When Justice Kenneth Affleck jailed a senior who was honestly motivated to improve the world, the judge was following a long-established Canadian legal tradition. It dictates: Punishment need not fit the crime when the perpetrator is a white-collar criminal or a senior officer of a wealthy corporation.
BC Liberals and pay-to-play
Is the BC Liberal Party involved in racketeering, extorting 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.
One of these things is not like the other thing… but they are connected…
News or not news?
Natural gas production levels have increased (53% since 2007) yet net revenue to government from gas in the past year was negative. Instead of being paid for the right to extract this public resource, British Columbians are paying for its removal.
Premier Clark’s costly friend
The BC Liberal government pushed hard for a controversial expansion of the power grid into the northern wilderness, at a cost of more than $800 million. The Northwest Transmission Line was built to enable resource developments but Imperial Metals’ Red Chris and an AltaGas hydro project are the only major players on the power line grid. Red Chris would not be feasible without the extension of the power line and the $886-million expenditure “appears increasingly as a public subsidy for a single mine.”
Double standard? Of course!
In British Columbia, where income and disability assistance rates went unchanged from 2007 to 2016, the Campbell and Clark Governments have bent over backward to provide corporate welfare to people who write large cheques to the BC Liberal Party.
Heart of our economy gets ignored
When government is captured by people pursuing fortunes in real estate development and resource exploitation, the interests of all others become secondary. When the bubble bursts, when phantom markets collapse, what remains?
Small and medium‑sized enterprises employ about 2/3 of Canadians employed in manufacturing. Yet government programs typically aim benefits at large multinational corporations. An example in British Columbia is the arrangement allowing large, mostly foreign owned, mining companies to defer payments for electricity for up to two years. Additionally, Government directed BC Hydro to spend about a billion dollars on transmission lines that primarily powers the Red Chris open pit mine of Imperial Metals, which is controlled by Christy Clark’s favourite fundraiser, Murray Edwards. Substantial expenditures are also being made in the Northeast gas fields, even though government revenue from that resource has turned fugitive…
What’s good for the BC Liberals may not be good for BC Hydro
Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett announced a five-year, $300 million hydro bill deferment plan for 13 mines owned by six companies.Never mind that B.C. Hydro is already grappling with its own deferral problems to the tune of $5 billion. Make no mistake, there’s a price to pay when B.C. Hydro becomes a political arm of government. The intertwining of self-interests gets complicated, while the interests of ratepayers can take a backseat to political interests. Three of the six companies in Bennett’s deal were highlighted in a December Financial Post article, “Debt risks mount as Canada’s base metal miners sink deep in the hole.”
Gas production ↑ 85%, public revenue ↓ 90%
Premier Clark averred that meeting needs of children in government care is dependent on new funding from new industrial and commercial activities in British Columbia… That condition was not applied to construction of the Site C dam that will ultimately cost $10-$15 billion. Nor was it applied to about $10 billion of road and bridge construction in the lower mainland or $1 billion spent to deliver subsidized power to Murray Edwards’ Red Chris mine. Nor was it a condition precedent when Clark wanted to expand the size of her cabinet or hire yet more government spin doctors. A $200 million tax break for our richest citizens did not depend on new economic activity.
Our wealth commands us
As a student politician in her untenured days at SFU, Christy Clark operated with an imperfect moral compass. When final history is written, the hallmark of her premiership will be deceit and corruption. Her government regularly wages war against working people and helps contractors evade the few responsibilities owed employees. Income and disability assistance rates were last raised on June 1, 2007 but annual drilling subsidies to gas producers climbed 130% in the same time frame, from $370 million to $850 million. In addition, since 2007, natural gas royalties receipts declined from $1.2 billion to $185 million in the current fiscal year. Revenues from gas and petroleum rights sales fell from $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2009 to only $9.7 million in the first 11 months of 2015.
Patronage, corruption and cronyism UPDATED
The September sale of BC Petroleum and Natural Gas Rights realized 577 thousand dollars, bringing the eight month total in 2015 to almost $9.5 million. In the year before Christy Clark became […]
One other Commission of Inquiry is needed
BC Liberal involvement with Big Pharma is at the root of high-level government decisions to kneecap research into the safety and efficacy of more than $25 billion worth of pharmaceuticals sold each year in Canada. Drug research conducted by the Health Ministry and agencies like Therapeutics Initiative threatened the financial interests of indulgent Christy Clark sponsors. Her government squeezed T.I. financially but solid public support for the independent effort kept Liberals from killing it. As a result, the politicians chose a different approach to discredit drug research.
Performance short of promise
During the 2013 BC election, Liberals talked frequently of “Debt-Free B.C.” The party platform included this: No conscious person will be surprised when I state the performance has fallen short of the […]