Denying the existential threat

Much of climate change denial is driven by money. The world’s ten largest fossil fuel companies are collectively worth trillions and their managers are not going away quietly. For years, they have invested heavily in assets that influence public opinion. These involve squads of online trolls and influencers paid to spread gospels of climate change denial. Acquiring control of corporate media output was another strategy. So-called think tanks conducted widespread skirmishes, including use of Fraser-Institute-style “learning resources” foisted on naive members of media and places of education, including students and faculty. Academics and scientists who don’t care about science have opportunities to pocket more than spare change…

Canada – TrumpLand north?

July 30, Stephen Colbert interviewed Jacob Soboroff and Katy Tur, presenters of American Swamp, a four-part docuseries on MSNBC about government corruption. They talk about politics in the USA but Canadians ought not to feel superior or complacent because our governments are constructed of the same timber.

“Because, if they do do something, they run the risk of angering a special interest or a big donor and those special interests or donors will spend money on getting them out of office. So, they sit there and twiddle their thumbs.”

Sacrificing the future

Norway made a choice to take a material share of oil and gas revenues and distribute the value of its non-renewable resources to citizens over multiple generations. Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan chose to benefit whichever corporations happened to be involved when production of oil and gas took place…

Reward the wealthy, fail the needy

It is often said that we are unable to pay for healthcare (including dentistry and prescriptions) and other social programs. But, political leaders seldom say that business subsidies and corporate tax reductions are unaffordable. Why do the majority of Canadians tolerate a system that rewards the wealthy and fails to serve the needy?

Rhetoric subjugated reason

In British Columbia, the energy ministry is staffed by regulators who don’t believe in regulation. That is a BC Liberal philosophy sustained by NDP timidity because the Horgan Government is nervous about giving ammunition to opponents who accuse it of being anti-business, anti-development and anti-growth. As a result, cartelized, profit-seeking natural gas producers still exercise undue influence over the energy ministry…

Generational sellout

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver spoke to the BC Legislature March 26, 2019. He reported a former insider’s views of why BC natural gas royalty revenues have declined. These were in a letter written by a former civil servant who worked in the oil and gas provincial registry. NDP, Liberals, and corporate media paid almost no attention to Weaver’s speech. Natural resource taxation programs are complex and understanding is difficult because the NDP continues Liberal policies of less-than-transparent public-facing information.

Wacky world of minimum wages

Increasing income of the working poor ensures that extra dollars are spent in local communities on things like food, clothing, medical and dental care, and housing. According to a University of California report, higher minimum wages reduce poverty rates among households and children, without affecting employment levels. To most of us, that is an admirable outcome…

Empires expand, until they disintegrate

BC Hydro’s 2019 Annual Service Plan Report shows the quantity of electricity sold to residential, commercial and industrial customers in BC is still flat. The value of 2019 sales is increased by BC Hydro’s $1.2 billion purchase of Teck’s majority interest in the Waneta dam, a generating site on the Columbia River southeast of Trail. Power produced at Waneta still goes to Teck but, since the dam is now 100% publicly owned, all electricity produced there becomes a BC Hydro sale…

“We are profoundly ignorant about what is going on”

I question why we allow fracking while there are significant knowledge gaps about safety. Authorities will not approve anyone to command flight controls of a loaded aircraft without certainty that person is proven capable of flying safely. In the production of BC natural gas, authorities have been unwilling to discover and accept sscience that suggests fracking is dangerous to workers, residents in gas producing areas and to the earth itself…

New Era of Truthfulness at BC Hydro?

In BC Hydro’s most recent annual report, the company promised “one of the largest expansions of electrical infrastructure in British Columbia’s history.” To gain approval for massive spending, BC Hydro doctored load forecasts, issuing a steady stream of pronouncements about demand increases…

They won; we lost

Financial elites have waged a decades-long campaign of self-interest against Canadians. They won; we lost. The most important front has been action to control mass media and reduce the influence of progressive voices heard by the general public…

Privatizing public wealth

In July 2018, newly installed Premier Doug Ford announced that noted ex-con and former BC Premier Gordon Campbell would lead an “independent” inquiry into Ontario’s past spending and accounting practices. Six weeks later, the commission delivered a short report that was obviously not written or much influenced by Gordon Campbell. It recommended approaches that Campbell was loath to implement when he presided at his own cabinet table.

North Vancouver District Policy Proposal

THAT staff is directed to prepare a policy that will require members of Council to declare before voting on any development proposal, campaign contributions knowingly received from the applicant, or from individuals associated with the applicant, and that members of Council are encouraged to recuse themselves where such a declaration is made;

For the times they are a-changin’

Today, British Columbia is far richer than fifty years ago but that wealth is distributed much differently. As a result, despair is widespread, homelessness grows, thousands die each year from drug abuse, more than one hundred die by homicide. Uncounted humans are wasted. Our current provincial government is searching for answers but influential citizens in this province are more than satisfied with the status quo. As John Kenneth Galbraith said, they are searching “for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

Loyalty matters

Trust, communication and cooperation are vital elements in a workplace, particularly when staff is small, financial stakes high, and tasks important. But, what happens when trust is broken and wrongdoing discovered? Well, […]

Grand scale giveaway

Why the NDP has decided to fight teachers and not the fossil fuel industry is a mystery to me. The volume of BC natural gas production has increased substantially in the 21st century but public revenues have declined to almost immaterial amounts.