Christy Clark

Our wealth commands us

As a student politician in her untenured days at SFU, Christy Clark operated with an imperfect moral compass. When final history is written, the hallmark of her premiership will be deceit and corruption.

Her government regularly wages war against working people and helps contractors evade the few responsibilities owed employees.

Income and disability assistance rates were last raised on June 1, 2007 but annual drilling subsidies to gas producers climbed 130% in the same time frame, from $370 million to $850 million. In addition, since 2007, natural gas royalties receipts declined from $1.2 billion to $185 million in the current fiscal year. Revenues from gas and petroleum rights sales fell from $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2009 to only $9.7 million in the first 11 months of 2015.

edwardsChristy Clark’s government had BC Hydro spend a billion dollars on the Northwest power line and Iskut extension so that it could deliver electricity to Imperial Metals’ Red Chris mine at a fraction of the price of new power the utility buys from independent producers. In the last few days, the Clark government issued a permit for Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine to discharge contaminated water from its open pit tailings pond into Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake.

Why does Imperial Metals get favoured treatment? Because it is part of the portfolio of investments of Calgary billionaire Murray Edwards. He’s the BC Liberal supporter who in 2013 arranged a $1-million private fundraiser in Alberta to fund Christy Clark’s re-election bid in BC. But, that was only part of Edwards’ offerings to BC Liberals. Elections BC reports almost $1 million of contributions from companies and partners of Edwards.

Christy Clark probably skipped classes in political philosophy but if she hadn’t, she might have read the statement by 18th century philosopher Edmund Burke:

If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.

ADDENDUM:

What follows in an except from an article about Clark’s generous financial friend. I recommend the entire linked piece.

The Imperial Aspirations of Murray Edwards, Andrew Findlay, Alberta Venture, May 2015:

[Wade Davis] The B.C.-born, internationally renowned ethnobotanist is the author of the bestselling book The Serpent and the Rainbow and is now on faculty at the University of British Columbia. Davis has a personal stake in the Imperial Metals story; he owns a lodge within view of the Red Chris Mine, which sits near Mount Todagin where the headwaters of the Stikine, Nass and Skeena rivers rise. It’s a region that conservationists and First Nations refer to as the Sacred Headwaters.

He believes Edwards’ play in the B.C. mining sector demonstrates how power and politics influence resources management; in fact, that was the subject of a talk he gave on February 12 to a sold-out audience of 500 on the U.B.C. campus. Since 2006, the B.C. Liberal government has pushed hard for a controversial expansion of the power grid into the northern wilderness, at a cost of more than $800 million – $130 million of which came from the federal government’s Green Infrastructure Fund. The so-called Northwest Transmission Line was being built to enable a number of major resource development investments, including Shell Canada’s Klappan coalbed methane project and Nova Gold and Teck Resource’s Galore Creek copper and gold property, both of which have since been derailed by global economics.

That leaves Red Chris, along with a small run-of-river hydro project owned by AltaGas (which sells power back to British Columbians at a premium price), as the only major player on the power line grid. Davis says Red Chris would not be feasible without the extension of the power line, and that the $886-million expenditure “appears increasingly as a public subsidy for a single mine.”

That’s why he is very uncomfortable with the Liberal government’s cozy relationship with Edwards. “I don’t think the B.C. government will do anything to compromise its relationship with that mine or Mr. Edwards,” Davis said, in an email.

 

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11 replies »

  1. The information above is worth repeating. The Iskut extension was only part of the Northwest transmission line, a mega-project that went much over budget. In effect taxpayer paid about a billion dollars so that Red Chris mine could buy electricity below cost.

    We should remember that when we look at our BC Hydro bills in the next few years. We will be paying more attention because they will more than double.

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  2. Thanks, I altered the wording slightly to show the cost of delivering power to Red Chris was far more than the Iskut extension. I wonder if it's common for Hydro to allow a customer to build a service line to deliver electricity then buy that line for 9-figures. I thought that if customer off the grid wants power, they pay for the line that brings it.

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  3. “When final history is written, the hallmark of her premiership will be deceit and corruption.”

    Well said. But what of the present? Her premiership is at the current time corrupted and deceitful, as you very ably demonstrate. Our grandkids will feel little comfort from the writings of historians as they pay the bills and survey what’s left of the environment as a result of this lunacy. They’ll rightly wonder what we did to stop it.

    I wondered in comment to your previous post whether Gwyn Morgan came alone. He didn’t of course; nor does Murray Edwards round out the list of pay to play cronies. That list is long and lucrative and guides Christy’s daily priorities. Anyone or any segment of the populace not on that list gets a very cold shoulder from her or her courtiers.

    There is another list that should be given close attention. The list of BC Liberal caucus members. Those on that list have the only realistic power in the short term to stop her. Their actions will reveal whether public or self-interest guides them. Bravery or cowardice will also be demonstrated.

    I’m not optimistic.

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  4. We know how Chrispy Clark benefits from Murray Edwards/Red Chris Mines (as above). We know how Red Chris Mines benefits from our largess (power subsidies, etc.) but do we know how we, the province, benefit from Red Chris Mines and Mount Polley? What do we 'earn' in Royalties from these operations? How much are we paid for our resources? Any idea, Norm?
    A mineral deposit is only called 'ore' if it is economically viable. Is it possible that Red Chris is only a mine because we have made it viable?

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  5. Man!

    Just as I was still revelling in the euphoria of having rid our country of harper, you bring the harsh realities of harper's siren back into full and inescapable focus.

    When will the madness end?

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  6. Mr. Kendell, before we see a full blown rebellion, the people will need to wake up. As I see it, right now, what is going on in this province is causing no immediate, direct, individual pain to most folks. They are, for the most part, complacent or actually uninformed about what is taking place.

    I associate mostly with retirees and ordinary working people, none of whom are aware of these very things Norm writes about.

    For some reason, they caught on to Harper, but Christy is still way under the radar.
    Hawgwash.

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  7. Well the reason not a lot of people have caught onto Christy's doings is because the guys who owns the media conglomerate plays golf with the guy who owns the mining conglomerate so to speak. And you know the saying “he who pays the piper calls the tune”. Remember that mischievous glint in Christy's eye on the eve of her surprise election win , that was actually light reflecting off the ring on Murray Edwards index finger if you know what i mean. And i think you do. We have had no less than 2 major scandals reach right into the premiers office and there are no howls from the “5th” estate yet Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark were laid low for in the case of the former , honorable reasons and in the case of the latter trumped up charges and collusion with the media princes of the day. I have come to the conclusion that before anything else we need MEDIA reform in the province and country . Who brings us our news and information and the veracity of said news and info is of huge importance to our democracy and imo quality of life in this province and we should be stringent in our selection of them. Or we could just go back to watching dancing with the stars i guess.

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  8. That certainly was an interesting read. I knew about the poverty and the no raises in welfare disability rates. I did not know about the increase to those corporations and you sure won't see it on the MSM. How sick is that! Corporate welfare but nothing for those who need it most.

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  9. Decades ago, when I studied economics and political science, we talked of “moral suasion,” a tactic used by authorities to influence and pressure banks into adhering to policy. Apparently, there is less morality in banking circles today so they have to use punitive measures to get banks to lend money to someone other than people who don't need it.

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