Saturday, August 04, 2012

Jim Hanson, BC NDP Candidate for NV-Seymour ( standing left), Adrian Dix, leader of the NDP, (center, standing, hands up), and David Shreck (sitting with sunglasses) former BC NDP MLA for North Van Lonsdale talked with seniors at the Lynn Valley Library Plaza on Aug. 3rd at 2:00 PM. The theme of the meeting was primarily home care and home support for seniors, but Mr. Dix took questions from the local press and guests on many other issues.


Anonymous said...

I was there. It was a great day. There were about 50 people in the audience, mainly seniors, and many walk-throughs who decided to stay.

The main point I got from what Adrian Dix spoke about was that the current BC Liberal government treats seniors as a liability. They are not a liability. Many have worked their entire lives, raised families, and contributed much to BC's wealth. They deserve more respect.

He spoke about the fact that the $$ spent on health care are misspent. Much more focus should be put on keeping seniors at home for as long as possible, not warehousing them in hospitals at the approximate cost of $1000 per day. Nobody wins with the system as it is now.

gbamber said...

Trading in the Libs for the NDP just means going from bad to worse.

Anonymous said...

How could it possibly get worse than the B.C. Liberals?

Anonymous said...

Wow, short memories.

Anonymous said...

You can't compare the current NDP with the old NDP that was government -- too many face changes.

Also, I think the NDP knows what a mess the Libs made of things and how politically stupid it would be to follow suit.

John Sharpe said...

At least Mr. gbamber admits they're bad.

I remember the bingo's and the ferries, but you know what, that was a long time ago in the political world and I believe there's been big changes in the NDP. You can't dwell on the past as being the way it will always be.

I compel you to look in to Jim Hanson as a quality candidate for NV-Seymour and MLA Adrian Dix as a sincere leader for this Province.

Unfortunately it seems all the parties screw up at some point, but in my opinion the Libs have screwed up a lot more than the NDP ever have.

I don't remember the NDP ever forcing #@%&-#!*^on us when they promised not to!

gbamber said...

Sure... Dix the criminal... such a good leadership choice.

The NDP has to screw up. There is no doubt because socialism doesn't work, never has.

Bigger govt. is worse govt.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same logic that says the oil might spill?


You know not of what you speak.

Remember Tommy Douglas.

Anonymous said...

Libs have done a great job. HST is nothing more than a consumption tax and should stay. NDP has done little for the province unless you think province wide strikes, fast ferries, and an unfriendly business climate as being positive for the economy.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:25

You are delusional. If the Libs have done such a great job why are they so low in the polls? Again?

Anonymous said...

Unless the NDP gets out of bed with the labour unions and makes it their policy to work with everyone equally, they'll never get my vote. They need to work on their relationship with the business community. We can't all be taken care of by unions, some of us prefer to work in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:38

What will happen if the Libs sell off the Liquor Distribution Branch?

25,000 unionized people will lose their jobs and/or be re-hired at low wages.

These people have families and mortgages.

Anonymous said...

25,000 jobs? I think you are confusing the privatization of the LDB with the privatization of the BCL retail services. The LDB is much smaller.

Also if you want to pay people high wages and lots of benefits, then start your own business and do it. Personally, I don't want my taxes to be bumped up so a staff member can make more money than they are worth in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Libs are low in the polls because of the HST. Sadly some prefer to take the word of a washed up ex-premier’s economic policies(envelopes stuffed with $100 bills) instead of sound economic policies of an economist.

Realitycheck said...

Those folks in N. Van had best recall how the NDP treated the seniors at Glacier-view and the charities in Nanaimo before making their "X". Too many new faces in the NDP? Not enough. What must those of us not socialist ideologues think of a party which has as it's leader a confessed forger, as it's president a disgraced pol and lawyer? What hope may we have that the man who was behind the worst of the Dismal Decade is now the leader? An architect of such failure does not change his stripes.

Realitycheck said...

I remember Tommy Douglas. He was well-known in Saskatchewan as a KKK supporter. Small wonder the family wants those old RCMP files kept secret.

Gavin said...

.... and his pro-eugenics stand against the disabled... he quite literally would be the death of me.

Anonymous said...

Douglas' pro-eugenics stand was to suppress any person he deemed 'sub-human', including, but not limited to persons with disabilities. Couples would have to be approved by the government to get married and those deemed not suitable would be sterilized or rounded up in internment camps.

I did not know that he ran in Burnaby-Seymour back in '68, he lost, but its an interesting local footnote in his career.

Realitycheck said...

Interestingly enough, the Eugenics issue came to fruition not too many years later in Alberta under the sway of another religious nutbar who's son later went on to begin the Reform Party...which is now masquerading ad the Conservative Party of Canada...and our current governing atrocity. Alberta recently paid millions to victims of that sterilization policy. Yes, TD was a very humane man and would doubtless approve of both the BC NDP's public abuse of private clinics one one hand and the use of same by NDP leaders and union types.

Anonymous said...

Nasty, nasty, you are rigid.

Realitycheck said...

Rigid about eugenics? I say proudly yes!

Rigid about the hypocrisy of politicians? Again, proudly.

Anonymous said...

You are obviously rigidly against democracy.

Anonymous said...

Some liberal extremists believe totalitarian corporatism is good for BC. These fanatics would love nothing more than a permanent one party system with all other parties banned from the ballots.

Democracy for the effluent wealthy -- Communism for the unwashed masses.

Realitycheck said...

Anon, there is nothing democratic about socialism and certainly not the NDP which is not new, democratic or worth partying over. Socialism's ultimate end is to reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator. then we all starve equally. Your over-the-top post proclaims your ideologic blindness. Without business, there would be no taxes. No taxes mean no cushy PS union jobs. No health care. No Unemployment benefits. No welfare. No senior's care.

Anonymous said...

Democracy is flawed.
True democratic decision making would have an MLA convince 50% of the house what is thought to be the correct choice. In today's society you only havee to convince the leader of the party and he/she will tell the rest of the party what to vote.
We have low voter turn-out becasue we are treated like sheep and we act like sheep. It is easier to go with the status quo and complain about our lack of choices than it is to actually make a choice.
The leaders presented are not necessarily bad people but the whole system encourages us to make huge mistakes at the expense of the tax payer. We taxpayers sheepishly say we cannot get justice so the govt tags us with higher wages lower jobs and offshore sales of natural resources which as we all know but can't admit is not benefitting any of us financially or physically.
My govt sells off the province but my service level decreases that says they are not earning anything for us.
Translink should make money or at least break even with no hand outs from the general tax payer.
Ferries should be operated at budget.
Stadiums should pay for their own roof from the users, not the guy in Prince George who never has gone on vacation becasue he can't afford it.
The NDP creted a defecit, the LIBs added to it, the NDP will do the same again. Point is they are the same players in a tennis match for your tax dollars and there is no judge or referee to keep the players from doing what ever they feel like and then simply whine they don't have enough to do it with.

Does this make me sound disenfranchised?

Realitycheck said...

You make some good points. The problem is largely the party system. As soon an MP or MLA gets first elected, they are taken into back room by the Party Whip and told "The Way Things Are". TWTA has nothing to do with serving either the taxpayer or the province/country.

We do not have an effective democracy because we only have a say every 3-4 years. Essentially, the Person at the top is an elected dictator. This is why, when the NDP created the re-call legislation, they made it unworkable and when the Libs modified it, they made it no more workable. Further, on the rare occasions when a politician gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar, there is reason to suspect a conspiracy as the penalties are not in any way a deterrent and they get to keep their comfy pensions. They there are cases like BC Rail, which will prove to be the Libs Fast ferries.

gbamber said...

... and the stupidest of the dumb (or is it the dumbest of the stupid?) elevate the caught politician to party leader and probably Premier. (name rhymes with Fix) More advanced parties/voters kick them out after they've crossed the line. The NDP promotes them. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Everyone on here seems disillusioned about the party system, so the question is...

Would any of the North Shore ridings support an independent candidate? Assuming for a moment that the candidate could hold their own and was willing to be truly accountable, is there any benefit to casting a vote for an independent? Or is it just a voice without power?

gbamber said...

I'll be voting for whoever runs that isn't Lib or NDP... an Independent would be great! They'd have the power to be honest.

Anonymous said...

Jim Hanson, our BC NDP candidate is the answer. He is not in it for the money or the glory. He is concerned about his kids, his parents, his wife Ruth, and the people of North Vancouver-Seymour.

It is unfortunate that the North Shore Outlook website posts a report by Todd Coyne, who was at the event on Friday.

The entire article talks about oil--and the seniors, the purpose of the meeting, are omitted.

Anonymous said...

I don't trust any politician. Too many of them change their tune once they are elected to public office. They are just trying to woo you for a vote, right now. Don't believe a word they promise. Independents are drowned out by party politics.

John Sharpe said...

Politicians are hard to trust. Too much historical deception, too much money spent carelessly, too many scandals, bureaucracy up the yin yang, and so the people never get truly represented. And it never seems to stop. Don't blame people for not wanting to vote or pay attention. It's called being fed up!

Would 85 independent MLA's serve our province better? Perhaps. Party politics is limiting.

Nevertheless I still like to vote, to place my voice on that ballot, and feel like I made a difference somehow.

Realitycheck said...

John, that's been my contention for decades. Elect pols at large. Then to get anything accomplished they'd have to collaborate. One one issue there might be a totally different group collaborating than on another. Further, they'd be so jealous of the other person that instead of helping them pilfer the public coffers, they'd rat out everyone who did. Party Politics is leading the country to hell.

Anonymous said...

I clicked on Realitycheck and there is nothing there.

Realitycheck said...

I'm here Anon. ;)

Anonymous said...

Blogs I follow: Baby Weaver.

No picture and no bio.

Anonymous said...

refering to John Sharpe @ Wednesday, August 08, 2012 7:22PM

" the people never get truly represented. And it never seems to stop. Don't blame people for not wanting to vote or pay attention. It's called being fed up!"

This is what I am talking about @anon Tuesday, August 07, 2012 3:40:00 PM

I wouldd like to see 85 Independent MLA's serve our province better through collective collaboration and decision making.

'Party politics is limiting.'

I am not knocking the voting apathy side... I am knocking the fact that the parrty politik has created the public perception of my vote doesn't actually do anything, so why should I care attitudes creep in.

The fact that you have this web-blog is a sign of those who give a damn about what we all think. But as armchair quarterbacks we sometimes feel we are only yelling at the TV and not at those politicians who need to hear our opinions. And then you need him/her to give a damn about what you have to say.

When Sir John A. M. and his sohorts came together to make this country they had to convince each other what they were doing was right and for the people. They had to convince 45 of those 85 their ideas were worth writing down and create laws that we all follow.

We have had 100+ years of learning new ways of ignoring this truely democratic process and if the Law Professors at UBC were listening I may have a new thesis to write if I ever go there..."How Canada lost it's way through democratic ignorance of due process and legislative apathy due to party politics."

What a mouthful...

Anonymous said...

Yes it is a mouthful, but an accurate mouthful. George, where is your letter?

Anonymous said...

agree that our Canadian democratic system is flawed. In Canada the citizens have one brief moment of democracy every four years when they drop their vote into the ballot box. When a majority government is elected, the ruling party has the power of a dictatorship. Our MLA‚s/MP‚s are forced to vote the party line - without regard for the voters they represent. Election promises can be broken with impunity and there is bugger all the citizenry can do, except yearn for their next moment of democracy when the opposition may form government.

It is true that the majority of the citizens in BC did successfully bring down the HST with their vote in the historic HST referendum, brought on by the initiative with all odds stacked against its success. One could consider that democracy is alive and well in BC, by the mere fact that a public initiative was allowed in the first place, but according to the BC Elections Act:
„Initiative voting day every 3 years
14 (1) If required, initiative votes must be held on September 28, 1996 and on the last Saturday of September every third year after that date.‰

In a democracy all initiatives which meet the act‚s strict criteria should proceed to referenda in a timely manner and not three years later. And of course all public decisions should be binding.

In the few progressive nations where they practice direct democracy, the governments actually depend on the public vote and respect the majority decisions through referenda. In these countries the voters are really the major shareholder and partner with government and referendums are held on all major decision making, whether federal, provincial or municipal. The direct popular vote is accepted by the public and government and they all move forward.

One can only hope that a new government might make changes to the elections act and bring it in line with voter friendly democratic principles. The citizens should have a say in the dumping of public assets
(BCRail, BCLDB, BCHydro, pipelines). We should have a say in having major tax schemes forced upon us, not to mention smart meters.

We‚ve endured over a decade of backroom dealings, collusion, scandal upon scandal, being taken for fools, bullied and dictated to. The public needs to be involved in decision making to protect itself from governments that resemble gangland crime organizations rather than servants of the public.

Will the next premier ask his citizens for their decision through referenda on issues of major concern to the public?
It‚s time to rethink the way we do democracy in BC and involve the common sense of the people. What we are enduring now is NOT sustainable, nor democratic!

Anonymous said...

How well has that worked out for California? The last thing we need is for the general population to have a say in every single decision.

Anonymous said...

Separating Legislators, from legislation is a bad idea. Accountability means that they are responsible for the legislation that is brought forward.

There should be more responsive recall legislation, but other direct democracy provisions don't work. Someone raised California as an example. Fixed property taxes sounded like a great idea and passed in a referendum, but now the politicians are less accountable because everyone knows they have no money, and no way to change the situation. So now the libraries are closed, the parks aren't upkept, the streets fall victim to deferred maintenance, and the civil infrastructure fails... Well done direct democracy.

Anonymous said...

Re California. Short sighted comment. The majority got what they voted for. There is a way to change the situation.

If the voters want to improve/restore public services then the legislators or a citizen's group needs to create a scheme to restore funding and put that scheme to a vote.

Achievable through sales tax, gas tax, luxury goods tax including alcohol and tobacco, property tax, personal tax, business and industry tax or any combination of taxes.

Voters have to stop being children taken care of by the nanny state and face the adult choice of paying for the service levels that they want - or not but living with the consequences.

Don't want to pay? Then public services will diminish and private sector will fill in for those that can afford it.

Anonymous said...

Scheme -- unethical plan.

Anonymous said...

Unethical? Adult taxpayers making the decision themselves on how their tax dollars are spent and then living with the consequences?

Any plan that doesn't include that ability is unethical.

Anonymous said...

LOL, as opposed to children taxpayers?

Anonymous said...

Adults behaving as grownups not adult children whose best interests are decided by others.

Anonymous said...

So, what's the point of elected representatives then?

Anonymous said...

Accountability out the window.

Anonymous said...

That's what elections are for.

Anonymous said...

It'll be good when we can vote online. It will be much easier for referenda.

For naysayers, the municipal libraries have computers and staff is great!

Anonymous said...

Who needs libraries when you have google?

Anonymous said...

What's the point of having elected representatives when they're forced to vote the party line anyway?

Or they listen to their supporters and ignore the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Our system is very 19th century.

Then, the working masses elected a local who hopefully had some education to go away to the centre of gov't and represent them. Communication from the elector to the representative and vice versa was spotty to nonexistent and the rep voted in accordance with the party line or, on lesser matters, his/her own views.

Politicians still behave as they did in the 19th century. Does any thinking person really believe that the politician actually consistently represent the majority of the electors?

However, today we can accuratedly identify taxpayers and target a represtentative sample of their opinions through electronic poll accurate to within a %.

Big difference.

Politicians should be taking direction from their constituents. The action would be switched back to the grassroots and local press to raise awareness and interest groups to lobby on important matters prior to the electronic poll.

Widespread public debate and participation culminating in a poll, the outcome of which must be followed by your rep - what a concept. No wonder people are jaded and have lost interest in the system aa it exists!

Once the poll is completed and the results are publicly released then the elected representative actually would be required to represent his/her voting taxpayers.

The main job and focus of the politicians would then be to create policy which ensures the direction of the taxpayers is accomplished.

The bureaucrats would be responsible to implement the policy under the direction of the politicians.

Anything else is taxation without true representation.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"Accountability out the window"

Where is accountability when a premier makes an election promise and then does exactly the opposite. When the public outrage becomes unbearable, he finds a couple of pigeons to be "accountable" and picks up the 8M tab on behalf of the taxpayers for legal fees. The pigeons plead guilty, no trial. The real criminals walk away unscathed, retaining their "honorable" seats in the legislature to do more pilfering and plundering of our province.

It's hideous to believe that a couple of clowns, Basi and Virk were responsible for the sale of BCRail.

Anonymous said...

It never ends.

Bingogate with the NDP.
Fast Ferry fiasco.
Police at Glen Clark's private home.

HST flip flop.
Unaccountability for elected reps expense accounts.

The system is upside down and people are vassals of the elected elite instead of the public servants actually serving.

No party has clean hands when it comes to mismanagement and skullduggery so there is no where for the people to go.

Representation by electronic public direction now. See Anon 9:03.

Anonymous said...

There is somewhere for the people to go.

Adrian Dix and the BC NDP.

Anonymous said...

You must be joking.

Anonymous said...

Joking? If you weren't worried you wouldn't be on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Since this blog is about municipal politics, I'd say you're wrong. Besides, I've lived through past NDP governments and would prefer not to go through that nonsense again, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

This blog is about North Vancouver politics, which includes all levels of government, including the school board.

Anonymous said...

Definition of insanity: Do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

We've elected the NDP and they're an unprincipled mess. We've elected the Libs and they're the same.

Both elected not once but many times and ending up with the same outcomes.

It reminds me of the "Who"'s song "We Won't Get Fooled Again." It contains the lyrics, " the new boss - same as the old boss..."

19th century system doesn't work in the modern era. Electronic public representation now.

John Sharpe said...

Statistically I am positive the NDP haven't been elected half as many times as the Liberals. The NDP of the 1970's did many good things. Dave Barrett was a good leader. Unfortunately we don't have many choices. Also your definition of insanity is wrong. The true defintion of insanity is knowing what's right from what's wrong.

Anonymous said...


You're missing the point. It doesn't matter if statistically one party has been elected more than the other.

The point is that both parties have done good and questionable things and both parties eventually degenerate into a hideous mess that has to be expelled.

We just trade one set of well-intentioned folks that morph into rascals for a new set.

I don't need a politician to make decisions for me. |, and many like me, are entirely capable of making our own decisions and directing the politicians to implement our direction to them.

The idea of the 4 year dictatorships interspersed with an inconvenient campaign full of promises that aren't kept has had its day.

I'm ready for a new model.

John Sharpe said...

The point is direct democracy isn't happening anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

...and it certainly won't ever happen if we accept the status quo and support the "party" (read political elitist) system.

Anonymous said...

We must get the people to pay attention to politics. Most don't.

John Sharpe said...

Political elitist system - I'm with you on that. I'd like to see it all change too. It's most of the reason I was a strong supporter of the yes camp for the STV referendum which obviously the 'elitist system' undermined and destroyed.

Anonymous said...

It's time that one of the old fashioned parties stepped up and said that they will undertake the will of the taxpayers as determined by accurate electronic polling.

If not, it's time that there is a new party or association of independents that will take and implement the direction of those who pay them - all the way down to the local level.

Big issues (read expenditures) should be approved by the people.

The paternalistic system has had its day. Time for a change.

Anonymous said...

"...all the way down to the local level."

Municipal government is the most important to our way of life.

Active participation in local government spawns better government at all "levels."

Anonymous said...

Not sure if it is the "most important" but it certainly has the most immediate widespread impact. Parks, rec, police, fire, roads and stoplights, and bylaws that govern our day to day life.

The same philosophy of taxpayer directed gov't applies to local council. Council happily pays for "community surveys" which they find interesting but then vote with their personal perspectives. The "green" people, the developer friendly ones, the fiscal watchdog types etc.

The community surveys are indicative of the taxpayer's appetite to support various services. The questioning should dig deeper and give councillors direction that they must follow. For example, if services could be accomplished by contracting out (W. Van has private garbage pickup) and the public wants that savings then that is council's direction and make it happen. If not then OK.

Anonymous said...

STV was defeated by reasonable people who want to have some control over who their local representative is.

On the North Shore, STV would have likely meant more highly funded politicians from West Vancouver crowding out local candidates who work hard, but don't have the profile.

Anonymous said...

Single transferable vote (STV) and electronically determining public direction on major issues are two different things.

Any elected person, whether a member of a party or not and elected by STV or not could vote in accordance with the direction of their electorate if they had the nerve and the inclination.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 3:29

Isn't that what they do anyway? If they show up to vote? What would change hopefully is that more people would vote. The odds move in our favour.

Anonymous said...

No they don't. They vote on major issues in accordance with approved party policy kept in line by the party whip, or if independent, in accordance with their own views.

On important "big picture" issues I don't want politicians to vote in accordance with either the party or their own views.

I would like to see a comprehensive electronic poll of the taxpayers, obtain the majority concurrence and demand that pols vote in accordance with their electorate's direction.

Anonymous said...

How much is all this polling of the taxpayers going to cost the taxpayers? And are the taxpayers informed enough to be steering these 'big' decisions?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't have a problem with that if the electronic voting included very high participation of the electorate (ie over 60% participation makes the poll binding), but I don't think it is wise to allow a small interested group of citizens to make major decisions that can be easily manipulated by special interest groups. We elect politicians to try to reflect the views of all citizens, sometimes they vote against a vocal minority, but they keep getting re-elected by a much larger group.

Also, who determines what is a major issue? The current councils have the ability to hold referendums on major issues, but they are rarely used. Sometimes they are required under the local government act.

Anonymous said...

The cost of an electronic poll by an independent firm (angus reid, leger, decima etc) is a few thousand $$. The cost of political decisions can be in the millions $$.

A representative sample of taxpayers are selected by the polling firm to cross ethnic, religious, household income, neighbourhoods etc. The firm will advise that the opinions of their diverse sample representative group will be accurate to within 1 or 2% of a poll taken of the entire electorate.

Small interested groups of citizens cannot "volunteer" to be polled and therefore cannot skew the opinion poll.

An expensive electronic referendum that has the same projected results as a small representive sample poll is an unnecessary waste of money.

If "we elect politicians to try to reflect the views of all citizens" how did we get the HST? The majority of citizens were opposed yet the majority of elected politicians voted to enact it.

How do our elected politicians know the views of all citizens so that they can reflect them? An inexpensive poll undertaken independently with the results publicized would be very helpful in determining whether or not our elected reps really are reflecting the views of the majority.

A major issue could easily be defined as one that carries a dollar value over a specified amount.

Anonymous said...

Guidance to politicians by a published representative sampling of a cross-section of their electorate is an excellent way of ensuring that they are really in synch with the views of the people - not their own or their party views.

Anonymous said...

I get it that you don't trust politicians, but I don't trust polling groups or special interest groups.

I think our community, province, and country are quite well run with the current system. Yes there are decisions I don't agree with, but turning over the keys to faceless polling companies and all of their abuses (forming the questions, call track, weighting statistics across tough to survey demographics, etc.) doesn't interest me.

I would prefer the current system where presumably educated people make informed decisions, rather than random sampling of the whim of a largely uninformed, disinterested mob.

Regarding party whipped votes, I would prefer to remove some of the patronage positions available so parties have less control over their MLAs/MPs. I would prefer to have the cabinet selected by and accountable to the Legislature (MLAs) rather than the leader of the parties. There are lots of small changes that could be made to make MLAs/MPs less party-centric.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough.

I find the track record of the presumably educated people making decisions that suit their personal or their party's views commonplace.

I think that society has matured and, in particular, access to communication has come to a point that those that pay should direct their resources.

The 19th century system that has the elected mommy and daddy looking after the best interests of the kids even if they don't like it is frankly insulting.

I have more hope for the common sense of the common man and don't see myself and peers as part of an uninformed, disinterested mob.

For me, I'd like to be an ongoing decision maker. I get that others are content to be decision takers.

C'est la vie.

Anonymous said...

The run for office. Common sense no longer exists (and probably never did). I don't trust my peers to make the right decisions and have no desire for policy to be set by a potentially uninformed majority.

Anonymous said...

Then run for office, not 'The...'

Anonymous said...

What majority? Since when has more than 50% of registered voters voted?

Anonymous said...

The uninformed majority that would no doubt make up a portion of the the 'random' sampling of this electronic polling. It's got nothing to do with the numbers of people who presently participate in elections.

Anonymous said...

Your first sentence doesn't have a subject.

Your second sentence makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

Sampling is not sufficient.

A) I am not at home answering the phone, and people like me aren't either, so how are the busy workers view being represented?

B) For those that are around to answer the phone, they are no match for a polling company who is engaged to some degree by city/provincial staff.

C) If politicians were only there to make the small decisions, the already questionable calibre of our politicians would be vaporized. In the case of our councils would you work a part-time job that pays very little, and has only a modicum of influence? They would become lightly compensated figureheads, rather than an accountable motivated legislators.

Anonymous said...

Wow, where to start.

Re electronic polling. Polls can be conducted on weekends or in the evening so the "I'm at work" evasion doesn't wash.

Sort of goes along with not bothering to vote (I was too busy).

If you want to delegate decision making to your elected trade unionist, environmentalist, teacher, ambulance driver, real estate agent, policeman, housewife activist who decides to run for office then good for you.

If you're content to let others make decisions for you then OK. Not all of us are.

I want to be able to have a say in directing decisions that channel my tax dollars into various cost centres - or at least be satisfied that my peers have had a say.

Different strokes.

Anonymous said...

It's our money that is being spent and when it keeps on disappearing and we don't have a say we get nasty and elect another government.

Anonymous said...

...that then spends or takes our money without direction from the taxpayers and then has to be tossed out and the circle continues and we, like sheep, just continue the process.

Anonymous said...

Great diatribe.

What is the solution?

Anonymous said...

Would have suggested "discourse" for "diatribe" but as a first step we have to do 2 things:

1. give those that pay for the system and services the opportunity to directly choose what level of service they are prepared to pay for - or not prepared to pay for (as an exercise check out Macleans magazine's annual list of insane expenditures approved by politicians that amount to millions of wasted taxpayer dollars);

2. Retool the role of politicians to make them functional watchdogs of the public interest. (I mean really - not figuratively as it is at the moment).

The pols accept direction of the taxpayers and insure that the bureaucrats implement their big picture direction and make decisions on how to best create policy and approve procedures to make it happen. An exercise that would be painful for the most egotistical pols that think they they know best regardless of the opinion of the taxpayers (see elitist viewpoint referencing taxpayers as the "uniformed mob" in a prior post) but fulfilling for those pols that really want to be elected for the right reasons.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think that most "pols" as you refer to them start out for "the right reasons?"

They then become inured to the system and somehow are brainwashed into thinking they are still involved for the "right reasons?"

Error: ensure, not insure

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think many do start out for the right reasons and the system and/or party undermines their idealistic best efforts and they slowly devolve into something that they didn't intend to be.

I think that a new clear set of protocols would be helpful for them and a good thing for us.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of BS.

The system you are proposing will not work. It will be abused by vocal minorities, and it divorces the politicians from their duty.

Yes, SOME of the public takes the time to get informed, but it is a very small percentage. I trust the common man to make good decisions when they are informed, but when they are pressed to pick A or B on a telephone survey without having witnessed a debate over the options, without having seen how the costs of A or B will affect the operations of the government at that time, they are unprepared to make good decisions and the good conscientious ones will refuse to answer without all of the facts, the surveyors will simply thank them and move on to someone is willing to make a decision without all of the information.

Anonymous said...

Surveyor: Hi I'm calling to solicit your opinion on Proposition 802.

Random Common Man: Oh, ok, what is Proposition 802?

Surveyor: It is a community initiative to build a new community centre in Norgate.

Random Common Man: Great, how much will it cost and what do they have in mind?

Surveyor: The authorization is for $12 Million, but it doesn't say much else.

Random Common Man: Well it sounds interesting, will it include a pool? or Ice Rink?

Surveyor: It doesn't say, but there is a website.

Random Common Man: So I'm supposed to make this decision on just a neighborhood and a rough dollar figure?

Surveyor: You are welcome to go to the website. and I can call back in an hour.

Random Common Man: That's just not enough, I need to know how this affects the budget... Will we need to hire more staff? Is there an opportunity to offset costs by selling/consolidating land/density transfers? What features are being proposed and is there a study that identifies this need? Is there neighborhood support for what's proposed? Is the site geotechnically sound? Is there a traffic study that shows the impact of a high volume facility being dropped into a residential neighborhood? What kind of social programming is being contemplated? Who will run those programs? If it was built at $300/sqft what would that look like? $400/sqft? What are the terms of the debt repayment? How are persons with disabilities considered in the design? Is there a partnership opportunity with the Squamish Nation? Will there be office space inside? How many square feet of common area is contemplated? Will there be a daycare program? The Library is quite a distance away, is there an opportunity for a small boutique library? Is there enough parking? Will the field be made into an artificial turf field? Will it be lined for rugby?

I hope I have made my point. There are a thousand and one important questions that need to be asked. Under the current system, the decision makers have the access to ask and demand answers to those questions. Under the system you propose the decision makers are largely spoon fed a small amount of information and there simply isn't enough staff time to answer every question in all of their forms to potentially thousands of interested people.

One system works, one doesn't.

Anonymous said...

No political system is working very well anywhere on the planet.

Anonymous said...

Not true, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are co-existing quite well thank you.

It is the only time in history when a country divided without war. The politicians hammered it out.

Anonymous said...

Anon Monday, August 27, 2012 12:59:00 PM. Your point is excellent. However, my question is this: would Random Common Man be informed enough to even ask those questions? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"It is the only time in history when a country divided without war."

Didn't Sudan just split without a war? Didn't most of the USSR break up without a war?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:16 and 12:29. Spoken like a true politician.

Surveyor - Calls Random Common Taxpayer so that special interest groups cannot skew opinion by over representation. Survey company describes accuracy of poll to within 1% of a referendum:

Surveyor: I'm calling to solicit your opinion regarding proposed construction of a community centre in Norgate. As the estimated costs exceed $10 million then community direction must be obtained to proceed with the project.

Random Common Taxpayer: OK. What are the projected project costs and impact on my tax load?

Surveyor: The maximum approved cost for approval is $30 million. However, your elected politicians may be able to trim those costs through partnerships and commercial space. Also, they may be able to "add value" by intergrating other municipal services from the same building.

Random Common Taxpayer: And what will $30 million add to my tax load?

Surveyor: At the current population we anticipate an increase of $32 per household per year for 20 years.

RCT: Sounds like a great addition to the community - yes, I approve.


No, our tax costs have increased significantly over the last few years and my personal income hasn't kept pace. I'm sorry but I have to decline.

If, approved THEN all of the cost containment and cost paring through political oversight.

Politicians have to understand that continual addition of services and facilities is unsustainable. The replacement of EXISTING aging infrastructure is going to be a major financial burden for the payers and, if the pols can't or won't rein in costs, then it's up to the payers to put on the brakes.

Anonymous said...

While on the subject of tax increases...

The CUPE UNION (not the City) spokesperson for New Westminster has announced new 4 year agreement with the City. They expect that the agreement will set the pace for the other lower mainland municipal agreements.

The CUPE spokesperson stated that the increases are 1.25% year 1, 1.75% for years 2 and 3 and 2% for year 4 a total 6.75% increase over 4 years.

The union commented how pleased they were to negotiate directly with the employer instead of with the Metro Vancouver Labour Board which formerly represented the lower mainland municipalities as a united group.

New Westminster council will have held the final authority to approve the increase.

As all agreements compound on the prior year the actual increase is 6.92% on salaries with a matching hidden increase associated benefits such as sick time, pension contributions, vacations and lieu days etc.

The prior 5 year CUPE contract provided increases in excess of 18% for a 9 year total union increase approaching 25% spanning one of the deepest recessions in memory.

Politicians ratifying agreements, yes. Taxpayer authority to approve additional $millions, no.

Anonymous said...

Again, direct democracy is the only answer.

Anonymous said...

Back to hypothetical Norgate for a sec, As a non-Norgate resident who would not benefit from the proposed community centre, I am inclined to vote against no matter how great or cheap it is. If you want to get my support then you have to do what Translink does and throw goodies for everyone into every budget package so you can get enough support to do what is needed. That's why Evergreen passed, that's why Evergreen's supplemental budget was so expensive, and that is a terrible way to run a lean government.

Regarding Labour agreements, direct democracy would be an interesting exercise. I think you would find that the wealthier the community is, the less they think their public servants should be paid. West Van being the top end would still support indentured servitude if given the opportunity. The eventual end of DD led labour negotiations is the District paying less (which is good), but then all of the good staff leave because they have the skills to make more money and have a lower cost of living elsewhere (which is bad).

I support a totally different labour scheme where we stop paying wage increases by percentage and instead switch to real dollar negotiations. As an example raise everyone's wages $1000 instead of 2%. For the lower paid staff they go up at a faster rate, and the executives don't run away with $4000 annual increases. Its a good middle class builder and it helps set us apart from other comparators in the municipal field.

Anonymous said...

The hypothetical Norgate above progresses in the traditional method. A politician champions a "need" for an interest group and then finds money to meet the need (raise taxes). In doing so the politician hopes for votes in the next election.

The need then becomes permanently funded and is infrastructure that must be replaced in the future. We can hardly fund the current infrastructure of aging water and sewer pipes, sidewalks, roads, rec centres, firehalls, vehicles etc.

In the inverse model the politicians determine the service and facility levels approved by the taxbase with associated projected costs and household tax estimate. Once armed with the direction of the taxpayers the politicians direct staff to "make it so".

I like your real dollar negotiations because it is "real."

My alternate suggestion:

Currently negotiations for increases are based upon a "guess" of the future economy and taxpayers ability to pay. (See the disastrous 18% CUPE increase spanning the 2008 recession). It goes without saying that the unions always want more regardless of the economy.

Simply put, future wage negotiations should only be retroactive. By this I mean any increase will be paid retroactively based upon an increase (if any) in the prior year CPI. This would have the effect of being "real", keeping pace with cost increases and not being a guess which may prove to be entirely wrong.

Anonymous said...

When you don't know how to get the message out, baffle them with the BS. It certainly is happening here.

Anonymous said...

How would you do it, 7:55PM? Rather than criticize, give us the answers that you obviously think you have.

Anonymous said...

Critics who criticize without stating their specific objections and their reasoned perspective on the topic are just hot air.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the message got out and baffled someone.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your concern about gambling on future economic situations, but again you reinforce % based increases when you tie your cart to CPI. CPI expresses an average increase not in real dollars, but in terms of a %. The higher paid employees get increases far in excess of the normal basket of goods, while lower level staff probably lose ground even with a COLA clause.

Anonymous said...

If a municipality budgets $150,000.00 to buy iPads, iPhones, Macbooks, and other toys for senior staff would the taxpayer find this a prudent use of taxes?

Anonymous said...

If they need them to do their job, then its probably ok.

The council switched from $2500 laptops, plus home desktops to $700 iPads. Assuming they had gotten the useful life out of the previous tech, then it is a great decision.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:54

That’s a good question do they need them to do their job or will a $400.00 laptop suffice?

Where do you get your numbers from, $2500.0 for a laptop was it gold plated or a signed edition?

You say that council switched from laptops to iPads? So besides senior staff, councillors are also in on the toy buying spree?

Anonymous said...

If staff can get the job done more efficiently, get back quickly to people who have inquiries or need an approval, give better advice and replies through access to information then they should be given the appropriate tools to serve the people.

Agree with Anon 12:55. Yes, your flat dollar increases sound pretty good. If all munis and public sector plus the private sector used this method then we might have something. The private sector poaches staff from the publc sector and as long as they use a % for increases then we need to find a rationale for those % increases beyond a "best guess."

Anonymous said...

You assume that government is efficient and that these tools are the key to making staff more efficient.

Unlikely that staff is poached by the private sector from the public sector, but is more likely that the person has made a decision to pursue a career as opposed to having a job and enters the private sector for that reason.

Your posts come from an IP address that is registered as belonging to a certain local government. Perhaps if you did some actual work instead of blogging on this site during working hours you to could become more efficient. Zero cost to the tax payer no tools needed.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Nice bluff is right. I am Anon 10:19.

No, I didn't assume that all gov't is efficient. I do express that any reasonable person, given better tools, can be more efficient at their job - public or private sector. If a public sector person is more efficient and serves the taxpayer better then I think that is a good thing.

Yes staff are poached by private secotr and other munis who compete for the best people by attempting to make their employment conditions superior. Thus the suggestion that all players play by the same rules to level the playing field.

And no, my IP address does not come from any employer or work place at all. I am a private person. Your swipe at public sector workers, although I am not one, is your business but not through me please.

Anonymous said...

Municipal staff are 'poached' by other muncipalities more often, but developers like having experienced planners on their teams and do 'poach' from time to time.