Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vancouver provincial by-elections voters reject BC Liberals' cheating, elect 2 NDP MLAs in Fairview, Burrard

Despite enormous efforts by the BC Liberal provincial government to cheat their way to 2 by-elections wins by running expensive, taxpayer financed advertising campaigns, the New Democratic Party has won both seats in Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview tonight.


NDP candidate and COPE Park Board Commissioner Spencer Herbert cruised to an easy win in Vancouver-Burrard over former Vancouver Canucks hockey and Grizzlies basketball team owner Arthur Griffiths, with the Elections BC preliminary results showing a 6,516 votes to 4,841 lead or 50% to 37%.

The Green Party finished with just 686 votes or 5.28%, barely ahead of the BC Conservative Party at 604 or 4.65%.

In Vancouver-Fairview, the NDP's Jenn McGinn - a VanCity Credit Union staffer - beat the BC Liberals' Dr. Margaret McDiarmid - a former president of the BC Medical Association, in a closer vote. McGinn led McDiarmid by a count of 5,487 to 4,779 or 46.7% versus 40.6% according to Elections BC.

Green Party Leader Jane Sterk finished with just 856 votes or 7.28% while BC Conservative Party Leader Wilf Hanni had 483 votes or 4.11%.

Turnout in the by-elections appears very low - less than 30% in each - as voters faced ballot fatigue and intentionally poor timing set by BC Premier Gordon Campbell. The votes were scheduled just 15 days after the federal election and barely two weeks ahead of the province-wide municipal elections.

The twin NDP wins may prove to be a boost for NDP leader Carole James hard-line opposition to the BC Liberals' carbon tax, as well as Campbell's TV address and "economic recovery" plan last week.

And Vision Vancouver will undoubtedly be pleased to see the NDP take two key city ridings, one of which was vacated by its mayoralty candidate Gregor Robertson.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BC Liberals cheating to win in 2 by-elections on Wednesday with taxpayer-paid government ads

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column
Tuesday October 28, 2008

Feel-good ads don't feel so good


You can't cheat the public for long.

- Tennessee Ernie Ford, country singer

It's bad enough when a political party is grossly hypocritical and it's worse when they cheat to win.

But when a party uses your own money to do both, it's downright disgusting.

And that's what the B.C. Liberals are doing right now - using taxpayers' money to run feel-good government advertising to try winning two provincial byelections in Vancouver tomorrow.

If you haven't seen or heard the newspaper and radio ads running constantly this month, one says:

"In the last seven years, we've cut over 100 taxes. On July 1, personal income taxes were reduced for all British Columbians ... And, in January 2009, personal income taxes will be reduced again."

The ads are illustrated with a handy chart showing how much your taxes were reduced since 2001.

Why 2001, I wonder? Oh yes, that's when B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell took office!

Doesn't that make you feel good? Good enough to vote for B.C. Liberal candidates in Vancouver-Fairview and Vancouver-Burrard?

And while businesses are regulated by truth in advertising rules, government propaganda is not.

If it was, the B.C. Liberal government ads would have to talk about the massive tax increases they also introduced since 2001.

You know - the carbon tax in July, the other 2003 Campbell gas tax of 3.5 cent a litre, the huge 50 per cent increase in B.C. Medical Services Premiums in 2002, plus insurance, tobacco and other tax increases - but why spoil the mood?

Fortunately, some politicians adamantly oppose using taxpayers' money to influence voters.

"I can tell you this: We are going to end government feel-good advertising," one of them said. "People don't want to see us use their money for that."

That was Gordon Campbell in November 2000, as opposition leader.

But now that he controls government advertising, Campbell is turning on the taps at our expense in a desperate effort not to lose both seats.

And there's more.

New full-page government ads in Vancouver papers say you can "save money" if you "take action against global warming" - thanks to provincial programs.

As if it wasn't bad enough that millions of taxpayer dollars are spent to buy votes, there's more.

This hypocritical government that runs its own ads during byelections will also severely restrict third-party advertising for 88 days before and during the provincial election.

They don't want anyone - other than the government - to influence your ballot.

But voters in Vancouver-Fairview and Vancouver-Burrard can send Gordon Campbell and his hypocrites an unmistakeable message on Wednesday by voting for B.C. New Democratic Party candidates Jenn McGinn and Spencer Herbert.

The message is pretty simple - don't try cheating us with our own money.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Is that really it? Premier Gordon Campbell's free-time political broadcast shows lack of common sense in lame approach to fiscal crisis

Is that really it? That's all Premier Gordon Campbell had to offer British Columbians facing the biggest economic crisis in decades?

Hopefully voters will be able to cut through the guff and see the Mcguffin in Campbell's freetime political broadcast.

Accelerated timing for previously announced tax cuts as we head into recession? Does anyone really believe that cutting government revenue will produce anything but a lot of red ink on the balance sheet?

Fortunately some commentators have crunched the numbers and seen the reality behind the TV address - most notably Will McMartin in the Tyee and David Schreck.

Interfering in the operations of the allegedly independent BC Ferries? Wasn't that made completely improper by the BC Liberals? Ooops, not if there's an election of the horizon.

I expect to see BC Ferries CEO David Hahn's resignation on Campbell's desk shortly to protect his independence.

Recalling the Legislature? You mean to have the scheduled sitting you previously cancelled?

Increased deposit insurance for credit unions? Was there a run on VanCity last week that we didn't know about?

Doubling the commission for businesses collecting GST and PST? Wall Street is responding favourably to that huge economic stimulus.

I suspect the Premier's new pension plan - can I have his MLA pension instead please? - is written on the back of a napkin like his post-secondary education grant of $1000 per baby a few years ago, as Sean Holman exposed.

Let's see the details - and I might even support it.

Meanwhile, I'm just waiting for the second TV address Campbell will give around July 2009 if he's re-elected: "The fiscal situation has turned very grim indeed - we'll have to severely cut government programs. Who knew?"

You read it here first!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tieleman to MC South Fraser Perimeter Road town hall meeting in Delta Wednesday October 22

I am pleased to have been asked by Delta North MLA Guy Gentner to MC an important meeting Wednesday night in Delta on the South Fraser Perimeter Road project and its negative environmental impacts.

MLAs Corky Evans, Guy Gentner, MC Bill Tieleman and MLA Charlie Wyse at the Delta Town Hall meeting.


October 22, 08 7pm - 9pm

Firehall Centre for the Arts - 11489 84th Avenue

MC: Bill Tieleman - Journalist and Radio Commentator


Don Hunt, Sunbury Neighbourhood Association

Eliza Olson, Burns Bog Conservation Society

Corky Evans, MLA

Stephen Rees, Transportation Economist

Eric Doherty, Transportation Planning Consultant

Questions and Answers: Open Mike

Conclusions: What now?


Strategic voting fails in federal election - look at Saanich-Gulf Islands results for proof

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

Tuesday October 21, 2008

Strategic voting doesn't work


Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy.

- Sun Tzu, The Art Of War, 500 B.C.

I come not to praise strategic voting but to bury it.

Perhaps the obituary is premature but a hard look at what happened this federal election in Saanich-Gulf Islands should give even the most ardent strategic voting fans serious pause to reconsider.

If strategic voting was ever going to make an enormous difference in the results it was in Saanich-Gulf Islands, where Conservative Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn was widely expected to be handily defeated.

Not only were several environmental strategic voting websites targeting the much-unloved Lunn but in mid-campaign skinny dipping New Dipper Julian West was forced to drop out in a controversy and the NDP could not replace him.

Federal Liberal candidate Briony Penn was practically packing her bags for Ottawa, as it was presumed that NDP voters would move from West to the popular former television environmentalist.

And as a former member of the Green Party, Penn expected to drain votes from the Greens' Andrew Lewis as well.

To make it even better, B.C. NDP MLA David Cubberly endorsed Penn, as did wildlife painter Robert Bateman and former federal Liberal Environment Minister David Anderson.

And strategic voting website weighed in, urging Saanich-Gulf Islanders to shun Lunn:

"Vote splitting elected oil-friendly and pro-nuclear Conservative Cabinet Minister Gary Lunn in this riding .... Briony Penn is our recommendation and has the best chance at defeating Conservative Gary Lunn," Vote For Environment said.

"The NDP candidate has dropped out of the race. This is now one of the most important ridings in the country and Conservative candidate Gary Lunn will likely go down if the NDP votes move to the Liberals and voters vote for the environment instead of based on partisan politics," the website concluded.

What could make for an easier win?

But the best-laid plans went astray when real voters got into the polling booths and refused to put Penn to paper.

Lunn won re-election with 43.4 per cent of the vote to Penn's 39.4 per cent and Lewis' 10.5 per cent.

Most surprising though, was that the NDP's West - whose name was left on the ballot because of his late withdrawal - picked up 5.7 per cent and a significant 3,667 votes.

That total would have easily erased the 2,625 vote gap between Lunn and Penn. So would have a fraction of Lewis' 6,742 Green votes.

To recap - in a riding environmentalists identified as among the most critical in Canada, with the Liberals running an environmentalist and former Green Party member against a despised Conservative, and the NDP candidate having publicly withdrawn - strategic voting failed to deliver a win.

Time for a new strategy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

BASI-VIRK - 3 weeks set aside for pre-trial hearing on disclosure of over 400 documents that are still disputed evidence

Justice Elizabeth Bennett has set aside three weeks of BC Supreme Court time starting November 24 to deal with a pre-trial hearing on disputed disclosure of evidence in the BC Legislature Raid case.

Bennett heard from the Special Prosecutors Janet Winteringham and Bill Berardino that they have worked with defence lawyers for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi - all charged with corruption counts - to reduce the number of disputed documents where disclosure will be contested in court.

"Of 1500 documents we're down to just over 400 to be litigated," Winteringham told Bennett.

Bennett told both sides she wants the disclosure phase finished soon.

"I want to have all of these disclosure issues resolved by the end of the year so we can deal with motions in January," Bennett said.

But Michael Bolton, representing David Basi, said there still may be problems.

"We have a concern with the level of compliance with the June 2007 disclosure order," Bolton said, referring to Bennett's ruling that forced additional disclosure of evidence to the defence.

"One issue is RCMP emails," Bolton said, adding that the defence had received 500 emails from one RCMP officer but none from others.

Bennett also asked both the defence and Crown to consider if the actual trial can begin before the issue of how a secret witness will testify is resolved by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Berardino is seeking leave to appeal a decision by Bennett that defence lawyers could be present to hear arguments about keeping the identity of one witness secret. Berardino's appeal to the BC Court of Appeal earlier this year failed but he has applied to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to have Canada's highest court hear the issue and potentially overturn Bennett's decision.

"Let me pose this question - whether we can start the trial if the Supreme Court of Canada grants leave [to appeal] or denies leave to appeal," Bennett said. "I'll leave that with you for now."

Another update hearing will take place on November 19 at 9:15 a.m.

Friday, October 17, 2008

BC Green Party Leader Jane Sterk reacts to former interim Green Leader Christopher Ian Bennett joining BC Liberals

BC Green Party leader Jane Sterk says former interim Green Party Leader Christopher Ian Bennett "fails to understand the Green Movement" after he joins BC Liberals to support Premier Gordon Campbell

BC Green Party leader Jane Sterk doesn't appear to have much good to say about former interim Green Party leader Christopher Ian Bennett, who quit the Greens yesterday to join the BC Liberals.

Bennett was the controversial leader appointed by the Green Party after longtime leader Adriane Carr resigned to become federal Green deputy leader under Elizabeth May.

Sterk - in an exclusive email to this blog - said she wasn't surprised by Bennett's defection.

"Some people fail to truly understand the Green Movement, especially those who play comfortably in the dysfuntional political system that characterizes British Columbia, as Christopher does," Sterk said.

"Throughout Christopher's brief term (May - October 2007) as Interim Leader, many Greens thought his views and policy positions were more congruent with the BC Liberals than with the Green Party of BC so this should be a more comfortable home for Christopher."

Sterk said she even predicted Bennett's departure.

"I'm starting to feel rather prescient. The night before the municipal elections in 2005 I predicted I would top the polls in Esquimalt and I did and I predicted Christopher Ian Bennett would become a BC Liberal even while he was serving as Interim Leader of the Green Party of BC."

But Sterk found some positives in the fact that the BC Liberals issued a news release prominently noting Bennett's former role with the Green Party.

"I find it curious and complimentary that Premier Campbell and the BC Liberals would make Christopher's brief association with the Green Party of BC such a featured part of their announcement. It would suggest we are on their radar screen and they think they can persuade Greens and those leaning to our Party to vote Liberal because Christopher has made this decision."

Sterk doesn't think anyone who is a true Green could ever vote for Campbell and his party.

"The goals of the two parties are so fundamentally different that no-one who understands Green Principles and Policy would vote for the BC Liberals," she said.

"Finally, I would like to correct a misrepresentation in the BC Liberal press release. Christopher Ian Bennett was appointed by the then Provincial Council to the position. Provincial Council does not have the power to elect an interim leader. The power to elect a leader rests with the party membership. We wish Christopher well," Sterk concluded.

For his part, Bennett says on his own blog that he won't disown his Green Party work but sees Campbell and the BC Liberals as the party for him.

"I'm not interested in pointing out where I feel the BC Green Party started to fall short for me, or where I find fault in the way the party is moving strategically. I don't want to make it about that," Bennett writes.

"It's more important for me to point out that in terms of economic strategy, urgency towards climate change, as well as job creation and business leadership, the BC Liberal Party is getting it right, and I have found myself more and more aligned with the Premier's leadership on many of these fronts over the last year."

But Bennett - perhaps inadvertently - refers to the BC Liberals problems on his blog.

"I want to work with those who shape the laws in this province and aren't afraid to make the tough choices, even in spite of polling popularity," Bennett writes in an apparent reference to Campbell's strongly despised carbon tax on gas and other fuels.

Campbell lauds Bennett's "ability" in a news release issued yesterday.

"I'm pleased to welcome Christopher to the BC Liberal team where he can strengthen our discussions," Campbell says in his news release. "In his time as the leader of the BC Green Party, I respected his ability regardless of party label to stand up for what was right for British Columbia and right for the future of our Province."

The release says Bennett has already begun his work with the BC Liberals to help party candidates Arthur Griffiths and Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid in the upcoming October 29th provincial by-elections in Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview.

"Margaret and Arthur are quality candidates who understand the issues of the economy and sustainability in the 21st century," said Bennett. "More specifically, Arthur's been a longtime friend and mentor of mine and I firmly believe he would make an excellent MLA, as will Margaret."

Bennett - who was once described as "Wonder Boy" in a public relations news release uncovered by Sean Holman of Public Eye Online - was at odds with many in the Green Party several times during his tenure as leader.

Green leadership candidate Ben West took exception to Bennett's praise for Gordon Campbell during that contest, telling Public Eye Online that Bennett remarks in a Georgia Straight story were damaging:

"I've become increasingly concerned with Chris Bennett's comments - which I think have been harmful to the party and the province. Though I respect his passion, I've become increasingly concerned with his analysis."

"I don't think we should be giving thanks to the Liberals for lip service. The real credit should go to the voters for pushing a climate change denying government to make statements that make it sound like they support environmental issues and environmental concerns," West said then.


Christopher Ian Bennett has responded to my request for comment on this story. Here is his view, verbatim:

"I consider Jane Sterk to be an exceptional leader, someone I think will continue to serve the Greens with great ability and integrity.

Despite our differences in green perspective or leadership styles, I respect her a great deal and wish her and the party well.

I know both Carole James and the Premier have got another opponent to worry about now, and I think Jane is up to the task.
I congratulate her on the historic first steps into the UBCM this year where she got everyone talking and set the tone for the up-coming by-election.
Well done, Jane. Well done.

I haven't a negative thing to say about her or the provincial party. I stand PROUDLY behind the work I did as interim leader and the things the party and my team accomplished.

But alas, as Jane Predicted, the Green tent was not big enough for me and my often centrist or even right wing ideals across some platforms. There didn't seem to be much room for anyone who navigated outside the very leftist and often activist agenda that has dominated the party for so long.

In then end, one interim leader alone can't broaden the appeal of a party, that's up to the members, the council and each candidate the chooses to run as a Green.
I still think Damian Kettlewell is the other one to watch, I expect amazing things from him too.

I feel that those who consider the environment a top priority will find a new and emerging champion in Premier Campbell and his team. Without question he is the 'greenest' Premier we've had in BC and I know that there's even more he wishes to accomplish on this agenda - which was what made joining the BC Liberals such an easy transition for me.

I'll look forward to some spirited debates about this idea in the months ahead.Jane is 100% right -- the Greens are on everyone's radar these days, and I know she'll make a worthy opponent in this by-election and beyond.
I think the NDP are going to have really watch their flank with Jane, she's going to do VERY well in this by-election, I'd even go so far as to say on the record that she'll most likely come in 2nd (at least!).

To any of my critics within the party or without, I can only add: I'm all ears. I don't mind. I wish the party the best of luck.

Christopher Ian Bennett, Former interim Leader, Green Party of British Columbia Proud new father to an exceptional baby boy."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The high price of electoral disfunction - what the federal election voter participation decline means for public funding of political parties

There may have been no big electoral winners in the federal election results when it comes to party representation in the House of Commons - but there was one big financial winner in terms of taxpayer funding of political parties.

The Green Party and leader Elizabeth May suffered yet another embarrassing failure to launch - not a single MP elected and their one last-minute controversial convert - West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast MP Blair Wilson - went down to crushing defeat.

But the Green Party is literally in the green when it comes to public financing, based on the raw results of election night votes. [Note - these votes are based on available early data and may change somewhat.]

The Greens increased their popular vote by 2.3% to 6.8% - that meant gaining 276,679 more votes than in 2006.

Under federal electoral financing rules - reformed by former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien to severely restrict corporate and union donations -every political party gets about $1.81 per vote per year indexed to inflation.

The Green Party will get $500,789 more in public funding than after the 2006 election. That means they should get a little more than $1.7 million annually.

But the other parties will pay the price for Canada's record low voter turnout - even as some increased their percentage of the popular vote, their actual votes all dropped due to voters staying home.

The big loser is obviously the Liberal Party - which lost 19 seats on October 14 and 4% of the popular vote compared to its 2006 results.

Because the Liberals received 846,525 fewer votes they will get a big cut of close to $1.53 million less in public funding annually, a painful blow.

While the Conservative Party's popular vote went up by 1.3% over 2006 to 37.6% they actually got 168,737 fewer votes as a result of the lower voter turnout. So they will get $305,414 less public funding per year.

The New Democratic Party percentage of popular vote increased 0.7% over 2006 but like the Conservatives, their actual votes dropped. The NDP received 72,522 fewer votes, meaning a public funding cut of about $131,000 per year.

The Bloc Quebecois also lost 0.5% of the popular vote and received 173,636 fewer votes than in 2006. This means $314,000 less in public financing annually.

All of this points to one clear fact that every party should agree with - increasing Canada's voter turnout is a tide that would raise every party's ship.

Stephen Harper - Sacre Bleu sweater! - blows the election and misses Conservative majority with 2 huge mistakes

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

Wednesday October 15, 2008

Sacre bleu sweater - Harper blew it!


Politics is the art of the next best.

- Otto von Bismarck, German chancellor, 1815-1898

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper woke up this morning at 24 Sussex the first thing he likely said was: "Sacre bleu sweater! I blew it!"

And he did. Harper is stuck with another minority Conservative government instead of the majority he desperately wanted because he made two key mistakes.

It didn't seem possible early in the campaign. A relentless advertising attack on Stephane Dion had made the Liberal leader look hapless and helpless, certainly no choice for prime minister.

Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe seemed equally inept, with nationalism a low priority in the province.

Meanwhile, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton was aggressively chasing Dion for abstaining 43 times in Parliament to keep Harper in power, while nipping at Liberal heels in Quebec.

Harper did the math - make modest gains in la belle province and hold the fort in Ontario, the Atlantic and western Canada, let Layton bash Dion and merci beaucoup - four years of majority power.

But politics is more an art than a science and Harper made two disastrous miscalculations.

On Sept. 23 Harper attacked arts and culture after cutting $45 million in funding.

"I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see a gala of a bunch of people, you know, at a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers claiming their subsidies aren't high enough when they know those subsidies have actually gone up - I'm not sure that's something that resonates with ordinary people," Harper said in a Jeff Foxworthy "You might be a redneck if ..." moment the old Reform Party would have loved.

But not Quebecers. The incredibly stupid move galvanized the province's artistic community and kick-started the Bloc Quebecois.

The counterattack hammered the Tories in Quebec and any chance of more seats there.

Then came another huge error by Harper. The financial market meltdown terrified Canadians, who saw their retirement savings devastated and their jobs on the line.

So what were Harper's reassuring words of leadership? "I think there are probably some gains to be made in the stock market," he said.

Ouch! Mr. Compassionate strikes again. Harper's hopes that English Canada would reward the Conservatives disappeared, along with his majority dream.

But at least Harper still has the keys to his office. Watch for the Liberal bloodletting to begin as Dion's failure to communicate in this election leads to his swift demise.

And with a Liberal leadership review constitutionally required, Harper can safely ignore any threats that the Liberals will defeat his government.

It may be the Canadian Parliament but it's back to the Mexican standoff between political parties that has marked the last several years.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bill Tieleman on CKNW AM 980 Election Night from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., CITY TV on Wednesday Oct 15 8:15 a.m.

I will be doing political commentary throughout the federal election night results on CKNW AM 980 from 6 to about 11 p.m. with special coverage hosted by Jon McComb and with reports from CKNW's reporters, hosts and commentators, including Christy Clark, Mike Smyth, Sean Leslie, Michael Levy and many more.

I hope you will tune in on the radio or online where ever you are!

And watch for my election results column in Wednesday's 24 hours newspaper.
I will also be appearing on CITY TV's Breakfast Television to talk about the results from about 8:15 a.m. to 9 a.m.

And watch Shaw Cable's Voice of BC with host Vaughn Palmer Thursday at 8 p.m. where I will be among several commentators discussing the election outcome.

Will McMartin and the Curse of Judy Higginbotham

My old friend and former colleague at the late and lamented CBC Radio Early Edition political panel of old - the irreplaceable Will McMartin - has inked another of his fine tomes for the good folks at The Tyee.

I wouldn't ordinarily give McMartin a plug and his story headline makes it sound like a bloody Nancy Drew Mystery but hey - the old Socred warhorse mentioned my name in it, so what the hell!

Here's the first part - whether you are brave enough to read the rest is up to you!.......

In which McMartin braves his editor's wrath to float a humble election theory.

Published: October 14, 2008

It was a couple Monday mornings ago. I'd arrived at work early and found the complex of Tyee offices still dark and empty.

But the official list of 2008 federal general-election candidates was being released that morning by Elections Canada, and I wanted to look at it as soon as I could.

I'm a pundit. It's my job. It's what I do.

After making my way to the basement, going past the janitorial supplies and piles of old desktop computers, keyboards and monitors, I finally got to my office next to the boiler room.

For some reason, I was the only Tyee writer who didn't have a desk in the expansive newsroom with its vaulted ceilings and massive picture windows.

There were rumours that my banishment stemmed from an ill-considered skinny-dipping incident at a company picnic several years ago, but no one in management had ever spoken about it to me.

I made a pot of coffee, fired up my old computer and, sitting down at my battered metal desk, started going through the candidates' names, riding by riding. Suddenly, about two-thirds of the way down the list of B.C. hopefuls, I suddenly stopped, bolted forward and stared hard at the screen.

My mouth dropped. Whaaaaa? Holy cow! This was unbelievable. How on earth did this happen?

A single name leapt off the computer screen. It was a handle so well-known among B.C. political junkies, so legendary and so renowned for its electoral record that I slumped back in my chair, thunderstruck, nearly immobile.

Finally, after what in hindsight seems to have been an eternity, I roused myself and leaned over to open the bottom drawer in my desk. I found the bottle of scotch hidden at the back and poured a finger or two into my coffee.

I know, I know: The Tyee has a strict policy forbidding the consumption of alcohol before noon, but this was serious; I needed a bracer, badly.

I finally roused myself after taking a couple of gulps of my coffee-scotch concoction and managed to type a short e-mail for The Tyee's executive offices: "The election is over. Stephane Dion and the Liberals are doomed."

I hit the Send button and then, grasping the coffee cup with both hands and taking long, slow sips, stared out the window and contemplated the vagaries of B.C. politics.

Tieleman on the air

Over the next few hours, I checked the web for news stories, placed phone calls to operatives in various campaigns, and made a few notes for upcoming columns.

It was almost 10 a.m., time to turn on the radio and listen to the Monday morning pundits, Tieleman and the other guy.

Sheesh. Bill Tieleman was a unrepentant, card-carrying lefty pinko, but he'd been around the political block a time or three, devising and implementing campaign strategies for a couple of decades at least.

He'd won some, he'd lost some, but he knew what he was talking about. Having been there and done that, he knew spin from spam. But the other guy?

A retired factotum, a put-to-pasture bureaucrat whose election experience was zilch or close to it, had he ever even put up lawn signs? A political strategist? It was like a guy who, because he once had a friend who collected baseball cards, claimed to know how to hit an off-speed, two-finger splitter.

How Tieleman managed to put up with it, week after week, was beyond me...

Rule by terror

Suddenly a shadow appeared on the far wall of my office. I whipped my feet off the desk and spun around to face the hulking monster standing menacingly in the doorway.

One look at his scowling face and I quickly cast my eyes downward to the floor so as to avoid eye contact.

It was David Beers, The Tyee's editor-in-chief.....

Continued at: The Tyee

Nothing "strategic" about strategically voting in the wrong candidates!

The flavour of the day in this federal election campaign is "strategic voting" - with the implied presumption that voting for the candidate you think is best for your riding and most close to your beliefs is somehow NOT strategic.

I find this regressive and disturbing for a lot of reasons.

First - elections are about making value decisions, choosing the candidate who you personally feel is best.

It is not about betting on the horse you think will most likely win so you make some money at the track.

Second - if you don't think there are any substantial differences between the federal parties in this election, either you haven't done your homework or you really only care about a single issue or very narrow range of issues.

Case in point - I live in Vancouver Quadra. Joyce Murray is the Liberal MP as of the recent by-election and is again running in a close race against Deborah Meredith of the Conservatives. The NDP candidate is David Caplan, who replaced Kirk Tousaw - the former Marijuana Party activist. The Green Party candidate is Dan Grice.

According to one of the major strategic voting websites - Vote For Environment - I should vote for Joyce Murray:

"Vote splitting could elect a Tory in this riding and so we recommend voting for the incumbent, Liberal Joyce Murray."

But Joyce Murray has a terrible record on the environment.

Murray was the "environment" minister in BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell's government when fish farms were radically expanded, the ministry cut wildlife protection by 25%, stopped publishing the names of corporate polluters and took a number of other extremely regressive actions detrimental to the environment - including even dropping the name "environment" for that ministry!

Why on earth would I vote for Joyce Murray to save the earth?

I could also argue that the federal Liberals did nothing when in power to implement the Kyoto Accord or deal with species at risk or force Victoria to stop dumping raw sewage into the ocean etc, etc.

This illustrates the fallacy of "strategic voting".

Third - strategic voting deprives the party you would otherwise support of considerable federal funding - about $1.81 per vote per year. If tens of thousands of voters cast their ballot for a party they don't really want to support but have been "strategically" pressured towards, the party of their true interests faces a significant financial hit - and makes it even less likely that they can compete fairly in the next election.

Lastly - it's pretty obvious that the federal Liberal Party has the most to gain from "strategic voting" to block Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, which happens to help maintain a two-dominant-party system. If you truly support the Liberals, good for you, but if not - don't sell your beliefs out of fear.

A Facebook group has been started to oppose strategic voting.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Allegations of racist advertising raised in Vancouver-Kingsway election battle

Allegations that a supporter of federal Liberal Vancouver-Kingsway candidate Wendy Yuan placed racist advertising in the Friday October 10 edition of Sing Tao Chinese-Canadian newspaper have been raised to a Vancouver photographer and political observer.

The ad claims NDP candidate Don Davies neither speaks Chinese nor has Chinese community leader support and that he has a "union background" and would "raise taxes."

The ad points out that conversely Yuan "speaks Chinese" and has Chinese community leader backing.

However Davies' website does list a number of prominent Chinese Canadian supporters, including NDP MLA Jenny Kwan, Vision Vancouver city council candidate Kerry Jang and Coalition of Progressive Electors activist Meena Wong. Davies campaign responded with its own ad.

Photographer Patrick Tam sent an email to Yuan's campaign complaining about the content of the ad and copied his email to several media outlets.

"If my humble opinion counts, Wendy or whoever authorised this ad should apologise for this racist, un-Canadian ad," wrote Tam, an NDP supporter.

But the Wendy Yuan campaign strongly denies it placed the ad.

"Let us be very clear that this was a 3rd Party Ad and it was not published by the Wendy Yuan campaign. We did not authorize it and had no prior knowledge of it," says an email from Peter L. Xie, from Yuan's campaign, that was sent to several media, including this blog.

The ad was allegedly sponsored in Sing Tao by "Yi Xin Chen" but no information was immediately available as to Chen's identity or whether such a person placed the ad.

Here is a verbatim English translation of the ad provided by Patrick Tam:

* * * * *


Liberal Party candidate Wendy Yuan:

- successful entrepreneur
- cut taxes
- speaks Chinese
- has [CHN] community leader support

NDP candidate Don Davies:

- union background
- increase taxes
- do not speak Chinese
- no [CHN] community leader support

This federal election, the Conservative party candidate is so unknown that he's only an also-run.

Please unite, on 10/14 cast a vote for our Chinese community candidate, Wendy Yuan.Thank you!

Authorised by Yi Xin Chen

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tieleman on CBC TV Sunday News - Sunday October 12 at 10 a.m. on NewsWorld, 11 a.m. CBC main channel on election

I will be on CBC TV's Sunday News at 10 a.m. Sunday October 12 on CBC NewsWorld and 11 a.m. on CBC TV's main channel as part of a feature story on democracy and proportional representation in the federal election.

The item cnn be seem online at:

Hope you can tune in!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Green Deputy Leader Adriane Carr, Leader Elizabeth May responds to Guy Dauncey's call for strategic voting that excludes Greens

After posting the previous article about Green Party supporter Guy Dauncey urging Vancouver Island residents to vote NDP and Liberal in the federal election to block Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, I invited Green Party Deputy Leader Adriane Carr to respond.

This evening I received the following Green Party news release directly from Carr. It does not deal at all with Dauncey's suggestions but in the interest of fairness I am publishing it in full:

Thursday October 9, 2008

Elizabeth May Says No To Strategic Voting

On Tuesday, Canada needs to elect Green Party MPs, leader Elizabeth May said today.

“Media reports and suggestions from other parties that I am urging strategic voting across the country or that backroom deals are being made are complete nonsense,” Ms. May said. “As I have said over and over, strategic voting is generally not a sound strategy at all and I do not support it. Canada needs to elect Green MPs. “

Ms. May was responding in particular to the headline and opening of a Globe and Mail story that directly contradicts what she said to the reporter.

“I clearly said that voting strategically as advice is pretty useless. I also said: ‘Suggesting one should jump away from the Green Party is very bad advice indeed.’

“We have a strong team of candidates across Canada. Every one of them is working hard to win and this much we know for sure: Canada needs Green MPs. I intend to win in my riding of Central Nova and I want to be joined by a strong caucus of MPs, like Adriane Carr in Vancouver Centre, Blair Wilson, Mike Nagy, Dick Hibma, , John Fryer, Huguette Allen and others. We are running strong campaigns across this country.”

“The best outcome of the election will be the defeat of the Harper government and the election of as many Green MPs as possible.”
Ms. May noted that support for her leadership, and the Green Party and its forward-looking policies continue to rise.

“Perhaps what is worrying the other parties is the strong support the Green Party has received from Canadians in this election. In this election we will elect our first MPs.

“I want to do politics in a much different way, with collaboration, civility and respect. But I am not making deals with other parties, and the Greens are not in discussions with other parties.

“I will say it once again so absolutely no one can be confused or misled: I want Canadians to elect Green MPs.”

- 30 -

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Prominent Green Party supporter Guy Dauncey urges strategic voting for NDP, Liberals on Vancouver Island and forget Greens

Prominent Green Party supporter and environmentalist Guy Dauncey is urging Vancouver Island voters to forsake all Green Party candidates and vote NDP and Liberal in ridings where they can defeat Conservatives.

Dauncey - who says he wrote the national Green Party's climate platform - calls on voters to support four NDP candidates and one Liberal candidate. Dauncey makes no recommendation between an NDP and Liberal candidate in another riding.

Here is his complete email:

From Guy Dauncey:

Please forward this far and wide if you agree.

Dear Friends,

Voting on Vancouver Island

I know it hurts to vote against your instinct, to make that all-important democratic tick for a party other than the one you believe in.

Under our antiquated, colonial, discriminatory, stupid, undemocratic, first-past-the-post voting system, however, when we split the progressive vote not two but three ways, every vote for a candidate who has little chance of winning makes Conservatives cheer.

They are laughing all the way to a possible majority government, packed with Conservative MPs many of whom, If the disgraced MP Maxime Bernier is anything to go by, think climate change is a joke, a Rocky Horror Show of doom and gloom dreamed up by us eco-freaks.

I have been a member of the Green Party in Britain and Canada, on and off, for 35 years. I wrote our Canadian Green Party's climate platform, that was awarded the highest rating by the Pembina Institute. And I am urging all people of a progressive hue not to vote Green, but to vote strategically, to put aside party loyalty for greater loyalty to our Planet Earth.

We absolutely must stop the Conservatives from getting back into power. A Liberal/NDP/Green coalition government (hoping Elizabeth May gets elected) would get Canada back on track with committed action on climate change.

In Vancouver Island North, this clearly means voting for Catherine Bell, NDP - see

In Nanaimo-Alberni, this clearly means voting for Zeni Maartman, NDP - see

In Nanaimo-Cowichan, this clearly means voting for Jean Crowder, NDP - see

In Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, it's a close race between Keith Martin (Liberal) and Jennifer Burgis (NDP) - see

In Saanich-Gulf Islands, this clearly means voting for Briony Penn, Liberal - see

In Victoria, it clearly means voting for Denise Savoie, NDP - see

This is also what 120 of Canada's top climate scientists are urging us to do - vote strategically - see

Just as a comment - if all these candidates won, with Jennifer Burgis in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, 100% of Vancouver Island's MPs in Ottawa would be women - which would be amazing.

To all those committed Greens who think this means I am betraying my deepest principles - I apologize. Our undemocratic voting system turns good friends into bickering enemies, which is a drag. I have good green friends who are running for the Green Party, and I'd love to support them - but it just does not make sense.

And yes, we all want to see Proportional Voting in Canada.

We will NEVER get this with a returned Conservative government. But we MAY have a slim to good chance with a new progressive coalition government.

with best wishes,

Guy Dauncey


Wally Oppal's shameful obfuscation and inaction lets Patrick Kinsella off the hook for alleged unregistered lobbying

Wally Oppal used to be known as a straight-shooter, a judge who told it like it was, regardless of who might disagree.

What a sad caricature he has become as the Attorney-General who is sent out to defend the indefensible for the BC Liberals and Premier Gordon Campbell.

The latest embarrassment to get the Stonewally treatment - the outrageous case of Patrick Kinsella - the BC Liberals' Mr. Big - who is alleged to have lobbyied repeatedly without ever registering as required by a Liberal-passed law.

Registrar of lobbyists David Loukidelis - also the Freedom of Information Commissioner - has given up investigating Kinsella because the BC Liberals election campaign chair from 2005 and 2001 refuses to cooperate.

And thanks to a grossly inadequate Lobbyists Registration Act, that means Loukidelis can do nothing.

"Because of my restricted mandate under the LRA, I am unable to gather information from unwilling parties or to impose corrective measures or sanctions even if I were to believe that a person has engaged in unregistered lobbying," Loukidelis wrote in a letter to New Democrat MLA Leonard Krog, who released it.

Oppal told the media he agrees the Act needs to be fixed - but has no idea when that might happen. Hmmmm ....let's guess: it won't be before the May 2009 provincial election.

And Oppal positively bristled when questioned yesterday about Kinsella.

My 24 hours colleague Sean Holman - who has doggedly investigated this case and broke all the news on it - posted the entire transcript at his Public Eye Online website. Here's a short excerpt that gives the flavour of Oppal obfuscation:

Media: Do you think Patrick Kinsella is making a bit of a mockery of this by refusing to cooperate?

Attorney General Oppal: First of all, I'm not going to comment on his actions.

Media: Why not?

Attorney General Oppal: Merely, because this is brought into the public and the opposition has taken the liberty to expose his name doesn't mean that it doesn't deserve any kind of public comment. If someone is contravening the act, there is a remedy - in spite of the fact it's not within the act. The fact is the police could investigate that person.

Media: He's a prominent Liberal supporter. Leave his name out of it. Shouldn't prominent Liberal supporters respect the spirit of the act, which is to cooperate?

Attorney General Oppal: Well, the other side of the coin is maybe he's not a lobbyist. I don't know.

And on it went.

What a disgrace.

Fortunately there's still one option left for getting at the bottom of this situation - Krog has asked the RCMP to investigate.

Unfortunately that would be the same RCMP that investigated the Basi-Virk case and led to the BC Legislature Raid. The 5th anniversary of that Keystone cop caper will be marked on December 28 - and still with no trial in sight.

Patrick Kinsella - rest easy.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Stephen Harper rally tonight requires attendees to pre-register! Only in Canada, you say?

It appears that holding a political rally with Prime Minister Stephen Harper has become a major security concern - at least in Vancouver.

Here's an email from Vancouver Centre Conservative candidate Lorne Mayencourt to his supporters about how to pre-register to attend a rally tonight:

From: Lorne Mayencourt - Information []
Sent: October 07, 2008 3:21 PM

Subject: Important Invitation from Lorne Mayencourt!

The Prime Minister will attend a major rally in Vancouver.

Details are as follows:

Date: Wednesday, October 8th

Where: The Westin Bayshore Hotel, 1601 Bayshore Drive, Vancouver, BC

Doors Open: 6:00pm

Rally Starts: 7:00pm

Registration: MANDATORY, call 1-778-565-4965

For RCMP security reasons, you must pre-register by phoning 1-778-565-4965. You will need to include your name, address and phone number.

Please note that large bags, satchels, backpacks or similar items will not be allowed in. Campaign signs on metal or wooden sticks will not be permitted either.

We are looking forward to having a large contingent of Vancouver Centre supporters!

Looking forward to seeing all of you on Wednesday!


Lorne Mayencourt

Monday, October 06, 2008

NDP Leader Jack Layton the only choice for a real Opposition Leader in federal election

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

Tuesday October 7, 2008

Layton's the ideal opposition


You can't do your job as Leader of the Opposition. I don't know what you're doing running for Prime Minister.

- NDP leader Jack Layton to Liberal leader Stephane Dion

It's a very unusual political situation when every voter knows even before the federal election is called that Canada's next prime minister will be Stephen Harper.

NDP leader Jack Layton with Tom Mulcair, NDP MP for Outremont.

Like or loathe it, the Conservatives will be returned to power on October 14.

But two other important questions are far from decided - who will be Opposition leader and whether it will be a minority or majority government.

After last week's debate and two years of Harper government one thing is very clear - the only real federal opposition in the House of Commons is the New Democratic Party.

And the only real choice for Opposition leader is Jack Layton.

Liberal leader Stephane Dion is a smart, decent man. But Dion and the Liberals don't stand up to Stephen Harper - they prop him up.

On 43 separate occasions in Parliament, Dion's Liberals voted to keep Harper in power and accept his very conservative legislation.

By continually abstaining, the "Official Opposition" has abdicated its important role of serving the majority of Canadians who reject Conservative ideology.

But it wasn't just fear of losing an election that led to the Liberals becoming Conservative Lite - they actually agree with Harper's wrong-headed positions on many key political issues.

Dion and the Liberals support Harper's massive $50 billion corporate tax cuts that reward companies which have eliminated more than 400,000 manufacturing and forest industry jobs since 2000.

And the Liberals and Conservatives want huge tax cuts despite the fact that Canada's tax rates are already lower than many industrialized nations, including the United States, Germany, Italy and Japan.

And Canada also has a much lower Goods and Services Tax than most countries.

Dion and the Liberals joined with Conservatives to vote to extend till 2011 the deadly mission that sent brave Canadian troops into a hopeless situation in Afghanistan.

Dion and the Liberals say they want a "Green Shift" and carbon tax to protect the environment but oppose a proposed NDP moratorium on new Alberta tar sands oil projects - Canada's biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

In British Columbia, the NDP is best placed to defeat Conservatives and replace lackluster Liberals while trying to block a Tory majority.

The Green Party can't elect a single MP but progressive Canadians giving the Greens their vote could let Conservatives sneak past NDP candidates.

And whether the Conservatives win a majority or minority government, Canada needs strong opposition to Stephen Harper in Parliament - not the weak leadership of Dion and his absentee MPs.

Canada needs a new leader of the opposition - Jack Layton.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Harper wins by surviving, Layton scores big, May surprises, Duceppe charms, Dion okay

A fascinating federal party leaders' debate ended with one beat up winner, a happy second place finisher and some consolation prizes.

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the Timex Torture Test winner - he took a licking and kept on ticking. For that he ekes out a bare win - not by impressing voters a lot but by not losing.

New Democrat leader Jack Layton has to be happy - he outperformed the other leaders for the most part and he had the two best lines of the night - chiding Harper about his missing Conservative party platform and then blasting Liberal leader Stephane Dion.

“You can't do your job as leader of the Opposition. I don't know what you're doing running for prime minister,” Layton rocked Dion.

To Harper: "Where's the platform, under the sweater?"

Green Party leader Elizabeth May showed that all her efforts to get into the debate after being excluded originally were well worthwhile. Even if she had just shown up she would have been ahead but May put in a credible performance and bashed Harper several times, while he ignored her completely throughout the night other than to smile uncomfortably.

Gilles Duceppe had some very funny lines and was relaxed, knowing that his political fortunes - unlike the other four leaders - did not depend on the English language debate.

"I know I won't be prime minister, and three of you won't be prime minister neither. Some of you know it, but you won't say it," shrugged Duceppe with deadly accuracy.

Earlier Duceppe remarked with obvious irony that the Bloc Quebecois was the only party with a "Made In Canada" pledge!

Dion was clearly earnest and at times passionate. When he said of Stephen Harper - "Don't trust this man!" - he meant it.

But Dion was mostly sidelined and for at least the first part of the debate his lack of facility in English hurt him.

He didn't do anything terribly wrong but he need to hit a few Manny Ramirez style home runs. Getting a few walks and singles won't put the beleaguered Liberals back in the game.

Now the election enters the end game. Harper, having lost his chance at picking up a lot of extra seats in Quebec from the Bloc, must concentrate on Southern Ontario and the 905 area code belt outside Toronto.

If the Conservatives are going to win a majority - as I expect they will at this point - it will be because of a Liberal collapse in Ontario.

But with 11 days of campaigning left, there is still room for significant change to happen - and no more debates to focus attention.

Tieleman - blogging the federal leaders' debate tonight on The Tyee - live as it happens commentary

I hope you will put your laptop in front of your television tonight to join me and a cast of dozens from The Tyee and 24 hours as we live-blog the federal leaders' debate from 6 to 8 p.m.

Some of 24 hours and The Tyee's political pundits will fire off their own bon mots as Stephen Harper, Stephane Dion, Jack Layton, Gilles Duceppe and Elizabeth May try out their spin-doctor honed canned lines and try to win the debate.

Here's The Tyee announcement. And check out The Hook at The Tyee for ongoing federal and municipal election coverage!

Take part tonight in Tyee’s debate Blog-O-Rama

By David Beers
October 2, 2008 10:50 am

Political reporters for The Tyee and 24 Hours Vancouver will blog the leaders’ debate tonight as it unfolds, and you are invited join in. The ‘mass blogging’ happens in the comments thread under a cover story (to be posted later this afternoon) on The Tyee home page.

If you’ve not commented on The Tyee before, it’s easy to register, and we welcome your views mixing it up with observations from our pundits. See you there!

David Beers is editor of The Tyee.