Premiers Christy Clark and Alison Redford (Larry MacDougal/CP photo)

Rafe on Clark’s Embarassing Antics in Alberta and Renewed Calls for Wolf Culls


Today is a twofer – two for the price of one.

First, I’m beginning to feel sorry for Premier Christy Clark. She is a very nice person, personable and able to speak. What she is not capable of doing is speaking sensibly or making decisions that make sense.

It seems obvious to me that she is getting wretched advice and nowhere is this more evident than on the pipeline issue.

Let me illustrate.

The Premier, some months ago, laid down some rules that would govern her government’s environmental response to pipelines and added that to a demand for money from Premier Alison Redford of Alberta. The conditions were silly motherhood stuff and didn’t contain the one most British Columbians want – public hearings that would let people say whether or not they want these pipelines in the first place. This is, I daresay, a foreign concept to the Liberal government but the public know they are not able to express their opinions on the wisdom of the projects in the first place.

In fact, Premier Clark has avoided that issue like the plague.

She missed the very important Western Premier’s Conference on the lame excuse she needed to be in the House because the pipelines and tanker issues were on the agenda and she would have to make known her position.

Then she missed all the deadlines to get BC status as an intervenor as have Alberta, municipalities and First Nations. Consequently, a short time ago she was rebuffed for trying to intervene.

Reviews like the Enbridge Joint Panel Review – and the Cohen Commission as an example – realize that some entities have a greater issue to deal with than Joe Citizen and grant them the status to call witnesses, cross-examine government and industry witnesses and that sort of thing. This could not possibly be a mistake, but a deliberate decision. I don’t have much use for environmental hearings but at least British Columbians could hear what the evidence is. This was an egregious error obviously designed to let Ms. Clark act like the three monkeys.

Now she has horned her way into Premier Redford’s office to press BC’s case. Here is the part that tells you the abysmal ignorance from which Ms. Clark operates.

She is quoted thusly: “There is no amount of money that can make up for an unacceptable risk when it comes to our oceans, our coast and our land.”

Noble sentiments to be sure, but since Premier Redford supports the pipelines and tanker traffic and is content to have the federal government cram them past BC opposition – and bearing in mind that Premier Redford has made it clear that Alberta won’t give BC a nickel – the only purpose for Ms. Clark to crash Ms. Redford’s office is to make it appear to folks at home that she’s doing something.

She is making a fool of all of us, painting us as supplicants to Premier Redford’s throne and the gold that is there.

This must be borne in mind: the oil revenues from the tar sands belong to Alberta under the constitution. If she were to take some of that money and give it to BC, not only would she be a damned fool – Alberta voters would eat her alive.

Premier Clark’s bleating about “risks to BC” is bullshit as she and the rest of us know. Even Enbridge admits that the chances of a spill are overwhelming. Clark is playing us for fools. it is egregious, disingenuous nonsense rivaled only by Bill Clinton’s assertion that, “I did not have sex with that woman.”

Still Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf

On another note, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Back in 1979, the Ministry of Environment was poisoning wolves in northern BC because, allegedly, they were killing cattle. There wasn’t a particle of evidence that this was happening, certainly not on a large scale. Within days of becoming minister I put a stop to the program, hired a man – an elderly fishing buddy of mine whom I trusted implicitly – to go through the area getting evidence, if there was any, of packs of wolves destroying cattle. Sandy was one if these guys who could find out things without anyone realizing he was asking questions.

He reported back to me that he could find no evidence of a major problem .

He told me of the case of a wolf pack driving a herd of cattle onto a frozen lake which caved in from the weight and the wolves devoured them. Interesting that wolves could kill cattle in the water and feast upon them without drowning themselves.

The interesting part is that three different ranchers in three different areas told the same story!

Despite all their bleating, ranchers couldn’t offer any evidence whatsoever.

The ranchers were claiming their losses were due to wolves to cover up their own bad husbandry.

It’s interesting to ask what the hell were all those cattle doing out on the range in temperatures that would freeze a lake?

A Socred back bencher, Cyril Shelford, and his seemingly unlimited number of brothers organized a huge rally and dared me to show my face.

I did – not through bravery but because Premier Bill Bennett would likely have fired me if I didn’t appear.

It was a very ugly meeting and I admit I was scared. When I was finally permitted to speak I said, “this is the first time in history where a man has been run into town on a rail.”

The humour of the remark escaped the 500 incensed ranchers.

The moratorium I imposed remains. Now the ranchers have popped up with claims that seem, after 33 years, to have suddenly re-appeared. Once again, the ranchers, by their own admission, are utterly unable to supply one scintilla of evidence.

The Minister of Environment should politely give the ranchers the international words for “go away”.


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

6 thoughts on “Rafe on Clark’s Embarassing Antics in Alberta and Renewed Calls for Wolf Culls

  1. There is nothing saying that the producing companies couldn’t sweeten the pot for Clark’s broke liberals is there? Why would Redford look to her taxpayers, when it is the almighties that are hauling away the tankerloads of profits.
    After all BC has been extremely generous with all manner of “royalty credit” programs for natural gas producers, most of which also have oil interests in northern Alberta. To the point where we are in debt further than anyone ever imagined.
    Sounds like payback time. Let’s watch and see which producers line up behind the NDP and which ones line up behind the liberals after benefitting from the Campbell/Clark handouts and which ones threaten capital flight if the NDP is elected.

  2. Increasingly British Columbians recognize that Christy Clark and her government, the so-called Liberals (let’s stop calling them that!), don’t give a tinker’s damn about the environment in any way, shape or form. She and the Lib-Cons emulate the present Federal government in its overall anti-environment stances and undermining of sound, principled environmental protection, laws, and regulations. British Columbians are awakening to that and don’t trust her, anymore than they trust the Feds who have emasculated environmental laws (including species protection) in favour of greedy bottom-feeders like Enbridge and other corporation fat-cats. They keep trying to pull the wool over our eyes, whether it is with the pipeline and giant, unwieldly tankers through treacherous waters, or the blaming of wolves for poor livestock management leading to the bloodlust kill/cull of the wolves. Let’s see if the Minister of the Environment has the guts to protect the wolves. Meanwhile our democracy is being further eroded with CC’s shutdown of the legislature for the season. Nice to be paid by the taxpayers and not have to fulfill her duties!

  3. Ever spent some winters on the prairie? Long after lakes and rivers there have frozen solid enough to drive a truck across, the cattle are still out on the range, where they survive quite nicely as long as they have enough feed, water and shelter from the wind.

  4. The obvious political issue here is nicely born out in this latest grip and (frosty) grin for the cameras.

    Redford has to deal with a very huge issue and that is her governments complete inability to properly instill a royalty regime on their oil bounty.

    Clark has an equally difficult political challenge and that is to somehow convince people in BC that her government gives a tinkers damn about the environment and has not already sold the farm to the oily overlords.

    Therefor these repeated “meetings” offer both premiers a chance to do just as Rafe says here. “Pretend they are doing something.”

    So it is an equally embarrassing experience for both Albertans and British Columbians as their hapless leaders twist in the wind and talk tough, but deliver absolutely nothing.

    Redford will never properly reap the bounty Albertans deserve and Clark will never protect the interest of British Columbians and our environment as both are tied to the hip of the oily overlords who give them their marching orders.

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