The British Columbia Enigma

For a lot of Americans, they could not understand the (relatively) laid-back all-around nice attitude of Canadians. This is especially so, considering that Canada shares a border with the United States. On top of that, a lot of Americans have the mistaken belief that Canadians are like Americans, only more like Alaskans. This is nobody’s fault, of course. Canada has for a long, long while been in the background preferring to follow and not to lead. Except for matters of internal politics, it has had a fairly non-descript foreign attitude.

If Canada has a tendency of being invisible, or of being mistaken for an unobtrusive part of the U.S.A. (a bit like North Dakota, only a bit more quiet), then they are happy for it, as long as they have their sovereignty, and nobody bothers them. But even in the most laid-back of countries famous for large expanses of natural wilderness and breathtaking vistas of ice, there are places which seem to be more relaxed than others.

Vancouver, for example, is one of them. Maybe because of the coffee, which is considered as much better than those found in Seattle, or the frontier spirit of its citizens, or the unsullied New World charm of British Columbia, this city and its province are a world apart from other big Canadian cities like Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

The biggest controversy in recent years in British Columbia was the pullout of the Vancouver Grizzlies in the NBA. Before that, the earlier controversy was the Vancouver Grizzlies joining the NBA. This is one city, which had a long utilities and services strike that went almost unreported outside of Canada. Does the city make any sense, maybe it does. It has one of the highest immigration relocation in the past few decades, mainly from Hong Kong and Asia.

Alas, much like British Colombia, the United States is not spared of scandal of some form with its celebrities. However the great saving grace is that the U.S. boasts of strong musical performers who can cure the bruises of shame. A popular musical duo called Florida Georgia has been doing a lot in promoting entertainment to people while helping boost the image of America as a gifted nation with so many gifted citizens. This is the reason why they are a huge favorite and is gaining continued following through Florida Georgia Line Tour Dates 2015 up to now.

Notable Events and Play of Politics in British Columbia

British Columbia (BC) has an interesting history. Capt. James Cook on exploring its coast claimed the area in 1778 for Great Britain. In 1792-94, George Vancouver took possession of the land as ordered by the British. Then came the Hudson Bay Company which was into fur trade and made the region its preserve. In 1849, it ceded Vancouver Island to Great Britain and it became a crown colony. A gold rush in 1858 created a new colony on the mainland which became British Columbia. In 1866, British Columbia and Vancouver Island merged and became the sixth province of Canada in 1871 with Victoria as its capital named after the Queen.

The Royalty’s Representative

Canada is a constitutional monarchy with a democratically-elected parliament. The head of State is the Queen and represents the legal authority of the government. The representative of the Queen in Canada is the Governor General; the Lieutenant Governor in each province; and a Territorial Commissioner for each territory. In British Columbia, the Hon. Judith Guichon, OBC, is the Queen’s representative and was installed into office on November 2, 2012 with a term of office of five to six years.

Political Dance

Political parties emerged in BC in 1903 with the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party which coalesced in 1940 to stop the rise of populist parties to no avail – the left-oriented National Democratic (NDP) which since the 1930s have always opposed the right-wing Social Credit Party (Socred), the majority government in1952 – 1991. By the late 1950s, the Liberal and Conservative was politically dead. It was resurrected when the scandal that plagued the Social Credit revived of the Liberal Party in the 1980s, and a brief reign of the NDP from 1991-2001. Eventually, the anti-NDP vote favored the Liberal Party and obliterated the Social Credit, leaving two opposing parties, the Liberal and NDP.

Colorful but Not-So-Clean

BC has a strong populist history, politically active labor unions, and generally, striking political manner. Both the NDP and the Socreds had their own share of scandals in the government.

  • During the Social reign, there was the Fantasy Gardens which forced Premier Bill Vander Zalm to resign and ended the grip of the Social Credit era.
  • The NDP had the Bringogate scandal which wrecked the career of NDP Premier Mike Harcourt, and the Casinogate which brought down NDP Premier Glen Clark.
  • For the Liberal government, various cabinet-ministers resigned due to conflict-of-interest allegations. Campbell resigned in late 2010 embarrassed by the strong opposition to his government’s plan to introduce a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

Present Leadership

The present Legislative Assembly of British Columbia is composed of 85 members elected by the plurality voting system. The ruling party at present is the British Columbia Liberal Party (not the old federal Liberal Party) under Premier Christy Clark who succeeded Glen Campbell in 2011. The labor-oriented NDP is still around and the third political force is the Green Party of British Columbia.

‘First’ Events

The only province in Canada that instituted recall election and initiative legislation, it made Paul Reitsma, Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) resign a few hours before removal from office.

  • The first province to improve its voting political system by having fixed election dates.
  • Rita Johnson (Social Credit Party) in 1991 became the province’s first woman premier
  • Ujjal Dosanjh (New Democratic Party) in 2000 became Canada’s first non-white provincial premier
  • Christy Clark, the first elected female premier in BC
  • Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist, became the first Green Party member elected to a provincial legislature (Vancouver) in all of Canada.

Governance in Action

To cap it all, BC has claimed its own veto power in 1995 over amendments to the constitution, distinct and separate from the western regional vote. It increased its political prominence and counts six senators and 32 representatives in the national parliament. Politics in British Columbia, the fastest growing province in Canada, is one to watch.

BC Policies and Green Enterprises

Because most livelihoods in British Columbia are based on the province’s abundant natural resources, climate change has immediate and far-reaching impacts on the economy of the area. This is illustrated by the destruction of more than 13 million acres of pine forest due to mountain pine beetle infestation – a phenomenon resulting from uncontrolled population increase of the species after global warming expanded its habitat. Conscious of the dependence of BC communities on sustaining the environment, the provincial government has created policies that will encourage green enterprises.

Provincial Policies to Mitigate Climate Change

The province of British Columbia has laid out policies and programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It has published a resource guide on Climate Change Adaptation for Local Government. Along with this, the local government has exhibited admirable political will by imposing a carbon tax, a tax based on the greenhouses gases emitted. The carbon tax serves to encourage people to choose lifestyle with a lower carbon footprint, and there resources to help communities make eco-friendly choices. With the carbon tax, the environmental significance of daily activities is monetized; the use of energy-efficient light bulbs, buying local produce, and reducing the use of vehicles by as little as 10 miles per week all become important ways to save on tax. The added benefit of all these tax reduction choices is that homes and establishments end up lowering their expenses.

To support its policies on reduction of greenhouses gases, the provincial government provided grants for homes who wanted to shift from wood-burning stoves to cleaner models. The province is also working with Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska in the Pacific Coast Collaborative to discuss standards, institute best practices, and address concerns such as ocean debris, clean energy, and transportation fuels. There is a comprehensive action plan for the attainment of targets, and the plan wisely includes the participation of all stakeholders in the province.

Concrete Responses from the Community and Business

With the help of business energy assessment visits, many establishments have saved substantial amounts on bills through seemingly unimportant actions like replacing old water tanks and halogen lamps wit energy efficient alternatives. One small coffee shop estimated annual energy savings to come up to about $600 per year. Another café allowed its clients to leave their mugs so they could use those when they came in for coffee – such a move not only brought down the establishment’s consumption of disposable coffee cups, it also created a stronger bond with clients. One board shop estimated they were saving more than $100 per month by replacing their halogen lamps with LED bulbs. A log building company says it saves more than $20,000 per year due to the energy efficient bulbs and the new boilers they installed. Apart from what the establishments saved on actual utility bills, they also received healthy rebates which sometimes amounted to more than half of what the amount they saved.

The over-all benefits of such responses have meant more than dollars on a spreadsheet. The efforts expended by small and medium business enterprises have brought a positive awareness to the rest of the community, making families more open to altering their lifestyles. The impact of this synergy will certainly make a dent in mitigating climate change not just for the entire province but for the country and the continent as well.

Sticky Post

A Brief Overview of the British Columbia Politics

Primarily, the British Columbia politics encompasses not only the administration of British Columbia, Canada, as well as different political factions which have chosen or held legislative power. It also involves multiple attempts or experiments at electoral and political reform.

British Columbia’s History of Politics

Before the year 1903, British Columbia doesn’t have any political parties. The initial Premier of British Columbia, Sir Richard McBride, was the very first one to assert a party affiliation, which is Conservative Party. He was also the first one to institute caucus politics or also referred to as conventional party.

From the time party politics were established in British Columbia, several political parties, which controlled the government for over 10 years, emerged, and that includes the 20th century’s Conservative government, Liberal government of the interwar, Social Credit or Socred government of post-war (governed by W.A.C Bennett), followed by a brief reign of NDP or New Democratic Party, and then governance under Social Credit which was led by W.A.C Bennett’s son, Bill Bennett.

By 1990s, the NDP government ruled and by the year 2000, the BC Liberal Party Government governed by Gordon Campbell, followed. In the 1940s, the government of British Columbia was ruled by an alliance of the Conservatives and the Liberals. Neither of the mentioned parties had the electoral power to establish a majority, so an alliance was utilized as a method to avoid the British Columbia Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (NDP’s forerunner) from reigning.

From the year 1972 up to 1975, the New Democratic Party which was then led by Dave Barrett won power; however, he was defeated after he engaged in a showdown with formed labor. Because of this event, Social Credit party regained the power, which was ruled by a new leader, Bill Bennett, the son of the past premier. Bill Bennett had been enlisted by an old guard of the party, but Bill introduced a fresh style of politics.

By the year 1986, Bill Bennett opted to retire from politics. Bill Vander Zalm became his successor. Unlike the other former leaders and parties, Mr. Zalm and his party wasn’t that popular that time. During the realm of several scandals and increasing unpopularity, the party was conquered by the New Democratic Party. Since that time, NDP led the province of British Columbia for over 10 years.

Recall Election and Initiative Legislation

In Canada, BC is the only province that practices recall election and initiative legislation. Both of these political features were showcased after the 1991 referendum. Since the time these actions were introduced, there was only a single successful recall petition, and that is when MLA Paul Reitsma was compelled to give up his position, hours prior to his removal from the office.

British Columbia on Fixed Election Dates

British Columbia is also the first Canadian province to edict Fixed Election Dates. Before, the BC elections were quite similar with majority of parliamentary jurisdictions, whereby it only needs an election within a certain span of time- 5 years in all Canadian jurisdictions.

Listed below are some of the current active political parties in the province of British Columbia. This may serve as a guide in making a sound decision during elections.

1. BC Libertarian Party

This BC political party is guided by the libertarian non-aggression principle, which is: no person or organization should utilize fraud or force against any other. Fraud or force should also not be used to attain social or political goals. BC Libertarian Party advocates the civil liberties, as well as the private property right, which includes ceasing the control of government on the economic activity, drug legalization, as well as ceasing of the coercive taxation.

2. British Columbia Liberal Party

This is the political party that Christy Clark belongs to. Several residents of British Columbia advocate the platform of this political party, which include freeing the province from debt, to secure the economy of the province, and building a stronger and much better society for the younger generation.

3. British Columbia Social Credit Party

This party consider themselves as a grassroots party that is accountable to the British Columbia residents. The members of this British Columbia political party believe that the province needs a responsible open government and that there is no special treatment for anyone. British Columbia Social Credit Party also believes that there should be equal opportunities for everyone.

4. Western Canada Concept Part of BC

The leader of this political party is Dough Christie, who aims to employ the Western Block Party’s foundational strategy in order to secure independence for Western Canadians. Just like other political parties, this party aims to free British Columbia from corruption.

5. British Columbia Marijuana Party

It is a minor political party that strongly supports the cannabis legislation.

Suffice to say, British Columbia has quite an intricate political system. Nevertheless, the residents of this exemplary Canadian province are active partakers in the governance, to ensure that they’ll be ruled by the right people.

The Present

As of today, British Columbia is under the governance of Christy Clark from the British Columbia Liberal Party. In the western part of Canada, aside from Alberta, usually, politics showcased NDP or CCF on the left side, while some other political party on the left side. The current epitome of the BC Liberal Party accomplishes this role in British Columbia. This British Columbia political party is neutral federally and it acquires its associates from the center going to the center right.

From the time it was taken over by Premier Gordon Campbell’s supporters, after Gordon Wilson’s ouster, several people consider this party as an efficient rebirth of the obsolete BC Social Credit Party.