Showing posts from 2017

Unabashed hypocrisy from BC Liberals on notion of electoral reform referendum

To listen to some BC Liberal leadership candidates talk, you'd think that the NDP is about to end democracy as we know it. They are arguing that to have a referendum on electoral reform *is* to rig elections.

The NDP and Greens have made their feelings well known; that a form of proportional representation better serves voters than our current, polarising and gerrymandered 'first-past-the-post' system.

While the referendum question hasn't yet been determined, the proposed change hasn't been decided either. But to change from the system that serves two parties instead of serving voters is some kind of abomination.

But I think we saw the crux of their argument in the Vancouver city by-election. Where the NPA won a seat with 27% of the dismal turnout. The other 73% were split amongst a menu of moderate and progressive/left parties; but because the BC Liberal linked NPA got there first, they got the seat.

BC Liberals don't play well with others. In the above by-ele…

Tea leaves and Vancity byelection

The first mistake in trying to project a narrative from the Vancouver city by-election result is to believe that it carries any weight beyond the 10% turnout that it was.
Geoff Meggs resigned his council seat to take a senior position as John Horgan's chief of staff. So a by-election was held to replace him. 27% of the 10% eligible voters chose the NPA's candidate. Pretty underwhelming of a mandate. But, a decision nonetheless.

Today's spin: This is a verdict against the NDP. Against the NDP/Greens. BC Liberals on the rebound.


Accurately, however:

For a party on the rebound, netting less than a third of the popular vote in an election that excited no one is hardly worth celebrating.That "27%" mandate is with only one party on the centre-right. The NPA used to dominate this field and would have no trouble getting high numbers.The other 73% are voters, candidates, parties that are centre and centre-left. The 73% have to get their shit together.That 27% could w…

Political parties in BC

A healthy political party is one where it's membership and support base are drawn to its banner because of shared ideals; that it not be afraid of fair questions, criticisms nor afraid to change.That is all. Have a good day folks.

From bad to worse, and heading further down.

I've got a feeling that the Watts leadership campaign is in fact a game changer. But not in ways the BC Liberals hope. That she is considered the outsider while simultaneously being the best candidate to carry on the legacy of Christy Clark has to be unsettling. Because all other options fare far worse in public polling.So far, it's a choice between who's best to defend the legacy of Campbell, or Clark. Good luck with that.

Ditch the per-vote-subsidy

Kudos to the NDP/Green accord governing arrangement for their big money donation ban as unveiled yesterday. It's almost perfect. Almost. First, the $1200 cap is entirely reasonable. For those making noise that such a cap will encourage shady folks to find (illegal) ways to circumvent such a cap, it appears that the lower the cap is ($100 in Quebec), the more likely that bad behavior happens. Second, this per-vote-subsidy has to go. I oppose this for the same reason that I'm an advocate for the separation of church and state. I don't want my tax dollars going to subsidize your [Church, Synagogue, Mosque,  Temple, etc], I don't expect you to subsidize my party of choice. The appropriate thing now is for MLA's to take this legislation and pare down/tweak things unneeded. Start with the per-vote-subsidy.

BC Liberals still don't get the message from May 9th election

Voters did not re-elect Christy Clark into another term of government.
Voters did not elect the NDP into power.
Voters did not vote for any 'coalition' arrangement.

Voters elected a minority parliament, and by extension, told said MLA's to work together.
NDP learned that lesson. Green Party learned that lesson. One (now former) BC Liberal MLA got that lesson. Christy Clark, Rich Coleman and the rest of the BC Liberal caucus did not learn.

After the dust settled that produced the 43-41-3 legislature, two parties figured out that they were going to have to give a little on what they wanted in order to make government work.

The BC Liberals had other plans.

In one of the most cynical stunts ever, Christy Clark offered up a throne speech that mirrored much of what the NDP and Green Party had campaigned on. Oh, it wasn't because the BC Liberals had a change of heart, it was because they needed to pull at least one opposition vote away from the NDP/Green side to pass their th…

Unintentionally, NDP wins toll tax narrative

It was a promise made during the '17 election campaign that if the NDP won the election, they'd scrap tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges. They contend that the tolls were unfair and punished commuters south of the Fraser River with unusually high fares. They argued, correctly, that the high rates would trigger commuters to seek alternative routes to avoid tolls; and with Jedi-like foresight, traffic and congestion on the Pattullo and Alex Fraser bridges has spiked in response. The BC Liberals in turn savaged the NDP position, calling it reckless. But as it turns out, the outgoing BC Liberal government mis-classified the debt drawn up to cover the operating costs and construction of the bridges as self supporting. It's not and the Auditor General called out the government on this as early as 2009. But, don't let facts get in the way. How wrong were the BC Liberals? Wrong enough that they spun backwards in a 180° to make an 11th hour pledge in their own Thron…

Dr. Weaver is off base on tolls as well

With respect to Dr Weaver and the NDP/Green accord that ousted the BC Liberals from office, I believe that Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver is off base with his criticism on the NDP's toll elimination policy.

Dr Weaver makes two points that need to be addressed.

First, he says that eliminating tolls would add billions dollars to taxpayer supported debt. He is wrong. As early as 2009, the Auditor General raised a red flag on that very notion. Until tolls were supporting the actual debt of the bridge projects, classifying as the BC Liberals did was at best shady. But clearly wrong.

Second, he mentions that tolls are a way to manage transport demand. Well that argument falls apart when you see what happened to traffic flows on Port Mann and Golden Ears bridge. Traffic ended up being diverted by those unwilling to pay stiff fares to other free options. This meant, paradoxically, that drivers ended up driving further, driving longer, and ended up in high polluting traffic jams as they …

BC Liberals losing their minds over bridge tolls

First. BC Political pundit calls out BC Liberal flailing on bridge tolls.
Proof that the BC Liberals are lost at sea is their all-over-the-map position on bridge tolls. #bcpoli — Keith Baldrey (@keithbaldrey) August 27, 2017
Keith is right. BC Liberals and other opponents are spitting mad that the NDP outflanked them on a bread and butter issues that faces daily commuters that travel the Port Mann (and Golden Ears) toll bridges.

Attack #1: removing tolls makes the bridges an unsupported debt and therefore adding to the overall taxpayer supported debt.
Answer: False. TiC, the Crown Corporation in charge of running the bridges and collecting its toll revenue was losing a lot of money. By definition, that's a non-supported debt. Don't agree? That's what the Auditor General said too.

Attack #2: What about other transportation means? Now shouldn't the NDP make other transit-type options available?

Answer: you'll have to excuse the amateurish attempt to conflate issues, …

Bridge toll issue makes people go nutty

To begin. The NDP announced the tolls on Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges to be removed as of September 1. What's happened next is nothing short of bonkers. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver adopts the Gordon Campbell view on toll elimination. Not even any reference to climate change. BC Liberals after adopting the NDP position on tolls in their ill fated throne speech, now attack the NDP for doing what they promised. To be clear, the NDP promised to eliminate the tolls in the election campaign. This is a promise delivered. The Greens opposed that position and are at least consistent with their point. The BC Liberals however, have flip flopped enough times to confuse a spatula.

Things I learned today: bridge tolls are a polarizing issue

Consistent with the NDP platform, today the new government announced that as of September 1, tolls for the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges would come off. And then it got weird. Already known, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver was opposed to the plan during the campaign, opposed now. His bulletin today merely confirmed that point. The problem with the toll policy of the BC Liberals is that with the inexplicably high toll rate, it shifted large volumes of traffic to drive further in search of free options. Both Alex Fraser and the Patullo Bridges saw major increased traffic flows. In the case of Patullo, this is a critical mistake. The bridge is already 80 years old and is already over utilized. Arguably, Patullo should have been the first to be replaced and tolled at a rate far lower than what's being demanded at the other two bridges. But that's not how things went. BC Liberals wanted their sexy showpiece landmark item, and it was Port Mann. So they passed a law that built a…

Lets ban big money influence to political parties

A lot of noise has come from the periphery of the BC political activist community regarding political donations. While everyone is (finally) in agreement that corporate and union donations ought to be banned, another thorny question has come up over fundraising dinners, etc. The BC Liberals were famous for their big ticket, intimate dining experiences with high ranking BC Liberal politicians. Some were $5,000 per ticket, some $10k or $20k each. To be sure, the BC NDP has held a handful of their own $5k per ticket events, but most of them are a fraction of the cost of the BC Liberals model. But the question is, are fundraising dinners even ok? Certainly they're legal in the current framework, but given the tone right now, should that change? What did the parties campaign on?
(Spoiler: nothing) In an earlier blog post, I invented a scenario where I hosted a backyard BBQ fundraiser for [party] and charged $75 a person. Food cost for a burger and salad might hit $5 each, and my la…


So this fundraiser is planned later in September by the NDP, and suddenly the world explodes. So. Let's say I host a backyard BBQ fundraiser for the NDP. Charge $75 for it. Cost of burgers and salad might come to $4 each. Does that put me on the wrong side of opinion in these folks?I can't imagine the food cost and (union) labour costs of that latest NDP fundraiser is cheap.In my above scenario, as the cook, I work for free. Now, about a month into actually being in government, NDP is taking flak for not imposing a corporate and union donation ban yet. To be sure, the first legislative session hasn't started yet that the NDP can introduce new regulations. But that isn't stopping a crowd from insisting that the NDP has failed to deliver. Fine, carry on. And be noisy if you wish. Don't let the new government off the hook. But these are the promises they made. Back to our regularly scheduled crazy.

NDP to unite under new leader

The Federal NDP will soon be selecting its new leader. The slow exit of Thomas Mulcair will be complete. There are four capable candidates on the ballot, but only one can take that seat.

If you listen carefully, there is noise amongst some members suggesting that the party will be hopeless if candidate X wins, so vote candidate Y.  Policy is set by members when they adopt such positions at the federal conventions struck for such reasons. So while the various candidates have nuanced differences between themselves on how they'd handle each policy matter, in the end - we're just choosing the captain for the team. I've been a member since 1995 and campaigned on every election since then. We're a movement more than a party. And the movement we represent is larger than any one person. Other parties center their narrative around the personality of the leader. This is why it's easy for them to oust a leader with a new face, and call it "renewal". With the NDP, it…


If you listen carefully, folks from The Rebel Media will try to spin the terrorist violence at Charlottesville as a result of leftist intolerance to conservative views. Except that nothing of the sort is the case.

TRM reporter Faith Goldy was on the scene reporting on all that leftist intolerance when her camera crew caught the act of terror itself.
RAW: Car mows down Antifa, #BLM at Unite The Right #Charlottesville: @FaithGoldy reports from scene | — The Rebel (@TheRebelTV) August 12, 2017
The problem with this narrative is the long game of marketing a name change. White supremacist is no longer the item, its called "white nationalist". Well I remember these folks as Klan hood wearing thugs who've been terrorising blacks and others for 150 years.

But these folks have been brought out of the shadows by Trump. While no one is stating that Trump himself is a white supremacist, the endorsement by actual KKK membe…

Humble pie

So it seems that Gordon Wilson has filed at least one detailed report, in 2014. If this is all that exists, it proves false the suggestion that Wilson did very little tangible work for the $550k he's received since being appointed to his patronage appointment in 2013.
The suggestion, made by Bruce Ralston and John Horgan, need to be refuted and apologized for. Because that can be proven wrong.
See link.
But there are questions. In FOI requests made, there's a fairly extensive two page document returned in the FOI response. But an FOI since has produced only expense reports.
So, the question becomes "value for money". The latter FOI shows that Gordon Wilson travelled to places and talked to people about things. Earlier, we can establish that he in fact filed some reports. Does this performance justify the $150,000 per year salary paid to Wilson? Folks can judge that for themselves.
As for the public allegations made at Wilson, it's entirely appropriate that H…

You can defend rights of those you oppose

..and not seem hypocritical. Omar Khadr and the federal government concluded their legal battle last week with a $10.5 million payment and an official apology from the Liberal government for his treatment and the failure of said government to uphold his rights as a citizen. Short version of the story..
Omar was taken by his father at age 12 to fight against 'foreign' invaders to Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11. At age 15, Omar Khadr was part of a close combat where an American soldier was killed. This soldier was killed by a hand grenade that at first was allegedly thrown by a middle aged looking 'insurgent'. For some reason, that account got changed to match the 15 year old youth we know as Omar Khadr. He was the only survivor of the insurgent side.
He was quickly shipped off to Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba. From there, it gets murkey. The teenage soldier was tried under a military court without adequate representation by legal counsel. It's al…

Clark had little choice

Say what you wish about Christy Clark's "integrity", but her desperate moves to either retain power or trigger an election were motivated by larger concerns.
Hear me out.
Since 2005, the BC Liberals have enjoyed a fractured vote on the left. 2001 was their only election win where their support exceeded 50% of the popular vote. Since then, both Campbell and later Clark learned the dark arts of playing one progressive party against the other.
In 2017, it failed.
Yes, the BC Liberals got just over 40% of the vote and 43 seats (one short of a technical 'majority'), but the combined NDP/Green vote was over 57%.
Its true that not all Greens would vote NDP if pushed. But a far larger would go orange than BC Liberal.
And this exposes a problem for the BC Liberals.
The lesson of which takes us back to 1952 where the established right-of-centre parties were trying to keep the growing CCF from winning an election.
As you see, the CCF in fact won the first round votes in the…

Hoodwinked again

Once again, the federal liberals run on certain progressive platform ideas, scoop those ordinarily voting for other progressive parties under the pretence that this time it will be different, this time its for #realchange.

This is your answer.

So now, you'll have to vote Liberal again with the false promise that THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT.

Thanks for your vote. Suckers.

So I attended the Womens' March in Nanaimo..

To be clear, I hadn't heard of the pending event until only last week. I consider myself at least an ally of women's rights and affiliated movements, so attending the march would have been an easy decision. Of course I would go.
I could have though, relaxed at home, basking in the white male privilege that I enjoy by default. Its not that I haven't worked for the place and status I am at, its just that I am measured by a different yardstick than women and others.
I am a single father who has care and control of his child well over half the time. I work full time, I'm a union activist and a partisan political activist as well. I manage, but its not easy to balance everything. I don't do it alone, I have friends and family that assist. Single parenthood is a struggle. Yet, because of my white-male-ness doing what millions of women do every day, I get accolades and 'atta-boy's' from folks who think the world of how I "get'er done". While the…