I have no intention of being Mr. “Nice Guy” to Gordon Campbell because he’s leaving office to wait for his massive pension to kick in and for lush directorships from the Energy companies to be offered.
I’m an environmental activist trying to save our salmon, our rivers, and our farm land. Why should I get warm and mushy all over because Campbell has been pushed out of his office?
Under Campbell’s government the moratorium on Atlantic Salmon fish farms was lifted resulting in the loss of 100s of thousands of our wild salmon being lost to sea lice from the fish farms. Far from doing anything about it, Campbell has encouraged more of them.
Citizens of Tsawwassen are fighting encroachment on farmland with nary a word of justification from Campbell whose job it is to support the principles of the ALR and stop encroachment.
Campbell has actively supported the destruction of our rivers and the ecologies dependent upon them, approving of large companies receiving permits to provide power that BC Hydro must buy, need it or not. Hydro must pay at least twice what it’s worth on the open market and since they don’t need the private power, have two options: sell it at a 50% loss or use it themselves at a cost of 12 times what Hydro can make it for themselves. Is it any wonder that folks who hate this desecration of our rivers, farmland and wild salmon bad mouth the premier and the minister responsible?
I raise this last question because Gordon Campbell is whining about how his family was upset by the things he was called – Pinocchio, I presume being one of them.
Families of politicians, great and small, always bear the brunt of abuse and if that cannot be borne, one shouldn’t get involved in the first place. I do feel for the Campbell family – my wife and four kids suffered this as well, for while I was not premier, I was a Councilor for and MLA of a smaller centre (Kamloops) and there was scarcely a day when one or more of them didn’t hear their father/husband abused. Prospective politicians should consult carefully with their entire family before taking the plunge. However, Campbell must take the majority of the blame himself.
The premier I worked for, a gillion years ago, unlike Campbell, let ministers do their job unhindered by hassling and “hands on” habits. This way we ministers quite rightly took responsibility for our portfolios.
Forgive me if I retell a story.
After a speech I made in Tsawwassen on the overhead power lines issue, I was approached a lady, clearly a Liberal, who chastised me for constantly asking where then-MLA Val Roddick was and said “I bet you that you never went to these sorts of rallies.”
I told her of a rally in Quesnel where ranchers angry at my stopping the killing of wolves were rallying for only one reason, to dare the minister to attend, and, if he did, hassle the hell out of them. I did and it was a hall full of 500 very angry men and women.
I said to her “I suppose you think I was a brave man.”
She nodded her head.
I said, “bravery had nothing to do with it; had I not gone I would have had my ass kicked out of cabinet.”
Bill Bennett expected his ministers to deal with their portfolios, especially the dodgy bits, and I daresay most of my colleagues could tell of the shit they had to stare down.
In the premier’s case the normal nastiness is much aggravated because on several occasions he – and there is no other word for it – lied through his teeth. Voters expect and tolerate “spin” but will not accept lies as opposed to polished political prose.
Let’s go back to the facing the public bit.
I’m involved in the movement to save our environment, especially, though not exclusively, fish and energy matters. I and my colleague Damien Gillis have spoken at public meetings all over the province and never, not once, did a Liberal MLA or candidate show up. In the May 2009 election we specifically asked the Cabinet Minister to attend meetings but nary a one did. I have challenged the premier and/or the energy minister to attend our meetings or simply have a debate with them but no takers.
Is it any wonder then that the public call the premier and his shy ministers “cowards” or worse?
I say this to Gordon Campbell: Sir, it’s not the media or environmentalists that have caused anguish for your family. For that you have no one to blame but yourself.