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Deliver on the Canadian dream by making every vote count. Cartoon by Ingrid Rice.

Deliver on the Canadian dream by making every vote count. Cartoon by Ingrid Rice.

Fix our democracy’s mess, ignore boo birds’ silly myths.

We have a dictator at 24 Sussex Drive. So was Trudeau. So was Chretien. In fact, though he had a smile on his face, so was Mulroney. We don’t acquire dictators by a putsch but all nice and legal like under a system which makes them a natural consequence of an election.

We can liberate ourselves from dictatorship by reforming our electoral system and adopting proportional representation (PR).

Unfortunately, when Canadians consider reforms they consistently make perfection the enemy of improvement. Clearly the majority strongly believe that we require reforms to our electoral system and our system of governance generally — and now. You can tell because the boo birds have begun to smother proposals not with arguments on the merits but a lament that since the suggested changes won’t fix everything, it’s best to leave things alone. Read full article at The Tyee

Ben West addressing a Vancouver crowd about Kinder Morgan in 2012 (Damien Gillis)

Ben West addressing a Vancouver crowd about Kinder Morgan in 2012 (Damien Gillis)

There’s big news on the environmental front!

Ben West, the eminent young environmentalist until now with Forest Ethics and, before that, the Wilderness Committee, has joined Rex Weyler fighting tanker traffic on the BC coast through Tanker Free BC. This makes a very potent combination indeed. (Full disclosure: My colleague, Common Sense Canadian publisher Damien Gillis, is a founding  board member of TFBC along with Mr. Weyler).

For those who may not know, Rex Weyler was a founder of Greenpeace International and its biographer. He has been active in environmental matters for many years and in 2009 took up the cudgels against tanker traffic on our coast. Tanker Free BC was formed some 5 years ago, specifically to take on the Kinder Morgan issue and the organization laid much of the early groundwork for the campaign to block the project.

Ben is a first class student of the environment and a very able presenter. I have had the privilege of appearing at podiums with both he and Rex. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

A coho spawning in a small stream (Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife)

A coho spawning in a small stream (Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife)

I come today in praise of the Vancouver Sun and trust that events don’t prove that I should’ve approached the mainstream media with my usual skepticism.

First, let me tell you a story from my early life which you may have heard and, if so, please bear with me.

Coho spawn in the darndest places

When I was a young lad, my friend Denis and I used to bicycle down to the Musqueam Indian reserve and fish two tiny creeks, one which we called Tin Can Creek, more properly known as Musqueam Creek.

With shiner lines, a tiny hook and a bit of worm, we would catch small cutthroat trout and, as with all young boys, rejoice at every second. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

BC NDP and Official Opposition Leader John Horgan (BCNDP.ca/youtube)

BC NDP and Official Opposition Leader John Horgan (BCNDP.ca/youtube)

I’ve been very critical, especially recently in the tyee.ca, of John Horgan, leader of the NDP, and the Official Opposition itself. This is, I assure you, nothing personal but is entirely a matter of the quality of the opposition presented and the effect it has on forming public opinion.

Socred praise for Barrett NDP

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of talking to an old friend of mine of some 40 years, Grace McCarthy. As a couple of old pols will do, we started to reminisce. We got onto the topic of Oppositions and I was surprised – I shouldn’t have been – to hear both Grace and me extol the virtues of the NDP under Dave Barrett when we were in the House.

We talked about how the NDP kept us on our toes which, combined with a hostile press, did much to ensure that we moved carefully both in legislation and in policy. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Cartoon by Ingrid Rice.

Cartoon by Ingrid Rice.

Betting on mirage jobs, NDP leader downplays huge risks to citizens and nature.

Dear B.C. New Democrat leader John Horgan,

The reader response to my last article criticizing your support of the Liberal government’s LNG policy was substantial, and to be blunt, you didn’t fare well.

Clearly, you and I don’t agree on this one — but more importantly, I don’t think you understand the feelings of the people in B.C. who reacted so strongly to my column.

You have made a big issue about employment and that it guides your thinking on LNG.

I know the hopelessness of unemployment. I’ve been through a long period of unemployment combined with no assets and no assistance. It’s a horrible experience no one needs. That said, there is good employment and not so good employment. Read full article at The Tyee

Kemano Tunnel

The stopping of the Kemano Completion Project is a true people’s victory.

by Gordon Young

In the eighteenth century Edmund Burke wrote that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” In the last half of the twentieth century British Columbia saw evil almost triumph. Montreal-based multinational corporation Alcan Aluminum wanted the Kemano Completion Project, a giant megaproject that threatened terrible environmental damage.

Against this evil stood many good men and women. The threat Kemano posed so violated wide-spread social values that sectors of society often opposed to each other were drawn together into the fight against it. Kemano’s friends were the powerful and wealthy; Kemano’s foes came from the other side.

The stopping of the Kemano Completion Project is a true people’s victory. Continue Reading »

Tory MP John Weston (from his annual Christmas video message/Youtube)

Tory MP John Weston (from his annual Christmas video message/Youtube)

There is surely nothing quite as ridiculous as a Tory pretending that he cares. Money and rich friends they understand but when it comes to the values that ordinary people revere they’re at sea. In fact they’re bewildered by those who think that the poor ought to be considered by society or that such things as lakes and mountains and animals and parks and neighbourhoods have any serious meaning to people.

This doesn’t mean that they don’t understand that they must make believe and always speak in loving terms about the things that I’ve mentioned.

There’s another sure thing to be added to Benjamin Franklin’s “death and taxes”. It’s that by reading the bullshit in a Tory MP’s annual newspaper to his constituents you can determine, with only the minimum of thinking, what the Tories are really planning and what their electoral word games are going to be all about. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

BCNDP Leader John Horgan talking LNG at UBCM meeting (Photo: BCNDP)

BCNDP Leader John Horgan talking LNG at UBCM meeting (Photo: BCNDP)

I suppose it’s not unusual for an electorate to feel swindled. It sure as hell happens often enough.

The BC electorate has every right to feel swindled in the election of 2013 by the Christy Clark government’s solemn promise to make us all wealthy through LNG plants. This was a very specific promise and even went as far as promising a “prosperity fund” of $100 billion, plus all of our provincial debt soon paid off. This was crap, they knew it, we fell for it.

Now, for God’s sake, the NDP opposition has joined in the swindle at a time when the Liberals, now that their promises cannot possibly be fulfilled, are frantically looking for a way out for the 2017 election.

NDP support comes as LNG industry falls apart

It’s incomprehensible that the John Horgan opposition would support the Liberals on their LNG endeavours, particularly since Petronas has all but admitted defeat, and they are supposed to be the first out of the box! Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Gentleman Jean

Jean BeliveauIt was not bad being a Montréal Canadiens fan when I was growing up during the 40’s. That decade was, however, dominated by the despised Toronto Maple Leafs so it was always an uphill battle.

Incidentally, I was deprived of a sterling hockey career by a bit of bad luck – I never learned how to skate.

By the time I got to UBC in 1949, I found a Montréal Canadiens soulmate in the late Robin Heather. He and I used to listen to games together (there was no TV then) and we used to follow in the papers the career of a young whiz kid playing in the Quebec hockey league for the Quebec Aces. His name was Jean Beliveau and by all accounts was sensational. Beliveau refused to sign with the Montréal Canadiens, who had his NHL rights, because he was making too much money playing “amateur” hockey! Continue Reading »

11-year-old Kate Fink-Jensen (CTV) and Premier Clark (Lyle Stafford, Postmedia)

11-year-old Kate Fink-Jensen (CTV) and Premier Clark (Lyle Stafford, Postmedia)

Premier Christy Clark has taken it upon herself to criticize the parents of Premier Christy Clark has taken it upon herself to criticize the parents of two 11-year-olds who protested the Kinder Morgan action in Burnaby and were only not arrested because the police chose to refrain from doing so. The premier is concerned that the these children have been encouraged, by their parents, to “break the law”.

This requires, I submit, a bit of examination.

I trust that premier Clark has no objection to parents instilling in their children the principles by which they govern themselves. I suspect that her son Hamish is being brought up to be a free-enterpriser, as defined by his mother and father. (Oddly enough, after the last legislative session, I assume that NDP opposition leader John Horgan agrees with premier Clark, given his obsequious support of her and her government on the LNG issue). Continue Reading »

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