Picking Bones with Christy Clark

An open letter to Ms. Clark, Premier of British Columbia.

 Ms. Clark I have a few bones I need to pick over with you.

When I arrived in BC in the late 1960s WAC Bennett was in the midst of building a province for the people of BC, creating crown corporations to look after our needs and provide for the future of the province.  Such corporations included BC Rail, BC Hydro, BC Medical Services and a very efficient and effective Highways department. The attitude of the people was one of “can do”, or  “will do” and helping others in trouble at all times of day or night was the normal.  His methods would not work today but at the time they worked well and his plan and aim was to improve the lot of all the people of BC.

 So here are some of the bones:

BCHydro.

Your BC Liberal party decided to sell off BC Hydro piece by piece and indeed this was started with the sale of the accounting process to Accenture before the Unions picked up upon this and so the Heritage Act was implemented by an angry Campbell, which made it impossible to sell BC Hydro.  This Act does not mention bankrupting BC Hydro and that is exactly what your predecessor proceeded to do, and you are continuing on this path.   High rates of purchase through corporate run of the river projects at a time when supply of power is at its highest and cheapest through our own dams, and ridiculously costly projects such as the Smart Meters, and now the Site C dam have all played their part.  At its best BC Hydro was providing a dividend to BC of around $300 million per year to go towards heath and education.  Since the asset to liabilities has now past the legally mandated point (80% – 20%) where a dividend can be paid and since Mr. Campbell cooked the books to include years of advance hydro billings so that he could get a payment of $600 million, BC Hydro is now in a real financial pickle and you are adding to that with this unnecessary site C dam.  Revenue for BC Hydro has fallen due to some extent to their very effective program to reduce the use of hydro in homes and businesses, and yet you continue to pile expenses on to BC Hydro which it cannot afford.  I know you claim that the dam is needed to power your LNG program, but where exactly is that now?   B C Hydro is carrying debt already that it cannot support and how long before your  BC Liberals succeed in breaking it?

B C Rail.

Surely this must go down as the most infamous deed ever perpetuated by any government in the history of BC.  From the promise not to sell BC rail prior to getting elected to actually going ahead with that sale and the subsequent perversion of the courts independence along with a tame prosecutor and bailing out those scapegoats elected to take the fall literally right before Campbell was due to be a witness, it can only be considered in the light of a premier who cried for forgiveness on TV after he was caught for DUI overseas and labelled as a criminal.  Such was his lack of shame that one could only expect what happened with BC rail and the subsequent loss of revenue for BC in favour of his eventual board seats.  Where were you when all this transpired Ms. Clark, and did you not learn anything from this betrayal of the people of BC?

LNG and the fracking process in North East BC and the Sacred Headwaters:

I have asked your Mr. Coleman (yours because he obviously does not work for the people of BC who pay his salary) many times just where he plans to get the water needed for this process but because he doesn’t know he ignores me.  There have been numerous potential investors in this process but I imagine they are dropping off like flies because they too know that there is a limited supply of water, and because the potential costs to them of permanently damaging the Sacred Headwaters and the aquifers there, so they are not as gung ho as you would like to believe.  Without investors there will be no LNG program and no need for huge amounts of Hydro. Is that why you are now asking Alberta to buy hydro power  produced eventually from a dam which will destroy many acres of agricultural land and First Nations treaty lands which include burial grounds and hunting grounds as well as their traditional crop growing area?   This whole concept is a nightmare for the people of north east BC but a potential for profit for some greedy and uncaring corporations.  They do care about their bottom lines however and I suspect the cost of claims against them for damage to the water tables will make even them stop and think.  

B C Medical Services:

Hello Maximus and Compass and goodbye BC medical services. Yes that’s right a US company organises BC medical services, and a UK company looking after our hospitals. I am assuming that you have renewed the Maximus contract and plan to spend more money overseas instead of having very capable BC people do the work.  There you go, and you claim that costs are rising and of course they are.  You cannot expect a US corporation to do the same work as that which was done so efficiently and locally by our own BC staff at anything but a profit.  At one time BC medical services was a very reasonable and effective plan, now I can barely afford to make my monthly premiums as at the age of 75 – nearly 76 – I have to pay some $75 a month for a service I hardly use, and for the benefit of some fat cat somewhere in the US.  It never fails to amaze me that your ultra conservative party and leaders, and that includes you, feel that increased costs by contracting out work and thereby loosing jobs here in BC is an effective way to supply a need.  The constant complaint that health costs are raising rings hollow to me because they should always be measured against revenue.  If the costs are almost constant but are still classified as a percentage of the falling revenue then yes they do appear to be a larger piece of the pie; fact is though that through tax cuts and your friend Harper’s reduction in payments to the provinces for health, the pie is decreasing in size, whilst the health costs remain relatively steady thus taking more of the decreasing pie.

Eliminate the external costs of contracting out, re hire locals and watch the change.

ICBC  more affectionately known back when it was created as Moscow Mutual

Mr Barrett introduced the Insurance Corporation of BC because he wanted to corner the automobile insurance profit to help pay for his excesses in other spending.  The fact we lost such companies as Allstate completely in BC was of no importance to him no matter how well they treated their customers.

Now of course ICBC has its talons into everything from acting as receiver general for BC, to having its own courts and rental cops (integrated police forces), and using money in trust to invest in shopping centers.  The aim of ICBC adjusters is to make sure that the minimum amount be paid out on claims, and their service generally is very antagonistic and unfriendly.  They are supposed to work for the people of BC and be helpful in our time of need, as were their predecessors, but they are anything but that. 

Work Safe BC, previously  known as Workers Compensation of BC:

Designed to bring about settlements between employers and employees who got injured on the job without going through costly court battles usually won by the employers who had more money for lawyers, and leaving badly injured workers to fend for themselves it was an excellent idea welcomed by both employers and workers. Their work almost invariably bought about safer work places without lost production.  This current newly named group is more interested in nit picking and flexing their muscles at the behest of their provincial bosses.  Has safety increased since the switch from WC to WS?  Doubt it because generally all were looking at the costs of being unsafe anyway.  But as another strong arm of the provincial government under a catchy name, as per conservative practice, the supposition that safety is more of a factor is a mute point.  I cannot say about claims as I have been fortunate enough to have avoided such a thing since about 1995.

 The Senate of Canada

For at least a decade but especially during the last 4 years, the Senate of Canada has become the last place in Canada where any nonpartisan sober second thought could be expected to take place.   Your fellow conservative Harper wanted to simply starve it to death by not appointing any new Senators (in contradiction to our constitution but what did he care), and he could do that without losing his majority hold on the votes there, whilst the NDP want to abolish the place.  Now we have a new concept on the appointment of Senators which would include public and provincial suggestions and approval.   You have publicly rejected this new concept on the grounds that BC does not have enough representation.  That is a matter for the constitution Ms. Clark and has nothing to do with the quality of those who would, should and could represent BC in the Senate of Canada.  I do not appreciate that the premier of the province in which I live is more interested in making conservative points than looking out for the people of BC, but even in my most optimistic moments I cannot expect a leopard to change its spots.

 

 That is enough for now, but believe me there are more bones, such as the health and education of my children and grandchildren, and indeed now two great grandchildren, for whom I fear for the value of their lives in BC.   You are threatening their environment ( Mount Polley mine comes to mind) as well as depriving them of the safety net social services so carefully built by WAC Bennett many years ago.

 

Jeremy Arney

BC Resident

What do I think about Gordon Campbell and the Order of BC.

It was suggested to me the other day that I should write about my feelings on Campbell being awarded the Order of BC, and one person even suggested he should put my name forward because although I am not well known in BC generally, I have done some work locally to benefit the province and have been a voice for improvement of the environment and treatment of the people by the various levels of government.

Whilst that is true in a limited way, I do not feel that I merit the award.

Yet in thinking about it I find myself in two minds .

One mind says:
a) I do not have a criminal record,
b) I have not cheated on my wife, (I don’t have one right now and I didn’t when I did), and I didn’t have a child out of wedlock by my mistress of many years (is that real rumour or real fact?)
c) I did not destroy the economy of a province,
d) I haven’t attempted to break the unions of the province,
e) I haven’t attempted to destroy BC Hydro by selling it or dismantling their financial position, and the intense promotion of IPPs to supply unneeded electricity to BC Hydro at over inflated prices,
f) I haven’t allowed the destruction of our natural salmon stocks by encouraging toxic fish farms, owned by foreigners who don’t give a damn, in our local ocean inlets on wild salmon migration routes,
g) I didn’t come up with a “green plan” which specifically wants to drill for oil and gas between the mainland and Vancouver Island as well as off shore, right on the San Andreas fault line yet!
h) I didn’t effectively raise the taxes of the poor and lower the taxes of the rich and corporations under false pretenses,
j) I haven’t taken BC so far into deficit that it will be years before we can recover,
k) I didn’t increase homelessness and child poverty in BC to where we are the worst in Canada and maybe North America,
l) I haven’t lied to the First Nations people in BC over and over again,
and
m) I have not confused my position with that of a god, dictator or maybe king of BC.

I am sure there are many more I have missed like TILMA, BC Rail, HST, photo ops at the Olympics (sooo far above budget) BC Place and the convention center, but in short I have not spent 10 years leaving a legacy of deliberate destruction behind me.

So obviously I haven’t earned the right to the Order of BC.

But then in that other mind, I ask the question:
why not the Order of BC?
why not for every person who works an honest 8-12 or 16  hour day trying to survive and raise a family;
why not for every mother, grandmother or aunt for that matter who spends her life raising children 24 hours a day, in the hopes that they will do better than she.
why not all the volunteers who make up for the shortcomings of an over stretched government due to indifference to the people’s needs;
why not for those who sleep outside every night because they have nowhere to go and are just surviving;
why not to the police and emergency men and women who are always on call.

All these people deserve the order of BC, and yet almost every one of them, myself included, would now say “no thank you” because the Order of BC has been totally tainted by a man who deserves only to be remembered as the most destructive, arrogant, hypocritical and criminal premier of BC in all time, and who is awarded the Order even though he is not eligible from the time factor and he flat out does not deserve it.
 

Now I have to correct myself here, as he was nominated on the 10th March before he quit being an MLA and nominations closed which is legal, and he is to be awarded the order after he left office so that makes it OK! It is the awarding not the nomination that count; and I am sure that his new job of selling out Canada in the UK is by appointment of King Stephen, definetly not by election, so he “legally” can be awarded the thing, which makes it even more damning that there was so much skullduggery involved even in this. 

The Honourable Lance S. G. Finch, Chief Justice of British Columbia and chair of the independent Order of B.C. Advisory Council had to issue a statement stating everything was according to the law, such was the outrage at this award.

 Is it possible for anything to do with Gordon Campbell to be open, transparent  and above board?

So to those who asked what I thought, there you are.

Jeremy Arney

A farewell rant at Gordon Campbell.

Over the last few weeks I keep reading ‘journalists’ pieces in our local news deficient main stream media (which over the last decade have not reported what is really happening in BC partly I suppose because the Dictator didn’t give them permission to do so and secrecy allows for avoidance of responsibility), who are trying to sell Campbell as pretty damn good.

Headlines such as “CAMPBELL’S LEGACY MOSTLY POSITIVE’  from a Black Press writer caused me to wonder if the writer even lives in BC.

Our dearly departing Dictator Pinocchio started with a mandate to be envied.  This could have lead him to do wondrous things for BC and the people of BC, but he chose instead to do wondrous things for the corporations clamouring to have a piece of the Super Natural BC pie. As all the people of BC know Super Natural has been changed to ‘the best place on earth’ and we also know that this is for the corporate friends of the Dictator not for the people of BC.

Instead of the open and transparent government promised what we got was lies and deceit, hidden agendas, closed meetings and decisions, and a very rare sitting of the legislature as cabinet decisions were easier made in secrecy than to explain what was happening and why.

My son worked very hard in the kitchen of the Victoria General Hospital as specialty chef for those with special dietary needs and he loved his job. His contract along with all those working at the hospitals was deleted and he was offered a position doing the same work but with no benefits at, if I remember correctly,  $8.50 per hour from a company which was not even Canadian.  How the Hospital Workers Union allowed that to happen still defeats me and where were the NPD? Where was the public outcry and strikes?

B C Rail WILL NOT BE SOLD was an outright lie as we all know and the costs of the subsequent dealings falling out from that is staggering. The chances of that whole expensive mess being buried without us knowing who was really responsible and why are now excellent.  So let’s just lay it at Gordo’s door because he was the Dictator. In answer to a posed question: Yes I believe we as a province should own a railway, it obviously made money because it was sold to one of several bidders, and giving breaks to BC producers would be good business would it not. I wonder if that particular writer has realized the potential of rail from the Tar Sands of Alberta to south USA for refining the black gunk into oil?   Ooh no, yet another loss of income to BC!

BC Hydro was half way to being sold very quietly before Accenture’s story got out, and The Heritage Act was passed, to quiet down the howlers, which said that BC Hydro could not be sold.  OK no more of it can be sold but it can be financially ruined so that it could be picked up piece meal by those corporate friends of Pinocchio the Dictator who are waiting in the wings.  This story is still not being told by the BC mainstream media ( a few casual mentions in articles is not telling the story) even though it is staring them in the face and to ignore it is to show complete indifference for the truth and compliance with the afore mentioned Dictator. BC Hydro has in the past few years paid to its only shareholder an annual dividend of somewhere in the region of 3oo million dollars which has been used in the Health and Education fields.  Now this last year it was only paid (with a 100% increase to $600 million) because of some very fancy and suspect  bookkeeping which will have to be explained under the new method of accounting which came into effect this year.  Thanks Gordo, no wonder you wanted out.

An NPD premier was hounded out of office because he had a deck built on the back of his house, and Gordon Wilson was hounded out of the Liberal Party of BC  because he was having a relationship not considered right by Gordon Campbell.  However it is OK for Gordon to take his addiction for booze to Hawaii and get a premieral criminal record, and for him to have a child, we are told, out of wedlock with a long time mistress who is on his staff payroll and still stay on as the most destructive politician in BC’s History.  Double standard? Of course that is Gordo’s motto…. Do what I say not what I do.

Have you read the BC Green Plan?  What do you think about the intent stated there that we will drill for oil and gas in the fault lines off the coast of BC? 

Does hydraulic fracking in north east BC in the middle of the headwaters country sound like a reasonable proposition to you?  Do you know that the entire water system up there will be poisoned?  Do you have any empathy for the first nations whose treaty lands will be toxic?  Do you mind if what lakes are spared by chance only, will be destroyed when they are used as tailings ponds for the mines up in that area and turned into toxic fish habitats?  Does it not seem ironic to you that coal mines are not only being seriously considered up there too but Site C damn would be to provide almost free power for them and the Tar sands?  Enbridge Pipe Line and super oil tankers anyone? Very green plan what? And who pays the price?

Whilst in BC the homeless, sick and handicapped and starving children in poverty are increasing, and toxic vaccines are pumped into our children’s bodies almost from birth but before they leave the hospitals, whilst those hospitals are now being run by out of province or even out of country corporations and even the food is now trucked in from Edmonton Alberta to Victoria BC,  the tax concessions to those same corporate gluttons is destroying our provincial income and thus our ability to help those in need.  Now that is a record of accomplishments only a man like Gordo could be proud of.

There is the claim made that under Campbell’s guidance the financial picture of the province of BC was of surplus budgets and reduced debt.  Well anyone claiming that must surely be drinking the Reagan cool aid.

The concept of carbon tax on fuel was a good one if that money collected had been used for the purpose promoted.  Instead in the budget that introduced it the exact amount to be collected was the same amount that was offered as incentives to oil and gas companies to explore for more carbon producing products.  Was this explained to the people of BC by the media? No, instead it was glorified as the way to go.

 

Income tax cuts are very easy to give to everyone until you realize that they have to be balanced by something……Services such as health, social responsibilities, education, transport, highway maintenance (now privatized of course and look at the state of the highways around Victoria and the lower mainland – I haven’t been to the interior for ages but I would make a bet they are as bad all through the province), transit outside Vancouver is pathetic shown by the number of single occupancy cars morning and night.  BC ferries are out of control with spiraling costs passed on to the travelling public to the point where Mainland or Island Visits are now a major expense; forget going over watch the Canucks now unless you are very wealthy.  Make a reservation and that is a donation to management bonuses, but don’t make one and you may get bumped by an unmanned tractor trailer unit from the so called ‘drop trailer’ division of the Ferries. Pay into the bonuses or get left behind…some choice eh?  Are we not supposed to own this service? Is it not supposed to be for our benefit and convenience? What happened?   An overseas CEO for one thing whose interest is only in the bottom line of a supposed to be service oriented ex Crown Corporation. Luckily we still have the Blackball and Anacortes ferries to the states to rescue some of our tourist traffic.

Another thing I have seen praised is the trade deals made with first Alberta and now Saskatchewan called TILMA.  What a joke they are until you really look at them. Trade, Investment, Labour Movement Agreement.  There was no problem with any of this according to the union leaders. But the sting in the tail is of course there as with FTA and NAFTA in that disagreements are settled by so called independent tribunals and are stacked against the people. An example would be if a Calgary brothel (sorry Calgary it’s just an example) was to apply to Sooke BC to open a branch brothel there and was turned down by Sooke, then Sooke would be sued for lost earnings.  Or as I have said in the past, let’s suppose that the proposed Mega Marina for the inner harbour of Victoria gets turned down completely, then the developers can and almost certainly will sue the city of Victoria for lost earnings, and in both cases the suers will win. This is supposed to be a good deal for anyone?  Only if you’re a corporation and  then you have Campbell’s blessing to grab what you can no matter how ridiculous the situation maybe.

Relations with the Feds? Well Martin for sure and now Harper are globalists and see the corporations the same way Gordo does so why would he not be in the same feeding trough as them?  Give them what they want and accept the board positions and payments.

Forestry sector used to be the mainstay of BC and now we really don’t have such a sector anymore…we have given Crown Lands away free thanks to Gordo, Coleman and Chong, so that they can be turned into housing developments and thus the excuse to cut trees that before were not available, and where do those trees go? Why overseas as raw logs naturally because we don’t have anywhere to process them any more.

Our ocean is now a death trap for salmon smelts trying to go to sea to grow into edible fish thanks to the dangers of the lice coming from the Norwegian fish farms scattered up and down our coast line. Great run this year in the Fraser River as the fish probably figured out that Juan de Fuca is a better way out to sea and home again.

The suggestion that power developments and health care are too big to be done by the state alone are an excuse offered in defense of giving profits to private companies.  What exactly is wrong with keeping those profits made from BC resources for the people of BC ? If any finance minister in Canada including the federal one would only use our own Bank of Canada then the expenses would come down and any interest charged would be paid back to us instead of going into some commercial bank CEO bonus structure. The state of North Dakota has it’s state owned bank and is in a budget surplus position because they use that bank. We have our own bank and ignore it. Actually, provincially, we mandate which banks can be used by municipalities…very clever. No the real reason we invite corporations into the mix is so they make money and I refuse to believe none of that rubs of on people like Gordo. It certainly doesn’t come back to we the people.

The HST has to be mentioned simply because it is used as the excuse for the unhappiness and anger in the province and that is absolute BS. No one likes to pay extra taxes but we will do so if it means that the standard by which we all live is maintained or improved. Lies, contempt, arrogance and flat out refusal to listen to the people who voted for and employ these MLAs of all stripes is what has made us mad. Well I certainly, maybe I should not speak for everyone else, but I know that  I will take to the streets if that is what it comes to in order to protect my children and grandchildren for Hell In BC.

Last major thing Gordo did was to destroy the whole concept of environmental responsibility by creating a new natural resource operations ministry which just like the federal counterpart ministry of natural resources will bypass environmental requirements in favour of speedy approval of resource developments.  Not that our BC Environment Ministry was any good anyway as they approved everything.

So what did Gordo do that was beneficial to all of BC?

Hmmm, could have been the Olympics if it hadn’t cost us so damn much in money and environmental impact.

Elections every four years? Well let’s see if that holds up any better than some of his other promises.  On that subject I am told he has a favorite joke…”if we had fixed elections, there would be no problem”  Ha Ha…What is the difference between a ‘fixed’ election and one in which the lies are so thick that the sun is obscured?

 Personally I am glad to see the back of a man who has done so much damage to BC, and I hope that whoever his replacement may be realizes that the people of BC have finally woken up….Come to think of it Gordo that is probably the best and only thing you really did for the people of BC.  Pity it had to be at such a cost.

 

Jeremy Arney