The reinvention of Kevin Falcon: Boomer with a cause.

The somewhat awkward return of Kevin Falcon to BC politics via a Facebook live last night, was surprisingly under attended by viewers – a mere 433 when I tuned in, and that never changed much. Not surprisingly however, the comments and likes left behind were peppered with the familiar names of Conservative back room boosters, strategists , campaigners and influencers to former and current politicians known for their Conservative affiliations.

The narrative was set and crafted to counter past criticisms, and its one we should expect to see again and again. Falcon, once coined Rebel with a cause in a 2009 piece by Frances Bula: (https://www.bcbusiness.ca/kevin-falcon-rebel-with-a-cause ), is now a family man, one who left politics for his children,and claims to be running for leader now for them, as well. His abrasive edges have softened, intentionally, and purposefully mentioned as as selling point was his absence from politics for a decade,spent in the private sector. No one wants a career politician, after all!

Sigh. Those of us who have been around long enough to have written copious amounts of all things Kevin Falcon, knew this moment would come. The BC Liberals are a coalition of federal Liberals and federal Conservatives. When Clark won the leadership race against Falcon, he and other Conservatives left for a break. The Harperites sent out many backroom operatives to try and keep the coalition from being totally torn over the Clark years, but the stunning loss of Clark in the 2017 election signalled the inevitable. It was only a matter of time before Falcon would make his re-entry into politics – he was already back stumping for the BC Liberals and Wilkinson in 2018, hosting a secret fundraiser at an elite West Vancouver Mansion with his close friend, Ryan Beedie. https://pressprogress.ca/the-bc-liberals-held-a-secret-fundraiser-at-a-wealthy-enbridge-executives-west-vancouver-mansion/

The timing is interesting in one aspect : covid. For many career professionals and parents, the early and only true lockdown we had last March left a massive impression on perspective and priorities. Many realized how much they had missed, and rearranged lives to spend more time with young children. Falcon, now effectively a boomer with a clock ticking as he ages, is setting to re-enter a very demanding and time focused position with young children at hand, a curious aspect to be certain. (I seem to recall other politicians using the line “Its for the children ” , Christy Clark was one of them.)

So here we are. Who is Kevin Falcon exactly, and why should his appearance and desire to become the leader of the BC Liberals concern you?

Let me just start with the fact that environmentalists were so worried about him continuing the slice and dice, deregulate and privatise style of leadership he emulated, that they joined the BC Liberals en masse to swing the vote and keep him from becoming leader, and premier. https://www.straight.com/article-377415/vancouver/green-liberals-foiled-falcon That leadership race was literally a lesser of two evils scenario, and Falcon was a Gordon Campbell protege. I still believe Falcon would be every bit as harmful to the province as Campbell was. Nothing I saw last night shows any indication of change.

He began his career as Minister of Deregulation, and immediately decreed that all ministries cut red tape by a third. While a review of regulations that are outdated or currently inept is a good thing, he created a task force solely populated by hand picked members of the business community, and this did not go unnoticed by policy analysts: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/restructuring-government-bc

This was his task force. Not one community led, or public interest representative: https://archive.news.gov.bc.ca/releases/archive/pre2001/2001/nrs2001/ib03.asp

The result? Much of the ongoing issues in BC with tailings ponds, toxic waste disposal and other environmental protection issues can be traced back to deregulation and inadequate oversight that occured in the early 2000’s : https://thenarwhal.ca/how-b-c-outsourced-environmental-protection-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/

“A 2015 review of professional reliance by the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre found that “professional reliance” was undermining the public interest.

The report concluded “that much of B.C.’s deregulation goes too far in handing over what are essentially matters of public interest to those employed by industry. Proponents should not be decision makers for matters involving the weighing and balancing of multiple, often competing, environmental and societal values.”

The solution is to actually staff the public service with professionals whose only job is to protect the public interest.

According to Wildsight, government capacity in this area has been cut by about 25 per cent since the early 2000s.

20 years after the fact, we are still seeing fallout from policy failures of the BC Liberal era under Gordon Campbell and Kevin Falcon. That matters immensely as more and more people flock to the warmest and most beautiful province, to live and enjoy our wild spaces.

I was happy to hear Falcon mention his achievements as transportation minister, because its in this file that when one looks past the grand announcements of the mass scale transportation projects, you see where the policy really hits taxpayers hard. Its not the sexiest stuff to read, but those projects were anything but on time and on budget, and its easy to demonstrate why the public private partnerships Falcon is such a proponent of, are actually a huge detriment to you and I in the end. It was also in this file that he oversaw the completion of the privatization of BC Rail and refused to commit to a public inquiry into the circumstances.

  1. Sea to Sky Highway build: P3 ( public private partnership) Announced as a $600 million build that consortium will operate for 25 years, which reduces risk to govt. In actuality, the highway has been a lucrative investment vehicle for the companies Maquarie flipped it to. https://lailayuile.com/2016/07/20/sea-to-sky-highway-project-making-money-once-again-but-not-for-the-taxpayers-of-bc/ Among the payments making it a cash cow for the private partner, are shadow tolls aka vehicle usage payments, based on size of vehicle and distance travelled. ( an entire series is on this on my Best Of page https://lailayuile.com/best-of/) These payments government makes regularly, end up costing the taxpayer far more in the long run.
  2. South Fraser Perimeter road: A year late and $464 million over budget. How did they claim it was on time and on budget? They change the price and completion date as they go along. The highway has been plagued with issues of leaning overpasses and massive dips and heaves, due to unstable ground ( sound familiar?) https://lailayuile.com/2013/12/21/bc-liberals-pat-themselves-on-the-back-over-sfpr-highway-opening-a-year-late-and-464-million-over-budget/ That mess was left to Todd Stone to finish after Falcon stepped down in 2012.
  3. Port Mann Bridge: One that stands out for many reasons, the Port Mann was originally to be a twinned bridge, but the p3 partners re-envisioned it as it is now. Except a global financial crisis hit and the private partners couldnt get financing, so Falcon proceeded as a government financed project, oddly proclaiming : “Government can build it cheaper anyways as they get lower interest rates” That project was also plagued with issues and ‘irregularties’ https://lailayuile.com/2017/09/07/everything-old-is-new-again-cbc-investigation-raises-big-questions-about-port-mann-bridge-build/

That final project, despite him stepping down before it was completed, is the kind of thing that lives as a legacy of how things purported to be amazing visions, can really cost the people that end up paying for it, one way or another. Just like his changes to Translink governance left a lasting impact. It was Falcon behind the faregate follies, and it was Falcon behind the sweeping changes at Translink that were really indicative of his style of leadership. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/major-translink-overhaul-going-ahead-1.674793

I could go on, but you get the idea. There is a lot to read on the Falcons Follies portion of my Best Of page here https://lailayuile.com/best-of/ I don’t think for a moment spending 10 years in the private sector as the executive Vice president of Athem Capital Corp, the equity wing of real estate group Anthem Properties, is something that spells renewal for the BC Liberals.

If anything,it sounds like more of the same that we saw under the last period BC Liberals were in power, when politicians in BC sold BCs real estate investment as a way of bringing in uncontrolled speculation,increased the gap between rich and poor, killing the middle class almost entirely. https://lailayuile.com/2016/07/16/affordability-crisis-what-affordability-crisis-or-why-the-bc-government-stood-by-while-rome-burned/

It doesn’t bode well having Beedie in one back pocket, and numerous Harper connected boosters in the other. Nor does it appeal that he supported Maxime Bernier in his bid for CPC leadership in 2017 – Mad Max was already showing the type of politics he was about back then.

Increasingly in politics, we see choices reduced to the lesser of two evils. This will always be the case within the BC Liberals, a party full of lifelong politicians and backroom opportunists who ooze from from one leader to another with too much ease.

Falcon though, is cunning and calculated, and will eat Horgan for lunch in any debate…and Horgan knows this. Which means that while the BC Liberals are figuring out what direction they intend to go with a leader, the BC NDP would do well to do consider the same.

Reader suggestion for Falcon

30 thoughts on “The reinvention of Kevin Falcon: Boomer with a cause.

  1. Excellent article, with links to important work Laila has done previously.

    Kevin Falcon is an example of a politician who is guided by political dogma, not by measures of what is good public policy. Despite repeated deregulation failures that are obvious to almost everyone, Falcon and his ilk are dedicated to allowing corporations to do whatever they want. These neoliberal values are so strong, they have been willing to sell public assets for a fraction of market value just because they believe public wealth should be privatized.

    Falcon and his Liberal friends were behind policies that have cost BC citizens almost $40 billion in unnecessary spending:

    1. Site C ($16+ billion) to make electricity that will cost at least 3x alternatives;
    2. Natural gas royalty reduction programs that have reduced provincial income by more than $10 billion, despite rising production;
    3. Private power, where BC Hydro has been forced to pay more than $10 billion above market price for private electricity (and will continue paying excess amounts until 2075).

    Of course, money laundering and wild real estate speculation were additional elements that have made life difficult for a great many BC citizens, although not rich BC Liberal supporters.

    That people like Kevin Falcon move between high positions in government to lucrative positions in businesses that benefited from political decisions is no coincidence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That limitation on political donations is important but probably something that will be rescinded if neoliberals regain control. Another step to protect democracy would be to restrict ability of politicians and senior bureaucrats to move from government positions to businesses directly or indirectly affected by their work while in the public sector. Like no-compete agreements common in business, the restriction should last three to five years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bingo. And there has to be some way to limit bureaucrats within govt who have long and sordid histories within successive governments. Honestly they need to just take the hit and let these people go, pay them severance and seeyalater.

        Not promote them ( Fazil Mihlar)

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    2. Let’s not forget how they created their own financial crisis, to bring in the P3 model of building.

      https://castlegarsource.com/news/tax-cuts-ensuing-loss-revenue-deliberate-financial-crisis%E2%80%A6and-reason-introduce-p3s-bc-8419

      Good financial governance? He wants to help all the people on the street, addicted and mentally ill? The closures, cuts and underfunding that occurred while Campbell and Falcon were in office are where things really got bad.
      .
      He is the last person we need leading any party, let alone an entire province.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So Falcon has two well known individuals standing beside/behind him with deep personal pockets without the ability, now, to dip into their, and their corporations bank accounts to bankroll the BC Liberals in the next election. The stats from the last election paints a pretty dark future for the BC Liberals with historically low in membership numbers.

    Ryan Beedie, donated cash to the BC Liberals on two fronts over the course of 15 years. Total of $271,822.15 from his pockets directly, and his Corporations

    https://contributions.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca/pcs/SA1SearchResults.aspx?FilerSK=0&EDSK=0&FilerTypeSK=0&Contributor=Ryan+Beedie&PartySK=5&elctrldstrct_sk=0&ED=(ALL)&FilerType=(ALL)&Filer=0&FilerName=(ALL)&Party=BC+Liberal+Party&event_name=(ALL)&class_sk=0&class_name=(ALL)&DateTo=&DateFrom=

    With the new regulations barring corporations and unions from contributing to political parties, Beedie, In 2020 donated to the max: $1,253.15; 2019 $1200.00;

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    1. I’m sure Falcon has many friends with deep pockets lining up to ensure he becomes leader. They know how friendly he is to unimpeded business in BC. Companies will hand out money to friends to make donations and dark money is still very much a thing for all parties.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Have you had enough!?”

    This was Falcon’s war cry,

    Well i have had enough of Falcon.

    There is one more transportation project, the mother and apple pie, Canada Line, which the mainstream media still sing hosannas about.

    The Canada Line was Gordon Campbell’s and Kevin Falcons attempt to turn a transit project, into a financial instrument.

    If one listens to Dead Dog 98, Vaugue Palmer or BS Baldry, one would think the Canada line was next to the second coming. Well it ain’t. It is a grossly under-built heavy rail metro built as a light metro and carries with it the baggage of massive cost cutting. Internationally, the Canada Line is deemed a White elephant.

    Conceived as a P-3, Campbell ignored the fact that metros of any sort do not make good p-3 material because of the huge costs involved. well that did not deter him at all. Falcon was the front man pushing this project and was the guy who went from bored tunnel along Cambie to cut and cover. Further cost cutting saw small stations with 40 metre long platforms (half the length of the Expo and Millennium lines, limiting capacity to about 9,000 persons per hour per direction (in the 1940’s and 50’s couples sets off PPC streetcars in Toronto were offering a capacity of over 12,500 pphpd on select routes.

    It also saw SNC Lavalin get greedy, by bidding against SNC Lavalin Bombardier, with the Quebec Caisse de Depot fronting the money. SNC knew damn well that a conventional metro was cheaper than Bombardier’s proprietary light metro system used on the Expo and Millennium lines. Siemens and Alstom, who also dared to bid,wanted to use modern trams instead to offer the ability to extend the Canada line cheaply into Steveston and Ironwood Mall, but were tossed by Ken Doebell, Campbell’s best bud who was CEO of TransLink. Strange that both the Seattle and Ottawa’s light metro systems use light rail vehicles because try can extend the system cheaply into less dense areas.

    So, here we have SNC Lavalin, bidding against SNC Lavalin and guess who won…… yes wait for it………………. SNC Lavalin using conventional metro cars.

    By using conventional metro cars meant that the system could not run the the Expo and millennium lines and visa versa.

    So here comes the financial tool. A true P-3, those investing in the project assume risk, but not so for the Canada Line and the concessionaires for the faux P-3 Canada line, SNC Lavalin and the Caisse de Depot make a cool $110 million annually operating the metro. that’s is taxpayer’s money folks! So to date, the Canada line has cost the taxpayer well over $3.5 billion!

    The judge presiding over the Susan Heyes lawsuit with TransLink (lost on appeal), called the bidding process a “Charade”.

    The Canada Line also as a few secrets including that the Campbell government inked an agreement to force all previous south Fraser bus routes that used to give direct service to downtown Vancouver, forcibly transfer customers at Bridgeport Station, thus artificially increasing ridership on the mini-metro.

    Pre Covid, the Canada line was achieving a maximum capacity of 6,000 pphpd and carrying about 50,000 actual people a day. TransLink uses boarding’s because it gives a much higher numbers (everyone boards transit at least 2 times a day, if not more) and includes free travel on Sea Island and multiple trips a day by post secondary students using the $1 a day ride a will U-Pass.

    And now for a final insult, to increase capacity on he Canada Line, all the stations have to be rebuilt with longer station platforms and new entrances and exists (over $100 million per station for the subway stations) and the single stub terminus’s at YVR and Richmond rebuilt, the cost to increase the capacity of the Canada Line to match that of the Expo and Millennium’s legal capacity of 15,000 pphpd, will cost $1.5 to $2 billion!

    Caaa-Ching!

    And Kevin, “had you had enough” Falcon was the front man and probably architect for this debacle. If we let this guy lead the province again, Falcon is just as bad as a malignant narcissist as was Christi Clarke.

    Post script: The Caisse de Depot was so enthralled with the income from the Canada Line that it is using the Canada Line P-3 template on Montreal’s REM regional light metro system. Sadly the transit types in Montreal have woken up too late to stop this scam, invented in BC, the money laundering capital of the Canada, if not North America.

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    1. Yes, there has been so much that occurred, and yet no new government has the penchant to hold the last one truly accountable. Its why I and others called for so long, for a true Charbonneau style inquiry into corruption in BC. In the last few years we have seen so much ample evidence that indicates its just the tip of the iceberg. It goes deeper and far beyond just money laundering. Look at BC rail. Look at the Craig James scandal. Quick Wins. Rod MacIsaac. There is a dark thread connecting these stories. Integrity BC delved into some of it before his death and I fear nothing will ever happen now.

      Are we really so different from Quebec? No.

      https://lailayuile.com/2012/06/19/money-and-corruption-are-ruining-the-land/

      Like

      1. I have some inside knowledge of BC politics from family connections, including a former Liberal Minister of Northern Affairs and i can say this, their dislike of Gordon Campbell was total. Kevin Falcon and Christie Clarke were acolytes of Campbell’s dishonest ways, so much so that they out did their mentor.

        Twenty years before Trump, Campbell (and his brother), Falcon and Clarke spun a web of fake news and alternative facts about the NDP. The NDP, sadly, got stuck with the Social Credit Fast Ferries, what were first conceived for an abortive, Iona island, Gabriola run. Too arrogant to say know, the FastFerry debacle stuck to the NDP like superglue.

        The Liberals, breaking parliamentary tradition crucified the NDP after the 2001 election and doing so,camouflaged Campbell’s real intent of raping BC of its investments and selling them off at almost fire sale price to politcal friends and insiders.

        The dark thread you mention is the continuing association of the Liberals with questionable sorts and the what is even more frustrating, Horgan or should I say the real premier, Geoff Meggs, seem unwilling to put a wooden stake through the heart of the Liberals with the money laundering scandal.

        Site C is FastFerries on steroids and the NDP are going to wear it, not for 20 years but for the next 50 years!

        Again that dark thread also has entwined the NDP and the hubris and naivete is going to cost them dearly.

        There is something very sinister with the Liberals and I cannot help to wonder if the Liberals put up a lame duck leader in the last election so the NDP would fall into a massive financial trap. That no one seems to be warning the NDP of the upcoming fiasco makes me wonder if the party is filled with Quislings, setting up the NDP for an unstoppable train wreck.

        We live in dark times, made all the more sinister by an extremely lame mainstream media which again seems to be entwined in that evil dark thread.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I would say MOST of that lot at Dead Dog 980 and Global give the strong impression of being under the spell of the government. God they are hiring such wimps these days in media. They just repeat what the government spews out to them and and thinks that’s good enough as if it were something they worked at and investigated, too sound like some great piece of exclusive journalism. What sheep.

      Now, when it comes to Falcon, well, that’s just another old familiar face given the the lead role by the same old corrupt gang that is still there. It’s the same gangs all here. I suppose if they got in power again, which I hope not, then they would be emboldened even more in the day to day dirty business.

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  4. great article. really enjoyed it and made me laugh, right from the picture at the top to some of your historical referances. My brain is still working, I remember every one of them yu mentioned. OMG, they must be desperate to run him or he is desperate and needs a job or his financial backers want Horgan and the NDP out. Falcon was part of what made this province such a disaster.

    John’s Aghast says it well and made me laugh.

    Lets hope the people of B.C. don’t fall for Falcon and his friends and their frat boy manner of running the province into the ground. Just having Mad max in the picture was enough to make my stomach heave and not in a good way.

    Laila thank you for the article and thank you for RossK giving us the heads up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to see you e.a.f. and I hope you are well
      Like most people,I’ve not been paying much attention to politics at all but seeing his team get ready was too much. I spent 10 years plus with a best of page that documents the worst, and even the most non partisan can see this isnt the kind of leadership we need post covid recovery.

      Also, the Tyee asked to reprint and I of course said yes.

      Here is the link.

      https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2021/05/20/Reinvention-Kevin-Falcon/

      Like

      1. yes, life is going well. haven’t shopped for shoes or clothes in over a year and saved money. most of our problems with covid restrictions are what I call first world problems. True, I didn’t go grocery shopping for awhile last year, had to order them delivered. Didn’t go anywhere, but then I was confined to my new house with my computer, t.v., etc. still could drive to the beach etc. and live in Nanaimo so we on Vancouver Island were luckier than those in other areas. Many complained about not being able to go to live sports games or out to bars, etc. but really you could buy booze at liquor stores, you could watch games on t.v. It was unfortunate not to see people but we were able to send emails, use the phone, send videos on our cells, zoom etc. We were still able to communicate. Being some what older I can remember there was a time if you moved from an other part of the world, the only way to communicate was via letter and if you wanted to see your relatives, you took a picture and put it in a Christmas card. Back then you couldn’t even phone your family in other parts of the world because they didn’t have phones and even those who did, the rates were so expensive it was done only a few times a year.

        Its true many had great difficulties during this time, but for most of us, it was first world problems. Even the federal government kept people financially afloat when covid first started last year.

        take care,

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  5. It’ll be the same old BC Liberal brand but maybe with a new name. They’re in a self destructive mood. Recycling old trash , that stilll comes out with the same stink. But this is a good thing. Right. No win for them at next election. Hopefully not. Same old faces replacing same old faces. No new inspiring faces with a new better path to offer for The people. We thought we may have had that with The BC Liberal NDP. Nope. They just got too many loved ones killed because of their stupidity and complacency and lies and politicking during this most unfortunate time.
    I will never hold forgiveness for the destruction of so many seniors lives in LTC because a stubborn grossly negligent power loving Top Health Officer and a confused sheepish Health Minister that didn’t use rapid testing. Something that has been effectively known too have worked that would have prevented many deaths along with other precautions that we’re completely thrown out the window. So sorry, but I can’t just talk about plain politics without talking about the manslaughter of so many lives. This is what is important above all else to me right now. Lives that mattered. Lives that were neglected. Lives that were allowed to be thrown into the thresher, by those we thought we’re supposed to be of some level of competence that we pay huge money for. I’m afraid when we get back too normal the wonderful seniors will be forgotten for the most part.

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  6. And vote for Sonia Furstenau. She has a moral compass that’s intact. Unlike the other two disgusting cabals sitting across from each other in the peoples house. The Peoples house. Hahaha. What am I thinking.

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  7. We now have two main BC political parties that are two of same. The BC Lberals and the BC NDP. We might as well just call it one now. The BC Liberal NDP. I mean they come from the same swamp.

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  8. It’s funny and interesting that there doesn’t seem too be a lot or even more conversation about women in politics to balance out things from too much of the old boys club all the time. I want to see more great women get more press and conversation time everywhere. What hell is with this society and system. We talk about equality and more fair equal opportunity ground needs to be at play ,but it just see,s to fall by the wayside.

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  9. Kennylad: Please educate yourself on the difference between ‘too’ and ‘to’. The first few times I encountered your usage I attributed it to a slip, but it seems rather regular. “Too” is another word for ‘also’.

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        1. Me? Are you kidding. That’ll be the day I listen too that non contributing high and mighty arrogance out of the blue from the basement Out of all the big stories going on, that’s all that is offered from him. Pffttt. Buy for good. It’s been nice though.

          Like

        2. Do you need a Snickers Kenneylad?

          There are no favourites here, just concerned citizens, academics and professionals, some who I have known longer than others 😉

          Like

    1. And to you before I stop posting, don’t judge me or anyone on their own state of skill set and mental capabilities and challenges. So there. Shove it and go back to your basement if that’s all you got.

      Like

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