Author Archives

Norm Farrell

Gwen and I raised three adult children in North Vancouver. Each lives in our community with seven grandchildren, 12 years and younger. I have worked in accounting and financial management and publish IN-SIGHTS.CA with news and commentary about public issuesv.

Quixotic quest bound to fail

A group of naive people believe that John Horgan’s departure will result in an open contest by which party members will elect a leader. But BC’s New Democratic Party is not democratic. Relatively few insiders control the party’s provincial executive, and they determine how leadership is decided…

Happiness is…

The first World Happiness Report was presented in 2012. This week the 2022 report was published. Perhaps surprisingly, in most nations, average life evaluations have remained “remarkably resilient during COVID-19.” Although, according to report authors, life satisfaction has fallen for the young and increased for people over 60, and levels of stress have risen measurably since pre-pandemic days…

Unclean clean energy

In addition to the known mercury contamination of fisheries caused by hydroelectric developments, reservoirs increase emissions of methane and carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. In some cases this increase, per unit of energy produced, may be significant compared to greenhouse gas emitted by fossil- fuelled electricity generation.

Doing the right thing

British Columbia could be in the sixth year of the PowerBC program had John Horgan been sincere when he announced it in 2015. Instead, the NDP government and public institutions are issuing press releases promising bold action… someday.

Trillions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies

Part of the trillions of dollars in subsidies to fossil fuel producers reflects governments undercharging supply costs (rights and royalties), but most involve implicit subsidies, including undercharging for environmental costs. Eliminating gifts to fossil fuel producers would raise public revenues while reducing greenhouse gas emissions…

Moronic public policy

The utility that for years could not estimate demand growth accurately and missed on the Site C cost estimate by 100% knew the future danger posed by rooftop solar panels. How are you going to expand a business empire if you allow ordinary people to interfere?

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Site C: stupidity or corruption?

In psychiatry, the word “delusion” means a firm belief in what others know to be false. Despite evidence of massive physical and financial risks, Liberals decided to green light Site C. Not wanting to be labeled anti-development, and having its own friends to reward, BC NDP chose to carry on…

BC Hydro and the illusory truth effect

Misinformation is common in our world. Sometimes it involves benign self-protection or ego boosting. Other times, humans use deception to gain advantages. Businesses and governments do it every day, by simple shading of the truth, egregious deceit, or something in between. With cooperation and assistance from government, BC Hydro relies on the illusory truth effect…

Groupthink

Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when the desire for group consensus overrides people’s common sense desire to present reasonable alternatives, critique a position, or express an unpopular opinion. Here, the desire for group cohesion effectively drives out good decision-making and problem solving. In government, groupthink is guaranteed.

Corruption – who cares?

An earlier piece by Lew Edwardson recalled one example of public sector corruption. Such occurrences are so common that most pay scant attention. In British Columbia, we have government quietly granting subsidies worth billions of dollars to fossil fuel producers, more billions gifted by BC Hydro’s secret contracts for private power priced at multiples of market value, public land assets privatized at a fraction of fair market value, farmlands destroyed and innocent lives disrupted to reward political supporters…

Olympics, a money loser for the general public

July 18, the Globe and Mail headlined, “The Olympics are a great party. But they’re not worth billions in public money.” The editorial added, “Hosting a huge party takes a lot of work and money, but i’s definitely fun. Those hours with friends and family are great. But the joy is fleeting, and hangovers are inevitable…”

Fossil fuel dangers are even worse than we knew

Consumption of fossil fuels may be even more dangerous to humans than COVID-19. According to researchers from Harvard and three British universities, over eight million people died in 2018 from fossil fuel pollution. They estimate exposures to particulate matter from fossil fuel emissions accounted for 18 percent of total global deaths, which is almost one out of five…

Local, green and sustainable economies

A problem faced by more than one British Columbia community is how to resurrect a local economy after global corporations decide easier profits can be made by exporting unprocessed resources. The subject had me remember a worthwhile PBS documentary by investigative journalist David Brancaccio…

Good choices – bad choices

Faced with energy market disruption, the European Union is proceeding with REPowerEU, a plan for conservation and production of clean energy. The EU knows that conservation is the cheapest, safest and cleanest option. It can reduce individual energy costs and add resilience to the economy. The same is true in North America. The European Union is putting into action what John Horgan’s NDP promised until elected in 2017,