Tag Archives: Christy Clark

Rich Coleman was recently caught in a conflict of interest scandal (Darryl Dyck - Canadian Press)

Rafe: BC Liberal Government Corrupt


The Campbell/Clark government is corrupt and here are a few of the reasons I say this:

  • Campbell gets convicted of drunken driving and doesn’t resign as he certainly would have demanded that an NDP premier do
  • The 2009 budget that was $1.2 billion short of reality – this amounted to a fraud upon the voters
  • The lies about the HST
  • The BC Rail stink
  • The use of public finds to promote the Liberal Party
  • The use of public servants for party political purposes
  • Private power contracts for political pals which are bankrupting BC Hydro

Readers will, no doubt, find other reasons.

In recent weeks we discovered Rich Coleman taking election funds from a brewery he is now about to save $9 million in taxes.

Let me tell you about the standards that prevailed in my years (1975-81) in the Bill Bennett government.  And, I must say, in the Barrett government before it. Now, mark you, I’m not talking about what policies they supported but the integrity of the premier and his ministers.

I had Coleman’s job and the first thing I did was check my small RRSP and found I had a few shares in Hiram Walker Distillers, which I promptly sold at a small loss.

Of more importance, in 1978 I was greeted by a headline in the morning paper alleging that I had interfered in a hearing before the Rentalsman (the arbiter for rental disputes at the time) who came under my ministry. There wasn’t a particle of truth in it but the Premier gave me 48 hours to deal with it.

It transpired that a judge, hearing an appeal from a decision by the Rentalsman, heard a witness say she had “heard that the minister himself got involved in the case”.

The Rentalsman publicly said that I had had nothing to do with it and had never interfered with his office. I hired a lawyer, now Supreme Court Justice, who within the time limit prevailed upon the judge to withdraw his remarks and say outright that there was no evidence at all that I had even known about the matter let alone interfered in it.

My seat in cabinet was jeopardized, quite properly, by those two matters.

When Minister Jack Davis was being investigated for fraud the Premier promptly sacked him. The standard is not, you see, reasonable doubt but “is the minister under a cloud of reasonable suspicion?”  This principle, one of the foundations of democracy, is not well known to the public nor, it seems, to the Campbell/Clark government.

What has this got to do with environmental matters?

Plenty for this government is going to represent us on pipeline matters, tanker matters and many other concerns we all have about our environment.

The killing of the HST has involved the premier trying to make the best possible deal with the feds when the tax expires just a month before the next election.

Thus the essential question arises: When the feds approve the various pipelines proposed without even the usual sham of an environmental assessment process, what will Premier Clark be doing? Will she, in fact, take favours from the feds and promise not to interfere in return? Indeed, has she already done this?

Are she and her ministers going to fold and do as their federal masters demand in fear of recriminations?

There are some, no doubt, who say that the feds should have their way as they speak for all Canada. That ignores the very principle under which Canada governs itself – namely a division of powers under the Constitution Act (1982), which follows the BNA Act (1867), which underlies a federal state as is the case in Germany, Australia and the USA.

Prime Minister Harper is no doubt going to approve these pipelines and the consequent tanker traffic using the omnibus clause giving him that right under section 91 – “Works connecting provinces; beyond boundaries of one province; within a province but to the advantage of Canada/or more than one province”.

The province retains a number of powers it can use such as the right to issue licenses – especially water licenses – to protect wildlife, including non-migratory fish and to protect its shoreline. 

Will Premier Clark have the courage of our convictions and say, “Prime Minister, these pipelines will be subject to our rights to protect our environment under Section 92 and they will be rigorously enforced?”

Or will there be under the table “deals” made linking pipelines and tankers to other issues between Ottawa and Victoria? Such as the HST? Such as selling our constitutional rights for money from Ottawa’s share of royalties and other taxes collected?

There is no middle ground – just as a woman can’t be a “little bit pregnant”, we either stand up for our environment or we don’t.

In short – forgive the expression – will she have the balls to stand up to the feds or, more likely, will she and her ministers try to find some middle ground?

What we need is an honest government of honest men and women protecting us against the predations of greedy corporations, the government of China and the raw uninhibited capitalism of Prime Minister Harper and his toadies from BC.

Clearly, standing up for our rights and honest dealings based on principles is not this government’s strong suit.

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”.


Premier Clark should step aside


It has been accurately observed that in politics six weeks is an eternity. By April/May of 2013, who knows what the issues of the moment might be? I’ll tell you my bet in a moment.

It is this question which should spur the Liberals into doing something about their leadership – or lack of it.

I simply cannot see how, short of a fluke, Christy Clark can lead her party to victory in May 2013.

Ms. Clark didn’t have a chance from the start. With but one MLA supporting here she had to pull off a miracle in order to start putting Humpty Dumpty together again. Ms Clark doesn’t have it within her to lead in a forceful way – the sad fact is that she simply is not a leader, period.

For the good of her party the premier should step aside. If the Liberals held a leadership convention, soon, the new leader could hardly do worse. Let’s leave that for a moment.

The issues next May are likely to be energy and the environment. The Northern Gateway proposition has become huge; the state of BC Hydro being forced to pay hugely inflated prices to private power companies is catching on; the issues around Natural gas, LNG and “fracking” will be much more focused.

The NDP has had a free run with these issues and, in my opinion have not done a good job in stating a firm policy.

The energy critic John Horgan has, amazingly enough, supported the LNG plant and pipeline through very sensitive territory to it.
He has refused to condemn the increase capacity for Kinder-Morgan on the flimsy excuse that they have not filed their request yet, an amazing stance when you think that they will be pumping bitumen through sensitive areas which is what Enbridge proposes to do and the know all they’ll ever need to know about spills of bitumen. His policy on so-called run of rivers has been wishy washy.

Premier Clark has been pathetic on these subjects and this is the very reason the Libs should dump her.

Would Ms Clark leaving and a new leader chosen lead the Liberals back to power next May?

I very much doubt it – they would, however, at least have a chance whereas they don’t have any chance the way things presently look.

The leadership contest would have to have two results – a leader who had the backing of his MLAs and a clear energy and environmental program that could get public support. If the convention doesn’t give the party “bounce” in the polls, and more importantly, bounce with the voters, it will fail. Yet, as I have been saying, they’re dead in the water as it is and a change is their only chance.

Who could provide a leadership that British Columbians might follow?

I haven’t the faintest idea. The strong man in the caucus is Kevin Falcon but he scarcely could be seen as a man of the environment.

In any event, that’s not my problem.

It gets down to this – whether change would help is uncertain; without change it is all but certain that not only will they lose the election, they might lose their party in the bargain.


Clark Misses the Mark with 5-Point Criteria for Enbridge


The competition has been tight, but I think Christy Clark has finally won the prize for the Canadian Leader most out of touch with her constituents.

On her new 5-point criteria regarding the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, she strikes out on 4 out of the 5 points.

First, Clark says we must wait for approval from the Enbridge Joint Review Panel (the federal review process currently underway, and in limbo with Harper’s Bill C-38). Well that’s the one she got right – at least she didn’t join the likes of Harper and publicly state her support for the proposal before the process plays out.

Second, Clark indicates that more money would seal the deal for the Provincial government! Excuse me; hasn’t our illustrious Premier heard anything at all this year? When did the 130 First Nations unequivocally opposed to the Northern Gateway, in addition to a majority of British Columbians, ever say “we’re against the project, unless we get more money out of the deal?” Money has NEVER been the issue, and for Clark to think that’s what the people of this province value, then she’s had her head in the sand for the past 10 months or she’s been preoccupied strategizing her latest publicity stunts and secret rendezvous (personally, I think it’s the latter).  

Third, Clark insists we must have “world-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.’s coastline”. I have to wonder, does she mean like the ones at Kalamazoo, or maybe the BP ones in the Gulf, or how about the 800+ spills in the Enbridge system over 10 years? Exactly where does Clark figure this new “world-leading…spill prevention and recovery” will come from? To clean up more than 15% of a spill is impossible and to clean up bitumen is harder and has many unknowns. Pretending that there is a “recovery system” out there that will suddenly solve this issue is why she wins the competition – she’s the only one who thinks this is a reality.

If there were ever an oil spill in Hecate Strait there is no cleanup system. I repeat, there would be no recovery system in place. The only one you’re impressing with this rhetoric is Enbridge – I’m sure she’s won their support with the provincial government’s token requirements.

Fourth, Clark wants to ensure the “Legal and Treaty Rights of FN are addressed”. If you hadn’t noticed, there are over 130 First Nations standing together that are adamantly against this project and most of what they’re saying is about the land, sea and environment and not some legal point that must be “addressed”. 

Finally, “Enbridge must make every effort to engage First Nations to provide them with opportunities”. And, we’re back to the money again. The loud and clear message I’ve been hearing is that there isn’t enough money that could offset the risk of an oil spill on our ecosystems and the natural environment that sustains us. Does Clark figure the people of Kalamazoo would be fine now if only they’d loaded up on the benefits earlier in the decade?
No means no. Fortunately for British Columbians, the Liberals aren’t fairing well in recent polls. Clark should have taken a lesson from NDP Leader Dix, who took a firm stance against the Northern Gateway a while back.

John Disney is the economic development officer of the The Old Massett Village Council, a band government of the Haida people.

Then-Canadian Trade Minister David Emerson shakes hands with Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai in 2007 (Reuters photo)

Clark’s ‘Tough New Stand’ on Enbridge Not Only Meaningless but EPICly Duplicitous


Here at The Common Sense Canadian, we have established that the BC Liberals have been doing the bidding of the oil and gas agenda behind the scenes while presenting a different story to the people of BC.

In May, we published “The Myth of Liberal Neutrality on Enbridge”, wherein we outlined how compliant mainstream media had been positioning Christy as “neutral” on the Gateway project, despite the many facts to the contrary, in order to provide a political escape hatch for the languishing Premier. More recently, we have seen precisely why they had taken this “neutral” approach as Christy used the political escape hatch they provided in order to kick off her re-election campaign and make her grand debut as a “fighter for British Columbia”.

Had the mainstream detailed her government’s longstanding, non-wavering support for the oil and gas agenda Christy, would not have been able to suddenly take such a position and maintain any credibility all the while claiming she is now putting BC First.

Last week in a story titled “Cross-Border Deals with Alberta Undermine Clark’s Tougher Stance on Enbridge”, we outlined Christy’s new “BC First” positioning as a hollow and baseless facade, given the Equivalency Agreement her government initiated, which leaves British Columbia without any capacity to review, assess or decide the fate of four major oil and gas infrastructure projects, including Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Project. Moreover, we explained how if Christy was to interfere with the flow of oil and gas across the BC/Alberta border in the way she has publicly described, it would expose British Columbians to millions of dollars in fines and penalties as dictated in legislation her own government ushered in when they invoked closure to bring an end to debate on these important details and passed TILMA/NWPTA into law.

Although mainstream media continues to ignore these inconvenient truths, they have clearly illustrated there are various federal laws which also contribute to the now glaring, unavoidable fact that Christy is powerless to deliver on her new tough stance, has absolutely no leverage to wrestle more cash out of these deals, and cannot prevent the federal government from forcing this agenda on British Columbians. They do so with precise detail here at Ipolitics:

To build a robust and effective national energy economy, Harper will be using Ottawa’s constitutional powers under section 91(2), the regulation of trade and commerce clause, and section 121, preventing the taxation of goods across provincial boarders.

And if that was not enough to neuter Christy and her BC First Liberals, there is even more here from Postmedia, where they outline how Harper can “invoke Clause 10 of Section 92 of the British North America Act, which allows Ottawa to assert jurisdiction over interprovincial projects if parliament declares them to be ‘for the general advantage of Canada’.”

At this point, you are probably asking how can Christy claim to be standing up for the rights of British Columbians when her government has signed them all away? Or how can she threaten to stop anything when she has no legal capacity to do so? And how can she possibly ask for more money? She has not a single bargaining chip or any leverage whatsoever as a result of her government’s own actions and the plethora of federal legislative tools designed specifically to stop her from doing so.

The answer is EPIC.

Of course all of this occurs during the height of summer vacation season and at the same time as the spectacle of the Olympics. The few of us left still paying attention have been inundated with a barrage of minutia and detail covering Christy’s tough new stance. We have been literally overwhelmed with all sorts of talk about “Premier Redford’s National Energy Strategy” and how Christy will not “sign off” until her so-called “demands” are met.

Nowhere in all the coverage is there even one mention of the man behind the curtain, David Emerson, the EPIC Chairman and political puppet master who infamously crossed the floor to join Stephen Harper’s Conservatives as Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway, before returning to the private sector in 2008 to work for the China Investment Corporation. EPIC is the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, the organization building the Energy Strategy “Framework” on behalf of a variety of our corporate overlords. The evidence of EPIC’s ability to dominate the agenda was prominent during Harper’s Omnibus disaster where most of what Bill C-38 entailed was written and published by EPIC months before.

This is where we get down to brass tacks.

Redford, Christy and even Harper are political bit players in a much bigger game.

EPIC represents a stunning array of who’s who in the corporate realm that dominates the Canadian landscape and David Emerson is the corporate titan calling the shots from the EPIC command and control center. In fact, he is quite possibly the most powerful man in Canada. Emerson’s long corporate career has stretched his network the world over. He is plugged into Asia in a bold and very public way, but less public are his far-reaching contacts in all of our country’s most important industries outside of banking, not to mention his rolodex of political contacts from his bold stint in public office.

Our current politicians work for EPIC – their job is to grease the skids, do damage control and generally ensure public acquiescence to the EPIC agenda.

Most people are unaware of EPIC. They operate behind the scenes, which also mirrors the now longstanding BC Liberal management of the agenda. It’s all done out of the limelight, away from the public eye. No stone is left unturned and no detail is overlooked by this immensely bold and powerful lobby.

Let’s take a look at their most recent “statement” – note it is not a press release or an opinion piece or even an attempt to influence the “all-powerful” politicians, but rather it is simply a plain statement of the facts, with very bold language that dictates the entire agenda, and although it was publicly released, it was never reported on. Moreover, as you will note, this statement gave the premiers their marching orders and priorities, and even detailed what they must say:

“The Premiers must speak in terms of what is in it for every Canadian.”

When you read between the bold lines it becomes very clear precisely how and why Redford is now standing up to protect “every penny” of her Province’s royalties, while Clark was suddenly able to stop being neutral and start talking about “what is in it” for British Columbians.

But it does not stop there – the EPIC statement goes on to dictate the policy procedure and the roll-out while explaining how they will be “sending to every Premier, the Prime Minister and all Ministers responsible for energy, our recommendations and discussion on key elements for a national energy framework.”

The statement then proceeds to outline their expectations of the lowly premiers and underscores the need for them to “act fast.”

And then there is this gem:

If we fail, we lose as a nation and we give up the jobs, money and environmental management opportunity to other countries that will gladly compete with us.

According to EPIC, other countries will “gladly” accept the “environmental management opportunity” the massive escalation of Tar Sands extraction and natural gas fracking presents.

Really? Environmental Management Opportunity? Well, I guess that is one way of putting it. The day after they released this statement the good folks in Wisconsin had one of their own “Environmental Management Opportunities” as Enbridge’s most recent pipeline spill released an “estimated” 1200 barrels of oil. On that same day Enbridge received approval to reverse line 9b in their “strategy” to move Alberta’s Dilbit east into Portland, Maine for export, offering a whole new region more “Environmental Management Opportunities.”

This all coincides with our Energy Minister’s taxpayer funded junket to London (one of the destinations for exported dilbit from Portland), to meet with his old buddy Gordon Campbell, who arranged yet another “energy meeting” – this one coinciding with the Olympic kick-off and, as it just so happens, Coleman’s vacation schedule. However, Coleman is bound under confidentiality agreements with the likes of Shell and Petro China, so it is unclear exactly what he will be able to discuss with Mr. Campbell and Premier Redford, except for the fact that those companies just applied for an export license (on the very same day as the Enbridge spill and Christy’s debut as tough new fighter for BC – what you missed it?) to ship 1 million tonnes a year of LNG for 24 years.   

That is one hell of a lot of Fracking natural gas and it all makes you wonder what’s left to strategize about. In fact, if Christy was serious about talking money for British Columbia, this is what she should be talking about while ensuring BC sees a respectable royalty regime in place for this massive liquidation of our resources.

Regardless, the EPIC statement below goes onto explain how they will be “helping” out governments by “releasing comprehensive details for the roll out of the national energy strategy”, which will dictate “how governments will implement their role in the strategy.”

In case you are wondering, this is what a petro-state looks like. Corporations drive the agenda and politicians comply while distracting people from the real issues and deflecting attention away from the things that matter. All the while twisting the narrative to improve their electoral fortunes. This is what we now deem good “leadership” in today’s petro-political environment.

Read the full EPIC statement here

Now you know why Ms Clark’s tough new stance is not only hollow and meaningless but EPICly duplicitous.

She is simply doing what she is told and all she has to do is continue her government’s complete capitulation to the agenda and she will overcome all the laws and restrictions that render British Columbia powerless to negotiate better returns. She will do so with her continued passive compliance – not a “tough stand” – and she will be rewarded by Emerson, who will give the nod for more money to be loosened up while ensuring the corporations he represents meet her “demands”, as unsubstantial and meaningless as they are.

This is how Christy Clark puts BC First, right behind EPIC, and a multitude of now longstanding agreements that limit the Province’s ability to realize responsible returns on our resources.


Premier Clark Buys Time on Enbridge


Premier Clark’s fight with Alberta Premier Redford over the Northern Gateway project is a very dangerous ploy. She has, by this action, said plainly that the BC environment is open to bids in exchange for the desecration of our province. We are the hooker bargaining over the price of services.

The Premier’s environmental stipulations will cause no concerns with Alberta, Ottawa or Enbridge. Of course they will agree to these terms including a clause re cost of damage – those promises are easy to make and easy to ignore. Once the bitumen starts to flow, how do you enforce any agreement?

The four salient facts remain – spills by Enbridge’s own admission are inevitable, the terrain is inaccessible, the bitumen is highly toxic and all but impossible to clean up, and once the pipeline is operative we will have serial spills, each time adding to existing spill damage.

The spat the premier has launched with Alberta Premier Redford is strictly political with the object of Clark and the Liberals getting better polling numbers.

Unfortunately for the premier, this is like sex – great while it lasts. What we’ve heard from Premier Redford is simply the first round of a long bidding exercise. It must be remembered that Premier Redford did, a few months ago, offer to help build the necessary docking facilities in Kitimat. (That strikes me as an offer to dig your grave and supply a headstone if you would be so kind as to commit suicide!)

What Premier Clark has done is buy a bit of political time in the hope that when next May’s election comes around she will look as if she’s valiantly defending BC’s integrity.

The fact is she has BC in a process it should never be in – trading BC’s environment in exchange for unenforceable and useless environmental safeguards – and money, the amount and payer(s) to be determined. She is doing this not in our province’s interest but that of her party and herself.

This is vintage Liberal stuff – the first priority is always to get elected.

I don’t believe that this ploy will work. The opposition to the Northern Gateway (Enbridge) and tanker traffic is too great.

The responsible course – and one which would have helped her and her party considerably the long run, i.e. next May’s election, would have been to announce that the Liberal government was opposed to the entire Northern Gateway initiative and that in that respect the government and the opposition were agreed.

The general fainting spell this would bring would quickly pass and the NDP would have lost its initiative on this issue.

Alas, such responsible positions don’t happen in BC politics.

Premiers Christy Clark and Alison Redford have been engaged in a war of words recently over Enbridge's proposed pipeline (photo: 24hrs)

Cross-Border Deals with Alberta Undermine Clark’s Tougher Stance on Enbridge


Christy Clark claims she will stop the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, despite existing agreements of her government’s own making, exposing British Columbia to millions in penalties.

“Well it stops right here then,” blares the unelected Premier’s quote in Tuesday’s Globe and Mail under the provocative headline “Premiers quarrel over resource revenue threatens to scuttle pipeline.”   

Christy goes into more detail in the Vancouver Sun: “If Alberta doesn’t decide they want to sit down and engage, the project stops. It’s as simple as that,’ she goes on when asked what she can do about it. Clark said the province needs to issue about 60 permits for it to go ahead, and BC Hydro needs to provide power.” 

Clark and her minions see the writing on the wall and its not good – they have decided to start standing up to Albertans and showing them who’s boss. That’s the ticket – British Columbians will love that, or at least that is what her most recent communications adviser must believe.

Clark, renowned “communicator” after her politically strategic stint in radio, has failed to connect with British Columbians and just last month she traded in Harper’s communications hacks for Gordon Campbell’s old spin doctor. That was her third shuffle in communications staff during her short reign. She is desperate and this new positioning on Enbridge reflects it.

She is so desperate it seems she is taking late night calls from Mike Klassan, co-founder of the City Caucus website, who foreshadowed precisely what we are seeing Clark do today when he wrote this advice way back in May:

As her government enters the final year of its mandate, Christy Clark must take bold steps on the energy file. The kind of deal that most British Columbians wish for is within her grasp, if she so chooses.

Clark must invite Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Alberta Premier Alison Redford, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and representatives of Canada’s petroleum industry sector to tour Burrard Inlet to see first-hand what is at stake for B.C. There could be no better backdrop than our pristine coastline for this conversation.

In order to stabilize the access to markets, British Columbia must be an equal partner. Premier Clark should therefore propose a Western Petroleum Export Accord that sees a fair share of oil industry profits invested in B.C.

Make no mistake, Monday’s media charade and subsequent political positioning was not a result of anything new as Environment Minister Terry Lake claimed, nor is it due to the “Keystone Kops” stunning incompetence, resulting in a half a billion more dollars in new safety cash from Enbridge. It is, rather, pure politics and the right has been working overtime for many months trying to pull their electoral fortunes out of the fire.

The oil and gas agenda under the BC Liberals has been a stealth agenda, and they are so far out ahead of the public dialogue and processes that convincing British Columbians they somehow have a say or any influence is a real challenge, even for Christy. Her claims in light of Alberta’s refusal to negotiate are hollow and risky. Here are just three of many reasons why:


The original TILMA (Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement) deal between BC and Alberta was eagerly ushered in by the BC Liberals, who even invoked closure to end debate and railroad it through, despite cries of protest from all corners. The agreement dictates that any impediments at any level of government that works to restrict the free flow of trade deals will result in serious penalties. Clark cannot suggest she was not aware of this because since she started steering the Liberal’s sinking ship she has appointed 5 people to TILMA boards who would mete out such penalties.

TILMA was the predecessor to the NWPTA (New West Partnership Trade Agreement), which was also boosted by the Liberals as imperative to the development of Western Canada into an economic powerhouse. And that does not mean we needed agreements to get Alberta beef flowing – it was all about oil and gas. Christy suggests her government can halt the project by restricting power and permits, which would result in penalties as high as 5 million dollars as outlined in this agreement

Moreover under Chrisy’s leadership, the New West Partnership Agreement resulted in a bricks-and-mortar office in Shanghai, strange because it’s not called the New West and East Asia Agreement, but that is what Clark turned it into. This NWPTA Shanghai office is supposed to be up and running this year. Seems a bit odd to stop projects this far evolved with so much already invested and with risk of such stiff penalties while alienating her new friends in Shanghai. Redford gently reminded Christy of this fact when she stated publicly, “We’ve worked very hard through our New West Partnership to ensure free trade across the BC/Alberta/Saskatchewan borders and the shared economic rewards have been great for our citizens. Leadership is not about dividing Canadians and pitting one province against another—leadership is about working together.”

2) Equivalency Agreement

Just as the ink was dry on the NWPTA, ensuring Alberta no impediment in trade deals that required access and right-of-way through British Columbia, another agreement was immediately pursued by the BC Liberals, the details of which I have previously written about in these pages. This deal forfeits British Columbia’s capacity to influence and/or assess the Enbridge pipeline project specifically, along with three other major projects. I guess the NWPTA was not enough to provide certainty to oilmen, therefore another agreement was required that clearly spelled out that BC has no say in these infrastructure projects.

The deal was done in stealth fashion while the Liberals were receiving awards and recognition from prominent enviro’ish activists for their “clean energy” agenda, and while the Premier was secretly arranging another off-the-record meeting after having been tapped by the Bilderberg group to attend their stealthy confab. And just like we never heard anything about sending our premier off to meet with the richest most powerful people on earth, we did not hear anything about his party’s agenda to usher in the oil and gas era at the expense of our environment, economy and sovereignty.

3) Jurisdictional wrangling

When it comes to these “heavy oil pipelines”, the jurisdictional wrangling has been treated like a hot potato during a game of musical chairs. And when the music stops Clark will be left standing with a spud in her hand. It’s a bit confusing to say the least. Which of course is by design. This is what Trillions of dollars – with a “T” – does to grownups. Obfuscation is the order of the day. Regardless of who anybody thinks is ultimately responsible, the facts are the two agreements above tie the hands of British Columbians and Chisty is simply orchestrating a media charade designed to make her appear as if she has some backbone and is taking on the world’s most powerful forces on behalf of British Columbians. Which of course is pure poppycock. It’s all politics – an illusion – designed to forward the aggressive oily agenda and somehow salvage Christy’s quickly crashing political career.

So thorough was the work of this Liberal government ensuring the legal and administrative stage was set for the oil and gas agenda, upon becoming leader of the opposition, Adrian Dix ( a renowned policy wonk and one of the sharpest minds in the pointy buildings) was unable to get his head around how the work could be undone. Dix was forced to appoint a team of lawyers to gain insight into how we might actually regain any ability whatsoever to make decisions about what happens on our land and with our coast or how we might wrestle back a modicum of control over our future.

The key to avoiding penalties under the TILMA/NWPA is to revoke the Equivalency Agreement. I have written about here and here and others such as Robyn Allan have brought to the Premier’s attention. I suspect the legal team will have more to say about that, but for now it is simply stunning that Clark would threaten Alberta and these economic development projects while leaving BC exposed to such stiff penalties, all simply to salvage her political career.


BC Liberal Government Surrenders to Enbridge, Ottawa


The BC Liberals have just offered the sword of surrender to Enbridge and Ottawa as the organ-grinder’s monkey, Environment Minister Terry Lake, made clear in a statement today.

Separating the pepper from the fly shit, the Liberals want more money and more environmental safeguards imposed upon Enbridge, which must be severely monitored by the feds. (With the same enthusiasm the Department of Fisheries and Oceans safeguards our Pacific Salmon, no doubt.)

As I said here recently, Premier Clark has declared that BC is a whore, the only thing to be decided being how much?

Let me place matters on the table once more:

  1. There will be ruptures in this 1,100 km. pipeline by the admission of Enbridge and now conceded as the only possible inference to be drawn from Lake’s statement demanding better clean-up arrangements.
  2. This pipeline goes over two mountain ranges and through a dense wilderness and is inaccessible to any cleanup undertaking. To make this plain to this corrupt bunch, you cannot get to the spills.
  3. Such is the nature of the bitumen to be piped you can’t clean it up even if you could get to it.
  4. The pipeline becomes a permanent serial polluter with one environmental catastrophe following another.

Of course Premier Clark will have her “demands” met.

More money is a slam dunk because there’s a hell of a lot of it available. It will start with offers to build the port facilities at Kitimat – which is sort of like offering to donate your the grave and headstone if you’ll commit suicide. There will be royalty sharing offered along with lots of cash to buy off First Nations.

Of course the feds and Enbridge will meet the demands in the press release which were:

The province wants limits to liability in the event of an oil spill to ensure there are sufficient financial resources to properly address the effects of a spill and it is calling for increased federal government response.

B.C. also wants tougher federal rules requiring industry to provide and replace marine response equipment.

And the province wants a Natural Resources Damage Assessment process to give certainty that a responsible party will address all costs associated with a spill.

The naiveté is breathtaking! Why, I imagine Prime Minister Harper will even say “cross my heart and hope to die” when he makes the solemn pledges!

This is an act of craven cowardice to help the bedraggled, leader challenged BC Liberals for the May 2013 election.

Harper will come up with oodles of safeguards just as the BC government did with fish farms and will pursue them with the same diligence his government and the BC government has with the Fish Farmers.

I don’t mean to be rude, folks, but how do you compensate for lost or badly polluted fish habitat, starving caribou and polluted rivers? How do you put a dollar figure on shattered ecologies? How do you compensate First Nations for lost hunting grounds? How do you compensate the tourist industry for their lost revenues?

Perhaps most importantly, what is the going rate for a province that has just sold its soul?

Premier Clark and her bedraggled, divided gutless cabinet and caucus have sold us out in hopes they can rally the right wing back into the fold and you can bet the ranch that Harper will go easy on the BC government when the HST expires next April as part of this surrender package.

Our provincial government, in place to protect our province’s integrity has, as predicted, sold us out for a mess of pottage in a sorry attempt to save its grubby political hide.


Rafe: Clark has BC Behaving Like a Prostitute on Enbridge, Only Dickering Over Price


I wonder how many of you have come away from making a speech – perhaps the toast to the bride, being presented an award or perhaps just an after dinner speech and said to yourself, “damn … I should have said etc., etc.? I must admit that I’ve often felt that way and, even worse, I suppose, I’ve said to myself, what an idiot I was to say that!
In my recent blog on The Common Sense Canadian, I wrote about Premier Clark’s slow turnaround on the Enbridge pipeline case and in a moment I’ll tell you what I should have added.
The inadequacies of Clark’s leadership are exposed once more; she cannot bring herself to talk about the tanker traffic in the Inside Passage from Kitimat – or the close to 400 tankers a year through Vancouver harbour and the Salish Sea through the Straits of Juan de Fuca that would result from the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. Clearly the tanker issue must be dealt with at the same time as Enbridge since, as the song says, “You can’t have one without the other.”
Clearly, Premier Clark just doesn’t have the courage to have a position on the issue as a whole.
It is not as if this was a complex issue. We know by Enbridge’s own admission that we will have spills from pipelines and common sense and statistics tell us that there will be tanker spills.
In the face of these certainties, Premier Clark is talking about insufficient financial benefits, on the assumption that money will compensate us for huge, ongoing tragedies over the 1,100 km of the pipeline and tanker spills – in short, our very soul is at stake and Clark is talking money.
Here comes the line I should have used…Premier Clark reminds me of the story where a man asks a lady if she will go to bed with him for $100,000 and she hems and haws, speaks of her needy children and, with apparent reluctance agrees.
The man then asks, “Will you then go to bed with me for $100?”
The lady is outraged and asks, “What do you think I am, a common prostitute?”
“We’ve already established that, ma’am,” says the man. “Now we’re dickering over the price.”
Thus the missing line: Premier Clark has declared British Columbia to be a common prostitute and is now ready to dicker.

BC Premier Christy Clark - pictured here with Alberta Premier Alison Redford - has softened her support for Enbridge this past week

Rafe Responds to Liberals’ Shifting Position on Enbridge: Clark Still Missing the Mark


I would be delighted to report that Premier Clark’s recent musings about the proposed Enbridge pipeline were a positive step but unfortunately must report that she misses the point – badly.
Her position evidently is that BC is not benefiting sufficiently from the pipeline.
The first and fatal flaw is that she doesn’t include tanker traffic, for if Enbridge goes through it must be accompanied by tanker traffic or the whole exercise is pointless.
The second and also fatal flaw is that the Premier puts the argument in monetary terms. Enbridge itself admits that it will have leaks in the same way an airplane company will have crashes. This is the critical point, for to say we’re not getting enough money from Enbridge says that we’re OK with a spill here and there as long as we’re adequately compensated. This will result in Enbridge, the government of Alberta and Ottawa coming up with a compensation package suitable to the Clark government.
Let’s remember three things: there will be spills, they will be in places no clean-up crew can reach, and there is no way bitumen, freed from the condensate which allows it to be piped, can be cleaned up anyway.
Never mind the terrible response by Enbridge to its Kalamazoo spill – the message there is that clean-up, even in a readily accessible location, can never happen. To that gloomy fact, add the admission by Enbridge and remember that there will be many spills over the years and, because cleanup is impossible, we will have more and more of our wilderness destroyed. We’ll be looking at Enbridge, a serial polluter, with the only questions being when and how bad.
I, for one, care about our land and the ecologies it supports, such that to me money doesn’t even enter the discussion.
What Premier Clark is doing is looking for a price for our wilderness and I say that this is irrelevant – no price is enough.