Aug 24, 2011 Letters
All constituency volunteers contacted earlier by Corisa, please let us know if the sign gathering has been completed and let us know where the signs are now temporarily stored for keeping until they can somehow later be moved to, and stored by, Bill Vander Zalm.
“Fight HST” is optimistic about the ballot counting results, in spite of all the problems with ballots and the “NO” response to our complaints about millions of dollars worth of misleading advertising by government and the big business alliance.
For all of you that are not too far away and able to make it over to the Jack Poole Plaza at the new Convention Centre – foot of Burrard Street in Vancouver, we would ask as many as possible to meet there at 5 PM on the day that the final count of ballots is announced.
Bill Vander ZalmShare on Facebook
BC Civil Liberties Association supports Fight HST on Vancouver & city by-laws restricting signs on city property!
Jun 24, 2011 Letters
BCCLA says “draconian removal of citizens’ HST signs” an illegal act
Released by British Columbia Civil Liberties Association addressing the FightHST “VOTE YES to extinguish the HST” sign removal.
The BCCLA is weighing in on reports that city officials in Vancouver and Chilliwack have been removing citizens’ political signs about the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) Referendum placed on public property like boulevards and meridians.
The BCCLA has written to the Mayors of these municipalities urging them to refrain from removing political signs for the duration of the referendum campaign.
“Municipalities are enforcing bylaws that will not survive constitutional challenge. A legal challenge will be costly to citizens and taxpayers and we are instead urging municipalities to do the right thing: respect political speech rights and redraft your bylaws to be Charter complaint,” said Robert Holmes, Q.C., President of the BCCLA.
In the fall of 2010, the British Columbia Court of Appeal struck down a Vancouver bylaw that amounted to an absolute prohibition on political structures in public space in relation to the Falun Gong protest hut. The Court found that a blanket prohibition on the use of public space for political speech was a violation of citizens’ rights to free expression.
Holmes: “As the Supreme Court of Canada has said repeatedly, political speech lies at the heart of freedom of expression. While it might be permissible under the Charter to regulate the time, place and manner of expression, any such restrictions have to minimally impair citizens’ right to political expression.
The draconian removal of citizens’ HST signs obviously does not meet that legal test. Municipalities cannot make whatever rules they wish for public space, as if they were private owners of the property. Public space is subject to the Charter and because of that, there must be some room for political speech in public space.
We understand that Surrey initially removed HST signs, but reconsidered. We commend Surrey, and call on other municipalities to do the same.”
UPDATE: Maple Ridge supports free expression
The BCCLA is issuing a correction to an earlier release in which we reported on complaints from a number of municipalities that HST campaign signs were being removed by city officials. Some sign removals were mistakenly described as occurring in Maple Ridge, a district that in fact support HST signage. The sign removals may have in fact taken place in neighbouring Pitt Meadows, where Mayor Don MacLean has publicly announced that the City is removing HST signs.
Read the letter at: Click here to read the BCCLA’s letter to the mayors of Vancouver and ChilliwackShare on Facebook
Tags: blanket prohibition, british columbia court, british columbia court of appeal, c president, citizens rights, civil liberties, constitutional challenge, falun gong, falun gong protest, free expression, freedom of expression, harmonized sales tax, legal test, political expression, political signs, political speech, recons, referendum campaign, robert holmes, supreme court of canada
Feb 2, 2011 Letters
The Victory of Recall
On the eve of the Recall deadline in Oak Bay-Gordon Head some in the big corporate media (the ones who try to twist our words to make it appear as though we agree with them) and the Public Affairs Bureau of the BC Liberal Party (you know – the people who are paid to call in to the talk shows and to troll the blogs pretending to be “average joes”) are trying to characterize Recall as “dead”.
But their wishful thinking reveals their fears.
We have discovered that the very act of launching a Recall absolutely terrifies the government.
It terrifies them because they are afraid the light of public scrutiny on their behavior will reveal them for the frauds they are. It terrifies them because they don’t want to have to account to the voters for their behavior. It terrifies them because they can only succeed by shielding us from the truth.
Their distaste for Recall reveals not only their fears, but also their arrogance. “How dare you exercise your democratic right to question our performance? How dare you assume that because you elect us and pay our salaries, pensions and benefits that we owe you an explanation for betraying you? How dare you hold us to account for telling everyone we had no intention of bringing in an HST, and then did it anyway?”
We even see Kamloops South MLA Kevin Krueger saying the government is considering getting rid of Recall altogether. My, how far the BC Liberals have fallen since the days when they launched “Total Recall” and promised to change the system to make Recall and Initiatives work better. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, they can’t wait to dispense with the shoemaker.
But while the legislation was deliberately written to make Recall extremely difficult, we are finding that the victory in Recall is in DOING IT!
By taking it on despite the undemocratic nature of the rules, it shines a light on the MLA, the government, and the absurdity of a system which allows the people we elect to behave as though they are above us.
Recall has a power all its own. The fierce reaction against it by the government and their supporters proves that. Unlike the petition which they pretended was a wonderful exercise in democracy, with Recall, they quickly lose their composure. The government knew from the beginning they had no intention of abiding by the petition. But with Recall, they have no choice but to listen.
I would like to suggest two goals for each Recall campaign:
The first is that you target at least one more signature than the number who voted for the MLA. This was the threshold suggested by Gordon Campbell to make Recall more fair and doable when he was Leader of the Opposition. This is your “moral victory” target.
The second is the Recall threshold established by the rules. If we achieve the first target, we will achieve the second.
But remember, the victory of Recall is in doing it. When the going gets tough, remind yourself of this. Like the Olympian who knows they may not be nearly as fast or as powerful as their competition but who enters the race anyway, that very decision forces their opponent to recognize them, and to run harder.
And sometimes, often when you least expect it, the frontrunner trips and falls.
And the underdog overtakes them.
It’s then that we truly know the value of entering.
Recall. Recall. Recall.
Our democracy demands it.
Our government needs it.
Our MLAs deserve it.
Bill Vander Zalm
Leader – Fight HSTShare on Facebook
Tags: absurdity, arrogance, average joes, bc liberal party, bc liberals, democratic right, distaste, fears, frauds, HST, initiatives, intention, mla, pensions, public affairs bureau, public scrutiny, salaries, shoemaker, total recall, wishful thinking
Jan 10, 2011 Letters
Dear Fight HST Supporter,
We are in the home stretch of our fight to end the HST, and we need your help.
As you may know, we are supporting a series of Recalls throughout the province. The first Recall is ongoing in Oak Bay – Gordon Head, with two more to follow starting next week in Kamloops North and Comox Valley. The BC Liberals are spending bundles of taxpayer funds to run ads that are mostly misleading and in some cases outright false.
We need to counter their lies, and help raise the profile for Recall if we are to be successful. The Recall rules are designed to make Recall next to impossible. But even with limited resources we are having huge success. Already, in only 4 weeks of canvassing, (with nearly two of those weeks lost to Christmas holidays) Oak Bay –Gordon Head has collected nearly 7,000 signatures!
But to finish the Recall successfully, we need 8,000- 9,000 more in just 4 more weeks. Fight HST is doing all we can to support them, but we can’t do it alone.
Please consider a donation to Fight HST of $10, $20, $50, $100, $200 or whatever you can give.
As I have been saying all along, the battle is not won until the HST is thrown into the ash heap of history. We know that the Liberals, despite their empty promises and hollow gestures, will do everything they can to keep this tax. We know from experience that when we overturn the HST in the referendum, the government’s friends in the Big Business lobby will fight the result in court, tying it up for years and saddling us with the HST – forever.
We can’t let them do that. We’ve come too far. Recall is the most effective means we have for forcing the government to listen to the people and repealing the HST in the legislature – beyond the reach of the greedy vultures in the big international corporations that stand to gain BILLIONS at the expense of BC citizens.
The BC Liberals lied when they said they wouldn’t bring in an HST, and they are lying now when they say they’ll listen to the people in a referendum. The Liberals want to do all they can to see us fail so that they never need to deal with direct democracy again.
It’s time to show them who’s boss in a democracy – we the people!
Please donate to Fight HST now by going to our web site donation page at: www.fighthst.com/donation/
or by sending us a cheque to:
Fight HST, 370 East Broadway, PO Box 95023, Vancouver, BC V5T 4T8
We will use the funds to help get the message out that Recall is the best way to end the HST in BC, and take back our democracy and our province.
Thank you for your generosity.
Bill Vander Zalm
Leader, Fight HSTShare on Facebook
Tags: ash heap of history, bc liberals, billions, business lobby, christmas, christmas holidays, citizens, comox valley, empty promises, gestures, home stretch, international corporations, kamloops, limited resources, referendum, signatures, taxpayer funds, vultures