Sunday, June 12, 2011


Mission - Abbotsford's Private Water War. Just like BC Rail, next they'll try selling off their grandmothers!

BC Mary comment: This item really got under my skin. Please don't ask me to explain what this article has to do with BC Rail, because I can't make it any more clear: that the inherent value of something (a railroad, a grandmother, clean water, life itself) means virtually nothing to those who think they can grab something, force it into legislation, and arrange that it sells for a profit (preferably secret) to themselves.  Nothing is sacred. Nothing has universal value. 

As shown in Abbotsford-Mission where water itself is at issue, powerful people behind the scenes can work to arrange the  sell off of anything -- from the large, beneficial BC Rail to the water we need to stay alive. Please don't overlook this item. The  P3-fools have been doing their best in secret to sell the commonly-owned drinking water from Vancouver's virtual doorstep. And "they" are government! Just like what happened to BC Rail.

Mission and Abbotsford's Public-Private Water War

By Lynn Perrin
June 11, 2011


Abbotsford's Mayor George Peary is not making any friends by damning
his neighbours in the media, chastising Mission Council and residents
for their decision to keep their water system in public hands, and
threatening to move forward with the public-private partnership
project regardless of the will of Mission residents. There really is
no room for bullying and egos when planning how to deliver water for
life, not profit, to the public.  (End quote)

The proposal to privatize the water services in my community seemed to hit us from behind - it was negotiated for over a year in secret and sprung on us without warning. This $300 million project, that would inevitably give control of our water to a foreign consortium, was not something Abbotsford or Mission residents asked for, but part of an agenda being pushed by the federal government and certain corporate individuals on Council.

To understand my experience and learn how to respond I turned to water documentaries such as FLOW (For Love Of Water) - a documentary about the privatization of drinking water - and saw that this is the typical modus operandi of P3 (public-private partnership) proponents. The film addresses the problems that have occurred in Europe with regard to water systems that are privately operated. However, most of the film is about P3s in the developing world in Africa and South America. I was surprised to find myself relating to the experiences of water consumers in those countries or villages. Even though I consider myself to be a strong, assertive woman, I wept at the similarity of what had happened to them and to what was now happening to my community of Abbotsford, B.C., Canada. I was amazed at the parallels between the fifth largest city in B.C. and communities in the developing world.

A number of concerned citizens of both Abbotsford and Mission have begun exhaustive research on the impacts of public-private water systems on consumers and communities. Water, is after all THE essential to all life. What became evident at the outset was that a very small percentage of water systems in Canada are the design, build, finance, operate model that the elected representatives of Abbotsford and Mission and their consultant Deloitte & Touche had opted to pursue. In B.C. and Canada the vast majority of local governments opt to have water systems operated publicly. Usually the private sector is limited to the design/build activities of water systems.

The need for more water was not a fact that Council members in both Abbotsford and Mission were unaware of. Two very extensive consultant reports were released in 2006 and 2009 that made it very clear that in order to approve more residential, commercial and industrial development much more water was needed. The estimated cost of the 2006 Water Master Plan was just under $197 million and in 2010 it was $198 million. Both Water Master Plans used costs related to Stave Lake as the source for additional water. A 2009 report prepared by Polis which recommended conservation as a way to have a sustainable water system and save up to 70% was released by the Abbotsford-Mission Water and Sewer Commission. See that report here.

Just months after the 2010 Water Master Plan was released the cost has gone up to $300 million, according to a Deloitte & Touche “business case” commissioned by the city. In addition, the cost to operate the public-private water system Stave Lake section would be $1+ million more per year over the proposed 25 year contract. Apparently, significant cost increases are quite common when P3 design/build and finance/operate “business cases” are submitted to senior governments for funding assistance. Historically, the assistance has been as much as 60% of the capital costs. The public-private “business case" for the Abbotsford/Mission water upgrade was submitted to PPP Canada Inc. - a relatively new crown corporation created by the Harper Conservative government in 2007. According to information available from the Government of Canada, PPP Canada Inc. will “grow” the P3 market in Canada; manage a $2 billion+ P3 Fund, providing up to 25% of municipal and provincial P3 costs; review and assess proposals for P3s seeking federal contributions using a new “P3 screen”; provide advice and expertise for P3 matters; and target municipal and small projects in particular. 

Local governments have proclaimed that they have no choice but to opt for a public–private water system if they want to access federal funding (now lowered to 25%). With the P3 cat out of the bag a group of concerned water consumers from both Mission and Abbotsford met and formed Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford. News of this was met with a full page ad in the local media in Abbotsford and Mission, quoting Abbotsford Mayor George Peary erroneously accusing CUPE (the union that represents civic workers) of misleading the public about the impact of P3s. Then Deloitte & Touche was contracted and directed to not even consider anything other than the design/build and finance/operate option. Their recommendation was finally debated in public on Apr. 4, 2011. Abbotsford Council and staff refused to answer any questions. They looked like deer in the headlights according to one observer.

A large contingent of the public expressed such strong opposition to the P3 option that Council voted to delay the vote and (finally) address the numerous concerns voiced at the meeting. On the same evening with both Council and staff available to respond to concerns from the public, Mission Council decided to respect the concerns of its citizens and take the bull by the horns and voted the P3 water scheme down. This caused yet another very disrespectful public comment from Mayor Peary who humiliated residents by stating that the tail (Mission) would not be allowed to wag the dog (Abbotsford). Most of the water Abbotsford currently taps - from Norrish Creek - is not in Abbotsford but in Mission, as is Stave Lake.

Many hoped that would be the end of the P3 as both Abbotsford's Water and Sewer Commission Report on the matter and the “business case” required both Councils to agree to the P3 water scheme. But as far as Mayor Peary was concerned it was still “full steam ahead”. When Abbotsford Council voted on April 18, 2011 on a quickly revised Deloitte & Touche “business case” - which “reduced” the cost to $284 million - to proceed with the P3 water scheme, one Councillor even expressed disgust at being bribed with our own money while we endanger our “gentleman’s agreement” with Mission, our longstanding working partner. However, during the recent federal election campaign Abbotsford Conservative incumbent candidate Ed Fast said that the P3 water scheme is not compulsory in order to obtain federal funds. 

The voters of Abbotsford will now be asked to approve the P3 water project in a referendum in November 2011, including a long-term 25 year private contract to finance and operate the water system and the borrowing well over $50 million. The City of Abbotsford is launching a massive communications plan to convince the electorate to vote in favour of this privatization of their water services.

However, public opposition to the idea is mounting, along with the logistical problem Abbotsford faces in accessing water located in Mission for which they need right-of-way access. In May Mission Council unanimously refused to consider a request by Abbotsford to grant access to Mission’s roads for the P3 project. 

Abbotsford’s Mayor Peary is not making any friends by damning his neighbours in the media, chastising Mission Council and residents for their decision to keep their water system in public hands, and threatening to move forward with the project regardless of the will of Mission residents. There really is no room for bullying and egos when planning how to deliver water for life, not profit, to the public.

Lynn Perrin is the Abbotsford Spokesperson for Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford.

To learn more about the battle over Mission and Abbotsford's water and how you can help:

Web / Facebook / Youtube / Contact:

Source is HERE


Hard to believe, but impossible to forget that mismanaged water can go up in smoke this way ... 

Click HERE for the story.


Small scale stories or large-scale stories, the treachery continues ... it's everywhere we look ...

CANARIE-killers. Did the Harper Conservatives just pull the plug on Canada's premier internet research network?

Excerpt ...

...  without any fanfare or public attention, it really does seem like we are seeing our own “CANARIE in a coalshaft”, a government pulling a plug on an initiative that has not only been a world leader but also adhered steadfast to principles of an open, interconnected and constantly evolving next generation internet that delivers up a broad range of public goods. As the open, user-centric model of the Internet comes under pressure from a broad array of forces bent on implementing a the ‘pay-per model’ of the Internet, CANARIE served as reminder that alternatives are not only available, but actually feasible and critically important.

For a government bent on a fairy tale version, at least in public, of ‘free markets’, the sense of a viable alternative in our midst was just too much. Better to kill a couple of birds with just one budget-sized boulder, and so CANARIE is sacrificed and miserly support for broadband development for all Canadians cut to the bone.

For a government already widely criticized for lacking a decent vision of the future and an adequate ‘digital economy’ strategy, these moves look just dumb.

Read all of this important article HERE.


Thank-you B.C. Mary for keeping the public posted on this "water frontier" issue. Maude Barlow of Ontario is an outspoken champion of public owned water.She has worked on this water issue globally for quite some time now. Mission needs to alert her to this problem with greedy Abbotsford's council. She would elevate the profile for Canadians to understand.
Do you know what happened in Hope around Nestles' taking over the "spring water there in the past few years??? They sell trillions of plastic bottles now filled with Fraser Valley water; don't they? That needs investigating.

Water is them thar hills, I'm thinking.
At the rate we are poisoning our, lakes, rivers, streams and underground clean drinking water, by fracking, pipeline bursts and pesticides. Fracking wastes billions of gallons of water. Clean drinking water will become more valuable than oil, gas, copper, gold, silver, railroads and all. We can't drink poison and live.

Water is just a dirty a business as oil. Read the Water War Crimes, and see for yourselves.

We do not want our water going PRIVATE. Look at the mess the run of the rivers is in, by going private. Our hydro will go up 53% because, Campbell thieved our rivers and sold them. The eco damage of the private rivers, is horrific.

Do we also think private water won't go to the highest bidder, such as the dirty Alberta tar sands? We will be forced into paying a monster price, for the essential to life, our clean water.

Campbell is flooding the most valuable farmland in Canada, to supply the dirtiest energy on the planet, the water from the site C dam to, the dirty Alberta tar sands. Harper and Campbell have worked on this, for absolute years.

Wikileaks has said, the N.A.U. is on the way. We already supply some of the states and Mexico, with clean drinking water. Everyone will want to buy up water rights, before the N.A.U. hits. The U.S. and Mexico, are very short on clean water. BC's vast resources, will be divided among the three N.A.U. country's.

We may have to go back to cisterns, to collect water for our homes. Many of us, won't be able to afford, privatized water.

AND, the dirty oil tankers from the U.S. will line up with the dirty oil tankers from China, for the dirtiest energy in the world. The filthy crud from the tar sands.

Yes, Mary our water is for sale to the highest corporatation in my opinion.
So Abby/Mission people better be paying attention and throw these guys out. As we should be throwing out the lieberals come time.
Mary, I have been watching recent developments with growing alarm. As a resident of Abbotsford, I have a real stake in this matter. I'm fearful that the city will win the coming referendum through a massive "information campaign", much like the Liberal government's mailings to promote the HST. A recent small article in the news shows that it is working - there is a lessening of opposition to the hated sales tax.
@OLE....You are wrong about the pro-HST gaining support.

You are being brainwashed..There was an Ipsos Reid poll two odd weeks ago, it was a push-poll where the poll givers at Ipsos EXPLAINED Christy Clark`s fix..

There was another Ipsos Reid poll released today...And drum roll please.

The support for the HST is LOWER in this poll today then the one where Ipsos Reid explained the fix.

The public are waking up to the three years off fix, if you can trust BC Liberals.

The anti-HST will win...The Christy Clark polish is gone, she`s angered the public with the arrogance of false advertising and blatant lying.
dave basi said he wants everything released. Then ask him, NDP, ask him to WAIVE privilege!!

why oh why are the NDP wasting their time asking the Govt? Dont they know anything about how client-solicitor privilege works?

Evidently not...
I remember when Mission's water needs were met by Connell Lake (just west of Steelhead) and the expansion of the water system to include Norrish Creek (aka Suicide Creek, as we all knew it - so-named because of how cold it was). It's not in Mission proper though, it's east of Dewdney; that area is socially and econmically part of Mission, not part of the District, though maybe Perrin was writing from the context of it having been Mission's water system in the first place; I remember there wwas a lot of politics about that expansion, but not the details, and it probably had to do with getting Abbotsford involved at all in the first place. I remember there's been talk of tapping Cascade and/or Winslow Creeks also....for what it's worth there's an IPP under construction on the upper Stave River a few miles above the head of the lake

It surprises me that Stave Lake is a major water source now; we had our own local private water supply below Ruskin Dam (i.e. not from Hayward Lake itself, above the dam). Guess things have changed a lot....Stave at one time was so full of standing deadheads that the water might not have been drinkable from the resins, though that's all been cleaned up now (as has also been Hayward).

Big news to me lately, and kind of a shock to my imagination, is the coming decommissioning of Ruskin Dam. Too expensive to refit for seismic upgrading, rather than being privatized it will be taken down. Talk about riparian remediation, the old Stave Canyon will be exposed, including the old railway grade rising along its sides that will make a walking trail...could be pretty cool. At the time it was built the Ruskin plant was the largest in the grid supplying all of Graeter Vancouver's power, and was not superseded until the opening of Bridge River No. 1 around 1951-52.
Water is the new oil.

Not to brag, but I saw this coming back in the '70s during the oil embargo, that one day water would be just as strategic on a global scale as oil was; now it's a commodity to be exploited and privatized, another instant gold rush for those who know how to print money (and are, in fact, in charge ot that process, or who have friends who are).

The hard-core free enterprise agenda has no room, whatsover, for the concept of "the commons" and is intent on staking it out, owning it,and selling it back to us. Seems to me some interpretation of the UN declarations on water could be used to maintain public control in face of the corporate onslaught to own and control everything. Absolutely everything.
This has been an ongoing probl;em for years - see

A blog started by a lawyer previously involved in the very controvercial water sales of twenty years ago. The details are fascinating as they give light to previously covered up or protected information/ Note here too, the glaring absence of mainstream media coverage on what should be a basic human right issue.

Corporate greed at it's worst - would be a good explanation to what has / is happening.

I've just come across another article in the news regarding Mayor Peary's speech at a national conference hosted by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Halifax recently. He is obviously intent on seeing this P3 project through come hell or high water.

Water is a gift for all, not a commodity to be sold
Citizens don't let your guard down! As soon as anything goes into private hands, public interest is thrown out the window. Greed is good and big profits even better. That is what you get going private.
The last place to rely on for the truth, is the media. They only do propaganda, in favor of the BC Liberals.

Everywhere i go, i still hear a lot of anger at the HST. Especially mothers, who are shopping for food and clothing for their family's.

Lets just say, put the BC Liberals and Campbell in a room, with a lot of pissed off mothers.

Christy's family's first mantra, has worn totally out. Mothers just don't believe Christy anymore. Price tags, keep on getting higher and higher.

No trickle down money saved by big business, has "trickled" down to the price tags. And, BC jobs, just keep "trickling" away too.
Thanks Grant, for bringing me up to date on the HST support/non-support. I don't think I am "brainwashed", merely stating what I read. I guess that's the problem - too many folks don't dig behind the story, and I am well aware that the lame stream media are not doing their job. That being said, I am glad to hear that Queen Christy is indeed losing support. Thanks again.
Mary - Les Leyne's column today mentions that the government is reviewing the $6M payout to Basi and Virk! This is part of the Stephen Toope Review. Maybe we can finally get some answers.
Anon 3:18 - don't hold your breath on answers. Somehow, somewhere, someone will stop those involved in reviewing.
The only way we'll get to the bottom is with a "Full Public Inquiry" and I nominate T. Braidwood as the commissioner to oversee it.
Hi. Here's a recent article in the Huffington Post about the sale of public assets to investors:

It's about the USA, but it's an indication of what might happen to BC Hydro.
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