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Left Over: Gordon Campbell..back in the Soup…

Ottawa announces diplomatic shakeup with 26 new appointments Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion removes high-profile Harper-era appointees By John Paul Tasker, CBC News Posted: Jul 19, 2016 11:27 AM ET Last Updated: Jul 19, 2016 3:02 PM ET It’s about time, … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Left Over: Gordon Campbell..back in the Soup…

In-Sights: Comfortable

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 … . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Comfortable

In-Sights: Comfortable

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, “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.

. . . → Read More: In-Sights: Comfortable

In-Sights: Careless or captured? (A 2009 repeat)

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 on August 4, 2009.

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.”

Baldrey added:

“. . . 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.

. . . → Read More: In-Sights: Careless or captured? (A 2009 repeat)

In-Sights: Crime (still) in progress (a 2010 article repeated)

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, 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.

News item:

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.

I invite readers to consider this statement written by the auditors of Finavera and attached to the 2009 annual financial statements:
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.

The applicants do not need money or experience, they simply need political influence with Gordon Campbell and his associates. The energy purchase agreement provided by BC Hydro removes substantially all business risk and the favored ones take the project to the money brokers who readily fund it because the credit worthiness of British Columbia stands behind each EPA. This would be like buying a house you intend to rent to a provincial agency through a 40 year lease at double market rates, with payments guaranteed by the province.
Multinational, multi-industry companies like General Electric are quick to join because they earn giant returns at the capital stage of the project, selling turbines, generators and infrastructure equipment.  As an equity and financing partner, GE guarantees it will provide the hardware. With a guaranteed market and a guaranteed profit, the initial partners can hold shares long term for income or, more likely, dump them into institutional markets for quick capital gains, on which they will barely pay taxes. And that, is ironic because taxpayers are essential elements of the deal.
The whole program of private power production founded on BC Hydro Energy Purchase Agreements allows outrageous enrichment of a small number. The program is facilitated by influence peddling and its government facilitators are either witless or dishonest. One thing I believe about Gordon Campbell is that he is not witless.

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.

. . . → Read More: In-Sights: Crime (still) in progress (a 2010 article repeated)

In-Sights: Vanishing revenues

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… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Vanishing revenues

Cowichan Conversations: Has John Horgan Succeeded In Distancing Himself From Christy Clark’s LNG Nightmare?–Fletcher Interview

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… . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Has John Horgan Succeeded In Distancing Himself From Christy Clark’s LNG Nightmare?–Fletcher Interview

Northern Insights: Gordon Campbell making history

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 suggested that since this whole system . . . → Read More: Northern Insights: Gordon Campbell making history

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: He can’t handle the truth

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 but the PMO cares not about . . . → Read More: Northern Insight / Perceptivity: He can’t handle the truth

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Careless or captured?

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 support for burning natural gas to liquefy natural gas. The following was first published at Northern Insight on August 4, 2009.

Despite deep . . . → Read More: Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Careless or captured?

Cowichan Conversations: NDP’s Jenny Kwan Has Proven Herself to Be A Woman Of Decency and Integrity

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

It is quite sickening to watch the attack on the character of Jenny Kwan, the MLA who along with Joy McPhail stood up as the only opposition to Gordon Campbell and his BC Liberals following the BC NDP wipeout of 2001.

Here is the CBC coverage including video interviews.

. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: NDP’s Jenny Kwan Has Proven Herself to Be A Woman Of Decency and Integrity

Left Over: Take the Wrong Way Home…

$109 fine for new driver taking drunk dad home 18-year-old novice driver Evan Godo received a $109 fine for not displaying the ‘N’ sign

CBC News Posted: Dec 27, 2013 8:37 PM PT

Here in BC, as elsewhere in Canada, the rules are flexible and depend on your status…

But this kid got caught . . . → Read More: Left Over: Take the Wrong Way Home…

Cowichan Conversations: Rafe Mair Rants About BC Hydro Lies From BC Liberals, But Hydro Is Blameless

As we are treated to distortion, lies and revisionist BS Rafe Mair of the Common Sense Canadian steps in and tells it like it is.

Rafe Mair

The crap we’re obliged to take is becoming too odorous for these old nostrils.

We’re told by Bill Bennett that there will be big raises in our . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Rafe Mair Rants About BC Hydro Lies From BC Liberals, But Hydro Is Blameless

Left Over: Rob Ford: I’m No Edsel…

 

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford ‘could easily get re-elected’ The mayor’s base of support hasn’t eroded much, say experts

By Andre Mayer, CBC News Posted: Nov 05, 2013 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Nov 05, 2013 6:32 AM ET

 

Ford’s so-called ‘apology’ was the smart move for him…after all, it worked for Gordon Campbell, . . . → Read More: Left Over: Rob Ford: I’m No Edsel…

Cowichan Conversations: History Tells Us That Defeated BC NDP Leaders Never Make A Comeback

Richard ‘Hub’ Hughes- Political Blogger

New Democrat Leaders who lose in a Provincial Election have never been able to rebound as party leader in a further election attempt, ever.

Those who huddle in the backrooms following election defeats always seem to want to stay the course with the leader who has failed to . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: History Tells Us That Defeated BC NDP Leaders Never Make A Comeback

Left Over: Dazed & Confused, Depressed & Not Amused….

By now the entire country knows what happened here in BC…the re-election of the Provincial Liberals (or Con-Lites) …to say that I am depressed is to state the case in an all-too delicate way.

If I can derive any tiny bit of satisfaction from the election, it is that… a) my old home riding, Kitsilano . . . → Read More: Left Over: Dazed & Confused, Depressed & Not Amused….

Northern Insight: Connections between wealth and power flourish in secret

An article I published almost three years ago is timely on this election day. Voters have an opportunity to change direction. If we do not, the plundering of British Columbia will accelerate. Gordon Campbell began with a set of principles and slid into corruption. Christy Clark started without principle.

Earlier in Northern Insights, the . . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Connections between wealth and power flourish in secret

Cowichan Conversations: Martyn Brown – Gordon Cambell’s Chief of Staff Disses Christy Clark

Martyn Brown-’Think Twice-Vote Once’

 

Just as Christy Clark is in high gear doing her version of the Socialist Hordes are at the Gates, along comes former Premier Gordon Campbell’s ’Chief of Staff’ Martyn Brown with this commentary was published in the Georgia Straight.

. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Martyn Brown – Gordon Cambell’s Chief of Staff Disses Christy Clark

Cowichan Conversations: Here is a Completely Objective Promo for the BC NDP ;-) Well Sort of…

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

We need a new government after 12 years of the Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark BC Liberals.

I am wholeheartedly supporting Adrian Dix for Premier and the re-election of Bill Routley in Cowichan. But, you knew that anyway, right.

Here is an BC NDP promo about a dead beat . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Here is a Completely Objective Promo for the BC NDP 😉 Well Sort of…

Song of the Watermelon: Cleaning Up Gordon Campbell’s Mess

According to every poll and every projection by every firm and every commentator, Christy Clark and her Liberal Party are about to be handed an unbalanced ass-whooping of the sort we British Columbians seem to enjoy dishing out to governing parties once every decade or so. Naturally, when this happens, I will be singing . . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Cleaning Up Gordon Campbell’s Mess

Left Over: Oh, wait………

Peeved Harper aims at ‘remaking Canadian labour force’ ‘Too many kids getting BAs and not enough welders,’ one Conservative insider says

 

The irony of this pontificating ConJob is that one of Harper’s favourite sycophants, Gordon Campbell, single-handedly destroyed the wonderful apprenticeship program here in BC so that his political pals in the construction biz . . . → Read More: Left Over: Oh, wait………

Left Over: The Empress Has No Clothes…..

B.C. Liberals face budget vote amid ‘ethnic-vote’ scandal Premier Christy Clark doesn’t rule out possibility of scandal forcing her out CBC News Posted: Mar 5, 2013 7:04 AM PT

Clark, like the disgraced Campbell before her, unhappily faces the onslaught of very real scandal; unlike him, however, she is facing an election with nowhere to . . . → Read More: Left Over: The Empress Has No Clothes…..

Cowichan Conversations: BC NDP Will Have To Be Smart, Tough and Green!

Don Maroc-Cowichan Conversations Contributor

BC logs should be used to create B.C. jobs, says the NDP. Absolutely, and low cost B.C. electricity should be used to make BC manufacturers competitive and more than competitive in the global marketplace.

And if Gordon Campbell’s run-of-the-river power pirates insist on continuing to charge B.C. Hydro three . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: BC NDP Will Have To Be Smart, Tough and Green!

Accidental Deliberations: On dubious partners

I’ve mostly avoided commenting on the federal Libs’ leadership race based on the need for the party’s own membership (and supportership in this case) to decide on a future direction for itself. But with one of the candidates explicitly running on a platform of cross-party dealings, I’d think there’s some room to analyze whether she . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On dubious partners

Northern Insight: Campbell’s wasted weekend with willy-wagglers – updated

One-percenters making changes. Anonymous reader provides interesting links in the comment section after a shuffling of deck chairs among Bilder-burglars. It’s also worth bringing to the top because Paul Fraser has been in the news lately since his… . . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Campbell’s wasted weekend with willy-wagglers – updated