BC Hydro

Liberal MLA Bloy embarrasses the Legislature

John Horgan, critic for energy, mines and petroleum resources, spoke to the Legislature Monday about directing the B.C. Utilities Commission to do a full and comprehensive review of the Smart Metering Program:

 …during the budget estimates in 2009… I asked [the then Minister of Energy] to give me an assurance that the Utilities Commission would, in fact, be reviewing the smart meter program, a billion-dollar undertaking — 1.8 million metres on homes and businesses right across British Columbia and a significant capital cost that will lead inevitably to an increase in rates.

This is what the minister said to me at the time: “Ultimately, as we’ve talked before, the BCUC will review that” — the smart meter program — “and make a determination: is it in the public interest or not?”

I was given significant comfort by that comment, and I think most British Columbians were. “We’re going to spend a billion dollars,” says the government. B.C. Hydro is being driven towards a smart meter and a smart grid system, but the B.C. Liberals will ensure that process will be followed. Well, that assurance in November was eradicated by April when the government introduced the Clean Energy Act and exempted not just the smart meter program but about $12 billion to $13 billion worth of capital projects from third-party oversight by the commission…

MLA Nicholas Simons adds to the debate:

The whole issue arises out of what I think is clumsily introduced legislation and poorly implemented public policy, which seems to be the standard for this government over the last little while. We have seen mistake after mistake, blunder after blunder, and all preventable.

...thepublic should realize that specific legislation was passed, was barely debated, in order to circumvent the processes that we have put in place as a democratic society here to protect the public interest. Why wouldn’t a project of this value…. If it was such a good idea, why would the government be afraid of putting that past the B.C. Utilities Commission? That’s my question. I can see their heads all going down because they know it’s the truth as well.

…I would also point out that the Clean Energy Act, with the act that allowed the government to circumvent our processes — the democratic processes that we fought for — was also passed as closure. In other words, the government decided they don’t want to hear anymore about it. They don’t want to discuss in detail the clauses of this piece of legislation because they know it’s a problem. They felt that it would be easier if they just hid it, if they didn’t talk about it, if they suppressed the information through a lack of debate — lack of open, rigorous debate, which is what we should …Thank you very much.

Liberal MLA Harry Bloy responds:

As I look across the Legislature today, I’m wondering how the NDP is doing. I see two of their members with casts on their hands. Are they winning or losing their fights? What’s going on? That’s what I want to know…

The NDP’s energy critic has acknowledged the benefits that smart meters will have if customers want to monitor their energy consumption. In this House he admitted: “Certainly, I’m really excited about smart metering.” I guess he was really excited. I’d like to know how excited he was, because he seems to speak out of both sides of his mouth. I can’t figure it out.

Is he excited because the Leader of the Opposition can’t fraudulently do something against the consumers of British Columbia, can’t lie and cheat and steal money from the citizens of British Columbia? Is that why he speaks out of both sides of his mouth? It really makes me wonder how a Leader of the Opposition can steal from the public.

… Is this what we’re trying to do here?

…You know, sometimes it really makes me wonder about the Leader of the Opposition stealing from the public, fraud. I wonder how he proposed to his wife. Is he like his good friend, Svend Robinson? I wonder how he did that.

I’m just wondering. How did he do that?

Perhaps Harry Bloy is sensitive about the subject of lying and cheating and stealing money from the citizens of British Columbia. He ought to be. He’s been one of the enablers, a man who stood by smiling and winking as Liberal Party minions filled the pockets of friends and insiders. Bloy and fellow Liberals allowed almost $50 billion in debt to destroy BC Hydro’s ability to deliver low cost energy to homeowners.

Now, instead of allowing for re-examination and independent oversight, the political party that previously imposed closure to prevent parliamentary debate about energy management, can only mount an insane defence that ignores the issues and tries to change the subject.

Harry Bloy demonstrates how the team shaped by Gordon Campbell, presided over for the moment by a dunderheaded egotist and a room full of unelected manipulators, has descended to a condition where it is completely bereft of talent, vision and honour. Intellectual and moral lightweights like Harry Bloy stand aside content with their own plunder in the form of pensions far richer than they could earn in the private sector.

7 replies »

  1. Norm,

    Timely and excellent post. Here is the question of the century—what can we citizens do as a COLLECTIVE to get Hydro to respond to the madness of these meters and the exorbitant rates that they are charging? John Horgan is doing all humanely possible and yet all Coleman has to offer is that the complaints “are an urban myth; 99% of the province approves of the meters.”


  2. Just think; when Christy Clark chose her cabinet, she thought this guy was more qualified than Randy Hawes, John Slater, Richard Lee, Donna Barnett, John Les, Doug Horne, Norm Letnick, Bill Bennett, Marc Dalton, John Rustad, Jane Thornthwaite, Ron Cantelon, Pat Pimm, Rob Howard, Linda Reid, Murray Coell, Dave Hayer, Gordon Hogg, Eric Foster, Ralph Sultan, Joan Mcintyre, Ben Stewart, Moira Stillwell, and Colin Hansen. Wonder if they all agree?


  3. Under Campbell and Clark, cabinet ministers are largely powerless. Clark didn't expect much from Bloy but she doesn't expect much from any other minister either. Important decisions get made in the Premier's offices after the monied folks have given their instructions.


  4. In that case she's getting exactly what she expected from all of them, I'd say.

    BTW, John van Dongen obviously didn't agree with her choices; unlike the bunch I listed.


  5. Fame and infamy do not cancel each other out, they're additive. Thus Harry Bloy, at one time the least note-worthy of all BC Liberal MLAs, got his first few moments of stardom when he supported Christy Clark's leadership bid, shining all the brighter for having been the only caucus member to do so, eventually added the infamy of incompetence to the ministry rewarded him, then that of impropriety to the one he was shuffled to. One might have thought his star had cindered out by his subsequent ministerial resignation and announcement he will not seek incumbency. But now, after being forced to withdraw recent remarks that would be grounds for a libel suit had they not been made in the Assembly, he's more famous than ever.

    Bloy's tirade probably gets magnified stood next to his other under achievements; there's a tendency for eyes glazed by dangerously high dosages of punditry we get out here in BC to read too much into ordinary political minutiae. Perhaps what is overlooked is that politicians of Bloy's calibre are actually the most likely to exceed expectations so we shouldn't be too surprised when he does. As it is, Bloy was simply tasked with deflecting Opposition questions about BC Hydro by changing the subject which he did by falsely and provocatively accusing the Leader of the Opposition of theft and fraud. He definitely exceeded his powder load which, despite repeated warnings from the speaker, he was unable to quell once the pan was fired, exceeding expectations by a long shot.

    There's been speculation as to whether Bloy was put up to this or if the words he read from notes were his. The attack was remarkably similar in style and subject to the one Christy Clark levelled at Adrian Dix, for which she was also admonished by the Speaker. But this looks too much like how a cat leaves a dead mouse on its master's pillow as a sign of affection to suspect she put him up to it, words and all. And Harry, truly has, I believe, real affection for his liege lady.

    And she for him. What else could she be? He's her favourite caucus supporter albeit by default. Although there's no point in confessing it, she probably wishes she could have done better. If it was astuteness that alerted Harry to the fact that Christy had no other supporters, that he would be the only and most favoured one and that she'd actually win the leadership, no one would have suspected it. The free enterprise vote his constituents expected of him, his incumbency, party loyalty, his affability and the lucky move which catapulted this perennial, lacklustre backbencher to the right hand of the Premier made it all the more necessary to find him something to do. However, his appointment to the Ministry responsible for Community Living BC exposed BC Liberal indifference to the suffering of disabled adult children and their families, contributing significantly to the government's slide in the polls. Christy must have felt some kind of obligation to risk another Ministry with Bloy at the helm; if he truly did tender his resignation when he eventually screwed that one up, too, one could not say it was a dishonourable thing to do. Announcing his resignation did save his liege lady from having to fire him or find him another job. And, even though he is immediately pensionable and needn't continue his vassalage, he'll not abandon his liege lady at least not before mid November, after which no resignation will precipitate a by-election before the fixed-election date.

    But wait. What saga could end with a dotty old knight biding his last days at the court of the Princess Warrior, her scented handkerchief crumpled under his nose as he pens flattering paraphrases of his liege lady's odes to Sir Adrian, what saga, without a palace coup? Indeed, the court of the Princess Warrior may not exist in three or four more sunrises. But more of this anon, anon.


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