The following is a largely AI-generated transcript for Ep 199. Excuse any errors, we’re trying to catch up on these and need to sort out a workflow. Want to help make our transcripts better? Let us know if you can help our support us on Patreon.
[00:02:17] Ian Bushfield: So we’re still in a pandemic, Scott, it turns out.
[00:02:25] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah, it never went away. Despite the fact that a bunch of British Colombians seem to be acting like it has, and that unfortunately caused a slight resurgence, nothing too bad yet, but nevertheless, slightly worrying on where the case trajectories are going.
[00:02:42] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. For most of may and June, we sat around 10 to 20 cases a day. A couple days we saw single digits. Some of them were a little bit higher, but in general it seemed like a fairly stable, manageable trend. And then just over the past couple of weeks, it’s really started to tick into the mid twenties and then into the thirties.
[00:03:04] And we’re like, Ooh, this is not at an unmanageable well pace right now, there are 304 active cases in the province today. Luckily we, you only have 16 people in hospital with COVID and only three are in intensive care. This. Compares to, you know, the dozens and more that we were looking at back in April.
[00:03:25] We never got too bad here in BC. Thanks to people. Paying attention, following the guidance and listening to dr. Bonnie Henry. But I think maybe people got a little bit complacent, especially in late June, as we started talking about reopening as Canada day came up. And it seems like over Canada day weekend, a bunch of people went to a bunch of parties in Colona and.
[00:03:50] That started another wave, not a full wave, but a little bit of growth. Again,
[00:03:56] Scott de Lange Boom: most of the growth on this has been coming from the interior health region in large part due to the Colona
[00:04:03] Ian Bushfield: outbreak. BC is not the only place seeing a little bit of an uptake, a few of the other provinces, Ontario a little bit earlier, but it’s a little bit.
[00:04:12] Turned around now, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and most notably Alberta have all also seen upswings. Alberta in particular has been seeing over a hundred cases a day for a while for a week or two. The province says website still says Alberta’s in stage two of the relaunch Albertans can and should confidently support Alberta businesses while continuing to act responsibly and follow all public health measures, which the growth of cases in Calgary is starting to be.
[00:04:41] Worrying, especially when I have family out there and it’s like, you need to keep taking this seriously people, the constant debate. I think we’re seeing now in Calgary and Edmonton, both cities have debated, at least Calgary has passed, uh, versions of a mandatory mask rule or bylaw. Where in Calgary, any public space, you basically should be wearing a mask, including transit.
[00:05:05] We, you know, historically BC has not gone that way in terms of mandate mandating very much.
[00:05:12] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah, it does. It’s recommended, but just, I always pick up some groceries earlier today and I don’t know, maybe half the people in the store were wearing a mask.
[00:05:23] Ian Bushfield: It’s definitely varied in my experience. Some places like some of the grocery stores here around Metrotown and Burnaby are very good.
[00:05:31] Uh, the Rona I went to the other day, For a couple of supplies. I think there were one or two people in the entire store wearing masks. So I mean, the key thing is still keep your distance. Physical distancing is the primary tool. We have wash your hands, stay home when you can. And if you have to be in a closed space, that’s where you mask up.
[00:05:53] Nevertheless, the modeling. That the province released earlier this week suggests that we will continue to see an increasing number of cases through the summer as a possibility, but because we’re at such a low number, there’s a huge amount of variability in that the best their modeling says is we need to be around.
[00:06:13] 50 to maybe 60% of our normal contact, any more than that. And things start to explode again, which we don’t want because we’ve already seen our R T number, the average daily number of new infections generated per case. So how many, how many people does each person with COVID? In fact, uh, it’s grown above one.
[00:06:34] And we’d want it below one.
[00:06:35] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah, pretty much anything. One puts it in the exponential growth category, which is not great. We want to bring that down for sure. Actually I’m checking. Have you seen what the estimate was overall? I know the science has advanced quite a bit since the initial stages, when the estimates were all over the place,
[00:06:55] Ian Bushfield: not for.
[00:06:56] COVID in a, um, you know, in a normal situation where people aren’t taking any measures. I think it’s hard to measure because so many places have done at least something, except I guess Florida.
[00:07:08] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. It’s probably get a decent gate out of Florida, maybe Georgia too. Cause they’re taking that shit. You know, explicitly action that stops cities from trying to do stuff to control.
[00:07:19] COVID the, a governor put in place a Porter, banning cities from imposing mask requirements, something
[00:07:26] Ian Bushfield: else America’s in a very bad state between that and the stuff happening in Portland with like federal cops going in and Trump rolling that out. It’s yeah, not a good, not a good country to visit these days.
[00:07:40] Even if you could,
[00:07:41] Scott de Lange Boom: yeah. Leave it to them to turn something as simple as wearing a mask into a culture war issue. But it is what it is. Anyway. Luckily we’re in a bit better situation here, but it only takes a one or two super spreader events for us to start looking like, you know, come back to Ontario is lots of right about
[00:07:59] Ian Bushfield: now.
[00:08:00] Yeah. And it seems like BC is eager to not go down that route and. Dr. Henry is rolled out a couple new orders, which aren’t fully up on the internet yet, but they’ve at least been teased and explained. Uh, one is for restaurants. There’s a new slate of rules, which seemed like they probably should have been in place before, but perhaps they were just highly recommended.
[00:08:23] Uh, so if you go to a restaurant now, everyone should be seated at an assigned. Table, you can’t go hopping between tables. Uh, there will be no more dance floors. We’ve entered the Footloose era of
[00:08:36] Scott de Lange Boom: why were there dance floors open, all re like it’s hard. I’m hard pressed to think of something besides maybe like a choir where it’s more likely to spread.
[00:08:44] Ian Bushfield: Cool. I was just looking and there’s actually an updated guidance for faith based organizations on the public health website, where they do have some here’s how you might be able to do choir singing. Although we really discourage it. There’s no way to really prevent there’s no safe distance for singing.
[00:09:04] Just make sure no one is sick if you’re going to have to do it. So they’ve definitely loosened some of those guides guidelines, uh, coming back to the restaurants, there’s going to be no liquor self-serve so you can’t go up to the bar and order a drink anymore. There’s going to be specific requirements around large events and more rules around any place in a restaurant where people might have to form a line or queue up.
[00:09:25] Just keeping that distance. So reasonable things, nothing too surprising. The other announcement was the one that came today, limiting the number of people who can stay at vacation rentals, including houseboats to just six, the details aren’t out or very clear on this yet. But it sounds like if you plan to get a cottage or a houseboat or some kind of facility that no more than six people can stay at that facility,
[00:09:52] Scott de Lange Boom: how sports has a bit of an interest in one.
[00:09:55] Isn’t all the maritime stuff. Pretty much under federal jurisdiction. Although I guess the houseboats have mostly happened on lakes rather than in the ocean. So the province, rather than like transport Canada or whoever actually gets to decide those.
[00:10:10] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. I don’t know how the regulations work. I imagine their business license would be provincial and they would launch from a provincial doc.
[00:10:17] I don’t know. I don’t know how to. Boats work, but the point is don’t take more than six people on a boat. Six people seems to be the sort of bubble rule that BC is encouraging. I know in Ontario, they’re trying to tell you not to have a bubble bigger than 10 here. Bonnie Henry is saying the rule for restaurants is no more than six people, and that should be your general rule.
[00:10:37] In any situation. The other slight change that has come out from the provincial government is six provincial parks now require you to get a park pass. Luckily it’s a free day use pass, but if you’re going to be visiting Mount Robson, the chief Cypress Mount Seymour Garibaldi, or golden ears park, you’ll have to go online and get a free pass,
[00:10:58] Scott de Lange Boom: which seems like is this just.
[00:11:00] Control a crowd sizes or
[00:11:03] Ian Bushfield: whatever. Exactly. Yeah. There seem to be a lot of people starting to rush to some of these parks and this will at least let them put a cap on how many people can show up at any of those. Meanwhile, at the federal government level, there’s a new bill to extend some support, the CEW S program, the wage subsidy.
[00:11:21] Has been expanded to cover all companies that have seen at least a 30% drop in revenue previously, it was 75%. So a lot more companies are going to be getting wage subsidies. Uh, the bill also included, uh, one time, $600 top up to people with disabilities, including those who received the disability. Tax credit who are on pensions, either the federal or Quebec one, and those who are on veterans assistance.
[00:11:47] So that was something that I think was included in previous bills, but there were too many, uh, other poison chalices that the opposition didn’t want to go with. So this one was just the uncontroversial support business support people with disabilities. And that passed unanimously.
[00:12:03] Scott de Lange Boom: All right. So just to correct, one thing on the, a wage subsidy, it wasn’t 75% drop in revenues.
[00:12:10] You had to claim last time. I was still a 30% originally, but now they’re basically introduced in a sliding scale,
[00:12:16] Ian Bushfield: right.
[00:12:17] Scott de Lange Boom: Situation. Yeah. Covered 75% of wages. For companies that had a 30% drop and now it’s on a sliding scale and businesses. Now the ones that are the hardest hit are now getting the top up that’s 25% larger than the previous payments were so more generous and wider range of businesses that can get it.
[00:12:39] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. Really hard to criticize something that. All of the political parties supported. And here in BC, the provincial government rolled out a billion dollars of extra funding to match the federal funds that were announced than we discussed last week for municipalities and transit. So the details are still being determined on exactly where that money is going to go and how that’s going to support cities and TransLink and BC transit.
[00:13:04] But hopefully we’ll hear that.
[00:13:07] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah, I believe that’s mostly covering operating costs. The bunch of the capital stuff I think is going on. At least on translate side, they just decided who’s going to be building the Broadway subway the other week. So that’s still moving ahead. But at the same time to some of the local governments are looking and seeing what they need to pare back or delay.
[00:13:28] So yeah, how that shapes up is going to be pretty important at the local level.
[00:13:32] Ian Bushfield: Keep washing your hands, stay home. If you can, let’s keep those numbers down.
[00:13:37] Scott de Lange Boom: Rune Andro on net segment, we still in scandal. So the wee scandal is just keeps on giving it’s several weeks now. And every week we get some new bit of information that makes the government.
[00:13:51] Look, even worse than this. And a couple of days ago that came courtesy of bill Maher note, the finance minister, who revealed that he’s actually pinging. We back for about $41,000 related to trips. He went on that were paid for we, and they just forgot to invoice him or he forgot to pay it. And. Yeah, I just now decided when this whole standard was breaking, that it may be better to go back and check and see about that and decided to repay this.
[00:14:26] Ian Bushfield: This is coming out as both the finance committee and ethics committee, which thanks to our minority parliaments are dominated by the opposition. Parties are really digging into the federal government. And so. More Noah was before I think it was the finance committee, some of the chief bureaucrats involved like Rachel Wernicke, which is a surprisingly similar name to the last set of scandals.
[00:14:51] Scott de Lange Boom: Oh, that’s yeah. She’s actually the sister. I think that definitely a fairly close relation to the other war, neck that was in the last big government scandal we were talking about. Auto was a small world.
[00:15:04] Ian Bushfield: Well, so coming back to the more, no story to start with, and we have a whole bunch of others, we can run through lots more, came out about more nos family’s ties to we as well.
[00:15:14] His wife had made about a hundred thousand dollars in donations to we charity in recent years, it was somewhat already known, but his two daughters have ties to the charity. One has spoken at the events and the other works for the Oregon . And so all of this comes to a head because more know like Trudeau.
[00:15:31] Didn’t recuse himself at the cabinet table when the decision to hand wee this contract was being made. So the question is, you know, did he break ethics rules? Uh, he’s being partially investigated already in the first ethics investigation and Charlie Angus with the NDP has called on the ethics investigation.
[00:15:47] Has Charlie Angus of the NDP has called on the ethics commissioner to launch a second investigation into more know over some of these new revelations. The conservatives would be fine if the existing, uh, investigation were broadened in its scope, either way, it’s not good. Looks spur. No more. Now
[00:16:06] Scott de Lange Boom: I know more knows fairly rich, but how did you forget to pay for a vacation that costs more than many people making a year?
[00:16:14] Ian Bushfield: There were family vacation and it was two vacations. So I know it’s still a lot of money. I guess he doesn’t handle his own checkbook, maybe when you’re that rich. It’s not a good look though.
[00:16:25] Scott de Lange Boom: No, it really isn’t ministers and MPS. Aren’t supposed to be taking paid for trips in the first place anyway, so, and then not disclosing them.
[00:16:34] So yeah, altogether just a bad luck and quite likely broke several.
[00:16:39] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. That was the whole icon scandal to go back even farther.
[00:16:42] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. It’s so familiar. Oh yeah. And then the last more, no scandal was him forgetting to disclose stuff as well. So the was that the Italian Villa,
[00:16:54] Ian Bushfield: when you have so many assets and take so many fancy trips, you just lose track of them.
[00:16:59] The next story in the docket, I think was probably the biggest in terms of it’s what factor it turned out. And this was via global news that the federal government wasn’t actually going to give the money to. We charity this $912 million. Contract, but actually to a third organization, not the meta we social enterprise, but me chaired the we charity foundation, which was only incorporated in January, 2018 and received charitable status just in April, 2019.
[00:17:29] It was created, I guess, on the advice of wes’ lawyers who said, yes, You should create something to just hold all your real estate. And it can be yes, sort of shell charity to protect charity from some of the liability that could come along with that. And so when this contract came along, that we lawyer said that would be where the money should go, rather than we charity send it in the we charity foundation and you’ll protect yourselves.
[00:17:54] It makes total sense from wes’ point of view for some reason, but why did
[00:17:58] Scott de Lange Boom: the government go for that?
[00:17:59] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, for some reason, the federal government agreed to. Cut the check to this charity foundation that has zero track record.
[00:18:06] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. Oh, uh, reports to the federal government basically say, yeah, we own a bunch of real estate.
[00:18:13] That’s more or less it. And even some of the real estate stuff isn’t entirely clear because the property records apparently have a bunch of the real estate still in a title to the we charity, not the we charity foundation. So. The whole thing seems like a mess and kind of guard a wonder who was doing the due diligence on this sign off on that contract, going to a, a, an organization with basically no track record that existed, you know, a year ago.
[00:18:43] And that’s about it.
[00:18:44] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. Fairly prominent nonprofit charity, lawyer, Mark Bloomberg is quoted in this piece, just calling it shocking. You know, it baffles him that something like this would. Go through. And he’s like, yeah, I totally get why we would want this, but it’s kind of like he compared it to the government of Ontario giving a hundred million dollars to London, Ontario, but actually giving it to London, England.
[00:19:07] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. That seems like a bit of an overstatement, but
[00:19:09] Ian Bushfield: yeah, legally we charity and we, charity foundation are entirely distinct and they have separate boards of directors. So it could be that we charity a foundation just runs away with the money and. There’s nothing we charity or the government could do at that point, other than try and Sue this shell of a company.
[00:19:29] So yeah. Real problematic there.
[00:19:32] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. The whole thing just seems so weird and sloppy and like the more that gets revealed, the sketchier, everything is I have no idea what’s going to happen next week after, you know, we hear from the prime minister actually maybe further down. So the prime minister has agreed to.
[00:19:48] Go before the finance committee on this, just somewhat unusual, no date set, but who knows what fun stuff will be revealed between now. And then
[00:19:58] Ian Bushfield: we was also telling CBC, I see this week that the idea that students should be paid. $10 an hour came from the government because we might’ve even been, uh, nervous about the idea of paying people less than minimum wage.
[00:20:15] Very least CBC was poking around because some charities had told CVC that they were thinking of adjusting, I think is the word that was used the number of hours so that students would be paid at least $15 an hour by saying. Oh, you volunteered for four, but we’ll consider it six for the purpose of the grant so that you get 15 an hour and they put this to we.
[00:20:36] And we said the government of Canada determined the compensation per hour of service for the grant. And we was just contracted to administer the grant. According to that decision,
[00:20:46] Scott de Lange Boom: that’s not good on several levels. One is why was the federal government too, in that, uh, first of all, and it’s also clear chase that we, you know, trying to do as much as they can’t distance themselves.
[00:20:58] And it also seems a little sketchy that a bunch of charities were saying, yeah, we’re more or less than a fate are, uh, submissions to the administrators of this program. Like I get why they wanted to do it. It’s still kind of sketchy.
[00:21:13] Ian Bushfield: Well, and it also feels like we as trying to throw the government a bit under the bus because we have in here.
[00:21:18] And another story about lobbying that we did. Bring this proposal forward. I don’t know if they put the number on the hours, but it’s not clear who came up with the hour, but, or the dollar Lee rate. But clearly the government was the one to sign that as a final approval. Nevertheless, Rachel Wernicke testifying before the committee.
[00:21:40] Uh, denies that it was an hourly rate. Uh, she said, I need to clarify that this was a lump sum, financial award, like a bursary at the end of the summer, it was not an hourly wage. And that was the nature of the grant. Uh, she called it a reward. That’s like air miles where you have to reach a certain level before you get the reward.
[00:21:58] So it was an air miles type program. I feel bad for bureaucrats. I have to come before. Parliamentary committees and be stuck in the like full limelight, the full, you know, press scrutiny, you know, that’s not their job. Right.
[00:22:12] Scott de Lange Boom: I know. That’s why you have a political level that exists between parliament and the public service.
[00:22:19] I, the, the executive and their staff, um, you know, the ministers and the ministers political staff, and like the way it’s supposed to like the norm is that if anyone gets thrown under the bus, it’s the political staff, not the civil servants are just. Trying to do their job to the best of their
[00:22:35] Ian Bushfield: abilities.
[00:22:36] Then this situation you’ve had the, uh, the government, the Trudeau, and many of the political side, trying to say, look, this was a recommendation from the bureaucracy. They said, we should go with, we, uh, they set up the program and you do want a bureaucracy, a strong bureaucracy that can. Establish a competent program, but ultimately the final decision rests with the people who are elected.
[00:23:02] Scott de Lange Boom: If you want a strong bureaucracy that can manage a program, you maybe give the program to the bureaucracy and not outsource it.
[00:23:09] Ian Bushfield: I don’t know, but it was the bureaucracy’s idea to outsource it,
[00:23:12] Scott de Lange Boom: which
[00:23:12] Ian Bushfield: I saw those never really.
[00:23:14] Scott de Lange Boom: Made a lot of sense to me, like the incentives of the bureaucracy are to sore of all of these things within the bureaucracy.
[00:23:21] Ian Bushfield: Well, over at the national post, they have a story about how we as not a registered lobbyists, despite the fact they sent to quote unquote unsolicited proposals, according to bureaucrats testifying before the committees to the federal government in April one on April 9th about creating a social entrepreneurship.
[00:23:39] Grant. And then one, a couple of weeks later on April 22nd, which was what became the CSS G the Canada student, a service grant. The conservatives are again asking the federal commissioner of lobbying this time for an investigation over whether we should have registered as a lobbyist. I’ve looked into it.
[00:23:56] It does get a bit confusing, but the key thing is if. You have one employee in your organization who spends at least 20% of their time preparing for, or actively lobbying government for a federal funds is a big thing, but just
[00:24:11] Scott de Lange Boom: what if you have 20 employees, each spending 1% of their
[00:24:14] Ian Bushfield: time automatic gets confusing.
[00:24:18] The key thing is Francesco Trevi, a professor of economics at UBC who specializes in lobbying he’s quoted in this story saying it would be very UN it’d be very surprising if they didn’t have someone spending a significant amount of time to pull together two significant reports in under a month on this.
[00:24:40] So they most likely had the equivalent of a lobbyist either in house or. Contracted out because it’s not a over the year, I believe it’s by the month situation. And so the fact they’re not registered suggests maybe they miss something. Now we charity and their lawyers say that they checked all the boxes and they welcome any investigation to clear their name.
[00:25:04] But I think the key thing in here is less about whether they should be, or shouldn’t be lobbying, but the fact that they clearly did send in. The proposal that formed this grant.
[00:25:15] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. And that’s been pretty clear now, which also seems a little at odds with the civil service saying, well, we need to, we have this really important program, but we need to outsource.
[00:25:24] It’s not clear that you’d have, sorry, that came from within the dark gray to end without, but also you have a situation where. Okay. Maybe someone spent 19% of their time over the month preparing this, and it’s not technically a fruit or anything, but you know, maybe we should have a case where there’s multiple thresholds.
[00:25:44] One’s 20%. And you know, maybe if you’re asking for over half a billion dollars, that should also require registering with the lobby as a lobbyist for. Regardless of what percentage of overall time that is at some point that the dollar faker becomes large enough, that it doesn’t really matter how much of your time you’re spending on it.
[00:26:06] Just because the rewards are so bad that it’s probably worth having a registry and knowing who’s doing what got it.
[00:26:12] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. BC is, is a lot more open or a lot more stringent than this. And that’s thanks to changes brought in by David Eby and the. BC NDP, basically everyone who communicates and is paid to communicate with BC government officials, whether that’s MP, MLS, or even just like BC, hydro, exac, anyone who is appointed by the government.
[00:26:34] As far as I can tell, you have to register. There’s like a very narrow exclusion for some charities, but even there, most charities need to register when they’re communicating. And then once you’ve registered, you need to report basically every communication you do within a month. Or within any given month.
[00:26:52] So there’s clear requirements, clear things you have to do there. And honestly, this gets back to like the key issue most people are pointing out with me is that there’s a lack of transparency in here and like registering as a lobbyist when you’re submitting, this is something you can do if you’re under that threshold.
[00:27:10] Voluntarily. And maybe when you’re asking for a billion dollars or whatever price tag was in that original thing, registering would have just been the right and transparent thing to do, but we’ll have more to learn, I guess, about all this we controversy, as you mentioned, Trudeau will be there at the finance committee.
[00:27:29] The ethics committee has also voted to call him as a witness. Uh, Katie Telford, his advisor will be before the finance committee as well. So this is going to keep dragging on. Now we’re going to keep getting a trickle of news stories because apparently these committees are juicy.
[00:27:44] Scott de Lange Boom: Oh, yeah. The finance manager admitting he forgot to report that he got a free trip somewhere.
[00:27:49] Yeah, it gets pretty juicy.
[00:27:54] Ian Bushfield: moving into our quick takes. There’s a new poll out from AECOS politics on how. British Columbia political parties are doing, and the NDP have a 17 point lead over the BC liberals. The NDP is sitting at 46%. The liberals at 29, the greens are at 13 and just other parties are listed at 12. So this is interesting as this poll didn’t ask or didn’t include BC conservative party, which often in my mind sits as a placeholder for.
[00:28:28] People on the right of the political spectrum, who may be confused it with the federal conservatives or who may be, want to drag the liberals slightly to the right, the fact they weren’t listed and people still just picked other at a significant level is at very least bad news for the BC liberals.
[00:28:46] Scott de Lange Boom: Although it’s not. Unusual for people to kind of park their folks outside of a major party during the, you know, inter election period and come back home, so to speak, uh, once things get underway in the campaign, you see that all the time with, you know, the 10% that the BC conservatives pretty, fairly consistently get in polls and yeah, at election time, it’s 2%.
[00:29:15] So. Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me too much on that nor does really the large DAP, maybe 17 it’s a little higher than I would’ve thought. But are you, you have the we’re in a crisis. We’re trying to rally around the flag and unlike what’s happened per federal lead, like we were just talking about or in the States there hasn’t really been something to jolt B, C out of that.
[00:29:42] Yeah. BCS handled things fairly well, there be no like big political story. That’s come up and kind of reinserted politics back into things. This to me says that we’re still in the crisis. Let’s all rally around the leader phase of things. And you know, if it holds for a dumpster six months, then it might be particularly noteworthy, you know, right now this.
[00:30:10] This looks like COVID polling to me, not, you know, overall impressions of the party polling.
[00:30:16] Ian Bushfield: I mean, at some point it does kind of become longer term if the NDP and John Horgan are seen as more competent because of this. Like, if I think there’s a wide spread agreement that BC has handled this well, because of the approach.
[00:30:33] The NDP has taken. Now, people have subtle disagreements over the financial packages being rolled out, but even those aren’t attracting a significant anger yet. I think there’s still apprehension about what’s to come. The other thing in this poll is that the greens aren’t doing great. 13 is down a few points and there’s a large undecided, 19% of respondents overall, which is outside those numbers.
[00:30:58] I only gave the. I decided numbers at the top 19% of respondents were undecided. So that’s still a lot of room for everything to shift around. But yeah, if you’re John Horgan and the NDP, you’re riding high, if you’re everyone else, time to start reviewing your strategies, I guess.
[00:31:15] Scott de Lange Boom: Well, the one bit of politics that has managed to make its way back into things is the ad story we were talking about a couple of weeks back, uh, turns out I was a little Veronica hasn’t entirely gone away as.
[00:31:28] The Vancouver pride society has decided to ban the BC liberals after they didn’t take disciplinary action against slurry thrown is over his refusal to not advertise in that publication.
[00:31:45] Ian Bushfield: The light, I think it was, this is interesting. So Spencer Shandra, Herbert of the NDP released a letter. I think it was last week and we didn’t talk about it.
[00:31:53] Um, cause I wasn’t sure if it was gonna. Pick up outside the kind of partisan circles where he and the NDP basically came out and said, Lori thrown us needs to be kicked from the BC liberals. He should at least lose his childcare role, his critic, his role as critic for childcare. If he’s going to be making these comments and supporting things that promote conversion therapy and other things that are extremely harmful to children, Vancouver pride came out the next day and.
[00:32:22] Basically reiterate, uh, echo.call and said, you know, if you’re not going to stand up as a party for the queer community, then don’t pretend you can join us in our virtual celebrations this year. Now I think pride has an interesting history with pressuring the BC liberals in this way. It was Vancouver pride a few years ago that instituted, I think they call it the trans equality now pledge, where if you want to participate in the pride parade.
[00:32:50] As an organization, you had to commit that you supported adding gender identity and gender expression to the human rights code. And at the time the BC liberals weren’t clear on it, some supported it, but some didn’t like Lori thoroughness and eventually Christy Clark after I think the liberals were kicked out of one pride.
[00:33:07] Came around
[00:33:08] Scott de Lange Boom: there. There was one year they did March.
[00:33:09] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. Yeah. And I think it was because of that. And the next year, the BC liberals put forward an amendment to the human rights code to add that. And you know, it shows they have the clout to affect some change. Now, I don’t know if we’ll consent is going to, you know, have the, or make the decision to act on Lori thrown us, thrown us, has a constituency and represents a.
[00:33:35] Certain constituency of the BC liberal big tent, which is the social conservatives. And does he need them to win? Probably because he can’t have that wing split off and ride an upsurge in BC conservative, but at the same time,
[00:33:51] Scott de Lange Boom: part of it too, is that well consent in a free week state. Like. We were just talking about polling and he hasn’t been doing particularly well on that for awhile.
[00:34:00] He was the theater only after the final round of ballots and all other contenders had dropped. He jot a, then he came in fourth, maybe in fifth on the first ballot, basically slowly climbed his way up as other people are knocked off on it. And
[00:34:19] Ian Bushfield: overall,
[00:34:20] Scott de Lange Boom: like, isn’t it in that strong position. And like a lot of the.
[00:34:23] More federally liberally aligned liberals, I know are kind of annoyed that the conservative side of the party ends up dominating things so much when the view that there isn’t quite that or that there are facts and should have at least a little more say in that shouldn’t be entirely pandering to them to prevent the breakaway.
[00:34:45] So it’s a tough part of the. Factional politics. Every party has that, that with different stuff. So just my read on it, just so that their Wilkinson probably isn’t going to do anything on this, just because I don’t think he’s in a strong enough position to really do much
[00:35:02] Ian Bushfield: on it. No, I don’t disagree with any of that analysis, perhaps, you know, if this can calm down or quiet down for a couple of weeks in the fall or even next spring.
[00:35:16] There’ll be a quiet shuffle of the critic portfolios and thrown us. We’ll be moved into something less connected to a social conservative views. Maybe he’ll get like minds or something or forestry.
[00:35:29] Scott de Lange Boom: Ooh, my is my God throw throw is the one who wants to carve a giant statues into the mountains, right? So
[00:35:36] Ian Bushfield: yes, yes.
[00:35:36] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. My mice might be good for him. That’s one of his other more central ideas. Perhaps a little less harmful and might be one that draws less controversy and more just bemused from music from
[00:35:51] Ian Bushfield: people until he tells us he wants to have like Jesus on the Mo on the mountain or something. I don’t think there’s a pivot from thrownness to the next story.
[00:35:59] But John Horgan, after some unfortunate choices of words at a press conference early in the week where he characterized. Drug use as a choice. And he was called out by Andrew Wilkinson quite effectively on that. Uh, and he apologized almost immediately. The next day, John Horgan has actually written to the prime minister, formally asking for an end to criminalization of drug possession.
[00:36:26] So last week he had. Announced that he is in favor of decriminalizing drugs. And now he’s not just saying the words, but actually putting it to the federal government to come up with a plan to end criminalization of personal possession, which would in his view go a long way to end the stigma. And that would be a good thing.
[00:36:47] In my view,
[00:36:48] Scott de Lange Boom: no disagreement there. Feed fertilization mates, a lot of sense,
[00:36:52] Ian Bushfield: tough to see it happening. The federal government in a minority position. Now Trudeau could probably get the liberals, maybe the block. I don’t know what their internal politics are on this. I think they were possibly a bit, some coworkers who are a bit more skeptical of cannabis legalization, uh, but the greens would be onside.
[00:37:13] The conservatives would no scream bloody murder though. And so, I don’t know, this is all this does follow though. True. Uh, Horgan successfully getting the paid. National sick leave policy in. So he’s shown some recent history of being able to move issues. Maybe not exactly like this, but bigger national issues.
[00:37:35] It was weird seeing Doug Ford praise John Horgan this last week on that sick leave policy. So I, you know, I’m willing to give them a bit of benefit. Yeah. Doubt on this because I’ve criticized. To Oregon for not following dr. Henry’s call from last year of using the police act and the powers within the province to stop the direct police, to stop arresting people for using drugs.
[00:37:59] And that could still be a nice interim measure, but you know, if he can get buy in across the country to move this. Issue. We could see some big changes. I mean, this follows the national association of police chiefs that we talked about last week, supporting decriminalization. So maybe, uh, changes in the air.
[00:38:19] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. Perhaps it does make it harder for the conservators. Not that they won’t try any way, but just, they always turn everything up to 11. Seriously a problem with them because they can’t modulate anything enough to that. People know when something serious, like say a major scandal involving a financial improprieties and conflict of interest because every little thing gets.
[00:38:44] Blown up to its maximum impact as
[00:38:46] Ian Bushfield: possible. Yeah. Yeah. I think they called for three people to resign this week only.
[00:38:51] Scott de Lange Boom: So, so they’ll try it, but it’s harder to make that credible when all the police chiefs are saying, yeah, we actually kind of wanted to have this decriminalized too. Well from, I guess, policy innovation at the federal level to innovation here in BC, we have a new innovation commiserate.
[00:39:10] Jerry Sinclair has been named after the outgoing commissioner had finished his term. Uh, so she’ll be replacing Alan winter. The innovation commissioner is one of those things. Yeah. I get why governments wanted, but I have trouble seeing how your, how innovation is really going to be spurred by a government commissioner.
[00:39:32] Very few States fail to invoke the innovative spirit, the way quite the way government commissioner does just as a concept.
[00:39:40] Ian Bushfield: I think this was a key part of the BC greens, a push in the confidence in supply agreement. And we went through, I think Alan winter’s report. And there was some interesting stuff in there, but it was fairly buzzword heavy.
[00:39:57] So my eyes definitely glazed over quite a bit.
[00:40:00] Scott de Lange Boom: To be fair, like 90% of all discussions around innovation or just buzzwords.
[00:40:07] Ian Bushfield: Oh no. Yeah. That was not a slight against dr. Winter, but just yeah. Innovation commissioners in general. Yeah.
[00:40:13] Scott de Lange Boom: Uh, I’m looking forward to innovation and the innovation discussion. So that is no longer, so buzzword heavy and we can innovate away from that.
[00:40:20] Ian Bushfield: Um, motivation, uh, Jerry Sinclair comes to the role as a former manager at Kensington capital. She’s worked for Microsoft in bend city. She was executive director of the digital media program at center for digital media. So she’s got a man mix of experience in public nonprofit media CA uh, business, the settings.
[00:40:41] She seems like a good choice for the job. At least she’s got a unique challenge here in that. She has to kind of figure out how to promote innovation coming out of a recession and pandemic. Now there’s a bit of opportunity there given the government is going to be throwing money around very soon. So maybe some innovative ideas can come forward and, uh, look at the future.
[00:41:06] Scott de Lange Boom: Well, there has been some innovation as a result of the pandemic. Now I don’t think any of it came at the suggestion of an innovation commissioner. And that’s, I guess part of our fall here is like, yeah, it’s true for the, both the private sector and the public sector to innovate, but just having a commissioner doesn’t do much, like you actually need some significant political will within those organizations that you do whatever, you know, restructuring or new policy or procedures or all of that stuff, like actually get a large government body to adopt those a report from a commissioner isn’t actually gonna.
[00:41:44] For salt in much of that happening.
[00:41:46] Ian Bushfield: And indeed for sure. Switching gears a little, the federal government is going to be forced to innovate potentially a bit with our partnership with the United States. As the federal court of Canada has ruled that are safe. Third country agreement with the United States violates the.
[00:42:06] Section seven, the life, Liberty, and security of the person, rights of people who might be sent back to the U S where they would face detention and deportation, the fairly landmark ruling. It could still be appealed by the federal government and the. Judge has also given the federal government six months to amend the agreement in some way to protect Canadian’s rights.
[00:42:30] Notably within six months, there might be a new administration though.
[00:42:34] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. It’s looking like that more and more these days
[00:42:37] Ian Bushfield: not getting optimistic. You can’t let me get optimistic. Even if there is a change in administration though, I think there will still be still need to be some response to this.
[00:42:49] Ruling because, you know, even a democratic administration doesn’t have a spotless record on human rights issues. Even the Canadian government doesn’t have a spotless record on human rights issues. So I think finding some extra safeguards to make sure that while we can still uphold the spirit of the agreement, if there are individual circumstances to suggest that a person may face, um, unjust treatment on there, Returned to the U S that they can claim asylum here rather than in the U S where they perhaps first landed.
[00:43:25] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah, I it’s been clear for what the past three and a half years now that the U S has, and this administration is not very, uh, hospitable to asylum claimants or that really, or anyone who’s immigrant from anywhere, but Norway pretty much. So I suppose there’s only a matter of time before we’re trying to, the courts got to the same point.
[00:43:50] Yeah. We’ll just have to see if this gets appealed and yeah, the government. Typically the appeals, those just as a matter of policy. So it probably will be, but with everything going on in the States at, I think it’s more likely than not that it’s not going to be overturned or not, will be upheld that.
[00:44:09] We’ll just have to say. Well, moving from unsafe countries to unsafe workplaces, the governor general has been accused of creating a toxic climate to for harassment and verbal abuse at Rideau hall. So this comes on the CBC who has multiple sources that describe a. Rather unpleasant working environment that has the governor general and her chief of staff being quite abusive to a bunch of the employees, uh, at Rito hall.
[00:44:45] Ian Bushfield: Very few specifics are given as to the abuse, just to protect the privacy and anonymity of the. Journalists sources, which is fair enough. Uh, it does point to a number of times people were left crying either in their vehicles after work or in hallways or otherwise seeing outbursts from, uh, alleged outbursts from the governor general.
[00:45:10] Uh, it seemed like a major focus is over a perfectionist streak and this obsession over the quality of work. And if people don’t live up to, uh, pilot standards, She bursts out per set them allegedly. This is also highlighted by the fact just during the COVID-19 pandemic. There’ve been four members of her communications team who have quit and a fifth one is leaving this week and another two have taken leaves of absence, which that’s either, I don’t know how big her comms team is, but so it’s either one role turning over a lot or there’s.
[00:45:47] Like the whole thing with this story is like, what does the governor general even do? And it shouldn’t matter. So like the stakes should not be high in this job. Don’t fuck up. Is the key thing.
[00:46:00] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. I mean, as long as you don’t cause a diplomatic incident when you’re receiving foreign didn’t terrorist or something, or I guess create a constitutional crisis is governor generals have occasionally done it, other than that yet?
[00:46:14] Shouldn’t be that challenging a job.
[00:46:17] Ian Bushfield: One of the things that came up at the end, that’s a little bit lighter, but still, I think kind of a hint at where things went is that I guess at the beginning of her mandate, some of the sources CBC had said PI would put staff on the spot by quizzing them about outer space.
[00:46:33] She asked them to name all the planets or to state the distance between the sun and the moon. Which is like quirky, funny for an astronaut, but if it goes beyond just like, Hey, can you name all the planets to name all the planets, or you’re gonna lose your job? You know, there’s lines that get crossed. And if she’s yelling at people, I mean, the Rido hall denies these allegations and.
[00:46:58] It says it’s unfortunate that the story is going out, but I kind of trust CBC at this point, if you’re having, if you have a dozen sources and evidence of high turnover, that something is not well there.
[00:47:11] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. Cause like aren’t astronauts supposed to be pretty thoroughly screened for bad workplace conduct and stuff.
[00:47:19] The teamwork needed to be a successful. Astronaut is extremely high and. Doesn’t NASA. And presumably CSA go to the effort of making sure that, you know, people aren’t going to cause workplace problems, you know, in outer space. And presumably those same things would apply on the ground in a ceremonial job.
[00:47:41] Ian Bushfield: I think that’s correct. The one caveat would be that. I think there’s a very different type of person who you work with. In NASA or the Canadian space agency then that you would work in work with in a ceremonial position. It’s not to say they’re lesser or anything, but just the focus like in NASA, you’re working with the type of people.
[00:48:06] You and I know Scott, right? Engineers and scientists who are all a bit detail oriented, perhaps in very specific way. His, and so maybe that shift has just not been as successful. Or something, and there’s just a clash of personalities, but things need to be probably a bit more transparent. Things need to be cleaned up.
[00:48:29] I mean, there’s been numerous allegations of irregularities and the governor General’s office and including like just her unwillingness to there was that weird story about how, at one point she was unwilling to like, Or reluctant to come and sign bills, like literally the one thing she has to do in her role to pass them into law.
[00:48:50] Scott de Lange Boom: Well, see, I started to like a point, a bunch of people that the direction of the prime minister
[00:48:54] Ian Bushfield: and just like found it inconvenient to do that at one point. So a lot of weird sources come out or a lot of weird stories have come out about her tenure as governor general. Yeah. Hopefully things turn around and I feel really bad for everyone who had.
[00:49:08] Those experiences in that job, having a shitty boss really sucks.
[00:49:13] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. Like pretty much I have the Queen’s the only one that could fire her. Right. I, it’s not the case that, you know, this is just, you know, a minister or someone who Trudeau to just let go at the drop of a hat. So yeah, there might not be a way out of it.
[00:49:28] In the short term, there are problems, as it seems, there are.
[00:49:34] Ian Bushfield: I’m sure if Trudeau it’s not exerted some pressure, but hat. The right conversations. She could possibly be convinced to leave early, but you may be right that she doesn’t have to, but hopefully this doesn’t end in a constitutional crisis like that.
[00:49:50] And to close off on a lighter story now, independent MLA, but former. Uh, green party, BC green party leader. Andrew Weaver was in the news this week as Joe Perkins from check news was tweeting out that I guess Andrew Weaver has weighed into a bike lane project in Oak Bay.
[00:50:09] Scott de Lange Boom: So he’s a green party, right? So like, presumably he would be in favor of a bike lane.
[00:50:15] Right? Know, I know he’s an independent now, but you know, spent five years as the leader of the green party. Sure surely that must be the case.
[00:50:24] Ian Bushfield: No, he’s, he’s a green party MLA. So he’s, or was a green party MLA. So he’s in favor of consultation and discussion with the residents of Oak Bay prior to the BC government giving money to this Richardson street corridor bike lane.
[00:50:37] No, people’s people need to be heard democracy, Scott democracy,
[00:50:42] Scott de Lange Boom: green party people against like very obviously good for the environment stuff. I wish it was actually a surprise thing. Uh, my facetiousness at the top is not actually how things work because yeah, the, the green party has a tendency to, I think, elevate or Revere participatory democracy so much that they.
[00:51:05] End up in a position where often they’re opposing or at least very hesitant to support, like obviously good things for the environment. Right. You see all the time at the local level here in Vancouver, but yeah, it’s clearly happens at other levels too.
[00:51:23] Ian Bushfield: My favorite angle on this is to think about how the greens are.
[00:51:29] Commonly nicknamed Tories with bikes, especially the Andrew Weaver type greens. But in this case, I was it, you came up in our sock with tortillas, with Teslas.
[00:51:37] Scott de Lange Boom: Uh, so I think I might’ve originally heard that from a friend of the show, Patrick, but, uh, it’s definitely an idea that’s been out for a while now.
[00:51:49] And I do like it a little better, cause it does have the, a nice alliteration go in for it.
[00:51:54] Ian Bushfield: In any case Andrew Weaver is no longer green and he’s free to complain about bike lane projects. Like a typical Oak Bay resident would I guess.
[00:52:06] Scott de Lange Boom: Yeah. I mean, a few people, like snarkily posted about this on Twitter and a few people tried to do the, well, he’s not agreeing to anymore, but like the guy ran the party for, for five years.
[00:52:18] He’s agreeing. And the fact that he’s sitting independent, during the leadership raise. And before at least politics doesn’t really change that.