Monday, May 11, 2009

Rafe Mair endorses Carole James and urges voting NDP in May 12 provincial election


The photo you never thought you'd see, the endorsement you'd never thought you'd read! Rafe Mair endorses Carole James and the NDP.

There have definitely been some surprising endorsements in this provincial election - Conservative MP John Cummins urging voters to defeat Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals, as first reported here, definitely shocked some.

And Cummins saying nice things about NDP leader Carole James and that he will vote for NDP MLA Guy Gentner in Delta North - as reported exclusively by Sean Holman at PublicEyeOnline and CFAX radio - made it all the more newsworthy.

But if Rafe Mair's endorsement of NDP leader Carole James is surprising it is also a logical progression and extension of Rafe's commitment to the environment.

The veteran broadcaster, Tyee columnist and former Social Credit cabinet minister under Premier Bill Bennett has worked tirelessly in fighting destructive run-of-river private power projects, as well as opposing the disastrous fish farms that threaten the very existence of our wild salmon.

Rafe has sent this note around on why he is voting NDP for the first time in his life - it's well worth a read.

PS: I took the photo above at a dinner celebrating the public service of retiring NDP MLA Corky Evans - not knowing at the time that Rafe would endorse Carole.

* * * * *

Hi Everybody, Rafe here.

I received an email from a man saying that he has a toughtime bringing himself to vote NDP and asked for my comment and here it is.

I hope you find it of interest.

Please pass this on to your address book so that we can provide information where the media will not.

Let me take a moment to answer your question which is one that has troubled a lot of people including myself.

When I was in government (1975-80) I was Minister, first, for Consumer and Corporate Affairs.

During that time I passed more consumer legislation than anyone before or since including licensing car dealers (with six of them in caucus setting their collective hair on fire) forced the banks to acknowledge and obey BC laws for the first time, forced serious reporting changes to the Vancouver Stock Exchanges for which they have never forgiven me, licensed Travel Agents and made them create a fund to bring home passengers stranded by bankrupt charter companies and so on.

As Environment Minister I stopped the government killing of wolves, stopped exploration for and mining of uranium and went to Seattle and negotiated the saving of the Skagit River from a raising of the Ross Dam, which Seattle was permitted to do under a 1941 deal with the BC government.

As Minister of Health I brought in the Homecare program and Palliative Care.

I tell you all these things because there is no way in the world I could have ever done these things for the public of BC had Gordon Campbell been Premier.

The political ground has shifted dramatically and the present day version of the old Socreds is, I think, the party Carole James leads.

I know that there are supporters of Ms James that are hard line lefties just as when I was with Bill Bennett there were supporters and indeed members of Caucus who were near fascists.

That sort of thing will always happen in a two party system.

If it were 1975 all over again, I'd support Bill Bennett (the best premier BC ever had, in my view); in 2009 I will support Carole James.

Now as to the point that Campbell "cleaned up the mess". Perhaps, but let's be fair and observe that the NDP were struck by the"Asian 'flu" and in fact balanced the budget in their last year.

It's also interesting to note that under the Liberals the Vancouver Convention Centre is over budget $400 million, more than double the cost of the "fast ferries".

For a fuller account of the Liberals financial record may I refer you to my forthcoming article, next Monday, in The Tyee.

Now let's look at 2009.

This election, for me, boils down toa single issue - the environment and the plans by Campbell to deface and destroy the province I was born in and love and where 7 out of 8 of mygrand children live.

The energy policy, in which no one but industry had a hand in formulating, will ruin an ever increasing number of rivers, not to look after BC's energy needs, but mostly, American requirements,

I have nothing against Americans and in fact have often been accused of being too lenient with them, but I don't want to see us sacrifice our environment rivers so they can preserve theirs.

This policy is government by the North America Free Trade Agreement and our experts tell us three things:

1. Once an American company has access to our water for any reason, it can use it for any reason, including selling bulk water exports.

2. Once an American company has tenure on a Canadian water and is using it, that tenure cannot be terminated either by contract or legislation.

3. Once we are exporting energy, we cannot reduce that supply to the US without reducing our own usage by a similar amount (this is the "Proportionality Clause").

Moreover, the profits which BC Hydro now pays into our treasury will go as dividends to shareholders of companies like General Electric, Ledcor and Axos.

BC Hydro, forced by this government to pay huge amounts for energy that they can't even break even with when they sell it, will bankrupt BC Hydro for which we paid a high environmental price 45 years ago but which has since then given us regular power at 1/10th the cost they pay in California.

Dr Marvin Shaffer at SFU calls this new business technique "buy high, sell low"!

If Campbell is returned we will be, like Bre'r Rabbit, stuck to the American Tar Baby.

There is but one other choice, vote NDP.

But will this not mean the financial ruination of the province?

I don't believe so for a moment. But let us assume for the sake of argument an NDP government made a balls up of the economy.

That can be repaired by a new government.

However, once we have established the Campbell Energy Plan for another four years that will be the end of BC Hydro and the end of hundreds of rivers. FOREVER.

I cannot allow that to happen without giving it the fight of my life.

I, a former Socred minister, with the same core values I had then, am supporting and will vote for Carole James.

Sincerely,

Rafe

Please take the time to look at http://www.saveourrivers.ca/ and get the bigger picture.

Pass this on to everyone in your address book that lives in B.C.

.

12 comments:

Gazetteer said...

Can we assume Mr. T. that you wouldn't mind that photo being spread far and wide through the bloggodome?

.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Rafe is supporting the NDP is in some way part of the reason Cummins is supporting the NDP - they are both against Campbell's plans for future treaties with First Nations.

Mair and Cummins are both anti-aboriginal activists. Rafe Mair wrote the foreword for the anti-aboriginal "bible" in Canada, "Our Home or Native Land?" by Mel Smith.

DPL said...

Anon 7:33, are you trying to appear serious? Mair wrote a book , yes, but I believe he was showing us that the present arguments about bands holding title to 115 percent of the province was simply dumb. I too have read his book, in fact its on a shelf right behind me as I write. It's next to Cummins research on fish.

Aboriginal title exists says the Supreme Court of Canada but chose not to say just where. They also said to get title you have two choices. Go to court to prove it, or negotiate for your bundle of rights. Their prefered method and much easier to resolve is negotiations. So there is a three party treaty system in this province.

Cummins as I mentioned in ths blog before does not condemn the right to fish under limits set by government substainable estimates, when stocks allow. He has never in any thing I ever read of his, stated he was or is against the Right to fish for Culteral, food , or ceremonial purposes.

He sure as heck argues that when a locatee or band catches tons of fish, out of season and then attemps to sell them to someone else, that is nothing to do with the exceptions listed above. We have heard those specious statments over many years and they never go away, because some folks simply will not admit that the guy knows what he is talking about.
The fed controls tidal waters and what's in the water not the provicne, which controls non tide waters. The provicne has guared the rivers carefully at least until Gordo started selling the right to use it by private companies.
It's as dumb as statements that Indians are cut out of the commercial fisheries which is simply wrong. Suddenly when a ex Socred, and a Conservate MP endorse a NDP Member certain folks start to froth at the mouth or write gibberish stuff. Nobody is against reasoned negotiations at treaty tables where its a three party negotiation and must result in a win win win for all the parties. The treaty Gordo brags about with the Tsawassen was not a win for all parties, it was a treaty of convenience. Gordon gave away ALR land with no conditions attached.

pip said...

A true reflection of how far right the NDP has gone. The New Democreds. And Carol has not promised to stop run-of-river projects but only a moratorium. That is not change I can believe in because that is not change! I admire Rafe for some of his past stands on the environment. Given that background it would be more fitting he endorse Green.

Jeff Barkley said...

Thanks for the picture, Bill. I have watched Rafe's politics change as he was put in the position of losing something he really believed in, the environment of BC. Its too bad that self serving "environmentalists" like Suzuki and Berman do not feel the same. Rafe has done a good job, in recent years, getting the word out about the destruction of our wild salmon and the research of Alexandra Morton. His support of the NDP is appreciated and timely. If we had a mainstream press, this could have been a big story...

macadavy said...

"Please pass this on to your address book so that we can provide information where the media will not."
Truer words have never been spoken, and this from the mouth of Mr. Talk Radio - OMGoddess!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow Rafe Mare. Holy shit. The Liberals are done now. Who

Anonymous said...

"The New Democreds. And Carol has not promised to stop run-of-river projects but only a moratorium."

So, if elected, the NDP should pull a Campbell and rip up these contracts, consequences be damned? How's the public going to react when those companies start suing? Not to mention a business community would go apoplectic.

The Greens, despite what they might be saying, wouldn't do it either. They can promise everything under the sun because they have no hope of forming government.

You want to stop IPPs? The NDP is the only party that has a shot at defeating the Liberals and halting further IPP projects.

Rod Smelser said...

It's one of those things, a British Columbia original having a serious impact on the outcome of a provincial election.

I haven't always agreed with Rafe, but I have to say he's a dynamic, larger than life force, and one to be reckoned with. Perhaps this election could be seen as not just Campbell versus James, but Mair versus Suzuki?

Big Virtue said...

I'm pretty sick of the fear-mongering of Mr. Mair.

"It's also interesting to note that under the Liberals the Vancouver Convention Centre is over budget $400 million, more than double the cost of the 'fast ferries'."

... and it's $19 million less than the amount that the Social Credit government of 1970 was short on completing the Columbia River Treaty infrasturcture. $419 million dollars in 1970! Now that's some real money in todays dollars, don't you think? .... Get off it Mr. Mair.

"1. Once an American company has access to our water for any reason, it can use it for any reason, including selling bulk water exports."

No, I don't think so Mr. Mair. A water license for the production of waterpower is only for producing waterpower. For any other use for the water, another application would need to be made and assessed on it's own merits. Hello!

"2. Once an American company has tenure on a Canadian water and is using it, that tenure cannot be terminated either by contract or legislation."

This is a half-truth at best. Even legal experts are debating this point and can not come to any agreement on the potential impact that NAFTA clauses will have on water licenses granted to an American corporate entity

"3. Once we are exporting energy, we cannot reduce that supply to the US without reducing our own usage by a similar amount (this is the 'Proportionality Clause').

Mr. Mair, BC Hydro has been selling power to Americans for many years now, through PowerEx. You should be very worried that this needs to continue without reductions at a time when we need it in BC.... But that seems to be OK since it's a public entity that's doing it?

"BC Hydro, forced by this government to pay huge amounts for energy that they can't even break even with when they sell it, will bankrupt BC Hydro for which we paid a high environmental price 45 years ago but which has since then given us regular power at 1/10th the cost they pay in California."

Mr. Mair, as I stated above, we the tax-payers of BC paid dearly for the power we consider inexpensive now. We won't be buying cheap power from neighbouring jurisdictions (all fossil fuel based) when oil is $300 a barrel, now will we?

"Dr Marvin Shaffer at SFU calls this new business technique 'buy high, sell low'!

Mr Mair, in the 2008 Clean Power Call, BC Hydro will be paying around 40% of contract price for power generated in the freshet period (May-August), IPP's are restricted to prodicing 25% or less of the annual power during the freshet period, and the contract increment over time is 1/2 the CPI rate (inflation). Sounds like 'Buy low, sell high' to me.

"However, once we have established the Campbell Energy Plan for another four years that will be the end of BC Hydro and the end of hundreds of rivers. FOREVER."

Mr. Mair, there are a number of streams here in the Kootenays that have had power generation sites on them a hundred years ago, most you couldn't tell today. 'Forever' is a long time, Mr. Mair. The Kootenays and much of the Okanagan currently get most of their power from IPPs, such as Fortis, BC. Over half of the small IPPs operating in the province were licensed under the NDP. Now they are on the 'correct' side of the issue. Hello!

Garden Bay said...

@ Big Virtue......

Go pimp your private power elsewhere Mr. Mcinnes......

Thanks for securing the NDP win with all your advertising,people clued in when you started running 300 ads per day.......

Cheers-Eyes Wide Open

Anonymous said...

I posted Save the Rivers links on 100% of BC blogs. Rafe is putting the province over other interests.

Rafe isn't anti-native. Claims involve the entire province, and natives are fighting each other in most of these. The arrival of Europeans - with modern agriculture - allowed natives to settle in townships. Reserve lands should properly include areas around these. Settlement based on recognizing native sovereignty over any area where they might have hunted, forces concession to speculation.

Rafe Mair wants fair settlement, and not a giveaway. Besides, exactly how traditional are most aboriginals? Ontario's reserve lands are full of casinos and theatres where Las Vegas acts perform.

As for the Lib plant, above, who worships Campbell, his chosen government joined Enron in the "rolling blackout" extortion in California. I suppose he finds "big virtue" in that sorry episode?