Thursday, February 28, 2013

BC Conservatives recruit software star candidate to take on Premier Christy Clark, NDP's David Eby in Vancouver-Point Grey

Duane Nickull, BC Conservative Party candidate for Vancouver-Point Grey, leader John Cummins & Vancouver campaign chair Rick Peterson speak to media in Kitsilano Thursday - Bill Tieleman photos
The BC Conservatives have a star candidate in Vancouver-Point Grey to take on BC Premier Christy Clark and NDP star candidate David Eby, the former Executive Director of the BC Civil Liberties Association in the May 14 provincial election.

Duane Nickull, a high-tech guru who has worked with Adobe Systems and represented Canada at the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business, was introduced today to media at Minerva's Mediterranean Deli in Kitsilano.
Duane Nickull - Bill Tieleman photo

Nickull was introduced by BC Conservative Party leader John Cummins and Vancouver campaign chair Rick Peterson, a former BC Liberal who sought a nomination in 2008 but has left the party since Clark became leader.

Nickull stressed his local roots - unlike Clark he lives in the riding - and local issues such as seismic upgrading of public schools and saving the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station.

The BC Conservatives issued this information about Nickull:

BC Conservatives nominate software entrepreneur to run against Premier

Duane Nickull, a computer/programmer architect and former ‘senior technical evangelist’ at Adobe Systems Incorporated, will represent the BC Conservatives in Vancouver-Point Grey.

“It’s a very exciting time for our party,” said John Cummins, leader of the BC Conservatives, speaking at a news conference in Kitsilano. “And I expect that Duane will cause a lot of excitement for Point Grey voters in the campaign leading up to election-day on May 14.”

Duane was co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Yellow Dragon Software Inc., which he sold to Adobe Systems in 2003. He continued working for Adobe until 2011, when he launched a new venture, Technoracle Advanced Systems Inc.

Duane has been a guest-lecturer at Stanford University in California, the Technical University of Vienna in Austria, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, as well as SFU and BCIT. He also is an accomplished technical writer, publishing books with O’Reilly and WROX.

He’s assisted in the development of many of the modern computer sciences standards and protocols in use today, including Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Web Services and ebXML.

Between 2003 and 2006, Duane represented Canada at the United Nations in the CEFACT Plenary Bureau in Geneva, and won election as vice-chair.

Duane is very active in the Point Grey community, supporting causes such as the Rotary Club’s Bike-a-Thon, the Pacific Midwifery Practice Association and the Red Cross.

In his spare time, he plays bass guitar and vocals in an indie-rock band called 22nd Century.

Duane is married to Bettina, and has three children.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Federal government moves to dismantle the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station!

Truck carrying ramp connecting Kitsilano Coast Guard Station to docks is removed Thursday,
leaving like "thieves in the night" said UCTE VP Dave Clark.
UPDATE - The provincial government has clarified that it in fact owns the land the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station is located on but has granted the federal government a long term lease for search and rescue purposes.  

The federal government will return the land to the province but as of today has begun dismantling the Station!

Keep a close eye on the Facebook page Save the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base for more developments


As many readers will know, I have been fighting to keep the essential Kitsilano Coast Guard Station open since the federal Conservative government announced its plan to close the only base in Canada's busiest port.

It's been a privilege to represent my clients in this matter - as anyone who reads a news release will know - who include the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees and the Public Service Alliance of Canada.  They jointly represent the crew of the Kitsilano Station.

Media have reported on the issue of who owns the land the Station is located on - and whether it is federal or provincial property.

The answers have been confusing - the provincial government has told some media outlets that it owns the land - but the federal government has been less than forthcoming.
Occupation of Kitsilano Coast Guard Station - September 2012

I would point out this fascinating website page from the federal government's Treasury Board Secretariat, which seems to indicate the land is the property of Canada, not BC.

I have sent an inquiry to the DFO contact listed below but have not received an answer to date.

Kitsilano CCG SAR Station

Property Number:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Official Contact:
Mandy Irving - 613.993.3155
Crown Owned
No Restriction
Primary Use:
Education and Training
1661 Whyte Avenue
Place Name:
no data
British Columbia
Federal Electoral District:
Vancouver Centre
Land Area: 0.7100 ha
Buildings: 1
Floor Area: 340 sq. m.
Map : Kitsilano CCG SAR Station
49.276252, -123.138445
Accurate within ± 50m
Record Created: 1994.02.21
Portfolio Certified: 2012.01.26

BC Politics Has Its Own Academy Awards: Will Zero Clark Thirty or Life of Di(x) or Les Miserables or Beasts of Northern Wild or Argo win?

Who Gets the Oscar for BC Politics? 

Egos, epics, overblown performances! And the winners are... 

Bill Tieleman’s 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday February 26, 2013

By Bill Tieleman

"I want to get married before I'm 30. And I'd like to win an Oscar before then." 
- Actress Lindsay Lohan, 26

While the Academy Awards are a big deal we just enjoyed, so too are the lesser-known Oscars for performances in B.C. politics.

Just like in the movies, these awards also feature oversized egos, over-budget epics and overblown performances.

So without further ado, the nominees for best picture in B.C. politics are:

Les Miserables: A desperate BC Liberal Finance Minister Mike de Jong is so terribly poor he is reduced to stealing left-wing budget ideas from the New Democrats, like increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy!

When caught, de Jong breaks into song, bringing tears to the audience's eyes with these lyrics from "Who Am I?"

"Who am I?/Can I conceal myself for evermore?/Pretend I'm not the man I was before?"

Life of Di(x): New Democratic Party leader Adrian Dix is the zookeeper of an unruly menagerie of environmentalists, anti-poverty activists, labour leaders and long time party hacks.

When a provincial election throws them all together in one small lifeboat trying to survive, can Dix tame the NDP tigers, or will he take one practical step too far and go overboard?

Beasts of the Northern Wild: John Cummins stars in this touching movie about a man who grows up in a forgotten, cut-off, backwards bayou called the BC Conservative Party.

A massive political storm frees fierce pre-historic beasts not seen in centuries.
Cummins leaves his isolated compound to become their leader and harnesses them as BC Conservative candidates, with policies that scare metrosexuals but just may appeal to northern voters.

Zero Clark Thirty: Premier Christy Clark stars as a young B.C. Liberal who is a "single tasker," spending her entire career chasing power.

After Gordon Campbell disappears from sight, Clark launches a surprisingly successful raid on the B.C. premier's office, finally finding power there.

But her quest goes sideways when an Angus Reid Public Opinion poll released just weeks before the provincial election says Clark is polling around 30 per cent and her chances of returning as premier are barely above zero.

Argo: John van Dongen and Bob Simpson star as veteran MLAs who find themselves suddenly isolated and in grave danger after leaving their respective BC Liberal and New Democratic parties during a violent uprising against the established regimes.

Watch as former opponents van Dongen and Simpson plot an unlikely plan to escape from certain political death on their own by posing as independent candidates working together in the approaching provincial election. Are they going to survive?

Whichever B.C. politics movie you think is the best, remember that when it ends, you are still left sitting in the dark.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The BC Budget Speech We Never Heard from Finance Minister Mike de Jong

What if Finance Minister Mike de Jong was injected with truth serum before his budget speech? 
BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong demonstrates skating on thin ice
Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours/The Tyee column
Tuesday February 19, 2013
By Bill TIeleman
"Honesty: the best of all the lost arts."
- Mark Twain
Perhaps if BC Liberal Finance Minister Mike de Jong were secretly injected with truth serum before presenting today's government's budget speech in the legislature, it would come out like this:
"Honourable Speaker, I rise to deliver not just the budget but also an honest apology -- because our BC Liberal government has truly put British Columbia in a financial mess.
"House rules prohibit the word 'lie,' so I'll just say our government has been 'economical with the truth' on B.C.'s finances.
"Look at then-premier Gordon Campbell's pre-election statement in April 2009: 'I can tell you this -- the deficit for 2009-2010 will be $495 million maximum.'
"It ended up at $1.8 billion, the worst fudge-it budget in B.C. history. Whoops!
"Of course, by Sept. 2009 then-finance minister Colin Hansen expected the deficit would be $2.8 billion! Whoops!
"And it eventually ended up at $1.8 billion, the worst fudge-it budget in B.C. history. Whoops again!
"That's why we panicked and introduced the Harmonized Sales Tax -- a third whoops! -- with more disastrous consequences that made Campbell a 'tax exile' in England!
"So I don't dare say this budget is balanced. Because it is not. And other than with blatant trickery, how could it be?
"Just look at BC Hydro alone.
"Deferral accounts. BC Hydro has 'deferred' debts worth $4.5 billion by next year; an exercise in creative bookkeeping that means this Crown corporation is practically Nortel.
"B.C.'s independent Auditor General John Doyle -- the guy we just turfed -- said in 2011 that B.C.'s annual deficit would be $447 million greater if we properly accounted for Hydro's debts -- so we didn't.
"Independent Power Producers. We owe them almost $59 billion for buying their private power through 30-year contracts at prices up to dozens of times the current price of BC Hydro's dam power or the spot market.
"And we could have done it ourselves through public power projects for a fraction of that cost, but we banned BC Hydro from doing so instead in order to privatize power.
"So we tendered for IPP contracts at $124 per megawatt hour when power readily available on the market was priced at between about $4 and $52. Rates for consumers are going up over 16 per cent in just three years as a result.
"Smart meters. One of our dumbest decisions. We not only alienated BC Hydro consumers who aren't convinced smart meters are safe, but we blew $1 billion on a project that will add about eight per cent to your bills.
"But hey, a lot of BC Liberal insiders and friends got a bunch of profitable work out of smart meters -- and that's why we're in 'power'!
"But BC Hydro is just one of our many financial problems. We're doubling B.C.'s provincial debt from $33.8 billion in 2001 to $66.3 billion by 2015.
"The BC Liberal approach to budgeting is simple. We pay off one credit card debt with another credit card!
"And we are also planning to dump hundreds of millions worth of provincial assets in a desperate going out of business sale just to help balance this year's budget -- a plan that will sell land, buildings and more for a fraction of it's true value -- just to raise enough chump change to claim the budget is balanced.
"But here's the reality. I just can't do this. I won't be the author of British Columbia's financial downfall. I will be voting against my own budget and I urge every MLA to do the same.
"It's time someone told the truth about B.C.'s finances and I just did."
Unlikely speech? More like impossible, but the numbers don't lie.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Facts fall like dominoes in BC Liberal government television ads - but you still pay for it

Domino ad's 3 self-congratulatory claims fail to stand up to scrutiny 
BC government's "domino" television ad - not exactly as illustrated!
Bill Tieleman’s 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday February 12, 2013

By Bill Tieleman
"I call it like the domino theory of reality. If you can go one step at a time and it seems to make sense, you can then take your audience into an area that is relatively outlandish." 
- Movie director Ivan Reitman
Unless you live in a cave with no cable, you've seen the BC Liberal government's pervasive $15 million ad campaign on television -- the one your tax dollars are paying for despite its obviously partisan purposes.
The expensive 30-second spot features rows of black dominos collapsing all around the world -- that is, until they run up against Premier Christy Clark's immovable white piece.
There's only one problem. It's not true.
"Unstable government policies have hurt people around the world," the authoritative announcer intones over ominous music guaranteed to scare small children. "Big government, careless spending and quick fixes have caused economies to collapse."
The dominos fall until they reach our fair province, when uplifting music starts and the white domino of B.C. holds firm, thankfully.
"But British Columbia is standing strong. By controlling government spending, low taxes and investing in skills training," it says.
But the facts are far different than the misleading ad.
1. Provincial spending under the B.C. Liberals has gone up astonishingly -- it has not been "controlled."
Moody's Investors Service downgraded B.C.'s credit rating in December from "stable" to "negative" because of concerns about the province's "recent accumulation in debt."
"The negative outlook reflects Moody's assessment of the risks to the province's ability to reverse the recent accumulation in debt with the softened economic outlook, weaker commodity prices and continued expense pressures," according Moody's assistant vice president Jennifer Wong, lead analyst for the province.
And no wonder. When the BC Liberals took office in 2001, accumulated provincial debt was $33.8 billion.
Today it's $57.6 billion and scheduled to jump to $66.3 billion by 2015, almost double.
That's not "controlling spending." It's that "big government" the ad warns about!
2. The ads boast about low taxes -- but B.C. is the only province in Canada where individuals have to pay Medical Services Premiums.
This regressive tax has gone up 85 per cent since 2000 and 24 per cent in just the last three years, an increase of $300 per person.
The MSP costs British Columbians over $2 billion each year in a tax that a Victoria Times-Colonist editorial called a "shell game".
And the same "low tax" government introduced a surprise Harmonized Sales Tax -- that I helped successfully oppose with Fight HST -- which shifted $2 billion in taxes from big business to consumers with new taxes on hundreds of items.
3. The province claims it is "investing in skills training" -- but our six major universities warn that 20,000 jobs could go unfilled by 2020 because the government isn't doing enough training.
"Basically, what we're saying is there's a skills and education deficit coming and, in order to deal with it, we've got to actually start now," University of Victoria president David Turpin said last month. "We can't wait to 2016 to say, 'Wow, we now have this shortfall.'"
Meanwhile, tuition fees have more than doubled under the BC Liberals and students graduate with the highest debt load west of the Maritimes.
And then there's the 70,000 Temporary Foreign Workers currently working in B.C., from coal miners to chefs to farmworkers while construction employers head to Ireland to recruit skilled trades workers.
And Statistics Canada reported Friday that B.C. lost 15,900 jobs in January alone.
When it comes to B.C. government ads, it's the facts that fall like dominos.