BC Liberals

BC Liberals and pay-to-play

Is the BC Liberal Party taking cash from corporations in return for protection from legal and financial sanctions?

17 03 14 Murray Edwards contributions 375That the question can reasonably be asked demonstrates the urgency of prohibiting major payments to political parties by groups doing business with government or subject to regulation by public authorities.

Whether Liberals are guilty of wrongdoing or not depends on the courts but the only alternative assumption is terminal stupidity unrestrained by any evident sense of morality.

If the BC attorney-General had done her job and the media theirs, much loss of money and environmental damage would have been prevented.

By almost any measure, companies associated with former-Calgary billionaire Murray Edwards have received special treatment in British Columbia. Imperial Metals’ Red Chris Mine offends Alaskan neighbours, First Nations and environmentalists and its very existence is dependent on BC Hydro’s $800 million Northwest Transmission Line, a megaproject first budgeted at less than $400 million. The power line delivers electricity to its largest consumer but Imperial Mines does not pay, having signed up for indefinite deferral of BC Hydro charges.

More alarming is the company’s apparent exemption from reasonable environmental standards that would protect wild spaces of British Columbia. Additionally, the company appears also to be exempt from legal retributions for wrongdoing, a status not enjoyed by ordinary citizens.

British Columbians Saddled With $40 Million Clean-Up Bill as Imperial Metals Escapes Criminal Charges, Judith Lavoie, Desmog Canada, March 28, 2017:

British Columbian taxpayers will be on the hook for $40 million to clean up the worst mining spill in Canadian history and the company responsible has once again escaped criminal charges…

…no charges have been laid and no fines have been levied against Imperial Metals, the parent company of Mount Polley Mining Corp.

…independent economist Robyn Allan, who has analyzed figures used by Imperial Metals, said in an interview that, despite those assurances by Environment Minister Mary Polak, taxpayers are picking up almost $40 million of the clean up tab…

Mount Polley Mine 500

“B.C. taxpayers can expect to continue to pay for environmental harm because the provincial government refuses to take steps to implement meaningful policies that ensure that, when the polluter pollutes, it is the polluter and not B.C. taxpayers that pay,” she said…

Approval of Mount Polley mine waste dumping irks critics, CBC News, April 18, 2017:

Mount Polley Mining Corporation has been granted permission to drain treated mining waste water into Quesnel Lake, a massive glacial lake that provides drinking water to residents of Likely B.C., northeast of Williams Lake…

“The timing is absolutely surprising,” said Ugo Lapointe of Mining Watch Canada, who pointed out the news release came on a Friday afternoon before the launching of the B.C. election.

Quesnel Lake, famed for trophy-sized rainbow trout, is feared at risk by locals who describe it as the deepest fjord lake on earth, and who protest any dump of mining waste, treated or otherwise, which can carry toxic elements and heavy metals such as arsenic and lead or zinc.

During the long Conservative Party rule, the Alberta Energy Regulator and its predecessors were captives of the oil and gas industry. Despite intense resistance, Rachel Notley’s NDP government is slowly moving the agency toward a more effective role. Fossil fuel companies have been told to improve protection of the environment and to expect enforcement to ensure compliance with regulations. A recent example follows. Compare treatment of Imperial Mines in B.C.

Coal mine fined $4.5M for 2013 spill that contaminated Athabasca River, CBC News, June 9, 2017:

20131202_obed_spill_hay_bales_catch_sedimentA coal mining company has been handed almost $4.5 million in federal and provincial penalties for a spill from its tailings pond that fouled tributaries feeding the Athabasca River in Alberta.

An estimated 670 million litres of waste water gushed out of a broken earth berm at the Obed Mountain mine near Hinton, Alta., on Oct. 31, 2013.

Prairie Mines & Royalty — formerly known as Coal Valley Resources — pleaded guilty Friday in Hinton provincial court to two federal counts of violating the Fisheries Act and one charge under the provincial Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

The federal charges resulted in $3.5 million in penalties. …Prairie Mines was also ordered to pay $925,000 for the provincial conviction.

Major Imperial Metals shareholder held private fundraiser for Clark’s re-election bid, Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun, 2014:

N. Murray Edwards, the controlling shareholder of Imperial Metals Corp. which owns the Mount Polley mine, helped organize a $1-million private fundraiser in Calgary last year to bolster B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s re-election bid.

Edwards, an oilpatch billionaire and chairman of Canadian Natural Resources, was among several Alberta power-brokers involved in the fundraiser…

The private affair came just three months after Clark, in an address to the University of Calgary’s school of public policy in October 2012, hailed Edwards as a “great Calgarian”…

Do billionaires fleeing Canadian taxes deserve public subsidies for their Alberta franchises?, David Climenhaga, Rabble.ca, March 2016:

If tarsands tycoon N. Murray Edwards is going to bug off to England because he finds the taxes in low-tax Alberta 3 per cent too high, should his fellow Alberta taxpayers be asked to pony up for a new arena for his Calgary Flames professional hockey team?

Categories: BC Liberals, Edwards. Murray

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23 replies »

  1. My God – i couldn’t sleep, decided to play a little solitaire, opened the iPad to see the question that has been bothering hell out of me in increasing intensity for a decade – a question I knew had to be asked but didn’t have the balls to, and there it was in plain, unadorned English asked by a man this Province owes a huge debt to – Norm Farrell. If a guy going on 86 is allowed a hero, Norm is mine.

    For more than a decade, Norm and a handful of outlets, The Tyee, The Common Sense Canadian and right here with In-sights, printed articles asking the most powerful and autocratic government I’ve ever seen, and the only one given a free ride by the Mainstream Media, questions that scared the devil out of me, a lawyer by trade who’s seen a bit of the inside of defamation cases and I was filled with admiration. We all know who they were and theit names will become better known as this filthy business finally opens up, thanks to this dazzling act of courage.

    Quite by coincidence, being simply the guy who opened his yap, I was the defendant in the leading defamation case in Canada a couple of case, brilliantly taken to 9-0 decision of the Full Bench by The Supreme Court of Canada, by Vancouver barrister, Daniel W. Burnerr, QC. We lost 3-0 in the BC Court of Appeal which almost always means that the SCC refuses leave to appeal. Dan convinced the Court that this case needed to be heard, then to everyone’s surprise, leave was granted, to more surprise all 9 judges sat which very rare in a civil matter and to the utter astonishment of all, they held 9-0 in our favour.

    I’m hardly boasting because all I did was to be damned fool enough to get CKNW involved. Moreover, I have no idea how it might apply to other cases but it is an excellent and understandable recitation of the law of defamation in Canada and is easily found by googling SIMPSON v. CKNW, THE WIC CORPORATION AND MAIR.

    Now let’s see how the dust settles. If the Liberal party so much as utters a squeal at this, in my belief, this act of enormous courage will open a can of worms which could well be an enormous can with a hell of a lot of worms.

    No other words in the language are more appropriate – well done, Norm.

    Liked by 4 people

    • This is not only the provincial Liberal party – it should be looked into for the Federal Liberal Party as well. Lots of skeletons it their closets as well.


      • Lets focus on the criminals in our back yard shall we? The Federal Liberals can be for another day.


    • Rafe, you created a lot of constructive controversy over your careers in government and radio that encouraged a lot of people to pay attention to the issues and become politically aware, myself included.

      Tragically the public sandbox that made Rafe Mair a household name has had quite a few slats removed and there has been a significant shift from substantiated discussions in prominent media to more opinion-based sparring on important issues. Political analysts and commentators sought out by media to represent the progressive side of issues seem to simply regurgitate information, often lacking factual information or documentation that only research can provide and seem averse to stating controversial facts.

      We have devolved to a point where publicizing truth or substantiated suspicions can instigate attacks from a multitude of directions, in varying in degrees of severity, emphasizing how important the work people like you and Norm do. As a very intelligent person told me, “…truth is always a defence and fat cats don’t like publicity about what they’re doing.”.


  2. A bit over $1 million in donations, for tacit protection from environmental charges — and “free” power to boot? That is a pretty good investment, I’d say.

    Christy can say it’s all about “Jobs! Jobs!”… but are we really prepared to look the other way when such desecration is taking place, just so a few thousand can be employed?


  3. To put the Obed Mountain coal spill (670 million litres) in proper perspective with the Mt. Polley spill (25 million cubic METERS), one cubic meter = 1000 litres. The Mt Polley spill was 37 times GREATER than the Obed Mountain spill. Just saying.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Rafe, I completely agree with your remarks concerning Norm’s courage and value to the citizens of British Columbia. He is a citizen journalist who puts most of the pro journalist imposters hereabouts to shame.

    I cannot agree however with your self- deprecating assessment about opening your yap and being damn fool enough to get CKNW involved. You were responsible for allowing CKNW to keep claiming “Top Dog” status, as evidenced by the decline in that status after you left. In my opinion, an effective talk show host in the format that once attracted the top audience in BC cannot play timidly in the middle of the sandbox. The game has to be played equally along all the edges, no matter who is on the other side and cannot be sustained without courage, preparation (aided by significant and varied life experience), and superior intellect. You have those qualities in spades. If that attracts the odd lawsuit; so be it. It’s a sign you’re on the edge where you must operate.

    I recall you once stating on air you hoped that when some day you had lost a step or two someone would tell you so you wouldn’t carry on and embarrass yourself. That day has not arrived yet, and likely never will.


    • Lew – you are too kind. Always remember the nation’s best Newsroom run by the incomparable Warren Barker, the super music guys, Cullen, Kyle, Honey, Big Daddy McCormack, a great sports department and there was the incomparable morning man, Frosty Forst, our international star, Philip Till and an off air team second to none. The GMS I wotked with, Ted Smith, Ron Bremner Rod Gunn and there was Mr Everything, Hal Davis. My program director for most of my time Doug Rutherford, super producer Shirley Stocker, the man who kept the electricity running, Dave Glasstetter, colleagues Barrie Clark, Terry Moore, Jon McComb, Gary Bannerman and the list truly goes on. But, when all’s said and done, the one irreplaceable person was owner Frank Griffiths. His stated stovk in trade was free speech and everyone on air knew that. I don’t know about others, but he was always MR Griffiths to me.

      When WIC went, and Frank Griffiths with it, it was only a matter of time before their successors, Corus, would demonstrate that they had no idea what CKNW and the Community meant to each other. I well remember the morning after Corus abruptly and wiith the class of a horny warthog, fired 25 employees, senior, all highly skilled friends non pareil to the on-air folks. I gave them hell the next morning closing with Wilde’s words “they know the “cost of everything and the value of nothing”. It was not long coming. In an attempt to get me to quit so they wouldn’t have to pay me the severance to which I was entitled they faced me with nonsensical charges about me being abusive to my producer (not Shiral, she had left by then), I told them (I must say this to be accurate) to go fuck themselves. Corus was sure that they would look good dumping a bad man but unfortunately for them, the media didn’t believe a word of what they should. The most classless display I have ever seen.My producers, all women, stood up for me.

      So did I wind up bitter? Corus were the biggest Corporate Assholes I’d ever seen, and I once worked 3 1/2 years for Allstate Insurance. They did everything they could to make me lookk like a terrible person and the pressure was cruel on Wendy, who thankfully a very strong person.

      No, I was not bitter. I had been privileged to work nearly 20 years with the best radio professionals in the business.. They all jumped to my aid when the story became public. Shiral Tobin risked her job ar CBC to hold a Press Council to tell them what I was like to work for and my help for female broadcasters. The Jack Webster Foundation awardedmethe Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award. Jimmy Pattisoon hited me for AM600. Most of all, I counted myself as and was a CKNW person. Why would I be bitter with a bunch of New York pissants abd a few local quislings?

      Being part of the CKNW crowd of that time was reward enough the pettiness of Corus pale into insignificance. I leave with a question – i left CKNW nearly 14 years ago, how have their ratings been, I wonder?

      I have been truly blessed.


    • Lew I often read your comments and rarely disagree ( if ever). On this particular occasion you nailed it in such an eloquent fashion. I believe Jack Webster would be proud to shake your hand for the words you say. Norm provides insightful commentary but I believe comments such as yours provide he, and all that read this place a pleasant experience. So eloquently stated and for all the right reasons. Sir, I commend you.


  5. Bravo Rafe Mair!

    Bravo Norm!

    Here is what the BC Liberals, under Gordon Campbell and Christi Clark have turned into – organized crime.

    Want to pollute BC waters – donate to the BC Liberals.

    Want to build an unneeded mega bridge or two – donate to the BC Liberals.

    Want to build a highway – donate to the BC Liberals.

    Want to sell run of river power at beyond the market place price – donate to the BC Liberals.

    Want a contract in BC – donate to the BC Liberals.

    Graft, corruption, dishonest politicians, bribes, kick-backs, “Pay to Play”, is the Campbell/Clark legacy. Anyone who votes for the BC Liberals I consider corrupt and/or is a criminal.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. And yet the Neo-Liberal party of BC received more votes than each of the other parties in the last election. And don’t be surprised if when the next election is called in 6 months or so the most duplicitous , underhanded , scandal ridden , sociopath filled government in Canadian history will win another majority. Thanks to the cronified media written and broadcast. Talking heads moving seamlessly from telling us the “news?” to telling us what is good for us in government. Until we get rid of our actual fake news outlets who lie by omission , and get some real reporting on what this government has done to the provinces finances im afraid it will be more of the same. I voted for Gordon Campbell twice by the way. And if all i read was the Sun and Province and watched Global i would probably still be voting for them. It’s criminal use of our public airwaves for government propaganda ,imo. How did it get this far?


  7. I have been saying that the BC Lib’s have been involved in organized crime for many years. Once this government is turfed the new incoming government should immeadiately launch an investigation into this. If charges of racketeering, criminal malfeasance etc., can be brought against the party, its donors and members, and proven in court, the proceeds of crime legislation would need to be ” beefed up” in order to maximize the return to the taxpayer or treasury as a whole, of any funds involved. This would be followed by criminal trials of those involved. The incoming Solicitor General should focus on the money trail, as it is here, where the culprits will be identified.
    Many years of corruption and democratic manipulation have brought us to this point. It’s time the assault on our democratic institutions and values was ended and the corruption rooted out and those responsible, jailed.


  8. somewhere in the vast trove of information on the BC Mary blog is a discussion of one of the fragments known of the mostly-secret contracts between CN and the Liberal government; it has a specific passage exempting the company from liability, criminal and civil, if the contract or any other aspect of the sale (such as its illegal and compromised bidding process) turns out to be illegal.

    Whether that’s even constitutional, exempting a foreign company from Canadian laws, is a damned good question; not sure which part of Mary’s blog it’s in, try searching “contract” and browse



    • Everyone of us should, this weekend look at the entire BCH Hydro mess and ask themselves this question “is it even barely possible that this fuckup could happen with honest people in charge? Followed by this supplementary “could any attorney-general with-the remotest understading of her duty fail to order the fullest examination of the case starting with Gordon Campbell through to Clark?

      Having done that, ask yourself it Mencken wasn’t expressing your thoughts now you’ve seen the all Canadian governent all-time fuckup, “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”


  9. Collusion I’ll say or protection racket is the topic of discusion which Norman has intiated here.It’s open for discussion how the legal defintion describes this. Perhaps someone learned in law can illuminate this and open a window on how any sense of public justice may prevail in the court of law. For myself I see it as a form of corruption of an altrusic defintion of democracy to serve the populace and I don’t think this novel corruption has been defined by any laws. Both parties Imperial Metals and the Liberal party of BC share identical values for prosperity but it hardly serves the democacy of British Columbia. This prosperity is Colonial in it’s roots with it’s resource extraction economic model where the money leaves as peoples lives turn into autumn leaves.
    It’s an old game one can see played out in the Bylaw changes in Whistler so these cunning moneyed people attempt to take over the assets of the townhouse owners by the stroke of a pen using witless councillors to do so.
    I don’t think the law applies to this corruption. It’s too young a situation for the law to address this collusion. No laws yet to recognise it.
    So perhaps someone reading this forum can describe the meaning of this socially criminal coillusion and if anything in the law can be useful in a prosecution of this crime against our democracy.
    with patience I’ll listen


  10. who’s this Allan Markin guy and how’d he make that $410,000?

    And why is an Albertan donating money to a BC governing party?“


    • He was chair of the board of Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL), which is a Murray Edwards company.


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