Last week I got a frantic phone call from a friend currently working in northeastern BC. He quietly whispered, “Did you know Premier Campbell is secretly visiting the northeast?”
I hadn’t known of Campbell’s trip, but then I don’t follow his travel schedule that closely. As I was on my way to an important meeting with First Nations, I frankly didn’t think much more about it.
That changed when email was posted to Dogwood Initiative’s CBMWatch List Serve raising concerns about the secret visit and intimidation.
From the description of the inquisition, it looks like U.S. style intimidation tactics were used. Those who spread the word about the Campbell’s trip were “visited” by security forces and questioned aggressively about how they knew, who told them, and who they told. Perhaps Bush-wannabe Campbell is mimicking his mentor on things other than tax cuts.
Some local residents were rightly outraged by the government tactics and began to question whether this was a thinly-veiled attempt to intimidate CBM activists.
Hard to say until Campbell’s office discloses the whole story of his visit. Dogwood Initiative intends to file Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to uncover the details of his trip to Hudson’s Hope: who Campbell met with and what they met about.
When I read the reports, I was reminded of another clandestine trip Campbell took. Early in 2003 Campbell furtively snuck off to meet on the hush-hush with Rusty Wood and John Ragosta of the dreaded U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports (CFLI). Is this Campbell’s idea of open and accountable government?
Not wanting to be seen sucking up to Americans, and wanting to preserve the fiction of Canadian unity on softwood, Campbell flew off to explore possibilities for a BC-only deal. The press never reported this covert excursion, and obviously it failed. Though sources indicate that the Liberal’s may float the BC-only softwood deal again in the near future. Important questions about he recent trip remain unanswered:
- Why was Campbell so secretive about visiting a town in BC?
- Who was Campbell meeting that he wants to keep secret?
- Are intimidation tactics – along with the inflammatory descriptions as “traitors” – going to be the Liberal standard approach to dissenters?
- Was Campbell meeting with CBM proponents in the Peace, some of whom have been convicted of stock swindles in the U.S.?
Only time and FOI will tell. We’ll keep you posted.