People who are not profiting – or expecting to profit – from corruption in British Columbia’s political arena, should understand. We all pay. We pay dearly and inescapably.
Tens of billions of dollars the Clark gang is gifting to private power producers and billions more paid and payable to foreign-owned gas producers might have provided for an effective court system, better public education, healthcare, small business support and other citizen priorities.
However, using public wealth to benefit the public runs contrary to the Liberal canon. While small and medium-sized enterprises are the major producers of jobs and economic activity, multinational resource companies are the major producers of political contributions.
And, having war chests stuffed with private treasure is an important part of any Liberal election campaign, even one that’s already benefiting from millions of tax dollars buying partisan government advertising.
Political duplicity and dishonesty is barely noticed by corporate media’s denizens of BC’s Legislative Press Gallery. Those folks are too busy searching for comforting perquisites, jobs for family or, in more than a few cases, entirely new careers. But, the Liberal miasma was noted by journalists at a newspaper that is indisputably among the world’s best.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — As the premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark is on the public payroll, pulling down a salary of 195,000 Canadian dollars in taxpayer money. But if that were not enough, she also gets an annual stipend of up to 50,000 Canadian dollars — nearly $40,000 — from her party, financed by political contributions.
Personal enrichment from the handouts of wealthy donors, some of whom have paid tens of thousands of dollars to meet with her at private party fund-raisers? No conflict of interest here, according to a pair of rulings last year by the province’s conflict-of-interest commissioner — whose son works for Ms. Clark…
The relationship between Premier Clark and the province’s natural gas producers provides the best example of present Liberal order. Prior to his departure in 2011, Premier Gordon Campbell was pressured to grant relief to gas producers who had spent aggressively from 2007 through 2010 for gas exploration rights. Campbell didn’t bow to pressure so the industry sponsored Christy Clark, with long time gas executive Gwyn Morgan installed as her mentor. The benefit to gas producers of having friendly faces at the cabinet table is best revealed by this chart.
(Note: Gas rights sales in 2016 produced for the public $15 million, one-half of one percent of revenues in 2008 ($3 billion), even though the industry is today measurably larger. All numbers from government’s monthly reports of Crown Petroleum and Natural Gas Rights Public Tender, adjusted to 2016 dollars using Bank of Canada estimates.)
David P. Ball provided a follow-up piece for Metro quoting New York Times writer Dan Levin: Conflict of great interest: New York Times reporter stands by story on B.C. ‘Kafkaesque’ political donations.
…I lived in China for seven-and-a-half years; in China or Russia this would just be called ‘corruption’ or ‘nepotism.’ But here, it’s just ‘legal.’ The idea that a Conflict of Interest Commissioner who’s never found anybody in violation of conflict of interest (rules) in all his many years, whose son works in the government he’s meant to rule on — it seems like a Kafkaesque dystopian nightmare of shady politics and conflict of interest…
I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’m not Canadian, I’m not voting, I don’t live here, I don’t care. I just see this as a basic democracy issue…
There was no shoddy reporting. It was literally just based on facts … These ministers, deputy ministers and other officials in the government who are saying the story is ‘laughable’ and this isn’t an issue — they’re profiting from a system that would be seen as completely corrupt elsewhere in Canada.
I don’t want to be partisan here. The facts speak for themselves. I’m just laying the facts out. The only thing that’s ‘laughable’ is making jokes about this, because it’s really not funny.
[on Paul Fraser] …we’re talking about a walking, talking conflict of interest — who is the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. People’s heads explode seeing all these details put together…