A Clear Vision for the Future of BC
Prepared by Wilf Hanni – March 15, 2012
“We, the members of the Christian Heritage Party of British Columbia, stand on the foundation granted by our Creator – individual dignity, personal freedoms, economic enterprises, and limited government which is the basis of our great Canadian heritage. Our heritage holds the strength of the vision from our forefathers; the vision of true democracy which is government by the people, for the good of ALL the people, a government that does not rule the people, but is ruled by the people. By renewing these characteristics of our great Canadian heritage, we will establish a new form of democracy in British Columbia called “Representative Democracy”. It will include a democratically elected government that is controlled by the people and it will serve all the people of British Columbia.”
British Columbia has been ruled for far too long by a government that is not accountable to the voters. The political parties in British Columbia are beholden to the special interest groups that donate millions of dollars to their election campaigns and who expect something in return. This has to stop before those special interest groups rob the people of the wealth we possess in natural resources and take away all of our freedoms as well.
The way to stop it is to change the system of government from its present form of “parliamentary democracy to a new form of government, called ‘Representative Democracy”. This change will make the politicians no longer accountable, not to the special interest groups like big foreign controlled business and labour unions and large international neo-political organizations like the radical environmentalists, and make them accountable instead to YOU, the voters of British Columbia.
The Christian Heritage Party of BC holds that the most important quality the voters should demand of their government is Accountability.
There are many qualities that one should expect from their government. The citizens of BC have a right to expect their government to be good stewards, to provide quality education, health care and social services, to provide adequate infrastructure, to take steps to ensure that we benefit from a strong economy and to provide leadership in moral and social issues.
The voters have a right to expect their government to be open, honest and ethical in all their actions, but their only assurance that government will do that is by making government accountable to the voters, not just once every 4 years at election time, but every day of every year throughout out every term of office with the form of government called “Representative Democracy”
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will make meaningful reforms to the tax structure, the economy, social institutions and democratic system of government in British Columbia in order to build a province that provides real wealth, the highest quality government services in Canada and a truly democratic form of government for British Columbia.
Before any other reforms are undertaken, a Christian Heritage Party of BC Government must reform the system of government, by introducing our 6 point plan for Representative Democracy to make government accountable to the voters every day of every year in every term of office.
The next thing that a Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will do is reform the tax structure in British Columbia, in order to make taxes lower, fairer and more comprehensible.
We will conduct a complete review of the entire provincial tax structure in British Columbia and then make recommendations to the voters on what system of taxation we recommend for the Province.
We will submit at least two competing proposals to the voters in a referendum and ask them to choose between a simple, single rate income tax and simple, single rate consumption tax.
We will also reform the systems for delivering government services, including education and health care, so that we can provide better quality services, more cost effectively and thereby reduce the cost of these services and the rate of tax that will be needed to pay for those services.
Following are some of the most important steps that a Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will take to provide open, honest and ethical government that is accountable to the people of British Columbia and to ensure that the Government is a good steward that manages the affairs of the Province of BC for the benefit of all our citizens.
1) Democracy (Our 6-Point Plan for Representative Democracy)
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will introduce reforms to the way the Legislature works in order to ensure that the Government is accountable to the voters, not only once every four years at election time, but every day of every year. The following reforms will be introduced.
1. Preferential Balloting for the election of MLA’s
With the current, first-past-the-post system of electing MLA’s, British Columbians are forced to choose between a political party they do not like and one they like even less. They often vote strategically in order to avoid “splitting the vote” and electing the wrong party by mistake. The result is almost always a government that only has the support of a minority of the voters.
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will eliminate the fear of splitting the vote forever and ensure that future governments have the support of the majority of voters by eliminating the first-past-the-post system of electing MLA’s and replacing it with a system called Preferential Balloting. Voters will be able to vote for all the candidates in their order of preference. They will know that if their first choice is not elected, their vote will still count for their second choice and against the candidate or party that they do not like.
No one will ever again be elected to the Government of British Columbia with only 35 or 40% of the vote. To be elected, the candidate must win the support of at least 50% + 1 of the votes cast.
2. Free votes in the Legislature
Under the current system of parliamentary democracy, MLA’s are usually forced to vote the way their Party tells them to, or risk expulsion from the party or facing the voters in an early election. By allowing the individual MLA to vote the wishes of his or her constituents ahead of the wishes of their political party and disregarding the parliamentary tradition that calls for a Government to call an election if a bill it introduces in the legislature fails to pass, we will be giving the MLA’s the opportunity to work for their real bosses, the voters in their constituency who elected the MLA’s to represent them.
3. Workable Recall Legislation
British Columbia already has recall legislation, but it was intentionally designed by the NDP government that introduced it to NOT WORK. The Christian Heritage Party of BC will introduce amendments to the legislation to make Recall work and give the voters a realistic opportunity to remove any MLA that fails to represent them in the Legislature.
4. Referenda on Important Issues
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will introduce referenda legislation that allows the voters instead of the MLA’s to decide moral issues and issues of great importance to British Columbia.
5. Citizen’s Initiative Legislation
Since Citizen’s Initiative legislation was introduced over two decade ago, there has only ever been one successful petition drive – the one to repeal the HST. Even then, according to the terms of the Citizens Initiative Act, the Government was under no legal obligation to actually repeal the HST. A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will amend the Citizens’ Initiatives Legislation to provide a much more realistic opportunity for the voters of British Columbia to successfully complete a petition drive and to force the Government to hold a binding referendum on any issue when sufficient signatures have been gathered on the petition.
6. Fixed Election Dates
British Columbia already has a system of holding provincial elections on a fixed date, once every four years. A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will continue this practice and ensure that future governments do as well.
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will also hold a referendum, asking the voters to approve a “made in BC Constitution”, (made by the people of BC, for the people of BC). We will ask the voters to enshrine our 6 point plan for representative democracy in that constitution so that no future government can ignore or repeal these measures, which are designed specifically to give YOU, the voters, control over your provincial government.
2) The Economy
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will appoint a commission to evaluate the current, highly complicated, system of taxation in British Columbia and recommend at least two options for replacing that system with a single, simple, straightforward and transparent tax system. The two options we will present are:
1. A single rate income tax with a basic personal exemption that is high enough to ensure that low income wage earners do not pay more taxes under the new system than they did under the old one, and
2. A single rate consumption tax with exemptions for certain goods and services that are required to maintain a basic standard of living. This may include items like groceries, medicine and school supplies.
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will also appoint a commission to study the costs of providing government services to the citizens of British Columbia, with specific instructions to look for ways to cut those costs by providing services more cost effectively, without cutting actual services where possible.
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will take dramatic steps to build a strong and vibrant economy that is environmentally responsible and that lasts for generations.
We will develop our non-renewable resources, including Oil & Gas in the Peace River Country, the Nechako Basin and Northern Offshore as well as our Forest Products and Agricultural output throughout British Columbia in order to provide the strong economic base that is required to pay off British Columbia’s massive debt, reduce our taxes and build a strong, renewable resource-based economy for generations to come.
Some of the revenues from a newly strengthened economy will enable us to pay down British Columbia’s massive debt (now well over $40 billion), reduce taxes, provide adequate funding for Health Care and Education, provide Senior Citizens with dignified care and enable us to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure in British Columbia, including our road and highways network. Our aim is to eliminate the Provincial Debt and the Provincial Sales Tax and have the lowest rate of personal taxes in Canada.
3) The Environment
The Christian Heritage Party of BC believes our natural resources should be managed responsibly to provide the optimum benefits for the citizens of BC, with emphasis on conservation for future use and full protection of the environment. We believe that measures to protect the environment must be based on sound science and not on popular myth.
We believe there should be a greater emphasis on real environmental issues at all levels of government, and greater concern for conservation of all natural resources. We also believe that government should refrain from engaging in expensive and unnecessary efforts to combat phantom threats like so-called “man-made global warming” until and unless those threats are proven to be real and not imagined and until it can be demonstrated that the efforts of government will not be futile.
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will remove all “carbon taxes” and stop the futile effort to combat global warming by reducing the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We will concentrate instead on fighting real pollution and encouraging the development of alternate, clean sources of energy in order to reduce our dependence on non-renewable resources. We believe that greater emphasis must be placed on protecting the environment from the real threats that we know exist, such as the real pollution of our land, sea and air with hazardous chemicals, household garbage and industrial pollution.
Some of the revenue from non-renewable resources will be directed towards research and development in the renewable resource sector in order to build new industries in Wind Power and Tidal Power as well as biofuel production from wood and agricultural production. To ensure that these products are produced in British Columbia, we will pass legislation requiring their use in fuels consumed in British Columbia.
We will also investigate the feasibility of building an “economically self-sustaining bridge” from the mainland to Vancouver Island. Some small sections would be built with conventional bridge building technology (fixed crossing) that would be of sufficient height to allow the passage of the largest ships underneath. Most of the distance would be covered by a floating bridge with built-in tidal power generators that would produce enough electricity to pay for the cost of building and maintaining the bridge.
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will establish a funding formula which will provide equal “per student” funding for students attending the same grade in the school of their choice, whether Public, Traditional, Charter, Private or Faith Based, provided that school meets the minimum academic requirements established by the Provincial Ministry of Education.
The introduction of competition into the education system will reduce the cost and improve the quality of education for all students in British Columbia.
5) Health Care
In Health Care, a Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will find ways to eliminate waiting lists and reduce the high cost of health care so that ALL British Columbians can access high quality health care, in a timely manner, and at a reasonable cost to the taxpayer.
Here are some of the measures we will introduce:
1. Hospitals will no longer be financed with a blank cheque once a year. Instead they will receive their funding through a “performance based” system of payments (payment for services rendered)
2. When private health care providers can provide a service more cost effectively and in a more timely manner, we will send patients to those private health care providers. The cost will be paid by the public system.
3. We will address the shortage of doctors and nurses by fast tracking the accreditation of foreign trained professionals and by increasing the number of internships and spaces in our educational facilities.
4. We will open more long term care facilities in order to open up hospital beds for acute care patients.
5. We will open more community care facilities in rural British Columbia
6. We will increase the availability of home care support.
7. We will encourage the establishment of walk-in clinics offering 24 hour service.
8. We will re-open hospitals that have been closed by the Liberals in smaller communities in rural British Columbia where numbers or distance from existing facilities warrant
9. We will put more emphasis on preventative medicine, and
10. We will establish a Health Care Task Force to consult widely with British Columbians and study health care services in other jurisdictions to determine what system is best for all residents of British Columbia.
The reforms that a Christian Heritage Party of BC Government introduces will ensure that all British Columbians receive the highest quality health care possible in a timely and cost-effective manner.
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will embark on an extensive program to improve the transportation infrastructure across the province. Improvements that will be considered are
1. Extension of the light rail rapid transit system to Chilliwack, Mission and Richmond.
2. Construction of a combination bridge – tidal power generator from the Mainland to Vancouver Island
3. Construction of a 4 lane freeway to connect the Bridge and the Vancouver International Airport to the Trans-Canada Highway.
4. Twinning Highway 1 from Kamloops to the Alberta border.
5. Building a 4 lane freeway the length of the Okanagan Valley.
6. Construction of highway bypasses for major interior centres where the local residents support them.
The revenue to build these highways, rail transit extensions and bridge will come from the development of the Oil & Gas Industry as well as increased revenue from the strong economic base that results from increasing competition in the Forestry Sector and further development of coal and other mining.
7) Federal – Provincial Relations
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will work to restore the division of powers between the Federal Government and the Provincial Government that was provided for in the British North America Act and which has been eroded under successive Federal Liberal Governments.
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will also negotiate the transfer of additional powers from the Federal Government to the Provincial Government in order to bring government home, closer to the people so that they can have a greater say in how they are governed.
Some of the powers that will be transferred to the Provincial Government are:
1. Control over Forestry, Mining, Agriculture and Fisheries
2. Control over Health Care and Education
3. Control over Day Care
4. The establishment of a Provincial Pension Plan to replace the CPP
5. The establishment of a Provincial Police Force to replace the RCMP
A Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will also work with the Federal Government to provide better representation for British Columbians in the Federal Government in Ottawa. This will include:
1. More MP’s to reflect British Columbia’s growing population.
2. A Triple “E” Senate to represent provincial interests in Ottawa.
While we are waiting for the establishment of a Triple “E” Senate, a Christian Heritage Party of BC Government will hold elections for “Senators in Waiting” and ask the Prime Minister to appoint them to the Senate.
The Christian Heritage Party of BC’s CLEAR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA will make British Columbia an economic powerhouse with the best social programs, the most environmentally friendly industries, the highest personal disposable income and the most democratic form of government in Canada. We will set a powerful example for the rest of Canada and the rest of the world.
More importantly, by making government accountable to the voters, these reforms will restore and preserve the great heritage that we enjoy as Canadians and the freedoms that this heritage provides for all Canadians.