Tag Archives: New Democrats

Happy Hour Not So Happy for BC’ers

The B.C. Liberals have mismanaged the implementation of happy hour in B.C., leading to questions about whether they are capable of handling a full overhaul of the province’s liquor laws, say the New Democrats.

“Businesses rely on the government to make well-thought-out decisions. They need to trust that their government won’t suddenly change the rules and make it harder for them to do business,” said New Democrat liquor critic Shane Simpson.

Changes intended to allow businesses to lower their prices during happy hour were introduced Friday, but the new rules will mean that some businesses may actually have to raise their prices.

“This is what happens when you do your consultation by social media – you bring in changes that have winners and losers,” said Simpson.

Simpson added that the poorly thought out changes also show the B.C. Liberals failed to think about businesses outside urban areas. Prices in rural B.C. are often lower than in urban centres, so businesses in much of the province won’t be able to take advantage of the new rules.

“The Liberal government’s inability to properly manage even these basic changes raises concerns about how they will address more complex questions around health and safety that also surround these initiatives. They need to take a closer look at the way they are rolling out these policies, and ensure that the long-promised overhaul of liquor laws – including the plan to allow liquor in grocery stores – is implemented with more careful consideration.” said Simpson.

“This government promised real changes to our liquor laws, but from what we’ve seen so far, the Liberals can’t be trusted with even the most basic changes.”

Nisga’a Nation and Avanti Mining Agree to Reopen Kitsault Mine

New Democrats are applauding an agreement reached between the Nisga’a Nation and Avanti Mining that will help create 300 full-time jobs in the Northwest.

“Reopening the Kitsault Mine is a $1 billion project that will create jobs and grow the economy, both in the Nass region and throughout the Northwest,” said New Democrat leader John Horgan.

“It is essential as we move forward with resource development in B.C. that these plans include First Nations, and protect our land, air and water. This agreement shows that when we follow good processes, we achieve good results.”

Robin Austin, New Democrat MLA for Skeena noted that the agreement includes a smelter royalty deal and addresses Nisga’a environmental protection concerns.

“I am very pleased to see that the Nisga’a Nation and Avanti have reached an agreement that will create jobs and opportunity in the region now and into the future,” said Austin.

Austin added that he is hopeful the agreement bodes well for addressing outstanding concerns with neighbouring First Nations.

“There are some negotiated protocols to address environmental impacts and I’m hopeful that with this agreement in place, Avanti can move forward with neighbouring First Nations to address any cumulative effects of the increased economic activity.”

John Horgan Named New Leader of New Democrat Official Opposition

John Horgan has been named the new leader of the B.C. New Democrat Official Opposition.
“Along with our strong, united team of dedicated MLAs, I’m going to get right to work fighting for B.C. families, B.C. jobs and the B.C. economy,” said Horgan, the MLA for Juan de Fuca since 2005.
 
“The B.C. Liberals are making life less affordable for hard-working families, and they need a strong voice to stand up to them in the legislature, in their communities, and across the province. That’s what we’re going to do under my leadership.”
 
Horgan replaces Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix as leader of the Official Opposition.
 
“I want to thank Adrian for his hard work and dedication as leader of the Opposition for the past three years. Adrian has a relentless commitment to community and works harder than anyone I know. He has been instrumental in building a strong, unified caucus, and will continue to be a tremendous asset for our team going forward,” said Horgan.

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.

Are the Federal NDP the Election Spoilers?

When I have too much time on my hands I get to pondering things. This weekend I got to pondering the Canadian federal party system. And specifically, I got to pondering the Liberals and the New Democrats.

I distilled my pondering down to a couple key questions. The first question; do the federal Liberals and New Democrats have so little in common that they would rather have the Stephen Harper Conservatives holding the position of Prime Minister?

The second question; at what point are the federal New Democrats going to realize that Jack Layton, or WHOEVER leads their party is NEVER going to move into 24 Sussex Drive? There is never going to be an NDP majority. There I said it out loud. There is never going to be an NDP majority.

So that brings me to my final question or point that I was pondering; at what point are the federal New Democrats going to realize that they are the spoilers in the federal parliament? They play the role of the Green Party in BC; enough people vote Green to allow the Campbell Liberals to hold onto power.

So going full circle and back to point to ponder number one, I ask once again, is there that much difference between the federal Liberals and New Democrats that they cannot come together to govern our great country for the good of all Canadians? Hey federal NDP and Liberals; come out of the wilderness, quit shouting from out there in the wilderness and come to the table and actually make a positive difference for Canada.

Carole James Introduces Campaign Finance Reform Bill

This will be interesting to watch; New Democrat Leader Carole James has tabled a campaign finance reform bill that would change the way B.C.’s political parties are financed. The key change? Only citizens will be able to contribute to political parties. And that means that unions and corporations cannot contribute.

“We have the opportunity to make British Columbia a leader in democratic reform, to rebuild public faith and public confidence in institutions of government. These campaign finance reforms are key to B.C.’s democratic renewal,” said James.

The NDP are often accused of being controlled by the unions that contribute to their political campaigns. So if the NDP are proposing campaign finance reform that would eliminate the contributions that unions make to the NDP, would you not just assume that the BC Liberals would welcome that opportunity? After all, that would get big labour out of the political process.

Of course the other part of the campaign finance reform bill that NDP leader Carole James has introduced would eliminate the contributions that big business can make to political parties. This side of things might not sit so well with the BC Liberals, after all, business groups (and lawyers who get to be appointed Special Prosecutors) tend to be pretty generous to the BC Liberal cause.

Funny how it is rarely a concern that the BC Liberals might be beholden to or controlled by the business groups who contribute to their political campaigns.

It will be fun to see just how much traction this private members’ bill receives in the BC Liberal controlled legislature.

The Evidence is Mounting; Did the BC Liberals Know About the Size of the Deficit?

When I was studying at SFU I took a course in American Literature. One of the assigned novels was Joseph Heller’s classic, Catch 22. At one point in that novel the narrator, John Yossarian has the task of censoring mail destined for anywhere outside Pianosa where their military base is located. Yossarian tells of censoring what really were innocent letters home to the point that they were unintelligible. Perhaps Yossarian is the person currently censoring the documents the New Democrats are getting via the Freedom of Information Act.

Ralston put in an FOI request for documents which indicate that an updated fiscal forecast analysis was done on the eve of the provincial election. However, the documents received are heavily censored and provide no details on that analysis.

“One page from a March 2009 presentation to the government treasury board titled “Updated fiscal forecast” has been so severely censored that only the title remains,” said Ralston. “It shows the government budget forecast was revised before the election, but voters were kept in the dark.

“The BC Liberals told voters the 2009 deficit would be $495 million ‘maximum’, but it turned out to be six times that amount,” said Ralston. “At first it wasn’t clear whether the BC Liberals lied or were just incompetent.

Ralston says the evidence is building to show that, “the BC Liberal claim of ignorance has slowly unraveled.”

Ralston said another page contains a March 31st email from an Energy and Mines ministry staffer to the deputy finance minister that flags a $134 million drop from just one natural gas revenue source. Other projections were severed in the document.

Perhaps the BC Liberals really did know that the deficit was going to be in the $2 billion range?

Remember the Kelowna group who tried to bring suit against the New Democratic government following the 1996 election? They claimed that the election was won by the NDP because of lies about the budget. Of course that suit was ultimately dismissed, but maybe those stalwart defenders of the democracy will once again come crawling out from under their rocks to bring a suit against the BC Liberals for what is looking more and more like an election won based on lies about the budget.

NDP Convention Elects Moe Sihota as New Party President and…

The New Democrat’s biennial convention has come and gone. Being a political junkie, I was drawn to the convention like a moth is drawn to the brightly burning flame. And like the moth drawn to the flame, I can’t say I got much out of the event. Sure there were policy debates and resolutions were put forward, debated and carried, but there really was no great drama, nothing that had me racing for the keyboard to tweet or pound the keyboard to break a story.

I suppose my childhood is partly to blame for this….to read this rest of this story, you can see my column on the Vancouver Observer. I write for the VO as their “Political Junkie in Residences”. It is similar to being a Writer in Residence but more fun.

BC NDP Convention Day 3, Moe Sihota elected as new party president

Walked into the convention this morning to hear the final points being made on the Resolution G2009-01 Regular Leadership Review. After the final comment I heard, the familiar refrain, “Call the question.”

The question was called, and carried. So in two years, at the next convention, there will be leadership review. You have to wonder of that will be enough for the rest of the party.

11:15am Heard that Moe Sihota has already won the election and is now the president of the NDP. Apparently the vote was 365-96…those numbers come from CKNW’s twitter feed seeing as I was still in transit when the vote took place.

Also, Jack Layton has announced that the newest elected NDP MP, Fin Donnelly is now the NDP Fisheries Critic.

11:35 Jim Sinclair is at the microphone…turn down the volume! Yikes. Reminding people that the next election fight will begin on Monday after the delegates get out of this convention. The NDP needs to build capacity beginning now, not 28 days before the election day.

11:50 Scrum outside the hall with Carole James. Pleased that the regular leadership review was carried and is now looking forward to the next leadership review…in two years.

Carole James in media scrum at NDP Convention 09

Carole James in media scrum at NDP Convention 09

Admitted that the NDP did not put their positive vision forward during the last election. And when she was asked about making education a priority for the NDP she said that research and development, giving children a good start, strong investments in post-secondary education are essential to moving the economy forward and creating a green economy.

On Moe Sihota as the new party president…the Liberals justified in feeling nervous about us having him back in the party in a leadership position. Moe is a proven organizer, business owner and will be a formidable force for the party.

And Carole on the equity mandate; “Nobody disagrees with an equity movement…we need to look at how we accomplish this.”

12:10 pm Debate on equity mandate. Cheers indicate that the equity mandate will carry again. Vote after Judy Darcy speaks…long line of speakers at pro microphone…

12:14 Equity resolution was carried.

Election results for 6 Vice-Presidents; Spenser Herbert, Lorraine Shore, Alto, Harrison, Lunny, Zirnhelt are elected as VPs.

Three Members-at-Large; Jennifer Burgis, Debbie Lawrence, and Troy Sebastion have been elected.

Debbie Lawrence gets to work immediately after being elected as Member-at-Large:

Debbie Lawrence at NDP Convention 09

Debbie Lawrence at NDP Convention 09

Health related resolution to establish an independent Health Quality Council to identify new opportunities for innovation and best practices…Carried.

12:50 pm Just asked Adrian Dix if there is a need for a leadership review before 2011. His response was firmly “NO. I beleive that Carole James is going to be elected as Premier of BC in 2013 and the question of a leadership review is completely unnecessary.”

Adrian Dix at NDP Convention 09

Adrian Dix at NDP Convention 09

Obviously a strong vote of confidence from Adrian Dix for Carole James.

And on that note, we finish our coverage of the NDP convention 2009.

BC NDP Convention Part 2; Leadership review policy

I managed to have a chat with Harry Bains, MLA for Surrey-Newton and I asked him about the move to having regularly scheduled leadership reviews. His response was that it is a healthy move to have regular reviews of the leadership because that takes away the drama and intrigue about whether there should or should not be a review. Schedule a review and then it is regular part of the business.

When I spoke to Jenny Kwan about the same situation she said something very similar. The fact that there isn’t a regular review is because of a technical glitch from when they made the constitutional change to one member one vote and they did not include the fact that needs to be a review at each convention. So the change should be made at this convention and then the party will be back into regularly scheduled leadership reviews.

However, that essentially means that there will not be a leadership review for another two years when the next convention takes place.