Did Gordon Campbell’s Liberals choose ‘Good Corporate Citizens’ when they gifted development rights in Bute Inlet and other areas of British Columbia’s coastal wilderness? The key investors in Plutonic Power are not moms and pops, Canadian pension plans or the like. The big money player is General Electric Company, the world’s second largest company.
Documents uncovered by ProPublica show that General Electric, despite having the highest credit rating available, was a major user of U.S. taxpayer supported rescue funds. GE borrowed $16 billion through the Federal Reserve Board in 2008. It then participated in a fund of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and, by early 2009, GE was the largest borrower in the publicly supported fund. In total, during 2008 and 2009, GE accessed almost $100 billion through the American government’s bailout facilities.
GE was publicly telling investors that it had no problems funding short term credit requirements through traditional sources while its executives were telling U.S. federal officials the opposite so they could participate in the taxpayer bailout funds. ProPublica reports that, after intense lobbying :
“in a matter of a few weeks, GE’s highly profitable finance arm, GE Capital, became eligible for a federal debt guarantee program that initially excluded firms like GE.”
ProPublic says that, if correct, portrayals by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson:
“could spell trouble for GE in court, where shareholders are accusing Immelt and other company executives in civil suits of violating securities laws by misleading investors in the fall of 2008 about GE’s finances and withholding key information.”
In Bute Inlet, GE’s Plutonic and others are accused of encouraging area residents to support innocuous green power operations that posed no threat to coastal ecosystems while the companies were actually preparing for intensive developments located across a massive coastal territory. Many residents believed they were dealing with developers who would be good corporate citizens.* However, residents were forming judgments with less than full knowledge.
The real meaning of ‘Good Corporate Citizen’ :
- Maintaining a high standard of business ethics
- Working as part of the community;
- Protecting the environment;
- Providing good corporate governance;
- Engaging in fair trade and business practices, as well as fair workplace relations.