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The Keystone Kops (1914)

I start this exercise with a couple of general comments.

The detailed information available on the “progress” of BC Hydro since the Liberals took over in 2001 would be very difficult to pull together if we were left to government confessions of error or sleuthing by the NDP opposition. In fact, in this regard, the public are greatly indebted to Norman Farrell, Arthur Caldicott, Erik Andersen, Tom Rankin, John Calvert, author of Liquid Gold, Damien Gillis, myself and, on the question of Site C, people like Harry Swain, who have been steadily reporting and commenting, faced by stony silence from the government, since 2007 or earlier.

The Sun and the Province papers in Vancouver, with their mutual masturbation agreement with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, have been in a coma where the government is involved, thus I think it imperative that The Tyee, The Common Sense Canadian, In-sights, Desmog Canada, and Laila Yuile be singled out and congratulated for providing a constant flow of information demonstrating the all-but-formal and clearly deliberate bankrupting of BC Hydro by the Campbell/Clark government. Continue Reading »

A British Columbian

BC FlagHere I stand. I cannot do otherwise.”

I concede that Martin Luther’s words in 1521 at the Diet of Worms were far more important than my borrowing them here but when I decided to write this, they were on my mind. I hope you and Luther will forgive my trespass.

I take the unusual step of publishing this on my website rather than first on Common Sense Canadian. My expressed viewpoint is radical in the true sense of that word so my friend and colleague Damien Gillis, who publishes CSC, should not feel under the slightest personal pressure to publish it.

I find I no longer come close to sharing the values Canada now stands for – I’m not talking about opinions but a philosophy of life, a set of basic values.

As a core value, I value the environment above the desire of bankers and developers to make money and bought and paid for politicians to support them. I accept the need for societal sustenance but do not accept plunder in the name of progress. Continue Reading »

Jim GoddardRafe’s appearance on March 14, 2017, as a guest on The Goddard Report. Topics include polls, the provincial debt, town hall meetings, NDP problems in the provincial election campaign, the RCMP investigation into Liberal fund-raising practices, and revoking Canadian citizenship.

Click here to listen.

Nine-year-old newsie and his 7-year-old brother ‘Red’ – 1915 (Photo: Lewis Wickes Hine/Shorpy)

OOOOH CANADA, WE STAND ON GUARD FOR WE …

On January 27, an outfit called the Public Policy Forum released a report called the The Shattered Mirror, dealing with the state of Canada’s media. It was quarterbacked and written by Edward Greenspon, best remembered as editor of the *Toronto Globe & Mail”. Discovering the terms of reference takes some doing and this is the best I could find:

When the Public Policy Forum (PPF) began thinking about a study on the state of the news media in Canada, in early 2016, the headlines were all bad. Within a fortnight in January 2016 alone, Rogers Media and Postmedia announced new rounds of staff reductions, Torstar revealed plans to close its printing plant, and Confederation-era newspaper titles in Guelph, Ont., and Nanaimo, B.C., were shuttered, the first of six daily papers to close, merge or reduce their publishing schedules before year’s end. The situation wasn’t much better on the broadcast news side, where revenues, especially in local television, followed the downward track of the newspaper industry, inducing the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to step in.

A parliamentary committee was formed. News companies and industry associations queued up with complaints of inequities in the marketplace. Some made requests for public assistance.

The Government of Canada contracted with the PPF, a non-partisan and independent think-tank, to assess the situation and make recommendations on what,if anything, should be done. The object was not to defend any mode of news delivery, but to evaluate the risk to democracy.” (Emphasis added)

The Public Policy Forum mandate states “to serve as a neutral, independent forum for open dialogue on public policy, to encourage reform in public sector management and excellence in government”. I’ll have a look at “neutral, independent” in a bit. Continue Reading »

Dear Prime Minister,

I’ve reached a point where I can say what I please without concern for personal consequences. My age of ambition is long gone and social disapproval simply doesn’t matter anymore.

That is where I am and intend to speak my piece.

I’m a native British Columbia born in Vancouver a long time ago. I have a lifetime love of my province from one end to the other and I inherited a sense of deep anger when I see unfairness.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve resented that my province has been unfairly treated, a resentment that has increased steadily over the years. We have been badly cheated politically and economically, accompanied by an attitude of arrogance from central Canada, which runs everything, an attitude that I find irritating beyond toleration. Continue Reading »

Erik Andersen

By Economist Erik Andersen

It is unfortunate that the government exploits the public’s ignorance of finances. We know that BC Hydro abuses the privilege of using regulatory accounting. Carrying $6 billion of uncollected expenses as a asset is an insult and the former Auditor General more or less told them so. Prior to 2003 the NDP had BC Hydro clear off all unpaid/collected expenses each year with rate changes. Back in 2005 I had occasion to talk with a BC Finance Ministry retiree. She confirmed my suspicion that they were under heavy orders to capitalize as much as was possible. That order must have kept hundreds of millions out of the current year accounting records and now shows up as long-term liabilities and “Contingencies and contractual obligations”.

The so-called balanced budget has only been achieved by delay, spending suppression or hiding contractual liabilities. This is a form of Enron off-balance sheet accounting, that for the first time ever, caused the independent auditor to title their opinion with a new term. BC Hydro did not deliver an annual “audited” report. Continue Reading »

Jim GoddardRafe’s appearance on Febuary 22, 2017, as a guest on The Goddard Report. Topics include the BC budget, BC Hydro, independence of radio journalism, refugees, and Trump (specifically, bad-mouthing judges).

Click here to listen.

Jim GoddardRafe’s appearance on Febuary 9, 2017, as a guest on The Goddard Report. Topics include the Trudeau-Trump meeting, the upcoming provincial election, affordability of prescription drugs, and Conservative Party leadership.

Click here to listen.

MLA candidate for Nanaimo-North Cowichan Lia Versaevel (photo: BC Green Party)

This coming election, May 9, is the most unsatisfactory one I can remember since, perhaps, 1952,  when the old Coalition broke up. Most people I talk to throw up their hands, saying such a terrible choice – a corrupt, cheating, lying, government and an opposition that hasn’t shown any leadership at all and gives no confidence they’ll be any better the last NDP bunch.

I tend to agree.

At first, I wasn’t going to do any election interviews, mainly because I knew that neither leader would be much interested and I could see no advantage to the reader in  hearing from most of the candidates, David Eby of the NDP being probably the one exception.

My own political persuasion is Green but I am not a member of the party and while I support Elizabeth May federally, I think that Dr. Weaver is a distinct liability to the BC party. His views on IPPs and BC Hydro, propounded by him since 2009, are so thoroughly discredited that his continuing to hold them surely disqualifies him as leader of any party that cares anything about the environment and fiscal responsibility. Continue Reading »

BCNDP Leader John Horgan (Flickr/BC NDP) and Premier Christy Clark (Flickr/Province of BC)

It’s not easy to write an article on politics in the quiet backwater of British Columbia in light of the tragedy in Quebec. I’m going to make this, then, a doubleheader. 

This past weekend, the initial story, of course, was all President Trump as he found new ways to prod anti-Muslims by pretending to be concerned about national security. At the same time, there was a story out of Austria that they plan to ban the niqab. To say that there is no connection between those and similar stories and the tragedy in Quebec is to be blindly naïve. This is not, of course, to say that Trump or the Austrian government are directly responsible for Sunday’s dead and wounded but it is to say that when leaders talk the same language as the bigot, it encourages the imbalanced, for whom very little encouragement is needed. Continue Reading »

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