Site C Dam: John Horgan’s neoliberal ball and chain
The Site C dam is many things, but never seen as what it really is- John Horgan’s neoliberal ball and chain. One of the main functions of Christy Clark’s neoliberal government was shoveling money at the private sector for mega projects in the grand tradition of stealing public funds for private sector profits.
Horgan had a clear mandate to kill the project. By letting it go ahead billions of dollars have been committed to a white elephant better directed to any number of more worthy and necessary expenditures; ranging from housing to education to senior care.
His neoliberal masters have effectively locked the ball and chain on his government. They specialize in keeping governments cash starved and the public cash flow directed to their pet mega projects and privatizations.
His decision does not bode well for the fight to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Horgan has caved on one big decision. Now he must deal with an even bigger one where he has to face down the federal government, the Alberta government and the powerful oil lobby. The oil in question is going to China and Trudeau will no doubt be ruthless in forcing the pipeline through as he toadies to Beijing’s every wish. Saying no to Site C would have sent a message to one and all he is actually willing to show leadership and inspired confidence in his government as an agent of real change.
At a time when progressives across the country are looking to the NDP as being a genuine agent of change, Horgan has stumbled badly. Like Conservatives and Liberals who are in the thrall of neoliberalism and offer voters no real choice, his NDP government has failed to show leadership on a critical issue.
At a press conference with federal leader Jagmeet Singh, Horgan made it clear his provincial party is independent of the federal party. He must realize though, the performance of his government impacts on the fortunes of the federal party.
His majority is fragile. There is no shortage of speculation when this government might fall. Killing Site C would have given him a solid accomplishment with which to face voters once again. As it is, he has hurt his leadership by not being decisive on a multi-billion dollar decision that could have saved taxpayers a lot of wasted money.
If Horgan wants to distance himself from the Liberals and win a stronger mandate from voters he is off to a very bad start. His time as premier will be short and brutal as the NDP once again fails as an agent of change. In turn, he has undercut Singh’s potential as a game changer at the federal level.
By approving Site C, Premier John Horgan has guaranteed that every underpaid and overworked Bob Cratchit in B.C. will pay a heavy price for his bad governance and that First Nations will pay the heaviest price of all in the loss of land and sovereignty-Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee