… and does it uphold our concept of “Social Contract”?
An open letter to all parties:
BC Hydro Board of Directors
Government of BC
Contractors: You have knowingly entered into contracts with BC Hydro, the BC Provincial Government, and possibly others, to provide goods and services for the Site C power project.
At the time of your signature to these contracts, you were well aware of opposition to the project:
- multiple legal challenges,
- over 100,000 signatories , over 300 scientists and scholars, the Royal Society, numerous organizations,
- the Union of BC Municipalities, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs,
- no increase in domestic use of electricity for the past ten (10) years; no need for the project,
- myriad alternatives: Columbia River, Burrard Thermal, upgrades to other BC dams and power houses, and electricity conservation – 2x the power at 1/6th the cost,
- other renewable sources of electricity solar and wind and geothermal.
You were also aware that 1) The former Chair of the Joint Review Panel, Dr. Harry Swain, 2) a former CEO of BC Hydro, and 3) former Premier Harcourt all publicly opposed.
You were aware that First Nations Treaty rights were not being honoured, and that First Nations were strongly opposed to the project.
You were aware that the Government of BC 1) excluded review of the project by the BC Utilities Commission, 2) excluded land areas to be affected from review by the Agricultural Land Commission, and 3) excluded both the Columbia River Treaty and Burrard Thermal power from consideration.
BC Hydro, BC Hydro Board of Directors, and BC Government: You have intentionally created a situation which circumvents essential aspects of major project approvals. That approval process forms the basis of “social contracts,” being those developments that improve the standard of living while being “socially acceptable and desirable.” The aspects of project review and approval denied:
- Review by government established agencies, such as BCUC.
- Using legislation to exclude specific areas of review to enable projects to proceed.
- Using legislation to facilitate approval of projects.
- Ignoring legal challenges to projects.
Acting in Bad Faith?
Contractors, BC Hydro, BC Hydro Board of Directors and BC Government
Despite this knowledge, all parties wilfully agreed to proceed with signing contracts for goods and services to build the Site C project.
A serious legal question, is raised: “Did the various parties Act in Bad Faith?”
In a 2014 Supreme Court decision, there is a requirement that all contracts, to be valid, can only be agreed upon if all parties are acting in Good Faith. Justice Thomas Cromwell wrote, “…good faith contractual performance is a general organizing principle of the common law of contract… recognizes obligations of good faith contractual performance… a common law duty… applies to all contracts to act honestly in the performance of contractual obligations.”
This would apply to entering into contracts as well as contract performance.
Evidence of “Bad Faith”
Lack of project need, lower cost of alternatives and public opposition
It has been clearly shown that there is no clear need for the project. It has also been clearly shown that there are at least 10 lower-cost alternatives and very strong public opposition.
Given these compelling facts, it is probable that all parties “Acted in Bad Faith” and did not honour basic tenets of the”social contract,” that of BC Hydro providing electricity under socially acceptable conditions.
As a consequence and as a result of a recent election and impending change of government and management of BC Hydro, it is probable that the Site C project will soon be paused and or terminated. The consequences are: all work must stop and equipment orders delayed, renegotiated or cancelled.
To continue with further work may be greatly to your detriment. You are being asked to withdraw your services and goods at the earliest possible time, to prevent failure of payment, as such services and goods will not be necessary.
FURTHER – any contracts entered into beyond this date by yourselves, jointly or severally, will not be honoured by the residents of British Columbia.
Roger Bryenton, P. Eng,(former). MBA
BC Resident, 778-232-1326, Vancouver.