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BC Premier Christy Clark speaks at former Premier Bill Bennett’s funeral (Province of BC/flickr)

BC Premier Christy Clark speaks at former Premier Bill Bennett’s funeral (Province of BC/flickr)

You will, I hope, overlook my coarse language, because I am really pissed off and have been for some time, the slow burn reaching a raging conflagration when I read a quote from the premier which I will give you in a moment.

I am an environmentalist and have been for many years and you’re entitled to know what I did about this when I had the chance as Environment Minster in 1979, 36 years ago. Here’s the record and, as Casey Stengel, used to say, “you could look it up”.

In a 12 month period, I stopped the killing of wolves in the north in the face of bitter opposition from the ranching community who were almost all Socreds; saved the Skagit River from being flooded by Seattle Light and Power, to the horror of Socred MLAs in the area who slavered at the thought of the development that would come from the dam being raised, and placed a moratorium on exploration for and mining of uranium – to bitter condemnation from the mining community. The Premier, who supported me in the face of considerable opposition, was the late Bill Bennett. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

The late, great Edward R. Murrow – father of hard-hitting, mainstream journalism

The late, great Edward R. Murrow – father of hard-hitting, mainstream journalism

It’s fascinating to watch the print media in its death throes. In a way, I feel like dancing on Postmedia’s grave but somehow that doesn’t seem appropriate. I devoutly wish it hadn’t happened but, slow and painful though it may have been, it has.

Newspapers have been with us, for better or worse, for too long to be tossed aside like, well, yesterday’s newspaper. One can wade in with praise or vitriol, depending on one’s own obituary preferences, but to what end? The eminent journalist, Paul Willcocks, in a recent Tyee article, advised that it’s time to sit back, take a look around, and start making some decisions. Right, but first we must know what we want and what our choices are.

Lingering advantage

Newspapers bring many things, much of which is irrelevant except to those to whom it isn’t. If you’re in the market for a house or a car, those sections are invaluable; if not, you skip scores of pages to get to the Comics or Sports Pages. I’m going to assume that like me, it’s Public Affairs you’re interested in. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

TankerI have had the chance recently to sit back and look at what Damien and I and indeed others like Erik Andersen have written over the last four or five years on environmental matters and I wonder whether or not we haven’t fallen into the trap of debating serious social and safety issues strictly on the basis of technicalities. Governments and industry throw out statistics and we dutifully match those with some of our own while we are forgetting more important issues such as do we want pipelines and tankers in the first place?

From BC’s point of view – which is my home – there are two intertwined issues. I will be criticized no doubt for taking the BC point of view but why in the hell shouldn’t I if Christy won’t?

Democracy deficiency

First, I have no say in all this. I’m up against the federal government plus Victoria and hundreds of billions of dollars from them and industry to put their side of a debate I can listen to but not take part in.

Thus, my first point is that there has been, throughout, a democracy deficiency which makes a mockery of the word. It’s said, of course, that democracy is practiced on our behalf by the people we elect to the legislature and the House of Commons. Anyone with half a brain knows that that’s rubbish. None of the MLAs or MPs we elect have any more influence on these events than does a stray cat. If we can’t get our minds around that – if we cannot understand the truth of that, then we might just as well pack it in and accept whatever is meted out to us by our “betters”. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Longtime BC Premier WAC Bennett’s dream is dead, says former Socred Minister Rafe Mair

Longtime BC Premier WAC Bennett’s dream is dead, says former Socred Minister Rafe Mair

Well, it’s all over but the shouting. WAC Bennett’s dream of cheap power, cheap rail, and cheap ferry service has been murdered. Yes it’s murder – pre-meditated murder – not manslaughter.

To compound this catastrophe, the mainstream print media, especially Postmedia (the Vancouver Sun, Province and National Post) acted throughout as if nothing was happening.

NDP opposition asleep at the wheel

It’s actually worse than that because the opposition has been asleep from the beginning and, even when it had its eyes barely open, was still in a semi-comatose condition. This started at the end of the 90s when the NDP folded its tent and became a mere shadow of its former self, leaving the field wide open for the right wing.

New breed of “right wing”

Now, I’m not talking about the right wing as we used to know it in the old days under the Bennetts, who mixed capitalism, socialism, and sprinkled them with doses of populism to keep things exciting.

The new guy, calling himself a Liberal, Gordon Campbell, was an entirely different breed of cat. He combined a hearty dislike for crown corporations with an utter lack of any sensitivity toward people and communities. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Christy Clark announcing her cabinet in 2013 (Flicker CC Licence / Government of BC)

Christy Clark announcing her cabinet in 2013 (Flicker CC Licence / Government of BC)

Can Christy Clark, the Gumshoe (Rich Coleman) and the other sad cast of characters occupying the cabinet offices in Victoria win the next election, about 17 months away?

Your damn tooting they can and the way things look right now, I think they will.

This certainly isn’t what I want to happen nor, if the social media are any indication, is it the wish of the public. Experience tells us, however, there are other traditional forces at play that somehow always surprise us when they happen.

“Not a dime without debate”

The “right” has done a masterful job of convincing a substantial segment of voters that the NDP are wastrels and incompetent when in office.

This takes me back to younger days when I went to a federal Liberal rally where one of their cabinet ministers, Lionel Chevrier, gave the main speech. He made just one point: “It is said, ladies and gentlemen, that Liberal times are good times and Tory times are bad times – the Tories claim this is just a coincidence but I ask you, which coincidence will you be voting for?” Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Christy Clark being sworn in as premier in 2013 (Province of BC / Flickr CC licence)

Christy Clark being sworn in as premier in 2013 (Province of BC / Flickr CC licence)

This is the time of year and the point in the government’s mandate that analysis of the months to come is de rigeur.

Time will demonstrate that Christy Clark’s big mistake, when assuming the premiership, was not nullifying Gordon Campbell’s Energy Program which has, predictably, enriched large international corporations and bankrupted BC Hydro. Had Clark tackled this issue, with a courage of which we have seen no sign, restored BC Hydro’s obligation to make new power and abrogated the sweetheart deal with the private companies, BC Hydro would be in decent financial shape and site C would still be the pipe dream of pointy-headed BC Hydro energy assessors.

In over her head

Ms. Clark’s second mistake was seeking the premiership in the first place, it now having been clearly demonstrated that she had none of the necessary skills. Past premiers who’ve been able to operate with limited skills surrounded themselves with talented advisers who understood history, world affairs, and the psychology of the public. This the premier has clearly avoided.

The Clark government has been a calamity on social issues: education, welfare and health, with the Ministry of Children and Family Development being the most tragic. Given Clark’s record as Education Minister, this is no surprise. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

I wish you all the very best for 2016 – may you have sufficient wealth and 100% good health.

Some political predictions for the coming year:

  • There will be moves to replace both Christy Clark and John Horgan, neither of which will succeed. In the case of Clark there is no obvious heir nor any discernible backbench revolt. The party itself will do nothing as long as it’s in power. It’s very difficult to dislodge a party leader at any time but especially when she’s premier.
  • John Horgan likewise has no obvious successor nor any apparent backbench revolt. That’s because no matter what kind of a leader Horgan may be, he has a good chance of winning and no political party dumps a leader who might win.
  • The bloom will be off of the Trudeau rose – this is simply the end of the honeymoon when the lovers start taking the odd jellybean out of the bowl instead of putting one in every night.

Continue Reading »

Premier Christy Clark, hard at work building an LNG industry for BC (Flickr CC License / Govt of BC)

Premier Christy Clark, hard at work building an LNG industry for BC (Flickr CC License / Govt of BC)

I am a daydreamer who has had far too much time to daydream over the last months. I find I have brilliant ideas which seem fairly ridiculous once I move onto a new set of dreams, but every once in a while I find an idea which had merit that should have been explored. I’m also a political junkie and some people pay me to write or speak on this subject although, I’ve noticed, not so much these days as before.

A political issue of considerable note and worldwide import has crossed my febrile brain fairly often for the last couple of years and it’s bothered me that no answers seem to pop out. Well, my skull gave me another brainwave as I bashed the hell out of it a couple of weeks ago and have been looking at a hospital ceiling much of the time since. Brilliant! And, you note, that this comes at Christmas time and the spirit of generosity fills the air as well as the tummy. Put all this together and I have this proposed Christmas present from British Columbia to the sports world, all but wrapped up and on Santa’s sleigh. Continue Reading »

Christy Clark, Justin Trudeau

Premier Christy Clark (left) meets with PM Justin Trudeau ahead of Paris climate summit (Photo: Flickr CC licence / Province of BC)

Premier Christy Clark is quite right to reject prime minister Trudeau’s silly games with the Senate. It’s just a pity that she must always add irrelevant political mumbo-jumbo to water down and detract from the impact of BC’s decision.

Our position has nothing to do with improving the economy or creating jobs but somehow it’s her political nature to throw in this sort of stuff. It’s harmful because it distracts attention from what is a very serious issue and forecloses the possibility of a rational discussion.

That the present Senate is a bad joke, especially to British Columbia  – which has but two more seats than Prince Edward Island and four fewer than New Brunswick – goes without saying. The temptation to simply say to Hell with it is very strong indeed.

Senate has a use – just not in its current form

The easy way to deal with the Senate, obviously, is to simply abolish it. The NDP have taken that position for as long as I can remember but they never seem to reason out what the consequences would be – a country legally dominated politically by Ontario and Quebec. In my view, it’s critical to go back to basics and discuss whether or not we need a Senate, and if so, what form it should take, its powers, the representation issue, and how should it be filled. Continue Reading »

Justin Trudeau following his election victory (Flickr CC licence – John Tavares)

Justin Trudeau following his election victory (Flickr CC licence – John Tavares)

Without exception, honeymoons – the real ones and the political ones – end. I don’t for a moment believe that the wheels will come off the Justin Trudeau administration but, as happened to his father shortly after his election in 1968, the wheels will start to wobble, the love affair will cool, and Justin will look human again.

Nothing should be taken from Trudeau’s victory – he earned it and the relief that came with the end of Harper has spilled over into the beginning of his reign. It’s important, however, in trying to gauge what will happen to his administration and when, to examine why Trudeau won.

Harper fatigue, Mulcair stumble

First, as mentioned, the public had become very tired of Stephen Harper – tired may not be quite strong enough. In any event, he lost the centre-right, which Conservatives must have and will only recapture with the right leader – along with skill, because the Liberals must have it too. Continue Reading »

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