Roberta Cory’s Presentation to the CRD (Capital Regional District) CALWMC (Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee)

2010 February 26, by Chapter Council

(Presented on Feb. 25, 2010 at the CRD public meeting on procurement of a sewage treatment system for Victoria, BC)


I have given a lot of thought to what I can say in a few minutes that has not already been said by those before me. The only issue that really matters here is Democracy. I am outraged that the provincial government lobbies on behalf of private corporations and not on behalf of the citizens of British Columbia. That is a perversion of Democracy. So what do we mean when we still call Canada a Democracy? The word is still there in the textbooks. Should we expunge the word “Democracy” from the school books or should we make it a fact by practicing it?
Democracy depends upon an educated and informed public. Freedom of speech, a critical media which discloses the truth, and an excellent public school system are essential.
In a Democracy, power comes from the bottom, the people, and is handed up according to the will of the majority. Politicians are just administrators.
In a Democracy, there are needs which cannot be met by individual effort alone. Citizens must come together to build and operate projects which benefit everyone equally. Citizens decide to tax themselves to pay for them. They are proud of what they have created. They can say, “Together, we did this.” In a Democracy, people do not feel that taxation is robbery. There is no “They” doing a number on “Us.” There is a sense of we, ours, us. We want this, it is ours, it benefits all of us. We will try hard not to waste our money. If we have a problem, we will fix it.
P3 stands for public private partnership. That is a misnomer. There is no partnership. That is because the public and the private components have opposite agendas. An international corporation has a mandate to make a profit for its stockholders. It wants to benefit in any way it can from our money and our resources. It wants to be our parent. It wants us to become children. “Don’t ask. We know what’s best.” Democratic institutions must remain transparent. In a Democracy citizens have a right to know who is doing what with their money and resources. A corporation does not have to open its books. It does not have to work on behalf of the citizens at all.
Today public education, health care, and utilities are all threatened by state sponsored propaganda which erodes the public’s confidence in itself and its own power to provide for its needs. Off all these, any project dealing with water is on the front lines of this war on Democracy. Sewage is mostly water and the end product of treatment is actually a resource. All over the world corporations are buying up sources of water because water is becoming scarce and is unequally distributed. Victoria’s sewage treatment would be a plum for a private corporation, and a foot in the door for attaining further resources. This is where Democracy must take its stand.
Privatization of those things which should be operated by the public in the public’s best interest leads to a “They” “Us” mentality. As the “Us” loses more and more control of its fate, apathy or anger is the result. Neither is healthy or productive. Both attitudes are corrosive to our social cohesion. We stand to lose much more than just the opportunity to design, build, and operate a sewage treatment plant here in Victoria. We have to stand together and defend that which is precious to us. Democracy.

Roberta Cory