Last week our friend Mary and her colleagues over at 'The Legislature Raids' took Gordon Campbell's current Liberal Minister of Pavement, Ms. Shirley Bond, to task for the following wreckless statement about BC Rail:
".....All I can say to the (NDP) member opposite is that you managed to take the train and take it right off the tracks during the 1990s. In one year alone under that member's leadership, $582 million in debt, and in fact, the only outcome, the only measure of success that that side of the House had was how big the bailout was going to be every single year for B.C. Rail...."
Positively screechy don't you think?
And perfect marching orders for all the proMedia WaterCarriers 'round these here parts.
One of the best taskmaskers of all over at Mary's place was former Liberal MLA Paul Nettleton who, because he represented a good chunk of the electorate in the Prince George area at the time, was actually in the room when Mr. Campbell told Mr. Nettleton, Ms. Bond and the incomparably not comparable to much of anyone, Mr. Pat Bell, way back in 2001/2002, that he, the Premier of the Province, had every intention of breaking his explicit election promise not to sell-off the Public's Railway with malice aforethought.
Here, is just the first sentence of what Mr. Nettleton had to say over at Mary's last week in response to Ms. Bond's screeching for the WC's:
"Shirley Bond's closing comments with reference to "big bailouts" for BC Rail, "every single year" during the 1990's is absolutely false and misleading!...."
To which Will McMartin must have answered 'Damn straight!', or some such thing, as he beavered away on his piece that was finally published on the front page of The Tyee yesterday.
Here is Mr. McMartin's money shot:
"....Are any of those statements (from Ms. Bond) correct? Was BC Rail "bankrupt" and "in complete disarray" when the Campbell Liberals won election to government in 2001? Did the Crown corporation's debt soar by $582 million in a single year under the NDP? Did provincial taxpayers have to provide a "bailout... every single year" to BC Rail?
The answers are as simple as can be: No, no, no and no.The fact is that BC Rail was a profitable company before the BC Liberals took power. The Crown corporation recorded 23 consecutive years of operating profits and 18 years with net income during the late 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, over that period the rail company sent $137.7 million in dividends to the provincial treasury.
Yet, the BC Liberals' lies about BC Rail persist to the present time and continue to be told in the legislative assembly...."
We all owe the Minister, and her fine sense of the absurd, a debt of gratitude.....Because no one in the last seven years since the deal went down has done more to destroy the carefully crafted myth that BC Rail was an albatross around the necks of the people of British Columbia that had to be cut loose and thrown to the vultures.
Thank-you Ms. Bond!