Zalm joins Hydro conspiracy club

Bill Vander Zalm has expanded on his loopy conspiracy theory about EU world domination. Now it includes smart meters.

Bill Vander Zalm and his NDP sidekick Bill Tieleman work together on the anti-HST campaign. Now Vander Zalm and the NDP are cooperating on a factually challenged campaign against wireless hydro meters.

VICTORIA – The smart meter installation van arrived on my street last week, as BC Hydro’s smart grid project heads toward the halfway mark.

This system will not only detect outages, electricity loss and theft, it enables a voluntary time-of-use system where users can get a discount by shifting consumption to low-peak times. You could even set up wind or solar generation that the meter would record and subtract from your bill.

But apparently no one wants to talk about that. Black Press papers continue to run letters with exaggerated or false claims that stoke baseless fear of radio waves.

Where is this coming from? I’m grateful to the anonymous smart-meter foe who started sending me updates from “Citizens for Safe Technology,” a loose collection of U.S. and Canadian activists that claims to include doctors, lawyers and other professionals.

Not much is professional about the Canadian content on their website.

A video starts with a juvenile union parody showing executives plotting to sell BC Hydro to General Electric. Then it moves to an apparently serious interview with Bill Vander Zalm, who expands on his earlier conspiracy theory about the harmonized sales tax being part of a European Union plot for world domination.

Vander Zalm asserts that smart meters and appliances create such a powerful surveillance network, “they’ll even know what you’re cooking.”

There are those who claim smart meters can tell what channel your TV is on, but this is the first I’ve heard about them detecting whether you’re having eggs or oatmeal for breakfast.

And who might “they” be?

“The big picture is of course that we’re moving to globalization,” Vander Zalm intones. “Eventually we’ll be governed out of Brussels, Belgium or someplace like that. And this all ties into that. They can monitor what’s happening anywhere in the world. It’s Big Brother. We’ll be totally controlled.”

He stops just short of what I’ll call the Full Tinfoil, a belief that these radio waves control minds directly.

Wildlife artist Robert Bateman also makes an ass of himself in a brief video, where he describes hiring someone to come in and detect “hot” wiring in his Saltspring Island mansion. (A surprising number of self-appointed smart meter experts sell measuring and “shielding” services.)

A reader sent me a local newspaper commentary by Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall, basically a vague summary of NDP talking points about smart meters being too expensive and a possible health threat.

This is interesting, because the City of Nelson owns its own power utility, which started installing wireless meters in 2004. They finished last year, with no protest.

I asked Mungall why. She was on the city council that chose a different model, a “drive-by” meter. They broadcast readings every 15 seconds and still need meter readers, who no longer have get out of their trucks.

BC Hydro’s meters signal only three or four times a day, but one of the often-repeated false claims about them is that they secretly transmit much more often with some sort of damaging energy pulses. And yet these granola-loving West Kootenay folks cheerfully endure a 24/7 bombardment of what are essentially brief cell phone signals.

Mungall said Nelson council specifically rejected a smart grid system, “because of the cost.” Somehow retaining meter readers saves the city money.

She noted that rural parts of her constituency are serviced by BC Hydro, and some people are very concerned.

I’ll bet they are. Not just in West Kootenay, but a few other remote areas known for production of B.C.’s number one cash crop.

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria resident sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Boat says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Victoria to reassess 2020 budget in light of COVID-19; more hotel rooms found for the homeless

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps provided an update on municipal measures on March 31

Tents, sleeping bags donated to Our Place from local Victoria store

Robinson’s Outdoor Store received funds from PwC Canada to make the donation

Victoria police seek public help finding high-risk missing woman last seen on ferry

Mariah Konchak has shoulder-length dark hair, scars above her right eye and may be missing a tooth

Victoria police arrest man in stolen Jubilee Hospital worker’s car

Suspect found in car with drugs, stolen property and weapons

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Most Read