The Straight slate for progressive change

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      The B.C. NDP has become more hidebound than the Liberal Party of Canada. The New Democrats under James have dumbed down our political culture, and progressive voters must send the party a message that enough is enough.

      A third aim should be to drive down the NDP’s share of the popular vote so if it loses the election, the party will quickly dump James and diminish the influence of her two right-wing suburban lieutenants, finance critic Bruce Ralston and solicitor-general critic Mike Farnworth. Harming the NDP’s share of the vote should only occur in constituencies in which the NDP has no chance of defeating the B.C. Liberal.

      There’s a way to accomplish all three objectives by voting intelligently and strategically. We’re going to show you how.

      We feel that the Green party under Jane Sterk has the best overall set of policies. Whether it’s transportation, agriculture, climate change, policing, or crime and justice, the Greens are far more progressive than either the B.C. Liberals or the NDP.

      The Greens are the only ones talking about replacing the RCMP with a provincial police force when the Mounties’ contract expires in 2012.

      The Greens are the only ones calling for the end of prohibition and allowing marijuana to be grown and sold in cooperatives. The Greens are the only ones willing to examine the B.C. government’s disgraceful handling of the Chinese head tax in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

      There are plenty of differences between Campbell’s platform and that of the NDP. The NDP will slow the development of farmland by bringing back a provincial Agricultural Land Commission. An NDP government would also stop the fire sale of public resources, halt funding cuts to the arts in 2010 and 2011, phase out open-net fish farms that threaten wild salmon, raise the minimum wage, close an antitenant loophole in the Residential Tenancy Act, and hold a public inquiry into the sale of B.C. Rail.

      The NDP’s policies are actually quite good once you move away from the two biggest issues on the public agenda: crime and transportation. In these two areas, however, the NDP mirrors the irresponsible right-wing policies of the B.C. Liberals under Campbell. Both parties have been tyrannized by stupid right-wing media into adopting policies that will divert precious public resources away from more positive goals, like improving the education system, enhancing the arts, stamping out poverty, and improving the province’s dreadful child-care system.

      Both leading parties favour more prisons, more cops, more prosecutors, an inefficient and costly transit system, and a prohibitively expensive new Fraser River crossing. It is financial recklessness of the highest order.

      In addition, the two major parties haven’t overwhelmed us with their environmental policies. The Liberals will keep a carbon tax, which will eventually rise to 7.24 cents per litre of gasoline by 2012; the NDP will scrap the carbon tax and introduce a cap-and-trade system, which will impose a hard cap on emissions. Both support expanding road capacity and building a new Port Mann Bridge.

      The Greens will cancel Gateway projects, including the bridge, raise the carbon tax to $50 per tonne, and apply it to short-haul air travel—and exempt those who are living in poverty. In addition, the Green party will implement a cap-and-trade system, phase out subsidies to the oil-and-gas industry, boost tax incentives to buy electric cars, and develop climate-change adaptation strategies. This puts the Greens far in front of others on the biggest issue of our time: climate change.

      We feel that Campbell can’t be trusted as premier for another four years. If he has another term, he might introduce more private financing (i.e., more private insurance) to the health-care system, which would undermine the efficiency embedded in a single-payer system. He says he won’t do this, but he also said he wouldn’t sell B.C. Rail and he would create the most open and accountable government in Canada.

      At the same time, we question whether or not James and her NDP colleagues have the intellectual depth to govern effectively in trying economic times. The leader doesn’t seem aware of the risks presented by peak oil. Our preference is for an NDP minority government with the Greens holding the balance of power.

      The Greens have some exceptional young candidates. They shouldn’t be overlooked in constituencies where the NDP has no chance.

      The NDP has traditionally blazed a trail with innovative and imaginative policies. But that turf has been ceded to the Greens in recent years as the NDP has become an increasingly conservative party that strives for acceptance in Canwest newspapers. One exception is the NDP’s idea for an environmentally oriented bond program to stimulate investment in green initiatives.

      One of the best reasons for voting NDP is its promise to introduce campaign-finance reform. Unlike in the federal system, there are no limits on political contributions in B.C. from corporations and unions. This enables the B.C. Liberals to collect millions from businesses, which are the beneficiaries of legislative changes.

      In recent years, the NDP has been less reliant on organized labour. If James wins, she promises to ban contributions from unions and businesses. This has the potential to transform the political system.

      This plank alone offers sufficient grounds for an undecided voter to cast a ballot for the NDP.

      Every election, the Georgia Straight makes its recommendations. These are not “endorsements”, and they should merely be seen as preferences. We’re not so arrogant as to think that we have all the answers. If you disagree, feel free to explain why in the comments section below.

      These recommendations were made with the following three objectives: ridding the province of Campbell; stopping the rightward drift of the NDP; and paving the way for the replacement of James should the NDP lose by driving down the party’s percentage of the popular vote. We listed the best choice to help meet those three objectives, and not necessarily the best candidate in each constituency.




      May 7, 2009 at 8:46am

      Disgustingly biased.
      The hard working public should start burning all Straight newpapers in stacks, each thursday evening. You Socialist hippies are such pathetic lazy losers.


      May 7, 2009 at 10:11am

      christheduke: Disgustingly idiotic. Of course it's biased. It's a recommendation list. I suppose you'd try to argue that you would write an unbiased recommendation list. You'd be lying of course, either to us or to yourself. The only unbiased list would be the full list, but you can get that anywhere. The Straight is giving us their editorial's picks with a STATED bias (nobody is trying to trick you!) of trying to get Gordo out, and also keep the social values of BC on the radar.

      Why don't you go burn yourself in a fire instead? It would save us from hearing your hate filled vitriol.


      Don Allen

      May 7, 2009 at 11:49am

      One thing never mentioned is that if the Green Party Platform were fully costed, it would equal the total of the combined Liberal and NDP Platforms !


      May 7, 2009 at 11:53am

      U mad Chris?

      Someone sounds bitter then weren't endorsed

      Will Webster

      May 7, 2009 at 11:58am

      I think this was a well written piece. For the first time I'm hearing from a major media outlet in BC what the Greens have planned. At least one group is not covering the election like it was a prize fight between Campbell and James.
      Kudos to the author. And perhaps you're right, a minority coalition would serve the broader constituency.


      May 7, 2009 at 12:32pm

      Chris, if you are looking for recommendations of the status quo, why don't you go read the Sun, the Province, or some other right wing mainstream tabloid and leave your mitts off the one publication that actually speaks to the large proportion of the GVRD's population who are, in your eloquent terms, "pathetic lazy losers."


      May 7, 2009 at 1:30pm

      I have sat back and watched Can West Media, a disgrace as a media giant attachs itself to Campbell like a safe cracker doses a vault only its public treasurey as media pumps up their golden boy. As no one has a chance when media spins as 8 years of media pitching itself a job as billions go into advertising along with the prize, the Olympics. But what goes around comes around as media giant goes down the tubes along with the Liberals.
      I remember prior to Campbell getting in Can west had one story after another non stop on the NDP's and Child Services, and other Ministries along with allegations of corruption as it was never ending. But no more since Campbell got in despite 5 years of being the lowest of the low in BC when it comes to children he still puts in more cuts and Can West is silent. As women and children left to die on disease ridden streets to be raped and beaten and robed along with their babes. And Can West is silent.
      Read anything about it in your local news as more and more children find their way in survival prositution or unbelievable treatment all thanks to Can West media's great job of not reporting on Campbell Government as that kinda reporting is solely reserved for the NDP.
      Its one message and its corrupt no doubt as its solely based on Greed and who better to understand propaganda than Can West as its profits before children as they are left to starve or die on BC's streets.


      May 7, 2009 at 1:43pm

      Wow...the anger, tsk tsk. As a hard working member of the public I want to thank you for your article....

      I'm so thrilled to not be associated with the previous bloggers, the hatred is so sad. Having a social conscious does not make people that work at the straight pathetic hippy losers...nor would I want ANYONE to go burn themselves in a fire.

      Peace people...from a hard working, single mom who will be so happy to see the NDP get back in power with the leadership of Carole James.

      Daniel Quinn

      May 7, 2009 at 1:49pm

      @christheduke, "Where one burns books, one will, in the end, burn people" -- Heinrich Heine

      I'm amazed that there are still people that think like you.

      Two Thumbs Up!

      May 7, 2009 at 2:13pm

      I like your thinking! I support the recommendations and the objectives are well-reasoned and sound. Wouldn't it be great to have an minority govt with Vicki Huntington and a couple Greens holding the balance!

      The one recommendation I'd challenge is Gabriel Yiu. His appallingly opportunistic attacks on Kash Heed for having the guts to suggest we rethink criminalization of drugs put me in a position I'd never have thought possible - gunning for a BC Liberal and former cop over his so-called progressive contender!

      You should warn anyone voting in Fraserview to bring strong cologne and a face mask - they'll need a lot more than merely holding their noses if they're going to take your advice and vote strategically there.