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Photo: Province of BC/Flickr CC Licence

In 1988,  a year before the Iron Curtain fell, I was in Budapest and after a stroll I went back to my group in the hotel and said this: “Folks, this regime is in trouble…when I was in the main square, the money changers were doing their deals bold as brass right under the nostrils of the police. When moneylenders in a communist country lose fear, respect, call it what you will, authority is in trouble.”

I really had no premonition that 10 moths later, that ironclad border which passed through to Austria would be as open as the Ambleside Seawall on a Sunday afternoon.

People are that way. Where they will hide their actions at one point, the more time that passes, the more caution is fluttering off in the breeze. I thought of that when I read the National Observer yesterday and was horrified to find myself about to upchuck my Cheerios at a sight I thought was out of my life – the admittedly pretty face of the last premier, her full toothed, ear-to-ear grin of self satisfaction at something agreeably trivial.

What now, for the sake of sanity, was she back for? And what was the Observer, which had the guts to tell her to get stuffed when she was in office, doing with that god damned – forgive me, I lost my head – picture, hard hat and all?

It was a good story. The first line says it:  

Environmentalists expressed shock and outrage on Monday over revelations from internal documents that suggested that British Columbia’s plan to tackle climate pollution was written in the boardrooms of big oil and gas companies in Alberta.

The story was broken by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – sort of. In fact, the Vancouver Observer tentatively broke the story in February, 2014 when they did a feature on the Tar Sands and told how Postmedia was holding hands with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. I got in the act, penning a series of editorials on the relationship between big media and big oil, including a similar deal between the Postmedia-owned Vancouver Province and Resource Works, the shills for the Woodfibre LNG project.

Now, patience dear readers, none of this is what I’m on about. The media, the oil companies and governments, federal and provincial, are thicker than thieves – in fact, they are thieves. It’s rather got down to this: it’s hard to set a thief to catch a thief when the whole bloody lot are thieves. No, my sights are where they’ve been for some years – on a provincial government that from the moment they took office were corrupt.

Now, I was scarcely the first journalist to notice this or to chronicle it. From the time Damien Gillis and I became colleagues in The Common Sense Canadian we had an outlet and were able to provide it to others. It’s a pretty narrow band, to be sure, but the alternatives are narrow too, and not many.

What we must all wake up to is that before our very eyes the provincial treasury and the treasuries of the two main Crown Corporations, the jewels in the Crown, BC Hydro and ICBC are in disrepair unto ruin.

A number of people have chronicled the several tales which have resulted in the complex fraud perpetrated on the public. I have no desire to pick jockeys and steeds for special attention and there have been many facets to the debacle. Few would disagree that Norm Farrell has been the main master chronicler, with other specialists in different areas. When you consider that BC Hydro includes Site C, political pay-offs, draining public assets into private pockets, environmental carnage and international trade shenanigans, there’s been more than enough chronicling to share, with the provincial debt and ICBC left over, not to mention countless associated shell games.

What is not missing are victims all the way from Hydro being cheated in its hugely overpriced energy purchases in sweetheart deals for independent power projects.

What surely is not missing is the miscreants who plotted and profited.

No, it was the hard hat, the cheerful visage, the Pepsodent smile about to burst into happy songs for all the happy kiddies to join in that did it. Something snapped. Doesn’t anyone have to pay for the party? Even a little bit?

Is this all a 16-year victimless serial crime? Is it just that the Campbell/Clark – not government, for God’s sake, perhaps frolic is the word – brought our youth back, eternal laughing youth, where Santa Claus was really in charge? Nothing cost anything because a guy in a 3 piece suit always methodically intoned yet another balanced budget; where the cash piled up in the corner was real stuff but the bills just took Monopoly money?

Were there no laws because there weren’t any bad people meaning no policemen and empty jails?

And it came to me, this was the punishment. Of course, the victims paid, and the crooks got to laugh endlessly in our faces at our stupidity.

So that was it – we all have to look at that fucking hard hat and the mocking smile for eternity.

And since our stupidity was unbelievable, it just goes on…and on…and on.

And there it is, the perfect crime.

When may we do it again, huh? Christy?


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