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Ditch the per-vote-subsidy

Kudos to the NDP/Green accord governing arrangement for their big money donation ban as unveiled yesterday. It's almost perfect. Almost. First, the $1200 cap is entirely reasonable. For those making noise that such a cap will encourage shady folks to find (illegal) ways to circumvent such a cap, it appears that the lower the cap is ($100 in Quebec), the more likely that bad behavior happens. Second, this per-vote-subsidy has to go. I oppose this for the same reason that I'm an advocate for the separation of church and state. I don't want my tax dollars going to subsidize your [Church, Synagogue, Mosque,  Temple, etc], I don't expect you to subsidize my party of choice. The appropriate thing now is for MLA's to take this legislation and pare down/tweak things unneeded. Start with the per-vote-subsidy.

BC Liberals still don't get the message from May 9th election

Voters did not re-elect Christy Clark into another term of government.
Voters did not elect the NDP into power.
Voters did not vote for any 'coalition' arrangement.

Voters elected a minority parliament, and by extension, told said MLA's to work together.
NDP learned that lesson. Green Party learned that lesson. One (now former) BC Liberal MLA got that lesson. Christy Clark, Rich Coleman and the rest of the BC Liberal caucus did not learn.

After the dust settled that produced the 43-41-3 legislature, two parties figured out that they were going to have to give a little on what they wanted in order to make government work.

The BC Liberals had other plans.

In one of the most cynical stunts ever, Christy Clark offered up a throne speech that mirrored much of what the NDP and Green Party had campaigned on. Oh, it wasn't because the BC Liberals had a change of heart, it was because they needed to pull at least one opposition vote away from the NDP/Green side to pass their th…

Unintentionally, NDP wins toll tax narrative

It was a promise made during the '17 election campaign that if the NDP won the election, they'd scrap tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges. They contend that the tolls were unfair and punished commuters south of the Fraser River with unusually high fares. They argued, correctly, that the high rates would trigger commuters to seek alternative routes to avoid tolls; and with Jedi-like foresight, traffic and congestion on the Pattullo and Alex Fraser bridges has spiked in response. The BC Liberals in turn savaged the NDP position, calling it reckless. But as it turns out, the outgoing BC Liberal government mis-classified the debt drawn up to cover the operating costs and construction of the bridges as self supporting. It's not and the Auditor General called out the government on this as early as 2009. But, don't let facts get in the way. How wrong were the BC Liberals? Wrong enough that they spun backwards in a 180° to make an 11th hour pledge in their own Thron…

Dr. Weaver is off base on tolls as well

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With respect to Dr Weaver and the NDP/Green accord that ousted the BC Liberals from office, I believe that Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver is off base with his criticism on the NDP's toll elimination policy.

Dr Weaver makes two points that need to be addressed.

First, he says that eliminating tolls would add billions dollars to taxpayer supported debt. He is wrong. As early as 2009, the Auditor General raised a red flag on that very notion. Until tolls were supporting the actual debt of the bridge projects, classifying as the BC Liberals did was at best shady. But clearly wrong.

Second, he mentions that tolls are a way to manage transport demand. Well that argument falls apart when you see what happened to traffic flows on Port Mann and Golden Ears bridge. Traffic ended up being diverted by those unwilling to pay stiff fares to other free options. This meant, paradoxically, that drivers ended up driving further, driving longer, and ended up in high polluting traffic jams as they …

BC Liberals losing their minds over bridge tolls

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First. BC Political pundit calls out BC Liberal flailing on bridge tolls.
Proof that the BC Liberals are lost at sea is their all-over-the-map position on bridge tolls. #bcpoli — Keith Baldrey (@keithbaldrey) August 27, 2017
Keith is right. BC Liberals and other opponents are spitting mad that the NDP outflanked them on a bread and butter issues that faces daily commuters that travel the Port Mann (and Golden Ears) toll bridges.

Attack #1: removing tolls makes the bridges an unsupported debt and therefore adding to the overall taxpayer supported debt.
Answer: False. TiC, the Crown Corporation in charge of running the bridges and collecting its toll revenue was losing a lot of money. By definition, that's a non-supported debt. Don't agree? That's what the Auditor General said too.

Attack #2: What about other transportation means? Now shouldn't the NDP make other transit-type options available?

Answer: you'll have to excuse the amateurish attempt to conflate issues, …

Bridge toll issue makes people go nutty

To begin. The NDP announced the tolls on Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges to be removed as of September 1. What's happened next is nothing short of bonkers. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver adopts the Gordon Campbell view on toll elimination. Not even any reference to climate change. BC Liberals after adopting the NDP position on tolls in their ill fated throne speech, now attack the NDP for doing what they promised. To be clear, the NDP promised to eliminate the tolls in the election campaign. This is a promise delivered. The Greens opposed that position and are at least consistent with their point. The BC Liberals however, have flip flopped enough times to confuse a spatula.

Things I learned today: bridge tolls are a polarizing issue

Consistent with the NDP platform, today the new government announced that as of September 1, tolls for the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges would come off. And then it got weird. Already known, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver was opposed to the plan during the campaign, opposed now. His bulletin today merely confirmed that point. The problem with the toll policy of the BC Liberals is that with the inexplicably high toll rate, it shifted large volumes of traffic to drive further in search of free options. Both Alex Fraser and the Patullo Bridges saw major increased traffic flows. In the case of Patullo, this is a critical mistake. The bridge is already 80 years old and is already over utilized. Arguably, Patullo should have been the first to be replaced and tolled at a rate far lower than what's being demanded at the other two bridges. But that's not how things went. BC Liberals wanted their sexy showpiece landmark item, and it was Port Mann. So they passed a law that built a…