Friday, July 22, 2011

Kayak adventure a paddle away

Here are some of the experience available to you in British Columbia, if you are adventurous, and if you have a kayak. I'm selling the Perception Avatar, 15.5 inch sea kayak with all its accessories, for $1,000 (BMW, and BMW roof rack extra). Please email me if you are interested:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Winds of Change

A painting from my Windmills of Doom series.

Winds of Change
30x48 inches

Monday, July 11, 2011

Half a million dollar men (and women)

One of the things that makes the CEO of BC Ferries, David Hahn, stand out from the rest of the Crown Corporation CEOs is that he makes more than any other. In fact, he is the highest paid bureaucrat in the public sector.

Mr. Hahn is the million dollar man - he made 1.0 million in salary and perks in (fiscal year) 2011, $500,000 in salary, $161,563 in an annual bonus, $237,172 long term incentive, and about $98,464 in pension contribution.

Taxpayers and ferry users are forced to fund a monopoly ferry service and as a result, are forced to fund this salary and pension.

But there are plenty of half and quarter million dollar men (and a couple of women) in the bureaucracy we are forced to fund as well.

For example, in (fiscal year) 2010, BC Hydro's CEO Bob Elton made $749,213 in total salary and bonuses, Pavco CEO Warren Buckley made $560,307, ICBC CEO Jon Schubert made $507,306 and BCSC CEO Brenda Leong made $499,251.

These are just a few examples but there are about 30 crown corporations in B.C. They employ about 22,000 people and if we add up all the wages paid to bureaucrats we get an idea of how much of a burden these Crown Corporations create. In B.C., the wage burden went up from about $650 million to about $1 billion between 1990 and 1997, then stayed fairly steady until 2008, when it took off to $1.6 billion.

We tend to focus on a single person, but in reality, we face a massive wage bill from Crown Corporations. Crown Corporations don't face the discipline of a competitive marketplace, so wages go nowhere but up. It's time to get government out of the business of providing services better provided by the private sector.  Taxes just can't go any higher to pay for a system that is unaccountable and out of control.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Carbon taxes are a job-killing, inefficient failure

Did you have a Happy Carbon Tax Day?

We all probably had a happy Canada Day on July 1, but July 1 was also the day the carbon tax went up. B.C.'s not-so-happy Carbon Tax Day is the day you get to pay more for gasoline, natural gas and home heating fuel.
Why? To pay for your climate crimes.

Read my whole article in the Province newspaper here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cabin Fever

My art website has been down for a while so I've been asked to post some of my paintings here.

This one is called Cabin Fever

45x27 inches, oil on canvas

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A problem with pragmatism

At an event the other night, I spoke to a person who proclaimed he had no ideology. I asked him what principles he used to guide his life's decisions. He fumbled a bit at the question but recovered and said, "I do whatever works at that moment."

I said, "Oh, you're a pragmatist."

He puffed himself up and said yes. He then went on to wax at great length about how pragmatism was our reality, and it was a good thing too. He told me he travelled a lot, had seen things, and that's why he was a pragmatist. As my eyebrows rose higher and higher, he explained he'd been to places and had seen people living in a desperate state. He seemed to conclude that pragmatism, practised here, and not there (where ever there was) was the reason we lived well and they (whoever they were) didn't.

I walked away from that conversation depressed, wondering how an educated person could let pragmatism muddle his thinking so badly. (For anyone who wants to understand why some countries are rich and others poor, they might want to start with P.J. O'Rourke's book 'Eat the Rich.')

A while later, I sat next to someone who was a big fan of Ayn Rand and I concluded maybe there is hope after all.

Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged, the second most influential book ever written according to the Library of Congress, says pragmatism is the opposite of principles. Pragmatism is action resulting from a short-term impulse and for a pragmatist, facts are derived from group consensus. Principles, in contrast, are general truths that other truths depend upon and most important, principles are based on the facts of reality.

If someone says or does whatever is convenient at that moment and doesn't think independently for himself is it really such a big problem? 

According to Rand, an independent thinker does not sacrifice his beliefs for a momentary benefit and stays focused on the facts of reality; he sticks to his principles. For the pragmatist, conformity is more important than living in reality.

Although it might seem easier to cling parasitically to the beliefs of other people and say whatever, whenever convenient, the pragmatist is depending on other people to guide his life. The inability or unwillingness to distinguish between fantasy and reality leaves a person floating around in a mass of muddled delusions.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Global Warnings - Sea Level Rise?

When I spoke at the BC Conservative Leadership conference a while back, I said the way to counter climate alarmism was to simply point out the facts of reality. The sea level scare is a good example of what to do.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says sea level will rise by five inches over the next 100 years. 

Is that really a cataclysmic increase as many global warmists alarmingly claim?

Well, over the past 150 years, the sea level rose by about five inches.

Ask your grandfather which were the most significant events over the past century. He's likely to say two world wars, the cold war, and the advance of technology. He's very unlikely to say the sea level rose by five inches. 

It's time to turn down the alarmist volume and the facts will do just that.