Delta council refuses to show Gillis video
Anyone who’s been following renewable energy issues in B.C. over the past few years will be familiar with videos made by Rafe Mair’s sidekick Damien Gillis. In fact, there are many out there who would argue that Mair’s misinformed bombast in the print realm is only exceeded by Gillis’s equally misinformed bombast in the video realm.
Well it seems that Gillis has been throwing a bit of a tantrum over Delta city council’s refusal to show one of his videos at a public hearing.
According to an article in the Delta Optimist by Sandor Gyarmati, the first five minutes of a 13-minute Gillis video was shown during the first evening of the Tsawwassen Area Plan public hearing on Tuesday, March 1st (the time span normally allotted to speakers at Delta public hearings).
But as Gyarmati reports, on the next night of the hearing, Mayor Lois Jackson read a statement indicating that council had received legal advice from their municipal solicitor, Greg Vanstone, who said the remainder of Gillis’s video should not be viewed by council “due to potentially defamatory or inaccurate statements.”
The written statement that Mayor Jackson read out went on to state: “I would request that anyone who wishes to display another video immediately provide a copy to Mr. (George) Harvie so that it may be reviewed by our solicitor to ensure that it is appropriate for display.”
Based on what we’ve read, Gillis doesn’t appear to be taking the rejection very well. He’s basically opted to light his hair on fire and claim that his “credibility” has been impugned by Delta Council. He reportedly wants “an apology.”
Having watched several of Gillis’s over-the-top, one-sided videos over the years, we think solicitor Greg Vanstone’s warning to Delta council is probably very sound; a warning that could easily apply to other Gillis productions.
Take, for example, Gillis”s over-the-top video “Power Play” aimed at independent green energy producers. This “classic” Gillis production features the long-discredited hystrionic claim that hundreds of B.C. rivers are being given away or stolen for run-of-river projects, and without any regard for the environment or environmental regulations.
The “500 rivers” claim is, of course, not even remotely true: Run-of-river projects typically require more than 50 approvals, permits, licenses and reviews from 14 or more government agencies.
Moreover, most run-of-river project proposals never make it past the initial investigative stages due to insurmountable environmental issues.
Gillis’s video smear on independent green energy producers (taken straight from the COPE 378 playbook) also features the highly dishonest claim that BC Hydro can produce electricity for a fraction of the cost that an independent producer can; the implication of this claim being that the public is getting ripped off by private sector profiteers when BC Hydro could somehow be supplying “public” electricity at a way lower cost.
But like most of the other misleading, one-sided claims in Gillis’s video, this claim, too, is not even remotely accurate or truthful.
As we pointed out in our posting last Monday, the cost comparison Gillis is making in his “Power Play” video is an apples-to-oranges comparison between newly built electricity generating infrastructure (which is what most independent projects are) and aging BC Hydro mega dams built and paid for decades ago.
The only meaningful, accurate and fair cost comparison is to compare new-to-new. And on that basis the cost of electricity from new independent green energy projects and newly-built and newly-refurbished BC Hydro projects is going to be very similar (and a whole lot more than the paltry $7.19 per megawatt-hour BC Hydro production cost cited in a recent Vancouver Province editorial).
And let’s not forget about the impact that BC Hydro’s recently announced $6 billion infrastructure regeneration plan is going to have on the production costs at the province’s aging mega dams.
So, while Gillis may believe that Delta council has “impugned his credibility” by refusing to play his video at their public hearing, based on our experience with Gillis’s videos in the past, Delta’s municipal solicitor appears to have hit the nail on the head in issuing cautionary advice to Delta’s mayor and council.