A month after Jim Shepard resigned as CEO of BC’s second largest forestry company, the Liberal government appointed him Senior Policy Adviser. After a year, Shepard, 73, is leaving to form The Concerned Citizens for British Columbia, another campaign to reelect government friendly to large developers and industrialists.
This is not Shepard’s first effort to influence this province’s choice of government or to determine its policies. Bill Tieleman calls him an ardent NDP hardline opponent and Shepard’s intransigence was demonstrated years ago.
A November 1998 piece in the National Post said NDP Premier Glen Clark had worked hard to improve the relationship between his government and British Columbia’s business community. That month, nearly 1,000 business leaders gathered in Vancouver to develop new economic policies for the province. The B.C. Business Council of major corporations, headed by ideologue Jim Shepard, orchestrated the meeting.
According to the National Post, when government officials enquired about having Glen Clark or any of his ministers participate,
They were flatly told to forget it.
“They’re not invited at all,” said Jim Shepard, the chief executive of Finning International Inc. and chairman of the Business Council of B.C.
“We don’t want any of them there.”
So much for cooperation between the industrial elite and and any government not in their favour. Not surprising though because multi-national corporations act in their own interests, not in the interests of the general public. That leads to philosophical approval of companies residing in tax avoidance clouds while exporting our national wealth, resources and jobs.
Three months after BC Liberals took office in 2001, they appointed Shepard a director of BC Rail. The Liberal strategist and opponent of public enterprise stayed there until the CN’s takeover of the railroad was completed in 2003. Cynics believe this reinforces claims that the Liberal 2001 platform promise to “Not sell or privatize BC Rail” was deceitful from the start.
Shepard has been a director of numerous large corporations and in 2007, he joined Canfor as CEO, Despite losing a third of its revenues during Shepard’s tenure, Canfor is the province’s second largest forest company. Industrialists may claim to believe in “free” enterprise, but dominant enterprise is a better descriptor. We’re left to wonder how much that depends on the influence of political insiders, people that usually control the flow of money to politicians and extract favours in return.
I think Andrew MacLeod’s ‘We’re Going to Lose another Mill‘ in The Tyee provides a strong indicator that Shepard and BC Liberals believe more in dominant enterprise than in free enterprise.
The head of a company whose British Columbia mill may have to close because it can’t get enough wood blames the provincial government for the situation.
…WoodEx owns a medium-sized mill near Edgewater in the Columbia Valley, where it specializes in value-added products and custom-sized lumber.
In November 2011 its largest local competitor, Canfor Corporation, bought Tembec Industries Ltd., the only other major player in the area. The transaction, which closed in March, gave Canfor two more mills and added access to 1.1 million cubic metres of timber a year.
By WoodEx’s reckoning, it also gave Canfor control of 99 per cent of the annual allowable cut on Crown land in the valley between Golden and Skookumchuck, making it difficult to bid against when wood comes available through B.C. Timber Sales.
…”By dominating the timber-sale bidding, Canfor could very well control the distribution of timber and WoodEx would be required to shut down or close its operation through lack of consistent wood supply,” he said.
…The government, however, has failed to do its duty to keep the industry competitive, Riddell said…
It seems BC Liberals are not actually supporters of free enterprise. Monopolies are preferred.