BC Hydro work at Site C.

LETTERS: Dam project will have real toll

Letters to the editor for Mar. 2 edition of the Castlegar News.

The editorial submission from Dave Conway, B.C. Hydro’s site C salesman, was sadly short of any kind of balanced viewpoint.

I recently read the book written by Eileen Delaney Pearkes about the devastation caused to the environment and to many peoples lives by the building of the Columbia river dams. It is a sad, sad book.

The beautiful Arrow Lakes had hundreds of sandy beaches, incredible wildlife wetlands, and some of the finest farmland in the province. All was lost, and the people who were forced to sell their wonderful fertile farms were paid pitiful amounts for the land that they loved. The same was true for the other dams, but the High Arrow was the closest to the hearts of our area. We lost an incredible amount, and frankly it turns my stomach to hear [him] trying to call this new abomination a “clean” energy project.

This new dam is a 19th century project in the 21st century which is again displacing farmers and ranchers from properties that have been held for generations, and again ignoring the objections, and the welfare of our native people.

We only “need” this power in order to sell it to California at a loss again. No amount of electricity is worth the loss of 83 kilometres of fertile farmland and important wildlife habitat in our still somewhat beautiful province. I urge you to read Ms. Pearkes’ book, and then vote for whatever political party that promises to put a halt to this travesty.

The online newspaper The Tyee recently printed some pictures of some of the beautiful land that will be lost to this awful dam.

I think Mr. Conway should at least have the decency to mention the human agony that this project will cause.

Site C is not a sight that I want to see.

Rod Retzlaff

Glade, B.C.

Questioning real need for Site C project

Nice try, Mr Community Relations Manager for BC Hydro’s Site C Dam. (Castlegar News, Feb. 23)

The Site C Dam on the Peace River is not to keep our lights on through long cold winters such as this. BC Hydro’s own records reveal that electricity consumption by regular customers has been flat for more than a decade: commonsensecanadian.ca/liberal-pals-plundering-bc-hydro-tens-billions.

Rather, it’s to power Christy Clark’s Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) dream, for which her buddies and donors in the industry will pay bargain-basement rates while we the residents subsidize them by paying way higher rates on our power bills than we already are.

The Joint Review Panel that examined Site C for the federal and provincial governments concluded that BC Hydro had NOT demonstrated a need for the project, and recommended it be sent to the public watchdog the B.C. Utilities Commission for scrutiny. That is the body that evaluates the economics and is supposed to protect ratepayers from unreasonable and unnecessary rate increases.

Christy Clark’s B.C. Liberal government has exempted Site C from this Commission’s oversight, and both it and the Harper government and then Trudeau’s Federal Liberal government went ahead and gave the green light to Site C anyway. This despite it violating First Nations rights on Treaty 8 lands in contravention of the U.N.’s declaration of rights of aboriginal peoples, and permanently destroying fertile farmland we will very soon be needing as California lurches from droughts to floods.

Lastly, just because generating hydro power doesn’t emit smoke does not make it “clean” or environmentally friendly. Apart from it wrecking the habitat of endangered species and removing much forest that serves as a carbon sink, the construction of Site C is a pretty darn huge greenhouse gas source: the amount of concrete a major carbon dioxide emitter that goes into a large dam like this, plus the methane emitted by tree stumps under the water, plus all the transport needed for the ingredients that go into dam construction, will be B.C.’s great contribution to global warming.

Antoinette Halberstadt

Castlegar

Understanding Christy Clark

Gordon Campbell’s Liberals came to power in 2001 with a promise of fair treatment of public sector unions. With Christy Clark as his Minister of Education, in January 2002 the government stripped provisions from public sector unions.

In 2004 the BC Supreme Court found: “By passing this legislation without consulting with the BC Teachers Federation, the government did not preserve the essential underpinning of collective bargaining, namely good faith negotiation and consultation.”

The judge gave the government a year to rectify. The Clark government imposed another contract, which the BC Supreme Court ruled on in 2014: “The Liberals had no more bargained in good faith with the BCTF than in the first case.”

The Christy Clark government decided to appeal to the BC Court of Appeals, which overturned the two lower court decisions. The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2016, where it took 20 minutes for the court to restore the finding of bargaining in bad faith.

Christy Clark says on the Supreme Court ruling:

1. “The government anticipated the ruling.” (Nov. 11 Vancouver Sun)

2. “If it costs more money, that’s a good thing in lots of ways because it’s a good investment to put money into classrooms and our kids.” (Nov. 11 Vancouver Sun)

3. Christy Clark says teachers’ win is opportunity to invest in kids. (Nov. 13 CBC)

4. “Kids are only going to do better when we put more resources in.” (Nov. 13 CBC)

Those who believe in collective bargaining and democracy

can thank the teachers’ union. Why did it take four courts over 15 years for Clark to do what’s right?

We have had terrible government, but they are blessed with a dysfunctional opposition who, by structure and operations, are poised to steel defeat from the jaws of victory. The NDP leader says education will be the number one issue in the May election. Horgan will first face the self-inflicted hurdles of gender equity and grizzly bears.

The continuing problems of union money and parachute campaign managers appear insoluble. Locals win elections when Soviet Central Planning gets out of the way. How long does the party elite think they can continue running losing campaigns before an alternative overtakes them?

William G. Hills

Cranbrook, B.C.

Kudos to Castlegar letter-writer

Kudos to Laura Sacks of Castlegar for standing up to Tom Fletcher and responding to his opinion piece of Feb. 22.

Like Laura, I found Mr. Fletcher’s views on climate change to be very unsettling, but I did nothing about it. Laura took action immediately and fired off a well-informed letter, which I’m assuming was printed in all newspapers published by Black Press, papers through which Tom Fletcher regularly spreads his partisan views.

Mr Fletcher tells readers that human-generated CO2 being the cause of climate change is simply “propaganda” and that Canada’s efforts to do its part in the global effort to combat climate change don’t matter “a damn bit” because the Paris agreement allows the U. S., China and India, the “top three greenhouse gas emitters” to continue increasing emissions until 2030. This is an old argument that most countries, including Canada, have moved beyond.

This is not the time to say that because, as Mr. Fletcher puts it, “Donald Trump will soon pull out of the toothless Paris accord and end Obama’s war on coal” Canada (and B.C.) should cease all efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

With the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, Canada is being viewed more and more as a leader by other countries around the world. We need to set a good example when it comes to climate change.

As for “our American-financed protest industry,” Mr. Fletcher needs to accept the fact that we all live on the same planet and that climate change is a global crisis that knows no boundaries. We’re all in this together, something most people understand.

June Wood

Vanderhoof, B.C.

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