Robbins SCE Research
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BC Liberal government's 'Race to the bottom'
  Mar 21, 2007

A random sample of 525 respondents throughout the lower mainland of British Columbia between March 15-20, 2007. This poll features a margin of error of 4.75%, 19 times out of 20 @95% competency/confidence. This poll was paid for by Glen P. Robbins and Associates and Jim Van Rassel, owner New Trend Optical (604) 942-9300.

Question #1
Do you approve or disapprove of civic sports and recreational facilities in the lower mainland being named after corporate donors?
Approve    46 %
Disapprove    54 %
Question #2
Do you approve or disapprove of a civic sports and recreational facility being named after an oil company?
Approve    36 %
Disapprove    64 %
Question #3
Petro-Canada has announced an $800,000 donation for a $26 million dollar local sport and recreation facility or approximately 3% of the total amount. Is a donation of 3% of total cost a reasonable amount for this oil company to pay to have their corporate name placed on a local sports and recreational facility?
Yes    08 %
No    92 %
Question #4
Do you understand the recently announced Translink model’s financing and decision-making process?
Yes    28 %
No    72 %
Question #5
ROBBINS proposes raises for civic politicians as to city councilors in larger towns to $60,000 per year with Mayors in those towns receiving $100,000 with no exemption for income tax, and no expense allowance save for city business. Are these standards of pay for public service of these offices reasonable to you?
Yes    43 %
No    57 %
Undecided    08 %
Question #6
ROBBINS proposes that elected provincial MLA’s receive a raise from $75,000 per year to $90,000 per year, with Cabinet Ministers receiving $150,000, Opposition leader $175,000 and Premier $200,000, with no exemption as may exist to date. Are these standards of pay to public service of these offices reasonable to you?
Yes    44 %
No    56 %
Undecided    16 %
Question #7
-In order to promote campaign finance reforms ROBBINS proposes that a successful candidate at any level compelled to have 30% of their total election expenses deducted from their first years pay. Do you agree with this proposal?
Yes    72 %
No    28 %
Question #8
In your opinion should potential pay raises for politicians be approved through the election ballot process?
Yes    83 %
No    17 %
Question #9
-In your opinion does the ‘total’ BC Government, by this I mean the BC Liberal Government and BC NDP Opposition inspire confidence in you that the people’s business is being properly taken care of?
Yes    47 %
No    53 %
Commentary
Observations-
Slightly less than one half of respondents approve of recreational facilities being named on behalf of corporate donors. Slightly more than one third supports this corporate donor being an oil company.
Over 90% of lower mainland residents reject the fairness of an oil company donating only 3% of total cost to have their name on a recreational facility.
Slightly more than one quarter of respondents tell us that they understand the new Translink model.
Slightly less than one half of lower mainland respondents approve of pay raises outlined by ROBBINS for both municipal and provincial politicians.
Three-quarters of respondents approve of a connection being made between campaign expenses and remuneration for politicians.
A Super majority of respondents would like to see pay raise proposals on election ballots.
Approximately one half of respondents have confidence in the BC Liberals and BC NDP.
Commentary-
A recent donation from Petro-Canada to the city of Port Moody accepted on behalf of the community by Conservative MP James Moore and Liberal Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini equal to 3% of the total cost of the facility is seen as “absolutely awful” by many respondents in this poll. Many respondents are still familiar with former Liberal Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s takeover of the oil industry in Canada which nearly destroyed Alberta’s economy.
Previous ROBBINS polls have revealed that most British Columbians are adverse to politicians giving themselves a pay raise or ‘rinsing the raise’ through so-called blue ribbon panels or other groups of so-called arms lengths associations, most of whom benefit from taxpayer dollars somewhere else down the trough.
But respondents trust ROBBINS, and these respondents by slightly less than one half are prepared to accept the pay raise proposals provided through the ROBBINS initiative, not through the self-interested efforts of those who purport to care most about public service.
Respondents would like to make their final decision through questions on election ballots however.
Politicians through their parties and so-called groups they have political control or de facto control over, (like the Chamber of Commerce*) hope to do as they please between elections. This includes giving themselves a generous raise without any public oversight. These politicians did not campaign for a pay raise, and thus should not unilaterally or through so-called arms lengths assessments, give themselves any pay raise.
The general public has the right to decide on pay for politicians, and a confident political leader would respect this, rather than just help themselves to more goodies.
The ‘total’ BC Government including the BC Liberals and BC NDP does not greatly inspire the BC public in the lower mainland. Much of this can be blamed on the BC Liberal government. Its recent Translink configuration has more citizens confused than enlightened. Further, there is a strong hint from respondents that not only “do they not have a clue” what the BC Liberal government’s direction is; they are mistrustful of Premier Gordon Campbell’s overall motives. Some have wondered aloud if funds from some some Ministries such as Health aren’t being used for other endeavours like the Olympics. This might explain the increase in expenditures and apparent decrease in services. With federal monies only being ‘earmarked’ and not designated if you were Conservative Finance Minister would you want Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberals in a position to do as they pleased with equalization payments? Not likely.
(Billions going to Quebec if the PQ is elected in a minority government forces the separatists to deal reasonably with the status quo arrangement or risk an early non-confidence motion-ADQ will not push for sovereignty association or other, and Charest is onside. An unlikely PQ majority would likely increase support for both the federal Conservatives and federal Liberals in a federal general election. You heard it here first!)
I am fairly certain Carole James is still the head of the BC NDP, although I see Adrian Dix and John Horgan most of the time, if I see the NDP members at all. Gordon Campbell Television and Gordon Campbell Radio and Newspapers (hereinafter The Kim Jong-il meets Jim Carey Group), have been reduced to taking pictures of Gordon Campbell with Hollywood movie stars rather than with federal political counterparts.
(There is a rumour floating that the Premier may be featured in a Lindsey Lohan movie, also starring former child star Gary Coleman).
The BC Liberal government is perceived to be untrustworthy, its government not properly managed with oversight lacking. There was no bipartisan consensus on an Auditor General for the province, and when a BC Liberal preferred candidate was eventually selected even he could not endure the bad odor of BC’s unaccountable government. This permitted the BC Liberal government to finesse its way through a year or so of government without permitting the public (or the press that cares) to properly inspect the efforts of the government’s spending and other activities.
This style of government is directly in conflict with the Conservative federal governments move toward more accountable government.
The Premier and his main Cabinet Ministers are from Vancouver and respondents both in and out of Vancouver are beginning to see this government’s main focus as being what benefits the city of Vancouver, with little or no regard for the remainder of the province. The lower standard of government may be helping the BC Liberals in an odd way in that respondents do not have very much in the way of expectations from them.
The local media’s partisan relationship toward the BC Liberals is no longer a secret with the public.
The BC NDP doesn’t benefit from having the BC Liberals trying to crowd them out on the centre left and centre of the political spectrum. The underlying rationale for supporting BC Liberals is that they are NOT the BC NDP. Yet, as each day passes, the BC Liberals and BC NDP begin to look more and more the same. These leaves ample room for the Stephen Harper express to move into the province with a federal election expected long before the fixed provincial one. The federal Conservatives received 17 seats last time around, and the Prime Minister is gambling that his government can achieve even more seats without any help from ‘club coalition’.
The most recent Conservative Budget provides the federal Conservatives with an opportunity to obtain a majority, and than work on a separate and distinct provincial Conservative wing of the party, which would ultimately be able to more easily communicate with the federal Conservatives.
Clearly British Columbians do not approve of the way things are going in British Columbia. The federal Conservatives have obviously recognized this and are disinclined to deal direct with the BC government and are more inclined to deal with the people directly. When the government is perceived as unaccountable and compounds the problem by adorning their party with non-elected persons, the entire group including perceived liberal organizations such as the BC Chamber of Commerce can be fairly called into disrepute.
In such circumstances, is it a surprise that an unelected outsider like ROBBINS can have more influence on political dialogue than an entire government?
The Premier and his party needs to “pay their bills”.
*The Chamber of Commerce by its own Charter declares itself to be apolitical (nonpolitical). Yet, by its own admission, there are Chambers in every federal constituency, and as with the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce, a subsidy is provided by local governments to the organization, making it captive to the interests of the local government. This does not appear to be a non political organization, but actually has many of the characteristics of a lobby group. Is it registered as such? ROBBINS sponsor Jim Van Rassel was asked to leave the Chamber of Commerce for his criticism of local politicians and local transportation initiatives, after being vigorously recruited to join just two months earlier. Changing the culture of corruption isn’t easy.

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