Saturday, September 29, 2007

Steve's Political Rant

Well, this has been a busy week in provincial politics... :)

Firstly, news broke out that former BC NDP MLA and Cabinet Minister during the 1990's and currently the Mayor of Golden, Jim Doyle jumped from the BC New Democrats over to the BC Liberals and there is speculation that he'll run in his former riding of Columbia River-Revelstoke in the 2009 Provincial General Election. As those of you remember Jim Doyle, he was hardcore NDP, as hardcore as current NDP MLA Harry Lali. Not the kind of news that Carole James needed.

Secondly, the Union of BC Municipalities Convention was held this past week. Both Carole James, as Leader of the Opposition, and the Hon. Gordon Campbell - Premier, both spoke at the UBCM Convention, which wrapped up on Friday. Carole James gave her speech to UBCM Delegates on Wednesday and the Premier giving his keynote address on Friday. I was disappointed with her speech again, as it had the same kind of political rhetoric as she gave to NCMA Delegates at the NCMA Convention held in May of this year. She told UBCM Delegates that she and her party were fundamentally opposed to the Gateway project as a whole, even though several of her MLA's including Harry Baines (Surrey-Newton), Mike Farnworth (Port Coquitlam-Burke and the NDP Opposition House Leader) have stated publicly that they support twinning of the Port Mann Bridge, which is part of the Gateway Project. I believe twinning of the Port Mann Bridge is part of a bigger solution which is allows for the free flow of goods and people between Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Watch for Ms. James to take a big hit, politically, for this blunder. Then yesterday, Ms. James was on CKNW's Bill Good Show to "clarify" her comments on the Gateway Project related to the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge. Lots of callers clearly weren't buying it. They essentially slammed her for not supporting the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge. Twinning this bridge is essential if residents from Surrey, Langley want to use buses from their homes into the Metro Vancouver Region.

The BC NDP even engaged in "fed bashing" because the federal government didn't bring any "new" transit money to the table. Obviously, they haven't learned yet that fed bashing, while it may be popular here, isn't going to help when you lobby federal cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister for making investments in transit in the Metro Vancouver Region. Also, the NDP slammed the Premier's speech at the UBCM Convention for not announcing anything new and along with no new initiatives for Pine Beetle affected communities in BC, which I think is a farce, personally, as I believe you'll see both provincial/federal governments providing even more support for rural communities roll out in short order in addition to the money that both levels have announced so far

All in all - not the best political week for Carole James and the BC NDP. Hopefully, Carole James can hang on as BC NDP Leader until after the 2009 Provincial General Election and perhaps convince other NDP MLA's, former or present, to join the BC Liberals who may be becoming disenfranchised with the BC NDP .

Have a great weekend... :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

WL Council Highlights - September 18th, 2007


1) Gerry Desrochers - TRU Director for WL Campus - he gave Council an overview of ongoing and future activities at TRU's WL Campus including landscaping and future courses in trades and nursing

2) Irene Willsie - Women's Contact Society - requesting Council's support for the "Take Back the Night" event on September 21st, 2007. Council gave its' strong support for this event and encouraged the entire community to come out and lend its' support to this very important event.

1) The garbage contact between the City and Central Cariboo Disposal has been extended to April 30th, 2008. This will allow City Staff enough time to put together a comprehensive Request for Proposal which will include expanded recycling with the inclusion of the "Blue Box" program

2) Councillor Rathor expressed his grave concern over the lack of work on re-paving of road shoulders by the Ministry of Transportation. Council agreed to work with the Ministry of Transportation to encourage the benefits of paved road shoulders for cyclists.

3) Council granted permission to the Central Cariboo Economic Development Corporation to use the City's Cowboy Hat Logo for marketing purposes in connection with the TDC.

4) A budget request of $32, 425 for the Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin for their operating expenses was approved by Council. This amount will become part of the Central Cariboo Leisure Services Master Budget for 2008.

5) Councilor Ed Mead was given permission by Council to attend a "Building Safer Communities: Gangs, Drugs, and Domestic Violence Issues" conference in Richmond, BC to be held on October 31st and November 1st, 2007.

6) Re-zoning/OCP Proposals for BCR Properties, Elizabeth Hunt, Jim Willson and Ben Peterson all received 3rd Reading. These Re-Zoning proposals are now referred to Ministries of Transportation/Environment for their consent.

7) Pioneer Family Land Partnership proposal on South Lakeside Drive received 2nd Reading. This proposal will be the subject of a Public Hearing on October 16th, 2007. The hearing will likely start at 7:00pm.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Excellent Newspaper Column by Mike Smyth - Vancouver Province

Yesterday, Micheal Smyth of the Vancouver Province talked about both the Premier and Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan meeting with BC Green Leader Chris Bennett. The Premier takes time to meet with Mr. Bennett on a regular basis and always returns his phone calls. I bet Carole James wishes that she could get such treatment from the Premier. But this is politics - plain and simple. The Greens and the NDP share the same vote base. With the Greens at 15% and the NDP in the low 30%, the Greens are siphoning enough of the left-wing vote to prevent the NDP from receiving a majority of votes to become government in Victoria. Mayor Sam Sullivan is even attempting to get BC Green Leader Chris Bennett to speak at the UBCM Convention next week. Mr. Bennett tried to get the support of the BC New Democrats and its' leader, Ms. James. Her response? - I encourage you to continue your lobbying with mayors, councillors and the UBCM executive, It is these locally elected representatives, rather than provincial politicians, who, as you know, make the decisions with the UBCM agenda. Obviously, she isn't going to help Mr. Bennett with his political ambitions to have Greens in the Legislature in 2009. As for Mayor Sullivan motives, it is true that the Local Government Elections are next year and if Mayor Sullivan wants to stay Mayor for a further 3 years, right through the 2010 Olympics, then COPE (Coalition of Progressive Electors) and Vision Vancouver have to stay divided right through the next civic election. Personally, I don't see COPE and Vision Vancouver working together to defeat the NPA's (Non-Partisan Association) hold at Vancouver City Hall during the 2008 Local Government Elections

Monday, September 10, 2007

Public Consulation Session - OCP Amendment Application - Pioneer Family Land Partnership

Hello all:

Tomorrow night (Tuesday, September 11th, 2007), Pioneer Family Land Partnership along with the City of Williams Lake will be hosting a Public Consulation Session for Pioneer's Application for an amendment to the City's OCP. The development will be including a Walmart along with other small "big-box" stores. This meeting tomorrow is a requirement in accordance with Section 879 of the Local Government Act.

The meeting is being held at Pioneer Log Homes' Office. The address is 351 Hodgson Road, up from Mainland Roofing. I personally will be in attendance. I would strongly encourage all of those who read my blog to be in attendance and let the proponents know how you feel on their application.

This application will be before the Advisory Planning Commission of which I'm Vice-Chair on Wednesday, September 12th, 2007 at 12:00 noon. Although members of the public can attend, they are not permitted to speak to this application, although representatives of Pioneer Family Land Partnership may speak before the APC, if they so wish. During this meeting, the APC will be considering this application and a reference to City Council for a recommendation for Second Reading of Pioneer's re-zoning and OCP Amendment applications.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Carole James and the Electoral Boundary Commission

Yesterday, I recieved a newsletter from the NDP where she wants to know where the Premier (Hon. Gordon Campbell) is on the Preliminary Report of the Electoral Boundary Commission. She suggested that because the BC Liberal Party chose not to make a presentation to the Electoral Boundary Commission, while her party made a presentation to the Electoral Boundary Commission during its' 1st Round of Public Hearings that it is another example of the Campbell government abandoning Rural BC. Then she went on to cite all of the things that the Campbell government did during its' 1st Term (2001-2005) including closing of schools and imposing a police tax on small communities to pay for Rural RCMP services.

While I could go on all the things the NDP did to Rural BC during the 90's, I will say that I'm disappointed that the NDP chose to get politically involved in, what is generally a apolitical process. In fact, during the last review of the BC Electoral Distict Map for the Legislature, the NDP Cabinet of the day used its' power to protect ridings' held by Cabinet Ministers like the riding of Kamloops held by then NDP Minister Cathy McGregor. Her riding was scheduled to be divided up. So, when it comes to review mechanisms like the Electoral Boundary Commission, we should allow them to do their work without interference from political bodies, like the BC-NDP Party or the BC Liberal Party and allow individual BC'ers to state directly to the Electoral Boundary Commission on how they feel on the proposed new electoral district map and allow the process to unfold as it will.

My Response to WL CAO's Blog Post called "City Admin 101: An Introduction

Yesterday, Alberto DeFeo (City of WL's CAO) posted the following at his blog (

Many times, I am asked the question 'what do you do at City Hall?'. I have to admit there is no easy answer. I also realize that our school system does not provide sufficient education or training to equip our children with fundamental knowledge about political relations and government administration, which, I think, it is critical to their future lives. I also noticed that people become interested in City Hall only if it affects them negatively. Yet, there is so much that is decided and done by both City politicians and City staff that has a positive impact in the community that we give it for granted and people seem to not know or to have the wrong information. I guess it goes with the territory. It's a bit like the newspapers, the negative sells the positive doesn't. This is a societal distortion that we need to correct and as civic leaders, we at City Hall are trying our best to change it here in Williams Lake. Indeed, for the sake of our community's good future, we need to abandon some negative stereotypes and embrace positive change. I'll give you an example.For instance, did you know that the City has been working very hard in the last three years to advance a plan to conserve our water? Why do we need such a thing? Well, mostly because we can't survive more than a few days (probably three or four) without water, which is a precious commodity second only to air. Also, because we want our children and all future generations to live better and not worse, including having access to the best water in the world. Finally, because water is a gift and we should respect it. Today, the residents and taxpayers are enjoying cheap acces to water (parcel water tax is only $40 a year in WL) but do they know that in order to repair and maintain our water systems and to conserve water for an acceptable length of time in the future we need more than that? If we focus on the immediate economic effect of the plan on our family and personal budgets without thinking of the long-term impact and benefits, then the usual reaction would be 'These Politicians: they always find a way to grab some more of our money.' But if we focus on the results and benefits of the plan, then our reaction may be 'I am willing to make an investment in our water and I will support our City to implement our plan.' I did not use the words City Plan, but 'our plan'. Because it is our plan after all and seeing it that way makes a world of difference. Now, I will certainly discuss the City's Water Conservation Plan another time but the point is, residents are not completely informed and it is mainly our fault (the City's), and so they tend to see what is communicated to them. And, if it is negative, then their level of trust in their City government just won't be very high.So, the City Page, this blog and other pieces of information that the City provides are very important to make the community aware and, I hope, to make people interested in their government and to help them shake off their apathy and negativity towards City government.I guess this can be a bit of an introduction to a much wider topic. So, next time, I will explain a little bit more how the City operates because, from what I hear, there is some sort of mystery on what we do. But, again, it really isn't a mystery, is it? We just need to explain. So enjoy your week-end and I hope you'll take the time to read this blog coming next week.

My response to the above is:

I agree with most of the above except with the fact that I feel that people, particularly adults, must become more empowered to learning about issues in their City. Too often, it is too easy to hear rumours about what City Council / City Staff are doing and often putting "a rumour here" and a "rumour there" together and believing it as the Gospel Truth, which by then City Staff/Council have to spend massive amounts of time putting out the "real truth" out there on any given issue and by which time, people emotions come into play and get worked up without knowing all of the answers. I also agree the time has come perhaps to expand the curriculum that schools teach on government by teaching how the federal/provincial and local government (Municipal/County/Regional District) function and how each level of government impacts an individual's life. By teaching this to the young ones, I believe that we will have a more empowered society that believes that government actually does good work. Also, somehow all levels of government must engage society as to the work that each level does and why.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

New Blog - CAO, City of Williams Lake

This morning in today's (September 6th, 2007) WL Tribune, it was announced that a blog was started by Alberto DeFeo, PhD (Law), Chief Administrative Officer - City of Williams Lake. This blog will communicate with residents' on activities of the City. I strongly encourage those who read this blog to read his blog at, however anonymous comments can not be left. Communication efforts of late by the City seem to mirror those by the City of Quesnel although I suspect that the City of Quesnel, may sooner or later, attempt to start a blog by their City Manager, Charles Hamilton.