Category: Ethics

Awash in power at premium prices

Increasing IPP purchases and flat demand for power obviously means that BC Hydro creates less power to meet demand by its users in BC. However, massive spending means the utility employs more than triple the assets to produce one gigawatt hour of electricity than it did a dozen years ago. This is bad policy not explained by mere incompetence of management. We must conclude that the Liberal Government is directing the public utility, either to cripple it or to deliver billions of dollars to friends and supporters.

Swag, the Liberal raison d’être

Swag is what British Columbia’s Liberal Party is about. Whether it’s cash-for-access, pay-to-play, quango patronage or tried and true scratch-my-back contracting, Liberals are practiced at converting public wealth to private. BC Hydro is an example. The utility paid private power producers over $9 billion between 2003 and 2016. But, that’s only the start.

More honour’d in the breach than the observance

While boasting of wise management and “balanced” budgets, Liberals run up almost $200 billion in public debts and obligations, give away natural resources and help pay for the removals, subsidize corrupt foreign operators, sell public lands for a fraction of value, gift tens of billions to private power operators, enable more than $120 billion of pension funds to be invested without public oversight and spend tens of millions of tax dollars telling us that all is well. Just remember, for Liberals and their pals, all is indeed well.

Actions inconsistent with innocence

During its years in power, BC Liberals remade British Columbia. While the provincial economy grew, the fortunes of ordinary people declined, for the first extended period ever. Beneficiaries of change had demanded redistribution of wealth to the disadvantage of all but a few. The end result was not incidental or accidental.

Talking about BC issues

Ian Jessop asked me about Premier Clark giving $150,000 in public funds to assist her brother’s associate in Haida Gwaii. It’s a subject that has been well covered by fellow bloggers Laila Yuile and Merv Adey. However, with the exception of Mark Hume at the Globe and Mail, it’s been of little interest to mainstream media, particularly the “Incurious Bastards”¹ of the BC press gallery. It may be a rewarding career move for a political pundit to serve plutocrats instead of readership but that’s a conscious choice that doesn’t offend some who once thought of themselves as journalists. Shannon Rupp, writing at The Tyee recently, delivered a pointed analysis of the 21st century press in our country: I think it’s fair to say that many if not most so-called newspapers are misnamed: they deliver less and less news (as defined by journalists) while filling their pages with ”content” — a word that could mean anything from listicles to infotainment to advertising written to masquerade as a news story. In short, most newspapers have morphed into marketing platforms.

Ruining the just man’s cause

New York State officials aimed to limit the extraordinary electoral influence of extraordinary wealth. People who wanted their financial powers unrestricted began legal action and, applying higher court rulings, United States District Judge Paul A. Crotty tossed the limits. He did so with obvious regret, complaining he was forced to apply a definition for corruption “no matter how misguided . . . [the Court] may think it to be.”

The Judge’s five-page opinion is worth considering, particularly now as the British Columbia government repudiates citizens calling for rules against corporate and union political donations. Insights West calculate that 86% support a ban. In today’s neverending cycle of campaigning and lobbying; lobbying and campaigning, elected officials know where their money is coming from and that it must keep coming if they are to stay in office.

…influence bought by money is no different than a bribe, and as the Book of Exodus 23:8 counsels, “a bribe blinds the clearsighted and is the ruin of the just man’s cause.”

Birds of a feather…

…a series of overseas investigations into the Malaysian money trail, including one initiated by the F.B.I., are still pending. …activists from across the Southeast Asian nation released a statement condemning the Prime Minister, whose actions, they wrote, “have jeopardized and will sacrifice the future of Malaysia.” …Most Malaysians have resigned to the fact that corruption is a systemic problem but the quantum of the 1MDB allegations has shocked everyone.

Mythomania

Merv Adey (BCVeritas.com): “The proper role of political media is to unspin the various prevarications and lies governments like to foist on us.” B.C. Premier Christy Clark still trying…, CBC News, February […]