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Hon. Tom Berger, QC

It’s not hard to figure out the reason the Horgan government has hired Tom Berger as counsel in the Kinder Morgan matter – it’s called politics.

The government looked like first graders who forgot their hankies in their first foray into the fray with the Prime Minister, who gave them a dressing down to which the premier and Attorney-General responded with tugs on their respective forelocks and obsequious mumbles of “yes sir.”

It looked like hell to a province that is a great deal angrier than these political neophytes realize. The statement by the Attorney-General that there would be no slowdown of permits to Kinder Morgan astonished many who assumed that “work to rule”, an old effective labour union tactic, would be deployed as a matter of course by an NDP government, and just for openers.

When threatened with the strap by schoolmaster Trudeau, the lad from Kitchener, Ontario could not profess his commitment to strict law and order fast enough. Continue Reading »

Christy Clark and Rich Coleman (center) meeting with Malaysian LNG officials in 2014 (BC Govt photo)

I have a bit of a knack for remembering doggerel as part of my brain’s principal function as a storehouse of useless information. Ergo this:

You cannot hope to bribe or twist
Thank God, the British Journalist.
Considering what the man will do
Unbribed, there’s no occasion to.

It seems that this applies equally to our political writers with the odd, very odd exception, right here in Lotusland.

In 1986, Bill Bennett retired after 10 years as premier through some tough economic times with the province in good shape financially. He had managed public money carefully, been a builder with the odd overrun which were laughably tiny compared to those since, especially the whoppers of the Campbell/Clark bunch, and he gave us Expo 86, for which the boo-birds predicted a catastrophe but which turned out to be a huge win that’s still paying off. In a very careful move, he demurred on Site C after a referral to the BC Utilities Commission and even though in those days there was not the prospect of backup from alternative sources, there are, in fast growing terms, today. Yet many people bid Bennett goodbye with a shout of “good riddance”. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

I’ve done many things involving government, including being a City Councillor, Cabinet minister and several years in charge of BC Constitutional Affairs. In a 25 year radio career concentrating on current affairs, I was the only major journalist in Canada who opposed the Meech Lake Accord/Charlottetown Accords and I played a major role in spawning the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. I have had 13 books published including bestseller Canada, is Anyone Listening. Frankly, our parliaments are not working, only needing the public to understand how the system really works. It’s serious, and I have some thoughts on making substantial yet uncomplicated improvements and they’re in my new book, Politically Incorrect, How Canada Lost Its Way and The Simple Path Home, published by Watershed Sentinel Books due out October, 2017. Continue Reading »

John Horgan being sworn in as Premier, with Environment Minister George Heyman looking on (Photo: Flickr/Province of British Columbia)

Dear Premier Horgan,

My congratulations to you and your new government. I can tell you that a great many British Columbians who do not usually support your party voted for you on May 9 last with the same feelings as Dr. Johnson ascribed to second marriages – a triumph of hope over experience.

I realize that over the past few years I have not been flavour of the month for either you or Dr. Andrew Weaver but I know that you would think even less of me if I allowed that to bother me. It doesn’t.

Until the Liberals came to power, it was not customary for the mainstream media to shower governments with praise. I intend to practice my profession the traditional way – the way I was treated when when I was in government. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

NDP Premier John Horgan and his cabinet being sworn in by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon (Photo: Province of BC / Flickr)

In politics, speculation is half the fun – the other half is figuring out how, with all your experience in the field, you could have been so bloody wrong.

Actually, for the new minister, the reasons he or she is usually wrong are predictable as hell to a guy like me – not because I’m smart, but because I was there once myself. I went into my new Ministry office back on December 22, 1975, full of piss and vinegar, not to mention urgent plans. After all, I had 3 1/2 years of mismanagement to clean up and there’s no time to start like right now.

Well, yes, there is, you quickly find out from your Deputy Minister, because there are several decisions to make first. Not that they’re earth-shattering, just that not making them means you’re going to be pestered until you do. You need a good parking spot, preferably better than Vander Zalm’s, a key to your private loo lost by your predecessor, and clear instructions on how to replenish your liquor cabinet.

This turns out to be a good thing because you quickly learn that you need to take a bit longer getting acquainted, but it will have to wait a few days because, at the Premier’s request – well, not really a request – you’re flying out to Ottawa that afternoon with two colleagues to meet federal counterparts to straighten out an issue that the Premier pledged to clean up personally the moment he was sworn in. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

BC Liberal MLAs in the Legislature (Province of BC / Flickr)

I wish John Horgan and his new government well. He has his work cut out for him.

There has been a load of pollyannish bullshit spouted by the media about what will and what will not happen to his shaky government when it finally gets going. And that’s my first note. As soon as the LG called upon him to form a government, Mr. Horgan should have done so. After his time watching his colleagues in opposition, surely be could have have presented a Council to Her Honour in 24 hours.

Is the answer to the delay perhaps that this matter had not yet been settled with Dr. Weaver? That’s an unnerving thought and raises the first worry wart. Just what is the arrangement? Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Know Thy Activist

Photo: Tasja via Wikipedia

On Carrots and Sticks in Parliament

I’ve been an activist for too many years to count. In earlier times, I’d catch hell when my Establishment mother heard me rant on the radio, but knowing her love of nature, I think she was secretly a little proud! Do I support protesting Kinder Morgan and the proposed LNG refinery on Squamish? You betcha, on both counts. I’ve watched activism become more acceptable to more people. Sadly, some activist groups have much to learn about the subject for which they claim expertise – and about basic honesty. That’s what this article is about.

First, let’s remind ourselves why there is activism.

Merriam Webster defines activism as “a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue.”

Jesus was an activist and an extremely effective one, such that it cost him his life. His throwing money-lenders out of the temple and the giant rallies he held were substantial threats to the elite, and, as the scriptures tell us, they lay in the weeds until they could nail this dangerous activist and put him away once and for all. Read full article at the Watershed Sentinel

Andrew Weaver (left) and John Horgan (Photo: BCNDP/Flickr CC Licence)

Looking ahead at our political situation in BC and assuming that the NDP will govern with a one vote majority, perhaps it might be well to consider what that actually means.

An accepted authority is  HOUSE OF COMMONS PROCEDURE AND PRACTICE, edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit

This on “Confidence”:

What constitutes a question of confidence in the government varies with the circumstances. Confidence is not a matter of parliamentary procedure, nor is it something on which the Speaker can be asked to rule. It is generally acknowledged, however, that confidence motions may be:

explicitly worded motions which state, in express terms, that the House has, or has not, confidence in the government;

motions expressly declared by the government to be questions of confidence;

implicit motions of confidence, that is, motions traditionally deemed to be questions of confidence, such as motions for the granting of Supply (although not necessarily an individual item of Supply, motions concerning the budgetary policy of the government  and motions respecting the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. (my emphasis)

What this does not mean is that every time the government loses a vote it must resign. That is plain fiction encouraged by the fact that when such a vote is lost, cries of “resign!” are shouted from the Opposition benches with enthusiasm but no justification. Continue Reading »

The Trans Mountain pipeline [Kinder Morgan] expansion project will never see the light of day.

-Grand Chief Philip Stewart, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs

Photo: Damian Manda / Flickr CC License

If you live anywhere in Canada other than British Columbia, you’re probably convinced that the Kinder Morgan (Trans Mountain) pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, BC will be built, since no less than Prime Minister Trudeau says so. Well, you may get a shock with this candid advice but you’d best accept the fact that this pipeline will never, ever be built, period.

Many much wiser and more powerful British Columbians than I will tell you the same in even stronger terms.

In light of the domination of the mainstream media by the oil industry, with dedicated lackeys running our governments, you may not have heard the British Columbia side of this story. Here it is.

Might my story not be biased? Of course that conclusion’s an option since there is no more loyal British Columbian than I, but remember that we who will fight Kinder Morgan have only one interest: the beautiful land and water we hold in trust for those as yet unborn. We have no Tar Sands to flog, no political payoffs owed, no juicy House of Commons seats to covet, no faraway investors to enrich, no personal ambitions to fulfill, no face saving to be done – all that’s at stake for us is the salvation and preservation of our home. Continue Reading »

Kinder Morgan protest in Vancouver (Photo: Lu Iz/Facebook)

Those who think that the feds and Alberta have got the only quiver with arrows in the Kinder Morgan fight are very sadly mistaken indeed.

The overriding factor is the deep resolve of an angered British Columbia to keep out what are seen as almost foreign despoilers of their land. Damned near everyone is a British Columbian whether born here like I was or recently arrived, a dedicated convert of which there are thousands. The love of the British Columbian for the West Coast is very deep indeed and Kinder Morgan can’t be just counted as were environmental outrages of the past. We’re not talking here about beehive burners, leaky sewer pipes or distasteful, unhealthy and stinky garbage dumps. We are talking about something that is the heart and soul of British Columbia much like St. Paul’s Cathedral is to Londoners. If you think this is a stretch, please bear with me.

One could say that St. Paul’s is simply a church dome and not even as big as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and nowhere near London’s oldest building.

Tell that to the Londoner who sees this fairly recent icon as the soul of his city, indeed an effort to destroy a beautiful edifice for a development would bring inconceivable reactions from a normally peaceful people – at least when they are civilians. Continue Reading »

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