Campbell’s U.S. trip raises questions

Do you wonder what Premier Gordon Campbell is telling the Americans he’s meeting on his current mid-October tour through Texas, Washington D.C. and Manhattan? His meetings with industrialists, government officials, and financiers would make interesting viewing. Since he won’t tell us, we’ll have to imagine.

We can guess what he is staying to energy companies in Houston: B.C. is open for business; we want your royalty revenues. And, of course, he’ll be highlighting the newly discounted royalty regimes for coalbed methane and other fossil fuels, designed to have companies pouring into B.C. and our energy pouring out, damn the consequences for communities and the environment. There’s no point to imagining his conversations in Washington D.C.: nothing he says can make much difference to the softwood lumber dispute. As for New York, in between expensive lunches and dinners with his two stock-broker sons, we can guess he is reassuring bond raters and other investment executives that all is well in B.C. — First Nations are being taken care of; energy revenues are going to flow in; the logging industry will improve soon; the trickle-down value of the tax cuts will kick in any day now…

Consider whether these are the claims you want our Premier to be making on our behalf. We know that many First Nations, communities, and individual British Columbians dispute them. The coming year will tell whether Mr. Campbell is able to get away with his rhetoric. (Regarding First Nations issues, see our October 21 bulletin about the October 22-23 conference in Prince George, and regarding coalbed methane exploration, see our our September 29 bulletin bulletin about the UBCM resolution.)

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