Tuesday's provincial budget is supposed to present a plan to finally balance the books. But after four consecutive years in the red, British Columbians can't yet breathe a collective sigh of relief. Critically important is how Finance Minister Mike de Jong plans to eliminate the deficit. Will he take the path of tax increases or spending reductions? He would be wise to go with the latter. And this is why...
When Christy Clark took over as premier of British Columbia two years ago, she had a window of opportunity to change taxpayers' perceptions of her government. To improve her chances in the 2013 election, Clark needed to throw out unpopular and unworkable ideas brought in by her predecessor Gordon Campbell. In a symbolic way, she needed to string a huge banner over the B.C. Legislature that said, "Under New Management."
With the May 14 provincial election approaching, I have decided that this time is going to be different; this time I will be informed. Becoming politically savvy evokes anxiety for an amateur like me. I have to sift through an overload of messages, rhetoric, jargon, and buzzwords. I can't compete with the political junkie, and I don't intend to. I just want to make sense of the basics.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark's sentiment is that the burden of daycare is a "temporary" one for families. I disagree. Many families cannot afford to purchase a home because of it. Many women (and men) take themselves out of the workforce because of it. Many families go into debt because of it. Many couples decide not to have children (or more than one child) because of it.
There is absolutely no point in agreeing or disagreeing with the premier or the B.C. Teachers' Federation if we the parents don't speak up and have a voice in how our children are being taught in the 21st century. Our school has a large computer centre with its own teacher. I have NO clue what is taught there. The kids bring home printouts about "online safety," but I don't think these courses actually mention things like Facebook or Twitter.
Legislative oversight is fundamental to good government. And with less and less of it, the government does more and more by decree. B.C. isn't well-served by that. In 2012, the B.C. legislature sat for 47 days. Among its numerous legislative duties: to debate and approve a $44-billion budget. Forty-seven days is simply insufficient to do that and everything else well.
Timing is everything in B.C. politics. And wouldn't you know, it's also the essence of thousands of Bollywood films. A chance meeting that develops into forbidden love? Bollywood. The moment the evil uncle clunks granny on the head and makes off with the family fortune, leaving the heroine a pauper? Bollywood. But who thought India's prolific Hindi film industry would be at the centre of a dramatic saga of its own, playing out on location over the next five months across British Columbia's political soundstage?
The B.C. premier announced this week Metro Vancouver will host the Times of India Film Awards. Reactions within the South Asian community are mixed; some are touting it as a political ploy to gain South Asian votes. What remains to be seen is if the community and businesses at large will be able to tap into the longer term business opportunities an event of this nature can provide.
Never in my 18 years in radio did I ever think that I'd become the story, especially about something that I thought was a cheeky, throwaway question to B.C. Premier Christy Clark: "What's it like being a MILF?" The question was laughed at, then answered, and that was that. There's a fine line in radio, and if you cross it all hell can break loose, I crossed that line — well, that station's version of the line anyway.
f we really lean into this we will simultaneously increase prosperity for our people, reinvigorate the American Dream, and restore this magnificent blue planet. This is the greatest challenge and opportunity of our lifetime.
I'm still shaking my head at a column by the Times-Colonist's editor-in-chief on the double standard being applied to poor Christy Clark who was asked by a radio DJ if she would rather be a MILF or a cougar. She sure did answer the quickly... with the worst answer a politician could have come up with, male or female.
In B.C. and across Canada, the past 12 months have seen information rights make headlines on a regular basis. And usually not in a good way. At the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, much of our year was spent (once again) in sparring matches with the provincial government over access, transparency, and privacy issues.
"Any claim that the ministry will not be supplying Christmas gifts for children in care is absolutely inaccurate and it is very concerning that this erroneous message was sent to a client," said B.C. Children and Families ministry. We have two sources making the same allegations, an email transcript backing up those allegations and a government denying all of it.
Children everywhere are writing to Santa, hoping that they haven't made the naughty list. Turns out that it's not only children who should be worried this year. I received a tip recently from a source in the North Pole and Santa is more than a little upset with the B.C. Liberals. I was happy to help him assemble the top 5 naughty list in B.C. politics.
Trust must be the cornerstone of the relationship between a government and its taxpayers. Every year, we hand over our hard-earned money a bank account worth $42 billion to our politicians. We expect them to run our affairs professionally and efficiently and to keep us well-informed on their plans. When that trust erodes, it's very difficult for government to earn it back. But it can be done, if Clark and de Jong are willing to change their behaviour.
The point Justin Trudeau, and largely the rest of Canada, has missed is the role British Columbia will play moving forward in Canada. If it's not obvious, it should be by now. With Vancouver MP Joyce Murray announcing her run for leader of the Liberal Party today, it's slowly setting the pace to which B.C. politicians will begin to take a more active role in shaping the country's policy.