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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics July 1, 2013
  Jul 01, 2013

Question #1
At this time nearly half way into the by election which leader and party do you support?
Christy Clark and BC Liberals    48.5 %
Carole Gordon and BC NDP    36 %
Other leader and party/Independent    13.6 %
Question #2
Are you pleased that recently elected BC Liberal MLA Ben Stewart stepped down permitting Premier Christy Clark to run in your riding in order for her to obtain a seat in the BC Legislature after losing in her riding of Vancouver Point Grey?
Yes    49 %
No    29 %
Question #3
On February 24, 2012 the Kelowna Capital News reported that Premier Clark told the Chamber of Commerce that the province was in a tough economic environment and that she refused to give teachers a raise. Do you agree that Christy Clark’s government should continue to reject the idea of providing teachers with a raise?
Yes    32 %
No    50 %
Question #4
Are you more confident in your local teachers or the BC Government?
Teachers    50 %
BC Government    37 %
Question #5
Premier Christy Clark wants the BC government to obtain a ten year contract with the teachers despite having not attained a settlement with teachers for many years in negotiations for shorter term agreements. If there is no agreement with teachers do you support the government legislating teachers back to work?
Yes    38 %
No    55 %
Question #6
Would you support any type of strike by teachers?
Yes    34 %
No    52 %
Question #7
In your opinion should lawyers, judges and other professional persons be regulated and compelled to inform clients or employers of identified problem with drugs and alcohol if they continue to practice their profession in the 6 month period immediately following discovery of the problem?
Yes    57 %
No    39 %
Question #8
Currently, the Government of Britsh Columbia is spending tens of millions of tax payer dollars to fund a legal claim against tobacco companies for making smokers sick and costs to the BC health care system. It is estimated that 10-15% of British Columbians are addicted to alcohol, drugs including pharmaceuticals, or to gambling costing tax payers over $2 billion per year for medical, incarceration, insurance costs etc. Should producers of these products also be sued for compensation?
Yes    51 %
No    42.5 %
Commentary
Christy Clark maintains a comfortable lead in the by election scheduled for West Kelowna July 10, 2013. Premier Clark's current (12%) lead over her NDP rival at this point in the campaign is noticeably less than the amount that BC Liberal Ben Stewart won in the recent general provincial election (28%).
The BC New Democrats are led (again) by school teacher Carole Gordon and according to this ROBBINS survey have increased their election vote of 30% by (20%) for a (36%) survey outcome. The undecided vote is (6%).
The BC New Democrats have historically been hard pressed to attract more than 30% of the vote in this region of the province - so- will historical anomolies associated with British Columbia -by elections- impose on this tradition?
Question 2 may provide some insight into why the gap has closed between the two parties. Nearly (70%) of those respondents who "are not pleased" that Ben Stewart stepped down for Christy Clark in order that she might obtain a seat in the BC Legislature (after losing to NDP MLA David Eby (Vancouver Point Grey)), are apparently supporting Christy Clark and BC Liberals (from question 1). In addition, (62%) of Undecided voters are also "displeased", leaving the remaining combination of New Democrats, Other Leader/Party or Independents - as well as some BC Liberals to say they are "pleased"--at the perceived (and varied) 'opportunit(ies)' this by election presents for them.
According to these ROBBINS numbers, Christy Clark has sufficient room to win this by election in order to secure a seat in the BC Legislature, but at this point in the campaign there is noticeable reluctance from former BC Liberal/Ben Stewart supporters to endorse "a foreigner" as their MLA. In the days remaining until the election will Ben Stewart BC Liberal supporters continue to hold their nose (in part) and vote to give Christy the seat she must have, - or will they choose to make a statement in protest after seeing their May voting efforts on behalf of the local candidate unrealized by a Premier - who some Ben Stewart supporters from the May provincial election -- see as "too showy" or "not one of them (sic)"?
Adrian Dix, current leader of the BC NDP - a leader with troubles of his own - needs a major surprise or a terrific showing on Election Day to stave off the reverberating calls for his head by his own party supporters. Is it possible that Premier Clark might want NDP Carole Gordon to do better than expected in a losing cause - in order to induce Mr. Dix to stay around as leader just long enough to frustrate others in the NDP caucus who want him to go? Her apparent lack of attendance in the area may be indicative of this level of thinking.
Westside - Kelowna maintains a high percentage of families with school age children. In this ROBBINS survey they are clear in their positions on teachers and education. First, Westside- Kelowna residents trust teachers more than the BC Government (community v Victoria), would like to see school teachers get a pay raise (fairness/avert further troubles), and don't support either legislated agreements (creates partisan dissension with teachers/bothers citizens who prefer mediated settlements), and don't want to see teachers on any type of strike (taints the education environment for children).
In light of these ROBBINS numbers in Westside-Kelowna one has to seriously wonder why the first policy initiative out of Christy Clark's mouth after her surprise election win in May - was the pursuit of a 10 year deal with BC Teachers, when it is clearly apparent from history that her government is not capable of reaching an agreement over a contract of a much shorter duration, and calls into question an investigation of whether or not former mayor and current BC Education Minister Peter Fassbender is the right man for the job --- who after months of engagement with the BC Teachers Federation pursuant to Premier Clark's pronouncement - has opted for a change of course in mid stream. Is this 'sober and stable decision making' in negotiating such a significant deal?
Will the outcome of this by election produce a more unified BC Liberal caucus with Christy Clark comfortably ensconced in a safe seat in a safe region - or will it mark the beginning of another tumultuous four years of Christy Clark government - following a dreadful two year performance prior to the surprise election win---sufficient to infect the entire region and finally bring the NDP the opportunity to attract more voters in a region that has long rejected its perceived love of big government and accompanying high taxes.
It is estimated that upwards of 10-15% of BC lawyers, judges, justices, and other professionals including teachers, doctors, elected officials, police officers, and other public servants are practicing their (often high paying) professions while suffering from addiction to alcohol or drugs. This does not necessarily mean that they are drunk or high on the job, but could also mean next day hangovers - or other by products of this dreadful social problem that continues to impact on quality of professional work and the lives of one in two British Columbians.
No matter the intellect or skill level of a person, no professional can perform their duties to clients in an addicted state of mind - judges and justices are no exception to this truth. To combat the problem some professional groups like lawyers have created their own organization to deal with drug and alcohol addiction among members - but are these professionals being withdrawn from their practices in the period of recovery immediately following identification and admission of the problem - or are they continuing to practice in early states of recovery while they remain nervous and anxious and are not at their best?
Our criminal legal system is loaded with a revolving door of addicts and alcoholics being presented before judges and justices - and sentenced to jail without bona fide opportunity for recovery - who on release go back out into the public and commit the same crimes again - evidence of the insanity of this aspect of the criminal justice system - but if the crown counsel - legal advocates - judges - justices are unaware of the problem - or how it works - or are possessed of the problem themselves - how is this problem addressed? The blind are in effect judging the blind.
Problems with alcohol and drugs cost tax payers in criminal, medical and other social costs more money than is taken in by through taxation of beer, wine and spirits each year. Its sale is no longer economically viable. The University think tanks that speak to these issues seldom understand the issue beyond the abstract--encouraging policies presented as solutions such as charging higher taxes of higher alcohol content - when some beer, wine and other products of inferior quality and cheaper price have higher alcohol content. What next additional taxation on- after shave?
The most signficant societal distortion involving alcohol and drug addiction is the extent to which people who earning high incomes or hold position possess the addiction problem - but also possess the money to cover it up. The illusion presented to the public ego is that real alcoholics and addicts live on skid row - how does this explain the billions of dollars in taxes that are reaped each year from the legitimate sale of alcohol products?
ROBBINS would advocate at least 6 month leave of absenses for professionals from the point of identification of the problem - with this condition being lawfully entrenched in all professional contracts or regulations including for example for lawyers - the Legal Professions Act which currently represents public interest as a primary concern--?
This also raises the question of whether or not clients who have endured a lawyer or other professional who is substance abuser or in early days of recovery should be able to recover damages from that professional? Also, if we are litigating against tobacco companies at a cost of millions of dollars in legal fees each year - why aren't we seeking compensation or contributions from producers of liquor products, or pharmaceuticals, or gambling facilities to be invested directly into bona fide recovery and treatment programs.
Suffice it to say - British Columbians expect more from politicians and professional persons who they perceive as "grossly over entitled". This sense of discontent among British Columbians is manifest to degree in their frustration with departure of Ben Stewart for the benefit of politician from "Victoria" or "Vancouver" or "the coast" or "the lower mainland"-- who personally - is not particularly well liked and who apparently is not sufficiently confident in herself to walk down the mainstreet of the city without another person holding her hand.
The vote outcome of this by election will provide British Columbia political watchers with plenty to consider - with another significant BC Liberal win (over 20% margin - BC Liberal over 50%) affirming Christy Clark as the Boss - and confirming Adrian Dix on political death row - with a more narrow win (under 10% - NDP over 40%) likely to dog Christy Clark's premiership - particularly if her performance in that capacity over the subsequent four years is a dreadful as her first two years were.
A targeted survey of 462 Voters from the May 2013 general provincal election - and specifically the electoral riding of Westside Kelowna. This survey was organized by Glen P. Robbins with questions designed by Glen P. Robbins and Kellie K. Robbns- and conducted by ROBBINS Sce Research June 24th-30th 2013. For media inquiries please contact Glen P. Robbins 778 -385 9757. The survey features a statistical margin of error of 4.52%, 19 times out of 20 @ 95% confidence level. The probability of Christy Clark/BC Liberal lead is between 3% and 21% and her lead is 100% probability. Research assistance provided by Jim Van Rassel and Associates 604 328 - 5398.

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