The invisible hand of capitalism

Today, Province columnist Mike Smyth reported a major pro-provincial Liberal advertising campaign will be launched next month by the Coalition of British Columbia Businesses. The details of that campaign were contained in an email sent to business leaders by British Columbia Chamber of Commerce president John Winter. The following is a complete copy of that email, which Mr. Smyth obtained and graciously provided to Public Eye.

----- Original Message -----
From: John Winter
Sent: Friday, January 21, 2005 12:21 PM
Subject: FW: Coalition Communications Campaign Update

As you know, the BC Chamber of Commerce is a long-time member of the Coalition of BC Businesses. The Coalition came into being in 1992 in response to what was felt at the time to be some very extreme and oppressive labour code amendments being proposed by the NDP government of the day. The Coalition has been quite successful over its history as the voice of small businesses throughout BC on employment and labour issues, and has successful shielded organizations like ours who shy away from entering the political arena.

Since the change in government in 2001, changes to the Employment Standards Act, and the Labour Code itself have proven beneficial to businesses of all sizes in this province, and have helped to create a climate of investment certainty that has spurred job creation like never before.

The Coalition will be undertaking a public communications program which will be rolled out as a lead-up to the provincial election campaign. All members of the Coalition, including the BC Chamber have enthusiastically endorsed the communications proposal and have been active doing fundraising within the business community to pay the freight. Radio and print ads in a wide range of markets are planned for the month of March. We have found that many businesses support the government policy regarding labour and employment and are willing to contribute to the Coalition's efforts as a consequence. If you have members who you think might be interested, we would love to hear about them.

As we begin to execute the communication strategy, we are looking for your help. We are looking for small business people anywhere in the province who are willing to speak publicly about how the policies of the government have made a difference to their business in the past years, - i.e., "I've been able to hire 4 more people", "I have begun to expand my location", or comments of a similar nature. The testimonials would be used in the media campaign.

Please take a moment to think through your membership lists and contact networks. If you know of someone who may be a suitable candidate, please forward their name and contact information on to the Coalition Coordinator, Ilona Rule at or to me directly .

We will provide any media training and support needed to help the validator shine. We are targeting late February for the completion of production so will need our roster of validators assembled by the end of this month.

I will be in touch with you later with more information about the media plan. But for now, we need the friendly faces to help us get the message out...and we need your help to do it. Thanks.

Best regards,



Seems like a desperate search for good news.

Obviously, this campaign has been designed to dovetail and extend the provincial government's own efforts, such as the "Invest BC" ads which proclaimed "...there's a reason why ...". It's unfortunate but true that repetition is one route to credibility, something that John English can tell us all about. I hope voters are more savy than to fall for this kind of foolishness, but fake economic news has been a staple of BC politics since the days of WAC Bennett, when every chart or graph available portrayed the year 1952 as the beginning of recorded time.

Why have we not heard any cries that the Campbell Clan are simply puppets of the Big Business lobby now? As soon as the BC Fed tries advocating for the New Democrats people start screaming how the unions control the New Democrats...wouldn't the same principle apply to the BC Liberals?

Well, this story should drag all the Dippers away from tearing each other to pieces over in the diversity/gender gap comment sections...

Seriously, people, the Liberals get support from business, and the NDP gets support from labour. The only difference is that the money business spends is spent by business owners who CHOOSE to spend their money on media. The Union/NDP talking heads FORCE union members to pay for ads they don't necessarily agree with.

Instead of spending money on media to gripe about low wages, maybe they should cut it out, and return the cash to all the BCTF/BCGEU/HEU/BCNU members who would rather spend it on things that they support.

(Wait... what's that... oh, the sound of Jim Sinclair blowing a gasket...)

There are a large number of union members who recognize the economic turnaround of the past four years and the benefits it has brought them, yet they are forced to support their union leadership's crazed positions. Now THAT'S heavy-handed politics.

The other major difference here is that Big Labour is guaranteed 1/3rd of the NDP's delegate spots at a provincial or national Leadership or Policy convention, thus giving them a fairly strong foothold on party decisions. Carole James needed Big Labour support on the convention floor to get elected as leader. Any potential NDP leader in BC effectively needs Jim Sinclair's tacit or direct endorsement. The same is not true for Jim Pattison (for example) and the BC Liberals.

Well, see, as anyone who understands economics can instantly tell you, labour groups are out to benefit their members, and damn everybody else - they're not paying dues.

Making a business-friendly economic climate, on the other hand, encourages job growth (increased profits allow for new business opportunities), wage growth (all these opportunities need workers), and makes it that much easier for the presently employed to make the leap to running their own business, which (if succesful) will drive wealth and growth forward that much faster. Even if it fails, the economic climate will make it easy to find a new job working for someone else again, thus avoiding the need to rely on social services.

Does a just society require its members to put in a little bit extra if they want all of life's luxuries, rather than just having them handed to them on a plate? Self-interest dominates, when needs are not being met - there is no doubt.

Seriously, the BC Liberals get MOST of their support from BIG BUSINESS, and the NDP some of their support from Labour. I`m getting tired of the Neocon drivel from posters like above. Giving profits to companies like Accenture, Aramark, Compass, CN will do little to improve our economic climate. How about raw log exports- that won`t help us at all.

What naive assertions by "Getting Tired...". When you say: "The only difference is that the money business spends is spent by business owners who CHOOSE to spend their money on media. The Union/NDP talking heads FORCE union members to pay for ads they don't necessarily agree with." What a load of B.S.
Do you seriously think that John Winter asked each of the thousands of small businesses who are part of the Chamber if he could spend their money on partisan advertising BEFORE he committed it? Not likely.
What's more revealing in Mr. Winter's email attempt to raise funds for this pro-BCLiberal campaign is his acknowledgement that the BC Chamber deliberately funnels money to the Coalition of business to hide his/the Chamber's partisan agenda. While I may not agree with some of the partisan work of Labour; at least their forthright and honest about it - you know what they're doing and where they stand. Unlike Mr. Winter who prefers to hide his partisan political spending and masquerade as a "non-partisan" interest group. Kudos to the Mike Smyth's and Sean Holman's for pulling off his sheep's clothing!

Hmm, one might make a point of asking why, then, it's been necessary for governments of all stripes to keep increasing minumum wage. If the "business friendly" ones were to espouse the belief you propose they do, they wouldn't need a minumum wage policy at all. Perhaps it's because businesses left on their own would pay such meagre wages that all those workers would be bereft of all that a "just society" is supposed to deliver. Just wondering.

Yes Parkhurst but there are plenty of smaller companies who have benefitted from these policies and whose success WILL improve our economic climate.

I am not a fan of raw log exports. However I can tell you that during the economic drought of the 1990's that the NDP helped create, those raw log exports were the only way some smaller forest companies managed to stay in business.

Trying to force companies to operate uneconomically in BC is what will not improve our economic climate- the NDP proved that.

Growing small business helps everyone, growing unions helps the union. You don't seem to understand that a growing economy leads to more money for all your social programs without saddling future generations with debt like the NDP.

If you want to know how strong economies drive up wages look at Alberta. Many companies have had to increase their wages and benefits due to increased competition for labour. The lower the unemployment the higher the wages, basic supply and demand economics. Working Albertans are much better off than working British Columbians. Sure they may have to acquire some skills and can't milk the government as much, but that’s a trade off many people would make.

The advertising is standing up for business owners who were picked on for 10 years by the NDP. How are they hiding their intentions? It's fairly obvious to anyone that business leaders prefer a government that facilitates the growth of business. Not a government that does everything in its power to stunt the growth of the economy.

This advertising is standing up for the BIG BUSINESSES that gave donations to the Campbell Liberals. It is fairly obvious to anyone that the BIG BUSINESSES prefer a government that rewards them with large tax breaks for their large donations to the BC Liberals. And to think that Gordon Campbell has the nerve to run again after his drunken rampage in Hawaii.

Gee - I thought only the big bad NDP were guilty of servicing "special interests".

Just a loophole Gordie can use to continue his media assault on the public and to keep his Ministry of Propaganda in full swing.

And to think Parkhurst that the NDP has the nerve to run for government again after their destructive rampage in the 1990's.

It would appear that poindexter is able to overlook the lies and drunken rampage of Campbell. What`s Campbell going to promise this time- not to privatize BC Rail?

In my personal work experience with big corporations...
I was laid off from my job during a period or record profits for the company. I have found that big business, if given an opportunity would have us all working for free. If it wasn't for labour laws and some union support there would be a larger gap between the haves and the have-nots. Big business operates for its share holders which unfortunatley, we all are if we have RSP's and whot-not.

On that note, I have also seen support and tax breaks for the rich, tax breaks and support for the poor ( pre election ) but very little for the middle class who, as Jimmy Steward says to Mister Potter in Its a Wonderful Life, "do all the living, and the paying and the dieing out there". (I may have misquoted slightly, but you get my drift.) The post election tax cut, after Gordo got elected, I never felt. In fact my wife lost her job and my income from my small business droped by 30% that year.

I'm not saying I'm a supporter of the NDP either, so don't jump on me for that. I'm just saying that success for big business doesn't always improve the life of the average joe.

And it would appear Parkhurst, that when faced with any mention of positive or beneficial achievements by the Campbell Liberals, you resort to insults and Campbell bashing and try to divert the conversation away to something completely unrelated.

I just want to say that the economy is going full guns. Business is great.


Why is it that the only so called "positive or beneficial" things Campbells promises to do come 4 months before the election and the previous 3.5 years he has been raping and pillaging those same things he claims to be saving?

On top of that, hsi track record on keeping promises speaks for itself. Gambling, Rail, Contracts know the list. The mans word is as solid as a wetnap.

Sugar, Although I’m not Poindexter the response to your question is very easy. Right now there is a surplus so targeted funding can now be added. This is exactly what they said they would do. Unlike the NDP the Liberals goal isn’t to see how much debt they can saddle future generations with.
Please tell me a politician/party that has never lied, or gone back on promises. Please I would like to hear this one.

If you have not noticed(I am sure pointdexter has not)the tax breaks for people with incomes under 60,000 have not beneficial.The split between rich and poor continues to widen with the top twenty percent of wage earners accumulating most of the gains in wealth.This governemnt works for the corporations and big business so it is no surprise that Johnnie Winter will do what he can to butter his own. the hypocrisy in the union bashing is something to be amazed by.

List of "positive" achievements of Campbell Liberals.
1. Citizens Assembly
2. Fixed election Dates

Negative List
1. Lied about ripping up collective agreements
2. Lied about selling BC Rail/ now owned by American owned CN (donor to BC Liberals)
3. Lied about selling off BC Hydro/ 1/3 now controlled by Accenture(donor to BC Liberals)
4. Closed Hospitals ( Kimberley hospital not only closed, building sold.
5. Closed Schools
6. Lied about expanding Gambling/ gambling now reffered to as "gaming"/expansion going full speed ahead.
7. Tried to privatize Coquihalla Highway/ Backed down and wasted taxpayers money in process.
8. Privatized Health Care services to foreign owned multinationals / some had donated to BC Liberals
9.Wasted taxpayers money on Roberts Bank BC Rail privatization which had been withdrawn as a result of raids on Legislature.
10. Hired marriage related Doug Walls which resulted in the Doug Walls fiasco.
11. Drunken Rampage in Hawaii by Premier of Province of BC at blood alcohol level of .16 driving at up to 70 miles per hour. Campbell`s mugshot plastered all over newspapers worldwide.
There are many more - care to add to my list Poindexter?

oh parkhurst, my head is going to start bleeding from constantly hitting it against the wall talking to you lefties.

1. The public sector contracts were bloated and not competitive. That decision was for the best of BC and taxpayers.
2. BC Rail has not been profitable, and was a good financial decision.
3. BC Hydro was not sold off, a portion was privatized, but the coporation as a whole is still a crown corp
4. hospitals were closed that didn't make sense to operate. ie a bunch of equipment and staff in an area that doesn't have the population to support it.
5. closed schools because enrollment was down. funding has actually increased for education
6. so they expanded gambling. what's the problem?
7. Tried to privatize the Coquihalla, realized it was a bad decision and cancelled the plans. At least it wasn't $463 million on the fastcats
8. Privatized portions of health care that needed to be revised and changed. ie get rid of the rot the HEU had infected the health system with.
9. They stopped Roberts Bank when evidence of links to the legislature came out. Sounds proper to me.
10. Appointed a friend. That NEVER happened under the NDP, did it?
11. Drunken rampage in Hawaii? How about the rampage with taxpayer's dollars that the NDP went on with the Nanaimo Commonwealth Holdings Society?

Nice try parkhurst, but unfortunately most sensible poeple see the majority of your negatives as decisions that were necessary for the good of BC. They were the right decisions, not the popular ones.

As far as the blunders? Sure there has been screw ups, I won't deny that. But nothing the Libs have done concerns me half as much as the all out assault the NDP launched on business, success and industry, and complete slaves the NDP (and therefore the BC gov't and taxpayers) were to organized labour during the 1990's.

I see nothing different about the "new" NDP, especially when I see the Carole and Jim Travelling Roadshow slithering around the province at NDP fundraisers.

Without resorting to any boring he said/she said back and forth nonsense, let me say this. Labour unions have every right in this province to try and influence the outcomes of elections through public communication. So do business groups.

New Democrats will bash the BC Liberals over this. The BC Liberals will bash the NDP over this.

However, I would expect the readers of this site to be pretty politically sophisticated so why don't we stop trying to spin each other by claiming that one side is right and the other is wrong.

Either its fine for both unions and business groups to engage in this sort of thing or its wrong for both. Anyone who tries to claim its OK for one group to advertise and wrong for another it a total hypocrite.

The interesting question is whether or not its a smart political move.

"the hypocrisy in the union bashing is something to be amazed by". What is that supposed to mean? Is it sort of like Parkhurst complaining about the Liberals wasting taxpayer dollars.

Poindexter aka: Prim Venning:

BC Rail was not profitable? Funny how the potential was not realixed until after the sale. There is also the issue that you seem to have left out. There are criminal charges that directly relate to the sale. Influence peddling and fraud you also forgot to mention, but most Liberals tend to think it's a non starter. All of this on top of the fact that we were promised last election "We will not sell BC Rail". Throw in our illustrious leader spending a night in prison and you want to talk about credibility.

Poindexter aka: Prem Vinning: Answer these questions:

Do you not feel the influence peddling and criminal fraud charges surrounding BC Rail are not relevant or important?

Do you not feel that receiving a criminal record and spending a night in prison during your mandate is a bad thing?

You say hospitals were closed that didnt need to be open - have you been to Royal Columbian lately? St. Marys used to pick up the slack there.
Health care is much worse since 2001 HEU or not. Team Canwest has done a marvellous job of forgetting about the infections that were received by a dozen women post C-section. These near fatal infections were the result of $8/hr bums who dont care enough to sanitize an OR properly.

Lastly, you said "most sensible people have seen the negatives you pointed out as necessary". Last I checked the polls, it was a close race. Are saying that 50% of the Province that will vote NDP are stupid union people?

Have a dozen martinis and go for a drive. That's good judgement according to you.

"Either its fine for both unions and business groups to engage in this sort of thing or its wrong for both. Anyone who tries to claim its OK for one group to advertise and wrong for another it a total hypocrite."

Finally, some sanity.

I'll have you know I have nothing to do with these Billy Bennett Socr...I mean fine Liberals (bwahahaha!) that are doing such a fine job for the people of British Columbia, of which I am one.

BTW, Milton Friedman is 121.

Is calling me Prem supposed to hurt my feelings sugar?

BC Rail has been profitable for 3 of the past 15 yrs. If it was my business I'd look at doing something about that.

Sure I'm not happy with the criminal charges, I was very disappointed to see people like that were involved. But no cabinet ministers have been charged. But like I said, it doesn't concern me as much as bingogate, fast ferries, fudget budget, and the anti-everything-except-union attitude of the NDP.

I know first hand that the Columbian is doing fine, and that the purpose of St Mary's was in fact NOT to pick up the slack. St Mary's was an old, inefficient hospital that made absolutely no sense to continue to operate, and to try to say otherwise is pure nostalgia.

And how about those "$8 and hour bums"? I guess they don't count as workers or count for much of anything because they aren't in a public sector union? True colours come out, hey sugar?

I don't think half the province "are stupid union people". There is a major undecided vote, and time will tell if people buy the NDP's platform, or lack thereof.

And, last but certainly not least, I will have a martini tonight - best idea I've seen from you yet sugar!

Joel McLaughlin states that "Big Labour is guaranteed 1/3rd of the NDP's delegate spots at a provincial or national Leadership or Policy convention", which isn't really accurate. The percentage varies, but it's not one third.

Given that two thirds to three quarters of the BC Liberals' financial intake comes from business sources, I wonder what percentage of delegates to a BC Liberal convention are either owner/operators, corporate executives, management level employees, or other people whose profession could be described as "business"?

I know that in terms of appointments to boards and commissions the Liberals have shown an almost exclusive reliance on people with business resumes, only occaisionally allowing people with professional backgrounds to sit on the board of any agency. So, a typical health region board will consist or people who bought into a tire or fast food franchise, sold scrip of various grades on Howe Street, or perhaps own a medium sized retail chain that hasn't yet fallen into Jimmy's hands, ... but hardly a doctor or nurse in sight. This, we are told, is the new era of expertise!


For a Liblover, you're quite amusing. There's nothing wrong with a few martinis, but unlike your hero, try to keep the car in between the lamposts. I'm sure you will though, most decent people can display that kind of sound judgement.

Posting on this site is akin to fishing. I set my lines, wait a while, and then check to see if I have caught a few more Campbell Clones. With my negative list, poindexter has passed over it all, and doesn`t seem to realize that the beneficiaries of a lot of the blunders were foreign multinationals(who donated cash to the Campbell Lieberals). And the drunken rampage of our illustrious premier is actually questioned, as though it never happened. It did happen, and it is a shame that Campbell has the audacity to run again. He could`ve killed someone with his lack of judgement. Youre a real lightweight, Poindexter, why don`t you go play in the Fraser Institute website.

Second point- I am not a leftie.

Thats a good joke Parkhurst.

Ohhh this is going to hurt, but John English... well said and point taken. Less than 100 days before the kickoff of the campaign and look at all the rhetoric and pontifications flying back and forth. Simply put, maybe they should eliminate union and business donations or severely limit them during a campaign. In a case like that, I dare say that the party that's less reliant on big funding from one of those groups would have alot of trouble. And a hint as to which party... its not NDP.

The percentage of donations from individuals to the parties bears this out. Campaign spending limits, caps on corporate and union donations, and no 3rd party advertising (ie the BCBC or the BCFED.) Too bad we're not going to see that in 2005.

oh mighty parkhurst. please show myself and other lightweights how to shed our independant thought and blindly see all Jim Sinclair has to offer. Oh to be like the noble lefties (c'mon parkhurst, does a bear shit in the woods?) and come up with those oh so witty little names like Lieberal. Damn that is SO creative! I don't know what I was thinking posting all those facts and figures and boring stats and stuff.

your revisionist spins and lies are consistent with liberal strategies pointie.You are such a martyr posting all those fibs, have another martini and you may feel a little better,and hey you can make up some more stats, as you do frequently on this site.And the name calling thing is funny coming from you, a master(well , that may be a little hyperbolic).Thanks for caring for those poor workers on minumum wage.

I just have to remind everyone, coming from a small community, it is very obvious what happens when good union jobs - with a livable wage are lost in the community. Jobs such as the laundry/kitchen and cleaning in our local care homes and hospitals are reduced to $10-12 per hour the small businesses lose also. It is my understanding that for every $ lost it is $7 to the local economy. This is huge - and when the profit all leaves not just the community but the country to off shore business like Sudesco it is shameful. How can the Liberals say we are better off. More lies
A Lutes

Job Creation?
Ask Coastal Forest workers what they have seen in job creation. Mills continually shutting down, Unionized logging operations closed and replaced with gypsie operations through bidding process, Mills moved to and purchased in the US by Canadaian Companies . Yet we continue to export raw logs in unprecedented numbers to the US.

It is healthy, I shall come on your site more often, thank.

Hello all! Very nice site and very informativity!

I have loved your site for its useful and funny content and simple design.

I have loved your site for its useful and funny content and simple design.

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