Category Archives: Politics

Dear RCMP, Please investigate W. Brett Wilson for offering to pay BC NDP MLAs to cross the floor

Deputy Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr
Commanding Officer
BC RCMP
14200 Green Timbers Way
Surrey BC V3T 6P3

2018 May 20

Dear Madam,

Please investigate W. Brett Wilson for offering to pay BC NDP MLAs to cross the floor

On or about 2018 May 19, Calgary, Alberta-based businessmen W. Brett Wilson tweeted the following (please see attachment for the complete tweet)1)https://twitter.com/WBrettWilson/status/997836348739354624 (archived: http://archive.is/awL6D):

Idea – am thinking we should just pay a couple of folks from #PremierHorgan @NDP teamto cross the floor & give power back to the people of #BritishColumbia

I am in for $10,000. Should almost be enough eh? DM me to arrange.

This is a plain and obvious conspiracy to violate Section 119 of the Criminal Code, which states:

Bribery of judicial officers, etc.
119 (1) Every one is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years who

(a) being the holder of a judicial office, or being a member of Parliament or of the legislature of a province, directly or indirectly, corruptly accepts, obtains, agrees to accept or attempts to obtain, for themselves or another person, any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by them in their official capacity, or

(b) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives or offers to a person mentioned in paragraph (a), or to anyone for the benefit of that person, any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by that person in their official capacity.

I humbly request you to investigate Mr. Wilson’s tweet and take appropriate actions to bring Mr. Wilson to justice.

Thank you,

Rohana Rezel

References   [ + ]

1. https://twitter.com/WBrettWilson/status/997836348739354624 (archived: http://archive.is/awL6D)

Complaint against Sutton West Coast over the disruption of AG David Eby’s town hall

I’ve just filed a complaint against Sutton West Coast over the part they played in disrupting BC Attorney General David Eby’s town hall.

Here’s the full text of my complaint:

  1. Sutton Group West Coast Realty (“Sutton West Coast”) took out a full page advertisement on Vancouver Courier newspaper published on or about 2018 April 28 urging supporters to disrupt Attorney General David Eby’s planned town hall with his constituents.
  2. This advertisement, and similar call by BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, forced Mr. Eby to cancel the event owing to security reasons.
  3. The wording of the call for action in Sutton West Coast’s advertisement was “Regardless of whether or not the Hall is full, demonstrate your opposition to these taxes and make your voice heard by attending:” followed by details of Mr. Eby’ town hall. The “Regardless of whether or not the Hall is full” was underlined in the original advertisement.
  4. Similarly, Mr. Wilkinson, urged his supporters to protest at Mr. Eby’s town hall “whether you have a ticket or not”.
  5. An elected MLA has a duty to meet with his or her constituents. In turn, the constituents have a right to meet their MLA. Sutton West Coast’s advertisement, singularly or in conjunction with Mr. Wilkinson’s letter, amounts to a deliberate disruption of the democratic process. It deprives the constituents of their democratic rights, and prevents an elected official from carrying out their democratic duties.
  6. Section 35(2) of the Real Estate Services Act states :
    A licensee commits conduct unbecoming a licensee if the licensee engages in conduct that, in the judgment of a discipline committee,
    (a) is contrary to the best interests of the public,

    (b) undermines public confidence in the real estate industry, or

    (c) brings the real estate industry into disrepute.
  7. It is plain and obvious that Sutton West Coast has violated Section 35(2) of the Real Estate Service Act as inciting mobs to sabotage a democratic process is contrary to the best interests of the public, undermines public confidence in the real estate industry, and brings the real estate industry into disrepute.
  8. Candice Dyer is named as the managing broker of Sutton West Coast.
  9. Section 6 (2) of the Act states:
    A managing broker licensed in relation to a brokerage acts for the brokerage for all purposes under this Act, and is responsible for

    (c) the control and conduct of the brokerage’s real estate business, including supervision of the associate brokers and representatives who are licensed in relation to the brokerage.
  10. Therefore, Ms. Dyer is named as the licensee against whom the complaint is made.

Letter to Andrew Wilkinson: Please don’t incite violence against political opponents

Andrew Wilkinson, MLA
Leader of the Official Opposition
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4

2018 May 01

Please don’t incite violence against political opponents

Dear Mr. Wilkinson,

I’m greatly alarmed to learn that you have recently incited mob violence against British Columbia Attorney General David Eby, forcing him to cancel a planned town hall on the speculation tax. Your conduct is both undemocratic, and unbecoming of a person of your intellect, calibre and stature.

Fom Mussolini to Mugabe, intimidating one’s political opponents through violence is a depraved tactic only the most despotic dictators have engaged in. And history has shown us that once politicians divide societies by means of violent polarization, they send those societies down a path of certain ruin. Is that what you want for British Columbia?

While I’m aware that you have made a career of representing big tobacco1)https://thinkpol.ca/2018/02/05/bc-liberal-leader-batted-big-tobacco-bc/ and corrupt businessmen from China2)https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/new-bc-liberal-candidate-has-ties-to-shuttered-pulp-mill/article8798196/ against BC, I want to believe that you did so for the money, and not out of some deep rooted hatred towards your fellow British Columbians.

I, like you, am an immigrant to Canada. I learned while studying for my citizenship test that the role of the opposition in a parliamentary democracy is to “peacefully oppose or try to improve government proposals.”3)https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/discover-canada/read-online/federal-elections.html(Emphasis Mine.)

A town hall is one of the most inclusive forms of democratic discourse. By inciting mobs to violently disrupt a town hall, not only are you compromising the safety and security of an elected official and civilians who wish to engage with him, you’re also undermining our democratic institutions.

I urge you: stop. Stop inciting violence. Take the honourable path and restore civility by apologizing to Mr. Eby and asking your supporters to refrain from violence.

Thank you,

Rohana Rezel

References   [ + ]

1. https://thinkpol.ca/2018/02/05/bc-liberal-leader-batted-big-tobacco-bc/
2. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/new-bc-liberal-candidate-has-ties-to-shuttered-pulp-mill/article8798196/
3. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/discover-canada/read-online/federal-elections.html

City of Vancouver doesn’t think Airbnb’s influence on the City Hall is a matter of public interest

Would attempts by a multi-billion dollar corporation to influence city administration be considered a matter of public interest?

City of Vancouver does not think so.

On November 3, 2017, I sent the following freedom of information request to the Freedom of Information office of the City of Vancouver by email:

Copies of all documents, including emails, memos, briefing notes, powerpoint presentations, manuals, and Q&As containing the words “AIRBNB” or “ALEX DAGG” or “SHORT TERM RENTAL” or “PUBLIC HEARING” for the time period Sep 1, 2017 to Oct 30, 2017.

Following correspondence from the FOI office, on November 10, 2017, the FOI request was modified as follows:

Copies of all documents including emails, memos, briefing notes, power point presentations, manuals, and Q&A’s containing the words “AIRBNB” or “ALEX DAGG” or “SHORT TERM RENTAL” or “PUBLIC HEARING” from September 1, 2017 to October 30, 2017 to or from Mayor Robertson, Kaye Krishna, and Janice MacKenzie.

On November 23, 2017, the FOI office assessed a fee of $690 to fulfill the request.

On November 30, 2017, I requested a fee waiver on the grounds that the information sought was a matter of public interest and public safety, as per Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, ss. 75(1), 75(5)(b) and BC Housing (Re), 2014 BCIPC 45:

I wish request a fee waiver on the grounds of public interest .

Has the subject matter been a matter of recent public debate?
Yes. The City of Vancouver’s inaction on the Airbnb file, and the new bylaws, have been widely publicized in the media and debated in forums.

Does the subject of the records relate directly to the environment, public health or safety?
Yes. The public may be at risk of various property crimes and fraud associated with Airbnb.

Would dissemination of the information yield a public benefit by
– disclosing an environmental, public health or safety concern
– contributing meaningfully to the development or understanding of an important environmental, health, or safety issue, or
– assisting public understanding of an important policy, law, program, or service?

Yes. Short term rentals are a public safety concern. Politicians being influenced by large corporations is a public safety concern. Releasing the information requested will contribute contributing meaningfully to the development or understanding of the issue. Given the allegations of City officials’ involvement with Airbnb, it would assist public understanding of an important policy, law, program, or service.

Do the records show how the public body is allocating financial or other resources?
Yes.

Is your primary purpose to disseminate information in a way that could reasonably be expected to benefit the public, or to serve a private interest?
My objective of obtaining this information is to release it on my blog.

Are you able to disseminate the information to the public?
I will be releasing the information I receive on my blog at (https://rezel.ca). I have significant online presence and I’m able to use that to disseminate the information.

On December 1, 2017, the FOI office denied my fee waiver request without any explanation simply stating

Rohana, thank you for your feedback below. I am afraid we are unable to waive the fee based on public interest or public safety. I am going to suggest that you narrow your request in order to avoid a fee.

Today, I wrote to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia asking a for a review of the fee request denial.

[Photo Credit: Paul Krueger]

Letter to Mayor and Council: A shadow has been cast over the proposed Airbnb bylaws

Dear Mayor and Council,

Today, you will be voting on a new set of proposed bylaws, which, if passed, would make Airbnb and other short term rentals legal in Vancouver. The move to legalize short term rentals in the city have been spearheaded by Kaye Krishna, General manager of Development, Buildings, and Licensing.

Ms. Krishna served as a principal at the New York City-based lobbying company HR&A Advisors between October 2013 and her appointment to the City of Vancouver post. It has been recently revealed that during Ms. Krishna’s time with HR&A, Airbnb commissioned HR&A to produce three reports, in 2013, 2014 and 2015, highlighting Airbnb’s positive contributions to New York City.

It has also been recently revealed that sections of Ms. Krishna’s report to the Vancouver City Council bore a striking resemblance to the content found in Airbnb-commissioned reports produced by her former company.

There have also been calls for Ms. Krishna’s resignation over her perceived reluctance to enforce the existing bylaws against short term rentals.

I firmly believe that a shadow has been cast over the proposed bylaws you will be voting on today. For that reason, I urge you to postpone the vote on these bylaws until a thorough investigation is carried out into the issues raised above.

Your decision today will shape the Vancouver of tomorrow. It could be one where individuals, families and communities thrive. It could also end up being a mere playground for the rich where those who work and contribute to the city are no longer able to afford to live in the city.

You are duty bound to get the new bylaws right. Otherwise, you risk hurting the hundreds of thousands of citizens of our city who elected you and to whom you are answerable.

Thank you,
Rohana Rezel

Letter to City of Vancouver: Accepting Property Use Complaints over Twitter

To:
Mayor Gregor Robertson
Connie Pavone, Executive Assistant to the Mayor’s Chief of Staff
Jessie Adcock, CTO
Kaye Krishna, General manager of Development, Buildings, and Licensing

Dear Sir and Mesdames,

I learnt yesterday that the City of Vancouver has abruptly decided to stop accepting property use bylaw infraction complaints sent to @CityofVancouver Twitter account.

A quick analysis of @CityofVancouver Twitter account’s posting history shows that the City has been accepting such complaints over Twitter for years, but decided to stop doing so once Twitter handle @VISTRO11 started reporting illegal Airbnb hotels.

It also appears that the City continues to accept reports of other bylaw violations over Twitter, but has decided to exclude just illegal Airbnb reports.

I find your decision to be arbitrary and capricious.

There would be no @VISTRO11 were it not for your nonfeasance. By wilfully deciding to ignore reports of bylaw violations in such an arbitrary and capricious manner, you seem to be pushing the needle from nofeasance to malfeasance.

I respectfully urge you to reconsider your decision, and resume accepting property use bylaw infraction complaints sent to @CityofVancouver Twitter account.

Thank you,
Rohana Rezel

My speech at the Public Hearing on regulating short-term rentals in Vancouver

My name is Rohana Rezel, here as an individual, and I’m speaking against this motion.

Airbnb’s Alex Dagg told you that “The vast majority of our hosts are everyday people and families sharing the extra space at their homes a few nights each month to earn modest supplemental income”

But out of curiosity, I went and checked the Inside Airbnb website to see if what Alex Dagg said was true. What I found was that 68% of all units were entire homes or apartments, 58% were rented for more than 60 days a year, and 36% were commercial operators.

I can only conclude, that either Airbnb’s statements were based on alternative facts or that Alex Dagg was bearing false witness. But why?

As I was in the lounge on Tuesday, waiting for my turn to speak, I talked to people who have been evicted by their landlords to make way for illegal Airbnb hotels. We know that this is an all too common occurrence in this city.

Entire apartment buildings are being turned into airbnb hotels displacing dozens of long term tenants at a time. We heard about the nightmare on Pender Street where Anoop Majithia’s Plan A Real Estate tried to throw scores of vulnerable renters out onto the streets to make way for an Airbnb hotel. Some victims of these Airbnb evictions are living in their cars. Many others have been forced onto the streets.

The City’s own studies, and research done by many others such as Karen Sawatzky, have conclusively proven that Airbnb continues to erode our city’s chronically inadequate rental stock.

Airbnb is currently illegal. Yet, we have 6,000-plus units listed right now in this city. And in comparison, we have under 1,000 long term rental vacancies. There are six times as many short term rentals as there are long term rental vacancies. So how can 6,000 people break the law with complete impunity?

Is the City incompetent or impotent? Or is our town being run by a bunch of venal politicians?

Think about it.

It took months for the city to shut down the illegal Airbnb hotel that the developer Onni was running. Onni’s parent company is a major Vision Vancouver donor.

Airbnb is a cancer that’s destroying communities. Destroying families. Destroying lives. It takes a special kind of a sociopath to vote to legalize a company that’s wreaking such havoc in this city and many other great cities around the world. If you have even a vestige of a conscience left, you would not vote for this by-law.

I support families who are “sharing the extra space at their homes a few nights each month”.

Fun fact: they can a run a perfectly legal bed and breakfast today under the existing bylaws with a simple B&B business licence. So, we don’t need this dog and pony show to legalize what’s unethical and immoral. Instead, I urge you to send this bylaw back and strengthen the existing bylaw so it does the following:

  1. Increase the fines for illegal short term rental operators to $20,000 per infractions as they do in some cities
  2. Make even advertising units on short term rental platforms without a B&B licence an infraction
  3. Create a full-time enforcement team funded by the increased fines
  4. Take Airbnb and other short term rental operators to court to extract identities of the violators
  5. Use what’s left over from the fines collected to support affordable housing programs

Airbnb and the political class are trying to frame this as a war between homeowners and renters. But it’s not.

One thing we learnt from the speakers who spoke in support of Airbnb is that many homeowners are forced to run hotels in their own homes because of the unafforbability crisis plaguing our region. Once again, the Vision Vancouver administration in the City, and the former BC Liberal government that ran the province, to the ground some might say, are responsible for this sorry state of affairs. The reason we are in this mess is because we have allowed international money launderers and tax evaders to speculate on our housing market, with near complete impunity.

If you really want to end this problem once and for all, stop treating housing as a commodity, and start recognizing housing as a human right.

Thank you

Absentee vote projections for BC election 2017

Update: Elections BC has revised the results for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain citing a “transposition error”. The projects have been updated to reflect this change.

Here’s my attempt to project absentee vote projections for the cliffhanger ridings from last night.

Data

BC Election final results 2013

BC Election preliminary results 2017

Method

First, I calculated the absentee vote as a percentage of preliminary (non-absentee) votes.

Coquitlam-Burke Mountain – 2013
Douglas Horne Chris Wilson
LIB NDP
Prelim subtotal 8,868 6,420
s. 98 Special 24 36
s. 99 Absentee – in ED 482 439
s. 100 Absentee – out of ED 176 209
s. 101 Absentee – advance 41 53
s. 104 Voting in DEO office 149 143
s. 106 Voting by mail 26 15
Absentee subtotal 898 895
absentee as % of prelim 10.13% 13.94%

I then used that as a proxy to calculate the absentee ballots for 2017, and thus obtain the projected grand total.

Prelim 2017 Absentee as %

of prelim 2013

Projected Total 2017
Electoral District LIB NDP LIB NDP LIB NDP
Coquitlam-Burke Mountain 9,514 9,344 10.13% 13.94% 10,551 10,611
Courtenay-Comox* 10,049 10,058 11.16% 13.21% 11,171 11,386
Maple Ridge-Mission 9,723 9,843 9.77% 9.95% 10,673 10,822


According to my projections,  Coquitlam-Burke Mountain will flip from Liberal to NDP, and NDP will hold onto Courtenay-Comox and Maple Ridge-Mission with increased margins.

This will make it a 42-42 tie, with Andrew Weaver’s Green’s emerging as the ultimate kingmaker.

Courtenay-Comox is a new riding, but it is not too different to Comox Valley, so I used number for Comox Valley to project the outcome for Courtenay-Comox. Another factor to note here is that the BC Liberal Jim Benninger used to be the base commander of CFB Comox. As a result, this is the riding I’m least confident about in projecting.

I didn’t try to forecast the outcome for Richmond-Queensborough absentee count because it is a brand new riding.

[Photo Credit: Dane Low]

Screening myself for Canadian values

The Hon. Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont., M.D., M.B.A., F.R.C.S.(C)
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Canada

 

March 07, 2016

 

Screening immigrants for Canadian values

 

The greatest regret of my life is that, as an immigrant already here in Canada, I will not be able to prove myself worthy of being a Canadian by being subjected to the screening process proposed by you to ensure that I uphold and adhere to Canadian values. Thus, I have decided to screen myself on my own initiative, and, using as a benchmark values you, a paragon of Canadianness, have demonstrated throughout your long and illustrious political career.

 

Question Kellie Leitch Rohana Rezel
Do you belong to an organization that has criminally rigged every election it has taken part in? YES1 NO
Have you defended the temporary foreign worker program even as Canadians were being thrown out of work? YES2 NO
Have you ever encouraged neighbours to spy on and denounce each other to the government? YES3 NO

 

Given my abject failure on the first three Canadian values that you hold dear, I shall test myself no further. I sincerely apologize for deciding to come to Canada without understanding what it means to be a Canadian.

 

I will go and get myself deported now.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Rohana Rezel

 

References

 

  1. 2006 “In-and-out” scandal
    http://www.macleans.ca/general/conservatives-agree-to-plea-deal-in-in-and-out-scandal/


2008 Del Mastro scandal
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tory-mp-dean-del-mastro-charged-by-elections-canada-with-concealing-21000/article14547903/



2011 Robofraud Scandal
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/key-facts-in-canada-s-robocalls-controversy-1.2736659

2015 Bal Gosal vandalism scandal
https://thinkpol.ca/2015/10/17/conservatives-facing-criminal-investigation-over-election-law-violation-for-the-4th-election-in-a-row/

 

  1. As RBC was replacing Canadian workers with Temporary Foreign Workers, Kellie Leitch defended the TFW program


https://www.facebook.com/pg/drigcanada/videos/?ref=page_internal



  1. Conservatives pledge funds, tip line to combat ‘barbaric cultural practices’

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-barbaric-cultural-practices-law-1.3254118

 

RCMP must charge former PM Harper and Harper’s PMO over Duffy scandal

April 21st, 2016

Commissioner Bob Paulson

RCMP National Headquarters
Headquarters Building
73 Leikin Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0R2

Charge Former PM Harper and Harper’s PMO over Duffy Scandal

Dear Sir,

Justice Charles H. Vaillancourt verdict today on the Duffy trial is loud and clear:  Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Nigel Wright and Mr. Harper’s PMO are the real guilty ones. I refer to the following sections from the official verdict[1]:

[1090] The only ones having an elevated corrupt purpose here were the conspiring members of the — 265 — PMO and their Senate leadership collaborators who acted out, and coerced onto Senator Duffy, a political damage control “scenario” to protect the Prime Minister and his government from political scandal.

[1110] The PMO were also very active working behind the scenes to get all their ducks in a row. They attempted to get the Conservative Party of Canada to provide the funds for the repayment. When that failed, Nigel Wright stepped up and provided the funding out of his own pocket. He explained that the $90,000.00 payment did not impact his bottom line. It seemed that this sum was a mere bagatelle. Mr. Wright certainly did not view his financial contribution and payment as untoward behaviour. He took the position that he had made an agreement with Senator Duffy and he was determined to see that his political solution to the “Duffy Problem” came to pass. I think it is fair to say that the only expectation on the part of Mr. Wright was that a nasty political thorn would be removed from the body politic.

[1237] I do not find that Senator Duffy was trying to thwart or avoid cooperating with the third party auditors. I do find that Senator Duffy was more than willing to meet with Deloitte and explain his position. I find that the PMO did not want this to happen and they endeavoured to prevent such contact.

[1239] Mr. Neubauer stated that Senator Duffy’s actions were driven by deceit, manipulations and carried out in a clandestine manner representing a serious and marked standard expected of a person in Senator Duffy’s position of trust. I find that if one were to substitute the PMO, Nigel Wright and others for Senator Duffy in the aforementioned sentence that you would have a more accurate statement.

The motto of your force is “Defending the Law”. I implore you to defend the law by charging the Mr. Harper, Mr. Wright and the rest of Mr. Harper’s PMO for bribing Mr. Duffy and thwarting and independent audit as means of covering up the PMO’s deceit, manipulation and clandestine operations.

Yours faithfully,

Rohana Rezel

CC: Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister

Hon. Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Official Opposition


[1] http://www.ontariocourts.ca/en/apr21duffy.pdf