Fascism and Contemporary Canada. Part VIIII.
The ‘Socialist Hordes”
Written by Robin Mathews
Led By The Fiscally Conservative Social Credit W.A.C. Bennett Government. The ‘Fascist Transformation’ By The ‘Liberal’ Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark Governments.
In those ‘Wacky’ Bennett days (1952-1972), a person could step into a Vancouver Hotel elevator on one day with W.A.C. Bennett and Robert Bonner (wearing, as I remember it, black homburg hats and long black overcoats). The next day a person could share the elevator with Glenn Gould, pale-faced, wearing the gray knitted wool gloves he used to protect his (pianist) genius hands. Another era … so to speak.
It is an era that calls into question all B.C. political parties of 2013. It forces the question about what and who they REALLY are and who they represent.
Not one of them represents the people of British Columbia.
One need only cast one’s mind back to the so-called B.C. Socred animal that somehow was hatched from the post-Second World War world. Canada had gone from deep Depression into a rationed Second World War – sixteen years of relatively bad times – though, ironically, the War brought back jobs and a measure of financial security to many Canadians, even while their husbands, sons, and brothers were being wounded and slaughtered in distant lands.
After 1945 – for more than a decade – a catch-up game was conducted in public services, manufacturing, and what is now called “infrastructure”. And so the arrival of the hardware merchant from Kelowna as premier and head of (what many believed was) a nutcase Party in 1952 didn’t bode well for the province.
If W.A.C. Bennett were to arrive on the scene today and to set about the kind of innovation and enterprise he did back then, he would be called a Left Nationalist and would face open scorn by fundamentalist neoliberals. They are so powerful few dare to take them on. They reside in almost all Canadian university economics departments, almost all private economic ‘thinktanks’,
among most of the ‘boys in short pants’ in every backroom of Canadian political parties, and everywhere in the mainstream press and media. They are, everywhere, the hired stooges of the One Per Cent.
As a result, not only Canada but the whole West is in crisis. Rafael Correa, president of Equador, spoke of the crisis in a speech at the Sorbonne University in Paris on November 6. “The crisis”, he said, “ is not only economic. It’s a result of the poverty of both leadership and ideas. We have been afraid to think for ourselves and we’ve accepted - in a way that is as passive as it is absurd – the ‘diktats’ of foreigners.” (my translation, Le Monde diplomatique, Dec. 2013, p. 16) He anchors the crisis in what he calls the ‘neoliberal fundamentalism’ practiced by people in power almost everywhere.
Those people, whether in the IMF, the Harper cabinet, the BCNDP or anywhere else are destroying the economies of healthy and potentially healthy communities. They are all doing what W.A.C. Bennett rejected absolutely in his building of the B.C. economy and community.
Looking back at what he achieved, we can see determination that shaped B.C. as a real community in which all shared and were involved in the whole enterprise. There was a Capitalist Class – which the Bennett Socreds believed in, but it was a Capitalist Class unlike anything in B.C. today … and one kept on a leash by government policy.
To begin, the W.A.C. Bennett government exploited the provincial (since 1918) railway. It was not sold off. It was developed as an infrastructure tool for development. At the time when Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark (premier and deputy premier) set to work to strip it, cripple it, and pass it off to the CNR, it had seventeen years of profitable operation. One of the major activities involved in BC Rail corruption was the organized (and I believe criminal) undermining, stripping, and misreporting of B.C. Rail condition to the B.C. people.
In 1961 the W.A.C. Bennett government united the electrical and other energy enterprises in British Columbia to fashion BC Hydro – a stunningly successful Crown Corporation, which paced expansion, built infrastructure, and guarded costs for both residential users and enterprise.
Already British Columbians are forgetting that a semi-branch of BC Hydro, added later, was BC Gas – and if it had remained in the structure, there would be no Kinder Morgan in British Columbia, no Fortis. There would be no secret dealings with the shady and elusive foreign Corporations to pass B.C. energy wealth to neoliberal thieves.
Perhaps the most extraordinary act of pillage and calculated destruction has been wrought on BC Hydro. A successful enterprise adding to General Revenues of government for years and providing absolute assurance of low-cost energy for all British Columbians, it has been dessicated and desecrated by the Campbell/Christy Clark governments.
(1) The Auditor General of British Columbia has not approved its annual financial report for ten years.
(2) BC Hydro is now in so bad a state of disguised and doctored accounting chaos that experts argue about just how much it is dragging British Columbia into critical insolvency.
(3) To begin the open destruction of BC Hydro as an enterprise owned by British Columbians and operated in their interest, the Gordon Campbell government passed legislation in 2003 forbidding BC Hydro to operate effectively. The Campbell government prevented (and the Christy Clark government continues to prevent) BC Hydro from producing and selling any additional energy than the amount available in 2003. Instead, BC Hydro must purchase (at a great loss) energy from Independent Power Producers. The IPPs have been set up as a totally unnecessary and destructive (of rivers) neoliberal force.
(4) The Gordon Campbell government (with Christy Clark as deputy premier) divided BC Hydro into three parts. A huge part was (and is) “contracted” to one of the entities very close to the huge 2001 (U.S.) Enron energy scandal. The corporation which became Accenture split off from Arthur Anderson shortly before the scandal exploded into public view.
Accenture is headquartered, now, in Dublin, Ireland. It is a major global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing corporation. It has more employees in India than anywhere else in the world. It would be deemed by many to be an iconic neoliberal operation. The “contract” from the B.C. government with which it was handed customer service, westech IT services, network computer services, Human Resources, Financial Systems, purchasing, and Building and offices service groups was reported to be a contract with secret sections to which British Columbians have never been given access.
It is perfectly fair to suggest that a global corporation offering such services is less interested in the well-being of British Columbians than in the profit it can wring from its activities globally.
(5) I believe that a full-scale Public Inquiry and RCMP investigation into all the operations of BC Hydro and the legislation related to it passed by the Campbell/Christy Clark governments would eventuate in criminal charges for Breach of Trust and assorted other fraudulent activities.
Written by Robin Mathews
The Straight Goods
Cheers Eyes Wide Open