Posts Tagged ‘British Columbia’

Can Singh sing a new song in Burnaby?

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

It is now confirmed that new democratic party leader Jagmeet Singh will try for a seat in the House of Commons this fall. The facts are that the guy has not drawn a salary for over a year now. He has gotten married and he might need a couple new bespoke suits. He could have possibly run in Montreal in Tom Mulcair’s old seat of Outremont or a formerly conservative-held seat in Grenville-Dundas-Thousand Islands in Ontario, but he has decided the safest seat is in South-Burnaby in British Columbia.

But while that might be the safest seat for an NDP, Singh had to finally come out against the Trans Mountain pipeline. It was the end of sitting on the fence between premier John Horgan’s BC NDP and premier Rachel Notley’s Alberta NDP.

South-Burnaby voters will likely have a clear choice. No liberal has been selected yet but whoever runs for the government party will be standing on Justin Trudeau’s shoulders. The greens and conservatives might as well stand back and let the liberals and NDP have at it! This will be a referendum on the newly government-owned Trans Mountain pipeline. The $7 to $11 billion enhancement project is designed to bring more of the Alberta tar sands products to Burnaby for loading on ocean tankers.

The only reason Kennedy Stewart is not representing the seat is that he is in the running for mayor of Vancouver. In Vancouver, they do not have party politics in the traditional Canadian manner. The current election pits the progressives against the combined conservatives and right-wing liberals.

My bet is on Stewart for mayor of that wonderful city.

South-Burnaby is considered to be one of the most ethnically diverse electoral districts in Canada, competing with many ridings in Toronto for that distinction. Prime minister Trudeau remains very strong in ethnically diverse areas and that alone could make this by-election a toss-up.

The one thing that Singh might not be prepared for in this situation is to lose. And he could. The ethnic make-up of the electoral district is only listed as 16 per cent south Asian and Sikhs are only a part of that group. It will be an interesting test of Singh’s appeal to other ethnic groups. Singh will also be considered an eastern carpetbagger who will not have any long-term interest in the people there.

Jagmeet Singh might be biting off too much.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

What a web we Weaver!

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

We have struggled with this for a couple months. What the heck is BC green party leader John Weaver’s problem with the liquified natural gas (LNG) proposal for British Columbia? It not only sounds like a good deal but BC premier John Horgan is right to be moving it along, even though there is really not much need for too much in way of incentives.

Compared to the stuff the modified Trans Mountain pipeline is designed to run down to Burnaby, BC, the LNG proposal is a Sunday afternoon walk in the park. The only concern with a gas pipeline is fire. With the technology involved in pipelines today, you get almost immediate warning and location of the problem. It could be about as dangerous as a backyard barbeque.

With almost immediate shut down of the line, you lose very little gas into the atmosphere. Remember that the gas, at this stage, is lighter than air.

But that density changes when the gas is liquified. When the gas is reduced to minus 160° C, it has a density of 423 grams per litre. Modern LNG tankers can travel around the world on the gas from their tanks that also serves to keep the LNG at a constant cold temperature. In combination with diesel fuel, it is the ideal way to transport gas.

Pipelines are definitely not the best way to transport diluted bitumen. Diluted bitumen has to be heated and forced through a pipeline at increased pressure. It is highly abrasive and with the increased pressure, spills can be inevitable and are not signalled to the line head as immediately. Where a spill is particularly dangerous is around water. With the diluent staying on the surface and the bitumen finally reaching bottom, harming the environment both above and below the surface.

The good news (I guess) is that premier John Horgan is paying his debts. He wanted to be premier and it cost him an accord with the BC greens. One of the conditions is to again offer BC voters an opportunity to vote on changing how they elect their provincial government. John Horgan’s NDP government is calling for this vote later this year. It is a small price to pay for the continued support of the three Green Party members in the B.C. legislature.

But nothing ever runs smoothly. If the NDP government had announced its proportional representation on Facebook, it would probably have received more initial dislikes than likes. The government allows for three alternative plans, each more confusing than the previous proposal. None of the options is truly proportional.

Mind you, the good news is that after two elections trying one of those options, BC voters will have an opportunity to vote to restore First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) voting.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Horgan pays the price.

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

British Columbia premier John Horgan is paying his debts. He wanted to be premier and it cost him an accord with the BC Green party, headed by MLA John Weaver. One of the conditions is to again offer BC voters an opportunity to vote on changing how they elect their provincial government. John Horgan’s NDP government is calling for this vote later this year. It is a small price to pay for the continued support of the three Green Party members in the B.C. legislature.

But nothing ever runs smoothly. People are taking the government to court over the proposals and regulations for the referendum. In addition, the Green Party MLAs are talking about ending the accord over the NDP offering incentives for a very large Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) proposal. It is easy to understand the eagerness of the NDP for $40-billion LNG project that offers jobs for BC workers and long-term revenues to the province. The Greens are less eager to increase the carbon emissions and potential environmental problems with loading ocean-going LNG tankers.

If the NDP government had announced its proportional representation on FaceBook, it would probably have received more initial dislikes than likes. The government allows for three alternative plans, each more confusing than the previous proposal. The least complicated is the mixed-member proportional system such as was rejected by Ontario voters in 2007 by a vote of about two to one. The second is more like the single-transferable vote that B.C. voters failed to approve twice. And the third choice is a previously untried system of rural voters voting proportional and urban voters voting for a MLA in normal electoral districts. None of the options is truly proportional.

But most of the emerging arguments are over how the NDP government is managing the voting. It will be a mail-in ballot and ignores the Internet availability. The main bone of contention is that the NDP government will select who will be the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ sides and only those two groups will be allowed to advertise and promote their opinion. No ‘Maybe’ or ‘What If’’ options are to be considered.

Mind you, the good news is that after two elections with one of those options, the populace will be allowed an opportunity to vote to return to First Past the Post (FPTP) voting. I guess that opportunity would be better than the only recourse to be an insurrection.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Voting reform or disaster in B.C.

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

Our friends on the left coast must be already smoking something serious. I am stunned by what they are suggesting as the choice for reformed voting in British Columbia. While the proposition is obviously designed to push people to proportional representation. I would suggest that they consider the better option—for the NDP framers of the vote to “get stuffed.”

The only seemingly sensible option of the three proposed systems of voting is plain and simple mixed member proportional (MMP) voting. While it is a solution that can make unaware people happy, it is at least understandable. You have much larger electoral districts where you can vote for an individual. Your vote also is counted to allocate 40 per cent of the legislative seats to unelected party lists. Many people already vote just for a party, so there is nothing particularly creative about that.

It is the second and third options that baffle people. The proposition of dual-member proportional voting does not seem to have been tried before. It simply means that the candidate with the most votes wins the electoral seat and the person with the second most votes might or might not be allocated a seat somewhere on a proportional basis. I remember how much fun we had with the various tricks we used in Toronto aldermanic elections when they were for two-member wards. You would not believe how easy it was to cook that choice.

I have never heard of a system such as rural-urban proportional. Whomever dreamed this up certainly did not think farmers were very smart. They actually want to have the farmers vote for mixed member proportional members and the cities and towns to vote under a single-transferable vote. As B.C. voters have already rejected single-transferable voting twice, I am sure they would continue to give that sillyness a wide berth.

But once again we have the people who framed this foolishness passing the buck when it comes to promoting it. They are actually going to let two sides of the question duke it out and the government will give them $500,000 each to cover their expenses.

What has me more concerned is the idea of a mail-in ballot. I would feel more confident of an Internet ballot and a mail-in option for those who lack the Internet access.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Standing with BC’s John Horgan.

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

It is a memory from many years ago that sticks with you. It is this time of year. After being awakened by the sweeps rowers training on the harbour, you walk to downtown Vancouver from the Bayshore Inn, along streets lined with cherry blossoms in full bloom.

You drink in the wonderful freshness of the air off the Straits of Georgia. There is the warming sun on your face. You can still see the snow high atop the North Shore Mountains. Is this not a city to love?

British Columbia premier John Horgan would agree with that. We easterners might laughingly refer to it as Canada’s left coast but B.C. is a province of great beauty, industrious people and makes us proud.

And, somehow, there must be an answer to the current argument with Alberta. I suggested recently that we really need someone without a horse in the race to adjudicate between the premiers of Alberta and B.C. My suggestion was that it was about time for recently elected NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to show us what he can do.

Instead, we are expected to get prime minister Trudeau. He is cutting short his meetings in Lima, Peru to get back to Canada and meet with the two warring premiers.

The problem is that this is just two ganging up on one. Premier Sharon Notley of Alberta and the prime minister are equally committed to getting the pipeline expansion completed. There is nobody at the table capable of determining if there is a middle ground. There is no way to equalize. There is no way to compensate any party.

Advantage is obviously to the prime minister and Ms. Notley. And what does B.C. get but the thrills of the spills? And with three times the giant tankers in Burrard Inlet, you ask when, not if.

This is one problem that Justin Trudeau cannot solve with some selfies. There is nobody to charm.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me