I wrote the old article after Vaughn Palmer finally noticed the BC Rail scandal had Liberals mired in rough and unpredictable terrain. Eventually, that party’s operatives used millions in tax dollars to purchase an end to the Supreme Court trial that threatened Liberal rule. But, Palmer and corporate media colleagues chose not to scrutinize and report political intrigues that ended the Basi/Virk trial.
Excepting The Tyee’s Andrew MacLeod, BC’s legislative Press Gallery looked at BC Rail with blind eyes. There had been an ugly stench of corruption and mismanagement when Liberals reversed a pre-election promise and sold BC Rail’s profitable operations to a large financial supporter and began moving the company’s valuable land bank into friendly private hands. The only thing heard from Liberal friendly pundits was, “Nothing to see here, move along folks.”
There is a subsequent parallel.
Newspapers and broadcasters have largely ignored troubles at BC Hydro. Payments of billions of dollars above market value to private power producers has been reported only in alternative media.
BC Hydro’s untruthful claims about rising power demand are unchallenged by corporate media pundits and commentators, MacLeod and Jon McComb excepted.
More than half a billion dollars spent by BC Hydro to benefit two of the Liberals’ largest corporate contributors (Teck & Imperial Metals) hasn’t seemed consequential to Press Gallery found-ins.
Failure to fully report on Site C is another example of inadequate journalism. Despite clear indications that politically partisan managers of BC Hydro were heading the utility down a costly and destructive path, old media stayed silent. They gave prime space to proponents of Site C but not to people who questioned the project’s existence or its suitability for future power needs.
With the BCUC review underway, Postmedia could no longer echo only the words of Site C proponents. Thus, late in the game, with billions of dollars wasted, Palmer admits that BC Hydro claims “ring hollow.”
However, Palmer’s column discusses only one chapter of the Site C story. He notes budget and spending problems expressed in a Deloitte LLP report prepared for BCUC but skips the consultants’ fundamental examination of whether or not the project is needed.
This is from McCullough Research’s review of the Deloitte’s report:
BC Hydro’s systematic dishonesty about demand underlies the largest spending commitment ever made by any BC government. The provincial utility is also deceptive about energy alternatives. Mitchell Anderson provide evidence.
Those facts should examined by any credible political journalist.
The Site C fiasco reminds me of a cartoon, an old version of which I saw at UBC many years ago.
One of the reasons that independent review is required is that each group involved in a project sees it through its own lens.
Dancers dance, singers sing, builders build and spenders spend. This is natural and expected so we should always listen to contrarians. Then, we must step back, evaluate and answer the question: “Is this project needed and is it the appropriate solution?”