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Above responsibility? Premier Christy Clark flies over Mount Polley tailings pond catastrophe. Source: Facebook.

Above responsibility? Premier Christy Clark flies over Mount Polley tailings pond catastrophe. Source: Facebook.

Mount Polley panel picked to be expert in engineering, not legal, technicalities.

The blue ribbon panel team set up by the provincial government to investigate the Mount Polley mine disaster will find out what caused the tailings pond dam to collapse.

The second and critically important question, however, is what, if any, role the government of British Columbia played or should have played. In fact, this is the most important aspect, because B.C. had a longstanding legal, not to mention moral, duty which it appears from all the evidence was not fulfilled — and which, if fulfilled, may well have stopped the catastrophe from happening in the first place. Read full article at The Tyee

Nothing to lose

gavelI am going to try to provide a public service – one I have been concerned about for many years. It concerns the law of defamation.

Athana Mentzelopoulos, Deputy Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training with the Provincial Government has sued Rob Fleming, NDP, MLA for making false and malicious statements about her salary, and alleged pay raise, and her friendship with Premier Christy Clark.

(I will – I hope she doesn’t mind – call her Ms. M.)

I must tell you that I don’t know either party. I don’t believe that I have met Ms. M. and while I probably have met Mr. Fleming, I couldn’t pick him out of a crowd.

I have absolutely zero interest in the merits, if any, of the case and don’t intend to get into them other than tangentially. Continue Reading »

Ass well and truly covered

Photo courtesy of Cariboo Regional District

Photo courtesy of Cariboo Regional District

The announcement about the inquiry into the Mount Polley Dam disaster is outrageous!

As a matter of fact I find it hard to write this article because I simply can’t believe the dishonesty of the minister Bill Bennett and the minister Mary Pollock.

By careful but not very clever design, this inquiry from the outset exonerates Mr. Bennett’s and Ms. Pollock’s ministries. When you look through the 14 recommendations there is one that faintly suggests that the commissioners might want to look at the regulatory regime surrounding this disaster. There is no mandate to do so and it is not any more than a casual comment. Moreover, None of the commissioners have any expertise to look at this aspect of the matter. Continue Reading »

Enbridge is a major Walrus sponsor. Photo by Damien Gillis.

Enbridge is a major Walrus sponsor. Photo by Damien Gillis.

I am afraid I really am a gloomy Gus today. It has just struck me that there is an absence of good guys in the world. Whether it’s big business or government they mostly do it to us and reek of self interest.

We don’t seem to have anybody we can trust anymore. There was a time when, while you couldn’t trust the newspapers, you would be able to find within the paper columnists that weren’t bought and paid for. They consistently gave you points of view that challenged you and made you think. Thank God for online papers like commonsensecanadian.ca and thetyee.ca and for all of the renegades who put so much time and effort into blogging.

Whether on-line papers and bloggers have yet achieved the kind of circulation that will really move public opinion I don’t know but  they are a ray of light in an otherwise bleak picture. Read full story at The Common Sense Canadian

Mining Minister Bennett: Quitting would send a message about government integrity.

Mining Minister Bennett: Quitting would send a message about government integrity.

Tradition decrees he take ‘ministerial responsibility’ for Mount Polley mess on his watch.

By well-established precedent, Bill Bennett right about now should be typing his letter of resignation to Premier Clark.

Extreme? Not at all. Here’s a bit of history that, trust me, speaks directly to the mining minister’s duty after the catastrophic breach of the tailings pond at Mount Polley mine.

Just after the the Second World War, the British agricultural minister resigned. During the war, the Royal Air Force had expropriated a lot of farmland for airfields. After the war, this land was resold by the ministry to bidders. A lot of hanky-panky and plain unfairness came with the sales and it became a scandal. Read full article at The Tyee

Old CKNW logoI see that radio station CKNW is making some dramatic changes to its programming.

Let me declare my interest. I worked for NW as a broadcaster for 19 years and I am very proud of the association. I still consider myself part of that CKNW that I always knew.

I was very badly treated by Corus who bought out NW but that has left no bitterness whatsoever. I mean that sincerely.

Corus never was CKNW in my mind.

CKNW started when I was a boy. We all listened to the station as we grew up and as we got into our 20′s and 30′s. It was where we learned about our community and the world in general. We listened to our music there. Continue Reading »

Will Rory roar?

Rory McIlroy. Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images.

Rory McIlroy. Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images.

The King is dead – Long live the king!

To kill Tiger Woods off may be premature as it may be to crown Rory McElroy as the new king. That, however, is what the golf jocks are determined to do and, after all, drumming up the excitement that follows this theory is what being a jock is all about. As they used to say, when it mattered, that’s what sells newspapers.

Tiger Woods is 38 years of age – Rory McElroy is only 25. One may have to have some things left to prove – the other certainly has.

I have followed the game of golf almost as a religion since I was a child. I played very low handicap in golf in my younger days and have always had the game deeply embedded in my soul. I have been privileged to play many of the great British courses that reek of history. I have watched almost all the great ones come and go and have read voraciously on the subject. In fact, golf, like baseball and cricket, is rather a culture than merely a game. It has developed about it a literature of its own and the very best writers in our language have tackled it. Continue Reading »

Hugh Falkus

Hugh Falkus

“The Puritan hates bearbaiting not so much for the pain it gives the bear but the pleasure it gives the spectator” – Macaulay.

I find as I trip through life that my attitude towards a lot of things has changed dramatically. So it is with animals.

I grew up in a pretty ordinary family. My father did a little bit of hunting and some fishing and my grandfather was a very keen bird hunter. I used to accompany the latter when he went bird shooting and had a wonderful time watching his Springer spaniel retrieve the birds. The atmosphere seemed so wholesome.

When I was about 13, my father gave me a .22 rifle. One day on Gambier Island I shot a squirrel. When I saw him lying on on his back, balls up, I remember a feeling of horror and asking myself, “why did you do that?” I hadn’t yet learned because I shot some birds after that, mainly because I thought it was the manly thing to do. It wasn’t long before I felt the same sort of sympathy for a dead robin or dead crow as I did for that squirrel. I simply gave up shooting animals. Continue Reading »

Tailings from Mount Polley tailings pond breach flow into nearby waterways. Source: Cariboo Regional District.

Tailings from Mount Polley tailings pond breach flow into nearby waterways. Source: Cariboo Regional District.

Documents show government aware of dam safety concerns, including tailings ponds.

An important article in The Tyee by David P. Ball:

B.C.’s minister of energy and mines has vowed to get to the bottom of the Mount Polley mine disaster, but insisted that provincial mine inspections are “as frequent today as they were five years ago.” They may be, but they are about half as frequent compared to before the BC Liberal government came into power in 2001 and reduced the rate of such inspections.

Minister Bill Bennett’s statements on Wednesday afternoon followed Monday’s massive breach of 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of solids dumped into the watershed — from Imperial Metals’ massive tailings impoundment which Environment Canada lists as containing high levels of mercury, arsenic, cobalt and other toxic heavy metals.

Government test results for water downstream released Thursday afternoon did not show unsafe contamination levels — although some critics questioned whether testing was conducted into potential toxic concentrations in the tailings pond’s solid sediments, which settle at lake and river bottoms. Read full article at The Tyee

Dandelion Truth

I find myself in a pissing match with a regular group of emailers I think I can categorize as those who are dubious about the mainstream media and invariably tend to come down on whatever side of an issue the United States is not on. I have no quarrel per se with such a group – indeed they are a healthy part of the democratic process.

They include a number of people who have been in email contact with me over the years, only one whose names I recognize from other places and that is Jeffrey Arney who evidently is involved in a minority Canadian political party and in addition to his emails I see constant blogs in magazines like the estimable Dialogue Magazine.

First a general observation.

We all read, watch and absorb things that cater to our own prejudices. This is a very human thing to do and unless one is a research scientist it’s a common thing. I remember well my days at CKNW and one of the regular callers was a lady known as Hanoi Hannah. She was extremely articulate and very well informed. As listeners from all sides of the political spectrum learned, however, her “well informed” meant that she knew everything there was to know about politics from the left. The books she quoted from to the TV shows that she referred to were all well-known leftist sources. Continue Reading »

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