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Site C SHOULD Be Completed

November 13th, 2017 · 88 Comments

WAC Bennett … to those whose political/historical knowledge goes that far back … was an iconic BC leader … still remembered by most MORE for his accomplishments than his blemishes.

“ Bennett advocated in 1955 for a universal medical, dental, hospital, and pharmaceutical insurance coverage.  Universal, publicly funded medical and hospital insurance was introduced as part of the federal government’s creation of what became known as Medicare”, reminds Wikipedia.

And Bennett introduced a provincial sales tax to raise money to pay for it.

That was YEARS before Saskatchewan Premier tommy Douglas introduced the actual legislation to make public health care a reality in 1962.

That was truly bold and imaginative at that time.

But Bennett is better remembered for a greater legacy: BC-owned and BC developed HUGE hydro power projects … including the Columbia and Peace River dams that …. for generations… have brought British Columbian homes and industries enormous amounts of electricity … cheaper than anywhere else in North America.

And the LEGACY of Bennett’s bold moves … no doubt opposed, chastised and condemned by hordes of political opponents, anti-development  naysayers … also have brought BC BILLIONS of dollars in revenues to fund public programs.

And, much to the chagrin of his political foes, Bennett went on to win SEVEN consecutive elections … a feat so far never again repeated by any party/leader in BC.

History has been kinder to WAC’s vision and Hydro development strategies than his opponents at the time.

In fact, I dare say many of those who have opposed/protested Site C have benefitted greatly from WAC’s Hydro mega-project dams … and so have many of their parents, grandparents .. . even kids. Lucky for them, and for the rest of us,  he did not yield to the pressures/protestors back then.

Hydro power construction projects enriched MANY BC communities; helped fund so much of the province’s infrastructure development; pay for new post-secondary institutions and universities; and brought BC BILLIONS in export revenues.

Site C can do the same.

Yes, its development was mishandled; yes, its construction costs are higher than expected (aren’t ALL major projects?); yes, there are new developments in alternative energy production that should be pursued and even encouraged.

But let’s keep it real.

Despite all the MODERN   hordes of political opponents, anti-development  naysayers … Site C will not go to waste: over the long-term it too will bring the province huge amounts of electric power needed for future development, billions in revenues from domestic and export power sales.

And let’s face it, by delaying the project for a few years or a decade, until really needed to expand BC industries and economy, costs will not go down.

Despite all the LOUD sound and fury coming from those who oppose it, a recent Angus Reid poll showed ONLY 27% of British Columbians want Site C canceled: 45% said it should Go ahead; 28% were unsure … not a rational reason for a government to stop ANY major project and send thousands of well-employed and well-paid workers packing..

Site C  SHOULD go ahead.

It may indeed prove to be LAST major hydro project in BC … but, despite the costs,  future generations decades from will benefit from the HUGE volumes of power produced.. and the revenues from their sales.

My only caveat: the provincial government should … and I’m sure can … use some of those additional revenues they told us BC will gain from their fine stewardship of our economy to mitigate current and future Hydro consumer costs to pay for completion of the project.

Site C will provide Premier John Horgan and his NDP government a success and legacy that will bring BC benefits well after their term of office …be it ONE or SEVEN like WAC … have become part of the province’s history.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 88 CommentsTags: British Columbia · National

Dispatch from Florida: Where Opioid/Illicit Drug Crisis is MUCH WORSE than BC

November 6th, 2017 · 80 Comments

Even one loss is too many … but in Florida, the opioid crisis has grown well beyond what we could even imagine for BC.

In just TWO counties …. Broward (Fort Lauderdale region) and Dade (Miami) … 1,036 people lost their lives in 2016 to illegal drugs… overwhelmingly due to opioid fentanyl contamination.

By way of comparison, all of BC rang up 935 illicit drug deaths … 81% involving fentanyl.  Far too many to be sure…and each one a tragedy for all of us.

But what makes it all the more interesting … and frightening … is that Broward and Dade have a total population of  4.58 million … almost identical to the population in all of BC, totaling 4.6 million.

Add Florida’s other 65 counties into the mix and the figures are almost too difficult to comprehend: 6 people a day are dying in the Miami area alone from drug overdoses/interactions and an estimated 20 people are losing their lives EACH DAY throughout Florida from drugs.

In BC, the last province-wide figure I saw was 4 fatalities per day.

It IS a crisis beyond anything we have seen …and families have suffered from … back home.

But Florida was way ahead of President Donald’s Trump’s recent hollow declaration/photo op of an “opioid emergency”  in the country where 59,000 people died from opioid abuse in 2016 …. while adding not a penny to the US $56,000 bank balance for the public health program fighting it.

Months ago Florida Governor Rick Scott called it “a public health emergency” and introduced legislation that would place a THREE-DAY limit on prescriptions for opioids AND a $50 MILLION fund to fight opioid abuse.

“The legislation would require all health care providers who prescribe or distribute medication to participate in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a statewide database that monitors prescriptions for controlled substances. The legislation includes reforms to combat unlicensed pain management clinics and require continuing education courses on responsibly prescribing opioids, and would also create new opportunities for federal grant funding,” US News has reported.

The proposed $50 million budget would include funding for substance abuse treatment, counseling and recovery services, and The Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council.

Florida is fighting back …and literally putting its money where the politicians’ mouths are.

Effective last month, those posessing more than four grams of fentanyl and carfentanil will get minimum jail sentences of three years in prison; 14 grams will draw a 15 year jail term; and 28 grams or more … 25 years!  And prosecutors will be empowered to charge fentanyl dealers with murder if they sell a fatal dose of the drug.

Action! Not just discussions, further studies, panels and ponderings.

Could have some good ideas that would be well worth looking at in BC … along with a concentrated effort to FIND and IMPRISON for a long time those miscreants AT THE TOP of North America’s opioid crisis, who import the drugs by the ton from overseas.

Harv Oberfeld

 

→ 80 CommentsTags: British Columbia · International