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.

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

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Premier Horgan needs to work harder

There are lots of people out there who are in desperate need of assistance

The first Chimney Creek Roadhouse, constructed in 1864. (Photo courtesy of the B.C. Provincial Archives)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Isnardy family of Williams Lake

Amadee Isnardy was born in 1840 near Nice, France

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: Ecological economics not a popular topic for most people

The following is a review of the no (or slow) growth concept

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

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

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read