “ask nice” because the data is owned by the province.

[PHAC] can confirm that we have not received any information on occupational status of COVID-19 cases from the province of British Columbia since June 2020,” reads an email from a Statistics Canada analyst.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry denied this was the case when CBC asked her about the issue on Oct. 15

We have not stopped sharing that. … We do provide that information and certainly provide it on request,” she said. “

Henry said the B.C. Centre for Disease Control gathers occupational information and there have been some recent changes to how cases are defined to collect more detail, so reporting “changed slightly … but we’ve certainly reported on health worker data.”

??? ??? Either this is a significant miscommunication, or someone isn’t telling the truth, but either way this data is critical to ensuring evolving policy and procedures with respect to health care workers. This shouldn’t be an issue, yet data and information hoarding has been a hallmark of how Covid is handled in BC. Since the beginnng, there has been a data void with respect to case details. Location was taboo. Stigma was brought up as the reason and not one city knows how many cases they may have at any given time. Is it any wonder people become complacent and fatigued?

In September, a coalition of BC First Nations filed an application with the information and privacy commissioner to have the info shared, so they can protect their own communities better. The fact they had been denied this info before, is bizarre. https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/b-c-first-nations-coalition-calls-for-covid-19-case-location-information-1.5105592

Since then, we still remain largely in a data void and what data is given isnt specific. Parents have created their own website tracking school exposures in metro van, often far ahead of public health. We are short of contract tracers and the publics interest in paying attention is waning in many areas.

Now more than ever, we need transparency to keep people on board. Justin McElroy got to the heart of this in some recent tweets following a presser earlier this week.

Excellent and thoughtful points.

I also suggest something that would help to keep people vigilant,would be to include a new statement on the number of ” recovered ” people being followed for long haul symptoms and complications, right after the total number of recovered patients. This is being documented in BC, Dr. Henry confirmed this in an earlier presser, and the numbers are not small. This keeps the reality that many covid patients of all ages are sometimes left with long term symptoms…something I just recently saw the BC Government twitter account mention in a reply:

I think many forget about this. And it isn’t covered enough locally in the news, despite it being a serious and ongoing aspect of Covid. Too many discount Covid on the small death toll in BC alone, forgetting.many are left unable to work for months if not indefinitely.

When you withhold info, people grow suspicious.

When you provide all the info, trust is earned.

For now, I go, with the hope that our leaders act fast to ensure our elders see their loved ones and don’t continue to sit drugged and/or alone. Think out of the box. Rapid tests for visitors, outside tents with heaters, I fail to see why these things can’t be done. Share the data, build trust by acknowledging failures and mistakes, and move forward. Its going to be a long winter and we need to get through it as unscathed as possible, and that requires a lot of trust.

On a personal note, posts will continue to be sporadic, but I am toying with ideas of how to keep people engaged and checking in through this winter, when darkness and isolation will close in for many. Is there something you would like to see? Let me know.

” It is not the strongest of the species that survive, or the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. ” ~ Charles Darwin

Despite having made an office nook inside our home, I still prefer to write at my kitchen table, by the deck doors. In this space I feel as close to nature as I can be while indoors, and today the high winds are tossing the brilliant red leaves of a maple in the back, riotously all over the yard. The sky is a kaleidoscope of colours, black and grey clouds now cut with beams of light as the sun tries to peek through. 

I love the words above. It speaks to the last 4 weeks of this untimely election. This is the first election in a decade that I haven’t been a pundit or commentator, and I admit to missing the online camaraderie of #bcpoli, if not the blind partisanship and hypocrisy that still runs rampant. Especially sparring with my pro-Site C and pro-LNG followers ( ahem, yeah I was right Ryan )

Covid changed everything this year..our flaws and inequities were laid bare, the vast numbers of people living on the edge of and in poverty was blatantly revealed, and we released prisoners and locked up elders, both in the name of protecting them. 2020 has been rife with revealing moments in our lives, our communities and even moreso now with our political leaders and candidates.

So much of it is relevant to why and how this election even came to be. It should be clear to everyone by now, particularly with the revealing Site C FOI release that respected journalist Sarah Cox reported on yesterday, that this election was anything but snap.

The parties knew in April that Elections BC was already thinking ahead to next years election, and the minutes of the Elections Advisory June 11th meeting reflect the work done to date. 

The BC NDP even held a  Covid savvy campaign school online from June 11th to the 24th, covering everything from fundraising in the time of Covid, to safe outreach and a new candidate school. This is why the NDP campaign was able to be ready so quickly, when most were still just focusing on moving to Stage 3 and getting back to work. Thanks to Sarah Cox’s report on the 2000+pages Site C FOI she fought 9 months to get, we know Horgan would not want to face the Milburn report without attempting to get a majority for the next 4 years it will take the public to forget  whats coming. 

But there is definitely more, because there is a very strong possibility the sweetheart deal he gave to LNG Canada is going to be something else he may not want to answer for. It was 2015 when then opposition leader John Horgan, railed against former premier Christy Clark for the LNG tax credits and incentives legislation the BC Liberals had crafted to entice a final investment decision on LNG projects in northern BC.

“Opposition leader John Horgan promptly announced that the NDP will vote against the bill.

He said the Liberals failed to secure job guarantees, protect the environment or get a fair return for the people of B.C. “A 25-year deal? Who does that? Who does that in the 21st century?”

He said the project handcuffs future governments by granting a “25-year tax holiday to a foreign company” 

He was right then…who would sign a sweetheart deal with foreign companies for that long, committing future governments to it whether they want to or not?

Why, John Horgan would. But the BC NDP took it a step further and further  sweetened the deal Clark had offered…and LNG Canada finally announced a final investment decision. But things haven’t been rosy since then.

In January I noticed a rash of LNG lobbying going on in BC, new registrations and new efforts to talk to the government about more subsidies ” to ensure market competitiveness.

In February, I did some research in the various factors that impact natural gas prices and the industry, and discovered that even in 2018, the LNG projects aren’t even viable in BC, *with all the current tax incentives and credits*,unless the price is far higher than it is now.

More concerning is a future glut from projects already underway and coming online in the mid 2020’s. why would LNG Canada move ahead on such unprofitable conditions? Some analysts speculate it’s just a way for LNG Canadas partners to lock down a dedicated gas supply for 40 years. Pretty much on BC taxpayers dime. Its been observed there’s been an effort to buy up everything along this projects route, from well to plant. 

Now, Covid has changed everything, and has created challenges in every sector across the board, from job loss, to manufacturing delays, cost increases and staffing issues. And its not going to stop anytime soon. Just 3 weeks ago, S & P Global reported construction delays at the LNG Canada  site :

“Two years after a Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led consortium gave the commercial go-ahead for the massive LNG Canada export terminal in British Columbia — dubbed the single largest private sector investment in Canadian history — construction delays have clouded the LNG supply picture and raised the prospect of cost overruns.

The project was likely about four months behind schedule in February because of factors that included delays in engineering and making equipment for the terminal off-site, according to analysts at the investment research firm Webber Research & Advisory. Now the project is probably around six months behind, which is enough to suggest the potential for significant cost overruns and pressure on a planned expansion, the firm said.

“If they are that far behind heading into COVID, I find it hard to believe the delay is not going to ultimately be measured in years,” Managing Partner Michael Webber said in an interview.”

Funny this isn’t a big issue in the election. Those with skin in the game are pretending everything is awesome, but in reality, it really isn’t.

And when there is no plan B, when you’ve put all your eggs in this giant, money losing basket, that’s an issue. Ironically, just this week, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis issued a report basically repeating everything I had posted in the above two blog posts in January and February of this year. 

Indeed, its not hard to see why John Horgan wouldn’t want to wait another year. Everything he has doubled down on, is falling apart and in the  case of Site C, I mean that quite literally. 

Which is why I want to show you this: 

This is chart of the 2019 Gross Domestic Product in BC. More than half way down this graphic you will see that quarrying, mining, oil and gas extraction – all together – still only make up 3.45% of our total GDP. Now that is an important 3.45% to the communities surviving only because of those boom and bust industries right now, but overall, we have to ask why we are subsidizing this sector to the tune of $830 million yearly, with an additional $3.1 billion in royalty credits? ( Notice number one of our GDP? Real estate…) This is why a just and viable transition to new local industries is key. This matters.

But this is where I’m going to change gears. It was with irony that many noticed Horgans hopeful campaign ads were filmed during the week BC saw thick smoke roll in from the US forest fires, reminding us of the last time our skies were apocalyptic orange from BC forest fires a couple years ago. Whether you believe climate change is real or not, it is happening and it is being seen and felt all over areas of Canada most urbanites never see. I have written of this often, speaking to melting permafrost riddling Canada’s north. The world is changing faster, and in alarming extremes, than we are adapting. Clean BC, is a nicely wrapped package designed to allow industry to pollute, while the rest of us make up for it. And I’m not saying we each don’t have to do our part, we do, but I am saying I won’t applaud a plan that continues the same path we have been on for far too long.

This thread by the indomitable Lindsay Brown, who I hear is really is amazing on twitter for keeping the site C issue front and center, along with other issues, speaks to this direction so many find at odds with what we all know needs to be done.

https://twitter.com/Lidsville/status/1319411233611640832

So where does that bring us now, on the eve of an election?

As someone who has covered politics in BC for long enough to document and record over a hundred reasons the BC Liberals needed to go, I can say nothing has changed. Wilkinson is no more capable of leading a parade than he is the province and he proved that when he promised to cut the one reliable and critical stream of government revenue we have right now in BC. He is oddly and dangerously out of touch with reality on so many levels, it astounds me. The BC Liberals are not fit to govern their own party, let alone British Columbia.

The NDP has done some excellent work on some files with the Greens, and all parties worked together so well during the pandemic, but I really have big concerns with Horgans leadership and direction, particularly because of Geoff Meggs presence in the premiers office, along with so many Vision Vancouverites that helped steer Vancouver into what it is today. There was no effort as talked about after the last election, of getting rid of the old guard and executive of the NDP at convention. It was business as usual. And when the BC govt under the NDP, is allowing old growth trees to be ground into pellets to be shipped and burned overseas, and culling moose to save the caribou

Houston, we have a problem.

We also, in despite of measures taken, have not protected our most vulnerable: our elders and others in long term care homes. Many might not be aware, but families are reporting that there is no consistency on visiting practices between long term homes, and many families are still not being allowed to see their love ones. This is cruel and mentally anguishing for both elders and families, and the number of stories being posted publicly is heartbreaking. And despite this isolation, covid continues to kill elders, most often brought in by staff. This is not to put the blame on staff, who are amazing and exhausted and also are getting sick or hospitalized. But there have been questions as to why mandatory frequent testing isn’t being used on staff as a proactive measure, rather than just screening and PPE. I worry we won’t have any elders left by spring if this isn’t done. We need to recognize staff have lives, partners, children and families of their own, and as Metro Van cases rise, so too will the number of outbreaks in LTC if preventative, proactive, mandatory testing isn’t done. Precautionary principle must be applied to our elder care now, not later.

We don’t have to sacrifice environment for the economy, and we don’t have to sacrifice social supports for it either. We must not forget the inequities Covid exposed, nor should we forget the lessons it showed us while in isolation. Streets filled with nature where people no longer walked. Dolphins returned to Venician canals, and locally here, whales returned to swim where marine traffic made it difficult before. Nature became a refuge where distancing and masks were not needed. Leaders rose in communities to help others and more often than not weren’t politicians, but just people who saw a need and filled it. We would be foolish to ignore the wake up call and fail to adapt and evolve at this immediate juncture. I’m hoping for another minority government, because having seen the environmental inaction the last 3 years, I’m not sure what will be left in another 4 if Horgan got a majority, let alone the Liberals.

Elections always belong to the people,even when we don’t want one. So if you haven’t voted yet, get your mask on tomorrow and go do it. Think of the most vulnerable person you know, think of the kind of province you want for your kids and grandkids, and think of the amazing and beautiful province we live in. And use your vote wisely.

Absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep.

Eric Hoffer

For Richard 😃

FOI documents reveal extensive and serious issues at SIte C, 3 days before election

Sarah Cox has a stunning story today, and it gives a good overview into why so many cabinet ministers likely chose not to run again, and why Premier Horgan would have wanted to avoid this issue until given a majority government. It took nearly 9 months for her to get these documents and she has released all documents within her article for the public to read. You can link to it by clicking on the headline below, and it will open in a new page:

INVESTIGATION

Top B.C. government officials knew Site C dam was in serious trouble over a year ago: FOI docs

” Stability of the dam found to be a ‘significant risk’ in May 2019, more than a year before information about deepening geotechnical problems and escalating costs were shared with the public

The belated BC Hydro reports said the Site C dam faces unknown cost overruns, schedule delays and such profound geotechnical troubles that its overall health is now classified as “red” — meaning it is in serious trouble. 

In late January, The Narwhal submitted a freedom of information request to BC Hydro, asking for all Site C project assurance board agendas, minutes, reports and recommendations.

Premier John Horgan created the project assurance board in December 2017 after his government approved the dam and added another $2 billion to the project budget. But the NDP government subsequently refused to release any of the board’s findings or a list of its members. 

Following an appeal to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner after BC Hydro missed a legal deadline for responding, we received 2,247 pages of documents almost seven months after filing the request….”

Among the issues noted in the FOI Sarah Cox received:

  • Key sections of the documents, including information pertaining to rising cost pressures and the severity of key project risks from January 2018 to January 2020, are redacted. 
  • The technical advisory board found the stability of the dam is “a significant risk and the hazards associated with the weak foundation have been adequately recognized.” 
  • The advisory board also said the Site C dam’s design — changed to an unconventional L-shape, much to the concern of retired BC Hydro engineer Vern Ruskin — needed to be checked. 
  • It outlined seven steps for BC Hydro to follow, including calculating “the factor of safety” at the end of construction and again at the end of reservoir filling, and requested an update at its next meeting. 
  • The core components of the dam are now in question due to the lack of solid ground on which to anchor the dam structure, powerhouse and spillways — an issue flagged years ago by both SNC Lavalin and Klohn Crippen as a potential project risk. 
  • The design team presented information on the “small amount of movement on a bedding plane” and “the compression of the foundation from powerhouse buttress loading,” the report noted
  • They include the “stability of the earthfill dam and tailrace wall,” described as a “significant risk due to the “weak foundation” in a 15-page report that recommended seven steps to check the project’s design and calculate the factor of safety. 
  • A second risk is the right bank foundation, which forms the shorter arm of the radically re-designed L-shaped structure. Structures on the right, or south, bank of the Peace River include the power house, spillways and earthfill dam.
  • The technical advisory board also flagged the earthfill dam foundation and grouting as a significant risk.  
  • The stability of slopes and foundation at the dam site could potentially be “decisively” affected by hydrogeological conditions and phenomena, the technical advisory board noted. 
  • “Simple flushing of a borehole has immediately raised the groundwater levels in an extensive section of the right abutment and has caused displacements on bedding planes. Rainfall has triggered similar effects.
  • A further risk is the thermal performance of roller compacted concrete and cracking. Cracks in the roller compacted concrete have “been recognized and studies are underway to evaluate their extent and significance,” the board noted.   
  • “If, ultimately, substantial grouting is necessary to repair such cracks, a complex and costly program could result,” the board said, adding it wished to be kept informed on progress “associated with managing this risk.”

 

Now, as with all issues and news of substance that has come out during the election:

“Neither BC Hydro nor the B.C. government are responding to media questions during the provincial election campaign, unless inquiries pertain to health and safety or statutory requirements. “

Of course not. It would be ridiculous to expect a government trying to campaign on its record, to answer questions on the record, wouldn’t it?

One the eve of yet another election, I feel like we are back where we all started. Both the prior government and this government were warned not to proceed with this project. The 1991 government commissioned Weisgerber report, clearly warned that this area of the river valley shouldn’t see any further development… because of the known and clear risk of slides, movement and unstable geology of the area. This is something I have written about many times,as have many other critics, experts and all the people of the Peace river who know this area like the lines on their hands. It is well known, and the 2 Old Fort slides just downstream are evidence of this.

The BCUC Review report actually mentioned the geotechnical risks several times.

On page 102, section 5.2.1.3, it states the geotechnical and construction challenges would delay the river diversion.

On pages 106 and 107 it mentions the poor geotechnical conditions impacting the transmission tower foundations, highway 29 construction,, the design of which didn’t even meet Ministry of Transportion design safety requirements, the diversion tunnels and more.

At that time, the current construction issues mentioned above hadn’t even started yet, but a look at the other significant issues at that time would make anyone think twice, particularly because this is an untested design with an earth fill dam core.

On page 108, the BCUC review panel states: ” in the absence of more specific information on the risks of subsequent activities, the panel is left to conclude that further delays are more likely than an in service date of 2024..”

On page114, Deloitte speaks to the risks, stating they had concerns about the main contractor, PRHP; that BC Hydro had underestimated the contract costs based on the vast differences on projected versus actual to date, and that issues might arise if conditions deviated from assumptions made.

Page 115 has several submissions warning of cost overruns, specifically mentioning Muskrat Falls as a comparison ( something I have done here several times, even before Horgan became premier )

You get the idea. The issues in this valley are not new, the only thing new here is that Horgan is now trying to distance himself from the facts and the truth, that they did know the risks and decided to move ahead regardless of what was to come. Much of this work wasn’t started or was still in pre-construction when they came to office. In this November 2017 article, Horgan even mentioned it, saying: 

British Columbia Premier John Horgan says technical challenges developing on the slopes of the Site C dam construction site could tip the balance against completing the province’s partially-built megaproject.

“The new revelations about more geotechnical problems make it increasingly difficult to look at this project as one that will be in the best interests of British Columbia,” the premier told reporters at the B.C. NDP’s convention on Saturday.

The NDP ordered a regulatory review of the project — nearly $2-billion has already been spent on its construction — shortly after it formed a minority government in July. That review by the B.C. Utilities Commission, the province’s independent utilities regulator, was completed on Nov. 1. In its final report, the BCUC concluded Site C is already over budget and will cost at least $10-billion to complete. Initial estimates indicated that the project would cost around $8-billion. The regulator also raised doubts in its report about whether the power generated by the dam will be needed.

How does this impact you and I, some may ask? Two ways. All BC Hydro debt is guaranteed by the Province of British Columbia, so what happens at BC Hydro has a direct relationship to the financial credit rating of the province. Back in January of 2017,  Moodys Investors services warned that the BC governments credit rating was going to be put at risk by growing debt at BC Hydro. 

You can thank years of BC Liberal mismanagement using deferral accounts for that hot mess. The NDP did make  some good changes by taking care of some of the deferral accounts, and dealing with some of the IPP contract mess started by Campbell, but they unfortunately did nothing over this other hot mess started under the Clark government: https://thetyee.ca/News/2020/10/07/BC-Hydro-Bets-Interest-Rates/?fbclid=IwAR1tNHNaTWV_rZaFEMFCjtJgz8gZt6EmGJCj0YtipqvkF9azAF7lis-26M4

Critics are calling it another BC Hydro scandal. The Crown corporation, already beset by burgeoning costs and geotechnical difficulties at the controversial Site C dam, has racked up $1 billion of liabilities betting on interest rates.

BC Hydro revealed the losses in its first-quarter report, released in September.*

Marc Eliesen, former CEO of BC Hydro and Ontario Hydro, said the corporation’s gamble that it could predict future interest rates has backfired. “BC Hydro took a trip to the casino and played roulette and lost big time,” he said.

The interest rate hedging program began in 2016 with the goal of protecting ratepayers from higher future borrowing costs if rates rose.

Under the program, BC Hydro bought investment vehicles that would increase in value if interest rates rose. The corporation’s managers believed the profits could be used to offset higher borrowing costs if, as they predicted, interest rates went up.

“They thought they would make money on interest rate hedges and put it in a default account which would help offset borrowing costs in the future,” explained Richard McCandless, a former civil servant who wrote about the loss on his blog.

Instead, interest rates fell, and BC Hydro has lost money on the hedging program.

“It is a scandal,” said McCandless. “They took a gamble and lost.”

BC Hydro, which carries $23.3 billion in debt, anticipates the need to borrow another $10 billion between 2017 and 2024, partly to pay for the over-budget Site C dam and about $2 billion a year in other capital projects.

The hedging program gained approximately $160 million by fiscal 2017/18.

But as interest rates declined, losses began to increase sharply beginning in 2018. They have now ballooned to more than $1 billion.

“Will they continue to lose money?” asked Eliesen. “Yes, because all the monetary authorities say interest rates will be low or lower in the future due to the pandemic.

“We now have $1 billion in liabilities that will be passed onto Hydro ratepayers — the citizens who consume and pay for electricity in the province,” he said. “This is another black mark on BC Hydro, and no one has taken responsibility.”

Gee, with the site C fiasco, and this growing debt, and the need to borrow even more PLUS, the global financial impact of the pandemic impacting provincial revenue and the certainty we will be in a deficit for years….how is this going to impact our provincial credit rating, the provinces ability to borrow at low government rates… and the amount we pay on our hydro bills? Energy poverty is very much a thing in BC already. 

We don’t need a Milburn review to figure out what to do with site C. We need someone with the courage to stop this train wreck once and for all. Remediating the site will keep men and woman in work for years while new and better projects get underway in BC. 

I’ll have another post tomorrow. See you then. But if you see or hear anyone saying the NDP couldnt stop this or didn’t know, show them this post.Or remind them how many times these posts were read, shared by and used by BC NDP MLA’s before they were even elected.

We won’t let anyone rewrite history.

Why is the bc NDP about to DIVERT the peace river for site c…when they DON’T even know if it can be fixed or how much it will cost?

File under things that should not be happening under cover of an election campaign, during a pandemic being conducted under a state of emergency.

Please make this an election issue. This is wrong, and it wae preventable. Every ndp mla knew the full significance of how unstable this valley was, and the governments own Weisgerber report from 1991 was explicitly clear that development must be minimized in this area of the valley. The ndp caucus used these points over and over.

This can no longer be blamed on the BC Liberals when the NDP had a choice to stop it, and chose not to. It was not past the point of no return in 2017, and it is reprehensible that Horgan is allowing Hydro to divert this river during an election he forced in part to avoid the inevitable fallout from this fiasco.

During the backlash of the NDP’S decision to continue site C, David Eby wrote a letter to his constituents on why they did so. Excerpt:

“…The Utilities Commission reported back to us, and to the public, that in their opinion terminating Site C and implementing a portfolio of alternative generation technologies would have comparable public and ratepayer costs to continuing with the Site C project.

That was very hopeful news.

~Snip~

” In response, our government took the Utilities Commission’s information to experts in finance for analysis about what options were available.

Devastatingly, at this stage we received unambiguous advice that while the net cost of the termination and continuation scenarios may be similar, the accounting treatment of the two models was dramatically different. In particular, we were told that if we abandoned the Site C project, we would incur an immediate $3-4bn public charge on either hydro ratepayers or BC taxpayers.

In contrast, we were advised that if we continued the project, even if it went significantly over budget, the accounting treatment of the completed project as an “asset” would enable it to be repaid over 70 years by ratepayers with a significantly different impact on rates and public accounts.”

Ironically, this same government showed no such concern over the books taking on the $3.5 billion in debt from the Port Mann Bridge when they promised to remove the tolls in an effort to win key ridings in Surrey.. https://vancouversun.com/news/politics/vaughn-palmer-ending-bridge-tolls-has-cost-486-million-and-counting

Long story short, they clearly had wiggle room in the pre election 2017 budget, and gambled the fallout from enviros was worth ensuring Surrey ridings remained NDP. They tried to make it sound like a horrible position, when in reality it was simply a choice over a vote buy in Surrey or a dam in a Liberal riding that might help John Fracking Horgan beat Christy Clark at her own game of making LNG happen in BC.

Remember this when they tell you it was past the point of no return. It wasn’t. They had a choice and site C wasn’t it.

I would tell you to call your mla and the minister responsible but guess what? They are all campaigning right now with photo ops and events limited by Covid protocal.

And….prevented from speaking to this because we are in an election and in caretaker mode..

How fucking democratic.

Please sign this petition, and share and demand answers from your mlas and candidates campaigning, as to why work is being continued when there is no fix or cost proposed yet.

https://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/stop-all-work-at-the-site-c-dam-now