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Friday, November 26, 2010

Moving post

No, I'm not going to make you cry, but we have a new fledgling website which is ready to grow a bit, please check back to

Thanks, and peace.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Join us for a people's assembly for climate justice

  • Tired of the political system failing you repeatedly on climate change?
  • Done with Canada’s intransigence on climate change?
  • Upset with having your voice ignored while the voices of polluters destroying our planet get magnified?
  • Had it with yet another round of Climate Talks, this time in Cancun, lots of talk, hot air and no action?
  • Do you reduce, reuse, recycle, ride the bus, ride your bike, do you consider yourself part of the solution? Where do you think you can contribute next?

  • Are you eager to talk to like minded people about grassroots ground up action on climate change?

    An event co-organized by the Council of Canadians, Victoria Chapter, KAIROS, (and more)
    December 8th, Evening, 6:30 PM

    Join us for a world café style set of citizen discussions on climate change. Connect with your fellow citizens, get engaged in grassroots discussions, and talk about how to create change despite government, media and societal barriers. For more information, stay tuned to this blog, or use any of the following options! Hope to see you there.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Picnic for Public Education

    Picnic for Public Education

    Come and join us in support of a dialogue toward excellence in education

    Thursday, August 12 - 12:30 - 2:30 pm Legislature Lawn, Victoria BC Coast Salish Territory

    Welcome guest speaker Tulani Ackerman as she completes her cycling trip from Prince Rupert to Victoria in effort to encourage all people in BC to become involved in our public education dialogue.

    Sponsored by StEps for Students
    and co-sponsored by VPEC (Victoria Public Education Coalition)

    Bring your own picnic.

    Sunday, July 25, 2010

    Water Watch Coalition CALL TO ACTION


    The Provincial Government has said it will fund one-third of the cost of the CRD's sewage treatment system. They have given every indication that they will want more than one-third of the say in how the project is procured and governed.

    1) The Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee is meeting this Wednesday, July 28th, in the Board Room at 625 Fisgard Street, 6th Floor, at 10:30 a.m. You could learn a lot about these issues at this meeting which you are free to attend. We urge you to promote the "Committee" model of governance as described in the report below:
    The issues of governance and procurement are not necessarily separate. Please write to your Municipal representative on CALWMC (some addresses are listed below) stating your preference for the Committee model of governance and the Public model of procurement.

    2) You now have opportunity to greet the new Minister of Community and Rural Development through whose Ministry provincial funding will be channeled. Please refer to the attached brochure to see how you can get in touch with Minister Ben Stewart to let him know your feelings on this.

    Greater Victoria Water Watch Coalition

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Lantern Ceremony

    Friday, August 6th 7:30 pm
    Hiroshima-Nagasaki remembered:

    The annual lantern ceremony, marking the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan
    Craigflower Park / Kosapsom
    at Admiral’s Road and Gorge Road West, Saanich

    Lantern making starts at 7:30 pm, with words and songs of peace at 8:00 pm, followed by floating the lanterns in the Gorge.

    All welcome.
    Free – (Bring a blanket &/or chair to sit on.)

    Sponsored by the Victoria Raging Grannies, Victoria Peace Coalition, Physicians for Global Survival, Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society. Council of Canadians Victoria chapter

    Call Rosa 250-665-7788

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    Issues of the Council of Canadians

    The document with this title, a link to which is given in the right hand column of this blog, will eventually need to be revised as the Council of Canadians changes direction with changing times. For now, it needs to be mentioned that two issues currently of great importance in the work of the Council of Canadians, particularly in Western Canada, are the tar sands and run-of-the-river projects. The tar sands development in Alberta and Saskatchewan is one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in history. It ties in with almost every active issue of the CoC. Run of the river hydro projects, prominent in BC, tie in mainly with trade, energy and water.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Climate Change & G8/G20: Not Business as Usual

    Monday, June 14, 2010
    7:00pm - 9:30pm. Displays open at 6:30.
    St. John the Divine Anglican Church, 1611 Quadra St. Victoria BC

    Speakers: Francois Pihaatae (Pacific Conference of Churches),
    Tria Donaldson (youth representative to Copenhagen climate meetings),
    Harjap Grewal (Council of Canadians), local Indigenous leadership

    "By now, you may have read about ‘Climate Justice: Take Action for People and the Planet,’ a new development in the energy campaign. Myself, along with Maude Barlow and other Council political staff, were present at the UN Copenhagen climate negotiations last December and just last month at the climate conference in Cochabamba, Bolivia. These high-level climate talks have been key to advancing our climate justice work, including: building the international campaign against the tar sands, call the Canadian government accountable for failing to take meaningful action on climate change and ensuring energy security for Canadians, and contributing to real solutions to the climate crisis grounded in the principles of social justice and ecological sustainability.

    We are continuing to work with our chapters in Canada on these issues, including with this important and timely tour. The event is free and open to all – so bring along a friend and feel free to forward this invitation broadly!"

    If you can’t attend, take this opportunity to send the Harper government a message that climate action is needed by using our joint action alert with the Indigenous Environmental Network, Harper’s emission reduction is off target!, at:
    Contact: Susan Draper,, 250-370-0121
    Sponsored by the Council of Canadians, KAIROS (Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives) and the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition (CYCC) on a cross-Canada tour for climate justice: Climate Change and the G8/G20: Not Business as Usual.

    Next Monthly Board Meeting

    Board Meeting: Wed. July 7, 2010, 7-9 pm Commons Room, 1246 Fairfield Rd.
    All members of the Council of Canadians are welcome, as long as they are invited or approved ahead of time as attendees by the board. If you are not a board member, and you wish to attend, and/or if you have items you would like to have added to the agenda, please contact us at least a week in advance of the meeting.

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Salmon Protest & March of May 8, 2010

    The migration event to Victoria was grassroots awesome. Thousands walked. And walking --they talked in ever changing kaleidoscopic migrating citizen knots pooling in back-eddies to surge across intersections 400 a time --unmarshalled.

    Schools of bright painted cardboard salmon on sticks jumping and twirling over the throng seething --dancing with salmon, the drumbeat, the music enjoining onlookers to feel the wild salmon imperative -our migration. Pied-pipered we follow not a street, not a direction but a calling, a need, a compelling attraction towards vitality, towards renewal.

    Through the canyon of downtown buildings, we feel a quickening intensify. The salmon inside me feels --destination, attracting, animating, joyfully moving me us blurring and like magnetized marionettes pulled towards not place, but purpose and exhilaration.

    Gathering in number, cascading, almost mindful bits of reminiscence, a place resolves itself to become a purpose and then to breathe-in, inspiration to become motivation to see and then to shout we are here --arrived to feed and nurture this place, so that it will remember us too as we remember it.

    We have a sense of useful selfless joy being in and with our noble kind. I, we are not supplicants at the legislature. We are mobile thoughtful food sharing its values and inspiration with all who eat of us. Are we not wild salmon migrating now? Are we not returning to our waters our land and our fellow beings with sustenance?

    More than four thousand* of us became the wisdom and voice, of wild salmon yesterday. If you hear this voice then you are too.


    Michael Major
    *Security at the Legislature estimated more than 5000.

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    Historical Background for the AGM on May 17, 2010

    As we head toward our panel discussion on “the poverty industry” at our AGM on May 17, we would do well to recall that the Council of Canadians was founded 25 years ago to counter the free trade, deep integration policies of the Reagan and Mulroney administrations.

    The crushing poverty and homelessness that we have today are the direct result of the rise of globalization and its underlying economic philosophy of "neoliberal" “trickle down” wealth. The idea is that by the rich accumulating huge fortunes from exploitation of those who are now referred to as the “working poor”, smaller amounts of this money will eventually infuse all of society with a healthy glow. This fundamentally flawed foundation of “neo-conservatism”, which has been parodied as “tinkle down economics”, simply results in an acceleration of what has always been true in capitalist economies: the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.

    This situation has now become so entrenched that even more progressive governments such as the Obama administration in the U.S. cannot escape its grasp, even though Obama campaigned on the promise of a “renegotiation” of NAFTA.

    The Council of Canadians will not rest until the wrongs of free trade and its resulting increase in poverty have been righted.

    Robert Cory

    Thursday, April 29, 2010

    Next Monthly Board Meeting

    Board Meeting: Tues. June 1, 2010, 7-9 pm Commons Room, 1246 Fairfield Rd.
    All members of the Council of Canadians are welcome, as long as they are invited or approved ahead of time as attendees by the board. If you are not a board member, and you wish to attend, and/or if you have items you would like to have added to the agenda, please contact us at least a week in advance of the meeting.

    Call for New Board Members

    If you would like to become more active in the Council of Canadians in the Victoria area, we have openings on the Board of Directors. Let us know if you would like to put your name forward for possible nomination to the Board. The new board will be elected at the AGM on May 17. Contact us at:

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010

    Annual General Meeting/Potluck/Panel Discussion

    Victoria Chapter, Council of Canadians

    Annual General Meeting

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    BCGEU Bldg., 2994 Douglas St.

    5:45 p.m. Potluck Supper
    7:15 p.m. Panel Discussion
    8:30-9:30 p.m. AGM

    Free admission; open to the public; new members welcome

    Panel discussion:
    Jody Paterson, Moderator
    Exposing the Poverty Industry
    Are social services helpful? Solutions will be discussed.
    Kym Hines, former frontline worker
    Carol Romanow, differently abled frontline worker
    Lise Wrigley, former frontline worker, active member, Committee to End Homelessness in Victoria


    Friday, April 23, 2010

    Board Member, Roberta Cory: Vic West Art Quest

    Roberta Cory is resigning from the Board of Directors of the Victoria Chapter after 4 years as the Membership Chair. She founded the Vic West Art Quest in 2007 and will now be spending more time working on her art. Her invitation to this year's Art Quest is provided below:

    Vic West artists are excited about their upcoming third annual artist’s studio tour, which is timed to coincide with the Vic West Fest! This year we have 17 artists participating.

    Vic West Art Quest

    Saturday, May 8 and Sunday, May 9, 2010
    1:00 to 5:00 p.m. each day


    Friday, May 7, 2010
    7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

    Spiral Café and Hemp & Co.
    418/422 Craigflower Rd.

    We have two group shows this year. Hemp & Co. is currently showing our work for the months of April and May, and the Spiral Café will show our work for the month of May.

    All artist’s studios will have extra maps of the Quest for those who have not picked one up at one of many locations throughout Victoria. For additional information go to our website at

    Roberta Cory
    Vic West Art Quest

    Roberta Cory
    "Oak Bay Beach Hotel #6"
    39"h 23"w 4"d

    Greater Victoria Water Watch Coalition meeting


    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    7:30 to 9:30 pm
    James Bay New Horizons
    234 Menzies Street

    Guest Speaker:
    CRD Board Member, Philippe Lucas

    Find out what you can do to ensure that CRD sewage treatment is managed & operated on a not-for-profit basis & that sewage treatment is delivered as a PUBLIC SERVICE !

    (Coffee, tea, and cookies available.)

    Your core committee has been extremely busy on the privatization issue of late and, thanks to general membership support and community concern expressed in 4,081 petition signatures, has brought this issue to the forefront and won significant political gains on procurement of the proposed CRD sewage treatment facility.

    We need help. There are many water-related issues that need addressing, and fresh faces on the core committee would be an excellent means of dealing with them. We invite your participation in this meeting, your questions for Councillor Lucas, and your extended involvement in GVWWC programming and pursuits.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    29th Annual Earth Walk

    Saturday, April 24, 2010
    Peace, Earth & Justice
    Meet at the Legislature at 12 noon.

    Begin walking to Centennial Square at 12:30 pm, arriving at about 1:15 pm for a concert, speeches and environmental fair.
    Speakers include Vicky Husband and Ross Crockford.
    The mc will be Colleen Eccleston.
    Music by Oliver Swain and Friends and the Ecclestons.
    Lots of organizations will have information tables.

    Sunday, April 18, 2010


    RT @Denise Savoie: Victoria paddlers and residents came out in force today to protest mega-yacht marina proposal -

    There were something on the order of 200 protesters on land and 100 boats on the water! Very effective protest against corporate (developer) arrogance and disdain for democracy, destruction of a spectacularly beautiful harbour by the installation of a parking lot for the rich and their huge yachts blocking the view enjoyed by residents and tourists alike, the loss of recreational freedom of kayakers and other boaters to use the harbour, the loss of safety engendered by a far too congested harbour, and the environmental pollution of an already stressed waterway, to say nothing of the unconscionable use of fossil fuels to power gigantic toys for ridiculously wealthy overgrown boys! And all subsidized by the Campbell and Harper governments (our money), which are in power partly as a result of political donations from developers!

    Saturday, April 17, 2010


    Sunday, April 18, 2010, 2:00–3:30 pm
    Cadboro Bay United Church, 2625 Arbutus Rd.

    The South Island Health Coalition and others are organizing a Public Forum on Seniors’ Care to highlight our concerns about the sell-off and corporatization of Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie Hospital and the future of public seniors’ care. We will have a panel to discuss seniors’ care and time for comments and questions. The press and our MLA will also be invited as well as other local politicians.
    Information: Jessica Van der Veen, 250-598-9272

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    Next Monthly Board Meeting

    Board Meeting: Wed. April 28, 2010, 7-9 pm BCGEU Building, 2994 Douglas St.

    All members of the Council of Canadians are welcome, as long as they are invited or approved ahead of time as attendees by the board. If you are not a board member, and you wish to attend, and/or if you have items you would like to have added to the agenda, please contact us at least a week in advance of the meeting.

    WIN! Public sewage treatment in Victoria

    A CUPE BC media release this evening states, “On March 31, Capital Regional District (CRD) directors gave final approval to a business case that will see public operation in at least five, and possibly all seven communities mandated to develop sewage treatment.”

    That means, “residents of Greater Victoria have the option of choosing fully public sewage treatment and resource recovery.”

    “Mauricio Navarette, president of CUPE 1978 which represents CRD workers, said that the work of CUPE’s ‘Keep it Public’ campaign, coordinated by Kim Manton, along with the Greater Victoria Water Watch Coalition and the Council of Canadians has gone a long way to ensuring public and environmentally sound sewage treatment.”

    On November 20, 2009, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow spoke against the privatization of sewage treatment in Victoria. More on that at

    Kim Manton wrote in the November 2009 issue of our newsletter ‘Making Waves’ that, “Public opinion research and consultation confirms that the residents of Greater Victoria overwhelmingly reject privatization.” That’s at

    There’s also much more about this campaign on our Victoria chapter’s website at

    The Victoria Times-Colonist reports that, “The provincial government requires that every project needing more than $50 million of provincial funding look at a public-private partnership.”

    “Ninety per cent of the people who attended public meetings and gave their opinion on how the project should be done were in favour of a fully public system, the (Capital Regional District) board heard today.”

    “The regional sewage committee earlier decided that the major components of the system be done publicly, and that the West Shore treatment centre and a resource recovery centre where biosolids are converted should have the option of a P3 or public.”

    “That recommendation was approved by the (CRD) board this afternnon, at a meeting filled with spectators advocating for a fully public system.”

    “The province’s Partnership BC will review the business plan and give its recommendation likely in June.”

    The CUPE BC media release is at

    (Reblogged from

    Parliament HAS Environmental Committees

    The Victoria Chapter's multi-party panel on "Trade, Politics and Global Climate Change" on Wednesday night (April 7, 2010) was extraordinarily well-managed and full of information. I would like to clarify one impression, however, that may have been misleading: in answer to a question posed about why there is no parliamentary committee on the environment, there are actually TWO:

    • Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (EENR)

    • House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development (ENVI)

    I particularly recommend the proceedings of the March 16th EENR meeting in which Murray Stewart, President of the Energy Council of Canada, is a witness.

    Jane Brett

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Bharat Chandramouli's Presentation to the CRD CALWMC

    March 10, 2010

    I thank the committee for giving the public an opportunity to speak on this very important issue. As a recent visitor to Coast Salish territory, I am happy to see that the greater Victoria region is installing secondary sewage treatment to deal with our ever increasing volumes of waste. As an environmental scientist, I am interested in the future direction of the CRD's water and waste management plans. I am concerned about the possible privatisation of local infrastructure. I want our infrastructure to be locally owned, controlled and operated so accountability and jobs stay within the community. The provision of water and sewage is universally regarded as basic infrastructure where local control is vital. P3s only make sense from a risk management perspective when a government is unable, or not considered trustworthy enough to carry out natural government monopoly functions. I can only hope that our trust in our governments' abilities to perform these basic functions has not eroded this far.

    Sewage treatment is a well established and mature field where expertise is easily available, and it meshes well with the water provision infrastructure which is already municipally controlled. It makes little sense to spin the sewage off to a private entity. Costs will increase due to the extra layer of complexity, and due to the returns to the shareholders the companies need to provide. Governments traditionally have lower borrowing costs and superior bargaining abilities. Why waste that kind of power? Upper/middle management jobs may not be available to local people, so there is no jobs benefit or job diversity from privatization. There is lowered accountability as well. While P3s claim to shift risk away from governments, studies show that this risk shifting has not actually worked in practice. Non-local companies can leave if things go wrong, municipalities cannot. Non local companies can declare bankruptcy and shed all accountability if things go wrong, we cannot.

    I urge you to look at work produced by Aidan R. Vining of Simon Fraser University and Anthony E. Boardman of the University of British Columbia as a valuable counterpoint to estimates coming out of the Conference Board of Canada and Partnerships BC (see attachment). They find that official cost benefit analyses showing the supposed benefits of P3s are fundamentally flawed because they do not take any of the social costs, transaction costs or externalities into account. They conclude that P3s only work from a financial perspective when they are designed to closely mimic traditional design-build-transfer or build-transfer contracts. Why waste time and effort trying to make this shoe fit when it clearly does not?

    When we run the plant, we have the power to be flexible, to optimize the operations and modify them to suit our changing needs. We get to decide how much data we want to release, or what kind of research we want to support, what kind of relationship we have with the local community, and what kind of behavioural changes we would like to encourage to reduce waste. When we run the plant. our success does not depend on any one company's business practice or technology bias. We get to incorporate best practices to operate a sewage treatment facility that works for us, not the other way around. Public ownership is the conservative choice!

    In conclusion, I oppose privatisation of the water and sewage infrastructure for the following reasons:

    1) Increased costs

    2) decreased accountability

    3) Loss of job diversity

    4) Decreased efficiency due to increased complexity

    Thank you very much for your time.

    Bharat Chandramouli, Ph. D

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    Trade, Politics and Global Climate Change

    Date: Wed., April 7, 2010
    Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
    Location: Da Vinci Centre
    Street: 195 Bay St.
    City/Town: Victoria, BC

    Are International Trade Agreements undermining efforts to solve Global Climate Change? Can our politicians cooperatively address this issue, by working together across party lines?

    The Council of Canadians, Victoria Chapter presents a forum on climate change with the focus on trade agreements and how they affect the environment. We need to address how to create and enforce trade agreements that place environmental sustainability and the lowering of our carbon footprint in the forefront. It is time for our elected officials to cooperate on these issues. In this non-partisan forum we hope to discuss the challenges and the solutions to this most important issue. Microphones will be available for you to speak to this critical situation.

    Invited Guests:

    Elizabeth May

    Dr. Keith Martin MP

    Hon. Gary Lunn MP
    Denise Savoie MP
    Further information: 250-380-7145 or 250-220-5355

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    Stuart Hertzog's Presentation to the CRD CALWMC

    March 10, 2010

    Good evening.

    My name is Stuart Hertzog and I spoke to you this morning about the impact of this project on greenhouse gas emissions. I calculate that in 40 years, this project would add 1.6 Megatonnes of CO2e to the global atmosphere. On that basis, this project should not go ahead.

    Because it would create environmental and financial problems where none existed before, many people, including myself, are wondering why you have embarked on such an ill-advised path. Perhaps the answer lies in the push by the BC government to privatise public utilities?

    There is no doubt my mind and the minds of many others, that this entire project has been mandated by the BC government's desire to privatise municipal sewage services. But the public response you have been receiving points to considerable concern about this. There is strong public support that the CRD's sewage system should be publicly owned and operated.

    You are asking the public to choose from a menu of six procurement options, from the public Design Bid Build to the P3 Design Build Operate Maintain. But there is another option that has not been included, which is not to proceed at all with this billion-dollar mega-project. There is considerable public support for that option, too.

    This public 'involvement' process is manipulative and meaningless without including "none-of-the-above," which I suggest is the best choice.

    Without the option of not proceeding, you are faced with three political solutions to the thorny issue of ownership and procurement: a fully-public system; a hybrid mix of public and private; and a full P3 package.

    Because you must somehow assuage the public fear of privatisation, there is no doubt in my own mind that you will favour the politically less-damaging, 'hybrid' solution. That way you can appear to be fair and balanced -- except that this will be the worst possible choice.

    This 'hybrid' solution is in fact a P3, in which the heart of this project -- ownership and sale of the revenue-producing streams of biogas and biosolids -- will be moved into private hands, while the costly, non-revenue, supporting infrastructure, will be paid for with public funds.

    The devil is hidden in the details. The draft Business Case presented by Ernst & Young last week, recommended that both the West Shore and the Victoria biosolids plants be P3s. I suggest to you that these two plums are of great interest to the private sector.

    These two plants will receive the liquid waste streams from the entire Capital Region District. They will dry and process them to produce methane biogas for internal process use, with any surplus for sale to Terasen Gas. The operator will sell the biosolids as cement kiln or municipal waste incinerator fuel. The CRD will be reduced to a supplier of liquid waste at public expense.

    It's the perfect money machine. The plant operator is guaranteed a flow of feedstock, which it can process as cheaply as possible. It can then resell its products to the highest bidder, maybe even while being paid to process the sewage -- it all depends on the details of the contract.

    Who would own the incoming feedstock? Who would own the biogas and biosolids produced? What about any future carbon credits -- who will own these valuable, tradable assets? These details are vitally important to the regional taxpayer -- but we aren't being asked about those, nor are we likely ever to learn exactly what will be negotiated on our behalf.

    Should these two plants be privatised, we know that the financial and operational details of any contract will be hidden from public view on the grounds of commercial secrecy. Yet these contracts could contain minimum and maximum flow requirements that could limit the ability of the CRD to fulfil other policies, such as water use and greenhouse gas reduction.

    You are asking the public to choose between just six models of procurement, while the devilish details are hidden in carefully-crafted reports that suggest privatising these two key plants.

    That's like Henry Ford saying "you can have any colour car you want -- as long as it's black."

    By choosing the hybrid option, you will be still turning over the valuable assets of a municipal service to the private sector, while asking the public to pick up the tab. This doesn't seem right to me, nor to the majority of the voting public in your municipalities.

    The decisions you will be making in the next months are crucial, both for the financial stability of the CRD and each for municipality; for public health; and for the global environment.

    Do not deliver valuable CRD sewage assets into the hands of a private operator while calling it a "hybrid" solution. This would be subterfuge and sleight-of-hand.

    Thank you.

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Coffee Night Speaker: Arthur Caldicott

    “Vancouver Island's Watersheds in Peril”

    Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2010
    Time: 7:00 – 9:15 p.m.
    Place: BCGEU, 2994 Douglas St.

    Arthur Caldicott is an analyst of energy and mining issues in British Columbia. His
    research, writing and presentations focus on the environmental, health, and public interest
    aspects of those issues, as well as the economic considerations.
    A company proposing a project will come to a community selling jobs and taxes as the
    local benefits which will accrue from its pipeline, or mine, or mall. The company will
    minimize the environmental impacts, avoid the fact that most of the jobs last only as long
    as the construction period, and that the real economic benefits flow to its shareholders.
    Caldicott tells the other side of the story – the parts the company is less keen to talk
    Using thoroughly researched and verifiable information, his writing and
    presentations are balanced and credible. He is an insightful and engaging speaker.
    Twenty years as an IT professional, and ten years as an energy analyst have equipped
    Caldicott with an understanding of what motivates business (it is the profit motive, of
    course, but informed and nuanced by complex factors), and how our governments
    frequently seem to confuse the corporate interest for the public interest. Communities get good information clearly presented – and are then better equipped to make informed
    A sampling of Arthur Caldicott’s work is available at Please
    contact him at 250-384-5551 or
    Free Admission
    Free parking at the Lifestyle foods plaza next door
    Fairly traded coffee and tea are available with a donation
    Contact: Nana 483-1277

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    John Luton's Presentation to the CRD CALWMC

    March 10, 2010

    I’m here to ask you to support the public option for sewage treatment.

    I believe that public services belong in public hands.

    We are transparent and accountable, and ultimately on the hook to provide the service project we are committing our current and future taxpayers to fund.

    Private owners will build and operate a system that best serves their shareholders. We have a responsibility to serve our shareholders, and they are the citizens and taxpayers of Victoria and the Capital Region.

    Private ownership and operation of our public services does not serve their interest, or that of future generations.

    There are still many opportunities for the private sector in a public project and you’ve heard how important that is to our local construction industry.

    When something goes wrong, the public owner and operator will say “how quickly can I fix this to make sure my shareholders get back the service they are paying for?” The private operator is going to ask “is this in our contract?”

    I’m happy that those who have purchased private sewage treatment are so far happy with their systems. And lots of people were just as happy with their new Toyotas.

    If my sewer backs up can I call the CRD, or am I going to have go through a call centre in Poughkeepsie?

    At this meeting and at the meeting two weeks ago you heard about the many examples of successful public systems built and in operation in Canada and in the U.S., and about some of the failures of P3s here and elsewhere.

    My example is a little different but illustrates well enough what we are exposed to with the P# model.

    In 2008 numbers of transit operators in the U.S. who had sold fleets of buses and leased them back from private capital companies, insured by giants like AIG, a name that should be familiar to anyone who paid attention to our most recent economic meltdown. Cascading and complex contracts between the myriad players and financiers forced some transit operators to cut service to meet payment demands from the private capital companies in distress.

    What do you do when your service provider goes bankrupt? AIG lately lost $8.87 billion U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2009, and company value dropped by 13%. The pressure to cut costs and return to profitability will ripple through their dependents and we’ll no doubt see what other public services in private hands are impacted as a result.

    You don’t transfer risk to the private sector, they are selling their risk premium to you.

    Our public option can be financed by the Municipal Finance Authority, an investor with a much sounder portfolio and a better track record than anything you can find in the private sector.

    We need to worry about our triple bottom line – social, economic and environmental values impacted by this project. Private operators are worried only about their bottom line, and they will compromise our environment, ship economic benefits offshore, and will have little interest in the community and social impacts of the project and its operations.

    The opportunity to adapt to new technologies and benefit from resource recoveries must be kept in public hands. We may not make a profit, be can reduce operating costs and help lower greenhouse gas emissions, an imperative we must be working for. Can we integrate more of our waste stream into a regional sewage system to generate heat, electricity or other recoveries, or will we have to purchase access?

    Can we integrate more of our waste stream into a regional sewage system to generate heat, electricity or other recoveries, or will we have to purchase access? I believe that opportunity will be lost with a P3.

    We already own the systems that will be used to transport our waste from source to plant and water to the sea. Let’s build on those assets, not give it away just to rent it back.

    Once they have our sewage pipes, are we going to sell off our water? Certainly that’s what the private multinationals are looking for.

    On the social side, I’d rather negotiate with the people who live and work in our community than multinational gamblers that run the world’s financial system – and badly it seems.

    We will have to live with your decision for decades. Please make the right one for ourselves and our children. The public option is the sustainable choice for our community.

    John Luton
    Victoria City Councillor

    Kim Manton's Presentation to the CRD CALWMC

    March 10, 2010

    "I would like to speak to you tonight about how two meetings have provided the framework of how I have spent the last three meeting was on Sept. 5, 2007 and the other is fast approaching - March 24, 2010"...the first meeting motivated me to prepare for the second...

    My first meeting of the CALWMC was January 24th 2007 where I began my sewage treatment journey. The meeting that framed the way I would do my job however was on September 5, 2007….it was the Committee of the Whole meeting where those of you who were in attendance voted to support the P3 for the Patient tower at the Royal Jubilee. This meeting changed the way I viewed being a campaign coordinator, a citizen and a voter.

    As I arrived at this meeting I assumed the room would be filled with citizens, local media and stakeholders – it is a hospital, healthcare - to my surprise I got there and found one media representative, 4 members of public, and a whole bunch of staff and consultants. To my bigger surprise I saw all the directors but one vote for the P3 but even more confusing was the dialogue around the table. I heard things like

    • I will support the motion because the care centre is necessary for the community and I am ambivalent about P3’s
    • “this is not the place to discuss P3’s – this information is way over our heads
    • This decision needs to be made at the provincial level.
    • Larry Blaine and his outfit are offering us a hospital for $107 million as a take it or leave it offer and we can not refuse this
    • This debate is one of pragmatism and idealism
    • I will reluctantly support the motion because we need the 500 beds

    This meeting, the dialogue, the decision and the participation moved to frame my work over the next three years. That there were no members of the public there to witness these comments and no media there to report them…a major infrastructure project being handed to private corporations and no one was there. This is when I knew I had my work was cut out for me – hell if they didn’t show up for a hospital what are the chances that they would show up for sewage treatment?

    So with over 50 CALWMC meetings and detailed notes combined with a mountain of reading on procurement under my belt I have taken the discussion to the citizens of the CRD. I have taken every possible opportunity to work with amazing activists, volunteers, stake holder groups, organizations, been to more that 75 public markets, community fairs, open houses, neighbourhood forums and community events from Saanich to the Luxton Fair..
    I have talked to anyone that would have me – including you. On Sept. 5, 2007 I committed to do what I could to ensure that residents of the CRD have the information to make an informed decision about privatization so that they understood the dialogue and debate and that they, the residents, could then empower you to make informed decisions.

    There have been hurdles and explaining P3’s was one… sewage ain’t sexy which has made engagement difficult. Many people don’t even know what the CRD is - let alone what procurement means but I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that once they understand what privatization means in their community, the citizens of the CRD overwhelmingly want this system to be public. Of course I did run into a few people who believed in P3s – we agreed to disagree.

    I also spent a lot of time (along with others) trying to raise this issue during the municipal elections and I know that at 4 separate All candidate meetings you were asked to stand if you supported public water and wastewater systems. I was proud to see so many of you stand. With our vote we entrusted you with our values and you now hold the responsibility to represent them– to represent us!

    As I said the last three years have been framed by two meetings one in 2007 and one coming up in two weeks – there are significant changes between then and now…

    On Sept. 5, 2007 you said that you received the information too late and didn’t have enough time to sort through it…

    • This time you will have had the information for almost a month
    • This time you will have had access to all sorts of evidence and information from around the world
    • This time you have rooms full of engaged citizens and media
    • This time you will be crystal clear about your residents want
    • This time your decision will not only be witnessed but it will be communicated.
    • This time you are accountable to your constituents
    • This time you have the opportunity to represent us with confidence

    In my efforts to engage our community I have handed out your contact information to more people than I can count. Sadly what I have heard over and over is that “it doesn’t matter what we tell them because they will do what they want anyway”.
    Or “the province gets what the province wants…”
    This is your opportunity to show people that they are wrong – that their voices and their actions do matter.

    Alice Walker said that “the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”…you have an opportunity to reconnect citizens to their power, let them know you heard them.

    Thank you,
    Kim Manton

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Joan Russow's Presentation to the CRD CALWMC

    Procurement must not be yet another act of negligence.

    Joan Russow PhD
    Presentation to the CRD, March 10, 2010

    There is a long history in Victoria, of negligence on the part of the CRD and of other authoritative figures. Particularly, from the CRD engineer, Michael Williams, who in the 1980’s authored a pale blue pamphlet with the poetic title "To the sea"- essentially he argued that, in Victoria, dilution was the solution to pollution. His work was eagerly supported by years of so-called academic research by two University of Victoria professors, Dr. Derek Ellis and Dr. Jack Littlepage, and regrettably their work was affirmed publicly by Dr. Shawn Peck, the then Deputy Provincial Health Officer
    [even today he is still involved with his anti-treatment campaign coined "will haste make waste] and even endorsed by the illustrious leader of the Western Concept Party when he made spurious claims that "Nature already provides us with an effective, inexpensive and environmentally beneficial treatment system.
    Then in the late1980s Dr. Tony Boydell conducted public hearings for the CRD on Sewage, and at every hearing he was told by most of the citizens that there must be some form of sewage treatment; yet when there was a 1990 referendum, there were three options, one of them to do nothing. So here we are now in 2010, and there is even an anti-treatment group formed to still urge the CRD, the Provincial Government and the Federal Government to do nothing and there are even different levels of government, ignoring the evidence of P3 failures, still pushing for P3s, and we as citizens are still before the CRD declaring that we want sewage treatment, and we don¹t want P3s. I have tried to unravel the convoluted decision-making process related to procurement, and I asked a not-to-be named official about the process. I was told that the Federal Government will not do anything until the Province commits -- probably that is code for committing to P3s. I was then told that, before there would be a commitment for provincial funding, there is a requirement under the Capital Asset Management Framework, that public sector agencies must investigate alternatives for capital development, including the P3 option to "design, build and operate". When I asked about the degree to which citizens' views will be taken into consideration by the Provincial Government, I was told that the CRD report following the public hearings, along with an investigation report, would form the basis for the Provincial decision. The investigation Report, however, is being done by Ernst and Young, whose firm has not only been embroiled in lawsuits (see Google “Ernst and Yonge” and lawsuits, related to fraud, breech of trust and negligence, but also appears, because of Ernst and Young’s pro-P3s, to be in conflict of interest, and does not have the sufficient expertise to address the issues of social and environmental impacts.
    (See attached note about the various lawsuits related to Ernst and Young). In 2002, Ernst and Young launched, with a former Employee of Arthur Andersen’s firm, an Environmental Advisory Services practice within its Real Estate Advisory Services group. It is obvious that due diligence on E and Y was not carried out.
    Jim Lloyd in his presentation to the CRD stated the following: "Ernst & Young is working on more P3 deals than any other financial advisory firm in the world and last year won the most P3 engagements, according to Tim Philpotts, who leads Ernst & Young’s Canadian Initiatives for P3s". The question then arises would the Provincial Government be able to allow or be prepared to allow public concern to prevail, and support the public¹s call for Design-Bid-Build, as well as the public’s opposition to P3s? It is, however, clear that the BC Government has made a firm commitment to P3s. In their Partnership BC document, the BC Government proclaims that P3s are the growing trend in Canada in the development and maintenance of public infrastructure, and then expounds on the virtues of the P3s. Now what happens if the CRD and BC Government actually listen to
    citizens’ concerns? What can the Federal Government be expected to do or be able to now do? Can the Federal Government be expected to or be able to support a potential CRD, and Provincial Government opposition to P3s? In Infrastructure Canada is the following statement:
    "The benefits of using P3s include: access to private-sector capital and expertise; faster completion of projects; and the transfer of risk to the private sector. In Canada, the Federal Government is taking a leadership role in developing P3 opportunities by establishing the P3 Fund. This fund will support innovative projects that provide an alternative to traditional government infrastructure procurement.” In addition, in recent years there have been several trade agreements which have resulted in a requirement for open sourcing: Internal Trade Agreement, involving all of Canada, the TILMA involving BC and Alberta, the WTO Procurement clause involving the US for a period of time, and more recently the Comprehensive Economic Agreement Negotiations (CETA) involving the European Union which is in between the 2nd and 3rd negotiating round. ...The next three rounds will tackle progressively more difficult issues of procurement, investment, etc
    The WTO procurement agreement will permit companies like Bechtel Corporation (see Democracy Center report on Bechtel in Latin America)
    The CETA could allow for a company like Veolia or Suez to seduce the provincial and Federal Governments into embracing P3 proposals. (see attached recent revelations about Veolia’s fiasco in Bruxelles, and the case against Suez’ exploitation of developing states (see Global Day of Action, Latin America, against Suez) . Thus will the biased Provincial and Federal Governments keep demanding more research and the P3-prone private sector keep lobbying, until finally the concerns of the citizens will be trumped and the P3s, victorious, and then the citizens will be given the option;
    either you agree to P3s and receive Provincial and Federal funding or you oppose P3s and through taxes bear the cost.
    So in April will all three levels of government continue to be negligent, being seduced into P3s, and will the people be condemned to live with the consequences, OR will there be the political will to seriously respect the will of the people. Citizens have a legitimate expectation that elected officials will opt for serving the public good.
    [This presentation (and all of the others published in this blog) was made at a public hearing, so all of it is in the public domain. The Council of Canadians is publishing it as a public service in order to allow as many citizens as possible to read it and comment on it in a free and democratic process.]

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Jim Lloyd's Presentation to the CRD CALWMC

    February 25, 2010

    My name is Jim Lloyd and I am a retired Water Resources Technologist. I have worked in Wastewater Plant Operations for many years in Ontario and at two plants in the Victoria area. Over the years I have seen, reviewed and worked with many examples of the good, the bad and the ugly of wastewater plant designs. And I am sad to say, the bad and the ugly, seem to be becoming more common these days.

    Design-Bid-Build is the Best Option

    Based on my first hand experiences with wastewater plants I know the Design-Bid-Build is the best available option. It will give the CRD complete control over the project, which is vital to a successful conclusion.

    With a complete and detailed design in hand the CRD can then tender the project and get firm prices and delivery dates from the largest number of bidders possible. This approach will give the CRD the best chance to eliminate the possibility of later cost overruns and/or delays in the project.

    It is a Real P3: Private design, Private building and Public operation.

    One key component that must be included in any contract is that the designer is held financially accountable for any additional costs due to design problems. This is vitally important since even small design issues can turn into multi million dollar problems.

    Learn from History – Don’t Repeat It

    The new Halifax Wastewater treatment plant was initially a Design-Build-Operate (P3) project with the French multinational, Suez leading the consortium. After Suez tried to change the terms of the operating contract the city took back the operational component but retained the same consortium to design and build the project.

    After just one year of operation the $54 million Halifax Wastewater Treatment Plant had a catastrophic failure in Jan. 2009 and will be out of commission until the Spring of this year. Repairs costs are estimated at 11 million dollars.

    It is a text book example of “What can go wrong, will go wrong” and why you have to properly design for it. The Design-Build option is more prone to this type of outcome.

    Design-Build or P3 – Too Many Ways It Can Go Wrong

    With a Design-Build or P3 the price is set before the design is even started, therefore the project will be designed to fit the budget. To maximize profit or stay within budget cutting corners will be sure to follow.

    So, on one hand you may have price certainty but on the other hand you will have product uncertainty as Halifax found out.

    A Design-Build approach may work with simple projects like highways or condo developments but it is not the best choice for wastewater plants.

    The P3 option also greatly reduces the number of bidders on a project. You could be down to one or two bidders at the end of a long drawn out process.

    Hamilton Wastewater Plant

    Hamilton, Ontario tried the privatization of the operation and maintenance of their wastewater plant in the 1990s. Over the term of the original contract there were many problems and the private company went through many changes in ownership including being owned by Enron.

    The private operator had basically operated the plant on the “run to failure” maintenance principal.

    In 2004, the contract was expiring and Hamilton put it out for public tender. Along with a number of private companies the city of Hamilton also put in their own bid to operate and maintain the plant. To no ones surprise Hamilton found it was much cheaper to do it in-house and they took back the operation, hired back staff, saved money and controlled the risks.

    “Procurement Business Plan” – Who’s Minding the Hen House?

    I would also like to comment on the documents that the CRD will be using to make a very difficult decision. The “Procurement Business Plan” and public information brochures with their comparison of the different procurement options were drafted by Ernst & Young. I consider this a real conflict of interest since Ernst & Young is very biased toward the P3 option and will gain financially if the P3 option is chosen.

    Their own web site states:

    “Ernst & Young is working on more P3 deals than any other financial advisory firm in the world and last year won the most P3 engagements, according to Tim Philpotts, who leads Ernst & Young’s Canadian initiatives for P3s.”

    In closing:

    -A traditional design-bid-build procurement method is the best approach

    - keep control of the operation.

    -Don’t rush the design phase, take your time and get it right the first time.

    -Learn from history, don’t repeat it.

    -and finally, the Provincial government may have forced the CRD to consider privatization (P3s) as an option – but the CRD is under no obligation to go that route.

    Thank you for your consideration of my comments.

    Sunday, February 28, 2010

    Phil Lyons' Presentation to the CRD CALWMC

    Feb. 25, 2010

    It is coming up to decision time for CRD representatives on the procurement options for the new sewage system. As a citizen of the CRD and a member of the steering committee of the Greater Victoria Water Watch Coalition representing the Greater Victoria Seniors((OAPO191) , I feel that you should make the kind of decision here that provides the greatest protection for the taxcpayers , and accountability in such a project.

    This protection., in my view , is best provided by the design–bid-build option on the left of the chart which was clearly the preferred option by the overwhelming majority of those who came to the public sessions last week. This is not an accident. The citizens do not believe that there is any way to get accountability into the P3 models offered. This is not addressed by the Partnerships B.C. preferred privatization model driven by the contracting process. We have found out that these contracts are not accessible to public scrutiny once they are signed in regard to the Abbotsford Hospital P3 ( see the B.C. Health Coalition website for ,ore information this) and the Port Mann Bridge P3 as well since the Provincial government and the companies insist that this is “proprietary” information and there fore not accessible through the F.O.I Act.

    It might help if there had not been cutbacks in the Public Service of those positions that provided oversight in depth of the contracted service provisions in P3s. The PartnershipB.C. process is not able to supervise these contracts due at least partially to the conflicts of interest that are shown in their exorbitant bonuses and their history of involvement in the very companies that are bidding on contracts and providing reports to the CRD that are favourable to privatization.

    The only solid claim that has been made for the P3 option is that of risk transfer from governments to corporations. Since this is done through a contracting process that is not enforceable ( See the Hamilton experiment) , the fall back position is to put the public partner in the position of saving the contactor from their own failings of finance and operation. Unless there is a real possibility of beefing up the enforcing provision at the CRD Level in these contracts, and the bidders would not sign such a contract , the electors will be faced with the opportunity of throwing out those elected representatives at the next election. Why not just take the over-exaggerated risk in Public hands and take your electoral risks that way rather than buying a pig in a poke that has a well-documented international history of failure in delivery.

    There are also more details on the failure of P3s on these websites.- Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives and, for sewage , Greater Victoria Water Watch

    Phil Lyons , Greater Victoria Seniors

    Saturday, February 27, 2010

    Michelle Coburn's Presentation to the CRD CALWMC

    February 25, 2010

    Michelle Coburn

    Yesterday’s news included an item re the apology from Mr. Toyota- CEO of Toyota . He spoke before the U.S. Congress to apologize for the consequences of the manufacture by his company of faulty vehicles and the insecurity, accidents and recalls surrounding the product that bears his name. He said that this happened a result of too rapid expansion but more tellingly as he stated it was a consequence of prioritizing profit over the safety of Toyota customers.
    A few days ago in an editorial in the Victoria Times Colonist it was pointed out that in the creation of the B.C. Ferry Company in 2003 a contract was drawn up that at no times includes information that states “There is no requirement or even provision, for the interests of ferry customers and local communities to be considered in setting rates or B.C. Ferries direction” In other words the profits “could be at the expense of the public service goals of the ferry system, local communities and taxpayers” .

    I am here not a member of some special interest group. I do not have a profit motive, a political objective or a personal gain to make by becoming informed about the work this committee and staff are doing regarding the Procurement of a plan to develop the infrastructure project around sewage treatment. I am concerned about the future of the environment and the world my children and grandchildren will inherit. The people I have met and conversations that have evolved around water and environmental issues are wide ranging and not at all what I expected to become involved in three and a half years ago when we moved to back to Victoria after 40 years in Toronto. But I met Dorothy Clippingdale who was trying to get interested people together with a concern focused around water issues here. And so I am here to take advantage of the opportunity offered by you to comment on the procurement plans you are developing re sewage treatment. Yesterday I was present and did get the impression that not only are you moving forward in this area but it does seem that the work presented to the public around site selection is still partly a work in progress and I only hope the glacial speed of this project does not mean it will not happen in my lifetime.

    I have used the internet to research the players in this project- stakeholders who have profit as their driving motive and find it somewhat concerning that the province- particularly through Partnerships B.C. has a huge amount of control over the process you are supposedly using our tax dollars to pay for. I learned that it was established to promote P3s for large infrastructure projects the province contributes to. I learned its CEO gets a bonus for every P3 project signed. - will it (partnerships B.C.)really help you to draw up a good contract for a Public option when it has as its mandate and is rewarded when the P3 option gets signed? I also learned that Ernst and Young ,who are doing the procurement plan and have their own interest in P3s , were on a list of 4 similar firms you were given to choose from by the province to develop this plan . I am sure since the CRD is paying for this business case the report is made to you but there appears to me that there is a perception of a biased report and I wonder who is presenting a business case for a Public plan. As the ferry service has declined and is affecting us on the island I am concerned that the a profit motive may drive the procurement plan and at the open house with the opportunity to see the plans laid out it was difficult to get a clear sense of options and costs when considering that site selection and actual how and what will be done is still unresolved. I realize there is a peer review panel and looked up the members- their biographical profiles are not without expertise and yet I do have a few concerns when I read one worked for 18 years for Ernst and Young and would have been happier not to have seen that apparent closeness, though it could of course be beneficial for communication also and the peer review .

    I want to refer back to my two opening points. First there is nothing wrong with profit. There is a difference when it is a community utility that is caring for our Liquid waste treatment and the linkage to water cannot be severed totally from that.There is a distinct benefit for the local economy when the CRD hires locally based contractors to work on their projects they are part of who we are and accountable to us as neighbours unlike a large offshore corporation who return profits to their shareholders. Permanent employees of the CRD deliver us safe water I trust them to do the same with the sewage treatment structures. I would like to see the project done in a total- traditional design and build model but the control of this must be here and in your hands. That contracting will be complex and require expertise is obvious, that profit driven large companies from offshore with a duty to shareholders and personal gain for company executives will lead, I can only believe, to the advantage being not for the local people and the contracts will reflect that. In my learning about governments of the ilk that we call neo-liberal in this global world it has been helpful to see the pressures from the provincial and federal governments you face are not unique . Good governance and wide management of our water resources (of which this liquid waste management plan is a part )will lead to safety and control remaining in public hands only if the planned project is moved forward by you as a Public not for profit utility. The contracts and regulations will be for ours and future generations to modify as knowledge and research develops, local contractors and our educational institutions can benefit because they can be active stakeholders and will be returning to the community in which they live the benefits they may accrue. Knowledge from the poor contract between B.C. ferries and its real clients should be a warning, knowledge of the consequence of Toyota can tell us that profit before safety of your product can be the consequence of large for profit driven companies. I have spoken to many people with the common response being Sewage treatment and the water it connects with must be kept in Public hands.

    CRD public meeting - Have your say on public sewage treatment!

    Date: Wednesday, March 10, 2010
    Time: 4:00pm - 6:45pm
    Location: CRD Board Room, 6th Floor, 625 Fisgard Street, Victoria, B.C.

    The Capital Regional District is voting on whether the new sewage treatment project is going to be public or private at the end of March.
    On March 10 there is an important public meeting of the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee in Greater Victoria.
    Your chance to come and show your support for public sewage treatment. If you can, please register to speak at
    For more information on the issue and ways to get involved please check out the following links:

    Friday, February 26, 2010

    Ian Crawford's Presentation to the CRD CALWMC

    Feb. 25, 2010

    Good Evening to all members of the Committee. I am Ian Crawford, a retired teacher, aircraft mechanic, community development worker and a big fan of clever design.

    I know you work hard on behalf of all citizens of our district, - you receive the smallest portion of my tax dollar - and stretch it to provide the bulk of the services most valued by area citizens.

    I think it would be more accurate to call this body the Core Area Liquid Resource Management Committee. You have considered several aspects of sewage as a resource but there is more. I will come back to that.

    I want to tell you briefly, my five reasons for keeping the purchase of this major project public.

    We must not allow the surrender of municipal authority to corporate control. Privatization of a municipal responsibly will put this service under the rules of NAFTA. Hidden in the 900 pages of the North American Free Trade Agreement are clauses that will put at risk, public control of all aspects of water removal and delivery in our municipalities. You have a major responsibility to protect municipal government from loss of power and erosion to corporations. Please consider seeking legal advice on this issue.

    The 2nd consideration for me is that private corporations do not have to reveal information about their economic or environmental actions. Private control will mean decisions will be made in corporate head offices - not at city hall. We will not be privy to those meetings and decisions. Private corporations answer to their shareholders, not the taxpayer.

    3rd Many studies show P3's are from 30 to 130% more costly than the traditional public project acquisitions. I have not seen any evidence that shows a P3 that proved cost or risk effective for the taxpayer. When private corporations face difficult economic times they may seek bankruptcy protection to avoid their contractual commitments for continued services and environmental protection. Private financing is more expensive because lenders know corporate partners are risky – you just have to look at last year's economic meltdown to see the risk.

    4th Public operation offers local people good jobs in the community which enhances our area's resilience. This is sensible sound governance and is money well spent.

    5th We must remain as flexible as possible and not lock ourselves into decades long contracts with private corporations. Loading inflexible long-term debt onto our children denies them the opportunity to shape their future community. I think our young people need to have the opportunity and flexibility to find ways to put our liquid waste to better use.

    I have two short stories on flexibility. Forty years ago I worked with the Canada-BC Okanagan Watershed Study. Two cities made decisions about sewage.

    Pentiction was sold a tertiary treatment plant which was costly to capitalize and operate. The solids were removed and the effluent a was pumped into a canal that drained to Skaha Lake. Within a few years, bathers at the northern beach contracted skin rashes. Health Authorities posted the beach “off limits”. The nitrogen rich effluent caused so much growth of plant life that fishermen and boaters were thwarted - Bad for business. Pentiction Businesses petitioned to have the weeds removed by a mechanical harvester, at an ongoing cost to the taxpayer.

    The city councillors in Vernon at the north end of Okanagan Lake developed a plan to use secondary treatment and then sprayed the liquid onto fields. This produced two gorgeous alfalfa crops a year – a boon for the taxpayers and the environment.

    I was fortunate to visit China in the last century. I saw first hand how the Chinese people have been feeding themselves on the same lands for forty centuries. They recycle their sewage to their soils. They are cognizant of the health hazards and take the necessary steps to neutralize health risks. Canadian fertilizers are produced from fossil fuels. With peak oil close at hand we might be wise to examine how to enhance our fertilizer needs.

    In conclusion

    Please make wise decisions about financing this project, one that keeps control in municipal hands, not with an international corporation, and one that allows flexibility for future generations to benefit from this resource.

    We citizens want our municipal government to stand up and say no to the pressures of the senior governments to enter into P3 agreements.

    I appreciate your good management and hard work in making this part of Canada such a wonderful place to live.

    Thank you.

    Janet Gray's Presentation to the CRD CALWMC

    February 25, 2010

    Hello and thankyou for the opportunity today for public input regarding the decision before you about ‘procurement’ for wastewater treatment in the CRD.

    My name is Janet Gray and I am representing KAIROS, a national and ecumenical environment and social justice initiative that has local and regional groups across the country. I am also a member of the Greater Victoria Water Watch Coalition and a resident of the Capital Regional District.

    Leading up to World Water Day - March 22nd, 2006 - KAIROS Victoria and other members of the Greater Victoria Water Coaltion asked all thirteen municipalities of the CRD if they would sign a declaration about the importance of Water. We were thrilled to announce at the World Water Day event and in newspaper ads that day that 12 out of 13 municipalities signed the declaration. The declaration recognized the essential nature of water to all life and the declaration stated “ that water should be looked after by all levels of government to protect and conserve natural sources of water and that these governments would ensure that the delivery, management and regulation of water services remains a public responsibility, affordable and accountable to the citizens of this community”. Leadership and vision are essential elements of political life and the CRD has provided us with both in past.

    We have so much to be proud of regarding the vision and leadership of the CRD. You have managed and operated one of the most pristine watersheds in the country. In our life time and the lifespans of our children we will all see growing problems and conflicts over access to water. All the problems will not be from the other side of the world, many will occur close to home. Let us never put our guard down regarding the safety, provision and public ownership of our water.

    Well – water runs down hill !!!! The same water that runs through our watershed and out our taps - continues on through our bodies and out through the toilets and drains of the CRD - right now, into the ocean, and you, our elected leaders and staff, are making decisions that will last for generations about how the wastewater should be treated and who should be providing that service. I trust that you all are taking this decision very seriously and with the same foresight and knowledge that CRD leaders of the past gave to their decision to buy land and protect our watershed for the future benefit of our communities. It is all connected – water that is! Clean water in and clean water out.

    I am concerned that we not put our public water and our wastewater into private hands. Private companies are failing all around us.

    My husband went in to see a broker about our RRSP’s the other day. You know - that broker said he couldn’t guarantee anything to us these days about stocks or investments!!!! He said he couldn’t say if even some of our largest Canadian companies will thrive given the current financial melt down. The Royal Bank is a ‘hold’, Telus is a ‘hold or sell’. Will either be around in two years?

    Why - two years ago – no one would have told you that Lehman Brothers would collapse –well it doesn’t exist anymore! The AIG rescue has cost the United States a fortune, as has Chrysler and Ford. Clearly - private companies fail ‘unexpectedly’ and the corporate world and financial systems are on very shaky ground. Who bails out private companies when they fail – we do – the public.

    Greece is defaulting on its loans. Thanks to the privatization genius, Goldman Sachs. Italy, Portugal and Spain are next. Intrawest – the company who owns Whistler, the site of the 2010 Olympics, failed. It’s now for sale. Thank God the people of Whistler had the vision and leadership to keep their new state of the art Wastewater Treatment plant in public hands!!

    Given the state of the economy here in 2010, who would put water and wastewaters at risk with a Public Private Partnership???? When you keep things in public hands they don’t fail.

    Members of KAIROS and people the world over see water as a sacred trust. Wastewater is that water running downhill. Let’s keep our wastewater in public hands - we’ll need to pay up front but that way our investments are safe. It is for our future and our children’s future and it is worth it.

    We trust that you our elected officials and leaders will have the vision, the common sense and our best interests at heart. We want you to govern the treatment of our wastewater and your staff to manage and operate it for the decades to come.

    Don’t give it away.


    Roberta Cory's Presentation to the CRD (Capital Regional District) CALWMC (Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee)

    (Presented on Feb. 25, 2010 at the CRD public meeting on procurement of a sewage treatment system for Victoria, BC)


    I have given a lot of thought to what I can say in a few minutes that has not already been said by those before me. The only issue that really matters here is Democracy. I am outraged that the provincial government lobbies on behalf of private corporations and not on behalf of the citizens of British Columbia. That is a perversion of Democracy. So what do we mean when we still call Canada a Democracy? The word is still there in the textbooks. Should we expunge the word “Democracy” from the school books or should we make it a fact by practicing it?
    Democracy depends upon an educated and informed public. Freedom of speech, a critical media which discloses the truth, and an excellent public school system are essential.
    In a Democracy, power comes from the bottom, the people, and is handed up according to the will of the majority. Politicians are just administrators.
    In a Democracy, there are needs which cannot be met by individual effort alone. Citizens must come together to build and operate projects which benefit everyone equally. Citizens decide to tax themselves to pay for them. They are proud of what they have created. They can say, “Together, we did this.” In a Democracy, people do not feel that taxation is robbery. There is no “They” doing a number on “Us.” There is a sense of we, ours, us. We want this, it is ours, it benefits all of us. We will try hard not to waste our money. If we have a problem, we will fix it.
    P3 stands for public private partnership. That is a misnomer. There is no partnership. That is because the public and the private components have opposite agendas. An international corporation has a mandate to make a profit for its stockholders. It wants to benefit in any way it can from our money and our resources. It wants to be our parent. It wants us to become children. “Don’t ask. We know what’s best.” Democratic institutions must remain transparent. In a Democracy citizens have a right to know who is doing what with their money and resources. A corporation does not have to open its books. It does not have to work on behalf of the citizens at all.
    Today public education, health care, and utilities are all threatened by state sponsored propaganda which erodes the public’s confidence in itself and its own power to provide for its needs. Off all these, any project dealing with water is on the front lines of this war on Democracy. Sewage is mostly water and the end product of treatment is actually a resource. All over the world corporations are buying up sources of water because water is becoming scarce and is unequally distributed. Victoria’s sewage treatment would be a plum for a private corporation, and a foot in the door for attaining further resources. This is where Democracy must take its stand.
    Privatization of those things which should be operated by the public in the public’s best interest leads to a “They” “Us” mentality. As the “Us” loses more and more control of its fate, apathy or anger is the result. Neither is healthy or productive. Both attitudes are corrosive to our social cohesion. We stand to lose much more than just the opportunity to design, build, and operate a sewage treatment plant here in Victoria. We have to stand together and defend that which is precious to us. Democracy.

    Roberta Cory