Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Premier Clark Votes No Confidence in her own Government

As my faithful readers know, I've been using this blog to aggregate media on the BC Liberals for some time and yes, to rant and rave. But here in BC, we've gotten to a whole new level where I couldn't even make this $h!t up if I tried.

Our own Premier, Christy Clark, has actually given her own government a vote of No Confidence in explaining why she is refusing to call the Legislature back into session for a fall sitting. If the Premier and leader of the majority government isn't responsible for carrying out the mandate and creating the culture of the Legislature then who the hell is?

I can only surmise that this was one of those unscripted moments where her media wranglers were notably absent and she went off the speaking points that had been carefully prepared for her. They must have some sort of code word for this by now.

Now, going into an election year, I suppose it will be helpful for the voters of Victoria to be fully aware that their Premier and the "leader" of the BC Liberals does not consider them to be "real people." I'm not exactly sure what she would consider them to be, but the dehumanization of the population of an entire city is pretty clear in spite of what spin they're now trying to put on her very honest and sincere comments.

Some relevant facts:
  • The BC legislature only sat for 48 days last year. 
  • The legislature recessed on Thursday, May 31, 2012 almost four months ago.  
  • A fall session of the BC legislature was scheduled to be in operation for only 28 days in October and November 2012.
  • The BC Liberal government apparently plans to cut spending by $241 million this year and $398 million next year to meet budget targets. 
  • It will be almost 9 months between sittings of the Legislature under Clark's leadership. 
  • A provincial election is scheduled for May 14, 2013.
Here are some choice excerpts:

Hutchinson first reported her comments at the end of the summer, but they surfaced again this week in the context of Clark’s decision not to hold a fall session of the Legislature.
She told him: “When the House rises at the end of [May], you’re never going to find me in Victoria.

“I try never to go over there. Because it’s sick. It’s a sick culture. All they can think about is government and there are no real people in Victoria, and you get captured by this inside-the-beltway debate, and it’s really unhealthy.”

Finance Minister Mike de Jong gave a more persuasive and less flattering explanation for the lack of a session when he told reporters recently that it was cancelled because Clark restocked her Cabinet with rookies who need time to learn their portfolios and the government wanted to continue the work started last summer of “reaching out to British Columbians.”

In other words, it lacks the competence at the moment to face the opposition in question period and would rather spend the time campaigning.

It’s not unusual for a fall sitting to be cancelled. But to assert that time spent conducting the formal business of the government would be a waste of time better spent “listening” to the common folk represents a new level of contempt for the political process.

What’s most disturbing is that the contempt is being shown by the one person who is in the best position to improve the “sick culture” and make it more productive.

Or who would be if she had any desire to make it a more effective institution. That doesn’t seem to be on her fall agenda, however.

Some people will say anything to get elected, why the change of heart? Which statements are true? How do you trust someone who changes their spots so fast? Or is there another agenda and isn't that as bad, or worse? See de Jong above.
While running for the B.C. Liberal party leadership in 2011, Clark "told reporters she loved the daily cutandthrust of question period. After she won the party leadership, she expressed a desire to run in a byelection as quickly as possible to get her seat in the house. "As you know, I love question period and I hate to miss it," she told reporters.
When Clark was resigning as an MLA in 2005, during her first stint in office, she also professed love for the job in her last speech in the chamber.

"I have a deep, deep love of politics. I love question period. I love debate. I love the people I've met. I even love the protesters. I love politics."
Some response:
It's little wonder that the Liberals have little support on Vancouver Island if they think the people who live here are part of a sick culture," said John Horgan, NDP MLA for Juan de Fuca.


An open letter to B.C. Premier Christy Clark

I thought I'd write to you about your decision to cancel your provincial legislature's fall sitting.You were supposed to face opposition parties for seven weeks at Question Period and now — nothing.
Your Finance Minister Mike de Jong explained the rationale: 
"The government will be preoccupied over the next number of months in terms of the preparation of the budget blueprint, and continuing what began in the summer and reaching out to British Columbians. That will be the focus for the government."
Is it really too much for citizens to want their leaders to focus on key issues and reaching out — whatever that means — while being held accountable in their own legislature?

Your government hasn't faced the electorate since you won that byelection and became Premier and you do have an election scheduled for May 14, 2013.

So, what's the message here?

That the government doesn't want to hear from opposition parties during a time of deep austerity and cuts?

Or that the government does so little of consequence that there's no need to meet about its activities? Not a lot of good options.

From Twitter:

Premier Clark forced to explain remarks about Victoria

But will they be real people? RT : Next week will see an extra 1500 -1700 politicians in town to attend the UBCM 

Skills training plan could have been good news for Clark, but b/c of her sick Victoria comments, it was derailed.

Carole James says Premier Clark should step down if she doesn't want to come to Capital, legislature

Monday, September 10, 2012

BC Liberals & Conservatives: Struggles to Attract Credible Candidates

Premier Christy Clark is “re-structuring” her cabinet, but a more pressing challenge for her is finding enough credible candidates to carry her party’s tarnished banner in the next election.

The B.C. Conservatives, on the other hand, have yet to demonstrate they possess a disciplined, seasoned process to oversee an election campaign. Cummins once expressed concern to me on a Shaw Voice of B.C. program that his party would attract the wrong kind of candidate who could prove embarrassing.

As I wrote here previously, the B.C. Conservatives have to inoculate themselves from “bozo eruptions” from candidates in the middle of a campaign. They can derail any campaign momentum rather quickly.

Indeed, Cummins himself has just provided the exact kind of comment I’m talking about. In an interview with the Vancouver Sun’s Jonathon Fowlie last week, Cummins compared himself to Jesus Christ no less.

In talking about facing a potential challenge to his leadership, Cummins said he could find only one party board member who wanted him gone. Then, he added this gem of a quote: “I hate to use a Biblical reference but Christ had 12 apostles, and one turned him in. We share the same initials but I can’t rise from the dead and I can’t get unanimity on the board. I wouldn’t expect to be able to. He couldn’t. I can’t.”

Clark’s potential problem when it comes to candidate recruitment is a little different. While Cummins is asking people to come on board a new venture, where the expectations might not be so high, Clark is trying to convince people to jump aboard a ship that is listing badly and seems likely to go under, or at least not right itself any time soon. 

While her predecessor, Gordon Campbell, could woo “star” candidates such as Carole Taylor, Wally Oppal, Margaret McDermiad, Kash Heed and Moira Stilwell with the offer of a cabinet post, Clark is not in a position to do that.

The best she can offer, right now at least, is the chance to be a portfolio critic sitting in the Official Opposition. That’s not the most appealing offer to people who currently have good careers in the private sector.

The one leader sitting in the catbird seat is, of course, the NDP’s Adrian Dix. He’s only losing a handful of MLAs from his caucus (Clark, on the other hand, will lose about 20 sitting MLAs) and his party is well along in the nomination process.

The NDP finds itself in a situation similar to the one it faced in 1991, when it was also heavily favoured to form government. Back then, it got people like Mike Farnworth, Joy MacPhail, Penny Priddy, Andrew Petter, Ujjal Dosanjh and Sue Hammell to run as first-timers, and they all became strong cabinet ministers.

It’s yet another parallel to the pivotal 1991 election, which saw a long-time political dynasty almost disappear from sight. The current premier has a lot of work ahead of her to prevent the same thing happening again next May.

New BC Liberal-inspired Drinking Game:

Family drinking game

The lushes at K&K have come up with a new drinking game. From now until the provincial election on May 14, 2013, we’re going to drink a shot of Baja Rosa every time Premier Christy Clark or someone in her newly shuffled cabinet says the word “family.”

If we had started this drinking game when Clark and her so-called “families first” agenda was ushered into office, we would have a nice buzz going right now. But with the election looming and Clark desperately trying to make a connection with disillusioned voters, we fully expect to be on the verge of liver failure by the time polls close on election night.
In fact, it’s only been a few days since Clark introduced her new cabinet and we’re already comfortably numb from the sweet nectar of tequila- and strawberry-infused dairy products.

According to the Vancouver Sun, Clark wrote a smiley letter to each of her cabinet members stating: “Our government faces many exciting challenges and opportunities in the months ahead. Our success will be defined by our ability to develop and implement an agenda that connects with the priorities and circumstances of B.C. families.” One shot.

“I have established a cabinet working group on family affordability which will work to find savings, and opportunities to provide some relief for household budgets.” Two shots.

“I urge you to identify specific ideas on how our government can help keep life affordable for families.” Three shots.

“What I’m really focused on are families,” Clark told the media Wednesday. Four shots.

“And there are a lot of families who fit into this category—who just feel like they aren’t getting ahead and they’re worried about their future.” Five shots.

Clark then passed the families first peace pipe to her new finance minister, Mike de Jong, who said: “Where we can reduce the [tax] burden further for families, we will explore that.” Six shots.

Clark then got changed into a cheerleader uniform, grabbed a set of pompoms and performed a cheer. “F-A-M-I-L-I-E-S! What does that spell? Families!”

Admittedly, we were pretty wasted on Baja Rosa by the time that occurred, so we may have hallucinated the whole thing.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

BC Liberal Dream Team: September 2012

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Einstein

So cliched, but can it really go unsaid about the shuffling of the deck chairs on the Titanic? It's the best metaphor, sorry. Don't you just love their spin as "Cabinet Renewal?" It's all so comical. It's like they are all suffering some mass delusion that they have a chance of getting in as a majority again. It's almost sad really, if it weren't for all of the people who've been kicked in the teeth over and over again by the BC Liberal government over the last decade.Oh and those people are us. You know, voters.

It's like a game of political Survivor where people are voting themselves off the island one by one. 

BC Liberals Resign: Sinking Ship Or Fresh Start (TWITTER REACTION)

Huffington Post, , Aug. 30, 2012


Christy Clark shuffles cabinet
VICTORIA/CKNW (AM980), 9/5/2012

Office of the (Ill-fated) Premier: Premier Christy Clark Announces Cabinet Renewal

VICTORIA - Premier Christy Clark today renewed her cabinet with a focus on a strong and growing economy, controlling spending and  making life more affordable for families.
"Our government is delivering for British Columbians. This new cabinet brings a renewed commitment to our priorities," said Premier Clark. "That means staying focused on jobs and fiscal discipline and continuing our efforts to make life more affordable for B.C. families. I have directed each minister to stay focused on these priorities."

The new Cabinet is made up of 16 ministers and two ministers of state, plus the Premier. No new ministries have been added, keeping the size of the Cabinet smaller than pre-2011 levels.

There is a new cabinet working group focused on family affordability, and the cabinet committee on jobs and economic growth now includes skills training. A full listing of the cabinet committees and membership is attached in the backgrounder.

The new cabinet is:
* Premier - Hon. Christy Clark
* Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and Minister Responsible
for Housing and Deputy Premier- Hon. Rich Coleman
* Minister of Finance and House Leader - Hon. Mike de Jong
* Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation - Hon. Ida
* Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology and
Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism - Hon. John Yap
* Minister of Agriculture - Hon. Norm Letnick
* Minister of Children and Family Development - Hon. Stephanie
* Minister of Citizens' Services and Open Government - Hon. Ben
* Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development - Hon. Bill
* Minister of Education - Hon. Don McRae
* Minister of Environment - Hon. Terry Lake
* Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations - Hon.
Steve Thomson
* Minister of Health - Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid
* Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister
Responsible for Labour - Hon. Pat Bell
* Minister of Justice and Attorney General - Hon. Shirley Bond
* Minister of Social Development - Hon. Moira Stilwell
* Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure - Hon. Mary Polak
* Minister of State for Seniors - Hon. Ralph Sultan
* Minister of State for Small Business - Hon. Naomi Yamamoto