This page is sick and tired of the bizarre alternate mirror evil universe that the BC Liberals have created in British Columbia, and quite frankly, it may not be long before I set out to find my way back to a life based on truth and justice rather than the greedy musings of a fascist elite. Yesterday's Provincial budget is a solid illustration of just how far the rabbit hole we've gone down since Gordon Campbell's bloodless propaganda coup of 2001.
Only in British Columbia can a budget anchored to further tax cuts for the rich be considered "holistic", when in reality, lower income groups will see their tax cuts erased by increases to BC Hydro rates and ICBC premiums. Only in British Columbia is a $50 a month increase to welfare rates "significant". It's significant for slum landlords who will now in turn raise rents by that amount and more. Taylor hinted that there would be money for the homeless in yesterday's budget, and guess what? She delivered on a funding formula to create more homeless people in BC.
The budget's housing package has only one real objective: to perpetuate Greater Vancouver's highly flammable and increasingly toxic real estate market. Taylor put just enough money on the table for the brainwashed to keep believing that the 300 sq. ft. box in Yaletown of their dreams is just out of reach. This is a government that has tried their absolute hardest to kill industries like forest products, shipbuilding, and the wild salmon fishery, but when it comes to keeping the real estate carpetbaggers who bankroll the BC Liberals happy, this government spares no expense.
As for any follow-through from the greenwashing rhetoric of the Speech From the Throne, it amounted to sweet organic recycled f*ck all. I guess we're left with the sophisticated high-tech monitoring of traffic shoving itself through the Gateway Project that the Liberals honestly think is a solution, so we'll know exactly how much we're being poisoned.
In her remarks yesterday, Taylor claimed that she wanted to "reward hard-working families who play the rules". Of course, it helps when Liberals keep changing the rules when it comes to things like drunk driving and insider trading. The Finance Minister also claimed that the booming economy will attract more people to BC, so that British Columbians can soon enjoy the same lack of basic infrastructure and public health care that our Alberta neighbours do.
Much of this page's hiatus last week was taken up with a considerable amount of soul-searching. Actually, if you're a regular reader and saw the CUPE BC and NDP links disappear from my sidebar, you know that the soul-searching has been going on for a few weeks now. This page is angry and frustrated by the labour movement's lack of ability and/or interest in attacking the BC Liberal agenda, particularly when it comes to the issues of poverty and homelessness is British Columbia. When people have to shove their way to the mic at the latest Olympic announcement or shackle themselves to each other on the floor of a cabinet minister's office, you know how hollow the words "An Injury to One is an Injury to All" are ringing these days.
Everything I learned in Labour History class leaves me pissed off with the BC Fed and my own Union. Why bother Organizing the Unorganized when our self-absorbed Baby Boomer membership (and leadership) each received $3,000* in pre-Olympic hush money...oops... signing bonuses from Carole Taylor? So much for any solidarity with the Anti-Poverty, First Nations, and Environmental movements who stood with us on the front lawn of the Legislature in the dark weeks of February, 2002. I know from experience that my fellow union members are people who will sit in rapture listening at the Union's convention to Stephen Lewis talk about fighting AIDS in Africa but at the same time shrug when Stephen Harper's troglodytes move to shut down the Safe Injection Site in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Much of the fightback against the Lieberals during their first term came from members of the Hospital Employees Union (HEU), who were mostly front-line workers, immigrants, and women. HEU workers struck after Bill 29 demolished their collective agreement, and my union told its members working that they shouldn't cross the picket line, but they didn't have to march with HEU members to get their strike pay either. That one CUPE guy in front of UBC Hospital? That was either me, or the other guy - everyone else stayed home and watched it on TV. The HEU members weren't white middle-class baby boomers, and neither are the Anti-Poverty activists desperately struggling to maintain social housing, welfare rates, and opportunities to break the cycle of drugs, prostitution, and violence. Why does one of the most powerful labour movements in North America turn its back on the people most likely to back the ideals of the labour movement?
Today the self-interested silence from Big Labour towards the people at the margins is still deafening, and disturbing. The kinds of people who are flocking to the ranks of the Anti-Poverty Committee in 2007 are exactly the kinds of people that Unions like the Industrial Workers of the World were organizing in 1907. Where's the coalition-building? Where are the community campaigns? Last spring the BC Fed could have used public sector bargaining to not only leverage a comprehensive labour accord for the 2010 Olympics, but comprehensive social and environmental accords as well. If our public sector jobs were worth a General Strike three years ago, then affordable housing, decent welfare, real training opportunities and a public transit system to reach them are worth a General Strike now.
Yesterday the Anti Poverty Women's Committee staged an occupation of Finance Minister Carole Taylor's office to draw attention to the BC Liberals' ongoing neglect of the province's poor. The news of the occupation interrupted Taylor's pre-budget Marie Antoinette turn with the ever-fawning media synchophants, who praised the poor little dear for re-using the same pair of shoes from her budget speech last year.
If you'll notice in the link, the CBC has already whitewashed Taylor's reaction (their former boss still appears to have her well-manicured fingers on the right buttons), stating that "most people in the province don't believe aggressive demonstrations are the way to talk about serious issues." Watching Canada Now at 6:00 PM PST last night, this page distinctly heard the Finance Minister say "These kind of protests should be condemned."
NON-VIOLENT PROTESTS SHOULD BE CONDEMNED??! If a small group of women sitting on the floor of Ms. Taylor's office armlocked together warrants being "condemned", what rhetorical ammunition would the Finance Minister have left if the growing Resistance to the Liberals' agenda of manipulation, greed, and hatred resulted in her office being trashed, or worse, blown to pieces? The use of the term "Condemned" doesn't really leave the aggrieved party anywhere to go.
Memo to the Finance Minister: Stop acting like a spoiled little girl playing dress-up games, and put on some responsibility with a nice matching conscience for a change.
Despite yesterday's declaration of a mistrial in 1st Lt. Erin Watada's court-martial, it's still possible the 28 year old war resister from Olympia will still end up facing up to six years in prison. Watada was not willing to deploy to an illegal and immoral war in Iraq, but he is willing to sacrifice his personal freedom for his beliefs, and the beliefs of a growing majority of Americans.
The chickenhawks will squawk that Watada gave up any choice when he enlisted with the Army, which of course belies the notion of a "volunteer" army. This page has noticed a dearth of coverage in the Watada case outside of the Northwest, which leads me to believe that someone doesn't want to remin the American public of their inalienable right to become informed, and on the basis of that information, change their minds.
By all reports, Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq. If the Army does in fact have an officer corps recruited on the basis of intelligence and sound judgement, he won't be the last.
Bill Bennett is on the outside of Gordon Campbell's cabinet looking in after his e-mail abuse of an constituent showed up at a prominent political blog.
This page contends it's not Bennett's caustic tone, nor the off-colour language that landed the now former Mining Minister in such trouble, but rather these particular words: "It is my understanding that you are an American, so I don't give a sh*t what your opinion is on Canada or Canadian residents..." To the Campbell Liberals, Bennett's real offence is that he forgot that this government, as a matter of fact, does give some serious sh*t as to what Americans think, especially the Americans who run Accenture, Omnitrax, Weyerhauser, the folks at Maximus who have our medical records...
Really, it's Bennett's own fault: He of all people should know that this Bennett's day when smack-talking MLAs let us run our own railroads and generate our own electricity are long gone.
This time it's Garth Turner, who unlike David Emerson, had enough ethics to sit as an independent for a while after he was expelled from Stephen Harper's Conservative caucus. Turner thought briefly about giving the Green Party their first MP, but in the end opted not to upset the perpetual rule of the business class two-party oligarchy.
Ever notice how no one from the NDP or the Bloc crosses the floor? Ujjal Dosanjh and Bob Rae don't count - they were both Liberals in denial when their provincial NDP governments crashed and burned, long before they became MPs. Lucien Bouchard would count, but he jumped to the Bloc Quebecois on principle, unlike the hordes of career opportunists routinely circulating from one engine of Canada's corporate political machine to the other.
It's like Tommy Douglas said, black cats and white cats...
According to Seismologists at the Geological Survey of Canada, Vancouver will be in a window of potential earthquake activity over the next week.
This page reminds area residents to be prepared, as emergency services may not reach you for at least 72 hours. Of course, you will need something to entertain yourself in the meantime...
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The seizure of three sextuplets born last month at BC Children's and Women's last month may have briefly split up the Jehovah's Witness family they were born to, but the ensuing court challenge may create a bigger split in the right-wing BC Liberal coalition in charge of the BC government who seized the babies. For most people, giving much-needed blood transfusions to premature babies is a medical matter of course, unless one's IV is attached to a plastic bag filled with a religious solution. The Carole Taylors and Colin Hansens of the world will sleep tonight believing that their government did the right thing, but the Rich Colemans and Mary Polaks will be stirring in the wee hours for a few nights to come.
That stirring could also stir the hard political right in British Columbia, who latched on with the BC Liberals under Gordon Campbell in an attempt to cripple their common enemy, the NDP, from any position of influence in the body politic. Fringe elements like BC Unity, Reform BC, and the remnants of Social Credit that weren't assimilated by the Liberals, all trade on the hinterland resentment of the urban, the unfamiliar, and the Godless. A government full of big-city rich folk treading on the religious freedoms of simple people by stealing their babies is too tempting a Goliath for these Davids not to load the slingshot for, and Goliath is already reeling from scandals only beginning to catch up with him. They may not knock the giant down, but they could soften him up for their socialist enemies to strike the final blow.