Is the BC Liberal Party taking cash from corporations in return for protection from legal and financial sanctions?
That 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…
“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:
A 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?