Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 BC Liberals Suck Year in Review - Part 1: Campbell-Style Social Violence

When reviewing the BC Liberal's "performance" in 2008, it’s hard not to ask a few questions, such as:

What the hell did we do to deserve this nightmare of a government?

And more importantly, what the hell are we going to do to get rid of Campbell in 2009?

The answer to that is pretty simple – vote Campbell and his possum BC Liberal posse out on May 12th 2009.

2008 BC Liberals Suck Year in Review

Social Violence in the Age of Plenty

Child poverty: Food & Housing, Who do those freeloading Kids think they Are?

Well, BC is the tops in something, although not exactly what we’d like to be recognized for. Under Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberals reign of terror, “Beautiful BC” has led the entire country for five solid years in child poverty, with 21.9% of BC’s kids not having enough. Most shocking of all, this poverty has flourished in BC through years of economic prosperity and record wealth, at least for some.

2008 BC Child Poverty Report Card

Homelessness in BC: Increasing Year after Year

“B.C. taxpayers currently spend an average of $55,000 per year in health, corrections and social services for each of the estimated 11,750 homeless people in the province, according to a 2008 study by SFU's Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction. That's $644 million a year to maintain homelessness.

“The modular housing plan even holds the potential to transform the 2010 Winter Games from an international embarrassment -- during which the world would discover that British Columbia built multi-million-dollar condos for 5,000 Olympic athletes while doing nothing to house its legion of more than 10,000 homeless -- into a showcase of Canadian compassion.

Indeed, the crux of Vancouver's exploding homelessness problem is as follows: social and economic dislocation is rendering British Columbians homeless much faster than BC Housing can build homes for them.” (Monte Paulsen, December 19, 2008).

'Stop Gap Housing' Idea Could Make Big Dent in Homelessness

BC's Homeless Death Toll: 56 or More in Two Years
Tally of homeless deaths released to Tyee by chief coroner.
Monte Paulsen and Tom Sandborn, April 17, 2008. The Tyee.ca

B.C.'s homeless died at a rate that's at least 19 per cent higher than the general population, according to the office of the chief coroner.

Up to 15,500 Homeless: Report
Tally of BC homeless by health profs far higher than housing minister's.
Andrew MacLeod. January 31, 2008. TheTyee.ca

Housing and Support for Adults with Severe Addictions and/or Mental Illness in British Columbia. October, 2007.
Authors: SFU's Michelle Patterson and Julian Somers, Calgary's Karen McIntosh and Alan Shiell, and UBC's Jim Frankish.

Ministry of Children & Family Development (MCFD)

Anyone who has the misfortune of being involved with MCFD and the many who work in MCFD, or in the community and social services sectors know that child welfare in BC is an unmitigated disaster.

MCFD lacks competent, ethical, and strong leadership and continues to hurtle recklessly down the path to oblivion.
Oops, that light at the end of the tunnel is not daylight, it’s the headlight of
the train. And for this, BC tax payers paid $234,180, including a bonus and a “living allowance” to the lady from South Africa?

Words of advice for 2009, instead of renewing the contract of the DM of Misery, Churlishness & Family Disaster, we kindly suggest she resign and let’s get someone in who can lead this Ministry who truly understands that the child welfare system exists to serve the best interests of BC’s children and families not the privatization agenda of the current regime. That would also put a stop to all of those annoying, dazzling BS e-mails no-one has time (nor interest) to read.

“Premier Gordon Campbell appeared genuinely chastened by the grim report and promised all 62 of Hughes' recommendations would be implemented without delay. That has not happened. More than 2 1/2 years after Campbell's promise, B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth looked at 15 of the most important recommendations and concluded none has been completed.”
- Editorial (Times Colonist), Dec. 12, 2008

Du Toit to serve an extra year?
Sean Holman, Public Eye Online. December 18, 2008.

“Your salary on appointment will be $180,000 CAD per annum plus up to 10% annual re-earnable bonus. You will also be entitled to receive a housing allowance of up to $2000 CAD per month. (Deputy Premier Jessica McDonald’s letter to Lesley Du Toit, Deputy Minister of MCFD).

2008 Progress Report on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the BC Children & Youth Review
("Hughes Review"). Representative for Children & Youth.

VIDEO: Heather Robinson reports: B.C.'s child protection system still broken: watchdog (Runs 1:12) CBC News.

In light of recent communications from Her Majesty, might the citizens of BC and employees of MCFD wonder what fresh new hell she and Campbell have got planned for the vulnerable children & families of BC?

Fiscal restraint measures at kids ministry
Sean Holman. Public Eye Online. December 04, 2008.
********************************
2008 BC Liberals Suck Year in Review - Part 2: Get Rich Quick Schemes - Become a BC Liberal appointee

Monday, December 22, 2008

Privatizing our Privacy: Questions We need Answered

Fourth & Final Installment of the series: Privatizing Your Privacy.

This is the information that EDS now has for each and every one of us, via the
Provincial Revenue contracts:

- driver's licence records, vehicle registration information, insurance information
- income assistance and student loan applications
- medical information (all MSP billing history)
- ambulance (where you were picked up and driven to)
- Social Insurance Number
- birthdate
- address (current and historical list of address from opening of any account to present)
- personal property and asset information
- credit information
- liabilities (who you owe money to currently and in the past, how much, monthly payments, credit card numbers)
- bank account #s
- if you are an owner (or otherwise) of a company
- place of employment (current and historical)
- your income and sources of income (EI, etc.)
- income of your spouse or common law partner
- amount of child support payment you receive or pay
- amount of child tax benefit and/or GST you receive
- your monthly expenses (rent, mortgage, how much you spend on food, telephone, cable, utilities, bus passes, car loan, child care, clothing)
- stocks, bonds, RRSPs
- BC Online:
- Personal Property Reg.
- Site Registry
- Corporate Registry
- BC Assessment
- Land Titles
- Rural Property Tax
- Home Owner Grant (current and history of houses or property owned)
- Skip Trace Unit (BC Hydro uses to search out of province driver's licence in Canada or U.S.)
- Equifax (all credit information; an inquiry by Provincial Revenue does not show up in Equifax history sent to individual)

**** courtesy of Kaybertoss
***********************************************
Questions to ask of the BC government:

- Do they have a corporate policy on privacy breaches?
- Since EDS received contracts for Provincial Revenue work, have there been any breaches of citizen's privacy rights?
- Have these been reported to the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner?
- Who is in charge of reporting breaches?
- Have citizens been informed of breaches of their privacy?
- Is the information considered to be covered under the Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act, or Personal Information Protection Act?

***Personal information is collected directly by the BC government, but then is privatized and under the care of a private corporation so which act applies?
- Where is this set out for citizen's understanding of the correct application of the Act?

Important Questions to be Answered before EDS is Awarded the Government Infrastructure Contract

We also have to wonder, what are the specific details of how the contract will be managed. These include:

- Who will assume authority and responsibility for managing this contract in BC?
- What government body and authority will have oversight and report out on the value for service and service delivery?
- What information will be transferred, transmitted and held by the contractor? Will it be digital data, hard copies, originals, copies, e-mails, written correspondence, hard drives, discs ...?
- How will BC's personal and private information be transferred, transmitted and delivered to the contractor?
- Who will have oversight of that in light of the serious breaches of privacy of subsidiaries of HP-EDS?
- What plans are in place to keep information secure during transfer, or transmission of data?
- What safety protocol will be in place for physical transfer of hard discs or laptops with highly personal information collected by government?
- Where will all of this information be stored? In BC, in Canada, the US, internationally? Where will the servers be? Who will have access to their servers and discs?
- Will other corporate entities have access to our information through other contracts with HP-EDS?
- Will BC be able to sue the transnational contractors for breaches of privacy rights for loss of data and records?
- What assurances will BC have that the integrity of our data will remain intact & our privacy protected?
- How will BC citizens know if their privacy has been compromised?
- Is there a disclosure agreement in the contract that the contractor will immediately notify the BC government and citizens of the province if they're privacy rights are breached? Who will monitor adherence to that contractual obligation?
- Will BC's citizens get to see the full terms of the contract? Who will before it's signed?
- Will this be a better thing for BC?
- What if HP-EDS goes down?
- What if they sell maintenance and operations to another transnational?
- Will we even know who has access and control of our information, or when?
- Is it in the public's interest to have our BC government transfer unknown millions of dollars to a very new transnational entity with such a negligent record?

Why Privatize Now, What's the Rush to have BC Spend Millions Heading into a Deep Recession?

Currently, the BC government apparently only has 115 full-time employees on the payroll to perform the important work of keeping BC's personal, private and confidential information safe and secure. Is it really worth the risk of BC's citizens privacy rights and security to privatize and outsource these jobs?

Should BC be signing multi-million dollar, multi-year contracts with transnational corporations at this time of economic uncertainty?

Why the rush? Why now? Even the neoCon economists can't avoid recognizing we're heading into a Deep Recession and we're only at the very beginning.

As citizens of BC, we should be asking ourselves why Gordon Campbell and his neoConLiberals are wanting to shovel millions of BC taxpayer dollars out of BC into the hungry mouth of a transnational corporation with a sketchy and troubling record of handling other governments’ and citizens personal and private information.

This is a Ruinous & Reckless Plan for BC

At BC Liberals Suck, we don't think this is a good plan, it's not good governance, leadership or management and it is NOT in the interests of the public good.

We believe that Gordon Campbell and his BC Liberals must cease and desist from proceeding with the plan to privatize BC's entire infrastructure. Once it's gone, it won't be coming back and we'll have no control over our government infrastructure and information again. EVER.


Please help stop Gordon Campbell's plan to Privatize Our Privacy:

Contact:

Find your MLA

Gordon Campbell:

E-mail: gordon.campbell.mla@leg.bc.ca or premier@gov.bc.ca

Phone: 250 387-1715; Phone: 604 660-3202 (Vancouver office)
Fax:
250 387-0087; Fax: 604 660-5488 (Vancouver office)

Friday, December 19, 2008

2 Liberal MLA's Being Investigated by RCMP

This story seems to be fairly quiet, definitely no front pagers for this,
at least online.

Last night, while watching the early news, the anchor hyped a story
that would appear in today's Vancouver Sun about two MLA's being
investigated by the RCMP. She didn't say who they were, why they
were being investigated, or anything else. I'm not sure what's on the
front pages of the mainstream media, but the story had to be searched
out online, with no headlines on any front pages.

Rich Coleman & Mary Polak are being "investigated" within the Liberal party for their unregistered endorsement of a slate of Langley school board candidates in October's municipal elections.

Note that Smyth didn't mention there is a RCMP investigation underway as well, examining Coleman, Polak AND the BC Liberal party. Pretty shoddy "journalism" for a 'professional journalist.' Daphne Bramham story is a lot heavier on details, adding to her credibility, amongst the dwindling cred of other CanWest hacks. See all stories below before the 'disappear'into the ether.

Another part of the complaint is that it is alleged Langley council candidate Jordan Bateman (vice president of Coleman's riding association), received access to BC Liberal constituency membership lists, which contained the names,phone numbers and addresses of those in the riding.

From Bateman's website:

September 9, 2007
Jordan has been re-elected vice president of Rich Coleman's Fort Langley-Aldergrove BC Liberal constituency association.

Bateman's Blog: Langley Politics Dotcom

***************************
Seems as though the mysterious Community Development ministry doesn't
have anyone set up to actually investigate complaints into adherence to
provincially enacted legislation, not an uncommon finding for other BC
Liberal governmental organizations.

Just try and make a complaint regarding community licensed facilities.
As many have found out, it's all hollow, looks legit from the outside,
empty and buck-passing behind the mirror.

Ministry of Community Development

Local Government Department

Local Government Act

Division 17 - Election Offences

"Vote Buying"
Sec. 151 (1) In this section, "inducement" includes money, gift, valuable consideration, refreshment, entertainment, office, placement, employment and any other benefit of any kind.

(2) A person must not pay, give, lend or procure inducement for any of the following purposes:

(a) to induce a person to vote or refrain from voting;

(b) to induce a person to vote or refrain from voting for or against a particular candidate;

(c) to reward a person for having voted or refrained from voting as described in paragraph (a) or (b);

(d) to procure or induce a person to attempt to procure the election of a particular candidate, the defeat of a particular candidate or a particular result in an election;

(e) to procure or induce a person to attempt to procure the vote of an elector or the failure of an elector to vote.

(3) A person must not accept inducement

(a) to vote or refrain from voting,

(b) to vote or refrain from voting for or against a particular candidate, or

(c) as a reward for having voted or refrained from voting as described in paragraph (a) or (b).

(4) A person must not advance, pay or otherwise provide inducement, or cause inducement to be provided, knowing or with the intent that it is to be used for any of the acts prohibited by this section.

(5) A person must not offer, agree or promise to do anything otherwise prohibited by this section.

(6) A person prohibited from doing something by this section must not do the prohibited act directly, indirectly or by another person on behalf of the first person.

Police investigate election activities of cabinet ministers

Janet Steffenhagen 12-19-2008.

Police are investigating two cabinet ministers, the Liberal Party of B.C. and a Langley parent group to determine whether they violated the Local Government Act during the municipal election.

The ministers are Rich Coleman and Mary Polak, who endorsed several people seeking election to the Langley board of education in the days leading up to the Nov. 15 vote. A group called Parents for Independent Trustees backed their endorsation.

The cabinet ministers, the party and the parent group were not registered as campaigners.

The police investigation began after former trustee Sonya Paterson filed a complaint alleging that some candidates had access to Liberal constituency membership lists. Read Sun columnist Daphne Bramham's full report here. The Province's Michael Smyth also writes about the issue today.

Officials investigate ministers
Complaint about endorsement
Michael Smyth, The Province. Published: Friday, December 19, 2008.

B.C. cabinet ministers Rich Coleman and Mary Polak say they did nothing wrong by endorsing a slate of school board candidates in last month's municipal election in Langley, despite a complaint they may have breached the Local Government Act.

Sources say officials are investigating a complaint that Coleman, Polak and the B.C. Liberal Party should have registered as official "campaign organizers or elector organizations" when the two cabinet ministers endorsed a group of candidates for the Langley board.

"We allowed our pictures and our endorsements to appear in an ad by the candidates, but the candidates themselves paid for the ads," Polak said.

"I think this is a misunderstanding. We didn't take out the ad, the candidates did."

Polak said she and Coleman believed that by endorsing the candidates they were not contravening the Local Government Act, but she has since asked the Liberal Party head office to clarify the rules. She said she's still waiting for the clarification and she has not been contacted by the RCMP or anyone else about the matter.

But a Liberal official said last night there may be a "technical investigation" of the matter under way as a result of a citizen complaint about the involvement of Coleman and Polak in the local election.

Polak suggested that some of her political enemies may be making mischief on the issue and noted that she's aware of NDP MLAs helping municipal candidates in Surrey.

msmyth@theprovince.com
© The Vancouver Province 2008

Two B.C. cabinet ministers probed by RCMP
Complaint alleges their endorsements of civic candidates broke election rules

Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, December 19, 2008

Two B.C. cabinet ministers, the Liberal Party of B.C. and a Langley parents' group are under investigation by RCMP after a complaint alleged that they violated sections of the Local Government Act during November's municipal election.

Housing Minister Rich Coleman and Healthy Living and Sports Minister Mary Polak endorsed a slate of school board candidates in three newspaper ads along with a group called Parents for Independent Trustees. In the ads, the six candidates were described as "strong ethical leaders."

The Local Government Act requires that anyone who augments the election campaign of one or more candidates by endorsing them or by opposing the selection of other candidates must register "as soon as reasonably possible" after a candidate is declared.

The campaign or elector organization must also file financial disclosure documents.

None of those filings has been made by either minister, by the parents' group or by the Liberal party.

Penalties for contravening those sections of the act include: a fine of not more than $5,000; imprisonment for not longer than one year; a prohibition on holding an elected local government office for up to six years; and, a prohibition on voting in local elections for up to six years.

It's also possible that the trustees who benefited from the endorsement could be disqualified from holding office until after the next election.

In a written complaint filed this week, Sonya Paterson also asked RCMP to investigate rumours that some candidates had access to Liberal constituency membership lists of mailing addresses and phone numbers.

"One of the township councillor candidates (Jordan Bateman) is the president of Rich Coleman's [constituency] executive," Paterson noted in her letter to RCMP Supt. Janice Armstrong.

Bateman topped the polls in the council election, while four of the six candidates endorsed in the ads were elected as school trustees.

Interestingly, in 1996 Coleman attacked former NDP cabinet minister Penny Priddy for endorsing school board candidates. Even though Priddy's letter contained no mention of her position, Coleman said: "This puts a real partisan side on her ministry and her government. I don't think it's acceptable."

Coleman went on to say that if other candidates won, "How does she expect to work with them in the future?"

Paterson, the complainant, is a former trustee who ran unsuccessfully for council. She is also a longtime member of the Liberal party. She has financially supported both Coleman in his Langley riding and Polak in her riding of Fort Langley-Aldergrove.

In fact, it's because of her Liberal ties that Paterson is so angry about what she sees as interference in the municipal election.

"In the last polls, the NDP were ahead. So what part of this is going to play in the [Liberal] party's favour in the spring? This issue has caused so much fury out here that it's divided the community."

Paterson is the second citizen to force a police investigation since the November municipal elections under new regulations passed earlier in 2008 that pertain especially to special-interest groups and groups that act like quasi-political parties.

The first complaint was filed in West Vancouver by Michael Lewis, a successful council candidate, and his campaign manager, David Marley. Their complaint was aimed at the West Vancouver Citizens for Good Government and the Low Tax, Low Growth Association. Both of those groups also raised money, advertised and endorsed candidates without registering.

The other similarity is that initially, complainants met with some resistance from police, who had no idea that they were responsible for enforcing the election provisions of the Local Government Act.

But they seem to be, since no other agency claims responsibility for ensuring that election rules are enforced. Officials in the Community Development Ministry, which is responsible for the act, say it's not up to them. Rather, they say, it's up to citizens to complain and police to investigate those complaints.

Free and fair elections are at the very root of a democracy. It seems incredible that such a fundamental part of our democratic system would be left to individual citizens to oversee.

It most certainly is not an individual's responsibility at other levels of government, where independent agencies are set up specifically to ensure that there is no buying and selling of seats. It is the full-time job of Elections BC and Elections Canada to monitor candidates, their financial agents, political parties and special-interest groups to ensure everyone is following the rules.

It makes no sense that no similar agency protects the integrity of municipal elections. Just last week, Premier Gordon Campbell told me that it might be possible for Elections BC to take on the role of independent monitor.

But he also said he'd never heard any complaints about lack of enforcement of municipal election regulations.

Funny, that. Paterson says she and others called Campbell's Victoria and Vancouver offices a couple of times. Paterson even wrote the premier a letter.

The calls and letters apparently didn't get to the premier. But perhaps now, with police investigations underway in two B.C. municipalities, Campbell has got the message.

dbramham@vancouversun.com
© The Vancouver Sun 2008.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

PyP: Part 3 - How did EDS Get Involved with Gordon Campbell, the Liberals & BC?

We should be asking and answering that question very carefully and there are some very interesting answers.

From the Lobbyist Registry from the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner:

EDS Canada Inc. - Registered Lobbyists

Lobbyist: Dobell, Lauren; Consultant Lobbyist Start: 2002-MAY-01
Lobbyist Organization: EDS Canada Inc. End: 2004-MAR-18

** This Lauren Dobell would be none other than Ken Dobell’s niece, who reportedly worked with Michael Bailey on his various lobbying activities.

Bailey, Michael: Start: 2002-MAY-01 End: 2012-DEC-31
Smith, Christopher: Start: 2003-JUN-13 End: 2013-DEC-31

Bailey & Smith are also on long-term contracts with Maximus Ltd. . as well, regarding privatization & outsourcing contracts.

The same company, Virginia-based Maximus Ltd., has been embroiled in controversies in four other states, involving accusations of mismanagement, overspending or improperly receiving information while seeking a contract.

On Nov. 4, the provincial government signed a ten-year $324 million contract with the Canadian subsidiaries of Maximus to run the province's Medical Services Plan and PharmaCare program.

Outsourcing services to American firms has raised concerns about whether the Patriot Act opens B.C. medical records to U.S. intelligence agencies. Minister of Health Colin Hansen assured the province there is nothing to worry about.

B.C. Contractor Maximus Mishandled Public Funds in U.S. Liberals, as part of privatizing push, gave a $324 million contract to a firm with a history of controversy in five states.
Scott Deveau. December 3, 2004. Thetyee.ca

Libs Do Something Right, For Once:
Lobbyists' Shadowy World Exposed

By Bill Tieleman. Georgia Straight. April 17-24, 2003.

http://www.edsadvancedsolutions.com/about_us.htm
B.C. auditor general red flags costly privatization scheme

Victoria (29 April 2008) - In a scathing review of one of British Columbia's flagship privatization schemes, B.C.'s Auditor General has identified critical lapses by the Campbell Liberals, calling into question the financial case to justify privatization in the first place.

At the heart of Doyle's review is the 2004 deal between the Campbell government and EDS that saw the U.S. multinational take over provincial government revenue collection services. His report offers several key findings:

● The Campbell government, lacking basic baseline financial data, entered into a one-sided deal with EDS that gave the U.S. multinational the opportunity to reap windfall profits.
● The lack of basic information "can also lead to the wrong decisions being made on whether to outsource at all."
● The government low-balled the costs of negotiating privatization deals and ongoing contract management requirements, making the privatization appear more appealing.
● As a result, there is an immediate need for conflict of interest guidelines governing privatization.

EDS Associated Election Contributions to the Liberals:

EDS Canada Inc. – between May 15th 2005 and October 4th 2006 they donated $4780.

EDS Advanced Solutions Inc. - $2,990.00 on 2006/03/29.

Ross Breckon, first president of EDS Advanced Solutions – donated $1000 to the BC Liberals (2005/06/30 & 2006/11/09).

Doug Barkley was appointed President of Victoria, British Columbia-based EDS Advanced Solutions, effective October 22, 2007.

Barkley brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having led many of the largest and most complex accounts for EDS Canada, including General Motors, Canada Post, Stelco and most recently the Bank of Canada.

Check THIS out:, there is an Outsourcing page:

Outsourcing Manages Risk While Transforming Processes for Canada's Central Bank
By Beth Ellyn Rosenthal, Editor

After going through an RFP process, the Bank of Canada signed a contract with EDS Canada in 2001. "EDS presented a cost-effective model that mitigated risk for the bank," says Fleck.

[Doug] Barkley says EDS was able to cut costs by changing the bank's processes and getting the public to do things in an automated fashion. A large part of the cost was maintaining the call center. EDS installed an interactive voice response (IVR) system and installed a Web portal, which allows citizens to buy and redeem their bonds online. The site also provides detailed information about the bonds, eliminating the need to contact the call center. These initiatives have cut the number of people working on the retail debt program by half.

Centre for Outsourcing Research & Education (CORE)

Board of Directors:

Al Hurd - vice president of EDS Canada for EDS, an HP company, with more than 25 years of Canadian IT industry experience. Before assuming this role in August 2008, Hurd served as vice president of Government and Healthcare for EDS Canada. From 2004 to 2006, he was president of EDS Advanced Solutions Inc., a subsidiary of EDS Canada, where he was responsible for overseeing business and service delivery to EDS Advanced Solutions customers. Hurd joined EDS Canada in 1992 to lead the EDS Federal Government team in Ottawa. Prior to joining EDS, Hurd led the establishment of the professional services division for Westbridge Computer Corporation in Ottawa. From 1986 to 1990, he managed IT infrastructure operations for the federal Department of Public Works and Government Services. In 1980, he joined Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) in a senior IT role.

Alternative Service Delivery in the Public Sector
Conference held in Victoria, BC in March 2008.

Managing "Troubled" Outsourcing Relationships

Yah, it's kind of funny how all those employees "outsourced" out of their
jobs might be "troubled" about that. "CORE" might have wanted to include employees experiences in this project. This "research" makes the right-wing anachronism that is the Fraser Institute glow in comparison. This report is nothing less than self-serving, unscientific and embarrassing from a professional research standpoint. I can see why no-one would want to put their name and qualifications on this garbage.

Part 4 - Why We should Care about Campbell Privatizing our Privacy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Privatizing Your Privacy: EDS' Trail of Slime - Part 2

EDS in BC

EDS Canada created EDS Advanced Solutions with corporate headquarters in Victoria, BC. Here’s a bit from their company webpage:

EDS Advanced Solutions Inc. is a subsidiary of EDS Canada, was incorporated in May 2004 and is headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia. The company works closely with EDS Canada and plans to expand EDS Advanced Solutions operations across Canada.

HP-EDS has its’ corporate headquarters in Plano, Texas. In addition to its many industries and good-quality living, Plano has excellent schools that consistently score in the top few percent of the nation, and has been rated as the wealthiest city in the United States by CNN Money.

Ministry of Small Business and Revenue:

Revenue Services of British Columbia Report, 2005-2007, on the operations of EDS Advanced Solutions Inc.

New Provincial Brand for Revenue Collection (Dec 2, 2004)

The Province recently signed an agreement with EDS Advanced Solutions to improve customer service and consolidate revenue management across government, including account management, billing, payment and remittance processing, and non-tax collections for the Province.

The Billing and Receivables Branch and the Collection and Loan Management
Branch of the Ministry of Provincial Revenue formerly provided these functions.

Beginning Dec. 6, 2004, EDS Advanced Solutions is authorized to operate under the brand "Revenue Services of British Columbia" to identify itself when performing revenue services on behalf of the Province of British Columbia.

Ministry of Provincial Revenue. Now known as Ministry of Small Business and Revenue.

Revenue Management Project
2 Dec 2004

Summary Report

In 2004, the Province of British Columbia signed a 10-year Agreement with EDS Advanced Solutions Inc. to work with the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue to build and operate a Centre of Excellence for Revenue Management.

The Revenue Solutions Portfolio includes:

·Tax and non-tax debt recovery/collections
·Contract management of the private-sector service provider
·Business development, working with client ministries to transition their revenue management functions to the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue

Taxpayer Fairness and Service Code

EDS' Track Record

We need to follow the bouncing ball on this one. EDS’ track record involves much more than alleged incompetence and negligence if we examine all of the pieces of the puzzle together. Be very, very afraid and ask yourself, what’s in store for BC and all of our information?

In July 2007, EDS, the UK contract holder lost a hard drive with the personal details of over 5,000 British prison officers working in the Ministry of Justice. They only fessed up to it in September 2008.

Also in July 2007, “The loss of the data on a hard drive of 256 National Offender Management Service staff's personal details … did not come to light until July 2008, which Mr. Straw said was down to the "the inadequacy of EDS's tracking system". (BBC).

In August 2008, the British government announced that their Ministry of Justice “lost” the personal records of 45,000 citizens in the UK.

“The information included dates of birth, national insurance numbers, criminal records, and in a single incident, the loss of bank details and other information belonging to 27,000 people working for suppliers to the department.

In another case, officials lost an “inadequately protected” laptop storing the job applications of 13 people who were applying for judicial positions with the service.”

In January an "inadequately protected" laptop containing records of 14,000 fine defaulters including names, dates of birth, addresses, offences, and - in a fifth of cases - national insurance numbers, went missing from a "secured" government office.

In June 2007 records of 27,000 people working for suppliers to the Ministry of Justice, again kept on “inadequately protected” storage devices, were lost.

Two other laptops and several other storage devices were mislaid in 2007, leading to the loss of names, dates of birth and national insurance numbers of 145 court appellants, and the names of 138 criminals and the offences committed by them.” (Times Online).

On October 11th 2008, a scant three months ago, EDS “lost” a hard drive with the personnel data of over 100,000 armed-forces workers in the Ministry of Defence.

“The hard drive was being held by EDS, the Ministry of Defence's main IT contractor. It contains the names, addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth and driving licence details of those serving in the army, navy and RAF. It also includes next-of-kin details, as well as information on 600,000 potential services applicants and the names of referees. Officials said it may also include some bank account details.” (BBC)

HP-EDS is also alleged to have mishandled their contract with UK Revenue and Customs for tax credits. If this doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will.

“The personal details of virtually every child in the UK has been lost by HM Revenue and Customs, the chancellor, Alistair Darling, admitted today. The missing information includes the names, addresses and dates-of-birth of the children and the national insurance numbers, and in some cases the bank details, of parents claiming child benefits. More than 25 million individuals are affected… two discs containing details of the 7.25 million families claiming child benefit, sent to the National Audit Office, failed to reach the addressee…”

EDS ended up having to pay more than $129 million CAD (in pounds) to the British government in legal settlements.

An additional HP-EDS contract to introduce a national ID card in the UK had to be halted due to concerns about EDS cost overruns and breaches of privacy (good).

EDS has been investigated at least twice for its’ business activities by the US Security and Exchange Commission related to their US Navy contract.

“That contract has ended up costing EDS hundreds of millions of dollars. So far, the Navy deal has yet to produce revenue or
profits, according to the Financial Times. Last year the commission
launched a probe of EDS's hedging activities,
which reportedly
produced large losses and sent the company's share price tumbling in September.

This go-round, EDS management reportedly warned of sharply lower profits
and revenue due, in part, to the problems with the Navy contract.”
(CFO.com).

Frank Hayes of Computer World on the HP-EDS acquisition

"It's a terrible time for HP to buy EDS's big-custom-technology-project business. Big custom technology projects fail a lot, and EDS's record is no exception to that. At a time when packaged software and agile development are the way the corporate IT world is going, EDS's software development side is a dinosaur in a tar pit."

**********************
Before any contracts are signed here in BC we should have a really clear understanding of all of the corporate and transnational linkages that are entailed here, since HP-EDS is also linked to IBM, Microsoft and who knows who and what else through other corporate partnerships we have no idea about. We should have a full understanding of that as it may have implications for the integrity of our information and privacy as citizens of BC and Canada.

See a thorough list of all of the privacy breaches in the UK, many associated with EDS contracts, which revert to the new “global” corporate entity: HP-EDS through successorship of contracts. When BC signs on the dotted line with one corporation, if they’re bought out, the contract goes to the buying company and taxpayers have no control over what happens after that and often very little knowledge about it too.

We’ve already seen this kind of thing in BC, with the privatization and outsourcing of employment programs for income assistance recipients, to WCG International, based in Victoria (BC Liberal insider Ian Ferguson) then the sale of WCG to Providence Service Corporation of Tucson Arizona.

Previous cases of missing data
There have been a variety of cases where confidential information has been lost or stolen.

BBC News UK.

What does the HP-EDS deal really mean?
InfoWorld | News | 2008 ...

At $13 billion, Hewlett-Packard's purchase of EDS is a big deal, but its impact goes far beyond the cost as it will have serious ramifications for the IT services industry.

What EDS is telling its people about HP deal
By Paul McNamara on Tue, 05/13/2008

Check out the comments for industry grapevine about what's
happening inside EDS since the take over.


Government computer jobs are axed
BBC News, UK.

“It comes after EDS, which had contracts with departments including Work
and Pensions and Defence, was taken over by Hewlett Packard last month.

HP had warned that the takeover would mean 24,000 jobs would go
worldwide
and have confirmed 3,378 will be in the UK.”

Will It Float? SEC Probing EDS's Navy Contract
CFO.com, Jennifer Caplan. May 19, 2003.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a second investigation into business activities at EDS, the Texas-based IT-outsourcing provider. In a regulatory filing, EDS management said the SEC has requested information related to the company's technology-outsourcing contract with the U.S. Navy, a deal worth a whopping $7 billion.

That contract has ended up costing EDS hundreds of millions of dollars. So far, the Navy deal has yet to produce revenue or profits, according to the Financial Times.

EDS gets $3 billion U.S. Navy contract extension
Network World.

Private data on armed forces goes missing
Matthew Taylor. The Guardian, Saturday October 11 2008.

**************************
Next installment: Part 3 -
Why should You care about BC signing this contract?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Campbell's Plan to Privatize Your Privacy: Infrastructure Outsourcing for BC - Part 1

The word is out that in January 2009, Campbell & his Liberal puppets are set to privatize the rest of BC citizen's personal, private and confidential information by signing a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract with EDS Advanced Solutions. Hewlett Packard (HP)-Electronic Data Systems (EDS) is a global, transnational information technology corporation based in Texas.

This privatization will see the operation and maintenance of the BC government mainframe computer servers under the management of HP-EDS. Before you're tempted to give a big yawn and a "who cares" you should know that this means that any personal and private information that is held by the BC government about you and anyone else you know, all government documents, health care numbers and information, social insurance numbers, e-mails and communications with government.

Ever been on welfare in BC? Or had a child protection report made about you and your family? Been in jail? Charged with a crime? Been to Small Claims, or the Supreme Court? Ever registered a business with the province of BC? How about your Vital Statistics? Refugee and Immigration status? Do you have any government student loans? Any complaints you've made to government? Ever made any submissions to a government panel? Or had any other dealing with the BC government where information might have been collected about you, from you, or one of your loved ones?

Well, if GC and his neoConLibs get their way, all of that information will now be heading off into the hands of HP-EDS and whoever else they're connected to. There is a tangled little web of business partnerships in the IT world.

History of HP-EDS

According to industry reports, HP has been buying up all sorts of different IT sector businesses over the last few years. In October 2007, they bought Atos Origin, who was implicated in the loss of a memory stick containing passwords for a government computer system - the Gateway website, which provides access to services including tax returns and child benefits. That happened in November 2008, a small piece of a very large pattern.

HP Acquires Atos Origin Middle East Group to Broaden Systems Integration Business

From 2000 onward, EDS has held billion dollar contracts with the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) and the US Department of the Navy to set up an Intranet. There were wide reports of problems with those contracts, related to "delays and controversies over its scope... [that have] caused financial and logistics problem for EDS. In early 2004, Michael Jordan, who had become EDS chairman and chief executive officer in March 2003, said the company had gotten the project under control but acknowledged that the contract was "a mess" (due to a lack of leadership, oversight and accountability at EDS and NMCI).”

In spite of years yo-yo-ing of quarterly losses, gains and flatlining for shareholders, they continued to get big US & UK government contracts. In the 2007 fiscal year, EDS was reportedly #2 in the Information Technology services, behind IBM. EDS reported $22.7 billion in revenue for the 2007 fiscal year.

So, question, if they're so successful, why did EDS sell the corporation to HP for $25 per share, or only approximately $13.9 billion in the second half of 2008? I ain't no economist, but that sounds like a really good deal for HP and something doesn't smell right about that.

Wonder how much liquidity EDS lost in equities, investments and bad mortgages from 2007 to 2008? That's the only sensible explanation for this acquisition and merger. Considering their corporate headquarters are in El Presidente Bush's home state of Texas it's probably not a stretch to say EDS was involved in the sub-prime crisis, like many of the other "good ole Boys" who've been caught with their pants down and empty coffers.

Since EDS held the highest of security clearance and contracts to build an Intranet for the US Department of the Navy, I think we should be asking ourselves how close are they to the US Administration, both the previous one and the current one?

HP (Hewlett Packard) only just acquired EDS in May 2008, with the re-organization, inevitable slash and burn of staff taking place and some interesting industry comments about their tactics to get rid of staff. One might also note that a number of EDS staff have been sacked in the UK over the massive privacy breaches that have occurred there. Hey, why not kill two birds with one stone, very efficient.
HP-EDS haven't even gone an entire fiscal year yet as a combined transnational corporate entity, not enough time to try to straighten out some of the international messes created by EDS on other contracts (UK). So, now, they want to take on BC’s infrastructure.

HP and EDS Try a Tieup

In its largest acquisition since it bought Compaq, Hewlett-Packard has agreed to buy Electronic Data Systems for $13.9 billion
Business Week. May 13, 2008.

More tomorrow on EDS.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Disaster & Emergency Planning: What is the BC Government Doing to Prepare?

That old saying a picture is worth a thousand words is so apt.

When looking at the images of the devastation from Hurricane Ike and from the earthquake in China I think that while Campbell and his flunkies & MLA's, all with their shiny, dazzling raises have all this time on their hands (where a fall session in the BC Legislature should have been) that the people of BC have a right to have our government provide us with a written and detailed emergency plan should we experience some sort of devastating natural disaster, or, man-made event.

Our provincial Powers That Be have not seen fit to be able to remotely keep to any responsible schedule for seismic upgrading of our children's schools, in a region that falls on a major earthquake fault line and which has seen earthquake and tsumani activities in the past.

Province dragging its feet on seismic upgrades for schools, says NDP
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 3, 2008 | 7:32 PM ET
CBC News

Of the hundreds of schools targeted for upgrades, 80 were deemed high risk and declared a priority. The deadline to upgrade those schools was 2008.

"We're standing here today with less than a fifth of those schools being completed," she said. "This is a government and a premier who has not a thought about finding a 43 per cent [pay] increase for his ministers, but he can't find the money to fast-track seismic upgrading."

Seismic upgrades in the province need to be fast tracked, according to Tracy Monk with Families for School Seismic Safety, the group that lobbied the government for a comprehensive upgrading strategy.

Monk said international disasters such as the massive earthquake in China this summer should act as an impetus for faster change in B.C.

Shirley Bond responds on seismic upgrading at B.C. schools

Education Minister Shirley Bond speaking on Sep 6, 2008

... there was a magnitude 4.9 quake west of Vancouver Island at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday. It was the second tremor of that size in the past day in the area — which had been relatively quiet after a cluster of similar quakes last week.

Three years ago, our government announced a $1.5-billion, 15-year commitment to seismically upgrade British Columbia's public schools. We remain committed to that plan, easily the most comprehensive by any government in this province's history.

To date, we have finished upgrades at 25 schools. Work at 27 more is underway. Seismic upgrades have been approved at another 22 schools. We have invested nearly $400 million to date and we are making steady progress on our long-range plan to make B.C. schools safer. This is on top of the 67 new and replacement schools that we've built since 2001 that are modern, safe, seismically sound buildings.

Saturday September 13, 2008.

Vancouver Sun database shows many schools awaiting seismic repairs

Of the nearly 300 schools in B.C. considered to be at highest risk in the event of an earthquake, only 14 have had repairs completed. At 18 high-risk structures, upgrades are underway, and the rest of the 300 schools are waiting for their turns.

Database: How safe is your child's school

************************************

If the non-mainstream media is to be believed, in addition to our impending global economic nuclear meltdown (thanks to our irresponsible, reckless and greedy neighbours to the South) we here in North America are close to being subjected to some new, domestic and cataclysmic events, which we can't fully conceive of. There are lots of speculations on what they will be, but that's all they are thus far.

As we can see, the Republicans, in the decrepit and pitiable visage of John McCain, are already carrying out their machinations to prevent the American election from taking place. I've been reading the chatter about these pending events for months now, but seeing it play out now in the mainstream media brings it to the surface in a way that is difficult to ignore. Indeed, what the alternative media, who are being mercilessly being attacked and taken down by operatives, report is that there is going to be a massive domestic 9/11 type event that will enable the Bush regime (and those behind him) to suspend the American presidential election, declare martial law and ensure that the Bush regime remains in power. Sound far fetched, watch this video from a recent Daily Show with Jon Stewart and ask whether it is outside of the realm of possibilities of a government that that is trillions of dollars in debt, with no idea where all the $$$ has gone.

See Jon Stewart clips: 08/09/23 - Clip 1, Clip 2 & 3 (with Bill Clinton)

Marcy Kaptur: A truly inspiring and courageous voice in the darkness of the United States:

VIDEO: Marcy Kaptur - an Ohio congresswoman puts a beatdown on Bush Bailout

**************************
If this all seems farfetched and unrealistic, far away from the concerns and issues of us here in BC, ask yourself these question:

Do the actions of Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals come across as someone, or a party, that is concerned with getting voted in again?

Is there something that Campbell knows that we don't?

Is there some reason why we have no idea what emergency and disaster plans OUR PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT has made to decrease injuries and fatalities for our citizens in the case of emergency?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Human Rights, Justice & Dignity for BC's Children NOW!

It is time for some serious discussions to take place about the administration, competence and accountability of the leadership of the Ministry of Children & Family Development. The Representative of Children & Youth, Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond wrote a letter directly to MCFD Deputy Minister Lesley Du Toit and MHSD Deputy Minister Cairine McDonald regarding the placement of children in need of protection into unsafe homes under the Child in the Home of a Relative program (CIHR). In this letter, Ms. Turpel-Lafond clearly outlined substantial risks that were posed to the safety and wellbeing children placed by the government into family homes.

It is entirely insubordinate, questionable and inappropriate that Ms. Du Toit and Ms. McDonald have disregarded and evaded their direct responsibility in answering the questions of the independent Representative of Children and Youth. It is, however, not surprising in light of Ms. Du Toit's lengthy history of passing the buck, or simply ignoring the voices and questions of stakeholders throughout the child welfare system.

Ms. Du Toit, vastly in over her head and never having worked a day in her life in BC’s child welfare system, was handpicked and grossly overpaid (in both salary and perks) by Gordon Campbell to completely dismantle the child welfare system in BC. That is what she is getting paid to do whether that is a good idea, or not, whether children and others are harmed or not. From the time of her open tenure in this role, she has made it clear she has no commitment to the province and will simply collect her salary and leave for her home country at the end of her contract. Unlike all of us, she will not be faced with the aftermath that will occur for generations.

Community Living BC is a real world example of the damage of devolution and the malevolent intentions and forces behind it, remember, Doug Walls is Gordon Campbell's relative by marriage. It was doomed to failure from the outset, with many government reports, stakeholders and consultants saying so. Now, only a few short years later, MCFD is now in the process of resuming full responsibility for Community Living Children’s Services. Ask yourselves as taxpayers and shareholders in the BC government, WHERE IS THE MONEY FROM CLBC? Why must the BC government spend more unknown dollars to repair and re-organize a failed re-organization? Does that not speak to a complete and chronic lack of effective leadership under which the children, youth and families of BC have suffered enough? Stakeholders around the province have been giving the BC government advice for years on this whole thing, which has been met with silence, arrogance and disregard.

Full Financial and Organizational Audit of MCFD, CLBC & Aboriginal Agencies

We believe that the Office of the Auditor General of BC should conduct a complete audit, including a comprehensive financial audit of the funds the BC government has expended toward the devolution of services to Community Living BC and now the re-uptake of the Children’s Services division.

We also believe that it is in the public interest to perform a complete audit on the funds the BC government has expended toward devolution of child welfare services to Aboriginal agencies, as well as a review and audit of the progress to date of the devolution of Aboriginal child welfare.

Finally, we would call on the Auditor General of BC and the Representative of Children and Youth to conduct a joint audit of the complete funds and work expended by the BC government and the Ministry of Children & Family Development on Accreditation initiatives over the last seven years.

**********************************************

It is offensive and insulting to the people of BC, that Ms. Du Toit continues to hide in her ivory tower, rewarding special contracts to friends to create “feel good” reports that ignore the harm occurring in BC, and sticking her head in the sand about the devastation and destruction of some of our most vulnerable and needy children in BC.

In light of the fact that both of these senior bureaucrats will likely be receiving compensation increases under Gordon Campbell’s ill-conceived beefing up of the salaries of Deputy Minister’s, ADM’s etc. citizens and voters in BC have a right to receive a substantive report on what actual work Ms. Du Toit and Ms. McDonald have completed and produced over the course of their work in their positions within the BC government, along with their job descriptions.

Page 3 of the 2007/08 Measures on Executive Compensation are quite clear what standards and expectations are in place for the current fiscal year. A quick review is quite clear that MCFD’s leadership can’t even come close to meeting those expectations. And thus far, a total record of the compensation we are paying Ms. Du Toit or Ms. McDonald and their minions has been difficult to find.

Passing the buck onto frontline child protection workers for decisions to place children is a tired and false straw man. All decisions about placement of children are carried out by social workers, with their supervisors and managers. Under this current government, they would rather place children in risky homes than spend the money to put children in care, or put them in Kith & Kin, or Out of Care homes and offer adequate income and support services to relatives who need more help than the measly pittance they are provided on CIHR. I’d like to see most of us take on abused and neglected kids, even if we love them, for the bargain basement prices the BC government offers to keep kids out of more expensive foster care. Many of the families taking children in live in poverty and substandard conditions themselves. I’m quite sure the Representative will find the incomes of most of the families will be low and even under the poverty line.

Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance BC Employment and Assistance Rate Tables

Child in Home of Relative
Age Group Maximum Rate
Birth to 5 years $257.46
6 to 9 years $271.59
10 to 11 years $314.31
12 to 13 years $357.82
14 to 17 years $402.70
18 years $454.32

**************************

Has Ms. Du Toit ever looked at the autopsy photographs of all of the children and youth in BC who have died since her watch began? How about Minister Christensen, or the big guy himself, Gordon Campbell? These circumstances are where the buck stops. Children and youth hurt and die when the child welfare system fails to operate with competence, ethics and integrity. It is not rhetoric to say that a fair and just society must position the safety of children over money.

While we’re on the topic of child deaths, why is it that the BC Coroners Service has been incapable of providing statistical reports of child and youth deaths and causes from 2004 to 2008? Since an entire Child Death Review unit exists, wouldn’t it be of the highest priority for this unit to provide information that is in the public interest? While we’re reviewing the work and results of the DM’s of MCFD, it seems like a logical thing to review the work produced by the senior managers of the BC Coroners Office and Child Death Review Unit as well, because in looking at the information they have made available to the public, nothing much has been done by this office since 2004. That might not be such a coincidence though, since the director of the Child Death Review Unit used to be the Northern region’s Director of Child Protection in MCFD.

At no point in the last seven years has MCFD been in worse shape, both organizationally and in carrying out its mandate, to protect and serve children, youth and families. BC's child welfare system has become a national embarassment and disgrace. This is directly related to the leadership and governance of MCFD at all levels, far beyond the responsibilities of the many frontline workers who are leaving in droves, unhealthy, unable to work, or function and discarded like garbage.

For a government that fancies itself as using a business model to organize itself, I suggest it is time to begin utilizing a private sector perspective on the work and conduct of senior managers and bureaucrats in the BC government. In the private sector, if you have chronic staff morale and illness and are losing staff at an unprecedented level, if you, as a leader, are incapable of responsible, ethical and effective fiscal management and you cannot produce any concrete results from your work, you are FIRED. Period.

As citizens and taxpayers in BC, we are all shareholders in the corporatized neo-conservative environment that is the BC government under the Campbell reign of terror, corruption and incompetence. We will replace this government in May 2009, however unless a major housecleaning of the senior bureaucracy and management also happens, little change or improvement will occur.

If the public were able to see the lack of education, training and experience of many middle and senior managers and bureaucrats under the BC Liberals, they would understand why the incompetence has become so entrenched, structural and institutionalized and why so many citizens continue to suffer as a result of the worst sitting government in BC’s history. When the BC Liberals are out for good, the true extent of the damage they have caused will be known to all, and the hole at the bottom of the empty cookie jar will be exposed once and for all. The legacy will last for at least a generation and beyond if we do not correct ourselves immediately.

We are calling on the leadership of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the BC Public Service Agency, the BC government and Treasury Board to dramatically increase core and infrastructure funding to MCFD, Community Living BC and all Aboriginal child welfare agencies so that all children, youth and vulnerable persons in need of protection can be served in the public good.

Consider this our submission to the 2009 BC Budget consultation.


BC Liberals Suck

**
Circles of Care: Community Child Protection
A Participatory Research Model Strengthening Restorative Local Governance in Support of South African Children’s Rights
(Cook, P. & Du Toit, L. 2004, 59pp) IICRD & CYCAD's Final Project Report prepared for The CIDA Child Protection Research Fund (CPRF)
· Click here to download the "Circles of Care"
Final Research Report
· "Circles Of Care" Mid Term Research Report

July 2008 - Media Release Re: Executive Compensation
July 21, 2008

BC government rewards public service executives’ ‘performance’ – while children and families languish on waitlists

A Discussion Paper on Community Living: Exploring Solutions.
BC Government & Service Employees Union (BCGEU).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Laugh of the Day: Tina Fey Parodies Sarah Palin on SNL Premiere

Tina Fey & Amy Poehler parody Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the opening skit of Saturday Night Live.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Federal Election Blogging

I'm busy over here during the election, come check this out forward to interested parties:

Vancouver-Kingsway 2008 Election blog

Please get involved in the federal election in your ridings.

Canadians go to the polls on October 14th 2008 and our choice for our next federal government will be crucial on many levels, but most importantly, the survival of Canada as a sovereign nation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Old Guard is Falling

It's not exactly surprising news that Campbell has called off a fall sitting of the Legislature. However it is yet another example of what a failure Gordon Campbell is as a leader, as a human being and how he continues to abuse democracy and the public's right to answers and accountability for decisions made by him and his party.

I think the BC public has a right to question Campbell about why he has chosen to fund $4 million to give pay raises to people who primarily didn't deserve the ones they received two years ago. This wasn't a misunderstanding, or a "miscommunication" or whatever tripe and false excuses Campbell wants to make. As CEO of BC, he is a dismal failure, a disgrace and his failings are a betrayal of the public and the citizens of this province.

I met some of the victims of Gordon Campbell last night at a forum on homelessness and housing. One was a woman who clearly had mental health and possibly addiction issues. She made some very good points about what it is like for her to be homeless, how she isn't even "lucky" enough to get housing in one of the Single Room Occupancy hotels (SRO's). She also mentioned that over a hundred people have gone missing from the Downtown Eastside after Pickton went to jail. As Pickton's trial and known victims demonstrated, most of the missing are Aboriginal women.

The other person I met was a 21 year old man named Chris (pseudonym used). He looked much younger than his age, but I'm sure he will surpass that soon. He told me he had been in foster care as a minor. He has Asperger's Syndrome (higher functioning Autism). He also clearly had other mental health issues.

Can you imagine my horror, my embarrassment and shame that he, this child-man, apologized for having a hard time staying connected with our conversation. You see, he has been homeless for four months now and yesterday he wasn't able to find any food anywhere, so he explained his ability to communicate and maintain focus in conversations decreased. He described being abused by foster parents and refused placement by MCFD when he was 18 years old, still a minor. He was articulate, bright and could have a future. If his government cared about him.

Chris is just one of thousands of children and youth who Gordon Campbell has failed. Who he and his government have victimized and abused. When Community Living BC refuses to provide services and the BC Liberal government doesn't fund them in the first place, this is where the Chris' of the world end up. And as he told me, people get raped on the street, they lose their belongings, they go from place to place, trying to find food and violence is a daily event. As he told me, on his way to the event he was punched in the stomache by a total stranger for no apparent reason.

The victims of homelessness aren't theoretical to me, they never have been. I've met too many of them and seen some people become homeless, heard the stories of how people went downhill faster than you can blink. The middle and upper classes and the educated wrap themselves in bubble wrap and think that protects them. I don't care who you are, who you think you are, or what walk of life you come from. Each and every one of us is one serious illness, one addiction (cocaine, gambling, shopping), one missed paycheque away from losing our housing, becoming homeless and on the street. I know this now personally. We are also all one step away from seeing one of our children, or siblings, or parents, or people we know find themselves in these circumstances.

I feel so ashamed at times like these to be a citizen of the "new" BC and Canada. We are surrounded by wealth, greed and gluttony, created at the expense of our weakest and most vulnerable citizens. Our middle class is not moving up, it is dropping down. Many of us will not weather the stock market storm that is about to hit like a tsunami, taking away what we thought would cushion us and what separated "us" from "them," the poor, the homeless, the disabled, the seniors who weren't lucky enough to get pensions, or not enough to live on.

Vancouver City councillor Tim Stevenson told an interesting story about a delegation of Chinese offocials who came to Vancouver and met with him at city hall. The spokesperson reported that the delegation was surprised to see so many homeless people on the streets and asked how many there were in Vancouver. Stevenson told him that a conservative estimate was about 3000 people in the city of Vancouver. This spokesperson, a wise fellow, expressed surprise and said that your city has only 3000 homeless people and your government can't do anything about that. Isn't the irony simply astonishing? China, not exactly a human rights world leader, nailed the failure of the government to do something about the most basic of human rights of it's citizens.

As Canadians, the neo-conservative ideology, public policy and agenda of the Harpers and Campbell's of the world has led us to a very dark place in our history. One in which when we look back will be something we will feel deeply ashamed of. It was the time when our government failed all of us, when it ripped gaping holes in the social safety net. When it jackhammered so there weren't just cracks, but crevasses that our citizens have been swallowed up in. We have lost the compassionate, caring values I remember being raised with. And I am damn sick of it. As are many.

There is change in the air, one need only look at Elizabeth May and the anger and outrage unleashed about her exclusion from the leaders debate in the federal election.
Harper and Layton realized the "error of their ways" and have changed their positions. Game on, May is going to wipe the floor with all of them. This was a colossal and costly mistake on the Conservative and NDP parts. There hasn't been a single time in memory that a federal election has sparked this much publicity and attention and engaged so many young and diverse citizens. I have no doubt, the publicity this has gotten the Green Party has brought in new supporters, members and donations. And, Dion, not to be outdone, very simply and succinctly calls it the way it is:

Speaking Wednesday, Dion reiterated his support for May to be allowed to participate and accused the two party leaders of "hiding themselves behind the consortium."

"She should be there, period," Dion said during a campaign appearance in Mississauga, Ont. "Not only are they not inclusive, but they don't have the courage to explain their positions."


******

Liberals cancel fall session of B.C. legislature
Jonathan Fowlie, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The B.C. Liberals have cancelled the fall sitting of the legislature, the government announced Wednesday.

The session had been scheduled to run from October 6 to November 27.

The Liberals held a session last fall, ratifying two treaties and enshrining into law specific targets for the reduction of greenhouse gasses in B.C.

The New Democratic Party has called on the government recently to hold a fall sitting to explain its decision to raise the maximum allowable salaries for public service executives.

The NDP has also called for a fall session to introduce new and tougher legal protections for farm workers.

Liberal house leader Mike de Jong has not yet been reached for comment.

NDP leader Carole James has announced a news conference at 12:30 today to respond.

jfowlie@vancouversun.com

********
Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls Premier Gordon Campbell a liar over BC carbon tax
It's not every day that the prime minister of Canada calls the premier of British Columbia a bare-faced liar.

***************
End Homelessness, BC Needs Affordable Housing Now Petition

Finding Our Way Home: A Consultation on the Homelessness Crisis in BC

Homeless in Suburbia
Many fleeing Downtown Eastside. Why shelters outside of Vancouver are filling up.
By Monte Paulsen, Published: October 22, 2007. TheTyee.ca

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

BC Hydro Gouges Us Even More

The BC Liberal appointed B.C. Utilities Commission gave permission for BC Hydro to implement a two-tier method of charging customers for use of electricity. We’re all going to get slammed with this in less than a month, right when our electrical use starts to increase.

BC Utilities Commission

On top of this, we’re heading into what seems sure to be a cold one with increased gas costs from Terasen Gas. And, as many are finding out, the BC Liberals carbon tax is put on every gigajoule of gas used.

“In essence, all Hydro customers get a base amount of electricity at a lower, fixed rate of about 6.15 cents per kilowatt hour. But they will pay about 15 per cent more per kilowatt hour for power consumption above the base amount.

People who use electricity for hot water and home heating are expected to see a significant jump in their monthly bills as a result of the new rate scheme.”

This change is attack on all of us, but specifically those citizens who rent their homes, or those who are poor are being penalized because these individuals and families don’t exactly have a choice in whether their hot water, or heating is powered by electricity, or any other way.

Are you getting the feeling that we don’t matter much to “the Powers that Be?” And we’re just sitting ducks for their greed? Can’t get blood from a stone and there’s lots of citizens feeling the pinch these days and we can’t take much more. Tell me why a Crown agency, BC Hydro, that made of $369 million in income for the 2007/08 fiscal year needs to start snatching more of our hard earned money?

More highlights of the 2008 Financial Report:

- Total domestic revenues were $2,944 million, $158 million higher than the previous year, primarily due to strong demand in the residential and commercial sectors.”

- Energy saved through Power Smart programs surpassed expectations and continued to deliver cost-effective energy over the last fiscal year, producing cumulative energy savings of 2,844 GWh, an increase of 326 GWh over Fiscal 2007. This increased saving is equivalent to powering 32,600 homes for a year.

Oh yah, executive compensation and bonuses for their Majesties, the BC Hydro Executive, who earned a combined $2,072,705 in the 2007/08 fiscal year, including very “healthy” incentive compensation.

BC Hydro and Power Authority (April 1, 2007 – March 31, 2008)

http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/psec/documents/execcompdisclosure/BC_Hydro_and_Power_Authority.pdf

Oil and Gas Commission

The Oil & Gas Commission Executive has done well for themselves too

Hydro gets OK for two-tier power rates
Those who use more electricity face higher prices
Scott Simpson, Canwest News Service
Published: Tuesday, September 02, 2008

BC HYDRO RELEASES FISCAL 2008 ANNUAL REPORT
July 17, 2008

VANCOUVER – BC Hydro today announced its financial results for Fiscal 2008, including a consolidated net income of $369 million for the year ended March 31, 2008.

2008 Annual Report: Reporting on Triple Bottom Line Performance

BC Citizens for Public Power

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Another little tidbit:

B.C. appoints special prosecutor to handle assault charge against minister's brother

Lindsay Kines, Times Colonist
Published: Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The province's Criminal Justice Branch has appointed a special prosecutor to handle the assault case against a Victoria police sergeant after learning that he is the brother of B.C. cabinet minister Ida Chong.

The branch of the Attorney General's Ministry stated in a news release Tuesday that it was unaware of the relationship when it approved one count of assault against Sgt. George Chong on Aug. 25. The charge relates to an off-duty incident in Victoria on June 22.

Monday, September 01, 2008

More BC Liberal Friends & Insiders: Tired of this Yet?

Tom Sandborn offered up a good story on the BC Liberals yanking job placement contracts for income assistance clients from WCG.

More of the Same, Insert Different Name

This is all just about more BC Liberal friend and insider deals. The patronage and shell games are just so tired, sordid and ugly.

Robin Adair, former CHEK TV government affairs reporter was a busy little Liberal campaigner. In 2001 he campaigned for Shirley Orr, and paid lobbyist for WCG International Ltd. on privatizing and outsourcing income assistance programs. And lucky Adair, became WCG's vice-president of communications and government relations after they landed the multi-million dollar contract from the BC Liberals.

Robin Adair & Ian Ferguson, CEO of WCG knew each other through the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and I’m sure through other Liberal connections.

Marisa Adair, Robin’s wife, also just happens to be Campbell’s Executive Director of Communications Services for the Resource Sector. According to Public Accounts for 2007/08 Ms. Adair was paid $106,553 for her communications expertise.

Elections BC reports that from 2005 to 2007 Ian Ferguson & WCG have contributed $20,620 to the BC Liberal party. According to the NDP, since 2001 WCG has donated has donated $95,000 to the BC Liberals. I guess it was well worth it for the millions they’ve collected from the BC government for the pathetic Jobwave programs.

Robin Adair only contributed a modest $400 to the BC Liberals in 2007, but that investment has paid great dividends for him and the little missus.

Ah, it pays to have friends in high places though don’t it? If only we were all so lucky.

**
From the BC Lobbyist Registry:

Lobbyist: Adair,Robin In-House
Lobbyist Organization: WCG International Consultants Ltd

Topic: Social Assistance
Subject Matter: Represent JobWave Program for WCG

Terminated, no start or end date to lobbying activity.

Here’s a nifty little document I found poking around, it gives the salaries of Ministers, DM’s, Order in Council and “other” Liberal appointees for the 2007/08 fiscal year:

Public Accounts 2007/08: Consolidated Revenue Fund
– Detailed Schedule of Payments

Marisa Adair

ORDER IN COUNCIL 226
Statutory Authority: Public Service, s. 15
The Schedule to the General Appointment Order, 2006, OIC 656/2006, is amended by adding:

Marisa Adair, Executive Director, Communications - Resource Sector;

In the 2007/08 fiscal year, the BC government spent $30.9 million with WCG for Jobwave programs. He’s also been appointed again to the Board at Camosun College on July 31st 2008 so I guess he’s landing on his feet fine. Looks like WCG is quite the family business, quite a few Ferguson’s on the team. I guess they’ve made out like bandits on the BC Liberal gravy train. Too bad it’s at the expense of the citizens of BC. Employment programs were handled by BC government employees before Campbell and his underlings privatized it to WCG, costing taxpayers much more than what it cost originally and a whole lot of jobs for decent civil servants.

Other Adair Consulting gigs:

The provincial government has awarded Shaw Communications Inc. a $77,000 contract to produce and air two televised town hall meetings on the impact of offshore oil and gas development.....

"Former CHEK TV legislative reporter Robin Adair, a government relations consultant with WCG International Consultants Ltd. and Victoria Chamber of Commerce vice-president, was subcontracted by Shaw to find and schedule panelists for the show...."

So, if Mr. Adair is already a government public relations consultant and he is being subcontracted by Shaw to stack the panel for the government while being paid with govt' money awarded to Shaw, is this an example of P3 cubed?

****

Liberals to JobWave: You're Fired
$8 million job training contract cancelled; work goes to B.C. competitor.
By Andrew MacLeod. Published: August 29, 2008. TheTyee.ca
http://thetyee.ca/News/2008/08/29/JobWave/

Brar Targets Job Program Sale
NDP critic raises concerns about timing, client privacy.

**********
Here’s an interesting little tidbit for those following the mysterious circumstances surrounding Victoria Police Department Chief Paul Battershill’s resignation connecting more dots.

From an old Public Eye Online report:

Planting rumours
Following Geoff Plant's announcement he wouldn't be running for re-election, there was much discussion as to what the attorney general would be doing in the future. Would Mr. Plant become a member of the academy, like New Democrat Andrew Petter? Or would he be joining the judiciary, others asked? Well, the answer is none of the above. It appears Mr. Plant has become a partner with Heenan Blaikie LLP. Heenan Blaikie, which once employed former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, is currently best known as the retirement home for fellow first among equals Jean Chretien.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Bigger they are, the Harder they Fall

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won out. There have been tyrants and murderers and they always seem invincible but they always fall, always.

- Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Start your Engines Ladies & Gentlemen, Ready, Set, Revolution

Upping the Ante While Rome Burns

Some edited comments from Bill Tieleman's Article:

Outrageous pay raises to senior BC Liberal government bureaucrats redefines Gordon Campbell arrogance
Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

Tuesday August 12, 2008

***
Listen up: I am issuing a personal challenge to all media artists, activists, writers, bloggers and journalists out there to break out and start using their mad skillz, gifts and talents to help expose the mofos to our citizens and help win BC back for all of us. It is OUR province and we want it back. We can do this, it is within our reach and we have the ability to do this together.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Where Were You When Evil Came to BC And What did You Do to Help Stop It?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the BC Liberals latest actions as our government and I’m really at a loss to understand when “our” government became evil. They aren’t just ideologically driven, greedy and corrupt, they have now shown us in so many ways their real face, the mask has shifted and the Evil that is within is showing loud and clear. Like many people I keep thinking, well, they must have sunk us to our nadir, we have no further to go. They can’t possibly become more depraved, more lacking in conscience, or any kind of common sense, or humanity. But then they do and more people hurt and are destroyed by a government that is soulless and truly evil.

So what brought this darkness on? This “negative” vibe? Well, it’s their actions over the last while really. While we’ve all been trying to kick back and relax and enjoy a summer, of a year that is sure to be one of the hardest many of us will know, Gordon Campbell and his henchmen have been scurrying around, figuring out new ways to crush us and take even more money for their insiders and twisted allies.

On July 18th 2008, the BC Liberal government decided to create even more barriers for developmentally disabled adults and their families (if they are fortunate enough to have any family) in receiving support and intervention services from Community Living BC. With a secretive Order in Council the BC government, specifically MLA’s Rich Coleman (MSHD), Tom Christensen (MCFD) and Murray Coell (MAE&LMD) brought in an amendment to the Community Living Authority Act, which says the following:

"For the purposes of the definition of "developmental disability" in section 1 of the Act, intellectual functioning that, when tested according to one or more standardized intelligence tests by a qualifying practitioner, attains a score of 70 or less is a prescribed criterion."

What this does is creates even more doors to those who require these services to survive. These people are real. It’s the young man who “graduates” to adulthood from 20 homes in foster care, no education, abused in every way possible and diagnosed, or undiagnosed fetal alcohol syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, PTSD, who scored 72 on his IQ test because he was in a good foster home the night before he took his test. Oh, and he doesn’t know his family and isn’t connected with his Indian band either. Where do you think he ends up? This is the girl who is diagnosed with mild mental retardation. She’s been sexually abused, raped and developed problems with alcohol and crack. She’s got depression, anxiety, had electric shock therapy and doesn’t know how to take care of herself. And she’s on her second child. Her family can’t take any more so she is on her own too.

Make no mistake, our criminal negligence and societal failure toward these individuals is All of our problem. And it should be our concern for these people and for us. But instead of creating more solutions, our “esteemed” leaders have again, very secretively and quietly set out to enrich their handpicked Deputy Ministers, Assistant DM’s and senior bureaucrats again by offering gigantic pay raises like nothing any of us will ever see in our lifetimes.

Obscene is the word being bandied about by other journalists and it really is an apt word if one examines the definition:

1. offensive to morality or decency; indecent; depraved: obscene language.
2. causing uncontrolled sexual desire.
3. abominable; disgusting; repulsive.

· Offensive to accepted standards of decency or modesty.
· Inciting lustful feelings; lewd.
· Repulsive; disgusting
· So large in amount as to be objectionable or outrageous:

On August 1st 2008, the BC Liberals set out a “Revision to the Public Service Executive Pay Framework” that told the public:

Effective Aug. 1, 2008, the maximum payable salary to deputy ministers increased from $221,760 to $299,215 and from $243,936 to $348,600 for the deputy minister to the Premier. The maximum achievable salary for assistant deputy ministers increased from $160,000 to $195,000. The salary holdback component, which is based on specific performance measures linked to leadership on building the corporate human resources of the Province, will increase from five per cent of salary to 10 per cent of salary for both deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers.

This little tidbit was released in the usual “dead zone” of late Friday afternoon on August 7th!!! I think the Legislature would have been rockin’ in an entirely different way if taxpayers knew that when BC’s 150th Birthday was being celebrated with such zeal in Victoria on BC Day.

As Sean Holman reminded us, in his story, Meanwhile, down at the Trough, it was only in June 2006 that the BC government reviewed and “increased the maximum payable salary for deputy ministers "from $203,500 to $221,760 and from $223,850 to $243,936 for the deputy minister to the Premier." And they said it would be another four years, what’s the rush now.

As citizens of BC we have a right to know what these folks have done to sing for their supper already, let alone this disgusting act of treason to the rest of the citizens in BC, especially those being failed in the most heinous and negligent way by these same Ministries these folks head. Pick a ministry, or a portfolio, there is a wake of disaster, failure and the pall of death and dying throughout the province, sectors and industries due to the neo-liberal policies of the BC Liberals and I think the public is about done.

And really, if we look at the Executive Compensation by the BC Public Service, especially the Measures, there isn’t a reason in the world for any of these folks to get a dime more out of us. Since there are somewhere between 20- 33 Deputy Ministers, and scads of ADM’s, perhaps as many as 80 (there are variations in numbers of both) scattered throughout our government, why don’t we have full disclosure of their complete compensation packages? The Summary Compensation Table is missing quite a few names there and we deserve to know what they’re making now and what they’ve done to deserve it.

I guess I’ve been trying to figure out my outrage, why the stink of betrayal wafts so deeply from Victoria and my complete and utter contempt for those who suck us all dry. What I’ve come up with is the horror of seeing the dream, hope and fortune of living in BC (and Canada) turning into an epic nightmare. For generations, my family has been born, lived, worked, and contributed to making our province and nation one of the best places on earth. Not in the BS self-serving re-branding that is the Liberals way. In the real way, in the way that we could all be proud to be from and live in BC and share in it’s bounty and move forward into the future together. Now I’m not so na├»ve as to think everyone has always had it good and the BC Liberals started poverty, etc. However, they have sunk to depths I did not know possible for a sitting government. Not dissimilar to the Bush-Cheney American government. I somehow think that is not a coincidence. Geopolitics are at the heart of what’s happening in BC and Canada. But, this BC government elite chooses the ways to rape, pillage and how to divvy up the spoils amongst themselves and I guess they’re going for the gusto to reward their faithful flunkies while they have the chance.

I say since Gordon Campbell will be reviewing Jessica McDonald’s work performance to assign her new wage, which could give her a raise of $100,000. And Ms. McDonald in turn will be reviewing deputy ministers, hordes of ADM’s and others in the provincial government to determine whether they warrant a pay raise of $77,000, we the public should get a chance to weigh in on that. I think we know better than anyone how these “top decision-makers and leaders” have been doing. We can see it on our streets, in our courts, our child protection and community living systems, in the homeless shelters, the mothballed pulp mills, hospitals, facilities, forests and dying towns. Let’s see the proof and work product and we’ll make the decision, deal, or no deal. It’s our money anyways.

While I drift to sleep tonight, I will be praying for all those boys and girls, women and men who are out there, alone and with nothing and no-one to care about them, their safety and wellbeing. I will also reflect on the evil that has caused their pain and marginalization. Because once we have seen evil, stared it in the face and seen it for what it is, there is no going back. The only thing we can do when we’ve met evil is to get rid of it. Nothing else will work. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a province where we lead the country in child poverty for five years in a row, where more and more people become homeless, and our government moves to restrict support to mentally handicapped people, among the many other ways they are failing all of us. I can think of a dozen better ways to spend $4 million of our hard-earned dollars than upping the salaries of folks who have no defined job description, no known work product, no proven results, unless you count all of the ways that the BC Liberal government has made sure our province is no longer a place for anyone but the elite to succeed, or prosper.

The Definition of Evil

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
e·vil Audio Help - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ee-vuh l] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective
1. morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life.
2. harmful; injurious: evil laws.
3. characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous: to be fallen on evil days.
4. due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character: an evil reputation.
5. marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.: He is known for his evil disposition.
–noun
6. that which is evil; evil quality, intention, or conduct: to choose the lesser of two evils.
7. the force in nature that governs and gives rise to wickedness and sin.
8. the wicked or immoral part of someone or something: The evil in his nature has destroyed the good.
9. harm; mischief; misfortune: to wish one evil.
10. anything causing injury or harm: Tobacco is considered by some to be an evil.
11. a harmful aspect, effect, or consequence: the evils of alcohol.
12. a disease, as king's evil.
–adverb
13. in an evil manner; badly; ill: It went evil with him.
—Idiom
14. the evil one, the devil; Satan.

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Big pay hikes for B.C.'s top bureaucrats Friday, August 08
Lindsay Kines, Victoria Times Colonist. Published: Friday, August 08, 2008.

Leyne column: Plenty of cash for the top bureaucrats
Les Leyne, Victoria Times Colonist. Published: Friday, August 08, 2008

B.C. bureaucrats get huge pay raise

Consequences from Campbell's Obscene Pay Hikes
David Schreck. Strategic Thoughts. August 9, 2008.