Why settle for a “Less Bad” while a “Good” can be had?
In mid-May, AG David Eby surprised me with an email. Justifiably fearing that I would not notice it, he informs me that he is replying to my “November 25, 2019, [letter] regarding the current cost and model of auto insurance in BC.” Yes, you read the date correctly. And he asks me to “accept [his] apology for the delay in [his] reply”. On the former he is not telling the truth, on the latter he is way past the “best before date”.
Upon taking charge, Eby pronounced the ICBC a “burning dumptster” and rolled up his sleeves to fix it. Being not adept at firefighting, he went at it spitting on the flames. But it kept on burning. The Premier stepped in and they drew up a plan to re-Horganize the ICBC. Then the Pandemic broke out and ICBC was sidetracked. Until now.
The ICBC is meant to be a “Great friend in need” to BC motorists. That is what Dave Barrett meant it to be. Successive Premiers, some because of ideology, maligned the ICBC. Those who wanted the ICBC out of the way knew they would not withstand the public ire such a move would raise and did not try. Those who wanted to improve it would not open ICBC for repair because they feared the “establishment” which had attached itself to ICBC like barnacles on the hull of a derelict ship. They let sleeping dogs lie.
Over the years things went from bad to worse and the Horgan government had to bite the bullet and fix the ICBC. The task was Eby’s to handle.
Eby relied on himself and the ICBC old brass to design the new ICBC. This was a cardinal mistake, because the vision of those “in the box” is inescapably narrow. That is why Clemenceau said “War is too important to be left to the generals”.
Eby should have asked the people to ponder the ICBC problem, present their views and debate them so that the best become the solution. It is an old idea, originated by Plato and Aristotle, commonly called “democracy”. In the millennia since, countless people shed their blood in its pursuit. I reminded Eby of Democracy - he never responded.
Apathy is cleverly induced in us by Czarismatic politicians driven by the instinct of self preservation. After we cast our ballots, de facto the politicians lock us all out of the governing of our society, lest we interfere with their practicing benevolent despotism. But some of us do not give up. Hope springs eternal and I addressed several ideas for the ICBC restructuring to Eby and copied them to Marketplace. Eby fell silent.
Eby’s letter is an archetypal “form letter”. This suggests that there were numerous uninvited interveners. We do not know how many or what they suggested because Eby closeted, or waste-basketed the submissions.
Of paramount importance is that Eby did not invite public input. He did not awaken creativity, he did not register personal affinity for new ideas. In effect Eby subverted democracy, thereby denying society the benefits democracy would yield. This can cause great grief and if not remedied forthwith, its effects will be painful and hard to endure.
To call a spade spade, Eby the AG is in effect stealing democracy from us. No, I do not, even for a moment say he does it intentionally. I do believe that Eby and Horgan are victims, (not unlike the rest of us), of the endemic “social lies”, that which John Kenneth Galbraith a tad sarcastically called “conventional wisdom”.
The good news is that it is not too late. For as long as I breathe I hope. I am calling again on Horgan, Eby and the rest to launch a “parliament of the whole”, to invite us all who may have something to say about the ICBC to tell it. To all.
I am asking them to lead us in debate and harvest the fruits of our minds to make ICBC what is meant to be, what we deserve to have.