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The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552
Fax: 604-267-3342
ISSN 1712-3763
Web: www.columbiajournal.ca

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Public Affairs

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Columbia Journal logoVolume Ten, Number One   January 2005   www.columbiajournal.ca

    BC: The Biggest Lies on Earth, but British Columbians Don’t Believe Them

    Marco Procaccini

    BC residents congratulate yourselves! The most recent polls by Ipsos Reid and McIntyre Mustel showing the NDP is again pulling ahead of the Liberals in popular support (NDP at 43 per cent, Liberal at 40 per cent, with a 4.5 per cent error margin), despite a massive and largely misleading propaganda campaign about how our supposedly great economy is making BC “the best place on earth,” once again shows that people aren’t as gullible as the corporate elite and its media want us all to be.

    Since taking office in 2001, the Liberals have used “the best place on earth” as a combined whipping post and garbage dump for all of their dishonest claims and failed idiotic policies—and as the 2005 election draws nearer, more and more people, regardless of the huge propaganda campaign, appear to be seeing this fact.

    The Liberals said they would cut taxes, stimulate the economy, protect public assets, like BC Hydro, BC Rail and the ferries, and make private health care “redundant,” honour all collective agreements. The list was endless. The corporate media cheered the Liberals, and smeared (or outright censored) anyone who tried to expose these promises as false

    Literally every one of these promises were summarily broken—not because they tried and didn’t succeed, but because they clearly had no intention of honouring them in the first place. Since their first day at the helm, the Liberals have done exactly the opposite: reckless privatization scams, busting collective agreements, stripping rural communities of their local economic engines via mass lay-offs, cutbacks to services, facility closures and removing job protection requirements from resource extraction, sale tax and premium increases and huge rollbacks and exemptions of environmental and human rights standards. Yet suddenly the government expects people to forget this, and gets upset when they don’t.

    Worse yet, they have surrounded the senior levels of government in a shroud of secrecy by curtailing the freedom of Information Act and restricting decision-making to the back rooms with a handful of advisers (read Liberal Party funders) from BC’s corporate elite. They are even refusing to say how much of our tax dollars they are spending, or plan to spend, on this current advertizing hysteria campaign. Yet people are expected to believe what it claims.

    The economic results of this clearly show. Statistics Canada reports show unemployment has risen under the Liberals and the average has remained steadfastly higher than any time during the NDP tenure. The GDP this year is averaged at 3.4 per cent—much better than in 2003, when many economists claim the economy actually shrank, but much worse than the 4.6 per cent averaged during the NDP time in office. Wages on average have fallen by almost $1.80 an hour; full-time jobs are being replaced by part-time ones, and consumer spending stagnates. The Trade Union research Bureau reports consumer debt in BC is at an all-time high. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reports that capital investment has fallen to lower than it ever was during the supposedly “anti-business” NDP tenure. Finally, a majority of the of the economic forecasters council in BC say the 2005 GDP will be lower than this year (3.3 per cent).

    It should come as no surprise that most people don’t seem to be taking these ads too seriously. When someone loses their job, takes a pay cut or find it harder to pay their bills on their current pay check, no amount of government or corporate sponsored flash and pomp can convince them they are better off. Yet this is exactly what these power cliques are trying to do—totally at public expense.

    The situation appears to be so bad that the BC Business Council, the top elite of corporate bosses in the province that defacto owns the Liberal Party, has gotten into the act to try to save the government with a factless bombastic—and tax deductible—ad blitz of its own, talking about “hiring” everybody, even this is not what is happening now or is likely to happen in the future, given the province’s current economic state.

    Some analysts have pointed out the reason, despite BC’s overall economic stagnation, the Liberals have not yet spiraled downward in the polls is due to these intense and largely unchallenged ad campaigns.

    This may likely be true. However, it is telling that when oil, gas, electricity and base commodity prices are peaking or rising, interest rates are at a 50-year low, and for the first time in over 15 years, the federal government is now transferring tax dollars the BC government, this province’s economy, and the working people who make it happen, are overall faring so poorly.

    This is truly a made-in-BC crisis by a dishonest, incompetent and scandal-plagued government that has clearly damaged the provincial economy in order to pay off its elite wealthy core of fund-raisers and corporate special interests. People are wise to see these ads as the misleading fluff they are, and to look to an alternative to replace the Liberals in the next provincial election.

    The corporate media, namely the Global Canwest monopoly, which controls the bulk of newspapers and TV stations in the province, has certainly done its part in trying to shield the Liberals from public scrutiny. The misleading Liberal ads are running constantly in the major media with the full approval of those who control it.

    The Columbia Journal has not, and will not, be so obliging. In the New Year, we will be focusing our coverage on the economy and, unlike the major media, the well being of the general public of the province. We certainly are no match for the major corporate media or its efforts to support the Liberals. But an informed and educated public definitely is—and this is truly what just might make BC the greatest place on earth.

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