2016: Three darts and five laurels for B.C.

Before welcoming in the New Year I have three things to get off my chest — on softwood lumber, electoral reform and political fundraising.

Mark Crawford of Williams Lake

Before welcoming in the New Year I have three things to get off my chest — on softwood lumber, electoral reform and political fundraising — and five Christmas presents to give out (to my picks for the top 5 MPs of 2016).

First, softwood.  Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty says he’s unhappy with the Liberal effort on the softwood lumber file. Well, I was unhappy with Stephen Harper’s effort on the softwood file: he basically capitulated to the Americans without making a serious effort to get the promised amount of buy-in from Canadian Lumber producers, mainly because he wanted a deal before the 2008 election and wanted to cozy up to former US President Bush.

Moreover, despite having a stronger basic legal position than the U.S., the Canadian government handed over $1billion of the duties collected from Canadian companies–$500 million to the US companies, and $450 million to the Bush Administration.   No wonder a lot of smaller lumber exporters felt let down, sacrificed by their own government for larger political ends. So, exactly how have the Liberals fared worse than that?  I’m still waiting to receive any useful instruction from Todd Doherty on how to handle the Softwood file—and see only negative lessons from the record of the previous Conservative government.

Second, electoral reform. I never expected Justin Trudeau to keep his election promise “to make 2015 the last first-past-the-post election in Canadian History.”  Even so, I was appalled that Trudeau and Democratic Reform Minister  Maryam Monsef wouldn’t even endorse the idea of a referendum or even a free vote in the House of Commons on proportional representation, just because of the small chance that they might lose control of the agenda and actually be forced to keep the promise that they had so clearly made.  Shame on both of them.

Third, political fundraising. On this issue, too, the Liberals were deceptive and hypocritical in the same old ways that they always have been. A Chinese billionaire gets around the $1,500 contribution limit by making donations to Trudeau’s favourite charity (which just happens to be called the Trudeau Foundation) and  by offering to pay for the erection of a statue  of his father. But we are supposed to relax because after all it is Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party who are receiving the donation. Tighter controls on financial contributions are now to be considered as unnecessary as electoral reform, because it is now the Liberals who are benefitting from the existing rules.

Here are my picks for “Top 5 MPs of the Year” for performance in Parliament in 2016: 1) NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair; 2) Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose; 3) Nathan Cullen, the NDP critic for Environment and Climate Change as well as Democratic Reform; 4) Green Party Leader Elizabeth May; and 5) Liberal Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland.

 

Mark Crawford is a former political science professor in UNBC and now lives in Williams Lake.

 

Just Posted

RCMP officer cleared in Prince George arrest

A suspect’s leg was fractured in 2015 incident

Area timber supply cut by a third

More sustainable, pre pine beetle timber cut levels restored

Students dig in to finish harvesting garden produce

Hands-on healthy living education produces results in October, F2S month

New equipment for Vanderhoof public works

New generation grader and sweeper hitting the streets

BC Ferries restricts passengers from lower vehicle decks

The new regulations will no longer allow passengers to remain in their vehicles on closed car decks.

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Most Read