NOT for the people

In an 1830 speech, Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster said that government should be

“Made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people.”

British Columbia’s present ruling political class may pay lip-service to this fundamental ideal of democracy but, repeatedly, their behaviour demonstrates the priority is to serve special private interests. Premier Clark said that unashamedly in the leaders’ debate on radio, explaining why TI, the province’s vital pharmaceutical watchdog, was being eliminated. It’s teeth had already been blunted.

In Saturday’s Times Colonist, former Deputy Minister of Health Lawrie McFarlane wrote:

“Tuesday’s announcement by Adrian Dix, leader of the B.C. New Democrats, that he plans to rescue the Therapeutics Initiative concludes (hopefully) one of the more disgraceful episodes in our recent political history…”

Of course, it is no coincidence that BC Liberals have pocketed hundreds of thousands in donations from the very private interests that lobbied against TI.

Please take the time to read through materials at It is “Where media and medicine meet.” Follow him too on Twitter @AKECassels

Pavco is another disgraceful illustration of how BC Liberals function for the benefit of insiders and friends. As the days counted down to the election, Pavco was racing to deliver valuable real estate into the hands of private interests friendly with Rich Coleman and the Liberal government. To facilitate these and other efforts, most of the provincial government stopped delivery of FOI documents unless they had been stripped of contentious contents. Countless files have been placed in limbo pending the election. Pavco even took action seeking to deny answering each and every request for documents filed by diligent investigative reporter Bob Mackin.

Similarly, other provincial departments and agencies have been working at tying the hands of a new government. Long term procurement and service contracts worth hundreds of millions have been renewed long before they needed to be. Senior bureaucrats and Liberal operatives, knowing days are numbered, are greedily stuffing pockets wherever they can.

Economic crimes are underway and both present and future taxpayers are the victims.

Categories: Ethics, Pavco

12 replies »

  1. Norm, our Liberal “free enterprise” government has always operated as a legislative Chamber of Commerce. Policy is crafted in the most deliberately commercial fashion.

    The incoming bunch traditionally has been a patron of labour (not the poor, labour) and skewed the balance to the left.

    I remember the visceral exhilaration we experienced across this province when Wilson popped up out of nowhere on behalf of the then moribund B.C. Liberal Party. He spoke of a centrist policy that favoured neither side but represented both. For a while we thought it was possible that we were finally going to be saved from the right/left whipsaw that fettered progress in British Columbia.

    Then the SoCreds, their ship holed and sinking, swam over to the Liberal frigate, boarded it and commandeered the vessel, forcing Wilson to walk the plank. We've been in the hands of pirates ever since.

    It worries me that, while Dix sounds moderate and reasonable enough, his party has a rich history of turning on that sort of leadership. Who can forget how Harcourt was done in by Glenn Clark?


  2. Thanks Norm,

    as many folks predicted a feeding frenzy would be under way as the end draws near. If the incoming govt. states ” We didn't know the finances were this bad etc” we can all be certain this time it's the truth. Heaven knows what they will find and have to deal with. Pretty obvious Adrian Dix has this in mind by not promising the moon and stars.


  3. Kevin Falcon's new position offers a clue. He's joining Eric Carlson's Anthem Group, very large donors to the BC Liberals whose businesses have been much affected by BC Liberal policies.


  4. Norm, Agreed. The work of Alan Cassels has been exceptional. His columns for both FOCUS Magazine and Common Ground have been startling.

    For clarity and depth, his FOCUS piece, “The best place on Earth (for pharmaceutical companies)”, is priceless.

    Finally an insider has itemized how dysfunctional and corrupted our Health-Care-Denial system has become.

    But questions about the elopement of Government and the Drug Industry aren't limited to North America.

    “One of the best known [drugs] – imatinib, whose brand name is Glivec – has proved so successful in chronic myeloid leukaemia that patients who a decade ago survived for a few years can now look forward to a near-normal life expectancy.”

    “But the cost of Glivec has risen from £18,000 per patient per year to around £21,000 in the UK, and from $30,000 to $92,000 in the US. This is despite the fact that all research costs were covered by the original price, and the number of patients treated and the length of time they are on the drug have both vastly increased because of the drug’s success.”

    Keep wondering how the cost of health care has gone over the top? Start here.

    “Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney recently wrote that he wants Prime Minister Harper to do something big about health care: “We are facing a genuine, genuine problem of quite enormous dimensions… obviously the financing is completely out of whack”.”

    “Mulroney did something big to health care when he was in office. He extended monopoly drug patent protection to twenty years, abolished compulsory licensing for brand-name drugs, and fixed introductory prices for new drugs at artificially high levels. As a result of these Mulroney policies, Canada now pays 30% more for prescription drugs than the OECD average.”

    “This means that Mulroney’s big idea is costing our health care system at least $7.5 billion a year more in excessive drug costs. It takes a lot of gall for him to now claim he is worried about rising health care costs.”

    Then here…

    Then here…


  5. mohammad ahad, southern California dentist and spammer. I doubt many would choose to go from BeeCee to East L.A. for dental care. May as well go the rest of the way to Mexico, and save some serious bucks!


  6. Corporations already have more rights than people – with none of those inconvenient responsibilities or accountability to anyone but their shareholders. Jim Hightower, Texas pundit extraordinaire, is totally convinced and can prove Corporations aren't people, because Texas hasn't executed one – ever!


  7. Thanks Norm for this column. I'm out of the province but just got my latest delaying tactic email from the folks at FOI – 28 days overdue on all docs related to BC Jobs ad campaign including subcontracts for polling and focus groups. Hmmm. Pointless to file a complaint at this point.


  8. The taxpayer's of this province and indeed Canada as a whole, have serious problems. The subversion of taxpayer rights by corporate “friendly” governments, in the using of loopholes and other forms of “malfeasance”, to procure benefits at the cost to the taxpaying public, is an issue that must be addressed.

    The banning of corporate donations, and limiting donations to a value that will not be seen as “buying” ones way into government favor, must become a reality. Ontario already has such a ban, although people are still trying to find ways around it.

    Governments cannot police themselves. Separate partisan agendas always seem to creep into a parties platform, and even more so with the outgoing liberal government in this province. The review of decisions and any form of contract, must be reviewed by the incoming government in this province, right after the election. The Pavco issue and others that are seen as partisan decisions by the taxpayers, must be reviewed in light of the economic consequence, should they go ahead.

    Perhaps we need to rethink our view of the political world. We, the taxpayers, are stakeholders and “shareholders”, in this province, yet we seem to have far less rights than “corporate” shareholders. In our democracy, it would seem that we should be rewriting and rethinking the basic rights we have. We are being used and manipulated by a political group for their own ends.


Leave a reply but be on topic and civil.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s