General Electric’s hydra-headed lobbying effort in BC


From the Public Eye Online – Feb 8, 2011

The world’s second largest company has
registered to the lobby the government on a cornucopia of subjects.
General Electric Co. is perhaps best known in provincial political
circles for having partnered
with run-of-the-river, solar and wind energy producer Plutonic Power
Corporation Inc. So it’s not surprising the company’s Canadian
subsidiary is targeting the province’s “wind development program” and
“renewable energy opportunities” as part of its lobbying effort. But General Electric
– which hosted two receptions at the government’s BC Showcase during
the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and donated $15,470 to the Liberals
between 2005 and 2009 – is also planning to talk about:

* technology, services and strategies aimed at helping clients “significantly reduce the cost” of healthcare and design futuristic hospitals. That lobbying comes a year after the government committed to a new agenda that “expands innovation in health delivery” – a commitment Liberal leadership candidates Christy Clark and Kevin Falcon share.

* the government’s policies with “respect to sustainable mining
energy-renewable shale gas development.” General Electric’s products
include “comprehensive air quality solutions” for mining operations, as well as a new “mobile evaporator” that lets natural gas producers recycle untreated waste water created by fracking. Three years ago, the company also partnered with Rio Tinto PLC to “develop the most energy efficient and ecologically friendly solutions to support the future of mining;”

* the development of a policy “targeted at buy (sic) power from
greenhouse into grid (sic).” Two years ago, in a North American first,
Great Northern Hydroponics Ltd. opened
a General Electric-designed greenhouse cogeneration plant that
generates onsite power and sells the surplus to the local grid under a
20-year contract with the Ontario Power Authority; and

* the government’s policy with “respect to solutions for offgrid
(sic) communities.” Last month, General Electric Canada president and
chief executive officer Elyse Allan announced
the launch of an initiative “to gain greater insight into shaping the
growth of Canada’s remote community economies and the decisions being
made by global and national businesses to invest in these communities.”

General Electric Canada has yet to respond to a request for comment placed yesterday.

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About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.