“Socialism: a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government”
For years, leaders of the BC Business Party (AKA Social Credit or Liberal) echoed W.A.C. Bennett’s 1972 warning, “The socialist hordes are at the gates of British Columbia.”
Maclean’s Magazine reported in 1999 that Liberal leader Gordon Campbell “is promising to weed socialist apparatchiks from the civil service.”
In 2010, Liberal campaigner Jim Shepard said, “You know, we lived through socialism in B.C. for 10 years. I know what it looks like and it is not pretty.”
Yes, it was not pretty. There was higher production of goods, more job growth and rising personal incomes, more affordable housing, accessible higher education and government supervised apprenticeship and training programs. These things don’t interest “free-enterprise” Liberals.
May 2012, Liberal Rich Coleman told the Opposition in BC Legislative debates, “I know the socialist-communist thinking is that everything should be nationalized and controlled. If you had your way, you probably would nationalize mining, nationalize natural gas. You would nationalize everything, because you don’t believe in the private sector.”
Questioned by a newspaper columnist outside the Legislature, Coleman repeated his description of the NDP, “They’re socialists, they’re communists.”
Since then the minister of questionable transactions has had a change in thinking. Coleman is now a cheerleader for state ownership, but with conditions: the state involved must be foreign, preferably Asian, but definitely unaccountable and accustomed to secret dealings.
Besides taxpayer dollars, Coleman and friends are offering easy regulatory approvals, foreign-worker permits, cheap power, tax holidays, accelerated write-offs, subsidized natural gas and crown lands to help LNG proponents.
Who are the “socialist-communists” that Coleman is now keen to embrace? First in line is Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), which is wholly owned by the Government of Malaysia, an Islamic nation with a flawed democracy and a reputation for official corruption. The Asian oil company – accountable solely to Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak – has delivered annual dividends to government of ten billion Canadian dollars in recent years but the nation faces mounting financial pressures. Budget deficits in each of the past 17 years have resulted in rapid debt growth and recent dedication to national austerity.
Other “socialist-communists” welcomed through Coleman’s doors are the state owned China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) and government owned Indian Oil Corporation. They are partnering with Petronas and Japan Petroleum Exploration Company (JAPEX), which was founded by government in 1955.
Liberal pals in corporate media can be counted on to repeat socialist disaster myths from the nineties but they go strangely silent when BC Liberals promote foreign owned socialist enterprises. They are hostile to public enterprise when the owner is British Columbia but BC Liberals show unbounded enthusiasm for investing borrowed money in ventures owned by undemocratic and corrupt foreign governments. Perhaps it is because Premier Clark and Minister Coleman prefer deeds done in the shadows, particularly if the shadows are overseas.
Supporting foreign governments flush with cash might be sensible if there was to be a flow of significant economic benefits and a commitment to clean renewable energy. However, no benefits were guaranteed to BC, only costs.