23 May 2013


By Betty Krawczyk
This article was first written as a Facebook posting and is reproduced by permission of the author.

In the book”Games People Play” by Eric Berne (1964) the author delineates some of the more common social transactions between humans and describes them as games. AIN’T IT AWFUL is a game played by people who are not moved to try to change a situation so much as they are to complain about it. I think the continuance of the BC Liberals in power will be lamented by at least some people who didn’t bother to vote. In fairness, I understand the disinterest, or rather the disconnection, between numbers of young people and the voting booth.

I don’t think it is primarily apathy that drives the young away from politics. Rather, I think it is another game described in Berne’s book that is much loved by lawyers, especially corporate lawyers, and is particularly loved by politicians. This game is called “Now I’ve Got You, You S.O.B.” It is used to try to blow up some rather insignificant infraction by one side to that of a headliner by the other. Adrian Dix NDP leader, tried to stay away from this particular game during the BC campaign but was side swiped by the BC Liberals who love the game, and are good at it. The BC Liberals are first, foremost, and above all, game players.

But in my opinion there are other reasons the BC Liberals won. I understand there was money going into the BC Liberals’ coffers from Alberta’s oil and gas interests. And I’m wondering why the polls were so wrong. Plugging into my strong sense of paranoia (paranoia has been described as a heightened sense of awareness) and raising the question…might there have been some deliberate poll fudging that had BC Liberals trailing in the polls to give progressive voters the idea that what the heck, the NDP are going to win, the polls say so, so why go out of the way to vote? Does this sound off the wall?

I would say so myself if it weren’t for the last Alberta provincial election. The same thing happened there. The Tea Party was way ahead in the polls but the polls were wildly wrong. So what has happened with the polling? Have these poll takers just become newly incompetent, or in some way we don’t as yet understand, newly corrupted? I also wonder about Gordon Wilson’s last minute conversion back to the BC Liberals. His reasons sound spurious to me (Global News 5/5/13). Did Wilson hear something the rest of us didn’t hear from inside the insiders?

But there is this other thing, a contradictory thing. It comes down to this…I don’t believe people deliberately vote against what they perceive to be their own best interest. Take David Eby’s win (NDP) in Vancouver- Point Grey riding. This is a wealthy riding. Vancouver-Point Grey includes UBC, Kitsilano, the University Endowment Lands, stunning beaches, beautiful homes and parks, etc. And as one might expect, this riding is also way above average in education so there is probably not a terrible amount of worry there about jobs. Ditto for the Green win in Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding.
The Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding won by Andrew Weaver is also above average in wealth and education with many older citizens. As a riding, the people, like Vancouver-Point Grey, are probably not that worried about jobs and can focus without the distraction of poverty staring them in the face on other things like the environment. Andrew Weaver is an environmental scientist. It’s a perfect match. 

I also voted Green but I felt a tug of guilt as I did so. I know a lot of people who are out of work, or working for minimum wage, mostly young men who are not going to be doctors or lawyers or educators. They need jobs. Not years down the road when green energy projects might start generating enough jobs for people, but now. The problem is this… in the now, primarily what we have in our country that could keep us going is resource extraction.

And paranoia aside, this is the main reason I think the BC Liberals got back in. It was the matter of which party might manage to get the oil and gas lines going. The populations of the ridings of Vancouver-Point Grey and Oak Bay-Gordon Head are not indicative of the majority of the population of BC. The majority are worried about jobs that will pay them enough to live, to marry, to start a family and/or to feed the one they already have. Many feel that putting the environment first is a luxury they can’t afford. And until this problem is met head on by everybody things won’t change.
This is the true dilemma of our days. It means that there must be a radical readjustment of our entire capitalist system that is eating up the globe if we are to create work that is healthy, and peaceful, and good for children. I have tried to urge Elizabeth May of the Green Party to try again to get the Bank of Canada back on their agenda for party votes so that, if this ever got on the ballot and passed, the federal and provincial leaders could borrow from the Bank of Canada without interest instead of from private banks with compound interest. Until this is done our country will never get out of debt and neither will we.

People do play games, as Eric Berne noted and wrote about. But we all we have to stop playing AIN’T IT AWUL and NOW I’VE GOT YOU, YOU S.O.B, and start playing WE’RE ALL ADULTS HERE AND WE CAN FIGURE THIS OUT. We must. The carbon readings have just reached 400 parts per million.

Betty Krawczyk is a Louisiana-born, British Columbia, Canada based environmental activist, author and former political candidate. Krawczyk is well-known locally for having been arrested and imprisoned numerous times for defying court orders related to logging and highway developments. Most recently, on March 5, 2007, she was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for her role in protesting highway construction on the Eagleridge Bluffs in West Vancouver (from Wikipedia)

22 May 2013

Iain Hunter: Green's Andrew Weaver represents more than Oak Bay

Iain Hunter / Times Colonist

May 19, 2013
Oak Bay-Gordon Head Green Party of B.C. candidate, Andrew Weaver, speaks to supporters at his election campaign headquarters at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.  
Photograph by: LYLE STAFFORD, Times Colonist 

An oldster I met in my neighbourhood on Wednesday had a new spring in his shuffle because Andrew Weaver had just been elected MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

He thinks that from his new political platform, Weaver, who earned a share in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as member of the International Panel on Climate Change, will have more clout in the war against global warming.

I didn’t draw the old fellow’s attention to the report, practically on the eve of the provincial election, that the level of carbon dioxide in the world’s atmosphere has risen above 400 parts per million for the first time in more than three million years.

I didn’t want to suggest to him that CO2 isn’t the only problem, that there’s other nasty man-made stuff choking the life out of our planet too — that it’s probably too late to reverse a lot of the damage that has been done.

Neither did I have the heart to remind him that by moving, at least partially, from the laboratory to the legislature, Weaver has to contend with a lot of issues besides the survival of the planet. I also kept to myself a nagging thought that as a politician, his most passionate advocacy might be suspect.

In one sense, Weaver is now for climate change — not the world’s climate but the climate in the legislature. It’s one that’s nastily partisan and stifling, where debate is shallow and often completely beside any point worth making.

At least that’s the way Weaver seems to see it. He’s convinced that people are fed up with partisan politics, where people elected to address the issues and concerns of their constituents spend their time quibbling and insulting one another.

As the only Green MLA, he won’t be under a party whip. He feels he’ll be able to raise issues that might not be raised otherwise, to support whatever government policies are good and oppose those that are bad.

As a scientist, he will demand that decisions be based on evidence, that evidence not be produced for decisions already made.

He decries the influence of “special interests” to which parliamentarians succumb too often, and it will be interesting to see where that leads.

As a scientist, he knows that the protection of special interests is why so little has been done by governments in the face of climate change. As a politician, he’ll be dealing with a party in government that consistently confuses special interests with the public interest — as the effusive post-election press releases from energy outfits, chambers of commerce, business associations and condo builders remind us.

Weaver acknowledged after his election that “I’m way out of my comfort zone.” I’m not sure that many of those who voted for him would want him to become too comfortable in a system he finds so deficient.

Elizabeth May was voted by her fellow MPs as Parliamentarian of the Year for 2012, yet nothing in the House of Commons seems to have changed much.

It must not be by accident that B.C. — this Island — has been chosen to refresh the political climate by electing Green members at the federal and now provincial level. And though Weaver would like to see some form of proportional representation adopted, he should remember that he got in simply by being first past the post.

The turnout in Oak Bay-Gordon Head that gave him victory was the third-highest of all ridings. Green support rose in many ridings, notably next door in Saanich North and the Islands, prompting silly analyses like the one saying that if every Green voter had supported the NDP, Adrian Dix would be premier.

There are green shoots appearing among the bilious orange and hectic red electoral fields all over the province, and they will be nourished.

Weaver represents more than the 9,602 who cast their ballots for him; more than one riding. He represents the hopes of a lot of British Columbians who want better governance and a better world.

He represents a conscience too long dulled by greed and ideology.

The old gent went on his way and, I swear, he gave a little skip.

© Copyright 2013

16 May 2013

NDP’s loss not Greens’ fault, says candidate

B.C. Green Party candidate for Vancouver-Fraserview Stuart Mackinnon doesn’t believe his party had anything to do with the NDP’s surprisingly poor results in the May 14 provincial election.

Because the margin of votes between the Liberals and NDP in some ridings was so close, some speculate votes for the Greens undermined the NDP. There were 12 ridings in the province where the Liberals received a smaller number of votes than the NDP and Greens combined.

Several pundits have speculated the NDP would have prevailed with a majority government had it not been for the Greens. But Mackinnon strongly disagrees. “This was about the NDP not getting their vote out, that’s what did them in at the end,” said Mackinnon. “And I think there’s an inherent arrogance if they think that if it wasn’t for the Greens, people would have voted NDP.”

Mackinnon said while Vancouver-Fraserview has long been a Liberal stronghold, he heard from many constituents grateful for a “Green” choice this time around.

“They said, ‘Thank you Stuart because now I can vote,’” said Mackinnon.

In Vancouver-Fraserview as of May 16, Liberal Suzanne Anton won with 9,127 votes, 546 more than the NDP’s Gabriel Yiu. Mackinnon received 1,053 votes and the Conservative’s Rajiv Pandey’s 578. Across the province, the Liberals won 50 seats to the NDP’s 33. Andrew Weaver became the first Green elected as an MLA after winning Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

Mackinnon, a high school teacher, said a colleague told him almost everyone in his co-op housing development is an NDP supporter, but as far as he knows, he was the only one to vote. “It’s not a question of the Greens taking those votes,” said Mackinnon.

NDP MLA Vancouver-West End Spencer Chandra Herbert, who was re-elected Tuesday night, agreed.

“In the end you have to earn every vote,” said Chandra Herbert. “I had Liberal supporters and Greens telling me they were going to vote for me this time. We don’t own the vote, people own the vote.”
Chandra Herbert said as of Wednesday he hadn’t heard any complaints about vote splitting. While he is disappointed in the election results across the province, he’s pleased the NDP increased its share of seats in Vancouver.

The day after her win, Anton said she had no comment about vote splitting. “I’ll leave that up to the pundits,” she said with a laugh.

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Another successful campaign

The ballots have been counted, the signs have been collected and the dust is starting to settle. Thank you to my incredible team of Ann and Byron, to my friend Susan and my colleagues Joanne and Donald who came out to help and to Louis for setting up the donation link. Thanks to the Killarney Service students who helped out too as part of their learning. Thank you to those who asked for a lawn sign. And a HUGE thank you to the kind people who donated money to the campaign.

It is amazing what a handful of volunteers and $2500 can do. Imagine if we had had more. 

Our goal was to give the voters a choice and we did that. My goal was to get 1000 votes and we did that --final result was 1230 votes, a 25% increase over the previous election.. So I would say the campaign was a success. We didn't split the vote or steal the vote. We earned our votes.

Time for a bit of a rest, collect our breath and then back into the fray. There is much to be done.

Thank you all for your support.

13 May 2013

A message from Elizabeth May to voters on the eve of the BC election

Dear fellow British Columbians,

During my campaign in 2011, nearly everyone outside of my team and supporters said there was no way I could win. Even as polls were closing, the media was still saying I didn't have a chance. I recall one interview (with CKNW in Vancouver) days before the vote when the guest host for the Bill Good Show told me I couldn't be elected dogcatcher. And then the results came in - we won by over 7,000 votes (10.1%). It was a very decisive win!

Now that I've been working as an MP for two years, I've worked to improve civility in Parliament, reaching out across party lines within the principles I laid out during my campaign. I've proposed hundreds of amendments to Conservative omnibus bills, I've created two non-partisan caucuses that include members from all five parties, I've kept my constituents and fellow Canadians informed of all the secretive back-room politics that go on in Ottawa, and my fellow MPs even voted me "Parliamentarian of the Year".

Having Greens elected to the BC Legislature will be a win, not only for the Green Party, but for democracy itself. In this campaign, Jane Sterk and her fellow candidates have already pushed the NDP to adjust their decisions, such as with Mr. Dix's sudden refusal to allow Kinder-Morgan to use the Ports of Vancouver or Delta. Despite the NDP loss of a huge lead, Adrian Dix still has a commanding lead and will form government. A few Greens will have a very healthy impact on the NDP-Liberal partisanship of the legislature. Greens will be a powerful presence. Andrew Weaver, Adam Olsen, Jane Sterk, and other Green MLAs will be able to fight for a guaranteed livable income, a transition off fossil fuels, and support for the burgeoning clean energy industry in BC; they will keep us informed of what goes on in our Legislature, and they will model a new kind of politics that isn't about what party you belong to, but what values you hold dear. BC needs Green MLAs or none of that will ever happen.

So I'm asking you not to listen to the fear-mongering, the scare tactics, the vote-splitting propaganda, and to vote for what you believe in. Feel good about your vote - vote with hope, not fear. My election in 2011 gave hope to people across Canada. Let's do it again tomorrow and see BC take the lead! Let's make history again.

Election Day: tomorrow, May 14, 8am-8pm.

Elizabeth May
MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada