Fighting the Corporate Take-Over of BC


I write this not just as a New Year’s thought but also as one looking personally at his ninth and presumably last decade. And a sad scene I see.

From the commencement of time ownership and control of societies have been shared, preposterously unfairly, between “them that has and them that doesn’t”.

It continues today as never before. What the super rich don’t own, they control. 100s of thousands of jobs, thanks to the computer, have been exported to lands where labour is dirt-cheap and where benefits are minimal if they exist at all.

We are witnessing the corporatization of our government by the powerful. It’s an easy task, for the ordinary MP or MLA, by reason of our rotten system, does what his or her leader orders. The decisions of society are no longer made by parliaments – if they ever were – but in the corporate boardroom.

A question or two:

What say did you have re: fish farms? What say have you about the huge damage these farms present? What say have you now on new licenses?

What say have you had in the destruction our rivers by large and very rich foreign companies? Have you agreed that it’s a good thing that these private sector companies get a sweetheart deal, where they sell power to BC Hydro for more than twice what it’s worth, forcing Hydro to buy this power at a huge loss when they don’t need it?

BC Hydro is technically bankrupt – is that what you thought you would have when the Campbell government set forth its private energy policy, turning over power production to rich companies like General Electric?

What say did you have in the privatization of BC Rail where the Campbell government gave our railroad away in a crooked deal that the government hushed up?

What about the Enbridge Pipeline scheduled to ship hundreds of thousands of barrels of Tar Sands gunk (aka bitumen) from the Alberta to Kitimat? Have you had a say in this matter? The only reason to send this gunk to Kitimat is so that it can be shipped down our coast through the most dangerous waters in the world – have you had a say in this?

Of course you haven’t and it’s instructive, I think, to note that Premier Clark will only express her opinion after the rubber stamping National Energy Board has deliberated.

Premier Photo-Op doesn’t seem to understand that the approval of the pipeline means oil tankers at almost one a day sailing down our pristine coast line.

Is the premier that dumb?

Or is it that her government is prepared to approve tanker traffic?
The companies and politicians talk about minimal risk – the plain, incontrovertible fact is this:


The issue facing BC can be simply stated: will we give up our land and resources to the private sector and, while we do it, will we accept the destruction of our environment?

The Corporations say that these efforts, fish farms, private power, pipelines and tankers will being lots of money and lots of jobs into BC.

I ask two questions – what money and what jobs? Building fish farms, private dams and pipelines bring construction jobs, mostly to off shore crews, and leave behind a few caretakers to watch the computers. The profits go out of the province into the pockets of Warren Buffet and his ilk.

This is the fact Premier Clark must ponder and soon: will the public of BC simply accept these destructions of our beautiful province? Will they just simply shake their heads and go quietly?

In my view they won’t. Through the ages the long-suffering public takes so much and no more. Read your history, Madame Premier – there comes a tipping point where the public will take no more and in my judgment we have reached that point.

I beg of you, Premier, shake the scales from your eyes, look and think! This isn’t a right wing versus left wing matter but a question of right and wrong.

The last thing in the world I want to see is violence but I tell you fair that the decision rests upon you – if you don’t deal with the fish farmers, the energy thieves, the pipelines and tankers there will be violence, and that will be the legacy of the Campbell/Clark government.


About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at

24 thoughts on “Fighting the Corporate Take-Over of BC

  1. I am reading The Death of the Liberal class and the the comments of the earlier writer are well taken. The Charter abuses in BC and the delay in the implement of the HST referendum have caused me to rescind my Liberal party membership. If the 99% s looking for a platform just read the above posts. I love my country and want our flag to represent freedom and justice, and not a sign post to an environmental and political “corporate wasteland”

  2. I’m with Raif.
    Bloodshed is coming.
    These clowns don’t realize that citizens in B.C have had it with the corporate takeover,this Northern Gateway Pipeline is so egregiously against the best interests of the people in the Province that its almost funny that its even being proposed. Its like a sick joke. Have u seen the Supertanker route ? Zigzagging in winter weather past reefs ? how long before the first ship wrecks ?
    Will Cristy Clark and Steven Harper be in their masks doing photo ops with Enbridge Oil Pigs scrubbing tar off eagles amongst piles of dead sea life ? First Nations and everybody else with their worlds destroyed. Is Enbridge gonna be there to help out ? what a sick joke. take a good look at their 80 spills a year, take a look at the Exxon Valdez , take a good look at the Gulf of Mexico, that’s our future.
    piles of dead salmon as far as the eye can see
    humpback and grey whales,orcas seals all dead.
    Why would we risk destroying ourselves so a private company can ship Tarsands Bitumen to the Chinese and fat cats in Calgary and Houston get rich fueling Communist China’s takeover ?
    This will turn average British Columbians into savage protesters if this goes approved.

  3. If you are right,and you probably are why waste your time begging.It is degrading to all of us and is not going to get you anywhere.

  4. I think UBC’s George Hoberg’s comment is well taken on this particular poll – quote in the Postmedia story on it ( ) Hoberg “cautioned that the Enbridge result didn’t use the terms ‘oilsands’ or ‘tanker.’
    Use of those ‘hot button’ terms could significantly influence the results, he said, adding he is skeptical of polls such as those by Ipsos and Mustel that were funded by parties with a stake in the debate.” I think Hoberg’s right – the tankers are the biggest concern for most people, followed by the Tar Sands, then the pipeline (though with more pipeline ruptures and the uproar over Keystone XL, that may be changing). So it does depend greatly on how the question is framed. Interestingly, here’s a (highly unscientific) Vancouver Sun online poll today, which is running just under 70% opposed to the pipeline at this typing:

  5. Damien, I’m glad we talked about polls after reading the Vancouver Sun this am. I find it hard to find any info either pro or con that does’nt have so much spin on it. Both sides make it hard for the average joe to find the truth.

  6. I wonder if Christy ever reads your columns, Rafe. Probably not, so I tried to send it to her via e-mail. It cannot be sent, apparently. Do you know why that is? Your columns should be read by every MLA in Victoria. Perhaps if just one article penetrated one of their thick skulls, we could begin to change the status quo. After all, they do work for us, do they not?…, lol, lol!

  7. I’ve always felt that the majority of BCers are working too hard making a living to have the luxury of time to examine the issues which keep them in bondage to an outdated and corrupt political system which exploits them. But if a referendum had been called about some issues which our ‘government’ has rammed down our throats we would live in a much richer province today:
    1. BC Rail Heist
    2. Privatizing BC Hydro
    3. Run of river for private profit
    4. HST
    5. Privatizing BC Ferries and subsequent raising of rates
    6. Fish farms which destroy our natural fishery

    The real problem with ‘representative democracy’ is the corruption it engenders – human nature being what it is, politicians will do what they are told to stay in the wonderful life they get elected to by media and corporate donations. Nothing to do with democracy.
    We need a vote on major issues. By law.

  8. Well, of course there would still be the matter of First Nations opposition. And no, I doubt they would accept the results of a settlers’ referendum with regards to their unceded territories – nor should they. Incidentally, I’m skkeptical of polls too, but these ones are so consistently and decidedly anti-Enbridge, taken as a whole I have no doubt the “No” side would dominate such a referendum. It’s funny, lenh, I’ve always thought the opposite – that a very small minority of people in favour of such projects have a disproportionately loud voice. I’m talking about Enbridge, the Oil and Gas industry, Harper, Flaherty etc. – not to mention the whole “Ethical Oil” astroturf operation – all of whom represent the wishes of a relatively tiny group of elites with a vested interest the project and unlimited access to the mainstream press. I have encountered literally dozens of grassroots citizen groups formed around the province – both physically and online – to oppose Enbridge, and not one legitimate grassroots group that supports it. Have you? That’s why they needed to manufacture “Ethical Oil”.

  9. Damien, I for one would never trust the results of any poll. I would however be willing to live with the results of a referendum. I’m just not sure if other people would be willing to. I have always felt that the majority of people are silent on most issues and that the minority is the most vocal. If 51% of BC voters wanted the pipeline to proceed would the 49% stand aside and let it happen?

  10. I sense your question is rhetorical, lenh, but given a matter of such grave import (i.e., turning BC into a Tar Sands shipping port for the US and China), direct democracy may be the only appropriate way to deal with this decision. Why not a referendum? We did one for the Olympics, the HST – this is a FAR MORE IMPORTANT and transformative issue for BC. If the NEB process were more than a rubber-stamp sham, then perhaps we could rely on it to represent the public will – but under the current circumstances we absolutely cannot. Moreover, polling data consistently tells you the public is overwhelmingly opposed to this project and bitumen tankers on BC’s coast, so really no need for a referendum – a simple and immediate rejection of the project would suffice. Finally, there is the matter of First Nations opposition, which in itself should send Enbridge packing.

  11. A question for all, how should big decisions be made in the province of B.C? Should we have referendums on a new mine or pipeline like we did with the HST. Or should we let are elected officals govern?

  12. Thank you Priscilla, for the post and the link. If our national bank actually worked for us all the interest gained from loans would go right back to the people instead of much of it going into the coffers of foreign banks.
    The Bank of Canada is entirely owned by the government of Canada but it it not used in the interests of the people like it was before 1974, when it was used to fund such things as health care. Getting a national bank back working for the people is one of two issues which will make this country work.

    The other is to get a voice in our own government. We currently have the right under the constitution to vote for members of parliament federally and provincially. You can see where that got us. Here is an article about Switzerland and the EU which I found very informative.
    Some of it is about the EU, but a lot of it gives a pretty clear picture of how the Swiss system works.

    Reposting your link about the getting back our national bank:

  13. Recent Legal Challenge on Private, foreign entities (BIS, FSB, IMF) controlling Canada’s banking system and socio-economic policies! (tax breaks to Corporate interest??)

    The Plaintiffs state that the defendants (officials) are unwittingly and/or wittingly, in varying degrees, knowledge and intent engaged in a conspiracy, along with the BIS, FSB, IMF to render impotent the Bank of Canada Act as well as Canadian sovereignty over financial, monetary, and socio-economic policy, and bypass the sovereign rule of Canada through its Parliament by means of banking and financial systems.

  14. Canada has become a vast pit of corruption.

    Once corrupt politicians started taking money from corporations, to favor them….It has been down hill all the way. Now the country and the greedy politicians, are owned by the very outfits, they took the money from.
    Harper gives billions of our tax dollars to, banks, mines, large company’s, and gas and oil corporations. Seen on the House of Commons TV channel. Harper gives the wealthiest corporations in the world, huge tax reductions. Now the dastardly deeds are done behind closed doors.

    Harper and Campbell set Christy’s path for her. She hasn’t deviated from Campbell and Harper’s path one iota. The HST takes only days to reverse, Christy is stalling and lying about it. Campbell thieved $778 million from ICBC, our insurance has been raised. Our health care has been raised. Campbell’s theft and sale of our rivers, means our hydro has gone up. And, the stupid smart meters are a total waste of money. Campbell must have got a kick back, for such a senseless move.

    Harper and the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals, are brain dead idiots. Who in their right mind, would endanger BC, with pipe lines and dirty oil tankers? Fools, that’s who.

  15. Part l. Rafe I applaud as you “rage against the dying of the light”. I applaud your brief televised August encouragement of VAG’s in-camp Occupiers.

    Never-the-less may I suggest, very humbly, your response, “I don’t know why I bother” to a comment on your suburban life style by one very untidy insistent old age culpable raga-a-muffin was quite inadequate.

    The VUIOACR-a-M may at least claim holiness in that it hasn’t owned, or driven, a gas-guzzler since 1984: fit and solvent ‘cos of it.

    So be it, please keep bothering . . . against huge odds.

  16. Part ll. To wit:

    1. A very complacent public politely (always demure and polite) commenting, on line in comfort, at OCCUPY NANAIMO’s presence on our desolated, otherwise never occupied, Diane Krall Plaza, “kick ‘em off, they are breaking the law” (actually they are not) is their loud hurrah. And when VUIOACR-a-M reminds them the Suffragettes were breaking the law petulant silence sears the eardrums.

    2. A tainted RCMP relishing busting heads while crying, “just doin’ our job. We have wives kids, mortgage etc., etc. ad nauseaum”.

    3. The toupee cum crown insists its all about jobs while piping and tanking gurgling sludge thru remote and hazardous lands and waters to service that trumped up ersatz great economy . . .

    . . . while, believe it or not, still adding to its inventory of empty cities.

    4. “And last but not least the good Trebonious”, or who ever the hell, who pretends never to have heard of sea lice, is still deluded enough to vote, as she gobbles up her net-born salmon, libeled wild, for our benefit.

  17. Part lll. Yup, it’s a tough road ahead: unfortunately, contrary to the sage, we will be around centuries enough to add to the pile and pong.

    As for this VUIOACR-a-M, be assured, it will not go gentle into that good night. Neither, it conjectures, will Rafe!

  18. part2..did not reek of alcohol or BC bud, and several bodies circumventing my vehicle looking for god knows what. Then I had to watch out for photo radar, not so discreetly placed at the bottom of every hill or at the end of every long straight stretch of highway.

    Of course I had never been the object of such authority attention anywhere else in my life.

    I was told this was normal practice in BC ever since they elected an NDP government. Remember BC? Bring Cash.

    I glady, and with much anticipated relief, voted against them at my earliest and every opportunity since.

    But nothing has improved. Things have gotten worse. Much worse. I escaped to the O’kanagan (Irish heritage don’t you see), where I was able to grow and prosper, but the constant vehicle harrassment continues unabated.

    What I have learned under the regime of the last decade, that the nickle and dime antics of the NDP were not sufficient to fill the royal larders, and much more sophisticated means of impoverishing me by impoverishing the entire province had taken deep root.

    The people of BC are being cheated out of our rightful quality of life by our non representative government, and we deserve better. Much better

  19. Before I moved to BC twenty two years ago, I visited frequently before making the move and was captured by the raw, rugged beauty of theland and waters of the Island, the Charlottes (now Haida Gwaii), the Kooteney’s, the Peace, the North Coast and even the O’kanagan. The so called Lower Mainland was a nice place to visit, but I never was drawn to live there. BC was and is by far the most visually attractive province to me and I have visited them all except to my regret Newfoundland.

    My friends tell me that Newfoundlanders are the happiest, friendliest, most giving and congenial people on the planet.

    I settled first in the West Kooteney amongst loggers, draft dodgers, hippies, ex patriots, artists, musicians, writers and free spirits all.

    Then of common necessity I had to deal with government via ICBC and MSP. The people were friendly enough but the prices were shocking, compared to any same or similar details in other provinces. The stock answer was ‘welcome to BC which stands for Bring Cash.

    Then it was continuous spot checks by armies of RCMP, auto safety, conservation officers and auxillary volunteers, almost daily to see if I was properly insured, weighed the proper weight,

  20. Here’s an interesting article on how Iceland rose from the ashes and kicked the bums out. The ones they didn’t put in jail anyway.
    And they were right down on their knees facing lives of penury to pay for the lifestyles of crooked bankers. Their government was too afraid to do anything but the people rose up, banging pots and pans in front of the legislature, and made massive changes. I know some idiot is going to come on here and make qualifications but let’s remember that Iceland was only the first country in the world to do this. The more it happens the better we will get. I no longer care for politicians except in so far as they can go to work and handle the paperwork and small details. I want a vote on my own future.

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
    American Constitution

    Well, if that doesn’t describe the situation we are in, what does?

  21. Thank you for a great article Rafe. But you are dealing with the symptoms and not the disease. Which is that the people of BC have no say in how their (corrupt) government is run.
    It’s almost amusing to see all these people all over the world protesting about what their governments are doing but never, ever demanding a real voice. (except in the Middle East and even there they may yet get sucked in to ‘representative democracy’)

    Switzerland has a real voice in the form of referendums on all important issues, and not coincidentally it is one of the richest countries in the world. (no resources either) Sure wish we fools in BC could have a vote like that. I don’t think we’re too stupid, do you?

  22. It is so much easier not to say anything. It is so much easier to know this is true and ignore it. It is so much easier to pretend it isn’t so. Thanks for keeping your words “OUT THERE”. From your wiasdom, the courage for the next generation to be the change.

  23. Rafe is right. It’s not a game, and it’s never over until we give up. I personally, will never surrender. Our children’s future depends on it.

  24. I hate to depress you further but have you read “Death of the Liberal Class” by Chris Hedges.

    The game is pretty much over.

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