Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thankfully, Ann Coulter shut up by University of Ottawa students

Ann Coulter and Ezra Levant's free speech scam - talk about rank hypocrisy!

Ann Coulter
- Kyle Cassidy photo

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday March 30, 2010

Coulter's the one who denied Canadian students their freedom to criticize her repugnant views.

Bill Tieleman

"They're always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let's do it. Let's repress them. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment."

God bless the University of Ottawa students who did something in one night that millions of Americans have spent years hoping for -- they shut up Ann Coulter!

But don't call this a "free speech" issue. Coulter -- the ridiculously rabid
right-wing American commentator, and federal Conservative Party activist Ezra Levant played the media like a cheap fiddle to make it appear she was muzzled -- not at all.

Coulter and Levant -- not the police, not the University of Ottawa -- cancelled her speaking engagement last week -- not because of a riot, or because violent protesters bashed down the doors -- but because it was a great publicity opportunity.

And most media bought it, hook line and sinker -- reporting that no matter how offensive Coulter's views are, they should be tolerated in a free and democratic society, especially at a university, blah, blah, blah.

What rubbish!

Well played, Ann

I strongly believe in free speech, including from obnoxious and blatantly intolerant people like Coulter and Levant. My
blog is full of comments severely criticizing me and others -- and I welcome it.

But I also support the free speech of protestors to express their views -- legally and without violence -- which is exactly what happened.

It was Coulter and Levant who shut down their own event, denying anyone else their free speech right to say Coulter's views are repugnant.

The facts are clear for those who dig deep enough and avoid idiotically simplistic editorials and bad reporting.

But not for the
Ottawa Citizen, which could barely contain itself: "The thuggery of student activists is a growing problem at Canadian campuses, but the spectacle at the University of Ottawa was truly a colossal embarrassment, for both the university and the city."

That's based on Levant's own self-serving inaccurate accounts, like this one: "2,000 people right now are pressed against the front doors, pressed against the police, refusing to allow people to come in," Levant said, adding that police and security had advised them it would be "physically dangerous" for Coulter to speak.

Or Coulter's
gripping version: "The police called off my speech when the auditorium was surrounded by thousands of rioting liberals -- screaming, blocking the entrance, throwing tables, demanding that my books be burned."

No, the police didn't. No, 2,000 people were not pressed against the doors or the police --

What Ottawa Police spokesperson Constable Alain Boucher actually said was that they were concerned the venue was too small for the disorganized event, with an estimated 1,500 people inside and out, most waiting patiently to be admitted.

What about the "thousands of rioting liberals" err, protesters outside? "I wouldn't call them rioters. They were people there to voice their concerns," Boucher said.

Another officer estimated there were perhaps 200 protestors at most -- a student
account said just 30 to 40.

So, was it a terrible assault on free speech? Or did some opportunistic right wingers convert their poorly-planned event into a cause celebre to sell tickets to other speeches while gaining international headlines for a fading demagogue?

The answer is obvious.

Levant's hypocrisy

As to free speech, consider that the totally hypocritical Levant actually applauded when his federal Conservative government banned an elected British member of parliament from entering Canada to speak!

George Galloway -- an outspoken pro-Palestinian MP whose views are often outlandish and always provocative -- was actually
prohibited from entering Canada for a speaking event.

Not by a small group of protestors on one campus but by Canada's government, which strongly defended its ban on the absurd grounds that Galloway was a "threat to national security."

Really? One lone elected British member of parliament? Who was admitted into the United States on the same trip? What total garbage.

But Levant's defence of free speech disappears unless it involves himself or Coulter. When the Conservatives banned Galloway, Levant showed his true colours:

"I don't see this as a free speech issue; I see it as a sovereignty issue -- keeping out an undesirable foreigner who has no right to be here, and who boasts about violating our criminal code. Good riddance," Levant

Eek! A pie!

Of course, by not admitting Galloway into Canada, at least the renegade MP didn't have to deal with the sort of terrible threats facing Ann Coulter in Ottawa -- threats made openly on Facebook!

Here's what gruesome plans the Facebook fascists were hatching,
according to Levant himself: "Vanessa Alexandra Peterson wrote: 'I wonder what the security would be like. I want to throw rotten veggies and eggs at her evil Barbie mask.' Saif Latif wrote: 'Somebody needs to throw a pie at her during her speech like they did at the University of Arizona.'"

Rotten veggies! Eggs! Even a pie! That's enough to make any gun-loving, military-backing, tough-talking freedom fighter crumble and run!

But let’s compare that to one of Coulter's more thoughtful free speech comments on violence:

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

That would be the convicted and executed right-wing domestic terrorist who blew up a federal government building in Oklahoma City with a truck bomb in 1995,
killing 168 innocent people.

But hey, she realized her mistake and apologized: "Of course I regret it. I should have added 'after everyone had left the building
except the editors and the reporters.'"

And then there are Coulter's free speech contributions to a tolerant world. Like when she
said of Islamic nations: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

Lessons learned

To recap, a right-wing American lunatic with a history of opposing free speech, making racist comments and espousing violence shuts down her own event and then blames a handful of student protestors for trying to exercise their right to tell her off.

A Conservative Party activist -- and the event's promoter -- then spins the story to a gullible media who mostly buy his codswallop and spread it around the world.

So whose free speech was really violated? I'd say it was that of the student protestors who were legitimately exercising their rights and are now being denounced for doing so, not the right-wing hypocrites who took advantage of them for their own gain.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Publication ban prevents any reporting of today's Basi-Virk pre-trial hearing

I was in BC Supreme Court today for a pre-trial hearing in the Basi-Virk/BC Legislature Raid case.

And because of a ban on publication imposed by presiding Justice Anne MacKenzie, I can't report on any - repeat any - of today's proceedings - or any others that may be scheduled.

Not now and not until a verdict has been reached in the trial that starts May 3.

The only possible bit of news I can report to you is that it appears MacKenzie recognized the error in her original March 2 publication ban - that ban would have prevented media from reporting on the trial itself for its duration!

As previously noted on this blog, MacKenzie's publication ban - instituted on her own order and not requested by either Crown or defence counsel - read as follows:

"Pursuant to s. 648 of the Criminal Code and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, no information about these proceedings including evidence, submissions, rulings and Reasons for Judgment shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court."

Note that there is no reference to "in the absence of the jury" - if that phrase were included media could report on all matters the jury was present to hear - in other words, the evidence presented, testimony of witnesses, etc.

However, it appears that on March 4 - two days after the publication ban order was signed by MacKenzie - that the ban was revised to include that phrase.

The Supreme Court of BC website publication ban section now reads as follows:

"Vancouver Supreme Court

Registry Number: 23299

Case Name:R. v. Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi

Date: 04/03/2010

Pursuant to s. 648 of the Criminal Code and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, there shall be no publication in any document or broadcast or transmission of any evidence, submissions, rulings or Reasons for Judgment given in these proceedings in the absence of the jury until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court."

That indicates daily testimony in front of the jury will indeed be reportable - thank goodness!

Meanwhile - I would love to tell you what was discussed in court, which lawyers representing which clients were attending, who else was present, and what was decided - but I can't.

The reasons are rather clear based on the Criminal Code section Justice MacKenzie cites above:

Criminal Code s.648 - Restriction on publication

(1) After permission to separate is given to members of a jury under subsection 647(1), no information regarding any portion of the trial at which the jury is not present shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way before the jury retires to consider its verdict.


(2) Every one who fails to comply with subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

So, you will just have to wait until the trial ends - and hope there are no further restrictions on reporting during the trial itself.


Basi-Virk - last pre-trial hearing today - but publication ban will prevent reporting unless lifted

This morning at 10 a.m. BC Supreme Court Justice Anne MacKenzie presides over the last pre-trial hearing in the BC Legislature Raid case before the trial begins on May 3.

I'll be there, along with other media, but unless MacKenzie amends her
draconian publication ban currently in place since March 2, you won't be able to find out what happened in court with corruption charges against David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi connected to the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail.

That actual order - the one signed by MacKenzie, reads: "Pursuant to s. 648 of the Criminal Code and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, no information about these proceedings including evidence, submissions, rulings and Reasons for Judgment shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court."

Note that there is no reference to "in the absence of the jury" as it says in the online Publication Ban section of the BC Supreme Court website.

That means not only can I not report on today's hearing but - if this ban continues - nor could any media report on the trial's daily testimony and evidence until the verdict had been reached!

Let's all hope that MacKenzie let's the people who have been following this case for over 6 long years hear the latest chapter today - not to mention during the trial!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Bill Tieleman speaks in Powell River Sunday 1 p.m. for Fight HST campaign

Bill Tieleman speaking at Fight HST rally in Vancouver September 19, 2009

I am pleased to be speaking in Powell River on Sunday March 28 at 1 p.m. at a special Fight HST meeting the Carlson Club (formerly the Moose Hall).

I will be talk about the hated Harmonized Sales Tax –what it means, and what can be done about it. I thank my friend Nicholas Simons - NDP MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast for the invitation.

Please attend if you are in the Powell River area!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Buzz Off City Caucus! Hopeless hacks whack Allen Garr's volunteer beekeeping contribution to Vancouver

Don Hankins photo

Here's a message to City Caucus - buzz off!

The hopeless hacks who drove the Non-Partisan Association into the ground, who couldn't keep an incumbent mayor - Sam Sullivan - from losing his own party's nomination to Peter Ladner and who haven't been able to resuscitate the NPA since its crushing loss have lately had a winning cause at last - to force Allen Garr from offering his beekeeping services to the city of Vancouver for free!

What a great victory boys! Well done at last - lowering your sights and standards finally pays off!

For those who don't read City Caucus, there has been an ongoing attack against Garr - the veteran columnist for the Vancouver Courier who has more journalistic experience this year alone than the City Caucus dynamic duo of Daniel Fontaine and Mike Klassen can add up in both their lifetimes.

Garr was Vancouver Province political columnist during the Bill Bennett years, then a CBC TV reporter, then a Courier columnist for the past dozen years - but apparently City Caucus thinks it has discovered an enormous failing of Garr's journalistic integrity - he offered to beekeep for the city for free!

Since the City Caucus "Beegate" expose, Garr has rescinded his offer to manage bee hives at City Hall - as he also does at Van Dusen Gardens and the Vancouver Convention Centre - because he doesn't want to be a distraction from a useful and environmentally friendly project.

This after City Caucus wrongly reported Garr was being paid to do the work and then refused to retract and withdraw its erroneous postings. It actually still has a line in its original story that says - "It strains credibility to think that Allen Garr can continue writing about Vancouver City Hall when he is working for City Hall receiving a pay cheque from them." - with a strikethrough line over the "pay cheque" part - which is clearly readable - and dead wrong.

More commentary still online despite their errors says Garr has been "hired by the City of Vancouver" and other factually incorrect statements, along with many comments attacking Garr on the basis of the City Caucus mistakes!

Let's be clear - City Caucus has repeatedly trashed Garr - and also the veteran reporter/columnist/blogger Frances Bula - for not kicking the tar out of the Vision Vancouver city council.

City Caucus allegations of bias, unfairness, favouritism and outright being apologists for Vision have made the blog an embarrassment to read.

Anyone who knows Frances or Allen - or has felt the sting of their reporting and commentary over the years - knows it's just not true.

But the City Caucus crew - themselves still smarting from one of the most embarrassing electoral and leadership losses in Vancouver history - can't see straight through their ongoing pain.

Most likely they are trying to block Garr from being elected to the Board of Directors of VanCity Credit Union - that election is - surprise - now on and ends Saturday.

I endorsed Garr and his Action Team running mates Virginia Weiler and Heather Tremain
- and if you are a VanCity member who finds the City Caucus attacks on Garr to be reprehensible - well, one way to say so is to elect Garr and his fellow candidates.

But regardless of the results of that election, City Caucus is once again proving to be the Vancouver blog equivalent of Ann Coulter's brain - nasty and pointless.

Boys - Clifford Olsen is getting a federal pension supplied by taxpayers, Willy Pickton is appealing his conviction, a gang war fueled by drugs continues in Metro Vancouver, an onerous and outrageous tax is about to be imposed on all British Columbians - there's lots more important things to write about than whether volunteer beekeeping services have been offered to the city.

Political hardball is just fine by me - as anyone who reads this blog knows - but I get my facts straight, I retract and apologize if I make a mistake and I don't go after people based on personal and misguided vendettas.

Over to you Daniel and Mike - will you finally do the right thing or just carry on like you did nothing wrong?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gordon Campbell leads BC Liberals into political Hurt Locker - prepare for casualties

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday March 23, 2010

Premier's Political Minefield

Can Gordon Campbell disable all the bombs in BC Liberal Hurt Locker?

By Bill Tieleman

Open the hurt locker and see what there is of knives and teeth.
Open the hurt locker and learn how rough men come hunting for souls.

- Brian Turner, poem, The Hurt Locker.

A squad of veteran warriors is increasingly unnerved as their leader takes them into more and more deadly territory, to disarm massively destructive bombs that could easily kill them all.

As pressure mounts, the veterans even contemplate blowing up their leader to save themselves -- before it's too late.

But rather than being Kathryn Bigelow's Academy Award-winning best picture about U.S. soldiers in Iraq led by a talented but reckless bomb disposal expert, welcome to Premier Gordon Campbell's own Hurt Locker.

And the political improvised explosive devices Campbell and his B.C. Liberal team must defuse were not laid by clever enemy insurgents but were left there by themselves.

A new poll shows how politically deadly British Columbia now is -- Angus Reid Public Opinion found that 66 per cent of respondents believe a new government should replace the B.C. Liberals; that 49 per cent have a worsened view of Campbell over the last three months; that 60 per cent disapprove of his recent budget -- including 24 per cent of B.C. Liberal voters; and that more people have confidence in New Democrat leader Carole James to find "the right solutions for the B.C. economy" than Campbell.

The poll shows the NDP leading the B.C. Liberals by 43 per cent to 35 per cent, with the Green Party at 13 per cent and the B.C. Conservatives for the first time at 6 per cent.

Ouch -- but the hurt keeps coming.

The Harmonized Sales Tax is still hated by a whopping 77 per cent of British Columbians a full three months before it's imposed; only 12 per cent believe Finance Minister Colin Hansen's ridiculous claim that all HST revenue will go to health care; and therefore, not surprisingly, 66 per cent think Campbell is more interested in his political career than what's best for B.C.

More danger ahead

But when you see where the B.C. Liberal bomb squad is heading, you wonder whether Campbell's leadership will soon come to an explosive ending.

First up, former Social Credit Premier Bill Vander Zalm launches his anti-HST citizens Initiative petition to rescind the new tax on April 6 -- the campaign runs till July 5. [You can sign up at www.FightHST.com]

On May 3, the long-awaited B.C. Legislature Raid corruption trial of former B.C. Liberal government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi starts, running to June 30.

On July 1 the extra seven per cent Harmonized Sales Tax is imposed on hundreds of goods and services previously only subject to the five per cent GST. From food in restaurants to airline tickets, gym memberships, new homes over $525,000, haircuts, movies and plays, home repairs and renovations; it all gets whacked.

And also on July 1 the B.C. Liberals add another one cent a litre to the price of gasoline and other fuels with the latest hike in their carbon tax.

Does anyone doubt that on November 15 -- the first day allowed by Elections B.C. -- there will recall campaigns launched against individual B.C. Liberal MLAs?

Where's Premier Campbell?

All of the above may be one reason why previously invisible Campbell cabinet ministers are suddenly appearing in the media to build profile for a possible leadership run -- and perhaps take out the leader before he does them all in.

You can't turn on the television in the past few weeks without seeing Public Safety Minister Kash Heed. From snowmobilers causing avalanches to graduated licenses for motorcyclists to cell phone use in cars, Kash heeds the call to say something to the media.

Then Mike de Jong weighs in on the need to put television cameras in B.C. courts -- after nine years of the administration ignoring the idea.

Gee Mike, which trial do you think the public would really like to watch on TV when it starts -- the Basi-Virk case perhaps? And who would be hurt the most -- Gordon Campbell?

So the B.C. Liberal Hurt Locker watch is now on. Stand by for casualties. This will get very ugly.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Car Dealers cash in with BC Liberal budget while arts, people with disabilities, poor run over

Mercedes Benz SLK 55 AMG - starting at $84,800 -
and now more affordable with no luxury vehicle surtax!

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday March 9, 2010

Why Car Dealers Love the Latest BC Budget

Arts, disabled groups got run over, but not auto dealers, who got tax policies they
wanted after giving BC Liberals $500,000.

By Bill Tieleman

"Oh lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz? / My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends."

- Janis Joplin

While people with disabilities, arts and community organizations have all been run over by the B.C. Liberal government's budget and severe cuts, one group is away to the races -- the
New Car Dealers Association of B.C.

With one stroke of Finance Minister Colin Hansen's pen, the price of buying a used car in a private sale went up by five per cent -- that's an extra $1,000 on a $20,000 vehicle -- as part of the government's Harmonized Sales Tax gouge.

It means there are no savings to be had buying or selling your car privately instead of through a car dealer.

And the government will take $296 million in new taxes from those buying used cars privately over the next two years -- if buyers even bother to do so.

But it doesn't stop there. The B.C. Liberals also eliminated the up-to-3 per cent luxury vehicle surtax on cars over $55,000.

It means ordinary taxpayers will subsidize those buying an expensive new Mercedes Benz or Porsche.

In 2001 the B.C. Liberals raised it from $32,000 to $47,000 at an annual cost of $27 million in lost tax revenue for public services, then raised it to $55,000 in 2006 with an estimated annual cost to the government of
$45 million.

More luxury wheels for small business?

"Less tax on the new Beamer, more tax on the used Chev -- is there any clearer illustration that the HST is gouging ordinary British Columbians?" NDP MLA
Bruce Ralston asked in the Legislature last week.

Hansen's rebuttal? "Clearly, this member does not recognize that small business owners who need to get vehicles valued over $55,000 to undertake their businesses... He calls that a luxury. I call that the backbone of the economy -- small business owners in the province."

I call it a joke.

A Mercedes SLK class hardtop convertible starts at $57,500, about the same starting price for a Porsche Cayenne SUV, while almost every Ford car, van, SUV or truck starts well below the old luxury vehicle tax threshhold! What the hell does Hansen think small business people are driving in Prince George?

Meanwhile, arts groups have been cut off from any provincial gaming funding except for children's programs; many people with disabilities are losing their Monthly Nutritional Supplement for healthy food, glucometers for diabetics and orthotics for those with difficulty walking.

New Car Dealers are big Liberal donors

So why are artists, dancers and the poor eating car dealers' dust?

It may be rather simple.

A Tyee/24 Hours investigation shows that the New Car Dealers Association of B.C. and individual dealerships have contributed over $554,000 to the B.C. Liberal Party between
2005 and 2009 -- including a whopping $282,000 last year alone.

And the New Car Dealers Association isn't shy talking to the government about its needs -- it hired prominent lobbyist Mark Jiles to represent its interests to Victoria since January 2008, according the provincial Lobbyist Registry.

Jiles shouldn't have any trouble getting meetings -- he is Premier Gordon Campbell's past constituency campaign manager.

Jiles is also president of The Progressive Group -- the company owned by Patrick Kinsella -- B.C. Liberals' campaign co-chair in 2001 and 2005 and the ultimate party insider.

24 Hours newspaper and
Public Eye Online reported in 2008 that Kinsella and Jiles boasted of their close ties to the B.C. Liberal government and work for B.C. corporations in documents obtained from Washington State, where they were seeking new business.

Kinsella has never registered as a lobbyist; Jiles has registered for some clients since December 2007. A Progressive Group statement
stated the company registers when its work meets the lobbying definition.

Power and money

Having high powered lobbyists is a tradition for the dealers, as is their close connection to the B.C. Liberals.

Their former lobbyist prior to Jiles was Jamie Elmhirst -- business partner in the now defunct Pilothouse Public Affairs with key Crown
witnesses Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran -- who is expected to testify against David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi in the B.C. Legislature Raid corruption charges case related to the $1 billion privatization of B.C. Rail.

And the New Car Dealers Association was the friendly landing pad for Paul Taylor, the former B.C. Liberal government deputy minister of finance and later CEO of the Insurance Corporation of B.C. Taylor arrived from Alberta before the 2001 provincial election to
become CEO for the dealers until Campbell took power.

The New Car Dealers also certainly don't skimp when it comes to supporting the political party that best represents the interests of over 360 dealers. On Jan. 13, 2009 they sent a cool $100,000 to the B.C. Liberals, followed by another $75,000 on May 1.

And their $282,000 in 2009 followed a massive $107,200 in 2008, making them one of the largest contributors to the B.C. Liberal Party.

They also know how to grease the government when they get what they want.

In their news release about Hansen's 2010-11 budget this month, the New Car Dealers
wax eloquent:

"In this budget, the government has continued to strike a good balance between supporting important services while working to reduce deficits and return to balanced budgets as quickly soon as possible," said Blair Qualey, president and CEO, New Car Dealers Association of B.C. in a March 2 news release.

"The Minister has presented a sound and credible plan which also provides a well-timed boost to capital spending. The move to implement a Harmonized Sales Tax will save B.C. businesses billions in extra costs generating new investment and ultimately creating jobs for British Columbians," Qualey said before getting on to the main event -- jacking the tax for private car sales to the level dealers have to charge.

Kicking the 'curbers'

And the dealers attempt to raise consumers' fears that an army of "curbers" or "curbsiders" -- unscrupulous, under the table competition to dealers -- is the only target of the new tax.

"Since the inception of the GST, the retail automobile industry has been at a significant disadvantage in the sale of used vehicles when compared to private sales," the dealers' release states.

"Currently, sales tax is collected in an inequitable manner depending on where a vehicle is sold (12 per cent combined PST/GST if purchased at registered businesses like new car dealerships but only 7 per cent PST if sold privately, including sales by unregistered dealer’s referred to as 'Curbsiders' or 'Curbers')."

"These Curbers are individuals selling vehicles to consumers pretending they are private citizens when in fact they are unregulated dealers," the release concludes.

Imagine, a business group calling for more government regulation! Errr, no, actually they are simply quite happy to force the higher sales tax on private transactions instead.

And, amazingly, Finance Minister Colin Hansen uses exactly the same language in defending his tax grab and effort to help the car dealers.

"That inequity has been flagged for us and the problems that it caused around curbers and the inappropriate sale of used cars by purportedly private individuals," Hansen said in Question Period in the B.C. Legislature last Thursday.

Shadowy scourge

Hundreds of millions of dollars in sales of used automobiles every year -- and all of it conducted by these shady "curbers" without fear -- until the long taxation arm of the law came down at last to save us all!

Sadly, the government and dealers offer no evidence as to how many "curbers" are in business in B.C. -- presumably proving how shadowy they were!

But the New Car Dealers Association appears to offer a valuable lesson to impoverished artists, dancers, people with disabilities and others on the best way to be well treated by this government.

Drive quietly and carry a big cheque.

UPDATE - March 19

Two things - I have included below all the individual donations by businesses I could identify from Election BC records as car dealers below, FYI.

Secondly - I should have noted that the 2009 donations are from the General Election Financing Report - not the full year 2009 donations, which have not yet been published. That means there are possibly more contributions in 2009 that we are not yet aware of, though obviously most would have been made by the time of the May provincial election.

* * * * *

BC Liberal Party - Car Dealer donations 2009

New Car Dealers Association of BC $229,700.00
Anthony's Auto Sales $500.00
Auto Canada Lakeview Motors $500.00
BC Automobile Dealers Association $800.00
Brown’s Chevrolet Oldsmobile $2,000.00
Budget Rent-A-Car of BC - $12,000.00
Chilliwack Ford $1,000.00
Cranbrook Dodge $1,000.00
Flag Chevrolet Oldsmobile $700
Fraser River Chevrolet Oldsmobile $500.00
Harmony Auto Sales $1,500.00
Kelowna Auto Mall Leasing Centre $1,000.00
Kelowna Ford Lincoln Sales $5,000.00
Kelowna Motors $1,000.00
Kelowna Toyota $3,000.00
Martin Pontiac Buick GMC $1,000.00
Nanaimo Honda Cars $500.00
Northstar Motors $600.00
Oceanside Chevrolet $414.67
Open Road Toyota $7,500.00
Orchard Ford Sales $5,000.00
Prince George Motors $1,000.00
Rainbow Chryler Dodge Jeep $905.00
Courtenay Toyota $1,000.00
Schultz Pontiac Buick GMC $1,000.00
Timberline Pontiac Buick GMC $1,000.00
Valley Toyota $1,000.00
Woodgrove Chrysler Dodge $1,250.00

TOTAL 2009 ----- $282,369.67


Monday, March 15, 2010

Premier Gordon Campbell's dead cat 2% Olympic bounce leaves him still one of Canada's most unpopular premiers - can you spell HST?

"At least I'm ahead of Ed Stelmach!"

BC Premier Gordon Campbell now knows that the Vancouver Olympics, red mittens and shameless camera mugging have boosted his popularity by - wait for it - a measly 2% in a new poll that shows he is still one of Canada's biggest losers.

Angus Reid Public Opinion today released it's "Who's the Most Unpopular Premier of Them All" poll - and while Campbell hasn't hit bottom yet, his terrible 23% approval rating is only 7% above Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach and 8% higher than New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham - who is in the cellar at just 15% approval.

Campbell's disapproval rating is a hefty 60%, while 17% are not sure.

All of the above must dream of being Danny Williams - the popular and populist Newfoundland premier tops the approval ratings with a stunning 80% support level in his province!

One conclusion - the Harmonized Sales Tax planned to be imposed on July 1 in both BC and Ontario is killing those province's premiers - Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton MacGuinty is even worse off than Campbell at a mere 21% approval.

Also more popular than Campbell - Quebec Premier Jean Charest at 22%.

Dropping like rocks are Canada's newest NDP premiers - Nova Scotia's Darrel Dexter is at 23% - a huge drop from 43% just three months ago - and Greg Selinger of Manitoba at 27%.

Saskatchewan's right wing Premier Brad Wall is also doing very well with a 56% approval rating.

And unlike some polls, the Angus Reid rankings have a significantly large sample size - in BC 1000 people were surveyed for a +/- 3.1% margin of error.

Perhaps ironically, despite Gordon Campbell's massive Olympic expenditures and showboating and the polling taking place right during the event, his approval rating climbed just 2% from the last poll at the end of 2009 - a tiny rise identical to that of Stelmach and Williams - who did not host the Winter Games.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

BC Liberals attack people with disabilities once again in nasty changes to basic needs

The author of BC's changes to disability benefits?

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday March 9, 2010

Disabled again on BC Liberals' Hit List

The poor and people with HIV and chronic illnesses whacked with more cuts to income and health support.

By Bill Tieleman

"There are a number of initiatives that are undertaken in the budget to make sure that we continue to put low-income people on the top of the list."

- Premier Gordon Campbell, March 5, 2010

The poor and the disabled are definitely at the top of the B.C. Liberal government's list -- the hit list for more suffering, that is.

Last week -- with tens of thousands of British Columbians having lost their jobs and thousands more dependent on meagre disability benefits to survive -- the government slashed social assistance to save $25 million over two years.

At the very top of the Campbell hit list -- people with disabilities who have no home or with chronic serious illnesses like HIV/AIDS or diabetes.

And yet the government's Orwellian headline for its
news release actually reads: "Province protects services for low-income clients."

God help the poor from more B.C. Liberal "protection" -- they can't take it!

In fact, they are "protecting" people with disabilities and those on income assistance between the age of 60 and 64 who don't pay rent by taking away their minimum $75 monthly shelter allowance.

That will leave those who might be staying with a friend or family member without paying rent -- or are simply homeless -- just $531 a month to live on.

More 'protective' moves

The B.C. Liberals are also "protecting" persons with AIDS and other serious illnesses by making it harder to obtain the Monthly Nutritional Supplement intended to provide vitamins and healthy foods like fruit, vegetables and special meals.

Previously anyone with disabilities on assistance who was suffering from any one of the
following conditions was eligible for the supplement:

Underweight status
Significant weight loss
Significant muscle mass loss
Significant neurological degeneration
Significant deterioration of a vital organ
Moderate to severe immune suppression

Now the government will require having at least two of those conditions to qualify -- apparently just "malnutrition" or deterioration of a vital organ alone wouldn't be enough!

And the government shamelessly used a $20-a-month "bottled water supplement" that it will now eliminate as cover for the cuts.

The reality is that only those with compromised immune systems, when their doctors advise it, could
get bottled water to avoid possible health problems.

But this government wants you to think those on income assistance sit around drinking Perrier at your expense. It's a disgustingly unfair attack on the sick.

Cuts 'will cost the health system more'

B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities is stunned by the government cuts, and knows they won't save any money.

"Already inadequate support for people with disabilities is being cut further," the Coalition's Robin Loxton said in an interview Friday. "In the long term it will cost the health system more and will not save money."

Why? Because poor people and those with disabilities who are deprived of healthy food and shelter get sick -- so sick they end up in hospital for expensive treatment.

Coalition executive director Jane Dyson says things are already bad enough for those on disability benefits.

"People are using part of their food money to pay for housing, so they are already unhealthy," Dyson said, adding that many people receiving disability support have diabetes, which is further aggravated by eating low cost food.

1,400 people shoved further to margins

The $75 shelter cut will affect about 1,400 people, according to the government, and Loxton says that will particularly hurt the homeless.

"Homeless people have shelter-related costs," he said. "I don't know how people do it -- the cost of everything is going up and they can barely afford to live."

But the cuts don't stop there. Also being slashed are glucometers for diabetics, and pre-made foot orthotics, while dental services and x-rays will be reduced and chiropractic and physiotherapy services eliminated unless required for a "life threatening health need."

Presumably for this government not being able to walk isn't life threatening.

But these cuts most certainly are, not to mention utterly rotten.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Tieleman endorses Action Team candidates for VanCity Credit Union election

As a former Director of VanCity Credit Union I am very pleased to endorse the Action Team candidates in the current election for three members of the Board of Directors for Canada's largest credit union.

Allen Garr, Virginia Weiler and Heather Tremain will all do a great job in keeping up the innovative, progressive work of VanCity.

Allen is - of course - well known as the Vancouver Courier's civic affairs columnist, a longtime journalist with CBC TV and The Province newspaper and an old friend. But you may not know that he also has a background as an accountant as well as beekeeping!

Virginia is already a VanCity Director seeking re-election and a business consultant with wide experience both in BC and world-wide.

Heather is a consultant on urban sustainability and environmental issues in housing and construction and also co-chair of the VanCity Community Foundation

I'll let Allen, Virginia and Heather speak for themselves on their platform but I strongly urge you to support all three of them by voting either by mail until March 27 - ballots were sent out a short while ago by VanCity - or by voting at your VanCity branch, or any branch with your ID, from March 19 to March 27, 2010.

Here's the Action Team platform:

"Our platform is aimed at protecting the long-term vision of Vancity as an innovative, progressive community financial institution while addressing challenges that remain from the global economic crisis. If elected, we will:

- Freeze Fees
- Protect Community Investment
- Rebuild Trust
- Hassle-Free Lending"

Find out more at the Action Team website.

And sign online for their Freeze Fees petition.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Judge imposes sweeping publication ban on Basi-Virk/BC Legislature Raid Case

UPDATE March 9-2010

In reporting the information below I inadvertently missed the full scope of Justice Anne MacKenzie's publication ban order - it is far more sweeping than I realized, because what is online at the BC Supreme Court website is different than her actual order.

If you check
the link here it leads to a PDF file online with the actual signed order - this is what it says:

"Pursuant to s. 648 of the Criminal Code and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, no information about these proceedings including evidence, submissions, rulings and Reasons for Judgment shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court."

Note that there is no reference to "in the absence of the jury" as it says in the online Publication Ban section of the BC Supreme Court website I quoted below.

This is an extremely important - and I have no idea why the wording is different but clearly the reproduced order is the actual document, not the website summary.

What this means is that potentially no one could report on the trial of David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi until it is over!!!

Certainly nothing can be reported until either after the trial is over - or untl Justice MacKenzie changes her order.

I regret relying on the website version - which you can see is quite different - than the actual publication ban.


Justice Anne MacKenzie has imposed a publication ban on the media reporting certain aspects of the BC Legislature Raid case pending the trial of former BC Liberal government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi on corruption charges related to the $1 billion sale of BC Rail.

Here is the publication ban posted online at the BC Supreme Court website regarding David Basi - the other two are the same.

More on this later - if possible! SEE BELOW

Publication Ban Notification Project

Ban Details

Registry Number:23299

Case Name:R. v. Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi


Registry: Vancouver

Order By: Supreme Court

Statute: , Other


Pursuant to s. 648 of the Criminal Code and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, there shall be no publication in any document or broadcast or transmission of any evidence, submissions, rulings or Reasons for Judgment given in these proceedings in the absence of the jury until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court.

UPDATE 5 p.m. - If anything I am even more concerned about this publication ban, having considered the possible consequences and lack of clarity on what can and cannot be published - and make no mistake - online blogs are publications for all legal purposes.

Below is the section of the Criminal Code which Justice MacKenzie has used to implement the publication ban.

I continue to investigate exactly what this means, but pose these questions - for which I have no answers:

1) Can I write a speculative article on the trial - what the defence and Crown arguments will likely be given the pre-trial hearings to date?

2) If I learn new information about the role of a potential or actual witness in the trial can I publish it?

3) Why can't I publish "any evidence, submissions, rulings or Reasons for Judgment given in these proceedings" when they have previously been published widely?

4) H
ow would I find out any of these answers short of getting a knock on the door by a police officer after breaking the ban?

No one wants to jeopardize the rights of the accused to a fair trial, no one want to influence the jury and no one wants to violate the efforts of the courts to ensure the trial is conducted appropriately.

But these fundamental questions and many more are troubling given the lack of information provided with this publication ban order.

Here is the Criminal Code section Justice MacKenzie cites above:

Criminal Code s.648 - Restriction on publication

(1) After permission to separate is given to members of a jury under subsection 647(1), no information regarding any portion of the trial at which the jury is not present shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way before the jury retires to consider its verdict.


(2) Every one who fails to comply with subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

BC Budget - the party is over - and you will pay for it - social program & public sector workers to be slashed

Bill Tieleman’s 24 hours Column

Wednesday March 3, 2010

Wakey, wakey – the Olympic party is over – and you’re picking up the whole tab!

By Bill Tieleman

Too many people across B.C. are still feeling the effects of the downturn. Too many families are still struggling

- Finance Minister Colin Hansen

Wakey-wakey little B.C. taxpayer! The Olympic party is now over – and you are picking up the whole tab!

Let’s hope the good Winter Olympics feelings last longer than the bad vibe the B.C. Liberals’ budget will bring – because “struggling families” needed public services are going downhill fast.

And the allegedly business-competent government is actually losing, yes losing, money from its two new and hated taxes – the 7% Harmonized Sales Tax and the Carbon Tax!

How is it even possible to introduce new taxes - and take a loss?

Easy! The budget shows that in the upcoming 2010-11 year the HST - scheduled to add 7% more to goods and services July 1 - will actually lose $113 million dollars.

And the budget shows 2008’s carbon tax – which increases one cent a litre at the gas pumps on July 1 - will cost the government $69 million more than they take in, thanks to personal tax cuts that were supposed to make it “revenue neutral” but went too far.

It all adds up to $182 million in tax losses that will result in program cuts.

And that’s just the start. The $1.7 billion deficit budget is grim news for important social services ministries currently overwhelmed with the recession.

Despite the fact that British Columbia has had the highest rate of child poverty for six straight years, the Ministry of Children and Family Development will only see a miniscule 1.2% increase this year – and no increase projected whatsoever for the following two years.

Housing and Social Development gets a very modest increase of 1.9% this year followed by two years of actual cuts. So much for more social housing.

But the Forests and Range budget is cut by 37%, based mostly on the hope that no big forest fires happen this year – good luck!

Worried about the murderous drug gang wars still raging in Metro Vancouver?

Fuggettaboutit, the B.C. Liberals say – the Public Safety and Solicitor General’s budget goes up just $5 million – and then another $1 million two years from now. Be very scared, bad guys!

However, if you think big capital spending projects are way more important than helping poor children out of poverty – hey, this budget’s for you!

In the upcoming year B.C. will increase funding costs for capital expenditures by a whopping 124% - the single largest budget increase across government.

And at $1.75 billion that means financing charges are a whopping $417 million more than the entire Children and Family Development budget.

Hopefully some of those struggling children can find work on a capital project site – because they aren’t going to be getting any other help from this government.

The party’s over, your bill is now due and payable daily.


BC Budget coverage - coming here this afternoon after expected brutal BC Liberal document tabled

British Columbia's budget will be tabled today by BC Liberal Finance Minister Colin Hansen and the results are expected to be brutal, with program spending cuts and layoffs galore.

Watch here for full coverage - I will be in the Vancouver budget lockup until Hansen rises in the BC Legislature to deliver the budget speech.