Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The high price of privatized "green" power in BC - political intervention and its rewards for some environmental groups

PowerUp Canada's Tzeporah Berman presents BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell with an award for his "climate action leadership" in Copenhagen

The decision of some environmental groups to support the BC Liberal government of Premier Gordon Campbell before and during the May 2009 election has its rewards - for both sides.

At the Copenhagen global climate change summit Tuesday, Campbell was given a "climate action leadership" award by Tzeporah Berman, executive director of PowerUp Canada - a group that supports the privatized "green" power policies of the provincial government - and co-founder of Forest Ethics, on behalf of 10 environmental organizations.

Those groups are: the David Suzuki Foundation, the Ecology Action Centre, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, ForestEthics, the Green Energy Act Alliance, the Pembina Institute, PowerUp Canada, TckTckTck, and WWF-Canada.

Berman, along with a representative of the David Suzuki Foundation and a representative of the Pembina Institute, were all appointed by Campbell in November to his Green Energy Advisory Task Force.

That group, along with a new cabinet committee, will "ensure B.C. remains a leader in clean and renewable energy by developing resources, maximizing opportunities and establishing B.C.’s potential as the supplier of choice for clean power."

Left unsaid, of course, is that all "clean" power will be developed by the private sector because BC Hydro has been prohibited from undertaking any green power initiatives by government order since the BC Liberals took office.

The resulting "Liquid Gold" rush, excellently detailed in professor John Calvert's book of the same name, has made millions for "independent power producers" while all BC Hydro consumers subsidize their profits.

But no matter to the enviro groups.

No, they awarded British Columbia with the prize because: "BC is being recognized for climate leadership for legislating aggressive targets to reduce emissions, banning conventional coal-fired electricity, and implementing North America's first broad based revenue neutral carbon tax."

No matter either that the BC Liberals under Gordon Campbell have the worst environmental record in Canada.

No matter that fish farming expansion under the BC Liberals is destroying our precious wild salmon stock.

No matter that the IPPs run-of-river projects are fiercely opposed by other environmental groups like the
Wilderness Committee and Save Our Rivers Society, First Nations and communities because they are ruining our BC waterways to create overpriced power primarily destined to be exported to the United States.

As the Wilderness Committee says in its
campaign to save Bute Inlet: "Plutonic Power and US-based corporate giant General Electric want to build a private power megaproject that would involve building 17 dams and river diversions, more than 100 bridges, over 250 km of roads, and over 440 km of transmission lines. This project would be the largest private power project in British Columbia."

But apparently that's what it takes to be a climate change "leader".

No matter that Campbell is still pushing to begin offshore oil and gas exploration on the dangerous BC coast.

No matter that the
unsupportable grizzly bear hunt continues despite the risk to the species.

No matter how much of the Agricultural Land Reserve is paved overby the BC Liberals.

No, all that matters is that these groups sold their names to get the carbon tax and a few seats on a committee to further privatize public power.

Welcome to Copenhagen, Mr. Premier - what can we do for you today?



Anonymous said...

Tzeporah the former "Green Queen of Old Growth" has changed into being a political Quisling operating under a Red Light.


Ron said...

An excellent summary and analysis, Bill.

A toxic mixture of single-issue focus and self-interest me'thinks.

I have met a number of so-called Green candidates in Victoria and without exception they are anti-labour union, market ideologues who are at home with Ms Sterk - who proudly proclaimed that she was a "capitalist" who had voted Liberal, Conservative and Reform while in Alberta - but never NDP.

There appears to be a significant difference between many of our greenies and those of northern Europe - who appear to share social justice values of their social democratic coaliton partners.

TheLeftCoast said...

Campbell as a "climate change leader" is laughable at best. Booster of the Gateway project, proponent of off-shore oil drilling, cancels retro-fit program for BC homes...the list goes on. To read more about how non-green Campbell is,

Anonymous said...

Bill will you be at the Supreme Court on Friday morning to hear the Judge's ruling on whether she will be reviewing all documents instead of leaving it up to the Crown to vet which ones are acceptable?

Bill Tieleman said...

Anonymous 10:08- Sorry - I'm home sick and won't be at BC Supreme Court this week at all.

Anonymous said...

Well done “Rafe” Tielemen. Slowly dinosaurs like you are going extinct Bill, and it is great fun to watch your demise.

Chris said...

I'd love to see the NDP take the lead on environmental issues, but while they continue to oppose the carbon tax they'll continue to lack credibility.

Anonymous said...

Holy Jebus

Anonymous said...

get better!

Green NDP'er said...

And what has Carole James offered the green movement in response? "Ax the Tax." Just peachy. No wonder Campbell is stealing the green show.

If you're gonna assess the situation in a balanced, fair way, okay, diss Campbell, but let's talk about the NDP's utter ineptitude on the green file. Carole during the election campaign was both figuratively and literally... lost in the clouds.....

If you accept that climate change is real, and I believe the NDP does believe this, then offer up some substance on how to deal with it.

The NDP could have won the election if they accepted the carbon tax as a slightly progressive initiative, but placed emphasis on how they would improve it and make it more fair. Instead, Carole threw the baby out with bathwater and lost the environmental vote, and in effect, lost the election. The carbon tax proved to be a MAJOR distraction for the NDP in the lead-up to the election.

Bad NDP strategy. Period.

The Left Coast said...

Interesting to see people post comments here advocating for higher taxes. How has the carbon tax changed behaviours? Not one bit. Where does the revenue from the carbon tax go? General revenue. Sure, keep the tax but put the money into transit services so that transit is viable option for MORE people. Note I say, MORE because admittedly, it is not the solution for everybody. Use the carbon tax to fund green initiatives instead of boondoggles like a new roof on BC Place Stadium.

DPL said...

Gordo buys his way into any photo op possible, but of course we do the paying

Anonymous said...

Right on 11:27

You'd almost think the NDP's inability to draft a coherent green tax strategy was in fact a diabolical plan drafted by one of their fiercest enemies:
like Bill Vander Zalm!

Kam Lee said...

Well at least he is sober. For the time been. Mr "greenjeans" leaves quite a wide fossil footprint with all his travels. I wonder if his gf is along for the ride? Ok, I was wrong, he is in happy hour mode. What a waste of skin he is.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill
These corporate/ Campbell sponsored environmental groups are a joke. They are in it for a paycheck.
What it boils down to is the industry that is polluting our environment for profit has no intention of using this profit to clean up their mess. If they are forced to do a cleanup they want to bilk the public.for the money required
Some of these environmental groups(in BC) can't function without a paycheck .Who is paying their bill?. The environmentalist that have guts and should be supported are in the streets in Copenhagen. In BC we have a sleazy group under the control of a sleazy government.
That's why this Sterk is in BC if she were to surface in Alberta again,industry would tell her to get her ass back to BC and her buddy Campbell.

Anonymous said...

The comment "Well done Rafe Tieleman"
This was the comment of a very sick person Mentaly he is an excellent candidate for the Liberal party.
Why do you allow this sicko the right to comment

Anonymous said...

Green NDPer:

Are you opposed to the Green Trust Fund or the cap and trade approach proposed by the dippers during the recent election?

Are you opposed to the NDP stand against the Fiberals support for oil and gas exploration off the north coast - or against tanker traffic off our coast?

Are you opposed to the emphasis on major mass transit initiatives which the NDP spoke about?

Do you support the private "run-of-the-river" strategy of the Liberals which will result in big pay-offs for their corporate friends and the weakening - if not demise - of BC Hydro?

"No wonder Campbell is stealing the green show." - Really?

Grant G said...

BC Hydro under orders from Gordon Campbell is applying to the BCUC to be able to "toll" our domestic power rates...

What does that mean,besides the two tier power rates,tolling power,the terms refers to charging another premium for power use during the early evening hours when families are together eating,tv watching,homework hours...It`s needed for the revenue,the revenue is needed to give to private power companies.

I will have a post up later on this topic over at (the straight goods)

DPL said...

What a wierd bunch of politicians this country is stuck with. Gordo and pals travel to Copenhagen to congratulate each other and the present PM goes over but lets his minister do the talking, however will break bread with a few of the wheels somewhere off stage. Speaking of carbon offsets, that should require quite a lot of them.

And people wonder why so many folks simply don't bother to vote as they figure the resulots simply arn't worth it.

Anonymous said...

Campbell and hopeless Harper have given the foreign mining companies the right to dump toxic waste into our lakes. There are 13 altogether
Two places in Newfoundland/Labrador
have already been destroyed.
Campbell has given the foreign mining co's the right to dump toxic waste into two lakes in BC, there will be more. Fish lake,
Quarry creek and Trail creek have been given the ok to dump toxic waste into them. Maybe his new private environmental group would like to check it out. However their findings will never be known. Campbell will tell the news media(cknw,TC Van Sun) to keep it quiet. Good old CBC reported on the news tonight that two towns back east are suffering from lead and arsenic poisoning I think they were Buchans and Baldoon Profit for the foreign mining co's is coming at a hell of a price.
When you run a province the way Campbell the retard does you have to be pissed.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the sentiments of another poster. We have to put up with neo-cons whom I suspect either have very well paid jobs with ample free time or are being paid to post. I wish I didn't have to read their trash here.

(unless it is so over the top it is funny or if it is incriminating)

Stuart Hertzog said...

Well said, Bill. I did try to warn about Campbell's ability to capture the global warming agenda on my blog back in October of 2007.

Capturing The Global Warming Agenda:

Seems like he has now totally succeeded in pulling the wool over the eyes of even the most experienced mainstream environmentalists. What were they thinking!

Skookum1 said...

banning conventional coal-fired electricity

Which is pathetically funny given the scale of our coal exports to Japan and China, whose coal-fired industry spews pollutants that waft back over Canada, courtesy the failing winds. Banning conventional coal-fired electricity domestically (where it's almost known) while doing nothing to stop coal exports to countries who, if anything, are stepping up coal-fired generation, is utterly meaningless and, well, rather stupid.

Unknown said...

After years of secret negotiations with Campbell over the so-called 'Great Bear Rainforest' scheme,Berman capitulated 70% of that tract the size of Denmark to the trans-national logging industry. Then she backstabbed fellow enviro-orgs and secretly cut a dreadful deal that will extinct BC's Mountain caribou. Now she stumps for ROR, saying anyone who opposes giving over whatever's left of BC's wild, intact river systems to giant American power corporations.She exploits and squanders the once-significant powers attained by BC's civil-disobedient environmental activist community, perhaps she was one in the past, but now Tzeporah Berman has become a shameless poltical sycophant an unrepentent compromiser and BAU collaborator.

off-the-radar said...

Thank you Bill! I wondered what the hell was going on with the Green Power group and the recent puff pieces in the local media. And your decisive analysis nailed it: they're shilling for Campbell's green-washed eco-destruction policies. God forgive 'em 'cause I won't.

Anonymous said...


Oil Sands Harper failed to receive his invite to Obama's final day leaders' get-together at Copenhagen.

Way to go, Steve-O!

Anonymous said...

To Green NDPer,

You claim the loss of environmentally minded voters cost the NDP the election in May? Doesn't that mean those same voters elected the premier with the worst environmental record in Canada to a third term? To quote you, "that's a bad strategy". Assuming you and they care about the environment at all of course, which is in doubt.

Anonymous said...

Tzeporah's about as green as the carbon jet stream that took her to Copenhagen.

I don't understand why Berman and Suzuki are unwilling to walk their own talk. If we follow their lead then its unlimited carbon Skies. Carbon is a commodity for all to use/abuse.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering, is Tseporah Berman any relation to Shoshana Berman,the Ontario Liberal gadfly and blogger maniac?

DPL said...

Does ms.Berman have any comments about Gordos desire to see a pipeline from the tar sands, throught BC out to the coast to sell the stuff offshore? So Gordo takes a ride on our dollar to a confernece in Copenhagen to get a phot op with a person he was put on some committee. I wonder if we are paying for the plauqe as well or should I even wonder. The only connection that I see to the Eurpoean model is the same name. Maybe the woman will run for the greens, lose the hopefully fade away. She does seem to have a couple of suppoorters on this blog, named anon

Henri Paul said...

Anonymous said...11:16 PM
What a sad and pathetic bunch of losers you all are. None of you could walk a mile in Tzeporah’s shoes.
What a repulsive suggestion, walk in
Tzeporah’s shoes. Like can you just imagine all the juicy goodies packed in them after walking 1.6 km. Excuse me while I go and puke....

Rod Smelser said...

I have said many times that the anonymous and fake name habits of internet chat lines are a mistake, and stand in sharp contrast to a newspaper's Letters to the Editor, which absolutely require a real name, a real address and a real phone number.

While in some instances this anonymity may allow some genuine "Deep Throat" to put into circulation some highly relevant information, it's mostly used by dishonest and partisan cowards to take drive by potshots that they know full well are completely insupportable.

People claiming to be green NDPers or using fake names can make any claim they want. The claim has no credibility whatsoever because the person making it has none.

I do differ with Stuart Hertzog on one point. Stuart believes that Premier Gordon M. Cambpell has "totally succeeded in pulling the wool over the eyes of even the most experienced mainstream environmentalists". Personally, I don't think the new relationship between the Office of the Premier and the leadership of B.C.'s best financed ENGOs is in any way based on one side fooling or tricking the other.

On the contrary, this new relationship, like another new relationship we sometimes here about, it based on fully-informed choices made by experienced and savy players to their mutual advantage. The point is that the advantages in play do not pertain to the obstensible issues that the public naively thinks are involved, but rather to the personal career and financial interests of the players involved.

And please don't forget that the relationship as between Premier Campbell's provincial Liberals and the ENGO executive suites is but part of a larger Liberal Party of Canada relationship with environmentalists in both the ENGO offices and across the broad swath of academia, tenured university intellectuals in both the natural and social sciences who came out if full support of Stephane Dion's Green Shift in the 2008 Federal Election.

As everyone now knows, Michael Ignatieff has fully repudiated the Green Shift/carbon tax approach. Which of the 230 academics who signed the above statement, and for that matter which of the tenured B.C. academics who signed any number of CanWest Op-ed pieces that appeared to have been written in the BC Gov'ts notorious Public Affairs Bureau, and which smeared Jack Layton and Carole James as "dishonest" for not supporting a carbon tax, have criticized Ignatieff for dropping support for a carbon tax approach?

The answer is crystal clear. Not one of them.

They too, like Berman and Suzuki, are not contradicting their own stated positions because they cannot see the contradiction. The point is that they don't care because that's not why they are in this game in the first place.

Anonymous said...

it's a matter of choosing "the devil you know," and the lesser of two evils. Tzeporah is now a mother of two, no longer a wide-eyed teen standing in front of a blockade. The Green movement still needs those, but it also needs wisened individuals who can rub shoulders, however comfortably, with the big wigs. There is no godsend in this world of politics where economy and morality have to coincide. Indeed, there is a bit of green paint being thrust about, but it's better than nothing, and indicates that we are still walking a road. But where are the Tzeporah's of the early Greenpeace movement? Blogging? Definitely not camping out on parliament hill.

Mark Crawford said...

It is wonderful to be a "market" green--you can have your principles and eat them, too.

But it is clear that the Government has been highly successful in co-opting both environmentalists and First Nations in just 4 or 5 short years. Has Tzeporah left the NDP?