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.

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

Just when you thought the BC Liberals couldn’t sink any lower..

President Joe Biden just signed a bill that allows foreign flagged cruise ships to bypass a foreign port on their way to another US port. In english, this means that a cruise ship is no longer going to stop in Vancouver or Victoria on their way from Seattle to Alaska.

This is meant as a temporary measure thanks to the Canadian federal cruise ship ban at our ports here in response to the pandemic.

This is truly a setback. Our Premier didn’t think it would come to this and had misjudged the resolve of Alaska based legislators who really wanted their cruise ship industry back.

So be it. Temporary, we’re told.

On cue it seems, the provincial opposition party launches a salvo at the NDP effectively blaming the provincial government here for losing 20k jobs.

What.

I get the partisan sniping, etc. But what the BC Liberals have done is a willful misread on what happened to fire a grossly partisan political cheap shot. They were cheering on this bad news as a win. Who does this?

They do.

I mean, what’s the position here for the BC Liberals? That the NDP should have pressured Ottawa into a premature port re-opening for cruise ship despite them being known incubators when an outbreak happens; now with covid19? In a rush to score a political cheap shot, they’ve revealed themselves to be horrible people.

In the last term of office, the minority government of the NDP/Green CASA deal, the BC Liberals behaved themselves relatively well once the pandemic set in. They knew how dangerous and politically stupid it would be to try and politicize pandemic related events. Free from the constraints of a minority parliament, idiotology pours on in from the BC Liberal caucus.

The Federal government put in place a cruise ship ban in 2020 as the pandemic set it. It was renewed in February of 2021 to last another year.

We’re not out of this pandemic and neither are the west coastal US States (including Alaska). By pushing for this legislation, they’re taking their own risks; cruising was halted for a reason. But I don’t answer for them nor will I defend them.

But the BC Liberals have to answer here. They tried to push a regional reopening last year just as the initial wave subsided; a proposal that if accepted would have seen astronomical infection rates as we weren’t ready for that. No vaccine, and the full strength of the virus was just beginning to build.

Imagine if we had taken that bad advice then? Or been pressured into pressuring Ottawa into a premature re-opening of our ports now? West coast ports aren’t the only ones suffering; this is a huge blow to the east coast tourist trade too. Halifax gains billions of dollars in tourist spending cash that sustain the city’s businesses and jobs. They’re hurting too.

The BC Liberals would blame John Horgan for that.

I want this pandemic gone like anyone else, but I still take it seriously. Its not as if by reopening every business and restoring concerts and every venue that covid19 goes away – it does not. If we’re not better prepared, such a premature re-opening would turn to a catastrophic shut down; and unnecessary loss of life.

Todd Stone and his BC Liberal opposition front bench are as useless in offering constructive criticism of government policy as they were when he was in government.

Taking some ghoulish victory lap as they seem to be doing on this cruise ship bypass law from America because it politically hurts the NDP is about as bad as it gets. Todd Stone needs to resign from politics and never return.

What a shameful, juvenile display he and his party have put on. May they never govern this province again.

My2bits.

Epilogue for BC Election 2020

So an NDP Premier was re-elected. That’s a first. Taking a precarious minority to a substantial majority is major news too. But nobody should be surprised by this. The NDP led a campaign that was disciplined and focused while their opposition flailed about. It turns out that the ‘steady as she goes’ narrative is what voters needed from their incumbent government.

The final results are as yet unknown, but from what’s been collected so far, the NDP won a substantial chunk of the vote from the BC Liberals and the Greens. The Greens – who keep three seats, replaced some lost vote by also grabbing a few from the BC Liberals. When its all counted, I expect the NDP to finish around 50% of the vote; the Greens off by 1-2pts and the BC Liberals will have lost up to 10pts.

The planning for the NDP for this campaign likely started the moment Andrew Wilkinson was selected leader of the BC Liberals. By his own legacy of a party insider whose record goes back to the days of Gordon Campbell winning his first term in 2001 meant that the whole BC Liberal set of terms were fair talking points of the NDP – and it was exploited well.

The fact that Andrew Wilkinson is really not a personable leader who comes across at elitist as the NDP was happy to portray him as didn’t help him at all. The BC Liberal party didn’t seem to get this and failed to sculpt a different persona – seemed ok with letting the NDP define him…which they did.

The BC Liberals campaigned on a 2001/2005 agenda. Big tax cuts and hope for the best; they didn’t even have a plan to pay for it. Well their shocking PST promise gave the NDP room to expand their campaign pledges by a modest amount compared to the $11 billion price tag of the BC Liberal/PST promise.

It was a perfect little trap – and maybe the NDP set it up this way, maybe it was by chance. But in order to jolt voters into paying attention to the BC Liberals, they had to promise something big – and in that regard, they didn’t disappoint. But it was wrong.

Their PST promise was sold as a way to help consumers in the middle/modest income brackets with some sales tax relief as incentive to shop and buy things, triggering a re-hiring and more production – as the theory goes. But that’s not the practice. Almost all the things needed as essentials by middle and modest income folks were sales tax exempt to begin with; this sales tax stunt would have been a tax win for those purchasing larger ticket items, not essential. So when the NDP came out with their $1000 cash payment to families, the BC Liberals were made to seem like reckless spenders.

It stuck.

Every party has so-called ‘bozo eruptions’. That is to say, candidates who say or do something stupid that causes embarrassment to their party and knocks them off message for a day. Well the BC Liberals had several of them – and they were not insignificant. There were the transphobic candidates outed for their hostility to the community, there was a candidate recorded saying something sexually inappropriate about a female NDP MLA, there was the candidate giving a wink and a nod to the anti-vaxxer/covid19-truther “movement” (despite Andrew Wilkinson being a doctor, apparently).

Again, every party has these candidate causing problems for their central campaigns, but in the BC Liberal matters, the foot dragging by the leadership opened up serious doubts about his ability to lead his party.

For an organization trying to convince voters that its better to change government than to keep the NDP in office, the BC Liberals were failing fast.

There is the power of incumbency that the NDP had. They were the government and by all accounts, even some opponents had admitted that the Horgan government had well executed its duties as a manager of public office – and that was before covid19. For the BC Liberals to turn around and try to demonize the NDP ran against what most folks’ perception was. That was never going to be an easy sell.

To be sure, it was controversial for John Horgan to trigger an election call – one year away from the legislated calendar date. The minority government was held in place by a special agreement with the Green Party through a confidence and supply agreement; or “CASA” for short. It was a calculated risk by Horgan that he should seek a proper mandate just as a second wave of the pandemic begins to go full bloom. The thought was that the pandemic wasn’t going away any time soon and we’re no where near a vaccine.

This part of the argument for an early election call makes sense – and it was over 3.5 years into a traditional 4 year term. The part where there was justification found in the election call because of some disagreement with the Green caucus wasn’t the best argument to make, but as it turns out – both the BC Liberals and Green parties would overplay their hands and take that problem away from Horgan.

The outrage of the early election call should have occupied no more than the first 30 minutes of either the Green or BC Liberal party talking points on the first day of the campaign. Believe it or not, voters want policy too; but the opposition benches spent almost the whole campaign litigating the election call itself. Well, that ship sailed – the election was called, go campaign.

There’s evidence that the election call caught the NDP off guard too. But they adapted, filled out their candidate list and presented a platform.

But there’s one thing I reject from the Greens and BC Liberals. Sure an election might have stunned them, but I dismiss as false the idea that they were unprepared for it; because it would be political malpractice if they were.

This was a minority government. Parties do not (or should not) let their campaign machinery go dormant in the intervening time; they ought to prepare for a non-confidence vote and election call that could come at any time. Indeed, the BC Liberals made a lot of noise to this effect as it was part of their weekly fundraising call to members and supporters.

Even the Green Party who is apparently very bitter at this call and blaming the NDP for catching their party off guard was preparing for an election they pretend to not have seen coming. They managed to nominate 77 candidates in 87 seats – only 6 less than their 83 candidate list in the 2017 campaign they did see coming.

The Green Party isn’t new. Admittedly they are smaller in structure and funding than the NDP or BC Liberals, but they have a campaign and support apparatus that has existed since the 1980’s. So for an election like this to catch them so unprepared reveals a sorry internal state of the party.

I was once quite worried about the Greens and their effect on splitting the centre-left vote – and it wasn’t without merit. But as their political machinery grew and organizational depth developed, so did their arrogance and bad behavior. Their partisan supporters are no less toxic and capable of bullying than anyone else’s; and this campaign has outlined some further problems for them.

This campaign has been a four week temper tantrum by the Green Party that has impressed no-one but their ardent supporters. What’s worse is a developing elitist attitude that presumes they’re exempt from scrutiny or electoral challenge. This might come as a shock to some, but the NDP has every right to compete in a Green-incumbent seat as much as greens can challenge anyone in any seat as well. The lecturing by former federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May is over the top given her leadership brass trying to expel three leadership candidates for her party mid campaign.

how dare the NDP try to ‘steal’ our seats.

Electoral districts do not belong to a party or a candidate. People hire an MLA for the duration of a term to sit as their representative from a party or sometimes independent, but there is no rightful claim to ownership.

The Greens do not get to claim a monopoly on good ideas. The NDP has climate change ideas too; ideas that are not without merit. This arrogance of the Greens as the *only* voice of the environment that should count adds to the elitist image they’re also stuck with.

The Greens chose their issues in this campaign as LNG and SiteC, but neither of them were decisive election issues. Voters had more pressing matters.

Voters were looking for (effectively) a commander in chief and steady hand at the wheel as we navigate through difficult times and a plan to rebuild after we clear this pandemic. Neither BC Liberal or Green Party campaigns offered that plan or that hope. Voters were not looking for radical changes, and weren’t prepared to support candidates who lit their hair on fire. Even if an early election call made a few upset, it wasn’t significant enough to move the needle. It was a risky political gamble for Premier John Horgan and he proved to be correct.

But now the hard part begins. The problems that existed before the pandemic are still here. A majority government with no partners to blame when things go wrong. A term that begins as the pandemic second wave spikes hard.

I hope that in the interim, that the NDP – regardless of its majority, continues to bring opposition party leaders fully into the circle with the pandemic response. The temptation will be huge to hog a spotlight, but please don’t do it. Dr Henry has been a rock star in this pandemic and she is the expert; let her do her job.

The higher the climb, the harder the fall they say. A massive majority might be a buffer against losses in 2024, and that election seems like a lifetime away…but, knowing what I know about campaigns, the planning for that one will start tomorrow.

For my part, its been my quest that since the BC Liberal policies that attacked the mentally ill in the early 2000’s were largely responsible for my brother’s death – that I get to see them lose handily in an election.

They don’t get to almost-govern like 2017; they needed the electoral pounding that they got. Maybe now they can emerge as a coherent centre-right political party that doesn’t willfully attack the vulnerable to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.

Everything that I have done politically since 2004 has been to this end. Now I will take some time for me and my son.

Thank you all.

my2bits

BC Liberals threaten skilled trades. Again.

Today at the campaign event where the BC Liberals pledged to resurrect the Massey Bridge project, they also mentioned they would abolish ‘community benefit agreements’. Those are by definition a ‘project labour agreement’ that typically involved a group unions and has terms that outline apprenticeships and training for those working on major infrastructure projects.

CBA’s or PLA’s are hated by anti-union campaigners, such as the benefactors of the BC Liberal Party, and various other big business groups; and they’ve been challenged in court before…and upheld at the highest level.

PLA’s built the WAC Bennett Dam in the north and a host of other major things. They’re good as they assure labour stability throughout the life of a project, pay good wages for front line workers, and provide skilled trades training for up-and-coming trades folks looking for a career building things.

Not for the BC Liberals.

The BC version of PLA’s are the CBA’s that have unique terms that require community benefits – such as hiring more women and first nations people (and other under-represented communities) into their ranks. Learning a skilled trade that pays $45+ per hour is financial liberation for many folks who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to reach that far. These are high skilled, upper middle class, lots-of-tax paying, family supporting careers. Why wouldn’t we want this?

Ask the BC Liberals.

The CBA’s are the NDP’s effort to re-establish the skilled trades apprenticeship programs that were gutted by the BC Liberals in their 16 year regime of failure. To be sure, things needed to get built as well – and the BC Liberals did – but they had another angle on this. Their plan was for ‘open-shop’ anti-union operations and an unusual reliance on temporary foreign workers to do work that BC folks could have been trained for.

Because it was cheaper.

In doing so, the BC Liberals created a skills shortage in the 16 years they were in power. It wasn’t pronounced at first, but as the skilled industrial trades aged and retired out of the workforce, this cost issue flipped on them – now it became more expensive to hire these foreign workers to work, then expensive repair work after the fact…when they could have done it right the first time.

Here we are in 2020 with the BC Liberals promising a return to the old ways that cost BC so much and ruined a generation of proud skilled trades workers. Catching up is going to be expensive, but it will cost even more if these clowns get a chance to set us back again.

My2bits

BC Liberals are no bridge builders

Expect the BC Liberals to demonize the NDP over the Massey ‘tunnel’ replacement, but remember how morally repugnant that party is and the politics they played beforehand. Every word spoken by them must be taken with several grains of salt.

Its true that politicians play a blacktop politics game; as in ‘vote for me and I’ll build [thing]’, usually some major infrastructure. But that wasn’t necessary in 2001 as the BC Liberals strolled to power against a weakened NDP and needed to promise very little outside the platitudes they’ve failed to live up to since.

But, infrastructure is needed. BC has aging bridges and highways that need replacing. The oldest one being the Pattullo Bridge connecting north Surrey/Delta to New Westminster. It was opened for business in 1937. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s the Port Mann Bridge which was originally opened in 1964. Guess which the BC Liberals decided to replace? Not the older, Pattullo Bridge.

The idea wasn’t without controversy. It was to be an expanded, 10 lane bridge; build under the BC Liberals preferred P3 model; with tolls. Public Private Partnerships were preferred by the BC Liberals because it kept the debt load off the provincial books, even if taxpayers ended up paying more under this framework.

Well the deal fell through and the BC Liberal government was forced to use the traditional model of financing, keeping the toll.

By keeping this toll in place, the BC Liberal government forced a significant uptick on the already over-capacity Alex Fraser Bridge and the pre-WW2 Pattullo Bridge; triggering traffic jams like nobody had seen before.

These are the clowns who built the Sea To Sky on another P3 model, but using ‘shadow tolls‘ to pay the consortium who built the project and its their model for the (now cancelled) Massey Bridge project.

This is what the BC Liberals will try to attack the NDP over, and while crossing the Fraser River through the ‘tunnel’ is a pain in the ass at the best of times, the NDP has likely saved taxpayers a tonne of money so that a more transparent project may be done.

The BC Liberals never built a Pattullo replacement bridge because it wasn’t politically expedient to serve traditional NDP leaning seats when they could drop in a mega-billion dollar project in some swing seats they needed to keep.

These folks are desperate to get back into power…and will say anything to do so.

My2bits

BC Liberals afraid to face voters

I’ve noticed something.

BC Liberal partisans are simultaneously trying to scare voters that this election isn’t necessary because its dangerous to vote while downplaying the pandemic to argue that the election isn’t necessary.

Why would they do that?

BC Liberals don’t want an election because they’re afraid to face voters. Voters will see a party with the same ideas, the same insiders and the same philosophy that left so many behind.

Instead of picking a sea-change leader, they chose in Andrew Wilkinson the most elite and out of touch insider possible. The months and years ahead will require bold changes that the BC Liberals are incapable of doing.

They offer the same tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation and service cuts for everyone else. We can choose to go backwards to the era of taking care of the 1% as the BC Liberals do, or we can move forward with the NDP.

My2bits

Voting now isn’t ideal, but waiting is worse.

Once you get over the relatively early election call, you’ll come to the same conclusion. Its about choices. Revert back to the party and leadership brand that hurt BC’s most vulnerable, destroyed the BC forest industry, bled the life out of BC Hydro and ICBC for political gain, and attacked educators and healthcare workers in unions who are 80% female in demographic composition. Or keep moving forward from that 16 year legacy of destruction – with the NDP.

I’ve made it clear that I don’t generally want a snap election, but having one doesn’t dissuade me from my vote – or who I will vote for. In fact, this gives us the opportunity to crush the BC Liberals like they rightly deserved in 2017.

Do it.

While I appreciate the Green Party choosing to side with the NDP in the early days just after the 2017 election, the unique circumstances that gave us this minority parliament are a one-in-a-million and not likely to repeat themselves. I understand that it could have gone the other way. Chances are that this arrangement isn’t going to happen again; it will either be a BC Liberal or an NDP majority government.

Of course, all hasn’t gone to plan…and sure, no party is perfect. Nobody could have predicted a global pandemic that would disrupt our way of life, but here we are. Which goes to the next point.

There are some who would have argued against an early election because of the pandemic, and I hear your point. You are saying that there is a major infection risk to large groups gathering (to vote, I assume). But let me tell you this: ElectionsBC, the non-partisan agency that manages provincial elections, has been working closely with the Provincial Health Office to plan a mitigation process so that voters’ risks are slim to none.

Expect generous early voting opportunities and expanded absentee/mail-in options. The bottom line is that voting in BC will be as safe as ever, and given some recent examples of fuckery happening south of us, free from interference by one side or another who would rather you not vote – or not allow your vote to count.

Yes, it sure seems that we’re on an upswing in covid19 reported infections in BC. While we have done very well in managing the pandemic provincially, every sign is pointing to an unavoidable second-wave. So lets try on a thought experiment:

  • Should we have had that election three months ago when case reporting was lower than it is now?
  • Should we wait until later when caseload reporting is explosive and we’re risking another shut down?
  • Should we go now when its safe and under the close guidance of the public health office?

I’ve been monitoring the debate publicly, and there’s some surprising correlation between those who demand their businesses (night clubs, high capacity venues, etc) be allowed to open up with exemptions to the safe opening rules – and those arguing its unsafe to vote.

‘but its too early’

This minority parliament has survived longer than almost every pundit suggested. That its lasted three-and-a-half years is pretty good. The fact that most minority governments last less than two years, BC can take a bow.

With all the safety precautions in place, voting by mail, etc, to *not* vote would be its own choice. With grave consequences. I point to the example (also) south of us of what not-voting could produce. It gave America a Donald Trump presidency, and may do so again.

The BC Liberals are not any better than the broken version of the party they were in 2017. They are worse. They chose as leader one of the worst examples of the 1% elitist ruling class they could have picked. They said the quiet part out loud. Andrew Wilkinson has consistently proven himself to be the champion of the Howe street elite with zero regard for what goes on in your town, or main street.

What’s worse, is Andrew Wilkinson is no outsider. He was party president of the BC Liberals when Gordon Campbell came to power in 2001; moved on over to government payroll as a deputy minister shortly after. He’s been a lobbyist to pressure government policy, then was a lawyer suing government on behalf of big tobacco when he was outside government.

Then he ran for a seat, became a Christy Clark cabinet minister and later Leader of his party.

While there is nothing illegal or technically wrong about Andrew’s political career path, he cannot at all claim to be any sort of brand renewal or offer any ‘fresh start’. Especially when he’s already signaled his campaign priorities will be massive tax cuts for the rich – exactly where Gordon Campbell left off.

This is the narrative that got Campbell his majority too. But the tax cut flowing from this promise produced the worse non-pandemic related deficit in BC history and led to a decade of cuts to funding to the most vulnerable in BC with service fee increases for everyone else. For the ‘average people’, their tax cut largely evaporated.

No, the NDP are not perfect, and that wouldn’t change in a majority government either. People are allowed to not-be perfect and this is a fair standard for our political leadership too. But I will happily choose to re-elect that imperfect-but-trying NDP government than one that is willfully harming the citizens its pretending to govern under the BC Liberals.

We cannot go back.

My2bits