Politics: Winning Any Which Way...?
And this is the day I get my local MLA sending me a mimeographed letter with - no shit - three pictures of him in various stages of embrace with an orang-utan, and the words: "Hear the Integrity ... See the Compassion ... Know the Heart".
Apologies to Dave Barry, but I am NOT making this up.
Inside the letter is the standard boilerplate (though slightly panicky) about how horrible life was four years ago, and how BC became a "Have Not" province, and how horrible it was to receive equalization payments from Ottawa (BC got $125 million in 1999-2000). Try to ignore that BC got no payments in 2000 - 2001, $240 million in 2001 - 2002, $71 million in 2002 - 2003, then $320 million in 2003 - 2004, and an astounding $682 million for 2004 - 2005, with a predicted $590 million for 2005 - 2006.
Whew! That $70 million cut from the Ministry of Children and Family Development came just in time, eh?
Since I can't seem to link to it, I think I'll include a list I found at the Pacific Gazette about the past four years:
1. Promised 5000 new intermediate and long term care beds for seniors byAnd they thought they could impress me with a fucking APE?
2. Closed 2,529 residential care beds and added 1,065 assisted living beds,
for a net loss of 1, 464 beds between May 2001 and December 2004.
3. Closed 1279 hospital beds 2002-2004.
4. Closed or downgraded services in over a dozen hospitals including
Hospitals in Kimberly, Delta, Sparwood, Enderby, Lillooet, Summerland,
Vancouver, New Westminster, Richmond, Kootenay Lake, Castlegar, Ladysmith,
Burnaby, Shuswap Lake, Victoria and Cumberland and Powell River.
5. Increased wait times by 30% on average since 2001 (orthopedic surgery
wait times alone have increased by 83%).
6. Vancouver Coastal Health Authority alone reduced home support services
(cleaning, laundry and shopping) to 5600 residents requiring assistance in
7. Increased Pharmacare costs for 420,000 seniors.
8. Cut 17 drugs from Pharmacare.
9. Increased MSP premiums by 50%.
10. Raised Pharmacare deductibles for the poor on MSP premium assistance
from $600 to $800 a year.
11. Privatized MSP billings to Maximus, an American company, making private
BC records subject to disclosure under the US Patriot Act.
12. Delisted physiotherapy, podiatry, chiropractor, acupuncture, Naturopathy
and eye exams from MSP coverage.
13. Contracted out diagnostic services like MRI and CT scans.
14. Contracted out more surgeries to private, for-profit clinics after
promising to make this unnecessary.
15. Further undermined our public health care system by giving private,
for-profit companies the go-ahead to build and operate the Regional Hospital
and Cancer Care Centre in Abbotsford and the Ambulatory Care Centre at
Vancouver General Hospital.
16. Cut over $200 million from programs for children and families under the
Ministry of Children and Family Development.
17. Eliminated the independent offices of the Child, Youth and Family
18. Eliminated the independent office of Mental Health Advocate.
19. Cut support for shelters, troubled youth, families in crisis and the
20. Cut social assistance for the poor.
21. Made disability benefits harder to get as a result of onerous new
medical reporting required from doctors to defend disability designations
22. Cut $50 million from child care.
23. Spent $5 million to cut 46 people off welfare.
24. Cancelled bus passes for seniors, reinstated after intense public
25. Cancelled audio book program for the blind, partially restored funding
after intense public outcry.
26. Cancelled camping passes for the disabled in provincial parks.
27. Cut number of interpreters for deaf students at Vancouver Community
College by 50%.
28. Broke contracts with health science professionals, nurses, health
support workers and community social service workers.
29. Under Bill 29, legislated away key job protection rights previously
provided under the Labour Relations Code to health care workers and
community social service workers.
30. Cancelled a negotiated $2.5 million wage increase for community social
service workers, and then rolled back their wages by a further $40 million.
31. Rolled back wages of hospital support workers by 15%.
32. Fired 8,000 hospital workers (87% of hospital workers in B.C. are
33. Privatized laundry, food, cleaning and other hospital services.
34. Privatization resulted in wages being cut to $9.50 to $11.00 an hour
with few benefits.
35. Reduced minimum wage from $8 to $6 an hour for new workers.
36. Amended BC's child labour laws to make them the weakest in North
37. Cut 550 staff at Workers' Compensation Board, contracted out WCB work,
removed services to injured workers, and cut prevention.
38. Cut compensation and benefits for workers injured on the job.
39. Cut pensions paid to workers with a work-related permanent disability.
40. Deep cuts in regulations and resources for workplace health and safety.
41. Changed Employment Standards Act to reduce call-out provisions and
overtime benefits for non-union workers.
42. Deleted one third of staff at the Employment Standards Branch. Non-union
workers facing unfair treatment at work are now on their own with a
"self-help" kit in English only.
More Highlights of Gordon Campbell's Record
43. Closed 113 schools.
44. Deleted 2,500 teachers (350 teachers because of declining enrolment; the
rest because of government cuts).
45. Broke contract with teachers.
46. Increased class sizes.
47. Closed over 100 school libraries.
48. Cut special needs education.
49. Increased college and university tuition fees by 104%.
50. Cut training and apprenticeship programs.
51. Tripled the number of slot machines to over 8,000.
52. Eliminated the Debtor's Assistance Program that helped 70,000 BC
families each year.
53. Closed 24 courthouses.
54. Cut legal aid funding by 40%.
55. Eliminated the Crown Victim Services.
56. Cut 1,200 staff between 2001 and 2004 from the 2 main ministries dealing
with the environment; Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, and the
Ministry of Forests.
57. Cut regulations protecting the quality of drinking water.
58. Cut spending on wildlife protection and law enforcement to the lowest in
59. Introduced parking fees in provincial parks, reduced provincial park
attendance by 25%.
60. Lifted moratorium on hunting grizzly bears.
61. Returned $2.3 million in fines and rents to fish farms that violated
62. Preparing to privatize ICBC.
63. Privatized one third of BC Hydro to Accenture, a Bermuda based company.
64. Privatized B.C . Ferries, ferry fares increased.
65. Privatized inland ferry services operated by the Ministry of
Transportation in the Kootenays.
66. Tried to privatize the Coquihalla.
67. Privatized BC Rail by means of a 990 year lease.
68. Sent ferry shipbuilding jobs to Germany.
69. Increased gas taxes 3.5 cents/litre.
70. Increased property taxes.
71. Increased the sales tax to 7.5% for three years.
72. Raised Hydro electricity rates.
73. Reduced subsidies for childcare, putting quality childcare out of reach
for thousands of BC families.
74. Increased ICBC rates by an average 18.6% over the last 4 years.
75. Increased drivers' license fees.
76. Increased parks, hunting and fishing fees.
77. Cut taxes by $2.2 billion - the biggest benefit going to business and
**Highlight to see the list**