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.
British Columbians shouldn't need to pull out their chequebook to talk to their government. Between them, the B.C. Liberals and NDP brought in more than $17 million. The Liberals alone raised $10.15 million, nearly $4 million dollars more than their Ontario cousins did in 2011 and half of what the Conservative party spent in the 2011 federal election campaign.
Having served under Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals when they were elected 12 years ago, first makes me think about how damn old I'm getting. Next, it makes me think that it is, in fact, time for a change.
Where politicians and pundits are right is that there is more political power in our generation than even we realize. Organizations, social movements and politicians lusting after "young voters" is actually making the problem worse. The narrowing of electoral participation as a direct translation to political action has led us to miss the forest for the trees, a forest that in Canada is probably being threatened to be clear cut, plowed for a pipeline, or removed to make way for a new mine -- and that's a big, big problem.
The most outlandish move was to promote the Wood Innovation and Design Centre as a 10-storey, wood frame building, making it the tallest wood structure in the world. What about building codes, safety assessments, economic viability, and financial feasibility? Evidently, this government felt those are questions more suitably dealt with after the fact. That simply is not good and responsible government.