Rich Coleman was recently caught in a conflict of interest scandal (Darryl Dyck - Canadian Press). The Campbell/Clark government is corrupt and here are a few of the reasons I say this:
- Campbell gets convicted of drunken driving and doesn’t resign as he certainly would have demanded that an NDP premier do
- The 2009 budget that was $1.2 billion short of reality - this amounted to a fraud upon the voters
- The lies about the HST
- The BC Rail stink
- The use of public finds to promote the Liberal Party
- The use of public servants for party political purposes
- Private power contracts for political pals which are bankrupting BC Hydro
- Readers will, no doubt, find other reasons.
In recent weeks we discovered Rich Coleman taking election funds from a brewery he is now about to save $9 million in taxes.
Let me tell you about the standards that prevailed in my years (1975-81) in the Bill Bennett government. And, I must say, in the Barrett government before it. Now, mark you, I’m not talking about what policies they supported but the integrity of the premier and his ministers.
I had Coleman’s job and the first thing I did was check my small RRSP and found I had a few shares in Hiram Walker Distillers, which I promptly sold at a small loss.
Of more importance, in 1978 I was greeted by a headline in the morning paper alleging that I had interfered in a hearing before the Rentalsman (the arbiter for rental disputes at the time) who came under my ministry. There wasn’t a particle of truth in it but the Premier gave me 48 hours to deal with it.
It transpired that a judge, hearing an appeal from a decision by the Rentalsman, heard a witness say she had “heard that the minister himself got involved in the case”.
The Rentalsman publicly said that I had had nothing to do with it and had never interfered with his office. I hired a lawyer, now Supreme Court Justice, who within the time limit prevailed upon the judge to withdraw his remarks and say outright that there was no evidence at all that I had even known about the matter let alone interfered in it.
My seat in cabinet was jeopardized, quite properly, by those two matters.
When Minister Jack Davis was being investigated for fraud the Premier promptly sacked him. The standard is not, you see, reasonable doubt but “is the minister under a cloud of reasonable suspicion?” This principle, one of the foundations of democracy, is not well known to the public nor, it seems, to the Campbell/Clark government.
What has this got to do with environmental matters?
Plenty for this government is going to represent us on pipeline matters, tanker matters and many other concerns we all have about our environment.
The killing of the HST has involved the premier trying to make the best possible deal with the feds when the tax expires just a month before the next election.
Thus the essential question arises: When the feds approve the various pipelines proposed without even the usual sham of an environmental assessment process, what will Premier Clark be doing? Will she, in fact, take favours from the feds and promise not to interfere in return? Indeed, has she already done this?
Are she and her ministers going to fold and do as their federal masters demand in fear of recriminations?
There are some, no doubt, who say that the feds should have their way as they speak for all Canada. That ignores the very principle under which Canada governs itself - namely a division of powers under the Constitution Act (1982), which follows the BNA Act (1867), which underlies a federal state as is the case in Germany, Australia and the USA.
Prime Minister Harper is no doubt going to approve these pipelines and the consequent tanker traffic using the omnibus clause giving him that right under section 91 - “Works connecting provinces; beyond boundaries of one province; within a province but to the advantage of Canada/or more than one province”.
The province retains a number of powers it can use such as the right to issue licenses - especially water licenses - to protect wildlife, including non-migratory fish and to protect its shoreline.
Will Premier Clark have the courage of our convictions and say, “Prime Minister, these pipelines will be subject to our rights to protect our environment under Section 92 and they will be rigorously enforced?"
Or will there be under the table “deals” made linking pipelines and tankers to other issues between Ottawa and Victoria? Such as the HST? Such as selling our constitutional rights for money from Ottawa’s share of royalties and other taxes collected?
There is no middle ground - just as a woman can’t be a “little bit pregnant”, we either stand up for our environment or we don’t.
In short - forgive the expression - will she have the balls to stand up to the feds or, more likely, will she and her ministers try to find some middle ground?
What we need is an honest government of honest men and women protecting us against the predations of greedy corporations, the government of China and the raw uninhibited capitalism of Prime Minister Harper and his toadies from BC.
Clearly, standing up for our rights and honest dealings based on principles is not this government’s strong suit.