Friday, February 19, 2010

Peak Oil, Peak Water, Peak Food!!! Who Cares?

Peak Oil! Who cares? We’ve got solar, wind, bio fuels, geothermal… Energy is not the issue. Peak Water? The World is 70% water… Water is not the issue. Peak Food? 1% of our population can feed the World... Food is not the issue. What concerns me is that it’s our system of greed, corruption and racial indifference that has caused these problems and many others to exist. It’s not these issues themselves; it’s what caused them that needs to change, now!

Terrorism!? That’s a big one right? NO! The chances of dying from a terrorist attack are about the same as getting struck by lightning. Although, since we’ve been occupying, bombing and terrorizing Islamic countries and their people for oil and other resources, they are beginning to retaliate.

Every Dictator, Despot and Tyrant throughout history has used fear to force through their agenda. Since 9-11 it’s been in the name of ‘security’ that we are losing our rights due to fear. Not just Americans, all of us. Notice the cameras around your cities and towns filming your every move, inside and outside? Every time you go to the airport/border crossing your personal rights are violated, yet someone on a watch list can board a plane with a bomb in his boxer shorts! Time and time again media companies, phone companies, internet providers and social networking sites have been found to be giving your personal information to governments and/or corporations, always justified by security reasons. Yet security always seems to be mysteriously lacking in places you'd most expect to find it…

The US government has been implementing dictators and oppressive regimes to force through their agenda around the world for years, and it continues to do so... The ‘School of the Americas’ in Fort Benning, Georgia (the US State, not the Country) now called the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation” has had to publicly release its training manuals. They advocate torture, extortion and execution. Among the SOA's nearly 60,000 graduates are notorious dictators Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia (check out Honduras is its most recent victim. The June 28, 2009 coup was carried out by Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, the head of the of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Honduran military and by Gen. Luis Prince Suazo, the head of the Air Force, both graduates of the SOA (or WHISC).

The Iraq war has just been re-branded “Operation New Dawn.” Of course it has, you don’t build a US base in Iraq the size of the Vatican City (one of 700 foreign bases world wide) for a billion dollars and then leave! Obama’s already added Pakistan and Yemen to his list of countries to wage pre-emptive war on (Yes, Iran is next… Syria maybe... Don't forget North Korea). The ‘War on Terror’ would more aptly be called the ‘War on Islam'. It is a war of terror and it creates Terrorists. Just imagine for a second that Iran came over to help us out of the “terrible oppression” we’re receiving from our government. To do this they send out troops in the middle of the night to kick down our doors, take us to detention centers without cause, and then torture us, indefinitely, without trial. Then one day we get released without explanation, to find out our fathers, mothers, and siblings all died in detention centers and drone attacks while we were incarcerated. What would you do? Not so fun fact: 30% of US relief donation money goes to the US military.

Half of Obama’s administration (like all administrations) once worked in the private sector, and will return to it when they’re done at the White House… How many laws can they pass before they get back to business making money off those laws? (eg. Dick Cheney and Halliburton). Many in the current US administration should be in jail for tax evasion, fraud, corruption, or human rights abuses. But instead of jail time they’re offered powerful government jobs. That is an issue.

For the last 200 years we’ve been destroying our rain forests; extracting and burning oil and other fossil fuels; mining; poisoning our crops, rivers and lakes with pesticides and other toxic chemicals; filling our landfills and Oceans with plastic; and watching billions of species disappear in an instant, relatively. During that same period our scientists have watched in dismay as the CO2 levels have gone off the charts; higher than they’ve been before, ever! Our glaciers are melting away thousands of years before natural global trends predict… Still, 35% of North Americans don’t believe in human-caused Climate Change! Stop taking Big Oil funded news seriously and think for your selves, have a look at your world! Massive flooding, Ice cap melting, devastating tropical, etc storms are now frequent occurrences, they're only getting worse. If we didn't cause this, what did?

Over the last 40 years, as inflation and has skyrocketed (think houses and food prices) and privatization has increased dramatically, real wages have gone down, way down! Ever notice that it used to be (about 40 years ago) that only one parent worked and that was usually enough for a family of up to 4 or 5? Now typically both parents have full time jobs, yet you’re broke? That is an issue.

I live in Canada, one of the richest countries in the world. We have Oil, Water, fish, trees, Gold, immense farm land, Hydro, Geothermal, etc… And our unemployment rates are going up, our houses are unaffordable, are taxes are too high and our middle class is disappearing and our national deficit is once again rising... Something truly isn’t right here! Why is it that our government is so convinced privatizing our natural resources and letting corporations make all the profits from them is a good idea for our country, or why any country would favor privatization for that matter!? (They often don't, but must because because of imposed by IMF loan obligations) Those should be our profits! Every Canadian could have free Dental, Medical, optical, etc. Canada (and many other countries) could be out of debt, instead of sinking farther into it...

The majority of animal farms are now factory style, complete with all the torture, humiliation, and abuses of Guantanamo Bay prison (and countless secret/covert CIA prisons around the world Obama’s not trying to shut down). It doesn’t have to be like this, it’s just cheaper this way. This is what happens when profits trump everything else. Do we really want our food industry run this way? What about health care, education, environmentally damaging natural resource companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc run by a profit-first ideology?

Private contractors (or mercenaries) who seem to have been given some sort of international immunity, now outnumber foreign troops in Iraq. US private contractor Blackwater, now called Xe (say “Zeee”) still has multi million dollar contracts there. This after their license to operate in Iraq was revoked (for the Nisoor Square incident where they killed 17 innocent people (and not one terrorist)). And, their CEO Erik Prince has been revealed to be a white supremacist, who defends and justifies senseless abuses and killings. Still wondering why the Taliban don’t want us interfering in their country!? (Make no mistake, the Taliban are terrible for woman and peasants in Afghanistan, were just no better...). Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill has spent many years documenting US tax payer-sponsored private contractors at War and the injustices they frequently commit to occupied countries and US citizens alike.

Over many years, before the Earthquake, Haiti became the poorest nation in the western hemisphere due to 'Free Trade' agreements, illegal debt and embargoes... and a couple of US sponsored military coups. If you think we’re there to help this time, you’re more optimistic than me... Check out Avi Lewis’s (Steven Lewis’s Son, Naomi Klein’s husband) most recent documentary “The Politics of Rebuilding Haiti”. He’s recently back from Haiti with a profound view of the next Shock Doctrine.

Since capitalism took route, most countries in the world have gone into debt (long before the financial meltdown). Yet corporations and their CEOs keep posting record profits. Again, those should be our profits. I’m not even sure capitalism is the enemy, just unregulated, ‘Free Market’ capitalism. With social programs and local infrastructure, regulated capitalism may actually work. But someone with no possible benefit to themselves must investigate and police it...

Why is it that we haven’t been told the truth by your “Trusted, fair and balanced” news? The fact is you can’t get the complete news if your news is funded by profit-based corporations. Think FOX, CBS, NBC, CTV, CNN, etc. (no adds, no news). Halliburton obviously has its own agenda... You can’t get your news from the Government, think CBC, BBC, etc. (No Government funding, no news) they obviously have their own agenda. (Don’t get me wrong, I like some of the above stations and newscasts, it’s just that they can’t tell you everything they know about certain subjects, and some or them straight up lie... If they did, they’d be out of business…). Notice that as the CBC criticizes and satire’s Canada’s Conservative government more and more, Steven Harper cuts their funding?

Genuine, REAL news can not be corporation or government funded. It must be donation funded, independent, people-sponsored media. Luckily for us, it exists! Watch ‘Democracy Now’ with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales daily @ Doubt some/most of what I've written? Watch DNow! along with your regular news, then decide.

Here’s what you can do now: You can start buying Fair Trade, organic, free range, non-factory farm food (if you can afford it). Better yet, buy from your local farmer or farmer’s market (before they cease to exist). Plant a garden, compost, recycle, avoid plastics, drive less, walk more, get outside…

Have any money in a bailed out bank? Let them know you won’t support that kind of deceit. Take your money out and put it in a credit union!

Still wealthy enough to have some stocks? Wow, the power you have!!! Now’s the time to have a good look at your portfolio. Have any stocks in Big Oil? (Shell, Esso, Exxon, etc). Sorry to break this to you, but those are your oil sands and repressive regimes. Sell those stocks! Any stocks in Big Sugar? Those are your slave wages in the cane fields of Haiti. Get rid of them! Have any stocks in Monsanto, Halliburton, Pfizer, etc? Sell those stocks! Have any stocks in a company that has lied to you? Steals from the weak? Made you rich while others suffered? Sell those stocks! Take that cash and invest in something good for the Earth and its people! The good you can do!

Do those things – it’s one of the only powers we have as consumers. We let them know we want it; eventually they have to create it… Eventually.

But what we really need is CHANGE!!!! Not a couple ‘constitutional amendments’ to US Government policies, but a total change of system, GLOBAL system change. We need to change from a system that cares about the rich, to a system that cares about all of us. Politics, lobbyists and big money control our world superpowers (and thus the rest of us). 1% of the world controls 99% of the wealth. They have the money, but we’ve got the people. We’re all in this together. Secretary and police man, engineer and soldier, trucker and pilot, teacher and lawyer, doctor and social worker, Foreman and laborer, rich and poor. It’s only those at the very top (and their system) that are the enemy. The rest of us are all on the same side!

It’s time for a revolution, a peaceful protest of mass proportions. I know you’re still relatively comfortable, most of you anyways (I obviously don’t know anyone in Haiti, the Congo, Pakistan, Gaza, Sri Lanka…). But when it gets bad enough for us to care, it’s not going to matter. Look at Burma, Iran, Tibet. By the time people are so fed up with injustice and corruption, it’s always too late. They protest, get arrested and jailed or disappeared... or publicly executed. Let's protest before it gets to that point!

Around the world, in every country, if you’re unhappy with the way your country is headed/run, show up at your government offices, and stay! True, peaceful dissent. I mention peaceful because again, we’re all in this together. It’s not the police, shop owners or passersby who are to blame, don’t hurt the innocent! Those who are to blame will be in secure offices far away from the streets and our protests, but if we’re large enough, for enough time, they’ll have to change. Rioting never helps a situation; it only turns the public against the cause. Bring cameras and mobile phones as protection, not shields and weapons! Lets make this LOCAL, everywhere! New York to London, Delhi to Shanghai, Toronto to Johannesburg, Rio to Reykjavík…

We’ll stay until real, transformational, binding agreements are reached (and enforced) concerning Climate Change (think 350ppm). We’ll stay until the huge injustices going on through ‘Free’ Trade agreements, World Bank / IMF loans and sanctions are resolved. We’ll stay until the salary caps are put back to a rate where the CEO of a company is capped at no more than 20 times the wage of their lowest paid employee. We’ll stay until corporations are not given the same rights as people, We’ll stay until every country in the world provides Universal health care to it's citizens. We’ll stay until vaccines and medications are available to all those who want them, free of charge; We’ll stay until companies can not be considered `too big to fail`. We’ll stay until the people running our financial system aren’t rewarded with bonuses and cash incentives for causing world financial meltdowns. We’ll stay until school is free the world over, and going to university doesn’t put you in debt for life; We’ll stay until mass murderers like Dick Cheney, Bush Sr and W, Donald Rumsfeld, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Tony Blair, Benjamin Netanyahu, etc are tried in a just and fair global court of law. We’ll stay until farmers and fisherman are paid a fair price for their goods. We’ll stay until teachers and nurses are paid a fair wage. We’ll stay until Police and Politicians are paid fairly enough that accepting bribes isn’t worth their while… and we’ll stay until fraud and corruption are punished in a manner severe enough to suit the crime (jail). We’ll stay until oil companies and other big businesses aren’t given tax cuts and huge incentives to come and steal our resources, while poisoning the Earth and lying to us about it. We’ll stay until the people have a voice, not a buy able figurehead. This may all sound a little crazy... But it's what needs to get done if those ruling our world are ever going to hear us. It's time.


Craig Cooper
British Columbia, Canada

P.S. If you haven’t been able to get a hold of me lately it’s because of the above article. You see, through recently passed laws writing something like this (a truthful and honest portrayal of our current situation) is seen as a threat to the State, and makes me a ‘potential terrorist’, thus suspending my rights until proven innocent. (So much for freedom of speech). I have probably been abducted in a joint CIA – CSIS mission and I was more than likely taken to a secret prison in a country known to employ harsh interrogation techniques. This practice is known as Extraordinary Rendition and it has been used over 3000 times since 2003. Canadian Maher Arar is a good example. Although seized at a US airport and tortured for 10 months in Syria he has since been proven to be innocent and the US House of Representatives has had to apologize to him. I imagine it went something like 'Oops, sorry. Wish we could tell you this won’t happen again…'. Obama promised to end this terrible abuse of human rights during his campaign. But then, he also promised to revoke the Patriot Act and he touted single payer health care too. So far he has done the opposite on all accounts (no, not because of the Senate being clogged up in filibuster (which it is)). He’s escalated Extraordinary Rendition and continues to use the Patriot Act to justify citizen rights abuses. Single payer (“Universal”) health care wasn’t even discussed in his health care reform proposals…

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Asian culture, and then, not so much... July 21, 2004

It's amazing what you can get used to traveling in Asia... and what you can learn. I've realized that a family's 100cc scooter can hold the same amount of people as a family sedan back home (4-6 people), I've also realized that a Toyota Camry (the taxi of choice here in Cambodia) is actually an eight person vehicle (4 in the back, 2 in the passenger seat,and yes, two more in the driver's seat!). It's probably more like a twelve person vehicle if owned by a family, although I haven't had the pleasure of that experience yet, I've only seen it! Scooters, on the other hand, can also double as pickup trucks (although an umbrella must be carried in the front to keep out the rain). They can carry 20 or so chickens, 2 or 3 full size pigs, a year's supply of rice, etc... you should see what they can carry when a trailer is attached!

I've also realized that while picking your teeth with a toothpick is a disgusting (though absolutely necessary for all) procedure which must be covered up by your free hand, picking your nose is totally acceptable, anytime, anywhere, no covering up necessary! The only person who can 'hawck' a bigger and louder 'luggie' than a man, is his beautiful 25 year old wife or their 7 year old daughter! Any guest house that supplies toilet paper, an en suite toilet/shower, sheets and a towel is a pretty classy joint! Speaking of joints, any restaurant that offers 'happy' food (shakes, omelets, pizza) and doesn't have a sign saying 'no drugs!' clearly posted, has paid off the police, and probably sells pot behind the bar, or may even offer up a joint free of charge if you buy a beer (for about 75 cents!).

Other things I've noticed are that: whoever says that roosters only crow when dawn breaks is a liar! (they start at 3AM and go straight through till 11PM); If your bus driver remembers to honk his horn while passing on a blind corner, up a hill at 90 kilometers per hour, you think to yourself, wow, what a safe and courteous driver! Dogs and cats, chickens and ducks, goats and cows all agree that the middle of the road is the best place to lie down for a mid-afternoon siesta (the cars and trucks do usually seem to avoid them). I no longer think the guy carrying a jar full of bugs is going fishing, but wonder if his bugs taste as good (and if their legs are as crunchy) as the scorpion I had a while back on Khoa San Road. Speaking of Khoa San Road, the frequent bulge in 'girl's' skirts is no longer a surprise (and no!, that is not speaking from a personal experience!). And finally, any bus journey which doesn't end in a break down or with the person beside you vomiting up their lunch, is a blessing for which Buddha should be thanked!

I'm even getting so used to people yelling at me from across the street to buy their books, or scarves, fruit, transport, etc that I'm actually beginning to enjoy their cheekiness... The kids are the best though, besides being a little annoying sometimes, they're often quite funny and damn smart too! Another traveller I met up with told me of one of his favourite street seller encounters... ten year old kid: "mister, you wan buy my poscar?", Traveller: "no, thank you", "you buy my poscar!", "no, thank you, I don't need any post cards!", "look, good poscars, nice pitture of Ankor Wat!", "Ummm, do you know if this is the road to Ta Prohm Temple?" (traveller trying to change the subject) "why you no buy my poscar?", "I already told you (getting angry now) I don't want any postcards!", "what the capital of Madagascar?, you don't know, you buy my poscar!" (pretty good eh?), "What's the capital of Peru, you don't know, you give me the post card for free!", "Lima" said the kid without even a pause, "now, you buy my postcard!". Defeated (and a little awed and amused), he ended up buying a post card...

However, no matter how much you (or at least I) can get used to, six months of rice, noodles and soup eaten to crappy (you'd agree) Chinese or Thai Karaoke music or an old and dubbed Jean Claude Van Dam Kung Fu movie can get extremely monotonous and annoying, who wants fried rice for breakfast... again?! So, when I walked by a Canadian owned cafe the other day playing Sarah McLaughlin music and offering up a full English breakfast for $4.50 (probably the most I've paid for any breakfast my entire time here), I had to have it! It was fantastic (real sausages, buttered toast (not just untoasted white bread), real hash browns), sooo good! I was soon joined by some fellow travelers who together with me in the next twelve hours managed to polish off 3 bottles of french wine, mashed potatoes and gravy, rum and coke (all virtually impossible to find in the other countries I've visited so far) all the while listening to anything we wanted (Sarah Harmer, James Brown, The Clash...) and losing about$3 in a great game of 'Texas holdem' poker, a good way to ease the homesickness.

In the two weeks since then I've satisfied every craving I've had for the last 6 months: cheese (Camembert - I couldn't believe I found that) and crackers, a beautiful steak cooked to perfection, pasta, salads, it may not sound like much to you, but it's been amazing to me, oh so good! I also managed to fit in some local specialities here on the coast of Sihanoukville and Kep in the last couple of days, pepper fried and grilled crab, lobster, fresh fish dishes and some fantastic spring rolls, it's been a couple weeks of culinary joy! Now I'm off to Bangkok to try out some more street stall food, those grubs were looking good last time I was through...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Save Our Democracy

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news lately I’m sure you’ve noticed that our media is in trouble. Newspapers have laid off extraordinary amounts of staff, some are folding altogether or filing for bankruptcy, and once again the CBC, our national independent public broadcaster is being forced to cut jobs.

Why bother with newspapers and why should you care about the CBC when you can get all your news online for free anyway? For one, it’s newspapers and the media that pay investigative journalists to research and break stories. Without funds to employ journalists, stories won’t be researched and we the voting public will remain un-informed. Without local, independent and non-partisan media; democracy is ineffective. For our democracy to function properly the country needs its citizens to be educated on local and international news. To vote properly we have to be able to make informed decisions, with a clear view of our potential representatives’ policies. We need fair and balanced media.

By trying to remove the per-vote subsidy in last year’s budget, Stephen Harper essentially tried to destroy his opponent’s political parties. Now Harper’s trying to attack our democracy by destroying the CBC, our public broadcaster! At least the Harper government is considering plans to bailout big media corporations like CanWest and CTV, but still he’s insisting on starving the CBC of funds. The Conservative minority government is turning down the CBC’s request for a loan and cutting the CBC’s parliamentary grant this year. This is forcing the CBC and Radio Canada to drastically cut over 800 jobs, as well as programming. We fight wars the world over in the name of Democracy, why are we standing by while our own is attacked!?

For a long time, the CBC has been forced to rely on advertising for a percentage of its revenue, making it carry American rather than Canadian shows, and focus on commercial rather than cultural content. This is part of a long term strategy to eventually privatize and sell off the CBC.

Among western industrialized nations, Canada is near the bottom when it comes to investing in public broadcasting. The global average is $80 per citizen and countries like Great Britain, Germany and Norway invest even more. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has recognized this and called for a minimal increase to $40 (we’re now at about $33 per citizen).

So, what can you do? Well you can start by telling your MP their treatment of the CBC and local media outlets will affect your vote come election time by simply writing them or by checking out this link: at the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting website. There’s also a petition you can sign at

Craig Cooper
Golden, BC

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The G-20's US$ 1.1 Trillion 'Rescue Plan'

So, the G-20 met in London on April 2nd and managed to agree on two things: that they would contribute US$1.1 Trillion to tackle the global financial crisis and that they would attempt to bring wider global regulation of hedge funds and credit-rating agencies. Well the increased regulation I agree with, but what about all that cash? Half of the rescue fund will go to re-capitalizing the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a quarter will go to boost world trade, another $250 billion will go to a new IMF overdraft facility, and the last US$100 billion will go to assisting International Development banks in lending to poor countries.

First of all, let’s take a look at who the G-20 are: They are the finance ministers and central bank governors along with the leaders of 20 of the world's largest national economies. In addition to these 20 members, the following forums and institutions also participate in the G-20 meetings: The Chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee; the European Central Bank; the Managing Director of the IMF; the chairman of Development Committee of the IMF and the World Bank, and the President of the World Bank.

Now, considering the IMF and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are represented by so many different entities in the G-20, it’s no real surprise they came out as the big winners, taking almost the entire rescue fund. Maddening though, considering it’s their poor regulation and unremitting trust in the ‘free’ market that were at the heart of the global financial crisis in the first place!

According to the G-20’s official website, together its member countries represent around 90 per cent of global gross national product, 80 per cent of world trade as well as two-thirds of the world's population. If my math is correct, that leaves one-third of our global population (the poorest third), or about 2.25 billion people unrepresented!

OK, that’s not so bad is it? The G-20 are there to help the rest of the world aren’t they? The IMF lends money to help out poor countries in need, don’t they!? Well, no actually. Instead of giving poorer countries the grants or donations they need, the IMF loans to impoverished countries come with high interest rates. The IMF’s role is then the credit communities ‘enforcer’, calling in debts that countries can never afford to pay, so they attach rules to the loans. If you take a look at the IMF and WTO’s horrendous record, you’ll find that they have two sets of lending rules; one for us in the richest countries in the world, and a separate set of rules for the poorest countries:

Here are the main “instructions” to 3rd world countries:

1. Pay off your debts ASAP!
2. Privatize (so we rich countries can pick up your assets and companies cheap)
3. Raise interest rates (to pay off your debt)
4. Increase taxes and cutback public services.

And the IMF’s “advice” to Western countries?

1. Borrow more money and pay it back when you can
2. Nationalize, but without control (bailout companies intact, with taxpayer money)
3. Lower interest rates (to boost our economy).

In order for the IMF to lend out ‘financial aid’ to poor countries, those countries must accept Free Trade, while we rich countries embrace protectionism! So that’s it, our honorable (indeed, very question-able) leader’s biggest breakthrough at the recent G-20, helping out the very people that caused the crisis and created global impoverishment! This is what happens when the rich countries are the only ones allowed to decide how the world should be run…

Monday, March 23, 2009

Do Not Eliminate the Navigable Waters Protection Act

So, I hear the The Federal Government is meeting with municipalities and with the provinces to sell them this idea of gutting the NWPA under the pretext of saving the economy!? Not only will eliminating the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) affect our right to recreational travel on Canadian waterways but it also has the potential to reverse the effectiveness of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act!

The economy will eventually make a come back on it's own, the environment however is already so badly bruised it may not! Further destruction of our environment may be the answer to helping big business which I'm aware Mr Harper is your biggest concern, but it's not the answer for Canada or the World at large. Quit doing the business the way George Bush did for the last eight years, he's done enough damage, without your continuing help. He's finally out, and so too will you be!


Craig Cooper
Golden, BC

A letter to Stephen Harper - Sent to Stephen Harper on Wed, 12/10/08.

Excuse me sir, but I (along with most Canadians) firmly disagree with you on your stance on the per-vote subsidy! First and foremost, this is Canada , not the USA ! No matter how much you'd like Canada to privatize everything, our elections and votes cannot be bought! I think the entire idea of doing things the American way is very much a step in the wrong direction. The fact is that asking Canadians to donate to political parties (that are already paid for in our taxes) out of our own pockets is crazy. It’s just making Canadians pay for the elections a second time (we’ll be paying the same amount in taxes whether that subsidy is there or not). With American elections it always seems that he who raises the most money, has the funds to campaign the most and thus gets the vote. The last thing the world needs is another country doing things that way! That is not Democracy! I completely disagree with you when you suggest that raising funds via large numbers of small donors (or corporate donors I'm sure) is better than the per-vote subsidies we already have in place. I also completely disagree with you when you said that "The public firmly supports the government's position on the political subsidy" in your interview with Peter Mansbridge on 'The National' last night. It's exactly these type of comments that put you at odds with the majority of Canadians, you just don't get it! By the way, how are those people doing who took your advice when you said they had 'good investment opportunities' during your election campaign? Wake up! Listen to the voters and make some conscious decisions!


Craig Cooper
Golden , BC

Privatized Hydro in BC

I've recently been doing some research (feel free to do your own at any of the 15 websites I've listed at the end of this email) and I cannot for the life of me figure out why my government is quietly giving away the rights to our public rivers for private power production to corporations through EPAs? I hereby ask that the government cancel the BC Energy Plan and its restrictions on public power development. I also request that you cancel private power water licenses, and cancel the BC Hydro-Accenture contract (which saw 1500 public employees outsourced to a private multi-national consulting firm along with some 'housecleaning' at BC Hydro).

Not only is new private river power significantly driving up our power bills, but this policy (that I've never been given the chance to debate thanks to Bill 30 ('the Ashlu Bill' which was pushed through provincial parliament after the local government heeded public outcry about the privatization of the Ashlu River) which strips local municipalities of their zoning authority over independent private power) threatens our environment, economy and society as a whole.

In case you happen to be in the dark (or in denial) about this issue, here's what I have discovered... The BC Energy Plan of 2003 is such: The BC government gives away the rights to our rivers for virtually nothing (a paltry $5-10 thousand dollars a river), and gets the public to finance (through our taxes) the private facilities and commit to purchase the power from the private companies at exorbitant rates and at the end of that process (20-40 years) the private company owns the river rights and the infrastructure and can sell their power to whomever they want for whatever price they want... forever (IPPs do need to renew the river license after the EPA contract is over, but by owning the infrastructure it is highly likely that successive governments would have to renew the IPP's licenses). The approval of these projects through government contracts is called an EPA or Energy Purchase Agreement. After the EPA's process is complete in 20- 40 years, BC Hydro has no guaranteed access to the power produced by the independent power projects or IPP's. Essentially saying that in 20-40 years California could be deciding how much we pay for our power {currently power in California is five times more expensive than what we pay here in BC [due to their enthusiasm for privatization (for-profit resources)]} from the power plants on our rivers, which they will then own! How could we possibly let this be!?

The trend toward private power appears to bear no benefit for us citizens of BC or the rest of Canada besides limited access to new short term jobs in construction and road building and very few long term jobs (these power projects will be highly automated, creating as little as one permanent job at some IPPs) as well as slightly raising our GDP. According to Carol James of the NDP there also “may be some independent power projects that actually make sense where it's a real partnership, where the resources are going to first nations communities, not to an independent company that's making a profit for their shareholders and takes those resources out of British Columbia" (Voice of B.C., 2 Oct. 2008) . Why are we doing this!? The BC Energy Plan has forbidden our profitable public utility - BC Hydro - from doing its job of growing our green power assets and instead forced our utility to write extraordinarily overpriced purchase orders to buy power from private hands making power with our money and our rivers. Currently BC Power produces power at about $5 per megawatt hour. It sells it back to us the consumers at $65/mwh, and sells to large industry at $35mwh (everybody gets a good deal here, while BC power still makes a significant profit). Through EPAs and their IPPs, BC power now has to buy power at up to $85/mwh (an incredible amount more than the $5 they can create it for themselves and significantly more than they sell it back to us (at the present moment that is)). I just don't get it; I don't see a single justifiable reason to do this? Does this have to do with TILMA, NAFTA, or SPP obligations? If that is so, get us out of those agreements!

These rivers are ours, not corporations, not property of any other country, but our own! What are you doing!? BC hydro has been doing a great job of providing sustainable green power to us all since BC's first Premier W.A.C. Bennett created BC Hydro in the 50's. Furthermore, as we have all seen before, when things get privatized (for profit), accountability seems to go out the window in exchange for profits (which will profit corporations, not Canadian citizens).

What we have been told by our government about our energy supply has now also been proven to be untrue. We import small amounts of power because we can, not because we have to! We buy it from our neighbors when the deals are good, and then because of our big dams and excess power we can sell it back to them at higher prices when their demand is high. We choose to do this because it is profitable! These profits bring hundreds of millions of dollars a year to our province for health care and education. Our public power is virtually perfect and has been working just fine for years, why destroy it!?

While private river power is promoted as "green", the reality is these projects cause massive damage to BC's watersheds and wilderness: cutting carbon-absorbing trees for power lines and roads, and diverting up to 90% of a river's flow through miles of pipe (where is the so called 'run of the river'!?). These small private river projects are destroying numerous rivers throughout our province, while there is an excess of the power that we already produce!

Tourism is a growing industry in our province. Destroying our creeks and rivers used for canoeing and kayaking as well as endangering many animals through deforestation and habitat encroachment is only going to hurt this industry and our reputation around the world. In this era of global warming and conflict over shrinking natural resources, maintaining control of these natural resources is now the most important challenge facing most countries of the world! Eliminate private renewable energy licenses NOW and keep our power public and 'green'!

The people of BC are currently the owners of one of the finest, greenest, most profitable public electricity systems in the world. Save our rivers and our renewable energy assets! You are not accountable to the rich multinational corporations who are trying to steal our natural resources! You, the elected people of our democratic country must be accountable to us, the very people who put you in power!


Craig Cooper
Golden, BC

A List of some of the ongoing Hydro-electric IPPs in BC:
1. Big Silver Creek Waterworks project
2. Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project
3. Cascade Heritage Power Project
4. East Toba River Montrose Creek Hydroelectric project
5. Europa Creek Hydroelectric
6. Forest Kerr Hydroelectric project
7. Glacier/Howser project
8. Hawkeye Energy Corporation Green Energy Grid Project
9. Klinaklini Hydroelectric project
10. Kwoiek Creek hydroelectric project
11. McGregor/Herrick Hydroelectric project
12. Nascall River Hydroelectric Project
13. Pingston Creek Hydroelectric project
14. Ryan River Hydro Project
15. Shovel Creek Waterpower Project
16. Statlu Creek Waterpower Project
17. Stl'ixwim Renewable Energy Initiative
18. Tretheway Creek Waterpower Project
19. Upper Harrison Water Power project
20. Upper Pitt River Power project
21. Upper Toba Valley Hydroelectric Project

List of BC groups working on this issue:

BC Citizens for Public Power:
BC Creek Protection Society:
Canoe Kayak BC:
COPE 378 - Take Back the Power Campaign:
Burke Mountain Naturalists:
Private Power Watch:
Outdoor Recreation Council of BC:
RainCoast Conservation Foundation:
Save Our Rivers Society:
T. Buck Suzuki Foundation:
Watershed Watch Salmon Society:
West Kootenay Ecosociety:
Wilderness Commitee:
White Water Kayaking Association of BC:
The Council of Canadians: