Rafe: What’s the NDP thinking jumping on Liberals’ sinking LNG ship?

BCNDP Leader John Horgan talking LNG at UBCM meeting (Photo: BCNDP)

I suppose it’s not unusual for an electorate to feel swindled. It sure as hell happens often enough.

The BC electorate has every right to feel swindled in the election of 2013 by the Christy Clark government’s solemn promise to make us all wealthy through LNG plants. This was a very specific promise and even went as far as promising a “prosperity fund” of $100 billion, plus all of our provincial debt soon paid off. This was crap, they knew it, we fell for it.

Now, for God’s sake, the NDP opposition has joined in the swindle at a time when the Liberals, now that their promises cannot possibly be fulfilled, are frantically looking for a way out for the 2017 election.

NDP support comes as LNG industry falls apart

It’s incomprehensible that the John Horgan opposition would support the Liberals on their LNG endeavours, particularly since Petronas has all but admitted defeat, and they are supposed to be the first out of the box!

What’s even more distressing for those who want LNG plants as soon as possible and as many as possible, is the statement by Petronas that nothing will be going until the end of the decade (which is three years after the next election). Even more troubling for LNG lovers is experts like Bloomberg suggesting that Canada’s LNG industry is highly vulnerable to intense global competition.

It’s really difficult to see just how the campaign promises for 2017 are going to shape up.

The Liberals, like Mr. Micawber, are hoping “something will turn up”.

What is the NDP’s plan for BC?

There has been nothing from Mr. Horgan or the NDP to suggest that they have a new plan for BC. That may come, but it’s pretty late to start setting the stage for an unknown program to be their campaign 2 1/2 years from now.

As it now stands, we have the Liberals looking for a way to avoid dealing with LNG in 2017, with the NDP, not caught in the Liberals’ trap but one of their own making, really not knowing what the hell to do. At least the NDP have plenty of experience in that regard.

It is a new world out there, something that the media has not cottoned onto and, apparently, something that has escaped the notice of Premier Clark and opposition leader Horgan.

Public hungers for environmental leadership

The public are in a strong environmentalist mood. The municipal elections in November demonstrated that but, I think more importantly, the comments to The Common Sense Canadian and The Tyee demonstrate that there is a hard-core, and growing opposition to pipelines, LNG plants and the like which is much different than the cries of years gone by.

There is no doubt that the public’s appetite for preserving our environment got a great boost back in the days of Clayoquot Sound and before, but these things take time to mature and in my belief the environmentalism of the public has reached new heights and more is yet to come.

I don’t for a moment think that the public is against all development or anything of the sort. This is why the “right” has so much trouble dealing with the issue. They can’t think beyond their political philosophy that whatever is dug, cut down, mined, drilled, or transported must be good and those who ever, even for a moment, oppose those things must be evil. For the “right”, unrestrained capitalism is a religious tenet and non-believers deserve contempt.

Citizens fed up with being ignored by politicians, media

Rafe: Critics of Burnaby Mountain citizens are out of touch with public will for change
84 year-old retired librarian Barbara Grant getting arrested at Burnaby Mountain (Burnaby Mountain Updates/facebook)

In fact, a growing number of citizens don’t see the mindless greed of industry and their bought-off governments as their salvation. Moreover, more and more voters are pissed off at not being consulted and not having their views represented by their politicians.

The media’s mindless and dedicated adherence to the desires of big business make them not only unbelievable, and all but devoid of influence, but damn near unreadable to boot.

When ordinary, decent, British Columbians see their fellow citizens threatened with jail because they want to preserve their parks and neighbourhoods, they’re disgusted.

In a way, it all rather goes back to Lincoln’s aphorism:

[quote]You can fool some of the people all of the time, you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.[/quote]

One might respectfully add to that, once the people know that they have been fooled, they get very cross indeed.

Reform is coming

The political systems, federal and provincial, make it very difficult for parties of protest, such as the Green Party, to make headway. The present system suits party lines and party discipline, not individual thinking and representation of the voter. 2017 will be, however, a time when the Green Party will demonstrate whether, even under a lousy system, they can gain public support. It will be, for them, a watershed election.

There will be reform both of the system and the way we are governed. That may take time, although what needs to be done is pretty obvious to most of us.

No matter how big a majority a government has, it can’t govern if the people don’t support it. The public will continue to protest environmental degradation of which they do not approve. That the traditional parties don’t understand that means only that it’s going to take the people a little longer to make their views materialize in reform.

Be all of that as it may, reform is coming, sooner or later, and you can make book on that.


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

28 thoughts on “Rafe: What’s the NDP thinking jumping on Liberals’ sinking LNG ship?

  1. You know, about two years before the last provincial election I had a feeling in my gut that the NDP were going to blow the election. They did not have any original ideas for the economy, they were just riding high in the polls after the hst mess and thought they could take the election without committing to any purposeful issue like protecting the environment, or having a sustainable economical plan; etc. etc. I have the same feeling in my gut now with John Horgan — he is useless. If he would only listen to the public, engage in a conversation on how to build BC’s economy without reliance on the silly LNG plan. The NDP has a chance and once again they have no intent on listening to those who have the answers. Shame.

  2. I think it was in Vaughn Palmer’s column that I first read about John Horgan’s ‘defection to the other side’. I have been an NDP supporter since I’ve been old enough to vote, but 2017 will be the first time that I will not be voting or my NDP candidate. I have never felt so betrayed by a politician in my life.

  3. Mackie ,
    You can’t explain cause and effect to people who don’t seem to understand the physics and science involved in structural engineering design. The way skyscrapers are designed, a structural issue on the upper floors won’t make the building collapse. The story that the fire caused the steel girders to collapse may be some what true where the planes actually struck the building, but not the existing lower floors right to ground level ground, something else collapsed all the lower floors of the impact.

  4. Frankly, I’m darned if I know. I caught Spencer Herbert the other day and asked him the following:
    I don’t want to attack you on the party position on fracking, but how can we sustainably develop a resource which isn’t finite and which we require for our own use? Who would have survived last winter without heating fuel? I like books, and one, Ted Rawn’s ‘Silk Road to Ruin’ dealt with his travels through the ‘Stans after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It went something like this: ‘When we came to Almaaty (Kazakhstan) in 1996, times were still difficult. After a day, I asked my travel companion “Where are all the kids??” I could as easily have asked “Where are the old folks?” Of course, there were still groups of children playing in the town park, just as you occasionally saw someold codger futilely attempting to hawk his World War II medals in an underpass in a hopeless attempt to buy tonight’s dinner. There just weren’t many. Most people I asked just walked away, but finally a woman selling her silverware on a dirty blanket in a market gave me a version similar to what most people later told me: They died in the winter of 1992. And those that survived succumbed in 1993. (there had been almost no heating fuel, and food was hard to come by). Spencer admitted that we have to remember that we live in a northern country, and that he hoped that by the time all the gas is sold, we will have alternatives…. Troglodytes, anyone?

  5. Elizabeth May did NOT say that – she presented a petition from constituents, as MPs are bound to do, even though she stated explicitly:
    “In this case, I don’t support the petition. But I understand the petitioners are frustrated; they feel people don’t listen to them,” she adds. “I don’t think there’s any purpose in a Canadian inquiry into 9/11.”

    So if that’s all that’s holding you back from voting Green, it’s time.

    Rafe’s analysis is right in the money – both the old-line industrial parties are stuck in their self-made boxes. The next provincial election should see further Green breakthroughs?

  6. Total agreement on the spineless move by the Provincial opposition Rafe.
    I think the rejection of the political “status quo” is becoming a world wide phenomenon.
    Everywhere there are “minority” govts being put in power. No one is happy with the rulers or the opposition so……we end up with stalemates.
    Is this good? Harper seemed to be a bit more “flexible” when he was a minority leader.
    As for the Greens….mmmmmm….not so sure especially when Elizabeth May stands up in parliament and declares 9/11 ‘a hoax”.
    I watched the second plane hit a world trade tower live on tv. along with a billion other people, unless mass hypnosis is a internet conspiracy theory not yet tested………..

    1. These pipe dreams like all private, Low taxed and subsidized oil companies are 100% for profit 0% environmental. They absolutely control any government that is to affixed on their own party and deaf to their constituents to realize the end result. Does anyone think a Government owned foreign oil company like Patronis would allow another country to come to their country and take their resources for penny’s on the dollar, I dont think so, They are literally laughing to the bank!

      As we watch oil prices drop and Citizen revolt to environmental issues related to Resource extraction one can only shake their heads. These are fool politicians that obviously know nothing about negotiation or weighing risks vs profit. This is bad bad business for BC Its all about party power and an absolute lack for coming up with other alternatives, Christy Clark has all her eggs in one basket and if it doesn’t say LNG on it, it doesn’t matter her and John Horgan just jumped on to the idiot train with her.

      As far as the Green party, Liz and 9/11 are concerned I cant tell you who was responsible but i have my ideas, I wont comment on that but there is on thing i can assure you nonconfidencevote, With 110% assurance. I am 50, I have worked with metals my whole life, I am a Certified technician and i have welded almost everything, The one thing i really know is metal and i will argue the following points with anyone including you. Those buildings free fell, The only way they can do that is by demolition, Not planes flying into them or the resulting fires from them…Impossible!!!!

      The environment and one of the most amazing places on this planets, BC matter so much to me and the generations to come that I would vote green in a heart beat, If there was someone running here in North Vancouver. I am not such a SMALL thinker to assume resource extraction is BC’s answer and I know i am not the only one.

      1. Speaking of ‘keeping all of your eggs in one basket’, when I was younger we used to raise our own chickens for meat and eggs. We kept a ‘broody hen’ and when she was ready to brood we would place a dozen ‘candled’ eggs in her nest box and in fairly short order we had a dozen chicks.

        ‘Candling’ (for you young’uns) was holding the egg up to the light(candle) and if we saw a dark spot we knew the old red rooster was doing his job and the egg was fertile.

        Apparently the preemy doesn’t know how to tell if any of her eggs are fertile or not because she sure doesn’t hold them up to any light for full scrutiny, relying instead on all the assurances from the cocks in her coop that they really are doing the job although from what I see they are pretty much past their prime.

        Around our place any cock not up to the task quickly found themselves in hot water.

        Personally I don’t think the preemy is much of a brooder for I rarely see her in her nest and the crowing and squawking that goes on around her coop makes me think it’s time to fry a few bad eggs.

        Actually as far as the preemy goes, if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck or quacks like a duck it pretty much ain’t no ‘broody hen’.

      2. perhaps you should source out a Frontline tv interview with the original designer of the World Trade towers .
        His response when a reporter asked him point blank why the towers collapsed….
        ” My design worked, the towers survived the impact of the jets. They didnt survive the fire.”
        There is much more on the interview that is too involved to type here.
        Suffice it to say, the show addresses all the “conspiracy theories” and refutes them one by one in a very clear format.
        That is unless you think PBS tv and Frontline are “in on the conspiracy”
        Paranioa will destroy ya

          1. Why 2,300 Architects & Engineers Demand Independent Investigation –
            Take a bit to read through this if you haven’t. It is a peer-reviewed report signed by 2,300 licensed and accredited architects and engineers in the USA. As ABCGuy stated (and the myriad professional architects and engineers in this report), the science does not match the official story. The buildings could not fall without experiencing physical resistance from the substructure holding it up. Look into building 7 as well. It was not even hit by a plane and collapsed at free fall speed, in the exact same manner as towers 1 & 2. It was 48 stories tall – basically the same height as the Wall Center Tower on Burrard and Nelson – and yet, collapsed in on itself from just a small number of fires. As much as it pains me to say so, I do not think the original story passes the smell test. I am not sure what you might accept as evidence enough for you to question your own beliefs but for me, the meticulous video from the perspective of many professional engineers held more sway than the frontline interview. My two cents. Cheers!

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