This scarring of the pristine landscape was done over the protests of people like Betty and Harriet as well as some of the more affluent people in BC who live in West Vancouver, the highest priced real estate in Canada. The more sane alternative would have been to drill a tunnel.
So betty has filed a civil suit against the construction company for assault as well as the Attorney General of BC.
In her blog at http://bettysearlyedition.blogspot.com/ Betty notes:
So where does my civil case against Kietwit Sons Co and Kevin Falcon stand resulting from my part in the blockades at Eagleridge Bluffs? Well, while the court did throw out the two main issues I wanted tried, I was allowed to bring the charges of assault forward and also include the Attorney General (my stars, Wally Oppal) and Sea to Sky Highway. Their method of dealing with me? Simple. Ignore me. They haven’t answered my legal demand to acknowledge and present a defense. By law, they are supposed to do this. But of course, all of these powerful people are above the law. In fact, they make the law. The law as it is written holds no charm for them. How dare an elderly woman try to bugger up the traffic (as Kevin Falcon demanded at the traffic tie up on the Second Narrows Bridge when an elderly woman was in the process of being talked out of suicide) or get in the way of their clean sweep of the natural public resources of this province? Ignore the old woman, they seem to be saying. And tell her to go jump. They don’t have to obey the law.
But I say this isn’t over. And we’ll see. Betty Krawczyk
Go get em Betty.
Hon. G. Campbell: What we intend to put before the voters is the fact that the British Columbia Rail Company continues to own the right-of-way, continues to own the railbed and continues to own the track; that the British Columbia taxpayer will get $1 billion upfront; that the British Columbia taxpayer will be able to write down $500 million of debt and pay it off on behalf of those taxpayers.
Furthermore, what we'll be able to show British Columbia taxpayers is a brand-new northwest gateway to Asia for British Columbia and Canada. What we will show British Columbia taxpayers is a new continental gateway in Prince George with a new wheel shop, with a new northern office for CN, with 375 new jobs in Prince George and the surrounding region through the airport. That's what we're showing to British Columbians.
$1 billion upfront: So tell me Mr. Campbell. How does a zero net payment translate into A billion dollars? I'd sure like to know because being a pensioner I would like to be able to do the same dance with my pensions. Which by the way are becoming closer to zero every day.
The move by this government to use an order in council to adjust the law to suit their own needs defies all that was once decent in this province. There is no Governing here. Everything is done by Dictatorship. Whether it's Forests, Hydro, Roads, Giving away Railways, or not helping the disabled.
What type of imbecile would stupe to doing such a thing to the disabled in this province? What type of childish antics is this man pulling? Just where does he get off doling out corporate welfare to those who contribute to his campaign but refusing and altering the laws to screw the people who elected him? Who the hell does he think he is? He and his party were elected to govern this province. Not to be a dictatorship.
Mr. Campbell, either resign or repeal this order in council. No, on second thought, just Resign .
Following is from a preview of a book called The Sommers Scandal by Ian Macdonald and Betty O'Keefe.
Forests and scandals are perennial subjects of B.C. politics, and the controversy surrounding Robert Sommers, the provincial Lands, Forests, and Mines minister in 1955, combined the two. Sommers, a prominent figure in W.A.C. Bennett's Social Credit cabinet, was accused of taking bribes in exchange for granting tree farm licenses.
Sommers was a choirboy in the Wacky Bennett government in the 50's for those who are too young to remember, that was convicted of receiving bribes to allowing certain lands cutting rights for BCFP ( British Columbia Forest Products).
After moving from Rossland to Victoria, Sommers was cash-strapped. He accepted loans from a small sawmill operator named Wick Gray, who had business ties to a high-powered forest consulting firm owned by Charlie Schultz. Schultz also represented BCFP. Thousands of dollars passed from Schultz to Gray to Sommers and $600 worth of carpet also found its way onto Sommers’ floor boards.
W.A.C. Bennett was in full expansion mode at this time — laying blacktop, rail lines and dams across the hinterlands to cement his support. A new pulp mill and hundreds of jobs from BCFP would provide yet another ribbon-cutting ceremony, another opportunity to flash his famous smile. BCFP’s request for cutting rights on Vancouver Island got a thumbs up from the premier.
Gordon Gibson, [ that's Gibson Senior] Liberal MLA and millionaire logger sniffed the rumours, blowing the whistle in the legislature in February of 1955. The blustery ‘Bull Of The Woods’ accused the government of fraud. “I firmly believe that money talks and has talked,” he said.
But old Wacky knew how to handle things and he basically hung his minister out to dry. Still sounding familiar?
There was plenty of government foot dragging, lawsuits, police investigations, and a subsequent trial. [ sound familiar?] Snip......
Five years after the allegations of impropriety had surfaced, Sommers and Gray were found guilty of bribery and conspiracy, while BCFP and consultant Charlie Schultz got off unscathed. [more familiarities in the present day Railway scandal] [snip.....]
And then this from Chad Skelton
Old-growth logging plan sparks war-in-woods threat
Chad SkeltonVancouver SunWednesday, July 23, 2008
Trees felled by Coulson Forest Products in Hesquiat Point Creek in preparation for a logging road into the area.
Environmentalists are concerned because if logging goes ahead in Hesquiat Point Creek, it will mark the first time a "pristine" vallley of old-growth forest has been logged since 1991.B.C. could see a return to protests and blockades in world-renowned Clayoquot Sound as a forestry company prepares to log an old-growth forest in the Hesquiat Point Creek watershed -- the first time a company has begun logging in such a "pristine" valley in nearly 20 years.And this time, first nations and environmentalists -- allies in the 1993 protests -- are on opposite sides.[Snip...]
In response to environmentalists' concerns, the companies temporarily halted construction of the logging road in May, although only after they felled a stand of trees in the valley 400 metres long and 20 metres wide.But Ken Matthews, forestry manager for Coulson, said while the company and first nations are willing to talk to environmentalists, they plan eventually to move into untouched valleys."In the long term, the intention ... is to log into the undeveloped watersheds," said Matthews[snip...]
In 1993, first nations and environmentalists stood shoulder to shoulder on the barricades in protest against forestry giant MacMillan Bloedel.Since then, MacMillan Bloedel and Interfor have sold off their licences in Clayoquot to two small companies -- MaMook and Iisaak -- owned by five financially struggling first nations in the area: the Hesquiaht, Ahousaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Ucluelet and Toquaht."It's quite different than the situation that was there in the early 1990s, when you had outsiders logging and very little return going to first nations," [snip...]
Boy did Gordon Gibson Senior have it right 53 years ago when he said "money talks". So I wonder in 50 years what there will be left for the first nations to Steward?
.......does anybody hear?
This BC Railway is now owned by CN and given the record of derailments on this line I thought it would be relevant to the situation to show a photo of the state of disrepair on this line.
Click on the photo to enlarge it
This sign is visible to anyone sitting on the port side of a passenger car coming from Prince George heading to Vancouver.
As I took the photo I thought to myself: "Where is the pride in this railway?" What did this government do to us when they Gave it away?
The full version of his article is available in The Sun. .
Forest firm takes issue with extraneous issues in land-use report
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver SunPublished: Saturday, July 19, 2008
VICTORIA - In the midst of a bitter exchange between the ministry of forests and the auditor-general, there were some telling comments this week from the forest company at the centre of the controversy.
Chief executive officer Reynold Hert from Western Forest Products was responding to a critical report on a government land-use decision that benefited his company.
But it should be noted that Hert did not attempt to challenge many of the key findings by Auditor-General John Doyle.
Rather, he raised concerns that others have aired as well, namely Doyle's propensity for raising matters that were beside the point at best, spurious at worst.
He went on to provide half a dozen examples of what he regarded as "incomplete and inaccurate statements" and "inappropriate opinions."
I've quoted Hert at some length to illustrate that it is possible to debate the auditor-general without joining Forests Minister Pat Bell in questioning his competence, integrity and professionalism.
I would also underscore that, in taking on the auditor-general, Western produced no evidence to challenge his most important findings from a public policy point of view.
Those being that Coleman and the Liberals made the decision to remove those lands from the provincial forest base without proper consultation, thorough analysis or due consideration of the public interest.
Mind, it may just be that those matters no longer concern Western, the company having gotten what it wanted from the Liberals.
"The auditor-general does not have the authority to reverse the decision" wrote Hert, "nor does he recommend that the decision be reversed."
Case closed, as far as the company is concerned. But far from the end of the story in the political realm.
I found this to be a very balanced piece with comments on various things mentioned in the column that were left out by WFP, the government, (Minister Bell in particular) and some other journalists. I didn't see any spin and my actual personal belief is that Vaughn was trying to show us that there is a rational way to discuss matters. If the rest of the Mainstream Media could catch on to this, we may be able to get to the bottom of all the (bad) things going on here in this Province. Full Balanced reporting is what is needed.
Wouldn't it be nice to see the BC Rail case discussed in this way (fully)in the MSM. I say this because I see recently that the Media seems to be pulling away ever so slowly from biased reporting. No more blaming the NDP for this governments failures. No more "but the NDP did that" .
Who knows, maybe balanced journalism would put some of us bloggers out of business?
Wouldn't it be nice if we could have the Legislature Raid case reported like this?
As an addendum here I am calling for the resignation of Minister Bell from his ministry as well as an MLA in the Province of BC with a full public apology to the Auditor General for his behavior unbecoming of an elected official in the province of British Columbia.
Minister Bells way of acting as a public official is "not the way we do business in Canada".
'surprised' by attacks over report
Liberal anger over review unfounded: auditor general
Judith Lavoie, Times ColonistPublished: Friday, July 18, 2008
The furious response of Forests Minister Pat Bell to a report on private forest lands was auditor general John Doyle's welcome-home greeting.
Doyle, who took up the auditor general's position last October, arrived back in B.C. Tuesday from Perth, Australia, where he underwent major heart surgery.
"I went back to Australia to attend a conference and have some leave and, while I was in Australia, it was determined I had this problem and, with very short notice, I was told I needed surgery," he said in an interview yesterday.
Auditor general John Doyle says in his years of performing accountability audits, he has "never, ever seen anything" like Forests Minister Pat Bell's outburst Wednesday over his forest-land report.
The welcome mat was not out -- at least as far as the Forests Ministry was concerned.
As reporters were given the report, they were also handed a response from Forests Minister Pat Bell, which Doyle had not seen.
Doyle's speed-read of the first page appeared to support the findings of his report, which said Coleman's decision was made without sufficient information, consultation or attention paid to the public interest.
However, in subsequent pages, Bell took exception to most of the report's major findings.
Bell followed up by slamming Doyle in a media scrum, calling the report unprofessional and lacking in integrity.
"I was a bit surprised," said Doyle.
After decades of doing accountability audits, it is the first time Doyle has seen such a response.
"I have never, ever seen anything like the performance of the minister before," Doyle replied.
Also, the ministry appears to have had some "lapses of corporate memory" over issues such as the definition of public interest and mandate, Doyle said.
Bell lashed out at the auditor general's office for not providing a copy of the report until the day before the release, but Doyle said the draft report was provided to the ministry three and a half weeks ago.
Before accepting the job, Doyle was assured he would have independence and support from both sides of the house and he does not expect recent tensions to affect that.
"I will continue to operate in a fearless way," he said.
Right on, Mr. Doyle. It's about time we saw, in this Province, someone who is not going to take any crap from these arrogant fools who were elected to serve the people and govern this province.
The statement by the [new] Forest minister and the refusal of the Old forest minister to talk to your department just show to what new lows this government has stooped.
I have been reading comments on other blogs that try to remind us of the Barrett years and how bad they were. Yet they don't mentionn anything about some of the better leaders of the Liberals. Such as Gordon Wilson who brought this party from the ashes (where they had languished for years because of their arrogance) to the forefront. Only to be backstabbed by (I alledge) the present leader, for his own political gain.
Are these commentors forgetting how this government has slashed programs for the poor, yet given corporate welfare to the rich? Do they not remember broken promises like 'we will not sell BC Rail'? Or how they have gutted the Workers Compensation Act to suit the needs of big business in the name of profit? Or how they cancelled signed contracts such as the nurses Or how they forced a contract on the Prosecutors.
And now this Forest Minister has the utter gall to lie about the timing of his receipt of the report then lash out at a man who is (in my opinion) doing a stand up job. Tell him "that's not the way we do business here". well mister Minister I've got news for you that's how the rest of the people do business here. The only ones that don't tdo it that way are the present administration. You people, in my opinion, are so afraid to stand up to your leader it makes me sick. Someone has to stop this bullshit and I will attempt on my own way to do so by cutting everything you spin to pieces.
When is this arrogance and stupidity going to stop. The Forest Minister owes Mr. Doyle a public apology. And he owes it to this man today.
Following are sections of the British Columbia Crown Council Act pertaining to the Special Prosecutor. With the recent events in the BC Court of Appeal and the Special Prosecutor in the Legislature Raids/BC Rail Fiasco it may help some in seeing what can be done if this trial is dropped.
Given the fact that nothing can be witheld after the trial ends I don't see how the government would have any choice but to further delay this trial in any way possible until after the next election. If they have to open the books so to speak they just may lose the election. Hell, they could wind up being sued. That would be a Civil Court matter and I'm fairly sure that they can't hide behind priviledge there.
Directions from Attorney General on specific prosecutions
5 If the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General gives the ADAG a direction with respect to the approval or conduct of any specific prosecution or appeal, that direction must be:
(a) given in writing to the ADAG, and
(b) published in the Gazette.
Policy directive from Attorney General
6 (1) If the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General wishes to issue a directive respecting the Criminal Justice Branch policy on the approval or conduct of prosecutions, that directive must be given in writing to the ADAG and, in the discretion of the ADAG, may be published in the Gazette.
(2) If the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General wishes to issue a directive respecting the administration of the Branch, that directive must, if requested by the ADAG, be given in writing and may, in the discretion of the ADAG, be published in the Gazette.
7 (1) If the ADAG considers it is in the public interest, he or she may appoint a lawyer, who is not employed in the Ministry of Attorney General, as a special prosecutor.
(2) A special prosecutor must carry out his or her mandate, as set out in writing by the ADAG, and in particular must:
(a) examine all relevant information and documents and report to the ADAG with respect to the approval and conduct of any specific prosecution, and
(b) carry out any other responsibilities respecting the initiation and conduct of a specific prosecution.
(3) If the ADAG appoints a special prosecutor, the ADAG must advise the Deputy Attorney General :
(a) that a special prosecutor has been appointed, and
(b) the name of the special prosecutor.
(4) If, after a special prosecutor receives the mandate under subsection (2), the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General or ADAG gives a direction to a special prosecutor in respect of any matter within the mandate of the special prosecutor, that direction must be given in writing and be published in the Gazette.
(5) Subject to the mandate given to the special prosecutor by the ADAG or to a directive referred to in subsection (4), the decision of a special prosecutor with respect to any matter within his or her mandate is final, but a decision not to approve a prosecution may be appealed by a law enforcement officer under the process established by section 4 (4).
Delay in publication
8 (1) The Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General or ADAG may direct publication in the Gazette of those matters referred to in section 5 or 7 be delayed if to do so would be in the interests of the administration of justice.
(2) A delay under subsection (1) must not extend beyond the completion of the prosecution or matter or any related prosecution or matter.
[All italics mine]
So the way I see this is that if these directions are delayed in getting to the Gazette then we can find out what is going on as soon as the trial ends. Hopefully it won't be dropped but if it is , that could be a good thing. Because at that time we will get whatever information that was given to the SP from the BC Gazette.
I was just reading the Save Our Ferries website and turned to a February 08 article on the tax. It lets us know that everytime they get an increase in the tax we pay. Whether it is through a "surcharge" or an increase in fairs. To me they are one in the same. They also say that Ferries is headed for a "Perfect Storm"
But then it hit me. When I go to get gas at the pump, the government sucks 2.34 cents out of my wallet per litre. But what do I get to cover that 2.34 cents? A lousy $100 one time check to keep me placated. I have seen no evidence that we will get more checks and you can bet your ass that comes time for the next budget my taxes won't go down another $100. Which by the way does not cover what they are sucking out of my fixed income pensions.
Now for the good part. Every time the ferries gets hit all they do is jack up the prices (to more than compensate) for the loss.
And where does that increase come from? Right out of our wallets, that's where. We get hit with a god damn double whammy.
If this tax were fair the government would have enacted legislation at the same time forbidding any companies in passing along the increase to the public. That's fair. What isn't fair is you and I paying for the whole god damn thing.
So you see, the only people getting screwed are you and I. We aren't getting our money back. And Campbell never did enact (nor even drat) that part of the legislation nailing the biggest polluters.
Following is from a Tyee column on the tax:
"Take cap and trade for instance. B.C. is part of the Western Climate Initiative. The group, made up of three Canadian provinces and seven U.S. states, plans to create an emissions-trading system that will set limits on the amount of greenhouse gases polluters can spew. Details on what it might look like will come out this fall."
Notice they say might. Is that because they might enact legislation? Or is it that there might be a draft? And why are we waiting until fall.? You and I are getting royally screwed right now. And what do we have on the other side? Mights, maybe's, sort of, possible.
If they were going to do this fairly they would have done it all together. Not wait until the fall so they could stall it again with more studies to get past the next election and keep their big business donations. Or better yet maybe everyone will forget about it in time and they just won't enact it at all.
My bets are on the latter, because as we know everything that comes out of this Premiers mouth is a lie.
I had read on Mary's blog that some of you may be able to attend. We all hope that happens. I know, barring any unforeseen problems, that Bill Tieleman will be there. I wonder if we can count on any of the big papers showing up? Their track record doesn't suggest that will happen. Although with the verdict from the Appeal Court they may think they will now have something to report.
We know from reports over the weekend that Berardino will seek leave to appel the verdict to the Supreme Court of Canada, further delaying this case if that leave is accepted.
I wonder how the appeal will be worded?
Watch for the results at Bill Tielemans' blog and maybe tomorrow on Vancouver 24hrs.
Koot is monitoring Mary's sight as well he has a pretty good sight at House of Infamy. Not sure if he can post on Marys' blog.
Feel free to copy and paste this to an e-mail . Then send it to your friends. Or just tell them about this site.
This rumble is now moving across the country and will gain force.
Please don’t let this happen any further in Canada. Canada emits only2% of the world’s supply of Greenhouse Gases and 52% of that comesfrom the Oil Sands Plants. Automotive emissions are less than 20% of
the 48% balance of Canada’s 2% of the World Outcome. Do the math,
it’s such an insignificant amount, it’s a joke. Our fuel prices are now $6.75 per Gallon, equivalent to $6.00 per gallon U.S.
When Canadians realize what a jackpot the politicians can get us into by
supporting a Carbon Tax, they will be out to get any politician that supports
this cause. Dion, Campbell etc. will regret the day they devised this scheme.
Americans are screaming at $4.00 a gallon. Our provincial and federal
governments are ripping us off with high taxes on fuel now. This is such
a cash cow they don’t want to stop. Stop excessive taxation and giving
our money away abroad. We need more support and tax relief for our
senior’s and baby boomers now retiring and trying to find a fixed income
level they can exist upon after working all their lives and paying heavily
into the system. And I am not an NDP supporter. I am a Senior and a middle of the road conservative and we will be a majority in Canada for the next 20 years, so
politicians, get smart and support us. Do some hard thinking about the future and protect our seniors and all the population from the excessive costs we are facing now and in the future
with more taxes. Technology will fix the Oil Sands problem as they are
working on a fix now to reduce that source in the future.Why us with these programs at this time????
Brian Morris, a concerned Sr. and loyal Canadian, Kelowna BC: Now, a carbon Tax. Politicians have, in the past, used that old bullshit phrase of 'cutting taxes'
to get you to vote for them. Now, Stephan Dionne, has come up with a new
wrinkle on that old lie : Tax your heating oil and anything else you burn to
move your food and everything else that you have always had in your life...
but, he'll lower your income taxes.
CONSIDER THIS from a one person who has bothered to do the homework:When a politician's lips move, I know he's probably lying. Mr. Dion says his
carbon tax will be revenue neutral. So, I went online and found a carbon
calculator and keyed in the annual energy consumption for our household
and learned we produce 17 tons of greenhouse gas. Fully 60% of this usage
is for electricity which we use to heat our home. I have already improved insulation in my walls and replaced my windows and
doors; use the new 'twirley' lights and ensured that my appliances are all Energy
Star products. In the past 20 years, these measures reduced my electricity
usage from 24,000 Kw Hrs per year to 16,000 Kw Hrs per year last years.
What is my reward for this improved efficiency? My power bill is unchanged from
what it was 20 years ago. But, my power bill would attract a carbon tax of $104
in year one of Mr. Dion's plan and $ 416 in year four. My power bill would rise from
$166 per month to $210 per month in year four.Since I live on a fixed income consisting of CPP and Old Age Security, my income
tax bill runs at less than $200 per year. So, for my household, Mr. Dion's 'revenue
neutral' carbon tax will cost me $416 per year less income tax reductions of about
$10 per year. Revenue neutral? In a pig's eye! This is a tax on seniors living on
fixed incomes. Well, Mr. Dion, you haven't got a snowball's chance in hell of ever
getting my vote. I hope everyone else takes five minutes to run the same
calculations I did and vote to send this joker to the political boneyard.
Jon C. Coates - 70 Ridgevalley Rd. - Halifax, N.S. - B3P 2J9 DON'T BUY INTO THE CARBON TAX ! DON'T BELIEVE ANY POLITICIAN FROM ANY PARTY!Remember when they brought in the National Income Tax. They promised that it
would remain in effect only untill all of Canada's World War One Debt was repaid.
Fooled us good. Debt was repaid, but the tax never came off and will be with us
for all eternity. How about this Lie, Trudeau imposed a 5% tax on every litre of Gas
in order to establish a National Oil Company called Petero Canada. He swore thatthis tax would come off as soon as Petro Canada was up and running. And so it
came to pass, Petro Canada was established, It was sold to private hands, the
enormous cash windfall was frttered away AND HIS 5% (plus, plus) still adorns our
pumps to this very day. Now how is this for a con job? (PETRO - CANADA stands for
P ierre E lliot T rudeau R ipped O ff Canada)
Take our BC Premier Campbell, PULEEZE. He truly believes that most British
Columbians are brain dead. You will keep paying a yearly escalating carbon tax
at the pump and you recieve a reduction in your provincial Income Tax. The new
Political Buzz Word is 'Revenue Nuetral' Ha . Should this not be called
what it truly is. 'RECYCLING YOUR MONEY' Just Think Folks, Another Bureaucracy
eating up our our hard earned cash to administer a losers dream.
And Remember, once a goverment gets addicted to a Tax Grab, and you let them
get away with it, you have handed them a Carte Blanche ticket to impose new taxes,
to keep raising existing ones and use it to buy your votes to boot. If we condone
all this, then Premier Cambell is right in assuming that we are all BRAIN DEAD in BC.
(all emphasis mine)
(edited for spelling and punctuation)
Thanksgiving 2005 – the Kitimat story
letter from Corky Evans
It is Thanksgiving tomorrow and I am thankful.
Firstly, thankful that I am home today.
Secondly, I guess just for the good will that I feel living among these people in this place.
I spent the last 24 hours in the company of the fine people of Kitimat and my old friend Paul Ramsey and my new friend Bill VanderZalm To explain such a coalition might take awhile. Happily, we have the grace of time for stories. I thank generations of people who organized for the right to take time away from work for this holiday. I am thanksgiving for the home to write in, for the time to indulge this activity, and for the people that make up the story.
Kitimat is at the end of (what I imagine to be) the longest fiord on the coastline of B.C. The sea runs so far into the land at that place that the town itself is not so much on the ocean as it is in the Coastal Mountains, and visited by the sea. With the moisture of a seaport and with the mountains stopping the weather from moving inland, Kitimat might be the wettest town in the Province and the town (prior to the time of climate change) with the highest snowfall.
Sixty years ago some smart people figured out that if they drilled a hole through a mountain at this place they could take a bit of the Fraser River drainage from the highland of the central province and run it to the coast, dropping thousands of feet in the process, to make power. There being no cities at this point on our coastline to consume such power, they could use the power build and run an aluminum smelter (the biggest in the world at the time.)
Aluminum is made out of stuff called bauxite. We don’t have bauxite in B.C. but that doesn’t matter because making aluminum takes so much electricity that the people who make it will haul the raw material anywhere in the world where there is sufficient power to run their smelter.
In 1949 Canada and British Columbia gave a company called Alcan exclusive rights to a watershed the size of Prince Edward Island. A mountain was hollowed out, the largest (at the time) clay filled dam in the world got built, a lake was created (without bothering to cut the trees first), a large part of the Nechako River was diverted into the hole in the mountain, turbines were installed at the bottom of the tunnel, a smelter and the town of Kitimat were built at the vortex of the fiord, and a Port took shape to receive the bauxite and ship the aluminum.
More or less, that’s how the story started. Years and years later people who lived in the area figured out that native people and salmon had been left out of the deals governments and the corporation of Alcan had made, and court cases and reparations have ensued and carry on.
In the main, though, the scheme worked. Kitimat made aluminum for the world for half a century. 13,000 people lived there. It rained a lot. People liked the stability provided by the work. People liked their town.
Enter Globalism. (How weird that my spellchecker rejects that word every time I type it. This machine is a product of the Globalism phenomenon and it refuses to recognize its own name.)
Globalism changes everything everywhere.
A few decades ago capitalism went a little bit crazy and companies decided to try and be bigger than countries and mergers and buyouts and hostile takeovers began to expand exponentially, doubling every year for much (maybe all) of that time.
Alcan was no different. This Canadian company became a company of the globe.
Another weird phenomenon in business that happened in our time was the utterly bizarre notion that success was not making stuff that people wanted to buy, it was increasing the value of stock, the salaries of executives, the returns to stockholders regardless of whether or not “making stuff” was part of the process.
In the spirit of “the bottom line” Alcan figured out that if they sold the electricity that powered their Kitimat smelter they could make more cash than they could if they used the power to make aluminum. Not that the world didn’t need aluminum. Not that they weren’t good at it. It’s just that it takes workers and machines and lots of bothersome trouble to make stuff. Selling electricity takes hardly any bother at all. Besides, a big enough company can make aluminum anywhere in the world that they can get cheap enough labor and sufficient electricity .
In the brave new globalized world governments all over the world are lining up to sell power for almost nothing to attract a big smelter to employ their citizens. (Some people call this the “race to the bottom.” South Africa, for example, has lots of people who need jobs and lots of coal to burn to make power. Maybe Alcan will go there.)
But, while the world is full of countries that need work for their citizens, there are very few places on this entire continent that can generate electricity as cheaply as the Kemano project (which is what they call the hole in the mountain and the power plant it runs) that was built to electrify Kitimat.
So a couple of decades ago Alcan started trying to break the agreements that they made in 1949 to use Kemano power to smelt aluminum and tried to be allowed to use the water that belongs to British Columbia to make power to sell in California while reducing their workforce in Kitimat.
I guess nobody should blame Alcan for this kind of thinking. Making money, after all, is what corporations are supposed to do. Governments, though, especially democratic governments, are supposed to try and manage affairs differently. Governments are supposed to regulate business to try and make good things happen for their citizens and their communities and for their land.
So the interests of Alcan and the interests of British Columbia governments have been at somewhat of a healthy cross-purpose for a long time. Or at least they used to be. The deal that created Kemano and Kitimat was negotiated by a coalition of Liberals and Conservatives in B.C. in 1949/50. As Alcan started trying to free themselves from the unhappy business of having to smelt aluminum and get themselves free to sell power to California the original intent of the deal was defended by Social Credit and New Democrat governments. Negotiations happened. Court cases happened. Deals were struck and came unstuck.
And all the time families lived in Kitimat and the town was healthy and everyone believed that they would always be there because governments of any stripe would always want them to be there.
In 2001 a government was elected in B.C. who called themselves Liberals. Everybody figured “We can live with Liberals. They run Canada pretty good, they can probably run B.C. too.”
Only the Liberals who became government in 2001 were not like the Liberals who signed the original deal in 1949. These new Liberals were Globalists. These new Liberals do not believe in the idea that the resources of our land are to be managed and regulated to provide well being for citizens. These new Liberals believe that the Marketplace is the holy grail of our brave new culture and if the Marketplace wants power instead of aluminum, then, so be it.
In the last four years the government of B.C. has decided that Alcan is not an aluminum company, it is an Independent Power Producer. It can use the people’s water to make corporate power and it can use the peoples’ electrical transmission grid to move that power to another country and then it can take the profit it makes out into the world to build smelters in other countries to compete with our workers and our smelter. Then, if the town of Kitimat dies, well, “that’s the marketplace.”
A lot of places where a big company is the main employer for a whole town they manage to buy the local government and buy the business community and, sometimes, even the union that represents the workers. When that happens there is nobody to raise their voice when the community is mistreated. For reasons I do not understand but stand in awe of, Kitimat does not appear to be willing to die. The municipal council and the business community and the workers and their union do not appear to be for sale. So they organized to save their jobs and their smelter and their town.
Getting organized is, as far as I know, the only thing that has ever worked to fight power and money. Money is always organized. Banks do it. Stock markets do it. Mutual funds and pension funds do it. Bond rating agencies do it. Most of the most skilled professions do it or teach other people how to do it or provide it with technology and language and theory. Money always gets itself organized to buy political power.
But communities rarely do. For regular people getting organized to row in the same direction is the hardest the job there is. Well, maybe the second hardest job. My friend and co-worker Adrian Dix says the hardest thing to do is “to speak truth to power.” But more on that later.
Anyway, the people of Kitimat got themselves organized a few years ago and they are in a struggle to make Alcan live up to their half century old agreement to use water and electricity to employ people. (You may have noticed by now that I haven’t named any of these folks, or their businesses or their organization. And I won’t. Any mistakes in this letter are strictly my own. Any ramifications that fall out from me writing this letter should fall on me. Nobody told me any of this. I can’t remember anybody’s name up there. I am not very good with names. )
The last Socred Premier to struggle with these issues on behalf of the people of Kitimat was Bill VanderZalm. He told Alcan that they would use the power to make aluminum or they wouldn’t have the power. The New Democrat who worked hardest all through the Nineties to make things at Kemano right was Paul Ramsey. Paul carried the Alcan file for eight years.
The fact that they represented wholly different ideas of How to run the government has no bearing on the fact that they agree on what the Objective is, which is to represent the people and the communities and the land of the Province.
So both of these fellows, in their time, defended Kitimat as best they could and tried to make Alcan use power to employ workers to make aluminum.
Moving (finally) to the present time……Kitimat got itself organized and decided to try and put their history in front of their citizens to assist them to understand what is happening to them and the context for those events. They invited Bill and Paul to come to Kitimat and talk about events of the 1980’s and 90’s as they relate to today. Happily, for me, I guess they heard me talking about how the Liberals were allowing Cominco to sell power while their workers were on strike and about the (impending) sale of our natural gas company, Terasen, to a Texas corporation and they invited me to come with Paul and Bill to talk about the Liberal Brave New World.
Wow. What a cool experience.
I really like to be in towns where I can figure out what people do there. I don’t know why that is. I just like it. I like it if they pack salmon, cut boards, grow apples, log timber, smelt lead or even if they make theater. It doesn’t matter what people do, so long as there is the feeling that the way they live is reflected in where they live and what they do and how they relate to the world. (I am way less comfortable in places where I can’t figure out what the people are doing there.) Kitimat is a place where you know what the people do and the people are full of the pride of doing it well.
And, dare I say it, I really like Bill VanderZalm. I cut my political teeth trying to destroy his Party (although now that I have met the Brave New Liberals I am nostalgic every day for the good old days of conservative politicians that, at least, represented the people that elected them.) I like Bill VanderZalm because he says what he thinks as opposed to what some pollster told him we wanted to hear.
And I always knew I liked Paul Ramsey. Paul and I share an understanding of this country that is unique to those of us who came to B.C. at a hard time and were made to feel welcome and will never forget it. And social democracy. And a bunch of other stuff.
We landed at the Terrace airport and walked outside to find a big white limousine parked at the curb to drive us to Kitimat. Bill said “I can’t ride in that! It might be O.K. for a big shot like Corky but I have a reputation as a regular guy. We get into that car and I’ll never live it down.” We got in and the conversation began and I knew nobody would ever believe I rode in a limo from Terrace to Kitimat.
That night the town came out and filled a theater in Kitimat. It was not a politically partisan crowd. It was a whole community fighting for its life.
Paul talked first and I thought “How many people in this entire Province, are, like Paul, both politicians and educators in the same person? Who else could take a half a century of public policy and contract law and make it make sense to every single person in the room regardless of their language skills or education or understanding?”
Then I talked and waved my arms and talked about this thing I am trying to understand called Globalism and what it means to 10,000 people at the vortex of a fiord on our coast.
Then Bill talked about politics as he understands it. In straight talk he explained the difference between the natural (and correct and different) objectives of a corporation to make money for its stockholders and of a government to represent citizens and about the danger of either institution failing to do its job.
Between us we talked for maybe an hour and then we opened the mikes to citizens to say their piece and/or ask questions.
Workers talked. Elected officials talked (including the MLA and the MP.) Immigrants spoke and people born in that town. At one point a woman went to a microphone to tell a story.
She told how she and her husband run a business in town and she is proud to have made her way by the labor and skill of herself and her husband. She explained that a while back she had written a letter of support for the organization that was defending the interests of the town on this issue. And she explained that from that day on she and her family had had not one day of work from the company, Alcan, that had until that time been their primary employer.
She stood to speak, she said, not to scare people or to express regret. She was neither scared nor sorry. She stood and spoke to explain to people what they were up against and what it would take to win.
The speech of that woman was worth a hundred visiting politicians. It required no answer. It was not poetry. It was, as I had heard Adrian Dix say (about another person on another issue) just a few weeks ago, “the hardest thing to do in life, Speaking truth to Power.”
I was honored to be in the room.
A dear friend of mine told me one time that a thing that a politician must never do is to promise the people that they can, by following the politician’s leadership, avoid the future. I have been thinking about that problem for ten years. I am sure that she was right. For a long time I imagined that this implied that the future is inevitable. I no longer think that.
I am thinking now that maybe what needs to be reconsidered here is not the inevitability of the future but the nature of leadership. Maybe people can make their own future if they try hard enough. Maybe the job of leadership is to participate and listen and represent, not “promise” or “fix.”
I went to Kitimat yesterday and got to see people organize to try and make ideas relevant to the century we are living in instead of the simpler times we like to read about.
There is something going on here. It is hopeful. I don’t claim to understand it. I just want to be part of it.
[all bold emphasis and italics mine]
This post has been re-edited. I had earlier made an assumption and was wrong in not editing some of the initial commentary. That has been done. Lesson learned; read all mail very closely. Do not assume anything. Some of the edited information will appear in another form shortly.
Following are excerpts from the Public Service Alliance of Canada BC http://www.psacbc.com/ website .
The Long and Winding Road: The Privatization of BC Hydro
The long and winding road that leads to your door will never disappear I've seen that road before… (The Beatles- ‘Let it Be’ album)
Vander Zalm saw the light—Will Gordon Campbell?
If you boycotted EXPO 86 and rallied against Bill Vander Zalm (long before his “I love public power” road-to-Damascus conversion), then you may be old enough to remember the Socred government’s massive privatization program with public utilities and crown corporations at the top of the list.
But for the younger set among us, a bit of history.
In 1987, a how-to of sorts on privatizing BC Hydro was developed by the up-and-coming private sector champion, David Emerson. Emerson’s report identified likely “candidates” for privatization. Included in the list were the now-sold Rail and Gas Divisions (BC Rail and Terasen Gas), and Crown assets pegged as “extremely controversial”, such as the Hydro-electrical Group.
In the end, the Zalm’s zealot-like approach did little to win public support.
At the dawn of the new millennium the BC Liberals came to power armed with a militant view of “private is good” and a more subtle, yet devious, privatization plan. The plan, as recent news indicates, was a big win for Liberal “bag-man” and Accenture-hired lobbyist, Pat Kinsella.
Couching public private partnerships as a way of minimizing costs to government and spreading the risk to the private sector, less than six-months into their mandate the Campbell government issued its formal intention to privatize one-third of BC Hydro.
By early 2004, one-third of BC Hydro was given to outsourcing giant Accenture—of Enron fame—and the legislation was introduced to make it easier to sell off Hydro’s assets.
Today, the once proud public utility has lost responsibility for transmission, and is forbidden by government policy from adding any new publically owned domestic resources to generate electricity.
BC Hydro or GE - What's your choice?
Private power companies financed by the likes of GE, are the new sources of electricity in BC and the sweetheart deals are enough to make even hard-core business interests blush.
As the union representing workers at BC Hydro and its privatized arm, Accenture, we have worked hard to put up roadblocks on the long and winding road to privatization, and are determined to Take Back the Power.
We oppose the privatization of BC Hydro resources (our power, water and jobs) for many of the same reasons all of you do:
It does damage to those members and their families who are directly affected
It does damage to BC Hydro—in which we are stakeholders along with all other taxpayers
And as everyone can plainly see, privatization is doing severe damage to the environment of BC, our common heritage
We support a new legacy for BC Hydro—a Sustainable Energy Plan that puts an end to back room deals and puts the public back in the drivers seat, in charge of our future and our resources.
The BC Liberal government is selling BC’s rivers and our legacy to private power interests.
That’s power we don’t need at a price we can’t afford
and then I came across a letter written in 2005 by Corky Evans which is published in part in a separate posting above.
Small spontaneous act suggests the rising fear and anger in British Columbia's island communities:
Gulf Island travellers impede ferry departure ..Ferry delayed after passengers protest being turned away
Vancouver Sun July 5, 2008
GALIANO ISLAND -
The last sailing off Galiano Island this evening was delayed by half an hour after a group of passengers blocked the ramp of the Queen of Nanaimo after being told they couldn't board because the ferry was already full.
Between 30 and 50 foot and vehicle passengers refused to leave the ramp of the Queen of Nanaimo ferry just before its scheduled 5:55 p.m. sailing to Tsawwassen, BC Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said. "We had no room," she said.
Comment; now why is it that they would have no room. Could it be because they are now operating that portion of the Trans Canada Highway as a "for profit" entity? Cutting staff and services in the name of profit is not good corporate citizenship.
"We had to call in the RCMP because they wouldn't leave the ramp."...[snip]
Further comment: Why? Why would a now "private corporation" look to the RCMP for help? This is something I don't understand.
" ...The Campbell coalition seems to regard Canada's Gulf Islands community social ideas as the provincial equivalent of Saddam's WMDs. It is corporate policy in the new BC Ferries to disdain Islanders and their social values and to disrupt their lives. We who live in the Southern Gulf Islands of Canada are well aware of the deliberate attempt by the dominant ideology to destroy our way of life. Our farms, our schools, our health services, are all effected.
Under the Campbell coalition, BC Ferries has become the equivalent of a US Army Mech Brigade rushing in to destroy anything in its path. And we are at their mercy. That is why no mercy is shown.
Thirty-five years ago ferry traffic between the islands was frequent and free. We were a community. Tariffs to travel to the mainland were no more onerous than a toll bridge or toll highway on the continent. And no one was ever turned away. Foot passengers are not being turned away these days because of increasing traffic. Traffic is falling, falling for many reasons. No one was turned away when the ferries were regarded as a public transportation route because, in the past, the ships were fully crewed. But the new BC Ferries runs skeleton crews and Canada's federal maritime safety regulations restrict the number of passengers because of the limited crews.
BC Ferries is a huge story which reveals, as much as the alleged corruption behind the BC Rail scandal, what is truly going on in British Columbia. We wish we had the time to fully report. Unless the situation was very different from what we face every day, the ship probably had lots of room. This new company that has replaced BC Ferries chose to deny the crewing environment within which passage could and would have been guaranteed. And those people on the ramp knew it, just as they suspect and resent most everything else that is involved in the new BC Ferries.
Related: There is much more going on behind the scenes and none of it is receiving much investigative attention. But here's a few recent items that outline some of the areas of turmoil.Ferry fares sinking smaller islands
Jack Knox Times Colonist Victoria British Columbia Canada July 3, 2008...
So Easterly will be down at the Hornby [Island] terminal tomorrow when residents protest against the provincial government's decision to push ferry fares into even-Bill-Gates-would-flinch territory. Similar rallies will be held on Denman, Cortes, Gabriola, Quadra and other islands whose B.C. Ferries lifelines have become increasingly frayed since the move toward a user-pay philosophy began five years ago. The rallies are being organized by the Rock The Boat Coalition, which wants fares rolled back to 2004 levels. Good luck. There's a better chance of seeing David Suzuki shooting kermode bears from the back of a Hummer than there is of seeing rollbacks.
...This is the inevitable result of the Liberals' 2003 decision to make B.C. Ferries independent of government (at least in theory). They argued that the corporation needed to move toward self-sufficiency and operate free of political interference. What they didn't say was they also wanted it to run free of political accountability.
The Liberals basically devised a plan that locked B.C. Ferries into a course of rapidly escalating fare increases, then walked away from the responsibility for the resulting carnage in coastal communities. Not that there's much of a political penalty to shrinking Gulf Islands ferry subsidies that are now down to roughly 50 per cent of costs.
Jealous Victorians and Vancouverites, ignoring their own massive transit subsidies, have long grumbled about propping up people who choose to live the leafy, lovely island life. This is the rule of thumb: When it's in your own backyard, government spending qualifies as wise investment in economic infrastructure. When in someone else's patch, it's unsustainable waste. But if you want to argue sustainability, then look at the impact on places like Hornby.
...Home port switch may put workers in a pinchThis story by Amy Geddes originally appeared in The Gulf Islands Driftwood , April 6, 2008.
Moving union jobs off Salt Spring will not be good for the island's economy. Will we see the same proposal and the same rationale applied to the Long Harbour and Fulford Harbour routes in the near future?
B.C. Ferries employees based on Salt Spring and Thetis islands may be forced to relocate to Vancouver Island or serve on a new route if a proposed home port relocation goes through.
... B.C. Ferries personnel said they expect Vancouver Island ports will offer more of what potential staff are looking for: affordable living, better access to larger shopping centres, schools and diversity of religious centres. The large pool of regular and casual employees on Vancouver Island could provide sufficient backfill options to crew the vessels, Frappell said. And crews could move between Crofton and Chemainus terminals, if both become home ports.
But the Salt Spring Island Ferry Advisory Committee has concerns about how the switch would affect close to 18 staff who crew the Howe Sound Queen . While a few crew members already live on Vancouver Island, the committee’s chair Harold Swierenga said most are Salt Spring Island residents. “We have concerns about it,” said Swierenga. “We certainly hope they will find another way of solving their staffing problems and leave the Howe Sound Queen on the island.”
...Ferry cancellation sparks bridge debateRobert Barron The Daily News Nanaimo British Columbia Canada
July 2, 2008
Cancelled sailings and renewed talk of a bridge to Gabriola Island have residents there picking sides: Unreliable ferries versus a fixed link.
... Although it's rare for a B.C. ferry to shut down service due to lack of staff, there are fears ferry shutdowns, especially among the smaller routes, could become more frequent since B.C. Ferries has less qualified staff to call on for backup when needed. The service disruption also comes on the heels of an announcement Friday by B.C. Ferries' CEO David Hahn that the corporation is willing to spend $5,000 to conduct a survey of Gabriola Island residents to determine if they would rather have a bridge built, or continue with its ferry service to Nanaimo.
While many Gabriola Islanders feel that B.C. Ferries should act to prevent such service disruptions in the future, they are cool to any idea of a bridge linking them to Nanaimo.
Anger over a bridge to 'heaven
Justine Hunter Globe and Mail Canada July 1, 2008
... The decades-old bridge debate was reignited last week after B.C. Ferries president David Hahn floated the idea of building a fixed link in response to complaints about rising ferry fares.
... B.C. Ferries' Mr. Hahn, who has fielded numerous complaints about recent rate increases, saw an opportunity to end the grumbling over fares and service by agreeing with one critic's suggestion to test support for replacing ferry service with a fixed link.
... Mr. Hahn has handed the contentious issue to the island's local ferry committee, a reluctant participant in the debate. He said he is willing to fund a survey of residents to see whether they want to end their reliance on the ferry service that links them to Nanaimo.
... Gabriola is busy at this time of year with tourists and summer residents. Ken Capon, another long-time resident, said he and his wife left Vancouver to embrace the island pace of life. "You put in a bridge and it's no longer an island."
Kathy Ramsey owns Gabriola Artworks. The island boasts one of the highest concentrations of artists in the country, she said, people who could be driven out if the island becomes too accessible. "A bridge is a conduit for what we try to keep away from here."
One resident, Terry, sitting in his beat-up GMC pickup, said he supports the bridge. But he didn't want to give his last name.
That didn't surprise Andre Lemieux, head of the local ferry committee. It agreed yesterday to go ahead with the survey, provided B.C. Ferries provides a clear business plan so people know what they are voting on. People on Mudge Island will be included in the survey, he said. He said the issue is hugely contentious on the islands, and while many residents are opposed, he said there are many people in favour - but supporters tend to be reluctant to speak up.
Gisela Sartori believes a bridge would end the lifestyle she enjoys on Gabriola. Sitting on the ferry with her dog Chinook, a husky, she said is a relative newcomer, with less than three years on the island. The former Yukon resident cherishes the simple lifestyle she has now.
...The ships in the BC Ferries fleet used to be built in British Columbia. The ill-named new class of ferries is being built in Germany . The present regime did not even seek bids from our regional shipyards.
Ferry riders often stuck on Galiano, residents say
Blockade that brought police rare, but Vancouver sailing always tight for space
Tom McMillan, Times ColonistPublished: Monday, July 07, 2008
The passenger crunch that prompted travellers to blockade a Galiano Island ferry and saw RCMP called on Saturday night is a regular occurrence on the island, according to locals.
While police action is rare, island residents say space is always tight travelling to Vancouver and passengers without reservations regularly get left behind.
"It happens all the time," said Susan Friend, owner of Hidden Ridge Bed and Breakfast. "I tell all my customers to make sure you have reservations both ways or don't even bother."
Galiano sailings often run out of room, residents there say.
Times Colonist file:
The last sailing of the Queen of Nanaimo off Galiano Island was delayed by half an hour Saturday evening after dozens of foot and vehicle passengers blocked the ramp. They were upset after being turned back despite visible room for cars below deck.
Under its licensing regulations, the ferry was only allowed to carry 584 passengers on Saturday night. Extra passengers might not have been able to use lifesaving equipment if the ferry had to be evacuated in an emergency.
B.C. Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said the boat was not fully staffed because only about 200 passengers usually take the late Saturday ferry. Marshall said three island weddings probably caused the jump in traffic.
However, a rejected passenger says a Galiano employee offered the join the Queen's staff so everyone at the docks could board.
"This offer was rejected," said Ross Simpson in an e-mail. "It's just another failure of B.C. Ferries operational management."
Another comment: I don't know Mr.Simpson. It could be the failure of management but could that failure be almost entirely due to the almighty dollar.
The passengers refused to leave the dock until RCMP were called in. A recount was taken and the first three cars were allowed onboard while the other passengers were asked to leave. No charges have been laid.
"There were reports that some B.C. Ferries employees were being threatened," Const. Mike Taylor said. "I relayed the captain's message that the ship was full and everyone quickly dispersed."
Locals say stranded passengers are a regular occurrence, particularly when tourism swells in the summer. Because Galiano is the last stop before Vancouver, room is often limited for passengers wanting to reach Vancouver.
More comment: Now why would that happen. They are running a "service". That service is to serve Transportation to people who live on those Islands and people who wish to visit those Islands. This is not a selective service. It's a full service.
"It seems to happen more since the ferries cut staffing," said Chuck Garland, owner of Rocky Ridge Bed and Breakfast. "We tell people to book ahead, but you can't reserve for passengers."
Dave Elliot has travelled to the island dozens of times over the past 20 years. He's seen numerous passengers turned away, despite space available.
"You'll see guys yelling and cursing like there was no tomorrow," Elliot said. "It's almost funny, but you're sure glad it isn't you."
Marshall said she was not aware of other situations where people have blocked the ramp after not being allowed to board. Future problems could be avoided if residents inform ferries before hosting large events, she said.
"We apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced," Marshall said. "It came down to an issue of safety."
No, Ms. Marshall it came down to the almighty dollar. I think You could have added another sailing.
Many thanks to BC Mary for her input into this post.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Campbell
On CHNL Radio, Finance Minister Colin Hansen admitted his government is still trying to find ways to convince Ottawa to end the moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling.CHNL Host Jim Harrison: "While you and I are currently paying a carbon tax every time we top up, the man who oversees this province's treasury says he's hoping to see the day when this province can explore its offshore oil and gas potential"Finance Minister Colin Hansen says it's a position that is not inconsistent with the province's Climate Action Plan."Hansen: "What we're saying through our Climate Action Plan is let's make better use of the oil that we're consuming, let's minimize our personal consumption of fossil fuels. At the same time we have to ensure that we explore and develop."