NDP candidate Sheila Malcolmson answers our questions

Sheila Malcolmson

What are the reason you think citizens should vote for you to be our next MLA? 
 
As your MP, I was a champion for our coast and community and as your MLA I can do even more. I learned so much as Chair of the Islands Trust Council and as MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith. Now I am running to be your MLA because I want to keep building on the energy and opportunities we’re seeing in Nanaimo. 
 
After 16 years of BC Liberal choices that hurt people in our community, we are finally turning things around. With John Horgan as Premier and Leonard Krog as Mayor, we are at a time of incredible potential for Nanaimo.
 
In this byelection, the stakes are high and the choice is clear. We can keep moving forward or we can go back to the BC Liberals. I have the experience and commitment to work with all levels of government to keep building a better Nanaimo. I can hit the ground running to tackle the urgent issues and opportunities before us. 
 
What are your specific priorities for Nanaimo ? Do you have a platform?
 
As your MLA my main priorities will be to:
  • make housing more affordable for the people of Nanaimo;
  • get a harbour to harbour foot passenger ferry to Vancouver;
  • ensure Nanaimo prospers under CleanBC, to fight climate change and generate sustainable jobs;
  • and I will stand up for our coast.
A lot of great things are already happening in Nanaimo. We’ve got more ambulances and paramedics, and more teachers for our kids. The BC NDP government’s measures to curb real estate speculation are calming housing prices. We are providing more care hours to our seniors. We’re building affordable housing, and 2,700 Nanaimo kids now have access to affordable child care. Ferry fares are frozen on major routes, and reduced on minor routes.
 
I am especially proud that Nanaimo Hospital is finally getting a badly-needed new ICU. The BC Liberals refused to act after a 2013 report called our ICU “the worst we’ve seen in Canada”. Now, with a new government, our hospital is getting the attention it needs.
 
Have you met, or intend to meet,  with the mayor and councillors of Nanaimo  to ascertain  their views and priorities for the future of the city? The Regional District?
 
I reached out to all of them right after the election, and as soon as our new council and regional district board complete their strategic planning processes, I will have my roadmap as MLA to advocate in partnership with them for what Nanaimo needs.
 
For 10 years I have kept in close contact with the RDN and Nanaimo City Council, and with the Union of BC Municipalities and the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities worked together for our region. 
 
As Islands Trust Council chair I advocated with regional district chairs from the US border right up to northern BC to fight the BC Liberals doubling ferry fares, and I led delegations of 17 local governments to urge the BC Liberal government act on pollution from abandoned vessels. I know from experience we are stronger working together.
 
With Nanaimo’s new City Council and John Horgan’s provincial government, I feel we are well poised to work together on addressing housing affordability, health care needs, and building a stronger economy.
 
Have you met or intend to meet with the local Chamber of Commerce to ascertain their views and priorities for the future of the city? 
 
The Chamber has informed all my community work as Nanaimo’s MP. I’ve met or talked with the chamber monthly and have learned a lot from their advice. As MLA I will maintain a strong and healthy relationship with the local Chamber, and work closely with them on building the foundations we need for local businesses to thrive.
 
Have you met, or intend to meet with other economic, social, cultural groups in the city like the Port of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island University, Island Heath, to ascertain their views on the future of the city?
 
Much like the chamber, all the above groups have informed my work as Nanaimo’s MP and I maintain strong and healthy relationships with them which I will continue to do as MLA. 
 
We have a great deal of work to do to rebuild our community after 16 years of the BC Liberals, and working with all sectors is critical to our ongoing success.
 
How many public events will you be holding during the campaign where citizens can pose questions to you directly , and , where and when are these events? 
 
First, anyone in Nanaimo can contact my campaign office and I will gladly respond to any questions or concerns. The office number is 778-441-4559.
 
I will attend the three all-candidates meetings booked to date:
 
I have already attended an all-candidates meet and greet, VIU Building 300 Royal Arbutus Room.
 
Monday, January 21, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Forum for Millennial Leadership all-candidate debate moderated by Richard Zussman, Vancouver Island Conference Centre, 101 Gordon Street.
 
Thursday, January 24, 6 to 9 p.m., Chamber of Commerce All Candidate Meeting, Beban Park Social Centre, 2300 Bowen Road, meet and greet to 7:15 p.m., debate at 7:30 p.m.
 
As events get added during the campaign, people can stay up to date at the events section of my website: www.sheilamalcolmson.bcndp.ca
 
I am also reaching out to voters directly every day, knocking on doors throughout Nanaimo and making phone calls.

 

BCLiberal candidate Tony Harris responds to our questions

Tony Harris

BCLiberal Candidate Tony Harris Responds To My Questions and as promised here they are as provided to me:

1. What are the reasons you think citizens should vote for you to be our next MLA? 

I’m running because I love Nanaimo and think I can make a difference.

I’ve lived here my whole life and I think we have huge potential to be an even better place to live, work and raise our families. We have been taken for granted for too long by politicians and I’m hoping a new voice in Victoria will change that.

It’s why I’ve been solely focused on our city during this by-election, not the broader politics. I’ve never envisioned being a politician and so for me I’m in this for Nanaimo and Nanaimo only. I’m bringing forward ideas that are about how to improve our community and I think the approach is resonating with voters.

It appears the NDP have been more focused on making this by-election about provincial politics with no new ideas on how to make Nanaimo better. That’s just not what I’m about and I will keep offering up ideas and staying focused on our city.

This is why I’m running and asking voters for a chance to serve – hire me and I’ll work my tail off.  Nanaimo voters have a tremendous opportunity right here in front of them to send a new voice to Victoria for the better this by-election and I hope they will consider voting for me. 

2. What are your specific priorities for Nanaimo? Do you have a platform?

I have been issuing policy ideas daily since the by-election began and I announced many others in November and December after I put my name forward to run.

We will soon be releasing my vision and priorities for Nanaimo in a single, easy-to-view format aggregating all of my ideas and why people should consider me - because I’ve heard from voters that they often find it difficult to know where a candidate stands on issues and what she or he is all about and I don’t think that’s right.

I’ve talked about many ideas I have such as: the need for Nanaimo Regional Hospital to be a tertiary facility with fully integrated cancer care services and an expanded cardiac care facility; a foot ferry passenger service between Nanaimo and Vancouver; a more collaborative and consultative process for engaging the community on how best to address our homelessness crisis; challenging VIU to deliver more medical and nursing programs as well as developing an executive education program focused on environmental innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship; and calling on Victoria to bring some common sense to tax policy including ending the employer health tax that is costing homeowners more money and the so called speculation tax in Nanaimo.  

These are just some of my ideas and I have more on the way!

3. Have you met, or intend to meet, with the mayor and councillors of Nanaimo to ascertain their views and priorities for the future of the city? The Regional District

I believe it is essential that our provincial representative and local councillors have a very effective working relationship. I’m excited about the new council and hopeful they will provide us the local leadership the city needs and deserves.

Going back to November when I announced my candidacy, I have had discussions with councillors Erin Hemmens, Ben Geselbracht, Tyler Brown, and Ian Thorpe as well as our new Mayor.  I’ve reached out to the others and trust we will be connecting soon about their views on what their priorities are for the city.

4. Have you met or intend to meet with the local Chamber of Commerce to ascertain their views and priorities for the future of the city? 

Yes I have met with Kim Symth at the Chamber of Commerce who I have known for many years.

We share many of the same views and ideas on how best to move our city in the right direction and ensure we have the right economic foundations in place, so hard working Nanaimo families have well-paid jobs available to them and our economy can continue to grow.

I know the Chamber is committed to advancing our economic prosperity and I share that priority with them.

5. Have you met, or intend to meet with other economic, social, cultural groups in the city like the Port of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island University , Island Heath, to ascertain their views on the future of the city?

I’ve been meeting with leaders in our community for years because of my involvement the Hospital Foundation Board, Vancouver Island University, The Salvation Army, and the Nanaimo Foundation.

I’ve had meetings and conversations with the President of Vancouver Island University, Chair of the Port Authority, The Chief of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, the CEO of the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation, The CEO of the Mid Island Business Initiative, and many others whether they are institutional, public, non-profit or private business leaders in our community.

You don’t improve your community by just advancing your own ideas, you need to collaborate and engage with the community and take everyone’s ideas forward.

Sharing ideas and building consensus is something I’ve always enjoyed in my professional career I intent to keep these conversations going throughout the campaign, and after.

6. How many public events will you be holding during the campaign where citizens can pose questions to you directly, and, where and when are these events? 

Our campaign door is open every day and I can be reached online via my website:www.tonyfornanaimo.ca and my TONY HARRIS Facebook page.

We are also out knocking on doors and hearing directly from Nanaimoites and I’m having a rally at the Departure Bay Activity Centre on January 1 at 5:30pm where voters can come say hello and ask me anything they wish. 

There will also be two debates, the first on January 21, 6 pm at the Vancouver Island Connference Centre put on by the Forum for Millennial Leadership. The second is on January 24, 7 pm at Beban Park by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.

 

Green candidate Michele Ney responds to questions

Michele Ney - Green Party

Green Candidate Michele Ney Responds To My Questions and as promised here they are as provided to me:
  1. What are the reason, reasons you think citizens should vote for you to be our next MLA? 
I have deep roots in this city. My father Frank Ney, loved this city and all that it has to offer, as do I. He taught me the value of nurturing our community and looking out for people first begins with looking out for the environment. I am outspoken about my love and concern for Nanaimo because so much of the joy of living in this beautiful city is tied to protecting this amazing environmental gift that many take for granted. The world economy is changing, putting pressure on our resources and industries. To stay competitive and attract new business, we need to move towards a clean economy, using renewable energy and supporting local businesses and farms.
 
Electing a Green MLA is the best way to ensure the stability of our government and economy. Electing a Liberal will force an early and expensive election while electing an NDP is a vote for the status quo. I’m offering our community the opportunity to vote for stability and bold action for change while voting with their conscience and heart. The Greens have shown that we can collaborate and get things done. We were able to ban big money in B.C. elections and played a vital role in developing the CleanBC plan. In fact, the plan wouldn’t have been nearly as ambitious in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions if it wasn’t for the hard work and dedication of leader Andrew Weaver.
 
2. What are your specific priorities for Nanaimo? Do you have a platform?
 
Here is the link to the  BC Greens 2017 Platform. 
 
I believe Nanaimo’s four priorities are housing affordability, clean business, modern 21st-century transportation solutions and climate change. These priorities are interrelated and when managed properly will help build and protect our community. 
 
Housing affordability
With a housing crisis in Nanaimo, we know that tent cities are not a solution. Housing is about having a home, a safe and affordable place to live, work and play. But under the previous BC Liberal government, wealthy speculators were allowed to treat our housing market like a stock market, buying up housing like stocks. We have to return our housing market to the citizens of Nanaimo who need housing for homes, not for investment. 
 
Clean Business
CleanBC is the most important government initiative for the BC Greens so far — it’s the reason we ultimately agreed to support the BC NDP over the BC Liberals. By transitioning to a low carbon economy, we can also spark innovation here in Nanaimo. By stopping the building of fossil fuel plants, we free up literally billions of dollars that can be used to transition to a clean economy.
 
Transportation Modernization
Moving people from home to school and work or play is fundamental to a thriving community and economy. Nanaimo is a growing city with many hubs and neighbourhoods that need to be linked through modern 21st-century transportation solutions. In addition, Nanaimo is a regional hub on Vancouver Island and should be better connected to other Island communities through solutions such as rail.
 
Climate Change
Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity and it needs bold action now. But it’s not simply about reducing emissions, it’s about seizing low-carbon economic growth opportunities and building the kind of economy we want for our future. BC has strategic advantages such as its highly educated workforce and world-class institutions; abundant natural resources, including renewable energy; and it being a desirable place to live that make it a prime position transition to a low-carbon economy.
 
3. Have you met, or intend to meet, with the mayor and councillors of Nanaimo to ascertain their views and priorities for the future of the city? The Regional District?
 
As the MLA for Nanaimo, I would work collaboratively with the Nanaimo council and the district.
 
4. Have you met or intend to meet with the local Chamber of Commerce to ascertain their views and priorities for the future of the city?
 
On January 7, I met with the Chamber of Commerce. During that meeting, we discussed many creative ideas that I would be delighted to bring to the caucus for support and future implementation.
 
5. Have you met, or intend to meet with other economic, social, cultural groups in the city like the Port Authority, Vancouver Island University, Island to ascertain their views on the future of the city?
 
My approach is all about building and supporting community, so I will most certainly be listening carefully to the viewpoints of the social and educational institutions and their leaders.
 
6. How many public events will you be holding during the campaign where citizens can pose questions to you directly, and, where and when are these events?
 
The easiest way to stay on top of the BC Greens campaign is to check out our website at MicheleNey.ca. You can find out about events and opportunities to participate in our democracy and our future!
 

Letter to the candidates in the Nanaimo byelection

January 8. 2019

Tony Harris, 
Shelia Malcolmson,
Michele Ney 
 
Dear Candidates :
 
I write a column for the internet news site Nanaimonet.com.
 
I thought it would be important for the readers of the news site to find out more about you before they have to decide which of you they should vote for. So, below, are a number of questions. I will ensure that your answers are posted in my column. Of course, short, succinct answers would be appreciated:
  1. What are the reason, reasons you think citizens should vote for you to be our next MLA? 
  2. What are your specific priorities for Nanaimo? Do you have a platform?
  3. Have you met, or intend to meet, with the mayor and councillors of Nanaimo to ascertain their views and priorities for the future of the city? The Regional District?
  4. Have you met or intend to meet with the local Chamber of Commerce to ascertain their views and priorities for the future of the city? 
  5. Have you met, or intend to meet with other economic, social, cultural groups in the city like the Port of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island University , Island Heath, to ascertain their views on the future of the city?
  6. How many public events will you be holding during the campaign where citizens can pose questions to you directly, and, where and when are these events? 
 You can send your answers to brianpeckford@gmail.com . 
 
This will be posted as my next column.

We need national, not federal policies

January 5, 2019

I was on the Roy Green national radio show for an extended period yesterday where Mr. Green posed the question: what if in the next election in October sees Justin Trudeau returned to power but with his majority largely from the large provinces of Quebec and Ontario, especially in the likelihood that Alberta will have a United Conservative as the new Premier? What does this mean for Canada?

Well, first it's a good question.

Second, I responded that it would be similar to periods in the nineteen eighties (of course, that’s history, and who learns history anymore [you don’t have to study it anymore in the schools] or tries to learn from it?) When Papa Trudeau was in power he had a penchant for unilateralism like the National Energy Program and the Constitution. Junior practises it today with the carbon tax and Bill 69. Both attack head on western Canada’s energy industry, especially Alberta. It seems father and son have a tragic flaw in their desire to eliminate oil and gas from the Canadian economy or to stop anyone do well by it. Even if it is a big driver in the national economy. Papa Trudeau and his minions fought Newfoundland and Labrador for any meaningful say to offshore oil and gas right to the highest court. And won! It took Brian Mulroney to change that tragedy.

Third, today it will be even worse than the eighties since Government largesse is even greater and hence the negative blows to the economy are severely constrained by Government money, federal and provincial, even though it will be mainly borrowed money. People don’t see the negative consequences like in earlier times because of this cushion and the fact that the outlet for news for most people today is a headline on the Smartphone. Most don’t see or feel what has happened in Alberta in the last couple of years unless you live there and that’s a small portion of the total population.

Fourth, it will be even worse because Ontario and Quebec today are the second and third most indebted Provinces in the Federation. Hence, their insatiable appetite given their size relative to the rest of the Provinces and Territories. Ontario’s per capita debt is $21,900 and Quebec’s is $21,600, according to Royal Bank of Canada figures. So given the situation under Mr. Green’s scenario holding the balance of power electorally, and having this enormous need for more and more federal money, we all know that the federal Government will become a servant of these two Provinces.

Fifth, though many are persuaded, without objective evidence, that all international agreements are in Canada’s best interests, this is not always the case.The dubious positive effects of the Paris environmental agreement are there for all who wish to see. No enforcement, and China and India, two of the largest economies, building away at more coal plants oblivious to Paris deals, and the U.S., the largest economy, not even a part of the deal.

And let’s stop the hypocrisy — NDP BC allows coal mines to operate this very moment, transports the coal on trains to a coal port in Delta and exported to fuel power plants and steels mills in Asia. This mouthing of environmental virtues by Junior of oil pipeline ownership, and Horgan of BC of coal plant ownership, is suffocating.

Sixth. We again do not realize the cost we are paying for these international agreements since they are never fully explained and the press are compliant in their ignorance or bias. The public seldom get the facts. The latest is our Princeling's signing of the agreement on global immigration which over time is most likely to override our national sovereignty. Little real debate, deal signed. Smart countries around the world took a pass.

Then there is motion 103 which highlighted Islamaphobia when the greatest religious hate crimes in our country are anti Semitic ones, according to Statistics Canada. Why does our Parliament deny the facts and pass such motions? Why is it pushing dogma not facts?

So this is what we have wrought. Add to that, our competitive position globally according to the World Economic Forum is 12, is two places down, while those ugly Americans whom we detest so much, Trump’s America, is – wait for it – Number One. According to the World Bank, our ranking at the all-important concept of ease of doing business is 18, while those Americans are 6.

The CEO World magazine lists the best places to invest in the world. Canada comes in 34th. Uruguay, China, Mexico and Bulgaria are better places. How can we compete if these numbers persist? And they will persist in an over-regulated, irrational approach to development pursued by Junior Trudeau. 

In a more Ontario and Quebec dominated federation there is likely to be more subsidy to Ontario and Quebec companies – you know those billion-dollar bailouts to Bombardiers and car plants?

Wonder no more why we have a 75-cent dollar.

I made the point in the interview we are now in the most unenvious of positions – Newfoundland electricity cannot come west on a national grid, and now Alberta oil cannot come east on a national grid. Is this what a country is all about?

Funny isn’t it how the federal Government has no problem imposing its power on the Provinces on carbon tax and bill 69 but won’t use that power to see national grids that will literally and figuratively bind the country together, the modern equivalent of what a railway did in another era.

We need National Policies not Federal Policies. Regional interests must be subjected to National interests. That’s what a federal Government is supposed to be about, isn’t it?

With an even more dominated Ontario and Quebec, the Federation loses its meaning and purpose and what has been cited above gets repeated as we languish in an even more weakened Confederation, bypassed by nations which were once were miles behind us.

Brian Peckford is a former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, now living in Nanaimo. B.C.

Nanaimo byelection carries big implications

January 2, 2019

January 30 is the date. Start your engines.

I suppose it is fair to say that this is the NDP's to loose. It is known as an NDP seat, and now- Mayor Leonard Krog had won it handily the last time. Additionally, their candidate Shelia Malcolmson is a known quantity having served as the MP before challenging for this Provincial seat.

On the Liberal side, they have a good candidate with name recognition in Tony Harris. However, he lacks the experience of Malcolmson. We will see whether under the new leadership of Andrew Wilkinson he can pick away at the NDP strength.

The Greens, not to be out done, have a well known name in Michele Ney, her father a well known Mayor of another time. No doubt with her teaching background she will be able to attract some NDP votes, perhaps causing a bigger split in that left-wing vote than otherwise would be the case.

Given that I find little that attracts me about any of the parties I will watch closely on just what is said, the platforms that are presented and how much new Government money will start flowing into Nanaimo.

It is a crucial election given that if the Liberals win a tie in the Legislature is the result, prompting an uneasy situation with the Speaker left with the deciding vote in the Legislature. Can a full-scale election be far way in such a situation?

A wonderful Christmas present for British Columbians

Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018

No, No, No. Three times the people, you know those who are supposed to matter in the political process, have spoken. 

They don’t want anything to do with proportional representation. They like what they have.

Premier Horgan and Mr. Weaver, take your voting ideas and throw them in the trash heap. You have been told as clearly as possible – 61 per cent said no for the third time.

So, all you who have put us through this, please go away. Surely three strikes – you're out. At least on this, don’t waste any more of our money on such a failed, defeated idea.

We, who want to keep what we have right now, are happy!

A wonderful Christmas present.

An open letter to some B.C.municipalities

Dec. 17, 2018

To: Squamish, Victoria, Saanich, North Saanich, Colwood, Highlands, View Royal, Sooke, the city and district of Powell River, Sechelt, Castlegar, Rossland and Slocan.

It was reported that your municipality is one of those asking certain oil and gas companies to pay cash directly to your municipality for alleged costs for climate change.

This raises some interesting questions.

Given that the causes of climate change scientifically have not be clearly established, on what science are you basing your particular costs? As we know much of the IPCC science has been discredited given that their predictions and models have been shown to be defective. In fact it was two Canadians  Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick) who demonstrated that the famous hockey stick formulation used by IPPC was defective.

Who determines these costs? Surely this would have to be some third party independent group and not the municipality itself. You know, conflict of interest and all that.

Given your obvious deep concern on this issue I am wondering:

Have you formally opposed the issuing of coal production permits in your province? Your Province is the top producer of coal in the country.

Have you formally opposed the transportation of coal across the Province and the coal heap storage and at Delta Port?

Have you formally opposed the new $40-billion LNG facility at Kitimat? And the near approval of the one near Squamish? 

Have you formally opposed the drilling for natural gas and oil in your province? And the use of fracking techniques ?

Have you formally opposed the 44,000 kilometres (BC Oil and Gas Commission) of fossil fuel pipelines in your province? 

Have you formally opposed the expansion to the Trans Mountain pipeline? 

I mean you are just not for taking money from the companies and let them go on and produce this dirty stuff, are you?

Taking a stand on these activities would really get at the root of the problem as you see it, wouldn’t it? Right now your actions just get at the downstream activities, after the coal, oil and gas have left the barn, so to speak.

Given your obvious passion, I am sure your credibility would be greatly enhanced if you took such a stand, right now, assuming, of course, that you have not already done so. 

Oh, then there’s the asphalt on your streets, the asphalt shingles on your homes, the service stations, the airports, the fossil-fuelled cars on your streets . . . whew . . . lots to do.

Lots of luck with all that!

Whistler's new mayor – quiet the guy

Dec. 16, 2018

Whistler's new mayor has sent a letter to one of Canada’s Oil and Gas Companies requesting  that the company provide money to the municipality to pay for its share of global warming which he blames on extra costs the town is incurring. 

Put aside for the moment whether the costs incurred are really due to global warming and not from poor town planning etc., the good mayor is doing this when the oil and gas industry of Canada is experiencing record low prices for its product, when the federal Government through it policies has directly blocked two pipelines from getting more product to market, and in an industry where  tens of thousands of jobs have been lost and ten of billions of dollars of lost investment have occurred over the past couple of years. 

Great timing your worship!

Of course, it did not take long for the industry to react. An investment conference sponsored by the CIBC Bank in Whistler has had to cancel the energy section of the conference because several energy firms are boycotting the conference as a result of the mayor’s ill-considered letter.

If the mayor and his ilk think they can suddenly get energy companies to begin paying for expenses incurred based, at best, on dubious claims I suspect the mayor also has booked a visit to Mars in the coming weeks. 

I, for one, will not visit Whistler any more. Small potatoes, I know, but this silly attempt by a duly-elected mayor in B.C. cannot be in any way supported. This is my part in that effort.

Electoral reform referendum should now be laid to rest

Dec. 13, 2018

With approximately 41 per cent of eligible voters marking ballots in the referendum on electoral reform it is obvious to anyone that given the majority (59 per cent) did not vote , the effort for reform is a dead issue. It is quite evident most people do not consider this a burning issue and hence "stayed home" by not mailing in their ballots. 

I am sure it won’t be argued by the supporters of reform that they could still move ahead if they get 50 per cent or more of the 40 per cent who voted. In a referendum of this sort it is recognized that a majority of the eligible voters would need to approve such a measure. Otherwise, democracy has vacated our place. 

With less than majority interest one can reasonably conclude that there are other issues that are more important to the citizens of the Province.

For example, one could easily think of wait times to see doctors and medical specialists. All around me I hear of one year waits – and I have personal experience over one year in my family.

Then there are the ongoing housing issues for the those who are working and cannot afford to own a home. I have personal experience of this too. What exacerbates all of this are policies that inhibit growth which means less tax revenue and hence less money for these critical areas. 

Hopefully, the obvious minority that supported reform must now cede to the majority . 

Let’s be done with it. 

Brian Peckford is a former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, now living in Nanaimo, B.C.

British Columbia has a 'funny place'

December 8, 2018

Having spent 17 years in a Provincial Legislature and observing the scene for another 29, I can honestly say this present B.C. iteration of a provincial Legislature takes the cake. 
 
Two weeks ago the Speaker of the Legislature suddenly had two of his employees excorted off the premises of the Legislature, removed. They were the Sergeant at Arms and the Clerk. The Speaker alleges that there was something wrong with the behaviour of these two employees without telling the public anything more.
 
The legislature actually voted on the Speaker’s request to have them removed. An investigation is begun by the police and the appointment of two special prosecutors happens. Then the Speaker hires a former Attorney General for the Province for legal advice. Meanwhile, the two removed employees through their lawyer are demanding their jobs back because they know of no reason why they were removed. 
 
Two days ago, the Speaker has a meeting with representatives of the Legislature, the Auditor General and the assistant clerk. Nothing really comes of the meeting except that the Speaker took this occasion to mutter that there were things wrong in the finances and work place behaviour. Nothing more. And, that when the investigation is all finished if there is not something found seriously wrong, he and his personal friend who is a paid aide, will resign. Ironically, the Auditor General who has audited the Legislature was sitting there listening to the Speaker question her past audits. 
 
Yes, there is something wrong with this picture. Some things:
 
• The manner in which the employees were removed. These people have rights. 

• The role of the management committee

• The role of the legislature 

• The need for a two special prosecutors to do what while the police are already investigating the issue.

• Has a forensic audit been authorized? 

• The lack of information 

• The Speaker’s actions and that of his aide in all of this. 

This part of Canada has been called many things – left coast, wet coast, different coast . . . 
 
You can’t say anything about the province per se on this one, but you sure can sure fault the Legislature. It sure looks like a ‘funny place’.

British Columbia speaks with a forked tongue

Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018

A direct quote from BC’s New CLean BC Environment Plan just announced. 

"From fossil fuels to clean energy"

Problem is: Fossil Fuel Development in the form of natural gas will be increasing with the new $40-billion dollar LNG Kitimat Facility. And it is getting tax incentives to build it. There is also another LNG Project (Woodfibre) close to development just south of Squamish.

There is nothing in the plan that addresses coal production in the Province, transporting of coal by rail or its export from the Delta Port. The Government on its website lists nine operating coal mines in the Province.

How are citizens of the Province to take serious this new plan of reducing fossil fuels when the same Government provides tax breaks to big companies from China, Korea, Japan and the Netherlands to build it – when a separate new 420-mile $6.2-billion pipeline is to be built to carry the gas to the new project?

How are citizens to take serious this new plan when coal production and its transportation continues unabated? 

Don’t get me wrong! I am in favour of all these projects.

I just don’t like seeing a Government pretending to be Green and announcing reducing fossil fuels while at the same time it continues to provide our tax money for fossil fuel development in the form of LNG and continues to issue permits for coal production, the Province being the largest coal producer in Canada.

UN migrant package only political? Give me a break

November 5, 2108

Chris Alexander, a former Immigration Minister in the Harper Government, has taken issue with Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservatives, who opposes the UN Migrant Pact that Canada is about to sign. He says it is only a political agreement, not legally binding.

Well, give me a beak. Why sign it, then, if does not mean anything?

Do governments go around the world signing political agreements especially involving the UN and then turn around and not implement what they signed?

Does Mr. Alexander think we were all born yesterday? Or is he saying we Canadians just break agreements that we sign, we are a blatantly untrustworthy lot.

No, no, Mr. Alexander, you are out to lunch on this one. This agreement is right in line with our dear Princeling’s philosophy. 

The nation state in his "world" is an old outdated concept; we must be all globalists now and enter into the nether land of double bureaucratic speak, downgrading our history and traditions, diluting our Canadian identity and having a common language (Orwellian tones) by the press on how to talk about this in the future.

This is a slippery slope if ever I saw one.

And Trudeau Jr., like Rudolph, red nose and all, is leading us down, down, that slippery slope to a dark and ugly place.

‘Irregular Migrant’ program cost more than P.E.I. Gets In heath and social tranfers

Nov. 30, 2018

The Parliamentary Budget Office just completed a review of the cost of "irregular migrants" as incurred by the Federal Government of Canada.

‘The PBO estimates that the average cost for each irregular migrant who entered Canada in 2017-18 is $14,321 per irregular migrant for the entire claim process, increasing to $16,666 in 2019-20. This amounts to a total variable cost of $340 million in 2017-18, rising to $396 million in 2019-20.’

The Budget Office goes on to say that each migrant's cost is different and can go from $9,000 per migrant to $33,000. You will note that the number given above was average.

This figure of $340 million for this year is quite large to me.

For some context, I looked up the amount of money the Federal Government (Federal Department of Finance) transfers to the Province of Prince Edward Island this year – for heath and social services – health transfer total $154 million, social transfer is $57 million, for a total $211 million. The Province has just over 150,000 residents.

Irregular migrants $340 million .

Health and Social Transfers to P.E.I. $211 million.

Another way to look at this is the cost per capita.

The irregular migrant program per capita cost – $14,321.

The four so called have Provinces got in direct cash transfers (health and social) $1,421 per capita.

Other eight Provinces: health plus social plus equalization per capita:

Prince Edward Island .....$4,131.
Nova Scotia.....................$3,339.
New Brunswick...............$3,831.
Quebec............................$2,809.
Ontario............................$1,488.
Manitoba.........................$2,913.

It is too bad this information is not more readily available so that Canadians get some perspective on just how various costs, like "irregular Migrant" program compare to other programs of their federal government .

No charges in casino money laundering investigation

Nov. 29, 2018

CBC reports: "British Columbia's attorney general says he was 'incredibly disappointed' to hear all of the criminal charges laid in a high-profile RCMP investigation into money-laundering in B.C. have been stayed."

Who would have believed such an outcome?

It was only a few weeks ago that the B.C. attorney general released a special report outlining all the money laundering through local casinos that has happened in the Province over the past several years. It was said that there was at least $100 million involved.

And now the Federal Prosecution Service is not pressing any charges . Obviously, they do not feel thy have sufficient evidence. The RCMP evidence does not cut it.

That poses a few questions:

Does the RCMP know what it is doing? Or Is it the Prosecution Service that does not know what’s its doing?

I mean this is one of the biggest stories for the new NDP Government. They were asking questions over the lack of surveillance by the previous Liberal government. They were outraged over the report’s findings.

Where does that leave the whole thing now? 

And what confidence does one have in the other part of the money laundering investigation concerning real estate? We are suppose to get a report on that as well. Will the same conclusions apply here as well?

There is one thing we know for certain: Justice has taken a real hit. 

And the the future? 

Its tough to be optimistic.

Brian Peckford is a former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, now living in Nanaimo, B.C.

Canada has crossed the Rubicon —The die is cast

November 24, 2018

Part 1
 
Presto! Just like that and our liberty has been compromised. 
 
Can you imagine a more contradictory statement than that of our Finance Minister this past week?
 
"To protect the vital role that independent news media play in our democracy and in our communities, we will be introducing measures to help support journalism in Canada."
 
This is what the man said – and with a straight face!
 
The Federal Government has just allocated $569 million to support media in this country. 
 
How can news media be independent if that are financially supported by the government? It defies any reasonable definition of a free press. 
 
Canadians are asleep, they need to wake up!
 
Part 11
 
Freedom of speech likely has its origins in fifth century Athens and later in Cicero’s Rome. 
 
John Milton in his Areopagitica (1644) articulated a passionate defence of free speech and it was influential in free speech policies being introduced later.
 
In 1689, England’s Bill of Rights addressed freedom of speech as did the Declaration of Human Rights of the French Revolution.
 
Freedom of the press was first enshrined in a written constitution in 1766 when Sweden passed the Freedom of the Press Act.
 
Then in the USA in 1791 as part of The Bill of Rights press freedom was written into the Constitution:
 
 Amendment I
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
 
And in the Canadian Constitution of 1982 through the Charter of Rights and Freedoms press freedom was guaranteed:
 
‘Fundamental freedoms
 
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
  • (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
  • (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
  • (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
  • (d) freedom of association.’
 
We must not forget Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws of 1748 or John Stuart Mills' Essay on Liberty of 1859 or our more recent Giants of Liberty, Milton Friedman (Free To Choose) or Fredrick Hayek (Road to Serfdom and Constitution of Liberty) . 
 
Part 111
 
Sadly this latest incursion of the Canadian government ignores history, flaunts our constitution, and seeks to rationalize Government's involvement because the major media companies are in financial trouble. These companies failed to adopt new technology in a timely manner and are now being outflanked by that technology. Rather than let the companies go out of business and new ones replace them, the state sacrifices free speech and free press on the altar of corporate medias’ balance sheets. 
 
I read that Paul Godfrey of Post Media is out supporting the government’s action. Once a great defender of limited government, Godfrey, now intertwined in the media corporate vortex, finds lame excuses for State Intervention. 
 
Peter Kent, a former journalist, now Conservative MP said:
 
"When the media, or media organizations, or in fact, individual journalist jobs are dependent on government subsidies that is the antithesis  of a free and independent press."
 
Even the Canadian Publishers Association is on side. However, In 1981, the Daily Newspaper Publishers Association denounced any government support recommended then by the Kent Commission.
 
Andrew Coyne, whom I have often criticized, is a hero on this issue. His column in the National Post should be required reading for anyone who cares about what’s happening now. He demolishes the arguments of an independent panel and questions who is too decide on what is professional and worthy of Government support. He ends his column:
 
"To Hell with it, to hell with all of it. No newspaper publisher should have anything to do with this plan. And no journalist worthy of the name should go anywhere near that cursed panel."
 
Anyway, it looks like the Principle of a Free Press has been shattered, left gasping for breath on the altar of corporate profits and greed. Crony capitalism in full bloom. 
 
And the Union representing the workers for the media? Their only concern, as reported by CBC News, is how the money is to be doled out. 
 
I don’t know if I can remember one single act that so endangers our democracy as this one action of the federal government; and tragically with the backing of many of the media, falling over themselves to circle the trough. 
 
Who's left to provide independent thought and opinion? 
 
I am waiting to hear from the Canadian think tanks to see where they stand, ones like Fraser Institute, Frontier Institute on Public Policy, McDonald Laurier Institute, and CD Howe Institute. I have just scanned their websites and could find some nothing. 
 
However , I just found something on the Conference Board of Canada website. Their reaction to the Federal Fiscal Update, where this attack on press freedom came from, they have this – entitled "Federal Fiscal Update Targets Business"
 
"Additional measures include support for Canadian journalism" (plus others). 
 
Seven words! No opinion!
 
Then there are the Universities. But they are almost all publicly funded and the lineup at the trough for grants and special studies means their bona fides are in question and also they are obsessed by political correctness. 
 
When a PRINCIPLE is broken the dam breaks and all you have left are the animals scurrying for a piece of what’s left. 
 
The Press, the one last bastion of a semblance of independence and liberty in our country has just been badly wounded.
 
So, control is now complete – the bureaucrats, the judges, and the PMO – and perhaps in that order. 

What is going on at the B.C. Legislature?

Nov. 22, 2018

Yeh, we all know – B.C. is looked upon with some puzzlement in many in other parts of Canada.

But the latest news reaches a new level of the bizarre.

The Clerk of the Legislature and the Sargent at Arms are removed from the Legislature —apparently by an advisor of the Speaker. The RCMP are investigating the actions of the two people removed and two special prosecutors have been appointed to assist the RCMP.

Meanwhile, it is now being reported that the Speaker had tried to get this advisor to replace the just-removed sergeant at arms, but the House Leaders refused to agree to such an appointment.

Furthermore, reports are that the Speaker and this advisor, one Mr. Mullen, have been secretly investigating the two people removed for seven months.

To add to the mystery Mr. Mullen, the speaker’s advisor, has just issued a statement saying that the Speaker has just hired a second advisor, the Honourable Wally Oppal, who is to provide legal advice to the Speaker, with the first meeting with him Friday morning.

All of this seems without precedent: A speaker secretly conducting an investigation of officers of the Legislature, having two of them removed, the Speaker attempting to have his friend and advisor fill one of the vacated positions . . . 

It’s no wonder Mr. Oppal has been hired. Looks like a lot of advice is needed here.

The Members of the Legislature, who are suppose to be the real bosses of ‘their House’, are at this moment, conspicuously silent. 

Someone needs to take charge, methinks.

We're on the gravy train – on borrowed money

November 22, 2018

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.” ― George Orwell, 1984

Canada’s Fall fiscal update was not an update but more like another budget.

The Trump tax plan has put Canada behind the eight ball. But Canada has put Canada behind the eight ball, too.

The Federal Government can’t just look south. They have made things almost impossible for the Alberta oil and has industry which is in large part is the Country’s oil and gas industry.

The Gateway Pipeline stopped because of the federal halt on pipelines in the Great Bear Rain Forest. Energy East Pipeline stopped because of new federal policy of including downstream issues in pipeline construction

Delaying Trans Mountain until taxpayers have to pony up – if it actually does goes ahead. Making more regulation in the revised environmental legislation now before Parliament

And on top of all that a carbon tax.

So a double wammy, one we inflicted on ourselves, one by the Americans.

So, now we have to deficit finance our way to some sort of hazy, undefined competitiveness by tax breaks and incentives to manufacturers and business generally, costing billions of dollars.

We are not cancelling the carbon tax and we are not cancelling the other pipeline impediments. Just spending more borrowed money. Take away with one hand, and then with borrowed money try to correct the damage with the other. Some plan, eh?

If that wasn’t bad enough, there's almost $600 million there for helping the press, tax breaks, incentives etc. Yes, helping finance the press. So where’s press freedom?

The gravy train has become longer and the debt has just got a lot larger by over $100 billion. So who is not in the trough now?

Remember our Princeling, deficit no more than $10 billion in a year — now this year over $19 billion. No deficits by 2019? Now the Government cannot give us the year when there will be no deficit! And over the next seven years our debt will grow by another $114 Billion and in total close to $800 Billion.

The World Bank does an "Ease of Doing Business Report" annually. We score 22nd, the Americans eighth. Mauritius, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Malaysia score higher than Canada.

One of the 10 issues measured is getting electricity. Canada comes 121. There are 120 countries who do a better job on getting electricity hook ups to businesses than Canada.

We are 64th on businesses getting construction permits. Sixty three countries are ahead of us.

So you can talk all the tax measures you like; you can talk innovation and R and D all you like, and you can try to shine with solar, and blow with the turbines 'till the cows come home, but if we can’t get an electrical permit or a construction permit in a timely manner, all the borrowed money will be for naught and the taxpayer left with a fatter debt and little improved competitiveness.

The one commodity missing in all of this? Some good old common sense!

Brian Peckford is a former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, now living in Nanaimo, B.C.

Show me the money on separation from B.C.

November 13, 2018

Harvard-educated Robin Richardson wants Vancouver Island to separate from British Columbia and become a province on its own. He wishes to represent Nanaimo in the Legislature to pursue his objective.

He says the Island gets a raw deal from Ottawa and Victoria. Being a Province, he says, the Island would be ten times better off.

Putting aside the constitutional issues surrounding such a move, difficult in and of themselves, it is really hard to take the man serious unless he starts to provide some real data concerning his contention of being ten times better off. One has to scratch one’s head at such a pronouncement.

Just the other day I had to remind a person living here of the three military/search and rescue/testing facilities on the Island, all federal money and even some American money. Only place in the whole province where there are military facilities

CFB Esquimalt — 7,000 full time jobs —$770 million financial impact annually .

19 Wing/CFB Comox— 1,500 full time jobs —$131 million economic impact annually .

Nanoose Testing facility (CFMETR) — 57 full time jobs — $8 million economic impact annually . Americans have invested $170 million into the facility and the federal government $47 million.

And if I am not mistaken, a new hospital has just been constructed in Campbell River and another in Comox; there’s a regional hospital in Nanaimo and two large hospitals in Victoria. There are a total of 27 hospitals and health care centres on Vancouver Island and the adjacent islands.

So just using these two examples, one federal , one provincial, would seem to challenge Mr. Richardson’s contention of how awful the Island is being treated by the two levels of government.

Of course, there are many other examples from education (schools and universities) to transportation (BC Ferries).

It behooves, therefore, those like Mr. Richardson, who wish to advance such a view to show us the beef of a better alternative. Otherwise the chances of political success on such a crusade is dim indeed.

Byelection process appears to leave out party members

November 9, 2018

Where’s Democracy?

There is much interest in the the coming byelection because of the precarious position of the present NDP Government and its arrangements with the Green Party to remain in power. The outcome of this election could change this situation.

As a resident of Nanaimo my interest is obvious.

I noticed over the last several days that the two major parties have publicly announced their candidates for the byelection. Or at least the Party leadership has with a particular person, Shelia Malcolmson for the NDP, Tony Harris for the Liberals, announced that these respective persons would be running for that party in the by election. Or sort of.

You see , I am unsure if they are persons who want to be the NDP Candidate and Liberal Candidate or that they "are" the respective Party’s Candidate. Give that both candidates are endorsed by the leadership, I assume there is some provision in both Parties' constitution that to be the candidate for that party you do not have to be elected by the respective party voters in that riding to be the candidate. A person can be appointed by the party and, presto, they are the Candidate.

I have tried to find the constitutions of the two parties at their respective websites, but no luck – not there, or at least I can’t find them there. The Green Party has its constitution posted online but there is no provision in it for nomination of candidates except that it follow the election law of the province .

For a country and a province that prides itself on its democracy, this nomination process seems to fail a basic democracy test, election of a party candidate by the voters in the riding.

Brian Peckford is the former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, retired in Nanaimo.

 

Can you tell the difference – new Coca Cola or the old one?

Yes, I got It. 

 The BC Liberals have changed.

 But not really.

They call it rebranding.

I call it gobbledygook. 

It’s now BC Liberals—Opportunity For All instead of Today’s BC Liberals.

Got that.    

Deep, profound, penetrating 

 No doubt in Atlin and Fort Nelson, in Stewart and Tofino, in Cranbrook and Vernon and all places in between there is dancing in the streets. 

They should have called themselves the Surface Liberals since this is about the lowest, least form of change. 

Premier Horgan and Green Leader Weaver must be chuckling with glee at this sudden burst of Liberal creativity. 

Shocking! What is an ordinary Canadian to do?

November 1, 2016

Denied our Liberty by a bureaucratic agency,
then our tax money abused by a former Governor General
 
First, this week it was revealed that it is the intention of Statistics Canada to command banks to provide the banking habits of Canadians without their consent. Imagine that! 
 
Who thought that when we opened a bank account that this was possible? Did anyone tells us that this was possible? Imagine how many fewer accounts would have been opened and how less the banks would have earned if people had possessed this knowledge?
 
Of course, our grand princeling was there front and centre to support this attack on our liberty.
 
Global News reports that the Agency says . . . "in order to build a personal information data bank to analyze things like consumer trends and spending habits." And the Prime Minister talks about ensuring anonymity. Oh, ya! 
 
Government has been responsible for many breeches of our privacy already. As Global News notes: 
 
"Data breaches involving government agencies are rare but not uncommon. Earlier this year, it was reported that Statistics Canada lost nearly 600 sensitive files during the 2016 census process after confidential documents were left on a subway and hundreds were lost after an employee’s car was stolen.
 
And last year, Ottawa agreed to pay at least $17.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit over a major privacy breach involving about 583,000 student loan recipients."
 
This of course, misses the point or deliberately deflects the principle which is: that this move is an attack on the personal liberty of Canadians. What does section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms say? 
 
"7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."
 
What happened to privacy in a democracy?
 
Second, If this wasn’t enough, we find out that former Governor General Adrian Clarkson has been billing us each year since she was Governor General (2005) for her office expenses —most years over $100,000. And that all former Governors General could do this. 
 
This has come to light since Clarkson’s expenses were so high it took a special line in the Public Accounts of the Government. Up to now the amounts of GG expenses fell under a less revealing subhead of the accounts. And we are given to understand from the National Post article on the matter that this is – wait for it – forever — as long as the former GGs are still breathing. 
 
Clarkson has been billing since 2005, now totalling $1.1 million. Her pension since 2005 totals $1.6 million. And she received a start up grant for her Foundation of $3 million plus up to $7 million in matching funds with the private sector over ten years. 
 
Not bad for six years as Governor General!
 
So what are we to make of all this? 
 
We have a dysfunctional system of unaccountability, lacking transparency, and agencies out of control, given unusual powers. 
 
Some democracy! 
 
As the song says: "Is Nothing Sacred anymore?"
 
And daily we criticize our friends to the south. Hyper hypocrisy. May this help extinguish our fake moral superiority. 
 
Fredrick Hayek, the Nobel Prize winner, in his classic work The Constitution of Liberty got it right when on page 261 he said:
 
"It is sheer illusion to think that when certain needs of the citizen have become the exclusive concern of a single bureaucratic machine, democratic control of that machine can then effectively guard the liberty of the citizen. So far as the preservation of personal liberty is concerned, the division of labor between a legislature which merely says that this or that should be done and an administrative apparatus which is given exclusive power to carry out these instructions is the most dangerous arrangement possible."
 
Brian Peckford is the former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, retired in Nanaimo.

Hate crimes against Jews higher than Moslems or Catholics

1028 - When one hears of a horrific incident like what just happened in Pittsburg, targeting Jews, I think of what the situation is like in my own country. What is the state of our society –Canadian – in our interaction with Jews?

While it seems to me, from my interactions with Canadians, that there is a widespread belief that there are more hate crimes against Moslems than Jews is factually incorrect.

Statistics Canada reports that for 2016 (the last year for which statistics are available) hate crimes against Jews were higher than for Moslems or Catholics and further that for that year those crimes were increasing for Jews but declining for the others. 

Released August 25, 2018–Statistics Canada 

‘Overall, 33% of hate crimes reported in 2016 were motivated by hatred of religion. Compared with 2015, the number of hate crimes motivated by religion decreased 2% in 2016 (from 469 in 2015 to 460 in 2016). Police-reported crimes motivated by hate against the Jewish population rose from 178 incidents in 2015 to 221 incidents in 2016 (+24%). In contrast, the number of crimes targeting the Catholic population fell from 55 to 27 incidents. Similarly, crimes targeting the Muslim population decreased 13% (from 159 incidents in 2015 to 139 incidents in 2016).’

It is sad to think that a people who have suffered so much for so long and so unjustly would in 2018 still find such prejudice so prevalent.

In this advanced day and age, we talk about how smart we are etc, etc.

While on technical matters this may have some validity on cultural, religious matters, the Middle Ages and the Babylonian Captivity (should I even mention the Holocaust, so recent in comparison) are a lot closer than the calendar might suggest.

Yes, there is a better idea than a carbon tax

1026 - Andrew Coyne: "Liberals' carbon tax plan has its faults — but who has a better option?"

I do.

If you frame the question to your own interests you will get the answer you want. Of course. 

But how about the sensible idea of doing nothing? Now that’s a question for you. Leave that part of the equation alone. 

Stop taxing. Stick to basic services for taxing. That’s really Government’s job

So, get out of the Paris Agreement. It does not work. Its wording is all "should do" not "must do."

Members can exit the deal. Hence , it is not enforceable!  Its a "crude" joke!

The U.S. has reduced its carbon footprint without a Paris type agreement. Without a carbon tax.

China and India continue to build coal plants and are part of The Paris Agreement.

Germany expands its coal-burning electricity plants and is part of the Paris agreement.

Canada and the U.S. continue to export coal.

Canada continues to export oil and gas.

Canada is expanding oil pipelines.

Oil Companies are exploring in international waters off Newfoundland and are working on developing new oil fields there.

A $12 billion LNG plant is a go in Kitimat, BC. Other LNG plants in B.C. are likely. All Fossil fuels, carbon emitting stuff.

Why the hypocrisy

And do what?

Do what Bjorn Lomborg, Matt Ridley, Johan Norberg advocate: more research and development, incentivize for more innovation for new sources of generation of electricity that are price competitive, feeding the poor who are hungry, now, ensuring property rights throughout Africa and other underprivileged areas, providing more water to the thirsty, now.

Half of Israel’s water comes from desalination. How about taking some of those billions of dollars for questionable climate mitigation and building desalination plants on the African coast and piping clean water to the disadvantaged areas?

That’s a far better way to help the world, I say.

Brian Peckford is the former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, retired in Nanaimo.

Nanaimo election – there is wisdom in the crowd

1021 - Although I did not personally win all my votes, I did vote for most of those who were elected. I had a campaign manager once who used to say: ‘there’s wisdom in the crowd.’ That seems to be the case here.

There was no doubt that Len Krog would prevail. And he did so in spades. I think he will make an effective Mayor. And the news that his wife is not well, kept from the electorate until now, speaks volumes of the character of the man.

As far as the elected Council goes it reflects that the electorate wanted a change and six of the eight are new and ready to go.

Of course, the challenge now is for there to be co-operation, compromise and effective decision making. In other words some leadership. I sense the electorate will not be pleased with any petty wrangling.

I was disappointed with the coverage. Nanaimo News Now tried to cover events at the Conference Centre but it came off as amateurish. Technically it wasn’t much better with camera shots off the mark and the sound being a problem for many interviewees. Furthermore, it was difficult to read the Conference screen. One would think that with all this new-fangled technology it would have possible to produce a better product. I saw better decades ago.

But as for the Mayor and Council I think we have a competent group .

Now the hard part: effective delivery.

Proportional representation, not for me!

1020 - The Province of British Columbia is about to have another referendum on the nature of our voting system. This will be the third one in 13 years, one in 2005, one in 2009 and now another one this month. The first two said no to changing our existing First Past The Post system.

Obviously, there are some in authority who can’t take no for an answer and are just trying to grind us all into the ground until,in desperation, we give in to change our First Past the Post system.

There is this feeling by some that it is the ‘in thing' to do. Gotta get with the times. Hogwash or worse, I say.

The Fraser Institute, a well-recognized, highly-regarded Canadian think tank, has posted on their website a number of essays on Electoral Reform. I recommend them to you.

One of the authors in this series of essays is Lynda Miljan, Associate Professor of Political Science, at the University of Windsor. Here are three paragraphs from what she has to say that best sums it up for me:

‘Countries with PR electoral systems have average central government spending of 30.3 per cent of GDP compared to 23.7 percent for countries with plurality/majoritarian election rules. These findings are confirmed by a well-established literature which has also found that governments that are elected with PR electoral rules tend to have higher levels of government spending than governments elected using electoral rules similar to B.C.’s.

The tendency of PR electoral systems to elect coalition governments is a serious consideration when weighing the benefits and costs of various electoral systems. Plurality or majoritarian electoral systems such as the system B.C. currently has, by contrast, typically elect single-party majority governments. 

The literature clearly suggests that a move from B.C.’s First-Past-the-Post electoral system to a PR system would likely increase both government spending and deficits.’

When I look at the contorted, and inefficient systems in Europe which use the Proportional Representation model, I celebrate that we are not part of such a system. Having to spend weeks, sometimes months to get a government after an election, and having to often bow to very small parties, representing a minority of voters, is not my idea of democratic government.

For the third time, I vote to keep the First Past The Post system, it is cheaper, and more efficient.

Brian Peckford is the former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, retired in Nanaimo.

Mayoral debate a bore; council candidates saved the day

1010 - I just came from the Nanaimo Councillor/Trustee meet and Mayor debate at the Convention centre.

If the highlight of the evening was supposed to be the mayor candidate debates – well just forget it . It was a bit of a dud. It got off to a bad start when the organizers announced that there was to be no applause after a candidate spoke. What? Water isn’t wet anymore? The Pope is not Catholic? Georgia Strait is just a fresh water lake?

From whence did this bureaucratic silliness come ?

A political debate among candidate for the highest public office in the city and there is to be no applause??? There was a scattering of claps anyway – muted, reluctant, tentative. 

What’s the world coming to?

Pretty staid stuff, I say. I mean its not like we don’t have burning issues, like competence (too many call it governance) , tent cities, drugs, transportation, housin , economic opportunity, tourism, arts and culture, fiscal responsibility.

And then the format of the debates was another problem. In an effort to be efficient, I suppose, the time allotted was hardly time to develop a sensible point. And the questions were tame when provocation was needed, when aggressive prodding was called for.

Did any sparks fly? Not hardly!

The candidates, unfortunately, following the lead of the no-applause dictate and the timid questioning, fell into the psychology of the moment and the best that could be scored was a C for the performances . Perhaps Krog at C+ , Hubbard at C and Farmere at C-.

However, there were some bright lights – the candidates for councillor – the new ones in particular like – Loos, Hemmens, Urquhart, Brown, Bonner, and Geselbracht.

Sadly, having the school board candidates at the same time was too much for two hours given there were 40 candidates for councillor.

Brian Peckford is the former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, retired in Nanaimo.

Free Trade deal – who was left holding the bag?

1010 - Canada Gave Graciously — Trudeau did, not Mulroney

That’s what Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic man said — "we gave graciously".

And give we did – just barely keeping Mulroney's dispute mechanism, but loosing on just about everything else.

Remember the Princeling's priorities just a few short months ago: Environment, gender, aboriginal, labor standards.

What happened to them? Gone! Nada!

Additionally, the analysis of John Ivison of the National Post is most revealing. He talks of:

There still is a sunset clause —16 years but reviewed every six.

The provision that if any party signs a free-trade deal with a non-market economy that the other parties can terminate this agreement. What does that do to a China/Canada deal?

The formation of a committee of the three countries to look at exchange rate policy? Who is likely to win in that forum? Does that signal the potential for some national independence to be lost?

Of course, the supply board stuff had to loose given that Canada had already capitulated to the Europeans and in the TPP. Its outdated, but the point is our Government pretended to all that it would keep it, come what may.

And that so-called win on there being no chance of the U.S. using the 25 per cent tariff on autos? Well not quite – if our ceiling on the autos produced goes beyond 2.5 million (its now 1.8 million) then the 25 per cent provision could be used by the U.S. The issue here is how would an investor look at this in building new plants – likely would be hesitant. Not investor friendly.

What about the steel and aluminum tariffs? Still undecided as I write.

In the longer term, Phillip Cross of the Mcdonald Laurier Institute gets it right when he says if we don’t get our regulation and taxation right, competitive that is, and improve our productivity, all the trade deals mean little.

That’s something I have been preaching in this column since the beginning. 

On the bright side, living in B.C. as I do, there will be U.S. wine on grocery shelves next year.