Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Tuesday September 30, 2008
Don't be fooled by the sweater
By BILL TIELEMAN
A majority government for Stephen Harper would be one of the most negative political events in Canadian history.
- Newfoundland Conservative Premier Danny Williams, Sept. 10, 2008.
Forget about Liberal leader Stephane Dion's Green Shift - if you are worried about Canada's future, beware of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Blue Shift.
Or more accurately, his Blue Sweater Shift - you know, the one where a right-wing politician keeps scary ideas hidden in his closet until he wins a majority and instead puts on a blue sweater of moderation to lull voters into thinking he's not threatening.
Then - bam! After the election the sweater goes back in the closet and out comes the full metal jacket - along with the entire neo-conservative wardrobe.
Doubt it will happen? Consider some of the warning signs seen to date.
First, Newfoundland's Conserva-tive Premier Danny Williams has gone so far as to run ads and set up a website calling Harper a "fraud" over reversing a promise to remove that province's non- renewable resource revenue from the equalization payment formula.
But Williams' anger goes way beyond that.
"If Stephen Harper gets a majority government, I'll remind you of the words of Bachman Turner Overdrive, 'You ain't seen nothing yet,'" Williams says. "His list of broken and unfulfilled promises portrays a lack of integrity in his character and shows us he cannot be trusted."
And this from a Conservative premier and businessman!
Williams isn't alone.
Harper defended a $45 million federal funding cut for arts and culture by saying "ordinary people" don't care when "people at a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers" complain about a "niche issue."
But award-winning director Atom Egoyan disagrees.
"It's not a niche issue, it's a huge issue," said Egoyan. "A lot of 'ordinary people' work as carpenters, technicians, drivers and support crews on films, plays and television productions."
But like the 55,000 workers who lost their jobs in Canada in July alone - the highest in 17 years - Harper only worries about getting ordinary people's votes, not protecting their jobs.
Harper wants to close Insite, Vancouver's supervised drug injection site where Dr. David Marsh says last year nurses intervened in 222 drug overdoses, saving addicts' lives to give them a chance to seek help.
More than 30 peer-reviewed medical studies say it works - don't believe Harper.
Will Harper fight climate change?
Former U.S. presidential candidate Al Gore - the Inconvenient Truth crusader - sounded like Danny Williams last year when asked about the Conservatives' environmental strategy.
"In my opinion, it is a complete and total fraud," Gore said. "It is designed to mislead the Canadian people."
And unlike in Gore's 2000 U.S. vote, in Canada the electoral fraud is actually running for prime minister.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Move along – no media conspiracy here – just both national newspapers bashing federal NDP call to rescind massive corporate tax cuts
I don’t subscribe to many media conspiracy theories about how the MSM – Main Stream Media – work at the behest of their corporate masters to muzzle the New Democratic Party and keep Canada safe from social democracy.
It’s too convenient, too glib and too complicated to work.
But every now and then I do have to wonder.
Case in point – in Saturday’s Globe and Mail and Monday’s National Post key columnists go all out to trash NDP leader Jack Layton’s call to halt the Stephen Harper Conservatives’ plan to massively cut corporate income taxes and instead use the money for social programs.
And then today the Vancouver Sun's lead editorial - titled "Tax and spend 1: Jack Layton's economic fantasyland" - joins the chorus defending lower corporate taxes.
Note to many other media – Layton did NOT suggest INCREASING corporate taxes – he merely said he would rescind Tory promises to lower the existing 22.12% corporate income tax rate down to 15% by 2012 – at least get that part right!
Simpson: “This is standard NDP boilerplate, and constitutes another flight from reality. Corporate tax rates are only one factor in profitability, location of investment, job creation - but they are a factor.”
“Governments all around the world understand that since capital is mobile in a global economy, corporate tax rates have to be competitive. One sure-fire way of killing jobs and stifling investment would be to raise corporate taxes, which is what Mr. Layton proposes.”
Ivison: “The problem is, if he [Layton] ever made it to 24 Sussex Drive, an almost pathological hostility toward the corporate sector would quickly turn Canada into a North American Zimbabwe .... There is near unanimity these days among economists and politicians that corporate tax cuts improve productivity, attract foreign investment and increase the national wealth.”
Yikes! Robert Mugabe in white-face and moustache, about to ruin our entire economy and then, no doubt, seize the land of farmers, outlaw the opposition and stash the ill-gotten gains of state socialism in his Zurich numbered bank account!
Lastly, the Sun joins in with a remarkably similar argument:
"Layton would hike the corporate tax rate back up to the 2007 rate of 22.12 per cent and not implement scheduled reductions that would have reduced it to 15 per cent by 2012."
"His plan ignores the reality that Canada's corporate tax rate has to be competitive with other jurisdictions to keep business here."
"He also ignores the fact that ordinary Canadians depend on healthy corporate profits not just for their jobs, but also as investors, either individually or through their pension plans. Those profits are already at risk in the turmoil now roiling the markets," the Sun editorialists write.
Unfortunately there are so many things wrong with Simpson’s and Ivison’s columns and the Sun editorial that I don’t have the time or stomach to list them all.
But let’s start with this – if the math or corporate taxes were so simple that even stupid socialists could figure it out, why would any developed nation even bother taxing corporations at all? Let’s be really, really competitive and do away with them!
Secondly, if the definition of a “flight from reality” is merely the modest idea that perhaps, just perhaps, corporations have had enough tax cuts already this decade – and they’ve had several – then maybe many Canadian voters are ready to buy a ticket on that flight.
Third, in a week when the world has seen how unbridled greed and unregulated corporations can devastate our economy, make a trillion dollars or more of stock value disappear in a single day and bring on unmitigated disaster for countless retirees, workers and poor people around the globe, why would anyone listen to a defence of corporate tax cuts?
Lastly, I absolutely favour free speech and the right of Simpson, Ivison and the Sun to publish strongly held views that I happen to disagree with profoundly.
But where is the diversity of opinion, the dissenting arguments that say not only is Jack Layton right on the money – but maybe even that he doesn’t go far enough?
Sadly, Canada’s national newspaper readers are only told that there is consensus about the need for corporate tax cuts, that those who do not agree are “pathologically hostile” towards business, that politicians who do anything to slow the inexorable reduction in corporate tax rates will “kill jobs”.
Happily however, it appears that many Canadian voters are prepared to resist and reject this alleged economic orthodoxy – because they’ve already seen the results of similar wrong-headed approaches to date.
Now if only we could a real national debate in our media on this and other important public policy issues – instead of one-sided pontificating that only gives comfort to those who preach a media conspiracy in this country – and brings new converts to that perspective.
Some more headlines from our balanced media across the country:
Calgary Herald - "Jack Layton's plan would kill Canadian productivity"Ottawa Sun - "Jack Layton and the real world"
National Post - "Layton says money will make poverty go poof"
It was a very short pre-trial hearing session today - so short I missed it due to my weekly appearance on CKNW's The Bill Good Show.
But outside BC Supreme Court Michael Bolton, lawyer for David Basi, said in an interview that the decision announced by Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino will speed up the pre-trial process.
"We're pleased to be receiving the solicitor-client documents we've been requesting for over two years," Bolton said. "Between two and four weeks of court time has been saved as a result."
"The Special Prosecutor advised the court the defence will receive the documents by next Wednesday," Bolton said.
Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi - all former BC Liberal government aides - face a variety of corruption related charges stemming from the December 28, 2003 police raid of the BC Legislature.
New Democratic Party MLA Leonard Krog said outside the court that releasing the material is long overdue.
"The good news is that the Crown is disclosing the documents, as they should. The bad news is they should have done so ages ago," Krog said.
Bolton said the next court appearance will be an update Monday October 20 at 9:15 a.m.
Friday, September 26, 2008
24 hours columnists have a wealth of experience in politics - so we decided to throw Bill Tieleman, Erin Airton, Alex Tsakumis and Ian King a curve ball and ask each to give advice to a political leader they wouldn't vote for in the Oct. 14 election. And we warned them - no bad tips to trip up the leader they were assigned!
STEPHEN HARPER CONSERVATIVES
By Bill Tieleman
One thing Harper has to avoid in the final stretch of the campaign is...
Don't let the media knock you off your winning message.
Harper is running a tightly controlled campaign with little opportunity for national or local reporters to put a spoke in his wheels.
While this infuriates reporters and no doubt many voters, they don't vote Conservative!
Harper needs to continue pushing his relentless message that he is the only leader capable of being prime minister and that he is more moderate than many voters believed he could be.
Stay cool, calm and collected ... and keep the local candidates quiet - they can only cause trouble if they talk.
One advantage Harper has above the other candidates is...
That Harper is the prime minister. Sounds simple but Harper knows how to use the advantages of his office and has been doing so throughout the campaign.
The more Harper looks like and sounds like the only choice who could be prime minister, the more likely he is to win a majority government.
Voters put heavy emphasis on leadership in an election - far more than issues - and even those who doubt some of Harper's policies may be convinced to set aside those doubts because there isn't a viable alternative.
Harper should drive that home in the last campaign days.
To win next week's debate Stephen Harper has to...
Pump up NDP leader Jack Layton and Green Party leader Elizabeth May and bash Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe hard while dismissing Liberal leader Stephane Dion constantly or even ignoring him.
The Greens can't elect a single MP and even a big boost for the NDP won't threaten most Conservative MPs. But a small rise for both parties could seriously hurt Liberals in ridings where they are competitive with the Tories.
Dion's unfortunate challenges in speaking understandable English means he will have a hard time impressing voters versus Harper, Layton and May - and even Duceppe may come across better.
JACK LAYTON NEW DEMOCRATS
Tieleman was the communications director to former premier Glen Clark.
By Erin Airton
One thing Layton has to avoid in the final stretch of the campaign...
Halfway through the campaign, Layton seems to have garnered good momentum, slowed perhaps only by the sudden "resignation" of three B.C. candidates.
He is the fortunate recipient of the demise of the Liberals, particularly here in B.C. His challenge will be to continue to demonstrate his own brand of leadership so that if the Liberals manage a bounce in the polls after the debate it won't steal too many votes back from his team.
Layton and the NDP need to hold their course, and continue to capitalize on weak Liberal voters, especially women, who can't stomach Dion.
One advantage Layton has above all other candidates...
Besides the dashing moustache, Layton's other strengths are his appeal to middle income women, who have traditionally voted Liberal, and the polling that places him as more credible on the environment than Dion.
Layton also gets points from union workers for his anti-business rhetoric, which gives him an advantage in struggling forest communities or areas beginning to feel the pinch of a potential recession.
In an election increasingly about strong leadership in challenging times, leftist voters are drawn to Layton's solid, serious campaign, which is in sharp contrast to the train-wreck that has the Liberals down to 15 per cent in B.C.
To win next week's debate, Jack has to...
The biggest stumbling block successful campaigns tend to have in the final days is a tendency for cockiness. Layton will need to maintain iron-clad control of his candidates, something that has been a challenge, and prove in the upcoming debate that he has the royal jelly to be more than just a second-tier opposition leader.
He needs to overcome his natural glibness when the questions get tough and appear thorough, well-briefed and, well, a leader. If Layton can avoid being cast as the perpetually sniping underdog, he might well appeal enough to Ontario voters to garner some of the softest Liberal seats.
Airton formerly worked with the B.C. Liberal Party and federal Conservatives.
STEPHANE DION LIBERALS
By Alex G. Tsakumis
One thing Dion has to avoid in the final stretch of the campaign is...
Dion must avoid getting drawn into the increasing grumbling by members of his caucus, party apparatus and even past hierarchs. It's clear they think he is a liability.
Try and stay positive. Don't engage them as some of your candidates have. Be the Fonz - stay cool.
Dion should allow Ignatieff and Rae to campaign as his surrogates everywhere except Ontario and Quebec, for obvious reasons. Dion is only effective with smaller groups.
Liberal numbers are in free-fall because the more Canadians see of Dion, the less they like him. As a result, the Liberals must relentlessly pursue the NDP, since they can't compete with the Conservatives anywhere in Canada. In B.C. the Grits could end up with one seat.
Mind, the Liberal's B.C. team is largely responsible for the successful hits on the disgraced, resigned NDP candidates.
It's not how I would ever run a campaign, but this is how the Martinite crew running Dion have ever achieved a win: bare-knuckled and scorched earth. Layton has candidates and supporters who are 9/11 conspiracy theorists and openly supportive of Islamofascism - exploit this now!
Don't send emails to the media; get Dion to make the announcement, challenge Layton to repudiate such insanity.
One advantage Dion has over the other leaders is ...
Less is expected of him than any of Duceppe, May, Layton or the Prime Minister, therefore any surprising gains by the Grits will look that much bigger.
To win next week's debate Dion has to...
Dion will have to perform with expert precision during the English language debate, since his campaign is deep in the tank. When he remains calm, he is understandable, but if he is challenged, and loses his composure, he might as well be speaking to Canadians in Ancient Greek.
Tsakumis was a political advisor to former premier Bill Vander Zalm.
ELIZABETH MAY GREENS
By Ian King
One thing May has to avoid in the final stretch of the campaign is...
Getting badly divided between the Green national campaign and her own bid for a seat in Nova Scotia, and flubbing them both. Never mind temporary MP Blair Wilson; May is by far her party's best chance of getting a seat this election.
Winning a seat in a general election gives the Greens more credibility than their previous accomplishments combined. A word of advice: The main benefit of deputy leader Adriane Carr running in Vancouver Centre is its proximity to TV studios should a Green sound bite be needed nationally.
Carr has no chance of winning her seat and can concentrate on the national effort.
One advantage May has above the other candidates is...
She's the closest thing to a maverick in Canadian politics today. Her personality helps; she's not as buttoned down as Harper and Dion, nor is she glib like Layton. May annoys free-marketeers, supporting a carbon tax, more regulation, and reopening NAFTA.
She's also infuriated many on the left by revealing her own difficulty with abortion rather than giving a pat answer. Her refusal to play it safe gets jeers from hardliners. For most Canadians, less and less tied to traditional left-right dogma, May's eclectic views and willingness to speak her mind can come across as genuine.
To win next week's debate May has to...
Every leader dreams of scoring that memorable blow; think Brian Mulroney's 1984 "You had an option, sir," or Gordon Wilson's "This is why nothing ever gets done" quip in 1991.
The opportunity to deliver that blow doesn't always come about - even to a skilled debater. Climate change will be her best chance to stand out.
If May can relate climate change to people's everyday lives - and show that neither the NDP nor the Conservatives are being upfront about the cost of fighting global warming - she can come out of the debate as the one candidate people are talking about the next day.
King is writes on regional politics for Vancouver 24 hours.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Time for media to get off the pot and do better job covering the federal election issues instead of endless fluff and polling
Tuesday September 23, 2008
Nothing but fluff in this campaign
By BILL TIELEMAN
Let me win the election, and after that you come and ask me questions about how I run the government.
- Jean Chretien, then Liberal leader, 1993
Poop dropping puffins. Puffin' pot politicians. A prime minister who's a fruit, not a vegetable and an insensitive agriculture minister who's a cracker.
A Green Shift-less Liberal leader. A debatable Green Party MP. And seemingly endless regional, rolling and frolicking polls.
Is this why we live in a democracy with free elections? Is this why countless refugees flee repressive dictatorships where even advocating that citizens should have a vote leads to jail or death?
So far the federal election has been remarkably void of a serious discussion of the issues that matter most to Canadians.
And the media, not politicians, are significantly to blame for refusing to give us substantive information and instead focusing on horse race stories and the latest candidate going up in smoke.
Here's what I want the media to get from parties and their leaders, instead of puffin poop.
Healthcare: I have one friend dying of cancer, three friends with multiple sclerosis, one family member with a chronic illness and another who is on a long waiting list for surgery to fix a debilitating condition.
They and I want to know how the parties can help make their lives better. How will they deal with the shortage of family doctors, nurses and health care workers?
How will they help the provinces provide faster services to those in need?
And don't simply tell me you'll spend more money than the other parties - I'm not buying it - I'm just paying for it.
I want to hear good ideas, new approach and a plan, not a blank cheque.
Afghanistan: Canada has lost the lives of almost 100 brave men and women soldiers and the security situation is deteriorating. This despite taxpayers spending an estimated $21 billion in military costs and development aid there.
Now Prime Minister Stephen Harper says our troops will come home in 2011 regardless of the situation - if so, why not right now, to save more lives?
Jobs: British Columbia has seen 11,000 workers in the forest industry lose their jobs since 2007 and the disastrous free trade lumber agreement with the United States. Canada has lost 500,000 family-supporting manufacturing industry jobs in five years.
What do the opposition parties propose to do about it, since the Conservative policy appears so far to be to simply wave goodbye?
There are lots more important challenges facing this country.
It's time media and politicians got off the pot and got onto the issues that actually matter to the people who are affected by them - Canadian voters.
Monday, September 22, 2008
RCMP reverse policy, issue release saying allegations against BC Liberal MLA Dave Hayer "unsubstantiated" and no Special Prosecutor ever appointed
Hayer also reversed his previous position last week, first saying in a statement released by the BC Liberal caucus that he could not comment on a matter before the courts, then telling CKNW radio the next day that he had done nothing wrong.
The allegations were raised by Michael Bolton, defence lawyer for David Basi - who along with Bob Virk faces breach of trust charges in connection with $1 billion privatization of BC Rail. Bolton, quoting RCMP documents recently disclosed to the defence, said Hayer was under investigation by police for allegedly working with Basi to have debts owed by constituents to the Insurance Corporation of BC dropped or forgiven.
This incident shows how refusing to comment meaningfully allows a story to get out of hand. Hayer, the RCMP and also ICBC all refused to address the allegations initially - using the standby excuse that it was "before the courts."
But it was not. It was an unsubstantiated allegation reported in court - neither Hayer nor Basi were ever charged with anything.
Had Hayer, the RCMP and ICBC quickly responded in a forthright manner an intriguing story would have been stopped in its tracks.
Instead, because of an unfortunate propensity for secrecy and obfuscation, Hayer got a public drubbing in the media - including this blog and 24 hours newspaper.
And that should be a lesson for Attorney-General Wally Oppal - Stonewally to some - and the BC Liberals regarding other aspects of the BC Legislature Raid case. Questions about BC Liberal dirty tricks are entirely answerable in the Legislature and elsewhere, as there are no charges against anyone connected to them.
Here is the RCMP E Division news release in full:
B.C. - Unsubstantiated allegation against MLA
2008-09-19 15:47 PDT
Victoria, BC - The RCMP wish to address media reports this week surrounding the case of Regina vs Basi, Basi and Virk which is currently before the courts. The media have been reporting about an allegation against MLA Dave Hayer in the context of this proceeding.
The allegation involving Mr. Hayer raised in court this week was examined by the RCMP Commercial Crime Section and was found to be unsubstantiated.
The file relating to this allegation was closed. No report was made to Crown Counsel, and the RCMP did not ask for a Special Prosecutor.
Sgt. Tim ShieldsNCO i/c Strategic Communcations Section"E" Div. Strategic Communications
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Congratulations to all those who won nomination and thanks to every candidate who stood for nomination. Public service as an elected official is a much and unfairly maligned duty that few citizens are willing to take on - the fact that such an impressive field of candidates offered themselves to Vision voters is a good sign for politics in Vancouver - and the November city election.
I would also like to thank everyone who contacted me or commented positively on my recommendations for Vision candidates for council, school and park board. It appears this morning that 14 of the 16 candidates I supported have won nomination.
Lastly, I especially am pleased to see that Sharon Gregson has been nominated to run for Vision on the Vancouver School Board, where she was the party's only incumbent trustee. It shows that her hard work, dedication to kids and parents and expertise in both education and child care issues were more important to Vision members than unfortunate controversy about her personal hobby.
Here are the results:
City council - 8 to nominate
George Chow, Heather Deal, Raymond Louie, Tim Stevenson, Kerry Jang, Geoff Meggs, Andrea Reimer, and Kashmir Dhaliwal
[Note - Just 17 votes separated Kashmir Dhaliwal and David Eby for the eighth spot on council.]
School Board - 4 to nominate
Sharon Gregson, Patti Bacchus, Kenneth Clement, and Mike Lombardi.
[Note - Ken Clement took the fourth spot by eight votes over Stepan Vdovine in fifth place.]
Park Board - 4 to nominate
Constance Barnes, Aaron Jasper, Sarah Blyth, and Raj Hundal.
Raw results from Vision Vancouver in alphabetical order
City Council Results - Top eight are candidates are candidates in November
Adams Kolber Vaune 1031
Bencze Doug 724
Chow George 3248
Deal Heather 3704
Dewberry Andrew 762
Dhaliwal Kashmir 2240
Douzenis Demitri 1094
Eby David 2223
Evans Catherine 1717
Harrison Heather 2034
Jang Kerry 2387
Lam Ray 1127
Louie Raymond 3746
Meggs Geoff 2851
Reimer Andrea 2988
Stevenson Tim 3271
Umlas Rey 1217
School Board Results - Top four are candidates in November
Bacchus Patti 2053
Chhina Narinder 1881
Clement Kenneth 1962
Gregson Sharon E. 2969
Lombardi Mike 2177
Luke Helesia 1846
Mirras Anastasia 1574
Vdovine Stepan 1954
Park Board Results - Top four are candidates in November
Barnes Constance 2242
Blyth Sarah 2602
Ditmars Hadani 834
Gill James 1261
Hundal Raj 1963
Jasper Aaron 1999
Kosovic Tony 1453
Lockhart Thomas 389
Neilson Kevin 788
Tannock Steven 368
Waddell Ian 1738
Wynen Rob 983
UPDATE September 23, 2008
The Vision Vancouver recount of ballots has confirmed the original results from Saturday night.
Here is Vision Vancouver's news release of this morning:
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
VISION TEAM IN PLACE WITH NOMINATION RECOUNT COMPLETE
(VANCOUVER) Vision Vancouver announced the results of their nomination recount today, with Ross Street Temple President Kashmir Dhaliwal winning a council spot, and community activist Ken Clement securing a place on the Vision school board slate. The recount took place Monday night.
"I'm thrilled with the talent of the Vision team," said Vision Mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson. "Kashmir and Ken bring the skills that we need in civic government: community leadership, a commitment to inclusivity, and a desire to focus on issues, not partisan politics. It's great to have them on board, and with our team in place, I'm looking forward to the election in November."
"The Vision team is diverse, talented, and experienced, and stands in sharp contrast to the NPA's handpicked slate," said Vision Vancouver co-chair Mike Magee. "The excitement and energy from our nomination race demonstrated just how much momentum Vision has. The fact that the nomination races were close enough to warrant two recounts reflects that."
Both Kashmir Dhaliwal and Ken Clement reiterated the need for community engagement and a culture of inclusivity in civic government.
"I'm excited to be working with Gregor Robertson and Vision to help bring inclusive leadership back to City Hall," said Dhaliwal. "For too long, the NPA have ignored different communities around the city - and it's time for that to change. Gregor shares my commitment to building bridges with different communities, and that's why it's so important that he becomes Mayor."
"When it comes to respecting cultural diversity - a critical issue in our schools and at City Hall - Gregor gets it," said Clement. "It's reflected in the balanced team Vision has. I'm proud to be working with Gregor and excited about the positive, progressive choice we'll be offering to Vancouver voters in November."
David Eby, who finished 9th in the recount for council, congratulated Kashmir on the campaign.
"I'd like to extend warm congratulations to Kashmir on a hard-fought nomination," said Eby. "I've got a lot of respect for the work that he's done, and he's a big asset to the Vision team. They are well-placed to take back City Hall, and get down to work on the most urgent issues in our city: homelessness and affordable housing. Gregor and the Vision team have my full support."
Thursday, September 18, 2008
ORIGINAL ARTICLE POSTED SEPTEMBER 18, 2012
NDP demand answers from Attorney-General Wally Oppal on investigation status of Dave Hayer
MLA Dave Hayer tells CKNW news today that he has done nothing wrong despite allegations made in BC Supreme Court yesterday by a defence lawyers representing David Basi.
"When any constituents of mine comes in and asks for help right, we listen to them, we try to advocate on their behalf irregardless of who the constituents are as long as they're not doing anything criminal or illegal," Hayer said.
"I'm confident I haven't done anything wrong, but I treat all my constituents equally," Hayer said.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tieleman debates Minimum Wage tonight - 7:30 p.m. Vancouver Public Library with BC Fed President Jim Sinclair, Taxpayers Fed's Maureen Bader
The debate will be moderated by David Berner and is sponsored by Langara College's Langara Dialogues series.
It's at the Vancouver Public Library at 7:30 p.m. in the Alice MacKay Room in the lower level. Doors open at 7:15 p.m.
Join us for a lively debate.
BC Liberal MLA Dave Hayer cleared by police
Statements made in this article, while made responsibly when originally written, have been determined to be unfounded by the RCMP. The allegations were unsubstantiated. The file relating to the allegation has been closed. No report was made to Crown Counsel and the RCMP did not ask for a special prosecutor.**
** Note from Bill Tieleman - the headline and statement above have been posted on Saturday May 12, 2012.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE POSTED SEPTEMBER 17, 2008
B.C. Liberal MLA Dave Hayer was under police investigation as part of the B.C. Legislature Raid case defence lawyers for two former ministerial aides facing corruption charges alleged in B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday.
Michael Bolton, representing David Basi, former aide to ex-Finance Minister Gary Collins, told Justice Elizabeth Bennett that new disclosure of documents to the defence revealed that Hayer was investigated on allegations that he and Basi were attempting to have “assessments or collections” of money owed to the Insurance Corporation of B.C.
“We’ve now got disclosure of the Basi-B investigation. It turns out it’s an investigation of MLA David Hayer regarding collaborating with Hayer to forgive ICBC assessments or collections against some of his constituents,” Bolton said. “It appears that David Hayer was under investigation at one stage.”
“That investigation fizzled out but originally we thought only Mr. Collins was under investigation. Obviously Mr. Hayer and Mr. Collins were at various times under investigation,” Bolton said.
“That’s important information we’re getting years down the road,” he added.
Neither Hayer, MLA for Surrey Tynehead nor an ICBC representative was immediately available for comment. Hayer's office said he was travelling with a BC Legislature committee seeking input on the BC budget and would forward an interview request.
NDP MLA Mike Farnworth said the government needs to “come clean” on what happened.
“We’ve heard in the past that no elected officials were under investigation and this flies in the face of that. What have they been covering up?” Farnworth said outside court.
Bennett also heard defence complaints about the volume of disclosure of evidence and the status of Freedom of Information requests.
Outside court Bolton said the defence has waived the right to appeal FOI requests to the Freedom of Information Commissioner and asked Bennett to rule on them herself.
“We sought all information relevant to the B.C. Rail deal and government contact with lobbyists related to the deal,” Bolton said of the FOIs filed with the premier’s office, the ministry of transportation and other government ministries.
The court is scheduled to begin another hearing September 29 on the vetting of approximately 1000 documents related to solicitor-client privilege claims filed by the government.
Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino said outside court he hoped to work with the defence to significantly reduce the number of documents to be vetted and the time it would take.
Bennett suggested that both sides may wish to discuss the matter with her in court next week.
The court also heard that a Victoria court will begin hearing breach of trust and bribery charges against David Basi and two Vancouver Island developers in early January.
Bolton said Justice Ernie Quantz has suggested that trial begin January 15, 2009 over allegations that Basi, Tony Young and James Duncan attempted to remove land from the Agricultural Land Reserve for a housing development.
Whenever an MLA is investigated a Special Prosecutor must be appointed. That appointment is also supposed to be published in the British Columbia Gazette so long as it does not affect the investigation.
I have placed a call to Bill Berardino to determine if a Special Prosecutor was indeed appointed and if he was that prosecutor.
The Crown Counsel Act reads:
Directions from Attorney General on specific prosecutions
5 If the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General gives the ADAG a direction with respect to the approval or conduct of any specific prosecution or appeal, that direction must be
(a) given in writing to the ADAG, and
(b) published in the Gazette.
Policy directive from Attorney General
6 (1) If the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General wishes to issue a directive respecting the Criminal Justice Branch policy on the approval or conduct of prosecutions, that directive must be given in writing to the ADAG and, in the discretion of the ADAG, may be published in the Gazette.
(2) If the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General wishes to issue a directive respecting the administration of the Branch, that directive must, if requested by the ADAG, be given in writing and may, in the discretion of the ADAG, be published in the Gazette.
MORE TO COME ......
The following statement was just received from MLA Dave Hayer:
September 17, 2008
A statement from Surrey-Tynehead MLA Dave Hayer:
"I understand that allegations have recently been made in a court case. Out of respect for the independent judicial process, I am unable to comment on anything that comes out of any case that is currently before the courts."
The pre-trial hearing today is only an update on the case, not the start of an actual trial - which may be up to a year away - or may never happen.
I will file a report here on what happens later today.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Tuesday September 16, 2008
Vancouver vote a big one for future
By BILL TIELEMAN
In the television age, the key distinction is between the candidate who can speak in poetry and the one who can only speak in prose.
- Richard M. Nixon
While the three-ring circus known as the federal election rages on, this Saturday, another vote could determine Vancouver's future for years.
With 16,000 members, Vision Vancouver is Canada's largest civic political party and will choose candidates for city council, school and park board to compete with the Non-Partisan Association in November, as Vision's Gregor Robertson challenges the NPA's Peter Ladner for mayor.
Here's who I'll be voting for Saturday.
Council - 8
Vision Vancouver's councillors have done an excellent job holding Mayor Sam Sullivan's NPA majority to account. Raymond Louie, Heather Deal, George Chow and Tim Stevenson all deserve to be re-nominated.
Vision is fortunate in having to choose four more council candidates (an agreement gives the Coalition of Progressive Electors two candidates) from many well-qualified individuals. But these four show the poetry to win.
Andrea Reimer - The former Green Party Vancouver school trustee is a well-known environmentalist with amazing energy.
Geoff Meggs - Executive assistant to popular former mayor Larry Campbell, Meggs knows Vancou-ver and city hall. His background in labour and running his own business gives him skills the city needs.
Heather Harrison - An academic and environmentalist, Harrison came just short of joining council last election, she could win this time.
Kerry Jang - the University of B.C. psychiatry professor is knowledgeable and concerned about those with mental illnesses who are left on our streets.
School Board - 4
Sharon Gregson - More than any other candidate, Vancouver School Board trustee Gregson stands out as someone Vision needs to nominate. A tireless advocate for children and parents, a recognized national expert on child care, Gregson is Vision's only VSB incumbent.
Regrettably, some have criticized her competitive firearm target shooting hobby - which has nothing to do with her impressive record at the VSB, like winning the support of former NPA trustee Eleanor Gregory.
Patti Bacchus - A longtime advocate for students with disabilities who has served on the Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council, Bacchus.
Mike Lombardi - A former teacher who also worked for the B.C. Teachers' Federation, Lombardi's background will make a difference.
Narinder Chhina - A business owner, Chhina is also active in multicultural organizations.
Park Board - 4
Aaron Jasper - The energetic West End Residents Association's Director has been an effective advocate for that neighbourhood.
Constance Barnes - A community activist with a strong arts and culture background.
Raj Hundal - One of Vision's first directors, Hundal is active with Vancouver's cultural and immigrant communities.
Sarah Blyth - A young mother who helped form the Skateboard Coalition.
Tough to make choices but Vancouver voters are the real winners.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Tuesday September 9, 2008
Is Harper really on your side?
By BILL TIELEMAN
The Tories, every election, must have a bogeyman. If you haven't got a program, a bogeyman will do.
- Aneurin Bevan, British Labour Party politician, 1897-1960
While some may think Prime Minister Stephen Harper has launched Canada's first Seinfeld election - like the television comedy show about nothing - nothing could be further from the truth.
This election is actually about the untrammelled power that would come from a Conservative majority win - and that's the prize Harper seeks.
But despite a Tory advantage in the polls, an abysmally weak Liberal leader whose party has fearfully propped up the Conservatives and Harper's seeming first-place choice as who should be prime minister, nothing is certain yet in this election.
For example, the Conservatives are making Harper their one and only messenger. But right off the bat, the Tories' research is faulty.
One of their two campaign slogans is that Harper is "On Your Side."
The only problem for the Conservatives is that this was also the winning phrase for a surprisingly successful election - for then-Premier Glen Clark and the B.C. New Democratic Party in the 1996 provincial vote that attacked B.C. Liberal leader Gordon Campbell as a big business-backed politician who would slash social programs.
And unlike Harper, Clark's "On Your Side" campaign featured a series of populist moves - freezing post-secondary tuition, car insurance premiums, B.C. Hydro rates and increasing the minimum wage among them.
Harper may want to appeal to lower and middle income voters but he'll never be mistaken for a working class hero. And with hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs lost during Harper's term, he is hardly a reassuring choice for workers.
The Conservatives' second slogan - "Canada. We're better off with Harper" - isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of their own leader.
But it is obviously aimed at their own "bogeyman" - hapless Liberal leader Stephane Dion - because the Conservatives want to make the ballot question, "Who should lead Canada: Harper or Dion?"
And it just might work.
Rather stunningly, a poll by Ipsos-Reid found that Dion came in third as Canadians' choice for "who would make the best prime minister" with just 20 per cent, far behind Harper at 50 per cent and NDP leader Jack Layton at 31 per cent.
Meanwhile, British Columbia will again be a key battleground - after vote-rich Ontario, of course - with nine of our 36 seats in the 2006 election being won with margins of less than six per cent of the vote. Four are Liberal ridings while the NDP hold three, Conservatives two, swing seats.
With seven of those nine in Greater Vancouver, expect to see Harper, Dion and Layton here often in the five-week campaign.
And on Oct. 14, we'll find out if bogeyman politics actually work.
Monday, September 08, 2008
The announcement of that agreement follows:
Cooperative Agreement between COPE and Vision Executives
(VANCOUVER) The COPE and Vision executives are announcing a tentative agreement for cooperation for the 2008 election.
Both organizations feel that the agreement is an important step to create the kind of campaign that can return progressive government to city hall.
Members of both organizations have consistently sought a cooperative effort and the executives of both Vision Vancouver and COPE have endorsed an agreement that will see the following:1) COPE, Vision, and the Green Party have agreed to run less than a full slate of candidates for each level.
The breakdown is as follows:
a. Mayor: Gregor Robertson
b. Council: 8 (Vision), 2 (COPE)
c. School Board: 5 (COPE), 4 (Vision)
d. Park Board: 4 (Vision), 2 (COPE), 1 (Green Party)
2) Vision and COPE will cooperate around specific policy issues, including a strategy on homelessness.
"Vision Vancouver believes the issues in this upcoming election are too important to be ignored. With this agreement, we can work with COPE to maximize our chances to bring progressive government back to Vancouver," said Mike Magee, co-chair of Vision Vancouver.
"It is crucial that we work together to return progressive government to city hall, park and school board, said COPE Councilor David Cadman. "We want to work with Gregor Robertson and Vision to cooperate around areas of common concern. With this agreement we can avoid splitting the progressive vote and create a better Vancouver."
The cooperation agreement is subject to ratification by the COPE membership at their Sunday, September 14 policy conference.
“For British Columbians, there is a double risk that comes from the carbon tax proposal: imposing a made-in-Ottawa carbon tax on [top of] B.C.'s existing carbon tax. Canadians don't want a new tax and British Columbians don't want double carbon taxation,” Harper said.
And if you don't like the BC carbon tax, join my Facebook protest group - which has almost 10,000 members - by clicking on the link just above.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
My colleague Michael Smyth writes about this issue in today's Vancouver Province also.
"For Immediate Release Sept. 5, 2008
CAMPBELL MUST ACCOUNT IN LEGISLATURE FOR PRIVATE JET USE, SAYS NDP
VICTORIA – Gordon Campbell should stand up in the legislature this fall and explain why he flew to the Beijing Olympics on a private jet rather than taking a more environmentally-friendly commercial flight, New Democrat environment critic Shane Simpson said today.
“Gordon Campbell seems to be completely out of touch with his own policies. Private jets are notorious polluters. If he were serious about reducing carbon emissions, Gordon Campbell would encourage his corporate friends to fly on regular commercial airplanes rather than jetting around the world with them in a private plane,” said Simpson.
“British Columbians deserve to know why, when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Gordon Campbell thinks there is one standard for him and his friends, but another for the rest of us. This fall, the premier should come back to the House and explain why he’s not willing to walk the walk when it comes to climate change.”
Simpson noted that a seat on a commercial flight from Vancouver to Beijing generates an estimated 2.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide, whereas a private jet such as a Gulfstream GIII emits 59.7 tonnes for the same flight.
Although Campbell has refused to answer questions about who shared his private jet to Beijing, media reports indicate that the passenger list included the premier, his wife, VANOC Chair Jack Poole, and B.C. Liberal insider Peter Brown, which would mean an estimated 11.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per passenger.
“Gordon Campbell’s carbon emissions from a return trip to Beijing on a private jet with three of his friends would be the same as driving a mid-size car for almost seven-and-a-half years,” said Simpson.
Simpson noted that although carbon offsets can be purchased for airline flights, the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to first cut back on energy use."
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
I am still on vacation for a few more days but will make sure comments are put online as quickly as possible - so long as they do not come in during the martini hour!
Thanks - Bill Tieleman