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Showing posts from 2018

I'm beginning to think some of those opposed to Jagmeet Singh do so for reasons other than political policy.

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But. You should examine this for yourself.

It was announced that Jagmeet would seek a Burnaby area federal seat after Kennedy Stewart announced that he was bowing out for a run at the Vancouver Mayor's office.

No big deal, right? Federal leader of the NDP doesn't have a seat yet, hails from a suburban Toronto area while a suburban Vancouver seat opens up. Cool. Ultimately, voters get to decide this.

For reference, a chart was put together by Integrity BC that lists off some party leaders and their byelections over the years.
Missing from this chart is Stephen Harper who ran for a Calgary area seat after Preston Manning quit the house of commons.

At issue, raised by some, is that the act of triggering a byelection as a result of quitting parliament should have the outgoing MP/MLA (etc) be billed for the electoral costs of holding a byelection.

Problem 1: Never in the history of Canada has that been done. Why should it be done now that the brown guy with a turban is seeking a fe…

In obvious headlines: former BC Liberal insider unhappy with NDP govt policy

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As it turns out, when a government that comes to office whose largest support base is from the centre-left including from organized labour, they may at times try to change the rules from the old regime whose support base comes from conservative and big corporate circles.

Also, as it turns out, making changes to governing policy that takes advantage away from said corporate circles and advantages the many groups elsewhere, it upsets conservatives.
Enter, the NDP's infrastructure policy.

Under the policy, there's a heavy emphasis in skills training and apprenticeships, hiring from under-represented groups, and local hiring, and union labour. Completely objectionable in the eyes of the former government supporters who landed in a lot of hot water in their public spending policy over infrastructure.

The notion of a 'project labour agreement' is reprehensible to BC Liberals. In eliminating the practice during their terms of office, the BC Liberals managed to find ways to b…

Ride hailing services are not the panacea it's supporters claim

It's a new industry, this on-demand ride hailing service that exists in several large cities around the world (and coming to BC).
It's being cited as a partial solution in the fight against climate change; reducing the need for car ownership while getting more usage from vehicles currently owned.
While valid points, ride hailing services also create issues that the new industry haven't yet answered.
Point/counter point. https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/04/how-uber-and-lyft-could-do-better-by-the-planet/558866/My 2 bits

Government can't foot drag on ride sharing much longer

Despite the powerful taxi lobby in BC, the ride sharing companies cannot legitimately be stopped from entering the BC market. Not unless the government wants to expose the taxpayer to significant legal expenses. What the government can (and should) do, is regionalize the taxi certification/license process and require that anyone involved in a ride sharing operation be up to the same license and training standards as any taxi driver including the appropriate car insurance for their vehicle. Wanna be a taxi? Play by the same rules. My 2 bits

I learned a thing today. That white-nationalist talking points have infected Canada, and its chilling.

It started out as a curious discussion on a facebook group called "Canadian Political Forum" where the groups sole administrator opened up a thread to take a swipe at the notion that 'white privilege' is even a thing. According to the admin, the 'liberal-left' harping on about white-privilege is the same as hate speech. But don't take my word for it, read it for yourself.
Given that I identify as one of those in the liberal-left, I thought I'd add a response; initially mocking the notion that white men are under attack, given that white-European demographics in Canada are sitting at around 77% of everyone. White men occupy most of the seats of power in politics and the corporate world; in our country at least.
Just for your edification, remember that promoting hate speech is actually a crime. You cannot do that and not face the potential of legal sanction resulting up to including jail time.
To make a long story short, in trying to point out that in t…

Final thoughts on #gropegate

So this story appeared in the media recently where the then non-politician Justin Trudeau appears to have inappropriately touched ("handled"?) a young female reporter at a music festival about 20 years ago. I haven't a clue why it showed up now, except that, noteworthy, it was promoted or raised by a powerful federal liberal insider.

Fast forward to today and the reporter who's not in the industry anymore, reluctantly spoke out on the matter. In essence, she remarked that the issue came and went at the time, that Justin apologized at the time and she considers the issue closed...and that she doesn't want to participate in any further public dialogue on the matter.

So be it.

Its not my place to tell a victim or survivor how to deal with their incident or fallout later on in life. She wants the matter to go away and be left alone and folks to respect her and her family's privacy. So she should.

But Justin's managing of the messaging of this speaks to the co…

NDP isn't allowed to reach out to voters

In an article today, Justin McElroy builds a case that the NDP in attempting to reach out to voters in a fun and innocent 'dad joke' is doing something shady in requesting very simple contact information on their party built web page designed for this purpose.

Lets be clear about a few things. After campaign finance reform that the NDP promised for three elections, we are now in a post reform era. No union, no corporate donations. Neither of the big parties (and none of the smaller parties) are allowed to take financial contributions from said organizations. Most of us think this is the right thing. This isn't to suggest that the law enabling such reforms is perfect, certainly it can take some tweaks to make it better, but that's the law nonetheless.

Regardless, parties are now obligated to reach out and expand their base, accessible voter pools by whatever means are left. They all do it and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Every party does this very basic ou…

Nothing matters anymore

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Another election comes and goes, this time in Ontario, where well reasoned progressive values and ideals ran against populist conservative ideas and lost.
Ontario just voted for a party and leader who pledged $1 beer, 10 cent/litre fuel price reduction, multi-billion dollar tax cuts that benefit the 1%; all are uncosted liabilities to the Ontario budget that poses a deficit and debt risk like none seen before. But, who cares about that, right?
What Ontario is getting is a new regime that will shift to austerity to fund these promises; because the tax cuts pledged therein will not fund themselves. Doug Ford and his PC party campaigned on a trickle-down platform, and the mathematical fact is that trickle-down economics has never worked in the history of ever. NEVER. It won't magically work this time either. So, enjoy your $1 beer Ontario, its going to cost you teachers, nurses, highway maintenance, child protection services to start with.
But none of that matters because now Ontari…

Anti #pr4bc folks need to stop with their hysterical what-ifs and realise that its because of FPTP that extremist parties rise in Canada

There I said it.

The current winner-take-all approach to elections in Canada (and USA for that matter) are responsible for the rise of extremist parties in our country.

FPTP allowed that separatist BQ became Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in 1993 with less than 14% of the vote, while the national, PC party with almost 17% landed only two seats. First Past the Post ("FPTP") gives power to regionalist, special interest parties where any form of proportional voting would give the proper weight to a party based on their actual vote share.

Where extremist parties rise anywhere in the democratic world is because your mainstream parties fail to pick up on rising trends. Spikes in unemployment and income inequality are quickly seized upon by far right and left as evidence that the whole thing is broken; and the only path to salvation is to smash it to bits by voting for parties off the mainstream grid. Extremists always play this message, but in desperate times and little action…

According to some on the right, Meghan Markle isn't fit to be a royal

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Given that many celebrities (and Royal) figures lend their names to causes all the time, it strikes me as strange that a contributor to Rebel Media came out swinging against new Royal bride Meghan Markle as unfit to be a royal. Meghan has loaned out her celebrity name for causes too. She's come out against modern slavery, clean water access in poor countries, and a women's rights activist especially in countries where women's disposition is far from equal. Certainly she isn't the first to use her celebrity status for such causes, and that it upsets certain conservatives goes without saying. But I'm wondering if there's another factor and at play here. Meh. Maybe I'm just grasping at straws here. You be the judge. My 2 bits

NDP and LNG

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This is going to be uncomfortable for some, but if you voted NDP to "stop fracking" or shut down the LNG trade, then that's an unrealistic expectation and incorrect interpretation of their platform and if you're that person, you have yourself to blame.
The NDP, in fact, has supported LNG. When in power in the 90's, they oversaw a significant expansion of the natural gas industry in the north east. It paid off too; billions of dollars in provincial revenue in support of healthcare and education, roads and highways, etc. Good paying, family supporting careers.
Where the NDP differed significantly from the BC Liberals is where the Campbell/Clark gov't put so many eggs in one basket. Their policy narrative was that LNG would be bigger to BC than oil would be to Alberta. This is the crux of their imaginary trillion dollar Prosperity Fund™ that never materialized.
After destroying 30k private sector jobs in the forest sector because of ill thought out reforms, …

Epiphany: We've all been had (again) by Trudeau

Justin Trudeau is getting a fair amount of ribbing in international and domestic media about his apparent misfire while on his trip to India. What I mean is that images coming out of his official trip show him and his young family dressed in brightly coloured traditional garb in a way that yells out 'cultural appropriation' from the rooftops. And perhaps this was ill advised; he looks ridiculous. But give it three days, almost on cue, liberal supporters trot out images of Stephen Harper also wearing culturally significant garb in the many international travels he had as Prime Minister.

The Liberals are famous for turning an advantage from a mistake. The misfire morphed into trolling, and as if it had been planned all this time, it brought out some very racist backlash against the Liberal Party.

Just when Conservatives were making some inroads into Justin's stubbornly high approval ratings, the inadvertent trolling brought out the darkest elements of conservative outrage, b…

Dear, rest of Canada.

The news headlines are filtering out regarding the NDP's budget tabled the other day in regards to the real estate world we live in. Some are arguing that its unfair. But I would argue that your 'fairness' scale needs some re-calibration before you get to say that with any accuracy.
BC is home to the most perverse distortions in the real estate market in Canada. The market it seems has been turned into a form of commodity trading for folks looking to hold cash, make a quick buck or launder dirty money from abroad. Now, the NDP government proposals will not fix these problems overnight as they're far more complex than a couple of tax code changes, but they're a good first few steps. Other steps I believe will draw in the police, federal tax auditors, etc. But, this is not an area I'm an expert in.
What the NDP has done has put a fee to empty homes being held out of the market, unless you live and work in BC. The NDP is putting a fee to obscene property values t…

BC Liberals conflicted badly

I've been monitoring the reaction of folks in social media regarding the NDP'S first full budget since 2000. Most of the comments so far have been very positive. Some have raised a few technical questions, but overall be sense is that the budget is well received. Except if you're a BC Liberal. Naturally. Above all other predictable comments, the notion of a payroll tax of 1.9% on payrolls above $500,000 to replace the MSP premiums isn't being received well. By some. Taken at face value, the criticism has merits. But the policy is good for a number of reasons.MSP was a tax. Used by government to raise funds for general purposes. True, so is the payroll tax, but to free working folks of this fee they had to pay up front should at least count as a tax cut. Exempting small and micro business with payrolls less than $500k means they've not going to be hit with this new fee. My suggestion would be to index the $500k so that businesses under the threshold could give raise…

How dare BC ask its people their opinion on certain pressing environmental issues. The nerve. Who do they think they are? The government?

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I remember watching the KXL debate unfold in the USA. It was a similar battle in that Big Oil wanted an expanded crude oil pipeline from Alberta's tar-sands to the gulf coast. The idea was sold as a means to wean America of foreign oil and create thousands of jobs. Those were lies. The oil wasn't for domestic consumption, it was for foreign sales. Nothing in the KXL proposal was to expand domestic oil/gas supply. And the jobs? Its true at first that jobs would be created in the short term; for the supplies and the construction of the pipeline. But how many would exist afterwards? 50. Fifty jobs.
The midwest was asked to support a pipeline that put at risk countless streams, rivers, farms, small towns, first nations, and other sensitive habitat. Other than the 50 remaining jobs, the benefit it seems for KXL was for big oil.

So we have a parallel situation in Kinder Morgan. To be clear, there already is a pipeline that sends tarsands crude all the way to Vancouver harbour. This…

Residency requirement is a good idea for real estate purchases

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It's being floated about, the idea to ban foreigners from buying property in BC. I'm not an expert on this, but one thing I do know. A party offering a populist idea that pledges to ban foreigners from [activity] is bound to attract voters with a certain antipathy towards.. foreigners. Maybe that's the intention, maybe it isn't. But are we 100% sure that it's only foreigners cash that's distorted Vancouver's real estate market? Are we 100% certain that domestic or even local investment hasn't played a role in distorting with housing prices in the city? The answer is "no" to both. I don't claim to be an expert on housing, real estate and relevant regulations. But a narrative in BC that seeks to blame the foreigners isn't philosophically far from Trump's attack on #DACA folks. Blame the foreigners, kick 'em out, that will fix our problems. No. It makes us look like an asshole. My 2 bits.

Oprah is great, but not as a presidential candidate

Hear me out for a moment.
First, as far as qualifications go, she towers Trump in every way. She wasn't born into wealth, she had to earn it the hard way. As a black woman, that climb was far steeper than most others had to do. Her challenge is that she's polarizing. Those who like her, love her. Those who dislike her, well you get the picture. To a lesser degree than Hillary Clinton to be sure, but polarizing to be clear. If Democrats nominate Oprah, they validate the narrative told by Republicans that Democrats cater to elite, rich and entitled limousine Liberals. Facts be damned. No mention that Trump, and Romney beforehand were candidates born into wealth and were far more detached from the plight of the average working stiff who's slipping further behind than ever before. But we've well established that we're in a post truth era where facts don't matter, "truth" is told by oft repeated narrative. Democrats need to locate a slate of candidates wh…