The lemming competition

It looks like not everyone is fit to be a sacrificial lamb. Word has reached Public Eye that some provincial New Democrat hierarchs are having conniptions about failed federal nomination candidate Mary-Woo Sims' plan to run (and surely lose) against Children and Family Development Minister Christy Clark in Port Moody-Westwood. Of course, Ms. Sims resume looks appealing on paper. In addition to being a muse, she was the chief commissioner of the British Columbia Human Rights Commission - an esteemed post to be sure. But some of the tribunal's more eyebrow-raising rulings could be, to put it politely, a political liability.

After all, who could forget its decision to find Mr. Cool Ice Cream Ltd. guilty of religious discrimination and fine the company $1,000 for asking one its employees to sell frozen treats on a Sunday? And what about when the tribunal went head-to-head with the Gibson's Landing Slo-Pitch Baseball League for passing a rule preventing pregnant women from playing ball. Add that together with Ms. Sims' alleged friendship with party pariah and former British Columbia Teachers' Federation president David Chudovsky, and you can be sure party moderates are scrambling to find someone to take on Ms. Sims.

Enter Karen Rockwell. Insiders tell us the Port Moody city councillor is set to announce she'll also be seeking the nomination. Of course, Ms. Rockwell, who is vice-president of the Office and Professional Employees International Union local 378 (the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia), comes with her own baggage. If she wins, Ms. Rockwell would saddle the New Democrats with yet another big labour candidate - a problem that is threatening to turn the party's election team into a living, breathing manifestation of the British Columbia Federation of Labour.

Interestingly enough, Ms. Rockwell's resume notes she's been a volunteer for several minor softball associations. Hopefully that doesn't include the Gibson's Landing Slo-Pitch Baseball League. Ms. Rockwell was also reportedly instrumental in convincing key union executives to support moderate candidate Nils Jensen during the recent leadership race.

Others rumoured to be seeking the Port Moody-Westwood nomination include Coquitlam Teachers' Association president Kathleen Thompson (more big labour) and Dr. Truman Spring, a behavioral specialist for the local school district.

13 Comments

Why is it that whenever any dicussion takes place regarding the New Democrats, that they are generally referred to as Big Labor if involved with unions, but no reference is made to BC Liberals as "Big Business"?

Because most Liberal MLAs come from a small or independent business background. Not all, but most.

I'm not 100% sure, but being a Vice President of a union local isn't a full time job. Generally, the President and Secretary Treasurer are the only "full time" officers. There are alot of bright enlightened people in leadership positions within the labour movement who are also moderate.

Obviously Mr. Holman should do some current research on the labour movement, in particularly what was once called OPEIU Local 378, and is now called the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE) Local 378. This name change has been in effect for at least 2 to 3 months now.

And Mr. English referring to the background of the BC Fiberals as being predominantly small or independent business is funny... because this government has done absolutely NOTHING whatsoever to help out the group that spawned so many MLAs.

Other than lowering employment standards and introducing child labour, which thankfully not alot of companies in BC have taken advantage of, because even McDonalds and Dairy Queen have standards.

And lets not forget the increase in and introduction of, user fees from licensing to MSP Premiums. And though you hear them talk about how great the economy is going, only 7% of the jobs in the Labour Force survey that the Fiberals use to talk about how great the economy is going, were contributed by the private sector.

And I guess that Gary Collins is solely responsible for the past trend in interest rates in Canada, and also the recent increases in commodity prices. By the way, wasn't it Gary Collins that sneered at the NDP when they received big windfalls from Hydro and Natural Gas and used those to balance the budgets in 2000 and 2001? How come its good enough now, but not then?

C. Parkhurst

Please don't discredit legitimate small and mid-sized business owners by suggesting that Liberal MLAs specifically and MLAs in general come from our ranks.

It has been my experience that most MLAs come from backgrounds that would be consider somewhat less than professionally successful by most business metrics.

Spitz, you've got it kind of right. Alot of MLAs are lawyers by trade. There are those that are small and medium sized business owners (successful and not so successful), an ex cop, a former nurse, and a few real estate hucksters... err developers and agents. And a myriad of other backgrounds.

The Liberals campaigned on being a party and government that understood "business" and would bring a "business like" approach to government. And it was those points that I was talking about, not meaning to attack every person with a small or medium sized business.

I'm sure that if you conducted your business the way the Government has governed over the past 3 years, by offering a discount on one hand, while increasing your prices on everything you had to sell on the other, you would not be in business for too long. And also if you went around, breaking legal and binding contracts, people would not do business with you.

If you attacked your employees by freezing their wages or drastically reducing them so that they fall behind the rate of inflation, and treated them like pawns in a chess game, rather than assets that make your business successful, you wouldn't be around too much longer in the market place.

I believe that when this government talked about being a business like government, they were referring to some cotton fields in the southern US, or sweatshops in New York, LA or even in Vancouver. Because this is the most ethically disabled government to ever get elected in BC. Imagine Bill VanderZalm being thought of as somewhat moderate? Who would have thought it?

one of my Chinese friends told me today that Tony (the crying)Kuo is running for NDP nomination in Burnaby North. He for sure is not from big union.

The point that I was trying to make is that even if someone is involved in a union, then they seem to be branded as "big labour", so it would make as much sense to label all business people as "big business". I`d like to see an article on the funding that political parties receive in BC, then we could see who gets what from where.

Everyone has heard of "small businesses", but have you ever heard of small unions? If you don't want joe public to think "big" every time they hear the word "labour", push for a "small union" "medium union" and "large union" type classification that business has.

As a former employee of the now defunct Human Rights Commission, it never ceases to amaze me that the Commission and Mary-Woo Sims are held responsible for "loony " decisions by the Human Rights Tribunal, an entirely different organization. Ms. Sims, as chief commissioner was prohibited by statute from making decisions on cases. Whatever your views of her or her politics, she cannot be blamed for decisions by another organization. Interesting that the Commission was dumped by the Liberals, not the Tribunal which was responsible for many unpopular decisions.

Thanks Wout,

It was a distinction we needed to be aware of.

the media always uses terms like big union it makes their job and ajenda easier, they seem to like to belittle unions. If they studied the history of unions in this country they would realise that the high standard of living they enjoy was won with the blood of union workers who had the guts to stand up and fight for the rights of all workers in this country. Why, so gutless little wimps could criticize them and call them names, most of us in the building trades don't have time to get involved politically as we are to busy working in northern alberta where making more money then we can here. Our skill level is so high that most of us can work anywhere in the world but we chose to live and work close to home, if gordo gets in again I think you will see a huge out migration of skilled labour looking for a better place to live and work.

Hey Vic! Guess what? We're not living in the time of the Dunsmuirs any longer. I support the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively, but why does it have to come with the rest of the ideological baggage?

I can't think of a social institution that has resisted change more than the union movement. They do a disservice to their members by refusing to change and adapt with the times.

I know that most in this thread will think this post is some kind of affront to humanity, but if unions want to be treated as relevant they should become relevant.

Decent wages pensions, and working conditions are always relevant. And as far as ideological baggage goes, the Campbell Liars have a bus load of it.

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