Seize your democracy

Since Christy Clark and our current government does not see fit to supply those opposed to the HST with the same resources they themselves have stolen from the people, I think we need to aid those anti-HST groups out there getting the message out. As such, I am organizing an anti-HST rally/educational demonstration in my area in the next couple weeks- date and time to be confirmed. 

If you would like to be a part of it, or can assist with a sound system etc, I would be most appreciative! Email me privately through my contact page or at


Christy Clark’s “Families First” platform doesn’t apply to victims or families after all, as BC govt. slashes throat of Lady Justice once again.

I have a question for Christy Clark.

Why is it that your government can find millions and millions of dollars to “explain” the HST to us, but can’t find the money to keep our courtrooms safe- and open?

Interesting enough, for the second time in this Stanley Cup series, a very contentious news headline has run either during the big game, or was posted online just prior to one starting.

This afternoon, while most people were getting ready for tonights game, the Vancouver Sun posted this story :

The B.C. government has just cut the equivalent of 34 sheriffs positions despite some judges saying they have been forced to close courtrooms because of a lack of staff to provide security.

And the union representing B.C. sheriffs says the government is “playing Russian roulette with the safety of everybody involved.”

Several sheriffs protested the cuts, which were announced internally Friday, outside the New Westminster Law Courts on Wednesday.


“What is it going to take? Somebody walking into a courtroom and a major incident occurring for them to do anything?” Purdy said Wednesday.

“The threat of violence is growing in all Canadian courthouses and more needs to be done to protect the people, the court workers, the sheriffs, the judges and the public.”


Attorney General Barry Penner was asked about the sheriff shortage in question period last month and said it remained a top priority to have enough sheriffs for the courts.

But he also said there wasn’t additional resources available to deal with the shortages that existed before the most recent reductions in sheriffs’ work hours.

“Where is that money supposed to come from?” Penner said. “There is an alternative approach. It’s to live within a budget and look for other ways to address delays in the justice system, other than just always spending more money that comes at the expense of taxpayers.” 

Wow. They were asked about this, last month. Barry Penner, concerned politician…( I’m shaking my head as I write this )

 Christy Clark – anything but Families First.

Where was all this concern about spending more money at the expense of taxpayers when that stupid stickman campaign came out?  

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” ~ Ernest Benn

“We aren’t going to be talking about trying to reduce it by a point or two before the referendum. I mean, I think people will see that as buying them with their own money.”

~ Unelected Premier Christy Christy Clark, March 21st interview with Harjinder Thind, speaking about the HST.

“Oh damn, I forgot I said that. “

Our form of democracy is bribery, on the highest scale.

~ Gore Vidal.

I thought that I had seen it all when I worked in the world of high balance, corporate credit. While one often hears of the lengths and means corporations will go to get ahead or one up the competition, dealing with the results firsthand when it is all goes down is another matter altogether, and it was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. Six figure accounts, contract law and supreme court actions meant my ability and reputation were crucial to a client about to step into the courtroom, and I rarely failed to deliver with hard copy proof of bank accounts,contracts, locations of goods – whatever was needed to make sure the client won their case.

To say that experience prepared me well for writing about government business is an understatement. And while I thought I had seen it all in the private sector, the provincial political scene has yet to fail for amusing and surprising me at how similar the tactics are to those used in competitive corporate world. 

The only difference between the two is that being a public servant or politician means you have to be all that much better at covering your tracks, since your career and a government pension is at stake -a loss of public trust appears to be inconsequential to most.

The irony is not lost on me, that while not everyone can run a corporation or mid-level business – under-performance quickly reveals inadequate skills or expertise for all to see – any Jack or Jill off the street can become an elected politician and run an entire province without any skills to back such a position up. The gift of gab is king in this domain, where public perception unfortunately is often falsely based on nice packaging,smooth advertising and sadly, little substance.

Unelected premier Christy Clark is the case in point. Not only is her skill set for running a province highly questionable -based on executive comparisons for private sector positions, I’d say she is unqualified to run this province – but her past performance in government is  also tainted with poor choices that have led to long-lasting negative impacts on the provinces most vulnerable populations.

 She quit university and did not graduate with a degree in anything. She went into politics with no business or other experience from the outside at all. When she quit politics,she worked for her ex-husband  shortly before moving into the role of talk show host at CKNW. And whether you agree or not, my opinion is that electing someone to run the province who has no  real business experience and must rely heavily on corporate advisors (who I assert are in a highly conflicting position because of their government contracts and relationships) is a recipe for disaster.

 Notwithstanding the questions that still remain surrounding her actions during the  offloading of BC Rail, her real record as minister of education and minister of children and families does not substantiate her families first platform, and her move to pursue the Taseko mine proposal betrays her true environmental lean.

As much of a joke that this new, improved HST proposal is, what it highlights is how little Christy Clark understands the concept behind her Families First platform, and how stupid she thinks the people of BC really are.

While Clark emphasizes that the corporate tax rate will be raised, she fails to mention a critical fact. When we had the GST/PST, businesses could only apply to get the 5% GST back on business expenses. However, now that we have the HST, businesses can apply to get the entire 12% back when they file their HST forms…. but we can’t.

We are stuck with it. Hence the aggressive lobbying from certain big business groups and corporations who stand to benefit from this extra percentage of tax back on expenses.

Families First? I think not. When Christy Clark won the Liberal leadership on February 26th, 2011, she said: ” Change begins tonight.” 

Unfortunately for the BC Liberals, and for the rest of BC, none of those changes matter. Clark is simply more of the same BC liberal games wrapped up in a new package.

And we don’t like what we see once the shiny wrapping is removed.


( With the HST referendum coming, I invite all readers to refresh their memories by visiting another blog Norman Farrell and I have authored, Honestly Shared Taxation. )


From the BC government website, this press release:


 VICTORIA – The independent panel reviewing and reporting publicly on the pros and cons of the HST and returning the PST/GST system wants to review relevant research from interested parties.

 Until March 4, 2011, interested parties can provide fact-based submissions related to the panel terms of reference:

  • The consumer impacts to individuals/families of each option.
  • The expected impact of each option to B.C. businesses and B.C. economic competitiveness.
  • The fiscal implications of each option to the provincial budget in both the short and long term.
  • Relevant information and analyses from other jurisdictions.

 Submissions can be sent electronically to, or faxed to
604 775-0727.

 Submissions within the panel terms of reference will be reviewed and provided publicly as part of the panel reporting process. Duplicate submissions will be noted and provided once in the reporting process. For more information on the independent panel and its terms of reference, visit

**** I posted this to Chris Delaney via facebook, and this was his response. Worthy of posting here, with his permission:

“This panel is totally rigged.

 First Campbell tried a province-wide tour – that failed.

Then Hansen tried to sell it on the airwaves – that failed.

 Then they sent out their brochures – those failed as everyone threw them in the garbage.

 Then… they set up the HST Propaganda Office with John Les – that failed.

Now this group of shills for the Liberals will “take submissions” – and do what with them? Tell everyone it turns out the HST is no good afterall? Right. Its pretty rich having a former Alberta Finance Minister where they have no PST tell everyone in BC we need a bigger one! I’d laugh if it wasn’t such a serious problem for so many people.”

” No. I won’t hold a public inquiry into BC Rail…” ” Yes, I like the HST…” ” Uh,my brother has no formal role in my campaign, but…” ~ Christy Clark, Global news interview with Randene Neil December 08th, 2010

Yes,Christy Clark certainly is telegenic – described as cute in the way chipmunks are often referred to, but like the little rodent, she doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, and appears completely opportunistic. A well known and talked about tidbit among politico’s is that she is only looking to make her way to Ottawa in the easiest way possible and she certainly demonstrated today that she has little new to offer British Columbians who are very tired of the same old Liberal tricks. And one must not forget that she was not only a rabid Campbellite during her last stint in the Legislature, she is also very closely tied to the Federal Liberals – her ex-husband Mark Marissen has been a mover and shaker for years. Her brother, Bruce Clark, has been a well-connected Federal Liberal fundraiser, and his office was searched the same day of the Legislature Raids. While he was never charged with a crime, there have been many questions left unanswered as to his role in the sale, as well as hers.

Today on Global News at noon, Randene Neil,( a favorite anchor of mine ,and one who given the chance,asks some pretty pointed questions) asked Christy Clark the most important questions most of my readers want to hear answered by every candidate in the leadership race.

Q: Will you cancel the HST?

A: I support the HST, I don’t like the way it was introduced. ( went on to state she wants to put it out there that the HST be brought back into the Leg so the caucus members can vote on it. Randene pointed out the government had their chance, and now people want their say, and pointed out that cancelling the referendum only takes the vote away from the people, and gives it back to government. Christy smoothly repeated the same statement that the MLA’s will speak and vote on behalf of their constituents which lets the people be heard…. lol )

Q: Will you call a public inquiry into the sale of BC rail?

A: No, I think the government has had their say on that ( paraphrased – she was unequivocably against a public inquiry)

Q: What about your brother Bruce Clark, who was involved in the sale, there was quite a bit of controversy there( paraphrased) Is he involved in your campaign?

A:  ( this is where Christy starts to lose her slick composure a bit, one can see she is not liking this direction or the questions)  Um, my brother is, does not have a formal role in my campaign, but he is a supporter you know…..

Ah… whatever Christy. We all see that you care not one bit about the public’s interest into this most corrupt sale, and we know why. But thanks for answering the questions a vast majority of voters wanted to hear.

Now, another thing to point out is that in this interview, Christy stated she will not get into mudslinging etc, with other candidates… but when asked why she was shooting barbs at the NDP already this morning, Christy said she will not shy away from reminding voters what it was like, what the conditions were like the last time the NDP was in power… ” We can’t let that happen again!”

Oh no, God forbid !  It’s far better to remain under the power of the Liberals who have continually had the highest child poverty rate in Canada, the lowest minimum wage and the highest cost of living, who have sold the rights to our water, rivers, provincial parks, wood…. well, you know where we are right now. See the 1oo reasons Campbell must go list above, and insert Liberal leadership candidate of your choice.

However, since Christy won’t shy away from reminding people what it was like under the NDP- allegedly – I think it is only fair to remind people what it was like when Christy was still in the legislature, busting balls and knocking over anyone in her way.

If you are a parent of a child who has special needs, like myself, then please pay attention. Christy Clark was directly responsible for making changes to the education system that, to this day, impact greatly children who require assistance in schools. Let me rephrase that, because her changes had a direct impact on all children in school, to this day. She introduced a three-year budget freeze and funding model reforms that left schools, teachers and parents scrambling as services had to be cut back to compensate for the lack of money.I have a child that is partially diagnosed and  while we are waiting for a full diagnosis to move forward, and I am lucky that he attends a smaller school where his teacher and principal are progressive and aggressive in getting him the help he needs to function in a regular classroom setting. The accommodations and efforts these educators have made are astounding, because they are dealing with two sets of systems  that seem to only present locked doors to parents of children with special needs, rather than open them. All thanks to Christy Clarks ambitions to be seen as a radical politician who wasn’t afraid to do what needed to be done, and to make a name for herself.

She managed to accomplish both, proving to be a politician willing to make radical cuts without consultation, and made a name for herself as a ruthless champion for the Liberal ideal that promotes business and does nothing for families.

Take a look at who two of her big backers are : Bob Rennie and Peter Wall. Real estate and development. What does that tell you? Sound familiar…

Christy Clark is just more of the same Liberal brand in a package that is more palatable to the public visually. Forget she’s a mother now, that means nothing, because she was a mom when she was in the leg. In fact, she went back to work only a few short weeks after giving birth. Forget she has been running an anti- bullying campaign every year she has been on CKNW- she was the biggest bully of all to parents, teachers and sadly enough, children –  while she was in charge of the Ministry of Education. Forget the whitened smile, the perky mannerisms, and look to her actual record during her time in the Legislature, and on air. More importantly, look to the speech given to supporters at her launch today at SFU, and examine what she is really saying here.

I did. This speech is a heck of a lot of puff and fluff, sounds like something ,but really nothing but a stunning example of what life will be like with Christy Clark at the helm. And it sounds just like Campbell. ( red inserts are mine, as I see it.)


Today, I am announcing my intention to become leader of the BC Liberal Party.  And with that honour comes a far bigger responsibility – premier of our province. ( ..”at last I get my chance like Patrick said I would! “)
Why am I in this race?  Why am I asking for support? First, I believe British Columbians are seeking new leadership.  And by that I don’t just mean leadership in the form of any one individual. ( she means”  I just want to get to Ottawa, and this is the fastest way for me to get there”)

I am talking about the kind of leadership that seeks to put more power in the hands of everyday citizens.  One that fosters a more participatory style of government.
And, for us BC Liberals, it’s about rediscovering our roots. ( In the mud) Where people come together to debate, perhaps disagree, and in the end forge common ground to make BC better. To me, leadership is about listening to individual voices – no matter how small, no matter what language, no matter what income – so that people can be included in and optimistic about the future that we all share.  ( Gee,Campbell said nearly the exact same thing)
And this is core of who I am. ( we know, we know, a Liberal federally and provincially)  My mother was a family counsellor, and my dad a school counsellor.  They committed themselves every day to helping people find a way through the turmoil of their lives.
My dad, in particular, worked to help kids stay in school and stay positive – to see the opportunities out there, even if their own worlds were touched by poverty, addiction and neglect.
It was their belief in the underdog that made me so passionate about public service.  And it’s why I entered politics. ( and didn’t complete a degree at any of the universities she ( studied at…)
As an MLA, my duty was to represent my community to government – not the other way around.  To listen to families, to embrace constituents’ concerns as my own, and to help them see a better future. And while I think I did a good job for my constituents over my nine years as their MLA,( your constituents didn’t)  I felt, like many do, that the system was too often, and for too many people and their families, closed and unresponsive. ( like your behavior as education minister)
And I never lost my resolve to work to change that.
As you know, I took time away from politics. ( to try and make people forget about how ruthless I was in politics)   Over the past four and half years, I hosted a province-wide radio program.  From that studio, I connected British Columbians to each other and to the issues that concern them.
We did a lot together.  Listeners and I took a stand against bullying. We challenged the system to respond.  We argued for concerted efforts, in every school, to support kids who are bullied and to make the teaching of compassion an essential part of the educational experience.
On my program, we challenged people to confront issues and hard realities.  And as the success of our anti-bullying programming showed, it wasn’t just talk. ( one of the moms at my sons school asked me if you did that only to remake your image – since you are now using it to campaign, what do I tell her Christy?)
My experience on air, outside the cocoon of Victoria, gave me a fresh perspective.  I learned that government in this province needs to be better about tuning in to the families of BC.
And this is the second big reason for my candidacy – it’s families.  I believe families – big and small – are the foundation of our society. It’s where we learn compassion, kindness and respect – all of the things that are most important for a civil society. ( and a civil government, I might add. Not something the Liberals have demonstrated in the last few years)
Some have said it takes a village to raise a family. I say it takes families to raise a village.
Making sure government establishes a better connection with families is crucial.  But this only matters if it leads to action. And my commitment to you is this: if elected leader of our party and premier of our province, my government will act on a families first agenda. ( sounds familiar…eerily so.. see this interview with Campbell where he says he plans to put Families First…lol )
Throughout this leadership race, I want to connect with party members – new and old, undecided and unsung – on a series of important issues and how they impact BC families.
We’ll talk a lot about the importance of maintaining a strong economy, of innovation and productivity.
We’ll talk about the resource sector – an area of the economy that so many families across BC depend on to put bread on the table.  A sector that relies heavily on government getting the regulatory and financial framework right.  ( yep, she is going to sell everything we have,just like Campbell, just taking a different spin on it here)
We’ll talk about supporting rural communities and supporting the way of life in which so many British Columbians raise their families.
We’ll talk about health care and the fact that our system only works if costs are managed, while being innovative and imaginative about service delivery and, most importantly, if patients remain at the centre of healthcare policy. ( read innovative as private sector, just like Falcon. )

On education we’ll talk about how parents, not government, are the primary decision makers when it comes to their children’s education. And my record here is very clear: ( sure is, all it takes is a quick google to find out all the horrific changes you made )  I believe a strong public education system requires greater choice and control for parents to choose the type of education that works for their kids. ( she really likes private schools)
I will also talk with party members about the diversity of BC’s families.  We are richer for it, and we need to nurture it.  I want the world to see British Columbia as the most dynamic place to be.
Where there’s always something new going on.  Where we don’t just live at the cross-roads of the world, we thrive in it.
And yes, we’ll also talk about the HST. ( here it comes, the spin.. don’t get dizzy! )
Like most British Columbians, I feel the HST process was fatally flawed from the outset. I am very concerned about the implications of proceeding with a tax that the public is so upset about, as well as the implications of killing a tax that is going to cost us billions.
These are huge decisions to make.  And I want deal with them as expeditiously as possible to bring an end to the uncertainty that’s stalling important investments, large and small.
There is no magic wand for the HST.  It is tempting, I’m sure, to put off the day of reckoning until after the referendum or to sell the HST back to you with your own tax dollars.
But that would be repeating the same mistake government already made – to develop an HST position without consulting you.
Over the course of this leadership campaign, I am going to listen to BC Liberals and talk to caucus members.  I am going to make a personal commitment to engage in the type of consultation that we all should have had in the first place.
My view is that the HST issue is less a financial issue and more an issue of public trust. Today there is an opportunity to be different, to set a different course.
The other candidates in this race have proposed moving up the referendum on the HST. I agree that British Columbians want this issue solved as quickly as possible.
But there is another option that I would like to put to party members. One that turns the page on this issue efficiently and democratically. Let’s consider putting the same question proposed for the upcoming referendum to a free vote of the members of the Legislature:
And as you know, it starts like this: “that this House is in favour of extinguishing the Harmonized Sales Tax…
If this motion is successful, we would notify the federal government immediately that we intend to withdraw from the HST.  We would give 18 months notice and negotiate to allow for us to withdraw earlier than the five year agreement currently allows.
This means going back to the PST and GST.  But then I would close this file for at least five years. British Columbia needs certainty.
This option has been canvassed by caucus in the past.  But a lot has changed – both parties are choosing new leaders.  And a lot hasn’t – the public remains firmly opposed to the HST.
Today’s reality is that the HST referendum would fail.  So let’s talk about it and not put our head in the sand.  And let’s consider how we restore certainty to the economy.  And let’s consider how to make the economy more productive AND restore public trust.  This is a debate that is overdue among BC Liberal members.
Let’s remember, a revitalized NDP is not going to give the BC Liberal Party a mulligan on the HST. ( maybe not, but they will give us back our province )
Well before this campaign is over, I will come back to members of this party and lay out what I think is the best option for moving forward – after I have travelled the province and listened to the members of our party and the public. ( yes, after all that ballyhoo above, she won’t commit to crap. She likes the HST )
And, at the end of the day, whatever the decision on the HST is, we have to redouble our efforts to strengthen the economy. It will only be through a growing economy that we can sustain the services British Columbians value and the standard of living we expect.
My government would invest aggressively in infrastructure.( will that be through P3’s Christy, the same ones Falcon has mortgaged the provincial coffers on via the Enron model of book-keeping? )   My government would take a renewed and creative look at investment tax credits. ( yep, foreign investments, my bet)   My government would look to reduce the regulatory burden. ( just so all those big profit making corportation have an easier time making all that money)And my government would work to expand interprovincial trade and cooperation. ( which expands on Campbells TILMA movement … more of the same here)
Just as I’m not going to announce an HST policy formed on the back of an envelope, nor will I do the same with the major challenges facing BC.  I have views on these issues, but I don’t have all the answers. I know the answers are in the hearts of British Columbians. ( in other words, you won’t commit to anything because then you can’t be called a liar, or be accused of breaking promises down the road )
I will tap into the talent that is found in our caucus, riding associations and among our grassroots supporters.  And I will listen to the public, as I have been doing day in and day out for the past four and a half years. ( You mean, of the callers your producer actually let through?)
Our party has tremendous potential to find solutions to complex challenges. ( your party has only a tremendous potential to sell off what is left of our natural bounty) We have a true coalition of people from all corners of BC, and all walks of life.
That’s why I look forward to engaging with our party, our coalition, and will lay out my ideas in the coming weeks.  My ideas can only get better listening to people around BC.  And my vision will be outlined for all to see before you cast your ballot on February 26th.
My vision will be focused on families.  Now, the NDP likes to say that they have cornered the market on the working man and woman.  That only they stand for the average citizen.
The NDP doesn’t stand for families in our province.  They stand for themselves.  They protect their own elite.  And they cannot be given the chance to wreck our province again. ( Gee Christy, protecting our elite? Kind of like the pot calling the kettle black, no? Kind of like Campbell and his buddies, no? Or like why you won’t call a public inquiry into the sale of BC Rail? Isn’t THAT all about protecting your own elite? )
I was in the Opposition trenches in the toughest five years – from 1996 to 2001 – building the coalition one rubber chicken dinner at a time to evict the NDP from power.  And I was in government as Deputy Premier and on the Treasury Board when the toughest choices were made to clean up the mess the NDP left behind. ( false, so false Christy. Let’s chat about facts, shall we, in a future post)
Let’s not forget how our families suffered under the NDP economy of spiralling debt and a collapsing job market.  They ruined our economy once and put our families under the gun — our job is to make sure that never happens again. ( Where have you been all this time Campbell has been in power? Look around Christy, he put every family under the gun, and our economy has only begun to suck – wait until the truth behind these off the book P3 finances is released)
The NDP thinks they can change leaders and change the channel — I won’t let them do it.   This is a time we need to take the fight to them — we won’t let them hide their connections to big unions, hide their agenda to raise taxes, hide their love of big government. ( The Liberals think they can change leaders and change the channel – well I won’t let them do it Christy. This is the time we need to fight you, and the others, and I won’t let you hide your connections to big corporations and businesses, or hide the real reason the Liberals like to cut personal taxes, and I certainly won’t let you hide the fact you love to make decisions without consensus, as your past record most visibly demonstrates! )
I will take the fight to them so they can’t hammer our businesses and stick it to our families.
But, I know that it’s not good enough for us to ask voters in our province to simply vote against the NDP – as important as that is.  We need to give them something to vote for.   That’s our challenge and I know we are up to the task.
Let me conclude with some words about our premier. ( get ready for some MAJOR ass-kissing. She must have had to wipe her nose on this one.)
This is a man who served for 25 years in public life, who did his very best and had tremendous success.  Politics is tough, and most do not emerge unscathed.  Those who do probably didn’t walk the road less travelled.
Gordon Campbell deserves our most sincere gratitude for the incredible effort he made for all of us.  He built the coalition that I am committed to strengthening.
He built a party where people left their federal cards at the door and worked to put power in the people’s hands and keep power out of NDP hands.   He built a modern day coalition through inclusion not exclusion.
In 2001, he and our team were elected with some core principles that sustained us:
Manage costs so that we don’t burden our children with debt. ( again, Falcon ensured all our kids are going to have to deal with a provincial financial burden)
Keep taxes low so that people have more money in their pockets.(and reduce revenue in government, contriving a financial crisis… I already did that story)
Get government out of the way of businesses so they can innovate, imagine and succeed. ( concert properties, and all the other firms he has assisted)
Put the focus of health care on patients. ( at least, the ones not waiting or dying in hallways)
Put the focus of education on students. ( good God, have you no shame Christy? )
That was our formula to make BC better.  And the proof is in the pudding.  BC is far better off today than when the NDP governed this province. ( clearly, she was spinning so much when she wrote this, she lost hold of the truth somewhere….
And I’ll tell you another thing – I would much rather take over from Gordon Campbell than do what he had to do, which was take over from the mess left by the NDP.
We need to build on what the government has achieved and re-earn the public’s trust where trust has been eroded.( not going to happen, mark my words)
And if I’m the chief coalition builder BC Liberals choose, I promise to do that with new leadership and with BC families at the heart of the project.
It’s time to write our own history for BC. ( will it be as fake as the Campbell wrote, or even more detached from reality?)
I ask BC Liberals to join me.  Let’s choose new leadership.  And let’s lead together.
Thank you.

HST to blame for drop in GDP…But where was that headline in the local news?

Nowhere, because it simply doesn’t jive with all the hoopla being shoved down the throats of British Columbians by the local propaganda floggers…

However, Ian Reid rides to the rescue with this outstanding mention:

Earlier I posted about the important role the HST has played in the slowdown of the Canadian economy.  Statistics Canada reported this morning that the Gross Domestic Product fell over the last quarter, the first time since August 2009.

I noted that the TD bank was blaming the HST for the drop.  Now, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada, The Royal Bank and Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty have chimed in and they all agree – the HST carries a big part of the blame.  It seems like we have a bandwagon.

There are two things about that.

The HST impact is concentrated in two provinces, BC and Ontario.  That suggests the slowdown is much greater in our province and in Ontario.  In other words ‘the greatest thing we can do for BC’s economy’ is turning into the greatest thing we can do for lost profits and jobs.

Here’s the second.  You’d think this would be a big story in BC, front page, top of the broadcast news.  It seems to meet the criteria of a story.   It’s current, it affects every British Columbian and it’s not just speculation, there’s proof.  Plus there’s the little thing that BC and Ontario are dragging the entire national economy into negative territory.  Add it all up and it seems big to me.

But I’m a blogger.  What do I know about a real story…

Go read the rest of this post , Reality used to be a friend of mine, now.

Straight from the horses mouth: Premier Campbell and Huggies Hansen tell it like it was – back in 2008.

Watch this video, and listen carefully. Listen to Gordon Campbell talk about how bad the economy is, and how changes will have to be made. Listen to Colin talk about how if a P3 financer can’t get financing, another company can step in because so many are out there waiting.

Now, this is from 2008. Not at all in line with Campbell’s repeated claims post-election that he had no idea how bad the economy really was.

And Colin has some explaining to do now, doesn’t he?

Because in this video he states the taxpayer will never end up on the hook for any P3 project due to financing, because there are so many other companies out there willing to step in and take over….. which is exactly what I have been saying about the failed P3 Port Mann all along. Why did the taxpayers end up on the hook, if another company could have jumped in with financing?  Stinky, stinky, stinky Colin!!! Have huddle with the premier and get back to me on that, won’t you?

But wait… I have more for you.

FROM THE HORSES MOUTH… those organizations who have been lobbying and pushing for the implementation of the HST… and some advice for Manitobans…lol.  Quite a telling sound bite, no?

And while we are still on the topic of the HST… here is a press clip from Harper on the subject. You have to listen carefully as the clip continues  to add in other press bits on the HST..


Last, but not least, the most under reported story of  August was Gordon Campbell’s trip to California to speak to their Assembly. Powell River Persuader was the first to write about it, and a couple other bloggers mentioned it after he did, but there was very little if any real coverage by the MSM.

 Why is this news? Because his address is no more than outright pandering to his corporate IPP friends – a PR promotion for all those horrific run of the river projects.  

Watch Campbell deliver his address, and then tell me he isn’t trying to sell this province down the river… and watch for a cameo of the most gossiped about woman in BC politics at the very beginning   ;  )

At long last, a return to Bits and Bites,Tuesday June 8th, 2010

Good evening, my loyal friends and readers!

 I have to thank all of you for your continued patience and let you know how much I appreciate your faithful stops even though the pages here have remained vacant of posts for some time. All I can say is that sometimes life lobs you a hard-ball, and then sometimes life burns in two or three in succession, and as a result, I’ve had to take time to attend to my health and my family. I’ve still been working on various stories behind the scenes, but at a far less dedicated level than previously. I promise to be back to filling these pages with insight and revelations as often as I can over the summer, and who knows, you may even see a special feature of  the Laila Yuile Road Trip across BC…

And out of the starting gate today… It seems there was much ado about nothing at the Basi-Virk trial today, as we all wait -again- to find out the decisions of the two jurors who were not sure if they could continue their duty well into 2011.  I invite all of you to tune into my three favoured sources for all things Basi- Virk ( Railgate) ,each of which posts continued and detailed updates on the proceedings: The Gazetteer, my good friend BC Mary’s site, The Legislature Raids, and of course, my friend Bill Tieleman, who has had some interesting experiences in the past when it comes to Railgate related incidents.  

Next up, I have to say that if there is any grace, any tiny blessing in the horror that continues down south with the BP oil disaster, it is that it may jolt the minds of locals who have yet to form an opinion on the Enbridge pipeline, of which I have been blogging about since last year.  see these posts for my coverage of this issue:  Support divided for Enbridge Northern Pipeline, Close Call on BC coast should be “Wake-up call” for all British Columbians ( contains links to several other posts of mine, and a great video link of the Exxon Valdez) . I called it then in the first post about the fact that the alleged moratorium against tanker traffic is baseless, as did others before me- but did anyone listen then?

I think, I hope, that they are all listening, and watching now. What we have here in BC is unique, precious and must be saved and preserved at all costs for future generations.

I was thinking about all of this when I was surfing through YouTube recently, when I found the  following two videos.

The first is taken from Question Period in the Legislature, March 23rd, 2010. The entire video is worth watching ,but is you are short on time, FAST FORWARD TO the 2 minute mark and pay close attention to what Premier Gordon Campbell says in his rare moment of speaking in the house.  He says , quite clearly, ( and I paraphrase here ) that if the First Nations say no to the Enbridge pipelines, THEY WILL NOT PROCEED…. This is a very,very important moment caught on tape.

Now, the following video was taken the day BEFORE premier Gordon Campbell’s great speech declaring that if First Nations were opposed, they would not proceed with the pipeline. The date is March 22nd, 2010

This video shows the Coastal First Nations press conference  stating unequivocably that they will not allow, support or endorse in any way, the Northern Gateway project and the Enbridge pipeline. Clear as a  bell to me. 

So. Please tell me why this project has advanced to the environmental review stage, and why Enbridge is still spending tons of money emailing people like me their glossy new project brochure?  ( PDF)

And, if that wasn’t enough, check out this link  to the great people at the Dogwood Initiative :

By arranging to attend as official representatives of Enbridge shareholders, I and whoever comes with me have a once-in-a-year chance at holding Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel to account, by asking him point blank questions on the record. For representatives of First Nations who make it to the AGM, it’s a unique chance to assert their jurisdiction in front of senior executives, the Board of Directors, shareholders, and the financial media.

This year the AGM team included myself, Vice Tribal Chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Terry Teegee, Chief Namoks (John Ridsdale) of the Wet’suwet’en, and Nikki Skuce from our colleague organization Forest Ethics.

I’m not gonna lie; trips like this are always stressful. There’s the logistics (e.g. my Greyhound bus broke down on the way to Calgary), the preparation, making sure media know why you’re there and what you’re doing, and the worry up until the end that something’s not going to go according to plan.

But somehow it always works out, and this time was no different. Super Calgary volunteer John Vickers pulled through with an entire series of professionally designed posters to be used as rally placards outside the meeting; we were able to speak with TV and print media about the issue; John and Terry did an amazing job of asserting First Nations’ jurisdiction over the project; and, we got Patrick Daniel on the record admitting to three crucial points:

(1)    That Enbridge hasn’t been completely upfront with all of the shippers they’ve been negotiating with about the inadequacies of the review process for the project.

(2)    That the broad opposition to Enbridge’s oil pipeline and tanker project creates “significant” risk for the company, which the Board of Directors discusses virtually every time they meet.

(3)    That the “protocol agreements” that Enbridge has signed with some First Nations don’t actually indicate support for the project, and that at current count, there are zero First Nations he is aware of that are publicly supporting it; in contrast to the 28 who are publicly opposing it. Enbridge’s project is on shaky ground

These statement’s by Daniel proves what we knew all along, the Enbridge project is on shaky ground. More importantly they give us the opportunity to drive home the message that Enbridge is in for a fight they can’t win

Campbell proved he was a liar with the HST, and continues it with Enbridge. 

The premier needs to put an end to this and stick to his word, for once. We do not want an environmental disaster here, in this place of incredible beauty and diverse ecosystems.

Speaking of the HST, a curious note to mention here , direct from my blog stats. WordPress shows me what search terms people used to find my blog ,and one of the top search terms for the last month has been : ” How much will my HST rebate cheque be if I am low-income?”

What does that tell you? People are freaking out about paying the HST and already counting on getting some money back. Yes, we know  the Liberals are going to issue rebate cheques for those among us who are hurting, but it is far too little in the end to save any of the woefully lagging Liberals. Especially now that the First Nations in BC have joined the fight.  (Let me guess if that is going to help. ..or hurt, the treaty process…)

Last, but not least, there will be more to come this week on an interesting angle to the South Fraser Perimeter Road, and let me tell you, it’s quite a PR angle that may not have been discussed yet.  Call me a tease, but that is all I’m going to give you right now.

A quick bit of insanity for you relating to the Canada Line: Who exactly decided giant orange Cheeto Bears make any kind of sense at all coming out of this wall ?  Yep. I thought so.Seriously, what’s the deal with these bears, and more importantly, how much did they cost?

Under the  ” Bet you won’t see this in the Sun or Province ” banner, I bring to you a very Proud to be Canadian moment from our friends at The Galloping Beaver ( and let me tell you, this would be a crowning blogger moment, if I may so so myself!)  

The Galloping Beaver – Banned in Guantanamo

Friday, June 04, 2010

We get mail :


Your website is one I have long visited and I was quite surprised when I was visiting Guantanamo last month and I was not allowed to visit your website while at the base. I received a notice that the website was not allowed to be accessed by the “administrator” (military censors) (not an exact quote). I was quite surprised, went to other websites that I thought might be more controversial but had no problem and checked at various times to get on to your website (I was there for almost a week this visit) but I never could get on to your website.

So, please take my congrats….I would consider it an honor to be barred by those thugs!

Best regards,

H. Candace Gorman

Well … just … wow. We at The Beav also consider it an honour to be visited by Guantanamo human and civil rights lawyer Candace Gorman.

Ms. Gorman was successful earlier this year in freeing one of her clients from Guantanamo and maintains The Guantanamo Blog to “provide updates on developments concerning the plight of the detainees, the ongoing injustice of current U.S. detention policies in the “War on Terror” and efforts to hold accountable those men and women responsible for the war crimes”.
Today she writes :

Of course Bush only spoke about his joy in waterboarding KSM…..I wonder how he will respond to questions about waterboarding Abu Zubaydah (some 100 times) as the government has now been forced to admit Abu Z was not al-Qaeda or taliban …. just some shmuck who had the misfortune to be captured by my criminal

Another recent blog entry asks you to lend your support to a military lawyer who refused to prosecute a man who was tortured into confessing. Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveldis is now at risk of losing his 19 year military career for doing so.

Thanks for making our day, Candace, and for all your fine work defending justice and the rule of law from thugs.

Email published with permission of author.

Congratulations to all the busy beavers posting over there, and if you haven’t been to visit, why not head over and check them out?  Consistantly great posts that hit the mark every time !

Last, but not least, I would like to thank my army of ” helpers”, who without which , it would be all that much harder to write the blog. You know who you are, and I thank you today for all that you do to get these stories out.

Take care , and see you again soon!

It’s amazing what you find on Youtube, courtesy of the BC Liberals.

So, there I was wasting time between periods of the LA Vancouver game, cruising YouTube’s political channels, and I found what appears to be a some kind of public service announcement about why the HST is so good, and why we should have it now. Courtesy of the BC Liberals.

 So, I watched it all, had a good laugh, and then laughed some more when I found the next video in the YouTube lineup…..  ( I wont post it here, but google YouTube Gordon Campbell Voodoo Doll )

I’m sure you will agree with me when I say: What were the Libs thinking when they decided to bring this tax in? What were they thinking when they made this video? And there are more, another one where the same fellow takes us shopping and shows us how great this HST is going to be…. Yeah right.. ” A value-added tax” … sure, keep it coming. The truth is that Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals think you are dumb, stupid, daft. They thought they could wrap up this tax in some creative wordsmithing ( watch for the potentially illegal PRO hst flyers coming to your mailbox soon, at great cost to the taxpayer) and everyone would sit back and believe it.

Fortunately, I haven’t fallen for it, nor have the vast majority of you! Fight HST petition is more powerful than ever, and the libs keep digging themselves deeper… just in time for RECALL IN THE FALL!!!

Question is, how much did this bit of liberal propaganda below cost us? Who knows, but… ”  if you call now, you can a free video of the premier ziplining across Robson Square trying to pretend he was twenty again. All for $19.99…. plus HST. ”

 And on the flip side, (which happens to be my side), is one man’s response to the prospect of life under that Hated Sales Tax. LEARN  THE WORDS – because…..   ” This could happen to you” – THE HST SONG

Enjoy! And if you are a registered voter, and have NOT signed the HST petition yet, find out where and how you can, at the FIGHT HST website.

As well, feel free to check out the photos of one of the first anti HST rallies that took place last September, in Vancouver, which I attended along with at least 5 thousand other people. Click on the button at the top of the home page!

“Scope changes” to South Fraser Perimeter Road fuels rumours that the project is dead – and the Liberals are out of money.

What?? You don’t say??  Are the Liberals once againover budget, and underfunded – before a project even starts? NOoooo…. say it ain’t so!!!!

A little birdie flew by my window tonight, and whispered some sweet nothings in my ear… oh so sweet… regarding that often protested and over-hyped South Fraser Perimeter Road( part of the Gateway project) we all love to hate.  I swear, I nearly had a braingasm when I heard this.

Apparently, there have been several small configuration changes already to the plans, and rumour has it that even now, after the bids have been in for several weeks, the Liberals( Ministry of Transportation)  are considering some ” scope changes ” . Which could mean there are “cash flow problems” that require a significant reduction in the magnitude of the project…..

Hmmm. Have the Liberals gone and distributed the pie before it was actually made and baked again?  Because there was already a change to the structure of construction payments done, to reduce the need to raise financing to do the project…. 

Now. Between you, and I, (and all the Public Affairs Bureau employees who are no doubt in “code red” mode right now), this information set my bullsh*t detector off like you wouldn’t believe, partly because of the way the MOT rammed the Port Mann Bride through even after the winning bidder lost their financing.  It would seem to me that the Liberals have a public procurement policy in place that seems to be rigid and besieged with rules, yet those same rules are able to be altered at a moments notice. Again- see that Port Mann link just above.

Again, as with most major transportation projects in BC, the shortlist of proponents is a who’s who of favorite BC Liberal bidders, and nary a truly Canadian company among the various consortiums.  See what I mean:

Fraser Transportation Group – includes Iridium Concesiones de Infraestructuras, S.A. of Spain and Zachry American Infrastructure of Texas as equity partners and Dragados S.A. as the lead design build contractor.   

 South River Connector – includes Babcock & Brown Public Partnerships Limited Partnership and Bilfinger Berger Project Investments Inc. as equity partners, with Peter Kiewit Sons Co. and PCL Consultants Westcoast Inc. as the design build contractors.

 The Riverway Partnership – includes the Spanish firm of Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.A. and the Canadian firm of SNC-Lavalin Inc. as equity partners, with Ferrovial Agromàn, S.A. of Spain and locally based SNC-Lavalin Constructors (Pacific) Inc. as design build contractors.

With the exception of SNC-Lavelin, it seems that as usual,BC money is flowing out of the province. Nothing new there. And of course, all the same names, in all the same places. SNC is not without some .. creative employees, if you recall.

But, here is the thing about all of this. It stinks. It doesn’t make sense! What if the BC liberals have hedged a bet on what they thought was a sure thing… but got it all horribly wrong ?

Charlie Smith, of the Georgia Straight, seems to be thinking the same thing. Here is an excerpt of an article I just found that will surely make you go ” Hmmmmm…”

The B.C. Liberal government has tried to position our province to be the beneficiary of growing transoceanic trade.

Part of this strategy is the Gateway Program, which is an unprecedented, multibillion-dollar road-building exercise that includes a new Port Mann Bridge, a widening of Highway 1, and a South Fraser Perimeter Road.

Agricultural land is being sacrificed for pavement and to create space for containers coming from China.

Metro Vancouver has previously reported the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure secured approximately 110 hectares of agricultural land for the South Fraser Perimeter Road and the Golden Ears Bridge projects.

According to the theory of comparative advantage, we can rely on people in other parts of the world to grow our food because they’re better at this than we are. We’ll just trade for more of it as we need it.


This weekend, China reported its first trade deficit in six years. According to Xinhua News Agency, the country posted a $7.24 billion trade deficit in March. This will come as no surprise to anyone who read Rubin’s 2009 book, Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization (Random House Canada).

China still has a trade surplus through the first three months of the year. And overall trade still grew, which will be cited by those who don’t see any economic transformation occurring as a result of diminishing oil supplies and climate change.

Here at home, Statistics Canada reported last month that the pace of Canadian exports slowed in January. Exports to the U.S. declined 0.6 percent and imports fell by 0.5 percent.

Exports to countries other than the U.S. rose 3.8 percent, whereas imports from countries other than the United States decreased 3.9 percent, led by a fall from the European Union.

For the past 25 years, the corporate sector in Canada has promoted trade as some sort of economic panacea. You’ll sometimes hear economists say that countries that trade don’t go to war.

But all might not be as well as it seems, particularly if oil prices continue rising. The current price of US $85 per barrel is relatively high on an inflation-adjusted basis.

As this chart indicates, oil prices have only surpassed this level on an inflation-adjusted basis three times before: 1980, 1981, and 2008.

The inflationary period in the early 1980s triggered the worst economic slowdown since the Second World War.

Everyone knows what happened to the world economy in 2008. International trade plummeted as a result.

It could happen again.

I’m beginning to wonder if the B.C. Liberal government and its cheerleaders in the media are looking in the rear-view mirror–and not to the future–when they promote policies like the HST that blindly assume that more international trade is inevitable.

Ahhh… I love Charlie, I really do. This is a great piece, once that should be read far and wide with the rest of this blog. Of course, I have a soft spot for Charlie since  he did this wonderful bit that contains THE video Gordon Campbell would rather you not see.

Clearly, something is amiss in Lotusland this evening, and I’m not talking about the Canucks loss in OT. This HST petition is about so much more than the HST. It is about everything this man has done to BC in his alleged Golden Decade ( of delusion) and British Columbians have focussed all of that anger, on the HST

You all need to be asking some questions tonight. When we live in a supposedly free country, why is everything such a damn secret?  Have the Liberals put themselves in a position of possible litigation again if they do not proceed with this project? Are they relying on this supposedly ” revenue neutral” tax to pay for overpriced projects deemed necessary far before the current world economic conditions existed?

It may be speculation at this point, but I have learned where there is smoke, there is usually fire. I suspect this latest news is the spark for something far bigger.

 Time for Campbell to go.

**** Update to this post HERE – Sunday May 9th/2010 :