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.

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.

BC Election — Here We Go Again

April 11, 2017

Finally — after being bombarded by tax-payer-paid Liberal Party propaganda for weeks — we officially start the 2017 BC election campaign today.

As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows,  I am an anarchist and I am profoundly opposed to the sham that is known as modern democracy: it is nothing but an enabling front for grasping capitalism; a fig leaf designed solely to disguise the exploitation of the people by self-selecting elites offering small “gifts” of our own money and freedom. Even those who are not yet convinced of this truth recognise that it inherently over-promises and under-delivers, and after every election most voters are quickly disillusioned and depressed by its predictable futility.

That all being said, some “elected” governments are clearly worse than others and, until we can regather our natural freedom, it is essential that the BC Liberals are thrown out of office on May 9th. Their corruption and anti-personnel policies are too well known for me to rehearse them here. Their corrosive lack of morality is damaging to everyone’s psyche, including their own. But who to vote for instead?

Social democrats, such as the NDP, are little more than capitalist-enabling elitists with prettier disguises, and the current batch is no better than any others. How else can one explain the NDP having a candidate, in Richmond, who is publicly opposed to same-sex marriage, safe injection sites, and early sex ed?  How come he hasn’t been thrown off the truck months ago?

As for the Greens, they have to answer for Andrew Weaver who supported Clark’s extra payments and who is content to see a massive LNG plant built by a plutocrat in Prince Rupert.  I might be pushing for them but I just don’t trust him.

However, my hope is that the Greens do well enough, the Liberals do poorly enough, and the NDP get a reasonable number of seats for there to be no majority government. An NDP-Green coalition could then be pulled together. I probably would not wholeheartedly support a lot of their policies, but I know they would be better for the average Jill and Joe than the BC Liberal Socreds.