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We at the Common Sense Canadian will be dealing with the Site C project in some depth and from the outset we would like to acknowledge the tremendous work and research done by our colleague, well known economist Erik Andersen, who cut his professional teeth dealing with government spending.

I would like to test a theory of mine, namely, that the Site C project does not pass the “simple question” test.

Energy Minister Rich Coleman has stated that we need Site C because BC Hydro says our power needs will grow by 40% over the next 20 years.

Given that BC Hydro’s projections from a decade ago proved to be exaggerated by 30%, as this report by Mr. Andersen clearly demonstrates…

Simple Question: why should we trust them now when they envision our needs rising 40% in the coming years?

Simple Answer: We don’t – and in a moment I’ll ask some more questions to show why that is.

The government has maintained that the private river power scheme will look after all our needs and, indeed, the estimates given show that just two of the largest ones together would exceed Site C’s output.

SQ: Why then do we need Site C?

SA: We don’t. But what Coleman’s statement does is clearly admit that the private power schemes which are or will be destroying our rivers will not produce power for BC Hydro; they cannot do so because most of their power comes during the spring run-off (when we need it least), so they cannot provide the year round power that Site C will.

Coleman again states that this will be clean, green energy.

SQ: How can you call a project that floods 5400 hectares of farmland and drives away the wildlife “clean and green”?

SA: You cannot, anymore than you can call private projects that destroy a river’s ecology “clean and green”. This is Orwellian “Newspeak”.

Coleman says the project will cost $7.9 billion.

SQ: Who are you kidding? When was the last time a government mega-project came in anywhere near on budget?

SA: When Noah built his ark…The Highway 1/Port Mann Bridge widening project was supposed to be $1.5 billion at first, then it was over $2 billion; now it’s $3.5 billion – and we haven’t seen the end of it. The infamous convention centre budget doubled to nearly a billion dollars by its completion. Site C’s budget, meanwhile, just shot up from $6 billion to $8 billion over the past year!

Given that the government has forced BC Hydro to make unconscionable, cozy contracts with private power producers (IPPs) which will now cost over the next 20-40 years some $50 billion…

SQ: Where is the money for Site C coming from?

SA: Surely there is no need to say out of the wallets of BC ratepayers and taxpayers.

Coleman says that Site C will produce electricity at between $87 and $95 per MWh – “compared to other resources at $129″

SQ: Mr. Coleman, do you realize that you have just admitted that IPPs are charging BC Hydro, on a take or pay basis, triple or more the market price and 10 times + what Hydro can make it for?

SA: You have proved, through your own words, what the Common Sense Canadian has been saying all along, and you have clearly admitted that your government has been lying through its teeth from the beginning! What does this say about your government’s honesty?

Coleman has said he’s thoroughly reviewing Hydro’s latest request for a rate increase.

SQ: How the hell do you have the nerve to utter this rot when you know that huge increases must come not only from, now, Site C, but also to cover the $50+ BILLION going to IPPS?

SA: That statement can only be made if you’re lying or an incompetent fool! Or both.

Coleman says that BC Hydro will hold the “required independent environmental assessment process” which will provide opportunities for public input.

SQ: Will these meetings permit people to object to the project itself? To demand evidence supporting the need for the project? And who chairs these independent meetings?

SA: Based upon past experience the assessment process will be chaired by a firm supporter of the project and any questions raised as to the need for the project will be ruled “out of order”.

Assuming that BC Hydro, being the astute business persons they are, will have big, energy requiring customers in mind…

SQ: How much of this electricity will be going to power coal mines, shale gas extraction and the Tar Sands? And will regular residential and business ratepayers be subsidizing this industrial power the way we do now – to the tune of a 50% + discount on what we all pay?

SA: That’s precisely what will happen and the government and BC Hydro will, using our dollars, power production of the dirtiest corporations on the face of this planet.

These are some of the areas of this project Damien and I will be canvassing.

What we can confidently say is that Mr. Coleman has, I’m sure unwittingly, demonstrated just what a royal screwing British Columbians are taking from the IPP contracts and that the Common Sense Canadian, in exposing the deceit and cynicism of this government, has been thoroughly vindicated. Now they want us to help them compound their sins!

Incompetent governments are usually run by honest people who are stupid; with this government we not only have incompetence but corruption as well.

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