plead guilty to having learned from something with regard
Premier Gordon Campbell, October 30th, 2006, on CBC
Newsworld with Don Newman
asked Campbell what changed between Campbell's
opposition to the Nisga'a
treaty and his celebration of the proposed Lheidli
T'enneh treaty. Without prompting, Campbell expanded
on his admitted mistake and said: "I think we've also
learned a lot from the experience with the Nisga'a. We had
actually a very good experience there. The Nisga'a first
nation, I think we've seen some significant benefits to
that first nation." After commenting on charter rights,
Campbell went on to say: "I think we have to be clear
the Nisga'a treaty is something that helped inform us. It's
been good I think in general for the people in British Columbia
and for the Nisga'a."
he was Leader of the Official Opposition, Campbell led a
filibuster against the Nisga'a treaty. As he admitted to
Newman, he took the treaty to court and lost. Did Campbell
believe what he said then, or was he trying to outmaneuver
the BC Reform Party at any cost? One way or the other, no
one can deny that he has done a 180 degree about turn in
his attitude to the first nations.
the possibilities if the Premier had more conversions on
his road to Damascus.
pretend that he's had such conversions immediately before
his October 27th speech to the UBCM and see what a difference
it could have made. Regular text in the following condensed
re-write is from the version on the Premier's
website; bold text indicates additions or admissions
following his hoped for conversion. As they say on the web
text, "check against delivery".
it is great to be here in the traditional territories of
the Songhees and the Esquimalt First Nations, to have a
chance to talk with all of you again.
I come, I can't help but thank all of you and thank the
know, this is by far the most comprehensive provincial meeting
of public elected officials and public servants that we
have in the province. Isn't it interesting that it's local
governments that bring us all together to examine a full,
complete provincial agenda? It's so important to focus on
those common purposes that we share.
year we seem to be able to come together and have an idea
of what we should all do together. I want to apologize
for the stubbornness of the Minister of Energy, Mines and
Petroleum Resources. We were wrong to bring in Bill 30 and
strip local government of any say on independent power projects.
Today I'm announcing that the Utilities Commission Act will
be amended to provide for continued consultation with local
governments on power projects, and projects generating less
than 50MW proposals will be reviewable under the Environmental
Assessment Act as requested by the UBCM. I was clearly wrong
to say the province always knows best and that local government
should be ignored.
worked together to combat crystal meth, and improve community
health, and prevent and prepare for West Nile virus and
pandemics. And we're going to continue to work in that spirit
of partnership because it's the true way to build progress.
It's the way that we can ensure that we provide a better
quality of life for all the people that we serve in British
theme of your convention this week has been: vibrant and
integrated communities. It is a great theme: vibrant, integrated
communities. Vibrant communities are excited by their future.
They're not mired in the past.
communities are a recognized strength today for British
Columbia. They're an important cornerstone for our future.
have to ask this question: what more can we all do to design
healthier cities and towns that provide healthy choices
to citizens, and help us sustain services for the next generation
of British Columbians? We all know we have to start from
the ground up.
good news is that we also know what creates healthier, less
costly, more sustainable communities: higher densities.
New densities also will help us create healthier communities.
It will use less land. It will create a sense of place and
create the opportunity for more affordable housing.
I've sat in your chair. I know why people don't move to
higher densities. I've gone to a few public hearings in
my day. It's the same reason that we fail to make difficult
decisions with regard to housing the homeless or to better
help the mentally ill: small-p politics. It's not popular
to increase densities. We just don't do it. It's not easy
to create homeless shelters, halfway houses, rehab centres,
or mental health facilities. And it's not just money; often
can't allow fear, and in some cases ignorance, to stop us
from doing what is right. It just compounds our problems,
and the price we pay is played out in our streets at the
expense of our mutual goal, vibrant communities.
was wrong to eliminate the position of the Mental Health
Advocate, as I was wrong to eliminate the Children's Commission.
I am announcing that the government stall on selecting a
Child and Youth Advocate will end, and the position of Mental
Health Advocate will be re-established. We all know that
government needs independent watchdogs with real teeth.
to thank those of you who've been working on the Premier's
task force on homelessness, mental health and addiction
services. I'm so proud of your work that it is still
a secret. Its website
has nifty photos but no report. We've doubled the budget
for shelters and affordable housing. There will be another
$32 million for housing in the next two years. We're ready
to build hundreds of more units. We've already built or
are building 10,788 new units of subsidized housing since
2001. I know these numbers don't balance with BC
Housing's Annual Report, but don't get picky. The housing
numbers were inflated by calling assisted living subsidized
housing. OK that did mean breaking the promise on building
5,000 residential care beds, but it's their fault if they
didn't save enough or win the lotto. We are selling tickets
online now, you know.
want to accept people living on our streets. None of us,
least of all the homeless, want to accept it. But we're
going to have to work together if we're going to put this
behind us. You know, announcements are a beginning, but
it's execution that matters. Time adds costs and carrying
costs and escalating construction costs.
as building housing, there is another component to this.
So often it seems to me our critics overlook the fact that
leaving more money in people's pockets actually makes a
big difference in what housing is affordable to people.
In June 2001, the day after I was sworn in, I announced
a tax cut of more than $20,000 per year for the top 11,000
income earners in this province. It only cost about $200
million per year in lost revenue. Think of that as making
their housing more affordable. Compare that to the average
per month that seniors receive under shelter aid for
elderly renters (SAFER)
today I can tell you that we will increase the shelter allowance
for income-assistance recipients in the next budget for
British Columbia and that will be the first increase since
1994. Did I say time adds costs? In this case it would
add costs to help income-assistance recipients in November
rather than telling them to wait for an announcement in
February. Did I say that? Just kidding, I really meant to
say that I'm guilty of being wrong and if we can afford
more than $200 million a year for those at the top, we can
afford a 50% increase in the shelter allowance for all categories
of income-assistance effective immediately.
going to work with you. There'll be new incentives to create
new facilities and support those with mental illnesses and
addictions. You know, we're going to listen to you. We're
going to listen to what we've heard from you. You know what
you've told me? De-institutionalization is a failed experiment.
So we're going to work with you to make sure that we provide
for the care and the support for people with mental illnesses
as we look ahead, and it will be a major item on our agenda.
Of course what failed was the political commitment to
build housing in the community, not the commitment to close
the big institutions that victimized inmates, but if you've
read the planning documents for the health authorities you
know they are facing cost pressures to build replacement
beds for Riverview. Declaring deinstitutionalization a failure
today might allow us to escape that cost pressure, just
like double counting our promise to seniors as both assisted
living beds and housing.
P3s save money, transfer risk and add great value through
design innovations and private sector ingenuity. You know,
for the first time since 1983 we've been granted a AAA credit
rating again in British Columbia. That will save our taxpayers
about $50 million in interest costs over the next ten years.
Don't ask me how we can borrow for so much less yet save
money by having private sector partners borrow for us at
higher rates; it's all part of that P3 magic. Notice that
I said we "know P3s save money"; I didn't say
we have any proof. It's like tax cuts paying for themselves.
Just repeat the mantra.
vital communities are a core value of our Pacific vision.
It's powered by the imagination of British Columbians who
want to reach higher to create healthier, vibrant, integrated
communities that will be defined by our mutual strengths,
our mutual purpose and our mutual belief that it is B.C.'s
time to lead. It's B.C.'s time to shape Canada's future,
and what an incredible future that will be.
you very much. Don't hold your breath waiting for enough
180 degree conversions to fix the long list of mistakes.