POLITICAL ACTION – NOT A CHOICE BUT A NECESSITY
towards seniors has changed during the last three years.
Public policy towards seniors was once benevolent, neutral and adhered
to a retirement social contract practised by all previous
administrations. The Gordon Campbell government has a public policy
towards seniors which is malevolent and by way of false economies has
brought about the destruction of the premise of seniors’ retirement
plans. These actions have forced the Council of Senior Citizens’
Organizations of BC to engage in a program of political action. This
change from political neutrality to one of partisan political action
has not been made lightly or on the spur of the moment. Our Executive
and Delegates come from all parts of the political spectrum and our
experiences with this provincial government over the past three years
have left us with no choice. COSCO has done everything in its power to
demonstrate to this government what negative and harmful effects their
policies have on the people of this province, and especially to
seniors. These policies are detailed on the LIST OF SHAME.
It is really hard to fathom what philosophy drives this government. It
is certainly not liberal, or social credit or social democrat. It would
appear that this government knows the price of everything but the value
of nothing. Not only are they socially barbaric in the way they handle
seniors relocating to care homes, but they are economically incompetent
in destroying, privatizing or selling the resources and infrastructure
of our province which are things we seniors helped to build under
previous administrations. What would W. A. C. Bennett say if he were
alive? We, as leaders of seniors, must do everything in our power to
bring about the defeat of the provincial Liberal government next
May. We are committed to the good and welfare of BC residents,
and especially to seniors.
It will also be very important for us to engage in a dialogue with the
Leader of the Opposition and to secure from her a strong commitment
that if elected to govern, her government would revert to a policy of
respect for the social contract they would have with seniors in
retirement. In addition her government would be urged to reverse the
Gordon Campbell policies which so negatively impact seniors today.
The defeat of the current provincial government is not a foregone
conclusion. Some very powerful interest groups, both inside and outside
the province, will do everything in their power to re-elect this
wrecking crew. Paid advertising is already praising and white-washing
this administration. As seniors you can overcome this propaganda by
talking with other seniors, your families and friends, discussing the
issues and helping COSCO to run an issue-based campaign.
The campaign to unseat the Campbell government has to start now. The
summer has dulled people’s senses and memories are short. These are
extraordinary times for seniors and we have to do everything in our
power to regain our right to retire with the knowledge that public
policy will not destroy our retirement plans. COSCO cannot do this
alone. We need your help.
COUNCIL OF SENIOR
CITIZENS’ ORGANIZATIONS OF BC
PUBLIC EDUCATION A SUCCESS STORY
After quipping about why he had to be called “Your Excellency”, John
Ralston Saul delivered a persuasive defence of Canadian public
education before an audience of 500 which packed the auditorium of
Magee Secondary School on September 20.
Beginning with a brief survey of the objectives of Canadian education
in the minds of Louis Lafontaine and Robert Baldwin two decades before
Confederation, Saul argued that we have always had a system that is
“our own”, reflecting a distinctive Canadian society which to-day has
much to offer a world struggling to accommodate diverse cultures in
workable political entities.
Canadian public education is successful, despite “the constant drone”
of attack, like “a bad Greek chorus” trying to convince
politicians and the public that it is a failure and too expensive, and
that parents who want the best for their children must send them to
private schools. (At one point, Saul noted that almost none of
Canada’s political, educational, financial or cultural leaders are
graduates of private schools.) Saul finds it extraordinary that in one
of the richest countries in the world in one of the most prosperous
periods in our history too many of us are being persuaded that we can’t
afford such “frills” as school libraries or librarians, art and music
programs, ESL, or enough textbooks to go around. Thus parents engage in
endless fund raising activities and/or pay special levies to keep
programs going, as is currently the case at Queen Elizabeth Elementary
School. Saul believes most parents feel uncomfortable about this
development and the resulting inequities that have no place in a
democratic and universal system of education.
According to Saul, educational systems in Canada are increasingly run
on inappropriate American models of corporate management, or
“meritocracy”, which is about getting to the top as fast as
possible. In the name of “excellence”, this ideology gradually
winnows out a growing pool of people whose diverse intelligences are
vital to the working of a democratic society. I was reminded of
hearing the great Canadian scholar, the late Northrop Frye (no enemy of
excellence!) say that a teacher’s greatest challenge and achievement is
the education of the “C” students who make up the bulk of the
population and on whom the perpetuation of civilization depends.
In Saul’s opinion the accounting systems used in the private sector
don’t work well when applied to education because they can’t measure
the immeasurable, which is a large part of what happens in education,
the Fraser Institute notwithstanding. In private sector
accounting there are three columns: money in, money out, and
investment. Educational financing seems to have only the first two
columns, obscuring the fact that education is not just a cost but is
also an investment.
Although Saul did not make specific references to policies of the
Campbell government nobody in the audience could doubt the
applicability of his remarks to the current state of public education
in this province. Let’s get on with saving this essential
Professor Emerita (History) UBC
Is It Healthy for Democracy
This argument that the provincial Liberals trot
out about the NDP being run by labour is getting kind of old.
If you look at the contributions that have gone into the NDP party over
the last five years, unions have contributed just under $1.2 million,
while during the same period individuals have contributed $11.88
million. Compare that to the Liberals who over that five year period
have received $18.5 million from businesses and corporations, and only
$8.15 million from individuals, and you can see why the Liberals
are trying to divert the attention back to the NDP's affiliation with
labour. Which by the way resolved at their last leadership convention
to study the affiliation provisions with labour and report back at the
next convention which will be held in the fall of 2005.
So while the Liberals joined at the hip by our media continue to make a
huge issue out of this, they miss the fact that NDP membership has
almost doubled in the last year because disenchanted British
Columbians, who probably voted for the Liberals last election, are not
happy with the arrogant attitude of this government. What we should
really be asking during this coming election is this: Is it healthy for
a democracy to have that kind of money influencing political
Freedom for Iraq Indeed!
Yes the US government says the Iraqi People should celebrate this
freedom, with their hand-picked clique of porkchoopers to lead the
government while the whole place remains under strict martial law.
The country's assets and infrastructure have been busted up and
parceled out to US corporations with insider ties to the Bush
Administration and the Republican Party.
The massive US invasion forces still control the entire country and are
subject to their own governance rules, and plan to stay there
indefinitely. Now these forces will determine who can run in the
upcoming “election,” and what the rules will be.
It’s clear with all the well-documented fraud, screw-ups and
mis-information in the last US election, that government can’t even
hold a real free election on its own soil, never mind anyone else’s.
That’s freedom US-style for ya.
No Truth In Government
As a self-employed
small business owner I can tell you that there isn't
a middle income person out there who isn't weathering tough times in
BC--and that things aren't going to improve, thanks in part to Gordon
Campbell and his Liberal Howe Street clowns.
From reading the papers and watching TV, I used to think BC was a
have-not province because of the NDP government. Well, they lied. It
wasn't. In fact, I didn't realize how good we had it with the NDP.
We are now a have-not province, thanks to all the wage cuts, lay-offs,
tax INCREASES (my taxes went up thanks to Gordie), and give-aways to
his rich buddies, and the hospital and school closures.
Everyone I know is now way over their head in debt, especially if they
bought a house. If interest rate do go up, and they are going to do
that sooner or later and it is stupid to pretend they aren't, so many
people will be hooped, maybe even including me.
These Liberals are just a bunch of corrupt lying bastards out to line
their own pockets with everyone else' money and I am just so goddamned
pissed off I was suckered into voting for them.
Nothing Communist about
20th Century “Communism”
Frank Sterle’s letter (“Communist” Countries just as
Capitalist—Columbia Journal October) quite accurately points out the
true nature of the Chinese government and economy, except for the
statement that the only thing “communist” about China is its occupation
The fact is there is nothing communist about that either. Despite all
the misuse of terms in the 20th Century, historically, the term
communist comes from the word commune, which were democratically
self-governing cooperative townships across Europe that were based on
equal rights and mutually beneficial development.
This is mainly why historically communists have been opposed to all
wars and aggression, seeing these as inherent problems of capitalism.
It’s really an historic tragedy that in the 20th century the term
communism was re-defined to represent various twisted forms of state
capitalism (which Lenin himself admitted was being set up in post-1917
Russia) with stifling corporate bureaucracies enriching themselves via
state owned companies and Swiss bank accounts, while exploiting and
oppressing people in the same manner as any other elite.