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BC Liberal Budget flatter than a Dutch panakook
  Feb 27, 2007

Thought for the day: ""My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference." Harry S. Truman, US President
This is a random telephone sample of 520 respondents in the lower mainland of British Columbia between February 24-27, 2007. This poll features a margin of error of 4.55%, 18 times out of 20 @ 96% competency/confidence. Glen P. Robbins and Associates and Jim Van Rassel owner New Trend Optical (604) 942-9300 has sponsored this poll.

Question #1
Q#1- Did you follow the recent BC Liberal Government budget?
Yes    34 %
No    66 %
Question #2
Q#2- In your opinion is $300 million dollars of provincial money sufficient to help reduce our ‘homelessness’ problem?
Yes    67 %
No    33 %
Question #3
Q#3-In your opinion should private property owners whose property values are negatively affected by social housing be compensated by the government for their loss?
Yes    61 %
No    39 %
Question #4
Q#4-Will a 10% reduction of your provincial taxes, combined with a 10% increase in your Hydro bills provide you with a ‘net’ benefit to your disposable income?
Yes    24 %
No    32 %
Its probably neutral    44 %
Question #5
Q#5-Gordon Campbell’s Green Plan advanced in the Throne Speech was not funded in the subsequent Budget. Is this acceptable to you?
Yes    40 %
No    57 %
Unsure/Undecided    03 %
Question #6
Q#6-BC’s provincial debt under the BC NDP and Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberals has doubled to an anticipated 40 billion dollars over the next three years. BC’s provincial debt under former Premier Bill Vander Zalm’s Social Credit government was approximately 20 million in 1990. In your opinion is this increase in provincial debt acceptable to you?
Yes    52 %
No    48 %
Question #7
Q#7-Are you currently satisfied with the progress of the BC Liberal government’s “Conversation on Health” and health care policy?
Yes    36 %
No    58 %
Undecided    06 %
Question #8
Q#8-Premier Gordon Campbell has expressed a desire to be BC’s Premier for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver/Whistler. How important is it to you that Premier Campbell is BC’s Premier in 2010 with the next general provincial election scheduled for 2009?
Very Important    10 %
Important    10.5 %
Relatively Important    15.5 %
Relatively Unimportant    22 %
Unimportant    16 %
Very Unimportant    25 %
Observations: One-third of respondents in this ROBBINS poll followed the recent BC Liberal budget. Two-thirds of respondents are satisfied that $300 million will help with BC’s homelessness problem. A similar number are of the opinion that those private property owners whose land values are negatively impacted by low cost housing developments ought to be compensated by the government.
The BC Liberal tax cut of $1.5 billion measured against the anticipated BC Hydro increase benefited the “disposable income” of about one in four respondents. The majority opinion was that the tax cut against the hydro increase would be a neutral. The majority of respondents do not accept an unfunded Green Plan, and do not find the growth of the doubling of provincial debt since 1990 to be acceptable.
The BC Liberals are hurting on the health care front with less than fourty percent supporting the Conversation on Health and health care. There isn’t strong demand among respondents for Gordon Campbell to be Premier for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Commentary: Although barely more than one third of British Columbians in the lower mainland paid attention to the recent Budget from Finance Minister Taylor, a strong number found the designation of funds for homelessness to be “sufficient”.
Unfortunately, the Budget went bust on the tax cuts, as the message/themes {that the funds were for ‘homes’} intermingled with a rise in BC Hydro rates has confused respondents and essentially made the whole $1.5 billion tax cut a complete public relations waste. The Premier spends tens of millions on his office staff every year (and for what?) BC Liberals should take a lesson from James Moore (MP Conservatives) who has always insisted on keeping messages simple and clear. Too much information makes the public think you are trying to confuse them because you have something to hide. If this is true this ROBBINS poll suggests the BC Liberals have much to hide, and a real long time for the Opposition to shine a light on their secrets. We believe the BC Liberals just aren’t good at messaging; we’ll have to wait and see the Olympic receipts to determine how much the government is hiding (if anything) from the public.
Gordon Campbell’s unfunded Green Plan likely did not work to induce any serious environmental voters over to his ‘religious conversion to environmental sustainability’ but it did satisfy his voter base. The BC Liberals are going to be in real trouble on health care and the debt as the public is losing confidence in their ability to deliver public health care, and some are believing this ‘failure’ is actually part of a ‘conspiracy’ to make private health care more palatable. This goes to the general lack of confidence the voters have in the Premier’s trustworthiness.
Gordon Campbell’s difficulty regarding increased debt ‘for infrastructure’ is that many in the lower mainland have not seen dime one for the infrastructure and believe the debt will go even higher than the anticipated 40 billion amount. This leaves conservatives with a luke warm taste in their mouth for the Premier and his party
Having transformed himself from a progressive conservative to a Liberal, the Premier will have a hard time covering off the right side of the political spectrum until 2009. The longer other ‘progressive conservatives’ {or even conservatives} in this quickly fracturing coalition remain at the Premier’s beckoning, the faster they become labeled as staunch Liberals as well.
There is very clear evidence that the BC Liberals are trying to run out the clock until the next general provincial election, as the Premier wants to stay on. No Legislative sitting in Fall 2006, the baloney Conservation on Health (while main players resign and/or are fired), major transportation holes, a Green Plan that is mostly theory with few bona fides, dubious belief in the overall positive impact of the Olympics, and now another ‘shell game’ budget. The BC Liberals use commodity monies to fund the Budget, and then increase charges to consumers to re-fund that Crown Corporation which is increasing its own debt (not included in aggregate debt on government books), and on an on goes the BC Liberal version of a ‘Ponzi scam’.
The ‘unofficial’ BC Liberal leadership contest has begun between BC Liberal Finance Minister Carole Taylor (Vancouver), Forestry Minister Rich Coleman (Langley), and Solicitor General John Les (Chilliwack) have begun their ‘unofficial’ campaigns to replace Gordon Campbell (who ROBBINS has predicted cannot survive the distance to the next provincial general election in 2009).
This budget did not help Carole Taylor. Solicitor General John Les is trapped in his loyalty to the Premier for giving him Rich Coleman’s job, and Coleman has been on the periphery of the Premier’s orb for going on three years now, and is in a good position to tap into the soft support for the Premier, and the growing discontent in the BC Liberal Party as the prospect of BC NDP Carole James hosting the 2010 Olympics increases daily.

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