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.
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.
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.
Why shouldn't taxpayers know what the B.C. Lions or Vancouver Whitecaps pay to play in our $563 million stadium? Why shouldn't we be aware of the legal issues surrounding the stadium's roof? Or why the Telus naming deal died?
Frankly, the hypocrisy between what Christy Clark says and what she does is stunning, dwarfed only by her inability to understand why she is so low in the polls. It comes down to character and integrity -- unfortunately for Clark, voters seem to think she has little of either, and with limp jokes like this, it's no wonder.
Dear Premier Clark, If you didn't hear or say anything, then your incompetence is beyond belief (actually, come to think of it, there's plenty of other evidence on that point). If this is the case, then you must resign. If, on the other hand, you knew what was happening, premier, then you must also resign.
Canadians love twitter. A LOT. Seven tweets is a weekly column that looks at the funniest, sharpest tweets written by Canadians and is a look back at the week's events through a 140-character lens.
As taxpaying residents of B.C., we resent the use of public resources to further partisan ambitions. As Filipinos and Filipino-Canadians, we are offended that we're seen to be exploitable by those looking to score "quick wins" to secure our votes. This behaviour is reminiscent of "trapos", politicians in the Philippines who engage in unsavoury conduct.
For a newbie, it's a lot to keep up with, especially after a week's break from the election proceedings. But I've learnt the hard way: you can't turn your back on politics for one moment or you're lost. Pretty much where I'm sitting right now. After a full day of political catch up, I'm still working my inner Nancy Drew trying to make sense of the past few days of mayhem, and what the online community has labeled #EthnicGate.
The story that has now become known as "ethnicgate" is disturbing because it reveals something so disrespectful not only about the way Clark's government uses ethnic voters, but also the way they flagrantly disregard rules, regulations and democracy.
If B.C. Premier Christy Clark is forced into an early resignation in the next couple of days it won't have much to do with "ethnicgate" -- the press' clumsy name for her party's recently-leaked scheme to use "government initiatives and projects" to rally the immigrant vote. Clark's caucus never liked her.
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.
B.C.'s proposed Prosperity Fund is meant to capitalize on the future opportunities from natural gas development. If done correctly, the fund could be a huge benefit to both current and future British Columbians. As with many things though, the devil is in the details. Thankfully there are lessons to be learned, and avoided, from our neighbours, Alberta and Alaska.
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...