Site C: How much support will BC NDP lose if they refuse to cancel?

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jas
Site C: How much support will BC NDP lose if they refuse to cancel?

My guess is close to one third if they break their promise to heed the BCUC recommendation.

Rumour has it Horgan is listening to lobbyists and other insiders -- people who apparently can't do math and think BC taxpayers owe trade unionists expensive, temporary jobs at the expense of Hydro ratepayers, and of BC's credit rating and financial solvency long into the future.

Didn't take long for the division between the new left and the old left to rear its ugly head. Horgan's actions will tell us whether he's a dinosaur or whether he will bring the NDP into the 21st century.

Site C Decision Will be Made Any Day Now — What the Hell is Going On?

jas

It's not like there won't be jobs in alternative energy projects.  So what's the actual deal here? Have some in the trade unions been bought off by special interests? If not, why support a project that is so obviously hostile to the public interest? Bill Tieleman, feel free to provide us your special insights.

Muskrat Falls experience a warning for B.C.'s Site C: expert

"B.C. has the luxury of being able to stop this now without going any further," Vardy said in an interview. "In terms of the take-away from Muskrat Falls: It's not too late to stop it."

Site C and Muskrat Falls Compared

Muskrat Falls experience a warning for Site C dam project, expert says

It's official: Muskrat Falls a boondoggle, says Stan Marshall

NorthReport

Typical.

The Liberals didn't refer Site C to the BCUC but let's blame Horgan. 

jas

Not sure what you mean, NR. What is the point of sending it to the BCUC if he's not going to use that information? And yes, if Horgan approves such a monumental waste of public money to get in good with some union cronies, I will blame him. He is offering nothing different in this case from the BC Liberals.

jas

Among other things, it will be a bottomless money hole. This was not a problem for the BC Liberals, whose sole purpose was to bankrupt or undermine any well-functioning public service. For a social democratic government though, it makes no sense. Again, it will be the NDP taking the fall for Hydro's unmanageable debt (currently hidden in deferral accounts) spiking rate increases, and declining market within a global energy glut.

As we speak, Hydro is paying producers around BC to not produce power.  The Mica dam is also currently not operating at full capacity. Every energy expert who has weighed in on this has offered the same advice: BC does not need the extra capacity, and if it ever does, alternative sources can meet that demand much more quickly and at less cost.

Why approving Site C could sink NDP

 

jas

Not to mention that the sunk costs argument (against canceling) contradicts the "jobs, jobs, jobs" argument (for continuing).

Cancelling the Site C dam will be a tough pill to swallow – but alternatives are harsher (Six former NDP MLAs weigh in)

Pondering

If it were over Site C then I suppose they could lose votes to the Greens but I think it is unlikely. The type of people who are against Site C will surely appreciate other things the NDP is doing over what it was like under the "Liberals".

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

If PR passes going ahead with Site C will cost the NDP dearly in its Coast heartland. The Vancouver Island seats could easily go mostly Green instead of Orange. The on going distruction of the Peace River during the next election would be handing the Greens a cudgel to play whackamole with. The environmental file is a deal maker for many of the progressive people who vote NDP.  I am still hopeful, I e-mailed my MLA and his office responded with a thank you for the support to stop it. Inside the caucus I am pretty sure there are many MLA's who are also looking at the Indigenious Rights aspect of continuing to build in the face of indigenous dissent.  The NDP does not need to have indigenous and environmental activists pursuing it during the election because they are building a money sink. The Liberal's will track the rising construction costs and blame the NDP for them. It will be a fun time for the NDP.

 

jas

Thanks, Krop. Nice to see your post here.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

CHEK news is the best loved Vancouver Island news site. This poll shows the depth of the feeling for the Site C project in the BC NDP's Coast base.  A wrong decision will cost them dearly. At 88% when I voted.

https://www.cheknews.ca/chek-point-poll-site-c-dam-cancelled-completed-3...

jas

Announcement expected tomorrow at 11:30 am, with Global BC already declaring the winner.

I don't see how the NDP could possibly benefit from allowing the project to continue. Again, it seems the party is taking bad advice from dubious insiders who are working not just against the party's interests, but against the public interest. They have an opportunity to hang Site C around the necks of the BC Liberals for the next decade or more, but instead, they're going to hang it around their own necks.

They're setting themselves up to take the fall for the largest and most wasteful public expenditure in BC's history, and also hand the BC Liberals the next election. This is the sign of a fake party and a fake political system.

jas

New depths of dumb have been realized today. Wow.

Deal breaker.

 

Martin N.

jas wrote:

New depths of dumb have been realized today. Wow.

Deal breaker.

 

If you thought the project was due to be cancelled, you need to inform yourself, if not plumb your own depths. There was never any intention on the part of Horgan to cancel and he will lose no support over it. Site C is only a peripheral issue in urban/coastal ridings but it is a huge issue in northern/interior riding that voted Liberal.

jas

Inform myself of what? Several NDP ministers, including Horgan, are on record against Site C. It is guaranteed, and has already proven to be a massive money loser, just as Muskrat Falls has been and will be.

One cannot accept that Horgan et al have no understanding of this.

I agree with you though that they've probably weighed their options. If they cancel Kinder Morgan, they will retain their urban and a good chunk of their coastal base, and Site C will do them some, but minimal damage. But only because BC'ers don't understand what's actually at stake.

But for me, it's a deal breaker. I thought the NDP had turned a corner. Not so.

Mighty Middle Mighty Middle's picture

Latest poll for the FEDERAL NDP support in BC (led by Jagmeet Singh) is at 11%. After this I suspect that support will fall even more, with NDP supporters going to the Green Party. Even though Jagmeet Singh has nothing to do with Site C, voters will probably conflate the Fed & Prov NDP.

Martin N.

The project hasn't proven anything yet but the fact remains that it was on budget and on time until the NDP took over and initiated their ( necessary, I agree) review. Both pro and con are spinning their wheels with extremist language and the truth of the matter is that this delay has endangered the river diversion timetable, which, if delayed by a year due to high water flows will be costly.

Now that there is certainty, let the professionals do their due diligence on timing and geophysical challenges in order to mitigate delays. Using more or more productive equipment may still allow them to meet the diversion schedule and so will retaining more water behind the existing Bennett and Peace Canyon dams. 

jas

Here is John Horgan's stake in the Peace. Not worth much today.

John Horgan's stake in the Peace

Rev Pesky

From kropotkin1951:

This poll shows the depth of the feeling for the Site C project in the BC NDP's Coast base. 

Sorry, but it shows nothing of the kind. Pardon me, perhaps it does show the 'depth of feeling'. when I looked, the poll showed 51% wishing to cancel the project, to 49% wishing to complete it. 

But it also shows only jsut over 14,000 people responded to the poll, which is hardly enough for any politician to get excited about.

What baffles me is all those NDP'ers who were running around touting the Leap Manifesto apparently didn't bother to read it, because in it's support documentation there was the requirement for 270 new 1300MW hydroelectric power plants.

Where did they think these plants were going to be built, in the middle of Arizona? Sahara desert?

Martin N.

VICTORIA — Premier John Horgan and the NDP cabinet weighed five main concerns in deciding the fate of Site C during three cabinet meetings spread over nine hours earlier this month.

Fifth on the list, taking the criteria in reverse order, was the flooding of agricultural land behind the Site C reservoir and the potential impact on food security in B.C.

It’s an emotional issue for New Democrats because the province’s first NDP government created the agricultural land reserve. But also the most readily discounted of the five concerns, judging from the material provided to reporters at Monday’s announcement.

“Ninety-nine per cent of Class 1-5 agricultural lands (capable of crop production) in the Peace Agricultural Region will not be affected by Site C,” according to the background papers. “Permanent loss of approximately 3,800 hectares of class 1-5 agricultural lands leaves approximately 2.7 million hectares of Class 1 to 5 lands available for agricultural production in the region.”

Still, the province will try to mitigate the impact with a $20 million compensation fund “to offset lost sales and stimulate agricultural enhancement” in the Peace. A second, Food Security Fund, derived from Site C revenues, will support agricultural innovation and production around B.C...........

http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-getting-to-site...

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Summary

We have not been asked to make recommendations or to identify which option has the highest cost to ratepayers or more significant implications than others. Nevertheless, we have provided our view that not only is the suspension scenario the greatest cost to ratepayers of the three scenarios, it also has other negative implications. We take no position on which of the termination or completion scenarios has the greatest cost to ratepayers. The Illustrative Alternative Portfolio we have analyzed, in the low-load forecast case, has a similar cost to ratepayers as Site C. If Site C finishes further over budget, it will tend to be more costly than the Illustrative Alternative Portfolio is for ratepayers. If a higher load forecast materializes, the cost to ratepayers for Site C will be less than the Illustrative Alternative Portfolio. We have provided a discussion of the risk implications of each alternative in order to assist in the evaluation

http://www.sitecinquiry.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/A-24_Final-Report...

The BC NDP had a choice and they chose the wrong option. They are betting that unlike the last decades our consumption demand is going to increase dramatically and not continue decreasing or remain stable and that emerging technologies will make no progress in providing cheaper power through options that produce power closer to the Lower Mainland were it is needed thus reducing line loss and the need for large transmission lines that disrupt wildlife. 

I am sure the Environment Minister, George Heyman had many long conversations about the implications of this dam project but they would mostly have been with the building trades unions that are dominated by international unions headquartered in the US.  Knowing George I am sure he spent way more time talking to Brian Cochrane than anyone in the environmental movement. Heyman is a backroom dealing  slime ball and always has been throughout his career in the union business.

Martin N.

The above article addresses much of the misinformation about Site C. 

Another issue not addressed is how much cost escalation can be placed at the feet of 'activists' who thrive on delaying tactics to attempt to make a project too expensive to complete. When do 'activists' take ownership of their contribution to cost escalation?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Personally I prefer to read the actual BC Utilities Rerport and draw my own conclusions not be lead by the nose by the right wing media. You can post spin, I'll just post the facts.

 

Martin N.

I think they made the correct decision but that it was a decision steeped in political considerations, not financial or environmental ones.

The plain fact is that the NDP can stand the howling from its far left because the far left has no other place to go. On the other hand, the only path to majority government is to woo back the interior ridings which are heavily dependent on resource jobs. Premier Horgan is the premier of BC, not the premier of the south coast and the fantasy islands.

If Horgan could secure a majority from only the south coast and the fantasy islands, Site C would be shut down immediately, no matter how many billions it cost.

Martin N.

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Personally I prefer to read the actual BC Utilities Rerport and draw my own conclusions not be lead by the nose by the right wing media. You can post spin, I'll just post the facts.

 

OK. You are entitled to your own opinions but not to your own facts. I do believe, however, that you are right on target with your opinion about George Heyman. I expect any reader to use critical thinking to comprehend media articles. If you want to take a short cut to bask in only media that supports your biases, you only do yourself a disservice, my dear chap - and that is a fact.

Pogo Pogo's picture

We should distinguish between preserving ecosystems and farmland.  Farmland can be replaced (soil, weather, water). One option discussed when proposals to take land out of the ALR in the lower mainland is upgrading land elsewhere.

Sometimes the most important thing is to find victories in losses. If I was Andrew Weaver I would now be pushing for offsets to bring new land into the ALR. Though maybe he is more interested in being angry and righteous.

I do disagree that the opponents have no where to go.  Proportional Representation will provide options across the spectrum (depending on the minimum requirements), even without it Vancouver Island has shown it is capable of moving to the Green Party.

jas

I don't think the NDP has any illusions about winning support in BC's interior. If they do, they're dumber than I think. Because if you try to lure that cat, you lose two more behind you.

But I can't help but wonder if  re-election is even a goal for them. This move is already losing them the environmental left (not the "far left" that Martin N. imagines) which includes probably most of the youth vote. If they also flounder on the Kinder Morgan front, they will lose half, or more, of the coastal urban vote. And northern interior voters aren't going to switch over en masse to NDP as a thank-you for Site C.  

For myself, I am realizing there is no social democratic option in Canadian politics. Unless the Greens take on some of those values, I simply won't vote. And I'm not the only one who feels this way right now.

jas

My guess is proportional rep will be kiboshed too. The NDP won't be giving up any more share of the pie. They're already sustaining too many losses.

Aristotleded24

Martin N. wrote:

I think they made the correct decision but that it was a decision steeped in political considerations, not financial or environmental ones.

The plain fact is that the NDP can stand the howling from its far left because the far left has no other place to go. On the other hand, the only path to majority government is to woo back the interior ridings which are heavily dependent on resource jobs. Premier Horgan is the premier of BC, not the premier of the south coast and the fantasy islands.

If Horgan could secure a majority from only the south coast and the fantasy islands, Site C would be shut down immediately, no matter how many billions it cost.

I don't know how far along the project was and there may have been no practical way to stop it, but politically this makes no sense to me.

The BC Liberals were very adamant in their support of Site C. Does it not stand to reason from that that those who supported Site C would have supported the Liberals? Why would they change their support? And I know technically Horgan didn't promise to cancel, however he got public support on the basis of his promise to review the project. Now people who were hoping for the project cancellation feel betrayed, many of them won't support Horgan in 2021. Even if the "far left" as you characterize them, have no place else to go, they can still choose to sit out the next election, and that could cost the NDP in close seats they barely won. Further to that, the Greens are also an option for those who oppose this project, and it's possible that bleeding support to the Greens may cost the NDP seats it already has. Are there really that many people in the Interior who are going to decide, "well, I voted for the Liberals because of Site C, but now that the NDP is continuing the project, I'll vote for them instead?" Not to mention that this severly sets back, if not outright dashes, hopes of the BC NDP winning crucial Green votes in seats like Burke Mountain that barely went Liberal. All that hard work designed to convince Green voters that the NDP shares their values in the aftermath of the election results that was crucial to the BC NDP taking over, thrown out the window.

It appears that the environmentalist-union divisions within the BC NDP that were made evident during the Clayquot Sound controversey have not been properly addressed. This needs to be done yesterday.

jas

Aristotleded24 wrote:

It appears that the environmentalist-union divisions within the BC NDP that were made evident during the Clayquot Sound controversey have not been properly addressed. This needs to be done yesterday.

I don't know about Clayoquot Sound, but it's a point I've been raising for several years now. The NDP will not move forward without the environmental left. It will not. Some people think that's just fine, but they ignore that union support has been eroding for years, not to mention that the labour movement itself has been shrinking since the '70s.

My suggestion for the NDP was to co-opt the green movement. But I meant that seriously. Not just spout the values and then abandon those voters. It's unfathomable that Horgan would throw this opportunity out to appease a handful of cronies hanging around who are long past their Best Before dates.

I was impressed with Horgan after the election and believed he was sincere and capable of some really good things. But as others elsewhere have commented, with this move he has set the NDP back indeterminately.

jas

Anyway, I suppose it's just sound and fury at this point. It seems that our electoral system is merely here to offer an illusion of choice: Corporate Welfare party #1, Corporate Welfare party #2, or Corporate Welfare party #3.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

This decision is a perfect example of why the BC NDP has not won a plurality of the votes in this province for over twenty years. It is also a good example of why the union movement in BC has been going backwards for 20 years. People like Heyman control the backrooms and make policy based on the wrong considerations and advice from self interested parties with no vision, like the Building Trades.

Mobo2000

Aristotle said:

"The BC Liberals were very adamant in their support of Site C. Does it not stand to reason from that that those who supported Site C would have supported the Liberals? Why would they change their support?"

Part of the logic on the NDP's part, I believe, is that approval of a few projects is necessary to build confidence in Liberal voters that a BC government can strike a balance between the environment and responsible resource development.  They want to show middle of the road Liberal voters they can manage the economy, and by their calculus this is a low risk way to do it.  Bleeding support to the greens worries them much less than bleeding support to the Liberals.   

I think the BC NDP are absolutely sincere on PR, and it will be a tough sell and a tougher referendum campaign.   If BC gets it, I can imagine a future where the NDP turns into mini-Liberals with the Greens as the party of conscience.

 

Aristotleded24

jas wrote:
The NDP will not move forward without the environmental left. It will not. Some people think that's just fine, but they ignore that union support has been eroding for years, not to mention that the labour movement itself has been shrinking since the '70s.

Is it really even the labour movement any more, or is it (and I know that the term I'm about to use is pejorative) union bosses trying to play power games in the back rooms hoping that it will bring power and influence? I know this is a tangent, but in Manitoba, the MFL actively supported the NDP government despite that government's refusal to drop the bar required for unionization, ban replacement workers, and that the concerns of public sector unions were not always heard. Basically the labour strategy in Manitoba was "keep the NDP as the elected government forever and ever and it will be fine." When they told working people that a Pallister government would be the worst thing for working people, working people responded by giving Pallister one of the biggest majorities in the province's history. The only real issue the MFL brought up during the campaign was Pallister's proposed changes to make it harder to join unions. Not only does that not affect people already in unions, but not enough non-unionized workers in this province care enough about unions that making it harder to join one would be an issue. How any union executive, from the local district labour councils to the head of the MFL still has their jobs after that debacle is beyond me.

Rev Pesky

For a little perspective.

Site C, as noted upthread, will permanently remove about 3800 hectares of Class 1-5 farmland.

Metro Vancouver has almost 61,000 hectares of agricultural land. most of which would be Class 1 land. Metro Vancouver includes Langley Township, but does not include any land east of Langely Township and west of Hope. There is another roughly 71,000 hectares of prime agricultural land in that area. So there is about 132,000 hectares of (mostly) Class 1 agricutural land within 100 km's of the City of Vancouver.

Now, I don't know what percentage of the 3800 hectares in the Peace is Class 1, but for the sake of argument I will accept that it all is. That means the amount to be lost is approximately 3% of the farmland in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. 

Bear in mind there is still the Okanagan, the Kootenays, and other areas, which also have farmland.

It is very clear that Site C is not a threat to food production in British Columbia.

 

Martin N.

jas wrote:

I don't think the NDP has any illusions about winning support in BC's interior. If they do, they're dumber than I think. Because if you try to lure that cat, you lose two more behind you. While some hinterland risings lean to the Libs, many are up for grabs - they don't vote right or left as much as they vote jobs/ no jobs

But I can't help but wonder if  re-election is even a goal for them. This move is already losing them the environmental left (not the "far left" that Martin N. imagines) which includes probably most of the youth vote. If they also flounder on the Kinder Morgan front, they will lose half, or more, of the coastal urban vote. And northern interior voters aren't going to switch over en masse to NDP as a thank-you for Site C.  I meant the far left of the NDP but I suppose enviro vs trades union is apt rather than far left/far right.

For myself, I am realizing there is no social democratic option in Canadian politics. Unless the Greens take on some of those values, I simply won't vote. And I'm not the only one who feels this way right now.The social democratic option is there one voter at a time but not by leftist authoritarianism that demands others sacrifice their future to environmental change. That is how resource communities see it. Free bridge tolls for the urbanites to pollute more while the hinterlands face reduced employment.

Martin N.

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Martin N. wrote:

I think they made the correct decision but that it was a decision steeped in political considerations, not financial or environmental ones.

The plain fact is that the NDP can stand the howling from its far left because the far left has no other place to go. On the other hand, the only path to majority government is to woo back the interior ridings which are heavily dependent on resource jobs. Premier Horgan is the premier of BC, not the premier of the south coast and the fantasy islands.

If Horgan could secure a majority from only the south coast and the fantasy islands, Site C would be shut down immediately, no matter how many billions it cost.

I don't know how far along the project was and there may have been no practical way to stop it, but politically this makes no sense to me.

The BC Liberals were very adamant in their support of Site C. Does it not stand to reason from that that those who supported Site C would have supported the Liberals? Why would they change their support? And I know technically Horgan didn't promise to cancel, however he got public support on the basis of his promise to review the project. Now people who were hoping for the project cancellation feel betrayed, many of them won't support Horgan in 2021. Even if the "far left" as you characterize them, have no place else to go, they can still choose to sit out the next election, and that could cost the NDP in close seats they barely won. Further to that, the Greens are also an option for those who oppose this project, and it's possible that bleeding support to the Greens may cost the NDP seats it already has. Are there really that many people in the Interior who are going to decide, "well, I voted for the Liberals because of Site C, but now that the NDP is continuing the project, I'll vote for them instead?" Yes. More hinterland voters vote for whomever promises the better future as opposed to flocking to the colours. There are a lot of potential NDP votes there. Not to mention that this severly sets back, if not outright dashes, hopes of the BC NDP winning crucial Green votes in seats like Burke Mountain that barely went Liberal. All that hard work designed to convince Green voters that the NDP shares their values in the aftermath of the election results that was crucial to the BC NDP taking over, thrown out the window. I believe that by the time an election is called, the NDP brain trust will have the 'too clever by half' Greenweaver sorted. Weaver's henchmen are single issue wing nuts who will self-destruct in time. ( the cynical part of me says it will occur with a little push from the more mendacious corner of the dipper back room minders.

It appears that the environmentalist-union divisions within the BC NDP that were made evident during the Clayquot Sound controversey have not been properly addressed. This needs to be done yesterday. Divide and conquer is still a valid strategy. Especially for the ambitious Weaver.

jas

Mobo2000 wrote:

Part of the logic on the NDP's part, I believe, is that approval of a few projects is necessary to build confidence in Liberal voters that a BC government can strike a balance between the environment and responsible resource development.  They want to show middle of the road Liberal voters they can manage the economy, and by their calculus this is a low risk way to do it.  Bleeding support to the greens worries them much less than bleeding support to the Liberals.  

Site C was not just any old project to approve. It will determine BC Hydro's viability as a public utility sometime in the next ten years, and it will determine BC's fiscal future for decades to come. It will definitely affect the NDP's ability to deliver other programs within budget in the next few years. It is a serious commitment of public time and money for a province that is already swimming in debt and hidden liabilities, thanks to the BC Liberals. Again, the NDP will come off looking like fiscal incompetents -- a role they seem all too eager to play, time after time.

Many BCer's, let alone those outside BC, don't understand that BC Hydro's current debt w/liabilities is close to $80 billion, again thanks to the BC Liberals. That's before shovels even hit the ground on Site C. And that's in addition to -- what is it? -- $68 billion provincial debt (that we know about.) What happens with even a 1%  interest rate increase on all that debt?

The NDP could have easily canned Site C, easily explained the dire financial state BC Hydro is in; easily explained the BCUC's projected needs for energy provincially. They would have gained respect as fiscally and socially responsible leaders. Instead they've chosen an option that is guaranteed to lose them support, while also not gaining any new friends -- or respect -- from the Lib supporters. Really, is this rocket science?

 

Mobo2000

Fair comment jas - thanks, learning lots from this thread.   

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

BC NDP government will build Site C dam in order to defend Liberal tax cuts

Quote:

Today, in approving continued construction of the Site C dam, the BC NDP decided to proceed with an incredibly unpopular project - started by the hated Liberal government – bulldoze over the rights of indigenous peoples, and continue ecological devastation to the Peace River region. Premier Horgan defended the decision stating, “It’s clear that Site C should never have been started. But to cancel it would add billions to the Province’s debt – putting at risk our ability to deliver housing, child care, schools and hospitals for families across B.C. ” Further, he claimed that the $4 billion debt from money already spent and costs of remediation would result in “massive cuts to the services they (people) count on.”
 
Defending Liberal tax cuts
The fiscal impact of cancelling the dam is only unsustainable because the NDP won’t rescind Liberal tax cuts. By returning income tax rates on corporations and on those earning more than $100,000 a year to 1999 rates, the NDP government would have $5 billion more a year. This is money that could pay for the cancellation of the dam and for a just transition that would provide more well-paying unionized construction and other jobs than Site C will.
 
So much for UNDRIP
The Site C dam represents a major test of the government’s commitment to the principles of “free, prior and informed consent” as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The Site C dam is opposed by the Assembly of First Nations, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), the First Nations Summit, the West Moberly and Prophet River bands, and the other Treaty 8 First Nations. A few days before the announcement Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the UBCIC said that, “a project approval will represent a complete betrayal of First Nations and the vast majority of British Columbians who stand in steadfast opposition to the Site C dam project”
To help make their decision, the NDP cabinet requested six experts to meet with them. None were from an Indigenous organization, which further shows the government’s disregard for indigenous sovereignty.
 
The Greens are no alternative
After this betrayal by the NDP many will look to the BC Greens as an alternative. But this would be a shift to the right.
Remember, after the election it took the BC Greens’ caucus weeks to decide if it had more in common with the Liberals and their corporate backers or the NDP. The Greens are not on the side of workers. Andrew Weaver made this clear in comments on his website, "Ultimately, the BC NDP made a choice. They chose to eliminate the tolls on the Port Mann and Gold Ears bridges instead of cancelling Site C”. The Greens would have maintained these tolls, which result in penalizing working people with user fees, rather than increase taxes on the rich to pay for the cancellation of Site C.
On top of that, the BC Greens are playing just as cynical a game as the other parties. They could have made it clear that they would bring down the government if Site C was approved. The decision on the dam doesn’t need to go to the legislature, but the Greens could have promised to vote against the budget in February and trigger an election that would then be mainly about Site C. This would have added to the pressure on the NDP and might only give faint hope of canceling the project, but it would give hope. Instead the Greens will allow the government to stand and then oppose the NDP in the next election when any chance of stopping the dam is long gone.
 
The NDP continues to the right
By choosing to pit supporters of public services against Indigenous rights and a just transition, the NDP is pulling its supporters to the right. Unfortunately, until the NDP is willing to consider reversing the Liberal tax cuts, their supporters again and again will be asked to pit one social need against another. This is the politics of austerity.
Defending the NDP’s decision or supporting the Greens will move people to the right and will make it harder to fight for a just transition that can deal with the climate crisis while respecting indigenous rights, and improving living standards for all workers, including construction workers.
 
Political Cost
Just days before the announcement, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs promised, “With every court case, every delay, every budget lift, and every rate hike, we will remind British Columbians that it may have been the BC Liberals that got us into this mess, but it was the BC NDP who chose to abandon us there.”
It is urgent that the anger over this decision does not lead people into the arms of the Liberals or the Greens. There is no wedge between jobs and environment, nor between workers and the public good, only between the interests of big business and the wealthy against Indigenous rights and workers. Only in solidarity can labour, environmentalists, and Indigenous peoples fight for a political alternative that puts people before profit. We desperately need such a political alternative in BC.

jas

Good article. Thanks, Left Turn. Not sure I agree on the bridge tolls but I understand the point.

jas
jas

Horgan in a previous incarnation (video):

https://twitter.com/bjacobsc/status/938909172460003328?s=09

Pogo Pogo's picture

 The NDP government just nixed the Ajax copper mine proposal.

jas

I'm less concerned about the political responsibility of the Greens at this early point, but it's a good article.

... Who spends $9 billion on super-expensive electricity to protect B.C. Hydro ratepayers?

Yet this is precisely what the NDP wants its membership to believe. The true believers will swallow it but even NDP-leaning intellectuals, like the researchers at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, are shaking their heads in shock.

Weaver, the leader of the B.C. Greens, has also written a convincing repudiation of the Site C dam. He's been quick to point out that cost of this electricity will be far higher than power generated from other renewable sources.

B.C. Hydro's dams already offer the ability to store power, so there's no problem meeting peak demand, particularly when consumption is not going up. 

Weaver also knows that the world is moving to more distributed forms of power generation. This means that large-scale electricity monopolies like B.C. Hydro will no longer call all the shots in the 21st century. He recognizes that utility customers across North America will soon generate and store their own renewable electricity for use in peak periods.

This is thanks to great advances in storing renewable power, which will continue in the coming years. Authors David Suzuki and Ian Hanington covered some of these developments in their recent book, Just Cool It!, which focused on climate-change solutions.

Weaver supports a more distributed energy system. It provides resilience against extreme weather events and terrorism. He surely understands that there's no reason why municipal and regional governments can't also become suppliers of renewable electricity in the future.

Yet the B.C. Green leader won't remove Horgan's hands from the steering wheel of government, nor will rank and file New Democrats.

Does Andrew Weaver's response to Site C justify his removal as head of the B.C. Greens?

 

jas

Horgan said that “to cancel would add billions to the province’s debt — putting at risk our ability to deliver housing, child care, schools and hospitals for families across B.C.”

A government news release said cancelling Site C would cause a 12-per-cent increase in electricity rates; increase provincial debt from $44.6 to $48.6 billion; and force “massive cuts” to services.

Eliesen, who made three submissions to the British Columbia Utilities Commission’s inquiry on Site C, says none of that is true.

“The premier’s statements on debt accumulation and cuts to services are unconscionable and utter nonsense,” said Eliesen, who has worked in the industry for more than 40 years, serving as chair and CEO of Ontario Hydro, chair of Manitoba Hydro and chair and CEO of the Manitoba Energy Authority.

Rationale for Site C ‘Utter Nonsense,’ Says Former Hydro CEO

Confirmed by  Robert McCullough and Harry Swain, among others. Supporters should be concerned when the NDP uses false facts to approve or push through a destructive agenda. But fake Mother Hubbard threats should be particularly reviled. If anything threatens future NDP budgets, it's sinking more billions over years into a proven provincial money hole.

Rev Pesky

Well, there's one interesting thing. The 'greens' in BC are the only greens in the world opposed to renewable, sustainable, fossil-fuel free electricity.

Here's a little exercise for those who want to know the difference between electricity when it's available (wind, solar, etc.), and electricity when it's demanded (hydro, fossil-fuel, nuclear).

How many devices in BC, of what electrical draw, are run by automatic systems. that is, air conditioning, or freezers, or electric heaters? How would you accommodate those devices within a electrical generation system with varying output?

jas

Here's some simple economics on why you don't build megadams.

"[W]e will get unneeded electricity at a borrowed money cost of about $11 billion -- or about $125 per MWhr -- when the open market wholesale price in western North America [will likely remain] about $35 per MWhr, a third of the cost of electricity from Site C.” - Erik Andersen

Fight on dam not over: Nikiforuk

Rev Pesky

Residential rate in San Fransisco these days is USD $153.40 mwh. That is the standard rate throughout California.