Now that I’m back from some well-enjoyed fun in the sun, I am amazed at the number of people who have suggested the biggest story that happened in BC in the past few weeks was the decision by Premier Gordon Campbell to step down. They are wrong.
As repeatedly explained on this blog long ago, especially after the HST debacle, Campbell would be going before the next election: it was only really a question of timing--and I guess after you spend $240,000 taxpayer dollars to “talk” at the voters, and your popularity actually drops, it’s time to go collect your corporate and/or political appointment rewards!
Politicians, good and bad, come and go. They leave their various legacies, but few alter, or by their actions threaten the very long-term integrity of our justice and democratic governmental systems.
The BC Rail fiasco has done that.
After seven years of delays, wrangling and legal manoeuvering David Basi and Bob Virk decided to plead guilty after all. Exasperating as that may be to the citizenry, that was their legal right and they decided to invoke it. Of course, in doing so, and admitting guilt on FOUR serious charges, they brought shame on themselves, to their public “service”, to those who appointed them and displayed for all to see their lack of ethics and integrity.
And adding insult to public injury, the courts imposed very soft sentences on them.
But the stink only starts there.
The real stench will not go away until there is a FULL Public Inquiry into exactly what did go on, who knew what, and who did what, right up to the highest levels of government and their political friends and supporters.
The way things have been left, Basi and Virk look like the fall guys in some BC version of a Mafiosa criminal conspiracy, in which Mr Big and his Conseilliaries get away with some huge fraudulent scheme involving government, private contracts and millions upon millions in public funds. This is the stuff Oscars are made of. Cue the music and bring back Al Pacino!
And the BC government has made it all wrose by agreeing to pick up the accused’s $6 million legal fees, part of an $18 million cost to our “justice” system.
It was all a farce that looks to me as aimed primarily, secondarily and beyond at keeping the whole truth of what happened in the BC Rail deal away from full public scrutiny, public knowledge and public accountability.
There should even be a criminal conspiracy investigation ito how this unfolded, how justice was denied and how the integrity of our democratic governmental system was scuttled, manipulated and sold off--with public funds!!
If Carole James and the NDP promise a full judicial public inquiry into exactly what did happen in the BC Rail case, I’ll vote for them on that basis alone.
Why? To save the integrity of our political and democratic governmental system.
Reprinted by permission of Harv Oberfeld. This article first appeared on his blog, Keeping it Real.