Motivation – An Evaluation Tool

By James Breckenridge. There is nothing we can do about the majority of British Columbians having voted to repeal the HST and return to a PST, except suffer the pain and pay the price.

That Bill Vander Zalm, Adrian Dix, the NDP, the media and the majority of BC residents decided it was a good idea to send $1.5 billion back to Ottawa, instead of using it to construct hospitals and other needed infrastructure, is a triumph of motive over rational, thoughtful decision making.

Leaving us to decide “how important is it” that we start construction to replace/renew St. Paul’s Hospital, Royal Inland Hospital, Haida Gwaii Hospital and any other capital projects before the five years (at $300 million a year) of repayment to Ottawa are up.

If it is decided that we cannot wait the remaining 4 years of repayments to begin construction of hospitals or other capital projects, then taxpayers are going to have to suffer the pain of paying the hundreds of millions of dollars of additional taxes needed to offset the $1.5 billion returned to Ottawa.

As stated there is nothing we can do about the return of the PST on April Fool’s Day but endure the consequences.

But with Election Day on May 14, 2013 only weeks away, it behoves us to seek to understand why the majority of British Columbians decided removing $1.5 billion from the BC budget and returning all those dollars to Ottawa was a good idea.

Because with the challenges facing healthcare, education, the economy, indeed the future of British Columbian’s standard of living – we cannot afford such large scale misinformation or foolishness.

Voters must set aside wilful denial, face the need to set priorities, make tough choices and recognize we cannot have unlimited healthcare or other government services UNLESS WE ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR UNILIMTED LEVELS OF SERVICE.

The complexity, lack of easy answers and the importance of beginning to address the issues demanding BC voters set priorities, make it imperative that voters are informed about and understand the actual state of BC’s finances and the ability of those finances to purchase and deliver services (i.e. healthcare) to citizens.

Wise decision making requires the facts, not rhetoric or spin or false ‘knowing’.

Throughout his HST crusade Mr. Vander Zalm ducked questions as to the $1.5 billion repayment to Ottawa or suggested it would not have to be repaid, even though Ottawa had stated if the HST was repealed the money paid to BC to bring in the HST would – not surprisingly – have to be repaid.

That $1.5 billion repayment is – not surprisingly – resulting in painful negative consequences for the citizens of BC. If Mr. Vander Zalm’s crusade had been about the HST and concerned with the best interests of the citizens of BC addressing the $1.5 billion repayment would have been part of Mr. Vander Zalm’s crusade.

If Vander Zalm’s motivation was not the HST or the best interests of the citizen’s of BC, what could his motivation for his anti-HST (let’s repay Ottawa $1.5 billion) crusade have been?

Given that the existence of the BC Liberals offered an alternative for voters to the Social Credit and thus allowed Bill Vander Zalm’s actions as leader of the Social Credit to destroy the Social Credit, it is easy to see how the Liberals and Gordon Campbell became a target of Vander Zalm’s enmity.

In light of Mr. Vander Zalm’s behaviours as leader of the Social Credit there is no surprise in him putting his personal interests above the interests of the province and its citizens by ignoring the damage repaying $1.5 billion would inflict on BC and its citizens and pursuing the opportunity the HST presented to reduce the liberal Party’s popularity (electability),

For Adrian Dix and the NDP the lack of leadership, the inability to forgo the opportunity to gain public popularity at the expense of the liberals and the failure to put the interests of the citizens of BC ahead of Adrian Dix and the NDP’s quest for power disqualifies them from forming the government.

Any party leader and party who would put their personal political interests ahead of the extremely negative consequences that would result for BC and its citizens from repaying $1.5 billion to Ottawa, lacks the ethics and trustworthiness to address the growing number of issues and difficulties facing BC.

To this day Mr Dix and the NDP continue to try to have it both ways, scoring public popularity while refusing/avoiding responsibility for the negative consequences their support of the HST repeal has, and continues to, cost British Columbians.

In taking the easy way out in seeking to bolster their sagging approval ratings, rather than standing firm as was best for BC, the Liberals share in culpability for the negative consequences the repeal of the HST with its $1.5 billion dollar repayment results in.

Motivation, actions and behaviours are far more useful in evaluating stated policies, trustworthiness, character, leadership, ethics and fitness to govern than any words uttered by political parties and their leaders.

While disappointing, in this day and age it is a given that politicians and political parties are about their own interests, telling voters what voters want to hear, not telling voters what they don’t want to hear, avoiding issues etc. It is why one can predict that the NDP platform in this election will be vague to the point of meaningless.

The most important lesson voters need to take away from the HST debacle is not how venal politicians and political parties are, but that the media (print, radio and television) have no interest in and are NOT about informing the public.

When speaking to Mr. Vander Zalm after the return to the PST the media continued to fail to ask Mr. Vander Zalm why he thought returning $1.5 billion to Ottawa was a good idea; what healthcare and other services Mr. Vander Zalm favoured cutting, what hospital construction he favours forgoing, to repay the $1.5 billion to Ottawa.

As Mr. Dix and the NDP run around the province talking about the failure of the Liberals and the need to build hospitals or spend money on this or that – has the media ever asked Mr. Dix and the NDP how the government is suppose to spend hundreds of millions of dollars when Mr. Dix and the NDP convinced voters to send $1.5 billion back to Ottawa? Did media ever demand Mr. Dix and the NDP explain why they thought sending $1.5 billion back to Ottawa was a good idea? Or ask what Mr. Dix and the NDP would cut and/or forgo to pay for sending that $1.5 billion back to Ottawa.

Of course not. Bringing up issues would have interfered with the entertainment value, the spectacle and the rhetoric.

And of course, acknowledging their culpability in the repeal of the HST and the return of $1.5 billion to Ottawa would put a damper on media running around crying the sky is falling and we need to spend, spend, spend…… the province does not have.

Has the media ever asked the teachers what healthcare programs the teachers are calling to be cut so the money can be redirected to the education budget? Because the only budget expenditure large enough to cover the cost of the $$$$$ the teachers are calling on the government to spend is healthcare.

Unless the teachers are calling on the government to eliminate an area of spending (the courts and jails for example) to cover the cost of the large increase in education spending the teachers are calling on. Or perhaps the teachers are calling for the imposition of hundreds of millions in new taxes to be poured into education?

Media does not ask the important question of where the money will come from, it quietly takes its 30 pieces of silver for running the teachers ads calling on voters to vote for their children by voting for any party that will dramatically increase spending on education as though the $$$$$ to pay for spending can be found in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

“We cannot talk about that, people don’t want to hear it”; “Talking about that would reduce ratings, have people turning off or (shudder) turning to the competition”; If it bleeds it leads; the slick, entertaining programming called news is a profit center where the bottom line – not the quality or value of information presented (or not presented) – is the focus and the motivator.

The owners of the media have every right to focus on making money rather than delivering informative, well rounded, balanced reports that increase, not decrease (as it currently does), the public’s ability to make informed decisions.

If you watch Mike Holmes, there is a viewer advisory displayed at the start of the program and every time the program returns from a commercial break.

To protect voters and citizens from being mislead or influenced by the misinformation inherent in today’s broadcast media programming, programming that passes itself off as providing viewers with news and information, should carry a warning that the underlying operational imperatives of the program are based on ratings and financial considerations – not about the public’s need to know.

Media has become about selling the sizzle and ignoring the fact the meat is badly contaminated with Salmonella, E coli, Listeria or Campylobacter.

A lot of people in the media, and some everyday people, really aren’t in search of the truth. They’re in search of something worse than that. Money, yeah. I think the media’s the kind of a thing where the truth doesn’t win, because it’s no fun. The truth’s no fun.Jack White

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