Envelopes stuffed with illicit cash in BC too
Date: Monday, April 11 2005
"The Quebec sponsorship scandal isn't just a Quebec sponsorship scandal, it's a national shame. Only a country determined to delude itself would believe a system so sophisticated, sinister and carefully concealed was limited to use in one province ... it smells of a multi-purpose, much-used scheme to pay Liberal party bills with your money." [Jim Travers in Toronto Star, 9 April.]
With your (taxpayers') money? Or with the proceeds of crime?
It's impossible imagine that with more than $6 Billion cash wafting annually in and out of the British Columbia crime economy, some of that illicit money isn't being stuffed into envelopes for key persons in Vancouver and Victoria, too, in what could be called the B.C. Legislature Scandal.
If the danger to democracy and the eroding of government is the measure, British Columbia's scandal is far, far bigger than the eastern Sponsorship Scandal.
So how is it OK to ignore organized crime that could be buying favours from key government personnel in B.C.? Most of those "persons of interest" in the RCMP raids on the BC Legislature were Paul Martin's federal Liberal campaigners.
How is it smart to pretend otherwise? Or to delay the truth by saying "I know nothing!" Or that "it's before the courts therefore we cannot discuss the situation."
When was the last time a politician demanded (or an editorial spoke up) on behalf of the public interest, that either British Columbia's courts begin to hear the trials of those who are accused -- or that the Search Warrants be fully opened -- or failing all that, that BC or Ottawa have a Public Enquiry into the Raids Scandal?
If democracy depends upon an informed public, it's insanity to expect British Columbians to keep voting. We are not an informed public ... we are blindfolded, deaf and mute. How democratic is that?
It's foolhardy to assume that organized crime would unselfishly donate unmarked envelopes of cash for the good of the nation.
Criminals buy personal favours, too -- favours which no honest citizens could expect to get. Unemployment creates the basic conditions in which organized crime flourishes. Reduced access to health and education, reduced police budgets, and more casinos are all door-openers to the despair from which citizens might be forced to grasp at the only way out: through joining organized crime networks so handy in every neighbourhood.
RCMP Sgt. Ward warned, at the time of the police raid on the BC Legislature: "Organized crime has reached critical mass" in the past 2 or 3 years.
Do the math: there's at least $6 Billion illicit cash sucked out of the B.C. economy each year which nobody can check -- compare it to the $250 million Sponsorship Scandal in Eastern Canada.
Is crime money less dangerous to a democracy? Is taxpayers' money more significant?
David Basi might well take a good look at Jean Brault's example and decide that he, too, will become an instant folk hero by telling the truth.
Apparently people still recognize the truth when they hear it, and appreciate that it's the beginning of the clean-up, or they wouldn't have applauded Brault as he concluded his astounding testimony at the Gomery Enquiry in Montreal.
It could happen to Basi in Vancouver, too. That is, if he ever comes to trial.