Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Thursday, May 15, 2014
The UBC RCMP detachment's decision to place a tent, at Wreck Beach, full time for several hours a day is both unacceptable and dumb. However, some beach goers (maybe with the blessing of the Wreck Beach Preservation Society) have decided to circulate a petition demanding the RCMP remove the proposed tent ... and some other things. Also dumb. I'll get to that later.
Let's start with the UBC RCMP. As a long time resident of Vancouver, a nearby the beach resident, and someone who has both observed and appreciated the uniqueness of that beach over time; one can only shake a head in disbelief at an action that will both infuriate those who value the beach, and which will prove to be a PR blunder for the UBC RCMP detachment... and maybe even the RCMP as an organization.
What makes this particular beach like no other in the Lower Mainland, is both its natural beauty and atmosphere. The natural beauty is under constant attack from pollution and development, however it's atmosphere is also threatened by the presence of armed and uniformed individuals.
That's where both the RCMP and GVRD come in. Why is it necessary for two administrations to be patrolling the beach all the time? Especially THAT beach? Why do the RCMP need to spend so much time there? Why is it acceptable to have an enforced CURFEW on Wreck every night at sunset, for that matter, on any beach, in a first world, supposedly free country? Why does the Coast Guard Hovercraft show up every time someone stubs their toe on that beach? We'll leave the follow the money discussion regarding UBC development and politics for another day.
Let's just say the battle over Wreck Beach and who has the right to use it, was won decades ago. It's a clothing optional beach and therefore attracts a particular demographic. Some, it seems, just can't get over it.
Among other things, providing law enforcement is a matter of prioritizing. It's doubtful that too many users of that beach support the level of attention by police to the degree it has been; let alone setting up virtually a full time presence there for several hours a day. In fact I doubt anybody supports it - well except for at least one Sgt. at the UBC RCMP detachment.
MLA Harry Bains was on the radio this week lamenting lack of RCMP manpower for serious crime in Surrey. There are serious crimes, including the murder of Wendy Ladner-Beaudry which took place in UBC RCMP's jurisdiction, that remain unsolved. Given that, unwanted and unnecessary presence in a location that is essentially self - policing looks bad for the RCMP and its members.
An action like this can only add fuel to the fire for those who will question RCMP priorities and inevitably (and rightfully) ask " have the RCMP nothing better to do?". Good question. Someone might also ask UBC this question.
Few are unaware of what goes on down at that beach. Nothing's changed, and nothing will change... except this week, some Sgt. in charge of an RCMP detachment at UBC has chosen to draw the line in the sand.
The result of this action will be upset beach goers, bad media publicity and yet again more public attention to the bad management and misallocation of police / taxpayer resources by the RCMP.
Like I said, unacceptable and dumb.
As far as the beach goers go; one should never assume the so called free spirits down at Wreck, are above their own form of controlling hypocrisy. Underneath the petition’s first line demand to oust the cops, are seven points, including the demand to have the VPD Harbour Patrol oust the boaters and jet skis... among other things.
This is a dumb move, as anybody in the advocacy world should know. The cops' presence on Wreck is a galvanizing issue, and it’s an issue that could consolidate support from beach users; in the same way that UBC development above the beach did for the Wreck Beach Preservation Society (WBPS).
However, every time you throw another issue or rule in there, you can count on diluting your support.
Boaters can be annoying, some jet skis are noisy (some are smoky), dogs off leash can be frustrating; however, I believe nudists are generally libertarians (although not all libertarians are nudists). But one thing is for sure, and it’s they do not like rules. Although boaters have lots of rules to follow (for safety's sake) there are lots of libertarians who are boaters. So not only is it hypocritical for the beach goers and WBPS to be declaring war on boaters, but it's also dumb if they want support for their cause(s).
Notwithstanding the WBPS's eco and socio political bias (somehow the use of boats, for some, is directly correlated to Harper and big oil), the explanation for the need to remove boaters (among others) given to me yesterday, by a petitioner, was that some of the "psychedelic drugs are a bit different these days and the buzzing from the jet skis produces a negative vibe".
WBPS claims it's all about safety. OK, show me... I'll believe it when I see it.
All of this reminds me of a story: Years ago, I was at the beach asleep and I was wakened by a woman beach behind me arguing with a man about her unleashed dog. The man was berating her for bringing a dog to the beach and he told her she had no right to have a dog there without a leash or even have a dog there in the first place. Her response to him was "Wrong beach Dude!". I was semiconscious by then, but paying attention to the conversation and thinking to myself "yeah she's right; stupid rules about dogs not being on a leash anyway. I love dogs", and returned to sleep in the hot sun.
10 minutes later the dog was standing over me, having been for a swim and in the sand, shaking water and dirt all over me from head to toe.
Believe me I saw the irony that, not ten minutes earlier, I was on the side of the dog and owner and that I was now being seriously inconvenienced.
You know what? I reminded myself what I love so much about that beach.... and I was fine with it.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
• Drivers and passengers (BC): 10 per 100 million person-trips
• Pedestrians (BC): 15 per 100 million person-trips
• Cyclists (BC with helmet law): 14 per 100 million person-trips
• Cyclists (BC without helmet law): 19 per 100 million person-trips
• Motorcyclists (US): 537 per 100 million person-trips
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
|Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
I believe there are lots of people feeling uninspired, perhaps even depressed in the aftermath of the BC election on May 14. As voters we had two poor choices and in the end, when push came to shove, people voted for the leader and party they felt would do the least damage. I doubt that many of the less than 25% of eligible voters that cast a ballot for the BC Liberals did so because they were sincerely inspired by our premier's campaign and message. Hell, we were hard pressed to find the Liberal brand and Christy Clark's name on some of the campaign material for front runners in the party. Anybody who went to Mike de Jong's website, who didn't know him already, would have had to play a guessing game to figure out what party he belonged to. In the end we took the devil that we knew.
It's unfortunate we're in the state we're in right now. Believe me, I'd be happy if the BC Liberals surprised us and turned into a fiscally responsible, inclusive, free enterprise, believable, and free from the politics of fear party. However if history is anything to go by, the odds are against this happening.
People complained about the quality of the candidates we had. Indeed, I heard CKNW's Bill Good and Vaughn Palmer during the campaign discussing various excuses for not voting and one highlighted was "nobody's good" enough. Palmer's antidote, which I liked, was if you don't like the choice then run yourself. That's a good one, but I think the real problem is that we don't have enough good choices because there are just not enough in the talent pool to start with.
Think about it, everything in life is a numbers game. You don't marry the first person you date. In sales you're taught that for every sale you make, you've got to work through a number of prospects. The more prospects to begin with, the greater probability of more sales; and if you begin with less, you can expect less.
The fact is, there's not a huge pool of talent to pull political leaders from in BC. Somebody may change my mind on this but today I don't believe a leader of a party should be someone who's never been elected to public office, so we need to up the game a bit in terms of participation. How are we going to do that if we cut people's heads off, either before they start or after they're underway for some of the most benign stuff imaginable? I still cannot believe that some otherwise seemingly intelligent people gave my twitter comments a second thought, let alone took the time to comment on them; even more surprising was that they had any impact on my standing within the BC Conservatives.
I've had conversations with some in the media and I've yet to see someone quote me, so I'll say it here; we are insular and provincial in BC. And unless we ignore the Alex Tsakumises of the world when they piously bleat about the Premier being unfit for office because she showed some goodwill and good nature by sharing a joke about MILFs with a radio host (who was fired for it btw), or ignore the media prattling on for weeks because of a dancing penis prank on a gay MLA (I've yet to meet gays who don't enjoy dick jokes) we are going to reap what we sow... which is small numbers of people running for public office and even less numbers qualified to run for premier.
I've got two thoughts (besides fascination) when I read about Rob and Doug Ford; one is that it's a shame that Ford's work as a fiscal conservative is being overshadowed by the controversy surrounding him and the other is that I really don't care if Doug Ford sold pot or hash when he was just out of high school nearly 30 years ago (other allegations are more serious IMO, like some of the hypocrisy and denials). I grew up on the North Shore in the 70s and political disqualification for past use of controlled substances would eliminate virtually everybody from there at that time.
Is that what we want? Do we really want holier than thou'ers running for office in any event? What good after all is somebody who's had no life experience or taken no risk? Wouldn't you think somebody was a little weird if they'd never touched any illicit substance (including alcohol) before or just after they graduated?
Why is humour a no-fly zone in politics? Personally I see humour as a great bridge in forming relationships, keeping perspective and most importantly enjoying life; because at the end of the day, that's what it's all about. I give the premier credit for maintaining her sense of humour, or at the least the impression that she maintained it, in a hostile environment.
No wonder we've got better than 52% choosing to ignore the ballot box at election time. I suspect a good number of those people are saying to us that they don't see people they can relate to running for office. Personally, I want somebody with opinions who's not afraid to share them ... and even be wrong about them. It doesn't mean they need to be irresponsible about sharing them, however in the event they are, it should be ok for them to have taken the risk and deal with the consequences. Let the voters decide, uninfluenced by media editorials being masqueraded as news, whether what they did or said was ok or not.
NDP for firing Ray Lam in Vancouver-False Creek in 2009:
FAIL (although he went away quietly which means he might not have been such a great candidate afterall)
BC Libs for forcing John van Dongen to resign as SG in 2009:
FAIL (law's an ass, he knew it, given time he likely would have addressed it)
NDP for firing Dayleen Van Ryswick in Kelowna - Mission 2013:
BCCP for accepting Jeff Sprague's resignation in N Vancouver - Lonsdale 2013:
PASS (too bad, good guy but alleged DUI is a problem)
BCCP for firing Ian Tootill in Vancouver - False Creek 2013:
BCCP for firing Mischa Popoff in Boundary - Similkameen 2013:
BCCP for firing Ron Herbert in Vancouver - West End 2013:
FAIL ( should've let voters decide on taste)
NDP for keeping Jane Shin in Burnaby - Lougheed 2013:
PASS (although time may prove me wrong on this one.)
People who are risk takers (somewhat) and who have strong opinions coupled with a high degree of integrity are exactly the people we shouldn't be discouraging, rather we need to encourage to them run for public office. I say bring them on... and lots of them. The more the merrier.
Friday, May 24, 2013
May 15th, 2013
Tuesday night produced one of the most stunning turnarounds in BC’s political history with a BC Liberal win that almost NOBODY predicted, nor thought was possible. Congratulations to BC Liberals’ Sam Sullivan for his victory in Vancouver-False Creek. Matt Toner of the NDP ran a very professional and admirable campaign. Sal Vetro of BC First Party worked extremely hard in his grass roots and visible campaign for every one of his 71 votes. Again, a great job.
Branding was nearly everything in this election. In my opinion few deserved to win as an Independent as much as John van Dongen did in Abbotsford. He reportedly spent over $100k of his own money and really went out on a limb in exposing the details of the BC Rail scandal. Yet election night the thanks this Independent received, for his public service, all of his integrity and the investment of his own time and money from the voters of Abbotsford, was to place BC Liberal Darrel Plecas in office. A real shame in my opinion. But then life isn’t exactly fair and neither is politics.
For our part, my all-volunteer team was out working our riding every day. In fact, we were on the street in the biting cold until well after dark on Monday evening just before the election. We had media attention (good and bad), signs in places nobody else did, banners, brochures, newspaper advertising, outbound telephone, social media etc. We worked hard, and I believe we had one of the more visible campaigns.
Nonetheless, I spent the first half of a very short campaign explaining to people why I was a BC Conservative (for the most part this included news, to many, that Stephen Harper was NOT the leader of our party) and then (thanks to a blunder by John Cummins which turned a non issue into a media distraction for those incapable of critical thought) I then spent the other half explaining why I was no longer a BC Conservative candidate.
In addition to branding, this was an election defined by fear and apathy. On the branding side, the Green Party could have had Bozo The Clown running and he still would have attracted 9 or 10% of the votes ( never mind that most I encountered had no idea what was in the ”Green Party” platform, nor had anybody I questioned actually read the “Green Book”). And never mind the fact the local Green Party candidate never showed up at ONE of the many all-candidates meetings that I attended (even those about climate change).
I was on the street every day and at no time to me did it look as if the NDP’s Matt Toner was going to make it despite the poster boy The Vancouver Sun and The Province made him out to be.
In terms of fear and apathy, despite what some of the know-it-alls in the MSM would have us believe, I can tell you from being out in the riding every day that, while voters were NOT going to vote NDP, at the same time they were REALLY angry and were looking for an alternative to Sam Sullivan and the BC Liberals.
Vote splitting was more media fantasy. On that subject it’s worth noting that vote splitting is really a non-issue when one considers well over 50% don’t bother to vote in the riding.
Branding for my campaign in this race was a challenge, and in the end it was branding that defined the outcome. The gap narrowed dramatically as voters became fearful of the NDP and the support for the BC Liberals then seemed to materialize out of nowhere and galvanize. In fact it was very noticeable in the final 72 hours. The lesson here is that negative advertising DOES in fact work and that voters still see BC as a two party state. Although I was appalled at my own numbers when they appeared after 8pm, I suppose I could be thankful I was not a candidate for the parties I came in ahead of. The silver lining here is that the polls were wrong, dead wrong, and perhaps with that in mind… the voters of the future will vote with their consciences instead of out of fear or based on what the pollsters tell them to believe.
I am very grateful to everyone who provided their support and help over the last seven weeks. Also thank you sincerely to those who believed in me and put an x or a check next to my name on the ballot.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Thursday, April 25th, 2013 at 5:42 pm
I think voters should get to know the person they elect.
We had an agreement.
They knew what they were getting, and we were good to go. I fully expected some of my comments would raise eyebrows, possibly even the phone call I received from legislative reporter Jonathan Fowlie on Tuesday afternoon. Obviously reporters have better things to do than scour archived Twitter feeds so one has a pretty good idea where the info came from.
Fair game and no big deal.
Jonathan asked me about the tweets, and there was more. For some reason he wanted to know what I thought about pedophiles because I had tweeted agreement with a newspaper editorial to say that Tom Flanagan had been pilloried. Wisely The Vancouver Sun did not run with it, but given the outcome yesterday I can only imagine the ensuing hysteria if they did… even though the word never made it into print.
As expected, the story appeared online on Tuesday night, and in print Wednesday morning. I had informed the party Tuesday afternoon, right after speaking to Fowlie, that they should expect it. However, surprisingly, there was virtually no blowback once the story went to print on Wednesday morning.
All quiet on the western front until Wednesday afternoon when I received a phone call and was told by BCCP headquarters they were “pulling my candidacy with the party.” As I was being told this by telephone, the news was already on Twitter. John Cummins issued a strongly worded news release about the dismissal.
He did what he thinks he had to do in the heat of an election. Fair game…
As good as Fowlie is as a writer, words do not always make the press verbatim. So here is my version, from the horse’s mouth so to speak:
The Hitler comment had nothing to do with humour; rather it was a piece of a conversation about responsibility. I operate on the principle that there are two or more entities involved in communication; the issuer and the receiver(s). Nothing happens with anything until a receiver processes and acts on on words. So in Hitler’s case, there was a whole country of receivers who made choices and became accomplices before and after he became dictator. The twitter conversation was very clear and it was without humour. The exact quote was “Who’s really to blame, Hitler or the people who acted on his words?”
In hindsight, perhaps it could have read “Who’s really more to blame…” but there are limitations with Twitter. Nonetheless, many of my Jewish friends (and I have many) have called to tell me I am right. One whose father is a camp survivor told me yesterday if the word “dictator” were subbed for Hitler, there might not have been an issue with people who were too thick to get it.
Sluts: I referred to the denotation and not the connotation about sexually liberated women. If you don’t like them, and you are a heterosexual man, you’d be one of the few to be that way. There are pictures of me online with Gilbert Gottfried and Bobby Slayton. I like George Carlin. That’s my sense of humour.
I did not know I’d be running when I made the comments and even though I believe in brutal honesty I realize that it would be prudent to temper some comments. To that end I probably would not tweet it today however, there’s little wrong with the denotation and even the modern connotation is being “reclaimed”.
Drugs. They should be legal and controlled. A presidential candidate has run on this policy. The current model has wreaked misery around the planet and does not work. Nothing to be ashamed of. However as I told Jonathan, it’s irrelevant because I am not running federally, I am running provincially.
Here’s an interesting take by Brian Hutchinson in the National Post today.
My name will be on the ballot on May 14th. We need a strong voice in the legislature and we need a fiscal conservative. I like the BC Conservative platform and I think the party has great ideas. It’s the only party that has offered a credible budget and a plan to get BC prosperous again. Most importantly, I believe transparency is what is required to keep honesty in government.
Posted on March 30, 2013
I must disclose that I have been a Greenpeace member for most of my life. I am an environmentalist and regularly write on this topic. Free enterprise and a good environmental policy are not antonyms, they are in fact two pillars of a modern sustainable culture. The reason I believe this is that there has been a major shift in how people buy in BC. Many of us buy local, we buy hybrids and we buy organic foods even though they all cost more. We support our neighbours and farmers, the small produce suppliers and our blossoming wine industry because we know it is better for the economy and the environment. We also know we cannot put people into poverty en masse.
Wednesday night I received a call from Greenpeace that disturbed me somewhat. One of the three reasons they were calling me was to raise awareness of the importance of climate change and that we should “vote for the climate”. When I asked what that meant, the response was “vote for the party that will keep the tar sands from happening”. He then reported to me in another sentence that “the NDP opposes the pipeline”. The implication being I should vote for the NDP. What does “oppose the pipeline mean”? I have a suspicion that no matter what any party says (perhaps with the exception of the Green Party), that the pipeline will be build. The rational? It is simply the most environmentally friendly way to move the product.
Greenpeace is supposed to be non-partisan. I found it very interesting that the person on the phone did not mention the Green party but rather the NDP. I am not sure why a Greenpeace phone volunteer is spending the money we donate to Greenpeace every month to call me and tell me about our political situation but that is for Elections BC to figure out.
The question that I had to ask when he stated we must oppose the pipeline is “what do you propose will be done in the alternative to move the oil“? There was stunned silence before a reply to the lines of “well we oppose everything about the Alberta Tar sands. If we do not build the pipeline we will cripple that operation“. I had to think about this for a while longer. This was a person who actually believes that if the Northern Gateway Pipeline is not built, the entire oil sands will cease production. Better yet, if we elect the NDP who formally “oppose” the pipeline, we can shut down Alberta’s Tar sands. I am sorry but this is simply not true. If the pipeline if not built, the alternative is trucks and rail. We do not have the rights to restrict traffic on national railroads and highways based on hatred of a particular industry. Those are national resources to which we all have equal rights to use.
If we had that power, I will aver that this is a very slippery slope. For the record, I wish we all lived in a utopian society that did not require fossil fuels, but the reality is we do not and change takes time. There is also an important concept of self government. I do not support BC being able to tell Alberta that they cannot develop their natural resources any more that I would support Saskatchewan being able to unilaterally shut down the BC movie industry based on a belief that they are polluting and films are not necessary. What about fishing? If Ontario could shut down our technology industry over concerns about computers containing dangerous substances, it would put many people out of work. What if someone in New Brunswick stopped UBC building condominiums on un-ceded native territory. This is a very dangerous slope to slide down. I understand the dangers of the Tar Sands project and know we have to change. At the same time, I do not believe our students should graduate with $100,000 of debt. We need balance in all policies.
So how does one stop the Tar Sands? Simple. Refuse to buy anything made with energy that comes from the Tar sands. Stop buying cosmetics, cars, tires, bicycles, electronics, clothes and anything plastic made with Alberta crude. Stop buying New Zealand apples and don’t buy green smoothies from Happy Planet, shipped in plastic bottles. If no one wants to buy those products, the market for that product will dry up very quickly as no manufacturer would allow it in their products. This would cause a slump in demand and a reversal of the trend. While sounding easy though, this equation is not so simple. What if companies like Enbridge actually used the profits from the tar sands to invest into renewable energy sources to prepare the world for a better future? Well guess what? They do this.
Enbridge now generates over 1,365 MW of clean and renewable energy. Do not believe me, read the website page at http://www.enbridge.com/DeliveringEnergy/RenewableEnergy.aspx. By contrast, the BC Carbon Tax has invested zero dollars and produced not one single MW of clean energy. That tax is revenue neutral and only shuffles money around. It also does not stop GHG emissions (read the increased amounts of GHG’s going into the environment on page 66 of the BC Provincial Budget).
So who are the bad guys and who are the good guys? There is no right answer to this question. My only hope is that I can invite anyone reading this to widen their thoughts and be a little more open minded. We all need to work together on this. No matter who wins the Provincial election May 14, we all have a deep responsibility to move forward to clean energy. If you are a protestor, keep protesting to raise awareness. If you have an idea to move to renewable energy, help Enbridge and others use the proceeds of the tar sands to invest into clean energy. They are an energy company. Oil is only one currency in that market. If they invest all their money into oil, they will due as a company when the oil runs out. The people I know at Enbridge told me that they know they need to move off oil to be successful in the future. Some top environmentalists have noted this and are helping them with this change.
We all know oil is running out. We have to reduce GHG’s. I have a plan to use Geothermal energy to both produce clean and renewable energy for British Columbians. We can do this. It is not that complicated but it requires educating people on how this will work.
Conservatives (and anyone else with a sane brain) do not want our planet ruined. We are entrenched to fight against this and restore BC as an economic leader. In the meantime, some have advocated raising taxes on gasoline to cut back on people using cars. Fine, I can personally afford $20/litre gas yet I found even the most hardened environmentalists are stating that this is not going to work for them. ”My life will be hell and my food and transportation bill will be through the roof” they claim. True I replied, but we will achieve the goal of reducing your contributing to GHG emissions. Most of them did not realize this was purely a rhetorical statement and got angry with me thinking it was an attack on their ability to exist. When I pointed out that this is the same logic they are using on others, many then thanked me for helping to raise their awareness.
I am a friend of both clean energy and environmental causes. I will not favor one at the expense of the others though. We all need to work together on this.
We have an answer to meet the GHG targets for 2020 but also know that we have to measure them in a way that is fair and realistic. Simply outsourcing the GHG’s used in manufacturing to China is not the answer. After all, this is global warming, not BC warming.
Please give this some thought.