Taking Hansen’s Lies on HST, Energy to the Court of Public Opinion


Finance Minister Colin Hansen has, faintly, apologized for his handling of the HST.

Let’s get this straight minister – you didn’t make a mistake, you lied. You had two briefing papers, one written at your request, that 2 months before the election, gave you the skinny on an HST policy for BC. The question of HST was one of the most controversial finance issues in the country. You and the Premier knew that and your ministry and the Premier’s office had been in touch with Ontario and federal issues. To the long list list of the premier’s serial falsehoods – your 1:51 statement on private power, found by googling Hansen/private power, contains 5 statements each of which is false.

I bring this up for www.thecanadian.org because our talented filmmaker Damien Gillis and I will be starting a tour of BC in October and those whom we address ought to know that your credibility and that of your colleague Gordon (Pinocchio) Campbell will be severely challenged.

The purpose of our tour is, of course, not only to deal with your government’s lie-based Energy Policy, but to demonstrate what we can do in the area of self-sufficiency for BC power needs without ever damming so much as a tiddler’s creek.

The opening question will run like thus: if you, Mr, Mrs, and Ms British Columbian, wanted to have BC energy self-sufficient for the foreseeable future, what would you do?

We will then lay out our plan and compare it to that of your government. In dealing with this matter we will point out the credibility shortcomings of you, the premier and your government. High on the list will be your five statements alluded to above; we will deal with each of them, and ask the public whether they believe you. But we will also lay before the public the relatively simple route we can take – the route your government should have followed.

We will demonstrate that not only have you denied the public a right to be heard – you have forbidden local governments to zone power projects according to the needs and desires of the local population.

Your difficulty, Mr. Hansen, and through you to the premier, is that no one believes you any more. During the time the public, very much including me, was asleep at the switch, no one was challenging you. We trusted and believed you. We saw your energy plan as having no environmental impacts and necessary for our energy needs because that’s what you told us.

As you know, minister, I’ve been there. And I know that even the most of unpopular programs will be accepted, even grudgingly, if the truth and the whole truth is told to the public. When the Bill Bennett government came into office in 1975 we found a public government car insurance company, founded about 18 months before, that had managed to lose nearly $200 million with a monopoly! We immediately raised premiums so as to make the company viable and all hell broke loose, amongst our supporters as well as the general public. We had, however, told the entire story to the public and they came to accept if not like our policy. The message from my experience, minister, is don’t ever lie to the public. I’m afraid that my advice is too late for you.

Here is what we will be doing: I give you this in the hopes that you will send a MLA – or either or both of you and the premier for that matter – so we can let the public decide who is telling the truth.

With the help of Damien’s great camera work we will show the people just what these “little run of the river” projects really look like.

We will debunk the nonsense that these weirs (the Independent Power people don’t like to call them dams, which they are) are being built by little people, Mom and Pop operations, as the expression goes.

We will show the enormous damage done by roads and transmission lines to and from the “weir”.

We will outline the true cost of these “little ol’ weirs” in terms of destruction of ecologies these rivers support.

We will go right to the root of the matter and demonstrate beyond doubt that whatever our power needs may be now or in the future, they cannot be met by Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

We will demonstrate how your government has forced BC Hydro to pay, on a “take or pay” basis, 2-3 times what it can sell that power for.

We will demonstrate why IPP power is of virtually no use to BC Hydro and its shareholders (us) because it mainly comes at high run-off time when BC Hydro doesn’t need it and thus must sell it at a loss or, if it chooses to use that power, must pay to the IPPs about 8 times what it can produce it for itself.

We will show how your policies are bankrupting BC Hydro and – are you ready for this? – how BC Hydro will no longer be able to pay its handsome annual dividend to the government unless it raises the rates to consumers to get the money!

The public will understand well the calamity that your energy policy is because we are telling the truth, backed up by independent experts, while the Campbell government relies upon one falsehood after another; because on this and most other issues, your government has practiced gross deceit and the public knows it.

You and your government, Mr Hansen, have done enormous permanent damage and it cannot all be undone. But the jig is up. And though the forfeit is piddling compared ti what it should be, you and your colleagues will be expunged from your seats of power by a population that knows it’s been lied to.

POSTSCRIPT: I do not say that Campbell and Hansen are liars – just that on the occasions referred to they were lying.


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.