14-point rebuttal to Keith Baldrey after he praises John Horgan for kicking Site C dam critics to the curb

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      That's probably what some opponents of the Site C dam are thinking after reading a tweet from Global B.C. reporter Keith Baldrey defending Premier John Horgan's decision to complete the $10.7-billion Site C dam.

      The man with the most Twitter followers in the B.C. press gallery chortled "Oh boo hoo. Boo hoo hoo" to those who believe media coverage was a factor in the government's evaluation on whether to proceed.

      "Media coverage had VERY LITTLE to do with final decision," Baldrey declared to critics of the massive hydroelectric project. "Horgan has kicked you to the curbside, which is smart politics (given your tiny constituency)."

      It was reminiscent of a recent Martyn Brown column hectoring the NDP's so-called "Angry Birds" to return to the nest rather than keeping up the fight against the Site C decision.

      Here's the long-term political problem for the NDP that some press gallery members don't seem to be concerned about:

      1. The Site C dam was a voting decision for this so-called tiny constituency whom Baldrey has berated.

      2. Many of these people voted for NDP candidates across the province because they believed, in their hearts, that a government led by John Horgan would halt the project.

      3. This belief was rooted in the repeated pre-election criticism of the project from Horgan, Energy Minister Michelle Mungall, and Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman.

      4. These Site C voters were confident that an independent evaluation by the B.C. Utilities Commission would show that the power from the Site C dam wasn't needed. Moreover, anyone following the renewable-energy field knew that clean power could be generated less expensively and with far more job creation through methods other than the Site C dam. And this fact would provide these NDP politicians with the justification to halt construction.

      5. Indeed, the B.C. Utilities Commission review provided NDP politicians with these justifications. Domestic demand for electricity has been flat in B.C. for a decade.

      6. Critics of the project are fully aware that some of the brightest progressive minds in the province think the decision to proceed with the Site C dam was stunningly stupid. These critics believe a major factor in the decision was more than $120,000 in political donations to the NDP from the union representing the operating engineers in the period leading up to the 2017 election.

      7. Moreover, the NDP promised to follow the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which has never been an issue of much concern to Baldrey and some of his friends in the press gallery.

      8. The hypocrisy of proceeding with completion of the dam while professing fealty to UNDRIP is, in the view of some, even worse than the B.C. Liberal approach, which was to simply pay no heed to UNDRIP and let the chips fall where they may in court. Writer Andrew Frank summed it up best when he referred to the NDP cabinet as "heavy-hearted colonizers".

      9. Tremendous advances are being made in the storage of renewable power, which has always been the knock against investing in solar and wind energy. These advances in the storage of renewable power have gone largely unnoticed in the press gallery, but they were given a fair amount of attention in a recent book, Just Cool It! The Climate Crisis and What We Can Do, by David Suzuki and Ian Hanington. Anyone who's curious to learn more can read this article. The mainstream media's failure to cover this issue was a serious shortcoming in its overall approach to the Site C dam. Had this been fully explored, perhaps the NDP government would not have chosen to complete the dam.

      10. Municipal and regional governments are making enormous strides in generating their own renewable electricity. Much more can be done in this area at a lower cost than producing Site C power. This point has often been made by one of the foremost critics of the Site C dam, Richmond councillor Harold Steves.

      11. Steves has argued that the premier's decision to complete the dam is to provide the energy to power the liquefied-natural-gas industry. If he's right, this will bring the world one step closer to climate-change hell. Anyone who believes Steves on this point can only conclude that the NDP government wasn't being truly honest with the public in explaining why it was going to complete the dam.

      12. The NDP's decision to flood massive amounts of farmland in the Peace River Valley is seen by critics as especially foolish, given that there's been no increase in domestic demand for the electricity. Farmland is the new gold, according to former CIBC World Markets chief economist Jeff Rubin. 

      13. Site C dam critics believe that B.C. Hydro will have trouble servicing its ballooning debt in a world where renewable energy becomes far cheaper and far more plentiful. This debt will then be transferred from ratepayers to provincial taxpayers, crowding out spending for hospitals, schools, and other necessary public services.

      14. Some critics of the Site C dam believe that the changes taking place in the energy industry are akin to the transformation in telecommunications from landlines to cellphones. That was a dramatic and quick transition, making the old technology far less appealing. Hydroelectric dams are so 1950s. Distributed renewable-energy generation and storage, including in people's homes and businesses, will be the way of the world in the 21st century. The unions will hate this, but they won't be able to stop it from happening.

      Keith Baldrey might think it's smart politics for Horgan and his NDP colleagues to get B.C. Hydro to complete the Site C dam. I disagree.

      But even if Baldrey is right, it's still irredeemably terrible public policy.