Tag Archives: Christy Clark

Stevie and Christy’s ‘Hands-off’ Approach to Enbridge – Gerry Hummel Cartoon


Check out this new cartoon from Gerry Hummel. Christy Clark says she isn’t taking a position on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines – but as we revealed this week, this BC Liberal “neutrality” is a myth. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is quite conspicuously throwing everything but the kitchen sink at opponents of the pipeline, causing the mainstream media to begin questioning his tactics.

BC Premier Christy Clark with Alberta Premier Alison Redford

The Myth of BC Liberal ‘Neutrality’ on Enbridge


“The Development of Nothern Gateway is job one.”
– Christy Clark shorty after becoming Premier

“With respect to northern gateway, let me say our government is pro pipeline,” says the Premier of British Columbia.
Christy Clark made this claim in question period last week. She did so while berating the NDP for opposing the project on the grounds that they are doing so prematurely and without adequate information to make an informed opinion.

This is the definitive moment that marks the turning point in the now long standing myth that the BC liberals are “neutral” or have chosen to take “no position” on the Northern Gateway Pipeline. And it was done with the stunning Liberal hypocrisy we have been forced to endure for too long.

By now anyone following the Joint Review Panel on the Northern Gateway Project is well aware that the process is deeply flawed, politically driven and resembles more of a dog and pony show than anything remotely close to an extensive review of the pertinent environmental and economic issues.

The BC Liberals have proven that they do support pipelines, no matter what the cost, just as the Premier admitted in Question Period.  They have done so for a long time and with little if any understanding of the far reaching economic and environmental ramifications. And the only reason they cling to a false front of neutrality is to maintain the now long standing cover up of their complicity in advancing pipeline projects.

The myth that they maintain a neutral stance dominates the mainstream barrage of coverage. This is done in order to provide the political escape hatch this government may require in order to cling to power. It also is done to perpetuate the “mass deception” governments, oil and media have undertaken, according to Robyn Allan former ICBC CEO, who has worked to uncover the misdeeds of government and industry boosters.

The time for the Liberal myth of ‘neutrality’ and so called ‘respect for public processes’ has come to an end. This will happen in large part due to the effort of concerned and informed citizens who, at great risk, have not only fully explored the issues but have also uncovered reams of data supporting their claims including unseemly bilateral agreements, extensive economic analysis and strategic components of the proposals that have been kept from the public. The now retired former CEO of ICBC Robyn Allan outlines some of these major concerns in this presentation and her recent open letter to the Premier.

Most recently Ms. Allan has completed a report entitled “Proposed Pipeline and Tanker Spill Risk for BC.” In this exhaustive report Robyn shines the light on how these pipeline proposals have been designed to “low ball” the pipeline capacity in favour of adding additional capacity in the future. This strategy allows for a 60% increase in the daily flow of diluted bitumen in the case of Enbridge’s proposal and in so doing does an end run on exhaustive environmental assessments that would be required had they originally proposed the full capacity. The following is from her report:

There is no reason to believe that the true environmental risk represented by the Northern Gateway Project is being—or ever will be—adequately addressed. The current JRP process has excluded a significant portion of the project’s actual capacity and its implications for pipeline spill and marine spill, while in the future, there is no statutory obligation to do so. All indications from the Federal government suggests there will be no political will either.

Ms. Allan goes on to demand that BC regain its statutory right to a final decision on the Northern Gateway Project:

The government of British Columbia [needs] to take action and protect BC’s statutory right for final decision for this project by removing Northern Gateway from the Equivalency Agreement with
the NEB.

As a result of the fine work of Ms. Allan and others like her, the national and provincial mainstream media has been forced to cover the duplicitous nature of the Liberal stickhandling of this issue despite having moved mountains to maintain the delicate mythology that the liberals have “not taken a position on the issue.” And the blogosphere has lit up (too many to link to) revealing this documentation that proves the Liberals are not only far from neutral but have taken outstanding measures in order to ensure that the pipeline projects proceed virtually unhindered by issues in the best economic interest of British Columbians and our environment.

People concerned about the future of our Province should view Robyn’s presentation and support her recent request for Cabinet to revoke the nearly two year old Equivalency Agreement which diminishes our ability to influence major projects in our Province. Also take the time to read her most recent report and follow up on her request to bring these issues to the attention of the Premier.

And, while we are at it we should encourage the environment Minister to explain why he delegated his Ministerial powers as outlined in section 27 of the act, onto senior staff which enabled the “Equivalency Agreement”, that forfeits our sovereign ability to properly review, participate and influence not just the Northern Gateway Project but four major proposed infrastructure developments. All of which will alter the very fabric of our Province and set BC on a course to a very bleak future. The relevant act clearly outlines the Minister has the right to enter into these agreements, not staff. It seems this was done in order to avoid political scrutiny while greasing the skids for major projects not necessarily in the best interest of British Columbians.

Furthermore, the Equivalency Agreement was absolutely unnecessary as there already was a long-standing agreement in place that would have allowed for Joint Review Panels to be established in order to prevent duplication. Indeed this was the entire purpose of this long standing, renewable agreement. The Minister should explain why he delegated his power to staff to establish the Equivalency Agreement, under what direction and for what purposes given the fact it was entirely unnecessary in order to “avoid duplication” or “streamline” the already entrenched agreement.

Equivalency Agreements were at one time an administrative tool used exclusively by Alberta to allow for that Province to undertake reviews and avoid duplication by the Federal Government. In recent highly contentious legislation, the use of Equivalency Agreements was forwarded by the Harper government to remove the Federal review components on so called “minor projects” making the Provinces sole arbiters. Given that Taseko’s Fish Lake project was rejected by the Federal process but passed the provincial assessment we gain insight into why Harper made these adjustments.
However, in the case of the Equivalency Agreement in British Columbia the exact opposite is occurring and the Province is being cut out of the process in order “to avoid duplication.” This stands in stark contrast to both the traditional application of these agreements and how they are being currently utilized by this government.  Our environment Minister needs to clarify why. Otherwise, it seems that not only are they using it to remove the Province from the equation but they are doing so against the grain of the common application of these agreements, while at the same time ignoring the act which dictates the Minister makes these arrangements, not staff.
We should also be asking our Environment Minister when and where the required public notice for this Equivalency Agreement occurred, because in order for an Equivalency Agreement to be enabled it requires notice and a 60 day time period for input on behalf of stakeholders and interested participants.Furthermore, after the 60 day period is complete, the agreement is supposed to be published by the Minister, or put in the Gazette. None of which occurred.
These striking anomalies just scratch the surface of the evidence that the BC Liberals have had an agenda for many years which involved a multi-faceted approach designed to set the legal and administrative stage for the successful development of exhaustive infrastructure projects in order to export Alberta’s Dirty Dilbit. It was done so by intentionally removing the capacity of British Columbian stakeholders to influence the decision making and outcomes while ensuring we had no significant leverage or capacity to negotiate beneficial economic arrangements.
Its time to end the deception and mythology surrounding the future of British Columbia and the oil and gas agenda and start planning a future that benefits all British Columbians.

Kevin Logan was a Ministerial Assistant to former Premier and Minister of Energy Mines and Northern Development Dan Miller.


Open Letter to Christy Clark on Enbridge, BC’s Sovereignty


The following letter was originally published on economist and former President and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia Robyn Allan’s blog, robynallan.com.

April 19, 2012

Dear Premier Clark,

Your government has not spoken out for or against the Northern Gateway pipeline proposed by Enbridge Inc., rather preferring to wait until the National Energy Review Board process is complete.  I am writing to you today to explain that, unfortunately the current Northern Gateway environmental and public interest process is flawed and as a result the public interest of BC is not protected.

The Federal government, as I am sure you are aware, has publicly endorsed the project, stated it is in the national interest of Canada, and has systematically demonized individuals and groups who oppose the project.  This behaviour has made a travesty of the necessary arms length relationship between government and an independent regulatory body.

As long as there was some sense that the Joint Review Panel (JRP) was independent and had the authority to reject the proposal regardless of the political pressure imposed by the Prime Minister’s Office, a semblance of due process was maintained. That necessary condition was violated when Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver unveiled proposed legislation on April 17, 2012.

The Federal Government now intends to further weaken environmental protection and favour large oil companies operating, primarily, in Alberta.  This has betrayed any remaining trust in federal energy decisions as they relate to the province of British Columbia.

With the overhaul of the environmental assessment rules and process, and making final decision on oil pipelines—such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway and proposed Kinder Morgan projects—a Federal cabinet prerogative, there is no confidence that the Government of Canada will make decisions that will be in the best public interest of the residents of this province.

A major change in policy in the midst of nation breaking events such as Northern Gateway or Kinder Morgan requires deliberate action on the part of your Office to protect the public interest trust and rights of BC residents and First Nations.

Certainly when the NEB process for Northern Gateway commenced in June 2010, the BC government thought the JRP would be objective and have the power to recommend a binding decision which would reflect the public interest of British Columbians and Canadians.  I can imagine that the safety and efficiency inherent in one independent review body—which the NEB was believed to be at the time—and the belief that our public interest would be protected were reasons why the Liberal government of BC under the leadership of Gordon Campbell, felt it acceptable to sign away our right to conduct an environmental assessment under B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Act.

During my review of the Enbridge economic documents as part of their Application to the NEB, I wondered why there was no real or meaningful review of their case by various ministries of the BC government.  The deliberate intent in the Enbridge documents to increase the price of oil for Canadian consumers and businesses, and the lack of concern over the impact our petro-currency has on forestry, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, appeared to be glaring examples of an economic case intent on presenting only the benefits to the oil industry without due consideration to the economic costs for the rest of us.  The development of a strategy to export raw crude to Asia at the cost of value added jobs and control over environmental standards also seemed worthy of provincial comment.

I felt surely, there should be professional economists, paid by taxpayers, that would stand up and present a fair picture of the macroeconomic impact rapid resource expansion and export has on the economy of British Columbia, not to mention the threat to the environment and First Nations rights. That is when I discovered that BC had signed away the right to actively assess the project.  I then understood that not only have you, as Premier, elected to remain silent on the issue, but our provincial departments have effectively been muzzled as well.

I draw to your attention the Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement signed between the NEB and BC’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) on June 21st, 2010.  I have attached a link to the agreement for your ease of recall.

Essentially the agreement states that the EAO will accept the NEB’s environmental assessment for four proposed projects, including the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, which would otherwise have to be reviewed under BC’s Environmental Assessment Act.  The NEB’s review would be treated as an equivalent assessment.

If the province of BC had not signed away its right to the NEB, under the terms of the legislation the EAO would have had to undertake a review.  According to the EAO, it is a “neutral agency that manages the review of proposed major projects in British Columbia, as required by the Environmental Assessment Act.  The environmental assessment process provides for the thorough, timely and integrated assessment of the potential environmental, economic, social, heritage, and health effects that may occur during the lifecycle of these projects, and provides for meaningful participation by First Nations, proponents, the public, local governments, and provincial agencies.”

We have the power within BC to undertake meaningful environmental assessment within provincial jurisdiction, but signed it away.   However, not all is lost.   Clause 6 of the Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement states:  ”Either Party may terminate this Agreement upon giving 30 days written notice to terminate the other Party”. 

May I recommend that the Government of British Columbia inform the Government of Canada that the province is now exercising its right with 30 days notice in order that it may undertake a proper environmental assessment under the terms of the provincial Environmental Assessment Act, for the Enbridge project, and it will not entertain signing such an agreement for the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline.

This action will ensure that the public interest of the people of BC will be protected and will not be severely curtailed by the actions of the Government of Canada favouring primarily Alberta’s oil producers.


Original Signed by Robyn Allan

Robyn Allan

cc.  Dr. Terry Lake, Minister of the Environment

Mr. Adrian Dix, Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Rob Fleming, Environment Critic

Mr. John Cummins, Conservative Leader

Mr. John van Dongen, Conservative MLA

Mr. Bob Simpson, Independent MLA

Ms. Vicki Huntington, Independent MLA

Photo: Darryl Dick/Globe and Mail

NDP Byelection Wins Bad News for Both Liberals and Conservatives; Good for NDP, Environment


The two by-elections are very bad news for the Liberals, not much better for the Tories and excellent news for the NDP.

Let’s start with the last first.
The loyal opposition is now in the position where a couple of Liberals crossing the floor can bring the government down. I don’t believe that will happen but it’s a worry for the Liberals. Mostly this confirmed Adrian Dix’s leadership. Any time you have a contested election, the losers and their supporters have a death wish for the winner – more about that in a moment. Dix is firmly in control. The NDP made a brilliant move in saying that while they oppose Enbridge and coastal tanker traffic they promise a local referendum for Kinder Morgan. One of the moves of the Campbell/Clark government was to extinguish the right of local governments to pass judgment on environmentally sensitive projects and the NDP understand that the late US Speaker, Tip O’Neill, was right when he said “all politics is local”.
For the John Cummins Conservatives this by-election was a bitter blow, for if the Tories can’t win a by-election – governments usually have trouble with them – in a staunchly “conservative” riding, what chance do they have in a general election. This hardly enhances the opportunity for a new party along the Socred lines since Cummins brings nothing to the table.

For the Liberals, these votes can’t be put down to the usual anti-government pissed off voters. Premier Clark’s leadership was on the line and the Liberals know it.

Going into the by-elections all but one caucus and cabinet minister wanted someone else. She has stumbled from one gaffe to another since she took office. She must go and soon; if she stays, it will be the best news the NDP could get. She’s like Bill Vander Zalm was in 1991 – a loser brought to his knees as much by cabinet and caucus disloyalty as personal stupidity.

When a premier is in trouble he/she must be able to rally the troops – this Ms. Clark is utterly unable to do. She must go, with a temporary leader in place pending a leadership convention, for which time is very short.

Never mind the weeping that a split vote cost them Chilliwack and a turncoat won in Port Coquitlam – the fact is that the government lost two elections which were referenda on the Liberals and their leadership.

There was another winner – big time: the environment. In Chilliwack, the Kinder-Morgan pipeline was a big issue – to my memory, the first time the Environment was a large issue there.

These by-elections did more than alter the make-up of the Legislature; they altered politics in BC – Big Time.




Christy Clark Must Go


Of course Christy Clark must resign. It’s not going to get better as time passes.
I would be the last to say that the entire problem is of her doing – she was handed a poisoned chalice by Gordon Campbell who is the ultimate Teflon man; he pays nothing for going to jail and when he left in a cloud, far from paying a price, he gets showered with honours.
BC Hydro is the unlanced boil, an issue that has lots of legs. But now, according to Alex Tsakumis, the intrepid blogger with a box cart full of contacts, has the Premier in the mess too.
The question is timing and how – it must be soon, for when the Conservatives win Chilliwack all in the caucus will have sharp knives ready for the moment she turns her back.
Why do I see backstabbing here?
Because that’s what it is.
From the moment she was selected leader of the Liberals, I predicted that Ms. Clark would fail, for two reasons: I didn’t think she had the necessary tools of leadership, but, of more importance, she had a caucus and cabinet that had a death wish for her. Leaders can survive enemies within but not if it’s everybody. She had no colleagues she could rely upon to help to avoid trouble or to get out of it when it happened.
I frankly don’t think she was up to the job but she was given no real opportunity to prove me wrong.
What now?
A Conservative friend (yes there are such things) suggested that the Liberals bring in proportional representation which would mean the right, being the Liberals in their present incarnation and the Conservatives would have a chance to form a coalition.
I don’t know if it was tongue in cheek but there are many reasons this is a bad idea that wouldn’t float – Liberal and Conservative members wouldn’t stand for it. Neither would the public who would see it just as it would be – an insult to the people since they would have no say in the matter.
I believe that in general, the caucus as a whole should select the party leader.
Not democratic?
How democratic are the electronic games that are played under the current system? The caucus knows whom they can and will support and whom they cannot.
The best example I can think of was the political assassination of Margaret Thatcher in 1990. In the British Tory system there‘s a leadership review process and in 1990 it was invoked. In a little over a week the process was concluded with John Major getting the support of more MPs than anyone else. He won the next election.
Now it must always be remembered that no matter how the process works it’s not “new pitcher, new strikes”. The incoming leader will have to deal with the mess that’s left over as will any successor to Christy Clark.
The backroom boys always think that a leadership convention, complete with electronic voting, will provide a leader who will have momentum to carry on and win. They use Bill Vander Zalm as an example. In fact, it’s an example of my point – while Vander Zalm was loved by the people (not for long, as it transpired) he went into the nominating convention with only one member of caucus supporting him, Jack Davis, who had been convicted of fraudulently converting 1st Class tickets into Economy and pocketing the difference. He was forced out of Cabinet by Premier Bill Bennett never to darken the cabinet room again. He saw that with Vander Zalm he might get back in – and he did. The important point is that all of the other ministers who had served with Vander Zalm opposed his nomination and he had not been long in his new job before the knives were unsheathed.
On cannot overly blame his colleagues, for Vander Zalm was stubborn, unrelenting in opinions and a one man band.
I believe that the Liberals will lose in 2013 regardless of who is leader. But the object is not winning but holding the party together. The longer Ms. Clark stays, the greater the risk of an implosion as the Socreds did in 1991.
Premier Clark must wait until the by-elections are over – otherwise she would be seen as abandoning her candidates.
After these elections I believe Ms. Clark must stand down and the leader should be selected by either the cabinet (as the Socreds did in 1991) or by the entire caucus as is the Conservative policy in the UK.
I suspect that the backroom boys will disagree and want a full blown leadership convention. If they do it they run the risk of having the same result that put Ms. Clark in the premier’s office.
The one thing the electronic election does not do is see first hand the candidates going through a process. The traditional convention was exciting to watch and because of that the winner did have momentum.
In all events, no amount of promising huge exports here, big developments there will do. The public sees through that kind of death bed flim flam.
Christy Clark must go – and soon.

Have you thought about whether or not there’s a soul? What about near death experiences? Should the Book of Revelation scare the pants off us? Find out what other religions and experts say with my new book The Home Stretch available online, www.kindle.com or www.amazon.com  for your computer, kindle, kobo or iPad – for the miserly sum of $9.99

Private power projects like this one on the Ashlu River have been caught red-handed killing wild fish

Audio: Simi Sara, Damien Gillis Talk Private Power, Fish Kills and Enbridge


Get MP3 (14 MB)

Listen to this interview of Damien Gillis by CKNW’s Simi Sara on recent revelations that so-called run of the river projects are killing fish. The two also discuss Provincial Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson’s appearance on Sara’s show this past Friday and the complete lack of penalties or enforcement by either DFO or the Province on these blatant violations by several private power operators. They also touch on the Harper government’s plan to gut the Fisheries Act and how that benefits Enbridge and the private power industry. (March 20- 12 min)


Mainstream Media, Former Politicians Finding Religion on BC Libs and Fish


It’s wondrous to behold! So many have seen religion at the same time!
Vaughn Palmer of the Postmedia Sun has finally got religion and is openly questioning the Liberal government’s position on the use of Telus resources to help build the new roof on BC Place Stadium! One looks in vain to see any criticism of consequence over the deal to build the roof in the first place so that the jock world had a better playpen at taxpayers’ expense.
Where, oh where, has there been any coverage in Vaughn’s columns over the years on fish farms, private power development, Enbridge’s pipeline project and tanker traffic down our coast and increased tanker traffic through Vancouver Harbour?
Mike Smyth of the Postmedia Province has got religion at long last and is highly critical of the Clark government’s refusal of the $35 million Telus offered to have the jocks’ publicly financed sand box named for them.
Where, oh where, has there been any coverage in Mike’s columns over the years of fish farms, private power development, Enbridge’s pipeline project and tanker traffic down our coast and increased tanker traffic through Vancouver Harbour?
There’s a guy named Fletcher, I think, who works, I believe, for the David Black newspapers, who manages to kiss the establishment’s backside while anointing its feet – a daunting task which he has easily managed. I somehow doubt that he’ll see the light – although he did come out against the Enbridge pipeline not too long ago.
Tom Siddon, formerly Federal Fisheries Minister, has seen religion and is critical of his old party for removing “habitat” from the Fisheries Act. Here’s the story from the Edmonton Journal.

Siddon said the wording would turn fish into a commodity and overlook the importance of the broader ecosystem that, for instance, allows British Columbia’s famous salmon resource to thrive.

“It’s like saying as long as we have a happy lifestyle and can go to the rec centre and keep fit, it doesn’t matter what the air is like that we breath or the water that we drink,” Siddon said.

“If we want to preserve and protect our fish stocks, it’s more than a commercial equation.”

Wasn’t Siddon the federal Fisheries Minister when a so-called compromise was brokered between the senior governments and Alcan which agreed to lower the Nechako River – which Alcan’s Kemano II project would do despite a Department of Fisheries study condemning the project in no uncertain terms? A report of 1985 which didn’t see the light of day until it was leaked to me at the height of the battle in the 1990’s?

Here’s what I said during the fight against this hideous project. Scientists were giving evidence that the proposals were catastrophic to salmon runs. The deal was struck in the absence of all seven DFO scientists who had worked on the project and the commission was, in effect, given Alcan’s figures to work with. The chairman of the Settlement Group, Dr. David Strangway, wouldn’t know a sockeye salmon from a sea cucumber.

I strongly support what Mr. Siddon said last week and hope his former mates take him seriously. I say – in all  seriousness – that we all should be like Mr. Siddon and ponder on positions we took in earlier times. As Emerson put it, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
As environmentalists, the Common Sense Canadian welcomes Mr. Siddon’s support. With his long government experience and his position as Fisheries Minister his words carry considerable weight.

When one looks at the entire picture of the Harper government in the environment, a thought occurs. That bunch are for fish farms, private river projects, pipelines carrying toxic gunk over 1,100kms of our pristine wilderness, huge tankers down our extremely dangerous coast, all without much meaningful public input.

It seems clear that our MPs join the Prime Minister in giving British Columbians the finger, leaving civil disobedience the only option left for thousands of British Columbians who condemn Harper’s wanton abandonment of our heritage.

May I respectfully suggest that you post on the fridge this list of 21 Conservative toadies who have abandoned their province to the Harper whip:

Ed Fast Abbotsford ed@edfast.ca
Dick Harris – Cariboo – Prince George Harris.R@parl.gc.ca
Mark Strahl – Chilliwack – Fraser Canyon mark.strahl@parl.gc.ca
Kerry Lynne Findlay – Delta – Richmond East MP Kerry-Lynne.Findlay@parl.gc.ca
Nina Grewal – Fleetwood – Port Kells Grewal.N@parl.gc.ca
Cathy McLeod – Kamloops – Thompson – Cariboo McLeod.C@parl.gc.ca
Ron Cannan – Kelowna – Lake Country ron.cannan@parl.gc.ca
David Wilks – Kootenay – Columbia David.wilks@parl.gc.ca
Mark Warawa – Langley Warawa.M@parl.gc.ca
James Lunney – Nanaimo – Alberni Lunney.J@parl.gc.ca
Andrew Saxton – North Vancouver Saxton.A@parl.gc.ca
Dan Albas – Okanagan – Coquihalla http://www.danalbas.com/contact-dan.html
Colin Mayes – Okanagan – Shuswap Mayes.C@parl.gc.ca
Randy Kamp – Pitt Meadows – Maple Ridge – Mission Kamp.R@parl.gc.ca
James Moore – Port Moody – Westwood – Port Coquitlam Moore.J@parl.gc.ca
Bob Zimmer – Prince George – Peace River Bob.Zimmer@parl.gc.ca
Alice Wong – Richmond Wong.A@parl.gc.ca
Russ Hiebert – South Surrey – White Rock – Cloverdale Info@RussHiebert.ca
John Duncan – Vancouver Island North Duncan.J@parl.gc.ca
Wai Young – Vancouver South info@waiyoung.ca
John Weston – West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country Weston.J@parl.gc.ca

Photo from flickr - BC Gov Photos

Harper and Clark Playing Dangerous Games with Enbridge


The Premier and the Prime Minister are playing very dangerous games indeed.
Prime Minister Harper is acting as though the Enbridge pipeline is a done deal– indeed he’s telling anyone he meets that very thing.

The PM, never much for public opinion at the best of times, cannot see any possible way the general public and First Nations could stand in the way of this ghastly project.
He’s relying on the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel hearings to allow him to say that the people have had their say so – on with the pipelines! That they will approve of the double pipeline is all but a forgone conclusion and already The PM and his Resources Minister are complaining that the Commission is tiresome and wasting time; however, the time isn’t wasted as far as I’m concerned, for every moment the Commission sits will make more people aware of the egregious environmental insult this project is.
Where is Premier Clark? I believe that the provincial government has shared jurisdiction, yet she seems to think if she ducks her head British Columbians won’t notice her.
Ms. Clark and the Prime Minister are paying no attention to the fact that the First Nations across the entire project oppose it, but here’s the crunch: if this Tar Sands gunk doesn’t get shipped from the coast there’s no point to pipelines.
Premier Clark can’t avoid the tanker issue. On this issue the First Nations are adamant – in Coastal First Nations spokesman Gerald Amos’ words on the tanker traffic, he is nothing if not concise: “It isn’t going to happen.”
The issues of the pipelines and tankers are joined at the hip – Enbridge is scarcely going to build pipelines unless the Tar Sands gunk will have customers and customers require tankers to go down the coast.
This means that even if Premier Clark can avoid the pipelines issue, she sure as hell can’t avoid the tanker one. To make the cheese more binding, this will be a huge issue by the time the next provincial election comes around in May of 2013.
I have no doubt that the NDP will be unalterably and vocally opposed to the tanker traffic and the premier will have to fish or cut bait. To make it worse, she’s in a Catch 22 position – if she opposes the tanker traffic  many of the right wing of the party will vote Conservative; if she supports it, the centre/left and the crucial swing folks will vote NDP.
Both the PM and Clark completely miss the strength of the opposition to the pipelines and tanker traffic – a strength that is growing and will continue to grow.
In my lifetime, a long one, I have never seen a more dangerous situation where violence may well not be avoided. I have also never seen such a serious situation be ignored by our political masters.
Harper trots around the world to get customers to buy Tar Sands gunk without any serious process to hear the people; while the Premier pretends that it has nothing to do with her.
All the while opposition grows and grows – a clear prescription for disaster.
Rafe’s new book, The Home Stretch can be downloaded onto your computer, iPad, Kobo, or Kindle from amazon.com or kobo.com for the obscenely low price of $9.99


Clark Says Site C Dam Essential to LNG Development in BC


Read this story from Fort St. John’s EnergeticCity.ca on BC Premier Christy Clark’s recent comments that the controversial proposed Site C Dam is essential to building liquid natural gas plants on BC’s west coast. (Feb 10, 2012)

Site C and B.C.’s proposed LNG development go hand in hand, according to Premier Christy Clark. In an interview with Moose FM/energeticcity.ca, Clark explained that the newly approved licence for Shell to export liquefied natural gas out of Kitimat will use 100 per cent of the power Site C would create.

“We cannot create this new industry in British Columbia, by adding value to natural gas, without the power that would come from Site C. It’s an essential part of the plan in the long-term, to make sure that we’re putting British Columbians to work.”


She adds the province’s power needs are going to grow substantially, so “we’re going to need the power from Site C and we’re also going to need the power from lots of independent power producers from across the province: wind energy, run of river, you name it.” In saying so, she also criticized B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix for supporting LNG development and not supporting Site C, saying he “can’t have it both ways.”

Clark says she is completely comfortable with the science behind fracking, and its possible associated health risks, and believes Northeast B.C. has the safest shale gas industry in the world. As she says, it can always get better, and the province has been pushing new practices, like publishing ingredients used in hydraulic fracturing on an online database.

“That will do two things: first, it will push companies to be even cleaner and greener all the time… I think it will drive innovation because we’re open about it; but second, I think it builds confidence in what we do.”

She points to instances where fracking has been done very badly elsewhere, like the U.S., and wants people to see what’s been done in B.C. to set an example. The hope is that oil and gas companies will take it upon themselves to get the word out about how safe practices are in the province.

“We set the highest bar anywhere in the world for fracking, and people need to see what we’re doing and need to understand it so they can too.”

Read more: http://energeticcity.ca/article/news/2012/02/09/site-c-essential-lng-development-clark


Image: Angus Reid Public Opinion

BC NDP Widens Lead in Latest Angus Reid Opinion Poll – In-depth Analysis


New Poll results: NDP up to 42% while Liberals drop to 28%, Conservatives flat at 19%, Greens flat at 10%

It is clear now from four consecutive opinion polls that BC politics has entered a new phase, and that partisan support has shifted into a radically different paradigm.

The main change happened late last year when about 12 per cent of decided voters departed from the BC Liberal Party and joined the newly-revived BC Conservative Party (not necessarily all by membership of course); meanwhile support for the BC NDP was up only slightly and for the BC Green Party was down slightly.

Now the latest opinion poll from Angus Reid Public Opinion shows that that new paradigm has held and even increased in the last three months, most notably with a widening gap between the NDP, now up 2 to 42%, and the Liberals, down 3 to only 28%, which in an election held now would produce a large majority for the NDP; but also important is that support for the Conservatives went sideways, up only 1 to 19%, and for the Green Party was up 2 to only 10%.

That new paradigm of plunging Liberals, rising Conservatives and steady New Democrats first appeared in an Angus Reid poll last November and then was highlighted in two polls by Forum Research, one in December and another last month, and now they have been confirmed by the always-reliable Angus Reid firm, which surveyed 800 of its online panelists Jan. 27 to 29 and claims a variability of 3.5%.

That pattern – which shows up well in a colored graph contained in the report, which you can download here – suggests more than a few voters have lost hope that BC Liberal Party Premier Christy Clark will make major changes from the style and substance of her predecessor Gordon Campbell, who she replaced last March, and they instead have turned to the Conservatives, who jumped from about 5% to about 20% soon after former Member of Parliament John Cummins became their leader.

Clark has lost her edge, pollster notes

“The governing party is now losing a quarter of its 2009 electors in 2009 to the BC Conservatives, and Clark has lost her edge on issues like crime and the economy,” said Mario Canseco, the polling firm’s Vancouver vice-president, noting it’s the first time the Liberals have been below 30 per cent since Campbell announced his resignation in November 2010.

The Liberals’ support recovered to about 43% during the party’s leadership campaign but once Clark took over in March 2011 the support drifted down to 31% last fall and now has gone further down to 28% – apparently because Clark wasn’t moving fast enough to repair problems left by her predecessor, notably to extricate BC from Campbell’s (tainted) Harmonized Sales Tax deal with Ottawa but also dealing with many other troubled areas.

A stats table shows that the Clark Liberals are now holding on to only 60% of their 2009 voters, with 27% having gone to the Conservatives and another 10% to the NDP, while the NDP is holding 88% of its voters and only 5% have gone to the Conservatives and only 2% to the Liberals. [Maybe those two NewDems were attracted to the Liberals by that sterling stallion MLA Kash Heed once he was “exonerated” from the illegalities in the Vancouver-Fraserview campaign??]

Keith Baldrey of most-watched GlobalBC-TV described that as “a very deep dark hole” for the Liberals but he and other pundits tend to agree that there is still lots of time for such things to change again before the May 14, 2013 provincial election, such as maybe some floor-crossings by disgruntled Liberal backbenchers or moves by other MLAs (the Legislature resumes sitting on Feb. 14) and/or calls to replace Clark with someone stronger or better-liked, though right now really no one else stands out who would be better.

Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer also was damning, noting Clark “has failed to deliver a fresh start” and failed on certain other promises she made during her leadership bid, such as connecting more with young voters.

“The Liberals are misreading the mood of the public,” added SFU’s Doug McArthur on CKNW’s Simi Sara Show, noting they need to and probably will make some changes and work harder to develop a more positive forward-looking vision.

Meanwhile, a closer look at some of the poll’s breakouts shows that NDP leader Adrian Dix was wise to downplay the significance of this poll even though it shows him for the first time as best choice for Premier (26% to 22% but with a massive 40% undecided), his approval rating climbed to the top too (45% to Clark’s 40%) and his “momentum score” (net change in approval) was up a healthy 6 points while Clark’s crashed 24 points.

Clark still tops Dix on the economy

That prudence by Dix was appropriate because a breakout in the report shows Clark still leads Dix as the leader best-suited to deal with the two most important policy areas, the economy and federal/provincial relations, which another table shows are by far the most important issues in the minds of voters: Economy is at 27% and Health Care at 21% and all the rest such as leadership, poverty, tax relief and crime are well below 10% and fed-prov is not even mentioned – but note that Health Care qualifies as a federal-provincial issue IF you assume that federal-provincial negotiations are critical to the future funding of health care, which is a fair supposition given that that was virtually the only agenda item considered when the Canadian Premiers convened last month in Victoria following Ottawa’s unilateral move to fundamentally change the health care funding formula in years ahead.

On the economy Clark tops Dix by 24% to 23% and on federal-provincial relations she leads by 27% to 21% (perhaps reflecting how she hosted Prime Minister Stephen Harper at her son’s hockey game recently) while on Health Care Dix leads by 33% to 20% which probably reflects that the NDP gets a lot of support from health and social service workers who were hammered by the Campbell Liberals.

In other words, the crux of BC’s partisan politics remains the same as always: how best to manage the economy so that the people can afford top-notch health care. That is the issue on which Campbell dominated the NDP for a decade, and it is still the case for Clark.  Though Dix is helped by having been seen to have been an excellent official critic of Health for his caucus, he still obviously has some work to do on the business and investment climate, job creation, Crown corporations, taxes, finances and related issues – perhaps especially how job creation could be linked to environmental protection and delivery of more new social services for an aging population [with a new style of care facilities needed to reduce costs and caseloads in hospitals].

[And by the way, though it wasn’t mentioned in the survey, Dix has also been doing a better job of running his caucus, which is subtly evident in the way several critics and MLAs have recently sounded more confident when they stepped forward to comment on issues in their policy areas, which suggests they’ve been given more freedom than under former leader Carole James.]

Stats suggest Liberal attack ads backfired

Probably one of the more important or at least interesting findings in the poll is that the attack ads the Liberal Party ran against Dix, labelling him as risky Dix and pointing people to a “risky Dix” website, failed to turn around his momentum and actually may have even helped raise his profile and further help him by triggering a few sympathy votes, perhaps especially among women, an amazing 47% of whom now support the NDP compared to only 24% for the female-led Liberals. Among men it is 37% NDP, 32% Liberals and no aberrations for the others.

In other words, women voters are flocking to the NDP now even after the party ousted its female leader!

On the age breakout there are only a few standout statistics, such as young voters showing Liberal support low at 23% and Green support high at 19%, and plus-55 voters (i.e. “seniors”) showing NDP 40% (a bit below what it should be), Liberals 31% (their best age segment) and Conservatives 22% (probably the core of that party).

The Household Income breakout is interesting and entertaining too because the NDP is dominant in all three categories, low, middle and high! On incomes below $50,000 it’s NDP 47 to Liberals 24, from that to $100,000 it is NDP 39 and Liberals 32, and on $100,000-plus it is NDP 43 to Liberals 30 and the other parties not notable.

In other words, even people in the top income bracket now prefer the NDP!

Clark’s decline due mainly to lack of changes

Why has the Liberal support suffered such a fall-off?  The problem really goes back to the Campbell Liberals’ grossly-tainted election win in May 2009 after which Campbell became a virtual despot trying ever-more-extreme schemes to hide and suppress the reality that he had badly botched the management of many many important areas all around the public sector and furthermore that in order to win the 2009 election and thereby keep hiding the scandals he had to lie about the government’s finances, cheat to win some seats in the election and then impose the harmonized sales tax to try cover up how he had cooked the financial books.

The full gist of that is only now beginning to be grasped by the electorate, and few in the mainstream media have yet articulated that let alone have critics in other parties dared say it even when they enjoy the protection of Parliamentary privilege, but anyway the polls show that that view of Campbell’s terrible record is now a key entrenched fact of public opinion, aided greatly by the petition and referendum victory against the HST.

Some of the other Angus Reid break-out tables provide interesting and useful insights into why Clark’s ratings dropped, such as who and where Clark has been losing, but they don’t offer much hope of a turnaround anytime soon with her disapproval at 49% and approval at 40% with a not-sure of only 11%.

Regarding how views of Clark had changed in the last three months, 36% said they had worsened while only 12% said they had improved, only 42 per cent stayed the same and only 10 per cent were not sure – which has to be one of the worst quarterly drops for a Premier in BC polling history.

Dix climbed despite attack ads

By comparison Dix’s score fell by 16%, which probably reflected some effects of the Liberal attack ads; Green Party leader Jane Sterk worsened by 15% (probably reflecting her decision to not run candidates in two pending byelections); and Conservative leader Cummins declined only 7% while having a huge “not sure” score of 34%.

Looking at Dix’s scores, he had the top approval at 45%, a substantial disapproval at 36%, he worsened among 16% but improved with 22% and stayed the same with 49% and had a “not sure” of only 13%, which would seem to be a fairly healthy maturation for a new leader of a left-leaning party and much better than for the other three leaders but still not enough yet to ensure a win for him in the next election.

In the regional breakdown there are only a few stats that stand out, such as the NDP’s dominance on Vancouver island at 51%, their solid lead in the North and their competitiveness in the Interior – and no weakness anywhere. (That Island finding should be of some interest to the Forum researchers who claimed that Dix had a problem of low recognition there.)

Read the full Angus Reid report here.

John Twigg is an independent journalist based in West Vancouver and a former long-time member of the Victoria Press Gallery. He can be reached at john@johntwigg.com.