Friday, March 26, 2010

 

BC Rail: treachery! Downright treachery!

.
Please bear with me. In normal circumstances, I would take the weekend to think this over. I'd try to stop feeling so angry. But what's to think over? 

Just have a look at Vaughn Palmer's column.  

Even the Globe and Mail ... with a little more fairness, picks up the same theme: worthless BCRail ... the child's toy so throw it away and nobody will notice ... so I expect the entire BC rat-pack media will bleat the same "news".  

Nice try Gordo. Nice work, Public Affairs Bureau. A shining moment [cue the sardonic theme music here] ... is Mike Farnworth's and Leonard Krog's performance recorded for posterity in Hansard's Record of Debates which  should win them both an Actor's Award. 

They're all singing from the same hymn-book now. They're all saying that the Big Story is simply about accounting ... especially explaining the bloated salaries paid to 4 of Gordo's appointees to BC Rail ... 

and this is so terribly, terribly wrong! 

Following is the Hansard Blue copy of the BC Rail debate in the Legislature yesterday, March 25. Shirley Bond, Carole James, Leonard Krog, Mike Farnworth -- both sides of the House -- have created a steaming pile of crap ... speaking as if BCRail today amounts to nothing. 

As we know, this is absolutely false.  My letter to The Globe and Mail is at the end of this posting.  - BC Mary.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Debates of the Legislative Assembly
(Hansard)

Thursday, March 25, 2010.
Afternoon Sitting.

Oral Questions

B.C. RAIL EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

C. James [Leader of the Opposition]: The cost of the B.C. Rail scandal continues to rise. For the past six years, the B.C. Liberals have paid four B.C. Rail executives a total of $8.6 million — $8.6 million in salary for four people to manage a rail company with no trains.
Now we learn that two of these executives are getting a golden handshake worth more than $600,000 at a time when this government is slashing early child care programs, dental visits for children, services for the most vulnerable. How can this government possibly justify millions of dollars of waste at B.C. Rail?  [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. S. Bond [Minister of Transportation]: I'm not sure how the Leader of the Opposition could characterize an organization that when we became government, in fact, was saddled with debt, was completely out of control in that department. And to the Leader of the Opposition: let's be clear. This organization restored and took care of the debt issue with B.C. Rail and returned to taxpayers in this province $1.5 billion.

C. James: The minister can use all the words she wants, but the facts are that there are no trains, that there are 40 kilometres of tracks, that it was $1.2 million a year for four staff with no trains. That's $8.6 million over six years, and now we find out that two of those executives will collect another half a million dollars while they say goodbye.

So my question is to the minister: how can she justify spending millions of taxpayer dollars on executive salaries while cutting vital programs for children in this province?

Hon. S. Bond: Let me begin by correcting the Leader of the Opposition on one subject. That is the fact that this government is providing record levels of funding for early childhood education, for education that in fact the Leader of the Opposition has sat and voted against time after time after time in this Legislature.

Let's be clear. We inherited a B.C. Rail that was saddled by ... that, in fact, the Leader of the Opposition has sat and voted against time after time after time in this Legislature.

Let's be clear, Mr. Speaker, we inherited a B.C. Rail that was saddled by debt. In fact, this organization has worked to return $1.5 billion to the taxpayers of British Columbia.

C. James: This minister is trying to defend something that can't be defended. We see cuts to education. We see cuts to children. We see cuts to people with mental illness, and this government paid money — six years of money, four salaries — for a rail company that doesn't even have any trains. That isn't defendable, Minister. So $8.6 million in waste, and there's more to come.

Again, my question is to the minister. How much more will British Columbians have to put out because of this government's incompetence on B.C. Rail?

Hon. S. Bond: I think the Leader of the Opposition is the last person that can stand in the House and talk about incompetence when it comes to B.C. Rail. Let's just look…. What cannot be defended is the fact that in one year under the member opposite's leadership, B.C. Rail actually lost $582 million — a direct hit to the taxpayers in British Columbia of over half a billion dollars. That can't be defended.

The member opposite wants to laugh? I can tell the member opposite this, that if the Leader of the Opposition thinks it's amusing to saddle the taxpayers of British Columbia with half a billion dollars of debt in one year, that's what can't be defended.

B. Ralston: The over half a million dollars in severance covers only two executives at B.C. Rail, president and CEO Kevin Mahoney and executive vice-president John Lusney. There is one more executive still waiting for a payout. Can the minister explain how much more British Columbians will have to pay?

Hon. S. Bond: In fact, as I was canvassed in the Legislature for several hours the other day, we actually have…. The CFO of B.C. Rail has agreed to continue to help us with the transition to the ministry, and in fact, we have not yet determined when that position will be wrapped up. But we will be making the severance public once we're aware of when that actual final date will take place.

But, you know, the members opposite are actually experts in the area of severance. Let's look back to just one of the severances that took place. Let's look at…. Oh, my, in 1990 dollars? Let's look at the severance paid to Elizabeth Cull. Let's look at this. Elizabeth Cull, to the Leader of the Opposition, received $260,000 in severance for seven months' work in the Premier's office. That's what we would consider excessive and not defensible.


B. Ralston: Well, it's clear the minister would rather talk about anything other than the severance packages that her government is about to pay out.

In addition to those four executives, B.C. Rail also has a board of directors who, over the last six years, collectively have received over $1.5 million in compensation, over $200,000 a year to direct 40 miles of track. Does the minister think this is good value for money?

Hon. S. Bond: I do know this. When an organization like B.C. Rail can return $1.5 billion to taxpayers in British Columbia, that's pretty good.

The member opposite well knows after our lengthy discussion in the Legislature the other day that, in fact, in addition to looking at how they have returned dollars to the province of British Columbia, this organization has played a key role in the Pacific gateway strategy. If you look at land sales and the real estate portfolio alone, over $180 million in gross land sales. That's production, and that's what's taking place.

L. Krog: When you add up the salaries of the executive and probably the most underworked corporate board in the history of the province of British Columbia, it's over $10 million — money that could have been spent on the public good in a myriad of ways. Instead, it went into the fat salaries of executives who were riding their own personal gravy train.

So my question to the minister is really very simple. How much more are we going to have to pay for Liberal incompetence?

Hon. S. Bond: It may be the member opposites' opinion that, in fact…. They want to diminish the work that's been done, but we're not for one minute going to diminish the fact that $1.5 billion worth of resources has been returned to taxpayers in British Columbia. This organization has managed a real estate portfolio that has seen gross land sales of over $180 million. They have looked at the dissolution of companies in the province of British Columbia. They're managing the Kinder Morgan organization in terms of that particular project.

We're not going to stand on this side of the House and take advice from a group that actually saw a bankrupt railway that was in complete disarray when they were in government.

L. Krog: A Monopoly board has more track than B.C. Rail. I want to tell the minister that the taxpayers don't enjoy ten million of real dollars wasted on the Monopoly game over there. So what's changed? What's changed?

They were worthwhile last year to spend millions of dollars on — over the last six years — on their exorbitant salaries. Now, suddenly, they're gone. So what was it? Was it the $10 million mark that finally convinced this government to get rid of B.C. Rail?

Hon. S. Bond: In fact, what it was, Mr. Speaker, was a commitment in the throne speech in September to review Crown corporations to look at how we might effectively consider the future.

Unlike the members opposite, we actually think it's worthwhile to go back and to look at those 
HSE - 20100325 PM 008/PLP/1405
Hon. S. Bond: In fact, it was a commitment in the throne speech in September to review Crown corporations to look at how we might effectively consider the future. Unlike the members opposite, we actually think it's worthwhile to go back and look at those things and make changes.

Over the last five years — let's be clear to the member opposite, even though we've had this discussion for at least three hours in the last two days — B.C. Rail has returned in excess of $1.5 billion to the taxpayers of British Columbia. That includes $250 million for B.C. Marine,  including Centrum terminals and Vancouver Wharves.

There's no doubt in our mind that, in fact, we inherited a railway that was bankrupt and in disarray, and this organization is in a much better position than it was when that member was sitting on this side of the House.

M. Farnworth: Let's look at the B.C. Rail record on this government. First, they said they wouldn't sell it. Then what did they do? They misled the public and sold it. Then what happened? A raid on the Legislature, a court case that has been dragging on for year after year after year at a cost of god knows how much. Now after ten years, we have a railway with a board of directors with no trains, no engines, no steam, not even the Thomas the Tank, and the directors are being paid $600,000 in severance.

How, after ten years, can this government justify spending an additional $600,000 with more to come for their incompetence when it comes to the B.C. Rail file?

Hon. S. Bond: Well, thank you very much. All I can say to the member opposite is that you managed to take the train and take it right off the tracks during the 1990s. In one year alone under that member's leadership, $582 million in debt, and in fact, the only outcome, the only measure of success that that side of the House had was how big the bailout was going to be every single year for B.C. Rail.

So what has B.C. Rail done? They eliminated B.C. Rail's debt, 600 new rail cars to help increase capacity, $8.3 million in new tax revenue for communities across this province, establishment of $135 million Northern Development Initiative Trust. That's what we've managed to do with B.C. Rail. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And here's what I wrote this morning to The Globe and Mail:

Latest Comments


 
3/26/2010 8:41:27 AM
BC Rail is being trashed by the media and the BC Opposition. It is unbelievable.


BC Rail remains to this day a valuable public asset. Good grief ... it holds the "lease" under which CN is operating!


BC Rail owns the tracks, the rail-bed, and the right-of-way for the 1,500 km. mainline upon which CN trains are currently operating. And more.


BC Rail could, one day, re-possess its former operating rights if CN defaults on its lease.


It owns the priceless Port of Roberts Bank plus the 40 km of connecting track.


It owns hundreds of parcels of land -- valuable railway lands adjacent to towns, villages right up to Fort Nelson, and especially ... oh yes, oceanfrontage near Vancouver ... and more.


This doesn't explain or condone the bloated salaries of the chosen executives presiding over the slow strangulation of BC Rail holdings.


Only treachery could explain why even the BC Opposition is now referring to BC Rail in terms (noted in March 25 Hansard) of "Thomas the Tank Engine" ... a mere child's toy.


And now, the Globe and Mail? Please. British Columbia has had enough of public treachery. 
""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" 
OK, I'm done. Your turn now.  - BC Mary. 
""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

A special thank you to Paul Nettleton, former member of the BC Liberal Party and M.L.A. for Prince George Omineca, for the following comment:


Shirley Bond's closing comments with reference to "big bailouts" for BC Rail, "every single year" during the 1990's is absolutely false and misleading!


I recall meeting with Paul McElligott president and CEO of BCR in his North Vancouver office on several occasions during this same period. On one occasion in particular he shared his concerns, that the government of the day under minister of transportation Dan Miller was diverting money (by way of Dividend as I recall)out of his profitable company to general revenue. He discussed the need to re-invest in various companies within BCR, including the marine division and various joint ventures he was considering, particularly potential mining opportunities with international partners. These would have the effect of creating family supporting jobs throughout the central and Northern interior, and bolster revenue in the rail division. Mr. McElligott resigned ... you guessed it, under the Campbell administration!


Paul Nettleton

A later message from Paul Nettleton makes a correction: Thanks Mary...  my blood was boiling after reading your blog...and in my haste to respond I referenced the resignation of Paul McElligott in November of 2000 as occurring under the Campbell administration, when in fact the election of the BC Liberals was May of 2001.  I apologize for the error...but I am absolutely stunned at what passes for fact within the current estimate process under current Transportation Minister Shirley Bond.
 



"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
Another special Thank You to "Lynx" for finding this information from the days when B.C. had a real Opposition:


This is how Joy MacPhail responded to Judith Reid [Minister of Transportation at the time of the BC Rail sale], years earlier. Joy did her research, she knew her stuff, she cared deeply..... and it showed:

J. MacPhail:


......I guess the minister hasn't seen the new document. Let me just tell the minister about this. She can say anything her spin doctors tell her to, but what they're doing is privatizing a B.C. Rail company that not only is profitable but is highly competitive......


The opposition today, just this morning, obtained brand-new internal B.C. Rail documents showing the year-to-date financial results for B.C. Rail. The new report says that the profit margins for regional carriers remain above Canadian National, Canadian Pacific and any other class of railways, with B.C. Rail being the highest in the industry for their quarter profits and their year-to-date profits.......


Again to the Minister of Transportation: why is she saying that B.C. Rail is not competitive and is not efficient when, indeed, they have the highest productivity rate amongst all rail lines and they are the first rail line to have an operating margin of below 70 percent — better than any other rail company in North America? Why is she not telling that aspect of a rail line?........


J. MacPhail: …B.C. Rail has the highest profit margin of all regional carriers. In this year's third quarter alone B.C. Rail made a $21 million profit, and that's in American funds. In fact, they've got the highest year-to-date profits of any rail line.


If the minister pushes ahead with her plans to sell B.C. Rail, British Columbians are going to lose a company that is making big profits and that is completely and most competitive. Again to the minister: given all this good news about B.C. Rail, why is she breaking a promise and selling one of North America's best-performing rail companies? Why is she breaking the promise?


""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""


Comments:
Shirley Bond's closing comments with reference to "big bailouts" for BC Rail, "every single year" during the 1990's is absolutely false and misleading!

I recall meeting with Paul McElligott president and CEO of BCR in his North Vancouver office on several occassions during this same period. On one occassion in particular he shared his concerns, that the government of the day under minister of transportation Dan Miller was diverting money (by way of Dividend as I recall)out of his profitable company to general revenue. He discussed the need to re-invest in various companies within BCR, including the marine division and various joint ventures he was considering, particularly potential mining opportunities with international partners. These would have the effect of creating family supporting jobs throughout the central and Northern interior, and bolster revenue in the rail division. Mr. McElligott resigned in November 22, 2000, you guessed it, under the Campbell administration!

Paul Nettleton
 
Thanks Paul.

I just wish you were still sitting in the Legislature - don't care where - speaking up so these lies wouldn't be the only 'public' record of the real story behind this circus of lies
 
Well, at least we know now where Palmer is when he's not playing silly buggers with Baldrey and Good on CKNW - he's watching reruns on Children's TV.

An asshole, and a puffed up one at that.
 
Vaughn Palmer confirmed on the radio this morning what has been discussed here before that CN got $450,000,00.00 in BCR's on the books tax credits. Keith Baldrey changed the subject immediately (no word on his motives for that as the discussion ended). Add up the payroll and bonuses and court costs and the deal was an eastside pawnshop bargain...
I'm sure glad we have such astute financial guru's running this Province. I also noticed Vaughn earlier wrote this week about the BC government being an oral government. That article made me think I was reading a story about a criminal enterprise not the folks who uphold the rule of law.
Yeesh!
 
Most people following the BC Rail issue would know Bond was blowing smoke in regards to BC Rail and their supposed debt. She was simply buring up time in question period. The opposition, of course knows she is full of it. It was good of Nettleton to remind us that there was no shortage of money. Hoepfully folks will remember as well, the deal struck that if CN didn't get around 500 million in tax deductions the BC government would foot the bill. and if anyone is interested Dan Millar is now on the board of directors for BC Ferries.
 
Thanks, BC Mary. Well done.

I'm so glad you wrote this...that you remained angry. You speak for many of us who watched and listened and were also angered by that sly scripted performance by Shirley Bond in the legislature yesterday and in the abysmal response by the Opposition.

Yes, there is so much more to be valued in a public railway than just the financial focus.... the Opposition failed to mention that and it failed in defending BC Rail - one of the best-performing railway companies in North America - in both profitability and competitiveness: that is what was stolen away from the people of BC - a steal of a deal for CN craftily facilitated by the Campbell Liberals.

This is how Joy MacPhail responded to Judith Reid, years earlier. Joy did her research, she knew her stuff, she cared deeply..... and it showed:


J. MacPhail:

......I guess the minister hasn't seen the new document. Let me just tell the minister about this. She can say anything her spin doctors tell her to, but what they're doing is privatizing a B.C. Rail company that not only is profitable but is highly competitive......

The opposition today, just this morning, obtained brand-new internal B.C. Rail documents showing the year-to-date financial results for B.C. Rail. The new report says that the profit margins for regional carriers remain above Canadian National, Canadian Pacific and any other class of railways, with B.C. Rail being the highest in the industry for their quarter profits and their year-to-date profits.......

Again to the Minister of Transportation: why is she saying that B.C. Rail is not competitive and is not efficient when, indeed, they have the highest productivity rate amongst all rail lines and they are the first rail line to have an operating margin of below 70 percent — better than any other rail company in North America? Why is she not telling that aspect of a rail line?........

J. MacPhail: …B.C. Rail has the highest profit margin of all regional carriers. In this year's third quarter alone B.C. Rail made a $21 million profit, and that's in American funds. In fact, they've got the highest year-to-date profits of any rail line.

If the minister pushes ahead with her plans to sell B.C. Rail, British Columbians are going to lose a company that is making big profits and that is completely and most competitive. Again to the minister: given all this good news about B.C. Rail, why is she breaking a promise and selling one of North America's best-performing rail companies? Why is she breaking the promise?
 
That is a very important point Sleepless...In Listening to my close friend Brian on the cutting ledge today..

Vaughn Palmer after a commercial break DID CONFIRM what a previous caller said...That indeed the Province ate 1/2 billion dollars in tax losses for CN,as part of the sale agreement.

And like you,I was utterly shocked by Keith Baldrey,he pounced like a cat and switched the topic .....

A real funny exchange,as much as Vaughn Palmer spins for campbell,he will let facts out...

as for Keith Baldrey, he is definately deflecting for Campbell.

So,after tax breaks,BC Rail salaries to executives..Legal fees for the pre-trial hearings,I would imagine the Province has made nothing on the sale..

And don`t forget about all the toxic derailments caused by CP rail cutbacks.
 
I would just like to add that Joy managed to include all that information in Question Period....while putting the BCLiberals on the hot seat through her exacting questioning.

That tiny NDP Opposition of two had more force, and more importantly more strategy, than the present Opposition has ever had under "the leadership" of Carole James. They have some very good MLA's - too bad they are tethered by such an ineffective leader and an even more disappointing approach to their role as opposition.

Joy and Jenny also knew their stuff. And they had to be thoroughly familiar with every ministry as there was only the two of them for most of those years to take on the issues. That was a massive job of research and education to undertake....they both deserve much credit.

It is just not good enough to say the Opposition knew that Bond was blowing smoke. It is the Opposition's job and duty to inform and make clear to the public that that is exactly what Bond is doing by forcefully countering her misinformation with the facts about BC Rail.

The present Opposition has yet to learn the importance of strategy in debate. I really do not know what they are waiting for.
 
Thanks, Grant. Nice to confirm that bits of the truth do slip out, now and then.

Just wondering how to account for the Opposition going along with the idea that BC Rail as it now exists is as worthless as a monopoly game or a child's toy?

Who needs enemies with "friends" like that, I ask you.
.
 
Lynx you are so right. There are good NDPers out there, but they are tethered by James who spends much of her time chasing after and advancing issues most BCers dont and shouldnt care about, while leaving the real problems and Gordon Campbell unchecked. This, to the delight of the Liberals, who have out maneouvered James time and again, no matter how large their mistep, stumble or outright crash and burn.
 
lynx - sadly, you're correct. The Opposition seems incapable of understanding their role and the necessity of having their research facts available and memorized 'before' they stand up in question period...to let a cold fish like Bond off the hook with the kind of disinformation she parcels out with every breath is inexcusable.

Joy McPhail would have reduced her to tears.

But, given the fact that the opposition 'needs' help badly and the media is beyond saving, how do the people of the province get the information they need about the wholesale sell off of the public sphere?

What is the next step?
 

And don`t forget about all the toxic derailments caused by CP rail cutbacks.


What were the total cleanup costs of those, by the way?
 
The comments about the work of Joy v. the entire current Opposition are fair enough, but....

I can't help but notice how this issue flares up at Mary's place one day and then turns up in Hansard the next.

Way to go folks!

.
 
"And don`t forget about all the toxic derailments caused by CP rail cutbacks.

If I'm not mistaken the above should read "CN rail cutbacks" as in using prairie capable locomotives etc. in BC mountain terrain - ie the tragedy that cost the lives of two trainmen at the head of the Fraser Canyon and the close to disastrous derailment in the "yard" in Prince George (the "minor switching glitch that spilled toxins into the Fraser or Nechako and necessitated water bombers to save an PG residential neighborhood.
 
An excellent article Mary! Wonderful things come from your pen when you're angry.

It appears that the NDP have become the enabling parents of a drug addicted (our money in every form of tax they can think of), nasty tempered and mean child - the Liberals. They are part and parcel of everything that is wrong with BC's government..as much to blame as Gordon Campbell and his cabal.

I find what they're doing, (have done), to the people of this province unforgivable. After writing letters to the executive/leadership with no response from any of them - it has become crystal clear to me that they are a "nothing party" therefore not worthy of acknowledging. That's as kind as I can possibly be toward them.
 
Sorry Mary but this interpretation is crap. The reality is that these "executives" were not running an operating railroad. They were overseeing significantly reduced assets. Yes, if the deal hadn't gone through they were required, but it did and they weren't.

Here's the real question you missed: Why were they kept around at a cost of about $10m to push a few pencils? Or to put a finer point on it, exactly what did they know about the deal that allowed them to draw significant pay and bigger severance packages for little benefit to the taxpayer? That should be your focus. You forget that Mahoney was a key player on the privatization team, all over the materials released by the NDP. He knows a lot and that in itself is the real story.
 
Well, Sweetheart 8:34 ...

yr humble editor would delete your first sentence as being unnecessary because it's inaccurate.

yr editor would also send you back to re-read the posting (which is not an "interpretation"),

yr editor (frowning) also says "Thank You" for elucidating another dimension of this situation.

But YOU seem to have missed the point.

My basic point is a simple one: BC Rail is still a significant player in the economic life of British Columbia -- now and in the future. I cannot tolerate the government and the Opposition being so willing to toss into the garbage.

If you think it's all about the money paid to Gordo's 4 pals presiding over BCRail these days, no it isn't. It's that, but 1,000 times more. Re-read, please.

BC Rail = still a priceless public asset.
.
 
Anon @ 8:34--

With all due respect, I feel compelled to suggest that it is your interpretation that is a steaming pile of codswallop....


Because, in my opinion, these executives are now, and always have been, little more than Capos to the real Bosses behind this operation....

Why?

Because, again in my opinion, and perhaps even in the opinion of that most esteemed member of the punditry, Mr. Vaughn Palmer, the 40km Spur Line they have been 'overseeing' has always long been a consolation prize for the aborted quid pro quo that kept OmniTrax at the table from the very beginning.

And if the command to keep OmniTrax at the table to provide fake competitive cover for an even longer done-deal to deliver BC Rail's assets AND debts to CN Rail came down to Mr Basi and Mr. Virk from their political masters, well....

What does that tell you about the intentions and actions of the Capos' Bosses?

Especially given that the Capos' Bosses and the political masters of Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk were/are essentially one and the same.


_____
Now, if you'll excuse me I have to walk the Whack-A-Doodle and take some pictures of the cherry blossom blizzard brewing down the street.

.

.
 
I'd like to challenge those of you who long for the Joy and Jenny years to have conversation with either about those lost four years.

I have had occasion to chat with each in the past couple of years. I bring up this recurring meme of how effective they were. They laugh. A lot. It's a myth and they will be the first to say it. They were often running from one committee room to another, trying to get on the record about the issue of the day.

Filled with fire, they did what they could and will get their reward some day, god willing.

I'd also challenge you to suggest to Joy that the current NDP are somehow "enabling" the Liberals. She might tear a strip off you. Though retired, Joy has been busting her butt to help elect an NDP government the last two campaigns. She's committed to the cause and I suspect she'd be more than a little offended that you all are using her work as a way to disparage the closest thing we have to a progressive party.

Wanna say the NDP aren't perfect? No argument. I will be the first to disagree with a whole host of their policies. They are a hell of a lot better than the wingnuts in charge; it makes more sense to focus my energy on the real enemy rather than continue to circle the wagons and fire inewards.
 
Thank you, Anonymous 2:30,

but do you honestly believe that we aren't aware of how difficult it was for Joy & Jenny?

If so, you haven't been paying attention.

As for the current bunch, yes I can provide the reasons to fault the current Opposition, and the Justice Critic in particular ...

again, you can read all about it on this blog.

Knee-jerk politics is for dummies. Tell me that Krog made a simple error and perhaps I could overlook what he failed to do, then what he actually did do ... however, the fact is:

step by step he double-crossed us on July 15, 2009 ... and then had the nerve to call a press conference and take credit for our work ... and that's where I began to see more clearly.

Politics of "Me good, you bad" won't solve anything.

The politics of good people working to do the right thing, solves most problems.

You have misread the Hansard record of debates in which Joy scored point after point -- revealing the facts such as we need today.

On the other hand, the Hansard record of what James, Krog, etc. were saying on March 25, 2010 stands in stark contrast ... and I presented the evidence as it exists in the public record. The evidence speaks for itself. The Opposition was trashing BC Rail.

Please select a User Name for yourself, if you wish to continue this conversation.
.
 
Anon 2:30:

While Shirley Bond was allowed to rattle on endlessly like a runaway train about BC Rail debt, you would think that by now the Opposition could have countered with the fact that all railways run on operating debt, and that BC Rail's operatng debt was one of the lowest among all the railways in North America. Perhaps, they could have added that it was NOT taxpayer-supported debt. (The shippers' rates covered all of the debt servicing of B.C. Rail.)

Or they could have countered Bond's misinformation by mentioning the 1600 BC Rail jobs that were lost in this reckless garage sale, the profits that were lost along with, and all the opportunities lost for the years ahead....and how all of those things - jobs, profits and opportunities, help to create strong communities throughout BC.

They could have mentioned that BC Rail posted multi-million dollar profits year after year - 80 million in 2003, and forecast to climb over a 100 million in the years following.... profits lost to the people of BC....at CN's gain.

Most of this information.... and much, much more has been posted on BC Mary's excellent blog over the years.

It would be greatly helpful to have an effective Opposition willing to give a strong voice to these concerns.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
 
Mary @3:08 - you can't say it any better than that - who needs concern trolls anyway?
 
Anon 2:30PM - With respect to members of the current opposition and comparisons between their effectiveness and that of the 2 member opposition of Joy and Jenny.

1) There is no doubt that Joy and Jenny were hard pressed. Campbell having proved himself the most pusillanimous character ever to sit in the Premier's chair by refusing to grant the two of them official opposition status, they had a much harder row to hoe than the current group under Ms James's leadership.

2) No one wants to go back to those times (except, I'd wager, Campbell and the BCLiberals) and we'd all like to see an end to the current government and its complete and utter ignorance of what it means to govern for someone outside of a small circle of friends.

3) However, there is no way that anyone can sustain the claim that the Opposition have been effective at countering and defeating the propaganda and disinformation of the Campbell forces in any kind of a consistent fashion.

Furthermore, many Opposition members have not availed themselves of the assistance of people who have tried to help in this effort.

Phone calls have not been returned; emails have not been answered; leads have not been followed up.

Research staff for the caucus seems incapable of putting together the kind of detailed dossiers necessary to pin down people like Shirley Bond or (in his time) Wally Oppal to mention just two.

There has been a consistent failure to attack the government over its policy with respect to aboriginal relations, resource policy, BC Ferries and BC Hydro. When the public is anxious to hear the Opposition state that an NDP government would tear up the special deals Campbell has signed with outside contractors and companies; would cancel the HST if the government brings it in; would get rid of the Gas Tax in favour of a better way to address AGW and Public Transit we hear nothing. Or worse.

It's time for the Opposition and its leader to get serious. Jenny and Joy WERE serious - I'm just not sure about Carole James - and that's too bad - because BC needs better.

AND BC NEEDS BETTER NOW. Ms James is a thoroughly nice woman. But if she doesn’t start standing up to these bullies and call their bluff SHE WILL NEVER BE PREMIER OF THIS PROVINCE – And that’s a very big shame for all of us.

If you have an inside track to Ms James and/or her staff – use it. Tell her that there are thousands of people, tens of thousands of people who need her to stand up and start fighting.
 
To back-up what GWest had to say @ 11:18pm.....

Sean Holman has also been wondering why the current Opposition has been so ineffective in this regard.


.
 
G West wrote:

"It's time for the Opposition and its leader to get serious. Jenny and Joy WERE serious - I'm just not sure about Carole James - and that's too bad - because BC needs better."

Well said, G West.

From what James chooses to focus on and what she chooses to ignore, one doesn't feel a deep seriousness from her about how close we are to losing it all in BC.....whether it is there to be unearthed or not, it is hard to tell. She certainly seems unable to recognize and convey to the public the dire state of things in BC. I agree, she seems like a nice lady. She would be a good Minister of Education.

It is very clear from watching Question Period that the strategy of the BCLiberals is a strategy of distraction from their own refusal to be accountable as government, distraction from admitting their own culpability in the ruination of this province, a strategy of distraction by continually putting the NDP on the defensive, slyly moving the focus to the NDP who are not government.... to conveniently distract from themselves and their own behavior as the most arrogant and unaccountable government in BC history.

Considering all the massive betrayals of the public trust that have occurred under the Campbell regime, the BCLiberals both deserve, and should be on the ropes by now, with the NDP punching harder and harder to score a knock-out punch.

Instead, we see a premier who continually refuses to answer the questions of the Opposition...and who it seems is apparently getting away with doing so.

Just some suggestions on the remote chance someone in the strategy department in the NDP is listening:

Why don't the NDP give a running tally in QP every time Gordo refuses to answer - (eg. "That is the forty-ninth time this premier has refused to answer our questions, asked on behalf of the citizens of BC.") They could ask him outright in QP why he won't answer the people's questions? Why he continually has others answer for him when a question is addressed to him? After he refuses to answer, they could include and note his refusal in their supplemental question. He should be chastised and scorned for his arrogant anti-democratic behavior - instead they sit down nicely and ask him ever so nicely another question... which he again refuses to answer.

The NDP has a website that badly needs perking up.....this would be the perfect place to record all this for the public.

I'm sure there are a lot better ideas than the ones included above but at least it would be a start.....

It is sadly obvious the BCLiberals have developed an effective strategy for survival - for the sake of all of BC the NDP had better come up with a superior one....a strategy of Opposition that will effectively expose the dire threat the present government is to both our autonomy as a province, and to democracy itself.
 
Lynx,

You've given expression to a strategy which the Opposition could easily adopt with positive results.

It's the characteristic which is most worrying: the current Opposition doesn't really try.

They're running scared ... of what?
.
 
I totally agree, BC Mary...you've described the heart of the matter......and that's a very good question you ask -

Sure wish I knew the answer.....
 
The NDP showed their true yellow-striped colours when they took their website down during the election campaign (when the Libearls, as I recall, didn't though I admit to not paying close attention...)), kowtowing to the illegal restrictions on freedom of speech brought down by Elections BC, which instead they should have publicly challenged nationally, and made a huge stink about. They're playing "too nice" and, frankly, you just can't do that with bullies...

They're afraid of the stump, the loudspeaker, the spotlight. They're afraid to make waves, afraid to risk whack-a-mole. Joy and Jenny were a far more effective Opposition all by their lonesomes. And too bound up with ideological priorities to ever be effective as a real-world, real-time party. Principles are meaningless if they have no effect on policy, or politics.....

It's a pity Paul Nettleton isn't anything like a leftist; he'd be a far better Opposition leader right now.....maybe the Tories will recruit him.... (Paul, what do you say to that?)
 
Also, I should point out that the Green Party have been silent as dormice throughout all this. Both provincial and national Green Parties should be speaking out loudly about BC Rail (passenger rail, toxic spills, public safety, corruption, US takeover) and BC Hydro (IPPs, Accenture/US takeover, conflict of interest) and more.

Maybe it's just the MSM have been ignoring anything they have to say. But I'd hope Elizabeth May would take the national stump about what's wrong in BC, since Jack Layton apparently won't.....
 
Thanks Skookum,

Just let me add that I'd hate to see any political party lay hands on Paul Nettleton ... and spoil the image of a perfectly honest, straight-up, fearless citizen.

Isn't it awful that there's no decent political party left, i.m.o., that's worthy of this man's time and effort.

I think G West said it best, that he wouldn't care how Paul Nettleton returned to the BC Battlefield as long as he did return ...

but I wonder: when is enough, enough? How could we ask more of Nettleton than he has already given?

Frankly, I don't think Nettleton plays "left" or "right" politics and I love that; he's issues-oriented and capable of weighing the benefits and the penalties of things like Crown corporations ... BC Hydro ... and BCRail. Yes, he's a lawyer so he knows the implications of certain imponderable legislative moves ... like the shifting of ALL our Crowns, way back when. Remember?

I've never had the courage to ask Paul Nettleton if he'd return to BC politics because I hate the thought of what the Forces of Chaos would set about trying to do to him. Those hateful, greedy, self-serving political forces of chaos. You know the ones, I'm sure.
.
 
Question period on Thursday the 25th was fun to watch, frustrating also, I was yelling, Thats NOT true!!!
So pleased Will Mcmartin got the truth out in the Tyee story.

Reading the Debate on March 23rd, I would post the whole debate its so worth reading,but word constraints, so please if You have not read it, go here.
http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/39th2nd/H00323x.htm

L. Krog: With respect to the employment contracts of the executives whose positions are being terminated, do those contracts provide confidentiality clauses such that they would not be able to discuss in a public way anything surrounding the disposition of the assets of B.C. Rail or anything they may have received in confidence or heard about during the course of their employment? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1110]

Hon. S. Bond: I am advised that we do not have the answer to that question. The contract was drawn up between the board and the executive.
L. Krog: Is the minister in a position, in light of her answer, to table those contracts in the House?

Hon. S. Bond: As I earlier answered the member opposite's question, we do not have the details of the employment contract. It is a contract between the board and the individuals. My staff advised me that we do not know the details of the clauses contained within that contract, so I'm unable to make that commitment to the member today.

L. Krog: I appreciate the minister's answer, but all of the assets of B.C. Rail, as I understand the amendments before the House, are going to roll into the government. That's my understanding. The government takes over everything. So it seems to me that you take over the records, the documents, everything that relates to B.C. Rail. I'm wondering why the minister can't commit, as those documents are presumably not going to be destroyed, to tabling them in the House as soon as they become available.
--------The Finance Minister Knows whats in the contracts from the info I was able to find.

--------

Human Resources and Labour Relations
Crown Corporations must comply with the Public Service Employer’s Act that outlines
requirements for public sector employers, such as severance and overall conditions of
employment. Crown Corporations must have their labour relations mandates and executive
compensation plans approved by the Minister of Finance.
-----------link available OR
release of the compensation figures for about 250 public sector executives was required under amendments to the Public Sector Employers Act earlier this year. The figures include salaries, incentives and other benefits.

http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=12d501df-09f3-4a9a-8589-cd8dd0ce608f&sponsor=
7
....
So I found the
Public Sector Employers Act
[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 384

This act is current to March 17,2010
Contracts of employment are public documents
14.8 (1) A provision of a contract of employment that all or part of the contract is to remain confidential is void.

(2) Each senior employee's contract of employment is deemed to include a provision that the contract is a public document and the public sector employer must make the contract, together with any report filed with the chief executive officer of the council in relation to it, available for public inspection in accordance with this section.
...
 
Nice work, E.M.,
Thanks for your digging.

I hope Krog reads your words so he has a retort.
 
Why is she breaking a promise? Well...it might have something to do with the intent behind the words "I Promise." They only mean something IF the one saying them actually means it.

Other than that, when a Lib politician says "I Promise"...we should always hear the word "Sucker."
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home