Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Regime change: T-minus 104 days?

A desperate governing party is looking at the calendar and the opinion polls and just might be realizing its stranglehold on power is running out. Better do something, anything. Quick! 

The Christy Clark BC Liberals are where the Bill Vander Zalm (and Rita Johnston) Social Credit was in 1991 and the Ujjal Dosanjh NDP was in 2001. Running out of ideas, detached from voters, hungry for just one more election win. 

Despite what the deluded pom-pom wearers and hired spinners will tell you, the Liberals could wake up on May 15 as a spent political force. 

Oh, they’re spending millions of dollars to tell you Canada Starts Here, when Cape Spear, Nfld. actually gets the first sun rays every day and Charlottetown in 1864 was where historians say the Dominion of Canada was conceived. And the B.C. Jobs Plan means B.C. is standing tall, like a big, old, white iPod that cannot be toppled by many smaller, old black iPods. Even if the jobs statistics don't stand up to scrutiny.

Then there’s the Concerned Citizens for B.C., the political action committee otherwise known as Jim Shepard’s Christy Clark Fan Club. Shepard and his flock want to remind you NDP leader Adrian Dix backdated a memo in 1999 when he was Premier Glen Clark’s stepandfetchit and that the NDP ordered the three-vessel fast ferry fleet that cost more than $200 million higher than the original budget and didn’t have a proper business plan. 

Shepard is blind to the fact the Liberals have bigger, newer skeletons in their closet. Such as the memos to file by Dave Basi which seem to implicate Clark in the leaking of confidential cabinet documents to a bidder for BC Rail. Clark is under investigation after a conflict of interest complaint by ex-Liberal MLA John van Dongen. The saga of B.C. Place Stadium is like a bookend. The Liberals were pondering a $100 million pre-Olympic spruce-up and roof replacement in January 2008. The final cost was $514 million and included a German-engineered retractable roof that is rarely opened. Taxpayers weren't consulted and they weren't even shown a business plan. Roof contractors are inching their way to a 100-day B.C. Supreme Court trial scheduled to begin Oct. 21. On Jan. 30, a lawyer for Canam disclosed before a judge that the company's claim against Freyssinet would be increased by $13 million to $39 million

Remember the infamous NDP fudge-it budget of 1996, when an $87 million surplus became a $350 million deficit after Glen Clark won election? The Liberals don’t want you to remember their 2009 faux pas when they promised a $495 million deficit during the election but delivered a $2 billion deficit budget just months after Gordon Campbell won his hat-trick. Lest you think dirty thoughts that the Liberals are going to fudge the numbers in their Feb. 19 pre-election budget, Finance Minister Mike de Jong has found another "independent" Maritimer for hire. 

Remember Stanley Cup riot investigator Doug Keefe, the former Nova Scotia mandarin who collaborated with ex-Olympics boss John Furlong and got paid $174,000? Meet Dr. Tim O’Neill, a Prince Edward Island economic consultant who is being paid at least $25,000 to look over de Jong's shoulder until budget time and give a passing grade. 

Message to Premier Clark: save money, call the Office of the Auditor General

But all is not lost. There are actually tiny rays of light showing through the fog that suggest someone in the Liberal party has realized the writing is on the wall. 

But is it too little too late? Just for show? 

On Jan. 31 at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Bill Bennett will announce the creation of a new agency for B.C.'s film, arts and creative industries -- a merger of the B.C. Film Commission, B.C. Film + Media and the B.C. Arts Council. They'll combine to form a new body similar to the Ontario Media Development Corporation. A one-stop shop for the creative industries. 

Bennett was at North Shore Studios for the #SaveBCFilm rally that drew 4,000 people on Jan. 22 and heard one of the many suggestions to revitalize an industry purposely left out of Clark's B.C. Jobs Plan.

William F. White's Vancouver general manager Garin Josey was spotted at the Canada Place Starbucks preparing for a Jan. 30 meeting in the Premier's Vancouver Office. Josey boosted the We Create B.C. social media campaign during the Jan. 22 North Shore Studios rally. He didn't tell me who he was meeting, but I confirmed independently that it was Bennett and Citizens’ Services Minister Ben Stewart.  

The Liberals are trying to looking kinder and gentler, but it’ll take more action to convince me of their sincerity. Here is my five-point, modest proposal for the Liberals to prove they're worthy of staying in office beyond May 14.

  1. Notwithstanding Chief Justice Robert Bauman's Jan. 29 verdict, how about waiving the solicitor-client privilege and delivering the Basi-Virk indemnity agreement to John Doyle so he can finish his audit? 
  2. Why not hire a retired judge and give him or her a one-year mandate and reasonable budget for a BC Rail public inquiry
  3. Perhaps publish the B.C. Place renovation business plan and ask the Auditor General to launch a full-blown value-for-money audit? 
  4. Possibly reveal the real reasons for the cancellation of the Liquor Distribution Branch logistics privatization
  5. Maybe rescind all those the Freedom of Information delay letters that everyone’s getting these days? 


motorcycleguy said...

What? You mean I am not the only one getting things like this??...after cutting a big cheque I may add.... I am shocked (not).

"The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has granted an extension of 31days to our response deadline pursuant to section 10 of FOIPPA. The decision to grant this extension was based on volume of records and consultation with a public body and/or third party. This extension is necessary in order that we may provide you with a complete response to your request. Our revised due date for response is now March 15, 2013. We will respond sooner if possible. A copy of section 10 is enclosed or a complete copy of FOIPPA is available online...."

motorcycleguy said...

....the preceding in reference to yet another IPP about to get a rubber stamp

Paisley said...

Trouble getting FOI requests...must be a coincidence.

Unknown said...

I don't think we need a public inquiry, we need a judicial inquiry. Charges for corruption need to be laid for almost all projects this bunch of crooks we call a government in this province.

A good start would be similar to what's happening in Quebec. I'm sure if we looked deep enough here it would pale in comparison to whats happening there.

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