B.C. election fever fills the Straight's mailbox

B.C. election fever fills the Straight's mailbox.

Charlie Smith states that in the upcoming election, B.C. can “either reelect the B.C. Liberals or throw Premier Gordon Campbell out of office” [“Voting made easier in 2009”, April 30–May 7].

In fact, it is quite possible that we could collectively reelect the B.C. Liberals to a comfortable majority and the people of Vancouver–Point Grey could throw Campbell out of office. Or we could easily throw out the B.C. Liberals and the citizens of his riding could reelect Campbell personally—albeit he would not then continue as premier. But the significant point is, we don't directly elect our premier, only our local representative.

Smith's false dichotomy could easily mislead the legions of politically illiterate British Columbians—the same ones who fell for Stephen Harper's nonsense about Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton trying to stage a “coup” soon after the federal Conservatives fell short of a majority for the second consecutive time.

> Jason Welch / Surrey


The Campbell Liberals tout themselves as great economic leaders. But under their direction, we have seen an explosion in homelessness, massive cost overruns on the Vancouver Convention Centre, the costly privatization of electrical power, continuing child poverty, a promise not to sell B.C. Rail broken, and the B.C. Rail sale itself bungled and entangled in an RCMP investigation.

Obviously, when it comes to steering the B.C. economy, we need to put people who are more responsible than Gordon Campbell & Co. in the driver's seat.

> Larry Kazdam / Vancouver


It sounds like the NDP is on the wrong side of the drug issue in this election, and it should cost them [Straight Talk, April 30–May 7].

Candidates like Gabriel Yiu are from the Stone Age, and judging by a recent Angus Reid poll, he is opposing what the majority of British Columbians want and is siding with the minority, who are in favour of harsher sentences. Gordon Campbell's TV ad on the subject suggests more prison construction, harsher sentences—the usual conservative line.

How is it that a minority has managed to hold power and maintain this drug war and all its waste, expense, loss of respect for the police, and alienation of generations of our youth? The Angus Reid poll was 65 percent in favour of decriminalization and 35 percent for harsher sentences. I suspect that 35 percent of those people know nothing about marijuana except what the police put out, which is mostly fear-mongering with zero factual information.

> Terry McKinney / Vancouver


I am deeply concerned with the lack of respect for the law that many members of our current provincial government have.

We now have Liberal cabinet minister John van Dongen stepping down from his role as attorney general because the police have taken away his driver's licence. Fellow Liberal MLA John Les is still under a police investigation for”¦[possibly] being involved in”¦[a subdivision and boundary change] in which he personally benefited.

I also have a long memory and can recall the embarrassment I felt when our premier, Gordon Campbell, was caught driving while seriously intoxicated in the United States. I remember the raid on our legislature in 2003, which has resulted in some high-level Liberal appointees being charged with breaking the law around the privatization of B.C. Rail. This is embarrassing for law-abiding British Columbians.

I crave a government that has MLAs who are willing to live within the laws that we have in this province. Anything else is simply contemptuous of the public, a public that ironically has repeatedly voted the B.C. Liberals back into office, despite the lack of respect for the law that so many of them have.

> Paul Orlowski / Mission


Homelessness is a critical issue throughout B.C. A comprehensive study conducted by SFU's Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction has estimated that the average street adult with severe addictions and/or mental illness in B.C. costs the public system over $55,000 per year. Costs are incurred from shelter services, emergency health services, and interaction with the police and justice system.

If the same individuals were provided with adequate housing and supports, the estimated cost would be reduced to $37,000 per year per person, a “cost avoidance” of about $18,000. This cost represents both the provision of safe affordable housing and support services such as life-skills training, medical care, and substance-use rehabilitation programs.

During this election campaign, I would like to encourage residents of Vancouver to call on all candidates in their riding to make the provision of supported housing their top priority following the election on May 12.

> Adrienne Lindsay / Vancouver



Brock Rodgers

May 7, 2009 at 6:25am

Are we all calling for change for changes sake?

Integrity: Yes there are the issues surrounding the sale of BC Rail but in fairness it’s been six years since the raid and there appear to be no convictions. How does this compare with the NDP history which included the premier getting home renovations for gaming privileges and the party taking advantage of charity fundraising in Nanaimo

Financial Management: Yes there are going to be cost over runs on the current projects. And while on the surface this may suggest poor fiscal management it is likely just the opposite. Budgets are projected in advance of construction and while they anticipate rising prices for goods and services tell me about anybody who has built a home in the last 5 years that has not blown the budget. Pricing for trades and supplies went through the roof due to the building boom. That boom was in a large part the result of the many projects the Liberals initiated.

Social Responsibility: For reasons that escape me this seems to get little or no publicity. The current government has been buying up older hotels and converting them to social housing. It would appear that these are going to cost far more than expected yet I don’t hear the NDP raising these as an example of fiscal mismanagement.
The problem is no government will ever do enough – but at least this one is doing it with “money earned” – not “money borrowed”

We were all ready years ago to lynch Bill Bennett. But when you look back at the legacy of Expo, the Alex Fraser Bridge, the Coquihalla Highway and SkyTrain - as opposed to the legacy of the Ferry fiscal of the NDP who do we want in charge.

P.J. O’Rourke wrote a book ago titled “Eat the Rich” which in short suggested if you, as the NDP suggest, simply tax the rich you will kill your economy. Have we all forgotten the Corporation Capital Tax that quietly drove business managers to move their head offices to Alberta?

I think the NDP make a great opposition – but put them in charge and I doubt you will see investors flocking into the province and the ones that are here will be putting their hands in their pockets and waiting to see how things unfold. I’m pretty sure none of us want to see the “mounting debt and lack of jobs” cycle here any time soon.