Same old, same old, part x

Political and power industry insiders dictated terms for the original IPP schemes but corporate inertia keeps them alive. BC NDP enjoyed the short-lasting attention paid Ken Davidson’s ZAPPED report since it highlighted BC Liberal incompetence or malfeasance. But, the expose was quickly put into storage. Business continues largely as before. It’s only the public’s money…

Natural gas is not a bridge fuel

Cornell University scientists, including Professors Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea, have been credited with raising scientific and public awareness of fracking and its dangers. As a result, the fossil fuel industry has funded academics and PR groups to attack both the scientists and their science…

Taxes buy civilization

Neoliberalism has brought us extreme concentrations of wealth and power and a society governed by and for the rich. The Guardian reports America’s three wealthiest billionaires—Bezos, Gates and Buffett—have as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population combined. Funders—like the American Koch brothers and Fraser Institute directors who are connected collectively to around a trillion dollars in assets— do not want creative solutions to labour’s stagnant wages or growing inequality…

Denying the existential threat

Much of climate change denial is driven by money. The world’s ten largest fossil fuel companies are collectively worth trillions and their managers are not going away quietly. For years, they have invested heavily in assets that influence public opinion. These involve squads of online trolls and influencers paid to spread gospels of climate change denial. Acquiring control of corporate media output was another strategy. So-called think tanks conducted widespread skirmishes, including use of Fraser-Institute-style “learning resources” foisted on naive members of media and places of education, including students and faculty. Academics and scientists who don’t care about science have opportunities to pocket more than spare change…

Canada – TrumpLand north?

July 30, Stephen Colbert interviewed Jacob Soboroff and Katy Tur, presenters of American Swamp, a four-part docuseries on MSNBC about government corruption. They talk about politics in the USA but Canadians ought not to feel superior or complacent because our governments are constructed of the same timber.

“Because, if they do do something, they run the risk of angering a special interest or a big donor and those special interests or donors will spend money on getting them out of office. So, they sit there and twiddle their thumbs.”

Sacrificing the future

Norway made a choice to take a material share of oil and gas revenues and distribute the value of its non-renewable resources to citizens over multiple generations. Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan chose to benefit whichever corporations happened to be involved when production of oil and gas took place…

Reward the wealthy, fail the needy

It is often said that we are unable to pay for healthcare (including dentistry and prescriptions) and other social programs. But, political leaders seldom say that business subsidies and corporate tax reductions are unaffordable. Why do the majority of Canadians tolerate a system that rewards the wealthy and fails to serve the needy?

Rhetoric subjugated reason

In British Columbia, the energy ministry is staffed by regulators who don’t believe in regulation. That is a BC Liberal philosophy sustained by NDP timidity because the Horgan Government is nervous about giving ammunition to opponents who accuse it of being anti-business, anti-development and anti-growth. As a result, cartelized, profit-seeking natural gas producers still exercise undue influence over the energy ministry…

Generational sellout

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver spoke to the BC Legislature March 26, 2019. He reported a former insider’s views of why BC natural gas royalty revenues have declined. These were in a letter written by a former civil servant who worked in the oil and gas provincial registry. NDP, Liberals, and corporate media paid almost no attention to Weaver’s speech. Natural resource taxation programs are complex and understanding is difficult because the NDP continues Liberal policies of less-than-transparent public-facing information.

Wacky world of minimum wages

Increasing income of the working poor ensures that extra dollars are spent in local communities on things like food, clothing, medical and dental care, and housing. According to a University of California report, higher minimum wages reduce poverty rates among households and children, without affecting employment levels. To most of us, that is an admirable outcome…

Empires expand, until they disintegrate

BC Hydro’s 2019 Annual Service Plan Report shows the quantity of electricity sold to residential, commercial and industrial customers in BC is still flat. The value of 2019 sales is increased by BC Hydro’s $1.2 billion purchase of Teck’s majority interest in the Waneta dam, a generating site on the Columbia River southeast of Trail. Power produced at Waneta still goes to Teck but, since the dam is now 100% publicly owned, all electricity produced there becomes a BC Hydro sale…

“We are profoundly ignorant about what is going on”

I question why we allow fracking while there are significant knowledge gaps about safety. Authorities will not approve anyone to command flight controls of a loaded aircraft without certainty that person is proven capable of flying safely. In the production of BC natural gas, authorities have been unwilling to discover and accept sscience that suggests fracking is dangerous to workers, residents in gas producing areas and to the earth itself…

New Era of Truthfulness at BC Hydro?

In BC Hydro’s most recent annual report, the company promised “one of the largest expansions of electrical infrastructure in British Columbia’s history.” To gain approval for massive spending, BC Hydro doctored load forecasts, issuing a steady stream of pronouncements about demand increases…

They won; we lost

Financial elites have waged a decades-long campaign of self-interest against Canadians. They won; we lost. The most important front has been action to control mass media and reduce the influence of progressive voices heard by the general public…

Privatizing public wealth

In July 2018, newly installed Premier Doug Ford announced that noted ex-con and former BC Premier Gordon Campbell would lead an “independent” inquiry into Ontario’s past spending and accounting practices. Six weeks later, the commission delivered a short report that was obviously not written or much influenced by Gordon Campbell. It recommended approaches that Campbell was loath to implement when he presided at his own cabinet table.