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Showing posts from August, 2017

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

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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

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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

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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…

Hyperventilating!

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…

Enough

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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 https://t.co/K8agbWNJrh | #MAGA#tcotpic.twitter.com/nbXRh2049S — 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

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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…