Friday, January 28, 2011
Like BC Rail, B.C.’s water to be sold to the highest bidder?
BC Mary comment: Honestly, I must've said it 100 times: that if we allowed the "sale" of BC Rail ... if we didn't stop it and reverse it by means of a Public Inquiry, it would become the template for a whole program of piracy.
Well ... here's the nightmare coming true (if we let it): Look at this report about water ... and even if you're short of time, check out the bits in red ...
B.C.’s water to be sold to the highest bidder?
Province's once-promising water modernization efforts go off-track
By Randy Christensen
Ecojustice, Jan 26, 2011
For the past several years, there has been a multitude of discussion papers, extensive public consultations and big speeches from the B.C. Government on the effort to “modernize” the B.C. Water Act. It’s the law that governs who gets to use water, for what, when, where, and who gets the priority when there’s not enough to go around.
Everyone agrees the systems is broken, it’s only a question of what to do about it.
All of the public statements from June 2008 until December 2010 were unambiguous in promising strong legal protections for environmental flows and revisiting the antiquated and highly problematic “first in time, first in right system.” More importantly, the B.C. Government de-emphasized the potential adoption of “market reforms” such as “water rights trading” that has devastated communities around the globe.
But what was a well-intentioned and well-managed process seems to have fallen victim to B.C.’s current political turmoil. In late December the B.C. Government posted the “proposed framework” for new water laws that introduces water rights trading (section 5). Troublingly, the strong legal protections for environmental flows have been downgraded to guidelines that merely have to be “considered” when someone wants to take water from a stream (section 1).
In the current leadership vacuum, those managing the process have become politically risk adverse and are simply defaulting to the blueprints of conservative governments around the world. This approach downplays the need for good governance and views markets as a solution that solves any and all problems.
To understand what the B.C. Government is proposing, think of the current water use system as a bike share. Ultimately it’s a community owned resource that people (or companies) sometimes use for their own private purposes. And, like a bike share, the water use is supposed to be time limited and one is supposed to leave the water so that others can use it in the future. You’re definitely not allowed to take the bike and sell it in the back alley!
What the B.C. Government is proposing is that at some point in the near future, everyone who happens to be using a bike now owns the bike (and they didn’t even have to buy it – it’s just a gift from Government). Going forward, anyone who wants to use a bike will have to buy it or rent it from these now new owners.
Sounds like a pretty sweet deal for the fortunate few who happen to have water rights – primarily electricity generators (including Independent Power Producers), oil and gas companies, mining companies and agriculture.
It’s not that there is no potential role for using economic instruments as part of water management. But there’s a big difference between using economic instruments as a policy tool and abdicating management to market forces. Many economic instruments — such as full cost accounting, conservation oriented pricing, water rentals that incorporate a reasonable return to the public for public resources — could be valuable and of real benefit. It’s even debatable that if B.C. had protections for the environment and the public interest in place, a limited water rights trading system could be implemented, but B.C. has a lot of work to do before it even entertains that discussion.
But I guess it’s really no surprise that in the end B.C.’s Water Act “modernization” is just another initiative that pays lip service to protecting the environment and the public interest while delivering the goods to the large corporate interests that have long dominated the province.
What’s most dangerous about this proposal is that it will privatize water in a way that becomes effectively irreversible. Right now, one gets a “licence” to use water that the Government may alter or revoke without (generally speaking) having to pay compensation. However, once the licence to use a public resource is converted into a tradable economic right, that is held and may be sold, any changes to the system that affect that right will undoubtedly spur lawsuits against the government.
If this proposal goes forward, you can pretty much write off any chance of ever meaningfully recognizing a human right to water or a public trust over water.
This will all become [law] in mid-February, unless the public convinces the BC Government not to pursue this misguided course of action.
For example, obvious questions such as the following ... we as yet have no answers for. Is that fair? Is that accepted business practice?
I know of no evidence that:
- CN has actually made a claim for tax relief on the BC Rail 'losses' that it is thought to have purchased from the BC government. Have they?
- that the 'losses' actually occurred; as with BC Ferries, they may just have been cover for financial asset-stripping as BC Rail was sold
- If a claim has been made, that it remains unresolved
- if it has been denied, that the BC government is on the hook for the sum said to have been paid for the tax relief, said to be $250,000,000, plus interest at 9% compounded (the government's books do seem to record an increasing unfunded liability for this)
- There may be a statute of limitations - with Revenue Canada, this tends to be seven years, but from when? When the losses were occurred, when CN bought BC Rail and booked the losses, or when they claimed tax relief on them from Revenue Canada?
- the 'very long-term lease' applied to anything other than the track. I believe the distinction made by the government over the lease was only intended to justify its claim that the government retained title to the roadbed, for what that is worth. Rolling stock and other facilities, and the operating rights and business of BC Rail, I think were pretty clearly sold to CN.
- That a private corporation is entitled to write off losses incurred by a government operation (Crown Corporation) before it was privatized, and thus claim tax relief, not only from another government (the federal Revenue Canada) but also indirectly from the provincial government, which incurred the losses in the first place.
- If we had some actual numbers and could calculate all this, I wonder what we would find CN actually paid for BC Rail?
Give it a try. Do you have the answers? Any answers? Let me know. Because without answers to fundamentals like this, BC needs a Public Inquiry on BC Rail.
- BC Mary.
Mis February? The legislature reconvenes on February 14.
I see this as more ammunition for recall and I urge everyone reading this to contact your MLA. Whether they are Lib, NDP or Independent recall is up front if they vote for this.
For sure, Citizens have work to do ... starting now ... and then ongoing in the BC Legislature beginning mid-February,
It's good to know you're on the job, Gary.
Licensee's right to expropriate land
27 (1) In this section and in sections 28 to 30, "land" includes an estate or interest in or easement over land.
(2) A licensee has the right to expropriate any land reasonably required for the construction, maintenance, improvement or operation of works authorized under his or her licence.
(3) In addition to the right under subsection (2), the holder of a licence that authorizes the diversion of water for domestic purpose or waterworks purpose has the right to expropriate any land the control of which by the licensee would help to prevent pollution of the water authorized to be diverted.
(4) In addition to the rights under subsections (2) and (3) and with the consent of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the holder of a licence that authorizes the construction of a dam has the right to expropriate any land that would be flooded if the dam were constructed and utilized to the maximum height authorized.
(5) The owner of land expropriated under this section must be compensated for it by the licensee, and the procedure to be followed in expropriating land and the method of determining the compensation is the prescribed procedure and method.
(6) If expropriation proceedings relate to land on or in which there are works authorized under a licence, an owner or other person must not interfere with the works or prevent the licensee from maintaining, operating, using or improving them so long as the licensee diligently prosecutes the expropriation proceedings.
That s.o.b. of a Campbell, belongs in prison. What he has done to this province, is pretty dammed close to treason. The eco system, of those rivers, will forever be destroyed. The fish and wildlife, will all be affected, by pissing around with the balance of nature. Thieving the BC citizens assets and selling them, isn't a crime? It sure as the hell would be, if you or I tried the same. If we don't get rid of this rotten, BC Liberal government. Not only will BC be financially dead. Our beautiful province, will be a vast wasteland of pollution and destruction. BC Liberals, LEAVE OUR RIVERS, THE HELL ALONE.
June 5 is a Sunday. Black Sunday. Let’s make a plan. We can stop them. We have to.
it's hard to believe it, even when we can see it in black-and-white print this way.
What kind of Canadian would even think of such drastic, long-term damage?
What kind of public servant would go to work and accept the taxpayers' paycheque for drafting and promulgating legislation like this?
Merciful heaven ... !
Thanks, NVG for dredging this up for us.
My heart is with you, because what you say is true and it's devastating.
Many readers will be aware of my promise to leave partisan politics OUT of this blog. Why? Because (a) I believe that partisan politics can't solve our problems, and (b) toxic political squabbling sets us back, so that citizens spend precious time yelling "Me good, YOU bad" at one another. It's stoopid, because even a child knows that these huge problems affect us ALL, and that if we want corrective action, we must work together to achieve the remedies. Like a Public Inquiry into how BC Rail was lost.
in this particular case, it seems clear that a select political group such as formed around Gordon Campbell, is holding this wonderful province in a death-grip.
Regretfully, I admit that the Campbell Gang is responsible for the destruction and losses (beginning with BC Rail) ... a Campbellized group which can't even label itself honestly, but chose instead to besmirch the old Liberal (which meant "liberal") party of Wilfrid Laurier, W.L. Mackenzie King, and Lester Pearson.
And so, remembering that, I took my finger OFF the DELETE button, and I thank Anonymous 10:09 again for this message posted here today.
I'd like to see the BC Government replaced (one and all) by INDEPENDENT members of the Legislature, who think for themselves, speak for themselves, and defend the public interest at all times.
And I'll keep my promise NOT to let this blog deteriorate into toxic, partisan efforts to shout out big fat lies louder than the next guys.
The privatization of our province has affected everyone – from increased ferry and bus fares and cuts in service, the bc rail sale and court travesty, health contracts gutted, gas and hydro costs up, education cuts, legal aid cuts, arts cuts, a gambling explosion, first nations still waiting for justice and compensation, I’m sure I’m missing a billion other things… could we not somehow get all of these unions and environmental and arts and social serving organizations together and have a massive day of mourning for the province we love which the liberals are destroying?
A huge public protest and a show of force en masse to really drive home to citizens the lies and damage that have been done over the past 10 years? And demand a better future that includes a public inquiry into BC Rail and a moratorium on the selling of all public assets in our province; a moratorium on pab and using public money to advertise their partisan crap to citizens; restoration of arts funding, a cap on gambling venues, meaningful citizen engagement and electoral reform and elevation of debate, etc…
June 5 is a Sunday. Black Sunday. Let’s make a plan. We can stop them. We have to.
I heard and read about this subject 4 years ago, tried to talk about it to anyone who would listen - and to a person they all called me a "conspiracy nut". No one would believe that our government would do this to their own people - and this isn't just a "Campbell" issue, this originates with Harper. Hopefully, that will be remembered come election time.
The thing with this administration is knowing that whenever they push an initiative that they claim will be 'good for us' and 'good for BC', we instinctively know that we are about to get screwed again.
One way or another, they must be stopped!
This sounds like an excerpt from Patricia Adams book, "Odious Debts, Loose Lending, Corruption, and the Third World's Environmental Legacy"...the exploitation of common resources for corporate economic purposes, hidden under the poisonous shroud of government legislation for the benefit of resource extraction.
Quote from the book: "Resource extraction can benefit an economy without harming the environment, when the extracted resource is controlled by those with an incentive to husband it, and when common resources---air, water and earth---are intelligently managed to protect the rights of those who might be downwind or downstream.
"...But traditional societies are in demise, with the traditional rights of individuals and whole communities eroded, even outlawed, by remote central governments prepared to sacrifice individuals and whole communities to the national interest. These rights to property---both private and communal---and to one's health, are now being appropriated by the state in what amounts to another form of asset sale---the exploitation of common resources for export purposes."
Haven't we witnessed this in raw log export! Now it's water resources.
History proves that dam construction in third world countries led to entire populations being impoverished & displaced as land was expropriated, then flooded. This led to an inexhaustible reservoir of poverty because people no longer had any access to land for crops. Does one wonder why Mexico (for one example) is in a state of drug-induced chaos? Why provinces in South America rebelled? Take away people's livelihoods, replace with poverty and desperation sets in.
The provincial government in British Columbia is paying for debt-financed "modernization" by cashing in on natural resources. While successful societies must find appropriate way of providing energy, these 3P dams and so-called mini run of river projects are obviously causing a flood of ancillary problems in the bargain, one of which may now be expropriation of private land and/or Crown land for corporate profit.
This piece of legislation is couched in dubious phrases such as reasonably required, would help to prevent pollution and has the right to expropriate any land that would be flooded ... all of which lead to the question of just who/whom makes these decisions and based on what?
I will borrow the word from the title of Patricia Adams' book...odious.
The Third World has been down this road, a road we in the province must not be forced to head down. For the good of the Commons a paradigm shift is necessary...and soon.
It may be private land adjacent to the dams (also electricity generating plants) but how much of CROWN land has been expropriated.
Story's here: http://focusonline.ca/?q=node/159.
By way of a brief reminder:
"A mess fit for a fascist?
BY ROB WIPOND, JANUARY 2011
Gordon Campbell’s reorganization of our resource ministries is costly, chaotic and destructive.
One of Gordon Campbell’s last major acts as BC Premier, a government reorganization, is old news. However, unless reversed by a new leader, the devastating consequences will be unfolding for years, from Peace River forests through bureaucratic halls to Victoria shores.
The decisions affected nearly every ministry, and thousands of civil servants. But the most significant changes hit our important resource ministries, where many of the highest-level decision-making branches and powers governing lands, mining, agriculture, energy, forests, fish and wildlife, WATER and the environment were moved to a new Natural Resource Operations (NRO) super-ministry.
According to an irate (and now former) Liberal Energy Minister Bill Bennett, it was done covertly by two deputy ministers working with Campbell. Deputy ministers are so stratospherically removed from day-to-day realities, it would’ve been not unlike boys choosing a sports fantasy team: They steal the strongest players from around the league by gutting other teams of talent, while giving no thought to the working chemistries, infrastructures, facilities and business-community relationships that actual teams are built on."
I, myself, am thinking that it's getting to be time to rise; or else, it's going to be too late to even raise a voice in opposition.
Photo-shop a couple of pitchforks and a noose in there too... make a nice t-shirt.
"Protesters say the sale of state assets to foreign investors over the past decade has enriched the country's business and political elite but has done little to help the poor.
"We want a special court that will put on trial all those who sold the property of the Jordanian people ...," Sunaid said.
Replace Jordanian with British Columbian and bingo!
In other words the BC Rail Trial would be going on now, during the Leadership Race.
In other words the BC Rail Trial would be still going on DURING the BC Liberal Leadership race
joint submission on sentence
 The Crown submits that the is in the best interests of the administration of justice because the defendants have come forward and unequivocally accepted responsibility for their transgressions. In so doing, they have eliminated the exigencies inherent in a lengthy jury trial that would have occupied the members of the jury, the court process and court resources for a time well beyond mid‑March 2011 as had been scheduled.
In other words, the trial of David Basi and Bobby Virk would be happening DURING a leadership race for the BC Liberals...... my, my, my but the optics would certainly be bad for the leadership hopefuls, having to fend off questions from the media, not only regarding the race, but the riot of public opinion on whether BC Rail was a steal.
But wait, N.V.G., Gordo was still premier then and there was no leadership race in the offing. What are you saying, here?
Gary Collins was the next witness to take the stand. Special Prosecutor would take two days to set the scene and then the Defense lawyer for Bobby Virk would take two weeks to demolish anything that the Special Prosecutor could possibly have won with the Jury.
So yes BC Mary, I, we, didn't know that Gordon Campbell was going to resign, and take three months to do it, but did THEY know it? And the answer from those that read your blog is .........
Its a quote from here:
Chapter 2 Values
Its 36 pages long and in there is this section that says there is suppose to be in Canada a separation of powers:
".....There is in Canada a separation of powers among the three branches of
government - the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. In broad terms, the role of the judiciary is, of course, to interpret and apply the law; the role of the legislature is to decide upon and enunciate policy; the role of the executive is to administer and implement that policy."
The EXECUTIVE? and just who might this be?
It was my birthday Nov 3rd. when news came that Gordon Campbell resigned and few days later when we found out no interim leader was to be, that he in fact would be staying on until a leadership vote by the liberals in Feb. and again my heart sank. My mind immediately thought, he has more to do what could it be? Now we have our answer!
To answer your question North Van's Grump,
Yes it looks as if they knew it.
There is so much damage done, so many insults to the public, so many lies that continue,so shocking the corruption.
Watching the news from Egypt and the protests I can't help thinking that we are not far behind as our anger grows as it does around the globe.
My prayers are with them and with us tonight.
It was Kenning, Brian G. Kenning, he never did finish his testimony.
Maybe it wasn't the testimony from Gary Collins that the Six million dollar deal was signed, but Kenning's remaining time on the stand that fateful morning, that would have sunk the BC Liberals.
We'll never know, unless there is an inquiry.
Our Constitution is totally ignored. Our Civil Rights and Liberties have been taken away from us. Democracy and Freedom, what in the hell is that? In BC, we have our fascist dictator. We have our henchmen. There is the media propaganda machine. We have our police state, or province. The judicial system is corrupt. Elections BC is corrupt, (when they changed the wording). De Jong thieved the tax payers dollars, to pay the two patsies legal costs. In other words, Campbell thieves, and, we are forced pay him for doing so. I always find a lot of humor in, Canada insisting on democracy in other country's. Ask the WW11 veterans, what they see going on in BC and in Canada. It ain't democracy.