Sunday, December 10, 2006
BCRail port lands, most cruel hoax -- and further developments 18 January 2007
They call it a land claims settlement. A treaty with the First Nations Tsawwassen Band.
No, it's not. It's a continuation of the BCRail deal.
On December 7, 2006, a critical step in the sale of BCRail was celebrated because it was made to look like a Treaty settlement. The Campbell government has given 207 hectares of prime Delta farmland, situated beside the Roberts Bank port, to the Tsawwassen First Nations.
The Tsawwassens have agreed to give up their Reserve status and to begin paying property taxes. How are they going to do that? Well ... the Campbell government has removed this land from the Agricultural Land Reserve making it OK to pave the richest, blackest soil in B.C. (Only 4% of BC land is arable.)
And for what? So that the Tsawwassens will be forced to make deals with industrial developers, even selling the land to industry if they so decide.
And for what? So that the industrial developers (who probably would like to buy Deltaport and Roberts Bank someday) can build warehouses for the shipping containers arriving and departing via the adjoining port facilities.
In other words: the farmlands will become a functioning part of the port facility ... the BCRail port facility ... making it all the more pricey (in cash terms) when a future government again puts Roberts Bank up for sale.
So what seemed like a long-awaited treaty settlement is really just another part of Gordon Campbell's plan to sell off BCRail and everything connected to it. Why else are there 185 spin doctors in the employ of the government, at the Ministry of Finance? (See Order in Council #656 dated 12 Sept. '06) Why else?
Meantime, in a small quiet town farther up the B.C. coast, an unbelievable fairy story is being pitched to another First Nations Band in Powell River. The incredible offer is that -- if only the Tla'Amin (Sliammon) Band will accept a rare 900-acre piece of agricultural land (currently protected by the A.L.R.) as their particular Treaty Settlement -- which they too could sell to an eager developer named Yrainucep (that's "pecuniary" spelled backwards) which has never done this sort of empire-building before, but happens to be waiting in the wings.
Pecunuary/Yrainucep offers, they say, to build a 5-star hotel, an international airport, a championship golf course, 60 - 200 homes, equestrian centre ... whatever, whatever ... on their agricultural land -- and if the Sliammons accept, then this hoax will be celebrated as the Sliammon Treaty.
Lies, deceit, and cover-up ... so cruelly aimed at two innocent targets: BC's needful First Nations and the essential Agricultural Land Reserve.
Is it so hard to imagine that Ministerial Aides might lose their way, in an environment like this?
And so far, B.C.'s Loyal Opposition hasn't had a word to say about it.
Next pre-trial hearing for Basi, Virk, Basi (BVB) in B.C. Supreme Court - Monday 18 December 2006, 9:30 AM.
18 January 2007 - BC Rail wants new rail yard at Roberts Bank
DELTA - The British Columbia Railway Company wants to purchase up to 71 hectares of farmland to make way for a new rail yard at Roberts Bank.
While reluctant to confirm details of the purchase, BCR's properties president John Lusney admitted the company is speaking to property owners on both sides of Deltaport Way between 41B Street and Arthur Drive.
BCR, a provincial Crown corporation, owns an option consisting of a 250-foot strip on the south side of the current rail line in the same area.
"We know the expansion of Deltaport is going ahead, so we are exercising those options," Lusney said.
He said the company had some land owners approach it about the possibility of purchasing the remaining land. The option cuts through four parcels of farmland.
However, the major landowner involved maintains it was B.C. Rail that approached him, asking to purchase about 54 hectares.
It appeared to Peter Guichon the railway believed the family would be anxious to sell because its quality of life would deteriorate due to the noise and shunting from the proposed rail yard.
"We said if you [BCR] really want this land, we make our living farming, so we want other farmland in return," he said.
Unfortunately Mary I think the Loyal Opposition has had its word, your posting of this perspective on the so-called "treaty making." I think you are pretty well it as far as Loyal Opposition in this "floating crap game" that is British Columbia at the mercy of the Campbell Crime Family.
Up here in the hurtland I've been bothered by the little news I hear of the so called treaties and couldn't help but notice each one seemed to be a sneak attack on the ALR.
Your current posting helps clarify what was bothering me about the whole pile of crap! Everybody must be either retarded or in on it - what does anyone in the NDP caucus do with their time?
Where is Joy? I have nothing against adult TV, but your province needs you for more than their libido. Are they all crooks, blowhards and posers?
That stuff was written by a Liberal flak master and rehearsed carefully for delivery as part of a carefully orchestrated plan.
The interesting thing, clear evidence of what's actually underway, is the discordant note set by the unscripted cries from the wilderness of the rest of the First Nations of this province where Gordo and his band haven't yet worked out a deal with their friends and enablers.
You ain't seen nothing yet. The full voice of the 185 are soon going to be singing the praises of Gordon Campbell - Gloria in excelsis Deo.
While 'The Judge'* sits in that luxury suite in Vancouver...pulling all the strings.*
If you can't place 'The Judge' you need to read your Malumud again.
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I was one of the few people who were fortunate to be in the small, crowded Elm Room on Tuesday November 28 for the Yrainucep Development Corporation (YDC) presentation to the Agricultural Land Commission on what YDC would like to see done in Wildwood. It was all I could do to keep from crying as Don Greer (president of YDC) described his vision of an international airport with jets landing 24 hours a day, an 18-hole golf course, a hotel and convention center, a huge gated housing development, private medical and dental facilities, stores, an equestrian centre and on and on. All of this would be private, gated and for profit.
Since I had never heard of YDC, I went home and checked out its website; it does not list one completed project. During the presentation there was mention of Gander, Newfoundland so I phoned the Gander Beacon newspaper, the Gander chamber of commerce, the Gander better business bureau and the office of the CEO of Gander international airport. In every case the people were friendly and helpful but none of them had ever heard of YDC. The company is not listed in the Newfoundland Provincial Registry of Companies. I also spoke with the head of DMG (Design Management Group) who is mentioned on the YDC website. In this conversation I was told that YDC was not involved in any way with the work at Gander airport. He implied that YDC is a company that was formed specifically for this airport project (which was originally planned for Sechelt) and DMG is involved only as consulting engineers. Since PRSC Land Developments Ltd. has refused to reveal any information about this project, residents are forced to seek out whatever information we can find.
This beautiful waterfront property is incredibly rare and valuable. The Wildwood Ratepayers ask our city council, PRREDS (Powell River Regional Economic Development Society), the Powell River Waterfront Development Corporation, and PRSC to be cautious about any plans for this land; please drop all the secrecy and work with and listen to the citizens of Powell River.
President, Wildwood Ratepayers
Published in The Peak, Powell River
What was it that caused the mayor and city council to override democratic principles of openness and transparency in order to keep the joint venture development scheme secret from us all this time?
Some city council members justified the secrecy and backroom meetings with the old shibboleth, land speculation. Clearly, this group is out of touch with reality because there isn't anyone who would invest in this short-on-specifics, off-the-wall land scheme-so, clearly, there was no need to worry about land speculation.
The fact that our elected officials would go along with any scheme from a company named Yrainucep, which is the word 'pecuniary' spelled backwards, is statement enough. 'Pecuniary' means having to do with money and carries the unwritten connotation of having to do with bankruptcy or poverty. This whole joint venture idea is bankrupt.
To quote the Bard, "It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
DEVELOPERS UNVEIL PLANS FOR NEW SECHELT AIRPORT
Cathie Roy/Staff Writer
Sechelt Airport could become the first privately-owned airport in Canada if a $100 million development plan of a local businessman becomes a reality.
Don Greer, president of Yrainucep Development Corp., and vice-president Mebs Tejpar hosted an information meeting last Sunday (Jan. 15) in Sechelt outlining the ambitious project for members of Sechelt council and invited guests. [Yep, same Don Greer who's promising an airport, a gated community, a 5-star hotel, a golf course, an equestrian centre, etc. for Powell River just a few miles farther north. For the same Pecuniary-spelled-backwards Developer.]
Greer said privately-owned airports in the United States are not unusual. There are 3,000 U.S. fly-in communities such as the one proposed by Greer’s company. [Surprise?]
“The first one in Canada could be here. Other communities are already expressing interest. Make this a showcase,” Greer urged.
The project, which is centred on the airport, calls for $36 million to be invested in a new 7,200 ft. runway, terminal, hangars and other infrastructure. DMG (Design Management Group) International is the company Yrainucep chose to build the proposed new airport. Reg Hedges, president of DMG, and Terry Parsons, manager of business development, were on hand Sunday to explain their involvement and give some background on their company’s credentials.
DMG is a civil engineering firm that specializes in airports. The company is an expert in runway design and building as well as terminals and all other aspects of airport construction. Based on the East Coast of Canada, the firm has been international since 1999. It’s been responsible for successful projects in Cuba, the Bahamas, Chile, Washington, D.C. and Sri Lanka.
Parsons is a retired Transport Canada engineer with extensive experience in the field. He is the recent past chair of Gander International Airport. Parsons left the position in November 2004 because he had served the maximum (under Canadian law) eight years as chair. During the time he was chair, the airport went from losing money to a facility that today collects over $1.5 million in rent per year.
“This is a very exciting project. There is a tremendous amount of money in airport structure. [It would be] a tremendous asset to the community,” Parsons said.
Greer said the airport would be geared to private corporate jets and the destination market. The latter would be drawn to the area by a new resort hotel and convention centre. Also in the plans are high-end homes where jet/plane owners would be able to park their aircrafts in the hangar/garages at the side of the homes. [Oh, but wasn't that the Powell River set-up?]
Parsons also said DMG would enter into an arrangement to operate the airport after its completion.
Yrainucep would include a new water treatment plant that could service Davis Bay from Havies Road and all of Wilson Creek.
Extensive recreational facilities that would be available to the greater community are also part of the proposed development.
While Mayor Cam Reid and councillors Mike Shanks and Barry Poole, who attended the meeting, are interested in the plan, they cautioned the people present on Sunday that due process has to be followed in the community.
Reid said the first item to be dealt with would be a request for proposals for development at the airport. If no further proposals were forthcoming, one (or several) in camera meetings would take place to deal with Yrainucep’s plan.
The in camera meetings are necessitated because the proposal deals with land-use issues. After those meetings the public would be consulted through advertised meetings. [Ha ha ha ...]
Although informal meetings have been ongoing between Yrainucep and Sechelt council for the past year and a half, it’s only since the civic election that the development company has gone public with its plan.
Right now the airport is home to about 40 aircraft. Robin MacGregor, owner of Goldwing Helicopters Ltd., is currently the largest tenant at the Sechelt airport. He is anxious for the project to go ahead.
MacGregor sees the project as nothing but positive for the community. And while he’s not sure he wants to expand his specialty helicopter business (some of his clients are Vancouver Film Studios [Google David McLean, former chairman of CN, big friend of Gordon Campbell] and construction and emergency work for BC Hydro), in at least one aspect it would be good news for him.
Right now, because the airport is uncertified, no commercial aviation is allowed after dark. Because of the isolation factor on the Sunshine Coast this poses a problem for anyone needing air service at night. As B.C. Ferries doesn’t run late at night and water taxis are limited by sea conditions, anyone who needs to leave the Coast to catch connecting flights or to accompany a family member being taken by air ambulance is generally out of luck.
MacGregor is also excited about the amount of money Yrainucep is planning to spend on infrastructure and tourism.
“There’s nothing but benefit to anyone in the community,” MacGregor said.
5 years later we are back to exactly what we had before, natives living in squalor with the taxpayer one way or another footing the bill.
This rotten scheme can't be blamed on the Tsawwassen Band ... who were offered just about the only deal they were likely to see.
"Footing the bill" for "squalor"? ... Jeez.
... The deal -- covered in a 280-page document accompanied by a 520-page appendix and a 152-page book of maps -- represents about 13 years of work, depending on when one takes the first measure and, "in many cases a lifetime of work," said provincial Minister of Aboriginal Relations Mike de Jong.
While optimism and light-hearted banter flavoured the event, many speeches noted there is still a long road ahead before the deal is ratified.
Maa-nulth lead negotiator Gary Yabsley said "when we leave today we will face opposition from friends and family; within and outside of our communities. I can only imagine how painful this will be." But, he said, "life will be better" with the agreement that will transform law, economic, social and education systems.
Details of the sweeping agreement were announced Friday. It covers everything from land ownership to transfer of artifacts from museums, including the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
The financial package is estimated to be valued at $320 million to $500 million, depending on how the land value is assessed. Other clauses cover hunting, fishing, forestry, taxation, education and governance rights.
Premier Gordon Campbell said the agreement will give the Maa-nulth "the tools to become active participants in the economy. The benefits of this agreement will be felt throughout the region for generations to come."
I was especially impressed by the final paragraph. Aren't you? But also about the "optimism and light-hearted banter which flavoured the event ..." Jeez.
Do you feel that this is good value to B.C. taxpayers who are "footing the bill" for the government's 185 newly-appointed communications specialists?
Do the math: that's 185 x [take your pick, 45,000. to 105,000. a year salaries, so let's say an average pay packet of 75,000.] so it's 185 x 75,000. = $13,875,000. a year to spin-doctor something. What do you figure they're working on, since coming on board September 12/06??
Somebody told me this morning that I'm losing my "Sense of hummer." Damn right.
Democracy is a wonderful thing, as is free speech, even when this freedom is misused.
Please check your facts before making statements such as how the Tsawwassen Treaty is part of the BC Rail deal.
Or that industrial interests are likely after the purchase of the Roberts Bank Terminal
Or that this treaty causes farmland to be removed from the ALR.
The treaty calls involves three pieces of land. One is the reserve land the band always owns and occupies. The second is a large portion of land that comes from a 4000 acre parcel that was expropriated by the Federal government in 1968 as part of their plan to build the Roberts Bank Superport. The third is an option for them to buy more of this same land parcel (only after first right of refusal by lease holders of that land (local farmers) decline their purchase option.
Now the back story. The foreshore lands were expropriated in the late 1960's by the Feds and the farmers who owned this land were paid 'fair market value' for same. Later on, when this land was deemed as not immediately required for port development, it was ceded to the provincial government, with the caveat that the province would build any required raod access to the port terminals and not restrict access in any way.
The land was then leased back and very low rates to the farming community (who had already been paid market value for this land) and this land was then farmed until now.
The Agricultural Land Reserve concept was created by Dave Barrett and the NDP government in 1972-3 AFTER THIS LAND HAD BEEN EXPROPRIATED, and from what I can see, has never been in the ALR, which makes it difficult to understand how it can be 'pulled out of the ALR' now.
As for 'industrial developers' buying Roberts Bank - give your head a shake. It is a crown asset. A strategic national interest asset and not for sale at any price.
In case you are wondering why TSI is operating the container terminal or Westshore, the coal terminal - they are tenants. The lease the facility and their leases are subject to review before renewal.
And the who shebang is subject to federal, provincial, regional and local environmental review processes that are so extensive and duplicitous that it is almost impossible to proclaim the public's or environment's best interests are not upheld.
And I haven't even started on the issue(s) of economic development ie - what is it we do in the lower mainland to make a living? Given the options other parts of the province, our country and our continent have to chose from (nickel and coppoer smelters, strip mining, coal fired power plants, and the like) a benign facility like a container terminal strarts to look pretty darn good.
Granted the biggest sources of polution were the container ships idling their engines while loading and unloading, but plans to introduce electric shore power are underway. As for the equipment used on the ground, TSI is converting all this gear to run on bio-diesel.
The stuff that is in those containers heading across the Pacific are not just exports of Canada and the US - they're jobs. Real jobs. In Vancouver, there are more then 90,000 people who are directly employed in the movement of goods through our ports.
And the stuff that comes in through Deltaport? The TV you watch, the lamp that sits on your desk. The lawn chair that you use at your kid's soccer game. Even the soccer ball and their uniforms.
Before you think I am a big business crank who does not understand the issues of the community, I grew up on a farm on Vancouver Island and operated one of the most successful on-farm dairy operations in Ladner.
Your right to an opinion is not only valued but esential to a free-speech society but please, please exercise some discipline in ensuring that you are weighing in with constructive, responsible information so that people can make an informed decision.
At least 200 acres of the lands which are being transferred to the Tsawwassen First Nation are widely reported as coming out of the ALR. The Provincial minister responsible confirmed the same this morning on CBC radio.
I think you may well be correct about the current property under lease by the port, as for the rest of it, someone is not telling the truth.
It seems pretty evident to me, Mary, that you're starting to ruffle some feathers.
Don't lose heart.
Identity Management Incorporated
(Public process consultants and media relations)
Identity Management Inc.
Suite 401 – 6745 Station Hill Court
Burnaby, BC, Canada V3N 4Z4
I wonder what his contract with the BC Liberal Government is worth...
Doggone right, it's a crown asset ... Crown Jewel's more like it ... and it was on the auction block just a while ago. These things make people worry, you know, Steve.
And its sister port: Vancouver Wharves bulk marine terminal in North Vancouver, is also up for sale ... um, er, ... up for lease, with the assistance of that bank which seems to figure in court news so often, CIBC through its World Markets, will assist what's left of BC Rail in selecting the winner.
Like it says: "Interested readers may glean some idea of the current situation by reading the company’s most recent service plan, which is available on the website [http://www/bcrco.com/]. That plan envisions final disposal, by December 31, 2007, of both Vancouver Wharves and the 23-mile railway line connecting three major railways (CN, Canadian Pacific Railway and Burlington Northern Santa Fe) with the port terminals at Roberts Bank."
And you think that Roberts Bank is safe, Steve? And that the adjoining Tsawwassen lands won't be blacktopped and industrialized?
Gosh. Are you one of the 185 cheer-leaders assigned to paint the world rosey-pink all over?
But does this mean that 185 government spin doctors aren't really enough ... and that Steve's Identity Management (wha-a-at??) services are contracted ... in addition?
And just incidentally ... what's wrong in your life or work, when you need the services of an Identity Manager?
Sean Holman has some stuff on him too:
Mr. Simpson was formerly FCB/Ronalds Reynolds Ltd.'s senior creative services vice-president, a creative director at Cockfield Brown Inc. and president of Simpson and Simpson Advertising Inc. and Totally Hip Software Technologies Inc. He has also been a broadcaster in Vancouver.
ta ta stevie boy!
Which list are you on?
I bet the next time he shows it'll be under cover.
Nice to know you're getting attention Mary. Wait till they see what else you have up your sleeve.
Anything in from those Baker Street irregulars on Maui?
Sorry all those facts give you a headache. Why am I surprised. Although I can't help but note that you have not prepared a retort to one of them, other than to say, (and wrongly I might add) that Roberts Bank was up for sale a few years ago.
And further that, Kevin Falcon pulled it off the table.
Last time I looked, Kevin Falcon was Minister of Transportation for the provincial government. And last time I looked, Roberts Bank is a federal facility.
And last time I looked, Vancouver Wharves is a tenent of the Port of Vancouver, and vancouver Wharves is for sale, it is a private company and is entitlked to do so.
As for you and your other reader's amazing sleuthing abilties to determine who I am and that I amazingly have a day job, I commend your efforts, although you will notice I, unlike you, or others have not attempted to hide my identity. Then again, I have an identity not a pseudonym.
I have chosen to enter this forum because our national interest is a worthwhile debate and I have chosen to engage you with respect. Why are you so threatened as to do otherwise.
You're wrong on some of your facts, Steve. And it's our dear old BCRail that proves you wrong. They are clear in what they say on their web-site, which I copied for you above. And which you say is wrong.
You might not accept Vaughn Palmer's veracity either (although I rather think you do, as a general rule) but Palmer proves you wrong on the Falcon bit. Roberts Bank came under the BC Ministry of Transportation. See:
VICTORIA - Excerpt from Vaughn Palmer's column:
... The prosecution provided the court with a summary of the material that has been disclosed, including references to the aforementioned notes.
The summary indicates that the first note recounts how "investigators" from the commercial crime section had "interviewed Mr. Chris Trumpy, deputy minister responsible for the BC Rail privatization process."
The second has Trumpy providing investigators with a draft copy of the evaluation committee's report on the prospective sale.
A third indicates that "Mr. Trumpy had concerns with a document found in the possession of Bruce Clark. Mr. Clark is believed to be the brother of Deputy Premier."
The dating on the three notes places them between the first police visit to Trumpy on March 1 and the cancellation of the bidding process on Roberts Bank 10 days later. [End of Palmer quote.]
In the spirit of sharing what we know about this unfortunate affair, Steve, please come back and let's continue our group discussion. Only please stop trying to re-write history. This BVB issue is too darned important to not give it our best effort. I know that some people believe that everything -- even truth itself -- is for sale but that's not what's going on at this blog.
The mandate here is clearly written in the masthead. It's the first thing you see, when you enter the Home Page.
So let's agree to share what we know ... what we know ... without trying to bamboozle anybody with anything less than the truth. We're British Columbians. We know that game. And we're pretty much pissed off with it, too.
If you're really involving yourself in this forum in the 'national interest' I'd suggest its hardly the way to do it. You must also know that there are still many elements of BCRail which were not part of the CN conversion and are still retained by a company called BC Rail which is not privately owned but is a crown corporation beneficially owned by the people of British Columbia.
Just as, a few short years ago, the whole of BC Rail was... and just as, prior to 2001, all kinds of consultants said it should remain.
If you're truly interested in the 'national' or provincial interest, as you say you are - you have a strange way of showing it.
As for posting in the open, I'd say it's pretty much in your own beneficial interest to do so as an ad man.
Some of us here may actually work for these characters some of the time.
A government which would sell off a jewel like BC Rail for tax writeoffs to a company owned or operated by certain friends of that same government and its members - and would incur bribery and influence peddling charges into the bargain, is not to be trusted.
If I sounded rude, I apologize and I will make every effort to adhere to the mandate of this blog.
Now that we have introduced each other, I say hello and thanks for creating this blog.
As for your comments regarding Vaughn Palmer... when he refers to Falcon pulling 'Roberts Bank' off the table, he is referring to the second part of the BC Rail sale (lease) which was the second rail spur from Langley to the causeway at Roberts Bank. NOT Roberts Bank, the seaport.
The BC government does not own Roberts Bank. It is a federal crown asset and as far as I know it has not ever been on the block.
As far as your legitimate concerns over the BC Rail deal, I agre that there are many many questions to be answered.
In response to Anonymous, yes I was an ad man, but retired from that business in 1988. That is a long long time ago.
I respectfully ask you why, in joining this blog, and questioning the statements made by bloggers such as yourself and MB Mary, in order to express my belief in free speech and the national interest, why you claim "this is hardly the way to do it".
Is this because I disagree with you? Is this because you do not believe anyone who has information that differs from your beliefs is not entitled to express them? Is this because you do not wish to hear anything in this forum that might challenge your convictions?
I respect your convictions and uphold your right to have them. But ask that, in the spirit of fairness, you take a breath, and objectively hear my views. And then, investigate them and decide for yourself as to whether my points are based in fact, not ferver.
When you say "A government which would sell off a jewel like BC Rail for tax writeoffs to a company owned or operated by certain friends of that same government and its members - and would incur bribery and influence peddling charges into the bargain, is not to be trusted." ... you are referring to whom?
The federal government? The provincial government? BC Rail executives? CN Rail executives? Whom?
BC Rail was a provincial government deal.
Roberts Bank is a federal government operation and the government of BC and BC Rail etc have no interest in this facility from the minute you set foot on the causeway.
So please, as Mary has asked, let's share information and ideas, not bile and other contents of the spleen just because it feels good to vent.
I assume you can read. Moreover, that's not meant as a slap in the face either. If you look carefully back through the archives on this site, you'll find out exactly what I'm talking about.
The sale/lease of BC Rail to CN Rail is one main question. The tax write offs refer to the net value of the price paid by CN for those assets - written off for as much as the next 25 years against consolidated revenue. If you know anything about taxation and the status of CN as a profit making private corporation you know exactly what I mean.
If you know who is involved in management and as major shareholders in CN you'll be aware of the 'friends' I’m referring to and if you're aware of major supporters and contributors to the current premier's political enterprises for many years you'll be able to make the same connections too.
If you take the time to read all the material here and to go back over a series of questions of the day put to the premier and others (including two ministers of finance) since 2003 in committee and in the legislature you'll be aware that neither the premier nor officials from the Finance ministry have EVER answered many of those questions.
I haven't even got to the incidents involving the main players in the court case that's going to start in the new year about what involvement certain political appointees had in the BC Rail deal and other deals…the mail matter of the Basi, Virk, Basi case and the legislature raids
In addition, I haven't mentioned the Order in Council appointment of some 185 communications people. They always talked about the NDP having too many appointments of that type. It's OIC 656, Sept 12 2006, by the way.
You're gonna have to get up to speed steve. But, once you’re there, you may well decide you really want to help and that, even from an old ad man, would be great. Maybe you can tell me why a government that prides itself on being accountable and careful with its money – to the point of starving the Ministry of Children and Family Services – needs more than 185 OIC appointments of ‘communications’ and media people.
Who do you think they’re trying to SELL?
And as for the media, well, that's another question.
The venting! Some of us have been at this for a long, long time. No apologies for the venting.
Somehow these public assets in British Columbia are being lost, one after another.
There's a major trial pending which we hope will partially account for how that happens.
That's the focus here, Steve. Not who owns the deck chairs on the Titannic ...
I think that you misunderstood my point.
My understanding, and I could be wrong, it that all funds are managed by band councils. These councils are a function of the Indian Act and in many cases do not represent the historical makeup or hierachy of the bands they represent.
It has been widely reported in the mainstream media (over the years) alledged misuse or misappropriation of funds by some band councils. I seem to recall members of the Rama band in Ontario several years ago claiming that millions of dollars of casino money was unaccounted for.
By law, the finances are band councils are private and not open to audit by the Auditor General.
My concern then is what happens when band councils get a huge lump sum influx of cash while further Federal money gets cut off. What assurances do we have as taxpayers that the money will be spent for the benefit of all band members and that in 5 years we do not see band members simply moving on to welfare or back in court claiming that the Government didn't represent their interests properly?
I don't think you have any assurance - and in fairness I'm not quite sure why you should have or expect to have.
Because, this is, at bottom, a business deal and very little more.
I haven't seen the fine print, but the general impression one has of the deals to this point is:
1) fee simple title tranfers and the land can be sold - in fact, there is every prospect the land will be sold; in fact, I'd suggest that the government or its agents already have 'that' carefully scoped out. It's one of the potentially sleaziest aspects of this deal and if you want confirmation of the philosophical foundation for this apporach to dealing with native issues, I'd suggest you look to Harper's mentors in Calgary.
2) Again, I haven't seen the 'deal' itself but the impression one gets in the press is (and again this is a philosophical tie to Tom Flanagan) that the bands who take the deal will, over the next few years, lose any benefits they may have had under the provisions of the Indian Act. They will be subject to tax like other citizens and will, should they need it, be able to avail themselves of any social programs (if there are any left at that point) available to other 'ordinary' citizens.
One can hardly blame First Nations for taking the deal, they've waited long enough.
Is it a good deal for anyone?
One thing you can be sure of, at least in the case of the Tsawwassen settlement, is that Premier Campbell's friends will do just fine.
All other 'beneficiaries' - no guarantee!
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