BC Pre May 14, 2013 Election Call

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Another Liberal moving away from Christy Clark

Kevin Falcon distancing himself from Christy Clark, former Surrey mayor says







Christy Clark should not read the comments unless she wants to continue having another bad day.

E-Street Question: Should Premier Christy Clark resign?







van Dongen doesn't stand a chance.

Gerald Gerrand, QC and Christy Clark–One Member of Federal Liberal Dynasty Investigating Another???



No records no longer a surprise

I hate to tell you a "dog bites man" story, but this one is too important to ignore.

On Nov. 18, 2012, The Province's Cassidy Olivier revealed how workers in the Office of Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberal caucus worked on government time, for the public dime to devise attack advertising against NDP leader Adrian Dix. Specifically, the CantAffordDix.ca website (which redirects to RiskyDix.ca, which doesn't appear to be online anymore).

The government's own Standards of Conduct are clear: "employees must not engage in political activities during working hours or use government facilities, equipment or resources in support of these activities." 

I asked the Public Service Agency, via Freedom of Information, if the misconduct described in Olivier's story had been investigated. No surprise -- the PSA claims no records exist. See the letter below.

I say no surprise, because this non-response was delivered to me a week after Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham released a report on the disturbing trend toward an "oral government," in which important government information is not recorded. The government, particularly the Office of the Premier, is escaping public scrutiny.

Denham's report was in response to a complaint from the Freedom of Information and Privacy Association of B.C., but focusses on the "no records" claims surrounding the departure of Clark's chief of staff Ken Boessenkool.

Some of the characters in Olivier's story are involved in the Multicultural Outreach Strategy saga, such as Liberal caucus executive director Primrose "You Can't Be Doing Party Work Here. For Sure, I Would Agree With That" Carson.

John Dyble, Clark's deputy minister and chief of the public service, is working on an internal review of the Quick Wins ethnic vote-wooing conspiracy, despite calls from the NDP and Conservatives for an independent investigation. Dyble was hired to his $310,000-a-year gig by Clark and serves at her pleasure.

Here is some essential reading at this link for Mr. Dyble: copies of Pamela Martin and Kim Haakstad's agendas, showing that they discussed the Multicultural Outreach plan during government working hours.



Trust is what it’s all about

And that leads me to the fundamental Liberal problem.  To make the claim over and over again that all parties do this they have to resort to a lie.  But isn’t trust the fundamental issue underlying all the BC Liberal problems?

Defending a rotten strategy with a bad lie.  That’s the BC Liberal MO and increasingly voters are seeing right through it.

In 2009 they said the deficit was small.  They knew it was huge.  They said they wouldn’t bring in the HST.  They did.  They said they wouldn’t sell BC Rail.  They sold it – to a friend and donor.  They told the public one thing and did the opposite.  On and on and on it goes.

I find it interesting that for a few short weeks Christy Clark, during her leadership campaign, took a different approach, distancing herself from the Campbell record while admitting errors and proposing policies to remedy them.

She didn’t tackle the big ones.  But take, for example the BC Liberal minimum wage policy.  She tacitly admitted it was wrong and proposed a fix.

Looking back it seems clear that that was nothing more than a strategy.  Who knows what she really believes.  Still it was a strategy that worked both within the BC Liberal Party and with the public.  She won the leadership and closed the polling gap.

How quickly she abandoned that, returning to the old BC Liberal way of things by jumping into the HST battle, pouring public money into a losing cause while seeing her own credibility slip away. After all this is over it will be interesting to hear what caused that about face – a caucus against her? too many lies to address?  too many bodies buried carelessly?

Now Clark’s leadership honeymoon seems like a small blip in a steady, steep decline.  All of it related to trust.

And as long as the Liberals keep spinning and every new revelation unveils another lie (see Pat Bell and the Prince George mess) the decline will continue no matter how many ads they run and fresh lines they tweets.



The Legislature Raids

Dismembering Canada



Clark staffers an inept bunch of bunglers

As a government plot it is quite unique in any scandology of B.C. politics. — political scientist Norman Ruff on the BC Liberal’s ethnic outreach controversy

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark

The strong temptation is to call the hapless hacks who concocted the BC Liberal’s disastrous ethnic outreach document The Gang That Couldn’t Memo Straight, an inept bunch of bunglers.

Those staff working in Premier Christy Clark’s office have done her more damage trying to score political points than her opponents could dream of is bad enough.

But there’s much more to this than political farce performed by some incompetent aides who one ex-BC Liberal described as “a bunch of losers.”

And despite Clark accepting resignations from deputy chief of staff Kim Haakstad and multiculturalism minister John Yap, this scandal is far from over.


Clark’s Deputy Minister John Dyble is due to report on his investigation this week, while Gordon Hogg, the BC Liberal caucus chair, is also conducting an inquiry.


Expect possible firings and more serious ramifications for the Clark crew involved, among them former BC Liberal MLA Lorne Mayencourt and ex-TV anchor Pamela Martin.


That’s because there’s a clear pattern of deception, deviousness and denial on the part of some BC Liberals.

The basics are simple: while political staff are expected to promote the premier, using non-partisan government employees and resources on partisan BC Liberal business, such as collecting data, breaks all the rules.


That’s what’s clear in the 17-page memo circulated by Haakstad via private emails, which avoids falling under Freedom Of Information requests details – and it’s why she quit.


Nor is there any sense of shame amongst some BC Liberals.


Harry Bloy, the outgoing Burnaby-Lougheed MLA, actually rose in the legislature last week to heap praise on Brian Bonney – a former staffer involved in the outreach strategy.






The Christy Clark show is now turning into a comic opera. On Sunday Christy stated on CTV's Question Period that she may postpone making any apology for the head tax in order that she won't be accused of playing politics with the issue.

Victor Wong of the Chinese Canadian National Council and a grandson of an immigrant who had to pay the head tax showed the absurdity of Christy's contortions on this issue when he said that Clark "shouldn't let her political woes interfere with delivering a meaningful apology for the policy." If Christy did not try to make every issue a campaign issue, she would not be trapped into a heads you win, tails I lose position and the Chinese would have a legitimate head tax apology. This, of course, also applies to other 'ethnic' issues, such as the Komagata Maru incident, and the banning and seizing of the property of the Japanese from the coast during WWII.



So what kind of policies do we want the BC NDP to campaign on?

How about setting up a heritage fund from our resource sales for future generations?

How about promoting jobs - lots and lots of jobs for the current BCers and for the people that move here in the future?

How about re-establishing a long-term apprenticeship training for all the trades based on the German system?

How about promoting Mining, Site C, LNG plants, and Mr Black's Kitimat Refinery as long as the environmental and First Nations issues are adequately addressed?

How about ensuring that at least 50% of the guidance counsellors in the high schools come from the trades?

How about a long term strategy to eliminate tuition fees for our residents.

How about canceling all tax breals and other perks offered to the non-public school systems so that all tax dollars go towards the public system?

How about making it a lot easier for unions to organize non-union work sites?

How about campaining on policies that will benefit all BCers instead of the rich chosen few

How about reducing the stranglehold lawyers have on our society, and creating a legal aid system that works for the less priviledged?

how about changing the tax structure to seriously start reducing the gap between the rich and the poor? 

How about bringing in a 10% inheritance tax?

How about making pension plans portable?

How about eliminating MSP premiums paid for by individuals, and make employers pay it as part of a payroll tax? 

How about bringing in universal dental and perscription plans?









And screw the federal government, and let's stop making excuses - how about working on a systematic process to drastically reduce the number of First Nations peoples in our jails in BC?


Clark shows lack of respect for people

I was stiunned by Premier Christy Clark's guffaw-getting quip when referring to her malfunctioning microphone in Comox recently. To malign and insult any other person on such a personal level, publicly, is unconscionable. This episode underscores her ...

- article in Times Columnist but link is broken at moment


Good article.


Lines blurring between party and state for BC Liberals

 I call it election creep; defined as less governing, more politicking, on your dime. Finance Minister Mike de Jong became the latest Liberal on Monday...



And on and on it goes.

A not-so-good Shepard busy attacking NDP



What gobblygook

Hard to believe but Moira Stilwell may lose her seat




Why shunning the nurses earns Adrian Dix kudos from the labour movement

 Why shunning the nurses earns Adrian Dix kudos from the labour movement





Premier Christy Clark must be having a hard time getting credible candidates to run for the BC Liberals


Former city councillor Suzanne Anton to run for BC Liberals



Van Dongen's got the goods


A bombshell in the British Columbia Legislature on March 11!




Ethnic outreach scandal is ‘quite unique’

Re: B.C.’s shame-filled past sets high standard for scandal, Column, March 7

Craig McInnes neatly defuses the notion that by B.C. standards we have a scandal-plagued BC Liberal government.

The issues raised by the multiculturalism outreach memo are, nevertheless, uncomfortably closer to the definitions of an organized conspiracy i.e. “a secret combination for unlawful purpose,” than our more generic scandals.

As a government plot it is quite unique in any scandology of B.C. politics.


Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/letters/Move+Surrey+solve+Broadway+corridor+congestion/8071511/story.html#ixzz2NLqbOOJ1


Why Ethnic-gate Won't Blow over Soon

Actions, and names, involved add up to more than mere stupidity.

Christy Clark resignation cartoon



PavCo’s activities are trademarks of the B.C. Liberal style of politics

Let’s start with the obvious: any outreach to British Columbians is clearly being considered through the lens of whether it will benefit the B.C. Liberals at the polls. Full stop. In this case, the B.C. Liberals considered multicultural communities to be an important base of potential support, so proposing the use of public funds to woo these communities was a no-brainer.

Secondly, issues of importance to the public apparently need to be “quick wins” if they are to be addressed by the B.C. Liberal government. In other words, apologies for the Chinese head tax or the Komagata Maru incident are only considered when they are viewed as politically advantageous. Otherwise, they are non-starters.

Finally—and most amazingly—the apparatus of government seems to be seen as a means to offer political operatives and allies personal benefit. In the now-infamous memo written by Premier Clark’s deputy chief of staff, a plan was outlined to identify community leaders and spokespeople that could be hired on for outreach and to sway opinion.

This story is, by now, well trodden ground—but if you look carefully, glimpses of this mentality can be seen shining through when it comes to the B.C. Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), a provincial Crown corporation that is responsible for two of B.C.’s top public assembly facilities: B.C. Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Both sit in downtown Vancouver and both have become lightning rods for community unrest.

The Coal Harbour Residents Association has for years sought to have their concerns adequately heard by PavCo over the “temporary” re-location of the Coal Harbour float plane terminal. Due to the new convention centre, PavCo constructed the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre directly in front of a public park in a high-density residential neighbourhood, without doing an environmental impact assessment regarding the human environment. This decision was taken in spite of the fact that PavCo has admitted that the terminal “may cause property damage and personal injury” in a response to a claim filed against it in the Supreme Court of B.C.

What’s more, I was informed that at a recent meeting of the Coal Harbour Residents Association, a high-ranking health authority medical officer encouraged parents to have their children tested for increased levels of lead in their blood. Ordinarily I would hope that this revelation would prompt PavCo to address the community’s concerns—but I am for some reason not optimistic.

The same tone-deaf approach has been noticed by residents living near the reconstructed B.C. Place. Their problem isn’t aviation fuel and seaplane noise: it’s the huge billboards that shine engulfing light into thousands of homes every night.

If you are anywhere near downtown Vancouver at night, you’ve seen these screens. Now imagine them just outside your bedroom window.

They were installed without community consultation in September 2011. A Vancouver city council motion requesting that the billboards be brought into compliance with city bylaws regarding size was ignored. And with the exception of minor adjustments made to one screen, PavCo has continued to be unresponsive to concerned families in the area.

But I guess taking action on these issues isn’t a “quick win” for the Crown corporation or the government and, therefore, perhaps not considered important enough to warrant immediate action.

Looking at the composition of the PavCo board of directors, this kind of non-response is not a surprise—in fact, it fits perfectly with what now seems to be the B.C. Liberals’ playbook.

The recently appointed chair, Peter Fassbender, is a star candidate for the B.C. Liberals. Board director Suzanne Anton recently lost the nomination for Vancouver-Quilchena but will now stand as the B.C. Liberal candidate in Vancouver-Fraserview. And board director Don Zurowski was very carefully considering running for the B.C. Liberal nomination in the riding of Prince George-Mackenzie before pulling out just before the deadline.

According to the PavCo website, the board “consists of the number of directors deemed appropriate by the Minister”. It claims that the appointees have a “diversity of experience”, though the political affiliations of several call into question exactly what is meant by “diversity”.

I think the people of British Columbia are getting tired of being commoditized. If their only moments of interaction with their government are based upon their perceived political value, that isn’t much of a relationship. Each and every citizen has the right to a responsive government—and that government certainly includes those individuals tasked with guiding a Crown corporation mandated to operate in the public’s best interest.







B.C. auditor general raps NDP for partisan office fund

NDP caucus chairman Shane Simpson acknowledged the existence of the fund.

He said the caucus members voted to approve making $200 monthly contributions from their constituency funds to create a pool of money for events, activities and programs primarily in Asian communities.

Simpson said the caucus made the legislative comptroller's office aware of the fund.

``He (Doyle) raised an issue, and we're happy to debate this one, about the use of the money for caucus and for caucus members,'' said Simpson. ``Things we did, were they political, well, to the extent that caucuses are political.''

He said some of the money was used to receive political advice from people, including former NDP candidate Gabriel Yiu, whom the Liberals were suggesting last week was a hired NDP gun in multicultural communities.

Simpson, who said last week Yiu took unpaid leaves of absence to run as an NDP candidate and never offered advice to the party, said the same applies to the centralized fund.

``Not one dime went to the party,'' he said. ``No advice was given to the party in any way, shape or form. It was all applied to the caucus and caucus members.''

Simpson said they've stopped collecting money and the cash was returned to the constituency offices.

Former legislative comptroller general Dan Arbic was laid off last fall after an audit by Doyle concluded the legislature's

finances were in such a state of disorganization he couldn't determine if bills were being paid.

Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Bill Bennett, who raised questions about Yiu's connections to the NDP last week during heated exchanges over Liberal aims to woo ethnic voters, called the NDP fund an unethical use of constituency dollars.

``For a party to claw back some of that money that is supposed to be used to service our constituency ... is an abuse of our

obligations,'' he said. ``What it looks like is the NDP caucus were basically taking kickbacks from their constituency offices to generate this fund to use for partisan political purposes.''

Doyle could not be immediately reached for comment.



Read the comment section as this is more nonsense from the BC Liberals and their lackeys in the mainstream press.

B.C. NDP used taxpayer funds for party activities, leaked document says

Here are some of the comments:


9:05 AM on March 12, 2013

Let's talk about a slush fund Bill Bennett, this one operated by the BC Liberal/Crony party " G&M: A public-money trust issued a multimillion-dollar loan to a Prince George businessman and B.C. Liberal Party insider without project approval from the provincial government's Treasury Board, which was a key condition of the transaction, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.
The Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) approved the $8.9-million loan to Commonwealth Campus Corporation, a company controlled by Dan McLaren, in 2009."

Millions in a Liberal/Crony slush fund that all Liberals deny. As opposed to the NDP that admit to it's small fund that was approved " Simpson said the caucus made the legislative comptroller's office aware of the fund."

Move along folks... nothing here aside from the BC Liberal/Crony slush funds to Liberal insiders.

Report Abuse   Score: 8 GuyF

10:13 AM on March 12, 2013

This is old news and was covered extensively by Alex Tsakumis:

" "An early version of Doyle's report appeared to suggest that those moves could amount to outright fraud. New Democrats John Horgan and Shane Simpson protested directly to Doyle that there was nothing criminal about an admittedly debatable practice.
Doyle then moved the critique to another part of his report, eliminating any implication that the New Democrats were guilty of fraud.
And true to form, the BC Liberals have tried to make something of the NDP's alleged financial "mismanagement" of NDP accounts, but to no avail."

" Accordingly, they dispatched a committee to the Legislative Controller to ask for advice on setting up an account they could fund, with understandably small amounts, for that precise outreach. The Controller at the time (since departed from this government–and under dubious circumstances) was one Dan Arbic. He was the one who set it all up for the NDP; he was the one that dispensed advice to them on how to operate the fund–advice which they never veered from, and it all went something like this: Every constituency would kick up $200.00 per month to this fund (approximately $2400.00 per year per constituency association) for the purpose of targeted ethnic outreach. This included a formula for the money to go half in wages and half into advertising. After all, the same amount or more is spent on outreach from public funds that are provided to EVERY MLA in the legislature."

As opposed to the BC Liberals " The government, with massive expense accounts hid all sorts of overruns into every account available (we are, after all, talking about a government that played a shell game to explain a convention center, the Olympics and a stadium roof, among other scandals). But that wasn't an option available to the NDP, who were determined to do things by the book."

Report Abuse   Score: 7 Curiosity2

12:10 PM on March 12, 2013

For the complete story, see Alex Tsakumis's account. Note that Tskaumis was a former aide to Bill Vander Zalm and is a strong supporter of the Federal Conservatives. In short, he is no NDP apologist. Unlike the Globe, Tsakumis has reported ALL of the relevant facts:


2 replies Report Abuse   Score: 7 Curiosity2

12:24 PM on March 12, 2013

"This is just careless reporting. They [the NDP] explicitly asked the Comptroller-General whether/how they could distribute funds among constituency offices."

Not just careless. Look at the headline. The Globe is accepting at face value the Liberals' accusation of wrongdoing on the basis of a draft report--and without bothering to get clarification from the Auditor General himself. This non-story has been in the public domain for two weeks. Plenty of time for the Globe to have done due diligence. Inistead they essentially issued Bill Bennett's press release for him.

Report Abuse   Score: 6 deeby

11:57 AM on March 12, 2013

This is just careless reporting. They explicitly asked the Comptroller-General whether/how they could distribute funds amoung constituency offices. They followed his recommendation, and both the CG and the Opposition were rapped on the knuckles by the Auditor General. One officer of the legislature was overruled by another.

If the reporter had researched a little more closely, he might've found Tsakumis's article on this from a few weeks back and realized that it wasn't analogous to 'ethnogate' at all.

Report Abuse   Score: 6 Archer101

10:36 AM on March 12, 2013

This is an old story that has been discounted when the full story was told.

As per the rules, the NDP consulted the Comptroller General who approved the fund. It involved no party activities, only work that served the caucus - like translation and communications in Chinese.

Bennett knows this, knows that his party's appointees approved the plan and there were no activities that weren't approved by the comptroller general.

Bennet has leaked a draft that was withdrawn when the auditor general became aware of the comptroller's role in advising the NDP that this was the best way to proceed.

1 reply Report Abuse   Score: 5 MacKenna

12:04 PM on March 12, 2013

'EXCLUSIVE' BREAKING NEWS: The BC NDP Running an 'In and Out' Scheme Funnelling Monies from Constituencies to PR Hacks? Not a Chance…Just the BC Liberals Telling Lies Again


Report Abuse   Score: 5 PhilG

2:24 PM on March 12, 2013

The BC Liberals this week in the legislature are trying to distract the BC public and the NDP opposition MLAs from asking more questions about the growing number of Liberal scandals and the growing evidence of misconduct by BC Liberal Cabinet Ministers and by senior staff in Christy Clark's own office.
The BC Liberals are trying to goad the NDP opposition into releasing their election platform, in order to make the public forget about these Liberal scandals and focus on starting the election, 5 weeks before the election begins...
As Vancouver Sun chief political columnist Vaughn Palmer correctly pointed out Monday, "That's nonsense !" No party has ever released its platform 5 weeks ahead of the start to an election.
What's getting lost is the fact that the election is NOT in fact underway for another 5 weeks. Once the BC election starts, the normal activities of the legislature will be shut down but this week the legislature is still sitting for 5 more days.
And Legislation brought in by government is being debated with the NDP Opposition, as is the proper parliamentary process, and some of it will become law.

We the citizens and voters of BC have a right to expect that this BC Liberal government separates its activities that are supported by the Liberal political party and govern in the name of all of the citizens of BC this week.
But the BC Liberals don't seem to see the problem with using our tax dollars to promote the interests of their own political party at a time when they are insisting that the NDP Opposition begin to behave as though we were in an election already.
As BC citizens and taxpayers, we need to let the BC Liberals know that if their government wants to hear from the NDP Opposition about the NDP's election plans, then the Liberals should shut down the legislature, stop using our tax dollars to pay for their expensive TV ads, and get on with the BC election campaign

... and the BC Liberals need to start to PAY FOR THEIR OWN ELECTION CAMPAIGN with their own Liberal Party funds, NOT with OUR TAX DOLLARS !






B.C. Liberal government about to be toppled like a House of Cards



Left Turn Left Turn's picture

NorthReport wrote:

They are thinking about it, everything from changing the leader, changing the party name, and changing the date of the election, and they should never ever be underestimated or given an inch. Otherwise you will pay a heavy price.

But I respect the right-wing for that.

What did the left do when Glen Clark has his misfortune. Basically nothing. We sat on our ass, elected some useless NDP Leader to replace him, and we haven't held power since then, which is 12 long years.

Unlike the right-wing, the provincial and federal NDP are affiliated. If the Howe Street crowd decide to create a new party, those federal Conservatives and Liberals that join it don't lose their membership in their respective federal party. On the other hand, if the left decided to create a new party in BC after 2001, any New Democrats who joined it would lose their membership in the Federal NDP. For that not to happen, the BC NDP would have to have severed their afiliation to the federal NDP. So because the BC NDP wasn't prepared to end their afiliation with the federal party, a new made in BC left party, either a completely new party or a renamed BC NDP, was not in the cards after the 2001 debacle. Not one that could replace the BC NDP as the dominant left-wing party, anyways.


Left Turn wrote:

So because the BC NDP wasn't prepared to end their afiliation with the federal party, a new made in BC left party, either a completely new party or a renamed BC NDP, was not in the cards after the 2001 debacle.

Well ultimately, losing down to 2 seats is pretty damn close to having to start from scratch. CJ brought the party up by 31 seats and 20% of the vote in 2005, losing by only about 4% of the popular vote that time. This was a reasonably good sign that voters were content to let the NDP continue existing rather than shutting it down completely.

Mind you, what I notice in the 2009 numbers is how every party lost votes. Turnout dropped from 58.2% to 50.99%. The Liberals lost 55K votes, NDP lost 40K votes, Greens lost 27K votes. One in every 8 voters just said, screw this, I don't like any of the options. Which is perhaps not surprising when it was the "Axe The Tax" election. But what's incredible to me is that if the NDP had merely retained all their 2005 voters in 2009, the results would've been LIB 44.7 / NDP 43.5, a much closer election. (Which could have meant a much thinner Liberal majority, eventually hammered down to a minority by resignations.)


Christy Clark’s multicultural outreach outrage

A ‘quick win’ strategy to target ethnic voters moves the B.C. Liberals even closer to a loss

It was a chastened Clark who appeared in Victoria on Monday in an attempt to keep her restive caucus in line, and to face the legislature for the first time since the opposition New Democrats released a leaked draft copy of a 17-page “Multicultural Strategic Outreach Plan,” a strategy to woo ethnic votes that was circulated to senior party insiders and staff, many of whom were collecting a paycheque from taxpayers. Among the strategy’s key points was a plan to issue government apologies for “historical wrongs,” such as the Chinese head tax and the refusal to let Sikhs disembark when their chartered ship, the Komagata Maru, arrived in Vancouver in 1914. Such apologies offer “quick wins” for the Liberals, the document said. The memo was circulated on Jan. 10, 2012, by Kim Haakstad, a Clark confidante and then the premier’s deputy chief of staff.

Clark spent most of question period on Monday admitting the strategy was a disastrous mistake and that she mishandled the resulting furor by sending Deputy Premier Rich Coleman to read her apology in the legislature, instead of doing it herself. “I want to apologize for the ideas in it and I want to apologize for the language in it, as well,” she said. She also said she’ll stand by the future results of an investigation she instigated last week. The lead investigator is John Dyble, who is both head of the public service and deputy minister to the premier.


The scandal has already claimed two victims—and the usually scrappy Clark would not outright dismiss the notion that her own future as premier is on the line. “When we have all the facts and when the report is tabled, we’ll likely be required to take further action, and I will take that action,” she said. Also on Monday, John Yap stepped down as multiculturalism minister, though he says he was blindsided by the strategy. “The document never hit my desk,” said Yap. “This is an issue that involves multiculturalism, and the responsibility rests with me.” On Friday, March 1, Clark announced that Haakstad had resigned without severance “after much consideration of her roles and responsibilities.”

Clark’s uncharacteristic acts of contrition appear to have appeased her caucus for now, if only because the prospect of switching leaders two months before an election is fraught with problems. Her cabinet also backed her leadership after a hastily arranged weekend meeting. Still, the cynicism implicit in the planned apologies and the mixing of partisan politics and government policy has devastated the Liberals’ already faint hopes of catching the opposition New Democrats under leader Adrian Dix, who have long held a consistent and substantial lead in the polls.

An outraged James Plett resigned as vice-president of the Surrey-Tynehead riding association, which has a substantial Indo-Canadian membership. “What makes it so repugnant is that the government misused taxpayer dollars to put together a document explaining how the government could misuse taxpayer dollars further and to offer apologies for absolutely horrible things, all for a bump in the polls,” Plett wrote. Still, the Liberals seem determined to press ahead with a planned public apology for the Chinese head tax.

A disturbing side issue of the scandal is Haakstad’s use of her private email account to discuss the strategy with senior staff—insulating correspondence from freedom of information requests. By coincidence, on Monday, Elizabeth Denham, B.C.’s information and privacy commissioner, issued a report critical of the Liberals’ penchant for secrecy. An increasing number of public requests for information are resulting in claims of “no responsive records” available for release—including 45 per cent of all requests submitted to the premier’s office in 2011-12. Denham confirmed she’s investigating if Haakstad’s private emails contravened access laws.

Meantime, the flow of leaks to the media and the opposition have Liberals bracing for more revelations. Certainly, the ethnic vote document has taken the shine off next month’s Indian film awards, though the scandal itself is delivering the sort of political chicanery, intrigue and melodrama that would be right at home in a Bollywood script.





Left Turn Left Turn's picture

theleftyinvestor wrote:

Left Turn wrote:
So because the BC NDP wasn't prepared to end their afiliation with the federal party, a new made in BC left party, either a completely new party or a renamed BC NDP, was not in the cards after the 2001 debacle.

Well ultimately, losing down to 2 seats is pretty damn close to having to start from scratch. CJ brought the party up by 31 seats and 20% of the vote in 2005, losing by only about 4% of the popular vote that time. This was a reasonably good sign that voters were content to let the NDP continue existing rather than shutting it down completely.

When the NDP crashed in 2001, the unions kept funding the party, ensuring its continued dominance as the left option. Pressure to keep supporting the NDP likely came from the highest levels of the BC Fed, on the grounds that the BC NDP's affiliation with the federal party would ensure its continued dominance of left politics in the province, and the unions went along with it. If this was the BC Fed's assumption, they were correct; union leaders were loathe to stop funding a party they were still members of, even if their continued membership in the provincial party was in large part because of its affiliation with the federal party. Also, once the BC Fed indicated its continued support for the BC NDP, unions were reluctant to do otherwise -- most unions in this province blindly follow the wishes of the BC Fed and the Canadian Labour Congress.

theleftyinvestor wrote:
Mind you, what I notice in the 2009 numbers is how every party lost votes. Turnout dropped from 58.2% to 50.99%. The Liberals lost 55K votes, NDP lost 40K votes, Greens lost 27K votes. One in every 8 voters just said, screw this, I don't like any of the options. Which is perhaps not surprising when it was the "Axe The Tax" election. But what's incredible to me is that if the NDP had merely retained all their 2005 voters in 2009, the results would've been LIB 44.7 / NDP 43.5, a much closer election. (Which could have meant a much thinner Liberal majority, eventually hammered down to a minority by resignations.)

All it takes for a party to lose support is for fewer elegible first time voters to vote for it than the votes it got from those who died since the previous election. So the drop in voter support for the NDP and Libs in 2009 doesn't tell us that 2005 voters stopped voting. It may simply mean that both parties did very poorly with elegible first time voters.


Liberal cabinet minister refers to the NDP as “turds”

Bill Bennett tweeted the comment




NorthReport wrote:

Liberal cabinet minister refers to the NDP as “turds”

Bill Bennett tweeted the comment



How on earth do immature nasties like that get to represent communities!?!


'Vote ploy' uproar stalls BC premier's plan to apologise for Chinese head tax

British Columbia premier puts hold on plans to express regret over tax on Chinese immigrants after paper surfaces detailing ethnic vote push






Good letter.

Liberals most likely could've done better

As the B.C. Liberals limp towards the upcoming election, it might be beneficial to check out their record.

No need to linger on the HST or B.C. Rail debacles: there's bigger fish to fry.

There's the carbon tax that shoots our gasoline costs through the roof while greasing the wheels of big business.

And the increase in MSP premiums, adding public costs to the benefits enjoyed by MLAs, public servants and workers in health care and education - at the same time as adding costs to small businesses.

Family Day: a blatant vote-buying gimmick that again adds to the headaches of small business owners.

The provincial debt? At least this was consistent in both good times and lean - under the Liberals the debt ballooned. As did legislative spending - and the size of Premier Christy Clark's office.

And while those in charge of Community Living enjoyed cushy salaries they cut services to their clients.

The tax cuts that were implemented early in the Liberal reign were perhaps the finest example of fiscal mismanagement.

Angus Reid (the person, not the company, and hardly a left-wing nut), wrote these cuts benefited those at the higher end of the income scale rather than the taxpayer on the street.

Expenditures: The renos for B.C. Place ballooned from less than $200 million (an unnecessary expense even at that price) to over half a billion (tickling a billion once financing is included). While PAVCO fights to block FOI requests, the Liberals made two privately-owned pro sports teams very happy.

Then there's the multi-billion dollar Olympics that failed to produce the promised economic boom for our province.

And don't even get me started on the Convention Centre - the mother of cost overruns.

What about the billion dollar boondoggle that defines the hydro meters? Odd the Liberals allowed an end run past the B.C. Utilities Commission on this.

The ferries ? More cost, increased debt, less service. But as in many similar cases, lucrative wages and bonuses for the top level managers.

Transportation (or lack of): The Port Mann Bridge - a tolled bridge that provides extra costs for Abbotsford residents without the addition of efficient commuter transit. Affordable housing: Those who called Little Mountain home for many years were turfed in favour of private development - development that now appears to be stalled, with useable land left bare.

Leadership: Christy Clark herself appears much more interested in jetting around the province - and to India and the Philippines - than spending time in Victoria.

One might even say that she is in her position for a good time rather than a long time.



There just has to be an independent investigation into the BC Rail scandal

How did a 6-million dollar loan to 2 ex-government aides magically vanish?

Van Dongen: “The funds advanced were in the form of a loan. Now, when someone gets a loan from a credit union or bank, that sets up a debt. That sets up a liability. That establishes a legal obligation from the borrower to the financial institution.

“So starting in 2005 this government advanced public funds by way of two loans to two political staff, and by October 2010 Basi and Virk had accumulated a debt to the province of $6 million — a $6-million loan.”

His point being that the money advanced to Basi and Virk for their legal bills was recognized in writing as a debt or obligation to the government from the outset, not just once they pleaded guilty.

Could the government explain how “two loans, two debts totalling $6 million” were “magically wiped out” without the necessary cabinet order?

Replying, Attorney General Bond was no more forthcoming than last year. “The member continues to bring this issue to the legislature, and I continue to provide exactly the same answers to him every single time he asks the question.”

Yes she does. Even when new documentation challenges last year’s version of events. But maybe her ministry will follow up as it did last year, and put out a statement clarifying how the government managed to forgive the $6-million “loan” to Basi and Virk without activating the apparent legal requirement for a cabinet order.

Perhaps, as van Dongen joked Tuesday, the Liberals took a leaf from a certain notorious memo to file, rewrote the 2005 agreement to strike out the word “loan,” then backdated the whole thing as if the debt or obligation had never existed in the first place.



A video version.

Leaked document reveals Liberal plan to win ethnic vote Wed, Feb 27 -An e-mail suggests the BC Liberal government used government employees to reach out to ethnic voters. Jas Johal reports.



arielc wrote:

NorthReport wrote:

Liberal cabinet minister refers to the NDP as “turds”

How on earth do immature nasties like that get to represent communities!?!

I wouldn't throw stones from glass houses... I don't know about the BCNDP but our federal friend Pat Martin has dropped a number of F-bombs and other unprintable language.


There has been an eerie silence from the pollsters since "ethnicgate" (as in no polls taken after it have been released yet).

There are hints on Twitter though that when the new Global BC1 news channel launches tomorrow, it will be dropping a new poll.



How much will the BC Cons have risen in the polls since the latest Premier Christy Clark fiasco?


CBC balked at running ads promoting BC budget



Inequality hurts BC's economy and democracy

But oddly, one critical problem you hear very little about is inequality. Commentators often talk about increasing inequality and some of its social problems. But they seldom link these to the vast economic problems that B.C., Canada, and all advanced industrial countries face. Even less frequently -- despite months of protest by the Occupy movement around the world -- do you hear about how inequality may also be our chief political problem as well.

Yet the facts are as plain as day. As in the United States, so too in Canada we have become a divided society. Today, the richest 10 per cent of Canadians and British Columbians now account for 40 per cent of all market income and own over half of the entire wealth. Over the past 30-plus years, the wealthiest one-tenth of one per cent has seen their average incomes rise by more than 300 per cent to roughly $1.4 million.

By contrast, middle-class incomes have stagnated. In B.C., the median income of working families (adjusted for inflation) actually fell by $1,569 to $52,278. As for B.C.'s working poor? The situation is even worse. The poorest of working families realized a mere $9,300 after taxes in 1990. Twenty years later, their after-tax incomes have dropped to $7,800. But they were hardly alone in trying to make ends meet.

By 2010, 1.2 million workers in B.C. earned less than $30,000 a year. A figure that, if looked at comparatively in terms of the proportion of the labour force in low-wage work, puts B.C. along with Canada among the worst in the rich industrialized world.

Unsurprisingly such inequality brings huge economic problems. Once so much income goes to the top, and the majority of British Columbia families do not have enough money to keep economic demand going, more and more have to go into debt.

And once an economy becomes reliant on the spending of the wealthy few, it is more susceptible to great booms and busts. Multinational corporations and banks invest and speculate when exports and housing prices are going up. But when profits fall -- even a little -- they pull back and blame environmentalists, the public debt racked up to bail out banks, or jittery market "sentiment."

In reality, neither B.C. nor Canada's economy can recover until the surge in inequality is reversed. Even if by some miracle the United States and China do return to reasonable levels of growth, and Canada's provincial exports and investment expand again, neither will do the trick without the majority of working families able to earn a decent living.

But the really big question is why so little has been done in the last 20 years to deal with income inequality. The American political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson argue that in the United States the reason why their country has become so tarnished is the role of big business.

Money has given banks and multinational corporations a disproportionate amount of influence in everything from lobbying and campaign contributions to consultants writing policy and bankers running government departments. This, Hacker and Pierson claim, has led to the public policies that have allowed the economy to grow in ways that benefit those at the top, and resulted in a "winner-take-all" political system more comparable to "one dollar equals one vote" instead of "one person, one vote" that their country was founded on.




I dont know if this is the right place to post this.

Does anyone know if Hill & Knowlton will have an election predictor for BC 2013? I know they had one for Alberta last year.

Its an interesting website.


BC Rail stink continues a decade after the sale

BC Liberals continue to evade questions, responsibility over BC Rail scandal, Basi and Virk

bc rail

The sale of BC Rail by the Liberal government will likely be an issue in the upcoming provincial election.





Seats predicted for Conservatives, Greens in B.C. election

As of March 13, share prices predicted the following post-election seat distribution: 56 New Democrats, 23 B.C. Liberals, three B.C. Conservatives, two independents, and one Green.

Although that’s just one seat for the Greens, it would validate leaderJane Sterk’s expectations that 2013 will be the breakthrough year for her provincial party following the election of MP Elizabeth May in 2011.

If accurate, the results will also give B.C. Conservatives a foothold in the legislative assembly on which they could build a new coalition of the right to eventually replace the beleaguered B.C. Liberals.

Investors in the stock market buy and sell shares on three contracts representing the popular vote, seat distribution, and prospect of a majority government.

UBC professor Werner Antweiler runs the market, and according to him, traders have been consistently predicting a B.C. NDP win.

“It’s not very likely as far as the markets tell,” Antweiler told theStraight when asked by phone if the B.C. Liberals could still pull out a victory.






Eric Foster, the BC Liberal MLA who was Chair of the Committee that basically fired the BC Auditor-General, should resign over his own personal disgraceful expenditute situation. This sleazeball definitely should never be re-elected by the voters of of Vernon-Monashee 

B.C. Auditor-General knocks legislature’s ‘culture of entitlement’

The report, which follows up on a previous critical examination of the financial records of the Legislative Assembly, highlighted two main areas of concern.

Mr. Doyle was critical of a $67,000 payment for renovations to a leased office for Liberal MLA Eric Foster, who chaired the committee that rejected his reappointment.

Mr. Foster is repaying the funds out of his $119,000-per-year budget to run his constituency office, but Mr. Doyle said the case raised significant concerns about spending of public funds without scrutiny.

The audit found that Mr. Foster’s landlord – who is related to his constituency assistant – charged taxpayers for a new furnace and wiring system and other major building upgrades. “These invoices indicate that the Legislative Assembly has reimbursed the landlord for a complete renovation of this building and not just the mere customization of a pre-existing space.”

Mr. Foster, the MLA for Vernon-Monashee, told reporters Wednesday he has nothing to apologize for. He said he wasn’t involved in the financial details. “A third of the [MLAs] here pay more rent than I do, so why I was singled out, I don’t know. I was fresh into this, I had no idea how this worked. And this was the way it was worked out.”






All he needs is a new moat and he'll rank right up there with the British MPs in the Hall of Infamy.


B.C. election nears as legislature wraps after intense 5 weeks



Dyble's so-called investigation into his boss' ethno-gate scandal is due out today as is the BC Liberals own investigation into themselves.

Whitewash is expected in both cases as who do they think they are kidding.




Obviously the fix was in.

Basi-Virk legal bill forgiveness did not require Cabinet approval, says Bond