Tuesday, May 12, 2009
LIVE-BLOGGING - 7:30 PM
THE BATTLE FOR BRITISH COLUMBIA
LiveBlogging with RossK at Pacific Gazette
Date: Tuesday May 12, 2009
Start Time: 7:30PM PDT
When you are ready to watch the event you can click here.
Alternatively, you can copy and paste the following link into your browser:
One riding to watch: Vancouver-Point Grey where many hopes and prayers are with MEL LEHAN who, on behalf of the entire province of British Columbia, just might kick the bum out.
Omg, the sky is falling! Look! From a CanWest newspaper:
Tuesday » May 12 » 2009
Gordon Campbell's Liberals privatize, capitalize, destroy
May 08, 2009
... For years, the delinquents of high finance were allowed to play their shell games without any adult supervision, resulting in the Wall Street implosion and the resulting global recession. So why shouldn't the upcoming provincial election be a referendum on unrestrained corporate capitalism, and its most visible exponent in western Canada, Premier Gordon Campbell?
Although Canadians didn't witness "ninja loans," "zombie banks," or any of the other scary conjugates connected to Wall Street Ponzi schemes, we've certainly been exposed to the toxic effects of U.S.-style social engineering. The B.C. Liberals' ongoing enthusiasm for privatization, gutted social programs and mobile capital has been straight out of the Wall Street/Washington Consensus handbook.
It's hard to feel much enthusiasm for flip-flopping Carole James and the NDP. Jane Sterk and the provincial Greens are an untested unknown. But given the damage done by the Liberals' celebratory bash at the public sector, with a U.S.-style wrecking ball, isn't it time to rethink our electoral options?
Who is it that advocated or practised ripping up legally binding, negotiated contracts? Who closed courthouses, rolled back employment standards legislation, expanded provincial gambling, proposed workfare to replace welfare and then withdrew after the public outcry? Who introduced a new $6 "training wage" at two dollars an hour lower than minimum wage, and introduced a bill for reducing the minimum work age to 12 years? Who closed hospitals, cut beds and shut long-term care facilities, laid off health care workers and privatized services? Who handed Pharmacare and MSP operations over to a U.S. firm, Maximus, which has been fined twice for failing to reach contractual targets, and whose country of origin makes private medical records subject to disclosure under the U.S. Patriot Act?
Gord and his merry band of privateers, that's who. Hang on, there's more.
Who shut down or reduced funding for independent offices like the provincial Ombudsman, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and Elections B.C.? Who cut air and water quality protection, gutted the Forest Practices Code, lowered standards for wildlife protection, presided over the expansion of industrial fish farms resulting in the decline and possible extinction of wild west coast salmon, and plans to reduce B.C. park rangers to a skeleton crew? Who downloaded costs onto municipalities, eliminated the Independent Office of the Child, Youth and Family Advocate, and did a 23-page review of all persons receiving disability benefits? Who attempted a 60-day, pre-election gag law? Who continues to champion the small business community, but has turned a deaf ear to merchants destroyed by the Canada Line? Who hiked his own salary by 54 per cent?
And then there is the question of the Liberals' dodgy megaprojects, from Gateway to the proposed $40-million clamshell over Robson Square. As for the new, $900-million convention centre, that leaky boondoggle alone is twice the price of the former NDP government's three fast ferries, a nautical scandal from the reign of Glen Clark. Remember that one? It wasn't the fast ferry scandal that forced Clark out of office, however. What did the trick was a media-led witch-hunt over Clark's deck, and a conspiracy theory involving his neighbour who built it.
Yep, a damned deck.
All I'm asking for is a little proportion when it comes to assessing the moral crimes and misdemeanors of all provincial parties, before we hit the ballot boxes.
A few more rhetorical questions, and I'm done. Who is it that engaged in the secretive privatization of public assets? Who restructured B.C. Ferries and brought in U.S. CEO to head the company? Who presided over the dismantling of B.C. Rail? Who has given up our greatest crown jewel of all, B.C. Hydro, allowing private operators to take a crack at power generation? Who gave over the administration of our public electric utility to Accenture, a U.S.-branded company located in an offshore tax haven in the Bahamas?
In other words, what British Columbian politician and party have been driving under the influence of Washington and Wall Street?
Here's my five-part post in reply to the editoral at the CanadaEast website, which seems to be from a New Brunswick paper though I reference Nova Scotia in them (limit 1000 characters each...)
(Apparently in this system, I HAVE to have two names, normally I'm just "Skookum1")
As expected, reportage of the BC election out here pretty much apes what the Liberal-allied CanWest machine in BC is doing - pitching Campbell's re-election as a done deal and glossing over the bigger issues that are burning up blogspace and circulating in the "minor media". Because of the space limits of this blog and my usual long-windedness (infamous in BC blogspace and Wikipedia), here's a few links for Maritimers interested in what's REALLY going on in BC, and what's REALLY at stake tonight:
esp last month: http://bctrialofbasi-virk.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html
that's all there's room for on this post....
And last but not least, THIS is an editorial from a weekly in the Premier's own riding:
Canadian media are used to shepherding voters ot the polls, like they tried to do with Charlottetown and got kicked in the face for it; tonight may be one of those occasions, as despite CanWest's longstanding clout and the efforts of media monitors and p.r. hacks in the government's 223-staffer $26-31 million Public Affairs Bureau (the largest "newsroom" in the country, in the legislature's basement), the public of BC are a pretty cynical, bitter lot when it comes to politics and have "stood up to the pollsters" before.
Maritimers should be worried about Campbell's sell-off of hydro rights to US investors (BIG investors, like GE), as it "trips over" the water-export provisions in NAFTA, and the corrupted sale of the Crown asset BC Rail to US-owned Canadian National is a stinker of a scandal
a stinker of a scandal that all Canadians should be concerned about, with intimations of political activism by the RCMP, manipulation of the court system, unregistered lobbyists who are also Liberal campaign managers, and the centralization of deputy minister responsibility to the Premier's office (ministers in BC are pretty much figureheads now, though highly-paid ones and good at waffling). Then there's the matter of the Premier's executive assistant and deputy chief of staff, who collects two salaries and also has the largest expesnse account of any BC employee. She's also rumoured to be his live-in girlfriend, despite campaign appearances by his wife. All this is really "ripe" if you remember or know that he came to the leadership of the Liberal Party by going after his predecessor, Gordon Wilson, for an adulterous affair with his House Leader Judi Tyabji and that many of Campbell's cabinet and backbench are vocal advocates of "family values" and social conservatism.
More importantly than the salacious side of that, or the double salary and huge expenses tab, is that somebody near the very top of the political and government machine in BC is virtually invisible in the big media and little is known about her background or qualifications. Campbell came into power promising open government, but there are more mysteries and cover-ups and incestuous intrigue in the BC Liberal machine than it's possible to recount here in full. The mass exodos of bureaucrats who ushered in new economic opportunities for IPPs (Independent Poewr Producers) is huge; they wrote themselves their own salaries with the new businesses created by the sell-off of resource rights. It's another goldrush, another continuation of BC's history as a colony. Nova Scotia celebrated 250 years of democracy in 2008; in BC in the same year, it was 150 years since the Governor of the original Colony of British Columbia saw fit to restrict democracy in order to expedite the colonial regime.
In closing, I don't have a good feeling about tonight, at best it's going to be a squeaker but the polls, dubious as they are subjective, are all forecasting a Liberal victory. The worry in blogspace is that the Railgate scandal, now approaching trial - a trial which may be quashed if the Crown can't get the Supreme Court of Canada to authorize the use of a secret witness hearing (from which the Defence would be escluded) - the case was kept under a court ban for years since the raid on the BC Legislature in 2003. That the truth about the sale of BC Rail will never fully be known if the proceedings are quashed in the wake of a Liberal victory. But what we know now is that it was a tainted bidding process, as other bidders withdrew when they realized it was rigged deal for CN from the start. But the charges in the case aren't even about that, though they shoudl be...
I envy Nova Scotians the relative simplicity of their politics in the current election; what I can see of it anyway.
I'll be curious to see if they're not "moderated" out of existence....
I just added this:
And on a side-note, all the ruckus about the LNG plant on the Mayne border adjacent to New Brunswick has gotten all KINDS of federal Ministry of Environment grandstanding. So why none for a similar LNG project on Texada Island? Out of sight, out of mind (and it's not on the border), I guess.....another example of a controversial and dangerous and economically questionable megaproject being given the go-ahead by the Liberals to a company which donated huge amounts of cash to the kitty, just as with BC Ferries, BC Rail, BC Hydro, the IPPs and much more......including the farming-out of medical records-keeping to a Virginia company, under the jurisdiction of the Patriot Act?
Nobody out here can do anything about this, and it may be too late for British Columbians to get it together for it all to be stopped; but I think you have the right to know the truth, not just the "soft reportage" the mainstream media want to pretend that's all you need to know......
And a followup LOL about how I meant Maine, not Mayne "which is an island in BC"
My worry is, as I await the returns on GlowBall and CTV, is will they try to convince me that Gordon Campbell won a resounding third majority, even if he gets his ass kicked? Judging by the pre-election PR, it isn't much of a stretch!
the firat election 2001 was rigged!
IE; signing up dead family pets to vote. BC is run by organised teamsters. Too bad the real truth won't come out!
Maybe we could de-populate and cauterize the cancerous growth that is the Lower BaneLand and just drive through the empty space to visit each other - I like a little salt air from time to time (and do we have some nice Alpine places to spend an afternoon). All we need to do is get the tumor in between OUT OF THE WAY!
The bad news is that StoneWally is leading by those same TWO VOTES!
One of my dearest friends is a teamster ... a truck-driver. She stands about 5'2", weighs maybe 125 lbs., and drives the 18-wheelers across the continent. Her name is Linda and she's every inch a lady. A competent, capable, careful, reliable lady.
My friend, I think you made a mistake with that comment. Don't you mean "organized crime"?
No more DinoCons posing as Liberals, or whatever in the hell "Social Credit" was supposed to mean - we are going to be the new UP FRONT and Truthy Party that fits the true nature of British Columbians without the inconvenience of aliases!
On the general tack of election critique, all I can say is if NDP speechwriters and srategists had as much teeth and balls as this group of bloggers does, Campbell would have been toast and CanWest would have been shown up for its zero-level journalistic integrity.
Repeat after me: "Gordon Campbell has no business experience. What he has is big business CONNECTIONS." There's a big difference between a whore and a john, as someone once put it to me (about him).