Knock me over with a feather. Gordon Hoekstra in the Vancouver Sun has a must read story today.
If you want to know the how and why of BC Liberal politics read the Sun’s story on Corporate donations. Then you will know, not quite all, but almost everything.
It’s a sad thing but the truth of the matter is that the story shows what we all kind of know – government under the BC Liberals is pretty much a “pay for play” system.
Like most banana republics if you don’t cough up some dough you don’t get some action.
Corporations gave the BC Liberals, according to Hoekstra, $46 million since 2005. That’s about 60% of all Liberal donations.
The top 20 gave $10 million or almost 25% of the total.
Why? “The companies are circumspect about that,” Hoekstra says, adding that they say they support the BC Liberals business oriented policies.
And of course that’s the problem with all this. Nobody believes them.
The average person – even if they vote for the Liberals – can’t tell whether the money follows the decision or the decisions follow the money. The average person, even a believer, thinks that, at best, its a bit of both.
At worst, of course, money determines everything.
And the evidence is that they are right. The Quebec corruption inquiry unveils new evidence each and every day about how and why money rules.
Here in BC, a BC Rail inquiry will likely unveil similar stories. As Alex Tsakumis has reported, wiretaps gathered during the police investigation reveal BC Liberal officials seeking and getting government action in response to business donations.
Now I believe it is important to nail the bastards. I believe – like the criminal code believes – it is wrong to pay a government to do your bidding.
But more importantly it is time to break the connection in the voters’ minds between money and government. That’s what lies behind declining electoral involvement.
Why vote? Why vote when your vote really does little to determine who gets what? Follow the money. And why vote when the money tells you what is going to happen?
The Sun story is one important piece of the puzzle. But it leads to the inevitable question: What are we to do about this?
The only real answer is to take the money out of politics. All of it.