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COMMENTARY · 7th May 2013
Al Lehmann
I would be shocked to imagine that British Columbians might be stupid enough to re-elect the Liberal Party to govern BC. What is the Liberal record?

1. Lying BC Liberals promised not to sell off public assets, then turned around and sold BC Rail in a process so corrupted it resulted in a raid on the legislature by RCMP. Privatization of BC Ferries has resulted in huge increases in ferry fares, poorer service, all while upper management takes home seven-figure salaries. Liberals promised not to bring in the Harmonized Sales Tax, then, upon re-election, brought it in anyway. Only huge efforts by an enraged citizenry enabled us to remove it.

2. Economic Mismanagement While lowering taxes, especially to the corporate sector, they raised health care premiums 92% (simply a less transparent version of tax), and student tuition at colleges and universities has skyrocketed, causing more and more students either to begin their careers with the equivalent of a mortgage or to forego a higher education altogether. BC Liberals blew through $800 million on a new roof for BC Place for such “essential” activities as professional football. BC Liberals forced BC Hydro to sign extended power purchase agreements with independent power producers (private sector) at rates double what Hydro can sell it for. Imagine: being forced to buy something for a dollar and to sell it for fifty cents, going on, into the future! What a scam! BC citizens’ money transferring into private, corporate pockets under legislation! This scam is gradually putting BC Hydro so far into debt (at citizens’ expense and to the benefit of the private owners of the generating facilities) that you can bet a returning Liberal government would a) pay off the debt with public funds; b) sell BC Hydro to the private sector, probably through some crony deal, given past precedent with BC Rail.

3. Ideological Illegality BC Liberals have turned a blind eye to physicians and surgeons who run private clinics and break the Canada Health Act by billing extra. BC Liberals broke the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by breaking contracts with its employee groups. BC Liberals are totally unapologetic about this, and in the case of BC teachers’ extended lawsuit resulting in the BC Supreme Court’s finding the government to be wrong, have done nothing to mend the damage they committed.

4. Ecological Mismanagement BC Liberals have done next to nothing (along with Canada’s Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans) to prevent enormous damage to wild salmon done by sea-pen Atlantic salmon farms along the South Coast. They have watched with hand-wringing stupidity as huge swathes of forest in the province have died due to the mountain pine beetle. Although they instituted a carbon tax as a sop to environmentalists, instead of using the funds to improve mass transit and encourage energy savings through grants for homeowners to insulate and become more energy efficient, they put the money into general revenue (where they have generally wasted it).

5. Failing in Government Mandates Government is charged with managing certain social services (education, health care, social welfare, regulation of the workplace and labour market) for the general benefit of British Columbians. These public services are specifically meant to prevent undue poverty and social misery, and to provide equal opportunities to gain credentials in order to contribute economically and to gain suitable rewards for doing so. Under the BC Liberals, education has suffered over a decade of erosion in which the least capable (students with special needs) and pupils from poor families continue to face greater obstacles to social advancement. The Liberals delayed raising the minimum wage for over ten years (while inflation inexorably advanced), and in the last election were callous enough to term it “an irresponsibility” to legislate a rise in the minimum wage. Higher case loads due in part to the increase in social distress due to low wages and unemployment and the refusal to hire enough social workers have created a mess of social services. The government’s own investigator into children under care in BC found the government negligent, but BC Liberals feel that corporate tax breaks are more important than child poverty. Hence BC has now the highest child poverty rate in the country.

6. Public Pride, Private Shame BC Liberals crow about their wonderful ability to manage government affairs, yet consistently hide their misdemeanours. When the truth about the BC Rail Scandal was finally about to emerge, Liberals used $10 million of public money, our money, to settle the case in such a way that the truth remained hidden. Only weeks ago, BC Liberals were planning how to use public money to fund what was essentially a campaign tactic within immigrant communities—private benefit to the party at public expense. BC Liberals were very slow at any kind of criticism of employers’ applications for or use of foreign workers within the BC labour market. Employees brought into BC to work on the Canada Line were cheated and abused and had to sue to get proper recompense for their work. Between the conservative Conservatives federally and the conservative Liberals provincially, the Chinese miners scandal would probably never have surfaced were it not for Canadian citizens (often union members) raising the alarm that Canadians were being cheated out of jobs by greedy employers (whose side in any labour dispute the Liberals will usually take). The theory seems to be, “If we can get away with cheating money out of the working class, why not? That’s the free market at work.”

7. Deficits? Despite their own legislation, Liberals have created the highest deficits in provincial history. It’s laughable that they should claim the NDP to be poor money managers, given the Liberal record.

8. Poor Leadership Gordon Campbell was a drunk and exhibited himself as such before the world when he was arrested for drunk driving in Hawaii. His minders and his sycophantic fans at BCTV managed to contrive a heartfelt apology with a few tears on tv, rescuing his public image in a sentimental way. He happily later accepted the reward of being appointed Consul General in London, England, (conservatives reward their own) more public money being spent, just after resigning when the HST scandal began to boil. Christy Clark pulled out a slick leadership campaign to replace him (despite having very little support among her own caucus). She has hired corporate-connected advisors to manage her campaign and taken money from corporate interests in Calgary, that well-known BC city, to help her election campaign. Just what we need: a premier beholden to a bunch of pipeline promoters. As Minister of Education Clark was a shining example of incompetence and hostility to the thousands of employees and tens of thousands of directly affected citizens, both parents and children. Her current re-election campaign consists of mud-slinging and personal attacks on opposition politicians. We don’t need her leadership.

NEGATIVE ADVERTISING OR FACTS

While Adrian Dix may wish to remain above negative advertising, there’s a difference between negative advertising and pointing out the absolute catastrophe Liberal government has been for the province. The Liberal record is appalling.

While the corporate media in Vancouver will forgive any horror committed by politicians who will serve corporate interests (low taxes, low wages, cheap public services provided by docile and cowed employees), BC citizens need to remember how they’ve been fleeced (and are being fleeced).

Will British Columbians re-elect the Liberal Party? If we do, we deserve:

Low wages

Privatized health care

Inadequate public services

Oil spills

Dead salmon

Private rivers

Bankrupt BC Hydro

Increased social and financial inequality

Crony capitalism

One fairly effective definition of stupidity is to act in ways that not only hurt yourself, that also hurt others around you. To re-elect the BC Liberals would be stupid. Please, BC, don’t be stupid.
Actually Allan...
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 10th May 2013
...you should ask somebody that question who is a member.
Allan
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 10th May 2013
I'm sure there are but as with most people, it is not one single issue which determines how they vote or their political preferences. I doubt all members of any party, even conservatives, that are pro-life in the context you suggest.
Al Lehman started it
Comment by Allan on 10th May 2013
Helmut, you must have seen the article by Lehman that says BCers shouldn't be so stupid as to elect a Liberal government for a fourth term. This is probably why Bill put the question mark behind stupid.
Here's a question though, Is there anyone in the NDP that is pro-life anymore?
Here's more.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 9th May 2013
From an article by Iglika Ivanova and posted on the Tyee is this quote:

"The BC Liberals have made much of the NDP's election spending platform being "unaffordable", but the reality is that the $2 billion of extra spending proposed is over three years and only amounts to a 1.5 per cent increase over the spending plan outlined in the BC Liberal government's February budget. A 1.5 per cent increase is hardly something to write home about, much less to make billboards of. In fact, the two parties' platform spending commitments are barely distinguishable in economic terms. Political posturing and advertising aside, the BC NDP is only proposing to increase government spending by a very modest 0.4 per cent of GDP in 2015. "

Check it out for yourself but really, that sounds like doom?
Sure Steve
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 9th May 2013
Helping workers be they union or otherwise is a great crime to you. How about addressing the waste in tax dollars that I referenced in the quote from Rafe Mair. Or maybe explain how it is quite alright to spend $30 million dollars of taxpayers money on Christy government advertising. Maybe justify the waste instead of just rhetoric.

In the 90's we had two sawmills operating in Terrace, we had two pulp mills utilizing the fiber, and we had people working. Now we have some pie in the sky hope that LNG will pay off the $170 billion dollars of debt which will accrue in the next years.

Address that. The doom for the province will be under BC Liberals, if past performance is any indication.
Wow.......Really Sad
Comment by Steve on 9th May 2013
It amazes me and saddens me that you NDP supporters don't get that Adrian Dix can spend as much as he wants to better the life of union members and teachers but if you don't have the tax base to support it then just how long do you think you are going to stay ahead? Last I checked, there is not enough money in Potato farming to boost our Province but that is probably the only business that the NDP will say "YES" to.
Bill....I usually try to keep my comments to myself but hate seeing you bashed for making the only Smart comments on this article. Our Province is doomed under an NDP Government and to add insult to injury, our riding will likely end up NDP once again when we are the ones with the most to gain in the years to come! But hey...You guys are right! Who needs big business...Who needs tax dollars....lets just all grab our fishing rods and head down to the river...and when we are done, you can hop in my u haul and come have a beer at my new house in Alberta where I will have to move my family like everyone else to make a living! I am not against the environment in any way, but the NDP platform is more like the Green Party platform than even theirs is it seems. I hope to hell that none of you drive cars....shame on you if you do!
And Bill...
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 8th May 2013
...who was it that titled their post "Stupid"? And YOU are "defecated on". That is rich!
Making you a scapegoat?
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 8th May 2013
You are kidding me right. You make a statement of comparison which has no basis in facts and then when it is pointed out that you are neglecting or ignoring certain facts you feel persecuted?

The persecution complex does not become you. It would be interested to have you actually respond to the facts as presented.

How do you explain that when the BC Liberals took over the provincial debt per capita was $8,000 per person and now it is $40,000 per person.

Vote for the party you like but don't make comments about the 90's using selective facts.
Make a comment and get defecated on!
Comment by bilbraam on 8th May 2013
Hey people, I am not the ogre you are making me out to be! I was commenting that each government, when their "past due" time comes around has done "stupid things" and people remember a lot or a little. Don't go using me for your own person scapegoat, thank you.
Just for Bill
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 8th May 2013
From the Tyee website here is a short excerpt from an article by Rafe Mair and I quote:

"On the side of the Christy Clark bus are the words "Debt Free BC."

This could mean one of two things - we are now debt-free or we will be. Either way, this statement stands as the all-time whopper in B.C. history and that covers a hell of a lot of territory.

I do not rely on politically-oriented think tanks for my information, rather noted independent economist Erik Andersen. If you add the $70 Billion in direct debt projected in Clark's latest Budget to secret "taxpayer obligations" relating to private power contracts and public-private partnership (P3) infrastructure deals, you get - wait for it - over $170 BILLION, that's with a "B".

By that measure, what is important to know about the debt is that in 2001, when the Liberals took over, every man, woman and child owed a shade over $8,000. Today we each owe $40,000 - five times what we owed before this so-called business-oriented, fiscally careful bunch of cheats and hypocrites took over.

No matter how you crunch the numbers, the NDP governments in their decade look like misers and skinflints next to this bunch."(end of quote.)

Now my question to Bill. How do fast ferries stack up to : "the $170,000,000,00o?" Inquiring minds want to know.
Bill
Comment by Karen on 8th May 2013
Bill, if nothing else you are certainly faithful to your cause no matter how delusional it may be.

I keep hearing about the Fastcat scandal yet anyone who has researched the full story would conclude that Campbell orchestrated the demise of an industry that could very well have flourished, all for partisan purposes. Campbell should be the one taking the blame for hundreds of millions in wasted tax dollars. Don't ever forget who auctioned off the ferries, who had three more built off-shore for almost $100 million more than locally built ships and who's friends it was who got a steal of a deal paying $19.4 million after offering $60 million for the Fastcats. I bet The Washington Group, who helped build the ships made a tidy profit when they sold them to the United Arab Emerits...although we will never know just how much.

Bill, did it ever occur to you that the energy industry is not the only resource this province has to build on to benefit our economy? For example, we have great colleges and universities that have been badly underfunded, one of the most beautiful backdrops in the world, a population that is perfectly capable of growing into a viable industry if given the right direction and support, and we are very well situated to build on manufacturing where we could export products, other than oil and gas, to the rest of the world.

Considering that it would be rather impossible for industry to mine our non-renewable resources from another province I wouldn't worry too much about an industry, which is addicted to the profits oil and gas bring, to leave for greener pastures for long. Our governments are way too lenient and generous to a gluttonous industry which earns increasingly bloated profits with unbalanced returns on what was once considered a public asset.

Good Union people don't just want jobs, they want jobs that will last longer than the next scheme the Liberals have cooked up with their corporate supporters. They want to be left with some semblance of an environment that we can be confident will serve our future generations as it has for thousands of generations before us.

We want a government that will give just as much credence to the needs of the people in this province as they do to industry, rather than playing lip-service just to earn our vote. We want a government that supports business and social needs in a balanced, fair and sustainable manner - and I can say with absolute certainty that the BC Liberals have done nothing in the past 12 years to convince me that they have even made an effort to govern with those concerns in mind.

The NDP may not be perfect but they are, by far, the absolute best chance this province has of managing the environment, the economy and societal needs in a manner that will provide for not just our future generations but our families today.
Repeating the big red lie
Comment by Catherine on 8th May 2013
I am so sick of the BIG RED COMMIE propaganda that the Liberals spew out of their cake holes! The only concern that the Liberals have for the economy is their desire to skim more and more funds from the public purse. They prey upon the most vulnerable in society. By impoverishing us they can continually harvest those people who will sell out their fellow man for food to feed their children.

What they fear is exposure of their malfeasance. That once we realize what they've done to us that we will round them up and cut off their heads.

The NDP just might very well make life much better for all of us; and, possibly highlight all the corrupted individuals within our communities. If not, let the people, not a corrupt political party's coup, kick them out!

How can voting in the Liberal party for a 4th term bring any different results from what has already happened?

A 4th victory would only reinforce their ugly narcissistic behavior - similar to an abusive person pumping themselves up prior to attacking.

stupid?
Comment by bilbraam on 7th May 2013
It seems we hear all the same stuff every election. Some of us out here beleive it would be very stupid to vote in the NDP. We seem to remember fast ferries designed on cocktail napkins, businesses leaving the province to avoid being taxed to death, etc., etc. It seems odd as to why good union people want to vote NDP while the NDP dissuades the good union peoples employer from staying in the province. You see, no matter which political party you prefer you will see something stupid in the actions of the one you do not prefer, thank you.