Thursday, March 05, 2015

This Day In Clarkland...The Climb Down.


At the beginning of the week we learned that BC Hydro is doing its darndest to make us part of the New Deep South when it became clear that their intention is to keep Site C project workers, temporary foreign ones or otherwise, from organizing. 

And the minister responsible for Jobs 'N Stuff, Ms. Shirley Bond, who we believe was also present when the BC Rail sale/not sale blueprint was first revealed for real (see what I did there Mary?), was onside with the fine folks from Hydro:

...“I’m assured by BC Hydro that they have a model that will supply the work force that they need and that’s what matters to me,” Jobs Minister Shirley Bond said...

And then, suddenly, our good Premier, seemingly out of nowhere, intervened:

...“I think BC Hydro took this a step too far,” Ms. Clark told reporters. “I’m going to get it fixed.”

The Premier said she took action once she learned of the lawsuit. “In the last 24 hours, I’ve spoken to ministers, and I’ve spoken to the CEO of Hydro, they agree with me on that. They are going to rework the proposal to withdraw that part of it because I believe [unions] should have the right to organize. They do have the right to organize, and BC Hydro can’t take that away.”...

But here's the thing....

Apparently, the lawsuit wasn't the first time that the Premier's office learned about this:

...The unions were told last April that BC Hydro intended to adopt a new open-shop model for Site C. (Executive director of the BC and Yukon Building and Construction Trades Council) Mr. (Tom) Sigurdson said his efforts to persuade the Premier’s office, ministers of cabinet and Hydro brass had achieved nothing, prompting the lawsuit....


Given that our good Premier likes to 'Say Anything' at the drop of a hat, Mr. Sigurdson was wise when he...

..(W)elcomed the Premier’s intervention on Tuesday, but said the lawsuit won’t be withdrawn until the contract terms are rewritten...

Because, after all, even if Ms. Clark is actually really and truly determined to go against Hydro and it's Knotty Gordian-trained CEO on this one, for real, she will still have to deal with that pro-media magnet named Hochstein:

...Philip Hochstein, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C., applauded Hydro’s approach.

“The craft unions are trying to recreate a model that may have worked 60 years ago but is no longer relevant,” he said, adding that fewer than one in five construction workers in B.C. currently belongs to a union...

And, of course, the people who back the good Mr. Hochstein, some of whom, it would appear, also backed Ms. Clark with a big money smear campaign in the run-up to the last election.

My take....This one is not over, by a longshot.

And stay tuned for the Dean's well-reasoned, insider-accessed baked cake take which should arrive by next Tuesday, I reckon...As for Ron Obvious....Well,  the smart money has him playing the part of the trumpeter swan swooning at the feet of Madame Premier probably by Saturday...As for Mikey Mike...Rumour has it that he's already received the scoop for Sunday on how Mr. Sigurdson once mowed lawns as a kid without a union contract or some such irrelevant showy offish-type thing...
There is one last thing to consider here that may or may not show up in the puffed-up punditry's pieces to come...Which is that all this is going down when there are only a few weeks to go before the bids on the first big contracts are set to close...
And I would be remiss if I didn't note (even though they are linked to above), that the reportage quoted from above come from two very solid 360 looks at this thing from Justine Hunter in the Globe.


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Can Someone Explain....

...How The Translink Tax Is Not Like The HST?

And I'm not talking about the parallels in terms of the 'selling' of the thing as the Dean did awhile back.

Instead, I'm talking about the tax 'shiftyness' of how the thing will actually work.

Especially for those households that will not find the couple of hundred bucks a year to be trivial.

Unlike, say, the usual suspects 'round here that are NOT paying their fair/fare share.



I'm not saying we shouldn't have transit infrastructure improvements.

Quite the contrary


If we can build billion dollar ice bomb bridges and sea-to-sky highways that everybody, including the usual suspects, helped pay for (and nevermind that 'P3's-paid-for-everything codswallop', OK), why can't we pay for tons 'o buses and lay down more rapid transit tracks the same way?

And, speaking of (three) billion dollar bridges....Didn't the now always taxy-thrifty Mr. Batemen himself lay a wee bit of turf to help sell that one?
Again, the only real winners in the Translink Referendum Shuffle-thingy will be the collective flack-hackery...


It's A.....little e. Original!



Littler e. is 16!

And, yes....

She was quizzing me from the Driver's manual, online version on phone, of course, before bed last night.

Oh boy.

As for the hat?....I'm pretty sure it's in a treasure box somewhere.


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

This Day In Clarkland: Thank God For...


Was really busy yesterday, so had 12 hours without any media contact whatsoever...

Thus, I had no idea until I got home that Jim Benning had morphed into the the 2nd coming of Stand Pat Quinn.

Which was all fine and good, I guess, until I subsequently learned that I also live in a brand spanking shiny new version of the state of Mississippi:

BC Hydro’s bid to impose a new labour model on the Site C megaproject is being challenged in court by the unions that have managed the work force on all the Crown corporation’s large projects over the past five decades.

By switching to an open-shop format that would prohibit union organizing on the province’s biggest public infrastructure project in history, BC Hydro says it will promote work-force stability and assure contractors access to the largest pool of skilled and experienced workers....

This is why voting matters.

So much.

I fear that we will soon reach the point where we are going to need a government that will save (crony) capitalism from itself...
And if you had been lulled into thinking that things aren't really so bad because the reign or error of Mess'rs Campbell and Brown and their real paymasters is over...Well...Have you forgotten who Hydro's CEO is? 
You want a story, in song, of how an FDR-driven mega-project helped save the south?....This is it.


Monday, March 02, 2015

Translink Referendum Shuffle...A New Member Of The Flack-Hackery Joins The Bonfire.


Having trouble getting to 'Yes' what with all that smoke being produced by all the flack-hackeries on both sides?

Well, as Bob Mackin pointed out in The Tyee last week...

Don't blame the Two Hundred Million Dollar Turnstiles!

With TransLink's smart cards and faregates over budget and overdue, and a plebiscite on transit expansion on the horizon, the contractor responsible for the projects has hired a former SkyTrain executive to deal with provincial officials feeling public pressure.

Lecia Stewart registered to lobby on behalf of Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. on Nov. 17. According to her entry on the Registrar of Lobbyists's website, she is aiming to provide an update to officials "regarding the Compass Card fare payment program being implemented for Metro Vancouver's public transit system" and to "improve public perception of Cubic."

Her undertaking is scheduled to last until May 31, two days after the end of Metro Vancouver's non-binding, mail-in vote on a proposed 0.5 per cent sales tax increase to expand regional transit...


Guess the man of many hats, content consultant, ol' Cubic hand, and former Translink CEO is just way too busy for this kind of thing these days.

And never forget...It was the flack-hackery itself that invented 'the market' for all those lovely train station clogging turnstiles in the first place.
Previous editions of the Bonfire story can be found....Here.


In A Place With No Real Mountains, Ms. Clark Goes To The Manning, Again.



That's right.

Once again, the Liberal that isn't is going to see the ol' Reformer that always will be.

Bob Mackin has the story:

...BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark, an unabashed, Capital-L federal Liberal, will be in Ottawa, rubbing shoulders with small-c conservatives and Big-C Conservatives at the March 5-7 Manning Networking Conference...


...According to the schedule, Clark will be speaking March 6 in a forum called “Energy, Environment and the Economy” with Alberta Premier Jim Prentice and Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski...


Wonder if this love-in will be a reprise of that good old 'Iron Snowbird' thing.

And if it is, Ms. Clark will get to Gwynn and bear it/revel in it with some of her closest friends and most influential patreonic uncles.

No word, yet, if Stephen Maher there will be any misunderstandings that will prevent him  from covering the post-seminar proceedings this year.

And, here's one more thing for Uncle Bob to find out, which will probably take an FOI or 37....Is Ottawa one of those out of the way places like, say, Regina, that require Ms. Clark and her entourage to fly the friendliest of friendliest private jet skies? 


Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Long Tail Of British Columbia's Pioneer Online Citizen Journalist.


Charlie Smith really did get me thinking with that damnable piece of his last week.

About all kinds of things.

But mostly about whether or not poli-blogging actually matters any more than, say, spitting into the wind or yelling at the radio.

And whenever that happens I can't help thinking about my friend Mary.

Who left behind an invaluable public record of all that went down in the BC Rail travesty and really was the best there ever was at this thing.

For all kinds of reasons.

Including her fearlessness.

And her fairness.

And her friendship.

And, most of all I think, her ability to get all kinds of folks in the bloggodome (and that included her readers and a few proMedia journos even) to work together to get to the bottom of things.

All that and she didn't have a cynical bone in her body.


But here's the real thing....

If I were to ask Mary today, as in right now this fine Sunday morning, a mealy-mouthed, quasi-existential question like 'Does any of this really matter?' she would just ignore me and ask if I'd figured out where all that money for the 'No' side in the Translink referendum was coming from yet.

And then we would talk about all the comings and goings of our kids and her grandson for a couple of hours before we really got into it.

Mary passed away two years ago this week.

Gosh I miss her.

And that image at the top really is where the traffic comes from local sites as of today, as in right now....


Saturday, February 28, 2015

What To Do On A Sudbury Saturday Night.


I feel really bad, honest I do, for all those folks in Canadaland (i.e. that place where all of you who read/listen to Jesse Brown way more than we Lotuslandians do) who are suffering through the late winter extremism that has become our climate.

Especially given that we out here on the far left coast have been given the flip-side, which has essentially been no winter and cherry blossoms that came even earlier than usual (i.e. mid-February).

Heckfire, it's gotten to the point where I'm no longer wearing gloves while riding.

In February.


If you are looking for a recently released movie or two to download or, god forbid, rent, this evening, Robert Hilburn the music writer guy has a solid, tiered list from 2013 and 2014 up at his website. 

I especially like the short explanations that follow the picks.

Like, say, this one from the 'Very Good' tier of 2014:

Snowpiercer--Clever, often surprising, always fast-paced account of social class in a sci-fi movie that is as concerned with commentary as spectacle.

Snowpiercer is a movie that I somehow missed entirely.

But given the point back from Mr. Hilburn to the usual suspects I will definitely put it on one of the 23 scribbled-in-pencil-on-scraps-of-paper-hidden-everywhere rental lists somewhere.


BTW, I won the annual Oscar pool thingy at our house this year, going away...Of course, the kids got mad at me (in a nice way) for doing so by reading so much about the movies concerned rather than actually watching them...


This Weekend In Clarkland...Has The Dean Already Weighed In On The Bullying Thing?


Coquitlam-Duckville Dipper MLA Selina Robinson cranked the media wurlitzer a little on pink shirt day when she suggested, first on the book of faces, and later on the no-longer-so Giant '98 that the Clarklandians speak and act like bullies. 

As supporting evidence Ms. Robinson mentioned the goings on in the legislature last week (see, for example, the cluck-cluck-clucking of the 70% challenged Mr. Andrew Wilkinson) as well as Ms. Clark's ongoing derision of progressives and Dippers as shiftless, lazy people who end up living in their parents basement in their 30's.

That this bullying thing could be problematic for Ms. Clark if it gains traction in the proMedia is illustrated by the vile responses of her flying surrender monkeys on the Twittmachine.

Of course, if such a thing were to gain traction over, say, the next week or two, you can bet The Club members will eventually wait for the dust to settle so that the so-called Dean of the legislative press gallery, Vaughn Palmer, can weigh in with his pearls of story-ending wisdom.

But, here's the thing....

Mr. Palmer already wrote about the Ms. Clark's 'derision thing' a couple of weeks ago.

And he even noted a couple of John Horgan's responses to the various blatherings and bleatings from the Premier and her minions.

...“I can’t probe the mind of the premier any better than you can,” the NDP leader told reporters when the comment (about Dippers living in their parents' basements) was relayed to him. “But I can say that it’s certainly disrespectful to 31-year-olds and it is also disconnected with the reality of our time. More and more children are having to go home because they can’t find the opportunities that their parents could find.”...

...”(T)hat was a half-hour (the throne speech) that none of us will ever get back.”...

Guess which response Mr. Palmer approved of?

(Hint: It wasn't the first one)

One of the more bizarre blatherings of the surrender monkeys is their claim that making a fuss about a thing like this is just playing politics with....Wait for it...Pink shirt day.


Hey, Young People!....This Is What Happens When You Don't Vote.


From the MoCo, Lotuslandian division:

The provincial government has proposed legislation to expand ICBC's ability to refuse driver's licences to those in debt.

The insurance company is already able to withhold licences from people who owe money, such as toll fees, but the new bill — if passed — would be a "last-resort measure" to collect on outstanding court fines or student loans in default...

Of course, what young people actually want, and/or who they might vote for, is also a reason why the chosen few will sometimes do their darndest to make sure they don't.

Vote that is.

As for the chosen few's spokesthingy's explanation about why this due process subverting, collection agency fascism rising business is no big deal?...As you might expect, Mr. Farrell has more on that.