Rafe: Gordon Wilson finds religion on LNG...for $12,500 a month

Rafe: Gordon Wilson finds religion on LNG…for $12,500 a month

Rafe: Gordon Wilson finds religion on LNG...for $12,500 a month
A screen capture from Gordon Wilson’s youtube endorsement of Christy Clark

Some years ago I got into hot water for calling a federal cabinet minister of the female persuasion a “political whore”, a phrase that has nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with having principles for sale.

Christy Clark is paying Gordon Wilson $12,500 a month for four months – probably a permanent gig if he keeps his nose brown enough. Wilson is going to be an advocate for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

Wilson once highly critical of LNG

In April last, before this former BC Liberal leader and NDP cabinet minister endorsed Liberal Christy Clark in the May election, Wilson had this to say about LNG:

[quote]The most compelling reason to be concerned about relying on this golden goose is the fact that the markets we are told will buy all we can supply may not materialize as we think, and even if they do, the price they are prepared to pay for our product may be well below what is anticipated.[/quote]

Quite, Gordon, quite. That was Gordon Wilson the skeptic talking but there is more. Here’s what Wilson the environmentalist had to say last April: “Expanded LNG production also comes with a significant environmental cost.”

Our lad went on to say:

[quote]The impact of an expanded hydrocarbon economy will certainly speed up global warming and cause us to build a dependency on a revenue stream that originates form processes that are poisoning our atmosphere.[/quote]

Precisely, sir, precisely. Given my most articulate moment, I could not have said it better.

The story changes

So what happened to Mr. Wilson? Does he have some contract in his pocket for LNG sales from BC to an Asian customer? Has there been some host of angels descend from Heaven, urging Mr. Wilson to get on the side of God and Christy Clark?

Or is he just a grubby political whore whose price is $50,000 a quarter?

To call Wilson that cannot come without evidence of past prostitutional behaviour. (Yes, I just invented the word, dictionaries please copy.)

Wilson’s first dance with BC Liberals

Mr. Wilson, back in the 80s was a Liberal, both federal and provincial. The provincial wing was in disarray and Mr. Wilson took over, severed its ties with the federal party and built the local Libs into a force to be reckoned with in the 1991 election, when they went from zero MLAs to seventeen and he became Leader of the Opposition.

It was downhill from there. By 1993 it was obvious that there were rumblings in the Liberal caucus that he was entirely too close to their House Leader, the gorgeous Judi Tyabji. The media kept quiet until the late John Pifer got his hands on a love letter from Ms. Tyabji to our hero. None of us, least of all me with my marital record, wanted to make anything of this except the political reality that the Opposition was clearly unraveling and doing a lousy job.

Lie led to ouster

Had Mr. Wilson stated that he and Judi were a thing, with Judi leaving her post, it would have been a 48-hour story at worst.

But Wilson lied – serially lied. He destroyed himself in an interview with CKNW’s Philip Till.

The party held a leadership convention and unceremoniously dumped Wilson for the calamity called Gordon Campbell.

Wilson’s finer points

Before going further, I must acknowledge my debt to Wilson on the Meech Lake/Charlottetown issue. We were very close on that issue, along with Gordon Gibson and the late Mel Smith, QC. Wilson introduced me to Clyde Wells, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, who became all but a fixture on my show at CKNW.

Moreover, I have to say that a couple of years ago I urged him to try and form a new party of the “centre” where I perceive the political vacuum to be. I have never questioned his ability to articulate issues. In fact he may be the perfect political animal.

Trading principle for money

My quarrel is with his crass trading of principle for money.

Wilson, when Campbell was selected, most ungraciously quit the Liberal Party and formed, with the lady of his choice, Judi Tyabji, the Progressive Democratic Alliance.

This was not to last. As the NDP tottered towards its 2001 wipeout, Wilson was asked to join its cabinet, which he did, while making it abundantly clear that he would never join the party.

But he did. In fact, he ran for their leadership. And in terms that made him sound like he was as committed as if his Dad had worked the coalmines of Wales.

I was at that leadership convention and I was astonished to hear him speak as if socialism was burned into his soul. He demonstrated – dare I be so bold as to say – that he was a political whore who, quite clearly for personal aggrandizement, had gone from being an enemy of the NDP to a cabinet minister in an NDP government; from rejecting the party to an aspirant, and a serious one, for their leadership.

In deep financial trouble, Wilson takes money to shill for LNG

Now Wilson moves from being skeptical of LNG and all its obvious flaws into a position of solid support for it.

Are we supposed to believe that this volte-face had nothing to do with $12,500 a month, which could easily morph into $150,000 a year?

We learned from reporter Bob Mackin a week before the May provincial election that Wilson’s return to the Liberal fold came amidst mounting legal and financial pressures – including the court-ordered sale of the Sunshine Coast home he shared with his wife.

Am I, taking the risk of a lawsuit, not entitled to say that Gordon Wilson, for all his many talents, is indeed a political whore whose principles can be precisely valued at $12,500 a month – to be expanded, because Premier Clark will have no other choice, to $150,000 per annum and perhaps beyond?

I like Gordon Wilson. I am still an admirer of his many abilities.

But he is, price tag stamped on his forehead, a political whore.


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 rafeonline.com.

9 thoughts on “Rafe: Gordon Wilson finds religion on LNG…for $12,500 a month

  1. Ok, so Wilson and Tyabji filled bankruptcy. Ok, so that being the case, they bought some land in paradise valley, who’s name is it under, cause once you filled bankruptcy you can’t own anything! Even their home/farm? Hmm under her sons name maybe? Could that be considered proceeds of crime? He still hasn’t finished his court hearings for allegedly importing fentanyl in a muffler. Things that make you go hmmmmmm..

  2. Taking hold of little Vancouver Island for huge industrial plans is heartless and mean spirited.
    Please don’t turn this Canadian Gem into BC’s dirty money maker for those who don’t even live here.
    Citizens truly fear this ugly transition and will gain nothing and loose much.
    It is entirely wrong to do this to the Island.
    The Canadian Government and BC liberals should be cleaning up this Island to show the world our commitment to the environment. This is the perfect place to showcase this instead of the industrialization.
    It will change the face of the Island and be very regrettable in the future.
    Stay off the Island. It is just greed for Off Islanders!

  3. Maybe he has a ” THING ” going on with CRUSTY Poor old Judi hasn’t found out about it yet. He has lied before what’s to stop him from lying again. Sad sole this Gordo. Still for $12,500.00 a month how can his input have any value. Most know what he is made of ,you can smell the pig farm on him.

  4. “Nope, you’re wrong. That’s just summer rain … don’t you dare look up.”

  5. That’s a bit of an insult to associate political sellouts with prostitution. An insult to prostitutes, of course.

    Selling sex is a complicated matter, but it’s really just boils down to a personal decision about how you want to treat your own body. Selling out politically, however, is entirely different. Endorsing LNG’s, regardless of the price, is throwing the lives of others under the bus for your own political career.

    To me, this is reproachable on an entirely different level. Being willing to sacrifice the health and safety of others for profit? That’s criminal.

    The saddest part is that unlike a corporation there is no legal obligation for a politician to sell out their personal beliefs. Corporations are legally responsible to their shareholders. Some execs don’t even like what they’re doing, but they’re required to by law (even if their bonuses weren’t reason enough) to cut costs by whatever means necessary. Politicians, though? That takes a willing desire to neglect others for personal gain.

    Not to say a whole lot of execs aren’t right there on the same abysmal level with them.

  6. What is interesting about this, and I, like Rafe, have a long respect for Gordon, is that the task he is tagged with is a very challenging one, in fact the single largest challenge of the LNG agenda.

    Petronas, for example, is cited as the “most profitable” company in all of Asian (fortune 500) and they did this on Natural gas, LNG in particular.

    The reason they hold this distinguished title is because they are ruthlessly aggressive.

    So that means a lot of things to BC, but chief among them is the fact that they will ship over pre fabricated plants, their own work force and insist we subsidize them, give long term contracts, and barely charge for the resource, while ensuring that both Environmentalists and FN are managed.

    This is where Gordo comes in, in my view. He was an aboriginal affairs minister and as a populist public figure often teamed up with ENGOS.

    His job is to not only ensure the peace, but to somehow land “benefits” for BC. Which in the one Petronas example is tough to imagine how.

    I sense Gordon’s future is going to be arranging photo ops for Premier Clark and Minister of non disclosure Coleman, for things like BC contracts landed for building shelter for temporary foreign LNG workforce. As out side of that type of opportunity there is very little benefit for British Columbians.

    I am not sure how Gordon and Judy will turn that into populist politics, but there is no one better to give it a try.

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