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Justice News
Wednesday, 27 April 2005 10:19

1.  The Campbell Government Revisited
2.  Enough For All - Fulcrum Project initiative
3.  Election Toolkit from BC Association of Child Development
4.  Lawn Sign Campaign - "Health Care for All, Poverty for None"
5.  Code of Silence Awards - for journalists
6.  Elections BC bans WCWC's "Vote Wild" Newspaper (but the grizzlies love it!)
7.  BC Coalition of Women's Centres Election Strategy
8.  Social Assistance Concerns for Candidates
9.  Know STV - word from the 'no' vote
10. STV Mythbusting - words from the 'yes' vote
11. REALTORS? Focus on Housing Affordability And Property Rights in BC Election
contributions, considerations, concerns:

*  Upcoming Winds of Change radio conversations (tentative) - 11 am on CFUV - http://cfuv.uvic.ca:
        May 5th - Steve Filipovic, Green Party Candidate, Victoria Hillside
                Rachel Rosen, Grassroots Women

        May 12th - Bill Tieleman, Georgia Strait, CBC
                  Joy Fai, Fulcrum Project

*  From: Anke van Leeuwen < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

The Broad Coalition has a strategy to elect more progressive MLA's for B.C. on May 17th.
www.broadcoalition.net.  Check out the Vote Pair Registry.

*  From: "Jill Thompson" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

For anyone heading out to all-candidates debates ( and I hope that means all of us), the following websites contain examples of some good questions to ask for anyone attending all-candidates debates.
Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter's Vote Environment project. http://www.sierraclub.ca/bc/vote/issues.shtml - click on the more info link under your topic of choice to find questions to ask your candidates
BC Facts.Org  http://www.bcfacts.org/ - look for the "sample questions" link on the main page
Your local paper's community announcement section will list what all-candidates debates are happening.

*  From: "Bob Wilson" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

The Ethnic Diversity Standing Committee of HEU has created an information based website at www.may17.ca aimed at exposing the last four years of Liberal lies, policies, and regressive legislation.  The website contains information pages on Healthcare, Education, Spending and Cuts, and Broken Promises. Unique to this website is that all the information on it is available in four languages: ENGLISH, PUNJABI, CHINESE, and TAGALOG.

*  From: "Roy Ball" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Please contact Daniel and Ryan if you can help with STV yes campaign in the lower mainland.
Bernard still needs more help for the rest of the province;  please contact these folks asap
Please send Money to Yes campaign. We need it for advertising, brochures, hall rental and so on.

cheques to Yes campaign

Box 325
110-174Wilson St
V9A 7N7

*  From: "Bob Wilson" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Learn the whole story of our BC Government policies:

*  From: Tirdad Shirvani < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
No Need To Endure The Cost Of A New Federal Election

36th General Election  Feb. 6, 1997 Total Cost $200.6 Million
37th General Election  Nov. 12, 2000 Total Cost $199.7 Million

Liberals may be bad, but the Conservatives/Reform Party members, these
"barbarians at the gate", are definately no better.
We need not to spend so much to kick out a bunch of criminal and vote in a
new bunch of criminals!

*  From: "Conservation Voters of BC" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Congratulations to the Tyee for being one of the few homes of investigative journalism in BC. Check out their breaking story on questionable campaign funding here:
That's yet another reason why BC needs to catch up to other provinces and ban donations other than from voters. See our report on that here:

* From: Ian Morrison - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

As you know, the BC government announced plans to privatize the Knowledge
Network approximately two years ago.  A strong defence of the Knowledge
Network, from all over the province, has helped to delay those plans.

Now, as we approach a provincial election, FRIENDS believes the time is
right to persuade Premier Campbell to reconsider his plans for the
Knowledge Network. Raising this issue now will send a strong message to all
British Columbia politicians that we care about our Knowledge Network. It's
a non-commercial educational oasis on the TV line-up.

Please take a moment now to visit FRIENDS' "Save the Knowledge Network" web
action centre at:           http://www.saveknowledgenetwork


"If elected, a Gordon Campbell Government will serve you and all British Columbians with honour, respect and dignity. We will keep our commitments and our MLA's will always remain accountable to you." Liberal New Era Platform p33

Campbell and his Liberal Government:

- increased MSP premiums by 50% or 500 million dollars
- increased Pharmacare fees
- increased physiotherapy and eye care fees
- closed emergency wards and some entire hospitals
- laid off 300 nurses
- privatized laundry,food,security and cleaning services leading to dirty hospitals
- cut home care for seniors and even split up some couples
- closed over 3900 long term care beds
- failed to create 5000 new long term care beds as promised in his New Era Document
- increased waiting lists for surgery and overcrowded emergency rooms
- cut WCB funds with corresponding 22% increase in fatalities since 2000
- cut WCB rehabilitation resources and privatized others
- fired 8000 hospital workers
- reduced funding to the BC Coroner?s Service leading to unanswered questions
- contracted out patient medical information/record keeping to U.S. company
- eliminated the Provincial Mental Health Advocate
- subjected Persons with Disabilities to 23 page reassessment form
- increased privatization of health care
- delisted MSP services: podiatry,massage,physiotherapy,chiropractic therapy

- doubled college and university tuition fees
- closed 113 schools,cut special education teachers and librarians
- increased class sizes at every grade level
- cut training and apprenticeship programs
- canceled proposed new Technical Training College in Surrey
- unilaterally fired elected teachers from the College of Teachers
- increased funding to independent/private schools

Children and Families
- increased child care costs for thousands of BC families
- eliminated services for women in crisis
- cut supports for women in need
- eliminated Children?s Commission and Children?s Advocate
- reorganized and reduced funding in Children and Family Development Ministry
leading to inadequate level of forensic psychologist services to Young Offenders
- canceled Family Maintenance exemption from income tax regulations
- eliminated core funding for 37 Women's? Centres in the province

- cut environmental protections for our air, water and forests
- expanded fish farms
- supports oil and gas drilling off the Queen Charlottes
- repealed the Environment Assessment Act
- allowed 500,000 cubic metres of gravel to be removed from the Fraser River in
each of the next two years and 420,000 the 3 following, endangering salmon runs
- failed to commit BC to further reduction of greenhouse gases
- anticipates expansion of production of BC fossil fuels
- subsidized royalty credits to oil and gas corporations
- weakened habitat protections for salmon in urban areas
- allowed mining in South Chilcotins park
- weakened the Provincial Wildlife Act
- failed to improve drinking water standards after Walkerton
- removed most requirements for approval of pesticide use
- approved ongoing raw sewage dumping from Victoria

- refused to recognize the NDP denying BC citizens an effective Opposition
- gave the wealthiest citizens and corporations a billion dollar tax break
- broke promises not to privatize B.C. Rail
- raised gas tax 3.5 cents/litre
- increased property taxes
- increased sales tax to 7.5% for three years
- cut minimum wage to $ 6 for new workers
- privatized B.C. Hydro and raised electricity rates
- raised ferry fares
- increased driver license,hunting and fishing fees
- increased user fees for provincial parks and new ones for Forestry Parks
- spent $6 million trying to privatize the Coquihalla Highway
- have begun privatizing ICBC
- sent BC shipbuilding jobs to Germany and disallowed BC bids
- continued policy of trophy hunting in BC
- supported expansion of gambling after promising to reduce it
- neglected resource communities and increased raw log exports
- supported huge bonuses to ICBC executives
- continued farce of open cabinet meetings
- increased staff in his office by at least 400% increased concentration of authority
- failed to support meaningful standing committees
- cut Legal Aid funding to poor leading to unprecedented censure by the BC Law Society
- adjourned the legislature without a budget debate
- failed to ensure that Liberal Constituency Offices were open to constituents
- stripped negotiated BCTF and HEU Collective Agreements
- eliminated photo radar
- hired an American to run the BC Ferry System
- using spending announcements to subvert the Election Advertising rules
- used the Olympic bid to distract citizens from their real priorities for services
- refused to hold province wide referendum on 2010 Winter Olympics bid
- broke his promise to honour Public Sector contracts
- shortened the House Question Period
- continued patronage appointments e.g. Hiring Ex Liberal Pres. $180,000/year
- reneged on promise to build a bridge over Arrow Lake
- weakened Employment Standards Act provisions
- repealed pay equity provisions of the Human Rights Code
- fired 270 public service Communications staff and hired political appointments
- reduced public access to government information by changing FOI rules
- overrode local bylaws and planning processes with Bill 75
- failed to clean up election expense rules for Corporations (86%) and Unions (8%)
- pressured Transit Directors to approve the RAV line
- announced plans to privatize the Knowledge Network

On May 17

Ask yourself if you and your family have been served with ?honour, respect and dignity??
compiled by Jack Stevens from a variety of sources
Feel free to copy and circulate widely

From: "Phil Lyons" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >



Some of you will be receiving this document for the first time, and some have seen several versions. This is our final version of the letter created through a day long community discussion, Enough for All.
We will be presenting this to politicians on April 29th. Therefore, the more support from individuals and organizations that we can include on this document - the more it will be taken seriously by those it is meant for! We would welcome your participation at this event from 10 - 11:30 at SFU Harbour Centre in downtown Vancouver. I will send more details as they are confirmed.
We would also welcome your sharing this document with as many people, locals and organizations across BC as possible. I have not included an entire list of supporters on this document..but simply to show what we are looking for - when asking people to support this document.
We want these identified policies to be brought to the attention of new candidates running that may not realize that these policies are contributing to poverty in BC, and to those who are in power, to understand that these policies have contributed substantially to the quality of life for those living in poverty in BC.and that they have the ability to address these policies in the near future and make positive changes.
We ask your contacts to simply return the document with their names and organizations indicated at the end, (whatever we can include on our final document list) BEFORE April 28th - so we can include it on our final "printed" version, to the email address above.
After that time, we will still be collecting signatures and support - and will bring it to the attention at every opportunity we can. This is also a helpful document for the general public to begin to identify and understand questions they can ask of their local candidates about what their candidates will do towards these policies.
Change is brought about people working together to bring about action. I believe momentum is building..and with the election only a breath away - time to get involved is NOW!!
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
In peace
joy Fai
A founding member of The Fulcrum Project
From: "David  and joy Fai" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >


FYI: Below is an "election toolkit" -- stats and information -- from BCACDI, the provincial association representing agencies that serve children and youth with special needs.
BC Association of Child Development (BCACDI)

 Election Toolkit


?      BCACDI is a provincial non-profit organization which provides advocacy, communication networking, research and education services to its member agencies throughout B.C. and the Yukon.

?      BCACDI represent member agencies which provide developmental and intervention services for children and youth with special needs and their families.

?      The core services provided by member agencies include, but are not limited to, early intervention therapy services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech language pathology; infant development programs; supported child development programs; school based therapies; behavioral support services; and autism services and programs.


  • Population of B.C.: 3,907,738 (2001 Census)
  • Population 0 to 6 years of age: 287,917
  • Population 0 to 19 years of age: 976,345
  • Children with special needs: 52,000
  • Children in care: 9,000 to 10,000
  • Children in care with special needs: 4,000 to 5,000
  • Children with special needs on wait lists for early intervention services: over 7,000 and growing


v      Lack of integrated vision for services for children and youth with special needs and their families.

v      Wait lists for all services for children and youth with special needs.

v      Inadequate funding.

v      Fragmentation of service for children and youth with special needs.


?      Services for children including services for children and youth with special needs should be a top priority for the government.

?      All of children?s services for those ages 0 to 19 should be centralized in one ministry. A provincial children?s secretariat should be developed to ensure the integration of all of children?s services across government.

?      $75 million needs to be allocated to address wait list and program needs for services and facilities for children and youth with special needs. This should include at least $15 million for school aged therapies.

?      The funding for services for children and youth with special needs should be protected from any future government funding reductions.
Questions for candidates:

?         What will you do to ensure that children services and services for children and youth will be a top priority for the government?

?         How do you propose addressing the wait lists for services for children and youth with special needs? (Considering the $2 billion surplus the government had last fiscal year and the additional child care funding promised by the federal government).

?         Will you commit to continued protected funding for these services?

From: Dawn Steele  < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >



We are a group of organizations and citizens from the Greater Victoria Area committed to the future of British Columbia. We have come together in opposition to the neo-Liberal attack on our communities, public services, workers, and the most vulnerable segments of our society.

The CSC operates on the principles of being mutually supportive of each other, free of racism, sexism, ageism, ablism, and all forms of discrimination.
Regular meetings are held every second Monday at 7:00 p.m. at the B.C.G.E.U. Building; 2994 Douglas Street, Victoria BC.

This is a province wide goal with the initiative of:
? Encouraging people to take a stand
? To get neighbours talking about the issues
? To show province wide solidarity and unity
? To give people something visible to do

Please get involved and help make this province-wide initiative a successful one.

"Health Care for All, Poverty for None - Oppose the BC Liberal's Agenda"
Signs are $3.00 a piece and can be ordered by contacting us at the CSC one of these ways:
? email order lawn signs hereorder lawn signs  - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
? or phone (250) 920 9091
? or phone 1 800 742 8001
? Communities Solidarity Coalition
   201-415 Gorge Rd E.
   Victoria, BC V8T 2W1   (cheques payable to)
We are continuing to expand distribution, but at this time signs are available in the following locations: (for a minimum donation of $3.00)
1. Kelowna Area - (250) 765-8838
2. Nanaimo Area - (250) 754-5558
3. Prince George Area - (250) 564-2102
4. Victoria Area - (250) 480 0533 or 920 9091
5. Lower Mainland - (604) 456 7020 or 1 800 663 5813
6. Comox Area - (250) 339-3968
We should have some in Nelson by the first week in March at (250) 354-4466.
Thank you for deciding to take a stand against the Liberal government's agenda and its effects on our Communities.
The lawn signs will last longer and be more visible if a cardboard insert (any material will work) is placed between the two sides of the sign. Thank you.
?indymedia.org - Indymedia is a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage. Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth.
?Have You Had Enough Yet? An irreverent voice of opposition to the government and its imbedded media.

Is Victoria ready to host a World Wide Anti-Racism Conference?

From: rose henry < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

[You don't have to be a journalist to make a nomination, but the
nominee must be Canadian.]


 OTTAWA (Feb.25, 2005)  - The Canadian Association of Journalists is
 requesting nominations for its fifth annual Code of Silence Award
 recognizing the most secretive government department in Canada.

 "The far-from-coveted Code of Silence award honours, or should I say
 dishonours, Canada's rich bureaucratic culture of secrecy," said Paul
 Schneidereit, CAJ president. "Governments and their agencies, at all
 levels, exhibit mind-numbing, determined resourcefulness when it
 comes to hiding vital information, stalling or denying access to
 information requests, destroying documents and persecuting

 ?This award strives to ensure that those who work hardest to uphold a
 strict code of silence in dealing with journalists and the public
 receive appropriate recognition.

 " The Code of Silence Award is handed out annually at the CAJ's gala
 award ceremonies which take place during the association's annual
 conferences. This year, the conference is being held May 13-15 in

 Last year, Health Canada won for denying any meaningful access to a
 database of prescription drugs that could harm or even kill
 Canadians. The department refused to release information on adverse
 drug reactions in a format that would allow researchers to study the
 records electronically in order to spot trends and identify which
 drugs are causing problems, despite similar information being readily
 available in the U.S. through the Food and Drug Administration. A
 parliamentary all-party standing committee on health eventually
 slammed the department for failing to effectively protect Canadians
 who take prescription drugs. Health Canada finally relented more than
 five years after it was challenged.

 Previous winners include the entire Nova Scotia government for a
 pattern of secrecy, including instituting the highest fees in the
 country for access to information requests, the federal Department of
 Justice for giving itself the power, under Bill C-36, to override the
 Access to Information Act on some documents, and the Ontario Ministry
 of the Environment for withholding information about the Walkerton
 water tragedy that claimed seven lives and sickened hundreds.

 Nominees can include municipal, provincial or federal government
 departments as well as public agencies that work in the public
 interest with public money. Nominations can be submitted to the CAJ
 in the following ways:

 E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (write "Code of Silence" in subject line)
 Phone: 613-526-8061
 Nominations close May 1, 2005.

 The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional
 organization with more than 1,400 members across Canada. The CAJ's
 primary role is to provide public-interest advocacy and quality
 professional development for its members.

 For further information:

 Paul Schneidereit, CAJ president, (902) 426-1124;
 John Dickins, CAJ executive director, (613) 526-8061,
 Cell phone (613) 290-2903

From: John Dickins < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >



 Defend the right to speak up against bad government policies - YOUR help
is greatly needed!

Yesterday, the Wilderness Committee was given written notice by
Elections BC that they are banning the distribution of our "Vote Wild"
newspaper as of today. The reason given for suppressing the newspaper is
because they've deemed it to be "partisan advertising," as it criticizes
the government before an oncoming election.

See the WCWC press release at:

Nowhere in our newspaper does it even mention the names of any political
parties, except on the last page where it lists all the websites of the
4 main political parties in BC (BC Liberals, NDP, Green Party,
Democratic Reform BC). Nor does it ever say who to vote for or against.
In addition, the newspaper (Volume 24, Number 3) is part of a series of
regularly published educational newspapers that the WCWC has published
roughly six times a year for the past 24 years, millions of copies - it
is not a one-time "advertisement".

See a copy of our Vote Wild newspaper at (copy and paste the whole thing
if the long address doubles over to a second line):

In essence, Elections BC's ruling means that you can't criticize the
government before an election. We greatly disagree. We believe it's the
democratic right of all citizens to speak up about the government's
policies whenever need be, including or especially before an election,
and to disseminate information to others that also fulfills this basic
democratic function.

This includes criticisms of the extreme, anti-environmental policies of
the BC government to privatize public lands at breakneck speeds, log and
mine our provincial parks, attempts to ban new park creation through a
"Working Forest" act, systematically drive the spotted owl into
extinction by approving logging plans precisely in the habitat of the
last few pairs in BC, lift the moratorium on salmon farm expansion, push
the federal government lift the coastal oil and gas moratorium,
liquidate ancient forests at breakneck speeds, reinstate grizzly trophy
hunting, greatly expand raw log exports, weaken legislation designed to
limit the discharge of cancer-causing dioxins into the water, promote
dirty coal-fired power production, oppose Kyoto's ratification...and
countless others.

We've received a legal opinion that states that our newspaper is not
partisan and does not contravene any laws. Therefore we'll continue to
distribute the newspaper to as many BC homes as possible.

So now more than ever, for those who believe in the citizens' rights to
openly criticize government policies, for those who believe in a clean
and healthy environment for all species, we hope you'll join us and help
us get the word out about these most pressing environmental issues.

So far, hundreds of our Eco-Election volunteers have gone door to door
to almost 27 000 homes, handing out our educational newspapers and
circulating petitions. We've already moved 120 000 Vote Wild newspapers
door to door, through mail-outs, and through newspaper inserts. Please

There are only 4 weeks left until the election. More than ever, let's
make our efforts really count!!

For the Wild,

Ken Wu, Pearl Gottschalk, Cassbreea Savage, Karen Sullivan
Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Victoria

- If you can, please join us in ORGANIZED GROUP EFFORTS to move through
important neighborhoods throughout Victoria and Vancouver, and meet
other like-minded tree/whale/grizzly-huggers! It's fun and vitally
important right now. In Victoria contact Pearl Gottschalk at
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and Vancouver Geoff Seninchenko at
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
In a few rural locations, small groups are forming and contact Ken Wu in
Victoria at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you're interested in helping.

- AS AN INDIVIDUAL, you can pick up stacks of our Vote Wild newspaper
and other educational newspapers to disseminate in your neighborhood
(mailboxes or on porches), in coffee shops, libraries, laundromats, at
work, among classmates, etc. from our:
Victoria office:  651 Johnson St., 10-5 pm Mon. to Sat.
Vancouver office:  4th floor, 341 Water St., 10-5 pm, Mon. to Fri.

- We can also MAIL YOU A BUNDLE if you let us know your address (call
Victoria at 250-388-9292 or Vancouver at 604-683-8220) or email us at
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

- WE NEED MORE FUNDS. We've already disseminated 120 000 copeis of our
Vote Wild newspaper and only have a few thousand copies left. We're
looking at printing tens of thousands more to distribute. So far, we've
received $1500 in donations. Every donation of $100 allows us to reach
other 1000 BC homes. Donate online on the top left side of our website
at www.wildernesscommitteevictoria.org or call Cassbreea Savage at (250)
388-9292 or mail-in a donation to our address below.

YOUR efforts are pivotal to keep Beautiful BC, Beautiful BC for the 21st


Western Canada Wilderness Committee
Victoria Office and Rainforest Store
651 Johnson St.
Victoria, BC V8W 1M7
(250) 388-9292

From: "WCWC  Vic" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >



BC Coalition of Women's Centres | British Columbia, Canada
[alt: http://www3.telus.net/bcwomen ]
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

ELECTION DAY IS MAY 17, 2005  8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Every Vote Counts!  Value Your Vote!

The BC Coalition of Women's Centres has relaunched our website with a brand new Provincial Election theme!

BRAND NEW at the BC Coalition of Women's Centres website!
Print and distribute!  Or just ask the candidates yourself!
* What This Election is About - an OpEd by Debra Critchley
* The Single Transferable Vote (STV) Referendum:  what we think about it (now stop sending us flames).

Far from being a "special interest group," women represent nearly 52% of the population.  Therefore, with 52% of the votes in our hands, women have the power to determine the outcome of the Provincial Election.  The BC Coalition of Women's Centres wants to make sure women can make informed decisions on May 17, 2005.

What's already up:

* Voting Basics 101: How it All Works
* THE FEMINIST DOZEN: Thirteen Essential Provincial Election Issues for Women Voters
* New Report!  Losing Ground: the Effects of Government Cutbacks on Women in British Columbia, 2001 - 2005
* Stay Informed: a website listing for finding more info on provincial election issues
* 12 Reasons Why Women Should Not Support the BC Liberals
...and more!

And more zany fun is yet to come, including questions for candidates that you can print off and take to forums and other events in your community.

BC Coalition of Women's Centres | British Columbia, Canada

100 Mile House . Campbell River . Chetwynd . Comox Valley
Cranbrook . Fernie . Fort Nelson . Fort St. John . Golden
Grand Forks . Howe Sound . Kamloops . Kelowna . Kitimat
North Shore . Penticton . Port Coquitlam . Queen Charlotte
Islands . Quesnel . Richmond . Ridge Meadows . Sunshine
Coast . South Surrey/White Rock . Surrey . Terrace .  Vancouver
Vernon . Westcoast . West Kootenay . Williams Lake

From: "BC Coalition of Women's Centres" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >



Hi Janine - I prepared a form letter for people to send to their MLAs so that we can help get poverty issues some exposure.  I hope it's not too long.  People can revise it if they wish obviously.  Can you send it out to your elist?  Let me know.
I obtained the statistics from these websites:  http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net and http://www.policyalternatives.ca
To find the MLA for your riding, people can go to http://www.legis.gov.bc.ca/mla/3-1-1-1.htm and a copy can be sent to Gordon Campbell at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Regards, Tracey

Dear Sir/Madam:
I am writing to you because I am concerned that welfare rates in this province are extremely low and are far below the poverty line.  According to a report prepared by the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia (SPARC BC), the estimated minimum living costs for Greater Vancouver in 2000 was $1,158. per month according to the "Market Basket Meaures" published by the federal government.  Currently, welfare rates for a single person are only $510. per month.  This is more than 50% below the poverty line.
According to the BC office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), the rate of unemployment was about 7.2% in 2004 down from 8.1% in 2003 but this was mostly due to the increase in construction jobs.  There have also been huge spending cuts in the public sector resulting in the loss of approximately 20,447 jobs and nearly 75% of these jobs were held by women.  There have also been reduced legal protections for workers due to changes to the Employment Standards Act in 2002 resulting in less job security, lower wages and reduced living standards.  (source:  CCPA)
SPARC BC also reported that the rate of child poverty in B.C. was 24.1% in 2000.  Under the new policies introduced under the B.C. Liberal government, that rate has increased given the mean spirited policies implemented by that government since they were elected in 2001.  The report by SPARC BC states that the minimum living costs for a single parent with two children was $1,969. per month in 2000.  Since then, the provincial government has cut welfare rates to single parents.  According to the Canadian Association of Food Banks, the use of food banks by B.C. children went up by 41.7 per cent between 2003 and 2004.
Welfare rates under the previous NDP government were inadequate and since new harsher measures have been implemented by the current Liberal government, people living in poverty are far worse off.  There is more homelessness and more and more people are having to rely on foodbanks.  A recent report on homelessness indicates that 75 per cent of homeless people were not on welfare in 2004 while only 15 per cent were not on welfare in 2001.  What we need are more humane policies that help people in need instead of punishing them.  So far, the NDP has been silent on welfare issues and this is unacceptable.
In the upcoming provincial election, I am going to be looking to candidates who will improve welfare policies by:

  • increasing welfare rates from $510. per month to $750. per month and allowing them to earn $200. per month without deducting that amount from their welfare cheque.
  • increasing welfare rates for single parents to meet the minimum livings costs in the lower mainland.  The National Council of Welfare reports that the poverty line was $24,745. per year for a single parent with one child and $37,253. for a couple with two children in 2003.
  • increasing disability rates for a single person to $1,000. per month with allowable earnings up to $300. per month.  In Ontario, the rate for people with disabilities is $930. per month and the current rate in B.C. is $856. per month.
  • rescind the three week waiting period for welfare, the two year independence test, and lifetime ban for fraud.
  • rescind regulations that tax employment earnings, gifts, and child support at 100%.
  • rescind regulations on the low limits on assets.
  • rescind contracts that benefit for profit companies for reducing costs of welfare and numbers of claimants.  Attaching the labour market to welfare or welfare to work programs only results in a terrorized and demoralized workforce and provides incentive for the employer to undermine labour standards.
  • eliminate the Safe Streets Act.

The above statistics prove that the current welfare policies are not working and having only increased the number of people living in poverty.  There are obviously not enough jobs for everyone so there needs to be a safety net for people when they are in need.  Poverty is not a crime and the Safe Streets Act only blames and criminalizes the poor for problems that are  directly caused by inadequate and mean spirited welfare policies.

Jean Swanson, former president of the National Anti-Poverty Organization, states that increasing taxes on the richest 1 to 2 per cent of taxpayers would help to pay for better welfare rates.  The financial costs will be far greater if we continue to ignore and exclude people living in poverty.  There needs to be better access to education and training, subsidized childcare, progressive taxation, and improved labour standards to help alleviate poverty. 

I want to know where you stand on welfare policy.

From: "Tracey Ferguson" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

editor's note:  now's a good time to mention the guaranteed livable income, too - http://www.livableincome.org.




VANCOUVER ? Retiring BC Liberal MLA Karn Manhas [Port Coquitlam-Burke Mountain] today announced that he has joined KNOW STV ? a group of prominent British Columbians from across the province who are opposed to the Single Transferable Vote electoral system proposed by the Citizens? Assembly.

Manhas said Thursday that after careful consideration and examination of the STV electoral system he has concluded that it is simply the wrong model for British Columbia.

?While I appreciate the work that the Citizens Assembly did in looking at electoral reform, I have decided to speak out with my deep concerns that an STV system would not work in British Columbia,? Manhas said.

?I am particularly worried that local political accountability and responsibility to voters will be seriously reduced because STV would create large multi-member constituencies that will be very hard for any MLA to properly represent,? said Manhas, an entrepreneur who is the youngest person ever elected to the BC Legislature.

?Forcing up to 7 very different constituencies to combine into just one riding and then electing 7 MLAs from that whole large area cannot help but take away the accountability that voters need,? he said.

?In addition, I have concerns that STV will be complicated and confusing to voters, that we wouldn?t know the new riding boundaries until after, not before, a vote on STV and that what I have heard about the experiences of the few countries that use STV has not been positive,? Manhas said.

A referendum on the STV system will take place concurrently with the May 17, 2005 provincial election vote.

KNOW STV spokesperson Anita Hagen, a former NDP MLA and Education Minister, said the group is very pleased to have Manhas join their ranks.

?Karn Manhas is a young and energetic MLA who has decided to pursue other interests outside politics and has nothing to gain or lose by taking a position on the STV issue but believes it is important to speak up,? said Hagen. ?We encourage voters to listen to people like Karn who have direct experience in the political process and understand the problems STV would create.?

Manhas joins a KNOW STV group that includes two members of the Citizens? Assembly, BC?s only currently elected Green Party representative, a retired union leader, several former cabinet ministers from both the previous New Democratic Party and Social Credit Party governments, a political science professor, a political commentator, activists from the NDP and Liberal Party, business people and others.

For information contact: Karn Manhas - 604-927-2665 or cell 604-220-3945 or Bev Scorey - cell 604-961-4082.  Please go to www.knowstv.ca for more information and member biographies.

The members of KNOW STV include:  Susan Arnold; Rick Dignard; Anne Edwards; Paul S. Gill; Jyoti Gill; Anita Hagen; Jim Inkster; Karn Manhas; Jack Munro; Bob Plecas; Andrea Reimer; Jacee Schaefer; Bud Smith; Bruce Strachan; Bill Tieleman; John Young.

From: "West Star" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >



Myth busting the misinformation about BC STV.
Myth # 1: Rural areas will get less representation under a BC STV electoral system.
Right now under First Past the Post, our current electoral system, that is not working, we have 66% of our MLAs from two metro cities, Greater Vancouver and Greater Victoria
That statistic will NOT change with STV.
That imbalance is an issue for FUTURE REFORM: representation for communities based on area.
The  Citizens Assembly was instructed not to increase the size of government so our representation remains exactly the same
STV will allow the rural portions of several ridings to combine and elect MLAs who focucs on those voters concerns.
Myth # 2: BC STV  is a plot of the Campbell government and the BC Liberal Party.
The pressure for the Citizens' Assembly came from the grassroots of the Liberal Party as a result of the 1996 election where the Liberals got 41.8% of the votes and only got 33 seats in the Legislature while the NDP got 39.5% of the popular votes and ended up with 39 seats for a "majority" government. The enabling Legistatoin for the Citizens' Assembly gave the radomly selected citizens complete feedom to draft their own proposal and take it directly to the people ina referendum. This is why the rest of the country and the rest of the Global Village is watching what occurs here on May 17 so intently.
Myth # 3: BC STV makes it harder for women and minorioties to get elected.
With STV every MLA elected will represent a unique coalition of voters, every group in society will have a better chance to be represented.  Currently we rely on party elites to provide representatives of women and minorities, this leads to tokenism, where the women and monority candidates rather than representing women and minorities represent the party apparatus. STAT less than 2% of Canadians belong to political parties, STAT: 90% of Canandians surveyed say they want more women elected to office.
With STV voters will decide which candidates best represent and speak out for their interests.
Myth # 4: BC STV  was tried in the 1950s and rejected because it was bad for the CCF - the founding party of the NDP.
In a recent fundraising speech in Port Alberni Dave Barret promoted this misrepresentation of the facts. He knows very well that the single member ridings in the 1950s bear no resemblence whatsoever to STV. This underestimates the intelligence and the diligence of the members of the Citizens' Assembly who thoroughly studied the vote system he refers to from the 1950s and voting systems around the world. 
It is particularly insulting to the members of the Citizens' Assembly Alumni who are a grassroots organisatioin, determined to spread the good news about STV, at their own expense financially and timewise, and of two members of our community Dr. Fritz Zens and Susan Wood who are our Citizens' Assembly members her in Alberni-Qualicum and are tremendously active in this grassroots movement to improve the electoral system for all British Columbians.
Myth # 5:  Preferential voting caused spoiled ballots in New Zealand's municipal elections.
This is another insulting misrepresentation.  The Citizen's Assembly studied New Zealand's experience and realised that the reason for 11% spoiled ballots on the first use of preferential voting in some New Zealand municipalities was because the marking of a single candidate with an "x" was counted as a spoiled ballot.  11% were uninformed about the new system and did not listen to instructions.  With BC-STV this cannot happen, as a single candidate marked with an "x" will be counted as a first choice preference and that ballot will not be spoiled.
Myth # 6: Party politics was unfairly targetted by the Citizens' Assembly.
The Citizen's Assembly, listened to the concerns of citizens around the province.  The concern that party elites have high-jacked the democratic process is a widespread and legitimate concern.  BC-STV will put pressure against party corruption and power abuse, by putting the choice in the hands of the voters, which of the party's candidates they most want to elect.  This will tend to evolve partys away from being vehicles of the elite's ambitions, and back to the original idea of being service organisations for groups of candidates who represent a particular viewpoint.  This can only be good for parties and may reverse the trend of declining citizen participation in parties.
Myth # 7: MMP, Mixed Member Proportional is more proportional that BC STV.
It is even said that BC-STV has no guarantee of proportiionality at all.  The truth is the exact opposite.   With MMP there is no guarantee of the degree of proportionality, even of MLAs chosen by party list, because it is possible for most of the voters to support parties getting less than the 5% cut-off for participation or else prefer indepndents and wish to support no party at all.  With BC-STV there is a guaranteed minimum level of proportionality in every riding, which varies from a low of 67% in a 2 member riding to a high of 87 1/2 % in a 7 member riding.  Most ridings will have at least 4 members (guaranteed 80% proportionality).  Better yet, this is proportional to the actual preferences of voters, rather than a list made up by someone else.  Even if one still thought MMP was somehow better, the question is, will BC-STV pro rep be better than the system we have now?
Myth # 8: BC STV will be too difficult for apathetic voters to use.
BC-STV is the size that fits all.  Citizens who are super-keen to have their vote count can research all of the candidates and rank every one in order of preference.  Citizens who only know of one candidate they want to support can put an "x" or a "1" next to that person's name.  Every citizen can find their own level of involvement.  It is not necessary to rank anyone you are not familiar with.  The more candidates that you rank, the longer your vote can keep transfering and still hope to make a difference in electing someone.  However, a single choice will have as much hope of counting as a single vote now would.  Two choices doubles your chances.  It is very user friendly.
Myth # 9: BC STV  leads to computer vote counting and no paper trail.
There is no reason for using computer counting with BC-STV.  The counting process is very simple involving only add subtract multiply and divide, which anyone can do on a hand-held calculator.  Every stage of the count should be done by hand with scrutineers from the various parties and independents confirming each step of the way with their own hand-held calculators.  It is true that it would be a big mistake to involve computers in any way in the count.  This would erode confidence in the system as it has in the USA.  This is why it is important, not only to vote YES for BC-STV, but to vote also for MLA candidates who understand and fully support BC-STV and who will draft the implementing legislation so that the intentions of the citizens are upheld, including the outlawing of computer counting.  Of course, the paper trail with BC-STV is complete.
Myth # 10: "With the old system at least I know who won." popular Alberni radio host, Rob Diotte, had this concern.
The problem with the present system is that quite often everyone thinks they know who will win long before the election is held, because so many people feel that they have to vote for the alternative most likely to get the present government out, which is most likely the party they were trying to get out last time when they voted for the present government.  No wonder voter turn-out is falling.  Also poll results create a stampede effect.  It is all very boring for everyone.  With BC-STV it is quite impossible to tell with polling who is going to win.  There are just too many variables.  So it is exciting right up to the announcements.  The counting process will take longer, but only in hours, not days.  It will be a very exciting time for the media because the unofficial announcement of a winner could come at any time during the process.  (Even now, official results come out many days later after the media have forgatten about the whole thing).
Myth # 11:  The old system works why fix it?
The old system is badly broken.  Without serious repair we are on a track to losing our democracy altogether.  Already the tweedledee/tweedledum two party system has allowed the interests of giant corporations to become the defacto rulers.  Voter turn out is falling.  Less people are joining and volunteering with political parties.   BC-STV will put voters back into the driver's seat.  Right now we are being jerked around by limited choices and unrepresentative outcomes.
Myth # 12:  How can STV be any good, hardly anyone uses it.
Norman Ruff, U Vic political scientists says, "Political parties insstinctively dislike it.  STV could only come out of this kind of citizen assembly process because it privileges voter choice."  Most electoral systems are designed by politicians.  The Irish have had their STV system for 100 years.  Twice, politicians tried to get rid of it, but the Irish constitution requires a public referndum to change the electoral system.  Both times, voters chose to say "no" to the politicians and protect their STV.   Most nations' citizens have not been offered the choice of STV. 


A woman can no longer be accused by her spouse of "cancelling my vote" if
she votes differently from him.

Women who wish to vote for female candidates for the party of their choice
will be able to do so. Adding females to the slate is becoming of increasing
importance to Canadians, in a recent poll 90% want to see more women elected
to office.

Women can support candidates who speak strongly about women's issues across
party lines. This is usually a very silent issue even in parties with women

I feel that the civility matters to men as well and that politics will have
a whole new following of men and women if the women are there and engaged,
especially the younger men who feel more secure around women in a political
context because of the many single mom families these days.

STV removes the hierarchical power dynamic from the parties' inner circles
and gives that power to the voter in terms of choices. This transfer of
power will have a profound effect on women, parties and all of society, once
we get the feel for it.

Parties can no longer sideline female candidates as "less electable" The
voters will decide.

Candidates who speak strongly on controversial issues will be able to seek
support from a wider population.

If parties spend more advertising money on male candidates that will be
obvious to voters.

Since candidates will often be dependent on second choice votes from voters
who have someone else as their first choice, in order to get elected to one
of the multi-member seats, it will no longer pay to speak ill of other
candidates. The civil atmosphere and emphasis on issues will attract women
candidates and women supporters of candidates as players on the campaign

Women wishing to run as independents in order to keep their voice free or to
get on the ballot will have a reasonable chance to win.
This is highly significant because it will also tend to have the effect of
causing the parties to put women on their slates.

Women do not tend to have the networks that men have or the finances so
these capacitating factors will have to be addressed by the parties.

JEN SAYS, " The Citizens Assembly is a blueprint for the future of
democratic reform. The C.A.'s recommendation of BC STV is a seventh
generation solution. In 138 years of BC history, 20 years being one
generation, 138/20 = 7 years, there has never been any political decision
made by a group with full gender parity, this is a first.

One man and one woman from each of the 79 constituencies and one man and one
woman from the First Nations gave us this opportunity after 11 months of
self-education on the options. The Liberal government supported it with $5
million dollars but unfortunately with very little support for the final
critical phase of the project, the public education phase.

For now it's up to the grassroots to let the BC voters know that they have
this valuable chance to change the look, feel and outcomes of the democratic
process in British Columbia."
This message from Jen Fisher-Bradley democracy activist and candidate for Doctor BC in Alberni-Qualicum - Human Rights and Watershed defender, spent 51 days in jail to protect the Walbran Valley watershed.

From: Jen and Stephen Bradley < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >



Victoria Real Estate Board
Web: www.vreb.org

For more information contact:
Michael Sampson
Manager, Communications &
Business Conduct
Phone: (250) 385-7766

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

News Release
April 19, 2005
REALTORS? Focus on Housing Affordability And Property Rights in BC Election

Victoria area REALTORS? are joining with REALTORS? throughout the
province in focusing on affordability of housing and property rights in the
upcoming provincial election. Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) president
Gary McInnis notes that the Board supports the call by the British Columbia
Real Estate Association (BCREA) for all of BC's 14,000 REALTORS? to
participate in the upcoming election campaign.

"As a profession, we are non-partisan, but we are encouraging our members to participate in the political process with particular emphasis on issues that affect Quality of Life in our area."

McInnis notes that BCREA has identified affordability of housing and
property rights as two key issues and that it's important that local candidates
are informed and accountable on these matters.

McInnis notes that BCREA has called on candidates to take the following

*Resolve barriers to the affordability of housing. In a recent survey,
affordability was identified as the most important factor in choosing
where to live for 65 per cent of British Columbians.
McInnis says "Improving affordability will encourage investment in our area
and this in turn will keep the local housing market strong." McInnis adds that
through BCREA, REALTORS? are calling for a serious review of the Property
Transfer Tax which adds significantly to the cost of housing. The tax will
generate an estimated $600 million in government revenues in 2004-2005.

*Provide certainty by protecting private property owners' rights.
McInnis notes that when many British Columbians purchase property, they're
shocked to learn about limitations to their use of that property. "Rights to
property are not guaranteed either provincially or federally and all levels of
government continue to erode them without providing fair compensation."

It is impossible to simultaneously protect, and print on, ancient forests.
  Victoria Street Newz -  http://streetnewz.communitypipe.org


We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly. 

Margaret Atwood


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 April 2005 10:19

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