Category Archives: Christy Clark

Releasing Government Bad News Under Cover of a Hockey Game

Based on the bad news coming from the BC and Canadian governments under cover of game one of the Stanley Cup finals, we should be wary of the Canucks going to seven games.

It used to be Friday afternoons were a great time for governments to release bad news. The week’s media cycle was drifting off into a weekend and there would be less room for public analysis than if bad news was released at 9am on a Monday. This is why I am always scouring news websites after 3pm on Fridays. Just in case.

But yesterday, game one of the Stanley Cup finals was a perfect day for bad news because the city, province and much of the country was fixated on the hockey game. Here’s what contemptuous filth emerged while we were anticipating the game…in case you missed it:

1. A few days ago, the BC Liberal government changed the date and time of budget estimates debate for the premier’s office to coincide with the hockey game. Budget estimates debates are when the opposition can examine the contents of each line item of the provincial budget. In a contemptuous, cynical obstruction of democracy, transparency and accountability, the premier decided that debate about her office budget would take place when virtually no one would be interested in watching on Hansard TV and virtually all of the media would be distracted.

2. On a related note, BC Liberal cabinet minister Moira Stilwell [whose Twitter introduction to her leadership debate was a moderate failure] tweeted on Monday how much she was distressed at the legislature sitting past dinnertime this week. I’m sure she was being at least somewhat facetious, since they might have to miss the hockey game:

The house is sitting till 9pm this week; couldn’t we just talk faster? #BCPOLI

Since it was her government that chose to keep the legislature closed for around 600 of the last 700 days, her hypocrisy is galling. But then, if she’s being facetious, that’s ok, right? No. That makes it even worse because of how little regard her government holds for democratic accountability.

But then she followed up that gem with this one last night:

The house sits tonight during the game-ridiculous!! Go #Canucks!

Honestly? I’ll tell you what is ridiculous: her premier rescheduling her office’s estimates debate to occur during the game. And I agree that evening sittings aren’t terribly valuable, but they are necessary when the government’s goal is to minimize the number of legislative sitting days, thereby minimizing the number of question periods they must endure, and maximizing the opportunities to vote closure on debate so they can ram through legislation with their majority of votes. This is why I’d particularly enjoyed the recent years of minority governments in Ottawa and why we’ll be bothered by lots of majority closure motions in the House of Commons in Harper’s majority.

3. CBC BC’s legislative reporter, Stephen Smart, also reported yesterday that the BC Liberals’ public sector wage austerity program of net zero wage increases will continue for two more years. We’ll see about that. Again, not the kind of news to release on a Monday morning.

4. Laila Yuile discovered yet another announcement buried in Stanley Cup hype that affects the safety of citizens using court services: the firing of a few dozen more sheriffs leading to the closure of even more courtrooms. This, all during a time when millions of our tax dollars are funding stick men/mimes on TV commercials to explain to us what the government wants us to know about their beloved HST.

5. Shifting to Ottawa, we found out today Foreign Minister Baird announced before yesterday’s hockey game that parliament will be using their majority to ram through a 90-day [or more] extension to the Canadian Forces’ military involvement in Libya, which is set to expire in 14 days.

All I can say is that I hope the Canucks win the Stanley Cup in four games to minimize the likelihood of more bad news announcements buried on game days.

Political announcements are starting to remind me of a Rolling Stones song:

One hundred thousand disparus
Lost in the jails in South America
CURL up baby
CURL up tight
CURL up baby
Keep it all out of sight
Keep it all out of sight
Undercover of the night [or, Canucks game]

Politics, Re-Spun on Coop Radio, April 18, 2011

Imtiaz Popat and I celebrated the beginning of the last two weeks of the federal election campaign on “The Rational” last night. The video podcast is below. Here is what we talked about:

  • the BC NDP leadership race/outcome
  • how yesterday is the beginning of how Clark and Dix will define their leadership and competition, regardless of how the various leadership campaigns went
  • the HST referendum and the travesty that the government will spend most of the summer sitting on the results
  • the Vancouver-Point Grey by-election
  • how voter fatigue is somewhat a ploy by the right wing to encourage us to be lazy and not embrace our democratic power
  • Clark is not at all about families first
  • reversing corporate tax cuts is not going to affect the poorest 95% of BC/Canada, just the rich and corporations
  • how the federal debates went
  • why the NDP is polling higher and why people like Jack Layton so much
  • Harper’s scare tactics are failing
  • why Canadians are beginning to understand and appreciate life after majority governments
  • how people are tired of Harper’s politics of hate

Christy Clark Plays Strombo for PR Fluff

Christy Clark was on the George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight show last night. It was a real low-light of Strombo’s career as it ended up being a pathetic, softball, fluff piece full of PR for Christy Clark 2.0, the kindler, gentler version of the worker-bashing, deputy-premier to Gordon Campbell.

I presumed that Clark had arranged this interview to coincide with her announcement of the by-election that would get her into the legislature. But a truly happy coincidence was when the BC Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional Clark’s own education-bashing Bills 27 and 28 the other day. I expected Strombo to use that as a springboard to truly engage in a full interview. It didn’t come up.

What did happen was a solid clapping and screaming contingent in the audience when Clark arrived on the stage, so she certainly got some fans in.

Despite mentioning her fight with the education system a decade ago in his introduction, Strombo brought up healthcare with her, but she replied with the unsustainable myth, which is code for privatizing healthcare. She even had the gall to say that we’re “grown up enough” for the debate on healthcare sustainability.

This implies that people who don’t agree with the right wing spin of an unsustainable public healthcare system are not grown up, childish, irresponsible. It has been the right wing concerted defunding of the healthcare system through tax cuts that have impaired its ability to function. Now BC is the second-lowest funder of healthcare in the country, and we’re all suffering for that motivation to privatize.

Contempt is a trending theme of the federal election right now. This kind of contempt for the public healthcare system and those who support it is becoming a theme in BC politics as well.

The big message she wanted to spin throughout the province was that she isn’t mean, unlike how the BC NDP’s commercial about her contends. Anyone, citizens and workers, who have suffered under the abusive, illegal and unconstitutional legislation of the BC Liberal party, and its former education and MCFD minister, and its former premier, Christy Clark, know that this is one mean government.

Christy Clark’s delight and pride in her legislation is mean. But she wants to be our friend. She wants to win a by-election so she could sit in the legislature.

So on Strombo’s show she said she wants to increase voter turnout, but that reality TV celebrates nasty people. Frankly, the right wing politicians who are defunding and privatizing our public services are nasty enough on their own to have inspired a less than 50% voter turnout in the last BC election.

BC Liberal politicians who want to get rid of the public sector love voter apathy. Clark blaming reality TV is just spin. And it’s bad spin for anyone who has paid attention to the abuse the BC Liberal party has visited upon this province for a decade.

She will continue running the Conservative-Liberal coalition agenda regardless of how much she smiles or invokes support for the Canucks, which is how she ended her Strombo fluff piece.

In the end, Stroumboulopoulos got played. His inability to ask difficult questions to a highly controversial politician with a decade of contentious political positions has resulted in a spectacularly missed opportunity for him to not only avoid being played by Christy Clark’s spin, but for him to enhance his credibility as a valuable interviewer. The interview was a sad, sympathy-building exercise for a politician trying to rebrand herself as a kindler, gentler “families first” champion.