Monday, I linked to Guardian columnist George Monbiot, a writer whose work I often find compelling. He said:
“Since the 1980s, in Britain, the US and other nations, the primary mission of governments has been to grant their sponsors in the private sector ever greater access to public money and public life…”
As if to illustrate the English writer’s assertion, Bob Mackin, reporting at the new-look Business in Vancouver, tells how companies affiliated with German logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL are manoeuvring to take control of Vancouver and Kamloops operations of BC’s Liquor Distribution Branch.
In moves reminiscent of the BC Rail disposition, the prospective new owners of this extensive provincial asset are relying on Vancouver based lobbyists with close ties to the BC Liberal Premier. Patrick Kinsella, whom the Globe and Mail called “the quintessential insider in B.C. politics” and partner Mark Jiles, Gordon Campbell’s former constituency campaign manager, are intimately involved, talking to both sides of the deal.
Senator-in-waiting Rich Coleman, Minister responsible for fundraising from energy and mining industries, has also been engaged in the intended liquor privatization. Mackin reports on a memo obtained by BIV:
“The internal memo indicates that Excel had hoped to secure the contract without a competition. If it had to go to tender, Excel wanted “to influence the writing of the RFP” by attempting to use its “strong relationship” with liquor minister Coleman.”
Mackin reports NDP critic Shane Simpson’s claim that the private monopoly as contemplated doesn’t guarantee a revenue stream to government. He says BC Liberals are racing to get this out the door before the 2013 election.
There is much more at the journal Business in Vancouver. I suspect this is more evidence that BC Liberals care little about the prospects of BC enterprises. They worry instead about the prospects of insiders and the mostly foreign owned corporations who can outbid Canadian companies because, using elaborate tax-avoidance strategies (like Apple, Google and other multinationals), they can minimize their tax bills and maximize shareholder returns.
This is a style of business that will keep people like Kinsella and Jiles warm and comfortable in their exotic mansions but will ultimately destroy British Columbia’s domestic economy. I prefer the old style capitalists like MacMillan, Koerner, Bentley, Kerr and others. As I wrote here more than a year ago,
“In early days of British Columbia, penniless pioneers arrived with ambition and dreams, built businesses, then empires, created wealth and arm-wrestled unions over rightful shares. They ended lives as philanthropists, returning assets to the very communities that enriched them, not adding to already deep pockets of right-wing foundations and their malevolent information infrastructure.”