Ever wonder why there are no tolls put on the Olympic legacy known as the Sea to Sky highway?
There are tolls. Campbell promised them to his big business buddies. And we're paying them. But what you may not know is that at least one journalist reported back in the early days of the Sea to Sky project that the BC Ministry of Transportation was spending money, ($166 million), gained from the sale of BC Rail to fund phase 1 of the highway project.
Think about that for a minute.
Campbell promises that he won't sell BC Rail, then, suddenly, while falsely claiming that BC Rail was a money-losing proposition, puts it on the chopping block. Ideology of a fanatic bottom-liner or was there something more sinister at work here?
Here's some meat to chew on. The Vancouver/Whistler Olympic bid was not a sure thing. In the first round Pyeongchang, South Korea led the short list with 51 votes to Vancouver's 40. Salzberg, Austria received only 16 votes which effectively eliminated that city. What that meant was that virtually all of those who had voted for Salzberg would have to shift their votes to Vancouver if the Vancouver bid was to succeed in the second round of voting.
Problem. Money. Campbell, who had a bevy of pals wrapped up in the Olympic bid process, was made fully aware that the greatest stumbling block to a successful bid was a highway between Vancouver and Whistler that was too long, too dangerous and subject to road-blocking slides. The only way to overcome that massive obstacle would be to commit to IOC officials that the thoroughfare would be totally rebuilt in time to host an Olympic party. But where would the money come from?
Sell an asset... and sell it fast. BC Rail.
On 28 August, 2002, Vancouver makes the short list of four cities bidding on the 2010 Winter Olympics. The IOC cites the Sea to Sky Highway as a problem. The Vancouver Olympic bid committee has until 10 January, 2003 to submit a bid book, complete with the proposed plan to solve the one problem cited by the IOC. *
On 13 May, 2003, Gordon Campbell broke an election promise and announced that BC Rail would be sold.
On 2 July, 2003, the IOC announced that Vancouver would host the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
On 25 November, 2003, Campbell announced that the government had accepted the bid from CN to purchase BC Rail. (OK... a 990 year lease.) More than one of the other bidders complained that the deal had been rigged in favour of CN.
On 10 January, 2004, flush with money from the sale of BC Rail, the Campbell government releases a Capital Project Plan known as the Sea to Sky highway improvement project.
If you don't smell something there your nose isn't working.
Over to Laila Yule.
* Paragraph added as update.