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The 3-member NEB Joint Review Panel for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline (Damien Gillis)

The 3-member NEB Joint Review Panel for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline (Damien Gillis)

Do you enjoy being a raw hypocrite?

Well, if you’re a taxpayer in Canada that’s what you are because you support raw hypocrisy every day in the various hearings on environmental matters that take place.

I’ve written in the past, from personal experience, about environmental assessments of independent power projects (IPPs), the environmental disgraces of British Columbia, and how they are so biased in favour of industry that it defies all but spluttering language of anger.

Let’s call the whole thing off

Why don’t we just abolish the National Energy Board and all other boards like it and allow environmental projects to be judged strictly by the industry itself, with the customary pat on the corporate head from the prime minister?

At least this would make honest men and women of us. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

It’s been a while I know since I gaI Remember Horsebuns coverve you a personal blog rather than one for general consumption. I truly have been pretty busy editing my new book coming out this fall.

The book is called I Remember Horse Buns and below you’ll see a facsimile of what it will look like. It’s the story of growing up in and around Vancouver, the best place in the world. I can talk a lot about Howe Sound and the North Arm of Burrard Inlet (Indian Arm), Stanley Park, streams to fish, chestnut trees to climb, places to skinny dip and mountains to climb.

I deal a lot with what it was like to be a kid back during World War II, the standards we were expected to meet and what happened to us when we didn’t meet them. The comic books we read, the slogans we heard, the radio shows, are all part of it.

I also talk about some of the things that occurred on the national and international scene when I was a kid such as the now conveniently forgotten Gouzenko case in Ottawa which actually started the Cold War. Continue Reading »

Citizens line the Sea to Sky Highway to protest Woodfibre LNG (My Sea to Sky)

Citizens line the Sea to Sky Highway to protest Woodfibre LNG (My Sea to Sky)

Dr. David Suzuki, in a recent column well worth reading, talks about a change in attitude across the country – changes with First Nations, increasing environmentalism, a new government in Alberta. Big changes are happening everywhere.

I wonder how many British Columbians have thought about the disgraceful attitude of industry and government towards our environment and the contempt they show for those who disagree with them?

Dr. Suzuki covers a number of these areas and I’ll just deal with one or two of my own.

Private power play

Let’s go back to the Independent Power Projects (IPPs) of the Campbell government which have destroyed our rivers and continue to cost BC Hydro huge amounts of money that we cannot afford. They are nothing more than Liberal slush. They are economic disasters for Hydro and any doubts on that score are dispelled by economist Erik Andersen, who no stranger to these pages. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Wynne's cap and trade policy trumps Harper's lame moves

Wynne’s cap and trade policy trumps Harper’s lame moves

The Globe and Mail story is short and simple  – “Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is preparing to bring in a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions, an ambitious move that could amount to the nation’s single largest salvo in the battle against global warming”.

Ah, but it gets more complicated. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, the most prominent being “cap and trade”, or a “carbon tax”. In British Columbia we’ve feebly chosen a halfhearted carbon tax.

Cap and trade is a bit complicated as it requires the government to set emission standards, police them, give certificates of performance, and collect the money. Industry that does better then required is able to trade its success to other companies who can use it to offset their own requirements. A carbon tax is simply a tax with all the traditional massive complications that come with simple taxes that only armies of accountants and lawyers can figure out. Read full article at Vancouver Observer

Alberta Premier Elect Rachel Notley celebrates a shocking victory (Alberta NDP facebook page)

Alberta Premier Elect Rachel Notley celebrates a shocking victory (Alberta NDP facebook page)

Somehow, the day after it happened, the election of the NDP in Alberta doesn’t seem quite as astonishing as it would have say, a year ago. Back then, one would have been in danger of certification as mad to predict that the Tories, after some 43 years, would be turfed out of what had become a political fiefdom. They reigned supreme with no contenders in sight, the Wildrose Party having apparently disintegrated. The Liberals had never been much of a force, although, from time to time, they would pop up hopefully as Liberals are wont to – and the NDP, well, they were just the NDP, a hopeless island of the left in a sea of the right.

A good part of the NDP victory is, of course, simple exhaustion with a very old government. It’s also due to some bad luck for the Tories – the same sort of bad luck that has hit every government relying upon fossil fuels for their day-to-day livelihood. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Heiltsuk herring fishery victory in Bella Bella. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa

Heiltsuk herring fishery victory in Bella Bella. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa

The recent victory of the Heiltsuk band in Bella Bella over the herring fishery is not only heartwarming, it is significant. It has once again demonstrated that the history and experience of the First Nations can trump the conclusions of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

In 1978, I became Environment Minister for British Columbia and thus had the limited jurisdiction over fisheries permitted under the Constitution Act. Because I had always been interested in the Pacific fishery, born and raised here, I asked for and read, the voluminous reports and documents the ministry had collected over the decades.

Even the most avid federalist would’ve had to conclude that since B.C. joined Confederation in 1871, the Pacific fishery has been a gigantic pain in the ass to the federal government. Consequently, the politicians have seldom taken the time to understand the fishery, and I am prepared to bet a shilling that not one in five federal ministers could have stated the seven PacifIc salmon species. As a matter of interest, they are the chinook, chum, coho, sockeye, pink, rainbow trout (steelhead) and cutthroat trout. The latter two are a recent addition to the list. Read full article at the Vancouver Observer

Woodfibre LNGExcept briefly, let’s avoid environmental questions about Woodfibre LNG for today and concentrate on fiscal matters.

Even if Woodfibre LNG was an environmental bonus to Howe Sound and the surrounding communities; even if it was clean as a whistle, its plant and accoutrements safe as a church, and the tanker traffic absolutely guaranteed by God to cause no accidents, the case against having this plant would be open and shut.

Let’s look at it from a business proposition.

The business case against BC LNG

To start with, BC’s negotiators have absolutely no experience whatsoever in the business field, much less dealing with the likes of Sukanto Tanoto, a certified, major league tax evader – not avoider, evader.

Up against this shady, at best, Indonesian billionaire, we have Premier “Photo-Op” and her poodle, Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman, prancing around the world, hyping LNG, dealing way over their heads in what is, more and more each day, a losing proposition. They’re doing this because they’re politically committed and rather than simply say, “we were premature and excessive in our enthusiasm,” and lose face, they’re bluffing it through, at our expense (1st Class all the way), hoping like Mr. Macawber that “something will turn up.” Continue Reading »

Otto Langer

Otto Langer

A must read from my hero in the fishing field and hugely respected former DFO officer Otto Langer. – Rafe

Q1. Did the government respond to this spill in an ‘exceptional way with an immediate measured response and with knowledgeable people and the equipment necessary for the clean-up’. This is near the exact press lines used by the head of the Canadian Coast Guard and two Conservative cabinet ministers in the past few days.

Otto Langer: I feel the CCG Commissioner and Ass. Commissioner and federal MPs (eg. Moore and Pritchard) have done a great deal of spin doctoring to try and show that the feds and the CCG did respond in a responsible and effective manner. As I understand it the sailor that reported the spill did not see a CCG boat on site for at least 3 hours after the spill and the clean-up company was not on site until 6 hours later. In that this is in the middle of a large west coast city and in the middle of Canada`s busiest port this is quite sad. If you live in a more remote area of our large coast and you are concerned about spill response time and effectiveness you have every legitimate reason to be totally doubtful of corporate and government response times and abilities. If the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station was still in existence (the busiest in Canada prior to its closure by the Harper Government) it could have responded to the spill within 20 minutes (my estimate). The retired commander of that station says they could have responded in just 10 minutes and had booms around the leaking ship in 30 minutes. Continue Reading »

A cleanup crew works on Third Beach following the recent English Bay oil spill

A cleanup crew works on Third Beach following the recent English Bay oil spill

I say three cheers for Premier Christy Clark and Mayor Gregor Robertson of Vancouver.

The verbal assault by the Premier on the federal government was more than justified by recent events and just happens to be a move that is always popular amongst many British Columbians, frankly including me, whenever Ottawa behaves like Ottawa – which is most of the time.

The recent oil spill in English Bay is, as has been said by so many, a wake up call. In fact, however, there are many people like Dr. Eoin Finn, who didn’t need that wake-up call and have said for a long time that sooner or later an accident like this was going to happen. As sure as the penny will turn up heads sometime, there will be next one and it could be infinitely worse. Continue Reading »

Christy Clark promotes “Clean LNG” at Vancouver conference last year (David P. Ball/The Tyee)

Christy Clark promotes “Clean LNG” at Vancouver conference last year (David P. Ball/The Tyee)

The Vancouver Sun – rapidly becoming, if it hasn’t already become the “Pravda” of Vancouver – has done it again with another article supporting LNG and the proposed Squamish plant. This one is by a father and daughter combination and they come to what to me, at any rate, is an amazing conclusion.

LNG would help the climate? Puh-leeze!

If you just read the headline you would assume that this story has British Columbia saving the world from atmospheric pollution and global warming if it just starts to produce more natural gas. If you work your way through the article – and it’s pretty crappy – you’ll see that their point is that natural gas is not as bad as coal or oil. They conclude by suggesting that it would be a very good thing if British Columbia would produce more LNG and, of course, built an LNG facility in Squamish.

Here is the reasoning as I understand it: Continue Reading »

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