The inkfish fools its predators by emitting a cloud of black ink

Anton ‘the Inkfish’ Clouds Hydro Losses from Bad IPP Deals


Yesterday morning, listening to Suzanne Anton, one of my co-panellists on Rick Cluff’s Early Edition political panel, avoid the issue of BC Hydro rates rising because of the scandalous sums they are forced to pay private power companies – and government avoidance of the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) – fill the airwaves with hot air and non sequiturs, I called her an inkfish and was asked through emails to say what this meant.

Well, the inkfish is a species of octopus that has an ink sac, which can be used to expel a cloud of dark ink to confuse predators.
I was not, of course, saying that Ms. Anton’s verbal flatulence was literally an emission of dark ink but that the techniques are the same and clouding of the issues the same result.
The issues are not complicated:

  1. The Campbell/Clark government has forced, and continues to force BC Hydro to buy power from Independent Power Producers (IPPS) on a “take or pay” basis, meaning Hydro is spilling its reservoirs over their dams and paying several times the market value to IPPs. Literally, Hydro is spilling your Hydro rates over the dam in order to meet the “sweetheart” deals the Campbell/Clark government has forced them to sign.
  2. This has forced Hydro to incur huge debts that will be paid for by the only way they can be paid – by us as ratepayers or taxpayers, or both.
  3. Some three years ago, the BCUC determined these IPP deals were not in the interests of British Columbians. BCUC was, for its candour, stripped of its power to review BC Hydro rate increases unless directly asked by the government to do so.
  4. Scheduled BCUC hearings into Hydro’s proposed rate increases in consequence of these IPPs have been cancelled by Minister Rich Coleman, thus public scrutiny of this scandal won’t happen.
  5. The Minister and the Cabinet have rejected BC Hydro’s proposed 30% rate increase over 3 years and cut it to 17%. This is a purely political decision which is supposed to make us feel warm and fuzzy about Premier Clark.
  6. The fact is that BC Hydro’s proposed 30% hike would not, by a long shot, cover their escalating IPP-induced deficits. It is also a fact that you and I will cover these deficits either through increased rates or taxes, or both.
  7. BC Hydro has also set up special deferral accounts. As CTV reported, “the amount of debt that BC Hydro has deferred’ into special accounts is expected to more than double to $4.5 billion in the next two years, the province has acknowledged.” Madam Inkfish would have us believe that this amount represents deferred capital expenditures, but this simply is not so and the Auditor-General has stated that this policy must end.

These deferred accounts are, for the most part, taking Hydro’s losses due to the IPP sweetheart deals, making them into a special account which they then say – because ratepayers now owe this money to BC Hydro – is now a Hydro asset! (By all means, read that again!!! Monty Python lives!)
Marjorie Griffin Cohen, a professor of political economy at Simon Fraser University, told CTV News that the BC Government is to blame for rising hydro costs because of a number of political directives it has handed down during the last decade.

Professor Griffin Cohen said, “The government has required BC Hydro to buy very expensive private electricity at a time when it basically doesn’t need it. It has also introduced the smart meter program, which is very expensive.” (Emphasis added)

Here we have it, once the ink has dissipated. Where BC Hydro once put hundreds of millions of dollars into the Provincial Treasury as a dividend for us the citizens, we are now on the hook for a minimum $4.5 Billion over the next two years by the government’s own admission – this increase being largely the Campbell/Clark “sweetheart” deals with corporate pals.
When Premier Clark and Minister Coleman say they are reducing BC Hydro’s proposed rate increase from 30% to 17%, that is a contemptible distortion of the truth. The fact is that BC Hydro’s deficits are our deficits and whether we pay them off by rate increases or tax increases is a purely political calculation. To say they cut Hydro’s demands is an election ploy which, even for this bunch, is remarkable dissembling.
Why is our healthcare, education funding and the like strapped for cash?
Ask Madam Inkfish and her clients that question.



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

10 thoughts on “Anton ‘the Inkfish’ Clouds Hydro Losses from Bad IPP Deals

  1. Hi Rafe, Your article is compelling. Corruption & BC Liberals on the make. My comment is probably simplistic. Can Gordon Campbell & the others responsible for the IPP deals be taken to court for misappropriate of public funds? fraud?
    abuse of public trust in public office? & the IPP deals cancelled somehow?
    We need legislation to limit politician’s decision-making when more than Xmillions of taxpayers’ dollars are involved.
    I realize Switzerland is a tiny country but their laws limit the power of politicians who cannot make major decisions without a referendum. So what it is takes time? We & our kids now have years of debt to bear & pay off as a result of govt & corporate bungling & greed.

  2. No wonder most people get their news from the net. The former lame stream govtcorporate controlled media has been and still is lying and twisting the truth.

  3. Ray, when you’ve been sued as many times as Rafe has, you learn a thing or two about linguistics.

  4. Rafe has a way of NOT saying “lying”!

    * remarkable dissembling.
    * contemptible distortion of the truth.
    * expel a cloud of dark ink to confuse predators
    * fill the airwaves with hot air and non sequiturs

    Come on Rafe, just say it!

  5. Oh God, I love it, Rafe: “that is a contemptible distortion of the truth.” Excellent article. Every time I hear that whiny voice on Monday morning, I smile, knowing that 200 more people will become card-carrying NDP members on the strength of her ridiculous- if I may call them so- convictions. Keep up the great work!

  6. Are they not trying to totally bankrupt Hydro so that their crony pals can buy it up cheaply and turn it into a private enterprise?

  7. The Fiberal Inkfish are expelling RED ink all over the place. This is a dangerous genetic mutation. And we just thought they were carpetbaggers!

  8. Add the $8 billion cost of proposed Site C, from which BC Hydro would sell lots of power at a loss to LNG plants and new mines.

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