Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Corruption in the provinces

"B.C. Solicitor-General John Les has resigned his cabinet post pending the outcome of an investigation into his dealings with developers while he was mayor of Chilliwack."

The only time in my life I’ve felt a real sense of place was living in Chilliwack BC. Sure the corruption in Canada’s most western province is blatant and seldom prosecuted with any success. It’s sort of a Wild West thing; a mans gotta do what a mans gotta do!

My few brief meetings with local MLA John Les confirmed his adoption of that attitude; if you can’t see anything wrong with an issue it is easy to slip into bland denial. Les grew up on a dairy farm, land locked into the provinces Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR); an effort to preserve productive land for farming.

No one can blame Les and his brothers for wanting to escape farm life; it’s more an issue of the ethics of moving from dairy to development. Much of the old Les farm is now flood plain housing development, so that rich agricultural land has somehow been parleyed into marginal housing blocks.

John Les insists that he will be cleared of any wrongdoing, and when his government holds the numbers t crush opposition he might well be right. His provincial arty call themselves Liberals but they are, like Les, essentially conservatives too gutless or crooked to even be honest about that.

Les’s blatant use of position, first as mayor then as MHA has not gone un-remarked over the years, it is more a matter that no one has had the will or power to challenge him before. With control over the ALR the power brokers like Les can easily determine that development occurs in their favour.

The big problem now is that Vancouver’s food bowl, the Fraser Valley is also under demand for housing as the city grows. Chilliwack City council, along with others are approving developments on the unstable murrains which line the valley. These are not mountains as such, but detritus bulldozed up by old glacial activity.

Much of the agricultural lowlands are recovered lake bed of flood plains of the Fraser and Chilliwack rivers. In many ways driving growth in the valley is a disaster waiting to happen, especially given the valley sits on top of a massive subduction fault zone. With a major quake long overdue increasing population density in the area already borders on the criminal.

But while the easy dollars are on offer good Christians like John Les are not going to be concerned about things like human disaster on a massive scale. In fact they are not the slightest bit concerned with the quality of life in the region. For these guys, destroying remnant urban native bush, fish nurseries and water quality is just business as usual.

My betting is that Les will be true to his word and escape any charges. He will continue raping his section of the Fraser Valley to increase his personal wealth. Corruption and power travel hand in hand, and John Les has shown himself to be a master at the disgusting, self serving game.


kj said...

"My betting is that Les will be true to his word and escape any charges."

He is not very well liked here, he's probably going to get kicked out of the Rotary club.

It's unfortunate politicians don't have any remorse for their dealings and just consider it 'business'.

His business dealings have made him alot of enemies. At the end of the day, he's gotta go to bed with himself.

Cart said...

KJ I expect you and I are numbered among his enemies. I'm not sure if the likes of John and Corny Les can understand the deep hurt they cause to those they screw over.
In fact i doubt the whole Campbell government could see any reason for remorse when screwing people for thee own profit is just second nature to them all.

D.K. Raed said...

I'm sorry to hear of corruption & overdevelopment in B.C. Haven't been up there in yrs, but so thoroughly enjoyed my time in Victoria on Vancouver Island, I've always kept it in mind as an escape place. Looking at home prices there over the last couple yrs has been a reality check on that idea.

So many places I used to love are now completely overdeveloped, it's enough to make you cry. Houses down in flood plains or stacked along the tops of highly eroded coastal bluffs are disasters in the making. Here in the desert, developers think nothing of dozing over acres of our fragile eco-system. We are breathing in the topsoil along with old nuke fallout from the 50's-60's while the good old boys reap short-term profit from our long-term pain.

I don't know how guys like John Les live with themselves.

Cart said...

DK, despite these arseholes, and quake threats I really miss the place and some of the people.
We have the bloody minded, greedy bastards wherever we go. BC is still a pretty special place despite them.

kj said...

Fortunately for us, they can't take away or destroy the memories :)

Cart said...

They can't destroy the memories. The reality was still too wonderful to destroy.

greg said...

I'm doing a small "investigation" of my own and one of the bits of information I'm looking for is -

- where exactly was the Les farm?

The thread that I'm using to document my searching is -

Cart said...

Greg, I have prepped a map and sat pic downloadable from HERE. Your query jogged another curios issue in the Les affair; the sub-division still doesn’t actually show up on Chilliwack maps. One part of it is simply know as 10542 Bell Rd, though it is a cul de sac with a dozen or so homes. On the other hand Rosebank Place is not listed at all.
If you can access the sat pic I have marked where the sub-division is on Bell Road, on Fairfield Island. You can make out a cluster of homes which are not indicated on the actual map.
To my understanding Les did not have this land removed from the ALR, rather he moved the property boundaries (presumably with help from the council. Hope that helps.