Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pot reproaches kettle for looking black, again

Real estate heir Ryan Beedie announced he would encourage 20 other wealthy inheritors and business leaders to complete thousands of Liberal memberships on behalf of Kevin Falcon. We don't know yet if that includes or adds to names taken from employee lists, rosters of teenage hockey teams, cat houses or veterinary practices. Pehaps Mr. Beedie and friends have been standing outside Safeway selling memberships or maybe they recruit while sipping Gold Rush cocktails at Opus Bar. One good thing about online voting is that new members don't even have to attend a meeting. They can even have others vote on their behalf. That's democracy, BC Liberal style.

Christy Clark worries about Kevin Falcon's ties to big business:
“Clearly Kevin is not having any trouble stacking up lists of insiders, but I think what British Columbians, and BC Liberals want from government now is not a leader who can grant access to people who already have a lot of access . . "
Ms. Clark, not to be outdone by Falcon's ante of Beedie, a Fraser Institute director, wagered her own director of the think tank that inspires BC Liberal policies. Gwyn Morgan, also a director of the Manning Centre, is the former president and CEO of energy company EnCana Corp., one of North America's largest natural gas producers. He is but one among a team of rich folks backing Clark, including Patrick Kinsella, consultant and advisor to both buyer and seller of BC Rail. It is safe to assume that Kinsella is not helping Clark to gain access for himself to the Liberal Party's backroom. He is already the proprietor.

At one time, by his own account, the most powerful man in Canada's oil patch, Morgan is now Chairman of the Board of SNC-Lavalin, a construction and engineering company adept in securing mega-contracts from governments. It is a familiar name in British Columbia, involved in billions of dollars in various public projects including Sea to Sky Highway, Canada Line, Sky Train and the Bennett Bridge in Kelowna, as builder and operator. Additionally, subsidiary Fraser River Pile & Dredge is Canada's largest marine construction and dredging contractor with a very long and proud history of securing government deals.

Interestingly, for someone who spends much time courting politicians and taking back huge cheques drawn on the public purse, Morgan wrote this in the Globe and Mail,
". . . raising tax rates would be counterproductive and politically toxic. The only realistic option is to put the brakes on spending. But how? The obvious place to start is health care, every province's biggest and fastest rising expense."
There you have the future with BC Liberals, whether it is Kevin Falcon or Christy Clark, they are servants of the super-rich, dedicated to the no-government/no taxes principles espoused by the Fraser Institute. They aim to eliminate public healthcare, education and vital activities such as environmental oversight and other forms of industrial and commercial regulation.

Morgan has had an admirable career. However, he has been criticized for working with the RCMP in staging a phony bombing of an abandoned gas-well shack owned by Alberta Energy Corporation, a pre-cursor of EnCana. They were building a case against anti-gas campaigner Wiebo Ludwig and used a tactic reminiscent of the force's dirty tricks campaign against Quebec separatists in the 1970s. 

EnCana has come under fire from several lobby groups, including Greenpeace and the David Suzuki Foundation, because of a $1.7-billion pipeline EnCana and its partners are building through an ecologically sensitive slice of the rain forest in Ecuador.  Morgan's pitched battle, along with other industry executives, against the Kyoto accord has also put him at odds with many environmentalists.

A House of Commons committee rejected Stephen Harper's nominee to head a review board for public appointments. The government operations committee rejected the nomination of Gwyn Morgan as unsuitable for the job. According to a committee member, during a Toronto speech Morgan said,
". . . that refugees tended to be less qualified than economic immigrants. He questioned the role of multiculturalism." 
It is not clear if that sentiment will go over well with tens of thousands of South Asians signed to new Liberal membership cards.

The Canadian Encyclopedia


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