Friday, October 01, 2010


First it was BC Rail. Then BC Hydro ... but BC Hydro is taking longer to die ...

BC Mary comment: Two items shed light upon the Campbell method of governing the Province of British Columbia. One dated 1987 shows David Emerson reporting back to Stephen Owen  [sorry, sorry! that should have been Stephen Rogers] about privatizing almost everything -- mostly  BC Hydro -- but also including (see bottom of page 2) BC Rail.  The 2nd item is from today's news of the "new ... old" appointments (including Geoff Plant) to BC Hydro's structure in their demonstrated plan to dismantle BC Hydro.

Preliminary Analysis of Business Units within British Columbia Hydro Authority

Executive Summary report by David Emerson to Stephen Owen Rogers dated April 28, 1987(pdf)

Addressed to:

The Honourable Stephen Rogers
Minister Responsible
Private Sector Task force on Privatization
67 pages
File reference: 53433
April 28, 1987

Excerpt, Page 1:

The purpose of this report is to review B.C. Hydro's structure and operation, in order to identify in a preliminary way the scope and potential for privatization. Because Hydro is comprised of a number of units or divisions which are identifiably and functionally distinct, the report assesses privatization of each unit separately.

We should note that, while sale of BC Hydro in its entirety is probably feasible, the complexity and diversity of the conglomerate whole would make this a questionable and controversial endeavour - not to mention the long timeframe for proper execution of the sale.

Two parts of BC Hydro stand out as candidates for an early privatization initiative - the Mainland Gas Division and the Rail Division ...

The Rail Division is argueably too small to stand alone and here a private sale or merger with another railway or transportation company appears feasible. Consideration should be given to merging Hydro Rail with BC Rail with the ultimate privatization decision focused on BC Rail and its augmented components ...

BC Mary says: I copied the first few paragraphs of this report. To read the whole document, please go to the pdf link 

[Apparently the pdf link isn't responding. I'm hoping that computer-clever readers will be able to back-track to the source, using the clues provided here.]

To see some of the consequences of selling off our publicly-held resources, click HERE

By ~ Mark Worthing
The Martlet - Sept. 30, 2010

In 2007, the Vancouver Harbour was inaugurated into one of the biggest, blackest, most environmentally destructive markets in the world.

Without public consultation from British Columbians or Vancouverites, Canada began shipping Alberta’s tar sands crude oil to China through the port of Vancouver.

Currently two tankers a week, each of which holds up to 700,000 barrels of tar sands oil, leave Vancouver from energy company Kinder-Morgan’s Burrard Inlet terminal.

The tankers traverse under the Second Narrows Bridge, the Lions Gate Bridge, and out into the Georgia Strait along the North Pacific coastline. Now the oil companies are aiming to increase this traffic to 10 tankers a week.

But a Vancouver community group is standing up and saying “no” to tankers, and they are hoping to get Victoria’s support.

“None of the local stakeholders want tankers in these waters. The fishermen don’t want tankers in these waters, commercial and recreational boaters don’t want tankers in these waters, tourism doesn’t want tankers in these waters, whale watching tours don’t want tankers in these waters,” said Rex Weyler, Greenpeace co-founder, author and events coordinator for NOTANKS Vancouver.

“And let’s not forget that the whales, fish, and seals are some of the most important stakeholders too. A spill in this region would devastate our ecology, and it would also devastate our economy. The consequences to our local economies could have a $10–15 billion cost.”

NOTANKS is a Vancouver-based community group seeking to resist oil tanker traffic in and out of Vancouver harbour and consequently the pristine coastal waters of B.C. One of the founding members of NOTANKS is certified managing accountant Bill Gannon who prepared a risk assessment of tanker traffic for Vancouver.

The risk assessment concluded that the City of Vancouver should “ban crude oil tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet” due to three main risks: the narrowness, shallowness and lack of proper response time in an emergency while passing under the east-railway bridge of the Second Narrows Bridge; the risk of collision resulting in a partial spilling; and the escalation of what the oil industry calls “normal spillage,” which will rapidly grow with increased tanker traffic and tanker size.

“Mayor [Gregor] Robinson and his council have commissioned an inquiry into the increased tanker traffic in the harbour. They have said that they are very concerned,” said Weyler.

On July 6 the Vancouver City council commissioned a request to the Metro Port Cities Committee to “further investigate” tanker traffic with concerns focused on specifics such as planned increase in numbers and size of tanker loads, recent changes lowering staff on escort tugs, identifying formal opportunities for municipal and public input on tankers, identifying a “map” of agencies, organizations and government legislation involved in oversight, safety and emergency response, and to clarify the liability for environmental and economic impacts.

The city of Vancouver has set an ambitious goal of becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020 but the projected tanker traffic increase would effectively crush this goal.

While the inquiry may be Mayor Robinson’s way of cleaning up Vancouver’s backyard, community groups like NOTANKS and the Dogwood Initiative’s similarly named No-Tankers campaign are working on the ground to protect B.C. waters.

On Sunday, Oct. 17 NOTANKS is organizing a boat flotilla in Vancouver harbour, and on-land supporters will gather in English Bay for a coastal celebration, sending the message to local officials and government that Vancouver doesn’t want to be in business with tar sands oil, and risk the threat of an oil spill in “beautiful British Columbia.”

“The objective is to get Vancouver talking about it. Let’s have a public discussion. They started shipping crude oil out of Vancouver without any public discussion,” said Weyler. “The first thing is to let people know it’s happening, and the second is to open up a discussion about it.”

Weyler hopes other coastal cities will get behind his cause.

“It would be great to have a contingent from Victoria. If there is a spill out in Georgia Straight, it’s going to trash Victoria too. We intend to stop these tankers.”

BC Mary comment: a tip o'the tuque to U.Vic's Martlet for this valuable report. 


The new BC Ferries board lineups: same old, same old

By Chris Montgomery
The Province - Oct 1, 2010

Click HERE for the complete article.
Word's out tonight on the makeup of the two new boards for BC Ferries: the company's operating board, and the authority board, which will oversee the operating board on behalf of the sole shareholder, aka the province, aka you and I.

The two boards have had pretty much identical membership since the provincial Liberals set up the new private company to run the public system in 2003. Transportation Minister Shirley Bond ordered Comptroller-General Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland to take a look at the boards of TransLink and BC Ferries last year. Part of Wenezenki-Yolland's report dealt with compensation and other issues (opening BCFS to freedom-of-information laws, for example.) And part said the two BCFS boards should have distinct membership, which only makes sense. One is meant to oversee the CEO and the running of the company directly, the other is meant to represent the shareholder and ensure that the first board, and the company, are doing the right thing by the shareholder. That's my shorthand version, but it sums the situation up nicely.

There have been a lot of questions asked over the past seven years as the company struggled with its new, commercially oriented mandate. There was a massive labour-relations contract challenge right off the top, the ongoing project of maintaining and replacing the largely aging fleet, finding a way to finance rising costs and servicing the increasing debt load, dealing with the coastwide shortage of trained seafarers ... and of course, there was the ferry that sank.

The biggest curiosity, to my mind, has always been why the boards have never had more members with more real-life maritime experience, and more members who knew more about how the maritime industry functions outside of our coast (which in some ways operates on a whole other planet than the rest of the world). Where was the CEO with experience at a bigtime ferry company? Board members who could really assess the design and purchase of those very expensive newbuilds? Or help in building a solid, ongoing program for attracting and training the skilled workforce the company needs?

Given those questions, it was going to be interesting to see how, given a fresh chance, the board decisions would be made. {Snip} ...

So. You take one big old board, split it into two new boards, and have one half oversee the operations of the other half. I guess somewhere in this system, we can be assured the new authority board will be able to cast a clean, clear, dispassionate eye over the workings of former colleagues and represent us, the shareholder, with appropriate independence of thought.

I'm just not seeing it, but I'm sure we'll be offered a rationale.

More tomorrow when Hahn appears with federal Tory[?] Stockwell Day, president of the Treasury Board and minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, for some sort of announcement at the Union of BC Municipalities Convention in Whistler.

Meantime, here's the lineup, as announced Thursday night:

Authority and Services board appointments

VICTORIA, Sept. 30 /CNW/ - BC Ferries is pleased to announce a restructuring of the Authority and Services Boards to meet the new requirements of the recently passed Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 3) - 2010.

The Authority Board is composed of the following individuals:

- Jane Peverett, Chair - (community at large)
- Christopher Gardner - (provincial government)
- Gordon Larkin - (organized labour)
- Daniel Miller - (community at large)
- Stephen Smith - (northern coastal and north island)

The B.C. Ferry Authority will be seeking qualified candidates to fill four remaining vacancies as per the Coastal Ferry Act. The B.C. Ferry Authority is the sole voting shareholder of British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. and has the responsibility under the Coastal Ferry Act to appoint the Services Board and to establish compensation plans for Services' Directors and future Executives.

The new appointments to the BC Ferry Services Board are as follows:

- Donald Hayes, Chair
- Elizabeth Harrison, Vice Chair
- Holly Haston-Grant
- Brian Kenning
- Maureen Macarenko
- Geoffrey Plant
- Wayne Stoilen
- Graham Wilson

BC Mary adds: Is that an echo from the past? Yes, I believe it is the voice of Paul Nettleton, Liberal MLA for Prince George-Omineca, who "stuns colleagues by ... claiming the government plans to break up Hydro". The date: 2002.


Vancouver Sun - Nov. 14, 2002

Nettleton said "the government is planning to introduce legislation soon to implement its new energy policy. I am firmly convinced that this legislation is only the opening move in a strategy whose ultimate goal is the wholesale privatization of the utility [BC Hydro]."

Premier Gordon Campbell said Nettleton's accusations came out of the blue, since he has said nothing in the past about Hydro ...We will not privatize VX Hydro. We want to keep our rates as a competitive advantage ... "

Nettleton said he wants his colleagues to vigorously oppose privatization. ... "This is a huge issue for me. Huge enough I'm prepared to vote against and speak against my government on this issue."

"He hurt a lot of people today by saying the things he said" Kevin Krueger replied.

NDP leader Joy MacPhail praised Nettleton. "Paul Nettleton is reflecting exactly the concerns of his constituents. If Mr Campbell were smart, he'd give Paul Nettleton a voice in planning the future of BC Hydro. I expect instead what he'll do is get tossed on his ear." Which is exactly what happened, with the media on Campbell's side all the rest of the way. 

Read it all HERE.

One trial, two stories
By Ian
The Real Story - Oct. 1, 2010


... Two different views.  The obvious question is which is more accurate.  I suppose that’s the job of the jury to determine.
Another question is why don’t we get both sides on a continuing basis?  The Legislative Press Gallery has left the story alone.  TV and radio don’t come near it.  Columnists have said next to nothing and editorialists don’t even seem to know its going on.  It’s entirely the bailiwick of the crime guys.
I think that’s wrong because like it or not what’s on display goes way beyond criminal activity.  It goes to the heart of how this government operates and, as expressed by the two witnesses so far, that’s as disturbing as anything on the charge sheets.
Another thing that a different journalist said to me a couple of weeks ago: “They spent more on free box seats at the Canucks than the defendants are charged with taking.  Think about that for a second.”
Click HERE to read more of this thoughtful take on what's really happening in Courtroom 54.


A little off-topic, but....

The person who wrote the BC Ferries story that Mary linked to, Chris Montgomery, is a real reporter.

In point of fact it was she who, very much unlike Keith Baldrey, went out of her way to ignore Mr. Hahn's codswallop when the Queen of the North sank, because she was digging to get the real story.

And, 'rumour' has it, she was essentially frozen out by Mr. Hahn and his minions for doing so.

(I wrote about this, if anybody's interested, way back in the day, here)

That was a fine piece of work you did then, "back in the day", too RossK. Thanks for it (then and now).
I agree. How dumb can a journalist be not to even suspect being used? He is obviously a friend or at least an admirer of David Hahn and of the politics behind the privatization and the spin, so he doesn't mind being used. Humans can be so embarrassing to watch.



But at least Mr. Baldrey appears to have an ideological underpinning to his slants and head-fakes.

In contrast, it appears that Michael Smyth, on the other hand, will just make up crap about anything (and anybody) just so that it gets wurlitzered AND keeps the whack-a-doodles coming back.

My take on the wurlitzering herehere.

Mr. Smyth's Whack-A-Doodles hoisted on their own petards can be read, in their own words, here.

"Vander Zalm and his gang".... Kieth Baldry writes in the North Shore News.

Mr. Baldry just doesn't get it.
People, they get it!~ It's called a GAG-ORDER!
Paul Martin wanted to legislate life time gag-orders,any idea how that turned out?
Thank you, BC Mary for connecting the dots back to 1987 re: David Emerson and BC Rail/BC Hydro. Well done!

Unfortunately, the link wouldn't connect to the PDF: Emerson's 1987 report to Stephen Owen.

Owen was Ombudsman during 1987 . . . his role re: this report?

Key facts to note given today's political chaotic context, since you have unearthed this startling info:

Who was Premier in 1987 relative to this push for the privatization of BC Rail/BC Hydro and your mention of David Emerson?

Answer: disgraced Premier Bill VanderZalm

If one was/is privy to Cabinet/Confidential Premier's Office documents during the VanderZalm reign of terror (starting in the Fall of 1986 -1991) stark reality was/is that NOTHING happened without VanderZalm's direct, hands on desire/orders on all major moves within his government given his "zealot-like approach". (

Emerson would not have winked without VZalm's orders. There were many memos flying between Emerson and his Premier over those years. Emerson knew which way to jump for his best interests.

VanderZalm's blatant agenda was always (still is) an attempt to grab under the radar, any and all 'prizes' he could get away with, including crown land. . . public assets that were of significant value, as was BC Rail/Hydro for all reasons including associated LAND for his and his pals benefit.

The majority of VanderZalm's 'circle of bandits' are the same surrounding Campbell, including Martyn Brown (a 'wet behind the ears' researcher under VanderZalm, then under BC Reform)/bagmen/donors//lobbyists/lawyers - many of the 'same old' now involved with the BC Rail scandal . . . .

David Emerson was promoted by Premier VanderZalm's to be his Deputy Minister in 1990.


VanderZalm was heaved out of the Premier's Office in early 1991: an eruption of a torrent of scandal that had been festering since the first week he had become Premier.

Any doubt that VanderZalm and his pals had their eyes on the privatization of BC Rail/BC Hydro including associated crown land assets?

In 1999 Stephen Owen was promoted to Deputy Attorney General having been privy to much of VanderZalm's wrongdoing.

One of the Premier's key associates who helped maneuver his Leadership 'win' in Whistler was Toigo (linked to the Gambino family through marriage) as private deals were 'hot n' heavy' with big money in the basement of the Convention Center, that ill fated day that BC on the downward spiral. Very little has changed since.

The present politically motivated, high profile/actions of VanderZalm with his 'circle' recently registering the BC First Party etc. must be viewed in a wide context given the roots of his past corruption with zero due process as we have seen under the present govt.

You have just given us a perfect example re: BC Rail/BC Hydro and the persons involved back to 1987 with VanderZalm at the helm.

(Emerson went on to serve under the NDP as Chairman of the BC Trade Development Office.)

VanderZalm's motives/actions are dangerous. His motives go well beyond any narrow cause.

The NDP know that. They were privy to the facts of his agenda during his reign in Office and should be the last people in bed with him for political opportunism. Shame.

I hope this adds a few strokes of detail to the evolving 'masterpiece' you are painting of the deeply rooted, travesty of the BC Rail scandal presently before the courts albeit in a shameful spin of legal gamesmanship (par for the 'political' course in our BC Supreme Courts).

Thank you again for all you continue to do for the best interests of British Columbians.

BC Mary for Premier.
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