Opinion

MLA calls for public inquiry into BC Rail scandal

MLA Report by Columbia River – Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald

The guilty plea from two top BC Liberal insiders, which cost taxpayers $6 million, was intended by the BC Liberals to be the end of the BC Rail scandal. But for most British Columbians, the $6 million payout just added one more question as to who benefited most from the giveaway of BC Rail.

When we witnessed the police raid on the Legislature in 2003, we began seven years of investigation and court proceedings. Over the years, many disturbing allegations have been brought to the public’s attention.

BC Rail was a public asset, owned by the people of British Columbia. And it was an asset that the people of B.C. clearly didn’t want to sell.

In fact, in Gordon Campbell’s unsuccessful 1996 election campaign, he said he wanted to sell BC Rail. The people rejected that idea, and he lost that election.

In 2001, Gordon Campbell didn’t make that mistake again. That time he promised he wouldn’t sell BC Rail, but immediately after winning the election, he began the process of getting rid of it.

First, the people were told that BC Rail was losing money, and so it must be sold. But this turned out to be an inaccurate assertion.

Second, the people were told that BC Rail would be leased, not sold. But who really believes that a one-thousand year lease is not a sale?

Third, the people were told that the bidding process for BC Rail would be fair. But seven years of investigation into the deception and corruption surrounding this process has proven that promise was also broken.

Top level BC Liberal political operatives received bribes to provide inside information to potential bidders. This is a practice that is deeply offensive to British Columbians. In fact, that this type of behaviour was tolerated by the Premier of the day indicates huge ethical problems with this government, a government that was led not only by Gordon Campbell, but also by deputy Premier Christy Clark.

While this close connection to the BC Rail scandal must be a strong disincentive for Premier Christy Clark to investigate any further, it is clear that all British Columbians deserve to know what really happened. We deserve a full public inquiry in to the BC Rail scandal.

 

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