BC Liberals

Government we collectively deserve

A significant week just passed. Great days for some; difficult moments for others. Like many observers of British Columbia politics, I was surprised by the election result. Believing facts clear and the need for change obvious, I was not merely surprised. I was confounded and needed time to react.

The outcome demonstrates that I put too much faith in political polls and was too attentive to people followed in social media and real life. Beyond that, perhaps I had excessive faith in fellow citizens. After all, nearly half of the people registered to vote in BC didn’t bother to show up at the polls. As a result, the Liberals hold power despite being affirmed by fewer than 16% of the provincial population. That is particularly disheartening. My father and uncles served in WWII; my grandparents, mother and aunts served at home. They treasured the right to stand against tyranny and influence public policy by voting.  They also passed regard for democratic responsibilities to their children. Apparently, most of my generation didn’t convey the messages any further.

People who took time to investigate and evaluate knew that BC Liberals were beyond the best before date. Well beyond. I was certain and I assumed other informed people would also be certain. However, not enough folks made efforts to be informed. They bought the messages provided by wealthy media moguls or were distracted, watching Real Housewives of Dawson Creek or similar video trash.

MSM stalwart Keith Baldrey noted a few weeks back that social media participants spend much time talking to themselves and thereby misunderstand the political landscape and overestimate their collective influence. If that is a charge for me to answer, I reluctantly plead guilty.

Bob Mackin wrote a fine examination of the 2013 election. Without doubt, Adrian Dix and the NDP opposition snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It would be easy to blame Brian Topp, the Ontario strategist who, weeks before voting day, partnered in a consulting enterprise with Christy Clark allies Boessenkool and Guy. To all besides BC’s would-be Premier, the move confirmed reservations about Topp’s judgement and commitment.

Adrian Dix is the person who tolerated Brian Topp’s presence. Dix decided it was best to stay quiet about specific Liberal corruption and Dix underlings instructed all to avoid a focus on major misdeeds of the opponents. Business people who provided documentary evidence of wrongdoing to the NDP opposition wondered why it was ignored and never heard about again. Whistle blowers in the NDP’s 2013 world were not welcome. The party’s aristocracy was waiting for the coronation they believed to be certain.

Long time political observer Norman Spector recently reminded us that politicians seldom examine the flimflammery of predecessors because tradition demands that sleeping dogs lie undisturbed when governments change. Adrian Dix misunderstood the custom; he thought the entire game should be played with softballs, even while opponents aimed hardballs at his head. The sad lesson is that people don’t expect decency from politicians.

Before election night, I was told that BC Liberals were short of volunteers and, in most communities, reliant on paid staff for campaigning. I learned subsequently that despite rumours and dreams of endless volunteers, many NDP candidates faced similar difficulties. Like the Liberals, they had too few bodies but, unlike the Liberals, they had too few dollars. That was a perfect situation for the corporate welfare bums who who believe that paying for politicians results in the absolute best possible returns on investment.

Party workers who might have volunteered in earlier days now spend time on social networks, thinking they have contributed adequately. They don’t bother to join the door knocking enterprises or the other tough work of running for office.

Dix is not entirely to blame. The NDP is not a vessel that can find calm seas. They’ve been defined by their enemies and the country’s most brilliant strategists might not alter the situation. Perhaps the Green Party is best equipped to represent grass roots. To do that, they must avoid being captured by big business movements and large labour unions; difficult tasks when huge dollars are offered. To be meaningful, Greens must represent ordinary citizens of British Columbia and their future generations. Neither of BC’s major parties seem intent on doing that now.

Categories: BC Liberals, NDP BC

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21 replies »

  1. Two things I have noted;

    The polls were consistent. To me they demonstrate that out west, in Alberta and now British Columbia, that people resent pollsters intrusions into their lives by pestering them with phone calls about a private matter; the way the intend to vote.

    So I believe most mislead pollsters by offering incorrect information. How else can all of the pollsters be consistently wrong by the same numbers amount?

    Secondly many will be of the opinion that Topp and others were invited from the east to run the NDP campaign following the success of the campaign for Layton in the east.

    I say differently; these invitations reveal that the local NDP were willing to demonstrate they were followers rather than leaders, and had no vision for this province, with the exception of the vision presented to them by someone from out of area.

    The local NDP failed to define themselves, but let others define them internally while letting an opponent define them publicly.

    That is not leadership. If one does not show leadership one does not become leader. Clark, in her own way, using her twisted logic, demonstrated a type of leadership better than the NDP did on any given day.

    So the result unfortunately is accurate to a certain degree.


  2. Good Morning Norm,

    I'm sure the so-called experts will be analyzing this until the next election at which time the MSM will give us headlines that read “Can the Liberals (or whatever name they choose) do it again”.
    Ha anyone asked me the night before the election, I would have said, the Liberals will win (and that was my exact thought as I sat on the deck with a Martini).
    Despite all the wrongs and the comments about Adrian the “forger” vs. Liberal MLA's being charged with domestic violence & DUI's, people sat back and decided it will all be taken care of. (as usual)
    If I was in charge of the NDP, from this day forward I would suggest to sit back, handle any questions from constituents but stay silent on Provincial issues. Answer the media with, you should ask the Liberals, they are in charge. Stay silent in the legislature and vote the way you normally would. Let the Liberals bury themselves and let the public cry for a change.
    How do you compare an individual who back dated a memo with one who spends the night in jail & is charged with DUI ? Why did the media not use the word “forgery” during the Ethnic scandal ? It clearly was an act of forgery.
    You can't win with the current MSM…. so maybe it's time to sit back and let the public grow disgusted to the point that it demands a change and acts on those demands.

    Have a great day Norm.


  3. Welcome back, Norm.

    The results hit me hard, too. Literally knocked me off my feet.

    I had been busy with both Chilliwack NDP campaigns, door-knocking, leaflet passing and outside scrutineering. In the by-election last year, there was a huge turn-out of volunteers… but there were still a good number of helpers this time. One weekend in Chilliwack, for example, we handed out nearly 10,000 leaflets door to door.

    In retrospect, the “all positive” campaign was a poor plan. It didn't have to be nasty and personal… just shine a light and hold up a mirror — and repeat often.

    The core of BC bloggers seemingly had enough firepower to blow the BC Liberals out of the water — and I was surprised when a good chunk of the voters didn't follow their lead. (Maybe we really are a small group of old white guys, ranting in our underwear!) The sad reality seems to be: the bulk of voters give as much thought to their vote as they do to their choice of underwear.

    CC4BC may have done enough damage with their pre-election ads. My neighbour, for instance, gave Christy's crew a free pass, as none of their misdeeds had resulted in criminal charges, yet.

    “As soon as I saw Dix was a convicted criminal, I knew I couldn't trust him.”

    Never mind that Dix was never actually convicted — and the misdeed was harmless enough, in the big picture. It was also dirty enough that he was tarnished for life. Not tarnished enough to be ineligible to run as an MLA… but certainly too stained to pass through the gauntlet of negative press and public misperception, if he wanted the top job.

    Nigel Wright (Mike Duffy's $90,000 man) should take note: don't bother trying for a leadership role in government, going forward.

    There! How's that for an all-over (and fully-clothed) rant?


  4. I was completely gobsmacked with results of this election. Now horrified to learn that 16 per cent of population made this decision.


  5. Norm, I was physically ill the day following this election,aimlessly walking the floors of my home worried a spring was about to let go.To this day I am at a loss as to how this group of theives, proven so time and time again, could claim victory. I have read all the reasonable attemts to explain it since but to this point at least fail to be convinced by any of them.
    The question lingers that if this is possible in this province for whatever reasons than what else could take place? What protection exists against total lawlessnss and chaos such as we have never before seen?
    The people of this province just signed up for quite a ride without consideration of the possible consequence.I for one am worried!


  6. Say goodbye to BC Hydro as a Crown Corporation. Probably sold for pennies on the dollar to BC Liberal donors. But I'm sure we get to make a nice down payment on the Site C dam so we can subsidize Christy's LNG pipe dream!

    Say goodbye to anyone being tried for inside sale of BC Rail to CN. Or any of the leaking of confidential Cabinet documents (cough***CHRISTYCLARK***cough).

    All I'm going to do is sit back for 18 months, let Christy and her band of crooks do their misdeeds, and hope there's enough discontent with the 84% of the population that didn't vote for this corrupt government to recall these idiots.


  7. My wife and I contributed modestly to the NDP in recent years so, during this election campaign, we had a blizzard of email requests for more money. Additionally, NDP people made many phone calls from the provincial campaign and the riding office. I would not have been bothered by occasional requests but multiple requests each day were offensive and indicated desperation. That's not something that gives confidence to potential supporters.


  8. Anon 7:24…I think you're right on the mark. It's time for all opposing political parties, to sit back, say nothing, do nothing. Let the Liberals have their way in all things, at all times. Let the general public lose everything they've ever worked for, everything their parents and grandparents fought to give them…make them outright beg. That'll be the only thing that tears them away from their TV's, pods and games. When their bellies are growling from hunger, and there's no food to be had – they'll start paying attention. Wait! This is BC. Just throw another frog into that pot and warm it slow…they won't notice a thing. This last election proved it.


  9. A sad, and defining moment in the history of this once great province. What does this say about our collective values as a society? Are we willing to overlook, malfeasance, kleptocracy, and appallingly ridiculous governance, all for the hope of big dollar projects, and a bubble head political premier. No substance, moral compass, and an obvious lack of knowledge. Seems the backroom boys in the BC Liberal party have mocked us all and just made the voters out to be a bunch of fools.

    What to do next? Recriminations will fly, and this will be analyzed to death. It seems as if Mr. Nice guy lost in blood sport that takes no prisoners, and tolerates no hesitation in either attack nor defence.

    The opposition will have to regroup. Knowing that the political game “can't” be changed from its current ugliness, perhaps one has to envision a strategy of “go for the throat” early and without giving any quarter or opportunity to allow recovery. Go after these people next time with avengance and without mercy.

    Sun Tsu, wrote an excellent book on the Art of War, the strategy section, being perhaps a good place to start, for a next election. Be careful of the strategists you employ, in this case Topp should have been dismissed as being in obvious conflict in the first place.

    It is unfortunate that the voters that did not vote, don't realize the mess they have helped continue.

    We won't be fooled again…its time to get ugly, and use any and all means to defeat a true cancer in this province.


  10. You should be worried. I've found three people who applied for jobs with Elections BC who never received a response. I know at least 5 people who had their ID challenged. I know of at least one DRO (from personal, up close experience) who has a history of partisanship. Her workers interfered with the conduct of the election in at least one polling place during a byelection. I guess they learned from their mistakes, because the numbers are not lining up with the reality. Internal polls do not account for it. Misbegotten pollsters do not account for.

    The Liberals admire the GOP and that elephant is in the room.


  11. “It is unfortunate that the voters that did not vote don't realize the mess they have helped continue.”

    Sorry I can’t agree with this observation.

    Given the numbers for the half that did vote I would expect the numbers for the half that did not would be close to the same split.

    Heaping this mess upon the shoulders of people who choose, for whatever reason, not to vote does little in the way of engaging them to be motivated and excuses once again where the real problem lies;

    The NDP brass is wholly and fully responsible for not fielding a team worthy of finishing first.

    Not the Greens, not the pollsters, not the non-voter, not even the folks who voted Liberal as they simply voted their conscience.

    The sooner the NDP brass own up to this entire mess and resign, the sooner they will become a viable option once again.


  12. You are right, I think, but only up to a point.

    You said above that “Business people who provided documentary evidence of wrongdoing to the NDP opposition wondered why it was ignored and never heard about again. Whistle blowers in the NDP world were unwelcome. The NDP aristocracy was waiting for a coronation they believed to be certain.” In actual fact it was not just business people who were ignored. Anyone who did not fit the NDP model of how to compete for votes was ignored.

    My own particular project, which is the Liberal's reprehensible degradation of our justice system, has been largely dismissed by almost everyone … including much of the legal community itself.

    Quite a number of bloggers chose to ignore the fact that a non-lawyer Attorney General is an offense against the fundamentals of our democratic system, as is a “merged” Ministry of Justice. Almost everyone in blog-land appears to have thought that this problem would be corrected when the NDP were elected. Not so, obviously. I continue to pursue the necessary correction(s) to the problem elsewhere.


  13. I've been asked where the 16% number originated. Here is the answer: On May 21, Elections BC show 724K Liberal votes. Population estimate is 4.65 million. Thus, 15.6% of BC residents voted for BC Liberals.


  14. I don't disagree with what you write except for the idea that non-lawyer AG's are automatically worse. I've tried to interest MSM in doing a comparison of proceedings in British criminal matters with what has become British Columbia's standard. Our system drags cases on for years instead of weeks. Beneficiaries of delay are people in the “justice” system: court officials, lawyers and police. We've allowed them to set the agenda and determine the “solutions.” By no coincidence, the solutions line their pockets and expand their numbers.


  15. So are the seeds of anarchy and revolution sewn. When such a small percentage of the population actually moved off their collective butts to vote for the Liberals, leaves a vacuum of the discontented. History shows us when over 35% of a counties population are vehemently anti government, revolution happens.

    The incompetent NDP and the religiously corrupt BC Liberals are nothing more than a powder keg ready waiting for someone to light a fuze to explode.

    The fun is just beginning.


  16. Norm, I hear you. But there are many folks inside the working parts of the justice system that have continuously criticized it exactly the way you are doing, and they have been ignored as well.

    A single, but glaring, example is the way that the Legal Aid system actually works (provided just to ensure I have been crystal clear about my reasoning on this point). The rules regarding legal aid eligibility are borderline insane. A middle-age person who has NEVER had any problem with the law, but (potentially unjustly) has a charge laid against him/her CANNOT get legal aid services unless s/he is at risk of going to jail (which is patently unlikely on a first offense). Conversely a “career criminal” who is at huge risk of going to jail, yet sees the risk of incarceration as just a “risk of doing business” can get legal aid with virtually no problem.

    This is a result of our constitutional protections against unjust incarceration. So please do not blame the problems of our justice system solely on the participants you named. That is a gross under-estimation of the issues involved. And it's unfair to many in the system who work very, very hard to make it better.

    None of what you have replied above has anything whatsoever to do with the practical and constitutional problems with a non-lawyer occupying the Attorney General's office.

    I am actually quite surprised that you would be that easily sidetracked by that sort of “non sequitur” reply, because I deeply admire your ideas and the fact that they are almost always based on real facts and figures. However I am adamant in this instance that you have done me and your readers a disservice on this particular issue. What has happened to the BC justice system in the last two years is a very real problem … don't get it confused with the other various issues you have observed over the last decade.


  17. The NDP's campaign strategy was not dissimilar to a boxer entering the ring with the intention of letting the other guy punch him in the head until he becomes exhausted and falls down.

    Gwen O'Mahoney (NDP Chilliwack-Hope) said she was proud of the campaign the NDP ran and wouldn't change a thing. Music to the Liberals' ears.



  18. The NDP was prepared to end corporate and union donations to political parties. That was a good thing.
    It is too bad that voters are willing to put up with really bad leadership to support the 'economy'. Look at Rob Ford, Harper and again in BC, Christy Clark. Ugh, it really is hard to bear, but not hard enough that I would vote for the Green party.


  19. Norm: your week of silence following the fateful day said more than any eulogy could have. Glad you're back. What's struck me in your latest insight is how our generation can't seem to do or hand down to our kids what our parents and grandparents did: the sense of duty to vote. Voting-apathy's excuse is, for each person, the idea that one single vote doesn't count, won't make a difference. I see a lack of patriotism, not so much in the sense of betraying an oath of loyalty, nor of shirking an obligation to pay back some of the benefit of national belonging but more the disbelief that such a jurisdiction exists in a meaningful way. If policies are being made in some offshore corporate office or dictated by global, not local, markets, then surely a voter feels even less significant or effective than in a smaller population that we used to recognize as a nation state. This notion is reinforced daily with free trade agreements, outsourcing jobs, offshore banking, electronic stock trading, foreign workers, global warming, marine pollution, collapsing fish stocks, epidemics and the internet–“Globalism”, in short, the non-patriotistic corollary being the basic difference between neo-rightism and old-fashion Toryism it usurped and supplanted thirty years ago. The feeling of belonging comes from speaking and being heard in and by a group, which, in the lazy, or should I say, disenfranchised analysis, just can't happen at the global level where we evidently live. In this context it is dead easy to believe it doesn't really matter whether the BC Liberals or the NDP won because neither really controls what happens to us. Both leaders made this case and, for that matter, so do the Greens, perhaps by other analogies. The contest devolves and defaults therefore to the crass, reality poli-trash we Schaden-freaks seem to rubberneck at every time (only wish the NDP could realize this–in a global context, I'd prefer them to Christy a thousand times over.)

    You might be right that social media in some measure deludes and placates us into thinking we've done enough. I'd warned many times that complacency was our worst enemy in this race: the drop in turnout is conspicuously similar to the amount of votes we thought we had in the bag but, as circumstantial and inconclusive as that might be, I'm inclined to blame the “positive” campaign approach–if there had been some more blood and teeth on the floor (metaphorically speaking), even the most complacent would have come out to see some more. The BC Liberals deserved, after all, a good thrashing and people prefer justice to a lecture on how nice we should be.

    That's a pretty big “if” condition you give the Greens. Let's keep some perspective to spite our blues: the NDP got 33, the Greens got one.

    Look forward as usual to your insights.



  20. Scotty, I'd love to hear you rant out loud!

    I'll agree that we're having a hard time passing on the sense of duty to vote — even though voting has been made even more convenient with the advance polls. It's not just the young 'uns who stayed away in this one, though. I was outside scrutineering in Chilliwack for the NDP and my partner and I came across an identified supporter, smoking in her car port. She was middle-aged and when we asked her if she had voted yet, she said she didn't think she'd bother, as she was going to move to Alberta shortly.

    I asked if she'd vote, if we gave her a ride — and that was all she needed to get off her rump. I thought it was a good sign… but it looks like it was the exact opposite.

    Yesterday, I heard from another woman who was working the phones, reminding people to vote. She said many were lying to her. “We knew they hadn't been crossed off the list by our scrutineers… but they told us they'd voted already.”

    Volunteers put in tens or hundreds of hours on that election and they deserved more respect. At least, the lazy non-voters could say, “Sorry, I've decided not to vote. Please don't call any more.”


  21. I just heard Christy talking about her 10-year contract for teachers idea. “From my perspective, we have a mandate from the people of British Columbia to pursue it.”

    Yeah, right. You threw the crazy idea out there before the campaign started and it was tossed to the side and forgotten. Then 16% of the population voted for your team… so that means you need to go beat on the teachers. As far as I knew, the negotiations were going well before this.


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