I first met Rafe Mair when we were on opposite sides of the Cheekeye-Dunsmuir powerline controversy in the early 1980s. He was minister of environment and I was speaking for the protesters on the Sunshine Coast. We bloodied his nose pretty good, and BC Hydro disbanded its large project engineering division shortly after. I have mixed feelings about that now, given that it led in time to the privatization of hydro generation that is raging across the province today. It's one of life's little ironies that the spokesman for Save Our Rivers Society leading the charge against this new scourge is none other than Rafe Mair.
Rafe has gone through quite a transformation since his heydays in the Social Credit cabinet and then in the top hotline chair at CKNW, when many people on the left regarded him as BC's version of Rush Limbaugh. He has since been run out of the radio business for failing to walk the conservative line preferred by the broadcasting industry and the years have taken their toll on his flyfishing activities, but in his late seventies the old hellraiser continues to be a fount of socially-engaged energy, writing a book a year, keeping up several columns and churning out a daily stream of passionate pronoucements naming the sins of the Independent Power Project gold rush for the Save Our Rivers Society. He seems to have run counter to the classic pattern of radical youth migrating to reactionary age by transforming into one of the most visible critics of BC powers-that-be in his autumn years. We don't have many fearless critics of public affairs in this province or in this country at this point in our historyand I personally find Rafe one of the most consistently engaging, even though he has been relegated to low circulation weeklies and the internet for his pains. You can catch him daily at http://www.saveourrivers.ca/ and http://www.thetyee.ca./