Tuesday, May 04, 2010

BC Liberals contempt for democracy now goes far beyond just the HST - abuse of "Clean Energy Act", Youth Representative, new trade deal

BC Premier Gordon Campbell & Finance Minister Colin Hansen announcing HST

A Bad Week for Democracy in BC

Libs showed several ways their disdain for the public goes well beyond the HST

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/TheTyee column

Tuesday May 4, 2010

"Politics would be a helluva good business if it weren't for the goddamned people."

- Former U.S. president Richard Nixon

The B.C. Liberal governments contempt for democracy that became obvious last year with their plan to impose the Harmonized Sales Tax has now mushroomed out of control.

In recent days the disdain for the public coming out of Victoria resembles the final days of the Nixon White House.

Last week, B.C. Finance Minister Colin Hansen went apoplectic after Elections B.C. rightly ruled that his government could not send a $1 million mailer to all British Columbians full of pro-HST propaganda while the Fight HST citizens Initiative petition campaign continued.

Hansen's response? To demand that Elections B.C. invalidate the Fight HST petition itself, claiming the proponent -- former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm -- and the New Democratic Party had "misled" signers about HST impacts.

What? Did close to 200,000 voters sign the petition so far because they were misinformed? Or because they don't want to get hosed by Hansen?

UPDATE - Fight HST reports today that over 300,000 British Columbians have signed the citizens Iniatiative petition.

And this from a government that still won't tell British Columbians which goods and services will get hit with an extra seven per cent come July 1?

The Ontario Liberal government has put What's Taxable Under the HST and What's Not online for months, but B.C. still refuses to do so.

Elections B.C. politely told Hansen his complaint is full of H****S**T but the government's contempt continues.

Democracy de-Commissioned

The B.C. Liberals' new "Clean Energy Act" is dirty politics, a blatant attack on the independence of the B.C. Utilities Commission, the body that regulates provincial electricity rates and needs with open hearings, including funding public interest and industry groups to ensure all sides are heard.

The B.C. Liberals campaigned in 2001 on "restoring" the BCUC's independence but this act instead puts private independent power producers in charge by exempting them from BCUC regulation.

"It's critical that we restore the independence of the Utilities Commission to properly do its job on behalf of utilities and consumers alike without political interference. We intend to do that," Campbell told the Canadian Institute of Energy in November 2000. Another log on the fire.

Perhaps the most telling comment comes in a news release from the IPP Finavera Renwables praising the Act: "Of particular importance to Finavera's four wind projects is the provision that exempts contracts awarded in the Clean Power Call from a separate BC Utilities Commission review."

No kidding! And as The Tyee's Will McMartin has reported, Finavera is headed by two former Accenture Business Services executives responsible for privatizing one-third of B.C. Hydro operations and has a $41 million accumulated deficit.

But now it has won four wind farm contracts with the potential to earn over $100 million a year -- and the BCUC can't even examine this deal or any others under BC Hydro's "Clean Power Call"!

Call it the B.C. Futilities Commission from now on, for all the impact it will have in defending consumers' interests with IPPs profits being subsidized by BC Hydro customers with no possibility of investigating.

The bad trade deal no one told you about

And you probably haven't even heard about a new trade agreement the B.C. Liberals signed with Alberta and Saskatchewan that takes effect July 1 along with the HST.

The New West Partnership Trade Agreement allows Alberta and Saskatchewan companies to do business in B.C. without establishing offices here. And guess what? Alberta and Saskatchewan don't have the expensive HST to worry about!

The deal also means the provincial, municipal and regional governments won't be allowed to "discriminate" by favouring local hiring or businesses for most contracts. That will put B.C. workers and companies out of jobs, particularly given Alberta has no provincial sales tax and Saskatchewan no HST.

The hits keep coming

Then there's the government's refusal to give B.C.'s independent Representative for Children and Youth -- Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond -- access to cabinet documents regarding her investigation into a program where children are placed in the home of a relative.

Despite previously receiving such records, the government has rejected Turpel-Lafond's request, wrongly claiming it was prohibited from doing so by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

But just in case there was any question of Turpel-Lafond actually succeeding in doing her job by appealing that decision, the B.C. Liberals have also introduced a legislative amendment to remove her authority to gain access to such documents.

Contempt for the public at every turn -- and I haven't even mentioned other flagrant and widespread violations of the FOI Act or how this government fails to regulate salmon fish farms or how it cuts health care and education despite overwhelming opposition.

Incredibly aggravating. But while waiting for the next election -- and likely recall campaigns against B.C. Liberal MLAs in November -- there is one concrete way for voters to express their anger immediately. Sign the Fight HST citizens initiative petition.



Anonymous said...

I think people are clearly fed up but what concerns me right now is how we make our way back.

How do you repatriate electrical power and our water and our healthcare.

Clearly Gordon KNOWS he is on his way out and he is slamming through every abuse he can in the limited time he has left.

I would support repatriation but can you imagine the spin canwest would give it?

I worry for the future of our country.

MonkeyMan said...

I'm angry about the "Clean Energy Act" so I'm thinking about signing the Fight HST petition.

I'm quite upset about a new trade agreement between BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan so I want to sign the Fight HST petition.

This Liberal government has infuriated me with their new legislation to block the Children and Youth Representative from having access to cabinet documents so I will sign the Fight HST petition ASAP.

FOI Act violations - sign
unregulated salmon fish farms - petition
health care cuts - Fight HST
education cuts - now! immediately! can't wait!

And how do I feel about the HST? Who cares, I've got Bill Tieleman doing my thinking for me. That scares me more than the Liberals.

Anonymous said...

KASH HEED for Premier of BC, finally an honest cop and an honest leader for BC!!!!!!

Ha, Ha !


Anonymous said...

and now Terrence Robertson has stepped down as the Special Prosecutor in the Death tax brochure, his company donated $1,000 to the BC Liberals.

Anonymous said...

Why having a cow over allowing ALberta and Saskatchewan being able to do business here?

Did business in Alberta many times and we didn't have an office there.

Seems Bill is wanting more publicity, he's drifting away from his HST project.

300,000? Not evenly distributed across the entire 85 ridings. If only one of those ridings ends up with 9.98% of the total number required on July 6th, the entire project is just a pile of recyclable paper.

and the NDP? The only thing good related to the anti-HST movement from them is that Bill will probably be going back to Victoria to work the Premier's Office as Head Propagandist again.

Anonymous said...

I know times are tough for everyone Bill but why are you supporting the PAB's???


Anonymous said...

keep up the good work Bill!

There's obviously a few posters who are scared by the thought of an active and organized electorate determined to take back our province and do a little house-cleaning.

Anonymous said...

"There's obviously a few posters who are scared by the thought of an active and organized electorate determined to take back our province and do a little house-cleaning."

Which results in the NDP being elected and Bill here most likely being in charge of the Public Affairs Bureau which was originally put in by the NDP.

Take back the province? Good luck on that one. The NDP doing everything right that everyone wants? Dream on, serfs.

Would be easier to get the NDP to repeal the HST as a condition of their becoming govermment.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, Alberta has the right idea to separate the western provinces from the east. We would be, 40% better off, financially. We wouldn't be forced to contend, with the likes of, Campbell, Hansen and the BC Liberal party. Anything would be better, than what we have now. The BC Liberal party is full of, scandal, lies, deceit, broken promises, ministers under investigation, DUI's, theft, fraud,sneaks,arrogance, and everything else in the book. They don't have a shred of decency.