Tuesday, August 17, 2010
A report on legalized theft: BC Rail, BC Ferries, and BC Hydro
A tip of the tuque to Rafe Mair, an old Socred who recognizes certain public values, as he explains in ... A report on legalized theft ... published on his blog August 17th, 2010.
On Rafe's website you will find a report on BC Hydro by economist Erik Andersen, Sinister financial vectors at BC Hydro, and it should shock all British Columbians.
Rafe says: I must add that I feel vindicated since I’ve been saying these things for 2 ½ years based on inferred evidence fortified by the lack of rebuttal by BC Hydro, the private power interests or the Campbell government.
The situation Gordon “Pinocchio” Campbell has got us in is all but impossible to believe, but he’s done it.
Let me quickly lay out why we have a publicly owned power company.
Back in the late 50s and early 60s then Premier W.A.C. Bennett made three decisions – he decided that Black Ball Ferries, being privately owned, would never serve any communities unless it was profitable; he decided the same thing for the old PGE railway; and he held that BC needed an abundance of cheap power for both industry and the general public so he nationalized BC Railway in 1961. Thus we had BC Ferries, BC Rail, and BC Hydro and Power Authority.
The power didn’t come cheap either fiscally or environmentally as huge dams were built of the Peace and Columbia Rivers, however Bennett had got the job done and we had an abundance of cheap power. In fact we British Columbians owned what many felt was the best power company in the world.
Enter Gordon Campbell and his energy policy of 2002. What he did was simple and it was breathtaking. So much so that many British Columbians are only now waking up to what has happened:
1. All new power was to come from private companies and except for upgrading their facilities and Site “C” should they wish to develop that, BC HYDRO was denied the right to create new power.
2. We were told by the government that these projects would be “run-of-river”, namely that the river would be undisturbed.
3. We were informed that these would all be small “mom and pop” operations.
4. We were told that BC was a net importer of energy and that these Independent Power Producers would ensure that we would be self sufficient by 2016.
For the past 2 ½ years Damien Gillis and I, along with Joe Foy and Gwen Barlee of the Wilderness Committee have been speaking around the province telling people the truth. namely, that these plants were hugely intrusive and destructive of the rivers and their ecosystems, that the companies were huge, such as Ledcor and General Electric, that BC was not short of energy and need never be if we made some modest changes to our policy and that this independent power, because it can only be generated during the run-off, was of no use to BC Hydro since at that time their reservoirs were full and they needed no help.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, we slowly but surely learned what the deals were that Hydro was forced by the Campbell government to make with these IPP’s. And we could not believe what we learned.
To put it shortly and bluntly, Hydro was forced to buy power, on a “take or pay” basis, at double or more what they could get on the export market! If that wasn’t bad enough, HYDRO would be forced to export private power because, as explained above, it was surplus to their needs.
Erik Andersen was only known to The Common Sense Canadian through blogs he did and I was on his mailing list. We have a list of contributors, which you can find on our website at www.thecanadian.org, numbering about 25. These men and women from all walks of life and of every political stripe are asked to do a column for us from time to time for which they aren’t paid a dime.
Erik Andersen did a blog or two which dealt with the issues we’re involved with and we asked him to become one of our contributors and he kindly consented. Erik has been an economist for many years and his resume is fascinating.
On his own, Erik did a blog dealing with many of the points I have above and we asked him if he could flesh that out and give us a report we could circulate.
What Erik was able to do, because of his expertise, was to find the numbers that justified the position we had been taking for the past 2 ½ years – and then some.
I urge you to read this report and send it to friends. What we have here is theft – legalized theft of out rivers, their ecologies and our power. Not only is our power, and the profit traditionally given to the government by BC HYDRO, being sent out of the Province ... we are paying private companies to do it! We get nothing for this, nothing except the same taxes the government would get from a grocery store.
I’m not a young man anymore – in fact I’ve seen many governments come and go and have been part of one.
Never in my life have I seen such outrageous acts as this. It’s made all the more shameful by the government MLA’s doing and saying nothing as their province is ravished.
Read Erik Andersen’s report and weep at the outrages inflicted and still being inflicted on British Columbia by this evil government
Q: What do you call a bad lawyer?
A: A judge.
That is to say, "bad lawyer" meaning a lawyer who does not practice law, but manipulates it instead. And as richly paid to..
What's the old Ancient Greek word for rhetoricians flogging someone else's agenda? Oh yes, sycophant.....
Those who seem to be power, whether elected or appointed, or only hacks in the stable of those actually running the show.
We were never de-colonized, the autocratic system of a powerful bureaucracy headed by a partisan politican was left without check by either the 1867 or 1982 Constitutions, and any of their provincial corollaries. Instead, power was entrenched and "the way things are done" was systematized as a parallel, de facto constitution. AKA "business as usual". Similarly Meech was another stab at that, and Charlottetown; they gave up asking us about it and went ahead and creating the Council of the Federation, where they divvy up and entrench their powers further still.
But again, they are only puppets, Parliament and legislatures but shadow-plays where excuses and apologies are made, or not made, for the crimes of the government and whomever it is that put them in power. Politicians are shills; follow the money to which banks and corporations (and criminal organizations, con men and consultants and....even foreign governments) hold them by the neck, or even the noose, as was the case with Vander Zalm and seems likely to go down with Campbell. But as with North Korea, we must dread who might be far worse than the current ruler (and I don't mean Carole James). And in my opinion, this is true of Glen Clark, and hinges on the alarm he created in US security and rightist circles with his behaviour during the Salmon War.....the CIA wasn't needed, as it turned out, the Campbellites were all too willing to stage a coup....and did. No need to rehash how, we all know the story by now....
In the casino of politics, the House always wins, that's the problem with BC politics; the House is using stacked cards and loaded decks and rigged tables AND are in charge of the security system. It's ever been thus, and that's the problem; how to loosen that throttle without violence but with significant change....yet the public is more interested in the HST revolt than in taking back the Crown assets, worth far more to their pocketbooks, that have been stolen on the same watch. The stench of rotten apples they're too used to; but this batch isn't just rotten, it's poisonous. I suppose for true rightist deconstructionists the way to take down government as an institution is to bankrupt it, and privatize the pieces as has been done in BC, and will continue to be done so ..... the NDP may regain power, but the pendulum will swing back farther to the right than ever afterwards; actual change in "the way things are done" is needed. But who to organize it, how to enact it? I dunno, but given the state of various court proceedings and political matters in BC "something has to be done". But maybe it's not Canadians who are needed to do it.
cc'd to various involved and/or potentially interested parties..
History will not be kind to these fools; the truth will out, the damage is done. The media spin will be re-examined in years to come, its failing put on public display as the internet overtakes the flow of information and the public mind. They are co-conspirators in a complex swindle far beyond BC Rail alone, and to the mockery of justice that the courts of British Columbia have become.
They were, after all, bad lawyers. It's claimed in the historical record that Begbie left London with a broken heart, and took the job in the most distant colony for solace, and adventure, but he was exemplary young lawyer of standing at the time. Or so the story goes....but it sounds like p.r. spin.
True he was a man of character far beyond any of those on the bench today, the same is supposedly true of Crease, another early justice, and also of Chartres Brew, the first chief of police and head constable. But we have home-grown colonists now, mere colonials without roots in the Old Country's traditions and concern for propriety. We have handed the reins of the Crown to bandits and liars and cheaters, serving their card-playing and sailboating friends up the riches of the Gold Colony (as the mainland was long known) for rapine and speculation.
We all know Duff Patullo and WAC Bennett and Dickie McBride and Boss Johnson and other "men of vision" who have been first minister in BC are spinning in their graves, even though they were all crooks in their own way (not as bad as many, many others). The scope of the infection of "Campbellities" is staggering.....its gall even more staggering. They can sucker the people of BC, thanks to the toadies in the media and chambers of cmomerce, for a few more years and really only within BC's boundaries.
It's when it's realized "beyond the mountains" - and south of the line - that BC has been ransacked by, as Robin points out, an unchecked and uninvestigated and umpublicized (in the US) looting and complex swindle has gone on in a neighbouring country that doesn't speak Spanish, that they will be hurt.
Economic crime is a serious matter. It can crash markets. Like Enron did, like the subprime scandal did.
I'm waiting patiently for the testimony from CN's bosses, and even more the implications and any answers that might come up in cross-examination. Likewise the heads of CP, BNSF, CIBC World Markets... That's when they party starts, and the House will burn...and Campbell made to walk the plank.
Cross the floor now, backbenchers, you don't want to go down with that ship. It's sailing for Maui (or Savary....).
The big money has already laid its bets, or we wouldn't even be hearing leadership speculation....
And we're probably a discussion at various offices in New York City and Washington DC than we will ever be let aware. Well, pending the opening of any investigation on that side of the border that may not be the case forever.
Campbell is our Pinochet, Harcourt and Clark our Allendes....
10 steps to turn a province into a banana republic:
(how many have we seen with Scampbell?)
1. Rising unemployment and poverty
2. Economic dependence (debt)
3. Declining civil rights
4. Increasing political corruption
5. Militarizing police
6. Failing infrastructure
7. Disappearing middle class
8. Devalued currency (how much is a loaf of bread?)
9. Controlling the media
10. Capital Controls (find out how much your credit union / bank will ALLOW you to withdraw)
9:04 PM PDT
I hope hell has a real warm spot for him...and EVERYONE who serves him.
We've got to have at least one frozen lake somewhere that could hold them all....