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Wow! The Vancouver Sun has been a-burst with environmental issues, two on the front page February 6.

Let’s first back up to Vaughn Palmer’s ill thought out column of February 4. It’s nice to see Palmer has finally sacrificed his virginity and tackled the Independent Power Producers’ (IPP) obscene contracts foisted by the government on BC Hydro. Before we rejoice at Palmer’s brain transplant we must recognize what tripe this column was.

Palmer defends gross overpayments to IPPs on the grounds that the contracts were granted at a time when electricity prices were much higher, which ignores the standard practice of tying contracts to prices at the time of sale. Certainly that would make matters riskier but that’s the name of the game in business.

Then Palmer attacks us skeptics by making the case that we will welcome these IPPs when we are short of energy, which Palmer sees in the immediate future. This is not so as Economist Erik Andersen has demonstrated. (You would see more of Andersen’s work if the Fraser Institute’s house organ, The Sun, would publish his work).

Mr. Andersen recently wrote in a letter intended for The Sun, but unpublished thus far, “When one sees value in a deliberately created surplus of anything costly, it can only be from ignorance of need. For decades, BC Hydro has an unbroken record of estimating provincial demand well in excess of recorded demand. The BCUC (BC Utilities Commission) recognized this several times in the last century but BC Hydro keeps coming back.”

Palmer also ignores the huge debt to IPPs by reason of these shameful overpriced contracts, which stand at over $50 BILLION and rising. It doesn’t seem to bother “Poodle Palmer” that if in the private sector BC Hydro would be in bankruptcy protection at best and that as of now BC residents owe about $16,000 per man, woman and child because of Hydro’s massive $70 BILLION in debt and contractual obligations.

Naturally, Palmer ignores the huge environmental cost of these projects; moreover, he neglects to mention that the IPPs are mostly out-of-province and out of Canada companies who – and these dots connect – take all the profits straight out of the pockets of ratepayers who will be dinged with ever-increasing rates to cover the costs of these government-cosseted corporate leeches.

The lead headline in The Sun of February 6 leads into a report that the federal government is ill-prepared for a tanker spill and talks about such a thing as “unlikely” – even though the Department of the Environment, scarcely made up of tree-huggers, assert that spills are a certainty.

That’s two certainties – a spill is certain and there is no way it can be cleaned up.

In Ancient times, Cato the Elder ended every speech to the Roman Senate, whatever the subject, with “Carthago delenda est” (Carthage must be destroyed”.) Eventually the Senate got the idea and Carthage was destroyed.

We must imitate Cato and wherever appropriate pronounce the essential truth about oil spills from pipelines or tankers: NOT IF BUT WHEN!

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