Opinion

Would You Buy a Used Car from These Libs?

Eight old dents in believability Clark's polish hasn't fixed.

By Rafe Mair, 6 Feb 2012, TheTyee.ca

Christy Clark BC Libs cartoon

Cartoon by Ingrid Rice.

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So, Adrian Dix is higher in the polls than Christy Clark.

It comes as no surprise to me, who has said from the beginning that Christy Clark did not have what it takes to lead a party, much less a province. If she were not premier, I would call her an airhead.

It's interesting to note that only one person in her caucus supported her leadership bid, and he had to be shuffled into cabinet obscurity after screwing up his first minister's post. This is an important point because under the British system, when a prime minister goes, the caucus declares who the successor will be until the next party convention. A party-wide vote, democratic though it may be, is a popularity contest, while the caucus votes the most competent successor which they are best qualified to determine. At the very least, before a leadership convention, the caucus ought to be polled and the poll made public. As expected, Premier Clark refuses to face issues by changing the subject when she is asked tough questions to her amazing plan to make B.C. the most this or that, blah, blah, blah.

Before continuing, Premier Photo-Op has refused to cancel the HST as the people demanded. In my opinion, she is very hesitant to do so for a very good reason. Clark must obey Prime Minister Stephen Harper's every wish or Harper will queer any HST concessions. Premiers used to stand up for our province, while Ms. Clark genuflects before Prime Minister Harper as she holds out her begging bowl.

Most of all, today I want to look at some of the Campbell/Clark government's most egregious sins which should stand out there for all to see.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive exercise. Rather, I'll look at the Campbell/Clark government's parsimonious use of the truth. These incidents stretching credulity I will number for your easy reference.

1. BC Rail. Let's start with the 2001 election where Campbell promised not to privatize BC Rail. This promise was actually made in the previous election.  

2. Leasing? Really? Campbell said he was only "leasing" BCR -- right, for 990 years! My previous observation remains valid. "I can't tell you what things will look like in 990 years time, but look back 990 years and Ethelred the Unready was King of England!"

3. Botched bidding. Campbell said that privatizing BCR would be above board whereas, as we now know, it was not done without a monstrous abuse of power by two criminals.

Former attorney-general and finance minister Colin Hansen now enters the narrative in a big way.

4. Rivers of promises. When promoting the virtues of run-of-river projects, Hansen has strained credulity to the breaking point, as I have argued in some detail.

5. The harmonized sales tax. Let's move to Hansen and the HST. In the election campaign of 2009, he told us that the HST wasn't on the radar, yet we find out after the campaign that he had a large study of this tax done, and that report was in his office six weeks before the election. In fact, the HST was laid on the table just a few days after the election.

As one who has been a minister, I can say that federal/provincial deals of this sort take many months to negotiate and so I consider it likely that Hansen and of course the premier were negotiating the HST months before the election.

We're not finished with poor old Mr. Hansen yet.

6. Unreal budgeting. In February 2009, the government projected a rosy fiscal economic picture and that was the budget the Liberals touted throughout the election as proof they were great managers and the NDP proved wastrels. In fact, the projections in that budget were well over a billion dollars short.

The official line from Hansen and Campbell was that they were blindsided by the recession! This business-like government, the one best suited to handle our money, apparently had not heard of the stock market crash of 2007 nor the recession starting in 2008! More likely, the Liberals faked it in order to win the 2009 election.

7. Hosing Hydro. The Liberals have repeated that BC Hydro is the sacred jewel in B.C.'s possession and always would be so. Yet they forced Hydro into buying private power at a time when BC Hydro didn't need it -- and at a cost far more than were Hydro to generate its own power. For this and other reasons built into the Campbell/Clark government's deal with private power producers, Hydro is placed at such a disadvantage that if our crown jewel were in the private sector, it would be in bankruptcy.

First it was BC Ferries, then BC Rail. Next up, BC Hydro.

8. Waking the debt. The Campbell/Clark government alleges that it is the best suited to manage our fiscal affairs and that the NDP would bankrupt the province. The fact is that while the NDP were in, the "Asian Flu" had all but wiped out our forest industry, doubling the provincial debt. Now are you ready for this? The Campbell/Clark government, starting from a much larger base, has tripled our debt!

Move on, they say

Adrian Dix did a very wrong thing during the NDP years by producing a memo and then back-dating it in an effort to make it appear that then-premier Glen Clark had instructed him to keep him at arm's length from the process of awarding casino licences.

There is no doubt that this was egregiously wrong, but he admitted what he had done and was punished.

What the Campbell/Clark government has done is also egregiously wrong, but they have denied it and continue to deny it.

It does no good to state over and over that this was history. It's no longer enough to invoke the timely excuse of politicians in trouble and just say, "It's time to move on."

Then again, maybe it is time to move on. The best way to do so is to throw this untrustworthy and incompetent bunch out on their duffs.

[Tags: Politics.]  [Tyee]

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