Special for Campbell River Mirror May 5, 2017
By John Twigg
Leader, B.C. First Party
The top two issues in the current B.C. election campaign are really combined in one over-arching theme: the urgent need for the provincial government to do a much better job of managing its affairs so it can deliver a much better mix of measures to stimulate the economy, create more jobs and thereby afford major improvements in a wide range of health, social and education services – including lower fees and taxes!
Despite the rhetoric from the B.C. Liberal regime of Premier Christy Clark about job creation statistics, the reality is that B.C. does not have enough good-paying jobs now and due to their mismanagement of the forest industry things are about to get worse as American countervails on lumber exports kick in.
What should the Province have done? Revive regional log market auctions so there would be both a perception and a reality of a transparently fair and open market in logs but instead Ms Clark has resorted to cheap rhetoric and dangerous theatrics such as her threat to retaliate by blocking American coal shipments through B.C. ports.
Unfortunately that example of mismanagement of the forest industry is typical of the Liberals’ mismanagement in dozens of key policy areas, especially ferries and transportation on Vancouver Island but also seniors care, education, housing, health and yes job creation everywhere, and government operations too.
Though the “Lieberals” claim to be strong managers of the government finances and economy, the truth is that its debt has soared and wasteful spending on boondoggle projects abounds (e.g. money-losing P-3 bridge projects) and that since the reserve funds from B.C. Hydro and ICBC have now been depleted their already-high rates will soon have to soar.
The overall gross mismanagement of B.C. affairs is a huge scandal that should have come out more in the campaign, especially when there are so many positive alternatives to simply rewarding friend-and-insider donors with sweetheart contracts at taxpayers’ expense and then wasting millions on distorted propaganda claims to mislead voters at election time.
Obviously it IS time for a change and here in North Island voters have a choice in me of someone who can and will strongly and adeptly represent the best interests of the North Island and its constituents and businesses and industries regardless of which major party wins the election, or even better if there is a minority.
To see some of my unique and constructive policy alternatives, such as issuing a made-in-B.C. currency and earning new revenues from new industries such as a new ferry crossing route, please visit www.bcfirst.ca and www.johntwigg.com .
Thank you for your support and vote.
By John Twigg
Leader, B.C. First Party
Candidate in North Island
In a sign that the B.C. Liberals are either hopeful or desperate of winning an NDP-held seat, Premier Christy Clark on Friday morning dropped in to Campbell River in support of North Island Liberal candidate Dallas Smith.
Whereas her only previous visit was a quick drop-in to an event in the E & B Helicopters hangar in the Campbellton area, this visit was a quick visit to a private event in the hangar of Sealand Aviation Ltd.’s hangar at the Campbell River Airport, after which she continued flying north to events in Terrace, Smithers and Prince George.
Though the event seemed to have been organized on short notice it still featured a lineup of several dozen heavy industrial trucks lined up along the road, and lots of signs for Smith and maybe about 100 people including the Mayor, two councillors and several leaders of prominent businesses as well as family and friends of campaign workers.
Before her speech Clark climbed into the cab of one of the trucks and made a bit of a show of being pro-industry but when she tried to back up the truck a bit it stalled, which perhaps was a reflection of how her campaign has been going.
Clark’s comments were not audible to me because two of her provincial party campaign officials asked me to leave what was deemed to be private property but I did hear her promise to keep fighting hard for jobs and industries and to applaud Smith for standing up for the same things, especially with his First Nations background. She also mentioned good job prospects in aquaculture.
A lengthy video clip of her visit made it onto Global TV at 3:30 p.m., and an advertisement with similar language in it ran on Global just before 4 p.m.
Clark incorrectly claimed that “B.C. is on a roll” and said “let’s make sure we keep it that way” and then departed for her plane, spending in total only about one hour there.
A photo and brief report also made it quickly onto the local paper’s website: http://www.campbellrivermirror.com/news/christy-clark-makes-campaign-stop-in-campbell-river/ .
A winnable seat?
Why here and not in say Courtenay-Comox where the Liberals are hoping to hold onto a seat held by a now-retired MLA? Possibly because the Liberals’ polling shows they have either a safe win or a sure loss there whereas in North Island the contest is close enough that a pep talk from the Premier might help – except that very few people knew she was coming.
In other words it was an efficient media event en route to more important events in northern B.C. – important in terms of winning swing seats and the optics of her being seen to care about the whole province, not only the populous urban south. Plus it was a signal that she also supports First Nations voters who support economic development and job creation, which Smith happens to embody.
But as for substance? There really wasn’t much of that and there was zero dialogue with undecided voters.
NDP leader John Horgan meanwhile was scheduled to visit Courtenay-Comox for a rally tonight (Friday) and that will be his second visit there and the second time he has chosen to not visit North Island riding, which says that it’s either a safe win for the NDP or a lost cause according to their polling, or that Horgan is boycotting MLA Claire Trevena because years ago she dared to be part of a group that rebelled against former leader Carole James, who happens to be a very close friend and supporter of Horgan.
Twigg makes the paper
Meanwhile I had a good time chatting with various political and business leaders, almost all of whom were friendly towards me and none of whom said I should stop criticizing the Clark Liberals so harshly, like which I did in today’s issue of the Campbell River Mirror paper, one in an advertisement and the other in an equal-space editorial viewable here: http://www.campbellrivermirror.com/news/all-issues-fall-under-one-topic-really-government-must-manage-its-affairs-better/ .
I do believe it is time for a change, because the B.C. Liberals have become too inept and too corrupt, but if I am elected MLA in North Island and the Clark Liberals are re-elected to govern I could still serve the constituency well, partly because I know how the systems work but also because I have maintained cordial relations with most Liberals, probably even including Clark, who I happen to have known for about 30 years – ever since she was a rookie MLA and she was a guest on a radio show I guest-hosted on a now-defunct Vancouver radio station.
But if the John Horgan New Democrats win the same conditions would apply: I’ve known him and them even longer and generally have maintained cordial relations with most of them too even though I defected from their party about five years ago.
The main issue is not personalities, it is policies – especially the need for innovative ideas to build the province into something a lot better than what it is now.
By John Twigg
Leader, B.C. First Party
Candidate in North Island
The closure of the Oyster River School in June 2016 is a glaring symptom of systemic and deliberate mismanagement of B.C.’s education system since the election of the Gordon Campbell B.C. Liberals in 2001.
The school at the south end of School District 72 (and also the south end of the North Island constituency) was opened in 1982 for elementary grades and when it was closed – reluctantly by school trustees – it had 78 students from kindergarten to grade 5, so it was not in an archaic building and had more than enough students to qualify as a normal rural school.
But of course it was not deemed that and instead was judged as an urban school, and so its added costs of about $4,000 per year per student were deemed too high and the trustees – under heavy pressure from the B.C. Ministry of Education to reduce operating costs – decided to close Oyster River School along with Discovery Passage School on the north side of Campbell River and instead pay to bus students elsewhere.
The main but not only problem is that the Campbell Liberals were systemically and deliberately underfunding schools in general and teachers’ wages in particular, the latter of which was recently found by the Supreme Court of Canada to have been an illegal practise – due to contract-breaking – but only after 15 years of costly and vexatious litigation by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation! And subsequently the Clark Liberals have claimed to be happy to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in lifted funding to school districts. But of course the smiles are not genuine.
Why was the provincial government so nasty towards teachers? Because their members had dared to support the NDP against Campbell’s hyper-partisan Liberal oligopoly, and before them the parsimonious Socreds.
In any case, for that and other reasons [notably the Liberals’ vanity about balanced budgets] all school districts were under heavy pressure to reduce costs anywhere and everywhere, with ratio quotas applied such that low-population schools had to be closed or else district budgets wouldn’t be approved, and after years of resistance the Campbell River trustees finally bit the bullet and shut down Oyster River School – but only after years of resistance by area parents and the Strathcona Regional District representative Brenda Leigh, for Area D, and in fact their resistance continues.
Though the students now being bused to a school closer to town apparently are doing well in their new classes, area parents are still concerned at the closure of a nearby school that seemed to be functioning well, though it also was known that some teachers employed there struggled with the added stress and uncertainty and so learning environments were suffering too – from stress that originated from partisan downloading of spending cuts onto a small school in an area that just tends to vote NDP in a riding that regularly does the same.
As one parent told me recently, the absence of a school makes it less likely now that young families will want to move there, and that reduces everyone’s real estate values.
But another problem is that Area D rep Leigh and NDP MLA Claire Trevena apparently have failed to collaborate on efforts to try to save the school, such as declaring it’s a “rural” school rather than an urban one and so should be eligible for a somewhat higher per-student subsidy from the province.
So this travesty also is tinged with a lot of partisan politics, with an overly-partisan provincial regime happily hurting an area that tends to vote against the Liberals.
Statesmanship? Not regarding Oyster River School!
And sadly that partisan coloring of funding decisions also can be found and seen in health care funding, road and bridge maintenance and construction, tourism promotion and several other areas of provincial government operations, especially social services and seniors’ services such as the recent deep cuts in home care, and post-secondary job training.
The good news is that there has been a spurt of housing developments in Area D such that its building permits and population growth figures have been remarkably high, so it’s possible that there soon may be enough young students to support the reopening of Oyster River School, which presently has its doors boarded-up except for a small daycare operation now and still in there.
But that segues to another point, and that is that a more enlightened and less bureaucratic provincial government would have long ago engineered changes such that a facility like Oyster River School could be morphed into a new multi-use facility, perhaps for a part-time nursing station, maybe a bit of a community centre and maybe a seniors’ activity centre.
The problem there is that Ministry bean-counters and government lawyers quickly see things that could go wrong and then debate which ministry’s insurance could kick in, and how would they split the costs – with bureaucratic wrangling going on for years until the building itself decays.
No, what we see in Oyster River School closing is not merely an inevitable cost-saving but actually is another folly of false economies by insensitive partisan bullies riding roughshod over disorganized opponents.
And that’s an excellent reason why it’s time for a change on Tuesday May 9 voting day.
John Twigg 778-348-0747
Leader, B.C. First Party
Candidate in North Island
For people close to the current election campaign it is obvious that many people will be voting against one of the two major parties by voting for the other one, but I want them and you to know there IS a better way and that is to vote for me and for my unique and innovative platform at www.bcfirst.ca.
I offer a way people can safely vote against either or both major parties without having to vote for the other one!
Why vote for me as the leader of a little-known but venerable small party?
Because my extensive experience and strong abilities mean I can be an effective MLA regardless of which major party wins the election and especially so if there is a minority government!
I have been active in B.C. politics for 50 years and know well how the systems in Victoria work, plus I know the North Island constituency well and many of the key players and industries in it too – such as the urgent needs for more affordable public sector housing for low-income seniors, and for affordable child care for young families so parents can return to work, and for good family-supporting jobs for everyone – especially in resource industries.
Furthermore, my unique platform contains numerous innovative ideas that if or when implemented will work wonders for B.C. as a province, for North Island as a region and for the benefit of its people and businesses – including First Nations, for whom I am proposing a new bilateral process for more quickly settling native land claims so we all can get on with much needed province-building.
My novel proposals include launching a new currency (in addition to the Canadian and U.S. dollars), reviving regional log market auctions (which would undermine America’s countervailing duties), enable a new shorter ferry crossing route (from Gabriola to YVR, which would hugely boost North Island tourism), rescuing BCIMC from foreign control and repairing BC Hydro and ICBC, exporting bulk water from surplus coastal sources (e.g. Campbell River and Port Alice), taking back jurisdiction over inshore waters and aquaculture, improving ferry services and lowering fares, and providing land for more new housing developments.
Among many other such ideas mentioned on my websites, such as lowering tuition fees and loan costs for students, creating new types of work experience positions associated with improved social services such as homecare for seniors and shut-ins.
And the new currency could be used in part to reward volunteers now providing valuable services without any pay or expense reimbursements. I believe our goal should be to remake British Columbia into a shining example for the rest of the world of how a jurisdiction can and should be run in the best interests of all of its people, but to get that started I need your vote on Tuesday (or sooner in advance polls).
If you want more details including my full biography please see my websites www.johntwigg.com and www.bcfirst.ca or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 778-348-0747.
Thank you in advance for your support and vote.
Campaign Office Open House Sunday and Monday 2 – 4 p.m. 1631 Island Hwy., Campbellton
www.bcfirst.ca To support the campaign call 778-348-0747
Authorized by Financial Agent John Twigg 778-348-0747
2017 Throne Speech:
…your government is on track to be free of any operating debt by 2021. For the first time in 40 years, children born that year will no longer be asked to pay for the burdens that our generation has placed upon them…
George Orwell: Politics and the English Language (1946)
Political language …is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
For the complete story: Have they lied to you before?