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Letters to the Editor

Sharing water, correcting appearances, dumpster debris, and small business deficits

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The Ashlu Runs Free

March 22 was World Water Day.

Whose water is it? It’s yours. Whose responsibility is it to guard the fresh water? It’s yours. Whose responsibility is to kick people out of town who cause friction amongst communities?

There isn’t anything good about Independent Power Projects. There is nothing good in them for our communities that we don’t already have. There are 565 private hydropower water licences on the go in B.C. Those who have become informed know why there is so much pressure to hurry these private deals. They are bad for the public. The public is slow to learn. You pay to build them and you even pay their property taxes but don’t expect any of those private companies to tell you that.

B.C. Hydro (that’s you) makes power for us that costs B.C. Hydro about 1 cent per kilowatt. B.C. Hydro (that’s you) pays the IPPS $55 per megawatt. The U.S. rate for residential electricity today is five times what it is here and has been as much as 20 times higher. Are you getting the picture? Private companies and the provincial government are moving us to the deregulated U.S. electricity model. The reason we have a good economy is because we have a monopoly on cheap power. We don’t have to give it away. If you don’t get informed and start protecting your water and B.C. Hydro you’ll be sorry.

All of us together should share our resources. We need to fight now for our fresh water as it is not only the last great resource in the public domain but is life itself. All of us together should be fighting to protect the public ownership of our fresh water and our entire electricity system.

May the Wild Spirit of the Ashlu prevail in keeping it free.

Tom Rankin

Upper Squamish Valley

A long, complex process

Treaty negotiations are complex, and they involve three parties with quite different motivations which bring them to the table. We’ve spent years building up a mutual trust and confidence level that might be shaken if the integrity of our process is shaken.

For this reason, it’s important for me to correct the appearance that Stage 4, agreement in principle is a "done deal". It’s not. On March 21 the parties’ chief negotiators signed a letter recommending the draft agreement in principle to our respective principals.

My principals are the In-SHUCK-ch Nation citizens, in general assembly. They will be asked to approve the agreement in principle by general assembly resolution. To prepare for this, my team is now circulating a package of information so that they can make an informed decision on April 30. Most of this information has been in circulation already, through a variety of methods. What they’ll receive are the refinements resulting from the last weeks of negotiations.

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