British Columbia’s society for the protection of rivers has a new spokesperson — the province’s former environment minister.

Rafe Mair, a longtime writer, radio personality and political commentator, said he joined Save Our Rivers Society to fight the privatization of B.C.’s hydropower system.

“I love my province and I love the environment,” Mair said yesterday. “(Rivers are) an asset we all own and it’s being sold to private companies ... It really is Orwellian, it really is 1984. “


Mair said privatization of hydropower negates public input and risks creating a lack of accountability and transparency.

“Environmentally, it is catastrophic,” he said. “When you control the flow of the river you have to take the fish out of the equation. The obvious end result is there’d be virtually no fish left in the streams.”

Tom Rankin, director of Save Our Rivers Society, claimed that when the once-public land is transferred into the hands of private companies it becomes gated wilderness.

“That just doesn’t feel like Canada,” he said. “There’s a big gate and guards ... It’s really, really devastating.”

Barry Penner, the minister of environment, was not available by press time.

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