Category Archives: Uncategorized

Suzanne Anton on Distracted Driving

Today I heard Suzanne Anton, B.C.’s Attorney General, discussing the new “distracted driving laws” and how the penalty of $167 doesn’t seem to be stopping people from using their mobile devices while driving.
She is proposing, or at least musing publicly about changing the law so that instead of just a monetary fine, the penalty for texting while driving would also include adding three points to an individual’s drivers licence for each offence.
The increased penalties would be similar to the penalties for speeding while driving. That makes me wonder if the increased penalties for distracted driving will be as effective at stopping people from texting on the road as it has been at stopping people from speeding while driving?

B.C. Liberal incompetence threatening province’s international education schools

Chaos in the Ministry of Advanced Education is leaving international students in limbo and threatening British Columbia’s international education industry, says New Democrat advanced education critic David Eby.

Selina Robinson and David Eby

Selina Robinson and David Eby

“Students thinking about coming to B.C. to study are being put on hold because the B.C. Liberal government has so far failed to comply with new federal government visa rules,” said Eby. “It has been a full year since the B.C. Liberals received notice that the system was changing, yet students still don’t know if the B.C. school they’ve chosen will qualify them for a student visa.”

The federal government has asked the provinces to establish a list of “approved” schools where accepted international students will qualify for study visas. The final deadline for provinces to establish the approved list is in less than six months, yet B.C. schools still don’t know what information they’ll need to provide to the province to qualify, or how long the approval process will take before they can tell students they’re on the green list.

“On December 28, 2012, the federal government announced these visa rule changes. Now, more than a year later, B.C. schools still have no idea how the new rules will be implemented. The deafening silence from the government is feeding a sense of doom among B.C. schools that the government has completely dropped the ball,” said Eby.

“This government promised to increase international students by 50 per cent by 2016 – instead, we’ve had nine ministers in the last ten years and a complete lack of leadership from the premier on this file.”

Eby noted that schools are unable to budget or plan for upcoming semesters without knowing whether their students will be turned away at the border.

“Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the way that colleges and universities work knows that students apply for admission well before the start date of their programs,” said Eby.

“For international students, this issue is compounded by the delay in student visa approvals in many countries. If the B.C. Liberals wait until the last minute to comply with these regulations, or create new rules that cause our schools to miss the federal deadline entirely, all of us will pay the price when B.C.’s international reputation takes a serious hit.”

Premier Christy Clark to Run in Westside-Kelowna By-Election

As most of you know, Ben Stewart, the BC Liberal candidate who recently won the riding of Westside-Kelowna by several thousand votes has stepped down so that Premier Christy Clark could have a safe Liberal riding to run in a by-election.

Adrian Dix

Adrian Dix

After that news broke Adrian Dix issued the following statement;

“We are looking forward to running a strong campaign with an Okanagan candidate against the Premier in Westside-Kelowna…I will put every effort into supporting our candidate and making the case for strong, local representation in this by-election.”

Yes, the fact is Premier Christy Clark is parachuting into the riding of Westside-Kelowna and yes, it is a long way from where she lives. It is also true that Clark will not really be an effective MLA for the riding of Westside-Kelowna because she will be more focused on being the Premier of BC than she will be on representing the riding in which she is sure to get elected.

However, there is NO upside for the BC NDP to run a “strong campaign” in the by-election. What is the purpose in the BC NDP spending thousands of dollars on a by-election in which they are guaranteed to have their collective asses handed back to them? What is the win?

BC Liberals On Temporary Foreign Workers

Yesterday the federal government announced new policy on Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs).

Just what is the record of Christy Clark and the BC Liberals on this important issue?

On Friday, Christy Clark tried to brush off criticisms regarding the BC Liberals’ failures on temporary foreign workers in the province.

CLARK SAYS: People have to have confidence that the temporary foreign worker program is not allowing foreign workers to displace BC workers. (CKNW, April 22)

REALITY CHECK: Despite being told five years ago by a mining task force that a training program was needed for underground mining, no action was taken. In 2011, the number of permits issued under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in BC was 46,378, a 66 per cent increase from 2005. British Columbia has 24.3 per cent of Canada’s TFWs but 13 per cent of Canada’s population.

CLARK SAYS: “it is a federal program. I mean, they decide how they let in temporary foreign workers, those applications are made to the federal government, and they adjudicate that…” 

REALITY CHECK: Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said that although under the Constitution, BC shares jurisdiction with Canada on immigration to the province, BC does not participate in foreign worker selection in cooperation with Ottawa as other provinces such as Quebec does.

  • “The Premier … misspoke herself when she implied or alluded to the constitutional fact that British Columbia is impotent when it comes to foreign worker selection. That is patently false… [BC has] abdicated responsibility to the federal level…” (Richard Kurland, CKNW, April 22)

In their 2013 budget, the BC Liberals cut skills training by $15 million next year.

The BC NDP will take practical steps to improve opportunities for British Columbians by investing $80 million in skills training over the next three years. That’s change for the better.

More Schools not Prisons

From our frequent contributor, William Perry of Victoria comes the following missive.

As anside, if you are interested in contributing a guest post to The Left Coast, send us an email. You can find our email addie under the “About” heading on our homepage. We will consider any and all submissions. Of course “consider” does not necessarily mean post.

From William Perry;

The latest Conservative plan is to invest many billions in building new prisons with the objective to deter violent criminals and cope with what Day claims is a rise in unreported crimes. 

This approach has not worked in the United States and I believe it is the wrong direction to take. 

As a former cop, I see reforming the criminal justice system makes more sense, because the government initiatives have not worked and they continue to receive funding not because of their success, but rather because of their failure. Each imprisoned generation, under our system of priorities, begets an even larger imprisoned generation. The problem is not that there aren’t enough people in prison. It is that there are far too many people in prison. 

Common sense would lead to the expansion of parole services, not a ban on parole. But Tories are more interested in getting votes by sounding tough than actually solving problems. 

We don’t need more prisons, longer sentences, three strikes laws and bans on parole. We need funding for schools, jobs and rehabilitation for those re-entering society. And by funding, I mean real funding, not funding at the current rates, which has led to non-functional schools, declining wages and failed rehabilitation. Safety in our communities can only result from a focus on real services to communities, something we have not seen in many years. 

Not a single Conservative plan reflects any imaginative thinking that is likely to actually increase our safety. Throw-away-the-key laws and a 100-1 ratio of funding on prisons vs. people will not lead to safety, but to more parents in prison, more community destruction, more crime and more incarceration.

Let’s build schools, not prisons. 

William Perry

Victoria, BC”…

Liberals and New Democrats Holding Uber-Secret Merger Talks

Late this afternoon I received an email news alert from the CBC that said the federal Liberals and the NDP insiders are actually talking about a merger of some sorts. Apparently senior insiders with the federal Liberals and New Democrats have been holding secret talks about merging their parties to form a new entity to take on the Harper Conservatives.

It is funny or amusing to hear this news. The centre-left politicos are now talking about doing what the right-wing political parties of Canada (the Progressive Conservatives and the Reform Party…go ahead and correct me on the name of the Reform Party group) did just before they seized the reins of power with Harper holding the keys to 24 Sussex Drive.

Just for the record, I want it to be know that the names the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) or the Democratic Liberal Party (DLP) are my suggestions and I will not charge my usual name creation fee. I’m just saying.

Also, it might just be coincidence but it strikes me as odd that I am currently reading Warren Kinsella’s book, The War Room. Apparently Kinsella is involved in the merger talks.