Thursday, October 27, 2011

Liberals reward immorality

Without ethical foundations, leadership in government is merely random wandering among near infinite possibilities. A whim of yesterday had value then but none today. No one knows what will be expedient tomorrow.

I wrote earlier a belief that Gordon Campbell entered politics with a developed set of principles but exchanged those to satisfy greed and lust for power. Christy Clark on the other hand never paused long enough to develop or even think about canons of ethical behaviour. While contemporaries were learning powers of rational thought, Clark was considering if style should be guided by Lady Diana or Madonna.

Clark may be the essential Liberal, an attractive and glib person who might be elected but will never achieve a program of value, or one noted in time. She has no framework of principles nor interest in ethical governance. She will dance to the music selected by masters like Gwyn Morgan and Patrick Kinsella.

If Clark were principled, she would be outraged by the case of Dr. Douglas Sweeney, British Columbia's former Chief Inspector of Mines. She would remove from public service those who managed the Boss Power affair with illegitimate purpose, particularly the government executives who took or condoned actions aimed at ruining Dr. Sweeney. He was a man of the highest qualifications and impeccable reputation. I found these announcements at UBC's Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering.

In the News, December 8, 2006
"Mr. Douglas E Sweeney, a PhD student in the department, is the winner of this year's Lieutenant Governor's Award for Innovations in Public Safety, based on his mining safety PhD research.

"Doug is an experienced professional in risk management and occupational health and safety in heavy industry. He has practiced health and safety for 29 years in a variety of capacities including heavy oil, conventional oil and gas, steel production, nickel mining and diamond exploration. He has also served with the Alberta Government as a petroleum engineer, inspector of mines, chief investigator and manager of safety. He is currently the Manager of Occupational Health and Safety for Thompson Rivers University located in Kamloops, British Columbia."
NBK PhD Student Appointed as BC Chief Inspector of Mines, May 4, 2007
"Effective June 1, 2007 Dr. Malcolm Scoble's PhD student Doug Sweeney will become the new BC Chief Inspector of Mines, accountable for the development, implementation, administration and enforcement of province-wide legislation, regulations and programs.

"The position directs specialists and field inspectors, who review, approve and permit mining activity, set and enforce standards, encourage safe and environmentally sound mining practices and ensure compliance with the Mines Act and the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in BC. The Chief Inspector and staff ensure compliance through inspection, ordering remedial action, mine closure, or, if necessary, prosecution for failure to comply...

"I thank all those who have supported me and have been so generous with their kind words and encouragement. I consider the office of the Chief Inspector of Mines to be an institution in BC; an institution that I have long respected and aspired to."
Dr. Sweeney lost his senior mining position and believes he was permanently damaged by the Boss Power affair. That cannot be said for the wrongdoers. Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Richard Neufeld became Senator Richard Neufeld in 2009, earning a basic salary of $132,000 with almost no responsibilities. He can carry on a separate career and sit (or not) in the Senate until age 75 and retire with a number of fully-indexed pensions, not means tested.

Deputy Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Greg Reimer was rewarded with the post of Executive Vice President at BC Hydro where he earns $234,000 a year, plus "executive variable pay" (bonuses), expense allowances and the supplemental BC Hydro Executive Pension Plan that provides special provisions including the right to purchase additional pension service despite Reimer already having had full pensionable service. Joining BC Hydro two months into fiscal 2011, Reimer was also paid $84,000 that year as Deputy Minister of Mines. He too will eventually retire with a number of lucrative pensions for his public service.

Assistant Deputy Minister of Mines John Cavanagh is still employed as an ADM in Mining and Minerals. He was paid $182,000 in salaries and expenses in fiscal 2011. Hard times, by comparison with his more senior former associates but a comfortable sinecure nevertheless.

Liberal MLA Kevin Krueger was junior mines minister during the Boss Power event but his role was probably only as observer. Krueger has always been a recipient of management memos, not an originator.

In the end, transgressors in the mining department scandal carry on without penalties. Instead, they pocket indulgent rewards and the public pays millions, without even the moral satisfaction to which Dr. Sweeney is entitled.

I hazard a guess that at least he finds the eventual outcome satisfying on one level, the one described by Shakespeare in Antony and Cleopatra:
"If I lose mine honor, I lose myself."
Dr. Sweeney, unlike former colleagues, kept his honour.
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  1. This is both a good news and a bad news story.

    Trouble is, the common person would see Dr.Sweeney as the hero in the story and a person of character we should be proud to see in the employ of the province of BC and...
    the "people who know what is good for us common folk" see him as an obstacle in getting to the ends, no matter what the means.

    there is big disconnect somewhere
    but how and who elects these people?

  2. BCChrstie is neither attractive nor competent . Scary in both areas is more like it.

    GLIB √
    phoney √
    over-her-head √

  3. Attractive? Well, to me, anyone without steel and plastic holding bones together qualifies as attractive.

  4. A particularly awesome post, as usual Norm! Why can't (or is it won't) reporters with the resources of major media at least compare to your impeccable ability to conduct research and connect the dots?

  5. As far as Christie's attractiveness goes, which is irrelevant in a premier, pretend or real, I consider her to be either a three Viagra case or a good reason to join the gay team!

  6. Liberal MLA Kevin Krueger may have been viewed as a junior mines minister but its his name on the Court documents and on the Government News release (at the bottom)

    (5) Subsection (3) does not apply in relation to a legacy placer claim converted from a placer lease under section 21 of the Mineral Tenure Act Regulation, B.C. Reg. 529/2004 or to a lease registered in relation to such a legacy placer claim.

    [9] On the same date, the defendant issued a news release titled “Government Confirms Position on Uranium Development” (the “News Release”). It said, in part:

    The Province will not support the exploration and development of uranium in British Columbia and is establishing a “no registration reserve” under the Mineral Tenure Act for uranium and thorium, Minister of State for Mining Kevin Krueger announced today.

    “By confirming our position on these radioactive minerals, we are providing certainty and clarity to the mining industry,” said Krueger. “B.C. is an attractive place for mining exploration and investment, and we are committed to fostering a healthy, productive industry.”


    Government News Source:



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