It was 2012 and Harper was still in power when a small story that slipped by most media outlets caught my attention. It was around the time I was researching the China file and May had caught a second treaty tabled the same day as the contentious Canada China FIPA, that held serious implications for the sale of Canadian uranium to China.
I liked that she had caught something few else had, and something that could have serious implications in times of international conflict. I also liked that over the years, she has stood firm in her ideals and said exactly whats on her mind. In an era where so many media outlets completely dropped any pretense of unbiased coverage, she has had to fight to be taken seriously, to be heard and as a party leader, to even be allowed to participate in debates.
The federal Greens profile has risen dramatically in recent years, in no small part due to the dedicated and unwavering efforts of May herself to refuse to play into the same old political boys club mantra of do whatever it takes to win. She has held other parties to their environmental failures. And with climate change rightly a big issue, Greens stood a chance to grow in the coming election despite a rift in the party over oil.
Just what the actual F*ck Elizabeth? After years of saying and demonstrating that she and the federal Greens wanted to see politics done differently, they take on a ” mediocre white guy to advise her political strategy.” ( from the link above) And not just any mediocre white guy, but the mediocre white guy who puts as much toxic into twitter as the hate he so boldly fights. Case in point, he just made Liz May look like fool, in likely trying to diss Trudeau.
And he retweeted this:
Urban Dictionary has a few definitions for the word dick used in the context Kinsella has, but I rather like this one best: “Someone that is constantly acting like an asshole when unnecessary“. Which really sums up this tweet. The only dick in these tweets is Kinsella.
I don’t know what happened to the Elizabeth May who has always held her own pitted against seasoned politicians in Ottawa and schooled them as well. The one who has gone through tough elections and performed in such stellar fashion that it inspired many. That Elizabeth May didn’t need protection from anyone. And I am going to go back to another older post in which I quoted from a Martyn Brown column after her performance in the Macleans debate in the last election:
May has also proved that her participation stands to change the entire tenor and content of any debate that might take place—and decidedly for the better.
Set aside that, as the only woman in the field, she alone stands to temper her competitors’ macho tussle of ideas and insults with some much-needed gender balance and a unique perspective.
Why the Globe is prepared to discount that imperative is as mystifying as it is glaringly inexcusable.
The larger benefit of May’s involvement is the option for change and democratic representation that her party stands to offer Canadians. It is an option that will be aided by her participation in the debates and that will be unconscionably suppressed if she is excluded.
Whatever the practical challenges may be in translating the Green party’s ideas into action and its often-lofty positions into workable policies, May’s views are important for another less obvious reason.
They remind us all that idealism still matters in politics.
Her positions are grounded in unyielding beliefs and values of what is right and what is wrong. They are often anything but “political” in the typical partisan sense, insofar as they tend to marginalize her own voter support base, as they also transcend party lines and their associated ideologies.
The trouble with being on the cusp of power—as the NDP now is, in lockstep with the Liberals and Conservatives—is that the power game becomes the only thing that really matters.
Ideals get thrown out the window when push comes to shove in the battle to play it safe with positions that always have the polls as their main object of focus.
The parties and their leaders all tend to speak in code to their prospective supporters by saying enough to win them over and by saying nothing that is not open to constructive interpretation in wooing any target audience.
This is the real value of May’s involvement. She is inclined to say exactly what she means, as if it really matters.
And some of what she says speaks directly to voters like me, who long to hear politicians stake their claim in ideals that are more concerned with right and wrong than with the narrow confines of their orthodox ideologies….”
And that’s the heart of what was drawing my vote to the Greens for the coming election, combined with a deep concern over climate change. I do have an issue with continuing oil and have expressed it loudly to the dismay of Greens I know on island. The Greens plan is, for the most part, a good one that could use a few tweaks, but its a start. I am beyond disgusted with Trudeau, who I voted for in the last election, to get rid of Harper. I will never vote for the Conservatives, period. And Singh has yet to show the kind of leadership I think we need in Canada.
The Kinsella thing though? Nothing about him jives with doing politics differently, as his own tweet confirms. He thinks people who want to do politics differently are dicks.Not just any dicks either, but the biggest ones. And the reaction from many Greens to those vehemently opposed to his hire has been disappointingly similar to the partisan politics played by other parties as well. ” Don’t post your beefs online, let the party know.” ” Oh if Kinsella makes you leave I wonder how dedicated those Green votes really were?”
Full stop and time for self reflection. You can’t say you do politics differently, then defend this kind of move while negating your own voters. I’m not a Green member either…I still believe and hope for independents…and this is why.
People who don’t like Kinsella and wont vote for a party who hires him, aren’t Liberal or NDP trolls. And we certainly aren’t all dicks. We are progressive, concerned citizens who are tired of hacks, flacks, and toxic partisan political games that these people make their money perfecting. It’s those tactics behind the cynicism that keeps nearly half of Canadians from being engaged or even voting and I can’t vote for anyone who thinks hiring this guy is a good idea.
As my headline quote states, the road to power is paved with hypocrisy and casualties….and the Greens stand to lose more than their credibility on the side the road over this move…they stand to lose everything they’ve worked hard to gain.
* Feel free to comment, but keep it clean and factual. Kinsella is a lawyer.
***UPDATED: As they did with every other story broken and photos posted on this site in the last 4 years, BC Hydro once again claims everything is awesome and normal and being monitored and fixed…two media outlets picked this up and their links are posted below the main post***
With more rain forecast for the Peace River region, one thing to keep an eye on is this new gully forming on the north slope, just above and down from the diversion tunnels.
These were just taken, and you will see a large gully ( appears as the large dark vertical crack from top to the road).
Sources say this heavily eroding gully is the result of a poorly designed drain when the viewing area slid last year, that is now emptying onto the top of the slope.
You can also get a sense of the scale by zooming in to the truck on the road below the erosion gully, and in looking at other areas of the slope, you can see many other areas of erosion where water has flowed.
As I have reported here many times over the last few years, the north bank has repeatedly experienced unstable conditions as a result of the challenging geotechnical issues inherent to trying to control the silty, shale like material the banks are comprised of. They literally dissolve, crack and fall apart with any water, or shaking earth movements, and a massive excavation of that slope is still underway.
You can read those past reports here: https://lailayuile.com/2018/10/22/new-north-slope-photos-show-vast-expanse-of-material-removed-due-to-past-slides-instability/
Of course BC Hydro repeatedly denied any issues back when I first posted pics of the tension crack that caused so many problems, ( until they could no longer pretend everything was awesome) so I’m sure they’ll say this is just fine too. 😉
Me? I’m still wondering why this government is continuing this exercise in escalating costs trying to build a dam in the most unstable part of the valley, when the rest of Canada and the world is moving ahead using smaller community projects that reduce demand on public utilities.
For comparison purposes to the new pics above, this is a photo of the same slope 3 weeks ago, both original photo and a zoom in, enhanced to show how much the erosion in the new photos above, has progressed.
Now I know a thing or two about engineering and I know they will eventually get this dam done-I have said this all along. But at what cost, and risk? This is just upstream from the big slide that resulted in the evacuation of many homes and very much the same materials in the slopes here as at the slide. I’m not sure I would ever want to be the engineer signing off on this dam…
A town in Alberta goes off grid…
Summerside PEI aims to be electricity independent by 2025…
Airdrie Alberta has completed the largest municipal solar rooftop array…
For the cost of Site C and the hydro rate increases that will have to result in order to pay off that beast, we could have undertaken independent solar projects all over BC that would not only reduce demand further, but feed back into the grid when there is excess. Conservation and highly efficient appliances and devices have further reduced demand. Many who are moving to EV’s, are also installing solar to cover the costs of charging.
The upside is that while I have little faith in politicians, I do have faith in the growing number of people pursuing solar and alternative energy and in those actively working to change how we live, work and utilize the resources around us…at the grassroots level. And those people will ultimately be the force that enacts policy changes at every level of government….including John Horgans.
*****BC Hydro response in these 2 stories*****
There I stood, watching the excavator dig, all of us covered in the fine orange-black powder that the clay here turns into when crushed after a long drought. We are 4 feet down and it is bone dry on top of the site of a spring that appears in winter. In Mid June though,which is usually known as Junuary for the appearance of cooler weather and replenishing rains… there is no sign of water anywhere. The red cedars are dying on eastern Van Isle due to years of summer drought and seeing the dry dusty trench now in front of me, it is easy to see why.
There is no water in the ground in an area that historically was a swamp due to the prevalence of underground springs.
The clay dries like hard pan and the little rain we have had during what is now documented as the driest spring in history in our town beside the sea, runs off and doesn’t absorb. This clay, known locally as Comox Clay, is the strangest thing I have ever seen. It doesn’t turn to dust, it turns to a micro powder like talc, and when I try to wash my hands, the water pools on top of it like mercury. I stare into the sink as I try to rub it away and it turns into a substance like dish soap in my hands…before I have added soap.
Right here in my own backyard, I can’t help feel like I have had a glimpse of the future here, in a valley where the local glacier the ultimately supplies our water aside from winter rains, is shrinking visibly. It used to form a mound between mountain peaks after winter…right now the peaks are slightly higher than the glacier in between.
Which is why when I saw a local article on dam levels and flow in Campbell River and Comox Lake, I started thinking about Site C ( cue the group NDP & BC Liberal think ” OMG Laila not Site C again!!” )
Yes Site C again. Just because I stopped blogging about it for my own health, doesn’t mean I stopped thinking it was wrong. If anything, it’s more wrong now than ever and I hear from sources not happy with Horgans LNG regime inside the NDP, that Horgan is second guessing his decision now. Why?
Because this: Upstream from Site C, is the Williston reservoir, a reservoir that BC Hydro claims hold a multi year supply of water for electricity. BC voters have been fed a repetitive line of bullshit from BC Hydro and from successive BC governments, that Hydro power is THE most reliable, consistent power source in BC.
Except… when it isn’t. The Williston Reservoir saw record low inflows this last fall .
The WAC Bennett dam and Peace River Dam typically provide 30 % of BC’s electricity. However, due to the lack of rain, coupled with higher demand due to the Enbridge explosion, BC hydro had to import electricity from the US and Alberta this spring, as revealed in this discussion between Andrew Weaver and Michelle Mungall in the legislature this spring: https://www.andrewweavermla.ca/2019/05/13/budget-estimates-bc-hydro-collapse-bcs-clean-energy-sector/
(Now, I recognize that due to social media, media and the internet in general the human brain gets bored after 3 minutes of reading, but I actually won’t be able to sleep if I don’t get this all out. Humour me. Please.)
“A. Weaver: I’m going to continue on this theme, because there are a lot of assumptions that have been stated here as facts and conclusions from the report that were not conclusions. They were assumptions. Here are some others. I’m going to discuss the issue of importing power.
The minister has said that we have a surplus of energy produced over the last number of years. However, the large fluctuations that happen from year to year, based on water levels, can dramatically change how much power we produce.
In B.C. Hydro’s compliance filing form F17-19 revenue requirement application, it stated: “In the past ten years, there has been a difference of 12,000 gigawatt hours between low and high water…requiring surplus sales or market purchases.” There’s a slight missing word in there.
Anyway, the reality is the 12,000 gigawatt hours between high and low waters is the key number there. It’s a very big difference.
My question to the minister is this. I’d like to know if we were a net importer of energy in British Columbia over the last year? Yes or no? Or in any of the other previous years? Yes or no?
Hon. M. Mungall: Yes.
A. Weaver: Can the minister please tell us how much B.C. Hydro paid to import energy in March or this past quarter?
Hon. M. Mungall: We spent $54.9 million net importing energy in March.
A. Weaver: So we spent $54 million importing energy. We had too much energy surplus, that we didn’t need these projects. Very interesting.
Can the minister please provide how much power, on average, we have been importing over the last ten years?
Hon. M. Mungall: I did say that I would only provide the yes-or-no answers that the member wanted and the very short answers that he would like, but I feel like I’m doing a disservice to the British Columbians who might be watching this, as well as to the member to not inform him that the reason why there was an import of energy recently is due to low water levels.
For example, in my riding, I can look not too far down the hill and see exactly what those water levels are because the Kootenay Lake is, essentially, a reservoir for B.C. Hydro, along with Duncan Lake and so on. So those are the parts in my riding.
But generally, over the last decade, we’ve actually be exporting energy, not importing it.
A. Weaver: I’ll come to that shortly — maybe now. Pushing on, first I’d like to ask… The $54 million — what was the price that you were selling it at in March of this year?
Hon. M. Mungall: I think the member might have misspoken, but he can correct me if that’s not the case. I think he meant what we were buying it at, the price that we were buying it at.
A. Weaver: Sorry, yes.
Hon. M. Mungall: Okay. In March, we were buying it at $57 per megawatt hour, Canadian.
A. Weaver: So the average price was $57 per megawatt hour.
I understand that Powerex is the key trading arm of B.C. Hydro. Well, it is a trading arm of B.C. Hydro, but I know it’s separate. It imports and exports power when it’s financially advantageous to do so. It brings money directly into the provincial coffers — a good thing, I would suggest.
However, the power we import comes from Alberta and the U.S. I’m concerned that much of it, if not all of it, is brown power, despite the rhetoric we hear from this minister. That’s power created by burning natural gas or coal, which emits high levels of CO2. Over 80 percent of Alberta’s electricity is coal- or gas-generated. In Washington state, there are over a dozen coal and natural gas plants. Can the minister confirm that the majority of the power that B.C. Hydro, via Powerex, imports to B.C. is from natural gas– and coal-fired plants?
Hon. M. Mungall: I appreciate the member’s concern about exactly what type of power is coming to B.C. I know that he knows that electrons aren’t tagged one way or another, except in the situation with the Canadian entitlement, which is the Columbia River treaty. When we’re getting that power coming up from the United States, that is hydroelectric power. We know that that particular power is not generated by using coal or natural gas. In terms of in March, it’s hard to say whether it was natural gas–fired or coal-fired if it was not the Canadian entitlement, power that we were purchasing at that time. We were purchasing at that time, as I said earlier, because of low reservoirs.
That being said, it’s important to note that in Alberta, they’re increasing their wind generation. Solar is increasing as well in Alberta. Wind and solar as well below the 49th parallel is also increasing.
As more renewables come on line, we are obviously trading in more renewables. What I would say is it may be not the case for March, but in general, when we are buying power from other jurisdictions, it’s normally when they have an excess of wind, or an excess of solar, and they’re putting that on to the grid.
What is likely coming into B.C. is power generated from those avenues.
A. Weaver: I’m getting very close to calling for the resignation of this minister, hon. Chair, based on the lack of substance of these answers. This is a minister who clearly does not understand the file, clearly does not understand how electricity is produced and shipped. This is a minister who is responsible for the oversight of B.C. Hydro’s next review? It’s just shocking.
Let me explain to the minister how the power comes through. Coal and natural gas plants typically run, not on natural gas, 24-7. Powerex recognizes that, at night, coal power, which is going 24-7, is really cheap, because demand is low. But it doesn’t need to actually need to sell the power from it’s hydro dams, so it saves that for the day. We’re importing coal power and making money by shipping off clean power.
Now I am just as apt to criticize Weaver as Horgan, for going along with this Clean BC crap plan passed off by the NDP that relies on LNG ( we will talk about this in a moment), but after a series of very factual pointed questions to Mungall ( who is still not minister material and confirms this with her answer…), Mungall resorts to this:
Hon. M. Mungall: The member’s question is if using average water flows for predicting energy generation is good, if it’s the right way to go. I think that is a very important question, and it’s actually one that we’re going to be looking at in phase 2 of our B.C. Hydro review. It is going to, ultimately, feed into the integrated resource plan, the IRP.
As we continue on in this process, I very much appreciate the member’s knowledge on this file. I very much appreciate the member’s expertise in this area and that he is seeking more information. I am doing my best to offer it to him. I know he doesn’t like me personally, but I don’t know that personal attacks are helping the estimates process at all.
Note out to all those women in power trying to make waves for those coming behind. When the heat is on, don’t resort to the deflection above when you clearly can’t handle the truth being presented. Seriously. Women have been having babies and working in fields since time began. Don’t pull this ” He doesn’t like me, this is personal…” crap when called out for your lack of knowledge and flip on Hydro.
But I digress. So because of historic low flows, BC Hydro had to import electricity from brown sources like coal etc, and because of the continuing record drought impacting other watersheds to this day, I suspect we may very well be importing more brown electricity to this day. ( Clean BC is a bullshit plan. The NDP had a good plan called Power BC that didn’t include Site C, but dropped it the second they were in power)
So. The facts so far.
We know we have had summer drought for several years in southern reservoirs in BC.
We know that now we have had winter, spring and likely summer drought in both winter and spring reservoirs all over BC.
We know that BC Hydro has been importing brown electricity to meet demand this spring and likely will be throughout the summer, which is very much keeping the thermal coal industry in the US and Alberta in business.
But wait. There are still very much a couple of wild cards in all of this.
2. Industrial usage of water, from mines, pulp mills and Horgans baby, LNG. Rio Tinto has already had to answer questions on how operations will impact water levels in the Nechako Reservoir. A plan to drain Williston reservoir to lower levels in 2016 in consideration of drought and ” other events” ( insert fracking) was stopped already in 2016, because it would leave both Hudson Hope and the town of Mackenzie high and dry:
“BC Hydro had considered reducing the reservoir’s minimum operating level from 2,147 feet above sea level to 2,140 as a backup plan to generate power in case of province-wide droughts, storms or other disruptions to its electricity transmission system.
Williston Lake, the seventh largest reservoir in the world, was created when BC Hydro built the W.A.C. Bennett dam on the Parsnip and Finlay Rivers in 1967. It is the lifeblood of the town of Mackenzie, pop. 3,500, which relies on its waters to operate three mills.
The possibility of lowering the lake by seven feet provoked panic in Mackenzie, with the mayor telling the Prince George Citizen the lowered water level threatened to “virtually shut down the town.”
One thing BC Hydros new climate change report depends on, is your lack of knowledge when it comes to how industry in BC uses the water in the reservoirs, and the creeks, lakes, rivers and tributaries that drain into Williston and other reservoirs.
According to BC Hydro though, they have it all covered:
“While BC Hydro is predicting higher water flows resulting from climate change over the long term, unpredictable weather patterns are expected to continue in the years ahead. BC Hydro is working to ensure its system performs safely across a wide range of conditions and extreme events
So interesting, because while yes, we do have extreme weather in fall and winter, now known as rain events, instead of rainfall, and we do have periods of massive snowfall and cold….because of ongoing drought and warmer weather conditions here in BC and the northern parts of Canada, we are still at a deficit overall come summer. What, the actual f*ck?
Which brings me to LNG in BC, the big reason Site C was continued by John Horgan, whose government doubled down on secrecy, making the amount of royalties paid secret to the public, and increased Clarks subsidies to the corporate hogs comprising LNG Canada’s consortium.
Horgans government has tried hard to push that this LNG plant will be the cleanest ever, implying it would be electrified with hydro power.… yet Trudeau recently gifted them corporate welfare to buy gas powered turbine to the tune of $220 million. https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/feds-spend-275-million-on-40-billion-lng-canada-project-including-cash-to-buy-gas-turbines
But the enviro wing in BC won’t talk about that for fear of a Scheer ” We have no climate plan” government.
Is your head hurting yet? Because mine is. And thank you for sticking with me this far, but here is the punch line to what is a terrible joke on British Columbians.
Even as recently as May, media here in BC was pushing the line that LNG from BC was a huge boon, supplying China with infinite power ! Infinite! ( insert eyeroll because already 57% of China’s needs are met domestically, with reserves yet to be tapped)
Yet the reality is that just a week ago Bloomberg was reporting on what others have reported for some time: Thermal coal investment in developing countries eager for cheap energy is reaching an alltime high, with China leading investments.
Will BC LNG save the planet as many in the NDP here have claimed? Clean energy for all?
Just as we said under Clark, LNG Canada will not save the world with clean energy. It will simply displace where the pollution occurs worldwide while BC politicians pretend everything is awesome.
Site C will not power reliable energy to power homes in BC, it will at best, provide the water for fracking operations near by that will, by default, create the greatest risk to this dam being built in the most unstable portion of the valley. Every single talking point presented by Horgan, Heyman and Mungall is literally bullshit. And if my curse words offend you, too bad. At least manure fertilizes my garden. The crap the BC NDP spreads when it comes to LNG does more harm than good.
So where are we now in all this crap?
BC Hydro released a video a week ago on the diversion tunnels that should have been done long ago, showing they are nearly done. “ One step closer to completion” the article heralded.
Looks good to the uninformed, when the reality is that that north bank is still unstable… and always will be. Mankind has developed a weird sort of complex in being able to conquer nature, but in retrospect, ego has no place in engineering.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Which leads me to these very recent pics of Site C’s north bank. Willistons reservoir has been very low and boaters have been hardly able to get into the lake because the launches don’t go out far enough. Climate change IS unpredicatable, but in BC we have a documented repeat of drought conditions in many reservoir areas for years, so how BC hydro can claim forecasts in years yet to come call for increased rain, is a mystery.
We just don’t know. Period.
These new photos are telling. There is some major erosion showing in the middle of one of these shots above the excavator,not to mention elsewhere. We know their attempts at shotcrete ( thin,concrete solution sprayed to reinforce walls) has been unsuccessful.
They have been focused on their tunnel liner, rather than on their bank, and it shows to those of us with engineering knowledge. You should also note that the road around the corner of the office ( the large white building ) is now blocked off… and how much is this costing BC taxpayers? ( IS this why the BC govt that fought so hard against class size and composition concessions asked for by the Clark government, is now asking for the same concessions? )
I have always said that this dam could be built…. but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, and at what cost? The silence of NDP mla’s who, I know without fail, see the climate change writing on the wall, is disappointing.
For the record, my view is that pursuing BC LNG for foreign export is a disaster that will only benefit the foreign corps getting ridiculous subsidies to pursue it. My view has on this hasn’t changed since Horgan and I talked by phone years ago about fracking in BC, when he promised me if the science didn’t support it, neither would he.
I know that there are many within the BC NDP party who opposed this publicly when Clark was in power.
I urge those same people to publicly resume their opposition now. We can use BC gas here in BC to help people on wood, or oil, or coal( yes this is still happening in BC) heat to get off oil furnaces. It may surprise many in metro Van whose votes the NDP rely on to know that in rural BC, oil heat and oil tanks/furnaces are still a thing.
China is not a country we can look to in meeting any target, period. Despite Jason Kenneys ” Git er done” oil mantra, even southern Alberta is taking care of their own – Raymond Alberta has become a net zero solar powered community.
This, is what opponents of Site C have been calling for here in BC for years. Community micro grids of solar or wind that reduce load on the main grid which isn’t producing as much electricity during times of low flow from drought.
It is what the BC NDPS former, pre-election platform called for in Power BC. Solar and wind community power grids that reduce the load on the main grid provided by what used to be a consistent power supply in BC.
My gosh, even Mungall admitted in the Hansard transcript above, that her own reservoir was at ridiculously low levels.
Yet BC continues along with Site C, at massive cost to taxpayer and Hydro ratepayers, for what reason? To justify Horgans decision to continue?
We can do better, and each of you know its possible…..
I know John Horgan won’t listen to me.
Nor will Trudeau, despite his PR on being a climate champion and water box thingy proponent. Scheer isn’t even in this race to nowhere, his plan is sooo bad.
But for the sake of all our children and grandchildren, I hope you will listen…and act. If you opposed LNG under Clark, you owe it to all of us to oppose it loudly now under Horgan.
This is my Canada….
Beautiful. Strong. Fragile and breathtaking.
From fields touched with gold, to forests deep and green, to secret, solitary beaches, exploring roads less traveled to find those moments and vistas evocative of a Tragically Hip song…this is my Canada. Wind blowing through my hair, mosquito bites and sunburns watching sunsets so stunning it makes your heart clench to see such beauty.
Wherever you are, and however you spend this day, its moments like this that bring us together in the spirit of this amazing land…and it’s in that place of mystery, awe and magical beauty we must hold onto the truth that there will always be more that binds us, than divides us.
Happy Canada Day my friends. 🙂 Cue the Gord Downie lyrics….
“First thing we’d climb a tree and maybe then we’d talk
Or sit silently and listen to our thoughts
With illusions of someday casting a golden light
No dress rehearsal, this is our life”
– “Ahead By a Century” (Trouble at the Henhouse, 1996)