Base desires

Provincial Liberals weren't the only ones who showed up to the party's biennial convention. The New Democrat's children and family development critic Maurine Karagianis was also at the trade centre to offer this curious comment about Premier's Gordon Campbell promise to cut taxes: "We see the Liberal party once again is playing to an elite member of society here. And, once again, it's about this attitude of entitlement that they feel. You will notice, in all of the remarks leading into the introduction to the premier and the premier's comments, they were directly to the Liberal Party supporters and members here. It was not generally about British Columbians. So I think they speak to a few supporters and insiders. And, for the most part, the things that are very meaningful to British Columbians were missing from the speech." But doesn't New Democrat leader Carole James also play to her base when she speaks to similar conventions, we asked?

"If you listen to Carole James, she consistently talks about ordinary British Columbians, all British Columbians, and does not talk specifically about the people in the room or her supporters," said Ms. Karagianis. "I did hear the premier talk consistently about people in the room and his supporters - not all British Columbians."

Funny that. Because the Esquimalt-Metchosin legislator must not have seen Ms. James's performance at last year's Hospital Employees' Union's summer school. During a question and answer session at that event, Ms. James was confronted by an audience member cautioned her against "moving to the centre" because she "worked 18 hours a day to get you back where you are - as well as my brothers and sisters - and we expect you to be in bed with us!"

The Opposition leader's answer: "Just to clarify, it's the media who continually try to point which direction the party is going. And I think they'd love to have everybody in the province move from the middle to the right to the way right. It's the direction the media love to push. People who heard me answer this question know that I'm always very clear that what I'm talking about is a balanced, commonsense approach. It doesn't have anything to do with moving left, middle or right. It says that we all should all work together. And there are some basic fundamental values we believe in - which includes respecting working people in this province. And that value is always going to be there in this party."

But, wondered another audience member, "How is your party going to help the HEU regain what they lost in Bill 29 and 37? And how will you hold the Liberals accountable for what they have done to labour in general with these two bills?"

Responded Ms. James, "As people know, we stood strong as two members in the legislature - with your help I have to say. Our members couldn't have done it without the support provided by HEU. It's hard to talk all night unless you have people providing you with information to be able to try to hold the government to account. So you provided a lot of support to Joy and Jenny in doing just that."

"I think one of the most important things for us to do over these next four years - because I certainly saw that it make a difference during the campaign - is to make sure that people hear the human stories about what's going on in the healthcare system. Because it's very easy for many of the public to be able to write off issues that come forward around numbers or statistics or waiting lists or this person and these staff in this facility. It's tougher for them when they hear the personal stories of individuals who are receiving poor care or the food services have gone down or they weren't able to get their surgeries."

Yes siree. Ms. James never plays to her base.

13 Comments

It is a shame that if you do not support the NDP, you are an Elitist. The NDP should be ashamed of this. Many union leaders make more money and have more toys than probably half the delegates that attended the BC Liberal Convention including myself. I for one am proud to be a member of the BC Liberal Party and for what it stands for. We stand for access to education for all (hence the $1000 to every baby born in 2007), healthcare for all (hence the $3 billion plus increase in funding since the BC Liberals took office and the ban on smoking in public areas. What does the NDP stand besides empty rhetoric. Nothing.

Tek

Poor example Sean, those quotes are from direct questions, not her main speech.

Seriously, James' remarks here aren't evern remotely comparable with those of the plutocrats' servant Gordobot. Basically what she said was "yeah, you know what, you folks' interests coincide with those of the vast majority of people in this province: a well run, high-quality, well-staffed healthcare system. And you've fought for us because you believe that's what we stand for. And I'm here to tell you that we stand for exactly that."

How is this post worth the 20 minutes it took you to type it out?

Have to call you on this, Sean.
Very bitter article, in tone, especially the last sentence.

Sean, in the quotes you have provided Carole James was at an Hospital Employees Union convention, and was asked specifically about Bills passed by the BC Legislature during the period of the overwhelming Liberal super-majority. Those Bills singled out NOT that union as an ORGANIZATION, but rather the individual workers who just happened to be represented by it, for special and punitive treatment of a type that is wholly unprecendented in Canada.

Contract terms around severance for example were taken away so that it would be much, much cheaper for hospitals to fire their cleaners and laundry workers and security guards and kitchen staff, so that their jobs could be handed over to contractors whose workers would be paid far, far less. For those who remained, wages were arbitrarily rolled back, as if it were war time, or a period of hyper inflation and the government felt it had to bring in wage and price controls.

The guiding philosophy, beyond rhetorical nostrums about private competition, was to reallocate the government's wage bill within the health system. The political judgement that was made was to move incomes away from working class employees and towards more middle-class professionals. That this is clearly a redistribution of income which tends to move income UP the income scale not down, is obvious. What is only slightly less obvious is that such a redistribution tends to move the wage dollars away from mostly NDP supporters and towards typically Liberal voters. So much for the empty speeches about private contractor efficiencies! And so much for the accusations made by pundits that it's organized labour and the political left in British Columbia that is wedded to 19th Century class warfare politics. Clearly that shoe is on the other foot, and what is more, it's not just election rhetoric with them, it's actual aggression directed at people's livelihoods and paycheques.

Now, Sean, where are some comparable Gordon Campbell quotes, not from the Liberal convention, but from a speech to a business audience (eg Vancouver Board of Trade, BC Chamber of Mines)??? Alternatively, where are the Carole James speech quotes from the last NDP Provincial Convention?

What a bunch of whiners!

How is this bloody posting by Holman bitter? IT states the facts. since when does an answer to a direct question not count as reflective of bias??? What bullshit spin by jj, David M., and, of course, Bill.

Great post, that exposes the hypocrisy of the NDP in this Province. The Liberals, at least, don't make any bones about it, they appeal to business, small and large, because those are the folks that drive the economic bus in Lotusland. Always have, always will.

If that's not true, then why did Harcourt and Clark kowtow so badly to the then mottled middle to get elected? Meathead with gel in his hair and the Glenmeister with W.A.C. Bennett's "new vision" of mega projects.

That's why the left are doomed. They can't stand it when they get caught with their pants down and wee-wee firmly in hand.

Carole James guarantees another term fro the Libs., like it or not. Her snoregasms, and those of her collegues, Farnworth and Dix excepted are now infamous. Smoothie Robertson did nothing since getting elected except three consecutive nights on Global during the summer.

Back to the cave for some more sleep kids.

The NDP: still a joke.

I agree with Mr. Tsakumis. I think Sean effectively illustrates the fairly common practice of speaking to your audience, and the fact that both sides do it, in spite of Maurine Karagianis woefully hypocritical and naive claims to the contrary.

Sean, did you get a chance to ask Karagianis who footed the bill for her trip to Penticton to rub shoulders with all of those Liberal elitists?

"Sean, did you get a chance to ask Karagianis who footed the bill for her trip to Penticton to rub shoulders with all of those Liberal elitists?"

The bill would be paid for by the Party. The BC Liberals have sent "observers" to "observe" the NDP Convention.

Don't sweat the small stuff.

Work on the important stuff such as ensuring that Farnsworth gets re-elected.

Despite supporting the Liberals, a good opposition is good for the party of government.

Expect to see a slightly less majority in 2009.

As the slogan goes for the BC Liberals, it can also go for the number of NDP MLA's, too:

Reaching Higher.

But for the NDP... not too much more..

I think Sean's Young liberal passions were awakened. Going back to your youth Sean? I guess you can go home again.

AG Tsukamis (Alex),

I find your insinuations and accusations towards others of blind partisanship both hilarious and hypocritical.

Hate to tell you, I've been a lib most fed and provincial elections. Just not a Socred, alliance or Conservative. And thus my vote last election sat with the NDP, admittedly. It is not guaranteed by a long shot indefinitely into the future.

That would demonstrate that I go with the politics, platforms etc, and not blindly with the party.

I would consider the BC Libs sometime in the future if there was a cleansing of all of the extreme right within it.

The fact is, I think the bating of the NDP by calling them socialists, and the baiting of the Libs etc calling them fascists sets the quality of political debate far below where we should. The issues are the important thing.

The Liberals, at least, don't make any bones about it, they appeal to business, small and large, ...

Carole James guarantees another term fro the Libs., ...

The NDP: still a joke.

Posted by A. G. Tsakumis on November 6, 2006

Speaking of jokes, Tsakumis, it's pretty funny watching you embarass the NPA. Your rants guarantee that Sullivan will be a one term Mayor!

You're right that the Liberals are aligned with business as 70% of their campaign funds come from that source. The national Liberal Party was also dependent on business and it's fundraising has become difficult in the new election financing environment. What I would like to see is some quotations from a Gordon Campbell speech to a business audience. Those remarks, compared to James speech to the HEU, would be a sensible one.

So the Liberals are visionaries by putting up $1,000 a child redeemable in about twenty years. If they were so interested in post secondary education why was the tuition raised about one hundred percent after Gordon took power? a lot of the new voters are paying off massive student loans. should be interesting to see how they vote.
Speaking of the HEU. Gordon's latest Conversation about health care will not allow HEU , Nurses, Doctors or anyone close to the issues. If you are a good Liberal, with no connection to health issues, hey you are Gordon's kind of person,

Considering that the increased tuition rates have allowed post-secondary institutions to expand and offer more programs (because they can now actually afford too) enrollment rates have actually increased (they had been previously declining under the NDP but no doubt the NDP saw that as a something positive)

I realize to the NDP it is a bizarre concept that post secondary education actually costs money to provide and tuition fees help to offset that but you get what you pay for.

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