BC Election – my local candidates

I decided to take a look at the local candidates for my riding in the provincial election. Their websites are:
(Harry Bloy – Liberal)
(Jaynie Clark – NDP)
(Helen Chang – Green)

First impressions:
Harry Bloy needs a better website (notice that I pasted his webpage from the BC legislature site – because HarryBloy.com has no information about who Harry Bloy is). Jaynie Clark looks pretty qualified with her committee and legal experience. Helen Chang apparently only stands for one issue: ESL/immigration.

Right off the bat I won’t be voting for Ms. Chang as it doesn’t look like she would be interested in representing me. She appears to only want to represent ESL people. I think ESL is important, but it is not in my top 3 issues, so it wouldn’t make too much sense to vote for someone where ESL is their one and only issue.

Between Harry Bloy and Jaynie Clark, it really comes down to whether I want the government run like a business or a bureaucracy. These two candidates seem to be quite accurate personifications of the parties that they represent. Bloy has lots of business experience (and 2 terms MLA experience); Clark has experience with the labour movement (BCGEU, Labour Relationships Board, Industrial Relations Association).

So really it comes down to the party. Liberal or NDP. Numbers get thrown around everywhere arguing under which government we had a stronger economy. I’m not sure even if the provincial government can have that much effect over an economy that is so dependent upon the ups and downs of the world’s economy. I will say that under the liberals there have been lots of visible signs of positive progress (Canada Line, Golden Ears Bridge, Port Mann Bridge, the Olympics), and it seems like the NDP has been opposing this progress at every turn. The NDP portrays the attitude that we shouldn’t be embarking on any major projects while there are still homeless people in the down-town east side. They have been critical of nearly every major project, with part of the reason being that “we shouldn’t be spending XXX dollars on YYY when we should be spending that money on the homeless”.

I am personally of the mind that we should treat homelessness seriously, however, the simplistic solutions offered by advocates of the homeless (throw money at the homeless) is naive and would likely result in more homelessness. I don’t want to get the homelessness issue here because it is too complex say anything meaningful in this short space. I just have the feeling that had the NDP been in power for the past eight years we wouldn’t have the olympics, or the port mann, or the canada line – and we would still have homeless littering the streets, but the NDP would be boasting about the amount of money they have added to fight homelessness and would be happy that despite a dramatic increase in the number of homeless, there are two or three times as many homeless now housed and off the streets on the government’s dime.

I watched the news reports yesterday covering Carole James’ visit to some of the struggling logging towns in the interior. She was ranting and raving about how the logging industry has been ravaged while Gordon Campbell has been in power. She grand-stands there to draw attention to the grief that “Gordon Campbell’s arrogance” has caused.

… BUT I didn’t see her offer any solutions to the problem. She pretends like there is something that the provincial government could magically do to increase global demand for wood. I think that the Green party leader Jane Sturk had it right when, in the leaders’ radio debate, she dismissed James’ use of the lumber woes as disingenuous as it’s unrealistic to think that Gordon Campbell (or any provincial government) could have any control over the soft-wood industry because it is subject to global market forces that are beyond the control of our tiny province.

Since James has not proposed any solutions to the Lumber industry, I assume she is promising these communities moral support. Either that or she will be surprising the rest of us by putting up big money to subsidize these industries.

All that said, I think that Gordon Campbell should join toastmasters to help him overcome is anxiety about public speaking. He looked terribly nervous during the TV debate and I would wager that George W. Bush would have bested him on that night. At least W has a little swagger and charisma to help connect to the audience. Campbell just looked nervous and dim-witted.

So I guess I’ll vote liberal because I’d rather have the olympics and the port mann than not. If I believed that NOT spending money on those projects could solve homelessness and help us socially, I would obviously prefer to spend money on those social goods, but I just have little faith in the well-intentioned left’s ability to convert money into results. No, if we DIDN’t spend the money on these infrastructure projects (and the olympics) I’m sure that it would have just been poured into the black hole of good intentions and dubious results.

Hopefully at the end of the next term, there will be a bonified scandal with the liberal’s finger prints on it that will leave us no choice but to change. Hopefully during the next term, the NDP will provide a more constructive opposition voice – one that doesn’t take their position as the “opposition” to mean that they should oppose every idea and every project to get the province moving. Hopefully next time we will be using the proposed Single Transferable Vote and we have a few more good options to vote for on the ballot.

Until then….

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