Monday, February 29, 2016

Trumpism Explained?

33AndAThirdIs
BadEnoughVille


At least in part.

Via Chelsea Harvey of the WaPo:

Fear and misinformation about the Zika virus still abound, according to a new survey just released by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center. Most notably, the survey finds that more than a third of (American) respondents incorrectly believe that genetically modified mosquitoes have caused the spread of the disease...


Heckfire.

I'm surprised Mess'rs Beck and Limbaugh aren't screaming for the heads of geneticists who work on dipterian insects everywhere.

With an assist of the good Ms. Palin, of course.


.

This Day In Clarkland...Does The Canadian Taxpayer's Federation Have A Selective Lens?


 
OnceInTheRolodex
AlwaysInTheRolodexVille


Have you ever wondered how and why certain fine folks always pop up in Lotuslandian proMedia commenting on all things body politic?

Me too.

One of those fine folks is Mr. Jordan Batemen of the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation, British Columbia Division.

And yesterday Charlie Smith of the Georgia Straight was surprised that Mr. Bateman had not yet commented on Bob Mackin's recent reports on our fine Premier's latest bouts of private jetsetting:

Where's Jordan Bateman?

That's a question some taxpayers might want to ask in the wake of the Air Christy scandal.

Bateman, the loquacious B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, has not spoken out about a growing controversy over Premier Christy Clark's use of private planes to fly to Kelowna.

There's nothing on the Canadian Taxpayers Federation website and nothing on Bateman's Twitter account...



Please note that Mr. Bateman's above pictured tweet came out after Mr. Smith's piece was posted on the GStraight website.

Mr. Batemen also tweeted that Mr. Smith should... "(A)sk @bobmackin (the guy who broke the story) if I go easy on the Liberals. Such nonsense." 

Additionally, the good Mr. Bateman helpfully linked to an older 2011 Vancouver story by Mr. Mackin wherein the CTF director was quoted thusly:

..."B.C. was a leader in the country by stopping the use the of government jets, but obviously charter flights are a loophole to get around that," said Canadian Taxpayers Federation B.C. director Jordan Bateman. When you're running a $3.1 billion deficit this year, you need to take a hard look at every single expense...


Now that sure is the kind of devastating condemnation of government spending (or proposed spending) that Mr. Batemen is so well known for.

****

Later in his piece, after explaining that the public doesn't know who funds the fine folks at the CTF and their work, Mr. Smith of the GStraight noted that the someone who currently works closely with Mr. Bateman has often had close ties to the BC Liberal Party generally and their current leader, the frequent private airline flyer herself, Ms. Clark, specifically:

Last year, the Straight reported that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation had retained former B.C. Liberal government communications director Brian Bonney as a fundraiser. Bonney is also a former director of operations with the B.C. Liberals.

Morever, Bonney is a long-time political ally of the premier dating back to her days as the MLA for Port Moody-Burnaby Mountain. He supported her leadership campaign, too.

Bonney was also at the heart of the 2013 ethnic-gate scandal. In this instance, the party repaid $70,000 to the provincial treasury for work that he had done for the B.C. Liberals while working as a government employee.

Bonney and another B.C. Liberal operative were each subsequently charged with three offences under the Election Act...



Hmmmmmm...

Mr. Bateman is working with Bonney at the CTF in the here and now?

Hang on a second.

I seem to remember something back in the mists of time about how that particular fine pair of super-fine civic-minded folks may have ever worked on the same project in the past.

But, just to make sure I'm not mistaken how about we punch up their names in this little F-Troop blog's search bar....

Gosh.

Look what fell-out the other end, from ancient times (i.e. 2008):

Turf toe is a nasty little condition, indeed.

Because it afflicts players, most often professionals, that spend days on end running around on that fake grass called 'AstroTurf'.

Which brings us to a breathless bit of 'he said/she said journalism' from Mary Frances Hill in today's Vancouver Sun:



VANCOUVER - More bridges and lanes are needed over the Fraser River to ease transportation problems, says a report by a group of six residents who live south of the Fraser.

The group, called Get Moving B.C., has drawn criticism from environmental groups, which say it is made up of Liberals masquerading as a grassroots group.......

Now pro-pols and industry associations that masquerade as grassroots groups in an effort to move move public opinion in a pre-determined way are often called 'AstroTurf' because they are fake.

And this group has the look of the 'Turf about it, as was noted previously by journalist (ie. not an "environmental group") Sean Holman in May of 2007:

When last we reported on on our good friend Brian Bonney, he had abruptly resigned as the operations director for the provincial Liberals. But just because he isn't on the party payroll anymore, doesn't mean Mr. Bonney isn't still toiling away in the backrooms on behalf of the Campbell administration. For example, yesterday, in an email sent to industry members, BC Trucking Association communications coordinator Sandra Azanchi encouraged them to support Get Moving BC, "a non-profit, grassroots organization composed of individuals, businesses and organizations in the Greater Vancouver area advocating a balanced, efficient, and sustainable transportation infrastructure." And who should they contact for more information about this pro-Gateway Program group? Well, if you guessed Mr. Bonney, you'd be right!


Last month, The Georgia Straight's Matthew Burrows also reported on Fort Langley-Aldergrove Liberal constituency association vice-president Jordan Bateman and former Port Moody-Burke Mountain election candidate Greg Moore's involvement with Get Moving BC. As our astute readers know, Mr. Moore is a regional organizer for the (B.C. Liberal) party......

But that was a long time ago, so I guess maybe the toes have healed and the fine folks at 'Get Moving B.C.' have decided to make a dash for the goal line one more time.

However, to give the V.Sun reporter Ms. Hill her due, especially because that lede quoted above may have been 'he said/she saided-up' by an editor, she does tell us the following about the afore-mentioned Mr. Bateman:


Get Moving B.C. spokesman Jordan Bateman said the report is aimed at arming voters with knowledge of transportation issues so they can question candidates before the Oct. 14 federal election. "It's important we find out which of the federal parties have a vision to build B.C." 

Bateman is a Langley township councillor with strong ties to the B.C. Liberals. He served as vice-president of Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman's Fort Langley-Aldergrove riding association and was communications director of Coleman's last re-election campaign.

Which I can't fuss about too much because, regardless his political affiliations, Mr. Batemen has shown that he is heavily involved in the Langley Township community, both as a councillor and as a citizen, as is demonstrated by his long running, informative, and mostly pretty well-informed blog.

But, aside from all that, here's the thing about 'Get Moving B.C." that I find almost laughable in the extreme taken, again, directly from Ms. Hill's VSun piece:

Bateman described his organization as an "ad-hoc" group of six residents living south of the Fraser, with a variety of political stripes. However, he said the group can call on about 100 supporters when they are needed.



All of which has me thinking...

Isn't it curious that Mr. Bateman and the BC division CTF have had so little (i.e. absolutely nothing as far as I can tell as of Monday Feb 29/16 @ noon) to say about the recent financial problems of the Port Mann Ice Bomb bridge consortium?


_______
For the record...A post-piece Twittmachine exchange between Mr. Smith and Mr. Aaron Wudrick the director of the CTF, Federal Division.
And did you catch that little bit at the end of that old piece from MF Hill of the VSun from days of yore quoted above...Six residents?...That sure was some grass roots group that everyone concerned could see for miles and miles and miles, eh?


.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

At The End Of The Day...


...I'm still having a bit of hard time dealing with the deep-seated antipathy that so many of the indie musicians that I dig have for Wagon Wheel.

Sure.

I get that there are a gazillion covers out there.

But does it deserve this, from those indie-incindies (who have actually gone and blown themselves up) over at Couch-By-Couch-West:

...Couch By Couch West was born almost 6 years ago, birthed by a serendipitous inside joke on twitter that was taken way too seriously. Thank god for that. Back then twitter was a different beast. Hell the entire internet was a different beast. Nowadays most of us behind CXCW have quit twitter, for various reasons, and we’ve seen blogs come and go, bands come and go, the rise of genericana, the acceptance of wagon wheel as a legitimate cover (shudder)...


So.

Is there something even better than Wagon Wheel out there that is both easy to play and sing and give you a little audience payback (sometimes literally) just about every time?

Stay-tuned.

Because I think I may have found it.

Kinda/sorta.


______
And, while Couch-By-Couch-West may be 'officially' gone, there are still little DIY gems being posted pretty regularly at #CXCW.


.

This Day In Clarkland....Rapture Mike!




And, yes, this fine image was actually posted by the Clarklandian Education Minister himself.

Allegedly.


_____
Funniest comment on rapture tweet?...."Did you take a private jet to get there?'


.

This Day In Clarkland...Some 'Demands' Are Worth More Than Others.

BossBoss
DaPlaneVille


The MoCo got a statement from the infamous Fed Election Day-Luvin' "P.O." re: the Premier's Own Private (flights just north of) Idaho:

B.C. Premier Christy Clark's office is defending her travel expenses after documents obtained by freelance journalist Bob Mackin show she spent more than half a million dollars on private planes over the past five years.

Many of the flights were between Clark's riding in Kelowna, in the B.C. Interior, and her home in Vancouver.

WestJet and Air Canada frequently fly between those locations.

The premier's office told CBC News in a statement that commercial flights are booked when available, but added that "because of the demands on her time, we do charter flights when necessary as long as the per passenger cost is as close to commercial rates as possible."...



Gosh.

Demands on our fine Premier's 'time' that make it impossible to take regularly scheduled commercial flights?

You mean, as BMackin pointed out in his original piece, demands like this:

...Clark had planned to be in Vancouver on June 21, National Aboriginal Day, to lead the Om the Bridge yoga class on the Burrard Bridge. But a backlash by the public and BC Liberal Party members forced cancelation of the event. Clark spent part of the day in Kelowna before returning to Vancouver that afternoon to attend Canada's win over Switzerland in a Women's World Cup game...


Sheesh.


_______
And how many high-priced former short-pants wearin' PAB-Bots did it take to come up with the phrase...."as long as the per passenger cost is as close to commercial rates as possible" anyway?

.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Keef Report...Damned Activist Journalists!



We're pretty sure that the Keef will be smacking Mr. Smyth down any minute now.

****

What's it all about this time Alfie?

Well...

This.


_______
Previous Keef Reports can be found...Here.

.

This Day In Clarkland...Trumping It Up!




Gosh.

Does this mean that our fine Premier no longer wishes to be known as the Iron Snowbird?


.

This Day In Clarkland... Is There A Method In The Dean's Madness?

BossBossThe
Access!Ville


First, in his analysis of a book on the rise of the (so-called) BC Liberal Party by Wilf Hurd, comes the madness:

...“I always viewed Gordon Wilson as a political force of nature,” says (Christy) Clark. “I saw first hand how hard he worked and how often he was out there shaking hands. No matter what the setback, he was prepared to work even harder.”

She cites Wilson, whom her government has lately employed as a $150,000-a-year advocate on liquefied natural gas, as inspiration for her own winning campaign against Adrian Dix and the New Democrats in 2013.

“The leader can carry an election and we often underestimate this … I felt that people needed to see me, to hear what I stood for and to learn where I thought the province needed to go. I wanted to make people understand who I really was, without the media filter, and that my mission wasn’t just about ‘fighting with the other guys’ it was to explain and define our mission.”

Speaking of the media filter, the 1991 experience supplied her with a healthy perspective in that regard as well.

“The media and particularly the press gallery in Victoria just trashed Wilson,” recalled Clark. “They wrote him off as irrelevant with no mainstream connections and backers and not up to the task.”...



Next, the Dean's method, laid bare for all to see:

...I covered that (1991) campaign and would note that the coverage was even rougher on Social Credit, while Wilson benefited from favourable burst of coverage late in the campaign. But these are Clark’s memoirs, not mine...


Do you see what the good Mr. Palmer of the Vancouver Sun did there?



_______
And what, exactly, is the problem with a never ending strategy that consists of feigned jabs followed by immediate galloping runs for the neutral corner?...Well, it allows the usual suspects to tweet up codswallop like...This.
And can you imagine how different British Columbia's body-politic would be if the usual suspects actually had their words, deeds and actions subjected to real scrutiny and fearless hard-headed analysis by fine folks like the Dean and his colleagues?


.

Friday, February 26, 2016

At The End Of The Day...



It'sFridayYaBastahds
NotRRhodesVille


...I'm really, really story I didn't get downtown earlier this evening to see Charlie Demers' dramatization of Jim (not James!) Green's book 'Against the Tide: The Story of the Canadian Seamen’s Union.'

To my mind, at least, Mr. Green will always be the best mayor that downtown Lotusland never had.


****

So.

Why didn't I get down to the show?

Grants.

Damn Grants!

These ones are due Tuesday morning.

And for awhile there I was worried I wouldn't be able to partake in our annual Oscar/C's Birthday party on Sunday night.

But I think everything is OK now because I just shipped the bloody things off to collaborators for one last once over, so they're pretty much all done except for the proofing.

What does this mean for all this rapid-fire, short-attention-span poli-blogging that's been going on 'round here for the last little while?

Well, that will probably all slow down because I won't be chained to my desk 'n box 14 hrs a day seven days a week.

Having said that, I think that a new Lotuslandian poli-bloggodome may be in the cards based, at least in part to....This.

And with that...To all a goodnight....Because I'm now going to finish my beer while I strum the guitar with one ear turned towards my favourite weekly USian poli-pod.

OK?


_______
And, for the record (and perhaps to goad him on a wee bit), I very much look forward to Rod Micklburgh's review of tonight's event.


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Fairly Recently Minted Blogger Hits Proverbial Nail On Head Re: How To Fix Our Body Politic.

WhyKeepPoliBlogging
AnywayVille


From a recent post by blog crawl denizen Merv Adey:

"...(I)t’s my opinion that the only way we in BC will get a more honest, more competent government than we currently have, is for the public to hammer the big media, and especially the television media, with demand for more aggressive reporting. If I could make it happen because a few bloggers and independent internet news sites do very well at countering government spin, there would be no need for public appeal. But it’s not enough. I don’t much care, quite honestly , if the government of the day is a bit right wing, or a bit left wing. I am left of centre on most policy issues, it’s true. But what really burns me is a dishonest and corrupt government.

We must all demand better. We won’t have good government until we have better media. If you’re reading this, the next time you see a story glossed over, under-reported, or not reported at all…. Do us all a favor and raise your voice. Raise it directly with news providers. We can tolerate policy differences. We shouldn’t tolerate a media that doesn’t care when the government is incompetent or corrupt..."



I've been trying to figure out a way to say this, both to myself and to the folks I know, up close and personal, who get tired of my never ending keyboard banging, for quite some time now.

The above couple of paragraphs fits the bill perfectly.

Thanks Merv.


______
Merv also has a wicked Twittmachine feed...Here.

.

This Day In Clarkland...Forever 21?

TheBeastThatIsTwoClawbacks
SoFarVille


After handing folks with disabilities a measly $77 dollars per month that, in and of itself, was outrageous after nine years of nothing, Clarklandian Minister of Misery Mike de Jong used his other, presumably more grimy, hand to simultaneously take away $52 per month.

And the high-priced Clarklandian flack-hackery continues to spin the resulting $25 increase as generous.

Not to mention the pseudo-factoid that, as the Minister of Misery said at the time, those folks could 'choose' whether or not they needed to have have a transit pass anyway.

But now, well....

Given that we are all contractually obligated (thanks GordCo, Inc.!) to pay the cronies market value plus billions for their risk-free IPP booty, there is this:



So, now, with this second clawback in two weeks, it looks like persons with disabilities are down to $21.

Unless, of course, they 'choose' not to have electricity.



_______
Of course, the above quoted BC Hydro CEO was once a card carrying member of the GordCo, Inc. executive branch....Imagine that! 
And, of course (the 2nd), we all know that the clawbacks will not end at $21 for anywhere near forever...Personally, I'm making book on the next hit coming before Ms. Clark can make her next ridiculous Good Friday announcement about 'hard work', or some such thing.
Update: Then again, why wait for a Good Friday announcement.....Sheesh.


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The Death Of One More Sparkle Pony...The Dean Buries The Lede

AGlassNinety-NinePointNinePercentEmpty
OrAGlassHalfFullVille


In his column on the pull-out of AltaGas from its proposed Douglas Channel-based floating LNG terminal, published in the VSun earlier today, Vaughn Palmer buried the lede.

Twice

Buried Corpse #1: "...Not a factor in the decision (by AltaGas), according to (Clarklandian Cabinet Minister With All Portfolios Rich) Coleman, was a threatened federal import duty on the floating facility, which would have been constructed offshore and towed to the site. The company recently secured a waiver on the duty, which might constitute a precedent if another developer wants to do a floating terminal in the future..."

WTF????!!!!-- AltaGas actually got a Kraut-Rock Ferry-like waiver (aka a 'get out of import tax jail free card') to build their terminal offshore which, of course, means no jobs there for British Columbians...And, what's more, that waiver might actually be worth money to the cronies....errrrr....AltaGas in any subsequent rights sell-off...Gosh...Could it be that there are actually Sparkle Ponies, for the chosen ones at least, after all?


Buried Corpse #2: "...The company (i.e. AltaGas) recently completed a $1 billion run-of-river hydroelectric project in Northwestern B.C..."

Jeebuz!!! A billion dollar investment that will pay back in spades based on the locked-in futures contracts that we, the non-cronified must pay for via increased Hydro rates in, essentially, perpetuity (see, again, Norm Farrell's post from earlier today)...The long arm of GordCo, Inc. strikes again!

****

And the ironic/sad/shocking thing about the above two buried corpses?

Well....

Based on my reading of the thing, it sure does look like the burying was actually done by the good Mr. Palmer in an effort to soften the blow of the AltaGas' Douglas Channel pull-out by showing that it's not all that bad after all, or some such thing.

Imagine that!



_____
Tip O' The Toque to Merv Adey on the Twittmachine for the heads-up.


.

This Day In Clarkland... BC Hydro Eviscerated.

GordCoRedux
JessicaMVille


Norm Farrell's charts, based on Hydro's own publicly available data, are golden and you should go look at them all to get a full measure of the crystal clear story that they tell.

But I feel compelled to wurlitzer Norm's wordsmithed money shot, for the record (that won't show up in the Lotuslandian proMedia prints until they are shamed into putting it there):

"...I suspect that BC Hydro will be studied in business schools some day. Professors will be trying to explain how senior utility company executives, overseen by an entire provincial government bureaucracy, expected to survive by buying power at a rate 65% more than the rate charged a large class of electricity consumers. They will also try to understand why BC Hydro decided to spend billions of borrowed dollars to add capacity when no more was needed, except by export customers only willing to pay a fraction of the cost of power.

I doubt there will be many executives or Liberal politicians left to explain. They'll be sunning themselves on the Mediterranean..."



Club Med, indeed.



_______
And, in other news.....This.



.

Dope City Blues Songified.

HowManyShadesAreThere
AnywayVille


It turns out that even Mr. Beer 'N Hockey gets the blues.

He wrote a bit about it awhile back in a prose form that starts like this:

My baby says I snore too loud
My dog's about to die
My mama's in the nursing home
My daddy he's long gone

The Dope City blues
Got me hanging up the phone
Only people calling
Want my pay cheque for their own...



So.

I decided to songify the thing.

It's all Hank Williams the elder major chords except for one.

Which I'm pretty sure Scotty and/or DonF will sniff out.

All of which is just a way of explaining that this may not be something that Beer would normally listen to.

At least not on purpose.

Unless it was on WDVX Junior or something like that.


_______
Got a songification suggestion from motorcycle guy...Workin' on it...Send 'em if you've got 'em.


.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

This Day In Clarkland: How Many Zeroes Can A Non-Existent Trillion Dollar Sparkle Pony Hold?

EverythingIsLessThan
ZeroVille


Turns out it can hold quite a few.




Graphical enumerating courtesy the Alaska Highway News' Jonny Wakefield via his Twittmachine feed.


****

So.

Will or will not Ron Obvious and his fellow Club members actually make this matter in the minds of the voting public?

We shall see.


(but I'm not holding my breath)



_____
And, just because a day without Pammy is like a day without fracking in your basement....This!


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This Day In Clarkland: Of Short Pants And...


...Hoodies.


Earlier in the week we learned that a number of Mr. Harper's boys in short pants have come to Lotusland to work, by Orders-in-Council, for the government Ms. Christy Clark.

One of these fine folks is a fellow named Nicholas Koolsbergen who was worked in the PMO as the 'Directors of Issues Management'.

Mr. Koosbergen, as we and others have noted, was one of the author's of the Harpoonian 'Enemies List Memo'.

It turns out that Mr. Koosbergen was also recently for something quite different (or pretty much exactly the same depending on how you look at it) as is made clear in the lede of this CTV piece authored by nameless 'staff' last August:

Stephen Harper was questioned Wednesday whether his office interfered in court proceedings after a senior staffer in charge of damage control was spotted speaking to a witness at Sen. Mike Duffy’s trial.

Nick Koolsbergen, Harper’s director of issues management, was seen Tuesday in the hallways of the Ottawa courthouse dressed in a hooded sweatshirt and conversing with the PMO’s former director of issues management Chris Woodcock during breaks in Woodcock’s testimony.

It is not known what Koolsbergen and Woodcock said to each other. Woodcock was the last witness to testify before Duffy’s trial adjourned until Nov. 18 (2015)...




Imagine that!



_______
So...Why, exactly, is Ms. Clark loading up on all these Con-Ops?....Is it because she actually thinks that she needs them to run her government?....I highly doubt it...Instead, I reckon she is using our money (that is not being spent on bus passes for folks that really need them) to hook said operatives in the short term for services yet to be rendered on her re-election campaign starting about this time next year (unless, of course we get an early election call as readers Grant G and Lew have suggested might happen).

.

This Day In Clarkland...Word Salad-A-Go-Go.

AskedAboutMCFDReport
AnswerWithSteelVille


From an Hansard docc-ed exchange between Carole James and Christy Clark in the BC legislature yesterday courtesy the omnipresent Bob Mackin:




So.

Here's the real question for those of us outside the legislative chambers...

Now that proMedia mavens of Lotusland know that the skullduggery took place within the Premier's office (i.e. the 'PO' mentioned by Mr. Matt Gordon in his Emails), will they keep digging?

Or, as happened with Quick Wins, is now the time to stop?

Stop digging I mean.

****

Gosh.

Maybe those above mentioned mavens could ask the Premier's newly-minted super-smart press secretary a question or seven about this.

Every single day from now to next May.

Until they finally get something on the record that is actually syntactically interpretable.

Heckfire, maybe one or two could even ask said secretary tonight over a shot and a beer.

After all, it is Thursday isn't it?


.

The Keef Report...Face Value Analysis Of The Clarklandian Budget

What,Me
Dig?Ville


Let's go out past 140 characters this time and have a look at the lede of Keef's latest for the fine folks at Global:

To understand what drives the B.C. Liberal government more than anything, look no further than the budget it tabled last week.

I’m not referring to any particular service or program, or tax or tax break. No, the B.C. Liberals’ priority is zeroed in on one particular line in the budget.

That would be the bottom line, also known as the projected budget surplus. Everything else comes a distant second to the paramount importance the government attaches to balancing its books.

All spending and tax measures flow directly from the zeal with which the B.C. Liberals attach to achieving a balanced budget. The government continues to bet that the voting public backs its fiscal discipline over any kind of spending spree of tax dollars.

This conservative approach does little for those on the margins of society. To take just one example, social assistance rates continue to be frozen, as they have been for years now...



Conservative approach, indeed.

And unlike the Dean, Mr. Baldrey didn't even bother to explain what is really going on re: the massively rising accumulated provincial debt by babbling on incoherently about grocery bills or some darned thing.

Sheesh.


_______
Further on in Keef almost, but not quite, takes off his yoke when he states that, "...some kinds of taxation, as well as natural resource revenues — are flat-lining or declining..."...Gosh...Wonder if that last bit was actually an admission that Norm Farrell just might have a point or seven hundred what with all his pesky graphs based on publicly available data.
One last thing...Couldn't help but note that Mr. Baldrey got $77 per month disability pre-clawback number wrong (Keef said $72)....Geez...Don't those Global people even have editors anymore to keep sloppy on-air faces in check?...Not that I would want to all Ledgie Boy crazy/derogatory on sloppy on-air faces or anything.
Previous Keef Reports can be found....Here.



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Real Estate In Lotusland: A Trillion Here, A Trillion There...



...And Pretty Soon You're Talking Real Money.


Not to mention juice.

And party 'connections'.

Ian Young of the SCMP has the story:

Anbang Insurance, the privately owned Chinese firm that was last week reported to have made one of Vancouver’s most significant real estate purchases in years, boasts global ambitions and astonishingly deep pockets...

{snip}

...The Vancouver Sun and Financial Post last week reported that Anbang had bought a two-thirds stake in all four towers of downtown Vancouver’s Bentall Centre, held by Ivanhoe Cambridge, in a deal that valued the entire property at C$1 billion.

The Sun reported that Maple Tree Financial, a Vancouver-registered firm associated with Anbang, was making the Bentall purchase. Maple Tree Financial did not respond to the SCMP’s requests for comment...

{snip}

...Caixin (Media) continued to pursue the Anbang story, and a month later reported on the firm’s incredible growth in just over a decade, to the point that it held assets worth 1 trillion yuan...



Gosh.

If we had a decent way of dealing with this from an offshore buyer taxation PoV how many bus passes, not to mention group homes, for the adult disabled, could this wee little transaction have funded?



______
And just where is 'CondoHype' when we need him/her anyway?


.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

At The End Of The Day...

ThatThingThatIsAlwaysLurking
InTheTubezVille


...I always knew that someone would send me a sign that the Google was evil.

Who knew that the sender of said sign would turn out to be the Google itself :



And now is the time at PGaz when we dance.

With Mr. Darnielle and friends...




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This Day In Clarkland...Flack Hackery Jumps The Shark.



Seriously?

Is this what they want to go with?

After five years of absolutely NOTHING for our fellow citizens who need our help most?




Please note: 'The BC Fact Check' Twittmachine feed bills itself as "Official Government Caucus Research feed for news, headlines, and information that goes beyond the front page"...If you go there and read how they are spinning this you will be absolutely disgusted.


This Day In Clarkland...Pressing The Smart.

AllIntheNoLongerPotentiallyConflicty
FamilyVille 


Gosh.

Is now the time that the Lotuslandian ProMedia Club members will be reminding we, the people, of the following?

...On Saturday (January 21, 2012), CBC British Columbia British Columbia's news division let it be known that it plans to ignore its own Ombudsman's ruling regarding the potential for its Legislative Bureau Chief, Mr. Stephen Smart, to be placed in a conflict of interest due to the fact that his wife is the Deputy Press Secretary for the Premier, Ms. Christy Clark.

And what did we hear from the rest of the proMedia on Monday?

Why, as many may have predicted after Messr's Good, Palmer and Baldrey ran up the 'Close Ranks, Immediately!' flag on Friday, it was nothing but....

...Crickets.

In fact, the only proMedia type who had anything to say after the VSun's Andrea Woo reported that CBC-BC was going to tell their Ombudsman, Kirk Lapointe, to take a hike was Charlie Smith, who wrote two insightful analysis pieces here and here in the Georgia Strait.

But, then again, we already knew that Charlie, who has called out the proMedia for their cozy and potentially conflicty speaker fees in the past (as blogger Norman Farrell discusses here), is not a member of 'The Club'...



Somehow, I think not.


_______
Need more historical context, particularly as it pertains to the Lotuslandian proMedia's 'closing ranks' response to Mr. Lapointe's ruling at the time?....The Exile's got it...In spades.
Interestingly, back in the day, the Keef actually kinda/sorta (without even knowing it, presumably) argued that Mr. Smart's potential for conflictyness may have been a wee bit problematic for the news organization he worked for at that time...Seriously.
Update, 6pm Wednesday: See if you can spot what's missing from Cassidy Olivier's Postmedia report on Mr. Smart's latest Clarklandian appointment...



.

This Day In Clarkland...If She's Got A Blacklist I Wanna Be On It.

WaitingForTheGreatLeap
ForwardVille


Like a lot of folks who have been paying attention I jumped on the bandwagon last night and started making jokes about the how the short pants boys 'n girls have come west to Clarkland after it was reported that the BCL gov't had hired a bunch of former Harper operatives.

But what got lost in the shuffle was the specifics.

Like the following from Cassidy Olivier's origin story in The Province:

...Included in the wave (of Clark Gov't 'Order in Council' hires) is Nicholas Koolsbergen, Harper’s former director of issues management, who once made headlines for purportedly co-writing a memo requesting government staff to develop “enemy” lists for incoming ministers...


Enemies lists?

Really?

You bet.

The following is from a piece by Josh Wingrove in the Globe in July of 2013:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Office is once again under fire after it sent a memo asking for lists of “enemy stakeholders” for new cabinet ministers – a request one union leader says is unprecedented and another sign of the Conservative government’s combative nature...

{snip}

... The main memo was signed by Nick Koolsbergen, an “Issue Manager” in the PMO, and sent by Erica Furtado, an executive assistant in the PMO’s issues management section...



So.

If such a Clarklandian list were to be assembled I, for one, would be honoured to be on it.

Unfortunately, as the proprietor of an F-Troop list blog in obscuria, we all know that will never happen.

But I'm pretty sure Mr. Olivier would be on it.

And here's hoping a whole passel of Lotuslandian proMedia members will end up on it in the end as well.

****


Now is the time at PGaz when we dance to the Bard of Barking (the line from the header to this post is not in this version, but who the heckfire cares)...




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My favourite time a journalist found out they were on an enemies list?...When CBS' Dan Schorr ran out onto the Senate steps during the Watergate hearings while waving a Nixonion 'Enemies List'...He was in such a live-feed hurry that he read the list for the first time in front of the cameras and surprised himself when he read #17....Why?...Because it was him, with the descriptor 'a real media enemy'...Turned out Paul Newman was #18.


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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Flip Wilson Simultaneously Rides And Flogs A Dead Sparkle Pony.

Movin'OnUpWhileStayingAllInWithTheFamily
NotNormanLearVille


From the MoCo, Lotuslandian division:

It's an LNG opportunities website with no opportunities.

The B.C. NDP says the government has spent more than a million dollars to launch the LNG-Buy BC campaign and website with nothing to show for it.

"The website is very pretty," says NDP Leader John Horgan. "It's populated with pretty images, but when you click on any of the links you get zero."

LNG-Buy BC is supposed to connect people and business looking for opportunities in the LNG sector.

The website was created at a cost of over $850,000, and former politician Gordon Wilson was appointed LNG-Buy BC Advocate at an annual salary of $150,000...



Gosh.

Who was it that flipped for Christy just before the last election again?

And who exactly, is allegedly writing Ms. Clark's super-fine, super-natural biography?

Sheesh-O-Rama-Llama-Ding-Dong.



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BC Hydro Declares...'We Did Not Have Temporary Foreign Worker With That Contractor!'

SometimesACigarIsJust
PlausibleDeniabilityVille


From the lede of Justine Hunter's latest in The Globe:

BC Hydro is attempting to sidestep any controversy about the use of temporary foreign workers on its $8.8-billion Site C dam project with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the Opposition New Democrats say.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, BC Hydro told Adrian Dix, the NDP’s critic for the Crown corporation, that it does not collect data about the number of temporary foreign workers its contractors hire...



So.

What does Jessica McDonald's BC Hydro say about this latest development?

Let's check, shall we:

...BC Hydro said on Monday it has not hired any temporary foreign workers...


Hmmmm....

Did you notice that they didn't use the word 'contractor' in their response?

Luckily Ms. Hunter checked the record regarding precisely what Ms. Macdonald's spokesthingy once said about that word and collecting data associated with it in the past:

...A BC Hydro spokesman for the project said last September the corporation would collect work-force data from its contractors regularly and publicly report it. However, officials would not provide any data on Monday...



Imagine that.


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Don't know about you, but I can really really the herd turning...Heckfire, even the Dean has started to limit his but the NDP in 1993-type rejoinders in his copy.


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That Day In Clarkland...How To Bury A Response To The Children's And Youth Representative.

WhenWizardsAndPAB-Bots
RunWildVille


So.

Why, exactly, was the Clarklandian response to a scathing report from the Child and Youth representative released on October 19th, Federal Election day, instead of October 21st as previously planned?

Because the 'PO' wanted it that way, that's why.

How do we know this?

Because of an Email trail released in response to an FOIR that was included in a story by the Globe's Sunny Dhillon that was published this morning.

There's a whole lot of stuff to wade through in the actual FOI release.

But to my mind all you need is the last sentence of the following (which can be found on pg 40):




And what, pray tell does that 'PO', above, refer to?

Well, being little more than a lowly idiot blogger I won't hazard a guess.

Instead I'll leave it to the estimable Mr. Dhillon of the Globe:

...Sarah Plank, communications director for the Ministry of Health, wrote on the morning of (Friday) Oct. 16 that she did not think there would be enough time to contact stakeholders (in time for a Monday Oct 19th release). Matt Gordon, assistant deputy minister of corporate priorities and communications operations, replied to ask what was doable. He said he would be consulting with “PO,” presumably the Premier’s Office....


Sheesh.


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Bob Mackin, writing in The Tyee, takes things one step further with a much more complete analysis of the EMail trail than the Globe's Mr. Dhillon.


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Monday, February 22, 2016

A Nation Of Roads.


There'sNoMusicLikeDIY
MusicVille

The Left Coast's best kept musical secret, Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray is/are getting ready to head out on the road once more.

They've upgraded from their little Honda Element to a real touring van and this summer they are using Road Nation to help crowd-fund this summer's tour.

Unfortunately for Lotuslandians they won't be going north of California so it's not possible help fund a show here this time around.

But have no fear because they have some pretty cool stuff you can invest in to help get them on their way anyway.

And in trying to choose, I first kibbitzed a bit with Yuma on the Twittmachine about getting a guitar rig consult but, in the end, decided I don't have enough pedals yet so I bought something else instead.

And that was before I moved down to the end side of the list towards the more pricey items and started laughing my head off when I saw the following:

Which is not the first time I've heard about this indy-band aversion to the Avett Brothers rip-off.

But, heckfire...That doesn't stop me and mine from doing it.

In fact, here is Bigger E and her friend Yuval down in the Montreal Metro from a while back:


That one always makes me smile.

But then again, what do I know - I'm just an old guy who doesn't get out on the road near often enough.

Ha!

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Anti-Think Tank Thinking About...The Minimum Wage.

The(ThreeQuartersOfA)Buck
StoppedThereVille

So.

What happened when Harry Truman almost doubled the American minimum wage back in the days of yore?

Well, as any thinky-tanked institute living off the fat of the wingnuttian welfare calf won't (under any circumstances) tell you, unemployment went...

...Down:

"One of the arguments against raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour today to $15 an hour over five years is that the United States has never had an increase that large. There is solid research to show that modest increases in the minimum help low-wage workers without harming low-wage employers. But there is no similarly rigorous research on the effects of large increases.

There is, however, the example of 1950, when the minimum wage went from 40 cents an hour to 75 cents an hour, an increase of 87.5 percent....

{snip}

... In December 1949, the month before the raise kicked in, the national unemployment rate was 6.6 percent. By December 1950, when the 75-cent minimum had been in place for nearly a year, it had fallen to 4.3 percent. By December 1951, it was 3.1 percent and by December 1952, it was 2.7 percent.

The higher minimum may not have caused the improvement, but it clearly was part and parcel of it..."



Imagine that!


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Sunday, February 21, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...The Return Of The Old Turdstormer.

OfBarns'N
SpittleVille


Firstly, a wee reminder just in case you've forgotten where the moniker came from in days of yore (i.e. before the last provincial election):



And with that, let's return to the present, with an assist by Mr. Smyth in today's Province:

...As for liquefied natural gas, (Dipper finance critic Bruce) Ralston said the NDP is against the Pacific Northwest LNG project because of environment concerns at that particular site.

That doesn’t mean the NDP is opposed to LNG in principle, he said, adding the party supports the Shell-backed LNG project near Kitimat.

“That’s a brownfield industrial site,” Ralston said. “It has both federal and provincial environmental approval and is strongly supported by First Nations and by the community.

“That’s one that we would like to see go ahead.”

But Energy Minister Bill Bennett scoffs at that, pointing out the NDP promised a “scientific review” of fracking, the controversial method of extracting natural gas for LNG production.

“How can you support LNG but not support fracking?” Bennett said. “You can’t have LNG unless you have the natural gas.”

But wait. The NDP said they’re not opposed to fracking; they just want to make sure it’s not poisoning B.C. groundwater.

Bennett scoffs again.

“We know fracking is safe,” he said. “There have been all kinds of studies done. The drilling of gas in this province is so deep, we know it doesn’t affect groundwater.”...



Leopard, spots (turd coloured or not) and all that I suppose.


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And in other not-news...Don't know about you but, despite the best attempts by the usual suspects, I can feel the Lotuslandian proMedia turning against bald-faced Clarklandian codswallop a degree or seven...More on that later.


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Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Keef Report...At Least He Didn't Call Her A 'Community Organizer'.


So.

What was this one all about, Alfie?

Well...

Laila, after receiving a tip, asked the Twittosphere if anybody knew anything about the composition of the reported 'long lines', and whether or not anyone had been paid to stand in them, at a Site C jobs fairs up north.

This led to a whole lot of back and forth that involved the skepticism of the good Mr. Baldrey and the Alaska Highway News' Jonny Wakefield.

None of which I have any problem with.

What I do find bothersome, however, is the ad hominem dismissal of anything that Ms. Yuile has to say on Site 'C' because she is an 'activist'.

Oh, and, for the record....

Please note precisely what Mr. Wakefield had to say to Mr. Baldrey after he went full-metal Keef.

________
'Community Organizer'?....Well....You know.
Previous Keef Reports can be found...Here.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...Who Is Really Paying For The Budget 'Surplus'?

InequalityAs
PolicyVille



Paul Willcocks, writing in The Tyee, has crunched the numbers and has come up with the answers you most definitely have not seen in the rest of the Lotuslandian proMedia.

Here is is Mr. Willcock's lede, but I highly recommend you click through and read the entire thing:

Christy Clark likes talking about B.C.'s low taxes.

But since she's been premier, a fairly typical retired couple has seen their provincial taxes increase by 19 per cent.

A low-income family with two children has faced an even larger increase, paying 20 per cent more in provincial taxes since Clark's first budget in 2012. That's an increase of 4.6 per cent a year, more than twice the inflation rate.

There is nothing wrong with higher taxes, if they're equitable and the money helps build a stronger society.

But Clark falls down badly on equity, according to this week's budget documents.

While seniors getting by on modest pensions and low-income families have faced 20 per-cent tax hikes, their more affluent neighbours have pretty much escaped tax increases...




Your move Mess'rs Mason, Palmer, Smyth and Baldrey.

Because if you want to stop moaning about how the public just doesn't care, the time for columns  containing real, sustained umbrage is now.

OK?



_____
And yes, the sub-header is all Paul's...
Also, here is his original Tweet that started the ball rolling... 
Update Friday Afternoon....And then there is Norm Farrell's analysis...Please note the little nugget about BC Hydro.


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Thursday, February 18, 2016

This After Day In Budget Land...The Cookie Dough Economy!

AndHereWeThoughtItWasJustThePremierWhoSays
AnythingVille



From the lede of the usually not gullible Brett Jang's budget follow-up piece in The Globe:

...(T)he B.C. government said Tuesday that strength in manufacturing, retailing, technology, trade and film will help propel a diverse economy.

Population growth and a tourism boom will also contribute to the outlook for prosperous times, said B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong...



Now.

We get the low dollar and subsidy-assisted 'film' thing.

And we can see that there is a little bit of tech thing happening (which we would argue pales in comparison to microbrewing which, of course, the Clarklandians are doing their best to crush like a bug given, at least in part in my opinion, the wants and desires of the pay-to-play crowd).

But 'manufacturing', 'retailing' and 'trade'?

Where the heck did that come from?

Hmmmmm....

Is it possible that Mr. de Jong was referring to the manufacturing, retail sale and export of his burgeoning cookie concern.

Or some such thing.


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Of course, what is truly telling is what 'the BC Government' and Mr. de Jong did NOT name as drivers of the provincial economy. 
Gosh I love blog archives....Yesterday it was BC Mary's old place...Today it was former journalist (now professor) Holman's hangout emporium.


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This Day In Clarkland...Tweetle Dee And Tweetle Dumb.



Words escape me.


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There will always be, however.....This.




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The Day I Almost Agreed Entirely With Mr. Mason Of The Globe.

SometimesEvenTheObviousIsWorth
RepeatingVille


In his latest column in The Globe, Mr. Mason takes the Clarklandians to task for treating struggling British Columbians like crap.

Here are a few of those takes:

...There was lots of money, for instance, for those wanting to purchase a house – tax breaks of up to $13,000 – but little for those for whom the idea of ever owning a home will remain a dream...

...The government could find $100-million to put in some phony prosperity fund, a pre-election gimmick of the first rank, and yet could find only enough money to give those on disability assistance less than $20 a week more to make do. It is barely a nudge of a rate that has been frozen, unconscionably, since 2007 at $906.00 a month...

...The increase in disability assistance will be partly cancelled out for about 55,000 people who are losing government-provided transit passes worth about $55 a month. Some will be losing other transportation subsidies as well. (I mean, if you didn’t take this stuff away you’d be spoiling these people!)...

...What help was there for people who can’t find a place to rent in Vancouver because the focus of civic and provincial governments is on building condos that make developers rich and put money into the coffers of those same civic and provincial governments? What help was there for young people whose minimal, service-industry wages have stagnated while facing rent increases of 2 per cent to 4 per cent annually?...




None of which is anything that those few British Columbians who have been doing all the heavy lifting themselves to find out what is actually going on can disagree with, I reckon.

But after all the takes and examples were done with came the bit in Mr. Mason's column that I cannot disagree with more:

...(T)he Opposition can rail on in the legislature about how horrible it all is, and columnists can take great umbrage over what is happening, but sadly not much will change...


Why do I disagree?


Because there is no evidence that columnists have taken 'great umbrage over what is happening' in any concerted way whatsoever.

And why does this matter?

Because if they did I am almost certain that British Columbians everywhere (i.e. not just the heavy lifters) would come understand what is going on.

And if that were to happen they would demand change.

So....

With that said, I look forward to Mr. Mason's (and his colleagues) numerous follow-up columns in which he (and they) lay things out in great detail for all to see so that he (and they), and his (and their) readers can take great umbrage.

Repeatedly.

OK?


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While Mr. Mason's column laid out excellent examples of how Clarklandian spending priorities are treating the struggling like crap he only barely nudged up against the flipside, which is the increasing unfairness of the revenue collection side of the equation (even without the HST).


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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...The Principal Of The Poverty Principle.

MathIs
HardVille


First lets have a look, once again, at that propaganda graphic that was being promulgated by the usual suspects on the Twittmachine just as the Clarklandians were releasing their budget yesterday:



Next, lets have a look at what the poverty principal of British Columbia had to say to the pom-pom wavers earlier today courtesy Shane Woodford of CKNW:



Finally, let's peruse a revised version of the graph with  MSP premiums added (that's the hard math part, courtesy Univ of Calgary enconomist Trevor Tombe):




Do you see what I see on those blue bars (curious colour choice that, eh?) at the lower end of the income scale now?


Question is, will anyone in the Lotusdandian proMedia have the non-regressive fortitude to call the principal on it?



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And, yes, apparently math (or something like it) is just not simple enough for the Edinburgh- and Sorbonne-educated principal to even begin to consider dealing with her regressive actions...Or some such thing.
Update, 6pm Wednesday...And, right on cue, here comes Mr. Smyth of the Province smirking behind his hand but refusing to call out the Principal for her true principles (or lack thereof).
Updatier, 9pm Wednesday...And then, of course, there's The Keef.  
Updatiest, 8am Thursday...Mr. Mason of The Globe actually does a pretty good job of taking the gov't to task for treating the struggling amongst us like crap, but only on the spending end.


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The Keef Report...Stand-Up Press Gallery Guy.



Sure glad to hear that Mr. Baldrey did that then and, it would appear, is doing it now for the good Mr. Levant and his most collegial colleagues.

But...

I, for one, do not remember Mr. Baldrey and his colleagues making a fuss when a local group of proMedia types that constituted a thing called the 'Supreme Court Media Accrediation Committee' refused to give a blogger/citizen journalist named Robin Mathews press credentials so that he could do crazy stuff like take a tape recorder to the Railgate courtroom to ensure an accurate transcription of the events there.

Instead, I seem to clearly recall Mr. Baldrey kibbtzing with a fellow Lotuslandian proMedia member on the (even then notso) Giant '98 about how bloggers covering Railgate were cultists.

Imagine that!



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Interestingly, if you click on through to the thread below Mr. Baldrey's tweet you will get to see him kibbitz once again with his partner in cult accusations from days gone by.
And just who, exactly, constituted the 'Committee' refered to above?...Well, click on through to BC Mary's wonderful archive for a gander to 'Get Smart(er)!' with passel of fine folks, including one who is most definitely no longer a kid in the hall.



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This Day In Clarkland...How To Take The Boom And The Bust Out Of Gov't Revenues.

MakeThePeoplePay
AndTellThemTheyAren'tVille


A number of very fine folks that periodically dart out of their hidey-holes, almost as if on cue, were gleeful as they tweeted-up the following Alberta dissing tax graph yesterday:



Which, of course is fiction when you realize the following 'non-tax' aggregate revenue number, as noted by Mr Willcocks in what, in my opinion, was the Tweet of Budget Day (and which appeared well before the Opposition noted the same thing):


So, with that in mind...

There is the fiction of the graph, which we're sure Lotuslandian proMedia members will continue to ignore from now until at least June 1st 2017.

But there is also something else to consider here.

Which is that the backs of rank and file British Columbians that are being continuously being gouged for MSP (and more!) will never take a powder like the Oil, Gas, Mining and Logging Co's. when the going gets tough.

And/or demand massive subsidies on mass if they don't.

Disappear for the duration of the hard times, I mean.

Which also means that things like the MSP Mass Gouge removes that old boom and bust problem that governments around here used to have to live with (and budget for).

The proof of that, in case you are doubtful of such an analysis can be found in the $100 LNG Prosperity Fund pudding pop that pretty much matches in dollar number the extra MSP revenues that will be collected this coming year.

Imagine that!



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U of Calgary Economics guy Trevor Tombe redrew graph above after adding in MSP....Here. (note, does not include other usurious user fees).


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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...The Great MSP Swindle.

WhenTheSwindleBecomesFact
PrintTheSwindleVille



Kudos to Steve Lus of the MoCo for really calling the swindle what it is by pointing out that while low-to-middle income single parent families will get a break, the following much larger group of British Columbians will, instead, be hammered even more:

- Couples earning over $45,000 pay additional $240 annually.
- Senior couples earning over $51,000 pay additional $240.
- Single adults earning over $42,000 pay additional $36.

- Couples earning over $51,000, with two children, pay additional $72.
 


And don't forget that senior couples making $51,001 will pay exactly the same amount of extra dough as an elderly couple earning $520,001.

All of which is bad enough, but here is the real kicker in the Clarklandian swindle:

...The government forecasts it will collect an additional $124 million in MSP premiums next year...


Gosh.

That little $124,000,000 nugget newly clawed out of already heavily scarred user fee flogged backs of British Columbians will actually pay for the fake Sparkle Pony Fund in its entirety (with a little left over for a Bogus Bollywood Bonanza II, of course).

Imagine that!


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