The Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipeline proposals plan to significantly increase heavy oil tankers to Asia and both governments have promised "world-class" oil spill response on land and in the water. British Columbians are skeptical about this commitment. Stories like the sinking tug near Squamish are regularly in and out of the media reminding folks that nothing has been done. There is nothing "world-class" about the provincial-federal response to marine-based environmental concerns in the past.
Protecting farmland in perpetuity is the provincial interest, but it is only half the issue. Ensuring farmers can afford to farm is the vital other half. When farmers aren't making a living, when they can't afford to feed themselves, they are forced to make choices that may put their farmland and the provincial interest at risk.
Did you know that political strategists are counting on you not to vote? Senior BC Liberal strategists say this to reassure their nervous supporters: "Our base leans to older voters, whereas the NDP base leans to the 18-34 age group (older voters vote)." Now technically, there's nothing untrue about that statement. But whether you're voting Liberal, NDP, Green or Conservative, merely casting your ballot is putting your thumb in the eye of decrepit politicos who have already dismissed you.
The Green Party receives a C-, the best grade of bad overall grades in Report Card on British Columbia Parties' Democratic Good Government Platforms -- Conservatives receive a D-, NDP a D-, and Liberals an F. A Dishonesty Downgrade of one full grade is also shown in the Report Card results -- usually only half of all promises are kept because of the lack of an honesty-in-politics law which is needed to effectively penalize promise-breakers and those who deliberately mislead.
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 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.
Party leaders will say all the right things to deny the obvious: we're campaigning for the votes of all British Columbians, we don't take any vote for granted, or we're running to win in all 85 ridings. But after all that voter ID, statistical analysis and polling, strategists know very well that there's likely less than 250,000 voters living in less than half of B.C.'s 85 ridings who will actually count on May 14. And the two main parties will fish where the fish are.
If B.C. politics has really changed as some suggest, then Andrew Weaver of the Green Party should have been hailed for his integrity. Instead, he was shrugged off as a newbie. So what are we looking for from the women and men we elect to public office in B.C.? Is it the kind of credentials we need to face the great economic, environmental and social challenges of the 21st century, or is it merely a thick skin?