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Friday, April 12, 2013

Michael's Musings

Political earthquake may loom as British Columbia voters decide fate of BC Liberals

By Michael J. Morris

Premier Christy Clark may have been trying  to avoid a political earthquake for the BC Liberals when she commented recently that "earthquakes don't wait until elections are over."  According to media reports, the premier made the statement when asked why it was so important to provide funds to improve earthquake resistance at eight schools in British Columbia just days before the May 14 provincial election is called.

As is usual prior to elections, cabinet ministers were also fanning out across the province with "good news" announcements using the benefit of incumbency, perhaps, to help the BC Liberals get re-elected.

Perhaps, because if the results of the most recent Angus Reid poll hold showing the BC Liberals trailing the BC NDP led by Adrian Dix by 20 points, and if Ms Clark fails to improve her own popularity which shows her tied with the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador with 25 per cent approval ratings, the BC Liberals may indeed suffer from an earthquake as the voters turf them out.

Whatever happens, I am fascinated by BC politics and was before I moved here almost 24 years ago. Before I moved friends cautioned me, depending on their political persuasion with statements such as "Someone is always on strike out there"; "The socialist hordes want to take over"; "The Bible belters run the province"; "If you are NDP, they won't even speak to you", "Politics is a blood sport there" and so on.

Well, my friends were at partially correct on all counts as I have heard those and more since my arrival.

Just the other day someone tweeted regarding the upcoming election, "It will be brutal, nasty and ugly."

Mr. Dix has promised to run a positive campaign  but we shall see what happens.

Let me comment on the statements above as I have experienced them.

Shortly after I joined the faculty at College of the Rockies, then East Kootenay Community College, an NDP provincial government was elected, and selfish person I am, I breathed a sigh of relief -- no strikes I thought. Wrong!

I was elected as the first faculty representative to the college board of governors, and soon was faced with a monumental decision. The faculty was going on strike as it could not reach an agreement with the NDP government. I had been elected to the board of governors by the faculty but once there walked a thin line between my responsibility to those who put me there and the broader interests of the college.

After much soul searching I decided to support the faculty and my colleagues on the board understood -- all of whom had been appointed by the NDP government. I also made the same decision when the CUPE local went on strike.

So much for love affairs between the BC NDP and public sector unions.

I have never been sure exactly who those "socialist hordes" were, but I can only conclude they may include the "NDP turds" to whom Bill Bennett, the current Member of the Legislature for Kootenay East was referring in a much reported tweet by most media, except in his own riding.

The Huffington Post, based in the United States,  even reported on it, including the full text" "I am with the BCL caucus tonight. Strange everyone seems to be getting along OK. Come on ndp turds. Bring it".  Mr. Bennett was forced to apologize in the legislature.

I really don't know if the Bible belters run the province but I assume that if they at least have a prominent say, they include Stockwell Day, former Alberta and federal cabinet minister who announced he was endorsing the BC Liberals for re-election. Apparently, some MLAs drop by to see their pastors when they screw up on political matters.

As far as being NDP and not having people speak to me, I wouldn't know not being a member of any political party since I moved here. I much prefer to live on Bruce Hutchison's "far side of the street". Interestingly though, Hutchison, a really great Canadian journalist, from Ontario, moved to Victoria and wrote about the "unknown country" that is Canada.

Yes, I believe politics in the province is more or less a blood sport. You are either "one of us" as Mr. Bennett's campaign ads suggests, or I assume you are not, and never the twain shall meet. The ad says that "Bill is one of us" whoever us is, but it is assuredly not them!

I leave you with a thought from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: "'But I don't want to go among mad people,' said Alice. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the cat. 'We're all mad here.'"

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