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This will be harsh, I warn you. In preparation I urge you to read Dr. Marvin Shaffer’s (SFU) article in the Vancouver Sun last Monday.

My position today is that the Vancouver Sun’s lead columnist, whom I once greatly admired, Vaughn Palmer, has abandoned his journalistic duty; while Energy Minister Rich Coleman, whom I had come to regard as a man of integrity based upon his work for homeless, is a political hack unworthy of his “Honourable”.

I do not say these things lightly and ask you to be the judge.

The subject is BC Hydro and its proposed rate hikes, which Coleman has vowed to examine closely and Mr. Palmer has spent his last two columns on.

Here is one of the salient facts that stands out in Dr Shaffer’s presentation:

“The fact that the electricity BC Hydro is being forced to buy is costing more than double what the electricity is worth, now and in the foreseeable future, does not seem to matter. The legislation is absolute. BC Hydro must acquire this extra electricity supply whatever its impact on costs and rates” (it’s also power created, for the most part, when BC Hydro doesn’t need it. – RM)

Dr. Shaffer is a man whose credentials and honesty are above reproach – to say that he is highly respected goes without saying. Great credit to the Sun’s editors for printing his op-ed.

This madness had escaped the notice, evidently, of the Minister and Palmer. Is that because the amount is small?

The amount, today and climbing, is approximately $50 Billion dollars – which sum is carefully concealed – but because of an earlier statement by Coleman has been verified and is also verified by Erik Andersen, a highly respected (non-political, I hastily add) economist who specializes in assessing public finances.

Vaughn Palmer and Rich Coleman are “investigating the rate increases BC Hydro claims it needs” by overlooking $50 Billion.

How much is $50 Billion?

It is 50,000 million dollars. If you live in Kamloops or Kelowna every one of your neighbours has $500,000 in the bank!

This amount is owed by BC Hydro to private power corporations, paid as it presently stands, at over $1 billion (1000 million) a year and rising, for energy they don’t need – at twice or more its value. And Mr. Coleman and Palmer slough it off! Don’t even mention it!

And who do you think is going to pay this?

Three guesses and the first two don’t count!

This is, in effect, what we’re all doing as ratepayers – subsidizing huge corporations like General Electric to destroy our rivers for power we can’t, for the most part use, for which we must pay twice or more what its worth.

The net effect of this is that BC Hydro is no longer able to pay its annual handsome dividend to our government. BC Hydro, were it in the private sector and unable to pass its losses onto the public, would now be headed for bankruptcy protection. Did you get that? The only way BC Hydro can avoid bankruptcy is this: soak British Columbians with higher and higher rates!

The dots are easy to connect – because of government policy we pay General Electric, Ledcor and other similarly small “mom-and-pop operators” to make power that BC Hydro must (under the take-or-pay contracts) pay for when they don’t need it, or export it at a huge loss – all the while destroying our rivers and the ecosystems they support.

I don’t impugn the motives of Mr. Palmer or the strange silence from the pen of Mike Smyth – I simply don’t know how and why they would not do the same kind of work on the Liberal government as Palmer did with NDP premier Glen Clark and his fast ferries.

The motives of Mr. Coleman can be easily stated: he’s a politician prepared to say anything – or remain silent on anything – to avoid confessing government error.

I issue this warning to Christy Clark: the chickens are coming home to roost and soon. It’s now too late to avoid this in time for a snap election.

Premier W.A.C. Bennett created BC Hydro so that British Columbians could use their massive hydro power to compete for industry and until Gordon Campbell came along it worked brilliantly. Now it’s in tatters with BC Hydro pleading with the public to fill its begging bowl.

Our government, lying through its teeth*, has not only destroyed our rivers and their ecologies, it has subsidized large corporations to fleece us, destroy one of the world’s finest power companies while paying them billions of our dollars as a bonus!

Surely the very least we must conclude is that Palmer is not worth reading and this government is unfit to govern.

*Please watch this 2 min video of Colin Hansen spewing falsehood upon falsehood, in his presentation as then Finance Minister of the Liberal government’s Energy Policy.

3 Responses to “Coleman, Palmer on Hydro: Ignoring the $50 Billion Elephant in Room”

  1. of no consequence says:

    Come on Rafe, they are serving their corporate masters, protecting their paychecks. Most of us who work have been grovelling for decades. Isn’t that what work is for the majority? I’m guessing that given your integrity, you wouldn’t assume the above unless you were %99.99 certain.

    What’s worse is no one cares. The lower orders (me) will watch hockey (circuses) and vote the status quo (bread) as their air, water and food turns into poison at their children’s expense. And they’ll like it and ask for more!

    I know you come from a different generation, Rafe. I hope you’ll write a little about the overall decay, fall, decline of our culture, because that’s what it is. It’s not a conspiracy or a plan. It’s not being negative. It’s not a radical argument at all. All cultures/civilizations/societies fall; we just happen to be living through the start of it.

    I know your environmental writing is capturing it, but I’d like to read a broader analysis from you. I know you can.

    Enjoy your stuff.

  2. Gloria says:

    Wikileaks has said, the N.A.U. is on the way. This was Harper’s agenda all along. There is a big conspiracy. Harper and Campbell worked hand in hand, to thieve all of BC’s vast natural resources, that was crucial. Campbell thieved and sold every BC asset he laid his hands on. BC and the people have been totally exploited. We own nothing, but the huge BC provincial debt, the BC Liberals have left us with.
    The last hurdle is, Harper very badly wants the HST, to give to the giant corporations, he and Campbell work for. After that is settled. Harper won’t give a s..t what happens to BC. We will only be used to pay the HST, to big business. BC has nothing left to recover with. They are even going to privatize our clean water, which we also won’t own. Fracking, is also poisoning our clean underground water, for hundreds of miles.
    And you damned right, Harper will turn BC into a polluted wasteland, for the benefit of big business. After all, Harper fully supports the dirtiest energy in the world, the dirty Alberta tar sands. Which goes to the most polluted country in the world, China.
    Harper and Campbell should be kicked right off this planet. They are a pair of, dirty underhanded, unprintable’s.
    The media is just a propaganda machine for the BC Liberals. They are a disgrace to their professions. They spread the lies of, the most corrupt BC Liberal government, in the history of this country. Shame on them.

    Harper and Campbell, did work on the Enbridge pipeline and the dirty oil tankers from China, to be forced on the BC citizens and the province. They have also worked on, drilling oil and gas wells, off BC’s coast, also will be forced on us. Harper did leave the back door open on the expansion of Prosperity Mine. That can be reapplied for. Campbell did thieve BC’s rivers and sold them. The eco damage to the rivers, is stupendous.

  3. Gordon Ramble says:

    Vaughn Palmer and Keith Baldry = DUMB & DUMBER.

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