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Death of BC's Premier-The Dawn of a New Era
  Jan 31, 2007

Methodology-This is a random telephone dialing of 620 respondents throughout the Greater Vancouver Regional District between January 27th and 31st, 2007. This ROBBINS poll of citizens opinions is accurate 19 times out of 20, with competency/confidence at 97%, with a margin of error of 4.55% based on averaging over groups of 20, 50. and 100 respondents, with averaging including mean and median averaging, and adjustments made for population contributions from each area telephoned, and areas being considered as cities or municipalities in which interviews took place. The cost to produce the poll was covered in the following manner: Glen P. Robbins (25%); Jim Van Rassel (604) 942-9300 (25%); Glen P. Robbins and Associates (50%)

Question #1
In your opinion which of the following is most important to you as a taxpayer of this province?
accountability of elected officials    92 %
ensuring fair and reasonable pay for elected officials-    08 %
Question #2
In your opinion, how important is it that elected officials 'go out of their way' to avoid conflicts of interest whilst going about their business of governing?
Very Important    67 %
Important    25 %
Unimportant    08 %
Very Unimportant    00 %
Question #3
Late last year Premier Gordon Campbell signed a controversial agreement which would have provided Alcan aluminum with the right to sell power to BC Hydro. The deal was later quashed by the BC Utilities Commission. It was later discovered that Premier Campbell owned shares of Alcan in a regular discretionary brokerage account for RRSP holdings and NOT a mutual fund. In British Columbia, a conflict of interest exists when there is a appearance or perception of a conflict of the actions or behaviour of an elected official, particularly a Minister of the Crown, and the exercise of their civic duty on behalf of the citizens of the province. By owning shares of Alcan, and at the same time negotiating a deal between Alcan and BC Hydro was Premier Campbell in your opinion in a conflict of interest?
Yes    64 %
No    23 %
I'll let the Conflict Commissioner decide    04 %
It depends on how many shares he owned    06 %
Unsure/Undecided    03 %
Question #4
Gordon Campbell’s stockbroker is a generous donor to both he and the BC Liberal Party including donating $25,000 personally AND $140,000 from his brokerage firm to the BC Liberal Party just prior to the most recent general provincial election in 2005. In your opinion by owning shares with a stockbroker who donates significantly to both the Premier and his party, is Premier Gordon Campbell in a perceived conflict of interest?
Yes    92 %
No    08 %
Question #5
In your opinion should Gordon Campbell resign over this alleged conflict of interest?
Yes    68 %
No    28 %
Unsure/Undecided    04 %
Question #6
Which of the following choices BEST depicts your attitude towards the likelihood that the rock group The Police will go on tour after twenty years with tickets costing over $100 each?
I can’t wait to buy tickets to see The Police-    09 %
I would not pay $100 each to see The Police    21 %
I am not a fan of the The Police    23 %
I am not aware there is a rock group The Police    47 %
Commentary
It’s obvious that respondents in this poll don’t have very much respect for politicians in the province who operate as they please. Premier Campbell has likely worn out his welcome. (Ironically, even after the recent federal Liberal scandal there is significantly more respect for federal politicians). Coincidentally, our first baseline question relating to the more relevant accountability questions also touches on news reports from BC Liberal Finance Minister Carole Taylor that a raise for provincial politicians may be in the offing. I would suggest that they rethink this at this time.
I expect that Ms. Taylor’s overtures regarding wage increases for MLA’s are partially contemplated in light of the horrible information coming out of health care, and the difficult times emerging for the Premier who no longer has the ability to negotiate on behalf of the province, particularly with the federal government. More succinctly put, it is the BC Liberals notion that the best way to mollify or turn a communist into a capitalist is by giving them $100 (or so).
A raise for BC legislators should not be considered until such time as politicians are perceived by British Columbians as doing “the job they are being paid to do”. Ordinary British Columbians do not care about the friends and associates, judges and other insiders who have gained most of their livelihood from the taxpayer (or lawyers through government funded programs) assessing the relative merits of complaints, or whether or not politicians should get a raise, particularly when the Premier is in a ‘pickle’ like the one described in this ROBBINS poll. The people that are supposed to make these judgements are not sufficiently arms lengths, they are part of the ‘bigger club’ and thus their opinions are virtually worthless. Whatever ‘the people’ say is most important. Only ROBBINS speaks for the people.
In question two it is clear that the majority of the respondents believe that it is very important or important that elected officials ‘go out of their way’ to avoid conflicts of interest and nearly as many are of the opinion that Premier Campbell was in a conflict over his Alcan shares, yet only a small percentage are willing to leave the final Judgement with the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. This is because most reasonable people perceive the Premier to be legally innocent but politically guilty. It is just a little interesting that some respondents articulated the fact that they were willing to give the Premier “another chance on his drinking and driving”, but “he should know better” with the shares, after all to paraphrase one of our favourite political commentators Michael Smyth of the Province and CKNW’s Nightline BC show “the Premier isn’t stupid”. One thing is for certain, if the Premier is too busy to read the weekly notes from his stockbroker who gave his political party $140,000 then anything goes in this province! The courts do not accept willful blindness as a defense, and neither does this court of public opinion.
What the establishment does not understand is that there is very little reverence for elected officials, particularly provincial ones, or for the Judiciary, (particularly after the recent Ellison decision on sentencing).
The BC government needs a serious blood transfusion because the people have really lost interest (and patience). Elected officials really need to talk to constituents and not just to people at organized events, (who likely don’t tell them what they really think out of politeness or because they want something). At ROBBINS we know what the public really thinks, and this sentiment is seldom if ever accurately depicted in the newspapers or in the general media. These latter agencies should seriously consider getting ahead of this curve as they are falling behind, and the rise of the Internet etc. will invariably leave these (once) dominant organizations on the outside looking in.
Provincially, both the BC Liberals and the BC NDP are really short of credibility with the ordinary person. If the elected officials are not perceived to be credible, everyone else who participates from the public service to the news media is also seen as less credible. Some respondents (to question three) who answered “Yes” were for the most part somewhat reluctant, because they knew it was true, that the Premier was in a conflict, but they were also aware that by answering in the affirmative they were witnessing the end of another Premier’s career in this province. However by the time question #4 was introduced to respondents any hesitation by respondents dissipated and the sheer enormity of the donations ‘brought over’ those respondents who were most interested in the number of Alcan shares involved, the Conflict Commissioner’s decision, or did not know or were unsure.
Based on the information in this poll, Premier Campbell should resign.
Nearly one out of ten persons in the GVRD is willing to pay $100 per ticket to see a reunion of Rock Super group The Police.
Some other notable contributors to the BC Liberal Party: Farris, Vaughn, Wills, and Murphy (law firm) $12,490; Heenan Blaikie (law firm of former Prime Ministers Jean Chretien and Pierre Trudeau) $5,485. Big winners for legal contracts in Human Rights areas; Independent Contractors of British Columbia (claim to represent thousands of small businesses in BC-Philip Hockstein executive) actually de facto lobbyist for BC Liberals $8,000; International Forest Products $103,000 (what can you say?); Keg Restaurants $58,000; 'Independent' Consultants KPMG $20,000; Lang Michener (law firm) home to one of my favourite guys 'Big' John Reynolds co-Chair Conservative Party election Team $25,000 (sorry John); McDonald's Restaurants (so much for healthier diets) $10,000; Telus (formerly BC Tel) $46,000; Teresan Gas (no conflict here?) $35,000; Northwest Cruise Ship Association $11,000; Parklane Ventures $25,000; PCL Contractors $25,000; Polygon Homes-$25,000; Shaw Communication (home of independent cable television) $27,000; Tech Cominco (60,000); Milan Ilich (buy my daughter some power?) $75,000; Earl's Restaurant $9,500; Peter Brown $25,000 (personal donation) $140,000 Canaccord Capital Corporation (where Campbell owns shares); BC & Yukon Hotel's Association ( pubs and bars looking for cheap liquor subsidy for private liquor stores) $6,515; Bull, Housser and Tupper $25,950 (made millions with formerly BC NDP leader Tom Berger on anti-tobacco lawsuit), big players in personal injury dollars) $25,950; 7-11 Canada $11,490; C-W Agencies (Telco Management-controversial sellers of International Lottery and Lotto tickets) $1,000.

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