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NEWS RELEASE · 27th February 2011
BC First

With the election of Christy Clark as BC’s 35th Premier, the BC First Party is accepting her invitation to “hear from all British Columbians” and to “institute real change” by providing some solutions to some of BC’s largest problems she will have to face on day one.

BC First Spokesperson, Chris Delaney, says his party is sincere in offering some innovative and positive solutions, and hopes Premier designate Clark is sincere in her offer to listen and to make real changes.

Following are BC First’s new policy ideas for Premier designate Clark:

The HST – You had it right the first time Premier – reconvene the legislature, have a free vote, and cancel the HST now. This will save taxpayers $30 million for a useless referendum everyone already knows the outcome of, not to mention saving the restaurant industry, the construction industry, the vacation home industry, the tourism industry, small businesses, consumers, and tens of thousands of jobs for British Columbians. Bonus feature – it will also save you launching into a bitter fight against your own citizens and destroying any chance you have of being elected at large.

Coastal Oil Tankers – British Columbians are outraged by having to take the environmental risk of shipping Alberta crude oil off our coast, with zero reward. Tell Ottawa we will only allow a pipeline through BC on the condition that they commit to match funding for the building of a refinery at the Port of Prince Rupert, and that only refined oil in the form of gasoline will be shipped from BC. This will add the first new refinery in North America in 25 years, create thousands of jobs, reduce the cost of fuel for British Columbians, and eliminate the environmental risk from a crude oil spill, since gasoline evaporates when exposed to air or water.

The BC Ferry Fuel Fiasco – First, you’ll have to admit your predecessor messed up his version of the ferries worse than the NDP did theirs by building ships that consume 32% more fuel than the regular C-class ferries, and which have severe “air drawing” problems when unloaded due to single speed motors. That’s not gonna be easy – but then we can begin a thorough investigation to see if retro fitting vari-speed engines and conventional props will solve the problems, so instead of mooring these white elephants half the year they can be put to permanent use.

BC Hydro – This is a biggie. First, end the wasteful and costly P-3 Run of River projects which force taxpayers to subsidize private companies to produce energy at double the cost than we can sell it for ourselves. Then commit to restoring BC Hydro as a fully publicly owned utility with an expanded mandate to control distribution of all energy. Bonus - This will provide the additional revenues necessary to pay for the massive infrastructure costs at Hydro so you can lower rates instead of raising them. You can even rename it “BC Energy”.

Healthcare – Another biggie. It’s time to follow other provinces and get rid of ever increasing “regressive” MSP premiums. Let’s move to a “progressive” fee for service model that is capped at 1% of income, has exemptions for poor and low income patients, and regulations ensuring all patients receive treatment regardless of ability to pay.

Also, change funding for hospitals to a system where they can only bill Health Services for each patient they serve. Patients must also give “approval” for service before the hospital can be paid. This will put patients at the centre of treatment by valuing them as assets instead of liabilities. It will create balanced competition within a public system leading to improved service, less waste, increased accountability and greater efficiency. Oh yes – and consult all stakeholders on the new plan and hold a referendum before implementing it.

Education –Implement “per student” funding for primary and secondary education, scaled to each Region. This will give parents and students more educational choice, allow communities to choose which schools to support when there are closures, provide additional education infrastructure in rural areas, increase efficiency and accountability within the school system, and improve educational outcomes for rural and lower income students. Bonus – it will bring parents, students and teachers together to cooperate in the education of our children, rather than the current model which puts teachers on the front lines of having to defend a system that is unaccountable to everyone.

A new CEO for Elections BC – That the controversial and partisan Acting CEO for Elections BC, Craig James, is still there after 8 months when he was supposed to be a temporary appointment by your predecessor, is unacceptable to British Columbians.

He has made major decisions that have utterly destroyed public confidence in the impartiality of Elections BC, from firing the deputy CEO after she ruled against a government mail out, to withholding the HST citizen Initiative petition from the legislature in contravention of the law, to threatening hundreds of elderly citizens with heavy fines and jail time for accidentally signing the petition twice, to changing the rules for Recalls after applications were filed. There’s more, but you get the picture. He represents everything wrong with the leader you replaced, and you don’t need any more of that baggage hanging around your neck than you already have. Do the right thing Premier, and hire a permanent, impartial CEO chosen by both sides of the House.

Thanks for listening Premier and being open to change. We wish you well and look forward to your reply.

Sincerely – BC First.
Patients to give approval
Comment by c. sandecki on 28th February 2011
I could do with some explanation of this statement: "Patients must also give “approval” for service before the hospital can be paid. This will put patients at the centre of treatment by valuing them as assets instead of liabilities."
I thought already patients have to give approval for service.
Delaney has it Wrong
Comment by Barry English on 28th February 2011
I agree with a lot of what Chris Delaney has said, but on the Tanker issue he has it all wrong. Even if we refined the oil in Prince Rupert, or Kitimat we would still have to get this mess to the refinery in the first place, and that is as much of a problem as shipping it to China. Notice that while most British Columbians are opposed to the Enbridge pipeline and tanker traffic, no one is as concerned about shipping liquid natural gas over much of the same route.

If we are to refine this product, do it at the extraction site . . . the Tar Sands themselves. That area is already polluted beyond repair.