BC Hydro

Disgrace rooted in greed

No person acquainted with the young Gordon Campbell is surprised that his political career is ending in disgrace rooted in greed. Without a patriarch, the Campbell family struggled, not in abject poverty, but in living the elegant Point Grey style of their neighbors. The young ones learned firsthand how social status ultimately depended on money. They vowed to secure status that could not be denied.

As adults, both Gordon and brother Michael value wealth and influence as the prime markers of success. These are not humanists aiming to improve the lives of humble folk. They do not spend time volunteering in slums or empowering disadvantaged youth. They deal with human detritus as if litter, to be removed or screened. The important people to the Campbells are the wealth creators accumulators and backroom rainmakers. The brothers value money above all, not for its ability to do good works, but to purchase comforts, to enable disregard for the commons and to ensure status among society’s exclusive layer, the same folks annoyed by the young Campbell family struggling to live above their means long ago.

I have heard Gordon Campbell’s early pals amuse social gatherings with reckless stories of his youthful impulses and willingness to do deals with pals for joint rewards. Once Mayor of Vancouver, he chose friends carefully and treated them well. These tales are important because they foreshadowed a turn toward darkness when the man gained control of enormous public wealth.

The BC Rail Corruption is the most easily understood but the greatest larceny involving public assets is happening with BC Hydro. Campbell wanted to privatize the agency but that was politically impossible; it had served people of BC too well for too long. Instead, Campbell’s puppet masters concocted a scheme to privatize BC Hydro’s revenue streams. They sold a “green” power plan to the public as the key to provincial self-sufficiency, replete with images of benign river developments operated by deserving First Nations people and Mom and Pop entrepreneurs from local communities. That the Mom and Pop operations turned out to have names like General Electric and Epcor Utilities was minor. If multi-national corporations help us create energy independence and autonomy, so be it. If those international companies must be guaranteed markets at high prices and assured generous profitability for decades to come, that is simply how private capital operates. It is not as if business should have to take risks to earn profits. Besides, we cannot release the full details because competitive reasons dictate privacy. Nevertheless, trust us. Have we ever lied before?

Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente wrote about

“the wacky world of green power, where misguided governments have sparked a massive corporate feeding frenzy (at taxpayers’ expense) to achieve little or nothing of any social benefit.”

However, those are complicated deals, to be paid for partly by people yet unborn. Even accountants and economists struggle with the details. The same people, the smartest guys in the room, who negotiated the sale – not-a-sale – of BC Rail for a billion – or, perhaps a few million – will ensure that public interest is served similarly, whether in railways or electricity, convention centres, healthcare agencies or education.

9 replies »

  1. Which proves one thing…”the Love of money, IS the root of all evil.” What amazes me is how this cancerous evil has managed to take in people that one would never imagine falling into the lies, and thievery associated with BC Rail. Which is how I see this “sale”, property stolen from the people of BC…with Hydro following suit in much the same manner.


  2. This is off topic Norm. I just read, [edited for legal caution], got illegal kickbacks. It was written by, Callum Houston. There were letters, also posted, from Price Water House, on that site. I don't have the experience, to investigate such matters. I don't know what to make of that article. I would like to persuade you to, have a look at it, to make sure, this is authentic. Sorry, I am off topic


  3. I post the above comment with an edit to remove the name of the person accused. I examined the website mentioned but I am unconvinced of its accuracy. It seems a sad story, one not unlike others that are encountered in the fringes. Regular media shy away because the stories are one sided versions of complicated events for which there are no answers that will satisfy all participants. Bloggers have even fewer resources to examine what are essentially private issues.


  4. Sean Holmans' radio program yesterday had a great Carole James slagfest with his rabble rousing panel. Seems that she is not allowed to try and open dialogue with the business community. Sheesh, Norman. What we need here in BC is a moderate middle, but when one dares to try and do so is struck down. No wonder we keep getting nightmares like Campbell and his henchmen.


  5. I'm not an NDP member but I know that Carole James has led this group to unprecedented success in the opinion polls, although not yet to an election victory. She has fashioned a front bench that is stronger and more loyal than recent NDP leaders. Radical elements may wish she were more obstructive and set her hair on fire frequently.

    We should dislike the politics of division and hope that, as leader of the highest rated political party in BC, she is indeed capable of listening to all elements, from the poorest and least powerful to the self styled elites.

    I hope the NDP will commit to reversing the Liberal's dishonest, back room tactics that favor a few insiders. Simple promises are inadequate. Gordon Campbell made many good promises but he never had intention to keep them.

    The NDP needs to find a way to restore confidence and trust in government. This, in my opinion, is the single largest need. That means all residents must talk together with honor and sincerity, things the Liberals have forgotten about completely.


  6. In the USA, Obama seemed to try and bridge this great divide. He did also manage to pull in trust and got a lot of votes from the grassroots. Now look at it. It seems that instead of these same voters being angry at him for not delivering (and he didn't), they are serving up a big dose of apathy.

    If this is BC's future, why bother.


  7. Oh, and another thing Norman, I doubt we will ever see any sort of political zen in this province until we get rid of big money financing political parties. Elections are bought and paid for, and the rich right are busy buying them, and the rich left doesn't seem to do that with their cash, they are busy giving it to the poor.


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