I am going to preface this post with the fact that I am over the moon about the NDP-Green coalition taking power in BC. We were about 8 years overdue for a regime change. It will nice to see a little bit of compassion coming out of Victoria instead of the usual, victim-blaming detritus. I think John Horgan did an amazing job with the election and I am pleased he will (most likely) have the chance to serve as our premier.
I know it has been a little quiet around here lately. Could be the winter blahs. So many current events have left me so disgusted that I just don’t have the energy to engage enough to write about them. Being a social activist or even a human with a pulse has been difficult lately with so much corruption, collusion and crap going on. While I could devote an entire blog with well-reasoned arguments and some research thrown in, I will instead give you my uncensored gut reaction.
Patrick Brazeau – Until now his main claim to fame as a Canadian Senator was losing a boxing match to Justin Trudeau. Now, he has been charged with sexual assault. Brazeau didn’t even have the common sense to put himself on leave from Red Chamber. No, instead, Brazeau is such an entitled prick that his peers had to vote to put him on a forced leave. Of course he will get full pay. I think in cases like this people should not be paid and if they are found not guilty they can receive retroactive pay. It galls me that a senator who has been charged with sexual assault should still be paid! Of course, I am sure he thinks he is totes innocent and all.
Mike Duffy – Another poster boy for why the Senate needs to be abolished. It seems that Mr. Duffy lives in Ottawa. But not wanting to miss a feeding at the trough he has declared his vacation cottage in PEI to be his primary residence. This means that us Canadian taxpayers get to pick up the $30,000 or so he is collecting to support his ‘secondary’ residence in Ottawa. Harper has so few ethics that he is not even forcing Duffy to reimburse tax payers. Entitled assholes all of them.
Missing and Murdered Women March – Valentines Day marked the annual Missing and Murdered Women March in Vancouver. This march is an opportunity for us to collectively remember and grieve for the women who have died on the Downtown Eastside. The survival sex trade and extreme poverty in the DTES takes women down. Of course, the conditions in the DTES receive some assistance from serial killers and other women haters who go there to find victims. Violence against women is so ubiquitous in our society that marches like this are not even questioned. Being a feminist who works for social justice in 2013 is heartbreaking.
The Pope – So the biggest hypocrite walking the face of the earth has resigned as pontiff. Really who gives a rat’s ass? He is only going to be replaced by another white, European man who has no idea what is going on in the world. Yes, there will be talk of electing a man from Africa or Latin America but it won’t happen. Hell, they have even talked about a Canadian taking the prize. Rest assured everyone, it will be yet another white man who will continue to keep women in their place and maintain the status quo. Oh and have you ever noticed how people sometimes reflect their names? Joseph RATzinger has really lived up to his name.
Christy Clark – I don’t know about you but I am fucking sick of seeing Christy Clark’s face EVERYWHERE. It seems like you can’t go more than ½ an hour without seeing some ad telling us how great she and her merry band of liars and thieves was the best thing ever for BC. She has sponsored ads on Facebook and Twitter. My evenings are filled with Clark and her ‘jobs’ plan for BC. I don’t give a shit about business and jobs; I want to know what she is going to do for our poor and disadvantaged citizens. She is trying so hard to be sincere but honestly she looks smarmy. I wouldn’t trust her to manage our petty cash at work let alone the province’s finances. Sadly for Clark, making herself so fucking omnipresent means I am going to take so much pleasure in voting for the NDP come election day. In other news because so many Liberal rats have jumped ship, the Liberal’s once healthy majority is down to just 4 seats. There are also rumours of some Liberals breaking ranks and voting against the government’s budget. Bring it on Adrian Dix!
So, in a predictable fashion, the BC Liberals announced yesterday that our deficit is project to reach $1.4 billion dollars for this year. Yet, somehow, Christy Clark says her government will balance the budget in February while not cutting spending on health and education. I think she is full of crap if she thinks she can make up that kind of deficit by cutting civil service discretionary spending and implementing a hiring freeze.
Blaming all sorts of things like a real estate sale being delayed until June, lower property transfer tax due to a slump in real estate and low resource prices, the Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced cuts to discretionary spending and beyond that did not state how he will address the falling revenues. This information is in stark contrast to the rosy jobs picture Christy Clark likes to paint. The poor voter is left trying to figure out what is truth and what is fabrication with this government. Personally, I am deeply suspicious of everything the BC Liberals say; they are masters of duplicity and not above telling outright lies.
Here is my prediction: In February, when the provincial budget is tabled in the Legislature, it will be balanced. The BC Liberals will take credit for their ingenuity and jobs program that will have suddenly generated extra income that will magically take care of the deficit. They may float the idea of tax increases (as de Jong is not ruling them out right now) prior to the budget being released. However, we will all be saved from this horrible fate due to the strategic management skills of the BC Liberals. We will be told yet again that the private sector is our savior and our economy is just fine thank you very much.
The BC Liberals are counting on us to have short memories. They are hoping that we all forget the HST debacle, that we recognize their superior governing skills and that the NDP will kill the nascent prosperity in our economy. They will appeal to all of us to vote for them for our own good. Oh and in case we don’t get the message the BC Liberals have invested $63 million of your tax dollars in advertising to make sure we all get the message.
Is it just me or does it seem that our politicians are ruling via subterfuge? It seems like most government made decisions are one big shell game: ‘quick, look over there, shiny’ while a new tax is shoved down our throats. We can’t even count on them to maintain the integrity of their own values and ethics throughout the course of their time in power. Democracy has become code for bait and switch.
This week in politics in BC, our Premier, Christy Clark, has decided that the culture at the BC Legislature is ‘sick’ and that she tries to stay away from it as much as possible. She likened it to the complaints made about the ‘beltway’ in Washington, DC. These comments, originally made in May, were released when it was announced that the legislature would not sit this fall. Clark clearly has an overblown sense of her importance. To compare BC politics to what happens in Washington, DC is like talking about your acne problem when you have a little zit. All of senior civil servants, you know those people who provide crucial factual information to government politicians, all sit in Victoria. If she is not there, she can’t get all the information to make policy decisions. If her ministers behave as she does, they will also not be getting crucial information with which to make decisions.
Cancelling the fall sitting of the legislature is hubris at its worst. The provincial government just announced that revenues are $1 billion dollars below projections. If the legislature does not sit, then the opposition does not get access to this information to ask questions. I actually think there is a more sinister reason for not having a fall sitting. The timing of this supposed deficit announcement is curious. It is a little more than 6 months before the next election. I predict the BC Liberals will have a feel-good budget delivered in February and the shortfall will become a windfall. Everyone in government will slap each other on the back and congratulate themselves on their uber-financial management skills. They will then start the dog and pony show as they hand out the pre-election goodies. Personally, I am tired of being bought with my own money.
We can’t even count on politicians to stay true to their own beliefs in values. Apparently, once upon a time, Stephen Harper was against omnibus bills yet his government has passed one and has another one planned for the fall. Whoops! There goes your democracy right down the omnibus toilet.
All of this begs a much bigger question: when did democracy become a game of collusion and subterfuge? When did political parties abandon ideology and brokerage politics? I used to think brokerage politics was a horrible development, now I long for those days where you could still tease a little bit of ideology from party platforms. Politics is now a game of confuse the voter, say whatever you need to so you are elected then do whatever the hell you want. Re-election campaigns start right after an election. We used to get a measure of peace in the first 2 years after an election, now the attack ads start almost immediately.
Leadership seems to be something that is missing from all politicians modus operandi. Real leaders build consensus, they answer tough questions and they lay out a vision for the future. We are so short on any kind of vision as everyone is focused on the next election. If you are an effective leader, you don’t have to resort to confusion and downright lies to convince people to follow you. If you want to lead effectively you have to be accountable; people watch your every move; you are a role model. I see no role models amongst the current crop of politicians. Instead they are all focused on maintaining their positions of authority even when they can’t stand to work at their place of employment.
 Primarily this is due to structural differences. In the US there is no party discipline to speak of so every vote is up for grabs. That means lobbyists are trying to convince 535 people of their position each time there is a vote.
 Brokerage politics saw the reduced reliance on ideology for policy decisions. Parties tended to move towards the centre so they had a better chance of getting elected.
It was with a heavy heart that I heard about the latest sawmill exploding in Prince George. I actually began to wonder if this a common end to sawmills, as there have been so many explosions and fires in recent history. It turns out there is a reason this is happening. Apparently, it is the increases milling of pine beetle killed wood. It is drier than other wood and has an oil or residue that makes the dust stick to the saws more than other wood. This was according to a sawmill employee as broadcasted on a CBC call in today.
At least the government is acting. The Labour Minister, Margaret MacDiarmid, has confirmed that she and officials from Worksafe BC and the industry will be meeting to confirm a plan. At a minimum, all the sawmills in the province will be inspected. I am sure this is cold comfort to the family of the dead worker and the 24 people injured.
Sawmills have been a way of life in BC since Europeans arrived here. We have a huge renewable resource here in our province full of forests. In many small towns in BC, the local sawmill is the major employer. One really has to ask why it has taken so long to organize a safety plan for the mills in the province.
Christy Clark, Premier of BC
The BC Liberals are running scared. They keep harping about the Glen Clark or the Mike Harcourt governments as an evil specter of what the NDP can do if they are elected. It’s crap. They are acting like we are stupid and have fallen under some sort of NDP, Adrian Dix spell. Christy seems to think that we should forget about all the lies told by her party.
The BC Liberals are being encouraged to merge with the BC Conservatives. I think both parties are far too egotistical for this to happen. If they did manage to put their power issues aside I am sure the electorate will see it for what it actually is: a desperate ploy to hold on to power.
 We use the title “Liberal” loosely here. They are now defining themselves as the ‘free enterprise’ party. Ya, k, yawn.