by Harvey Oberfeld
Keeping it Real…
November 28, 2022
It’s good to have a sense of humour if you’re a political news junkie. Because you have to laugh … or at least you should … as you watch and listen to politicians twisting and turning policies, principles and promises to set themselves up for election.
Previous statements, speeches and stances can give way to NEW sentiments and even sensitivities as they serve up NEW Promises and Pleas for people’s votes.
And it’s amazing how, in power, they will find NEW money for all kinds of NEW AND IMPROVED Programs and Projects that, for weeks, months and even years (since just after the previous vote?) they had been saying the Public Purse could not afford.
I’ve enjoyed seeing … and hearing … David Eby do pretty well ALL these things as he transitioned from civil libertarian to MLA to Minister and now Premier.
I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched Eby perform last week … the former lawyer for Pivot Legal Society and Executive Director of the BC Civil Liberties Assocation and who used to be such a thorn in the side of police and wrote the BCLA manual , “The Arrest Handbook: A Guide to Your Rights” and during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics helped organize special monitors just to keep an eye on police actions.
“He was an idealistic young lawyer back then, firmly on the side of the underdogs whose dealings with police were usually negative. That meant being in police departments’ faces more than a few times. He was very effective at it,” wrote Victoria Times’ columnist Les Leyne
“Now he’s premier and realizing that B.C.’s crime problem is one of the make-or-break issues that will determine how long he holds the job.”
(You can read Leyne’s superb analysis here: https://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/les-leyne-as-reality-intrudes-eby-changes-his-views-about-police-6160258.)
Suddenly Eby seems so concerned about sidewalk tents, violent street attacks on people and places and, as Premier, announced $230 Million in NEW funding to add 275 MORE RCMP officers around BC and vowed to keep recidivist offenders behind bars.
Is this the same Eby that, as the NDP’s AG, did not want prosecutors to lay charges or burden the Courts with petty cases/charges involving druggies or crazies? Apparently, let victims take their lumps!
Where did the sudden NEW money for MORE POLICE come from?
Well, from a $5 BILLION SURPLUS revealed by Eby’s NDP government … you know, the one that has been telling nurses, teachers, parents, seniors, motorists for years the government was broke: its bank account was in a deficit situation, deep in debt.
In fact, so poor the NDP government still was not yet able to fund the $400 Renters’ Grant they promised TWO elections back.
But with BILLIONS extra now bursting forth from the public purse, Eby announced a stand-alone Ministry of Housing to tackle the housing crisis, Housing Supply Act legislation to increase the number of homes in B.C. by working with municipalities, and changes to the Strata Property Act to remove age restrictions and expand rentals in B.C. strata buildings (except projects designated for over 55s).
From the politician who handed out the piddly $100 ICBC kickback last year, there’s another $100 kickback, this time from BC Hydro, to be paid out in early 2023.
And he’s not done yet: Eby has promised 100 days of “action”.
Ka-ching! Ka-ching! Ka-Ching!
There is no doubt Eby is buttering up British Columbians for an early election, in 2023.
Voters will recall former Premier John Horgan pulled the early election gambit in October 2020, despite BC’s legislation that called for the vote to take place in 2021. It worked: Horgan won a whopping majority.
The next SCHEDULED BC vote is Oct. 19, 2024 … but we’ll be going to the polls again well before that.!
Eby has NO public mandate as BC’s Premier … and he knows it.
So after five years as Attorney General and two years as Minister responsible for housing … during which time many BC residents would say public safety, disrespect for our courts and housing issues/problems festered and got worse … maybe that’s why Eby has now seen the light.
Or did he long want to make all these recently announced changes and initiatives or policy changes, but Horgan wouldn’t let him??? How bad were the disagreements over policies?
Too bad so many of BC’s media have become little more than government messengers and so few BC “reporters” ask tough questions anymore!
The new Premier, who took office Nov 18, on Friday also reversed another policy of Horgan’s government that would have phased out individualized funding for children diagnosed with autism.
Sunday Eby made another announcement: “several new measures to bring more doctors to the province, amid an ongoing shortage and strained emergency departments,” reported the Castanet website.
“Premier David Eby says the province is expanding a program through which internationally-educated family doctors can become licensed to work in B.C,’ it added. (Here is more on that:https://www.castanet.net/news/BC/398536/Premier-David-Eby-makes-announcement-about-recruiting-more-doctors-in-B-C.
Watch the goodies flow; watch the streets get cleaned up; watch the pressures grow on municipalities to cut red tape delaying housing … all things that could have and should have been done while Eby was Attorney General and Housing Minister … but were not.
And who knows, maybe even the promised and re-promised Renters’ Grant will finally be paid out, before Election Day: after which, of course, whichever government is elected will tell us it’s broke again with no money to fund anything …until the following election looms on the horizon.