28 October 2010

BC Tax Policy

When BC Premier Gordon Campbell spoke last night in a 20-minute TV special, he announced a 15 percent reduction in income taxes for anyone earning less than $72,000.

I applaud this move. Campbell should have announced it at the same time he announced the HST. It would have made clearer to British Columbians the connection between the income tax reduction and the consumption tax increase.

As I've stated previously, I prefer income not be taxed at all and that all levels of government use consumption taxes as their primary source of revenue. Ideally, the consumption taxes would include not just general sales and carbon taxes, but also more targeted taxes intended to curb and reward behaviour, and higher rates on luxury goods and services that only the wealthy can afford.

Meanwhile, Carole James has this to say:

I believe in a competitive tax environment but this is a ridiculous way to set tax policy... Fiscal irresponsibility and a government trying to buy back public support is the only thing I saw with this tax cut... It's unclear where the money will come from.

Might it not be from the HST that you and your party have been campaigning so fiercely against?

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25 October 2010

Can You See My Grin?

Today, I went to my post box and discovered a card from a special friend. My smile lightened my step as I went forward to my little shack in the woods. Once I got home and opened the envelope to find a treat from one who could least afford it, I was elated. It is amazing to feel so uplifted! Such a small thing, others would say, but I know how much it means to receive this unexpected present. The least I can do is say THANK YOU!

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15 October 2010

BC NDP: Both sides of mouth syndrome

Party leader, Carole James, says one thing in public. Party president, Moe Sihota, says another thing in private.

New Democratic Party president Moe Sihota is encouraging members to help organize recalls against Liberal MLAs, according to an NDP executive's personal notes from a meeting of top party officials.

The move comes after NDP leader Carole James said her party will not get involved in the campaign organized by the anti-HST movement.

Am fine with recall campaigns to unseat BC Liberals. Am not fine with dishonesty in politics and the predilection for not saying what you mean. After all, it's the dishonesty and lack of dealing frankly with British Columbians that has most British Columbians so incensed against the Gordon Campbell government, regardless of where we stand with respect to the HST.

On a personal note... My joke of a NDP MLA was a disaster during the 2009 election and was far outclassed by the Green candidate Simon Lindley (a refreshing change for a Green - or any - candidate, Lindley received the most applause at the ACMs and excellent media reviews).

Still, Bill Routley - who banked during the election on the confusion about his relationship to DOUG Routley, the former local BC NDP MLA for this riding - is my 'representative'. Therefore, BILL Routley is the one to which I turn if I've a problem with the BC Government. So I wrote to him, twice, about the SAFER issue. Never got a reply.

I'll take an independent like Bob Simpson over such a useless party apparatchik any time.

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09 October 2010

Response to BC Iconoclast "The Three Independents"

Bernard von Schulmann raises an important point in his post regarding the two-now-grown-to-three independents in BC's legislature. While he writes specifically of these three politicians - Vicky Huntington (ran as Independent in 2009), Blair Lekstrom (former Liberal MLA) and Bob Simpson (former NDP MLA) -, his key critique could apply to any politician, at any level of government.

The first two independents have done very little to get media attention or made much effort to use social media. Our media is no longer a couple of major papers, radio and TV stations, there is an ever expanding media out there looking for content, but I do not see them making use of it. I can not find a website for Blair Lekstrom and the one for Vicki Huntingdon is boringly irrelevant.

Independents do indeed have a tough time getting noticed by traditional news media, largely because those same media are so enamoured by party politics, a form of politics an increasing number of British Columbians appear to loathe.

Independents are missing the boat if they're not using social media (Twitter, Facebook, their own websites, etc.) to go directly to the people. After all, if you can do nothing to prevent traditional media from ignoring you, then you must reach the people by other means. By using social media, you can not only reach the people directly, you can avoid distortions of your message caused by sensationalist editorial filters.

It continues to amaze me how few politicians take advantage of social media. Is it laziness? Tech-phobia? Fear they'll be exposed as the party clones they are, unable to think for themselves? Fear they'll be found out to have run for office only for the power, salary, cushy pensions and other perks?

If politicians care about representing the people, then they should make every effort to connect with the people, engage with them, listen to their concerns. If that means learning to use Twitter, Facebook, etc. properly (not for vanity advertising please!), then so be it. In fact, politicians including social media as part of their communications strategies should be part of any open government.

As for independents, they should take particular note. Use of social media tools to connect directly with the people could well place them ahead of their noosed party-affiliated compatriots.

ETA: Bob Simpson, who only two days ago was ousted from the NDP caucus by not-a-leader Carole James, has a website and a Twitter account, so in that respect he's headed in the right direction. However, as of now his Twitter account has 63 Followers, 0 Following. Mr. Simpson must get with the program. No engagement is possible with a monologue.

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08 October 2010

Carole James Ousts Wrong MLA

It would have been so much better had Carole James ousted herself from the BC NDP caucus rather than Bob Simpson. The man's crime? In two sentences, he dared mild criticism of James' (and Gordo's) speech to the Union of BC Municipalities.

Someone has since created a Facebook page supporting Simpson. Online commenting there and on news sites is strongly in his favour.

As with so many of James' misbegotten moves as leader, this latest has only put more people off, including well-respected - and some now former? - supporters of her party.

The sooner Carole James goes, the better for the NDP and the people of this province. Anyone who supposes James could effectively lead as Premier of BC when she has so abysmally failed as Leader of the BC NDP is living in a fantasy world.

As for Simpson, the people of BC need a whole lot more like him. We need MLAs who will defend and offer principled policy on behalf of their constituents. We don't need MLAs who will kowtow to their party at the expense of such proper representation.

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