Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New Democrats lead in polls before May 14 British Columbia election

he British Columbia election campaign doesn't begin officially until April 16 but parties are already gearing up for the race. The opposition New Democratic Party finished selecting candidates in all 85 ridings.
NDP opposition leader, Adrian Dix, said that his election team senses enthusiasm for change throughout the province. The NDP will launch a series of TV ads on Monday. The official campaign period of 28 days starts on Tuesday. At dissolution the Liberals held 45 seats, the NDP 36 and Independent 2 and 2 vacant.
Although somewhat out of date, projections based on a number of polls up to March 19 give the following vote percentages: NDP 49.9%, Liberals 30.4%, Conservatives 10.4% and Greens 7.5%, Others have 1.8%. The seat projections are 64 for the NDP and 20 for the Liberals and 1 Independent.( NOTE: The polls listed atthis other site, do not seem consistent with other polls I checked. They give the Conservatives far too high a percentage.) The site referenced lists several different polls which were averaged and names the sources and dates. There are other polls referenced at this site. A detailed discussion of some polls is also found in this article. All polls show the NDP considerably ahead of the Liberals led by Christy Clark.
Last year, the BC Liberal party managed to raise $10 million. Half of the amount came from corporations and $3.8 million from individuals with the remainder coming from smaller sources. The NDP raised only $6.9 million with $1.6 million coming from unions, $4 million from individuals, and a final million from corporations. The Conservatives were able only to raise $356,322 with 20 per cent corporate donations and the rest from individuals.
The NDP is already claiming that the ruling Liberals are hiding a deficit. Finance Minister of the Liberal government Mike de Jong said the NDP claim was "political propaganda". He said the NDP would spend more, leading to higher taxes, worsening credit and higher borrowing costs for the province. The NDP has said that it would increase taxes for those earning more than $150,000 a year and boost the corporate tax from 11 to 12 per cent.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Montreal police seize head of protest Panda

On Friday night, April 5, Montreal police seized Anarchopanda's head during a demonstration against a municipal bylaw. Montreal police said that the head was taken because the law forbids the wearing of masks during demonstrations.
Daniel Lacoursiere said the mask was also taken because it "is considered to be an exhibit and could be used in court." The man under the head, Julien Villeneuve, whose head was left intact, is a philosophy professor at Maisonneuve College. He has already received two fines of $637 each as he was caught by police. He was fined both for a wearing a mask and participating in an illegal protest. Back on March 22nd he was only fined for taking part in an illegal protest. The bylaw being protested, P-6, are the guidelines imposed on protesters who demonstrate in Montreal. Protesters object to many of the provisions of the bylaw including the filing of a route itinerary some time before the protest. The bylaw also prohibits the wearing of masks. Anarchopanda's head in police eyes is a mask and that is why it has been seized as an exhibit. In a kettling tactic the Panda was corralled along with 279 others who were each assessed the $637 fine for participating in an illegal assembly.
Anarchopanda has become an icon of the Quebec student protest last spring. His first appearance was on May 8, 2012. The professor under the head, tries to create a buffer between police and students in order to avoid violence at demonstrations. He describes himself as an anarcho-pacifist. In an interview with the Montreal newspaper Le Devoir, Villeneuve said: "If peaceful students deserve to be beat with police batons, pepper sprayed, shot with rubber bullets or flash grenades for demonstrating, so do I."
Villeneuve chose the Panda suit because it was what he thought was the nicest and cheapest costume he could find on eBay China. Before buying the Panda suit, he had tried to use what he calls his "human skin" as a buffer between police and students but he finds that the Panda suit is more practical and less paternalist. There has been no word from the Chinese embassy protesting police brutality in removing the head of a giant panda