KROG HOLDS B.C. LIBERALS ACCOUNTABLE ON B.C. RAIL DEAL 5- YEAR ANNIVERSARY – But is it too little, too late?
NDP Attorney General Critic to demand answers on details of privatization contract
VANCOUVER , NDP Media Release – New Democrat Attorney General Critic Leonard Krog will hold a press conference today, July 14, demanding the Campbell government release the full details of the secret contract between B.C. Rail and Canadian National.
“Today, certain clauses in the B.C. Rail Transaction agreement that are in place to protect British Columbians, will expire. The public has the right to know what the Campbell government plans to do with valuable track land from North Vancouver to Squamish to Dease Lake.”
Where: Suite 900-1055 West Hastings St.
When: Tuesday July 14, 11:00 a.m.
( for some backgroung reading on why this date is so damn important, check out the following links)
**** update 12:17 pm NDP media release
VANCOUVER – As new clauses take effect on today’s five-year anniversary of the closing of the tainted B.C. Rail deal, Gordon Campbell’s continued refusal to come clean with British Columbians is undermining the public interest, New Democrats said today.
“The premier is more concerned with ducking accountability for the corrupt B.C. Rail sale than with what’s best for British Columbia. British Columbians deserve to know whether the five-year anniversary of the sale of B.C. Rail means that we will now start seeing sections of the railway abandoned, but Gordon Campbell has refused to come clean about the true nature of the tainted deal,” said New Democrat Attorney General critic Leonard Krog.
“What little we do know about this tainted deal leads to some serious questions. Did the Campbell government sign away the rights of local communities by allowing sections of the rail line to be abandoned after five years, potentially putting thousands of jobs at risk in communities that rely on rail to transport products to market?”
A highly-severed version of the B.C. Rail deal, released in August 2004 in response to a FOI request from the New Democrats, includes clauses that allow Canadian National to stop service to portions of the rail line. The premier has also said the contract allows the government to sell off rail lands for one dollar. Despite public pressure, the Campbell government has never released a complete version of the contract.
“If Gordon Campbell really cared about transparency, he would release the full B.C. Rail contract. Instead, his government continues to stonewall and refuses to answer even the most basic questions about the impact of this scandal for British Columbians,” said Krog.
Krog noted that since large sections of the B.C. Rail deal have never been released, there may be significant clauses in the deal that British Columbians have not been made aware of. “What other clauses exist that the public isn’t even aware of yet? Will we be in for even more surprises?” said Krog.
July 14, 2009 marks the fifth anniversary of the closing date on the secret contract between B.C. Rail and Canadian National. A highly-severed version of the B.C. Rail Contract Agreement, released to the New Democrats in August 2004 following an FOI request, outlined a number of provisions said to be in place to protect British Columbians. However, some of these clauses, which expire today, will allow Canadian National to abandon rail service to portions of the line from North Vancouver to Dease Lake and may give them the option to buy former B.C. Rail lands for a dollar.
It’s been five years and large sections of the deal have never been released. There may be significant clauses in the deal that British Columbians have not been made aware of.
Questions Premier Campbell should answer today:
1) Did Gordon Campbell sign away the rights of local communities by allowing sections of the rail line to be abandoned after five years?
2) If CN decides to abandon track lines which communities will be impacted and how many jobs will be lost as a result?
3) How does the government plan to protect communities against such a fallout?
4) Based on the Premier’s own comments in 2004 about his government selling land to CN for one dollar, will Gordon Campbell allow a massive transfer of valuable lands over to CN?
5) When will the Premier release the full text of his government’s agreement and tell British Columbians what other clauses are triggered at this 5 year mark?
The sale of B.C. Rail was a broken promise that erupted into the largest political scandal in B.C. history. But perhaps even more importantly, it embodies Premier Campbell’s agenda to sell off public assets to his corporate friends. The New Democrats actively opposed the sale from the outset and we have worked to demand accountability and expose the truth about events that lead up to the sale