Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Destructive attack on democracy

British Columbia's wealthiest citizens will soon be pressured to contribute unprecedented levels of cash for an intensive PR campaign aimed at ensuring reelection of a business friendly government.

This will involve a variety of initiatives supporting a re-branded Liberal Party. Presenters will represent major industrial and resource sectors, province wide business lobby groups and front groups purporting to represent small entrepreneurs, taxpayers and ordinary citizens. Supportive journalists and newspaper chains, radio and TV stations will be encouraged to echo the campaign.

If the present government's slide in voter approval cannot be turned around by late fall, activists want the Constitution Act amended to defer the next general election. There is no consensus on how to justify the move but it will probably involve an "emergency condition" arising from widespread labour disputes with teachers and other public servants. The argument is that if the "coalition" is headed for certain defeat in 2013, it can't be further harmed by staying another year in power.

The battle is intended to be no-holds-barred. In my view, a costly spin campaign, financed by large corporations and a tiny minority of wealthy BC citizens, would be contemptuous of democratic principles. I respect the words of Aristotle:
"Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers."
Unfortunately, the people financing the effort to block Adrian Dix from the Premier's chair would prefer the concept expressed by Winston Churchill:
"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
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36 comments:

  1. I would venture that to deliberately delay the provincial election would result in widespread civil disobediance in British Columbia. To try and prevent the "right to vote" will only make things worse for the BC Lie-berals - starting with a call for a general strike.

    Thank you

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  2. I too believe with bloggers like yourself carrying the message and the readers spreading the message, the spin won't work and may, in fact as so many of their messages have (note HST) backfire. The delay in democracy will only enrage voters and I believe they will turn out in record numbers to vote them out. Bloggers have a larger following than the MSM. Keep up the good work Norm.

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  3. The Liberal Party and their supporters are so out of touch with reality. They can threaten all they like, but all they are really doing is guaranteeing that the Liberal brand and every member of the present party will never be elected in BC again. I for one believe that these so called " supporters " are funded by the party, who, as we see , will stoop to whatever they can to try and hang on to power. Corrupt and inept are far too mildto describe these power hungry buffoons.

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  4. Christy is already being a suck. She is permitting people on E.I. to earn up to $200.00 in extra cash, with no penalty.

    Harper's henchmen, his Campbell/Clark BC Liberals and Boessenkool, are in desperation mode. However, BC citizens are still furious about the HST scam, by Campbell, Hansen and Harper. Christy could have fixed that, but, Harper will never permit it. Also notice...Christy is sitting on the fence regarding, the Enbridge pipeline. Too much of a coward, to say she is very much in favor.

    Never in my life, have I seen the evil in this country as there is to-day, since Harper's so called majority. Harper is trying to quash the robo-call election cheat investigation. What does that tell us?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The $200 earnings exemption is for welfare recipients eligible for work. People with disability allowances will also have a modest increase, from $500 to $800 monthly, to the amount they can earn without affecting their disability allowance.

      Delete
  5. What we see with premier photo-op and her puppet masters is an attempt to copy US political strategy, unfortunately what may work in the USA, may not work here.

    We do not have the now hate filled Tea party in Canada, nor do we have the almost billion dollar TV hate campaigns, constantly beamed to audiences. The nature of the BC political system will probably turn more voters off than attract new.

    What is clearly evident, is the close connection of the BC Liberal party to US interests and if Dix and Co. highlight that, it very well may be the final straw in the destruction of BC most corrupt government in history.

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  6. Christy has nothing to do with E.I. Her annoucement yesterday was all about BC's welfare (or whatever the current phrase for welfare is) programs

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  7. I don't think with the PST to be brought back on April 1 they will push back the election.....unless they push back the PST.

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  8. This morning Philip Till suggested on-air that there might be a public backlash in favor of Christy Clark because the media is being too over-the- top hard on her. He unnecessarily pointed out that it certainly wasn’t the policy of his station to be hard on her, however. In a few seconds he confirmed both Norm’s theory, and the fact that his station has a policy regarding Clark.

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  9. Lew--

    Thanks for the info.

    With that in mind, it might be worth thinking about how, and where (and/or where not) all that Jim Shepard Super-Pac cash will actually be spent...

    .

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  10. Mr Dix did not help his cause by accepting the late memberships for his leadership bid that ensured victory. The BCNDP did not help their cause by turning the other cheek and a blind eye to this sham. One candidate even threatened legal action because of the tainted process.

    Do I believe for a minute, though, the anti-BCNDP narrative of Jim Shepard and others of his ilk who have business/financial interests in the BC Liberal party? Not a snowballs chance in Hell. The Fight HST campaign proved that mass numbers of BC voters can and will cross partisan lines to co-operate for the good of the province, and not for those with corporate interests. The repudiation of the HST served notice that democracy can still function, albeit severely hamstrung by a stultified legislature under the present BC Liberal regime.

    Robbie A

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    Replies
    1. Voters repudiated HST; the Liberal government did not. Despite their earlier promise, the new PST act gives government authority to add exemptions and make new items eligible for tax. When it comes into play, the new PST will apply tax very much like the HST does now. In other words, business exemptions will be much broader than they were in the old PST and provincial tax will apply to far more consumer goods.

      The average consumer will see no particular benefit and the average large business will see little increase in tax.

      The system will prove the contempt Liberals have for the HST referendum.

      Delete
  11. And Jim Sheppard was pathetic yesterday. Couldn't believe what I was listening to. But then again, yes I could. The bull$hit will continue.
    The mess they, the Lieberals and the corporate capitalists have made of this province is unbelievable. The resources, the land, the people, they have sold us all out, or almost. We have to stop the bleeding of the citizens' money, land, resources to the corporate cronies. (hydro, roadways, a railroad, etc.) This is what pays for our education, healthcare, infrastructure. Look at the chaos created in all 3 mentioned in the past 11 years. Worse than it's ever been, costing us more in "shadow tolls", tolls, gas tax, wait lists longer than ever, promisedlong term care beds never came to be, and the list goes on. Filling the pockets of a few, but costing us more and more.
    It will take a government to open the books so that the damage can be seen. An audit, full audit of all the books, government, crown, authorities, all the books.
    Sheppard, Hochstein, etc., we've had enough.
    Adrian, the people want to know.

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  12. Look overseas to see the damage done by the corporate capitalists. South of us too.

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    Replies
    1. Not just overseas or south, look out your front door BC.

      Delete
  13. I am sure CC & the lieberal supporters will give anything a try to get their ilk re-elected. However, it might not work. We saw what happened with are re-tired former Premier & a few of his friends. Who would have thought? Politicians don't understand it is not smart to p..ss off retired people. We have nothing but time on our hands.

    Not all of those opposed to the lieberals have money but we do have time. Just being able to print off some of the blogs each day & hand them out on street corners during rush hr. might be a good way of getting the word out. its an old method, but low cost.

    All we need to remember is B.C. has the highest child poverty rate in Canada, 8 yrs running and 82 people died of an infection in Burnaby General in 2 1/2 yrs. Should be enough to either scare people or embarras them into changing the government.

    I am sure we will see all sorts of ads in the not to distant future. And lord knows there is money enough to go around for it. I am sure a lot of it will be coming from organizations fronting for China & the mult national corporations who want to use B.C. as the sewer pipeline from alberta to the west coast.

    Once the voters realize the money is coming from outside organizations, that will be the end of things for the lieberals. I do hope someone will be "following the money".

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  14. Agree e.a.f.
    I have lots of time. And good suggestion in printing off blogs and handing them out. Post on social media too, others' blogs that we know people read. Bulletin boards in public places. Spread the word. We don't need the sun, province, nw, ctv, globull, corporate media. We all have a job to do to clean this province up. Yes, I have may not have $$, but I do have time.

    Thanks.

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  15. Before I jump in ;feet first.
    As believable as the article is where does this imformation come from?
    Is this assumption fact or gossip?
    I can appreciate that the 'powers that be" are beside themslves at the possiblilty that the golden goose will be exposed & that heads may (hopefully) roll but I need something more than gut feeling or opinnion before I bring out the 3030.

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    Replies
    1. It comes from a person who has been party to the discussions. The plan is incomplete but will follow the broad outline noted here. Don't expect the people involved to issue a press release but the odd one will have a twinge of conscience and more details will leak.

      Delete
    2. Norm, I echo the concerns of Anon 5:29 PM. I enjoy opinion pieces when they are expressed as such, or reportage that is based in fact or accompanied by source information. I do not enjoy a piece that blurs the line between those two, and cites no sources.

      No, I don't expect a "press release" from people forming partisan groups to achieve their aims, but I would appreciate a clearer demarcation from you between opinion and fact. This piece was written as if it were about fact when it's clearly just one person's words to another, without any apparent substantiation.

      We see enough references in the mainstream news media to an anonymous "insider source". To use that tactic in your blog just weakens your credibility.

      By the way, I'm aware of partisan groups forming to support the NDP using largely the same tactics (probably featuring less money though). So, by omitting any mention of the NDP, your piece gives readers the impression that the Libs are doing something horrible, and the NDP are not.

      This kind of one-sided fervor is not good no matter which party a person supports. This is no better than corporate media swiping at the NDP (e.g. Glen Clark's public hanging in the media). We must take an equal hand to whomever is deserving of criticism, to take similar measures for similar issues.

      Just a friendly word from an admirer... (who is not an admirer of either the BC Libs or NDs).

      Delete
  16. To quote you Norm from an answer given above:

    "The system will prove the contempt Liberals have for the HST referendum."

    We knew this all along. You see, the BC Liberals are just too predictable; the anger they have for the voters of the HST referendum and the business community this was all meant to profit is much like a child, to please the business community it was to in the first place, 'mommy, mommy, I want it, I want it, if you don't give it to me I'll stamp my feet and hold my breath; you're mean mommy (meaning the referendum voters in favour of scrapping the HST), I want it .. I'm never going to speak to you again mommy if you don't buy that toy for me .. wwwwhhhhaaaa hhhaaaa, please (meaning the BC Libs & all their business community election campaign donors who perhaps need to be paid back) .. I want it now, or else'

    By the way, Alex GT doesn't seem to be with you on this particular article given some of his comments. He states it doesn't hold a shred of truth. But then again Alex seems to swing, either he's all for something or completely against it (kind of black or white), very rarely a middle ground.

    Thanks for the article.

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    Replies
    1. What my source has suggested is entirely consistent with my own observations. The person did not say that Liberals have a firm plan to delay the next election date, only that one faction is advocating for that if all else fails. It might be political suicide but so is going into a May 2013 campaign trailing the Official Opposition by 20 points.

      Before writing this article, I spent hours going through newspaper archives in a survey of reports preceding the May 2001 election. There was a continuous stream of vituperation aimed at the sitting government from business organizations and and other groups purportedly acting in the public interest. Of course, some of those same groups will be active in the next year promoting the current government.

      By example, shortly before the 2001 election, Canadian Taxpayers Federation's Mark Milke published a highly partisan book that referred to "wild-eyed New Democrats" and called a former premier "Mad King Clark." Ian Mulgrew called the book a "bit of topspin on warmed-over Vaughn Palmer columns."

      Reading Palmer's work in the final years of NDP government leads to interesting comparisons with his work in these sunset times for the Liberals. BC Ferries was poorly managed by the NDP government but its been poorly managed in recent years too. This time though the subject doesn't interest Vaughn Palmer. The $40 billion or more in future
      energy purchases forced onto BC Hydro also escapes Palmer's focus today. Imagine if that situation took place in 2000.

      I could go on but the point is that we have a powerful establishment that wants a right wing, anti-labour, business friendly government. They are regularly helped in that objective by the corporate media.

      Delete
  17. Will the attempt at a coup be driven by ideology or fear of exposure of what I can only describe as insider trading?

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    Replies
    1. We're not talking coup or anything like it. The Constitution Act was amended in 2001 by the Legislature to establish future election dates, presuming the Lt-Gov does not dissolve the House before.

      A law made by the Legislature can be unmade by the Legislature so Liberals could eliminate the section that calls for fixed election dates every four years. However, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms determines that the maximum term for every provincial legislative assembly is five years. Thus, the latest possible date for an election (if the Liberals change the present fixed date) would be May 2014.

      Delete
    2. I realize that you used the term coup ironically and that your comment makes much sense. I suspect both motivations you mention are correct. For some, it is ideological. Others, for whom money is their personal god, worry more about exposure and scrutiny.

      Delete
  18. Excellent writing, Norm.

    I love the way you attribute the possible change of the Constitution Act to "activists".

    Just by waving that flag in this forum will no doubt kill any such move before it goes any further. I predict this article will grow legs, create lots of discussion, and ultimately cause the "activists" to pull in their horns before the idea can go any further. (Howzthat for mixing your metaphors?)

    Probably just what you intended.

    Power to the blogger!!

    Persey

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  19. Good post Norm.

    The real "propaganda" war, will be between the main stream media,(MSM) and the blogsphere, with social media being the "play ground". You, Alex, Layla, and a host of others, have proven that an "intelligent alternative",exists to the corporate controlled MSM.

    If Shepard and Hochstein et al, figure on "bending" the rules of democracy in this province, to suit their own agenda and that of the "BC Liebrals", they are sadly mistaken. Not to mentioned blinded, by their own arrogance and contempt, for the people of this province. These people, really do not get it. The "free enterpise coalition", has been seen for what it truly is, a "scam" against the middle class, and the less fortunate.

    The stench of BC Rail, the HST, BC Hydro IPP's and a host of other scandal's and deception, perpetrated, by the Campbell/Clark "regime", on the people of this province, is a true affront to democratic governance and integrity. If there ever was one. The economic deviance and outright co-opting of taxpayer resources by this government, has made them the most reviled, in the history of BC.

    To the "BC Liebrals", their free enterpise coalition "friends", and their backroom scam artists.
    Democracy is a cornerstone, of this country and province. Mess with it, at your peril.

    Time we sent some of these "clowns" to jail.

    ReplyDelete
  20. All Premier Photo-op needs is a few hours on the Bill Boring show on HATE'98. But but she had better be quick about it as HATE'98's listenership is sinking faster than the Titanic and sources have told the "Eye". that big changes are soon coming to that once flagship of BC Radio.

    The age of 'Vanilla Bill" maybe coming to the end as HATE'98 maybe morphed into a Rush Limbaugh style radio station, targeting a very narrow section of the audience.

    If this is true, HATE'98 will soon go the way of the old CJOR 600!

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  21. The pendulum will swing yet again, never stopping in the middle.

    And then we'll be reminded of what Churchill meant:

    "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

    Because that IS what's coming next with the NDP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Continue your reading to learn what socialism really is. Then show us where Adrian Dix and his team advocate that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned by the community as a whole.

      You damage your own argument through rash overstatement. Dix stands for a market economy with strong regulatory oversight. Quite different, is it not?

      Delete
    2. Anonymouse 1:26 is a perfect example (and victim) of the successful framing of Social Democrats as 'Socialists'.

      It's taken think-tanks and media years, but it's finally reached a tipping point in which uncritical individuals actually believe that there's no difference between advocates of modest tax increases and increased regulation on the one hand, and those who advocate totalitarianism and a one-party state on the other.

      Delete
  22. It is difficult to imagine that anyone of significant means will contribute a nickel to the current BC Liberal party, which is utterly unelectable with Clark as premier. So a major "rebranding" better include the following:

    1. an intelligent candidate (with demonstrated leadership and a grasp of the issues) for premier. Current party members need not apply.
    2. wholesale dumping of the old corrupt guard, starting with Coleman. Unfortunately, those with ability (Abbott, Falcon and Hansen) are likely too tarred to be of value.
    3. a positive story which addresses the provincial financial mess more convincingly than the NDP's current silence on the matter.

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    Replies
    1. Not enough. They have yet to serve their public jail sentence. The Liberals keep avoiding responsibility for there lying and thieving ways and think that if they hide long enough that we will all just forget. Keep dreaming.

      Delete
  23. Apparently Adrian Dix agrees with at least part of your claims here. On CKNW Sunday, he referred to Liberals creating a well financed American style Super PAC to promote Christy Clark and the Liberal Party.

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  24. American political ploys may work down there, but not here. The BS factor of this government is so high that, most people one talks to, want them banned or jailed. Our society has to come up with, a better way to police and enforce its democratic rights and institutions, for the good of all people,not just a rouge group of subversives. This assault on our democracy, orchestrated by the so called "free enterprise coalition", is nothing short of a political coup, engineered by a deviant group of capitalists, bent on their own agenda, and a
    deception of the electorate, to achieve their own ends. Truly a crime with intent, at the core of democratic principles.

    ReplyDelete

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