BC FORUM News from the Advocate, Spring 2017
Who, exactly, is Christy Clark working for?
He who pays the piper calls the tune – and the rich are raking it in at our expense
By Diane Wood
President, BC FORUM
In feudal times kings, dukes and princes gave themselves lives of comfort and luxury by crushing the lives and hopes of peasants. They enriched themselves by taking from the poor.
Today, Christy Clark has turned British Columbia into what the Globe and Mail calls “a pay-to-play empire.” And boy, do corporations and the super-rich ever pay her.
Tons of cash
Real estate developers. Foreign fossil fuel companies. European big pharma corporations. Chinese investment firms. Corporate lobbyists. Millionaires.
They’ve given tons of cash to Christy Clark’s party. In the last year alone, the BC Liberals have collected three times more than the $4.4 million political parties are allowed to spend during the campaign period.
In grateful recognition of her role as chief fund-raiser, the BC Liberals have given Christy Clark a personal share in the takings – just over $300,000 since she became premier.
Christy Clark has variously described this as “a car allowance” and a “stipend.”
In other contexts, it would be described as money laundering, influence peddling or corruption. As the Globe and Mail points out, “the perception that corporate money is influencing government decisions is impossible to avoid.”
It is self-evident that the superrich are not pouring millions into Christy Clark’s Liberal party to help people like you and me.
Just look at the outcomes:
• Our province is hugely unequal. The gap between the wealthy and the rest of us is the largest in Canada.
• A steady increase in regressive taxes and fees has rewarded the rich. The wealthiest 1% now pay a lower rate of taxes in relation to income than everyone else.
• Good jobs have been replaced by low paid, part-time precarious jobs – what you might call profit before people positions.
• Poverty is among the worst in Canada. Too many children go to school hungry.
Disappointments and failures
In the last election, Christy Clark promised she would take us to an LNG Shangri-La where families came first.
She has instead consistently favoured the rich and said “No!” to the dreams and hopes of ordinary people.
Her record is one of disappointments and failures on fair taxes, affordable housing, home support, residential care, education, skills training, affordable child care, defending our coast and tackling climate change.
She has left us as the only province in Canada without a poverty reduction plan or even a Human Rights Commission to ensure all British Columbians are treated equally. Seeking to divert attention from this sorry record, Christy Clark has subjected us to a $16 million barrage of government advertising – twice the amount budgeted.
Third-party front groups funded by her corporate friends are spending more millions on untrue and misleading attack ads.
It’s up to us to understand they are driven by narrow self-interest. By standing together on May 9, we can begin to create new opportunities, and make life better for ordinary British Columbians.