Category: BC Liberals

Democracy doesn’t die of natural causes

Christy Clark’s Liberals have gone all in with identifying “persuadable voters” and knowing all there is to know about each person’s voting impulses. This is not old fashioned door knocking and coffee-party campaigning. It doesn’t rely on volunteers. Instead, the highly paid operators work quietly in the shadows “to find tiny slivers of influence that can tip an election.” This is expensive political manipulation, far beyond capabilities of the NDP, a party largely dependent on financial contributions from individual members. But, this suits win-at-any-cost principles of Liberals. It also explains why the Legislature has barely functioned in the past year. Liberal cabinet ministers and MLAs were too busy fundraising to waste time governing. I’m a political wonk and the Liberal’s anti-democratic initiatives and corrupt practices are enough to turn me away from that party, permanently. In addition to being deceitful, Clark’s government has proven itself incompetent, which is not surprising when management positions in the province’s enterprises and service agencies have been sold to Liberal Party contributors.

One of many tragedies

What kind of society do we live in when there are no resources – no affordable resources, that is – for families in need, yet there is sufficient money to pay almost a million dollars for vanity photography and videotaping of Premier Clark. And billions of dollars to subsidize foreign-owned resource companies and billions more to pay contractors and private producers for power we don’t need.

Secret correspondence

Occasionally, readers and informants send me tips and information, some of it for background, some of it that leads directly to an article. Today, I received the first draft of a message that Pamela Martin is sending to Liberal Party workers. It follows…

Hypocrisy part 2

Many readers enjoyed the Christy Clark video in Hypocrite! and found it revealing, particularly as Clark’s Government was spending millions of tax dollars to flood social, print and broadcast media with campaign promises and Liberal promotions. Here is another taste of Ms. Clark.

Who funds BC politics

Annual reports of the parties filed with Elections BC reveal that BC Liberals have consistently taken in substantially more political contributions than BC NDP. This is a seven year summary to 2015 (2016 reports are not yet posted).

Do as I say, not as I do

In 2014, BC’s government claimed public sector organizations would operate under principles that strengthen accountability, promote cost control, and ensure the corporations operate in the best interest of taxpayers. If you’ve read my work on BC Hydro, examined Bob Mackin’s frustrations with FOI or generally followed provincial politics, you would have known the claims were hollow from the start.

Now, three years later, the Auditor General confirms that assertion

We don’t see nothin’ wrong

In a May 2009 article, The Economist describes Vancouver as a distribution hub in a global drugs trade. It says gangs ship out cannabis, amphetamines and ecstasy made in BC, importing cocaine, heroin and guns, fighting over a business worth an estimated C$7 billion a year. “That they do so in broad daylight demonstrates the feckless response of the provincial government and police, despite reports dating back more than 30 years giving warning of the growth in organized crime. According to SFU criminologist Rob Gordon, the current effort at collaboration, led by the Mounties, is “riven with conflict.”

NFOI – no freedom of information

We’ve seen that organizations make political contributions directly and through lobbyists. We know they use subsidiaries, affiliates and nominees but EBC makes little effort to report connections. In a report by Corporate Mapping Project, Teck Resources seems to have contributed $1.5 million to BC Liberals. However, a more complete listing provides a much larger number: $2.8 million. Even that is incomplete. It is important to know the benefits flowing from Teck to the Liberal Party but we must keep in mind the benefits flowing to Teck. That company was reportedly responsible for $743 million of a $1.2 billion unfunded liability for mine cleanups.

“Bullshit is everywhere”

For eight years now, I’ve been posting words on the Internet. I was influenced in the beginning by my first two grandsons, now pushing 11 years of age. I looked at these youngsters, and the ones that followed, and concluded that I owed a duty to agitate for a better world. I want all children to have best possible opportunities for education and opportunity, to live in a society that is fair and respectful to people and values the environmental riches of our land.

I’m happy to have been involved in this commitment but I hope the May election will be a turning point. It will be a time to decide whether or not the powerful self-interests of privileged people are insurmountable.

Pull down the veil of lies

BC Liberals released the 2017 Budget and Fiscal Plan. The government elected by promising a “DEBT-FREE BC” forecasts total provincial debt will grow $11 billion to a total of $78 billion in next three years. Under Christy Clark as Premier, provincial debt will have increased $33 billion, which was the total debt accumulated in the 130 years after British Columbia became Canada’s sixth province. That $78 billion does not include the debt portion of contractual obligations, which total $100 billion but are not mentioned anywhere in 149 pages of the Budget and Fiscal Plan. The PR strategy is to never admit these exist or have impact. This is egregious dishonesty.

Borrow-and-spend politics

The 10-year increase, 2006-2016, in contractual obligations was $67 billion, while the regular provincial debt rose by $31 billion. That’s almost $10 billion a year increase in financial commitments by a government that claims they are creating “debt-free BC.”

Mumbling and fuzzifying

It cannot be taken for granted that PPPs are more efficient than public investment and government supply of services. One particular concern is that PPPs can be used mainly to bypass spending controls, and to move public investment off budget and debt off the government balance sheet, while the government still bears most of the risk involved and faces potentially large fiscal costs.

Have they lied to you before?

George Orwell: Political language …is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. Although BC’s debt and obligations increased $99 billion in ten years, Liberals claim the province is “on track to be free of any operating debt by 2021.”

Designed to mislead

The British Columbia Liberal 2001 election platform had 37 references promising improved democracy, increased accountability or more open government. Its 2013 platform had none, because the party had lost interest in the goals, not because they had been attained. If ever any party strayed far from principles that first got it elected government, it is the one led today by Christy Clark. If you doubt my assertion, read through A New Era for British Columbia. That document was prepared by Gordon Campbell and his associates. Some will believe that it was a pack of lies from the start. Others would argue — excepting the page 9 promise to “not sell or privatize BC Rail” — that the Liberal Party started with good intentions and lost its way, corrupted by wealth and power…

Indeed, power does corrupt

Throughout time, elites have commanded portions of national economies that are disproportionate to their numbers within the populations. Of course, that is an inevitable result of different capabilities, opportunities, risk tolerance, dedication and fortune. The distribution of wealth and influence will never be equal but if the imbalance grows too large, particularly if opportunities are class-restricted, a civil society will not function. The elites may hold dominance for a period through force but history demonstrates that order will disintegrate in a society of severe inequality.