How not to microwave a former Premier

Stop the Smart Meters, says Vander Zalm. (Photo by Bruce Stotesbury of the Victoria Times-Colonist. Click for source.)

Stop the radio waves, says Vander Zalm. (Photo by Bruce Stotesbury of the Victoria Times-Colonist. Click for source.)

Most members of the Former Premiers Club live relatively low-profile lives after surrendering their province’s top political job to someone else. Former 1969-1977 premier Ed Schreyer, the dean of the club’s Manitoba branch, makes the odd public appearance these days, but otherwise lives in quiet retirement. Ditto for Howard Pawley (1981-88) and Gary Filmon (1988-1999), despite recent attempts to pull the latter back into the limelight.

Only Gary Doer (1999-2009) continues to lead a high-profile existence, owing to his new career as Canadian ambassador to the United States.

There’s no quiet retirement planned just yet however for Bill Vander Zalm, the rambunctious former B.C. premier. Forced out of office in 1991 by a conflict-of-interest scandal, he charged back into the political ring a mere eight years later as leader of a largely unsuccessful populist party from 1999 to 2001.

Seventy-nine years old and 22 years out of office,  Vander Zalm continues to play a curious role in B.C. politics, not so much as elder statesman as a rabble-rouser.

His campaign in recent years to rescind B.C.’s Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is perhaps the least colourful of his efforts. Recently, he filed a federal Freedom of Information request, seeking out information on whether or not the federal government is spraying high-altitude “chemtrails” in an effort at “climate-control engineering”.

“Governments will go ahead and do things, particularly in the name of climate control or, you know, for the sake of agriculture or whatever other excuse they can use . . . They’ll keep it a secret, and they’ll go ahead and do it anyway,” he told a B.C. newspaper.

And don’t get him started on B.C. Hydro’s new Smart Meters.

“Eventually we’ll be governed out of Brussels, Belgium or someplace like that,” Vander Zalm says in a 2011 YouTube video. “They can monitor what’s happening anywhere in the world [using the Smart Meters].”

“They’ll even know what you’re cooking. It’s sad. It’s crazy.”

In an Aug. 7 commentary in Vancouver’s The Province, Vander Zalm expresses concern about the effects that the Smart Meters, which send information back to a central point using a low-powered radio transmitter, might be having on his neighbours’ health.

“We and our neighbours will suffer the effects of an ongoing barrage of radio waves,” he wrote.

For speaking out on the issue, Vander Zalm expresses concern that B.C. Hydro might have tried to get revenge.

“Last week, B.C. Hydro had its ‘get-even’ with me. We had the biggest micro-wave installed in front of our house . . . They could have installed it a block south of our home in a purely agricultural area. They could even have respectfully installed it on the next pole north or south, but instead they put it right in our face by the front gate.”

B.C. Hydro denies that the pole outside of Vander Zalm’s home has any transmitting equipment installed on it.

The Smart Meters remain controversial nevertheless in B.C., despite tests showing that the signals emitted by the smart meters are, in fact, no stronger at just 20 centimeters away from the device than a local FM station’s signal is from a transmitter situated miles away.

In fact, Vander Zalm is likely getting zapped by far more radiation, at least in relative terms, from that agricultural area just south of his home in Ladner, B.C., an outlying Vancouver suburb near the U.S. border.

According to Industry Canada’s Spectrum Direct web site, Rogers Communications has a cell tower in a field just a 16-minute walk south of Vander Zalm’s home.

The tower, 37 metres above ground, pushes out wireless signals at about 780 watts, with few obstructions between the tower and the former premier’s home to weaken the signal.

Entering the known information about the cell tower into an Industry Canada signal coverage estimator shows that the signal from the cell tower is probably in excess of 100 decibels on Vander Zalm’s property — very strong, but still far below the exposure level at which human health becomes a concern.

Smart Meters, by comparison, operate with about one watt of power according to a U.S. radio hobbyist web site.

Punching the known information about Smart Meters into the same Industry Canada signal coverage estimator suggests that the signal from a Smart Meter on the side of Vander Zalm’s home, one metre (three feet) above ground, would be in the 80-90 decibel range at most — roughly equivalent to the amount of radiation one would receive walking down the street 5-10 miles (8-16 kilometres) from an FM radio station’s transmitter.

So the former premier need not lose sleep over the amount of radiation he’s receiving from Smart Meters, much less the idea that the Belgians have any interest in what the Dutch-born ex-politician had for dinner.

But that was a tasty steak your neighbour made tonight, Bill…

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About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

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