Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why did BC's biggest Facebook group - NO BC HST - suddenly disappear completely on Friday January 29?

UPDATE 3 6:25 p.m. Sunday January 31 - NO BC HST has suddenly and miraculously reappeared online, with all 130,000 plus members intact!

I have no idea what happened - I have no word from Facebook authorities or anyone else - but I intend to find out.

Thank you sincerely for all the expressions of support and concern - it really means a lot to me.

The group Axe The BC Gas Tax, however, is still missing.

Meanwhile, it's time for a stiff drink!

UPDATE 2 January 31 : A supporter has re-registered the name NO BC HST as a Facebook group and offered to turn it over to me - but how can that have happened? I am determined to find out how a 130,000 plus member Facebook group can disappear without my knowledge or involvement.

UPDATE 1 January 30: Another large Facebook group I created in 2008 - Axe The BC Gas Tax - has also completely disappeared! I have again filed an inquiry with Facebook but this is looking more ominous indeed.

On Friday afternoon
NO BC HST - the biggest Facebook group in British Columbia, with over 130,000 members - suddenly disappeared without a trace!

It's a total mystery and to date inquiries to Facebook have not explained what has happened. Links to the group on Facebook have also disappeared and external links like the one above only lead to a Facebook home page.

The page was "unavailable" once before for about a day due to Facebook "maintenance" but then reappeared without further explanation.

I can only hope there is a technical problem at Facebook which could explain this - and I will keep you posted here, on my Facebook page and through Twitter.

But a 130,000 member HST protest group can't simply be made to disappear - can it?


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

David Loukidelis move from FOI Commissioner to Deputy Attorney General is wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mr. Transparency Now Will Guard Secrets

Four reasons FOI Commissioner Loukidelis was wrong to jump to BC deputy Attorney General.

By Bill Tieleman

"Secrecy feeds distrust and dishonesty. Openness builds trust and integrity."

- Gordon Campbell, 1998

The man who has been responsible for ensuring that the provincial government fulfills Freedom of Information requests since 1999 is now deputy attorney general for the B.C. Liberal administration.

David Loukidelis will go from being the independent appointee responsible for ensuring openness and transparency in a government that flagrantly violates FOI rules to being one of the top bureaucrats assigned to keeping documents secret from the media and the public.

And that is seriously wrong in at least four ways.

Reason 1: Reversing roles

Loukidelis has an admirable record as information and privacy commissioner, including fighting B.C. Liberal government funding cuts that have reduced citizen and media access to information that should be readily available.

But the government should not have offered him the deputy attorney general’s position, nor should he have taken it.

Reason 2: Railgate optics

What's more, Loukidelis takes over as the senior administrator responsible for dealing with FOI and other requests for government documents in the B.C. Legislature Raid case -- a disquieting prospect given that he has been ultimately responsible for FOI requests previously made by defence lawyers for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi -- who face serious corruption charges.

Who recruited Loukidelis? The former deputy attorney general Allan Seckel, who is now Campbell's own deputy minister.

Reason 3: FOI office shutdown

And the government neglected -- through either sheer stupidity or malicious intent -- to appoint an acting commissioner until Monday afternoon, forcing the entire FOI office to bring all its activities to a halt until then.

You decide which -- because commission executive direct Mary Carlson was forced to write an urgent letter to B.C. Speaker Bill Barisoff Friday after an earlier letter to Premier Gordon Campbell went unanswered.

Only when media attention was focused on the lack of an acting commissioner did the government belatedly appoint B.C.'s conflict of interest commissioner Paul Fraser to temporarily fill in.

Reason 4: A dangerously slippery precedent

But here's what's most important of all. If the FOI commissioner can suddenly take a job in the B.C. government without any restriction, how can the public trust the next person who gets that job won't do the same thing?

And that means the next FOI commissioner may well be a lot more cooperative with the government than their position demands -- in order to seek another and potentially more lucrative job in government afterwards.

Loukidelis is an honourable public servant, and I believe he will continue to act in that manner in his new position.

But let's be clear. He reports directly to both attorney general Mike de Jong and Campbell; he is an Order In Council appointee and can be dismissed without cause at any time.

Anyone who serves as the independent FOI commissioner should be disqualified from subsequently serving in a government position to ensure that the integrity of the office is unquestionable.

As someone who has filed dozens of FOI requests, including several appeals to the commissioner when FOI documents were withheld unfairly and unnecessarily to prevent government embarrassment, I know this government is the most secretive in the country.

Now Loukidelis, the man who often bravely attempted to force Campbell to live up to his own promise that the B.C. government would be the most "open and transparent" in Canada, is part of that same administration that seriously weakened FOI legislation while slashing the commissioner's budget to further hurt access.

And that is beyond regrettable.


Monday, January 25, 2010

BC Legislature Raid trial will finally happen! Crown and defence to set trial date in early February for later this year


Political corruption trial date to be set in early February, over six years after 2003 police raid on B.C. Legislature

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

A trial date in the political corruption case that begin with a police raid on the B.C. Legislature in 2003 will finally be set in early February for later this year, a Special Prosecutor said in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday.

Bill Berardino said lawyers for the accused – former B.C. Liberal government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi – have made such substantial progress working with the Crown on outstanding defence applications that a trial date can be set on either February 8 or 10.

Berardino said the Crown will call seven to 10 core witnesses in efforts to convict David Basi and Virk of breach of trust and fraud and predicted that would take eight to 10 weeks in court.

The two former ministerial aides are alleged to have provided confidential government information to lobbyists representing a losing bidder in the $1 billion sale of B.C. Rail to CN Rail in 2003. Aneal Basi faces related money laundering charges.

Justice Anne MacKenzie was visibly pleased at the news a trial date can be set.

“The court wants to acknowledge the hard work of the Crown and defence counsel,” MacKenzie said, referring to negotiations to withdraw potential defence applications, including abuse of process, challenges to wiretaps and disclosure issues.

“This is very helpful to the administration of justice,” MacKenzie said.

Outside court David Basi’s lawyer Michael Bolton said it was “premature to talk about defence witnesses”.

“It depends on which witnesses the Crown call and which witnesses, if any, the defence calls,” Bolton said, also declining to speculate on how long the defence would take to present its case in court.
A version of this story will be published in 24 hours newspaper on Tuesday January 26.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Basi-Virk resumes Monday 10 a.m. in BC Supreme Court

The BC Legislature/Basi-Virk case is scheduled to lurch to life again - if only briefly - with an update on plans for the trial set for Monday January 25 at 10 a.m.

CONFIRMED - hearing is set as above.

These events do not always proceed as previously planned, so stay tuned for more and check BC Mary's website early Monday to see if the court docket shows that the update is on.

If it is on, watch here for an update


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Surrey Six murders suspect gets bail; sushi killer driver gets back license - what the hell?

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Accused Killers Go Free, Crime Victims Suffer

What's wrong with this picture?

By Bill Tieleman

"Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere."

- Martin Luther King Jr.

How does a man accused of manslaughter in the mass murder of six people in Surrey get released on bail?

How does an alcoholic man who killed two women and injured seven when he drove his truck into a Maple Ridge sushi restaurant not only get released early from a psychiatric hospital -- but be given back his driver's license?

The answer is the same -- because legal authorities said so.

But justice was not done.

On Friday, Surrey Provincial Court Judge Ellen Gordon allowed Sophon Sek to be released from jail on bail, over Crown prosecutor objections, despite facing manslaughter charges in the Oct. 19, 2007 murder of six people, including two innocent victims.

Sek is one of six men alleged connected to the Red Scorpions gang charged in the killings, including Jamie Bacon, who faces one count of first degree murder, and Dennis Karbovanec, who pleaded guilty last year and is serving a life sentence.

And also on Friday, Brian Irving was released from Colony Farms Forensic Psychiatric Hospital into the community, this time against the recommendation of a hospital psychiatrist who wanted him kept there another year, by the British Columbia Review Board.

Irving was found not criminally responsible for killing Simon Fraser University student Maija-Liisa Corbett, 19, and 46-year-old Hyeshim Oh when he drove his pickup truck at high speed into Halu Sushi in Maple Ridge on Aug. 28, 2008.

Back behind the wheel

Irving faced two second-degree murder and six attempted murder charges, but those were reduced to criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm, not that it made any difference.

That's because Irving pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disorder -- two psychiatrists testified he was suffering from delirium due to alcohol withdrawal and did not know what he was doing.

That despite killing two and injuring seven people -- including 11-year-old Joel Corbin, who suffered brain injuries, and his sister Juanita, who suffered serious injuries like broken facial bones.

And now Irving is free to drive again -- because the Review Board did not place any restrictions on his driver's licence.

Steve Brown thinks all of this is insane. I think it's criminal.

Brown's brother-in-law Ed Schellenberg was an innocent victim of the slayings in Surrey, along with Chris Mohan. Both got in the way of a gang hit on four other men in a Balmoral Towers suite.

"We just keep seeing these endless decisions in favour of the criminals," Brown said in an interview. "Too few judges can balance the rights of the accused and the rights of society to public safety and justice."

Recalling the premier's promise

And Brown also blames the B.C. Liberal government for not taking action.

"The bigger issue is the complete and utter silence of this B.C. Liberal government on public safety. Where are they?" Brown asked.

"Has Premier Gordon Campbell followed through with his promise last February of 10 gang prosecutors and 168 new police?" Brown said. "I think he knew all along he would never be able to afford it."

"There's so much contempt for law abiding citizens -- from this government, from the judiciary and from the bad guys," Brown said.

"This B.C. Liberal government has brought politics down to a new low," Brown says, but he isn't exactly happy with the New Democrats either. "We have an ineffective opposition and Campbell is just an emperor."

Brown is deeply concerned that Sek -- who was arrested one day after winning $364,364 in a poker championship at Richmond's River Rock Casino -- is potentially a flight risk.
Cloverdale resident Sek posted a bail bond of $300,000 cash and a $70,000 surety.

"The families of the Surrey Six -- the victims -- must be concerned about anything that jeopardizes justice," Brown says.

justice is being jeopardized daily in this province. And it's disgusting that our government leaves it to the victims of crime to say so.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vancouver protest against Conservative government proroguing Parliament until March - rally on Saturday January 23

If you think the federal government should be hard at work instead of Parliament being suspended till March, a protest is being held in Vancouver on Saturday January 23 at 1 p.m. at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

It’s sponsored by Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament – the Facebook group with nearly 200,000 members.

You can also check the Vancouver chapter for more information.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fraser Health Authority to kill amazing Chimo program that has helped people with serious disabilities for 26 years - for less than half CEO's salary

- photo by panshipanshi

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday January 12, 2010

Why Kill a 'Life Saving' Program?

Closing Chimo Achievement Centre for people with serious disabilities will cost lives and dollars

"This program saved my life. If it's shutdown, I'm going to go downhill fast."

- Lawrence Bibby, Chimo Achievement Centre client

What do you do with a healthcare program that helps people with serious disabilities like multiple sclerosis stay out of hospital or long-term care and instead lead independent lives -- while saving taxpayers millions of dollars?

Any thoughtful analysis would conclude that this kind of innovative program should be a model for the province and be expanded.

But if you are the Fraser Health Authority, you simply
shut down the program without even evaluating it, without talking to the administrator or staff or clients, all to save a whopping $165,000 a year.

That amount is less than half the $466,000
salary paid to Fraser Health's CEO -- Dr. Nigel Murray -- and a pittance in the Authority's $2.48 billion budget. But it actually pays for several staff to help keep 45 clients healthy and functioning.

Go home and good luck

Nevertheless, on January 31, the
Chimo Achievement Centre in Coquitlam will lock its doors and its clients will be told to stay home and watch television, with a bit more home care added to keep them there.

Or they can visit a seniors centre for any activities despite the fact that most of them are far too young to be seniors and those centres don't have exercise programs for people in wheelchairs like Lawrence Bibby, who has MS.

I've known Lawrence for 35 years and when told me what was going on, I couldn't believe it.
But it is tragically true.

Lawrence actually moved from Vancouver to be in the area and take advantage of the Chimo program -- which he says literally saved his life.

Elizabeth Oliveira is another Chimo client who knows it saves money.

"Before Chimo I used to be really sick in hospital three or four times a year -- I haven't been in hospital for two years," said Oliveira, a 34-year-old who has muscular dystrophy, uses a trachea ventilator and gets help with breathing exercises.

But that's not all. Chimo gives both her and her mother much more.

"It makes me feel good about myself despite my limitations," she says. "My mother needs one day a week not to worry about me."

[You can hear from other Chimo clients speaking about the cutbacks by viewing
this video.]

'They will deteriorate'

Chimo's administrator Arlene Hartley-Lewchuk is overwhelmingly worried about what will happen to her clients, despite her own disappearing job.

"We're not seeing any suitable placements for our clients -- there is nowhere for them to go but home," she said in an interview. "Physically their muscle tone is going to deteriorate. They won't have the ability or confidence to go out in their communities."

"But the big thing is they will lose their ability to live at home," Hartley-Lewchuk said. "There will be increased falls, which means hospital stays."

Amazingly, Hartley-Lewchuk says Fraser Health Authority never visited the Chimo program to evaluate it before cutting all its funding, nor has she yet had a meeting with its officials -- requested back in October -- to explain their decision.

Late Monday, Fraser Health Authority spokesperson Roy Thorpe said the evaluation of Chimo did not involve client interviews or discussions with the administrator or staff because of "confidentiality concerns around budget decisions" and because Authority directors "familiar with the program" were involved in determining the cuts.

Thorpe added that both an Authority director for home health and vice-president clinical operations Barbara Korabek called Chimo's Hartley-Lewchuk, but after the decision was made.

B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities is shocked at the closure, and the lack of evaluation.

"This is the sort of cost-effective model that should be expanded, not removed," says executive director Jane Dyson. "This is a very backward move by Fraser Health."

And the
Multiple Sclerosis Society agrees.

"The closure of Chimo would be a detriment to the disadvantaged and vulnerable population," says Adrianne Boothroyd, the MS Society's Lower Mainland chapter manager. "We strongly suggest a reconsideration for funding for this important and essential organization."

Chimo clients organizing

But Chimo clients are not giving up, despite the impending deadline. Lawrence Bibby has
created both an online petition and a Facebook protest page to urge Fraser Health and B.C. to reverse the closure.

Fraser Health Authority's spokesperson Roy Thorpe told me Friday that all Chimo clients have either been referred to an "alternate day program" or will get some additional home support.

But Thorpe admitted those programs are for seniors, not younger people in wheelchairs, and didn't have an answer about Fraser Health's lack of evaluation before killing Chimo as part of its
$160 million cost cutting exercise.

Thorpe says the decision to cut all funding "was never meant to suggest there wasn't great value to the program."

But he did have a response when asked if Fraser Health would reconsider the decision to close Chimo: "No."

I urge you to not take no for an answer -- help those people with disabilities who want to live independently at home by signing the petition, joining the Facebook group and
letting your MLA know this foolish decision will only cost our healthcare system even more money while punishing those who don't deserve it.

Will Basi-Virk trial happen soon or not at all - defence drops applications to throw out case


The Special Prosecutor in the Basi-Virk/BC Rail case this morning told two court hearing that he expects the defence to drop all their applications to stay corruption charges against three former BC government aides - will the trial proceed quickly as a result - or not at all?

After a very short hearing with BC Supreme Court Justice Anne MacKenzie - which was scheduled to hear the defence's Charter of Rights application on unreasonable delay for the trial - Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino said outside court that the defence moves will allow a trial date to be set soon.

But defence lawyer Michael Bolton, acting for David Basi, would say little when asked what was going on and if his client and co-accused Bob Virk and Aneal Basi would in fact face trial shortly as a result.

"There's really nothing we can comment on now. Discussions are occurring that will streamline the trial," Bolton said. Bolton refused to comment on speculation of a plea bargain by the accused.

When I attempted to ask Bolton about reports I heard in December that the defence would drop its Charter of Rights and abuse of process applications - which Bolton then called "pure rumour" - defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, representing Virk, quickly interrupted me to pull Bolton away.

"No comment," Bolton replied to me as he exited. McCullough later apologized to me for the intervention, without explanation.

Before that and right after the short BC Rail session Berardino and Bolton went next door for a separate hearing in front of BC Supreme Court Justice Lance Bernard on additional breach of trust charges against David Basi which allege he illegally influenced a decision to remove farmland from the Agricultural Land Reserve for a Saanich development in for a payment of $50,000.

Basi and developers Jim Duncan and Tony Young all face charges in the matter.

Berardino told Bernard that: "There are certain developments in the BC Rail case and as a result we appear to be in a position to fix a trial date on February 1 or within a few days of that."

Bernard agreed to postpone the hearing until February 8th at 9:30 a.m. so that all involved would then know the date of the BC Rail trial and the ALR trial would follow that one.

David Basi participated in the brief hearing by phone, with his lawyer Bolton explaining that Basi was home very ill with the flu. Basi said almost nothing except to tell Bernard he understood what was proposed.

Basi has still not retained Bolton as his counsel in the case, the court heard, but Bolton appeared for him with associate Claire Hatcher nonetheless. Bolton said a proposal to cover his legal costs has been made.

The BC Rail case will resume with a disclosure hearing January 19, an update on the case January 25 and then a date to set the trial will likely take place February 1.

NDP MLA Leonard Krog says that he believes a trial will soon take place after today's developments.

"I think this is good news for British Columbians and bad news for the Gordon Campbell government," Krog said in a telephone interview.

"The accused deserve a trial and the people deserve to hear what happened," he said.

Krog was concerned when asked about the possibility of no trial.

"My reaction would be to demand there be a public inquiry forthwith," he said, adding the end of the case would remove any impediments to an inquiry.

Krog has repeatedly called for a public inquiry if the trial does not proceed and posed 70 separate questions in the BC Legislature for the Attorney General to answer back in 2007.

"This is the major corruption scandal in BC history," Krog said today.

I was late arriving at BC Supreme Court for the BC Rail hearing but my colleague Neal Hall of the Vancouver Sun reports that Berardino told MacKenzie he expected the defence would not proceed with its applications.
MacKenzie replied that it would save the court a lot of time, prompting McCullough to say "four to six months".

Is the defence is merely reading the writing on the wall, as I have argued here in earlier postings, realizing that there is little likelihood the Charter application on "unreasonable delay" of the trial could succeed due to a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision that ruled a complex case requiring over 56 months to complete was not unreasonable.

Dropping a losing pair of applications that would like fail could be simply a reasonable decision to get the trial on and finally end the difficult situation the accused have faced for six long years.


Tieleman in BC Supreme Court today covering Basi-Virk defence application to drop case

I will be in BC Supreme Court today reporting on the resumption of the Basi-Virk case.

Lawyers for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi will be making their application to have the charges thrown out of court - starting today - based on the Charter of Rights and its guarantee of a trial without "unreasonable delay".

Stay tuned here for more reports from BC Supreme Court.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Do Facebook protest groups like NO BC HST and Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament make any difference? Yes they do!

In the past seven months more than 250,000 Canadians joined two Facebook protest groups - No BC HST and Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament.

Does it make any difference? Absolutely!

I created NO BC HST on Facebook in July 2009 in response to the BC Liberal government of Premier Gordon Campbell suddenly announcing the province would get a surprise 7% Harmonized Sales Tax on all sorts of goods and service previously exempt from the provincial sales tax.

NO BC HST currently has 129,860 members - most of its growth came in the summer as people discovered what the HST would mean to them. It is a BC-only based group - there are a few other BC groups as well but very small, while Ontario has some anti-HST groups of its own.

And on December 31, 2009 Christopher White created the Facebook group Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament in response to Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to prorogue - or suspend - Parliament until March, a move that effectively stops all scrutiny of the government through the work of Members of Parliament on committees and in the House of Commons.

Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament has 127,794 members - a remarkable growth rate that will soon make it bigger than NO BC HST - which I welcome as a supporter of the proroguing protest. That this group is adding more than 14,000 people a day on average so far is incredible.

UPDATE NOTE: Just one day after I posted this Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament has 140,557 members! Up 13,000 in 24 hours - that's over 500 new members an hour! Congratulations and keep going!

I participated in an interesting discussion of the importance of Facebook protest groups yesterday on Power & Politics - CBC TV's News Network's show with host Evan Solomon and CBC blogger-in-chief Kady O'Malley, along with guest blogger Ann Douglas. [You can watch that segment here at about 1 hour and 47 minutes into the show.]

Here are a few important comparisons - currently Facebook has somewhere over 7 million members - this is not easy to find, by the way, as Facebook is a secretive business. I have been waiting for several days to get an interview with anyone from Facebook about protest groups.

That means that 70,000 people joining a Facebook group represent roughly 1% of all Canadian members - putting both NO BC HST and Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament with approaching 2% of everyone who uses Facebook.

How do these groups compare with others on Facebook?

To the best of my knowledge, NO BC HST is the largest group in British Columbia with 129,860 members - that is, the biggest BC-based issue group.

By comparison the Vancouver Canucks official Facebook page has 115,005 members currently, while the BC Lions have 10,155.

Nationally, while Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament has 127,794 members other large Facebook groups include Canadians Against a Liberal/NDP Coalition Gov't - one of the biggest to date with 126,850 members - set up by Conservative blogger Stephen Taylor to oppose the possible coalition government in 2008.

Other big groups include Fair Copyright for Canada with 86,262 members.

But if you want to be humbled in the Facebook group field, know that Nickelback has 1,340,294 members on their fan page. However they are of course internationally famous and not a cause, at least not for most!

Nonetheless, the reason why a political protest group is important is that it is the most immediate, measurable and simple way for a large group of Canadians - up to 7 million - to express their views on issues of importance to them.

It should also be noted that Facebook severely restricts Administrators of Facebook group from communicating with their members - you cannot send a message to all members of any group with more than 5,000 members.

That means that while the Facebook group is a great expression of opinion, it is not an effective way to communicate back and forth.

Groups depend on the members to continue to visit the Facebook group page to get new information about events, activities and updates on the issue - not an easy thing to promote.

There are some ways around this - the Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament group is forming smaller sub-groups in different cities to communicate about protest rallies planned for Saturday January 23 - like this one in Vancouver.

But perhaps most important of all is that the media are watching these Facebook groups and reporting on their formation and growth.

That means more and more people hear about the opposition on that issue, see that they have a chance to easily participate by signing up and as that happens it creates a feedback loop with media again.

Facebook protest groups are not the be all and end all but compared to the old days of the 20th century this is light years ahead.

In the 1980s and 1990s protests were limited to petitions that needed hundreds of canvassers over several months to get anywhere near the number of Canadians joining these Facebook protest groups set up by one or two people in an hour and gaining tens of thousands of supporters in just days!

Now that's important and effective!


Friday, January 08, 2010

Tieleman on Power & Politics - CBC TV News Network - between 3:30 & 4 p.m. on proroguing Parliament - the online reaction

I will be on CBC News Network's Power & Politics with host Evan Solomon and Kady O'Malley this afternoon - Friday - between 3:30 and 4 p.m. - tune in to hear about proroguing Parliament and online reaction, including the rapidly growing Facebook page Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament, which is currently at over 108,000 members!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Take the Premier Gordon Campbell quote quiz for 2009!

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday January 5, 2010

Premier Gordon Campbell said it - but do you believe it?

By Bill Tieleman

It is better to be quotable than to be honest.

- Tom Stoppard, playwright

In 2009, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell was very, very quotable.

But was he honest? You be the judge with our Campbell’s quotes quiz of 2009.

"This is the single biggest thing we can do to improve B.C.'s economy."

- Premier Gordon Campbell, July 23, 2009

Was Campbell talking about his plans to:

A) Resign immediately as premier;

B) finally increase Canada’s lowest minimum wage;

C) end the province’s status as having the worst child poverty rate in the country for six straight years;

D) introduce a new Harmonized Sales Tax that will add a 7% tax onto many goods and services not previously taxed?

The unfortunate and unpopular answer is D, bring in an HST on July 1, 2010.

"We may not have quite as much contingency but, I can tell you this: the deficit for 2009/10 will be $495 million."

- Premier Gordon Campbell, April 23, 2009

The actual deficit, revealed after the May election, was $2.8 billion.

The reason Campbell claims he didn’t know there was a big problem before the election was because:

A) He was “consumed” with plans to help fight the H1N1 outbreak;

B) “Our staff had said to me that this is manageable,” referring to rapidly dropping revenue;

C) his staff didn’t tell him everything: “There is very restrictive interaction between the senior public service and anybody that's running for office.”

D) all of the above?

The contradictory answer is D.

Campbell, under questioning in the Legislature by New Democrat leader Carole James, added that he was never worried anyway because under his leadership in the past B.C. had always “performed beyond expectations.” Whew – we can all breathe easier now!

“To try and clarify this matter, this was an answer that was provided by our party during the election. It did reflect the position of the government at the time.”

- Premier Gordon Campbell,
November 25, 2009

Was the answer Campbell referring to:

A) B.C. Liberal Party plans to call for a full public inquiry into the B.C. Legislature Raid case if the trial fails to take place;

B) Party opposition to the rising cost of the 2010 Olympics;

C) the B.C. Liberals’ intention to declare Campbell “Premier For Life”;

D) a pledge to the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association that B.C. Liberals would not introduce a Harmonized Sales Tax if re-elected.

The answer, of course, is D. The CRFA estimates that the HST scheduled to start July 1 could cost its members $750 million in losses - $50,000 per restaurant – causing staff layoffs and closures.

“British Columbia has an important role to play in Copenhagen, both in supporting development of a global plan and in sharing our climate action measures with other governments.”

- Premier Gordon Campbell, December 7, 2009

Was Campbell referring to B.C.:

A) Being the only province Statistics Canada says has increasing greenhouse-gas emissions from industrial polluters, especially the oil and gas industry;

B) His continuing plans to push for offshore oil and gas exploration;

C) his opposition to a natural gas flaring tax;

D) none of the above.

The answer is D – but that didn’t stop some environmental groups from giving Campbell a "climate action leadership" award for his carbon tax on gas and fuel!

And so ends our quiz – if you gave Campbell a bunch of Ds, you’ve got him all figured out.