BC Liberals

A crime family depends on its enablers – rerun

The bulk of this item was written in 2010 and it was moved to the top a year later. I’ve done a little editing to recognize the political environment of 2014 but not much has changed, in the article and in BC politics. Indeed, the winners kept winning and most of our fellow citizens barely noticed. – Dec 2014

I quoted from a Lewis Carroll poem The Walrus and the Carpenter in a comment thread at the Vancouver Observer. My obvious suggestion was that Tzeporah Berman had been like oysters that naively went for a stroll on the beach to be consumed by their ushers, the walrus and the carpenter. It will not surprise regular readers that I think Lewis Carroll gave us important words. Here is a rerun from a year ago that provides more of the poem, with polemics added by me. – May 2011

Premier Gordon Campbell, his back room puppet masters, greedy co-conspirators and BC Liberal Party members are devoid of honour. Campbell, head of this west coast crime family, long ago lost his integrity and moral compass. His aim has been to simplify conversion of public assets to private control, for private benefits.

Soulless self-dealing manipulators, operating in the shadows, hold Liberals in place to achieve goals of personal enrichment. In the past few years, appetites have grown because they learned that restraint is no longer necessary. With hundreds of misinformation officers on the public payroll and a servile media close at hand, new realities – even false ones – are achievable.

We see the rewards, taken in the form of padded contracts, consultancies, extravagant salaries and supplementary pensions, directors’ and meeting fees, unquestioned expense payments, sports event tickets, travel junkets,  severance payments, etc. The always understood quid pro quo is silence, loyalty and kickbacks to the party.

What better example than the BC Rail insiders, executives and directors scooping millions while conducting less business than a neighbourhood Canadian Tire manager. Despite the costly executive, Liberal insider Patrick Kinsella also dipped his substantial wick into the easy takings.

The received wealth of those people granted privileges by senior Liberals is by private influence peddling.  Individuals with ordinary skills – except for ability to operate in shadowy corridors of government – draw incomes that would leave ordinary citizens gasping, if fully revealed.

The enablers of the Liberal crime family are backbench MLAs, some once honourable folk who aimed to serve the community for good. Now, they are fleshy fungi, kept in the dark, fed an individually designed diet of composted droppings, hopeful their heads will one-day poke above the putrid layers.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat–
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.


Worst of all are the seasoned professional pundits, claiming to report objectively as servants of the public, but in reality, little more than water carriers, supporting the party line, aiming to share comforts of the ruling class. Vaughn Palmer issued a typical example in his September 16 column, HST was ‘game changer’ in plan to reduce deficit.

This fits right in to the new Liberal strategy. First, they said this “revenue neutral tax change” was “the single best thing we can do to stimulate the economy.” That did not fly when their shill economists were discredited and the real story was revealed from the government’s own studies.

The truth was that consumers were to face five years of higher costs without offset. Therefore, the Liberal spin machine designed a new strategy. The ever loyal Bill Good and then a broadcaster Christie Clark ran with this for weeks. We needed HST to avoid cuts to social programs; no alternatives existed. This story stumbled a bit because a tax described as revenue neutral could hardly ensure continuation of government programs.

The latest claim rolled out is the need to reduce deficits because those unfair impositions force future generations to pay for our current benefits. Inarguable, supposedly. However, the claimants feel zero remorse for loading future citizens with tens of billions in contractual commitments for high priced private power ($60B in 2014). For electricity, Liberals gave all the profit upsides to private producers and all the economic downsides to taxpayers and tomorrow’s power consumers.

Vaughn Palmer has been beavering away for the Liberals these past weeks. He’s a crafty old pro who sells only a part of his soul, unlike many media colleagues, Bill Good for example, wanders only between government apologist and government cheerleader. Palmer leads one story with a pre-election memo written by Campbell’s agent at the Finance Ministry, Graham Whitmarsh. The story reinforced is that HST was not on the Liberal radar, but it might be later if conditions dictated the move. Sure enough, days after the election, the conditions existed. According to Palmer, a “pissed-off” Premier demanded options to meet the promised $495 million deficit, a figure they already knew to be impossible. Two days later, a deal with Ottawa was set, including a $1.6 billion federal transition payment.

Palmer is no fool. He knows how slowly negotiations grind between governments and that underlings do not make major policy commitments without directions from superiors. If appointed functionaries were allowed that option, political masters would have abdicated traditional responsibilities. No, Palmer knows the real story; he simply will not report it. That is not in the BC Business Party’s interest.

Does anyone else find it strange that Liberals gave Palmer the Whitmarsh memo but did not include it in any of the FOI responses to which it should have belonged, if it were real? No, this is simply crass news management by a dishonourable government aided by a helpful commentator.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.



Diogenes, for the uninitiated, was a Greek philosopher born in the late 5th Century, BC.  An influential member of a school of philosophy known as the Cynics, Diogenes believed in living a simple life of virtue in harmony with nature.  The image of Diogenes most familiar to the modern world is that of a man walking through city streets in broad daylight and carrying a lantern in search of an honest man.  Reports of Diogenes’ search efforts indicate that he did not find that which he was seeking.

I had opportunity to listen to Friday’s Dull Edge from the Ledge on CKNW. Wow. Online political and media critics are no longer merely nincompoops. Now we are akin to anonymous child pornographers and conveyors of malicious libel.

The elitist triplets do not like to be held to account for their wobbles, fearfulness and shaded truth. Bill Good is consistent. After complaining about critical internet voices, he introduces featured and favourite caller Sam. Good old reliable Sam. No embarrassing discussion of media failures from him. Why would there be?  He has his own ticket to the front of the parade.

“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

18 replies »

  1. It's amazing how we live in a society that when the media reports a story about individuals collecting welfare will attract hundreds of comments from readers who are quick to write such comments like, get these bums back to work. Or what about, I'm sick and tired paying these welfare bums to sit around, drink Pepsi and watch TV. But when it comes to the disgusting waste of tax dollars by politicians, while it does attract some negative response, it's not nearly the numbers of the example of Welfare recipients. Are people that stupid or have they just given up ? I'm not sure what the answer is Norman, but what politicians are getting away with at ALL levels truly borders on criminal. If you or I make a mistake on our income tax, it's like the wrath of God has come down on us to repay the $25.00 while politicians are laughing all the way to the bank. It has to end Norman, I'm just not sure how to achieve that.

    Guy in Victoria


  2. I must say, you are dead on. We no longer live in an honourable society, but a ruthless conglomerate of thugs, pickpockets, footpads, and worse.

    We have become deceitful, full knowing of the corrupt government but acquiesce to their raping of this province.

    We do nothing and as such, we are no better than the German populace in NAZI Germany in the 30's and 40's, gleefully condoning the liquidation of dissenters, the torture and agony of the death camps.

    If we look in the mirror, we see them in our place.

    Horrific, disgusting, we have become evil.

    I weep as BC has sold its soul to the devil and cheaply too!


  3. I've taken a lot of abuse from some (the type I would be ashamed of being complimented by) for referring to Campbell and his gang as criminals, specifically the Campell Crime Family.

    Some,like the waste of skin and pixels Alex Tsuckwhatever parse like a lawyer and claim Campbell isn't a criminal, because he was popped for Impaired Driving in Hawaii, where it isn't a felony – meanwhile, his current excuse for an Attorney General, Ding Dong DeJong said just yesterday or so that anyone driving under the influence was COMMITTIING A CRIMINAL ACT. Hmmmmmmm, that's what I thought too, I agree for once with a member of the Campbell Crime Family.

    In my interpretation of English and un-indicted or un-convicted criminal, is still a criminal, to hell with the fine line parsing.

    Anyway, it is great to see you Norm, a writer not noted for hyperbole, calling a spade a spade, or in this case a crook a criminal. Now, if we could only do something about all aiders, abettors and accomplices! (The LIEberal caucus, the MSM, the Chamber of Commerce, the subverted/corrupt BC Supreme Court, Accenture and the rest of the beneficiaries and that union busting Independent Contractors guy).


  4. well said norman, i can`t often tolerated bill goods liberal suck fest, i happened to catch the so call monday morning quarterback charade today and i have to say limp-wrist norman spector has really been drinking the liberal kool-aid as well.


  5. I especially like your deft assessment of Vaughn Palmer. His sly dance, fading in and out, sometimes sounding like he's holding the government accountable, but somehow never really managing to do that.

    Your piece may have been written a year ago Norm, but it still rings loud, clear and true.

    Mr. Palmer is just a jaded hack who has succumbed to the pleasures of the kept, someone who has come to believe his own press releases. The Emperor has no clothes, and it's not a pretty sight.


  6. The media are all a, disgrace to their professions. I pay attention to none of them. There is no longer any good, honest journalism anymore. There are just puppets that dance for the BC Liberals every time, they yank the medias strings.

    Canada is no longer a good decent country. This country fits right in with, Columbia, Equador and all the other corrupt country's. The decent nations have said, how badly democracy has eroded in Canada. About Harper lying to Europe, trying to pass the dirty tar sands oil, as clean energy. Harper has embarrassed Canadians on may occasions.

    The entire world, has certainly heard about Campbell, being a drunk, a liar, deceiver, corrupt right up to his eyes, a thief, vindictive, evil and not one saving grace. He is pure scum.

    There are very few politicians, worth the powder to blow them to hell

    There is nothing that isn't corrupt in BC. Including the OBC. Isn't that ever disgusting. Scum and a lowlife like Campbell, named for the OBC. Yuk


  7. Really interesting piece! Too many of the media HAVE lost their former “healthy” disrespect for the government line. But fortunatelym, the blogosphere is here to hold them …and the government …to account.


  8. A couple of comments directed at today's commenters:

    1. If I can speak for Alex here, a comment without facts and/or reasoning is just senseless, empty name-calling.

    2. I disagree strongly with the comment, “There is no longer any good, honest journalism anymore.” That product can be found right here as well as Alex's site and more like it. Since MSM has abdicated its position of being watchdog for the populace, we can be thankful for this medium (blogosphere) and the dedicated people who do the research and write reasoned accounts of the events that shape our lives.

    Thanks, Norm



  9. Thanks H.O.

    There are exceptions today but many journalists will later regret their own failures in this regard. I'm sure your proudest moments in the profession are not the ones where “Me, too!” or “Hear, hear.” was said but are the moments when you stood unwelcome in the walkway and posed difficult questions, ones not on the list of desired inquiries.


  10. The crime family – yes!

    When you consider how the BC Liberals govern, the only comparison is the Godfather movies. The dealmaking around the casinos in Cuba are particularly revealing to the situation in BC.


  11. I am a regular critic of mainstream journalism but it is actually out of respect. I do so in the hope that punditry will improve, or more likely that individuals will separate themselves from the pack. The young members of the Press Gallery have aging examples before them, poor examples in many cases.

    Pundits may criticize politicians but politicians, I am told, must never publicly criticize pundits, even when a slap of the hand (or a punch on the nose) is appropriate. However, those of us in the blogosphere, at least those with an audience, have a duty to be critics of the mainstream media. Our case is not helped though by excessive exaggeration and fault finding, something I might be guilty of through frustration.

    For the working media, I recall Winston Churchill's words:
    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.


  12. @Anonymous #1: Are the hundreds of comments all from real readers? It's often hard to tell who is a regular person writing what they think, and who is receiving a salary for astroturfing.


  13. A little off subject, but I see translink is spending $55 million to upgrade a station that they say will a year long project, now assuming the “contractor” works 5 days a week that works out to over $210,000 a day, or a little over a million dollars a week. Is it only me that thinks the price is a little excessive?


  14. I have 2 major issues with this write up Norm;
    While it was written in 2010 and nothing has changed in 4 years, you have datelined today’s piece, December 14, 2017 meaning you predict the same old same old three years hence. Shame on you.

    Issue 2; as I finished reading the piece, without even realizing, I emitted the biggest, most audible sigh yet. Those around me, knowing full well what I read on early Sunday mornings, still reacted with a startled “what’s wrong?” How can I begin to explain that to a crowd that shows little interest in what is really wrong?

    So, instead, I explained, it was a happy sigh because, with the falling oil prices, Highways Minister Todd Stone just announced, not only would the fuel surcharge be removed from the ferries, fares would be cut by 30% AND a yet to be determined reduction in bridge tolls.

    They are happy as oysters now.


  15. Good catch. When I changed the date on this old item, the wrong year was entered. Now corrected.

    I'd been reading BC Public Accounts dating back to 1988 and all numbers had started to look the same.

    May I suggest you not hold your breath while waiting for those price cuts.


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