Where We Stand on BC Politics & The Environment


Our readers should know the position of The Common Sense Canadian. In a word, the environment is the #1 issue before the people of British Columbia, indeed the world. If we lose our farmland, our precious salmon, and our rivers, what’s left?


How do you make money out of farms that aren’t there any more so you have to import your food?

How do make money out of salmon that are killed by lice from fish farms? Especially when all the profit goes out of province, mostly to Norway?

How do you make money destroying rivers and the delicate ecosystems they’re part of, to make power we don’t need, especially when we subsidize out-of-province companies who take all the profits and much more elsewhere?

How do you make money with a pipeline with someone else’s oil-or black sludge as The Tar sands produce – across delicate wildlife habitat, 1000+ rivers streams and agricultural land when a rupture would wreak incalculable damage-knowing that the pipeline company, Enbridge, is notorious for its negligence?

How do we profit from exposing our delicate coast to tankers carrying this stuff? Have we learned nothing from the Exxon Valdez?

And where’s the profit in taking a huge ever-increasing risk in piping oil to Burnaby to be taken thence, through the two dangerous narrows in Vancouver harbour out through the Salish Sea and through the treacherous Juan de Fuca?

There is no amount of money in the world that makes these risks, indeed certainties, worthwhile.

We stand firmly for help to the disadvantaged, improved healthcare, aid to the homeless, and better education-but how can we do that if we have to import more and more of our food?-if we toss away not only the commercial sale of fish but the significant domestic and tourist use of that resource?-if we subsidize foreign companies to provide electricity for themselves, bankrupting our jewel, BC Hydro, in the bargain?

The long and the short of it is we cannot prosper by wiping out our natural resources-in fact we commit fiscal suicide and abandon our children’s heritage.

This means that The Common Sense Canadian will support candidates or parties based not on their political philosophy, but on their commitment to saving our environment-not just because it’s beautiful but because to do otherwise is fiscal madness.

Does a labourer, a small business person, someone in need, the sick, the elderly, the unemployed-or even the well off for that matter-win if the party they support ruins our environment?

No matter how smart you are with money, you can never make up fiscally or spiritually for the loss of the environment.

It’s not too soon to be looking ahead to the May 2013 election. We at The Common Sense Canadian are already campaigning and will do so full time until the election.

In the next few months we’ll learn a lot about who is going to be promising what.

With the Liberals it’s hard to see who can pull them out of their political quicksand. Will Carole Taylor be dragooned into seeking the leadership? Will it be Christy Clark? Mike DeJong? Kevin Falcon? George Abbott? An unknown?

Carole Taylor can’t escape responsibility for the disastrous Liberal policy towards farmland, fish farms, and energy. She would have to make pledges that would cost her support from industry and Ms. Taylor knows something about money matters and that you don’t get campaign funds unless you’re prepared to pay the piper.

Christy Clark is more to blame than Ms. Taylor, for she, after all, has had three years with her own talk show to support our environment before a large, daily audience. Rather than holding the Campbell government accountable, she has uncritically supported her old cronies the Liberal Party to which she’s joined at the hip. As for all other cabinet ministers, they, too, supported the utter desecration of our environment for the profit of their political friends.

The NDP is in the process of devouring each other but then it’s always been a nest of adders that rarely sheath their fangs. Even at the testimonial to Dave Barrett last Saturday you could sense the unsettled conditions. The question in the NDP, in case you’ve been on Mars for the past couple of years, is whether or not Carole James can win. It never seems to dawn on them that she might lose because they can’t get their act together.

The Carole James I saw in her press conference last week when she took the best the media could throw at
her and batted pitch after pitch out of the park, showed toughness not much seen before. It was the same at the tribute for Barrett-she didn’t beat about the bush and made it clear that she was in the fight to stay.

If she can maintain that steely determination and get her venomous adders targeted on Liberals rather than themselves, she could be tough to beat.

There are deep rumblings of a third party to take the place of the old Socreds, a party which under the Bennetts, père et fils, staked out the middle ground where most of the people of BC are politically. If it happens, it will badly hurt the Liberals by capturing the “centre” (abandoned by Campbell), while helping the Conservatives to steal their “right wing” support. The two we hear most about are Gordon Wilson and Chris Delaney, both decent men with an excellent grasp on issues-the edge perhaps going to
Wilson because of his electoral and cabinet experience.

What then does The Common Sense Canadian look to?

Four things:

1. A re-commitment to protecting
farmland, a “commitment that commits them to keep to their
2. A closure of all fish farms in
our oceans especially near routes of migrating Pacific salmon while encouraging
dry land operations.
3. A commitment to keep our precious coast free of Tar Sands oil supertankers from the proposed Enbridge pipeline and Kinder-Morgan expansion

4. A commitment to end all
licensing of private power construction, PLUS-and this is critical-making
public all private power contracts in existence, coupled with a flat refusal to
honour any which are unconscionable.

Carole James has shown a lamentable reluctance to pledge this in the name of “sanctity of contract” and
no doubt out of fear of losing support from business.

We put it to her and other political hopefuls this way: suppose you were running for mayor in a town run by a “Boss Tweed” on a ticket of cleaning up the city. If you won would you continue the unconscionable deals the old council had made with the mayor’s brother-in-law and other cronies which screamed of lining the pockets of friends and supporters? Of course not!

These private power contracts can’t pass the “smell test”-can they pass the “unconscionable” test?

How can it be conscionable to force our own power company, BC Hydro, to buy power that they don’t need, meaning that they must either sell it at a 50%+ loss or use it at 12 times the price they can make it themselves?

Surely these private power so called “contracts” must be made public so that we can see just what Campbell & Co. did, and if they’re unconscionably unfair to the public, be able to rescind them.

We always hear from the corporate giants that if we as a province don’t honour contracts with foreign investors, they won’t come to BC.

Really? Are they saying we should, in order to have their business, let them fleece the taxpayers? Is it their
position that crooks are welcome?

No one is saying that if the private companies simply got a better deal than we would have made that they should be rescinded. But if, as we suspect, BC Hydro is forced to buy power at twice or more what it’s worth, or 12 times as costly as Hydro can make it for itself, does this mean we can’t state the obvious, namely that we were cheated?

Shouldn’t any companies wanting to do business in BC know, right up front, that we will not put up with any more
“sweetheart deals” made by corrupt governments?

Surely even the Fraser Institute, that rightwing “think” tank whose advice Campbell uncritically
accepts, would agree that these contracts should see the light of day, and surely the captains of industry don’t beleive that anyone, a person, a company, or a crown corporation, should be bound by an unconscionable contract
forced upon them.

If these private energy deals are like those given to “Boss Tweed’s” brother-in-law, would any decent person of whatever political stripe or walk of life say that a new, honest government must bankrupt its prize possession because the previous government made a corrupt deal?

We, at The Common Sense Canadian (www.thecanadian.org) ay an emphatic NO! font-family:Arial;mso-bidi-font-

There we have it-The Common Sense Canadian says simply this: While we support all who fight to save our environment, to use the business term, the bottom line, is that in addition to our moral responsibility to leave our environment to generations to come, risking our environment is the height of fiscal irresponsibility.

*Boss Tweed-was an American politician most notable for being the “boss” of Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party political machine that played a major role in the politics of 19th century New York City and State.



About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

16 thoughts on “Where We Stand on BC Politics & The Environment

  1. Riverbend – why are you thinking of the word “sinecure?” If it’s to imply that we here are making a lot of money doing nothing – you’re wrong on both accounts!…Re: recall initiative, I am just stating a fact. The recall initiative was not created to topple governments. Which is one reason why it won’t work – especially in this current climate with the NDP in disarray. There are many other short and long-term approaches to reclaiming our democracy from this globalist, corporatist system…and no, I don’t need lessons on the ills of globalization – nice to see you are informed though.

  2. Damien:
    The crux of your message is:

    “On the one hand you advocate abandoning political reform as one solution to our ills, and yet you advocate for using a recall initiative designed not to topple governments but to deal with individual misbehaving MLA’s”

    And it is self contradictory in so far as there is no surer road to political reform than recall used to topple this illegitimate government. We are talking about a world wide system of corporate government/banksters destroying the standard of living we have enjoyed and you’re telling me that the recall wasn’t designed to topple governments? You’re making up rules which will help to keep this government in power and enable the next lying puppet to keep manipulating us.
    ‘Change’ is defined as: An event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another
    And by definition cannot occur without changing the political/media system we live under.
    Did you know that during the fifties, sixties and seventies one income was abundant to raise a family? Before ‘free trade’ and ‘globalism’ brought us face to face with the paradox of ‘neoliberalism’?
    Why am I thinking the word sinecure…?

  3. Riverbend, it is our contention that we need to work both inside and outside of the system to effect the kind of change both you and I clearly want to see. We do focus our efforts in a broad sense on the ills of globalization and corporatism – which you will see if you peruse some of our videos and postings. We have taken on GE and Accenture on the privatization (theft) of BC’s public energy system and watersheds and we continue to expose the undue influence of corporations on this government and others. We encourage citizen mobilization vs. corporations who would destroy our precious environment; as we address the need for conservation in the face of destructive consumerism. On the one hand you advocate abandoning political reform as one solution to our ills, and yet you advocate for using a recall initiative designed not to topple governments but to deal with individual misbehaving MLA’s. What then? If we don’t build an educated, mobilized public movement to protect our environment through political and non-political avenues, how effective can we be in the long term? How long before the next batch of politicians makes the same mistakes?

  4. Damien:
    It’s all about banks and the control of a nation/s/province’s money and debt. Everything else in the way of protest is more or less a charade. If what has happened in Greece, France, Ireland, Iceland, and the US hasn’t driven that home I don’t know what will.
    I don’t know what ‘talking smack’ is but we have been robbed by private con artists masquerading as politicians and Rafe genially recommends more of the same. Different names, same games. Have you ever looked at the videos available on the net of Wacky Bennett? Rafe idolizes him and I wouldn’t have bought a used car from him.
    Sure the environment needs all the help you can give it in this privately controlled globalist world, and I commend your efforts in that direction, but what is environmental degradation and destruction if not a symptom of the disease of globalism and capitalism and the stranglehold private banks have on us and our future to the end of forseable time?
    What could you do? You could advocate recall and use this site to do what fighthst will never do – organize a real recall to topple this crooked government. That is damage control, then the real work could begin.

  5. Silent Spring, those are bold allegations from someone who obviously doesn’t have a clue the lengths we’ve gone to to expose this government’s pillaging of BC’s coffers and environment. Why don’t you stick around for awhile and get to know us before diminish our work?! Just what is “taking the gloves off and making a real effort at change” by your definition, and how is it you feel we don’t measure up to that standard? We’ve devoted an incredible amount of time and resources to traveling this province, speaking to dozens of communities on multiple occasions, producing documentaries, volumes of writing and other communications pieces to educate and empower the people of BC with good information and help rally them to action. Rafe dedicated 19 years at CKNW to holding politicians’ feet to the fire in a way no one has come close to replicating since. If you have something more to contribute, by all means have at it. But there’s no need to talk smack to us.

  6. ” No one is saying that if the private companies simply got a better deal than we would have made that they should be rescinded.”
    Actually, that’s exactly what most people want and many are saying. Rafe Himself has said that the Liberal Party often put their own interests far above the interests of the people they pretended to represent. If you Rafe, accept the result of the last ten years’ pillaging as the current status quo, instead of working hard to change things, then you are worse than useless.
    “We always hear from the corporate giants that if we as a province don’t honour contracts with foreign investors, they won’t come to BC.”
    And what a blessing that would be. We could, as a province, finance our own resource industry (if people like Rafe ever got the guts to advocate for a provincial bank) to suit our own development needs. All the profits could be directed to the future of this province and to addressing the current shortfalls in heallth and education which are in themselves an investment. No more pell mell rush to extract everything for the benefit of a few greedy, short-sighted, out-of-province companies and their attendant politicos. Globalism must fail.

  7. The Green Party, for anyone who may be contemplating economic suicide, is a front for the banksters/conservatives/status quo. Green and private enterprise/greed do not logically belong in the same sentence – a fact which we are learning along with the fact that a corporation should not have the same rights as a person because it already has the huge advantages of not being mortal or even moral. Small wonder then, that governments alternately quail and worship before corporations – they are the closest thing to God yet invented by the self chosen among us. Same thing; fear and loathing in paradise. What would God do if you got to heaven and then took His name in vain? You’re already there, right? Bin promised the Kingdom of Heaven but when you got there you learned that you would have to wash dishes and shine Liberal/Socred shoes. Because your part of heaven was built on the BC model and if you didn’t like it on Earth why didn’t you change things? Welcome to British Columbia. Land of the brain dead.
    Actually I feel sorry for politicians because they can’t avoid seeing how stupid we are. It must be depressing. That’s why they deserve the good salary and gold plated pension after only a few years of insanity. That’s why people love to immigrate – so they can get elected and stop worrying. Be happy. Year after dreary year we almost invariably vote for our own worst enemy – the right wing con artist who sees us as a flock of feather-brained turkeys ripe for the plucking who are almost too easy to fool because we can be told what to think because we don’t like to think for ourselves.
    I would like to say that you get the government you deserve but that’s not true because real learning and thinking are actively discouraged here. Do you ever feel like you’ve been taking stupid pills? Merry Christmas as always dear.

  8. You have seen with your own eyes sites like this and its weak kneed sister ‘FightHST’ bitch and moan about the government. What you will never see is these sites actually take their gloves off and making a real effort at change. You have seen with your own eyes that this government has given away BC Hydro (in fact if not in words) destroyed our natural fishing industry, perverted the idea of a fair judiciary and stolen by stealth every goddam thing they can get their hands on. And what do sites like this do? Was that a sweet little hankie fluttering goodbye from the train to tomorrow or what? Well, I suppose it was but somehow it doesn’t seem worth the price…

  9. So many varied and interesting points to consider in this article Rafe. Thank you for quite clearly stating the beliefs and opinions of The Common Sense Canadian. Not all media outlets do this you know? All of the issues you raised are important to me especially electoral reform. Today though the particular thing I am perplexed by is journalism and ethics. What has got me scratching my head is whether or not a and I won’t say journalist here but say a media person, who communicates with the public, and that person belongs to a political party, shouldn’t they disclose that fact every time they speak publically to the politics near and dear to their political affiliate? Call me cynical but the nefarious possibilities are myriad. What if they decide to run as a candidate in an election for example?

  10. “Economy” is contained by, is a subset of, environment. People who don’t get it are running the “Show”, but cannot control nature.
    Industrial society staggers like a brainshot dinosaur stomping and bleeding and creating chaos, yet most of us act as if it is working as well as ever. Some have spent lifetimes trying to get to high ground before it crashes, but there are no guarantees!

    My grandma taught me how to garden and can and preserve and squeeze a nickel until the beaver screamed, somewhat lost arts regaining social respect.

    Post golden age society will require more labour and less office work.

    People will look after each other or not be looked after. Big bro state can’t cope with the floods of needy.

    Society worships vanity and scorns and detests labour and responsibility. We create millions of sedentary jobs, then spend billions on gyms, fitness, weight loss, etc.

    I’ve kept in shape shoveling manure and snow, hauling wood and water and digging a garden. I’m aging and somewhat sore and have grandkids munching berries planted before their parents were born.

    Great developments on the Vancouver food front! see thetyee.ca
    No such thing as too many gardens!

  11. NDP “adders” are representing constituents, who have made it clear they will not support Carole James and expect their MLAs to take the message to the party brass rather than try to sell this failed leader as a premier.

    The NDP of Barrett had no environmental agenda – seeking only to tax industrial wealth to fund social programs.

    Barrett protege and current NDP president Moe Sihota helped drive many Green activists from the party in the 90s and was happy to not have to deal with their inconvenient criticisms.

    Unfortunately many went to the Green Party and used organizing and campaigning skills they had honed in the NDP.

    The NDP was a much poorer party fo this, with no Green conscience to temper the industrialist bias. Losing the green vote has cost the NDP two elections, which hasn’t done either party nor the environment any good!
    Many of us who stayed to fight gradually gave up in disgust.

    Carole’s waffling on the issues hasn’t won support back from the Green party, She took a stand on Prosperity only after the decision. Her support for Campbell’s megaprojects like the 10 lane Port Mann Bridge had many wondering how she expected Green voters to support her!

  12. Damien,
    In the `01 election the GPBC got 13%. That stood until just recently, as the highest popular vote that a GP had achieved at a prov, state or national level anywhere in the world. Other GP’s are now surpassing that. In Brazil the GP got 30 million votes recently. In the UK, the GP leader was elected in a first past the post system. Aussi GP had electoral successes in their last election and share a balance of power split. People are finally getting it. I know BC has the numbers of aware people for the GPBC vote to again set a major precedent. BC could really be a beacon of hope for the planet and for our kids sake the planet sure needs it!!!
    In 2013 on the 30th anniversary of the first GP in NA here in BC, I suggest 30% is possible. The `13/30yrs/30% campaign. This is possible if progressives get off of the `wasted vote’ sellout wagon, and organize x 3 for BC’s real leap forward.
    If you really want electoral reform, you`ll have to vote for the party and candidates that champion it. Keep voting for the NDP ….who knows BC may have the perverse distinction of being the last jurisdiction on the planet with such a antiquated voting system.
    Keep going strong Raif, Damien!!!

  13. Thanks Ron – please do distribute widely!…And Doug, speaking for Rafe, he has voted for the Green Party on three occasions and continues to support their values. But he would tell you that under our current first-past-the-post system (which he has also worked actively to change, including proposing the citizens’ panel that led to two separate STV votes, the first of which was opposed by none other than then-BC Green Party Leader Adriane Carr, to Rafe’s chagrin), the Green Party is unelectable. This isn’t a values judgment, but a statement of fact, based on their failure to elect a single MLA or MP to date. Therefore, in political terms, a vote for the Green Party in 2013 would be a wasted vote, helping to keep the BC Liberals in power. That said, our platform, as published by Rafe today, doesn’t preclude supporting the Green Party – rather it is based on building a broad-based public movement to pressure all candidates to take strong environmental stances. Thanks for you thoughts Doug. The Greens continues to do important work, raising these issues in the public and political arena. Both Rafe and I hope to see electoral reform that allows for elected Green Party representatives.

  14. Raif,
    I send massive THANKS for the opinion and work that you and Damien do for a positive future for BC.
    I’m very puzzled though by a massive omission in much of your analysis.
    YOU SO RARELY MENTION THE GREEN PARTY and considering its major influence in promoting the most progressive environmental, social and economic reforms for BC, through policy and election platforms that put the governing parties to shame, I’m saddened how this lessens your credibility.
    The four key points you champion, for years, have been a few of the basic platform planks that 8 to 13% of BC citizens consistantly VOTE for.
    Electoral reform initiatives, getting junk food out of schools and the carbon tax wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the GPBC and those that vote for these progressive policies. They weren’t in the Liberal or NDP platforms; they were in the Green Party platform.
    A major way that progressive ideas move through the political spectrum is when progressive people support the most progressive platform!
    In 2013 it will be the 30th anniversary of the first Green Party in North America and that is the GPBC. Support the best policies and those that fight for those ideas, by voting for them

  15. This article should be on the front page of every newspaper in BC.

    This article should be on every table in every coffee shop in BC.

    This article should be sent to every politician (municipal and provincial) in BC.

    This article should be posted on the bulletin boards of every high school, college and university in BC.

    This article should be on the table in every doctor and dentist waiting room in BC.

    This article should be posted on the bulletin board of every BC ferry.

    This article should be discussed by every radio and TV political panel in BC.

    I am going to print this article and distribute it at work and at all the suppliers counters.

    This article is just what people who care about BC need right now!

    P.S.:I would love to shove this article down the throat of GC,CH,RC,M deJ, KF,GA,KT, JS, and every other faceless, nameless BC Lieberal MLA. (and maybe a few so called print and TV ‘journalists’ as well).

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