Dumb leaders attack smart meters

The annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention spent quite a bit of time talking about new wireless technology. Unfortunately, most of it was wasted on ignorance and fear, fanned by the NDP, Green Party and some like-minded opportunists in local government.

Local politicians vote at Union of B.C. Convention in Vancouver. Superstitious nonsense about smart meters carried the day with a slim majority

Local politicians vote at Union of B.C. Convention in Vancouver. Superstitious nonsense about smart meters carried the day with a slim majority

VANCOUVER – The annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention spent quite a bit of time talking about new wireless technology. Unfortunately, most of it was wasted on ignorance and fear, fanned by the NDP, Green Party and some like-minded opportunists in local government.

A tiny group of protesters gathered outside the Vancouver convention centre each morning, setting up a pile of picket signs wailing about imagined smart meter sins from privacy invasion to human rights violation.

One of them allowed that she was wearing “special clothing” to ward off the bad rays. That’s understandable, since BC Hydro calculates that a delegate’s wireless signal exposure from four days at the UBCM convention is equivalent to standing next to a smart meter for 1,147 years. And that’s not even calculating those other horrible sources of electromagnetic energy bombarding downtown Vancouver, such as traffic lights, spark plugs, and let’s not forget the Sun or Earth’s molten core.

It wasn’t all foolishness, however. I attended an economic development panel, at which physician and cabinet minister Margaret MacDiarmid described the continuing extension of rural cell phone and internet service underway since the extension of the B.C. government’s contract with Telus.

There was not a discouraging word about cell phone towers, the innovation that spawned the anti-wireless cult in California many years ago. Quite the contrary.

MacDiarmid was beseeched to get cell service to northern Vancouver Island and un-serviced parts of the Interior, and to cut through the multi-ministry maze still required for routine approval of towers. Cell phones save lives on remote highways.

In the main hall, supposedly experienced municipal leaders continued to parrot fear of “microwaves” and such drivel, either because they believe it or because they are pandering to those who do. This continued on talk radio, which stoked the smart meter “controversy” all week, apparently because it reliably generates angry calls.

The descent into farce became complete when delegates had a show of hands on a resolution to place a moratorium on a smart meter installation program that BC Hydro has already paid for. The vote was too close to call, so they had to fish out their wireless voting devices to vote about 55 per cent in favour of the moratorium.

Premier Christy Clark was asked after the convention if her government would contemplate a moratorium on meter installation. “No,” she replied. This is not surprising, since the motion effectively asks BC Hydro to waste $930 million.

“I’ve spent quite a bit of time talking with the experts about it,” Clark said. “I don’t share those health concerns, because when we’re surrounded by wireless and cell phones, there are a lot of other sources of the problem that they’re concerned about.”

I’ve argued with numerous people about this. They often start with an exaggerated claim about the World Health Organization’s risk rating.

In fact, WHO acknowledges that people who claim hypersensitivity to electromagnetic signals can’t identify them in controlled studies. Their so-called affliction is psychosomatic.

WHO also notes that cell phone tower emissions are effectively five times weaker than the FM radio and TV signals to which we’ve all been exposed for decades. Cell base stations reach no more than two per cent of international limits. And smart meter signals are much weaker than that.

I’m done arguing with people who make up their own facts. I’ll just address those who haven’t bought into this nonsense. Please, survey your council candidates on smart meters, and on Nov. 19, support only those who have the common sense to understand what a smart grid is.

Tom Fletcher is legislative reporter and columnist for Black Press and BCLocalnews.com

Just Posted

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

The Agassiz-Harrison Museum celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 with special information about The Stó:lō Nation, culture, language and more. (Graphic/Agassiz-Harrison Museum)
Agassiz-Harrison Museum to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21 will feature info about local First Nations culture, language and more

Brandon Hobbs (turquoise shirt), brother of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs, gathers with other family and friends to distribute posters in Chilliwack on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Search efforts expand to Chilliwack and beyond for missing Abbotsford man

Family, friends put up posters in Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope for missing 22-year-old Adam Hobbs

A CH-149 Cormorant from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron out of CFB Comox on a training exercise in Chilliwack on June 16, 2021. (William Snow photo)
VIDEO: Military search and rescue training in Chilliwack Wednesday

CH-149 Cormorant and CC-115 Buffalo from CFB Comox participated in downed aircraft rescue simulation

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

Most Read