Endorsement of Lisa Marie Barron

My name is Peter Kelly (he/him) and I have been a resident of Nanaimo since 1997. I’m a past president of the Nanaimo area ferry workers union, a single parent, concerned citizen and I offer my full support and endorsement of Lisa Marie Barron for the Federal NDP nomination for the seat of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

I have known Lisa for over 10 years and was an enthusiastic supporter in her campaign for school district trustee in the previous local elections and I feel that Lisa is the right kind of leadership we need today. 

Lisa’s generosity, compassion, empathy and honest talk is lacking in Ottawa and absent here today. Lisa is the right choice and I encourage all NDP members to follow me and support Lisa in her bid to become the next Member of Parliament from our region.

You can see this amazing candidate for yourself and follow for updates here: facebook.com/ElectLisaMarieBarron
Lisa’s website is here: https://www.lisamariebarron.ca/

If you are not yet a member of the NDP and would like to in order to support Lisa, please click here for an online membership application.

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

Green leadership campaign brings out the odd

It was inevitable that the BC Greens, mid leadership contest, would turn against themselves and what they signed up for by agreeing to the CASA deal that ousted the 16 year BC Liberal government in 2017.

Where we’re at is watching the Greens pick apart SiteC, the northern dam being constructed along the Peace River; on costs.

No consideration have been made for the Green Party’s support for ‘run-of-the-river’ projects and their equivalently problematic risks to the environment.

Run of the river and the IPP contracts foisted upon rate-payers are a scandal that will cost BC dearly for decades to come.

The hill to die on for the Greens was apparently the notion of ‘card check’ unionization, meaning that if a majority of workers in a bargaining unit signed union membership cards, the certification would be granted. An idea supported by former Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders.

In the terms of the CASA arrangement, SiteC was to be examined by the BC Utilities Commission and they would submit a report on its viability.

Remember that on the left, it was highly unpopular among the activist class to build such a monolith on the Peace River as it threatened viable agricultural land, ran afoul of area First Nations, was very expensive (and likely to run well over its budget), and questions raised on the need for such a project.

But, opinion wasn’t unanimous. In fact, yours truly wrote an opinion piece shortly after the approval ‘to continue’ with the dam. I wasn’t on board either, and its still makes me grumpy.

But things have changed.

  • Its not getting any cheaper, and such a project is mired in construction complications; moving a river is no small feat of engineering.
  • Its still compromising to some productive agricultural land.
  • A deal has been struck with one of the area First Nations, that while it doesn’t imply an endorsement, takes an important step to reconciliation missing from the initial planning of the dam.
  • Major investment initiatives and subsidies to encourage more electric vehicle purchases, requiring more hydro usage.
  • Vaunted massive alternative energy generation do not yet exist in numbers needed to offset a cancellation of SiteC, and will likely have serious cost implications akin to IPP’s and the run-of-the-river projects they link to.

While its true that there a relatively slow demand increase of hydro, it still does increase. Wouldn’t a dramatic increase in supply guarantee lower prices and safeguard supply? Of course it would. Especially not being bound as much to seasonally useless supply spikes created by RotR projects.

The problems with BC Hydro aren’t exclusive to SiteC. Last decade’s tinkering of the operations of BC Hydro by the BC Liberals did serious damage to the viability of the Crown Corporation. By forcing the utility to borrow money to give to the government in the form of ‘dividends’ while deferring this racked up debt along side the red ink drawn up in building SiteC.

SiteC still makes me grumpy, but given the time to think this over, the project might win me over too.

And I’m not alone either. When it was announced that SiteC was to continue, a major polling firm conducted a survey to gauge opinion in BC. What it found was stunning. That BC Liberal supporters were overwhelmingly in favour of completing SiteC was not surprising, learning that a plurality of NDP *and* Green voters did too – well that took my breath away.

The project was hotly debated in the 2017 BC Election with the Greens vowing to halt the dam, the NDP promising to have it examined by the BCUC and the Liberals would finish the dam without delay. When the ballots were counted and the BC Liberals were only two seats ahead of the NDP and in a minority government, the Greens had every opportunity to make a deal with whomever they wanted.

They sided with the NDP and the ensuing CASA deal that ensured the parliamentary survival of the newly formed NDP minority government on confidence matters (such as a budget or certain legislative initiatives. Scrapping the dam was not part of the deal.

So its strikes me as odd that now, in the middle of a BC Green Party leadership contest that SiteC has come up and they’re targeting the NDP will all their rage at the continuation of the dam construction…and they’re citing costs.

Ok. Costs are going to suck, I’ll grant you that. So lets talk about the costs of halting the project and tearing it down. If you drop $15 billion on the project, then add another $5 billion to remove it, you have a $20 billion monument to stupidity.

No asset.

What about contract cancellation fees? There’s got to be billions extra in unknown costs that would be charged up – or sued out of the provincial government for such an idiotic choice. A choice still being pushed by the Greens I might add.

Look, we’re into an era of extraordinary costs brought on by covid19 based delays and business shut downs; tens of thousands of people are still without work as the economy slowly restarts. These unforeseen events will add billions of dollars in debt to the provincial books; everyone knows this.

But in the era of ‘lets get through this’ (together), cancelling a major energy infrastructure project will unnecessarily throw 3-4 thousand workers out of their jobs and add billions of dollars of new debt to the books without any assets or new revenue to pay for it.

You don’t have to like SiteC to support it. I don’t. But, lets get it done and add it to our supply matrix for energy and be done with it. Finishing the dam doesn’t mean you can’t explore other ways to produce more renewable energy, but it means that we have to do this better.

We still have time. Do we have the will?

My2bits

Mild for Joe

potus

You know its true. Joe Biden isn’t Barack Obama and doesn’t illicit the same passion and groundswell of support that then Senator Obama did in the lead up to his 2008 election…and you know what? That’s perfectly ok.

There are few political candidates that drum up that sort of gut bending passion that you want to bend over backwards for them. Certainly it was Barack Obama, perhaps Bernie Sanders, once it was Ronald Reagan, or Justin Trudeau here in Canada. That luster wears off in time and its a contest of ideas (as it should be).

Joe Biden doesn’t do it at all. While he was an enthusiastic campaigner and very capable Vice President to Barack Obama, on his own terms, he’s not ‘that guy’.

He doesn’t have to be.

American politics are going through the other side of what began in 2008. Where there was hope and potential of great progress under Obama, the arrival of Donald Trump as President in 2016 is the exact opposite of hope and progress. He is literally the antidote of the excitement and promise the 2008 election.

Donald Trump is the worst excesses of the Tea Party movement filtered down through the most offensive and militant versions of racism and bigotry imaginable.

If there is anything that progressives, liberals and the left are guilty of, it was to pretend that this hateful force doesn’t hold any sway. They apparently vote…and in large enough numbers that they can win elections.

There are some D’s still fretting about 2016 like it was a stolen election. It wasn’t. Popular vote doesn’t determine elections, despite runaway tallies the Democrats had in their core, big states. What they cannot defend is how they lost swing states of Ohio, Michigan, Florida and dropped (in percentage) support in areas they did win. There was a pronounced swing against the Democratic party thanks to the angry racially populist messaging of Donald Trump. Given the tightness of the polls right now, Joe Biden has to offer more than “I’m not Trump” as a narrative.

To the left wingers and progressive populists that were aligned with Bernie Sanders, I know your disappointment. This is the second, and probably last time that Sanders will make a play for the Democratic Party Presidential Nomination. Progressives will have to think up something different if they wish to change America.

And this leads me to a point I think is necessary to discuss. There are those genuinely on the left so disappointed at Bernie Sanders’ withdrawal from the race that they’re actively trying to undermine Joe Biden. Either you’re a closet Trump supporter clawing your way into the open, or you’re probably stupid.

Yes I said that.

Here’s the problem.

America is not Canada.

In Canada, we have a robust multi-party democratic system. Its not just Liberal vs Conservative; those voters further to the left or right have different options.

The American system isn’t designed this way. Oh, yes it should be different, and that’s nice debate to have, but that’s not the reality on the ground.

Either Donald Trump gets another four years in power, or he’s stopped.

The frustration of the left is understandable. We’re proving that major government intervention is helpful; Canada is proving this. With the power of the state to levy taxes, print its own currency, and enforce laws, left wing ideas can get us out of the muck we’re in as a result of the global pandemic. So why hasn’t this caught on?

Because America isn’t a left wing country. Its a centre-right nation. Come to think of it, so is Canada.

Far left ideas haven’t caught on in America for the same reason that far right ideas haven’t caught on in Canada. Our people aren’t typically extreme.

This isn’t to suggest that far left ideas are equivalent to the far right. Folks on the far left aren’t screaming outrage at ‘Mexican rapists and drug dealers’ in left-wing rhetoric.  You’re more likely to hear ‘medicare for all’, and ‘basic income (for all)’ coming from the left.

It didn’t matter that Trump’s rhetoric was racist or that it was substantially wrong, he said it regardless…and thus began the effort to create a permission structure for blue collar voters who were generally underwhelmed at a slow economic recovery, blame immigrants and other people of colour (even if factually incorrect). That’s how Trump was able to peel off enough votes to flip swing states.

We’re at a place where the hard core activists are angry their chosen person didn’t make the cut and some are threatening either a boycott or obstruction as a result. That doesn’t make you much of a team player now doesn’t it?

Did Bernie Sanders throw a tantrum at Hillary Clinton in 2016 and run as a third party candidate? No: he was a powerful surrogate who headlined over a dozen events in her name – because he knew that Donald Trump had to be stopped. If the US Presidential Election was decided on popular vote, she would have won. In fact, one could argue that because of Sander’s efforts, Hillary was able to score the second highest popular vote tally in US history. But that’s not America’s system.

Did the losing GOP candidates throw a tantrum in 2016 and undercut Trump? No, they climbed aboard. Unfortunately.

Some of the most cantankerous progressives would seemingly be happier of Trump got a second term than if Biden won instead. I’m having a lot of trouble with this.

Nobody is saying Biden is perfect. He’s no less flawed in 2020 than Hillary was in 2016; neither would have been my first choice in any primary/caucus contest had I been an American registered Democrat. But they’d get my vote for President in November regardless.

As Trump cheers on anti-lockdown protests (by folks looking to shop, get haircuts), nobody is talking anymore about the thousands of children of undocumented immigrants locked in cages separated from their parents at the direction of the Trump administration. Not just separated, seized. Not just seized, being adopted out to American families.

Progressives will point to some allegations made by Tara Reade of very inappropriate behavior of Joe Biden. Allegations that we’re to believe; as per #metoo activists. Now, I’m not going to be the one to challenge if a woman has or hasn’t been a victim of a sexual crime; they face enough hurdles on coming forward with allegations. But, questions have been raised, and doubt is being raised towards the allegations.

Rather than delving into either the allegations, or denials, I’ll just say this..

That ship has sailed.

Maybe Tara Reade is right and Joe Biden is a creep. But I’m just going to say that nobody cares anymore about that. Donald Trump bragged up shitty behavior, and he won an election. There are more powerful people in office who do shady things than we know. Some are known quantities, some aren’t. The time before Trump, it was Bill Clinton being a creep – and he won re-election.

People vote on bread and butter, economic issues now. They could care less about personal lives. Republicans learned this too; after showcasing their moralistic holier than thou attitude during the Bill Clinton impeachment efforts, it was revealed later that many GOP folks were creeps too.

Again, I don’t want to minimize Tara Reade’s allegations, but the outrage is muted. The sitting President is out in the open with his depravity and could win another term. The person that the far left really do want, Bernie Sanders isn’t without his own interesting issues. His political legacy is that once he called for an end to mandatory public education…along with other distractions.

Oh yes, that’s literally a dose of ‘whataboutism’, but seriously, to the American voter, the choice ahead may just be a life or death option. Donald Trump and his covid10-trutherism has been picked up by the anti-vaxxer crowd; and should he get a new term of office, the anti-medicine people will have sway in public policy.

This will get people killed.

I’m truly sorry, Bernie folks, that your guy isn’t the Democratic nominee. Sure, Biden is a flawed candidate, just as Hillary was; just as Obama turned out to be. But you will be hard pressed to convince me that at any time that America would have been better off under the influence of any of the Republican options. We’re now finding out how bad it is under Trump; now imagine four more years of it.

You’d argue that the system is broken and that its hardly democratic: and that’s not a bad point to make. Except that its wrong.

The Republican party got as stupid and right wing not because Trump convinced them to be; it was a concerted effort over decades at the grassroots level that the worst lot of conservative ideologues slowly took over low level party positions as volunteers and rank/file gate keepers. It was only a matter of time before its leadership followed suit.

The left assumed that Bernie could just be dropped into place and win the nomination race. What were they thinking?

This isn’t to say that there are some genuine left enclaves within the Democratic Party; there clearly are. But they don’t dominate the party, nor are they the front line foot soldiers in the same way that far right activists have taken over the GOP. If the left wants the Democratic Party to move left, then get involved and drag it to where it needs to be. Or start your own party.

Look. Vote Biden to halt Trump. Vote Democrat to sweep Republicans from house and senate seats; shift the legislative direction. Put facts and science back in their rightful place.

Odds are, that even if it Biden wins, he’s only there for one term. Bernie isn’t likely to run for this again either. Progressives and liberals within the Democrats can look for new alternatives to campaign for in the ’24 campaign.

But if the left is genuine about changing America, as many of their loudest cheerleaders suggest, you can act first by saving America by throwing Trump out. If you cannot do that then I question your motives.

Either you actively choose someone that doesn’t stir excitement in you, or you’ll get Trump.

I’m aware that this opinion might trigger a blow-back in some of my political circles, but I’m unmoved by that possibility.

What I’m calling for is an ounce of pragmatism here, and if folks can’t read the “unite to stop the fascist from destroying a country” message here, then you’re just as much a hard-liner as you pretend not to be. There are times when a nations’ citizenry unite to overcome a common threat; this is that time, Trump is that threat.

Time to choose.

My2bits

 

The hypocrisy of Canada’s far right on covid19

Why won’t Trudeau help Canadians becoming ‘how are we going to pay for that’

Don’t lift a finger to stop these far right imbeciles from looking any more stupid than they already do.

But, aren’t they stupid? Of course they are, but now they’re drifting into the realm of irrational.

The above screenshot is from Canada Proud, a relative newcomer to the social media self-fellatio of the right wing nuttosphere.

They’ve latched onto what is bubbling up in the Trump world of alternative facts and it may have a profound impact on American politics. It must not do the same here.

Justin Trudeau did not create the $140 billion debt prior to the covid19 pandemic. That was already there. Some of it was by decisions of his government, much of it was left over from all previous administrations.

To then argue or light your hair on fire over the costs rising from the mitigation efforts infers that either they would not have spent a penny to help Canadians through this pandemic.

You’ll note that they ignore this problem when it comes to conservative regimes in Alberta, Ontario or under Trump.

Somehow, money only matters (that needs to be paid back) when non-conservatives are in charge.

They do have a point. Money borrowed like this does need to be paid.

But the right wing has no real answers. They’d cut taxes for the rich again and gut social spending, as they always do. By doing so they serve to widen the already obscene rich/poor gap they pretend to care about. They don’t. They only have one master: money.

They will not entertain a wealth tax, they will not examine a basic income, they won’t lift a finger for social housing. They’ll pretend to care about front line essential workers but undermine the workplace safety provisions they need.

Because they’ve always done this.

I’m not a Liberal Party supporter, but I don’t see any way that massive debt charges were avoidable when large swaths of employees were told to stay home from work while social distancing guidelines take effect.

Nobody had fun doing this and it’s going to cause other issues soon enough. But, money? Well if your only God is money, then your worship over it at least makes sense.

But you’re wrong.

My2bits

New movie Planet of the Humans is a wake up call

Some environmentalists have taken the movie as a knife in the back, or a slap in the face by Michael Moore. Some have gone so far as to call for its removal.

I don’t see it that way, and I don’t think removing it will help; that amounts to green-censorship which will immediately backfire.

What this movie has done has put a spotlight on the Green Energy industry and highlighted some of its contradictions. Green Energy isn’t entirely green. We should at least agree on this.

The movie laments the corporate control over the movement too.

While I’m no expert on Green Energy, it’s fair to ask questions and not right that some folks feel that it’s beyond scrutiny.

Much of the technology involved in green energy comes from rare earth metals and minerals that are..well..rare.

They’re sourced by industrial giants in far off places in countries where they tend to have lax environmental protections and even lower labour standards.

Doing the right thing can, at times, come at an ethical cost.

And I say this as a supporter of the Green Energy industry. Do better, research more. There’s progress to be had, but we’re going to have to do this different.

Instead of demonizing Michael Moore as a sell out, listen to the message. If what we’re doing isn’t working, then we need to change.

My2bits

Updated: climate change deniers have latched onto this movie. They should not. It’s a reality check that the Green Energy industry needed, and a call to action. Not surrender.