BC Liberals Still Stuck on Sham Private Power – Forcing Hydro to Buy More IPPs

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After more than a week of some ailment where solid foods were a problem (not liquids, however) I should be at my rest, book in hand to help me snooze…but I find myself so goddam angry I’m here spouting venom.

Why?
 
I’ve just read our economist Erik Andersen’s blog in the Common Sense Canadian and can’t believe my eyes…please take the time to read this blog.
 
The story is simple – which is what makes it so hard to understand. In short, under BC’s Vladimir Putin, Cop Supreme Rich Coleman, this government is about to ruin several more BC rivers to get more private power. Puzzle this one for a moment. As we sit and digest this, BC Hydro is spilling water over its dams while buying private power at egregiously inflated sums under deals this rotten government has forced upon them! And there will be more!
 
More of our rivers shattered by bulldozers so uncaring corporations can provide BC Hydro with power they don’t need any time but are now buying at hugely inflated prices while they piss away their power over the top of their dams!
 
The reason for this ongoing insanity is clearly that the Liberal Government just doesn’t know how it can get unstuck from the tar baby Bre’r Rabbit Gordon Campbell left them stuck to. The chickens have come home to roost – the companies given these sweetheart deals are producing power which BC Hydro is forced to buy at a huge premium even though its own reservoirs are full to brimming.
 
Coleman sees the only way is to brazen it through, scattering wildly inaccurate power needs as he goes.
 
Why has Premier Clark said nothing? She was around at the beginning of these Independent Power Project (IPP) approvals – why has she not said “enough” and put a stop to the program?
 
I’m afraid it’s emerging that she simply is not too bright. Her handlers knew, for example, that the Tar Sands would be high on the agenda at the Western Premier’s Conference, that Clark would be forced to deal with it and just couldn’t handle it, so they conjured up a cock and bull story about her being needed in the Legislature.
 
The insiders know that Premier Clark is no good on issues – she simply cannot understand them well enough to deal with them so she must be confined to what she does best: warm fuzzy issues like Family Day holidays and photo-ops. Coleman is now running the show.
 
The IPP issue is not complicated. IPPs have contracts to make private power, destroying the river and its ecology, and BC Hydro, under the sweetheart deal, must buy that power at a hugely inflated cost, even though they don’t need it. The only complicated part is the obvious question: why would any sane government get into this sort of sweetheart deal? This is followed by another obvious question: how the hell do we get out of this mess?
 
I have a partial answer to that – Adrian Dix makes it clear that no more of these licenses will be granted and all of the present deals will be put to the “smell test”. To those who cry “sanctity of contract”, I pose this in reply: suppose a mayor was elected to clean-up city hall – do you suppose he’d honour the sweetheart long-term and viciously inflated contracts that the previous mayor made with his brother-in-law and other cronies?
 
Briefly, on another matter we’ll be addressing comes the brilliant blog by Captain Edward Wray in the Sunday Province which I emailed out and put up on Facebook.
 
Capt Wray smells a “bait and switch”. The federal and provincial governments will, at the right moment, admit that Kitimat is the wrong port and Douglas Channel the wrong channel and will announce that the new port will be Prince Rupert. Having done that, they will authorize the Enbridge pipeline to the latter port and, like Little Jack Horner, say, “Oh, what a good boy am I.”
 
It’s reminiscent of what the late Robert Strachan said about W.A.C. Bennett: “He puts a stone in your shoe and just when it becomes unbearable, takes it out and you’re so grateful, you forget how it got there in the first place!”
 
More on that in the days to come.

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About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

3 thoughts on “BC Liberals Still Stuck on Sham Private Power – Forcing Hydro to Buy More IPPs

  1. I would suggest ole rich is still selling rivers because someone is making a whole of money & it isn’t just the owners of the companies. Coleman, who I do not like, is not stupid. So if he knows run of the river projects are bad for the enviornment & not fiscally responsible, why continue with them. the only answer I can come up with is, some one is getting something out of it & it isn’t the taxpayers or hydro customers.

    It could be also, that the lieberals know they won’t be re-elected so they want to leave the NDP with as many problems & debts as they can. These contracts will do that. If the NDP cancel them, everyone of those companies will take the NDP government to court.

    I would also not be surprized if these run of the river contracts as some future date become the basis for removing water from B.C. and exporting it elsewhere.

  2. With respect to these IPP contracts, I would like to make the following observation. If somebody buys a stolen vehicle, what happens? He loses the vehicle and the money he paid for it. These contracts are no different. There is nobody that can justify the economics of these deals. They are a fraud perpetuated on the people of BC.

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