Editorial: Smart meter deniers’ last stand

Tom Fletcher expounds on tinfoil-hat opposition to smart meters

B.C. Views

The news was trumpeted with alarm here on Vancouver Island, which along with the Gulf Islands is the heartland of tinfoil-hat opposition to smart meters.

Of the 140,000 power customers who didn’t have a wireless meter by the end of the year, many have simply refused. Now BC Hydro has sent letters informing them “we can no longer delay the installation of a new meter at your home.”

“StopSmartMetersBC” sent out a panicky e-mail advising its resistance movement to brace against “storm trooper tactics” from BC Hydro staff, and urging phone and fax attacks on their local MLA office.

“Anger and outrage should be expressed, in a quiet way, so that we don’t sound hysterical, but people are being threatened, police called, etc.,” the anonymous e-mail helpfully suggests.

BC Hydro has also confirmed what I told you a few months ago. Those bogus locks, chicken wire cages and important-looking signs, which were sold like modern-day snake oil, have no legal effect to prevent the utility from working on its own equipment. These obstacles to inspection have been and continue to be removed, along with dangerous grow-op bypasses and fiddled mechanical meters.

The technical arguments against wireless meters have been demolished. False news reports and website claims still circulate, but no fires have been attributed to the installation of 1.7 million wireless meters in B.C. About 1,200 faulty meter bases have also been replaced at BC Hydro’s expense, and as crude power-theft bypasses have been removed, the incidence of electrical fires, already rare, has dropped substantially.

Another popular myth is increased electricity bills. Yes, if your bypass is removed, your bill will go up. Like gas pumps, power meters are required by federal law to be accurate.

Which brings us back to Team Tinfoil, which has been sold a cascading series of fantastic tales about the effect of wireless signals that are already ever-present in all modern communities.

A Toronto-based expert group called Bad Science Watch has tackled claims of “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” head-on. I highly recommend their 10-page report and qualifications at www.badsciencewatch.ca.

In plain language, with references to the best available scientific studies, it describes the double-blind tests that prove people who claim this sensitivity are not actually able to detect when they are or are not being exposed to wireless signals. No X-Men candidates have come forward.

It also exposes key “activists” in Canada. The most prominent is Dr. Magda Havas, an associate professor at Trent University who has “developed a career denouncing the safety of low-frequency electromagnetic radiation.” She gives speeches, promotes her book and has worked with one David Stetzer to promote an “EMF filter” to sell to those who insist they feel what science shows they don’t.

Havas has appeared on TV “news” shows with “activist-entrepreneur” Kevin Byrne. His website appears to be a hub of cell tower and smart meter scare reports, but it’s interspersed with product pitches for EMF Solutions Canada, of which Byrne is coincidentally president.

Then there’s “entrepreneur-activist” Rob Metzinger, president of something called Safe Living Technologies Inc. He doesn’t run a lurid scare website, but he’s appeared on CBC and CTV as some sort of authority. (The main hazard emanating from TVs these days is bad information.)

As the election approaches, a fight is gearing up between the NDP and the B.C. Green Party for the ignorant, superstitious and angry vote. The Greens in particular have damaged their credibility in a desperate bid to quiet their own tinfoil-chapeau wing.

There are bozo eruptions ahead. I’ll have more on that in a future column.

 

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

tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Just Posted

Coun. Fred Haynes to run for mayor against Mayor Atwell

Haynes to go head-to-head with Atwell for Saanich mayoral seat in 2018

Bob Heyes back behind Shamrocks bench for 2018 season

Art Webster, Mike Simpson, John Hamilton will also return

UPDATE: Driver escapes from crash in Sidney

Town truck and another vehicle collide, causing van to roll over

Victoria Women’s March draws hundreds

Pink pussy hats aplenty as demonstrators took to downtown streets

FISHING ADVENTURES: Winter fishing season in full swing

Upcoming fishing events include Local Pub’s Salmon Superbowl Derby and Victoria Boat Show

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Reynolds, Edward Milne capture titles at Esquimalt hoops tournament

Host Dockers take fourth in senior girls draw

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Most Read