Diane Francis is a writer from Central Canada whose typical view of the country is about 400 miles wide. So, it’s not surprising that in her New York Post expose, she ignores corrupt political acts in western Canada.
For example, the Confederation Bridge, crossing 13 kilometres of ocean (yes, thirteen) from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island, cost $1.3 billion ($1.8 billion in 2013 dollars). Two Fraser River bridges near Vancouver will cost the public over $6 billion.
Nor does Diane Francis note that BC residents pay punitive carbon taxes while BC Liberal’s largest financial supporter exports billions of dollars worth of coal while paying no carbon tax on the fossilized carbon and damn little in the way of royalties to the public that purportedly owns the mineral.
Diane Francis also fails to write about the poisoning of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations people so that multinational oil companies can extract bitumen with minimum cost and maximum profit. Nor does she cover the supposedly neutral National Energy Board coordinating spying efforts of CSIS, RCMP and private oil companies in a futile campaign to discredit environmental groups.
In Quebec, the mafia may have a directing hold on government; in the two western provinces, it is the mostly foreign owned resource companies. Ordinary people, east and west, are the victims.
However, Francis did give her view of scandals in the 400 mile strip of Canada she knows best. Writing in the New York Post, November 23, 2013:
“Toronto’s crack-smoking Mayor Rob Ford is the most famous Canadian in the world. The Charlie Sheen of politics opens his mouth simply to change feet.
“…But if Americans think Ford is an anomaly, they’re giving Canada way too much credit. In truth, the country is awash in scandal.
“Most unnerving is Quebec, Canada’s Tammany Hall… ‘Acts of collusion and corruption exist everywhere in Quebec — in every region…’
“There are 20 more ongoing investigations outside the construction industry…
“In the province next door, the Ontario Provincial Police anti-rackets squad recently scoured the premier’s office. Its probe concerns the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of two gas plants in 2011 on the eve of an election at a cost to taxpayers of $1 billion.
“In London, Ontario, another mayor has refused to quit despite the fact that he has been charged with fraud and faces a trial soon on allegations that he used taxpayer money to help pay for his son’s wedding reception…
“A more king-sized violation in Quebec involves public official Arthur Porter and two executives of SNC-Lavalin, who were arrested this year for fraud involving the $2.3 billion contract to build the McGill University Health Center.
“Porter, who is now in Panama fighting extradition, was also charged with conspiracy and money laundering.
“Another eyebrow raiser was the fact that Porter had been appointed in 2008 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to be chair of the oversight committee of the country’s CIA…
“The [Senate] is a throwback from Britain’s House of Lords and an undemocratic patronage dump for friends, partisans and bagmen.
“…This week, Senate shenanigans reached into the prime minister’s office after police accused one of the senators, and the prime minister’s former chief of staff, of bribery, fraud and breach of trust…
“With such serious charges floating around, it’s hard to get exorcised about Rob Ford…
“So, the next time your Canadian cousins get smug about their superior culture, kindness and hockey, remind them that politicians behaving badly isn’t unique to the US…
“Canada gets just as dirty — so stay tuned and hold into your tuques.”