I started the week pissed off – make that Tuesday morning when I saw an article in the Province from a guy named Marsden who writes in the Calgary Herald and tells us in British Columbia that we ought to be grateful for the opportunity of transporting Alberta’s Tar Sands – that atmosphere-ravisher and source of catastrophic leaks – to market. I don’t begrudge him his opinion – what I’m sick to death of is the Postmedia press.
Where the hell are the sharp-eyed journalists of old that would have eaten this guy alive? Our local guys are almost all let go. We have no political cartoonist unless you count Harrop in the Sun, who’s incapable of drawing faces, and we have two editorial pages that serially kiss the ass of business. On the question of cartoonists, where is Krieger, who is brilliant? The last time I asked that question the Province sued me – yet, I ask again, where is Krieger?
I ask the editors of the two excuses for newspapers this simple question: would you please scour the morgue and find me one line of criticism editorially or by your two political columnists of fish farms, “run of river projects” and the slow-but-steady bankrupting of BC Hydro, of pipelines and tanker traffic? Just a line. Continue Reading »
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is asking for signatures and money to help fight PM Stephen Harper’s interference.
How much dissent can be aired by Canada’s public broadcaster?
This is about the CBC and I assure you that I don’t intend to sneer or be an anti-arts blockhead. My column is spawned by a letter I got from a neighbour, and friend, asking me to contribute to keep the CBC from collapsing under Stephen Harper’s jackboot. I just think it’s time to understand what role the CBC (English version) has on our national contract.
My first contact with the “mother corporation” came as a child during the Second World War when I listened to Hockey Night in Canada, which was always broadcast from Maple Leaf Gardens. (Montreal did get broadcast the one time they were in Toronto on a Saturday night.) Montreal games were on Radio Canada, it being assumed that French Canada unanimously supported the Habs while the “real” Canada supported the Maple Leafs (they have never, evidently, learned that the plural of leaf is leaves). The Leafs were owned by Conn Smythe who despised French Canadians and once famously opened a speech “Ladies, Gentlemen, and Frenchmen.” No French Canadian was allowed to play for the Leafs, the one exception being when Paul Bibeault was a back-up goaltender during the war. Continue Reading »
Cartoon by Ingrid Rice.
Their shared nightmare unfolds: four more years of Liberal reign.
The environmental movement is in a deep funk. You can feel it. At least for the time being the fire has gone out of the environmental belly.
Of course this is because the Liberals won the May 14 election. If they have their way it will be disastrous for all we hold so dear — our fish, our rivers, our environment on land and in the oceans.
There will be a continuation of the fiscal management of 2001-2013 which saw the personal share of debt rise from $5,000 per person to $40,000. It saw the giveaway of BC Rail and the bankruptcy of BC Hydro. It’s a sad tale but more is to come.
We will build “Site C” for about $10 billion (the official version is “merely” $8 billion) in order to subsidize the gas drilling companies with the electricity they need as they threaten the environment with the “fracking” process. Continue Reading »
I have some questions for Premier Clark.
Premier, I’m a simple man who by nature asks simple questions.
You and Alberta premier Redford have evidently agreed that there will be a pipeline from her province through ours to the sea and that BC will make some money out of this deal.
- Is this the end for Enbridge Northern gateway?
- What will the new pipeline do to satisfy those of us with serious environmental concerns about Enbridge?
- Does this musing by you and Redford have any bearing on Kinder Morgan who, incidentally, have had several recent spills?
Let’s move on to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). You have promised, premier, that over the next several decades LNG will have wiped out all provincial debt and put over a $100 billion in a prosperity fund. To make this happen we have to know some things: Continue Reading »
Will core public assets like WAC Bennett Dam go the way of BC Rail?
It’s rather like a pregnancy – you can only keep it a secret for so long. Thus it is with BC Hydro’s bankruptcy.
We recently learned that BC Hydro spends 50% of its power purchases on power bought, on a take-or-pay basis, from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) yet only gets 16% of its power from them. Did you know that last summer, following a high spring runoff, BC Hydro was forced to spill water (i.e. waste power) over their dams, buying power from IPPs instead of making it themselves?
Did you know that since 2002 BC Hydro has been forbidden to make any new power (excepting Site C – which has been on the books for 30 years) and that all new power must be bought from private power companies?
Did you know that BC Hydro must take all private power produced whether it needs it or not?
Did you know that these agreements, involving huge amounts of public money, are secret? From what little information we do have, we know that BC Hydro must pay IPPs about 3x the market rate for power and up to 10 times what they can produce it for themselves from their heritage dams! Continue Reading »
What ails Rafe Mair? The illogic of what MSP does and doesn’t pay for.
“Comprehensiveness: All necessary health services, including hospitals, physicians and surgical dentists must be insured.”
This is one of the five principles of Medicare, and it’s so interpreted as to avoid keeping people healthy and to avoid medical costs.
Let’s assume a man of 81, me, and see just how “comprehensive” Medicare works in practice.
One of my needs is dental. For the most part I’m not covered. For such things as examinations, cavities and root canals, I pay.
I’m getting hard of hearing, but hearing aids aren’t covered. Basic hearing aids will cost several hundred dollars — the problems being that they are uncomfortable, fall out of your ear or don’t work. Any decent hearing aid (one) runs upwards from $2,500. Continue Reading »
My colleague Damien Gillis’s recent speech in Kelowna (see below) must be required reading if one is to comprehend what is going to happen to BC Hydro.
Hydro was created out of the fertile mind of WAC Bennett when, in 1961, his government bought out The BC Electric Railway Company. The purpose of this gigantic move, which led to one of the longest lawsuits in history, was to provide secure and cheap hydro power for both citizens and industry. It succeeded – grandly.
During the time the Campbell Liberals were in Opposition, they planed to make the generation a private affair, and shortly after taking power, in 2002 to be exact, Premier Gordon Campbell, with Christy Clark as deputy Premier, forbade BC Hydro from generating any new power (the exception being Site “C”, which had been on the books for over two decades at that point). Continue Reading »
Private profit and a few jobs aren’t worth undoing Howe Sound’s miraculous recovery.
I confess at the outset that I have a personal interest in this — but so do you, for it affects a part of our province that ought to have had worldwide and local classification as a wildlife preserve long ago.
Burnco Rock Products proposes to build a large scale gravel mine at McNab Creek at the northern end of Howe Sound. It will be 77 hectares, include an onsite crushing and processing plant, and will produce a minimum of one million tonnes per year for 20 years. The plant will run 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It will employ 12 full-time and will, as is the habit, be built by the company’s own crews from outside B.C.
We are already hearing the environmental weasel word of all weasel words: mitigation. Once you hear that from an environmental despoiler you know that wildlife will be gone from the picture.
What is Burnco? A very large private company out of Calgary that is more than a century old. Continue Reading »
On Thursday, July 4, Mr. Gordon Fisher, publisher of the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province, printed a full page letter to subscribers, telling us that the cost of the papers will increase on August 1, then gave us the economic reasons for his decisions. He wants us to stay subscribers and pledges rather vague changes that will take place.
Mr. Fisher, we will be cancelling subscriptions in September and think you should know the reasons.
Mr. Fisher – If I don’t want a critical look at fish farms; if I don’t want a critical look at highways tearing up farmland; if I don’t want sharp investigations into the private river power policy that has driven BC Hydro to the brink of bankruptcy; if I don’t want an evaluation of what is called “fracking”; if I don’t want a sharp-eyed evaluation of pipelines; and if I don’t want a careful and questioning evaluation of tanker traffic, then I don’t need to pay you for not getting these things when I can sit in front of my turned-off computer and not get the same non-coverage for free. Continue Reading »
It was ten years ago that I was unceremoniously dumped by CKNW, where I had been for 19 years – nearly 16 as the morning host.
What does that have to do with an environmental web page?
Modesty is not my long suit and I believe that had I stayed, the general public would have been infinitely better served on environmental issues. A Judge once said to the great Lord Birkenhead, “I have read your brief but am none the wiser.” Birkenhead replied, “Perhaps not, Milord, but much better informed”.
There is no point re-hashing the reasons I was dumped – just let me say it was shameful.
I had three pieces of good luck/good management.
First, when the media got wind of what was happening, two days before NW dumped me, I issued a press release so that they knew what the story was. Continue Reading »