Tzeporah Berman leading the climate policy charge

Tzeporah Berman of the climate change advocacy group PowerUp Canada struck a devastating blow against the New Democratic Party’s ill-advised opposition to the BC carbon tax yesterday with a letter pointing out NDP leader Carole James’ hypocrisy on the issue.

Berman, whose criticism of the NDP’s position was featured in a line story in the Vancouver Sun Friday, began the letter by saying to James, “I feel deeply betrayed by the BC NDP Platform released last week and your flip-flops on green economy and climate policy. You are playing partisan politics with our children’s future.”

Berman made the case for the efficacy of a carbon tax and noted, with the following quotes, that NDP leader James had also once been an avowed carbon tax fan:

[We will] apply carbon taxes to motivate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring that prices of fossil fuels reflect the environmental and social costs of their production and use, while building in “just transition” measures to minimize impacts on low income households.” NDP’s Sustainable BC Environmental Plan, February 2007

I think a revenue-neutral carbon tax that really looks at supporting low- and middle-income families, that actually is phased in so people can manage, that provides them with options to make change, then I think it’s worth looking at.” - Carole James, February 14, 2008, Voice of BC.

[We recommend] effective climate change initiatives that apply carbon taxes to motivate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.” (

You have to go to a carbon tax. My sense is it’s the only way to go. If we truly believe that the market is the way to change behaviour, both market behaviour and individual behaviour, it’s the way to do it.” - Bob Simpson, November 1, 2007, Voice of BC.

Some New Democrats have been trying to paint Berman, and anyone else who criticizes the NDP carbon tax position, as partisan supporters of the Liberal Party, a transparently desperate attempt to move the conversation from policy to politics. But Berman is not campaigning for the Liberals. She’s saying, “Vote strategically away from NDP unless they change their position quickly.”

Sounds like good advice - for the voters AND for the NDP.



Turns out Berman hasn’t been an NDP member since 2006. It also turns out that on the Listserv “BC Energy and Climate Leaders” she posted on April 15: 

I just spoke with the (Liberal) Minister who said that given our concerns that we have been raising etc they have committed… to creating a new green energy advisory task force… I think this is a great step and a result of our work. He is open to recommendations on who should sit on it but names will not be announced until after the election.

She’s also quoted by the Tyee as saying:

 I think that it’s very clear to me that the Liberal platform is going to do a lot more to reduce global warming [emissions] and help to create a clean energy sector than the NDP platform,” she said.

Not campaigning for the Liberals? She sure seems pretty cosy with them to me.

Turns out that Berman also took the Harcourt NDP to the wall in Clayoquot Sound in the early 1990s. She’s been an irritating pain in the NDP keister for darn near ever, except (as in the later Harcourt years) when the NDP has decided to do the right thing, and then she has joined the party.

Now, you and NDP campaign co-manager Gerry Scott are trying to play gotcha by talking about when Berman’s party card expired. Again, this seems like little mre than a desperate distraction from the issue at hand: you’re wrong about the carbon tax.

As for the Liberal connection, this is the woman who brought the Victoria’s Secret machine to its knees. She got the company to stop printing 395 million catalogues a year - and start using recycled fibre for anything that VS did print. Just because sitting cabinet ministers don’t answer YOUR calls on the first ring doesn’t mean that legitimately influential people don’t work, legitimately, with governments.

And - again - can we remember the issue at hand. The NDP started slagging the carbon tax last year, mere days or hours before we all started to criticize the party for that position. Many of us even phoned Shane Simpson and Gerry Scott and our MLA (Leonard Krog, in my case) and pleaded with them to change their position. They told us to stuff our criticism where the public wouldn’t see it.

Now they’re pretending surprise when one of us says “that the Liberal platform is going to do a lot more to reduce global warming [emissions] and help to create a clean energy sector than the NDP platform.”

No question there’s a dead horse in the room (love the graphic, by the way). Now someone should get Carole James to step off it, carefully, before she ruins her suit.


 An interesting blog post from Michael Smyth, Vancouver Province reporter, quotes from an e-mail exchange with Berman:

“I feel very dismayed and betrayed by the current NDP leadership and their Axe The Tax campaign (which I think is dishonest), their opposition to conservation measures like smart meters, two-tiered electricity pricing and their opposition to the expansion of renewable power.”

Is this the statement of someone who’s in the pocket of the BC Liberals? She seems to have signed on to every one of the Campbell Liberals energy policies – including the sell-out of BC river systems to massive run-of-the-river power projects owned in large part by multi-national power companies, and a differential power pricing policy that hurts ordinary British Columbians.

In this blog post, Berman seems to have threatened Claire Trevena, the North Island NDP MLA:

“I’m told Berman had a two-hour private meeting with Trevena, the NDP North Island incumbent, and raked her over the coals for the party’s positions.

“Trevena has subsequently “toned down the rhetoric” on the campaign trail against run-of-the-river power projects, reports the Campbell River Mirror newspaper.” 

She also is advocating an “Anything but NDP” policy that, if successful, would guarantee that the BC Liberals would be re-elected to a majority government.

Sounds absolutely partisan to me. It also sounds like someone has been taking sell-out lessons from Patrick Moore.

Your arguments are very much tainted by a political lens Krispy and I think you fail to grasp that the vast majority of people agree with Tzeporah, David Suzuki and the Pembina Institute - they all agree that the NDP’s “axe the gas tax” campaign is wrong.

I will take it further and say that it smacks of blatant vote grabbing by Carole James and strategists like Gerry Scott.


Kevin, I find it odd that a former special events coordinator for Gordon Campbell’s premier’s office, as reported by Public Eye website, would talk about being ‘tainted by a political lens’ - especially when your entire site is devoted to bashing the NDP. You’ve done nothing to even touch the BC Liberal record on the environment, and you refuse to publish any information that may disagree with the BC Liberal carbon tax policy (where’s the National Roundtable on Environment posting on climate policy on DeSmog?).

Why? It’s quite siimple – DeSmog feels it can turn enough environmental votes against the NDP in the election, to assure that the BC Liberals get re-elected. So please… don’t lecture me or anyone else on being “tainted by a political lens”. It’s the pot calling the kettle black.

As for Tzeporah Berman - She is now heading up an organization, Power Up Canada that is shilling for the multi-national power companies that are taking over our rivers and streams all over BC. She has become the Patrick Moore of private power generation in this province, using the cover of so-called ‘green energy’ to push large scale industrial projects on our rivers that are having a huge impact on wilderness areas.

But don’t believe me. Here’s Rafe Mair’s take, in a recent column on the Tyee website:

“Thus, private power, for the most part, can only be generated during the spring run-off when there’s enough water to make their generators work.

“That happens to be the very time BC Hydro’s reservoirs are full so that they can’t use the private power!. This means that all private power produced for the foreseeable future will be for export.”

 So, why would BC be buying power at guaranteed rates from private power companies, when the power can’t be stored, and is generated mostly during a time of year when BC doesn’t need it? And why would Berman be supporting, nay, leading the charge to do this?

Krispy: “especially when your entire site is devoted to bashing the NDP

Take a look back at the years of material we have on DeSmogBlog and you’ll see that our work and stance has been very consistent, we research and report on those who are spreading misinformation and playing politics instead of taking action on the issue of climate change.

Did you read Jim Hoggan’s post on why we are spending so much time on the BC election?

Standing on Principle: Explaining the DeSmogBlog’s Position on the BC Election

You don’t seem to pipe up much when we go after other political parties for delaying action on the issue.

Say what you want about me, my political past is well known.

Fair comment, Kevin… to the extent that your archive section is much more varied than your front page.

However at the present, DeSmog is using the site almost exclusively at as anti-NDP platform (I hope you’re registered as a 3rd party), with a couple posts about US right-wing nuts thrown in the last couple days, to try to address this criticism.

When you start posting material and announcements that may be contradictory to your central theme - that the carbon tax is THE answer to all our climate change problems (like the National Roundtable Report, and a more balanced selection of commentary) then we can talk.

 Two more online posts from the Tyee website. A growing number of long-time environmentalists are furious with the political antics of these ‘corporate’ enviro spokespersons:

Furious Rebuke to Suzuki, Berman
Salmon advocate Alexandra Morton enraged at support for BC Libs

Tapping Our Wild Rivers Can’t Fix Climate Change
Veteran enviro says no to Tzeporah Berman’s ‘PowerUp’ logic.