Goose and Gander

Gary Bendig


The Richmond News had this somewhere in its folds as pointed out by Coins. Harold Steves. This sort of solution to energy needs has been floated hereabouts as well following some visits to the Ocean Discovery Centre a decade ago. This system is essentially a rather large heating/cooling exchange system (an oversized heat pump) based on the rather constant temperature of soil below the surface, or, in this case, water that is in a body large enough that it doesn’t freeze. Even at low temperatures, there is enough energy to extract that it’s worth the cost of pumping and exchange to heat and/or cool a building, or, as in the Richmond case, a whole neighbourhood. An early-on interview with the ODC in Sidney elicited the cost of the upgrade being less than $1m and the payback being on the order of five years, with the additional benefit of providing copious quantities of Saanich Inlet sea water to maintain the various life forms constituting the displays at the centre on top of the HVAC energy for the retail and residential units that make up the bulk of the structure.

Sadly, the idea has landed consistently with the same dull thud of a river rock landing in a bed of shoe-sucking mud with the seeming perspective that we can’t have a district heating initiative without burning something, a kind of tunnel vision that often accompanies the senescent attitude that seems to pervade most of the apparatus of local government and often seems to spread like a plague to the youngers as they move toward olders in association with those self-same olders. Steves seems to have avoided this altogether, having, if I’m not mistaken, been one of the early proponents of the ALR back in1972, and seemingly having kept that fresh perspective right up to the present, thereby earning the designation of Elder rather than older, as distinguished by a large dollop of accumulated wisdom.

Couns. Steves cites this as a reason to put a stake through the black heart of the Site C project. wherein he once again lands on the right side of history. Bravo, and good on him for doing what he can to ensure that there will be further history on whose right side there will be a place for those who follow in his footsteps.


Blow Back

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash


The following headline showed up in my Twitter feed this morning:

Local economic impacts would be considerable if Site C

is cancelled: Chamber President

…and you can go to the source here (it was posted by Integrity BC)

The crux of the matter is that there will be a loss of revenue to those providing service to the work site/project and that layoffs will ensue, should the project be cancelled. Yes, there will likely be some of that, though a principled and aware government would be taking steps to mitigate the negative effects by redirecting that portion of the embedded costs to local business for other work that might be deemed in the public interest, and some form of development, if properly thought through, would almost always be appropriate for the region. However, we have to ask ourselves whether any of the local leadership was paying attention as the plans for this project moved forward. The exclusion of the Utilities Commission from any review should have been a red flag, and certainly when the then-Premier spoke of pushing the project past the point of no return, hackles ought to have been fully deployed with the message loud and clear that this was perhaps a politically motivated boondoggle and that those who put their faith in it were those who would be abetting a scheme to defraud taxpayers and ratepayers of substantial sums for decades to come. The documentation was always there, though it might have taken some chasing beyond the confines of Global News or the PostMedia crowd.

The logical course of action now for the Nabobs of the North is to work with Victoria to wind down this project and remediate the entirety of the damages while developing strategies to ensure that an appropriate package of development funds will be earmarked and distributed to northern communities to ensure that they will be equal participants in whatever prosperity flows from the ongoing business of the whole province. Let’s stop making problems to fix, let’s work to ensure that everyone gets a fair shake in an economy that isn’t run for the benefit of large corporate donors to the party of “free enterprise” (and insults in the legislature).


They Papered Paradise

Along with the revelation that finance minister Bill Morneau had neglected to put his business dealings in a blind trust (and that he wasn’t the only minister to lag on that front by a long shot), the release of the Paradise Papers has a lot of Canadians hopping mad, including some on the opposition benches who, when they were in government, seemed quite content to sign deals with fiscal havens (in French, they are called Paradis Fiscaux, perhaps explaining the moniker Paradise Papers), but who have since developed and honed a sense of outrage that, of course, overlooks their own underhanded behaviour.

It can’t be worth a lot of time and resources to investigate this stuff under the current legal and fiscal statutes because, of course, it’s all perfectly legal, and therein lies the rub. This set of laws is like a get-out-of-jail-free card for those who whispered in the legislative ear to get the enabling legislation enacted. So, not a crime, but certainly this all flies in the face of any rhetoric about saving whatever social class other than those who can muster the resources to hire the legal beagles who will set up your off-shore shell companies in which you can shelter the rest of your massive fortune. Likely, this is neither thee nor me.

If you voted for either the current government or the previous government (today’s “opposition”, you are an enabler. If you didn’t vote, you are an enabler. tacit approval being much like an active imprimatur.

Let the louts in Ottawa (Victoria, Edmonton, etc.) know that you want at least a level playing field, legally, fiscally, socially. Do it starting now with a curt note to your MP and MLA, and to the likely candidates of all the opposition parties. Do be rude and bring this up at coffee and at the dinner table, and mention it to the pastor and elders in church this Sunday, as well as to your hockey team and your mother-in-law.