Liberal transparency: secret agreements, no oversight

If politicians become so focused on reaping rewards for themselves, their friends and associates, they begin to act as British Columbia Liberals are acting now. Like furtive night prowlers, government members seek the cover of darkness.

Publicly owned lands and natural resources have values minimized or ignored, then are privatized without oversight. Construction projects – Convention Centre, BC PLace, NW Transmission Line, Port Mann and other bridges and highways – are commissioned at contract amounts that elsewhere have no precedent. Lobbyists enjoy access and influence not allowed elected MLAs. While the disabled and the most poor are denied relief, senior insiders line their own pockets with multiple salaries, pensions and payments from the provincial public service and from what the British call Quangos (quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations).

Think the preceding are overstatements? Then, look at British Columbia’s proposed Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act. It would allow:

  • The Minister to enter into agreements with oil and gas companies without clear oversight, allowing backroom deals that hand-out public resources at rock bottom prices;
  • The minister to bind the province through secret oil and gas royalty agreements without Cabinet approval;
  • The minister to keep agreements undisclosed and secret;
  • Agreements that can last for decades under any terms or conditions the minister “considers necessary or advisable.”
  • Future governments to be bound by agreements that cannot be altered without taxpayers paying damages;
  • Agreements that limit taxation of LNG facilities by local government for 25 years;
  • Oil refineries operated by Chevron and Husky be designated “not an oil and gas activity.”

In 1958, Socred cabinet minister Robert Sommers was convicted and sentenced to five years for accepting benefits worth about $60,000 in 2015 dollars. The family of another minister had serial good fortune from owning vacant land at intersections on new provincial highways. Yet, those were comparatively small acts of individual mountebanks. What we experience today are comprehensive acts of organized crime where the entire structure of government conspires to subvert public interests for delivery of benefits worth billions to parties who pay to play.

Categories: Ethics, LNG, Natural Resources

20 replies »

  1. SECTION 33: [Provincial Symbols and Honours Act, heading to Division 1 of Part 2] adds a heading to Part 2 of the Act to create a separate Division for the Order of British Columbia, consequential to amendments made by this Bill respecting the British Columbia Medal of Good Citizenship.

    With (BAD) or Without a Mask (GOOD)


  2. With the exception of recall – which like gambling in a casino favours the house – politicians are only accountable once every four years. Unfortunately, it’s often too late and too expensive to rescind and repair the damage of the partisan bills, unjust laws, impetuous enactments, supercilious appointments, venal contracts, fudged budgets, nepotism, political and financial patronage, and all manner of graft and chicanery that runs rampant behind the scenes in government.

    Two more years of Christy Clark and BC Liberal Party that, contrary to Robert Reich, appears to be thriving on the same political pabulum they’ve been serving up to their proponents, apologists and media minions for the past fourteen years is, in my mind, repugnant.


  3. “Partisan bills, unjust laws, impetuous enactments, supercilious appointments, venal contracts, fudged budgets, nepotism, political and financial patronage, and all manner of graft and chicanery that runs rampant behind the scenes in government.”

    That was the BC Liberal record up to 2013, and they were nonetheless elected with an increased majority. They have therefore seen no need to change course, and if anything have found new ways to pillage.
    Unless the Official Opposition learns how to fight effectively and/or the established news media in these parts come down with a case of journalistic fever, we’re looking at another six years of Her Christiness, not just two. I’m not optimistic.

    RS, we’ll need a word three times stronger than repugnant.


  4. It is safe to say that the BC Liberals are “organized crime” and that organized crime rules the province.

    The non existent mainstream media, complete with all hues of “yellow journalism” continue to spread pro government propaganda and the populace seem so drugged with money, power and drugs, seem not to care.

    I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government. – Thomas Jefferson

    What is a rebel? A man who says no. – Albert Camus

    A riot is the language of the unheard. – Martin Luther King, Jr.


  5. Christy Clark is desperate for an LNG go ahead. The Liberal government being run by Christy, Rich Coeman & Mike deJong have decided that whatever it takes… just do it & let's get that huge first shovel in the ground ceremony…. with the media quoting Christy saying, I promised & I have delivered.
    In the meantime keep Christy on the campaign trail with lots of pictures & smiles flooding local community Black Press rags. This past week Christy Clark traveled to Washington to speak to the World Bank. Now here is a lady with no Unversity degree, no experience in world economic finance and yet….. “they invited” her to speak. I don't believe it for a minute. What I do believe is that taxpayers will see the phoo-ops and read all about her world knowlege during the next real campaign. Did you notice that Christy was not featured with the Indian Prime Minister in the MSM. But she did manage to get a photo-op & a YouTube video with her & Modi sitting down. Now here's the lady that's traveled to Indian on more than one occasion and keeps talking about the great relationship & all those MOU's signed… and yet no “real” time with her Prime Minister friend from India.
    As I said in the beginning…hristy is desperate to get anyone to say… YES we are building a multi billion dollar LNG economy in BC. But let's not tell the taxpayer that we're giving it away…. instead keep them thinking that “Billions” are soon going to fill the Christy “Prosperity Fund”.

    Guy in Victoria


  6. All Con governments are installed with the same purpose. They ensure delivery systems of money resources and control to the 1% and friends, with unknown returns to the politicians.

    We the people are a weak host infected by parasites. Until we identify ourselves as citizens rather than consumers and taxpayers, and pay attention to what is going on upstream, we are at their mercy. Follow the money, watch the hands instead of the mouth. The 33% of the population who vote for these creatures will not change, as they do not have the intelligence or character to do otherwise. How to activate the non voters seem to be the big challenge.

    I do not understand people who do not pay attention.


  7. Two more years of Christy Clark and BC Liberal Party!!!
    After two more years, there will be sweet F,A left to plunder..


  8. Anyone who sabotages the public interest with poison pill provisions in trade or licensing agreements is committing a grievous and malicious breach of trust which is a criminal offence.


  9. I do so love your posts Norm, and they elicit such intelligent response (IMHO).
    I went to my Dr complaining of severe chest pain, which I self-diagnosed as either a heart attack or kidney stones. He could find no evidence of either and attributed it to stress resulting from reading your posts.

    I wish there were more than a handful of commentators. It is doubtful if you and they are sufficient to sway even the most intelligent voters. As for the other 33%, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice….” does not resonate.

    I WILL continue to read and because I know the source it doesn't pain me as much.


  10. “Christy Clark is desperate for an LNG go ahead.”

    Yes, they are desperate for anything that looks like it might mean GDP growth, even if it makes no sense whatsoever.
    GDP growth, and selling off provincial assets, is how they try to deal with the deficit and debt.
    Debt is measured as debt/GDP, so if the GDP grows, the debt/GDP ratio stays the same.
    The overall debt keeps growing rapidly, so to maintain the debt/GDP ratio, they need to keep growing the GDP.
    Which is not realistic, especially when things like LNG export don't make economic or environmental sense.


  11. John's aghast: There's quite a few of us who visit this site to read Norms excellent work but we comment very infrequently. We are trying to keep our eyes open and able to read between the lines. Norm and others in the blogoshere are where I and others get a lot of great information. Just because we do not comment don't count us out as far as getting this site's info out there. I relay this information to all my co-workers and friends but as the old saying goes “you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.” Unfortunately I generally peruse the blogs during breaks at work so commenting is kept to a minimum. We still read and Norm makes a difference in my point of view as well as a lot of other silent readers. Don't lose faith as there are more of us than you think.



  12. Norm can tell us if he has counters that tell him how many individual readers he has (though some can be same reader, using different machines) — but we can all do our part in increasing the viewership, by sharing links. For example, when I make comments on the Province or Sun, I often include links back to this site.

    I know many potential-voters don't give a whiff of interest to political issues. For those who do have at least one ear open, getting them to this and other sites could help change the tide of voter apathy.


  13. Excellent commentary as usual Norm. I agree with anonymous 8:08 re readers of your blog. We all read and pass it on the best we can. I will send the more contentious ones on to our local Black press ( three times a week mostly advertising rag) and follow up as to why they are so gutless not to pursue the rape and pillage of BC.
    Getting rid of these Lieberal vermin is not going to be easy as long as the average citizen of BC lives his life in a fog of pitza, beer and Saturday night hockey. Change starts at the bottom not the top down. Something devastating has to happen to the unwashed before change will even start to happen.



  14. I would not be continuing this effort if it were drawing only a handful of readers. Because it gets tens of thousands of unique visitors each month, its readership is higher than many community newspapers in the province. In addition, while most readers are from private internet addresses, many are from media, government and corporate networks. It is not just the article contents that gain attention but reader comments are widely read as well. You can be sure that a lot of decision and opinion makers are reading this blog and others that aim to provide informed commentary.

    I'm proud that the standard of contributions from readers is high. Many add to my knowledge and some even cause me to rethink a position I've already taken. Personally, I find comment sections at pro-media sites largely unreadable, often filled with prejudice, bigotry and misinformed rants and thoughtless personal attacks that lack evidence. I actively discourage that sort of material and I block items that don't seem to add something worthwhile to dialogue.


  15. I totally agree with Scotty on Denman's post. The subversion of our democratic system, by self serving, “organized political parties”, is indeed organized crime. The problem is far reaching in scope, and now we have the politico's attempting to subvert laws that will hold them to account, “if they can ever be thrown out”.
    On the same topic, the Harper Conservatives are trying to “water down” their own anti corruption legislation, as it would appear many contractors employed by Ottawa, to provide services to our federal government, are guilty of the offences described.
    “Birds of a feather, flock together”, as they say.
    The political education of the public and the countries youth, has to be made a very high, priority.
    For those in BC and Canada to remain politically ignorant, just provides the political parties the ability to engage in undemocratic manipulation of laws and our economies.
    Crime flourishes in ignorance and in the shadows, our system of governance is no longer working and “is” a criminal enterprise overseen by organized “political” groups.

    Norm's blog provides much insight and food for though, thanks for that Norm.


  16. As to Thomas Jefferson's quote above in Evil Eye's comment, I would also agree. Seems as if the “Harpertist's” are trying to cover that “eventuality” with the new CSIS headquarters in Ottawa and legislation like bill C-51. One has to wonder, who, what and where are the subversives? Or rather, how do they “protect” their system of “beneficial Cronism” and political manipulation, from a public who may eventually “wake up” and hold them to account, in the extreme.
    The more this issue drags on both in BC and other jurisdictions, the more frustrated the populace becomes. If the laws of the land “protect” subversion from within, as in “criminal forms” of governance, and allow “privileged” groups to manipulate the taxpayer and the resources he/she, “provides “under the income tax act and other revenue collection laws, what checks and balances are being subverted to allow this to happen, and what if any oversight, is in place to stop this? If there is no recourse legal or otherwise, what solutions must be taken, to prevent the continuation, of what only can be seen as a continuing “crime in progress”?


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