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BCers say "NO" (67%) to needle exchange-OOOPS! Mustel Group says 78% want needle exchange--Who will the PM believe?
  Aug 30, 2006

This poll represents a random sample of 1,200 British Columbians throughout all regions of the province. This poll was conducted between August 22 and August 29, 2006 and features a margin of error of 2.85%, 19 times out of 20 @ 98% competency.
www.robbinssceresearch.com August 30, 2006 NEWS RELEASE “Majority of British Columbians DO NOT want renewal of Vancouver Eastside Needle Exchange” Glen P. Robbins, President and C.E.O. of ROBBINS Sce Research (1998) proclaims the result of a late August 2006 poll of 1200 British Columbians, which reveals “that a majority of British Columbians are of the opinion that the Prime Minister of Canada should not renew the contract for the Downtown Vancouver Eastside Needle Exchange.” Adds Robbins “this sentiment reflects a majority of British Columbians in all regions of the province including the City of Vancouver.” The poll conducted during the last week of August also reveals a drop in support for the BC Liberals (39%), and an increase in support for the BC Green party (17%). Robbins says that “British Columbians are losing confidence in government or in the alternative do not believe elected officials are working as hard as they should, and the BC Green party is the beneficiary of this.” The poll also reveals that an overwhelming majority of British Columbians are against corporations abusing the $6.00 entry-level minimum wage, and believe that low wages generally are responsible for the incongruence between claims of a ‘booming economy’ and GDP per capita economic information which suggests otherwise. For more information go to www.robbinssceresearch.com. Contact: Community and Corporate Relations Manager: Jim Van Rassel (604) 942-9300 (604) 328-5398 -30-

Question #1
For which BC political party did you vote in the last provincial election?
BC Liberals    45 %
BC NDP    43 %
BC Green    11 %
Other    01 %
Question #2
In your opinion is the BC $6.00 per hour entry level training wage a fair one in today’s economy?
Yes    14 %
No    86 %
Question #3
In your opinion should the Conservative government renew the federal contract for the Vancouver Eastside needle exchange?
Yes    33 %
No    67 %
Question #4
Which of the following should receive the higher percentage of taxpayer dollars?
the Vancouver eastside needle exchange    22 %
health centres for recovery from alcohol and drug abuse    34 %
education directed to stop the use of drugs and alcohol amongst BC’s young people    44 %
Question #5
In your opinion should BC’s provincial MLA’s receive?
Higher pay    02 %
Lower pay    14 %
their current rate of pay    84 %
Question #6
Traditionally, the legislative assembly opens each and every fall in Victoria, BC. The BC Liberal government has made overtures not to have a full legislative session in 2006. If the legislative assembly does not have a session in the fall should MLA’s still receive their pay for this period?
Yes    43 %
No    57 %
Question #7
One measure of economic success in the province is the GDP per capita, or the total production per person. Alberta has a very successful economy and its GDP per capita is 20% while its population is 10% of the entire country. BC’s per capita is 12%, the same as its population relative to the rest of the country. Which of the following statements BEST explains why BC’s per person production or GDP per capita is ‘so average’ if the economy is said by the government and many in the press to be ‘booming’.
Increase in real estate value for only some    29 %
Real wages in the province are too low    64 %
Question #8
If a provincial election was held tomorrow for which political party would you caste your vote?
BC NDP    38 %
BC Liberal    39 %
BC Green    17 %
Other    06 %
Commentary
Facts and Inferences- An absolute majority of British Columbians are of the opinion that the $6.00 per hour entry level wage is not fair.
Respondents throughout the province of British Columbia are in the majority when they say “NO” to a renewal of the contract for the Vancouver Needle Exchange. Conservative northern and interior respondents were nearly 80% against while suburbanites in the Tri-City, Surrey, and Burnaby regions were in the low thirties. Richmond was in the high twenties support for the needle exchange and Vancouver proper was in the high thirties. Vancouver Island residents were also in the high thirties.
A majority (but not all) ‘bottom line’ Green supporters also endorsed a renewal of the contract for the needle exchange, while a small minority of bottom line “Other” supporters also supporting the needle exchange. This left one in five of total respondents who were also supporters of the BC NDP and BC Liberals to support renewal of the Vancouver Eastside needle exchange.
A slight majority of respondents believe their tax dollars should go toward education of young people as this relates to alcohol and drug abuse, with nearly as many respondents choosing centres of drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
A majority of British Columbians are of the opinion that MLA’s should retain their current rate of pay, but the majority of these respondents do not believe MLA’s should be paid if there isn’t a fall session fulfilled. These respondents were being completely serious. The majority of British Columbians believe that low real wages are holding BC’s per capita economy back. A large minority perceive a booming national wide real estate market that benefits some British Columbians but has abandoned more as the other explanation for the apparent inconsistency between BC Liberal and mainstream media claims of a booming BC economy and economic information which suggests otherwise.
The majority of British Columbians believe that low real wages are holding BC’s per capita economy back. A large minority perceive a booming national wide real estate market that benefits some British Columbians but has abandoned more as the other explanation for the apparent inconsistency between BC Liberal and mainstream media claims of a booming BC economy and economic information which suggests otherwise.
The per capita numbers offered in the poll are very current (2005). With corporate profits averaging 9% per year, while corresponding efficacy is only 10% above government, AND wages increasing at 5% per year average (certainly not at the bottom end), will Prime Minister Harper declare a national minimum wage in order to put a stop to the rank abuse of thousands of young and old workers occurring in provinces like British Columbia?
The small pool of British Columbians who still support the $6.00 entry level minimum wage are in the majority against the renewal of the Vancouver Eastside needle exchange. The Prime Minister would be wise to factor these respondents ‘out’ of the needle exchange equation as part of his overall decision making process on this matter.
The overwhelming majority of British Columbians who do support the renewal of the Vancouver Eastside needle exchange do not support the $6.00 entry level minimum wage. If you imagine a group of citizens crowded into a (larger) phone booth, who all support the Vancouver needle exchange, nearly one half of these would be wearing a Green singlet, and the other half would be wearing an orange or red singlet representing BC NDP and BC Liberals respectively.
One half of the respondents who support the Vancouver Eastside needle exchange also support lower wages for BC’s MLA’s. This group of respondents comprises mostly Green and BC NDP supporters. The majority of respondents, who believe the federal Tory government should support the needle exchange, do not believe MLA’s should be paid if there is no fall session. There are sufficient numbers of BC Liberal supporters from top and bottom who fit this description, making ROBBINS suggest to the Premier, if there isn’t much work to do you had better find some. This is government after all, how difficult is making work?
One third of respondents who support the needle exchange believe higher real estate values are the cause of ‘confusion’ about the nature of BC’s true economic condition, while two-thirds believe it is about wages being too low. Once again, there are sufficient top and bottom BC Liberal supporters who are against these low entry level wages for the Premier and his caucus to be very concerned. The BC Liberal party may have to contact their donor list and inform the folks that a new Porsche Cayenne 4x4 may not be a prudent investment at this time.
There are far too many British Columbians who are not buying into the “Booming BC” story line, or could be easily convinced that we are in a false economy and who perceive that too many of the people in the province are falling behind while only a fraction prosper.
This overall ‘Doubting Thomas BC style’ sentiment is quickly exacerbated when we consider low wages for many, social concerns such as the Vancouver Eastside needle exchange contract renewal, other health and welfare and economic matters, and how all of these are reflected in the significant drop in support for Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberal party. This poor showing follows confusing, erratic or poorly communicated policy in health care, (since the party has been in office,) pay-offs to government unions, (which gave them the big bump in polls two months ago), a schizophrenic flip-flopping on softwood lumber, (where BC NDP forestry critic Bob Simpson is kicking the hell out of BC Liberal stalwart Rich Coleman), an abysmal performance in tourism, (proof you should never make your favourite donors children Cabinet ministers) and a non-performance on social matters such as children and families (now hidden from the Vancouver press in the BC Interior). Add to these, problems with ‘unprotected’ labour under a new minister who given her dreadful performance in tourism may not be ‘up’ to the task of dealing with these.
The federal Conservative government has an odd political problem in front of it. The fact that the Prime Minister is reluctant to renew the Vancouver Eastside needle exchange program despite significant pressure from media and other politicians both past and present, shows his remarkable insight into British Columbian’s true opinions. Respondents against renewal of the needle exchange contract are not without empathy or concern; they simply find the entire idea of paying for people to shoot up drugs as very unattractive, and as the RCMP have recently asserted ‘anything but safe’. “It’s like something out of Dracula” said one BC Liberal respondent, who was against renewing the contract.
PM Harper’s political difficulty is that if he does not renew the contract for at least one year or provide a temporary extension or reprieve; his political opponents will find a way to heap negative publicity on him all amidst the backdrop of drug addicted people shooting up with needles in alley ways. One younger respondent incorrectly stated that “the Prime Minister has made it illegal now”. These are potentially dreadful optics, notwithstanding the very serious health issues relating to the needle exchange program.
By providing a ‘reluctant’ extension of the contract, the Prime Minister will be acting in a manner consistent with the ‘general’ sentiments of the people of British Columbia, but also reflect a sense of practical realism. This realism reflects the fact that one cannot simply pull the plug on a controversial program involving primarily the amelioration of suffering or in the alternative the potential for suffering, simply because it is not attractive to the majority of the population, or appears not to afford any future resolve for the underlying drug addiction.
Most British Columbians would prefer to see alcohol and drug addicted people in a hospital type environment where they could deal with their addictions. There is awareness among British Columbians that a lack of understanding of health education, a lack of available proper treatment, and worsening economic conditions at the bottom end of the economic scale are leaving many British Columbians in the position of living “like animals”.
Robbins spoke with former Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum in 1999 who promised to dedicate Surrey land for construction of a major drug and alcohol centre. Current Surrey Mayor Diane Watts has indicated she is supportive of this as well so long as the provincial government comes up with the funding for the hospital. This seems somewhat idealistic given the difficulties Surrey Memorial has already had with the Campbell government. With BC Liberal support in the low thirties in this region, Premier Campbell could offset his ‘piling on’ the liberal bandwagon in Vancouver City, with a pro-active act of compassion for his ‘fellows’ afflicted with alcohol and drug problems.
Federal governments need to go further with their negotiations of health care dollars to the provinces, which may need to be tied for specific health care purposes like alcohol and drug treatment, including an overall push to attract more health care workers in all areas of treatment, including elements of more pro-active education in schools and in communities, as the provincial government cannot always be trusted with a fair allocation of the same from general revenues.
With panhandlers walking into coffee shops to aggressively solicit for change from customers there (and elsewhere), mental health patients, drug addicts and other poor people living on the streets and under bridges, we have the manifestation of a serious human problem in the province of British Columbia which the current government seems unprepared to even acknowledge, let alone deal with.
Citizens of the province remain trapped in the unaccountability of a government tied to corporate donations, whose policies and the resulting social inequities which follow, reduce the overall credibility of provincial government including an Opposition who “doesn’t want Campbell to resign” This is reflected in respondent’s clear disapproval of the abusive manner in which large corporations and franchises ‘cheat’ both young and old British Columbians out of a real wage, and their equal disapproval of the lack of work ethic on the part of members of both parties.
Franchise operations may be the worst culprit of all as franchise owners never realize on capital gains the way real business owners do, and are thus compelled to squeeze profits fast without the same concern for traditional goodwill. ROBBINS researchers have discovered that too often no training is provided to entry level workers with the savings going into owners pockets, and workers desperate to earn a living ‘churned and burned’ for profits. When we witness a food chain hook up with a food bank in the Tri-City region to promote charity for single mothers and their babies, and the medium of exchange is cash and not food product we begin to understand that even the entire system of charity in this province is “out of control”.
Progress cannot be made in areas like real wages for low income earners, and proper drug and alcohol education and treatment for those who need it, when the people overseeing the leadership of the province remain so devoutly unaccountable and treat so many of its citizens so recklessly, putting their energies toward satisfying just a few.

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