Wednesday, August 06, 2008
What about the CanWest Conspiracy? Is it only a theory?
Conspiracy means a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful: a conspiracy to destroy the government.
Theory means a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses".
Terminology: The term "conspiracy theory" may be a neutral descriptor for any conspiracy claim. To conspire means "to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or to use such means to accomplish a lawful end." However, conspiracy theory is also used to indicate a narrative genre that includes a broad selection of (not necessarily related) arguments for the existence of grand conspiracies, any of which might have far-reaching social and political implications if true.
The first recorded use of the phrase "conspiracy theory" dates to the year 1909. Originally it was a neutral term; during the political upheaval of the 1960s the term acquired its current derogatory sense. It entered the supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary as late as 1997.
In an early essay by Daniel Pipes "adapted from a study prepared for the CIA", Pipes attempts to pin down what beliefs distinguish 'the conspiracy mentality' from 'more conventional patterns of thought': appearances deceive; conspiracies drive history; nothing is haphazard; the enemy always gains; power, fame, money, and sex account for all.
The term "conspiracy theory" is frequently used by mainstream scholars and in popular culture to identify a type of folklore similar to an urban legend, especially an explanatory narrative which is constructed with particular methodological flaws. The term is also used pejoratively to dismiss claims that are alleged by critics to be misconceived, paranoid, unfounded, outlandish, irrational, or otherwise unworthy of serious consideration. (Wikipedia)
WHAT ABOUT THE CANWEST CONSPIRACY?
CanWest Global media is responsible for putting a person such as G. Campbell into government and keeping him there for 7 years. This is not a Conspiracy Theory. This is fact. But the facts to support this statement are not easy to come by, because in media terms, this is Vancouver, where CanWest rules. In CanWest's Vancouver, news is presented from "duelling perspectives" (p.210) with mostly one side of the story emphasized, the other side often omitted or demonized.
And this is exactly where Marc Edge comes in. Edge wrote the book explaining how politics controls much of Canada's media. He worked for 20 years as a West Coast journalist before returning to university studies. His book, Asper Nation, Canada's Most Dangerous Media Company, grew out of the thesis he wrote for his Master's degree. Thanks to Marc Edge, we can hold in our hands the facts lined up to transform speculative theory into a fact-based narrative. For example ...
Did you know that "Big Media has an interest in keeping people uninformed'? (p.218) That politics and journalism are no longer separate estates? (p.103) That fake news can lead to political manipulation? (p.129) One example would be the false report on the eve of the 2004 provincial election that BCTF would take a strike vote immediately after an NDP victory.
Did you know that Joel Connelly, covering B.C. for the Seattle Post Intellingencer, described Vancouver newspapers as so biased they should be read on a 45 degree slant? (p.228) It was this U.S. journalist who noted the "perils of having a daily paper monopoly" in advance of a provincial election, he noted, CanWest papers "trumpeted good economic news with Page 1 stories and TV features on the 2010 Winter Olympics building boom" News that reflected poorly on the Campbell Liberals was hardly mentioned. "The opposition's case - 75 medical facilities closed or downsized, 113 schools shut, slashes in environmental protection and the highly suspicious BC Rail Deal - has been given short shrift. When the NDP began to gain in the polls, noted Connelly, the Vancouver Sun and BCTV reported that the BCTeachers planned a strike vote just after the election. As a result, Campbell "basked in the opportunity to talk and look tough." And there was no strike.
"The environment was another issue on which CanWest newspapers seemingly did not share the public concern. .. Canadian media carried so much misinformation on global warming, claimed Georgia Straight "it might best be described as journalist malpractice." (p.222)
Did you know that slanting the news means "omission, differential selection, preferential placement"? (p.224)
Did you know that CanWest has blurred the line between news and advertising -- with politics as well -- the whole idea being to supposedly pump up everybody's enthusiasm about the potential of the economy and this new government and to make advertisers feel good? (p.219)
Did you know that David Asper (CanWest co-owner) was on stage supporting Stephen Harper in Harper's candidacy for federal election? (p. 234) And that Aspers appointed Derek Burney -- Brian Mulroney's former Chief of Staff -- to be CanWest Chairman, creating "the perfect conduit between government and media (p.235).
Big media, writes Marc Edge, is in the driver's seat of big politics.
I think we knew or sensed all these things ... only we didn't realize how completely Big Media had seized control. Citizens simply haven't had the facts lined up to prove it.
I think we halfway understood that National Post was set up as a national newspaper by Conrad Black and then Izzy Asper to advocate their p.o.v.(p.131). Many of us remember that editorials were written in the Winnipeg Head Office of CanWest and distributed to CanWest media across Canada. But not so many of us knew that National Post ordered "No rebuttal in columns or Letters to the Editor" would be allowed (p.130) How democratic is that. Where, you may well ask, do we turn for a moderate or leftwing view?
Do you remember, for example, when CanWest journalists rebelled? First they withdrew their by-lines, refusing to be identified with some of the stuff being published. Next came the protest signed by 55 journalists which was published in The Globe and Mail on December 11, 2001. And 77 journalists had joined the public rebellion by January 2002 (p.135). Then Izzy Asper replied with "The Rights of the Owners" which became "The Right of Owners vs. The Public Interest". It was total war. (p.154)
You think I'm kidding? Making this up? Nope. You've seen me grumbling about the bits I could see for myself in the three big dailies in Vancouver/Victoria. You know, too, that this very blog was established because of CanWest's failure to report the issues surrounding the hugely worrisome transaction which took BCRail out of public ownership. But I didn't know the half of it. I'm wondering if you did.
But anyone who thinks it's easy to force owners to change their attitude, and to start publishing information best serving the public interest, should start reading this book at p. 165, and find out how the Campbell era was invented, packaged, and sold to British Columbia. Even a guy arrested in Hawaii and thrown in the drunk tank overnight, was handled to Campbell's advantage by CanWest so that the guy is still premier of British Columbia. In my opinion, Campbell won his second term based upon the false news of a BC Teachers' strike vote as soon as the NDP won the 2005 election. In fact, there are some hard-to-swallow factors surrounding the first, 2001 landslide victory of G. Campbell, too. So it's fair to say that if the New Democrats do win the next election, they'll do so after beating two opponents: the BC Liberals and the power of CanWest media. How democratic is that.
We know that The Fraser Institute has no worries with CanWest or with G. Campbell. Look back in time ... possibly you remember that the Fraser Institute was established in 1974 as soon as an NDP government was elected in B.C. (p.105). But did you know that the first $100,000. was donated to The Fraser Institute by the lumber giant, MacMillan Bloedel? Nobody who lived in B.C. during the past 20 years can doubt that the New Democratic Party was demonised relentlessly by CanWest.
Is that honest? balanced? democratic? to have the political views of approx. 50% of the B.C. population silenced or demonized? Who gave CanWest the authority to run the country?
Patricia Pearson was a columnist for National Post when it started up. She resigned, asking "What finally provokes a journalist to resign in protest of bias?" in a Globe and Mail column titled "See no evil, no more" dated April 19, 2003. "The answer is when she begins to feel that that bias is doing her nation harm ... " She also said that after Asper took over from Conrad Black, "[a] kind of Political Correctness, so excoriated as a disease of the left, began to prevail." She quit her column in National Post to protest what she felt was actual political peril on the Post's pages. This, from the granddaughter of Lester B. Pearson, one-time Nobel Peace Prize winner! (p.214)
So, I ask you: is CanWest part of a conspiracy to shape the world to maximize its own p.o.v., profits and power? Yes, I think it is. Does Marc Edge have a Conspiracy Theory or is he substantiating the facts? I think he's substantiating the facts.
Marc Edge has provided the sources and the facts to create a logical narrative of what has befallen the media in Canada, especially in British Columbia.
Read the book. There's a big dull section in the middle of Asper Nation which details share transactions, legal battles and world-wide takeovers. Good luck on that. But the straight-talk about "journalistic malpractice" and "Vancouver Heartbreak" speaks directly to the hearts and minds of British Columbians ... with words we desperately need to hear. Please, read Asper Nation, Canada's most dangerous media company, by Marc Edge. Vancouver, New Star Books, 2007. ISBN 978-1-55420-032-0. Then tell us what you think. We should talk more about these things.
Picking up on that definition (above) about "Conspiracy Theorists", here's the basic question: whose claims are "misconceived, paranoid, unfounded, outlandish, irrational, or otherwise unworthy of serious consideration"? I say that describes CanWest better than it describes the citizens who have every right to keep asking the questions and trying to figure out the world we live in. And every right to expect some honest answers when we buy our local newspapers. - BC Mary.
RICO kickback securities fraud on B.C. treasury, welfare and union-pension funds
David Hawkins, Forensic Economist at Hawks' CAFE
Ron Gamble, Leader of the Reform Party of British Columbia
Open e-mail to:
Alberto Gonzales, U.S. Attorney General
The Honourable Wally Oppal, Attorney General of British Columbia (Via e-mail of The Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia)
George Bush, President of the United States of America; Jeb Bush, Governor State of Florida; Gordon Campbell, Premier, Province of British Columbia; Larry Campbell, Mayor and Council of City of Vancouver; Brad Desmarais, RCMP; Thor Diakow, Stirling Faux Show, CKNW; Enforcement Division, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); Romolo Di Fonzo, BC Securities Commission; Sheila Fraser, Canadian Auditor General; Russ Hiebert, Conservative Member of Parliament, South-Surrey Cloverdale; Senator Kenny, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on [Canada's] National Security & Defence; Judi McLeod, Founder Editor, Canada Free Press; Dineen Ann Riviezzo, Chair, State Commission Investigation, New York; William Safire, New York Times; John Simpson, Globe and Mail; Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight; Michael Smyth, The Province; and, Peter Warren, CKNW
Dear Mr. Gonzalez and Mr. Oppal:
Hawks’ CAFE believes special investors in the CAI Private Equity Group have taken custody of B.C.’s treasury, welfare and union pension funds for joint-venture (JV) securities and kickback frauds with what the U.S. Department of Justice calls a racketeering influenced and corrupt organization (RICO).
More specifically, we believe that $60 billion of public assets in the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) are in custody of a RICO enterprise equipped with web-enabled joint-venture war rooms, one of which was located on the 79th floor of One World Trade Center, New York.
Daynard & Van Thunen Co. Insurance 79 4750
First Liberty Investment Group Financial Institutions 79 1000
International Office Centers Personal Services 79 26367
Nikko Securities Financial Institutions 79 9340
Okato Shoji Company, Ltd. Computers/Data Processing 79 2729
Securant Technologies Computers/Data Processing 79 2729
We note that any members, even involuntary members, of a RICO enterprise which reneges on a JV agreement in return for bribes, are at risk from
beatings, intimidation and threats, up to and including solicitation of murder.
The June 2000 press release on the indictments of 120 defendants by the U.S. Department of Justice in New York, refers to RICO securities frauds for which bcIMC’s board of directors would have no remedy under Canadian law:
Manipulation of Publicly-Traded Securities
Union Pension Funds Fraud and Kickback Schemes
Private Placement Fraud
Our 2004 filing in British Columbia of an information to obtain a search warrant of the BC Treasury Board, bcIMC and CAI offices, implies a RICO securities fraud on provincial funds for which a remedy is urgently needed in Canada: http://www.davidhawkinsresearch.com/source/search-warrant-app-5-05.html
Manipulation of Enron shares by Powerex-BC Hydro traders
Union Pension Fund Fraud and Kickback Privatization of BC Hydro
Private Placement Fraud through B.C. Hydro – Accenture in Bermuda
We invite the U.S. and B.C. attorney generals to investigate bcIMC for RICO securities and kickback frauds from its date of incorporation in January 2000. Please note the url below shows that all five categories of investments by bcIMC’s board of directors remain “Unaudited” as at March 31st, 2004.
David Hawkins and Ron Gamble
Notes to: “RICO kickback securities fraud on B.C. treasury, welfare and union-pension funds”
RICO aims at four categories of "Prohibited Activities": (a) the use of income derived from a pattern of racketeering activity or through collection of an unlawful debt to acquire an interest in, establish, or operate an enterprise engaged in or affecting interstate commerce; (b) the acquisition or maintenance of an interest in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of an unlawful debt; (c) the conduct of or participation in the conduct of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of an unlawful debt; and (d) conspiring to violate any of these three provisions. The U.S. courts have noted, moreover, that the infiltration of labor organizations, with the concomitant "theft from union funds, extortion through the threat of economic pressure, and the profit to be gained from the manipulation of welfare and pension funds," was a specific wrong which Congress sought to address in RICO.
Edited notes from text of DoJ press release of June 14, 2000…
1. Manipulation of Publicly-Traded Securities: The RICO Enterprise fraudulently obtains and controls large blocks of free or substantially-discounted publicly-traded securities in violation of various SEC rules and regulations. The RICO Enterprise secretly controls or infiltrates brokerage firms, including First Liberty Investment Group, formerly with an office on the 79th floor of One World Trade Center. The RICO Enterprise fraudulently engages in prearranged trades, pays secret bribes to corrupt stock brokers, and “churns” shares to create artificial demand for these securities, and then sells their holdings into that inflated demand at considerable profit.
2. Union Pension Funds Fraud and Kickback Schemes: The RICO Enterprise defrauds union pension funds by employing corrupt securities industry professionals to manage union pension funds, and then, with the knowledge and consent of those professionals, structuring investments for those funds to allow secret diversions of a portion of the funds to members of the RICO Enterprise and corrupt union officials. One such fraudulent investment would be a preferred stock offering where union pension fund assets are invested in the offering but 20% of every $ invested is "kicked back" to the RICO Enterprise and corrupt union officials. To give such investments an air of legitimacy and convince honest union officials to permit such an investment, the Enterprise recruits corrupt money managers as investment advisers, who agree to manage the union pension funds with proxy votes knowing that a portion invested in any corrupt deal is used to fund kickbacks to members of the RICO Enterprise and corrupt union officials.
A second investment deal designed to defraud union pension funds involves hedge funds that claimed to have a successful proprietary trading strategy. Here, kickbacks to the RICO Enterprise and corrupt union officials are funded through payment of excessive trading commissions and a plan to invest union pension funds in high-risk investments.
The pension funds targeted in these corrupt schemes include: the Production Workers Local 400, which is alleged to be influenced by the Colombo Crime Family; the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 137; and the Detectives' Endowment Association ("DEA"), which serves NYPD detectives.
The success of schemes which involved police or other unions relied on placing RICO agents as treasurer or trustees of pension or welfare funds and directing illegal kickbacks to corruptly influence decisions at their respective unions.
Police in NY alleged to have: (a) leaked confidential law enforcement information concerning organized crime investigations to members and associates of organized crime; (b) assisted in securing firearm "carry'' permits for members of organized crime; (c) influenced the outcome of an NYPD investigation into the activities of a member of the RICO Enterprise; and (d) provided New York City law enforcement parking permits to members of organized crime.
3. Private Placement Fraud: The RICO Enterprise defrauds investors in the private placement of securities by arranging for the payment of secret exorbitant sales commissions to brokers of up to 50 percent of the proceeds obtained from investors.
File # 128928 -2, Vancouver Registry, Provincial Court of British Columbia
“Larry Bell, a public servant, including ;
a] - Chairman of B. C. Hydro, a provincial Crown Corporation;
b] - Director of the B. C. Hydro-Accenture Public-Private Partnership between B. C. Hydro and Accenture Business Services of B. C. Ltd. with directors including Robert G. Elton, executive vice-president finance; Jay Grewal, director business development, David Harrison, director and vice chair and Larry Bell himself;
c] - Chairman of the Richmond Airport Vancouver (RAV) rapid transit project;
d] - Former Chairman of UBC Board of Governors; "By legislation, the Board is responsible for the management, administration and control of the property, revenue, business and University affairs, including the appointment of senior officials and faculty on the recommendation of the President";
e] - Special Investor in the Canadian American Investors group (CAI) a partnership which controls Macdonald Dettwiler and Associates through a combination of debt and equity and has custody of the investment inventory of B. C. Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) through one of the CAI partners, the Royal Bank of Canada under the name of RBC Global Services;
f] - Exclusive marketing rights to the electronic conveyancing and database services of the B.C. Online Land Title Registry system through exclusive access granted to the CAI-controlled company, MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates of Richmond, British Columbia;
g] - Director of InfoWest Services Inc., which company is the Plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Province of B. C. and Macdonald Dettwiler for an alleged conspiracy to acquire for the debt-financed acquisition of exclusive access to B. C. Online. B. C. Online has exclusive electronic access to databases or applications that are developed, owned, or maintained by a number of Provincial Ministries or governmental agencies, i.e., some or all of the Provincial Land Title Registry / Corporate Registry / Personal Property Registry / Manufactured Home Registry / Real Property Taxation Branch / Assessment Authority / Motor Vehicle Branch / Insurance Company of British Columbia / Municipal Affairs / Site Registry / Vital Statistics Agency and Land Data B. C.”
To Anonymous 2:23, thank you. I can't say that I fully understand your memo but perhaps others do, and perhaps they will comment further.
I googled David Hawkins & Ron Gamble and find that they are Reform guys:
Ron Gamble, President of Reform BC
David Hawkins, Forensic Economist at Hawks' CAFE.
Well, hello Anonymous 5:59. What took you so long?
As you say, any of us who use even the entire ounce of the brains God gave us, knows that "Unions = bad, Unions = ba-a-ad" isn't the full equivalent of a serious thought. It's some knee-jerk reaction picked up off a CanWest talk show, I bet.
It's not even remotely accurate.
I guess you're directing your other insults at the present B.C. Opposition when you (a) call them "Pinkos" and (b) suggest that they are the full equivalent of the current occupiers of the government benches. Wrong.
Do you really think that the provincial party that established the Agricultural Land Reserve and the Insurance Corporation of B.C. is likely to sell off Crown corporations like BC Rail? Stop kidding yourself.
There's a big problem with confrontational politics like that: it provides no basis for improvement in the future.
Having elected the Campbell Gang, it's understandable that you are displeased with them. But why try to smear the New Democrats with the Campbell slime? Why not opt for a fresh start if the other 50% of BC voters want to choose a new government?
You don't believe in the democratic process or somethin'?
The Canadian Prime Minster,
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper email@example.com
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa K1A 0A2
Canadian Minister for Industry, The Honourable Jim Prentice Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca
Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Honorable David Emerson Emerson.D@parl.gc.ca
August 4, 2008
Dear Prime Minister Harper:
Reform BC finds evidence of sabotage and escrow fraud in Liberal cap and trade
Reform BC appreciated the opportunity yesterday of briefing some of your government's ministers and their staff on evidence found by Reform Party leaders of escrow fraud, sabotage and money laundering through various Liberal carbon-tax and cap and trade schemes.
Minister of Industry Jim Prentice was not aware that the $100 cheques representing payments of a `British Columbia Climate Action Dividend' had been drawn on the federal Receiver General for Canada account.
The covert `renting' of federal account by the provincial government, suggests Liberal-appointed trustees of the $85 billion bcIMC pension fund are using escrowed tax shelters structured by Goldman Sachs and/or KPMG to conceal `naked short selling' of shares in companies controlled, targeted and then sabotaged by insiders of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC).
Anon 5:59 your obvious hate for the NDP shows very well through your knee jerk reactions towards unions. I wonder if in your working career if you have evr worked a 40 hour week or taken holidays. Or had any long weekends with one of the days paid? Do you have medical? Dental? Do you pay into OAP and CPP? If you work in Canada I know you have all of the above and more. So why are you so intent on busting union asses? Did you also know that all of the above were brought about by UNIONS.
Your crap in falling back on the old addages that unions are Baaaad doesn't cut it here. So why don't you go out and just look at what unions have done for you? They don't just work for their members.
And furthermore Carole James in on record for backing away from union involvement in her party. Unlike the Liberals who salivate over the gross contributions made by big business and the biased media in this province.
BC Mary says:
About that Big Memo from Anonymous 2:23 ...
Here's the grain of salt to take it with:
Sort of reminds me of another Sujit Chowdhury, of failed World Trade University fame, in downtown Chilliwack with the help of "CEPCO". Did I say "failed"? Scam comes closer to the truth especially in light of all the help that the received with the full backing of the BC Liberal government.
To the best of my knowledge (after one hour of searching the internet last night) there is at least one other David Hawkins (USA) which is completely different from the David Hawkins "Hawk Cafe". No possible way that that the two are the same. Different bios.
The Hawk Cafe website writer has this to say about himself:
"* *Work Experience:*
* In 2006, David Hawkins is a world authority on the use of applied mathematics, thermodynamics and deductive logic to analyze anisotropic (disordered) effects caused by natural disasters, accidents or violent crime and – in the latter case – identify weapons, opportunities and motives of perpetrators"
When someone says that he is a world authority..... I say to myself OH Really!
Suggestion: Reject the comment from David Hawkins, outright!
Why?: Check this Captain Sherlock website "Hunt for Obama and Tax-loss Pig Farm / Rezko's Bomb - Obama's Treason" ".....
forensic economists at Hawks CAFE, are focused on KPMG or COBRA murder-for-hire, tax-shelter, climate-change and reinsurance frauds. To ensure they respond to questions or information you have on these issues, please incorporate this message with the logo above or here"
When I read Mr. Union's are Bad at 5:59 I thought I had accidentally arrived at the Tyee site. You know the Mild One on the Line that once was a progressive site, before it decided to compete with CanWest for the audience for meaningless infotainment and meaningless fact free and argument free discussion boards.
How these people can accuse unions of being "greedy" yet give a pass to the corporate sponsorship of the Harper and Campbell governments is truly a testament to the success of the Canned Waste mission to do the opposite of inform the public. Of course the Coporate donors have no interest in enhancing their own profit by owning government - it's all in the name of public service!
Tyee = Diss A Point Ment
Its long but worth the read and also a clip from the Hansard
anadian pension funds linked to controversial project in Patagonia
By Richard Montgomery
Douglas Tompkins, the acclaimed adventurer and multimillionaire clothing magnate, flew his private plane over British Columbia in 1992 and he was inspired–but not by B.C.'s beauty. Tompkins, the American founder of the North Face and Esprit brands, was so horrified by the province's clearcuts that he immediately exited the business world. He then flew to the other end of the planet and started to buy up large blocks of temperate rainforest in a region that still resembles British Columbia before the arrival of the Europeans.
Tompkins's first acquisition, a $50-million, 714,000-acre piece of pristine forest, cut Chile in two: industry to the north and nature to the south. Now called Pumalin Park, Tompkins's first nature reserve is an environmental roadblock that extends from southern Chile's eastern border with Argentina all the way west to the Pacific Ocean. There is no major road from Chile's central lake region to Patagonia–only a circuitous network of frequently washed-out gravel roads and an assortment of unreliable ferries.
Tourists who brave it into northern Patagonia stand in awe when confronted with the region's globally unique flora and fauna. Highlights include massive groves of alerce trees ( Fitzroya cupressoides , often referred to as the "redwoods of the Andes"), a tiny deer called the pudú, and the Rio Futaleufú, considered by many to be the most beautiful river on earth.
Tompkins's dream of conserving Patagonia's prodigious resources may soon be crushed. A Chilean utility, HQI Transelec Chile S.A., owned by a consortium led by Canada's Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (which includes major Canadian pension fund managers), is hoping to receive Chilean government approval next year to industrialize Patagonia for the first time.
According to a news release issued on June 16, 2006, the Brookfield consortium's investors include a B.C. government-owned Crown corporation that invests money on behalf of every nurse, postsecondary instructor, and municipal and provincial employee, as well as firefighters, police officers, transit operators, and ICBC and BC Hydro workers. The pension funds of most public-sector workers in this province are backing a company that is–in the words of its critics–involved in the destruction of one of the planet's greatest environmental treasures.
The Brookfield consortium intends to build the world's longest (2,000 kilometres) high-tension power line from a series of as-yet-unapproved dams in Patagonia to Chile's central and northern industrial centres. Hundreds of transmission towers will be built alongside a superhighway that will open up Patagonia to the encroachment of industry for the first time.
"The dams are a big threat, but the power line and roads will do the most damage," Tompkins said during an interview earlier this year in Patagonia. "The Canadian power line is going to industrialize Patagonia, and it is going to discount the one economic card the region has to play, which is the tourism."
It is no secret that Chile's only major electrical transmission company, Transelec, was purchased by the Brookfield consortium last year for a sticker price of $1.55 billion. But do Canadian pensioners know that more than $500 million worth of pension funds were spent on the venture?
Critics of the Canadian consortium's decision to buy Trans elec claim that the Toronto-based Brookfield (formerly named Brascan Corp.) and its two partners, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, can look forward to a prolonged and expensive legal battle against one of the most powerful environmental alliances in world history.
EFFORTS TO LEARN MORE about how and why the Brookfield consortium chose to buy a company with such a controversial and expensive plan resulted in even more questions.
Chris Trumpy, the bcIMC's chairman of the board at the time of purchase, told the Georgia Straight in an e-mail that he wasn't even involved in the decision. Under the Public Sector Pension Plan Act, Trumpy and other board members are prohibited from participating in investment decisions made by the CEO and chief investment officer, Doug Pearce.
"The investment in Transelec did not come to the board or to me in my role as chair," Trumpy wrote.
According to bcIMC spokesperson Gwen-Ann Chittenden, bcIMC owns 26 percent of Transelec and has one seat on the nine-member board.
A representative for the other pension-fund manager in the deal, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, refused to comment. May Chong, a CPP spokesperson, admitted that the Canada Pension Plan Review Board (which invests Canadian pension funds not used to pay current dues) owns 27 percent of Transelec, but she directed any specific questions about the Patagonian power scheme to Brookfield, the consortium's lead in the investment.
Repeated attempts to reach Bruce Flatt, Brookfield's 42-year-old CEO, resulted in a telephone interview with the company's media chief, Denis Couture.
"We've got risk-management measures in place and we work closely with our partners to make sure all standards are met," Couture said. "We never do things that are not welcome by the local populations. If we can't do it after the review process…we won't."
Juan Pablo Orrego, a prominent Chilean environmentalist, disagrees.
"This kind of project could never be implemented in a full-fledged democracy," he said. "Our country is still under a constitutional, political, and financial checkmate to democracy which was put in place during the military dictatorship and empowers the private sector." Orrego, who is leading the domestic fight to save Patagonia with the group Ecosistemas, says that industrial megaprojects in Chile do not operate under the same laws of transparency that exist in Canada.
Couture defended Brookfield's industrial motives in Chile. "Nobody can accuse Brookfield of going to a developing country to take advantage of it," he said. "Isn't it preferable to have a Brookfield-sponsored initiative in Chile instead of something taken care of by a company from Russia or China?"
Like Orrego, Tompkins was quick to react to Couture's assertions. Tompkins believes the preservation of Patagonia represents one of the last stands for the planet's biodiversity and that Brookfield is the kind of profit-driven entity that is pushing the planet to the point of ecological extinction.
"What we have here are insensitive businesspeople who work at growth for growth's sake…no energy-conservation consciousness or energy-efficiency efforts," he said in a recent interview.
Tompkins's point has been echoed and amplified by the New York–based Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that has retained Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a lawyer. The NRDC has been lobbying the Chilean government to take simple steps toward energy efficiency. These include a requirement for insulation in Chilean homes and increased efficiency standards for Chilean industries.
"Chile needs to use the power they already have in a more efficient way before they consider destroying one of the world's last truly pristine places," said Hamlet Paoletti an NRDC spokesperson.
However, Bernardo Matte, a senior member of Chile's powerful Matte family and a minority investor in the power scheme, suggests that foreign environmentalists like Tompkins and Paoletti are hypocrites.
"How can you try to block us from building a hydroelectric power line when all of the power of Manhattan comes thousands of miles from Canada?" he asked members of the NRDC on a recent visit to New York.
But one thing that Matte may not have considered during his visit to the U.S., the world's most wasteful consumer of electricity, is that things are changing. On the East Coast, the State of New York is well on its way to a greener future with a billion-dollar investment in wind and tide technologies. On the West Coast, Californians now use almost half the kilowatt-hours of electricity used annually by the average American, due in large part to energy-efficiency measures.
DESPITE EARLY SIGNS that the new Chilean government of President Michelle Bachelet would be open to the development of renewable-energy sources and the promotion of energy efficiency, it appears that Bachelet's young regime is ready to give Brookfield a green light. Criticized for not taking the necessary steps to resolve Chile's ongoing energy crisis, Bachelet's administration recently declared the Patagonian power line a project of national importance.
Due to a traditional overreliance on hydroelectric power, Chile's energy supply has been always been overtaxed in times of drought. But in the late '90s, Chilean industry was boosted by new pipelines bringing natural gas in from neighbouring Argentina. Gas-rich Argentina, however, soon suffered the greatest economic crisis in its history, and natural-gas exports to Chile were drastically curtailed. Unable to look north to gas-rich Bolivia (Bolivia still resents Chile for taking its only access to the Pacific Ocean in the War of 1879), Chile's current energy crisis was born.
Former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos has even suggested numerous times that the country might need to go nuclear if it didn't dam more rivers, and the Bachelet government is on the record as saying it will decide on the viability of nuclear power before its mandate ends in 2010.
"That's pure blackmail," said Antonio Horvath in an article in NRDC's OnEarth Magazine . "Throw a scare into people and get them to say yes to the dams." Horvath, a provincial senator in Patagonia, a political conservative, and a previous champion of Patagonian development.
Yvon Chouinard, a global environmental icon whose company, Patagonia Inc., is a world leader in sustainable business practices, agrees with Horvath's statement.
"Chile, more than any other country on the planet, is in a position to capitalize on the advancing technologies of solar, wind, geothermal, and wave power," said Chouinard, the son of a French-Canadian who first visited Patagonia with his good friend Tompkins back in 1968. "These technologies are just being developed, so it would be shortsighted for the Chileans to destroy Patagonia."
Just one government decree from Bachelet could change the situation dramatically. The two main players in the project to dam Patagonia, Endesa Chile (one of the largest electricity-generation companies in Latin America) and Brookfield, have a great deal of experience in other power-generating techniques. Enel, the Italian co-owner of dam builder Endesa, is a world leader in geothermal power (useful in a volcano-filled country like Chile), and Brookfield owns the Prince Wind Farm in Ontario. But given that faster money can be made in Chile with hydroelectricity, it appears that international power companies won't explore other options until they are mandated to do so.
It is still not known when the power companies will be allowed to break ground on the project, but Ontario's Ministry of Business Development reported last year that the companies will "conclude the studies and engineering of the project in June 2008, when it will launch the construction tender."
If the Chilean government gives Brookfield the nod to break ground, Brookfield CEO Flatt will go down in history as the man who industrialized one of the last untouched regions on the planet.
"Our shareholders are paying us to produce a high risk-adjusted return but not take a lot of risk for it," he told the Globe and Mail last year. "We want to earn a very good return, not take very many risks, and never get into something where we bet the company."
But is Flatt overestimating what his clients are willing to support to make a buck?
"Of course I want my pension to earn higher interest, but I had no idea that my investments would help industrialize Patagonia," said Derek Johnston, a Vancouver resident who contributes to the Canada Pension Plan. "I've heard about Patagonia, and I want to go there one day. This world is already trashed enough to see a place like that destroyed."
Orrego, the Chilean environmentalist, was shocked when he learned that Canadian pensioners are paying for the industrial advance into Patagonia.
"Canada is a country with an environmentally conscious reputation," he said. "Canadians should act now to stop the Brookfield consortium from participating in a venture that a vast majority of Chileans consider an aberration."
Paula Christensen, a Patagonian who owns a small lodge with her family on Patagonia's picturesque Lake General Carrera, says that the pendulum of Chilean public opinion will soon swing against the Patagonian power scheme.
Christensen's assertion is supported by the fact that Chilean politicians, businesspeople, and Patagonians have joined the green side of the fight against Brookfield. It was no surprise when socialist politicians such as Rene Alinco spoke out against the power scheme, but business insiders were shocked when the powerful Víctor Hugo Puchi, the kingpin of Chile's billion-dollar salmon-farming industry, joined the fight as well. Puchi's conversion is an indication that Brookfield's opposition is growing in both political clout and financial muscle.
Carlos Munoz, a legendary Patagonian fly fisherman, said the power project means that Chileans will lose while foreigners gain. "Like many other Patagonians, I don't think the power is for the Chilean people," he said. "It's mostly for the mining and industrial companies who need power to increase their production and shareholders' prosperity. Only five percent of their sales go to wages and less than five percent of their income to taxes."
Christensen described a television interview she saw with a different type of Chilean: an old, iron-tough Patagonian. She said the nameless man's simple but thought-provoking words about the Patagonian power scheme made the television interviewer so speechless that he was forced to take a commercial break.
"I might be able to buy another piece of land and start all over again, build a small house and buy some cattle," the old man said. "But for sure the ducks, the geese, the fish, the fox, the huemules, the pumas, and the woodpeckers will never come back, and this is a situation that you, sir, who are a rich and cultured man, and the Chilean government will never be able to revert."
Hansard-Thursday May 8 2008
TREE FARM LICENCE LAND REMOVALS
ON VANCOUVER ISLAND
S. Fraser: In 2004 the B.C. Liberals changed the law to allow the Minister of Forests to remove private lands from tree farm licences. Subsequently, the Minister of Forests authorized the removal of 77,000 hectares from TFL 44, which surrounds Port Alberni. In 2005 the court found that the B.C. Liberal government had dishonoured the Crown in failing to consult with the Hupacasath First Nation.
Since then, raw logs have been leaving my constituency by the shipload, and much of the land base has been impacted severely by extreme logging practices. Today we know that the companies that reap the biggest rewards are two secret government-owned numbered companies.
Can the Minister of Forests explain why the B.C. Liberals changed laws so that two of their secret numbered companies could benefit at the expense of the Hupacasath First Nation?
Hon. R. Coleman: I'll take the question on notice.
Mr. Speaker: Member for Alberni-Qualicum, is it a new question?
S. Fraser: I had to think about that for a moment, hon. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Members. Members.
Proceed with the new question.
S. Fraser: The question this time…. The government's B.C. Investment Management Corp. now owns 25 percent, one-quarter, of Island Timberlands. That's $166 million worth of shares by two different secret numbered companies.
Brookfield Asset Management owns another 50 percent of Island Timberlands, the same Brookfield Management that scored a windfall when this government waived millions in compensation at the expense of B.C. taxpayers when they released the private lands
[ Page 12186 ]
around Port Alberni, the same Brookfield that benefited from the Jordan River and the north Island giveaways, the same Brookfield that just moved much of its operation to Bermuda to avoid Canadian laws and a civil suit. That's the same Brookfield…
Mr. Speaker: Can the member pose the question, please.
S. Fraser: …that donated $50,000 to the B.C. Liberals in 2007.
This question to the Minister of Forests: can he explain why secret government companies and Liberal friends get to rake in millions while communities lose jobs, first nations rights are trampled on and the environment is destroyed?
Hon. C. Taylor: Within the new question there was a little piece that referenced the BCIMC, which is the Investment Management Corp. It is this corporation, of course, that does the investments not only for government but for four major pension funds and others as well.
I do want to make it clear on the record that, of course, government does not have any influence with the investment decisions of BCIMC. They are outside of the government entity. Furthermore, the majority of the directors of BCIMC are from the pension funds, and further to that, even the board of directors has no influence on the investment decisions that are made by the Investment Corporation.
Mr. Speaker: The member has a further supplemental.
S. Fraser: The Minister of Finance has a perspective, and I have a different perspective.
This government is the single shareholder of B.C. Investment Corp., the single shareholder. The government changed the laws to allow the removal of private lands and to allow the raw log exports that we're seeing now from my community and other communities on the Island.
This government failed to consult with first nations and then dishonoured the Crown. This government handed sweetheart deals to their friends and supporters and donors. Now this government and their friends are profiting from it at the expense of the Hupacasath First Nation, the Tseshaht First Nation, the people of Port Alberni and all of the taxpayers in British Columbia.
My question to whoever wants to answer it, the Minister of Forests, the Minister of Finance: why did this government put their pocketbook and their friends ahead of the workers, communities and first nations in the Alberni Valley?
Hon. C. Taylor: The B.C. Investment Management Corp. makes its investment decisions completely independent from government. In fact, their board of directors includes an appointee from the Teachers Pension Board of Trustees, an appointee from the College Pension Board of Trustees, an appointee from the Public Service Pension Board of Trustees, an appointee from the Municipal Pension Board of Trustees. But even these people on the board do not get involved in investment decisions.
There's a very strong….
Mr. Speaker: Members.
Hon. C. Taylor: There's a very strong and clear reason why there has to be separation, and it was identified in 1993 by Justice Seaton in his report, where he said that political decisions must be completely separate from investment decisions, which is correct.
Therefore, when BCIMC was set up by the NDP government, they followed that model. And we follow that model, where there is complete separation. It is the law that government cannot be involved in these investment decisions, and we are not.
J. Horgan: The B.C. Liberals were slapped by the Supreme Court when Justice Smith said that they did a dishonour to the Crown with the deletion of private lands from TFL 44. The then Minister of Forests is now the Minister of Aboriginal Relations.
Today Chief Judith Sayers is on the steps of the courthouse in Vancouver asking a simple question: where is the new relationship? Does it even exist? My question is a simple one for the Minister of Aboriginal Relations. Why is it that first nations are always first with rhetoric but always last with respect when it comes to this government?
Hon. M. de Jong: Well, as the member might expect, I won't comment specifically on matters that might be before the court on this day. But I am more than happy to oblige the member in referring to the myriad steps, agreements, cooperations, partnerships that have occurred over the past number of years between the province of British Columbia and first nations right across this province.
It is a record we are very proud of. We take our obligations to consult, to accommodate where appropriate very seriously.
Mr. Speaker: Members.
Hon. M. de Jong: If the member wishes, I am more than happy and will oblige him in detailing that long list of partnerships, reconciliation agreements, genuine steps towards developing a new relationship. I suspect I'll get that opportunity in a moment.
Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental.
[ Page 12187 ]
J. Horgan: You would think that a minister once bitten would be twice shy. After the deletions from TFL 44 in 2004 we then had new deletions in TFL 25, in my constituency of Malahat–Juan de Fuca. At that time three Coast Salish first nations…. Two of them were consulted. One said: "Do not delete these lands without adequate accommodation to our needs and interests." A third, the Beecher Bay band, was never talked to.
Could the Minister of Aboriginal Relations explain to me why it is that he, knowing that he had previously dishonoured the Crown, allowed the Minister of Forests to do it again?
Hon. M. de Jong: As I said a moment ago, we take very seriously the obligations that the Crown has to consult and have taken great steps. We're very proud of those steps to develop a new relationship.
I am, however, trying to reconcile what I'm hearing from the opposition today with a report I read out of the Campbell River newspaper. The NDP had a meeting in Campbell River just a couple of days ago. Of course, they had a political agenda they were trying to advance. It was….
Mr. Speaker: Members.
Minister, just take your seat.
Mr. Speaker: Members.
Hon. M. de Jong: It was on the generation of electricity, not a political position that Chief Ken Brown of the Klahoose First Nation shared with the NDP. But what was interesting is that at this public meeting, the Chief wasn't even allowed to speak.
Here's what the Chief said: "All the NDP did was perpetuate more myths. It was appalling, and there was no reference to first nations. Ultimately, they" — the NDP — "are trying to compromise aboriginal economic opportunities."
Mr. Speaker: Members. Members, we're not continuing.
R. Fleming: Well, all that shows is that the minister who dishonoured the Crown a couple of years ago is — guess what — back before the courts now.
My question is to the Minister of Finance. She's responsible for the B.C. Investment Management Corp., as she's already acknowledged. She appoints board members. She appoints the chair. Government is the sole shareholder.
Given the manner of how this share purchase was made, how TFL land was given away without first nations consultation and with respect to the deplorable environmental practices going on in these stands of forest, I want to ask the minister: does she think the investment in Island Timberlands meets the IMC's own ethical investment standards?
Hon. C. Taylor: I will repeat that government does not get involved in the investment decisions of the BCIMC. I'm happy to go over again the structure and the reason for the structure, should the member opposite wish it.
Mr. Speaker: Member has a supplemental.
R. Fleming: Cabinet members are aware of the portfolio, and cabinet will be aware that this government has dishonoured the Crown in respect to these lands that we are specifically talking about. The question for the minister is: does she have any concerns about a solely government-owned entity becoming a major investor and now trying to profit from the land that dishonoured the Crown in the first place when those lands were removed?
Hon. C. Taylor: Cabinet is not aware of the portfolio of BCIMC. Government is not involved with the Investment Management Corp. The majority of the members of directors come from the pension funds. The teachers fund, the Public Service Pension Board, the Municipal Pension Board and the College Pension Board form the majority of directors, but even they are not involved in the investment decisions of the corporation.
In fact, BCIMC's corporate governance principles and proxy guidelines are supplemented by conventions such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development guidelines for multinational enterprises, the standards of the International Labour Organization.
The board works very hard to ensure that BCIMC is managed well and that the pension funds are well taken care of. I will repeat again: government is not involved in the investment decisions and should not be involved in those investment decisions.
I always regret having to delete a comment but we're drifting way off topic with bigger and bigger opinions.
"S. Thompson" has submitted a lengthy article about union involvement in Vancouver's Concert Properties which has no relevance to BCRail that I can see. And the only "S. Thompson" I know of, was once the NDP candidate for Peace River, so why the Union-bashing and NDP-bashing?
Whatever the reason, S. Thompson's polemic isn't suited to The Legislature Raids. Perhaps Ms Thompson will post it to her own blog.
In future, I will try to avoid using the word "conspiracy" in a headline. Why? Because Item #1 (above) from the Raging Reformers zapped onto my desk within seconds -- no kidding, mere seconds -- after I posted about Marc Edge's book on the "CanWest Conspiracy".
Then more stuff arrived, and now this about Concert Properties, like their cannons were loaded, ready to fire. About something else.
May I make a suggestion here?
"Anonymous August 7, 2008 9:04 AM" you obviously have plenty of time on your hands therefore instead of giving us the whole nine yards (three metres) how about a Hot Link to the subject?
You know, like give us a teaser, a statement that will want the reader to click on a link to another website.
Not familiar with HTML tags?
Creating hot links are easy at:
Blog Help has "How do I edit my link list"
Along the bottom of BC Mary's blog site where it says "Leave your comment", you can use some HTML tags, complete with brackets a, b, i......"
At the front:
a is for hot links (embedded...)
b is for bold
i is for italics
/a is at the end
/b is at the end
/i is at the end
The above link to Blog Help is not "hot", in other words you can't just click on it with your mouse. You have to physically drag it to another Window.
As a Hot Link:
How to edit my link list
It is, in my opinion, the first of the two presuppositions, the one concerning its self with 'the people' having genuine opinion that I see as near non-existant
Of the respondees I've read on these pages I see a spark of hope in need of kindling
BC Mary's Blog provides that spark
BC Rail sells real estate to Concert
Will focus on railway, marine businesses after unloading 16 commercial properties
By Wendy Stueck
The Globe and Mail,
December 5, 2000
BC Rail sells real estate to Concert
Will focus on railway, marine businesses after unloading 16 commercial properties
By Wendy Stueck
The Globe and Mail,
December 5, 2000
VANCOUVER -- BC Rail Ltd. has agreed to sell $79-million worth of real estate holdings to Vancouver-based developer Concert Properties Ltd. Concert will acquire 16 commercial properties from BCR Properties Ltd., thereal estate arm of BC Rail, including four office buildings and two industrial development sites.
BC Rail president and chief executive officer Paul McElligott said the company plans to concentrate on its core railway and marine businesses.
Owned by the provincial government, BC Rail operates a railway and shippingterminals and built up its property portfolio over the past decade.
Ted Larkin, a transportation analyst at HSBC Securities Inc. in Toronto, said other rail companies have used proceeds from the sale of real estate assets to pay down debt and improve core businesses.
"When you look at the privatization of [Canadian National Railway Co.], oneof the key things was to divest non-core assets and use the proceeds to modernize and enhance the main business."
CN has sold interests in real estate, resources and telecommunications since it was privatized in 1995, Mr. Larkin said.
Some analysts expect Canadian Pacific Ltd. will divest some of its assets in the future to focus more tightly on its energy business.
Concert, an 11-year-old company owned by 23 B.C.-based pension funds, started out as an apartment developer and moved into the industrial and commercial markets in 1996.
Concert was one of the companies in the running to build a new convention centre in downtown Vancouver before the project was cancelled by the province in 1999. Concert, with partner Marriott International Inc., had put together a proposal for a convention centre and a 1,000-room hotel.
Tourism interests in Vancouver are now trying to generate interest and funding for an alternate proposal, but Concert is not involved.
All of the properties that Concert acquired in the deal are in British Columbia with 13 in the Lower Mainland and three in other parts of the province.
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