The question raised - and I'm sure that you've even considered this -
how could a former Sacred Cabinet Minister now support the NDP? And it's
a fair question.
My answer is that my principles haven't changed which, if you look at
my record, is obvious. I was called "Red Rafe" by many of my colleagues.
I could send you a letter from my longest serving deputy if you cared to
see the legislation I sponsored especially In Consumer and Corporate
Affairs. They're still fishing the Skagit River because I saved it from
being flooded by the Ross Dam on the American side. On the business
side, I started the "cottage" wine industry which has proved so
successful. There is no way I could have brought in the legislation I
did under a Liberal government as it's principles now stand.
This speaks volumes of where Campbell has taken the Liberal Party,
You can't look at www.saveourrivers.com
and look at what's happening in our province and not be appalled.
The BC Energy plan was never debated but done in secret as was the
deal he made with Accenture (the stepson of Enron) to privatize 1/3 of
their work force.
There is no energy crisis in BC, something Campbell simply lies
about. He says BCH imported energy for 7 of the last 11 years. The
Federal Energy Board, which monitors exports, however, says that BC
Hydro was a net exporter for 8 of the last 11 years!
How can there be such a discrepancy? It's the old story about how
figures don't lie but liars can sure as hell figure. Campbell's figures
include energy BCH buys from Alberta cheap and transmits at a huge
profit to the States and never is for use in BC. Let me use this
example. Suppose you made widgets of which you exported 1000. You
discover that you can import widgets from Alberta at a hugely reduced
price so you but 2000 of them and immediately export them. Under the
Campbell way of figuring you would be importing more than you export
which is, of course nonsense but that's how they figure. BCH makes a
very nice profit "flipping" energy which shows good business moves.
BC Hydro itself says that all our energy needs for the foreseeable
future can be met with modest conservation, upgraded generators on
existing dams, new generators on existing dams (Duncan Dam has no
generators) and taking back the power from the Columbia River Treaty to
which we're entitled, which we now take in money .
WAC Bennett, at a huge environmental loss built a power system which
is the envy of the world. It has produced plentiful and cheap power AND
sent 100s of millions of dollars a year into the provincial treasury.
Here's what Campbell has done.
He has forbidden BC Hydro from creating any "new" power meaning
though they can do the upgrades and additions I mentioned, and bring in
Site "C" on the Peace (which we don't support and neither does the
government which would kill it if it showed life for reasons you will
see) and all power must be now be produced privately.
We were originally told that these were little plants on streams with
no "appreciable fish values" and were Mom and Pop operations.
Look at Powerplay I on our website and you'll see what an awful
deceit this was. Mom and Pop are General Electric, Ledcor and Axos and
the plants are disabling. The one I refer you to (the Ashlu , Powerplay
#1 on the website) is a fairly small plant so you can judge for
yourself. The largest one proposed is at Bute Inlet where General
Electric's subsidiary, Plutonic Energy, is damming 17 rivers, building
100 bridges, a road nearly 100KMs and over 400 kms of transmission
lines. It would be, if approved which it will be if Campbell is
re-elected - the largest private power plant in Canada and bigger in
output than Site "C" would be.
What must be done is not just dam or divert the rivers - the
siltation from that process alone wipes out resident fish - but a large
gravel road in and transmission lines out, all by clear cutting, are
Now let's talk about money. For many of these projects the fee was
$187.50. Yes you read that right. They now are a puny $5000 for multi
millions indeed billions in profits. For this price there is a fixed
contract purchase which the government has forced BC Hydro to take from
private power sources at a cost which is nearly 20x what they create
their own power for! THEY CANNOT COME CLOSE TO GETTING THIS
PRICE ON THE SPOT MARKET! As Dr Marvin Schaffer of SFU has
said "here is a new business notion, buy high and sell low"!
Please mark this! The power created by private companies can
only be produced during the Spring run-off, the very time Hydro's
reservoirs are full and they need no power! When Hydro's
reservoirs lower the private companies cannot produce. It is this that
makes it absolutely certain that the private power is for export. (see
NAFTA notes to follow)
What does the government get out of this? Some taxes and peppercorn
rent. Almost every nickel goes not into the public
treasury as from BC Hydro but into the pockets of shareholders of large
What about employment?
There is, of course, short term employment for construction then the
plant is fully computerized and requires one or two caretakers.
I'm sorry to take so long but I want you to understand that this
isn't some political mischief by an old man but a serious blow to our
province which will never be the same again ... and there is absolutely
no reeason for it except to make a hell of a lot of money for the
shareholders of General Electric and their ilk.
I've left the worst for the last.
NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) comes into play in at
least three ways.
1. If an American company gets any rights to Canadian water, they
have ALL rights meaning that General Electric, for example, can sell
2. If an American company is still using the water after the water
licence expires or the contract ends, it can continue to use the water
for as long as it likes.
3. The "proportionality" clause prevails meaning that if we cut back
our supply to an American customer we must cut back our own use by the
As I'm sure you understand, NAFTA, being an international treaty,
"trumps" all Federal and Provincial law and all private contracts.
I forgot to mention that BC Hydro is doomed. It now has
had $30 Billion in contracts (above) forced upon it that it can't
recover, Campbell took away their power lines and put them into a Crown
Corp called BC Transmission Corp (no doubt to be privatized if Campbell
wins in May) but at any rate lost to BCHydro which must still service
its ca$7 billion capital debt with no income to do it with.
Yes, Campbell has promised that BC Hydro is safe. He said that about
BC Ferries which he has structured for sale, and BC Rail. Now Campbell
says he only "leased" BC Rail. I looked at the length of that lease and
determined that if you went back as many years as the lease runs, we'd
be in the reign of Ethelred the Unready! Now it's been a couple of years
since I did that calculation and it may be that the length of the lease
calculated backwards could have us up to the reign of Edward The
Who is Save Our Rivers Society?
A very small group that has no institutional funding and relies on
generous people on a month to month basis.
The three "working" members are Tom Rankin, the founder, a rancher
and highly successful businessman who has never voted NDP in his life,
Damien Gillis, a successful businessman but mainly a highly skilled
producer of films who has done all the marvelous videos on
www.saveourrivers.ca, who has never
voted NDP, and an old man of 77 years just trying to pass on to his
grandkids a province which, with a lot of care and concern, could be the
wonderful place their Grampa grew up in.
Sorry to be so long winded but I thought you were entitled to know
why I'm doing what I'm doing.
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