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TALES OF PROP REP HORROR #11 – “Czech the Commies at the Door”

In 1989, the Soviet Union-led eastern bloc crumbled. The Iron Curtain fell, and Communist-dominated countries started racing for democracy. In the Czech Republic, they call it the “Velvet Revolution,” and it led to their first democratic elections in 44 years in 1990.

Unfortunately for the Czechs, they embraced proportional representation. And in 2017, the Communists were back – in a big way.

Andrej Babis’s Ano Party tried for nine months to build a governing coalition in the Czech parliament, but got nowhere. Until he made a deal with the usually-shunned Communist party.

As the Financial Times reported, “[The Communists’] deal with Mr Babis brings them the closest they have been to power since their political forebears were ousted in the 1989 Velvet Revolution — a prospect that divides opinion in the Czech Republic. Last month, protests against the proposed alliance took place in several cities.”

So Babis gets power, and the Communists get a prime minister committed to backing some of their policies, including taxing churches. Oh, and keep an eye out on the Czechs’ interaction with the rest of the world – the Communists especially hate NATO.

Yet another reason to Stop Prop Rep! www.icba.ca/stopproprep

Pass this post on to your friends and family – David Eby’s draconian, anti-free speech rules won’t allow us to advertise it, but individuals can spread it as much as they like. Let’s make sure every British Columbian sees it.

And stay tuned for more “Tales of Prop Rep Horror”…

Tales of Prop Rep Horror #10 – “Second Place Prime Minister”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #9 – “No Kings in North(-ern Ireland)”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #8 – “How Swede It Isn’t”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #7 – “Rise of the Dictators”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #6 – “Indonesian Indecency”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #5 – “Beware the Greeks!”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #4 – “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! NO! NO! NO!”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #3 – “From Russia With Blood”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #2 – “The Pain in Spain”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #1 – “The Puzzle of Brussels”

NEWS RELEASE: ICBA Disappointed by Elections BC Ad Gag

BURNABY, B.C. – A proposed advertisement explaining the status of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association’s (ICBA) court case against the proportional representation referendum process has been gagged by Elections BC, following the adoption of Attorney General David Eby’s draconian referendum rules by the government earlier this year.

“This is another example of the Government’s heavy-handed approach in restricting free speech for five full months before voting ends – compared to 60 days for a general election, and 30 days for a local election,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA president. “Now they’re not just banning people from publicizing positions on prop rep, they’re stopping people from even talking about the glaring flaws in the process and matters before the courts.”

Before submitting the ad to Elections BC, ICBA had it reviewed by legal counsel from two different law firms, both of whom said the ad simply explains ICBA’s legal proceeding and did not promote or oppose any referendum result. This is well within the new limitations imposed by the government since the ad does not recommend that people vote in any particular way.

Out of an abundance of caution – with fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars that Elections BC could impose, and the rules clearly tilted toward a yes vote on prop rep – ICBA sent the ad and the legal advice to Elections BC to ensure it was good to run.

But Elections BC ignored the independent legal advice and ruled ICBA would be breaking the law if the ad was published.

“A government should act in good faith as a neutral arbiter providing British Columbians with a clear choice, requiring a clear majority of voters to support this significant change in our democracy,” said Gardner. “Rather than encourage debate they have limited the ability of voters to participate, severely restricted free speech, rushed the vote, lowered the threshold for approval and have given voters a set of extremely confusing and complicated choices.”

Said Gardner, “This is an affront to our democracy and diminishes our politics – British Columbians deserve better from this government,”

The proposed advertisement can be viewed HERE.

TRAINING THURSDAY: Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project is one of the world’s most popular project management software packages, and we want to teach you to use it! Our next two-day Microsoft Project workshop takes place in Burnaby on October 15-16, followed by an advanced course on November 22.

Here are the skills you’ll learn in the introductory course:

  • Understanding Views, Screen Tips, Ribbon, and the Quick Access toolbar;
  • Create, edit and outline a task list, establish dependencies by linking tasks
  • Add and assign resources, work with project calendars, and enter project costs
  • Print project information and customize reports
  • Apply task type settings, set task constraints
  • Apply preset and custom contours, edit resource assignments and set and modify a baseline
  • Track and report on an active project and compare to baseline
  • Sort, filter, and group views
  • Format views and the Gantt chart
  • Customize Microsoft project elements including tables, views, and reports
  • Use sample templates, create custom templates, and use the organizer to manage project elements
  • Display progress lines, apply earned value tables, and conduct pert analysis
  • Create master projects, insert and work with subprojects, and create links to external tasks
  • Running multiple projects with a common resource pool

You’ll earn 2 Gold Seal Credits and 15 Group A CPD Points from BC Housing at this workshop! We are also holding this course in Victoria on November 28 to 29. No need to bring your own laptop; the computers and manuals are all provided!

You can register for these or any of our other courses at www.icba.ca/courses.

Tales of Prop Rep Horror #10 – “Second Place Prime Minister”

Iceland is a trendy tourism hotspot these days, but its governance should send folks running.

After the 2016 election, it took more than two months for the Independence Party, the Reform Party and Bright Future to negotiate a coalition deal, giving their new government a bare majority – 32 of 63 seats.

Not surprisingly, this government lasted barely a year – it fell when it was revealed that the father of Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson had composed a recommendation letter on behalf of a convicted pedophile.

The country was plunged into an election in October 2017. The Independence Party again received the most votes, but the Left-Green Party was asked to form a government. Two more months of backroom deals resulted in a three-party coalition, with the Prime Minister coming from the second place Left-Greens.

Iceland’s prop rep system has forced elections in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Three elections in five years…

Yet another reason to Stop Prop Rep! www.icba.ca/stopproprep

Pass this post on to your friends and family – David Eby’s draconian, anti-free speech rules won’t allow us to advertise it, but individuals can spread it as much as they like. Let’s make sure every British Columbian sees it.

And stay tuned for more “Tales of Prop Rep Horror”…

Tales of Prop Rep Horror #9 – “No Kings in North(-ern Ireland)”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #8 – “How Swede It Isn’t”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #7 – “Rise of the Dictators”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #6 – “Indonesian Indecency”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #5 – “Beware the Greeks!”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #4 – “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! NO! NO! NO!”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #3 – “From Russia With Blood”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #2 – “The Pain in Spain”
Tales of Prop Rep Horror #1 – “The Puzzle of Brussels”

NEWS RELEASE: Trade Deal, LNG Canada Investment Good News – But Storm Clouds Linger

BURNABY, B.C.—British Columbia construction and resource development companies are celebrating two pieces of good economic news – the impending announcement that LNG Canada will go forward, and last night’s trade deal between Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

“What we have just seen may go down as one of the best weekends in B.C.’s economic history,” said Chris Gardner, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA). “We’re relieved the Canadian government was able to hammer out this trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico, and ecstatic that LNG Canada’s partners are poised to proceed with construction of their $40-billion project. Missing out on either the trade deal or LNG would have hurt our economy.”

ICBA has fought long and hard to get an LNG industry going in B.C. For five years, through its #Get2Yes campaign and website, ICBA has made the case that historic investments in a liquefied natural gas industry would benefit everyday British Columbians, resource workers and construction companies. ICBA also led the push to get the federal government to overturn tariffs on imported steel components needed to build the LNG facility.

“B.C. is on the brink of landing the largest private sector investment in Canadian history. This project will spin off thousands of jobs across the province and pour billions into public services,” said Gardner. “The goal now is to ensure that LNG Canada is not an outlier – we need more major projects to attract the capital and develop the talent we need to support our long-term prosperity.”

The new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) averted disaster for B.C. businesses. A huge swath of the B.C. economy depends on trade with the U.S., including construction.

“Canada, a resource-based economy, depends on international trade for its prosperity,” said Gardner. “While USMCA may not be perfect, it protects our access to our largest trading partner, which just happens to be the biggest economy in the world.”

LNG and the USAMC are huge steps forward for the B.C. economy, but there are still major issues facing the province, including high taxes, ever-growing red tape, a lack of competitiveness and uncertainty over the major project approval process.

“While we’re celebrating today, our advocacy work goes on,” said Gardner. “High taxes and red tape have put B.C. in a competitive disadvantage with both other provinces and the U.S. We need all levels of government to address that imbalance immediately.”

TRAINING THURSDAY: Construction Law

Do you understand contract law and how it relates to construction? Do you know how the BC Builders Lien Act works, and how to resolve construction disputes and avoid litigation? If not, we have just the course for you! 

Our Construction Law workshop takes place over two days; here’s what covered:

  • The basic concepts of contract law
  • CCA, CCDC and other contracts
  • Legal terms used in contracts
  • Bidding process and contractual obligations
  • Specifications, drawings and the contractual hierarchy
  • Contractual relationships between contractor and sub-contractor 
  • Compiling and submitting proper extras and claims
  • Defining back charges and how to avoid them
  • Avoiding construction disputes and claims from the site level
  • Writing RFIs and Change Orders 
  • The dispute resolution process
  • The Builder’s Lien Act
  • The Small Claims process
  • Environmental law
  • Safety legislation and regulations

You’ll also earn 28 Group B CPD Points from BC Housing, and 5 Gold Seal Credits. Our next session is in Prince George on October 22 to 23, followed by November 8 to 9 in Burnaby. To register, visit www.icba.ca/courses.

Did you know that you can receive funding for your employee training through the B.C. Employer Training Grant? Starting October 1, you can apply to have the training costs covered up to 100 percent, depending on the skills training required. For more information, visit www.workbc.ca/Employer-Resources/BC-Employer-Training-Grant.aspx. Or contact our training department at training@icba.ca; we would be happy to help!