Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Open letter to Rafe Mair

You've no idea how many people miss an investigative reporter with some bristle.
Even though one mellows with age and accepts things one never would have at 20 or 30 or 40, one begins to realize that what we knew and how we lived when younger, will probably never happen again.
It seems today's newspapers, radio and TV news are all in line to simply pass on information designed for us by someone else.
I have quit listening to Bill Good because there are too many times I find myself egging him on and saying, "Ask your guest about this!" But alas, he meekly allows them to escape without insisting on answers. And most of the news outlets simply accept the politician's answers. (Michael Smyth may be a bright spot)

Well, I really wanted to tell you my take on the destruction of BC without much questioning from the general public. I am not blaming that public, only realizing that everyday they are slugging out a living and have no time for blame. Of course, there was a time when we knew Rafe WAS asking those prickly questions in the Jack Webster tradition on behalf of the public.

Many years ago, I worked for a film production company, and we made the film 20 Great Years for WAC Bennett. We were told (in secrecy) about the upcoming election about nine months before it was announced by Premier Bennett. I did a lot of work on that film including editing, directing, filming and writing. I was also involved in researching the many aspects of what the Social Credit Government had done in those twenty great years. That was when I became sold on how great British Columbia was.

But my long winded point of this letter is that starting with WAC Bennett, the intent of the succeeding premiers was always the same, regardless of political party, to continue to build this great province.
Dave Barrett, Bill Bennett, Mike Harcourt, Bill Vander Zalm, Glen Clark, et al, in spite of their problems that the press made much controversy about, still had the intent of building our province. And in retrospect, when reviewing what they did, one has to ask how bad was it? They all still placed BC first.
From WAC's taking control of the Pacific Great Eastern railway and making it BC Rail to open up and service BC's interior and north, to the expropriation of the BC Electric and making of BC Hydro, we had British Columbians with guts, talent and smarts who looked after us, were proud to participate in our province, and made our lives better. Our wild salmon fishery was one of the wonders of the world. We got our Knowledge Network etc etc.

With Mr Gordon Campbell, it is almost like we are dealing with a mole spy from another country, who has gotten into power and has now set about to dismantle the province, and turn it over to foreign interests.
Why would anyone put a middle man into our Hydro power system who needs to siphon off profit when BC Hydro's profit went wholly into BC?
What is the true purpose of Run of the River power projects except to extract profit for others?
Why would we allow those foreign owned Atlantic salmon fish farms to destroy that great wild sockeye fishery?
When virtually ALL our liquor profits went into BC's coffers, why would we want to sell out that for some other people's profits?
Why did we need outsiders looking for profits to make BC Gas global? I'm still not sure how our BC Gas became Terasen?
What reasons can be used for sending 430 million dollars to German workers for BC Ferries when British Columbia ship yards are totally capable and already have built enduring ships still in service. And that 430 million would have filtered into BC's economy and workers instead of Germany's. What possible reason would Mr. Campbell have had for trying to shut down the Georgia Straight tabloid? Except to stop free speech? Well, he has effectively curtailed all our news outlets now.

We used to proudly build hospitals, not shut them down. And what premier from this history would have ever separated a husband and wife in their last few years together? None of them, we had human people in charge of our province then. BC people. And virtually all of these premiers trusted British Columbians to run things. No need to import strangers with secret agendas.
The non answers to these questions set conspiracy theorists vibrating with corruption and secret bank account speculations. Which is one result of unanswered questions.

Most of us old timers recall the days of Pat Burns, Jack Webster, Gary Bannerman and Ed Murphy on our radio waves. And especially the days when Rafe Mair, at the risk of making an enemy, refused to accept an evasive answer, and went again and again after the truth.

It is with dismay that anyone born and raised here looks at the state of our province today and contemplates it's future.
The only question I have left to ask is: Are we past the point of no return?


  1. Caterwauls,

    It's refreshing and invigorating to read your memories of bygone premiers.

    And if you'll forgive me, I have a precious memory of being with a crowd of other students at SFU when that 20-year film premiered. Agog, we waited in a big lecture hall to see this marvel. First scene (I think)showed W.A.C. Bennett presiding over the opening of something, very dignified, showing how BC was progressive. A respectful silence filled the lecture hall. Next we flashed to a golden Peace River wheat field. Camera zooms in on the unhappy face of a farmer driving a bone-rattling tractor over his wheat field. As he shuddered along, the narrator intoned:

    "Yes, folks, it all began in 1955 ..." and I tell you, the big lecture hall simply exploded. Roars of laughter bounced off the high ceiling and rippled back through the rows of students, we laughed as if that great BC mystery had finally been solved ... and I remember nothing else that except that we laughed and laughed some more.

    Which makes it all the more surprising that ... add 20 more years ... and we're beginning to understand those Tree Farm Licences (despite the Socred Minister of Forests doing time in jail for accepting bribes) ... and to appreciate BC Hydro (did Wacky really nationalize BC Electric? Yes he did!) and BC Rail ...

    so that today we finally know what we've lost.

    It's obviously never too late to smarten up.

    [P.S. Couldn't you have spelled one or two of BC's former premiers' names correctly?)

  2. I stand corrected on those names. Sometimes I roar into a Bitch and Blab and forget to correct typos later. (always blame typos)
    As for the film, we were pretty proud of our efforts, it was simple and honest and the production was exact with the facts and had no exits for the government to say that was a `terminological inexactitude,` to paraphrase Nixon.
    I doubt whether any government today would commit to film so much information, as they change with the wind direction and are looking to cover their sorry asses instead of just doing the job on behalf of the people they purport to represent.

  3. Anonymous9:32 pm

    I saw that BC picture too. Lew Parry made it for Wacky B. Sheez we were proud of our province those days. What the hell happened?


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