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RSR ROBBINS - Leaders/Party, PETRONAS - LNG, BC Lawyers - Trinity Western-BC Nurses, Teachers, Doctors et al
  Oct 09, 2014

Question #1
Which provincial leaders and party do you support currently? (leaders and party to 100%)
John Horgan and BC New Democrats    45 %
Christy Clark and BC Liberals    28 %
Adam Olsen and BC Greens    16 %
Dan Brooks and BC Conservatives    9 %
Undecided    13 %
Repeated Question    5 %
Question #2
Which federal leaders and party do you support currently?
Justin Trudeau and Liberal Party of Canada    33 %
Tom Mulcair and New Democratic Party of Canada    32 %
Stephen Harper and Conservative Party of Canada    29 %
Elizabeth May and Green Party of Canada    7 %
Undecided    6 %
Repeated Question    3 %
Question #3
PETRONAS a large liquefied natural gas firm out of Malaysia has recently indicated that it may withdraw from its intended $10 billion dollar LNG plant to be built near Prince Rupert on the basis of appropriate incentives presumed to include a lower of the tax rate. Are you willing to support tax relief to this company in return for its proposed LNG investment in British Columbia?
Yes    26 %
No    64 %
Undecided    10 %
Repeated Question    5 %
Question #4
How much provincial tax on earnings should offshore companies extracting natural gas and other resources from BC provincial territory through refineries, rentals and other sources of earnings related to this economic benefit pay depicted as a percentage of each dollar?
25% tax each and every year of financial operation with no provincial write off for depreciation    14 %
20% tax each and every year of financial operation with no provincial write off for depreciation    13 %
15% tax each and every year of financial operation with no provincial write off for depreciation    21 %
10% tax each and every year of financial operation with no provincial write off for depreciation    21 %
5% tax each and every year of financial operation with no provincial write off for depreciation    14 %
1.5% tax for 3 years and the 7% thereafter each year with the first 4.5% deducted from the 1st 7%    15 %
No tax whatsoever    3 %
Repeated Question    8 %
Question #5
PETRONAS expressed doubt about BC's financial and legal stability, based on what you know or believe the BC position to be on financial and legal stability is this fair criticism?
Yes    43 %
No    44 %
Undecided    13 %
Question #6
Premier Christy Clark suggested PETRONAS is merely trying to negotiate a better deal. Which of these statements best reveals your opinion of this current disagreement based on the apparent negotiation?
I am against LNG development    18 %
I am for LNG development    14.5 %
I am against tax breaks for LNG development    27 %
I am for tax breaks for LNG development-    3 %
I am against tax breaks wealthy offshore countries doing business in BC    14 %
I am not against tax breaks for wealthy offshore companies doing business in BC    3 %
Premier Christy Clark knows what she is doing    7 %
Premier Christy Clark is over her head in this negotiation    14 %
Repeated Question    14 %
Question #7
The Law Society of British Columbia has approved accreditation of Langley's Trinity Western University's law school and its covenant that all persons entering the law school first denounce gay marriage. Trinity Western is a private university which has admitted it receives money from the federal government in year in research grants and also received funding during the recession based on an application for one time monies. Do you support the Law Society of BC's decision to support the conditions of law school entrance at Trinity Western University?
Yes    19 %
No    74 %
Undecided    7 %
Repeated Question    2 %
Question #8
Based on your experience, knowledge or perception, on a scale of 1%-100% with 1% the low score and 10% the high score, how would you rank your opinion of BC lawyers? (Adjusted for can’t answer
Twenty eight per cent    28 %
Question #9
The Law Society of British Columbia permits lawyers to charge people with injury claims under contingency fee agreements on average from 25-33% of their total settlement or court award. Which of the following statements best describes how you would assess this percentage payment?
It is likely too much    76 %
It is likely too little    6 %
It is likely just right    18 %
Question #10
How do you respond to this statement based on your opinion only: BC is in desperate need to produce more lawyers?
Agree    3 %
Disagree    89 %
Question #11
Which of the following professions commands the most respect from you (pick any two)(total % divided by two)?
BC Nurses    38 %
BC Teachers    27.5 %
BC Doctors    16 %
BC Lawyers    11 %
Commentary
John Horgan and the BC New Democrats lead the BC Liberals by 16% at this time and are walking away with public support early in the term with the Legislature back to business. Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals lead the pack in a tight three way race in the Province of British Columbia with a federal election just around the corner. The migration of respondents from provincial party support to federal party support reflects evidence that voters are not necessarily following party brands.
British Columbians reject tax relief for PETRONAS of Malaysia relating to its proposed LNG project in the province. British Columbians’ are split on PETRONAS criticism of their province in doubting its legal and financial stability. This split based on criticism should be pause for all British Columbians – the company and one half of the voting public does not see their own province as stable.
7 in 10 decided BC voters are not willing to give PETRONAS of Malaysia a tax break. In a subsequent question (5) we determined that (59%) of respondents including respondents against LNG, respondents against tax breaks for LNG companies, and respondents against tax breaks particularly for wealthy offshore companies doing business in BC---are against PETRONAS generally. (20.5%) of BC voters from question 5 are for LNG, for tax breaks for LNG, and for tax breaks for offshore companies. The number of BC voters from question 3 who were against tax breaks for LNG generally actually declined over the response choices provided in question 5, while a corresponding number declined in the support for tax breaks.
The explanation for the difference between the two questions outcomes is likely that question 3 offers fewer response choices to question 5, and the additional response choices in question 5. Including undecided question 3 offers 3 response choices, question 5 nine response choices. Question 5 does not offer undecided. Question 3 reflects a random response of 33.33% while question 5 reflects just over 11% random. The aggregate of 3 response choices from question 5 – one group for and the other against, reflects 33.33% random for each for grouping and against grouping, the same as question 3. By deduction the explanation for the difference in the numbers downward generally on for or against from questions 3 to 5 involved the inclusion of the Christy Clark response choices—Christy knows what she is doing, doesn’t know what she is doing (negotiation)-the personal from the issue abstract.
Respondents who support LNG tax breaks (including BC Liberal supporters) agree Premier Christy Clark is over her head. Some BC Conservatives supporters against tax breaks in question 3 say Christy Clark is over her head. Some New Democrats and some BC Greens say Christy is over her head. Only BC Liberals respond that Christy knows what she is doing, yet some of these respondents also believe that BC is legally and financially unstable, as do many BC Conservatives. Yet, some New Democrats and BC Greens – believe that BC is legally and financially stable, while more see it as legally and financial unstable. How does budget balance legislation fit into this hodgepodge of opinion?
Premier Clark’s problem now is that she staked her premiership on glorious promises for BC from LNG like “Brick” shares – and the announcement from PETRONAS of Malaysia that it might pull out if a better deal cannot be struck (than the current one in place rejected by British Columbians) creates a crisis of confidence in her government following maladroit government negotiations with the BC Teachers causing upheaval and doubt among the general public. Christy Clark insists this is a negotiation only less than 4 months after signing the deal for crumbs in return to British Columbians, when she and her Cabinet might better consider PETRONAS’S mission statement of loyalty ‘to the nation and the company’. That loyalty does not include British Columbia – and shouldn’t include the provinces resources.
It appears that the issue of the LNG situation with PETRONAS reflects on a general problem with Christy Clark’s leadership. The issues speak much louder than her leadership does, and a good leader must be equal to the volume of the issue. The media dubbed Christy Clark a great communicator, the evidence would appear to contradict this.
By anecdote, some of the explanation for this is that some BC Liberal supporters (who also support federal Conservatives, support Trinity Western’s covenant). They express doubt about BC’s legal and financial position and by further anecdote blame it on this circumstance. There are others still who are doubtful about our legal institutions, and still others who as mentioned have problems with the way the province runs its accounting – big debt – balanced budget commanding all the attention and focus in elections etc.
British Columbians support a tax regime of an estimated 15% per year in each year of economic operation of any offshore company involved in an LNG operation functioning in the province. This is significantly higher than the tax regime proposed of 1.5% for a few years and then 7% tax with the initial 4.5% deducted from that amount.
Obviously, support for the conditions of entrance to Trinity Western including compelling prospective law students to sign a covenant against gay marriage is not acceptable to BC voters. It is voted down in this RSR ROBBINS poll and has been voted down overwhelmingly in previous RSR ROBBINS polling. The University cites the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada (1981) provides for freedom of religion for private learning institutions, and promotes the fact that the minister of advanced education in BC supports its position. Law schools in Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick support the BC Law Society and Trinity Western. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada supports this position. The Upper Canada law society and Nova Scotia Law Society do not support it.
The problem for the Trinity Western position goes well beyond the lack of public support for its position. It creates a further problem that spills over into the confidence of a mostly secular province (and country). Anecdote suggests that many BC voters believe that this well publicized effort is intended as a type of plot to move to create the future circumstances where lawyers Trinity Western admits it wants to be more community oriented to be of the mind to quash not only gay marriage rights, but also a women’s right to choose, and the influence on the courts of lawyers with “unconstitutional minds”.
Generally supine leadership at the highest levels of BC courts and general unaccountability and succession of irresolute Attorneys General in the province has created the conditions under which the lawyers have taken over the parliament and the court de facto, and have combined with an equally unstable governance to create a very difficult atmosphere for British Columbians, clearly evident to outsiders and to the population itself. This position is supported by the close decisions by the Upper Law Society (Ontario) and Nova Scotia Law Society where the vote in support was close.
The population has a relatively low opinion of lawyers. This may not be a revelation, but now there is evidence before the public that is more readily digestible and less shrouded in the vernacular and cleverness of the subject of law – (which leaves the profession detached and permitted to its own devices most of the time). Our contingency fee question leaves little doubt as to what may be a contributing factor. The public thinks lawyers are greedy. Efforts by lawyers, including former lawyers who are now judges, court administrators in the BCGEU all conspire to ensure that self-litigants have little access to justices and that lawyer members have unwavering control of the filing system at BC courthouses. This is designed to (falsely) maintain the high legal fees charged by lawyers at around $350 per hour, and avoid opportunities for lawyers or non-lawyers working with paralegals to produce more affordable legal fees targeted in the region of $150 per hour.
For these reasons, federally appointed justices DBA justices-lawyers in BC should be paid more money on the condition that they move and practice in another province, to avoid the obvious loyalty problems they have in maintaining economic interests in the law firms they left to become justices, and to the needs of the fellow lawyers they see in their travels each day---which leaves the average person left to paying through the nose to access to justice.
Adding a law school which defines its entrance provisions as protected by religion and suitable to discriminate against some persons, when the constitution which they must swear to uphold refuses that allowance is dangerous and British Columbians know this. The fact that this application was not rejected out of hand by the BC Liberal government minister for Advanced Education, and supported by strongly by lawyers in charge of their profession is disconcerting. The fact that the university has its hands out for research money and other financial aid from government, while trying to proclaim itself a private religious institution reflects an institutional atmosphere in this country and in British Columbia that has no boundaries, and less ethical standards – while apparently clawing for more moral high ground.
Whether God supports this – who knows – but the BC public surely does not. This is not in the public interest, and the BC Law Society operating under the BC Societies Act is not acting in the public interest.
Methodology - An RSR ROBBINS survey of 1,043 BC Voters from the most recent provincial general election May 2013. This survey features a Margin of Error of 3.13%, 19 times out of 20 @ 95 confidence level.

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