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

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

Firefighters extinguish early-morning blaze in Rossland

Neighbour alerted family of four, no injuries reported

Rescued snowmobilers ill-prepared for emergency, Castlegar RCMP say

Two men rescued Wednesday night were not ready for overnight in back country

Senior curling provincials setting up for exciting finish

Standings tight as Senior curling teams push for provincial playoffs

Police share more details on occupants and suspicious van in Fruitvale

Vehicle in question offered young girl a ride to school on Feb. 19

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Sledder dies near Fernie

Fernie Search and Rescue was tasked by the RCMP to respond to a sledder in medical distress

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read