Democracy is fragile

Government by the people for the people is more myth than reality in Canada and in the politically troubled country south of here. We cannot talk about our governments being representative democracies when a majority of the proxies we elect rank interests of their parties and their sponsors above interests of their electors.

Dollars in paradise

There was also something bigger, and even more disturbing: a domain of libertarian fantasy made real, in which professional intervention made it possible for the world’s wealthiest people to be free not only of tax obligations but of any laws they found inconvenient.

Hidden billions, missing millions

In 2016, an unnamed whistleblower provided Munich daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung with encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that sold anonymous offshore companies. These entities enabled owners to hide wealth, engage in illegal financial transactions and evade income taxes…

Hydrogen – clean or dirty energy

Hydrogen made from electrolysis of water powered by solar or wind could help humans survive beyond the 21st century. The elemental gas could store surplus renewables power and help decarbonize sectors such as long-distance air and road transport and manufacturing processes for steel, concrete and other carbon-intensive products. Hydrogen should have an important role but a revised policy framework is needed to free decarbonization options from the imperatives of private profit…

The Faux-Feathered Falcon

Led by the accomplished but politically naïve Andrew Wilkinson, BC Liberals were crushed in 2020 by John Horgan, a man who was an opposite of the Opposition leader. That led to BC Liberal influencers deciding an old reliable was needed to regain days when the region’s government was of business, by business, and for business. Democracy is targeted by rich and powerful groups determined to win at all costs. They are served by loyal agents moving in the halls of power. Guest writer Lew Edwardson remembers an issue that involved Kevin Falcon…

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…