Friday, December 28, 2012

Words of Wisdom from Premier Clark

This story still has legs, as they say, hahaha. But then, it's a really slow news week.

Thousands and thousands of taxpayer funds are going into special media handlers for our illustrious leader & BC government media spies (yes, I see you) and this is the best we get. Really? 

Women who make the decision to go into politics are a tough bunch. And yes, women face double standards in virtually every setting still. It's what makes women the stronger sex by a long shot, because they have to fight harder to achieve anything.

What is missing in the critiques are a Premier who simply comes across in a really stupid, self-serving way much of the time she's in front of a microphone, or camera. As the audio clip demonstrated, her vanity got the better of her, but she did display a sense of humour. And if people don't think male politicians get ambushed sometimes, they haven't listened to other radio shows, like 99.3 CFOX's Jeff O'Neill show, which routinely takes the piss with people from all walks of life. Check out audio clip of her stint on O'Neill & gang's show here.

I'll actually give Premier Clark a thumbs up on this one. She rolled with the joke and moved on and didn't get all self-righteous about it. Let's face it - she was right. It is better to be a MILF than a cougar! Am I right, ladies? hahahaha
by Miranda Nelson on Dec 28, 2012, Georgia Straight. 

In an interview with  98.9 JetFM in Courtenay, B.C., morning host Drex asked the premier "what it’s like being a MILF?", ostensibly on behalf of a caller.

However, instead of getting offended at the incredibly sexist question, Ms. Clark just laughed. And then answered the question.

"You know, I take that as a compliment … you know, it’s one of those things. Better a MILF than a cougar … so tell [the caller] I said thank you."

Really, Premier Clark? I know you're not a great advocate for families or children or, well, anything else, but can't you at least advocate for yourself? The only acceptable answer to a question like that is, "That's inappropriate" or "You got the premier of the province on your radio show and all you can do is reduce her to a sexual object?"


MILF or cougar: A premier shouldn’t have to choose, so why did she do so publicly on the radio?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A MILF for a Premier? At least she ain't no Cougar!


OMFG as the kids say, this is our PREMIER! 

Andrew in Comox asked what its' like being a MILF (Mother I'd Like to F#$K in case you're not sure what it means)?

And I quote from our illustrious leader:

"I take that as a compliment... It's better a MILF than a cougar, I think.... tell him thank you very much I appreciate it."

Listen & weep at the 2:00 mark:

Is Christy Clark a MILF?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Leading Us into the Red: BC Liberals Fiscal Management

With only a few short months to go until the May 2013 election there is more well deserved bad news for the BC Liberals fiscal management.

So, while they keep ramming their "BC Jobs Plan" taxpayer-funded ads down our throat to the tune of $15 million we know that they are a lie and BC is not growing and stable for a growing majority of us. 

A government that has no ability to forecast the obvious - falling revenue streams and less funds in the coffers, is a government that is over.

Moody's reduces outlook on BC debt from "stable" to "negative"


Moody's Investor Service is lowering its outlook on BC's 39 billion dollars worth of debt, from "stable" to "negative".

Moody's says BC is taking a hit because of low natural gas prices.

It goes on to say despite the challenging financial situation, BC has the needed flexibility to recover.

B.C.'s debt rating downgraded by Moody's
CBC News, Dec. 12, 2012.

The prominent credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service has downgraded B.C.'s financial outlook, lowering the province's debt rating from stable to negative.

Moody's says the downgrade reflects B.C.’s worsening financial situation.

Recent drops in royalties from resources like coal and natural gas have lead to a spike in the deficit, and investors worry about the government's ability to avoid increasing the overall debt even further.

The province's second quarterly financial report last month indicated the province's annual deficit was projected to reach $1.47 billion, up from an earlier forecast of $1.1 billion.

Given the change in Moody’s rating, the B.C. NDP’s Bruce Ralston said he wonders how Finance Minister Mike de Jong can still claim to be on track to balancing the books.

"This kind of view of the budget-making process, I think, means it will be increasingly difficult for Mr. de Jong to be taken seriously in his boasts that he's going to balance the budget."

The forecast comes as a separate RBC Economics Provincial Outlook suggests B.C.'s economy will be tugged in opposite directions in 2013 — but growth should stay at about the same level as this year.

RBC projects provincial growth at about 2.3 per cent in 2013, only slightly above the 2.1 per cent forecast for this year, and close to the national average of 2.4 per cent. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

3rd Party Election Advertising & Martyn Brown Becomes a Cheerleader for Adrian Dix

Expect 3rd party advertising ahead of BC Election
Sean Leslie | Email news tips to Sean

Premier Christy Clark has no plans to take big money out of BC politics, in part because of a recent court ruling.

While the Federal Government and several Provinces have banned union and corporate donations to political parties, the issue is clearly not a priority for the BC Liberals.

Clark says a recent Court ruling that struck down strict limits on third party advertising makes the issue moot, "They're allowed to spend as much as they want without limit. It really renders the whole debate about whether or not there are union or corporate donations to political parties irrelevant, doesn't it?" 

Of course, such a ban would blow a huge whole in Liberal finances. Corporations donated 5.5 million dollars in 2011, while unions gave just 865 grand to the NDP.


Martyn Brown: Dix will probably win in part because he’s listening to everyone

The Province, December 10, 2012. 

Some in the mainstream media feasted on The Province’s shocking revelation Friday that the B.C. Federation of Labour openly supports the NDP and is contributing ideas to their election platform. Scoop! Front-page news, supported by an 11-page summary that divulged Big Labour’s secret strategy developed by thousands of union “insiders” who met behind closed doors.

Seems the unions still want to elect an NDP government. Who knew? There you have it: irrefutable proof that Adrian Dix is in Jim Sinclair’s pocket. Or as the B.C. Liberal campaign director Mike McDonald, put it, “[Dix] tried to fool people that he was a moderate with a modest agenda . . . he just got busted.”

Stupid me. I still tend to believe Mr. Dix when he says that he will raise corporate taxes a hair, possibly increase personal income taxes on those earning upwards of $150,000 to $200,000 a year, and tinker with the Labour Code and employment and workplace safety standards in ways that will cause little widespread consternation.

What is more fascinating and most unnerving to the governing party is Dix’s cleverly unhidden agenda. The real scoop is this: Dix and the NDP are not just winning over the wallets of many so-called “free enterprisers,” they are also winning over their respect, their qualified trust and their good will to help as appropriate in developing better public policies, come what may. Which is to say, it is not just the B.C. Fed and all of the other “usual suspects” that are shaping the NDP’s platform; voices for positive change also hail from the most unlikely quarters. In boardrooms, ballrooms and backrooms across B.C., many people who never previously supported the NDP are now speaking directly to Dix and company to be heard as they prepare their platform.

What really worries the NDP’s frustrated critics is that Dix is actually listening in ways that are melting down the partisan suppositions, dispositions and misconceptions that fuel partisan fear and activism by preventing any potential for constructive engagement and discourse. Although he makes no bones about his ideological leanings, Dix is showing his smarts by taking the exact opposite course that Premier Christy Clark has chosen. He is learning to lead by listening openly to business and other community leaders who have much to say, teach and share when they are invited to meet. If it’s a schtick, it’s working, particularly for women voters, nearly 75 per cent of whom are now smiling back at Clark and saying, “no thanks” to her party.

Many British Columbians are tired of the polarized, partisan politics that has defined our “winner take all” approach to government. They want to believe that this time, just maybe, there is hope for new dialogue and a new meeting of the minds with whomever forms the next government. Currently, the odds are 10 to 1 that will be the NDP.

Forget about the pictures juxtaposing Dix’s image with Sinclair’s angry mug. Focus instead on the more surprising images of all those business leaders walking boldly by the cameras, or clapping politely in unison, as they come to listen and speak with the likely premier-in-waiting and his senior team at each major speech and unprecedented NDP fundraiser.

Most of them are not attending those luncheons and soirees to simply ingratiate themselves with the man who stands to form the next government. Some are, no doubt. For the most part, they are daring to show their interest in Dix, if not their support, for one overarching reason: they just want to build a better B.C. Many of those new NDP donors are also just tired of the eternal pendulum swings every time the government changes and the mindless militancy that creates more problems than it solves.

In today’s global economy, the structural challenges we face are so much greater than our capacity to answer them in isolation. The opportunities for social progress and sustainable economic growth similarly demand our collective input, effort and attention.

Those business types who are talking behind closed doors with the NDP are trying to open new doors that governments past and present locked shut. They are willing to lay down their guard, reach out for new relationships and work co-operatively and constructively with their ideological opposites in ways that are long overdue, no thanks to the likes of me or Dix, when we each served as senior advisers to our former bosses.

Though it may pain some in the NDP who want no truck or trade with those who typically support other parties, my guess is, Dix will be different if he forms the next government. Indeed, he seems prepared to accept help from across the spectrum, wherever he can get it, within limits that are no less applicable to his party faithful. Or maybe I’m just eternally naive and hopelessly idealistic in my increasingly ambivalent ideological mindset that is the product of learning the hard way how far from ideal our past approaches to government really are in best serving the public interest.

Martyn Brown, former premier Gordon Campbell’s chief of staff and a former B.C. deputy minister of tourism, trade and investment, is the author of the ebook, Towards A New Government In British Columbia.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Spinning the Job Numbers: Creating Something out of Nothing

No other way to say it: The BC Government is fudging its job creation record 
- December 8th, 2012.
  • While Clark campaigns to be number one on job creation, BC is actually the worst in the West and 4th worst in Canada
  • BC government is making false claims about the performance of the BC Jobs Plan
The headline news from Statistics Canada Friday morning was not good for the government of Premier Christy Clark. In it’s monthly jobs report, Statscan reported an unexpected and surprising jobs boom in Ontario and Quebec but the worst performing province in November compared to October was B.C. Statscan reported 4,700 jobs were lost in B.C. in the month and the unemployment rate rose to 6.8% from 6.7%.

Clark’s government, having staked a good chunk of her political fortunes on the BC Jobs Plan she announced on Sept. 22, 2011, now gets cheered or jeered once a month when Statscan publishes the scorecard on how Clark’s Jobs Plan is doing.

Perhaps in anticipation of a few jeers, the BC government was out early with a press release trying to spin some silver linings into what was otherwise a rather dark cloud. The press release announced that “B.C.’s investment in job creation provides stability” and seemed to rather hope that you wouldn’t look under the hood or examine any of the facts too closely.

The press release notes, for example, that if you look at the year-over-year job numbers for B.C., things don’t look that bad. B.C. job creation record is fourth overall! Just one problem with settling for fourth: The premier quite loudly promised to be number one. That’s what I heard when Clark spoke to the B.C. Liberal convention at the end of October and it’s what The Vancouver Sun’s Jonathan Fowlie (and many other B.C. reporters there) zeroed in on as the key takeaway from the speech:
“We have set out these bold goals and we are reaching our targets,” she continued, adding that while she will to announce additions to the plan in the weeks to come, it will form the bedrock of her party’s campaign.
“I’m going to run in the next election on the strong economy. I’m going to run on (being) number one in job creation,” she said.
And yet, the press release issued by Clark’s government concedes:

With 29,400 job gains since November 2011, B.C. ranks fourth compared to other province.

If you measure the year-over-year performance on a relative basis — the percentage change in the number of employed people — B.C. is doing much worse than fourth. It’s actually sixth or, to put it another way, fourth worst. B.C. has year-over-year employment improvement of 1.29 per cent, just ahead of Ontario’s 1.27 per cent improvement but behind Newfoundland (+3.79%), Saskatchewan (3.07%), Quebec (+2.78%), Alberta (1.82%) and Manitoba (1.36%). In fact, as the astute reader will have already noticed, B.C.’s employment growth over the last year is the worst among the Western provinces. Now fourth best in absolute terms versus sixth best in relative terms is the kind of spin you’d expect in a press released.

What you don’t expect, down there at the bottom of the press release, is a line which can only be described as a falsehood:

Since the release of ‘Canada Starts Here: the BC Jobs Plan’, B.C. has added 41,800 net new jobs …

In November, 2012, Statistics Canada reports there are 2.3127 million British Columbians who had a job.  Subtract the number of jobs in September 2011 from the number recorded in November 2012 and you have 13,900 more net new jobs no 41,800 net new jobs.

In fact, since the Premier announced her “BC Jobs Plan” 14 months ago and announced she was going run on being number one in job creation just over a month ago, the record on job creation is rather pedestrian. Comparing September 2011 to November 2012:
  • While B.C.’s population has grown by 1.1 per cent over the last 14 months,  net new job growth is about half that or 0.6 per cent.
  • Though B.C. workforce is now bigger in absolute terms (+14,500) , it is smaller in the arguably more important relative way, namely the ratio of those British Columbians in the work force (you add up the number of employed, partly employed and those who say they’re unemployed) to those not in the work force (Students, retirees, the independently wealthy and so on).  This is the labour force participation rate and it sits now at 64.8 per cent. It was 65.1 per cent when the Jobs Plan was announced.
  • The unemployment rate when the Jobs Plan was announced was 6.8 per cent. The unemployment rate 14 months later is 6.8 per cent.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Fiscal Cliff This: Clark Endorsed by Fraser Institute for bringing in $1.5 Billion Deficit

Proving yet again that the Fraser Institute has zero credibility and even less understanding of the real financial picture of the BC government. Did they miss Minister of Finance Mike De Jong telling the taxpayers of BC that the BC Liberal government is predicting they will bring in a deficit of $1.5 billion?

Clark above average at fiscal management: Fraser Institute

, Dec 6, 2012, Business in Vancouver

Premier Christy Clark has a better-than-average fiscal policy when compared with those of Canada’s other premiers, according to the results of a Fraser Institute study released this morning.

Measuring the Fiscal Performance of Canada’s Premiers 2012 ranks 10 premiers – eight current and two former – on three components of fiscal policy: government spending, taxes and debt and deficits.

Clark’s ratings were above average in all categories.

“Our report shows which premiers have put their provinces on track for economic growth and which have not,” said Charles Lammam, associate director of the Fraser Institute Centre for Tax and Budget Policy and co-author of the report.

Premier Clark had a rating of 60.8 out of 100 for fiscal management policies overall, compared with an average of 45.9.

The premiers who had the highest rankings overall were:
  • Kathy Dunderdale (Newfoundland and Labrador): 71.4;
  • David Alward (New Brunswick): 70.4; and
  • Brad Wall (Saskatchewan): 61.6.
The lowest ranked premier overall was Manitoba’s Greg Selinger, with a score of 19.2 out of 100.

The B.C. premier’s rankings in each of the three individual categories are:
  • government spending: Clark – 54.5; average – 35.73;
  • taxes: Clark – 62.8; average – 50.48; and
  • debts and deficits: Clark – 65.0; average – 51.42.
“Sound fiscal policy means premiers have to manage government spending prudently, balance budgets and avoid imposing a tax burden so heavy that it becomes a disincentive for people to work hard, save, invest and be entrepreneurial,” said Lammam.

The complete study can be found at the Fraser Institute’s website.


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Price of Silence: BC Taxpayers on the Hook for Government Employees Legal Expenses

Some people just won't let sleeping dogs lie, eh? Thank the Gawds for people like BC's Auditor General who is like a dog who knows a juicy bone is buried in the backyard somewhere. He keeps digging and digging on behalf of taxpayers. 

As it mentions below, this isn't just about Basi-Virk, BC taxpayers have been on the hook for about 100 payments to BC government employees over the last 15 years, or so.
The government has not taken a position in the case, but a lawyer known as an amicus curiae was been appointed for unrepresented interests. Michael Frey opposed access to the files.

Independent MLA John van Dongen was also granted intervenor status in the case. Van Dongen is pushing for the files to be released because he believes a complete audit is in the public interest.

Basi and Virk admitted in the fall of 2010 to leaking confidential BC Rail documents, only months into a criminal trial that took six years to commence. The documents were handed to a lobbyist for a U.S. company that was bidding on a section of BC Rail after the Liberal government decided to privatize the railway.

Auditor General back in court over BC Rail documents
Laura Baziuk | Email news tips to

A judge has reserved his decision in the BC Auditor-General's case to try and get access to more documents related to the BC Rail scandal.

In John Doyle's sights are documents from a lawyer and two government aides who pleaded guilty to wrongdoing in the sale of BC Rail.

Those records from Dave Basi and Bobby Virk are protected under solicitor client privilege.

A lawyer appointed by the court to examine the matter argues Doyle's authority does not trump client privilege.

Lawyer Louis Zivot says Doyle's limited access wouldn't breach that privilege.

"If an auditor does not have access to solicitor-client information to do his audits, they may be impaired."

Doyle claims those files will shed more light into why taxpayers had to pick up the massive legal tab.

Lawyers had made final submissions in chambers, picking apart the Auditor-General's role, and arguing whether the public interest overrides that client privileg before the judge reserved his decision.

Monday, December 03, 2012

File Under "Even Bad Media is Good Media" in an Election Cycle

Are they out of their fool minds??? Where are all of those overpaid taxpayer-funded Communications people while she is out doing stupid stuff like this? Examining their inclusion criteria, I'm wondering how she got included.

The Worthy 30: Vixens of Vancouver

Shinan Govani | Dec 1, 2012, National Post.

Welcome to the Worthy 30, our regular report on the highest echelons of the eligible. We’re in the 604 for this edition, and we begin with the ladies. Based on my own social gallops ’round the scenic town and some pithy recommendations, here they are! How did we come up with these names? Let’s review: To be eligible, one needed a modicum of attractiveness, some discernment, a dollop of accomplishment and that un-pin-downable thing we call ‘It.’ Some of these choice chicks are more famous than others. Others are more available than some (to qualify, they needed to be unmarried, unengaged or unterminally shacked-up!). Oh, and, P.S.: next week we do it all over again — with the lads! Tune in then!

Christy Clark

Postmedia News Service 

Age: 46
Occupation: Premier of British Colombia [Ed. tick tick tick goes the Countdown]

The buck stops with the leader of Canada’s most westward province, who reached the political pinnacle with seat-of-the-pants gusto, silver-tongued populism and single-mom pluck.

Dream dinner guests Leonard Cohen, Rick Mercer, Louise Arbour, Margaret Thatcher, Michelle Obama. [I'm sure Maggie would have some valuable advice for destroying a government.]

Words to live by “Get out there, do good, but be great.” [Who said it?]

Favourite movie It’s a Wonderful Life. [Call B.S. on this]

The trait you most value in others Kindness.  [Ed. ???]

The quality you most value in yourself Warmth. [Ed. ???]

A person living or dead you most admire Nelson Mandela, who brought his country together with the spirit of forgiveness. [Ok, her media people were in on this.]


Like What You've Done with Those Deck Chairs

BC premier's office announces more staffing changes

By Andrew MacLeod December 3, 2012, The Tyee

There has been another round of changes in British Columbia Premier Christy Clark's office.

Clark's Chief of Staff Dan Doyle announced this morning that Ben Chin will join the office as the director of communications. He is a former television journalist and was a senior media advisor to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty who resigned in October.

Chin is also reportedly a core member of the team working on Justin Trudeau's bid to lead the federal Liberal Party.

Ken Dawson moves from being a ministerial assistant in the education ministry to be the director of policy in the premier's office. Jennifer Chalmers gets a promotion to manager of operations from having been communications co-ordinator and executive assistant to the chief of staff.

And Maclean Kay moves into the communications co-ordinator position from being a communications officer for the government caucus.

Doyle's announcement does not mention any departures, but spokesperson Shane Mills said in an email that there had been three vacancies in the premier's office and today's changes do not affect the total staff numbers or budget.

Six weeks ago Sara MacIntyre was moved from a communications director job in Clark's office into a strategic issues management position in the main communications shop in the Citizens' Services ministry. 

MacIntyre had joined Clark's office earlier this year, a high profile recruit from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's staff.

Also vacant were the issues management and communications co-ordinator positions previously held by Spencer Sproule and Trevor Halford.

In June Clark's office hired Mike Morton as press secretary, a position he had formerly held when Gordon Campbell was premier.

Another federal Conservative who served a short time in Clark's office, Ken Boessenkool, left as chief of staff in September following an 'incident of concern' involving a female government staff person at a downtown Victoria bar.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Our Taxpayer Dollars at Work: Advertising the BC Liberals

Ads should be first items on B.C. Liberal government's chopping block

The red ink is rising so high and so fast at the B.C. legislature that I wonder if it's already completely swamped the brains of the people in charge.

How else to explain the government's insistence on running a campaign of saturation feel-good advertising — at the same time they plead poverty and warn about looming spending cuts and tax hikes?

Don't they realize these TV commercials — self-praising the government for doing such a great job on the economy — are driving people crazy?

I pointed that out to Finance Minister Mike de Jong on Wednesday, and got a dismissive response in return.

"Yeah, I've heard some of those observations," he said, before turning away.

Pressed on the point, de Jong conceded the $15-million ad blitz is unpopular with many, especially since the ads seemed designed to help the Liberals before the May election.
"I've heard them described as partisan," he said. "I understand the controversy."

But he also said the ads are "appropriate" because they're "communicating with British Columbians about the state of their province."

So the multimillion-dollar ad buy will continue — at the same time the deficit is ballooning and the government considers tough measures to deal with it.

De Jong announced Wednesday that this year's deficit has just shot up another $328 million, and now stands at nearly $1.5 billion.

Despite that, de Jong and Premier Christy Clark all but guaranteed the Liberals will balance the books early in the new year.

In fact, de Jong said his Feb. 19 budget will likely boast a surplus of around $200 million, because the Liberals want a big enough cushion to convince everyone the books are truly balanced going into the May election.

So just how will the Liberals go from a $1.5-billion deficit to a $200-million surplus in just over two months?

"We're not in a position to rule anything in or out," de Jong replied, adding spending cuts and tax increases are all being considered to eliminate the red ink.

And as for breaking the piggy bank to suck up to voters?

"There is virtually no room for any kind of big-time, pre-election spending extravaganza," he said.

But there is room to run brazenly partisan ads on your TV set every night. If the government was serious about getting its deficit under control, the ad campaign would be the first thing on the chopping block.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What I Really Meant to Say ...

I think what outgoing Premier Clark really meant to say is that the chickens are coming to roost, folks. Our last decade of privatization, fiscal mismanagement, unparalleled corruption and incompetence and ill-fated attempts to introduce corporate and business models to provide public services has been not only bad social policy, but also, as it turns out, a really, really bad way to run your government. 

The downside of all of this is we are dead broke! Well, lets face it, we're beyond broke. But I'm really, really thankful, you the taxpayers and electorate (suckers as I like to call you in the backroom) will have no idea how bad things actually are until May 2013. By that time, I will already have lined up my next gig. As an aside, it's so helpful to have friends in high places at a time like this. 

So, while I head into my final months as Premier, we're going to keep using taxpayers funds on advertising, because, let's face it - we can get away with it. We're going to continue to pretend we're doing something about child and family poverty with the bafflegab of the "BC Jobs Plan" while we continue to dodge making a real poverty reduction plan.

Most importantly, my little warning here today is going to soft peddle the massive spending cuts we're about to carry out on your taxpaying asses. How does anyone balance a budget when there is a gigantic hole under the cookie jar that has been funneling all of your public funds into the corporate masters our party has been serving for the last decade. And two of the funniest things of all is you, Mr. & Ms. Taxpayer can't do a thing to stop us and a bunch of my own MLA's probably even don't know what's about to happen & they're going to go down with the ship in the next election and they don't even know it yet. But don't worry about me, I'll be okay, because I've got friends.

British Columbians should brace for bad economic news: Christy Clark
But she still vows to balance the province's budget next year

By Jonathan Fowlie, Vancouver Sun, November 27, 2012.

A quarterly economic update to be released by the B.C. government Wednesday "won't be pretty", Premier Christy Clark warned in a speech Tuesday.

"The global economic uncertainty that we're facing has put huge pressure on our commodity prices in British Columbia and it has certainly affected our budget," Clark told the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce.

Clark did not go into specifics, but said that despite the economic turmoil, her government will keep its promise to table a balanced budget for the coming 2013-14 fiscal year.

"We are going to balance our budget nonetheless and we're going to look at everything to do it," she said.

"No we will not cut education. No we will not cut health care but we will do what it takes to get to balance," she added.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong is expected to release the province's second quarterly update on Wednesday morning, which Clark said will provide "a clearer picture of what exactly we're facing."

"I do want to give you the heads up," she added. "It won't be pretty."

When he released the first quarterly report in September, de Jong revealed the province had taken a $1.1 billion hit to projections of the natural gas royalties it planned to take in over three years.

At the time, de Jong promised an immediate hiring freeze across government and a wage freeze for public sector managers, including those at schools, universities and health organizations. He also projected the deficit for the current fiscal year would be $1.14-billion, up $173 million from what had been forecast in the government's February budget.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

British Columbians should brace for bad economic news: Christy Clark

But she still vows to balance the province's budget next year

Read more:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

BC Liberal-style Politics: Throwing the Faithful Soldiers Under the Bus

Excellent analysis and spot on to what we here at this humble blog have been saying. This whole bit of nastiness says more about the festering core of the BC Liberals and Mr. Plecas than anything we could ever rant about. At the very outset of his political career, Mr. Plecas' good name has been tarnished by all of this and now he will lose this seat for the BC Liberals. 

Welcome to politics BC Liberal-style, Mr. Plecas. Faster your seat belt and enjoy your short stay.

Dirty game of politics gets dirtier with B.C. nomination

GARY MASON, The Globe and Mail, Nov. 23 2012.

Darryl Plecas is now officially the B.C. Liberal candidate for Abbotsford South. He shouldn’t be.

The circumstances that surround Mr. Plecas’s acclamation Thursday night should make everyone pause to consider just how desperate and morally broke B.C.’s governing party is. They also raise troubling questions about Premier Christy Clark’s own principles and ethics code.

No one should be treated the way Moe Gill was – even in a game as dirty as politics.

With the blessing and encouragement of Liberal Party officials, Mr. Gill worked for nearly two years putting in place a team to get the nomination in Abbotsford South. He lived in the riding. He was a long-time councillor in the area. For years, he had staunchly supported the Liberals and one of their leading politicians, Finance Minister Mike de Jong. He’d helped Mr. de Jong in his failed leadership bid in 2011. Mr. de Jong, in turn, had assured Mr. Gill the nomination in Abbotsford South was his.

You see, Mr. Plecas was a name, a somebody often quoted in the media. Mr. Gill was just a lowly party stalwart who was naive enough to believe that the word of party powerbrokers actually meant something.

Mr. Gill was stunned. He’d raised thousands of dollars for the riding, the benefits of which Mr. Plecas would now enjoy. He’d spent some of his own money, too, in the process of organizing. Now party HQ wanted him to seek the nomination in Abbotsford Mission, where he had no support and where other candidates had an unbeatable head start. He’d stand no chance.

The riding association executive resigned en masse. Mr. Gill announced he was ending his association with the Liberals. Party brass could not have cared less.

We all know politics is a tough, bruising business. But we don’t have to like it when it’s grotty and deceitful. And we don’t have to like or support individuals who represent values that are anathema to those possessed by most fair-minded Canadians.

What the Liberal Party did to Moe Gill was rotten. By all accounts, Mr. Plecas is a smart and decent person. But he should never have accepted the nomination under the conditions he did. It says as much about him as it does about the party he represents.

When I heard Mr. Plecas on CKNW radio with Bill Good the other day, I wondered what all the fuss about his candidacy was anyway. His answer to Mr. Good’s question about why he wanted to run for office couldn’t have been more facile: because he believes in open and transparent government; because he thinks government should be more inclusive; because he believes we need to think less about why we can’t do things and more about how we can make things work.

Mr. Plecas should have declined the party’s gift-wrapped nomination because he is going to be dogged by this unpleasant bit of business from now until election day. You can’t say you want to run for politics because you believe it can be done differently, because you believe you can take the politics out of politics for the common good, and at the same time represent a party that orchestrated something so cynical, that treated a good and decent person with such contempt.

The great irony here is that the Liberals probably had a shot in Abbotsford South with Moe Gill as their candidate. But what the party did to him almost ensures its defeat there come next May.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dan Murphy, Political Satirist last cartoons for The Province

The bloated, dying corporate media of BC has apparently pulled the plug on the respected political cartoonist, Dan Murphy.

have been told this is my last cartoon for the province. adieu



Dan Murphy: Liberal office electioneering

Dan Murphy: Liberal office electioneering

Friday, November 23, 2012

BC Liberal Fiscal Fail: Education Computer Program

More brilliant fiscal management by BC Liberals. People who have more energy than this intrepid writer should investigate where the money trail leads, because I can virtually guarantee it that the corporation who got the bid to create this software had lobbyists and put money into BC Liberal party coffers. 

Inadequacies confirmed; BCeSIS to be dropped
Janet Steffenhagen, September 19, 2011, Vancouver Sun.

BCeSIS, the BC electronic Student Information System, cost of $16 million to develop and about $11 million a year to operate and maintain, says a story in Monday’s Sun. In addition, the province paid $6.6 million in incentives to the 56 of 60 school districts willing to use the software.

 Last year, in response to complaints, the Education Ministry hired Gartner Inc. to conduct an independent review to determine whether BCeSIS was worth saving. In a Sept. 12 report, the company said it’s time for a change.
“BCeSIS, as currently deployed, is not meeting the business, technical or operational needs of BC and is not a viable future alternative,” Gartner concludes. “Within the current marketplace there exist multiple vendors that would be better able to support the direction of BC and be able to provide the technical architecture necessary to achieve its objectives and goals.”
Updated: Ministry of Education corrects Minister's comments over BCeSIS
Shane Woodford | Email news tips to

The Ministry of Education is clarifying comments made by the Minister over replacing the troubled provincial student enrollment software called BCeSIS.

Education Minister Don McRae had said the contract wouldn't go to tender until this spring.

But the ministry says the request for proposal will actually be issued in a couple of weeks. The Ministry is also updating the cost of the software putting it at $81.3 million as of the end of 2013.

McRae says he is looking for a BCeSIS replacement that is a little cheaper.

"The world is changing and so is technology so I think we are at a place where we can actually get a program that will have better access for teachers and allow, when students go from one district to another, that there information flows with them seamlessly. But right now what we really want to do is use our stakeholder groups whether it is a teacher, a principal, can they give us feedback as to what would make a great program for them."
McRae says new software will be phased in by September 2014.

"Starting the transition period and it will be by 2015 it should be on province wide usage."
When asked if school districts would still have to pay into the new software, like they do with BCeSIS, McRae says "I am not going to guess where we are going to involve going forward what I do want to know is if there is mistakes in the new program or are there things the districts have a real concern about that they are sharing that information with the ministry that we make sure that we get the best possible program out there."

The province decided to scrap BCeSIS after a 2011 review determined the software was falling short of meeting the needs of educators.

The problem plagued software crashed province wide causing widespread frustrations in the beginning of the 2010 school year.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

BC Liberals Politics: The Worst Mistress a Candidate Can Have

Heard Plecas on a radio clip this morning, boy is he in for an eye opener about what the BC Liberals have really been up to over the last decade. He would be smart to have a look at what has happened to all of the other so-called "star candidates" over the BC Liberal reign of terror. 

And wouldn't you know it, Deputy Premier Coleman's paw prints are all over this latest mess. Mark these words: the BC Liberals are going to lose this safe seat.

Now that Van Dongen is gone as a Liberal, there are going to be different ways to split the vote.  I also don't think the people of Abbotsford are going to tolerate these kind of heavy-handed political tactics the BC Liberals have used in this riding any more than voters around B.C. The citizens of BC are tired of people who are BULLIES.

Message to Plecas: You are about to be SCHOOLED!


Liberal riding association quits over Plecas nomination

Michael Smyth, The Province, November 22, 2012.


Darryl Plecas got a golden parachute into politics — and immediately dropped into the middle of a bizarre snake pit.

The outspoken criminologist will be acclaimed today as the Liberals' new star candidate in Abbotsford South, the riding held by hellraising ex-Liberal John van Dongen.

But rather than embracing Plecas as a saviour, Abbotsford Liberals are up in arms. The entire executive of the Abbotsford South riding association has quit in protest.

"The party brass cooked this up in the backrooms and forced it down our throats," said Stephen Evans, who quit as the Liberal riding president along with five other local party executives. Evans and the others wanted Abbotsford city Coun. Moe Gill to be the candidate. Gill said he organized for three years to take a run at the Liberal nomination, and figured he had it in the bag.

"(Deputy Premier) Rich Coleman even came to my house and told me and my wife that I'd be the candidate," Gill claimed Wednesday. "Instead, I feel like the Liberal Party dug a trench, threw me in and dumped a pile of manure on me."

Darryl Plecas got a golden parachute into politics — and immediately dropped into the middle of a bizarre snake pit.
The outspoken criminologist will be acclaimed today as the Liberals' new star candidate in Abbotsford South, the riding held by hellraising ex-Liberal John van Dongen.
But rather than embracing Plecas as a saviour, Abbotsford Liberals are up in arms. The entire executive of the Abbotsford South riding association has quit in protest.
"The party brass cooked this up in the backrooms and forced it down our throats," said Stephen Evans, who quit as the Liberal riding president along with five other local party executives. Evans and the others wanted Abbotsford city Coun. Moe Gill to be the candidate. Gill said he organized for three years to take a run at the Liberal nomination, and figured he had it in the bag.
"(Deputy Premier) Rich Coleman even came to my house and told me and my wife that I'd be the candidate," Gill claimed Wednesday. "Instead, I feel like the Liberal Party dug a trench, threw me in and dumped a pile of manure on me."

Read more:

Plecas said the party kept up the pressure, eventually telling him about three weeks ago he would receive the nomination by acclamation.

Gill, meanwhile, said he was asked to a meeting with a party official at Abbotsford's Cactus Club restaurant, where he was told he wouldn't be the candidate.

"I said, 'Don't do this to me' and they said, 'Too bad, you're not accepted.'"

Gill said he was then "bullied" into signing a statement that he would instead seek the Liberal nomination in neighbouring Abbotsford-Mission.

"I was desperate, so I signed," Gill said. "But I have no support in Abbotsford-Mission. I'm finished. This party just took me out, they destroyed me."

Evans said he thinks Coleman favoured Plecas because they're related. "That's a stretch," Plecas fires back. "Rich Coleman's son is married to my niece. Moe Gill actually knows Rich Coleman better than I do."

Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, November 21, 2012.

VICTORIA — As criminologist Darryl Plecas tells it, he was sitting across from Rich Coleman one day this summer, when out of the blue, the B.C. Liberal cabinet minister and deputy premier asked if he’d consider running for office.

“When hell freezes over,” replied Plecas. He had no self-evident political skills and no taste for the blood sport of B.C. politics.

Coleman persisted. Three decades working and teaching at the University of the Fraser Valley. Policy adviser to governments. Go-to guy for the media on crime, policing, and justice. Would Plecas at least think it over?

Persuaded, Plecas contacted the Liberals. “I’m a soldier,” he told them. “I’ll run wherever you want.”

They wanted him for Abbotsford South, the riding long held by John van Dongen, lately defected from the Liberals to the Conservatives and then to sit as an independent. Plecas lives a half block outside Abbotsford South and the campus where he spent his working life is in the middle of the riding.

He filed his nomination papers, party headquarters green-lighted him as a candidate on Nov. 5, and expedited the nomination meeting for Nov. 22 with him as the only approved candidate.

Plecas had signed up no members and done no campaigning. He had not even met with the riding executive as a courtesy. Still he was to be acclaimed. Party headquarters said so.

Then came Tuesday of this week and the resignation of pretty much the entire constituency executive, protesting what they saw as headquarters freezing out their preferred candidate, Moe Gill.

Gill is a 16-year veteran of Abbotsford city council and the first Indo-Canadian elected to local government in the Fraser Valley. He’s made no secret of his interest in securing the Liberal nomination in Abbotsford South, even back when van Dongen was still a member.

When the incumbent MLA quit the party in March, Gill seized the opportunity to win control of the riding, via the annual election for the executive board. Gill’s longtime associate Stephen Evans was elected president, flanked by a slate of allies.

Once in, Evans and crew waited for the party to schedule the nomination, secure in their belief that Gill, who had been signing up members for months, could defeat any rival.

But other Liberals had their doubts about Gill. He’d barely won re-election in his last run for council. He’d also run for the federal Liberals in 2004, finishing a distant second. They fretted that he’d alienate supporters of the federal Conservatives, clearing the way for van Dongen to win re-election as an independent.

Hence the decision to recruit Plecas as a presumed star candidate and better match for the riding’s right-of-centre proclivities. At the same time, the party hoped to rescue the situation with Gill.

Coleman met with the councillor at his home and urged him to divert his ambitions to neighbouring Abbotsford-Mission, a no-less-reliable bastion of Liberal support where incumbent MLA Randy Hawes was retiring.

Gill balked. So party headquarters sent an emissary, who, as Gill describes it, made it clear that the councillor wasn’t welcome in Abbotsford South, then “bullied” him into signing up to run in Mission.

A cheap diversion as it turned out. Two other candidates were already declared for the nomination and Gill’s supporters were, of course in South. Upon reflection, he repudiated any interest in Mission.

Thus did Gill and his team discover the rough side of Liberal party politics. “We will exact our revenge,” Evans told me. In the next election? “Just watch us,” he replied.

And thus did Plecas get his baptism in the political arena. Any second thoughts? “No,” he maintained Wednesday. He’ll soldier on, starting with tonight’s scheduled nominating meeting, expected to convene against a backdrop of protest from Gill supporters.

Come the election, the rookie Liberal candidate will be challenged from all directions. Van Dongen. The Conservatives. Maybe Gill. And laughing in the midst of it all, Lakhvinder Jhaj, already nominated to run for the New Democrats.

Last time out, her party finished second with 26 per cent of the vote. If she can improve on that by a few points, in a four- or five-way race, it could be enough to win.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun.

Vaughn Palmer: The criminologist and the rough side of B.C. Liberal politics

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