A government built on lies,obfuscation and obstruction,is nothing to be proud of.

Newer readers often wonder why I feel so strongly the BC Liberals need to go, when I am not a partisan member of any political party. The reason is clear if you read many of the stories on my Best Of page – most of them focus on the many deceptions and blatant lies the government has tried to pass off as truth.

Even in the face of confidential internal documents and compelling evidence that contradicts the governments claims, I’ve had communications staff boldly deny, deflect and well… just outright lie to me in writing, emails ( which I am sure were immediately triple deleted) and on the phone.

Combine that tendency for government deception with their regressive policy and taxation, and toss in a premier who would rather campaign,pose for photo-ops and crack jokes more than govern… and you get a list of more than a hundred reasons the Liberals have to go that has carried through two premiers.. No worries – any new government will get the same scrutiny and the NDP in opposition here in BC already have felt that.

But for now, we focus on our current government in power, because they are the ones who drive the boat. And this current triple  delete email scandal just stinks to high heaven,

First of all, if you haven’t read the entire report, you need to do so. There is far more contained within these pages than fully reported on. In fact while the focus has largely been on George Gretes,the ministerial assistant who allegedly lied under oath and whose case has been referred to the RCMP, there are two more issues within the report that have largely been skimmed over by many in the press.

From Page 5 of that report:

Amrik Virk FOI

Amrik Virk was the minister of Advanced Education, during the time period of that request, but was shuffled to the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services on December 18, 2014, following revelations that he was actually aware of the secret bonuses give to new executives in the Kwantlen pay scandal.

Interestingly enough, just days before Amrik Virk was shuffled to his new post,this government guide for staff on email deletion, was revised.


Here’s a close up on that:


Clearly, it was an issue. And this guide is really a bit ridiculous looking in from the perspective of someone wanting to do an FOI, because in my view, provides many outs that make deleting emails that can be very informative,acceptable! And you’ll note nowhere does it address triple deleting emails.

How Amrik Virk still has his post, is beyond me.As a former RCMP officer he knows very well how the spirit of the law is just as important as the law itself. And yet even with all these scandals through two ministries, he stands, fumbling through justifications and apologies.

The other issue which happens to be an ongoing one in the premiers office, is the lack of emails – period.


Premier NoRecords cough, I mean Clark, has a long and very serious history of non-documentation during her time as premier, one that also clearly indicates the culture of non-compliance stems directly from the executive office.

It wasn’t so long ago that shockwaves reverberated around coporate and government offices across the country, after it was discovered that there was no written record of an investigation into the inappropriate actions of a former Clark advisor. 

And let us not forget Ethnic-gate, in which political staffers used private emails to circumvent FOI rules.

But I digress- there are so many examples of where the BC government, it’s ministers and staff have circumvented or avoided FOI rules and shown a clear disregard for the spirit of a transparent and open government. I could go on forever but Integrity BC has posted numerous examples on their public facebook page recently,along with other pertinent info.

At the heart of the matter is a refusal for the BC government to include the duty to document in its own legislation. In fact the government has completely ignored Privacy Commissioner Denhams repeated calls to have a legislated duty to document. 

Foremost among my recommendations is the provision for a legislated “duty to document” key government actions and decisions in Bill 5. This was the main recommendation from my July, 2014 special report into the current state of government archiving in British Columbia, as well as my March, 2013 investigation into the increase in no responsive records replies by the provincial government in response to general access to information requests. It is only when key government actions and decisions are documented that access to information regimes and public archives can be truly effective. It remains my view that a duty to document should be included in the Government Information Act

On three separate occasions since 2013,the premier who promised the most open and accountable government,has ignored the commissioners very important recommendation.  Why?

And why, instead of making the duty to document part of the current legislation, did the government instead remove the penalties associated with the improper handling of government documents? 

This bill will do nothing to stop the spread of this cancer on government transparency.

On top of that, the Depression era law replaces, the Document Disposal Act, at least provides for the possibility that someone who gets rid of government records improperly will face justice. Violating the Document Disposal Act could result in charges under the provincial Offences Act.

Bill 5 specifically removes the application of the Offences Act, so there will be no chance of anybody in government facing legal consequences for improper actions dealing with government documents.

This is quite a contrast to the government ‘s actions in the Ministry of Health data breach case, where they called the RCMP about the potential misuse of government information. We hope the government will be able to explain this difference as the bill is debated.

It’s something I’ve written about several times, here, here and most recently, here.

A government that doesn’t document investigations into inappropriate behavior, doesn’t use email in the premiers office, speaks in person to avoid FOI’s and triple deletes emails so no one can ever recover them. And the really ridiculous thing is, it is so damn easy to prevent all of this – if you really wanted to.

But they don’t. And in my opinion, heads should roll. This has been going on since BC Rail days when backup tapes of all the emails for Gordon Campbell and the ministers were erased. Oops. 

This government is out of control and unaccountable. And people have died because of it. For the premier to repeatedly  claim a lack of knowledge to any of the incidents involving her office and those closest to her,can only mean one of two things: either she is incompetent, or complicit.

It’s not something to be proud of and I urge those in the Liberal government with integrity to speak up and stand up against this.Because it’s just a matter of time before more people are going to speak out. Some already have.

“If you kept the small rules, you could break the big ones.” ― George Orwell

Filed under: “Things that make you go hmmm…”

In response to my last post, I’ve received many emails asking about the removal of penalties from Bill 5- the Information Management Act. It’s clearly an issue people are concerned about but an obstacle for many is simply the language contained in reading the act or even going through Hansard to find the info.

While it’s heartening to see that average citizens really are interested in this, the focus on the ‘duty to document’ portion of the legislation( or lack  there-of ) has puzzled many. The issue lies to the assumption in this legislation, that government documents exist at all. It has long been a concern that the use of non-government cell phones and emails to conduct government business is one way of avoiding potentially messy stories in the press.  (Hillary Clinton has recently been in the news for issues relating to this)

Of course, partaking of such activities to get around freedom of information laws certainly would be a purely accidental action in this government, I’m sure. ( insert an eyeroll here)  So yes, it is a big issue that the legislation governing how government documents decisions and actions has teeth. But what also must have teeth is portions of the legislation that govern what happens if you break those laws. And this where the questions about Bill 5 are arising.

This is the link to the third reading and report of Bill 5 in the legislature – it starts at little more than half-way down the page: http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/40th4th/20150526pm-House-Blues.htm

Here is a shot from where NDP MLA Doug Routley addresses this section specifically,and the answer the chair (Liberal  MLA  Douglas Horne ) gives him. And it goes nowhere.And that’s the end of it! Click on the image for a closer look.


The Chair says defeating the section would cause substantially the same thing,the amendment is ruled out of order and that section goes onto be approved!

What is Section 5 of the Offence Act, found here? http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/96338_01#section5

It is the section that defines a General offence under the law.

“General offence

5  A person who contravenes an enactment by doing an act that it forbids, or omitting to do an act that it requires to be done, commits an offence against the enactment. ” 

Section 18 of the Information Management Act states this will not apply to the new act. Meaning no penalties for failing to comply with the policies within the act.

That has many, including myself, furrowing their brows.

While it’s understandable that no public servant who, with no malice or premeditation destroys or otherwise fails to comply with the policies under this new legislation should face an unfair punishment, I expect the spirit of the law would be mindful of that.

But to remove all penalties completely, is to enable and protect those that may in fact purposefully, with intent but perhaps with or without premeditation, break the law and policy.

For example, any person who willfully deleted emails to circumvent or foil an FOI process. Or anyone who knowingly fails to document key actions of government, or willfully destroys any records or documents.

Having removed the offence act from applying to information management is such a questionable step backwards when it comes to transparency and accountability in government, that alarm bells should be ringing.

And I question why they aren’t.

*This is a link to the progress of the bill-note no embedded links on  Bill 5: http://www.leg.bc.ca/40th4th/votes/progress-of-bills.htm

progress of bills

* This is the link to the final vote on Bill 5: http://www.leg.bc.ca/40th4th/votes/v150526.htm


BC Liberals pat themselves on the back over SFPR ‘highway’ opening a year late and $464 million over budget

I’ll give the BC Liberals this: they sure know how to crank out a photo-op and they know how to spin a deuce into silk and make it look like they invented it.

Case in point, the grand opening the of much heralded… and criticized… South Fraser Perimeter Road -aka Highway 17 ( the old highway 17 is renamed 17A).

Spin, rinse, repeat.

Yes indeed all the politicians came out to glad hand and pat backs, including Rich Coleman, Peter Fassbender, Barinder Rasode, Todd Stone, Nina Grewal and Kerry-Lynne Findlay.

Remarkably enough, they even managed to tie this project that is over a year late in completion, to Christy Clarks biggest failure to date, the BC Jobs Plan:

“Completing the SFPR was a key goal in the province’s Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy, which supports the ‘The BC Jobs Plan’ to expand markets for B.C. products and strengthen infrastructure to get goods to market, ensuring B.C is North America’s gateway for Asia-Pacific trade.

The SFPR will generate economic and business opportunities and lead to 7,000 long-term jobs in Delta and Surrey through improved industrial development opportunities along the corridor.”

But what is more ridiculous than claiming that the South Fraser Perimeter Road will lead to 7,000 jobs ( how the Liberals get these numbers no one really knows) , is this this little gem on the press release:


On-time and On-budget?

Some of you will have caught this… and will be laughing, scoffing or otherwise shaking your head in disbelief, but for those of you not privy to the joke, the punchline is “ SFPR opens on-time and on-budget.” This is a Liberal patented tag-line, and is a complete fabrication. They count on very few reporters knowing the full history of this project that was plagued with problems from day 1.

In July  of 2008 when the project was announced and the Requests for Qualifications went out,the press release with it stated construction would start in 2009 and completion was 2012.

In early 2009, the short list of consortiums were issued the Request for Proposals and again, the completion date was stated as 2012.

However, something went wrong between April 2009 and May 2o10, the date of the next press release that announced who the successful bidder was: not only had a major change had been made in the corporate makeup of the winning bidder, but the completion date had suddenly been delayed for an entire year, with no explanation given!


BC Liberal Claim number 1 -South Fraser Perimeter Road on time?  False.

Let’s talk budget now.

In 2006, the  construction budget in future dollars for the SFPR was estimated at approx.  $700 million dollars.

However, rising costs of land expropriations drove that cost far higher ( a very disgusting but routine story in itself when it comes to Ministry of Transportation projects, see my end links for how the MOT conducts its land deals…), and the Liberals announced that an additional ‘contingency’ was set for $300,000. ( what budget doesn’t include a contingency, I don’t know..but that’s how the Libs work)

In fact, in August of 2010, it was announced that the ministry had increased the budget by $37 million found in savings to other capital projects… never saying where those savings had come from: http://lailayuile.com/2010/08/13/south-fraser-perimeter-road-moves-ahead-as-revised-fraser-transportation-group-signs-agreement-with-ministry-of-transportation/

*Total cost of construction upon announcement: $700-800 million dollars (  it depends on which press release you look at- it changes)

*Total cost being heralded by politicians today? $1.26 billion dollars. ( this figure also varies depending on past press reports)

*Total actual cost overruns according to my calculations ?  approx. $264 million – or around a 40-45% increase

BC Liberal Claim number 2- South Fraser Perimeter Road on Budget? False

What else the BC Liberals press release didn’t tell the public

Beyond the fallacy that this project was on time and on budget, the press release failed to mention a number of other items. The project was plagued by controversy from the beginning:

-Even losing bidders win, when it comes to the BC Government… who hands out million dollar stipends to losing bidders to compensate them for their time and expense. SFPR included. http://lailayuile.com/2010/05/24/when-is-a-losing-bidder-not-a-losing-bidder-when-it-involves-bidding-on-a-ministry-of-transportation-project/

-Despite the fact it was pushed as a nonstop freeway route where trucks did not have to stop and idle, and despite the massive cost overruns, the project was still downgraded significantly from a highway with no stops, to a highway with lighted intersections… intersections that would not only result in congestion on opening day ( hence the Saturday before Christmas opening), but intersections that will result in safety issues as well. http://www.deltachamber.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/SFPR-interchanges-case.pdf

Now, not only will trucks to the port have to stop and idle, they will be mingling with cars and minvans since the province is now pushing this route as  not only the only free alternative to the tolled Port Mann bridge, but a fast way to the ferries. Unfortunately a lack of clear signage has already resulted in lost motorists, prior to the opening.

– Nor will the Liberals tell you about the Railgate connection to all of it…which is huge. It is not something that has been talked about other than a side story, but is very significant of itself.



– And they certainly left out about how absolutely vital the SFPR is to the shadow plan to industrialize and build homes on the ALR land south of the Fraser…which might explain all the smiley faces in the photo above. This is a must read.


No… the BC Liberals won’t tell you any of that in their feel good, lets all hold hands and sing Kumbaya together press opp. They don’t want you to know they are going to have to rebuild all those intersection a few years from now, and that they could have saved taxpayers a ton of money by doing it now. They don’t want you to know that the safety of the road was questioned before it was completed, as linked to above.

They just want you to drive on the damn road so they have enough road count numbers to justify the construction of the items they chose not to do as costs escalated. They just want to share the momentary joy of having completed one portion of the plan to remove much of the ALR south of the Fraser, to share the momentary joy of getting truck to the port before the expanded Panama Canal takes a portion of our shipping container traffic away.

Fiscal responsibility went out the window long ago. Don’t be surprised when the traffic jams start being reported on the news every day… this new road/aka highway was destined to be a dud before it even opened.

Merry Christmas Todd. I know it’s not the mess you created, but you certainly stepped into it.


“No secrecy, no business.” ~Toba Beta

Fraser Surrey Docks believes in expansion

Surrey Docks (FSD) has listened carefully to community concerns and has enhanced an already safe project by eliminating the stockpiling of coal, re-spraying the coal on the trains before they cross the border into Canada, and adding a suppression and binding agent to the coal on the barges before leaving FSD to Texada Island.

Since the inception of this project in June 2012, FSD has worked with leading experts to ensure the safety and reliability of our project and to assess any potential impacts on our communities and the environment.

At the request of Port Metro Vancouver, FSD submitted this vast body of work in August – all the studies and assessments that have already been carried out, all of the feedback received to date, and more recent analysis with respect to the enhancements – for review by an independent third party, SNC-Lavalin, a firm with the technical and engineering expertise to review our studies and test our assumptions around health and the environment.

SNC-Lavalin has been a key partner in developing B.C.’s infrastructure for decades, from Canada Line and Evergreen line construction to development of BC Hydro power facilities to airport development and many other projects essential to B.C.’s economy.

We remain convinced that our project is both safe and reliable and will create more well-paying jobs in our community.

We also remain committed to working hard to earn the trust of our neighbours.

Jeff Scott

President and CEO

Fraser Surrey Docks

Source: http://www.vancouversun.com/Fraser+Surrey+Docks+believes+expansion/8986092/story.html

After reading the latest missive from Mr. Scott, I knew it was time to sit down and write a little blog post about Fraser Surrey Docks and the entire coal expansion business going down in B.C. now.

Several years ago I began looking into the mainly offshore companies that the BC Liberals relied on with increasing frequency to either finance, advise or build the provinces P3 projects.

SNC Lavalin, Kiewit and of course Macquarie are my personal favourites, each of them having cultivated longstanding and deep roots in both public and private infrastructure.

It was back in February of 2011 that I penned a post about the relationship between Macquarie and the Liberal government titled:

“The incestuous relationship between government and big business thrives in the dark.” ~Jack Anderson

It’s a must read, and more relevant now than ever. From that post:

“By March of 2007, Macquarie Infrastructure Partners had closed on the purchase of 100% of Fraser Surrey Docks, a strategic move on their part to add to the Macquarie groups growing holdings and investment in ports worldwide. Among Macquarie  port and shipping holdings?

Halterm in Halifax, Canada, DCT Gdansk in Poland, Changshu Xinghua Port in China, and a joint venture with Hanjin Shipping with operations in Japan, Taiwan and the United States.


As part of the Gateway project, the SFPR will be a vital link for Macquarie as owner of the Fraser Surrey Docks, as well as shipping lines and port terminals in China, and Japan, both targets in the Asia-Pacific market Kevin Falcon still speaks so fondly of.

To be sure, it might be argued that Macquarie stands to profit most from the SFPR,maybe even more than Deltaport, and more than the stealthy developers who have gobbled up land left,right and centre along the route –  BC Rail Properties among them.

Making money on both ends and during shipping is a profitable venture not often imagined by any corporation…”

..and it is not unreasonable to  point out that via the coal transfer and expansion proposal, Macquarie stands to make ample profit on several different angles. This slide from a confidential Macquarie presentation in March,( macquarieassets pdf format) shows exactly how extensive those infrastructure and asset holdings are, including the shipping and port holdings overseas. Click on the image to see more detail.


It’s interesting to note that even two years after my original post, I couldn’t locate a reference or mention of Macquarie anywhere on the Fraser Surrey Docks site. However it is listed on the lobbyist registration as the parent company :

















Now, let’s get to the heart of something really rather appalling. Fraser Surrey Docks CEO Jeff Scott not only refers to the ‘independent review’ by SNC-Lavalin, he then goes into some sort of cheerleading routine on their involvement in BC projects and infrastructure.

First of all, SNC- Lavalin and Macquarie have worked together on mega-projects not only in BC, but all over the world. I could get into all the reasons why just the perception of a conflict exists – and should be avoided if Fraser Surrey Docks truly wanted an independent review – but Grant Rice, a Surrey city council candidate in the last municipal election, pointed out this fact in several letters to the editor published recently:

“Macquarie, the owner of Fraser Surrey Docks, and SNC Lavalin are close business associates. SNC acquired the remaining stake in Alberta power transmission company Altalink in September 2011 from one of Macquarie’s many subsidiaries.

SNC is deeply involved in the coal business. According to SNC’s website, they “have worked on coal projects around the world, including the ongoing expansion of one of the largest mining operations in the world. A strong and capable worldwide team of project management and engineering professionals support our clients in the delivery of coal mining projects from the ROM pad to the port, including all mine area related infrastructure and rail.”

Considering BNSF railway has been diligently replacing all the ties on the entire length of their Canadian tracks, and performing maintenance on the rest of its infrastructure, it would seem to me to indicate they expect a lot more traffic on their lines.

Considering the deep sea port on Texada is also applying for an expansion to handle increased coal traffic… and…considering that 18 new coal mine applications popped up on central Vancouver Island while the province was concerned with the last provincial election… one could not only imagine coal barges coming from Fraser Surrey Docks to Texada… but also, potentially from the mid-north island area if any of those applications are ultimately approved.

It looks like BC is about to become an even larger coal export hub, regardless of public objection. And of course, Fraser Surrey Docks is doing the good corporate citizen thing like sponsoring the Surrey International Music Marathon for some feel good PR…

One more item of note to think about.

In years of research and debate, twinning the Massey Tunnel has most often been regarded the best solution for dealing with traffic on both sides of the tunnel.

Suddenly, Christy Clark announces a bridge. A massive bridge we really and truly have no money to pay for and quite frankly is leaving many transportation planners scratching their heads. Fraser Surrey Docks was quick to applaud the decision:

“The construction of a new bridge will greatly improve the overall transportation flow of the region,” said Jeff Scott, president and CEO of Fraser Surrey Docks. “It will also enable economic opportunities for Fraser Surrey Docks and other nearby business operators.” Replacement of the tunnel with a bridge will allow for further dredging of the Fraser River to accommodate larger vessels. Dredging of the river has been taking place since the late 1890s and additional dredging would better accommodate today’s modern vessels, according to Surrey Fraser Docks. “

In addition to coal expansion, Fraser Surrey Docks wants to increase activity at their facility overall – this presentation given to the city of Delta in the spring details all of it, http://www.delta.ca/assets/Environment/PDF/FSD_CouncilPresentation_021813.pdf – and quite frankly the tunnel is a big barrier to that expansion.

It’s been said in certain business circles,that what Macquarie wants, Macquarie gets. And as long as the BC Liberals govern the province, that’s pretty much guaranteed.

Have the BC Liberals provided dictionaries with a new example of attempted bribery or bribery itself ?



1. Something, such as money or a favor, offered or given to a person in a position of trust to influence that person’s views or conduct.
2. Something serving to influence or persuade.

v.  bribed, brib·ing, bribes


“The NDP hammered BC Liberal rookie multiculturalism minister Teresa Wat and finance minister Mike de Jong in Question Period on July 15 over an alleged bribery attempt that was uncovered in the nearly 8,000 pages of Quick Wins scandal documents.
A heavily censored Sept. 18, 2012 email originating from multiculturalism communications director Brian Bonney says:

“Have Harry Bloy meet with her and explain how doing anything would damage the Premier and the party. Have him say how he will try to find her work and get her back involved… Assess her response and advise… Have Brian (Bonney) meet with her and do the same… Assess her response and advise… If need be, offer x dollars per month to do non public work up to election (developing her database of potential supporters).”

The identity of the disgruntled staffer is not evident, but speculation is already underway.

I’m awaiting the breathless denials of any knowledge of any of this from Premier Christy Clark…


Updated with readers photos of their BC** I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy…. I AM saying it is going to be worth it. The future is yours if you rise to the challenge.

DSC_06120033I grew up on moose meat, and the yearly fall hunt was as important as most city people consider their tax refunds if they are so lucky. I’ve known the scent and feel of  the hunt, of knowing what walked before you by the steam off  bear scat, or the water running down in  moose tracks. I know what it means and feels to have a direct connection to the cycle of the land around you.

Seeing the blossoms of huckleberries and knowing that if it is a rainy year, you might not get many because it is too cold for bee’s to pollinate. Knowing that bear use the same paths, sometimes for generations.That the bigger and higher the muskrats build their winter dens is a direct reflection of how hard that winter will be. That often nature is as scared of you, as you are of it. We are intruders to their world… they are not intruders in ours.

I love this province, as much as I love my children.

It might sound corny to those who’ve grown up in the city, but I am as connected to this land by birth as some are by status.

I have felt it, tasted it, lived in harmony with it and shared the bounty in a  reciprocal manner. Had I known as a child, what a gift my parents were giving me, I would have been much more appreciative. What I took for granted growing up, people are paying money for to experience now. Hunting, fishing, berry picking… you can pay for it… it’s so crazy to me … you can pay to connect with something real… or you can, as I have and many others still do… live it.

And that alarms me.

Far too many people have grown up in urban areas that have no connection to this land. It is certainly not their fault, but it certainly doesn’t help when it comes to ensuring good environmental policy, or sustainable resource policy. How many people are making policy in Victoria who’ve never stepped foot in the backwoods of Northern BC?

How many people determining the best course of action for things like fracking, have had to rely on a clean, strong water supply that comes from a river to feed livestock, water crops..and sustain a family? You need to feel and experience what you come to treasure and protect.

However, I have incredible faith in Canadians, and British Columbians.

I now see urban men and women discovering the responsibility behind sustenance hunting. I see young men and women grasping and trying hard to reconnect with this land we live in. And in all of it, as a northern girl,  I see and feel hope for our future. I feel, without knowing or seeing, that the people will rise above whatever politics brings us and will fight for what we must protect for future generations.

Quite frankly, there is no other alternative left.

On the date Jack Layton passed, I saw, unknowing of his death, a shooting star brighter than I have seen in my entire life up north, or the coast, on my way home from a free concert in Whistler on my birthday.

And I cried when I read the news and time of his death the next morning.

I never met Jack, and it doesn’t matter if you agree with his policy or not, or even if you liked the man, because he had that special something that lifted people to the next level.He had that… ‘thing’.. that people felt and responded to, were drawn to.

He spoke from his heart, knowing what was to come for his own life, and I believe people inherently knew that his last words and thoughts, despite what controversy arose, were those of a man who saw the bigger picture. He tried to unite Canadians in a battle most had no clue we were even fighting.

I’ve received so many emails from all over the province from people shocked, angered and disillusioned from the recent election results. And I get that people need to absorb, grieve and then move forward.

I’m not even an NDP member, but hell, everyone has a limit. For a bit, even I wondered how the heck I would endure another 4  years of this government.

I had to go back to my roots.

To Prince George, to my Nechako River, and my Fraser, and my night skies and coyote kills. It is who I am and no matter where I go, or what I do, that is me – in my heart, and in my soul.

I know, for so many of my readers, that is your heart as well, wherever you lay your head at night.

Now that I have lived on the coast for so many years, the sea and the soil here is my heart as well. We can’t turn our back on our agricultural needs any more than we can our roots. The soil here in the Fraser River delta is so rich in silt, in sediment carried down from our mountains, from decaying wild salmon that just laid eggs in a stream not adulterated by Independent power Projects blocking their way…

This circle of life both urban and rural British Columbians rely on, is who we are as a people. It connects north and south like blood when we enjoy our baby greens in  fancy restaurants in the West End…  and when we harvest our moose in the north to fill our freezer.

Herein lies the challenge.

Do the people down here in the lower mainland consider what the impact is of salmon never reaching their spawning grounds? Do they know what it means to find moose and deer riddled with tumours, inedible, because the ticks now over winter due to higher winter temperatures?That the sickness of those moose and deer has an impact on the food chain that trickles down to levels we might not even understand yet?

Do they know that smell in spring that tells you to start harvesting fiddleheads? Do they know the feeling of being such a small part of the universe that seeing the northern lights every night, and hearing coyote packs killing their dinner at dusk gives you?

That was, and is, my British Columbia.

Even now, in my urban, suburban home, I can smell the rain coming and where it comes from. I eat lettuce, now,grown and harvested mere miles from my home that tastes worlds  apart from the imports. My family, we embrace the rain, pick berries on the dykes, and know how precious it all is to us.We love the Canucks, even when they lose. I spent 6 hours on BC ferries to see The Tragically Hip sing Bobcaygeon ahead of schedule courtesy of a crew member on Vancouver Island, in a concert under the most epic lightening story in twenty years.

I’ve  been broke. I’ve been flush. I’ve seen BC from top to bottom and there isn’t much I  wouldn’t endorse to anyone else looking to visit.

I think fighting for B.C is worth it. The greater good is bigger than any political agenda.

I’m not saying it is going to be easy… but I am saying it is going to be worth it.

The future is yours if you rise to the challenge. The only question is… will you?

This is my B.C.  And it’s yours too. So make sure you pay attention to who’s driving the boat.

You can Click on each photo for a larger view.

I welcome the photo’s of “your B.C”. as well.

Thank you to two of my favorite readers in Hixon BC, for sending these lovely photos of ” their BC”  ( yay! The best burgers in the world are in Hixon!)

And some more photos of our B.C from readers in the interior

And this fierce photo from David in Victoria… looks like two giant fiery eyes among the clouds…

Some stunning photos taken by Gordon Judd, who is married to my wonderful friend Priscilla Judd, who created a new Canadian anthem last year that was whisked around the country and garnered media attention. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmiHR_Ll88U  They live in Lumby BC, one of the most beautiful areas of the province.

And this exceptionally beautiful shot of a sea anemone in a tidal pool along the coast comes to us from Ken

Tide Pool Anenome_443

And NVG sent this link to one of his incredible shots of a double rainbow over soaring peaks… WOW!


One of the best graphic images: The Election Web ( would the person who created this contact me for due credit?)

I started getting hits from this link today, and would love to both share it with all of you:


I would  really love to hear from whoever created this amazing web that tells a story so much better than even my 100+ Reasons the BC Liberals need to Go. It’s quite stunning! email me or let me know in the comments section below!

“There has always been, and there is now, a profound conflict of interest between the people and the government…” ~ Howard Zinn

theyworkforusOn the eve of what is most likely going to be a change in government in this province, one would think that I would be exceptionally excited about all of it. After all, I’ve spent many years researching and writing stories on the current Liberal government, holding them to account.

Sadly, over the last two years I’ve come to the realization that electoral change is desperately needed for any form of real democracy to exist in this province, and a big part of that change must come from with the parties themselves.

As we near the date of the upcoming election when voters will go to the polls to choose the candidate they believe will represent them in the legislature, I wonder: do they consider how well that person will be able to do that? Do they consider whether or not the party that candidate is a part of, truly allows each MLA a free vote?

Do they think about how they would feel if they discovered their MLA voted in favour of something that was not in the interests of their riding…because if he didn’t he might be disciplined for it? Or perhaps even worse, politically shunned and ignored, in essence persona non grata?

As I sat and watched the new documentary Whipped, by Sean Holman, where he speaks with several former MLA’s about their experiences with party discipline, at one point I actually found myself in tears. I can’t explain it. They just started rolling down my cheeks. I was just so mad, so disappointed, so disillusioned.. and I felt very bad for the many voters who were cheated of representation because of it. I wondered how those same voters would feel, watching their former MLA speak so honestly, and with remorse, about not being able to represent them the way they deserved.

It’s a fact that many political parties will discipline those MLA’s who do not vote with the party line. Sean Holman addressed this in an open letter he wrote to first time political candidates, published on the Huffington Post:

As you may have heard, MLAs belonging to both the BC NDP and the BC Liberal Party are usually required to vote the party line.

In fact, I’ve discovered, out of the 32,328 votes cast between June 2001 and April 2012, just 80 or 0.25 percent were cast by MLAs voting against their own party.

That means a party with a majority can essentially do whatever it wants in the legislature — so much so that last time a government bill was defeated was 1953, the same year Joseph Stalin died. But those numbers also suggest, as one former MLA told me, “There’s got to be times — random chance if nothing else — that some of us actually disagree with what we’re voting on.”

It’s a position, if you’re elected, you could find yourself in.

The reason that’s tolerated is MLAs are supposed to have a chance to discuss the public’s business in private before coming out with a position each has agreed to uphold. But, because of cabinet and caucus confidentiality, British Columbians really don’t know if those secret debates are actually taking place.

Your party leaders and campaign handlers, of course, would know. They might not feel comfortable talking to you about this subject. But if you come to the première of my documentary, you’ll discover such discussions sometimes don’t take place.

For example, another former MLA told me he found out about a major government decision just 45 minutes before it was announced. That decision went against the interests of his constituents. Nevertheless, he said, “I have to be there in the legislature, pounding on my desk, smiling.”

” … the decision went against the interests of his constituents.”  It makes you wonder what you were elected for when you can’t speak up without consequence for the interests of your  constituents. It is, without a doubt, a profound conflict of interest between the people and the government.

When I first wrote about the première of Whipped,it was clear by the discussion that followed in the comment section, that it’s a very contentious issue that many people in the Liberal and NDP party don’t want to talk about… or want to change. But it’s a discussion that needs to be had and this moment is the perfect time to start the dialogue, as you consider your choices at the polls. There will be many things you might consider when making your choice at the polls- this is definitely one of items I will be considering.  Solid,independent candidates are becoming an increasingly attractive choice for many voters who are tired of party politics.

Remember the HST? Those Liberal MLA’s who supported the HST – and their party – over their own constituents demands, may pay the price for towing the party line in a few short days. Would your MLA stand up for you? Would you even know it, if he or she did not?

Whipped is replete with self-reflection and regrets, and a testament to the illusion of democracy as we perceive it. When you consider that 99.75% of votes cast in the BC legislature followed the party line.. it might be time to do some self-reflection of your own right now… to avoid having your own regrets later on.

My response to Gordon Wilson’s endorsement of Christy Clark? The updated list of 100+ reasons the BC Liberals need to go

Just when you think you’ve seen it all in BC politics…. well… you have a surprise on the evening news like we all had tonight.

I’ve rushed to get this done and there is more to come – right now my fingers are numb and my eyes are crossing and twitching from being parked at this computer so long.

Enjoy, share, reflect.


Photo credit: The Canadian Press
Photo credit: The Canadian Press

I guess the message from our premier is…. ‘ It’s ok to do it as long as you don’t get caught.’ ?

I absolutely had to pick my chin off of my desk this morning when I read Jonathon Fowlie’s feature on the premier.

In particular, the portion where her son ( I do hate bringing anyone’s child into politics,but damn it, Christy, you keep doing it yourself) dares her to run a red light, at an empty intersection, at 5 am in the morning.

And she does.

And her son’s response is: “you always do that.”

“At times, the two seem more like sidekicks — siblings even — than they do  mother and son. And especially so the morning when the two were on their way to  Hamish’s goalie clinic.

“Let’s see you go through this red light,” Hamish challenged as they pulled  up that morning, at 5:15 a.m., to an abandoned Vancouver intersection.

“I might. Don’t test me,” Clark replies.

“Yeah. Go ahead.”

“Should I?”

“There’s no one.”

“Would you go through? You shouldn’t because that would be breaking the law,”  she says.

And with that the car has already sailed underneath the stale red stoplight  and through the empty intersection.

“You always do that,” says Hamish.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Christy+Clark+politician+first/8303089/story.html#ixzz2RgQ1jb3h

So, going through a red light, even when there is no one around and no one can see it… is a good message and habit to be passing on to your child? Something the premier and her son clearly have enough experience with they joke about it? That she always does it?


Perhaps no one would get hurt, but it’s still against the law Christy. I called and confirmed with a member of the traffic division of the RCMP this morning, that no matter what, it is still illegal to run a red light in the province of BC, at any time, regardless of your perception of risk or not.

In fact, the penalties can be serious for willful disregard of traffic control signals. http://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/tickets/paying-disputing/chart-offenceswithfines

But I guess if no one see’s you breaking the law… it doesn’t count.

Or does it, Premier Clark?