The crux of the matter

Here in BC, government has a long history of marching ahead boldly with ” action plans”, grandiose schemes, flashy advertisements…. and pretty much all for naught. When anyone takes time to pick away at the schemes and presentations, like an onion the core is eventually revealed and more often than not, it’s just a rotten smelly mess.

The Liberals have, since first elected, systematically stripped, degraded and otherwise mismanaged every single core ministry in this province and that is in-arguable. I have spent considerable time documenting all of it in the 100 reasons the BC Liberals must go.

Court services closed, legal services cut, mental health services degraded and cut, health care expansions widely hailed and lauded… without staff to complement new facilities. In Surrey, when the Jimmy Pattison centre opened, it was like a ghost town. Why? Not enough staff to operate in a fully functional manner. Why? There was a shortage of qualified staff. What did they do? Steal staff from Surrey Memorial and move them to Jimmy Pattison up the street, leaving suddenly cancelled surgeries and longer wait times at SMH. Wow, what a solution.

The forestry industry in this province is dying. Dying. Why? Because the Liberals mismanaged it so badly auditor John Doyle said in a scathing, shocking audit, there is only a small window of opportunity to turn it around. Why? Because the Liberals don’t have a clue what they are doing. So what happens? We have a bi-partisan committee that makes a report that both Liberal and NDP’s praised themselves on… while the truth is all MLA’s blew a big change to make things right.  ( This is a must read- I hold Bill Bourgeios in very high regard with his vast experience and knowledge, as well the comments section offers some interesting connections in some communities that make you go hmmmm. The province would be well served if he were in charge of our forests )

The LAMC committee, which is bi-partisan, was in the direct line of fire recently with the auditors again, scathing review of the legislature finances. Seems our own government can’t do basic accounting and the LAMC has been sitting around doing .. ummm… doing.. well to be honest, it seems like they havent been doing anything. Yes, NDP and Liberal members on that committee and while we absolutely expect, yes expect secrecy from our soon to be dearly departing Liberals, we do not expect the NDP members to go along with it, which they did.   The NDP can claim innocence all they want, but the truth is the two members on that committee said nothing, nothing about how stupid and secret the actions of this committee were, until the report came out, then feigned shock and embarrassment.

So where am I going with all this?

That we are, for so many reasons, at a very crucial juncture in the history and future of this province. Environmentally, financially, socially.. so much of where we go and what we leave for our children, and our grandchildren, hinges on the next election. This is crux of the matter. This is why, examining every party, every candidate, every leader is crucial. This is why, more now than ever, we must ask the questions especially when we hear promises because we know what happens when we don’t. I don’t care if it’s Dix making promises, or Cummins, or Clark, I would not feel like I was doing right by all of you if I did not.

I know there are concerns out there about splitting the vote. The Liberals are hoping for it. I don’t see that happening. There isn’t a liberal in the house that doesn’t hold culpability for the mess we are in, not one. Each stood by and let it happen with silence and acquiescence.

But does that mean we should give a hall pass to the NDP? No, of  course not, because there has been plenty of times they have failed in opposition. Cassandra pointed out a few in a comment under my last post.  The NDP, champions of the ALR, suspended one of their own for standing against the removal of  massive tracts of farmland for the Tsawwassen  treaty. All of it to be paved for container ship storage,industrial expansion by the port and now a mega-mall shopping tourist destination.

The Liberals perfected the art of giving mainly foreign and offshore companies an investment vehicle that gives rates of return so high, even in this struggling economy, that P3 projects are now being bought and sold in BC because the original investor has happily made a guaranteed profit on the backs of taxpayers.  But let us not forget that it was actually the NDP that introduced the P3 concept to government in BC via Andrew Petter, and steadfastly refuse to comment on their current position towards them, other than Dix stating he doesn’t think they are right for healthcare. At least we know they learned something from the first failed venture at it so many years ago, the Abbotsford hospital.

The NDP are full steam ahead for fracking expansion, conditional upon a review of course, but for the life of me, I can’t get Horgans statements out of my head for the lack of knowledge it exhibited with how much the province is actually monitoring and tracking water usage and licences.  And funny enough, a few days later this appeared in the Sun, a bit of a backtrack..

This mornings story in the Sun is what makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. This, combined with posts I have done in the past on the ongoing failures of the government to do any monitoring, followup or checking on many contentious projects is why I think moving ahead quickly and blindly is absolutely the wrong thing to do.

It takes us back to the mess we are in already. We can’t afford to fuck it up again.

Now before someone jumps on me and tells me I don’t get that we need jobs, I do get that. I was born and raised outside of Prince George and get that more than many people down here on the coast. I know a lot of families where dad has gone to Alberta to work in the oilfields, or up north on a rig, coming home every few weeks. I know people who’ve lost their homes, because of the dying forestry industry. My dad works in a pulpmill, my brother  and uncles in sawmills. I get how damn hard it is risking your life every day so you can pay your bills and feed your kids. I grew up with this, and I grew up in one of the most beautiful areas of BC where now vast tracts of forest are gone, naked, not replanted. Where  people hate the carbon tax because there is no decent transit and you have to drive, most likely a truck to get around in and haul your stuff. Where people feel that internal fight all the time between jobs and saving what is around them.

Not talking about realities isn’t going to help any of them, or any of us.

Like this refinery in Kitimat proposal. I am really curious as to why Dix is chatting with Black about this. I think it’s interesting they are having another meeting, just as I think this announcement yesterday was interesting too. Interesting because there is no easy way to fix what’s broken here. Interesting because it sets my radar off and I haven’t figured out why yet.

I think we should have a refinery in BC, but I don’t think Kitimat is the place to do it and I don’t support Enbridge in any manner.  Why isn’t anyone looking for a market other than Asia for our oil? Why isn’t anyone looking at a refinery close to the Alberta border, like Dawson Creek?  Bring the dilbit by rail from Alberta. Canadian National Railways and BC Rail lines meet in Dawson Creek. The CN line once linked Dawson Creek to the rest of the Peace Region and to Edmonton, however this section of rail has not been active for a number of years. The BC Rail line runs north to Fort Nelson and south to Vancouver. Sounds good to me, what would the people of Dawson Creek think I wonder?  Jobs, expansion, long-term economic activity for decades.. without the risk of a pipeline over pristine land. Find another market. Do the work. Look at real options.

I don’t have all the solutions, nor do I have all the answers.  But I do know that we need to balance our economic path with our environmental future, without a doubt.

It’s not going to be an easy job for whomever takes the reins in the next election.  We can’t give a free pass to the NDP,or the Cons, or the Greens, we can’t hold any of them any less accountable than the Liberals. To suggest I do so is only going to perpetuate the problems we face, not solve them, and that’s why we do need to ask questions, we do need to talk and we need to inform ourselves – and those around us – like our lives depend on it.

Because in fact, they all do.

10 Comments on “The crux of the matter

  1. Excellent and insightful. Since politics is often described as the art of compromise I think its important to try to find out where the compromises will be made by the probable next government. The tar sands should build its own refinery much closer to the source and develop the capacity to ship in any direction, imho, notwithstanding the initial cost. The companies making the mega profits up in Fort McMurray should also be ponying up to twin the killer highway but that’s a rant for Alberta, not B.C.

    • Thank you David. Your understanding of the issues and reflections on them is always very valuable to me. Great ideas !!

  2. And I forgot to stick this link in there somewhere, but one might ask why we here in BC, on both sides of the spectrum, are continually ready to beg borrow and steal to build infrastructure for exports to Asia,in particular China( how much business did Clark really secure there, i wonder) when there are reports coming in from financial publications worldwide, and with increasing frequency, about Chinas economy reaching the fold point? Read this and learn why the Japanese are looking more for domestic consumers of product rather than exports to China.

    China is entering a “danger zone” where a financial crisis may become more likely because of increases in loans and property prices coinciding with an aging of the population, a Bank of Japan (8301) official said.

    “If a demographic change, a property-price bubble, and a steep increase in loans coincide, then a financial crisis seems more likely,” BOJ Deputy Governor Kiyohiko Nishimura said in a speech for a conference in Sydney, posted on the central bank’s website today. “And China is now entering the danger zone.”

    Enlarge image

    Kiyohiko Nishimura, deputy governor of the Bank of Japan. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

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    China is at risk of emulating crises in Japan in the 1990s and the U.S. in the 2000s, according to Nishimura, who cited a Chinese working-age population that is “close” to peaking as a proportion of the total. Demographic changes can provide fertile ground for “malign property bubbles” because of the effect on demand for real estate, he said.

    Asia’s manufacturing powerhouses — Japan, South Korea and China — are among the fastest-aging countries in the world, while developing nations in Southeast Asia are among the youngest in the region.

    Increasing evidence from a range of nations shows that changes in population composition have “a significant effect on property prices, especially the land component,” Nishimura said. At the same time, “not every country experiencing this sort of demographic change has a malign property bubble and a financial crisis,” he said.

    China’s Demographics

    Nishimura said that peaks in the working-age population in Japan were accompanied by property-market highs, and a “similar” picture emerged in the U.S.

    Cai Fang, a demographics adviser to the Chinese leadership, said yesterday that the nation’s potential economic growth rate may be about 1 percentage lower in the second half of this decade after the labor force peaked.

    Cai said last year that the “age structure of the population is a driving force of economic growth” and the nation may move away from its one-child policy in coming years.

    Implemented to alleviate poverty, the restriction on family size will cut the number of 15- to 24-year-olds, the mainstay of factories that drove growth for two decades, by 27 percent to 164 million by 2025, according to United Nations estimates.

    Premier Wen Jiabao is maintaining curbs on China’s housing market even as the nation’s economy slows because the government wants to rein in prices inflated by the stimulus spending that countered the global financial crisis.

    Economic Slowdown

    The world’s second-biggest economy grew 7.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, the least since 2009. The Shanghai Composite Index fell about 4 percent this year on concern that weaker growth will erode corporate profits.

    China’s new home prices climbed in July from a month earlier in 49 of the 70 cities tracked by the Chinese government, the most since May last year. Evidence the housing market is picking up follows interest-rate cuts in June and July by the People’s Bank of China.

    Within Asia, factories, jobs and investment may flow south to nations such as the Philippines as a result of demographic changes.

    “The demographic dividend is over for Japan and Korea, and it will be over for China soon,” Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief economist at Itochu Corp. (8001), Japan’s third-largest trading company, said in an interview earlier this year.

    China’s latest census showed that people age 60 and older accounted for 13.3 percent of the population in 2010, 2.9 percentage points higher than in 2000. Children age 14 and under were 16.6 percent of the total, down 6.3 points

  3. “The forestry industry in this province is dying. Dying. Why? Because the Liberals mismanaged it so badly….”

    When lauding the BC LIEberals for their economic management skills, never forget the triumph they were able to achieve as they almost entirely killed off the B.C. forest industry (just shy of 100 mills closed, in many cases disassembled and shipped to Asia – to receive our raw logs) during the biggest building boom in US history……that takes uncommon skill!

    It didn’t hurt any that one of Dere Leder Harper’s first accomplishments was to cave on the Softwood Lumber scam (with the help of that virtuous Emerson creep)!

  4. Why is it not feasible to refine this bitumen at the source and then maybe move it by pipeline or rail? Would this not create jobs and more monies for the product. Am I stupid for asking these questions Mr. Harper? >Am I missing something??
    Viva Le Revolution Viva Viva

  5. Great post Laila.
    I don’t know what else to say… it’s all so overwhelming. The corruption, deceit, destroyed environments and lives. Thank the higher powers that people are waking up. Thanks for being a clear voice!

  6. There are some country’s, when they reach their danger point, become dangerous. This has happened over and over, in the history of this world. Communist China’s aggression is showing, in more than just a few country’s.

    Gordon Campbell thieved and sold everything he laid his hands on. Nor, do we forget Harper’s part, in the destruction of BC. Right Koot. Our mills were shipped to China, along with our raw logs. Our BC mills, were the back bone of our central and northern BC economy. Now with the Pine Beetle, there are Bud Worms attacking forests as well. Global warming is doing a number on BC’s timber mills. Sounds like some of the mills that exploded, won’t be rebuilt. Yet, freighter after freighter of our raw logs, still sail to China. I find a lot of humor in how, Harper and Campbell sneak into BC, and sneak out as soon as possible. They must think they aren’t welcome in BC, or something.

    China also owns BC mines. I read sometime back, they will bring their own people to work the mines, as China is doing in the tar sands. China point blank refused, to have the dirty Bitumen refined in Canada. They can pay their own people dirt cheap wages, to refine the oil in their own country. China is purchasing our natural gas too. All roads lead to China, through BC. With all of the activity, that is supposedly coming to BC, none of it benefits the people. Harper, Enbridge, Premier Redford, Christy Clark and Communist China, are just using BC as a conduit corridor, to sell us out to China. There won’t be just China’s massive dirty tar tankers in our sea, there will be other country’s dirty tankers as well.

  7. I can’t find a political party that speaks reasonably on all the issues, and often all political parties miss the point entirely, sometimes intentionally. I sense that we pay this price by divorcing ourselves from the details of governance and by not ensuring that there be recourse between elections to make course corrections and personnel changes, and then by damn well using them. As long as we stay glued to the reality of television and get tied up by expressions of personal style, it is unlikely that any meaningful modification will be made to our sold-out mode of governance, opening up a true Pandora’s Box of pain that will have us looking back fondly and kicking ourselves for having missed the opportunity to keep the lid closed