The role of elected leaders in collective bargaining is to let the parties negotiate without interference.

Generally speaking, voters outside the anti-union right wing tend to support pro-labour parties.

That said, we don’t expect or demand that a government ‘from our side’ to deal out the best terms and big cash settlements (in public sector bargaining) or unduly pressure corporations in the private sector, but that the bargaining teams finally sit across from each other as equals to hammer out terms of a new contract.

In fact, I offer praise and respect when political leaders and elected officials get FAR away from the stage in these contract talks – despite the lure of getting involved.

Its too easy to meddle and put ones finger on the scale when you’re in a position of power. When the BC Liberals were in office, they ran advertising (as taxpayer supported gov’t ads) demonizing the BCTF as demanding items outside of the “affordability zone” as then Education Minister Peter Fassbender often said.

What incentive do employer-negotiators have to move off an entrenched position when their political master underwrites their argument in public like that.

Bad faith.

That is why I appreciate this current government and its effective radio silence in the various public sector negotiations now underway. This respectful tone has allowed the potential of an HEU tentative agreement (with 60k healthcare sector employees).

It doesn’t mean that either side won’t trot out some talking points to pressure the other side by means of public opinion, but there’s well documented risks of negotiating in public – especially if both sides pledge not to do that.

I will say that activists on one side or another can complicate matters for their respective bargaining teams. They don’t act as official spokespersons for the union or employer group, and most often are not even members of said organizations. Free expression is a funny thing, ain’t it?

Having political leaders butt out of negotiations and leaving the parties to settle their own terms isn’t a guarantee of a perfect deal. There’s a 100% guarantee that even if the HEU deal goes through, some folks in the union will argue that they could have got more. Likewise, anti-unionists and rightwingers alike will argue that the deal goes to far.

Pay no attention to those voices.

What matters most is that both sides were free to settle matters free from government interference or coercion and that the members get to decide how this plays out.

my2bits

Neo-liberalism will not save us

This may come as a surprise to many, but the economic upheavals we’re experiencing today were destined to happen long ago. They’ve just been made more profound and extreme by the pandemic.

But we came so close to getting it. So close. The inherent weaknesses in capitalism’s true form, neoliberalism, were laid bare for all to see.

Civic planners and emergency protocols forced the hand of governments to place mobility restrictions and interrupted the economy at the outset of the pandemic. Government responded with some short term assistance, but has largely pulled back everything.

What has happened is that the biggest corporations and wealthiest among us made off with the trillions of assistance dollars made available while housing is pushed even further out of reach for most people.

Workers are just awakening to their actual power just at a time that the inflationary bubble is about to be popped by Wall street and impoverish millions of us.

Mark my words, in the coming weeks and months, neoliberals in their pet parties (federal Liberal and Conservatives) will push the talking point that “we’re living beyond our means” and shift to austerity mode.

Again.

We didn’t cause this financial mess. They did.

This was the opportunity to correct some historic wrongs. We could have created a basic income – at the very least for folks living with disabilities. We could have imposed significant wealth taxes. We could have expanded the social safety net to include dental care. We could have made billions of dollars in investments to public transportation, shifting away from fossil fuels. We could have done so much.

Instead, we’re having arguments whether women should have the right to make independent medical decisions for themselves. (of course they should, this shouldn’t even be a thing).

We’re back to a culture war that divides folks along emotional/religious boundaries while the bandits run off with our national wealth and power.

To be clear, there is no ‘both sides’ of human rights. You are either for the protection of human rights or you’re in favour of taking them away from folks. This isn’t a ‘difference of opinion’ matter. Expanding and protecting human rights is right, taking them away is simply wrong.

The disgusting part of this social culture war is that conservatives have seen fit to include pandemic politics into this madhouse. Once upon a time, conservatives were rational leaders too, while many had different social views than the rest of us – they didn’t question vaccine science.

By crass opportunism or calculation, they’ve moved their big tent posts to grab some of those vaccine skeptical voters along with conspiracy theorists to push narratives that defy logic. Narratives that paint their opposition as fascist, etc.

To any educated mind, this is absolutely bonkers. Conservatives for a long time have positioned themselves as a party of ‘law and order’; only to now embrace defiance of (since repealed) health and safety measures. They do this as part of their recasting of ‘freedom’ vs ‘fascist’ (read: Liberal/NDP arrangement).

It doesn’t matter that every law, regulation, rule that has been imposed on a temporary measure has met a constitutional test and validated by every court where its been challenged. To the Conservatives, its a culture war that draws in votes for their side. To most rational people, it a party headed for the same crazy-ville that the GOP finds itself stuck in thanks to Trump.

It doesn’t matter that the science behind the various Covid19 vaccines is sound and verified. Its true that they’re not perfect, but the overwhelming use of said vaccines, upholding safe practices is how we navigate our way out of this pandemic. But it doesn’t matter to Conservatives.

They’ve latched on to an explosive, emotionally charged, traumatizing issue for which they’re pretending to be on the side of the ‘little guy’ on.

They’re not. They’ve capitalized on this issue because its so explosive and divisive; pandemic fatigue is real. They do this because it blinds voters to all else that moves…including the machinations of the actual corporate elite who just want to get even wealthier at our expense.

Conservatives are ok with this.

Also, so are the Liberals.

The Liberals are complicit in this culture war, not because some might agree with conservative held views, but that it serves them just as well to distract voters from all else that moves.

Liberals agenda is to permanently paint themselves as the only salvation from conservative social dinosaurs, and its largely been successful. The Federal Liberal Party has governed Canada far more often than the PC or CPC party have; and for longer stretches of time too.

But there is a hunger for substantial change; one that re-formats the system. A redistribution of power (not just wealth). That’s not something that neither the Liberals nor Conservatives are prepared to give up on.

This is because they are both supporters of the neoliberal economic philosophy. A philosophy that has driven a wedge between rich and poor like no other. Their wealthy benefactors in corporate Canada fund parties that maintain the status quo.

If team red and blue can keep folks angry about social issues, then there’s no need to worry about changing the system.

Got it now?

my2bits

Gas tax reform should be on the table

But not for the reasons you might think.

As the growing EV sector cuts into fuel demand and consumption goes, so drops the fuel tax levies assessed by almost every level of government. That’s part of the bragging rights of EV owners – “we don’t have to pay that tax, or buy that fuel”.

Which is substantially true. No gasoline or diesel purchases, no fuel taxes paid. This doesn’t mean that driving an EV is cost free. It isn’t. Purchasing electricity through retail charging stations often draw a sales tax, charging at home increases your hydro bill – even though its far less than the cash output by internal combustion vehicle owners.

But what doesn’t change is the need to maintain critical transportation infrastructure. Roads and highways, traffic management, etc..these are all costly items used by EV and non EV users alike.

If you were to fly a drone over top of a massive traffic jam in any North American city, I doubt you could tell the difference between the vehicles of the two varieties of energy consumption.

This is the problem. EV’s occupy a space on the road no different than your previous gas guzzling SUV and apply wear and tear like all other cars and trucks. With rising uptake of EV’s over ICEV’s – the revenue drop from gas taxes will be irreversible. Even if the need to maintain the upkeep of our roads will not.

EV users aren’t looking for a free ride, even if there may have been some significant tax incentives to make the switch.

Full disclosure, my name is on a list to purchase a new EV when it’s available.

We’re making the switch because we’re doing our part to stem the use of fossil fuels, and in my jurisdiction, BC, the highest uptake for EV’s in Canada is right here. Sure, I’d like to save some money on gasoline purchases, but I need the roads maintained like everyone else.

So its time to reform how we look at this.

Gas taxes were easy. Everyone drove a car that requires gas or diesel, just charge a premium at the pump. Government makes a quick buck and is able to fund roads, etc. With the advent of higher efficiency engines and now EV’s, the revenue stream is under threat.

Instead of charging 14.5 cents a litre for gas taxes, perhaps we should apply a per-vehicle fee because you have a vehicle that is driven on public roads.

EDIT: I might leave 2.5 cents/litre of this tax in place in recognition of high fuel consuming vehicles and out of jurisdiction drivers who wouldn’t be subject to a per-vehicle levy as outlined in this article.

Look at it this way, there are approximately 3.7 million licensed vehicles in BC. The provincial gas tax revenue brings in almost $500 million. A straight across the board replacement would see the gas tax removed and a per-vehicle annual charge of $135 imposed (at the time of re-insuring your car).

EDIT: The $135 annual per-vehicle levy could be scaled up or down depending on the road safety record of the driver whose insurance policy covers the vehicle in question. (safe driver discounts).

I would support a continuation of the carbon tax as its a specific application and it could be further utilized to fund the electrification of our roads and highways.

Alternatively, one could have a mileage tax or per-km levy (which could be difficult to enforce or liberal usage of tolls (all bridges and access points); but that smacks of a discriminatory philosophy against those who live well outside the city, rural areas, or cannot avoid vehicular use for work reasons. Not everyone lives in a condo tower in the west end, Metro-Town with quick access to a sky-train.

I should add that I am not at all married to this idea. If there is some better plan to fund our highways, byways and transit, by all means speak up. But as we shift away from fuel consumption, alternative ways to source this revenue are needed.

My2bits

Calling all good men. Wanna help? Sit down please.

As you know by now, the Supreme Court in the USA has revoked ‘Roe V Wade’, the constitutionally significant court ruling from the 1970’s which paved the way for legal access to abortion services in America.

Everyone and their pet rock wants to chime in; not all of it is helpful. Those on the right-wing are hailing this as a victory from their long campaign against abortion. Those left of that position are blown away at the human rights roll back that women in America have known for almost 50 years – gone.

Every ounce of my activist heart wants to beat the drum in opposition to this ‘ruling’ and raise the warning flags that conservatives in Canada wish the very same…because they do; they freely admit that.

Make no mistake: my position is that whatever health decision a woman is contemplating is nobody else’s business but hers to make, and she should do so without government interference but sound, scientifically grounded medical advice from her doctor. Period.

But, I too, need to take a breather here. This is been an attack against women; an attack that is threatening to spread to various other protected groups too. But in standing in solidarity with women as they face this grotesque attack, we, men, need not crowd out women from a platform that is rightly theirs.

You will hear stories from women and how this war against them is so incredibly personal. Some stories will break your heart, others will drive you to rage. But these are their stories to tell.

Women of this nation and America are perfectly capable of telling these stories and capable of conveying the anger/sadness which so many feel. They most certainly do not need us to speak for them.

We should be standing with them.

Lifting them up.

That is what an ally does.

My2bits

Opposition attacks on Royal BC Museum rebuild are some of the most repugnant in BC political history.

See update

Opposition attacks against against the proposed rebuild of the Royal BC Museum coming from the BC Liberals and Greens are sad, but predictable. It’s opportunist too. They both attempt to create a wedge issue (for which they are attempting to be on the right side of) by arguing that it’s a binary choice. They cast it as ‘Museum or healthcare’; or, ‘Museum or education’; ‘Museum or climate change’. You get the picture.

The reality is, and the BC Liberals know it – as they have served in government before (Greens too, in a supporting role in the 2017-20 confidence and supply arrangement with the NDP) – that government can do more than one thing at a time. In fact, we expect it; its literally their job.

Government doesn’t run its books like a household – it cannot do that…and it rightly shouldn’t.

As we continue to climb out from the effects of the pandemic, we go from high unemployment to not-enough-workers. Wages are finally moving up. Net effect? More tax revenue from more people working and at higher wages. BC’s economic performance is the best in Canada; better than most jurisdictions in North America.

This allows us to do things. Such as rebuilding a museum that has been asking for help since 2006 – and put on a shelf in favour of other vanity projects like the new Trade and Convention Centre, BC Place roof replacement, Port Mann bridge (and more, and all were grossly over budget).

What burns me is that in this era of recognizing the collective impact of European settlers harm to the First Nations of BC, this museum project allows a more accurate re-telling of what really went on.

This previous year (and more recent headlines) have showcased the thousands of unmarked graves of children who died while in care at the various religious/church operated, government sanctioned residential schools.

Were these children murdered? Neglected? Sick and died from natural causes? I don’t know. Their cause of death is important, but these children deserve to be known by name, their extended families deserve answers, and we must be accountable to this. All of it.

The lost children (the tens of thousands of them), the many complicated matters which need addressing in our delicate walk to full reconciliation, are journeys that need telling in a renewed museum.

Imagine a new museum that finally tells the (living) story of our collective failure in our relations with our first nations – not only to ourselves in BC, but to the world? That would be a good start.

The cost? Government says it will cost $768 million. But, like other large projects, expect it to go over budget. That’s just the reality of things. Especially in todays world where products needed for rebuilding and the highly skilled labour needed are in short supply.

The cost to refurbish? More. Asbestos removal, remediation of the current structure would clearly be a different cost structure than removal of the old, building new.

Over-spending on large projects is nothing new, and hardly controversial anymore. Taxpayers are used to this by now.

The opposition casts this as a thing that should be cancelled; possibly delayed into the future. But given the facts, this will inevitably be required, and there is no delay possible that makes the costs go down any.

I mean, I expect this from the BC Liberals. They cast the museum rebuild as a vanity project. Unfair, especially when the project moves forward in partnership with first nations. And who are the BC Liberals to lecture anyone on vanity projects? Have we forgotten already about ‘quickwins’, ‘om-the-bridge’, Port Mann fiasco, TransLink tinkering?

Oh I know; calls from those saying “that’s in the past, your guys need to worry about now and into the future”. They’re right! Voters are well aware of BC Liberal duplicity and hypocrisy here, but there is little to gain by rehashing it – they lost the election…electoral mileage made from their dismal failings is a credit well cashed in.

But this is about today and the future too. The proposal would only be finished its construction process in 2030 – two whole electoral terms away from now.

Every sign is pointing to a looming recession; a general hangover from the insanity over the pandemic crash – then its rocket-speed ‘recovery’.

Housing prices and general inflation has caused economic problems of their own. By pricing out working people from participating in a housing market (or rental market for that matter), there will be a huge underclass of folks unable to support the small and medium businesses who need free flowing, disposable income from paycheques from workers in order to survive. Folks are just trying to survive.

Government can sit back and do nothing, letting the chips fall where they may…or they can be proactive about it. BC needs a new museum as the old one can’t do it anymore.

The build, the narrative change and the location all serve an economic-health sensitive industry in Victoria well and would bolster the private sector; at a time when they could use it the most. Of course, Victoria isn’t the only place that matters in BC – but as I’ve mentioned, government is capable of handling more than one thing at a time. That’s what they’re supposed to do.

Opposing the museum rebuild is a knee-jerk conservative reaction that I expected from the BC Liberals, I did not expect it from BC’s Green Party. They seemingly have taken on the right wing talking point that funding a new museum is a binary choice ‘at the expense of..’ when it clearly is not.

I’m not going to pretend to be able to sway the opinions of those who hate the NDP and just found a new reason to bolster their hate.

No.

To the overwhelming of rational people in BC however, do not be swayed by the negative nellies on the opposition side. This is a government as you know that isn’t engaging in one-off populist things. Building a new museum – regardless of rhetorical nonsense – is a bold and justified program that will benefit our province in the near term and well into the future.

This is what coherent leadership is supposed to do.

my2bits

Edit: To anyone suggesting that the Royal BC Museum rebuild is a surprise that nobody wanted or talked about, this is incorrect. The earliest I have discovered that the RBCM board had discussed in public the notion of renovations or major structural concerns was in 2005 as part of their 2005/06 annual report.

Here’s the 2008/09 – 2010/11 service report with even more explicit references to the project idea now so controversial.

And this Tom Hawthorne, on twitter, reminding folks of this.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Update:

Well it looks like the museum project is shelved for now. Blowback in the public space was overwhelming as many folks argue that now is not the time for such an endeavor.

That’s too bad. I was in favour, and I believe that the museum rebuild would have been a net positive for the capitol region and BC in general.

But I am no expert and certainly not in control of policy here.

John Horgan, as leader and Premier having to back down from a major initiative like this – is a setback to be sure. Instead of blaming others – he owned it personally.

If I understand one thing about BC voters, they’ll respect and support a political leader who comes across as human as we all are; including accepting mistakes as they come along.

So, with that, I note that from the folks who demonized the NDP and John Horgan for proposing the museum rebuild – now demonize him for cancelling it.

Folks are watching.

Go Left. To save us. All of us.

In uncertain times, folks can reach for more bold solutions when the same-old no longer works.

These are some of those times. The Neoliberal economic philosophy hasn’t worked for large swathes of society, and those for whom it works are already the wealthiest and most powerful among us.

Through no fault of our own, the economic pillars have been knocked out from the ‘if you work hard and save your money, you can get ahead’. Unless you are part of a 1% elite out there, you’re not going to get ahead. Staying afloat is hard enough.

The powerful and elite know this and will do their best to retain the system that keeps them powerful and rich. There is a war by the 1% against everyone else. Both left and right however, present potential solutions to get us out from under that control paradigm.

But they are not the same.

The left demands wealth taxes, programs to supplement the poorest among us, assistance to those living with disabilities, tax fairness among working peoples and housing for the masses seemingly out-priced for even the very basics of shelter needs.

The right points to groups that require blame and that if only they were outlawed or restricted, the great prosperity would return. The right campaigns for harsher controls over immigration, crackdowns on unions, and engage in social culture wars to divide people among religious and ethnic lines as a source to gain power.

The problem is, the powerful elite tolerate one of these idealisms more than the other. Neoliberal elite do not necessarily care about religious conflicts or divisions, nor do they participate in culture war debates, their interest is in maintaining social status, wealth and power. The rules for you and I do not apply to those at the very top.

The elite however, will bitterly oppose wealth taxes; they’ll oppose low cost housing for folks barely hanging on, and they most certainly oppose any measures to share decision making power. You know this to be true.

While the far right pretend to have a populist message that is to get us out of the rut, in the end, they share philosophical common ground with the neoliberals who sit at the helm of power and wealth.

They are natural allies.


The answers, as they always have been, are on the left.

My2bits

Conservatives are determined to re-elect Trudeau – this time with a majority. This is awful.

There was a series of social media posts circulated by various prominent conservative political leaders and thinkers in Canada which elevated the angry rants of some white-nationalist, covid-truther EU politicians as evidence that the world hates Trudeau and is harming Canada’s reputation around the world.

Bunk.

I am no Trudeau fan whatsoever, but I don’t hate him. My opposition is policy based and there are substantial gaps between him and I on environment, poverty, disability assistance and others. The gaps are significant enough that I will never vote Liberal; not under their current policy direction at least.

But Conservatives hate him.

No. Completely false. But from this 2016 tweet from Conservative insider Steven Taylor – which goes without any explanation or context – you are MEANT to make that connection.

They do so with a visceral hatred usually reserved for Nazi’s or Stalin’s regime. In fact; some of his conservative opponents in the deeper interwebs share memes and conspiracy theories that compare Trudeau TO Hitler…and Stalin. One of the more famous ones is connecting Justin to Fidel Casto; which has repeatedly been debunked.

Its not that conservatives actually believe that Trudeau is a family relative of Castro (they likely know that he isn’t), the point is to make you hate Trudeau as well.

Its the same tactic republicans used against President Barack Obama. He was falsely accused of being born in Kenya (which would have made him ineligible to run for president at all), then that he was Muslim. Of course there is no rule that excludes a Muslim from seeking the nomination of a party to run for President, in fact – there’s a rule that outlaws a religious test for holding public office).

Why? Because you cannot use certain language (or words that start with “N”) to identify black folks. That would be nakedly racist; but if you mask it around some (false) ineligibility narratives (Kenya) and paint Obama with being Islamic; the racist voter gets to vote against the black guy without saying that as the reason. Keeping in mind that the post-2001 world was pretty hostile to Muslims; especially in America.

Hitler? C’mon.

The same campaign baggage is being attached to Justin Trudeau, but in a country who would have elected Obama by an 80% margin if we could, this hate-standard is risky at best.

There are many reasons to oppose Trudeau (and Obama) – on based policy and performance. Both are objectively centrist who borrow more from the conservative economic theories than an actual liberal or left – where bolder, more decisive solutions lay.

But the conservatives are making it easy for Justin.

The deeply personal, character attacks launched towards Justin by several conservatives, and their proxies are quickly swept aside with “we might not be perfect, but we’re not crazy like them”.

In the context of the outcast EU politico’s that went after Trudeau with lines not much different than the worst rhetoric of the #KarenConvoy bunch, Conservatives should have dismissed them on the spot. Imagine if any one of the current crop of CPC leadership candidates, sitting MP’s, fanbase online had remarked, “while we have little in common with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we will not share any moral ground or political space with unabashedly racist, xenophobic political figures who even the EU assembly keeps at a distance.”

They did not. Nobody did. But the internet is forever, and those who gave space to the crazy right wing in the EU here will also feature in Liberal Party campaign ads.

Justin Trudeau probably cannot believe his luck; and if he gets re-elected – its your fault.

My2bits

Partisan attacks against the NDP/ICBC policyholder rebates is manna from heaven for the NDP.

It was announced the other day that from the ballooning ICBC surplus, that the crown owned insurance company would send to policy holders a rebate of $110 for regular policy holders and $165 for commercial policy holders in response to record high gasoline prices.

The attack from the BC Liberals and their affiliated partisans was that the sum wasn’t enough. Others took an opportunity to politically eviscerate ICBC and the NDP’s reforms therein.

The NDP couldn’t be happier with this clumsy self-own from their political adversaries; and in doing so, the opposition made themselves out to be the elitist, corporate owned entity that they are. So much so that I predict they will be nostalgic for Andrew Wilkinson soon.

But first, some background on ICBC.

The Insurance Corporation of BC was established in the 1970’s BC NDP government under Premier Dave Barrett. The idea was that vehicle insurance should be a publicly held and controlled entity and that it should be provided at or near cost to the public.

It’s roll out was clunky to be sure and it we met with immediate hostility to a patchwork of private insurers at the time. Despite the chaos it was born from, its largely met its purpose, despite every effort by opponents of the NDP (Social Credit, BC Liberal) to hobble and dismantle it.

That is until the latter half of the last BC Liberal regime.

In the past, if there was a surplus in the operations of ICBC, it was utilized mostly to keep insurance rates low – or cap any potential rate increases. ICBC, like BC Hydro (for much the same reason) were the crown jewels in the BC advantage for residents and drivers.

The BC Liberals saw an opening though. They would direct both crown corporations to divert billions of dollars of their budgets to the provincial government as a backdoor tax increase – to increase revenue as other (‘trickle down’) ideas failed us.

They did this despite hobbling the operations of both crowns. In the case of BC Hydro, they were compelled to borrow the money for which the province claimed as income – creating a better bottom line budget number than what would have been revealed. For ICBC, this ‘dividend’ was taken regardless of the the plight of the insurance carrier and drained its reserve funds.

In both circumstances, world events and market conditions demanded that both crown corporations see some internal reforms so that they would remain solvent and viable operations into the future. The BC Liberal government went as far as commissioning a report to examine the operations of ICBC and what reforms were needed.

They had the information, they knew what to do. They failed to act. Not only did they fail to act, they attempted to conceal the truth from the public.

The ICBC dumpster fire is a narrative well told in BC’s political world, it partially led to the landslide re-election of the NDP in 2020 after a fluky minority NDP government that only took office with one seat parliamentary majority with the assistance of the BC Green Party.

Why is this relative now?

As a result of the ICBC reforms instituted by the NDP after 2017, the crown corporation now operates largely on a no-fault system. This cuts out much of the litigation costs; and more importantly, cuts out billions paid to trial lawyers who you can imagine are not impressed in the slightest. I mean, I can understand this to a point; especially if you’ve set up your entire legal practice based on the former ICBC adversarial litigation model.

For the rest of us, we saw this as a cash cow for lawyers that inflated premiums as ICBC had to pay awards – to clients and law firms…on top of everything else going on that shouldn’t be.

The reforms instituted by the NDP to ICBC has freed up billions; much has been returned to policy holders already. At least $1.4 billion has been returned and pledged (as of this last weeks announcement) plus a rate reduction last year of 20%.

Shouldn’t rate reductions and insurance rebates be celebrated? Of course. That this has been at all possible is quite a miracle compared to the direction ICBC was headed in 2017. Five years later, a large surplus – with billions going back to drivers.

Politically speaking, if I was a BC Liberal, I would avoid talking about ICBC at all – as the public will have a good memory their intentional, malicious ineptitude while handling this file.

So this was the time their MLA’s go on the attack?

The NDP could not have asked for a better opportunity to remind how badly the BC Liberals failed BC on ICBC.

In trying to score a drive-by smear that the NDP hasn’t done enough to help drivers, the BC Liberals inadvertently revealed their incompetence and why they should not govern..at all.

The BC Liberal approach is typical – lower gas taxes. This is modelled after what Alberta is attempting by suspending their own gas tax (cutting 13 cents per litre) to “lower gas prices” and provide relief.

good idea, huh?

The thing about this move is that it opened the door immediately for big oil to step up with price increases of their own.

WHOOPSIES

If you’re keeping track of this; cutting the tax as such, was a lateral transfer of money from government to big oil – that consumers still pay for…and may more for. There was no benefit to drivers at all; but exposed the BC Liberals as lackies to both big oil and irrelevant.

Even the notion they have floated about cutting the carbon tax (which they created) would suspend a one penny per litre increase slated for April 1. Same math applies, cut the tax, industry picks up the slack.

Gas taxes in BC are expressed in terms of cents per litre, so the BC gov’t makes no extra money if the retail price goes up. Only the GST (which is charged as a percentage) would increase its cash intake with a retail price increase.

Cutting BC’s various gas taxes would merely cut into provincial revenue; potentially harming the funding for programs which depend on said funds. We’ve already shown how industry would scoop up what the taxes would drop, so no benefit goes to the driver. This flawed ideology exposes the BC Liberals and almost every conservative politician pushing this narrative; a narrative that is a warm breath away from the proven failure of ‘trickle down economic theory’.

But, as General Napoleon Bonaparte once remarked – ‘never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake’.

My2bits

Federal NDP/Liberal CASA deal being cast as a coup d’état by incoherent conservative man-babies

To listen to some of the white hot rage thrown about by conservatives, their allies in the punditry and several folks in the #karenconvoy toddler tantrum party, the NDP and Liberals performed a successful January 6th-type overthrow of the government; or at least that’s the narrative they would like you to believe.

These clowns have no currency to trade except the political value of hate. To be honest, hate itself can motivate people into actions – for better or worse.

In selling their hate, they wrap it in a bunch of lies – because there is no factual basis for their counter-attacks.

There is no ‘coalition’, and any educated person will tell you that. What has been agreed to is a formal ‘confidence and supply agreement’ that assures that the minority government will have the necessary legislative votes for confidence reasons in exchange for concessions made to an opposition party. There is nothing unusual, immoral, illegal or unconstitutional about it. Its a tool available to Parliament by government to maintain office and its literally how Canada’s healthcare system and old age pension changes were enacted.

Parties reaching across the isle when there is no majority government is the expectation of voters who expect their leaders to get substantial things done. In this case, its an expansion of the national healthcare package to include dental care and pharmacare for the first time. If done right, this will be a life-changing enhancement for millions – including thousands of self employed and small business operators who function without a substantial extended healthcare package normally available from large companies or government employers.

Nobody expected conservatives to like anything about this development, but they are taking their hate – misogyny and other intolerances to new depths to instill revulsion towards Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh.

I’m not suggesting that there’s no appeal for this tactic, but in a country famous for its ability to compromise and strike deals internally to accomplish big things, they’re coming off as violently hostile to compromise and deal making. This is a general philosophy only reserved for the most radical groups; some political, some religious…and it looks awful. They are appealing to the most hateful and bigoted subgroups in our society…don’t think we haven’t noticed.

Noteworthy however is the atomic-bomb thrown at the idea from Warren Kinsella. He’s a former Chretien-Liberal insider who now runs “Daisy Group”, a consulting firm in Ontario who served a variety of clients – and pens opinion pieces in local nespapers.

I think I expected better of him than this. With a legal background that he has, calling this ‘sneaky and undemocratic’ is about as false as you can get. But maybe his client base includes more and more conservative types and this is the worldview they’re all sharing now.

My own personal perspective is that while I appreciate our MP’s and opposing caucuses working together for measurable results, I don’t think ‘means testing’ dental care is consistent with the universality of medicare. I think that more substantive goals could have been agreed upon in electoral reform, and there’s some taxation/benefit areas missing from this deal. Like, where is any mention of a wealth tax? How about something profound for our fellow Canadian’s living with disabilities? Sure, we’ll see what happens in the next budget – and I am hopeful, but I remember the Liberals betrayal on electoral reform from 2015.

Still. Watching the Conservatives lose their minds of what’s largely a housekeeping matter so that we don’t land in another premature election makes me support this (admittedly imperfect) deal even more.

You clowns aren’t ready for power. Unhinged rhetoric is never helpful – regardless of which side foists it upon the public.

For now, I’ll go with this…and I suspect a super-majority of Canadians agree with me.

My2bits

American Right Wing desperate to cast Ukraine as satanic or occult-ish to bolster Trump.

It actually makes sense…not the talking point, but the effort to cast Ukraine in terms of America’s culture war. That makes it especially nuts given that Ukraine is probably as socially conservative as many right wingers thanks to the deep Orthodox Church influence in Ukraine society. But, Republicans need to find room to the opposite of Biden – so why not cast Ukraine as a hotbed of ‘occult’ or satanic cult worship to make it easy to hate them and rally to Putin’s side. Totally unhinged, but this is today’s Trump/Republican party.

Fox Nation Host Unloads ‘Bonkers’ Pro-Kremlin Rant Claiming Ukrainian Forces Have ‘Occult’ Ties