Keeping it Real…

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It WAS About TransLink!

July 3rd, 2015 · 15 Comments

Interim TransLink CEO Doug Allen has demonstrated perfectly how out of touch with the public TransLink officials are.

After Metro voters SOUNDLY rejected the TransLink extra sales tax referendum, Allen told reporters:

“I know some of you will say, ‘Well, this is really about TransLink’.  It was not. ”

YES, IT WAS!!!!   BIG TIME!

Almost everyone I know who voted NO said they wouldn’t mind a small temporary sales tax to build a first-class transit system in the city … BUT NOT THE WAY TRANSLINK CURRENTLY WORKS>

Read it and weep, Doug …for MANY people it WAS about TransLink …  its waste, its incompetence …real or perceived, its lousy handling of the money it already has and a complete belief that TransLink WOULD squander and overspend much of what it received if the vote had passed.

“TransLink was not on the ballot,” Allen had insisted.

“There were two parts. A 10-year investment plan and a tax increase. And it is my view that the public across the Lower Mainland said ‘no’ to a tax increase,” he explained.

I believe that’s a total head-in-the sand attitude.

In the coming federal election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will NOT be on the ballot (except in their own ridings).   But believe me, in almost EVERY riding right across the country … it will be THEM who MOST Canadians will be voting for/against when marking our ballots.

True, policies and promises and tax increases will also be deciding factors …but believe me, the BIGGEST factor will be Harper or Mulcair or Trudeau!

If TransLink is to ever restore public confidence in public transit in the Lower Mainland, it should start by keeping it real …and admitting IT is part of the problem … a BIG part.

Harv Oberfeld

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→ 15 CommentsTags: British Columbia

Happy Canada Day …. Time for Harper to Go!

July 1st, 2015 · 39 Comments

This was the last straw: I have now decided … I will NOT vote for Harper/Tories

The Harper dictatorship has gone too far.

On the eve of Canada Day, as WE were gearing up to celebrate the freedoms we THINK we still have, the Tories in Ottawa, just prior to the Senate’s Summer recess,  were pushing through a last piece of legislation …  one that violates not only Canada’s Constitution, Canada’s Charter of Rights but takes away Canadians’  basic right to privacy and specifically singles out Canada’s Unions for discriminatory rules/legislation.

Bill C-377 …  a Private Member’s Bill sponsored by BC Tory MP Russ Hiebert … would require Unions … and ONLY Unions … to disclose details of all expenses they make over $5,000.  Separate out and compile lists of  EVERY expense over $5,000!  From organizations that annually manage more than $5 BILLION. Outline EVERY expense over $5,000! An incredible and unacceptable burden!!!

Just imagine the huge red tape/costs/paperwork for every union to compile, collate, disseminate details of EVERY such expenditure …from buying office supplies and furniture to doing mailouts to members or just carrying out union workshops or organizing activities   … EVERY expense!

The Bill would also require Unions … and ONLY Unions … to disclose remuneration to anyone (wages, benefits, expenses) totalling more than $100,000.

What this Bill really constitutes is a TORY GOVERNMENT attack on Unions themselves … for no other reasons than to satisfy the Tories’ far right wing base, to pander to anti-Union lobby groups, and to cripple Unions’ operating abilities by draining away large sums of money just to comply with the legislation.

And anyone who dares to argue this was just a Private Members’ Bill and not the responsibility of Harper and the Tory government/caucus should read the history of how the legislation was manoeuvered and manhandled through the Senate this week in a disgraceful, undemocratic manipulation of Senate rules  …and rushed off to the Governor General to sign immediately.

It looked like one of the last desperate destructive move by a party/government that knows it is going down … and is trying to extract revenge on its perceived opponents before they are liberated from the dictatorship.  What’s next .. stealing the art work from the walls/halls of government?

No wonder that no less than SEVEN provincial governments condemned/opposed the proposed  legislation over the years it has been debated  as unconstitutional, and the federal privacy commissioner has raised serious concerns about whether it would be legal.

For those Harper apologists who might argue What’s wrong with transparency and the public’s right to know etc? … I have only one response:

Why ONLY Unions?

Why not demand the same of Corporations who spend millions trying to fight or keep out Unions?  Or why not force the exact same disclosures by the various “Business” or “Industry” or “Chambers” or “Employers” associations or groups that do exactly what the Unions do …except for the bosses, instead of employees?

Wouldn’t we all like to know how many of  the leaders and spokespersons and analysts and consultants for these business lobby groups are paid over $100,000 a year in total remuneration?  Wouldn’t we like to know the details of EVERY expenditure THEY make over $5,000?

“ C-377 ushers in an era of transparency and accountability for Canadians unions. It allows union members and the general public to evaluate the effectiveness of unions,” said Hiebert in a news release after the Bill was passed.

Too bad his devotion to transparency doesn’t extend to the corporate lobbyists, business groups and their bosses.

If there is any good news it’s that the new “law” doesn’t go into effect until the end of 2015.

It will also no doubt be challenged in Court and there’s almost doubt in my mind it will eventually be ruled un-Constitutional.

But there’s an easier way: throw the dictatorship out.

This disgraceful attack on working Canadians was the last straw for me: I will NOT vote for Harper/Tories.

Bring on the alternatives…

Harv Oberfeld

→ 39 CommentsTags: British Columbia · National