321 years into a 246 year cycle

Canada’s federal government gave $4.5 billion to Kinder Morgan for Trans Mountain after the owners had difficulty financing expansion of the pipeline. By 2020, the new construction budget had soared to $12.6 billion. But according to a 2021 management report, “As of March 31, 2021, construction is approximately 25% complete, with $7.1 billion in capital spending incurred since the inception of the project.” So 56% of the budget had been spent but the project was only 25% complete. That signals a total cost to taxpayers in excess of $20 billion. Compounding that massive loss will be the ongoing ecological disaster of increased tar sands production and the elevated risk to Vancouver and North Shore communities, the inner harbour and coastal waters.

Why care?

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell reported experiencing an “Overview Effect”… He became profoundly aware that each and every atom in the Universe was connected in some way, and on seeing Earth from space he had an understanding that all the humans, animals and systems were a part of the same thing, a synergistic whole.

Privatizing public wealth

Years ago, corporations decided they should pay less for BC’s natural resources. The companies funded pressure groups, slick online websites, and social media shills. All amplified public messaging in support of private resource extraction. Lobbyists wined and dined politicians and senior bureaucrats. Dollars moved into the bank accounts of political parties. The efforts were successful. For the expenditure of a few million, industrialists gained billions.

Climate action pretence

Governments impose carbon taxes ostensibly to deal with climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But effectiveness is limited since the taxes are not applied broadly or at levels sufficient to reduce or compel reduction in fossil fuel production and consumption…

Science deniers at the helm

British Columbia produces “the world’s cleanest natural gas.” In the same 2019 press release, Justin Trudeau echoed that statement. The fiction of BC producing clean fossil fuel originated with Premier Christy Clark’s Liberals. The claim was as honest as the one about LNG rewarding the province with one trillion dollars in economic activity and depositing one hundred billion dollars into a “BC Prosperity fund.”

Unchecked commercial fraud

Corporate media can’t be bothered to report what is happening at BC Hydro. Facts are readily available; they’re just not examined. The reason why was explained by the organization Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR): “Independent, aggressive and critical media are essential to an informed democracy. But mainstream media are increasingly cozy with the economic and political powers they should be watchdogging.”

A valley will be destroyed

Valley of the Southern North is a love letter to The Peace Valley and the people and creatures that make it their home. The Site C dam, now under construction, will destroy ancestral territory of the Dane Zaa and Cree, violate treaties and displace residents, farmers and wildlife living along its shores.

Leadership failures

Energy democracy is a social movement aiming to create a new paradigm for electric power supply. The objective is to link social justice with technical innovations by involving local communities in creation and ownership of renewable energy sources. Since the 1960s, BC Hydro has destroyed land and dispossessed or marginalized residents to complete megaprojects. While publicly owned, it is a monopolistic business empire stuck in a 20th century mindset. The company has routinely misinformed citizens, using lies to justify continuous expansion despite zero demand growth for the better part of two decades…

BC Government “deni-osaurs”

Canada’s federal government and its three western provinces are de facto climate change deniers. National Observer labelled this type denio-osaurs. All are committed to promoting increased production and export of fossil fuels. But, in some respects, British Columbia is worst of all.

For the public: no gain, much pain

In October 2014, BC energy minister Bill Bennett assured us the $7.9 billion Site C dam budget was final, fully reviewed by specialists and reliable because it included a contingency well above prudent amounts. Nothing left to chance, uncertainty or politics because the budget numbers were developed by the world’s top experts…

Deception and duplicity

While John Horgan’s government was almost doubling the Site C budget to C$16 billion, the Biden administration was getting ready to approve a C$3.4 billion wind project off the coast of Massachusetts. The per megawatt cost of the wind project is less than 30% of Site C’s capital cost per megawatt and it destroys no farmland, violates no Indigenous rights agreements, and presents no threats to nearby communities…

BC NDP arming opponents

Like BC Liberals before them, BC NDP is dishonest about BC Hydro operations and the Site C megaproject. Government joins BC Hydro and continues lying about demand growth. At the same time, they hide embarrassing information about the dam and its out of control budget. The Horgan path is inexplicable when pre-2017 NDP statements are reviewed. The explanation will be had some years from now when NDP opponents are denouncing the party’s competence. Liberals used BC Ferries as a hammer for 15+ years after the 1990s but the financial blunders at BC Hydro are much, much larger…

Fuel on a fire

I understand why people gaining direct financial rewards support the Peace River megaproject. But it is harder to explain why rational and, we hope, honest cabinet ministers stay attached to a hazardous hydropower project when less expensive, less damaging options are available. Perhaps the refusal to admit error is explained by Dr. Guy Winch, writing in Psychology Today…

Lesson to be learned

A Bloomberg Quicktake video, How Boeing Lost Its Way (embedded below) put me in mind of BC Hydro. Years ago, both companies were effective in delivering value for money to customers. Then attitudes changed. Growing bigger became more important than growing better…