Chris Bowers Letter to BC NDP MLAs: On Drowning the Peace

From: Chris Bowers
Sent: December-19-17 2:30 PM
To: John Horgam Premier (email hidden; JavaScript is required); ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; Anne Kang; Bob Deith; Bowinn Ma; ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; David Eby; Doug Donaldson; ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; Gary Begg; George Chow; George Heyman; ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; Jagrup Brar; Janet Routledge; Jennifer Rice; Jinny Sims; ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; Judy Darcy; Katrina Chen; ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; ‘Lana Popham’; ‘Leonard Krog 2 (email hidden; JavaScript is required)’; Lisa Beare; ‘Mable Elmore’; Melanie Mark; ‘Michelle Mungall’; ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; Mitzi Dean; ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; Rachina Singh; ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; Ravi Kahlon; Rick Glumac; ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; Ronna-Rae Leonard; Scott Fraser; Selina Robinson; ‘email hidden; JavaScript is required‘; ‘Spencer Herbert’
Cc: ‘ginger group’
Subject: On Drowning the Peace

Dear NDP MLAs,


Here’s the first thing that I can’t get past regarding your decision to drown the Peace: I just don’t believe the reasons you’ve given for doing so.

Political activists come to understand there is a difference between the truth: the facts as known by those who have educated themselves on an issue, and the “party line”: the story told by politicians to the less informed to make the party’s actions palatable while not revealing their real reasons.

As you know, Site C is a dam to nowhere. It will perpetuate an outdated grid-dependent infrastructure, and produce energy that we won’t need for years – if ever – at far higher production costs than sales costs.

The party line tells us that we must go ahead with the dam anyway. It says there is nothing to show for the officially estimated $4 Billion of “sunk” costs to shut down the dam project. So in order to maintain our credit rating, those costs would have to be paid at a more punitive rate than the $10.7 Billion officially (I, personally, am forecasting $12 to $15 Billion) estimated to complete it.

But those who have been encouraging you to save the Peace note that much of the infrastructure built for Site C is already an asset; that the estimated $2 Billion to repair the mess would probably be closer to the $336 Million spent on a similar dam amelioration in the US; that the BC Utilities Commission report assumed that termination costs would be amortised over a 30 year period, making the impacts on ratepayers negligible; and that while the cost of not completing the dam won’t impact our credit rating, completing the dam might.

No doubt you are familiar with the information from the blog below:;

And I am certain you will have read the following responses to your decision:

I’d be hopeful that you might change your minds based on these comments, but I also note that some of you have doubled down on your story and have been doing the party line dance in the media.

I am sadly and personally familiar with the processes of cooption. I recognise it’s unlikely that you will change your opinion now that you’ve committed yourselves to it to this degree.

Nevertheless, the Peace Valley Landowners’ Association has asked the Auditor General for an emergency review of your decision, to see which of the duelling economists are right.

Hopefully we will know soon.

If not the reasons given then why?Because we don’t believe the party line, many long term political activists have speculated on the real reasons for your decision.

Some think, for example, that with the launching of a new bidding process, it’s a gift to the unions and NDP insider lobbyists.

I believe Site C will be used as an excuse to ignore the science on the environmental impacts of fracking, so that the stranded power from Site C can be used by the LNG industry as the Liberals planned.

I can’t even begin to express how strongly I hope to be proven wrong on this.


Regardless of whether I’m right about all of the above or none of it however, here’s the other thing I can’t get past: I see no ethical difference between Trudeau’s decision to allow Kinder Morgan to put BC’s economy and environment at risk “for the good of Canada”, and the NDP’s decision to destroy First Nations’ and other landowners’ property “for the good of BC”.

Only in a state of dire emergency does a government have the moral right and horrible duty to make decisions that benefit one set of people at the expense of another. Site C is not that emergency.

As for your plans to ameliorate the harm you are doing – well – you just can’t make up for the loss of traditional lands by relocating folks and the graves of their ancestors.

Sacred ground simply isn’t interchangeable.

Because, and only because, of my personal loyalty to Doug Routley and Leonard Krog, I’ve been trying to decide what, if anything, would help me move past this betrayal of human and environmental rights to make it possible for me to continue to support your party.

Maybe, I thought, if you impose a moratorium on fracking? Or maybe if you do that and force fin fish farms out of the ocean? Or maybe if you do those things and stop Kinder Morgan?  Or maybe all of the above plus forcing mining corporations to clean up their messes and start following the law? And fix BC Hydro. And fix the ferries. And …

But none of those things take me past your imperialist decision to destroy First Nations’ beloved and sacred lands – their national heritage – “for the good” of Settler society.

I promised all of you when you were considering Site C that if you went ahead with the dam to nowhere I would send my NDP donations to the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations to help with their court case against your government. I have done that.

But since the Dec. 11 decision, I’ve also struggled with whether I can support the NDP in any way – including organising town hall meetings for Doug as I have been up until now.

Here’s what I’ve decided: when all the First Nations of the Peace forgive the NDP for what’s been done to their homelands, I’ll go back to supporting the party.

As for how – or whether – I will vote in the next election, it’s too early to say.

I’ll just have to see whether this ends up being the last time your government betrays the trust I had that you would be different from the previous one.

Sadly, given my surmise above about the fracking review, and from the sounds of what’s on the table regarding the BC Ferries review, I suspect it won’t be.

For Peace, Truth, and Justice,
And for Generation 8,

Chris Bowers
Gabriola Island

A shorter version of this letter has been submitted to the Gabriola Sounder

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