Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Canada's Senators, choose one

To help us decide which image best represents the Senate, Toronto Star provides a helpful resource HERE.

Do not click here if you anger easily:
  Comparative Costs – Upper Houses of Parliament: Canada and UK

H/T Chris M.

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Government we collectively deserve

A significant week just passed. Great days for some; difficult moments for others. Like many observers of British Columbia politics, I was surprised by the election result. Believing facts clear and the need for change obvious, I was not merely surprised. I was confounded and needed time to react.

The outcome demonstrates that I put too much faith in political polls and was too attentive to people followed in social media and real life. Beyond that, perhaps I had excessive faith in fellow citizens. After all, nearly half of the people registered to vote in BC didn't bother to show up at the polls. As a result, the Liberals hold power despite being affirmed by fewer than 16% of the provincial population. That is particularly disheartening. My father and uncles served in WWII; my grandparents, mother and aunts served at home. They treasured the right to stand against tyranny and influence public policy by voting.  They also passed regard for democratic responsibilities to their children. Apparently, most of my generation didn't convey the messages any further.

People who took time to investigate and evaluate knew that BC Liberals were beyond the best before date. Well beyond. I was certain and I assumed other informed people would also be certain. However, not enough folks made efforts to be informed. They bought the messages provided by wealthy media moguls or were distracted, watching Real Housewives of Dawson Creek or similar video trash.

MSM stalwart Keith Baldrey noted a few weeks back that social media participants spend much time talking to themselves and thereby misunderstand the political landscape and overestimate their collective influence. If that is a charge for me to answer, I reluctantly plead guilty.

Bob Mackin wrote a fine examination of the 2013 election. Without doubt, Adrian Dix and the NDP opposition snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It would be easy to blame Brian Topp, the Ontario strategist who, weeks before voting day, partnered in a consulting enterprise with Christy Clark allies Boessenkool and Guy. To all besides BC's would-be Premier, the move confirmed reservations about Topp's judgement and commitment.

Adrian Dix is the person who tolerated Brian Topp's presence. Dix decided it was best to stay quiet about specific Liberal corruption and Dix underlings instructed all to avoid a focus on major misdeeds of the opponents. Business people who provided documentary evidence of wrongdoing to the NDP opposition wondered why it was ignored and never heard about again. Whistle blowers in the NDP's 2013 world were not welcome. The party's aristocracy was waiting for the coronation they believed to be certain.

Long time political observer Norman Spector recently reminded us that politicians seldom examine the flimflammery of predecessors because tradition demands that sleeping dogs lie undisturbed when governments change. Adrian Dix misunderstood the custom; he thought the entire game should be played with softballs, even while opponents aimed hardballs at his head. The sad lesson is that people don't expect decency from politicians.

Before election night, I was told that BC Liberals were short of volunteers and, in most communities, reliant on paid staff for campaigning. I learned subsequently that despite rumours and dreams of endless volunteers, many NDP candidates faced similar difficulties. Like the Liberals, they had too few bodies but, unlike the Liberals, they had too few dollars. That was a perfect situation for the corporate welfare bums who who believe that paying for politicians results in the absolute best possible returns on investment.

Party workers who might have volunteered in earlier days now spend time on social networks, thinking they have contributed adequately. They don't bother to join the door knocking enterprises or the other tough work of running for office.

Dix is not entirely to blame. The NDP is not a vessel that can find calm seas. They've been defined by their enemies and the country's most brilliant strategists might not alter the situation. Perhaps the Green Party is best equipped to represent grass roots. To do that, they must avoid being captured by big business movements and large labour unions; difficult tasks when huge dollars are offered. To be meaningful, Greens must represent ordinary citizens of British Columbia and their future generations. Neither of BC's major parties seem intent on doing that now.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

For what it's worth

I may have been a touch off on the seat count, but at least I got the graphic right.

I'm heading headed off to vote. Before that, I'm joining I joined my equally sightless blogging colleagues and providing  provided a seat count prediction:
  • BC NDP - 58 [46%] ... Actual - 33 [39%]
  • BC Liberal - 23 [36%] ... Actual - 50 [44%]
  • BC Green - 1 [11%] ... Actual - 1 [8%]
  • BC Conservative - 0 [5%] ... Actual - 0 [5%]
  • Independent - 3 [2%] ... Actual - 1 [3%]
In the interest of transparency, I provide part of my working papers. No secrets here.

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Connections between wealth and power flourish in secret

An article I published almost three years ago is timely on this election day. Voters have an opportunity to change direction. If we do not, the plundering of British Columbia will accelerate. Gordon Campbell began with a set of principles and slid into corruption. Christy Clark started without principle.

Earlier in Northern Insights, the article Indeed, Power does corrupt contains words of Paul Graham that are a diagnosis and could be the prescription for reform in British Columbia.
"The problem here is not wealth, but corruption. . . We don't need to prevent people from being rich if we can prevent wealth from translating into power. And there has been progress on that front. . . But what's changed is not variation in wealth. What's changed is the ability to translate wealth into power.

"How do you break the connection between wealth and power? Demand transparency. Watch closely how power is exercised, and demand an account of how decisions are made. Why aren't all police interrogations videotaped? . . . Why don't government officials disclose more about their finances, and why only during their term of office?

"A friend of mine who knows a lot about computer security says the single most important step is to log everything. Back when he was a kid trying to break into computers, what worried him most was the idea of leaving a trail. He was more inconvenienced by the need to avoid that than by any obstacle deliberately put in his path.

"Like all illicit connections, the connection between wealth and power flourishes in secret. Expose all transactions, and you will greatly reduce it. Log everything. That's a strategy that . . . doesn't have the side effect of making your whole country poor."
Now, consider those thoughts and hold them in mind while I introduce the intermediary connecting Gordon Campbell and his puppet masters. Martyn Brown was the only witness in the opening weeks of the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial. Experienced pol and blogger Ian Reid wrote this about him:
"Brown, as you may know is the Rip Van Winkle of BC politics and can’t remember much about what’s happened in BC since 2001.  His default answer to everything Basi/Virk is “I don’t recall.”
Brown's forgetfulness and paucity of personal records is by carefully considered design and the purpose relates to the same fear that bothered Paul Graham's young computer hacker friend:
"What worried him most was the idea of leaving a trail."
Indeed, government of British Columbia is all about secret connections and one hand washing another, in private. Do you suppose for a moment that Martyn Brown functioned as Campbell's consigliere for years with a non-functioning memory? Do you suppose that Justice Anne MacKenzie believed Brown's lack of memory was anything but considered? The truth is that to manage without diaries and files requires an extraordinary memory.

BC Liberals are drawing more and more public business behind closed doors. Private negotiations replace open tenders. Public private partnerships hide information for "competitive reasons" and publicly owned private corporations shield major transactions from review. Trade councils and intermediaries controlled by government have been established to keep business out of the public sector. Crown corporations such as BC Hydro are made to follow government direction but allowed to hide contracts that commit citizens to pay tens of billions of dollars in future payments.

I could go on but the idea is clear. Again, I repeat that Campbell promised open and transparent government but he has given us the opposite. Liberal members of the legislature are frightened to speak out, they merely nod their heads and speak the words written for them by the leader's minions. Media pals, knowledgeable about ethical defects, close their eyes and write about other things. Some of them don't even hold their noses as they churn out pap punditry.
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Without core values, fake and phony

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Bankrupting BC with $171 Billion Debt Legacy

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Choose the coast you want for British Columbia

Tuesday's vote provides a rare opportunity for citizens to choose a course for our province and our children and the children of our children.

Do we want this:

Or, this:

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

But now the days grow short

And only one will say, "It was a very good year."

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Liberal campaign based on falsehoods

click here to read The New West Partnership Trade Agreement

Part I states operating principles, including:
  • ESTABLISH a comprehensive agreement on trade, investment and labour mobility that applies to all sectors of the economy;
  • ELIMINATE barriers that restrict or impair trade, investment or labour mobility.
  • SUPPORT ongoing trade and investment liberalization both nationally and internationally...
Read Yaila Yuile's fine work (it always is) on this subject, particularly the comments exchange with Kevin Logan September 11, 2012 12:24 am.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Absolute best comment written about Premier Photo Op

Long time Liberal Warren Kinsella, only guy in the four years of Northern Insight who threatened to sue this humble blogger, published the most precise description of Christy Clark yet written. It's in his piece, ADRIEN DIX IS GOING TO WIN.
"My problem was that she was, in her core, without a core. She was fake. She was phony."

From The Sermon on the Mount:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

“Valuable Consideration Mutually Given and Received”

This item is written by a Northern Insight reader I've known for years. He's done business regularly with the BC Government but in recent years, it's been a problematic relationship because he has refused all exactions issued by the "Pay to Play" BC Liberals. For that refusal, his business was targeted for injury. It's a business style we used to think was confined to third world nations. It is not so confined while Christy Clark, Rich Coleman and friends are in charge. It's business as usual.

"For valuable consideration mutually given and received."

This ubiquitous phrase in legal agreements has taken on new significance as documents related to the indemnification of Basi and Virk were released to the public by Jas Johal. Link

One has to ask what value the people of British Columbia received when BC Liberals relieved Basi and Virk of responsibility to repay taxpayers $6 million in legal fees owed as a result of their criminal activities.

What would have been the value of knowing the real reasons Liberals sold BC Rail to CN, a big financial contributor headed by a friend of Gordon Campbell, the Premier who promised voters he would not sell BC Rail.

What would have been the value of hearing testimony from elected officials and bureaucrats about the roles they played in the BC Rail matter, in court and under oath?

What would have been the value of learning how a plea bargain followed arrangement of generous terms for Basi and Virk, an inducement to plead guilty that shut down the judicial process that seemed certain to expose wrongdoing by BC Liberals?

We know the valuable consideration Basi and Virk gained was $6 million, no jail time and easy house arrest that barely confined them to home.

What mutual valuable consideration did the people of British Columbia gain?

The sad but obvious answer is none.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

An open letter from a concerned citizen of BC:

If ever the people of BC needed the power of the press, now is that time.

The Basi-Virk plea agreement made public yesterday lays bare the corruption of our courts for all who have eyes to see.

Now we get to find out if that same corruption has neutered our fifth estate.


For more on this story, read Jas Johal's report at Global TV.

Leaked Basi-Vrik documents: Letter from Richard Fyfe

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Only in Alberta, you say? Pity...

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