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Latest on HST initiative

The decision by the Chief Electoral Officer to hold up the referendum process because of lawsuits pending does nothing to help the government even though they bravely says it does.

The Chief, Mr. Fraser, is said to be free of the political process and we must take him at his word. That may be demonstrated by what happens down the road and no doubt much will happen – and happen – and happen some more as there is no resolution of the matter and the Campbell government is pummeled every day.

I cannot imagine why the business community would launch a court case. Left to its own designs, the HST issue would wind its way fairly quickly to becoming a referendum which, if there were any smart people in the government, would happen as soon as possible. Indeed my advice to them would be to set a date as quickly as possible. If the referendum were held and the government got second prize, Gordon (Pinocchio) Campbell could say “it’s the will of the people and now we must see how we can disengage from the Federal Government”. If he were to win, he could graciously… … no, I can’t finish that sentence; … Pinocchio is not big in the graciously department.

Remember that during the campaign, Campbell would put out plenty of evidence that backing out, if constitutionally possible, could be a very expensive proposition. In fact losing the referendum could be the best result.

What the business community lawsuit has done is hardened the belief that this HST business is ideologically right wing, that it’s straight out of the Fraser Institute play book with which Campbell is joined at the hip. It’s been wisely observed that in politics it’s not your enemies you must watch out for but your friends. Big business may be friends of Campbell but scarcely with the average voter.

Here we have what will be seen as fat cat businesses telling the people that taxes are good for them especially if raising them makes our life a bit easier. That kind of endorsement government doesn’t need.

What this means is that the two lawsuits, that of business and that of Mr. Vander Zalm, will be in lockstep with the Virk and Basi trial.  Day after day the public will be watching their tax dollars working like hell to save the premier’s ass. This the government could do without.

The question becomes what will Mr. Vander Zalm and Chris Delaney do now?

My counsel would be to wait a bit, relax a bit, and ponder your options. Not that you shouldn’t raise hell but just don’t start recall anywhere just yet. Keep hammering at the government to do what 700,000 citizens want them to do, namely to hold that referendum and let the people speak..

After it’s clear that the government won’t do the honourable thing, then launch Recall. I believe too that the Premier ought to be first on the list for several reasons.

First, he is the culprit in the eyes of the public and rightly so.

Second, why go on the attack against a nonentity, a method which may well provoke sympathy. In such a case it would be argued, with some merit I think, that Recall wasn’t intended to be used to oppose a government and its policy(ies) but the inadequacy of the MLA in looking after his riding.

Thirdly, you can lose a Recall action anywhere such is the difficulty of the process, so if you’re going to run that risk, why not do it where victory would have the biggest impact?

Fourthly, this will cost money which should be easier to raise if the premier is in the gun sights not one of the unknown lackeys who lounges on the back bench hoping that his quiet acquiescence to Pinocchio’s policy will get him/her into cabinet.

Let me close with a personal observation.

The leading light for the anti-HST movement has been Bill Vander Zalm not overlooking for a moment the work of Chris Delaney. It’s said that Vander Zalm is simply a publicity hound who wants to fight his way back to the top.

I know Bill Vander Zalm. He will tell you that no one in the media hurt him and his government more than I did. He will also tell you that I was doing my job and doing it effectively. And I unsay nothing.

Bill Vander Zalm does like being in the public eye and he’s scarcely alone in that regard. I don’t believe for one moment that Bill wants to get back into politics. Like me, he’s too old. He’s smart enough to know that his successful campaign hardly means that there are 700,000 people out there that want him to be premier again. Moreover, Lillian would skin him alive.

What is overlooked is that this is scarcely the first time Vander Zalm has popped his head above the trenches. He was front and centre trying to save BC Rail from its giveaway by Campbell. He must be given credit with being out for the ordinary BC citizen who feels betrayed by the Campbell diktat.

Bill Vander Zalm is a right-winger in one sense. Though a devout Catholic, Bill has a strong Protestant work ethic. I believe it’s an ethic that doesn’t take into account the different abilities of people to have productive lives and that he has hurt, at least emotionally, a lot of people who badly want jobs and for many reasons, including lack of training, perhaps mental instability, perhaps other reasons were unable to grab that shovel Bill offered.

Where Bill distinctly is not right wing is when it comes to big business or big labour, both of which he has stood against for as long as I’ve known him which is to say 35 years. He carries with him a visceral distrust of powerful business interests and I believe that, more than anything else, is what motivates him – that along with a keen sense of fair play. He also comes with a very strong “my way or the highway” approach. That, not right wing policy, killed him as premier. It’s that very trait that makes him an excellent man to lead a fight on an issue while no good at all at forming a consensus on a wide range of subjects as must happen if you’re to be a successful political leader.

I say, more power to Vander Zalm, Delaney, Bill Tieleman and those who got those 700,000 citizens.

Now your work has really begun!

For political junkies it’s going to be very interesting to watch and comment upon!

4 Responses to “Latest on HST initiative”

  1. cherylb says:

    It’s going to be a blast Rafe! Good suggestions about Campbell. Hadn’t thought about it that way.

  2. Kim says:

    One note Rafe, The Acting Chief Electoral Officer’s name is Craig James, on a LOA from his job as Legislative Clerk for the Select Standing Committee, ironicly, since that is the destination he thwarted the draft bill from ending up. He probably wants it delayed til he’s back to work there, so he can thwart it again.

    Good choice with Point grey being the first and only recall. I agree. Save us a lot of legwork.

  3. Gary E says:

    I disagree with you and anyone else that thinks a referendum is the way to go Rafe. To me we just had the referendum and it didn’t cost $40 Million of taxpayers money. Although there were 705,643 people at our last count who wanted this money grab thrown out, I submt that there was quite possibly that many more who wanted to, but were unable to sign. There were many many problems and I believe cherylb can attest to that fact. The only thing that pompous ass Campbell will listen to is an immediate recall in November. And the only way for the liberals to save their political asses is to jump ship NOW. And that may not even save some of them. We are tired of being lied to. Not only by Campbell and Hansen but by many of the liberal lapdogs.

  4. dan says:

    I agree with you that Campbell should be at the top of the recall list. Cut off the head of this government and the tail will die.

    I live in Campbell’s riding and no-one that I talk to is happy with his performance or lack thereof.

    Regarding the James fellow who decided to hold up the referendum result instead of forwarding to the legislature……..( is that where it goes??)

    If he had sent this forward to the proper destination, then the government would have been compelled to hold this up until such time as the two court challenges wound their way through the system.

    Having the government holding this up for a court case brought by their friends would be further bad optics in a situation that is already bad enough. So they put a lackey in place who makes a misguided attempt to deflect the anger over this.

    Two dead ends and the government still has to choose……..

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