Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ida Chong thinks Recall isn't about the HST - Ida-know where she gets that idea!

Ida Chong & her right-hand man Gordon Campbell
Ida Chong Gets the Recall Wrong

She says it isn't about the HST. And a few other mistaken notions.

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours / TheTyee column
Tuesday January 11, 2011

By Bill Tieleman

"We're going to have to work really hard to remind people what recall is all about, and let them know that it's not about fighting the HST."

- B.C. Liberal cabinet minister Ida Chong

Does Ida Chong really think that recalling her isn't about fighting the Harmonized Sales Tax that she voted for and defended in the B.C. legislature?

Ida-know why she said that -- because recall is completely driven by the HST.

But Chong -- MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head in Victoria -- is desperately pretending the Fight HST recall campaign isn't about the hated tax or her role in passing it.

Chong also says recall was only designed to get rid of "bad" MLAs -- not her!

"Recall legislation was implemented so that the public had recourse against an MLA who broke the law or committed serious ethical violations," Chong wrote in the Georgia Straight last year. "It was designed to remove an MLA who has committed wrongdoing, and was never intended to be used as retribution against MLAs for an unpopular vote in the legislature."

Chong adds that the fate of the HST will be decided by a provincial referendum on Sept. 24, not by recall, which she claims "is being used to refight the last election by creating a by-election."

Reality check
 
Unfortunately for Chong, she is wrong on all counts.


Fortunately for the strong majority of British Columbians who oppose the HST, the voters of Oak Bay-Gordon Head can straighten Chong out by signing the recall petition to remove her from office. And over 6,000 already have.

Here are the facts, as opposed to Chong's frantic spin.

First, here's the best reason I can find to support recall:

"If we can turn to the recall legislation, I think it's obvious why people demand this legislation. They are tired of politicians who make promises before an election and do the exact opposite after," one powerful speaker told the B.C. legislature on July 6, 1994.

"The fact of the matter is that people will not abuse this right. They will simply require that all of us as elected politicians live according to the pledges we make to them."

Right on! Who was it? Why the then-opposition leader -- a guy named Gordon Campbell said all that.
Second, the Dec. 6 recall campaign statement from proponent Michael Hayes and approved by Elections BC is crystal clear.

It starts with: "I am proposing the recall of Oak Bay-Gordon Head member of the legislative assembly, Ida Chong, because she supported the deceptive introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax and refuses to represent the clear wishes of her constituents, in the legislative assembly."

Third, there are absolutely no restrictions on reasons for recall of an MLA -- the legislation makes no mention of breaking the law or misconduct.

Instead it simply states that the proponent submit "a statement, not exceeding 200 words, setting out why, in the opinion of the applicant, the recall of the member is warranted."

Fourth, the referendum Chong refers to is non-binding, and if successful would only force the citizens initiative petition legislation to kill the HST to be introduced in the legislature -- not to be passed.

Premier Campbell promised last year that the referendum would actually be binding and would only require a simple majority of the votes of those who participate to extinguish the HST -- but Campbell has resigned and won't be premier after next month.

There is no guarantee that Campbell's successor will honour his word -- and nothing he promised is in legislation.

A record of broken promises

What's more, Campbell and his BC Liberal government have a "promising" history -- of making and then breaking their pledges.
 
Campbell promised not to impose an HST in the first place, not to sell BC Rail, not to rip up hospital workers' contracts and not to have a budget deficit six times larger than he said it was before the 2009 election.


And just before he was forced to resign, Campbell unwisely and in desperation announced a 15 per cent income tax cut in a province-wide TV address -- and then dropped it soon afterwards.

So when it comes to trusting Campbell, it's not a very promising picture.

No, what forced Campbell and crew to pledge a binding, fair referendum was the political pressure created by the Fight HST citizens initiative that was signed by 705,643 British Columbians.

That's why pursuing recall campaigns to keep the pressure on the BC Liberals to honour their promise is essential.

It's a simple question -- can you trust them to keep their word when they have broken it so many times? Recall will help them be promise-keepers -- or else.

And an early fair and binding HST referendum vote would end the need for recall.

Big dinner bills

Some people think Chong is guilty of political misconduct for more than just the HST -- her charging nearly $6,000 to taxpayers in one year for meals when she lives just minutes from the legislature enraged many constituents.

Don't forget that Chong's $6,000 for meals is double the amount a single person on income assistance gets for everything but rent in a year.

Chong wants voters to think she isn't responsible for the HST. Tell that to former BC Liberal cabinet minister Blair Lekstrom, who resigned from both cabinet and caucus because he respected the views of his constituents and now sits as an independent.

Uphill climb

But make no mistake, recall is a very tough test for Fight HST, which I helped create in 2009 with former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm and former Unity Party leader Chris Delaney and still support, to bring together voters of every persuasion to stop the HST.

Recall requires the support of 40 per cent of the riding's voters in the 2009 provincial election -- that means 15,368 validated signatures.

It's extremely challenging, especially with difficult rules and a lack of access to voters who live in apartment buildings.

Most ridiculous is the recall rule that to force a by-election -- which Ida Chong can still be a candidate in -- requires the signatures of nearly 4,000 more voters than the 11,877 who actually cast a ballot for Chong in 2009.

Campbell's vision

Ironically, if an amendment proposed by then-opposition leader Gordon Campbell in 1994 had been accepted, recall would be much easier:

"The issue that has been referred to in section 23(b) is indeed an important component of the recall legislation that's before us, and I would like to put before the committee an amendment to section 23 as follows: '(b) the petition must be signed by at least the same number of voters as the number of votes the member received in the last election, plus one,'" Campbell said in the legislature on July 7, 1994.


Then again, almost everything Campbell said then about recall is now highly embarrassing.

"When you read the title of the bill, there is great hope: recall and initiative legislation, it points out. But the fact is that this is not recall and initiative legislation; it is legislation that is meant not to work," Campbell said.

And even though he was right, even though he promised to make it easier to undertake recall, Campbell did nothing in nine years in office because he feared a situation like that facing his government MLAs today.


But hundreds of volunteers and thousands of voters are determined to give it their best try under the existing rules -- and they deserve our thanks.

People who want to join up and try to make this recall campaign a success can attend a town hall meeting with Vander Zalm and Delaney on Friday, Jan. 14 at the Gordon Head Rec Centre or go to recallidachong.ca


Two more reasons to recall


And even if Chong was somehow right -- that recall isn't all about the HST or her role in it -- there are dozens of other reasons to sign a recall petition against her or any other BC Liberal MLA.

Here are two really good ones: how about because Chong and company refuse to hold a public inquiry into the B.C. legislature raid case that suddenly ended with a guilty plea bargain by former government aides David Basi and Bob Virk after just two witnesses testified?

(If you agree a public inquiry is needed, join my new Facebook page -- Basi-Virk Public Inquiry.)

Or maybe Chong and the BC Liberals should face recall because our province has had the worst child poverty rate in Canada for seven straight years?

Sorry, Ida, but whether recall is about the HST or your government's record, it still makes sense.



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28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Continual lies Ida, From you and your leader gordo. Thats one of the best reasons to get rid of you and your like. As many say... "RECALL THEM ALL!"

Kam Lee

kootcoot said...

Great article, little Ida's feets must be feeling the heat from the fire. But, how could you forget to mention that the man who would be premier, who would be panhandling if he had to live on "merit" pay thought it appropriate to recall EVERY NDP MLA - just because!

Not a single BC liaR MLA would recognize the truth if it bit them in the ass!

Anonymous said...

How do the people in this province, contend with the BC Liberals until 2013? As a senior living on my own, on a fixed pension, the HST is a very hard burden to bear. How people with children are surviving is a mystery to me. Food costs have gone through the roof. Rents have gone up. House insurance went up. Campbell and Hansen said, the BC people would save many dollars, because of the HST. I haven't saved a dime, my costs went way up. With the cost of our hydro, going up 55% more...how do people on fixed incomes and low incomes, pay all of these increases? My income hasn't changed for 15 years. The minimum wage hasn't budged for 9 years. Campbell and the BC Liberals, have just piled taxes onto the BC people, for 9 years. In all of my many years, I have never seen such as an absurd tax, as the HST. BC people pay the HST, so it should stay in BC. Why do we have to give our money to Harper? To pay for fake lakes? And, Ida Chong should be ashamed of herself, for eating $6,000 of food, on the tax payers dollars. And, the retractable roof, that doesn't work. The sea to sky highway, thousands of us, will never use, but have to pay for 25 years, so the wealthy have a good road to a ski hill? There should have been a toll, let the wealthy pay for their own road. Ida Chong is trying to blame the NDP and everyone else, other than herself. I have been angry ever since, I knew of her outrageous food bill. People with families, don't even have that much, to feed themselves for a year. Disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

How do the people in this province, contend with the BC Liberals until 2013? As a senior living on my own, on a fixed pension, the HST is a very hard burden to bear. How people with children are surviving is a mystery to me. Food costs have gone through the roof. Rents have gone up. House insurance went up. Campbell and Hansen said, the BC people would save many dollars, because of the HST. I haven't saved a dime, my costs went way up. With the cost of our hydro, going up 55% more...how do people on fixed incomes and low incomes, pay all of these increases? My income hasn't changed for 15 years. The minimum wage hasn't budged for 9 years. Campbell and the BC Liberals, have just piled taxes onto the BC people, for 9 years. In all of my many years, I have never seen such as an absurd tax, as the HST. BC people pay the HST, so it should stay in BC. Why do we have to give our money to Harper? To pay for fake lakes? And, Ida Chong should be ashamed of herself, for eating $6,000 of food, on the tax payers dollars. And, the retractable roof, that doesn't work. The sea to sky highway, thousands of us, will never use, but have to pay for 25 years, so the wealthy have a good road to a ski hill? There should have been a toll, let the wealthy pay for their own road. Ida Chong is trying to blame the NDP and everyone else, other than herself. I have been angry ever since, I knew of her outrageous food bill. People with families, don't even have that much, to feed themselves for a year. Disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

Has Ida Chong been asked by anyone, how she could possible spend $6.000 for food? I would really like to hear her excuse herself on that one. Every other day it's, close schools, reduce health care and hospital costs. What has Campbell, his ministers and mla's done for their part? Campbell gave his useless self, a $60.000 per year raise. The ministers got a 29% hike. Chong ate $6,000 of food. How many more expenses, have the tax payers been ripped off for? The HST, is all about Chong, and every minister and mla's spending abuses. Shame on you Ida Chong, there are over 121,000 children living in poverty, in this best? place to live province.

DPL said...

Ida may not have eaten the 6,000 bucks, but she could and did claim the per diem. Twice the amount the next closest to the Ledg. building claimed.Don't let the door hit you on the way out Ida. Brian Smith ex socred was trying to defend Ida by saying that if removed she wouldn't be able to go back to her old job for four years, ditto for the guy from Comox. When asked by Smitty to show him where it says she can't go back, Brian Smith started to the story.He then said that the recall was never supposed to be used just to remove such a hard working MLA. Almost made me gag

Anonymous said...

"Ida-know"

Really Bill?

I thought you were above this kind of pettiness.

Bill Tieleman said...

Ha-ha - Ida-know where your sense of humour went! Lighten up - it's a bloody joke, bad or otherwise.

Radical Peace said...

You have got to be kidding! Only I know you're not, you're simply off your nut!

"Does Ida Chong really think that recalling her isn't about fighting the Harmonized Sales Tax that she voted for and defended in the B.C. legislature?"

Of course not. Why would you ask such a ridiculous question?

"But Chong -- MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head in Victoria -- is desperately pretending the Fight HST recall campaign isn't about the hated tax or her role in passing it."

No, she is merely trying to convince enough people that you don't need to remove her from office to kill the HST. Whether that is true or not is another matter.

Radical Peace said...

"Reality check

Unfortunately for Chong, she is wrong on all counts."

Sorry to say this Bill, but her statements from the Georgia Straight are correct. Fortunately, I never get your beliefs confused with reality.

". . . the voters of Oak Bay-Gordon Head can straighten Chong out by signing the recall petition to remove her from office. And over 6,000 already have."

So with the bulk of the signatures collected because of the initial surge of enthusiasm, the campaign has collected say 6300 signatures in 36 days or about 175 per day. Now all that is needed for success is the remaining 9366 signatures in 24 days at a pace of roughly 378 per day, more than twice as much enthusiasm. Say what you like but you're off out of your mind if you believe it.

Radical Peace said...

"First, here's the best reason I can find to support recall: "

(Gordon Campbell paraphrased) - "If we can turn to the (insignificant bone we are feeding the ignorant masses), I think it's obvious why people demand this (opportunity to be ignored). They are (so easily fooled by) politicians who make promises before an election and do the exact opposite after,"

"The fact of the matter is that people will not (be able to make use of) this (privilege). They will (waste their time expecting) that all of us as elected politicians live according to the pledges we make to them."

That's your best reason, huh? No interest in supporting an idea that would work better than what we have? Well, at least you're consistently off your rocker.

Radical Peace said...

Second, ". . . because she supported the (deceptive) introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax and refuses to represent (?) (the clear wishes of) her constituents, in the legislative assembly."

Take out the biased "deceptive" and you're left with - doing her job - because she was elected to represent the Liberal Party not her constituents, and it's not clear what the wishes of the constituents are as the results of the last election were very close,

Liberal - 11,877 (30.92%)
NDP - 11,316 (29.46%)

No Vote - 12,892 (33.56%)

I suppose from your third reason that it's perfectly acceptable for someone to propose Recall because they don't think women are smart enough to govern and that if enough bigots agree then we should set our country back about 90 years?

Your fourth point is almost valid. However nothing else you have said is a reason to support Recall and this last point is more a testament to what is equally wrong with the other half of the legislation, Initiative.

Radical Peace said...

In my opinion, Ida Chong was correct in saying that "the fate of the HST will be decided by a provincial referendum on Sept. 24, not by recall". Recalls will fail everywhere and so will the referendum. The non-binding part is just another ace up their sleeve. But by all means continue to believe what you want, you're so out to lunch I wonder if your food bill is larger than that of Ms Chong.

Did Campbell break promises? Sure. Not that it should have anything to do with Ida Chong's Recall. Was he "forced" to offer a phony binding referendum? Get a grip. That's how we knew that Campbell was going to resign before long, the only good thing to come out of FightHST. Or is it? There'll soon be another Liberal at the helm, not likely to be any better.

Recall is not a real threat so there is no "or else". And all the other made up reasons why Ida Chong should be recalled, while not something I would look for in an elected representative, did not anger people sufficiently so the only case to make that the Recall is justified would be a claim that the entire Legislative Assembly should also take a permanent break.

Radical Peace said...

What's completely inexplicable about your thinking is that you want people to believe your surprise that Campbell hasn't done anything to alter Recall. As I said at the top, you are simply off your nut. Why would Campbell or anyone else ever willingly change all this and make a responsible fair government a possibility? And you want to believe, although I say that facetiously, that this could ever improve by leaving the same corrupt system in place?

Not that the effort isn't appreciated, but even if the FightHST campaign were to succeed then what thanks to all the volunteers and voters is in order? Thanks for fooling even more people that everything is fine just the way it is, that the system works, so that people can be economically raped by an alternate method?

Now, if they were to convince you to publicly admit to being a charlatan, then we might be headed in the right direction and for that I would be thankful.

Anonymous said...

Oh Bill... you upset one of them PABsmears. Ida don't know if it was ok to say it, still damn funny, not petty.

Kam Lee

Anonymous said...

Not a single BC liaR MLA would recognize the truth if it bit them in the ass!

Neither would any Dipper MLA.

Anonymous said...

Oh Bill... you upset one of them PABsmears. Ida don't know if it was ok to say it, still damn funny, not petty.

SO where does this poster get the silly idea that all posters who are against him and other Dipper supporters are PABsmears?

One or two maybe, but not all of them.

Are all of Bill contributors NDP members supporting Adrian Dix?

Anonymous said...

Well said, Bill! Ida Chong seems to be living on another planet where the truth is not a relevant concept.

Anonymous said...

Well all you "right' thinking people remember this... the most corupt government in BC history, highest child poverty in Canada, selling off of our resources to the bandits in the blue suits, etc, etc, etc, and then the HST. Give your collective heads a shake. No more of this madman and his minions please!

I am a small business owner, laying of people because of the HST, ya right, its working.

Kam Lee

Anonymous said...

Bill, I really wish you'd post something new to your blog because I can't stand logging on to your blog to find his mug starring at me.

Anonymous said...

"Oh Bill... you upset one of them PABsmears. Ida don't know if it was ok to say it, still damn funny, not petty."

"SO where does this poster get the silly idea that all posters who are against him and other Dipper supporters are PABsmears?"

"One or two maybe, but not all of them."

Maybe that should read...One or two maybe, but not all of US.

Anonymous said...

"Well all you "right' thinking people remember this... the most corupt government in BC history, highest child poverty in Canada, selling off of our resources to the bandits in the blue suits, etc, etc, etc, and then the HST. Give your collective heads a shake. No more of this madman and his minions please!"


Well the NDP didn't eliminate child poverty, and did wonders for the large reduction of poverty in B.C. (never happened). And just how many union pension funds are set into corporations? Quite a few.

The madman is gone. Will be replaced by mild-mannered Farnworth or Hoggan. Your choice.
Mine is Farnworth.


I am a small business owner, laying of people because of the HST, ya right, its working"

SO how do you lay people? Horizontally or at an angle? How does laying of people on the ground relate to the HST?

Seems if a person who owns a business can't get the wording right ("laying off people"), one has to wonder about the quality of his product or services.

I run a small business too. We're doing just fine and don't need no BC Liberal government or party to support us. Our employees are paid well, and while money is tight, (no Cancuks tickets this year) we're fine.

Why aren't you?

Radical Peace said...

"Well all you "right' thinking people remember this... the most corupt government in BC history, . . . etc, etc, etc, and then the HST."

I'm willing to bet Campbell's Crowd had some tough competition but I still totally agree with your assessment Kam. My only problem with what you had to say is that the way I see it, supporting the NDP makes YOU the one that is too far "right". No point getting rid of the Liberals unless we want to turf the NDP also.

Anonymous said...

Let's get both sides of the story here. Why is this campaign (claiming to be about the HST) ready to cost taxpayers millions in a by-election when the fate of the HST will be decided before said by-election would even take place? Good Globe and Mail article:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/the-ida-chong-recall-campaign-makes-little-sense/article1856453/

Anonymous said...

Let's get both sides of the story here. Why is this campaign (claiming to be about the HST) ready to cost taxpayers millions in a by-election when the fate of the HST will be decided before said by-election would even take place?

Good point. In fact, Delaney and The Zalm should wait until the outcome of the referendum before carrying on with any more recalls, since as Bill pointed out, the recalls ARE about the HST. That's why this whole mess started with in the first place.

It was a referendum that was wanted in the first place. Not some convulted legislation that had no chance of passing.

e.a.f. said...

well maybe Ida has reading problems and hasn't had the petition read to her by one of her support staff while eating lunch.
Trying to turn the focus of the HST recall isn't going to work for Ms. Chong as much as she hopes it might.
Ms. Chong should realize she is part of a government which did not tell the electorate what they were going to do after the election. People are angry and they have re call available to them. its demoncracy in action.
While Ms. Chong munched through six thousand dollars in food the food banks in Bc had an increase in demand and the children of BC are the most impoverished in Canada, 7 yrs running. For no other reason that that she and her government should be recalled, for child abuse and neglect. But if the HST is the only recall petition going around, then sign it and get rid of her.

Anonymous said...

It was supposed to read "laid off people" sherlock. I can't comment on your business, only mine. A small restaurant. It all started when the HST came in, and my business, like many others suffered. Clear enough now? By the way gordo is slill slinking around, pulling the
strings.

Anonymous said...

very good point