In early October, less than a week after COPE 378’s two intellectual spokespersons were discredited in an academic peer review, the BC Hydro union launched an aggressive Internet ad campaign. The campaign brazenly pushes false information that’s been refuted again and again.
One graphic, for example, makes three false statements.
Although the information is false the graphic design is highly effective. It’s a pricey example of style over substance.
The Internet ads appear to be designed by Raincity Studios, an agency that says it promotes rock stars and “international super-brands.” Raincity says it was hired to provide Tack Back the Power, a COPE 378 front organization, with Web design, support, hosting, training and a “community development initiative.”
Work like that doesn’t come cheap. Nor does the placement of expensive banner ads on prominent Web sites, like those of the Vancouver Sun and Province.
Is the BC Hydro union acting in response to Dr. Mark Jaccard’s report? His academic peer review, released on Oct. 1, slammed the work of COPE 378’s two intellectual spokespersons, Marvin Shaffer and John Calvert. Shaffer and Calvert are authors of two books that are the intellectual basis of the campaign against independently produced clean electricity.
In reviewing Shaffer’s Lost in Transmission: A Comprehensive Critique of the B.C. Energy Plan, Jaccard found that Shaffer’s conclusions were not supported by his evidence and that the book didn’t meet acceptable academic standards.
Jaccard was even more scathing about Calvert’s Liquid Gold: Energy Privatization in British Columbia. Jaccard repeatedly called the book “a conspiracy theory” and stated it’s “best read as a political propaganda tract rather than as an independent, unbiased analysis.”
Jaccard is an internationally respected expert on energy economics and a 2007 Nobel Prize laureate. He is regularly called on to write peer reviews for prestigious academic publications.
Shaffer’s book was commissioned by COPE 378, the BC Hydro union that appears to be at the centre of the campaign. B.C. Citizens for Public Power says it “supported” Calvert’s book, suggesting that the group helped finance it. BCCPP is made up of COPE 378 and its allies.
Now we see a very flashy, very expensive ad campaign from COPE 378. Less than one week after the basis of their campaign was demolished by an internationally respected expert, the BC Hydro union is aggressively pushing the same old falsehoods.
It brings to mind one of Jaccard’s comments about Calvert’s book: “The author is uninterested in presenting a balanced weighing of the evidence. Indeed, facts are wrong and evidence is distorted in a manner that consistently supports a sinister conspiracy theory.”