Five times Christy Clark and her big donors sold out our environment.

On Earth Day, Christy Clark wants you to believe she’s a champion for BC’s environment. She really isn’t.

There’s been a lot written already about Christy Clark and the BC Liberals and their network of huge donors. That they’ve donated more than 100 million dollars to the party since 2005. That one in every five dollars raised comes from just 30 companies. That the companies who donate to her party are more likely to receive government contracts or favourable treatment.

We’ve seen that play out in other ways that her government deals with important issues, housing in particular, but nowhere is that distinction more clear than her record on the environment. Here are five of the most damning examples:

1 – Letting Imperial Metals & Murray Edwards off with no fines or penalties for the worst mining disaster in Canadian history.

The remains of Mount Polley’s tailings pond. Source: YouTube screengrab.

In August 2014, a retaining wall on a tailings pond at Mount Polley mine collapsed, spilling 24,000,000 litres of toxic sludge and water near the small BC community of Likely. Over the next two years, an investigation determined that Imperial Metals, the owner of the mine, had been warned repeatedly since 2007 about the structural integrity of the wall – and did nothing about it.

In the end, BC taxpayers covered the $40 million dollar cleanup bill for the spill, while Imperial Metals received no fines or penalties for their failure to prevent it. The mine was allowed to restart operations Just two weeks ago, Mount Polley mine received permission to start releasing tailings into Shuswap lake. It is effective immediately until 2022.

Imperial Metals and Murray Edwards have donated $1.5 million to the BC Liberals. This includes the million-dollar fundraising dinner Murray Edwards personally organized for Christy Clark at Calgary’s Petroleum Club.

2 – Changing laws so oil and gas companies can drill and build pipelines in BC provincial parks.

A lovely night shot at Roche Lake Provincial Park. Image via: James Wheeler/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

While Christy Clark was telling the media and the world that any new pipeline would have to meet BC’s five conditions before she’d allow it to be built, the BC Liberal government was working quietly behind the scenes to make sure that when those permissions came, those drilling wells and pipelines would be ready for construction as fast as possible.

The 2014 amendment of the BC Parks act gives explicit permission to oil and gas companies to build pipelines and drill in BC provincial parks.

Oil and gas companies (Enbridge, TransCanada and Spectra, among others) have donated $2,028,705.32 to the BC Liberals since 2005.

3 – Selling BC water to Nestle for just $2.25

A water bottle washed up on a faraway beach. Image via: JB Dodane/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

You read that number right. In 2015, as British Columbia sweltered under drought conditions, the BC Liberal-led government quietly signed an agreement with Nestle to bottle and sell BC water. Under the agreement, Nestle is allowed to bottle millions of litres of BC water that they can sell in grocery and convenience stores for any price they want.

What does Nestle pay for that privilege? Just $2.25 for one million litres.

The BC Liberals received $18,015 in donations from Nestle’s BC lobbyist Bruce Rozenhart and his company Counterpoint Communications.

4 – Reopening the Grizzly bear trophy hunt.

Three grizzlies wade in a creek near Knight Inlet. Image via: Tim Nutt/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

When the BC NDP was last in power, it banned the unnecessary and cruel trophy hunt for Grizzly Bears.

When they took power, the BC Liberals re-opened it province-wide. Since then, trophy hunters from around the world have paid members of the BC Guide Outfitters association thousands of dollars each for the chance to come to BC and shoot animals, including grizzly bears.

Since 2005, the BC Liberals have received $112,625 in donations from the BC Guide Outfitters and their members. Darren DeLuca, a Guide Outfitter on Vancouver Island who auctioned off a $30,000 trip to hunt a BC black bear at a Texas-based trophy hunting conference, is even running for the BC Liberals as their candidate in Alberni-Pacific Rim.

5 – Taking $700,000 in donations from Kinder Morgan – and then approving their pipeline proposal.

Tankers anchored in English Bay. Image via: Jerry Meaden/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

When it comes to environmental projects in BC, there aren’t many that are more contentious (and less popular) than Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion to its TransMountain pipeline. Christy Clark’s government has taken dozens of meetings with Kinder Morgan lobbyists and accepted $2,422,658.44 in donations from them.

It’s no wonder that when it came time for the BC government to sign Kinder Morgan’s permits, Christy Clark and the BC Liberal government were more than happy to announce that their conditions had been met (they hadn’t) and the project could proceed.

While Kinder Morgan is still facing legal challenges from BC First Nations and environmental organizations, one of their former lobbyists has been welcomed into the BC Liberal family. Gabe Garfinkel is running as the BC Liberal candidate in Vancouver-Fairview.

Clark’s environmental record is a disgrace. But repairing the damage she and her corporate friends have done is not impossible.

The first and best place to start is on May 9. It’s time to come together and vote for John Horgan’s BC NDP to clean up our environmental record and get BC back on track.

Michael answers questions on child care

Q: BC families face a crisis in accessing quality, affordable child care. Fees are too high — the second highest family expense after housing. Wait lists are too long — less that 20% of children under the age of 12 in BC have access to a regulated child care space. Too often, families are forced into unregulated care with no safety standards.

The $10aDay Child Care Plan is the solution to BC’s child care crisis. Recent poll numbers show robust support for the $10aDay Plan, and British Columbians from every corner of the province have signed the $10aDay petition calling on government to adopt and implement the Plan. The $10aDay Plan has been publicly endorsed by local governments, boards of education, labour, business, community service organizations, women’s and advocacy groups, and more, who understand that the Plan offers a ‘made in BC’ solution to the child care crisis facing families with young children today.

Implementing the $10aDay Plan will result in net benefits for governments, employers, and BC’s economy — even in the short term. In-depth economic analysis shows that the Plan will pay for itself, and generate sufficient government revenues to cover additional government costs to build and operate a new child care system. Implementing the plan will create 69,000 new jobs in BC, add $5.8 billion to BC’s GDP, and provide higher returns than other government spending. With the federal government’s promise of $7-billion towards child care for Canadian families over the next 10 years, there are no more excuses to not support and implement the $10aDay Plan.

Support for the $10aDay Child Care Plan represents over 2 million British Columbians — given the depth of the child care crisis; unaffordable fees, too few quality spaces, low wages for early childhood educators, can we count on your commitment to implement the $10aDay Plan if you are elected?

Yes, you can count on my commitment to implement the $10aDay Plan if I am elected.
Michael Charrois- Candidate
North Vancouver- Seymour
BC New Democrats

Michael answers a voter’s questions

Q: I’m a resident of your riding in the B.C. provincial election. I will vote for a candidate with a strong understanding of environmental issues and a commitment to take action on the most pressing ones. I hope you will take 10 minutes to answer my questions to help inform my vote.

1. What are your top three priorities for acting on climate change?
2. What is your position on the Site C dam project?
3. First Nations and provincial governments have responsibilities to manage and protect parts of the marine environment. What approach would you take to marine protection?
4. Would you stop the grizzly bear trophy hunt?
5. Would you support the right to a healthy environment in provincial law?

Thank you for your time and good luck in your campaign. I look forward to seeing what actions you and your party take on environmental issues should you be elected.

Sincerely, Linda Halingten

What are your top three priorities for acting on climate change?

We will invest in transit to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution and contribute 40% of the cost of the Mayor’s Council’s transit plan.

We will renew the Climate Leadership panel within our first 100 days and work towards implementing their full suite of recommendations under our core principles for climate action.

We will phase in the federally mandated $50/ tonne carbon price by 2022 over three years and create a new climate action rebate cheque for low and middle income families.

What is your position on the Site C dam project?

We believe that this project will cost much more than the $8 billion budgeted.  We will send the Site C project to the BC Utilities Commission for review. We believe that existing dams should be retro-fit to take advantage of our existing water resources.

First Nations and provincial governments have responsibilities to manage and protect parts of the marine environment. What approach would you take to marine protection?

We stand with local First Nations in their opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline project because of the 7 fold increase in tanker traffic and its effect on marine life, particularly whale’s abilities to hear and navigate under noisy conditions. It’s not a matter of if, but rather when, an accident will occur in our waters- it’s not worth the risk.

We would enact the recommendations of the Cohen Report and provide incentives for fish farms to move to closed containment.

We will bring in an endangers species law and harmonize other laws to ensure they are all working towards the goal of protecting our beautiful province.

Would you stop the grizzly bear trophy hunt? — Yes.

Would you support the right to a healthy environment in provincial law? — Yes, I would.

All the best-

Michael Charrois- Candidate, North Vancouver- Seymour, BC New Democrats