On Thursday August 20 I attended a rally against fish farms held at Pender and Burrard in Vancouver. I gave a short speech – and it was lousy, Stooping to use the “f” word, I called the government liars. I was trying to get the message out that one of the principal things we must do in the fight for our waters and our fish is understand that our governments have lied to us for 8 years and will continue to do so.
Perhaps I was tired … just cranky … or I just gave a lousy speech. Here’s the speech I wanted to give.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to throw the strength of the Save Our Rivers Society, of which I am the official spokesperson, behind the fight to save our salmon and move fish farms out of the oceans. We have a common cause of saving our fish. Campbell doesn’t give a damn about fish and ands is hugely economical with the truth.
“Lie”, with or without the “f” word should be avoided. Lawyers tell you not to call someone a liar because that may mean that you’re saying he’s a habitual liar. Churchill got around that in a speech to the Commons in 1906 when he coined the phrase “terminological inexactitude”. I will use that term abbreviated to TE in this article and henceforth
Premier Campbell and the cabinet have been TEing from the second they assumed office in May 2001.
In November 2001 the Campbell government removed the moratorium on fish farms in our oceans. This was before Alexandra Morton did her superlative work on the sea lice problem. The worry was that these caged Atlantic Salmon might escape and establish themselves in BC streams.
At first, industry and government denied that there were any escapes. (TE) When not even they could keep a straight face with that one they denied that escaped Atlantics were getting into our rivers.(TE) Indeed at one point, after hundreds of thousands had escaped, then the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, John Van Dongen told me and my audience that only three escapees had been found in BC streams (Big TE). Three! Then a week or two later his colleague, the late Stan Hagen, Minister of Development corrected his colleague and advised that only two had been found! (Bald faced TE) If we’d continued this ridiculous charade they would likely have told me that au contraire, it was Pacific Salmon trying to break into Atlantic Salmon fish cages! In fact as fish biologist John Volpe who was actually with his colleagues in the rivers counting Atlantics there were hundreds and he’d only had the time and resources to examine a miniscule number of streams.
In 2002 Alexandra Morton, a whale researcher living at Echo Bay in the Broughton Archipelago, acting on an observations of local First Nations people observed there were way more sea lice in the waters since fish farms had arrived. Alex began her long battle by testing some pink salmon fry finding them smothered in sea lice. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans first reaction was not to deal with the problem but charge Alex with illegal testing! From then to this day the DFO have been part of the problem as they have TEd all the way.
From the outset the Campbell government denied there was problem (TE). As one independent scientist after another verified her findings Campbell and his ministers would TS through their teeth saying over and over that science was on their side. The more the evidence piled up, the more Campbell told TEs and the more permits and expansions his governments issued.
When the Ministry of AFF inspectors were off to inspect the farms, Van Dongen warned the farms and had to resign after first TEing than he hadn’t done it.
In 2994 fish farm operators were refunded more than $2.3 million paid in fines for breaking the law. Instead of admitting that this was because the fish farmers, Van Dongen alleged these were unfair fines under the previous NDP government (TE).
Run after run failed and the fact ignored with the premier denying the lice from fish farms were to blame (TE). When finally some farms were forced to fallow during the pink and chum smolts migrations, and runs were dramatically increased far from admitting that this proved Alex right they said it proved that lice were no problem all long! (TE)
The TEs continue
During the 1997 election, then opposition leader Campbell promised never to privatize BC Rail, (TE) a pledge he made again in 2001 when he won. (Big Time TE)
In 2002 and 2003 Campbell developed an Energy plan. He said that while from then on, BC Hydro would not be allowed to produce new energy all of which thenceforth had to be private he and the Independent Power Producers told the public that these were small run of the river projects. (unbelievable TE) and that they were “run of the river” meaning rivers weren’t dammed and diverted (TE) The government and the private power people said these were small operations (TE). Campbell’s “r of’ r” turned out to be massive damming and diversion projects that left as little as 5% of the flow in the original river bed.
Campbell and his ministers told us that BC was a net importer of energy. (TE as National Energy Board and StatsCan demonstrated BC was a new exporter).
Campbell and his ministers told us private river power this was a good deal for BC Hydro (TE) when in fact they’ve been forced by Campbell to enter into take or pay contracts with private power companies whereby they must pay TWICE what the power is worth.
Campbell and his ministers said we needed the private power in BC (TE) when in fact it’s mostly produced during the spring run off when BC Hydro doesn’t need it.
(The only man telling the truth was Don McInnes, head of Plutonic/General Electric, the biggest of the private companies, who said one would have to have been “in a coma” not to know that this power was for export).
Campbell and his ministers said private river power would be good for BC (TE) when in fact because of huge contracts with private power companies would soon be unable to pay the 100s of millions of dollars a year into the public treasury as per usual.
Campbell and Company said that these private power schemes have a very “small ecological footprint” (TE – see Powerplay series at saveourrivers.ca)
Campbell said that strict environmental rules would prevail (TE).
Campbell’s Finance Minister Colin Hansen did a video on private rivers where every statement was a demonstrable TE.
Finance Minister Hansen in the run-up to the election said that the deficit would be $495 million dollars (he had to know that was a pre-election TE)
Campbell said during the election that harmonizing the PST and the GST wasn’t even on the radar screen (TE)
On it goes … and instead of coarsely calling them “bleeping liars”, which I fully admit was wrong, I should have used softer language that means precisely the same thing. I can only say in mitigation that after being TEd from the start. After enduring the lies (oops! TEs) lies of this premier and his government and looking at the faces of the crowd listening to me, I simply lost my cool. And I apologize.