I have no doubt BC Liberal involvement with Big Pharma is at the root of high-level government decisions to kneecap research into the safety and efficacy of more than $25 billion worth of pharmaceuticals sold each year in Canada.
Drug research conducted by the Health Ministry and agencies like Therapeutics Initiative threatened the financial interests of indulgent Christy Clark sponsors. Her government squeezed T.I. financially but solid public support for the independent effort kept Liberals from killing it. As a result, the politicians chose a different approach to discredit drug research. That led to newly appointed health minister Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, and her deputy minister Graham Whitmarsh, telling a press conference that misconduct by researchers had been so serious that RCMP were conducting a criminal investigation. We now know there was no police examination but less well known is that numerous ongoing drug research projects were ended.
In human and ethical terms, the health ministry scandal is immense. In financial terms, it costs the public a small sum compared to natural resource outrages. While CKNW’s Jon McComb and a few others in media are calling for an independent inquiry into the health ministry firings, there is another subject to examine. We need to follow our Albertan neighbours and do a comprehensive examination of natural resource revenues, or more accurately, their absence.
Despite making claims of a trillion dollar prosperity fund, the Clark government is ensuring resource extractors pay little or nothing. We are forced to admit, Gwyn Morgan and his friends in the mining and natural gas businesses found themselves a good one in Christy Clark. And, in 2015, it keeps getting better. For them. Not for us.
Compare the current year of proceeds from sales of natural gas rights to the year before Christy Clark took over the Premier’s office.
Yes, the government that promised a trillion dollar Prosperity Fund from gas revenues, that spends over $400 million a year on the ministry assisting resource companies and much more on subsidies to producers, that plans legislation to tie the hands of future governments considering gas taxes, has paved the road to riches for a few people. Spending 12 million tax dollars on a Bollywood extravaganza drew much notice but it was a drop in the ocean compared to benefits flowing to Christy Clark’s natural resource sponsors.
Unfortunately, it is not only gas producers that bought favours from BC Liberals. When Christy Clark enjoyed a fundraiser attended by Calgary millionaires and billionaires, a key organizer of the event was tar sands kingpin Murray Edwards. In addition to chairing Canadian Natural Resources, Edwards also controls Imperial Metals, the company infamous for the Mount Polley mine disaster. Another of Imperial’s projects is the Red Chris mine, an operation that has Alaskans unsettled. Significantly for BC taxpayers, the billion dollar northwest transmission line was needed to supply subsidized power to Red Chris.
In the April article, Takin’ Care of Business, I suggested that most people would be surprised to learn the BC Liberal Party receives more in contributions from mining companies than BC citizens earn in direct revenues from mining of metals and minerals.
JasonS, commenting at Remembering the desperate nineties suggested I use a different style of graph for illustration, a style more fitting to BC’s political landscape. His comment:
Norm I love your graphs and charts for their devastating realities. I am a blue collar kind of guy so I have ideas but not the aptitude to bring them to fruition. Since many British Columbians can only interpret government malfeasance in nautical terms (ie fast ferries) I want a tongue in cheek graph showing the many MANY Neo-Liberal transgressions, cost over runs and incompetent business practices in the form of tiny pictures of fast ferries.
BC place roof cost over runs would be 2 and a half fast ferries, whereas the new Port Mann would be 4 or more fast ferries. I’m sure it would be a good thing for the NDP to plaster posters around the next election time but I wouldn’t trust them to find their own asses with a map and a flash light. I know its not your job and if it never comes to light that’s OK. I just needed to express this idea and you were the only one I “know” that could pull it off. You don’t have to post this if you wish. But just imagine the huge list with all the little fast ferries. A huge reality check.
I love the idea. A representation of BC Hydro’s obligations to private power producers would be worth about 150 fast ferry icons.
Note: Gas sales revenues are drawn from the government’s monthly reports: CROWN PETROLEUM AND NATURAL GAS RIGHTS PUBLIC TENDER, ACCEPTED OFFERS