I have a bit of a knack for remembering doggerel as part of my brain’s principal function as a storehouse of useless information. Ergo this:
[quote]You cannot hope to bribe or twist
Thank God, the British Journalist.
Considering what the man will do
Unbribed, there’s no occasion to.[/quote]
It seems that this applies equally to our political writers with the odd, very odd exception, right here in Lotusland.
In 1986, Bill Bennett retired after 10 years as premier through some tough economic times with the province in good shape financially. He had managed public money carefully, been a builder with the odd overrun which were laughably tiny compared to those since, especially the whoppers of the Campbell/Clark bunch, and he gave us Expo 86, for which the boo-birds predicted a catastrophe but which turned out to be a huge win that’s still paying off. In a very careful move, he demurred on Site C after a referral to the BC Utilities Commission and even though in those days there was not the prospect of backup from alternative sources, there are, in fast growing terms, today. Yet many people bid Bennett goodbye with a shout of “good riddance”.
Liberals’ ruinous legacy
Christy Clark leaves government after playing a major role in an immense increase of the BC public debt. BC Hydro, once the jewel in BC’s crowns has been guided into virtual bankruptcy during good times, despite lots of customers all able to pay, no disaster like a burst dam, while ruining scores of rivers let out to private companies, charging Hydro triple the market price. These independent power producers (IPPs), by an amazing coincidence, poured money into the BC Liberal Party.
Ms. Clark leaves us with Site C, a $10 billion (at least) ad-on to the already bankrupt BC Hydro, a project for which there is no domestic need (filling that happens to be BCH’s mandate) and no customers, unless the LNG mirage becomes a reality in time to take the power and convert it into massive atmospheric pollution and climate destruction.
ICBC is a hard company to lose money on given it has a virtual monopoly on car insurance, but it’s in deep trouble because of holding rates down to buy votes and pocketing a cool half a billion dollars as a dividend to government. This is an accounting masterpiece invented by the Campbell/Clark wizards, where you cure huge losses in Crown Corps like Hydro and ICBC by pilfering huge sums from their already deeply indebted treasuries. As The Tyee reports, “Last November, ICBC admitted that it would require the equivalent of a cumulative 117 per cent increase in basic insurance revenue to keep its capital reserves from falling below the government’s regulatory minimum levels.”
Then we have the huge bonanza brought to you by Christy Clark and the brains of the outfit, Rich Coleman, and with a roll of the drums I give you BC’s majestic LNG industry. The Christy and Rich Show kept up an almost never-ending sales extravaganza round and round the world selling LNG we didn’t have to countries that didn’t need it at prices they couldn’t afford. But prosperity was right around the corner said Christy who won the 2013 election because voters accepted her solemn promise of multiple new LNG plants, 100,000 jobs and enough money to fill a $100-billion prosperity fund to erase B.C.’s debt and lower taxes.
Surely Christy and The Brains didn’t lie to us, did they?
I’ll answer that question. Writer after writer, scientist after scientist, every international economist you can think of said that this was all nonsense. Mind you, to get this bitter truth you had to read The Common Sense Canadian or The Tyee, not the government organs of Postmedia. It was sheer drivel, yet the more Clark was told this, the more she and The Brains jumped into the 1st Class section and visited their valuable contacts in Asia – the ones not in jail – and got more assurances of even more sales. Somehow, at the end of the day, the multiple new plants came to ZERO, the 100,000 jobs came to NONE and, golly gee whiz, that $100 billion Prosperity Fund fell just $100 billion short.
But, in fairness to Christy, maybe the government overspent on health, education, welfare, help to children, assistance to women in distress, the homeless, the mentally ill, and those of our fellow citizens in distress who needed our help.
No, I can’t tease on this issue because this government was far and away the cruelest in modern history to those in need. I, for one, am ashamed – good God, if this is how we treat those in need during prosperous times, what will happen when the inevitable recession or depression comes?
As I close, I must comment that one well-known journalist, who ought to know better, lauds the government for 5 straight “balanced budgets”. What a crock of barnyard droppings. It’s not hard to balance your budgets if you get to leave all the bad stuff “off budget”. I am surprised that anyone would believe that bullshit from Finance Minister DeJong, much less an award-winning political journalist.
Now my question: Given the record above, which is scarcely complete, and given that one of the obligations of high office is a reasonable proximity to truthfulness, why in the name of God are you singing the praises of a woman who has driven the province into a huge financial mess, destroyed money-making public companies, spent millions flogging a product we didn’t have to people who didn’t want it while lying through her teeth at every turn, and let down the very neediest of our fellow citizens? Didn’t you do harm enough by failing in your duty to hold her to account while she was in office?
I hate to say it but my brand of journalism was both honest and accurate when I summed up her leave-taking in two words: Good riddance.
A short note on Gordon Wilson who just got canned from his ill-gotten sinecure flogging LNG, with singular lack of success after being vehemently opposed to the stuff until he needed the money.
From 1987-93 Wilson led the BC Liberals and surprised all by taking them from zero seats to Official Opposition in 1991. He badly mishandled his relationship with his House Leader, whom he married, and politically it was all downhill after that as he formed a new party after Gordon Campbell took the Liberal leadership away from him, moved over to the NDP for a cabinet post in the disastrous Dosanjh Government, and lost his seat in 2001. In 2013 Wilson completed the circle by becoming a right-winger again, supported Clark and, after she won, he became an LNG salesman.
I remember through all this a very courageous Gordon Wilson.
Wilson became Liberal Leader at the same time as the Meech Lake Accord. In spite of serious opposition from influential backbencher David Mitchell and other prominent Liberals, Wilson opposed Meech Lake and gave hearty and welcome support to Newfoundland Premier Clyde Wells. At the same time, I was vigorously opposing Meech on my morning show on CKNW.
Wilson brought Premier Wells on my show where he became almost a regular and gained enormous popularity. By 1990, Meech was dead, Wells was, under duress, switching sides and we were into the Charlottetown Accord. In spite of losing his Newfoundland ally, Gordon Wilson stayed the course and supplied much assistance to me on my show.
I can’t help but remember Wilson’s fall from grace but I know what courage it took for him to stand by his convictions too. Luck, raw luck, has a lot to do with the seminal events of life. When I, as a cabinet minister, had an affair of the heart, such things were considered to be private matters and ignored. When I went hugely broke, was desperate and probably would have taken any job that came my way, I met CKNW’s John Plul at a party and a few days later was hired by CKNW, leading to a 19 year career, a Michener Award and the Hall of Fame. All just plain good luck. Similar circumstances, but Gordon Wilson didn’t have my luck.
It makes you think a bit when you assess what others do when they’re in a jam and makes it easier and appropriate to say “good luck” Gordon, good things could happen, for, as Margaret Thatcher, in one of her wiser moments, once said, “It’s a funny old world.”