Dear Swing Voter from the 2013 Election Who Voted For The BC Liberals

Dear Swing Voter from the 2013 Election who voted for the BC Liberals,

Hi there.  It’s me.  It’s actually yourself in the future.  I am you on May 9, 2017.  Yes I look a bit older and I’ve put on a few extra pounds (and thanks for pointing that out BTW) but that’s not what we are going to be talking about here…I do remember it so well.  Just like it was yesterday.  I remember on May 14, 2013 you, my 2013 self, walking up to the voting booth in the 2013 Provincial General Election and carefully penciling in an “x” besides my local BC Liberal candidate (making very sure to not go past the line), being very happy about my choice, and then going home to watch the results on TV.   So why did I do it back in 2013 when all the polls said that I wouldn’t?   Well I thought that I would give the BC Liberals one more chance.  Christy seemed nice and I had heard her on the radio, and they seemed to be not that bad after all as everyone had told me that the alternative (the godless socialist hordes at the door) were so very, very much worse.   I believed that LNG was going to lead us all to a prosperous future and I had faith in the BC Liberals managing the economy and the budget as after all, their budgets were balanced and they were pledging to keep taxes low and I liked that.  Moreover I liked what was happening with the schools and Christy Clark’s pledge for an honest and open government.  And so like many of my 2013 neighbours I ended up being yet another 10 second BC Liberal/Socred voter.

Well it’s May 2017 now, and I need to let you know now that unfortunately, my 2013 self, you made a big, big mistake voting for the BC Liberals back in 2013.  Why do I say that you ask?  Oh, where to begin..?

Well, remember the trillion dollar LNG Bonanza that that nice lady from TV said was going to happen?

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Well I’m here to tell you that by 2017 that not a single LNG project has a shovel in ground, drilling is the lowest it has been in 23 years, and the unemployment rate in the Northeast is one of the highest in the Province.  Even more stunning than that, the BC Liberals, who you my 2013 self thought were supposedly such good business people, in horrible market conditions keep double downing on LNG and throwing good money after bad!

Oh and remember the BC Liberals pledge for an “honest and open government”?  Well it turns out that they have been anything but.  There was a huge scandal within the Health Ministry resulting in one fellow actually taking his own life!  Then there was the Triple Delete scandal where Ministry Staff deliberately deleted e-mails so that they would not be available for scrutiny by Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.  Can you believe it?

And remember that you thought that taxes would stay low under the BC Liberals?

Well in actual fact marginal tax rates have remained generally low.  However incremental increases in various user fees, MSP premiums, insurance rates, hydro rates, etc. have just shifted the burden from overt taxation to hidden taxation in the form of increased user fees with the end result being the exactly same.  Far less money in your early 2017 pocket for your early 2017 family.

And remember how you thought that the BC Liberals were so good about balancing the budget and how important that was in our 2013 household too, that we should live within our means?

Well it turns out that they have only been creating fake balanced budgets by doing fire sales of assets like the land sales on Burke Mountain and by forcing BC Hydro and ICBC to siphon off “profits” from their books to balance the Provincial budgets, all the while overseeing a massive ballooning in debt (see below) which I, your early 2017 self, is now on the hook for! (Thank you very much for that. Thanks for nothing!).  And to top it off almost every project is way, way over budget (oh and not “on time and on budget” as Fassbender will eventually say) and the long-term debt will be getting worse!

And remember how the “Strong Economy” was so important to you?  Well it turns out that the early 2017 “Strong Economy” is actually in shambles and unsustainable despite what the May 2017 BC Liberals are saying.  Massive job losses in other areas are currently being masked by construction jobs in the Metro Vancouver and Victoria fuelled by an out of control speculative real estate market bubble which is pricing out of the market a whole generation of people and on top of that, that bubble is just about to burst (or so my 2021 self has told me).

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And remember all that apparent concern about the environment that the BC Liberals keep espousing?  Well it turns out that the “5 conditions” that the BC Liberals will eventually propose was all outright disingenuous pure political theatre and they never had any intention of standing in the way of any and all pipelines and then they had the audacity to make a huge fake commitment to reducing greenhouse gasses while still pushing LNG!  So much for climate leadership!  And we still have Grizzly Bears being trophy hunted in 2017 as the people running it are big donors to the BC Liberal Party.  And our most vulnerable are literally dying in the streets. Can you believe it?  And people in Shawnigan Lake are having to fight their own Provincial government over the safety of their drinking water!  Seriously.  I’m not making this up!  You just couldn’t.

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And remember all that talk of respect for First Nations?  Well Christy Clark actually stood up at a funeral (no less) and said that she was going to push Site C past the point of return despite objections from First Nations! And Site C?  It turns out we don’t even need the power, that it may never pay for itself, and that we can do it way cheaper by diversifying our economy and focusing on run-of-river, wind, solar, and geothermal projects.

I look around now on May 9, 2017, my 2013 self, and I see that 1 in 5 children in B.C. now lives in poverty and the government who I believed was doing the right thing with teachers back in 2013 it turns out were dead wrong (violated the Charter no less) and continued to be wrong for 14 years causing untold damage to the kids (BTW enjoy your time with the kids now as time flies and they don’t stay little for very long).

Anyway, I could go on and on but the point is, my 2013 self, that this is not what you voted for.  I, my May 9, 2017 self won’t make the same mistake twice.  On May 9, 2017 I will not be another “10 second BC Liberal/Socred voter” like you were as I refuse to make the same mistake that you did again.  Fool me once as they say….Oh by the way, the Vancouver Canucks still haven’t won the Stanley Cup but you probably already guessed that.

Signed,

My May 9, 2017 Self

P.S. Oh and buy Apple and Tesla shares now! I mean it!

 

B.C. Craft Beer and Right Wing Politics: A Bitter Mix

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Source: BC Government Flickr

This past Friday evening (February 3, 2017), Richard Zussman, provincial affairs reporter for the CBC, tweeted out that Premier Christy Clark was to attend a “no media” event in Port Moody with two of the Premier’s personal photographers in tow.  It was immediately apparent from the tweet that some type of event was occurring at Yellow Dog Brewery in Port Moody, part of the wildly successful Brewer’s Row in Port Moody.  Subsequent to that tweet, Yellow Dog Brewery acknowledged that they, along with representatives of Moody Ales, Twin Sails Brewery, Parkside Brewery, and the B.C. Craft Brewers Guild had had a discussion with the “BC Government” concerning the “beer industry and issues”.  Later that evening the photos started appearing on the BC Government Flickr page.  What they show is the local Port Moody incumbent BC Liberals MLA Linda Reimer and Premier Christy Clark participating in what amounts to a partisan political photo-op with Ken Beattie, Executive director of the B.C. Craft Brewers Guild and local brewers from Port Moody’s Brewer’s Row being present.  Here are the photos from the event.

Source: BC Government Flickr
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Source: BC Government Flickr
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Source: BC Government Flickr
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Source: BC Government Flickr
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Source: BC Government Flickr
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Source: BC Government Flickr
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Source: BC Government Flickr
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Source: BC Government Flickr

Now these types of purely political photo-ops are of course par for the course for Christy Clark and the BC Liberals and they unfortunately straddle that fine line between campaigning on the taxpayers’ dime and doing the work of government.  Doing the work of government IMHO would have included having ministers/ministerial staff responsible being present at the event (people who handle the actual files) and having media present at the event that could ask questions but neither of those appears to have taken place.  Maybe that’s just me though.  The pictures tell the story though as this clearly appears to have been a political photo-op in an attempt to raise the profile of the local BC Liberals MLA running in a tight race for re-election in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam and Christy Clark amongst younger craft beer-loving voters.  I guess we should get used to these purely political photo-ops over the next few months especially locally.  Unfortunately, there is not enough time now to submit a FOI request to see whether or not any public money was spent on this event so I will have to assume that the BC Liberals party covered all expenses associated with this photo-op.

The photos taken will of course undoubtedly be used and reused ad nauseam in future government/BC Liberal party promotional materials (yes I do consider them one and the same and I defy you to prove any differentiation/distinction otherwise).  You gotta feel for the guys from the four local breweries though as sadly, what the pictures amount to unfortunately is a de facto endorsement of the BC Liberals, local incumbent BC Liberal MLA Linda Reimer, and Premier Christy Clark by local brewers and the BC Craft Brewers Guild via their representation/presence at this photo-op event.  Poor breweries guys as they likely didn’t even have a clue that they were going to be used by the Premier and the local BC Liberals MLA Linda Reimer for their own personal political purposes, their own political gain, and to further their political agenda.  Probably didn’t even see it coming.  The BC Liberals got exactly what they wanted though.  Something that they could use to try and sell a tragically unhip older candidate and a largely unpopular Premier to a younger 20-something craft beer loving audience.  Thankfully the brewers likely won’t have to worry about seeing the Premier and MLA Linda Reimer for a while now.  That is unless they want something else from them again.

I can only assume that the recent CATI polling that was conducted in Port Moody on behalf of the BC Liberal party and/or their supporters (I was called BTW) showed that Linda Reimer was polling very badly (particularly amongst millennials within the riding) and what better way to try to reach that demographic than to associate yourself with one of the passions of locals and particularly local millennials: Craft Beer.  I do have to wonder if those present at the event honestly did think that the meeting was only to support local businesses and their industry with no ulterior motives at all?  Maybe that is how the event was sold to them?  Who knows?  You gotta wonder though why did Christy Clark and Linda Reimer choose to visit this particular area at this particular time to discuss these particular issues?  To be sure, if this meeting/event had occurred a year ago, no one would have even blinked an eye.  Not even for a second.  However, it is in the context of the upcoming election that all actions of the Premier and her party must now be perceived and interpreted.

Unfortunately, by agreeing (being duped?) into taking part in an obviously politically motivated event so close to an election (that being only ~3 months away), the craft brewery folks present unfortunately (whether they knew what was going on or not and whether intentionally or not) were involved/engaged in a political event/activity (likely under false pretenses as I say).  Ultimately the brewery folks are likely the victims in all this as they will now be in the unenviable position of forever being associated with the party of Quick Wins, Health Firings, Triple Delete, fake balanced budgets, massive budget overruns, fake news, Kinder Morgan, education underfunding, alternative facts, failed LNG promises, baseless allegations of illegal wrongdoing, etc., (one would think/hope) likely not at their own volition.  I would be pretty upset too if I was them.  One wonders how the whole thing was sold to them originally when they were originally contacted by the representatives of the Premier/local MLA (presumably) and whether or not that it actually lived up to that billing.  One would hope that if they knew how they were going to be used that they would have passed on the whole event.  I wonder what they would do in hindsight?  I would imagine that they would probably not be wanting to have their products and brands associated with one particular political party with an election on the immediate horizon that’s for sure.  No doubt about that.

Red Truck Brewery and #BoyCottRedTruck

You may remember that this is not the first time that right wing politics/right wing politicians, and craft beer have become intertwined in B.C. and have been the source of a bit of controversy.  Keen political observers will remember that Red Truck Brewery was the target of the #BoycottRedTruck movement back in 2015 after Stephen Harper and entourage, et al. breezed into town and hosted an exclusive (no media) invitation-only event at the Red Truck Brewery in East Vancouver (sound familiar?).

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The appearance caused some to suggest that by the brewery hosting the event during the run up to the election that this was a de facto endorsement of Stephen Harper and Conservative Party by Red Truck Brewery and this caused a social media backlash.

Red Truck claimed at the time that they only were renting out the space to any and all takers and that the use of their facility was not an endorsement of right wing politics or any right wing politicians in any way.  Then interestingly, the BC Liberals also chose to use the same location and utilized Red Truck for the Richmond-Steveston BC Liberals’ June 26, 2016 fundraiser on behalf of John “Quick Wins” Yap, Minister of Selfies, and Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Reform Policy to the Minister of Small Business, Red Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch.

I guess it was all a big misunderstanding as the Brewery suggested.  In the same way, I have to presume that their $2,000 donation to the BC Liberals in 2016 in the name of the brewery was also a big mistake and misunderstanding and not an endorsement of the BC Liberal party as were the many contributions of the owner of Red Truck to the BC Liberals.  Cough.

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The Other Infamous Port Moody Photo-op

The whole recent episode at Yellow Dog Brewery may also be seem somewhat familiar to local Tri-Cities political observers as it is also somewhat reminiscent of another time in the recent past when another political leader seeking re-election, breezed into town for an exclusive photo-op similarly far from the prying eyes of the pesky media to do a photo-op promoting a rather lacklustre candidate who only appeared in the background hoping that some charisma would rub off of them (sound and familiar again?)

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As such, it seems that the BC Liberals appear to be taking a page directly out of the last Conservative campaign book by staging exclusive politically motivated photo-ops on the taxpayers dime away far from the prying eyes of the media.

It should be noted that the breweries of Brewery Row themselves for the most part appear to have been largely mum on the whole event that took place at Yellow Dog.  No mention of the event to date has been made on the Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook accounts of the three breweries involved with only Yellow Dog mentioning the event at all.  One has to wonder why?  If this was such an important discussion and an important event, why no mention of it/pictures of it?  Given the above I would have to think that they are all pretty steamed about the whole thing and it is totally understandable why they would not want to dwell on such a series of unfortunate events.

So was it all worth it? Yellow Dog in response to a query on Facebook made the following statement:

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So to sum up: Nothing concrete came of it, they will continue to talk, and the BC Liberals leave with the photos from the photo-op as they originally wanted/intended.

To be fair, as noted previously, I can not emphasize enough how much I have to acknowledge that the local brewers of Brewer’s Row and Ken Beattie of the B.C. Craft Brewers Guild may have been totally and completely unaware as to the extent that they were going to be used by Christy Clark, their local MLA Linda Reimer, and the BC Liberals for a photo-op for purely political purposes.  As such, I really do think that it would be incumbent on everyone involved to also invite local candidates and the leaders from other political parties to also sit down and discuss the “beer industry and issues” in the same manner as they did with Christy Clark so as to indeed demonstrate that they are/were completely non-partisan and that they didn’t intentionally wish to effectively endorse/be associated exclusively with the BC Liberals in the upcoming election.  If they choose not to, then I guess that you can pretty much put them in the same category as Red Truck Brewery.  That’s OK if you like to have right wing politics with your beer.  That’s your prerogative.  But for others, that may leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth.

Edit: I recently came across the standard consent and release from the Provincial Government regarding the use of images.  I do wonder if all of the local craft beer folk that were used for propaganda purposes indeed all signed the waiver.  If not, they would have every right to have the images removed if any one person in any of the images objected to the use of their image.

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Edit: And exactly as predicted, a photo from the Port Moody brewery photo-op is now part of the BC Liberals Campaign Platform materials published on April 11, 2017 (see below).  The BC Liberals are nothing if not predictable.

 

 

 

 

Have the BC Liberals Actually Been “Strong and Consistent” On Anything?

It has become abundantly clear that the BC Liberals have set on their strategy for the upcoming Provincial election.  Their strategy (which is in many ways is similar to their strategy in the last election) is to pre-emptively try to portray and define the BCNDP and their leader as inconsistent and “everything to everyone”, representing the “Party of No (development)” while at the same time trying to promote Christy Clark in contrast as being a strong leader with a strong/clear and consistent record and message (as above).  But is the latter actually true?  Have Christy Clark and her government been “strong/clear and consistent” or is in fact the opposite true?  Have she and her government been anything but strong/clear and consistent but have been just saying as much to try to convince the voting public (and in some ways their own supporters) that this is in fact the case?  Let’s have a look at a few selected issues over the last couple of weeks and see if that “strong/clear and consistent” claim holds up to scrutiny.

The Famous 5 Conditions For Heavy Oil Projects (well really the 4 consistent conditions and the one that seems to be in flux)

Back on July 23, 2012, to great fanfare the Provincial government announced their 5 conditions to support any heavy oil projects (note that the conditions only applied to heavy oil projects and not their beloved LNG projects another inconsistency really but I digress).  As announced by then Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Mary Polak and Minister of Environment Terry Lake, the five conditions were:

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The BC Liberals and Christy Clark have repeatedly claimed that they have always been clear and consistent on the 5 conditions (as below).  But is that actually true?

A search for the 5 conditions provided in various news releases and articles since then suggests that, for the most part, the 5 conditions have indeed been fairly consistent.  Yes fairly.  Not completely consistent.  Just fairly.  Why would I say that?  Let me explain.  You may remember that the Premier on November 30th released a statement regarding the five conditions following the Kinder Morgan announcement by the Feds.  I’ve reproduced the statement below.  Notice anything different?  Why yes.  Condition #4 appears to be completely different.  “Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed” is no longer part of Condition 4 in the statement issued by the Premier instead the Premier describes Condition #4 as “Indigenous participation”.

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Interestingly, this is not the first time that the legal requirement aspect of Condition #4 has mysteriously been omitted by the Premier.  In a speech on October 10, 2012 to a special luncheon organized by the Chamber of Commerce in Prince George, Clark described the 5 conditions as follows:

“Five conditions have to be met, three of them are environment, one is about making sure First Nations are participating (emphasis mine), which is an obligation set by the Crown, and then the last is making sure British Columbia gets it s fair share so all of them are equally important and they all have to be met, not just one.”

Remarkable consistent with her November 30th release and over four years apart no?

Now anyone who knows anything about the recent Supreme Court rulings and the results of the case regarding the Northern Gateway project will tell you that ultimately the biggest Achilles heel of the Kinder Morgan project is Condition #4 and that this condition (well the original condition anyway) can likely never actually be met as the same flawed consultation process was used for the failed Northern Gateway Project and that was struck down by the Supreme Court as being inadequate.  Why the Province originally included that aspect of the condition when it was clearly a Federal matter and something guaranteed by the law of the land I don’t know but there it is.

So is it just that the Premier being succinct as some apologists have suggested?  Hardly.  A graphic produced by the BC Liberal Caucus on day prior to the release from the Premier (as seen below) was very succinct indeed and yet still managed to capture the entire essence of Condition #4 (both indigenous rights and opportunities).

As everyone knows, official statements such as that made by the Premier above are gone over with a fine toothed comb.  Was this is the first step in priming the public to garner support for ignoring a critical aspect of one of the original 5 conditions?  Or did the communications staff for the Premier drop the ball on this one yet again as they did in 2012?  Is the Premier’s office at odds with the party over the interpretation of condition 4?  Not exactly sure.  Whatever the reason, have the BC Liberals and Christy Clark been consistent on their Five Conditions?  Well the answer is clearly and obviously no.  Probably best to be clear and consistent if you are claiming to be clear and consistent.  Just saying.

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Before leaving this topic it should be noted that Bill Bennett in an interview in Calgary in July 2016 said that the only outstanding issue was spill response so I guess the legal aspect of Condition #4 has already been addressed according to the Bill Bennett and the BC Liberals right?  Oh and of course nothing shows you standing firm on your Five Conditions and having a principled consistent position more than adjusting Provincial Park Boundaries in advance for the Kinder Morgan project before any decision on the project has been made either Federally or Provincially and before all of the Five Conditions have been met (and then putting out a release afterwards saying that it was not until all approvals and conditions had been met although original legislation clearly did not say that).  See the Legislation for carving up Finn Creek Park that has already been enacted (Bill 25 having received Royal Ascent on May 19, 2016).  Saying one thing publicly and doing something different in the back rooms.  The BC Liberals way. Just another example.

Fentanyl/Opioid Overdose Crisis

You may remember recently that Christy Clark and the BC Liberals came under fire for not following the lead of Alberta and creating their own legislation (like Alberta did) in the absence of Federal Legislation concerning pill presses with local police also calling for the legislation saying that there is no legitimate reason to have a pill press.  You may also remember that back in July that Mike Farnsworth and the BCNDP had introduced a bill banning pill presses but that got caught up in the cancelling of the Fall sitting of the legislature.  So in the midst of the crisis the Solicitor General Mike Morris was trotted out to say the now oft-repeated line that pill press legislation was a Federal responsibility so no unilateral action would be forthcoming from the Province but that if no action was forthcoming from the Feds that B.C. would proceed with its own Provincial legislation in the Spring (huh, read that one again a couple of times, can’t have it both ways except in BC Liberals Land I guess).  Besides, even if there was a ban on pill presses, pill-form fentanyl would just come from outside of the Province said Morris arguing against any kind of local legislation prohibiting any matter of any kind (assault rifles, tactical nuclear weapons, etc.) as of course it would just come from elsewhere anyway (where exactly do they get these people?).  And so, what could have been at least a tangible step to try to help ease the Fentanyl/opioid crisis was ignored.  Skip ahead a couple of weeks and to great fanfare, the BC Liberals decided to open two supervised injection sites unilaterally via a ministerial order because of “Federal inaction“.

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Described as a “major policy shift”, MLA Terry Lake was quoted as saying that, “We can’t wait for federal changes in order to save people’s lives”.  Wait?  What was that again?  So no problem going your own way unilaterally when it suits you politically (when you can sell it as you taking “strong action”) but defer to the Feds responsibility in the case of the pill presses as otherwise it would mean acknowledging that the BCNDP was correct on the issue?  Huh?  Are those the actions of a clear and consistent government caring about the people or governing only through considering what is politically beneficial?  No matter how you slice it the phrases “major policy shift” and “strong and consistent leadership” are clearly incompatible.  Heck the Premier and her government can’t even tell hope much money they spent on the crisis giving three estimates in three days.

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Other jurisdictions have shown strong and consistent leadership by doing what was best for the people first as people were literally dying in the streets (see Alberta), not so much the BC Liberals.  The BC Liberals sat on their hands seemingly not wanting to upset their base or (god forbid) acknowledge that the BCNDP were ever possibly right on anything (on pill presses, etc.).

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Oh yes, and please do go ahead do congratulate yourselves.  Congratulations again for doing nothing when people were and are literally dying in the streets and then taking the credit for the actions of others.  Please do.

And then there was this.  In her year-end interview with News 1130 Clark called the opioid crisis the biggest story of 2016.  clark-fent

Yet when her Health Minister Terry Lake was asked about the “biggest story of 2016” he suggested that no one saw the overdose crisis coming. What?

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Boggles the mind sometimes.  How could his ministry not have spotted, oh I don’t know this trend…

Or read the papers like this article from last year or listened to your own ministry that was warning about the impending crisis three years ago (see below).  That is not clear and consistent leadership.  That is called sitting on your hands.

Premier’s Meeting as Political Performance Art

At the recent Dec. 9 Premier’s meeting on Climate Change Premier Clark told reporters and anyone who would listen that BC would sign the plan as BC had concerns that other Provinces with a cap and trade system would not be able to reach the price the plan calls for by 2022.   This was after of course in September of this the Premier writing in a statement on September 26 that “other’s may choose a broad-based cap and trade system and that’s fine.  We recognize that either system will achieve emission reductions”.  Well that doesn’t seem consistent does it?

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Then at the recent carbon tax meeting she said that it was not OK in its current form and then later that same day after getting assurances that the system would be reviewed in 4 years, an about-face from the Premier occurred with the Premier saying that everything was all good now and saying that she would be signing on to the agreement after all.

The usual BC Liberals cheerleaders were quick to praise her “clear and consistent leadership” even though her position quickly had changed many times (twice in one day in fact).better-grewal

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Those far right observers who originally were quick to congratulate Premier Clark for her “strong stand” for Western Canada along side climate change denier Conservative Brad Wall,

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were quick to see that flip flop in her position and call it for what it was, disingenuous political posturing.

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Moreover it later came out that indeed that the key Provincial ask (a Provincial comparable review of carbon cutting in 2020) was already signed before Clark stepped up to the mike for her disingenuous public performance.  In fact when she went to the podium to announce that she wouldn’t be signing the agreement, there was already an agreement in place.  And her big win according to the BC Liberals cheerleaders (as seen above)?  A single sentence stating that “BC will assess the interim study in 2020 and determine a path forward to meet with climate change objectives”.

Lastly, as pointed out by Gary Mason (of all people),

The fact is, Ms. Clark’s act of bravado on the national stage was a convenient distraction from an ugly truth: Once considered Canada’s climate leader, B.C. is now an embarrassing environmental laggard.” With emissions projected to increase by 39% by 2030 and certainly missing its targets by 2020….“If the province intends to ignore its targets, both in the short-term and long, why be part of some grand plan to reduce emissions nationally?

Indeed.  Rather than actually showing strong and consistent Climate leadership, the BC Liberals just say that they are doing that and hope that no one notices.  The fake nature of their climate leadership announcement has now become both an iconic and ironic “tell” in so many ways.

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So would strong and consistent describe the bizarre political performance art performed by the Premier at the Premier’s conference on climate change?  Hardly.

On a side note, it is interesting to note that the BC Liberals were (and still are) exuberantly celebrating having an independent review of the carbon tax in 2020 while at the same time being so resistant to any suggestion that Site C be the subject of an independent review via the BC Utilities Commission etc.  Again hardly clear and consistent.  All actions by this government appear to be completely inconsistent and completely politically motivated.

Yamamoto’s Letter and Then No Letter Letter 

And there is this.  On December 13, MLA Naomi Yamamoto, the Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, one of those usually at the kids table politically within the BC Liberal government in the made up Minister of State portfolio of Emergency Preparedness, wrote to Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc expressing her and her government’s concern over the closure of the Coast Guard Communications Centre in Comox, an initiative originally started by the previous Harper Government.  It was portrayed at the time as the BC Liberals standing up strongly to protect the interests of BC against those nasty Feds with the Comox Communications base (as expressed by Minister Yamamoto in her letter) being considered part of the “World Leading ocean spill response”, one of the vague subjective conditions required for the support of the Kinder Morgan pipeline (described above).  It didn’t hurt that it fit within the BC Liberals’ declared strategy of trying to expand their seat base on Vancouver Island but that’s another story.  Anyway, two days later it appears that Minister Yamamoto really wasn’t all that serious about writing the letter, that she must have had her fingers crossed at the time that she wrote it, suggesting that it was all a big mistake, and promptly apologized to Ottawa for writing the letter.  Huh?  That’s leadership?  Apparently, either Minister Yamamoto or one of the infinite number of monkeys typing an infinite number of ministerial communications and press releases for the government got it all wrong.  Minister Yamamoto, rather than standing up and taking responsibility for the letter which was presumably signed by her if it left her ministry, hung her staff out to dry and said that the letter was “inadvertently sent to the federal government from her office”.  Now there’s true leadership.  According to my definition, a strong and consistent government does not issue a letter demanding one thing one day only to apologize two days later and then hang your staff out to dry when things go bad, but maybe that’s just me.

Bill 27 Flip Flop: Human Rights Code Amendment Act Changes in Regards to the LGBT Community

Lastly, and then their was their flip flop and the controversy surrounding Bill 27, the Human Rights Code Amendment Act.  Here is a video that eloquently details the flip flop and includes BC Liberals MLA for Chilliwack-Hope (Laurie Throness) empassioned speech against the legislative change to explicitly protect the LGBT community.

Do remember too that despite Christy Clark turning up for the photo-op for the event on the legislative steps (see below)

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that she actually skipped the actual vote on the legislation in order to attend a fundraiser in Surrey instead.  Because you know, priorities.  It should also be noted that despite the smiling faces on the Legislative steps that the BC Liberals had blocked the introduction of similar legislation in the Legislature many other times.

Provincial Debt

Have a look at this video.   In it Christy Clark decries how terrible leaving debt to our kids is.

And yet, her government is responsible for this.  A massive increase in debt that will be her government’s legacy for generations.

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Flip Flop on Taxing Real Estate Transactions 

Then there was the time that Christy Clark in a letter to Gregor Robertson in June of 2015 that there was no reason to institute a tax on luxury housing for a variety of reasons.

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And yet about a year later her government as we now know introduced a 15% tax on foreign home buyers.

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Flip Flop on $50,000 Party Stipend

(Source: Tim Jones, Vancouver Sun).

On January 20, 2017 Premier Christy Clark announced that she would be no longer be taking a controversial $50,000 stipend from the BC Liberals party.  This was of course after she initially denied the existence of the stipend calling it a “car allowance and various BC Liberal apologists such as Jillian Stead suggesting that there was nothing wrong with the practice because it had been that way for a long time (I kid you not) and the Minister of Inappropriate Outbursts and General Chortling, Rich Coleman saying that it was pretty common don’t you know (when it fact it isn’t).  So why the backtracking and flip flop regarding the stipend?  Some have speculated that it was due to the attention locally via Gary Mason and internationally via the Dan Levin New York Times article calling out the BC Liberals for the unsavoury  practice.  I think otherwise.  I think that the polling on this topic was bad and that the BC Liberals flip flopped on their position on it accordingly (not the first time that the BC Liberals govern by polling that’s for sure).  And where were the usual BC Liberals cheerleaders extolling the virtues of so-called strong leadership on this matter?  Nowhere to be seen of course as nothing says strong leadership more than slipping the announcement in during a North Shore Rescue announcement on a Friday evening and then calling it just “a distraction”.  No admission that it was wrong and had always been wrong?  Yeah, right.  Sorry but that’s anything but strong leadership.

So there you have it.  Eight relatively recent examples all showing clearly inconsistent statements and leadership, weather vane politicking, and flip flopping by Christy Clark and the BC Liberals.  By just saying that your leader and party is “clear and consistent” or “strong and consistent” just doesn’t make it so.  That may play to your base but the electorate out there (if you haven’t noticed) is angry and not stupid.  They know.  Believe me they know.  And they can see right through you.

The Optics Are Just Bad: Kim Baird’s Night at the BC Liberals Fundraiser

Some rather unnerving social media posts emerged from last night’s big money BC Liberals fundraiser at the Convention Centre in Vancouver.  Unnerving that is for anyone who was holding out any hope that the Federal Liberals’ additional parallel review of the Kinder Morgan expansion project was going to be anything close to being a fair and impartial exercise and not instead just an elaborate “going through the motions” exercise in order to help facilitate an already done deal.  The images emerged from the social media timeline of one of the three individuals selected to be on the three person ministerial review panel selected by the Trudeau Liberals to review the Kinder Morgan proposal, namely from the Twitter feed of former Tsawwassen Chief Kim Baird.  First there was the selfie at the exclusive pre-party with controversial B.C. Liberals Environment Minister Mary Polak, the former book banning School Trustee who was recently on the hot seat over her dismissal of the opinion of 90 academics including many climate scientists regarding Site C “doesn’t meet with reality” and who has been roundly criticized as being a shill for the LNG and fossil fuel industry.

Then there was a tweet regarding the start of the Premier’s speech

and then a rather odd selfie taken with Premier Christy Clark.

Now of course people are entitled to their political opinions and Ms. Baird is free to support (however misguidedly) the BC Liberals or anybody else for that matter.  She is also free to be a big money doner to the party for that matter (see what appears to be her one time $4,500 contribution to the BC Liberals last year below) (Credit:Bob Mackin).

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That said however, to go to and be photographed at a political fundraiser for one of the major stakeholders in the review process (the BC Government in this case) while a member of a specially appointed panel entrusted with impartiality (one would hope and presume) I would suggest shows very poor judgement on her part.  The optics are very bad.  Imagine seeing Annette Trimbee, one of the other members of the Federal Review panel appointed by Trudeau going to and being photographed with BC NDP’s John Horgan at a BC NDP fundraiser, a person who has said that the Kinder Morgan Project is not in B.C.’s interest?  How about those optics?  Or perhaps one of the other members of the Federal Review panel, Tony Penikett, turning up at a BROKE Fundraiser and being photographed with Burnaby Mayor Derrick Corrigan, and/or some other opponent of the Kinder Morgan Project?  What would you say then?  No problem?  Presumably these individuals would show better judgement and not place themselves in those kind of situations.

For those who thought the BC Government’s Five Conditions concerning heavy oil (bitumen) pipelines were nothing more than a disingenuous, insincere, contrived shrewd political theatre (does anybody really believe that the BC Liberals won’t eventually support the Kinder Morgan project, I mean come on really?), the optics presented by these posts surely lends credence to the interpretation by some, particularly First Nations opponents to the project, that the fix is already in and that the review panel entrusted to be impartial will in fact not be impartial at all and will vote in favour of the proposal.  These posts also appear to lend credence to the not-so-muted whispers circulating around certain circles and on social media questioning Ms. Baird’s lack of impartiality concerning fossil fuel pipelines given her past working connections with Kinder Morgan, her prior favourable description of the Kinder Morgan project as being “enlightened”,

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Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan Canada pictured with Kim Baird in 2011 (Source Kinder Morgan).

and her current ties to pipelines and the LNG industry specifically in terms of her association (as a lobbyist /consultant) for the controversial Woodfibre LNG project.  Again, the optics are very bad.  Should Ms. Baird be able to freely express her personal political opinions at all times?  In normal circumstances I would definitely say “Yes”.  However, when you are appointed to a Federal Review Panel, you are actively engaged in the review process, and have been entrusted to review a project (presumably) with complete impartiality, I would argue that it was/is a major lapse in judgement to attend the political fundraiser of one of the major stakeholder in the review process that you are overseeing.  Again, the optics are just bad.  Perhaps she should have shown a bit more  discretion in this case.  It seems to me that Ms. Baird should have given the event a pass, and stayed at home and watched the supplied stream online like the rest of us who can’t afford the seat at the $10,000 a plate Premier’s Table.  In other words, yes Ms. Baird you really probably should have refused that selfie with Premier Clark after all because the optics are/were kinda bad.

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