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    Scandal—How Deep Does it Go?

    Gordon Campbell, Paul Martin and Political Corruption

    Robin Mathews

    Page 1 cartoonAs both provincial and federal elections draw closer, political scandals are whirling around Gordon Campbell and B.C. Liberal cabinet members, Paul Martin and the Liberal Party itself.

    When the RCMP raided the legislature in January, and suspicions of faked party memberships, drug money and back room payoffs began to abound, it was something even the corporate media couldn’t ignore. Then when tie-ins between Campbell’s BC Liberals and Martin’s federal Liberals, which were supposedly two separate groups, around sponsorships and fund-raising were revealed, many people began to ask how deep does it go. How far and how many people are doing these things?

    Basic research raises the possibilities that the rot is deep and ugly. It suggests devious tampering with the very fundamentals of B.C. and Canadian democratic society. It extends to the RCMP and to the Prime Minister’s office in Ottawa. Regrettably, it calls into question the independence of many of B.C.’s senior judiciary.

    It involves the firing and/or removal of Canadian services in B.C. hospitals and care homes and their replacement by cutthroat U.S. operations. It involves the complete dismissal of the entire 2001 Liberal election platform and the privatization process of our public services, including the B.C. Ferry Corporation....    see Scandal

    Liberal Budget Questioned

    Marco Procaccini

    The BC government’s fiscal plan calls for a balanced budget, but many people aren’t buying the predictions—and many are wondering who it’s balanced for.

    Liberal Finance Minister Gary Collins has repeatedly touted that the $30.2 billion 2004-05 budget will deliver a $100 million surplus—the first surplus BC has had since the record-setting $1.5 billion surplus realized by the last NDP budget of 2001.

    “We have introduced a balanced budget for 2004/05 and are on track to beat our bottom line target for last year, despite more than $1 billion in unexpected costs from forest fires, floods, SARS, BSE and changes to federal equalization,” said Collins. “As a result of our resilient fiscal plan, we are now able to fund new investments that bring out the best in education and patient care, accelerate funding for the province’s Olympic commitment, and enhance our strategy for economic growth.”

    Collins also predicts a $275 million surplus for 2005-06 and $300 million in 2006-07 based on projected GDP growth rates of 2.8 per cent this year and 3.1 per cent for the following two years.

    But critics are dismissing Collins’ claims as overly optimistic and dishonest, and predict BC’s faltering economy will continue to sink as a result....   see Budget Questioned

    Think Tank Proposes “Alternative” BC Budget

    We’ve invited the world. They’re coming. And the place is a mess.

    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives BC office

    The 2010 Olympic games are coming in just six years. The world will be watching—but what will they see?

    If the spotlight shines on a Vancouver ravaged by poverty and homelessness, crippled by traffic congestion, or in the middle of an environmental controversy, any efforts to promote the city or province will be seriously blighted.

    The provincial government needs to prepare British Columbia for a truly world class performance in 2010. If we continue to ignore pressing social needs, we’ll wind up hoping no one looks under the carpet, instead of welcoming the global spotlight.

    The 2004 BC Solutions Budget uses the Olympics to anchor a six-year public investment strategy that would go beyond the minimum requirements for hosting the games, and use the Olympics as a springboard to revitalize the provincial economy....    see Alternative Budget

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