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British Columbia just finished a provincial election and one of the big issues was the Site C dam. During the election, a lot of myths were spread about the project. In this post, I'd like to dispel some of the most egregious of these myths.
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The so-called B.C. Liberals aren't liberal. They try to run government like a business. B.C. is the only province without a poverty reduction plan. Not a word on this from the corporate premier. Clark likes to brag about BC's strong economy, but she won't address the gross inequality in our province or the record number of children in poverty.
I am tired of hearing about people dying every single day from overdoses while we still don't have a solid long term plan-a year after declaring a state of emergency. I'm tired of watching friends and family struggle more and more every year while costs of living skyrocket and wages remain stagnate. I am tired of fundraising endlessly to cover basic supplies at my sons school and watching other schools go without because they cant fundraise enough.
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As the provincial election is fast approaching it can be hard to keep up with or remember all the deceptions of Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals. So let's take a look at 10 of the biggest ones.
We're now three months from the provincial election. The government doesn't seem to want to talk in-depth about BC Hydro, so it will be up to the voters to press it as an issue. What are the parties' plans to get BC Hydro out of debt? How much will they increase our rates? How will they bring costs under control?
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Ken and Arlene Boon must be out of their home by May 31.
According to the Canadian Payroll Association's survey of employed Canadians released in advance of this week's festivities, 53 per cent of British Columbians reported that "it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay cheque was delayed by even a single week."
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In April, the Alaska Highway News filed an access to information request for a list of the direct award contracts signed during the first stages of the Site C dam construction. The contracts ranged in value from $30,373 to $900,000, but that's only for the awards the utility disclosed.
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Another vacancy in a public boardroom and another B.C. Liberal party supporter ready and willing to fill it. News that Frank Carson -- a partner at Victoria law firm Cox, Taylor -- was appointed chair of B.C. Transit's board of directors last week was met with the expected cynicism.
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The B.C. government has placed two bets over the Site C project: one that B.C. Hydro can keep construction costs to $8.8 billion, and, two, that it can find customers for the power. Left to cover the ante? Taxpayers.
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B.C. Hydro must have been counting on nobody taking a close look at the questions they asked respondents in a recent public survey about the site C dam, because not only are they misleading, they also tell another story entirely.
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According to Martyn Brown, "No corporation, no industry, no union gives the level of money that they give to politicians without expecting special consideration in return, and they do get it." Here's a sampling of what "special considerations" might mean.
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Canadians have come to expect that politicians will take a few liberties with facts as they spin issues to suit their purpose. A master practitioner of the art form is the B.C. government, with spin that can be light in the accuracy department.
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Last July, whistleblower Alana James made a startling claim in an interview with the Vancouver Sun about allegations of corruption leveled at the B.C. Ministry of Health: "This was not about one ministry and less than a dozen individuals."
Left out of its December release -- announcing the awarding of the $1.75 billion contract -- was any mention of collusion and bid-rigging by Korean-based Samsung C&T; the ongoing investigation by a Spanish magistrate and anti-corruption prosecutors into "allegations of misappropriation of public funds, falsifying documents and money laundering" at Acciona; and liquidity issues at Petrowest.
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Power went out for 6,000 customers.
Just thumb through the party's 2009 donor list for a sense of how widespread the practice of awarding contracts to friends has become. Back then, someone must have woke up on New Year's Day with one hell of a hangover -- not from the night before -- but from the bank balance in the B.C. Liberal party's account.
Hydro President and CEO Jessica McDonald said the increase is included in the 10-year plan.
Petty. One word that springs to mind after last week's B.C. budget. At best, it's a lip service budget. Tweak here, tweak there, but devoid of any real purpose. To be sure, some were tossed a chi...
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Make no mistake, there's a price to pay when B.C. Hydro becomes a political arm of government. The intertwining of self-interests gets complicated, while the interests of ratepayers can take a backseat to political interests.
The people of B.C. are waking up, big time. I'm sure this scares the hell out of Clark, who might finally be coming to the realization that every scandal, misstep or moronic statement can't be fixed with a smiling photo op in a hard hat.
In Paris Canada agreed to drop our greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. To achieve this goal Canada will need to cut fossil fuels out of our transportation and home heating energy budgets by the middle of this century. Fossil fuels represent 60 per cent of B.C.'s current energy needs.
"...it is a terrible message to send when you have BC Hydro behaving in this way."
The contract is expected to create 1,500 jobs at its peak.
Victoria, Duncan, Abbotsford and Chilliwack were hit particularly hard.
Lip service to local autonomy.
The downpour could overwhelm debris-clogged drains, adding to the woes of the estimated 60,000 customers still waiting for power.
Anyone who tells you that we don't need the new power from a project like the Site C dam doesn't understand British Columbia's energy picture.