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BC Mary and the spirit of British Columbians

By Peter Ewart

Friday, March 09, 2012 03:45 AM

By Peter Ewart

 
For many, she was known as “BC Mary” which was the name tag she used on the website that she founded and operated for six years. Her real name was Mary Mackie, and she was 83 years old when she passed away a few days ago. During her life, Mary lived in various parts of British Columbia, including the Central Interior region for a period. Most recently, because of deteriorating health, she was residing with relatives in Ontario.
 
She and her website, “The Legislature Raids”, played an important role in the struggle against the sale of BC Rail, as well as the exposure of the corruption and malfeasance associated with it. In her 70s, when many people are either retired or about to retire from work and community activities, Mary took up this struggle with the keenness and determination of someone just starting out in life.
 
Over a period of six years, despite her failing health, Mary wrote about BC Rail and published information on her website about the scandal and related issues often on a daily basis. She ferreted out and reprinted literally thousands of pages of relevant articles, columns, documents, and letters that she had gathered. There was little or nothing published about the scandal over the last few years that escaped her keen eye, her website being the most comprehensive aggregator of news about it anywhere.
 
Indeed, she reprinted many articles from Opinion250 on BC Rail written by Ben Meisner, Elaine MacDonald and myself, as well as articles by columnists and bloggers like Bill Tieleman, Robin Mathews, Laila Yuile and scores of others too numerous to mention. 
 
She took a special interest in the Prince George region not only because she had once lived and worked here (her husband Allan and she established a log building school near Prince George and authored a number of books), but also because this is where popular opposition in a substantial way was organized against the sale, including large rallies, petitions, meetings, a rail blockade, and other activities. I would quite often receive warm emails from her with new revelations about the scandal; and, on occasion, she would post comments on Opinion250’s discussion board and engage in discussion with other posters. Always, in her kindly, but firm way, she urged everyone to stay on top of this issue for the good of the province.
 
All of this was volunteer work on her part. There was no remuneration. She was not seeking elected office or any other such benefit. If anything, she was a fearless seeker of the truth about one of the most outrageous acts of government in the history of this province, as well as the corruption scandal that has deeply stained our politics.
 
Through her work, she played an important role in keeping the BC Rail issue alive. Now, it is a fact that, over the past ten years, people in the highest levels of government, the judiciary and the business establishment of this province have desperately worked to keep the railway scandal buried in murk and darkness away from the public eye. And these people include, to their great shame, the current and former premiers of British Columbia.
 
But they have not been successful in their endeavor, as the issue still simmers just under the surface of BC politics, ever threatening to erupt, as it has done repeatedly over the last ten years. By their very magnitude, even the darkest of secrets are difficult to keep hidden.
 
In her brave and tireless pursuit of truth, democracy and justice, BC Mary represented the healthiest traditions and the purest spirit of British Columbians who stand against auctioning off the province’s wealth and resources, who are opposed to lies and political corruption, and who want the best for British Columbia and the generations still to come.
 
We will miss her, but her contribution and her spirit will live on.
 
Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at: peter.ewart@shaw.ca
 

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Comments

That is a great loss. Sorry to hear about Mary's passing. I visited her web site and appreciated the work she did investigating that massively corrupt scandal. Its people like her that are at the vanguard of protecting our democracy and they're too few as it is.
Mary was a tireless and fearless advocate for the Public Interest. We will miss you Mary!

Paul R Nettleton
We will all miss you Mary and for the rest of us that still have life we need to get involved in our provinces survival. Ben Misner put it the best when he said at a meeting "You have to have fire in your belly" and that has to happen when you see something happening that you particularly do not agree with.
Sad to hear this. I didn't always agree with BC Mary, but I appreciated her convictions. RIP.
Wow...thanks for sticking your neck out for us....I know there will be more who are willing to risk their neck, but the people who do are very rare. You will leave a hole in our social conscience that will be hard to fill..
I have admired her convictions ever since "The Legislature Raid" by the RCMP,
had wonderful communications over the last 10 yrs with Mary
and those discussions were always in a positive light.
Mary will always have a special place in my heart.
With Sadness, Dan.
I have admired her convictions ever since "The Legislature Raid" by the RCMP,
had wonderful communications over the last 10 yrs with Mary
and those discussions were always in a positive light.
Mary will always have a special place in my heart.
With Sadness, Dan.