Monday, July 06, 2009

 

BC Rail deal "was just a sale in disguise" ... is there any contract in the western world that lasts for 990 years?

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I'd like to present the following postings exactly as received, because they illustrate the wonderful contributions made to this web-site by others who are concerned for British Columbia. The Hansard finding is the work of Lynx. At the end, is an outstanding comment about the 990 year contract. Special thanks to Lynx (on the West Coast) and to Skookum1 (on the East Coast). And yes, it looks as if the blog problems may have cleared up. - BC Mary.

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Hi Mary,

Hope your blog problems are solved soon.

I found two other references in hansard where Joy is questioning why the public has not been allowed access to the details of the deal.

The first is from Monday, April 19, 2004. It's long but has lots of interesting parts that you may want to select from. Here Joy raises a point of privilege about why the public has been kept in the dark about the deal...which Collins tries to arrogantly dismiss. Quite revealing how dismissive he is.


The short piece after that is from April 20, 2004. (scroll way down) It is interesting because of the reference to a professor, Dr. Paul Kedrosky who refers to Falcon's explanation of the deal as "magnificently bizarre". It would be wonderful to contact him about his understanding of the deal. - Lynx.

Hansard
Oral Questions - Monday, April 19, 2004.

TERMS OF B.C. RAIL AGREEMENT WITH CN RAIL

J. MacPhail [Leader of the BC Opposition]: The Premier and the minister sold the privatization of B.C. Rail as a 90-year, $1 billion deal where the province retained ownership of the railbed. Now we know it's a 990-year deal worth $750 million that allows the province to sell the railbed and accompanying land to CN for a buck. The Premier and the Minister of Transportation were explicit in claiming the original deal was for 60 years with one 30-year renewal clause — one renewal clause for 30 years, not 15 renewal clauses lasting for another 930 years. Can the Premier tell British Columbians why his government hid these details from the public when the deal to sell B.C. Rail was announced last year?

Hon. K. Falcon [Minister of Transportation]: I guess I shouldn't be surprised, really, that the members opposite and Carole James don't understand the distinction between a lease term and options to renew, but I'm happy to explain it for her. If they check their own NDP office lease, I wouldn't be surprised if they had a five-year lease. I also wouldn't be surprised if it had a couple of options to renew for additional five-year terms. But I want the member to know that that doesn't mean they signed a 15-year lease. They actually signed a five-year lease with options to renew.

That's just what we've done with the CN–B.C. Rail investment partnership. At the 60-year intervals, the government of the day will have a very clear choice. They can decide to continue with the arrangement. They may decide they want to bring in another railway operator, of which they would have that option, or — and I hope this isn't the case — they could even, as government, get back into the railway business. At the end of the day, the issue really comes down to this. What we're not hearing from the Leader….

Okay, I'll leave it at that, Mr. Speaker, and there you go.

Mr. Speaker: The Leader of the Opposition has a supplementary question.

J. MacPhail: When the Premier stood up and announced this deal, he said it was a 90-year deal. That's what he said. He said that 60 years plus an extension made a 90-year deal. The government can't have it both ways, saying that now these extensions mean nothing. Despite the rhetoric, there's a simple explanation for the government's dishonesty. They were worried about the political backlash of a broken promise and chose to hide the real deal from public scrutiny.

On March 30, I asked the Premier to assure British Columbians that there were no — no — renegotiation clauses extending the lease or sale of B.C. Rail beyond the original 90-year agreement. I asked that question specifically. The Minister of Transportation said I was spreading false misinformation. Now we know that even Capt. Jean-Luc Picard and the Starship Enterprise will be gone by the time this deal is up in the year 2995. Can the Premier explain…?

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

J. MacPhail: Can the Premier…?

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Hon. members, order, please. The Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

J. MacPhail: Their disregard with the concern around this matter is shocking.

Can the Premier explain, when asked that question, why his government deliberately kept the B.C. Rail renegotiation clauses a secret — when he was asked point-blank on March 30 if those renegotiation clauses existed? Point blank, and you said I was spreading misinformation.

Hon. K. Falcon: Again I'll say it to the member opposite: you don't understand the distinction in fundamental business principles between a lease term and renewal options. What we really need to know is something that I think is even more significant.

What we need to know is that this member and Carole James want to keep the government in the operation of a railway. The question I have for them is: where are they going to find the billions of dollars to be investing in railway? Where are they going to find the $3.5 billion for track maintenance and rehabilitation over the 90-year term of this lease? Where are they going to find the $135 million for the northern development initiative? Where are they going to find the money to expand Prince George Airport or to create containerization at Prince Rupert? The only place they're going to find it is on the backs of the taxpayers with their $3 billion tax increase they want to put through.

Mr. Speaker: The Leader of the Opposition has a further question.

J. MacPhail: In order to cover up their withholding of information, this minister comes up with new figures just out of the blue. The B.C. Liberals had a choice. They could have been honest. They could have been straightforward about this broken promise and hoped the public would understand based on the spin that the minister's now giving, or they could try the truth, or they could try to spin the deal. They chose to hide the truth. Now, not surprisingly, there's a huge credibility gap.

The minister is trying to draw a comparison to a standard commercial lease for office space that has extension provisions. Fair enough. That's fair enough. But if those extensions were negotiated, there would be a cost to the tenant. That's the way business is done. Under this privatization there's absolutely no additional cost to CN.

I remind the House that CN gave $122,000. They get 990 years for a billion bucks — nice investment. Can the Premier point us toward another lease anywhere, anywhere in this province, that has extension provisions that extend centuries into the future with absolutely no additional cost to the tenant beyond the normal cost of doing business? It's 990 years for a billion bucks. Is that what he says is doing good business in this province?

Hon. K. Falcon: You know, when you hear questions like that, suddenly you get clarity. It's like a moment of clarity where I'm now understanding how it is they entered into a fast ferries project that blew half a billion dollars. It's a moment of clarity where I realize how they could have shovelled $400 million into a money-losing pulp mill. It's a moment of clarity where I realize when they talked about three — count them, three — aluminum smelters, there was no hope of that ever happening. Well, it's because they can't understand the basic premise of a lease agreement. If you cannot understand that, I can see why we get into so much trouble.

What I would say to this member is that she needs to understand this. We've been very clear that all of that information, all of the information associated with this that is not commercially sensitive, will be released upon the completion of the competition tribunal review. Upon the completion of that review all the information that's not commercially sensitive, including this lease agreement, will be fully, completely disclosed to all British Columbians.

J. Kwan: You know, when this deal was announced by the Premier, he said he was so proud of it that he would actually campaign against it on the next election. Let's put the facts forward. Here's what we know today. Since that announcement, we've had police raids on the Legislature involving the sale. We've had angry bidders withdrawing. Now we have a deal that nobody has any faith in at all. Now we find out that not only does the deal last for 990 years and the government can potentially sell billions of dollars of real estate to CN for a buck, but that the taxpayers of this province are on the hook for some of the 7 percent rate reduction promised to the shippers in the deal.

Can the Premier tell us how much of the 7 percent taxpayers will be paying and how many years they will have to pay? Is it for one year, five years or 990 years? How much will taxpayers have to subsidize this key Liberal campaign donor?

Hon. K. Falcon: This is just fascinating, because it gives some great insight. Now, the members…

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. K. Falcon: …of the opposition are concerned because there's a clause in there that will allow the government, for the sum of a dollar, to force ownership of certain lands back on to the proponent that's operating the railway. They ask the question why and think that's a bad deal. Why don't they actually listen to the answer? Why don't they listen to the answer for a moment? The reason we did that and we insisted on that clause….

Interjection.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order!

Hon. K. Falcon: If you tried listening, you would actually hear the answers, and it might be helpful.

The reason we did that is because we wanted to ensure that if there was a case where track in which they were operating had, for example, significant environmental remediation costs associated with it, we had the right to make sure that the operator could not discontinue that section of the track and turn it over to a taxpayer obligation. She wants us to not have that, and she would rather have the taxpayers be stuck with that.

That's exactly why this member, Carole James and the NDP have never got it. They never will get it…

Interjection.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. K. Falcon: …and they'll never get back in power, thank God. [Peculiar piece of information! Is he declaring a dictatorship? - BC Mary]

Mr. Speaker: The member for Vancouver–Mount Pleasant has a supplementary question.

J. Kwan: If this government tells the truth, the answer might be worth listening to. It's the same story over and over and over again. Hide the truth, and when it comes out, insist that it's a good deal. It's not good news when a government hides the truth. The scandal is no longer about a particular clause in this contract. It's about a government that has deliberately and consistently kept the public in the dark, a government that has perpetrated a political swindle on the people of British Columbia.

We asked the Premier this question three weeks ago, and he didn't answer the question. Instead, the minister ducked the question on his behalf. Now we know what he was hiding.

I'll ask the question again. Will the Premier stand up today and be open and accountable and put the full details of the B.C. Rail deal forward for full public scrutiny and for full public debate, and will he do it today?

Hon. K. Falcon: I'll remind those….

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. K. Falcon: It's difficult to talk when you keep yelling and interrupting. I'll remind those members that what we've said and what we've always said is all of the information that is not commercially sensitive — I'm sure the member opposite does not want us releasing lists of employees and how much employees earn — including the lease agreement, will be released upon completion of the competition board review.

The real issue here is this. Carole James and the NDP have to answer this question. Since they're so fascinated in having government continue to run this, even though taxpayers have put over a billion dollars in losses into this railway over the last 15 years, I need to hear from them where they're going to find the billions of dollars to invest in the railway over the next 90 years, where they're going to find the $3.5 billion to invest in the track upgrades and rehabilitation, where they're going to find the dollars to invest in new centre-beam cars.

Mr. Speaker: Wrap it up, please.

Hon. K. Falcon: Clearly, they're not prepared to make that commitment…

Mr. Speaker: Thank you.

Hon. K. Falcon: …because they haven't got the money. Our priority is health care and education, and that's why we're bringing in…

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. K. Falcon: …a private sector operator and their investment.

Interjections. [I should hope so!
- BC Mary.]

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please.


B.C. RAIL AGREEMENT WITH CN RAIL AND FIRST NATIONS CONSULTATION

P. Nettleton (Independent M.L.A., Prince George-Omineca, former BC Liberal in Campbell Government): A letter dated March 2, 2004, from Tribal Chief Harry Pierre of Carrier-Sekani tribal council, directed to the federal competition bureau, reads in part:

"Please be advised there has been neither meaningful consultation nor accommodation of our aboriginal title, aboriginal rights or interests, infringements on our title and rights related to their activities in our territory, and of the inadequacies of the consultation accommodation in relation to granting replacement and transfer of tenure rights within our territory. It is incumbent upon these companies and the provincial government to address these issues. We request that this merger not be approved until meaningful consultation and accommodation are negotiated with the CSTC and its member first nations."

My question is to the Minister of Transportation. Will the minister now recognize that these concerns are obstacles that need to be resolved between the B.C. government and the Carrier-Sekani tribal council to ensure that their rights are not permanently infringed upon if this hasty, secretive and ill-conceived deal is finalized? In light of this further impediment to the sale of B.C. Rail, can the minister tell the members in the Carrier-Sekani tribal council what actions he plans to take?

Hon. K. Falcon: Absolutely. I can confirm that we have been very clear that there's absolutely no threat whatsoever to the rights and title. We've been very clear with them from the first.

One of the things that is also very exciting is that under this deal, as you know, we're creating a first nations benefits trust made up of $15 million. Those 25 first nations will each have representation on the board of that trust, and they will be able to use that for creating economic opportunity, creating cultural awareness and creating real good news for the first nation folks of the province.

[End of question period.]

Point of Privilege

J. MacPhail: Mr. Speaker, I rise to reserve my right to raise a matter of personal privilege at a future date.

Mr. Speaker: So noted.

Standing Order 35 Motion

J. MacPhail: I rise under standing order 35 to move adjournment of the House to debate an issue of definite and urgent public importance, specifically that this government's failure to provide the public with the true facts about the B.C. Rail deal has led to a crisis in public confidence in this government.

Mr. Speaker, as suggested in practice recommendation No. 8, I have provided you with advance notice of my intention to bring this motion forward at this time.

Until this weekend, no one but the government and perhaps CN knew some of the important details about the B.C. Rail deal, which have alarmed many in the public. Indeed, this government stated unequivocally in this Legislature that the deal was for 60 years with a 30-year option to extend and renew and for a specific amount of money. Now we have learned that the successful bidder can also have sole use of the B.C. Rail lines for 990 years. There is no information from government on what, if any, additional benefits might flow to future generations should CN exercise that 900-year option. Also…

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

J. MacPhail: …this government campaigned on not selling B.C. Rail, and yet this weekend we learned that there is clearly language in the agreement that would see government selling title to the railway and railbed. Clearly, we have a matter that questions public confidence in this government. This matter is urgent. The government, as we speak, is pursuing a speedy closing of this agreement.

Given the misinformation made available at the time of the debate in this Legislature on the British Columbia Railway (Revitalization) Amendment Act, a point and questions that were raised by the opposition at the time, it is clearly urgent that this matter be debated now, Mr. Speaker. I ask you to acknowledge the urgent nature of this matter. Further, Mr. Speaker, I ask that you adjourn this House until your ruling on this matter has been heard.

Hon. G. Collins: I'm somewhat interested by the comments of the member opposite. First of all, there's just a fundamental error of facts in her statement, which I think any clear reading of question period Hansard today would indicate. The fact of the matter is that CN does not have a 990-or-whatever-it-was-year lease that she mentioned. In fact, the option to renew is an option of government.

There will be at some point, some time from now, a government that can opt, as the minister said, to renew, to not renew, to find someone else to operate the railway for them or to operate it themselves. So first of all, there's a fundamental error of facts, again, with the comment by the member in the Legislature.

Second of all, she alleges that that, therefore, is new information, and I think there have been numerous previous rulings in this House as well as in other Houses about the relevancy and the impact of new information on the urgency of debate. It's not a matter, and I'd refer the member to page 370 of the sixteenth edition of Erskine May [what the heck?? - BC Mary] …. Even if there were new information, which I allege there isn't, that is not a matter for urgency. I would refer the Speaker and the member opposite to that.

The question is the urgency of the debate, in fact, and there have been previous debates in this House about this issue. There was last fall with the passage of legislation. There was also, I might add, and there continues to be a standing opportunity for the members opposite to raise matters and motions that they put before the House on Monday mornings in private members' time, something that was not available to the opposition in the ten years I was in opposition.

It's also a standing provision in this House by agreement with the opposition members that they can choose the time for that debate. They could have done it this morning. They could do it next Monday, if they wish. There are other opportunities for debate. It's not me that doesn't want to have the debate. If that member had wanted to have the debate, she could have had the debate. She could have had it this morning. She can have it next Monday, if she wants. It's up to her to get her act together and to submit her information.

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. G. Collins: Again, she doesn't understand it, because the issue is a debate. It's a debate put forward by a motion of the member of the opposition. It becomes the member of the opposition's debate. [By gosh, this is bullying! Let's not forget that there were 77 MLA's in the Campbell Gang, and that they were addressing two (2) MLA's in Opposition. With Paul Nettleton as an Independent voting with them on this matter.]

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Could we have some order, please. Hon. members, we heard one side of the issue. Let's have the courtesy of listening to the other side.

Hon. G. Collins: The member is just incorrect. The fact of the matter is she's just put before the House a motion that she would like to move in the event that you rule in her favour. So for her argument to be that it's not an opposition motion is simply factually incorrect, and if she'd read her own motion, which she just handed to the Table, she'd know that.

There is a process by which the member….

Interjection.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Interjection.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. G. Collins: The fact of the matter is that the member put forward a motion which would be moved in this House, and it would be up for debate. There are other opportunities for her to do that. The estimates for the Ministry of Transportation will be up shortly. As well, there will be legislation coming before the House. When the B.C. Rail issue comes for final determination, there will be opportunities for debate at that time.

Mr. Speaker: The Chair thanks both members for their comments. We will take them under advisement and bring back a ruling on the subject, probably later today.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2004:

J. MacPhail: …B.C. Rail's turning a profit of $60 million per year. That's how bad this government is. But yesterday the Minister of Transportation insisted that anyone who disagreed with him didn't understand basic business principles. So yesterday a Dr. Paul Kedrosky got on air — a highly educated B.C. business professor, years of experience in his field, someone who is consulted widely for his advice. Here's what he called the Transportation minister's explanation. "Magnificently bizarre" is how he…

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order. Order, please.

J. MacPhail: …labelled what the Minister of Transportation said.

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order, please.

Hon. member, it's time for the question now.

J. MacPhail: Right.

He said the whole deal was just a sale in disguise. He said it was semantics to say otherwise. Can the minister tell Dr. Paul Kedrosky, a respected business professor, why he — Dr. Kedrosky — doesn't understand business principles? And can he point to any contract in the western world…? Can he google to see whether there's any contract in the western world that lasts for 990 years?

Interjections.

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BC Liberal Government and Premier Gordon Campbell Should Come clean and admit it Sold BC Rail - Simpson

VICTORIA. The New Democrat Official Opposition questioned the BC Liberal government again today on the sale of BC Rail and specifically the fact that Premier Gordon Campbell said that the rail beds and right-of-ways weren't sold.
"This government said the BC Rail beds and rights-of-way would be retained with total public ownership, yet CN is leasing land in Lac La Hache to a private log sort company," said Simpson."The Premier and Minister of Transportation explicitly stated that the rail bed and rights-of-way were not sold so my question to the government is why the public cannot have meaningful input on land issues on former BC Rail property."

In Lac La Hache, CN is pushing forward with the lease of the former BC Rail land to develop it as a log-sort yard. In a recent community meeting, residents expressed concern over the location of the yard in the middle of a residential area. Simpson said that the residents want answers as to why the land is being developed this way, and why, if the public owns the property is CN acting as if it does, and is brushing off public concerns.

"On May 19th, 2004 Premier Campbell stated categorically that quote"We consolidated it all [property along the rail line] so that we could have it in public ownership." The situation facing residents of Lac La Hache is a total contradiction of that statement," said Simpson."Today I called on Premier Campbell and Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon to come clean on the so-called lease of BC Rail to CN, and admit that it was indeed an outright sale."

"This government has contradicted itself all the way along as it tried to justify the sale of BC Rail," Simpson said."Clearly, the government has been less than forthright with the citizens of British Columbia, and that must stop."

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And here's that comment from Skookum1 in Halifax:

Skookum1 has left a new comment on your post "BC Rail deal "was just a sale in disguise" ... :

In reading the Hansard passages last night, and likewwise impressed by "the Joy and Jenny Show"'s adamantine resolve to ask real questions despite having no official opposition status and working out of a hall closet, I found myself marvelling at how composed the speeches were, given that most of the Legislative soundtrack of catcalls and jeers, which is non-stop, does not figure in Hansard - it's only noted when things get a bit more out of control than usual. One reason people don't watch broadcasts of the House, when they are available, is because of the childish, boorish behaviour of MLAs. That Jenny and Joy could speak at all while having 77 well-dressed yahoos yelling at them is really quite admirable....

I had a good long thunk about the longest-lasting contracts in the Western World, and the longest-standing I can think of is the Magna Carta, between the barons of England and King John. And as of this year, it's "only" 794 years old (signed in 1215).

An older document, which played big in medieval politics, was the Donation of Constantine.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donation_of_Constantine
But it was a forgery, reputed to have been a grant by the Emperor Constantine I to Pope Sylvester and his successors of material/temporal dominion over the Western Empire. But it was a forgery, estimated bo have been concocted c.752.

Counting back 990 years from the date of the BC Rail "financial partnership agreement" takes us to 1015 AD. It would be nine years until the Venetians and French sacked Constantinople, and 51 until the Normans overthrew the Anglo-Saxon Wessex dynasty in England. Part of the latter treaty - and a treaty is a contract - preserved the lands of the Wessex dynasty as their own holding, while surrendering all claims to the rest of England. It still stands, with the Earls of Wessex having the right of precedence on their home turf (most of western London), if only in protocol.

In China and Japan, there are 100-year mortgages - which require you to have children, and require your children to have children, all bound to the mortgage. All to afford ridiculously-priced real estate - and a financial instrument that some have called for to be introduced to Canada.

But there are no 990 year mortgages. Not so far, anyway.

I rather liked Joy's snipe that by 2995 Jean-Luc would be gone from the Enterprise. Delusional thinking about thefuture by BC's right has been around since before WAC Bennett's government's obsession with neo-futurist architecture (which is why a lot of the city, and the SFU campus, look like sets from cheesy science fiction movies,,,,which of course it gets used for).

Has anyone yet, by the way, come up with a rough calculation of the value of the lands due to be transferred to CN, and the total area? Far beyond the scale of the Expo Lands giveaway, this might be the largest land transfer in Canada since the CPR was given huge (HUGE) swathes of Rupert's Land, and a big belt of the Colony of British Columbia as well. At least when Rupert's Land was transferred to Canada, the HBC got some cash compensation, if nothing near what it was worth. I've forgotten how much, but certainly more than $1.

Posted by Skookum1 to The Legislature Raids at July 7, 2009

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Comments:
November 23, 2005

http://www.bcndp.ca/node/985

Victoria: The New Democrat Official Opposition questioned the BC Liberal government again today on the sale of BC Rail and specifically the fact that Premier Gordon Campbell said that the rail beds and right-of-ways weren't sold.
"This government said the BC Rail beds and rights-of-way would be retained with total public ownership...

... "On May 19th, 2004 Premier Campbell stated categorically that quote "We consolidated it all [property along the rail line] so that we could have it in public ownership."...
 
Considering they only got 15 minutes a day in question period, the people of BC got more than their money's worth from Joy and Jenny. The sad thing is that people don't watch the Legislature on their cable and satellite TVs when CSI is there to be viewed - and they don't dare jump online to look into the Hansard.

I don't understand the complacency. Why aren't people marching in the streets? Why aren't people shutting down the ferries, train stations and the bridges? Why aren't they shutting this entire province down (in nonviolent ways, of course)? This would never happen in France, Scandanavia or Switzerland. In England MPs are resigning over some thousands wrongly claimed in their expense accounts; here we have the loss of billions in a secret backroom deal with the party bigwigs working both sides of the track and nothing of consequence happens. Here, we have resigning and "retiring" MLAs getting jobs hosting radio shows and receiving directorships to environmentally and economically unfriendly power corporations. How can this be? What kind of a province do we live in? It scares me that we continue to be complacent.
 
In reading the Hansard passages last night, and likewwise impressed by "the Joy and Jenny Show"'s adamantine resolve to ask real questions despite having no official opposition status and working out of a hall closet, I found myself marvelling at how composed the speeches were, given that most of the Legislative soundtrack of catcalls and jeers, which is non-stop, does not figure in Hansard - it's only noted when things get a bit more out of control than usual. One reason people don't watch broadcasts of the House, when they are available, is because of the childish, boorish behaviour of MLAs. That Jenny and Joy could speak at all while having 77 well-dressed yahoos yelling at them is really quite admirable....

I had a good long thunk about the longest-lasting contracts in the Western World, and the longest-standing I can think of is the Magna Carta, between the barons of England and King John. And as of this year, it's "only" 794 years old (signed in 1215).

An older document, which played big in medieval politics, was the Donation of Constantine.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donation_of_Constantine
But it was a forgery, reputed to have been a grant by the Emperor Constantine I to Pope Sylvester and his successors of material/temporal dominion over the Western Empire. But it was a forgery, estimated bo have been concocted c.752.

Counting back 990 years from the date of the BC Rail "financial partnership agreement" takes us to 1015 AD. It would be nine years until the Venetians and French sacked Constantinople, and 51 until the Normans overthrew the Anglo-Saxon Wessex dynasty in England. Part of the latter treaty - and a treaty is a contract - preserved the lands of the Wessex dynasty as their own holding, while surrendering all claims to the rest of England. It still stands, with the Earls of Wessex having the right of precedence on their home turf (most of western London), if only in protocol.

In China and Japan, there are 100-year mortgages - which require you to have children, and require your children to have children, all bound to the mortgage. All to afford ridiculously-priced real estate - and a financial instrument that some have called for to be introduced to Canada.

But there are no 990 year mortgages. Not so far, anyway.

I rather liked Joy's snipe that by 2995 Jean-Luc would be gone from the Enterprise. Delusional thinking about thefuture by BC's right has been around since before WAC Bennett's government's obsession with neo-futurist architecture (which is why a lot of the city, and the SFU campus, look like sets from cheesy science fiction movies,,,,which of course it gets used for).

Has anyone yet, by the way, come up with a rough calculation of the value of the lands due to be transferred to CN, and the total area? Far beyond the scale of the Expo Lands giveaway, this might be the largest land transfer in Canada since the CPR was given huge (HUGE) swathes of Rupert's Land, and a big belt of the Colony of British Columbia as well. At least when Rupert's Land was transferred to Canada, the HBC got some cash compensation, if nothing near what it was worth. I've forgotten how much, but certainly more than $1.
 
"What kind of a province do we live in? It scares me that we continue to be complacent."

As complacent as we are, Gordo will still hardly leave home without a full complement of RCMP bodyguards. In my part of the province he will rarely even visit and when he does, we generally don't know about it until he has left (unless of course we are fully vetted BC liaR fanatic supporters).

Campbell away from home is sort of like a minor league version of Bu$h/Cheney out "amongst the (thoroughly vetted) people." I consider him and his policies responsible for inconvenience and hardships, but in my neck of the woods some hold him responsible for the un-necessary deaths of loved ones.
 
Well...I looked at the Transaction Agreement that the NDP advised Mary was online - and if they're trying to say "that's it"...I'm not buying! The damn thing is a sea of black ink!! Try again Mr. Campbell, this time....try the truth.
 
Leah said...

"Well...I looked at the Transaction Agreement that the NDP advised Mary was online - and if they're trying to say "that's it"...I'm not buying! The damn thing is a sea of black ink!! Try again Mr. Campbell, this time....try the truth.

Yet our loyal (to whom?) opposition sez that the deal is PUBLIC and suggests that after five years of no complaints or challenges it must be legit. They obviously think we are really, really DUMB.

Unfortunately they may be right!

Of course many, if not most, are lulled to sleep and/or goaded into their own materialistic substitution for meaning by Campbell's allies in what passes for media in our province.
 
Skookum, as to:

"At least when Rupert's Land was transferred to Canada, the HBC got some cash compensation, if nothing near what it was worth. I've forgotten how much, but certainly more than $1."

I would say that the "interest" of the people of BC in BC Rail and the lands associated with it is a lot less MURKY than any "title" that Hudson's Bay Company held in regard to Rupert's Land!

Don't take it from me, I'm pretty certain someone from the First Nations could elucidate on this.
 
I have written the Squamish Band to see if they are aware of anything about the handover of their lands. It's been five days with no reply. I'll send a second request tomorrow.
 
kootcoot, you've got it backwards, and any First Nations politico will tell you that Crown title in BC is a legal fiction/bluff. In the case of Rupert's Land there were at least some treaties, and also under British law a formal charter granting title, even if it's not seen as legitimate by p.c./FN opinion (though some of it WAS backed up by treaty). Other than some of the Treaty 8 Lands in the Peace River-Fort Nelson region, the native position on underlying title all along the routes operated by BC Rail, or formerly operated by it, have no legal basis; the natives aren't concerned with ownership by the people of BC, no more than they are with Crown title, which to them is illegitimate and without legal oer treaty basis. Yes, the First Nations and Metis on the Prairies opposed the transfer of Rupert's Land to Canada and the associated giveaway to the CPR ,and they were put down by force. In BC it was all done by sleight-of-hand and actual bluff; the lands alienated for railways in the 1890s and subsequent decades were all Government Reserve, which was a land designation setting aside unclaimed lands in BC as collateral towards eventual settlement of native claims; later BC governments simply ignored that interdiction, which was Ottawa's ideas; first the railway corridors, later expansions of the grazing leases and finally in 1976 the new Forests Act which gave about 85% of it to direct jurisdiction of the Ministry of Forests (the same re-distribution of Crown Land also gave Lyall James his new ranchland at Gusftafsen Lake...speaking of other Americans who've made campaign donations to right wing parties and reaped the benefits of same...).

Emotional as we can all get about "the people of BC" vis a vis the railway lands, the legal weight is on the side of aboriginal title, which has never been surrendered.
 
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