Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tieleman hosts Nightline BC one more time for 2006 - from Legislature Raids to Coal Power tonight - December 28!

I am guest hosting Nightline BC on CKNW AM 980 and the Corus Radio Network again tonight - Thursday December 28 - from 7 to 9 p.m. for the vacationing Mike Smyth.

Tune in, call in, be heard.

Here's tonight's lineup:









3 years ago today - December 28, 2003 - BC Legislature raided by police

Hard to believe it was December 28, 2003 when British Columbians learned their Legislature was being searched by police in a case alleged to involve organized crime at the highest levels, drugs and big money.

Three years later and we still await the beginning of the most important political scandal trial since 1958, when Robert Sommers - forests minister in the Social Credit provincial government of W.A.C. Bennett was found guilty of bribery for his dealings with big logging companies.

Jump forward to today - the long-awaited trial of former top BC Liberal government ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk for alleged breach of trust, and government communications officer Aneal Basi for alleged money laundering, will not likely start until March 2007.

They are charged in connection with the biggest privatization in BC history - the $1 billion sale of BC Rail by Premier Gordon Campbell - and the allegations include claims Basi and Virk provided confidential government information to OmniTRAX, one of the bidders.

Prominent lobbyists Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran are slated to be key crown witnesses against Basi, Basi and Virk - and neither of them have been charged despite police allegations that they provided benefits and money to the accused.

And while we know more and more about this case - mostly from defence applications and statements - the public is still in the dark about what happened three years ago and why it has taken so long to come to court.

Basi and Virk have recently been interviewed in the Globe and Mail, where they proclaim their innocence. On a more human side, both men say their lives have been seriously damaged by the allegations that cannot be disproved until the trial concludes, leaving them jobless and dependent on family and friends to survive.

I have been following this case since the raids took place and had detailed Basi and Virk's strong connections to the federal Liberal Party and the Paul Martin leadership campaign in BC even before the search warrants were executed.

Here are some of the reports I have filed on this case since the raid. You can find many of these and more items on this blog as well.

On The Tyee website:

Martin’s B.C. soldiers back Dion November 30, 2006

Leg Raid Hearing Intrigue November 9, 2006

BC Leg Case Lurches to Life October 31, 2006

Leg Raid Case: New Charges, New Questions April 4, 2006

Spiderman in a Web of Intrigue May 10, 2005

24 hours newspaper columns and stories:

Erik Bornman drops bid to become lawyer - for now November 21, 2006

Erik Bornman's bid to become lawyer may not happen anytime soon November 17, 2006

More questions afoot on BC Legislature raid case October 17, 2006

There are still several columns online that I wrote for the Georgia Straight in past years on this case:

Basi Hirings, Firings Intrigue January 13, 2005

Warrants Raise Tough Questions for Libs September 16, 2004

Probe Throws Light on the Liberal Players March 17, 2004

Police Raids and BC Rail March 10, 2004

Raids Prompt Revelations of Martin-Campbell Connections January 7, 2004

And a blog website with various information on this case can be found at The Legislature Raids

Stay tuned in the new year for much, much more.

Year of Guccis and Guinness in B.C. - year end round up column in 24 hours newspaper

Year of Guccis and Guinness in B.C.


Last year we said, "Things can't go on like this," and they didn't; they got worse.

- Will Rogers

Here's what kind of a year in politics 2006 has been: No one wanted to be caught dead in federal Conservative International Trade Minister David Emerson's shoes - except maybe B.C. Liberal Finance Minister Carole Taylor.

That's because while Emerson entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest political defection ever, Taylor caught heat for introducing the provincial budget in a $600 pair of Gucci pumps.

But one thing is clear - they both stepped in it!

After January's minority Conservative election victory, Liberal Vancouver-Kingsway Member of Parliament Emerson took all of 48 hours to become a card-carrying Tory.

And Emerson, who swore to voters he would be Stephen Harper's "worst nightmare," instead sucker punched his constituents and joined the Conservative cabinet. De-elect Emerson signs will last longer than Rona "Clean Air Act" Ambrose will as environment minister.

Meanwhile, in February Taylor took the tradition of finance ministers wearing a new pair of shoes on budget day to unheard-of extremes. The $600-Guccis, plus $84 in tax, cost far more than a month's worth of social assistance for the poor. Marie Antoinette, eat your heart out!

If such political cynicism makes you sick, go to a medical clinic - a private one. 2006 was year of the for-profit physician, with controversial private healthcare booster Dr. Brian Day becoming the president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association and B.C. doctors Mark Godley and Don Copeman opening new private facilities.

Day, who actually said before his election that Medicare was a "health monopoly that Bozo the Clown could run" and that a "Berlin Wall" stops patients from getting medical treatment, will become the voice of all Canadian doctors.

Now let's remove that lump from the area around your wallet!

Day has the ear of B.C. Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell, who made him the very first speaker at the government's "Conversation on Health" - an invitation-only consultation on Medicare.

From conversations to conversions on the road to Damascus - that's what happened to Campbell on First Nations. In opposition, Campbell actually tried to stop the Nisga'a Treaty with a lawsuit and then held a divisive and insulting referendum on native rights in 2002.

But now Campbell is aboriginal people's best friend, fighting Harper for money and signing treaties himself.

Lastly, Dec. 28 marks the third anniversary of the police raid on the B.C. Legislature.
While former B.C. Liberal ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk still await trial, Erik Bornman, who is alleged to have bribed them, is now trying to become a lawyer.

Whoever said the wheels of justice turn slowly must have come from B.C.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tieleman back in the Nightline BC saddle tonight - Wednesday December 27 - on CKNW & Corus Radio Network

Hope everyone had a great and safe Christmas and Boxing Day!

I'm back filling in for Michael Smyth as guest host at Nightline BC tonight [and Thursday night too] from 7 to 9 p.m. on CKNW AM 980 in the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island and on Corus Radio Network stations throughout BC, as well as online at

Here's tonight's lineup of guests and issues:

7 p.m. - Crawford Kilian - noted writer and educator talks about the third edition of his book Writing For The Web, as well as recent developments in the Blogosphere.

7:30 p.m. - Joan Craven - author of What Can I Do Today on parenting strategies to keep kids busy and also - perfect for radio hosts - how to deal with difficult people!

8 p.m. - Murray Mollard - Executive Director of the BC Civil Liberties Association - on the good, bad and the ugly from 2006 in the field of civil liberties and human rights.

8:30 p.m. - Charles Burton - Professor of Political Science at Brock University and former Canadian diplomat in China on what dramatically increasing trade with China would really mean for BC and Canada in the wake of a provincial report suggesting 500,000 jobs could be created through Asia Pacific trade.

Tune in, call in, be heard.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night - for a few days!

Merry Christmas to all - I will be enjoying Christmas and Boxing Day with my family and friends and wish you all the best for a safe and happy holiday.

I'm back guest hosting Nightline BC at CKNW AM 980 on Wednesday December 27 and Thursday December 28 from 7 to 9 p.m., filling in for Michael Smyth.

And I'll be guest commenting on The World Today with Philip Till at 7:10 a.m. on Wednesday December 27, Thursday December 28 and Friday December 29, filling in for Vaughn Palmer.

And to all a good night from Bill Tieleman and West Star Communications!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Tieleman hosting again tonight - Friday - on Nightline BC on CKNW AM 980 & Corus Radio Network

He's baaaaack!

I am once again filling in as guest host tonight - Friday - from 7 til 9 p.m. on AM 980 or online and on the Corus Radio Network throughout BC.

Here's tonight's lineup:

7 p.m - Tis the season to stay sober - Linda Bell of Bellwood Health Services talks about how to deal with alcohol during the holidays, especially for those with addictions and their family and friends.

7:30 p.m. - Special needs assistants - Patti Bacchus of the Vancouver School Board's Special Education Advisory Committee and parent of a student with special needs talks about the recent decision not to cut 13 special needs assistants and related issues.

8 p.m. - Downtown Eastside Women's Shelter - Cynthia Low from the Shelter talks about additional funding of $80,000 it has received and what the needs are.

8:15 p.m. - Stanley Park Smackdown - Vancouver Park Commissioner Spencer Herbert on the aftermath of the disastrous storm and what areas of the park are now open to the public.

8:30 p.m. - Aboriginal hunting at night - Lawyer Ardith Walkem - legal counsel to Ivan Morris and Karl Olsen, two Tsartlip First Nations hunters who were acquitted in the Supreme Court of Canada of using lights to hunt deer at night, explains the case and their position.

Tune in - call in!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tieleman guest hosts tonight - Thursday - on Nightline BC on CKNW AM 980 & Corus Radio Network

I'll be filling in for Michael Smyth tonight and Friday night from 7 til 9 p.m. on AM 980 or online and on the Corus Radio Network throughout BC

Here's tonight's lineup - do tune in and call in!

7 p.m. Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan - talking about his support for the BC Federation of Labour's call for a $10 minimum wage. We'll also talk about the Gateway project.

7:30 p.m. Fiona Gow - the mother of Neil Fahlman, a developmentally challenged young man who was denied government support until the BC Court of Appeal ruled otherwise.

8 p.m. Endangered Reindeer in BC? We talk to environmentalists trying to save Santa's loyal helpers.

8:30 p.m. Wining for Christmas - What to drink this holiday season with your turkey or tofu but hopefully not reindeer! John Clerides, owner of Marquis Wines, joins us to give advice and answer your questions.

Vancouver School Board Trustee Sharon Gregson is one straight shooter I support - Solicitor General John Les and Mayor Sam Sullivan are not

The recent media and political furor over Vancouver School Board Trustee Sharon Gregson giving her views on handgun ownership and self-defence have brought out the worst in some politicians.

BC Liberal Solicitor-General John Les is appalled and says Gregson is "irresponsible."

NPA Mayor Sam Sullivan is shocked.

Don't either one of them have more important things to do? How about dealing with homelessness, property crime, drug dealing, or even criminals smuggling handguns across the Canadian border?

Instead they have nothing better to do than take political cheap shots - pardon the pun - against someone who has done nothing illegal for speaking her mind.

And because she is a Coalition of Progressive Electors trustee and an NDP supporter, Les and Sullivan are trying to tar and feather her.

I have used a .45 calibre pistol for target shooting myself - I enjoyed it immensely and it was both legal and safe. No, I don't own a gun, thanks for asking.

I worry about drug dealing scumbags who have illegal weapons - like the folks who have killed several young Vancouver people in the past few years.

But I don't stay up night worrying about legal gun owners who shoot competitively in very restrictive conditions with licensed weapons.

I do not agree with Sharon Gregson that Canadians should have the right to carry and conceal handguns for self-defence. All the evidence shows that our American neighbours have a far more dangerous and violent society despite letting citizens arm and defend themselves.

But Sharon Gregson has every right to argue her case in public without a witch hunt by political opportunists.

It's up to citizens to decide if changing our gun laws is a good idea.

Meanwhile, let's not attack one of the only politicians who speaks her mind freely and is willing to open a democratic debate.

We need more frankness and honesty in politics, not less.

Bruce Allen said it well on his CKNW Reality Check today:

"With Sharon Gregson, you know what you are getting and who can't deal with that?"

Who indeed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tieleman on real cause of homelessness and poverty in BC - unequal distribution of wealth

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column - News, Views & Attitude

Tuesday December 19, 2006

Plenty of room for improvement


And homeless near a thousand homes I stood,

And near a thousand tables pined and wanted food.

- William Wordsworth, Salisbury Plain, 1794

Outside my Kitsilano apartment, in the recycling area off the lane, a homeless man sleeps among the blue boxes of newspapers, bottles and cans.

Driving along West Broadway, I see more homeless begging on the streets.

Close to my office a bundled man sleeps under the 7th and Fir viaduct, possessions in a battered shopping cart. The temperature is freezing.

But along Burrard Street I see a gleaming row of 20 brand-new Lotus Elise sports cars, available in many colours for just $60,000 each. Nearby is MCL Motor Cars, where the thrifty can buy a used 2005 Bentley Continental for just $209,000.

Welcome to Vancouver, land of the homeless and hopelessly wealthy.

Recently much attention has been paid to the poverty problem, with some hoping to help people in need while others just want to make them go away.

Many causes are mentioned and solutions proposed and yet homelessness has gotten significantly worse year over year, despite a strong economy and low unemployment.

But the most important cause gets ignored - because it can't be fixed by charitable donations or personal efforts, as worthy and needed as those are.

It's the large and growing gap between rich and poor, here and around the world.

A study this month by the World Institute for Development Economics Research found that the richest one per cent of adults own 40 per cent of global assets, while the bottom 50 per cent own barely one per cent of the world's wealth.

A more equitable distribution of wealth from rich to poor depends on government action.

But when the B.C. Liberal government cuts social programs to pay for big tax cuts for corporations and the rich, drastically reduces eligibility for welfare, fails to provide enough drug treatment programs, doesn't create adequate low- income housing and increases costs for medical services, the results are crystal clear.

And those results sleep and beg on our streets and in our alleys today.

B.C. has Canada's worst child poverty rate according to Statistics Canada at 23.5 per cent - one in four kids. And in 2005 the Lookout Emergency Aid Society had to turn away people needing shelter a shocking 5,000 times because all beds were full.

One last personal story. As I came out of a store the same evening a ragged man was begging for change.

As I gave him some money he simply said: "I'm so hungry." And he was.

Best wishes for the year ahead to all readers but especially those without homes this Christmas. We can do so much better than this.

Bill Tieleman will be guest hosting Nightline BC on CKNW AM 980 from 7 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 18, 21, 22, 27 & 28.

Monday, December 18, 2006

FOI request reveals BC Hydro spent $2 million on self-promoting ad campaign

December 18, 2006

Big bucks for Hydro ad campaign

FOI request reveals BC Hydro spent $2 million on self-promoting ad campaign


As BC Hydro struggles to restore electricity to thousands of customers without power for up to a week, 24 hours has learned the Crown corporation has spent almost $2 million on a self-promoting television, radio, print and Internet advertising campaign this year.

A Freedom Of Information request filed by 24 hours shows BC Hydro is spending $1,864,481 on a campaign titled "Planning For Generations."

That includes production costs alone of $199,800 for one 30-second TV ad in several languages, $81,500 for creation of one newspaper print ad and $30,570 to produce three radio ads.

The costly campaign tells customers what a great job is being done - not just by BC Hydro but by the provincial government.

"B.C.'s economy is growing. And so is our need for energy ... That's why the province is acting to make B.C. electricity self sufficient within the next decade," part of the 66-word ad reads. "By planning now we will have enough made-in-B.C. power to meet our needs today. And for generations to come."

In addition to production costs, BC Hydro spent $726,183 buying television time to run its ad, an additional $617,060 on print advertising space, another $133,210 for radio air time and $57,000 on Internet web ads.

BC Hydro's Scott Macdonald, in a response to the FOI request, wrote that the costs are "existing estimates" with final costs not yet available.

The ad says B.C. needs more energy but doesn't mention that provincial policy is to buy electricity only from private suppliers at costs significantly higher than from publicly-owned BC Hydro hydroelectric dams. Nor does it mention new contracts with two coal-fired generating plants.

Government advertising has always been controversial in B.C.

B.C. Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell strongly opposed government advertising when in opposition. In a November 2000 interview, he said: "I can tell you this, we are going to end government feel-good advertising."

But last year Finance Minister Carole Taylor revealed the government spent $13.9 million on its B.C.: The Best Place on Earth ad campaign.

Customers can see if the ad is worth it at:

The Vancouver office of DDB Canada produced the campaign.


Total Campaign costs: $1,864,481.33
- TV ad production - $199,800 (30 second spot)

Media buy - $726,183
- Print ad production - $81,500.83

Media buy - $617,060
- Radio ad production - $30,570

Media buy - $133,210
- Web ad media buy - $57,000

Tieleman guest hosting on CKNW AM 980 - Nightline BC Monday December 18 and more

Hi all - I will be guest host on Nightline BC on CKNW AM 980 and the Corus Radio Network in BC tonight - Monday December 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. I'm filling in for the vacationing Mike Smyth.

You can tune in on the Lower Mainland at AM 980 or online at

I will also be guest host on Thursday December 21, Friday December 22 and the following week on Wednesday December 27 and Thursday December 28.

Tune in, call in!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Alex Tsakumis on Mayor Sam Sullivan and the NPA criminalizing those who have nothing

In today's 24 hours newspaper Alex Tsakumis has written a powerful column on how Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan and the Non-Partisan Association majority on City Council have decided to criminalize those who have nothing rather than effectively deal with homelessness, poverty and drug addiction.

With Tsakumis' permission, I'm pleased to offer a copy of his column here.

Citizen Sam misses the point

By Alex Tsakumis

In Citizen Sam, the biopic about our beleaguered Mayor, the viewer is dealt a veritable cornucopia of snippets of Sam the man and his notable life.

It’s tough not to be moved by the story of an otherwise happy go lucky young man from a good family, who breaks his back skiing, dives into the depths of depression and suicide contemplation, only to remerge phoenix-like from the ashes of his then torn world, to lead Canada’s third largest city in charity, business and politics. His rise to the coveted throne of Vancouver’s political elite, then, is that much more remarkable.

And it’s for the potential lift of every one of those seemingly superhuman qualities, too, that Sam Sullivan, the Mayor, is such a surprising disappointment as being, at least, guardian of the shattered on the Downtown Eastside—the chief promise he’d made repeatedly during the civic campaign.

You’d expect someone who has stood at the precipice separating life and death to understand what it would be like for the downtrodden in this city, who we can all agree, peer longingly, even playfully, over life’s edge every day.

If the Mayor really wanted his “Civil City” plan to charge against ‘the problem’ and not ‘the symptoms’, rather than locking up garbage bins, and going quixotically hard against those with the absence of anything but a gently wafting pillow of crack smoke, he should have started with an innovative, truly compassionate approach that would have parked him and a multi-partisan lobby group at the doorsteps of the Legislature and Parliament—with a strategy.

Instead, the Mayor and his apparatchiks have decided to criminalize those who have nothing else in life but to miserably revel in the symptoms that are a blight on this City. Throwing up a weak, disjointed plan of competing philosophies that rings hollow in its prognosis, does absolutely nothing.

I worked on the DTES for many years. One of the businesses I was responsible for bordered what is known in the patois of that street as “Shooter’s Alley”. There, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, are life’s wounded, filling their veins with the perpetually uneasy warmth of hell.

The first few times I watched someone shoot up, I wasn’t as much shocked as I was taken aback by their purposeful gait straight into the black of existence. There I was standing behind a barred, heavily fortified gate, briefcase at my feet and there they were, all of them, flailing about in their own cesspool, only to drown one day: used condoms, dirty needles, blood soaked foam and dead rats.

They were clearly medicating. “Who in their right mind would want to live like this”, I once muttered to myself.

And then it occurred to me: it wasn’t that they were merely homeless or drug-addicted. It was clear that they were mentally ill. The social workers I befriended and that have worked that beat since time immemorial confirm(ed) it: attack the mental health issue head-on.

And, that, is the real story of the DTES as is stands.

Yes Sam, garbage from homelessness and drug-addiction makes mental-illness issues worse. But so does ignorance from bad governments and ineffective leaders.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Did Sam Sullivan supporters commission mystery polling to prove Mayor still electable?

The mystery polling on Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan may not be a mystery anymore....

My colleague Sean Holman at 24 hours and proprietor of the must-read has posted a report of a major meeting of Sam Sullivan's supporters.

The Mayor's men and women got together at the Opus Hotel Wednesday night before attending a special screening of the controversial documentary Citizen Sam - a blunt look at Sam Sullivan and his Non-Partisan Association 2005 election campaign.

Would those be some of the same people who commissioned a mystery poll by Justason Market Intelligence about Sam Sullivan, his potential opponents and his policies?

More than likely.

That secret polling - reported exclusively in 24 hours - sparked widespread rumours among city politics players and observers as to who was responsible.

But as of Wednesday you could scratch all of the following off the list of suspects, who have contacted me since the story broke:

Christy Clark - ex-Deputy Premier who challenged Sullivan for the NPA mayoralty nomination.

Marty Zlotnick - NPA Park Board commissioner and backroom guy who backed Clark

Tim Louis - ex-Coalition of Progressive Electors councilor

David Cadman - COPE councilor

Peter Ladner - NPA councilor

Suzanne Anton - NPA councilor


Vision Vancouver


That tends to lead to one obvious conclusion - Sullivan's backers, feeling the heat over the Mayor's failing performance, commissioned a poll to show he is still viable and could win an election over either Vision Vancouver's Raymond Louie, COPE's Cadman or Louis or former opponent Jim Green of Vision.

The question now is whether the poll results were so good that they will soon appear in media outlets to back up Sullivan or whether they were so bad that we will never seen them.

Unless they get leaked!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

To Stop Tories, Vote Grit or NDP? Once more with feeling: Glavin versus Tieleman.

To Stop Tories, Vote Grit or NDP?

Once more with feeling: Glavin versus Tieleman.

View full article and comments here

By Terry Glavin and Bill Tieleman

Published: December 13, 2006

[Editor's note: Last Tuesday, The Tyee published Terry Glavin's explanation of why, with Dion as Liberal leader, "Voting NDP Just Got Harder." Bill Tieleman responded with his "Ten Reasons to Vote NDP" in the next federal election. When the smoke had cleared, Glavin and Tieleman both wanted to add some more points, presented here.]


In Monday's Tyee, Bill Tieleman was allowed an opinion essay to defend the New Democratic Party in response to the question I put in my Dissent column last week: "Why are we supposed to vote NDP again?"

After reading that I'd already offered my "strong endorsement" to both Liberal contenders Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion, it took me a while to stop laughing. Besides, what I wrote in my column was, "I'm not saying that progressives in Canada shouldn't vote NDP. I'm not saying I'm not going to vote NDP."

But then it occurred to me that if this is the best that a high-profile, full-time NDP pundit can offer by way of answering my question, then the NDP must be in worse shape than I'd thought.

Glossing over my question's context ("the implications of vote-splitting to the point that Stephen Harper could return at a troop strength sufficient to form a clear majority") Bill's essay offers what he calls 10 reasons to vote NDP. The problem is, Bill's ten "reasons" don't add up to a single really good one.

Guilt by association?

Bill begins with some grasping attempts to hang Stephane Dion by association (The Trilateral Commission! David Orchard! That guy who likes Dion who might be connected to David Basi and Bob Virk!) but it's a bit late for that.

This isn't about Dion. Dion was indeed elected Liberal leader, but even NDP leader Jack Layton called Dion "a man of principle and conviction...and therefore almost certain not to be elected leader of the Liberal party."

This doesn't deter our Bill, who makes a lame attempt to smear Dion with the Chrétien-era Adscam imbroglio, and then gets himself in a complete muddle about the Kyoto Accord. Canada signed it eight years ago, not 13 years ago, and Canada didn't ratify the deal until 2002. And Dion wasn't environment minister until 2004, anyway.

One of Bill's "reasons" to vote NDP could just as easily be offered as a reason to vote for the Conservatives, since they voted with the NDP for the "anti-scab" Bill 263. And as for the bit about former prime minister Paul Martin not doing anything progressive except when the NDP made him...that's over the top. Even if it were true, it would be equally useful as an argument in favour of the NDP backing another Liberal minority government.

Bill then trots out the old "Ignatieff-backs-torture" canard, then reminds us that Ontario's labour unions hated Bob Rae, and you know Bill's at the bottom of the barrel when we get this: election-finance reform means every NDP vote will earn the party $1.75! And a tautology: don't vote for the Liberals, because...they're Liberals.

Then we're treated to references to Pierre Trudeau's arrogance, NAFTA (the NDP wants out now?) APEC (?) and the most hilarious: "Canadian troops in Afghanistan." Which the NDP supported. Then opposed. Then supported, so long as our soldiers didn't do any fighting. Or something. All because of the ridiculous assumption that there is something "progressive" about thumbing our noses at the United Nations and surrendering our Afghan comrades to the savagery of the Taliban.

Best way to vote

But there is an observation that Tieleman makes, or at least it's a point he alludes to, that I am perhaps as guilty as Bill of not treating with sufficient seriousness. That's the question of "strategic" voting.

Bill raises the spectre of "stampeding nervous NDP voters into the Liberal camp," as though NDP voters were as dumb as cows. But when I raised it, it was mainly in the context of the NDP's brutish excommunication of Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove for suggesting that maybe it wouldn't be so evil to vote Liberal in those ridings where a Liberal vote could keep a Conservative out of office.

Since neither Bill nor I addressed this matter adequately, here's my modest proposal, to meet Bill half way, in counsel to both Liberals and New Democrats: Don't get stampeded by anyone.

Vote with your heart and your head.

Just be sure to vote for whichever candidate is likely to keep the Conservative at bay.


"A hit, a very palpable hit." - Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Judging from the wild roundhouse swings, it looks like I've landed a political blow to Terry Glavin.

Glavin's attempts to dismiss the arguments I raised are flimsy at best.

For example, Terry says I'm in a "complete muddle" over Kyoto and wrongly blamed Stephane Dion for the Liberal record of failure.

Read what I said again.

Fact: Canada during the Liberals' 13 years in power increased greenhouse gases by 30 per cent.

Fact: Under Kyoto, Canada promised to reduce them by 20 per cent.

Fact: Canada under the Liberals did a worse job than George W. Bush.

If Terry wants to give Dion a passing grade when he was a Liberal MP the whole time and a cabinet minister most of it just because he was only environment minister for a year, well think again.

Thumb twiddlers

Dion's party, with Dion an MP and cabinet minister, twiddled their collective thumbs while the Arctic melted.

Same thing with the anti-scab law. Only a handful of Conservative MPs voted in 2005 to ban replacement workers -- but Terry makes it seem the whole caucus voted with the NDP -- if they had, it would be law today! Dion joined the likes of Stockwell Day to shoot it down.

And Michael Ignatieff's documented statement on the use of torture is a "canard"? More like Glavin is ducking.

I share Terry's concern that the federal NDP needs to better communicate its ideas. But that's not my job -- I just gave my top of mind personal reasons.

And I agree people should vote with their hearts and heads -- but neither my heart nor head would ever let me vote for a Liberal like Hedy Fry or Joe Volpe.

Lastly, I am neither a "full time" nor an "NDP pundit." I have a day job, and while I generally but critically support the NDP, they don't financially support me, as that statement seems to imply.

Related Tyee stories:

Voting NDP Just Got Harder
Ten Reasons to Vote NDP
Has Harper Really 'Evolved'?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tieleman guest hosts again tonight - Tuesday - on Nightline BC on CKNW AM 980

I am guest hosting again tonight - Tuesday - on Nightline BC on CKNW AM 980 and the Corus Radio Network in BC, filling in for host Mike Smyth.

7:00 – Guy Giorno on the Accountability Act. Formerly Chief of Staff and counsel to Ontario Conservative Premier Mike Harris , lawyer Giorno is among the country's few experts in Canadian lobbying legislation, and co-author of the book Lobbying in Canada.

7:30 – Phil Rankin, BC lawyer, on the 2nd part of the Maher Arar report. Justice Dennis O'Connor has called for a new watchdog to independently monitor and review all RCMP activities

8:00 – Adrian Dix, NDP MLA and health critic, on a proposed new private mental health facility and a Port Alberni hospice

8:30 – Shauna Paull, chairperson of Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women Canada, on trafficked women and how they are dealt with when arrested

Turn on, tune in, don't drop out - drop me a line or call!

Telephone: 604-280-9898 or *9898 on your cell or toll-free 1-877-399-9898


Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan in a jam with continuing mystery on polling

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column - News, Views & Attitude
Tuesday December 12, 2006

Sam in a jam


Public opinion is the thermometer a monarch should constantly consult.

- Napoleon Bonaparte

Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan is in serious trouble.

That's the only conclusion one can draw after 24 hours last week uncovered a mystery public opinion poll about the mayor, his policies and potential opponents in the 2008 election.

We still don't know who conducted the poll by Justason Market Intelligence in late November.

But we do know the questions are designed to find out what Vancouver voters think of the increasingly beleaguered mayor and if they would prefer to replace him in the next election.

We also know it wasn't conducted by Sullivan's ruling Non-Partisan Association or the two opposition parties Vision Vancouver and the Coalition of Progressive Electors. Nor is the mayor's office responsible.

Since 24 hours broke this story Friday the mystery has deepened. Did a Sullivan supporter poll to find out how unpopular the mayor is? Could it be an attempt to block any effort within the NPA to get rid of Sullivan by showing he can still beat the opposition?

NPA councillors Peter Ladner and Suzanne Anton both say they are not involved, as does Marty Zlotnick, the NPA backroom powerhouse and Park Board Commissioner who called Sullivan's $800,000 "eco-density" study a "waste of money".

"Not only is it not me but I haven't the faintest idea who did it," Anton said in an interview.

The polling questions, given to 24 hours by two readers who were phoned at home, include:

  • Describe Sullivan's first year as mayor in three words;
  • Would you vote for Sullivan or potential mayoralty contenders Vision Vancouver councilor Raymond Louie or former councillor Jim Green, who lost to Sullivan in 2005; David Cadman, lone councilor for COPE; or Tim Louis, a COPE councillor defeated last election;
  • Would you support prescribing drugs for addicts, presumably heroin, which Sullivan has already asked city staff to investigate;
  • What percentage of addicts do you believe stay off drugs after completing treatment programs;
  • Would you support Sullivan's "eco-density" proposal of smaller housing units and greater urban density in your neighbourhood?
  • What party do you prefer - NPA, Vision or COPE? Briefly describe that party.

Rumours abound in Vancouver political circles about who could have sponsored the poll, including independent Park Board commissioner Allan De Genova, who quit the NPA in November after a fight with Sullivan, and Christy Clark, the former B.C. Liberal deputy premier who lost the NPA mayoralty nomination to Sullivan in 2005.

Messages left for De Genova and Clark had not been returned at press time.

Or was the poll done by a supporter of a potential Sullivan opponent for Vision or COPE in 2008?

So the mystery continues - as do Sullivan's troubles.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Tieleman guest hosts on CKNW AM 980 Nightline BC tonight - Monday December 11

I will be guest hosting Nightline BC on CKNW AM 980 and the Corus Radio Network tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. filling in for host Michael Smyth.

On tonight's show:

7 p.m. Anne Guthrie Warman of the Vancouver Secondary Teachers Association comes on Nightline to talk about overcrowded secondary school classrooms

7:30 p.m. Shannon Rupp from online magazine tells us why: "Christianity Is So Gay" in her view - should be fascinating this time of year.

8 p.m. Should BC give the Tsawwassen First Nation viable agricultural farm land and allow it to pull that land out of the Agricultural Land Reserve as part of its recent treaty settlement with the province?

Joe Foy of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee has some deep concerns, as do I, and we talk about that and also about more troubles in Clayoquot Sound with logging.

8:30 p.m. The Better Business Bureau of the Lower Mainland will give you fair warning of the 10 Scams of Christmas, so you can avoid being ripped off. Sheila Charnerski joins us.

Turn on, tune in, don't drop out - drop me a line or call!
Telephone: 604-280-9898 or 1-877-399-9898

Tieleman takes on Terry Glavin on voting NDP versus Liberal!

Ten Reasons to Vote NDP
Why Dion is no reason for New Dems to switch sides.

View full article and comments here

By Bill Tieleman

Published: December 11, 2006


My good friend Terry Glavin has put forward the question: "Why are we supposed to vote NDP again?" in response to the new Liberal Party leadership of Stephane Dion.

It's a perfectly legitimate question, though given Glavin's previous strong endorsement of Michael Ignatieff and now Dion, I have to wonder if it's really "apostasy" for him, or ecstasy.

And I very much disagree with his contention that the NDP has to admit it "actually doesn't possess any greater claim to the mantle of progressive politics in Canada than the Liberal party does."

Wow -- what a revisionist history of our country that is!

Nevertheless, let's simplify things and give Terry 10 good reasons why voting NDP is still a lot easier than voting Liberal, particularly Stephane Dion Liberal.

1. Kyoto. Stephane Dion leads a party, and was a cabinet minister in a Liberal government for most of 13 years when Canada increased greenhouse gases by 30 per cent instead of keeping a Kyoto promise to cut them by 20 per cent, a worse record than even the U.S. under George W. Bush.

2. B.C. Backers. Dion's endorsers in British Columbia include key supporters and participants in the right-wing, not progressive, Gordon Campbell B.C. Liberal government, including ex-B.C. Liberal "environment" minister Joyce Murray; ex-B.C. Liberal MLAs Karn Manhas and Doug Symons; Dion's national campaign director, Mark Marissen; provincial lobbyist Jamie Elmhirst; and Bruce Clark, whose home was searched by police at the same time as the B.C. legislature raid that ended with breach of trust charges against ex-BC Liberal ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk.

3. National backers. Other national endorsers of Dion include Roy MacLaren, the pro-free trading former federal Liberal cabinet minister and now member of that progressive group called the Trilateral Commission; David Orchard, the controversial anti-free trading former Conservative leadership candidate; and former federal Liberal cabinet minister Doug Young, who was thrown out of the party for joining the Canadian Alliance to support the leadership campaign of Tom Long, a key staffer for the Mike Harris Ontario Conservative government.

4. Workers rights. Stephane Dion's vote helped defeat anti-scab legislation in 2005 as a Liberal cabinet minister, and he was not in Parliament when a second private members' bill vote in favour of banning replacement workers was passed.

5. Sponsorgate's shadow. Stephane Dion was intergovernmental affairs minister throughout much of the Sponsorgate or Adscam scandal under prime minister Jean Chrétien, and while his integrity has not been questioned, his party's certainly has.

6. Martin's lesson. The only reason former prime minister Paul Martin took any progressive measures during his minority term in office was to stay in office with NDP and Bloc Québécois support while trying to steal social democratic votes. This is the same Paul Martin who viciously cut social program transfers to the provinces as finance minister, among other regressive measures.

7. Bad "dream." Dion's "dream team" pals Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae are in fact a pair of failed progressives. Ignatieff backed George W. Bush's disastrous invasion of Iraq and countenances torture in the defence of democracy. Rae's grim five-year tenure as Ontario NDP premier alienated both labour and business as he racked up massive deficits, then imposed unpaid "Rae Days" off on public sector workers.

8. Money. Canadians should feel free to vote for the party that most closely represents their values and ideals, regardless of the "strategic" value of their ballot. And with federal financing reforms now in place, each party gets annual funding of $1.75 per vote it gains in an election -- that means even the Green party, with no MPs elected, now has a $1 million budget.

9. Strategy. Stampeding nervous NDP voters into the Liberal camp in previous elections has actually resulted in Conservative victories in ridings where the NDP has had the best chance of winning.

10. He's a Liberal. It's still the Liberal Party of Canada for god's sake! The breathlessly arrogant party of Jean Chrétien and Pierre Trudeau, of the Gomery Inquiry, Shawinigate, APEC, wage and price controls, Canadian troops in Afghanistan, Maher Arar sent to Syrian torture, NAFTA implementation, the nearly lost 1995 Quebec separation referendum, the broken GST promise and so much more good stuff!

So, go ahead and consider voting for the newly "progressive" Liberal Party of Canada, but don't say you weren't warned!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Who is polling about Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan if it's not the NPA, Vision Vancouver or COPE?

Sullivan at centre of mystery poll
December 8, 2006


Who wants to know what you think of Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan? And why?

That's the question after a Vancouver polling firm declined to identify who its client is in a survey of city residents that asks their opinion of Sullivan's performance, who his best political opponent would be and what they think of his policies.

The ruling Non-Partisan Association flatly denies any involvement in the poll, as does Sullivan's office. And the NPA's competition, Vision Vancouver and the Coalition of Progress Electors, also say it's not their poll.

But the questions being asked about Sullivan's leadership, possible opponents in the 2008 municipal election and reaction to key Sullivan policy initiatives make it sound like the poll could be an effort to see if Sullivan should be replaced as the NPA's candidate before then.

Could it be the work of someone like independent park board commissioner Allan De Genova, who recently quit the NPA in a dispute with Sullivan?

NPA President Mathew Taylor says the party is not responsible.

"It's definitely not a party poll - I can tell you that," Taylor told 24 hours. "I know the NPA hasn't commissioned it."

The polling questions, provided by two 24 hours readers who were phoned at home in late November for the survey, include:

- Would respondents vote for Sullivan or potential mayoralty contenders Vision Vancouver councilor Raymond Louie or former councilor Jim Green, who lost to Sullivan in 2005; David Cadman, lone councillor for COPE; or Tim Louis, a COPE councillor defeated last election?

- What party do respondents prefer - NPA, Vision or COPE and how would they briefly describe that party?

- What are the biggest issues facing Vancouver?

Barb Justason of Justason Market Intelligence confirmed Wednesday her firm is currently conducting polling in Vancouver but refused to identify the client.

"It's really not something that's mine to discuss. We're not done yet," Justason told 24 hours.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals - your union friendly, progressive political party?

The leopard can't change its spots but can the Gordon Campbell BC Liberal Party?

That's the obvious question if you are a BC Liberal member or supporter who got a fundraising email today.

No union bashing as in days of old - er - the first term. Forgot those imposed contracts! We're your friends now.

No teacher bashing as in days of old - er - the first term. Forget ripping up your contract! We're all on the same side.

Oh, and by the way, send money!

Here is the full text of the email:

December 7, 2006

Reaching Higher for BC, Support our Progress!

Dear Friend:

Thank you for all the support that you have shown the BC Liberal Party over this past year. This has truly been an exciting year for British Columbia as we've moved forward on a number of new initiatives to continue improving on B.C.'s reputation as the best
place on Earth.

We've seen our economy continue to grow with B.C. creating over 320,000 new jobs since December 2001, over 90% of which are full time - the strongest job creation rate in the country.

We're investing more in health care and education than ever before in the history of our province.We successfully negotiated fair and affordable agreements in 2006 covering more than 300,000 public sector employees, including a 5-year agreement with the BC Teachers' Federation.

We've launched the Conversation on Health, an unprecedented, province-wide consultation with British Columbians on their health care to lay the groundwork for improvements to the principles of the Canada Health Act that will be presented in Fall 2007.

As we go forward, we're looking at the new goals and challenges that lie ahead such as...

Providing greater tax relief for B.C. families within this mandate, to build on British Columbia's current competitive advantage as having the lowest average provincial personal income taxes in Canada on the first $80,000 of income earned.

Providing additional rental assistance to 15,000 lower-income families in British Columbia and building nearly 11,000 new units of affordable housing.

Creating 2,500 new graduate spaces for master's and doctorate degrees, creating 7,000 more apprenticeship spaces by 2010, and spearheading an aggressive marketing initiative across Canada and the United States - all to help address the skilled worker shortage created by our strong economy.

But to make it happen, we need your support. As this year draws to a close,
please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the BC Liberal Party to ensure the progress of Premier Gordon Campbell and our entire team can continue.

You can show your support for the BC Liberal Party through a one-time donation through our online web site, or by becoming a valued member of our Club 300 program with a
year-round contribution.

Please see the below chart for some of the tremendous tax-benefits of donations to the BC Liberal Party.

To qualify for a 2006 tax receipt, online donations must be received by midnight on December 31, 2006 and mailed or faxed donations must be received by noon on December 29, 2006.

If you would like to donate via mail or fax, please click here.
Tax Benefits of Donating to the BC Liberals

Donation Tax Credit Net Annual Cost
$50.00 $37.50 $12.50
$100.00 $75.00 $25.00
$250.00 $150.00 $100.00
$300.00 $175.00 $125.00
$500.00 $275.00 $225.00

Thank you again for your continued support.

Together, we will continue reaching higher for British Columbia in 2007 and beyond!

The BC Liberal Team

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mark Marissen denies Justin Trudeau in Vancouver-Kingsway rumour

Mark Marissen, Stephane Dion's leadership campaign manager, has just contacted me to deny rumours posted here this morning that Justin Trudeau, eldest son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, was being recruited to run for the Liberals in Vancouver-Kingsway.

In an email sent from his Blackberry, Marissen says in response to my question whether there is any truth to the rumours he is trying to recruit Trudeau:

"No truth. We have a candidate in Vancouver Kingsway," Marissen wrote.

That candidate, of course, is Stephane Dion supporter Wendy Yuan, who was nominated in July amid some controversy. Bob Rae supporter Mason Loh lost that nomination and also an appeal to Liberal Party HQ based on the meeting being held on short notice. Yuan will face turncoat Liberal, now Conservative cabinet minister, David Emerson.

Dion said in August when Yuan endorsed his leadership that: “Wendy is an outstanding leader in the community, a successful entrepreneur, and a tireless worker for the party. I am glad she joins my campaign for a more prosperous, more just and greener Canada.”

Fair enough. But imagine what he'd say about Justin Trudeau.

Justin Trudeau shocker - will Pierre Trudeau's son run for federal Liberals against David Emerson in Vancouver-Kingsway?

Could federal Liberal heart-throb Justin Trudeau run in Vancouver-Kingsway in next election?

That's the delicious rumour just making the rounds today with some Liberal sources, who say Stephane Dion's Vancouver-based leadership campaign manager Mark Marissen is working overtime to convince the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau to take the plunge into politics in the next election.

If it comes to pass Justin Trudeau could be facing off against former Liberal David Emerson, who jumped to the Stephen Harper Conservatives and a cabinet job just hours after the Paul Martin Liberals lost the election in January 2006.

It's hard to believe either Emerson or the New Democratic Party, which once held the riding, could beat the star-power and media frenzy that a Trudeau candidacy would bring.

While the idea of Justin Trudeau running in Vancouver-Kingsway may seem far-fetched on first blush, it shouldn't be dismissed.

Justin Trudeau has lots of BC and Vancouver connections. His mother Margaret Trudeau grew up in Vancouver, the daughter of legendary Liberal cabinet minister Jimmy Sinclair.

Justin obtained his B.Ed. at the University of BC and taught at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver.

Justin jumped to public prominence with his eulogy for father Pierre at his October 3, 2000 funeral. Since then he has toyed with Liberals about running and in the federal leadership contest was a strong and prominent supporter of Gerard Kennedy, moving with Kennedy to back Dion when Kennedy dropped out.

Trudeau currently lives in Montreal with his wife, TV personality Sophie Gregoire. He is chair of Katimavik, the national youth service program, and is involved with environmental groups such as the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, as well as Harvest Montreal, the largest food bank in the region.

Justin will be 35 on Christmas day - and what a present his candidacy would be for the Liberals!

I have sent an email to Marissen asking for comment. More if he replies.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Can Stephane Dion pull second rabbit from hat against Stephen Harper?

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column - News, Views & Attitude
Tuesday December 5, 2006

Dion's uphill climb


The Liberals are the party of government; the Conservatives are like the mumps, you get them once in your life.

- Jack Pickersgill, former Liberal cabinet minister, 1961

The Liberal Party of Canada rolled the dice on Saturday, giving its leadership to Stephane Dion, the fourth choice of Liberal members in an initial nation-wide vote and a candidate who failed to gain the endorsement of a single former cabinet colleague currently in Parliament.

For a party that has been rarely out of government, a party where practically every leader has become prime minister, it was a risky roll for the chance at a bigger prize.

But the true winner of that dice roll may turn out to be not Dion but Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who can be expected to force an early election, or Bloc Quebecois leader Giles Duceppe, who may also want a quick vote to maximize his Quebec seats.

Dion should not be underestimated, having just pulled off a surprising upset over three men who finished ahead of him in pre-convention membership voting - Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Gerard Kennedy.

But Dion's weaknesses - his English is as fractured as his reputation in Quebec and he seriously lacks charisma - will encourage Harper and Duceppe to exploit the situation.

Watch also for New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton and new Green Party leader Elizabeth May to roast Dion on environmental issues.

Dion may have named his family dog "Kyoto" but he was also a cabinet minister in the Liberal government that increased greenhouse gases by 30 per cent over 13 years in power instead of keeping a Kyoto promise to cut them by 20 per cent. Talk about hot air.

The new leader didn't pick up the backing of any of his former cabinet colleagues until the fourth and final ballot. Not a convincing show of confidence by those who have seen Dion at work in government.

But with strong help from the former British Columbia Paul Martin campaign team that helped push Jean Chretien out as Prime Minister, Dion became everyone's least objectionable choice.

Mark Marissen, Dion's National Campaign Director and Martin's former top B.C. lieutenant, deserves much credit for running a tough up-the-middle campaign much like that of two other compromise leadership candidates: former federal Conservative leader Joe Clark and former B.C. NDP leader Bob Skelly, who both came from far behind to win.

The analogy, unfortunately for Dion, is one primarily of failure in the larger electoral battle, not success. Clark was prime minister for nine brief months before being defeated and subsequently deposed, while Skelly lost the election that followed and resigned soon afterwards.

Dion has won the Liberal leadership against considerable odds. Beating Harper is an even longer shot.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tieleman and Spector dissect Stephane Dion Liberal leadership win Monday at 10 a.m. on CKNW's Bill Good Show

Norman Spector and I will join Bill Good on CKNW AM 980 from 10 to 11 a.m. to discuss and dissect the Liberal leadership vote, as well as the also surprising Alberta leadership tally and the controversial private clinic emergency room situation.

Join us, call us, also on the Corus Radio Network throughout BC.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Stephane Dion wins Liberal leadership with prominent BC backing

Former environment minister Stephane Dion has triumphed in the fourth and final ballot of the Liberal leadership contest over MP Michael Ignatieff with 54.7% of the votes.

And Dion's win was dependent on support from some key BC Liberals formerly associated with the Paul Martin team that pushed Jean Chretien out of the Prime Minister's office in 2003.

Most prominent among them is Mark Marissen, who was Dion's National Campaign Director and an early backer of the candidate who was discounted by many and came in fourth place in the initial vote of Liberal members, behind Ignatieff, Rae and Gerard Kennedy.

Marissen deserves part of the credit for a winning strategy that included convincing Kennedy to do a deal with Dion where whoever fell behind would support the other candidate. Dion edged ahead of Kennedy on the first ballot and Kennedy dropped out in favour of Dion after the second vote.

Dion's win with 2,521 votes over Ignatieff's 2,084 was a convincing one that showed Liberals were ultimately unwilling to go to an outsider to leader their party, first dispatching former Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae, then saying no thanks to Ignatieff, the academic who had spent 30 years teaching in the U.S. and Britain.

Now Dion's challenge is to improve his fractured English and work quickly to unite the party in preparation for a possible spring election against the Stephen Harper Conservatives, who have dropped in popular support due to issues like Afghanistan, same-sex marriage, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and rejection of the Kyoto climate change agreement.

Stephane Dion poised to beat Michael Ignatieff in close race on 4th ballot

It looks like front-runner Michael Ignatieff has run out of gas going into the fourth and final vote of the federal Liberal leadership contest.

Stephane Dion only has a 2.5% advantage over Ignatieff, so anything could still happen, but Dion's momentum and what appears to be more endorsements coming from the defeated Bob Rae camp should give him enough to win.

Ignatieff needed a Rae endorsement, even if only a personal one, to have a decent chance but Rae has studiously rejected supporting either of the remaining two candidates.

More after the final ballot......

Friday, December 01, 2006

Liberals and Labour - Which Leadership Candidate is the Most Pro-Labour? The Vote On Anti-Scab Tells A Tale

Who will help the working man?

The Tyee Election Central Desk

December 1st, 2006

By Bill Tieleman

While much attention has been spent on which federal Liberal leadership candidate is most attractive to party delegates or to Canadian voters, what about workers?

Which of the eight Liberals who aspire to become prime minister would also be a leader for the labour movement. Who is the most likely to introduce progressive legislation to meet the needs of working people?

Tough question.

None of the candidates has been outspoken on labour issues or attracted significant union movement support.

And while the NDP is the traditional and often organizational choice of organized labour in Canada, the Liberals have moved to the left since being turfed from power.

As one labour insider told The Tyee: “In opposition, the Liberals are trying to out-NDP the NDP!”

Some observers might automatically assume Brother Bob Rae, the former New Democratic Party premier of Ontario, is the obvious pro-labour choice.

But they would be wrong.

Bob Rae is still widely despised in the Ontario labour movement, particularly but not exclusively, among public sector unionists who have never forgiven him for imposing umpaid days off in an attempt to reduce burgeoning deficits.

Rae was widely condemned by the Ontario labour movement at the time and those hard feelings persist.

The former NDP premier was also faulted by others in labour for reneging on his party’s promise to introduce public auto insurance, a feature of other social democratic provinces like B.C., Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The Buzz on Bob

But, Rae does know the labour movement and none other than Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers, has reportedly picked him as the best choice for the Liberals.

But given that even Hargrove’s public embrace of Paul Martin in a CAW bomber jacket didn’t save the political hide of the former Liberal prime minister, don’t count on Rae enjoying overwhelming labour support.

Anti-Scab Counts

Talk is cheap. When the chips are down, what matters is who voted in favour of a labour priority – anti-scab legislation.

The answer is simple – and then not so simple.

An October 25, 2006 second reading vote on a private members bill – Bill C 257 – to introduce anti-scab or anti-replacement worker legislation was passed in the minority Parliament.

Among those members of all parties who voted in favour: Liberal leadership candidates Michael Ignatieff and Joe Volpe.

But fellow MPs and contenders Stephane Dion, Ken Dryden and Scott Brison did not vote on the motion.

[Gerard Kennedy, Bob Rae and Martha Hall Findlay don’t hold seats.]

And in an earlier vote on anti-scab legislation in April 2005, when the Paul Martin Liberals were in power, the entire cabinet voted against Bill 263, which was narrowly defeated by a count of 143 against versus 131 in favour.

Martin himself was absent for the vote but Dion, Dryden, Brison and Volpe all helped defeat anti-scab.

As the old saying about the Liberals goes, they govern from the right and run from the left.

Labour Supporters?

There is a shortage of prominent labour leaders or former leaders supporting any of the Liberal contenders.

Unsurprisingly, given that he has twice run unsuccessfully as a federal Liberal candidate, former IWA-Canada president Dave Haggard isn’t shy about boosting Bob Rae.

Other supporters with union ties include labour consultant and former Hospital Employees Union leader Jack Gerow, who has hosted an event for Rae, and Rob Mingay, a former press secretary to then-NDP leader Ed Broadbent.

But a quick glance through the endorsement pages of other Liberal leadership candidates doesn’t readily turn up any prominent labour officials throwing their support behind a potential PM.

So all in all, labour will likely wait and see who wins the convention vote on Saturday and then attempt to make inroads on policy issues it deems important.

Because unlike an NDP convention, most of the labour support you will find at this weekend’s Liberal gathering will come from the workers employed by the convention centre.

Battling Pundits - Tieleman versus Tsakumis On Who Will Win Liberal Leadership!

In today's 24 hours newspaper I take on right-wing political commentator and former Non-Partisan Association backroomer Alex Tsakumis over who will win the federal Liberal leadership contest this Saturday.

My column is followed by Alex's piece - you be the judge - and you can throw in your fearless predictions!

December 1, 2006

Bettin' man puts dough on Iggy


The odds always favour the frontrunner in any leadership campaign no matter how much my friend on the right side of the political fence may disagree.

And that means if you foolishly insist on betting who will be the next Liberal leader - a risky proposition - put your money on MP Michael Ignatieff. But realize that Iggy is far from a sure thing.

Ignatieff has run a poor campaign since finishing first in the initial vote of Liberal members - making a series of rookie mistakes.

But he still has to be considered the favourite despite a pack of pundits claiming either former NDP Ontario Premier Bob Rae is the sure thing or that Stephane Dion can't lose.

Political observer Will McMartin analyzed 27 recent federal and B.C. contested leadership battles and found that in 22 of them the front runner on the first ballot won - that's an impressive 81 per cent success rate.

At this convention Ignatieff has 29 per cent of the first ballot support locked up, plus more than anyone else of about 870 "ex-officio" votes - MPs, Senators and party officials who make up another 15 per cent of delegates - which should put him in the mid 30 per cent range. His closest rival, Rae, has 20 per cent, while Gerard Kennedy at 17.5 per cent and Dion at 16 per cent trail.

So Ignatieff has the easiest route to win, while Kennedy Dion and Rae all need to put together complicated combinations of second, third and fourth choice votes.

Remember too that Iggy has more Liberal MPs and senators behind him - and that influences delegates. If Kennedy is smart - and he is - and ambitiously ruthless - which I'm not sure about - he could go to Ignatieff after the first ballot, along with Brison, and make Ignatieff the leader.

That would give Kennedy kingmaker and second-in-command status. But only the reckless are making big bets on this fascinating competition.

Crap shoot for Liberal top dog

By Alex Tsakumis

On the left side of this page, my friend Comrade Tieleman will attempt to regale you with his knowledge of a Michael Ignatieff win come this weekend's Liberal leadership convention.

But Emperor Iggy ain't happening.

Here's why. By Sunday morning Kennedy, Dion, Rae or Ignatieff will be leader of the hapless Libranos.

Iggy has the least capacity for last ballot growth, and the largest number of delegates who will never vote for him, besting by the slimmest of margins the justifiably dreaded Bob Rae.

It was easy for Iggy to garner the first 30%, but it will be almost impossible for him, the way the delegate landscape sits, to lift the last 20%.

Most glaringly, Iggy single-handedly raised the constitutional idiocy that has gripped us, with his 'Quebec as a nation' comment and now he's going to pay for it - big time.

Look for the gap between Kennedy and Dion powerhouses after the first ballot. If Kennedy is too far ahead, Dion will move all his delegates to him, except for his Quebec delegation, which may scatter.

And the reverse will hold true if Dion is too far ahead, although Kennedy's principled stance this week against the sophomoric 'Nation of Quebec' motion, will surely provide him with a bump in support.

Rae, ultimately feared by the common-sense Liberals as leader and by Canadians as Prime Minister, presents a different scenario altogether, and a much more likely chance of winning for only one reason: the ideologues in the Sliperal left wing, having downed multiple tubs of their own bathwater, think that as part of providing a grand mea culpa during a general election, Rae's unmatched ability to shovel the fertilizer will lull hinterland and young urban Ontarian dimwits back to sleep.

Unfortunately, they're right. If Rae is on the last ballot though, it will be his opponent who will win, because even the Liberals can't be that nuts.

Or can they?

Gary Collins shocker - Ex-BC Finance Minister quits as CEO of Harmony Airways!

Former BC Liberal finance minister Gary Collins has dropped a bombshell this afternoon by quitting as President and CEO of Harmony Airways!

Harmony owner and major BC Liberal donor David Ho must be in shock, since Collins has been there for less than two years. Collins quit his job as Premier Gordon Campbell's finance minister on December 14, 2004 to move to Harmony and a reputed $300,000 annual salary running an airline that currently has just four aircraft.

Collins has told media that he will be pursuing one of several employment opportunities but has not given any details.

Collins' former ministerial assistant, David Basi, faces trial on breach of trust charges that will be heard in the new year. In a defence application for disclosure of evidence in November it was disclosed that police had put Collins under surveillance when he met with an executive from OmniTRAX, one of the companies bidding in the $1 billion BC Rail privatization.

The defence application also disclosed that a conversation between Premier Gordon Campbell and Collins was captured on a police wiretap on Basi's cell phone.

You can see an interview by Public Eye Online's Sean Holman with Collins this afternoon and Sean also reprinted Collins resignation news release.