Liberals have been bulldozing barriers and slashing red tape for more than a decade. Who can forget:
- “Red Tape Reduction Task Force” of 2001 to recommend priorities for the elimination of regulations in BC.
- Rich Coleman’s 2002 announcement that red tape had been slashed by 41 per cent.
- Alberta Premier Ralph Klein’s announcement in 2004 that he and Campbell had been working together to cut red tape.
- Energy Minister Richard Neufeld’s 2007 announcement that Liberals had slashed red tape for entrepreneurs in BC.
- The Fraser Institute’s 2007 congratulations for the BC government introducing “numerous progressive policies” to cut red tape “to make BC more competitive.”
- Small Business Minister Rick Thorpe’s introduction of “BizPaL” a tool to cut red tape to make this Canada’s most business-friendly jurisdiction.
- The Vancouver Sun’s 2008 celebration that Gordon Campbell had been “elected premier to rid us of government red tape.”
- The BC Government’s declaration in January 2011 of ‘Red Tape Awareness Week’ to celebrate that “the Province has reduced regulatory requirements by more than 42 per cent.”
The mantra about cutting red tape will be repeated forever and it seems relatively harmless. No one wants unnecessary barriers placed by government before any activity, except initiatives that might harm persons or property.
If someone wants to build a chemical factory upstream of my house, I sure as hell want a great number of meaningful routines confronting them before they proceed. Christy Clark’s mentor Gwyn Morgan and the oil billionaires want no barriers or red tape preventing them from putting oil and gas pipelines between Kitimat and the Alberta tar sands. Most British Columbians would disagree.
Those who want no red tape and no barriers to development of any sort are people who rank financial gain as more important than a healthy environment. While the Vancouver Sun’s editorial board consistently advocates an unregulated economy, occasionally other views slip through. Today, Larry Pynn, with assistance from Gwen Barlee, policy director for the Wilderness Committee, provides a special to the Sun. From Run-of-river power projects kill fish:
“The Mamquam River pours cold and fresh off the Coast Mountains, forming pools and canyons and chutes of white water on its way to the Squamish River and Howe Sound.
“It was a natural place for federal fisheries biologists to assemble on an August 2010 weekend for swift-water safety training. Like the river itself, however, their exercise took an expected turn.
“Rather than watch the Mamquam flow predictably to the sea, the biologists were dismayed to witness the water levels fluctuate wildly — and with dire consequences.
“Young steelhead were dying, stranded without water.
“The culprit? The Capital Power run-of-river hydro plant, located just upstream.
“The independent power industry bills itself as green, sustainable and environmentally responsible.
“But more than 3,000 pages of documents obtained separately by The Vancouver Sun and the Wilderness Committee through freedom of information requests show water-flow fluctuations caused by run-of-river hydro projects are killing fish — and the problem is not isolated…”
Another case involving “Ruin of the River” power generation, mostly for the benefit of investors outside BC, is covered by Rafe Mair in Tell DFO to Save Kokish River Steelhead from Proposed Private Power Project.