Gary Mason tweets:
Now, this is in relation to former BCTF President Susan Lambert tweeting a rumour that there might be sweeping changes to the School Act that would, in effect, privatize a lot of it. Now Lambert clearly labels this a rumour. You know, of the kind journalists occasionally themselves report on.
Now Mr. Mason is obviously angry at Lambert’s “irresponsibility”. Seething, I’d say. He knows this rumour isn’t true because the Minister of Education said so. So, good as gold there.
But given we are talking about a B.C. Liberal Party that promised not to tear up the teacher’s contracts back in 2002…
….and then did…
…who promised not to sell B.C. Rail…
…and then did….
…and who promised not to introduce a Harmonized Sales Tax
…and then did…
…I, personally, might be inclined to hedge my bets on this one and anything else for that matter.
At least check my anger at the door until the B.C. Liberal’s current term is over to see if it was, you know, actually warranted.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, Bill Good also has some comments
Yes, holding power to account there, Bill. But tell us what you really think.
Enjoy your retirement.
The BC government has announced a Core Review of itself. Select highlights, and translations:
Confirming government’s core responsibilities and eliminating programs that could provide better service at less cost through alternative service delivery models
Translation: That’s privatization! Step right up,
select friends of the B.C. Liberal Party entrepreneurs ! Government assets ARE ON SALE NOW AT DISCOUNT PRICES!
Ensure public-sector management wage levels are appropriate while recognizing the need for leaders who can positively impact the effectiveness and productivity of public-sector agencies.
Translation: We will squeeze the rank and file to the bone, but continue to pay CEOs lavishly. Because, takers and makers, bitch. Neener, neener.
“I hope that Mr. DeGear withdraws that very threatening and intimidating and bullying words that he has uttered,” said Abbott.
That’s B.C. Education Minister George Abbott reacting to words allegedly said by Nanaimo District Teachers Association Derek DeGear.
DeGear reportedly told a Nanaimo newspaper that the B.C. Teachers’ Federation members who continue to volunteer for school activities could face punishments ranging from having to apologize to colleagues to fines to having their BCTF membership suspended.
Shocking. Imagine a private organization sanctioning its members for disobeying its rules. It’s absolutely unheard of!
But what’s interesting are the words bullying, intimidation, and threatening. Words used by a Geoff Sharpe, last year’s B.C. Young Liberal President and current defiant and in your face B.C. Liberal supporter on Twitter.
How much do you want to bet B.C. Liberal MLAs and activists were given talking points/lexicon with the words bully, intimidate and threaten on it and instructions for use when referring to BCTF members?
Classic Rovism: Attempt to inoculate yourself by accusing your opponents of your crimes and weaknesses.
Although Karl Rove usually used more than 3 words.
This was the March 19th seat projection from Forum Research.
At a news conference with B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins, van Dongen said he has hired a lawyer at his own expense to investigate the BC Rail legal fees arrangement, and also Premier Christy Clark’s involvement with the sale in 2002-03. He said Clark made “inconsistent” statements when she ran for the B.C. Liberal leadership about what she knew of the sale and the involvement of lobbyists.
What do you think Forum’s next seat projection will show? I’m thinking BC Cons +9 / BC Libs -9
This, my friends, is the fat lady warming up for the finale of the BC Liberal tragi-comic opera. Mark me, van Dongen won’t be the last.
In fact, there’s a real danger for the BC Conservatives…that too many BC Liberals try to climb aboard and they’ll be saddled with their baggage.
Monopoly, besides, is a great enemy to good management – A. Smith
So we have the BC Ferries commissioner issuing a call for a major overhaul of BC Ferries. It’s a sharp repudiation of the entire approach of the BC Liberal Party to our ferry system (indeed the underlying ideology of our alleged free-market political party). As most users of ferries know, prices have risen significantly, service is not much better, and the finances opaque to the public. It’s not working, and the commissioner urges the abandonment of the user pay system. There are lots of juicy quotes here:
Fares since 2003 have gone up 47 per cent on the major routes, 78 per cent in the north and 80 per cent on minor routes.
current fares impose “significant hardship” on ferry-dependent communities and were affecting the ability of people to visit family members and friends as frequently as they would like.
and my favourite:
Lindsay Meredith, a marketing professor at Simon Fraser University, said the Liberal government “ran into Economics 101.
“It’s basic, fundamental, down-and-dirty, easy-as-it-gets demand and supply. … Jack up your price and watch your demand plummet,” he said in an interview.
But there’s more forgotten Econ 101 than that. In fact it’s kind of fundamental – whom does BC Ferries compete with? Whose competition is forcing them into the ever greater efficiencies the “crucible of the market” is supposed to force? I’m not an expert on ferries or transportation systems, but even I – a liberal arts student! – have never understood this crazy system the BC Liberals have set up (in more than one area). Privatization without competition is monopoly and a private monopoly is worse, much worse, than a public one. At least in democratic states where the rule of law is well-established, which try as the Liberals may to undermine it, British Columbia has and retains.
I can’t vouch whether the European consumer is well served, but at least you have a choice of ferry companies when you take your car to or from the UK.
I am obviously left of centre, but I’m not rigid. There are, in my view, things currently being done by our government that the market would do better (if your goal is better value for your citizens). Are we really well served by our government-run liquor distribution system, for example?
But BC’s population isn’t large enough currently to support competing ferry companies. And while some routes might not make economic sense, economics is not the only consideration. There’s the social, and the strategic. If we abandon ferry routes on the grounds they aren’t economic we are also abandoning claims of sovereignty over those communities the ferries serve. Use it, or lose it as someone once said. That’s international law.
However, sovereignty has also been increasingly defined in terms of state responsibility. This includes a state’s exercise of control and authority over its territory
We’re not in immediate danger of losing the Gulf Islands, but if communities starting shrinking and failing one day someone will say they use the land if we don’t want it.
The BC Ferries experiment in “privatization” has failed.
It is thus that the single advantage which the monopoly procures to a single order of men is in many different ways hurtful to the general interest of the country. – A. Smith
UPDATE: Oh noes! A bond agency – who we all know always have our best interest at heart – doesn’t like what’s going on!
In a statement posted on its website, Dominion Bond Rating Services says adopting all of the changes proposed by BC Ferry Commissioner Gordon Macatee this week would erode a framework that has prevented political interference and made the corporation more efficient.
The Enbridge proposal is far from that. So I recognize that it is a benefit to Canada, there’s no question about it. Being able to get triple the price for Canadian oil would be a big benefit for Canada overall. But the project is one where we have to examine both the costs and benefits. And I don’t think we have a good bead on what the benefits or the costs could potentially be. That’s why it’s in the environmental approval process. This is the first of its kind, so I think we have to get a good look at it, and once we have the facts before us, we can have a debate about whether it should go ahead.
“Well, I think they’ve got a point,” Mr. Falcon told reporters. “I think we have to be very worried about the fact that foreign money is going into lobbying efforts against British Columbia and Canada’s economic interests.”
“The government consulted fully with the employers before passing the legislation, over at least a seven or eight month period,” wrote the judge. “Internal government documents indicate that at least some government officials expected that the teachers’ union would be very opposed to the legislation. The government has not offered any explanation as to why it could not also have consulted with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation about the intended legislation.”
The failure to do so was fatal to the legislation: “By passing this legislation without so much as consulting with BCTF, the government did not preserve the essential underpinning of collective bargaining, namely, good faith negotiation and consultation.“
Ouch. But then, who cares? Respect for the rule of law having never been a strong suit with this bunch and the judgment of the Supreme Court of this province won’t raise eyebrows in BC Liberal HQ. Despite the thoughtful discussion about what this means for education here, personally I view that as almost beside the point. They’re at war, see, and they’re going for the jugular. It’s not about education. It’s not about the economics of education. It’s pure power play…unions are amongst the last effective checks on corporate power, and thus they must be destroyed. And the BCTF is one of the most effective unions.
Premier Clark – being viewed as a mushy Liberal by some – will need to demonstrate her bonafides methinks with a full frontal assault. Wisconsin, here we come…
No cheerleading here. Move along.
Why didn’t you set your budget target higher? You could have beaten it by a gazillion! Amateur!
Still a deficit – something we were told would never happen under your watch – of $925 million, though. Still increasing the debt until 2013 (at least).
All from giveaway goodies to folks already doing just fine.