BC Utilities Commission Snub A Lesson for All

British Columbians owe a great debt of gratitude to the premier, Christy Clark and Energy Minister Rich Coleman for the bold action of their Liberal government this week.

Not because they OVERRULED the BC Utilities Commission and DIRECTED  it to set the increase in Hydro rates at 17% over the next three years … but because they EXPOSED  for all to see the BIG LIE that so-called “INDEPENDENT” Commissions of various kinds and Crown Corporations of EVERY KIND in British Columbia are “INDEPENDENT” when it really comes down to it.

No more can Clark and her Cabinet ministers of any portfolio legitimately dodge responsibility and even comment on actions taken by those they have appointed by PRETENDING those appointees or boards or commissions are “independent” and can’t be interfered with or directed by government.


The move by the BC government in the case of the BC Utilities Commission stinks in so many ways.

None of us want to see our rates go up … but the mature, responsible way to evaluate the future needs of the province is by having an “independent” commission to take BC Hydro’s wish list, examine it, question it, analyse it and pare it down wherever possible, while assuring neither the utility nor the province (the taxpayers) go into deep future debt by failing to adequately cover future growth/expenses.

Unless you lead a failing, faltering government that must go to the polls in less than a year! 

 Then, apparently it’s okay to kick the “independent” commission to the curb, order an arbitrary-chosen limit on  cost increases over the next three years  … while, at the same by the way, limiting the price boost in the next year (BEFORE THE ELECTION!) to only 1.44 per cent … and then letting Hydro sock it to us AFTER we vote for another 15 per cent or so in the two years following!

How dumb, gullible do they think British Columbians are????

And as if POLITICIANS about to seek re-election setting the figure isn’t bad enough, Clark couldn’t even get Hydro’s figures right: the utility had said it felt a 37 per cent increase could be justified …and that’s what the “independent” commission was to examine (among a whole list of important Hydro issues)  but, as Global’s Keith Baldrey so expertly and  humourously showed, there was Clark repeatedly telling reporters Hydro wanted a 50 per cent increase, but the Liberal government would be protecting us from them!

She was either so badly misinformed and briefed on the topic or was wantonly delivering false information, maybe hoping no one would notice and it would make her government’s interference  in the process even more defensible.


The cat is out of the bag; the horse has left the barn; the ship of “independence” has sailed … use any cliche you want to explain it, but the TRUTH is now exposed: it’s the BC government, BC Ministers, the Premier who hold the power and control of the decision-making process when it comes to setting Hydro rates … and also ICBC rates, BC Ferries rates etc … and not just when they want to or before a fast-approaching election.

So let’s not ever forget that: and let’s hope the media won’t let the government ever forget that, the next time a Minister or the premier  tries to slide away from a controversy or an issue involving so-called “independent” Crown Corps, Boards or Commissions.

Like the Liquor Control Board!

Harv Oberfeld

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25 Responses to BC Utilities Commission Snub A Lesson for All

  1. John's Aghast says:

    No comments yet? Well, I for one, am speechless!
    Thanks Harvey, for being a spokesman.

    (Response: Well, it’s only an hour since it was posted! 🙂 h.o.

  2. D. M. Johnston says:

    Premier photo-op and her government stink worse than a seven day old corpse, just like the ex Glen Clark/Ujjal Dosanjh NDP governments. The electorate is just waiting to get even.

    The bile from this government; the utter and complete corruption of this government also illustrate how perverted our government is. It is not a democracy, oh no, it is four year dictatorship, where the government works only to enrich its political friends.

    The Christie Clark government is desperate and even her mainstream media friends are beginning to turn on her and her bottom feeding cabinet.

    That only one rat has jumped ship shows how completely politically inept they are. This side show with the BC Utilities Commission will fail.

    What the public wants is a criminal investigation of the BC Liberal government and the clock is ticking down on that…… tick, tick, tick…..

    Sleep well premier Photo-op your time is coming quicker than you think.

  3. Mo says:

    “What the public wants is a criminal investigation of the BC Liberal government ”


  4. Gary E says:

    I believe this interference by the Libs was deliberately set so that information that must come out about the foolish contracts given to the ROR outfits will be suppressed. There is no way that a commission into Hydro can ignore the outrageous prices Hydro is forced to pay for their Hydro.

  5. ron wilton says:

    Who will investigate this government?

    Not the RCMP who apparently see BC as a dumping ground for their ne’er do wells and incompetents, and spend most of their resources investigating each other. Not to mention their ‘connections’ within this corrupt government and compromised judiciary.

    If the students in Montreal can create continuing havoc which may bring down the PQ government for far less onerous treatment than we have been enduring in BC for far too long, then surely the time has come for we the people to storm the Bastille or some such collective and prolonged action until we roust these malfeasant scoundrels from their pulpits of entitlement.

  6. gb in victoria says:

    Are there any chances at all of an early election, caucus revolt or floor crossing soon?

    (Response: The way things are going, I wonder if they are looking for a way to do away with the election completely. Maybe sending BC’s Wildlife, Hydro or Ferries officials (anyone in uniform) to INVADE Washington state on some pretext, so they can declare a State of Emergency and “postpone” the election … to maybe 2033? h.o)

  7. kootcoot says:

    Harvey, didja notice that in Christy’s confusion or purposeful obfuscation she kept referring to the union wanting a 50% raise in rates. As if, the only rates the union is concerned about is the rate of pay and deductions for benefits.

    These people have to go, preferably to gaol! We can’t wait till next spring, isn’t there any LIEberal MLA with a smidgen of integrity other than Ding Dong Jr.? Cross the floor, even if the Cons, wisely, won’t take you, sit as an independent and bring down this criminal organization – for most of you it is your only chance of re-election!

    (Response: I did notice that. As if the unions can make pricing policy! It’s sad …but in a way, I find it all quite funny .. and I still wonder WHO is coaching/advising??? h.o)

  8. mariner says:

    “What the public wants is a criminal investigation of the BC Liberal government ”


    But will the RCMP play ball and actually do their due diligence (and job) and go after these F******s ?

    What a sorry state of affairs we see these days !

  9. Curt says:

    Class action lawsuit by the citizens of BC against every mla, (those who sit idly by and do/say nothing), every cabinet minister, and Christy herself, oh, and Gordo too, is in order.
    The deception and misrepresentation cannot be legal.

  10. cherylb says:

    I’m with Curt. Class action suit. These people are committing criminal acts and must be held accountable!

  11. gb in victoria says:

    Recent posts suggest a class action suit or ‘storm the Bastille’—marching to the Legislature aka 99% sit-ins. How in the heck does one get either of these started? Seriously—I am ready to volunteer.

    (Response: What do you think it would really accomplish … other than getting a whole lot of people arrested …and make some lawyers very rich? In cases of general malaise, not specificly targetting HST etc., when there’s less than a year to the next vote, elections seem to be the best opportunity for people to speak up against a government’s actions, or in favour. h.o.)

  12. Colin Nielsen says:

    Clark is the most inept and stupid individual that has ever graced the Premier’s chair. Add the proposed Bill 37, a direct afront to open government and what an evil group she is leading. The election cannot come soon enough.

  13. Alexander says:

    The first thing done, (Once this government is thrown out!!!), is a criminal investigation into the transactions, and deals, this current Liberal administration has been involved in.

    (Response: I was thinking about that myself ..in relation to the pending selloff of the liquor distribution branch. If it goes to “friends” or people connected to “friends” and even not ,but selling off as a monopoly a government asset without any justifiable reason for doing so, mght this be a breach of fiduciary duty by the minister and even the premier? h.o)

  14. crh says:

    Sheesh, this corrupt government always falls back onto blame the union. I heard that Christy blamed them when she broke a heel…..

  15. kootcoot says:

    “mght this be a breach of fiduciary duty by the minister and even the premier

    It would just be another in a long line of breaches or situations that appear to be.

    1. Ruinous IPP contracts to friends
    2. Boss Mine settlement
    3. BC Rail giveaway
    4. Basi – Virk $6mil bribe
    5. Doug Walls affair
    6. Many of the Employment agencies contracted under Gordo to match welfare
    recipients to jobs, which was an expensive joke
    7. BC Place Roof

    Some of the above and more may not be technically breaches of fiduciary trust, but it is clear that this government knows how to direct taxpayer money to their friends and themselves!

  16. r says:

    I wonder how many”friends” got jobs at ipp and BC SkyHydro

  17. Hans Goldberg says:

    The liberal government is totally out of control. I am sorry to say but every, that is each and every liberal representative is an accomplice in the looting of this province. These people have absolutely no morals or ethics, none. If the Lieutenant Governor would exercise is prerogative and not sign off on these corrupt deals, it would be a great help.

  18. Keithc says:

    Well kids, the short answer to is there anything we can do, like marching on the legislature? No. There is nothing we can do. The Unions marched several yeare ago and by all accounts there were almost 100,000 people converging on the peoples house. The camera shots from the air were just awesome. Gordon stopped buses boarding the ferries from the mainland and had already left for Hawai’i. The news that evening reported police figures of upwards of 5 to 10,000 people showed up for a small demonstration. As harve can attest the media is controlled by wealthy business people and will usually report what is in their best interests. Hold onto your hats cos there is Lots more to come.

  19. Scotty on Denman says:

    The BC Liberals are quickly coming to a point when the believability of their lies and the depth of their perfidy is no longer a question and in the final year of their mandate (in the strictest technical sense) the pretence of public interest is replaced with bald cynicism and sarcastic nose-thumbing: nya-nya you can’t catch me seems to be what they’re saying with their latest snub of the BC Utilities Commission, the erstwhile independent regulator which has undergone the most prolonged amputation of its virility, usually performed with a lightning-quick swipe of the razor, as cruelly as Dr Mengele might have enjoyed.

    There is no dearth of heartfelt suggestions as to what we should do about BC Liberal breaches of trust, what we would like to do if only we could, what we will do when this corrupt government is finally brought to account. The summary is most people are resigned to the theory that nothing just can be done until the BC Liberals have power and control over the public books twisted from their covetous hands after they lose the next election. That in itself would be a good debate, whether such resignation is warranted, whether there are any effective, legal measures that can be taken in the interim to prevent BC Liberal abuses of public trust before their almost certain doom in 51 weeks from now. But the possibility of an earlier election is not one to be discounted yet, one that might happen because the governing party has suddenly and fatally fallen apart and lost the confidence of the Assembly.

    There’s certainly been a lot of speculation about factionalism within the BC Liberal caucus ever since its previous master resigned in disgrace, which has grown, step by step, first with Christy Clark’s leadership victory (virtually unsupported by caucus), then with a couple of important cabinet resignations, and, of course, with van Dongen’s defection to the new BC Conservatives, each one another straw upon the camel’s back. With only a handful of BC Liberal seats left to maintain its majority, our eyes naturally drift toward where more defections or resignations might come from, and that is the sort of faction-by-default, the novice backbenchers in the BC Liberal caucus.

    Recall Christy won the leadership in no small part due to her “outsider” standing (she had been out of government when the HST lie and subsequent fallout happened.) And so she created, in a backhanded way, two factions: the Campbellites and her own Premier’s office, between which there has plainly been no love. Many of her backbenchers have taken some solace, no doubt, from their similar standing, that they weren’t involved in either the BC Rail or HST fiascos.
    Neither have they been included in current cabinet transgressions (being backbenchers.) They may also take some comfort in the belief that, should the time come, they’d be acceptable refugees in the BC Conservative party, which, as we know, is reluctant to accepting tainted BC Liberals. From a career perspective, many of these backbenchers will not have served long enough to qualify for a parliamentary pension and must therefore be weighing their best opportunities to keep their seats, whether as government or Opposition MLAs. They are the nobodies nobody pays much attention to but in the circumstance, they might be pivotal. Imagine how carefully they must quietly sit and watch the machinations and power struggle within their dying party, wondering when and where to jump if needs be.

    I wonder what these backbench government MLAs think, then, of Minister Rich Coleman’s most disenchanting and insulting treatment of his office and of the public trust. I can imagine them thinking that if this is what we can expect for the rest of this nightmare, how much damage is being done to MLAs who actually want to continue representing their constituents (and qualify for a pension.) The bitterness must be growing stronger as they watch their uppers cavalierly feather their retirements while diminishing the odds that any of these backbenchers will ever stand a chance of being elected as BC Liberals. The BC Hydro snub is just one more reason to cross the floor. And time is running out.

    (Response: The ultimate question will be how sophisticated is the “average” voters these days? The government seems to still believe people are so caught up with their own lives, family, sports and entertainment, they don’t follow or care much about many of the issues raised in the media or on blogs like this. They are clearly gambling that what people like are the announced much lower Hydro rate (until after the election), an end to AirCare and its $48 fee or other “goodies” still to come before election. Political junkies who follow issues in the media and blogs like this may feel all the problems the Libs have had will lead voters to toss them out in the hope/belief any replacement won’t be as bad … but if there’s one reality I’ve learned in watching politics/campaigns only the vote will reveal which strategy actually emerges as the winner. h.o)

  20. GeeBee says:

    Hydro is awash in Liberal flunkies and bootlickers. When the Liberals first made whispers about independent power, a bunch of their moneyed buddies hooked up with some (old and new) Hydro folks and now they are all millionaires. If it was the stock market – they would all be in jail – but the rich get richer and thats all that matters in in Liberal-land.

  21. Jason says:

    I’m sorry, Harv. Even though I completely agree about the fact your Liberals are by the far the worst government I’ve ever witnessed since I became old enough to vote (20 years), but I fear the bottom line is most people aren’t as enlightened, critical, or are the read-between-the-lines as you and your blog followers are. Clark will no doubt do some obvious tactics to show she is a good leader and she is out to protect BC taxpayers, and sadly enough there’s a good chance people will develop memory loss from the last 3 years and be happy at a few shallow moves she tosses out to voters. I truly hope people will be more enlightened this time around.

    (Response: Elections are the big unknown. Ask Bill Bennett who, for most of the 1975 campaign, looked like he’d lose to Barrett …and then, in the last week or so, pulled it off ..and won. This next campaign will be fascinating for political junkies: will it be a cakewalk for Dix, will Clark pull it off …and what role will the media play … reporting or campaigning? Should be FANTASTIC, as Bill Vander Zalm would say. h.o)

  22. Hugh says:

    There was a class action suit brought against the govt and BC Hydro 10 years ago when 1/3 of BCH was privatized to Accenture.

    The Govt got around that by exempting the Accenture/BCH agreement from common law.

  23. Milt says:

    THe only hope for BC is if legal action can be putforward against he polititions who have robbed BC for their personal profit and that of their close friends. Liebrals have managed to sell every revenue producing business that BC had generating revenue in only 2 terms.
    They have resorted to threats and double talk from day 1.
    There is almost enough evidence collected for civil/criminal action regarding smart meters and bc rail alone.
    Corix goons are now resorting to trespass , nightly covert install and intimidation to complete the smart meter billion dollar theft.

  24. kootcoot says:

    “The Govt got around that by exempting the Accenture/BCH agreement from common law.”

    If this is indeed true, then it proves that the Law is an Ass!

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