I have been there and I know from where I speak; DO NOT trust the B.C. Liberals is an understatement, their smear campaign, a campaign of dirty tricks, a campaign of FAKE News, a campaign of Alternative Facts and a take no prisoner campaign, NOTHING is off the table.

You have to understand you the voters are a very real threat in this election, a threat to the well-being of the movers and shakers, a threat to the well heeled and a threat to the power brokers in our society. Theirs is a campaign of maintaining the status quo, “Move along nothing happens here”. In their view “the end justifies the means”!

Knowing what moves them from the inside, I don’t think we have seen anything yet. When they see the power of government slipping away from them (and by their actions recently ie Tolls, MSP Premiums and more) they have through their DAILY POLLING, they are reacting like caged rats and responding accordingly! I have seen this before up close from a personal perspective.

As a worker, a candidate, an executive member, a life member, a Convention Plenary Chair, a campaign manager, a Central Campaign Chair and a candidate for Social Credit, I believed in our party and our philosophy. The B.C. Liberal Party grew out of Social Credit’s demise as the free enterprise option in B.C. It was the best party money could buy at the time by Gordon Campbell. The takeover of the B.C. Liberal Party coupled with his adoption of some back room boys from Social Credit was a harbinger of things to come. You are seeing the results of that today. Many of those that were adopted by Campbell from Social Credit were the problem previously and have brought their jaded views, opinions and self-serving agendas over to the B.C. Liberal organization. As bad as it became under Campbell, the Clark era has been a steady and steep decline into the ditch! The relentless unethical, immoral and untrustworthy actions by this government have caused me to speak up, get involved and say enough is enough! This is why I say “Hell has frozen over” I am voting NDP for the first time in my life. I am 71 years old and have voted in every election since I was eligible. It is long past due that we put our Province ahead of party. This Province is quickly slipping away from the Province that I want and wanted for my children and grandkids!

Watching that debate the other night and listening to Christy Clark was like listening to somebody WHO JUST DOESN’T GET IT, she is living in her world, certainly not ours! Her answers to questions surrounding housing affordability, poverty, children in care, the softwood lumber dispute added to her claims of superior economic job performance and financial management lead me to believe she is drinking her own bathwater, she is NOT dealing with real facts but she has created her very own ALTERNATIVE FACTS! We have seen this routine south of the border.

A B.C. Liberal Campaign of Alternative Facts!

So what to expect? Well the BC Liberal ads are flooding the airways and Social Media, most pointing the NDP record of the 90s, RIGHT? Their Campaign Creed is to spread fear and don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story!

Well lets step back and look at some Fact Checking of Christy Clark’s statements –

Here are 15 quick examples to illustrate the point:

Item: Christy Clark made stuff up about BC having the lowest middle class taxes. During last week’s BC leadership debate, Christy Clark repeatedly claimed BC has the “lowest middle class taxes in the country.”

One small problem: Clark’s own budget documents show BC’s middle class families actually pay more taxes than several other Canadian provinces, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.

Item: Christy Clark made stuff up about BC leading “the country in job creation”. Back in 2013, Clark took credit for leading “the country in jobs creation.”

One small problem: a closer look at BC’s rate of job growth showed the province was actually ninth overall – the second worst job creation record in Canada.

Item: Christy Clark made stuff up about “good paying jobs”. Despite Clark’s frequent claims on the 2017 election trail about creating “good paying jobs,” once again a closer look paints a far less rosy picture. 

One small problem: Data from Statistics Canada shows that of the 72,000 new jobs created in 2016, more than half were part-time. BC now has the largest share of part-time workers of any province in Canada.

Item: Christy Clark made stuff up about BC’s job situation.

One small problem: Despite the impression Clark creates on BC’s job situation, in reality, a high number of jobs created since 2011 have been part-time jobs in urban areas – at the same time, other regions in the province have seen the number of jobs decrease.

“In some regions, like the north and Interior, the total number of jobs that exist today are lower than the number of jobs before the (2008-09) recession,” notes CCPA senior economist Iglika Ivanova. Unemployment is in the 10% – 12% area.

Item: Christy Clark made stuff up suggesting a year is 13 months long. In 2012, Clark claimed BC had created “57,000 jobs over the last year, more than any other province in Canada.”

One small problem: To arrive at that number, Clark included 13 months of data to exaggerate her yearly job creation record. On Earth, years are typically only 12 months long.

Item: Christy Clark made stuff up about “controlling government spending”. In TV ads last fall, Clark claimed “controlling government spending is really the foundation, is the bedrock of what we’re trying to do.”

One small problem:

When Social Credit left office in 1991, the provincial debt was $20 Billion.

When the NDP left office in 2001, they left a surplus of $1.2 Billion and a debt of $33.8 Billion.

B.C. Liberal debt load as of this year is $167.7 Billion ($66.7 Billion plus an additional $101.1 Billion in contractual obligations. BC Hydro etc.)

Item: Christy Clark made stuff up about creating $1 trillion in economic activity. “It’s no fantasy!” claimed the 2013 BC Liberal election platform, explaining how Clark’s government would generate $1 trillion in economic activity and create more than 100,000 jobs.

One small problem: After the election, four pages of jobs data vanished from a report published by Clark’s Labor Ministry. And four years later, Clark’s dream of a $1 trillion LNG industry and 100,000 never made the leap from “fantasy” to reality.

Item: Christy Clark said she’d create 100,000 jobs? More like 200 or 300 (she made that up too)

One small problem: Speaking of Clark’s dream of creating 100,000 LNG jobs, as it turns out, even estimates from the industry’s proponents showed that at best it would only create jobs for 200 to 300 full-time permanent workers.

Item: Christy Clark’s finance minister made stuff up about the NDP platform.

One small problem: BC Liberal Finance Minister Mike de Jong recently held a train wreck of a press conference after reporter Mike Smyth asked him why he was attacking the NDP for things they never promised and never included in their platform. Clark’s finance whiz continued to self-destruct when reporters pointed out that one of the positions de Jong was attacking the NDP over was actually the same position the BC Liberals had previously proposed.

Item: Christy Clark made stuff up about preparing kids for the digital economy. In an effort to show the province was preparing for the economy of the future, Clark announced that every child in the province would learn how to code, proudly declaring “BC is the first jurisdiction in North America to require coding in classrooms.”

One small problem: Clark’s Education Minister Mike Bernier later told the Vancouver Sun that there is “no additional money coming from the province” to actually support any kind of coding program, leading the Sun to conclude Clark’s pledge was yet another “alternative fact.”

Item: Christy Clark made stuff up about creating 10,000 forestry jobs. In Clark’s first year as Premier, her government boasted they had re-opened 27 mills and created 10,000 forestry jobs since 2009.

One small problem: The trouble with that claim is only 24 mills had opened, not 27, while an additional 23 mills had closed for a net loss of 1 – a slight exaggeration. Data also showed the true number of jobs created was fewer than half of what Clark’s government claimed.

Item: Clark’s government made stuff up about the deficit. Back in 2012, Clark’s government stated that they had posted a $1.8-billion deficit for the 2011/12 fiscal year.

One small problem: According to BC’s Auditor-General, the deficit was half-a-billion dollars bigger than Clark’s government said it was.

Item: Christy Clark made up 3 different estimates in 3 days. How much is the BC government spending to combat fentanyl overdoses? That depends which day you ask the question

One small problem: Asked late last year, Clark said it was more than $10 million. The next day? $15 million. By Thursday, her estimate had nearly tripled.

Item: Christy Clark’s government made stuff up about BC’s natural resources. How bountiful are BC’s of natural riches?

One small problem: Clark’s government claimed BC “has more than an estimated 2,900 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of marketable shale gas reserves” – that’s more methane than the entire United States.

But according to a report from a former Natural Resources Canada expert, Clark’s government exaggerated the size of the buried treasure by quite a bit. The actual amount of natural gas is estimated at one sixty-fifth what Clark’s government claimed it was.

Some further fact checking of Liberal statements?

Job Creation – Three top economists state that the employment growth Christy Clark claims credit for was more “Lucky”, “Serendipitous” and “Cyclical.” Economists quoted are Iglika Ivaova, Senior Economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Helmut Pastrick, Chief Economist Central 1 Credit Union and Benjamin Tal, the Deputy Chief Economist of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Author of a recent CIBC Economics Report “On the Quality of Employment in Canada”. The consensus of their views are as follows:

Item -What were the main reasons for job creation? Low Interest Rates and the 75 cent dollar!

Item – Most jobs created? The service industry, tourism, TV and film.

Item – Job prospects? Slim to none outside of the big cities, they are actually losing jobs in the interior and the north.

Item – How much could be due to provincial programs? VERY LITTLE!

Item – Increase in jobs? Mainly due to market forces.

NOTE: As I have said before which is pretty well backed up by the professional economists, governments receive far too much credit and far too much blame relating to the performance of their economies. As stated above, the Liberals benefitted by low interest rates and the 75 cent dollar and add to that the housing boom that they have let get out of control.

The NDP Record:

According to a BC Business Council study called “A Decade Review of British Columbia’s Economic Performance” the following stand out –

In GDP Growth:

Social Credit 2.12%, the BC Liberals 2.36% and the NDP 2.72%. The NDP were the best of the three.

In Job Creation:

BC Liberals 1.58%, Social Credit 1.91% and the NDP 2.17%. The NDP were the best of the three.

In Debt:

The NDP Record on Debt according to the Huffington Post feature on the lost decade tells another story –

When Social Credit left office in 1991, the provincial debt was $20 Billion.

When the NDP left office in 2001, they left a surplus of $1.2 Billion and a debt of $33.8 Billion.

The B.C. Liberal debt load as of this year is $167.7 Billion ($66.7 Billion plus an additional $101.1 Billion in contractual obligations.)

A B.C. Liberal Campaign of Dirty Tricks!

As I said I have been there, while I was putting this BLOG Post together my memory went back to an incident in the 1991 election.

In the infamous Provincial election campaign that I ran in for Social Credit in 1991 we were severely slumping in the polls, so our esteemed Central Campaign, headed by none other than Patrick Kinsella, (remember him, part of the B.C. Liberal group and good friend of Rich Coleman Deputy Liberal Campaign Chair) had an official looking tax invoice sent to ALL residents in the Province of B.C., unknown to any of us candidates before-hand, FIVE DAYS before ELECTION DAY. This very official looking tax notice purported to represent the cost of an NDP Government to each household in the Province SHOULD THE NDP BE ELECTED. Well the reaction was swift and severe. The public stormed our campaign offices throwing THESE NOTICES at our staff (ask my wife), Social Credit was reduced to a rump group of 7 Seats, the NDP were swept into Government and many of us candidates went to war with the Party Executive and the Party insiders of the day AGAINST THE ACTIONS OF THE Central Campaign. (It is interesting that some of those same insiders are still hanging around the B.C. Liberal Party to this day.)

Item – Well, as we would have expected comes a B.C. Business Council / Business in Vancouver Op-Ed feature by Jock Finlayson and Ken Peacock doing their best to instill fear into voters hearts by predicting a significant marginal tax rate IF the NDP are elected. Well folks this is nothing more than a manufactured set up by the movers and shakers, a threat by the well healed and a threat by the power brokers in our society. This is taking another avenue for the fake tax invoice scheme of the 90s Don’t be fooled!

This op-ed is doing nothing BUT drawing assumptions (to assume makes an ass out of u and me) from an NDP platform that has been fully costed, a platform that our finance Minister Mike DeJong, while trying, COULD NOT make a case against it and it was well publicized that he looked foolish trying. Suggesting your tax rate is going to go up by committing to the Pattullo Bridge falls into the lies, gossip and innuendo category. We are talking capital spending which would fall into long term debt, not something that is paid for through General Revenue. We might add it would be the same as the $3.2 Billion Massey Bridge project the Liberals are planning that the NDP will cancel. The NDP platform is taking the B.C. Liberal Budget and changing priorities. Now one just has to look at the B.C. Liberal record of increasing our debt to see a train wreck in the process. It is too bad the B.C. Business Council would not come out with an opinion on our debt ravaged province, but then again it would be against their personal self-serving interests.

Item – The B.C. Liberals have an old beaten down truck with signs all over it shadowing John Horgan’s tour bus. It speaks to a NO Holes barred campaign of doing whatever it takes.

Item – TV and Radio Ads – Loaded with Alternative Facts (just the new age term for lies). It is unfortunate that we didn’t have legislation surrounding truth in advertising, if that was the case it would submarine the B.C. Liberal Campaign.

Item – Quick Wins Ethnic Outreach Scandal – The actions of the B.C. Liberals beginning in 2013 dealing with Ethnic Outreach resulted in resignations of Public Servants and a Cabinet Minister in 2013 and Election Act Charges in 2014 against two staff members of the B.C. Liberal Party. They engaged in using government time and resources to engage with ethnic communities for partisan purposes. Charges to two Liberal staffers with violations of the election act as well as failing to disclose financial contributions. A longtime Liberal operative was also charged by the RCMP in 2016 with breach of trust. Most of this happened AFTER the last election, has anything changed? NOT! It is still before the courts!

Item – “Pay-to-Play” “Best Government Money Can Buy” “Cash for Access” “The Wild West of Canadian Political Cash” – You pick the term you like, they all fit. The B.C. Liberals are currently under RCMP Investigation with a Special Prosecutor appointed!

ItemBREAKING NEWS – Re-introducing a Value Added HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) –  I include this as part of the B.C. Liberal Dirty Tricks Campaign because it was innocently raised by a B.C. Liberal back bencher while in a Chamber of Commerce all candidates meeting. I say a Dirty Trick because it was obviously intended to be kept quiet during the campaign. I say obviously because the Premier was quick to say that an HST would not be introduced while she was Premier BUT she was not against introducing a Value Added Sales Tax which is similar to a General Sales Tax. A little education for our Premier, Wikepedia states “The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is a consumption tax in Canada. It is used in provinces where both the federal goods and services tax (GST) and the regional provincial sales tax (PST) have been combined into a single value added sales tax! Clark adds “Clark says the party is not considering bringing in HST but would look at a value added tax”. What the hell is the difference – Value Added? General Sales Tax? – either one, they are intended to harmonize the PST and the GST! The result of introducing this tax would be a substantial annual impact on the average consumer as many more products and services would be impacted by this move. UPDATE: Now, only after considerable heat came out and said the answer is NO to the HST and a VAT, however she still suggests some kind of Tax Reform? Well, in her comments above, does that not translate into some kind of manufactured “General Sales Tax?” After the lies from the Liberals in the past (Gordon Campbell saying NO before an election, and implementing it after) there is absolutely NO ROOM TO TRUST THE B.C. Liberals!

Summary: So nothing has changed. We are seeing a sleezy campaign by the B.C. Liberals led from within by some of the group I had the unfortunate opportunity of having to work with years ago. But what has been generated by this group of B.C. Liberals is over the top! They have taken very questionable actions by government to NEW heights. It is clear that now we are in the last week of the campaign that they are pulling out ALL stops, BUT as a life-long free enterpriser I can tell you, DO NOT TRUST THE B.C. LIBERALS. In this referendum (the 2017 election on May 9th) results in the election of the B.C. Liberals, ALL bets are off. They would see that election as your approval of their wide spread wrong doing. Trust me, we have seen this in spades in the past.

Choices? Vote Split? Green Party? – Now at this stage in the process (last week) there is absolutely no room to gamble and vote for the Green Party. You may or may not like to hear that statement. I know the passion and dedication taxpayers put into their cause in support of their favored party, I get it, I have been there for decades. The poll of Monday this week lays that out the problem in spades. The Greens are only at 12% Province wide and there is no question that the vast majority of their votes would otherwise go to the NDP! The fact is there is NO chance for them to be government and being a minority back bencher gives you nothing. Any gamble that they could form the balance of power in a minority government is just too risky, we cannot afford that gamble.

BEFORE YOU VOTE – Please consider your vote very carefully and the ramifications IF the B.C. Liberals get a stamp of approval. All bets are off if that is the case!

 

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to the Province, the Region and the Municipality, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

 

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

 

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

The residents of this region are very fortunate, thanks to a previous Government who protected and saved the Fraser Valley Passenger Corridor (Known as the Interurban Corridor) for Passenger Service for the people of B.C., in perpetuity at NO COST! This is THE common sense transportation option READY NOW for the fast growing Fraser Valley, South of the Fraser. The estimated population by 2025 (Provincial statistics) will be 1,313,732.

Want to know the full story and what it looks like? Click on “S. Fraser Community Rail” on the bar above and then click on the video to start. It is a 25 minute professionally produced video by Shaw Cable sponsored by the South of Fraser Community Rail Task Force of 2009 utilizing complimentary helicopter services between the Pattullo Bridge and Chilliwack. It paints the complete picture of what we are missing and what we need!

NOTE: The South of Fraser Community Rail Task Force was terminated by the current Mayor, Jack Froese, in the Township of Langley after I left office in 2011. We can only assume this was per the wishes of the B.C. Liberal Government as they are closely aligned with the current Mayor and were not thrilled by our activity. I also have it on good authority that I am not very popular in CP Rail’s board room, as we renewed the rights for Passenger Service a short four months BEFORE they were due to expire forever. This is probably another reason why the Task Force was not extended. FYI – CP have been large contributors to the B.C. Liberal Party, just saying!     

These passenger rights were protected at the time of the sale of rolling stock and tracks to Itel of Chicago in 1988 the forerunner to Southern Rail. To allow the re-establishing of this service between the Pattullo Bridge and Chilliwack, the passenger rights were renewed on the joint section thanks to B.C. Hydro and South of Fraser Municipal Councils in 2009. These passenger rights, previously unknown, were a very significant find on behalf of the people of B.C.

This corridor was designed for the movement of PEOPLE, goods, services and the opening up of the Fraser Valley (electrification and logging) over 100 years ago, decommissioned over 50 years ago BUT protected for passenger service 29 years ago by the Provincial Government of the day at NO COST!

We are looking at a once in a lifetime opportunity to establish a transportation link who’s net value to the citizens of the Province of B.C. and to specifically the lower mainland is PRICELESS, you do the math.

The Liberals have said no but the NDP have displayed a vision for today into the future in support of setting up a South of Fraser Community Rail Task Force comprised of all transportation stakeholders. This Passenger Rail Corridor would serve the residents of Delta, City of Surrey, Langley City, City of Abbotsford, City of Chilliwack over 1.3 million citizens, the Abbotsford International Airport (530,000 per year) and numerous Industrial Parks. This cost effective service, to and from the Fraser Valley and Vancouver will connect seven post-secondary institutions; Simon Fraser University Surrey Center, Kwantlen Polytechnic University Campuses in Newton, Cloverdale and Langley, Trinity Western University in Langley, the University of the Fraser Valley Abbotsford (UFV) and the Canada Education Park in Chilliwack; The estimated daily student enrollment and staff at these institutions number over 51,000, currently these institutions have inadequate or no transportation services.

All of this, over 99.23km, at a cost that is 1/2 of the proposed cost to go 18km from Surrey Center to Langley City.  

WHY? Here are the Benefits!

Very Cost Effective

99.23 kms from Scott Road to Chilliwack that is HALF the Cost of the projected Surrey Town Center to Langley City (18.1 km) down Fraser Highway!

1/10 the cost per km over Skytrain or Light Rail down Fraser Highway!

99.23 kms from Scott Road to Chilliwack that is FREE to the Province for passenger service (no user fees) unlike the Westcoast Express which costs millions of taxpayer dollars in user fees to Canadian Pacific (CP) per year!

Protects The Environment

Eliminates the need to clear cut a large amount of the Green Timbers Urban Forest in Surrey to run Light Rail down the Fraser Highway as currently planned by Translink!

Protection of the environment, reducing the number of cars within the Fraser Valley air shed. (A well-known major issue for at least 6 months of every year!)

Protection of the environment utilizing NEW European Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology!

Boosts Economic Growth

Directly BOOSTS economic growth through the low cost movement of residents South of the Fraser!

Direct access to the Abbotsford International Airport for passenger and employment access up and down the valley!

Creation of 1000’s of good paying jobs over a 5 – 10 year implementation plan!

Provides Ease of Movement

Would support and form an integral part of a coordinated and comprehensive transportation network for 1.3 million South of Fraser residents and a combined close to 3 million residents to be able to move between North and West Vancouver, Vancouver out to Chilliwack using Seabus, Skytrain and the latest in Light Rail Technology!

Connecting SEVEN University Campuses and 51,000 Students and Staff South of the Fraser between Surrey and Chilliwack.

Connects 27 Communities, University Campuses, Industrial Parks, Airports and Special Interest venues!

Improves Access to Advanced Education Institutions

There are SEVEN University Campuses South of the Fraser who’s major obstacle today is very limited or NO transportation access for staff and students. A Community Light Rail service from the Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack would advance student’s access to Post Secondary Institutions. Through a Spine and Rib system (Bus feeder system the same as Sky Train) access would be gained to Simon Fraser University Surrey Center, Kwantlen Polytechnic University Campuses in Newton, Cloverdale and Langley, Trinity Western University in Langley, the University of the Fraser Valley Abbotsford (UFV) and the Canada Education Park in Chilliwack; The estimated daily student enrollment and staff at these institutions currently number over 51,000, with with very limited to no transportation for students and staff.

Promotes Fraser Valley Tourism

Open up the Fraser Valley and it’s vast number of attractions from Parks, Wineries, local annual celebrations, Museums and Heritage Sites to Tourism with access from Vancouver to Chilliwack!

Summary:

It is long past time that we focus our attention on an affordable, effective and state of the art community passenger service in light rail that is featured in most progressive countries throughout the world at a fraction of the cost of Sky Train technology. A NEW (environmentally friendly) Hydrogen driven passenger service network would be an option moving forward. All of this on a corridor that is already in place at NO user cost!

Once again this well established transportation corridor would re-connect the municipalities and Cities of Delta, Surrey, Langley City, Langley Township, Abbotsford and Chilliwack by rail that was decommissioned back in 1950. Remember the NDP initiatives Sea Bus and West Coast Express, they are all popular and still going strong!

DO YOU WANT RAIL PASSENGER SERVICE PATTULLO BRIDGE TO CHILLIWACK ?

VOTE FOR THE NDP CANDIDATE IN YOUR RIDING SOUTH OF THE FRASER ON MAY 9th !

 

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to the Province, the Region and the Municipality, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

As I said in my previous post the Clark / Coleman B.C. Liberal Government has lost their Moral and Ethical right and ability to govern! Under the leadership (lack of) by Clark / Coleman or Coleman / Clark – they have become Morally and Ethically BANKRUPT!

This is a difficult decision, BUT IT IS THE RIGHT DECISION!

For the record since 1975 I have been a worker, a member, a constituency executive member, a constituency Vice President, a President, Central Campaign Chair, Campaign Chair, a Whistler leadership convention delegate, a Provincial Convention Plenary Chair, fundraiser and a Provincial Candidate, all of this with Social Credit. I was a life member. I had been appointed by Bill Bennett to the Delta Police Board for six years!

My decision to go public with supporting the NDP is THE result of the unending arrogance, bullying, unethical and immoral actions of those in this government. They have taken governance in our Province to a NEW LOW, a place where no self-respecting free enterpriser should be comfortable.

By any measure the B.C. Liberals score the lowest of all time on ETHICS, MORALITY and NOT BEING TRUSTWORTHY!

Now, I have heard from some old friends and allies who want to continue to use the old fear tactic and compare all NDP governments with the same brand in other parts of the country and in our past. Well folks that thinking is bordering on insanity – should we compare this Liberal Government with that of Ontario? Can we compare the Christy Clark Government with that of Bill Bennett NOT even close! As I said in my earlier posts, Governments get far too much blame and credit for their actions. Different regions of our country have been hit economically at different times for different reasons, that is a fact! I am a Conservative federally but contrary to popular belief the problems in Alberta started under the Conservative Party, long before the NDP. That was the case of the Conservatives being in too long, NOT truly renewing, becoming so arrogant that the public said NO MORE!  

So we knew this election campaign was going to get dirty and it is, just look at the Liberal Ads. A tactic that I find reprehensible (and I have seen most) is this truck the Liberals have following the NDP Campaign Bus around with banners and print material full of lies. Well this tactic reflects the panic currently within the Liberal ranks but it is also a reflection on Rich Coleman and his bullying style of politics. Personal attacks on candidates, is that what this campaign has come down to? Disgusting! Coleman is the Liberal Campaign Co-Chair so he must be behind these actions! Bluster, threats and bullying is all this man knows. Given the Liberals actions of dirty politics it reminds me of an incident that I experienced first-hand as a candidate. A look back is in order!

In the infamous Provincial election campaign that I ran in for Social Credit in 1991 we were severely slumping in the polls, so our esteemed Central Campaign, headed by none other than Patrick Kinsella, (remember him, part of the B.C. Liberal group and good friend of Rich Coleman Deputy Liberal Campaign Chair) had an official looking tax invoice sent to ALL residents in the Province of B.C., unknown to any of us candidates before-hand, FIVE DAYS before ELECTION DAY. This very official looking tax notice purported to represent the cost of an NDP Government to each household in the Province SHOULD THE NDP BE ELECTED. Well the reaction was swift and severe. The public stormed our campaign offices throwing THESE NOTICES at our staff (ask my wife), Social Credit was reduced to a rump group of 7 Seats, the NDP were swept into Government and many of us candidates went to war with the Party Executive and the Party insiders of the day AGAINST THE ACTIONS OF THE Central Campaign. (It is interesting that some of those same insiders are still hanging around the B.C. Liberal Party to this day.)

So to today’s actions by the Liberal Government and their campaign of BS, FEAR, BULLYING and INTIMIDATION – All of this fits the B.C. Liberal mentality, their bullying, their fear of defeat and their reputation, all, given his position authored and led by Rich Coleman! They are operating under the theory the best defense is a good offence.

Their Campaign worked in 2013, DON’T let it work in 2017!!

Remember the promises of 2013 about paying down debt – a lie, DEBT increased by over $10 Billion! Remember the promise of a Prosperity Fund fed by Five LNG Plants that would be up and running led by Rich Coleman, “Minister of Gas” – a lie, NOT ONE under construction!

And the B.C. Liberals want to talk about prudent fiscal management? If it wasn’t for lies they would have nothing to say at all!!! They don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story!

Following my previous post’s list and detail of reasons why we shouldn’t vote this corrupt and unethical government in, I will continue adding to that list but first I will remind everyone of the opinion of two other very prominent free enterprisers plus that of the Tyee – just in case you missed the links in the previous post.

Martyn Brown was former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell’s long serving Chief of Staff, the top strategic advisor to three provincial party leaders, and a former Deputy Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment in British Columbia. I knew Martin from my days with Social Credit. I have shared a link (below) to one of his six very professional writings on reasons to defeat the B.C. Liberal Government. The following is titled “Prosecuting the B.C. Liberals” published in the Georgia Straight.

http://www.straight.com/news/889391/martyn-brown-prosecuting-bc-liberals

The Tyee – Published a piece titled B.C. Liberal Campbell Falsehoods Scandals, the link is below:

https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/04/03/BC-Liberal-Campbell-Falsehoods-Scandals/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=030417

Rafe Mair former Socred Cabinet Minister – The Common Sense Canadian

http://commonsensecanadian.ca/

A recap of the list of issues in my previous BLOG Post:

Quick Wins Ethnic Outreach Scandal – Resulted in resignations and charges!

“Pay-to-Play” “Best Government Money Can Buy” “Cash for Access” “The Wild West of Canadian Political Cash” – Millions in foreign campaign contributions, broken election laws, RCMP investigating and a Special Prosecutor! “The Wild West of Canadian Political Cash” a claim Rich Coleman called laughable in a display of pure arrogance towards the public. How funny is it now Rich! From the National Post “The Best Government Money Can Buy” B.C.’s donor system is at odds with most of Canada. Quote from Rich Coleman (in Kamloops) “As far as I am concerned we haven’t changed anything, we’re not about to change anything.” Arrogance in it’s purest form, he is a poster boy for arrogance!

Clark received $50,000 per year from the Liberal Party, for what? (She received $300,000.) For being Premier, no she gets paid very well for that. For attending fundraisers, public and private events, that must be the answer. She, Coleman and the gang didn’t see anything wrong with it until the heat was raised and she asked the party to cancel the stipend and replace it with a reimbursement of expenses. Now, one has to wonder what that will total?

American donors banded together and gave $60,000 for Christy Clark to keep the Grizzly Trophy Hunt. Under pressure she recently banned the hunt in the Great Bear Rain Forest, but is still on in the rest of B.C.

Tore up legally binding contract with the Health Employees Union (HEU)! – Broke a duly negotiated contract!

Dismantled legally binding B.C. Teacher’s Federation Contract – 14 years in court, Supreme Court of Canada rules verbally in favor of BCTF in a half an hour (unheard of)!

Misrepresenting facts on energy crisis re Run of River Power – Set up contracts for Run of River Power with contracts costing the Public (YOU) twice the rate of conventional power in a buy back scheme with B.C. Hydro! Making friends wealthy!

Interference and bullying of Municipal Governments and Regional District Board Members: In the Township of Langley on issues such as Mufford Cresc, Brown’s Pit, Landfill on Ag. Land and no P3 as promised to the Public on the Langley Events Center.

Interference and bullying of Municipal Governments on efficiently and effectively managing and running Translink: The Evergreen Line Funding and the Mufford Crescent fight.

Health Firing Scandal: In what has to be the most disgusting acts of this Provincial Government, eight health researchers were fired in 2012, one committed suicide after this government publicly alleged the mishandling of sensitive data and contracting irregularities. The Province stated that every one of them was under RCMP investigation! That turned out to be a lie and much more.

Rich Coleman – In Debate on this year’s “Speech from the Throne” talking about those on Social Assistance; Coleman gives a lecture about poor people in BC – “They are not as poor as people in third world countries”! “A single person on social assistance in BC is double the annual income as a person in the third world”. That was REALLY brilliant Rich, and you are elected to serve the public, all of the public? How disgusting! On property issues and land deals, see our previous post, just saying! Political interference in Municipal politics; Robo Calls, email to Metro Chair over a court appeal case RE Township of Langley (found through FOI and published in a previous BLOG Post) and much more.

When asked why the B.C. Liberals aren’t doing more on housing affordability, here’s what the Minister said “I guess some people just have to get up and whine every day”! I believe there was another comment from Minister Coleman that housing in the lower mainland was not that expensive? Well Minister Coleman you have lost touch with reality!

Obscene amount of taxpayer paid Pre Election Government Ads and funding announcements “Bribing the general public with our own money” – Auditor General states ads are too political, asks for changes. Expenditure on pro Liberal Government paid ads total around $15 million. There is a court challenge against the Liberal Party for repayment of those funds.

B.C. Rail Scandal (Remember that one?) – Liberals tell the public during an election campaign B.C. Rail won’t be sold – after the election they sign a 999 year lease. Yes they treated the public like they were a bunch of idiots. Court case and then a settlement before the case starts, due to a plea deal. Just in time to save some Ministers from having to testify. The smell still hangs over Victoria. FYI according to a report in the Vancouver Sun in 2013, BC Rail still exists with no trains, a short spur line by Roberts Bank and employs 20 executives and staff that collectively made nearly $4 million in 2012. (There is much more to be said on this one)

$3.2 Billion 10 Lane Massey Bridge Tunnel Replacement – With NO consultation or discussion Christy Clark comes out of nowhere promising this now infamous structure just before the 2013 election. Building a 10 lane bridge leading to a four lane highway and road system at an outrageous cost, why? An expansion of the tunnel would come at a fraction of the price.

Kinder Morgan Pipe Line – More Pay to Play / HUGE Environmental Risk – Kinder Morgan donates $771,000 to the B. C. Liberals, low and behold they get approval for the twinning of their Pipe Line which means an increase from 5 tankers a month to 34 per month through our pristine waters and through our harbor!!! The RISK will increase exponentially!

Deletegate – Christy Clarke Government was publicly chastised for their habit of triple deleting emails so as to have NO record of communication that should be available through the Freedom of Information Act.

Under the Liberals B.C. Hydro’s obligations have increased by + $74 Billion – (Rafe Mair / Common Sense Canadian) Under the B.C. Liberals B.C. Hydro’s real debt – including ALL contractual obligations – in constant dollars has increased by 1,337%, from $6 Billion in 2005 to $80.2 Billion today. (This total comes from Hydro’s most recent Annual Report 2016). And these people bill themselves as strong managers of the economy and business?

Under the Liberals True Debt has skyrocketed – (Rafe Mair / Common Sense Canadian) “Here are the real statistics as the B. C. Liberals claim to be delivering “balanced” budgets while the province’s financial obligations increased $72 billion in the last six years, more than the provincial debt in B.C.’s first 135 years! Liberals claim of a balanced budget relies on accounting fashioned to mislead voters. It results in absurd situations such as: keeping B.C. Hydros’ huge debt off the government books while including “dividends” from B.C. Hydro as revenue, although the utility has to borrow the money shifted into provincial accounts; and dividing expenditures into ordinary (operating) and extraordinary (capital) expense, while counting only the former as a budgetary expense.”

Hydro’s debt presents a RISK to B. C.’s credit rating: Moody’s Report!

In the 2013 election campaign, Christy Clark, Rich Coleman and the gang ran on a Debt Free B.C. slogan!

And they are talking about the NDP?

Liberals Post Private Data on their web-site – then accuse NDP of hacking their system: In an unbelievable action Christy Clark blames the NDP for hacking the Liberal Computer system and then finds the Liberals had posted the private data in question on their web-site. She claims that the RCMP will investigate, but after finding out the facts there is NO public apology. She leaves an apology in a phone message. A disgusting act by a Premier, she is in over her head.

Bus Passes for the disabled – On the IMMORAL SIDE the Clark Government clawed back discounted Bus Passes for over 55,000 disabled British Columbians. They had to pay $579. More!

Summary

We could go on and on and on but in closing lets get to the NDP Platform just released. Now remember, as a member of the Free Enterprise movement for decades I have railed against the NDP and their platform. There was always more ammunition than we needed for our attacks. Well I have to tell you that I have gone through this platform in detail and I like what I see. It brings ethics and morality back to Victoria. It brings Fiscal responsibility back recognizing that the Liberals have gutted so many areas of our social infrastructure there is an absolute need to address the now significant shortfall in many areas. But you certainly don’t have to take my word for it, the following is a feature Martyn Brown, Gordon Campbells Chief of Staff wrote in the Georgia Straight. It is titled –

“On balance, John Horgan’s platform works for me” Here is the link –

http://www.straight.com/news/895691/martyn-brown-balance-john-horgans-platform-works-me

We need a government that will agree to take big money and favors for corporate friends out of governance and bring respect back to British Columbia. If you look at the actions of this B.C. Liberal Government that I have listed and detailed over my last BLOG Post and this one, in my opinion there are just too many to ignore. I have bantered back and forth with many on Facebook and continue to hear from some disbelievers that there is too much risk to electing the NDP, I am here to tell you that there is far too much risk to keep this government in office.

Our Province as we knew it and loved it is being fundamentally changed into something I am not proud of. I have done my due diligence, I have gone and met John Horgan, I like what I see and hear. I have been close to a few Premiers and a number of Cabinet Ministers in the past and I believe I can discern qualities in leaders when I see them. He is a quality person, a quality human being, someone I am totally comfortable in supporting. I believe that is saying something! We need your vote in support of the NDP! My family and friends were in shock at first, but are-understanding why I feel so passionately about this issue. It makes for interesting family dinner conversations.

Stay tuned, there is more coming on the Provincial Election shortly!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to the Province, the Region and the Municipality, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

Our B.C. Liberal Government has lost their Moral and Ethical right and ability to govern…. Enough is Enough! What has been happening in this province under the leadership of Clark / Coleman or Coleman / Clark, take your pick – is nothing short of a Moral and Ethical disaster in EVERY sense of the word! Regular readers of this BLOG will be well aware, but for those that aren’t, I have been a staunch free enterpriser ALL of my voting life! This is a difficult decision, BUT IT IS THE RIGHT DECISION!

Since 1975 I have been a worker, a member, a constituency executive member, a constituency Vice President, a President, Central Campaign Chair, Campaign Chair, a Whistler leadership convention delegate, a Provincial Convention Plenary Chair, fundraiser and a Provincial Candidate, all of this with Social Credit. I was a life member. I had been appointed by Bill Bennett to the Delta Police Board for six years!

I (we) have gone through good times, difficult times and bad times, we tried to deal internally with needed change within our Provincial Party of the day, BUT I have never been so completely disgusted as I am today by the actions and governance of the current B.C. Liberal Government. It is ALL an incestuous game, pitting and protecting friends and insiders against and at the expense of the citizens of the Province of British Columbia. Are we all going to continue to mindlessly and blindly support their continued actions…? I sincerely hope not! It is long past time we put our PROVINCE ahead of Party! 

The Clark / Coleman B.C. Liberal Government is Morally and Ethically bankrupt, unfit to govern this province. Put it another way, they are morally and ethically corrupt!! This election on May 9th will be a referendum on how this government is performing! Does their record (read below) meet your ethical and moral standards? It doesn’t meet mine, it doesn’t come close! Are you willing to compromise your self-respect, you know “hold your nose” to vote for this bunch despite their record! Well we are not!

For those who continue to want to excuse what’s happening with the line “ALL Politicians are the same” – here is a message “We will all be better off as soon as the majority of us voters stiffen our resolve, expectations and demand better government”. I am frankly sick and tired of the seemed willingness to excuse away the actions of an incompetent and self-serving bad government! This group gives Free Enterprise a bad name!

Remember that saying “The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results”!    

Anyone that knows me and my background will be shocked, I am sure. Having said that, they will also remember my stand over the years on ethics – right and wrong! I do not come to this decision easily, but there comes a time when I have to break with the philosophy I truly believe in, in favor of a moral and ethical decision to do what is right. I have said many times throughout my business and political career that I have always been bothered by those extremists who blindly support, left or right, their philosophically favored government of the day and ignore the unethical and immoral actions of a bad government. Well for me, NO longer and I urge my many friends and past supporters who may be surprised by my public stand and disclosure to think very hard about the choice they are being asked to make May 9th 2017 in our upcoming Provincial Election! I can tell you that many close friends feel the same way as I do and will be following suit!

It is interesting that my family originally got involved politically in 1975, joining the Social Credit Party to defeat Dave Barrett of the NDP. I went on to become very active in politics, Municipal, Provincial and Federal. I was a Delta Alderman (1987 – 90) and a Social Credit candidate for Delta North in the infamous election of 1991 and went down to defeat with many very good candidates. That defeat was well deserved as the Social Credit Party had become too arrogant, very much like but not nearly as bad or even close to the current B.C. Liberal Government.

The age old arguments of instilling fear about voting for the NDP is still being used to this day. I used it back in the day BUT that was in support of a much different political product than what free enterprise has available to us today. I remember the arguments used by WAC Bennett and to a lesser degree by Bill Bennett that the “Socialist Hordes were at the gate”. With the abysmal record of the B.C. Liberal Government the only tired argument that the Liberals will use this time around is built around driving fear into the hearts of voters.

Now if I/we were to be truthful, a little fact checking is in order on the NDPs terms in office. As anyone involved in economics knows governments get all too much blame and all too much credit for GDP growth and unemployment numbers while in office. The economy is cyclical from decade to decade. Comparing a possible Horgan government with what happened under Glenn Clark or Mike Harcourt is like comparing a Bill Bennett Government to a Christy Clark Government, you just can’t do it. We can see some of what the NDP left us like – West Coast Express, Sea Bus, ICBC, and the Agricultural Land Reserve – I don’t see any uproar in our province – party or public – to get rid of those initiatives by a free enterprise government?

So why, after all this time have I reached my breaking point? Well, it is the compound non-stop accumulation of issues and breaches in moral and ethical conduct, all due to poor government leadership – it is still questionable who is the real Premier, Clark or Coleman? As I said earlier they have lost their moral and ethical right to govern. They are Morally and Ethically Bankrupt!

So why should we rid ourselves of the current Liberal Government, there are more substantial reasons than are necessary to make that decision – but let’s start with the views of a few others!

Martyn Brown was former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell’s long serving Chief of Staff, the top strategic advisor to three provincial party leaders, and a former Deputy Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment in British Columbia. I knew Martin in my days with Social Credit. I have shared a link (below) to one of his six very professional writings on reasons to defeat the B.C. Liberal Government. The following is titled “Prosecuting the B.C. Liberals” published in the Georgia Straight.

http://www.straight.com/news/889391/martyn-brown-prosecuting-bc-liberals

The Tyee has also published a piece titled B.C. Liberal Campbell Falsehoods Scandals, the link is below:

https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/04/03/BC-Liberal-Campbell-Falsehoods-Scandals/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=030417

The Common Sense Canadian – Rafe Mair former Socred Cabinet Minister

http://commonsensecanadian.ca/ 

It is long past time that we put PROVINCE ahead of Party!

Some of the MANY Reasons for my decision!

Quick Wins Ethnic Outreach Scandal – The actions of the B.C. Liberals beginning in 2013 dealing with Ethnic Outreach resulted in resignations of Public Servants and a Cabinet Minister in 2013 and Election Act Charges in 2014 against two staff members of the B.C. Liberal Party. They engaged in using government time and resources to engage with ethnic communities for partisan purposes. Charges to two Liberal staffers with violations of the election act as well as failing to disclose financial contributions. A longtime Liberal operative was also charged by the RCMP in 2016 with breach of trust. Most of this happened AFTER the last election, has anything changed? NOT!

“Pay-to-Play” “Best Government Money Can Buy” “Cash for Access” “The Wild West of Canadian Political Cash” – You pick the term you like, they all fit: Now I have been up to my neck in right wing politics for the best part of 40 years and I thought I had seen it all but NOTHING can match this discredited bunch of B.C. Liberals! Catching the attention of the New York Times who have branded us “The Wild West of Canadian Political Cash”, a term our Deputy Premier Rich Coleman calls “laughable”, pretty well sums up Coleman’s and the B.C. Liberal Government’s arrogance.

We now have an RCMP investigation plus a Special Prosecutor looking into the actions of the B.C. Liberal Government. So far there is about $100,000 in illegal donations to the B.C. Liberals which is being returned with many more in question where they claim clerical errors which won’t be returned. Now I ask you, can you truly believe that BS?

How laughable is it now Rich Coleman?

Pay to Play, if you don’t believe that, just review the stacks of Media reviews on Government awarded contracts to donors of the B.C. Liberal Government! It says it all.

The Clark Government has been challenged for years to change Election Finance Laws, despite all of the recent news both Coleman and Clark say nothing is going to change. Well Rich I guess it is now up to the public to make that decision.   

Tore up a legally binding contract with the HEU! – I am a staunch free enterpriser but I find that actions of breaking a duly negotiated contract completely in bad faith and totally unethical!

Dismantled a previously agreed to contract with the B.C. Teachers Federation – Clark, as Minister of Education – ripped up a previously agreed to contract with the BCTF, a move that has gone through three court cases, a 14 year legal battle and it took the Supreme Court of our Country a half hour to rule in favor of the B.C. Teachers Federation at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars. In actual fact it caused a generation of our kids to do without adequate education resources. It was morally and ethically irresponsible.

Misrepresenting the facts suggesting an energy crisis in B.C. – With Coleman as Minister, set up independent run of river power producers by contract so that B.C. Hydro (your tax dollars) would buy back power from them at twice the market rate. – Your tax dollars at work benefitting friends and insiders. Reckless and irresponsible!

Interference and bullying of Municipal Governments and Regional District Board Members: As the Mayor of the Township of Langley I paid the price for battling and going against the Provincial Government in support of our residents on the Mufford Crescent Overpass (we won saving about 350 acres of farmland), Brown’s Pit (saved a shallow drinking water aquifer) against the ravages of gravel mining, Land Fill on Agricultural Land and making public the fact that that there was NO P3 agreement as promised by the Provincial Government and our MLAs on the Langley Events Center. In the Township we experienced ROBO calls from MLA Rich Coleman and the obvious use of Provincial Party Paid resources (a number of election polls anyone) in the Municipal election process.

Interference and bullying of Municipal Governments on efficiently and effectively managing and running Translink: After my election as Mayor of the Township of Langley in 2008 I received a crash course on the intimidation and bullying that goes on by the Province under the existing management structure as a member of the Mayor’s Translink Council. Issues where intimidation existed?

  • The Evergreen Line funding (Province insisted on municipalities increasing property tax. They LOST)
  • Mufford Crescent Overpass was initially a Translink led project. (Province insisted on the original plan dissecting approximately 350 acres of farmland. They LOST)

It also became very clear who was doing the Provinces bidding at the Board table against the majority of Mayors in the region. On the top of that list was none other than surprise, surprise – Peter Fassbender who was at odds with many at the table. Peter showed his stripes in spades and is doing the same thing at the Provincial level. Just think, as recently as three weeks ago Peter stated that the Province would not put up more than 30% of the funding on major Metro Vancouver projects and that was it. Within the past week the Liberals have agreed to a 40% commitment. It is amazing what happens on the eve of an election.

Health Firing Scandal: (From the Province April 2nd 2017) In what has to be the most disgusting acts of this Provincial Government, eight health researchers were fired in 2012 after this government publicly alleged the mishandling of sensitive data and contracting irregularities. The Province stated that every one of them was under RCMP investigation! That turned out to be a lie!

The result, one of the fired, Roderick MacIsaac committed suicide and four years later the Province settled lawsuits by those fired, rehired a number of researchers and apologized to the MacIsaac family. After hundreds of thousands of dollars, they are no closer to the answers sought.

The Ombudsmen Jay Chalke entered the fray in 2015. He has spent 17 months going through more than 4 million documents. Today he released his damming report entitled “MISFIRE”! A few conclusions:

  • Terminations were not supportable in any way!
  • MacIsaac DID NOT deserve to be fired – the shame of this accusation caused his suicide.
  • The civil service leadership supported by the B.C. Liberal Government leadership jumped to conclusions without any supporting evidence.
  • Publicly stated RCMP were investigating those involved at the press conference when in fact – That was a complete lie!
  • A flawed and unjustifiably rushed internal probe!
  • Premier Christy Clark’s government misled the public!
  • Premier Clark’s apology to the MacIsaac’s family came too late!

And then after all of this the Premier passes the buck to the Deputy Minister to the Premier and Head of the Public Service to apologize on behalf of the Public Service? What is that? Total absence of guts and leadership to step forward and accept fault in this egregious incident that was so devastating to so many!!

Rich Coleman – In Debate on this year’s “Speech from the Throne” talking about those on Social Assistance. Coleman gives a lecture about poor people in BC – “They are not as poor as people in third world countries”! “A single person on social assistance in BC is double the annual income as a person in the third world”. That was REALLY brilliant Rich, and you are elected to serve the public, all of the public? How disgusting!

Issues surrounding property, land deals? No accusations here, just saying! It is instructive to know that Rich Coleman ran a real estate management and consulting company prior to becoming our MLA. During my successful run for Mayor of the Township I made quite an issue of the Wild West of land deals in our community – one of which was a 90+ acre Dixon Pit Township sale to a prominent resident in the Township. That deal was essentially 40 developable non ALR acres for $2 million. Actual estimates were in the $12 million – $15 million range in market value. In my meeting with Rich Coleman in February of 2008, just to introduce myself, he said “We are OK with the job the Mayor is doing” and “You are making noises about land deals” and closed by adding “I want you to know that we are OK with them”. It is also instructive to Google – Rich Coleman Wikipedia – and note a write up under Controversies headed Real-Estate Giveaway to Western Forest Products? (Just informing that it is there in writing) Also note that Rich Coleman has headed B.C. Housing in the Liberal Government for 12 years (back to 2005) that I can track (possibly longer) which to me, in my experience, is very unusual that one Minister carries a file with him for so many years. (Just saying) Now we have a (Van. Sun April 4th, 2017) a complaint filed with the RCMP involving the City of Vancouver, B.C. Housing, Developer Brenhill and Vancouver Realtor Bob Rennie. (Remember Rich’s comments that he is OK with land deals?) No accusations, just saying!

Obscene amount of taxpayer paid Pre Election Government Ads and funding announcements “Bribing the general public with our own money” – The Auditor General, Carol Bellringer has informed the BC Liberal Government that the province’s television ad campaign needs to reconsider its content. They are too political. There is also a court challenge of the expenditure which is being suggested to be around $15 million of tax payer dollars. On spending the B.C. Government sent out 30 news releases in 7 hours announcing over $2.3 Billion in spending this past Friday afternoon. 20 news-releases were issued between 1:30PM and 3:00PM last Friday totaled $76.6 Million. This government has taken arrogance and bullying to a new level – They must be stopped!

B.C. Rail Scandal (Remember that one?) Suffice to say it is far too involved to deal with in this space other than to say the Gordon Campbell Liberals ran in the election stating that B.C. Rail would NOT be sold but after the election they signed off on a lease to CN for 999 years. There was a court case involving a cancelled sale to Omnitrax of other assets, because of that transaction being tainted by an influence-peddling and bribery scandal resulting in convictions in 2010. The individuals involved pled guilty on a plea deal just prior to the trial getting underway, which was a scandal in itself. The trial never saw the light of day!

$3.2 Billion 10 Lane Massey Bridge Tunnel Replacement – In keeping with their practice of ignoring the wishes of local government including NO consultation or discussion Christy Clark comes out of nowhere promising this now infamous structure just before the last election. A 10 lane bridge leading to a 4 lane highway and road system at an outrageous cost, when an expansion of the tunnel would come at a fraction of the price.

NOTE: There are dozens more reasons to reject this government, more will be coming in subsequent posts coming between now and election-day.

Summary

So let’s see if I have this straight, the B.C. Liberals in 2013 campaigned on a few key election planks: (Note – The following is taken off their 2013 Campaign Brochure) These promises were thrown out there in 2013 in their effort to find a chance to win an election that all polls pointed to them losing – Guess what, it worked! Don’t let them get away with it this time!!!!!

  • Roadmap for a Debt Free B.C. with a Debt Pay Down Plan for BC Ferries and BC Hydro
    • NO Progress there, debt increased!
  • Create an LNG Industry that will mean 39,000 jobs during construction with another 75,000 created once in operation. Create $1 Trillion in economic activity and create the B.C. Prosperity Fund with $100 Billion over 30 years. Five LNG plants costing $98 Billion mean 100,000 jobs!
    • NO Progress there – LNG was a FRAUD perpetrated on the public from day 1! What was left out of this argument is the day exports commenced (if in anyone’s wild dreams it was ever to happen) we would be paying the world price for natural gas – example today’s domestic price from Fortis is $2.05 per GJ and the world spot price is $4.25 per GJ! Great deal Rich, over double our current household cost!
  • Control and reduce Spending reduce debt was the promise, well not quite –

2013 / 14 – BC Government Debt            $60.693 Billion  – Contract obligations $100 Billion

2016 / 17 – BC Government Debt            $65.292 Billion  – Contract obligations $101 Billion

  • NO Progress there, spending increased by 8% !

It is past time that all of us taxpayers reject the politics of big money, special deals for friends and insiders, immoral government policy and actions and buying our votes with our own tax dollars!

A vote for the Green Party is a vote for the Liberal Party, that is a fact whether you want to hear it or not. This election is about defeating the B.C. Liberal Party, it’s arrogance and heavy handed government!

Before making my decision I met John Horgan. I found him to be very personable and committed to follow through on his party’s commitments while bringing integrity and ethics back to Victoria. I feel very comfortable with his leadership. It is time for the change that we need, and that is coming from a life-long free enterprise supporter and insider!!!!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to Township of Langley Residents, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

Your expectations of your Mayor and Council are…? So the Township of Langley, aside from being the CFIB WORST RATED major B.C Municipality, are a Mayor and Council with a MAJOR COMMUNITY LISTENING PROBLEM!

Some public comments and thoughts of Jack Froese.. Can you believe these? These are not manufactured, they are HIS words!

So Jack says…..

  • “I don’t make decisions based on petitions or public hearing turnout, I have to consider all of those who didn’t attend” – Jack Froese to Pete McMartin (Van. Sun) over Coulter Berry decision.
  • “Parents need to teach their children how to safely cross the street” in reference to their being no crosswalks on 216th Street – Jack Froese to resident (Langley Times letter to the editor)
  • “There would be safety initiatives taking place”, when asked what they would be, Froese said “he didn’t know” – Jack Froese to resident (Langley Times letter to the editor)
  • Residents stating that they hoped his attendance at the meeting would address their concerns. “Meeting, what meeting? I thought I was coming to a pancake breakfast.” – Jack Froese to resident (Langley Times letter to the editor)
  • … “it is not his job to do what his constituents want but what is best for them” – I guess Jack knows best – NOT! Jack Froese to resident (Langley Times letter to the editor)
  • And the ultimate blow, INSULT, after producing a campaign video that in his own words called for an Indoor Pool in Aldergrove – Jack Froese proceeds with building an Outdoor Pool which is the LIE heard around Aldergrove!

Say no more!!! Isn’t it comforting to know your Mayor could care less! I would say the same for the current members of Township of Langley Council. If Council are silent, which they are, they have to be considered part of the problem!!

What will it take for taxpayers to wake up and fight back? The fight MUST take political action to change Council and then CHANGE senior administration! The problem has been and continues to be two fold –

  • Communities (there are 7) Aldergrove, Brookswood/Fernridge, Willoughby, Fort Langley, Murrayville, Walnut Grove and Rural are NOT united, they are not fighting for and in support of each other’s issues and
  • Your Council has not and will not challenge and go against its administration AND its influential MLA Rich Coleman!

The proposed 216th Street overpass – It is correct that this proposed overpass has been on the books for decades, back to when Walnut Grove’s population and that of the Township of Langley were but a fraction of what it is today. I can recall a meeting that was prompted by me in late 2009 with staff from the Provincial Transportation Ministry, requesting an update on it’s status. I say that because I, admittedly, was not aware of this proposed overpass and interchange at the time I was elected. The issue was brought to me at one of my drop-in monthly Mayor’s forums in early 2009 by two residents of the Forest Hills community in Walnut Grove. They had recently purchased homes in that area (within the previous couple of years) and knew nothing about it, but learned about it after moving in. My recollection from that meeting with the Ministry was, IF an overpass was installed it would be at the Township’s cost. On hearing that it was also clear to me there was no chance of it being built. I also recollect that we looked at the cost and design (it was very limited, a simple on and off concept being considered IF at all – no cloverleaf). There was no way it was in the financial cards for the Township. So all of the foregoing is for the purposes of full disclosure, and to the foregoing I say… So what? It was considered early on for planning purposes but it wasn’t etched in stone, either it’s ultimate need, location OR design?

So why do I say this? When you get into elected office you will uncover more plans going back more years on more community issues than you can possibly imagine. These plans in most cases were developed BEFORE any substantive population or need existed and/or developed BEHIND closed doors by staff as a matter of course. They span numerous Councils long since passed. There is nothing wrong with planning, except NONE of those plans should ever see the light of day or come close to being implemented BEFORE a full transparent, detailed and open dialogue is conducted with ALL residents which MUST occur BEFORE ANY decisions are made! Communities change dramatically over time.

Residents / taxpayers deserve their fundamental right of having their voice heard BEFORE any Council and / or staff, come to a decision on any change that will so dramatically affect their community and its livability. Any change MUST go through an open, detailed and transparent process like Public Meeting(s), Public Hearings and open debate by members of Council. A practice that the current Township staff have become masters at and very proficient at is processing by-laws, OCP amendments AND OCPs in a one process public hearing with limited description of its content (What I have called for years as an Omnibus process). The descriptions in these OCP By-Laws, written and published for public consumption are less than adequate and far too vague with respect to what is actually being changed.

OCP BY-Laws #5000, 5010, 5011, and 5012 – These by-laws were introduced back in June of 2013 under the guise of bringing the OCP in line with the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy. Not only were these Omnibus OCP by-laws introduced in mid-June of 2013 but the Public Hearing and 3rd reading was given in late July of 2013. All of this was convenient for staff, mid-summer, nobody is paying attention. Unfortunately as is the regular practice in the Township it becomes an opportunity for slight-of-hand – What else can we include with this opportunity? All of this was done to the detriment of our residents.  When something like the irresponsible action on the imposition of a 216th Street Interchange is introduced and the change of the 216th Street Arterial Road designation finds its way onto the map, residents are left with an uphill battle in uncovering the truth. BUT please consider the following ?

  1. The NEW OCP just passed contains the designation of 216th as an Arterial Road.
  2. Stage 9 / WG Neighborhood Plan / Section 5 / Page 13 adopted May 26th, 1997 shows 88th / 96th / and 216th are Arterial Roads. It identifies 88th and 96th as providing 2 lanes each way and 1 lane each way on 216th. It doesn’t clarify the status of 216th South of 88th?
  3. However the Walnut Grove Community Plan Map Amended by By-Law No. 4690 dated April 20th 2009 identifies 216th South of 88th as Minor Collector Status which still exists does it not?

The stated policy for conflict resolution as stated in the OCP just passed states:

4.5.1. If there is a conflict with respect to a land use designation on Map 1 and land use designations in a community or neighbourhood plan, the land use designations in the community or neighbourhood plan will take precedence.

4.5.2. If there is a conflict with respect to a policy in this plan and a policy in a community or neighbourhood plan, the policy in the community or neighbourhood plan will take precedence.

What, when and how did this happen? Where were Council members? Did they know what was in these by-laws BEFORE voting for them?

I have followed this issue through information that is available publicly and find the Township’s actions are nothing less than a travesty of justice, but based on past first-hand experience I am not surprised. The Township goes back into the archives relying on past discussions, plans and/or concepts that may have been discussed in the past within public service departments. I might add once again that all of this happened WHEN Walnut Grove had a fraction of the population that they do today. So, regardless of past thoughts, plans and/or concepts, do residents not deserve a detailed public transparent process to be provided and for the community to be heard before a decision is made?

This decision should be fought on the legality on this and other issues but it is also a moral and ethical decision by your Municipal Government, an area of governance that this Mayor and Council have shown little interest in.

One of my first actions in office was to hold a monthly Drop In Mayor’s Forum (offered to call it a Council Forum but ALL of Council rejected the idea). Over three years about 1,000 residents attended this informal opportunity. Ask any question, privately or publicly. I said while in the Mayor’s office, Mayor and Council should NEVER be afraid to hear what the public have to say, if they are – then WHY?      

The Township of Langley, thanks to a few back room players still operate as though this is the Wild Wild West to the benefit of a few insiders. Council cannot be hiding behind and cowering from our Provincial Government Bullies. All of us are having our current and future quality of life negatively affected by these people who have had their way thanks to gutless local politicians up to now.

I would be willing to bet that a land deal is behind this specific proposal for 216th street. Who is behind it, we can only guess although it wouldn’t take too much imagination.

Can Council fight to support residents? Should Council fight to support residents? The answer is YES and YES! The following are examples of major issues that were successfully fought for, in many cases in spite of the lack of support by the majority of Council. For a Council member it takes guts and a will to fight and a will to be creative in that fight to win the day on issues that have broad public support in your community. The questions I ask above should be considered ridiculous by any reasonably thinking taxpayer. I mean for what other reason do we elect our Council members? Unfortunately, in the Township of Langley, the inbred autocratic management has for years stymied Council members who have shown NO will or guts to push back and investigate what is really going on. WHY?

Mufford Crescent Diversion a good example – (see previous post Part 2) This was a done deal and approved by the ALC when I was elected to office subject to 9 conditions. All players – the 12 funding partners including the Province of B.C., Translink, CP Rail, Delta, Surrey, Township of Langley Council and Staff, City of Langley, Peter Fassbender, Rich Coleman, Mary Polak, Ministry of Transportation, Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon and more, were strongly in favor of this project and were fighting for it every step of the way. All of the 12 funding partners claimed this project went through a public process. NOT!

Despite the ALC conditional approval, after the election one of my first actions was to call for two Open Houses and a General Community Meeting. None of this was required but well, over 1,000 residents turned out to these three opportunities to be heard and over 95% were opposed to the project.

The original project design would have destroyed about 300 acres of farmland. The reality is this wasn’t a transportation plan as suggested, in my opinion behind the scenes, this was a land deal, nothing else made any sense? We fought this through two losing votes of Council.

Reading the proponents answers to the nine conditions, our community committee of four pointed out three incorrect statements (some would call them lies) that were made to the Agricultural Land Commission by the proponents that won the day for us, thanks to the then Chair Richard Bullock. Richard Bullock made the right decision on behalf of his mandate to the residents of the Province of B.C., unfortunately he paid a price – in my opinion this decision paved the way for his eventual dismissal as Chair of the ALC.

Unfortunately in this province, with the current provincial government and it’s bullying leadership, a target on your back comes with any opposition to any of their plans. Prime example – After I announced that we would hold two Public Open Houses and a Public Meeting on this planned highway I received a letter from then Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon advising that should we not accept their plan they would take the money and move it to another community. Following that, in a meeting in his office in Victoria with the MFA (Municipal Finance Authority) I was verbally told the same thing by him on my way out of the office – to which I replied, go ahead, don’t threaten me! The result, we won, the money stayed in our community to build a more acceptable option.

Those with no guts capitulate and our taxpayers pay the price. The current provincial government has turned bullying into an art-form. It makes for bad and corrupt government. The final decision was arrived at by listening to taxpayers!

208th Street Truck Route is another example –  During my term on Council we were dealing with a report dealing with dedicating 208th Street as a truck route and part of the Translink Major Road Network (MRN) which would have provided some cost sharing from Translink to it’s development. At one of my monthly drop-in Mayor’s forums at Willoughby Hall a delegation of about 25 residents turned out requesting an answer as to whether this was going to happen. My response was, it will unless you can prove to Council it is NOT wanted. Making a long story short, on my advice, they went to work and secured a petition with over 3,000 names and submitted them to Council. They won the day and Council, while not unanimous, defeated this proposal. Again, this decision was arrived at by listening to taxpayers!

There are other examples – During my three year term as Mayor, against all odds we fought for the protection of an expanded Noel Booth Park, Browns Pit, a NEW Water Management Plan, Landfill on Agricultural Land, 224th Street local feed lot and more. All of these were citizen inspired initiatives that dramatically affected them, from every corner of the Township. Nothing less should be expected.

Can you recall one issue that Jack Froese has initiated or supported residents – What was the last issue you can recall that Jack Froese and/or this council fought for on behalf of residents? Aldergrove OUTDOOR Pool? There aren’t any!!!

What are the vehicles used by community groups to successfully fight back –

  • Invite conversation with all elected officials involved and make your case, if they won’t meet make the case very public who will or won’t meet with you.
  • Utilize social media / Facebook / twitter to shame them and call them out.
  • Petitions from and for all involved PLUS the greater community.
  • Local Media / Major media
  • Delegations by different people at every Council Meeting!
  • Remember there is a Provincial Election coming this May and a Municipal Election coming in less than two years!

Back to the 216th Street proposal – There is absolutely no question that listening to the community is essential and there are many other very viable options for this project that should be considered. Those options could include questions related to location, design, size, concept and the truck route issue? What is absent from all of this is a Council willing to stand up to it’s administration and provincial political representatives, otherwise considered by some as their (Council’s) Political Masters. One only has to look at history to draw that conclusion. It is not a stretch!

What is happening in the Township of Langley is embarrassing!!!! A Mayor and Council without the guts or backbone to stand up for it’s residents and against what can only be described as it’s provincial masters! It is all about Provincial bullying and intimidation! Is it too late to fight back, not in my view BUT that will depend on whether your elected Council is willing to stand up for their constituents. Where there are guts, determination and a will, there is a way!!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to Township of Langley Residents, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

Congratulations to Mayor Jack Froese and Council; You are the WORST performing major municipal government in the Province of B.C., sadly quite an achievement!!!

To the taxpayers of the Township of Langley – “DO YOU CARE?” Ignoring what is happening is not a solution as it is costing you dearly! GET INVOLVED TO CHANGE YOUR COMMUNITIES FUTURE, POLITICS IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT!

The best descriptive I could use to describe the dilemma facing the taxpayers in the Township of Langley is; – Rafe Mair’s Axiom – “You make a very serious mistake believing that people in charge know what the hell they are doing”. This BLOG Report on the FACTS on Spending and Taxation should give us all a lot to be concerned about!

In a just released independent research document by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business “B.C. Municipal Spending Watch 2016 (9th edition: Trends in Operating Spending, 2004 – 2014 determine that);

  • The Township of Langley ranks 20th out of 20 of major (over 25,000 population) municipal governments in British Columbia between 2004 and 2014. YES that is correct, LAST PLACE!
  • Put another way, what is worse (if that is possible) in the overall provincial rank, the Township of Langley ranks 112 out of 152 of ALL communities, municipalities and/or cities in the province of B.C.. The City of Langley after all is 48th! FYI – Maple Ridge is #1 (The best performing) among major Municipal Governments.)

Key Findings:

  • Only 5 out of the 152 municipalities (3 per cent) examined in BC kept operating spending in line with inflation and population growth over the past decade. None of the 20 largest municipalities made the list.
  • BC’s population grew by 12 per cent from 2004 to 2014. Over the same period, operating expenditures adjusted for inflation ballooned by 48 per cent – four times faster than population growth.
  • In BC, the excess spending above population growth and inflation over the past ten years represents $8.6 billion dollars. This means a BC family of four could have saved on average $7,445 in municipal taxes had municipalities kept their spending on a more sustainable path.
  • In 2004, BC residents spent on average $889 dollars for the operations of their local government (total municipal operating spending divided by total BC population). In 2014, that dollar amount increased to $1,178 per person when adjusted to inflation, representing a 33 per cent increase in operating spending per capita in BC.
  • BC’s major centres, Vancouver and Victoria, both increased their operating spending by 23 per cent from 2004 – 2014 after adjusting for inflation and population growth.

By those same parameters the Township of Langley increased their operating spending by 68.4% during that 10 year period after adjusting for inflation and population growth! 3 times greater than Vancouver and Victoria!

Where is the Langley Times, Aldergrove Star and Langley Advance in reporting this meaningful information to their readers, you the taxpayer? Are they afraid of the repercussions? All three papers are owned by THE SAME COMPANY “Black Press”, an absolute embarrassment! Are you aware they split revenue from the Township of over $200,000 per year?

A little history is needed – What we are seeing now is a product of staff control and Council fiduciary irresponsibility going back to the 2002 – 2008 period, one of the key reasons I ran for Mayor and won in 2008. What was happening back then?

  • Council had voted for a Compound Property Tax Increases since 2005 – (6 yrs) +33.6% – Compound Cost of Living (CPI) of +9.3% throughout this 6 year period.
  • Voted against the recommendations of the Mayor’s Standing Committee of Finance which included a need to look at department efficiencies in 2009 and a recommendation of a .93% tax increase. Immediately moved a motion to approve a 5% tax increase / passed.
  • During a 6 year period the majority of Council never voted against 1) any wage increase (Metro or Township), 2) an increase in staff numbers as requested by staff 3) a change in Council remuneration formula or 4) a Conversion of Fire Halls to full time.
  • The majority of Council supported the purchase of Redwoods Golf Course by Township of Langley –  no public referendum – Significant Public Cost tied to a very questionable contract with previous owner who has a comfortable management contract for 20 years and another 10 at their option. Township taxpayers continue to pay.
  • Supported purchase of Bedford House Restaurant by Township of Langley –  no public referendum – Significant Public Cost of close to $1 million over assessed value.
  • Supported the sale of public land (Questionable advertising of non ALR Dixon Pit property) to close friends of some in the Township of Langley for pennies on the dollar. Sold for $2 million when market value of 40 acres developed just as hobby farms was estimated to be $12 – $14 million.
  • Building of Langley Event Center (LEC) for a cost of $66.2 million with the following –
    • Awarded contract to the Langley Development Group (LDG) without a contractual agreement providing a clear understanding of the services they were paying for or what LDG was to provide.
    • No P3 partnership (To reduce Township taxpayer risk) This was promised and advertised in numerous press releases by the BC Gov’t and Township of Langley to the citizens of Langley. This was a LIE!
    • Supported 3 Council resolutions to permit staff to negotiate and conclude all contracts between the Township of Langley and the LDG. Council abdicated their fiduciary responsibility to staff from who should be responsible, that of Council.
    • Unwilling to review LEC agreements when no P3 agreement was uncovered, December 2008
    • No Business Plan
    • No public referendum
    • Despite no contractual agreement to do so, paid the Langley Development Group $8.83 million to go away. Settlement should not have been any more than $2 million max.
    • In an answer to the media: What did the taxpayers receive for $8.83 million? Jordan Bateman’s answer – Ownership of the LEC! Message to Jordan and the citizens of the Township of Langley, the Township always owned the LEC!
    • The Langley Development Group (LDG) who was awarded the contract under a less than open and public process had a principle partner, one Maury Keith (Jim Bond was the other partner with Keith whose construction company was awarded the building contract).

It is long past due that Township of Langley taxpayers should be awakened to what is being done to them every year and the accumulative effect of out of control spending and taxation. A few additional facts that should be clear when talking about Township spending –

  • An $800,000 expenditure in the Township of Langley equates to an approx. 1% tax increase.
  • A line that is often used by Municipalities is “they have to balance their budgets” per Provincial legislation – True except simple Math 101 will tell you that a) tax increases or b) increasing debt – will solve the balancing budget problem for municipal politicians and the bureaucracy in a heartbeat – they have learned that art form very well. It does nothing to stop their thirst for your tax dollars.
  • Capital Spending – A $7.5 million expansion to the LEC which received no public input, scrutiny or announcement prior to construction start. Public process in awarding this contract was non-existent! $7.5 million of your tax dollars on a whim!
  • Staff statements that these Capital expenditures do not affect taxation rates nor are they part of any tax payer supported debt is an insult to the intelligence of all of us. Regardless of how you cut it, funds for these expenditures came out of reserves, which were funded by taxation and will have to be replenished through taxation. There is only one taxpayer, YOU, this council just doesn’t get it and more importantly they refuse to challenge staff on proposed expenditures!

On the Taxation Side – Tax and Spending History:

The reasons for my criticism are real based on FACT, not imagination!

Tax Increases –

  • 2002 to 2008 + 26%              6 years
  • 2002 to 2011 + 40.49%         9 years
  • 2002 to 2014 + 49.08%         12 years

A compound tax increase of over 49% in 12 years!

  • How many residents had a 49% increase in pay over this period of time?
  • C.’s Cost of Living since 2002 – 2014 was only +19.9%            (Stats Canada / B.C.)
  • Taxation Increases – Close to 2 1/2 times the cost of living!

What is it you often hear at tax time? – On average a general property tax increase is only 2.95%? This is all slight of hand BS!

Creative Property Tax Statements –

I don’t know how many of you will remember, it wasn’t that far back, that our Property Tax Bill used to contain one if not a couple of classifications. In other words you received a tax increase of say 4% which included ALL services under the General – Municipal heading. Well in the spirit of creativity we are now being provided numbers for a variety of categories of services.

In reality it is nothing more than an attempt to justify their tax increase by breaking it out by category. We are now provided with –

  • General – Municipal
  • General – Protective Services (Fire and Police, I guess it could also include by-laws?)
  • Fraser Valley Regional Library
  • Parks
  • Storm Water
  • Transportation – Roads

Maybe we should ask for “General – Administration” and “General – Legal” and “General Staff / Council Expenses” which seems to be a popular expense with today’s Council.

I am not sure how or why I should feel more comfortable, especially knowing how inadequate our budget process and oversight is.

As I stated above, the unbelievable but true fact remains it is staff under the direction of outside forces who are the ones steering and commanding the ship. Council members over the past 12 – 15 years have been nothing more than passengers on that ship taking their marching orders from those unelected. OH don’t get me wrong, Council members get their opportunity to make themselves feel good in front of the public in public debate, Q & A during Public Hearings (we know how that listening goes don’t we) and Notices of Motion (although I see Councilor Long wants to find a way to circumvent that opportunity, why am I not surprised). The fact is the MEAT of the management of our Municipality is left to others, those unelected! It is being allowed to happen by your Mayor and Council.

As to Budgeting:

As anyone in business knows, respect for a thorough budgeting process is essential to accomplishing the desired result of fiscal accountability on behalf of taxpayers in this case or survival. In the case of Municipal Government that process requires RESPECT for your tax dollars through a thorough vetting of all departments provisional budget requests. Every single department if left to their own will and resources has an extensive WANT list. The challenge is paring that down to an affordable NEEDS list. Now there is no question that budgeting is a very difficult process, it requires the elected (Council members) to be challenging of the unelected (Staff) line by line as to their and Council priorities measured against Municipal needs and measured against value for money. Again, it is all about RESPECT for your tax dollars. This Council by their actions has NO RESPECT for your tax dollars nor any respect for democracy.

It requires the elected to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure taxpayers are getting value for money, both in operating and capital expenditures.

I will give you one small example – There was one discovery that my Standing Committee of Finance uncovered (among many) while going through the budgeting process. When Committee members questioned a few items of significance we discovered that staff had created “Capital Projects Funded – NOT STARTED” which went beyond the most recent year we were dealing with. While investigating a number of these items we found that they were nothing more than a method of creating a variety of slush funds of convenience for staff. There are numerous such slush funds spread throughout the budget.

A fundamental principle should be to review every Capital Project approved by council that wasn’t started in that given year. Is it still needed? Why wasn’t it started? What was the business plan for it?

Another small example – At the start of our Mayor’s Standing Committee of Finance process and in discussions with the CAO, one of our committee members who was a retired CA and Senior Managing Partner from a prominent accounting firm stated he would like to see us adopt a 0 based budgeting format, to which our CAO replied, we do, it is modified 0 based budgeting format. Most professionals in the business will tell you, there is no such thing – It is either O based or it is not! That was just the start of a no cooperation attitude.

In my opinion, going through the “well entrenched Township of Langley staff budgeting process of convenience” and my attempts to correct that process, it was clear that nothing was going to change. Councilors Bateman, Fox, Ward, Ferguson, Dornan, Kositsky and Long were determined that would be the case. It was very clear to me that not one of the above ever met a tax or spending increase they didn’t like. Just look up their records, it is a fact!

I would also suggest Councilor Richter’s actions through this period were less than helpful. While she likes to come across as the taxpayer’s conscience, in my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth. I measure people by their actions not words! So all of us are left with the status quo!!

In Summary:

The Township of Langley has without exception one of the worst spending and taxation records within British Columbia! I have said it many times before, these Council members make a habit of adopting a staff budget, NOT a Council budget. If you don’t believe me go and compare a Provisional Budget presented by staff and compare it to the adopted budget by Council.

This long standing process of budgeting with tax increases and spending increases that are in some cases, three times the cost of living and more are just not sustainable. What is more worrisome is there is no move a-foot to change these habits. The only thing that will change what is happening is a NEW Council which can bring about change in senior administration, are you up for it? Just two years away!

Am I surprised by this report NO! I warned residents of what was going on going back to 2007 and through the 2008 election to the end of my term in 2011. This is a shocking report and should serve as an alarm bell to taxpayers. The Township of Langley is a Municipal Government out of control with NO checks and balances, by staff or more important by your Council. Budget reviews are a joke and an insult to the intelligence of you the taxpayer. There is NO true budget review. As I stated earlier, a statement that I used in a public budget meeting when Council were determined to pass the staff Provisional Budget was “If Council adopts this budget you are adopting a STAFF budget NOT a Council Budget”. I received flak by members of Council for that statement but IT WAS TRUE! That statement is as true today as it was back in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Now we have this CFIB research supporting and proving that FACT.

There are an endless number of irresponsible decisions being made by this Council. To bring effective change you need a Mayor with a vision for good responsible government and ability to lead and a Council who can think for themselves and not just fill a chair to do others bidding.

Change will only happen if we can unite taxpayers from every community to bring dramatic change to this fiscally and morally irresponsible municipal government. I challenge all of those over the past number of years that got involved because of a parochial (self-serving) interest. It is beyond me how, knowing the truth about what is going on, taxpayers can sit back and dismiss so much wrong doing, what many would call corruption! Trust me, none of this stuff happens by accident!!

If you have any questions with respect to the accuracy of the content or about issues raised please contact me directly at any time. Contact information is available through www.langleywatchdog.com

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to Township of Langley Residents, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

Well it has been a full and very interesting year in politics within all three levels of government as usual in British Columbia. In 2016 I took the liberty of taking a sabbatical for most of the last half of the year given our personal move off the farm. Our sole purpose at www.langleywatchdog.com is to offer profile on major issues, to inform the public; while offering a special insight based on first-hand experience as Mayor of the Township, Alderman in Delta (that is what we were in the late 80s) and about 40 years of activity behind the scenes municipally, provincially and federally.

We at www.langleywatchdog.com are gearing up for a very active year in 2017, preparing a number of featured BLOG Posts on issues, Breaking News and information. All of this focused on what will seriously affect residents of the Township, primarily at the Provincial and Municipal levels. Provincially, we are heading into a General Election in May and there are numerous simmering issues that are going to be hot topics of debate and conversation.

Municipally we have numerous Township of Langley issues plus Metro Vancouver’s regional issues that including Transportation that unfortunately residents are just are not but should be aware of. There is so much material and information that is just not getting into the Public’s hands; we will keep our readers informed. What is really happening behind the scenes, check us out starting again the first week of January 2017, tune into  www.langleywatchdog.com .

Over 70,000 views to-date! Feel free to contact me at any time by email, Facebook or by phone. All contact information is available on our BLOG and ALL contact is guaranteed to be confidential!

On behalf of www.langleywatchdog.com we want to wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year. See you in January 2017!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe should be of significant concern and interest to residents of the Township of Langley.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and STAY ACTIVE!!!

 

Share this BLOG; FORWARD THIS POST TO YOUR FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS AND RELATIVES!

The question…. What kind of municipal government do you want? Transparent, listens to the community and states the truth OR one that hides the truth from you in favor of friends and insiders?

Here is The Rest of the Story….  Here is Part 4 of a 4 part series looking at the truth behind what really went on during my three year term in the Mayor’s office. Is this the level of respect you want or are happy with from members of Council towards your choice for Mayor or for that matter to any other duly elected member of Council? You be the judge!   

So back to the controversy…. As stated earlier it was the reaction by a few well-connected individuals, some call them the Township of Langley Establishment, who have strong connections to senior municipal staff and those currently elected, against my actions and efforts to stop all the back room dealing. This applied to very questionable actions by the Council that I ran on and was elected to serve. Difficult? What an understatement!

From the outset I was fully aware that my actions which amounted to stepping on some BIG TOES could cost me, but I will admit never did I believe the steps that these people would go to attack me. The term dirty politics doesn’t come close to the depths of their attacks which fully included members of Council supporting their plan.

The Inconvenient TRUTH and FACTS about the INFAMOUS BROWN ENVELOPE and RCMP investigation into Mayor Green!  

It is long overdue for the citizens of the Township of Langley to be made aware of the TRUTH!

Council’s actions and reaction in response to information that I brought forward to them for information, was nothing short of outrageous. The reaction by Council members was nothing less than politically motivated, all timed and designed to short circuit a duly elected Mayor from performing his duties in office. It was a misguided ideological attempt to short circuit the voter’s wishes. Do you think I am overreacting in my conclusion? Only if you believe in the tooth fairy!

So what really happened to motivate the actions by members of council against the Mayor?

  • During three breakfast meetings in the months of May and June of 2009, arranged by a prominent citizen and friend, a casual comment was made at each meeting by a prominent citizen (one in each meeting, more on them later) about a company called Brownshack Developments Ltd., a name that I honestly had never heard of before. These meetings, just a few of hundreds that I held with citizens throughout the municipality, were just casual conversations and an introduction of myself, to residents and business owners, wanting to meet the new Mayor. Sounds simple doesn’t it? By the way, I have witnesses to these facts.
  • In August of 2009 I received an email accompanied by a B.C. Company Summary and a Corporate Securities Register with respect to this company. That register was an eye opener to me in that it contained the names of spouses of a few prominent citizens who had been shareholders of that company from May 15th, 1996 thru to March 2nd 2005 connected to one elected Langley representative (provincial) and a senior employee with the Township of Langley.
  • This news, as it was new to me, was an eye opener and on first glance looked POSSIBLY concerning. While I say that, the next decision was what to do with it, IF ANYTHING. For the ensuing number of weeks I kept those documents in my office reviewing them from time to time still unsure as to what steps to take, IF ANY and doing nothing was a possibility.
  • This was the case until Wednesday morning Oct. 27th 2009 when on my way to Rotary I picked up my newspapers. In our mailbox (located about 1,200 feet from our home on a rural property) it was a brown envelope (no name on the front) containing a copy of the Corporate Register that was in my office attached to an anonymous letter outlining unfounded allegations addressed to Kent Spencer of the Vancouver Province. My immediate concern was that a story may appear in the Sunday Province and I had to inform council of this information in case that should occur. This obviously was a complete shock, however I contacted a few very high profile and well connected individuals I knew asking who to contact for independent legal advice (I did not tell them anything about the issue). I made an appointment with Allan Hamilton QC immediately and went downtown to his office that morning. I reviewed the details of the issue with Mr. Hamilton and he confirmed my opinion of what to do next, specifically call an In-Camera meeting with council immediately with no staff present. On return to my office that is exactly what I did through the Clerks Office. I took this action based on my review of the following section of the Community Charter which relates to the Mayor’s responsibility to Council:

Community Charter Section 116 (2) (b) states  “to communicate information to the Council”….  in other words keep Council informed.

  • For 24 hours before the meeting some members of Council on receipt of the notice of the special in-camera meeting badgered me a number of times as to what the meeting was about etc. Given the nature of the information it was prudent to only discuss this information when everyone was around the table. On calling the meeting to order on Thursday October 28th, 2009 at 7:00PM I had council react in what could only be described as a combative, immature and irresponsible way, some telling me they had known of this for over a decade, this was a non-story and Bateman said he wrote on this 12 years earlier. I was accused of trying to ruin personal reputations and much more. A meeting from hell for trying to do the job I was elected to do!

Ruining personal reputations? Nothing could be further from the truth. This was exactly why I handled it in the fashion I did, as I was advised, to protect everybody’s identity in an in-camera meeting with no staff present.

This issue turned out to be nothing more than another issue of convenience; it fit their campaign strategy against the Mayor perfectly. They didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story!

  • On Oct. 29th, 2009 Councillor Ward presented a Notice-of-Motion to the effect that Judy Rogers, a Consultant for the Corporation, hire a third party to review the actions of the Mayor, his calling of an in-camera meeting and his handling of an anonymous letter related to this issue. That notice-of-motion was presented and passed in the Special Closed Meeting of Council December 7th, 2009.

I can tell you that as Mayor I was chairing all of these meetings. This motion was passed without any discussion or debate related to my actions which were very clear and evident to members of council supported by legal advice and NO consideration of cost.

  • Don Lidstone was hired to investigate my actions. He did a very thorough investigation, interviewed all of us, submitted a report and met with council. In that report he reached the conclusion that I followed legal advice, did not breach my oath of office nor did I break any law. In his request to interview me he advised that I could bring legal-council with me, a choice that I declined given the fact I had nothing to hide.

During Don Lidstone’s investigation and interviews it seems the only thing members of council were concerned about or interested in was what actions they could take against the Mayor. The one issue council was concentrating on is I had told legal counsel and members of Council that when I received the info in that envelope it was the first I had heard of the issue when in fact I had received it Aug. 5th, 2009 by email. I provided Council with a statement of explanation and apology at the time of Don Lidstone’s report admitting that fact as well as stating that I had been told, as I stated earlier, in breakfast meetings about this issue in May and June of 2009. Why did I mislead Council as to when I knew this info – My reason for that was I was mad at myself for not advising Council back in August as I was procrastinating on where to take this information, if anywhere. Another very significant part of my rationale was that I was trying to protect my sources.

It still bothers me as to how that information got out of my office. I investigated and found out the locks on the Mayor’s office hadn’t been changed since the building opened in 2005, the day they moved into the new Municipal Hall office and there were twelve people or departments who held a key. That was corrected.” In the end it was determined as I recall there were over 30 people that had access to my office. Great security for the Mayor’s Private Office?

  • In a subsequent meeting of council a motion was introduced and passed to provide Council Members with independent legal advice paid for by you the Township taxpayer and to EXCLUDE the Mayor. Their motion that was passed and excluded me for support of my legal expenses was contrary to an existing policy in the Township that states legal expenses will be paid except in cases of guilt. I was found not guilty of anything! Fair, you be the judge! They continued to badger Lidstone with the question – what else could they do to discipline the Mayor other than censure, apology and removal from the Metro Board. (they were warned about what they could say in a public statement to ensure my position, integrity and respect could or would not be brought into question.)
  • Council Committee of Inquiry – After considerable badgering of Don Lidstone by Council members about what else they could do to the Mayor he relented that there was a Council Committee of Inquiry that could be established, permissible under the Community Charter. This was news to me and it carried with it subpoena powers over the signature of the Mayor. Basically similar to a judicial body but made up of members Council. This was of great concern to me, not for me, but for the office of the Mayor. Remember the three prominent citizens I told you about earlier, those that I had breakfast with and received that first information about Brownshack? Council were very upset that I wouldn’t tell them who they were! Don Lidstone wanted to interview them. I had my contact phone the three involved and ask them if they were willing to be interviewed. They came back very quickly and said no, keep us out of it. I told all involved their privacy would be protected by me. With that answer in hand I secured a lawyer to deal with this Committee of Inquiry issue. It took a while but my lawyer was able to get the point across to ALL concerned that by legislation it was the Mayor, not Deputy Mayor or the appointed Mayor that had to sign any subpoenas, and this Mayor would not be signing any subpoenas.

Why not sign subpoenas or why fight this Council Committee of Inquiry? The Mayor’s day or for that matter a Councillors day consists of hours and hours of conversations, meetings and discussions with residents. To ensure trust in the office those discussions, meetings and conversations must remain confidential. The public’s trust in an elected office would deteriorate and be destroyed quickly if that wasn’t the case.  To-date the closest I have come to identify the three individuals I had breakfast with is to say they are very prominent citizens. I could have solved my problem by disclosing their names, names I know members of Council know very well and would be shocked at who they were.

I will now go further for the first time, not naming names as that was my promise but I will say now that they were THREE VERY VERY PROMINENT LAWYERS in the Township of Langley. (Let the guessing begin!)

What is important here is to state that it was the principle of protecting the Mayor’s ability to have confidential discussions with constituents that I was fighting for. As an aside I would pay big money to see the looks on the faces of members of Council if these three showed up to testify, but I digress!!!!

The public should be aware that council caused legal expenditures for the Township of over $100,000. (paid for by you the taxpayer) My personal legal expenses to defend myself against a frivolous non-issue amounted to over $25,000. in after tax dollars, an expense I had no choice but to engage given the actions by members of council! I could have solved my problem by going back on my word, something that would have saved my family $25,000 but something that I was not prepared to do.  

As stated by lawyer Don Lidstone – “There is no legal requirement for any public statement or report; any such action would be based on political considerations. If council considers any release of a statement or report to the public, the statement or report would have to be carefully redacted to protect the Mayor’s personal and private information in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and to ensure that he is not defamed by the statement or report. As stated, the decision to release a statement or report to the public would be based on political considerations, and is not required by law.”

Summary to this point:

This has to be the most politically motivated attack on a Mayor in the lower mainland.

What was the issue? – Simply, I received information that members of council should know. I sought and followed legal advice and outlined the issue to council. Council claimed to know all about the information which is where it should have stopped. Instead we dealt with this issue for ten months with some members of council still fighting the 2008 election and getting ready for 2011. It was a political attack of considerable proportions designed to remove me from office sooner than later. It wasn’t going to happen and defies anything democratic, I would not bend to threats, political attacks OR bullying.

It all reached what I thought was a conclusion in the afternoon in-camera meeting of Council on September 13th, 2010. Council were preparing a Press Release, my lawyer was in attendance, and I served notice that if they wanted to take this public I would be issuing a Press Release with all relevant information on the issue. They would not get away by accusing me of wrong doing when none existed. I scheduled a Press Conference to be held in the Council Chambers for 10:00 AM Tuesday September 14th, 2010. That notice went out during the evening of September 13th, 2010. I released all information including the Securities Register and the Kent Spencer letter which was attached to my Press Release. For the record (and you will see why shortly) at the conclusion and after terminating our in-camera meeting, I told Don Lidstone I would be releasing these documents as they were not in-camera material. Specifically they existed in the public realm before the existence of our in-camera proceedings. Therefore they could not be considered in-camera protected.

As bad as all of this was there was more, an RCMP investigation!

Well all of this wasn’t enough for the likes of Grant Ward. I received word in early January of 2011 that a complaint had been filed against me in December. I was blind-sided by John Daly of Global News coming out of a Council Meeting in early January 2011 and was confronted with this revelation. Given the reaction by some members of Council, it was clear they were all aware of it except me. There were all kinds of comments made about the Mayor and about me having to step down, this was a criminal investigation and more. A tough day in the Mayor’s office, you bet!

It wasn’t until I pursued a meeting with the investigating officer that one actually took place. You would think due process would have placed the accused as a higher priority, especially the Mayor in a highly-charged environment. In that meeting with my lawyer present (more money) that I discovered Grant Ward and Joel Schacter were among those that filed the complaint (RCMP disclosed that fact). The complaint “Are you ready for this” was that I was in breach of a Provincial Statute namely the release of an in-camera document! The document in-question – the information I received in my mailbox that day, the documents that was in the public realm that could not be classified as in-camera material and the documents I warned members of Council that I would release if they pursued this non-sense any further.

No, it wasn’t anything more than that and it was NOT criminal! Funny how this works, with the help of members of Council I was slandered repeatedly in the media without so much as an explanation of the facts nor any correction to the headlines!

In Closing – An irresponsible action by members of Council, followed up by an irresponsible waste of tax payer dollars, proven to be not guilty, followed up by a bogus complaint to the RCMP over the release of documents already in the public realm, followed up by a 10 month investigation over the release of these documents which included Crown Counsel returning them (not interested) and Special Crown Counsel returning them (not interested).

As all of this wasn’t enough over a non-issue (political) finally an Independent Special Prosecutor David Crossin QC was appointed and concluded NO CHARGES should be laid against Langley Township Mayor Rick Green. His final report follows –

MEDIA STATEMENT

CRIMINAL JUSTICE BRANCH

September 9, 2011 11-17

Mayor Rick Green – Decision of Special Prosecutor Announced

Victoria – The Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General today announced that independent Special Prosecutor David Crossin, Q.C. has concluded

that no charges should be laid against Langley Township Mayor Rick Green, following an RCMP investigation into his alleged actions in September 2010, in

connection with his censure by Langley Township counsel. Having reviewed the investigative report prepared by the police and applied Criminal

Justice Branch policies and charge approval standards, Mr. Crossin concluded that there is no substantial likelihood of conviction for any offences.

Mr. Crossin, a senior Vancouver lawyer, was appointed by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert W.G. Gillen, Q.C. on June 7, 2011, following receipt of the

Report to Crown Counsel prepared by police in relation to their investigation. Given the position of Mr. Green, as well as the complainants and potential witnesses

involved in the case, Mr. Gillen concluded that it was appropriate to appoint a Special Prosecutor.

Mr. Crossin’s mandate included:

  • Conducting an independent charge assessment review of the Report to Crown Counsel submitted by the investigative agency and making the charging decision

he deemed appropriate in the exercise of his independent prosecutorial discretion.

  • Offering such legal advice as was necessary to the police in the event that further investigation by them was required;
  • Providing a written report to the Assistant Deputy Attorney General with the results of his review and the reasons for his decision;
  • If in his view a prosecution was warranted, continuing that prosecution and any subsequent appeal.

The Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Justice Branch appoints Special Prosecutors pursuant to the Crown Counsel Act when there is a significant

potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of criminal justice.

The decisions of Special Prosecutors are final, subject only to receiving written directions from the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General or Assistant Deputy

Attorney General for the Criminal Justice Branch. In such an event, those directions must be made public by publishing them in the Gazette.

Given that no charges have been approved by Mr. Crossin, neither he nor the Criminal Justice Branch will be releasing any details of the report which he reviewed.

This Media Statement has been reviewed by the Special Prosecutor and he has

approved its release.

Media Contact: Neil MacKenzie

Communications Counsel

Criminal Justice Branch

(250) 387-5169

 

IMPORTANT – Contrary to what came out in the media this investigation was not criminal BUT a complaint that I breached a Provincial Statute by releasing in-camera documents pertaining to Brownshack Developments. The documents I released came to me from the public therefore it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize they were not subject to the rules of in-camera. All of that being said it took the RCMP and three Crown Prosecutors 10 months of expensive investigation (your tax dollars) to agree I did nothing wrong. Interesting point, the timing of their decision’s Press Release came a short two months BEFORE election day! 

So lets see, you have a Mayor who was out of favor because I fought against the Provincial Government and or MLA Rich Coleman (a former Solicitor General and RCMP officer) on a number of issues (Land Deals, Events Center, Translink, Mufford Cresc.); and you have a complaint by Councilor Grant Ward (a former RCMP officer)? Political? NO, say it ain’t so!

Now lets be clear I am NOT suggesting anything, I am just saying!

Once again, this took 10 months with the decision from the Independent Crown Counsel coming out on Sept. 9th, 2011. A short 2 months BEFORE election-day! Actually it worked to perfection as far as the Langley Establishment was concerned.

How was all of this possible you say, only in the Township of Langley!

 

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe should be of significant concern and interest to residents of the Township of Langley.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

The question … What kind of municipal government do you want? Transparent, listens to the community and states the Truth, OR one that hides the truth from you in favor of friends and insiders?

The Rest of the Story….  Here is Part 3 of a 4 part series looking at the truth behind what really went on during my three year term in the Mayor’s office. Is this the level of respect you want or are happy with from members of Council towards your choice for Mayor or for that matter to any other duly elected member of Council? You be the judge!   

So back to the controversy…. As stated earlier it was the reaction by a few well-connected individuals, some call them the Township of Langley Establishment, who have strong connections to senior municipal staff and those currently elected, against my actions and efforts to stop all the back room dealing. This applied to very questionable actions by the Council I was elected to serve with. Difficult, what an understatement!

From the outset I was fully aware that my actions which amounted to stepping on some BIG TOES could cost me, but I will admit never did I believe the steps that these people would go to attack me. The term dirty politics doesn’t come close to the depths of their attacks which fully included members of Council supporting the grand plan.

Next Up, Settlement of the LEC (Langley Event Center) Boondoggle – The issues surrounding the Langley Event Center started with the fact there was no P3 agreement (start of this post) as told to the residents of the Township for years. But that was just the tip of the ice-berg!

(This topic is covered in depth in my March 3rd, 2013 BLOG Post)

As I have repeatedly said, there should be a Forensic Audit on this facility. It is filled with a litany of very questionable decisions which I have gone through in depth in my earlier BLOG Post.

I had a choiceDo I tell the public the truth after the conclusion of final negotiations? You decide? Any grade 12 business student (Councilor Richter take note, you should be more than embarrassed) would have corrected or fought against the obvious financial / business wrongs that were a part of this development. After my election and getting involved with the status of the LEC, I was shocked at the apparent willingness of council to fall in line with the direction of staff and not challenging what was going on. The Council of the day (Long, Fox and Richter still on Council) permitted this to happen without being called to account.

Council gave staff the authority to negotiate and conclude all agreements? That is correct, Council gave staff, by and through three resolutions, the responsibility to sign off on what they (staff) saw fit. Council members totally abdicated their fiduciary responsibility. To this day I can’t believe what was allowed to go on unchallenged. Despite myself making some significant changes, at the end of the day a completely unwarranted $8.6 million settlement was agreed to with the so-called (NOT) private partner. The complete detail and truth was issued in my press release dated Wednesday, December 15th, 2010. By the way, the local media ignored this as they ignored everything else. Why? As one publisher told me it wasn’t as bad as I said it was and it wasn’t as good as they say it was. What a cop out, a reflection of the complete lack of scrutiny and the total incompetence by this council and your local media. A complete disservice to our community!!!

Next Up, Soil Deposit on Agricultural Land – Despite citizens hearing and being told by the Township of Langley for years that the control of soil deposit on agricultural land is the responsibility of the Agricultural Land Commission, we discovered this was a lie! The facts were uncovered in previous correspondence with the ALC. Further, on a tip from a resident I uncovered a letter written by the TOL CAO to the ALC stating there was a resolution of Council in November 2005 to send all land fill applications to the ALC (as required by provincial legislation) for review and approval, when in fact there was NO such resolution of Council. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to suggest or at least ask the question, when Provincial Legislation stipulates one thing (commonly called “the law”) and you ignore it, in other words you advise a Provincial Crown Agency (ALC) there was a resolution as required by Provincial statute, when in fact it didn’t exist, does that not break the law? Who is responsible? How many property owners had been adversely affected by neighboring soil deposits during that five year period? Just asking! Do these affected residents, if negatively affected, not have a legal argument against the Township of Langley?

I had a choice – Do I tell the public the truth or not? Not a chance that was I going to allow this wrong doing to continue. I would suggest that there have been many residents who have been adversely affected by incorrectly approved soil deposits on rural neighboring properties. I would also suggest that there are liability issues out in our community, thanks to the actions of staff and members of council. I can hear Richter from here, “there you go again promoting a lawsuit”! This was a statement she made against me in an open Council meeting when I said IF the Township issued a fill permit to my neighbor and we ended up with a water problem I would sue. No, Kim, it is called being honest and fulfilling your responsibilities to the taxpayer of your community. A foreign concept I know, to some! Could a group of these affected residents make an interesting court challenge against the Township of Langley? You be the judge!

Conclusion – All of the above are what I would call the major issues, but there were and are many many more ie the Park Lane Condo Wall in Fort Langley (adding 4th floor / increase in density at 4th reading, illegal), school sites in Willoughby and now with a friendly supporting Mayor you see the controversial Coulter Berry Building in Fort Langley, a $7.5 million expansion of the LEC (no public input, notification or process) by the current Council, the Brookswood / Fernridge planning debacle and the OUTDOOR Aldergrove Pool (Promised an Indoor Pool) it goes on and on and on!

So where do Township of Langley residents go from here?

I tried my best to correct these bad decisions. I am very pleased in what I was able to accomplish – as a matter of fact I accomplished more in three difficult years than Kurt Alberts accomplished in nine years. But it appears to me that we are, I was going to say back to square one, but I would suggest we are further back than that. Don’t believe me, just look at the decisions that are being made in Willoughby, Fort Langley, Trinity Wall / University District Development, Tuscan Development, Coulter Berry favors, expansion of the LEC, TOL Outdoor Pool (promised Indoor) in Aldergrove and the wrong-headed Brookswood Community Plan.

Rail Traffic – FACT – We will see up to 38 – 15,000 ft. (per information through Westshore Terminals) unit trains per day (coal and containers) in the years ahead with the development of Roberts Bank without a sound or ounce of protest coming from members of Council or staff. After years of silence on the subject we are now hearing (a little late) about the need for more overpasses given the expansion, only now coming to light.  With this we are losing out on a Community Light Rail Passenger Service from Scott Road to Chilliwack on the Interurban Corridor. During my term we secured the renewal of passenger rights on this corridor, 4 months BEFORE they were to expire forever, but those now in power at the Provincial level and Municipal level are ignoring this opportunity at our / your expense. You see renewing them is one thing, activating passenger service will require the political go ahead from the Province and by extension B.C. Hydro.

I don’t know what it is going to take to get residents actively involved to make the changes that are so dramatically needed in the next election. I tried and believe me I don’t apologize. The one thing I didn’t expand on is the red herring legal issue that I was attacked on which was an absolute sham, that will be covered in Part 4 of this series. Once again, on Council I was at a serious disadvantage given the disparity of votes and what can only be described as an ineffective, biased attack dog Council.

I don’t like to raise personal issues relating to my family but in this case it speaks to the character, or lack of character of one Councilor Grant Ward. In the middle of my last year I had a very serious personal issue occur; My daughter, who was 6 months pregnant with her first child was diagnosed with two malignant melanoma brain tumors with, in the view of a couple of top neuro-surgeons in the province, there was very little they could do for her. During that very dark 48 hour period we discussed putting her on life support to save the baby. Well we received the best gift that any parent / grandparent could ever receive, today as unbelievable as it sounds we have a healthy daughter and granddaughter in our lives.

Why I mention that personal story is a short anecdote in closing Part 3; on the first Monday meeting (2 days) after my daughter’s diagnosis, I had excused myself from the Monday meeting of Council (I was at Shannon’s bedside in hospital) and I asked Acting Mayor Bob Long through my assistant to read a statement publicly on my behalf given unfounded rumors that had been circulating about my absence. Acting Mayor Long was interrupted by none other than one Grant Ward saying in effect that a Council Meeting was not the place for that statement. I understand Bob continued to read my statement which I wouldn’t have expected anything less, but this kind of immoral action displays what kind of individual there was sitting on council. I also have it on record that Councilor Ward had made a number of comments at community events to supporters of mine that I was seeking sympathy. I rest my case!

There is obviously much more to that story but on a personal note it puts life into perspective. What is really important in life? That is an easy answer – FAMILY!!

Part 4, and the final BLOG Post of this series will expand on the most controversial issue to-date. That was the now infamous brown envelope and subsequent police investigation. How that came about, who laid the complaint and the inconvenient facts (to some). It is interesting that after holding a press conference, issuing a detailed press release and answering all questions from an audience of regional and local media we never received anything close to fair coverage in the media other than controversial head-lines. So for the inconvenient truth and uncomfortable facts behind that issue – Read Part 4!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe should be of significant concern and interest to residents of the Township of Langley.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

The question … What kind of municipal government do you want? Transparent, listens to the community and states the Truth, OR one that hides the truth from you in favor of friends and insiders? You have had the latter for years and continue to do so!

The Rest of the Story cont’d….  Here is Part 2 of a 4 part series looking at the truth behind what really went on during my three year (some would say controversial) term in the Mayor’s office. Is this the level of respect you want or are happy with from members of Council towards your choice for Mayor or for that matter to any other duly elected member of council? You be the judge!   

So back to the controversy….

First up, first Council Agenda of my term –

Langley Events Center (LEC) – No P3 Agreement as publicly promised to the taxpayer FOR TWO YEARS BY staff and ALL members of Council and the Province of B.C. through regular PUBLIC press releases (A lie, you bet it was) – Contained in our FIRST Council In-Camera Agenda was a staff report requesting an additional $7.5 million for the NEW Langley Events Center (75% complete at the time) along with a number of recommendations for the facility. With some obvious concerns I had after reading the Agenda and associated reports over the weekend I asked our CAO for a signed copy of the extensively and publically advertised P3 agreement at an 8:00 AM Monday meeting scheduled by myself. His answer – there wasn’t one. Shocked and armed with this new revelation I went into our first in-camera meeting, innocently enough and advised Council of what I had learned and I requested the courtesy of Council for a one week deferral so a new Mayor, a new Councilor (one councilor was away) could be brought up to speed. Their answer, put forward by then Councilor Jordan Bateman (you remember him, he of Canadian Taxpayer fame, and alleged defender of the taxpayer) call the question on the motion and the staff report and recommendations were passed. A reasoned request denied in 5 seconds. (NOTE – This entire LEC financial boondoggle issue was extensively covered in a previous BLOG Post of March 3rd 2013.) It was not an issue during the 2008 election campaign because the issue was unknown at the time but was the first to hit my desk.

Councilors responsible for not agreeing to a reasoned one week deferral – Charlie Fox, Grant Ward, Jordan Bateman, Bev Dornan, Mel Kositsky, Bob Long and Steve Ferguson!

Now to be clear, I had a Choice – Do I tell the public the truth or NOT? My first Mayor’s Report in the next Council meeting was in keeping with my belief in an open, transparent and responsible government. I announced that there was no P3 agreement in place and I was very concerned. (P3 agreements are established so as to share the risk, this was not done.) A lie was perpetrated on the taxpayers of the Township. I received criticism from members of Council for telling the truth. One Council member was quoted in the press as saying I don’t understand why the Mayor had to make that public, say NO MORE? IMPORTANT – For a complete understanding of why I still say this project should undergo a Forensic Audit go to the March 3rd, 2013 langleywatchdog BLOG Post.

Next up, Mayor’s Standing Committee of Finance – One of my campaign promises was to set up a Mayor’s Standing Committee of Finance, permitted for the Mayor to establish under Community Charter legislation. I appointed three members of Council and three very qualified citizens of the Township, one a well-known and then just retired managing (loca) Director (CA) of a large local accounting firm, a retired federal auditor and a local lawyer. The majority of Council expressed their displeasure with my actions as they were pleased with the job they had done in the area of taxation and spending (Please see their record of taxation, over a six year period taxes increased at 3 times the rate of inflation BLOG Post May 2013) and it was downhill from there. They didn’t stop there, Councilors Ward and Ferguson, along with some firefighters and media in tow crashed a few of our committee meetings in nothing but a disgraceful, embarrassing and very public spectacle which negated anyone volunteering in future years.

This committee spent weeks of very hard work, met every department and went through the Provisional (Staff) Budget line by line. Questions were asked that challenged staff, something that hasn’t been done before or since. All of this went into the conclusions and recommendations of the committee. A comprehensive report was presented to Council in an open 4:00PM meeting and not one question was asked of members of the committee by Council. The report included a recommended tax increase of .93%, (less than 1%!) it was totally ignored. Yes, Jordan Bateman, he of Canadian Taxpayer fame, you know the defender of the taxpayer was on Council and with the majority of Council supported and approved a 4.9% tax increase. At the time, three times the cost of living (the CPI)!

I had a choice – Do I live up to my commitment and promise which I was elected on as presented during the 2008 election, or capitulate to members of council that liked everything the way it was? I was not willing to capitulate and continue their way of doing things which was not serving the public well. Among a number of initiatives, we wanted to conduct were value for money audits. For some reason (use your imagination here), Township Councilors and staff didn’t like the idea.

Next up, Mufford Crescent Diversion –  A $60 million multi funded (12) partner project, which was UNKNOWN to the public prior to the 2008 election. There was (no public consultation, input or knowledge) of the project that by design was going to direct 500 cars per hour north when they want to go south onto a two lane country road at 216th and 64th. (a land deal for somebody but not a traffic solution!) Following a promise I made during the election campaign, after winning, before swearing in and two days before the ALC was going to vote on this application I served notice to the ALC that we would be going to public consultation through two Open Houses and a Public Meeting. After attracting over 1,000 residents to these three events with over a 95% Public REJECTION of the proposed overpass and road plan Council requested a Vote on the project at a 4:00 PM untelevised afternoon meeting. Due to the high profile nature of the issue I advised Council BEFORE their vote that should they vote in favor of the overpass I would bring it back in two weeks to a televised evening meeting for a public vote as allowed under the Community Charter for the Mayor. Both votes approved the proposed project 6 – 3. (Green / Richter / Kositsky opposed) As far as I was concerned that was that, Council would have to live with their decision, ignoring the wishes of the public. For the record, as mentioned earlier, the ALC, before our swearing in had given this project Conditional Approval subject to nine very specific conditions. In any event I thought that was the end of it but I was mistaken. The public should be alarmed at what happened next.

That was the case until June of that year. I was apprised of a submission by The Pacific Land Group to the ALC on behalf of the 12 funding partners. This submission was the formal response to the nine conditions (conditional approval) by the ALC with respect to this initiative. I contacted our CAO Mark Bakken requesting a copy of the submission. Reading this report was a revelation! How wrong and misleading could one report possibly be? (A full explanation on Mufford is contained in an earlier BLOG Post of February 22nd, 2013)

I had a choice – Do I tell the Agricultural Land Commission the truth or not?

Was the Mufford Crescent Diversion a done deal? Never-the-less, due to the absolute erroneous information in this report upon which the ALC was going to make a final decision, I along with three other community members scheduled a meeting with ALC Staff armed with an independent report correcting this false information. For the record, it was clearly stated in my letter accompanying our independent report that I was NOT challenging the vote of Council, just correcting information in the submission. I was speaking as a resident as were other members of the committee. We wanted to ensure that the ALC vote would be based on correct information not incorrect information. Members of Council were outraged that I would have the audacity to request a meeting with ALC staff, questioning the report that was submitted by the proponent, I might add regardless of how wrong it was?

An Interesting conclusion and decision on the Mufford proposal? Despite the overwhelming odds and subliminal and some not so subliminal THREATS I received in fighting the B.C. Provincial Government, our MLAs, Minister of Transportation, Translink, eleven other funding partners, majority of Township Councilors, Mayor Fassbender, City of Langley and engineering staff; That project, their project, was rejected by the ALC on the arguments we presented. Our facts were correct. The TRUTH prevailed! Was I wrong in fighting for the truth as well as supporting such a large majority of the public, NO, I would do it again despite the intimidation, bullying and angst by Council. Where was all of that coming from? Follow the money!

Next Up – Athenry Gate Development / Willoughby – During the week of Nov. 22nd, 2010 I became aware of an agenda item (Athenry Developments) scheduled for a “Development Permit” Public Hearing and 4th reading on Monday November 29th, 2010. This item had received 1st and 2nd reading, public hearing and 3rd reading (conditional approval) in June of 2008 by the Council previous to ours, again prior to my election as Mayor. In doing my due diligence in preparation for the upcoming Public Hearing, I researched this project and its history, through a variety of Staff Reports. I was frankly shocked in finding the project that was proposed and given the appropriate readings, including Public Hearing bore no resemblance to what was before us at Development Permit Stage and 4th and final reading. For the Record, Changes can only be made after 3rd reading in Form, Character and Design. Density cannot be increased after 3rd reading without going back to a NEW Public Hearing. These changes in my opinion then and now DID NOT come close to meeting that standard and therefore would be deemed illegal.

The original June 2008 approved project was for one building located roughly in the center of the property while the 2010 version was for three, four story apartment buildings, a two story office building and a Cultural Center. This change impacted all surrounding private homes severely with a dramatically reduced set back, increased height of buildings with very close imposition immediately next to surrounding homes. In my opinion and experience this was and is a travesty of justice that happened to local hard working taxpayers. (NOTE – As I understand it, the affected residents had launched legal action but withdrew without giving up their right for taking action in the future.) Due to their position they were denied access to speak directly to councilors (They must go through Township lawyers) about ongoing problems with the development that has so dramatically affected their quality of life and home values! Were their rights for political representation not being trampled on?

For anyone reading this and dismissing its impact, I would ask – what would your reaction be IF you were in the same position? I know of one resident who sold their dream home in this development, it cost them about $100,000. In reduced market value. This has been verified by a number of local local real estate representatives.

So, how did this issue conclude? I convened a meeting with our CAO in my office Monday morning expressing a serious concern about going forward with this application for 4th reading and Development Permit stage that evening. I was told that our lawyers had agreed with staff and concluded the changes were nothing more than changes in form, character and design and so we proceeded with dealing with this issue at that night’s Council meeting, where by the way and interestingly enough, Councilor Kositsky was absent (conveniently for him). A very controversial issue being dealt with by the Mayor and only seven councilors!

I was concerned with the potential for legal issues being raised during the meeting so I requested the Township lawyer be in attendance. I had advised Council during the dinner break that if I felt we were getting into difficult territory that I would suggest a 15 minute adjournment motion from Council. This indeed did happen, at a point when we were dealing with a possible deferral motion of 1 – 2 weeks. In our adjournment (not a meeting) I canvassed support for deferral, while having three of us agree, in typical fashion support for deferral was denied. On exiting the Board Room finishing that adjournment I looked back and saw Mark Bakken CAO and Councilor Charlie Fox huddled around Councilor Bev Dornan (the only three left in the room). Interesting development as we were down to 8 votes with Kositsky away. The vote at the time was 5 – 3 against a deferral. If it was a tie vote deferral would also have been denied BUT then it would have gone to a vote of approval on Development Permit and 4th reading which was approved 5 – 3. If it had been a 4 – 4 tie it would have been defeated. Does this sound like securing your votes? Can’t say for sure, just thought I would ask the question?

Given the obvious bent of Council it would have been easier to give in than to fight, that is not in my DNA and not what I was elected to do!

Part 3 of this BLOG Series coming in three days, more controversial issues to deal with!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe should be of significant concern and interest to residents of the Township of Langley.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, GET and stay involved and VOTE!!!

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