Campbell government battles corporate control

Earlier last week, The Vancouver Sun's Miro Cernetig reported Premier Gordon Campbell is using the term subsidiarity to describe his approach to governing the province. According to Mr. Cernetig, "The term evolved from the Catholic church more than a century ago...Pope Pius XI spelled out the subsidiarity doctrine in his encyclical Quadragessima Anno: 'It is wrong for a superior body to hold to itself the right to make decisions for which an inferior is already well qualified enough to make for itself.'" But the premier might be interested in knowing this doctrine of devolution hasn't just been endorsed by "small-c conservatives and libertarians." In a paper published back in 2004, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's Judy Kennedy's noted subsidiary "the localizing of activities - may be the key to divesting ourselves of both corporate control and U.S. imperialism" - this according to a paper published back in 2004. Of course, our astute readers will know the Liberals have always been big fans of the centre, with Health Minister George Abbott recently describing its work as being "hopelessly and reflexively sycophantic in relation to the New Democratic Party."


That sure is some kind of convergence.

Next thing you know polar opposites like, say, Dave Barrett and The Zalm will be heading head out on the stump together in an effort to whip the inferiors into a frenzy.

Oh, wait.



I think we tried this already. It was called Feudalism, and it was designed to give William 1 more time to drink wine and eat stuffed, uh, pheasant. No, wait, its called Federalism, and it was designed for the same purpose. Oh, sorry, its a new idea. Right. But seriously. The Local is the rage among the progressives and when something is the rage among progressives, the dominant class will try to coopt it, gut it of all meaning and make it mainstream. The problem becomes evident when local control is exercised by brainwahsed zombies from Centreland with no democratic input from local citizenry. A Feudal Lord isn't really ruling. He just gets the local maidens (until the King takes an interest in one of them). The Will is still that of the King.

...except that Premier Campbell's idea of devolution and community governance, as seen in the key example to date under his tenure -- Community Living BC -- has absolutely nothing to do with devolving power to local communities.

The July 2005 "devolution" of MCFD's community living services consisted of establishing a single provincial authority, run by a Cabinet-appointed Board on a Cabinet-set budget and reporting directly to the Minister. The only pretense at "community governance" will be CLBC's local advisory councils, for which the CLBC Board recently ciruclated a blueprint. That blueprint shows that the local councils will be APPOINTED by the CLBC Board and will be entirely toothless -- mere window dressing. (Local Community Living Councils that operated before devolution actually had more power than this, since they were at least appointed by their own communities)

So, essentially all that is achieved through this illusion of devolution/community governance is the distancing of accountability from the province. A very convenient formula for a government that wants to cut social services without paying the political price for the consequences.

...and the steep political costs tied to the sad death of a Port Alberni toddler have only increased Premier Campbell's ardour to "devolve" the rest of MCFD as hurriedly as he possibly can. Ditto with education, where parent/teacher advocacy about underfunding has given him much heartburn, and where the concept of "subsidiarity" has coincidentally also just popped up.

'... Health Minister George Abbott recently describing its work as being "hopelessly and reflexively sycophantic in relation to the New Democratic Party."'

Why is it that phrase "hopelessly and reflexively sycophantic" conjures up a picture of George Abbott himself?

A question for Dawn Steele. What's the compensation for members of the provincial leve board, and for the various local advisory boards?

The Provincial Board members get standard compensation, I believe, but the proposed set-up for the local advisory councils would give them no pay at all -- they'll be doing it on their own dime.

George Abbott was a New Democrat before becoming a BC Liberal MLA. More progressive than you might think.

Leave a comment

Copyright © 2004 - Public Eye Mediaworks. Reproductions of any portion of this Website are permitted only with the expressed permission of Public Eye Mediaworks.
Canadian Web Hosting graciously provided by dotcanuck Web Services. Layout and graphics courtesy of Art Department Design.