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ROBBINS 'The Secret' reveals British Columbians prefer Greenspace to Land claims
  Feb 11, 2007

Respondents in the lower mainland of British Columbia don’t agree with using land from the Agricultural Land Reserve to settle aboriginal treaties in the province. This majority might be considered to be higher considering that many of those who selected (d) from question #2 selected “I don’t know” in question #1.
A light majority of lower mainland respondents believe that Prime Minister Stephen Harper should ‘top up’ the number of Senators in BC and Alberta despite the fact that the Prime Minister if vowing to make changes to the Senate. Although many respondents in this poll are not sure who Bill Vander Zalm is, of those who do a strong majority are of the opinion that he would be a great appointment to the Canadian Senate.
Premier Gordon Campbell has already been pronounced dead by ROBBINS, although he has yet to resign. The time period between the pronouncement of his political death (meaning that he cannot possibly win another election even though it is still 2 years away), was based on a number of factors including:
The Premier has been around a long time, and people are generally tiring of him;
The Premier was never really popular to begin with; he got in to power when the BC NDP was at its bottom under Dosanjh;
The Premier and the BC Liberals really haven’t been so good in government, they barely won the last election they ought to have won much more easily;
The economy is as much about factors other than government, such as commodities;
The Premier really hasn’t accomplished very much save for getting rid of much unwanted regulation; AND His privatization (P3’s) have not been successful
The health care system is unraveling, has not been working well under the BC Liberals, and successive resignations from the Premier’s peerage in government have hurt the Premier on this #1 provincial issue;
The Premier has never been properly challenged from the right side of the political spectrum and has basically governed without competition (and it shows), the increase in popularity of Stephen Harper (federally) will most likely put further downward pressure on the Premier, as British Columbians trade off a Conservative in Ottawa, with a more centrist left government in Victoria.
Not enough British Columbians have a great deal of faith in the Premier, he has been ‘propped up’ to a large extent by an ‘on side’ and helpful media many of whom are loyal to the Premier. Fewer and fewer respondents cite something they have read about politics in BC in ‘ROBBINS public opinion polls’, providing anecdotal evidence that less are relying on mainstream media or in the alternative believe much of what is written, or presented on the news in terms of politics; (The Scooter Libby hearing in the United States provides some tremendous insight into the type of incestuous relationship between the media and politics).
The BC Liberals have been awful on social issues. First they close down clinics for mentally ill patients, put them on the street, and then try to clean the street up from these ‘criminals’. Children and Families (never easy) have bombed. Poverty and homelessness issues have never been treated with compassion. The Education file was never handled properly. The Premier never seems to know what political tool to use. First he goes ham fisted and threatens legislation, and then he hands out billion to buy off workers.
Because the Premier has governed while the competition had one hand behind their back, he ‘had an easy road’, and this lack of competition make both he and his caucus sort of ‘lazy’. This was evidenced by his not opening the legislature. MLA’s should probably get a raise but the people don’t want them to have one. The BC Liberals want to distract and purchase ‘good news ads’ for hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to promote themselves when fundamentally this simply is a very average group of people in a very average government wasting money to stay in power without merit.
The best thing the Premier and his BC Liberals have to crow about is the Olympics, but the BC NDP got that started, AND it is probably just as likely that the Olympics with their underestimates and hidden costs (even a ‘friendly’ auditor general doesn’t want to stick around for the eventual blood-letting), will ALSO turn against the BC Liberals.
Students are mad as hell. They have billions of dollars of student loan debt, no chance in hell of buying a home, and their productive life in front of them. The Premier could probably begin to throw money at his problems to square up party support, but it would only be short lived, AND the Conservatives that USED TO support him (those who haven’t left already) will be long gone by 2009.
As a consequence of having it ‘easy’ the Premier decided to pursue aboriginal land claims, which are viewed with a very jaundiced eye by probably one quarter of British Columbians while the remainder of the province is split. Frankly most British Columbians will tell you when push comes to shove that they believe that aboriginals ask for too much, while a significant minority of respondents (both men and women) will tell you quite honestly and without malice that we shouldn’t continue to negotiate (“it’s a complete waste of money”).
Although I would like to believe that Premier Campbell was working with aboriginal rights and treaty negotiations because of good intentions, frankly (I) like most respondents in this poll believe any non-aboriginals who get involved with natives are looking for the ‘easy largesse’, which is around these deals, or for a sweet heart deal later on. We have seen former BC NDP Premier Glen Clark and his boss Jimmie Pattison lurking around the aboriginals (its hard to say if this is a good sign or a poor one). The public doesn’t buy the new-enlightened Premier on aboriginal land claims, or in the alternative they don’t agree with land claims, and the public is correct, one billion dollars of taxpayer’s money and nothing tangible to show for it.
Politically, going more Liberal on land claims including deciding to take land out of the ALR looks a little too much like another angle on increasing privatization and diminishing accountability. The Premier seems more intent on getting lots of taxpayer dollars out of the government purse and into some private purse to the extent that as former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm has indicated ‘ I don’t think the people trust him’.
At ROBBINS we agree with Bill Vander Zalm’s assessment. No one was ever really overly enamored with Gordon Campbell but his rich and powerful friends PLUS the age-old rationale that anyone was acceptable as long as it wasn’t the BC NDP kept him in power. Now it would appear that a razor thin rationale and a huge amount of taxpayer funded propaganda has kept the Premier in office for much too long.
Right now the Premier probably believes that if he hangs on long enough he can bounce back in public opinion. Not in real public opinion he can’t and for some strong fundamental reasons. A long time in office means more downward pressure on popularity. A weak personal popularity ranking simply reinforces this principle. The Liberal label is weaker now then it has ever been. The Premier moved into leadership of the BC Liberal Party when the label was strong. The Premier can only go down not up.
On the other hand the BC NDP are going up in popularity. This is based on the fact that people have mostly forgotten their sins including SIN taxes like gambling and alcohol (which the BC Liberals have made their own) and the BC Liberals have had two terms to govern and cannot use the BC NDP as scapegoats. In addition the rise of Conservatives federally (as mentioned) will likely increase the acceptance of the BC NDP provincially. Lastly, although the BC Greens remain viable in the province, their past leader has moved onto the bigger more exciting federal stage where Greens are really getting a shot at becoming an ‘electable’ alternative in the Federal Opposition, PLUS federal electoral laws increase dramatically the efficacy of the endeavour at that level. As a consequence whether by design or happenstance, the BC Green vote will likely diminish to around 5% provincially, with the remainder of Greens going to the BC NDP (amended as a 'slip' from BC Liberals). The BC NDP is heading toward 50% popularity while the BC Liberals are heading toward 40%. For the Premier to ‘stick it out’ and see what happens will decrease his party’s chances to recover later, and may in fact simply underscore his present lack of political electability. Each day he remains in power puts his party at greater and greater risk. This is not the 1980’s!
There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that the California governor will come to BC to accommodate Gordon Campbell’s Green initiative proposed for the upcoming budget. Politicians who are popular and on the move do not like to hang around with those who are on the way out.
The upshot of this is that the prevailing political winds including those, which emanate from this ROBBINS poll, reveal that unless the BC Liberals can push Campbell ‘off the roof’ (and soon) they will diminish in public support with each passing week. The BC Liberals need to let go of Campbell and have some other MLA’s ‘call it quits’ too. In 1996 the Liberals waited two weeks into the general provincial election to try to encourage Reformers to abandon their efforts in order to ensure the BC NDP did not get re-elected with Glen Clark (Glen P. Robbins was in the middle of these discussions advocating “No” to the BC Liberal proposal on behalf of a number of BC Reform candidates. Robbins had switched support from the BC Liberals to BC Reform in 1995).
How long will they continue to wait while public opinion erodes?
(Every BC Liberal who is not directly related to the Campbell camp knows what I am saying is the honest truth).
This is a random telephone sample of 505 British Columbians in the lower mainland of British Columbia between February 9th to 11th, 2007. This telephone pubic opinion poll by ROBBINS features a margin of error of 4.55%, 19 times out of 20 @ 98% competency/confidence. Glen P. Robbins and Associates, ROBBINS Media Works, Jim Van Rassel (20%) and a third party who chose to remain anonymous who is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and is non-partisan politically supported this poll.

Question #1
In your opinion should land be taken from the Agricultural Land Reserve in order to satisfy aboriginal land treaties?
Yes    36 %
No    56 %
I don't Know    08 %
Question #2
The BC NDP does not agree with removing land from the Agricultural Land Reserve to satisfy settlement of aboriginal land treaties. On the other hand the BC Liberal government and Premier Gordon Campbell agree with removing land from the Agricultural Land Reserve in order to accommodate land treaties. On this subject who do you most support?
BC NDP    43 %
BC Liberals    31 %
This subject isn’t really about political parties-    04 %
Frankly, I don’t believe aboriginal treaties will be successful no matter what is done    21 %
Question #3
British Columbia and Alberta are short their rightful number of Senators in Ottawa. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has pledged that if re-elected he will push for Senate reform. In your opinion would you support the Prime Minister if he first appointed the appropriate number of Senators to represent BC and Alberta, prior to introducing changes to Senate?
Yes    54 %
No    46 %
Question #4
If former BC Social Credit Premier Bill Vander Zalm were appointed Senator to represent British Columbia, would you approve of this appointment?
Yes    41 %
No    29 %
I don't Know/Can't Answer    30 %

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