Saturday, December 19, 2009
It is very important that we make ourselves heard on this issue.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Central Saanich Council is supposed to hold a public hearing into the Vantreight development before making a decision on whether the project should go ahead.
They are supposed to attend the public hearing with open minds and listen to what citizens have to say. The public hearing is supposed to take place before the project begins (after all if the hearing is fair there should be a chance the project will not go ahead).
Although there will be a public hearing there is no chance at all that it will be a fair one unless there is a public outcry about the tainted process. Councillors who should have recused themselves because they are in conflict, and who have already made up their minds about the Vantreight development have given a virtual go-ahead to the project. Stakes are in the ground, the pro-development councillors have already made their positions clear (how can you have an open mind when you've already agreed to a Special Interest Zoning to slip the project through?).
This public hearing will be in name only and more of the same tainted processes will follow for waterlines, a new Co-op store and pretty much anything any developer wants UNLESS we all shout out together.
If you live here because it is rural and green think about what it will be like as one after the other these projects begin to creep in and eat up our farm and pasturelands. Think and then act.
It only takes a minute to write to Council (go on the website and use the email form). You can phone the Councillors, you can buttonhole them on the street and you can come to council and watch them.
We could very quickly become Gordon Head and lose everything we value.
The pro-development majority on Central Saanich Council are making sure their donors get exactly what they paid for.
If you can't find it in the rules all you need to do is bend them like you bend the wires on a fence to make a hole to slip through.
Central Saanich has chosen to ignore the will of the citizens and allow development outside of the Urban Containment Boundary. To do this all they had to do was spot zone the area to be developed so that it doesn't have to face a vote at the Capital Region District. A single 'no' vote there would have prevented this travesty, but our creative councillors have found a way to circumvent the visionary planning of the entire region.
One wonders what they won't do?
Mayor Mar of Central Saanich doesn't seem to understand that being in a conflict of interest doesn't just apply in the Council Chambers. Once you have recused yourself on an issue you are supposed to be entirely silent on it outside the Chambers as well.
Although he has business dealings with Vantreight Farms and recognizes that this puts him in conflict on the Vantreight development proposal, Mayor Mar can still be heard trying to influence the media and public by talking about the issue everywhere else.
Sometimes it's a newspaper quote, sometimes it's a radio interview and sometimes it's just talking on the street: after all these years on Council you'd think he'd know enough to just keep silent.
After all these years I know he knows.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Councillors must step aside.
At last Monday's Council Meeting (August 17, 2009), the inevitable result of the shenanigans of the last municipal election began to show themselves, and the result was less than satisfactory.
One of the standard rules to prevent any actual or preceived conflict of interest is that councillors who have a business interest or who have accepted money from someone (as in campaign money, or money for services rendered for example), should 'recuse' themselves (excuse themselves from voting), on any proposals or motions relating to anyone to whom they might be seen to be beholden.
So each time a Vantreight proposal comes up we see Mayor Mar leave the room after explaining that he has a business relationship with Vantreight Farms.
Each time the Senanus pipeline (and now the new Kubek line) comes up, we see Councillor Bryson recuse himself because he believes he is in conflict by virtue of being a leaseholder and farmer in those zones. He perceives a conflict (although no one else does, but more about this aspect later), so he steps aside.
At last Monday night's Council meeting we saw Councillors continue to sit at the table even though they had accepted election donations from the proponents of a couple of major local issues and from their companies and even though they have worked for and received remuneration from some of those proponents.
When David Wilson, a member of the public, came forward to object to this, he was threatened and bullied by Councillor Siklenka, who had the chair in the Mayor's absence. As Mr. Wilson tried to hand in his letter on the issue Siklenka said "If you take one more step Mr. Wilson, I will have you thrown out."
He repeated this several times and the whole silly scene is on tape with the Residents and Ratepayers of Central Saanich who are taping every meeting as the minutes no longer fully reflect the decision making process.
Mr. Wilson was not yelling or doing anything disruptive, he simply stated his belief that two Councillors were in conflict and should leave the meeting. The Chair's behaviour was shameful.
The only exception to this conflict rule is when a benefit resulting from a proposal is something that the greater part of the community would also share.
This is the case with Alastair Bryson who has no particular personal benefit from voting for or against these pipeline proposals. The only benefit is one that would accrue to anyone in the general neighbourhood. It is sad that he has decided to recuse himself on such a vital issue for we need his wisdom and voice to help protect our farmland and our rural ambience. I sincerely believe he is mistaken in doing this and has left the District vulnerable.
Sad times in Central Saanich. Our Official Community Plan, Urban Containment Boundary and the Regional Growth Strategy are under attack by those who think growth can continue forever and who have no respect for the decisions and concerns of the community.
The Co-op ambush of candidates during the civic election last November violates an important principle.
Candidates in a civic campaign are not talking about the policies of a party. They are there to stand as representative of their community and the only promise that matters is the pledge they should make to listen to all points of view and to decide issues in an unbiased fashion.
The Peninsula Co-op's action tried to force candidates into saying whether they did or did not support a development proposal that hadn't yet been made. This means we had to comment without benefit of the wisdom of our neighbours who sit on the Advisory Planning Committee; without the recommendations and comments of experienced and knowledgable district staff and without ever having had the chance to listen to concerns during a public hearing process.
And, as anyone knows, what ever we said would have been held/used against us after the election.
If you truly want good governance, you have to uphold fairness during election campaigns too.
It's time for the province to clean up our dirty little civic elections secret
By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun August 13, 2009
At the rotten core of democratic elections are shady dealers who quietly or secretly finance candidates' campaigns in hopes of future favours.
It's no credit to the B.C. government that scofflaws from last November's provincewide civic elections are being investigated and may yet be charged.
Even though the Liberals revised the Local Government Act in May 2008, among its gaping holes are no spending limits and no electoral oversight by an independent body.
With unlimited cash possible, enforcement is all the more necessary. But that's left up to citizens to police, along with everything else from how ballots are counted to ensuring that campaign organizers register so that voters know who's behind a candidate's campaign.
Few citizens have the time, money or stomach for holding local politicians to account. Yet, there are those odd few willing to brave publicity, intimidation and/or ostracism to complain to police.
David Wilson of Central Saanich is one of them.
He was told by RCMP earlier this week that after 400 hours of investigating his complaint, it's recommending 19 charges be laid regarding financial reporting irregularities.
The RCMP had to investigate because the local police chief is a director of Peninsula Co-op, one of the groups that failed to register as an elector organization in a timely manner.
The recommendation has gone to local Crown counsel and it will likely be at least a month before a decision is made on whether to lay charges. Wilson doesn't know who may be charged, but expects it could include campaign contributors, financial agents or even councillors.
Three months ago, West Vancouver police forwarded their charge recommendations to Crown counsel. They investigated complaints by candidate (and now councillor) Michael Lewis and his campaign manager David Marley about the longstanding, quasi-party West Vancouver Citizens for Good Government's late registration and the Low Tax, Low Growth Association's failure to register or account for thousands of dollars spent trying to elect a slate of candidates.
In Langley, RCMP investigated and found that Parents for Independent Trustees breached the Local Government Act by failing to register as a campaign organizer after the group had spent more than $500 on candidates' campaigns.
The penalty under the act is up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.
Insp. Lesley Bain, who's in charge of the commercial crime section, did not recommend any charges since the group did eventually file the requisite financial information.
Nor did Bain recommend charges against two B.C. cabinet ministers -- Rich Coleman, minister of housing and social development, and Mary Polak, minister for children and family development -- who endorsed candidates.
After consulting federal justice department lawyers and other counsel, RCMP concluded that an endorsement does not have a "fair market value" as stipulated by the act, so the ministers didn't need to register or report their contributions.
Yet, in a five-page letter sent to complainant Sonya Paterson in late June, Bain makes it clear that the act is a shambles. Officers with legal training, senior department of justice officials and B.C. ministry officials all were consulted "to ensure the accuracy of our interpretation of the provisions of the Act as well as the procedures and practices of the ministry with respect to complaints arising from the act."
Even RCMP were assured that both the Crown counsel and the ministry of community and rural development are aware of the act's problems. Bain has a senior member of the commercial crime section writing a report for the divisional headquarters outlining issues that arose during the investigation and proposing better ways to deal with similar complaints in the future.
It is no comfort at all that other provinces do little better when it comes to good legislation and transparency concerning municipal campaign financing.
Manitoba introduced legislation in June that requires full financial disclosure, sets spending limits, bans donations from corporations, unions and people from outside the province, and puts in place employee conflict-of-interest guidelines.
In Quebec, former judge John Gomery stepped into Montreal's municipal election fray this week as chair of a Montreal political party. As inquiry commissioner into the federal Liberals' sponsorship scandal, Gomery says he learned that election financing is at the root of government dishonesty.
Elections and campaign spending are too important not to be regulated and monitored closely. Here in B.C., that requires substantive legislative changes.
Most importantly, responsibility for elections must be taken away from individual municipalities and transferred to Elections B.C., which is an independent agency.
Police and Crown counsel would still be left to investigate and lay charges, but at least this would take the onus off citizens to be the watchdogs.
Within a few months of the last municipal election, Premier Gordon Campbell said he'd consider it. But nothing happened.
Now, three community development ministers later and with evidence of electoral misadventures mounting, it's time to act.
Comment on this story at vancouversun.com/unews
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
Friday, July 24, 2009
Published on Saturday, May 23, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
Paul Hawken's Commencement Address to the Class of 2009
University of Portland, May 3rd, 2009
by Paul Hawken
When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was "direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful." No pressure there.
Let's begin with the startling part. Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation... but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, civilization needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.
This planet came with a set of instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don't poison the water, soil, or air, don't let the earth get overcrowded, and don't touch the thermostat have been broken. Buckminster Fuller said that spaceship earth was so ingeniously designed that no one has a clue that we are on one, flying through the universe at a million miles per hour, with no need for seatbelts, lots of room in coach, and really good food-but all that is changing.
There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn't bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: You are Brilliant, and the Earth is Hiring. The earth couldn't afford to send recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint.
And here's the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required.
Don't be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.
When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren't pessimistic, you don't understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren't optimistic, you haven't got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.
The poet Adrienne Rich wrote, "So much has been destroyed I have cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world." There could be no better description. Humanity is coalescing. It is reconstituting the world, and the action is taking place in schoolrooms, farms, jungles, villages, campuses, companies, refuge camps, deserts, fisheries, and slums.
You join a multitude of caring people. No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done. Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. It is made up of teachers, children, peasants, businesspeople, rappers, organic farmers, nuns, artists, government workers, fisherfolk, engineers, students, incorrigible writers, weeping Muslims, concerned mothers, poets, doctors without borders, grieving Christians, street musicians, the President of the United States of America, and as the writer David James Duncan would say, the Creator, the One who loves us all in such a huge way.
There is a rabbinical teaching that says if the world is ending and the Messiah arrives, first plant a tree, and then see if the story is true. Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity's willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. "One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice," is Mary Oliver's description of moving away from the profane toward a deep sense of connectedness to the living world.
Millions of people are working on behalf of strangers, even if the evening news is usually about the death of strangers. This kindness of strangers has religious, even mythic origins, and very specific eighteenth-century roots. Abolitionists were the first people to create a national and global movement to defend the rights of those they did not know. Until that time, no group had filed a grievance except on behalf of itself. The founders of this movement were largely unknown - Granville Clark, Thomas Clarkson, Josiah Wedgwood - and their goal was ridiculous on the face of it: at that time three out of four people in the world were enslaved. Enslaving each other was what human beings had done for ages. And the abolitionist movement was greeted with incredulity.
Conservative spokesmen ridiculed the abolitionists as liberals, progressives, do-gooders, meddlers,and activists. They were told they would ruin the economy and drive England into poverty. But forthe first time in history a group of people organized themselves to help people they would never know, from whom they would never receive direct or indirect benefit. And today tens of millions of people do this every day. It is called the world of non-profits, civil society, schools, social entrepreneurship, non-governmental organizations, and companies who place social and environmental justice at the top of their strategic goals. The scope and scale of this effort is unparalleled in history.
The living world is not "out there" somewhere, but in your heart. What do we know about life? In the words of biologist Janine Benyus, life creates the conditions that are conducive to life. I can think of no better motto for a future economy. We have tens of thousands of abandoned homes without people and tens of thousands of abandoned people without homes. We have failed bankers advising failed regulators on how to save failed assets. We are the only species on the planet without full employment. Brilliant. We have an economy that tells us that it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time rather than renew, restore, and sustain it. You can print money to bail out a bank but you can't print life to bail out a planet. At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation.
And whenever we exploit the earth we exploit people and cause untold suffering. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.
The first living cell came into being nearly 40 million centuries ago, and its direct descendants are in all of our bloodstreams. Literally you are breathing molecules this very second that were inhaled by Moses, Mother Teresa, and Bono. We are vastly interconnected. Our fates are inseparable. We are here because the dream of every cell is to become two cells. And dreams come true. In each of you are one quadrillion cells, 90 percent of which are not human cells. Your body is a community, and without those other microorganisms you would perish in hours. Each human cell has 400 billion molecules conducting millions of processes between trillions of atoms.
The total cellular activity in one human body is staggering: one septillion actions at any one moment, a one with twenty-four zeros after it. In a millisecond, our body has undergone ten times more processes than there are stars in the universe, which is exactly what Charles Darwin foretold when he said science would discover that each living creature was a "little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven."
So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. You can feel it. It is called life.
This is who you are. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules? Hopefully not a political party. Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. Our innate nature is to create the conditions that are conducive to life. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.
This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years.
Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations before you failed. They didn't stay up all night. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn't ask for a better boss.
The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn't make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.
Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and author. His books include Blessed Unrest.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Please donate to:
Tsawout First Nation
7725 Tetayut Rd
Saanichton BC V8M 2C3
It's time to help our neighbours folks!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Recently many members of the Peninsula Co-Op have been increasingly dissatisfied with a number of decisions made by its leadership. Reasons for the dissatisfaction include:
· The decision by the Co-Op to become involved in last November’s municipal elections WITHOUT the knowledge or approval of the general membership,
· The decision to proceed with plans to undertake a major commercial development on rural land on West Saanich Road that is inconsistent with the Official Community Plan and the Community’s urban containment boundaries,
· A lack of information and dialogue from Co-Op management in keeping with the values and principles of member-owners, and
· The lack of a vision for a green economy supporting alternative energy sources and sustainable local food production.
You can help change this. Each year three Directors are elected to the nine-member board. This year there are three candidates who are committed to: engaging the entire membership, promoting ethical business practices, protecting the rural environments in the communities the Co-Op serves, supporting local agriculture, ensuring sustainable food security, and promoting transparent dialogue with the membership.
Those candidates are:
Alicia Cormier Dave Lawson David Wilson
A communique outlining their positions is attached. Also attached is a copy of the Bio for each of member candidates outlinning their individual qualifications.
Please attend the AGM on the 24th of June 2009 at the Saanich Fairgrounds and vote for these candidates who support positive changes at your Peninsula Co-Op.
Victoria — From Monday's Globe and Mail, Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2009 10:22PM EDT
The provincial bureaucracy suppressed a routine report during the spring election campaign that shows the province is facing a significant increase in welfare costs this year.
The data tracking the number of people on income assistance put added strain on Premier Gordon Campbell's assertion that his February budget is on track for a $495-million deficit.
An internal government e-mail exchange shows that a Web services analyst was preparing the monthly update of welfare statistics on April 21 when the public affairs bureau stepped in.
“Hi John – Can we please hold off on posting these updates until after the election? Thanks for your help,” wrote government communications officer Amanda Thambirajah.
Read the e-mails, accessed under a freedom of information request
Download this file (.pdf)
Ms. Thambirajah was invoking “interregnum” as the basis for keeping the information out of the public realm during the election – the notion that the civil service should act as a caretaker between one reign and the next.
“It was determined the best approach was to remain neutral and non-partisan about all information except for information about public safety,” Ben Stewart, the minister responsible for the B.C. government's public affairs bureau, said in an interview Monday.
He said the government's entire force of 32,000 civil servants was aware of the protocol, but could not produce a copy of the edict because it does not appear to have been written down anywhere. It was left to the communications directors in each government ministry to prevent the publication of any statistics, reports or other information during the 28-day campaign.
The analyst, John Paul Johnson, sparked a cascade of e-mails when he notified the public affairs bureau that the monthly welfare statistics would be ready to post on the government website on April 30.
His initial e-mail was written the day before Mr. Campbell issued a mid-election campaign assurance that the budget was on track. “Our budget that we brought in in February is a solid budget,” Mr. Campbell said at the time. “We will perform to that budget.”
The statistics show that welfare claims in March had swelled by 26 per cent compared to March, 2008. New Democratic Party Leader Carole James said that information would have been helpful to voters in an election campaign that was focused on the state of the economy. She called the decision to keep the numbers secret until several days after the May 12 vote “disturbing.”
According to budget documents, every 1 per cent increase in welfare cases costs the treasury an additional $3.5-million.
The government so far has allocated an additional $61-million to cover increased welfare costs, a government official has confirmed.
The e-mail trail was obtained through a freedom of information request by former New Democratic Party MLA David Schreck, who turned them over to the opposition. Ms. James noted Monday that the government also prevented health authorities from delivering their proposed health-care cuts until after the election.
“What else did they keep from British Columbians during an election campaign?” she asked. “It's pretty clear that we're in a difficult situation in British Columbia, and the public deserves to know that information.”
Some things were not covered by the unwritten protocol. For example, BC Stats, the government's main statistics agency, released seven economic reports during the campaign. As well, the Liberals announced in the first week of the campaign that the new Port Mann Bridge would open to traffic a year earlier than promised, and the next week, Mr. Campbell opened a new $4.6-million B.C. Visitor Centre.
The finance ministry is preparing an updated budget for Sept. 1, but has not provided any economic update since the election despite warnings from economists that the recession has dealt the government's fiscal health a substantive blow.
Four years of B.C. cabinet e-mails erased
Electronic records requested by defence aren't recoverable, lawyer representing Premier in BC Rail case tells court
GLOBE and MAIL
Vancouver — Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2009 05:01AM EDT
The provincial government may have destroyed all cabinet e-mails between 2001 and 2005, opening a huge gap in the official record despite a law that electronic files must be kept for at least seven years, the Supreme Court of British Columbia has learned.
Michael Bolton, who is defending one of three former government employees in a political corruption case stemming from the sale of BC Rail, said outside court Monday he was stunned to hear the e-mails aren't available.
“This is troubling…this potentially is a very serious matter. We never expected this,” said Mr. Bolton, who is defending Dave Basi, who was a ministerial aid in 2003 when the government sold BC Rail to CN Rail for $1-billion. The controversial deal, which was the first big privatization undertaken by the B.C. Liberals, closed in 2004.
In an application filed two weeks ago defence lawyers sought the disclosure of the e-mail records of several members of cabinet, key executives, and of Premier Gordon Campbell, from June, 2001 to 2005.
But George Copley, a lawyer representing the Executive Council, which includes both the Premier's office and cabinet, told court the electronic records aren't recoverable.
Mr. Copley said officials who oversaw a search reported the material couldn't be found, implying it had all been purged from the data system.
“There are backup tapes. They are kept for a certain period of time…[but] in the normal course of operation they don't keep more than 13 months backup,” he told Justice Elizabeth Bennett.
Kevin McCullough, who is defending co-accused Bob Virk, a former aid to the transportation minister, told court he couldn't believe what he was hearing.
“It's vanishing point,” he said. “Everything is gone. The records are irrecoverable.”
Mr. McCullough said government officials should be called to explain why the material isn't available.
But Justice Bennett said she was reluctant to do that, because the defence has yet to establish that the material is relevant.
“I'm not keen on having these individuals [responsible for managing government records] cross-examined…If the documents are not recoverable it doesn't mean anything unless you [first] establish likely relevance,” she said.
Justice Bennett told the defence to argue the relevance issue Tuesday, while submitting a set of written questions to Mr. Copley to get more details on what exactly was done to search the government records.
Leonard Krog, NDP justice critic, said it is “extremely troubling” that important government files may have been destroyed.
“The Document Disposal Act requires that [electronic records] be kept for seven years,” he said. “It raises incredible suspicions and someone farther up the political chain that Mr. Copley is going to have to appear in court and explain what happened.”
The government of B.C. has a detailed protocol covering both the preservation and destruction of its records.
Formal records can be destroyed, but only after the action has been approved by a public documents committee, the legislative assembly or the attorney general.
The Corporate Information Management Branch, which provides guidelines for government employees, states that e-mails must be copied to a central document management directory before individuals delete them from their personal files.
The guidelines say only “transitory” e-mails, which are clearly trivial in nature, can be deleted by individuals.
“Examples of this type of e-mail would be ‘Is this morning's meeting still on?' ”
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Top CEOs earn average Canadian annual salary in hours
By Colin Perkel, THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO - As many Canadians nurse their post-New Year's Eve hangovers and ponder what further economic storms await, Canada's top corporate executives can take some comfort in knowing they have already earned as much as the average worker will earn in all of 2009.
A new analysis by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives concludes the country's richest corporate executives will have pocketed an average of $40,237 by 9:04 a.m. Friday morning.
"By the time your computer has finished booting up on your first day back after the New Year's holiday, the average CEO would have already banked what took the average Canadian worker an entire year's worth of work to earn," the report states.
"Many of the top 100 include Canada's big bank CEOs, who recently received billions in federal government bailout money to purchase mortgage loans." Prepared by economist Hugh Mackenzie, the report finds the top 100 CEOs of publicly traded corporations averaged more than $10 million in pay apiece in 2007, the last full year for which figures are available. That kind of money would buy 44 high-end Porsches or five $2-million condos.
The collective billion-dollar bonanza - a 22 per cent increase over the year before - set a record and followed a decade of unprecedented pay increases, the analysis finds. Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management, said the gap between low-end and highest-end earners began growing in earnest in the 1980s and accelerated in the 1990s, something Martin attributed essentially to greed.
The question for CEOs changed from how much they felt they needed to earn to how much could they could "possibly extract" from their companies, an attitude detrimental to the company and their employees.
"Rank-and-file employees will increasingly feel like, 'Wow, I'm working hard to make that guy really, really rich. Do I like that?"' Martin said.
The report is based on disclosures made by companies trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The compensation includes salaries, bonuses, proceeds from stock options and other payouts.
The top earner, according to the report, was Michael Lazaridis, head of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion based in Waterloo, Ont., who pocketed more than $51 million.
Martin said current ways of thinking about CEO compensation are "just dead wrong." "A lot of the CEOs have a compensation formula that still compensates them wonderfully while they're not creating value or even destroying value - laying off people and the like," Martin said.
Incentives they are offered tend to encourage unhealthy and even disastrous risk-taking as senior executives seek to maximize their own earnings, often at the expense of shareholder interests, Martin said.
Despite the market meltdown and hammering of the economy that is costing thousands of workers their jobs, Mackenzie said CEO earnings for 2008 could be as high as they ever were.
"In a rational world, you would expect a big drop in executive compensation in 2008 and again this year," Mackenzie said in an interview.
But in a rational world, he said, one wouldn't expect to see the average pay of the top 50 executives rising from 104 times the average income in 1995 to almost 400 times.
Martin said CEOs should suffer along with employees and shareholders when times are tough.
Repercussions from the economic crisis may yet force them to do so. The report notes a backlash in the United States against huge salaries and severance packages paid to executives even as their company share prices and performance plummet.
"It's only a matter of time before this new reality takes root in Canada," the report says. -
Some facts about the top 100 Canadian CEO earnings
TORONTO - An analysis out Friday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives finds top earnings for Canada's top 100 CEOs have soared in recent years.
Some facts (figures based on 2007 unless otherwise noted):
Average annual CEO earnings: $10,408,054
Increase over previous year: 22 per cent
Average annual pay for Canadians: $40,237
Number of CEOs to earn total income of Nunavut: 25
Point at which CEO earns annual salary of average Canadian: Jan. 2, 9:04 a.m.
Quote: "A lot of the CEOs have a compensation formula that still compensates them wonderfully while they're not creating value or even destroying value - laying off people and the like."
- Roger Martin, dean of Rotman School of Management. Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
If you care about salmon, bears, orca, dolphins, wolves, old growth forest, or fishermen and haven't signed this letter yet, please do it now. Wherever you are in the world, we need your signature to pressure our government into action.
Petition at:http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cEkxX3p3MGFBbWNVVGNVU3lxQnBwQmc6MA ..
Background at: http://www.adopt-a-fry.org/
Our letter has become too big to send to all of you, I will try to post it later today on www.adopt-a-fry.org. This email below and the letter went to the Minister and the Premier a few minutes ago.Please see the Globe and Mail article below. I believe we will need 2-3 times the signatures we have now to move government to do the right thing.My deepest thanks to all of you alexandraDear Minister of Fisheries the honourable Gail Shea and Premier Campbell:As noted in the Globe and Mail this morning, I have been sending you this letter for a month with no reply. What began with 100 signatures from local fishermen has grown to 7,309 signatures from around the world, but predominately British Columbia (5,785).Premier Campbell, your government has allowed this industry to expand in the face of the most alarming wild salmon declines we have ever seen on this coast.Minister Shea, this is not a situation of your making, but you have the opportunity to bring reason to this mess.I will continue to take signatures to help you move past status quo and bring salmon “farming” into compliance with the laws of Canada. BC Supreme Court ruled they are no longer “farms,” they are a fishery. There is debate now as to whether Marine Harvest and the other salmon “farming” companies actually own their fish when they put them into Canadian waters,All we are asking is for the Fisheries Act to be applied to this industry. As wild salmon decline all the other related fisheries have been increasingly restricted.....except the marine feedlot fishery. This is a threat to our coastal communities and the economy of British Columbia.Standing by,Alexandra MortonTo sign the petition to apply the Fisheries Act to fish farms the way it is applied to fishermen please click on the link below. http ://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cEkxX3p3MGFBbWNVVGNVU3lxQnBwQmc6MA. .
The Globe and Mail
Fisheries ignored 500 names. Can it ignore 5,000?
by Mark Hume March 23, 2009
VANCOUVER -- The form letter that Premier Gordon Campbell and federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea keep ignoring is just getting longer. In circulation for only a few weeks, it already has nearly 5,000 signatories, and more names are being added daily as it circulates on the Web.
When it first went to the politicians, 500 names were affixed. It was ignored, so it went back into circulation and soon was resubmitted with 2,000 names, then with 4,000. It's making the rounds again this week, and is still growing.
Started by research scientist and fisheries activist Alexandra Morton, the letter asks the government to take decisive action to protect wild salmon from the threats posed by salmon farms. One of the key requests is that salmon farms be moved away from wild salmon migration routes because of the transmission of sea lice from caged fish.
The people who signed the letter worry that salmon farms are an unacceptable risk to wild stocks. And that fear is about to be heightened by a study being released today that shows juvenile sockeye from the Fraser River are encountering fish farms at an alarming rate.
Michael Price, a biologist with Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and Craig Orr, executive director of Watershed Watch, studied 800 wild sockeye collected in 2007-08 in northern Georgia Strait. About 70 per cent of those fish had one to 20 sea lice attached to them. And the fish caught near farms were the most likely to be infected.
"The lice levels appear to be higher near farms," said Mr. Price, who is still analyzing the data.Past studies by Ms. Morton have documented the spread of lice from farms to wild pink and chum salmon in the Broughton Archipelago, an area off Vancouver Island's northeast shoulder. But the study by Mr. Price and Dr. Orr looks at sockeye, and for the first time uses DNA analysis to trace the infected fish to their watershed of origin.The researchers conclude most of the sockeye they caught migrating near salmon farms (60 per cent in 2007 and 99 per cent in 2008) came from the Fraser River.
Sockeye are the most valuable of all salmon species because they draw a higher price on the market and because they are the fish of choice for native food and ceremonial fisheries. Mr. Price and Dr. Orr have now linked the most valuable fish, from B.C.'s most important salmon river, to farms and lice. Mr. Price said juvenile sockeye can follow three routes as they migrate through Georgia Strait on the outward leg of their journey to the Gulf of Alaska.
"But all these routes converge before the Broughton Archipelago [at the north end of Georgia Strait] where there are a dozen farms," he said. "It's clear that no fish can make this journey without encountering a farm."
Mr. Price said studies have shown that one to three lice can kill a juvenile pink salmon, so it's fair to assume sockeye are dying as well. Could this help explain the collapse of Fraser River sockeye stocks? Some people will no doubt find this an alarming possibility.
The form letter, triggered by concerns about pink and chum, describes wild salmon as "the backbone of the B.C. Coast," and urges both Ms. Shea and Mr. Campbell to protect migrating wild stocks from fish farms. So far, the politicians have been able to ignore the ever-growing letter. But the new study can only ratchet up the pressure. Now that people know it's not just pink salmon, but Fraser River sockeye stocks that are at risk, one has to wonder how many more names will get added to that letter.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
The most important issue facing this province is being almost totally neglected in this campaign.
In eight years the Campbell Liberals have built no subsidized housing for families even though the dire need grows daily. Thousands of people, most of them children, are waiting for safe, healthy housing that is subsidized so that parents aren't spending 80% of their income on shelter. Thousands are living in mouldy, rat-infested units that compromise health and safety. Thousands are living in crowded conditions, in run down homes with electrical and plumbing problems. Thousands go hungry to keep an inadequate roof over their heads.
How do children grow and what do they learn when society leaves them in these shameful conditions? The private market can’t help these children. This is the job of government and if we weren't wasting the money on mega-projects we would easily be able to care for the vulnerable folks among us.
I don't know about you, but I expect my taxes to be used to keep my fellow citizens healthy and safe.
The real scandal isn't speeding tickets and drunk driving. The real scandal is the "let them eat cake” attitude of the ignorant, arrogant Campbell Liberals.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Adopted at First National Convention Held at Regina,
Saskatchewan, July, 1933.
The CCF is a federation of organizations whose purpose is the establishment in Canada of a Co-operative Commonwealth in which the principle regulating production, distribution and exchange will be the supplying of human needs and not the making of profits.
We aim to replace the present capitalist system, with its inherent injustice and inhumanity, by a social order from which the domination and exploitation of one class by another will be eliminated, in which economic planning will supersede unregulated private enterprise and competition, and in which genuine democratic self-government, based upon economic equality will be possible. The present order is marked by glaring inequalities of wealth and opportunity, by chaotic waste and instability; and in an age of plenty it condemns the great mass of the people to poverty and insecurity. Power has become more and more concentrated into the hands of a small irresponsible minority of financiers and industrialists and to their predatory interests the majority are habitually sacrificed. When private profit is the main stimulus to economic effort, our society oscillates between periods of feverish prosperity in which the main benefits go to speculators and profiteers, and of catastrophic depression, in which the common man's normal state of insecurity and hardship is accentuated. We believe that these evils can be
removed only in a planned and socialized economy in which our natural resources and principal means of production and distribution are owned, controlled and operated by the people.
The new social order at which we aim is not one in which individuality will be crushed out by a system of regimentation. Nor shall we interfere with cultural rights of racial or religious minorities. What we seek is a proper collective organization of our economic resources such as will make possible a much greater degree of leisure and a much richer individual life for every citizen.
This social and economic transformation can be brought about by political action, through the election of a government inspired by the ideal of a Co-operative Commonwealth and supported by a majority of the people. We do not believe in change by violence. We consider that both the old parties in Canada are the instruments of capitalist interests and cannot serve as agents of social reconstruction, and that whatever the superficial differences between them, they are bound to carry on government in accordance with the dictates of the big business interests who finance them. The CCF aims at political power in order to put an end to this capitalist domination of our political life. It is a democratic movement, a federation of farmer, labour and socialist organizations, financed by its own members and seeking to achieve its ends solely by constitutional methods. It appeals for support to all who believe that the time has come for a far-reaching reconstruction of our economic and political institutions and who are willing to work together for the carrying out of the following policies:
The establishment of a planned, socialized economic order, in order to make possible the most efficient development of the national resources and the most equitable distribution of the national income.
The first step in this direction will be setting up of a National Planning Commission consisting of a small body of economists, engineers and statisticians assisted by an appropriate technical staff.
The task of the Commission will be to plan for the production, distribution and exchange of all goods and services necessary to the efficient functioning of the economy; to co-ordinate the activities of the socialized industries; to provide for a satisfactory balance between the producing and consuming power; and to carry on continuous research into all branches of the national economy in order to acquire the detailed information necessary to efficient planning.
The Commission will be responsible to the Cabinet and will work in co-operation with the Managing Boards of the Socialized Industries.
It is now certain that in every industrial country some form of planning will replace the disintegrating capitalist system. The C.C.F. will provide that in Canada the planning shall be done, not by a small group of capitalist magnates in their own interests, but by public servants acting in the public interest and responsible to the people as a whole.
2. Socialization Of Finance
Socialization of all financial machinery--banking currency, credit, and insurance, to make possible the effective control of currency, credit and prices, and the supplying of new productive equipment for socially desirable purposes.
Planning by itself will be of little use if the public authority has not the power to carry its plans into effect. Such power will require the control of finance and of all those vital industries and services, which, if they remain in private hands, can be used to thwart or corrupt the will of the public authority. Control of finance is the first step in the control of the whole economy. The chartered banks must be socialized and removed from the control of private profit-seeking interests; and the national banking system thus established must have at its head a Central Bank to control the flow of credit and the general price level, and to regulate foreign exchange operations. A National Investment Board must also be set up, working in co-operation with the socialized banking system to mobilize and direct the unused surpluses of production for socially desired purposes as determined by the Planning Commission.
Insurance Companies, which provide one of the main channels for the investment of individual savings and which, under their present competitive organization, charge needlessly high premiums for the social services that they render, must also be socialized.
3. Social Ownership
Socialization (Dominion, Provincial or Municipal) of transportation, communications, electric power and all other industries and services essential to social planning, and their operation under the general direction of the Planning Commission by competent managements freed from day to day political interference.
Public utilities must be operated for the public benefit and, not for the private profit of a small group of owners or financial manipulators. Our natural resources must be developed by the same methods. Such a programme means the continuance and extension of the public ownership enterprises in which most governments in Canada have already gone some distance. Only by such public ownership, operated on a planned economy, can our main industries be saved from the wasteful competition of the ruinous overdevelopment and over-capitalization which are the inevitable outcome of capitalism. Only in a regime of public ownership and operation will the full benefits accruing from centralized control and mass production be passed on to the consuming public.
Transportation, communications and electric power must come first in a list of industries to be socialized. Others, such as mining, pulp and paper and the distribution of milk, bread, coal and gasoline, in which exploitation, waste, or financial malpractices are particularly prominent must next be brought under social ownership and operation.
In restoring to the community its natural resources and in taking over industrial enterprises from private into public control we do not propose any policy of outright confiscation. What we desire is the most stable and equitable transition to the Cooperative Commonwealth. It is impossible to decide the policies to be followed in particular cases in an uncertain future, but we insist upon certain broad principles. The welfare of the community must take supremacy over the claims of private wealth. In times of war, human life has been conscripted. Should economic circumstances call for it, conscription of wealth would be more justifiable. We recognize the need for compensation in the case of individuals and institutions which must receive adequate maintenance during the transitional period before the planned economy becomes fully operative. But a CCF government will not play the role of rescuing bankrupt private concerns for the benefit of promoters and of stock and bond holders. It will not pile up a deadweight burden of unremunerative debt which represents claims upon the public treasury of a functionless owner class.
The management of publicly owned enterprises will be vested in boards who will be appointed for their competence in the industry and will conduct each particular enterprise on efficient economic lines. The machinery of management may well vary from industry to industry, but the rigidity of Civil Service rules should be avoided and likewise the evils of the patronage system as exemplified in so many departments of the Government today.
Workers in these public industries must be free to organize in trade unions and must be given the right to participate in the management of the industry.
Security of tenure for the farmer upon his farm on conditions to be laid down by individual provinces; insurance against unavoidable crop failure; removal of the tariff burden from the operations of agriculture; encouragement of producers' and consumers' cooperatives; the restoration and maintenance of an equitable relationship between prices of agricultural products and those of other commodities and services; and improving the efficiency of export trade in farm products.
The security of tenure for the farmer upon his farm which is imperilled by the present disastrous situation of the whole industry, together with adequate social insurance, ought to be guaranteed under equitable conditions.
The prosperity of agriculture, the greatest Canadian industry, depends upon a rising volume of purchasing power of the masses in Canada for all farm goods consumed at home, and upon the maintenance of large scale exports of the stable commodities at satisfactory prices or equitable commodity exchange.
The intense depression in agriculture today is a consequence of the general world crisis caused by the normal workings of the capitalistic system resulting in:
Economic nationalism expressing itself in tariff barriers and other restrictions of world trade;
The decreased purchasing power of unemployed and under-employed workers and of the Canadian people in general;
(3) The exploitation of both primary producers and consumers by monopolistic corporations who absorb a great proportion of the selling price of farm products. (This last is true, for example, of the distribution of milk and dairy products, the packing industry, and milling.)
The immediate cause of agricultural depression is the catastrophic fall in the world prices of foodstuffs as compared with other prices, this fall being due in large measure to the deflation of currency and credit. To counteract the worst effect of this, the internal price level should be raised so that the farmers' purchasing power may be restored.
We propose therefore:
1. The improvement of the position of the farmer by the increase of the purchasing power made possible by the social control of the financial system. This control must be directed towards the increase of employment as laid down elsewhere and towards raising the prices of farm commodities by appropriate credit and foreign policies.
2. Whilst the family farm is the accepted basis for agricultural production in Canada the position of the farmer may be much improved by: (a) The extension of consumers' cooperatives for the purchase of farm supplies and domestic requirements; and (b) The extension of cooperative institutions for the processing and marketing of farm products.
Both of the foregoing to have suitable state encouragement and assistance.
3. The adoption of a planned system of agricultural development based upon scientific soil surveys directed towards better land utilization, and a scientific policy of agricultural development for the whole of Canada.
The substitution for the present system of foreign trade, of a system of import boards to improve the efficiency of overseas marketing, to control prices, and to integrate the foreign trade policy with the requirements of the national economic plan.
5. External Trade
The regulation in accordance with the National plan of external trade through import and export boards
Canada is dependent on external sources of supply for many of her essential requirements of raw materials and manufactured products. These she can obtain only by large exports of the goods she is best fitted to produce. The strangling of our export trade by insane protectionist policies must be brought to an end. But the old controversies between free traders and protectionists are now largely obsolete. In a world of nationally organized economies Canada must organize the buying and selling of her main imports and exports under public boards, and take steps to regulate the flow of less important commodities by a system of licenses. By so doing she will be enabled to make the best trade agreements possible with foreign countries, put a stop to the exploitation of both primary producer and ultimate consumer, make possible the coordination of internal processing, transportation and marketing of farm products, and facilitate the establishment of stable prices for such export commodities.
6. Co-Operative Institutions
The encouragement by the public authority of both producers' and consumers' cooperative institutions
In agriculture, as already mentioned, the primary producer can receive a larger net revenue through cooperative organization of purchases and marketing. Similarly in retail distribution of staple commodities such as milk, there is room for development both of public municipal operation and of consumers' cooperatives, and such cooperative organization can be extended into wholesale distribution and into manufacturing. Cooperative enterprises should be assisted by the state through appropriate legislation and through the provision of adequate credit facilities.
7. Labour Code
A National Labour Code to secure for the worker maximum income and leisure, insurance covering accident, old age, and unemployment, freedom of association and effective participation in the management of his industry or profession
The spectre of poverty and insecurity which still haunts every worker, though technological developments have made possible a high standard of living for everyone, is a disgrace which must be removed from our civilization. The community must organize its resources to effect progressive reduction of the hours of work in accordance with technological development and to provide a constantly rising standard of life to everyone who is willing to work. A labour code must be developed which will include state regulation of all wages, equal reward and equal opportunity of advancement for equal services, irrespective of sex; measures to guarantee the right to work or the right to maintenance through stabilization of employment and through unemployment insurance; social insurance to protect workers and their families against the hazards of sickness, death, industrial accident and old age; limitation of hours of work and protection of health and safety in industry. Both wages and insurance benefits should be varied in accordance with family needs.
In addition workers must be guaranteed the undisputed right to freedom of association, and should be encouraged and assisted by the state to organize themselves in trade unions. By means of collective agreements and participation in works councils, the workers can achieve fair working rules and share in the control of industry and profession; and their organizations will be indispensable elements in a system of genuine industrial democracy.
The labour code should be uniform throughout the country. But the achievement of this end is difficult so long as jurisdiction over labour legislation under the B.N.A. Act is mainly in the hands of the provinces. It is urgently necessary, therefore, that the B.N.A. Act be amended to make such a national labour code possible.
8. Socialized Health Services Publicly Organized Health,
Hospital and Medical Services
With the advance of medical science the maintenance of a healthy population has become a function for which every civilized community should undertake responsibility. Health services should be made at least as freely available as are educational services today. But under a system which is still mainly one of private enterprise the costs of proper medical care, such as the wealthier members of society can easily afford, are at present prohibitive for great masses of the people. A properly organized system of public health services including medical and dental care, which would stress the prevention rather than the cure of illness should be extended to all our people in both rural and urban areas. This is an enterprise in which Dominion, Provincial and Municipal authorities, as well as the medical and dental professions can cooperate.
9. B.N.A. Act
The amendment of the Canadian Constitution, without infringing upon racial or religious minority rights or upon legitimate provincial claims to autonomy, so as to deal effectively with urgent economic problems which are essentially national in scope; the abolition of the Canadian Senate
We propose that the necessary amendments to the B.N.A. Act shall be obtained as speedily as required, safeguards being inserted to ensure that the existing rights of racial and religious minorities shall not be changed without their own consent. What is chiefly needed today is the placing in the hands of the national government of more power to control national economic development. In a rapidly changing economic environment our political constitution must be reasonably flexible. The present division of powers between Dominion and Provinces reflects the conditions of a pioneer, mainly agricultural, community in 1867. Our constitution must be brought into line with the increasing industrialization of the country and the consequent centralization of economic and financial power—which has taken place in the last two generations. The principle laid down in the Quebec Resolution of the Fathers of Confederation should be applied to the conditions of 1933, that "there be a general government charged with matters of common interest to the whole country and local governments for each of the provinces charged with the control of local matters to their respective sections".
The Canadian Senate, which was originally created to protect provincial rights, but has failed even in this function, has developed into a bulwark of capitalist interests, as is illustrated by the large number of company directorships held by its aged members. In its peculiar composition of a fixed number of members appointed for life it is one of the most reactionary assemblies in the civilized world. It is a standing obstacle to all progressive legislation, and the only permanently satisfactory method of dealing with the constitutional difficulties it creates is to abolish it.
10. External Relations
A Foreign Policy designed to obtain international economic cooperation and to promote disarmament and world peace
Canada has a vital interest in world peace. We propose, therefore, to do everything in our power to advance the idea of international cooperation as represented by the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization. We would extend our diplomatic machinery for keeping in touch with the main centres of world interest. But we believe that genuine international cooperation is incompatible with the capitalist regime which is in force in most countries, and that strenuous efforts are needed to rescue the League from its present condition of being mainly a League of capitalist Great Powers. We stand resolutely against all participation in imperialist wars. Within the British Commonwealth, Canada must maintain her autonomy as a completely self-governing nation. We must resist all attempts to build up a new economic British Empire in place of the old political one, since such attempts readily lend themselves to the purposes of capitalist exploitation and may easily lead to further world wars. Canada must refuse to be entangled in any more wars fought to make the world safe for capitalism.
11. Taxation And Public Finance
A new taxation policy designed not only to raise public revenues but also to lessen the glaring inequalities of income and to provide funds for social services and the socialization of industry; the cessation of the debt-creating system of Public Finance
In the type of economy that we envisage, the need for taxation, as we now understand it, will have largely disappeared. It will nevertheless be essential during the, transition period, to use the taxing powers, along with the other methods proposed elsewhere, as a means of providing for the socialization of industry, and for extending the benefits of increased Social Services.
At present capitalist governments in Canada raise a large proportion of their revenues from such levies as customs duties and sales taxes, the main burden of which falls upon the masses. In place of such taxes upon articles of general consumption, we propose a drastic extension of income, corporation and inheritance taxes, steeply graduated according to ability to pay. Full publicity must be given to income tax payments and our tax collection system must be brought up to the English standard of efficiency.
We also believe in the necessity for an immediate revision of the basis of Dominion and Provincial sources of revenues, so as to produce a coordinated and equitable system of taxation throughout Canada.
An inevitable effect of the capitalist system is the debt creating character of public financing. All public debts have enormously increased, and the fixed interest charges paid thereon now amount to the largest single item of so-called uncontrollable public expenditures. The CCF proposes that in future no public financing shall be permitted which facilitates the perpetuation of the parasitic interest-receiving class; that capital shall be provided through the medium of the National Investment Board and free from perpetual interest charges.
We propose that all Public Works, as directed by the Planning Commission, shall be financed by the issuance of credit, as suggested, based upon the National Wealth of Canada.
Freedom of speech and assembly for all; repeal of Section 98 of the Criminal Code; amendment of the Immigration Act to prevent the present inhuman policy of deportation; equal treatment before the law of all residents of Canada irrespective of race, nationality or religious or political beliefs
In recent years, Canada has seen an alarming growth of Fascist tendencies among all governmental authorities. The most elementary rights of freedom of speech and assembly have been arbitrarily denied to workers and to all whose political and social views do not meet with the approval of those in power. The lawless and brutal conduct of the police in certain centres in preventing public meetings and in dealing with political prisoners must cease. Section 98 of the Criminal Code which has been used as a weapon of political oppression by a panic-stricken capitalist government, must be wiped off the statute book and those who have been imprisoned under it must be released. An end must be put to the inhuman practice of deporting immigrants who were brought to this country by immigration propaganda and now, through no fault of their own, find themselves victims of an executive department against whom there is no appeal to the courts of the land. We stand for full economic, political and religious liberty for all.
13. Social Justice
The establishment of a commission composed of psychiatrists, psychologists, socially minded jurists and social workers, to deal with all matters pertaining to crime and punishment and the general administration of law, in order to humanize the law and to bring it into harmony with the needs of the people
While the removal of economic inequality will do much to overcome the most glaring injustices in the treatment of those who come into conflict with the law, our present archaic system must be changed and brought into accordance with a modern concept of human relationships. The new system must not be based as is the present one, upon vengeance and fear, but upon an understanding of human behaviour. For this reason its planning and control cannot be left in the hands of those steeped in the outworn legal tradition; and therefore it is proposed that there shall be established a national commission composed of psychiatrists, psychologists, socially minded jurists and social workers whose duty it shall be to devise a system of prevention and correction consistent with other features of the new social order.
14. An Emergency Programme
The assumption by the Dominion Government of direct responsibility for dealing with the present critical unemployment situation and for tendering suitable work or adequate maintenance; the adoption of measures to relieve the extremity of the crisis such as a programme of public spending on housing, and other enterprises that will increase the real wealth of Canada, to be financed by the issue of credit based on the national wealth
The extent of unemployment and the widespread suffering which it has caused, creates a situation with which provincial and municipal governments have long been unable to cope and forces upon the Dominion government direct responsibility for dealing with the crisis as the only authority with financial resources adequate to meet the situation. Unemployed workers must be secured in the tenure of their homes, and the scale and methods of relief, at present altogether inadequate, must be such as to preserve decent human standards of living.
It is recognized that even after a Cooperative Commonwealth Federation Government has come into power, a certain period of time must elapse before the planned economy can be fully worked out. During this brief transitional period, we propose to provide work and purchasing power to those now unemployed by a far-reaching programme of public expenditure on housing, slum clearance, hospitals, libraries, schools, community halls, parks, recreational projects, reforestation, rural electrification, the elimination of grade crossings, and other similar projects in both town and country. This programme, which would be financed by the issuance of credit based on the national wealth, would serve the double purpose of creating employment and meeting recognized social needs. Any steps which the government takes, under this emergency programme, which may assist private business, must include guarantees of adequate wages and reasonable hours of work, and must be designed to further the advance towards the complete Cooperative Commonwealth.
Emergency measures, however, are of only temporary value, for the present depression is a sign of the mortal sickness of the whole capitalist system, and this sickness cannot be cured by the application of salves. These leave untouched the cancer which is eating at the heart of our society, namely, the economic system in which our natural resources and our principal means of production and distribution are owned, controlled and operated for the private profit of a small proportion of our population.
No C.C.F. Government will rest content until it has eradicated capitalism and put into operation the full programme of socialized planning which will lead to the establishment in Canada of the Cooperative Commonwealth.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Citizens are left on their own to guard against electoral irregularities in municipal elections
By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun, March 21, 2009
Even the provincial minister responsible for municipal legislation did not believe that citizens would have to spend their own money to overturn an unfair election but he learned he was misinformed.
The B.C. Liberal government has gone far beyond convention in silencing opposition during the May election campaign with its gag law on third-party advertising. Yet the same Liberal government allows a virtual free-for-all during municipal elections.
Civic elections are "the Wild West," says Simon Fraser University political scientist Patrick Smith, who has concluded that more than four times as much money per voter is spent than in provincial or federal elections.
Yet, it's left up to citizens to enforce the electoral rules. There is no independent oversight, which gives municipal elections in British Columbia some of the hallmarks of voting in banana republics.
The Liberals did amend the Local Government Act a few months before the November civic elections. For the first time, groups and individuals supporting candidates or slates of candidates were required to register. But the legislation has no enforcement mechanism. No one is responsible for policing it. If citizens believe there are electoral irregularities, they have to spend their own money to ensure that unfair elections are overturned and transgressors either lose their seats or are banned from participating in the next election.
It's a serious oversight that renders the legislation so lame that even former community development minister Blair Lekstrom couldn't believe it.
In an interview the day before the Nov. 15 provincewide elections, Lekstrom assured me that his department had it wrong. Lekstrom, a former mayor, said it couldn't possibly be that it would be left up to citizens to police and prosecute any election irregularities. He said that is the role of the police.
Over in West Vancouver, Kash Heed, who recently resigned as chief constable, agreed. Police are continuing their investigation into complaints of election irregularities including the failure of at least one lobby group -- Low Taxes, Low Growth Association -- to register as a campaign organizer even though it spent thousands of dollars attempting to get a slate of candidates elected. It also didn't file a financial disclosure by the March 16 deadline.
However, mayoral candidate Vivian Vaughan noted on her financial disclosure form that the association donated $1,000 to her campaign.
Another group, Preserve West Vancouver, filed a financial disclosure claiming to have raised $3,550. Vaughan is listed as having contributed $1,200 to it and two council candidates -- Carolanne Reynolds and Danielle Charlton -- donated $500 and $300 respectively.
But Preserve West Vancouver's listed expenditures do not include a $3,200 donation to Charlton that she lists on her financial disclosure.
Apparently, Lekstrom -- who has since moved on to become the energy minister -- was set straight by his staff after the elections were over. In an e-mail to David Wilson, a Central Saanich resident who alleges irregularities in that municipality's election, Lekstrom said Wilson should take his concerns to court.
But there may be no better illustration of the ramifications of this electoral regulatory gap than Central Saanich. The local co-op was heavily involved in endorsing and stumping for council candidates, who would look favourably on a rezoning needed for its new store.
During the election, Peninsula Co-op sent out letters to all of the candidates asking if they would support a rezoning of four residential lots to allow construction of a 27,000-square-foot grocery store adjacent to its gas centre. It told the candidates that their responses would be distributed to its membership.
Without seeking the permission of its membership, the co-op sent out letters to some, if not all, of its 28,000 members urging them to vote for the candidates who would support the rezoning. It had posters printed and prominently displayed in its grocery store listing the candidates who supported and those who opposed it.
Formal investigation sought
Peninsula Co-op registered as campaign organizer on Nov. 6, only nine days before the election, even though its campaign began weeks earlier and even though Central Saanich chief electoral officer Sara Ribeiro says that groups and individuals must register as soon as they have spent $500.
The Co-op spent a total of $16,488 endorsing and stumping for council candidates.
David Wilson, the resident whom Lekstrom corresponded with, recently wrote to Attorney-General Wally Oppal and Solicitor-General John van Dongen, asking for an formal investigation into the co-op to determine whether it acted improperly both under the Local Government Act, the B.C. Co-operatives Act and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act by spending more than $500 and using the co-op's membership list to try to influence the election's outcome -- all without ever having sought the approval of the members.
"Normally, I would officially file this complaint with the local police department in Central Saanich," Wilson wrote. "But unfortunately, Chief Constable Paul Hames is a member of the Peninsula Co-operative's board . . . . How can the chief constable investigate a local organization's action, when he is part of that organization's executive board? If I ask Chief Hames to investigate, there is a potential for a conflict of interest."
Hames is on the co-op's finance, membership and community relations committees. Cathie Ounstad, one of the members of the police board, is also on the co-op board.
Wilson goes on to say that he's concerned about his safety and that of his family, having raised his concerns with the mayor, the municipality's chief electoral officer, the co-op's general manager and the police chief. Other concerned citizens, he alleges, have been threatened with lawsuits.
He then goes on to state what seems to be obvious: "If the law has been broken, it needs to be investigated by unbiased law enforcement officials and our democratic rights as citizens should be protected without threat of persecution."
The concerns don't end with Central Saanich and West Vancouver where the police investigation is continuing.
Not a single campaign organizer or elector organization registered in Summerland. Yet, there were at least 15, quarter- and half-page ads that ran in the Summerland Review. Similar ads also ran in the Penticton Herald and the Western News.
"Some concerned residents and business owners of Summerland urge you to please get involved and support candidates who are not against some growth in this town . . . . Please get out and support those whose politics will not result in anti-business, anti-family and anti-Summerland by way of their anti-growth, one perspective politics!" says one ad, which gives no indication of who the concerned residents or business owners are or who paid for the ad.
Citizens for Smart Governance ran ads in support of mayoral candidate Janice Perrino. Only two days before the election, there was a full-page ad for Perrino that was paid for "by a generous donation" as well as two quarter-page ads opposing smart growth that had no indication of who had paid for them.
There was also a quarter-page ad endorsing the Perrino slate that included the names of 90 supporters, including a number of realtors and developers.
Some of those supporters' names were also among a longer list of names on a pamphlet endorsing the Perrino slate. The entire slate was elected.
A full-page ad in the Review is $856.52 plus GST; a half-page is $459.62 and a quarter-page is $225.12 plus GST.
So, even in smaller municipalities, it doesn't take long to run up a $500 tab. And $500 is the threshold amount. Any person or group spending $500 or more is legally required to register with the chief electoral officer as either a campaign organizer or an elector organization and file financial statements within four months of the election.
But no one is responsible or legally required to check up on them. Except citizens. And, as Wilson noted, in small communities standing up and complaining can be an uncomfortable, lonely and even frightening proposition.
'Mistakes were made'
Brian Sadler is one of those citizens. Sadler and another unsuccessful candidate for Gibsons' town council, along with two other residents did go to B.C. Supreme Court after last November's municipal election, asking for the election to be declared invalid.
They alleged all kinds of irregularities in the vote-counting -- the most serious of which was that 327 votes suddenly appeared two days after the election during a recount that was done without scrutineers and without the knowledge of any of the candidates.
Even though Justice Bruce Cohen disagreed with the complainants, he did note in his written judgment, "It is far from clear who opened the ballot boxes" when the deputy chief electoral officer did a "review" of the ballots two days after the election.
He even wrote, "Certainly mistakes were made in tabulating and calculating the election results. However . . . there is no evidence of bad faith, only inadvertence and the errors made were discovered and corrected before the official election results were declared."
Cohen concluded that rather than asking for the election to be declared invalid, the complainants should have asked for a judicial recount.
But Sadler contends that a judicial recount wouldn't have solved the mystery of where those extra 327 votes came from. It wouldn't change the fact that there was no voters' list and volunteers at polling stations weren't even given electoral maps to determine whether voters' addresses fell within the municipal boundaries.
The court case cost close to $20,000 and, for the citizens' trouble, Sadler says they have been "bad-mouthed around town."
They considered an appeal. Not only was the cost prohibitive, Sadler says it would have paralyzed the town council for most of this year and as a taxpayer and resident he didn't want to do that.
Still, the case did result in some positives. In exchange for Sadler and the others dropping their appeal, the town agreed not to sue them for costs. Plus, the council unanimously agreed at its March 3 meeting to do a complete electoral process review.
It's a step. But as Sadler says, it's up to the provincial government to fill the vacuum that exists because of no formal monitoring of the due process required in elections.
"This is crap. We have a banana republic going on right here," Sadler says. He knows a thing or two about that. He spent five years in Bosnia as a political officer for the United Nations and election oversight was included in his duties.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Citizens expect a certain standard of behaviour from those who call themselves public servants at every level of government.
We expect to be treated respectfully and for our concerns to be taken seriously. We expect our requests to be handled efficiently and fairly. Fairly. That’s the most important word. We all want to believe that those who serve us are doing so in an unbiased fashion, but that isn’t always the case.
Recently a freedom of information request netted a document that must be of concern to every citizen in Central Saanich for it appears to show quite clearly that the culture of our municipal hall is not one of open, honest service to the taxpayers. In fact it would suggest that certain agendas are being fast-tracked for some citizens over the concerns of others.
As you will see when you open the link below, the proponent of the Senanus waterline is being told by the financial officer for Central Saanich that they will be expediting his project, even going so far as to say “we will have the bylaws ‘in our back pocket’ regardless of the solicitor’s advice.”
That she has discussed this with Gary Nason, our Chief Administrative Officer and her boss, certainly suggests that this procedure has met with his approval.
The letter continues with an appalling lack of respect for citizens who have shown every willingness to find a rational solution to the problem including through mediation for which the provincial government has twice promised to foot the bill.
Sometimes you just have to read it to believe it! Don't forget to read from the bottom up.