Insight BC

Insight and Discussion Concerning What’s Important in BC

Category: Philosophy

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

 

Fringe Parties Aptly Named – Pretenders, not Contenders

They are not called fringe parties without good reason.  With less than 4 months until the next BC provincial election, the host of ‘fringe parties’ are proving themselves to be exactly that.  Kind of sad, when you think about it.

BC really needs some viable alternatives to the entrenched and unimaginative positions and self-serving policies of both the BC Liberal Party (some of who are really Conservatives in Pink Cuddly Bunny suits trying to appear far more centrist than they really are) and the BC NDP who are dyed in the wool – Sheep, stuck in their socialistic, unaffordable and historically incompetent form of government mantra that costs the BC taxpayer untold billions in mistakes and ridiculous social engineering projects any time they are elected.

BC, as a result, is a two party system that practically ensures that one or the other of these two less than optimal options will enjoy a majority government, with little or no regard for opposing points of view or dissenting perspectives on social, economic and political issues.  Both parties are dogmatic, tired and unimaginative and it would be nice for the BC voter to have a real third alternative.

This past few years, some of my closest friends, associates, colleagues and I went looking for that ‘viable, electable alternative’ and discovered – that there really aren’t any, at least in time for the 2017 provincial election.

That revelation was a real eye-opener and a sad indictment of the state of affairs of BC politics, if the truth be known.  There are a number of registered political parties in BC and of that group numbering 58 registered with Elections BC in the past 10 years (somewhat appropriately one more than the famous brand of ketchup, Heinz 57), we have come to the collective conclusion that there are absolutely no supportable pretenders to the throne.  In fact, some of us have come to the very disturbing conclusion that there are not even any viable alternatives that are supportable based on the party values, goals, political perspective or policies.

Some of the political parties certainly caught our initial attention, if for no other reason than their registered name and their various ‘known as’ aliases.  Who would not want to explore further the goals, objectives and internal workings of such esteemed political organizations such as The Sex Party, or The Unparty?  And let us not forget that there are probably some fairly apparent political agendas based in the material being offered by The Marijuana Party, The Herb Party, The Feminist Party and The Work Less Party, among others.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind finding out a bit more about (and qualifying to belong to) The People of British Columbia Millionaires Party or possibly The Party of Citizens Who Have Decided To Think For Themselves and Become Their Own Politicians.

Yes, residents of BC, these are real registered political parties who may, or may not, ask you for your vote in this 2017 election year.

There are, of course, other legitimate political parties, created by presumably earnest and sincere individuals without special interests who might have otherwise offered a real alternative to you, the BC Voter, – if the individuals and interest groups within those parties were not apparently utterly incompetent, unfocused, indifferent or perhaps just not ‘smart enough’ to get the job done.  The job being the process of nominating actual, legitimate political candidates with real aspirations to serve in office and to provide benefit and vision for the Province of BC and its residents.

Some of us undertook a series of journeys over the course of the past couple of years in hopes of finding a political party alternative to the BC Liberals and the BC NDP.  Sadly, and alarmingly, our journeys always resulted in frustration and failure.  Even worse, the interviews and engagements with these other hopeful political alternatives showed how far ‘out of touch’ and how ill-prepared any and all of these parties really were, considering that a provincial election is looming on the horizon.

While all parties certainly were not interviewed, engaged or assessed in depth, the reality is that a representative number actually were – with incredibly disappointing and possibly alarming results.  Anyone can apply to form a political party and in BC, that status entitles you to accept virtually unregulated political donations – contrary to the strict laws put in place in almost all other jurisdictions in Canada.  Perhaps that, and the opportunity to be a ‘big fish in a small pond‘ or quite possibly ‘just a reason to get out of the house‘ must surely be the motivation behind the intentions of many of the party leaders and party executives we interviewed and assessed.

In short, our disappointing and pragmatic conclusion is that none of the ‘fringe’ parties actually have anything to offer the BC voter at the moment – if indeed, those parties ever will.  Here is a sampling of our findings – shortened down in the interests of time, space and simply because these parties ultimately really have nothing to legitimately offer or bring to the table in a meaningful, substantive manner leading up to the 2017 election.

British Columbia Social Credit Party

This political party was de-registered after the 2013 election because it did not field sufficient candidates to maintain its political status.  The SoCreds have a colourful past, of course, in BC and held office for a number of years as the governing party in BC.  The British Columbia Social Credit Party was re-registered in 2016 (because of the rather substantive money that was bequeathed to the SoCreds sitting in limbo at Elections BC?) –  but has done absolutely nothing meaningful since the re-registration.  We even attempted to investigate ‘joining’ the BC Socreds but were rebuffed by the ‘Gate Keeper‘ who apparently doesn’t like members any more than she liked ‘Leaders’.  Nasty, obstinate, opinionated people who didn’t always see things her way.

So, going into the 2017 election?   Virtually no active membership, no website, no social media presence (the Gate Keeper doesn’t like some modern innovations such as email and the like) and no candidates announced.  A ‘one woman show’ stuck in the past with no inclination, ability or intent to build the party for the 2017 election.   The ‘Gate Keeper‘ might want to read the definition of Luddite and also do some introspection.  Someone left a financial legacy to the British Columbia Social Credit Party.  They did not leave the legacy to the ‘Gate Keeper‘.  Quite sad.

BC Action Party

A splinter party at least once removed – fallout from the second most recent implosion and self-destruction of the BC Conservative Party.  After John Cumming was made Leader (under controversial circumstances) and led the BC Conservatives virtually nowhere in the 2013 election, a number of dissidents either were kicked out of the BC Conservative Party, left of their own accord or otherwise just took their ball and went off to play by themselves.

Some of these individuals coalesced under the banner of the BC Action Party which actually does have a decent website, some supportable policies and a documented vision for running for office.  Unfortunately, the BC Action Party has lost over 90% of its membership  (as best as we can tell) and there simply aren’t sufficient resources or enough members in enough riding associations to mount anything other than a token attempt at electing an MLA.

Worse yet, some of the dissenting members have rejoined the BC Conservative Party and an ill-conceived plan to merge the two parties has again failed miserably, probably due to the personalities involved that value egocentric self-interest ahead of mutual goals and objectives.  After all, isn’t that what politics usually winds up being about?

BC Conservative Party

The ‘poster child’ Party for how to do essentially everything wrong – over and over again.  (Remind you of the definition of insanity?  Repeating a behaviour over and over whilst expecting a different result?) You think that the core group would learn – but it appears that most of the reasonably bright, ambitious and motivated members have moved on, and with good reason.  Leaving, of course, the individuals who are continuing to drive the BCCP into a much-deserved oblivion.

It is hard to know where to start but here are a couple of good talking points.  Imagine a political party that has held 3 AGM’s in the past 3 years and has elected, accepted the resignation from, re-elected then denied the re-election of the same individual – for ‘procedural’ reasons. Uh huh.  I know the math is hard to follow but the bottom line is this.

The BC Conservative Party is so incompetent (in its current iteration) that it is unable to elect its own Leader.

Now, how bad is that?  Not only that, the ill-informed and poorly advised membership base at the time was subjected to a draconian, railroaded constitution that allows an almost totalitarian Leadership structure (the Leader only requires 40% support from the membership and any Board Director who doesn’t support the Leader must immediately resign.  Shades of North Korea, anyone?).

Is it any wonder that more than half of the 2013 membership base has resigned or refused to renew membership?  Add to the mix, the resignation of virtually 3 entire Boards of Directors over alleged improprieties since 2013, a number of lawsuits (some continuing) and a website that has actually taken away more information since the summer of 2016 than it has added – and you have the ingredients for a sordid mess that only those stewing in their own juices can fully appreciate and espouse.

For good measure, let’s not forget that the BCCP denied membership renewals to a number of its nominated candidates in the last provincial election and that the BCCP is essentially broke – with insufficient resources to mount a campaign or assist potential candidates.

Those that have hijacked the BCCP (including one group that actually had the audacity to proclaim itself as a Board of Directors in 2015 without being elected and without ratification of the membership) are still in their own dream world, thinking that their shrinking membership and diminishing political IQ will somehow allow them to field legitimate candidates in the 2017 election.  Nope.  Not going to happen.

The Brain Trust of the BCCP thinks it has all of the answers.  Problem is, the Brain Trust doesn’t understand any of the meaningful, relevant questions.  And collectively, the Brain Trust has an insufficient ‘Brain’ and ‘Moral Compass’ to legitimately ask the BC Voter for a single vote.

Ask yourself why you would vote for a political party that is incapable of managing itself – and has already proven itself to be exclusionary and elitist?  This is a political party that aspires to manage the Multi-Billion collective that is the province of BC.  The BCCP certainly cannot demonstrate that it is able to manage its own affairs – let alone the affairs of an entire province.  Not deserving of a single vote.

Here is a direct quote from the Kelowna Daily Courier on December 20, 2016.  Konrad Pimiskern was one of the leadership candidates – in what turned out to be a non-leadership race.  (The headline, by the way, is “BC Conservatives probe president“.

“I have no involvement with the BC Conservative party beyond that I am a member of the party like many people are,” he said. “I believe if the party was able to clean house . . . there are many good, hard-working, intelligent individuals who would be incredibly interested in vying for the leadership and candidacy, but the party needs to clean house.”

An afterthought.  If there did not turn out to be a valid leadership result for procedural reasons, and if the second place finisher in that ‘non-race’ did not become leader after Dan Brooks was disqualified, will the BCCP be facing more lawsuits from leadership candidates who want their $5,000 entry fee reimbursed?

So, where does that leave us, Dear Reader?

The British Columbia Libertarian Party

My (much) better half and I had a meeting with a prospective candidate for the Libertarians.  Yes, we found ourselves running out of options.  For the record, we met the candidate at an outdoor hot dog stand – in the middle of winter in the Okanagan.  The candidate spoke vaguely about being Libertarian (kind of like being Liberal, he thought) and spoke about the great organization and policies that he was reading about as a new prospective candidate.

Then, he asked us if we would mind signing his nominating papers.  Apparently, even though the local newspaper was calling him the Libertarian candidate, he actually couldn’t become an official candidate until 50 individuals signed his nomination papers.

No, we didn’t have to belong to the Libertarian Party.  But you did have to be eligible to vote in the riding.  No, you did not have to give up membership in another party to sign a nomination for the Libertarian Party.  And, no, you did not have to buy a hot dog from the street vendor.

What else could we do?

We signed the nominating papers.  After all, can this nice young man be any worse than what we had already encountered in our interviews and quest for a political party to support with our vote?

Still, the election is somewhat distant on the horizon.  We have not yet checked out The Annexation Party of British Columbia – or The British Columbia Excalibur Party.

I suppose we shouldn’t close the book on The Communist Party of BC, either.  Or The Helping Hand Party.  Or The Land Air Water Party.  (Bet they have a bit of an environmental bias, methinks).  The New Wave Party sounds – new.  The Work Less Party sounds – lazy. The Link Party sounds – unlinked or perhaps TransLinked.  The Platinum Party of Employers Who Think and Act to Increase Awareness sounds – verbose.  Almost sesquipedalian.

And The Vancouver Island Party sounds – isolated and deserted.

There’s always The Green Party Political Association of British Columbia but a political party that doesn’t truly understand that the future of BC lies in its resource development and the transportation/distribution geographic paradigm (as well as its stated goal of preserving the natural splendour of BC) has some intellectual growing up to do.  Governments require a tax base and growth in GDP – growth not based in real estate speculation.

Which has led some of us to acknowledge a reality that seems to be staring us in the face.

If we want good government, if we want good candidates who will be accountable and represent the very people who elect them, perhaps it is time to return to the very roots of democracy.

It is time to elect independent candidates who are not going to be ‘mouthpieces’ and compliantly subservient to the political parties who have nominated them and who control them through the implementation of ‘Party Whips’ and Caucus Solidarity.

It is time to elect MLA’s who represent you, the Voter,  We, the BC Voters and Residents.  It is our province.  It is time to take it back from self-interest groups and political parties from all angles of the political spectrum.

It is ‘Right for BC‘. rightforbc.com

Check it out.  You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that you are a supporter of the kind of government that Right for BC is envisioning.

Thank you.

A Rogue Wave of Political Accountability Impacts BC

The attached article is a blog post from Alan Forseth of Kamloops, BC who writes about (and challenges) conventional political thought under his blogsite “A Curious Look at Politics in BC”.  We have, with permission, reprinted the substance of that blog, and very soon will be discussing a new political concept and movement that has already resonated with hundreds (thousands?) of BC residents and voters.

Posted: 24 Sep 2016 08:33 AM PDT Alan Forseth ‘A Curious Look at Politics in BC)

“The negatives of that apparent strength, is that they serve only those in positions of power, the business elite, those with the money to bankroll their election campaigns
A couple of days ago a fellow former BC Conservative posed a question(s) to me regarding the organizational strengths and weaknesses of each of the four political parties in BC … the Liberals, the Greens, the NDP, and the BC Conservatives. He wasn’t looking for a deep in-depth analysis, just a quick summary.

Interesting”, said I, upon which I replied back with the following before I had a chance to over-think my responses. I just thought I would take a moment a share them with you. Here goes:

In your opinion what are the organizational strengths of the BC Liberals?

Honestly I think it is simply that it ‘appears’ to be the only game in town. It can draw from across the political landscape of municipal and Regional District leaders and politicians …leaders of community groups … businessmen and women and the like.

What are their organizational weaknesses?

The negatives of that apparent strength, is that they serve only those in positions of power, the business elite, those with the money to bankroll their election campaigns, etc. Everyday people feel a bigger and bigger disconnect from having any say in government plans and operations that affect their everyday life.

In your opinion what are the organizational strengths of the BC NDP?

Union donations and labour expertise to help in campaigns and getting the vote out.

What are their organizational weaknesses?

While they can identify and get committed voters out, like the BC Liberals I believe there is a disconnect with everyday British Columbians as well.

The BC Liberals have done an effective job in painting them as the party of “No”, however at the same time they (the Liberals) have taken no steps to show who technical, trades, and others can benefit from getting projects off the ground. The BC Reform Party nearly succeeded in 1996 by drawing people in from both the centre right,, and centre left, however they failed to realize that they could not run a full provincial campaign their first time out.

Any new party MUST build its core, find its best riding for electing MLA’s, and THEN and ONLY then show what it can do to attract broad support province wide.

In your opinion what are the organizational strengths of the BC Greens?

A very defined support base.

What are their organizational weaknesses?

A very defined support base that leaves little room to cross into mainstream

In your opinion what are the organizational strengths of the BC Conservatives?
There are none … nearly all who had any skills have left / fled the party.

What are their organizational weaknesses?

Infighting … lack of planning … no financial resources … no expertise in government and policy … no ‘positive’ social media presence … no connect with the media … a lack of professional and management advisors … a perceived / real closed shop clique of do it my way or else individuals.

Again, this wasn’t intended to be an in-depth analysis, just quick observations.

It also might be interesting to note that the person that posed the question(s) to me, earlier this Spring, also said to me, “I’m frustrated with the argument that we (BC Liberals) are conservative, because we balance budgets by raising taxes, and we pay for things by continual rate increases.” Which perhaps leaves credence to my statement that the perception is there that the BC Liberals are the only game in town?

In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth. You’ve heard from me … do you agree or disagree?”

Look for an imminent post on this site (and elsewhere) that will identify a new political movement that is possibly a ‘solution to what ails the BC political landscape’.

Faith Is A Fool’s Excuse To Deny Accountability

I just heard another commentator and guest on a national (and nationally funded) radio network that shall remain nameless (but that contain the letters BCC in its name, not necessarily in that order) espouse the dangerous and growing fallacy that ‘We must have faith in those we have elected’ and similar mantras.

Not only nonsensical but dangerously so, from a societal perspective.  Too much of our existence is based on misplaced faith.  Without ongoing and diligent oversight, those entrusted with power, whether elected or appointed, inevitably tend to become more protective, more secretive and less transparent.

Perhaps even worse, those in power often think that they have donned some magic cloak of omnipotence.  The sad reality is that, all too often we, hoi polloi, the masses, the ‘common’ folk, allow them to perpetuate that myth.

The latest example of a culture of entitlement comes from an almost surprising source.  One of the seemingly most venerated and publicly admired figures, certainly in the Western world, has stooped to the same vile and petulant practice of dealing with whistle blowing (the practice of making making classified information available to the general public) as has been exhibited by an ever-growing number of politicians and bureaucrats.

Yes, Pope Francis, I am talking about you.  While you espouse many wonderful virtues and while 1.2 billion Roman Catholics worldwide embrace you as the ‘earthly father’ of their religion, you have just proved yourself to be as petty and as secretive as many politicians who we justifiably criticize and expose for their failures in accountability.

Pope Francis, you have just shown yourself to be as fallible and as petulant as the rest of us ‘mere mortals’.  As a result, you have diminished my ability to have ‘faith’ and trust in you.  That’s a bit of a sad paradox considering that it is your job to convince the billions of mortals on this planet that we need to embrace and ‘have faith’ in a higher power.

A Vatican judge accountable to Pope Francis has indicted 5 individuals for leaking information concerning alleged financial improprieties and mismanagement within Vatican City and the Roman Catholic Church.

Their crime?  Shedding light.

Have you read your own Bible, Pope Francis?

Mark 4:22 “For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light“.  (NKJV)

Because the Vatican City was granted independent nation status in 1929, the Vatican and its 842 (estimated) residents are not bound by or protected by the 2012 Italian legislation that grants statutory protection to whistleblowers working in the public sector.

Congratulations, Pope Francis.  You have now stooped to the same low level of human petulance and iron-fisted secretive control of your own fouled nest as most other politicians and bureaucrats.  The selfsame politicians and bureaucrats who seek our approval and our respect.

What you, Pope Francis, have failed to understand and appreciate is that your wholly inappropriate and unjust actions has now diminished, rather than enhanced, your ultimate power.

There will be thousands, millions and perhaps billions of hoi polloi, the masses, the common folk, who now have lost some respect for you – and your message.  With that lack of respect comes a growing lack of trust, and ultimately, a lack of support.  And that lack of support, for those who cling to power, is the ultimate weapon that we, hoi polloi, use to slay the dragon.  Give us enough reasons to distrust you and we will ultimately take away the power that you seem to crave above all else, including moral and ethical behavior and policies.

Politicians seem to be so disappointed when they are barraged with statistics and public opinion polls that indicate that there is a continuing decline in ‘approval rating’ and the level of trust that we have in politicians and the political process.  Yet those same politicians deliberately, and with malice aforethought, choose to destroy evidence, lose files and emails, prosecute whistleblowers and otherwise throw cloaks of secrecy over their dirty, sordid secrets.

Shame on you, Pope Francis for sinking to the same low level of ethical behavior as has been demonstrated by all too many of your contemporaries.  Yes, I’m talking about you, Christy Clark, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Adrian Dix, Alison Rutherford, Rupert Murdoch – and a growing list of others too long to identify in this brief post.  Add to that list, Pope Francis.

You bring shame to your exalted position.

‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen’.  Harry S. Truman

 

Be careful what you wish for.

Be careful what you wish for.

‘Splendor sine occasu’.  Splendour without diminishment.  The motto of  British Columbia, Canada.  For more facts about BC, click on ‘about’ above for a quick overview.

The principle economic engine for British Columbia has traditionally been resource based, primarily logging, mining and to a lesser degree farming, both on land and aquatic (fishing).

More recently, that economic driver has changed.

2013 BC GDP by Sector

(Click above to view Statistics Canada pie chart source)

As the 2013 BC government report on Gross Domestic Product indicates, the largest contributors (in dollar terms) to the BC economy are:

 Real Estate, Rental and Leasing    –    17.4%

Wholesale and Retail Trade            –    10.0%

Construction                                      –      8.1%

Manufacturing                                  –      7.2%

Natural Resources                            –      7.1%

Health Care, Social Assistance      –      7.1%

Public Administration                     –     6.1%

Transportation & Warehousing    –     5.7%

Finance & Insurance                       –     5.7%

Professional, Scientific, Research –    5.4 %

Education                                          –     5.5%

All other sectors                               –   14.7%

The BC government report further goes on to note that:

“BC has a mature, diversified economy. In 2012, services-producing industries accounted for 75.6 per cent of BC’s real GDP and goods-producing industries accounted for 24.4 per cent”.

The service sector (economists call it the tertiary sector) is sometimes defined as follows (Source:  Wikipedia)

“The service sector consists of the “soft” parts of the economy, i.e. activities where people offer their knowledge and time to improve productivity, performance, potential, and sustainability, which is termed as affective labor. The basic characteristic of this sector is the production of services instead of end products.”

To this point, we have provided a quantity of numbers and statistics.

So what does this have to do with the title of this article?  Why do we have to “be careful what we wish for?”

For the simple reason that the service sector (the tertiary, meaning third order, sector) is called the soft part of the economy for a good reason.  It is also considered tertiary or third in line for the same good reason.

The service sector grows and builds as a result of an expanding economy, with a growing population that has sufficient purchasing power to avail itself of those services.  If there is no purchasing power available, no matter the size of the population, the service sector is vulnerable.  Similarly, if the population base recedes, instead of growing, the service sector must inevitably shrink over time.

We will continue to pay for those things that are necessities to life and we will sacrifice the luxuries, those things not necessary to sustain life and the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones.

Those familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can readily identify with the challenge.

 maslows-hierarchy-of-needs

The production of ‘goods’, not ‘services’, provides the bulk of the physiological and safety requirements of individuals.  Food, clothing, shelter, tools, medicine, weapons to safeguard one’s own self, family and property (for those would argue that safety requires policing which is a service) and most elemental requirements are based on production of goods, not services.  Only when the base level needs have been satisfied do we turn our attention to the higher tier requirements which, for the most part, are going to be ‘service’ based, not goods based.

Government bureaucracy is a ‘service’ component, not a ‘goods’ component, even by the BC government’s definition.

Why introduce all this psychological baffle-gab?

We introduce it because the health, sustainability and viability of the British Columbia economy, as is the case with all economies, is based on the ability of individuals  and corporations to produce sufficient disposable income to keep paying for the ever-growing ‘service’ sector which is far outstripping the growth of the ‘goods’ sector.

Service sector spending is much more discretionary and less ‘elastic’ (in economic terms) compared to the production of goods.   The production of goods follows a very simple, time tested and inviolate principle.  Over a long period of time, the ‘supply’ of goods cannot exceed the ‘demand’ for goods.  The principle of elasticity dictates that a reduction in demand for goods will invariably result in a commensurate reduction in supply of goods – thus the goods sector is highly elastic.

Because more of the ‘service’ sector is discretionary and based sometimes on government policy decisions, the supply of ‘service’ based factors is much more ‘inelastic’ and the supply of services will not necessarily reduce as fast, or as fully, as the apparent reduction in the ‘demand’ for those services.  In other words, the ‘supply’ of services is not necessarily based on the ‘demand’ for those services. Services, whether justifiable and affordable or not, are often based on government policies and political choices.  In many cases, an economic case is not made for the service.  Instead, a nebulous ‘social’ or ‘politically expedient’ case is made for the provision of the service with little thought to the matter of affordability and sustainability.

So what, you may ask?  This whole academic argument seems kind of boring.

The fact of the matter is that it is not boring and it is of great importance because the over-provision of services, whether warranted or not, is a huge, and growing, cost to most economies, including that of the Province of British Columbia.  At some point in time, this excess of service based production will become financially and economically unsustainable.

Why is there an over-provision of ‘services’ and why is the ‘service sector’ a continually growing percentage of BC’s Gross Domestic Product?

Some of the major components of the growing ‘service’ sector of the BC economy are ‘speculation’ based, rather than based on current economic realities and indicators.  The growth of the real estate, rental and leasing sector (currently the largest contributor to GNP in 2013) is based on expectations of a healthy, sustainable economy, as an example.

Any major downturn in the economy will cause this sector to self-destruct, as has happened historically and elsewhere in a multitude of  jurisdictions, most notably the USA commencing in 2007.

From 2007 to 2009, the value of household real estate in the US fell by over 6 Trillion Dollars – yes that is trillion with a ‘t’.  At the same time, and partially as a result, the expenditures by consumers fell by more than 8%, plunging the US into a major recession.

The ripple effect, including the crash of the stock markets in the US and elsewhere, as well as plunging economies and recessions elsewhere in the Western World caused a financial crisis unparalleled since the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

Almost miraculously, because of some economic realities and some blind luck, Canada (particularly BC) was shielded from much of that economic carnage.

The economic reality that helped Canada and British Columbia weather the storm was the relative strength of the resource sector.  In the northern hemisphere, climatic and geographic conditions dictate that the consumption of energy fuel sources is a reality.

Homes have to be heated, vehicles need to transport goods and people across comparatively large distances and manufacturing as well as agriculture is based on the conversion of energy into products and goods vital to the human existence.

The relative strength of the much misaligned Oil and Gas industries helped Canada through an incredibly difficult time in the recent history of the industrial world as the wealth generated from that sector was distributed throughout Canada and elsewhere through Canada’s provincial equalization formula and through the creation of jobs and employment.

In British Columbia, the effect of the global recession was mitigated by real estate speculation that has driven up the price (not necessarily value) of real estate, particularly in the lower mainland, to incredibly high, and probably unsustainable, levels.  Much of that real estate speculation comes from Asian investors who see Canada and British Columbia as one of the safest havens for investment, at least on a comparative basis.  But for how much longer, given the prevailing political decision making process?

Be Careful What You Wish For.

Too many BC residents, and as a result the BC government, have collectively been lulled into a false sense of economic security.  Additionally, the promotion of sensationalized and often irrational special interest group considerations that have become ‘hot button’ mantras have  skewed ‘sober second thought’, ‘cost benefit analysis’, ‘fiscal responsibility’ and other traditional mechanisms that provide the checks and balances necessary to maintaining a healthy and sustainable economy.

It is vital that the trend of increased tertiary ‘service’ sector economic factors ultimately reverse in favor of ‘goods’ oriented production.

Goods produce wealth using other peoples’ money (through exports and a healthy balance of payments surplus with other economic jurisdictions).

 Services ‘consume’ wealth using our own money.

If the trend continues and we rely more heavily on ‘service’ industries to maintain the economy of BC rather than recognizing that manufacturing, development of resources (including raw materials and the growth of secondary and tertiary production), fishing, farming and goods related industries such as transportation are the true economic drivers of the BC economy, then we are on the precipice of an imminent financial disaster.

At some point, the ability of the BC government (or any government, for that matter), to extract more revenue from the taxpayer will be capped by the absolute inability of the taxpayer to fund any more government sponsored financial mistakes.

So, what is it that the average BC taxpayer appears to wish for?

  • Support for the Federal Government’s recently announced moratorium on the pipeline projects proposed for Northern BC, specifically the Northern Gateway Project.
  • Increased spending on social housing and related welfare programs for the ‘disadvantaged’  sector of the society.
  • Support for the Carbon Tax and the concept of ‘penalizing’ the use of hydrocarbons to heat even our provincial schools and municipal buildings.
  • Restrictions on the development of BC’s own natural resources based on land claims, speculation concerning potential unremediated environmental degradation, Climate Change speculation and political indecision .
  • Expansion of the BC civil service and the increasing cost thereof.
  • Acceptance of the apparent fact that there are different laws for bureaucrats and government officials compared to the remainder of the citizens of BC.  Computer hard drives are wiped, emails destroyed and evidence of these facts have been brought forward by the Privacy Commissioner in recent days.  Thus far, no strong condemnation or apology from the government including the Premier.
  • Mortgaging the lives of our children and grandchildren in favor of an ever increasing public debt which has already surpassed 65 Billion Dollars , that is $14,513 for every man, woman and child in the province. Note:  That is the Province of BC debt load.  (This does not include Federal and Municipal debt).  Anything other than a balanced budget creates even more debt – that eventually someone must pay for.  Politicians are generally short-sighted in this discussion.  Unethical, unaccountable politicians choose to maintain their political power through promises of providing more for less – and anyone who has to balance a household budget knows how ridiculous that argument becomes.  Whereas you or I have to convince a ‘hard-hearted banker’ that we have the capacity to repay our debts, governments have no such reality checks.  Witness the recent events in the US where every year (sometimes more often) Congress and the Senate have to pass increased debt ceiling legislation – required just to increase borrowings (adding debt) to make money available to pay for government employee salaries, pensions and loan interest.  When is it time to say that enough is enough?

So, residents and citizens of British Columbia, be careful what you wish for.

What you should wish for, in your own best interest as well as the best interests of future generations, is a resolve to gain more knowledge, to learn more facts, and to make a commitment to holding politicians and bureaucrats more accountable for their actions.

There is a legal requirement known as ‘fiduciary trust’.

By definition:

A fiduciary trust is a fiduciary relationship in which a trustee holds the title to assets for the beneficiary. The trust’s creator is called the grantor.

In the province of British Columbia, the trustee is the elected government including all of the civil servants and bureaucrats who manage the assets that by law belong to all of us who live and reside in British Columbia, almost without exception.

The assets are all of the land holdings, improvements, buildings, equipment, tax dollars et cetera that are publicly funded and owned, the resources of the land, under the land and on and under the sea.  These assets are the legacy that must be vigilantly and fiercely guarded and maintained by us so that they are sustained and available to future generations.

We are collectively the grantor of the fiduciary trust and it is up to the trustees to manage our assets to the absolute best of their ability.

It is our responsibility, our duty, to hold the trustees responsible and accountable and to remove them if they do not perform their duties in accordance with the trust bond that has been created between the voter and the government.

The creation of insightbc.org is intended to provide yet another vehicle to help facilitate the monitoring and the vigilance required of all of us, as residents and trustees in our own right with our children, grandchildren and future generations as the grantors.

Joseph de Maistre: “Every country has the government it deserves (Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite”)

Diogenes: “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth“.

If we are responsible and vigilant, then perhaps future generations will truly  have the opportunity of benefiting from the motto of the Province of British Columbia.

‘Splendor sine occasu’.  Splendour without diminishment.

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