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.