Friday, August 13, 2004

David Hahn's 'Connections'

6°35'E, 50°52'N
(with apologies to no one)

There is a waterheaded Senator named James Inofe in the States who is 'outraged by the outrage' expressed by the So-Called Liberal Media (SCLM) in the wake of Sy Hersh's expose of the 'fraternity pranks' at Abu-Ghraib prison.

Now, while nobody would ever accuse CanWestGlobal of running a SCLM in British Columbia, particularly if you subscribe to the dictionary definition of 'liberal' as opposed to the bastardized version used by the S.S. Gordon Campbell, it does appear that a smidgeon of Senator Inofe's way of thinking has rubbed off on the Aspers' star columnist, Vaughn Palmer.

Because, of all the local pundits, it was Mr. Palmer who was most outraged by the outrage over the BC Ferries Shipbuilding Fiasco.

Palmers' argument, as outlined in his Aug 4th, 2004 column, goes something like this:
1) BC Ferries is now a private corporation.
2) A private corporation must do what's best for the bottom line.
3) The bottom line is best served when the corporation operates independently of government.
4) The corporation's independence is protected by it's appointed commisioner.
5) The commisioner is happy with the procurement process; ergo, everything is on the up and up.

All of which seems reasonable, at least at first glance. However, if you dig a little deeper it is quite clear that all five points are based on a set of false assumptions (ie. total crap) that have been soundly refuted by David Schreck at Strategic Thoughts:

'....It must be remembered that there is no private owner of BC Ferries. In the words of the Honourable Madam Justice Allan in her recent decision refusing to grant an injunction to BC Ferries against the park-and-ride operator, "…B.C. Ferries is simply not in the same position as a private homeowner or businessperson, regardless of the fact it is a private company rather than a Crown corporation. The public aspect of both the premises and the defendant's purpose for entering them is overwhelming. BC Ferries' website indicates that the BC Ferry Authority owns BC Ferries' common shares and appoints its Board of Directors and the BC Government owns its preferred shares, a debenture and the terminals.....'

Thus, based on the evidence, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that 'Independent' Ferry Commissioner Martin Crilly might actually be functioning as a teflon shield designed to deflect attention from the dastardly deeds of the BC Ferries' Big Bossman, David Hahn.

If indeed that is the case, what, exactly, might Mr. Hahn have to hide?

We think that there are at least two possibilites worth considering. Perhaps not coincidentally, there are also two European shipbuilding firms in play here, at least according to Norman Gidney in his Aug 04/04 piece in the Victoria Times Colonist.

Let's take Flensburger Schiffbau-Gellschaft of Germany first....

This company is owned by a tight little outfit called Egon Oldendorff Carriers, also German, which likes to get into bed with a certain Multinational that (mostly) operates out Canada.

"Canadian Steamships Lines International Inc. (CSLI), a subsidiary of CSL,also operates a fleet of international self-unloading bulk carriers. Most of its ships are in a shipping pool with those of the German shipowner Egon Oldendorff (EO)."

So, if you were Davey 'Jones Locker' Hahn and you wanted to have somebody in your corner with the clout to waive that federally-mandated $125 million tariff that is supposed to kick in if you don't build the Ferries in Canada who better than the owner of CSL and current Prime Minister Paul Martin!

And if somebody, say a media-type who actually has the get up and go to first do a Google search and then has the guts to file a story that might blow the whistle on this nefarious plot (don't know about you, but I'm not holding my breath), then Mr Hahn could always throw the Oldendorff/CSL Strawman on the fire and fallback on Plan B, which is Aker Finnyards.

Here's the abbreviated story on Aker.....It is owned by Kvaerner Holding AS which has partnerships with, and has shared the same CEO with, a huge European conglomerate called ABB Systems. Interestingly enough, a major division of ABB recently merged with American Multinational Arthur Andersen/Accenture.

As we've reported before, that would be the same ABB that is running the Hecate Straight WindPower Project and the same Accenture that is bleeding BC Hydro dry.

But even more importantly in this case, one of Accenture's main claims to fame is it's self-professed expertise in facilitating massive 'outsourcing'.

Which, of course brings us full circle.

Because, if Davey Jones can use his connections to kill off union shipbuilding in this Province now via massive outsourcing he will be able to herald the coming of a new wave of local, but no doubt multinational-financed, non-union companies that will gobble up that second round of contracts to build new smaller, simpler ferries later.

And what will happen to all those skilled shipbuilders who lose their jobs, their houses, and maybe families because they can't keep it together when they are rehired at half their original wage?

Well, they can always agree with Vaughn Palmer that there is no outrage to be found 'round here.

After all, why should we be outraged when the bonfire burning that first Strawman is being fuelled with our own, not Hahn's, money.

Welcome to NeanderConLand.

(Note: because of CanWestGlobal's desire to flush everything down the Memoryhole, the original pieces by Palmer and Gidney are no longer freely linkable.)

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