BC Hydro

Proceed without caution

Even slightly aware BC citizens know that Premier Clark and her accomplices are incompetent. Liberal managers include not a single person capable of completing a basic course in strategic decision making. The result is a litany of failed designs, missed opportunities, blown budgets and unmet goals. Excepting deadly choices at the Children and Family Development ministry, the main Liberal blunders involve energy. Because of Campbell-Clark-Coleman-Bennett decisions, public wealth will drain from the province for decades.

Yet, the full consequences of bad choices and improprieties are not yet revealed. Some – like major awards to an insolvent Site C contractor – will be resolved by applying yet more public money. Others, like diverting waterways and poisoning groundwaters or dedicating vast tracts of unceded land to transmission corridors will not be resolved with bags of cash.

The rush to advance Site C dam construction and various energy projects despite opposition from affected indigenous peoples is partly justified by the sunk-cost fallacy, which the government’s media lackeys have been repeating for months. It requires:

Reasoning that further investment is warranted on the fact that the resources already invested will be lost otherwise, not taking into consideration the overall losses involved in the further investment.

The provincial government and its agencies have been proceeding as if the directions of Canada’s highest court are unclear or have no meaning in British Columbia. Rich Coleman has explained his attitude to experts and court orders, “I’m not going to buy any of this.”

It is doubtful that Coleman and his political colleagues have examined details of the final decision of Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia since it runs to almost 20,000 words. However, the outcome of Roger William’s 24-year quest for indigenous rights may end up being more than groundbreaking. It may also be government-breaking. Here are a few of the words:

Supreme Court of Canada Judgements, Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44:

[67] As we have seen, Delgamuukw establishes that Aboriginal title “encompasses the right to exclusive use and occupation of the land held pursuant to that title for a variety of purposes” (para. 117), including non-traditional purposes, provided these uses can be reconciled with the communal and ongoing nature of the group’s attachment to the land. Subject to this inherent limit, the title-holding group has the right to choose the uses to which the land is put and to enjoy its economic fruits (para. 166).

[73] Aboriginal title confers ownership rights similar to those associated with fee simple, including: the right to decide how the land will be used; the right of enjoyment and occupancy of the land; the right to possess the land; the right to the economic benefits of the land; and the right to pro-actively use and manage the land.

[92] Once title is established, it may be necessary for the Crown to reassess prior conduct in light of the new reality in order to faithfully discharge its fiduciary duty to the title-holding group going forward. For example, if the Crown begins a project without consent prior to Aboriginal title being established, it may be required to cancel the project upon establishment of the title if continuation of the project would be unjustifiably infringing. Similarly, if legislation was validly enacted before title was established, such legislation may be rendered inapplicable going forward to the extent that it unjustifiably infringes Aboriginal title.

[97] I add this. Governments and individuals proposing to use or exploit land, whether before or after a declaration of Aboriginal title, can avoid a charge of infringement or failure to adequately consult by obtaining the consent of the interested Aboriginal group.

15 replies »

  1. Happy New Year Norm and thanks for all your good work.

    I believe we need to come up with a catchy phrase that describes how this Liberal govt. is giving away our resources and piling us into debt so they can enrich their friends.

    Similar to the phrase “fast ferries” it should be used so frequently that everyone will eventually know what it means. Perhaps there already is something that is being used to describe this govt but we need to start using it in every post and comment to make it part of our language so it becomes as mainstream as fast ferries.


  2. Quick Wins. Mount Polley. Shawnigan Lake. There's a few buzzwords in there. I agree David, we do need a “marketable” catchphrase for all of the theft.


  3. They already have one its called Crony Capitalism. Trouble is the people who should be saying this ie Baldrey, Palmer ,Smyth wouldn't dare bite the hand that feeds them and their families. Well they nip from time to time but thats just for show.


  4. “I have already paid a consultant $1000 to look into the pros and cons of starting that new business division. He advised that I shouldn’t move forward with it because it is a declining market. However, if I don’t move forward, that $1000 would have been wasted, so I better move forward anyway.”

    I love that example. In the case of the BC Liberals and the BCUC, regarding Site C: they've paid for the expertise of the BCUC but have chosen not to ask for a review of the pros and cons — as they know the cons will be too hard to ignore. Better to just forge ahead for the good photo ops.


  5. “Major award(s) to an insolvent Site C contractor”. What was this all about? I missed that. I noted various awards to Spanish, Korean, Albertan contractors. Who are the '100,000 proposed jobs' in favour of? Don't appear to be for any local contractors.


  6. A name for the situation, how about Detroit North. Once all those bills become due and the population can no longer afford all the fees the B.C. Lieberals use to run the province, it will be a mess. Of course by then the B.C. Lieberals and their friends will have made their money and gone on to other things.

    it is doubtful the B.C. Lieberals will have read the decision, it might require some concentration and there aren't any cameras on while they read it. Even if their lawyers read it and tried to explain it to them, they would simply deny the truth and go forward. By ignoring the court decisions and going forward with their actions, what exactly would happen to the B.C. Lieberals? who would step in to stop them? Federal government? Not likely. RCMP because the B.C. Lieberals are breaking the law? Not likely. They have their 20 yr contract and their mess in surrey certainly has never been cleaned up.

    No the B.C. Lieberals will ignore all court decisions because all the other groups can do, is take the b.C. Lieberals back to court and have judgements rendered against them. Its sort of like you know in advance the rewards for doing what you do, are greater than the punishment you will receive. its the old, don't ask permission, do it, and apologize later.

    In my opinion the B.C. Lieberals are simply another organized crime group doing well in B.C. 4 dead kids in care? gee if it was a parent, they'd be in jail. In B.C. the government just continues as is and complains the child advocate makes too many recommendations. if a government doesn't care about 4 dead kids in their care and the high level of child poverty in B.C. they don't care about anything except themselves and their friends and Norm you figures speak volumes.


  7. “I'm not going to buy any of this,” says Rich Coleman.

    Erik Andersen, in his interview with Rafe Mair presented in the previous post, expressed a similar sentiment regarding the notion posited about the stupidity and/or incompetence of Christy Clark and her junta. He believes their actions to be deliberate, mainly because no one could possibly be as serially stupid or incompetent. If he’s right, as I firmly believe, the province is no less in jeopardy, and may in fact be in more trouble than we know. The consequences for those putting it there must be more severe than what is possible through the ballot box (although it’s a necessary start) if justice is to be served.

    He also said something else I believe. It is going to take blood on the floor to wrest power from the BC Liberals and their cronies. Metaphorically speaking of course. And therein lies the problem. The electorate will simply not follow weaklings, and the only political alternative in BC to the BC Liberals wears a weakness badge writ large. It pinned it on itself in the last election campaign by showing up armed with a wet noodle, confirmed it by folding on the Basi/Virk payoff (which folding I will never forgive), voting for Christy’s LNG tax plan, and continually letting the BC Liberals kick sand in its face without any more of a response than the average supporter can muster. As Mr. Andersen also stated, a commander needs situational awareness to succeed. To Mr. Horgan and the Official Opposition I say it’s time to put some blood on the floor.

    Show us your stuff.


  8. Christy Clark recently brought MLA Mike Morris in as her new Solicitor General. We should first be mindful that the BC Liberals never, ever, ever do anything that doesn’t benefit them or their cabal. We should therefore be very suspicious of how big the shoe dropping out of this move will be.

    After the normal protocol niceties of congratulating Morris on his new job, the leader of the Official Opposition should have sent him an open letter:

    Dear Minister:

    Yesterday I congratulated you on your appointment as Solicitor General. Today I write regarding your zeal for thorough and equal enforcement of the law and what the public might expect to see from you in the future.

    You were a member of the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts considering the Auditor General’s December 2013 Audit of Special Indemnities in the spring and fall of 2014. Many serious questions arose out of that audit relating to the plea deal reached separately from the one reached by the special prosecutor. That separate deal was the main focus of the audit in question.

    Due to the serious nature of the questions, and the Committee’s inability to obtain answers from any of the available witnesses, MLA Corrigan moved to invite the deputy ministers responsible for its execution to appear and assist. You voted with your BC Liberal colleagues to deny the motion and the questions remain unresolved. That seems to indicate a troubling lack of interest in administration of the law. You did however offer your assistance as a former police officer with experience in plea bargains and that elicited a letter to the Committee from a concerned citizen. It read in part:

    “…The Auditor General says in his report auditors were told that the guilty pleas negotiated between defence counsel and the special prosecutor would never have been entered by the defendants but for the prior plea deal (October 14, 2010) between the ADAG and the defendants.

    MLA Morris says, “I think, to David Eby, that assumptions are made that this $6 million was used as an inducement to plead guilty. We don't know the discussions that took place between counsel and the special prosecutor in this case, and they're the ones that negotiated the guilty plea. We will never know what those discussions were all about.
    As a former police officer, I've been intimately involved in plea bargaining in the past.”

    The discussions between the special prosecutor and defence counsel are not the issue here. The issue is the October 14, 2010 plea deal between the defendants and the ADAG to extinguish the special indemnity agreements by way of an Agreement to Release in exchange for guilty pleas and how that affected the course of justice. And we do in fact know quite a bit about that agreement and the surrounding discussions from the Auditor General’s report.

    Notwithstanding MLA Morris’ reference to the wrong discussions, he has tendered to the Committee his expertise as a police officer with intimate knowledge of plea bargains. Perhaps he would be prepared to assist the Committee’s understanding of how these work in practice by advising:
    • how many plea bargains he witnessed or was a part of that involved securing guilty pleas through cash payments by the Crown to the defendants;
    • the amount of the highest cash payment;
    • whether the court was advised of these payments made in exchange for guilty pleas; and
    • what action he took as a police officer regarding these payments.

    In the event MLA Morris has no plea bargains of this nature to report in his experience, perhaps he could advise the Committee why that would be, whether one of that nature would be illegal, and what the duty of the Committee would be if it discovered through its deliberations on the Basi/Virk indemnities that government officials may have been party to such a plea bargain.”

    You did not answer that letter, nor did you assist the Committee with the questions. Perhaps in light of establishing public trust in your new role you will do so now.

    Yours sincerely…”


  9. Horgan doesn't have what it takes to “put some blood on the floor”. There are members of the NDP caucus, who do have what it takes and they simply ought to be let loose, sort of like the gang, Shiela Copps belonged to back in the day, when the federal Liberals were in opposition.

    As to “blood on the floor”, we have 4 dead kids but still the MSM “ignores” it and doesn't follow up or do any sort of series on the issue. I've always been of the opinion 10 children would have to die as the result of the B.C. Lieberals policies in B.C. each and every month before things were taken seriously, It is about the same in Surrey. their council and RCMP won't take the crime rate seriously until about 10 middle class voters are killed each and every month. then some thing will be done about it.

    Why 10? Because by then the odds go up to such an extent, people become afraid for themselves and 10 gets national attention.


  10. Don't blame Horgan for the shortcomings of the MSM in this province. The MSM are in bed with the BC Liberals and they do not report anything that will damage their BC Liberal pals.


  11. I'd say that Horgan DOES have what it takes to put some metaphorical blood on the floor. I've heard him speak — and it's a real pleasure to hear someone who can speak passionately and knowledgeably on a variety of topics without frequent “umm…, well…, like ya knows.” He's not quite a Davey Barrett but he's along that path. He has gravitas.

    I suspect Horgan is keeping his powder dry for now. We don't know the NDP's plan — but yes, the public needs to see and hear from them: to hear how bad the BC Liberals are… and to warm to the idea that the NDP are a viable alternative.

    I'd like to hear from E.A.F. on who he thinks are strong voices in BC NDP caucus, who could do damage if used “Liberally.”


  12. The key to the inducement, was? If the trial had not been concluded by the guilty plea's, what would have occurred? Sure, Campbell and other ministers of the crown would have had to take the stand at some point. And yes, the questioning of these ministers would have opened the door, to government involvement, in not only the corruption involving BC Rail, but in the trial itself, ie..the inducement. The real question becomes, what would have been revealed if the party itself and its financial backers were brought into the picture?
    It is my belief that the fear of the crown ministers and the party itself, would have been the revelation of criminal conspiracy, and the awareness by the judiciary that a criminal organization was and has been involved in a serving democratic government for quite some time. The revealing of a political party and the government it runs as being a crimininal organization, would have far reaching consequences.
    To me, that is the real reason besides others, that the trial was surreptitiously ended, using the means the malfeasants “engineered”.
    Can the case be made, that the present government is nothing more than a well cloaked criminal organization? I believe it can and will be.


  13. Love the picture..anyone know how to Photoshop this into a picture of the BC Legislature?
    It would be an interesting discussion topic…make sure you get a background of the press gallery in as well….


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