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I’ve been fighting injustice my entire life. I have long looked with considerable skepticism at those in charge feeling strongly that they must have the closest possible scrutiny.

I’ve been in government and know how the spin is administered to issues so that evils in government policies are disguised. I’ve long been guided by what I call Mair’s Axiom I, namely, “one makes a serious mistake in assuming that people in charge know what the hell they’re doing”.

During my time practicing law I took many cases “pro bono” because I sensed an injustice.

As Consumer Minister I battled hard for consumers passing 33 pieces of legislation in two sittings, a record before or since. In the Ministry of Environment I stopped government killing wolves, stopped exploration for and mining of uranium and negotiated the saving of the Skagit River from being made into a lake by Seattle raising the Ross Dam.

In radio I fought against two disastrous constitutional exercises, Meech Lake and Charlottetown, the Kemano Completion Project, a gravel pit on the Pitt River, the fish farm issue and recently the private river swindle.

I’m now in my 78th year and though I’m pretty fit, the time comes when you have to consider that your place in the front line trenches should be taken by younger people. I’ve greatly enjoyed speaking all around the province and meeting so many of you on the “rivers” issue but being away from home on the road for many days at a time takes a toll While I have no intention to stop speaking out and writing on environmental concerns perhaps it’s time I started supporting causes but not being its torch bearer.

In short, I have to face reality.

The “rivers” issue I’m now fighting is one of the most important I’ve ever been involved in and in this fight I include the government’s appalling record on the fish farm issue. What’s at stake here is the essence, or you might say the very soul, of British Columbia. The return of Gordon Campbell will mean the sale, for money we’ll never even see, the British Columbia we love so dearly. Indeed the money will be paid by us through BC Hydro to the very people who will destroy our province!

We do not need power – the National Energy Board is authority for that. When we do require more we have four viable ways to get it.

1. Conservation
2. Upgrading our present generators.
3. Putting generators on flood control dams and new ones on existing dams
4. Taking back the power we’re entitled to under the Columbia River Treaty.

It’s critical that we all understand that private power depends upon the spring runoff for the water it needs, meaning it mainly produces power for a few short months at best and at the same time BC Hydro’s reservoirs are full to brimming. Because this power is of limited duration and at a time Hydro can’t use it, it’s exported bringing us within the purview of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

A re-election of Mr. Campbell will mean the not so slow strangulation of BC Hydro, our power company that is the envy the world and it will happen this way. Hydro has lost 1/3 of its employees to Accenture, the bastard nephew of the infamous Enron, and its transmission lines to a new crown corporation, BCTC. Meanwhile, what’s left of our public power utility, BC Hydro, is banned from developing new sources of renewable energy and is forced instead to buy large quantities of expensive private river power that we don’t need and can’t use at more than twice the market price. Buy high and sell low! With just a few private projects now up and running already Hydro owes $30 BILLION on long term indexed prices and every private project adds to the total and tightens that strangling noose. Barred from producing new sources of power and still carrying its $7 BILLION Capital debt, Hydro is on its death bed only waiting for Mr. Campbell to administer the Last Rites.

As he did with BC Rail, Premier Campbell promises to keep BC Hydro publicly owned – that, if nothing else, must tell us what he intends to do.

Of huge concern is that BC Hydro, always able to pay of hundreds of millions a year dividends to the BC treasury, which go towards our schools, hospitals and social programs, now cannot do so. In essence then, the public is paying, through BC Hydro, for the capital costs of private companies like Ledcor and General Electric, while no longer receiving the bounty of BC Hydro’s much envied ability to create clean, cheap and constant energy.

It doesn’t end there, of course. Each plant desecrates the rivers it diverts or dams (the industry prefers we call them weirs) for all time. We must remember that while economic missteps by government can be fixed by a later government, once we’ve lost our rivers and BC Hydro we can never get them back.

This is indeed a “watershed” election (pun intended) where we’ll decide if we keep “supernatural BC” or turn it over to large international companies such as General Electric.

The Liberal government, in the words of Oscar Wilde knows “the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

If we re-elect the Campbell government we will, quite rightly, be condemned by our children, our grandchildren and generations as yet unborn.

6 Responses to “The Watershed Election Summary”

  1. Gavin Bamber says:

    For the other side of the argument:

    We have always known the NDP cannot be trusted but they have reached a new low with the disgusting, irresponsible email they are sending around about BC’s rivers. You deserve to know the truth, so read on!

    The NDP are asking us to believe that the Government of British Columbia would actually sell our rivers to the United States. The only fantastic conspiracy they haven’t asked us to believe is that aliens have captured the Premier and forced him to sign a secret deal with President Obama.

    The TRUE secret is that run of the river power projects were started by the NDP and 17 of the existing 32 projects in BC were approved by the hypocritical NDP.

    Under the NDP, companies had water leases forever. It was the BC Liberal Government that changed the legislation to only 40 years maximum. THE NDP ARE LYING.

    4 NDP candidates have now disavowed themselves from the NDP campaign position on IPP’s. The Smithers NDP candidate won’t even put up Carole James posters, he’s so embarrassed. All NDP candidates know run of the river electricity is green and safe.

    The BC Liberals have committed to making BC electricity self-sufficient, stop importing dirty electricity and use green power to do it. The NDP used to be a party that believed in the environment. TODAY THE NDP ARE SELLING WHAT REMAINS OF THEIR PRINCIPLE FOR VOTES.

    Here is what prominent environmentalists are saying about IPP’s…

    “Properly regulated Run of the River projects can be some of the least environmentally obtrusive forms of electricity production. The public discourse has been hijacked through green-washing by those opposed to the privatization of energy and the potential impact on union jobs.”
    Andrew Weaver
    Professor, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria
    Lead author on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    Times Colonist, Apr 16/09

    “Why would a conservation organization do that (establish a new fund to finance independent power projects)? Because we believe the need for renewables is very much among us, and very present. We believe that IPPs are worth doing.”
    Ian Gill, President
    Ecotrust Canada
    Vancouver Sun, Apr 8/09

    “To say that all run-of-river projects destroy rivers and are not ‘green’ is absurd. I’ve been up to Toba/Montrose with the Klahoose. I’ve seen how Plutonic’s operations are reopening tributaries and cleaning up the mess of crushed culverts and downed bridges that logging left behind”.
    Tzeporah Berman
    http://www.zerocarboncanada.ca/backlash-ag…n-economy-in-bc,
    Mar 19/09

    DON’T LET THE NDP RUIN OUR ECONOMY AGAIN!

    There are 1,100 British Columbians earning their living from IPP’s. The incompetent NDP are threatening a moratorium. That’s their response to everything, put a moratorium on it! To hell with jobs and real people.

    Every British Columbian deserves to see the desperation and cynicism of Carole James and her band of idiots. They insult us with their ridiculous claims. Remember when those scams from Nigeria first came out a few years back? This is the NDP with another Nigerian scam. Don’t be one of their victims!

    Here are the facts:

    * Of the 290,000 rivers and streams in BC, Independent Power Projects (IPP’s) are proposed for only 0.03% of those rivers.
    * Of 35 approved Run of the River projects in BC today, 17 were approved by the hypocritical NDP in the 1990’s.
    * The NDP actively promoted this form of green power when in government.
    * The Crown owns all rivers and will own them forever.
    * The BC Liberal government changed legislation to reduce the length of water leases to 40 years. Under the NDP, these leases lasted forever.
    * When a water lease expires, there are no rights to transfer the permit – it reverts to the Crown.
    * The BC Liberal government passed legislation preventing the sale or privatization of BC Hydro. The NDP voted against it.
    * BC Hydro is investing $9 billion in expanding and creating new public power assets.
    * The NDP considered selling BC Hydro in the 1990’s. The BC Liberal government has never considered it.
    * Today BC buys dirty power from Alberta and the USA. The NDP supports that.
    * The BC Liberal government wants BC to be electricity self-sufficient and they want that power to come from green sources.
    * BC already has some of the lowest electricity prices in North America and that will not change.
    * The reckless and irresponsible NDP moratorium on green power projects will hurt working families and cost BC thousands of jobs.

  2. pseudoname says:

    Thank you Gavin! Excellent post.

    Whatever one thinks about the importance of rivers – and I think most people DO care – it is not the most important issue of the day and certainly not the Watershed issue the upcoming election will be decided upon. As the saying goes, “it’s the economy, stupid.”

    Anybody who would vote for the NDP again needs to have their head examined.

  3. astro says:

    From this site:
    http://www.ashlucreek.com/chronology-of-the-ashlu-creek-hydro-project-develo-1.html

    1996
    Apr BC Hydro selects two wood waste projects to proceed ahead with contracts
    Ashlu further short-listed to top 5 remaining projects
    Jul Ledcor meets with Province and BC Hydro for evaluation
    Aug Independent Power Producers Review Panel (appointed by the then Premier) ranks Ashlu the best BC Hydro short-listed run-of-river project on the basis of corporate costs, transfer payments (taxes and rentals) to the provincial and municipal levels of government, and its social and environmental impacts. This panel included the Assistant Deputy Ministers of Environment Lands and Parks and Employment and Investment, and the Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines.
    Oct BC Hydro completes evaluations; Province stops IPP process – Ashlu Creek shelved
    There was no approval by the NDP! Get your facts straight and stop spreading BC Liberal lies.

  4. KRO says:

    Not only are the Liberals pushing to gut bc hydro,by privatizing the Power line transmission segment and forcing hydro to compete with IPP`s on what used to be their own (or should I say the b.c. crown corporation`s) power lines, But there is a piece of legislation, or should I say quietly signed Piece of paper called the TILMA agreement. This agreement,signed by several Right leaning premiers has apparently given, among other destructive things,private entities the power to sue such entities such as community groups ,municipal and regional governing bodies, for opposing construction of projects, such as I.P.P`s. to the point of the ability to sue ,not only for the costs of planning and pre-construction, contracts,permits ,studies, etc , BUT SUPPOSEDLY FOR The Loss Of expected, or projected revenue ,has they been able to go ahead with these projects!!! Perhaps Raif should look into this, to see if I got my facts straight.

  5. bryon sullivan says:

    First ,i am un unabashed fan of Raif Mair.B.Cers are forever indebted to Raif for his principled stand on the Kemano project and his stand on Fish farms.Privatizing our rivers is perverse but sadly that is what B.C voted for when re electing David Suzuki’s pick-Gordon Campbell.when one of these private Dams are built i suggest they it be named after David Suzuki.and when huge tracks of the Rockies succumb to open pit coal mines the largest one should be dedicated to David Suzuki and Gordon Campbell.one day i will forgive David for taking the 6 pieces of silver.

  6. GR Youngreen says:

    Raif:
    A month or so ago somebody emailed me a list of liberal insiders, former government ministers, their aids, ministerial secretairies and the such who have assumed positions of influence with varied BC RRP (IPP) projects. The list was quite extensive and an egregious indictment; far surpassing the mere appearance of a conflict of interest. Basically, perhaps exceeding political definitions, acts of grand Treason are afoot when taking into account, the costs to be assumed by future generations, their economies and well being.

    To beat the cliche beast again: Privatize the Profits and Publicize the Costs. A motto for ‘damnations’ (pun intended)

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