Thursday, October 4, 2012

BC's critical leadership vacuum

When Gordon Campbell was Premier, advantaging insiders and friends became the BC Government's raison d'etre. Liberals were damn good at it too. When that sated Premier moved on, he left behind a gang worthy of a Jimmy Breslin novel. If they could shoot straight, it would be right into their own feet. As a result, most BC Liberals are limping toward retirement seven months from now.

This week, Christy Clark found an audience in Calgary at a place where erstwhile chief of staff Ken Boessenkool once laid hands. She also collected tributes for the BC Liberals from gas producers keen to show appreciation for reduced royalties and tax paid production subsidies. Beyond that and Premier Redford's autograph on her yearbook, Clark gained nothing.

Voters at home were unimpressed. Even Bill Good complained about the amateur-hour planning. Alberta's political watchers laughed, particularly at her silliness that, thanks to LNG, BC will soon be Canada's energy giant. According to Columnist Don Braid,
"She is, by a wide measure, the most inconsistent, self-contradictory and desperate politician in Canada."
Stirred by work of eastern colleagues, Vaughn Palmer noticed that something is amiss in Clark counting LNG dollars by the trillions. Referring to the first of the proposed LNG plants, Palmer wrote:
"...a trio of companies headed by Houston-based Apache Corp, have been unable to persuade buyers in Asia to sign a long-term contract at a price high enough to offset the multibillion-dollar risk of construction."
The Vancouver Sun columnist could have written that piece months ago had he read Our pending meltdown or Reinventing the wheel, timidly published here in June. I made the point that the best markets for BC gas are domestic markets. Like automobiles, trucks and marine services. BC Ferries, are you paying attention?

Assumptions that Asian markets are both lucrative and accessible are judgement errors of captive Liberal politicians. Captives of an industry that aims to have taxpayers pay for infrastructure, including ports and power, and absorb most of the financial risks.

Palmer writes about Australians being ahead of Canada in supplying Asian energy needs. Soon, Canada will stand behind Russia and China itself. Less than a year ago, Reuters reported:
"China is set for a shale gas revolution which will surpass that seen in the United States, the chairman of Sinopec, the country's second-largest oil company, said a day after Reuters revealed Royal Dutch Shell Plc had begun shale gas production in China."
Fellow citizens, what do you think about an energy policy managed by the most inconsistent, self-contradictory and desperate politician in Canada?

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25 comments:

  1. The election can't come soon enough for me.

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  2. It seems all the brains in the Liberal party are out to lunch. Every business article I read talks about how Canada & BC are behind the eight ball when it comes to exporting natural gas. The day Christy was speaking to students in Alberta a huge headline in the G&M talked about exactly what you, I and many others are saying. This latest trip was nothing more than a political move at taxpayers expense. And Norm you're right about taking the natural gas we have & creating a major economic industry right here. And yes let's start with BC Ferries. Stop all the BS and convert those ships today.

    Guy in Victoria

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  3. If the Chinese find a way of powering their cars with natural gas, they won't need the Gateway crude either.

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  4. Good points Norm.

    I would not be surprised if the Chinese invent a new form of energy making fossil fuels obsolete.I am sure you are aware of the impressive volume of Chinese inventions throughout history. (to read more go to: http://www.sccfsac.org/inventions.html

    hopeful in BC

    fyi: This was up instead of Tsakumis' site:

    Forbidden

    You don't have permission to access / on this server.

    Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Apache Server at alexgtsakumis.com Port 80

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    1. Yes, I'm wondering if Alex is doing his long-awaited revamp of his site....

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    2. alexgtsakums.com is back up again, but hasn't been updated since sometime yesterday, no explanation of why it was down. If AGK is revamping, he failed to warn anyone. I don't think that's the case though, his site's had technical issues that have put it down for a day or two before. This is probably just another one.

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    3. Alex's site is up again this morning. At times, these blogger platforms are not sufficiently robust to handle the visiting traffic. Big corporate media has millions to spend on servers and software. Independent media struggles to stay on line, providing platforms for people with a variety of opinions.

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  5. Say what you want about Campbell, but the man was a highly intelligent and cunning politician. CC on the other hand makes me cringe every time she opens her mouth in public. She has to be the most unqualified, unskilled and empty-headed Premier this province and even this country has ever seen, and that's saying something. It boggles my mind how this vacuous dimbulb manages to stay in office or how there's anyone with more than two functioning brain cells that still supports her. Only in BC, sigh....

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  6. Sorry but Campbell was not intelligent at all. Being out for yourself only does not translate into an increase in intellect.

    Regarding energy sources and who has them available for purchase this all changed on September 6th.

    Lindsey Williams:

    "The most significant day in the history of the American dollar, since its inception, happened on Thursday, Sept. 6. On that day, something took place that is going to affect your life, your family, your dinner table more than you can possibly imagine."
    "On Thursday, Sept. 6... just a few days ago, China made the official announcement. China said on that day, our banking system is ready, all of our communication systems are ready, all of the transfer systems are ready, and as of that day, Thursday, Sept. 6, any nation in the world that wishes from this point on, to buy, sell, or trade crude oil, can do using the Chinese currency, not the American dollar.

    Read more at this link

    http://www.examiner.com/article/dollar-no-longer-primary-oil-currency-as-china-begins-to-sell-oil-using-yuan


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  7. So sad yet so true...Do we need cunning politicians to manipulate us, as Campbell did? I think not. Do we need a talk show host, who knows how to yak, but carries virtually no substance? I think not. Politicians, really do not want an "engaged" electorate, especially when they are busy, setting their friends up, insofar as government business opportunities, are concerned.
    We the electorate, simply get in the way. This system of governance has become so manipulated and corrupt that the less the public is engaged in the process, the better the parties can do to achieve their own ends. This BC Liberal government is the poster child of what we in Canada, do "not" need, as a provincial government. You have to constantly hold these peoples feet to the fire, as it were. We have to develop a system of independent oversight, to prevent the politcal manipulation and malfeasance that has occurred, in this province from ever re-occurring again. Its no wonder the youth in this country have no use for the political system, we have. They see it for what it is, people who manipulate the rest of us, to fill their own pockets. I have mentioned an Anti -Corruption Commision, similar to the Hong Kong model prior to 1999, and even the current commission in Quebec, on this site before. I still maintain it would be a start, in ensuring that the electorate has a watchdog on their side, to prevent the type of ill concieved governance that has been fostered upon us, over the past 11 years.

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  8. Regarding our political vacuum:

    I have realized perhaps more than twenty years ago that the only conversation left for Canadians to have is the conversation/debate about how and when we will change our electoral system and the way in which we vote our politicians into office.

    It is the conversation we as Canadians steadfastly refuse to address on any level. Even political pundits do not want to see change from the antiquated FPTP system. We cannot expect politicians to change a system that butters their bread; we have to come forward and do this from the ground up.

    The party system is a complete failure now. Everyone can see this, whether or not they are willing to admit this is another matter.

    Yes there will be failures. Yes some of the systems we choose may not work well for us. Is it better to do nothing and sit and complain or is it better to get your ass out of the chair and at least try?

    We have had our own constitution long ago but we cling to the old British Parliamentary system like little children afraid to jump into the deep end.

    Why do we rise every morning and salute a family that lives in a castle in another country? I guess you can see that I am not a monarchist

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    1. We've corrupted Parliament by tolerating governments that rather govern without it. Christy Clark refuses to hold a fall sitting so she can "talk to British Columbians." Then, she heads to Calgary to talk to Albertans. Harper, despite railing against omnibus legislation before he was in power, decides that undebatable, all but the "kitchen-sink" bills suit his style perfectly

      Also, what happened to ministerial accountability. Allowing massive factory food processors to do their own inspections and self-regulation results in higher profits for industry but higher risk for millions of citizens. Does the minister take a fall? Of course not. Responsibility is now a quaint old tradition for history book only.

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    2. Here, I'm the advocate of you-know-who.
      We Canadians have a Canadian sovereign; Queen Elizabeth is Canadian in this capacity.
      We use the Monarchy as head of state because it reduces, as much as possible, the politicization of the office (such is the arbitrariness of primogeniture.) The head of state does have one very important function: to guarantee a government that can pass legislation by a majority vote in the House; if a bill fails to receive "confidence," the sovereign (or her representative) may search for another configuration of Members extant that can pass the bill and, failing that, may call an election. This referring back to the electorate is more democratic than the congressional system of the USA, for example.

      I'm arguing that our present Single-Member-Plurality system works fine in theory and disappoints when the rules aren't followed or are abused by politicians. We all know the big, long list: stacking the Senate, patronage appointments, self-serving approval of salaries,... ...prorogation, contempt, corruption, the list goes on.

      I'm going to suggest our current system would work the way it should if the public interest, not partisan advantage, guided our politicians, if there was better access to court action to insure this was the case and if voters properly exercised their informed franchise. (work it through and you'll correctly guess I'm against fixed election dates which, in my view, encourage secrecy in government and laziness in Opposition. I prefer my politicians to be ready to hustle an election campaign at the drop of a hat, keeps them alert.)

      Finally, our experience here in BC showed how unpopular, once it was re-examined, pro-rep turned out to be. The fact that Gordon Campbell was so enthusiastic about it as to put it to referendum not once but twice was enough enough for me to reject it both times (he liked how pro-rep weakens government, allowing privateers to run unfettered and roughshod all over us.) I support an elected Senate, perhaps by pro-rep, but it's an unlikely long shot. Otherwise pro-rep, in my view, is most likely to yield minorities and balance of power in the hands of small parties, making them disproportionately weighty and undemocratic. It would never do for money legislation.

      GSTQ

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  9. Wow! 4 trillion cf for 30 years. That's a total 140 trilion cf. Do we have that much? Doesn't China have ANY themselves? I find it rather hard to get my head around even 1 trillion cu ft (I think that's about seven cubic miles.) 140 trillion would be about 1000 cubic miles. I wonder how many trips/cubic mile you'd get in one of those ferry boats? Ex-captain Hahn should know?
    And then what do we use? In 30 years my grandkids will be in their mid thirties. Hope they're not planning on being ferry boat captains!
    John's Aghast.

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  10. When Putin visited China. They signed a deal, Russia would give China all the oil they want. China is now in the lead for oil sales, as stated in the above comment.

    Harper permitted China to bring their own people to work the tar sands. Harper said. China can bring swarms over, to build the Enbridge pipeline. Rumor has it, China will own the Enbridge pipeline. Harper gave China the refining jobs too. Harper has allowed other company's, to bring cheap Chinese laborers over to exploit. Eventually, Canadians will have very few jobs at the tar sands. Harper envies Red China their Human rights because, they don't have any. Chinese workers died at the tar sands.

    China can pump all the dirty tar oil, from the tar sands they please. With China's cheap labor. China will refine the tar oil, for resale and make a very good profit.

    While other country's are escorting Red China off their territories, Harper brings that country, right onto our Canadian soil. In my grandfathers day...Harper would have been considered a traitor, and hung for High Treason. Harper is giving Canada away to, a Communist country.

    It is common knowledge. China hacked into other country's secret files. They sold infected electronic components to other country's. U.S. missiles and other weapons, had infected components purchased from China.

    China out and out lied to Christy Clark regarding, purchasing our natural gas. China has their own huge gas fields. We knew that, why didn't Christy?

    Christy has been played for a fool, by Alberta and China. Premier Redford knows, Harper will overrule Christy. China has Christy building LNG tanks for nothing, they have their own gas.

    BC province and the people, have no say in Alberta. Alberta certainly doesn't mind dictating to BC. Premier Redford seems to think, it is her God given right, to force her dirty Bitumen onto BC.

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  11. There has been no true leadership of the BC Liberal government since Gordon Campbell resigned in disgrace. Instead there have been two main camps: Christy's Premier's Office and the Campbellite caucus, virtually none of whom (save the hapless Harry Bloy) supported Christy's leadership bid, all of whom cursed under their collective breath when Christy narrowly won her by-election and got herself a seat and most of whom have since given up on ousting her by other means, spending their last months in office completing an orderly retreat replete with forensic immunity.

    Christy might candidly admit she could not lead or govern because the big bad boys wouldn't let her. Publicly she'll make do with what she's left with: a slate of fresh faced candidates, finally purged of Campbellites, or, in other words, lemonade.

    Being the confident, self-congratulatory type, being the last man standing, will doubtlessly count as quite an achievement by the Princess Warrior, worthy of her first mandate. BC voters, however, will remember how she was cowed by the Campbellites into breaking her early election promise, how she claimed legitimacy on a mere by-election win, how she bided her time with hollow slogans and boosterism while unelectable Campbellites continued their down-to-the-wire pillaging of the public weal, the revolting arrogance of power politics hubris that has trumped public service.

    Quite the accomplishment, Christy, leader for a day. Or, to paraphrase the Conquerer: the day when she finally was, then wasn't the leader of anything.

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  12. "down-to-the-wire pillaging of the public weal" - Yes, Rich Coleman was just the most obvious. There are many more paving their own exit roads.

    Even Paul Taylor couldn't miss the final days looting. He's back again, again.

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  13. “if a bill fails to receive "confidence," the sovereign (or her representative) may search for another configuration of Members extant that can pass the bill and, failing that, may call an election. This referring back to the electorate is more democratic than the congressional system of the USA, for example.”

    Well,

    More voted the HST policy out than voted for Campbell to be in; however this did not happen in the house but on the street.

    That was referring back to the electorate was it not?

    Technically a non-confidence vote where the government should have been dissolved.

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  14. BC Hydro has been instructed not to use gas-burning Burrard Thermal, since it emits CO2. This means paying for more high-priced power from IPPs. Handy for the IPPs.

    Now we are about to see LNG production in BC, which uses a lot a renewable power from BC Hydro, which BC Hydro will sell at a loss, since the new power necessary would come from expensive sources like IPPs and possibly Site C.

    Ironically, the LNG will then be shipped to Asia, by CO2-emitting tanker ships, where some of it will be used for generating electricity. Makes sense?

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    1. I may have mentioned it here before: the amount of energy required to compress and liquefy NG lies latent in the liquid — and could be a net benefit to the Chinese. When the liquid NG is released and vapourized into Chinese pipelines, there would be a great cooling effect that could be utilized by the Chinese for refrigeration, such as in a food refrigeration plant.

      If we get to that point of shipping LNG, I HOPE that we are compensated for the lost energy.

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    2. Here is a quote from Scott Simpson's article June 29:

      "B.C. collects a royalty on the gas that producers sell to customers, but there is no royalty on gas that is used to produce gas in the field. It is not clear whether this exemption also applies to gas that is used to run pipelines and generate the electricity needed to produce LNG. The foregone royalty amount is very large, says Austin. “When gas is used to produce gas, then the government loses royalty. So there’s an actual cost to the government in not supplying electricity to the gas industry in order to get gas out of the ground.”

      http://www.vancouversun.com/business/2035/Natural+Managing+bounty/6862883/story.html

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    3. Hugh, that's one heck of a big loophole, that I hope the government will plug. Why wouldn't a company use as much free gas as it can, if the government doesn't seem to care?

      Of course, take away the freebies and companies may cry that they can't afford to take the gas out of the ground... "unless you pay us to do it."

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  15. Is Canada already sold? This is the address on the package of a tarp we bought
    imported by/importe per DONALD CHOI CANADA LIMITED ONTARIO N2V 2G4 CHINA/CHINE


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    1. Rick: did it come duty-free? (Of course, if it was inexpensive, the fees may have be waived anyway.)

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    2. Unfortunately even though ONTARIO is now in CHINA our illustrious leader and head of the HARPER GOVERNMENT still got his payoff

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