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BC Liberal Government Transportation plans and BC Ferries come under Fire!
  Jun 15, 2006

A random telephone survey of 754 respondents throughout the lower mainland of British Columbia who ‘claimed they voted in the last general provincial election’ including the Fraser Valley between June 8-13, 2006. This survey features a margin of error of 3.55%, 19 times out of 20 @98% competency (confidence). Jim Van Rassel owner of New Trend Optical in Port Coquitlam BC (604) 942-9300 paid for this poll. “Your glasses are the most important piece of jewelry you will ever wear.” This poll is sent to news media outside Canada and to the International Olympic Committee.

Question #1
Do you support the BC Liberal government’s proposal to ‘twin’ the Port Mann Bridge on Highway number 1?
Yes    64 %
No    36 %
Question #2
Do you support the $2.50 per crossing charge that BC Liberal Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon proposes for the Port Mann Bridge?
Yes    24 %
No    76 %
Question #3
Who do you support with respect to the controversy involving the Eagle Ridge Bluffs highway/tunnel dispute at Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver? Qui soutenez-vous par rapport à la controverse impliquant l'Arête d'Aigle Bluffe la dispute de route/tunnel à la Baie de Fer à cheval dans Vancouver d'ouest ?
I support the Eagle Ridge Bluffs supporters who are protecting the environment    53 %
I support the BC Liberal government that is trying to build a better highway to Whistler    46 %
Question #4
Whose version of the story over the sinking of the Queen of the North in March of this year do you believe most?
David Hahn, CEO of BC Ferries    24 %
Jack Miller, president of BC Ferry and Marine Worker’s Union    22 %
Neither    54 %
Question #5
How would you rate Premier Campbell’s job performance at this point? {Comment evalueriez-vous la Premiere execution de travail de Campbell a ce point}?
Very Good    08 %
Good    19 %
Average    48 %
Poor    13 %
Very Poor    12 %
Question #6
If you had to choose between two political clubs, which of the following ‘clubs’ would you join?
The BC Liberal’s club    54 %
The BC NDP’s club    46 %
Question #7
The BC Liberals are legislating for 30 class maximums in all BC schools, have offered the BC Teachers an 8% raise over four years and a signing bonus of around $3,500 which bonus is taken off the table at the end of June, 2006. The BC Teachers have just recently voted 85% in favour of a strike. If you were the teacher’s employer would you ‘lock the teacher’s out’ at the end of this school year if the teacher’s do not accept the bonus offered and conclude a wage settlement, in order to provide parents with an opportunity to place their school age children in another school of their choosing and force the teacher’s to negotiate a settlement prior to the next school year in September 2006?
Yes    29 %
No    71 %
Question #8
How likely are you to support a BC Teacher’s strike?
Very Likely    09 %
Likely    25 %
Not Likely    42 %
Very Unlikely    24 %
Question #9
In your opinion should BC Teachers be compelled by their overall job description to provide their professional efforts outside the normal school day of 9-3 for the same rate of pay?
Yes    38 %
No    62 %
Facts and Inferences: This poll of respondents in Vancouver City, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Burnaby, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Mission, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Chilliwack, and New Westminster reveals some very interesting and surprising information. The news on the Transportation front for the BC Liberals is not good, and it appears that no progress has been made for two years.
From ROBBINS (March 16-25, 2006) we are able to see that {generally speaking} there is an increase of (37%) of respondents in the lower mainland who would accept a $2.50 per crossing toll as opposed to a $5.50 per crossing toll (all in). The (24%) of lower mainland respondents in this ROBBINS poll who accept the lower $2.50 per crossing toll is a far cry from the 50% + claimed by BC Liberal Transportation Minister Falcon, and pumped through the news media.
From ROBBINS (April 28-May 1, 2006) we realize that there is an increase in the nominal number of respondents who are “Very Likely” to support a strike by BC Teachers (125%). There is a decrease of (22%) in the number who are Likely to support a BC Teachers strike., however the overall “likelihood” has decreased by nearly (06%). Commentary: First, there is general consensus that the Port Mann Bridge should be “twinned”. The sentiment is that these and other bridges/highways should start construction tomorrow. Second, although we might accept BC Liberal Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon’s claim that 56% of those who visited information meetings relating to the Port Mann “twinning” there is certainly much less support in the lower mainland for such a toll.
Respondents take a position of ‘equity’ on the idea that if the Port Mann bridged is to be tolled then the Sea-to-Sky Highway should also be tolled, but the overriding sentiment is that neither bridge should be tolled. The Coquihalla Highway remains a symbol of BC government dishonesty, and the citizens haven’t forgotten. AND
Tolls on bridges are not going to fly politically. This sentiment was generally agreed to in every region of contact (within the margin of error declared), and outcomes did not reflect any regional bias. {NB there is no absolute correlation between the outcome for Q’s 2 & 3}. Surprisingly, the lack of perceived fairness currently being employed by the BC Liberals on the transportation front on the lower mainland (including many adverse comments about the Canada Line-Rav Line (“whatever they are calling it now”).
…. apparently provided respondents with the opportunity to declare support for the protestors at Eagle Ridge Bluffs over the BC Liberal government on the development of a Highway over the tunnel at Eagle Ridge Bluffs in beautiful West Vancouver/Horseshoe Bay. (Perhaps this is why the government is still negotiating with the protestors)? In fact nearly three-quarters of those respondents who see the Premier’s job performance as ‘average’ including BC Liberal supporters also support the Eagle Ridge Bluff’s protestors over the BC Liberal government. {Etonnamment, le manque d'impartialité et l'équité apparente étant actuellement employé par les AV. J-C Libéraux sur le devant de transport sur le continent plus bas (y compris beaucoup de commentaires défavorables de la Ligne de Ligne-Rav de Canada “quoi qu'ils l'appellent maintenant”), les répondants apparemment fournis avec l'occasion de déclarer le soutien pour les manifestants aux Bluffs d'Arête d'Aigle par-dessus le gouvernement AV. J-C Libéral sur le développement d'une Route par-dessus le tunnel. (Peut-être ceci est pourquoi le gouvernement est calme négociant avec les manifestants) ? En fait presque les trois-quarts de ces répondants qui voient l'exécution de travail du Chef du gouvernement comme ‘la moyenne » y compris les supporters AV. J-C Libéraux soutient aussi les manifestants du Bluff d'Arête d'Aigle par-dessus le gouvernement AV. J-C Libéral}.
BC Ferries are part of the transportation system and it is clear since the sinking of the Queen of the North in March 2006 that respondents in the lower mainland are more inclined NOT to believe either the CEO of BC Ferries OR the president of the Union. Perhaps not coincidentally the staunchest supporters of Gordon Campbell’s job performance support Mr. Hahn, while those who rate the Premier’s performance as “Very Poor” or “Poor” are more inclined to support Ms. Miller’s.
The support for Eagle Ridge Bluffs was ‘undeniable’ from tracking sheets and notes. Further, many respondents who supported the BC Liberal “club” in Question #6 but who selected Premier Campbell’s performance as average as well, chose the Eagle Ridge Bluff protestors over his party. Conversely, BC NDP supporters in a conspicuous majority were inclined to support the protestors. Essentially, respondents in the lower mainland are saying, ‘if the highway through Eagle Ridge Bluffs is so important to get on with, and RAV Canada Line or whatever you are calling it now it also so important, how about the transportation for the rest of the lower mainland?’ Transportation plus health is undermining confidence in government in the province. The fact that lower mainland civic politicians sit on the Translink board does not encourage the intended direct democracy kudos amongst British Columbians in the lower mainland, but rather because of Translink is so unpopular (like ICBC used to be), Translink is now perceived to be the ‘log-jam’ in the transportation equation.
If the Teachers negotiations go sideways and the Teachers do not strike but instead decide NOT to perform extra-curricular activities on a soft work to rule basis, the Campbell government will have its hands full of problems. There is a significant group of people in the lower mainland of BC who believe that Premier Campbell is doing an average job. There are fewer respondents who believe that he is delivering either a “Very Good” or “Good” job or “Very Poor” or “Poor” job performance. Many of the respondents who are selecting “Average” for the Premier are still selecting the BC Liberal “club” over the BC NDP “club”.
Gordon Campbell’s most staunch supporters are all for ‘locking teachers out’* if they don’t accept the bonus offered. However, few of the BC Liberal supporters who see the Premier’s job performance as ‘average’ are supportive of locking BC Teacher’s out. *Jim Van Rassel of New Trend Optical in Port Coquitlam BC who paid for this poll suggested the “lock out” question (see Vancouver Province letters to the Editor dated June 13, 2006}.
A clear majority of respondents do not expect schoolteachers to work past conventional hours for the rate of pay they receive, except for marking tests and preparing report cards. What implications might this have for athletic development heading towards the 2010 Olympics? Insight: This ROBBINS poll is evidence that the transportation policies of the BC Liberal government are not going well, to the extent that British Columbians in the lower mainland believe they are not, and mounting visible evidence (or lack thereof) of a comprehensive plan. There is an element of the current BC Liberal support, which exists more on the basis of a lack of readiness of voters to support the BC NDP, but there is enough strong evidence in this poll to suggest that these numbers could change at anytime.
Respondents throughout the lower mainland are hard pressed to remember the name of the RAV come Canada Line, and many respondents who did made fun of the name change (as if it were implemented out of embarrassment for the RAV controversies through Translink). People living throughout the lower mainland who responded to these questions are having a difficult time understanding why the Port Mann “twinning” {“people use that bridge to go to work”}, would be delayed or considered less of a priority than the Sea-to-Sky Highway reconstruction undertaken for the Olympics or for safety.
These doubts manifest throughout the lower mainland and not simply in the Northeast Sector, where BC Liberal support is not very strong, and were further amplified by the positive response to the Eagle Ridge Bluffs protest.
ROBBINS believes that there are many respondents who selected the Eagle Ridge Bluffs protestors as much for their chagrin with a choppy, haphazard, disorganized, and poorly communicated transportation plan as much as for their concerns for the environment, although the perception of the elderly and ‘mainstream looking’ people from that area being handcuffed and arrested does little to inspire British Columbians in the BC Liberal “Highwaymen”.
Many respondents also believe the idea of a highway being ‘hacked’ into a mountainside is far less aesthetically pleasing, and will leave an unattractive “Legacy”, a term which has become synonymous with The 2010 Olympics and sustainable environment. If the BC Liberal plan for the Sea-to-Sky Highway at Eagle Ridge Bluffs is a marketable commodity is does poorly outside of BC Liberal ‘partisan’ support, which is hardly what any government wants for a project of the significance of the 2010 Olympics which presumably ought to relate to a majority of British Columbians. There just doesn’t appear to be any plan or any vision. It is coming across to voters as awkward and directionless.
At first glance, Premier Campbell’s job performance numbers might appear to be lacking. However, ROBBINS suggests the most important numbers for Mr. Campbell right now are the “Poor” and “Very Poor” numbers. These have dropped sharply consistent with a similar drop in Stephen Harper’s “Poor” numbers. However, Premier Campbell’s “Good” and “Very Good’ numbers are not nearly as good as Prime Minister Harpers’s and many respondents have chosen to park their assessment of the Premier in the “Average” category. The Premier can take some comfort with these numbers as it means his move to the center is ‘so far so good’ (but a long way from successful). These numbers could just as easily go south, and that would likely reflect in lower numbers for the BC Liberal party numbers as well.
This situation is not being helped by the groundswell of opinion that health problems are purposeful constructs which the government hopes will induce private care. It is important to consider that the BC Liberals narrowly won the most recent general provincial election, when most pundits (not ROBBINS) expected another BC Liberal landslide. Much of their success was predicated on the message of a ‘booming’ economy. Although BC is doing well, it is still much too early for a parade. ROBBINS ‘partner’ on International matters Jim McFarlane just back from negotiations in Tokyo Japan, speaks of dozens of building cranes dotting the Tokyo skyline, and news reports of a economic boom in that country (3.5% increase in first quarter totals).
BC’s economic numbers are not so good as one might think. While Alberta’s population relative to Canada is around 10.5% its GDP per capita reflects a number of around 20%. Comparatively BC’s population relative to Canada is around 12.5% and our GDP per capita is about the same as that or slightly less. With three years to go before the Olympics, this is not so ‘booming’ yet. Without the investment in infrastructure NOW and advancement of the Gateway project, a province which NEEDS to be developed for the ‘big leagues’ is still mired in very very low end Triple “A” ball. This is no time for political leaders who like to shuffle paper and collect their cheque. This is a time for a no guts no glory type of leadership. As they say in UFC fighting “Let’s get it on”.
Premier Campbell needs to do what WAC Bennett once did and that is to stop the phony delegation nonsense and take control of this. Get rid of Translink, take over Transportation himself and go on TV and tell us what he intends to do, when he intends to do it, and how much its going to cost. Taxpayers know they are going to have to pay for it, they don’t want to be nickeled and dimed everytime they turn around with a shitty little plan of tolls and parking stall taxes.
ROBBINS notes that most respondents are sending a message of non-confrontation with respect to negotiations involving government and others. We have heard this message from respondents previously, and believe this message is manifesting in a pool of 40% + of British Columbians. As this poll suggests slightly less then one third of British Columbians are eager to lock teachers out if they don’t settle, while about one-third + are willing to support another BC Teacher’s strike. As far as negotiations between BC Teachers and the BC Liberal government are concerned, whoever appears to be acting “like a dictator” will lose in the mind of the public.
Respondents in the lower mainland of the province are not so contemplative over transportation issues. For ROBBINS, at this moment in time the lead message on transportation is likely coming from Conservative MP David Emerson, but we are always interested in hearing from our favourite for BC Conservative party leader Sara McIntyre who heads up the BC version of the Canadian Taxpayer’s Association. The messages coming from the Premier, the Transportation Minister and others are simply not resonating with lower mainland British Columbians whatsoever.

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