Showing posts with label Bill Tieleman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bill Tieleman. Show all posts

Thursday, November 1, 2012

One hand washes another

A principle of management states that senior staff lead by example when it comes to ethics and morality. Behaviours of leaders set the values that their followers use. Another certainty is that people who know about skeletons in the closet use that knowledge for their own advantage.

Treatment accorded executives at BC Ferries, BC Hydro, BCiMC and other agencies and ministries demonstrates those principles are operative in the Liberal government. A while back, Bill Tieleman wrote about an internal government report on BC Hydro, which he said,
"must have been written in a burning glass factory, because it's full of smoke and mirrors."
Tieleman provided the obvious explanation about why the report was useless,
"Hardly surprising the government emerges unscathed, because the report was authored by Premier Christy Clark's own Deputy Minister John Dyble, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon's Deputy Minister Peter Milburn and Advanced Education Acting Deputy Minister Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland, B.C.'s former comptroller general."
I thought it worth looking at whether or not the authors had enjoyed special treatment during the days of net zero. I also examined the record for Dave Nikolejsin, the senior bureaucrat managing the untendered contract referred to in my previous article. I think this graph needs no further comment.


I heard a red-neck commentator on a local radio station ranting about careless spending of a provincial social service agency. Bruce Allen would have had more credibility if he had complained about waste at all levels of government.

For example, do senior bureaucrats need to consistently spend $3,000 or so per month on expenses? John Dyble, Peter Milburn and many others do. In fact, Milburn, a Deputy in the Ministry of Finance, spent almost $5,000 a month during fiscal 2012; Dana Hayden and Rick Davis even more. Davis averaged $6,000 in monthly expenses during the last five years.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Liberal MLA's search for the BC Rail story


Premier Photo-Op assigned her minions to look for clues in the BC Rail case.


Drawing from DFO resource:  SALMONIDS IN THE CLASSROOM: PRIMARY

Don't miss Bill Tieleman at The Tyee, Railgate? Asked and Answered, Says Clark

A great reader comment at the Tieleman article linked above, from 'metacomet'
By Audit or, If Necessary, Archaeology

The BC Liberals have spent a huge amount of capital, real and political, on BC Rail. The political capital alone has about broken the bank for the government: the original campaign promise not to sell the public-owned railway, cooking the books to make BCR look like it was losing money when it wasn't, breaking the promise not to sell BCR, corrupting the bid process, getting caught and hauled into court, perverting the course of justice by disclosure non-cooperation and by paying two BC Liberals to take the blame and keep quiet (with public money), and continuing to refuse calling a public inquiry. The cost: an irredeemably disgraced government, a Premier ignominiously forced to resign, a culpable caucus hostile to the complicit replacement, at a time when other BC Liberal transgressions are coming home to roost, facing a revitalized Opposition, a new, alternative right-wing party and an angry electorate going into an election they're doomed to lose.

Is this the good money Christy doesn't want to throw after bad?
About the only benefit they've ended up with is the licence to continue lying.

The tide-mark day will come in seventeen and a half months. If the BC Liberals lose the next election (which is likely) and the NDP calls a public inquiry into the BC Rail scandal (again likely), it will set off a chain of events that might see certain BC Liberals facing prosecution, and maybe the retroactive scuttling of the corrupt deal that would see BCR returned to public ownership.

Doubtless this will put another capital dent into the public weal; but it will completely bankrupt the BC Liberal party.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An impassioned gale

In 1908's New Worlds for Old, H.G. Wells examined a nascent movement that he supported avidly. He wrote,
"The early Socialist literature teems with rash, suggestive schemes. It has the fertility, the confusion, the hopefulness, the promise of glowing youth. It is a quarry of ideas, a mine of crude expedients, a fountain of emotions. ...topics were ventilated--were not so much ventilated as tossed about in an impassioned gale."
Reading through the demands of Occupy Vancouver put me in mind of Wells. In this lengthy laundry list of social cures, we see little more than an impassioned gale. Before the old master's words occurred, my less elegant metaphor was going to be about how artists, adding too many pigments to a mix, turn intense colours into muddied browns and greys. The art gallery denizens started with a series of dramatic issues but they've mixed these into an anarchistic muddle.

A set of demands wanting more white collar criminals jailed but all non-violent criminals released from jail, that "soil vitality be a priority" and corporate control of "collages" be ended cannot be taken seriously. Even the idea that one group in our society should issue demands to other groups is wrong, faintly reminiscent of totalitarianism. I aspire to live in a democracy and that would preclude anyone issuing demands that I think as they think. Of course, instead of demands, we should make arguments aimed at convincing others of the changes needed to make this nation a better place.

Bill Tieleman at The Tyee offers a smart critique of Occupy Vancouver's present strategies. Judging from reactions in comments, Bill seems to have touched raw nerves of at least a few leftists. He notes many real issues that justify protest but argues that the Art Gallery encampment is now counterproductive to those of us who thirst for political and economic reform.
"Instead Occupy Vancouver has turned into a sad parody of a revolution -- with absurd demands and no recognition that a squat on city property does diddly-squat to build support for the real change that would curb corporate control."
I agree with most of Tieleman's article. There is a set of ideals that needs to be discussed with our fellow citizens and many of them sure need education. I see evidence of thoughtlessness among my acquaintances, otherwise honourable people who do not bother to inform themselves of important issues. They prefer to trust the establishment in the hope that existing comforts will be preserved. It is easier to turn on TV for news of Avril Lavigne's bar fights or the latest Kardashian exclusives.

Learning about politics, economics, philosophy and moral issues takes so much more energy and intellectual application. The Occupy movements throughout North America are or could be important vehicles to stimulate discussion of corporatism gone wild but, as Tieleman says about Vancouver, when the medium of protest became the message, it was lost.

How are we going to discuss real issues when the agenda is hijacked by people who can only say,
"Hey, Let's Put On A Show!"


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Monday, November 7, 2011

Mainstream media no longer sole gatekeepers

In the government's sale disposition of BC Rail, there are compelling indicators of massive fraud. Even worse, senior provincial officials interfered with investigation and prosecution of these crimes. Having directed the asset disposal and wanting to avoid revelation of duplicity, Premier Campbell's office chose to pervert the administration of justice.

Important public agencies and individuals cooperated or at least provided passive acceptance of fraud. Political analyst Will McMartin has written about a "tight coterie of business people who have been favoured with high-powered political appointments since 2001." Some of these people have been near the centre of the BCR cover-up.

Bill Tieleman provided an interesting report of Brian Kenning's testimony at the Basi/Virk trial. Defence lawyers questioned Kenning about:
"...his personal connections to a number of key figures in the political and corporate world, including CN Rail chair David McLean, B.C. Liberal Party insider Patrick Kinsella, former B.C. Liberal Finance Minister Gary Collins, B.C. Rail chair John McLernan, Alan Wallace of CIBC World Markets (which handled the billion dollar sale of B.C. Rail), and former B.C. Rail CEO Bob Phillips."
Ian Reid, in Why the BC Rail deal sucks. And why you should care discussed the issue of investigative bias given the family relationship between lead RCMP investigator Kevin DeBruyckere and BC Liberal Party Executive Director Kelly Reichart. Reid wrote about Special Prosecutor Berardino's "attempt to restrict the defence and ensure large chunks of the defence’s case – and supporting evidence – was ruled inadmissible." From Reid's article:
"With the end of Brian Kennings pitiful testimony, Gary Collins was next on the stand. The prosecution knew when they lost the admissability argument in June that this was going to be a difficult moment. And in a two-week period leading up to the October 18 trial resumption they lowered their plea bargain offer from four years in federal prison to two years of house arrest with lots of allowances, while the government kicked in $6million and a non-disclosure agreement to sweeten the deal."
Now Alex Tsakumis has reported that former Liberal Attorney General Wally Oppal, once a Supreme Court judge, was the go-between when $6-million cash from government topped up Berardino's offer of slap-on-the-wrist non-custodial sentences in return for an end to the trial. From Alex's exclusive report:
"Wally Oppal.

"I have it on excellent authority that his was the pivotal role in getting the deal done. In fact, I have someone who was directly connected to the process."
This is not Alex Tsakumis' first important revelation. His blog entries are like flowing water, steadily scouring the supports that keep BC Liberals alive. The BC Rail fiasco will ultimately ruin careers and reputations of politicians, lobbyists, police investigators, business executives, journalists, lawyers and at least one judge.

Too many people know large parts of the truth of BC Rail. Silence has been purchased with contracts and directorships but the provincial government's ability to sustain financial favours is waning. Bitterness over greed of a relatively small number of Liberal insiders ensures the party's destruction. Recent polling indicates the trend is firmly established; the governing party will disappear. Conservatives, with no members in the legislature, now have almost 2/3 of the voter support held by the Liberal Party, represented by 48 sitting MLA's. In addition, the NDP front bench under Adrian Dix seems by comparison, competent, knowledgeable and trustworthy, ready to form government.

An important factor that plays against the Campbell/Clark administration is the growth in independent reporting and punditry. The online world has changed the landscape. Readers don't have a relationship with just one news organization. I paraphrase Tom Rosenstiel, in a presentation at USC Annenberg School for Communication:
The Internet presents an opportunity for individual journalists. You don’t need to work at the Vancouver Sun anymore to be a significant journalist in Vancouver. Professional journalists have lost their status as the only gatekeepers.
And now, even writers who have been minding the gates for the Liberal Party are slipping away, admitting, as both Keith Baldrey and Vaughn Palmer have done in print recently, that Liberal governance has been far less than perfect during its entire tenure.



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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear Greenpeace, re Tzeporah Berman (RERUN)

Tzeporah Berman was at Capilano University Wednesday evening performing at the North Shore Credit Union Centre for the Performing Arts. Her act was promised to be an exploration of the past and future of the environmental movement. In view of her controversial lobbying on behalf of independent power producers and her pre-election support of Gordon Campbell, I look forward to reports on her reception. I wonder if she has gained any sense of the financial disaster she helped IPP's impose on BC Hydro customers.

In 2009, Bill Tieleman wrote a piece that explained Berman's lack of candour in claiming she had been a "long-time" NDP supporter who "quit" over the gas tax and had no connection to the B.C. Liberals. He also quoted angry words of Alexandra Morton, British Columbia's wild salmon protector, directed at David Suzuki, Berman and others:
"As the living systems of this part of the world are under the final assault by the B.C. Liberal government, you make headlines. You seem to have no idea of what Gordon Campbell is bringing down on us."
Berman in recent years has been the target of much criticism by former allies. She is perceived by some as having sacrificed idealism for the taste of an international jet-set lifestyle, flitting between Europe, North America and Scandinavia, making appearances at pro-business events aimed at financial heavyweights. She is compared to Patrick Moore who exclusively serves commercial interests but always while trumpeting his history of long past involvement in Greenpeace, in the days when it was a dedicated organization of youthful volunteer environmentalists.

No doubt pleased with Berman sharing their support for Liberals and IPP's, Vancouver Sun last week published a hagiographic profile. As a contrast, I thought it worth re-posting this open letter from the Valhalla Wilderness Society, a copy of which I first published in March of 2010.

An Open Letter

Tzeporah Berman and her organization ForestEthics [in Canada, a division of Tides Canada Initiative] introduced into British Columbia a new kind of environmentalism called the collaborative movement. This approach means environmental groups collaborating with some our most destructive corporations and most anti-environment governments.  It is based on the fact that corporations are always willing to give a little to conservation in order to get a lot. 

And corporations have gotten a lot from it. ForestEthics and its allies endorsed a plan to log two-thirds of the Great Bear Rainforest under "Ecosystem-based Management" with logging standards that make a mockery of the name, followed by an endorsement of a plan to recover the endangered mountain caribou without appreciably reducing the rate of logging of its habitat.

Last year Bermann shocked many BC environmentalists by becoming the leading advocate of private power projects on BC's rivers and streams at a time when most of the environmental movement and a large swathe of the general public were fighting them tooth and nail.  Many of these were projects with huge carbon footprints that would do devastating damage to rivers and coastal ecosystems.

During the election, Berman, ForestEthics and allies shocked many in the province with their outspoken support of the current government's plan to privatize our rivers, while totally ignoring the government's plan to pipe dirty tarsands oil across BC and load it into oil tankers in BC's vital coastal waters - all under the claim of concern about climate change.

Berman then shocked many around the world by giving Premier Gordon Campbell an award at the Copenhagen climate change summit, despite the fact that BC's climate action remains minuscule and the government remains committed to piping the tar sands oil to the coast. This was viewed by many as a publicity stunt at a time when there was world focus on Canada's obstructionism of climate change reforms, and the protests by many international activists against the tarsands.

Whatever one thinks about the merits of private power projects as "green energy", there is no question to anyone that tarsands oil is not green energy. Berman's ability to ignore the Campbell government's role in planning to pipe tarsands oil to a huge oil terminal on the coast has made it astonishing and hugely objectionable to many in the BC environmental movement (including myself and my colleagues) that Greenpeace has chosen Berman to head its energy campaign.

Sincerely,

Anne Sherrod
Valhalla Wilderness Society

Anne Sherrod has been a director of the Valhalla Wilderness Society for 25 years.

Valhalla Wilderness Society
P.O. Box 329, New Denver, British Columbia, V0G 1S0
Phone: 250-358-2333; Fax: 358-7950; vws@vws.org; www.vws.org

February 25, 2010
--------------------------------------------------------------
Note from Northern Insights / Perceptivity:

  See also Save Greenpeace: Stop Tzeporah Berman
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Schools help fund Encana's foreign investments

News Item, May 2011
VANCOUVER - Encana and the British Columbia government’s Pacific Carbon Trust have a new deal by which the Trust is purchasing 84,000 tonnes of carbon offsets from Encana. The agreement commits the trust to buy an additional 30,000 tonnes of carbon offsets through 2012.

The Trust will not disclose full details of the arrangement or the per-tonne price it pays Encana or any other private company.
News Item, May 2011, Andrew Macleod, The Tyee
"...the deal represents a massive transfer of public money from British Columbian schools, hospitals and taxpayers to an already profitable private gas company.

"...the price PCT paid for the offsets is confidential. But with PCT charging $25 per tonne when it sells offsets, the value of the deal would likely be in the range of $2 million.

"It essentially takes offset payments from schools and hospitals and gives them to industrial emitters," said New Democratic Party environment critic Rob Fleming. "To think we're going to drive private sector innovation by transferring money from schools, hospitals and public sector organizations is absurd."
Gwyn Morgan, Wikipedia entry
"Gwyn Morgan, C.M. is a director of several large corporations in Canada, including EnCana Corporation and SNC-Lavalin. He is also on the board of trustees of the Fraser Institute, a Director for The Manning Centre for Building Democracy and a non-executive Director of HSBC. He is most noted for being the former President and CEO of EnCana Corporation."
Bill Tieleman, on Gwyn Morgan
"Morgan is a right-wing ideologue who bashes environmentalists, unions, federal Liberals and immigrants in a way that makes outgoing Premier Gordon Campbell seem like a pinko.

"Morgan's controversial views even include ripping the Canadian Cancer Society for supporting a ban on carcinogenic insecticides and weed killers...

"Morgan is also a defender of "Frankenfoods" -- genetically modified (GM) foods that some European countries have banned, despite Morgan saying there are "no credible studies showing negative impacts."
Press release, Adrian Dix, August 30, 2011
Begbie Elementary School
Ocean Falls Hospital & Clinic
"VANCOUVER— New Democrat leader Adrian Dix is calling on the Liberals to immediately fix the Pacific Carbon Trust and end the Liberal practice of taking money from schools and hospitals and using it to subsidize big polluters like Encana....

"...Last year the Liberals forced the public sector to send more than $18.2 million to the Pacific Carbon Trust, which then used those resources to fund private sector projects. New Democrats have repeatedly pointed out that it is ludicrous to force the public sector, which is responsible for less than one per cent of greenhouse gases emitted in the province, to subsidize big polluters who pay no penalty for the majority of their greenhouse gas emissions.

"New Democrats note the Liberal policy cost the Surrey school district $497,000, the Vancouver school district $406,000, the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority $1.15 million, and UBC $1.52 million last year. Meanwhile the Liberals sent an estimated $2 million, which was collected from schools and hospitals, to Encana, an oil and gas company with deep ties to Premier Christy Clark's transition advisor, Gywn Morgan.
Canadian Business, July 2011, Natural gas giant Encana not ruling out return to international arena
"CALGARY - Encana Corp., known for its vast natural gas holdings in North America, isn't ruling out a return to the international scene if the right opportunity presents itself, the company's chief executive said Thursday.

"We have been looking at opportunities internationally. We haven't signed any agreements yet, but we are pursuing the possibility," Randy Eresman told a conference call with analysts after the company reported better-than-expected second-quarter results.

"There are certain places on the planet that look like they would be great places to both do business and where shale gas opportunities exist, where we could put our expertise to play and potentially benefit from that."

"...Encana wouldn't rule out any part of of the world..."

"...Earlier Thursday, Encana said its hedging program helped it deliver second-quarter profits of $176 million...

"...The company also announced it has amassed nearly 148,000 net hectares in the Duvernay shale region of Alberta, and more than 101,000 net hectares in the Tuscaloosa shale lands in Mississippi and Louisiana..."
Reuters, Sept 2, 2011, Canadian authorities probing employees of SNC-Lavalin Group
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Canadian authorities are investigating employees of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc for possible corruption involving a $1.2 billion World Bank bridge project in Bangladesh, a bank spokesman said on Friday.
Gwyn Morgan, Chairman of the Board of SNC-Lavalin, had no public comment. Nor did he comment on the company's situation in war torn Libya. In March, investigative reporter Will McMartin wrote:
"...And halfway around the world, in British Columbia, the man whose company now is building a $275-million, state-of-the-art prison for Gaddafi in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, huddled with premier-designate Christy Clark, helping her prepare to take the reins of government.

"Yes, as bizarre as it sounds, Gwyn Morgan, the $300,000-a-year chair of Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, a firm that for decades has worked with Gaddafi and his sons, is now serving as a "transition advisor" for Clark while she prepares to implement her "Families First" agenda in Victoria.

"And above and beyond that weird fact, is another: Morgan's company does business worth millions of dollars annually with B.C.'s public sector..."
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Words for today: Tautological Rationalizer

Carole James blames Bill Tieleman and Bob Williams for being backroom party boys who wanted her gone. It is not surprising that Tieleman, tasting victory after a campaign of deprecation, provides no denial and simply says, "Now is the time for healing in the BC NDP."

He tells insiders who are sympathetic to James they are wrong to believe both sides of the divide share responsibility for healing. Having successfully trod on the party's constitution, Kwan and her backroom boys make no apologies and tell others they must accept the results, for the good of the party. Of course, they haven't yet revealed who is acceptable to them as new leader.

Tieleman says that James' difficulties compared to those faced by Australian Labour Prime Minister Kevin Rudd this year and Joe Clark when he sought a renewed mandate as leader at the 1983 national convention of the Progressive Conservative Party. Tieleman is smart enough to know he is wrong in those comparisons and a fatuous defence is not appropriate if he sincerely believes this is the time for healing.

James was elected NDP leader by a convention of delegates selected by the broad party membership. Rudd was elected leader by the caucus of Australian Labour because, under party rules, sitting members of Parliament select the leader. By obvious corollary, those who make the leader can unmake the leader. So, Kevin Rudd was finished when a majority of caucus decided to make a change. Rudd faced no minority group acting outside party rules, threatening resignation unless they got the change demanded.

The dump Joe Clark movement is analogous because it involved a revolt organized in backrooms by people with questionable motivation. Clark, like Carole James, had disloyal agents (of Brian Mulroney) working to remove him as party head. Clark faced a national convention in 1981 and received a voted endorsement of two-thirds. He admitted that was less than satisfactory and promised efforts to make peace with dissidents. In the party's 1983 convention, another vote of delegates supported Clark with the same two-thirds share. Having defended against attack from Mulroney's partisans and failing to improve his standing from the 1981 vote, Clark called for a leadership convention so he could seek an unquestioned mandate and end the mutiny. Instead, Mulroney emerged victorious, to the misfortune of Canadians soon to experience political corruption at new levels.

Suggesting that Carole James situation was similar to either of those is disingenuous. Hell, it is purposely false and those making the comparisons are hypocrites when, fresh from a no-compromise revolt, they tell others to compromise, for the good of the party. As I said yesterday, they may have won but, with that attitude, they'll soon be wondering what they won.

Again, I think that Carole James did the right and honorable thing in resigning. For whatever reasons, she failed to build a team worthy of forming government. In fact, resigning without delay is to her immense credit and complaints about her feeling anger are callous. She leaves with more dignity than the group who spit on the party's constitution.

If both sides of the NDP can find ways to solve their present dilemma quickly, they have a chance of being prepared for an election in the summer of 2011 or soon after. If they have not ended the divide, the new Liberal leader will call an election at the earliest moment, which would probably be late summer.
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Saturday, April 3, 2010

British Columbia blog scene

As Canwest Newspapers and television news faded from legitimacy, alternative news sources became vital for any reader aiming to be informed about politics. Voices from all parts of the spectrum are available on the web, from legitimate philosophical conservatives and right wing partisans to similar types on the progressive or left wing side and of course people in between.

I like to read viewpoints from all persuasions, as long as thoughtful considerations are expressed. Silly people (most loyal supporters of specific parties) are pointless reads if they simply repeat partisan talking points prepared by whichever central authority they follow.

It's easy for a reader to identify web sites worth regular visits. Some of those are amateur commentators who enjoy the exchange of ideas and web interactivity. Others are writers with a purpose, perhaps commercial, perhaps philosophical.  This is an open marketplace of ideas and that is good for everyone. Each of us should value strongly the right to free expression - it's not that common in the world - and add our own voice to the conversations.

Bloggers are commentators who often rely on first hand information gathering done by others. I don't suppose there is one of us who doesn't regularly read the professional pundits, the people directly interacting with politicians.  Whether or not you agree with thoughts published at an information source is irrelevant, if it is honestly informative. If you judge the site worthwhile, support it financially.  For example, Sean Holman at Public Eye Online invites readers to contribute $10 a month, or whatever you can, to enable continuation of his valuable work. I encourage you to do so.

The Tyee is an important voice as well. Sure, it leans left and usually provides progressive points of view but, remember, it's only one of your sources.  You shouldn't miss Sean Holman at Public Eye, nor should you fail to read Andrew MacLeod and Will McMartin and others at The Tyee. These writers provide political detail and backgrounders that main stream journalists are not allowed to tell.

The Tyee experimented with a special fundraiser this past year to fund new levels of investigative journalism. No doubt, that opportunity will come around again or you can simply offer a voluntary contribution. Also, please be aware that advertisements that appear may provide a modest income to the website but, probably, that depends on reader click-throughs. If you see an interesting product or service advertised, clicking on it may help continuation of the site you are visiting.

Of course, one of the most original blogs is that of RossK, AKA The Gazeteer.  I think Ross works professionally in the world of science but that his real passion is music, cycling and family and the blog is an excuse to reveal a little of those elements. However, when Ross bites into a news subject, as he is doing now over the miasma surrounding  Paragon, Turner, BCLC and, of course, our friends in the BC Liberal machine, he requires full attention. Ross enjoys word games and expects readers to come armed with knowledge or be prepared to search for meaning in occasional references.

Most blog readers are probably aware of Alex G. Tsakumis, Rebel With a Clause. I've written elsewhere that Alex, while a conservative voice, is an unpredictable one likely to have an original take on most issues. Plus, his style is fun to read so that makes him a can't miss writer.

It's hard to list worthy web writers without missing important contributors. I assume that people who follow Northern Insights are already familiar with:
  • BC Mary at The Legislature Raids, the single best repository of information about a major ongoing theft of public assets.
  • Laila Yuile, where you find wide ranging commentary on public affairs, always with logical humanity and usually accompanied by excellent reader participation. Laila's been on assignment and doing research lately so she's temporarily quiet but we all anticipate a quick return.
  • David Berner at David Talks / The Berner Monologues, is a polymath with something to say about nearly everything, particularly politics, the arts, health, addiction rehab, and most everything else. Berner's life has gone in so many directions that it is impossible to describe him with a single word such as actor, counselor, teacher, writer, broadcaster, etc.  David shows signs of heading for cranky old man status because he tends to be impatient with stupidity and there is so much of that around.
  • Harvey Oberfeld at Keeping it Real, is another blog on temporary hiatus. H.O. is different from most of us because he actually knows what he writes about, having spent years as a fine reporter and TV news man. Harvey has dealt directly with Prime Ministers and politicians and everyone up the social scale from there.
  • Paul Willcocks at Paying Attention (also on break) is a senior working journalist who presents his own views with what I consider is near infallible judgment. Paul is unlike most bloggers and I don't simply mean that he is a fine writer, which he is. Obviously, he is well informed but he also believes in studied fairness, often reserving his own opinions while inviting readers to decide issues for themselves, based on (egad!) proven fact. I've argued directly with Paul that examining a public figure's actions allows you to attribute motivations. Paul thinks that imprecise and fraught with error. I know, as a professional, he is correct but I believe the blog scene allows a little bias toward our passions and I admit to it.
  • Another web participant worth following is David Schreck at Strategic Thoughts. This former NDP economist is certainly a progressive voice but his expertise, combined with lengthy public service, gives him qualifications to speak clearly on political economics. You find his words at The Tyee periodically. David's recent article at the Tyee was accompanied by this drawing of the wonderful BC artist Ingrid Rice.

It was a fool's game to start describing participants in the online commentary world because I've failed to include ones that I value and read regularly. For example: smart transportation writer Stephen Rees, long time blog participant Bill Tieleman and photographer Doug Pyper who communicates with words and images.  He'll be returning soon from months in South America with, I'm sure, much to tell us.

However, on the left sidebar, is a more complete list of blogs I follow. Create your own list by establishing a blogger profile or add your favorites here. Share all the good stuff.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Power from the powerful

I listened to CKNW’s Bill Good interview private power producers at a recent energy conference. Good was a cheerleader determined to broadcast a story that reflected positively on his guests. He helped push the story that BC Hydro has too little financial and intellectual capacity to be an effective power producer and that private companies are best able to meliorate environmental risks.

Is this the same BC Hydro that operates more than 30 hydroelectric facilities and contributes billions to the public treasury by generating and distributing low cost power throughout 95% of this province? And would that be the same private sector that so reliably remediated polluted mining sites such as Britannia and voluntarily eliminated serious air pollution by smelters, gas plants and pulp mills?

When a caller pointed out that BC Hydro is banned from developing new power sources and the private projects depend upon advance public agreements to purchase expensive power, Mr. Good “didn’t have time for speeches.” Nor, on April 11, did Sean Leslie and Gordon Campbell have time to answer a caller's allegation that Campbell associates, former ministerial aides and advisers, left government to work for Plutonic Power Corp.when government approved numerous private power developments by the company.

Public Eye Online editor Sean Holman writes that private power producers have employed numerous Liberal insiders to further their development projects. Holman aptly titles his comment From one power source to another.

Bill Tieleman's May 5 blog lists reasons why Campbell Liberals should be booted from office. One comment attached to Bill's entry provides interesting detail of Liberal apparatchiks who fit Holman's description.
Why have so many BC Liberal insiders moved to the IPP industry where they have dished out $30 billion in contracts for electricity that BC Hydro could produce at a fraction of that?
  • Geoff Plant, former BC Liberal Attorney General, now chair of Renaissance Power.
  • Mark Grant, BC Liberal executive director, resigns December 12, 2008 to join Rupert Peace Power.
  • David Cyr, former Assistant to BC Liberal Minister Mike de Jong, is now a director at Plutonic Power.
  • Robert Poore, recently worked under the Provincial Revenue Minister of the Province of BC, now is a senior director at Plutonic Power.
  • Tom Syer, who has held a variety of senior positions in the BC Government including Gordon Campbell’s Deputy Chief of Staff, is now a director at Plutonic Power.
  • Bill Irwin, after holding key positions in the BC Ministries of Land and Water, and Crown Lands, now is a director at Plutonic Power.
  • Bruce Young, has held several high profile positions with the BC Liberal party and lobbied his own party on behalf of Katabatic Power is listed as a director of Atla Energy.
  • Stephen Kukucha, former senior policy advisor for the BC Ministry of Environment, is now president and CEO of Atla Energy.
  • Paul Taylor, after his work as President and CEO of crown corporation ICBC as well as high level positions in the BC Government, is now President and CEO of Naikun Wind Energy Group.
  • Michael J. O’Conner, former President and CEO of Crown Corporation BC Transit, now holds senior positions at Naikun.
  • Jackie Hamilton, formerly held various BC Government environmental assessment and regulatory management positions, is now a VP at Cloudworks Energy.
  • And last but not least, Bob Herath, former Assistant Regional Water Manager for the BC Ministry of Environment is now with Syntaris Power. Bob Herath signed water licences in 2006-7 that are now owned by the same company he left gov't for in 2007. Syntaris Power
I remember the days of misguided youth when I was too involved in party politics. While I raised funds to subsidize Young Liberals traveling to a national leadership convention, an MP gave me a list of federal contractors who could be counted on for support. It seems that if one was, say a dredging contractor growing fat on public service, you were expected to spread cash around when the party came calling. Mind you, those were small sums. Real opportunities were always reserved for the favored few.

Well connected Liberals have a long and proud history of maximizing personal opportunities. They know how to make meaningful asset transfers with great discretion. After all, that is the fundamental purpose of an unprincipled political party.
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