It's impossible to keep a good idea down for long -- and a looming NDP landslide may put electoral reform back on British Columbia's political radar. Many casual observers would say such disconnect between the number of votes and seats is unfair. But this is becoming a recurring phenomenon in B.C. The way British Columbians elect MLAs was a hot topic of debate after the 2001 B.C. Liberal landslide, which saw a 58 per cent vote count turn into 97 per cent of the seats in the legislature.
We've heard a lot about the potential splitting of the center-right or "free enterprise" vote in next May's B.C. election. How it would ultimately seal the fate of the B.C. Liberals and hand the election to the NDP. Think again.
We visited forgotten places like an abandoned railway tunnel, a former gold mine where Chinese labourers once toiled, and an unmarked cemetery where Chinese pioneers were laid to rest. In the valley, I discovered how two histories intersected ― how some First Nations people nursed railway workers back to health when they were left to die along the tracks, how First Nations men had teamed up with Chinese labourers working in a Nanaimo coal mine to fight off white bullies, and how some labourers had children with First Nations women.
It's difficult to find someone in Vancouver's business community who relishes the prospect of an NDP government. Yet that's precisely what they are bracing for when B.C. goes to the polls next May. Confidence in Christy Clark has all but evaporated. Members of the business establishment are increasingly resigned to the NDP forming the next government. So it was against this backdrop that Adrian Dix, Leader of British Columbia's NDP, had his coming out party.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark has yet again found herself in a sticky situation with the recent publication of an interview in which she expressed explicit disdain for the "sick culture" of Victoria, the provincial capital. I can't help but wonder though if all of the backlash to Clark's admittedly foolish comments are missing the mark. Which one of us, especially the politicians and political commentators in the bunch, can truly look in the mirror and say that the state of government in our society today is not a little bit perverted?
The question is, will a reduction in tolls make any difference at all to hardened voters weary of the endless stream of politicking from Christy Clark, the second most unpopular premier in Canada? I don't think so. The Liberals are using the old bait and switch trick, one they've perfected over the last 10 years. Sure we get a discount at first, but eventually we're all going to be paying -- for the rest of our lives.
You don't hear this stated much these days: The B.C. Liberals will win in 2013. You heard it here first. In one of the great resurrections in B.C. political history, on the evening of May 14, 2013 premier-elect Christy Clark will be grinning from ear to ear in front of a packed room of supporters in downtown Vancouver. She will thank her NDP opponent for running a spirited campaign, and graciously thank the voters of British Columbia for giving her a new four-year mandate.
There's one question about the Enbridge Northern Gateway project that many people ask and few can answer: Who is responsible for the port of Kitimat? Who would be liable should there be a disaster in the port? Nobody really knows. Most of the other harbours in Canada are the responsibility of Ports Canada, a branch of Transport Canada or run by (usually not-for-profit) semi-public port corporations or local harbour commissions. Yet Kitimat has one of the few private ports in Canada. To find out why, watch the multiple Oscar-winning movie On the Waterfront, starring Marlon Brando, about how the mob ran the New York docks.
The resignation of Kevin Falcon as finance minister, along with other MLAs who have declared they won't seek re-election cannot be seen -- as Premier Christy Clark would have it -- simply an opportunity for her to promote able backbenchers. The big reason for caucus loyalty is that they owe their seats to the leader. When they see that the leader is most unlikely to be able to lead them into the ditch, they become antsy and no longer loyal colleagues waiting for that cabinet post to happen. They can no longer see any way they will be promoted and even if they are, they will be shipmates on the Titanic.
I've written much about the air of entitlement this government has come to display, an attitude which sets an example from the top of government for all the levels below. How can one expect any government executive or bureacrat to display restraint when those in charge demonstrate a proclivity for excess? The truth is the average person is British Columbia just doesn't even listen to any of this bizarre hypocrisy anymore. The average person in this province is still struggling to make ends meet. Whether or not it's the most basic of needs such as food and shelter, or meeting mortgage and car payments, most people in this province are far removed from the reality of luxurious "vacations" oops I mean, conferences in Nairobi.
Earlier today, B.C.'s young Finance Minister and Deputy Premier, Kevin Falcon, resigned both positions effective immediately. In recent weeks, many MLAs have announed their resignations. The fact is that Christy Clark's leadership style and lack of clarity has made her irrelevant and incompetent at best.
We are, for so many reasons, at a very crucial juncture in the history and future of this province. Environmentally, financially, socially... so much of where we go and what we leave for our children and our grandchildren hinges on the next election. This is crux of the matter. This is why, examining every party, every candidate, every leader is crucial. This is why, more now than ever, we must ask the questions especially when we hear promises because we know what happens when we don't. I don't care if it's NDP Leader Adrian Dix making promises, or Conservative Leader John Cummins, or B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark. I wouldn't feel like I was doing right by each of you if I didn't examine, poke, prod and question.
They say dead men tell no lies. That may never be truer than in the cutthroat blood-sport of B.C. politics. Consider Martyn Brown, the former chief of staff for Gordon Campbell and chief architect of the B.C. Liberals' decade in power. He's no longer in politics and suddenly feels very free to tell the truth about the B.C. government.
If there is one thing that can be said about all the attention directed to Enbridge's Northern Gateway Project, it is that it's provided ample distraction for other projects and issues to move along without getting the same ass-kicking Enbridge is. Take for example, the Pacific Trails Pipeline project ( also referred to as the KSL line). With minimal media coverage during the approval process, it has by and large flown completely under the radar of most British Columbians. That's a damn shame in my opinion, and I'm going to tell you why.
The Northern Gateway is now becoming the National Nightmare. Canada has a new Two Solitudes in the 21st century. The dividing line is not the Ottawa River but the Rockies. It appears that in Alberta -- not just columnists but bloggers and tweeters as well -- seem to believe that if they just yell loud enough, that the people of B.C. will eventually realize their thought errors and join in supporting Alberta's manifest destiny.
Calgary continues to suffer from a stereotype that has been affixed to it largely by people that don't know, and for the most part, have never stepped foot in this city. A couple of weeks ago, a guy named "Calgary Joe", burst onto the political stage. This man embodies 21st-century Calgary.