Thursday, February 21, 2013
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
In case you missed it this morning, HERE is Vaughn Palmer's nail-on-the-head column on Christy Clark and Sukh Dhaliwal.
The key paragraph is this:
He [Dhaliwal] did shirk his responsibility to disclose his legal difficulties to press, party and the electorate alike until he got caught out publicly, a point the Liberals themselves made in their Friday morning press release.
But not to despair, kids.
A page or two later, The Sun advises us that construction has begun in the Okanagan on an amazing new radio telescope.
"It's almost like time travel," said Kris Sigurdson, an astrophysicist from UBC and co-investigator on the project. "It's looking back into the past and how the universe was at that time."
Sigurdson said scientists know the universe is expanding, but they don't know why. They are also trying to learn more about the composition of "dark energy," which makes up about 70 per cent of the universe.
They could have saved themselves a lot of money by training their eye on the legislature and on Parliament - dark energy galore!
Posted by David Berner at 5:50 PM
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Final penny photo-op with Jim Flaherty cost $56,000
The federal government decided to get rid of the penny because it was costing 1.6 cents to make.
But now we're learning that final penny cost $56,000 to make, some of it paid for by taxpayers.
because Finance Minister Jim Flaherty stamped it himself at the Royal Canadian
Mint in Winnipeg and also held a press conference and photo op for the occasion
on May 4.
News obtained the documents about the event through access to
information. Flaherty and his director of communications spent just over $6,000
on their trip to Winnipeg, but the majority of the event was paid for by the
Dropping the pennyThe government has decided to
phase the penny out of existence starting this fall, CBC's Havard Gould reportThe
Mint spent $50,000, although spokesperson Christine Aquino said taxpayers
didn't spend a penny on this because the Mint is a federal for-profit Crown
Corporation and generates its own profits by producing coins. They make money
literally and they also generate a profit by producing coins for more than a
dozen countries and making collector coins.
are hoarding these pennies in their jars at home and now we're encouraging
people to give the pennies to charities and that'll be good for the Canadian
economy and our communities as well," Flaherty told
CBC after the May 4 photo op. He said the penny has simply
become a nuisance to people and businesses and doesn't expect consumers will
lose out due to rounding.
government says killing the penny will save taxpayers $11 million a year. The
final penny that Flaherty stamped isn't in circulation, but sits at the
Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada in Ottawa.
Mr. Flaherty was elected to serve the Canadian public. He could have chosen either to walk across the street to the Ottawa-based mint for his 15 seconds of ill-got fate or to declare the whole exercise silly and not worth the penny saved.
Because he did neither, and chose instead to spend $58,000 of our money, he does not deserve another moment of our attention.
Because voters are relentlessly stupid, he will be elected again.
Posted by David Berner at 1:25 PM
Posted by David Berner at 9:36 AM
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Posted by David Berner at 9:54 PM
One likes to think - naively, optimistically - that certain principles abide.
Democracy is about engagement. The more citizens are involved in their local communities, the healthier we all are. Neighborhood watch, block parties, community centres, volunteerism - these are among the many signs of a mindful local group who recognize both their privacy and their common ground.
But there are other principles at play.
And, as we always say in Journalism 101, "follow the money."
Local citizens have volunteered their time and energies for many yeras now to assure that yoga, language lessons, bridge games, tennis, and a score of other activities are available and affordable in their immediate neighborhoods.
It is the lively commitment of these exemplary involved citizens that make community centres tick.
Pathetic. Tragic. A direct hit to the heart of the democratic ideal.
When this story first surfaced, I asked myself once again (This question comes up about once every two years.), "Isn't the Park Board just a part of Vancouver City Government?"
It didn't take long for my old buddy, Allen Garr, to answer that question in the Courier.
And right smartly too.
The penny drops.
Is it time to phase out Vision's Penny?
More recently, on Tuesday evening while Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr was sitting in a public hearing at city hall regarding a contentious West End development, her cell phone rang. It was Ballem. Carr would get back to her at the next beak.
It turns out that on Monday, Carr, following city council procedure, filed a notice of motion to ask staff essentially this: given the park board's intention to take over the revenues of community centres which would most likely dampen future fundraising efforts by community center volunteer boards, what was the city's estimation of the funding shortfall this would create for the park board? And, given that the park board is a department of the city from whence it receives its budget, what contingency plan does the city have to make up for that funding shortfall?
A reasonable request based on a reasonable assumption, no?
But it's also reasonable to assume we will never find out. Because according to Carr what Ballem phoned to say was this: Carr's notice of motion would never see the light of day. Carr says she was told that her motion asking for information could jeopardize the "negotiations" now going on between the park board and the community centres.
When I emailed Ballem and asked about her extraordinary move to muzzle an elected representative, her communications machinery spit out an elaborate "no comment."
Incidentally, the public hearing Carr was sitting through Tuesday night under city hall rules ended at 11 p.m.. It would continue at a later date to hear the rest of the 50 or so speakers. (The rule says hearings must end at 10 p.m. but can, with a unanimous vote of council, be extended by one hour.)
Nothing so civilized was contemplated across town the night before. That's when 74 people lined up to speak in a packed room at the West End Community Centre. This was at an "emergency meeting" called for by what is an increasingly inept and disrespectful park board to hear from the public on the board's plan to have their way with community centre funds. For decades, these funds had been left in the hands of volunteer boards to be used for everything from renovations to the creation of new facilities. That was ending.
The approximately 30 pages of material for the meeting was not available until 11 that morning, which meant that most board members who work for a living didn't see it until an hour or so before the meeting started.
As you may already know, the meeting started at 6:30 p.m. and clattered on for nine hours, which made it 3:30 in the morning with members of the dwindling audience repeatedly asking for an adjournment only to be rebuffed.
It finally reached a sorry state of frustration because of the lateness of the hour and the vast majority of the speakers opposing what the park board was up to, frequently pointing out significant errors in the material being presented. I was long gone by the time the Vision majority blithely passed the motions to support what they had intended to do all along and cops had to be called in to restrain those who were left.
This passes for what Vision Vancouver calls citizen engagement.
© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier
* * *
This morning, The Sun advises us that City Councillor Adrian Carr has had to hire a lawyer to get simple financial information from her own - our own - government.
Ballem has been a tyrannical autocrat of the worst order from Day One. It is only slightly amusing that such a happy feel-good biking, goat-feeding council should need Axe Lady in their corner. Good cop, bad cop redux.
Let's get a new City manager and let's leave the good folks to run their own pre-natal classes, shall we?
Posted by David Berner at 10:58 AM
Thursday, February 7, 2013
The most hysterical thing about the latest Sukh Dhaliwal fiasco is that the name of the company for which he has been accused of not paying taxes is Genco.
Genco, of course, is the name of the olive oil business that Vito Corleone used as a front for all his other activities in The Godfather.
Apparently, Sukh is so busy running for office, he doesn't get to the movies very often.
The second most uproarious thing about Sukh's current troubles is that he publicly declares
“British Columbia is at a crucial point in history, and the B.C. Liberals are the best option for our province’s economy. Offering families low taxes, a clear plan for growth and the fiscal capacity for strong systems of support are values that I firmly believe in.”
Now, there's that push-button word that Premier Clark has no doubt instructed all her gang to use in every utterance. As in, "I'll have a Sleeman's - that's a good family drink, isn't it?"
The reason this is funny is that - except for her famous Family Day holiday - the Preem's attendance to family concerns are less than minimal. There are fewer services and fewer workers to provide those services in almost every area of public policy today - addictions, the elderly, kids at risk, abused women...
However, we can thank our lucky stars that good old S. Dhaliwal is standing guard for us.
While a federal MP, he wrote a reference letter on official House of Commons stationary for convicted international drug smuggler Ranjit Singh Cheema. The letter was addressed to the California judge sentencing Cheema after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to import 200 kilograms of heroin. Cheema was gunned down in Vancouver last year shortly after getting out of prison.
Dhaliwal will be a wonderful addition to the fun house in Victoria.
Posted by David Berner at 9:20 AM