Was the Gordon Campbell government corrupt? Does it matter?
The answer to both questions is a resounding YES!
For the purposes of this article I define corruption as “acting against the public good for political or other gains for the government party and/or its members, to the exclusion of meaningful public input”.
Let me summarize the Campbell corruption:
- In 2001, Campbell, while saying the NDP left a threadbare cupboard, promptly gave a huge tax cut to the better off, mostly his supporters
- Campbell, after raging at NDP ministers who allegedly misbehaved, got thrown in jail for drunk driving, promptly forgave himself and stayed in office.
- Campbell, after I showed him a vial with Pink Salmon smolts covered in sea lice stated to me, “I saw a billboard showing salmon spawning and vowed that my grandchildren must be able to see this sight” – then promptly doubled the number of fish farms and pilloried the world’s scientists who confirmed the sea lice problem.
- Campbell, after vowing in the 1997 and 2001 elections never to privatize BC Hydro, promptly unleashed just such a program.
- Two men were charged with crimes involving the 990 year lease of BC Rail and on the eve of his former Finance Minister and his own call to the witness stand, Campbell promptly ended the case by paying $6 million to the miscreants’ lawyers.
- In the 2009 election Campbell and his Finance Minister declared that their 2009 budget was accurate then admitted right after the election that they were more than a billion dollars out, claiming that they were blindsided by the Recession. In fact, the Finance Minister had to know of the true state of affairs or was grossly negligent or the Finance Ministry should fire its senior people for the warnings (reduced sales tax etc.) were all there.
- In the 2009 election Campbell and his Finance Minister claimed that an HST was not in the radar screen then announced it right after the election. It turned out that two months before the election the Finance Minister had a Ministry document in hand which criticized an HST and it must be assumed that the Campbell government had been in negotiations with the Federal government months before – these things don’t happen overnight.
- The Campbell government, taking the lead from Alcan, produced an Energy Policy which transferred the right to produce new energy from BC Hydro to the private sector then, through the mouth of Finance Minister Hansen, lied about the policy of private power.
- The Campbell government has brought BC Hydro to the position which, if they were a private company, would be in bankruptcy protection or actual bankruptcy.
- The Campbell government has done less than nothing on the oil pipelines and oil tankers issue, leaving it an open invitation to companies to bring on stream dead certain environmental catastrophes to our pristine environment both on land and in the ocean
It’s noteworthy that after Campbell resigned in disgrace the Liberals promised a testimonial for him either at the leadership convention or its annual party conference, neither of which have happened in the hope the public will not see this oversight as part of Christy Clark distancing herself from the ex premier – which it is. (Perhaps such a testimonial did occur on the quiet, maybe in the basement of the Fraser Institute or after midnight in the editorial offices of the Vancouver Sun or Province.
What has this to do with Premier Clark?
Just everything, that’s all.
To start with, Ms. Clark helped draft the 2001 Liberal platform which, amongst other things, promised not to privatize BC Rail. In fact she was in office during the planning and/or implementing many of these policies and it’s noteworthy that she didn’t contradict any of the Campbell outrages while in radio because she wasn’t remotely independent.
The real issue in the next election is a simple one: Will Premier Clark succeed in making us forget the harm perpetrated by her corrupt predecessor? You can be damned sure that she’ll not bring it up!
What does this mean in real terms?
- The bankruptcy of BC Hydro, which will remain only as a conduit by which the private producers (IPPS) funnel their ill-gotten gains to their shareholders abroad.
- It means that more and more of our precious rivers will be dammed (IPPs prefer the word “weir” in keeping with the Orwellian “newspeak” that abounds with these guys), with clear cuts for roads and transmission lines.
- It means that new pipelines and enlarged old ones will carry the sludge from the Tar Sands to our coast with the mathematical certainty of environmental disasters – without our government making a nickel out of it.
- It means that supertankers will proliferate on our coast again with the mathematical certainty of catastrophic spills.
- It means continuation of the phoney environmental hearings where the public is denied its right to challenge the need for the project in the first place.
- It means that the already truncated BC Utilities Commission, which overseas (or is supposed to) all energy proposals, will be abolished or maintained as a lame duck puppet of the Liberal Government
- It means that the private sector will, unhindered, do as it pleases to our environment.
People like me will be jeered as being “against progress, against profit and anti-business”.
In fact what I’m doing is urging that environmental decisions be made by the BC Public, not party hacks supported by corporations that couldn’t care less about our environment – nor should they be expected to, for their obligation is to make profits for shareholders.
I’m trying to get across that there is a limit to what we can do to our environment, much including our farmland. I’m reminding folks that history teaches us that unrestrained industry will go after the last fish in the ocean, cut down the last stand of trees and ruin without a blink any rivers it needs for power or a sewer or both.
I ask this: If not now, when do we decide that enough is enough?
The truth of the matter is that Christy Clark has no greater concern for environmental issues than Campbell has, such that in the next election she must be assessed on that basis. Elect Clark and fish farms will flourish, lakes and rivers will be contaminated, BC Hydro will die, farmland will be destroyed, and the public will continue be shut out of the approval process.
We know all this because Clark has perpetuated the corrupt policies that Campbell initiated.
If we re-elect a Liberal government, we know what it will mean and we will deserve what we get.