Insight BC

Insight and Discussion Concerning What’s Important in BC

Page 2 of 4

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).

 

 

 

BC Economic Alarms Sound

NDP governments in both BC and Alberta.  A dubious unprecedented political anomaly that could spell economic disaster for both provinces, as well as the rest of Canada, in coming months.

An excellent article was written recently by Terry Etam and published in the BOE Report July 26, 2017 (boereport.com).  Entitled ‘Wake up Canada!  Get behind energy mega projects or get ready for the consequences’, the article connects the current stall in oil sands investment with the newly announced cancellation of the $36 Billion Pacific North West LNG export terminal in BC.

As indicated by Etam, ‘Canada is about to have two of its major economic engines strangled into near oblivion while we stand around and watch.’

There is a reason why governments at any level, federal, provincial or municipal, should not involve themselves in economic projects other than to provide the necessary environment in which projects can succeed – or fail, on their own merits.

Governments do not create jobs.  Governments do not stimulate the economy.  Governments do not create wealth and economic well-being for citizens and future citizens.

Governments do, unfortunately far too frequently, become economic killers by imposing regulations, social policies and politically driven strategies that are designed to benefit those governments at the polls for their own selfish short term gain while at the same time inflicting widespread pain on the future growth and economic viability of the provinces and Canada, itself.

An anecdotal illustration of the problem.  I have an acquaintance, living on Vancouver Island, who is a talented photographer and enthusiastic supporter of the ‘green movement’ and it’s currently unsustainable social and political agenda.  She proudly displayed the motto ‘No Pipelines. No Tankers‘ on her Facebook page and in her musings.  Just don’t ask her how she heated her home in the cold of winter.  Fuel oil, of course, piped into BC and refined in Alberta, then transported by tanker to Vancouver Island to eventually fill her heating oil tank.  And how did she take her children to school every day in her SUV?  How did she travel around Vancouver Island to find lovely wilderness places to capture in her photography?  Gasoline, of course, refined in Alberta, pipelined into BC and poured into tankers to navigate Georgia Strait so she could pump her gasoline into her energy consuming SUV.

This acquaintance illustrates the apparent naivety and the widespread disingenuous refusal to face economic realities.  She is not alone in ‘pretending’ that she supports an ideal while living her life totally divergent to her espoused philosophy.  She, like you and I, depends daily on the benefits derived from a healthy energy sector and a healthy economy.

The reality is that we all benefit from the largesse, the widespread economic wealth, the technological advancements that have been made in Canada, because of – not in spite of, the role of the energy sector in the Canadian, and particularly the Western Canadian, economy.

The recent announcement by Petronas (a foreign energy company) that it was abandoning its LNG ambitions in BC came as no surprise to the writer.  I had projected the failure of the LNG fantasy in BC almost 3 years ago.  (Just for information purposes, I once was a corporate banker working in Calgary, Alberta and involved in financing the oil and gas industry through a sophisticated and mature banking system that understood – and still understands, the complexities of the energy industry at a far more advanced level than a conglomerate of unsophisticated politicians and civil servants).

The energy sector cannot be driven by ‘supply side’ management.  The energy industry is too vast and too important a part of our physical existence to be manipulated by such ridiculous situations as the Canadian dairy industry where ‘whole milk is being poured into the sewage system’ because of oversupply and a virtually guaranteed price committed to quota producers.  Fill your quota – you get paid.  Whether your product every reaches the market and the consumer – or not.

The energy sector cannot ‘stop producing energy’ because starry-eyed idealists believe that the incredibly small negative side effects and the occasional oil spill justify the potential collapse of our entire economic system – and degrading our standard of living to unacceptable levels.  I wonder at the logic of mothers and fathers who are carrying signs, waving placards, marching in the streets and standing in the path of bulldozers.  The reality is that they are ultimately standing in the way of progress, their own welfare and the ability of future generations to flourish and thrive in a country and in provinces that have undeniable environmental challenges – specifically cold winters with freezing temperature with snow and vast distances that have to be navigated using sophisticated and energy-consuming vehicles, most still burning petroleum derivatives.

Would these same idealists wish to return to the days of their forefathers and foremothers (to be politically correct) and fell their own trees, split their own logs and stack their own woodpiles for the upcoming winter in order to maintain a living environment for themselves and their offspring?  They would, of course, not consider coal (dirty, environmentally poisonous coal) as an alternative because they have been indoctrinated into believing that coal is a ‘dirty fuel’, noxious and poisoning the planet.  Coal, of course, is still the fuel of preference in China and elsewhere in the world, for those who aren’t familiar with the facts).  Does the Paris Accord ban the use of coal in these countries?  Of course not.  Such is the naivety of the average Canadian or American.  In the future, coal will of course be refined similar to petroleum and coal extracts and derivatives will become far more popular and acceptable.

Technology, if uninhibited by short-sighted and damaging political constraints, finds ways to make things better – for people and for the environments in which people exist.  I am firmly convinced that I will be driving an environmentally friendly electric vehicle and kept warm by energy produced by some alternative source – at the appropriate time.  That time will come when those alternatives are economically viable and sustainable.  Just common sense.  

The problem occurs when governments seek to ‘take advantage’ and gain beneficially from policies and initiatives that become popular at election time – even when there is questionable science and even more questionable overall benefit to us all from implementing those policies.

The disturbingly unethical government of Christy Clark and the Liberals seized upon the ‘potential for wealth’ and personal political gain for both Clark and her Liberal caucus by over-promoting and over-selling the benefits of a fantasy LNG industry to be developed in BC.  I have no little doubt that the decision by Petronas to abandon a proposed BC export terminal and distribution facility was made long before the May, 2017 BC election.  I further believe that the announcement of the Petronas decision was willfully and deliberately suppressed by the BC Liberals in order to ‘milk’ one more potential successful term of office using an economic pipe dream that we all now know to be a lie.  The failure of the BC LNG industry was due to poor timing, poor execution and global economic realities that cannot be changed by the political fantasies of a politician or government.

Laissez-Faire’ Economics 101.  Governments must stay out of things they know little about.  What do government know about, or care about, risk and risk capital?  Not a damn thing.  Why?  Because they don’t spend their own money.  They are spending yours!  The taxpayers.  And once governments have squeezed out every last tax dollar possible, they continue their fiscal irresponsibility by borrowing – on your behalf and ensuring that future generations pick up the tab.

The NDP/Green ‘not a coalition’ will take the blame for a growing number of poorly designed and poorly implemented economic and social initiatives, but the BC Liberals cannot hang the failure of the LNG debacle on the newly sworn-in BC government.  The Liberals, under Christy Clark, are solely responsible – and the Liberals must own this failure.  The voters will not be deceived and we will remember (or be reminded) in time for the next election.

Similarly, the eventual fate of Site ‘C’ dam and the future of BC Hydro rests with the policies implemented by the BC Liberals.  As a proper ‘neutral and unbiased’ cost-benefit analysis, needs analysis or even the formal approval of the established provincial regulator was sought by the BC Liberals, the project rests solely on the political gain the Liberals anticipated from the Site ‘C’ dam.  As evidenced in other jurisdictions, the need for single source ‘mega-project’ power is diminishing as more cost-effective, regionalized and alternative power options seek to gain in relevance and economic viability.  BC may well find electrical power rates escalated to unprecedented and unaffordable levels under the NDP/Green government however the BC Liberals will ‘own’ the responsibility as the BC Liberals were the government who personally benefitted from millions in corporate and energy industry donations while abandoning the due diligence safeguards that should have absolutely and without exception been implemented and enforced.

The BC Liberals will also try to hang the failures of ICBC to provide adequate insurance coverage at affordable rates on the NDP/Green ‘not a coalition’.  Again, the BC Liberals and Christy Clark own the problem.  While the NDP initially created the ICBC concept, the Liberals had 8 years to fix the problem – and did nothing.  A potential for skyrocketing premiums (30% has been suggested for this year) exists and the disposable income of BC residents drops again – due in large part to poor and self-serving government policies.  Is there a solution?  Of course there is.  Just look at other jurisdictions.  Competition lowers overall prices to consumers.  Competition increases flexibility, options and alternatives.  Common sense.  Just not sense that bloating bureaucracies and insensitive governments want to consider.

Do we have time to discuss the unaffordability of housing in the lower mainland, specifically Vancouver and now Victoria?  Again, the Liberals have had 8 years to mitigate the problem created by real estate speculation from foreign buyers.  Why did the BC Liberals do nothing?  Just check the Liberal Party war chest and see how much money was contributed by foreign investors, their lobbyists and a real estate industry that benefits from inflationary prices.  How does the average wage-earner expect to be able to buy a home in the foreseeable future?  Or the children of those wage-earners?  The reality is that it just cannot realistically happen – without a major ‘correction’ or partial collapse of the real estate values in those communities.

And if there is a major correction or collapse of real estate under the NDP/Green ‘not a coalition’?  While renters and non-owners will benefit, an alarming and growing number of homeowners who are artificially supplementing their incomes through higher leveraging of ‘deemed equity’ in their homes made possible only through inflationary real estate values will face economic ruin as their properties will no longer have positive equity.  Banks and near banks will curtail lending and severely restrict borrowing opportunities if there is a major price correction in the BC lower mainland market and elsewhere.

Just as Rachel Notley inherited  a shrinking economy in Alberta when elected, there is a good chance that John Horgan, Andrew Weaver and their ‘not a coalition’ is on the precipice of a shrinking economy potential in BC.

What should be most alarming to residents and taxpayers in both BC and Alberta is the historical reality that NDP governments are demonstrably not good at handling shrinking economies and only ‘appear’ to succeed in previously healthy, vibrant and flourishing economic environments.

The policies of the NDP are not predicated on financial responsibility or making tough decisions when those decisions must be made.  The unrealistic premise of ‘universal wealth’ and social, financial and environmental well-being for all has to be financed.  Financed by the taxpayer – or financed through increased government debt.  Once an economy starts to decline, the ability of the government to ‘borrow’ at reasonable rates declines as the credit rating of the province and the provincial government drops.  At the same time, the ability to generate taxes drops as businesses begin to fail, taxpayers lose jobs and the economic goes into a tailspin.

Couple this spectre with the very real possibility of increasing interest rates as the US economy begins to rebuild and flourish. The high debt levels many BC individuals, businesses and most importantly the BC government have rung up in recent years will increase due to the historic unsustainable economic policies of the NDP.  The ‘interest component’ will increase and more money will be required to service the debt.  The borrowing cycle will spiral into an alarming tailspin.

Is this scenario realistic?  Unfortunately, far too realistic.  History has shown the same economic pattern developing over and over – with the same  disastrous and debilitating results.

BC is overdue for an ‘economic correction’ as is Canada under the starry-eyed tutelage of the media star Prime Minister who doesn’t have a concept of common sense economic realities.  The national Carbon Tax and similar measures will further cripple the economic engine that drives the country – namely the energy sector.  NAFTA is being re-negotiated and the US is not interested in benefitting Canada by offering a ‘sweetheart’ deal to our juvenile, gullible Prime Minister.

It is ‘pie in the sky’ fantasy to  believe that the Canadian economy can currently be competitive and healthy without a strong energy sector component.  Transfer payments to ‘have not’ provinces depend on a strong energy sector.

NDP governments are historically and demonstrably not friendly to the energy sector.  John Horgan, Andrew Weaver and the ‘not a coalition’ promises made during the 2017 election campaign coupled with the increasing economic problems in Alberta under the NDP reign of Rachel Notley puts BC in a precarious financial situation which could result very shortly in unaffordable and unsustainable tax increases, a further shrinking of the ‘economic engine’ that drives the Canadian economy and a lowering of the standard of living here in BC.

Only the BC and Alberta voters can restore a level of economic accountability and prevent further damage to all BC and Alberta residents and future generations.  This has to be done with the election of accountable, economically aware politicians who will not compromise the future of their respective provinces by unsustainable policies and accelerating debt creation.

It is not alarmist to be raising these issues at this time.  A frank, honest discussion must be demanded with our politicians and our government.  It is a travesty that the Liberal government under Christy Clark did not have the integrity or the skill to deal with the issues that are confronting us.  Instead, the Liberals concentrated on personal gain through unregulated political contributions and donations – to the detriment of BC and its residents.

What is concerning is that the ‘rookie’ government of the NDP and the Green Party will be too naive and too content with their ‘new found’ power to deal decisively with the challenges that are looming.  It is possible that this fledgling government will refuse to face up to the growing mountain of evidence until the time for action has passed – in order to maintain their fleeting moment in the sun.

Again, it is only the BC voter who can take decisive action and force government to do the right thing – to introduce policies and initiatives that will continue to make BC the preferred and sustainable home to the millions who live here and who enjoy BC’s largesse.  We are truly blessed to be living in one of the best places possible – and it is our individual and collective responsibility to keep BC prosperous and sustainable.  Pay attention to what is happening, locally, provincially and federally and be prepared to demand appropriate action from our politicians when that action is necessary.

 

Reality Check BC 2017 – Part 3

We are now days away from the NDP and the Green ‘not a coalition’ wresting control of the destiny of BC from the unprincipled and poorly led Liberals.  The ascension of the NDP and Greens marks the start of a decline of BC into an economic and social vortex – from which little good is expected to emerge.

In Part 1 of this essay, we provided reasons why the ‘not a coalition’ between the NDP and the Greens cannot last much beyond a year, possibly a little longer.  Then, the divergent views and agendas will finally be exposed and the support of the Greens will wither and die on the vine.  Horgan will make the same trip as Clark and announce that the NDP no longer has the confidence of the house.  A short term election looms.

In Part 2, we discussed the very real and undeniable reasons why the BC Conservative Party will not provide a viable alternative for small ‘c’ conservative voters in the foreseeable future.  The unprincipled deceit (and conceit) of the BC Liberals will not be forgotten – including the legacy of destroyed incriminating documents, ‘pay for access’ nepotism and the inexcusable total abandonment of the core principles and values of the BC Liberal Party as evidenced by the failed Throne Speech of June, 2017.

So, where does that leave the BC voter who wishes to ensure that BC is not turned into an economic wasteland with little hope for sustainable economic growth and sustainability?

BC voters who rightly see themselves as the ‘investors’ in our province need to find a legislative model alternative that restores some faith in a failing system and with it, the restoration of accountability and transparency in government.

A further ‘splintering into factions’ will not solve the problem.  More political parties ‘breaking off’ existing parties just dilutes the talent pool (already spread pitifully thin, in the minds of many).

Let’s address political facts that traditional politicians rarely discuss or debate.

  1.  Politicians are elected to represent the voters who elected them – not to represent the narrow, ideological special interests of their respective party.
  2. Politicians are stewards of BC’s wealth and resources, not the owners of those assets.  Politicians have a fiduciary trust to protect, preserve and wisely invest those resources – for the benefit of BC residents and future generations.
  3. Politicians ‘owe you’ truth and transparency.  Not optional.  Demand it.
  4. Politicians do not create jobs or a healthy economy.  However, unreasonable, stifling controls and regulations can throttle back the BC economy into a complete financial tailspin.  History proves it.
  5. Politicians do not have a free pass to do whatever they want until the next election.  Expect, no, demand regular discussion and debate forums with elected representatives.
  6. Politicians have an obligation, a fiduciary duty, to break the cycle of spending (and borrowing) beyond a reasonable tax base (for us, the tax burden).   We can no longer allow politicians to ‘buy our support’ using our own money.  We can no longer push unsustainable debt obligations on future generations.
  7. Politicians are only as good as our taxpayer ability to enforce accountability and oversight.  It is up to each of us to demand much more from our elected representatives – and to force them out of office when they do not meet our expectations and requirements.

What is required is public engagement  and public outrage.   We have collectively become complacent and acquiescent.   It’s time to wake up – all of us.

  1. We need to consider what we personally want for our families, our communities and our selves.
  2. We need to debate and discuss our collective wants and needs and to identify where the current political model is failing – and failing badly.
  3. We need to tell our prospective politicians what we have determined as important, prioritized as to need and affordability.
  4. We need to create a ‘contract’, real, legitimate, legal and enforceable – outlining our rights and remedies, including forced resignations, if politicians do not meet a reasonable, minimum level of  compliance and commitment to the needs and fiduciary responsibilities based on quantifiable benchmark criteria.
  5. We need to ‘take it to the politicians’ instead of the politicians ‘giving it (poor decisions, financial debacles, special interest nepotism) to us’.
  6. We need to start a ‘party’ of concerned voters, committed to political education, political awareness and political accountability.

There are resources already available to help us in this challenge   Integrity BC is one such resource – and there are others.   Generation Screwed is another resource.

Politics is no longer about whether you are ‘left’ or ‘right’, ‘green’ or ‘industrial’, ‘socially conscious’ or ‘libertarian’.

Politics is about whether you are being served by those who have pledged to serve you – and to consult with you as necessary.  What you (the collective ‘we’) deem necessary – not what the politician or his/her political party considers necessary. That was the basis of democracy and that is the fundamental truth to which we must return.

We need politicians to do a much better job – which means that we have to do a much better job of qualifying and supervising those politicians.

Time is short until the inevitable next provincial election.

We need to create a political movement that enforces a contractual obligation between politicians and those they represent.   The existing model of ‘zero accountability’ between election dates is fatally flawed.

The current process of electing a politician because of a few, self-serving preferences and ideals is fatally flawed.

The current process of electing a politician to ‘willfully waste’ our tax dollars and to ‘mortgage the future’ of generations to come is fatally flawed.

There has to be a day of reckoning.

Let today be the start of a new vision for accountable governance.

Who should you (we) elect?

MLA’s who will commit contractually to accountability and transparency – above the interests and policies of their party caucus and dogma.

Let us start a discussion as ‘investors’ in BC and choose the best stewards and trustees of our collective resources – and our collective future.

There are those who say that only a traditional ‘party model’ can succeed.

Says who?   Maybe it’s time concerned and credible minds start thinking ‘outside the box’.

Try some ideas out on advocatebc.com.  If you have a good idea, others will listen.

 

 

Reality Check BC 2017 – Part 2

In Reality Check BC 2017 – Part 1 we discussed the reasons that the ‘not a coalition’ will implode and force BC voters (hopefully wiser) back to the polls.  Investors in BC (most of us, as previously defined), will look for fiscally conservative alternatives to restore growth and sustainability to a shrinking economy that may start affecting the lives of BC residents sooner – not later.

Some will argue that the BC Conservative Party should be explored as an option – in time for the anticipated next ‘dropping of the writ’.

So we don’t all waste collective time, resources and false hope on a ‘non starter’, here are ten (10) reasons why the BC Conservative Party is not an option – at least in the foreseeable future.

Ten Reasons Why The BC Conservative Party is not Viable, Credible or Electable

  1.  BCCP went into the 2017 election without a leader.  Why?  Does the BCCP not know that the voter expects a party to have a ‘leader’ to answer questions, to provide a vision and insight into policy and philosophy and to  ‘lead’ the party in the legislature?  Of course the BCCP knows that.  Unfortunately (for them), the matter of leadership has been an ongoing disaster since John Cummins and John van Dongen vied to ‘lead’ the BCCP in 2013.  Since then, acrimonious leadership campaigns (Brooks/Peterson, Brooks/Pimiskern) replete with ongoing lawsuits for defamation and resignations, ‘second comings’ and farcical leadership campaigns have resulted in the re-emergence of a resigned leader who was accused of a litany of indiscretions and ultimately rejected as ‘leader’ by the dysfunctional Board of the BCCP – without being honest and forthright with paid BCCP party members concerning the actual reasons for the disqualification of the ‘leader.  Petitions are still circulating concerning the 2016 debacle and the BCCP limped into the 2017 election leaderless and essentially clueless.  Here is an interesting collection of thoughts.  If there was a legitimate leadership race, why did the second place finisher not become leader?  If he didn’t want the job, why didn’t the third place contestant then become leader?  If there wasn’t a duly constituted leadership race, why didn’t all of the candidates get their Five Thousand Dollar entry fees back from the BCCP?  Because the BCCP is insolvent?  Are there any pending or outstanding lawsuits that have resulted from the failed 2016 leadership debacle?  We could go on but it should be apparent that there are significant leadership problems ongoing with the BCCP.  If the BCCP can’t figure out how to anoint a leader due to its dysfunctional internal problems, how can it legitimately be seen by anyone as a viable and electable alternative in a forthcoming election?
  2. Since 2013, the BCCP has had Five (5) different Presidents and Boards – each of them dysfunctional and incompetent in their own unique ways.  Currently a petition is circulating because the current President and Board reportedly refuses to follow its own constitution.  One prior Board resigned en masse and a self-appointed Board seized control of the BCCP without ever getting the approval or consent of the membership.  None of the Boards have seen the need to invariably respond to written correspondence, to accept responsibility for inept actions and inactions and none of the Boards have taken any responsibility for the mass resignations of BCCP members, to follow established Parliamentary Procedure and Roberts Rules or to recuse and disqualify participation in resolutions and discussions where there was a clear conflict of interest.  Why would a BC voter wish to support a political entity that has apparent disdain and disregard for the safeguards, checks and balances and procedures that should ensure fairness, equity, respect for dissent and a myriad of other lofty principles?
  3. Since 2013, the membership base of the BCCP has significantly eroded as former members abandoned the BCCP due to its dysfunctionality.  The policy of recent Boards has been to treat dissension with expulsion, threats of expulsion, a variety of largely unenforceable and ridiculous punitive measures in a contrived, totalitarian style constitution and to largely limit itself to compliant sycophants who do not acknowledge mistakes and weaknesses in policy and procedure.  Unbelievably, numerous former BCCP Presidents, Directors and even 2013 Candidates were denied membership in the BCCP in the past two years.  As a result, the BCCP must be seen as an exclusionary, elite political party rather than an inclusive, welcoming political entity that can serve the needs of all BC voters and residents.
  4. The 2017 political campaign undertaken by the BCCP was an absolute disaster.  The number of candidates representing the BCCP reduced from sixty (60) plus in 2013 (prior to Cummins and crew firing four (4) candidates before the election) down to ten (10) in 2017.  Those 10 candidates managed to collectively amass less than ten thousand (10,000) votes province wide.  The platform planks announced by the BCCP were juvenile and an embarrassment to the BCCP.  The absurdities included building another combination ferry/bridge crossing from the mainland to Vancouver Island utilizing a previously touted fantasy proposal brought forward by a conspiracy theorist who (hopefully in jest) empathizes with pebbles in streams (his words, not mine), audits Taliban hit contracts and performs other global tasks of sufficient import as to ensure the safety of the free world.  This individual actually represented another fringe political party federally in a previous election and was summarily rejected by the voters, as were his political points of view.  Did the BCCP perform due diligence on this initiative?  Of course not.  That would have shown some political accountability and due diligence.  Another plank in the platform was to eliminate pay parking in certain hospitals throughout the province.  A matter of major budgetary import in comparison to all of the multi-billion dollar challenges and issues.  A third example?  Allow a ‘tax refund’ to the financially disadvantaged to allow them to get back some of the money they would contribute to charitable causes.  It apparently never occurred to the BCCP political elite that the disadvantaged would need to spend that money instead on food, shelter and other necessities of life.  The reason that they are poor is that they don’t have the money in the first place to donate.  We could rail on but the gist of the discussion is that the BCCP ran a horrible, ineffective and almost comedic 2017 campaign – and none of the Board of Directors takes any responsibility.  One of the major shortcomings of the BCCP.  There is culture of avoidance and unaccountability.  This cannot be rectified in time for a quick election announcement.
  5. Financially, the BCCP has struggled to remain solvent.  The last financial report filed with Elections BC showed the BCCP $26,000 in debt.  Insolvent.  No financial information subsequent has been officially reported to regulatory authorities and available for public overview.  Internal financial statements profess that the BCCP has ‘whittled’ away at its insolvency but there are also inside reports from former directors of the BCCP which indicate that there may be non-disclosed, ‘off the books’ liabilities and obligations which are not part of the financial ‘snapshot’ shown to regulators and the public.  Even membership reportedly has difficulties in getting accurate and timely up to date financial information.  We know, for a fact, that the BCCP floated an optional alternative to ‘would be candidates’ in the 2017 election whereby the candidate would essentially pay for all of his/her own campaign expenses and provide an additional partially refundable fee to the BCCP.  This fee was presumably for the  ‘privilege’ of being associated with the BCCP.  Bottom line?  Any individual or group interested in pursuing the BCCP as a vehicle for coalescing small ‘c’ conservative voters may be dealing with liabilities and contingent liabilities that would prohibit any possible financial resource base from which to mount a forthcoming election campaign.  An astute individual might ask why political donors contributed over $12 million to the Liberals in 2016, millions to the NDP in 2016 – and virtually nothing to the BCCP.  Donors did not ‘buy’ because the BCCP has nothing to sell.
  6. The BCCP does not enjoy the support of the federal Conservative Party of Canada or the support of other conservative parties in other provinces.  The leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party, Jason Kenny, allegedly recently  openly urged guests at a federal Conservative Party dinner in Vancouver to ‘support the BC Liberal Party of Christy Clark’.  I am personally aware of a number of card carrying federal conservatives who either ran for, or support, the BC Liberals. Why?  Because the BC Liberals are a credible small ‘c’ conservative option – and the BCCP are not.  The BCCP has done nothing positive to elevate its status beyond ‘marginal fringe party’.
  7. There is another movement afoot to ‘bring back’ Dan Brooks who is completely and thoroughly unelectable.  Brooks was a divisive and polarizing leader.  While his few but zealous supporters would welcome a ‘third coming’, literally thousands of former members would stand clear of the BCCP for that reason alone.  Brooks has the support of individuals who have admitted in court documents that they smeared other leadership contestants, Brooks himself had been accused on separate occasions that he has accessed and misused BCCP files and records.  Brooks’ 2016 leadership campaign was highlighted by aggressive questionable actions against his opponents, including alleged manipulation of the BCCP website and membership database, still an issue being pursued by some members.  Brooks’ ‘vision’ for the BCCP was equally unsupportable, including petty, insignificant ‘hunting’ related initiatives but most disturbingly, a promise to build a ‘BC Pipeline’ paid for by the BC taxpayer and in defiance of most of the regulatory requirements. Dan Brooks is seen by some as an unelectable, egocentric ‘loose cannon’ – who has a number of sycophants supporting him still on the BCCP Board of Directors.
  8. We have met with, interviewed or otherwise interacted with a growing number of BCCP former members who simply will not consider rejoining the party.  This growing list includes former Presidents and directors of the BCCP as well as former candidates and constituency executives.  The experience has totally alienated these individuals who are card carrying federal Conservatives in many cases.  These people would represent much of the potential base of the BCCP – and they are adamant in many cases that they will not entertain a return to the BCCP.
  9. The BCCP has serious constitutional deficiencies and has perpetuated a culture in which a few key individuals control the BCCP, alternately amending the constitution to meet their personal objectives but even more alarmingly, to ignore the constitution when it best suits them to do so.  This is a systemic fatal flaw in the mindset of too many individuals within the BCCP and it indicates that ethical practices are not enshrined in the minds, nor the actions, of many former and current executive members.  We will not gain broadbased support without an ethical party that embraces integrity – and demonstrably so.  At the moment, petitions, lawsuits, negative press, negative narratives and negative media coverage (where there is any) abounds.  The image of the BCCP is tarnished to the point of being irreversible – certainly in time for a quick election.
  10. The BCCP, if seen by some as a potential alternative to ‘uniting the right’, will continue to dampen the efforts and resources of groups and individuals who are looking for a viable alternative.  There is too much baggage, too much water under the bridge and a litany of failures and questionable practices that continue to haunt the BCCP.  What legitimate party would allow a leader to remain with 40% support?   What supportable party would allow its constitution to be replaced by a small group representing less than 5% of its membership base?  What credible political party would hold a leadership contest – and emerge without a leader?  What political political party has been described by mainstream media as the ‘most dysfunctional’ political party in Canada?  The BCCP.

The dream of the BC Conservative Party has devolved into a nightmare.  It is long past time that committed, small ‘c’ conservatives wake up from this bad dream and turn valuable efforts and collective resources towards a positive, sustainable and supportable alternative.  In time for the looming next provincial election.

In Reality Check BC 2017 – Part 3, we will look at some of the other options and opportunities available to engaged, but concerned, voters and political participants.

Reality Check BC 2017 – Part 1

The absolute best possible outcome has resulted for BC voters after the 2017 provincial election.  Notwithstanding Christy Clark’s futile hopes of retaining power – and John Horgan’s insatiable lust for gaining power (with the probable short-lived help of the overtly bombastic Andrew Weaver), the legislature will convene, briefly function and ultimately dysfunction.

The ‘not a coalition‘ will allow the NDP and Greens to comfortably settle into government chairs – but will soon unravel as divergent doctrine and dogma rear their politically ugly heads.  The parties (NDP and Green) will cite ‘irreconcilable differences’ and the ‘not a coalition‘ will dissolve, sending the voters back to the polling stations.

Best bets for driving the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ to delaminate the ‘not a coalition‘?

Kinder Morgan Pipeline and Site C Dam.

Notwithstanding all of the political vitriol, the ultimate regulatory authority for the Kinder Morgan pipeline is the federal government – and even the insipid and publicity hungry JT has proclaimed that the Kinder Morgan project will proceed.  In the interests of all Canadians – mostly because, and in spite of Andrew Weaver’s fairy tale wonderland, energy production and access to the Asian markets is one of Canada’s prime economic drivers, for now and the foreseeable future.

Horgan and the NDP will be confronted with this economic reality – from many sides, including labour who wants new job creation, from the feds who have already approved the project and from the large voter component who provincially voted Liberal in order to maintain some semblance of economic prosperity for BC.

Publicly, Horgan will be forced to soften his stance on the Kinder Morgan Pipeline – and Weaver will not.  A philosophical fracture between the ‘not a coalition‘ coalition will grow.

Site C Dam.  By most empirical measures, including numerous recent studies, the Site C Dam was a bad idea, perpetrated by the BC Liberals without proper due process, without the scrutiny and support of the appropriate regulatory bodies, without a proper feasibility study proving a favourable ‘Cost-Benefit’ analysis and simply because – BC and export markets do not want, nor need, any increased mega-project power capacity.  Site C Dam is simply irrelevant in a changing energy paradigm wherein localized smaller scale generation options are becoming increasingly viable, where alternative energy sources are gradually gaining a foothold and where many experts point to ‘clean’ nuclear energy as the ultimate long-term solution.

Horgan and Weaver will play political games with Site C Dam but again, Horgan will ultimately have to face the reality of holding the political reins in Victoria and Horgan will be forced to mitigate his professed strong antipathy toward the Site C dam whereas the sanctimonious Weaver will hold to his ‘illusional (delusional?) principles’.

Another fissure will develop in the ‘not a coalition‘.

There will be many other issues that will ultimately cause an irreconcilable rift between the NDP and the Green and the ‘not a coalition‘ will implode and send BC back to the ballot box.

What does the inevitable collapse of the ‘not a coalition‘ mean for BC voters – and for supporters of parties other than the NDP and the Greens?

It means that most savvy political players are already making plans to contest another, inevitable BC election.  Sooner, rather than later.

Investors, both domestic and foreign, look for economic stability and growth in the BC Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a sign that BC is heading in the right direction and the uneasy ‘not a coalition‘ is alarming in its ability to derail BC’s economic progress.

Investors, as I define them, are not just the questionable International Business Activity (IBA) Program foreign corporations or the persistent foreign buyers who are speculating on real estate in the Lower Mainland, particularly in Vancouver and increasingly, in Victoria.

Investors, in my broad definition, include anyone ‘invested’ in BC and its success, now and in the future.

Investors, by my definition, include homeowners who do not want to see their equity erode, students who want good paying, full-time jobs after graduation (and ultimately a legitimate opportunity to become homeowners), primary industry workers who want to continue to see employment and growth in forestry, fishing, mining, petroleum-based energy extraction and emerging high-tech industries.

At the end of the day, I believe that most BC voters ultimately should see themselves as ‘investors’, investing in BC through support, or rejection, of political ideologies and initiatives.

There is a growing realization among astute individuals that the ‘state’ or the government is not a ‘job creator’ except for the bloating civil service – and that any claims by any government that it will create economic growth and prosperity is simply a political mantra not based in fact – patently false.

Government has the ability to ‘stand in the way‘ of economic growth, sustainability and viability for the present and the future – or government has the ability to ‘get out of the way’ and allow entrepreneurial forces and investors (all of us) to take our own initiatives and get to work, improving our own prospects and opportunities, without the counter-productive, over-legislated and economically suffocating over-control of government.

The track record and the focus of the NDP is to create bigger government involvement, to serve the ‘entitled’ who want government to do all the work for them, and to tax BC into a place of economic stagnation at best – and economic collapse at its very worst.

The Greens don’t have a track record but I am sure that the next few months will show the Greens true colours (a literary absurdity – for those who studied classical literature, oh, never mind) and Andrew Weaver will show, in fact be forced to show, whether he understands that he is a steward for the combined and collective wealth, sustainability and viability of BC – or whether he is an environmental dogmatic zealot who will assist the NDP in creating an economic vortex that will suck BC into recession or potentially a financial depression.

For those too young to remember (Millenials take note), financial recessions/depressions kill jobs, eliminate opportunities and stifle even social programs and hand-outs to the ‘entitled’.  Simply because there is not enough money to go around.  Thanks, in part, to governments that did not know enough to ‘get out of the way’ and allow investors (the vast majority of BC residents) to get on with the business of improving our lives, future and economic prospects – for the betterment of all.  The socialist solution to to borrow to the maximum – and allow future generations to pay the billIf there will be any ability remaining for future generations to pay a government debt load that is becoming increasingly unsustainable.

When the current ‘not a coalition‘ collapses, the evidence of economic decline will already be apparent – and savvy voters will be looking for fiscally conservative alternatives in order to revive a dying economy, before it is too late.

We will look at some of the fiscally conservative options available – but that is for the next segment in this two part essay.

The (fleeting) Power of Three

By now, most BC voters have woken up to the news that the Elections BC Final Count has confirmed that there is a minority government for the foreseeable (short term) future.

By the time this blog is widely read, Andrew Weaver will have announced his short term intentions to temporarily prop up one of the two parties who received the vast majority of votes, and public support, from the electorate.

The popular vote indicated a razor thin margin of arguable victory for the reigning Liberals – but the fact that the Liberals are one tantalizingly seat deficient in the legislature alters the political landscape in BC’s future, short term and possibly long term.

Unquestionably, Christy Clark’s Liberals overstayed their welcome.  The Liberals ignored ‘due diligence’ on many fronts, appointing party friends and supporters to key government ‘fat cat’ positions and allowing pay for access supporters to ‘feed at the trough’.  The Site ‘C’ dam and the questionable deals done with friendly interests on high visibility projects such as the replacement for the George Massey tunnel are a couple of obvious illustrations.

Most importantly, the ‘entitlement’ mentality and the obvious disdain for opposing points of view will ultimately cook Christy’s goose – maybe not in time for Christmas 2017, but certainly no later than Christmas 2018.

John Horgan’s NDP, on the flip side, wants the taste of power so badly that it will probably find ways to justify compromising its principles – and the strength of its left wing base, by agreeing to terms and conditions that will ultimately come back to bite the NDP in the derriere.

In the meantime, Andrew Weaver and his two supplicants will hold court regularly – even though they are not the de facto choice of the vast majority of the voter population.

Such is the nature of a minority government – a phenomena not seen in BC for more than half a century.  The nature of minority governments is that they collapse sooner or later, and in BC in 2017, the smart money is on sooner.

Reasons?

Weaver’s Greens have announced three major issues on which they will rest their decision to provide tacit support, to either the Liberals or the NDP.

  1.  Official Party status for the Greens.  Probably a no brainer as it really represents separate offices, a working budget and a very slight relaxation of the minimum 4 MLA current requirement.
  2. Removing the ‘Wild West’ virtually uncontrolled access to big money funding from corporations, unions, lobby groups and ‘party friends’ who have contributed (invested) multi millions of dollars in political contributions to ensure that their respective voice is heard above others and often, contrary to the public interest.
  3. Proportional Representation so that the percentage of the popular vote will translate almost directly into the percentage of the seats each Party will hold in the legislature.

How will this play out?

It seems obvious that either Christy Clark (as long as the Liberals choose to prop up her tenuous hold on Liberal Party leadership) or John Horgan will throw the Official Party status bone to the Greens.

The imposition of restrictions on corporate, union and lobbyist donations is almost a certainty as it is probably among the single biggest reasons that the Liberals did not gain a majority in this 2017 election – and the Liberal Party’s forensic autopsy on the election results will certainly highlight this obvious inference.  Reluctantly (but not too reluctantly since the Liberals have enhanced their party war chest by more than $12 Million last year and at least a further $2 million in 2017) the Liberals will allow a committee to recommend controls on political party contributions. After all, it is likely that the election war chest for the Liberals has the availability of millions of dollars to fight the next election.

The NDP are also benefactors of substantial contributions, mainly from union sources, including the civil service, even resources from large American unions.  While reluctant to lose this ‘largesse’, Horgan and the NDP’s will assent to Weaver’s demands in order to secure power, however short-lived.

The matter of Proportional Representation is an entirely different matter.

Both the Liberals and the NDP enjoyed a tantalizingly close glimpse at majority government under the current system.  Both the Liberals and the NDP recognize that the introduction of Proportional Representation will virtually ensure minority government coalitions as the new reality, given the fractured (and fractious) nature of politics in BC.

Neither the Liberals nor the NDP will actually work co-operatively with Weaver and the Greens to achieve this end, no matter the rhetoric and slow, plodding steps and/or pledges that may appear to lead in that direction.

At the end of the day, both the Liberals and the NDP will make careful, guarded statements and perhaps indicate that they are working toward an assessment of the proportionate representation model and its implementation.  Both, however, will follow the footsteps of the increasingly disingenuous Justin Trudeau who also promised electoral reform – but never delivered.

Both the Liberals and the NDP will see that the prospects of majority government are dangling invitingly just a few short months (12 to 18 months in my estimation) away as the coalition involving the Green Party erodes and ultimately disintegrates, forcing an early general election.

Both the Liberals and the NDP have sufficient resources on hand to fight a quick election and both are obstinate enough and confident enough in their own odds to allow a quick election rather than to pander to Andrew Weaver and the Greens any more than is necessary to convene the next legislature.

So just what is going to transpire?

  1.  The Liberals will replace an unpopular Christy Clark with a new leader who will emerge in time to re-energize the Liberal Party base and attract voters who could not stomach a vote for Clark in the 2017 election.
  2. The problems of uncontrolled political donations will become a ‘non issue’ as both major parties are adequately funded and will grudgingly agree to restrictions that will still benefit the Liberals and the NPD more so than the fringe parties, including the Greens.
  3. Andrew Weaver will play ‘King Maker’ to grandiose applause for a short period of time – and then his bombastic pronouncements will become ‘old’, both in the eyes of the public and in the estimation of the Liberals or the NDP, whichever party Weaver has chosen to ‘favour’ with his conditional support.
  4. Horgan will be allowed to lead the NDP into the next provincial election as he sees that he was ‘so close’ to gaining the majority that the NDP so desperately crave (and need) in order to foist its damaging uneconomic agenda on an unsuspecting public.
  5. Fringe parties, including the BC Conservatives, will ‘wither on the vine’, with insufficient resources (including time and money) to mount an effective campaign in a short election turnaround.
  6. BC voters will return to the polls no later than the spring of 2019, and quite possibly, the fall of 2018.
  7. Proportional Representation will not be a reality for the next election.

Such is the nature of politics in BC.  Short will be the reign of the King or Queen.  Short will be the reign of the King Maker, Andrew Weaver.  Such is the fleeting Power of Three.

 

 

Abuse or Misuse of Voter Trust?

I am one of many conflicted BC residents and potential voters in 2017.

Unless you have been living under a rock (probably where a number of affiliated political party directors have been hiding), you know that there has been a 2017 campaign was at different times: self-congratulatory, entitled, offensive, unacceptably partisan, too broad-based on issues, too focused on single issues, alarmist, conspiracy theoretical and too often, disingenuous and factually misleading.

A surprising spectrum of political interests have declared their intention to represent you, the voter and taxpayer, in the BC legislature.  Most of them have established and known political party affiliations but a significant number are relative unknowns.

I am not certain that this is unique to BC but I do know that 18 registered political parties have forwarded candidates and that 33 independent candidates and 2 candidates described as ‘no affiliation’ have also entered the fray.  This strikes me as a significantly high number of political choices for the average BC voter.

There are 371 declared and eligible candidates distributed among the 20 total different political iterations from which we, as voters, can choose.

If you believe the expensive and over-saturated advertisements that assault you ‘ad nauseam’ on network television, radio and even the social media websites, the choices are simple – you must choose the sitting Liberals who are the ‘only’ political party t0 create jobs and keep BC from economic ruin in the potential hands of the evil and destructive NDP (according to the BC Liberals implied rhetoric).

Or, you must choose the NDP, who are going to claw money back from the ‘entitled and 2% wealthiest in BC’ while forwarding economic promises that seem, at face value, to be questionably affordable and directed primarily to their (very) left of center voter support base.

Thirdly, you must consider the BC Greens, an emerging party that may well hold the balance of power in the BC legislature after all of the smoke clears.  Andrew Weaver, leader of the Greens, is clearly enjoying the limelight and the growing support that genuinely makes the Greens the third party force that could well deny a majority government in the legislature.

The BC Libertarians have run 30 candidates in this election and that is the first indication that there is growing support among voters who are ‘less government’ advocates and tired of the status quo.

In spite of brave (and demonstrably incorrect) statements from the BC Conservatives and the SoCreds that they are still relevant, it is clear that time has passed them by and that they have again missed an incredible opportunity to remain a viable political option.  To confirm how irrelevant the BC Conservative Party has become, take the time to read the May 7th ‘Platform Summary’ on the BCCP’s own website (bcconservative.ca).   The initiatives highlighted are largely inconsequential and in many cases, not even ‘conservative’ in nature.  The SoCreds, for their part, don’t even have a website.

New or relatively new parties such as Your Political Party and the Vancouver Island Party have nominated multiple candidates and have proven that there is an appetite for alternatives that are not entrenched in tired and increasingly unacceptable dogma from the traditional parties.

The candidates from the Christian Heritage Party and the Action Party are splinter parties from the conservative right.

We probably have a good and accurate perception of the intentions of the Communist Party but we collectively know less about the policies, intents and purpose of the remaining parties, including the ReFederation Party, the Cascadia Party, 4BC, BC First, Citizens First, Land Air Water, and New Republic.

Finally we have  33 candidates who are running as independents – clearly declaring their intent to represent the individuals who would elect them, rather than a ‘party machine’.

I’m not sure why 2 candidates are considered No Affiliation rather than Independent – but that is a differentiation that Elections BC can probably explain.

So where does that leave us?

Precisely where the political process normally does leave us.  And exactly where the democratic political process should leave us.

We, each and every one of us, can decide how to exercise our franchise – our constitutionally enshrined right to self-determination through the process of electing representative legislators who should represent us by proxy.

Those elected individuals are oath bound to represent the best interests of their respective constituents – the very people who have elected them.

Those elected individuals will have a ‘fiduciary trust’ to ensure that they are acknowledging that they are ‘trustees’ of your assets and resources, and to enforce your right to the various freedoms you enjoy and the various responsibilities we collectively share.

The 87 individual constituencies will have certain challenges and initiatives that are individually unique and vital to the voters in that respective riding.

The collective 87 constituencies will have other options that affect us all, through the application of taxation alternative espoused by the parties and differing treatment of social issues including health care among others.

Back to my earlier question.  Where does that leave us?

We should acknowledge that 371 individuals have committed to the possibility that they intend to represent you in the BC legislature – and that they have, as individuals, the skill set and the integrity to perform  their fiduciary duties with honor and accountability.

We acknowledge the contribution that these individuals have committed to make.

We must now acknowledge our own commitment to a task that has implications for not just the next few years but for the direction and vitality of BC for future generations and decades to come.

Our responsibility is to ensure that the best qualified and the most accountable individuals are allowed to represent us in the legislature.

We must perform this task either because of, or sometimes in spite of, the promises, the policies and the ‘nasty nature’ of the blood sport of politics.

We must individually assess the quality and the potential of each candidate and weigh their personal attributes against the expectations and the constraints of their political party dogma, if they are party candidates.

We must, and this is a vital concern, assess each and every candidate on the basis of whether the candidate will be truly accountable to the voters who ultimately elect him or her.

History has shown that MLA’s can easily lose sight of the basic democratic principle of committing to represent the voters who elect that MLA, instead bowing to party based political pressures to alternatively represent special interests promoted by their respective political parties.

Bottom line?

Assess and vote on the basis of the personal integrity of the candidate – before you trust in the integrity of the political party they have chosen to represent.

Is the system perfect?  By no means.  But the political system can be improved by ensuring that individuals with a true understanding of their individual responsibilities to the electorate are sworn into office in the BC legislature.

We congratulate all candidates for showing the determination and the courage to potentially  represent we, the electorate, in your respective ridings.

If you are elected after the May 9th polling stations close, make sure you take time during the resulting congratulatory celebrations to reflect on your new responsibilities – and your legal, moral and ethical commitment to accountability to the voters who have placed their trust in you.

Do not abuse or misuse that trust.

 

BC Conservatives Amazing Pain Threshold (Among Other Sad Truths)

No elected MLA’s (elected under the BCCP banner) since 1975.  Forty two (42) years.  None.  Zero.  No MLA’s.

Popular support?  There are many who actually want to see a small ‘c’ conservative alternative to the unaffordable and economic train wreck that is sure to follow an NDP majority and even more importantly, an alternative to an increasingly evident corrupt and entitled sitting Liberal government that puts patronage and self-interest ahead of the public good – and far ahead of the responsible, transparent and accountable governance of BC.

The BC Greens emergence as the third ‘viable’ option for BC voters in 2017 is partially a result of the incredible and continuing mindless ineptitude of the misdirected and dysfunctional leadership (or lack thereof) of the BC Conservative Party.

Only this morning a televised debate was made available to all BC voters – with three participants.  The incumbent, Premier Christy Clark obstinately ignored all references to her party’s ongoing ethical shortcomings and backtracked on campaign commitments already made.  John Horgan made political promises and promoted social welfare programs that he has absolutely no way to fund without crippling the BC economy.  Andrew Weaver proudly announced that he has six candidates with PhD’s (meaning that they have virtually no real world experience where it really matters in a political sense) and that he is going to find some magic elixir to turn emerging technologies in environmental  areas and climate change (biased) modelling into credible job growth and economic viability.

In the meantime, the tattered remains of the BC Conservative Party managed to scrape together ten (10) individuals (cannon fodder?) who, for better or worse, have put their own reputations and credibility on the line in order to perpetuate the myth that the BC Conservatives are actually an electable, viable alternative in their respective ridings.

The fact of the matter is that they are not all good, properly vetted conservative candidates – but then, they are running for a political party that is virtually clueless concerning real, debatable and concerning issues that will affect all BC voters and residents after the results of the 2017 election are announced.

Without a leader, and without any announced policies that makes any sense as a campaign platform to entice voters, these ten individuals will be attempting to present a case for small ‘c’ conservative voters to forego the business oriented Liberals, the only statistically viable alternative for a majority government in the NDP, and the emerging BC Greens – who may well poll a surprisingly high percentage of the popular vote and a few elected MLA’s, as a consequence.

Much of the Greens support will result from the despair of the family minded, job minded, budget minded and accountability minded BC voter who is seeking a place to put his or her vote rather than spoil a ballot.  There are, of course, a sprinkling of Libertarians, an interesting and emerging group of Your Political Party (YPP) candidates able to attract local voters who demand local accountability and transparency, as well as the usual handful of ‘fringe parties’, a group which now, to the dismay of many, now includes the BC Conservative Party.

For voters in certain ridings, there are strong and supportable independent candidates who may well be able to attract enough votes, both because of the vacuum created by viable alternatives and also because of the growing public demand for accountable government, transparent government and non-partisan government that represents associated communities and constituents, instead of political party dogma.

Some of that independent candidate support will inevitably migrate from small ‘c’ conservative voters who are increasingly dumbfounded that the BCCP has fallen so far in four short years.

Fifty Six (56) candidates campaigned under the BC Conservative Party banner in 2013.

Ten (10) candidates will represent the BC Conservative Party in 2017.

Only last year, the dysfunctional leadership of the BCCP proclaimed that the ‘North’ and the ‘Rural’ constituencies were the ‘strength’ of the party and that these would be the ridings in which the BCCP would make significant gains in 2017.

In 2017, there is One (1) candidate nominated from Northern BC.

In 2017, there is One (1) candidate nominated from the interior of BC.

In 2017, Two (2) candidates nominated from Vancouver Island -where the a BC Conservative candidate doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell.

So what policy vision is the BC Conservative Party proclaiming in order to gain the trust and support of the BC electorate (even in those few constituencies where the BCCP has scrounged up some bodies to run as candidates)?

  1.  Another ferry service from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, using a convoluted, uneconomic and bizarre model that has already been offered, assessed and rejected in prior years.

2.  A ‘raging grannies’ campaign to prevent visitors at hospitals from having to feed Loonies and Toonies into parking meters.

3.  An even more wacky proposal introduced today to give people making charitable donations a $54 rebate for a $500 charitable donation.  The BCCP’s own website clearly states that the BCCP has no clue what this latest bizarre policy initiative would even cost the BC taxpayer.  “We will figure that out after we are elected and before we implement our plan”.

Has anyone with common sense even thought of the prospect that those truly suffering under economic and social hardships won’t have $500 to give to a charity in the first place? 

Some folks may choose instead to say, feed their family, or pay their rent, or enroll their children in initiatives that may actually give their loved ones prospects for a better future.

No discussion on the meaningful issues that are resonating in this 2017 campaign.  No policy relating to job creation.  No policy concerning government ethics and accountability.  No policy concerning infrastructure projects and their viability (excepting, of course, the ‘pie in the sky’ additional ferry option to Vancouver Island where, coincidentally, almost all of the current BCCP directors now reside).

No policy on housing affordability issues.  No policy on energy and the impact of the Carbon Tax.  No policy on education and improving the prospects for permanent full-time, self-supporting jobs for the youth of the province.  No policy concerning the affordability of Health Care – and ways and means to fix the system, in a supportable, and affordable, way.

No vision for the province.  No leadership.  No leader, in fact.

No indication that the remnants of the BC Conservative Party can even see the ‘big picture’, much less provide reasonable and wise solutions to the many challenges that face BC voters and residents.

The BCCP’s own website can’t even stay updated and current concerning the number of candidates nominated.  As at today’s date, there is not a single event announced for the BCCP – or its candidates.  There is not even a name or a picture of all of the candidates nominated on the BCCP’s own website.

It is almost hard for the thousands of conservatives in BC to accept that the BC Conservative Party has joined the Social Credit Party of British Columbia as a fading memory – that must remain an afterthought and a reminder that a fall from grace comes to all who do not move successfully forward in changing times.

This election?  My partner and I are still assessing the barren ground on which we hope to plant the seeds of good government in 2017 and beyond.

This election, it is hoped that most BC voters will have real alternatives to the two political parties who have taken turns in mismanaging the BC economy and dominating the legislature since the demise of the SoCreds.

For some of us, perhaps some highly respected and supportable independent candidates will prove a viable option – and start rebuilding the process of accountability to constituents and consultative government.  For others, perhaps the BC Greens will prove a supportable option.  For still others, perhaps the candidates of the YPP will have something legitimate to offer.  And, who knows, perhaps there are fringe party candidates worthy of your support.  The next 3 weeks will tell the story.  Just ensure that you ask questions and demand answers – and accountability.

All we know as at this date, now that all candidates have been announced, is that BC is fertile ground for an updated and contemporary political alternative that can resonate with voters who are rightfully demanding  and expecting more from politicians – and aspiring politicians.

Do not shed unnecessary tears for political parties and politicians who have lost your respect, lost your trust and ultimately – lost your vote.

Do not waste your tears on barren ground.

Find the fertile soil – even if you have to explore new ground.

 

The Comedic Altered Reality of the BC Conservative Party – (and other Flights of Fancy).

In a bold move of Machiavellian proportion, the BC Conservative Party has injected some much needed humour and levity into a political campaign that was becoming far too dark, depressing – and sinister.

Either utterly brilliant or utterly suicidal.

The Director of Communications and Policy of the BCCP, John Twigg, (himself a former press secretary of the NDP Premier Dave Barrett,  described as a ‘former anarchist’ in a recent 2015 book entitled ‘The Art of the Impossible: Dave Barrett and the NDP in Power’ and more recently a confirmed contributor to both the NDP and John Horgan) has proudly unveiled (or should I say unleashed?) the first of the BCCP policy initiatives.  Twigg indicated that the BCCP will issue one plank per day so that there is perhaps enough material to build and float the BCCP boat with a couple of weeks to spare before the actual election.

The first surrealistic plank floating forlornly in the BCCP policy swamp is the idea that a new ferry crossing and infrastructure will be investigated, approved and constructed between the Iona Island sewage treatment plant on the mainland and Gabriola Island adjacent to Vancouver Island.  Of course, an additional bridge (already rejected in a 2016 cost-benefit analysis commissioned by the BC Government and titled ‘Gabriola Fixed Link Feasibility Study’) would be required to get folks the rest of the way from Gabriola to the Nanaimo ultimate destination on Vancouver Island.

To co-ordinate this herculean task, the BCCP has engaged the services of David Hawkins, a self-proclaimed visionary and conspiracy theory internet radio host who reminds me a little of L. Ron Hubbard, a tongue in cheek delusional science fiction writer who accidentally created the cult of Scientology through his Dianetic musings and his stated belief of a group of outer space beings who populated Earth some 75 million years ago.  But I digress.

David Hawkins (don’t confuse the BCCP consultant David Hawkins with the deceased professor and spiritual teacher Hawkins who worked on the Manhattan Project, helping to develop the atomic bomb unless …) – could it be that David Hawkins (who has been reincarnated and has emerged as the new visionary project co-ordinator for the BCCP, among others)?  Nah, perhaps a bit far-fetched. 😉

Let’s segue back to the current David Hawkins.  Hawkins was the leader of the Reform Party of British Columbia, and described himself thusly on his campaign page when he ran in 2011:

David Hawkins: “Forensic Economist (Sherlock Holmes of the Modern World), has been a passionate and compassionate leader with integrity all of his life – even as a child he showed empathy with all forms of life, even pebbles at the bottom of the stream which he felt didn’t have a view”.

Just think how much empathy Hawkins will be able to show with all of the substantial rocks and boulders spread liberally underneath the Straight of Georgia? The mind boggles.

Part of Hawkins’ campaign page in 2011 also provides the following cogent insight:

  • AUDIT what Bombardier flew for Hiebert Great Escapes and Taliban contract hits

More famously, however, is Hawkins’ contribution to Abel Danger, a (hopefully) tongue in cheek web magazine wherein Hawkins bio indicates his interest in solving most, if not all, of the world’s problems, including but not limited to, ‘waste or fraud by all orders of government including NATO, Norad, the European Union, United Nations, I-Bat tracks the source and application of assets through blind trusts and off-book financial partnerships used – as in the case of Enron – to hide debt, evade taxes, enrich insiders and launder money‘.

Clearly this is a man you want on your side.

And it would be remiss to forget that David Hawkins is (was?) also co-host for AbelDanger, the weekly show on Rumor Mill Radio.  A great listen, no doubt.

John Twigg has clearly seen the benefit of engaging such a luminary to the cause of the BCCP.  And, it appears, John Twigg has had no difficulty convincing the sage and wise directors of the BCCP that the involvement of David Hawkins as project consultant for the BCCP’s flagship introductory policy vision is the smartest thing that the BCCP can do.

If you don’t have the time (or the heart) to read the entire policy statement headed ‘Good Infrastructure: Fourth ferry crossing‘ published on the bcconservative.ca website, I have synopsized some of the highlights:

  • “The plans we have developed would when implemented provide a huge boost to the BC economy and greatly improve the lives of literally millions of people” said John Twigg.  Translation?:  Huge wheelbarrow full of taxpayer money will be wasted on a pie in the sky fantasy perpetrated by someone who lives close by and would benefit from a quick trip to the mainland, now and again.
  • ‘Twigg explained that the concept involves building a simple and cost-effective bridge from Vancouver Island to Gabriola Island at one of the two or three sites near Mudge Island that were studied last year and found to be viable by the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’. Fact Check:  the Gabriola Fixed Link Feasibility Study referenced at the bottom of the policy announcement actually shows that the bridge project is not feasible.  (But who reads this stuff, anyway?)
  • ‘A newly designed dedicated ferry or two (why not three, just for the heck of it?) would run, possibly 24/7 – from Silva Bay to a yet-to-be-built dock west of Vancouver International Airport possibly at a site adapted onto the end of one of two existing jetties from nearby Iona Island (which also is the location for Metro Vancouver’s Iona wastewater/sewage treatment plant’ … now, there is a savvy tourist attraction opportunity adjunct to the project.  Think about all of those tourists enjoying the sight (and smell) of Vancouver’s sewer system output as they wait for their holiday access to Gabriola and Vancouver Island.
  • “While one might assume it would be best and easiest to simply extend the existing SkyTrain line to the new Iona Island ferry terminal, in fact this new route would provide a good opportunity for entrepreneurial technologists to design a new and even better form of rapid transportation that could be readily demonstrated to potential buyers from around the world.” said Twigg … blah blah blah.   Translation?  It is time to send out RFP’s to attempt to reinvent the wheel, spending untold millions of dollars in duplicated R & D costs and associated technological improbabilities.
  • ‘.. include an elevated trackway that could carry large-capacity passenger compartments on compressed-air tracks using energy captured from the sewage treatment plant.  See www.eazeway.org’.  Translation?  Shoot people across Georgia Straight in pods powered by ‘technological farts‘ generated by the tourist attraction sewage treatment plant.  Sheer genius.
  • blah, blah, blah ..’said Twigg, citing EAZEway consultant David Hawkins’ suggestion that the proposed transit line could also involve injecting oxygen into the sewage plant’s effluent to minimize its harmful affects (sic) on fish.’  (Twigg’s misuse of ‘affects’, not mine.)  Translation?  Add some oxygen to the technological sewage farts and direct this quality enhanced gas as brain food for the deprived fish who would clearly benefit from, and have their sorry lives enhanced by, this humanitarian altruistic gesture.  Hear, hear, John and David, hear hear.
  • blah, blah, blah ..’invite many excellent video developers in Vancouver to propose plans for “virtual prototyping” which could involve building scale models of the various components and making videos of them for circulation to engineering and construction firms and other project design teams around the world who would use the video to develop practical plans‘ blah, blah, blah  Translation?  Let video developers and film nerds develop complex models based on engineering and design expertise of which they have – absolutely none, then let them take pictures and video of their creations to send to corporations and individuals who actually know what they are doing.  Sheer brilliance.
  • We could go on ad nauseam but I think you might be getting the picture.  All right, just one more for you.  ‘blah, blah, blah …’an elevated causeway (made of reinforced steel and other manufactured alloys similar to those used in oil-industry drilling platforms, as referenced in before blah, blah, blah,) would be better environmentally than the rock-fill causeways now used at Tswwassen and Roberts Bank‘.  Translation?  Mother Gaea and the Supreme Being cannot make more environmentally friendly rock than can the collective might and brain power of the BCCP and its friends and associates by using technology developed in the nasty and dirty petroleum industry.  Wow.  I’m speechless.

Well played, BC Conservative Party, well played.  Thank you for injecting some levity into the depressing reality of a provincial political campaign.

I look forward, with great anticipation, to your forthcoming sage and fantastical visions of what BC might become – if you and your minions would find some way to alter reality and elect some candidates to the serious responsibility of government.

There are, according to my scorecard, at least a couple of dozen more policy pronouncements forthcoming.  Please, don’t keep us in suspense any longer than you must.

By the way, John, Corbin and Bob, have you let the rest of the Board of Directors, the innocent, fresh-faced candidates and the BCCP membership (who are footing the bill for these flights of fancy) in on the monumental joke that you are perpetrating on the voters of BC (and possibly the most gullible of the Media Party?)

You could not be doing a better job of ensuring the successful re-election of the BC Liberals and the NDP if you tried.

But then again, let’s be serious for a moment.  You are trying, aren’t you?

C’mon, boys, let us in on the joke.

 

 

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