But to my mind, though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honour’d in the breach than the observance.
As a youth, I played at Liberal Party politics. From teenage tyro stuffing envelopes, answering phones and posting signs, I evolved into an activist. I studied economics and political science at university and mixed with people who shared similar interests. We were mostly idealists, proud of the democratic principles our families had fought to establish and protect.
Gradually though, idealism faded. The Liberal Party revealed itself to be less about implementing policy developed by consensus than about facilitating deal makers, influence pedlars and backroom operators. I learned that puppet masters were more powerful than puppets, and no one got to vote for the string pullers.
With the dissolution of the Fourth Estate, things have grown worse in recent decades. Once, politicians, while in power, worried about public opinion; now they manufacture it, using public assets to pay the costs of contrivance.
During most of Gordon Campbell’s premiership and the entire period of Christy Clark’s administration, BC Liberals’ fiduciary duty has been to the interests of friends and financial supporters, not to the public. This has been true for so long in British Columbia, it is now seen as normal.
Even old-timer media pundits buy into the new order. Preserving personal security and keeping exit roads paved require a cooperative spirit and wilful blindness. The concept of public servants owing a duty to all citizens is viewed as naive. Shakespeare might agree.
…In its origins, the word “fiduciary” means “trust-like.” “Fiduciary duty” is the duty of loyalty that is owed by the powerful party to the vulnerable party when the two are in a fiduciary relationship. The fiduciary relationship can also be characterized as a vehicle used to impose duties on individuals who hold power over the interests of others.
As Leonard Rotman writes, “beneficiaries are vulnerable to the misuse or non use of power, and fiduciaries [ought to] act with honesty, selflessness, integrity, fidelity and in the utmost good faith (uberrima fides) in the interest of the beneficiary.”
Fiduciary obligation has been described as a “blunt tool for the control” of discretion and is viewed by many scholars as the way in which social norms or mores are captured within the law, and the way by which “law transmits its ethical resolve to the spectrum of human interaction.”
While boasting of wise management and “balanced” budgets, Liberals run public debts and obligations up to nearly $200 billion, giveaway natural resources and pay exporters for the removals, subsidize corrupt foreign operators, sell public lands to supporters for a fraction of value, gift tens of billions to private power operators, enable more than $120 billion of pension funds to be invested without public oversight and spend tens of millions of tax dollars telling us that all is well.
Just remember, for Liberals and their well-rewarded pals, all is indeed well.