Last week, BC Energy Minister, Bill Bennett promised a 28% rise in BCHydro electricity rates, to be phased in over the next five years. The news was received badly by many of those who will be forced to come up with the extra cash, especially large, energy intensive businesses operating in the province.
What Bennett didn’t explain however is just why the rates must rise.
Gross, and criminal, mismanagement of the utility over the last decade and more through a series of schemes, including so-called Run-of-River hydro power projects has seen the public utility buying power through independent power production, or IPP’s for much more than they can sell that power on the open market; that, and the billion dollar Smart Meter boondoggle, means BCHydro is in tough, and there’s only one way to make good the shortfall.
Though sold to the public as “clean” energy, the Run-of-Rivers, known locally as “ruin of rivers,” is hardly environmentally benign, but the discovery of an unexpected new player in the IPP damming game has ignited renewed controversy in the province’s Heartland.
Gerald Amos is a past Chief Councilor for the Haisla First Nation, serving for 12 years, and has been a leading voice for conservation for more than thirty years. He’s also served as Chief Negotiator for the Haisla Treaty Negotiating Team, and was elected to the First Nations summit Task Force, playing a major role in the development of the BC Treaty Commission. Amos is too a founding member of Ecotrust Canada and a former member of the BC Human Rights Advisory Commission and the Provincial Parks Legacy Panel.
Gerald Amos in the first half.
And; last week, Honduras held national elections. The poll was seen as a chance to rectify the 2009 coup d’etat that saw President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya removed through a conspiracy of the country’s landed gentry and the military. Xiomara Castro’s newly-formed Libre Party ran second to the ruling Junta’s National Party on a platform of restoration of the nation’s democracy and a rejection of draconian neo-liberal economic “reforms” imposed since 2009. More than merely political, the election is personal for Castro, the wife of ousted President Zelaya, and she and her party have called foul, claiming the results were rigged.
Dawn Paley is a Vancouver-based freelance journalist whose work has been published in the Guardian, Globe and Mail, and Vancouver Sun among others. Her work also features online at the Dominion, CounterPunch, and the The Tyee. Paley’s recent work has focused on extractive industries and organized crime activities throughout the Americas, her reports being filed from Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Northeast Mexico. She was in Honduras last week, checking out the election campaigns and apparent results. Dawn Paley and democracy’s fragile foothold in Honduras denied twice? in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what’s good to do in and around our city’s streets and beyond in the coming week. But first, Gerald Amos and a dam too far planned for the Clore.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/