Everyone calm the fuck down

The NDP is not going through some existential crisis, the political ground that’s moving is on the right and far right; and this is not a playground the NDP should dabble in. Ever.

Its worth reminding folks that Saint Jack Layton was a relative centrist in his overall philosophy; this is why he appealed to so many independents and made it possible to draft folks like Thomas Mulcair. It was Jack Layton who made a pitch to the “progressives” of the (then) freshly disemboweled PC party to come aboard. If you’re keeping up, that means appealing to folks like Brian Mulroney and Kim Campbell, or “red tories”.

The left of the NDP didn’t protest much as they saw the electoral success of opening that tent further and it shocked the federal Liberals to see Jack Layton eat their lunch.

So when I hear folks complain that the NDP isn’t left enough, remember that this is how we ended up with our little putsch that dumped Mulcair after his inaugural election that saw the NDP with its second best showing ever. We weren’t left enough. So we picked Jagmeet Singh.

There is some racism that’s alive and well in Canada who won’t vote for the brown man, but then those folks aren’t the type I want my party appealing to anyway. Go vote PPC since that’s more appropriate to your hateful thinking.

But in changing from the relative centrist Mulcair in favour of Jagmeet Singh, we got a left wing party whose platform is the most progressive I’ve seen in a generation. It has a green new deal and a tax on the 1%.

Oh yes, some will say it’s not enough, and some will say it goes to far. Thing is, it’s the Greens that are saying the NDP plan doesn’t go far enough and the Liberals saying it goes to far.

Wonderful! If radical Greens say your plan isn’t radical enough and do-nothing Liberals say it goes too far, then we’re probably exactly where we need to be.

As long as the NDP doesn’t fumble around in the bigoted anti immigrant tropes that the PPC/CPC are mired into, there’s plenty of room to expand the reach of the NDP.

Liberals have revealed themselves again as the party that will say anything to get elected, while doing as few possible progressive things except as necessary to stay in office.

We’re done with this.

The neoliberal economic philosophy is how we got here. The major gaps in rich and poor, the crushing of unions, the disregard towards the environment and climate change; it’s all related. None of the other party’s are prepared to tackle the system. The NDP will.

So stop your navel gazing. Let the reactionary radicals in the Greens and PPC light their hair on fire, let the Liberals and Conservatives engage in platitudes and dithering, the NDP just needs to plow forward. We’re on the right path.

My2bits

BC media adopting BC Liberal talking points. Again.

Here it is. The narrative is changing to accuse the NDP of sinking personal wealth through the various housing countermeasures they’ve initiated.

Let’s clarify why this is.

The BC Liberals deregulated the housing market over a decade ago while simultaneously turning lethargic over money laundering in BC.

This left the door open for criminal money to find it’s way into the housing market as a means to flip it to cleaned cash. The results of this were naturally that the housing market overheated and pushed tens of thousands of otherwise middle class families out of the housing market entirely.

But to hear some business leaders tell it (by extension, BC Liberal friends), the NDP combating this rotten scenario are the real problem; not the deregulated cesspool the BC Liberals prefer.

Horse shit.

If your personal wealth is artificially inflated by forces driven as a result of criminal money infecting the economy, then it’s not real. And correcting this problem will do more benefit to those who can now buy a home vs those who were trying to cash in on the fraudulent “boom” we had as a result of money laundering.

Crocodile tears I tell you.

Working folks are told the tale of an honest days pay for an honest days work. If the BC Liberals are looking to revert to the old days of cronyism and looking the other way, then shame on them. Never let them govern again.

My2bits

Repeat after me: “tax cuts do not pay for themselves”

Trickle down economics has never worked. Ever. Yet it was tried again here in BC when the BC Liberals took office in 2001 with results that literally anyone could have predicted.

Now a former Gordon Campbell cabinet minister reflects back on the times that were and thinks it wasn’t good times. We could have told you that Mr Abbott, but you went along with it anyways.

It’s worth noting that former BC Premier Gordon Campbell is advising the Ford gov’t in Ontario, ostensibly with a mandate to uncover areas worth cutting funds to.

New Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has also diverted some of that stinky BC Liberal bathwater to help his new govt settle into power.

This isn’t going to work out well for Alberta or Ontario.

“Tax cuts pay for themselves” is a rebranded “trickle down economics” and it’s never worked, not a single time. Yet we’re drifting towards parties that believe in this mythology.

Don’t fall for it again.

My2bits

I’m not in a panic over teacher negotiations and neither should you

I’m not unfamiliar to contract talks between unions and their bosses, and I’m old enough to remember that most of the noise is the rhetorical hot air that both sides breathe in order to rally public opinion to each respective side. So with that being said, I’m pretty much ignoring the noise being made publicly about what’s going on in the negotiating room between the BCTF and the employer, the BCPSEA.

It however wasn’t long ago that the BC Liberals, directly interfering with negotiations last time, trotted out heavy hitting cabinet ministers and Premier Clark with their “affordability zone” mantra.

Since then, the teachers union won their appeal at the Supreme Court that restored class size and composition language that was illegally stripped away by legislation introduced by none other than (then) Deputy Premier and Education Minister Christy Clark when Gordon Campbell was Premier.

I do have to inject a reality check here. Both sides are free to ask for whatever they think they’ll get in contract talks. Aim high and see where negotiations take you. The employer is free to ask all they want for movement on CSC language, but it doesn’t mean teachers have to agree to any changes there – that was a win in court. The union is also free to ask for whatever they feel they’ll get; see how this works?

What is harmful though, is that the rhetoric can get toxic outside the negotiating rooms. Teachers are a powerful ally to the NDP and some loud mouths online are using this delicate negotiating period as a means to drive a wedge here. As if by electing the BC Liberals back to power will mean any better gains for teachers (hint: it won’t).

Do yourselves a favour and let the negotiating teams do their work; ignore the rhetorical hot air like its a bad smell..because it will blow away.

My2bits

Fair question, but poor timing, Ben.

By now, most Canadians have heard the story of the Victoria city councillor who put forward a motion to city hall to ask the Department of National Defence to help defray the policing costs of Remembrance Day and related events.

This request originated from the city’s police board as costs predictably increased.

So far so good, right? How about asking this of city hall on D-Day itself..

Ooops. Very poor timing Ben Isit.

He was met with howls of outrage from folks across the nation; seeing this as a deliberate poke at veterans.

Hold on a moment.

I have no personal connection with Ben Isit, but I’m pretty certain that he does not have a hate on for our military veterans.

We, on the left, have deep admiration for those who gave so much in the defense of our freedoms. We will always honour their sacrifice.

But if it makes it any easier, pretend it was another topic for which this is based.

Ben has inadvertently opened up a discussion on superior government offloading to local government the associated, unfunded costs of a virtually mandated event.

Nobody seems to have caught on to this. Strange that none of the taxpayer guardian organizations spoke up.

Ben didn’t suggest that the city cancel it’s Remembrance Day events or drastically reduce its scope (funding); he asked a question.

I’m not suggesting that Ben was right or even smart to lay this egg on D-Day, but his right to pose the question at all is exactly the thing that our veterans fought to defend.

If it’s true that the unfunded part of the issue is well over $100k, then someone had to speak up for taxpayers. Otherwise, city hall would have had to find funds from elsewhere to cover this gap; and given the fact that local government cannot legally run a deficit, this means either funding cuts somewhere or tax increases everywhere.

I’m sure I’m in the minority opinion here, as some would brush aside questions over “who’s gonna pay for this” because it’s the *right* thing to do.

Asking who’s going to pay for things is also the right thing to do.

My2bits.

Edit: I’ve been told that the date when the above mentioned ‘motion’ wasn’t picked by Ben Isit, but as assigned by city staff. So there’s that.

Happy pride month!

Look, as a straight white guy, I shouldn’t have anything to say about Pride Month, the rainbow flag or the many pride parades and related events happening in June.

Except for this: human rights.

Once you accept the fact that the state has no business interfering with the private affairs of consenting adults, it’s an easy journey to see why it’s our duty to speak out in support of our allies in the various corners within the rainbow community.

Nowhere on earth is it illegal for straight people to exist. Nowhere would a straight person be put to death for being straight. But in this time, on this planet, gays, transgendered folks, women, people of colour, are all feeling the hysterical backlash by powerful conservative social engineering.

It’s open season in some areas.

What happened to “do no harm”, or live and let live?

Objecting to someone else’s sexual identity or preference is like protesting what someone else orders from a restaurant menu.

It has zero effect on you so mind your own business. Or as the Bible says, “love thy neighbor”.

My2bits

Up is down and those protesting against the pending rise of a new fascism are the real enemy.

Everyone should be opposed to fascism.

I saw on my TV the white supremacist “protests” at Charlottesville from a year ago and the news of the woman their movement murdered in protesting these neo-nazis, but today I learned that this woman and the uppity protesters she was part of are the real enemy.

No seriously, that’s what opinion piece the National Post published today.

Look. In the normal discourse in politics, the normal left right and centre have this perpetual debate on issues of importance.

But it must never be ok or normalized that a group be protesting under the Nazi banner using phrases like “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil” (taken directly from 1930’s Germany).

Nobody should be ok with this. All rational left, right and centre thinking folks have to be united here. In fact, it was a failure of the rational majority to unite that saw Hitler rise to power.

Sure, opinions are constitutionally protected, especially ones published in news papers and related outlets. But it doesn’t make the article any less stupid.

Or wrong.

My2bits.

Andrew Wilkinson and his BC Liberals would be wise not to do a victory lap on the appeals court decision.

Whoops. Too late, they did.

How did we end up here? The NDP government tried to assert their right as a provincial government to protect rivers, streams and our coastline.

As it turns out, the environment wasn’t considered in this judgement, only a jurisdiction issue.

Which strikes me as odd, as the means the federal government used to initially approve #kmx was through a provincially signed “equivalency agreement”. Theoretically, if an agreement such as this can be approved, it can be repealed too.

Interesting words used in Andrew Wilkinson’s comments today that the BC govt was “smacked down”. Mr Hubris should remind Andy that it took the Supreme Court 20 minutes to “smack down” the BC Liberal government anti-teacher laws (after the BC appeals court upheld the BC Liberal government position).

This isn’t over yet. Not by a long shot.

My2bits

I’m voting for Bob Chamberlin, NDP

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This wasn’t a hard decision to be honest, but its a solid choice. Bob needs to be the next MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith and I am happy to cast my vote for him.

But now a word about some unsettling developments that I have learned in the recent past.

I get that the other parties, candidates and their supporters/volunteers also want to win, but there is a disturbing narrative coming from some folks who profess their support for the Green party’s candidate.

I can’t say that I know their candidate on any personal level and have no reason to think he’s not genuine in his beliefs and philosophy, and I honour that – even if I’m not going to vote for that. But for some of his supporters to undercut the NDP candidate because “he’s not from here” is a chilling new kind of bigotry that I never thought would come from folks supporting a party called Green.

A short trip into history regarding their leader, Elizabeth May, would tell a story of how she went from an adviser in the Mulroney PC party government to holding memberships in the Liberals and NDP before settling on the Green Party. Her story takes her to several places as candidate before deciding on Saanich/Gulf Islands. She was a candidate in Nova Scotia and Ontario first before moving to Vancouver Island.

But, Bob Chamberlin, a ‘parachute candidate’ (who has lived in Nanaimo before, but resided in North Vancouver just prior to announcing his candidacy) is deemed by certain activists as unsuitable to be MP.

It sure takes some white-settler chutzpah to deride a First Nation candidate that he’s somehow unsuitable for this job because he spent seven years away in various roles. Especially by fans of a party that portrays itself as a friend to first nations (the Greens).

Bob Chamberlin with his long background in First Nation’s reconciliation, fish and wildlife habitat is deemed by at least some local area green party folks that his physical residency in Nanaimo deems him disqualified as a potential MP; regardless of the recent history of their own party leader travelling the country for a winnable seat to campaign in.

The Green party’s growth in recent years has been largely at the expense of the other, more established parties. This is a fact they are proud to talk about at length. Whereas, Bob Chamberlin wasn’t overtly a partisan previously, but the moment he becomes candidate he’s under attack because “he’s not from here”. That’s a very unwelcoming stand to take when your whole movement is based on welcoming folks from elsewhere.

I’m going to assume that this narrative is held only by a very small group and not promoted or held as a belief by the central campaign. We live in a region that see folks come and go all the time, and whether you just arrived here or have been here for 40+ years, you should be made to feel welcome regardless.

And to those who play that “he’s not from here, we don’t want him” card, go fuck yourself. That’s not how progressive Canadians roll.

my2bits

BC Liberals playing a dangerous blame-game on fuel prices

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Look, I get it. Andrew Wilkinson’s BC Liberals are the opposition and they’ve got a job to do in trying to throw in enough shade towards the government so that they can portray themselves as the champion of the little guy and the NDP is the aloof elitists governing from their ivory tower; disconnected from reality.

To do that however, the BC Liberals will have to campaign against themselves and against their own policies.

To that end, I draw your attention to the attempt to swoon Andrew Weaver’s Green Party into a BC Liberal led coalition with promises made in their 2017 Speech from the Throne that pledged (among other things), a $50/tonne carbon tax (just as the NDP had promised).

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Next up would be the false attribution of *all* fuel taxes to the NDP. This is false and the BC Liberals know it. There are taxes on fuel, and on average, they’re higher than other regions in Canada; but we’re not the only place that has taxes on fuel. But to listen to the BC Liberals, its 100% the NDP’s fault and they’re supposed to arbitrarily lower these taxes, regardless of what funding impacts this makes to various local governments and transit authorities.

We lost five of seven refineries in BC over the decades. The BC Liberals would blame the NDP for this; despite this trend taking place over a generation (or two). It didn’t happen overnight, and the reasons inconveniently undercut a BC Liberal narrative.

Consider what car you drove 30 years ago. Imagine its fuel economy then, now imagine paying the fuel costs in today’s market. Aren’t you glad this shift to higher efficiency cars and trucks has taken place? I know I am. And for the first time in my life, I am considering an electric or hybrid vehicle to make my transport dollar go even further.

A generation ago, in our 1980’s fuel crisis, powerful thinkers in all parties saw the vulnerability we had in gas guzzling vehicles. So they went down a path of regulating higher efficiency cars, smaller engine blocks and pollution controls. It all helped. Industry responded by building cars and trucks to meet the standards, but it had an interesting side effect. It caused us to buy less fuel, drive further on what we had, plan better, and change our way of thinking.

We’re in another energy crisis of sorts, and to listen to some grotesquely opportunistic politicians, there is someone to blame here (the folks in power of course). But the last energy crisis forced innovation and change and there’s no reason to think that it can’t happen again.

The price of gas isn’t at record levels because of a penny increase to the carbon tax, its because there’s a serious supply issue on the west coast and the free market is doing exactly what it does. Andrew Wilkinson and his merry band of negative nellies would have the NDP cut taxes that had zero to do with the rapidly increasing gas price, but would profoundly impact the province’s ability to deliver on transportation needs. But that doesn’t matter when your a crass opportunist.

What matters is that Andrew Wilkinson and his BC Liberals are now standing in opposition to the philosophy they had when they first introduced the carbon tax (the first in North America I might add); where attaching a price to carbon was supposed to change behavior/habits. As a partisan myself, even I give credit where its due, the carbon tax has worked. While the spike in gas prices isn’t necessarily related to taxes but it may as well be, and now is as good a time as any to rethink how we drive and how often. It may not cut the price of fuel, but maybe it will lower our demand a bit.

So, here we are. BC Liberals attacking a policy they once championed. They may think this is good politics (and in the short term it is), but there’s more than a few of us ready to staple this one to their foreheads in the coming weeks and months ahead; and most certainly in the next campaign.

my2bits