Campaign Update

Flaws Seen in B.C. NDP’s Election Campaign

By John Twigg

One of the stranger questions in the B.C. election campaign so far has been “Where is John Horgan and what is his NDP party up to?”

Horgan did pop up last week in Merritt for a candidate nomination vote, which his favoured candidate lost to former MLA Harry Lali, and then he moved on to the media hub of Kamloops and announced a plan to “revitalize” B.C.’s forest industry.  The details were so light (recommend the use of more wood in public projects) that they didn’t make much news in any major media.

The latest leader of the B.C. NDP did make some waves with his accusation that Premier Christy Clark has done too little too late to negotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement with the American foresters lobby. Horgan, not too helpfully, suggested this should have been done when former President Barack Obama was still in power. But that perhaps willfully ignores that the U.S. lumber lobby was in no mood for a negotiated compromise after years of B.C. lumber exports perceivably undercutting their own log prices, even if Obama had the time, will and ability to do so, which he showed no sign of having.

So that was kind of a cheap shot by Horgan. By the way, did you hear him loudly raising this issue during the recent sitting of the Legislature? No, you didn’t because he didn’t. Yes, Horgan and some of his colleagues did occasionally question that elephant sitting in the MLAs’ debating room. But the NDP did not make any stink at any time about the B.C. Liberals’ obvious mismanagement of yet another major file, on which they belatedly appointed well-known David Emerson as a special envoy on the file.

In fact, Horgan and his colleagues have been more or less silent on all manner of issues in recent months. Ostensibly because they plan to release major new policy statements during the campaign (which began on April 11th and ends on May 9th).  More likely, it’s because the New Democrats are planning to run yet another stealth campaign in which they’ll lay relatively low, not rock many boats and hope to get gifted with a majority from an electorate that is increasingly fed up with the widely seen as corrupt, B.C. Liberal Party regime of Premier Christy Clark.

This will be the third consecutive NDP leader to try that ploy, after the tragically weak Carole James and then the bright, but misguided, Adrian Dix, who got caught on a weather vane about whether or not to support a pipeline expansion to Vancouver to enable more oil tanker movements out of its harbour.  Amazingly, Horgan has already repeated Dix’s fatal mistake by also flip-flopping on that very same issue, which the over-funded Liberals happily turned into yet another TV ad exposing Horgan’s duplicity.

Supply Bill let through

The relative silence from the Horgan New Democrats, before and early in the campaign, has been apparent on quite a number of other major issues, too. Perhaps worst of all, in the recent sitting of the Legislature, when they let the Liberal government’s $60-billion Interim Supply Bill (half of operating and more of capital) get passed with less than 60 minutes of questioning by former finance critic Bruce Ralston substituting for an unaccountably absent critic Carole James. It should be noted that Green Party leader, Andrew Weaver, also said and did nothing to derail what was obviously some kind of deal struck between the Liberals and New Democrats – a deal that so far no one else has reported on.

Granting that massive interim supply without proper debate could be seen as a gentlemanly act of Parliamentary process by the Horgan New Democrats, it stands in marked contrast to former Social Credit Opposition Leader Bill Bennett’s “Not a dime without debate” line in 1975, that still echoes through the Chamber because it helped him win the 1975 election and become Premier.

So what might have been the deal they made? Probably that if the Liberals didn’t proceed with the electoral and campaign reforms they were intending, which would have hurt the B.C. NDP’s apparatus as well as making other dubious changes in B.C.’s political systems, then the NDP would let the budget go through without any serious debate. Ostensibly because it’s an election year and that’s the normal, polite thing to do.

So much for the public interest, eh.

But forest policy and budget policies are only two of many important issues on which the Horgan New Democrats have been less than forthcoming. In a probably self-serving way, one of those is their relationships with and against, the B.C. Green Party. Which of course, is a major threat to pull away lots of NDP voters and thereby cause the NDP to once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with Green Party vote-splitting enabling another win for the B.C. Liberals. Which, on the basis of their performances, neither party deserves.

For example, the Weaver Greens recently advocated a doubling of B.C.’s already dysfunctional carbon tax but did you hear Horgan come out and call the idea crazy? No. But he did have NDP environment critic, George Heyman, say the plan is aggressive (i.e. good) but it lacks the rebates that the NDP would provide to 80% of British Columbians. No word about any help for businesses, though.

And that’s not an isolated example. Back in February, Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer reported on a leaked NDP planning document that even though the carbon tax is bringing in several hundred million dollars less than the value of the tax cuts, the New Democrats “intend to leave the structure in place for now.”

Though there continues to be debate about whether global warming is really happening and whether or not it’s really seriously worsened by human emissions [which still are dwarfed by natural emissions despite the population explosion from 1 billion to 7 billion people in the last few hundred years] – but there’s no debate with the New Democrats: their science is settled, and it’s political science they’re really concerned about: in order to win the next election they believe they have to try to out-green the Greens, starting with an extremist approach against carbon.

In other words, don’t rock the boat eh. Don’t tell anyone the New Democrats think they can steal this election win eh.

It seems Horgan wants voters to believe he’s a regular guy who just wants to help people when really B.C. needs a special guy, or gal, who can, and will, be tough and will fight for the Province’s best interests, which in Canada’s federal system is a most important talent.

Yes, Horgan is an affable fellow, but as Premier Clark and her colleagues repeatedly point out, he has already proven unable to lead and control his caucus and party.  So the B.C. NDP continues to be an unruly cabal of minority special interests, especially militant feminists who now demand gender quotas (and racial and sex-orientation quotas) in key positions and who vie to dominate the party’s top policy priorities.

Thus, the NDP is big on helping families, notably its $10 a day childcare plank, but not so big on helping businesses.  Such as intending to hammer them with higher taxes, fees, red tape and other impediments to prosperity.

Of course, there are many other issues deserving mention regarding NDP policy flaws (no space or time to deal with “Uber”, B.C. Hydro and ICBC here, too).  But perhaps most important is their approach towards jobs and development.

Whereas the Liberals go overboard helping their donors to take on major projects and profit hugely from them, especially public sector ones like bridges, buildings and IPPs, the New Democrats are more inclined to pander towards “green” voters by opposing resource projects.  With the end result being that the B.C. taxpayers and the public interest lose out again and again.

There is a better way, and the B.C. First Party plans include eliminating the carbon tax – if not completely at first then certainly starting from schools, hospitals, homeowners, small businesses and industries that are not major polluters (think of greenhouses that usefully consume CO2 versus the old beehive burners that smoked up wood wastes around the province in decades of yore).  Our solution to the softwood lumber exports crisis will be to revive the regional log markets that were killed by former premier Gordon Campbell, even though those markets raised the stumpage returns to the province and established a fair market value test that was recognized as such by U.S. lumber trade negotiators.

But meanwhile, we see the NDP pandering to cliques of special interest cabals across a range of issues. Especially to minority special interests such as with anti-male gender quotas on candidates, and their anti-development and climate-alarmist stances, trying to out-green the Greens.  They’re also staying silent while the corrupt provincial Liberals get worse and worse. Leaving it to only a handful or so of independent watchdogs to blow loud whistles and do the heavy lifting research against the self-serving Liberals.

But the good news is that in a number of ridings voters who want to vote against the corrupt B.C. Liberals but can’t vote for either the NDP or the Greens WILL have a way to do so by voting FOR John Twigg in North Island, for a B.C. Conservative Party candidate in 10 constituencies, and numerous other independent and small party candidates, raising the prospect of electing at least four MLA’s who could ally to gain official party status and thereby become a strong Opposition to whichever party wins. Or even better: holding the balance of power in a minority government Legislature.


Seniors Seen as Assets to Communities

By John Twigg
Leader, B.C. First Party

Apart from being a senior myself, at age 68, and being a founding member of the Campbell River Seniors Centre, which give me various valuable insights into seniors’ concerns, I also have a platform that reflects the need for and benefits of more and better efforts to meet seniors’ present and emerging needs, plus I have other platform policies that will help to grow the economy and thereby make such service improvements viable and affordable, as well as desirable.
One of my main policy objectives is to better enable seniors who wish to stay in their own homes to do so as long as possible, which is what many seniors themselves want but which also is helpful to the community at large by keeping more seniors out of costly care facilities, some of which facilities also can become quite unpleasant, such as long waits in soiled diapers reported in some facilities, especially in publicly-funded beds in private-sector facilities – a type that was unfortunately and unfairly favoured in the Gordon Campbell years.
The best way to do this is to rebuild the Home Care program that was gutted by the Campbell Liberals, notably their false economy in greatly reducing double-staffing on visits and thereby triggering a jump in workplace injuries as single workers struggled to do the lifts that formerly were easily handled by two workers working together.
However there are several viable routes to service improvements, such as new models for care facilities, for example perhaps experimenting with a combination of Child Care facilities and Seniors’ Activity Centres interacting in facilities such as underutilized schools – which would require new types of inter-ministry co-operation that has been sadly lacking in the 16 years of B.C. Liberal mismanagement.
These improvements in Seniors’ Care also should be seen in wider contexts, notably saving money by delaying the entry of seniors into more costly facilities such as acute-care hospitals, and growing the economy to help pay for such improved services (another similar one of which is more Child Care), which can be accomplished by unrelated financial and economic reforms such as reviving the Bank of B.C. and letting it issue a new currency (in addition to the C$, not supplanting it) which could in part help pay family caregivers who now get virtually no help for their work and expenses.
But improved care services for seniors also could be seen as an asset for the economy, notably as a prime target for job creation and entry-level work experience for young and marginalized workers – a sort of modern version of the now-outmoded candy-striper model of care aides who were generally ousted from hospital and care facility workplaces by union and legal pressures in recent years.
Overall the solution to seniors’ issues is a more holistiic, practical and innovative approach to finding new solutions to emerging problems.
Meanwhile there also are housing and affordability problems arising for many of the Baby Boomers now reaching retirement age, and many of whom – like me – are still physically and mentally robust and looking for new challenges for what could be decades of life yet to come.
These challenges should be addressed in an open and democratic market, and probably be looked upon as not just a problem but also an asset: a great opportunity to improve our society.
The more more seniors can contribute their ideas and wisdom to society the better it will be.

Any questions, please call 778-348-0747

Letter to Times-Colonist

by John Twigg, Leader, B.C. First Party

Congratulations to the Times-Colonist editorialists for identifying what should be one of the major issues in the current B.C. election, namely the depopulation and struggles of small and remote communities (editorial April 21, 2017).

That happens to be one of the major themes in my platform as a candidate in the North Island constituency which I am proposing to address. In part, by reviving the B.C. Government Agent and Provincial Treasury Branch systems, which would greatly assist communities such as Gold River and Tahsis, to retain their populations.

Another issue is road maintenance, which has been poor everywhere under the B.C. Liberals but especially so in NDP-held ridings. This is a prime reason why the Clark regime should be ousted (among many others, including inept management and corrupt party financing).

Those two issues were both factors in the deaths of four First Nations leaders from Gold River earlier this year in a car accident (they were driving to Campbell River in a snow storm to get groceries) and they have been problems in many other ways for many other people, for example impinging on tourism, and hampering health care.

More generally this problem of rural depopulation reflects a basic flaw in the current election campaign, which tends to focus on surficial media incidents such as a “touching” moment in a leaders’ debate but ignores many of the major fundamental and structural challenges facing the B.C. public interest.

For more details see .

Why I am Running to Represent North Island

By John Twigg Leader, B.C. First Party

There are two main themes in this year’s provincial election. The need to get rid of a government that has become inept and corrupt and supporting a policies agenda that will build the province, grow the economy and create jobs and prosperity for everyone to share in.

Regardless of which party wins the election, or even better, if there is a minority government, I have the experience, ability and willingness to advance the issues that are most important to the people, governments and businesses of North Island.

As the former press secretary to Premier Dave Barrett, and later as a business journalist covering the B.C. Legislature from its Press Gallery from 1986 to 2002, as well as the last 15 years as an active resident of Campbell River, I have learned intimately how the systems of government work.  I have gained deep understanding of B.C.’s economy and society, how it works and what people want, need and deserve to get.

My family’s roots in Campbell River go back to 1939 and I spent many summers here ever since I was born in 1949, so I am well prepared now to go to work on YOUR behalf.

Because of my love for the Province, I have developed an extensive platform of truly innovative policy ideas to help it become a shining example to the rest of the world. All of these are posted on my website on my Platform page as well as on my party’s website, the latter of which includes links for contacts and donations.

If you have questions about specific issues I would be pleased to answer them either by email at or by phone 778-348-0747.  You can also leave comments on this website and questions will be answered.

To make the North Island and B.C. better than ever, vote for me now, regardless of how you’ve voted in the past. Thank you. I am on YOUR side.  I put the public interest first in all things.

About B.C. First Party

As some may know, I had been volunteering for a different party until shortly before the election when I learned I would be unable to espouse my full platform if I ran for them.  I decided to consider other options.  While I liked the policies of the Vancouver Island Party, I felt the B.C. First Party offered the most freedom to espouse my novel ideas, plus they agreed to make me their leader instantly.

The B.C. First Party was founded in the 1980’s by Roger Rocan, who became a very close, personal friend of mine in the 1990’s until his death about 10 years ago. After this, the party was led for a time by former Premier Bill Vander Zalm.  He was followed by businessman Chris Delaney and finally, Vancouverite Sal Vetro.  All of these people were instrumental in defeating Gordon Campbell’s hated HST in a referendum – a campaign I also helped with, along with others, notably Bill Tieleman.

The general thrust of B.C. First is to put the public interest first in all things and that is a stance everyone can support.

New Bridge Tolling Policy Promises to Illustrate Problems in B.C. Politics

By John Twigg
Leader, B.C. First Party

The latest fooferaw over bridge tolling policy is a prime example of what has gone so badly wrong in B.C. politics.
It began with the B.C. Liberal Party’s pronouncement Sunday, by Finance Minister Mike de Jong, that if they are re-elected in the May 9th provincial election, they will put a cap on bridge tolls of “only” $500 a year, saving some regular commuters about $1,000 a year but doing nothing to help less frequent users.
That the Liberals should have such a conversion on the eve of an election campaign is kind of like Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus: it reverses many years of an opposite policy. But of course, it still doesn’t address the underlying problems in financing transportation projects in Metro Vancouver and around the province, namely that the Liberals’ new quasi-privatized bridges have become chronic money-losers for the provincial government.
The ink was barely dry on the de Jong story leaked to the Vancouver Province when B.C. New Democratic Party leader John Horgan announced that if the NDP wins the election they will remove tolls entirely, though of course he didn’t explain how that move would be paid for, let alone how it would be done when there are some complex P-3 contracts in place in which the private sector ostensibly helped pay for constructing the new and money losing Port Mann Bridge and presumably would do so again on the dubious but Liberal promised Massey Bridge, replacing the Deas Island tunnel of the same Massey name, and on the long-overdue replacement of the decrepit Pattullo Bridge between Surrey and New Westminster.
The folly of the Liberals’ bridge financing model is seen in the fact that many thousands of drivers will go far out of their way to avoid the perceivably over priced tolls on the Port Mann Bridge, some of which reflect the extra costs of the P3 model imposed by former premier Gordon Campbell in order to use the still free Pattullo bridge, thereby creating an often huge traffic congestion problem there.
But now on the eve of an election the Liberals have noticed they’re in danger of losing so, like a chronic gambler, they’ve doubled down on an even more ludicrous bet and then the New Democrats double down on that.
The B.C. Green Party meanwhile signaled that their heads are in the sand too, by indicating they would retain the tolling policy, apparently, as an environmental policy designed to discourage driving to work and instead “encourage” more people to carpool or use transit, even though it should be obvious that those choices are impractical or simply not available to most commuters. But, hey, who cares when we’re supposedly saving the world from catastrophic climate change, eh?
To be fair, there should be lots of room in B.C.’s rubber budgets to find a few hundred million dollars to subsidize transportation that facilitates commerce – except, of course, that the Liberals for the last 16 years have been pillaging the Crown corporations’ savings accounts to falsely make it look like B.C. has had a string of balanced budgets and Canada’s strongest economy and many other such claims, all dubious when one digs down for the facts.
Canada’s lowest unemployment? Only because the other provinces are worse and the many discouraged workers here who have given up seeking work aren’t counted in the official stats.
Canada’s strongest economy? Again, only because all the others are turtles in the tank, and the reality is that B.C.’s economy and government have been grossly under performing for at least 20 years, i.e. since before Campbell was elected in 2001, and that’s due to a combination of factors that neither the Liberals nor the New Democrats have adequately addressed and on which the Greens are hopelessly out of touch with their extreme anti-carbon policies.

Twigg jumps to BC First party

All of which is a good reason why I decided on Friday to leave the B.C. Conservative Party and become leader of the small but venerable B.C. First Party, which will be made official later this week with Elections B.C.
As many readers will know, for the last two months I had been volunteering for the B.C. Conservatives under the job title of Director of Policy and Communications, which produced such things as my announcement of a proposed fourth ferry crossing of Georgia Strait, which would run from Gabriola Island, reached via a small new bridge to the big Vancouver Island, to a new ferry terminal on, or near, Iona Island which is near and connected to Sea Island, site of Vancouver International Airport and a Canada Line rapid transit connection to Vancouver’s SkyTrain system.
Despite some skepticism, that proposal proved to be a big hit with many people. Especially those waiting six hours to catch a ferry from Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay ferry terminals on the recent spring break, when one of the major ferries broke down.  It got lots of media coverage too, except in the large mainstream outlets.
For some reason, the idea of a 30 minute ferry crossing and much improved foot passenger access to Vancouver had great appeal for commuters. Maybe because it just makes common sense? My proposal would have involved a request for proposal process and not necessarily a public sector only project. It would feature a similar RFP process to develop a new technology, rapid transit system, in association with the EAZEway group, that could be exportable.
Anyway, it became apparent to me at a lunch on Friday that my opportunity to advance such radical new ideas on many other issues, like bridge tolling, would have been severely limited during the campaign. So I resigned on the spot and was kindly taken in that same day by Salvatore Vetro, the president and leader of B.C. First party, whom I have known for many years.
I also considered joining the new Vancouver Island Party (VIP) and had met with its leader Robin Richardson and was pleasantly surprised to learn that their policy orientations are quite similar to mine, except that my focus is more province wide than theirs.
Nonetheless, I will be endorsing VIP candidates where they are running and I also will be endorsing the B.C. Conservative Party candidates in the 10 or so ridings where they will be running. Especially the very strong Leah McCulloch in Courtenay-Comox, whom I had personally recruited to that party.
As for me, I’ll be running for B.C. First in North Island, the largest community of which is my home town of Campbell River – assuming I get the paperwork done in time! (That’s job one for me today, now that this column is done.)
The BC First website also is still a work in progress but it is up and running at and for some reason, is suddenly generating literally dozens of requests for more information!
Why BC First? It was started by Roger Rocan in the 1980’s and he became a very close friend of mine until he passed away about 20 years ago. The party was used briefly by former premier Bill Vander Zalm in a Delta by-election and then its registration was maintained by our mutual friend Vetro, who lives in Vancouver.  More recently, it was being worked on by Brian Thiesen of Kelowna, also a political activist, especially against so called smart meters. I am grateful to them all.
The party’s ethos is putting the public interest first in all things, with truth, honesty, integrity and good government.
But, especially for me, the focus will be on proposals to grow the economy, build B.C., create more jobs and spread prosperity to all. Which is also why I thought the B.C. Conservatives would be a good fit for me, and I joined them about three years ago when I was attracted by its former leader, Dan Brooks, who encountered problems with its board of directors, many of whom are also federal Conservatives who believe there should be a unified coalition to keep the NDP out of power in B.C., even though the horse being used to do so, the B.C. Liberal Party, has become demonstrably inept and even corrupt.
I have a list of at least 50 innovative policy ideas to improve British Columbia, many of them apparently too radical for the B.C. Conservatives’ board of directors, such as reviving the Bank of B.C. as an investment bank, not a mere retail bank, issuing a new parallel currency, (not supplanting the Canadian and American dollars), and reviving B.C.’s Treasury Branches and Government Agents services to help preserve small rural communities, among many other unique but actually practical proposals. Now, as the Leader of B.C. First, I’ll be in a good position to advance them.
C’mon along! It should be a quite interesting ride.

Twigg to Take Reins of B.C. First Party

John Twigg, newly appointed Leader of the B.C. First Party, and party President Salvatore (Sal) Vetro will be available to answer media questions and do one-on-one interviews in Victoria at about 2 p.m. today (April 13) outside the offices of Elections BC at Fort and Cook Streets (1112 Fort St., suite 100), and later – about 3 p.m. – in the Rose Garden of the Legislature.

The event will follow Mr. Vetro’s formal transfer of the party leadership to Mr. Twigg, who until recently was volunteering as Director of Policy and Communications for the B.C. Conservative Party, and Twigg also is now running for B.C. First in the North Island riding from a campaign office in Campbell River.

“I decided to change parties when it became apparent that the B.C. Conservatives were not going to enable me to advance my policy package of about 50 major innovative reforms and that was regardless of whether or not they named me interim leader,” said Twigg, a 68-year-old semi-retired journalist with a long history of activity in B.C. politics, media and public affairs.

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