If Dams Are Built in the Forest

Past and future.. We are in between This blog began as an attempt to hold what I perceive to be a biased pro-corporate media accountable. More and more, it became less that and more a running critique of Clark’s government. For this post I want to return to the root.

This hiatus as BC awaits the true results of Election 2017 feels like the beginning of a new book…. I’m not going to speculate on the shape of the new government here, or who the Greens will help or hinder. What I will do is call for the amplification of buried and lost news, and more than that, amplification of voices who advocate and activate for a good purpose.

Politicians, media, partisans, ordinary people, bloggers..Big news sources, small independents. Like the old book, we will all write it together. Most of all…those who stand up for something just and for the broader public good will need amplification to compete with the noise. Many of the voices.. bloggers, activist groups, will be different.. Where they are honestly trying to achieve some balance they need your help.

Put simply, it’s not that there is too little for Global BC or the older denizens of the Press Gallery to criticize in the way Clark’s 100% power minority has operated in the  past four years. There is far too much.. but so many stories don’t reach public consciousness… One example I refer to in the title. Read the link.


The story here is of Progress Energy (subsidiary of Malaysian state owned Petronas) building large dams (16 of them) around the northeast. Progress has done this over years without any permitting, inspection, or environmental review.

But because the source is Desmog.ca , only bubble-wrapped readers of Desmog.ca know about it. I use the term bubble-wrapped in a non-pejorative sense.

If we are tuned in to politics, or related subjects , a bubble forms. When the Press Gallery sips bad coffee watching Question Period on a monitor in a basement room of the legislature together, a bubble forms.

Desmog, Dogwood, CommonSense Canadian…environmental or activist education and childcare groups. These all get dismissed by attacking the source instead of the information contained. In a way, this contains the bubble at a safe distance from the centre of power. To be fair, I tend to dismiss the Fraser Institute and view with deep suspicion anything from the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation. I’m sure I have company.

But when large media ignore significant stories because of the source, it damages governance. Mary Polak to my knowledge hasn’t been asked on CTV or CBC or Global what she’s going to do about these dams nobody monitored tested or even knew about. To push the case to the limit, a foreign government owned company has been operating lawlessly in our forests. It should matter…I could list many other examples.

But one thing about certain members of the Press Gallery that’s consistent is  a disdain for anything left wing and especially a disdain for activism.

When I began being a social media pain in the ass, I was called an egomaniacal nobody by a prominent TV personality. In the middle of Victoria’s Tent City crisis, I engaged with Tom Fletcher of Black Press about the homeless …He tweeted at me (yes, a joke in poor taste at best) “The important thing is not to feed them”.

At the beginning of the Triple Delete scandal we were assured by Les Leyne and others that it was all “inside baseball” and no one cared.

At one of the many peaks of crisis in the MCFD over deaths of children in care we were assured by Vaughn Palmer that Bob Plecas would soon set things to rights. Does anyone think that’s happened?

In a few days we will have a new government beginning to take shape. If it’s a left coalition of any description the investigative skills of many in the corporate media will reawaken. Mark my words. And that’s not wrong in itself. Government should be under pressure.

But where have you been??

What I really want to do here is encourage anyone who reads this post to do a few things:

a: Read widely. Sourced factual news is everywhere . So is fake news. You’re smart enough to discriminate.

b: Don’t think your voice doesn’t matter… I’m proud of this blog, (though I’m probably more aware of it’s faults than anyone. I’m not the most technically proficient blogger)…. I’m proud though, not because I’m read by more than a few thousand at the best of times. I’m proud because of who reads…Politicians, journalists, activists and other voices I so respect.

c: If you have an issue in your community that needs to be raised, don’t underestimate the power of your voice. Collective is stronger than individual it’s true, but don’t underestimate an honest, fair, public minded raised voice. It’s powerful.

d: Share the good stuff….Don’t assume because you learned about these unauthorized dams in the wilderness today that anyone else did. Many things I’ve learned from small sources deserve to be front page news. Amplify.

The unknowns of the new reality in BC are enormous. The new government will have an extremely difficult job, but the election result guaranteed one thing. The vice grip of the BCLiberals has been broken. Even if they gain one more seat they will no longer have a blank cheque to do whatever they or their donors want without regard for consequences.

That’s huge. How media covers the new reality will be fascinating. Enjoy the ride. I will.





6 thoughts on “If Dams Are Built in the Forest”

  1. Last May BC’s Auditor general released a report of an audit on compliance and enforcement of regulations in BC’s mining sector.

    “We found almost every one of our expectations for a robust compliance and enforcement program within the MEM and the MoE were not met.
    We found major gaps in resources, planning and tools. As a result, monitoring and inspections of mines were inadequate to ensure mine operators complied with requirements. The ministries have not publicly disclosed the limitations with their compliance and enforcement programs, increasing environmental risks, and government’s ability to protect the environment. “


    It should come as no surprise then for us to now discover that foreign corporations have been freely operating as if they were raping a third-world county’s resources and environment. Nor should it come as a surprise that we discover this information about unauthorized dams from a source other than the traditional news media.

    Largely as a result of the shameful dereliction of professional journalistic duty on the part of the MSM, the unsanctioned Environment Minister responsible for this situation was reelected, and the equally responsible and unsanctioned Minister of Energy and Mines was able to scurry into his retirement lair happily tweeting insults about the NDP to an uninformed public.

    And with its journalistic duty unfulfilled, an outfit like the Vancouver Sun brazenly compounded its inadequacy by openly endorsing for reelection the political party and government it utterly failed to hold to account in the public interest.


    1. Right on Lew.. the AG’s report is a must read…And frankly, I enjoyed Metro Vancouver’s wholesale rejection of Postmedia’s editorial endorsement.

  2. I think ,because of your post on 20B claimed invested LNG BC the ads got pulled.

    When someone complained about dirt road truck gas spill into creek/river,,in BC,BC finally reacted.

    When NYT and globeMail wrote about … , thinks happened.

    So Thank you for your blog.

    When White rock person stepped forward and sued BC for ads before election…still pending.

    1. Yes, thanks and that’s the point. None of these complaints were inherently partisan. But when people speak up, and it’s about right vs might, the strangest things happen 🙂

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