Tag Archives: Take Back Our BC

Penticton Western News: Mair leads the charge on energy policy


From the Penticton Western News – April 5, 2011

by Steve Kidder

Politics sometimes makes strange bedfellows, and it appears
environmental activism does as well. At least for former Social Credit
cabinet minister Rafe Mair, who found himself sharing the stage with
provincial Green Party and NDP candidates at the Shatford Centre
Saturday afternoon.

It’s not about the politics of it, said the always outspoken
columnist and talk show host. While Julius Bloomfield, deputy leader of
the provincial Green Party, was also speaking at the event, Mair said
they didn’t bring the Town Hall Tour to Penticton in order to support
the Greens, either provincially or federally. Rather, he just wanted to
get the message out about environmental and energy issues facing the
people of B.C.

“I am not supporting the Greens, I am supporting our own
organization, which is called The Common Sense Canadian,” said Mair. “We
have no political affiliations at all, but we do support candidates
that have the same views on the environment and energy as we do.”

Mair partnered with award-winning filmmaker
Damien Gillis to create the organization, which he explains focuses on
two related, major issues: B.C.’s energy policy and the environmental
impact of developments like run-of-the-river power projects and the
proposed Enbridge Pipeline.

Even if these things aren’t happening locally,
Mair said that all B.C. residents have a stake in what is going on, in
every corner of the province, and need to hold governments to task.

“The energy policy that was brought in by the
Campbell government is absolutely preposterous,” said Mair. “We got
private companies buggering up our rivers, making power that Hydro can’t
use — they can only make it during the spring runoff — and forcing
Hydro to buy that power whether they want to or not.”

That leads to an “absurd” situation, Mair said,
claiming that BC Hydro will have to buy the power at three times the
price they can export it for, instead of making it themselves at a tenth
of the cost that the independent power producers can.

“BC Hydro is bankrupt. It’s not bankrupt, because
it always has the ratepayers to call on to bring in the money, but if
they were in the private sector right now, it would be in Chapter 11
protection,” said Mair, adding that the environmental argument against
independent power projects is just as strong.

“These rivers are buggered up, there is no doubt
about it,” he said. “All the things that live in those rivers are at
serious risk. This is what the Campbell government has done to your
environment and your energy.”

Cameron Phillips, who ran locally for the
provincial NDP in 2009, said he had a hard time making run-of-the-river
projects an election issue during that election.

“This is a ballot box issue. What British
Columbian wants to give up the right to their rivers, to pour millions
of dollars into corporate pockets that would otherwise go into roads and
schools and everything else?” said Phillip.

Mair’s powerful skills as an orator carried the
crowd packed into the recital hall at the Shatford Centre, bringing them
to their feet after a speech, that though short on substantiated facts,
was filled with emotional impact, as was Gillis’ film, Oil in Eden, which was shown prior to the speeches from Mair, Bloomfield and Gillis himself.

Mair said he hopes voters will think about these issues as they question the candidates running for office.

“I hope they will take these thoughts to the
various political parties in the federal race,” he said, adding his
opinion that the current government isn’t doing enough.

“The minister of fisheries is an absolute
deadhead, there is no use talking to her about anything,” said Mair.
“It’s got to change, it really does.”

More information about The Common Sense Canadian is available at www.thecanadian.org.

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Rafe Mair to speak in Penticton


From the Penticton Western News – March 31, 2011

Former Social Credit cabinet minister and political commentator Rafe
Mair will be in Penticton Saturday as part of a provincewide series of
engagements called: A Town-hall Tour for Common Sense Canadians.

As a radio talk-show host throughout much of the
‘90s on Vancouver’s CKNW, Mair made a name for himself as a thoughtful,
witty and, at times, abrasive stewart of political discourse.

Two years ago, when he last spoke in Penticton,
Mair said that if the BC Liberal government continues on its “path of
disseminating BC Hydro”, the province’s residents will face huge price
hikes in our electrical bills.

Since then, according to Mair, “we now face, on average, 50 per cent hikes in our electrical bills.”

Once again, Mair will speak on issues affecting B.C.’s rivers, hydro bills, fish and democracy.

“These aren’t matters of left and right, but of
right and wrong,” said Mair. “It’s time for common sense Canadians to
band together through our own media and community organizing to address
our greatest challenges: protecting our environment and democracy.

“We can be the generation that lost B.C. or, together, we can be the one that saved it.”

The town hall meeting will also include former
provincial Green Party candidate Julius Bloomfield, an advocate for
alternative energies such as solar and wind, and filmmaker Damien
Gillis’ new short documentary on the proposed Enbridge Pipeline to
B.C.’s North Coast.

The event will take place Saturday at 2 p.m. at
the Shatford Centre (the old Pen High building across from the Penticton
Public Library).

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Mair, Gillis bringing common sense to Kelowna April 3


From the Kelowna Capital News – March 30, 2011

Rivers, hydro bills, oil tankers, democracy—these are the
subjects of a rousing tour of B.C. this year led by Rafe Mair and Damien

Gillis and Mair are founders of a new online
journal called The Common Sense Canadian, created to provide a voice for
the public and the environment.

As part of a speaking tour that reaches some 30
communities around the province, Mair and Gillis  will appear in Kelowna
on Sunday, April 3, 3 p.m., at First United Church in downtown Kelowna.

The event is co-sponsored by the Kelowna chapter of the Council of Canadians and Citizens for Public Power.

The townhall meeting will feature Gillis’ new
short documentary on the proposed Enbridge pipeline to B.C.’s North
Coast, called Oil In Eden, and a keynote speech by Mair, a former
provincial government cabinet minister under former premier Bill
Bennett’s Social Credit government and a now retired long-time Vancouver
radio talk show host.

The two will also take questions from the audience.

The tour is designed to inform and empower British Columbians.

“These aren’t matters of left and right, but of right and wrong,” Mair said.

“It’s time for Common Sense Canadians to band
together—through our own media and community organizing—to address our
greatest challenges: Protecting our environment and democracy.

“We can be the generation that lost B.C., or together we can be the one that saved it.”

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Rafe Mair Visits Williams Lake


From the Williams Lake Tribune – March 11, 2011

Author and social commentator Rafe Mair and documentary film maker
Damien Gillis will be in Williams Lake March 25 for a town-hall style
presentation on their new online non-profit journal The Common Sense Canadian — a voice for the public and environment.

Mair and Gillis are touring 30 B.C. communities and
will make their presentation in the Williams Lake secondary commons
theatre from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 25.

The two-hour event will feature Gillis’ new short documentary on the proposed Enbridge pipeline to B.C.’s North Coast, called Oil in Eden, plus a keynote speech by Mair.

There will also be an opportunity for the audience to
ask questions and discuss issues with the speakers on topics such as
rivers, hydro bills, oil tankers and democracy.

“These aren’t matters of left and right, but of right and wrong,” Mair says.

“It’s time for common-sense Canadians to band together —
through our own media and community organizing — to address our
greatest challenges: protecting our environment and democracy.”

Mair adds: “We can be the generation that lost B.C., or together we can be the one that saved it.”

Mair is a former lawyer and minister responsible for constitutional affairs in the Bennett cabinet during the 1980s.

He went on to become a broadcaster and writer on public affairs.

His commentaries and books have been punctuated with what has been called his “wicked sense of humour.”

Books include The Last Cast about fly fishing; Canada: Is Anyone Listening?; Rants Raves and Recollections that made the B.C. best seller list; Still Ranting; and Rafe: A Memoir.

The event is co-presented by the Council of Canadians Williams Lake Chapter.

Admission is by donation.

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The Westerly: Gillis and Mair in Tofino on media tour


From The Westerly – Feb 24, 2011

by Yasmin Aboelsaud

Residents filled the Tofino theatre February 19 for a local stop on
the Take Back Our B.C. town hall tour by Rafe Mair and Damien Gillis.

Mair — a former B.C. environment minister and broadcaster is a political figure known to many British Columbians.

Gillis is an award winning documentary filmmaker who tackles issues relating to the environment and politics.

Mair and Gillis formed an online journal called The Common Sense
Canadian and the tour is an extension of their citizen media outreach.

event, which was hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound, featured a
couple of Gillis’ documentaries that involve Clayoqout Sound.

“Rafe and I both are very concerned about the future of the environment in British Columbia,” Gillis said.

Among their environmental concerns are the protection of wild salmon, water, energy, and social justice.

first documentary screened was about the proposed Enbridge oil
pipeline, Oil in Eden: The Battle to Protect Canada’s Pacific Coast.

Also shown was a short documentary called Farmed Salmon Exposed.

Mair spoke about the word risk.

keep hearing it said by people who want to use our land,” he said.
“‘This is an acceptable risk. This is a manageable risk’.”

Mair said if something is done for a prolonged period of time, it is no longer a risk. “It’s certainty waiting to happen.”

the NIMBY — Not In My Backyard — movement Mair said it is the right
of residents to protect their homes for future generations.

“If my backyard is Stanley Park, your backyard is Clayoquot,” said Mair. “Your backyard is what belongs to this community.”

protecting a backyard, Mair said citizens should be able to direct the
results by having more control over local authority.

The Common Sense Canadian is considered a province-wide movement that unites citizens.

you keep the pressure on and never never give in, sooner or later
you’re going to win,” Mair said. “If you falter, you lose.”

Mair emphasized the importance of grassroots movements when it comes to change, using the examples of Egypt and Tunisia.

those North Africa movements, The Common Sense Canadian uses social
media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, to connect. They also
tour communities and hold meetings such as the one Saturday evening.

to a timeline on Enbridge’s website, the proposed pipeline — the
Northern Gateway Project — is currently in its consultation phase.

$5.5 billion project would be 1,177 kilometers in length, transporting
oil from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, British Columbia.

Northern Gateway website states, “The project will undergo a
comprehensive and rigorous regulatory review to determine whether the
project is in the public interest or cause significant adverse effects
on the environment. The JRP [Joint Review Panel] will determine if the
proposed pipeline project will go ahead.”

Enbridge estimates $4.3
billion of labour-related income across Canada during construction
with about 1,150 long-term jobs across Canada during operations.

According to Creative Salmon Company Ltd.’s website, “Fish health and welfare is a very important focus for Creative Salmon.”

The website also states they are committed to protecting the environment in which they operate.

For more on Mair and Gillis, visit thecanadian.org

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Alberni Valley Times: Rafe Mair Speaks Out vs Coal Mine


From the Alberni Valley Times – Feb 21, 2011

by Heather Thomson

More than 300 people gathered at the high school to hear from outspoken radio personality Rafe Mair, and he didn’t disappoint.

The event kicked off with a video by Damien Gillis, who travels with
Mair in the Take Back Our B.C. tour. It focused on the battle being
waged in coastal communities in B.C. to fight the Enbridge pipeline.

Gillis said the idea behind their tour is to make sure people are informed.

“We decided to ramp things up to create this journal so we can reach as
many people as possible,” he said. “We want them to learn more about
the issues that are affecting their community.”

If you want more information about what Mair and Gillis are doing,
go to www.thecanadian.org. You can also check out the videos Gillis has
shot around the province.

From there the talk moved to a more local issue, the fight against opening a coal port in the Alberni Valley.

John Snyder, president of CoalWatch, asked the crowd to get involved.

your vision of the Comox Valley doesn’t include a coal mine and your
Alberni Valley vision doesn’t include a coal port, it’s time to get
involved,” he said. “With your help we can stop this ill-advised
project from happening.”

He said there are a lot of maybes involved in discussions, and maybe none of the things they worry about will come true.

“Maybe we’re all just worried about nothing,” he said. “But it’s not worth the risk.”

Coal Free Alberni’s Stacey Gaiga spoke next on the issue.

She said there hasn’t been a coal mine on Vancouver Island since the 1970s, so why start now?

said the clear message is that coal is “toxic for the community.” That
is why she encouraged people to voice their objections.

“The next public comment period is when you will have your say,” she said. “Please submit your concerns.”

added that the coal port is bad for the Valley because it will damage
the roads, harm the air quality, will mean dredging the Inlet and it
goes against the official community plan that encourages tourism-based
development on the waterfront.

“It’s important that you have your say,” she said.

Mair then took to the stage, immediately taking up the issue of a defunct provincial government.

government no longer has any control over what they do,” he said,
adding that the province is being run by corporations because they have
so much power over B.C.’s elected officials.

He offered the example of the falsehoods the finance minister gave on the subjects of privatization of rivers.

He said the government isn’t doing enough to save the rivers by offering public consultation.

“Not only do we have to have public involvement,” he said. “We have to have public consent.”

He said the problem is that the government isn’t being held accountable for their actions.

“There’s no criticism from the mainstream media,” he said. “We have to be our own media – circulate the message ourselves.”

He said sometimes it is frustrating fighting a battle that has no clear end.

you have to be patient and fight right to the end of the road,” he
said. “You never know you’ve won until you’ve won, so you have to keep

He offered the same words of encouragement when referring to the battle the Alberni Valley is waging against a coal port.

As for the government, he said it’s time to kick them out.

one wants to believe a government can be that stupid, but they are
because they don’t care,” he said. “We can win, we just have to join
hands for a hell of a fight that can save our beautiful province from
the government and corporation that is harming it.”

Gillis offered similar advice on the fight against the coal port. He
said it is possible to win the fight, but everyone will have to band
together to make it one the whole province cares about.

If you would like to know more about these issues go to www.thecanadian.org.

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Tofino – Westerly News: Political writer and filmmaker on tour


From the Westerly News – Feb 9, 2011

by Julie Prinselaar

Salmon, oil tankers, rivers and democracy. These will be topics of a
two-hour presentation led by a politician-cum-political affairs writer
and a Canadian filmmaker when they make a stop in Tofino later this
month for their Take Back our BC tour.

The duo founded the new
online journal, The Common Sense Canadian, an independent media outlet
for Canadian issues. Filmmaker Damien Gillis says the tour’s stop in
Tofino, co-hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound, will be an opportunity
to talk about issues pertaining to coastal B.C.

“That’s part of
what we do on tours here. We present some large issues,” said Gillis,
mentioning climate change. “We also try to use these visits as an
opportunity to discuss some locals issues in those communities as well.”

Gillis will present two of his mini-documentaries: Oil in Eden, about
Enbridge’s proposed oil pipeline to B.C.’s north coast, and a mini
documentary on wild salmon in Clayoquot Sound and research into the
impacts of salmon farming.

“I’ve spent quite a lot of time in the
last couple of years documenting the research on the impacts of salmon
farms in Bedwell Sound and other places in Clayoquot Sound on wild
salmon,” said Gillis. Gillis will be joined by Rafe Mair, a former
lawyer and cabinet minister who became a broadcaster and writer on
public affairs.

“These aren’t matters of left and right, but of
right and wrong. It’s time for Common Sense Canadians to band together –
through our own community and organizing – to address our greatest
challenges: protecting our environment and democracy,” said Mair.

presenters will take questions from the public at the end. Gillis and
Mair speak in Tofino February 19 at the community theatre at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is by a suggested donation of $5 to $10.

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Mair & Gillis Take Back Our BC in Port Alberni Feb 19


From the Alberni Valley Times – Feb 1, 2011

On what is being called a Townhall Tour for Common Sense Canadians,
Rafe Mair and Damien Gillis will visit Port Alberni to help educate
residents on issues faced by the province.

Mair and Gillis are
the founders of the popular new online journal, The Common Sense
Canadian – a voice for the public and environment.

rivers, oil tankers, democracy and the local Raven Coal mine and port
proposal are the subjects of the rousing tour Gillis and Mair are
making across B.C.

As a part of this tour of some 30 communities around the province,
Mair and Gillis are coming to the Alberni District Secondary School
auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 19 from 1 to 3 p.m.

They will be
joined by local host Stacey Gaiga of Coal Free Alberni and guest
speaker CoalWatch president John Snyder, with an update on the proposed
Rave Coal mine issue and actions citizens can take to help put a stop
to it.

The two-hour town hall event will feature Mair’s new short
documentary on the proposed Enbridge pipeline to B.C.’s North Coast,
“Oil in Eden,” and a key-note speech by Mair, plus the opportunity for
the audience to ask questions and discuss these issues with our

The tour is designed to inform and empower British Columbians, while growing The Common Sense Canadian.

more information, please contact Stacey Gaiga at 250-723-1243 or by
e-mailing staceygaiga@shaw.ca. There is also a Facebook group, “Take
Back Our B.C.: Rafe Mair & Coal Port!”

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