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?
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).
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.
My May 9, 2017 Self
P.S. Oh and buy Apple and Tesla shares now! I mean it!
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)
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”.
“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?
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.
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.).
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.
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?
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).
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,
were quick to see that flip flop in her position and call it for what it was, disingenuous political posturing.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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).
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.
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.
This apparent #1 Priority confusion is not exactly new for Christy Clark too. On July 30, 2012 at a Women-only gathering hosted by the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce, Christy Clark is quoted as saying her “My #1 Priority is Liquefied Natural Gas.” Showing this confusion in the same speech at the same event (no less) she is noted as having said that families must be considered Priority #1 by Victoria.
So what can you say about all this apparent Priority #1 confusion?
Well, it appears in most cases that what is stated as being Priority #1 for Christy Clark and the BC Liberals depends on the audience and the situation in which it is being stated. In practice though it really depending on the perceived political bonus points that could be scored with the audience to which the Priority #1 message is being conveyed. An evaluation of whether or not saying it could be considered a “quick win” if you will. A “tell them what they want to hear and hope that nobody notices” kind of strategy. Could the more recent confusion and shifting of Priority #1 status signify a change in direction policywise and a tacit admission and realization that with the failing fortunes of LNG and no hope in that regard on the immediate horizon that the BC Liberals need to prioritize and rejig their message and downplay the importance of LNG to have any hope of being re-elected? Not really sure. Possibly though.
Then what really is Priority #1 for Christy Clark and the BC Liberals? Quite clearly, Priority #1 is to get re-elected at any and all costs. It is a do anything and say anything free-for-all in that regards where the ends justify the means (as we have seen in the Triple Delete scandal). Want to ignore WCB regulations to get a photo-op in?
Edit: I happened to come across a letter written by Rich Coleman to the Major of Fort St. John which continues the storied tradition of the BC Liberals in telling the audience what they want to hear. In the letter, Mr. Coleman states that “LNG remains the highest priority of the Province” (see below). Old habits die hard. And the Trumpian “BCFirst” mantra unveiled while instigating a new tax on foreign investors. Please. Just more of the same old, same old.