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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

B.C. ELECTION 2017: New Democrats promise balanced budget, higher corporate tax

Geordon Omand

NDP Leader John Horgan holds a copy of the party's election platform during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Thursday April 13, 2017. A provincial election will be held on May 9.

Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

April 13, 2017 - 9:00 PM

COQUITLAM, B.C. - British Columbia's New Democrats are promising three years of balanced budgets while also reining in auto insurance rates and BC Ferries fares if they win the provincial election.

The NDP expects to finance its campaign commitments by reversing a Liberal tax cut to people who earn more than $150,000 a year, hiking the corporate tax rate and putting a price on housing speculation.

"It's affordable. It makes sense. It's fully costed," NDP Leader John Horgan told supporters Thursday as he released his party's platform at a restaurant in Coquitlam.

The NDP says it will phase out medical service premiums and eliminate interest on student loans if it wins the May 9 election.

A $500-million prosperity fund that was supposed to consist of revenue from liquefied natural gas earnings, which Horgan calls Premier Christy Clark's "fantasy fund," will be used to eliminate tolls on two of the Lower Mainland's busiest bridges over the next three years.

"There are no tolls in Kelowna. There are no tolls on the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Why should there be tolls for people who live south of the Fraser River?" Horgan asked about the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges.

The NDP would increase the corporate tax rate by one point, to 12 per cent, which Horgan said would raise funds while keeping B.C. competitive. Horgan said he wouldn't change a Liberal plan to reduce the small business tax.

Runaway housing prices have been an issue in parts of British Columbia and the NDP would bring in a speculation tax that would apply to all out-of-province property owners. The two-per-cent tax on a property's assessed value would give the government $200 million a year in additional revenue, the party said.

"If they're not paying taxes in British Columbia, they're not growing our province," Horgan said.

The platform also includes plans for $10-a-day childcare and an annual $400 rebate for renters.

While operating expenses are predicted to produce small surpluses over the next three years, the New Democrats expect to add $7 billion to the province's debt over five years through capital expenditures aimed at creating 96,000 jobs.

That spending would spur economic growth and pose no threat to the province's triple-A credit rating, Horgan said.

But Mike de Jong, the Liberal government's finance minister, said the NDP's proposals would cost at least $4 billion a year and lead to a credit downgrade.

"The spending that is being proposed here will either lead to massive deficits or massive tax increases, or maybe a combination of the two," he said.

De Jong called the New Democrats' plan "misleading in the extreme" and said British Columbia would no longer be Canada's leading economy.

"For the people who are drawn to the chant 'We're number eight,' Mr. Horgan has presented a blueprint for getting there," he said. "It's almost platform by camouflage."

Horgan said the platform is based on financial figures in the government's 2017-18 budget.

"If they're not telling us the truth, I can't be held to their numbers," Horgan said when asked whether an NDP government would promise not to introduce any additional taxes other than those in the platform.

Also on Thursday, Alberta's NDP premier, Rachel Notley, said she told government workers thinking about going to B.C. to campaign for the New Democrats that they should stay home.

"Certainly it's difficult for one to be working for our government and then also supporting candidates who would be opposed to the successful construction of the Kinder Morgan pipeline."

Notley said the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline that links Alberta to the Pacific Ocean through B.C. is critical to province's economic prosperity.

Clark supports the pipeline project, while Horgan has said it can't go forward.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

B.C. Election 2017: NDP rolls out platform, Greens rally on Island, Liberal campaign hits North Coast

Staff Reporter Staff Reporter
More from Staff Reporter

Published on: April 13, 2017 | Last Updated: April 13, 2017 2:05 PM PDT



NDP Leader John Horgan delivers party platform in Coquitlam

From reporter Nick Eagland: The B.C. NDP delivered its 2017 platform, “Working for You,” Thursday morning with a pledge to create 96,000 jobs, build 114,000 homes and restore public services.

After months of uncertainty about how the NDP would pay for such promises, the platform indicates an NDP government would rely on taxes that target the wealthy, corporations and absentee homeowners, and that dig into the Liberal government’s LNG fund.

The platform would require $717 million in operating investments in the first partial-fiscal year, $1.263 billion in 2018/19 and $1.533 billion in 2019/20. Capital investments totalling $2.8 billion would be made in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

But the NDP projects it will deliver surpluses totalling $321 million over three fiscal years.

The party plans to do this by ending a tax cut for the top two per cent of earners, increasing tax on corporate profits by a point, implementing an empty-housing speculation tax, eliminating the Liberals’ $500-million LNG prosperity fund, implementing a federal carbon-price mandate and “cleaning up B.C. Liberal waste and growing the economy,” according to the document.

The party projects these measures would bring in revenues and savings of $3.07 billion over three fiscal years.

In a statement, Liberal candidate Mike de Jong says there’s no way for the NDP to balance the budget, which he describes as reckless.

The NDP is hoping to upset B.C. Liberal hopes for a fifth straight election victory when voters head to the polls on May 9.

Horgan was also scheduled to visit Okanagan Falls and Penticton Thursday afternoon.


Liberal Leader Christy Clark ventured into LNG territory this morning with a visit up B.C.’s north coast.

In Kitimat, Clark said B.C.’s LNG industry is “on the verge of something big.”

With over $20 billion invested to date, B.C.’s LNG industry is on the verge of something big – and Kitimat is poised to see the benefits.

“By creating thousands of jobs in communities like Kitimat, and helping the world transition away from fuel sources like coal, B.C.’s growing LNG industry has a big role to play in our province, our country, and the world,” said Clark. “Only today’s B.C. Liberals have a plan to get to yes on LNG projects, create jobs and secure a bright future for us all.”

Postmedia columnist Rob Shaw, travelled with Clark’s campaign today, wrote that Liberal Leader toured Kitimat, Terrace and Prince Rupert, where she attempted to prop up her unfulfilled 2013 election campaign promises on LNG by showcasing a business that makes money from all the planning work being done by LNG proponents.

“We are not giving up,” she told a crowd at Kentron Construction in Kitimat, which had done prep work for LNG proponents and is hoping for more business in the future. “Quitters can’t be leaders. Yeah, market conditions have been tough for LNG, but we are going to get there.”

The Liberal promise during the 2013 campaign was for three operational LNG facilities by 2020 and almost 100,000 jobs. She also campaigned on the LNG industry revenue being used to create a $100 billion so-called Prosperity Fund and the industry accounting for $1 billion in economic growth within the next 30 years.

In a press release, the Liberals listed off the government’s LNG accomplishments:

• One LNG plant in operation and undergoing a $400 million expansion

• One LNG plant with construction underway

• Conditional final investment decision on the largest private sector investment in Canadian history – Pacific NorthWest LNG

• A further 18 LNG export permits have been issued

• 63 natural gas Pipeline Benefit Agreements with First Nations, representing 90 per cent of First Nations along LNG pipeline routes

• BC Ferries has taken possession of the first of three natural gas ferries, and after refits, Spirit class vessels will be able to run on natural gas or diesel.

• Seaspan has taken possession of two new LNG-powered cargo ferries


B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, surrounded by local candidates, speaks to the media in Vancouver, BC Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Jason Payne / PNG

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver is scheduled to attend a rally at the campaign offices of Saanich North and the Islands candidate Adam Olsen this afternoon.

Laura Kane of The Canadian Press reports the Green Leader is trying to build on the party’s success by campaigning against the status quo:

Andrew Weaver, a respected climate scientist and leader of British Columbia’s Green party, hopes to have something in common with Rachel Notley, Justin Trudeau and even Donald Trump.

All three were dark horse candidates at the outset of elections where they pulled off stunning wins. In the cases of Notley and Trudeau, as well as Yukon Premier Sandy Silver, they were leaders of third parties with only a small fraction of seats.

So when voters in B.C. cast their ballots May 9, Weaver wants to see a historic breakthrough for his party. And he’s setting high stakes: If he’s the only member elected, he’ll ultimately step aside.

“If there is not a whole bunch of Green MLAs in the legislature with me, I will have failed,” he said. “I’ll serve the people of Oak Bay-Gordon Head for four more years and then I won’t run again.”

Weaver was the first Green elected to the province’s legislature four years ago. But the party isn’t merely hoping to pick up a few extra seats this time. They’re running to govern, and they believe this election is coming at a crucial time when voters are especially angry at the status quo.

“The B.C. legislature is broken,” said Weaver. “It’s sick to the core in terms of the pay-for-access system that goes on. It’s sick to the core in that we have an Opposition that has had literally 16 years of trying to articulate a vision and they haven’t.

“We need to have other viable options.”


From columnist Rob Shaw: Some guy dressed as Bender from Futurama dancing outside the construction site in Kitimat.

“Can you give that guy a honk?” Premier Christy Clark shouted to the driver.

The bus honked. The man danced. No one had a clear idea why he was there.


Postmedia photographer Jason Payne captured this confrontation between a NDP supporter and a Liberal party volunteer at NDP Leader John Horgan’s rally in Coquitlam this morning.

NDP supporter and retired teacher Bill Wilson (left) confronts Liberal party volunteer Andrew Roberts outside the B.C. NDP party rally in Coquitlam. Roberts was handing out Liberal party literature at the time. Jason Payne / PNG

Wilson and Roberts had a bit of a heated exchange that included some finger pointing from Wilson. Jason Payne / PNG

During the confrontation, Wilson nearly fainted and received help from Roberts and B.C. NDP press secretary James Smith (right), who kept him upright and steady. Jason Payne / PNG


Liberal Leader Christy Clark toasts after serving tea to supporters during a campaign stop at a Korean restaurant in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday April 12, 2017. A provincial election will be held on May 9. DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS


• British Columbia’s privacy commissioner rejected the second of two complaints filed by the Liberals that alleged the New Democrats had breached privacy laws by sharing supporter lists.

• Leader Christy Clark pushed her party’s jobs and economic growth platform, promising tax breaks for new companies and more seats in science and technology education programs.

B.C. Tech Association CEO Bill Tam said the past few years have been good for the sector, with lots of startups, interest from entrepreneurs and companies being formed. There are now more than 106,000 people working in high-tech in the province.

But as political parties campaign on their visions for how to increase well-paying B.C. tech jobs, Tam said the industry wants a plan that give local students the skills required to work in the field, while also encouraging global talent to immigrate here.

“We have seen growth, but also acute talent shortages,” said Tam, both in “technical and creative staff who can build next-generation technologies, but also growth talent in the form of sales and marketing that are needed for companies to grow.”

• Clark criticized the NDP’s announced rental subsidy plan, saying it could line the pockets of wealthy tenants who may live in penthouses in downtown Vancouver.

• With the federal government expected to announce plans Thursday to legalizing marijuana, Clark said she wants assurances organized crime is shut out of the pot business and that marijuana stays out of the hands of children.


• Leader John Horgan promised he would introduce an annual $400 rebate to help renters throughout the province, but said details on what the program would cost won’t be unveiled until his party releases its full platform on Thursday.

“Help is on the way,” Horgan said. “If homeowners can have a homeowner grant, renters should be able to have a grant as well.”

Premier Christy Clark slammed the announcement and — after running the plan through Liberal spin cycle — argued the grant would benefit wealthy Vancouver penthouse renters.

“That isn’t right,” Clark said. “We shouldn’t be redistributing our tax money to the very rich. We should be making sure that we spend our resources supporting people who are having trouble staying in their homes.”

David Hutniak, CEO of Landlord B.C., said the agency recently tallied 540,000 units of market-rental housing in the province. At $400 per unit, the NDP’s grant would put taxpayers on the hook for $216 million annually.

• Housing advocate Kishone Roy welcomed the NDP’s proposal, but said the party should consider adding a rental rate cap to the credit so it remains focused on lower-income earners who need it the most.

• The New Democrats promised to provide more resources for renters to file complaints through the Residential Tenancy Act and forbid landlords from using renovations as an excuse to evict tenants and sidestep restrictions around rent hikes.

• Horgan says he’s already having meetings about how to distribute legal marijuana, including talks with liquor outlets, craft brewers, pharmacies and dispensaries.


• Leader Andrew Weaver made a stop in Vancouver to announce his party’s “income security strategy.” He says the plan would move towards livable incomes for all by increasing disability payments and income assistance, introducing a basic youth income and more.

This campaign promise, along with the Green’s other fiscal planks revealed to date, are part of the party’s strategy to contrast Weaver against the other party leaders, particularly the B.C. NDP’s John Horgan, said political scientist Hamish Telford.

“So far, at least on economic issues, (Weaver) has placed himself to the left of the NDP,” said Telford, an associate professor in political science at the University of the Fraser Valley.

“In part, I think that’s to provide contrast with the NDP, but also to appeal to perhaps a younger set of voters who would be more inclined to vote Green,” Telford said.

• It was a light day of campaigning for the party as they geared up for a rally with David Suzuki Wednesday night


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poll by poll: 14 races that could decide the election

See neighbourhood-level results for ridings where the 2017 vote could be decided

By Tara Carman, Justin McElroy, CBC News Posted: Apr 15, 2017 8:00 AM PT| Last Updated: Apr 15, 2017 8:00 AM PT

In the 2013 B.C. election, there were 14 ridings where the margin of victory was less than five per cent.

Within those ridings, however, some neighbourhoods were much closer than others. These are the areas where party leaders are likely to focus their attention over the course of the campaign. Do you live in one? Read on to find out.

For each map, click on a polling area to bring up results.
■More B.C. election news and features
■Try Vote Compass B.C. 2017
■B.C. Electoral Districts

Metro Vancouver


This was one of three ridings in B.C. that flipped over from the Liberals to the NDP last election, but the winning MLA (Jane Shin) is not running again.

Former Global BC morning anchor Steve Darling faces school trustee Katrina Chen, in a riding where there are both NDP strongholds (near SFU) and Liberal strongholds (north of Burnaby Lake).

Burnaby North

Four-term B.C. Liberal MLA Richard T. Lee won this riding by just 688 votes in 2013, but that was his largest margin of victory since 2001.

This is the only seat in Burnaby the NDP doesn't hold, and it does best along Hastings Street and just west of British Columbia Institute of Technology. Some of the most contested areas in 2013 were in the Heights neighbourhood near Hastings Street and Wilingdon Avenue.


The closest race in British Columbia last election, the NDP's Selina Robinson eked out a 41-vote win over the B.C. Liberal Party's Steve Kim.

This year's election is a rematch, but the boundaries have changed, with the riding gaining the area around the Vancouver Golf Club, and losing the Chineside neighbourhood.

Delta North

The Liberals lost by 1,891 votes in 2009 to winning by 203 votes in 2013, partly thanks to flipping a number of polling stations near 116th Street and Nordel Way.

Former field hockey Olympian Ravi Kahlon tries to take this riding back for the NDP against Liberal MLA Scott Hamilton, a former Delta councillor.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows

The NDP had won this seat in 2005 and 2009, but Pitt Meadows councillor Doug Bing took this for the Liberals by 620 votes in 2013.

His victory was in part due to his dominance in the agricultural areas in Pitt Meadows, along with strength in the more suburban areas of Maple Ridge.

North Vancouver-Lonsdale

The NDP have only won Lonsdale once — but that was in 1991, the last time they went from opposition to government.

The two areas where the NDP is strongest — on the far west and east of the riding — are First Nation reserves, but the New Democrats do well in the western area of lower Lonsdale.

Port Moody-Coquitlam

The Liberals took this seat back from the NDP last election by 437 votes, the fifth-closest result in all of B.C. in 2013.
Port Moody councillor Rick Glumac will try and return this seat for the NDP over incumbent Linda Reimer, but this time around, the riding will add the Chineside neighbourhood and lose the area south of Foster Avenue.

Central Port Moody was the most hotly contested part of this riding in 2013.


Then-Langley mayor and B.C. Liberal candidate Peter Fassbender won this riding over NDP MLA Jagrup Brar by just 200 votes last election, the party's narrowest win in all of B.C.

It's a rematch between Brar, Fassbender and Green Party candidate Tim Binnema, but the riding has added areas to the north and southeast of John Tompson Park and lost areas east of 164th Street, which heavily favoured the Liberals four years ago.


This predominately suburban riding is regularly the closest race in Vancouver, with the Liberals winning it by just 470 votes in 2013.
In a battle of former Vancouver councillors, Liberal Suzanne Anton hopes to keep her seat against the NDP's George Chow.

Vancouver-Point Grey

With Christy Clark not running here after her 2013 loss to David Eby, there's a question of how competitive the Liberals will be here in 2017.
Traditionally, the Liberals do well in Point Grey, while the NDP dominates in Kitsilano (excluding homes right on the waterfront).



The NDP's Harry Lali had held this riding for all but four years between 1991 and 2013, but lost by 614 votes to Liberal candidate Jackie Tegart last election, the NDP's sixth-narrowest loss in 2013.

This time, it's a rematch between Lali and Tegart — but the big change is the addition of Hope, Yale and Boston Bar to the riding. Those areas tend to support the NDP, which is likely to make this year's battle even closer.

Vancouver Island

Saanich North and the Islands

This was the closest three-way race in the province in 2013, with just 379 votes separating the winning NDP from the Liberals and Greens, and the candidates from all three parties are running again.

The riding was split, with the NDP dominating on Saltspring Island and doing generally well on the rest of the islands, the Liberals in North Saanich and coastal neighbourhoods in Sidney, and the Green Party in the most populous part of Central Saanich and the inland parts of Sidney.

Northern B.C.

Cariboo North

In five of the last six elections, Cariboo North has been decided by 700 votes or less, and went to the B.C. Liberals' Coralee Oakes by 603 votes in 2013, the party's fifth-smallest margin of victory.

Last election, the runner-up was Bob Simpson, the two-term NDP MLA who was running as an independent, which meant a lot of votes that typically go to the NDP in Quesnel instead went to Simpson.


It's a riding that has gone to the NDP in five of the last six elections, but generally is decided by fewer than 1,000 votes.

While Terrace tends to favour the Liberals, Kitimat leans toward the NDP — and several of the polling stations centred around Aboriginal communities gave the NDP over 80 per cent of the vote in 2013.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Second week of the provincial election campaign

Gord MacDonald

April 17, 2017 05:28 am

Second week of the provincial election campaign
Week number two of the provincial election campaign sees B.C. NDP leader John Horgan making a campaign announcement Monday morning in Burnaby, campaign stops in New Westminster and Coquitlam, and a 6pm event in Vancouver.

No word yet from the B.C. Liberals where leader Christy Clark is campaigning Monday.

Global News Legislative Bureau Chief Keith Baldrey says we should be paying attention to where the leaders are spending their time this week, especially Horgan and Clark.

“I expect both will go to ridings that they currently hold by the shakiest of margins in 2013, and also the ridings that they hope to pick up from the other folks come May 9th. So look for Christy Clark to spend some time on Vancouver Island, the suburbs of Metro Vancouver, and the Interior. And John Horgan likewise to do the same. They’re fighting over about 15 to 20 ridings, all of them will be visiting each of them throughout the campaign.”

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver is campaigning in his Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding Monday.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

B.C. candidates highlight health care, economy as election continues

British Columbia NDP Leader John Horgan

British Columbia NDP Leader John Horgan speaks to supporters after an announcement about mental health and addiction services during a campaign stop at the Riverview Lands, the former site of a mental health facility, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Monday April 17, 2017. A provincial election will be held on May 9. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, April 18, 2017 4:23AM EDT

VANCOUVER - The leaders of British Columbia's main political parties are taking shots at one another over health care and the economy as the election campaign continues ahead of the provincial vote on May 9.

NDP Leader John Horgan was in the Lower Mainland yesterday, saying his party would create team-based urgent care centres to help people who can't find family doctors.

The Liberals pledged in their 2010 and 2013 campaigns to find a family doctor for every British Columbian who wanted one, but the government conceded two years ago that they would not meet their target.

BC Liberal leader Christy Clark
BC Liberal leader Christy Clark makes a campaign stop at Inuktun Services in Nanaimo Beach, B.C., Monday, April 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Horgan says the Liberal government has let down patients who are waiting hours at walk-in clinics or emergency rooms.

Meanwhile, Liberal Leader Christy Clark took her campaign to Vancouver Island -- territory traditionally seen as a NDP stronghold -- where she said the region has a successful economic record because of her government's policies.

Speaking at a rally in Nanaimo last night, Clark told supporters this election offers a clear choice between going backwards with a New Democrat government or moving forward with the Liberals.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

April 17, 2017 10:44 pm Updated: April 18, 2017 2:35 am

B.C. election: Four transgender candidates aim to make history

By Tanya Beja
Reporter Global News

WATCH: The number of transgender candidates in the B.C. election race has increased from none in 2013 to four this year after an NDP transgender woman made political history last November. Tanya Beja has more on the campaign of inclusiveness.

NOTE: The names of the Green Party candidates in this story were provided by the official B.C. Green Party communications team

Four candidates are making their mark on history in the run-up to the provincial election. Morgane Oger of the NDP, Stacey Piercey of the Liberals, and Veronica Greer and Nicola Spurling of the B.C. Green Party are transgender women who are hoping to become MLAs.

“This was unimaginable two years ago,” Oger, the NDP candidate for Vancouver-False Creek, said. “Until I ran, I think there had never been a transgender candidate who had made it to the ballot in Canada.”

Oger has long been an activist. She successfully fought for changes to the B.C. Human Rights Code and chaired Vancouver’s District Parent Advisory Council. And while she acknowledges that she faced more criticism as a human rights advocate than as an NDP candidate, she says her gender identity continues to attract criticism.

“I attract a lot of negative and hateful feedback,” she said. “That hurts. It’s painful to see how regressive some people are. One would like think we have passed that stage.”

READ MORE: B.C. group wants gender removed from birth certificates in Canada

Greer is running for the B.C. Green Party in Surrey-Panorama. She says she doesn’t consider herself a pioneer, but credits many role models for breaking down barriers.

“We’ve come a long way, mainly due to people in the public eye bringing attention to transgender issues, transitioning publicly, and making it more acceptable and understood. I find that the people who are most understanding are people who have known somebody, or have somebody in the family who has transitioned.”

Greer said she has had a lifelong interest in politics and hopes to champion issues of child poverty.

“I hope to accomplish a lot for human rights,” she said. “Yes, I’m LGBT, but that doesn’t mean that that’s all my sole focus.”

While Oger recognizes that the election of a transgender MLA would be a milestone for the province, she says she hopes at some point, a candidate’s gender identity will no longer be a topic of discussion.

“My hope is that the next person who is transgender who runs doesn’t have the word ‘transgender’ in every article written about them.”


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Election signs of two election candidates defaced in North Vancouver


by James Cybulski and Ellen Coulter
Posted Apr 17, 2017 6:39 am PDT
Last Updated Apr 17, 2017 at 1:50 pm PDT

BC Liberal candidate Naomi Yamamoto shared a photo to social media showing a defaced election sign. (Photo via Twitter: @naomiyamamoto)

Swastika painted on election sign of local BC Liberal campaign

Other party candidates step up to denounce the defacing of a BC Liberal election sign

NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A second BC election candidate has taken to social media to share a picture of swastika graffiti on one of her election campaign signs.

In a post on Twitter last night, Naomi Yamamoto, the BC Liberal Candidate for North Vancouver-Lonsdale, showed her sign had been defaced. She commented: “This is not my BC.” Yamamoto is chasing a third-term as an MLA in that riding.

Today, in response to Yamamoto’s tweet, the NDP Candidate for the same riding, Bowinn Ma, tweeted a photo of her own vandalized campaign sign.

In a further tweet to Yamamoto, she said “We stand with you against racism and hate.”

Joshua Johnson, who is a BC Green Party candidate on the North Shore, was quick to chime in as well saying, “Regardless of political views, this extremely offensive display is completely unacceptable. Greens stand against it too.”

Greg Powell, another BC Green Party candidate in Richmond also took to social media to say, “I’m so sorry that happened. Nobody should have to experience that.”

Yamamoto sent NEWS 1130 a statement. “I’ve really appreciated all the supportive messages from friends and strangers. It was good to hear that from people from all parties as well. Just want to focus on a positive campaign message in North Vancouver. Feel bad for my sign guys, they’ve spent more time cleaning up smashed signs then they should.”

NEWS 1130 has spoken with North Vancouver RCMP who said they were unaware of the vandalism saying no report or complaint was filed.

Vandalized election signs is really nothing new in Metro Vancouver with some candidates complaining about their signs being damaged or destroyed during the federal election campaign back in 2015.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

B.C. Election 2017: Latest poll shows Greens taking votes from Liberals, NDP

Susan Lazaruk Susan Lazaruk
More from Susan Lazaruk

Published on: April 18, 2017 | Last Updated: April 18, 2017 5:34 PM PDT

Liberal leader Christy Clark kisses the Easter bunny on the nose during a campaign stop in Comox, B.C. Monday, April 17, 2017.

The latest weekly B.C. election tracking poll shows the gap closing between the governing Liberals and the NDP Opposition in Metro Vancouver and the Greens making gains, especially on Vancouver Island.

The Mainstreet/Postmedia poll also found that more voters are in favour of the Liberals’ plan to cap bridge tolls at $500 a year than the NDP’s election promise to scrap them.

And the poll, the first since the writ dropped to kick off the campaign for the May 9 provincial election, also found the most popular campaign promise — doubling the foreign buyers tax to 30 per cent — is not identified with the party that floated the idea, the Greens.

Across B.C., the NDP have the most “decided and leaning” voters, at 39 per cent, followed by the Liberals at 37 per cent and the Greens at 21 per cent.

Among all voters, the Liberals (30 per cent, up five percentage points from previous poll) trail the NDP (32 per cent, no change), with the Greens at 15 per cent (up three), the leaderless Conservatives at three per cent (down three) and undecided voters at 19 per cent (down six).

For the past three polls, the NDP has remained between 37 and 39 per cent, the Liberals at 33 to 37 per cent, the Greens between 13 to 17 per cent and the Conservatives between 10 and 13 per cent.

In the latest poll, most of the Liberal gains have come in Metro Vancouver. The Liberals have closed the gap there, coming to within five percentage points of the NDP among decided and leaning voters. The NDP has 43 per cent of those voters to the Liberals’ 38.

Those Liberal gains came as the number of undecided voters dropped sharply among all voters to 21 per cent cent, down from 30 per cent the poll before.

“It looks like a lot of those undecideds broke to the Liberals,” said David Valentin, executive vice-president of Mainstreet Research.

He said the Greens — among decided and leaning voters — have finally hit 20 per cent across B.C. In that category, the Green party has the highest support on Vancouver Island, with 38 per cent, compared with the NDP’s 34 per cent and the Liberals’ 26 per cent.

“In Greater Vancouver, the Greens are taking more from the Liberals than the NDP,” said Valentin. “The Greens seem to be gaining from different parties in different parts of the province.”

Respondents were asked about campaign promises and there were two newsworthy results, on bridge tolls and the foreign buyers tax.

Even though the Greens have promised to double the foreign buyers tax from 15 per cent, twice as many more respondents thought the NDP (31 per cent) came up with the idea than thought the Green party (15 per cent) did.

And 39 per cent weren’t sure who promised it. But 44 per cent of all voters liked the idea of a 30 per cent foreign buyers tax, the poll found.

The Liberals say they’ll cap bridge tolls at $500 year, and the NDP vowed to lift all tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges.

The Mainstreet poll showed that 45 per cent of voters prefer capping to scrapping.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.41 percentage points 19 times out of 20. It’s based on a random sample of 1,650 B.C. eligible voters from April 12 to 14, the first full three days after the election was officially launched on April 11. The surveys were conducted with interactive voice respond polls, also known as “robo polls,’ to landlines and cellphones.

In 2013, former NDP Leader Adrian Dix’s party had a 15-point edge early on in that race but the Liberals won the election weeks later by four points.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greens come up short in bid to run candidates in all 87 B.C. ridings

Green Leader Andrew Weaver previously said the party planned to run in each of the province’s ridings

The Canadian Press

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

VANCOUVER – Time’s up for candidates to register for the B.C. election, and the Green party has missed its mark of running a candidate in all 87 provincial ridings.

Party spokesman Stefan Jonsson says the Greens had 80 candidates officially approved by Elections BC ahead of the Tuesday afternoon registration deadline and were waiting to hear back on the eligibility of up to three more.

Green Leader Andrew Weaver – the first member of his party to win a seat in the provincial legislature – previously said the party planned to run in each of the province’s ridings in the May 9 election.

Despite missing the target, Jonsson said the party is proud of the candidates who have put their names forward, and excited that most ridings across the province will include a Green candidate.

When the legislature was dissolved earlier this month, the Liberals held 47 seats, the NDP had 35 and there were three independents, including Weaver.

There are also two new ridings to be contested in the election, bringing the total to 87 seats.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tetchy moments a feature in first B.C. election debate

Things got heated as John Horgan, Christy Clark and Andrew Weaver faced off in a radio debate Thursday.

The B.C. Liberals and New Democrats squared off Wednesday on which party’s plan is more fiscally responsible.

Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, April 20, 2017 8:19AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 20, 2017 4:46PM PDT

VANCOUVER -- It wasn't long before Liberal Leader Christy Clark put her hand on the arm of her main rival, John Horgan, and told him to calm down during Thursday's first debate of the B.C. election campaign.

The New Democrat leader's icy response: "Don't touch me again, please."
• Scroll down or click here for highlights from Day 10 on the campaign trail

clark horgan weaver
BC Liberals Leader Christy Clark, BC NDP Leader John Horgan and Andrew Weaver of the BC Green Party.

The exchange captured the sometimes chippy tone of the 90-minute live debate as Horgan interrupted and spoke over Clark every time she picked apart the NDP platform. It was a departure from the positive, take-the-high-road approach adopted by Horgan's predecessor in the last election, which the New Democrats lost despite a large lead in the polls at the campaign's outset.

A more restrained and smiling Clark stuck to a similar refrain by emphasizing her party's jobs-first platform and warning that the health of the provincial economy would be jeopardized under the leadership of another party.

"In these last four years British Columbia's really gone on a roll," Clark told listeners of News 1130 in Vancouver, which also livestreamed the debate online and broadcast it on City television. "We're just getting started and we don't want to end that."

Horgan accused the Liberal leader of governing in the interest of corporations, high earners and those "in the first-class lounge." He also said she is falsely claiming the NDP hasn't accounted for how it will pay for its platform promises.

"Whenever she gets in the corner she makes stuff up. This is why British Columbians have no confidence in the B.C. Liberals," Horgan said.

"Mr. Horgan, we didn't make up five balanced budgets," Clark replied.

Horgan said the NDP platform is based on the financial figures in the government's spring budget.

The Liberals have said the New Democrats' plan is too costly. The NDP is promising to bring in $10-a-day child care and eliminate tolls on two busy bridges in Metro Vancouver, but the party says a new tax on housing speculators and raising taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations will help balance the budget.

Clark chided the NDP's intention to roll out its affordable child-care program over 10 years.

"You're not going to deliver it until most kids have their driver's licences," she said.

Andrew Weaver of the B.C. Green party resorted to holding up his hand to get the attention of the moderator, and when he did it was mostly to criticize Clark's record.

"We've had 16 years of mean-spirited policies that have put corporate donors and those who have ahead of those who do not have," Weaver said when asked about housing costs.

Weaver condemned the Liberals for pushing forward with Site C, a hydroelectric megaproject in northeast B.C., as well as the government's promise of revenue from the liquefied natural gas industry, which has yet to develop.

"Trying to squeeze water from a stone doesn't work, even if you squeeze it harder. And that is the Liberal approach," he said.

The next debate in the May 9 election is Wednesday night.

Weaver described the confrontations in Thursday's debate between Clark and Horgan as petty, saying afterwards the people of British Columbia deserve better.

Clark accused her opponents of supporting policies that would bring B.C. back the economic stagnation of the 1990s, when the New Democrats were in power.

Asked about Clark touching his arm after the debate, Horgan suggested there is a double-standard.

"What would the response have been if I had laid my hand on the premier?" Horgan responded. "That's all I've got to say about that."

Clark later said she didn't mean to offend Horgan, describing him as a colleague.

"I'm a little bit surprised he took it that way," Clark said. "It certainly wasn't how it was intended."

Key moments from Day 10 on the campaign trail


Liberal Leader Christy Clark continued her attack on the NDP's platform, accusing John Horgan of running on a plan that B.C. can't afford.

Horgan says his promises are affordable and the costs associated with them and the impact on the province's finances are based on figures in the Liberal's spring budget.

He said the party's promise of $10-a-day child care, more affordable housing and removing tolls on two major bridges in the Vancouver area would be paid for by increasing the corporate tax rate by one percentage point and cancelling a tax cut for the highest income earners.

Clark says the province is on track to become debt-free down the road after falling short of that promise from the 2013 election campaign.

"We want to make sure we aren't throwing the furniture in the fire to pay for the operating expenses," she said.

Clark said the province has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and 220,000 positions have been created through the Liberal government's jobs plan.

Green Leader Andrew Weaver said he wants to retool the economy to create jobs in emerging sectors, rather than "chase the economy of yesteryear."

Fentanyl crisis:

Weaver said the government has been effective in bringing in harm-protection measures, but he wants to see more money spent on public education and prevention, starting with reversing cuts for counsellors and therapists in schools.

He also wants more money spent on mental-health and addiction programs.

The problem needs to be treated as a health crisis, not a criminal justice one, Weaver said.

Clark agreed that the crisis cannot be treated just as a law-enforcement issue.

She said the government has spent about $100 million to try to curb overdoses, but the number of deaths appears to have stabilized at about 100 a month, which is too high.

"Everyone who dies is someone who is loved and we need to remember that. Every single one of those people deserves our help."

Horgan said more safe-injection sites are needed, as well as treatment facilities to help people with mental health and addiction problems.

"If it's a crisis, if there is a fire burning in the Interior, we don't wait to see if we've got the budget for it," he said. "We have a fire in our major cities and right around British Columbia."

The NDP would also appoint a minister of mental health and addictions to advocate for change at the cabinet table, Horgan said.

Legalized marijuana:

There is an area of agreement between Clark and Horgan on the legal age for the sale of marijuana.

The federal government has introduced legislation that would legalize pot on July 1, 2018, giving provinces time to come up with sales and distribution systems and to decide whether to raise the age limit from 18.

Clark says she would lift the limit to "at least" 19, the same age when it's legal to purchase alcohol in B.C.

Horgan says he would consult on how best to roll out the new industry, but it's his opinion that 19 is the right age to bring it into line with the minimum age for alcohol sales.

Weaver says he's troubled by the federal government's plan because it favours large licensed producers and B.C. needs to foster a strong "craft cannabis" sector.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opinion: Millennials key, but volatile, voters in B.C. election

Mario Canseco Mario Canseco
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Published on: April 20, 2017 | Last Updated: April 20, 2017 1:00 AM PDT

Justin Trudeau at an October 2015 campaign rally in North Vancouver, with a poster of his late grandfather James Sinclair — a Louis St. Laurent-era cabinet minister and Liberal MP — held up behind him. Millennial voters in B.C. flooded to Trudeau in that year’s election, but will they decisively back any one horse in next month’s B.C. vote?

One of the passing theories on why the pollsters who published results failed to properly forecast the outcome of the 2013 British Columbia provincial election points to a disenchanted youth electorate.

That theory appeared to hold ground for a couple of years, until British Columbians voted in the 2015 Canadian federal election.

Those who overweighted the vote from older voters — in a specific case offering two distinct turnout models — were wrong. The federal Liberal Party captured 35 per cent of the vote in British Columbia, an immense change from the 13 per cent it garnered in 2011.

B.C.’s youngest voters took the federal Liberals from distant third to clear first in the province. What will they do in this year’s provincial election?

An Insights West poll outlines three key indicators that may provide comfort to the opposition: 69 per cent of B.C.’s millennials feel it’s time for a change in government, 61 per cent disapprove of the incumbent premier’s performance and 57 per cent claim they would be “very upset” if the B.C. Liberals are re-elected.

Numbers like these would suggest that the millennial vote is on the side of the opposition, but the animosity towards the current government is accompanied by doubts on leadership.

No indicator outlines this in better fashion than the “best premier” question. Three-in-five millennials (62 per cent) cannot pick any of the three main party leaders for the top job in the province. Premier Christy Clark is the lowest by far at seven per cent, while 17 per cent select B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and 14 per cent choose B.C. Green party leader Andrew Weaver.

B.C.’s young voters haven’t settled yet on any of the province’s major political party leaders, whether it’s the Greens’ Andrew Weaver, the NDP’s John Horgan or Liberal Premier Christy Clark (left to right).

B.C.’s young voters haven’t settled yet on any of the province’s major political party leaders, whether it’s the Greens’ Andrew Weaver, the NDP’s John Horgan or Liberal Premier Christy Clark (left to right). DARRYL DYCK / Canadian Press files

One way to understand where things may go is to look at the evolution of the vote in the last federal ballot. A month before that election, an Insights West survey placed the Liberal party in third place in British Columbia with 27 per cent while the NDP was riding high at 34 per cent. In the final Insights West poll, the Liberals got to 35 per cent — exactly what they garnered on Election Day.

The surge in voting for the federal Liberals among B.C.’s millennials was accompanied by extraordinary numbers for its leader. Justin Trudeau’s approval rating stood at 71 per cent among British Columbians ages 18 to 34 a day before all ballots were cast. Stephen Harper managed a paltry 27 per cent.

On the “best prime minister” question, Trudeau, at 38 per cent, held strong leads over the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair (21 per cent) and Harper (14 per cent) among voters ages 18 to 34 in B.C. At a moment when 74 per cent of British Columbians thought it was time for a change in Ottawa, the proportion surged to 82 per cent among millennials.

The stage was thus set for this supposedly idle, forgettable, lazy and unmotivated group to play a pivotal role in taking the federal Liberal party from two to 17 seats in British Columbia.

What role will B.C.’s millennials play in the 2017 provincial election? Their main concern (at a staggering 51 per cent) continues to be housing, homelessness and poverty. Accountability, which usually gains ground when people question the integrity of their government, stands at two per cent with this group. They will not be swayed by allegations of corruption. They are looking for ideas to endorse at the ballot box.

Two things are clear at this point. In spite of the premier’s low rating with this group, there is time for the governing party to woo them. No emotional connection on changing course has been established, certainly not at the level observed with Trudeau in 2015. This will play a role in how many young voters are lined up outside the polling stations on May 9.

B.C.’s millennials were extremely important in allowing the federal Liberal party to practically triple its vote share in the province from 2011 to 2015. Writing them off is a mistake. The federal Conservatives did it in the last election, and now they are in opposition.

Mario Canseco is vice-president, public affairs, at Insights West.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Housing, economy, leadership feature in final B.C. election debate

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:42PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 26, 2017 11:51PM EDT

VICTORIA - British Columbia's election campaign is in the final stretch after a TV debate Wednesday night that featured lively three-way clashes on the economy, housing and political leadership.

Liberal Leader Christy Clark is trying to maintain her party's 16-year grip on power and while her record was a target for her opponents, Clark was also on the offensive as she took shots at the NDP and Green party's financial policies as a risk to an economy that has led growth across the country.

But growth has also meant scorching house prices in the Vancouver area.

B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark arrives for a leaders debate in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday April 26, 2017. A provincial election will be held on May 9. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Darryl Dyck)

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan arrives for a leaders debate in Vancouver, B.C., Wednesday, April 26, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jonathan Hayward)

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver arrives for a leaders debate in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday April 26, 2017. A provincial election will be held on May 9. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Darryl Dyck)

Faced with the charge from NDP Leader John Horgan that the Liberals waited too long to help families trying to put a roof over their heads, Clark said she wanted to make sure the government didn't wipe out the value people have built in their homes by acting rashly.

"For people who already own a home, you have a lot of equity in that home, it is your investment and it's something that you want to protect. So it was really important that our government make sure we did all of our homework," said Clark, adding measures her government has taken like a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers in Metro Vancouver has helped slow rising house prices.

Weaver told Clark her government has a wrong-headed view of housing.

"Houses and accommodations should be there for people to live in, not to be viewed as commodities to trade like gold or potash," he said.

The leaders debated for the first time last week on radio, which was largely remembered for a testy exchange after Clark touched Horgan on the arm and told him to calm down, causing the NDP leader to ask his Liberal counterpart not to touch him again.

The debate on Wednesday featured three way clashes, but the moderator also singled out Horgan on his temperament, asking if he has an anger-management problem.

Horgan says he gets angry when he sees government inaction on a range of issues from underfunding of schools to a lack of support for children in care, which has resulted in suicide.

"I'm passionate. I got involved in public life because I wanted to make life better for people," he said.

Clark was also put on the spot when she was asked about a stipend she once collected from the Liberal party on top of her salary as premier and about the political donations that have led to a police investigation of B.C.'s political parties.

The Liberal leader deflected the question on trust, partly by discussing her economic record.

"I am someone ... who has in my first term as premier experienced some controversy, but I have always done that with the best interests of people at heart, making sure that we are creating jobs for people."

The campaign has defined distinct choices for voters from the three parties.

The Liberals have run a largely stay-the-course campaign so far, highlighting their stewardship of Canada's top-performing economy. Clark is promising a personal income tax freeze, a small business tax cut and four more balanced budgets, building on a string of surpluses in the last five years.

Horgan is running on the slogan "It's time for a government that works for you," a swipe at the Liberals over political donations from corporations and wealthy individuals. Clark has fired back on political donations, accusing the NDP of being under the influence of big unions after it emerged that some of the party's senior campaign staff are being paid by the United Steelworkers.

Horgan is promising a daycare program that would cost $10 a day, a significant increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and the elimination of medical services premiums, something the Liberals have promised to halve, starting in January.

Weaver is promising to double the tax on foreign home buyers and extend it across the province, while also providing free daycare for working parents who have children under the age of three.

On the economy, Weaver accused Clark of misleading the public on the promise of a liquefied natural gas industry that she has trumpeted.

Clark said she is still confident LNG will deliver jobs when the gas market recovers.

"Both of these guys want to wave the white flag and put an end to those jobs and those hopes and dreams of all of those people who like to have a regular pay cheque," she said.

Earlier in the debate, Horgan told Clark voters shouldn't believe the promises she makes as they want back and forth on housing.

"Why should anyone believe you now?" Horgan asked. "Just before an election, you are always quick with a smile and a promise, but you don't deliver."


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

B.C. Election 2017

No polling lead can ever be quite enough for B.C.’s NDP

Gary Mason

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Apr. 21, 2017 9:12PM EDT

Elections in British Columbia are always an uphill battle for the New Democratic Party and, despite polls putting it ahead, this one is no different.

As the electoral history of this province has demonstrated, a lot has to go right for the NDP to win a general vote. More often than not, triumph is the result of some breakdown in the centre-right coalition that has ruled British Columbia, under a couple of different political institutions, for all but 13 of the past 65 years. The conditions for that type of wholesale collapse are not evident this time around.

That certainly does not mean the NDP could not still win. To do that, it would have to persuade enough people who may have voted Liberal in the past (but are progressive-minded) to switch parties this time around.

Recent polling done by the Innovative Research Group (IRG) revealed results that, on many levels, the New Democrats have to feel good about. Given the findings, the party’s message of “change” would appear to stand a good chance of resonating with voters.

For instance, more than six in 10 (62 per cent) of those surveyed by IRG agreed with the statement it is “time for a change in government” in British Columbia while 69 per cent concurred with the view “the BC Liberals act without listening to the people directly affected.” (Interestingly, nearly 60 per cent of those who identified as BC Liberals agreed with that statement). Meantime, 66 per cent said they thought the “top people in the BC Liberals treat government like their own private club,” while roughly the same amount felt the “government had lost touch with the needs of the average person.”

IRG interviewed more than 400 British Columbians of voting age in late February and early March of this year.

This feedback would likely have been similar to what the NDP received when the party went into the field in the months prior to the start of the election, an encouraging response that would have helped craft its change mantra. On the surface then, this would seem to set the stage for one of those rare NDP victories in the province.

Not so fast, says Greg Lyle, president of Innovative Research, and a veteran of political campaigns in British Columbia going back to the 1980s.

While British Columbians are undoubtedly dissatisfied with the Liberal government on many counts, Mr. Lyle does not believe that enmity is deeply entrenched. In his March poll, he asked those surveyed to respond to the assessment: “I am so angry at the BC Liberal party I will never vote for them again.” Just 34 per cent of respondents agreed.

“That is a pretty low number,” Mr. Lyle said in an interview. “People might be upset at the government, but how motivated are they to do something about it? That is the key question. And our poll indicated that the anger level is not very deep, so the Liberals would have to be encouraged by that.”

He said the number was also small compared with the responses in other provinces to the same question. In Quebec, for instance, it was 46 per cent, Ontario, 43 per cent, and Alberta 42 per cent. So even though 55 per cent of people polled in British Columbia said it’s time for a change, the level of anger inside that response is what campaign strategists are looking at. That will tell the parties how serious people are about going in a new direction.

“Are they saying, ‘I wish I had a better government or I need a better government?” Mr. Lyle said. “And that is a big difference. People can be frustrated, but when push comes to shove, are they willing to change because they are completely fed up? Our polling shows that deep well of anger at the Liberals and Christy Clark just isn’t there.”

While Mr. Lyle holds the view the NDP is in tough given the significant seat advantage the Liberals hold, he is someone who knows first-hand anything can happen. He was campaign director for the Liberals in 1996, the year Gordon Campbell led them into battle and lost, even though the party received more of the popular vote.

Could that happen again? Mr. Lyle thinks so, but this time it could be the NDP at the bitter losing end of that equation.

“The more likely scenario this time would be NDP wins more votes, but Liberals win more seats because of the distribution of votes among seats,” he said. “What has changed since ‘96 is the Libs have strengthened their hold on rural seats and the NDP have done better in urban seats. So that means, bottom line, the NDP could be a bit ahead in the polls and still lose the election.”

Which would be almost too cruel to imagine if you’re a long-suffering New Democrat.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

B.C. Election 2017: Green party rises from obscurity to legitimate political force

Larry Pynn Larry Pynn
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Published on: April 27, 2017 | Last Updated: April 27, 2017 4:36 PM PDT

Rita Giesbrecht, Green party candidate for the Cariboo-Chilcotin, says locals have had enough of massive and continuing clearcuts in the region.

In just four years, the B.C. Greens have emerged from relative obscurity and nagging criticism as a one-issue party to become a legitimate political force with a comprehensive election platform.

They have the party’s smart, likable and hard-working leader (Andrew Weaver, MLA for Victoria-Gordon Head) to thank for that, as evidenced by his credible performance in Wednesday’s televised leaders’ debate. He scored second in an instant poll, behind the NDP’s John Horgan and just ahead of Liberal Christy Clark.

The Greens are brashly putting themselves forward as a party to govern, adopting the slogan “Change you can count on” — a virtual knockoff of Barack Obama’s “Change we can believe in”, which was used successfully during the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Political observers suggest the Green party should set its sights on a modest increase in legislative seats.

Norman Ruff, associate professor emeritus of political science at the University of Victoria, says that the Greens have grown from a “grassroots ecological movement toward a more fully fledged political party with all its trappings of a leadership-driven organization with a broad provincial policy agenda.

“This is very much Andrew Weaver’s Green party.”

But Ruff sees little indication that B.C. is ready for a “critical re-alignment of voters toward a third alternative” despite all the “potential vulnerabilities of the governing B.C. Liberals and the public’s alarm about affordability in their everyday lives.” A widespread sense that voting won’t change things that much could make efforts to get out the vote all the more important this time around, he noted.

Ruff also predicts that if the Greens “locate and focus their energies on communities where they are demonstrably seen as local contenders,” such as southern Vancouver Island, they might add a seat or two, or even achieve official party status with four MLAs.

A Mainstreet/Postmedia poll released April 25 found that despite general voter migration to the NDP, the Greens are “just barely hanging on to a lead on Vancouver Island where they are now essentially tied.”

B.C. Green party leader Andrew Weaver unveiled an income-security strategy he promised would be a revamp of the social safety net for the modern economy.

Weaver argues the Greens are capable of drawing from both established parties, as well as “from our key demographic: the non-voter.” He won the only Green seat in the 2013 provincial election, when the party took 8.15 per cent of the popular vote, compared with 44.13 per cent for Liberals and 39.72 per cent for the NDP.

Weaver observes that his own riding had been held by a Liberal for 17 years, a reference to his victory over former Saanich councillor and Liberal MLA Ida Chong.

“I don’t believe parties own votes. People own votes,” he said in an interview. “The lion’s share of people are just looking for someone to vote for instead of against, and that’s the opportunity we offer them.”

This election campaign, the Greens are fielding candidates in 83 of 87 electoral ridings.

Some have made the news for all the wrong reasons.

Don Barthel, the candidate in Port Moody-Coquitlam, did a lot of backpedalling after telling a friend on Facebook that he was “just a ‘paper candidate'” and “not expected to actively campaign.” The software consultant lives in Vancouver.

The Green candidate in Richmond South Centre is Greg Powell, a United Church minister from Castlegar. Weaver said in his defence that Powell “wanted to be part of our team,” but the only slots available were Richmond or Peace River North. “He’s a very credible person. He’s not a paper candidate.”

Weaver argued that Liberal leader Christy Clark lives in Vancouver but represents Kelowna, and the NDP candidate in his own riding (Bryce Casavant, a former conservation officer suspended for saving two cubs on the north island) is from Port McNeill.

B.C. Green party leader Andrew Weaver is joined by several candidates and special guest David Suzuki as they share a moment during a rally at the Victoria Conference Centre in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. CHAD HIPOLITO / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Clark was defeated by the NDP’s David Eby in the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey in the 2013 provincial election that her party won. Later that year, she ran successfully in a byelection in Westside-Kelowna.

Casavant, who is currently renting a condo in Victoria, argues that he turned down a request to run for the Greens because he figured the NDP was the only realistic option for defeating the Liberals.

Weaver also noted that Green candidate Jacquie Miller is running in Delta North, where “she spent her whole life,” although she currently lives in Vancouver. Chris Maxwell is a cancer researcher at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, but is running in the NDP riding of Victoria-Swan Lake. He was born, raised, and educated in Victoria.

Weaver argues the Greens have fielded a broad-based and capable team of candidates.

“We have six PhD scientists, three CEOs of tech companies, I don’t know how many teachers … I’ve lost count. It’s quite a diverse range.” The party’s youth movement is reflected in 18-year-old beekeeper Samson Boyer, running in Columbia-Revelstoke.

Based on the 2013 provincial election results, one of the Greens’ best hopes for another seat this time is Saanich North and the Islands. (Green MP Elizabeth May was first elected in Saanich-Gulf Islands in 2011.)

The NDP’s Gary Holman scored 33.27 per cent of the vote, compared with 32.76 per cent for Liberal Stephen Roberts and 32.07 per cent for the Green’s Adam Olsen. All are running again this time around.

In 2013, the Greens also did well in Victoria-Beacon Hill — a riding that includes the B.C. legislature — when then-party leader Jane Sterk placed second with 33.82 per cent, behind NDP veteran and former leader Carole James at 48.82 per cent. (The NDP easily defeated the Greens in Victoria in the 2015 federal election.)

This time around, the Green candidate is the lower-profile Kalen Harris, a University of Victoria political science graduate and owner of the Shatterbox Coffee Bar on Pandora Ave.

Further up the island, the Greens’ Sonia Furstenau, a director of the Cowichan Valley Region District, could make it a close race in the Cowichan Valley riding, where NDP incumbent Bill Routley is not seeking re-election.

In the Interior, the Greens are putting up a brave fight in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, where the party scored barely five per cent of the vote in 2013. Excessive logging is a key political issue.

Rita Giesbrecht says she has walked the sprawling clearcuts, and witnessed the tragic decline in moose populations. She has heard from the residents, be they ranchers, trappers, or ecotourism operators, and they are all saying enough is enough.

“We’re done,” asserts Giesbrecht, a 105 Mile resident. “It has galvanized the community.”

She argues that B.C. has suffered from excessive logging in the name of the pine beetle, increased exports of raw logs, the closing of mills, and greater timber industry oversight of its own affairs — all at the expense of local communities.

“What I’ve seen happen in my lifetime out there is nothing short of criminal,” she says of Liberal policies. “They come in and do what they want. They throw us a few token jobs and then they leave with the mess to clean up.”

As for the NDP: “They’ve been missing in action on this topic for the last 20 years. There has been a thundering silence from that side of the legislature on this topic.”

Giesbrecht has a long history of community participation based on 27 years residency in the region, including in areas of tourism, sustainable agriculture and food security, anti-poverty, family social services, tourism, and the arts.

The answer is not to demonize loggers or logging. Far from it, she said. What is needed is a wholesale rethink of the way logging takes place, with a closer look at impacts on the ecosystem and greater benefits for local communities.

The Greens are on record supporting everything from increased small-scale forest tenures, including for First Nations, an investigation into stumpage rates to ensure fair market value, and encouraging value-added second-growing processing operations, and support for sustainably certified wood products.

“Currently, (Liberal) policy has to do with the health of the corporations,” Giesbrecht concludes. “The health of the forest and the social contract with the community to have the wealth stay in the community seems to not be part of the discussion at all.”


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( Christopher Wilson at the rebel has discovered there is an endless list of 3rd party groups who have registered to help the ndp in the election )

April 27, 2017

British Columbia election: “Spoil your ballot, vote Green — just don’t vote NDP”

Christopher Wilson
Rebel Commentator

One of the most underreported stories of the 2015 federal election were the registered third party groups with Elections Canada that campaigned on behalf of Justin Trudeau.

With an election in British Columbia in under two weeks, the same familiar forces are at it again, registering in big numbers with Elections BC to actively try to elect the BC NDP.

I’ll show you the list: dozens of teachers associations, union groups, and environmental groups. The pro-business groups seem to be outnumbered 10-1.

It’s bad enough the NDP have the United Steelworkers based out of Pittsburgh donating hundreds of thousands to the party, providing fully paid campaign staff, but now the NDP are getting what is essentially free campaigning from these various left wing groups.

I want to make a direct appeal to any conservatives in the province who are not yet willing to support the BC Liberals and Christy Clark:

I know she’s not perfect. I know the BC Liberals have pushed the envelope of what is ethical as far as campaign fundraising. I know they seemed slow to act on the housing crisis, and I know they aren’t a truly conservative party

But let’s learn some lessons from Alberta, our last federal election, and even the election of Barack Obama:

Change for the sake of change can have far reaching consequences.

If you can’t bring yourself to vote for the BC liberals then fine, but don’t cut off your nose to spite your face and vote NDP. Spoil your ballot, vote green, just don’t vote NDP. Our province cannot take that risk.

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BC provincial election to be held May 9th

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