BC Liberals need to deliver a consistent message on drug sites

BC Liberal leader Kevin Falcon clarified comments made by a member of his caucus when she said that safe injection sites were a bad idea.

Teresa Wat, BC Liberal MLA for Richmond, said in a local TV interview in Mandarin: “We are very against it, the so-called safe injection sites. All drugs are harmful to health.”

image: The Lancet

Wat later apologized for her comments, saying she misrepresented the provincial Liberals’ new recovery-focused plan to stop the toxic drug crisis, which is killing about six people a day in British Columbia.

Kevin Falcon made it clear that his party supports safe injection sites.

Wat’s comments point to a problem that the BC Liberal party faces -it’s not really a liberal party. With that in mind they plan to re-label the party as “BC United.”

Having a shared name as the Liberal Party of Canada has caused confusion, especially during election years.

The BC Liberal party is a hybrid; it’s not exactly Conservative either.

When he was provincial health minister in 2010, Falcon criticized the federal Conservative government of Stephen Harper for its “ideological” fight to shut down Vancouver’s first supervised injection site, InSite.

At times, the BC Liberal party is liberal.

In 2008, the BC Liberals introduced the country’s first carbon tax. It was praised internationally as proof that a carbon tax could both reduce consumption of fossil fuels and be revenue neutral.

The hybrid BC Liberals balanced that progressive carbon tax by a regressive tax cut taxes.

Teresa Wat’s represents an ultra-conservative view held by many BC Liberals. That view is also expressed by federal Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre.

Commenting in B.C.’s decriminalization of drugs, Poilievre says: “The results are in. The debate is over. It has been a disaster, an absolute, abject failure.”

Poilievre doesn’t seem to care that that he is alienating potential voters when he uses Vancouver’s most vulnerable as a backdrop to his political diatribe.

“You now only need to take a walk down the streets of East Vancouver where addicts lay face first on the pavement, where people are living permanently in tents and encampments. It is hell on Earth,” says Poilievre.

Poilievre doesn’t even care that maligns the citizens of East Vancouver. What’s he’s talking about is Downtown Eastside.

As a lobbyist for the legalization of cannabis five decades ago, I’m familiar with the conflation of legality and permissiveness that Wat expresses. The mistaken notion is that legalization of drugs equals the endorsement of drugs; that making drugs legal grants permission to use them.

The fear of legalization and decriminalization of drugs is a debunked conservative thought. Wat expresses that misguided fear when she says: “All drugs are harmful to health.”

Of course toxic drugs are harmful to health. You only need criminalization to see just how harmful they are.

In response to Poilievre’s “hell on Earth” comment, Vancouver mayor Ken Sim said: “These comments are neither appropriate nor constructive. We do not support anyone using our most vulnerable residents to advance a political agenda.”

Poilievre seems to be willing to alienate thoughtful voters in B.C. Kevin Falcon can’t afford to let the conservative element of his party do the same.


Smith’s win will make it harder for Alberta to recruit workers

“Alberta is Calling,” is the province’s marketing campaign. It hypes lower taxes, housing affordability, shorter commutes and proximity to the Rocky Mountains.

Image: The Narwhal

Unfortunately, young professions from other parts of Canada are getting mixed messages from Alberta. It’s a great place. I lived there for 40 years before moving to Kamloops. But the politics lean a bit too far to the right for my tastes and with Danielle Smith’s win of the UCP party, they tilt looney libertarian.

On one hand, young professionals from downtown Toronto and Vancouver get the message that Alberta has high-paying jobs and a considerable dose of “honest, it’s nicer here than you think.”

On the other hand, the province is often seen as a backward bastion of conservative values; an unrepentant champion of an environmentally unfriendly oil industry; and ill-suited, if not outright hostile, to the progressiveness and multiculturalism by which many people from downtown Toronto and Vancouver define themselves.

Now Alberta will be seen as backing freedom convoys.

Toronto’s busiest downtown subway station has been recently plastered with bright baby-blue posters on walls, pillars and even staircases, making sure that commuters get the message in the midst of their daily trudge. “It’s mountain time somewhere,” reads one of the posters.

In Vancouver one of the displays reads: “What did the Albertan say to the Vancouverite? You’re hired.”

It’s all very clever but enthusiasm for Alberta will be dampened by Danielle Smith’s message. The cornerstone of Smith’s leadership campaign was the proposed sovereignty act which purports to give Alberta the power to ignore federal laws that the province believes intrude on its jurisdictional territory. She intends to introduce the legislation this fall.

Smith’s cranky insular tone is hardly inviting. How comfortable would young professionals be knowing that if they came to Alberta they would be walled off from friends and family back home?

Even members of Smith’s own UPC party argue that the sovereignty act would destroy Alberta’s economy by injecting instability. Constitutional experts largely pan the idea as illegal.

Smith wants to tie her leadership to federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s talking points that appeal to a populist libertarian base.

Parts of Smith’s platform are straight out of Poilievre’s videos –that inflation is primarily caused by the fiscally destructive policies of what she called the federal NDP-Liberal coalition.

Many of voters in the cities targeted by Alberta’s marketing vote either for the NDP or Liberals.

Smith will link herself to the federal Conservative’s demand that the Liberals freeze further increases to the carbon price.

She has embraced unproven “therapeutics” to treat COVID-19. Smith campaigned on no more COVID lockdowns, restructuring the province’s centralized health care authority and bringing a bigger fight to Ottawa over provincial rights.

Do workers who come from other parts of Canada want a fight with the provinces they left?

After winning the leadership of the UCP, Smith has said she will double down on her promises, ensuring an even more intolerant mood than her predecessor Jason Kenny.

In her victory speech she crowed “I’m back.”

I can imagine workers considering Alberta replying “No thanks.”

Bitcoin fervour turns evangelical

Despite heavy losses by investors who see their money evaporate overnight in what has been called a Ponzi scheme, the faithful never give up hope that cryptocurrencies will save us from the evil clutches of central banks.

image: NewsBTC

Devotion to cryptocurrencies has taken on the form of a new religion. One of the apostles is Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre.

He said that a government led by him would do more to normalize cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to “decentralize” the economy and reduce the influence of central bankers.

Poilievre wants to “restore sound money.”

“Sound money” is one of the tenets of the new religion of the Great Reset; when freedom is grasped from the hands of the tyrants who control the world.

The prophets of “sound money” have been around a long time. Sound money or hard currencies are ones that presumably don’t change in value over time, an example being currencies tied to value of gold.

Like all disciples of the Great Reset, Poilievre gets inspiration from the gospel of YouTube. He appeared on a cryptocurrency podcast hosted by a Bitcoin trader who has promoted COVID-19 conspiracies and has compared central banking policies to slavery and Nazi Germany.

Poilievre told the show’s host that he and his wife occasionally watch his cryptocurrency YouTube channel “late into the night.”

“I find it extremely informative and my wife and I have been known to watch YouTube and your channel late into the night once we’ve got the kids to bed,” Poilievre said. “And, I’ve always enjoyed it and I’ve learned a lot about Bitcoin and other monetary issues from listening to you.”

Bitcoin is a lousy investment. Billionaire Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, says investment in Bitcoin has the potential to collapse, wiping out tens of billions of dollars in wealth for casual buyers.

“Bitcoin is ingenious but it has no unique value at all. It doesn’t produce anything. You can stare at it all day and no little Bitcoins come out. It’s a delusion, basically,” Buffett said in a 2019 interview with CNBC, adding it’s like “rat poison” for investors.

Even some of Bitcoin’s biggest advocates often characterize it, without any apparent shame: “Bitcoin is kind of a Ponzi scheme that starts with smart people,” says crypto investor Naval Ravikant.

The Great Reset faithful have contempt for Elon Musk, the erratic, interstellar oligarch who has betrayed Bitcoin by first championing it and then backtracking, tweeting, “We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions,” and saying that Tesla would no longer accept it as a valid form of payment.

Bitcoins are a dirty currency, not just because they are used to traffic children into the sex trade and to launder cartel money but because Bitcoin transactions, called “mining,” require huge amounts of fossil fuel energy.

According to the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index the carbon footprint of Bitcoin is equivalent to that of New Zealand, with both emitting nearly 37 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.

But facts matter little to the faithful. As long as they can warm themselves in the glow of the omnipotent echo chamber of YouTube, they can be sure of the Truths that issue forth.