Insight BC

Insight and Discussion Concerning What’s Important in BC

Month: August 2017

Time for Elections BC to investigate BCCP is long past due. Full stop.

A political blogger residing in Kamloops recently published a new article on his site ‘acuriouslookatpoliticsinbc’, associated with the blogspot.ca website.  In his article, dated August 13, 2017, the author was highly critical (and justifiably so) of the recent antics of the BC Liberal Party and the NDP.  The author describes the two referenced parties as ‘hypocrites’ and also wants to tout his new Twitter Hash Tag ‘#NoMoreBS4BC‘.

I’m all for exposing hypocrisy and I believe strongly that the campaign for a ‘BS Free BC’ is a worthwhile goal.  My problem is – the author of this piece was reluctant to find any reason to find any similar grounds for criticizing his new (old) political home, the BC Conservative Party, for the same kind of hypocrisy and unethical behaviour that he was fervently attributing to just the BC Liberals and the NDP.

I’m going to make up for his ‘oversight’ and provide some interesting thoughts concerning the recent proposed changes and amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws of the BC Conservative Party, including a blockbuster change that should be ringing alarm bells throughout the BCCP Party membership – and all the way to the offices of Elections BC.

Based on many of the known facts concerning the BCCP as well as a number of unproven allegations made by former Directors and members of the BCCP, there are numerous decisions and events that could easily be described as ‘unethical’, ‘unconstitutional, in accordance with the BCCP’s own poorly conceived and draconian constitution’ and possibly even borderline illegal – if some of the allegations of fraudulent practices can be verified.

Am I waxing rhetorical – or are there factual references to back up my claim?  Where should I begin?  Perhaps with the reportedly unsettled lawsuit filed in BC Court of Queen’s Bench after the 2014 leadership campaign based on ‘smear letters’ that were distributed to voting members of the BCCP?

Perhaps with the current petition still circulating on the internet calling for the removal of the current President of the BCCP?

Perhaps with the confirmation that the current President of the BCCP actually joined another provincial political party in BC in 2016 (after he became President of the BCCP) , in direct contravention of the BCCP’s own constitution and bylaws?

Perhaps with the actual events concerning why the BCCP went into the 2017 general election without a Leader – after a series of events, accusations and denials that led to the Board lamely suggesting that the ‘official leadership race in 2016’ was voided due to ‘technicalities’ that have been vigorously and strongly challenged by certain party members?  All I know is that common sense would tell you that the position should have gone to the leadership challenger who finished second – but he apparently declined the ‘honour’, because of the somewhat bad taste the whole ordeal left.  As an afterthought, what are the chances that all four leadership contenders should have been given back their entry fees of Five Thousand Dollars each – given that the BCCP was unable to hold a valid and successful leadership contest?

Perhaps with the fact that the BCCP went into the 2017 election with only 10 candidates, a sad, juvenile election platform and neither a Leader nor a reasonably long-serving campaign manager and party spokesman (the holder of those two lofty positions jumping ship just weeks before the actual election date)?

No, I think I will begin with the ‘heart of the matter’ – a mindset and a political philosophy that appears exclusive (as opposed to inclusive), authoritarian (bordering on totalitarian) instead of democratic, closed to debate, dissent and discussion (instead of encouraging it) and run by a Board of Directors who do not appear to even respect and follow their own party’s constitution and bylaws.

Now, I have encouraged any one of the Board of Directors to discuss and debate the veracity of my carefully researched statements but all that has been forthcoming from the BCCP officers and directors – even their newest media sycophants, is silence, a refusal to even stand up for their own transgressions and questionable decisions.  I have precious little use for anyone who is unable and unwilling to ‘own their mistakes’, even provide justification for their own decisions – and I certainly wouldn’t want to vote such a person (or party) into a position of powerful political office.  That, for me, is the height of hypocrisy.

My blogging media associate, newly restored member of the BCCP, also pronounced in his August 13, 2017 article that ‘You are what you do, not what you say‘.  Sound words, good words, words to live by – unless you are the directors of the BCCP.  Time for me to call them out  in accordance with #NoMoreBS4BC.

Here are some of the alarming changes and amendments to the BCCP Constitution and Bylaws proposed by the BCCP officers and directors –  as well as some background history, substantiated by facts, actual documents in most cases, and allegations made by individuals who were present in some of the Board meetings that presumptively have led to the proposed constitutional changes.

Their voices have not been heard – because the current ‘leadership’ of the BC Conservative Party does not want their voices to be publicly heard and I am one of many former members who believe in knowing both sides of the story – before I make a final decision.  In the absence of normal, reasoned discussion and debate – all we are left with are the established facts and the direction that those facts lead.

These are some of the proposed constitutional and bylaw changes and amendments, saving the ‘best for last’.

By-Laws

Article 10.03 (existing)

The Constitution and By-Law Review Committee Chair shall present the proposed changes to the Constitution and Bylaws to the attendees at the AGM or SGM to be voted on a special resolution requiring a seventy five (75%) (two thirds (2/3)) majority vote of the Members present for adoption.

The background:  A Special General Meeting was held in June, 2015 and a handful of the members of the BCCP allowed the constitution and bylaws to be completely replaced.  The changes to the constitution and bylaws were mostly self-serving, protectionist wording intended to insulate the leadership and Board of Directors from criticism and dissension.  Some clauses were so mystifying as to be almost unbelievable.  The existing by-laws currently state that only 40% support is required for the BCCP leader to remain as leader of the party.  The democratic principle of majority rule does not even find a place in the BCCP bylaws.

Any change to the number of members required to change the constitution should be questioned, and seriously questioned, by responsible, concerned members of the BCCP.  A small roomful of individuals created a draconian and flawed constitution and bylaws for thousands of members back in 2015.

The current Board of Directors is asking that even fewer people have the ability to bind all members to a revised constitution – without a proper time frame or forum in which to discuss and debate.  This was one of the undemocratic, unprincipled fallacies of the last constitutional change and some of the defects in that document are leading to the changes being proposed by the Board at this time – strictly for their own protection from criticism and to  limit general membership rights and input/feedback.

Constitutional scholars and the legal community knows that the constitution and bylaws of an organization are the most critical and important documents that govern any society, organization or political body.  Changes to the constitution should never be made lightly, casually, without the input of the general members – or without a reasonable time frame that allows proper input and discussion.  It is irresponsible to make constitutional changes on any other basis.

Article 12.04 (existing)

The change only is provided hereunder, not the entire article referencing the Leader Candidate review process.

All approval of Candidates must receive a two-thirds (2/3) majority (majority vote) of the entire Board of Directors and shall be final and binding.

The background:  The eligibility of the previous ‘Leader’ supposedly elected in the 2016 leadership contest was rejected because the successful candidate did not receive the necessary two-thirds (2/3) majority vote from the Board of Directors.  I find fault with the amendment on two grounds, first that it is self-serving and is only intended to avoid a similar embarrassment in future, and second, that I do not consider it democratic to even allow the Board of Directors to accept or reject a Leadership Candidate.  That should be the right of the many, not the right of the few.  That is the kind of exclusionary, autocratic political procedure that keeps more good people from entering into politics.

Article 17.03 (existing)

Such complaint must be in writing, must set out the details of the action or statement which gave rise to the complaint, the remedy sought, and such evidence as may be pertinent.

Article 17.03 (proposed)

Such complaint must be in writing, must set out the details of the action or statement which gave rise to the complaint, the remedy sought, and such evidence as may be pertinent.  Each complaint must also be accompanied by a $1,000.00 bond payable to the Party to be used at the Board’s discretion, to offset any legal or other costs that may be incurred in reaching a final disposition of the complaint.  Any unused funds from the bond would be returned to the complainant after final resolution of the complaint.  Should the complaint be found to be completely valid at the end of the complain process, the complainant’s $1,000.00 bond will be fully refunded to them in a timely fashion.

The background:

A formal complaint was filed by a former director of the BC Conservative Party in late 2016 after a number of matters were brought to light and outlined in accordance with the existing bylaws.  The current Board of Directors did not deal with the complaint in accordance with the BC Conservative Party’s own bylaws and refused the required appeal process to a valid and current member of the party.  In fact, one of the current Board Executive Members wrote back to the complainant indicating that the Board would not allow the appeal process – in direct violation of the existing bylaw.  (I have an electronic copy of the letter sent from the Board to the complainant on file).

The requirement to provide a One Thousand Dollar bond is clearly an intended deterrent to any member of the BC Conservative Party from filing any complaint against one, or multiple members, of the Board of Directors.  It is a sign of a totalitarian style of governance that brooks no opposition or dissension.  It is a disturbing sign of the kind of leadership that exists within the BC Conservative Party and all members, members of the public and perhaps even Elections BC should be concerned with the constitutionality of such an amendment, even in the context of Human Rights legislation.  I am hoping that IntegrityBC will eventually be drawn into looking into this whole sordid mess.

Finally, the denouement.  The Big One.  The reason that I think that Elections BC should be looking thoroughly and possibly forensically into the affairs of the BC Conservative Party.

Constitution

Title (existing)

CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF THE BRITISH COLUMBIA CONSERVATIVE PARTY

Title (proposed)

CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

Further on:

Article 1.01 (proposed)

The “Party” means the “Conservative Party of British Columbia“, also known as the “Conservative Party of BC“, “BC Conservatives“, “Conservative BC” and the “CPBC“.

The background:

It has long been rumoured that the BC Conservative Party is in financial difficulty, in fact showing that it was insolvent as at the 2015 mandatory filing with Elections BC.  It has also be alleged that there may be a variety of lawsuits pending that involve the legal entity known as the ‘British Columbia Conservative Party’.  It is almost universally accepted that the British Columbia Conservative Party or BCCP is essentially a failing fringe party with eroding public support and with eroding membership.  It is factual that the BC Conservative Party only fielded 10 candidates as recently as 3 months ago and that the BCCP received less than 10,000 total (aggregate, combined) votes in the last province wide general election vote.  The BCCP was so insignificant that its results were not even followed on BC’s election night coverage on television, radio or other media – with the one exception of a candidate who ’tilted’ the Courtenay-Comox riding in favour of the NDP.

As a former corporate banker I am aware that the dissolution of a corporate entity or society can ‘extinguish’ any outstanding liabilities, debts and even potential liabilities and debts, contingent or otherwise.  In layman’s terms, when a corporation files for bankruptcy, the officers and directors of the bankrupt company are not normally held liable, unless there is evidence of fraud, collusions or improprieties that may have influenced the circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy.

In most cases, those self-same officers and directors can establish a new company, debt free – and start the whole process all over again, unfettered by the haunting spectre of outstanding debt obligations and lawsuits, in process or potential.

This is the critical question the general membership should be asking – and Elections BC should be confirming.  Is the legal entity known as the ‘British Columbia Conservative Party’, ‘BC Conservatives’ and the ‘BCCP’ merely changing its name or is it actually the case that the existing political party is being extinguished and being reborn as the ‘Conservative Party of British Columbia’, the ‘Conservative Party of BC’, ‘BC Conservatives’, ‘Conservative BC’ and the ‘CPBC’?

The answer to that question has many ramifications.

First and foremost.  Does the British Columbia Conservative Party have a written commitment in place to honour any and all of its obligations, debts and agreements with all parties, including members agreements and even member complaints under the existing constitution and bylaws?

Second.  Does anyone with an understanding of the English language actually believe that someone can reserve the right to the usage of the words ‘Conservative BC’ when I daresay that hundred of thousands of individuals and entities consider themselves ‘conservative bc’ without the requirement or obligation of belonging to a newly proposed political body.  Capital ‘C’ conservatives are much different that small ‘ c’ conservatives and there is no possible way that the ‘Conservative BC’ name should be branded exclusively for the benefit of a few hundred failing political wannabes from a fringe political party.  Again, I trust that Elections BC and IntegrityBC will allow some overview and discussion on the matter.

Third.  ‘A rose is a rose is a rose’.  Gertrude Stein.  ‘A fringe political party is a fringe political party is a fringe political party’.  Me.  Nothing has changed or will change with the proposed change of name except that certain delusional individuals believe that they can somehow achieve legitimacy and credibility with a new name.  Voters (and members) will not be flocking to support the ‘Conservative Party of British Columbia’ any more than they rushed to support the ‘British Columbia Conservative Party’.  Just the facts.

Only a meaningful change – a change of philosophy, a change of direction, a change in accountability, a change in ethical behaviour and a change of officers and directors will positively influence the perception and the credibility of the BC Conservative Party.  There are numerous, too numerous to list, good reasons why the BC Conservative Party has been consistently rejected by the BC voter since the last member was elected in 1975.

A change of name will make no difference to the astute voter – whatsoever.

Now, let me encourage you to look up the names of the individuals who are currently serving on the Board of Directors of the British Columbia Conservative Party – and who will likely be resurfacing as candidates for office in the proposed Conservative Party of British Columbia and all of its iterations.  The party’s website is ‘bcconservative.ca’.   Soon to be ‘conservativebc.ca’  according to a WhoIs search.

They may be names worth remembering once all of the dust settles after the scheduled Annual General Meeting of the BCCP to be held on September 30th, 2017.  If you are a member of the BCCP, this may be your last chance to fix a political party that is very, very broken.   If you are not a member of the BCCP, take everything you hear from the BCCP with responsible scepticism.   Get the facts.   Demand the facts.  End the hypocrisy.  ‘You are what you do, not what you say’.

You heard it here first, folks.  Now, once again, I invite any and all members of the BCCP Board to respond to my assessment and insight into their manoeuvrings and machinations.

And, to my fellow blogger and political pundit who professes to abhor hypocrisy and who believes that ‘You are what you do, not what you say’.

What say you – and what are you going to do?  Let’s enter into a lively, spirited discussion and debate – with the best interests of all BC voters at stake.

#NoMoreBS4BC

 

 

 

 

A Reader Provides Some Perspective

We have been given permission to offer the following insight from Cal Davis.

I am sad today about the acts of Terror that have occurred this weekend in the US.  I also join with many Americans in regards to Trumps condemning the original violence without acknowledging the activities  of many white supremacists and neo Nazis.

A couple of other things have come to mind. First of all for the most part the American press refer to the neo Nazis as white supremacists or white nationalists.

In Canada neo Nazis are most referred to as the far right. That is particularly so on CBC.

Today I recalled  when a terrorist invaded Parliament Hill after killing an unarmed reservist. That event was referred to by the Commissioner of the RCMP as the following:

It was clearly an Act of Terror (based on) his background and motivation. Most Canadians referred to the incident as an attack by a terrorist. Even Trudeau Junior referred to it as a terrorist attack

But there was one prominent person at the time that refused to call it a terrorist act. And that person as you will recall was Tom Mulcair  , the official opposition leader and head of the NDP.
Yes, his comments were reported in the press, but other than some follow up comments by Conservative MPs, you never heard about the Mulcair’s remarks again.

Now my point is this. Wasn’t Muclair’s refusal to recognize the attacks in Ottawa as a terrorist attack similar to Trumps original remarks about the Virginia incidents?

Muclair said our terrorist had a mental condition. I guess you could also argue the same thing about the guy that ran a car into a group of demonstrators and injured many and killed one of them in Virginia?

By the way our terrorist had a history of involvement with terrorist organizations.

Anyways, my point is how Mulcair was able to get away with those comments and is still receiving a handsome salary as a Member of Parliament.

Cal Davis

 

Democracy Being Slowly Destroyed by Party Politics (Boiling Frogs)

The dysfunctionality of the Western political model is becoming alarmingly apparent – to all who would care to look at facts.  I am hard pressed to look at any jurisdiction past the municipal level where there is not a deepening schism polarizing and separating various political interests.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to parse the problem down to the lowest common denominator.

For the most part, municipal politicians are independents, elected by the constituents based on the reputation and  demonstrable performance record of the individuals themselves.  When a common gap exists in philosophy or political intent, a ‘bridge’ is built to span the difference in opinion or intent.  There is a recognition that there is limit on the availability of resources – and a recognition that the principle of ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ must be followed, having in mind that the rights of the minority must always be considered and respected.

In practical terms, one municipal councillor approaches the others with an idea or an initiative.  This may come from the individual or from the constituency that the individual represents – represents as an elected ‘trustee’ pledged to act in the best interests of those who elected that individual.  Other individuals, who share that same ‘trustee’ or ‘stewardship’ role, duly elected in their own right, discuss options, opportunities and the availability of resources necessary to complete those ideas or initiatives.

Inevitably, there is a limit to available resources and that leads to one of the indisputable facts of political accountability – that the distribution of ‘common wealth’ (now you know where the term commonwealth originates) is a prima facie responsibility of those who govern.

In simple terms, we all throw money (tax dollars) into a pot.  Municipal politicians decide how much money comes out of the pot to spend on various initiatives.  Some are obvious and generally acceptable, i.e. wages for road maintenance, construction/maintenance of sewage treatment plants, reservoirs for the availability/distribution of clean drinking water et cetera.

Other initiatives are highly contentious – and often self-serving.  From simple frivolities such as construction of UFO landing pads to such white elephants as committing to Olympic Games hosting that cost taxpayers into the Billions of dollars for decades to come are examples that come to mind.  Still, that is as far as a municipal politician can go concerning management (or mismanagement) since there is a comparatively small pot of money that can be spent – or wasted.

Once we transcend the comparatively transparent nature of municipal politics, we delve into the fetid, murky swamp of provincial, state, federal politics – and the ‘game’ changes substantially.

That, in itself, is a huge part of the problem.  Far too many politicians treat politics as a ‘game’ wherein winning or losing becomes far more important than responsibility and accountability to voters.  Truth, integrity, fiduciary trust, responsible financial stewardship – all have become afterthoughts in the minds of all too many politicians who are putting the expressed interests of the ‘party’ ahead of the welfare and the stewardship of the ‘common wealth’ of those who have elected those individuals to office.

A political party has become analogous to a sports team where the ultimate ambition is to ‘win’.  At the end of the day, it just matters that your team ‘wins’ and it apparently does not matter so much what tactics, intrigues or ‘trick plays’ were used to achieve that ‘victory’.

What is worse, the supporters of most political parties are no more sophisticated than ‘fans’ at a sporting event, supporting their team (party) no matter what transgressions have been committed – and obvious to all but the most deliberately myopic.

Objectivity has no role in most sports – and it appears to have a diminishing role in politics.  Everyone, from the political ‘players’ on the field to the ‘bums in the bleachers’ (the electorate) to the ‘play by play commentators’ (the Media Party) have become so fixated on ‘wins and losses’ and supporting their favourite team (party) that most have forgotten that politics isn’t a game – and shouldn’t be treated like one.

At the end of the day, politicians are spending taxpayer dollars and politicians are fully responsible and accountable for that fiduciary trust.  Fiduciary trust is a principle in law and it would do most people a lot of good to familiarize themselves with the concept – and the reason that the concept exists.

Unfortunately, human nature creates lazy (sometimes deviously so) individuals – and lazy practices.  We are all guilty.

Politicians get lazy and quickly forget the promises made to the people who elected them.

The people who elected the politicians get lazy and forget to maintain vigilance, holding  politicians accountable.

The Media Party gets lazy and forgets to report (more likely chooses to ignore) facts that provide voters with meaningful feedback concerning the performance of politicians.  Increasingly, most Media are focusing instead on sensationalistic and controversial stories intended on attracting advertising dollars and reader/viewer/listener subscription or market share.

We are all culpable.  We are all guilty.

Examples abound –  continuously.

In Canada, PM Trudeau has done nothing to create a viable, financial model for growth and sustainability – in fact, he is eroding the very Canadian values that have made Canada great in the 20th century.  He is, instead, insidiously replacing those values with ‘global’, increasingly international ‘visions’ that will subvert the Canadian identity and transfer vast amount of wealth to international, ‘feel good’, media gullible initiatives.  How many people remember that he is using your tax dollars (and borrowing your children’s legacy) in order to achieve that misguided media adulation?  Or that the Liberal Party has deliberately created this unsustainable false Utopia (at your expense)? 

How many people are tired of the incessant ‘photo ops’ and  seemingly endless ‘vacations’ that clearly indicate that Trudeau is not particularly interested in acting as a Prime Minister – or a servant of the people?  We have elected a naive, immature media pop star elitist with inadequate knowledge, ethics or a moral compass capable of actually doing the job responsibly – the job of managing the best interests of Canadians, affordably and accountably.

We all turn a blind eye to the facts – and allow the Media Party to obscure the truth by publishing cute pictures of Trudeau hugging childrens’ toys and falling out of kayaks.  Instead we should demand that the Media Party report on concerning issues including NAFTA renegotiations and an increasingly critical border crisis.

The US has its own increasingly alarming problem of non-governance.  The divide between Republicans and Democrats has become so wide that there is virtually no common ground to be had.  Each side spins its own half-truths, obscures and tries to bury unacceptable deceitful practices (secret meetings between Clinton and Lynch,as an example) and has ‘friendly’ media who have lost sight of, and lost interest in, journalistic integrity and real news.

I am not interested in the ‘opinion’ of media pundits.  I am interested in the facts so that I can form my own opinion.

In BC, we have far too many examples of political party incompetence and irresponsibility.  As bad as the BC Liberals governed in their own self-interest, the GreeNDP  ‘not a coalition’ has not proven itself to be any more capable.

The case of Gordon Wilson’s potential lawsuit is a prime example.  The allegation was made that Wilson did virtually nothing to earn the half million dollars he collected as the ‘point man’ on the failed LNG initiative so proudly proclaimed, irresponsibly, by the government of Christy Clark.  In order to make ‘political points’ in the ‘game’ of BC politics, the NDP loudly (and apparently incorrectly) denounced (and fired) Wilson as a political opportunist who never filed reports or otherwise earned the excessive salary to which he was considered entitled by the Clark Liberals.

The facts appear to be clearly indicating that the NDP, including John Horgan, has in fact misrepresented (possibly legally defamed and slandered/libeled) Wilson with potential legal consequences – to be paid for by the taxpayer of BC.  So, the taxpayer loses once again.  We ‘buy’ the myth of LNG wealth, we pay Wilson over half a million dollars to perpetuate the myth and we may possibly pay legal fees, court costs and damages if Wilson chooses to sue the BC government and is successful in his suit.

So how does all of this relate to political parties and the erosion of real democracy?

Simply because personal accountability, personal responsibility and personal culpability have been lost.  They have been replaced by the murky myth of collective responsibility being equally effective –  a hive mentality where personal integrity and individual morality cannot, and do not, exist.  At the end of the day, the ‘collective’ assumes the responsibility – and the ‘collective’ pays for transgressions and failures as well as successes.  Not a single individual has to stand up and accept responsibility in any consequential way.

In my mind, Wilson should be entitled to sue the individual(s) who allegedly ‘besmirched’ his reputation, rather than effectively suing every taxpayer in BC.  Why should you have to pay for the transgressions of your elected MLA’s?  The MLA’s, of course, hide behind the skirts of legislative privilege and the ‘culpability of the whole’, not the accountability of the individual.  Meanwhile, you pay as the taxpayer.

It has become ‘acceptable’ for outgoing Premier Christy Clark to ‘lie’ about 100% support from her caucus colleagues even as MLA Dr. Darryl Plecas indicates that he was ready to leave the Liberal caucus if Clark remained leader.

It has become ‘acceptable’ for the Media Party to flog ‘Fake News’, vilifying Trump for unproven innuendos and unsubstantiated involvements with Russia while deliberately, and with malice aforethought,  conveniently ‘forgetting’ that Hillary Clinton sold 20% of the US uranium supply to that self-same Russia – and that her husband was colluding with a sitting Attorney General in a secret meeting on a US government aircraft over the permanent, deliberate destruction of more than 30,000 emails which may have proven legal grounds for indictment and prosecution – while Clinton was running for the  US’s highest political office.

Why?  Because the Media Party has become a fan of the Democratic ‘team’ and is willing and able to put aside all facts and reality in support of that team.  Such is the fallacy of political parties and their supporters.  Supporters of certain political parties have become ‘fans’ and have lost any semblance of objectivity.

The lack of accountability resultant from the ‘party’ system allows an exclusionary group of unsophisticated ‘political wannabes’ (BC Conservative Party) to proclaim that they are the ‘answer to the BC voters’ prayers’ as the only true ‘conservative’ party in BC ready to vie for office in the next provincial election.  No one single individual has yet to take ownership for the multitude of failures and adolescent political gaffes that transpired only short months ago.  Instead, the ‘party’ can say or do whatever it wants with seeming impunity – facts be damned.  Delusional sycophants and supplicants continue to feed the myth – just as thousands of nameless, faceless worker bees feed the hive, all for the good of  ‘the team’.

I am very okay with mindlessness and no personal accountability in maintaining the health and well-being of a beehive.

I am not okay with mindlessness and no accountability in the health and viability of a political system that purports to espouse the values of  democracy, for the common good.

I, for one, am focused on finding individuals with values and integrity who understand and accept that their prime focus and responsibility is to the people who elect them. 

Unfortunately, and to the detriment of all but the self-serving insiders, once the vast majority of elected individuals ‘jump into the pot’ of a specific political party, the heat is gradually turned up by that political party until such time as the elected individual is figuratively ‘cooked’, with personal values and integrity boiled away to leave nothing but an unsavoury stew that only appeals to the palate of the cooks and those of similar tastes.

No matter how I try to reconcile it, I find that most political parties have perverted, distorted and twisted the principles of democracy into unacceptable, self-serving facades at inevitably devastating cost to the taxpayer and the legacy of future generations of citizens.

I, for one, am all in favour of ‘draining the swamp’ as has been so eloquently postulated by President Trump.

My concern is just what ‘party pot’ each frog (or other swamp creature) may jump into – and with what ultimate consequences.

My vision of Utopia, in political terms, is filled with individuals possessing personal integrity, elected and accountable to the people who have entrusted them with public office.  I have no interest in electing someone who is ready, willing and able to jump into a political party ‘pot’ that is intended to satisfy only the appetite and the specific palate of a few cooks who are not particularly interested in whether or not the remainder of the population (figuratively) is fed table scraps.

Just as an unwitting frog doesn’t realize that it is slowly boiling to death as the heat is gradually turned up, most aspiring politicians don’t recognize when they have succumbed to the political party’s mantra, compromising their own personal values and integrity.

The populist movement has the potential to start nudging our political dysfunctionality in a better direction.  If the Millennials, Gen-X and ‘Generation Screwed’ truly want a future that benefits them (and future generations), it is time to start looking at some better options.

For the moment, forcing career party politicians to accept individual responsibility for their own decisions – including failures and transgressions would be a good start.

Electing ethical, accountable and independent politicians who are committed first and foremost to the voter who elected them might be the necessary first step.

I, for one, am tired of being fed the same old ‘political party’ stew (and political party table scraps).

Journalism – or Biased Propaganda?

The resignation of Christy Clark (following the narrow defeat of the BC Libs and the rise of the GreeNDP) has spurred much conversation and dialogue.  That should be expected.  What is less expected is the blurring of the lines between ‘responsible journalism’ and speculation in the name of self-interest.

The conventional media has become an embarrassment to itself by headlining ‘speculation and innuendo’ instead of facts.  As a former newspaper reporter (albeit in my career infancy) I was taught that ‘headlines sell newspapers’ even if the underlying story didn’t quite live up to the hype.  We have seen a gradual worsening of the integrity of the Fourth Estate over the years to the point where it is hard to tell  whether a story originated from the National Inquirer or CBC (CNN for US media addicts) without hearing the lead-in or checking the channel.

The drive for ratings and advertising revenue in a shrinking market has compromised the journalistic integrity of traditional media sources to the point where they are relying on a user base that is indoctrinated to the same editorial bias chosen by the editorial board – to the exclusion of objectivity.  People who want balanced reporting are forced to look elsewhere for divergent opinions.  Upon reflection, that is not a bad thing but it is disingenuous, even fraudulent, for media sources to proclaim their fair, comprehensive reporting policies when it is patently obvious to most intelligent individuals that the claims are baseless – and incorrect.

Anecdotally, I have recently experienced instances where someone has advised me ‘Well, that’s not what I was told’ or ‘That’s not what I read’.  The explanation (and hence, the problem?).  People who get their news from substantially a single source can never hope to achieve a comprehensive and balanced overview of what is really happening – in their local communities or, more broadly provincially, nationally or worldwide.

The point of this?   I am asserting the ‘Media Party’ is responsible for much of the political, economic and social unrest we are now experiencing.  Clearly biased news reporting finds a welcome home for those who share similar views.  Objectivity and journalistic integrity are abandoned ideals, replaced by sycophantic demagoguery. A willing, deluded audience always awaits because that audience wants to find sources that ‘validate’ their own distorted view of reality.

The demise of responsible journalism from traditional sources is somewhat mitigated by the technological advancements that allow almost anyone to comment,  postulate and offer opinions.  The Media Party, of course, attempts to downplay the validity of independent sources, claiming that sufficient ‘fact checking’ does not take place when independent (of traditional sources such as newspapers, radio and TV broadcasting et cetera) media stories are generated and distributed.

The Media Party just has to look in the mirror to identify the worst offenders.  Coverage of Trump in the US and Trudeau in Canada is so biased as to be nauseous.  Trump is vilified and Trudeau is sanctified – by traditional, but inexorably financially failing monolithic fourth estate ‘media giants’ who are atrophying and dying in front of our collective eyes.

This erosion of journalistic integrity would be overwhelmingly alarming, reminiscent of Pravda in the former USSR, were it not for the emergence of  new ‘micro media’ possibilities and players.  As a result of Internet  broad-band reporting, a balanced viewpoint is possible – but only for those who choose to seek a balanced overview.  Those who choose to ‘get their news’ from a single source are becoming woefully and disturbingly isolated from facts – and reality.

Politicians can blatantly spin lies in public – and their media friendly allies will dutifully report, without objectivity and balance.  Those who rely on biased media sources become even more entrenched in the ‘political correctness’  of their evermore skewed assessment of current affairs.  Too many people have abrogated their own responsibility to ‘get the facts’ and to seek out the truth.  Those people rely all too heavily on someone willing to ‘do it for them’ and ultimately, ‘to do it to them’.  The Media Party players  have become spin doctors with a growing number of patients.   The Media Party had also chosen to choose sensationalism over due diligence – preferring to trumpet an unsubstantiated ‘leaked fear-mongering scandal’ over factual news and content.

But enough of the Media Party.   Most of the traditional news outlets have been replaced by a growing number of astute and tech savvy individuals – the Millenials first and foremost among them.   The alternative is either ‘social media’ content or smaller, newer players in the news distribution universe.

Players include TheRebel.media and The Tyee,  two Western Canadian based examples.   These are multi-media based alternatives, funded primarily through direct reader/viewer contributions.   For the most part, particularly in the case of TheRebel.media, the content is unabashedly biased and Ezra Levant’s team doesn’t mind telling you so.   These new media sources thrive on controversy and on ‘bashing’ and otherwise exposing the hypocrisy of the traditional news sources.

Just how successful are they?   In the case of TheRebel.media in particular, so successful that TheRebel.media has left other Canadian online ‘news’ sources in the dust, not even visible in the rear-view mirror.  Almost a million subscribers are connected to TheRebel.media in spite of a campaign by a self-serving campaign by a group calling itself ‘Sleeping Giants’, itself a social activist group located on the far left of the political spectrum.   Gullible advertisers are bending to ‘political correctness pressure’ – a sad indictment of the principle of defending free speech.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t always agree with the TheRebel.media but I do agree passionately with TheRebel.media’s right to exist and to offer its own, unique perspective and assessment of current events.   Civilized, mature societies believe in such concepts as ‘freedom of speech’ and the inalienable right of individuals to express themselves.  That is how mature, healthy societies grow and thrive.

Not everyone has to agree or to concur.  We are not mindless sheep who need to be told what do do, what to say, what to think – and what to believe.

It is about time thoughtful, concerned individuals started actively defending the right to the basic inalienable freedoms, including the right to lawful assembly, the right to religious freedoms, the right to self-expression that does not (demonstrably within strict legal definitions) impinge on the rights of others – and the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

Those who seek to take away those rights are dangerous propagandists and totalitarians, shades of George Orwell and his prophetic literary vision ‘1984’.

I have a mind and I choose to think for myself.   Those who choose otherwise are mindless sheep.   Perhaps they are asses.   At any rate, those people who espouse ‘political correctness’ over the preservation of the sanctity of the freedoms that have enriched our knowledge, our culture, our progress and our societal values are not worth my time and effort – or yours.

It is time to stand up and be counted – however hard that might be.

Few good and and important things in life come easily and without conscious effort.

(Part 2 of this essay will concentrate on some specific alarming (and disappointing) examples).

 

 

 

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