"Success is dependent on effort."
Sophocles With the first week of autumn in the rear-view mirror, we'd normally expect an active political season around the next bend.
But with Premier Christy Clark cancelling the entire fall legislative session in B.C., and Prime Minister Stephen Harper fending off more parliamentary trouble in Ottawa until October, the only game in town currently is in municipal politics. There's choppy water ahead there, notably in Lynn Valley.
By year's end B.C.'s legislature will have sat for a whopping 36 days in 2013. Can you tell your boss that you'll show up that many days and spend the other 210 or so working
from home? That ranks our MLAs right up there with Nunavut politicians in putting the fewest days into that part of their job. In the frozen tundra that might be excusable, but in balmy B.C.? Blowing off steam and insulting the other side in the legislature, while deflecting thorny question from reporters is what most people assume those handsomely paid MLAs do. But the new "Clark doctrine" claims that conducting sessions in Victoria's colonial legislature is only "optional."
Who needs the hassle of having to face the Opposition or of answering questions on behalf of voters on a daily basis anyway? Pity Premier Clark didn't tell us this before the May election. But fibbing and fudging is part of the political racket, and the NDP would likely have invented another way to shoot themselves while unholstering their waterpistol, right? What can you say about a party that has the same guy, Brian Topp, write an analysis of their still shocking defeat, when he was in charge of orchestrating it in the first place?
The usual suspects will whine that Clark's cancellation smacks of total self-interest, but it's critical to understand why so many Liberals will be at home with their feet up while we pay them for it. They'll be resting. That's because they've got a job to do, I mean apart from not sitting in the legislature. They've got constituency work and photo opps in their neighbourhood.
And according to Liberal House leader Mike de Jong they've got consultations to conduct about the best way to make tons of money from the Liquefied Natural Gas boom ahead that will make B.C. richer than the Beverly Hillbillies and Rod Stewart put together.
A normal citizen might expect they'd have had this critical element figured out during the election when they promised LNG would be the new manna in the desert.
Elections are also a great time for travelling, talking to voters, listening to what people think. Couldn't they have done this in May? Besides, elections are great opportunities for copping free advice - everybody's got an idea for you.
The North Shore alone is bursting with financial and administrative talent. Did you see the stats last week on how many top Canadian one percenter types live here? They're the ones that Statistics Canada says earn between $191,000 and $381,000 apiece. Throw in the other top ten-percenters making more than $80,000 annually and it's an Occupy Wall Street protester's dream.
These folks weren't electing anything to the left of Attila the Hun, so it would have been easy for the Liberals to schmooze free advice.
If it's the LNG Taxation Master Plan they're working on in Vancouver backrooms, doesn't this suggest the Liberals didn't exactly have all the numbers handy before making their "When we're re-elected" promises? You know, the numbers to prove how all the toxic fracking, diagonal drilling, and blowing things up underground in the north to get that darned sour gas will hold up financially? That's the kind of election promise-making that got the Liberals under former Premier and Hawaiian party guy Gordon Campbell in deep doo-doo over the HST. You remember where that led. Déjà vu all over again? Legislative sessions compel governments to answer questions raised by the people. Now that they've been re-elected, maybe the Liberals simply reckon you don't need an answer.
Or like Prime Minister Harper in Ottawa, they may simply be hiding. The Conservatives have that Senate scandal that's still smellier than natural gas, plus a fast-rising Justin Trudeau to contend with;
he's making Harper look tired and embarrassingly unsexy.
How long will the other 90 per cent of hot-blooded Canadians stand for that? Without even mentioning B.C.'s ongoing hot-button oil pipeline fiasco, the real hot-potato here is how the Liberals can talk their way out of B.C. Hydro's colossal financial mess. How does that 26 per cent rate hike on your bills sound? It was the Liberals' previous unwillingness to deal with this issue, compounded by their moronic policy of compelling B.C. Hydro to buy energy from private power operators at unsustainable prices, and the one billion dollar smart meter program they forced down peoples' throats, which led to this situation. Answers please, Premier Clark! While the Liberals hide out, there's the further cost of spending $70 million per year to run the legislature building, where the government sits for its 36 days, and where an army of Victoria bureaucrats now lacks something to do. What would our grandparents who served and suffered without option through two world wars to defend our system think of the Liberals' "optional" sitting policy?
Not important? Consider British Prime Minister David Cameron's defeat scant weeks ago in Britain's Mother of all Parliaments. Often derided as clowns, despite Cameron's wishes, MPs there unexpectedly voted to keep the U.K. out of yet another Middle Eastern conflict in Syria. Like them or not, elected bodies still count.
Meanwhile, locally there's a historic totem-pole raising today at 3 p.m. on
the Tsleil Waututh reserve at Burrard Inlet. It doesn't get more beautiful B.C. than this, and what great timing with all the Reconciliation action of the past 10 days across Canada. Carved by Jewell James, the pole is a gift in solidarity from the Lummi Coast Salish people whose traditional territory is just across the border in Washington State. Both First Nations communities have emerged as leaders in North America's Turtle Island fossil-fuel export debates. The Lummi refuse to support the huge Cherry Point coal port proposal between Blaine and Bellingham.
And for young and old eco-warriors alike, here's fun news. The Rainbow Warrior, flagship of Greenpeace International is visiting the North Shore soon. The North Shore has long had an oar in this organization's saga, and Bob Hunter, the guy who more than anyone else helped birth Greenpeace and kept it afloat in its early days, is a Hall of Famer with this newspaper. Bob and his old Deep Cove sidekick Dr. Lyle Thurston are in hippie heaven now, but their global legacy sails on.
The ship will tie up at Burrard Dry Dock Pier beside Lonsdale Quay. Public tours Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You're invited.
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