- Politics and Social Issues»
- Politics & Political Science
My neighbors to the North
There is a provincial election in British Columbia and the situation looks dire. My affiliation with the province of British Columbia is strong, I have lived there in the past, I regularly vacation there, I have family there and to cap it off I get some BC channels on TV.
I say the political situation is dire because there is no party in BC that captures the feelings and passions of the people. The BC Liberals have had their hands on the reins for a while now but a lot of resentment exists over several scandalous situations while they have been steering BC. Gordon Campbell the disgraced leader is in the most part responsible for their demise. To make a long story short, since the Liberals were elected initially with a huge majority they assumed they had a mandate to do just about anything. So along the way they alienated the electorate and towards the end of Gordon Cambell's overstayed welcome, the Liberal's did a good thing in a bad way. They adopted the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). You read more about it in my article "Opposition Shouldn't Always be so Focused on Opposing".
HST at 12% replaced and two sales taxes at 7% (PST) and 5%(GST), so there was no difference in the percentage, just that some items that were PST exempt were charged full HST. Net difference to provincial revenues is unclear but it has definitely been positive. The HST issue created resentment in the electorate, there was a lot of confusion but at the end of the day there was enough anti-Liberal sentiment that HST didn't have a chance of surviving once the Liberals announced the issue would be decided at a referendum. That in a nutshell sums up the Liberal situation, there are hated but may still be elected since they are the best of a bad bunch.
Christy Clark is the current Premier of BC and took over the leadership of the Liberal party when it was clear that her predecessor was unelectable. Her politics seems in tune with the Liberal party and is slightly left of center.
If the Liberals lose the election, Christy will be replaced. In any event the Liberals are rebranding, and are currently looking for a new name,
Outside of the NDP, Adrian Dix was virtually unknown until he was elected as the NDP leader. He pretends to understand free enterprise because his parents were business people, which might be enough to fool a few people but not many. He is a hard left wing politician who subscribes to the tax and spend philosophy. Not trusting the population to spend our way out of the current economic downward spiral he believes that government can do that more wisely.
Prior to the current economic downturn, North America enjoyed reasonable economic growth. That is, all of North America except BC. In BC the NDP kept the economy in check, their policies hindered growth and many corporate head offices moved to Alberta. Notable amongst them the Patterson Group. Since 2008 when the whole world went into economic collapse, BC has had a less radical left wing government but they have contended with poorer economic conditions and picking up the pieces from the departing NDP regime.
The people in BC need a break, it is time for better times. But who can deliver?
The recently appointed leader of the BC Conservatives has destroyed the party. The right wing movement that adopted the BC Conservative banner were leaderless for a while and they were committed to creating constituency associations in every riding in BC, and committed to fielding a solid candidate in each riding by the next election. The most active of these activists was John Crocock, who with a team of committed people built what is now known as the BC Conservatives. Indeed it was John Crocock that initially reached out to John Cummins to take the leadership of the BC Conservatives, and with John Crocock's backing the election was uncontended, and John Cummins became the leader.
The BC Conservatives stood for transparency in politics. Honesty and integrity were not just buzz words, they were felt and sincerely meant. But trouble brewed, John Cummins quickly forgot his promises to the grass roots movement that created the platform on which he stood. Instead he took council from Hamish Marshall alone, and relished the power that he thought he had. The ensuing discontent turned into demands for his resignation, and when that didn't happen many of the constituency associations began to lose membership, and ultimately had too few members to continue and had to disband.
Thanks to John Cummins the BC Conservatives are no longer a contender in the coming election, and BC is poorer for it. There is now no viable fiscally prudent party, and BC must choose the best of a bad bunch, again.
BC Conservatives implode and hope for BC fades.
- Internal bickering drives B.C. Conservatives back to the fringes | Full Comment | National Post
The party's support has crashed with an election just seven months away.
The leader of the BC Green party has taken ownership of their success at the last election in 2009, where the BC Green's achieved 8.3% of the popular vote. She fails to give credit to the NDP for being universally mistrusted and the Liberals for Gordon Campbell. Both of which were factors for the vote parking that the Green's are so elated about.
Their 10 core principles sound very good, but pay little heed to the reality of running an economy, creating jobs, and building infrastructure for continued growth. Suffice to say, the Green's do not expect to form government and therefore do not need to address the tough questions real leaders have to answer.
Salvatore J. Vetro is the leader of BC First. They don't appear to be a party with even a remote hope of getting even one seat at the BC Legislature. Although they outwardly appear to be in favor of free enterprise, some of their wackier policies will ensure they remain where there belong, in political no mans land.
Two notable policies that sound sexy but are untenable are :
1. Have a referendum on major issues (up to 4 a year).
2. Govern by consensus, where every elected BC First member of the Legislature will be required to consult his constituency before casting any vote.
Governments govern, they don't act like lost puppies looking for direction. BC First are regrettably lost puppies.
I do not envy BC for the choice it has to make, and find myself wishing for the BC Liberals to win at the polls. Since the alternative is way to scary to comprehend. The BC NDP under Adrian Dix would cripple the BC economy, tax and spend doesn't work and they just don't get that. BC has to vote for the best of a bad bunch, and that for now seems to be the BC Liberal party.
The need for a responsible socially caring yet fiscally prudent government is now stronger than ever, and I hope that someone, perhaps John Crocock has the energy and civic mindedness to start a party that can fill the void on the right side of center.
Dictatorial leadership failure for Cummins
- John Cummins faces challenge from within B.C. Conservative party
B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins is being challenged from within his party’s own board of