Let me start by saying that I would like to see every Liberal MLA re-called. They are an appalling lot and dishonest both as a caucus and the Gordon (Pinocchio) Campbell led cabinet.
Having said that, I have serious doubts about Recall as a process in the areas where it’s planned.
I might say that I made the same case when the NDP were in and the target of Recall was Finance Minister Paul Ramsey.
I have a couple of reasons and one set of them was clearly enunciated by Vaughn Palmer in the Vancouver Sun, September 28. The optics are bad. Bill Vander Zalm has made his point re HST. The gathering in of ex NDP MLAs and NDP wannabes makes it look like an NDP sponsored exercise.
The bar is too high meaning Vander Zalm etc will have to work a miracle – indeed several miracles.
Here’s the position I took Re Paul Ramsey, in 2000 I believe.
Recall is a technique for getting rid of MLAs who are not serving their constituency well. The case of Paul Reitsma, where he wrote letters to papers under a nom-de-plume praising himself is the perfect precedent for where Recall was properly used. He brought shame to his riding and was appropriately disciplined. (In fact he resigned before the vote was held.)
While there is nothing in the rules to stop Recall campaigns that have little or nothing to do with how the MLA represents his/her constituency, I believe this will form a powerful, if understated, part of the campaign by targeted MLAs.
Of course it can and will be argued that by supporting the outrageous policy of the government that MLAs are not properly doing the wishes of the riding but that’s a stretch and the argument is that the best time to do that sort of assessment is at election time.
My MLA, Liberal Joan McIntyre, is targeted and complains that the Recall campaign will keep her from properly attending to her duties.
How, Ms McIntyre? What essential services are you unable to deal with that can’t easily be handled by your staff?
Do you mean, perhaps, that it will interfere with the hard work you do in the legislature voting the way you are told to vote?
In fact, dear MLA of mine, Recall will give you a new chance to meet your constituents – many for the first time in your two terms – and do a little mid term campaigning.
Finally, there is Bill Vander Zalm.
I have supported what my old colleague (emphasis on the “old”) Bill did re the BC Rail matter and the HST debacle. I understand his zeal, shared by me, to see the backside of this lot. The problem is, Bill, it looks a hell of a lot like you’re looking for another platform such as affiliation with the reborn BC Conservative Party, whether as a leader or simply spokesman is irrelevant. Everyone knows how much you crave a platform and will likely conclude that fulfilling this desire is what you’re really after. This also applies, with somewhat diminished force, to Chris Delaney, onetime president of the corpse that should stay interred.
I impute no sinister motives to Vander Zalm and Delaney but the Liberals sure as Hell will and enough voters to kill the Recall will likely agree.
There are two political adages that come to my mind – 1. in politics 6 weeks is an eternity meaning HST will soon be old hat, especially since Pinocchio has called for a referendum and 2. don’t play games because the public will always catch you out.
Vander Zalm and Delaney have embarked on that always dangerous path – taking a political position when you don’t know what the unintended consequences will be.