Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ballots Are Cheaper Than Bullets

Like a lot of other people, I'm watching the federal political scene with interest.  It's no secret that the possibility of a federal election was very real, especially since the Conservatives are in a place where they can win a majority.  I'm mostly fascinated by what I heard on call-in shows yesterday.  Talk show hosts are stirring up the masses by asking if they really want an election.  The masses are responding appropriately by complaining about the cost of yet another election.

A federal election will cost taxpayers approx. 300 million dollars. (I got that number from a talk show host so it may or may not be accurate...)  That's a lot of money that could be used in other places for things that on the surface seem to be much more important than another election....  Until you think about it in broader terms.

Hosni Mubarak, former President and dictator of Egypt ruled for 30 years with no elections.  You could argue that the nation saved 300 million dollars every time they didn't vote but that didn't happen.  Instead, Mr. Mubarak was 're-directing' government revenues into his own offshore accounts. 

Muammar Gaddafi, president of Libya according to those closest to him is a terrorist, murderer and thief.  As I write this, he is waging on war on his own people who dare to demonstrate in their desperate quest for democracy.  They haven't spent money on elections in years and blood literally is being spilled on the streets to ensure there aren't any for a long time to come.  The government is saving millions and millions of taxpayer dollars by not having elections but spending millions on bombs and bullets.  Bullets might be cheaper than ballots in the short term, but in the long run democracy is a much better deal.

Over the past almost 4 years, I've attended the Legislature every day that it has been in session.  At times democracy is loud and obnoxious.  At times it is painfully slow and tedious. (It's like watching paint dry, except that you know within 24 hours, the pain will actually be dry ....) At other times it is a study in how to change a province or nation without a single shot being fired.

4 Elections in 7 years feels like a lot but give me a nation where I am free to choose and a system that allows me to choose without a shot being fired.  Men have died, are dying and will die in the pursuit of freedom and the right to choose our own destiny through a secret ballot.  Freedom is always worth the sacrifice.  In the end, ballots are much cheaper than bullets. 

In spite of it's messy dysfunctions, LONG LIVE DEMOCRACY!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Standing With You

I was speaking with the Missions Coordinator of a partner church today.  As we were talking, he commented that I was a part of them and they were a part of what I am doing here in Victoria.  He said 'There are 3000 people standing with you Tim.  We believe in you.' 

While I love what I do and am very excited about the many ways in which the ministry is expanding and growing, I needed to hear that today.  When I started adding up the many who stand with us either directly or indirectly through the financial and prayer support that their church provides, there are probably over 8000 people who are involved with us in some way.  It's been an exciting realization.  It's incredibly humbling, inspiring and frankly mind boggling to me.  I feel a bit like Elisha's prophet who was thinking that he and Elijah were all on their own until God opened his eyes and he saw the armies of God standing by to protect and go to battle on his behalf (2 Kings 6). 

I'm feeling inspired, strengthened and renewed because of what my friend shared with me today.  You are reading this blog or email post today because you are one of the many who stand with us.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!  We are serving, encouraging and blessing leaders together! 

A New Beginning

I attended the Swearing In Ceremony for Premier Christy Clark and the new Cabinet today.  It's always a privilege to attend special events like this and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be there.

Today was unique in many ways.  While I've attended previous swearing in ceremonies, this felt more like the swearing in of a new government.  It's very obvious that there is a new leader at the helm and that she is intent on making her mark.  That shows up in the smaller cabinet with some new people in the mix.  While I was sad to see some members not return, I was very excited to see my friend the now Hon. Dr. Terry Lake be appointed to the Ministry of the Environment.  I've known Minister Lake for some time and am thrilled to see him named to Cabinet. 

The Lt. Governor brings a very personal touch and warmth to ceremonies like this.  He did it again this afternoon with a few memorable remarks that were both full of wisdom and marked with his unique humour.

The Premier spoke today of a new beginning and a new relationship between the government and the citizens of BC.  She spoke of families becoming the key component in decision making and she spoke of a fresh commitment to education.  These are significant and honorable goals and would mark a dramatic change in the course and direction of the government.  She will need tremendous wisdom and courage to make it happen.

Our new Premier will need the prayers and encouragement of the many who partner with Leading Influence Ministries as well.  I'm proud to say that I'm confident that we can do our part to deliver those things to her and her government.  We will do it through providing onsite pastoral care to members of the Legislature on both sides of the House.  We will do it through continuing to champion a prayer movement that encourages and resources daily prayer for MLA's.  We will do it by informing and encouraging our partners to be a blessing to their MLA's at a local level.

Premier Christy Clark Announces New Cabinet

Premier Christy Clark announces cabinet

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark today announced a new, smaller cabinet focused on putting families first, creating jobs and changing the way British Columbians engage with their government.

“Our new cabinet will reflect the priorities of British Columbians and put families at the centre of all our decision-making,” said Premier Clark. “Together, we will focus on creating jobs and building a strong economy because that is the single most important thing we can do to support families and ensure we can invest in critical services like health and education. This is a team that will work hard to ensure that prosperity and opportunity extend to every region of our province.”

The new cabinet is made up of 17 ministers plus the premier, reduced from the previous total of 24. This includes the new Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, which will bring together many of the functions in government focused on job creation under a single ministry. As well, three new cabinet committees reflect the priorities of government – the Committee on Families First; the Committee on Jobs and Economic Growth; and the Committee on Open Government and Engagement.

Responsibility for colleges and universities has been recombined under the Ministry of Advanced Education; responsibility for mining has been returned to the Ministry of Energy and Mines; Labour and Citizen Services have been combined; and Forests and Lands has been combined with Natural Resource Operations.

The new cabinet appointed and sworn into office by the Lieutenant-Governor in a ceremony today is:

  Premier – Hon. Christy Clark
· Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance – Hon. Kevin Falcon
· Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation – Hon. Mary Polak
· Minister of Advanced Education – Hon. Naomi Yamamoto
· Minister of Agriculture – Hon. Don McRae
· Attorney General – Hon. Barry Penner
· Minister of Children and Family Development – Hon. Mary McNeil
· Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development – Hon. Ida Chong
· Minister of Education – Hon. George Abbott
· Minister of Energy and Mines (minister responsible for Housing) – Hon. Rich Coleman
· Minister of Environment – Hon. Terry Lake
· Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations – Hon. Steve Thomson
· Minister of Health – Hon. Michael de Jong
· Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation – Hon. Pat Bell
· Minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government – Hon. Stephanie Cadieux
· Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General – Hon. Shirley Bond
· Minister of Social Development (minister responsible for multiculturalism) – Hon. Harry Bloy
· Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure – Hon. Blair Lekstrom

Additionally, 10 MLAs have been named as parliamentary secretaries, and will work with ministers to focus on key initiatives of government.

Rich Coleman will serve as the Government House Leader and Terry Lake will be the deputy Government House Leader. Ben Stewart will be the Government whip.

“We want British Columbians to have the opportunity to be more engaged with government decision-making,” said Premier Clark. “We will work with citizens to find solutions to problems, set priorities openly and explain why we make the decisions we do. British Columbia is starting from a position of strength. It is up to us to build on this strength for the betterment of families across our province.”