VANCOUVER – Voters in British Columbia head to the polls on Tuesday as the Liberals aim to cling to power and the New Democrats try to take it back after 16 years in Opposition.Experts say the emergence of the Green party for the first time in Canadian provincial politics has injected some defining moments into an otherwise ho-hum campaign.Green Leader Andrew Weaver was in both debates during the month-long campaign with Liberal Leader Christy Clark and the NDP’s John Horgan.Here’s what else experts said about the issues that they think have resonated with voters:Hamish Telford, political science professor at the University of the Fraser Valley:“We have not had a provincial election in Canada where the Green party has played a strong third-party role. Even with Elizabeth May at the federal level she has not got into all the election debates so the Greens make this a very different election in Canada, and certainly in B.C.”Telford said the Liberals have run a “hard and cold campaign” by repeating the message of lowering taxes, controlling government spending and growing the economy. “There’s no real love in this message.“Overall, the NDP is running a better campaign than they did the last time. John Horgan has been a vigorous campaigner in the sense that he’s attacking the Liberal record.”Telford said Weaver “has presented himself as a credible alternative to the traditional parties. That’s a big stride for a new party in the system.”Telford said Canada’s first Green member of a legislature is aiming to gain at least three more seats to get more resources in the house.Jeanette Ashe, political science professor at Douglas College in New Westminster, B.C.“B.C. is historically a polarized system and the fact that the Greens have done well makes us consider whether or not we might be moving toward a three-party system,” Ashe said.“The consequence of the growing popularity of the Greens is that it’s pushing the other parties to reconsider their environmental policies.”Ashe said the Greens’ opposition to the doubling of the Kinder Morgan pipeline from Alberta to B.C., a project supported by the Liberals, forced the New Democrats to state their stance against it. “For some prospective voters, their position had been unclear.”“All the parties are trying to appear more environmentally progressive, and I think that’s just in response to the growing popularity of the Green party. The voters are demanding it.”Ashe said gender diversity is increasingly becoming a big factor for political parties around the world in an effort to represent all constituents. When one party leads the way with a diverse slate, as the federal Liberals did in the 2015 election, a “contagion effect” leads opponents to react, she said.The NDP said it has the highest number of female candidates, at 51 per cent.The Greens said 37 per cent of their candidates are women. “We recognize that this is not nearly good enough in terms of gender parity,” the party said in a statement. “This is an issue all parties face as there are systemic barriers to women running for office. We can and we must do better to support more women running with the Greens.”The Liberal party did not respond to requests for information on the percentage of female candidates on its slate, but a count of its candidates suggests 41 per cent are women.Michael Prince, political science professor at the University of Victoria:“The televised debate is clearly the single-most important political event in terms of making or breaking reputations or shifting moments. For Andrew Weaver, it was a great night. Greens were treated as a co-equal party. In the past, the Greens have been almost an afterthought.”“He’s on the side of the angels in terms of deciding not to take any corporate or union donations in the last year,” Prince said of Weaver in a province often described as the “Wild West” because of its lack of strict rules around accepting donations.“I think Andrew Weaver is morphing from a scientist, an academic, into a political performer or a politician. Their platform has matured over the first two or three elections. They’re clearly not just playing to the environmental file. They’ve got some good policy ideas on education, health care, and housing.”Richard Johnston, political science professor at the University of British Columbia:“This is an election singularly lacking in defining moments,” he said, adding the Greens have steadily gained credibility as a viable alternative to the two traditional parties.“I do have a sense that people are really tired of the premier, and that includes the business community. She doesn’t have the credibility that (former Liberal premier) Gordon Campbell did. On the other hand, there isn’t anything about the NDP that makes them somehow more credible than they have been over the decades.”“If I were a New Democrat I’d be pretty damn angry about Andrew Weaver,” Johnston said. “Weaver gets treated as a progressive, and of course there is much in the Green program that is progressive, but it is a kind of soft progressivism that does not address hard questions of poverty, inequality, the workplace, the redistributive elements of taxation, the stuff that goes to class divisions in society.”— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.
WINNIPEG – Winnipeg’s police chief says he will investigate whether more must be done to fight impaired driving in the city’s police force following the arrests of two more officers.Danny Smyth revealed the separate arrests of two off-duty officers suspected of impaired driving on Nov. 20 and Nov. 27.A fatal hit-and-run last month led to another officer, Const. Justin Holz, being charged with impaired driving and dangerous driving causing death.“We have a lot of programs available to our members here,” Smyth said Wednesday.“I’ve begun reviewing and will continue to review, with my own executive, what more can we do.”Smyth said formal charges have not been laid in the two most recent cases, so he would not name the officers involved. He said they were put on administrative leave.“I feel terrible about (the allegations.) I expect better conduct from our officers around their decisions after being out socializing.”The city police force has been under scrutiny in the past over impaired driving by off-duty officers.A public inquiry was called into the 2005 death of Crystal Taman, a mother of three who died when her car was rear-ended by an off-duty officer at a red light early one winter morning just north of Winnipeg.The inquiry heard Derek Harvey-Zenk had been out partying all night with fellow Winnipeg officers.Harvey-Zenk originally faced charges that included impaired driving causing death and refusing a breathalyzer. He was convicted of lesser charges under a plea deal and sentenced to house arrest.The inquiry heard that the investigation by the East St. Paul police force was botched and that the Winnipeg bedroom community’s police chief had previously worked with Harvey-Zenk.Smyth said views on drinking and driving have changed, both within the force and among the general public, since Taman’s death.He said the police force has voluntary programs to help officers who have a substance abuse problem, as well as mandatory measures that can be taken if an officer’s work is affected.Smyth also said, while it’s impossible to completely control what officers do after they leave work, he has let his 1,400 members know impaired driving is not acceptable.“I expect high conduct from our officers.”
Now in its twelfth year, the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign has transformed the holiday season into a time of giving thanks by raising awareness and funds for the ongoing battle to end childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.Marlo Thomas, National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, helps kick off St. Jude Thanks and GivingThe campaign unites celebrities, media, retail and corporate partners in asking consumers to donate while they shop and support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.What began as a holiday-focused fundraising effort by St. Jude has now grown into an annual tradition that has raised more than $588 million. These funds support St. Jude’s mission to provide cutting-edge treatment and pursue visionary research.“We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support we receive year after year during the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign,” said Marlo Thomas, National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Throughout the holiday season people open their hearts to the children of St. Jude and as a result, our doctors and scientists can continue their groundbreaking research and pioneering procedures that help us achieve our landmark survival rates. And, we are able to continue to ensure that no family pays St. Jude for anything – not for treatment, travel, housing or food – because we believe all a family should worry about is helping their child live.”Beginning in November and running through the end of December, consumers can support St. Jude while they shop at a variety of businesses representing a cross-section of premier brands in retail, restaurant, travel, hospitality, media and beyond. Top returning campaign partners include Kmart; Best Buy; ANN INC.; Kay Jewelers; Domino’s; Williams-Sonoma, Inc.; HomeGoods; New York & Company; AutoZone; Brooks Brothers; GNC; Dollar General; Claire’s; Carnival Cruise Line; Justice; HSN; Marshalls; Chili’s Grill & Bar; and Mazda, to name a few.“Kmart’s long history of success in supporting charitable causes is due to the generosity of our Shop Your Way members, customers and associates. We’re proud of the impact our results have made for the families of St. Jude and thankful to St. Jude for its tireless work to defeat cancer and other diseases in children. St. Jude made holiday shopping at Kmart more rewarding and we’re excited to support an organization that clearly means so much to our members,” said Alasdair James, President and Chief Member Officer at Kmart.This year, St. Jude partners are expanding and supporting the campaign in a variety of ways – from in-store fundraising to unique cross-promotions, events and online/mobile features.“It is Best Buy’s privilege to partner in the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign, by making it convenient for our customers to give back while shopping in stores and online during the holidays,” said Sharon McCollam, Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Best Buy. “By adding options to give through our credit card signature pads last year, we made it easier for customers to contribute during the checkout process. As a result of their generosity, we were able to contribute $9.7 million last year, and hope to do even more this year to support the children and families served by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”Other partner highlights include: • Several partners are offering merchandise products during the holidays to benefit St. Jude including Ann Taylor; Brooks Brothers; HomeGoods; HSN; Kmart; New York & Company; The Limited; TUMI; Westfield; Williams-Sonoma, Inc. and their portfolio of brands; to name a few. • Kay Jewelers will once again offer its popular plush animals benefitting St. Jude, this year featuring Travis and Trey. • AutoZone, returning for its 10th year as a St. Jude Thanks and Giving partner, will continue to ask consumers to donate at checkout via the credit pad. • Customers will be able to donate through a fully integrated online shopping cart at Best Buy, Ann Taylor, LOFT, Claire’s and ICING. In addition, customers will now be able to donate via the pin pad at the register at GameStop, The Limited, Crazy8 and Janie and Jack locations nationwide. • eBay is giving its customers the opportunity to give at checkout during the week of December 7. During this time, customers can also bid on celebrity items that will benefit St. Jude. • Domino’s will ask consumers to donate to St. Jude via walk-up, telephone, online and mobile orders, as well as the opportunity to purchase a St. Jude Meal Deal during the campaign timeframe. For each Meal Deal purchased, Domino’s will donate $1 to St. Jude. • Stage Stores and St. Jude will be featured on the Balancing Act on Lifetime TV this holiday season. • Party City has joined the campaign this year and customers can make a donation at nearly 600 stores nationwide or donate online during checkout.The campaign receives a boost of awareness from national theatre partners including Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Theatres, Cinemark USA, Carmike Cinemas, Malco Theatres, and many others that showcase a star-studded St. Jude Thanks and Giving trailer. AccentHealth, America’s leading waiting room media network, also shows the St. Jude PSA in physician offices around the country. In addition, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines provide support via in-flight video promotion, inclusion in their in-flight magazines and social media.“During one of the busiest times of the year, our partners make supporting the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital an integral part of their holiday strategy,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Throughout the campaign we ask people to ‘Give thanks,’ and we are truly thankful for our partners, their employees, customers and St. Jude supporters who enable us to continue working until we reach the day when no child dies from cancer.”