NDP Wins  Two By-Elections


By Jim Lipkovits

New NDP MLAsLower Mainland voters pointed the way for the rest of the province  when they  changed political direction in the usually conservative ridings of Chilliwack-Hope and  Port Moody-Coquitlam  on Thusday  April 19th.  Most significant was the result in the Fraser Valley constituency of Chilliwack-Hope,  part of BC’s small but determined “Bible Belt”. The seat was vacated with the retirement of  four-term  Liberal Barry Penner and  in a surprising upset,   New Democrat  Gwen O’Mahony  took the Chilliwack-Hope riding with 41% of the vote,  up from  her 33% support in 2009.   She is presently a health care advocate with specialized training in biochemistry and microbiology and  was working  at a home for adults with developmental disabilities: managing budgets, training, and policy development for organizations. "I've been knocking on doors and I'm hearing from so many people telling me they're worried about overcrowding and waits in our hospitals, extreme delays in our court system, cuts to our provincial park services, and attacks on the dignity and well-being of seniors needing care," said O'Mahony, "They're tired of a Liberal government that doesn't listen to British Columbians."

Prior to election day, the local media hacks seemed to consider the race as a battle primarily between the Liberals and the upstart Conservative Party but  the only real contest between them  was for second and third place finishes.  NDP supporters rallied to push O’Mahony  over  her 2009 vote.  As she reflected on a hard-fought campaign. “I am so proud that the voters in Chilliwack-Hope said  yes to the NDP and to positive change.”
On the other hand,  Joe Trasolini, popular four-term Mayor of Port Moody swept the Port Moody-Coquitlam  riding with a commanding 54.4% of the popular vote. 


Log exports: waving the white flag of economic defeat
By Ben Parfitt

Log ExportsAs more and more raw, unprocessed logs leave British Columbia’s coast in ocean freighters bound for the far side of the world, a common refrain from some in our forest industry is that we have no choice.
Because workers in mills in China are paid so little, log buyers there can afford to pay more for our logs than domestic buyers pay. The result, we’re told, is that we have no alternative but to sell our logs overseas.
But there’s much to suggest that such a defeatist argument doesn’t hold water, and that the real problem is a lack of investment in mills here at home.
Take the Ladysmith sawmill, for example. On a recent bright, winter morning I found myself driving from Victoria up the southeast coast of Vancouver Island to the mill, where I met Arnold Bercov, president of Local 8 of the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada.
In 2010, the mill owned by Western Forest Products was dangerously close to shutting its doors for good. It had been dormant at that point for more than two years due to the sharp decline in continental lumber demand triggered by the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States.

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Inequality on the rise under BC Liberals

B.C. and Alberta have most unequal after-tax incomes in the country, says Canada West Foundation

By Jim Sinclair

British Columbia’s worsening record on income inequality – that is, the growing disparity between the income earned by our province’s wealthiest families, and the rest of us – was highlighted in a disturbing report released late last year by the Canada West Foundation.

Based in Calgary, the Canada West Foundation is hardly a left-wing or labour-friendly think-tank.

The chair is Jim Dinning, a former Alberta finance minister (under Tory premier Ralph Klein) who last year was chosen by the BC Liberals to head a so-called “Independent” commission to study – i.e., endorse and promote – the much-loathed Harmonized Sales Tax.

Dinning was named to the HST panel in January 2011, and weeks later, in April, he and Klein attended a special dinner so each could receive a ‘Tax Fighter Award” from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. B.C.’s news media chose to ignore the event.

At least four British Columbians with strong ties to the BC Liberal government sit on the foundation’s board....

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