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.

BC Hydro: a financial disaster that needs fixing

As managed since 2001 under Premiers Campbell, Clark and Horgan, BC Hydro has been an unqualified disaster. The company has used falsehoods to justify capital spending of about $40 billion during a decade and a half of flat demand. Instead of managing BC Hydro for the benefit of citizens, political officials in BC have directed or assented to disastrous utility policies. This is another case of supervision by policy regulators who do not believe in regulation. To them, private interests are foremost, public interests subordinate.

The way forward is privatization of BC Hydro and creation of a strong, independent, and unassailable regulator that ensures citizens are protected from capitalist profiteering and self-interested financial fraud orchestrated by corporate insiders and politicians.

Energy innovation

Hindered by the political power exercised by fossil fuel companies and financial institutions supporting those industries, Canada’s federal government has been little involved in development of non-destructive renewable energy sources. For the same reason, western provincial governments have been even less engaged. Values worth hundreds of billions of dollars flow from the public to private oil, gas and coal operators. Meanwhile, a pittance goes to energy technologies not firmly rooted in the 20th century…

Early forests in southwest BC

While clearing files from an old computer, I rediscovered one involving my maternal grandfather, long-time Chilliwack resident Jim Mahood (1885-1976). He recalled his career in the forests of southwest British Columbia in words published by the Forest History Association of British Columbia in 2006. When this was first written is unclear but I suspect it was done with assistance of his eldest son Ian Mahood (1915-2002). Like his three brothers, Ian spent his life working in the forest industry…

Indisputable peril

Perhaps this year’s most important publication is by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Almost one hundred scientists from thirty-eight nations report that risks to long-term human survival are accelerating. Almost every legitimate climate scientist is alarmed. However, the developed world’s political and business leaders largely disclaim need for extensive action until vague points in the future. They remain detached from scientific reality and dedicated to the pursuit of endless economic growth.

Neoliberalism, racism, assimilation

SFU Assistant Professor Kyle Willmott finds neoliberalism behind calls for assimilation and the rewriting of history to elevate racist abuses to “remarkable works” and “good deeds.” Dr. Willmott identifies the Canadian Taxpayer Federation (CTF) as a contributing organization amplified by unjournalistic media that uses cookie-cutter stories from groups with hidden agendas…

Sociopathic political leaders

Moderating risks of viral illnesses depends on greater understanding of submicroscopic infectious agents. Political Leaders guided by business loyalties, myths and unfounded expectations will not support scientific resources needed for real solutions. Unfortunately, that description fits the people governing western Canadian provinces.

Porky pies

Porky Pies: Cockney slang for Lies. New York Times is willing to broadcast this about the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. I doubt they’ve done likewise for American Presidents, particularly the recent one who had even less regard for truth than Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

Climate poison could be an asset

Methane, which the BC government has supported with billions of dollars in subsidies and tax relief, is a risk to public health. Methane emissions escaping from northeast BC gas fields are a topic that industry and government officials hesitate to acknowledge. Captured methane could be the basis of profitable fishfood manufacturing in a region where employment is now overly dependent on a fossil fuel industry that climate science says must decline immediately…

Economic interests rank higher than human life

In this piece, I argue that political disdain for science endangers our lives. Evidence allows the inference that BC health policies known to be inadequate were followed to facilitate public gatherings, to continue spending on favoured megaprojects and to avoid spending on safer schools and public buildings. Not content with elevating short term dangers in the current pandemic, the BC government is a de facto climate change denier, elevating risks that threaten long term survival of humanity…

Curiouser and curiouser

English writer Lewis Carroll penned the title words for Alice in 1865. Carroll, born Charles Dodgson, was also an Oxford trained mathematician. Were he a 21st century resident of British Columbia, Carroll might be using that phrase about BC Hydro deals with SNC-Lavalin…

EVs will not disrupt the grid

As vehicles move from internal combustion engines to electric, some presume this will cause massive new demands for electricity. That assumption is encouraged by utilities and vested interests enriched by massive spending to build unneeded capacity. Of course, the global oil industry has its own reasons for promoting the idea that electrification of transportation will be disruptive. As vehicles move from internal combustion engines to electric, some presume this will cause massive new demands for electricity. That assumption is encouraged by utilities and vested interests enriched by massive spending to build unneeded capacity. Of course, the global oil industry has its own reasons for promoting the idea that electrification of transportation will be disruptive. So do automotive retailers that are financially reliant on services needed for internal combustion engines…

An untapped energy source

Humans need stable energy supplies that do not harm the Earth and an underutilized source lies beneath our feet. Geothermal is clean, limitless, predictable, and almost carbon free. But geothermal has no multi-trillion-dollar industry promoting it, nor support from Canadian politicians conditioned to follow established paths. Mostly that means subsidizing fossil fuels…

Architects of unrest

Events unfolding in Ottawa revive memories of January 2021 when Trump followers tried to subvert the democracy America has practiced for generations. Urged on by Republicans, hateful mobs repudiated civil behaviour and rejected the rule of law. Now, encouraged by Conservatives, similar protesters have taken centre stage in Canada.

As soon as the shit hits the fan…

With unprecedented sea level rise forecast as a result of climate change, the Dutch government is racing against the clock to figure out how to keep one of the world’s richest countries from disappearing into the North Sea. As soon as this gets known, as soon as the shit hits the fan, there won’t be any investments anymore and local economies will collapse…