Voters want to know where their potential leaders stand before they have to walk into a polling station and put a tick next to a party's name. While it's impossible for anyone to fully anticipate and articulate every possible challenge and scenario ahead of a four-year term in office, taxpayers want a predictable pattern set out. Political leaders should be able to change their mind as circumstances change, but nothing had changed about asset sales or Kinder Morgan.
According to Tourism Vancouver, in 2011 visitors to our city spent an estimated $92 million, and "cruise passengers increased by 15 per cent over 2010. Between May and October 2011, Port Metro Vancouver welcomed 663,425 passengers on 27 different vessels over 199 cruise ship calls." While Vancouver has many amazing attractions, restaurants and cultural centers, it is the ocean and all the nature around that bring people from all over the world to visit our city. Quite frankly, if it wasn't for the amazing oceanscapes and natural beauty, Vancouver would be nothing more than a small version of... wait for it... Toronto.
The 40th British Columbia General Election is a dreary race between dreadful choices. That's an easy thing to say about any election, granted, but the sad state of B.C. politics is truly the stuff apathy was designed for. The final droplets of ideology, vision, principle, passion, and leadership having long since drained from this province's governing class, there's now nothing left but empty partisan squabbling.
British Columbia is officially in election mode and the parties are rolling out their campaign promises. When it comes to the tax promises of the two mainstream parties, British Columbians are confronted with a choice, as it were, between higher taxes or even higher taxes. So go ahead and pick your poison.
When I was approached by the BC Conservative Party earlier this year to run as MLA, one of the pre-conditions was that there would be an agreement that I would not suffer the same fate as Ray Lam of the NDP during the 2009 election. I gave party officials full access to my social media accounts and I told them I would scrub nothing. I think voters should get to know the person they elect. We had an agreement. They knew what they were getting, and we were good to go.
Information issues were smoking hot right up to the drop of the writ. But ever since, they've received hardly a mention. Looks like nobody wants to talk about the government's increasing unwillingness to create written records or its habit of sheltering public documents from FOI by hiding them in personal email accounts. Even multi-million dollar data linkage and information management programs like the Integrated Case Management (ICM) system, which has been slammed repeatedly by officers of the Legislature and civil society alike, don't rate a mention from the four major parties. This is pathetic.
Daniel Tseghay is running in a close race in Vancouver-False Creek. He truly has a chance to pull in an upset and I hope he does. B.C. politics needs a shake up and there is no better candidate to do that than this young activist. Tseghay is a noted and eloquent writer and activist. He also hails from Eritrea, giving the party an instant diversity that it lacked over the years. To those British Columbians who usually look at the two traditional parities to support, Tseghay gives the BC Greens hope, just like his leader.
British Columbians clearly oppose both Kinder Morgan and the Northern gateway, but I wouldn't doubt we will see the pro-pipeline Harper federal government stick their nose into the B.C. election in the coming weeks, as they twist in the wind watching the fate of their beloved tar sands pipelines land right in the waiting hands of Adrian Dix and the NDP.
Out of the 32,328 votes cast between June 2001 and April 2012, just 80 or 0.25 percent were cast by MLAs voting against their own party. That means a party with a majority can essentially do whatever it wants in the legislature -- so much so that last time a government bill was defeated was 1953, the same year Joseph Stalin died. But those numbers also suggest, as one former MLA told me, "There's got to be times -- random chance if nothing else -- that some of us actually disagree with what we're voting on." It's a position, if you're elected, you could find yourself in.
As long as BC elections are concerned, the name Stuart Parker is almost a brand name. By the time Stuart Parker turned 21, he was a veteran of BC poli...
It is not uncommon for a perfectly well-meaning person to blow off some steam online. And sometimes, spewing inexact information to support one's frustration can occur on the internet. In fact, there is general misunderstanding on the plight of Aboriginals and the "other" official language of Canada. For whatever reason, misconceptions fester with the goading of inadequate school curricula and general lack of knowledge. Like a cancer, these tall tales spread until they are addressed head on.
The phoney campaign has finally given way to the real thing. The writ is dropped, the legislature is dissolved and politicians are out on the hustings. And as voters know well, that means big, glitzy promises. But imagine promises that wouldn't need sod-turnings or ribbon cuttings? Meaningful promises that every party can sign-on to, because they're about good government, not party ideology.
The official May 14 election campaign kicks off Tuesday and it's a scary thought to be this invested in the outcome. I may have won my March Madness pool with a solid bracket last week, but I'm having a far more challenging time assessing two contending political parties than picking one winning basketball team out of 64 for the NCAA championship.
A few short days from now, the writ will drop on the 2013 provincial election, kicking off twenty-eight days of heated campaigning. And while there's no shortage of issues for voters to consider, recent controversies around government secrecy and attempts to undermine Freedom of Information make it clear that information policy should be a top priority for voters.
It was no joke; on April 1st B.C. officially scrapped the HST and in one fell swoop, restored the old Provincial Sales Tax system. But moving back to the PST will cause harm to the provincial economy and B.C. families will lose out on the increased prosperity and jobs that the HST would have encouraged. Since our province will be poorer with the PST, it falls on our political leaders to take action to lessen the impact.
Would you trust a leader who won't make concrete commitments to openness and transparency? Many British Columbians will be asking themselves that very question over the next six weeks.