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ROBBINS on green plan in BC Budget-Wishin' and Hopin' and Guessin'
  Feb 21, 2008

What to do with Gordon Campbell-Climate Change policy featuring Carole Taylor-BC finance minister.
People who come to our polling site will soon see that we are not great fans of the Premier. This is only partly true. Naturally we give voice to the people of the province first and attempt to voice the commentary based on their preferences.
However, having conducted hundreds of polls in the province since the Premier first came to power in 2001, it is easy to see that he really hasn’t done a very good job. I would rank his performance as awful, when he decides to work. His lack of a deep understanding of issues is apparent. This lack of understanding is evident in the new Budget as it relates to climate change policy and carbon tax specifically.
Gordon Campbell took the leadership over from populist politician Gordon Wilson who brought the party back in the early 1990’s. In 1994 Gary Farrel Collins (I think he took his wife’s name or something), removed a love letter from the desk of Gordon Wilson. The love letter exposed an affair Wilson was having with Judy Tyabji another Liberal MP.
This love tryst scandalized the Wilson leadership and permitted its takeover by Campbell.
There was a general provincial election in 1996 which Campbell was expected to win, and he lost.
Finally, after nearly a decade of the BC NDP an election was held. The BC NDP put up Indo Canadian candidate Ujjal Dosanjh, instead of Gordon Wilson who had since moved over to the BC NDP and was vying for the leadership position when former Premier Glen Clarke stepped down over controversy relating to fast ferry purchases. Good luck Ujjie. (NB. ROBBINS polled this NDP leadership contest-and revealed that the NDP could beat Campbell-always behind his party in support-to become Premier-the NDP got 'funky' in what remains a predominantly caucasian town-took on an Indian party leader-and got wiped out-how stupid was this party decision-and has the party purged itself of this demented portion of the party 'braintrust'?)
The BC NDP were virtually wiped out. To be sure Campbell became Premier because the BC NDP were so reviled by the public at this time. He ruled like he had 77 of 79 seats, with an iron fist and provided huge tax breaks to the wealthy, so much so that by the 2005 provincial general election Campbell nearly lost to the BC NDP.
Prior to the 2005 election Campbell used ‘positive advertising about BC’ to set the stage for a comeback win. Criticism was fairly leveled at the Campbell BC Liberals for using taxpayer funds to give his party a boost. The mainstream predicted a much bigger win for the BC Liberals, than did ROBBINS, with ROBBINS naturally making the more accurate prediction of a BC NDP near total comeback.
With a mid 2009 election looming, we once again see the BC Liberal “Great BC” advertising emerging. What we don’t see is anything to do with the controversial sale of BC Rail and raid on the BC legislature which has been before the courts for nearly 5 years. The question is being raised: Are the courts ‘cooking’ the stall in order to give Campbell, who is not popular, is seen to be lazy, and with no follow-through, another advantage for the next election?
This is not BC’s birthday in Confederation, it’s another birthday. It may help Campbell (along with media, courts, and so on) be offering another bread and circus distraction prior to the next election. But what is the point?
If Campbell is lucky (and I mean lucky) to win another election in 2009, what will the seat difference be? Will it be one or two seats? So Gordon Campbell is sitting with a one or two seat majority, and according to his own pledge, would not stay on as Premier.
By his own admission he would be lame duck on day one. Are you suggesting to me that even after a narrow win, that Campbell could be viable for another four years? I hardly think so. The question isn’t whether we want the BC NDP or not. BC, owing to collusion between federal Liberals and Conservative does not have a bona fide Conservative Party. So the premise of re-election is based on perceived wrongdoings of a party over a decade ago, wrongdoings which were obviously forgiven after the most recent provincial election. How pathetic of a democracy have we become?
Gordon Campbell doesn’t represent Conservatives. He certainly doesn’t represent me and/or Jim Van Rassel a Conservative for BC, and we are the busiest Conservatives in the province by far.
This takes us to the recent Carbon Tax policy advanced by BC finance minister Carole Taylor.
First of all Carole Taylor says the policy is designed to “make us think”. She said this twice on CKNW. In that same interview with Bill Good she says ‘do we want to talk or do we want to do something’ about climate change. Quite clearly, the something she is determined will help the climate change problem is to “think”. Thinking implies at best moral suasion in terms of policy.
The moral suasion is apparently to get both producers and consumers “thinking”. Basically, the policy says that everyone is paying more in tax (the consumers because of a gas tax on previous taxes, purportedly for road improvement, transportation etc), but this is offset by revenues, dividends, credits and other policy ‘codicils’ (I use this word for poetic reasons as codicils are usually contemplated in the making of Wills).
No thinking required here. First of all, the government is merely borrowing money, the pay-back to producers and consumers will be down the road. This theoretical loan is off the books. Secondly, how does this improve the problem of climate change to those (of arguably the 70% majority) who believe that climate change exists in the first place, when the policy has as one of its main selling points- the fact that the money which producers are alleged to be expected to pay in ‘penalties’, and the consumers KNOW they are going to pay in penalties is offset with a pay back of monies?
Further, there is no such thing as “revenue neutral”. We don’t earmark funds coming in from the federal government, or deal with other monies in that specified fashion, so all monies are dealt with at the point of Revenues and Expenses. Thus, once the producers are alleged to have paid their share, and the consumers pay their share, monies increase to the provincial treasury. Once there, the monies could be used for anything. These dollars could be used in health care for example to ensure more British Columbians have access to a doctor, and we don’t have to close down Maple Ridge emergency or consider doing the same at Royal Columbian in New West, when a flu epidemic breaks out as has happened recently.
The BC Liberal government closed a hospital because so many people confused by the harshness of the flu, panicked a little and headed to emergency. How long were hundreds of these citizens left waiting, wretching and puking every few minutes in hospital washrooms, while emergency staff attempted to prioritize ailments, life threatening injuries etc? Instead these dollars will be given back to both the producers who are allegedly going to pay for their significant pollution into our air, and to consumers who will pay for certain. How did this really get the people in the province thinking about things and how did it display courage beyond the fact that they are taking more monies from us to pay for the 2010 Olympics and other BC Liberal ‘strategies’ like the Convention Centre, where the main contractors, huge donors to the BC Liberals, are hundreds of millions over. Why are taxpayers paying for this?
No such thing as revenue neutral.
The benefits from this government’s green policy which taxpayers/voters can reasonably be expected to achieve are negligible. For one UVIC professor to say that this policy on climate change took courage, than I submit that anyone who gets out of bed in the morning in this province is equally courageous.
Courage on the part of the Premier and/or the Finance Minister would have been to say we are going to deal with those who are the biggest polluters relative to their emissions. These are producers. Had the government given major incentives to producers to purchase technology to mitigate pollution significantly (and the technology is available), such as tax credits for more expedited depreciation of these purchases of technology, we might be off to a better start, and this would have shown leadership to the country, and made the Premier and his finance minister’s claims to want to be Green-bona fide.
As it is, they are not courageous, by their own admission they only want British Columbians to start thinking about climate change-which suggests quite clearly that this is all they are doing.
We grade this “F”. It would have taken more courage to do nothing.
This Budget policy on climate change (08) is embarrassing in terms of the level of its how it avoids dealing with big polluters in any meaningful way, and simply taxes the middle class (and lower) who aren’t going to vote BC Liberal anyhow.
We remain astonished at how stupid the current government, its big business supporters, friends in media, and sell-outs in academia- think we all are.
Therein lies the problem, its all that thinking…and no doing.
BC remains the best place on earth however the problem is that it may also be the worst government(s) on earth as well. Now this is a neutralizing factor we can all understand.
Glen P. Robbins
(604) 942-3757

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