BC Liberals

BC Liberals reward friends

When Kevin Falcon presented his budget, corporate media cheerleaders turned immediately to the reliables for comment — people like John Winter (BC Chamber of Commerce), Jock Finlayson (BC Business Council) and Phil Hochstein (Independent Contractors and Businesses Association).

Vancouver Sun writer Jonathan Fowlie quoted John Winter as saying the budget is “very responsible.” At the BC Chamber of Commerce website, Winter’s organization had much more to say:

The BC Chamber of Commerce today offers its support for this disciplined Budget 2012 which maintains spending increases at appropriate levels and protects taxpayers from future shocks.

This prudent budget will relieve taxpayers from additional pressures and mitigates against external risk. The Government is to be commended for its responsibility in holding the line on spending and bringing a targeted approach to spending increases in the specific areas of health, education, justice and social supports.”

Of course, John Winter, CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, knows how the game is played. If you treat friends well, there will be benefits.

So comments that Jonathan Fowlie reported in the Vancouver Sun were both predictable and pointless. When the Chamber of Commerce approves a targeted approach to spending increases, targets they have in mind are the Chamber and its members. As a matter of fact, John Winter’s organization has been a substantial beneficiary of Liberal government spending in recent years. No doubt, much of this was reward for supporting the government’s fight against citizens in the HST battles.

BC Liberals didn’t end the taxpayers generosity with financing for John Winter’s provincial organization. Local Chambers of Commerce are regular recipients of further grants of cash. By  looking through the Public Accounts reports, I listed payments in excess of $25,000 to various Chambers. It is obvious that Chambers of Commerce in communities with the foresight to elect BC Liberals had a considerably better chance of being offered a government grant. This is the list for the years ended March 31, 2010 and 2011.

7 replies »

  1. This is exactly how I am picking my bank…moving from CIBC to the bank with either the lowest or the most equal donations to all political parties. Haven't determined which one yet. Just another step on my path to not support businesses that are buying favours that end up eroding my quality of life here in BC.

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  2. A quick search at FRPC shows substantial donations from chartered banks to the BC Liberals. Even BC's credit union movement pumps money to the governing party at a rate about 20 to 1 compared to the opposition.

    It is more evidence that we must change the method of financing political parties to remove the advantages enjoyed by governments who can effectively blackmail potential supporters.

    One suggestion is that every voter be provided with a voucher of about $10 that he/she can direct to support a registered political party. No other political funding would be allowed.

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  3. “It is more evidence that we must change the method of financing political parties to remove the advantages enjoyed by governments who can effectively blackmail potential supporters.”

    exactly

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  4. Thankyou Norm for the insight on this aspect of mutual backscratching. Coincidentally todays local paper for Parksville/Qualicum had words of praise from our local chambers of commerce for the latest edition of find the lady.

    The hypocrisy shown by these backslapping paragons of free enterprise and fiscal responsibility is they have nothing to say on the almost (at present and counting) doubling of the provincial debt since these fiscal geniuses took over. Except the debt is a relatively small % to gdp ratio, but were not as bad as Greece, and lower taxes for them and the rest of us pay more to support them in their free enterprise endeavours.

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  5. Ah…to see those names again…!

    You remember … both John Winter and Philip Hochstein were members of a business group represented by former Attorney General Geoff Plant who argued in court that the HST petition was invalid: six business groups who bankrolled the work that the BC Liberals couldn't do because of regulations.

    You remember … Hochstein's ICBA put up almost 50% of a $96,000 budget to oppose the recall campaign of Ida Chong, mostly spent on advertising and polling. The effort to unseat Chong was reported to have a budget of $8,400.

    Money talks.

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  6. I don't buy from any business, that belongs to the Chamber of Commerce. I buy everything I can, through the underground. House repairs, through the underground.

    The Campbell/Clark BC Liberals, always give company's with Liberal connections, all the contracts. They get the contracts behind our backs, even before the contract is announced.

    The Campbell/Clark and the BC Liberals, aren't known for their dignity, they don't have any.

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