Corruption

Too timid to act?

BC NDP’s unwillingness to appoint a Commission of Inquiry to investigate corruption in public administration is one more sign of timidity, a thing becoming the Horgan Government’s hallmark.

We’ve seen much evidence of illegal money laundering at casinos, but no significant penalties have been assessed against corporation or individuals. Business as usual continues and good business it’s been for insiders.

great cdn 1 520

bennett 200Gang warfare continues and guns are a deadly reality for BC teens and young adults. With the recent shooting death of another innocent, we are reminded that all of us are at risk. Paul Bennett was the operating room nurse whose only apparent misdeed was to drive a truck like one used by a gangbanger.

For years, government tolerated the drug trade and associated criminal behaviour because politicians prized any form of economic activity. The billions gained by gangsters percolate through the economy and BC Liberals sold themselves as guarantors of continuing growth. Ethical behaviour mattered nothing to the Clark/Coleman group while political domination and personal opportunity were the preferred outcomes.

Let there be no doubt. Investments, whether from legitimate or criminal sources, are an important part of the BC economy. Proceeds of crime are laundered and moved from the underground with sources disguised. But, it is not only happening at casinos. Law offices and realtors have been implicated and countless retailers supply products that can be resold for clean cash.

As retired police detective Mark Mounce told us on Twitter:

It’s not an accident that Metro Vancouver is the luxury car capital of North America.

Because of budget constraints, policing in British Columbia has been undermanned for years and the lower mainland’s patchwork coverage by RCMP and municipal forces is clearly ineffective. In my opinion, BC needs both regional and provincial police forces, run by officers who live permanently in our communities, not managed by federal politicians and empire builders based in Ottawa or aiming to get there.

Our law enforcement problems go beyond policing.

The underhanded sale of BC Rail sale was never adequately examined after the Campbell government handed over railway assets, including huge tracts of developable lands, in secret dealings with privileged friends.

Corruption of the judicial system was a part of the BC Rail/Basi/Virk affair. Its apparent conclusion involved unprecedented wrongdoing, including the government’s $6+million purchase of a guilty plea. That ended the trial, a move aimed at protecting key BC Liberals.

The large payment and waivers of collateral agreements held against real property contravened government rules then in place. Acts by order-in-council appointees required high-level approvals, including treasury board consent. None are recorded.

In addition, the BC Supreme Court and its partisan leadership closed eyes and pretended not to notice that a cash-for-plea deal had been negotiated. A handpicked judge approved the plea arrangement after incorruptible Justice Elizabeth Bennett was removed through a promotion orchestrated by Liberals. The agreement led to sentence of house arrest, which had so many exceptions, it only required convicted defendants be at home for a few hours after midnight.

But there’s much more.

BC Hydro has so far paid more than $5 billion dollars above market value to independent power projects, some of which had Liberal insiders involved when they originated.

Natural gas producers that once contributed billions to the provincial treasury have almost stopped paying resource rents, because of royalty credit programs and administrative land lease renewals used in place of public tenders. Taxpayer losses measure in the billions of dollars. Many billions.

As an example of another set of issues, Times Colonist reported on land sold below market value to Liberal supporters:

Taxpayers got “hosed” last year when the B.C. government sold 14 parcels of land in Coquitlam to a Liberal donor for $43 million below the appraised value, the NDP alleged Tuesday.

Wesbild Holdings Ltd. purchased the properties on Burke Mountain for $85 million, even though an independent appraiser pegged their value at $128 million.

Sarah Miller wrote about another questionable act, a sweetheart deal government gave a Swiss company with annual revenues of C$120 billion. For each million litres of fresh water it takes, Nestlé pays British Columbia two dollars. No more need be said about that one.

This week, we learned that between 2007 and 2017, more than $5 million in disability benefits were paid to children injured on the job. As a favour to business contributors, Liberals lowered the work-start age from 15 to 12 years.

Adrienne Montani wrote about one result:

Cory was 13 when he started working doing construction cleanup for up to 35 hours per week. Though the law requires an employer to obtain a letter of permission from a parent before hiring someone under 15, he wasn’t asked for one. He was promised a video game as payment — he never received it. On one occasion he fell through scaffolding and landed one storey below. His boss offered him a beer, which he didn’t drink. He was in pain for about a week. No WorkSafeBC accident report was made.

Child Labour is No Accident, by First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition

A culture of “don’t much care” developed among the people responsible for managing public funds and social services. That created an environment where dishonest and self-serving activities were encouraged while efficient deliveries of programs to ordinary citizens were discouraged.

To alter the existing culture and make improvements, the one-year-old Horgan government must get over its reluctance to hold predecessors to account. They are too worried about vested interests raising complaints. It’s understandable, Liberals and their friends, including many in corporate media, rode the fast ferries horse for two decades.

They also hammered current Health Minister Adrian Dix for almost that long over a backdated memo-to-file, authorship of which led to his resignation from public service. He acknowledged his mistake, offered apologies and took employment outside government. He was still apologizing more than a dozen years later because partisan news people pretended it remained a genuine issue.

astroturfIn addition to output from Liberal friendly groups like the ICBA, several campaigns were mounted by shadowy astroturf groups pretending to represent “mothers, fathers, retirees… from all parts of BC.” Charlie Smith wrote about the one run by elderly Christy Clark adviser Jim Sheperd, a former CEO of Canfor and Finning.

These group regularly lied to the public, claiming the province experienced a disastrous economy during NDP administrations in the 1990s. If you doubt that lies were told, read my article, Remembering the desperate nineties.

Some of the Liberal activists in media have already been saying that a corruption inquiry would take too long and cost too much. These people are from the same organizations that refuse to report on the billions of dollars of tax expenditure subsidies accrued by fossil fuel producers in northeast BC. They were also cheerleaders for the private power business and today neglect reporting that bad deals are costing ratepayers close to a billion dollars a year.

So, Premier Horgan, if you are reading this, please be aware that the opposition Lib/Cons and their friends will never offer fair comment or support, even if you cross the water from Sooke to Tideview Point by foot.

Clearly, many of us in BC believe that a Charboneau style inquiry is necessary to restore honest government. That inquiry uncovered “widespread and deeply rooted” corruption and made 60 recommendations. Unfortunately, the Liberal Government in Quebec City has been slow to implement changes and has even targeted whistleblowers who speak of continuing corruption.

What we need now from John Horgan and associates is an inquiry required to make regular interim reports and a final one within two years. Don’t fund it for spin doctors and lawyers paid extravagant fees while they maintain lucrative practices. Focus on experienced accountants and investigators and give them powers to access documents from government and private organizations.

Create a committee of the legislature and hold public hearings. If you must, go back for inspiration to North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin’s work. He helped bring down Joseph McCarthy and later, Richard Nixon. The Watergate Committee investigation didn’t spend tens of millions of dollars and it took only 16 months.

Act now Premier Horgan.  The people of BC deserve it.

Categories: Corruption, Horgan, John

16 replies »

  1. Not having any of the usual social media accounts, I have no idea how to start a tsunami but, there must be a way to embarrass this government into action; either by a Facebook “me too” type movement or a go fund me. We cannot follow Mr. Horgan by sitting on our hands.

    If the people can’t take the lead here, then what’s the point in criticizing anyone else?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “Who is not afraid to bell the cat?”

    It seems Premier Horgan is.

    Why?

    Simple, because the Casino money laundering affair has now oozed into civic politics and one of great enablers of illicit money laundering is the real estate types, who have grown fat selling over priced condos to overseas residents, many furthering their illicit money laundering.

    It seems the City of Vancouver and the City of Burnaby (both councils very friendly to Horgan’s NDP) are involved big time, by allowing the wholes sale destruction of affordable housing (demovictions) on lands assembled by land speculators, then selling land to developers to allow high rise condos. Now the very same city councils approve the up-zoning of what was once affordable accommodations to now non affordable high-rise condos.

    The driver for this latter day land rush is our very own proprietary light metro (which no one else builds with today) which is deemed so expensive that the only reason to build it is for land use.

    Translation: SkyTrain is only built to up-zone properties along its route. This why TransLink plans for corridors, rather than transit routes like every other city around the world.

    So building with the obsolete proprietary light-metro is a part of the casino/real estate money laundering scandal; no wonder they hired a “useful idiot” to be CEO.

    Inquiries have the unhappy habit of uncovering corruption and corruption is rank in BC at all levels of government, but an inquiry may uncover corruption in the City of Vancouver and the City of Burnaby, both being very important for the NDP with seats in the legislature and having politcal friends.

    Sadly for Horgan, his chief advisor is a former Vision Vancouver Councillor and if any unhappy findings surface with Vision Vancouver, it would almost taint Horgan’s former Vision Vancouver advisor, and the premier’s Office and even Horgan himself!

    It looks like the NDP do not have the moral fortitude to open the Pandora’s Box on money laundering and corruption and would rather let corruption stay, further rotting the fabric of our province.

    Memo to Premier Horgan from one forester to another: Get your f***ing finger out of your ass and do something and if you can’t, you are as useless as tits on a bull.”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The 16 yr long list of BCLibCon corruptions, asset stripping, bankrupting Hydro & ICBC, pay to play donor reward list, etc is massively long but your cogent itemizing is a good start calling our ignored corruption. It would take pages more to itemize it all.
    Time to start citizen protests. BCLibCon corruption will make the Charbonneau Inquiry look like child’s play.
    Thank you for all you do.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Many of us know what went on in B.C. as it was happening. The real question is, were any laws being broken at the time? If not, not all the inquires in the world will solve the problems of the past. Inquiries are great, but if there are only recommendations issued, all that will happens, is money will be spent. Money which could better be used in health care and education.

    Certainly the RCMP contributed to the problem in B.C. You didn’t need to be all involved in much to see that. That new building of Surrey, the up coming 20 year contract, etc. It saved the province money and hence no municipal police forces or a provincial police force such as Ontario and Quebec have. While all of this was going on the people of this province continued to vote for the B.C. Lieberals and hence are complicit in all of this. You had to be plain stupid not to have known.

    Just as mentioned above, an H.A. member purchased large amounts of expensive liquor with cash. Bet no one ever declined the business did they? There in lays the problem.

    If an inquiry does not produce results, then there is no point in holding them. The current government needs to change laws, use existing laws to bring some people to trial and take it from there. David Eby needs to open cases, make deals with those who’ll roll and see what comes up. My bet is those involved will have no recollection, etc.

    Have a look at our former Premier, Christy Clark, wouldn’t even ban the sale of pill presses in B.C. Alberta banned the sale of them. it might not have helped the problem much, but it would have sent a message. In my opinion the only message C.C. sent was, we’re open for business and we don’t care what it is. Now she sits on the board of Shaw. You wonder what they owe here. Do they really want a board member who over saw the most corrupt government in B.C history? Guess they do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • NDP could start with a law to protect whistleblowers. Unlike the one in Quebec, it should note that civil servants owe first loyalty to the public interest, not the people who provided them their jobs.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d be in favour of an inquiry if, it had a time limit and wasn’t a new industry on its own. Something like the American Mueller investigation would be preferable, because it would be able to send to trial those who broke laws.

    Horgan ought to fire Meggs first, then get to work. The City of Vancouver had Vision as their political party. They weren’t NDP. the problem is Meggs because he belonged to both parties, but really he was there to facilitate what Mayor Moonbeam wanted. What he wanted, in my opinion, was to make money for the foreign investors and the real estate industry. Housing is out of reach for most working people, yet all the City of Vancouver council had to do was say, NO. Housing must include specific types of housing. Was that ever done? NO. Why? Well some one ought to ask Meggs and Mayor Moonbeam.

    The City of New Westminster was first out the gate and stipulated condo buildings had to have a specific % of the units set aside as ‘family” housing. Did other cities do it? No. Why not? Some one was making money and donating it to their favorite politicians.

    I would not leave an inquiry up to Horgan. Let David Eby run with it all. He is the A.G.. Let the A.G. dept. do its work and start conducting criminal investigations and charge those who they think they can bring to trial. However, my fear is, many who did what they did, didn’t break any laws. They may also be beyond the time limit to charge some one. If there are no broken laws, then what would be the point of it all any how. If that is the case Horgan and the NDP need to pull a Dave Barrett and bring legislation forward to implement laws to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It is unlikely the Green Party would object, because if nothing else all this “development” has been very, very bad for our environment. Tearing down decent housing to make way for money laundering condos and houses is no way to run a province. So to the Green Party, look at this as a method of keeping our province greener. We just have to look up in West Vancouver where multi million dollar houses are being built, with no owners living in them. Forests were cleared, houses are now deteriorating.

    We need to change the culture of this province when it comes to the environment, money laundering, the media. In my opinion the media contributed greatly to the crime wave in this province because they either refused to report on it while the B.C. Lieberals were in office or supported the B.C. Lieberals outright. Just have a look at their editorials right before elections.

    Surrey could start by dumping their Surrey First gang and their gang of the RCMP. If we do not get rid of the RCMP in this province and bring in a decent policing policy, we will continue as we are, regardless of how many inquiries. Replace a few judges and send a really, really big message to the developers and their foreign investors. Time to leave.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.” – Donald Rumsfeld

    “A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It’s a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it’s because it’s proven.” – Jean Chretien.

    Mr. Horgan, you’re up. Your province needs proof that you aren’t afraid of the unknowns because of what you know about the knowns. If not you, then who?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Why leave it all up to Horgan and the NDP to investigate? Shouldn’t the RCMP be investigating this? Isn’t there an agency who investigates corruption which is not political, like the RCMP or CSIS? If there isn’t, there should be. Corruption should not be tolerated at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andrea, the elephant in the room is that in the BC Rail, and possibly the casino money laundering case the RCMP (in)actions themselves should be the subject of inquiry. And in the BC Rail payoff to end the trial, the Attorney General’s ministry itself engineered the malfeasance.

      We need an independent public inquiry.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That is the issue isn’t it? The rot permeates all the supposed ‘safeguards’. Starting with rcmp ignoring BC Rail corruption, wanting a 20yr contract, going looking for brown-nose Dianne Watts dog when she was mayor (try asking them to look for your missing dog), and silencing their own whistleblowers.
      Then there is our ‘media’. Global is the BCLibCon press release team trying lately to look like neutral media with German report & casino money laundering but notice they totally ignore De Jong and Clark’s responsibility: letting them off the hook, doing the bare minimum reporting. Coleman taking the heat now to deflect from them. If things were reversed the the NDP had done these things…. pounding on their doors, lede very single news, indepth reporting along w/ a constant recap of every single misbehaviour vs 98% crickets.
      CTV is much more subtle which should make citizens wary about their reporting.
      We only have what we do have re real estate corruption and pay to play donor reward due to Kathy Tomlinson & Sam Cooper.
      We need the New York Times to shame our media again.
      Overdue to shake things up w/ pickets outside media hq.

      Like

    • Andrea, you want to leave it up to the RCMP to investigate? Not so much. they are part of the problem. they knew the money laundering was going on, it was reported by the head of the unit. What happened? The unit was disbanded. The RCMP are the problem.

      All that gang violence and drug dealing in Surrey, well it went on under the eye of their previous commander, Bill Fordy. Did he really do anything about it? NO. Every body in the RCMP from here to Ottawa knew about the gangs, the drugs, and the money and they all sat on their hands, in my opinion, so you don’t leave an investigation of any sort up to those guys.

      Remember the RCMP has been a crime wave unto itself with all the harassment, sexual assault, sexual harassment, etc. How can an organization where the cops themselves are trying to get through the day without being assaulted going to do any decent police work. I don’t know if you missed the news, but one of the former female RCMP officers who started the alarm killed herself the other day. No we don’t be using the RCMP.

      CISIS THEY sent out the memo on foreign influences in Canada and their possible hold on politicans. Nothing was done. It isn’t up to CISIS TO chase crooks. It deals with national security and terrorism. They have their hands full. Now it might be said what is going on is a form of terrorism, but unfortunately the politicians aren’t going to buy any of it. CISIS is also a national organization and doesn’t meddle in provincial politics, as far as we know and as far as the law goes.

      Liked by 1 person

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