Ride hailing is coming quickly to BC and the NDP can take credit for it

There are those to be sure who don’t like the idea of the ride hailing service, but it’s here and unavoidable now.

What’s interesting now is the desperate flailing of certain BC Liberal partisans trying to gain a wedge issue in the thing they had 8 years to deliver but only made a deathbed conversion when looking at Parliamentary defeat.

Tough shit.

What I have been vocal on is that ride hailing drivers fall under the same rules as taxi drivers. Same license requirements, etc.

And I wasn’t alone either. The government passed its ride hailing legislation that requires a class 4 license (as Alberta does) plus a handful of other transition measures to establish the new business.

But not to the partisans. They’re out to convince you that the NDP are laggards on ride hailing, bowing to the powerful taxi lobby. If so, they failed at that.

Ride hailing has existed since 2009 with the founding of Uber. At no time until the last gasp of the 2017 provincial campaign did the BC Liberals find this as a priority. Indeed, they were in power all the previous time and didn’t seem at all motivated to bring in ride hailing at all. I wonder who’s lobby had their ears.

It wasn’t until the NDP/Green agreement did a formal plan take shape to bring in Ride hailing. So it was bundled into legislation and passed.

September is when it opens for business.

That took two years.

As for the onerous regime the NDP is putting ride hailers through, spare me your verbal diarrhea.

Other than time, ride hailing corporations have had a fairly smooth sailing to being legitimate here in BC. Just look at what they’ve experienced elsewhere.

Ride hailing isn’t going to solve any climate issue. It won’t take many cars off the road. It’s a convenience based business model. That’s all it is.

Oh and get used to a new term: “surge pricing”.

My2bits

Update: here’s a link to a sad story coming from Toronto where a grieving family had to bury a son lost to an inexperienced ride hailing driver. Punchline? That the mom hopes BC holds the line in requiring the higher license requirement and that other jurisdictions follow suit.

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

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

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

Shady ‘labour’ group upset at fair representation for workers

At stake are the regulations regarding large infrastructure projects in BC that the new NDP government has set in place. In a nutshell, the government is pursuing PLA’s (or project labour agreements) which pre-establish union rates and guarantee no work stoppage on a project. They can be more expensive in one sense as pay rates may be relatively higher, but also deliver certainty and are famous for their on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs.

Enter the Progressive Contractors Association, allies of CLAC.

CLAC, or Christian Labour Association of Canada and their allies, are mighty upset by this. While CLAC meets a legal definition of union in the sense of protected status as a member of an association, to most unions, they’d describe CLAC as a ‘rat union’.

CLAC hasn’t done itself any favours to quell this reputation, it lost a recent arbitration with a friendly employer it had a so-called ‘voluntary recognition agreement’ they fought against SEIU. I’ll let you read it for yourself; a link to the LRB decision is linked in the article.

CLAC and the PCA are friendly to the BC Liberals because dealing with these folks gives the BC Liberals some badly needed credentials that they need to not sound so anti-union.

We’re at this place because for 16 years, the BC Liberals gutted the apprenticeship and training programs in BC while the demand for construction and blue collar trades hasn’t gone anywhere but up. How bad is it? Then-Premier got up in front of a business crowd to call for more temporary foreign workers to build LNG.

So this may come as a surprise to folks when the BC Liberals have a phishing page on their site paying lip service to the call for BC workers being prioritized for LNG.

No, seriously.

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In my view, the court challenge being launched against the NDP government’s CBA (Community Benefit Agreement), which is a PLA by definition, is futile. PLA’s have been ruled legal and constitutional before and that’s how WAC Bennett got his dam built in the Peace Country (and many projects since).

Allies of CLAC and the BC Liberals should take this as a lesson that instead of being adversarial and attack working people, start treating them fairly and with respect and you’ll never be on the wrong side of labour again.

But that is a choice.

My2bits

Palmer’s advertorial for BC Liberal a sad display of using political talking points to draft “editorials”

A sad ‘editorial‘ published by Vaughn Palmer today misses the mark and faces a legitimate fact check.

The BC Liberals, desperate for an angle to attack the NDP have railed against the unusually high gas prices in BC, specifically in the lower mainland. They’re doing this by attacking the BC carbon tax that they would have you believe the NDP invented and jacked it all the way to 8.78 cents/litre. The fact is that the NDP did increase the already existing carbon tax by (wait for it) by 2 cents per litre in two years.

Enter, Vaughn Palmer.

Picking up where the BC Liberals left off, the opinion writer then attempts to pin *all* fuel taxes on the NDP (which were largely in place before assuming power in 2017). But don’t let a good spin get in the way of facts.

Vaughn then makes the flawed argument that the delayed Kinder Morgan expansion would ease gas prices. Its a flawed argument because its false. The pipeline expansion is for export only, and the price at the pump will likely increase.

Vaughn goes on about refineries; next time he opens his yap about refineries, he should do some research. The proposed Kitimat refinery and attached pipeline has the support of Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.

These items are worthy of the theatrics of Question Period as they would easily be batted away by facts. I didn’t expect them to be picked up by long time reporter/opinion writer Vaughn Palmer.

my2bits