In July 2018, newly installed Premier Doug Ford announced that noted ex-con and former BC Premier Gordon Campbell would lead an “independent” inquiry into Ontario’s past spending and accounting practices. Six weeks later, the commission delivered a short report that was obviously not written or much influenced by Gordon Campbell.Continue reading
Don Maroc The people and the resources of BC have been fooled again. BC was born with the most lush and extensive Temperate Rainforest in the world. Through our own terrible management, today Read more…Continue reading
Pal explained that I had wasted time reading platforms and promises. He said the only method of judging real intentions is to scrutinize a politician’s finances. Give me a list of contributors and full details of a candidate’s financial records. I’ll know exactly what to expect without reading platforms orContinue reading
Considering the near endless ink and airtime dedicated to what Liberals called “Glen Clark’s folly,” people should compare the attention paid to a Campbell/Clark program that may have cost the province 15 or 20 times as much.Continue reading
BC residents who read comments here and like places in social media will be familiar with the very articulate Lew Edwardson (@valtamtech on Twitter). Lew has had a particular interest in general matters of public integrity and in particular, the mouldering case of BC Rail. Lew has tried to interestContinue reading
If you are paying attention to the affairs of BC Hydro, you know the utility is in financial trouble. However, it is electricity consumers that are feeling the pain. Unfortunately, with billions of dollars in phony assets to be written off, a growing power supply that outstrips static demand, paymentsContinue reading
PHOTOS: UCP leadership candidate Doug Schweitzer, grabbed from his campaign website. Below: B.C. NDP Premier John Horgan (Wikimedia Commons), Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley, and former WCP president Jeff Callaway. Supporters of United Conservative Party leadership candidate Doug Schweitzer shouldn’t get their hopes up that threatening to kick British ColumbiaContinue reading
PHOTOS: Can you not quite shake the feeling, like the Canadian voter at left, things keep happening over and over again? Actual Canadian voters may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and NDP Democratic Reform Critic NathanContinue reading
An inquisitive child, I asked Grandmother, “Are you rich?”
She said, “No, but we’re comfortable.”
Still curious, I asked, “Will you get rich?“
Her reply, “No, you don’t become rich working for the government, but you can get a small pension and be comfortable.“
As time went by, comfortable turned to something else. The old girl lived to be 100, four years longer than her forest ranger. But, this was a time without adjustments or indexing. You opened and ended retirement with the same pension. Life though offered them rewards in other ways. They had unending pride in the land they pioneered. Something about service to the country and making it better for 24 grandchildren.
I imagine that senior public servants in modern days are much the same, happy to build a great land and proud of commendations from the high and mighty. Some may labour for years with little notice. Others are more fortunate.
Lee Doney is one example of a loyal public servant who was noticed. He retired in 2004 after more than 30 years of service and Hon. G. Campbell paid this tribute in the Legislature (Hansard, April 27, 2004):
Today I rise to recognize the many contributions of a career public servant, Lee Doney. He’s joined today by his mother and his family.
Lee is retiring this year. Certainly, it will be a great loss to British Columbia’s public service. . . . He has, in fact, been an exemplary public servant for the last 30 years.
Mr. Doney worked hard for this province. We hope he remains healthy and isn’t forced to take on part time jobs to remain comfortable.
ADDENDUM – 2016
It turned out that the retired public servant was forced to find new employment. Despite the generous pension afforded senior government executives, Doney has eked out a living by working in various suites of offices including those of the Public Sector Employers’ Council Secretariat (President), the Columbia Power Corporation (Chairman) and Western Forest Products Inc. (Chairman). No doubt his part time employment and close relationship with BC Liberals is helpful in WFP’s dealings with government.
Here is a recap of government payments to Mr. Doney as reported in Public Accounts.
The first part of this article was written in November 2009; the addendum added April 2016. In the days when the Fraser Valley had working forests, my Grandfather was its chief forest ranger, employed by the Province of BC. An inquisitive child, I asked Grandmother, “Are you rich?” She said,Continue reading
The first part of this article was written in November 2009; the addendum added April 2016.In the days when the Fraser Valley had working forests, my Grandfather was its chief forest ranger, employed by the Province of BC.An inquisitive child, I asked …Continue reading
Despite deep cynicism about those backing Gordon Campbell’s Liberals, I’ve long held respect for the writing of Vaughn Palmer. My reservoir of appreciation seems now to have run dry. He has been bright, skilled and articulate, usually worth reading throughout 35 years with the Vancouver Sun.
Now, I don’t know. Is he distracted, overburdened, grown careless or captured by his subjects? What can explain Palmer’s early reporting about the British Columbia Utilities Commission decision on BC Hydro’s 2008 Long Term Acquisition Plan.
July 31, on his regular Vancouver radio outing, he led with this:
“I think it means the BC Utilities Commission is out of touch. You know, they said, “We’re not persuaded we need all this new green power because you’ve got the Burrard Thermal Plant sitting out there in Port Moody and it could run full time and take care of your power needs for many years.” Which, is completely out of touch. … the Utility Commission’s belief that the Burrard Thermal is the answer to any of the province’s power needs for the future just ignores its impact on air quality among other things.”
That is not merely weak reporting of the Commission’s determination. It is a reprehensible misstatement that totally fails to reflect the actual decision. I can think of only two possibilities. One is that Palmer had not read the report but relied on someone’s corrupt précis. The other is that he intentionally misled the audience for some purpose.
Sidekick Keith Baldrey, also of Canwest Global, contributed:
“And, that’s why I don’t understand why a number of environmental groups who are applauding this decision have remained silent on the fact that Burrard Thermal is to be relied on at an increasing rate because it produces dirty energy. That’s a contradictory and hypocritical position and a number of people haven’t really squared themselves with that.”
No Keith, the BC Utilities Commission simply didn’t say that.
Palmer subsequently shifted his attack, all but accusing the BCUC of joining forces with uninformed racists:
“You know, that bit about the First Nations – I mean think about this for a minute – if we go out and get public opinion on First Nations, one of the first things you hear from people is, “You know, they always want a handout from the government, they’re always taking government money.” You know, here you got a bunch of First Nations in British Columbia – some of the best led native bands in the province – gone out and they’ve found private partners to develop their own resources on their own traditional territory and the big provincial government regulator has slammed the door on their face. I mean, it’s no wonder that they’re feeling frustrated.”
“. . . these independent power projects have as economic partners First Nations groups. These are a huge economic development tool for impoverished First Nations and Vaughn and I were reading this morning, from the Sechelt Indian Band, a letter they’ve written the BC Utilities Commission accusing them of essentially, and I quote, “This appears to us to be nothing less than regulated racism.” So you’ve got First Nations now very much up in arms. With the stroke of a pen, the Utilities Commission has kiboshed what they saw as the number one tool to lift a lot of their people out of fairly extensive poverty and I don’t know if the Utilities Commission thought this through properly.”
I was interested to note that at 9am July 31, Baldrey and Palmer knew the contents of the Sechelt Band’s letter and were even armed with the pointed quote claiming “regulated racism.” Yet that letter was still warm from printing, being dated only one day before, July 30. I wonder how it came to be reviewed so promptly and publicly by the Victoria based journalists.
Was the Public Affairs Bureau (PAB) or the Independent Power Producers Association of BC (IPPBC) helping Chief Garry Feschuk and the shishalh First Nation circulate the letter? Were the flacks also providing pre-digested interpretations of the BCUC decision to certain journalists?
Palmer went on to provide a bit of accurate detail, saying the BCUC decision did not reject green power, private power or run of the river facilities and that, primarily, BC Hydro had to rework the scheduling of projects. Mind you, he ignored the BCUC determination that BC Hydro had been either inaccurate or dishonest in its power needs forecasting. That should have been news. At best, Palmer had part of the story correct but his headline material was worse than sloppy.
We cannot though accuse all professional journalists of faulty or inadequate reporting. Mark Hume at the Globe and Mail had no difficulty understanding the entire BCUC decision and writing conclusions based on the Commission’s actual findings. He said:
“The commission’s ruling made it clear, however, that there is no energy crisis – and that when there are energy shortfalls, such as during droughts or the period of peak demand in December, BC Hydro has a solid backup system in the Burrard Generating Station, an old, mostly idle plant fueled by natural gas.
“The commission is not saying we should run the Burrard plant, or that Burrard is a better source of energy than clean resources,” said economist Marvin Shaffer. What the commission determined is that Burrard is valuable as a backup facility, and that in that role it has the capacity of at least 5,000 gigawatt hours, not the 3,000 GWh estimated by BC Hydro.
“By refusing to accept the lower capacity, the commission called into question the need for BC Hydro to purchase backup power from IPPs.
“Had the British Columbia Utilities Commission not intervened, B.C. would have been damming its wild and scenic rivers, not in a noble fight against global warming, but in order to run air conditioners in California.”
Contrast that analysis to the one by Keith Baldrey:
“Yes, they (BCUC) just said go and use Burrard Thermal.”
One does not need to be a sophisticated media analyst to conclude that Canwest Global’s Palmer and Baldrey reported on the BCUC in a manner that is entirely below the standard set by Mark Hume. The Globe and Mail faces the same financial challenges as every newspaper publisher but in the western bureau, they employ and deploy high quality staff, particularly in comparison to the competition.
When you read or listen to resource industry advocates, especially ones masquerading as objective political pundits, compare their concerns in 2009 about burning natural gas to generate peak-demand electricity to their current attitudes toward burning natural gas to liquefy natural gas. The following was first published at Northern Insight onContinue reading
British Columbia Liberals announce the new Clean Energy Act sets the foundation for a new future of electricity self-sufficiency.
Self-sufficiency: The ability to satisfy one’s basic needs without outside help.
General Electric, the multinational corporation ranked in 2009 by Forbes as the world’s largest, invested $727 million in British Columbia’s Toba Inlet hydro power project and the first phase of the Dokie Ridge wind farm project in the Peace River.
Finavera Renewables Inc., a Vancouver company with no revenues, an accumulated deficit of $41.7 million and an overall shareholder deficiency of $5.5 million at the beginning of fiscal year 2010, was selected by BC Hydro to build four electricity-generating wind farms in northeastern B.C. The projects are expected to cost at least $800 million. General Electric has negotiated the exclusive right to provide 100 per cent financing for Finavera’s four wind projects.
The [Energy Purchase Agreements] with B.C. Hydro provide a revenue stream based on a defined price and are the commercial cornerstones of any power project in British Columbia, providing the basis to move forward towards project construction and operation.
Despite all the disingenuous and misleading B.S. issued by Liberal politicians and operatives for private power producers, that single sentence, which is carefully constructed and required by professional audit standards, demonstrates the reason why there is a rush of private power projects.
Read Will McMartin’s outstanding article at The Tyee. BC’s Energy Independence? Don’t Believe It.
[Energy independence], it’s all a sham. British Columbia under Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberal government has become increasingly dependent on non-B.C. owned corporations to produce high-priced electricity, which BC Hydro is forced (by government edict) to buy, and in turn sell at inflated prices to captive residential and commercial consumers.
See also McMartin’s May 11 piece, General Electric and BC’s Private Power Gold Rush.
In February and March, $142,420 was generated through the sale of just over 2.8 million share-warrant units at five cents apiece. A few weeks later, another 10 million shares were sold at six cents each and fetched a total of $600,000.
The former sale appears to have gone to Anchorage Capital Master Offshore Ltd., a New York-based hedge fund founded in 2003 by Kevin Ulrich and Anthony Davis, a pair of alumni from Wall Street’s largest investment bank and brokerage, Goldman Sachs.
News item: British Columbia Liberals announce the new Clean Energy Act sets the foundation for a new future of electricity self-sufficiency. Definition: Self-sufficiency: The ability to satisfy one’s basic needs without outside help. News item: General Electric, the multinational corporation ranked in 2009 by Forbes as the world’s largest, investedContinue reading
With land developers, the largest funders of the BC Liberal Party are natural resource companies. They’ve contributed millions of dollars to encourage government sympathetic to their needs. No administration in the province’s history has been as sympat…Continue reading
Once again the BC NDP seem poised for certain victory against the BC Liberals. However that task and challenge has not been accomplished since 1996 when an upstart and radically relevant Glen Clark upset the Read more…Continue reading
First published in December, 2009 History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.– Edward Gibbon, English historian of Rome (1737 – 1794) Doug McArthur at SFU’s Public Policy School cast his eye on one of British Columbia’s crime scenes: I have suggestedContinue reading
Laila Yuile uncovered an indication that Stephen Harper has new plans for Gordon Campbell. It involves a telephone pollster with Conservative ties asking a call recipient if Gordon Campbell was trustworthy. In politics today, fact matters less than perception. The former Premier’s trustworthiness could be determined from the record butContinue reading