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Three things U.S. State Dept. has eye on in BC: Wikileaks

Though the headlines have died down, at least in the Canadian media, Wikileaks continues to release diplomatic cables from the U.S. State Department on a daily basis. Since the first releases began in November, the whistle-blowing organization has published just over 13,000 cables, out of a total over 250,000.

Cables from the U.S. consulate in Vancouver have been slow to emerge, but Wikileaks published hundreds of cables about Canada just before the May federal election. Here's a look at three cables about British Columbia that demonstrate just what kind of information U.S. diplomats stationed in Vancouver and Ottawa are sending home.

2009 Provincial Election: A cable prepared a week before the 2009 B.C. election ends with the assessment that in this race, "everything from the traffic to the weather could determine the next provincial government." The U.S. Consul General in Vancouver described the contest as one between Gordon Campbell, a candidate "so unpopular" in B.C's Interior and Vancouver Island that "he was urged by advisors not to appear with the candidates," and Carol James, whose opposition to the Carbon Tax "backfired."

"The contest is really theirs to lose but missteps by both parties, and a general lack of enthusiasm for either leader, are leaving BC voters looking for their 'Obama,'" reads the cable.

Highway of Tears: In a 2009 cable focused on Canada's record regarding trafficking in persons, the U.S. government notes "[Consul General] Vancouver is also monitoring new RCMP efforts to resolve the high rate of disappearance of aboriginal women along the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia."

"The RCMP is unsure if the women have been trafficked, murdered, or run away, but new media attention has focused the public's attention on the unsolved cases of more than 30 women who have gone missing along Route 16 in the past two decades," reads the cable. There is also a note about human trafficking with regards to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver that indicates that the RCMP differed from other organizations in their belief that human trafficking would not increase during the Games.

IPPs and Clean Energy: This cable, written in January 2010, blames the British Columbia Utilities Commission's July 2009 rejection of parts of B.C. Hydro's proposed Long Term Acquisition Plan on the Campbell government. "The BC government has brought the turmoil of the BCUC decision on itself, providing inadequate guidance to the regulators on evaluating future power sources in light of GHG and climate change concerns, and more generally neglecting strategic policymaking on resource procurement and distribution/export," reads the cable, penned by Phillip Chicola, U.S. consul general to Vancouver.

"The July ruling was interpreted by most stakeholders as a challenge to the government's policy on procurement of additional renewable power from private producers," it states. The cable clearly links the proposed shutdown of the Burrard Thermal power plant to B.C. Hydro's Clean Power Call, and says that stakeholders see Gordon Campbell's Green Energy Advisory Task Forces as "a tool to help close some of the policy gaps and give rubber stamps for the Campbell administration's policies."

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