Like a large number of people in the WestVancouver- Sea-To-Sky constituency, I am breaking the usual rules – I want the NDP to form the next government but I am passionately opposed to Woodfibre LNG which the NDP candidate supports. If I were to support her, my neighbours, with every justification in the world, would lynch me, as I would them were they to vote NDP.
Protection of Howe Sound is a huge issue and while our very strong position should, one would think, bring major party support, not so. This isn’t a NIMBY issue but a dedication to save BC’s most southern fjord and one of the worlds great natural beauty spots now recovered from past industrial waste thanks in large measure to citizen measures. Howe Sound, with its killer whales, humpback whales, salmon, herring, seals, sea-lions and other sea life back, is seen as a British Columbia treasure to be protected by all decent British Columbians.
Overall, I’m supporting the NDP
This is the 3rd election where I’ve publicly supported the NDP. I am still asked, weren’t you a Socred minister, an oppressor of the working folk and a greedy capitalist lining his own pockets at the expense of the poor?
Minus the hyperbole, yes. I ran for the Socreds in 1975 and again in 1979, won both elections, and spent over five years in the cabinet. During that period Premier Bill Bennett fully supported me and my deputy minister, Tex Enemark, as we modernized BC’s antediluvian consumer laws, completely overhauled the liquor laws, established the hugely successful cottage wine industry, and forced Chartered Banks, who claimed exemption because they were federally chartered, to obey our laws. When I moved to Environment, I negotiated with the City of Seattle, stopping them from raising the Ross Dam and saved our beautiful Skagit River from ruin, stopped the killing of wolves – which enraged all ranchers, nearly all of whom were Socreds – and, to the outrage of the mining industry, placed a moratorium on Uranium exploration and mining. As Health minister I brought in Homecare and Palliative care.
I assure you I relate all this only to show you my personal experience with the bad, old Socred capitalist pigs and tell you that under the present Liberals, such radical socialistic notions wouldn’t have stood a chance.
What’s really happened is that public attitudes towards former “lefty” issues like the environment, health, social services have changed dramatically and are no longer the private preserve of the left. At the same time, the heirs to the deceased Social Credit Party, the BC Liberals, have lurched to the right – far to the right of the Bill Bennett Socreds – while the NDP cast aside the old time rhetoric and stopped scaring people in the Centre. The Green Party has, sadly, moved from true Green to playing political spoiler hoping to win a balance of power.
Clark’s Keystone Kops have to go
Let’s get down to cases.
I frankly cannot understand how anyone would want another four years of the gross incompetence and lack of truthfulness that we’ve endured since 2001. In my opinion, the Campbell/Clark bunch is the worst government I have ever seen in this province. The massive Keystone Kops bungling of the LNG mess in itself should be enough to see the back of them for quite a while. It all was so reminiscent of Peter Sellers and a Pink Panther classic farce. The Liberals’ 16 years are unblemished by a single success story.
What sticks out, however, is the good economic situation they inherited and the bloody awful mess they are leaving. They have doubled the provincial debt in 2016 $ and have so mismanaged BC Hydro that it’s a corporate tragedy that truly beggars description. The Independent Power Policy has been a huge political pay-off to wealthy supporters, all at the expense of the Public. The lingering memory I carry is of a premier whose mind is seldom, if ever, troubled by telling fibs, from small to big.
It may well be, of course, that many of you really don’t place clean government very high on the list. I happen to think it’s essential to good government. Perhaps the Liberal endemic dissembling comes from the docile unto supportive media, but that scarcely justifies the Liberal government under both Campbell and Clark – particularly the latter – being incapable of telling the truth. I’m not interested in perpetuating that sort of leadership.
LNG is NDP’s weak spot
The situation on the Kinder Morgan line and similar environmental intrusions by the federal government themselves are enough for me to vote for someone else. When it gets to BC Hydro and Site C, I run the risk of being rude by saying I can’t understand how anyone could vote for a government involved in such preposterous policies.
Yes, I support the NDP, with considerable reservation, which is dwarfed, however, by the brutal inadequacies of the Liberals – combined with their corruption.
Horgan has produced an idiotic policy of favouring LNG without any criticism and that has taken away a number of opposition opportunities, including the one in my riding, but elsewhere too.
No politician with half a brain would have said, “We can’t be against everything, so we’re for LNG” – a preposterous proposition when you think of it. The reason you are for a policy isn’t because it’s a good one but because you can’t be against everything! It wasn’t necessary that he be opposed, just committed to an open inquiring mind judging each proposal on its merits. In taking the position he has, Horgan has foreclosed some of the serious issues concerning LNG, such as fracking, for example, or discharges into the air or waterways, or tanker traffic, as in the case of Howe Sound, which, by every standard imposed, is too narrow for tanker traffic. As I write this, the polls show a small Liberal lead has overtaken a large NDP advantage, which may reflect a public not satisfied that Horgan has their confidence to even be more competent than Clark!
Horgan still the best choice
For all that, politics is a comparative game and compared to the record of the Campbell/Clark government, particularly the financial wreckage they have piled up, with his shortcomings, to me John Horgan still looks like a much better choice to lead the province.
The Green party has been disappointing in my view. I find myself very attracted to the green concept and can only wish that my advice to Elizabeth May had been followed and that she had taken over the BC party, but that was not to be.
Dr. Weaver’s position on so-called “run of river” and IPPs has been so non-green as to disqualify him in my view from that appellation. He has done well in the debates and the party has gone from being one of principle to one of grabbing for seats, hoping to gain a place in a coalition government.
A disappointing campaign, all around
I must say that this entire campaign has been very disappointing in too many ways. The Liberals have not made any effort to justify their record, the NDP have shown very little ability to restore confidence and bring us a competent government and the Green party have switched from being idealists to opportunists.
I close very simply by saying one must deal with that and if one is adult, under these circumstances there is absolutely no way they could support a dishonest and utterly untruthful government.
I understand that politicians have been known to gild the lily on occasion. A certain amount of wriggle room between truth and falsehood is traditionally accepted. But with this premier it’s well beyond a joke. She seems temperamentally incapable of telling the truth and I’m not prepared to vote for such a person.
I’m not so naive as to think that political supporters don’t get perks or that if you’re bidding on a government contract, donations aren’t helpful. But this government, with its policy of Independent Power Producers, has taken graft to a new level and has all but bankrupted BC Hydro, doubled the provincial debt and ruined the jewel in our corporate crown. Are we to overlook this?
Finally, let me dispel two myths. The Liberal government is only not lying when they talk about balanced budgets – because no one likes to use that word but it’s as close to lying as “damn” is swearing. Ask yourself this: The government has gone further into the hole by $71 BILLION in the last four years – how in hell can you do that with balanced budgets?
Easy – don’t put the bad stuff like BC Hydro or ICBC into the budget balancing game! Their losses are part of the huge provincial debt but, using the old adage “figures don’t lie but liars can sure as hell figure”, you can work miracles with a balance sheet.
Given the fiscal catastrophe created by the Campbell/Clark government and their lie-infested corruption, I consider they have forfeited any right to a position of public trust.
The NDP are inexperienced in leadership but not in government, with a number of MLAs who are clearly Cabinet material, some with cabinet experience. If they do no more than restore truth and integrity, support of Horgan and Co will be worth it.
As an old friend used to say when wondering about taking a chance and approaching a comely lass, “what the hell, take a chance…Columbus did”.