‘General Strike’ talk grows, as British Columbians rally to fight back against the BC Liberals

I was dreaming of my father last night, right before the thunderous rain against my bedroom window jolted me from my already restless slumber.

The dream was a real memory of mine, of something that occurred when I was very young – surely before I was 6 or 7, but without asking him, I can’t put a year to it exactly.It was in the early 70’s, for sure.  My father was working construction out-of-town again, having to leave us for months at a time just to make a living. That particular year, he had been gone a lot, and as Christmas neared, it became harder and harder to wait for him. We didn’t know if he was going to make it, because of the deep snow and cold, but if there was anything my dad could do to get home, I knew even then that he would do it. He was just that kind of guy. He never let us down.

The days passed, and as Christmas arrived, my father was nowhere in sight. I was devastated, until the moment I heard a truck come down the road through the snow,later that evening, bearing the two best Christmas presents ever – my dad, and Ballerina Barbie. 

 To this day, I have no clue how my dad managed to come home from up north through all the snow, and still find Ballerina Barbie somewhere in one of the little towns along the way. That was where the dream abruptly ended last night, but as I lay in the warmth under my covers, unable to sleep with the wind whipping the rain and trees outside, I marvelled at what kind of working conditions my father must have endured in those out-of-town construction jobs.

My father was a carpenter, and worked a variety of jobs while I grew up. He worked on dam up by Hudsons Hope one year, where my mother, brother and I lived in a tent trailer in a campground nearby during the summer so we could be close. He worked on other big BC projects that were built during the 60’s and 70’s, but things were never easy. Although I was too young to remember, my father told me once about a time that he was on strike – for a very, very long time. Strike pay was non-existant, yet the workers never gave up, strong in their union brotherhood support. That was back in the day where people became so angered that often fights would break out at union hall meetings. Everyone was desperate for an income, but the strike had to continue. He explained to me why the workers needed to fight for their rights and benefits:  to honour the people who had fought for the benefits and working conditions he had, and to protect the working conditions of those who would come after him.

I’ve always been proud of  my father, because of the lessons he taught me without even saying a word.Sometimes we do need to stick up for ourselves and others, just to leave something for those that come after us.  And as I go here and there, and talk to people on the street as I kind of really like to do, I’m realising that  we’ve reached those kind of times again, and the people have had enough.

They simply can’t take anymore, and everywhere I go, and every email I get from readers, is echoing that sentiment. No one can live on the $8.00 an hour Campbell thinks is a realistic wage  – and he had said he has no plans to increase it- mainly to avoid imposing costs on business! The irony of the Liberals throwing out money here and there for exorbitant Olympic expenditures, has created an aura of contempt among the public in the face of continuing social and educational cuts.  Toss in the HST and the crappy manner in which they decide to legislate the BC paramedics back to work and you see the pot begin to bubble closer to the rim….

In my opinion, people are not looking to a general strike not only to support hard-done by workers in this province, but as a matter of social justice against everything the Liberals have done in British Columbia. For some it might the low wages, for others, the cuts to special needs programs and assistance.

For me, and perhaps for others, it is the crappy, dictatorial manner in which he is systematically selling off and giving away our resources, our jobs and our future as British Columbians,  to outside corporate influences who care not one bit for the quality of life others have worked so hard in the past for us to enjoy now.

It has to stop, and we, the people of British Columbia, must stand up and take back our province. The time is now. Are you up to the challenge?

( For an interesting read, check out this link to an article titled: ” 25 years ago: British Columbia on the brink of a general strike”….  the times described bear a striking resemblance to our current unrest among both union and non-union workers in BC. Another article talks about the conditions leading up to the labour unrest in BC in 2004.  Tell me what you think.)

21 Comments on “‘General Strike’ talk grows, as British Columbians rally to fight back against the BC Liberals

  1. It’s coming as sure as God made little green apples. You can bet the campbell cabal knows it too – and that plans have been underway for some time to deal with the “possibility” of a general strike. The BCSC most likely has the “back to work order” already written up, signed and waiting…just needs to have the date inserted on it. After all, we’ve seen how cozy these two “branches” are.

    It really has come to the point where this must happen to make them understand that people can, and will, only tolerate so much of their ignorance, arrogance and deplorable attitudes. It’s well past time, and I have no doubt that the coming strike will be a very harsh one…on all concerned. So sad to know this need not have happened at all… .

  2. Leah, on November 10th, 2009 at 12:25 pm Said:
    It’s coming as sure as God made little green apples.
    ———————————————————————–
    There you go again, were talking oranges and you women bring up apples ,that’s exactly what got us into all this sh!t in the first place , those god dam apples in the garden of Eden.

  3. The contemplated general strike 25 years ago? A little more background – A front page public opinion poll published by the Vancouver Sun at the time showed only *19%* support for the concept and the Solidarity Coalition.

    The Socreds were also well out in front of the NDP in public opinion in that poll with the “extra-parliamentary” opposition acting as the de-facto oppositon.

    Without Jack Munroe’s agreement in Kelowna, Bennett was ready to pull the electoral plug that would have seen the NDP crushed as being linked with that “extra-parliamentary” opposition, notwithstanding their poor public approval rating. The NDP would have worn the “general strike”, which was a very unpopular concept at the time according to the polls.

    And Carole James today? Gag me with a spoon!

  4. Oh and by the way 22% of less than 50% that even bothered to vote or were omitted by the two pieces of id legislation ,Sheesh.Man some people have sh** for brains,and that’s not warm salty rain in your face either!!!!

  5. So who was it that appointed Jack Munroe the king of the castle back then ? Anybody recall? Additionally wasn’t Jacks old lady in a high position with the WCB around that time.
    The way I recall things, wasn’t long after that famous Bennett- Munroe meeting at Bennett’s Kelowna home that unions rapidly stated sliding backwards, and soon after , big Jack disappeared along with the wife into the sunset on his big Harley Davidson.
    Myself, I wouldn’t credit Jack, with Jack sh!t…

  6. Temptation comes in many forms Henri Paul, and the test is whether or not the politicians gobble them up or walk on by.

    Campbell is on the hot seat and he knows it. Every Lib knows it. I’m surprised they are even coming out to defend themselves anymore, but then again there is no accounting for arrogance, is there?

    Todd, I don’t put much faith in newspaper polls, too often the disclaimers make the poll itself, useless.

    I do, however, put a lot of faith in the very unscientific method of talking to people out in public, listening to my readers and following the topics of discussion in internet forums and posting boards across BC.

    My methods tell me people are very supportive of standing together in a general strike. I think most of the Libs have no clue as to what the quality of life is life for their constituents, in ridings all across BC, because as usual, they seem to make decisions like life begins and ends in Vancouver and Metro Vancouver.

    You think the people of the interior and northern BC feel heard by the Liberals,? You think the people of happy to hear raw logs are being exported to China to support jobs in one small area when those logs could be milled here and put many more back to work? So you think the people of Kitimat don’t know the Liberals have no concern about company closures, because it might make them more receptive to the idea of pipelines that wont result in any long term jobs for people up there?
    Give me a break. You find me some people who are happy and living a good life on $8 an hour, and I’ll eat my words.
    I will say it again. We are entering a time when people will risk the job they have to stand up and fight for better wages and treatment for all of us.

    Now,let me say this about Carole James.

    There are a lot of people who want Carole to step down, and there are even more who seem to be willing to pin the loss of the last election solidly on her shoulders. But let me ask you this? Is Carole in charge of every aspect of the campaigns? No. They were very strong until the end when those stupid ads came out and people were turned right off. The message was lost because of those ads. AND, those ads were not taken out by the NDP, mind you.

    Where were the rest of the NDP during the election? Who were the people responsible for finding dedicated candidates in all ridings? Was that Carole’s job alone? I think not. In all honestly there were some bad candidates out there who could not speak to the issues and appeared to be pulled out of a black hat with a rabbit.

    One could say it would be very easy to blame it all on Carole, and as leader, she does take some of the blame for lacking a good, strong organized crew. But I am not afraid to say that I’ve become a pretty good judge of character over the years, and I am not often wrong about people and their motives.

    I’m a firm believer in Carole James, and a supporter. I met with Carole recently, and spent some time speaking with her. I believe in both her vision and her strength, and I do believe she has the best interests of British Columbia at heart, both it’s people and it’s resources, much like I do. To date, I know of no other NDP candidate that has expressed interest in leadership that can honestly show, or back up the same dedication.

  7. I’ve always been amazed that the people of BC can continually fall for the bogus argument that somehow those bad, bad unions are “special interests,” yet the cronies that Lord Gord acts on behalf of have the “public interest” at heart.

    I wish I could be more religious and have faith, because then I wouldn’t even be upset about Gord and gang because I would be confident if they didn’t pay for their sins here, they would have an eternity in Hell to atone. It is difficult to think of a single moral precept in the Bible that Gord doesn’t violate daily.

    Things like lying, stealing, infidelity, greed, lack of compassion, and worshiping false idos – like Arnie, Dubya and/or the Fraser Institute, are all free tickets to an eternity in the hot place. Unfortunately, I don’t have the faith, and hope to see these pond scum held to account in this world!

  8. Bravo Laila!! …for finally showcasing the need for a general strike!!

    It’s been a long time since my university days in the late sixties, and a long time since I’ve heard the phrase “fascist pigs”. A phrase that is ripe for rebirth in present dat British Columbia.

    We are under the control of capitalist corporate funded power-mongers. I consider myself (and I am) an educated man…this is not emotional fluff.

    Storm Victoria and free British Columbia!!! Expose the snakes in suits and liberate our province from tyranny.

    Strong words..yes……but in them our salvation.

    Doug Pyper

  9. Good points Laila. One other issue that did not get much play during the election (and even now) is the import of wood products into BC. Can you believe it, wood products are being imported? IT came up during the election, but was overshadowed by C. James meeting and joking with a couple of radio announcers. This issue has risen again and the BC Liberals (esp. Bond) are saying that it is cheaper to import these products so it is good for BC. I hope the American producers of these wood products pay some money to our EI fund, welfare and health insurance plans. These BC Liberals are a sick bunch.

  10. Laila, I get the same feeling of rebellion from my sources. People are almost ready for critical mass. Today 9 lower mainland mayors announced 1.5 mil. of taxpayers money to “sell” BC to foreign investors. The minister of forests is in China, to sell BC logs (with subsidies) for… wait for it….AFFORDABLE HOUSING for the Chinese! While we consume their Faux Cowichan sweaters.

  11. Doug, Don’t give me any credit- I’m just sharing what I have heard from others, and what I think may be imminent. I do sense a growing tension, not unlike a rubber band being pulled- somthing has to give.

    Astro, I would like to hear some more about how the Liberals think importing certain wood products is good for BC.

    I wonder what those people in the forestry industry – who are currently out of work – would think about that, hmmm? I do remember those election sign-posts were American wood. What a joke that was.

    Kim, good to hear you are getting the same feedback as I am. Many of the leaders in this province are so out-of touch with the reality that is right in front of their faces every single day. That kind of dis-connect can be the straw that breaks the camels back, because people who are dealing firsthand with hardship in their lives, look at in resentment.

    Take the Olympic spending that is going on right now in various cities, as you point out with the mayors plan for schmoozing investors. Some of those mayors would do good to remember that this kind of blatant spending does not go over well with locals when they have heard time and time again, that there is no more money for things as vital as policing, and in Surrey’s case, even the Surrey Board of Trade is concerned with the cities budget for 2010. Surrey is planning to only hire 6 new officers in 2010, and the board of trade says that is not enough – the city needs to more to address crime( like I haven’t been saying that for the last 3 years)

    The fact that there is all this money budgeted for huge free parties in the city during the Olympics might sound great to residents while it is going on, but what happens afterwards, when we are back to the same old crime ridden city? It frustrates me because businesses are leaving here because of the crime, not coming in. You want to attract more opportunity to the city? Clean it up.

  12. I’m afraid I don’t see a general strike happening until they begin to start charging exorbitant fees on TV to watch the hockey or football games. (And even then I’m not sure, they’ve dumbed everyone down so much.

  13. Ha! Yes, Stuart, that might get some of the people into the streets…

    It inspires me to see and hear regular people finally finding their voices though, because in my experience, sometimes people don’t want to be singled out, or to put themselves out there.

    However, I’m hard-pressed to find any average people who havn’t been touched in some way by Liberal cuts, and the fear of having to spend more with the HST is really angering everyone.

    I hear it. People are banding together, coming together for once. When there isn’t any other options left, what else can you do to get your point across to a government who appears to have inserted earplugs into their ears- which, i hear, Kevn Falcon actually did at one point in the debate to pass the legislation forcing paramedics back to work.

  14. Laila, here is an article about the importing of signs into BC from the US.

    ‘Canada’s Economic Action Plan’ signs painted in U.S.

    Last Updated: Monday, November 9, 2009 | 10:35 AM PT Comments491Recommend159
    CBC News
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper stands in front of a sign promoting Canada’s Economic Action Plan. A contract to paint similar road signs was awarded to a U.S. company by B.C. (Government of Canada)A member of the B.C. legislature wants to know why the provincial government is paying a Washington state company to make road signs extolling Canadian stimulus spending.

    The NDP’s Katrine Conroy was so taken aback after seeing the signs in her Kootenay West riding she brought it up during question period in the legislature recently.

    “They say ‘Canada’s Economic Action Plan’. Shouldn’t it just be common sense that you’d spend the money bragging about this in B.C.,” asked Conroy.

    ‘That is part of the process of finding the best value for dollars.’
    —B.C.’s Minister of Transportation Shirley Bond
    The signs promote the $8 million federal-provincial economic stimulus plan, which is supposed to provide work for small and medium sized B.C. businesses, said Conroy.

    Instead the roads signs were made by Zumar Industries from Tacoma, Wash., which has received more than $1 million in work from the B.C. government in the last four years, she said.

    “An investment in B.C. is more important than an investment in Tacoma, Wash. We could easily make these signs in our region,” she said.

    But Transportation Minister Shirley Bond made no apologies for spending the cash to promote the stimulus project in the U.S., saying the province uses four suppliers for signs, three of which are from B.C.

    “There is a competitive bidding process and sometimes we go outside of British Columbia and outside of Canada. That is part of the process of finding the best value for dollars,” said Bond.

    It is at
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/11/09/bc-us-signs-canadas-economic-action-plan.html#socialcomments

    You can read more comments there. Bond’s remarks got to me. If that were the case then maybe we could find someone to do Hahn’s or the cabinet jobs for less. And we would likely get a better value for the money we spend.

  15. We have a govt that is so far removed from reality its insane , paying a US company for signs and saying its good for us is the icing , we have 100 million in legal funds as taxes marked for legal aid and only half is given back and cuts are now weekly , paramedics treated like dogs , now volunteer fire services will have to find funding for first responders as BC gov has cut funding to that so under staffed trained paramedics and local emergency responders who now will opt out will kill people but we have 450 million for BC Place roof , yes fascist pigs seems a proper name for the BC Libs and a general strike is due .

  16. Laila, I still have the Vancouver Sun newspaper article from 1983 now covered in dust. It was not a “newspaper poll”. It was a “Gallup Poll” back when they still polled in Canada. You know… today’s equivalent of Mustel and Angus Reid Strategies?

    1 . Do you support Operation Solidarity and its proposal for a general strike? 19% approval;

    2 How would you vote if a provincial election was held today?

    NDP – 23%
    Socred – 42%
    Other – 35%

    The concept of a general strike is so far out in left field that main stream BC’ers will never support same.

    Nevertheless go ahead and incite a general strike. I doubt many people will support same and it will certainly provide a wedge issue for Gordo and his gang to create conditions to defeat themselves on a confidence vote in order to have another election.

    Perfect conditions for another 2001 Liberal romp.

    Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

  17. So todd that’s why you keep those old papers,you don’t want to be doomed by history,but I hope those papers don’t catch fire or you’ll be doomed period.I love the nostalgia tho at least that’s when those papers were worth buying.

  18. Todd,

    I’m aware of gallup polls, and without knowing how many people they polled, in what areas, it’s still just a newspaper article.

    Heck, Todd, you are giving me far too much credit if you think I’m capable of inciting a general strike in BC, I’m just sharing what I have heard from people in all areas of BC.And I would call these people mainstream BC’ers. Mill workers, truckers, loggers,hospital workers, mall workers, cashiers, administration workers. I’m telling you, and others ,what these people are telling me.

    Let’s address what started this discontent in BC.

    Sure, there was a worldwide economic recession going on, but honestly, that never really means anything to most people until it actually starts affecting their income and their lives, say via a lay-off, or downsize. Then we have the election campaign.

    Our dear premier,Gordo, sticks to his mantra that these are ” rough economic times” and why go with something you don’t know? – meaning NDP. He keeps repeating it over and over, seizing on the fact that people don’t like change in uncertain times. Stay with what you know, right?

    So, even some of the people I knew in Prince George, despite being screwed already by the Liberals in some of the forestry related industries, voted for Gordon Campbell.

    A sad story that was repeated all over this province as people took a leap of faith, swallowed their fears, and placed their trust in Gordon Campbell, believing he would protect what they had in those ” rough economic times.”

    They placed their trust in him, Todd. ( as much as you can trust a politician, any politician)

    They took that leap of faith, and placed their trust in him, and that is where Gordon Campbell screwed up.

    You see, I don’t think he cares about the people Todd, because as we all know now, the budget was announced and suddenly, the Liberals were scurrying to explain they had no idea how bad things really were…. when in all reality, they did know how bad things were.

    Not only did they know, they hid that fact from the people of BC to get elected again.

    And, in the face of growing scorn and disillusionment from the very people who voted him into leadership again, he and his cronies started announcing cuts. Cuts to healthcare, cuts to social services, to education, even to the sports programs that sometimes make the difference for kids that need it most.

    Crap, they even cut the premiers scholorships, after those kids who had been working so hard all year were waiting and waiting to hear if they had been chosen. Nope. Screw you kids, there is no scholorship this year.

    But wait, I’ll tell you where else he went wrong. In between all those announced cuts and hold-backs and broken promises, there continued gross Olympic expenditures, left, right and centre.

    Honestly, the people in the rest of BC don’t really care all that much about the Olympics unless they are supporting a local athlete who has made it. Most of the communities in BC won’t see a dime from these games, but will still be experiencing the ” rough economic times” the premier said he would guide them through, and keep BC strong.

    Sad, really. really sad.

    However, now the very people who stood in shock when the real budget was announced, and hung their heads because they put their faith in the wrong person, now, those people have pushed through that shock. And they are angry at being hoodwinked by a smiling, grey-haired politician with some really freaking big red mittens.

    Having written about many issues during the election that weren’t widely covered in the local press more than fleetingly, if at all, put me in touch with so many more people who generally feel neglected by the Liberals and the large media outlets. And those people email me to share their thoughts. They tell me about different issues going on in their towns and cities, and they do this because they know I understand and ‘get’ why they feel ignored.

    Kitimat, Smithers, Williams Lake, the Kootenays.

    Issues like the Enbridge pipeline, the IPPs all over that are killing our rivers and scarring our province with their anything but environmentally friendly methods of digging and roadbuilding. The lost salmon, the closed mills, the homelessness in towns like Prince George and Mackenzie, the inumerable houses for sale in all these towns because people can’t pay their bloody mortgages!!!!

    That may not mean much to you, but it means a hell of a lot to me. When someone takes the time out of their day to write me, a total stranger,and share their fears and their angers, and says ‘thanks for listening,Laila, thanks for writing the truth about what is really going on. ‘- it chokes me up. It’s why I do this.

    And you can damn well bet, I will tell you how these people are feeling, because unlike Gordon Campbell, I do care.

    And like many, many others in BC, I care enough to go door to door in my riding, and collect signatures to recall. I care enough to keep investigating and writing so that no one every forgets what the Liberals have done, and what they will continue to do unless removed from power in this province. I care enough to see this through to the end.

    So, as far as me inciting a general strike Todd? That seed was planted long ago, and has been watered weekly by the Liberals themselves for months until it recently sprouted and began to grow.

    I’m just holding back the clouds so the sun can shine through.

  19. Todd all old or new sun or province papers are only good for two purposes, either lining the bottom of a bird cage or as in my case lighting the wood stove.
    Not much good for wiping your arse with either , all the cheap ink comes off.