Fascism And Contemporary Canada. Part 9. The 'Socialist Hordes...

Posted on Monday, December 09 at 17:23 by Robin Mathews

Fascism and Contemporary Canada.  Part 9. The ‘Socialist Hordes” Led By The Fiscally Conservative Social Credit W.A.C. Bennett B.C. Government. The ‘Fascist Transformation’ By The ‘Liberal’ Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark B.C. Governments.

 

In those ‘Wacky’ Bennett days (1952-1972), a person could step into a Vancouver Hotel elevator on one day with W.A.C. Bennett and Robert Bonner (wearing, as I remember it, black homburg hats and long black overcoats).  The next day a person could share the elevator with Glenn Gould, pale-faced, wearing the gray knitted wool gloves he used to protect his (pianist) genius hands. Another era … so to speak.

 

It is an era that calls into question all B.C. political parties of 2013. It forces the question about what and who they REALLY are and if they represent anyone. 

 

Not one of them represents the people of British Columbia.

 

One need only cast one’s mind back to the B.C. Socred strange bird that somehow was hatched from the post-Second World War world. Canada had gone from deep Depression into a rationed Second World War – sixteen years of relatively bad times – though, ironically, the War brought back jobs and a measure of financial security to many Canadians, even while their husbands, sons, and brothers were being wounded and slaughtered in distant lands.

 

After 1945 – for more than a decade – a catch-up game was conducted in public services, manufacturing, and what is now called “infrastructure”. And so the arrival of the hardware merchant from Kelowna as premier and head of (what many believed was) a nutcase Party in 1952 didn’t bode well for the province.

 

If W.A.C. Bennett were to arrive on the scene today and to set about the kind of innovation and enterprise he did back then, he would be called a Left Nationalist and would face open scorn by fundamentalist neoliberals. The fundamentalist neoliberals are so powerful few dare to take them on. They reside in almost all Canadian university economics departments, almost all private economic ‘thinktanks’, among most of ‘the boys in short pants’ in every backroom of Canadian political parties, and everywhere in the mainstream press and media. They are, everywhere, the hired stooges of the One Per Cent.

 

As a result, not only Canada but the whole West is in crisis. Rafael Correa, president of Equador, spoke of the crisis in a speech at the Sorbonne University in Paris on November 6. “The crisis”, he said, “ is not only economic.  It’s a result of the poverty of both leadership and ideas.  We have been afraid to think for ourselves and we’ve accepted - in a way that is as passive as it is absurd – the ‘diktats’ of foreigners.” (my translation, Le Monde diplomatique, Dec. 2013, p. 16)  He anchors the crisis in what he calls the ‘neoliberal fundamentalism’ practiced by people in power almost everywhere.

 

Those people, whether in the IMF, the Harper cabinet, the Christy Clark House of Mirrors, the BCNDP or anywhere else are destroying the economies of healthy and potentially healthy communities. They are all doing what W.A.C. Bennett rejected absolutely in his building of the B.C. economy and community.

 

Looking back at what he achieved, we can see determination that shaped B.C. as a real community in which all shared and were involved in the whole enterprise. There was a Capitalist Class – which the Bennett Socreds believed in, and gave altogether too much to. One needs only think of the  grossly inadequate Forest Management system created for the forestry giants and the failure to put  the people (by Crown Corporation) into the mining industry. But the Bennett government also went around the Capitalist Class unlike anything in B.C. today.

 

To begin, the W.A.C. Bennett government exploited the provincial (since 1918) railway. It was not sold off.  BC Rail was developed as an active infrastructure tool for development with an endless, positive future. At the time when Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark (premier and deputy premier) set to work to strip it, cripple it, and pass it off to the CNR, it had seventeen years of profitable operation. One of the major activities involved in BC Rail corruption was the organized (and I believe criminal) undermining, stripping, and misreporting of B.C. Rail’s condition to the B.C. people.

 

In 1961 the W.A.C. Bennett government united the electrical and other energy enterprises in British Columbia to fashion BC Hydro – a stunningly successful Crown Corporation, which paced expansion, built infrastructure, and guarded costs for both residential users and enterprise. 

 

Already British Columbians are forgetting that a semi-branch of BC Hydro, added later, was BC Gas. If it had remained in the structure, there would be no Kinder Morgan in British Columbia, no Fortis.  There would be no secret dealings with shady and elusive foreign Corporations to pass B.C. energy wealth to neoliberal thieves.

 

Perhaps the most extraordinary act of pillage and calculated destruction has been wrought on BC Hydro. A successful enterprise adding to General Revenues of government for years and providing absolute assurance of low-cost energy for all British Columbians, it has been dessicated and desecrated by the Campbell/Christy Clark governments. 

 

(1) The Auditor General of British Columbia has not approved its annual financial report for ten years.

 

(2) BC Hydro is now in so bad a state of disguised and doctored accounting chaos that experts argue about just how much it is dragging British Columbia into critical insolvency.

 

(3) To begin the open destruction of BC Hydro as an enterprise owned by British Columbians and operated in their interest, the Gordon Campbell government passed legislation in 1903 forbidding BC Hydro to operate effectively. The Campbell government prevented (and the Christy Clark government continues to prevent) BC Hydro from producing and selling any additional energy than the amount available in 2003. Instead, BC Hydro must purchase (at a great loss) energy from Independent Power Producers. The IPPs have been set up as a totally unnecessary and destructive (of rivers, plus) neoliberal force.

 

(4) The Gordon Campbell government (with Christy Clark as deputy premier) divided BC Hydro into three parts.  A huge part was (and is) “contracted” to one of the entities very close to the huge 2001 (U.S.) Enron energy scandal. The corporation which became Accenture split off from Arthur Anderson shortly before the scandal exploded into public view. Why would a perfectly adequate Crown Corporation (BC Hydro) hand major operations to a multi-national, neoliberal corporation with a reputation questioned by many?

 

Accenture is headquartered, now, in Dublin, Ireland. It is a major global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing corporation. It has more employees in India than anywhere else in the world.  It would be deemed by many to be an iconic neoliberal operation. The “contract” from the B.C. government with which it was handed BC Hydro customer service, westech IT services, network computer services, Human Resources, Financial Systems, purchasing, and Building and Offices service groups was reported to be a contract with secret sections to which British Columbians have never been given access.

 

It is perfectly fair to suggest that a global corporation offering such services is less interested in the well-being of British Columbians than in the profit it can wring from its activities globally.

 

(5) I believe that a full-scale Public Inquiry and RCMP investigation into all the operations of BC Hydro and the legislation related to it passed by the Campbell/Christy Clark governments would eventuate in criminal charges for Breach of Trust and assorted other fraudulent activities.

 

Neoliberalism, as we have all learned, does not feel bound by law.  The Enron fraudulence robbed thousands of life savings and pensions. The meltdown of (neoliberal) financial enterprises in the U.S. (and elsewhere) in 2008 and the ravaging of innocent people after it is very largely the result of various kinds of criminal activity – which have not been brought before courts.

 

The W.A.C. Bennett government did many more things that – today – would be named ‘Left Nationalism’. As well as creating the people-owned (Crown Corporations) BC Hydro – with BC Gas, and BC Rail (as we came to know it), it created the people-owned BC Ferries and encouraged life on the coastal islands.

 

The embarrassingly corrupted BC Ferries we deal with now is the result of the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark (deputy premier) determination to wreck the public nature of BC Ferries and to make it a money trough for friends. We shouldn’t forget that it was fake-privatized so that it wouldn’t have to be accountable to the legislature and so that David Hahn’s globe-trotting to try to sell it off would not have to be reported to the people. 

 

In 1955 W.A.C. Bennett suggested that a universal medicare system should be developed.  He was fifteen or so years ahead of his time. That strange man who called himself Social Credit and who was a firm fiscal conservative was in the language of our day also a Left Nationalist. He wanted a solvent economic system that served all the people of the province.  He wanted that system – at least significantly compared to today – in the hands of the people through their Crown Corporations accountable in the legislature to the people’s representatives. The ‘Liberal’ governments of Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark that have come in after years claim to be more people-centred than anything before them. But they are and have been, without question, destructive of almost every progressive, humane, British Columbia-centred institution in existence. 

 

They have been, in fact, on the forefront of the move to fascist government in Canada.  That move is championed and spear-headed by the present Conservative government led by Stephen Harper. It is he who – with wonderful symbolism - appointed Gordon Campbell to be Canadian High Commissioner in London.  The ‘new fascism’ is everywhere around us and is so present many Canadians do not see its ugly shape.

 

A fascist government is one which allies closely and then is integrated with private corporations and their drive for power and profit. Such a government serves corporations and represses the freedoms and the rights of the population. It uses criminal and fraudulent means to increase its own power and to pay off its friends. It assists private corporations to defraud the population. Sooner or later it employs police forces to repress the population and to violate the rights of ordinary people. (The present Conservative government did that at the G20 summit demonstrations in Toronto in 2010 and at Montebello in 2007 by creating fake anarchist violence to slander and to injure well-meaning Canadians practicing their right of free expression.)

 

What’s in a name?  The W.A.C. Bennett government of B.C. sits in many minds as a hard right reactionary force. It turns out to have been – also - one of the most enlightened and forward-looking governments the province has ever had – with determination to represent and respect British Columbians. The fascist-oriented Liberal governments of Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark have been neither liberal nor representative.  And the BCNDP is without colour, character, or significant social democratic policy … let alone socialist policy. Where do British Columbians look for salvation of the province? To a party that will leap from the ashes of the present burned-out parties – to a party that no one has seen yet but which all (even unconsciously) are waiting to see…and to join … in the return of British Columbia and its wealth to the people of British Columbia.                                                                                                                                                                        

                                  

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:55 am
    In the 70's and 80's, I was quite young, but actually paid closer attention to politics than most adults did back then. Seems I too, remember, British Columbia being quite a progressive, socially just province during and after the social credit era.

  2. by RickW
    Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:12 pm
    Are we actually waiting for the proverbial Phoenix to "leap from the ashes" though? It seems we are repressing this by voting for the very people who are determined to do in the society and economy we profess to be waiting for. The average voter doesn't get their knickers twisted over the revelations of Edward Snowden, et al. These revelations get nothing more than a "tsk, tsk" after the media has had it's moment in the sun - and the perps (NSA, etc) carry on as usual, after laying down the increasingly usual pall of smoke. We seem to have lost our way, entering as we have into the wilderness, but without a Moses to lead and inspire us, and with no apparent direction in this wasteland.

  3. Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:20 pm
    All of our federal and provincial parties are a long way from fascism with the possible exception of the Parti Quebecois. It is finally coming to the surface what was always there: Quebec sovereignty is not about soveriegnty for the geographial entity "Quebec". it is all about a separate, pur laine "Quebec race" that is French and of a Quebecois lineage. There is no equivalent movement in English Canada (except for some fringe skinheads) or in North America, except for other fringe entities like the Ku Klux Klan.

  4. by RickW
    Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:12 pm

  5. Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:31 pm
    "RickW" said
    Jabberwalker does like to jabber:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ac ... th_America



    Jabberwalker has lived half of his life in Quebec and has seen it close up .. for almost three decades of life. Jabberwalker has know many, many sovereigntists over the years and what it is REALLY about is making Quebec pure Quebecois ... whether they utter it out loud or not.

    That is fascism. Mordecai Richler uttered the "F" word as well and was pilloried for it. Sometimes, the truth is bitter.

  6. by RickW
    Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:56 pm
    RickW has lived in Quebec long enough to know that people are people (on the peasant level anyway), and desire much the same as people anywhere.



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