BC Liberals

Power from the powerful – REPLAY

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

I first published the following article in May of 2009. Corporate media cheerleaders don’t promote private power as they once did. But, they remain silent about BC Hydro paying independent power producers almost $5 billion above market value since 2004. That’s an untouchable subject but they’ll ask John Horgan how he can fund affordable childcare. They don’t ask where money comes from when it is transferred to IPPs, gas producers or other Liberal favourites.

I listened to CKNW’s Bill Good interview private power producers at a recent energy conference. Good was a cheerleader determined to broadcast a story that reflected positively on his guests. He helped push the story that BC Hydro has too little financial and intellectual capacity to be an effective power producer and that private companies are best able to ameliorate environmental risks.

Is this the same BC Hydro that operates more than 30 hydroelectric facilities and contributes billions to the public treasury by generating and distributing low cost power throughout 95% of this province? And would that be the same private sector that protected waters around Mount Polley, remediated polluted mining sites like Britannia and voluntarily eliminated serious air pollution by smelters, gas plants and pulp mills?

When a caller pointed out that BC Hydro is banned from developing new power sources and the private projects depend upon advance public agreements to purchase expensive power, Mr. Good “didn’t have time for speeches.” Nor, on April 11, did Sean Leslie and Gordon Campbell have time to answer a caller’s allegation that Campbell associates, former ministerial aides and advisers, left government to work for Plutonic Power Corp.when government approved numerous private power developments by the company.

Public Eye Online editor Sean Holman writes that private power producers have employed numerous Liberal insiders to further their development projects. Holman aptly titles his comment From one power source to another.

Bill Tieleman‘s May 5 2009 blog lists reasons why Campbell Liberals should be booted from office. One comment attached to Bill’s entry provides interesting detail of Liberal apparatchiks who fit Holman’s description.

Why have so many BC Liberal insiders moved to the IPP industry where they have dished out $30 billion in contracts for electricity that BC Hydro could produce at a fraction of that?

  • Geoff Plant, former BC Liberal Attorney General, now chair of Renaissance Power.
  • Mark Grant, BC Liberal executive director, resigns December 12, 2008 to join Rupert Peace Power.
  • David Cyr, former Assistant to BC Liberal Minister Mike de Jong, is now a director at Plutonic Power.
  • Robert Poore, recently worked under the Provincial Revenue Minister of the Province of BC, now is a senior director at Plutonic Power.
  • Tom Syer, who has held a variety of senior positions in the BC Government including Gordon Campbell’s Deputy Chief of Staff, is now a director at Plutonic Power.
  • Bill Irwin, after holding key positions in the BC Ministries of Land and Water, and Crown Lands, now is a director at Plutonic Power.
  • Bruce Young, has held several high profile positions with the BC Liberal party and lobbied his own party on behalf of Katabatic Power is listed as a director of Atla Energy.
  • Stephen Kukucha, former senior policy advisor for the BC Ministry of Environment, is now president and CEO of Atla Energy.
  • Paul Taylor, after his work as President and CEO of crown corporation ICBC as well as high level positions in the BC Government, is now President and CEO of Naikun Wind Energy Group.
  • Michael J. O’Conner, former President and CEO of Crown Corporation BC Transit, now holds senior positions at Naikun.
  • Jackie Hamilton, formerly held various BC Government environmental assessment and regulatory management positions, is now a VP at Cloudworks Energy.
  • And last but not least, Bob Herath, former Assistant Regional Water Manager for the BC Ministry of Environment is now with Syntaris Power. Bob Herath signed water licences in 2006-7 that are now owned by the same company he left gov’t for in 2007. Syntaris Power

I remember the days of misguided youth when I was too involved in party politics. While I raised funds to subsidize Young Liberals traveling to a national leadership convention, one MP gave me a list of federal contractors who could be counted on for support. It seems that if one was a lawyer or a dredging contractor growing fat on government contracts, you were expected to spread cash around when the party came calling. To plebes, the sums were small. Real money was always reserved for a favored few.

Well connected Liberals have a long and proud history of maximizing personal opportunities. They know how to make meaningful asset transfers with great discretion. After all, that is the fundamental purpose of an unprincipled political party.

3 replies »

  1. Talk radio wasn’t always that way nor was it intended to be. The huge loss of BC HYDRO would not have been a 2017 story, only breaking because of people with guts like Norm Farrell but a day by day expose from 2002 on if men like Frank Griffiths, not grey faces like Corus Radio, owned the stations. The end of real talk radio morphed into Corporate Blowjobs of the Air, the robbers have won and the public has been fleeced. There’s only John McComb left and valiant though he is, real talk radio must have everybody in the station, especially ownership, completely committed flat out.

    Look at BC HYDRO, look at ICBC, Look at a Provincial debt doubled in a decade, look at the poor, the ill, especially the mentally ill, the abused women and abanboned kids … now look at the empty studio with the lonely microphone and connect the dots.

    It is truly to weep.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bill Good was nothing more than a shill for Socred/Liberal interests and was a leading cheerleader with the likes of Vague Palmer BS Baldry & Bula, and Mike “whats-his-name’ for the neoliberal/Gordo/Clark form of government.

    Hydro, transit, fishfarms, BC Rail, all the same Herr Goebbels school of propaganda; “repeat a lie often enough and the public will believe it”.

    Even today this ignorant Postmedia/CORUS Crown still remind everyone of the NDP mess (there wasn’t one) and Fastferries (while ignoring that Gordo’s pet rapid transit project was $1 billion over the original budget and the scope of the project was so reduced it has half the capacity of the Expo and millennium Lines. No, no mention, nothing!

    It is a disgrace and after meeting jack Webster a few times (at the Cromie household) he would literally crap himself over what is considered reporting today.

    Rafe, you were removed hat Campbell’s request because he was going to do illegal things, like sell BC Rail, as you would be the only person who had both the guts and goods to take him on. It was coup against the truth, honesty and good government by those who are evil and corrupt. It is a sad reflection.


    • It would be self serving and self congratulatory ro agree with you but i’m damned if I’ll leave any doubt on this score – Jack Webster got me into radio, was my mentor and my friend. Had I been in radio the BC Hydro scheme would have not been well handled in the first instance as I, in lamentable ignorance, had been convinced that private power was better than what I was assured was badly managed public power. One man who asked for anonymity, Tom Rankin, Damien Gillis and others convinced me by late 2005 that I had been hoodwinked, I started to read Norm Farrell and Erik Andersen, visited the ghastly IPP on the Ashlu, and Damien and I formed The Common Sense Canadian to get the truth out about IPPS, their environmental carnage, the payoffs to Liberal pals and the ruination of BC Hydro by Campbell and Clark. Tom, Damien, Joe Foy and I campaigned our asses off in the 2009 & 2013 elections on the issue. I nearly went mad at the frustration of not having a microphone and the CKNW I knew with Frank Griffiths behind me. I assure you that If I had, the entire BC Hydro mess would have been exposed and I have no doubt some cell doors would have been slammed! Corus was part of the corporate elite as was Bill Good which is not against the law but certainly effectively gave Campbell, Clark and the BC Liberal Party an open invitation to destroy BC Hydro a fact that I assure you would have not have been hushed up had I had that microphone in my hand.

      Talk radio in my time and before was the way corruption was exposed; it has become the way it’s covered up.

      The public is the big loser.


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