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LAST UPDATE August 03, 2017

Blue Divider Line

"A nation of sheep soon begets a government of wolves."
Edward R. Murrow

"Government will do whatever they can get away with."
OkanaganLakeBC.ca

Do you have faith in Canadian politicians?
 
Yes: 11.27%
No: 88.73%
Total Votes: 1731

Source: November 5, 2013 Castanet.net poll

Should terms for municipal leaders increase from three to four years?

Yes: 27.17%
No: 72.83%
Total Votes: 795

Source: March 4, 2014 Castanet.net poll

Not only is a society’s greatness measured by how it treats its weakest members, that treatment is probably a good indication of how it will soon treat the rest.

Wikipedia says:

As an election was held on May 14, 2013, the next election will be scheduled for May 9, 2017. The same section, though, makes the fixed election date subject to the Lieutenant Governor's right to dissolve the Legislative Assembly as he or she sees fit.

July 28, 2017 Christy Clark stepped down from being Liberal party leader lol

Thank you to the people of the Province of BC!!!!

There must be a whole bunch of idiots who live in Kelowna, compared to the rest of the Province to vote for her to be their MLA.  Sounds like she stepped down from being MLA too... yayyyy. 

I live in Christy Clarks MLA riding.  I stand with the people of the Province and voted NDP.  I surely didn't vote for Christy Clark... not in a million years.  She don't have a heart for the poor, and she didn't give the people on welfare a raise in 10 years while she gave herself a raise, meanwhile the welfare rate was no where near keeping up with the huge rate of inflation.

She is a greedy rich girl who smiles huge at the things people hate about how she rules!!!

That is why she is no longer Premier.  She don't deserve the position letting people starve and that is the fact of it.  You have to include everyone in this Province Christy Clark!!!  I am so glad you are gone!!!

Blue Divider Line

Screw you Ben Stewart, you are a traitor and bow to Christy Clark, so no go.

May as well say, Christy Clark is running again!!!

Former MLA announces bid to replace Clark in Kelowna-West
Kelowna Capital News - Alastair Waters - Aug 1st, 2017

Ben Stewart, who stepped aside for Clark in 2013, wants his old job back.

Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart fought off tears as he announced his decision in 2013 to step aside in order to allow then-premier Christy Clark (right) to run in a byelection in what was then known as Westside-Kelowna. —Image credit: Capital News file
Ben Stewart wants his old job back.

The former two-term MLA for what was then known as Westside-Kelowna and is now known as Kelowna West announced Tuesday his intent to seek the B.C. Liberal nomination in the riding. A byelection must be held within the next six months after Clark announced late last week she is leaving politics.

She said she will quit as both Liberal leader and Kelowna-West MLA as of this Friday, Aug. 5.

“It was a genuine honour and love to work for the families and constituents of Westside-Kelowna,” said Stewart Tuesday. “And I look forward to the opportunity to serve again.”

Stewart, who easily won the riding for the B.C. Liberals in 2013, stepped down just weeks after the election to allow party leader, then-premier Christy Clark, to run as she had lost her Vancouver seat to her NDP challenger in the general election. Clark also easily won the subsequent byelection.

Clark then named Stewart, founder and co-owner of Quail’s Gate Winery in West Kelowna, as B.C. special representative in Asia.

During his tenure in government, Stewart served in four different cabinet positions, including as agriculture minister, citizen services and open government minister, citizen services, public affairs bureau and multiculturalism minister and, minister of community and rural economic development.

After leaving politics, Stewart accepted an appointment as British Columbia’s Special Representative in Asia, and served with the Ministry of International Trade and Investment from October 2013 to December 2016.

“It is critical that we continue to address trade barriers and remain competitive both at home and abroad,” said Stewart.

“At a time of instability with softwood lumber, NAFTA, and other trade uncertainties, Kelowna West requires experienced and qualified leadership.”

Added Stewart, “I am running to ensure that the place where I grew up, the place that I call home, has a strong voice moving forward.”

Source: http://www.kelownacapnews.com/news/former-mla-announces-bid-to-replace-clark-in-kelowna-west/

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Wish Crusty would resign

Crusty the clown is such a greedy bitch letting the people on welfare starve during her tenure, but gives herself a raise.

Christy Clark promises to stay on as MLA for Kelowna West
Kelowna Daily Courier - July 1, 2017 - by Andrea Peacock

Christy Clark was all smiles Saturday afternoon, as thousands of people greeted her with cheers for Kelowna’s Canada Day celebrations.

“On this Canada Day, on our 150th birthday, I want to say a very, very special thank you to everybody from Kelowna, West Kelowna, the Mission, everybody from Rutland, the whole community here in this Valley for your support,” Clark said during the Canada Day opening ceremony inside Prospera Place.

Clark resigned as premier of British Columbia after the Liberals were defeated in a non-confidence vote Thursday.
However, she intends to stay on as leader of the opposition and MLA of Kelowna West, she said.

“It’s really important that the new government recognize the province doesn’t end at the Lower Mainland, and almost none of the Interior or the North of British Columbia is represented in the government now,” Clark said to reporters following the Canada Day ceremony. “This area is going to need people fighting for it, and I’m going to stay here to do that. The wealth of the Lower Mainland depends on the wealth of the Okanagan succeeding and other parts of the province; my job is to make sure the Okanagan and the Interior and the North are heard so that we can keep B.C. strong, because the Lower Mainland can’t work without us.”

Clark said she and the Liberals plan to work with the NDP, but will not hesitate to fight back.

“We have the ability in the legislature to amend any bills that they bring forward to make sure that they are done right, and that they are done in a way that’s going to protect the interests of families and jobs and making sure we are delivering those programs now, now in 10 years,” she said. “Our opposition will be big enough and strong enough to make sure that we can shape those ideas in a way that makes sure they’re going to work. There (are) lots of things you can say we agree on . . . but making sure it gets done right is going to be the hard part.”

Despite the outcome, Clark said she had no regrets about the election campaign.

“I congratulate Mr. (John) Horgan on becoming premier – it’s a big job,” she said. “We have a strong economy, and I hope he continues to manage it well.”

Source: http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/news/article_7130d8b2-5ea9-11e7-ab3e-3704b1cb5b1d.html

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John Horgan set to become B.C. premier
Vernon Morning Star - Tom Fletcher - and Ashley Wadhwani - Jun 29th, 2017

NDP-Green alliance gets its chance to govern province

NDP leader John Horgan will be B.C.’s next premier.

Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon has asked Horgan to form the province’s government, ending 16 years of B.C. Liberal rule.

The combined forces of the B.C. NDP and Greens defeated the Liberal government and leader Christy Clark in a vote of non-confidence in the B.C. legislature Thursday afternoon.

Outside Government House in Victoria, Horgan said he’s ready to get to work.

“I’m excited,” he said. “Now, seven weeks after the election we can get going on a government that works for the people,” he said.

After a long day of guiding the confidence vote through and waiting for a decision, Horgan said his first priority was to get a bite to eat and get some rest. The next is to begin building a new government and choosing a new cabinet for the first change of political leadership in 16 years.

Horgan said he told Guichon he can maintain the confidence of the legislature, with 44 seats for the NDP and Greens to 43 B.C. Liberals. Immediately after the legislature adjourned Thursday following the vote of non-confidence, B.C. Liberal Speaker Steve Thomson resigned the position, forcing the NDP to nominate one of their MLAs when the legislature resumes.

Horgan has estimated that it could take the rest of the summer to go through government transition documents, meet with deputy ministers, and review Crown corporations such as BC Hydro and ICBC. The legislature may not be called for delivery of a new throne speech until after Labour Day, he said.
Clark said in her discussion with Guichon, she was asked to choose between two options, handing over power to the NDP-Green alliance or dissolving the parliament and going to a new election.

“I did ask for dissolution and she hasn’t granted that request,” Clark said. “She’s chosen another path.”

Clark offered “a true, sincere congratulations” to Horgan on his opportunity to lead, adding that “he is inheriting the best balanced books in the country, the strongest economy in the country, the best job growth in Canada and a great fiscal situation.”

NDP house leader Mike Farnworth said in an interview Thursday he is confident that even after appointing a speaker from the NDP bench, leaving 43 MLAs on each side, the alliance of NDP and Green MLAs can pass legislation. Rules of the legislature allow the speaker to vote only in the event of a tie, and the speaker is restricted to voting for further debate or to support the government.

Legislation can be introduced and moved to committee, where the NDP and Greens would have a majority, and only brought back to the main chamber for a final vote where the tie would be broken by the NDP speaker voting in favour, Farnworth said.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/christy-clark-government-falls-in-confidence-vote/

So far April 18, 2017 we have only seen NDP Election signs out Westside Road

You know who thinks of you, don't you???

Blue Divider Line

Lieberals!!

VOTE NDP

lieberals, ndp, 2017 election, election 2017,lying, liberals

Local Election Issues: NDP Shelley Cook
Kelowna Capital News - by Kathy Michaels - April 13, 2017

Shelley Cook is hearing one thing while she’s campaigning—they want change.

That’s what Kelowna West NDP candidate Shelley Cook has been told people want most as she hits the campaign trail.

“It’s wonderful to be in a position where people trust you with their deepest concerns and will just share those things over lemons at the market, at coffee shops and on street corners,” said Cook, the day after the writ was dropped. “I see it as a real gift, and I also feel concerned about what I’m hearing from people.”

People are telling her they want to see changes to their bank balances, in the schools they’ve enrolled their children in and the places where seniors are turning to as they require more help.

Among measures aimed at easing the financial burden and creating that change, the NDP says they would implement a $400 rebate for each rental unit in B.C. and a hydro-rate freeze if elected and would also look to create a $10 a day daycare plan.

Housing is also an issue. The average selling price of a single-family home in the Central Okanagan has reached $638,000, which is unaffordable for many. The rental vacancy rate for apartments is an ultra-tight 0.5 per cent and rents are at an all-time average high.

“I think there’s also a general concern about good jobs in this community,” she said. “We are seeing higher job rates in other parts of B.C. than we see here. Also, the quality of those jobs are what’s important here.”

Monthly job stats indicate that the Central Okanagan has a 7.8 per cent unemployment rate. Cook said she’s particularly concerned.

“Honestly, I don’t know how people are managing,” she said.

For more 2017 BC Election coverage click here.

Source: http://www.kelownacapnews.com/news/local-election-issues-ndp-shelley-cook/

Blue Divider Line

DO NOT VOTE FOR CHRISTY CLARK

HER OFFICE IS A SCAM TO THINK YOU MAY FIND HELP THERE!!!

DO NOT VOTE FOR CHRISTY CLARK, SHE NEEDS TO BE GONE.

CHRISTY CLARK JUST DOESN'T GET IT, AND SHE NEVER WILL!!!

YOU CAN TALK YOURSELF BLUE IN THE FACE

AND SHE STILL WON'T GET IT

VOTE FOR SHELLY COOK NDP!!!

NDP Shelley Cook BC Provincial Election 2017 Kelowna BC
Former John Howard Society boss Shelley Cook will run for the NDP, is new Kelowna-West riding.

VOTE FOR THE PERSON THEY ARE, NOT FOR THE PARTY THEY REPRESENT, IF THEY ARE A GOOD PERSON!!!  THAT WAY GOOD WILL PREVAIL!!!

I think MSP fees are an unfair tax on families. Why is BC the last province with an MSP fee? The NDP will eliminate the MSP fee entirely.
https://www.bcndp.ca/msp

The BCNDP is campaigning for a liveable wage. $10.85 an hour doesn't provide a living, not in Kelowna, not in BC. Help us help working British Columbians support themselves and their families.
https://www.bcndp.ca/minimum-wage

Shelley Cook is a PhD Candidate in Community, Culture & Global Studies (Urban Geography) at UBC Okanagan. Cook is currently leading two research studies on homelessness in Kelowna. The first is Mapping for Change: A Case Study of Enhancing Informational Exchange and Collaboration Through Geoweb Technology, and it involves creating/evaluating a spatial database of homelessness services in Kelowna. The second is Shelley’s own doctoral research on homeless social capital that examines the relationship between homeless mobility/use of urban space and different sources and forms of social support.
Shelley is a former leader in the non-profit sector with over 20 years experience working with marginalized/vulnerable populations in community-based and institutional settings. She has extensive experience in program and community development. In her role as Executive Director of John Howard Society in Kelowna, a position she held for over 11 years, Cook was responsible for developing close to 100 units of housing for the homeless, as well as employment programs for people with disabilities, restorative justice and other alternatives to the formal criminal justice system. Through her work, for which her organization received multiple awards/recognitions for program and housing development, she established strong professional relationships with all levels of government, the business sector, nonprofits, and the broader community; relationships she retains today.

FUCK YOU CRUSTY OLD CLARK!!

Blue Divider Line

Letter: Clark doesn't accept invitation to talk about marijuana
Kelowna Capital News - Letter to the Editor - Oct 28, 2015

To the editor:

As a local organizer for Sensible BC and constituent of West Kelowna, I recently contacted the office of my MLA— Premier Christy Clark—regarding the election of the federal Liberals and the anticipated change to Canada's marijuana laws. As in my past correspondence with her office, I offered her the opportunity to discuss the issue with some of our own experts in the field. These include Ph.D. researchers, medical personnel, growers, patients and medical dispensary representatives.

Rather than initiating this inevitable conversation, I was given a polite "thanks, but, no thanks", response. Instead, the B.C. government will wait for the federal government to consult with them and, then, Premier Clark's government will consult with health and public security officials.

Unfortunately, this demonstrates exactly why the black market is flourishing. Premier Clark's position ignores the fully functioning industry and distribution network already in place. Without acknowledging and, to some extent, incorporating, those pre-existing players—patients, dispensaries and growers—B.C. will continue to miss out on the economic and social advantages of a well thought out legalization regimen. The black market will continue to thrive without public buy-in to any new system.

Given that her LNG proposals have tanked so dramatically, one would think that Premier Clark would recognize an economic life preserver when she sees one.

Mark Conlin, organizer,
Sensible BC—West Kelowna

Source: http://www.kelownacapnews.com/opinion/letters/337226331.html

Name change coming for Westside-Kelowna provincial riding
by Alistair Waters - Kelowna Capital News - Oct 29, 2015

Voters living in the provincial riding of Westside-Kelowna will see the name of the riding change to Kelowna West for the 2017 B.C. election.

That's the only change being called for the three Central Okanagan ridings by the provincial Electoral Boundaries Commission in its final report to government.

On Thursday, Attorney General Suzanne Anton introduced a bill to adopt the commission's final report, which recommends two new ridings be added to the current 85— one in Surrey and one in Richmond/New Westminster—and changes be made to electoral boundaries in 48 existing ridings around the province.

Westside-Kelowna is currently represented in the B.C. Legislature by Premier Christy Clark.

In its report, the three-member commission said while it received varied input for the ridings in the Kelowna area, including substantial changes to boundaries to more closely follow school catchment areas and not cross Okanagan Lake, it held off because the populations of the Kelowna-Lake Country, Kelowna Mission and Westside-Kelowna (Kelowna West) ridings are similar.

"We were not convinced changes would achieve more effective representation," wrote the commission.

The report predicts when the 2017 B.C. election rolls around, the populations of the three Central Okanagan ridings will be:

• Kelowna-Lake Country—61,113

• Kelowna-Mission—60,403

• Kelowna West—59,750

The commission also held off making any changes to the two ridings north of Kelowna-Lake Country, Vernon-Monashee (where a change was proposed in the commission's preliminary report) and Shuswap, and to the riding south of Westside-Kelowna, Penticton.

The commission is, however, calling for the addition of two new ridings inthe Lower Mainland that would bring the provincial total to 87.

The commission says the current ridings in Surrey and the Richmond/New Westminster area are now more than 25 per cent above the provincial average in terms of population.

The commission, which must review B.C. riding boundaries after every second election, was made up of B.C. Supreme Court judge Thomas Melnick, former RCMP commissioner Beverley Busson, and B.C.'s chief electoral officer Keith Archer.

Source: http://www.kelownacapnews.com/news/338398722.html

Former BC staffer claims he was ordered to delete Hwy of Tears emails requested under FOI Act
News 1130 - by Anita Bathe - May 28, 2015

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A former executive assistant to BC’s minister of transportation says he was ordered to delete more than a dozen emails requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

He claims the November, 2014 FOI request was in relation to the Highway of Tears.

In a letter to the privacy commissioner, Tim Duncan says a ministerial assistant “took a quick look at the list of emails… and promptly directed me to delete them.”

Duncan claims he hesitated, at which time he says George Gretes “took away my keyboard, deleted the emails… and returned the keyboard, stating ‘It’s done. Now you don’t have to worry about it anymore.'”

“I’m just like wow, this is incredible, this isn’t happening. It’s just one of those moments you have, you’re like I just can’t believe that just happened,” Duncan tells News1130.

He says it’s all frustrating.

“It’s a process of democracy if we are obscuring details, you guys aren’t getting the facts,” he says. “If we’re just deleting all the records, how do people understand what’s going on within government.”

It’s not clear what was written in the deleted emails. “I only ever saw the subject line of the email and so these could have been anything from very basic emails that nobody cares about to the most sensitive,” he explains. “But that’s not the point.”

The NDP calls the accusations “shocking,” likening it to “keeping the paper shredder running in the back room all night.”

In the letter, Duncan says “this is not an isolated incident.”

Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says her office received the letter yesterday.

“My Office has been in touch with the individual who raised these allegations, and I am now determining next steps in an investigation under section 42 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,” reads a written statement.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone says he’s not aware of any practice to delete emails that may have been requested in a freedom of information application.

Stone says he plans to advise his staff that deleting emails that could be related to such requests is not allowed.

The province has suspended Gretes with pay.

source: news1130.com/2015/05/28/former-bc-staffer-claims-he-was-ordered-to-delete-highway-of-tears-emails-requested-under-foi-act/

Biosolids are now being shipped to OK Ranch in Clinton the RDCO says. May 14, 2015 Governance and Services meeting

Biosolids fight hits Victoria
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore | Story: 140527 - May 23, 2015

The fight to keep Central Okanagan biosolids out of the Nicola Valley is going to the provincial legislature.

Chiefs from the Nicola Valley are leading a caravan carrying their written Biosolids Moratorium to Victoria to present it to Premier Christy Clark's office on Monday.

The five Chiefs declared a moratorium on the importation of sewage sludge from the Okanagan and Lower Mainland into the Nicola Valley, and mean to show the provincial government that the First Nations and their growing number of supporters will no longer allow the B.C. government to continue its practice of polluting their ancestral lands with big city waste.

For nearly three months Nicola Valley residents have been maintaining a blockade preventing trucks containing "biosolids" from entering the Nicola Valley.

The caravan, which re-affirms their determination to stop this practice, began near Merritt May 19th, with about 70 participants walking and jogging in relays down the Nicola Valley. They will proceed in relays down the Thompson and Fraser Canyons, camping at Boston Bar May 22nd, Chilliwack May 23rd and Vancouver Island May 24th.

A bus will also leave the Lower Nicola Indian Band school Sunday morning to join the caravan.

The First Nations stress that any and all people are invited to join in and/or show their support, as the problem of what to do with urban waste is one that ultimately affects all people.

The caravan will arrive at the steps of the legislature in Victoria on Monday, where the five Nicola Chiefs hope to present their Moratorium to a representative of Premier Christy Clark at a noontime rally.

Chief Aaron Sam says the objective of the caravan is to build awareness and ultimately stop the practice of importing and dumping of big city sewage sludge into rural areas like the Nicola Valley.

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.pdf icon April 27, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 5.1 Thompson Nicola RD Biosolids Resolution

*Note* Below is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content

Re: Biosolids Resolution

At the March 27, 2015 meeting of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) Board of Directors, the following resolution was passed:

That the following resolution, which was approved by the Board on February 26, 2015, be sent out to all other Regional Districts for information:

"WHEREAS the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Health are responsible for reviewing and approving biosolid composting facility permits and land application notifications under the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation and the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for administration of the Agricultural Land Commission Act;
AND WHEREAS, due to these activities being carried out within the Agricultural Land Reserve, the interjurisdictional importation of biosolid waste materials is being authorized and land application and composting facilities are being permitted without a public consultation process in locations where residents and the environment may be adversely affected by potential health risks, noise and odour nuisances, property value reductions and loss of community well-being:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province form a committee including local government representatives to examine and make recommendations for changes to the Provincial biosolid review process and changes to the content in the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation and Agricultural Land Commission Act that govern the biosolid regulatory process in the Province of British Columbia."

CARRIED

-------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio April 27, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (23 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 27, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Thompson Nicola RD Biosolids Resolution - .wma (4.16 MB)

.pdf icon April 27, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

5. CORRESPONDENCE

5.1 Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) re: Biosolids Resolution March 27, 2015 - for information only (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District's letter of March 27, 2015 outlined their Board's resolution to the SILGA convention regarding the land application of biosolids. TNRD is asking for support from the convention delegates for a resolution that the Province form a committee to examine and make recommendations for changes to the provincial biosolid review process and changes to the content in the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation and Agricultural land Commission Act that govern the biosolid regulatory process in BC.

BAKER/FORTIN
THAT the correspondence dated March 27, 2015 from Thompson-Nicola Regional District regarding Biosolids Resolution be received for information.

CARRIED Unanimously

-------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio April 27, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (23 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 27, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Thompson Nicola RD Biosolids Resolution - .wma (4.16 MB)

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Occupy protest hits day 4
Castanet.net - by Carmen Weld | Story: 137906 - Apr 18, 2015


Photo: Carmen Weld

As the occupy protest at Premier Clark's West Kelowna office enters its fourth afternoon, protestors are getting fed up with the lack of provincial response.
A couple dozen supporters, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, lined the highway outside the office showing their unwavering support for the Nicola Valley Chief's protest.

The four chiefs have now slept on the floor of Premier Clark's office for three nights, and as they look towards the fourth night of restless sleep, their patience is wavering.

If they do not hear from the government soon, they promise an escalation of the unrest.

First Nations leaders of the Nicola Valley have been working with Friends of the Nicola Valley in the fight to stop the trucking of sewage sludge from the Central Okanagan to land near Merritt.

Friends of the Nicola Valley spokesperson, Georgia Clement, says it is time the government stepped up to the plate and sat down with them.

She says people can't even drive past the biosolids dumping area, near her home in Merritt, without the stench being unbearable and their throat and eyes burning.

The provincial government did not agree to the protestors' original request of an immediate moratorium on the importation of biosolids to their region.

They also refused to meet the First Nation's leaders for their suggested mediation process.

This has left the protesting group frustrated and ready to increase their action. They say if they do not hear from Minister of Environment Mary Polak by Monday, they will act.

They released the following statement today;

“We, the Friends of the Nicola Valley, in Unity with First Nations are requesting Minister of Environment Mary Polak contact us and begin discussions regarding the current Bio Solids Protest in the Nicola Valley.

These discussions can be without demands from either side ,with the ultimate goal of a resolution to the current unrest in the Nicola Valley.

There is immediate concern, if this issue of Bio solids is not resolved, there will be a significant escalation of this unrest.”

Blue Divider Line

Chiefs stick to their guns
Castanet.net - by Jon Manchester | Story: 137836 - Apr 17, 2015

Native chiefs continue their sit-in at Premier Christy Clark's West Kelowna office – and say they're prepared to stay put through the weekend.

The four chiefs and elders from Nicola Valley First Nations are protesting the shipment of sewage sludge from the Central Okanagan and elsewhere in B.C. to a composting facility near Merritt.

Their occupation of Clark's constituency office began on Wednesday.

Chief Aaron Sam of the Lower Nicola Indian Band said Friday morning that "not much has happened."

"We're still here," he said. "We slept here again last night. There's been no more communication, but we're hoping to resolve the matter today."

Sam said RCMP officers and a member of the premier's staff have been staying in the office with the protesters, but the situation is not tense.

"The atmosphere is good. The police are very respectful," he said.

Kelowna RCMP spokesman Cpl. Joe Duncan said the officers are just there to keep the peace, and there is no intention to force anyone to leave the office.

Sam said the group is prepared to stay through the weekend and into next week, if necessary, to provoke some action from the provincial government.

"Trucking thousands of tons of sewage treatment waste to be spread onto our farms, ranches and forests is not healthy for our lands. We stand together to safeguard the environment for future generations. The traditional practices of harvesting from our lands and waterways, has been jeopardized by this risky practice," the group said in a press release issued on the first day of the sit-in.

The group is demanding a moratorium on the importation of biosolids to the region.

The chiefs had suggested mediation as a solution on Thursday, but that was rejected by the province.

Sam said their next steps are uncertain.

"But we are always open to having discussions and are committed to the issue and to having our voices heard. For now, we are going moment by moment."

Blue Divider Line

Chiefs sleep in Clark's office
Castanet.net - by Carmen Weld | Story: 137740 - Apr 16, 2015


Photo: Carmen Weld

Aboriginal leaders remain steadfast in their fight to stop biosolids from entering the Nicola Valley, as their occupation Christy Clark's West Kelowna office continues.

Chief Aaron Sam says he, and others, stayed true to their word and spent the night in the premier's constituency office.

“We are still here at the office,” says Sam. “We had phone discussions with the province until late last night and we weren't able to resolve the issue. So, we are here at the premier's office, and we intend to stay here until we can find a resolution.”

He says during discussions with the province, his group suggested mediation to find an agreed solution.

“We feel that is the right path to go down to address the biosolids issue, but the province hasn't been amendable to it,” says Sam. “We hope to have further discussions later today on ways we can work together.”

He says they had not yet heard from the province Thursday morning, but hope to hear more later today.

“They didn't agree to our mediation, so I don't know where we are going to be going from here,” says Sam.

Five Nicola Valley chiefs, elders and supporters began the occupation of Clark's office Wednesday afternoon.

"We have been trying to find positive solutions for months without success – we continue to be committed to finding those solutions,” adds Sam.

Their protest has received support from the Chiefs’ Executive Council of the Syilx (Okanagan) Nation.

“We stand with and beside our relations in their fight to protect their lands, resources and communities in the Nicola Valley, and really for all of us," stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

“The message we share with the five Nicola Valley Chiefs, as we know, is commonly understood throughout our lands and that the province of British Columbia is obligated to consult and accommodate the aboriginal title, rights and collective interests of First Nations. Premier Clark, act now!”

Blue Divider Line

Electoral change name only
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore | Story: 136226 - Mar 27, 2015

It would appear any change to electoral boundaries in the Central Okanagan will come in name only.

A report by the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission has proposed changing the name of Westside-Kelowna to Kelowna West.

The riding includes all of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation lands from the Okanagan Connector, north past Killiney Beach, and stretches across Okanagan Lake into Kelowna to include the downtown and much of the North End of the city, ending at Spall Road.

According to the commission, some submissions requested significant changes to the boundaries, including the addition of a fourth riding within the Central Okanagan or creation of electoral districts that did not cross the lake. Others suggested Westside-Kelowna should include more of downtown Kelowna.

The commission chose not to make any boundary changes, suggesting the populations of the three ridings (including Kelowna-Lake Country and Kelowna-Mission) have similar populations.

"We were not convinced change would achieve more effective representation," the report states.

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Breach of trust
Castanet.net - by Contributed | Story: 128940 - Dec 15, 2014

Legal definition: BREACH OF TRUST. The willful misappropriation, by a trustee, of a thing which had been lawfully delivered to him in confidence.

So shouldn't politicians have to conduct themselves in the same manner as all professions involving the element of trust; professions such as judges, policemen, educators, doctors, clergy, public officials, and so on? Shouldn't we have codes and statutes that set a level of political ethical behaviour?

I ask these questions because in 2011, when running for the leadership of the Liberal Party of BC, Christy Clark promised to allow freer MLAs and free votes in the legislature. It is now three years later with no action so I emailed her asking for a definitive answer, yes or no, as to whether or not she intended to keep the promise. All I received was an autonomous dissemble on how great she and the Liberal Party are, and no direct answer to the question. So I went to her constituency office in West Kelowna with document copies of the email and the promise and asked the staff if they could get an answer. No response at all.

So I then contacted the MLA for my riding, Dan Ashton, because it is his job to get answers for his constituents. I've gotten no answer whatsoever. But then, we all know our system requires that his primary allegiance is to serve the Liberal Party; not his constituents.

Because of their refusal to answer I have to conclude that they do not intend to keep this promise. Was the promise just a ploy to get elected with no intention of keeping it? If so, without public abrogation, it constitutes a breach of trust.

I think it is high time our politicians revamped our political system to raise itself to a higher level by establishing ethical codes and statutes to live by. They don't really have to be as nauseating as they are; it is a choice they make by being intellectually inert on self reform.

Roy Roope

Blue Divider Line

Welfare moms may finally be getting a break
kelownadailycourier.ca - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - by Les Leyne

Social Development Minister Don McRae appears to be reluctantly moving toward some kind of retreat on the clawback issue that has rankled some income-assistance clients for years.

The long-standing policy of reducing monthly welfare cheques to caregiving parents by the amount of any child-support they receive has been a headache for 14 years. The government has withstood numerous pleas to change the policy. But, there was an obscure indication last summer the hold-fast stance was weakening.

On Tuesday, it looked like the pace is picking up. McRae set a fixed date – Dec. 10 – for when he’ll start the “dialogue of consultation” on the issue.

And committing to formal consultations on the clawback is a big step down the road to either ending or relaxing it. It’s hard to picture McRae agreeing to meet formally with groups that have been campaigning for the change for years and then deciding to ignore them.

The dialogue was actually promised in one small part of a report on disability issues released in June. It indicated the government was ready to consult on maintenance payments for families receiving disability and income assistance.
The process was to begin in the fall. An initial meeting with an advocacy group was scheduled earlier this month, but was cancelled. McRae apologized for that Tuesday, but said the commitment to get the consultations started still stands.
Advocates for the change have picked up a number of endorsements along the way. The most recent from the legislature’s finance committee, which recommended a review of the policy in its pre-budget report last week.

Even the B.C. Liberal Party contemplated the issue – a resolution on the clawback was on the agenda at the party’s convention earlier this year, but didn’t get debated.

The NDP has been chipping away at the issue and showed up Tuesday with another group of mothers who say ending the clawback would make a big difference in their lives. They are, by and large, women living on welfare at the $1,000-a-month level.

But when a spouse sends them a few hundred dollars in child support, their cheque drops by the same amount. It’s the difference between abject poverty and having a little breathing room.

Welfare rates have remained the same for six years, but McRae said there has been some progress. Tax benefits will go up by about $115 a month next spring, he said. And the earning exemption has increased substantially for disabled clients.

Said McRae: “When the government is paying, it is always the payment of last resort. We expect individuals, if they have a payee, whether it is another parent, to assist if at all possible. But we want to make sure there are those supports for those who do not have moneys or programs.”

Such clawbacks are fairly common in other jurisdictions and have been an issue in B.C. through various governments.
Liberals started to wear the problem 12 years ago. when they eliminated a $100 exemption. It touches a few thousand families and saves the government about $18 million a year. But with McRae sounding conciliatory and talking about “respecting vulnerable British Columbians,” it looks like changes will be coming.

Just So You Know: The NDP is test-driving a new technique – Embarrassing Comparisons Designed to Shame the Liberals. So Tuesday featured contrasts between the few hundred dollars deducted from welfare moms and variously, the premier’s catering budget, and Asian trade commissioner Ben Stewart’s Beijing car allowance.

Elsewhere, the contrast was between the lack of legal help for millworkers families in the upcoming sawmill death inquest and the top-dollar legal expertise provided for a long list of Liberal luminaries. And again, Ben Stewart.

“It gave Ben Stewart a car, a driver and an apartment in Beijing,” said NDP MLA Kathy Corrigan. “But the minister expects these families to cover their own travel and accommodation costs during the inquest.”

Stewart is turning out to be as useful to the NDP as he is to the government.

Les Leyne covers the legislature for the Victoria Times Colonist.
Email: lleyne "at" timescolonist.com.

Blue Divider Line

FAIR ELECTIONS ACT, WHAT A FARCE?

Wouldn't it be great if we had a fair elections act so that seniors, the people on welfare and disability have the same opportunity to donate or not donate to their political party to help pay for advertising?

A complaint went into the BC Ombudsman about it.  People with the most money, have the biggest influence.

It would really make our day, if someone else would also make the same complaint.

Blue Divider Line

Clark on BC's future
Castanet.net - by The Canadian Press | Story: 123674 - Sep 26, 2014

Christy Clark speaks at UBCM
In what sounded more like a speech to the United Nations rather than local politicians, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark travelled through history from past aboriginal-settler conflicts to the recently concluded teachers' strike to highlight how the path to peace can shape the province's future.

Clark told the roomful of municipal politicians at the annual Union of BC Municipalities Convention that peace talks — not conflicts — can settle difficult issues, including school strikes, aboriginal claims, resource disputes and the high-cost of running governments.

She said possessing the courage to talk out difficult issues between parties with opposing viewpoints has helped make the province what it is today, and the recent strike by members of the BC Teachers' Federation is one of those examples.

"The BCTF could have decided to force the government's hand, and the government could have decided to legislate them back to work," she said.

But both sides decided leadership was needed to reach an agreement after decades of acrimonious battles on picket lines, courtrooms and inside the legislature, she said.

"Today, none of us is leading our communities to war, thank goodness," said Clark.

She said similar difficult issues exist between government and First Nations, but the willingness to talk offers hope that both sides can reach settlements.

The recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling granting the Tsilhqot'in Nation title to 1,750 square kilometres of land southwest of Williams Lake represents a fork in the road for government and aboriginal relations, and it appears the sides are ready to talk it out, Clark said.

The premier and her cabinet met with more than 400 aboriginal leaders earlier this month to find ways to address the court ruling. Legal experts say the high-court ruling forces government to include First Nations in decisions over land use.

"The first step to solutions is dialogue," she said. "It's what made the province the place it is today."

Clark said similar issues were faced more than 150 years ago in 1858 before BC was a province, when a militia army and First Nations chiefs reached an accord in the Fraser Canyon after several tense standoffs.

"Both had the courage to shape our history," she said.

The premier also addressed potentially divisive issues between municipal and provincial government relations that have dominated the convention.

Several reports released days before the gathering put both levels of government on the defensive.

A report released by a UBCM committee concluded rising ferry fares and service cuts have hurt coastal communities and have resulted in financial losses in those areas of more than $2 billion. A government-commissioned report found municipalities are not controlling the wages of their workers, ultimately hurting taxpayers.

Clark said controlling costs is difficult but all governments must do their utmost to protect taxpayers.

The "Un-fair Elections Act"
Castanet.net - by Carmen Weld | Story: 111873 - Mar 26, 2014

Over 30 people braved the chilly spring conditions Tuesday in Vernon to send a message to Ottawa on the 'Fair Elections Act.'

“We showed up at the MP for Okanagan Shuswap Colin Mayes's office and we protested the governments pushing through of the fair elections act which we have affectionately renamed the 'Un-fair elections act,'” explained Leadnow.ca Community Activist Jacqui Gingras who is also seeking the NDP nomination for Okanagan-Shuswap for the next federal election.

From Victoria to Halifax, citizens gathered today at 25 MP offices across the country to deliver a petition on behalf of 80,000 Canadians.

The delivery was part of a national day of action called “Let People Vote! - fix the “Fair Elections Act” or scrap it entirely.”

The petition opposes what Gingras called unnecessarily stricter voter ID requirements that could stop hundreds of thousands from voting in the next election, and calls for election fraud investigators to be given the power to compel political operatives to testify.

“The issue is that this act actually works to disengage voters from the democratic process of voting in an election and it does that in three different ways,” explained Gingras.

“First, it does away with vouching which is a process where people who don't have a fixed address can vote in an election by having someone vouch for them.”

This she claimed directly affects people who typically would not vote conservative, who are low income, who are first nations, who are younger, or who are attending university.

“The second major issue is that it strips Elections Canada from any power they have to investigate electoral fraud,” said Gingras.

She says the third issue with the act is that it makes it illegal for Elections Canada to promote voting.

“At a time we actually need more engagement we are seeing this act that is suppressing voters rights.”

She said her protest and the ones around the country were done to let people know they are not happy.

“Ideally we would highlight to conservatives that Canadians are not happy with how this process has gone and it would slow it down,” said Gringas.

She said they are hoping the act is changed or scrapped entirely.

“Canadians need more incentive to participate in democracy, not less. This Act works to erode citizen engagement and I wanted to speak out against it,” said Gringas.

The Let People Vote national day of action was supported and facilitated by Leadnow.ca, the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Federation of Students.

“It is not right that it is happening and too many rights are being stripped away and how our democracy needs to be protected,” added Gringas.

Canada, the greatest country?
Castanet.net - by Contributed | Story: 111052 - Mar 14, 2014

Most Canadians now believe that democracy no longer exits in Canada. Let's get serious here! Senators are appointed by a Prime Minister regardless of their qualifications, they travel the Country to secure funds for their affiliated party on the taxpayers purse. These non-elected individuals can refuse to pass a bill that has passed the vote of elected members in the House of Commons. Their income and other expenses are considered to be excessive.

They receive free pension and medical benefits from the taxpayers and yet they can hold other jobs/businesses. Very few controls or directions are given to them. Over 70% of Canadians want the Senate abolished yet the dictatorship will not allow it and no action will be taken.

A Member of Parliament is elected by the People to serve their constituency and their country. Unfortunately when elected they are ordered to tow the party line by their Leaders. If they don’t obey, they have a party whip ready to demote them quickly. They must serve for 6 years before they can receive a pension. It is larger than most Canadians who must contribute for over 35 years. They don’t contribute to their pension plan. Oh yes their Benefits are also free!

Do you really believe that we live in a free democratic country? Dictatorship is present at most levels of Canadian activities and we call it democracy. So tell me, how much you love Canada? Is it acceptable to us because the Americans, the British and many other countries make the same mistakes? Then have the lower and mid income Canadians pay for it!

We were the best Country in the world. In the old days we had more respect for each other! We stood up for what was right! We fought for moral reasons! Today our Veterans are walking the streets suffering with PTSD after serving our Country. Their families are struggling financially. Tomorrow we look forward to getting our taxable Marijuana to ease our Canadian pain. The first part in solving a problem is to recognize that there is one!

For me, Canada is no longer the greatest Country in the world anymore, while the rich get richer.......

John Labelle

General information about starting a petition:

How to start an online petition http://www.gopetition.com/howtostartapetition.php

“How to write a petition,” from “Citizens for Public Justice”: http://www.cpj.ca/content/how-write-petition

• See this helpful article about federal and provincial petitions in Canada, which provides links to petition guidelines and information for several provinces: http://thoughtundermined.com/2012/02/21/how-to-petition-canadian-legislatures/

Practical Guide to Petition the House of Commons (Federal) http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/House/PracticalGuides/Petitions/petitionsPG2008__cover-e.htm

Ben Parfitt and David Hughes: Where will all the water come from for LNG?
February 24, 2014. 3:16 pm • Section: Opinion - Mar 5, 2014

One glaring problem with the provincial government’s strategy to turn B.C. into a LNG-exporting juggernaut is that it scuttles any chance B.C. has to be a climate-change leader.

But equally problematic is how our government’s economically dubious fixation with liquefied natural gas exports jeopardizes our irreplaceable water resources.

In Alberta as well as numerous U.S. states where natural gas companies operate, there is a growing public backlash against industry operations. Gas-drilling and hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” — a process where immense quantities of water, chemicals and sand are pumped down gas wells to break up rock and unleash trapped gas — has contaminated water supplies.

Documented problems include poisoned water wells, “containment” ponds that leaked their deadly post-fracking contents into rivers, killing fish, and municipal waste water plants damaged by the industry’s corrosive waste water.

With nearly 90 per cent of all new gas wells in B.C. fracked, how much water might be used and contaminated as natural gas drilling escalates? Between them, multinationals Shell, Chevron, Exxon and British Gas and Malaysian state-owned Petronas each have plans for LNG plants in Kitimat or Prince Rupert and have been granted export approvals by the National Energy Board.

With combined investments of $70 billion, this group will need years to recoup investments and generate profits. So let’s assume they build the plants by 2020 and operate them through 2040. How many new gas wells would need to be drilled between now and then and how much water would have to be sucked out of our rivers, lakes or from wells and rendered toxic?

One underappreciated aspect of fracked gas wells is that gas production can be spectacular initially but declines rapidly. To maintain gas flows, then, it’s drill baby drill.

The largest five of seven LNG projects currently approved would export 14.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day, not including gas used to power the liquefaction process itself. B.C. currently produces 3.5 bcf/d, all of which is committed to current customers. So B.C. would have to ramp up production roughly five-fold to meet these export requirements.

Let’s assume that only 70 per cent of this capacity gets built. Based on known gas-production rates and declines in fields like the Horn River and Montney, where most of this new gas would originate, roughly 39,000 new wells would be required by 2040. Assuming that nine of ten wells were fracked, a very conservatively estimated 582 billion litres of water would then be polluted and removed from the hydrological cycle.

But the likely number is far higher. Minor increases in the percentage of wells drilled in the Horn River, a major gas source for proposed LNG projects, would push water use sky high. In 2012, it took on average of 77 million litres of water to frack just one gas well in the Horn, compared to 17 million litres of water elsewhere in B.C.


Currently, the industry pays nothing or virtually nothing for that water, while taxpayers foot all downstream environmental and human health costs.

With Premier Christy Clark vowing to make B.C. the “lowest cost jurisdiction” for LNG, don’t count on government heaping higher water management responsibilities on the industry — just the opposite.

In April, the government granted the energy industry regulator — the OGC — authority to issue long-term water licences to natural-gas companies, making the fossil fuel industry the only entity in B.C. with its own dedicated water regulator, a regulator established by the province to speed approvals of industry development applications.

Meanwhile, natural-gas industry operations in B.C. have already resulted in isolated incidents of contamination and misuse of water.

Recently, a leak of contaminated fracking water occurred at a massive double-lined pit maintained by Talisman Energy near Hudson’s Hope. Outside of Fort St. John, a pipeline ruptured in 2011, spilling toxic waste water onto a field, killing cows.

Gas companies have also jeopardized water flows by overdrawing during low-water periods and been forced to halt water takings after drawing down lake levels too far.

In the midst of this, the government promises a new Water Sustainability Act.

Perhaps, then, it’s time government explained how it intends to square its LNG agenda with sustaining our most precious of natural resources. Where, exactly, will all the water come from to meet an unprecedented drilling program? How will environmentally safe water flows be maintained? Will water-use fees be high enough to ensure that public servants can adequately monitor and enforce environmental regulations and protect the public interest — hopefully at arms length from the OGC?

It’s time for answers before another 39,000 gas wells are drilled.

Ben Parfitt is a resource policy analyst with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and author of Fracking Up Our Water, Hydro Power and Climate: B.C.’s Reckless Pursuit of Shale Gas.

David Hughes is a geoscientist who studied energy resources for more than 30 years with the Geological Survey of Canada and author of B.C. LNG: A Reality Check.

Blue Divider Line

Clark says B.C. budget in the black
Castanet.net - by The Canadian Press - Story: 107188 - Jan 22, 2014

Premier Christy Clark gives the keynote address at the annual Truck Loggers Association Convention & Trade Show in Vancouver on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jonathan Hayward)

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark repeated her promise of a balanced budget Wednesday, less than a month before her government tables a fiscal plan that is expected to have a thin surplus.

The Liberal premier staked her re-election last year in part on keeping the province's books balanced, and she told a business audience in Prince George she and her finance minister will keep that promise.

"We have balanced our budget, and in February, Mike de Jong, our finance minister, is going to introduced the second-consecutive balanced budget here in British Columbia," Clark said during a speech to the Premier's B.C. Natural Resource Forum.

The Liberal government is scheduled to table its provincial budget on Feb. 18.

The province's previous budget for 2013-2014 marked the end of several years of deficits. A pre-election version of the budget originally included a surplus for 2013-14 of $197 million, though that was cut to $153 million when it was updated in June.

Late last year, de Jong said the government was on track to deliver a budget for 2014-2015 that included a surplus of $165 million.

However, at the same time he acknowledged the government's jobs plan was sputtering, and people were leaving B.C. in search of full-time work.

The Opposition NDP have said B.C. has lost thousands of private-sector jobs since the government launched its jobs plan more than two years ago, with more than 14,000 British Columbians moving to Alberta to look for work

On Wednesday, Clark insisted the forthcoming budget will show the government is controlling spending while embracing a growing resource sector that has the power to turn B.C. into the fastest growing and cleanest economy in Canada.

She said B.C.'s resource sector — propelled by growth in mining, forestry and natural gas development — has bounced back after the global meltdown six years ago.

She said resource development, which includes exporting liquefied natural gas to Asia, developing new mines and building the proposed Site C hydroelectric dam, represents an opportunity to ensure B.C.'s place as an economic powerhouse in Canada, while providing continued support for education, health care and social services and public infrastructure.

"We have a choice as a generation: do we grow so that we can maintain those institutions that our forebears built," Clark said.

"Do we grow or do we manage decline? Do we watch those institutions crumble because we can no longer afford to look after them? I say we grow. I believe we have to grasp this opportunity to make our economy bigger."

Clark said her resource-development vision includes environmental leadership and inclusion for First Nations.

"Too many First Nations communities have been left out of economic growth for far too long," she said. "It's a tragedy. I agree, let's bring them inside the tent."

Earlier this week, the Wet'suwet'un First Nation of north-central B.C. said the Clark government was moving too slowly when it comes to consulting with First Nations about proposed liquefied natural gas developments on their territories. Wet'suwet'un Chief Karen Ogen said in a letter to Clark the government should be consulting First Nations about the developments, including revenue sharing.

Clark said her Liberals were re-elected last May with a mandate to grasp resource opportunities that could open huge trade opportunities in Asian markets while remaining environmental leaders.

"On May 14, British Columbians were confronted with a question, and the question was: do you want to grow the economy or do you want to make a different choice and manage decline?"

Clark's Liberals won re-election last May despite opinion polls that had predicted a divisive win for the New Democrats.

Man rushes Clark over hydro outage
Castanet.net - by Carmen Weld - Story: 104539 - Dec 11, 2013

Graham Stevens rushes Clark at the podium

A frustrated Shannon Lake man rushed Premier Christy Clark today while she visited the Volcanic Wines Vineyard. The man voicing his concern about BC Hydro’s plan to cut power in his neighbourhood for eight hours on Sunday.

A very shocked Clark tried to remain composed while her staff eased the man a few feet back from her. He was able to speak his mind before being ushered outside.

The man, Graham Stevens, is furious over the planned outage that will leave 471 homes without power.

“Christy Clark says we have to do these things and have planned outages, but I say, plan it better,” shared Stevens with Castanet outside the meeting.

“There has been no planning, no one has checked to see if people have home dialysis units or defibrillators for heart conditions. Someone with the local government told me they weren’t even advised of this,” shared a frustrated Stevens.

BC Hydro will cut power to 471 homes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday December 15. They say they have to have the down time so crews can install new cables and ducting underground. Ten specific houses on Shannon way will also have their power cut again on Tuesday December 17, at 9 a.m.

“Apparently BC Hydro thought this would be a good time to re-lay the power cables, this project has been dragging its ass since the beginning of November,” says Stevens. “I mean what are we supposed to do for eight hours? It’s going to be freezing cold and dark.”

Stevens argues that those with electric heaters will have no options and those with gas furnaces won't have working blowers either.

Clark mentioned to Stevens that temperatures are supposed to rise on Sunday to three degrees, but Stevens found her answer dissatisfactory.

“She dodged it completely, she was all hugs and kisses when she wanted our votes and now I have to go home and make sure my power is on,” says Stevens.

The forecast for Sunday in Shannon Lake calls for a high of four degrees and a low of two degrees.

BC Hydro is insisting the power outage has to occur now while The District of West Kelowna is building new sidewalks in the Shannon Lake area allowing them to take the opportunity to upgrade their underground system.

BC Hyrdo says ads were put out reminding customers of the power outage and to turn off major appliances and unplug electronics before the outage begins, but Stevens doesn’t believe everyone will get the message.

“All these people will have forgotten to unplug all their items, the power will come back on, everything will turn at once causing a surge and the power will be out even longer. Not to mention the possibility of it burning out their high def TVs."

He says the premier has the ability to stop the power outage.

“She has the power to say reschedule this to the spring and she won't do it,” says an angry Stevens.

He says BC Hydro and the government have not considered the time of year nor the risk they are putting citizens in. Not only will many be without power and heat, he also says anyone not on a Telus home phone line will loose their service as well, leaving them unable to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Stevens has approached the District of West Kelowna, as well as the province, Interior Health and now Premier Clark in person.

“I am considering getting an injunction on this, this is absolutely bull****,” said Stevens.

We called BC Hydro asking for their comment on Stevens' concerns, but they did not return our call.



Photo: Carmen Weld

Graham Stevens shows frustration over Clark's response

"Focus on families" lost with Liberals
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 103679 - Nov 28, 2013

I have lived in BC all my life and in the Okanagan for sixty years - the valley was once a green and pleasant land. I strongly disagree with our current Liberal (in name only) government that insists that the only way to manage our province is to “grow the economy” for the benefit of their rich friends and supporters and detriment of the majority.

They would have us believe that unbridled investment and unfettered development is the panacea for all our ills. Furthermore, they are fertilizing their growth and projects with our money and allowing corporations to plunder our resources. Hydro rates are increasing with collateral inflation damage that will impact us far above the stated nine percent. Despite the fact that our finance wallah predicts a budgetary surplus and is considering raises for civil servants we find our province ranks a miserable last in child poverty. We desperately need some priority shifts here.

During the last provincial election, our eventual premier assured they would “focus on families”. What can we expect in legislation to challenge the problems and benefit our population when the government refuses to convene and do the job for which they were elected? The promises and brightest hopes of the election campaign have disappeared into a black hole of despair. Until we implement some form of proper proportional representation, we are doomed to more of the same. When will we voters ever learn?

John David Thompson

Occupy movement reinvents itself
Castanet.net - by Carmen Weld - Central Okanagan - Story: 102058 - Nov 5, 2013



Photo: Carmen Weld - Central Okanagan

Darin Howard speaks in Kelowna

A handful of mask clad protestors took over The Sails in downtown Kelowna Tuesday afternoon to start a movement.

Led by Darin Howard, the group promised to take on the government and the social disparity they view as an imperative issue in Canada.

“We don’t need violence, we need intelligence and communication, we need education, we need money for our kids,” Howard yelled in to a mic while using Kelowna’s iconic Sails fountain as his soapbox.

“We will shut up, we will stop telling the truth... when they stop lying.”



Photo: Carmen Weld - Central Okanagan

This group intends to meet in Kelowna every month on the 5th day of the month to grow momentum about their cause, similar to that of the occupy movement started in 2011.

He says by November 5, 2014, 250 people will stand in downtown Kelowna supporting their cause.

To calm any fears over the lack of support for his movement he said in time, change is coming, and those of us not fighting will be forced to join.

“The politicians are out there getting their whole world taken care of while we are out here... but don’t worry about that because when it hits $20 for a loaf a bread they will be here,” said Howard.

And as for concerns that another insurgence will bring violence, Howard says that is not the plan.

“I will only stand for a peaceful revolution. Our revolution is a revolution of consciousness,” says Howard. “We are never going to riot, we are not going to be violent but we are going to keep speaking the truth.”

Howard and his group also called out the retired in our community, blaming them for some of the problems and calling them out on their complacency.

“The retired people of this community have convinced me that they will do nothing to stand in the way of fascism

They will collect their cheques, they will go shopping, they will go on vacation, but they will not do as their forefathers did... which is to stand their ground against fascism,” shouted Howard.

He also called out the Harper government and asked the voters of our community to ask where the benefits of our votes have gone.

“We supposedly live in conservative-ville, we should be living in the lap of luxury but instead there are no jobs.”

If you are interested in their movement check out the Facebook page, Radio Free Canada.


Photo: Carmen Weld - Central Okanagan

Premier names ex-MLA to new Asia trade post
By Tom Fletcher - BC Local News - October 28, 2013

Former MLA Ben Stewart is B.C.'s new investment and trade commissioner for Asia, Premier Christy Clark announced Monday.

Stewart will be based in Beijing, but will travel to Japan and Korea to meet regularly with officials working for B.C.'s international trade ministry.

Stewart said his experience promoting the wine industry in Asia will help him in the job. Clark emphasized Stewart's experience as an MLA and cabinet minister, which she said gives him quick access to her and other cabinet ministers.

"We need a representative in Asia who is known to have access to power and government here in British Columbia," Clark said. "That is a critical part of doing successful business in Asia."

Stewart, owner of Quail's Gate winery, stepped down shortly after winning re-election in Westside-Kelowna in May so Clark could run in a by-election in July.

He will be paid $150,000 to serve in the Asia trade role, which is about the same salary he received as a cabinet minister before he was demoted to the backbench when Clark was selected as B.C. Liberal leader. The cabinet order appointing him allows the salary to increase to $170,000.

NDP international trade critic Bruce Ralston said B.C. has two dozen staffers in their Asian trade offices, with senior people who speak the local languages and are more qualified than Stewart.

"There isn't a provincial senate, so I guess this is the next best thing," Ralston said.

Stewart said he worked on trade issues in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan as well as Europe and Latin America, trying to open markets for B.C. wine. That experience taught him "how difficult it is to establish relationships from afar," he said.

The announcement comes as Clark prepares for her own trade mission to Asia in late November, following similar tours by Forests Minister Steve Thomson and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman.

After the May election, Clark established a new ministry of international trade, headed by Richmond Centre MLA Teresa Wat, who will accompany Clark on the trade mission that continues until Dec. 3.

Online voting no quick fix for turnout
By Tom Fletcher - BC Local News - October 23, 2013

VICTORIA – B.C. isn't ready to consider a wholesale shift to Internet-base voting in either local or provincial elections, according to a new report from Elections B.C.

Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer released the report Wednesday, warning that even if a host of technical and security issues can be resolved, there is no consistent evidence that voter turnout would be increased.

Archer asked the B.C. government in 2011 for authority to conduct pilot projects for electronic voting. The government appointed him to chair an expert panel last year, and its preliminary findings are not encouraging.

While there are likely benefits for voters with disabilities or in remote locations, the report concludes that governments should not expect either lower costs or greater participation from voter access via computers and mobile devices.

Despite the widespread use of new technology by young people, a survey of other results showed middle-aged and older people more likely to use online voting.

The committee recommends that online voting be considered first as an option for people with access restrictions, such as those who vote by mail. It says universal voting should only be be attempted on a province-wide basis for consistency, security and ability to audit results.

No provincial or federal voting has been conducted online in Canada, but municipalities including Halifax and Markham, Ontario have tried it, as well as some U.S. and European jurisdictions.

Archer said online voting has unique challenges, such as the need to verify a person's identity and then keep that separate from their voting choice. Another issue is how to verify security of a range of computers, tablets and mobile phones that could be subject to software tampering.

"It's not like banking online, it's not like dating online, it's not like making a purchase online," he said.

The panel has posted its preliminary report here and is seeking public comments until Dec. 4. It plans to make recommendations to the government on the next steps in February.

Internet Voting Expensive: Kelowna City Clerk
am1150.ca - Craig Power - 10/23/2013

Internet voting during municipal and provincial elections sounds like a great a idea, but making the switch is not as easy as it sounds.

A preliminary report was released on Wednesday by Elections BC, a report that recommends a slow and careful approach.

Security of information and accuracy are just some of the concerns raised.

From the City of Kelowna's perspective, the biggest issue around Internet voting is the potential cost involved.

"We certainly have seen other jurisdictions and how they approach the security issue but that is also one of the reasons why Internet voting is expensive," says Kelowna City Clerk, Stephen Fleming.

He says Internet voting is definitely something Kelowna has looked at and would consider, but the cost associated with the switchover and implementation would almost double or triple the election budget.

The cost to put the proper security measures in place is not only very expensive, but a very complex process according to Fleming, based on what other jurisdictions have done previously.

"From a can we do it or should we do it point of view it's a pretty easy answer right now because we don't have the authority to do it; we'll have Internet voting at some time in the future, it's just a question of when and how," adds Fleming.

A six week consultation process will run between now and December 4th, 2013 at which time a final report will be put together by Elections BC and presented to the Legislature sometime in early 2014.

BY-ELECTION VOTING DAY IS JULY 10, 2013

WESTSIDE-KELOWNA BY-ELECTION CANDIDATES CONFIRMED
8 Candidates seek election in Westside-Kelowna by-election
AM 1150 - 6/22/2013

VICTORIA – Nominations of candidates for the Westside-Kelowna by-election closed at 1 p.m. today.

There are eight candidates nominated as follows:

BHANDARI (JB), Jag
B.C. Vision

CLARK, Christy
BC Liberal Party

GORDON, Carole
BC NDP

MARKS, John (can't find this one on the net)
Independent

SOCRATES, Silverado Brooks
Independent

UPSHAW, Sean
BC Conservative Party

VAN RYSWYK, Dayleen
Independent

ZEPIK, Korry
Independent


“Westside-Kelowna voters can vote from now until General Voting Day” said Keith Archer, Chief Electoral Officer. “If voters aren’t sure of where to vote I encourage them to contact us.”

B.C. voters have more ways to vote than anywhere else in Canada. During the by-election, voters may vote:
•At the district electoral office from now until 4 p.m. on General Voting Day
•At any advance voting location in the electoral district, Wednesday, July 3 through Saturday, July 6, 2013 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
•At any voting place in the electoral district on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, General Voting Day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
•By requesting a Vote by Mail package from the district electoral office or Elections BC


For more information and a complete list of advance and General Voting Day voting locations, visit the Elections BC website at elections.bc.ca.

Times and locations you can vote:

http://www3.elections.bc.ca/index.php/by-wtk-2013/

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Advance poll numbers for Westside-Kelowna by-election
Globalnews.ca - July 8, 2013

KELOWNA — Elections BC released its advance voter turnout for the Westside-Kelowna by-election:

Day Total Number of Voters Who Voted at
Advance Voting Locations
Wednesday, July 3 2,044
Thursday, July 4 1,395
Friday, July 5 1,073
Saturday, July 6 1,265
Total 5,777

There are 45,649 registered voters in the riding, with the advance poll turnout at 12.65%.

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Upshaw optimistic about uphill battle
Castanet.net - by Ragnar Haagen - Kelowna Correspondent - Story: 94618 - Jul 4, 2013

With less than one week to go before the Westside-Kelowna byelection, Conservative candidate Sean Upshaw says his confidence level is ‘good’ heading into next Wednesday’s vote.

“I know that my party and I have done what we can, but having said that, I mean let’s face it – we’re up against somebody that is probably automatically drawing all of the attention because of who she is and the role that she has in British Columbia,” says Upshaw.

He of course is talking about sitting premier and Liberal candidate Christy Clark, who is hoping to win the seat vacated by former elected MLA Ben Stewart, after he gave up his seat once Clark lost her own riding in May’s provincial election.

While neither Upshaw, nor the candidates for the other major parties (Clark and the NDP’s Carole Gordon) actually live within the boundaries of the Westside-Kelowna riding, he says this has not affected his campaign.

“I sell real estate in this area and I have for the last 12 years,” he says. “So when I’m driving around, I’m at home – it hasn’t affected my candidacy at all.”

Once the writ was dropped, Upshaw quickly notified the BC Conservative Party of his interest in the riding and the opportunity to campaign against Clark. He also asked provincial election candidate Brian Guillou (who received 11 per cent of the vote in the May election) and received his blessings to represent the party.

“The party recognized it was the right thing to do, to run a candidate against Christy Clark,” explains Upshaw, adding the party chose him for several reasons.

“They felt I was the most viable candidate to oppose her, and because I live here, it was just that obvious.

“I really believe we have a crisis in politics in BC. We have a disingenuous government that says one thing and does the complete opposite. We have seen more scandals in the past 12 years through the BC Liberal Party… broken promises, lies, and when I look at that I recognize it's no wonder that six out of 10 people in this riding chose not to vote.”

Upshaw admits it’s an uphill battle, but doesn’t believe the task to be insurmountable. He points at the “well oiled” Liberal machine, when compared to the various support he has gotten from different conservative factions around the province.

“Keep in mind we’re not as big of a machine as the NDP or the BC Liberals and one can’t expect us to function at that level,” he says.

“We don’t have big business or unions behind us the way these other parties do, so our message is a little harder to deliver. We aren’t necessarily going to see the amount of on-the-ground support, but that shouldn’t be mistaken for our validity. We’re still a valid option for British Columbia.”

Following up on that point, he calls it a “positive” that the BC Conservatives are not a special interest party that someday could owe favours to either unions or large corporations, saying “we can’t be bribed.”

Concentrating on the Westside-Kelowna riding, Upshaw believes transportation to be one of the biggest issues affecting the community, and doesn’t expect the Liberal government to make significant changes to that riding regardless of who is elected.

“I think that Westside-Kelowna has been largely ignored by the BC Liberal government. They have needs, such as placement for city hall, the transportation issues of the couplet and highway realignment. They’ve also got healthcare issues that need attention,” notes Upshaw.

“When you look at how they’ve been treated by this BC Liberal government, I’m surprised the citizens aren’t up in arms and wanting to run Christy out of town.”

Provincially, he doesn’t mince words when asked what the major problem is with BC: “corruption”.

Calling himself an “economentalist”, Upshaw believes the economy has become polluted.

“Our economy is going to be the downfall of our province because we’re being over taxed, we’re being charged $25 for wheel chairs, we have multi-tiered hydro rates, carbon taxes, and all kinds of hidden phantom taxes inside of ICBC or MSP premiums.

“And it’s quite frankly polluting the overall economic environment of British Columbia. So it’s time we sent an “economentalist” to Victoria.”

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Dix, Gordon take dig at Clark
Castanet.net - by Ragnar Haagen - Kelowna Correspondent - Story: 94629 - Jul 4, 2013

NDP leader Adrian Dix met with Westside-Kelowna candidate Carole Gordon this afternoon near the sails at City Park to call into question the BC Liberals and their untruths regarding BC Hydro.

“The premier, before the election, said she personally was holding BC Hydro rates down,” says Dix.

“They hid from the public the extent of the $342-million overruns (from the Northwest Transmission line, being constructed near Terrace) that ratepayers in West Kelowna and taxpayers in Kelowna and West Kelowna will pay for.”

NDP leader Adrian Dix (l) alongside Westside-Kelowna candidate Carole Gordon (r).

He says what has been happening over time is the Liberal Party talked about keeping rates low before the election and now Energy Minister Bill Bennett, contrary to the premier’s comments, is admitting that major rate increases are coming.

“In other words, they say one thing before the election and they say another thing after,” explains Dix.

“What Liberal leadership means is incompetence in the managing of BC Hydro and misleading people before an election, as the premier, according to her own energy minister, did last week and then (will do) something different after the election. And I think that people in Kelowna and West Kelowna have an opportunity to say that is not the way they want to be represented.”

These sentiments were echoed by Gordon, who says she repeatedly hears the same messages from her constituents while doorknocking.

“People aren’t trusting government, they’re not trusting their politicians and this is just a really good example of many broken promises that Christy Clark has made in the last three months alone,” says Gordon.

“She’s saying one thing, she’s doing something else, and this is not what the people of Westside-Kelowna want. This is not what I’m hearing on the doorstep.”

Advance voting has already begun in the Westside-Kelowna byelection, with the final polls closing on July 10 at 8 p.m.

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Clark will Win By-Election Predicts Local Political Analyst
AM1150 - Anita Sthankiya - 7/4/2013

The Westside Kelowna by-election is one week away and tonight's public forum is expected to draw a large crowd.

Eight candidates are in the running including BC Preimer Christy Clark for the Liberal party, Carole Gordon for the NDP's, Conservative candidate Sean Upshaw a BC Vision candidate and four independents.

But according to UBC-Okanagan Political Science Graduate Wolfgang Depner, having a large pool of candidates doesn't mean a split vote.

"Christy Clark is going to win I predict by a fairly comfortable margin. A lot of the people who are running I think are running to help their own public profile."

Advance voting for the by-election began this week but Depner doesn't think we'll see an on-slot of voters as the provincial election saw low numbers.

Depner adds that this isn't the first time we've seen a large candidate pool in a crucial by-election.

"When Stockwell Day ran in Okanagan Coquihalla after he had become the leader of the Canadian Alliance he also needed a safe seat and that particular race also attracted number of people."

The all candidates forum is set for this evening at at the Lion's Hall in West Kelowna beginning at 6:30 pm.

The by-election will take place on July 10th.

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Westside-Kelowna All Candidates forum draws hundreds of people
AM1150 - Craig Power - 7/5/2013

Hundreds of residents packed the Lions Community Hall in West Kelowna Thursday night as all 8 candidates in the Westside Kelowna by-election took part in a forum and debated key local issues like agriculture, transportation and the local economy.

The candidates present were Premier Christy Clark (BC Liberals), NDP Candidate Carole Gordon, BC conservative Candidate Sean Upshaw, Independent candidates Dayleen Van Ryswyk, Korry Zepik, John Marks and Silverado Brooks Socrates along with BC vision Party candidate Jag Bhandari.

NDP candidate Carole Gordon says she will help fight for small business to grow the local economy, while former NDP candidate turned independent, Dayleen VanRyswyck, received boos and jeers from the gallery for comments toward the Premier and what she says are empty Liberal promises.

"I'm, I'm just curious to see what else she's gonna promise while she's here, maybe somebody needs an ovary," said Van Ryswyk, garnering shock and reaction from many including Premier Clark.

Premier Clark maintained her stance by saying we need to focus on the building the private sector, creating jobs and growing the local economy.

The Westside-Kelowna by-election takes place on July 10th, 2013

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http://alexgtsakumis.com/

For all of Christy Clark’s seemingly endless bluster, she remains an inveterate coward, who knows nothing about Kelowna and would make the worst possible MLA for Westside. She will never take on anyone with any kind of ability to cut through her well-rehearsed lies and interminable horse manure.

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BC's Debt Clock is at 57 billion

B.C.’s debt clock at $57 billion and growing
Rachel Bergen, CTV British Columbia - June 26, 2013

B.C. debt clock
The B.C. debt clock will tour throughout the province drawing attention to rising government debt.

British Columbia’s government debt totals more than $57-billion and is growing by $209 every second, according to the advocacy group the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The agency is hoping to draw the attention of the public during their 30-community, two week tour of the B.C. Debt Clock.

The 12-foot long, five-and-a-half-foot tall clock, which has been adapted to calculate B.C.’s growing debt, will be hauled around the province starting Wednesday in Vancouver and finishing in Prince George on July 10.

Though B.C.’s debt isn’t as bad as Ontario or Quebec at $367-billion and $256-billion, respectively, CTF Director Jordan Bateman says it’s still a problem passed down to younger generations.

“It’s an obligation we’re handing off to our kids,” he said.

B.C. may be better off debt-wise than some other provinces, but the debt is growing by $18-million per day, the CTF calculated.

In the provincial election just one month ago, Premier Christy Clark campaigned on the slogan “debt-free B.C.”

“But the bottom line here is we’re still adding debt,” Bateman said.

According to CTF calculations, by 2016, it could reach $69-billion.

Bateman hopes the clock will get people to encourage their MLAs and the newly re-elected premier to be serious about debt reduction and to stop the clock.

The clock will make an appearance in Kelowna, where Clark is campaigning for a seat in the legislature in a July byelection.

Canada’s debt as a nation is more than $615-billion and the U.S. is under a whopping $16.9-trillion.

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B.C.’s bogus budget will hurt the most vulnerable
Opinion: Document lands in the midst of a faltering economy and failed jobs plan
By Mike Farnworth, Special to The Vancouver Sun June 27, 2013 - Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s New Democrat finance critic.

Before the election, Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberals said whatever they could to get re-elected, whether it was true or not.

That included tabling a bogus budget in February that made a claim few believed — that it was balanced.

But now the election is over, and the premier finds herself scrambling to figure out how she is going to save face on her bogus budget.

The result can be seen in the post-election budget update.

Bogus Budget 2.0 was presented against the backdrop of a faltering economy and the premier’s failed jobs plan.

Economic growth has been downgraded to 1.4 per cent from 1.6 per cent.

Housing starts are down 13 per cent.

Retail sales projections have dropped from 3.5 per cent growth to 1.8 per cent.

Employment growth has dropped from 1.1 per cent growth to 0.7 per cent.

In fact, the private sector has lost 31,300 jobs since the premier launched her so-called jobs plan in 2011.

And for nine straight quarters, every quarter since Premier Clark took office, people have been fleeing B.C. for Alberta and other stronger economies. So many people are leaving B.C., the transfer payments we receive from the federal government have dropped.

The budget the Liberals tabled in February had very little credibility. Its claimed surplus was balanced on a knife edge. Yet now, with virtually all economic indicators pointing down, which will result in reduced revenues, the government still expects us to believe its budget is balanced.

As a result, Bogus Budget 2.0 cuts an additional $130 million on top of what was presented in February. The result will be extended wait times, increased fees and rates for British Columbians, and cuts to the vital services upon which we all rely.

Just days after the election was over we learned that the Liberals have imposed a wheelchair tax on vulnerable seniors. Now they are making deeper cuts to services that are already running on empty as a result of unsustainable and unrealistic budget projections.

British Columbians, once again, will pay more and get less from Premier Clark’s government.

Her budget update reaffirms medical service premiums will rise by four per cent this year. Ferry fares already went up in April. Hydro rates will have to go up again to cover the losses associated with this government’s mismanagement of the utility, including the $341-million overrun on the Northwest Transmission Line revealed this week.

The 2012 budget called for expenditure growth in the health ministry of 3.7 per cent this year. Yet the updated 2013 budget update clings to the myth that reducing that figure to 2.6 per cent can be achieved while maintaining service levels.

That unrealistic cut can only mean one of two things — the number was simply chosen because it conveniently allowed the Liberals to claim a balanced budget, or massive cuts to health care service delivery are looming.

The Liberal government claims that they are going to improve key areas like skills training, but the truth is this budget update reaffirms a $46-million cut to post-secondary education. As a result, there will be 5,600 fewer post-secondary spaces available than this government said we needed in 2012.

There is no money to support Liberal promises to improve permitting times in our key resource industries.

While the premier talks about reforming Community Living B.C., Bogus Budget 2.0 continues to show a drop in per-client funding. The reform then can only mean a drop in service delivery, an increase in fees, or both.

Premier Christy Clark ran a fact-free election campaign saying she was balancing the budget when it is really the fifth Liberal deficit in a row.

She ran on a “debt free BC” slogan while overseeing the fastest rise in debt this province has ever seen, more than a $6.5-billion increase in the last year alone.

But even while Premier Clark preaches fiscal restraint, she is doling out raises to her political friends and top government executives.

There’s clearly one rule for the premier and another for everyone else.

This is a budget that wasn’t balanced in February, and it isn’t balanced today, no matter how often the Premier repeats her slogans.

It is a budget that defies the rhetoric of the government’s throne speech, as this government continues its practice of saying one thing while doing exactly the opposite.

And it is a budget that will hurt B.C.’s most vulnerable citizens the most.

Mike Farnworth is the New Democrat finance critic.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

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Gordon pushes Clark on traffic neglect
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Kelowna Correspondent - Story: 94318 - Jun 27, 2013

Westside-Kelowna BC NDP candidate Carole Gordon is calling on Christy Clark to acknowledge years of BC Liberal neglect managing traffic and road problems in Kelowna and West Kelowna and to commit to a plan to improve the situation.

“For years, Christy Clark’s government has ignored traffic problems and bad roads that people here face on a daily basis,” says Gordon.

“Westside Road was just named the worst road in BC for the second year in a row, traffic is backed up every day to get across the bridge and nothing has been done to address concerns about the couplet in Westbank.”

Gordon is hearing from former Liberal supporters who are voting for her this time because they want an MLA whose top priority is addressing local concerns.

“Like everyone else, I’ve driven these roads for years and am tired of being stuck in traffic,” says Gordon.

“Christy Clark has never lived here and her government has ignored these problems. She is out of touch with our community and ordinary British Columbians. This by-election, voters have a chance to elect an MLA who lives here and who won’t take their issues for granted.”

Gordon, who has lived in Kelowna and West Kelowna for 40 years, hopes to hear Christy Clark’s plan to address these problems at all-candidates forums July 4 at the Lion's Hall in Westbank and July 5 at the Streaming Café hosted by Castanet.

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Pending byelection a two-horse race
Castanet.net - by Jim Judd - Kelowna Correspondent - Story: 94411 - Jun 29, 2013

The Honourable Christ Clark, premier

There is a full field of competitors, but when it all comes down to dust, the upcoming Westside-Kelowna byelection is really just a two-horse race. A roster of eight candidates are vying for the seat, which was left vacant when MLA Ben Stewart stepped aside.

With less than two weeks before voting takes place, NDP candidate Carole Gordon is a not-too-close second to front-running candidate the Honourable Christy Clark. Nevertheless,if pre-election polls prove anything, it's simply that they cannot be relied upon.

For instance, in the provincial election in May, the NDP showed strong in the polls - leading right up to the day of voting - but it was Clark's Liberal government which prevailed. Clark has now served as premier of the province - the 35th premier - since she was sworn in March 14, 2011.

Both candidates have something to prove, having previously each lost to their respective competitors in May. Gordon went down to defeat at the hands of Stewart in the Westside-Kelowna riding, while Clark lost her seat to David Eby in Vancouver-Point Grey.

All four of those individuals are currently in Kelowna as of today. Eby will join Gordon at the West Kelowna Days parade this morning, then will compaign door-to-door with the NDP candidate as they attempt to duplcate Eby's feat in Vancouver-Point Grey by changing the outcome with a personal effort.

Meanwhile, Stewart has joined Clark's campaign staff and the two are equally diligent in their campaigning.

While Gordon is a local candidate, having lived in the area for more than four decades, Clark is BC born and raised and in addition to serving as leader of the province for the past two years, she also has a solid political background and plenty of experience as both an MLA and a minister.

While she was MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey until last May, she also served as MLA for the Port Moody-Burnaby Mountain riding from 1996 through 2001. From 2001 until 2005 she was MLA for Port Moody-Westwood riding. But, she also served as deputy premier, held portfolios as Minister of Education as well as Minister of Family Development. She also served as vie-chair of Treasury Board and has previously sat on the select standing committee on environment and tourism and on the official opposition caucus committee for children.

Among her personal initiatives was the creation of "pink shirt day" to counter bullying. Clark received several awards including YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, and the 2009 Woman of the Year in BC chosen by Consumer Choice Awards.

She was born and raised in Burnaby and graduated Burnaby South Senior Secondary School before attending Simon Fraser University, then, in turn, University of Paris Sorbonne in France, then University of Edinburgh in Scotland where she studies both political science and religious studies.

But, what if the premier should lose the coming byelection? Well, she will remain premier as the premier does not need to be a member of the legislative assembly to lead the provincial government, but she must have a seat in the house in order to participate in debates.

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Westside-Kelowna NDP candidate slams Liberals over state of local roads
By Alistair Waters - Kelowna Capital News - June 27, 2013

Westside-Kelowna NDP candidate Carole Gordon says it's time there was a plan for improving traffic and roads in the riding on both sides of the lake, and she is calling on her Liberal opponent in the upcoming byelection, B.C. Premier Christy Clark, to commit to such a plan.

"For year's Christy Clark's government has ignored traffic problems and bad roads that people here face on daily basis," said Gordon. "Westside Road was just named the worst road in B.C. for the second year in a row, traffic is backed up every day to get across the bridge and nothing has been done to address concerns about the couplet in Westbank," said Gordon Thursday.

She said she has been hearing complaints from residents of the riding about the condition of roads here since she first ran for the NDP prior to the last provincial election May 14. Gordon was one of the first NDP candidates nominated and started to campaign last year.

“Like everyone else, I’ve driven these roads for years and am tired of being stuck in traffic,” said Gordon, who is an elementary school teacher who lives in Kelowna and, at one time, taught in Peachland.

“Christy Clark has never lived here and her government has ignored these problems. She is out of touch with our community and ordinary British Columbians. This by-election, voters have a chance to elect an MLA who lives here and who won’t take their issues for granted.”

While the Liberal government of Clark's predecessor, former-premier Gordon Campbell, built the five-lane W.R. Bennett Bridge to replace the former three-lane Okanagan Lake Floating Bridge and has made improvements to Westside Road in recent years, Gordon said that is not enough.

While she acknowledged the bridge has helped, she said problems on the highway both sides are now leading to traffic jams on the bridge during morning and afternoon rush hours. She pointed to bottlenecks at Highway 97 and Boucherie Road on the Westside and at Abbott Street and Highway 97 on the Kelowna side.

She said with all the money being invested in the downtown area of Kelowna, traffic movement on the highway and across the bridge is critical.

She also noted that West Kelowna council recently dropped its plan to deal with the couplet through Westbank and said that was because the province was, in her words, "not wiling to come to the table."

Another transportation issue that needs to be addressed is a second crossing of the lake, said Gordon. Work should start now on identifying a crossing point and corridors to that point on both sides of the lake, she added.

Gordon said she plans to raise the issue of roads and traffic here with Clark when the two square off, along with the six other byelection candidates, in a debate July 4.

The Westside-Kelowna byelection will be held July 10.

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NDP Carole Gordons facebook page

NDP Carole Gordons webpage

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This is an email we received from Carole Gordon June 28, 2013 running in the by-election in Kelowna BC that she gave me permission to post.

Thank you for your message with respect to dogs and legislation.

If I am elected MLA for Westside Kelowna, I will meet with people in the community to address the issues you have raised in your communication with me. You have made some very good points which should be dealt with. No one should have to listen to a dog barking for extended periods of time for days on end.

As to your question about dangerous dogs, no one person should be able to make a decision that a dog is dangerous and thus put down or kept in intolerable conditions while a decision is made.

These remain divisive issues. You have my commitment to address them should the people in this community elect me as their MLA. I look forward to hearing from you.

Again, thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Sincerely,
Carole Gordon
BC NDP Candidate for Westside-Kelowna

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Zepik runs against premier for MLA
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - June 26, 2013

A Vernon man is serious about taking on decision-makers in B.C. over global warming.

Korry Zepik says he wants to be Westside-Kelowna’s MLA after the July 10 byelection although he placed last in the polls for Vernon-Monashee during May’s provincial vote.

“Before, I was running with the hope that people would vote for someone else (NDP) but this time is different,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to getting votes.”

And even if he loses this time around, Zepik says the goal is to ensure Westside-Kelowna’s next MLA is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“We need to talk about climate change. Christy Clark has not made a firm commitment on pipelines.”

Another campaign issue for Zepik will be job creation.

“We need to discuss the benefits of having a cleaner environment, of moving forward economically to a diversified energy sector and a stable mixed market,” he said.

“This approach is more like a return to more traditional market values with their proven effect of creating a stable platform for investment and jobs.”

The byelection was called after Ben Stewart, who was elected MLA in May resigned to free up a seat for Clark, who lost her Vancouver constituency in the provincial election.

The other Westside-Kelowna candidates are Jag Bhandari (B.C. Vision), Carole Gordon (NDP), John Marks (independent), Silverado Socrates (independent), Sean Upshaw (Conservative) and Dayleen Van Ryswyk (independent).

Zepik, who is currently employed as a window cleaner, believes there will be some residents concerned about him not living in Westside-Kelowna.

“I like the area and if I am elected, I will move there,” he said.

“I consider the Okanagan my backyard and there’s no major difference between Vernon and Kelowna. If Clark is elected and the pipelines get in, it’s not just Westside-Kelowna affected. It will be the people of B.C. impacted.”

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SOCRATES, Silverado Brooks
Independent

Silverado Socrates runs Mandy and Me Trail riding. Her horses were stolen last year, but she got them back.

https://www.facebook.com/silverado.socrates

http://mandyandme.com/

======================

Okanagan Peace Park_Silverado Socrates on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uktxlSHVWDI

======================

likes outdoors, horseriding, biking, country dancing/living and natural highs. Believes we should all be working towards social sustainability b4 $ profit BC

https://twitter.com/sumerside

======================

West Kelowna woman gets her horses back
By Wade Paterson - Kelowna Capital News - June 21, 2012


Silverado Socrates holds onto Serendipity, one of four horses that went missing from her property last Thursday. Socrates located her horses Monday evening.
Wade Paterson/Capital News

Serendipity, Mel, Steele and Faith are back home after what their owner describes as four days of incredible stress and uncertainty.

Silverado Socrates first noticed that four of her horses were missing last Friday morning from Mandy and Me Trailriding stables in West Kelowna.

Socrates said that she initially suspected someone may have taken the horses because she didn’t see any tracks or other signs indicating that the horses had escaped on their own.

According to Socrates, she contacted the RCMP, alerting them that the horses were gone. She also took the investigation into her own hands by starting a Facebook group and getting her friends and those who help out at the stables to assist in the search effort.

Socrates located the horses Monday evening in the Ellison area. She claimed that she knows the individuals who took the horses from her property. She also indicated that there wasn’t any confrontation when she took the animals back.

“They were a few of the ones that I suspected; there was a group involved,” said Socrates.

“It’s all bizarre. It’s not the right thing to do. I don’t think they had any realization of how stressful it was for so many people.”

Socrates said she is still trying to piece together the group’s motive for taking the animals. She said that some of the individuals had grown close to the horses after helping out at Mandy and Me Trailriding.

“Normally horseback riding costs a lot of money. All of these guys had the opportunity to ride for free in exchange for helping.

“They had a very lucky break to be allowed to be here at all.”

Socrates said those guilty have lost her trust and will likely lose their privileges at the stables for the time being.

Kelowna RCMP Watch Commander Brad Swecera said that Socrates has yet to provide mounties with further information about the individuals who allegedly stole her horses.

"We don't have any suspects at this point. It's kind of at her end—if she provides some information to police, we're glad to look into any suspects or criminal act that she feels has occurred," said Swecera.

"If the information was provided that someone stole her horses, we would investigate it by all means—that's not the information that was given to us."

New candidate offers lofty aspirations
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 94088 - Jun 23, 2013

Independent candidate Korry Zepik, a resident of Vernon and one of eight nominees vying for the riding of Kelowna/Westside in the upcoming by-election, offers a snapshot of his goals and aspirations if elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly:

As a candidate, I look forward to serving this district as a member of the Legislative Assembly. As a father and citizen I look upon this candidacy as an opportunity to serve all people especially the youth and future generations by hopefully bringing fact and reason to the debates so that those who dutifully vote, may do so in an informed and conscientious way.

During this campaign I want to talk about climate change and about crossing the point of no return into a world of escalating climate disaster that insurmountably feeds upon itself until we, ourselves are extinguished. I want to talk about capping Tar Sands expansion and slowing down the growth of Chinese greenhouse gases by permanently blocking Tar Sands pipelines and railcars from crossing our province to the ocean. I want to talk about voting wisely for those who will stand up for the rights of our children and theirs, instead of voting for those who would cannibalize their futures.

Tied to this is our need to invigorate a fair treaty process with our First Nations kin. Since Premier Clark has been at the helm, the atmosphere of provincial cooperation has declined substantially and is now dismally poor.

We also need to discuss the benefits of having a cleaner environment, of moving forward economically to a diversified energy sector and a stable mixed market. This approach is more like a return to more traditional market values with their proven effect of creating a stable platform for investment and jobs.

I look forward to hearing from you and speaking with you over the next month. Email is the easiest way to reach me: korryzepik "at" gmail.com

Blue Divider Line

Candidate to address Westside Road
Castanet.net - by Jim Judd - Kelowna Correspondent - Story: 94048 - Jun 22, 2013

Conservative candidate Sean Upshaw

Sean Upshaw, BC Conservative candidate for the July 10th Westside-Kelowna BC provincial by-election, will address supporters on “the worst road in British Columbia” this afternoon with a visit to the notorious Westside Road at 2:00 pm.

This scenic, but crumbling, high-traffic Okanagan tourist route has been voted “the worst road in British Columbia” by the BC Automobile Association for the past two years in a row.

“It is absolutely disgraceful that the BC Liberal government has turned a blind eye for the past 12 years to the carnage that’s been happening on this road,” said Upshaw, who will be addressing media and members of the public at 2 pm this afternoon on Westside Rd, 4.6 km from Highway 97.

“As a long-time resident and member of this community, I personally see and deeply feel the tragic cost that this lack of attention to basic highway infrastructure is inflicting on residents and visitors to this area," Upshaw added. "Unless you’ve lived, worked and commuted here like I have, you can’t begin to understand how important this issue counts for the families here.

“I know that as an elected BC Conservative MLA for Westside-Kelowna, with deep roots in this community, my very first priority in Victoria will be to push hard to see that this road gets fixed. Enough is enough.”

Blue Divider Line

Gordon ready to take Clark to task
Castanet.net - by Ragnar Haagen - Story: 93636 - Jun 14, 2013

With campaigning officially underway in the Westside-Kelowna byelection, NDP candidate Carole Gordon is taking aim at Premier Christy Clark, who spent the morning cozying up with her Alberta counterpart, Alison Redford.

Clark dropped the writ on Wednesday after announcing last week she would be campaigning in the riding once occupied by Ben Stewart.

“It’s pretty clear she’s using the fact that she’s premier as a way to raise her profile within the community,” says Gordon.

“What I’m hearing from people since she declared she was going to be running here, is they’re looking for an alternative. They want to have a choice, they want to have a local choice in the byelection.”

Gordon, who has lived in the area for the past 40 years, points out a byelection has a much different feel when compared to a general election and believes her deep roots within the community will give her a leg up on the competition.

“I think there’s a clear choice for the people of Westside-Kelowna. Do they want local representation or do they want somebody who's going to come here and treat their home like a vacation home, and try to represent them on a part time basis.”

When asked about her campaign tactics this time around, Gordon says she will take Clark to task on the local issues and also her record as the former MLA for Vancouver Point Grey.

“They didn’t re-elect her. She was Premier there, she was MLA there, and they didn’t choose her again, and now she’s coming here,” says Gordon.

“I’m going to be going after what Christy Clark has done for her community, what she’s done as a Premier and what she has done on behalf on the Liberals and the province of British Columbia. And I think that’s what people want to know, they want to know what I have to offer.”

Here's how the numbers stacked up in our June 13 poll, The question: If you were voting today, which candidate would you vote for in the Westside-Kelowna byelection? (The poll was not isolated to Westside-Kelowna voters, anyone form anywhere could vote on the poll.)
•1081 votes
•Christy Clark: 527
•Carole Gordon: 506
•Sean Upshaw: 48

Voting in the Westside-Kelowna byelection will take place July 10.

Blue Divider Line

“I think there’s a clear choice for the people of Westside-Kelowna. Do they want local representation or do they want somebody who's going to come here and treat their home like a vacation home, and try to represent them on a part time basis

Carole Gordon Vs. Christy Clark
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 93409 - Jun 11, 2013

It's official - Carole Gordon will try again to win a seat for the BC NDP in Westside-Kelowna.

Adrian Dix (l) was in Kelowna Tuesday to announce Carole Gordon will carry the NDP's banner into next month's Westside-Kelowna byelection

NDP leader, Adrian Dix was in Kelowna Tuesday morning to announce Gordon would carry the party's colours in a byelection against Premier Christy Clark.

The premier announced last Thursday she had accepted Ben Stewart's offer to step aside and allow Clark to try and win a seat in the legislature in the riding.

Despite watching her party sweep back into power, Clark was defeated in her home riding of Vancouver-Point Grey on May 14.

Gordon finished a distant second to Stewart in Westside-Kelowna on May 14, losing by nearly 6,200 votes.

"I actually think we did okay. We did better than 2009. We pulled more vote out, we got our supporters out," says Gordon.

"Ben has lived here for a very long time - a lot of people for Ben because of his history."

Gordon says she believes the byelection will be about local issues, local representation, a strong commitment to community and I think we are going to see a different result.

While campaigning doesn't officially begin until the byelection is called, Dix took the opportunity Tuesday to lay some of the campaign foundation.

"Are we going to have a candidate who speaks up for the tree fruit industry in this region, speaks up for the wine and spirits industry in this region, speaks up for seniors in this region, for small business, for the community, or is this going to be a weigh-station or a place for the Liberal Party to sort out what happened in the election."

Dix pointed to transportation, specifically Westside Road, agricultural issues, jobs, health care and seniors as other local issues Gordon will raise in the campaign.

He also stated local representation will be an issue, despite the fact Gordon lives just outside the Westside-Kelowna riding.

"40 years living in Kelowna is a local candidate. Riding boundaries change from time to time," stated Dix.

"This is the case of a local candidate running against the premier who has never been here and never lived here. 40 years against zero time in Kelowna - that's what the race is about."

Sean Upshaw, who ran unsuccessfully in the Penticton riding will run for the BC Conservative Party while it is rumoured Dayleen Van Ryswick will run as an independent.

It is expected the byelection will take place sometime in early to mid July.

Blue Divider Line

B.C. to Clark: Roll back 'incendiary' pay hikes, now
By Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun June 13, 2013

Clark's deputy chief of staff will earn more than Obama's chief of staff

Un-freakin' believable."

That's the term one B.C. voter used Wednesday to describe recent pay hikes in Christy Clark's office.

Abbotsford resident Andrea Klassen describes B.C. Liberals as "lying, cheating, pandering pigs" on this newspaper's website, adding, "I can't believe (Christy Clark's) arrogance, to give such astronomical raises out while kids go hungry at school, while twentysomethings cannot find work."

The hikes boost salaries for her political staff by as much as 18 per cent, allowing some to qualify for paycheques as high as $230,000.

Burnaby's Jan Carroll also pulled no punches: "Beyond disgusting. It makes me sick."

Dozens of other writers were just as critical.

They pointed to a new $25 monthly charge for wheelchair users at provincial extended care homes.

They noted B.C. seniors on fixed incomes must pay MSP premiums, unlike seniors in all other provinces except Ontario. In Alberta, such levies on seniors were scrapped in 2009.

The fact is, politicians and their staff across the country have long been insulating themselves from financial realities out there by giving themselves hefty pay and plummy benefit packages.

They justify it by asserting talented people won't do these jobs unless the compensation is sufficient to attract them.

Former prime minister Jean Chretien, who engineered a significant boost to politicians' pay back in the 1990s, argued robust pay packets for MPs are fully justified.

Base pay for federal MPs was boosted again two months ago, to $160,200.

And politicians have a penchant for manoeuvering pay hikes just before legislative breaks. In this latest case, Clark's outgoing cabinet quietly made the arrangement on June 3.

The assumption doubtless is that voters forget by the time the next election rolls around.

The B.C. premier is paid $193,500 a year, consisting of an MLA's base pay of $101,859 with the balance paid for being premier.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper earns $320,000 annually.

Meanwhile, mean family income in Canada is $69,860.

In B.C., it's lower: $66,970 - only marginally higher than incomes in Manitoba. (BC Stats puts average incomes for hourly employees at $45,604.) Yet, Manitoba's premier receives just $164,500 a year and MLAs, $89,500.

Whether you think politicians are too highly paid or not paid enough, they surely ought to earn more than their political staffers.

In B.C.'s case, according to these latest pay hikes, Clark's deputy chief of staff Michele Cadario will earn more than her boss - $195,148.

Chiefs of staff to B.C. ministers will now be able to earn $102,000 - slightly more than an MLA. But the best basis of comparison for political staffers is what their counterparts elsewhere are earning.

In Ontario, with a population three times that of B.C., a deputy chief of staff to the premier earns $161,054. A chief of staff earns $263,948.

President Barack Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough, earns $172,200 annually.

The B.C. premier's office is defending the salary increases by pointing to the bigger budgetary picture; the overall budget for Clark's political staff is set to decrease this year to $5.711 million from $5.741 million, for a drop of .005 per cent - hardly sufficient to impress British Columbians struggling with the largest debt loads and highest housing costs in Canada.

Statistics Canada says average hourly wages in B.C. grew four per cent between May 2012 and May 2013. Inflation is about one per cent.

Integrity B.C., a non-profit political watchdog group, is asking the budget-conscious premier to rescind the pay increases, which may be a spit in the provincial bucket but, symbolically, are incendiary.

It's good advice. Clark should take it.

byaffe "at" vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Blue Divider Line

North Westside hosting forum
Vernon Morning Star - April 28, 2013

There will be a forum for North Westside residents at the Killiney Beach Community Hall, 516 Udell Rd., Monday at 6 p.m.

The Westside-Kelowna candidates present will be Brian Guillou with the B.C. Conservatives and Carole Gordon with the NDP. Liberal incumbent Ben Stewart is unable to attend.

This forum is hosted by the North Westside Community Association and the North Westside Ratepayers Association.

Blue Divider Line

Local MLA clarifies pay status
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - March 07, 2012

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster wants to clarify how much he is paid.

Foster is concerned the media and the public have been led to believe that MLAs receive an annual raise based on the cost of living.

“I am looking at my pay stub from 2009 and from 2012 and they are exactly the same,” he said.

Salary information from the B.C. Teachers Federation was published in the March 2 Morning Star.

In 2006 or 2007, adjustments were made to MLAs’ compensation to reflect the cost of living.

However, Foster says those adjustments were ultimately put on hold because of the recession.

“The 2012 budget calls for it to be frozen for two more years,” he said.

“If we hadn’t done that, we would deserve to be spread across the papers. If others aren’t getting a raise, we shouldn’t get a raise.”

Foster and other MLAs receive $102,000 a year for their efforts. There is additional money for cabinet ministers.

“We get compensated very well and I don’t expect to get a raise, especially in difficult times,” said Foster.

District against land swap
Kelowna Capital News - Okanagan Similkameen - By Wade Paterson - August 04, 2011

The District of West Kelowna is objecting to a proposed land exchange between Westbank First Nation and the provincial government.

The proposed exchange would see WFN gain a 698-acre plot of Crown land in exchange for eight acres of reserve land, which are being used for the development of the Westside Road interchange.

Mayor Doug Findlater said the deal goes against the interests of taxpayers in the District of West Kelowna and the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

“Council is especially concerned because the provincial government refuses to provide the District of West Kelowna with a copy of the agreement it has signed with the Westbank First Nation, despite numerous requests for the document,” said Findlater.

Findlater also noted the province has yet to provide the district with any of the land appraisals regarding the land exchange. The portion of Crown land under consideration is near Rose Valley Reservoir and takes up a portion of Rose Valley Regional Park.

“Rose Valley Reservoir is the drinking water source for almost half of our community and having land use control around the reservoir transferred to another jurisdiction beyond our control is not acceptable,” said Findlater.

Westbank First Nation stated both they and the B.C. Ministry of Transportation have been working closely to come to a resolution that satisfies the contractual obligation of the provincial government regarding the land exchange.

“Westbank First Nation recognized and accommodated the needs of the greater community when providing the land used for the Highway 97 corridor, and acted in good faith with the province regarding the conditions for use of WFN lands,” said a WFN news release.

“WFN is committed, like any local government, to managing their resources responsibly.

“WFN places a high value on the environment and the protection of watersheds, and is committed to working with neighboring governments within established protocols,” it reads.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan, however, has confirmed it is against the exchange.

“The regional board is unanimous in opposition to a Crown land application that has been discussed in camera over the past two years,” the RDCO stated in a press release.

“The board resolution does not support a proposed application from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure relating to a portion of Rose Valley Regional Park and the adjacent Rose Valley reservoir watershed.”

The regional board said it is concerned that, if the land exchange occurs, a precedent will be set where the ministry can impact other legal tenure agreements with other local governments or agencies in other areas of the province.

wpaterson "at" kelownacapnews.com

Blue Divider Line

$41 Million spent for WFN shopping center?  Do you feel MLA Ben Stewart may be a liar about the Westside Road interchange being built for a growing population up Westside Road, cause we do?

2011 Legislative Session: Third Session, 39th Parliament
HANSARD
Debates of the Legislative Assembly
(hansard)
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Morning Sitting

Hon. B. Stewart: Welcome to all the students that are here today.

On the transportation front, a lot of people remember the days of being stuck in their cars on the old double-lane bridge that we had crossing Lake Okanagan waiting for hours sometimes to get across in the summertime.

One of the bottlenecks was a major intersection just above the new W.R. Bennett Bridge, but it's going through a metamorphic change. There's a $41 million upgrade at Westside Road, and that change is really going to help open up some of the things that are happening both on First Nation lands under the skilful leadership of Chief Robert Louie but also the fact that we have an increasing and growing population moving up Westside Road.

Last September we announced rapid bus in the Central Okanagan. It has begun operation. This is an excellent addition, and it has changed exactly the way that our transit system functions in the Okanagan with a spine running from UBCO down to downtown Kelowna and soon to cross Lake Okanagan and come into the district of West Kelowna. It is an excellent example of how rapid bus can work in communities to reduce congestion and be able to reduce CO2s as well. I'm looking forward to this next phase of rapid bus.

[1055]

This was made possible through a joint federal and provincial contribution of $43 million as well as contributions from both the city of Kelowna and the district of West Kelowna. This is an excellent example of where the communities have come together to work collectively on a common problem. I look forward to the day when rapid bus spans from Vernon to Penticton.

http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/39th3rd/h10217a.htm

------------------------------------

FACTS ARE:

There hasn't been much for real estate sales up Westside Road for a couple years now from what George Yamada Royal Lepage Real Estate agent told okanaganlakebc.ca.  You can see a good proportion of properties for sale on George's website.  There are still a good proportion of undeveloped lots at La Casa, Valley of the Sun, Upper Fintry, all the way to Westshore Estates October 2011.  These undeveloped lots have been sitting undeveloped for years. 

Now that the price of gas has risen so much, the interchange gives poor incentive to move to the area for some being so far from town at least 30 - 45 minutes.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan turned down a new development proposal in front of Valley of the Sun of 35 homes.

Building stats are way down in the Central Okanagan, enough that the building inspection dept at the Regional District of Central Okanagan is considering restructuring the building inspection dept. 

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 22, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Building Stats and bringing a report forward in the future to talk about the decrease in building permits - .wma (346 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 27, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about RDCO Building Inspection restructuring in the fall due to a decrease in building permits - .wma (387 KB)

 
2010 Building Statistics in RDCO

Jan - Dec 2010 there were 77 building permits issued in Central Okanagan West.  In the entire Regional District of Central Okanagan there were 48 single family dwellings built, 38 residential additions and access and 32 permits were for garages and carports.

January 24, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

Item 9.2 RDCO Building Amendment Bylaw.pdf

Item 9.1 2010 Building Statistics.pdf

 

2009 Building Statistics in RDCO

Jan - Dec 2009 there were 67 building permits issued in Central Okanagan West and out of those 67 permits, 22 were for single family dwellings and 25 were for residential additions and access

.pdf icon January 18, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.1 2009 Building Statistics.pdf

 

2008 Building Statistics in RDCO

Jan - Dec 2008 there were 120 building permits issued in Central Okanagan West and out of those 120 permits, 72 were for single family dwellings and 22 were for additions and access.

.pdf icon January 26, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.1 2008 Building Statistics.pdf

The population along Westside Road hasn't increased much in the last few years, and not enough to spend $41 million on.

So who did Westside-Coquihalla MLA Ben Stewart really spend the money on?  Wasn't the population of Westside Road was it?  Most likely the money was spent to help the new WFN Shopping District and proposed WFN gravel pits along Westside Road in our opinion.  As if our MLA would spend $41 million for Westside Road residents .. what a crock!  Westside Road doesn't have a shoulder in some spots and the Ministry of Transportation was considering adding pullouts, not shoulders or passing lanes to Westside Road, but nothing has been accomplished yet October 2011.  Why would the Westside Road interchange be a priority over fixing Westside Road itself, since there are no shoulders in some sections on Westside Road, if the Westside Road interchange was built for a growing population up Westside Road?

Westside Road is only a portion of the entire Central Okanagan West area which includes Trepanier next to the Coquihalla and Brent Road in Peachland, plus WFN band reserves.

PDF file icon Population of Central Okanagan West 8,018 - 2006 census

PDF file icon 2099 eligible electors July 31, 2007 in the North Westside Road area, from Westshore Estates to LaCasa.

WFN 2007-2008 Annual Report PDF file icon Through births and transfers, WFN membership population is healthy and strong and has grown to 682.

Westbank First Nation Government provides services for approximately 9000 residents living on WFN lands, 8500 of whom are non-Band members.

Just read the April 6, 2011 article that was in the Kelowna Capital News

If your a Westsider, have you ever been caught in a bottleneck on Westside Road, or has it been on the highway itself?

How much money did the WFN Shopping District as a development contribute to road improvements to accommodate shoppers?

We have sent a Freedom of Information request to RDCO to find out.

Waste/Enivronmental Management Parcel Tax
click stats to see a larger copy

2008 - 2010 there have been 11 new additional properties added to garbage services in the entire Central Okanagan West area according to the stats above that we received from the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

We feel the Westside Road interchange may have been built for West Kelowna residents going to Kelowna and all the gravel pits active and proposed along Westside Road, which Westside Road residents vehemently oppose.

There are at least three gravel pits either approved or awaiting approval.  There is Burnco Pit at Bear Creek that is active, as well as, Okanagan Aggregates proposed gravel pit immediately south of La Casa Resort that hasn't started yet, and maybe another gravel pit at Traders Cove that the WFN probably want to start through acquiring land through the WFN land swap deal with the Province over Rose Valley reservoir and additional lands of approx. 800 acres in trade for 8 acres from WFN to build the Westside Road interchange.  Please see the North Westside Road Ratepayers letter below showing that the Ratepayers are against the gravel pit next to La Casa Resort of 500 cottages.

North Westside Ratepayers Assn.
10390 PINECREST ROAD
Vernon , B.C. V1H 2B1
PHONE +1.250.542.8461
FAX +1.250.542.8461 (call first)
EMAIL zoeandus "at" telus.net

URGENT
October 19, 2011

Mr. Peter Lishman
Service Centre Manager, NRO
441 Columbia Street
Kamloops, B.C. V2C 2T3

Re: Westbank First Nations /Canadian Aggregates (WFN/CAI) Proposed Gravel Pit on Westside Road at Fintry - Application No. 3412092

We understand you will be making the decision with respect to whether or not this land is transferred to WFN for gravel quarrying purposes for a tenure of up to 50 years.

We fear you will be making your decision on inadequate/erroneous information as follows:
The water source is in question as there is currently a dispute between the strata owners and E. Stewart with respect to ownership of the LaCasa water utility. This may well end up in court and is well documented in the Strata Council Minutes. I can tell you the strata owners I spoke with today are not in favour of supplying water for this pit. Ben Stewart, MLA, we believe, erroneously assumed the majority of people at the Wilsons Landing Meeting (April 2010) were in favour of a gravel pit if the road were improved. Based on this, we understand he went forward to MOTI and began to negotiate on behalf of WFN. We were in attendance at the same meeting and although people discussed the need for road improvements, most were more interested in bringing officials out to the Westside (in a bus) and have them experience the dangers of Westside Road. Does Ben Stewart only care about this very small portion of his constituents? Who was guiding him?

Jim Edgson, Regional Director also advocated for WFN and this gravel pit based on his understanding of the same meeting at Wilsonʼs Landing. Again, we do not believe the majority of people at that meeting were in favour of this gravel pit and even if that was the case, it would be a fraction of the North Westside residents. We, in fact, petitioned at the Traders Cove Recycling Station and there was strong opposition. In fact, I would say 99% of the residents that visited the recycling depot signed our petition. Jim Edgson also attempted to convince his colleagues at RDCO (meeting on audio) that only the residents from LaCasa south would be affected by gravel truck traffic. Is he so out of touch with his riding that he does not realize that many of his constituents travel daily to work in Kelowna? Many retired residents also travel to Kelowna to do business at our Regional District, to attend meetings, to shop, to attend medical appointments, to visit friends and relatives, or just to reach Highway 97 and travel south to the Coast, Summerland, Peachland, Penticton and Osoyoos. Ludicrous! Also LaCasa is situated directly on the north property boundary of this gravel pit and they will be most affected by it - there are 500 strata lots there. The proposed Rockchild
development will be on the south boundary of this property with a proposed 70 homes.

We estimate the gravel truck traffic from the WFN/CAI pit to be 1 truck every 6 minutes. However, the Burnco pit has now opened up Bear Creek Main. Burnco will also be using Westside Road and this could well result in 1 truck every 3 minutes when both pits are fully operational.

Also there is now the Provincial Government/WFN land swap which, in part, will be “swapping” (?) 115 acres of land up Bear Creek Main (near Tolko logsort). Apparently this 115 acres is gravel. As far as the public knows the deal has not even been ratified! More open Government I am sure. Is it possible this 115 acres will also create gravel truck traffic for
Westside Road?

We recently heard of road improvements on Westside Road - “pullouts.” No one is convinced “pullouts” will make the worst sections of Westside Road safer. Government spokespersons and politicians told us these “pullouts” had nothing to do with WFN/CAI gravel pit. The question was asked several times at the Road Improvements Meeting chaired by Murray Tekano. Time will tell.

Are you or your staff aware there is no policing on Westside Road? Is this even a consideration?

We have supplied petitions, emails, letters, bulletins and attended meetings in an attempt to stop this gravel pit. We wish to reiterate the following points in opposition to this gravel pit:

a) noise and air pollution (diesel and crusher)
b) exceptionally strong winds continually blowing particulate matter through the Valley (public health issue)
c) environmental damage to Fintry Historical Park and Fintry Protected Area (particulate matter is corrosive)
d) public health and public safety
e) conflict with Official Community Plan and present zoning
f) conflict with wildlife corridors to the Lake, more traffic more dead animals
g) Draft Management Plan, Section A, Project Overview speaks of 50 or more years of operation - what then?
h) decrease in property values in the immediate area and along the corridor
i) environmental damage to proposed RDCO park immediately south - 92 hectares
j) WFNʼs brochure says a minimal levy will go to upgrade Westside Road, how much will taxpayers pay? What percentage are WFN and Canadian Aggregates paying?
k) Small upgrades to Westside Road will only be the beginning as the road will deteriorate under the extra stress
l) Who will monitor the traffic and pollution? Govt. cutbacks leave no staff to monitor gravel pits (Van. Sun Art.) dated June 25/10 re unmaintained dams due to layoffs in Govt. staff (Osoyoos dam)
m) 249k tons per year traveling down Westside Road. Notice of Work states that if estimated extraction for sand/gravel production is 250k ton/yr. an application must be made to the Environmental Assessment Office (interesting?)
n) Who will pay for the extra maintenance and surveillance required to maintain Westside Road because of this gravel pit operation?
o) many signatures and letters were supplied in opposition
p) Unlike other areas, all wildlife crosses this traffic corridor to get to the Lake - they must have water - there have been no provisions to protect any species including the bighorn sheep.
q) Westside Road is a narrow, winding, mountainous and scenic road used by tourists in motor homes, cars, trucks pulling 5th wheels and on motorcycles many months of the year. They already vie for position.
r) Environmental damage as specified in several letters from the Ministry of Environment and were submitted to ILMB.
s) Noise and dust pollution to tourist accommodations bordering this proposed site.

The proposed amount of tandem gravel trucks and the instability and geography of Westside Road will create a lethal combination which will ultimately lead to fatalities and lawsuits against the MOTI. Anyone in authority who is complicit in the decision to open this quarry will bear some responsibility.

In light of the foregoing we ask that you give this file your utmost consideration and do the right thing - deny Application # 3412092.

Yours truly,
Diane Baldwin, President

for:
Board of Directors
NORTH WESTSIDE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION

cc Ben Stewart
Robert Hobson & Board
Ron Fralik
Wilsons Landing Community Association
LaCasa Strata Owners
Blair Lekstrom/Rich Coleman/Steve Thomson/Terry Lake

Link to .pdf of this letter

Ex-MP’s consultant firm still being questioned
Kelowna Capital News - By Alistair Waters - July 05, 2011

A leading Canadian political watchdog organization is continuing to question former Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Stockwell Day’s decision to go into business as a government relations consultant.

Duff Conacher, of Democracy Watch, says the federal Conflict of Interest Act prohibits former MPs from acting in a manner as to take improper advantage of his or her previous public office, acting on behalf of any person or organization in connection with anything to do with their previous office and giving advice using information obtained as a holder of public office that is not available to the public.

“As you can see, it is illegal to take improper advantage of your former office, especially by giving advice on matters you dealt with, and especially by giving advice using secret, privileged information you obtained while in office,” Conacher told the Capital News in an e-mail.

In a letter distributed to the media late last week, Conacher noted Day says in his new role as a government relations consultant, he will not deal in any confidential information and will only provide advice.

But Conacher is concerned by what he calls “loopholes” in the current federal laws governing lobbyists because neither the federal Commissioner of Lobbyists, nor the federal ethics commissioner audit or inspect the activities of former ministers, staff or senior officials to see if they are following the rules after leaving office.

Day was a cabinet minister in two successive Conservative governments led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He opted not to run in the 2011 election.

During his time in the federal government he served as public safety and international trade minister as well as president of the federal treasury board.

Day’s new company is called Stockwell Day Connnex. Its web site could not be connected to late last week but has since reappeared and not only includes a disclaimer saying the company is not a lobbying firm, it also says after consultation with Canada’s Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, and subject to the Canada Accountability Act and Conflict of Interest Act, neither Day nor his company will provide inside information on any matters related to cabinet discussions, files or decisions past or pending.

The web site says Stockwell Day Connex will work with organizations to create a “clear and concise government relations strategy, as well as provide insightful analysis on Canadian political developments.”

It goes on to say the company will assist clients in identifying “implications and opportunities” resulting from developments in Canadian public policy, as well as provide political environmental assessments, offer consultation on communications strategies and provide what it calls strategic council for the governing body of the client’s organization.

But Conacher said the five-year ban on lobbying is only for registered lobbyists. If someone is not a registered lobbyist and is not being paid to lobby, but simply to advise, he or she could skirt the law. While not directly accusing Day of any wrongdoing, the Democracy Watch official said he is concerned about the loopholes in the law.

“Until the loopholes in these laws are closed, and these laws are effectively enforced, they will just be empty words on paper,” said Conacher.

awaters "at" kelownacapnews.com

Kelowna MP reacts to elimination of party subsidy
Kelowna Capital News - By Alistair Waters - June 08, 2011

When it comes to the federal budget, local MP Ron Cannan says better late than never.

Originally introduced two months ago, just before Parliament was shut down for the federal election, the budget was tabled but never voted on by MPs.

So, the Conservatives, who won a majority in last month’s election, reintroduced it with two additions Monday—an end of the current $2 per vote subsidy for Canadian political parties and $2.2 billion for Quebec to help pay for harmonizing its sales tax.

And, unlike in April, the majority means the ruling Tories will not have to rely on Opposition support to get the budget passed.

“We’ve done what we said we would do,” said Cannan about the budget and his party’s election promises.

“It’s a good budget for the constituents of Kelowna-Lake Country and for Canadians.”

The budget includes reintroduced measures such as:

• $400 million to extend the ecoENERGY refit program for homeowners for one year

• a top-up benefit of up to $600 for single low-income seniors and $840 for couples through the Guaranteed Income Supplement

• tax credits for families looking after sick or disabled relatives, families with children in arts programs and volunteer firefighters

• legislation to make the $2 billion gas tax fund that provides money to municipalities the law

• a temporary hiring credit for small business of up to $1,000 against the increase in 2011 EI premiums to encourage job creation.

Cannan said he talked with many constituents prior to the budget being drafted in the early spring and the measures the first budget contained—and subsequently this budget—are the ones voters in this riding wanted to see.

As for the end of the $2 per vote subsidy for political parties, Cannan said he fully supports the move.

He said it is up to the individual parties and the people who support them to come up with the money to pay for future election campaigns.

He said support in his riding has been very generous in recent years and his constituency association’s bank balance is doing fine.

The subsidy, introduced by former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 2003 at a cost of $27 million per year, is seen by supporters as a way to even the playing field when it comes to election spending because it makes every vote worth something.

But Cannan said there are already ways those running for office and their parties can get money back, such as through rebates on political expenses.

“From now on, they will just have to work harder to build up their support,” he said.

The elimination of the subsidy is to be phased in with 50 cent reductions each year over four years.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in order to balance the budget one year earlier than originally predicted—in 2014-15 rather than 2015-16— a committee headed by Treasury Board president Tony Clement will look for ways to strip $4 billion per year out of federal spending.

This year, the federal deficit is expected to be $36.2 billion, $4.3 billion less than forecast in March.

awaters "at" kelownacapnews.com

Westside riding seeks successor to retiring Conservative MP
Kelowna Capital News - April 09, 2011

Dan Albas is running for the Conservative Party in Okanagan-Coquihalla.

Albas was named the Conservative candidate late last month just days after long-time Tory MP Stockwell Day announced he would not seek re-election after 11 years in the job. In the last election, Day received 58 per cent of the vote.

Albas, who beat out West Kelowna’s Rusty Ensign for the nomination, is a Penticton city councillor and businessman who was endorsed by former federal Conservative MPs Fred King and Tom Siddon.

Albas is married with three young children.

A recipient of Penticton’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2005, Albas has twice led the South Okanagan-Similkameen United Way annual fundraising campaign to surpass its goals.

In 2008, he topped the municipal election poll when he ran for council as a political rookie.

On council, he focused on public safety and fiscal issues, proposing bylaws to prohibit aggressive panhandling and dog control and urged council to focus on core services and eliminate what he considers wasteful spending in order to help the city balance its books.

If elected MP, he says he will focus on service to his constituents and work with provincial and municipal leaders to fund necessary infrastructure in the riding

***

John Kidder relocated to the South Okanagan upon being bitten by a political bug that had been buzzing around him for decades.

The Liberal nominee for the Okanagan-Coquihalla riding, by chance, walked into the National Winter Caucus meeting for the Liberals in Ottawa last January, and heard his old classmate Michael Ignatieff speaking.

It was at that point 45 years of contemplating entering the political arena came to an end and he took on the challenge.

“I don’t have family responsibilities, my children are well launched and now I can take on greater responsibility,” said the entrepreneur who has done everything from studying agriculture and working on ranches to building software and technology businesses.

While the time may be right for Kidder—brother of actor Margot Kidder—he admits there’s a tough slog ahead of him.

“For me to win this election I have to appeal to the existing voter base, and those who haven’t voted before,” he said.

“This includes all the conservatives who are progressive, Green Party supporters who want a candidate who can take action and it includes people who voted for the NDP who want to see socially progressive policies in government, not just the opposition.”

***

This is the second federal campaign for Dan Bouchard of Penticton, who is running for the Green Party in the Okanagan-Coquihalla riding.

He’d like to dispel the image people have of the Green Party that it doesn’t support resource-based industries.

“That couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.

In fact, he works in the forest industry as a lumber broker, and he’s confident eventually public perception of the Green Party will better reflect the party’s policies.

While he was less hopeful during his last campaign in this riding for the Greens, with cabinet minister Stockwell Day running for re-election, this time he feels they’re at a turning point, and says it’s time to win and get some Greens in the House of Commons.

***

The NDP candidate in Okanagan-Coquihalla is David Finnis.

A three-term Summerland municipal councillor who has worked for the Okanagan Regional Library in Westbank for the last 11 years, Finnis was acclaimed as the NDP candidate in March.

He said he decided to run because of concerns about what he considerd the scandals surrounding the Harper Conservative government, including being found guilty of contempt of parliament.

With long-time Tory MP Stockwell Day not running again, Finnis is confident the NDP can take back a riding it last held in the early 1990s.

While issues such as the economy, climate change and government spending are important to him, he says so too are healthcare and support for seniors.

A volunteer with several social service organization in the south Okanagan, Finnis is married to a community nurse who works in senior’s mental heath care. He is a board member of the Summerland Arts Council and active with the Summerland United Church.

Capital News staff reporters

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Kash Heed cleared
News 1130 - Email Alert - April 8, 2011

Former solicitor general Kash Heed has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the 2009 provincial election. But a special prosecutor has approved charges against campaign workers Barinder Sall and Dinesh Khanna.

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EDITORIAL: Clark cabinet falls short
Vernon Morning Star - March 16, 2011

Much has been made of Premier Christy Clark’s cabinet. It’s smaller. It has more women. It has new blood.

But are things really that different?

Most of the ministers were part of the Gordon Campbell administration that pushed through controversial policies like the harmonized sales tax. Does a new premier and rearranging the chairs mean they are no longer accountable for past wrong-doings?

Some of the new portfolios seem like a hodge-podge — odds and ends thrown together. What does labour and citizens services have to do with open government? Why is housing with energy and mines? How did the interests of municipalities and regional districts get lumped in with sports and culture?

Questions should also arise about some of Clark’s appointments, and particularly Ida Chong as community development minister.

When Chong was responsible for municipalities and regional districts before, she launched a review of governance in the Okanagan. It created substantial divisions among communities and considerable resources were put towards the process. But at the end of the day, nothing happened. In the North Okanagan, many local politicians lost faith in Chong and Campbell ultimately shuffled her off to another department.

Does Clark actually have faith in Chong’s abilities to do the job this time around, or is the appointment more related to the premier’s goal of having more women in cabinet?

Time will tell how successful Clark will be as premier, but based on her cabinet, claims of putting a fresh look on government ring hollow.

---Vernon Morning Star

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Feb 15, 2011 BC Provincial budget:

Tuesday's provincial budget sets aside $2.55 billion over the next three years for an incoming premier to put towards new spending and to guard against fiscal uncertainty

The provincial deficit for 2010-11 has dropped to $1.27 billion from a projected $1.72 billion

The provincial debt is projected to be $53.4 billion in the coming year, rising to $60.4 billion in 2013-14

The province is projecting a $925 million deficit for the 2011-12 fiscal year; it continues to project a return to balanced budget by 2013-14

Government introduced no new programs in today's budget, and spending across ministries has mostly remained in line with previous projections

The government projects B.C.'s economy to grow by 2.0 percent in 2011, and by 2.6 per cent in 2012

Source: The Vancouver Sun News Alert by email

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One third of respondents said they would vote to keep the HST, while a majority of 54 per cent said they would abolish it.

Christy Clark leads polls - One third of respondents said they would vote to keep the HST, while a majority of 54 per cent said they would abolish it.

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Government is like business, if you don't support them, they don't stick around long.

This graphic is free to use on your own website, so please take it and use it.

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Is BC living in an undemocratically ruled ZOO?
Posted on November 18, 2010
by Standup and Speakout BC| 1 Comment

With the recent revelations of how our (Neo-Liberal) Government rules in BC, as suggested by former Cabinet Minister Bill Bennett (CBC), l one begins to wonder if it is time for a overhaul our governing constitution.

Clearly the notion that we are being “ruled” rather then governed by a democratically elected and representative democracy indicates that BC is still living in despotic times. Despotism is a form of government in which a single entity, called the ‘despot’, rules with absolute power. That entity may be an individual, as in an autocracy, or it may be a group, as in an oligarchy (Wikipedia)

You will agree that we British Columbians do not want to be ruled by a despot. We suppose to live in a democracy were parties making compromises (including governing parties) and were the voice of the people is being heard and treated with respect. The days of bullying and intimidation are supposed to be concepts from the past in a modern democratic society. We have seen news reports and television ads calling for putting a stop to bullying in the schools, but it seems that our government is immune to these ads. Bullying can be considered a legal offense. Rather then being an example of civility we now have heard that we are being governed under an “ almost battered wife syndrome inside our caucus, inside our cabinet,” as Bennett told reporters in a 37-minute scrum in Victoria (Source: The Tyee) Do we considered this an acceptable norm of governance?

Since when are we being dominated by one person or his office, who (if we read the press and media correctly) appears to be saying it is OK to demonstrate abusive, intimidating and bullying behavior and govern with total disregard of the people’s and even the Cabinet. Clearly the Province of British Columbia is a sick province – a province where democracy does not count, a province where we are being ruled by what can now be considered an elected dictatorship. It is time for a new government as most of the MLA’s have not dare to speak up for the past 9 years and their silence can be considered as a tacit approval of such unacceptable conduct.

It is time for a total overhaul on how we the citizens of British Columbia are being governed. Say no to centralized power in the Premier’s office. Demand open votes and end to binding party votes! Demand term limits for our elected representatives! Demand more plebiscites especially on major capital expenditures and above all… demand open cabinet meetings especially when our legislative is in extended recess. Say No to Bullying, Harassment and Intimidation by any elected government official.

And for those who want to defend our government, take note of the following: is it not strange that we see a government in its dying days makes tax reduction promises, only to be undone 3 weeks later. Is it not sickening to see the many flip flops we are seeing in the dying days of the Liberal Government when Cabinet Ministers are being told that they can stay in caucus one week and the next week they are tossed (CBC). So what will happen with the HST promise to scrap this dreaded tax with a 50% plus 1 vote? If we stay with the current regime, expect a flip flop on that promise as well.

-------------------------------

Wayne Russell | November 18, 2010 at 2:03 PM | Reply

My BC friends:

On Dec 7th, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. Admiral Yamamoto said something like this, “I am afraid we have only awakened the sleeping giant.” He was right. within days after this attack over 1 million USA people joined the armed forces. It was the beginning of the end of world war two. The tyrants were beaten and gone.

I liken the above to the people of British Columbia. We have been sleeping while the tyrants have been destroying our BC. The HST was our Pearl Harbour and the people, the giant has been awakened. It matters not what happens to the HST now. We will take the tyrants to task with the recalls. When this is done, never again will any member of any party try to go against the will of the people. They will now know they can and will be held accountable for their actions. The damage the Liberal government has done to BC is despicable and beyond belief. Like snails they crawl low, leaving a slimy residue on every thing they touch. Please type “100 reasons Gorden Campbell must go” into your browser and read. It certainly opened my eyes even wider. The people of BC are the giant and we can take back our province.

Wayne Russell
The Vagabond Writer
A proud member of the BC Refederation Party

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BC Liberals pick new leader Feb. 26
Vernon Morning Star - By Tom Fletcher - BC Local News - November 16, 2010

Premier Gordon Campbell is sworn in for his last term as premier, June 2009.
Black Press

The B.C. Liberal Party executive has chosen Feb. 26 for a membership vote to select a new leader.

Party president Mickey Patryluk announced Monday evening the vote will take place without a leadership convention. The method of voting is to be determined later.

Party members are gathering in Vancouver on Feb. 12 to change their constitution for the first leadership campaign since Premier Gordon Campbell took the top job 17 years ago. The executive has recommended changing to a weighted voting system so rural areas with smaller memberships will have the same voting power as larger urban constituencies.

Campbell, who called Nov. 3 for the party to choose his replacement, has said he will stay on until the new leader is selected and then remain as MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey.

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett, the energy minister and one of the potential candidates who would benefit by the weighted voting system, called on the weekend for Campbell to step aside sooner. Bennett suggested Finance Minister and Deputy Premier Colin Hansen, who has indicated he will not run for the leadership, could serve as interim leader while the contest is on.

Other likely contenders are Shuswap MLA George Abbott, moved to education minister in Campbell's last cabinet shuffle, Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon, the health minister, and Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman, the public safety minister.

The B.C. Liberals finds themselves in a leadership contest while preparing for a spring legislative session that is also scheduled to begin in February with a throne speech and budget.

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MLA Bennett blasts 'abusive' Campbell
Vernon Morning Star - By Tom Fletcher - BC Local News - November 17, 2010

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett says the premier's behaviour prompted him to 'spill my guts' about the deteriorating situation in the B.C. Liberal government.
Tom Fletcher/Black Press

VICTORIA – Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett lashed out at Premier Gordon Campbell Wednesday, hours after being fired from the B.C. Liberal cabinet for his earlier statements.

Campbell is "abusive" to cabinet ministers and backbench MLAs and should quit immediately, an angry Bennett told reporters at the legislature.

The government should dump the harmonized sales tax as soon as possible and an interim leader should begin rebuilding the party's credibility, he said.

"You have almost a battered wife syndrome inside our caucus today, inside our cabinet," Bennett said. "It's really sad, and all the man has to do, to give the B.C. Liberal Party a chance to renew itself, is to leave."

In a phone interview Wednesday, Campbell rejected Bennett's accusations.

"You can't be leader of a party for 17 years, you can't be a successful leader of a caucus and a cabinet by being a bully," Campbell said. "You have to be respectful of the members. I am."

Finance Minister Colin Hansen took a break from a cabinet meeting in Vancouver Wednesday morning to tell reporters that "all of cabinet" decided Bennett had to go as energy minister. Bennett's recent comments to the media show that he isn't prepared to accept that "cabinet has to operate as a team," Hansen said.

In recent days Bennett made public comments criticizing Campbell's cabinet shuffle and his decision to stay on as premier until February. Wednesday he amplified those criticisms, saying cabinet ministers Carole Taylor, Olga Ilich and Christy Clark left because of Campbell's intimidating presence and intolerance of dissent.

"The first time he got angry with me, I simply said as a backbencher in my first year, I thought the caucus retreat wasn't very effective," Bennett said. "And he got so angry with me that he got in my face. He was so angry he actually spit in my face. He's not a nice man."

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson has been named to replace Bennett as energy minister. Those duties are added to Thomson's new Ministry of Natural Resource Operations, another target of Bennett's ire.

"Steve Thompson's a first-rate individual and he's got plunked into the middle of a terrible, awkward situation being the Minister of Natural Resource Operations, and no one knows what in the hell that is exactly," Bennett said.

Campbell said the reorganization of resource ministries is needed to reduce duplication and red tape for industry, and it is going ahead as planned.

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Campbell 'suspends' promised income tax cut
Vernon Morning Star - By Tom Fletcher - BC Local News - November 17, 2010

Premier Gordon Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen.
Tom Fletcher/Black Press

After a tumultuous day that included firing Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett from the cabinet, Premier Gordon Campbell has announced that the 15 per cent personal income tax promised for the new year has been "suspended."

The income tax cut was the centrepiece of Campbell's televised address to the province on Oct. 27. A week later, Campbell announced he was resigning, saying public anger at him was obscuring a necessary debate about shifting taxes from income to consumption.

In an interview Wednesday, Campbell denied he is losing his grip on the government, with his party at historic lows in public opinion polls and a recall campaign set to begin in December designed to force removal of the harmonized sales tax.

Campbell said Wednesday's cabinet meeting was the first since he announced his intention to retire on Nov. 3.

"What I wanted to do was make sure that we did not in any way tie the hands of the future leader, so the future leader is still in a position where they can follow through with the tax cut should they decide to it, and make it retroactive to Jan. 1," Campbell said.

The B.C. Liberal Party has set Feb. 26 as the date for a province-wide vote of its members to select a new leader.

The B.C. government had already notified the Canada Revenue Agency to reduce the amount of provincial tax on the first $72,000 of personal income, effective Jan. 1.

The income tax cut would initially reduce the province's revenue by about $600 million annually, but Finance Minister Colin Hansen said last week he expected the stimulus to the consumer economy and the growth of employment would recover the government revenues over time.

Campbell also announced that the 2011 throne speech setting out the government's priorities will be delivered Feb. 14. A "status quo" budget will be tabled the next day, to meet the legislative requirement for government finances.

The throne speech will be "limited to outlining the transition period between Feb. 14 and when a new premier is sworn in," a statement from the premier's office said.

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MLA questions recall motives
Vernon Morning Star - By Richard Rolke - November 16, 2010

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster continues to insist recall legislation is being abused.

Fight HST organizers have identified five Liberal MLAs they will try and remove from office, starting with Ida Chong, science and universities minister.

“The purpose of the recall legislation was to recall MLAs not doing their job,” said Foster.

“It was never to bring the government down.”

The recall campaign is being led by former Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm, and Foster believes opposition to the government, and not the harmonized sales tax, is the actual motive behind the effort.

“Everyone in the province is being given the right to vote on the HST (in fall 2011 referendum),” said Foster.

“It’s not being done on his (Vander Zalm) timeline so this is what it’s all about.”

The recall campaign in Chong’s Oak Bay-Gordon Head constituency will begin Nov. 22. The other ridings that could follow include Comox Valley, Saanich North, Kamloops North and Cariboo-Chilcotin.

Fight HST announced in September that 18 MLAs could be the target of recall campaigns. Foster is one of them.

“Eric’s riding jumped dramatically this week. We’ve got a new organizer there, who was able to bring on 60 to 70 new canvassers this week,” Chris Delaney, a provincial co-ordinator, told The Morning Star.

“My sense is that had we been better organized there from the beginning, Vernon may have been one of the prime targets.”

Delaney believes the final outcome in the other constituencies will dictate what could happen in Vernon-Monashee.

“If the HST is still here come April, then Vernon will get a chance to go to recall with Fight HST.”

Foster believes the Liberals will rally against the recall campaigns.

“People need to know that if recall is successful, it’s a costly proposition to have byelections,” he said.

“If they recall enough government MLAs, the NDP will form government. People need to ask (NDP leader) Carole James if she’ll remove the HST. If the tax is still there, what have you achieved except spend a bunch of money.”

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Thomson gets energy portfolio
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 58316 - Nov 17, 2010

Kelowna-Mission MLA, Steve Thomson has a new job within the B.C. Liberal Cabinet.

Wednesday afternoon, Premier Gordon Campbell handed Thomson the Energy portfolio.

Thomson takes over as Energy Minister after Bill Bennett, who was named Energy Minister during the recent cabinet shuffle, was booted from cabinet.

Finance Minister, Colin Hansen, announced Bennett's removal from cabinet earlier Wednesday, saying Bennett was not prepared to be a team player.

Bennett has been outspoken of late, complaining about a lack of consultation prior to the cabinet shuffle and then suggesting Campbell should step down sooner rather than later and allow an interim leader to run the party.

Thomson meantime adds the Energy Ministry to his current post as Natural Resource Operations Minister.

The rookie MLA had spent 18 months as Agriculture Minister before he was reassigned during last month's cabinet shuffle.

Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart took over agriculture

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Campbell 'streamlines' resource ministries
Okanagan Similkameen - Kelowna Capital News - By Tom Fletcher - BC Local News - October 25, 2010

Photo of Surrey-Panorama MLA Stephanie Cadieux is sworn into cabinet Monday by Lieutenant Governor Steven Point.

VICTORIA – Premier Gordon Campbell has made structural changes to the provincial cabinet he says will help attract global investment to B.C.'s resource industries.

Forests Minister Pat Bell has been given responsibility for mines, and former agriculture minister Steve Thomson is heading a new Ministry of Natural Resource Operations.

Campbell said the natural resource ministry is an extension of the government's reorganization of permit services under FrontCounterBC, an effort to give industries one-stop shopping for activities on Crown land. Mines and forests also fit together because both involve access to Crown land, he said.

Campbell said the cabinet reorganization is to help develop the B.C. economy in the wake of the 2010 Olympics, and is not an effort to restore his party's sagging popularity. A televised address set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. will also deal with economic development, as well as education and the harmonized sales tax, he said.

NDP leader Carole James said the resource ministry moves are similar to 2002, when Campbell created a ministry of "sustainable resource management." She said the appointment of Chilliwack MLA John Les as "parliamentary secretary for HST information" is an insult to taxpayers who have rejected the new sales tax.

The departure of Campbell's chief of staff Martyn Brown after 13 years is an indication that Campbell himself is on his way out, James said. Former ICBC president Paul Taylor was named to replace Brown in the key strategic position in the premier's office.

Mines used to be the responsibility of the energy ministry, but the expansion of power projects and the natural gas boom mean that ministry has become much larger. Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett remains energy minister, and Abbotsford-Mission MLA Randy Hawes remains minister of state for mining.

The only promotion from the B.C. Liberal back benches goes to Surrey-Panorama MLA Stephanie Cadieux, who becomes minister of community, sport and cultural development.

Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman returns to the public safety-solicitor general position, taking responsibility for housing with him. Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger takes over from Coleman as social development minister.

Shuswap MLA George Abbott moves to the education ministry, and Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner takes over his former role at aboriginal relations.

Saanich North MLA Murray Coell moves from labour to environment, and Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Iain Black returns to his former job as labour minister.

Responsibility for small business is added to the tasks of Finance Minister Colin Hansen, one of the key ministers who stays put. Others are Health Minister Kevin Falcon and Transportation Minister Shirley Bond.

The full list of cabinet appointments and titles follows:

* Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation - Hon. Barry Penner

* Minister of Agriculture - Hon. Ben Stewart

* Minister of State for Building Code Renewal - Hon. Naomi Yamamoto

* Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development - Hon. Stephanie Cadieux

* Minister of Education - Hon. George Abbott

* Minister of Energy - Hon. Bill Bennett (Premier Gordon Campbell fired Bill Bennett after this article and on Nov 17, 2010  Kelowna-Mission MLA, Steve Thomson who is also Minister of Natural Resources replaced Bill Bennett)

* Minister of Environment - Hon. Murray Coell

* Minister of Finance (Minister Responsible for Small Business) - Hon. Colin Hansen

* Minister of Forests, Mines and Lands - Hon. Pat Bell

* Minister of Health Services - Hon. Kevin Falcon

* Minister of Labour - Hon. Iain Black

* Minister of Natural Resource Operations - Hon. Steve Thomson

* Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General (Minister Responsible for Housing) - Hon. Rich Coleman

* Minister of Regional Economic and Skills Development - Hon. Moira Stilwell

* Minister of Science and Universities - Hon. Ida Chong

* Minister of Social Development - Hon. Kevin Krueger

* Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment (Minister Responsible for the Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat) - Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid


Ministers retaining existing portfolios:

* Attorney General - Hon. Mike de Jong

* Minister of Children and Family Development - Hon. Mary Polak

* Minister of Citizens' Services - Hon. Mary McNeil

* Minister of State for Climate Action - Hon. John Yap

* Minister of State for Mining - Hon. Randy Hawes

* Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure - Hon. Shirley Bond

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Cabinet shuffle affects two local MLAs
Kelowna Capital News - By Tom Fletcher - October 25, 2010

Premier Gordon Campbell has made structural changes to the provincial cabinet he says will help attract global investment to B.C.'s resource industries.

It also will impact on the political responsibilities of two local MLAs currently serving in cabinet.

The cabinet shift will see Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson take charge of a newly created natural resource operations ministry, while Kelowna-Westside MLA Ben Stewart becomes the new agriculture minister, replacing Thomson.

Campbell said the natural resource operations ministry is an extension of the provincial government's re-organization of permit services under FrontCounterBC, an effort to give industries one-stop shopping for activities on Crown land.

Mines and forests also fit together because both involve access to Crown land, he said.

Campbell said the cabinet reorganization is to help develop the B.C. economy in the wake of the 2010 Olympics, and is not an effort to restore his party's sagging popularity.

A televised address set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. will also deal with economic development, as well as education and the harmonized sales tax, he said.

NDP leader Carole James said the resource ministry moves are similar to 2002, when Campbell created a ministry of "sustainable resource management." She said the appointment of Chilliwack MLA John Les as "parliamentary secretary for HST information" is an insult to taxpayers who have rejected the new sales tax.

The departure of Campbell's chief of staff Martyn Brown after 13 years is an indication that Campbell himself is on his way out, James said. Former ICBC president Paul Taylor was named to replace Brown in the key strategic position in the premier's office.

Mines used to be the responsibility of the energy ministry, but the expansion of power projects and the natural gas boom mean that ministry has become much larger.

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett remains energy minister, and Abbotsford-Mission MLA Randy Hawes remains minister of state for mining.

The only promotion from the B.C. Liberal back benches goes to Surrey-Panorama MLA Stephanie Cadieux, who becomes minister of community, sport and cultural development.

Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman returns to the public safety-solicitor general position, taking responsibility for housing with him. Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger takes over from Coleman as social development minister.

Shuswap MLA George Abbott moves to the education ministry, and Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner takes over his former role at aboriginal relations.

Saanich North MLA Murray Coell moves from labour to environment, and Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Iain Black returns to his former job as labour minister.

Responsibility for small business is added to the tasks of Finance Minister Colin Hansen, one of the key ministers who stays put. Others are Health Minister Kevin Falcon and Transportation Minister Shirley Bond.

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Call for MLA Stewart’s recall
Kelowna Capital News - October 14, 2010

Open letter to MLA Ben Stewart:

I read with some interest your column in the Capital News on Oct. 1 (UBCM Helping to Build Stronger Futures for B.C. Commuities.)

I find it sad that you can applaud your work with the municipalities and listening to their visions, but during your election you could not be forthright about the HST and then listen to your constituents’ visions and represent our wishes.

A government that is for the people, will do things that are beneficial to the people, rather than just those things that are good for those in power.

That is why, sir, a democracy has been symbolized by the definition: “Government of the People, by the People, for the People.” That translates into meaning, “the majority rules.”

Now Premier Campbell is hitting the airwaves. The Liberal spin doctors want to stop the hemorrhaging. So we will hear the brand new yarn or fable that has been drafted.

“Once upon a time in a land called B.C., there was a political party called the Liberals who made a unfathomable faux pas choosing not to tell the electorate about their commitment to the HST prior to the election. Now they choose to downplay that faux pas, with distractions like the economy, education and B.C.’s future.”

Premier Campbell and his smug counterpart Finance Minister Hansen have apologized. I for one cannot accept this apology. They had to have known about the HST. If they didn’t, the Liberals have the wrong people at the helm.

They knowingly took a calculated risk and were exposed. How can anyone believe anything they say moving forward?

It’s time to do the right thing and hold the referendum on the HST now. The other option is face the public in another general election—you choose.

Maybe you can explain why most elected politicians quickly forget about the voters who believed in them, voted for them. I made a serious mistake, and I believe others did as well casting our votes for you.

But, even after the fact, I never heard you stating, “Premier Campbell, the people who elected me do not want the HST!”

Why not? Are career aspirations getting in the way? If so, maybe they will interfere with your ability to represent us at any time

Let your recall begin.

David W. Kuhn,
West Kelowna

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Gordo and lapdogs must be brought to heel
Kelowna Capital News - August 20, 2010

To the editor:

So, the twisted games continue and King Gordo pleads his innocence; this time it’s about his ‘non interference’ with Elections B.C. in regards to the anti-HST campaign.

I want to tell you something Gordo, I for one do not, nor will I ever, believe anything that comes out of your or any of your lapdogs’ mouths. You’ve proven over and over that your government lies, that it’s out of control in regards to what the populace wants and needs and that it dosen’t give a crap.

Your government, instead of being “for the people” is instead for the multinationals—most of which are foreign owned. You’ve been bought and paid for (just watch and see how many corporate boards King Gordo joins after he gets booted out) and you have sold out the average citizen of B.C.

Now the HST may or may not be a good thing for B.C., only time will tell. But the fact is you and your minions have lied about it and many other things. You’ve destroyed health care, child poverty is extreme, elder care is collapsing, the Olympic debt is grossly more than you said it would be, minimum wage hasn’t gone up in years (and never will under a B.C. Liberal government.

But, of course, you’ve certainly padded your own nests very nicely and you’ve tried many, many times to hide the facts from the public.

All the while you and all your little lackeys strut around smirking at any photo op you can get while at the same time basically giving anyone making less than $100,000 a year the ‘finger.’

I want to applaud the hundreds of thousands of B.C.ers who signed the anti-HST petition and plead with everyone to keep up the pressure for recall; its our very own rebellion against arrogant, bloated governments that say anything to get elected then do whatever they want, the public be damned.

We in B.C. have an opportunity to lead the rest of the country in showing how we no longer will be pushed around, lied to and smirked at by any government body—provincial or federal.

Let’s take back our rights.

Steve Pierson,
West Kelowna

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MLA recall strategy may be felt by Central Okanagan Liberal trio
Kelowna Capital News - By Alistair Waters - September 22, 2010

Should they stay or should they go? That’s the question local voters will be asked about their MLAs over the next few months.

The Central Okanagan’s three Liberal MLAs are included in a list of 18 who could be facing recall campaigns early in the new year.

Norm Letnick (Kelowna-Lake Country), Steve Thomson (Kelowna-Mission) and Ben Stewart (Westside-Kelowna) are on the list that former B.C. premier and anti-HST crusader Bill Vander Zalm’s Fight HST group has drawn up for possible recall campaigns as it tries to force the government to move up the date of the planned province-wide HST referendum.

Vander Zalm announced Monday a contest will be held to see which of the 18 ridings can sign up the most recall campaign canvassers between Sept. 27 and Nov. 15—the first day a recall campaign can legally be held. Vander Zalm said if the government does not agree to hold the referendum this year, three recall campaigns will start Jan. 1. The three ridings with the most canvassers will conduct the first recall campaigns.

Vander Zalm is calling his plan MLA Survivor Recall—Vote Them Off The Island and likening it to the popular television game show Survivor, where contestants are voted off the show.

The move follows through with a vow Vander Zalm made to launch recall campaigns against Liberal MLAs after more than 700,000 people signed his initiative petitions to force the government to hold a vote on the controversial new 12 per cent tax. That vote will be binding on the government, Premier Gordon Campbell has stated.

The threat of recall campaigns is not new for the three local MLAs, who were included on a list of 24 Liberals previously targeted by Fight HST.

All three have shrugged off recall threats in the past, saying they plan to continue working for their constituents.

On Monday, Letnick said he was elected to help restore the B.C. economy and the HST will help do that. He, like Thomson and Stewart before him, again publicly stated support for the HST.

While admitting the government’s “poor delivery” in bringing in the tax has fired up opponents, Letnick said his priority is to continue helping his constituents with issues such as health care concerns, ICBC problems, education funding, WCB claims and business opportunities. “Those are the things that take up most of my time,” he said.

For the three men who will lead the three recall campaign efforts, the stipulation that 40 per cent of registered voters must sign up within a 60-day time span is onerous but not impossible.

In Westside-Kelowna, Chris Bullard said he believes it can be done but would like to see legislation changed to give more time.

Bullard said Stewart should be recalled because his “silent” support for the HST goes against his constituents’ wishes.

Bullard, a retired IT consultant, was a canvasser in the initiative campaign, and is not a member of any political party.

His counterpart in Kelowna-Lake Country, Al Romanchuk, just arrived here five months ago from Alberta. A retired lawyer, Romanchuk said he’s against the HST, the GST and even provincial sales taxes.

“British Columbians are being taxed to death with no account for the electorate. The electoral system has to change for the better,” he said.

Justin Neufeld, a financial planner who just graduated from Okanagan College last year, said he volunteered to be the proponent in Kelowna-Mission because he feels the Liberal MLAs are not listening to the public.

Neufeld said he has also applied to join the B.C. Refederation Party.

awaters "at" kelownacapnews.com

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Stockwell is nice guy, not great speaker

To the editor:

Stockwell recently announced $9 billion for new prisons during one of the largest deficits in Canadian history. Where the economic argument alone is enough to raise concerns about Mr. Day, the fact that Canada’s crime rate has dropped year after year only confirms those worries.

Stockwell Day is a nice guy, but he’s not the smartest. He may have best intentions, but they often are directed the wrong way, and in this case $9 billion the wrong way.

In response to criticism that the government shouldn’t be spending so much money on new prisons when the crime rate has been consistently decreasing, Stockwell Day said the prisons were needed because of increases in unreported crime.

Mr. Day actually said prisons were needed because there were increases in unreported crime, the same kind of unreported crime that no one knows happened and that no one gets caught.

How is Stockwell Day going to arrest and convict people who have been committing crimes that are unreported?

I am concerned that the Canadian government is spending billions of dollars on prisons in the middle of one of the largest deficits in history especially when they aren’t needed, but I’m also concerned that Stockwell Day still gets to speak.

Scott Ross

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The Food Bank helps feed people.  The BC Government only bleeds people.

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Don't bet against Heed to 'Kash in' yet again
By Michael Smyth, The Province August 6, 2010

If former cabinet star is cleared, premier may reinstate him

Province provincial affairs columnist Michael Smyth
Photograph by: File photo, The Province

It's been over three months since the Kash Heed comedy of errors, featuring his multiple resignations and reappointments to cabinet.

You might remember how it went down: Kash in, Kash out, Kash in, Kash out. Sort of like those suspicious casino transactions that landed B.C. Lotteries in all that trouble with the feds.

Now are you ready for a little deja vu all over again? I'm told special prosecutor Peter Wilson is closer to releasing his report on the election dirty tricks that cost Heed his job as solicitor-general.

The popular buzz in Victoria suggests Heed will be cleared of personal wrongdoing in the scandal. Again.

Then it will be up to Premier Gordon Campbell to decide whether to reappoint Heed to cabinet. Again.

If you feel as if you're watching the movie Groundhog Day, imagine how Heed feels. The ambitious and popular former top cop has seen his career turned upside-down.

Heed resigned the first time after being told by police he was a target of their investigation into dirty tricks during the May 2009 election in Vancouver-Fraserview.

The campaign was rocked in its dying days when the riding was flooded with anonymous Chinese-language election pamphlets alleging the New Democratic Party would legalize heroin, cocaine and prostitution.

Heed won by just 748 votes. The New Democrats blamed the loss on the sliming, saying their support collapsed in the critical Chinese community when the pamphlets started showing up in mailboxes.

Heed's campaign manager, Barinder Sall, and two other people associated with the Liberal campaign were hit in May with criminal charges. Heed, who pleaded ignorance of the whole sleazefest, was cleared by original special prosecutor Terry Robertson, and Campbell immediately reappointed him to cabinet.

But the story took another twist the very next day when Robertson stepped down because his law firm had donated money to Heed's campaign. Heed again resigned and Wilson, the replacement special prosecutor, was asked to review the entire file.

If Wilson clears Heed again, Campbell will face a tough decision: Does he re-reappoint Heed to cabinet after being burned the first time? Heed's reputation took a hit during the first act of this circus, and Campbell may not want to tempt fate twice.

Complicating the situation is the recent exoneration of John Les, another former solicitor-general who resigned in the face of a police probe, this one into shady land deals in his riding. Les was cleared in June of wrongdoing, but Campbell left him on the back benches.

Maybe Campbell's convinced the solicitor-general job is cursed (five top cops in just over two years) and will ask caretaker Mike de Jong to continue doing double-duty along with his attorney-general post.

But I'll bet instead on yet another Heed reappointment to the front benches. He was always a Campbell favourite — personally drafted by the premier as a star Liberal candidate — and Campbell showed confidence in him after the original uproar.

To his critics' chagrin, I think Heed will "Kash in" one more time.

msmyth "at" theprovince.com

© Copyright (c) The Province

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This is a personal comment made by "Quibbler" that we saw in the Vernon Morning Star July 7, 2010.  It was posted under an article about Vanderzalms HST fight.

The 30 organizations (and some of their member companies) that support the HST, along with their donations to the Liberal Party of BC over the past 4 years are:

Business Council of BC, .. no donations found thus far.
BC Chamber of Commerce, .. $1.080.00 from various chambers.
Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC, .. $17,495.00...from various Accountants.
Retail Council of Canada, .. $5,750.00
BC Technology Industry Association, .. $30,590.00
Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, .. no donations found thus far.
Mining Association of BC, .. approximately $926,080.00
Council of Forest Industries, .. about $982,215.00
BC Trucking Association, .. $79,650.00 various trucking companies who are likely members.
BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, .. $122,000.00
Coast Forest Products Association, .. about $1,148,100.00
New Car Dealers Association of BC, .. $442,089.00

BC Construction Association, .. $21,000.00
BC Pulp and Paper Steering Committee, .. no donations found thus far.
Truck Loggers Association, .. $33,020.00
Motion Picture Industry Association of BC, .. $13,575.00 plus approx $15,000.00 from Vancouver Film Studios
Greater Vancouver Gateway Council, .. $12,840.00 from various members.
Railway Association of Canada, .. $172,410.00 from CN's David McLean, $43,780.00 FROM CP and $9,250.00 from Southern Railway with BNSF coming in at $4,026.75
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC, .. $60,160.00 direct contribution - plus $612,000 in 2005 and $267,900 in 2009 for a total of about a million in anti-NDP, pro-Liberal advertising from 2005 to 2009. (Thank you Ian!)
Initiatives Prince George Development Corporation, .. $695.00
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, .. $19,820.00
Association for Mineral Exploration BC, .. $9,680.00
New Media BC, .. $1,000.00
Western Convenience Store Association, .. $47,320.00
Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, .. $5,400.00 plus various Pipeline companies donations, .. $131,921.00
BC Agriculture Council, .. no donations found thus far.
Coal Association of Canada, .. no donations found thus far.
BC Food Processors, .. $10,490.00
Aggregate Producers Association of BC, .. no donations found thus far.
Construction Labour Relations Association of BC, .. $61,183.00
Coalition of BC Business, .. $142,000 in anti-NDP, pro-Liberal advertising

I'm certain I've missed quite a few, but this should give us an idea. If the biggies can afford these types of donations for politics, they can afford to pay their share of taxes.

A couple of other donations caught my eye as well:
$16,457.00 from McDonald's Restaurants...instead of rewarding Campbell for lowering wages for this sector, why don't you give your trainees a raise?

$345,116.54...from various other restaurants in BC. Wow! Business must have been great in order to serve up that kind of political giftie! Hope you think the same way in 6 months.

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Newspaper calls for BC minister to resign and columist calls his actions “misleading”
November 29, 2009 — BC Blue

The Victoria Times Colonist has called for the resignation of Ben Stewart, Westside-Kelowna Liberal MLA, minister of citizens’ services for his bungling and failure to let the 1,400 people whose files were stolen aware that their personal security was endangered. (see editorial here)

Also, Paul Wilcocks from the Times reminds us that even when letters went out finally seven months later to notify the people, some of these letters went to the wrong person causing an added privacy breach! Wilcocks calls the minister’s actions misleading, that he omitted facts, wouldn’t provide basic information when asked about the theft, and that the internal investigation he said he ordered a week ago still doesn’t have any terms of reference. (see story here)

Also: see my (as a BC Conservative Party rep) call for his resignation here

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Press release asking for BC minister’s resignation
November 26, 2009 — BC Blue

This is the release I put out on behalf of the BC Conservatives today asking for the resignation of the Liberal Minister Ben Stewart for his mishandling of the case of 1,400 people’s files found at a government worker’s home. The kicker added to this scandal today was that this employee was still on the government payroll after the RCMP found all these personal documents and ID making apparatus in the home.

Vernon – The BC Liberal government has just revealed that it knew about a very serious security breach involving allegedly stolen information from 1,400 British Columbians on income assistance, but did nothing to notify those people to protect their personal information.

It was the RCMP who found missing documents inside of a Victoria home of a government worker last April, and those documents were handed to the BC Liberals in May. Yet it was not until seven months later that the victims were informed.

“I wish I could say I’m surprised,” remarked BC Conservative Party Director and former candidate for Vernon-Monashee, Dean Skoreyko. “Unfortunately for the people of British Columbia, this is the modus operandi of this government.” (continue reading here)

Also: see previous post here

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BC Liberal government knew of personal security breach 7 months prior
November 25, 2009 — BC Blue

The RCMP gave the files on 1,400 income assistant clients found in a government worker’s apartment to the BC Liberal government back in May but the minister Ben Stewart says he was only informed about it “2 or 3 weeks ago” and defends not telling all the people affected until last week. (see story here)

My questions are:

1) who didn’t pass this information to him and have those people been fired

2) did he receive this information and suppressed it during the May election?

Either way this minister should resign as he either has no control of his ministry or he willfully put 1,400 people’s credit history and ID theft threat behind his burning desire to get re-elected?

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MINISTER SHOULD RESIGN OVER MISSING DOCUMENTS
Conservativesbc.com - November 26, 2009

Vernon - The BC Liberal government has just revealed that it knew about a very serious security breach involving allegedly stolen information from 1,400 British Columbians on income assistance, but did nothing to notify those people to protect their personal information.

It was the RCMP who found missing documents inside of a Victoria home of a government worker last April, and those documents were handed to the BC Liberals in May. Yet it was not until seven months later that the victims were informed.

"I wish I could say I'm surprised," remarked BC Conservative Party Director and former candidate for Vernon-Monashee, Dean Skoreyko. "Unfortunately for the people of British Columbia, this is the modus operandi of this government."

Skoreyko said it's reminiscent of the recent allegations surrounding former Liberal assistant deputy health minister Ron Danderfer of corruption and bribery. These revelations only came to light when members of the media looked at an RCMP investigation into it.

It raises two very serious questions:

1) has the person(s) responsible in his department who failed to reveal this information been fired?

2) did the Liberals know about this before the May election, and did they sit on the information in order to seek reelection?

The minister now handling the file, Ben Stewart for Westside-Kelowna, says that he "may" have found out about it only two weeks ago. "That doesn't change the fact that this government hasn't been held to account on its own actions," said Skoreyko.

"Was this Liberal government trying to escape responsibility for losing sensitive and personal information about the residents of this province," said Skoreyko.

The BC Conservative Party finds it offensive that the government did not notify those affected by the security breach in a timely manner and call for the resignation of the minister for his handling of the case.

Dean Skoreyko
250.494.8225
deanskoreyko "at" gmail.com

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