Speculation and renters tax hits seniors with cottages

Vaughn Palmer

Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun has a very enlightening editorial opinion about the provincial government's controversial speculation and renters tax.

Seniors who have owned cottages for years and years now face massive taxes on unrentable buildings. It's been a disaster from Day One and continues as a cash cow for the government. 

MORE

A detailed look at Trudeau and the SNC Lavalin controversy

Calgary Nose Hill Conservative Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel.

0302 - Calgary Nose Hill Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel did a detailed review in Parliament of the SNC Lavalin controversy. Her motion in the House of Commons calls on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to testify. She lays out exactly what this is about and why it matters. It's worth watching, first hand. Watch it HERE.

Trudeau admits he was lobbied on SNC Lavalin

PM Justin Trudeau

0218 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed Friday that former justice minister and attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould had approached him to clarify whether he was in fact ordering her to make a particular decision on the bribery and fraud prosecution of SNC-Lavalin Group.

He said her question, in September, 2018, came amid a major lobbying campaign on the matter.

“Obviously there have been many discussions around this government: questions asked of me from two different Quebec premiers. Questions asked of me, and representations made, by the company, made by a broad range of individuals, of MPs. There were many discussions going on,” Mr. Trudeau said.

“Which is why Jody Wilson-Raybould asked me if I was directing her or going to direct her to take a particular decision, and I of course said, ‘No,’ that it was her decision to make and I expected her to make it. I had full confidence in her role.“

Mr. Trudeau’s acknowledgment that Ms. Wilson-Raybould had approached him on the matter comes only three days after he told reporters that she failed in her duty to raise concerns about the government’s handling of the SNC prosecution.

FULL STORY in the Globe and Mail

We have the wrong people governing us

 I wonder if the general population is finally fed up with the scandals in B.C. And Ottawa?

It appears to me that all of the regular “parties” are simply cut from the same bolt of cloth therefore telling us that changing the government will essentially change nothing. Not a single leader ever comes out, (other than Ford in Ontario), and says enough is enough.  

We pay through the nose in taxes for smart bureaucrats to give us the tools to run our province and country.  But we don’t have the MLAs or MPs to direct their efforts to, dare I say it, “make B.C. and Canada great again”. 

So let me suggest something. Why don’t we elect a new party consisting of brilliant business minds (like a Jim Pattinson) who will introduce a sustainable, progressive and more importantly an efficient government to maximizing our hard-earned tens of billions of tax dollars.

We don't need hundreds of them to do this like we have now.  It is time to listen to the common sense that every citizen knows, that has never existed, as it really is not rocket science. And if you have not noticed, not a single elected member is ever allowed to speak his mind (a.k.a. The constituents' concerns) because he/she MUST toe the party line.  

No successful private business top executive ever ignores his team’s input as that is why he hires them and that is why they are profitable.  The recently announced “miracle of ICBC becoming profitable” by next year would have been accomplished decades ago with the right executives running it.

Bill Davis
New Westminster

 

B.C. communities push back
on 
climate-damages campaign

0218 - While Victoria and other B.C. municipal councils are on board with an activist effort to demand compensation from global energy companies for their products’ effects of climate change, others are pushing back against what they see as an inappropriate use of local government and court resources.

In Fort St. John, the heart of B.C.’s oil and gas industry, Mayor Lori Ackerman and council plan to take a resolution to regional and provincial municipal associations this year, to oppose the lawsuit plan proposed across B.C. city halls in December.

READ MORE

By Rex Murphy

Trudeau sure doesn't sound
like he has nothing to hide

0209 - “What are you saying? Of course we didn’t. The idea that I, or anyone who works in my office, would interfere or pressure the Justice Minister in her proper role as the guardian of the rule of law — so much as lift an eyebrow when she is in the room — is preposterous, insulting, and absolutely and without qualification FALSE. And to be doubly clear on this, I’d instantly fire anyone who even brought up a whisper of a suggestion of it.”

Apart from proving that I’ll never be a playwright, the above smidgen of invented response is meant to display how a party leader would naturally speak when a newspaper has questioned his honour and the honour of his government on a matter as profound as attempting to influence the course of justice or pressure a justice minister in her function as guardian of the rule of law.

The denial would be energetic, spontaneously expressed, a rush of words thrown back at the questioner and directly addressing the point of the question.

MORE

Reid to give up assistant deputy
speaker role in Legislature

0209 - VICTORIA - Veteran Richmond South Centre MLA Linda Reid is expected to give up her role as assistant deputy speaker next week.

Reid, first elected in 1991 and now B.C.’s longest-serving current MLA, was speaker from 2013 to 2017, a role with sweeping authority over legislature operations. She was named by current Speaker Darryl Plecas in his report on alleged improprieties released in January.

A spokesperson for the B.C. Liberal caucus said that while allegations against her have been shown to be false, Reid is concerned that her continuing to preside over chamber proceedings may only add to the lack of trust swirling around the legislature.
 

Shelters should not erode support for supportive housing

Jim Spinelli

By Jim Spinelli, CEO, Nanaimo Affordable Housing

0208 - A few years ago, I wrote an opinion piece for local media on changing the way the community labels and speaks about social housing. The article talked about terms like “wet housing” as being misnomers for subsidized rental housing for people with low incomes.

I have noticed that these terms appear in print less often but, unfortunately, I have recently noticed them creep back into usage, particularly in terms of the recent response to “Tent City.”

This has prompted me to raise the issue again.

The most disturbing point for me is references to the emergency shelters on Terminal and Labieux as “supportive housing.”

Those facilities are not housing complexes. These two recently erected sites are temporary emergency shelters. Supports are offered but there is no offer of a safe, secure home in those temporary structures. I compare this response by BC Housing to emergency shelters being setup in the event of an earthquake or other major emergency.

I think many would agree the situation that existed at “Tent City” presented a true emergency for the City of Nanaimo. Whether you like the way the process was handled by the City and BC Housing, an urgent response was needed. Setting up temporary emergency shelters was and is a reasonable response.

I know that these complexes are not a solution for the long-term need for permanent supportive housing, however, I also know that permanent affordable housing can take several years to develop.

Unfortunately, it was not surprising that there would be many challenges to control problems in an environment where the residents do not have the responsibilities of being a tenant that are provided for in the Residential Tenancy Act.

Back to my main point about supportive housing.

There are several projects in Nanaimo that provide some level of supportive housing. Like the one where my office is located, they have been open for many years and have had no impact on the surrounding community. Since the project where my office is located was opened 22-years-ago, there have been two new condominium/townhouse projects that have been built less than 50-metres away!

This does not speak to supportive housing projects being destructive to or having a negative impact on the community. Even one of the other supportive housing projects that we operate, which has a target population of people who are absolutely homeless or at high risk of homelessness, has won the support of the local neighbourhood association.

We need to be aware going forward that the only solution to the growing number of homeless people in our community is to build hundreds, if not thousands, of permanent housing options that are affordable to those individuals at the very bottom of the economic ladder.

Some of those units will offer supports but most will offer independent, affordable housing.

As a community, we need to throw our complete support behind these projects so that we won’t have to allow “Tent City” to become a permanent fixture.

Previously published on NanaimoNewsNOW.com 

 

Business waits to evaluate
effect of later Family Day

0204 - B.C. residents will have to wait an extra week for their next Family Day long weekend, as the NDP government’s shift to the third Monday in February takes effect for the first time.

It wouldn’t have been on many people’s list of pressing problems, but moving the date to match the holiday in other provinces was a high priority for Premier John Horgan, with the amendment debated last February in the B.C. legislature. Introducing Family Day had been a signature move for former premier Christy Clark in 2013, but the NDP decided her decision to make it earlier than other provinces was business-friendly but not family-friendly.

B.C. ski resorts in particular pressed for the earlier date, to avoid room shortages and long lift lines as out-of-province tourists travelled on the common Family Day long weekend. 

MORE

The government student loan fiascos

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger. 
 
0204 - MORE THAN $163 MILLION in outstanding student-loan payments were written off this week by the federal government. The money is owed by more than 31,000 students who can’t or won’t repay the money.
 
It’s the latest sorry commentary both on the federal-provincial student loan program, and on the fact we can’t provide our students with a university education unless – they go deep into debt. 
 
It shouldn’t be that way.
 

State of the Union speech will ruin Trudeau's night

Trump has done just about everything right and Trudeau's done just about everything wrong

By Lawrence Solomon
In The National Post

0201- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have a bad night Tuesday when U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union speech before Congress. Trump has done just about everything right on the economy, Trudeau just about everything wrong, and the contrast will be cringe-worthy.

Trump will doubtless brag about America’s red-hot economy, which took off the day after he was elected president in November 2016. Business confidence instantly soared upon the realization that companies would soon be able to shed the immense drag of Obama’s politically correct interventions. The stock market soared along with it, investment surged and employment boomed. The U.S. now boasts an unemployment rate below four per cent that includes rates not seen in decades, or ever, for blacks, Hispanics and women.

So many people are entering the workforce to seize the well-paying jobs on offer that the workforce-participation rate is up while the numbers of those on disability and food stamps are down. Employers are so desperate for help in America’s tight labour market that they are adapting their workplaces to accommodate those with physical and mental disabilities and are even giving a second chance to those with criminal records.

NATIONAL POST

Gary Korpan

Candidates are ignoring serious
issues affecting Nanaimo

Three questions directed at all the MLA candidates were submitted, but not asked at Thursday's all candidates meeting. 

Details of those issues are posted below. They were sent to the candidates and their political parties beforehand. Only Tony Harris acknowledged receipt. No one provided a response. 

These same questions and background information were provided Nanaimo and BC news media and social media sites.

None of them have acknowledged receipt or printed or posted any part of these serious issues. I naively assumed Nanaimo City Council would act at this opportune time to get commitments from the MLA candidates and political parties to remedy these abuses of Nanaimo taxpayers.

Again, no action, although I received acknowledgement of receipt from Jim Turley, Leonard Krog, and Ben Geselbracht, but no substantive comment or apparent follow through. So much for public input.

You may find some or all of the following informative, even shocking. Feel free to forward it to anyone you think would be interested. Or, maybe, you could ask the candidates yourself...(you will find their email addresses below). It might be interesting for you to ask our Council why they are not diligently representing us and seeking redress for the harm done – which continues – and will continue to cost you and Nanaimo citizens dearly for the foreseeable future. 

1 - Will you, and your political party, commit in writing at the next legislative session, to require utilities in B.C. to fully restore any roads, services, or property damaged by them to a condition as good or better than prior to the damage and fully reimburse the affected owner for all costs incurred?

2 - Will you, and your political party, commit in writing at the next legislative session, to rescind the downloading of BC Provincial Highway 1 sections costs to Nanaimo, re-instate provincial responsibility, and fully reimburse Nanaimo taxpayers for all costs incurred?

3 - Will you, and your political party, commit in writing at the next legislative session, to fully reimburse Nanaimo taxpayers for all costs incurred due to the BC government's failure to provide its share of the Nanaimo Water Filtration project? 

These are the questions I, and I believe fellow voters, deserve answers to, and would have expected our"representatives" at City Hall to have asked on our behalf. Some Councillors apparently have a limited view of their responsibilities. 

Details of the three serious financial issues hurting the city are listed below.

1 – Gas franchise fee scandal still hurts Nanaimo

One of the worst financial scandals in B.C. still hurts Nanaimo badly – Vancouver Island Gas Franchise Fees. 

Everyone, especially our poorest citizens, who will never benefit, are subsidizing the richest, and a private company, the natural gas monopoly.

Premier Bill Vander Zalm's egregious Vancouver Island Gas Pipeline Act of 1989 continually prohibited our communities from receiving the same level of compensation for damage by the gas company to our infrastructure (cut roads, sidewalks, water, sewer and storm lines) that is received by most of the rest of BC.

As a result of this discrimination, Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast communities received zero franchise fee revenue compensation between 1990 - 2014 while eg. Kelowna received $25 million! 

Since this scandalous policy was implemented (without warning or any consultation with those detrimentally affected) our communities have lost tens of millions of dollars in revenue.

The result of this policy has been that every property owner (residential, commercial, industrial) in this region is subsidizing the private gas monopoly. This additional burden makes job-creation all the more difficult as it puts regional business at a property tax disadvantage compared to their competition elsewhere in the province. Decisive rectification, long promised, finally led to 2014 legislation which permitted partial payments to the affected communities. However, as the latest new data shows, the essential substantial financial disparities continue.

Who got all the money from gas franchise fees

The latest updated table of millions of dollars received by cities we are compared to and must compete against economically.

2. Government downloaded Island Highway cost to City

Here is the first of several examples that byelection candidates and city councillors should have known and acted on.

The BC Government unilaterally "downloaded" the section of Island Highway 1 from Pearson Bridge north to the Brechin Hill intersection. They maintain all control but passed the entire cost of this provincial highway onto the taxpayers of Nanaimo. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed annually for maintenance.

In the last six months a lengthy resurfacing on part of the "devolved" highway from Pearson Bridge to Estevan Road intersection cost Nanaimo taxpayers "$1.2 milliion or $50 per square metre based on the total surface area rehabilitated.

Confirmation can be found by actually asking City staff.

3 – Nanaimo water filtration plant cost sharing

Nanaimo has excellent water sources, collection, and distribution systems and a wide reputation for quality drinking water. Despite that and only sporadic turbidity (discoloration due to infrequent wind storms) ever requiring short term boil water advisories, the provincial authorities ordered us to filter our water. 

Among several options, the City opted for a state-of-the-art water filtration plant that became operational in December, 2015.It cost $72.54 million. The City received two government grants to assist with the costs. $17.8 million from the Build Canada Fund (federal government) and $1.0 million from a Gas Tax Grant through UBCM (the Union of B.C. Municipalities). No financial cost sharing came from the B.C. government who ordered the facility.

Normally facilities such as this would be cost shared equally one third each by Federal, Provincial and local government or $24.18 million each.

[During this period other B.C .communities' facilities of far lesser social significance received such cost sharing.] Due to the lack of support the City was forced to shift money for other purposes to cover the shortfall.

Confirmation can be found by asking City staff.

 

By Vaughn Palmer
in the Vancouver Sun

Weaver trash-talks
housing speculation tax

1021 - With the speculation tax again mired in controversy, some of the week’s harshest criticisms came from the NDP’s partner in power-sharing, Green Leader Andrew Weaver.

A horrible tax. A stupid tax. A hated tax. A dog’s breakfast.

Weaver trash-talked the tax while the New Democrats fielded complaints about the blanket requirement for homeowners to apply for exemptions or risk being branded and taxed as speculators.

“The NDP can wear this,” the Green leader told Rob Shaw of The Vancouver Sun. “It’s not our tax. We hate this tax … This is a horrible tax.”

READ MORE

Next 10 days are crucial for British Columbia politics

By Mike Smyth of the Vancouver Province

0121 – Hang on to your hats, secure you valuables, buckle your seat belts and get set for another wild ride on B.C.'spolitical roller coaster.

From the mysterious police probe at the legislature to the crucial byelection in Nanaimo, the next 10 days could change everything.  

 It starts Monday, when the all-party management committee of the B.C. legislature meets for another instalment of the Darryl Plecas Show.

 Plecas is the crusading Speaker of the house who called in the cops last year when he became aware of “certain activities that were taking place in the legislative assembly.”

 READ MORE

 

Speculation tax process is essentially negative-option billing

From Black Press

0120 - When the B.C. NDP government quietly announced its registration system for the new “speculation and vacancy tax” last week, it took a minute for me to realize that every homeowner in affected urban areas is required to register, every year.

If they don’t, they will be billed on their property taxes, not at the lower rate for Canadians, but at the full two per cent of 2018 assessed value. That’s the rate reserved for foreign buyers and “satellite families,” those Asian high rollers who are supposed to be driving our housing prices through the roof with their dirty money.

I called it “negative-option billing,” a term that jogged memories. Readers started asking me, isn’t that illegal?

It is indeed, but only for businesses. A federal law was passed in 1999 after an outcry over a cable company’s move to charge customers for a new service unless they contacted the company to decline it.

READ MORE

Speculation tax balloons into Nanaimo byelection issue

By Rob Shaw, Vancouver Sun

B.C.’s New Democrats find themselves on the defensive in a crucial byelection in Nanaimo, after unveiling a plan to make all homeowners in the city apply for exemptions from a new speculation tax in a process critics say is cumbersome and unfair.

Parties in the byelection turned their attention to the issue Wednesday hoping to score points in a race that may decide the future of the NDP government.

In particular, they attacked a requirement that if more than one person is on the title of a home — such as spouses — each person will need to apply separately for the exemption in order for the home to qualify.

READ MORE

Canada so inept can't make a go of oil or drugs

By Kelly McParland, National Post

1220 - Canada must be the only country in the world that has legal marijuana and an abundance of oil, but can’t make a go of either of them.

Lots of other people find it easy to make money off drugs. Criminals are great at it. The business was so sure-fire, flourishing all over Canada, we were told it had to be legalized to bring it under control. Well, I guess that worked: now there’s a shortage of the stuff and Ottawa is busy carping about municipalities that don’t want pot shops anywhere within their boundaries.

And oil. It’s hard NOT to make money off oil. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, contains US$1 trillion from oil earnings. The fund is such a big deal in Norway it has its own TV show, a situation comedy about the clash between high finance and inbred Nordic moderation. Oil is the sole reason the Middle East is awash with ridiculously rich petro-princes, hereditary monarchs and heirs-to-the-throne so brazen they feel safe ordering the dismembering of inconvenient journalists.

READ the rest of Kelly's commentary

Who is picking up the costs for new homeless shelters?

By Randy O'Donnell

I could be wrong, but yesterday I saw three or four Shaw installation trucks apparently working at the new"social housing" site on Townsite Road that will be accommodating the "tent city" group.

I wasn't able to stop to inquire further, but I'm wondering exactly what services we are providing and paying for and what it will cost on a "per resident" basis? Accommodation and security - whatever that entails, will be provided.  But are we paying for directed mental and physical health needs outside of the regular public health system available? How will they be fed? What about drug and alcohol use on the site, as well as who has access - which goes to security costs?

Many renters tend not to look after property well, given they have no financial "skin in the game", so how much are we likely to spend on maintenance and repairs annually?  Given we cannot possibly house everyone, how are residents selected and are the deemed permanent residents or will they have a finite time to make changes in their lives to become independent?   If the social housing is fully subscribed and we find similar numbers of new homeless people aggregating in Nanaimo, what will then be done?

In light of the proposed budget increase of 5.41%, I don't think we've been given adequate information on this file and it might warrant some public scrutiny which I know you are always interested in.

Response from Mayor Leonard Krog

I am very proud that the Provincial Government and the City have stepped up and housed those amongst us who suffer lives most of us will never experience or understand. The vast majority of costs are covered by the Provincial Government so City taxpayers are largely off the hook.

As we approach the Christmas Season let those of us who do not suffer from a mental illness or a brain injury or addictions or just bad luck or whatever be grateful for all we enjoy in the security and comfort of our homes. As Churchill said I believe "There  but for the grace of God go I".

If that doesn't give you any comfort then take comfort in the numerous studies that show it is cheaper for taxpayers to house people and provide services than ignore our fellow human beings. Let us not be those who turn those in need away from our collective door. Judge not lest ye be judged.

Merry Christmas,
Leonard Krog
Mayor of Nanaimo

New city council must guard against 'mission creep'

 Friday, November 30, 2018

The following was sent to all members of Nanaimo City Council and made available to Nanaimonet.com

By Randy O'Donnell

Dear Nanaimo City Councillors;

Please accept my congratulations on your recent electoral success.  Like most residents of Nanaimo, I am pleased that we can leave behind the uncertainty and animosities of the previous administration.

With City staff recommending another tax increase of 5.03% for 2019,  I would ask that you consider the following:

With the election of new Council representatives, residents now have higher expectations of a more rigorous and careful examination of how our property taxes are deployed.  Municipal taxes are levied against propertyand not income.   They are meant to be used for ‘property improvements’ including water, sewers, roads, fire protection, public safety, and parks and recreation. 

For too many years, property tax increases have far exceeded inflation and increases in regional income. Most property tax dollars go directly to the wages and benefits of civic administrators and employees, and the number of city initiatives and programs has constantly expanded – often into areas of ‘social programs’that are not strictly speaking, the responsibility of municipalities but those of provincial and federal governments.   

Nanaimo – like many municipal jurisdictions – has embraced ‘mission creep’, expanding into areas that are not by definition, municipal roles. Each of these expansions has meant more managers, more employees and more administrative costs, resulting in huge increases in high salary/benefit positions often referred to as ‘sunshine list’ employees.  In 2012 Nanaimo had 205 employees earning greater than $75,000 annually.   74 of these earned well in excess of $100,000 and many more approached that number. Five years later (2017) the number of sunshine employees grew to 274,an increase of 28%.  More importantly the cost to taxpayers rose by 50%, from $18.7 million to $27.7 million – and that’s just salary costs.   Pensions based on these high wages will pose a further burden in the years ahead.  This same pattern of spiraling costs to the taxpayer occurred in the period from 2007-2012 when I last examined the Statement of Financial Information.

Some of these situations are egregious.   For example, our fire department personnel earn the same amount as Vancouver firefighters despite a much lower cost of housing.   Our fire department has 93 personnel.   Of these, 33occupy senior positions - a senior position for fewer than every three in the department.  The average salaryfor positions ranging from firefighter to Chief, is $123,183, with additional costs for benefits.  Most firefighters earn in excess of $100,000.   The IAFF, representing these employees collectively bargain with the city while representing a powerful voice in civic elections.   Many past councillors appeared more beholden to the IAFF than with their wider constituents.

Sustainability has been popularized to suggest conservation and good stewardship of resources.   Yet the cost of governance is far outstripping the ability of taxpayers to provide for rapidly growing numbers of city employees and their very generous salary/benefit packages (compared with similar or equivalent private sector roles) 

As you’ll likely understand, Nanaimo’s growth is largely represented by a ‘fixed income’ older demographic that is unable to recoup additional costs through wage increases.  In the five-year period between 2011 – 2016, our population grew by 8% while costsas represented by salaries/benefits, increased by 50% (2012-2017).   Most of that population growth was comprised of individuals 65 years or older.  Our population is older than other British Columbians, who are in turn, older than other Canadians.   The disturbing trend is to more retirees and non-working individuals living on fixed incomes supporting ever greater numbers of high salaried local government employees.   

The median income for Nanaimo is just $62,800 which is 12% lower than either the provincial or national median.   Our labour force participation rate is just 51.6% meaning that half our population pulls the wagon, while the other half are riders.  This trend of government expansion of high cost employees is simply unsustainable, elevating City employees to a higher standard of living than is warranted by the actual position.   Show me a truck driver in the private sector whose base salary is $81,000.

City management is asking that you approve yet another tax increase of 5.03% -d far in excess of inflation and cost of living increases.   Part of that increase represents an expansion of employees by seven new positions.   It is in the interests of City managers and staff to see the number of employees and remuneration increase, as over time it is reflected in their own salaries, benefits and most importantly, the retirement pension plans which taxpayers fund into perpetuity.

I wish to remind you of the lack of accountabilityso sadly exemplified by your predecessors on council and their free spending ways.  Citizens (taxpayers) are looking to you for leadership, stewardship and responsibility in how the limited and ‘non-renewable’ financial resources of the community are used.  I urge you to ‘stick to your knitting’ in considering what are your municipal responsibilities.  Fix the roads, maintain the parks and provide us with safe water.   We cannot fix every social problem that arises and it must be recognized that beyond property issues, these are the responsibility of senior governments who also tax each and every one of us for that specific purpose 

I look forward to a new era of opportunities and prosperity for young families in Nanaimo.  This can only be accomplished by controlling costs, reducing red-tape and regulation and encouraging private sector development and growth.  I hope you will agree that continued growth in local government is not in the interest of achieving those goals and represents instead, a barrier to robust economic development.

https://www.nanaimo.ca/docs/your-government/budget-and-finance/2012-statement-of-financial-information.pdf

https://www.nanaimo.ca/docs/your-government/budget-and-finance/2017-statement-of-financial-information.pdf

http://www.investnanaimo.com/demographics

 

Ayn Rand on Fascism

George H. Smith explores Rand’s contention that America was sliding down a slippery slope to fascism.

In a letter written on March 19, 1944, Ayn Rand remarked: Fascism, Nazism, Communism and Socialism are only superficial variations of the same monstrous theme—collectivism.” Rand would later expand on this insight in various articles, most notably in two of her lectures at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston: “The Fascist New Frontier” (Dec. 16, 1962, published as a booklet by the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1963); and “The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus” (April 18, 1965, published as Chapter 20 in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal [CUI] by New American Library in 1967).

Rand knew better than to accept the traditional left-right dichotomy between socialism (or communism) and fascism, according to which socialism is the extreme version of left-ideology and fascism is the extreme version of right-ideology (i.e., capitalism). Indeed, in The Ayn Rand Letter (Nov. 8, 1971) she characterized fascism as “socialism for big business.” Both are variants of statism, in contrast to a free country based on individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism. As Rand put it in “Conservativism: An Obituary” (CUI, Chapter 19):

The world conflict of today is the conflict of the individual against the state, the same conflict that has been fought throughout mankind’s history. The names change, but the essence—and the results—remain the same, whether it is the individual against feudalism, or against absolute monarchy, or against communism or fascism or Nazism or socialism or the welfare state.

The placement of socialism and fascism at opposite ends of a political spectrum serves a nefarious purpose, according to Rand. It serves to buttress the case that we must avoid “extremism” and choose the sensible middle course of a “mixed economy.” Quoting from “‘Extremism,’ Or The Art of Smearing” (CUI, Chapter 17):

If it were true that dictatorship is inevitable and that fascism and communism are the two “extremes” at the opposite ends of our course, then what is the safest place to choose? Why, the middle of the road. The safely undefined, indeterminate, mixed-economy, “moderate” middle—with a “moderate” amount of government favors and special privileges to the rich and a “moderate” amount of government handouts to the poor—with a “moderate” respect for rights and a “moderate” degree of brute force—with a “moderate” amount of freedom and a “moderate” amount of slavery—with a “moderate” degree of justice and a “moderate” degree of injustice—with a “moderate” amount of security and a “moderate” amount of terror—and with a moderate degree of tolerance for all, except those “extremists” who uphold principles, consistency, objectivity, morality and who refuse to compromise.

In both of her major articles on fascism (cited above) Rand distinguished between fascism and socialism by noting a rather technical (and ultimately inconsequential) difference in their approaches to private property. Here is the relevant passage from “The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus”:

Observe that both “socialism” and “fascism” involve the issue of property rights. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Observe the difference in those two theories: socialism negates private property rights altogether, and advocates “the vesting of ownership and control” in the community as a whole, i.e., in the state; fascism leaves ownership in the hands of private individuals, but transfers control of the property to the government.

Ownership without control is a contradiction in terms: it means “property,” without the right to use it or to dispose of it. It means that the citizens retain the responsibility of holding property, without any of its advantages, while the government acquires all the advantages without any of the responsibility.

In this respect, socialism is the more honest of the two theories. I say “more honest,” not “better”—because, in practice, there is no difference between them: both come from the same collectivist-statist principle, both negate individual rights and subordinate the individual to the collective, both deliver the livelihood and the lives of the citizens into the power of an omnipotent government —and the differences between them are only a matter of time, degree, and superficial detail, such as the choice of slogans by which the rulers delude their enslaved subjects.

Contrary to many conservative commentators during the 1960s, Rand maintained that America was drifting toward fascism, not socialism, and that this descent was virtually inevitable in a mixed economy. “A mixed economy is an explosive, untenable mixture of two opposite elements,” freedom and statism, “which cannot remain stable, but must ultimately go one way or the other” (“‘Extremism,’ or The Art of Smearing”). Economic controls generate their own problems, and with these problems come demands for additional controls—so either those controls must be abolished or a mixed economy will eventually degenerate into a form of economic dictatorship. Rand conceded that most American advocates of the welfare state “are not socialists, that they never advocated or intended the socialization of private property.” These welfare-statists “want to ‘preserve’ private property” while calling for greater government control over such property. “But that is the fundamental characteristic of fascism.”

Rand gave us some of the finest analyses of a mixed economy—its premises, implications, and long-range consequences—ever penned by a free-market advocate. In “The New Fascism,” for example, she compared a mixed economy to a system that operates by the law of the jungle, a system in which “no one’s interests are safe, everyone’s interests are on a public auction block, and anything goes for anyone who can get away with it.” A mixed economy divides a country “into an ever-growing number of enemy camps, into economic groups fighting one another for self preservation in an indeterminate mixture of defense and offense.” Although Rand did not invoke Thomas Hobbes in this context, it is safe to say that the economic “chaos” of a mixed economy resembles the Hobbesian war of all against all in a state of nature, a system in which interest groups feel the need to screw others before they get screwed themselves.

A mixed economy is ruled by pressure groups. It is an amoral, institutionalized civil war of special interests and lobbies, all fighting to seize a momentary control of the legislative machinery, to extort some special privilege at one another’s expense by an act of government—i.e., by force.

Of course, Rand never claimed that America had degenerated into full-blown fascism (she held that freedom of speech was a bright line in this respect), but she did believe that the fundamental premise of the “altruist-collectivist” morality—the foundation of all collectivist regimes, including fascism—was accepted and preached by modern liberals and conservatives alike. (Those who mistakenly dub Rand a “conservative” should read “Conservatism: An Obituary” [CUI, Chapter 19], a scathing critique in which she accused conservative leaders of “moral treason.” In some respects Rand detested modern conservatives more than she did modern liberals. She was especially contemptuous of those conservatives who attempted to justify capitalism by appealing to religion or to tradition.) Rand illustrated her point in “The Fascist New Frontier,” a polemical tour de force aimed at President Kennedy and his administration.

Rand began this 1962 lecture by quoting passages from the 1920 political platform of the German Nazi Party, including demands for “an end to the power of the financial interests,” “profit sharing in big business,” “a broad extension of care for the aged,” the “improvement of public health” by government, “an all-around enlargement of our entire system of public education,” and so forth. All such welfare-state measures, this platform concluded, “can only proceed from within on the foundation of “The Common Good Before the Individual Good.” 

Rand had no problem quoting similar proposals and sentiments from President Kennedy and members of his administration, such as Kennedy’s celebrated remark, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what America will do for you [sic]—ask what you can do for your country.” The particulars of Rand’s speech will come as no surprise to those familiar with her ideas, but I wish to call attention to her final remarks about the meaning of “the public interest.” As used by Kennedy and other politicians, both Democratic and Republican, this fuzzy phrase has little if any meaning, except to indicate that individuals have a duty to sacrifice their interests for the sake of a greater, undefined good, as determined by those who wield the brute force of political power. Rand then stated what she regarded as the only coherent meaning of “the public interest.”

[T]here is no such thing as ‘the public interest’ except as the sum of the interests of individual men. And the basic, common interest of all men—all rational men—is freedom. Freedom is the first requirement of “the public interest”—not what men do when they are free, but that they are free. All their achievements rest on that foundation—and cannot exist without them.

The principles of a free, non-coercive social system are the only form of “the public interest.”

I shall conclude this essay on a personal note. Before I began preparing for this essay, I had not read some of the articles quoted above for many, many years. In fact, I had not read some of the material since my college days 45 years ago. I therefore approached my new readings with a certain amount of trepidation. I liked the articles when I first read them, but would they stand the test of time? Would Rand’s insights and arguments appear commonplace, even hackneyed, with the passage of so much time? Well, I was pleasantly surprised. Rand was exactly on point on many issues. Indeed, if we substitute “President Obama” for “President Kennedy” or “President Johnson,” many of her points would be even more pertinent today than they were during the 1960s. Unfortunately, the ideological sewer of American politics has become even more foul today than it was in Rand’s day, but Rand did what she could to reverse the trend, and one person can only do so much. And no one can say that she didn’t warn us.

From Libertarianism.org

The loss of Saudi students is more than financial

By Jack de Jong

08-18 - The souring of relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia is a serious political and diplomatic failure . Having spent well over a decade in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia this spat pointedly reveals a lack of tolerance for cultural ambiguity and a society in transition.  The public chastening for human right failures demonstrated a lack of diplomatic maturity and would have been better handled in private discussions, undoubtedly with much better results.

Canada has spent well over 40 years building ties with Saudi Arabia. It was my experience its citizens think highly of Canada as demonstrated by the funding and encouraging 15,000  students to study here. 

During their time spent in Canada these students experience the strength of an open secular  society and their influence back home has had a tremendous impact on change; far more lasting and beneficial than the open political critique by our foreign minister principally directed at a Canadian audience.

What has it accomplished other than sending 15,000 young people home, damaged the building of a long-lasting relationship and inflicted a major financial hit on our educational institutions including those in BC and Nanaimo.

 

Carbon tax house of cards is falling down

By Tom Fletcher

0909 - If you filled up at the Shell station on Sumas Way in Abbotsford last week, you paid $1.38 per litre of regular gasoline. The Husky station on Quadra Street in Victoria was charging $1.44, the same price as in 100 Mile House, and a penny a litre more than in Cranbrook.

In Langley, Surrey and other locations within the Metro Vancouver transit tax area, prices were as high as $1.47. That’s drifting towards the all-time North American record set in Metro Vancouver this past April, where $1.62 per litre beat the record set in Los Angeles in 2008.

April 1 was the date of the latest increase in B.C.’s carbon tax on fuels, already the highest in Canada. It now sits at $35 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s about 8.5 cents per litre of gasoline or 10 cents for diesel, once you add the GST that is charged on top of it in the Canadian tradition. To fill up a full-sized pickup truck, it’s an extra $10 or so for carbon tax.

MORE

History, science and economics of Trans Mountain pipeline

By Tom Fletcher

0626 - This is the fourth story in a five-part series on the issues surrounding Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, investigating the history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics of the controversial project. Read part onepart twopart three and part four.

There’s a lot riding on the federal government’s decision to take over the Trans Mountain pipeline twinning project from Edmonton to its terminal in Burnaby.

 Kinder Morgan agreed to carry on with its construction plan as part of Ottawa’s offer to buy its Canadian assets, primarily the pipeline and its terminal, for $4.5 billion.

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No time for maps in rush to a referemdum

By Tom Fletcher
B.C. Views

There’s a conspiracy theory making the rounds about the NDP government’s referendum on changing B.C.’s voting system. It goes like this: they’re making a mess of it on purpose so proportional representation will be dead for a generation, along with Green hopes of further erosion of NDP support to them and other upstart parties.

I don’t subscribe to this theory. I still prefer the one I put forward in December, where the aim is to kill off the Social Credit-B.C. Liberal governing coalition and replace it with the Green-NDP coalition that currently clings to power.

See TOM FLETCHER 

Time to answer the call on the attack to democracy

Gordon Wilson

0601 - If ever there was a time to sound the alarm to get BC voters to the barricades protecting our democracy it is now. First, one has to question how this unelected government has a mandate to dismantle our democratic electoral process.

Second, the threshold of 50 per cent plus one on the first question to determine if we keep the existing voting system or change to some form of representation is too low. A Quilting Society is required by the Societies Act to get 66% of membership to change its voting procedures but our democracy can be dismantled by one vote above 50%. Neither does Eby state 50% + 1 of what number of eligible voters and this whole thing will be determined by a mail in ballot which is wide open to fraud. 

So, if only 20% of eligible voters send in a ballot, or for some unexplained reason only 20% are actually received, (there's no scrutinizing) then 10% + 1 of eligible voters can make a mockery of our democratic electoral process that many have fought and died to protect.

Third, all of the proportion representation options given to voters to choose from and fundamentally undemocratic. 

BC convened a Citizens Assembly to recommend a system of proportional representation and after widespread consultation and analysis of systems in practise around the world it recommended a single transferable vote (STV) That option is not given as a choice, only a variation of it which will create two classes of voters, urban and rural.

These changes are being made in an attempt to determine outcomes, to give more power to political party elite, and to entrench urban domination over rural representation. 

It is dangerous and should be rejected.

In the past we have reformed our election law to make it more inclusive and democratic. We have an existing system that is as fair and democratic as possible. Every eligible voter has one vote and can vote for one candidate regardless of where they live. 

Simple and foundational democracy. 

The current system has worked well for 147 years complete with amendments that have had at their foundation voter inclusion and equality. 

We need to keep the system we have and not give authority to an unelected government to engineer a self serving electoral system.

A ban on plastic drinking straws really sucks

Peter Shawn Taylor writes in Maclean's Magaine that despite becoming the latest environmentsl supervillains, straws are not to blame for polluting oceans, beaches or cities.

Macleans Magazine

What's good for the goose – Eastern bias

John Feldsted
Political Consultant & Strategist

0515 - If you ever wondered why the East gets to import oil by tanker but the BC is against exporting it in tankers, read this ....

And if you take the time to read this you may recall the words of Boxer in Animal Farm:
All animals are equal; some are more equal than others.

With all the fuss over the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain pipeline project, one would think that British Columbia was under siege from petroleum interests. That is an epic fairy tale.

Our federal government should have the same approach to petroleum pipelines no matter where they are proposed or built.

Similarly, movement of oil by ship should be the same no matter what part of Canada movement is in.

The facts tell an entirely different story:

Few people are aware that the East Coast of Canada has about 4,000 inbound trips by oil tankers each year. Tankers account for about one fifth of the 20,000 inbound vessel trips on the East Coast.

Over 82 million tonnes of various petroleum and fuel products are moved in and out of 23 Atlantic Canada ports. Almost all the movement of crude oil and petroleum products in Atlantic Canada is through the following ports:

*       Come by Chance, Newfoundland and Labrador
*       Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia
*       Saint John, New Brunswick

In Quebec, 25 million tonnes of crude oil and various petroleum products are moved in and out of 39 ports where cargo is loaded or unloaded.

Eighty-nine per cent of the shipments of crude oil and various petroleum products are through Quebec City and Montreal.

Over 4.1 million tonnes of oil products are moved from 29 marine facilities in and out of ports in the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway. Of this:

*       over 1.8 million tonnes are shipped between Canada and the United States
*       over 2.3 million tonnes are imported/exported in and out of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway system.

The Canada East pipeline would have disrupted the vested interests who import and refine foreign crude.

The screaming of Montreal politicians over building the Energy East pipeline has nothing to do with protecting the ecology or preventing oil spills unless we overlook the hazards of marine shipping and ignore Montreal pouring a few million liters of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River. It is all a smokescreen to allow investors in the current setup to continue to make money.

The screaming out of British Columbia has nothing to do with ecology. British Columbians are attempting to punish corporations and provinces that produce petroleum products for no better reason than they feel good about themselves as a result. Perhaps we should ban fishing, declare a moratorium on west coast vacations and ban passenger liners from west coast ports in retaliation.

British Columbians and their Premier don’t care about $ billions in infrastructure investment and the jobs created, the income to provinces and the federal government or lost tax revenues that can help pay for the services we need.

Please let me know if you can fathom why tanker traffic is barred from the coastline of British Columbia but not Quebec. The hypocrisy and double standards are blatantly obvious and unacceptable.

The notion that a pipeline company must account for downstream effects of product shipped is ludicrous. If we ship crude to a terminal on the west coast and it is bought by China or another Pacific Rim nation we cannot be held accountable for carbon emissions of the importing nation. That is where ideologues like McKenna and Trudeau are dangerous. They believe they can impose their utopian standards on other nation while their inane policies are strangling our economy at home.

Even worse, the environmental standards imposed on Canadian projects do not apply to foreign oil imports. Our government is making it harder for us to become energy self-sufficient. Why would we import oil rather than produce oil for our own use? Something stinks and it is not Alberta bitumen.

We need grownups at the federal helm; people who put the well-being of the entire nation and our society first. Our Prime Minister preaches diversity and inclusiveness while practicing exclusion and divisiveness. The Premier is behaving like a pampered and spoiled brat who does not want anyone else to touch his toys. There is sound reason why interprovincial works projects are under federal jurisdiction – to prevent the very sort of localized spanner-in-the-works behaviour by one province over the interests of others. The BC exclusivity is the exact opposite of the inclusiveness Trudeau preaches. The contradiction is palpable and emphasised by federal government inaction.

Trudeau is a laughingstock amongst world leaders. He arrives in foreign nations preaching climate change, gender equality, progressive trade, diversity and inclusion. Some governments are politer than others in telling him to hit the road and mind his own business. He is not an emissary for the United Nations and does not speak for most Canadians.

More and more of us are fed up with his social engineering and attempts to change our society to reflect his personal beliefs. We are not his minions or mini-Trudeaus. We did fine without Justin for 148 years and will survive his ineptness.

Waiting for a secret referendum

Tom Fletcher
B.C. Views

0506 - How do you like minority government so far? We have a range war with Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ottawa over our NDP government’s theory that it can rewrite the Canadian constitution.

We have record-high gasoline prices, fuelled by an early increase in the carbon tax insisted on by the three-member B.C. Green Party.

And we’ve got a Green leader who throws tantrums, floats empty threats to bring down the NDP government he put into power, and tries to use most of his time in the legislature to attack the opposition.

If you like that, great, because Premier John Horgan is doing everything he can to make sure fringe parties are elevated permanently, through some formula of proportional representation that won’t be disclosed until a month or so before a mail-in ballot this fall.

SEE MORE

First Nations may hold the key to pipeline approval

By Tom Fletcher

0429 - The B.C. NDP government has launched its last wobbly missile against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, a court reference that pleads for authority to add another layer of permit paper and conditions to the twinned line.

As Premier John Horgan was announcing the proposed regulations his lawyers sent to the B.C. Court of Appeal, the federal government was preparing to shoot down B.C.’s paper projectile before it can do any further harm to Canada’s reputation as a functional country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated that his government will move to strengthen its hand on the interprovincial pipeline, probably by formally declaring it in the national interest. There is also a financial move in the works to strengthen the viability of the project, but it’s not likely the full or partial government takeover suggested by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.
 

Horgan is fighting an illegal, losing battle over pipeline

Gordon Wilson

0417 - Reposted from Facebook. Two critical facts appear in this article. 

First that Horgan and his Ministers knew that their approach to killing the Kinder Morgan pipeline was illegal and would likely, if they are successful, cause the company to sue the province for hundreds of millions if not billions in lost revenue.

In order to continue their efforts to stop the project, they decided to modify their narrative focusing on the environmental review process and using the courts as an anchor to drag this project to a halt. 

That brings up the second fact; the score card on court challenges in this matter is Kinder Morgan 14 wins and opponents 0.

Despite the knowledge that every court challenge at every level has been in favour of the company, Horgan has instructed the government lawyers to once again head to court, despite the opinion of virtually every legal scholar that we will lose.

Horgan would have us believe that its worth the risk in court because of his overriding concern for the environment. It was that concern, after all, that gave rise to the strongly worded letter he and Heyman wrote opposing Pacific Northwest LNG prior to the 2017 election. 

Horgan said then that air emissions from the PNWLNG project were not acceptable, then Horgan and his cohorts virtually ran the company out of BC.

Horgan seems to have discovered the truth on LNG, now supporting the tax amendments that I and others were advocating from Christy Clark's Liberal government. This concession may well see the first FID (final investment decision) from LNG Canada in Kitimat, and that may happen soon. 

Clearly, Horgan's position on LNG C02 emissions was pure political posturing, just like his current position on Kinder Morgan, because the Kitimat project will also place a challenge on the BC government in terms of agreed climate targets.

Further evidence of this political posturing is Horgan's statement that he plans to demand the building of a refinery in BC when he meets with the Prime Minister and Alberta's Premier Rachel Notley in Ottawa tomorrow. Depending upon the design and products produced at a refinery, the CO2 emissions will be between 4 to 10 times higher than the LNG plant they refused to accept in BC.

This article suggests the Prime Minister use a stick in his meeting with Horgan. I suggest that this Premier has deliberately provoked a near-constitutional crisis. Given that Horgan leads an unelected minority government with no mandate, perhaps that is where the Prime Minister should focus.

So, Mister Prime Minister, I suggest that this Premier be forced to seek a mandate from the people as he is well out of bounds, and his actions are creating devastating consequences to this province.

Horgan's pipeline theatre on TV and in court

By Tom Fletcher
Black Press

0416 - Not since Glen Clark tried to take on the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet has B.C. seen such a flamboyantly hopeless effort as Premier John Horgan’s anti-pipeline theatre.

Inserting himself into a fisheries dispute between Canada and the U.S. in 1999, then-premier Clark tried to ban U.S. subs from using the provincially owned Nanoose Bay torpedo testing range off Vancouver Island. In response, then-prime minister Jean Chretien expropriated the area, returning it a couple of years later after the B.C. NDP was reduced to two seats and the province came under adult supervision.

Horgan’s on a similar path.

READ MORE

Reader is fed up with the carbon tax hypocracy

Tax and spend appears to be part of the NDP fabric.  Increases at the pump may affect me financially but I simply will allocate funds differently.  Am I happy, NOT!  

With BC being the early adopter by increasing taxes on fossil fuel and carbon emitters will more negatively affect many more younger people than I.  Maybe they will finally step up to the ballot box and voice their opinion.

My complaint is with the hypocrites that say “ban fossil fuels” and then we get to watch them drive/fly to venues to protest carbon emitters.   Make them walk/pedal and stop heating their homes with gas/oil.

Ron Blank
Nanaimo

The many ways Horgan is wrong about the pipeline

By Gordon F. D. Wilson

0412 - This article in the Finacial Times is a well-written and considered piece that highlights the profound ignorance and reckless indifference Premier John  Horgan is demonstrating toward a project that has followed Canadian law and been given approval from both Federal and Provincial governments.

Frankly, we British Columbians have ourselves to blame for the Constitutional crisis that Horgan has created. How many of us spoke up when Horgan and Weaver refused to work with the government WE elected? Governments at all levels in Canada are mandated by the people, not the Lieutenant Governor.

The orchestrated backroom deal cut by Horgan and Weaver, with Liberal MLA Plecas' secret support, had as a foundational pillar a plan to step above the rule of law to stop this project. The fact that we let them get away with with hijacking a mandated government without returning to the people to get a mandate for their intentions, as tenuous as that might be given established Constitutional law, emboldened this Premier to believe that he is above the law and his ideological dictates are acceptable.

He is not above the law and B.C. does not need an unelected dictator.

FINANCIAL TIMES

Why banning plastic bags may make things worse

By Tom Fletcher
Black Press

I’m still getting responses to a January column about plastic bags, with some readers insisting that a ban on point-of-sale bags at retail locations is urgently needed here in B.C.

This is unfortunately typical of environmental discussions these days. With attention-seeking politicians and media tugging at our heart-strings, our urbanizing population is led astray.

Some rejected my argument that a retail plastic bag ban will have little effect, other than weakening the viability of municipal recycling systems. In response, I have been referring people to a German study that was released in February.

THE WHOLE PICTURE

B.C. carbon tax claims are mostly hot air

By Lorrie Goldstein

By LORRIE GOLDSTEIN in the Toronto Sun

0402 - The more real-world experience Canadians have with government-imposed carbon pricing schemes, the more evidence mounts they are money-grabbing scams.

B.C.’s revenue neutral carbon tax, the first of its kind in Canada, has had an insignificant impact on industrial greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. B.C.’s carbon tax is no longer revenue neutral.

THE WHOLE STORY

Liberal MP denounces Summer Jobs abortion-rights clause

John McKay MP
'I consider this to be a lamentable state of affairs, and have expressed my views both inside and outside caucus in the strongest possible terms'

By BRIAN PLATT in the National Post

0402 - OTTAWA — In a letter to an employer in his Ontario riding, a Liberal MP says his own government is wrongly invoking the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on its controversial Canada Summer Jobs attestation, and calls the whole thing “regrettable” and a “lamentable state of affairs.”

The newly added clause requires applicants for the grant program to declare their core mandate respects “the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” and goes on to specifically mention reproductive rights, which means access to abortions.

“In my riding of Scarborough-Guildwood, I am personally aware of a number of organizations negatively impacted,” says the letter from John McKay, who is known to be pro-life.

“I consider this to be a lamentable state of affairs, and have expressed my views both inside and outside caucus in the strongest possible terms,” McKay stated.

THE WHOLE STORY

 

More NDP myths to be shattered

By Tom Fletcher
Black Press

0401 - The B.C. NDP government is “reviewing” a lot of things right now. ICBC, B.C. Hydro, B.C. Ferries, environmental assessment, hydraulic fracturing, the labour code, education funding and so on. Name a provincial government function and it’s probably being reviewed.

This is to be expected after a change of government. Back in 2001, the B.C. Liberals embarked on a “core review” to determine what the province didn’t really need to do. Now it seems to aim in the opposite direction, and there are “bumps in the road,” as Premier John Horgan has been saying lately.

THE WHOLE STORY

 

Why we should worry about Trudeau's debt plan

Pierre Poilievre MP

0401 - Justin Trudeau can’t get the lyrics to the `80s hit “Don’t Worry Be Happy” out of his head. In the last election, he almost added some lyrics to it. “Don’t worry: the deficit will be just $10 billion per year” (it has been double that). “Don’t worry: the deficit will be gone by 2019” (Finance Canada now projects deficits for another 25 years, totaling almost a half-a-trillion dollars).

Trudeau now admits he’ll never eliminate the deficit, but instead commits that the debt will grow slower than the economy — lowering the debt-to-GDP ratio.

THE WHOLE STORY