Ida Chong: Recall campaign is not about HST but refighting last election

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      This has been an exciting, tumultuous, difficult year in B.C. politics, and I appreciate the opportunity presented to me by the Georgia Straight to address some of the most pressing issues facing B.C. and facing me and the constituency I represent, Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

      I understand that the decision to implement the HST, coming so soon after the last election angered many people. They are frustrated and upset that this significant change in taxation was introduced in this manner, and more importantly that our government did a poor job of communicating why we feel the HST is necessary. For that, I certainly apologize.

      However, the recall campaign currently underway is not about the HST. Recalling your MLA will not eliminate the HST—the September 2011 referendum will determine that. So why recall, and why now? Quite frankly, I believe recall is being used as a political means to extract a political benefit for the NDP and for fringe right-wing parties. Unfortunately, recall is being used to refight the last election by creating a byelection. The recall campaign in my riding is being organized by someone who lives in NDP MLA Carole James’s riding, and many of the campaign’s volunteers and canvassers are not constituents of Oak Bay-Gordon Head but come from as far away as the Comox Valley. If people who live in Oak Bay-Gordon Head wish to speak with me or recall me, they can, but I do not believe we should accept outsiders coming in to our community, telling us what to do.

      Recall legislation was implemented so that the public had recourse against an MLA who broke the law or committed serious ethical violations. It was designed to remove an MLA who has committed wrongdoing, and was never intended to be used as retribution against MLAs for an unpopular vote in the legislature. In September, NDP president Moe Sihota told members of his party that “the law forbids organizations from being proponents for recall; it has to be done by individuals. Below the surface though, it’s a partisan effort.” Recall legislation is being used, explicitly and admittedly, as a political, partisan tool to bully MLAs and to try to push British Columbia into political instability, by former MLAs like Bill Vander Zalm (who was forced to resign due to a conflict-of-interest scandal) and Sihota (who would like to effect a byelection for the NDP).

      Everyone, even my political opponents in the NDP, acknowledge that I am one of the hardest-working constituency-focused MLAs in this province. I have worked extremely hard for my community, and the evidence of this is clear throughout Oak Bay-Gordon Head, from a new $350-million hospital, expansions and renovations at the University of Victoria, Camosun College, as well as the public schools that have been seismically upgraded. The investment in parks, bike lanes, and many other projects I have supported and advocated for over 14 years as MLA are achievements I am very proud of. I have always conducted myself in a professional and ethical manner and have considered the diverse opinions of the constituents of Oak Bay-Gordon Head in performing my duties as MLA.

      Our government has made tough, sometimes unpopular choices to ensure the fiscal stability and economic prosperity of our province into the future. Whether you agree with some, all, or none of the things our government has done, whether you support or oppose the HST, I hope you agree that there are appropriate forums to have these debates, including elections and the upcoming referendum. Recall is not one of them.

      Ida Chong is the B.C. Liberal MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head.




      Nov 30, 2010 at 5:29pm

      You're right, it has gone beyond just the HST. It includes a growing lack of trust and confidence with a fiasco laden government.

      Dan Clay

      Nov 30, 2010 at 5:38pm

      YAWN YAWN YAWN Ida , you stood by and let the rate of childhood poverty increase, a direct consequence of your buddy gordo's tax cuts to his corporate backers.


      Nov 30, 2010 at 6:57pm

      Would you please explain why the HST is good for us along with getting rid of BC Rail and why your at it explain why wages were rolled back for public empoyeess and then you gave yoursrlf a raise along with a golden plated pension. Why did rates go up for medical, natural gas. Why did the goverment allow contracts to be given out to buy power at such high rates to Gereal electric etc. and the list goes on and on. The goverment is suppose to make life better for the public not harder.


      Nov 30, 2010 at 7:01pm

      By the way. Who cares what vehicle is used to collect signatures and if every canviser is from the ndp. In the end it's up to the voters in your constituency. You are going down. If you were smart you would conceed. Imagine if canvisers weren't needed and everyone could just sign a ballot online

      You would be gone in less then 24 hours.

      glen p robbins

      Nov 30, 2010 at 7:42pm

      This woman is condescending in the extreme and has no idea of how far disconnected she is from the public. Reading this makes me think she is quite nuts.

      People are angry with HST "coming so soon after the election" - No Ida its the lie - untruth - con job -deceit that's what provokes anger. Ida ignorant (10/10). "Did a poor job of communicating" Again they did this on purpose - its the lie - untruth - con job deceit -- Ida ignorant (10/10).

      The Recall is the symbol - like the Canadian flag is to Canada - of what is pissing off British Columbians. Once that door is open all of the other crap that people have put up with comes frothing to the surface like bodies at a Green River investigation or a bad smell from John Wayne Gacey's property. Recall is the tool that British Columbians are holding close until the government gets rid of it. Moving it up will only help to the extent that people can see relief coming -- British Columbians will successfully Recall everyone including you up to and including the date of the Referendum. There is and will continue to be a correlation between the HST in place and resistance to any new BC Liberal leader --- no matter what popcorn polls or brief reprieve the BC Liberals might receive in public opinion generally between now and that time.

      The refighting the election rationale just pours gasoline on the fire - because the underlying cause of that - to be true - means the people signing the Petition are too stupid to think for themselves --- this is the nut of your problem Ida - you are casting blame elsewhere -- at everyone else - and not accepting blame yourself. This is likely a function of your personal make up as well---------- I expect.

      I expect that every Recall commenced before the HST vote will be successful - because the public is entrenched on seeing its end -- and making its point -- it symbolizes the lesson that British Columbians want to teach all of you selfish, self centred, egotistical politicians-----------don't push it--we will push back -- and hard.

      You Ida are the first to take one between the eyes--and you will.


      Nov 30, 2010 at 9:12pm

      So Ida you resent someone from another riding helping out. Did you accept donations from business outside your riding? Did Gordo come and speak on your behalf last election? Did you accept everything from outside your riding to assist you in the last election? How do you feel about other people coming to live in a riding that they didn't live in before to run for the Fiberals? That's one of the reasons why we in Maple Ridge are going to recall Dalton by the way.

      I guess what you're saying is, as long as it helps you and the rest of the Fiberals, it's ok. But if it recall you, it's not? Is that the gist of your argument Ida?

      Ken Lawson

      Nov 30, 2010 at 9:30pm

      You should resign with having to put people through this recall in the first place, As mininster of universities do the right the right thing and get rid of foreign students from Hong Kong/China, we do not have enough room for Caucasian or Asian students who are citizens or permanent residents, It not me that has to put up with you, it is the poor people in your area but my MLA is just as useless.

      Bob Wang

      Nov 30, 2010 at 10:00pm

      First of all Recall is clearly part of the Democratic process.

      Who are you to say no to recall? As stated at the end of your article.

      Furthermore I am finding it increasingly difficult to accept the "the fiscal stability and economic prosperity" argument you put forth.

      What I see is huge debt.

      A lot of it incurred for the two week 2010 party for the Rich & Famous, at precisely the wrong time.

      Record job loss and low paying jobs with some of the lowest minimum wages in Canada and the US.

      The HST seemed to be desperately pushed through because of the debt incurred and the 1.6+ Billion lump sum payment from the Federal to your Provincial Government to help "balance" / reduce the deficit.

      If I recall the NDP left you / your Government with a $2 Billion surplus in 01.

      As for the recall being done by the "NDP" thats simply not true, it's been done by one of your own Conservatives, who no doubt has his own plans.

      Regardless who is behind the Recall I plan on voting.

      That's me Recall voting to get rid of your Governments policies, over the last decade.

      > No $500 Million Roof Thanks,

      > No 900+ Year Sale sorry lease :) of BC Rail

      > No to the $8 Minimum Wage,

      > No to the Olympic Condo fiasco,

      No No No Thanks. Bye.

      Stephen Elliott-Buckley

      Dec 1, 2010 at 12:43am

      Nice try, Liberal spin team:

      "Clueless, Ida Chong Spins and Begs For Her Political Life":

      Strong New Democrat

      Dec 1, 2010 at 6:17am

      So if I read your comments correctly then if a criminal lives in the Oak Bay Gordon Head constituency of BC Liberal MLA Ida Chong, then somehow Ida Chong is complict or guilty as well? That is the litmus test you use on the Recall Ida Chong campaign leader. If said Organizer comes from BC NDP Leader Carole James constituency, maybe that shows the level of smarts on that individual by voting In Carole James in the first place! Give you head a shake - your "poor me" whining is pathetic! Embrace the race! Step down and prove you can indeed find a renewed mandate and save the Recall volunteers the hassle.