Some voters might disagree with Horgan’s shout out to resource development
By Vaughn Palmer-Vancouver Sun
NDP leader John Horgan defended his decision to support the LNG tax legislation, saying, “I believe we need to grow the economy.”
Photograph by: Arlen Redekop , PNG
VICTORIA — When the B.C. Liberals finally brought in the tax regime for the liquefied natural gas industry last month, the New Democrats denounced them for caving to industry pressure and reducing the tax.
The February budget proposed a tax on LNG levied at a rate of “up to seven per cent.” The enabling legislation tabled Oct. 22 halved it to a maximum of 3.5 per cent.
“A failure of negotiations,” complained Opposition critic Bruce Ralston. “The LNG tax legislation introduced today was written by industry and for industry.”
Opposition leader John Horgan echoed those concerns and more. “All the premier has wanted to talk about for as long as I can remember is liquefied natural gas and the fairy tales that go along with it,” he told the house.
“But if you make a commitment to the people of B.C. you should follow through with it. The minister of finance said in February in his budget that the tax for LNG would be seven per cent. ‘We negotiated hard,’ said the premier — and now it’s 3½ per cent.”
Other New Democrats kept the theme alive over the ensuing weeks.
“I keep looking at this bill and reading through it,” said MLA Claire Trevena.” What keeps coming back to me is that it’s a sellout. It’s a sellout for B.C.”
MLA George Heyman saw the rise and fall of the government’s promise-making on LNG in terms of a Greek tragedy: “The central characters riding on top of the world, creating a fantasy about everything good that has happened and will happen in the future, and, as events unfold, they are brought crashing down to earth, often with a very heavy thud, often with very tragic circumstances.”
But at the end of the day, most of the crashing back to earth happened on HIS side of the house, as the Opposition swung round and supported the LNG tax legislation, flaws and all.
The New Democrats voted against a companion piece of legislation establishing standards for greenhouse gas emissions from LNG plants, on grounds that the controls were inadequate.
But Horgan realized the NDP had better support the main legislation, lest it substantiate B.C. Liberal accusations of being “the party of no” on LNG. The stance crystallized on Monday of this week, on second reading (approval in principle) of the LNG tax legislation.
“I support this initiative, and I will be standing in support of this bill,” declared Horgan on behalf of the Opposition. “It falls way short of what was promised. It falls way short of what I believe we could have accomplished. But that is that.”
As for the Liberal “desire to say that the NDP is against everything — well you won’t be able to say that with (this) bill, because we’re going to stand side by side with you and vote in favour of it. As deficient as it may be, it does provide us with an opportunity to reduce some of the uncertainty that has been rampant on this file.”
He closed on a grace note: “I want to thank those members on the other side for giving me the opportunity to stand, genuinely, and put forward how I feel about this very important issue.”
The moment was reciprocated by Liberal house leader Mike de Jong: “The leader of the opposition stood up today and said, I think with a measure of pride and certainty, that the official Opposition intends to support the legislation. I am grateful for that.”
But of course it couldn’t last as de Jong climbed back into his partisan message box:
“British Columbians understand there was but one group which was committed with a singular determination to take the steps necessary to attract a vibrant liquefied natural gas sector in British Columbia. All of the protestations, all of the lurching from position to position, all of the flip-flopping that we’ve heard and will continue to hear in the days ahead will not alter that fact.”
When the vote was called on second reading Monday, the LNG tax bill passed 76 to one, with only Andrew Weaver, the Green MLA dissenting. The legislation passed third and final reading Thursday, after the house turned down by a vote of 77 to 2 a delaying motion from Weaver that would have sent it to committee for further scrutiny of what he denounced as a legislative rush job with multiple loopholes and meagre justification. (Independent MLA Vicki Huntington cast the other vote in support of Weaver’s motion.)
Meeting with reporters Thursday, Horgan defended the decision to support the legislation.
“I believe we need to grow the economy,” he said. “As an MLA that’s had the good fortune of travelling to resource communities, I understand the importance of resource development.”
Not to say the bill didn’t fall well short of what he would have done. “We have concerns about the tax bill that was brought forward, we raised those in debate, that’s our responsibility,” Horgan continued.
“But ultimately, we need to say to British Columbians: this is a bipartisan issue. The Liberals like to stand up and say otherwise, but I think when we stood with them to vote in favour of a bill that was deficient — in terms of what I believe the returns should be — it sends a signal to British Columbians that we want to see this proceed.”
Agreed. But in a province where many have expressed doubts about LNG in general and natural gas fracking in particular, Horgan’s stand probably leaves him open to poaching of support by Weaver and the Greens.
Richard Hughes-Political Blogger
What a sad turn of events for British Columbians it is to see John Horgan, leader of the BC NDP, stand up and sing off the same song sheet as Christy Clark and her crew selling out our economic sovereignty and our future environment to foreign state owned corporations.
BC citizens are not buying what either of the major parties are selling us on this discredited fracking LNG debacle.
Two-thirds polled don’t trust B.C. gov’t over LNG:
LNG tax legislation rushed at expense of British Columbians
BC’s lone Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver and Independent Vicki Huntington voted against the sellout.Weaver offered this response to the BC Liberal-BC NDP Pact on LNG.
Ottawa Citizen’s Glen McGregor has filed this story that has Elizabeth May calling for new investigation of 2011 robocalls. |
Green Party leader Elizabeth May has asked the Commissioner of Canada Elections to reopen his investigation into 2011 election robocalls based on two related court decisions that found the Conservative Party’s voter-tracking database was likely the source of misleading calls.
May wrote to Commissioner Yves Côté on Thursday to make a formal complaint about what she alleges is “widespread, co-ordinated voter fraud in at least eight electoral districts during the 2011 election.”
The request comes as Côté’s office says it is no longer investigating the robocalls case after former Conservative Party campaign worker Michael Sona was last week sentenced to nine months in jail for his role in the robocalls sent to more than 7,000 voters in Guelph, Ont. The office said it could not investigate unless it received a complaint based on new information.
Sona, whose lawyer is planning to launch an appeal of his conviction and sentence, is being held at Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton, Ont. He released a statement through a friend stating that he had “no involvement” in the calls, and doesn’t know who did.
Ottawa lawyer Howard Krongold filed a notice of appeal on Tuesday, stating he intends to appeal both the verdict and the sentence.
Côté had previously reported that he could find no evidence of a wider scheme to send misdirecting calls to voters in ridings other than Guelph, though critics noted that the investigation was based on only a small fraction of complaints for which Côté’s investigators could trace telephone records.
In her letter to Côté, May refers to judgments in the Sona case as well as the judgment issued in 2013 in a Federal Court legal challenge of election results in six ridings, which was backed by the Council of Canadians, a left-leaning public-interest group.
In those cases, Judge Richard Mosley found insufficient evidence to overturn the election results in the ridings but did find a “concerted campaign by persons who had access to a database of voter information maintained by a political party.”
In the Guelph case, Judge Gary Hearn found Sona had been involved in the automated calls arranged using the pseudonym “Pierre Poutine,” but also said it was likely others were involved. Hearn also said it appeared the list of identified non-Conservatives supporters came from the Conservative Party’s Constituent Information Management System.
Hearn didn’t say who else he thought was involved but pointed to evidence related to Guelph Conservative campaign manager Ken Morgan, who has moved to Kuwait, and deputy campaign manager Andrew Prescott, who was given immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony against Sona.
“The fact that two different judges agreed that the likely source of the phone calls was the Conservative Party database, it’s rather stunning,” May said at a press conference Thursday.
May said she had personally complained about robocalls into her British Columbia riding in 2011 but was never contacted by Elections Canada.
“If the Commissioner of Canada Elections is prepared to ignore the findings of two judges, I think that will speak very poorly of the powers of investigations we have in this country to explore electoral fraud.”
Côté has not yet responded to May’s complaint.
with files from Stephen Maher, Postmedia News
BC NDP Leader John Horgan
From: John Horgan
Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 8:55 AM
Subject: Christy Clark wants to muzzle BC
You won’t believe this.
Christy Clark is trying to change the BC Society Act to give deep-pocketed interests new powers to drag any community group that opposes them into court.
The changes would allow private interests to sue environmental and community groups for opposing their projects, tying those groups up in expensive court battles. Environmental organizations, neighbourhood associations, churches, you name it — they could all find themselves targeted if Clark’s plan goes through.
The potential impact of this policy is chilling. It could effectively muzzle free expression and public debate across British Columbia, striking at the very heart of our democratic values and giving unprecedented power to those with the deepest pockets.
This is wrong and the NDP is going to fight it. But we need your help. Please visit www.DontMuzzleBC.ca right now to add your voice and show Christy Clark that we won’t stand for this.
This plan affects over 27,000 groups across the province. It could bankrupt small community organizations, muzzle public dissent, and force non-profits to fight against constant legal proceedings from anyone who disagrees with their work.
The legislative session ends this Thursday, and we have a simple goal: get as many people as possible to join our campaign before the legislature adjourns.
Please add your name to www.DontMuzzleBC.ca now to send Christy Clark a message before it’s too late.
With your help, we can stop this.
Leader – BC New Democrats
Richard Hughes-Political Blogger
Citizens should always keep an eye on the last meeting or two of outgoing councils and boards.
This is often when controversial matters are jammed through. Once accomplished the newly elected group will be saddled with it, for better or worse.
It appears from Peter Rusland’s Cowichan News Leader story that the majority of the outgoing council were not about to be pushed into an 11th hour approval of this significant proposal and tabled this controversial application.
Would the public interest have been served by seeing this passed through by an outgoing council while many unanswered issues remained?
Image Credit: Courtesy: Dakova Group
By Peter Rusland
Duncan council has pulled rezoning for downtown’s proposed Dakova Square project, and ordered reports about issues spanning drainage, ecology and more.
Duncan councillor Sharon Jackson’s motto about allowing imposing new buildings downtown could be ‘Make a list and check it twice.’
She shared her nagging doubts with council Monday about the proposed, five-story Dakova Square residential-commercial project, that had three rezoning readings for the Canada Avenue-Government Street corner and appeared poised for approval.
But Jackson’s urging saw the outgoing council park the rezoning at fourth and final readings, pending more information.
Jackson’s rezoning jitters were backed by councillors Michelle Staples, Michelle Bell, and and convinced Joe Thorne to reverse his earlier support for the project.
Duncan’s newly elected council will revisit the $11-million proposal by year’s end, explained incumbent Jackson.
“I move we table this,” she told council, “until we have received and reviewed, at a minimum, the planning department’s considerations of: a comprehensive traffic study, reviewing the positive and negative aspects of the proposal; a storm-water management plan, given the site’s high aquifer vulnerability; a geotechnical report; an environmental-impact report; (and) analysis of shadowing on our important Hoey Park.
This list didn’t end there.
Frances Oldham Kelsey
Born 24 July 1914 (age 100)
Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia
Occupation Physician, FDA employee
Known for preventing thalidomide from coming to market in the United States
Spouse-Fremont Ellis Kelsey
Frances Oldham was born and raised in the South Cowichan area with both Cobble Hill and Shawnigan cited as her childhood home.
Shawnigan Focus writer Sally Davies, who is researching Frances Kelsey’s history, sent this background information in.
She was born and spent her earliest days on what is now “Plumtree Road” in Shawnigan Lake and the children attended Leinster Preparatory school, also in Shawnigan.
Her family lived on a large parcel of land that would not have been named at that time. The B.C. Gazette of that era, lists the family as being residents of Shawnigan, but they would have received their mail in Cobble Hill.
The house is no longer in existence but the Shawnigan Museum has a photo of it which will appear in the next issue of the Shawnigan Focus and a copy of the B.C. Gazette from that time.
The confusion arises from the postal code (and the telephone exchange) grouping everyone in Shawnigan, even to this day, as living in Cobble Hill.
Her historical achievements and high principles resulted in a Mill Bay School being named in her honour. She travelled back to her childhood communities to take part in the opening of Frances Kelsey Secondary School.
Frances Oldham was a physician- pharmacist-scientist with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She refused to approve the drug thalidomide from being approved in the USA..
1962: Frances Kathleen Oldham Kelsey receiving the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service from President John F. Kennedy
Crumby Soccer Fields to be replaced!
If someday you want to feel good about the ever-increasing property taxes you pay to the Municipality of North Cowichan just take a ride to the soccer fields at Sherman and Somenos Roads, especially on the weekend.
There, rain or shine, you’ll find hundreds of school-age boys and girls kicking a ball around a half dozen pitches. With them will be hundreds of parents and spectators. These well-used sports fields were built and now maintained with your tax money.
There are few facilities as well used and enjoyed as these fields. They are tax money well spent.
In addition, the past municipal council unanimously voted to make a huge improvement by installing an artificial turf field and doing it without using a penny of property tax money. It will be paid for with gasoline tax returned from the province. Maintaining the perfect grass fields we have now is a very expensive task. The artificial turf requires no cutting, watering, herbicide, or fertilizing. Talk about a win-win situation.
Now, because of some unhappy professional women soccer players, we may have to take a second look at the wisdom of tearing up one of our beautiful grass fields and replacing it with manufactured turf.
U.S. star forward Abby Wambach
Led by U.S. star forward Abby Wambach, 18 world-class women players from 11 countries filed a gender discrimination case with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario last month, saying that the use of synthetic turf pitches to be used in six Canadian cities for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup constitutes discrimination.
Gender discrimination? What does Astroturf have to do with gender?
Well it seems that no game in the men’s FIFA World Cup play has ever been played on artificial turf. The guys don’t feel they play their best on the man-made turf, so they want no part of it in World Cup play. So the women say it’s discrimination to force them to play on fields the men want nothing to do with.
Why, the women ask should we suffer increased risk of injuries such as turf burn, turf toe, and knee and ankle sprains and tears. The injuries are bad enough but that’s not the elephant in the room. It’s been five years ago now since Amy Griffin, the assistant soccer coach at the University of Washington, started telling the world that the ground-up tires in artificial turf may be causing cancer in soccer players.
While visiting two women friends in the hospital, who were soccer goalies, Griffin learned from one of their nurses that she had cared for four goalies that week suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. One of Griffin’s friends told she had a feeling her cancer had to do with the black dots.
There are now many brands of artificial turf, each with it’s own construction secrets but basically they all have green plastic strips to look a little like grass. They they take finely ground bits of tires to fill in around the “grass”, and give some cushion for the players. The fine pieces of ground up synthetic tire rubber are the “black dots” mentioned by Griffin’s goalie friend.
Writing for the University of Connecticut Health Center, Abram Katz noted that crumb rubber analysed by the state agricultural experiment station found they leached such tongue-twisters as benzothiazole, butalated hydroxyanisole, hexadecane, a phenol, zinc, lead, and cadmium.
After a game on artificial turf the players have to shake the tiny “black dots” out of their uniforms, their hair, and even from out of their cuts and scrapes. The goalies, who spend a lot of time sliding face-down end up with “black dots” in their ears and mouths.
Photo credit-Lexi Bainas-Cowichan Citizen
Griffin started tracking down soccer players suffering from cancer. She soon had a list of 38 cancer cases and 34 of them were goalies. They all suffered from lymphoma or leukemia.
Of course the manufacturers of artificial turf, backed by the FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association say no connection can be established between tire crumb “black dots” and cancer. When you read their arguments it sounds a great deal like the old and now discredited statements by tobacco manufacturers.
Admittedly we don’t know the final answers to Griffin’s questions but before we send our kids out to play soccer on artificial turf where they can be in constant contact with crumb rubber, before they breath and swallow black dot dust, shouldn’t we wait for scientific tests to find out if it is safe or not?
For now let’s enjoy the health benefits of playing soccer on our beautiful grass fields on Sherman Road, while we look for turf made without crumb rubber or complete tests that prove it is benign.
Kevin Logan-Cowichan Conversations Contributor
The LNG Tax Bill currently winding its way through the BC legislature will impact the very fundamentals of this Province and paves the way for a massive transfer of wealth extending decades into the future.
It’s an unprecedented time.
The BC Liberals had to prorogue the house and start anew with a Throne Speech that completely rewrote everything they built their re-election campaign on.
In other words, they were forced to halt proceedings, rewind the clock on their election platform and instead of delivering prosperity, strong arm British Columbians into accepting the dictates of foreign oil giants.
Massive Wealth Transfer
Moreover they removed any and all talk of “prosperity” for BC and instead chimed in with the corporate message sheets that demand we completely capitulate in the name of certainty for foreign profit.
Stunningly the BC NDP supports this and will be voting in favour of the Bill.
In doing so they will not only be supporting the government reneging on their election promises and the generational sell out of our resources, but they are also voting to support an unacceptable tax scheme that ties the hands of future governments if they are ever so lucky to become one.
Presumably the NDP is doing this so voters in “The North” find them more palatable. Or it could be that they simply are unable to find another way to counter the spin of their adversaries defining them as the party of “NO.”
Either way British Columbians need to make noise now and in the very least communicate their disgust with the massive wealth transfer enabled by this bill.
Clearly voters have come to accept that politicians lie to get elected.
However the BC Liberals have broken all acceptable boundaries by promising prosperity only to deliver the largest fleecing we ever experienced mere months later.
If the opposition is going to let them get away with it, we are on our own and its up to us to demand accountability. In so doing we just might convince the NDP the right thing to do is oppose the Bill and stand against the unprecedented wealth transfer it ushers in.
Richard Hughes-Political Blogger
There is a great deal at stake when the court acts as accommodators for the corporate interests while denying the civil rights of citizens to protest.
Ian Mulgrew has reported on legal matters for decades and he is not impressed with this highly questionable ruling. When due process is subverted then justice is denied. That is all that stands between violence, oppression and anarchy.
Injunctions like those used on Burnaby Mountain have been railed against for years by other judges
BY IAN MULGREW, VANCOUVER SUN
The B.C. Supreme Court smeared its robes with political tar sand by issuing the injunction in the Burnaby Mountain pipeline dispute.
In a bit of legal sleight-of-hand, Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen robbed protesters of their right to civil disobedience, fettered their defences and sullied the court.
He ought to have known better: Members of his own bench have railed for years against this use of injunctions as a substitute for police doing their job.
Since the NDP government first adopted this policy to subvert environmental and First Nations civil disobedience, smart judges have slammed it.
First of all, civil contempt isn’t a criminal charge so the charged protesters have a restricted number of defences but they’re facing stiffer punishment.
They cannot argue the injunction violated their constitutional rights, for instance, because that’s considered an impermissible “collateral attack” on the court order.
These injunctions are like papal bulls.
Legendary hockey coach died on Sunday at the age of 71
News of the death of legenday NHL coach Pat Quinn prompted an immediate outpouring from friends and fans on Twitter.
The hockey legend was beloved in Vancouver, where he played, and later coached the Vancouver Canucks.
He was also the co-owner of the Vancouver Giants.
“We lost a key cog here,” Giants General manager Scott Bonner told The Early Edition’s Rick Cluff.
“When he entered a room, the room went quiet. He had time for people, his winning record speaks for itself. He was a very successful man, and a very good person.”
After his career as a professional hockey player, Quinn coached 20 seasons between the Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Bonner says Quinn was a mentor to him, and always had advice for dealing with players in certain situations, or scouting a new coach.
“Just listening to stories was probably the most interesting thing, because Pat was always very honest, and had a lot of time for me.”
Quinn died Sunday at Vancouver General Hospital. He was 71.
Legendary hockey coach Pat Quinn dies at 71-Sportsnet
Pat Quinn passes away after lengthy illness – Global News
Willes: So much about Pat Quinn will live on-Vancouver Province