Tag Archives: BC Liberals

B.C. Liberal Government Settles with Boss Power

A settlement finalized this week between the B.C. Liberal government and Boss Power will hit taxpayers with a $30 million bill, serving as a stark reminder of how costly Liberal economic mismanagement has been for taxpayers.

The B.C. Liberal government agreed to give Boss Power a $30 million award for interfering inappropriately with a mining application, despite a court-appointed industry expert determining that a more fair evaluation would be $8.7 million. If the Liberals hadn’t botched the application in the first place, there wouldn’t even need to be a settlement.

This isn’t the only example of recent B.C. Liberal bungling when it comes to the economy. Here are just a few more:

Environmental assessment exemption for gas plants

The B.C. Liberals were forced to reverse their exemption of some natural gas processing plants and ski resorts from environmental assessments, having failed to consult with First Nations, damaging relationships that will be central to building an LNG industry.

LNG tax framework

The Liberals have failed to meet their own deadlines for an LNG tax framework. In the meantime, China and Russia entered into a $400 billion deal to supply natural gas, and the premier has hinted that the tax framework may have to be even lower if we are still going to be able to compete.

Mining tax

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The B.C. Liberals were also forced to backtrack on their surprise post-election mining permit fees which could have caused many junior miners and prospectors to go out of business.

Denying jobs for B.C. workers

When entering into a deal with HD Mining for an underground mine in B.C., the company made it clear they intended to supply their own workers for the mine over hundreds of British Columbians looking for work. A briefing note showed the B.C. Liberals weren’t concerned about creating jobs for British Columbians at the mine. B.C. has nearly a quarter of Canada’s temporary foreign workers but only 13 per cent of the national population.

HST

The economic wizardry of the B.C. Liberals behind the HST is well documented. They deceived voters by promising not to bring in the tax, and then snuck it in, costing families and small businesses more. B.C. businesses have had to grapple with multiple rule-changes and uncertainty.

Failure to deliver jobs

The premier spent $17 million of taxpayers’ money on ads promoting her grandiose job promises. But B.C. is sitting third from the bottom in Canada for private sector job growth. Nearly 12,000 people have left B.C. over the last two years, looking for job opportunities elsewhere.

Raiding a dividend on hydro profits that don’t exist

Economics 101 will tell you that a dividend is when you collect a share of a profit. The B.C. Liberal government raids more than $400 million in dividends each year from BC Hydro, despite the fact no profit actually exists. The B.C. Liberals do this by hiding billions of dollars in debt at BC Hydro in deferral accounts, or as the Auditor General of B.C. says, “Creating the illusion of profitability where there is none.”

Stop Child Support Clawbacks

It’s time for the B.C. Liberal government to stop taking money out of the hands of B.C.’s poorest kids say the New Democrats.

Michelle Mungal

Michelle Mungal

“Child support payments belong to children, not to the government,” said New Democrat social development critic Michelle Mungall. “The B.C. Liberals’ child support clawback hurts B.C.’s poorest kids.”

New Democrats joined with affected families at the legislature this week to demand that Premier Clark stop taking child support from children of single parents receiving income supports like disability. The B.C. Liberals removed the income assistance earnings exemption for child support in 2001.

“Half of children being raised by a single mother live in poverty in British Columbia. The province has had the highest rate of child poverty in the country for more than a decade,” said Mungall.

Mungall added that B.C. Liberal MLAs are out of touch with poverty in their own communities. Maple-Ridge Mission MLA Marc Dalton suggested just this week that no B.C. children go hungry, and that youth homelessness doesn’t exist.

“Thirty per cent of all food bank users in B.C. are children. That’s evidence of real food insecurity facing B.C. families,” said Mungall. “We can do better, and we need to, not just for these families, but for the future of the province.”

New Democrats on the LNG Working Group Report

Harry Bains

Harry Bains

New Democrat jobs and labour critic Harry Bains released the following statement in response to the release of the LNG working group report:

“In 2011 Christy Clark released a jobs plan without any plan for skills training and apprenticeships. For three years New Democrats have been pushing the government to make sure the investment in skills training is there so British Columbians are ready to work when those jobs are created.

“Now the premier is finally acknowledging that it’s time to catch up by focusing more on skills training and apprenticeships and by bringing government, labour, industry and First Nations together to make sure British Columbians are ready to work.

“Unfortunately, because she’s late to the game, she has admitted we’ll have to rely on temporary foreign workers because we won’t have enough British Columbians trained for those jobs. That means we won’t see the full benefits of an LNG industry.

“In fact, this government dismantled our apprenticeship training system in 2004. This government is not just playing catch up – they actively set us back.

“If the premier had put a real priority on skills training and development instead of wasting millions on ads trying to convince people she had a sound plan, we’d be in a better position today to capitalize on jobs for British Columbians.”

B.C. Liberals Gutting Community-based Literacy Programs

The B.C. Liberals are gutting essential community-based literacy programs across B.C., making it harder for people to get the basic literacy skills they need to succeed, say the New Democrats.

Rob Fleming

Rob Fleming

“Literacy programs are vital to helping children succeed in school and helping adults find and keep jobs,” said New Democrat education critic Rob Fleming. “And yet the Liberals are cutting funding for programs that tens of thousands of British Columbians depend on in more than 400 communities across the province.”

Decoda Literacy Solutions, the network of community-based literacy providers that works throughout the province, said in a letter to the Minister of Education that their funding in the 2013/14 budget is being slashed from $2.5 million to $1 million, and they fear funding could be cut completely in the 2014/15 budget.

At a press conference with community literacy workers in Victoria today, Fleming noted that these cuts were made even after the bi-partisan finance committee unanimously voted to keep annual funding for community literacy work at $2.5 million.

“Premier Clark and Minister Fassbender are ignoring the wishes of their own Liberal MLAs who traveled the province and heard about how important it is to continue funding a program that helps people across B.C. find work,” said Fleming.

Funding for Decoda was also slated to be cut in the 2012/2013 budget, but after strong arguments from the organization, experts and community members, then Minister of Education Don McRae reinstated it, saying “they do outstanding work in communities large and small across the province.”

“Under the B.C. Liberals, there is a pattern of organizations having to fight for stable funding,” said Fleming. “Gutting these programs deprives families of opportunities and is a poor economic decision,” said Fleming.

“It’s disgraceful that the Liberals spent $15 million last year advertising their so-called “jobs plan,” but are ready to cut this efficient, low-cost program that helps tens of thousands of British Columbians achieve the literacy and numeracy levels they need to get good family-supporting jobs.”

Another B.C. Gag Law Proposed

Premier Christy Clark’s government has brought back a campaign-spending law that was previously struck down as unconstitutional, saying it has made changes to address the court’s concerns.

The immediate response of most people who appreciate democracy and free speech is to challenge in court this truly anti-democratic legislation.

However, my advice is that rather than fighting the new “Gag Law”, opponents of the ridiculously anti-democratic law should get creative and work within or better yet, work around the rules that the government has created to stifle public debate and dialogue.

How to do that, you ask? Well read on…

Integrity BC, a non-partisan voice championing accountability and integrity in BC politics, has recently informed me that it is shockingly simple to start and keep a political party alive in British Columbia. How easy? Well, in B.C. a political party can be registered with the signature of only “two principal officers of the party”.

Not surprisingly, B.C. has, count them, 27 political parties, the most parties of any province in Canada.

IntegrityBC contrasted that number with the requirements in Alberta and Ontario. In Alberta the registration of a political party requires signatures from 0.3 per cent of the eligible number of electors in the last general election or roughly 7,000. In Ontario, it requires 1,000 signatures from eligible voters.

So rather than spend countless dollars and energy re-fighting this ridiculously anti-democratic legislation, the opponents of the legislation should simply start their own political party and spend to their hearts content in an effort to advance their issues.

Further to this news are the minimal standards for a party to remain in good standing with Elections BC. Rules surrounding the automatic deregistration of a party are far tougher in other provinces.

In Ontario, a party leader must attest annually in writing that the “fundamental purpose of the political party is to participate in public affairs by endorsing candidates and supporting their election” and the Chief Electoral Officer retains the right to deregister a party if – in his opinion – it fails “to participate in public affairs in accordance with its Statement of Fundamental Purpose.”

In Alberta, a party will be deregistered if it does not endorse a single candidate in a general election.

Yet, according to B.C.’s Election Act, a political party will only be deregistered if it fails to run at least two candidates in a general election and in the election preceding it. In 2009, six parties failed to run a single candidate in the general election nor a candidate in the three byelections since.

With the public financing of political parties in B.C. through tax credits of up to $500 per donor and the tax exempt status of political parties, it’s entirely conceivable under B.C.’s rules regarding party deregistration and the provinces fixed election dates that a political party could issue tax receipts for over eight years without ever running a candidate before being deregistered.

IntegrityBC noted that this is not an academic argument when two of the six parties that failed to run a candidate in 2009 – the B.C. Patriot party and the Advocational International Democratic party – reported over $5.8 million in assets in 2010.

So, rather than fighting this ridiculous law, work within it to promote your issues. Use these rules against the ones who wrote it.


Long Distant [Political] Relationships

The following is from our contributor, William Perry

“Dear Editor: Letter: Long Distant [Political] Relationships

Keeping a relationship alive across the miles is no easy task. Maintaining a healthy relationship when their just not into you is almost impossible.

A few years ago, I accused my gal Carole of cheating on me. She admitted there was another guy, full of life, nice hair, very frisky. He was Dutch! I admit we had only known one position – her in front. When the Dutch guy came along she talked about her being on top. Where did that come from?!?

Then along came Adrian. He was exotic, but familiar; well connected, yet independent; serious, but flexible. And although he had been with Glen, It was love at first sight.

Less than a year later I feel somethings wrong. His attentions have turned toward another – a BEATCH named ‘Ambition’. He also seems to be in a constant state of balagan [agitation], and I know that infighting is thinly cloaked with promises. 

I am starting to think it’s me.

Now I’m considering another long-distance relationship, which may be strained by cultural gaps.

Christy, a rose among thorns, is traveled, compromising, accepting of my need of a middle position. It is her second go-round in a relationship, but I don’t care.

Some, however, worry that Christy’s obligations shackled to her work will end up depriving me of effective guidance, and her very own aura of something big and beautiful, tolerant and pristine may not manifest.

I’m getting older, and with few domestic candidates left, the tall order compels me to choose between, familiarity with Christy’s openness to work it out, or Adrian who I don’t, in honesty, really feel connected to.

“The question is trickier than you think. “


Is Harry Bloy Taking Career Advice from Charlie Sheen?

I can’t help but wonder if B.C. Liberal MLA Harry Bloy’s slow motion career train wreck is a preview of what Premier Christy Clark is going to experience.

To see the video of Harry Bloy doing his Kony 2012 meltdown imitation visit the CBC website.

Harry Bloy, the only B.C. Liberal MLA to endorse Christy Clark’s leadership bid has had a troubled relationship with his responsibilities in government. Bloy was dropped from the B.C. Liberal cabinet after a less than stellar performance in the ministry of social development (the Community Living debacle).

Bloy was then demoted to a cabinet position as minister of state for multiculturalism, a junior role with a low profile. He has since resigned from that cabinet position after it was revealed that he had leaked an email from The Province paper to a third party.

Now Premier Christy Clark is admitting that Bloy’s bizarre rant was “completely offside.” Yep.

BC Nurses Contract Extension Provides Increases to Nurse’s Wages

The Christy Clark Liberals continue to spout their line about all labour negotiations being done in a “Net-Zero” mandate. For those who may not know, a “Net-Zero” mandate means that any gains a labour group wishes to obtain will need to be taken from another part of the collective agreement being negotiated.

For example, BC’s teachers are currently negotiating with the government’s hired negotiators. The government negotiators say that if the teachers want an improvement in their dental plan provisions then that means that they would have to cut something else from within their collective agreement so that there is no additional cost to the employer. For the record, the dental plan example was a purely theoretical example.

Interesting to also note that in 2009 the BC government, the same BC Liberal government as we have today, signed a two year extension to the BC nurses collective agreement providing the nurses with a 4.2 percent wage increase in April 2009 and a 3 percent labour market adjustment in 2010. The nurses also received another 3 percent labour market adjustment in 2011.

Net-zero? Only when it is convenient with the BC Liberals.

 

Iain Black Announces Resignation

Today Port Moody-Coquitlam BC Liberal MLA Iain Black announced that he is leaving the Christy Clark government for a job with the Vancouver Board of Trade. Black will begin his new role as President and CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade on October 3rd.

Interesting to note that Iain Black’s riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam is the very same riding where Christy Clark was elected while serving as the Deputy Premier in Gordon Campbell’s government. You have to wonder who will be seeking the nomination in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam.

Black’s resignation comes in the same week that Barry Penner, Chilliwack-Hope MLA announced his resignation.

Barry Penner Resigns as Attorney-General

Seeing as I am the father of twin toddlers, I completely understand why Barry Penner, BC’s Attorney General announced his resignation; he wants to spend more time with his wife and Fintry, his new born daughter.

I believe that family is one of the most important things in life and would like to do the same as Barry Penner. Unfortunately, in the real world of working people, if I quit working then my pay cheques stop being delivered to my bank account. That ruled that option out for me.

I wonder how Barry Penner is going to support his young family now that he has quit his job?