BC politics, the Liberals

Some reasons why I do not support the BC Liberal party.

The recent BC supreme court ruling calling into question the constitutionality of the ‘enhanced police power in dealing with drinking drivers’ suggests we’d do well to give some thought to what we have done – to what kind of people have we granted the power to govern our lives.

Let’s begin with the stated claim, ‘to protect the driving public’, giving police officers the power to judge and sentence, to impound vehicles and revoke driving privileges without oversight. The members of our legislature have deemed it appropriate to eliminate the judicial process entirely. That power is granted with the goal of curbing the mixing of alcohol and driving. In general, the public appears to accept the idea that alcohol and driving don’t mix at any level, a message spread for many years by MADD and other social pressure groups .

In this, years of scientific research as to the degree of impairment induced by a particular volume of blood alcohol is ignored. I’ll return to this subject later, but first a number of other reasons why we need to care about who we grant power to.

By opening our eyes and minds, taking a clear look at the actions of our governments over the past number of years, we will see that we now have a dysfunctional system staffed by incompetent, arrogant busybodies with no respect for the individuals whose labour buys the bread for their tables. Can I support that statement? That is what I’ll try to by driving down memory lane and, while the BC Liberals are the subject of my inquisition, I’ll remind everyone still reading that if I backtracked a little further, fast ferries and bingogate prove the provincial NDP would fare no better.

Let’s first consider the privatization of BC Rail, a move I personally supported but a process hidden from public scrutiny and shrouded in stifled controversy. There was never a public inquiry into this controversial, complete with criminal acts, deal. After the taxpayer picked up the 6 million dollar legal bill for a couple of lowly ministerial aids, the premier just said, “Case closed”. The broken election promise to never sell BC Rail was ignored and no sitting members of our legislature ever provided an honest, sworn, official explanation of what took place and why the decision went the way it did.

The denial of public access to the books of BC Ferries was another example of stretching reality to the breaking point. The taxpayers of the province have paid for and fund BC Ferries but this government, calls it a private rather than a crown corporation, ensures that financial accountability is hidden from the ‘taxpaying owners’.

The implementation of BC’s carbon tax was carried out with no regard as to what was being done in other jurisdictions of Canada or the USA. Nor was consent asked for from the people of the province through a ballot, only the arrogance of elected representatives believing they held a mandate to do anything they want brought us this economic activity destroying and useless tax. Their claim of revenue neutrality, simply means they see no problem taking your money and giving it to me and saying they are being fair. While many will disagree with me here, the unscientific demonization of carbon dioxide gave legitimacy to levy the carbon tax. The tax is only supported by the long-discredited theory of global warming.

The implementation to harmonized the BC sales tax and the GST, the infamous HST was handled in the same arrogant manner, within months of winning an election, after promising not to bring in any HST, the arrogant legislative members shoved through the bill making the HST law. While the backlash was immediately obvious, the arrogant attitude prevailed until the pressure of a referendum awakened the sitting members to reality, that they are but a number of votes away from re-entering the competitive work force. And though the arrogance of Mr Campbell forced him out of office, his replacement continues to dig deep holes of her own by continuing that arrogance by very slowly replacing the old tax structure.

The government has, for years, used the crown coronations as tax collectors, siphoning revenue from both BC Hydro and ICBC. Is it not obvious to all BC citizens that we have been paying more for auto insurance and electricity than it cost to run those organizations? Can we not see they have become taxing agencies?  The recent revelation that these crown corporation have negative cash flow and the kickback have only been made possible by increasing public debt proves my point. Are you still happy ?

BC Hydro’s mandate to purchase private power at 3 times the rate they can sell that power for is another example of a government that has lost sight of any consideration for public service, choosing to rule without consequence instead. Need I mention how arbitrary and arrogant they have been in implementing the billion dollar ‘smart-meter’ program? Their power smart program, originated by the NDP was designed to promote a reduced power use, a program to ‘socially engineer’ the activities of the people in this province, to manipulate you.

Recently, because members of the legislature ordered the bureaucrats in charge of licencing mines to ignore a company’s application for development, BC taxpayers paid that company some 30 million dollars as a penalty. The government’s justification, that the health hazard of mining uranium justifies preventing this development, does not meet the test of science. Other jurisdictions mine uranium safely with Saskatchewan’s Cameco being the one of the world’s largest uranium producer. This neighbour province currently has the best growth rate in the country. Watching Mr Coleman’s rant against uranium shows him to be firmly sequestered in the unscientific camp.

How about the ‘drive able‘ program, the screening and testing program for elderly drivers. That we all lose our competence as we age is an indisputable fact but let’s ask one simple question and then judge this program. A young person may be qualified to drive by a licensing authority in their local area. The senior who is asked to retest is expected to travel to the lower mainland and drive an unfamiliar vehicle equipped with dual controls. Regardless of the individual’s driving record that citizen is treated as a dangerous entity, questioning the safety for the bureaucrat to check ride with someone who’s held a drivers license for years. This is a program dreamed up after more than a year of closed-door studies.

And my last ‘straw’ is the government’s recycle policy. Many years ago, a fee was levied to reduce beer-bottle litter. Since then automobile tires and batteries have been considered dangerous for landfills and because those fees where greeted with public apathy, recycle fees have now been extended to every kind beverage container and every liquid ranging from oil to paint carries a form of these ‘sin’ taxes. The latest addition to extra fees and levies for the purpose of recycling is all small electrical appliances. Yet there have been many instances where the volume of saved, sorted material was too small to warrant trucking to a central collection area, that the waste was remixed and dumped as common land-fill.

I could list many more instances showing that our governments have been operating under the guiding principle that all citizens are fools and indifferent idiots, deserving no consultation nor input into the rules imposed. At every level, bureaucratic decree, enforced by more bureaucrats, ignore the citizen. There are few areas where we have not had personal decision making power stripped from our lives and rules have been implemented to spoon-feed us all the same diet of ‘socially correct’ pablum.

Forgotten entirely is our history – by both our elected leaders and by ourselves, the general public. It was an environment of political freedom, allowing individuals to fail, that sorted through our action, giving us the feedback to determine when we acted beneficially or detrimentally to our own and the health of those around us. Now the decision making has moved to our parliaments, ultimately turning those institutions into elected dictatorships. While mandatory bicycle helmets and prohibited cell phone usage are more of the same in the destruction of personal freedom and responsibility, I consider the modified drinking and driving laws to represent the most monumental step away from legitimate law. There is no clearer example of an impending police state than this. That our legislators could conceivable see this as a proper way to rule a state tells me we have a very serious problem that entirely discards justice.

Historically, in the development of law, three hard-fought principles helped ensure that justice was achievable. The right of appeal along with the separation of arresting and sentencing authorities were prime factors in removing the arbitrary from the enforcement of rules in any society. Police are the enforcement arm of law. Their task is to arrest  violators of law. Historically guilt could not be determined by the police officer and a subject was considered innocent until judged guilty in a court of law. That court of law lead by a judge but the final ruling by a group of peers, free citizens in a jury making the ultimate decision of guilt or innocence. Giving police the ability to sentence individuals and removing the right to appeal is a monument step away from freedom,  back toward dictatorship.

We can debate the accuracy of roadside, hand-held breathalysers or the need to prohibit driving for blood-alcohol levels of 0.05, changing from the current legal limit from 0.08, but those are only details detracting from the broader travesty of transferring arbitrary power to our police. They are irrelevant to the broader question on the means by which law should be established and enforced.

Furthermore, just as we’ve not made law better, we’ve not helped the police with this either. We have opened a can of very smelly worms as the opportunity for graft that arbitrary, unmonitored power bestows on police officers will certainly have us see criminal acts by police officers.

But a further look sheds still more light on how dysfunctional our BC legislature has become. The stated justification for this change in law was to not only ensure the safety of the driving public by removing drunks from the road but also to clear the clogged court system as well as reduce the lengthy arrest procedures. This, the government claimed, enhance the ability of the police to set up enough road checks. Well, on the cogged courts I’m going to predict, “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet” compared to what is coming.

With the ruling by justice Don Siguardson labelling portions of this law to be unconstitutional the appeal process has been opened up and is about to flood the courts. That he also place a 6 month extension on this law for the government to draft suitable, legal regulations simply show that he too, has no consideration for taxpayer cost nor justice for individuals. Previously a suspected drinking driver could insist on having a legal breathalyse reading taken at the station to challenge a judgment to issue a roadside suspension. I do not believe the judge has ruled in favour of law and we have not yet seen the end of this legislative fiasco.

At the root of the entire problem stems from our society’s move away from personal responsibility and the desire by a meddling class to create a problem-free society. But the so-called commitment to clear the roads of drunks becomes a rather shallow promise when those who do cause death through irresponsible driving often spend a year or less in jail. The fact that we have people that have more than 30 convictions for stealing cars still on the street shows that our government’s commitment to halting crime has been hollow words with no action. However, looking at their stated concern, that the costs of enforcement means that laws need revision to reduce court time, shows as well that our governments are incurring judicial costs beyond their ability to collect money. That both taxes and fees are sky-rocketing while services such as law enforcement are considered sacrificial is further proof of how dysfunctional government has become. The big three, healthcare, education and welfare are driving the cost of government, yet the elected body is unwilling to reduce funding in those very areas where the problems are.

And the unavoidable question that is being ignored by all, is, how much further down the road of taxing one person to provide service to another can we go before must we open our eyes and our minds to reality. Are we going to go over the debt cliff before we stop? Are we going to tolerate a state that subverts all law in its zeal to provide all things to all people? Are we going to ignore the lessons of history and destroy a once affluent society, ignoring all the factors that created our wealth? It is intelligent human action that forms a free, affluent society – it is thoughtless reactionary government policies that destroys it. We have the ability to avoid a disaster but we’ll only do so by reclaiming control of our lives.

The government public statement, that death rates from drunk driving  have decreased, offered as justification for discarding justice is conjecture as they are not releasing the data on which that statement is based. If you are inclined to believe unsubstantiated claims from our political leaders then you are far less cynical than I am. I happen to believe that proof of 0.05 being impairing to the point of danger should be scientifically established before penalties are levied. But more than anything else, the right of appeal must never be removed nor can we empower the police to establish appropriate sentences if we expect an degree of freedom to remain in our society.

Enlightening is the police incidence suffered by Margret McDonald, an 82 year old resident of Cranbrook that sums it up how the legal process has been lost. Check out her story. Her troubles, even after proving herself innocent, show graphically how difficult it is for an ordinary citizen to battle a dysfunctional machine.

But those of you still here with memories longer than 10 years are justified to ask, Is this enough reason to give control of our province back to an utterly fiscally irresponsible semi-socialist NDP group?

The BC Liberal swept all but two NDP members out of the legislature when that group of incompetents finally asked the people of this province to rate their ability to govern. When Gordon Campbell entered office he carried with him a mandate to turn the clock back, to undo years of harm and to put a fresh face on this province. Breaking his first promise, to privatize liquor sales, show there was a compliant empty suit at the helm of the BC Liberal party – the needed spine was missing. The tragedy of the Liberal party is one of squandered opportunity. Over the 11 years they’ve been in power it is their unwillingness to involve the citizens of the province in the decision-making process that has cost them the right to win a re-election. A few bold strokes could have freed the private sector. Instead Mr Campbell’s legacy will show him to have been the force that open and spread a can of green, stifling  goo over this entire province. The irrationality of the strident environmental movement found a mold-able site in the BC Legislature. The payments will be extracted for many years to come.

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