Some things just need to be said...

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Basi court June 21 and an arraignment on June 29

He was the highest ranking (political ranking) Ministerial Assistant in the BC Liberal government. Want to meet with then Minister of Finance Gary (drop the Farrell) Collins, see Basi. What, you are a Cabinet Minister, the answer remains, see Basi!

David Basi was privy to all government files. He was one of several back room boys that controlled the government. MLA's and Ministers learned of government plans after the decisions were made.

Basi has a hearing on June 29. This case involves production of marijuana for the purposes of trafficking. Basi is also facing charges relating to a police raid at the B.C. legislature in December 2003 where he and Bob Virk, his brother inlaw are charged with accepting benefits, breach of trust of a public official and fraud in connection with the BC Rail deal. The trial begins June 21, 2005.

Coleman playing tough

It seems traffic fine money sent to municpalities with no strings prior to the election has developed them after. Solicitor-General Rich Coleman is now talking tough...
"Coleman says it's not acceptable for local governments to use the extra cash from traffic fines for general revenue instead of the stated purpose of public safety. Coleman says he's asked his staff to keep an eye on the issue to make sure the money is spent as intended." ~ CKNW May 31, 2005

Is this another case of the BC Liberals saying one thing before the election and doing another after? You be the judge. The money clearly had no strings attached, though it has been suggested municpalities use it for crime and or safety. Now the Liberals are suggesting they may make up new rules.

Final counts BC Election (38)

Links to final counts so far
As of May 31, 2005 - 4:30 p.m.

BC Liberal

Lower Mainland results

Abbotsford-Mount Lehman Fort Langley-Aldergrove Langley
Chilliwack-Kent Chilliwack-Sumas
Coquitlam-Maillardville Port Coquitlam-Burke Mountain
Burnaby-Willingdon New Westminster
Surrey-Green Timbers Surrey-Panorama Ridge

Vancouver-Fraserview Vancouver-Hastings Vancouver-Kingsway Vancouver-Langara Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
North Vancouver-Seymour West Vancouver-Garibaldi
Delta North Delta South Richmond East Richmond Centre

Vancouver Island

Cowichan-Ladysmith Saanich North and the Islands


Peace River North
Prince George-Mount Robson Prince George North Prince George-Omineca

Bulkley Valley-Stikine North Coast
Cariboo South Kamloops Shuswap
Okanagan-Westside Penticton-Okanagan Valley
Columbia River-Revelstoke West Kootenay-Boundary East Kootenay

Wyse takes Cariboo back

Charlie Wyse

In what was a close race, Walt Cobb has lost Cariboo South to former City Council colleague and NDP candidate, Charlie Wyse. Wyse will do a great job for the people of the Cariboo Chilcotin. David Zirnhelt created a tradition from 1989 -2001, now Charlie picks up in 2005 - 2009.

See BC Elections Final Count here

Mayencourt ditched advice

If he had only listened...

My advice to Lorne was simple. Keep his promises and meet with the community often. Hire a politically astute staff person and be prepared to lobby his own government hard and if need be speak out against it. Priorities I suggested to Lorne included, AIDS Funding, St. Paul's Hospital, Affordable housing, Youthquest, The LGBTQ Centre, renters rights to pets, and to vigorously fight back against the likes of Mary Polak and the Surrey School Board.

read more : Mayencourt and Barnes agree

Want more on Mayencourt or Mary Polak, use the Technorati search box in the side bar. You will find more at Queer Thoughts.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Newest biblical prophecy from Harper delegate

Tax Status lost soon, newest biblical prophecy from Harper delegate

Conservative MP Vic Toews warns that his concerns about the Civil Marriage Bill are very real. He told the National Post, it's about churches losing their tax status. "They'll say, 'Well, you've got the right to refuse (to marry same-sex couples), but since you're discriminating in a manner that's similar to racism, that is the equation that is being made here and the arguments, you're not entitled to these kind of income-tax benefits, I know that's coming."

Toews is one of the Conservative members on the Civil Marriage Bill committee. Toews wants some 22 different witnesses to appear as part of his strategy to drag the bill through the summer and into the fall. This is one of the stratagies of the Defend Marriage coalition to kill the bill. If they can prevent it from passing before an election or force it to the fall they have bought more time to fight it.

see Queer Thoughts for more.

Vancouver-Burrard battle royal

Stevenson vs Mayencourt

In Vancouver-Burrard, Tim Stevenson, the NDP has increased his lead after a recount, his lead now 17 votes instead of 12. Liberal Lorne Mayencourt trails. Approximately 1800 absentee ballots will be counted tomorrow, expect final results Tuesday afternoon at the earliest.

The vote could go to a judicial recount then if it is still close. The Vancouver-Burrard battle goes for the big finish!

Richmond to get dishonourable discharge?

A disgrace could be repeated....

Claude Richmond made an overt partisan decision, one that seriously hampered the Legislature's operation and denied 43% of British Columbians a voice. Richmond ruled as directed (albeit indirectly) by the Premier to deny the NDP official opposition status.

Rafe Mair in an article published by recalls the speaker's decision this way ...
"The last parliament was, of course, a joke. The government started with 77 members leaving just two New Democrats to take on the entire role of the Loyal Opposition. The tone was set when Speaker Claude Richmond, no doubt on instructions of Premier Campbell, denied the NDP "Official Party Status" thus depriving Ms. MacPhail and Ms. Kwan the resources to do a better job. The Speaker was within his rights but he also could have made an exception had he wanted to but no, it was "rub their noses in it" time."

Stacey RobinSmith talked to the former speaker ...
"He added that the New Democrats did receive every benefit of being the Official Opposition without being called the "Official" opposition. He also said that the New Democrats, in spite of having only two members in the Legislature did an admirable job during each sitting of the Legislature."

Richmond is right when he refers to the efforts of MacPhail and Kwan, They did do an admirable job despite his rulings and the government's own mean-spirited actions. Some examples include;
Denial of adequate research and support staff - This action denied the NDP members with the ability to study all the legislation and budgets fully, to do background work and prepare for debate.

Office space for the two NDP members were the two smallest and in the basement of the legislative buildings. This placement hardly respected parliamentary tradition and was meant to "rub the election loss" in even more.

Debates of the budget and legislation - The Liberals began by denying the NDP the courtesy of washroom breaks. Often there would be debates in two chambers at the same time. The two NDP MLA's would go separate ways to debate. The Liberals finally consented once they were reminded that Kwan was pregnant. An NDP member could have left the Chamber at any time but if they had the Liberals would close debate on the section of the bill or budget that was being debated.

Richmond condoned the Campbell government's actions and near the end of the session prior to the election, he tried to put a time limit on questions during question period. The NDP with a third MLA was able to cause the government considerable embarrassment, but not to worry, Richmond rode to their rescue.

As Rafe Mair wrote at, the tone of the Legislature will be set early on by Campbell's choice of speaker. (The speaker is chosen by a vote, the Liberals however will support one person for speaker, someone that received the nod from Campbell.)

Lets hope for Richmond's name not being put forward. If the Liberals do this, expect one real nasty house!

Gay Marriage Vote Soon

Now is not the time for supporters of Equal Marriage (Same-sex or Gay) to be over confident. The Civil marriage Bill will come to the House of Commons for a vote soon. This act must pass this time and we will be one step closer to full marriage rights. We have never been closer to achieving equality as we are now. The last step will be for the Senate to pass the bill, which it is expected to do, if the House of Commons passes it.Take time today or tomorrow, send another message of support for the Civil Marriage Bill.

Check out the website at Equal Marriage or go to Queer Thoughts for more information.

The James gang and the Campbell clan

BC is at a critical point in its political development. Carole James managed to set a differing tone in the last election, leading many people to yearn for the illusive constructive debate that rarely occurs in BC politics.

Much of BC politics has been a blood sport for 40 years. WAC Bennett was a master at it. Dave Barrett was likely BC's most exciting premier and as opposition leader lead a very vocal group.

Barrett did make some changes to the political debate in BC. In 1972 as Premier he introduced two significant changes to the Legislature. Those changes included Question Period and Hansard. Prior to 1972 BC did not have a record of debates in the house, nor was there an opportunity for the opposition to question the government on issues of the day.

Ironically, it was question period led by Bill Bennett, son of WAC Bennett that benefited from the change and helped defeat the NDP in the election of 1975. Bennett used the red scare attack, which was far from truth, but helped re-establish a perception of socialism gone wild.

Bennett led an rejuvenated Social Credit party to victory using a couple of issues, the most famous being "not a dime without debate" referring to the NDP's use of special warrants for spending. Again irony surfaces as Bennett used special warrants more than any BC Premier in history.

The election was also fought on two other big issues, the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and public auto insurance, ICBC. The Socreds said the ALR was unfair to farmers and were committed to removing it and as far as ICBC was concerned, they were opposed to it.

As we can see, many elections have been fought in the 28 years since. The ALR is still here, ICBC is still here. They have survived because the ALR was good public policy and Public Auto Insurance was cheaper. The debate over these two entities has been far from civil however.

The NDP added to the blood sport as well. Often accusing the government of wrong doing, looking for scandal and exaggerating government mistakes.

In 1990's the NDP government brought in freedom of information to open government records to more scrutiny. This was good policy and long needed. The biggest user of this new tool was again the opposition, the BC Liberals made by far the most use of act. As with the initiation of question period in 1972, the opposition used this new tool to great advantage.

After the 2001 election, Gordon Campbell knew how successfully he had used the law, was determined to ensure he as Premier would not face the same problem the NDP government faced. New fees were added, more information was withheld, more government bodies were removed from scrutiny, in fact under the NDP law, the BC Rail sale would have fallen under the scrutiny of the freedom of information law. As would BC Ferries, now a private company, wholly owned by the BC Government, and projects like the Abbotsford Hospital, a Public Private Partnership.

The law was further hampered when the Liberal government slashed the operating funds for the agency that oversaw freedom of information.

The last election saw the public demand for change and accountability, returning up to 34 opposition members, defeating eight cabinet ministers and approximately 57% support for change to the electoral system. The Liberal's support fell from 57% to 46%. They can no longer claim they have support to do what they like.

Will Campbell and the Liberals embrace change? Will an NDP be more constructive in its opposition? Some changes will need to made, an increase in time allotted to question period, more power and discussion of issues using legislative committees and more funding to independent legislative offices such as the Auditor General, Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner.

"Please leaders, end the legislature zoo story" says columnist and blogger Paul Willcocks ...
"What's needed is a change of mindset on both sides of the legislature. Voters didn't elect MLAs to come here and wage some sort of political war for four years. They want their MLAs to solve problems, and make things better. That does mean holding the government to account, but that can be done in way that is effective, yet civil. (As James showed through much of the election campaign.)"

Willcocks has much more to say here at Paying Attention.

Cariboo showdown today!

Recounts begin today, final results from the provincial election should be finalized by the end of the day in most cases.

In the Cariboo the two seats will be subject to recounts. Cariboo South is the tightest race. In that election, the NDP candidate, Charlie Wyse won by 26 votes. Today they will be looking at all the ballots along with rejected ballots and the absentee ballots.

Cariboo South had 933 absentee ballots so it could be a long day for two candidates, Charlie Wyse and BC Liberal candidate and incumbent Walt Cobb.

Cariboo North shows the NDP's Bob Simpson ahead with 199 ballots. I am unaware of the exact number of absentee ballots, likely around 900. The 199 vote lead will be hard to turn around and elect Steve Wallace, the BC Liberal.

This race was likely the second most heated in the province. Steve Wallace told the Quesnel Cariboo Observer yesterday that Elections BC declared him the winner then corrected their mistake.

"Given that Elections BC did make the mistake, it's just due process," said Wallace of his request. The candidate doesn't expect the riding will swing his way. "Unless there's some sort of transposing mistake, I don't know if it's going to change," said Wallace. "(The recount) is for my own peace of mind and proper diligence." - Quesnel Observer, May 29, 2005

Wallace is known for his confrontational and direct approach. He was often the centre of heated debates in Quesnel while Mayor of the City. Some of those heated battles surrounded the "Ernest Building". The City was very divided on the project.

Wallace never retreated as Mayor, often tackling then Cariboo South MLA, David Zirnhelt at regional district meetings. Of interest, Zirnhelt may well have been the last MLA to have an open door and to be willing to face his critics. This left him open to the often unresearched attacks, often partisan in nature from Wallace. The difference between Zirnhelt and the past group of Liberal MLAs, was David did meet with everyone, and took the heat as well as the praise. As Mayor, Wallace was never shy of throwing his support behind the Liberal and previous Social Credit parties.

Wallace's take on election night "winner" was intended to create some doubt, suggesting Elections BC made a mistake. That is typical Wallace. Elections BC has responded in the Quesnel Observer saying ...

Elections BC communications manager Jennifer Miller confirmed that Elections BC has not admitted any counting error in Cariboo North. And she says Elections BC didn't declare Wallace the winner. "We never declare any successful candidate until the conclusion of the final count," said Miller. "We always make sure that people understand that these are preliminary numbers." - Quesnel Observer, May 29, 2005

One good thing, with 199 vote lead, Bob Simpson is in good shape. Approximately 900 absentee ballots are still to be added to the count, a shift of 200 is extremely remote. The province will have a much better chance of developing a more civil course in the Legislature without Steve Wallace.

Me of course, I do have a little bigger grin than normal. I worked for David Zirnhelt in the 90's and was on the other end of some of Wallace's off the cuff remarks and unconstructive comments and shenanigans. I do take the partisan pleasure in seeing him lose this one, to Bob Simpson, a former BC Liberal.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Campbell's Cabinet speculation

Jordan at Langley Politics started this one. His two picks for Cabinet are below ...
If *I* were Premier (Heaven help us all), I'd leave Rich Coleman in as Top Cop, and give Mary a shot in Advanced Education.

I would be okay leaving Rich Coleman where he is, its clear he will be in cabinet. As for Mary, I hope she doesn't make it. After Surrey who knows what she could do to a province wide educational system. God help us.

As for some other picks, I suspect Carole Tayor will get a People ministry, likely Children and Families. They need a new face and she has some political capital that could be helpful here. Wally Oppal will get the job he was promised when he joined the BC Liberals, he will be the new AG.

The key person to watch will be John Les of the Fraser Valley. This guy is after the Premier's job. He has it is reported a whack of cash stored away for this effort and Campbell may want to bring him into Cabinet to ensure he keeps his enemy closer to him. Maybe Human resourses would keep him busy and away from the politics for awhile.

Minister of Labour will be a challenging position this time out, who will that be?

Onward Christian soldiers

Sung to James Dobson's American Values Tune with Harper as lead singer

Fundamentalist Christians are winning nominations across Canada. Primarily these people are focusing on Conservative nominations. The effort is being waged to stop the same-sex marriage bill or to repeal it if it passes and use the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to do so.

The effort to secure nominations in the Conservative party is being organized by large and extremely well-funded Christian organizations. Some of these organizations are receiving significant funding from well known Americans Evangelical political groups, such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Late last fall Dobson stated that his organization has provided close to a One Million dollars to the Canadian Focus on the Family group.

We also learned this past winter that the Catholic Knights of Columbus in the US had spent over $80,000 printing post cards opposing same-sex marriage and delivered these to Catholic organizations in Canada for distribution. An organization spokesperson said at the time, they would spend what it took to stop same-sex marriage in Canada.

Dobson has been using his radio program (paid advertising across North America including some 100 radio stations in Canada) to encourage listeners to join the fight to stop same-sex marriage. The radio program sounds like a regular radio production, it is in reality one hour of advertising for Focus on the Family or Christian Propaganda*.

BC Conservative Nominations so far...

Darrel Reid is a past president of Focus on the Family and former chief of staff for Preston Manning and now the Conservative candidate in Richmond.

Cindy Silver was the executive director of the Christian Legal Fellowship for two years in the 1990s and on staff at Focus on the Family. Earlier this year she launched a challenge for a BC Liberal nomination in North Vancouver. She was almost successful and appeared to have the support of the BC Liberal party in her effort to get the nomination from longtime moderate Liberal MLA, Dan Jarvis.

Silver tried to distance her previous relationship to Focus on the Family by stating she was a lawyer and you do things your clients want you to do. Silver was the guest speaker last fall to the BC chapter of Real Women's annual general meeting.-----------

For more on Gay or same-sex marriage, Stephen Harper, Evangelicals, Conservative Christians, Gay rights, Bishop Henry, Pope John Paul II, Civil Marriage Act, Mary Polak, Equal Marriage, use the Technorati search box in the side bar. You can find more at "Queer Thoughts" where you can use a Technorati search box to find specific information.

* prop·a·gan·da n. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.

Material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause: wartime propaganda.

Propaganda Roman Catholic Church. A division of the Roman Curia that has authority in the matter of preaching the gospel, of establishing the Church in non-Christian countries, and of administering Church missions in territories where there is no properly organized hierarchy.

Not quite "I'm sorry" but Thorpe's request is close

Rick Thorpe, the Okanagan's somewhat lighter version of Kamloops North Thompson Liberal MLA Kevin Kruger, is calling for a Health Centre on the Westside. Residents of the Westside have to travel to Penticton and or Kelowna for emergency care since the Summerland hospital was closed by the BC Liberals in 2003.

Currently there are no services on the westside. Thrope picked up on the NDP's promise to build 12 health centres around BC along with day surgery facilities. Thorpe says it does not make sense to centralize everything. The question here is why did Thorpe say nothing along with his equally quiet and unreachable cabinet colleague, Sindi Hawkins when the Liberals closed or ramped down services in 84 healthcare facilities in BC.

The Okanagan and Southern Interior has seen the loss of several hundred long-term care beds and an equal number of acute care beds since the Liberals were first elected in 2001.

If Thorpe is sincere about his Health Centre idea, then he better start talking to the CEO of the Interior Health Authority, apparently these folks don't listen to election promises (note the cut in long-term care beds not the 5,000 promised) and they missed his call for a health centre.

The Health Centre should be run by the Health Authority or a non-profit society and not a private business that needs to earn a profit. Good for Thorpe in trying to fix the problem, now lets not do a half way job or private one. The first step in addressing a problem is admitting you have one. Thorpe's call for a health centre is an admission of the BC Liberal's failure in health care.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Answers needed from Government on BC Rail Sale

The BC Rail scandal

Want to get to the bottom of the BC Government's give-a-way of BC Rail. Kevin Potvin has this column at the Vancouver Courier. This deal has been shrouded in top secret dealings where only a few are privy to the real deal. This could be the first time a crown corporation has ever been sold in Canada and the owners, that would be you and me, know nothing of the deal.

Noted Vancouver columnist Kevin Potvin asks some serious questions ...

... CN paid the government $750 million for B.C. Rail's operating concession and rolling stock-probably a fair price. But it paid the government a further $250 million for B.C. Rail's tax books-books that might be worth up to $5 billion. Here is the whiff of real scandal-the largest financial scandal in Canadian history.

In the wake of the deal and the public outcry that erupted, the Liberal government hired the private accounting firm to report on whether the overall $1 billion deal was fair for the people of B.C.
But while the firm was able to study all aspects of the $750 million portion of the deal concerning the lease and operating concessions, it was barred from looking at the $250 million portion dealing with the tax books. There has never been a third-party assessment of this part of the deal.

Huge benefits like those hidden in B.C. Rail's tax books are a common target of privatized government companies around the world, but they are rarely noticed outside tax accounting offices. They are easy enough to understand, however....

Check the whole article out at the Vancouver Courier online.

Gordon Campbell likely to spend time in the witness chair

"He talked about a duplicitous plan meant to engineer a school strike only weeks before the provincial exams, that would throw our schools into chaos. That kind of a statement is just unconscionable." ~ BCTF president Jinny Sims on CBC May 26, 2005

The BCTF made good on their announced intentions to sue the premier and the BC Liberals for comments made during the provincial election. BC Liberal candidates and the Premier made several accusations suggesting the Teachers were planning strike action that would disrupt final exams during the last week of the provincial election campaign.

In a media release Sims said, "The premier said many things about teachers and our Federation that are untrue and unconscionable, we immediately wrote to him to request a retraction and apology, but he did not respond. As a result, we are compelled to take this important issue to the courts."

As an example, Sims pointed to Campbell's claim that teachers had "a duplicitous plan meant to engineer a school strike only weeks before provincial exams that would throw our schools into chaos." "This is only one of many defamatory statements that Campbell made against the BCTF and its members," she said.

Coming at a crucial point in the final week of the campaign, the statements were extensively, and uncritically, reported in provincial and local media. "Even in the heat of an election campaign, standards of truth and fairness must be upheld," Sims said. "It cannot be acceptable for a premier to make false statements in a last minute attempt to sway the electorate."

This is the latest in a series of court cases involving the Campbell government. The BC legislative raids led to charges being filed against two senior Liberal political operatives working for Cabinet Ministers. The case involves BC Rail, drugs and could include other matters affecting the Campbell government. We don't know yet if this is the case as in an unusual move, the BC Courts would not release the search warrant information.

Search warrant information is supposed to be public information.

One more significant court case coming up for the Campbell Liberals involves Bill 29. This legislation was introduced by Gordon Campbell in an effort to remove negotiated contract rights of unionized government and health sector employees. Many of the contracted items removed were negotiated under the WAC Bennett and Bill Bennett governments, some clauses dated back to 1944.

The unions contend the government could not do this and took the matter to the BC Supreme court and later the BC Appeal court. The government won in both courts. The case is headed to the Supreme court meaning that court believes there is some merit in what the unions are arguing. Lower courts are reluctant in making decisions of this nature preferring to let Canada's top court rule on the case.

For more on Gordon Campbell, Broken Promises, BC Liberals, David Basi, BC Rail, Bill 29, use the Technorati search box in the side bar

Recount them all - BC Liberals add Skeena

Thanks be given for a lack of hanging chads.

All votes in BC can be accounted for in that they are all paper ballots. No machine counting, no computer held or recorded votes. A simple paper ballot and a few sets of eyes determine the voters intentions.

We will have five recounts in this election.

Recounts were triggered automatically because the results were so close in Vancouver-Burrard and Cariboo South.

Recounts will also take place in Saanich South, Cariboo North and Skeena. All recounts have been requested by the Liberals.

Recounts do not change things much if the margin of victory is over 100 votes. What is a potential factor is the absentee votes in these ridings. Rumours are flying that 1800 absentee votes were cast in Vancouver Burrard. Cariboo South will have many fewer absentee ballots as the ridings population is much smaller.

The Liberals may see changes in Cariboo South and or Vancouver Burrard where recounts are automatic due to the closeness of the election there though numbers likely won't change much as a result of a recount or the absentee ballots.

The other three should remain NDP.

Saint Belinda saw it coming ...

What have we been saying here From the Heartlands for months now? Canadians do not trust the Conservatives enough on social issues and American relations.

We as a nation may find Harper is personally more honest but we prefer Paul Martin. That's true, we believe he would be more honest and who couldn't be more honest than Paul Martin. This attribute however holds little sway when choosing a political party or leader.

Conservative party positions on same-sex marriage, abortion, and the death penalty are hurting Tories big time and Belinda Stronach is more proof of this. These Tory policies play well in Saskatchewan and Alberta and parts of Rural BC and Atlantic Canada but don't cut it in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

the Leger poll reported in the Globe and Mail today says...

When respondents were asked whether they were "afraid" of Mr. Harper's positions on "abortion, the death penalty and same-sex marriage," 39 per cent said yes and 43 per cent said no. The remaining 18 per cent said they did not know or declined to answer.

The response was almost evenly split when voters were asked whether they were "afraid" of Mr. Harper's "pro-American positions," with 41 per cent saying yes and 42 per cent saying no. The other 17 per cent were undecided or declined to answer.

Urban Canada sees the Conservatives stuck in the 1960's of their parents "dreaming of Stanfield" days. A time when big change began in Canadian social morals. As a dynamic new Liberal leader Trudeau leads a charge to decriminalize homosexuality and abortion and end capital punishment, the conservatives remained rooted in the past. The one Conservative that won it all for them was in fact supportive of gay rights, abortion rights and anti-death penalty. You know who he is, Brian Mulroney.

That Conservative leader was spurned by today's conservatives yet he was trusted by Canadians when he was elected. It seems Saint Belinda understood this, gave it a good try and decided it was time to move on and UP.

For more on the Conservatives, Belinda, gay or same-sex marriage, Stephen Harper, use the Technorati search box in the side bar.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"...first you explain it to everybody." Liberals miss basic lesson

Some lessons are learned ...

"The fundamental thing we did wrong is the basic lesson you learn in every school of business, when you have a problem, first you explain it to everybody." - Blair Suffredine, defeated Liberal MLA from Nelson talking to CBC, May 25, 2005

I recall the 2001 election in Nelson, where Blair Suffredine told the community the new health centre for Nelson would proceed. In fact Corky Evans went so far as to say "anyone that is elected, will see that the health centre would be built." Corky and Blair were both wrong and it is understandable they were. Campbell had promised more and better healthcare, closer to home. No project better described closer to home care than the Nelson Health Centre project. The failure of this project and the reduced services in Nelson and neighbouring communities led the Liberals to defeat.

The Liberals did not tell us what they were planning. They implemented a health care system run by regional CEO's. The people they placed on the boards were just that business people used to finding efficienties, selling their product and or delivering a service. What they did not know or appreciate is that Health care in Canada can not be run on a simple business model.

The simple business model suggested that providing managers with large bonuses for cutting costs and staffing would generate huge savings over all and allow for more expanded and better services. That did not happen. First the boards met in secret, sent out memos to senior managers to supply them with budgets that saw a 5, 10 and 25% cuts.

The easiest solutions included cutting services and or closing facilities. Hospitals were closed. Emergency wards closed, lab work contracted out, laundry shipped to Alberta for cleaning, food centralized and shipped to other facilities.

The change left one very important group of people out of the mix. Local citizens were not consulted. Decisions were made in secret in a board room, by business people, not health care workers, not local people, not you or I.

Blair Suffredine is underestimating the Liberal government's failings. It was not just the failure of communicating the change that health boards messed up, it was in not involving all of us in making the decision(s) in the first place.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Death comes easy from America

"The prisoner, a slight, 22-year-old taxi driver known only as Dilawar, was hauled from his cell at the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, at around 2 a.m. to answer questions about a rocket attack on an American base. When he arrived in the interrogation room, an interpreter who was present said, his legs were bouncing uncontrollably in the plastic chair and his hands were numb. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days......."

Horror in Afghanistan, Americans project to be protectors of Human Rights. The Gazetteer has more of this tragic story.

Happy Day for Liberals?

Voters in Labrador (Happy Valley - Goose Bay) vote today in a crucial byelection that could tip the balance of power in the House of Commons.

The Liberals are hoping to take the seat left vacant when the Liberal MP passed away last winter. The riding has voted Liberal every election since joining confederation except once.

The Conservatives are also hoping to take the seat though that looks unlikely. A win for the Liberals would add one more seat to their minority government, giving them more room to breath and likely ensuring the government will not fall on a confidence bill.

All of this means there will be a budget passed with the NDP amendments, the gay marriage bill will pass and Carly's law will pass, something many conservatives have been pushing for.

The end result is something good will come of this session of parliament. Something will actually have been accomplished.

The budget bill is an example. The work of the NDP to bring forward items that the Liberals have campaigned on for 12 years now and have done nothing to implement. It will be supported by Liberals, NDP and independents.

The Same-sex marriage bill will have the support of the NDP, BLOC most Liberals and a few Conservatives. Carly's law will have support of Conservatives, many Liberals and others.

Results for the byelection will likely start rolling in about 7:45pm est.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Black or White, Belinda is still a cat

Mouseland, are we aghast at the falling from Tory grace of Belinda? Are we delighted that Belinda is Liberal?

It is likely many have all been caught up in the drama of Parliament this week. Federal election now or soon. Budget now or never. Black vs white.

Me, I don't really care what a rich person like Belinda does. Last week the Conservatives were saying she was great and now she is a creep. Reverse the story for the Liberals.

She is a rich cat. Cats be they white or black are still cats. Pick between them and you still elect a Cat.

The "Mouseland" story is a small sample of the wit and humour many people knew Tommy Douglas for. To see and listen to Tommy in person was a rare treat. Tommy was a most accomplished orator and he provides in mouseland why we need to elect more mice and fewer cats.

Friday, May 20, 2005

NDP Budget passed in Ottawa

The NDP should be thrilled to be able to get something done for people and the environment in the Parliament. The NDP have managed to be the party this time out to actually have the House of Commons actually do something.

No playing games, Layton has achieved a better, balanced budget with money for affordable housing, the environment and childcare. Prime Minister Martin is criss crossing the country signing childcare agreements with the Province's as a result of the NDP budget amendments.

The Childcare agreements promised 13 years ago by the Liberals and every election since were never acted on until Jack Layton and the NDP introduced their amendment to the budget. Yesterday was an historic day. Essentially, Parliament has voted on and passed an NDP budget. "One (budget)that's fiscally balanced and that gets something done for people and the environment," Layton told media.

This is in contrast to the BLOC and Conservatives, who have both done everything possible to force an election and or to ensure nothing gets done. Last week the Conservatives introduced a motion to adjourn the house for the day. This meant that no business could take place. They did it the next day as well.

Canadians may not be happy with Martin and each day of testimony at the Gomery Inquiry reveals more allegations against the Liberals, still Canadians have said they do not want the election that Harper wants so badly.

Harper not only wants the election because he thinks the Gomery dirt will help him win an election, he is under immense pressure from the "Defend Marriage Coalition" to do what ever it takes to prevent Bill 38, the Civil Marriage Act from passing, even if that means shutting the house down.

independent Chuck Cadman heard from his constituents over the last two weeks. They made it clear to him they did not want an election now and he responded by voting for the budget. I suspect the Conservatives feel pretty stupid in how they treated Cadman as a sitting Member of Parliament. They allowed him to be challenged for his nomination and he lost that battle. As we all know Cadman was elected and the person who got the Conservative nomination was, who was that person anyway?

Conservatives under Harper are not trusted by many Canadians. They will not be trusted until they stop running moderate conservatives like Belinda out of the party.

The BLOC and Conservatives can continue playing games.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

No Election!

There will be no election! At least for now!

The good work of Jack Layton to get the additions to the budget means Canadians got something in return from this Parliament.


Canadians have said several times now, we don't want an election. Lets have it after the Gomery report is issued.

Chuck Cadman voted with the government given his constituents wishes despite a rogue Alberta group calling every phone number in his riding asking them to email or phone Cadman and tell him to vote against the budget.

A little over the top even for Alberta right wing conservatives.

Charlie and Tim pull ahead

Charlie's days of being known as "Landslide" might behind him. Elections BC reports a 27 vote lead now, in the Cariboo that's meat in the freezer!

Cariboo South

Walter Lloyd Cobb BC Liberal Party 6,802 45.53%
Mike Orr Independant 509 3.41%
Ed Sharkey Green Party of BC 799 5.35%
Charlie Wyse New Democratic Party of B.C. 6,829 45.71%

Tim Stevenson turns out to have a dozen vote advantage over Liberal street fighter Mayencourt. In Burrard it's payback time...

John Clarke Libertarian 361 1.36%

Antonio Francisco Ferreira The Platinum Party 26 0.10%

John Gordon Ince The Sex Party 92 0.35%

Janek Patrick John Kuchmistrz Green Party of BC 3,405 12.83%

Lorne Mayencourt BC Liberal Party 11,205 42.23%

Ian McLeod DR BC 77 0.29%

Tim Stevenson New Democratic Party of B.C. 11,217 42.27%

Lisa Voldeng Work Less Party 153 0.58%

Rob Peter to pay Paul

I could not resist. Rob Peter to pay(off) Paul. Neither Peter (Belinda's former beau) nor Paul deserve this outcome. Peter because he is a real conservative and a love struck puppy and Paul because he gets a prize he has not earned.

Saint Belinda, that is what I called her many months ago over the gay rights issue. The Conservatives have lost a real chance at government now that they have lost a moderating voice, one similar to Joe Clark. The Liberals have managed to ensure the next election will be faught not on Gomery as much as it should be, but on trust of Harper.

Ironic actually, the Liberals have betrayed the trust of Canadians, it appears they received thousands of dollars laundered through bagmen and advertising executives yet people in Ontario will vote for the devil they know over the devil they don't.

What are Canadians to do? Perhaps Jack Layton could actually improve the NDP fortunes this time out. Those inclined to ensure Harper is not elected Prime Minister should be looking at NDP candidates in BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, parts of Ontario and the Atlantic provinces.

That would keep Harper from winning and ensure another minority parliament with the NDP holding the balance of power. This would certainly affect how the Liberals do things and ensure the country is not being held hostage by the BLOC or further americanized under Harper.

Check out Puns, Politics and Pericles blog for more on the Good or evil Belinda

Campbell will have to calm down

Charlie Smith, tells it like it is in the Georgia Straight these days.
"In the political backrooms, the B.C. Liberals know that this election was much closer than the seat count indicated. The conventional political wisdom is that the Green party attracts two NDP voters for every one of the party’s right-of-centre supporters. If this were the case in the recent B.C. election, the Greens cost the NDP seven seats, including Burquitlam, Burnaby North, Burnaby-Willingdon, Maple Ridge-Mission, Oak Bay Gordon Head, Cariboo North (he means Cariboo South), and Vancouver-Burrard. If there was no Green party, the NDP might have won the election."

No humility on election night was more for BC Liberal supporters who felt collectivly that they had lost the election, and in many ways they did. Gordon Campbell was attempting to cheer them up. 33+ NDP MLAs will keep him on his toes.
Remember Fantasy Gardens, the Zalm, a paper bag and an eccentric lady wearing a garden on her head.

The Gazetteer points us to Ian King's blog for this strangely familiar face.

Go asap, you don't want to miss this moment, the launch of the Golden Decade.

Media turned Green

Vancouver Burrard is going back and forth these hours. Tim Stevenson says he got a call from Elections BC saying some ballots not counted on election night now have him up by 12 votes. This one will be recounted carefully with a room full of lawyers for sure.

The media hype around the Green party chances in BC and some green party workers in Vancouver Burrard suggesting to voters that wanted to turf Mayencourt that they could vote Green as Stevenson had a enough votes to win proved a bad strategy.

The Green vote around the province likely cost a couple of seats for the NDP and in some areas likely helped the NDP to defeat the Liberals where it was clear the NDP member had the best chance.

The Greens in BC fell back to a more traditional place in voter support this last time out. 2001 was an anomaly. Many voted Green because they were ticked at the NDP or they felt no one else is voting NDP so they might elect a Green MLA.

Media hype about the chances of Carr in Powell River-Sunshine Coast was the result of drinking the Green Party's recycled bathwater being poured into reporters coffee cups or manufactured by the reporters themselves after reusing that recycled bathwater. Reporters forgot the first of the three "R's" - REDUCE.

Anyone who happened to spend time in the Powell River riding could have seen this. Anyone that had taken time to study the 2001 election could have come to the same conclusion, that Carr could not win.

Still they ran story after story stating the Green party could elect one or more MLAs. The West Vancouver-Garibaldi race was reported in the same way after the poll put out by Robbins Research indicated the Green candidate could win. It did not happen, not even close. The Green candidate finished 5,000 votes back of the winning Liberal.

Many voters were hoodwinked by this media hype. Many people that thought a genuine chance existed to elect a green MLA in place of a Liberal got took.

The Green party has grown and maybe one day people will choose a green MLA. It was not possible even in 2001, it was certainly not going to happen in 2005.

Wyse Voter makes a difference

In the Cariboo South constituency NDP candidate Charlie Wyse is leading by just one vote over Liberal incumbent Walt Cobb. That could change in a recount and when absentee ballots are counted. I have heard a few election stories out of Williams Lake over the last 24 hours.

I called a couple of friends on election day and it was a good thing I did. It was the encouragement they needed to get out and vote. Without that the results would been turned around. In another case, I heard from a friend this election drama. His son, 25 years has voted in every election since he was old enough, asked his buddy if he had voted yet. His friend said it was not important and he did not know what was going on anyway.

The young voter convinced his buddy to vote and enroute to the polls explained the two main candidates and what they stood for. When they came out it turned out they voted for different people. Asked who the novice voter voted for he replied that he marked the first name on the ballot. His friend shook his head.

These two young guys now understand the importance of each vote. Their lesson was magnified by the one vote win. One plus was the new voter voted. The young men then gathered with a few more of their buddies to discuss this experience. They spent the better part of the day talking about voting and discussing the candidates and how they decided they election. The second bit of good news here is the guy who did manage to vote feels he should have taken time to inform himself of the differences, marking the first name was not the best way to mark a ballot.

For two 25 year old young men in Williams Lake, elections mean more today, a lesson in real life has likely turned them into life long voters, something elections BC and the Political parties haven't managed to do yet.

Some 5,500 other people in Cariboo South who voted in 2001 did not vote this time. Each one of them can say they helped decide the election.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Hokazono proved to be a real challenge

Nicki Hokazono speaks to local reporters on her first run for provincial office.

It was much more of a battle with incumbent Sindi Hawkins than many people had expected. Hokazono tripled the NDP popular vote count from 2001 and made the best showing ever for an NDP candidate in the riding's history.

Sindi Hawkins on Election night

Hawkins saw her vote fall by 25% from 2001. Still she won easily. Almost as many voted for someone other than Hawkins who refused to debate the NDP in this election. Hawkins was helped by the economy in BC. The election results here and around BC indicate the Liberals will not be able to carry on their road of cuts to social programs and health care.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Island to Horseshoe Bay to be privatized?

Jackie Miller of the BC Ferry workers fears the Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo ferry run is one step closer to being contracted out. Miller told the media today that BC Ferries intends to launch a pilot project for shipboard management which means certain members of the union and senior captains will form a team that will manage that particular route on an experimental basis.

There is only one reason to do this and that is to contract the service out. Gordon Campbell does not want this information public today. As a result, BC Ferries has denied there is a plan to do this.

BC Ferries has tried earlier to deny reports that a small class BC ferry contract will be awarded to a Polish shipyard after the election. Last fall the Liberals refused to let BC Shipbuilders bid on a contract to build 3 new vessels. All of these will be built in Germany. Those contracts were worth over 500 hundred million dollars.

It’s an Honour to Work With You

If you need another reason to vote for your NDP candidate today, I can think few better than Corky Evans. Corky has posted this message to voters today. This what politics should be. This is what Carole James is bringing to BC Politics. Not only an honour to work with people, but honourable people standing with people.

It’s an Honour to Work With You

I am writing this letter on a pad of paper balanced on my lap, in Sandy's car somewhere a few hours from home. We are returning from a day and a night helping another constituency rally support for their e-day push.
"I think, in many places we are going to win. We prepared for this time. We have a strategy and jobs to do and people to do them."
Come what may I promise you that democracy will be restored to British Columbia over the next 24 hours. There will be a government and an opposition and that will be good for all people everywhere.
"I cannot tell you which Party will govern. Even the high- priced help at Liberal Headquarters does not know the answer to that question. Our Party is close enough in the polls to their Party that young people, alone, could change the outcome of the election should they decide to vote in mass."

I always liked a rock and roll song by the Jefferson Airship that said "We built this city out Of Rock and Roll." And now I am thinking that We built this election out of the music that comes from our hundred objectives all playing at once to make a movement, again, out of a political party.

Enjoy the moment.
Deliver the voters to the moment of their empowerment.
And stand back now and then to see the play unfold and be joyful.

An Enormous Opportunity for Young Voters

We know from Elections BC that there has been an increase in voter registration on average province wide of 25%. A good number of those are likely young voters - thanks to the Get Your Vote On, Rock the Vote and STV campaigns.

I think that the youth vote could change the course of this election provincially. If what I believe may be true, what an enormous opportunity it is for young voters in this Province. They have always felt disenfranchised and believed their votes don't count. This time, those votes could very well be the deciding factor in putting a change of government within reach.
"The media are all claiming that Gordon Campbell retains an 8% hold on power. They think this because they phoned 600 people in the Province who told them how they intended to vote."
There are millions of citizens who don't talk to pollsters, they don't own a phone or they work at too many jobs to be home to answer the phone or they don't talk to polling companies.

Those people, the people the pollsters ignore, could change the government in B.C. on Tuesday. Please tell your friends.

Please tell everyone you know that this time they could wake up having elected a government.
"Citizens can register at the polls.
There is nothing stopping us but us.
I will not tell you how to vote.
Y ou know how to get rid of Mr. Campbell.
I ask only that you believe in your power. "

Thank you!


Terminal City Blog gathers it in

For all the blogging news out there, a good source is the Terminal City blog. This news aggregator is collecting from many blogs.

Gordon Campbell looks to make it back, yet could be in trouble here in the Okanagan ridings of Kelowna Mission and Kelowna Lake-Country. Sindi Hawkins has run from voters, from debating her government's record. Heck she didn't issue one press release during the election.

Speaking to voters is what she said she was doing, no time to defend the Campbell record. Golf courses and Liberal fund raisers took priority over citizens right to hear from their MLA.

Under the radar, the NDP will do better than ever before. Perhaps a surprise or two!

The Gazetteer has the "Codger's" words!

Our buddy over at the Gazetteer has a rather entertaining piece on Rafe Mair's recent call to defeat Gordon Campbell.

Rafe Mair, he no lefty, he no bleedin' heart, he a free-enterpriser nonpareil, he a man who cares about the future of OUR (not THEIR) Province, is telling you that, if that's what it takes, to Vote ND Freakin' P!

Please read this post by Ross at The Gazetteer, likely the most literate among us lefty blogs.

For more on Rafe Mair, BC Liberals, Gordon Campbell, Sindi Hawkins, The Cariboo, Lorne Mayencourt, BC Rail, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), Broken Promises, Healthcare, Kelowna, Vancouver Burrard, and then there is Nicki Hokazono, Charlie Wyse, NDP, Carole James, Bob Simpson, and more... use the the Technorati search box in the sidebar.

"a vote for the Green Party is a vote for Gordon Campbell"

Our fellow blogger at DeanRushes the Vote has this post...

Breen: "a vote for the Green Party is a vote for Gordon Campbell" rabble hasn't published that much on the BC Election, but today they had up a good item by Howard Breen, "the Executive Director of a large provincial conservation organization". In a piece titled, Earth to B.C: A plea to conscience voters, Breen outlines what a vote for the BC Greens and the Gordon Campbell Liberals means.

The difficult truth is: a vote for the Green Party is a vote for Gordon Campbell. And a vote for Campbell is a vote for extinction.

See more at Dean's place!

"Walt Cobb's despicable and cowardly behaviour"

Out of the mouths of Walt, Cobb "it up"

"Not long ago, I used to be proud to say that I was from B.C. Not so anymore. I have felt great shame in the past few years. I was sorely reminded of why when I read the disgusting account of Cariboo South Liberal candidate Walt Cobb's despicable and cowardly behaviour in personally attacking and humiliating a young woman at the recent all candidates forum." - Al
Campsall, Letter to the Editor,
Williams Lake Tribune

Walt should never have gone on from being Mayor. At least at City Council he had Charlie Wyse looking after things so Walt could cut ribbons.

"it's no wonder young people don't trust the Liberals."

"Woons says this "lack of ethics" is one reason he left the Young Liberals to join the NDP. "The Gomery inquiry, Campbell's promises he never intended to keep, it's no wonder young people don't trust the Liberals." Williams Lake Tribune, May 17, 2005

Liberals are in trouble in Cariboo South and Cariboo North. First Liberal MLA, Walt Cobb tells a nursing student to "I would not want you looking after my Mother" and then the ever loud Steve Wallace (He was like that when he was my high school driving instructor) tells a heckler to step up front and I will take you on.

The Cariboo like their MLAs to tell it like it is, to be fiscally conservative and socially responsible. Walt had the Prenmier in town last week and did not invite the Salvation army to meet him. Seems the head of the local do gooders group was scornful of the Liberals saying many people have been hurt by the Campbell government.

Up in Quesnel, Steve (I was the Mayor you know) is in tough to hold off the NDP candidate, a former Liberal party member and worker, Businessman Bob Simpson. Bob is another straight shooter, though some what more tactful that Wallace.

David Zirnhelt was the man the people voted for. Today, it could well be Charlie Wyse will be chosen to represent the community. Wyse's years as the fiscally conservative keeper of the bank accoint for the City of Williams Lake will go along way to helping him win today.

Kelowna voters speak out today

It has been a facinating election here in Kelowna Mission. People are not happy with the local MLA, Sindi Hawkin's lack of representation. It is hard to beleive, but we had the Minister of Health Planning as our MLA, someone who should have some clout in Cabinet. Yet Kelowna General Hospital is in such a terrible state, staff people have been in tears when talking about the work the do, the lack of dignity for seniors and others using the hospital, their effort to treat everyone as they should be is challenged everyday with the cutbacks.

From Castanet today...
Letters to the editor;

Green Voters should elect NDP candidates to stop Campbell.
"The Green type voters who have the power to change to the NDP will decide this

Liberal MLA in Kelowna Mission Missing In Action

"... she (Sindi Hawkins) has been "invisible " during her term in service"

"I resent that her office, to this date, has declined to contact me to comment on this issue. I wonder how many more of her constituents with opposing opinions were given the bum's rush during her term in office."

One-Sided Approach Running Province
"Users fees have increased making everything from going to campgrounds, paying double the price for medical premiums or getting an eye exam so expensive that I for one have not felt as though extra money in my pocket is something I can say has happened. I watch this election unfold and wonder what will be left of British Columbia after another 4 years of this one-sided, self interested approach to running our province."

Carole James in Penticton talking to Eric

This is what the election is about. Can you imagine this picture with Gordon Campbell. Carole James brings a new kind of leadership to BC. A common sense and caring approach. She knows first hand the struggles families have in BC today.

This election we choose between four more years of Gordon Campbell or Carole James, someone that can work with everyone. She has made the tough decisions. The difference with Carole James will be she can represent all of us.

In Kelowna Mission, we have Nicki Hokazono looking to represent people here. She was the Chair of the Central Okanagan School Board, the last election she ran in she topped the polls, gathering support from the full political spectrum. She balanced the budget, made the decisions that had to be made.

In BC it's time to take on new leadership, new ways of doing business and elect Carole James. In Kelowna Mission, we need an MLA that will work for us, will take a hands on approach to cleaning up Kelowna General Hospital and work to get a Cardiac Care ward here.

So many other things must be addressed including in our schools and for our Seniors and those living in poverty. Government will have to make some tough choices over the next four years to ensure we balance the budget and improve vital services in healthcare and education and the environment.

I trust Nicki Hokazono and Carole James to do this, they won't do this in a board room, they will make those decisions with all of us. In the open. That's the choice for progressive voters, four more years of Gordon Campbell or Carole James' common-sense and caring approach.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Mair says Vote for person who can beat Campbell

Today Rafe Mair did it again...

He called the Liberal leader a liar, but then who hasn't...

"I accept the word of Carole James that this will change. I believe that under her the NDP has finally started down the path that the British Labour party trod on its march towards the Centre. So we’re essentially faced with a party of the right showing no inclination to move to the centre and a party of the left whose leader is clearly on that path." - Rafe Mair, CKOV May 16, 2006

also ...

"I could never have served with the Campbell Liberals. They lied about the fiscal state of affairs when they took over, they threw a tax rebate at the well off, then embarked upon three years of reckless borrowing, driving the provincial debt up while figuratively flogging the less fortunate of our fellow citizens. With most governments you can look at one action, an action only they would take … then see where that points in terms of party philosophy."

"I look at three things – their taking away bus passes from seniors and funding for the blind (both of which policies even they had to back off) and the Safe Streets Act. The Safe Streets Act is a hideous piece of legislation no government with any heart and soul could pass. It’s come to this – we put beggars in jail!" - Rafe Mair, CKOV May 16, 2005

BC Liberals selling off our heirlooms

BC Liberals aim to hold big garage sale

24 Hours in Vancouver has an article in todays paper on the Liberals selling off BC Crown assets. The writer explains what the Liberals are doing and why...
"Imagine owning a precious heirloom that you thought would always remain in your family. Then, without your permission, some relative ups and sells it after denying that they would ever do such a thing.

That's exactly what the BC Liberals did when they pulled off the biggest political heist in the history of this province - selling off parts of BC Hydro."
- Siobhan Rowe, Vancouver 24 Hours

Globe poll was a "push poll"

Globe poll was a "push poll"

It appears the Globe and Mail decided to give Gordon Campbell and his band of mute candidates a gift just before the election. The poll asks a bunch of questions that are often used by political parties in moving someone opinion to support them.

“It’s the Globe’s responsibility,” McAllister concluded. “The Globe and Mail appears to have misrepresented a message-testing poll as a public opinion poll. And they’ve released those results just four days before an election. This is definitely unethical.”

Liberals offer Hush Money

Why has this miossed the provincial news? The Interior Health Authority has managed in less than three weeks to turn a first rate pathology in house service into a thrid rate mail in service.

In a nutshell, the IHA has contracted with Lab Corp of America to diagnose "tissue samples" mailed to them and then to send results back to Doctors in Kelowna. It was supposed to take no more than five days. It has been almost three weeks now and many people are still waiting for the results.

The longest you would wait for this service when we had a full pathology lab service in Kelowna was 72 hours.

Now the Liberals have tried to buy off one of the pathologists with a plum job, a job they have not even created yet.

Kelowna Doc Won't Take 'Hush Money'

One of Kelowna's leading medical specialists says he won't take the government's "hush money." Doctor Gary Randhawa is a pathologist, a sub-specialist whose role, among other things, is detecting cancers.

This is nothing more than a privatization drive. For more on this issue click here and here.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Hokazono running for you and me

I would wager that no candidate out there has worked as hard as Nicki Hokazono in Kelowna Mission. I see her everyday, knocking on doors all over Kelowna and the Mission. She has heard from so many people fed up with Sindi Hawkins representation here.

Sindi has spent a fortune on advertising. The name of the game unfortunately is marketing today. A candidate must pay for advertising. Look at the cost of Sindi's two pieces of mail. One is a small multi colour flyer. It says little about Kelowna but you might miss that. She sent one out that was a multi coloured newsprint, all of it lifted from the Liberal central campaign, again little about what our city and the Mission need or want.

Contrast this with Nicki's flyer that was photocopied. It stated what she heard from people living here. What she would work for and what the NDP would do. The biggest piece of interest is that Nicki has said she will meet with anyone, her office would work for all. That would be a change here in Kelowna. For the last four years, if you called Sindi's office you got the answering machine. If you went to the office, chances are it was locked.

Sindi has over 100 big signs and likely over 1,000 small signs cluttering up the city and they were all made in Vancouver. Nicki's signs, all 300 small signs, were made right here in Kelowna. They standout, they do what they are supposed to do.

Sindi will outspend Nicki Hokazono by two to one, Her free communications help in the past has come from the likes of Greenaway and associates, this time, who is it? They likely are looking for the same award Greenaway got. $12,000 of taxpayer money to write a 15 minute speech for Sindi.

This may sound corny, but Nicki really is running for people. Not to pay off the mighty and elite.

James gains acceptance during BC election campaign

Carole James has turned out to be a political force. The Liberals have been trying to paint her with scare tactics and a negative campaign. It has not worked. If you were to ask people in BC who you trusted, who has integrity, who would best look after people, James wins hands down.

She has spent the last 18 months travelling BC, listening to people. She is now delivering on what she heard first hand especially out here in the Heartlands, now commonly referred to as the "Hurtlands".

It is time for a common sense and caring government and James is scaring the heck out of the BC Liberals. Try as they might, they can not paint a negative image of her. You go Carole!

CAMILLE BAINS Macleans magazine

VANCOUVER (CP) - British Columbia's election campaign has seen NDP Leader Carole James go from a mystery woman to what some experts believe is a viable political force.

James' quiet confidence is also in stark contrast to the in-your-face style B.C. voters are used to. More Here

"a menace to the city," Mayor Campbell

(Mayor Larry) Campbell isn't an NDP supporter. He usually backs the Liberals. The Vancouver-Burrard race is the only one he's waded in to. "Mayencourt is "a menace to the city," Campbell spat at a recent news conference.

Mayencourt - "I've spent nights living rough on the street, because I wanted to experience what it felt like."

Stevenson - "He's pushing the politics of divisiveness, pitting people against each other with this Safe Streets legislation."

See more here - Campbell is disgusted with Mayencourt because he was behind a crackdown on beggars who harass people for change.

For more on Lorne Mayencourt, BC Liberals, Gordon Campbell, Safe Streets Act, Broken Promises, St. Paul's Hospital, Health care, use the Technorati search box in the sidebar

BC Liberal's Index

BC Liberal's Index for Kelowna

1 – times they tried to sell the Coquihalla
0 – times Sindi Hawkins told Premier Campbell not to sell the highway
6.3 – millions of dollars Liberals had to pay for failed attempt to sell the Coquihalla
88 – Number of fewer Long-term care beds for seniors in Kelowna than in 2001

Click here for the rest of the BC Liberal's Index

For more on the BC Liberals, Gordon Campbell, Broken Promises, use the Technorati search box in the sidebar

Saturday, May 14, 2005

What's in a Name

Alot if you are in Vernon!

What's in a Name eh?

Gordon Campbell is on the ballot in Okanagan-Vernon and like Premier Gordon Campbell, he isn't a real Liberal.
"In one case, a person voted for Gordon Campbell when they intended to
vote for the Liberals," said Tom Christensen, Liberal candidate. "People are upset when they realize they voted for the wrong person."-
Vernon Morning Star

The NDP forced us too ...

It really did happen like this...

Campbell denies expansion of gaming while campaigning in Ft. St. John...

"Generally speaking across the province, we have not seen ... an expansion beyond the commitments that were made, the legal commitments and obligations that were established by the NDP government,'' (Campbell)he said.

Then he says...

"Having said that, I understand why people would be concerned..."

And the Premier concludes...

"I think there was a legal commitment from the government to various agencies for 6,500 slot machines. They weren't all there but that was a commitment. We didn't want to break those agreements.''

Aparently the Liberal promise to stop Gaming expansion could be broken but a vague NDP commitment for 6500 slot machines had to be abided by. Too bad HEU members didnot have slot machines in their hospitals.

"I can't believe that the Premier ..."

"I can't believe that the Premier, his health minister and his minister in charge of long term beds would make a promise to build 5000 long term beds and to make that promise on my show several times then renege.

I cannot believe that suddenly, out of the blue, comes an excuse that there were too many LTC beds in bad shape so they had to look after them before building new beds ... an excuse that we didn't hear until Shirley Bond was made minister and she had to scramble for an excuse to get out of the credibility mess the government was in." - Rafe Mair, May 11, 2005 (editorial)

"I took you at your word (Gordon Campbell)..." Rafe Mair

"When I voted for you I didn't expect that you would renege, twice, on a deal with Crown prosecutors where both sides would accept the arbitrators' decision.

I did not expect the Campbell government to increase the public debt of this province by 4.3 billion dollars so that they could arrange a surplus in the last year to bribe the voters with.

I took you at your word when you promised you wouldn't sell BC Rail ... now are we to accept your word that you won't sell ICBC or BC Hydro?

I didn't expect the homeless to increase by 75% under Gordon Campbell."
- Rafe Mair, May 11, 2005 (in his editorial)

Trust Gordon Campbell? 62 percent say no

It's about trust...

"Over 62% of British Columbians polled agree that the Liberal government under Gordon Campbell cannot be trusted to save BC jobs by stopping the exportof raw logs," states Dave Coles, CEP Vice-President. "Clearly this is not justa concern of our members, but of almost two-thirds of British Columbians."

"We had a great pathology department..."

The Liberals have turned a first rate pathology service at Kelowna General Hospital into a third rate system...

From day one, we’ve said we don’t need a contingency plan (for pathology),” said Dr. Colin Yarrow, chairman of the KGH medical advisory committee.“We had a great pathology department; we’ve never had a complaint at MAC (medical advisory committee).

In February and March, we rejected all 12 contingency plans proposed by IH. Only one item was recommended: a settlement with pathologists. "We’ve always stood by that." Sending tissue samples to a private Ottawa lab for analysis is uncharted territory for Okanagan doctors, he said. - Kelowna Daily Courier, May 14, 2005

Sindi is "MIA"

Local Kelowna Liberal candidate, Sindi Hawkins has made it clear, she would rather eat a can of worms than debate Hokazono in front of "real" people. Accountability to the people of Kelowna is one of Hawkins weak points. She hid out during the Coquihalla Highway sell off, refused to defend the sell off at community meetings called to stop the privatization of the highway. In fact she supported full page government advertising to convince us it would be a good deal for Kelowna.

In the end her silence and support of the Campbell Liberals attempt to sell off our highway cost us $6 million. That money could have replaced the 88 long-term care beds she allowed the Interior Health Authority to cut since she became Minister of Health Planning.
NDP opponent Nicki Hokazono says the Liberal candidates are dodging public forums. “It clearly has happened here. Sindi made it clear from the beginning her time was better spent somewhere else. Her actions have spoken volumes. It’s important the public hold candidates accountable and have an opportunity to meet them at public forums.” - Kelowna Daily Courier, May 14, 2005

From first to worst

Campbell Liberals have managed to take BC residents participation in post secondary education from first to worst in Canada. In just four years the percentage of BC youth going onto post secondary education has fallen substantially. The Liberals talk a good game, yet BC continues its downward trend.

We need to make BC education more affordable and accessible. One of the advantages to business locating and investing in BC over the past ten years has been our skilled and educated workforce.

The Alma Mater Society (AMS) of the University of British Columbia recently passed a policy calling on the Campbell Government to extend the Provincial Loan Forgiveness Program to other undergraduate and graduate programs in the hope of addressing numerous structural human resource deficiencies that will materialize in the next several years.

"BC has the lowest levels of post-secondary participation in the country with only 13.5% of 18-21 year-olds enrolled in post-secondary, compared to a national average of 23.8%. This number is growing faster than anywhere else in the country, but the pipeline is still insufficient to meet provincial needs.

High tuition and limited financial assistance resources, particularly grant base resources, are a deterrent for many in pursuing and completing a post-secondary education." - Alma Mater Society (AMS) of the University of British Columbia, May 9, 2005

A combination of an aging workforce and a low post-secondary enrollment rate amongst high school graduates will exacerbate BC’s traditional dependence upon importing trained expertise, especially given the tendency of BC trained expertise to leave the province to work in other jurisdictions.

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Special prosecutor needed again for Liberal

Lorne Mayencourt is under a cloud at this moment for his "tangle" with a street person and now a second Liberal has "offered" a job to the unemployed industrial electrician after he was allegedly assaulted by a campaign worker of Bruce's.

The Provincial media are not reporting on the incident in Chemainus. Bruce is getting the free ride here for some reason. Why would the press be so kind to Bruce? Bruce is well liked by the press gallery folks. He is always quotable, and it is paying off today.
On May 8, at a Gordon Campbell campaign stop in Chemainus, BC, a Graham Bruce campaign worker allegedly assaulted a protestor. On May 9, while RCMP were actively investigating the alleged criminal assault, Graham Bruce issued a news release offering employment to the alleged victim on behalf of the alleged perpetrator.

"It is absolutely inappropriate for a Minister of the Crown to tamper with a police investigation, and that includes offering a benefit to the victim," said MacPhail. "The news release issued by Mr. Bruce provides overwhelming evidence that Mr. Bruce has done just that."