B.C. Ombudsman Hiring

March 3, 2022


The Office of the Ombudsperson is an independent office of the B.C. Legislature that listens to and investigates complaints about local and provincial public sector organizations and reports of serious wrongdoing in the provincial government. Seeking to expand their work with the indigenous peoples of BC, they are planning to hire five “part-time regional Ombudsperson Pathfinders to assist with our commitment to improving the quality and availability of ombuds services to Indigenous people through outreach, education, and direct support.”

The five Ombudsperson Pathfinders will be situated throughout British Columbia and will be mandated to:

  • Raise awareness and understanding of ombuds services within Indigenous communities across the province;
  • Cultivate trust between Indigenous Peoples and the Office of the Ombudsperson;
  • Facilitate the making of complaints that fall within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsperson by helping Indigenous people to navigate the ombuds process; and,
  • When their issues are outside of the Ombudsperson’s jurisdiction, assist people to identify and access the right complaint system to address their issues.

Anyone interested in this initiative should contact their website: https://bcombudsperson.ca/about-us/our-indigenous-services or contact Jolene Andrew, Indigenous Liaison Officer with the Office of the Ombudsperson. Jolene can be reached by email at JAndrew@bcombudsperson.ca or by phone at 604 318-2855.


Vancouver-Hastings Election #1

September 28, 2020

We are now well into our Election of Broken Promises, with election day just 26 days away. Here in the imperial NDP riding of Vancouver-Hastings, our long-time MLA Shane Simpson is taking his golden parachute and flying the coop.  He was often approachable as an neighbourhood MLA, but frankly as Minister of Poverty he was a disaster for failing to fix the Shelter Allowance for those most in need.

It is assumed that whoever gets the NDP nomination, gets the seat in Victoria. And that “whoever” now becomes Niki Sharma, once and always a Visionista hand-me-down. Nothing could steer me away from a candidate more quickly than seeing endorsements from people such as Kevin Quinlan and Maria Dobrinskaya. Does she even live in the constituency?

The BC Liberals are running with Alex Read, described as a private school principal. As any party I supported would have the elimination of tax-payer supported private schools as one of its policies, I doubt he and I would agree on much. Update: Not sure where I got the principal info from, but it seems he is a franchising entrepreneur, with interests in health care.

The BC Greens candidate is Bridget Burns.

Where is the BC Ecosocialist candidate? Where are the other alternative candidates? Hopefully some interesting local characters may raise their heads above the parapet and take a run at this thing, if even just for name-recognition next time.

Plus Ca Change ….

September 26, 2020


This was my wrap up of the 2009 BC Provincial election. I thought it might be an interesting contrast with today’s situation which has changed drastically.




So we had the election yesterday.  Overall, little has changed.  Gordon Campbell and his BC Liberals were returned to power for the third election in a row, while Carole James’ New Democrats stay as Opposition.  The number of seats held by each side was essentially unchanged.

It was, I guess, a perfect recession election where the electorate decided to keep the status quo to get some stability.  Regardless of the NDP ads, most voters see Campbell’s middle-to-right policies as safer at this time.  And it means that Campbell’s innovative Carbon Tax keeps going, and Gordo will be doing the glad handing at the Olympics next year.

Three matters of interest:  turnout, the Greens, and electoral reform.

Back in the 80s when bare-knuckle politicking was BC’s style, the turnouts regularly hit 75%. In the last election in 2005 there was much gnashing of teeth and wailing because only 55% of the electorate bothered to vote.  This time, the numbers fell to an astonishing 48%.  I haven’t got a clear read on that (though I doubt so many consciously  decided to follow an anarchist path of non-voting), but it is the most interesting part of the election to me.  Were people too depressed about the Canucks loss that they couldn’t get out of the house?  Was it so obvious that Campbell would win?  Was the campaign simply so boring?

Then there is the utter failure of the Green Party.  They will finish with about 8% of the vote, a fall of at least a point from 2005.  And this in an election when Jane Sterk managed to force herself onto the Leadership Debate on TV.  They were definitely marginalized in the media, but they were last time too.  Even Sterk finished a bad third in her riding.  Perhaps the Liberals adoption of a Carbon Tax put such a dent in the Greens that they couldn’t recover.  Their failure to move ahead was a bit of a surprise to me as I thought they would do better.

And finally, we saw the death of a form of proportional representation called the Single Transferable Vote or STV.  My guess is that it was just too complicated.  The benefits (if any) were not sold hard enough to overcome the obvious complications.  It needed 60% positive vote to be adopted, but in the end 61% voted against it.  I’m happy to see it go as it distanced the elected from the electors even further than today.  It would have been the exact opposite of direct democracy.

So, the next four years here will be much the same as the last four.  Next time, we will probably have three new leaders to consider.

BC Election – Mail-In Voting

September 22, 2020

I know that many people are concerned about gathering in crowds at a polling station. However, it is perfectly legal and easy to vote by mail.

Here is the Elections BC page with all the information.

Stay safe!

The Election of Broken Promises

September 21, 2020

It is less than one full day since Horgan called a Provincial election, and already we know that the NDP are not a party to be trusted.

In calling for an early election, they have decided that the law (which fixes the date of the next election) does not apply to them. And their signature on the Confidence and Supply Agreement they signed with the Green Party (in which Horgan agreed not to call an early election) also means nothing when it seems better for the NDP to ignore it.

This is naked power-grabbing,

During the last election, the NDP campaigned against Site C, against fracking, and in favour of treating indigenous peoples with full respect. In the last three years they have broken all of those promises in spades!

Fool me once, shame on you. But I am not fool enough to fall for the same BS again.

Handydart : Ripping Off Poor Seniors

August 24, 2020

HandyDart is a very useful system that helps those with mobility issues to travel about the City of Vancouver. I use it regularly for my scheduled hospital visits, and I have found the employees of the system — most especially the drivers — to be generally courteous, helpful and above all caring to the folks who use the system.  However, for poor seniors it can be an expensive option.

Each one-way trip is $3:00, and so a return trip to the hospital costs $6.00. That may not sound like much but if you have two hospital trips a week, for dialysis say, and use the service to go shopping or to a seniors’ activity centre on another day, that comes to more than $70 a month — a fortune for many of us on low fixed-income pensions.

This problem could be solved if we could use our BC Provincial Bus Pass, but that is not allowed on HandyDart — and that needs to change.

In order to qualify for a BC Provincial Bus Pass, you must meet one of the following conditions:

  • 60 years or older and the spouse of a person with the Person with Disabilities designation and are receiving disability assistance from the Province of British Columbia
  • 60 years or older and receiving income assistance from the Province of British Columbia
  • 60 years or older, living on a First Nations reserve and getting assistance from the band office
  • 65 years or older and would qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) but does not meet the Canadian 10-year residency rule
  • Receiving Old Age Security (OAS) and the GIS

In other words, to get a Pass you need to be a senior in poverty.  To qualify to use HandyDart you must “have a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability and are unable to use conventional public transit without assistance” and get an accepted medical referral stating that disability.

Therefore, disallowing the use of the Bus Pass on HandyDart deliberately penalises disabled seniors in poverty.

I don’t know how many Vancouver residents qualify for both the Bus Pass and HandyDart, but it will not be a huge number; and the cost to the BC Treasury of changing the rules would be less than a drop in the bucket of the BC budget while significantly improving the lives of our most needy.


Who Pays For Playgrounds?

April 14, 2019

On a number of occasions, I have written about hospital lotteries, wondering why the “urgently required” equipment or services are not paid for out of the health budget. I had the same sort of thoughts today when I read that Grandview Elementary School finally has the playground it has needed for a dozen years or more.


Don’t get me wrong — I am all in favour of this playground.  What I don’t get is why in one of the poorest districts in the city — and a district with less greenspace than just about anywhere — a group of residents had to spend a decade door-knocking in the community to raise “over $140,000” so that their kids could enjoy a playspace that I thought would be a natural part of any school environment.

We have a Provincial government which, while claiming to be NDP, is simply following the BC Liberals playbook, wasting out money on dams and LNG projects and private schools instead of spreading the tax dollars to where they are actually needed, like playgrounds for our kids.


Hospital Lotteries — Again

November 27, 2018

Various hospitals in the Province, institutions that do work I applaud wholeheartedly, are currently conducting their annual fundraising campaigns through CTV News and perhaps other media outlets. We are told that our donations in these prize-giving lotteries will buy equipment urgently required by the Hospital.

The question I have is this: if the equipment really is urgently required, why isn’t the Provincial government paying for it through the taxes it collects from everyone?  Why are hospitals reliant on volunteer donors for this material?

This equipment and these services are either needed or they are not. We either have a public health system paid by us all or we don’t.

Am I missing something?

Thoughts On The Budget

February 21, 2018

This was a feel good budget, I guess, and many people seem happy enough. However, I still have concerns about the housing issues.

Most of the policies put in place so far (homeowners grant increase, speculation tax, foreign buyers’ tax etc) are aimed to help those locals already wealthy enough to buy into the upper end of Vancouver housing. Meanwhile, many items to help lower income citizens (MSP elimination, the promised renters’ rebate, student loan changes) are delayed, most without dates attached.

The housing plan sounds good with $6 billion over 10 years, and I am very glad to see commitments for seniors, indigenous folks, women under threat, and students.  But so far as I can see only $453m has been specifically set aside for “affordable” housing for the general public. I’ll need to see the details before I start to cheer.

Acceptance of a formal definition of “affordable” would certainly help, with policies designed to ensure that level of affordability.  And once again much can be done at the municipal level and I urge immediate changes to speed things up.

2017 in BC: Two Steps Forward, Two and More Steps Backwards

December 23, 2017

The big job got done this year, at least: Christy Clark and her evil regime were finally evicted from power — and if nothing else, that is enough to declare 2017 a success.  Unfortunately, as the year progressed, it became clear that John Horgan’s NDP still had plenty of its own powerful regressive demons to deal with on top of the mess the Liberals left them.

There have been some small improvements under the new government — rental loopholes closed, for example, grizzly bear hunting ended. But no movement on disability bus passes, rent freezes and limits, or MSP, and we are supposed to wait until next year for any serious changes in housing, which most people in the Lower Mainland might consider the number one priority, and perhaps even longer for electoral change to some form of proportional representation.

And what has been done often seems flawed.

Legislation to amend election financing (“getting big money out of the system”) was a decent start, but didn’t touch spending limits, deal adequately with limits on third-party expenditures, or make donations — including and especially donations in non-election years — fully transparent in real-time.

And then there’s Site C. Corrupted politicians might well say that nothing was actually promised in the election campaign. Decent progressive politicians would admit that, yes, we implied as strongly as we could that the decision to cancel was going to be policy. Financial and utility experts from all over the map have made it clear that the reasons given by Horgan for moving ahead are horribly flawed; party members from all over the Province have made it clear their support for the Party has been seriously dented.

There are questions about the NDP’s understanding of the underlying finances, especially as regards the so-called “sunk costs.” There are many questions about how the NDP decided to prioritize a few traditional Union jobs against the vicious destruction of the Peace Valley. And there are serious questions raised about the NDP’s loudly proclaimed relationship with the First Nations after this insult — “I’m not the first colonialist to lie to you”, I paraphrase Horgan.  This decision goes against the Treaties, it goes against reconciliation, and it goes against UNDIP.

This albatross will hang around the NDP’s neck for a long long time unless they come to their senses and reverse their decision as soon as possible. Liberals are never going to back the NDP anyway, so the government needs to do what needs to be done to recover their own supporters.

The threat is that these now dissatisfied former supporters will turn to the Green Party at the next election. But the Greens have issues too. Site C should have been enough to drive them away from their agreement with the NDP but, apparently, massive damage to BC’s environment, native peoples, and finances doesn’t compare with the glorious benefits the Party sees itself gaining from prop rep down the road some time.  There are no innocent political parties.

In 2018, I’ll be watching how the Provincial NDP works its housing policy to ensure another Vision Vancouver victory at the municipal level. With all the Visionistas holding significant levels of power now in Victoria, you can bet this will be a two-handed campaign; and they’ll probably find some way to include their buddies at the Federal level too.  That doesn’t auger well for Vancouver, I fear, with supply-side thinking still dominant no matter how exhaustively debunked by progressive urban academics.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Site C: A Personal Reflection

December 13, 2017

Yesterday was the worst of days for British Columbia. A government we had achingly hoped would inspire British Columbians has instead bowed to its Big Labour masters (often as reactionary as the most plutocratic tycoon), played fast and loose with its implied campaign promises (and overall economic analysis), and kicked the First Nations in the teeth once again. Reflecting on just how significant this betrayal is took me back a long time, back to the days when I realised I could never be a unionist, or a social democrat.

A Londoner, I grew up in a strongly union family: my grandfather, a railwayman, was involved in the General Strike, and both his sons — my uncle Alf who eventually became mayor of Brentford, and my Dad — though professionals, were active supporters of the Labour Party. As a very small boy I remember folding brochures for campaigns, and labour matters were always on the agenda when we visited my uncle.  By my mid-teens, I was a member and volunteer at both the local Labour Party and a Transport Workers Union office. It was the mid-1960s and Harold Wilson’s white hot technological revolution was leading us all to the labourite paradise.

By then I had started to read deeply in left wing theory and history, and I developed quite the revolutionary zeal against the evils of capital and the systems of oppressive inequality that were fostered by it. I shared these thoughts and ideas at the labour hall and the Labour Party offices. And I was laughed off, brushed off, told not to worry about “abstract theory.” At first I assumed I was being ignored because I was a young kid. But I swiftly realized that the party and union leaders were plainly uninterested in the failures of the capitalist and “democratic” systems.

They didn’t want to change the systems at all, they just wanted their share of what the systems could give them and their members; seats, sinecures, and power for the party members, washing machines and a small car for the workers even if it meant sweetheart deals exploiting labour in other ways. Those leaders with intellectual pretensions argued for the value of “incremental benefits” and for the postponement of radical change until some indefinite future.

Even after this realization, I continued to make my arguments at the halls until, quite quickly, I was shuffled out the door as a malcontent.

Today, I feel just as disappointed as I did fifty-plus years ago. I am disappointed in the NDP and the unions, of course; but I am equally disappointed in myself for hoping that social democrats and big labour could ever accept real change and the challenges it offers.


Stopping Kinder Morgan

August 10, 2017

I am glad to see that our new NDP government has brought in Justice Thomas Berger to advise on how to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline. I have an idea of my own that I would like to play with.

BC should pass a pipeline building tax of enormous scale; say $10 million per mile, or whatever will be enough to stop Kinder in its tracks. Kinder, and probably the Feds, will no doubt launch a legal challenge to the tax, a challenge that will end up in the Supreme Court.

If BC wins, great. However, should the Supremes finally rule that the tax is somehow illegal, no problem: we then invoke the Notwithstanding Clause which, as I recall, is designed for exactly such a purpose.

That’s what I would urge the NDP and Greens to do.

An Historic Day For BC

July 18, 2017

Today in Victoria, the new NDP government, with Green Party support, will be sworn in and John Horgan will become Premier.  That’s a good thing in and of itself. But the truly historic event is that, finally, after years and years of scandal and misrepresentation, the BC Liberals (fundamentalist Socred Tories in ill-fitting disguise) will no longer be the government.

It is hard to believe, but there are young voters out there who were still in diapers the last time the BC Liberals were in opposition. That was damn close to being in the last century.

As the perfect illustration of why they needed to be booted out unceremoniously, Christy Clark and her vicious henchman waited until a group of First Nations were battling for their lives against forest fires this week to issue a mine license for a project on First Nations’ land that even the Harper Tories vetoed twice for serious environmental concerns.

Good luck to John Horgan, the NDP, and the Greens. Even if you turn out to be the second worst government we ever had (which I doubt) you still will be a dozen times better than Clark and her misbegotten crew of pirates.

Campaign Finance Reform in BC

July 4, 2017

Now that we have finally dumped the cash-soaked BC Liberals, and an NDP/Green alliance is preparing its parliamentary program, we need to engage in a serious discussion about electoral finance reform.  I am glad to see the debate beginning to heat up on Twitter and elsewhere and I thought I would add my few cents to the discussion.

First, I am sure most critics of the present system agree that (a) corporate and union donations must be banned; and (b) reform needs to encompass both provincial and municipal politics. Beyond that, differences emerge.

In the discussions I have seen to date there is much concentration on limiting individual contributions; mainly, it seems, as a way to stop the infamous $25,000 lunches that Christy Clark and Gregor Robertson seem to enjoy so much. I believe that to be the wrong focus, preferring instead to concentrate on transparency and equalising opportunity for independents and smaller parties.

Transparency is vital for keeping the system honest and open. But transparency cannot just be for campaigns, it must cover all aspects of party financing between elections too. Vision Vancouver (and no doubt other parties) have received millions of dollars in contributions in the “dark years” between elections when no reporting is required. This must stop  Political parties are public entities and their accounts must be public also. In addition, the reporting of contributions should be as close to real-time as technically feasible — no more waiting for the end of the quarter or the end of the year.  Monthly statements should be the least we should accept, and with modern accounting software there is no excuse for anything less.

Limits on campaign spending are key to allowing smaller parties and independents to compete. What those limits should be is open for debate (and will presumably be different for municipal and provincial constituencies) but they need to accomplish two goals: creating a more level playing field for all who want to run, and limiting the extraordinary waste of resources that, for example, we see so blatantly in Vancouver elections. I believe that whatever limits are set should cover at least a period of one year up to the election date.

These limits also need to encompass and control so-called third party expenditures. I haven’t thought through a solution to that issue yet, but I want to make sure it is not forgotten.

Finally, let me return to the question of individual donations. Limiting campaign spending and real-time contribution reporting will reduce the gross discrepancies that have occurred in the past. However, I am not at all sure we need to worry about it anyway.  Let us say that a campaign limit of $50,000 is set for a mayoral contest. If Joe Billionaire wants to fork out the entire $50,000 why should that bother us providing it becomes immediately known through the transparency rules?  I would argue, to the contrary, that the payment would quickly become a campaign issue with that candidate being branded Joe Billionaire’s lapdog and probably costing at least as many votes as her backer’s money may have gained.

Well, that’s a start. As always the devil is in the details and I look forward to a healthy and thorough discussion of this vital topic.

Housing Policy — Same Horse, Different Jockey?

June 29, 2017

I am spending the afternoon watching the last gasps of the BC Liberals as the debate on their Throne Speech comes to a conclusion. The assumption is that, some time today, the question will be called and Clark’s government will fail to win the confidence of the House and be forced to resign.  The next step — as is our colonial wont — is up to the Lt. Governor, the Queen’s representative. She can ask the NDP’s John Horgan to form a government with his Green allies, or she can call another election.

As a Liberal Party donor and friend to the Premier, the Lt. Governor, I suspect, will do what Clark wants (but dare not say out loud) and dissolve the House, leaving Clark and her ministers to continue governing while we waste tens of millions of dollars on another exercise in faux democracy. Clark will then run her campaign on the Throne Speech policies which she stole wholesale from the NDP and could well win. I hope I am wrong because another term under the Liberals is hard to contemplate.

That being said, an article in the Mainlander today reminds us that both the Liberals and the NDP are neo-liberal capitalist parties and, on the key question of housing, are not very different:

“The [NDP] platform carries key planks over from previous campaigns, and like the BC Liberals, the 2017 NDP program refuses to tax the rich. Without a genuine source of tax funding and without a plan to intervene into the free market, the NDP-Greens are poised to offer BC a kind of Vision Vancouver 2.0. This means zero social housing targets and no meaningful commitment to rent control. Instead, limited tax dollars will be used to subsidize landlords, homeownership grants, and private developers … By merging market and non-market housing into a single vague policy, and by relying mainly on a strategy of “supply stimulus” and tax breaks (“incentives”) for the private development industry, the NDP has in effect adopted the same policy model as Vision Vancouver.”

It is frankly terrifying to hear Horgan claim that:

“Gregor [Robertson] is speaking up for renters” … So far, Vision’s program has transferred millions of dollars to developers (well over half a billion) without achieving any minimal level of affordability.”

The NDP supports Vision’s Rental100 program even though

“Increased supply has not created affordability, and for a simple reason: developers have used tax cuts to inflate their profits, not to bring down their unregulated housing prices. What we need in BC is not deeper tax cuts for a booming market, but instead new affordable supply and actual rent control.”

The Mainlander article concludes that:

“The NDP’s housing platform is guided by their commitment to property owners’ interests. This is reflected in its refusal to support a progressive taxation system for municipalities. Currently the province enforces a flat tax system for cities, but as the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has pointed out, a progressive tax on high-value properties could raise up to $1.7 billion per year in Metro Vancouver alone … As monthly evictions become the norm and thousands of properties continue to sit empty, a change of government feels more like a regime change from one party of capital to another … the NDP-Green alliance means that the “rules of the game” remain the same, with power kept in the hands of those who already have it.”

This is a valuable corrective to the rah-rah rhetoric we have heard from BC’s “left” since the election. I still want to see the BC Liberals defeated — because they are corrupt and saturated by resource fantasies; but the Mainland article reminds us that paradise is not just around the corner even if John Horgan becomes Premier this week.

Speaking In Tongues

June 23, 2017

In 1969, I had the delightful experience of working on “Kelly’s Heroes“, a fun movie. We shot it in what was then Yugoslavia and, unlike many location shoots which often last just a week or two, the crew was there for many months. During that extended time, I got to know many local families and was privileged to visit their homes. One of the things that amused me greatly was watching television with them as many of the programs were American shows dubbed into Serbo-Croatian, and they seemed so strange with foreign dialogue.

Yesterday, watching the Throne Speech from Victoria, I experienced a similar disconnect — there was a right wing Socred/Liberal government trying to speak in NDP/Green. Knowing the players involved, little of it made sense, especially as they had been saying quite opposite only a month before, cursing the very policies they were now trying to tell us they supported.

Christy Clark and her clownish crew claim that their deathbed conversion (aka, wholesale flip-flop) is due to “listening to the people.”  This not unreasonably implies that they have not been listening for the last 16 years. The fact is Christy Clark and her people are so scared of losing power — and having their shenanigans exposed — that they are happy to say that black is white and hot is cold; forgetting, of course, that the BC public are just not as stupid as they are.

Clark was also caught openly saying that her entire plan for this session was to embarrass the NDP/Green into supporting them by stealing their policies. We are lucky that both Horgan and Weaver have more backbone than that.

Clark will now sink like a stone. The big-money capitalists that have financed her lavish lifestyle for so long don’t like losers; and that is exactly what she is: a deceitful, unprincipled, lying loser. And may she quickly be forgotten.


Today’s the Day

June 22, 2017

The Socred-Tory-Liberals will today bring forward a Throne Speech that will contain many of the best parts of the NDP and Green platforms (and which the Socreds ran against only two months ago).

The arch-pirate Christy Clark says the opposition will be “embarrassed” to vote against her proposals. But this is a bluff that will be called, and her right-wing regime will sink beneath the waves to the joy of most.

Where the real cynicism will be evident is when Horgan introduces legislation that Clark says she supports in the Queen’s Speech, but which she and her caucus will then vote against as they have so many times before.

This whole charade is nothing but politics, treating the people of BC as if they were dumb. They are not, and they can see through the self-serving meanness of Clark’s wholesale dishonesty.


The BC Liberals’ Last Week In Power

June 18, 2017

On Thursday 22nd June, the newly elected and re-elected MLAs will gather in Victoria for the Queen’s Speech, formally opening the next session of the Legislature. So this is the week we will see the losers (oops, I mean the Socred/Harper Tory/BC Liberals) do whatever they can to frustrate the will of the British Columbia electorate by holding on to power for an extra day or an extra week or whatever they can finagle through their control of the rules and their crooked imagination.

In the end, it will all be for nought and they will find themselves in opposition sooner or later; but not before they have sucked even more money out of the benighted taxpayer and done whatever they can to hinder and obstruct the legitimate government of the Province. It will be excellent if the NDP/Green coalition can find some procedural way of shortening this expensive, anti-democratic, and almost criminal behaviour but, within a week at most, Clark will be out on her ear and the clean up of their gross mess will be able to begin.

Once the gravy train disappears, I suspect it will not be long before a number of Socreds (some very high profile) will decide they can do better in private life and quit parliament. Victories in these by-elections will rapidly fill out the slim majority of the coalition and secure their four-year term. In the meantime, a coalition Speaker will ensure that progressive legislation gets passed whenever votes are tied, and Socred votes against highly popular bills (on LNG, Kinder Morgan, MSP premiums, education budgets, campaign financing, Residential Tenancy Act reforms, and the like) will be duly noted and stored for use against them in the next general election.

This will be a week to remember, and I ‘m looking forward to it.

The BC Election — Shame About the Greens

May 6, 2017

In my earlier post about the election, I suggested that an NDP-Green coalition would be the best outcome. I have changed my mind, having lost all confidence in the integrity of the BC Green Party and most especially in their leader.

Weaver and his party are perfectly correct in their desire to see climate change dealt with as a priority. No problem there and I applaud their efforts (though their curt dismissal of the Leap Manifesto shows them to be as MOR as the others in essence). But in most other policies and attitudes, Weaver has shown himself to be an old-time Tory — and that isn’t good for any of us.

The BC Greens’ candidates are uniformly white and heavily male; not a single person of colour or of FN descent is included. Their apologists say they have had “diverse” candidates before; so why not now?  Either none applied (which begs the question), or none were accepted (which begs further questions).  Apparently it is OK for BC Green candidates to be a gun lobbyist or a lover of young “bitchez” or a conspiracy theorist — but not someone of colour. That is very troubling.

Weaver himself has mumbled and fumbled and made stuff up, so much so that he appears to be Trump-like in his confusion about the facts. And, of course, both he and his deputy have said they would be happy enough to see Christy Clark and her corruption back in office rather than those evil leftwingers in the NDP.

No, I am sad to say that the Greens just won’t cut it in this election with those policies and with that leadership.

Clearly, for all our sakes and for the future of our wonderful province, the BC Liberals (Socreds and Tories by any other name) must be sent packing. That means an NDP government for there are no other realistic choices today. There will be much I will not support when the NDP controls the Provincial Government, but I know my dissatisfactions will be minor compared to the disaster another Liberal term will bring.

I urge all my readers to take a look at the Your Political Party. Clearly they won’t go far this time, but they have good ideas for honest democracy and I hope they can build themselves into something useful in the future.

GW All-Candidates’ Meeting

May 2, 2017

Last night I attended the joint all-candidates’ meeting for the provincial ridings of Vancouver -Mount Pleasant and Vancouver-Hastings (Commercial Drive is a dividing line between the two ridings). It was well-attended in Britannia Gym D and well-arranged by Britannia Community Services, GWAC, the Kettle, and others.  Several hundred people were there, enjoying the good free food (bean soup and salad) and a warm sense of community, which contrasted strongly with a similar event four years ago when we had an essentially empty auditorium.

So far as I could tell, all the candidates from both ridings showed up, including the Liberals which has not been the case in other ridings that have been reported. The format was a World Cafe style forum. Every candidate in turn was given three minutes to make their pitch, one from Mount Pleasant, then one from Hastings. When that was done, each candidate circulated among residents’ tables to have a more in depth chat, every group of voters getting to spend some time with each candidate. It’s a decent format for these kind of events.

Both these ridings are very safe NDP strongholds, and I doubt the result here on 9th May will surprise anyone, and I doubt last night’s event changed any minds. But it is good to hear the lesser-known candidates give their pitch.

I have to say that David Kroll (Green, Mount Pleasant) came across as a snake oil salesman (a bit like Weaver himself), while the two young Liberals, Connie Lin (Mount Pleasant) and Jane Spitz, presented as high-schoolers thrown in to make up the numbers. The two communists, including Peter Marcuse who seems to have run in every election since I was born, gave voice to their long-term dreams of a socialist paradise, while a couple of independents gave less lucid arguments for why they should be chosen.

Shane Simpson (NDP, Hastings), our long-time incumbent and firm favourite to retain the riding, stuck firmly to the Horgan speaking lines of affordability, stable jobs, and fixing the services the Liberals have broken.

Melanie Mark, the NDP candidate for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant — with whom I have had my differences in the past — came across as the real leader she could be. She is a strong woman, from a challenged background, she has worked both on the streets and in the halls of the Victoria bureaucracy, she speaks well and with great passion.  I couldn’t help thinking she will be the leader of the party after Horgan has had his turn (win or lose this election).

When I left the hall, I sat outside in the Napier Greenway listening to the Carnival Band conducting their usual Monday night practice.  This is a grand place, Grandview-Woodland.