Sunday, August 16, 2009

A sleazy attack on some of B.C.'s best kids

This is truly cruddy behaviour on the part of the government.
As Jeff Nagel reports here (and in Black Press papers across the province), the government has cancelled the Premier's Excellence Awards. The scholarship program has run since 1986, providing financial aid to some of B.C.'s top high school grads. The awards - bumped to $15,000 from $5,000 by the Liberals in 2005 - recognize academic excellence and community service. The application process is time-consuming - essays and the like - and the students really work at it. Finalists had been selected, and the 15 winners were to be announced mid-July.
But the government stalled and gave evasive answers and then - without notifying the students - cancelled the whole program.
Leaving aside the fact that education is supposed to be a priority with the government, this is simply sleazy. Students participated in good faith based on a government commitment, only to be betrayed weeks before their first year of post-secondary education.
The move is part of a $16-million cut in support for post-secondary students in B.C.
It will save $240,000 - less than the premier's last salary increase over the current four-year term.


BC Mary said...


A terrible lesson for those good kids ...

but I hope they will accept it as a lesson, and that they won't be bamboozled by anything else this premier promises ...

then, I hope that a healthy sense of grievance will carry these good kids into lives of service which may repair some of the other damage done to the people and holdings of this province.

May a fleet of large seagulls drop suitable messages on the head of our lousy premier.

And best wishes to those good kids.

Anonymous said...

Some Things Never Change
Campbell Lies

At least when the unions got shafted by the BC Liberals they had the resources to fight back (and win) through the courts - the kids? They will grow up to be cynical anarchists.

Anonymous said...

The BC Liberals have always counted on that group of voters who are narrow-minded and greedy enough to say "my kids have finished school" (or they have none) "so why should my taxes go towards student welfare?". They've done the math on this one, Paul, and it all adds up for them. The move will alienate only a very few students and families directly affected. As for alienating teachers I believe the Liberals get a calculated boost by doing so, for similar ideological reasons that they and too many of their supporters share. So as far as Campbell and his cronies go, Paul, this is actually good press.


Norm Farrell said...

I have an idea to raise $4 billion. First, we have a half price sale and sell off the new convention centre. That will raise 1/2 billion dollars alone. Then we stop the Port Mann rebuild and the new south Fraser freeway. That saves $3.5 billion. The two items together equal $4 billion.

Now, we can afford to reactivate empty hospital operating rooms, resume gaming grants to arts and community groups, restore scholarships for the best and brightest teens, etc.

If the savings are insufficient, let me adjust the salaries of crown corporation directors, politicians and their worker bees.

RossK said...


And don't forget that new roof for the Marshmallow (a.k.a. BC Place).

Stopping that alone would save us a half a billion.

Which is $500 million.

And, unless I've forgotten how to do long division since I graduated from high school, that would allow Mr. Campbell to run the Premier's Excellence awards a mere two thousand and eighty three times which would take us to, let's see....

The year 4092 A.D.

But I guess that's impossible, especially given that the new roof is 'allegedly' pretty important for those 12 extra soccer dates and an extra tractor pull and/or chili cook-off or two per year, especially when you've got all of our sickest and weakest, not to mention our best and brightest, to screw with instead.


Norm Farrell said...

Notice that Dear Leader is most comfortable with grandiose projects that cost half a billion dollars or more. The everyday, ordinary business of government he wants to eliminate. Who remembers when arterial roadways had grasses cut regularly and community minded souls planted daffodil bulbs. I recall driving on the Lions Gate Causeway or heading east on Highway 1 in spring time to a wonderful show of yellow blooms.

When Dear Leader arrived, he made sure all those little things were stopped. He needed to grind our noses in something not appealing.

RossK said...


I'm not sure if Mr. Willcocks would agree with me here, but I think that Mr. Campbell actually sees the current fiscal situation as a game-chaning opportunity to shrink the 'ordinary business of government'.

In other words, I think that the Premier's track record indicates that he truly believes in, and adheres to, the Norquist Doctrine (a.k.a Bathtub Drowning).


paul said...

I would agree. Creating a crisis is an effective way to force change.
Excuse the long comment, but here is a chunk from a Sun column I did about a month after the 2001 election that seems relevant.

Taking their cue from a Kiwi, the Liberals have embarked on a tidal wave of change so mighty that opponents won't be able to keep their heads above water.
Wed Jun 20 2001
VICTORIA - Anyone who thinks the Liberals' legislated end to the health labour disruptions is dramatic has no idea what's ahead from this government. The Liberals plan to go very far, very fast, at a pace that overwhelms opponents and keeps reform moving at a crisis-drive pace.
Premier Gordon Campbell hasn't developed some new strategy. The Liberals are borrowing heavily from the approach of Ralph Klein. Like the Alberta Conservatives, they are turning to lessons from Sir Roger Douglas, the hard-line finance minister who drove the transformation of New Zealand in the mid-1980s.
If you want a preview of the few years, turn to Mr. Douglas' book Unfinished Business, popular in Liberal circles.
The real insight into the Liberals' tactics comes in Chapter 10, which offers a battle plan for small-government reformers. Douglas outlines 10 principles for successfully pushing through radical change in a way that overwhelms opponents.
Campbell and company have proved to be quick learners. Mr. Douglas's first principle is that for quality policies, you need quality people
It's the second and third principles that reveal just how wild the ride will be over the next year.
``Implement reform in quantum leaps, using large packages,'' advises Douglas in his second commandment. His third is just as dramatic: ``Speed is essential,'' he writes. ``It is almost impossible to go too fast.''
The month since the election shows the Liberals have embraced both pieces of advice. The tax cuts came earlier and went much farther than expected, especially after a campaign in which Campbell emphasized both the poor state of the province's finances and a commitment only to middle and low-income tax cuts. .
Campbell took the same approach in remaking government, moving to an immediate, radical restructuring that left few ministries untouched.
Douglas argues massive changes are needed. Incremental reforms, especially unpopular ones, leave groups within society feeling unfairly treated. If everyone is being affected at once, at least they can't complain of being singled out.
Rapid changes also allow governments to link both the positive and negative aspects of reform. Dramatic tax cuts depend on dramatic action to control costs, the government can argue, like ordering health care staff back to work.
Pragmatically, rapid change overwhelms opponents. Protesters can rally against individual government actions or policies, building a broad base of support and pooling their opposition. But confront them with a tidal wave of change and they can't respond, each group fixed on defending its own area of interest.
``Do not try to advance a step at a time,'' Mr. Douglas writes. ``Define your objectives clearly and move towards them in quantum leaps. Otherwise the interest groups will have time to mobilize and drag you down.''
The restructuring of government proved how well the approach can work. Specific changes -- the loss of a women's ministry, little status for arts and culture, a reduced role for environment -- might have sparked protests. As part of a massive restructuring, each individual change received less attention.
And it relies on a continuous rapid movement toward the government's goals. ``One you build the momentum, don't let it stop rolling,'' Douglas counsels. Governments should pile on the change, so opponents are still struggling to mobilize against the last reform while the newest one rolls out.
It's a prescription for government surgery conducted with a chainsaw or axe, not a scalpel. plan.

RossK said...

Thanks Paul--

As I predicted during the last few days of the just past election campaign, it was important to consider the possibility that Gordon Campbell v3.0 would actually turn out to be an emboldened version of the original slash and burn model emerged after his first election victory.

I think your old column and events of the last few weeks very much support that hypothesis.


Gord B said...

It is my understanding that the students were notified they won, then they were told later by letter that the scholarships were cancelled.
A Dawson creek woman and her daughter were interviewed a few days ago on CBC north radio (I think)

Anonymous said...

In Powell River we had someone receive the "award" and was congratulated by the Mayor at a council meeting. A councillor stood up and stated too bad the Liberal Gov. renegged,and you wont receive a dime, but good on ya anyways. ( not exact quote)

Anonymous said...

Ha, they went as far as cancelling the Healthy start program. DentaL AND eyecare for less fortunate families. Surprize surprize when a friend took her daughter in, the Doctor called for confirmation # for the glasses, and he was told the program is CANCELLED!!!!!!

EM (above post mine also)