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Ted Hughes Report- BC Children and Families-What would Bubbles do?
  Apr 15, 2006

First Published at 1:04 PM PST April 15, 2006. This is a random digit dialing of 1,045 British Columbians between April 8-15, 2006. This survey features a margin of error of 2.75%, 19 times out of 20 @98% competency.

Question #1
Which of the following policy choices is most important to you at this time?
Accountability in government    57 %
A National Child Daycare System    16 %
Bringing the troops home from Afghanistan    15 %
A renewed and invigorated Environmental strategy    12 %
Question #2
When you consider the taxes that you pay to government at all levels whether it is income tax, GST, PST, gas tax, license fees, and property taxes, would you say that generally you received reasonably good value for your tax dollars?
Yes    47 %
No    53 %
Question #3
In your opinion is it fair to say that Premier Gordon Campbell as leader of the province of British Columbia is accountable to the citizens?
Yes    37 %
No    59 %
Question #4
A well respected former Judge, Ted Hughes recently unveiled an independent inquiry which reflected a scathing indictment of the BC’s child welfare system under the Gordon Campbell government, including the comment that the BC Liberals “took the knife too far” {The Vancouver Sun-April 8, 2006}, in terms of cuts to the Children and Families Ministry. Which of the following statements best depicts in your opinion the realities of this situation?
The BC Liberal party was unawares what was going on    52 %
The BC Liberal party knew what was going on and intended to mislead the public    48 %
Question #5
Traditionally, a Minister responsible for conspicuous problems in his or her Ministry are held accountable and in some instances should step down and resign the portfolio. In your opinion should a BC Liberal be made to resign in this circumstance involving BC’s children?
Yes    52 %
No    48 %
Question #6
According to Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer, former Judge Ted Hughes believes Gordon Campbell is most politically responsible for the “fiasco” involving the death of many BC Children. In your opinion should the Premier resign as a consequence of Ted Hughes findings?
Yes    57 %
No    43 %
Question #7
Which of the following political parties in British Columbia do you support at this moment in time?
BC Liberals    37.5 %
BC NDP    38 %
BC Green    12.5 %
BC Conservatives    8.5 %
Other    3.5 %
Commentary
In terms of federal policy priorities to British Columbians, the Accountability legislation tabled this week by Conservative Treasury Board minister John Baird, is perceived by (57%) of respondents to be the most important, with “national child care” and “bringing the troops home from Afghanistan” considered to be a distance second. BC New Democrats have the highest percentage of supporters who are against troops in Afghanistan. It is up to Environment minister Rona Ambrose (she of the reputed 140 “IQ”) to come up with a better environmental strategy.
Well-respected Canadian polling firm Decima Research has found that Canadians are ‘split’ on troops in Afghanistan.
One half and more of respondents do not believe they receive “reasonably good value” for their tax dollars. Respondents in both the younger and older age brackets in this poll were split on this question. Some respondents who answered, “Yes” were ambivalent to the extent they could only comment, “What can I do about it?” ROBBINS estimates that Revenue Canada is pursuing approximately 1.5 to 2 billion in taxes (amended to Auditor General Sheila Fraser's May 2006 Report which puts this number at closer to 6 billion) from Canadians which they are not “legally entitled to”. Each successive budget that includes these dollars is a misrepresentation to the public of Canada.
Premier Gordon Campbell has his pluses and his minuses like any political leader, but accountability is not a trait, which the majority of respondents put on his positive side of the ledger. Federal Accountability legislation may not pass until summer, making any relationship between Premier Gordon Campbell and his federal Conservative ‘counterparts’ awkward as they each move in opposite directions.
A slight majority of British Columbians does not believe that the BC Liberal party was aware of what was going on with ‘cuts’ to the Children’s and Families ministry. This is a little difficult to explain considering the cuts independent commissioner Hughes speaks of were tabled in the legislature.
Conservative supporters by and large support the BC Liberal party on this question but don’t necessarily support the BC Liberal party ministers and certainly don’t support Premier Gordon Campbell in similar numbers. Does this mean that Conservative supporters in BC would support another BC Liberal leader? The BC NDP numbers are still relatively solid, but they aren’t growing into the 40-45% (they need for majority government). Is British Columbia heading for minority government, or will the two main parties attempt to quash another STV vote scheduled for 2008?
Of respondents voting age to 45, (57%) believe that the BC Liberal party “intended to mislead the public” or a BC Liberal “should be made to resign”, and a higher number in that age (63%) group believe Premier Gordon Campbell should specifically resign. In the age group 46-80+ just over (30%) believe the BC Liberal party “intended to mislead the public”, or a BC Liberal should be made to resign, and (38%) believe “Gordon Campbell (specifically) should "resign” over Ted Hughes findings OR do not have an opinion.
Even after considering the high numbers on Vancouver Island (and Victoria specifically) against BOTH the BC Liberals and Premier Gordon Campbell on these accounts (where the age numbers for 46 and older are slightly higher than the average in this poll (43%)), this clearly establishes a gender gap between those who support the Premier and his party and those who do not. The younger group on average clearly believes their tax dollars are wasted on government, believes Gordon Campbell is not accountable, believes the BC Liberals knew what was going on in Children’s and Families, believes a BC Liberal minister should resign as a result and specifically believes Gordon Campbell is that minister. Respondents in ridings where BC Liberals are strongest were more likely not to blame BC Liberals, and specifically to ask for Gordon Campbell’s resignation, although respondents in some of these ridings such as Langley, Chilliwack, Abbotsford (particularly) West Vancouver, Kamloops, and the Okanagan region averaged (13%) support for the BC Conservative party (which was re-introduced by radio station CKNW late in March, 2006).
Women, particularly women from the younger age bracket were seriously inclined to not support the BC Liberal party over the Children’s and Families debacle, and to believe that a resignation from a BC Liberal minister should be forthcoming, including (specifically) Premier Gordon Campbell’s. Indeed, women in the younger age bracket in Surrey, Burnaby, and Kamloops averaged anti-BC Liberals sentiment (63%) average in this poll. Male respondents residing on the Sunshine Coast, Powell River, Vancouver Island and in the Kootenay region of the province over (60%) against ‘the Premier’ and (50%) “a” BC Liberal generally in both age categories.
The Premier (43%) and BC Liberals (52%) found equal “support” (and a lack of it) in Vancouver City. However the lack of support for both the Premier and BC Liberals increases from the city of Vancouver until the Fraser Valley region.
Insight-Accountability in government is most important to British Columbians. The federal Conservatives were voted into office based primarily on accountability, which includes legal provisions to stop labour and corporate donations to federal political parties. BC needs to adopt similar legislation as (particularly) the BC Liberals are permitting their major donors all kinds of special treatment. If the federal Senate blocks this legislation after collecting millions in salaries and ‘fun times’ and accomplishing little or nothing for decades, the federal Liberal party (which dominates the Senate) will inevitably come under attack by an entire country which has become sick of obvious longstanding ‘establishment corruption’, and political ‘sloth’.
The only people in the country who enter politics and truly believe that their work is perceived as purely ‘public service’ are the people in positions of public authority who are benefiting from these positions. There are no ‘other’ people out there who are saying “what a wonderful job my representative is doing". Perhaps this is idealistic but it is how it ought to be, and it is unfortunate because there are so many good people who get into public service. Anyone who has met BC NDP member Mike Farnsworth (Port Coquitlam Burke Mountain) would tell you that he embodies the type of compassion, spirit and wisdom expected of elected officials.
If the Conservatives don’t respond to the grass roots/silent majority and fulfill all of their promises to the unequivocal letter on Accountability they may only get but one ‘go round’ in office.
The citizens do not see BC’s current Premier Gordon Campbell as accountable. The BC NDP has nearly relieved itself of the dependency of labour donations, yet the BC Liberals are still virtually dependent on corporate donations. Once Federal Accountability legislation is passed, if the BC Liberal government fails to respond in kind they may begin to look to an overwhelming majority of British Columbians as more loyal to their friends than dedicated to the public interest, as they ought to be.
Outside of the city of Vancouver Premier Gordon Campbell is perceived by British Columbians as political scientist Christie Jung suggests, “The Mayor of BC”, or by many respondents in this poll who suggest that “he just doesn’t get it”. The Children and Families debacle as underscored by the Report of former Judge Ted Hughes, is a direct indictment of Premier Gordon Campbell following $100 million dollars in cuts to an already troubled ministry. This event may pass for now, but it could re-emerge in the near future and contribute to a further loss of BC Liberal seats in the next general provincial election.
Those who know Premier Campbell personally will tell you that he is kind and compassionate possessing a tremendous (and often self-deprecating) sense of humour. However, many British Columbians might find this difficult to believe. The Premier needs to understand that having a social conscience does not make you a socialist. Social workers are an invaluable tool in ensuring communities moves all of its citizens toward better goals and ideals.
There are many in our society who need help and guidance to keep them on the right path. Women who are the objects of violence and mistreatment need considerable resources to help them not only to survive (for Ms. Morten with my apologies), but also to give them (and their children) the chance at opportunities and a better life. For any numbers of reasons there are some children who are not fortunate to have strong and capable parenting in their lives. Too many of these children are aboriginal. This is a sad and very distressing part of life. Perhaps there are no permanent solutions, but these children should not be forgotten or abandoned. We are all responsible for one another aren’t we? These children require significant resources as part of a caring and compassionate plan to ensure they have any opportunity at a ‘decent’ life. Premier Campbell knows this, and he needs to be strong enough to address the problem directly. I know that he will be.

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